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Quote of the Week: "History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives." - Abba Eban, Israeli statesman (1915-2002)


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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-20 11:59pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2007-04-03 05:42pm
Posts: 1001
Location: En Route
CENTINTERN Conference I

Pride of Huuron Union of Eerie and Huuron diplomatic transport, Approaching Central City, Centrum, The Center Sector, The Centrality
Day(s) Prior to the CENINTERN Conference

General Secretary Kerwin DeWine of the Erie Centralist Party turned to his predecessor, now trusted advisor, Alonzo M. Hanna and spoke, “Can we be sure the Centrality has the best interests of CENINTERN at heart with this meeting?”

“The only way to know is to see for ourselves, besides, they can’t be worse than the Knights.”

“True enough,” DeWine said, “but how can we know that the Centrality isn’t using this to turn CENINTERN into a rubber-stamp of their policies? What if they just decide to kill us and replace us with dogmatic supporters of the Centrality? How do we respond then?”

“That is why the Priemer is not here, nor is the General Secretary of the Huuron branch here. We are being safe Kerwin, safe enough to stop your worrying. Calm, we must remain calm during the conference. Remember, the Revolution was not built upon a months labour from Centrum, and it won’t be broken by the same.”

“Thank you, Al. Let us hope this conference works out for the better.”

Results:
Centralist representatives of the Union of Eerie and Huuron are in attendance at CENTINTERN.
The Union of Eerie and Huuron: A Two System Nation in a location near the Knights of Order TBD.



Grease Pens and Razor Blades make the world go round.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-21 09:53am
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Location: The third best place to live in the country.
Vulture Rock

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"This is an outrage." General Sheppard puffed on his cigar. "We will have to kill him, of course. Demand that him and his ship is immediately turned over for trial and execution. Or war with the Persians. I will order several heavy battlestar groups to make ready, we will need the GDN to augment the pick up."

There was a snort of disbelief from one corner of the table. Alizabeth spoke.

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"Well, you haven't changed at all in 15 years, have you Ryan? If this is him, I would dearly love to see him dead. But...we don't know that it is him. It could be some poor idiot with the same last name. I don't think he bares more than a passing resemblance, if at all. And besides," She flipped her hair, "I doubt the GDN would be able to 'augment the pickup' as you so nicely put it."

"Why not?" Sheppard turned to Fairfax. "What's up?"

"Grand Admiral Earl got pissy at my abrupt departure. He's going to go run and tell daddy."

"Daddy?" Sheppard was confused for a bit. "You mean Blitzschlag? He wields that kind of power? Holy cats! Does he have Colonel Winter in his pocket?"


"No." Came a gravely voice.

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"General Sheppard, your position is vital. You are the embodiment of the Sheppish Identity. I would never allow it, and my dear father, Dr. Blitzschlag, knows it. Fairfax s position is a bit more tenuous. You should not have come so abruptly. The gutter press will be all a-twitter. Especially the Twitter Times, those liberal retards. As for Sänger, the circumstantial evidence does argue for him being from what you have designated as world three-"

"They call it that, it's world one for me." Elizabeth said.

"-but I do not believe that Blitzschlag was involved in his transfer. In addition, I agree with Lady Bhatt-Fairfax's assessment that he only bares a passing resemblance to the Sänger you all know. Behold:"

Image

"He looks like a homeless person who fell into a nice suit. In other words, he looks like Sänger." Sheppard said. "Wait, how would you know what Sänger looks like?"

"Your memories and personalities were stored in my buffer while awaiting transfer to your new bodies. I took the liberty of making copies of the files in order to establish a point of reference when speaking to you three. Moving along, our intelligence within the Sassanids is not the best. They are a very insular society, and it is difficult to get anything more than a simple headcount of assets and organizations. What information we do have on Sänger is in line with what Admiral Baxter told you yesterday; RUMINT that comes from several but unfortunately unverifiable sources. That he arrived with an advance ship in this universe. That his universe appears to be from World Three. Etc. In any event, it would not be wise to engage in military action against the Sassanids. The other powers will surely intervene and the Bragulans are close enough to the Sassanids that what their response would be is uncertain. No, we will have to kill him through less direct measures. A Mob Hit, perhaps."

"A mob hit!" Sheppard scratched his chin. "I like it!"

"I agree." Fairfax said.

Frederick spoke.

"Very well, I will contract with Clamps and Joey Mouspad directly."



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


Last edited by Lonestar on 2011-02-21 04:44pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-21 02:02pm
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Joined: 2007-06-12 02:27pm
Posts: 1513
Location: London, england
HSF Kitty Surprise, MEH space

“Shipmistress Talia, we have something.”

“Report.”

“Hyperspace emergence on periphery of system 11 by monitoring probes. Stealthed vessel, identity unknown.”

“Excellent” Talia ear perked and leaned forwards from her dais, finally some action “Plot course to target and prepare for hyperspace jump.” Talia ordered and waited only a moment for the order to be confirmed before turning back to Charam.

“Further information?” she asked simply as the Blade prepared to leap through hyperspace to come upon the target.

“Vessel has not been detected either moving or entering hyperspace since it's arrival. I suspect they're conducting repair on their stealth systems.” Charam replied.

“Based on?”

“Emergence signature, it's either down to them coming from a part of known space with different hyperspace topography or due to unavoidable wear and tear on their baffles. ”

“We'll call it better than fifty percent chance you're right then. What are the chances it's just the MEHN though?”

“As an ambush mistress? Possible however their stealth technologies would have be dramatically better than we've seen so far in order for it to be a ship that significantly outweighs us while showing so mouse like a signature.”

Talia considered thoughtfully and then motioned “We lose nothing by being cautious and the activity will do the pack good. Signal all available pack-mates to converge on system 11.” she ordered.



Any vessel put on a stealth mission requires downtime for the good of the crew and the ship, the stress of being constantly at risk of detection and the strain of running cloaking fields and subspace baffles constantly without rest or comprehensive maintenance requires relief at least occasionally.

Even space wizards were forced to acknowledge this fact and conform to it, what they didn't anticipate stopping here was that they were not unobserved doing so. The faintest flickers of hyperspace emergence the only warning before two dozen active sensors reached out and pinged off their hull, vaguely having time to reflect back towards their originators and provide a position resolution before the leading ship sent a single incredibly simplistic message to the Tianguo vessel.

Code:
Pounce. 3042.



STGOD SDNW4 player. Chamarran Hierarchy Catgirls in space!
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-21 04:42pm
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Previously, on 'Property of an Apexai'...

Prologue wrote:
The man in the black suit collapsed on the floor as his heart stopped beating. A moment later the mortuary enzymes CEID introduced in all its field agents kicked in and his body began to rapidly dissolve, leaving behind only the black suit, and the single object that had been tucked away inside his jacket.

Image


Chapter 1


The Pyramid
CEID secondary HQ, Solaris Major


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The elevator, Liberty knew, wasn't really an elevator. They seldom were in the field stations of the Directorate, especially not if they carried you to the very top of the building. It looked like an elevator, it had the big round buttons, soft lighting and instantly forgettable music to match... But it wasn't. In reality she stood inside a fourth-order force construct, a careful projection of unified fields that presented a comfortable illusion of permanent solidity, but could be modified or disappeared entirely the moment the building's controlling intelligence decided it didn't like whoever it detected within. Or it could disassemble her. Or modify the structure of her brain. Within the reach of the unified field controllers, the fun possibilities were endless. That's what CEID liked about them: if you survived the trip to whatever floor you were traveling to, you must have the clearances to be there.

Liberty Kincaid knew she had those clearances, but she still didn't like the idea of being at the mercy of the building's CI core. And she liked it even less that the thing was rifling through her mind. It was impossible to tell that it did, but in a construct like this privacy was a polite myth. Everything inside it was deep-scanned to a subatomic level, then virtually simulated by the resident CompInt and checked against agent files on record. If they matched, the construct would deposit her on the proper floor. If they didn't her component atoms might end up scattered in the winds of Solaris. Either way the CI would know just about everything there was to know about her. Which in turn rendered the entire meeting moot, as it could just dump into her mind whatever information her higher-ups might have to share. It would be far more efficient.

But of course such efficiency wouldn't fit the psychological games the Directorate liked to play even with its own agents. Liberty knew she had to go through this hassle so it would be impressed upon her that even senior field agents with carte blanche authority had their masters to answer to. 'You may have clearance to requisition warships or boss around entire planetary garrisons,' the message was, 'but we can still kill your ass dead if we want to, and there's nothing you can do about it'. Sometimes she really hated her job. Then she imagined the CI catching that thought and chuckling about it, and rolled her eyes.

The not-doors didn't so much open as simply disappeared, leaving Liberty standing on the top floor of the Pyramid. The room was at least a quarter mile long along each wall, a perfect square covered in immaculate white carpeting. It was completely empty but for a slowly revolving all-seeing-eye hologram that through some strange optical trick appeared to be hanging stationary in the middle of the room yet never grew closer as Liberty walked toward it. The effect was nauseating and Liberty realized it was a cognetic hallucination, an inconsistent perception induced by militarized cognotechnology. Another defensive measure, then. She stood still and focused on the wall in the distance. Like all four walls it was made entirely out of a glass-like substance, and she could see the busy repulsorlift traffic of the perpetual Solarian rush-hour pass by behind it. She breathed deeply. Slowly the nausea vanished.

The hologram dissolved and reformed in the image of a little girl no older than nine, maybe ten years.

Image

“Liberty Kincaid, agent number CA1865.20E, welcome to the Pyramid,” said the Red Queen.

Liberty looked at the CI's holographic avatar and was relieved to find the sickening cognetic effect had vanished. Immediately she caught herself. No doubt relief was what the CompInt was aiming for, part of a game plan to put her on the defensive. She decided on a hostile approach, although a part of her realized the futility: the intelligence had probably seen it coming, already. I might as well go through the motions. “I don't feel very welcome.”

The girl shrugged. “Needs must, Kincaid. These are interesting times. We can't be too careful.”

Actually I think we can thought Liberty. She remembered her last mission: find whoever is responsible for the attacks on SinTEK and SchromKorp. She'd tracked the perpetrator down to a soon-to-be abandoned asteroid base in Wild Space, where the target had revealed himself to be a Collector agent. Next you know someone had blown up a trade station and a Monolith was invading Sovereignty space. After that she'd been taken off the case and taking care of LEGION had been assigned to somebody else. She didn't know who: CEID Zero operated on a strictly need to know basis, and clearly someone thought she didn't need to know. If there was anything the Directorate loved it was compartmentalizing information so that nobody knew anything unless they were at the top of the food chain. Knowledge was power, and power was best left unshared. That at least was something CEID and the Imperial Inquisition agreed upon. She shrugged. It seemed senseless, but hers was not to question why. “Why am I here?”

“Are you familiar with Parole Jejune, agent number CA1872.22D?” asked the CI.

“You know that I am,” Libery resisted the urge to roll her eyes again. “We worked the Tarragon case on Celeste two years ago.”

“He died,” the CI stated bluntly.

Liberty cringed. Parole Jejune had been a nice guy, especially when you considered he was a CEID-bred Replicant. And like so many Replicants bio-engineered and flash-programmed for purposes as highly specific as black ops wetwork, he had his quirks.

One of them had been that he didn't do backups.

Jejune had argued that he could do his job better if the stakes were higher, if he really had to fight for his life. Maybe it had been true. Certainly he'd been one hell of an agent even back when Liberty met him. He wasn't the usual empty black suit with sunglasses: he had a real gift for undercover work.

And now he was real dead.

“How did he die?” Liberty didn't expect an answer other than the usual 'you don't need to know' so she was surprised when the hologram spoke up.

“He was killed during a mission on Crystal Palace. We don't know by whom.”

Liberty frowned. It wasn't like CEID to tell agents how their coworkers expired, and even if it had been it wouldn't be up to the Directorate's Computational Intelligences to make public their obituaries. Much less the Red Queen. Liberty wasn't plugged into the flow chart of CEID's upper echelons – no field agent was – but she knew enough to be certain that the Red Queen was high up in the hierarchy, one of the Directorate's senior CompInts... Possibly even the mysterious Inside Director of CEID Zero. Chances were there weren't all that many steps between her – it – and Abielle Magritte. The Red Queen was a cold and cruel entity, methodical, meticulous, and at any given time supremely in charge of innumerable plots, conspiracies and intrigues. Point being, the Red Queen probably wasn't telling Liberty this just as a concerned colleague. “Why are you telling me this?”

“Because he was carrying this.” The hologram held out her hand and a new object materialized in the air. It was a small, egg-shaped jewel, puissantly decorated with platinum and weird flakes of black crystal. “Are you familiar with objects like these?”

Liberty wasn't. She said so. The CI smiled a little too smugly. “This is one of the Zedath-Kalesh Rarities, ancient treasures of the lost Apexai homeworld, and masterpieces of jewelcrafting. Only a handful survived the Bragulan bombardment of Apexaia. The aliens treasure them above all other things. They are psionically resonant and, according to rumour, key to unlocking the Apexai's greatest secrets. Quite a few of them were sold off in the early days of the Asylum to generate funds for the exodites, and the Apexai have been trying to get them back ever since. They appear to attach an unusual degree of sentimentality to these things. Today, several are still in the hands of private collectors. Our friends in the Foundation have one. And the Silver Shield owns the rest.”

Liberty reached out to the hovering jewel. It felt solid to the touch and slightly warm. The Red Queen wasn't sparing any processing power. She plucked the tactile hologram out of the air and studied it. “And Jejune had one?”

“What he had,” the CI's expression turned dour for just a second, “was a fake.” The pout disappeared just as quickly as it had come. “But we have a lead.”

Here we go thought Liberty. “And I'm assuming you want me to check out this lead.”

“You assume correctly. One of our data-trawlers has reported that one of the Rarities is going on sale at Sovern-Ruprecht auction house. It is the first Rarity on the open market in ninety-eight years, and a perfect match to the fake that Jejune had on him when he died. The chance that this is a coincidence is deemed to be so small it might as well be nonexistent. The fake that Jejune was killed over must somehow be linked to the real one going on sale next week. Therefore, we want you to be at the auction.”

“If you want this bauble,” Liberty scratched her chin. “Why not simply confiscate it?”

“If we wanted the Rarity, we could steal it at any moment. What we really want is to know who else wants it, why they want it, and what's so important about it that they would kill one of our field agents over it.” The Red Queen's expression darkened almost imperceptibly. “Believe it or not, but when unknown opponents gun down my agents on the street, I take that personally.”

“I'd like to believe that,” Liberty answered and mentally added but I don't. What she vocalized was, “why am I doing this job?”

“Because you are one of our best field agents. Because you knew and cared for Jejune,” the Red Queen shrugged. “And because revenge is an excellent motivator.”



Image
SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty

There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes


Last edited by Siege on 2011-02-21 05:05pm, edited 8 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-21 04:47pm
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Location: Void Zone
CS Ada
High Orbit Over Centrum
Days Prior to CENINTERN Conference


Jerome Carey, General Secretary of the Humanist Union's United Centralist Party, poured himself another glass of brandy in what he increasingly suspected was a futile attempt to calm his nerves. It was one thing to talk about change, quite another to take a step down the path. Bitterly, Carey thought not for the first time that it was much easier to vote on the party's course of action than to actually take said course of action. History showed that it was the leaders, not the footsoldiers, that paid the dearest price for a movement's actions. Carey was man enough to admit (to himself alone, of course) that while centralism might be worth being martyred over, he was in no hurry to climb on his cross. The road ahead was still long.

Spinning the fluid in his glass absent-mindedly, Carey considered that here, far from home, he might actually be safer than other party leadership that had been left back in the Union, under the watchful eye of the omnipresent federal state. True, the Humanist Union guaranteed political freedom, but theory and practice were rarely twins of one another. Centralism was regarded not just as a fringe movement, not just an 'anti-human' one - the UCP had the theist and libertarian trash as company in those categories - but also as a foreign movement. Participating in CENINTERN could give the federal state the excuse it might be looking for - it was a very real possibility that General Secretary Carey would come home to the Union to find FCPS* (or, gods forbid, Office of Domestic Security**) agents waiting to take him and his retinue into custody. All for the sake of what would amount to an overblown dick-waving ceremony.

The door chime to Carey's quarters emitted an unobtrusive note, bringing the man out of his considerations. Looking up, he composed himself (being more than a little drunk), "Enter." Through the door walked Evette Seymour, his personal aide and sometimes-lover (if such a word could be applied to a woman with all the romantic feeling of a Collector drone). Carey motioned for her to take a seat, "Drink, Evette?" Usually he at least tried for a veneer of professionalism, but fuck it. The younger woman gave a curt shake of the head to the negative and sat, crossing one leg over the other.

"We've received landing clearance and will be allowed from orbit soon," she said, which was her way of telling him to sober up, "I expect you've heard."

Carey set his glass down with a sigh and ran a hand over his bald head, "Yes, for what it's worth," Carey didn't mind letting his junior hear the disapproval in his voice, "We'd be better-served staying at home, winning votes to legitimize centralism than playing around with foreigners."

"You're just concerned you're going to end up with your brain sucked out by the DII," Evette said drily. Carey didn't let his other subordinates talk like that to him, but Evette's talents came with their rewards, "Personally, I still see that as unlikely. I would have been against this trip - as you are - had the negotiations between the Union and the Centrality not gone so smoothly."

"You figure that the government won't risk damaging that," he said. The idea amused him: on one hand, they couldn't afford to look incompetent, improving relations only to sunder them later. On the other, a great many people in the Union were opposed to the improved relations to begin with! Such was the folly of even limited democracy, mired in appearances and obedience to the people over their own good.

Evette shrugged, "Particularly in the wake of Bowman's death," she paused for a moment, "Anyway, I don't expect this to be totally fruitless. Showing that centralism is alive in the Union could perhaps gain us support, particularly considering our relative proximity to the Centrality."

Carey snorted, downing the last of his drink, "Let's hope not," he joked, "Or we'll definitely be hearing from the DII."

-

* Federal Civil Protection Service. The Union's federal-level police.
**The Office of Domestic Security is a branch of the DII. They might be classified as a "secret police" force.

-

Results: The Humanist Union's centralist movement is attending CENINTERN, largely to avoid isolation, despite concerns of potential repression for doing so.



John Brown was right.


Last edited by Tanasinn on 2011-03-19 02:59pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-21 06:04pm
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The Patrician
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Location: 32ULV
S-101497 Miss Laid
Sol system
MEH Space


On a status board, one of the indicators lit up. Shao Shi Nguyen took note of it. "Captain, we've suffered a failure in one of our stealth systems."

Shang Wei O'Malley looked up from the novel he was reading. "What's the effect?"

"The systems' are redundant, but if the other one fails, we'll not be able to sneak away."

"Then we should probably head back to Sneakily Does It. The MEH probably can't find us even if the stealth systems both fail, but I'd bet we're not the only people spying on them. Spool up the hyperdrive." O'Malley picked up the 1MC mic. "All hands, all hands, rig for hyperspace jump." Putting it down, "Dump the data from our sortie, and our log into a probe. We should at least make sure someone gets that if we don't make it."

--

Still in MEH Space

A small ripple occured as the Miss Laid emerged from hyperspace

"Sir, the subspace baffles failed on exit. There's a chance someone might have seen us. No one was here last time we were, but doesn't mean someone isn't here now."

"Damn it. Launch the probe. Hopefully Sneakily Does It can pick it up, if it can't pick us up."

Half an hour later, more small ripples provided warning.

"Sir! Contacts. Looks like category 0 combatants. Estimate two-four number." the sensor operator, Shao Shi Lee called.

"Well, seems we didn't make it out intact. Knew we should have done the rendezvous in deep space. How far to Sneakily Does It?" O'Malley asked

"It'll be another hour before we're at her estimated position." replied the navigator

"Sir! Comm from the contacts! 'Pounce. 3042.' message ends."

"Broadcast a message in the clear to Sneakily Does It 'S-101497 DPA' message ends." He picked up the 1MC mic. "All hands, all hands. Begin destruction of classified information. Prepare for destruction of classified equipment."

"What's the plan, sir?"

"They're kitties. No one else would have sent a message that was simply 'Pounce' and the year they emerged. They'll probably want to capture us. So we're going to let them. Then make a good imitation of a bomb. Tell the engineers to turn off the cloaking field, and prepare to destroy the stealth systems."



"preemptive killing of cops might not be such a bad idea from a personal saftey[sic] standpoint..." --Keevan Colton
"There's a word for bias you can't see: Yours." -- William Saletan

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-21 08:28pm
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Location: Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
CIS Sensor Station, Deep Space
Near Centrality Space
Unreal Time


The Centrality had a large number of sensor stations just beyond its borders, most little larger than outposts, but a few were CIS bases. From here the CIS could monitor communications traffic, near and far, in the latter case through its agents stationed in Centralist embassies. Lately there was a spike in message traffic, and the CIS analysts were trying to figure out what must have caused it. It was difficult to find a pattern and an origin for such a rise, and the SIGINT personnel would have given up had not their HUMINT counterparts announce that they had found something. Apparently, several nations had their warp gates activate almost simultaneously one after the other, corroborated by CIS agents in those countries, while a CIS team in the Shinran Republic noted that the Shinran warp gate had been activated several times.

The CIS personnel were curious about this. Apparently something was up. They sent what they already had to the CIS Headquarters.



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.


Last edited by Force Lord on 2011-02-23 08:13pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-21 10:14pm
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Location: Tampa Bay, Florida, USA
Co-written with Steve
New Anglia


The Foreign Secretary's office was full of mementos from his long and storied career, including a stint as Prime Minister in the 3320s and 3330s, as well as trophies from his yacht club and hunting club. It was the kind of office one would associate with a grand old peer of the Kingdom, though Lord Prestwick was only a life peer and his title would not be passed on to any of his sons or grandchildren.

Lord Prestwick stood respectfully from his chair, having a holo-reader prepared for whatever texts they might exchange. "Greetings, Your Excellency. I am pleased to be of service."

Terra Branford, the Shinra Republic ambassador to the United Star Kingdom of New Anglia, bowed before Lord Prestwick. "Lord Prestwick, thank you for seeing me on such short notice. As I'm sure you can imagine, I'm here to discuss this Multiversal Empire of Happiness situation." The emphasis she placed on the 'Happiness' made it clear she saw the so-called Empire as anything but a place of joy. This was not surprising, given her strong Esper heritage and the MEH's openly admitted desire to experiment upon her kind.

"Ah, yes. Please, have a seat." Baden-Grey indicated one of the seats before her.

"First, let me thank His Majesty's Government for their support in taking action against the MEH. I understand you have concerns with the secrecy of our notices, and I assure you the President would like nothing better than to announce to the galaxy at large the MEH's despicable conduct and our desire to see them rightly punished for it." After a brief pause, she continued on. "Unfortunately, it was felt that to do so at this time would not be wise, for fear such announcement would have the effect of declaring 'open season' upon their nation, to put it undelicately."

"It is understandable that the Shinra Republic wishes to avoid a rush of land grabs, which might disrupt an organized force, but you should understand that in order for His Majesty's Government to commit in any form to these efforts, we will have to go public," Lord Prestwick explained. "Parliament must be consulted, and while we might maintain some secrecy in the committees of Parliament, once the issue is brought to the floor of the Commons it will be impossible to maintain."

Terra nodded. "We understand. It was hoped by the President that initial staging of fleets could perhaps be done under some other name, such as a multinational fleet exercise. As well, that representitives from the nations we had contacted could meet to discuss the matter together, both to resolve any issues that may arise and to discuss whether to invite other nations to the coalition, and if so whom. Naturally, before committing to any offensive action, we would make the appropriate announcements to both our populaces and the galaxy at large."

"Maybe so, Ambassador, but while I am no admiral, I know that it will take a lot of effort for us to forward deploy a fleet to interact with your's. It is one thing to have the Balklands Station squadron go on maneuvers with Shinra and other nearby states, but for us to send a fleet from our home territories? That will raise eyebrows. That will draw suspicion. And the expense of it will come to the attention of Parliament and other bodies, and again we run into the difficulties of keeping the secret. I am not demanding you go public now, Your Excellency, but bringing the evidence public must be done before His Majesty's Government can commit to the fullest extent. Until then, I am afraid we can do no more than use existing channels to begin the foundation of cooperation in the effort to come."

"I understand, and we would thank you for whatever assistance you can provide to the initial stages of our efforts. The President knew that this would not be an easy task, and that total secrecy is impossible. Our desire is simply to keep things as low-key as possible until we have to make it public. It is hoped by that time the coalition will have enough local control to at least mediate the impact of other nations wishing to express their displeasure with the MEH." Terra smiled slightly. "And while it would have been nice to have the entire First Fleet ready to jump in the MEH capital when the announcement was made, we knew that would be unrealistic."

"Indeed," Baden-Grey agreed. "Do you have any more questions to raise, Your Excellency?"

"Not at this time, Your Lordship," Terra said formally. As she rose from her seat, she asked with a smile, "Unless, of course, you have some ideas on how to convince the Byzantines they're not automatically in charge because they sent a Lord High Admiral of Exaltedness along?"

Lord Prestwick found the stoic detachment and business demeanor expected from those of his station and occupation sorely, sorely tested by that remark. He would, in fact, get quite a laugh out of it when sharing the story with some of his fellow Lords at the exclusive peerage clubs he frequented on weekends. But, for now, save the hint of a smile crossing his lips, he maintained an apparent detached air. "Your Excellency, for all of my two centuries of service to the Crown and Empire, I am afraid that is one question that still vexes even me."



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

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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-22 12:05am
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EIDOLON August, 3400

Sieges continue in sector H6 as pirate forces are hunted down and their bases of operation rendered unusable. Carrier Squadron Seven has replaced the forces on station and is being augmented by Second and Third cruisers. The Roubvogel has launched again after a preliminary period of repairs. Some of the spoils from the operation have been formed into a temporary Privateer squadron with paramilitary warrants and civilian multinational crews, as the ship’s fates are being decided. Many though are expected to be scrapped and studied, while others might be sold. Whether any of these ships will actually be issued letters of Marques has been debated. The precedent exists for the EUC to issue letters during periods of tension with the Centrality, but most look to the historically low tension as a good sign they shall be scrapped.

In related news actions during clean up from the battles in H-12 one such Letter of Marque has been recovered, it’s fate is in question. The Centrality has called for it’s destruction, but Historians from Prussia (including the celebrated von Junzt) have called for it to be preserved.



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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-22 01:28am
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HSF Kitty Surprise, system 11, MEH space

“They're not moving or responding shipmistress... You're disappointed they're playing dead aren't you.”

“Honestly, yes actually. I was kinda hoping we could play with them a little before getting down to business.” Talia answered Charam with a slow tail swish, then nyahed softly. It'd be tempting when treating such folks as mouses to paw them a little when they refused to move, but that in this case would mean getting their ships close such that scans could localize the mouse sufficient for a firing solution. It was tempting, but there was a chance that such needless provocation might get heard by the Shadowmistress so alas even friendly play was sadly out of the question.

“Any positive identity on the mouse yet?” Talia asked once she was done thinking and had given Charam time to busy herself with sensors.

“Negative, although you could just ask them.” the sensor kitty suggested.

“I suppose we could just do that, but still it does rather take the fun out of things.” Talia smiled and and then motioned for communications to be opened “Make it so.”

Code:
Unidentified stealth ship, this is shipmistress Talia Vivoia of the HSF Kitty Surprise. We are on a recon mission in this sector to assess the threat from the MEH and means of efficiently neutralizing it. We are curious as to your identity and intentions here and would prefer to gain such information peacefully.



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-22 02:11am
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Darkevilme wrote:
Code:
Unidentified stealth ship, this is shipmistress Talia Vivoia of the HSF Kitty Surprise. We are on a recon mission in this sector to assess the threat from the MEH and means of efficiently neutralizing it. We are curious as to your identity and intentions here and would prefer to gain such information peacefully.


S-101497 Miss Laid
System 11
MEH Space


"Huh, they just want to talk. Unfortunate that we can't. Well, we'll have to send them a reply, won't we."

Quote:
Hello, Kitty Surprise. Unfortunately, we can't state who we are, or where we're from. What we can mention is that we're doing the same as you: assessing the threat of MEH. If possible, we'll have our diplomats contact yours about this little chat of ours. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have some repairs to make.



"preemptive killing of cops might not be such a bad idea from a personal saftey[sic] standpoint..." --Keevan Colton
"There's a word for bias you can't see: Yours." -- William Saletan

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-22 03:13am
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[Punctuation by Simon_Jester, thanks man commas kill me :)]

Diamid Council Chambers
Sagald City, Hiigara Prime


Only the three high-councilors were present for the meeting. The others were off dealing with bureaucracy, as the need to eliminate the MEH for the long term safety of the Hiigaran peoples had been decided upon several months ago. Until the message from the Shinra Republic had arrived, the means had been lacking. Now, though, with prospect of a multi-national effort in the offing, it was merely a matter of wording a proper reply and determining how much of a commitment to make.

“The MEH is across the known galaxy from us, any force committed by ourselves or allies near us is going to require a significant supply train,” High-councilor Huur S'jet began. “We also need to make sure our forces are large enough to make an impact, as well as show our commitment to the defeat of the MEH.”

“We should send several mothership class vessels and allow our allies to use them as forward bases,” Zor Maanan spoke since for this meeting they were using minimal contact via implants. “This would both ease the supply situation in the combat zone and show our commitment.”

The third high-councilor, much older than the other two- and some claimed part Solarian- spoke using his cybernetics as he almost always did.

*If we offer the Anglians and the Umerians the services of a mothership, it would vastly ease the supply problem for them in theater. They would still need some sort of stock piles in Shinran territory, but at least they would have a secure supply capable of traveling with them.*

“Very well, we will make an offer to the USKNA and the Umerians in which a Karan S'jet mothership will be detached to provide a mobile forward base for their forces. What actual forces shall we send?”

At this point the MindNet became a flurry of force projections, redeployment plans, supply considerations and more. In the end the high-councilors agreed to send a full battle group, a modified escort group as well as the Arbiter-class monitors and several motherships. A reply was drawn up for the Shinra Republic to be carried by an advanced diplomatic team who's naval, intelligence and Foreign Office personnel would help prepare the way for the operation.

Official Reply to the Shinra Republic vis a vis the MEH wrote:
FROM: The Diamid of the Clans of Hiigara
TO: The President of the Shinra Republic

The Clans of Hiigara have been very concerned over the arrival and intentions of the MEH. Hiigaran Intelligence has given us reason to believe that the MEH is dangerously ambitious. Their actions condoning the slavery and experimentation on sapient beings, in fact openly stating their intentions to engage in such activities can only be seen as an affront to all.

The Clans of Hiigara would be proud to join the Shinra Republic and her allies in the prosecution of these perfidious slavers and any efforts to rescue the poor souls they have taken for their experiments.

As a sign of our belief that this is a just cause and worthy of our utmost efforts we will be sending a full battle group along with its screening elements. We will also be sending several monitor-type vessels that should prove valuable when engaging heavier MEH elements.

For logistics and C3 we will be sending no more than four mothership class vessels. We will, however, need somewhere to stockpile additional resources to support a longer campaign. We hope that the Shinra Republic will be able to help us find a suitable location. Our team is fully equipped, trained and authorized to negotiate any details for our alliance.

We will also be forwarding our intentions to participate in this alliance to the other nations you have reached out to. We look forward to joining your nation in this quest for justice and freedom.

C.C.


OOC: Hiigara is planning on committing a sizable portion of her fleet to destroying the slavers and sadists of the MEH. Hiigara is also reaching out to Umeria and New Anglia with the offer to allow them to each use a Karan S'jet class mothership to help ease their logistics.



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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: 2011-02-22 03:42am
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CENINTERN Conference, Central City
Centrum, The Center Sector, The Centrality


Suddenly, an unexpected vessel materialized in the home system of that terrible fascist state, the Centrality. Its etheric signatures were unlike any other voidship encountered by the Centralites thus far, even stranger and more arcane than that of the Apexai saucer that had paid them a visit during the Esper Games. For this was something greater, far more majestic than the feeble emasculations of those pale limping eunuchs and their malformed hybrid progeny. This vessel was the embodiment of everything opposite of that - stern and virile, tanned and rigid, of men and their manhoods.

Image

The Elysian Trireme hurtled through space, hundreds of men heaving the astronautical oars on the vessel's flanks, propelling it at flank speed towards the Central state's capital. The space controllers on Centrum were flabbergasted at the sight, disbelieving that such a craft of wood and steel could voyage through space. But these Centralites were foolish, for they did not know that the bow statues of a mermaid-man safeguarded the vessel by repulsing space-monstrosities lurking in the depths, and the black bulls ritually sacrificed by the crews ensured the favor of the space god Neptridon.

Such Philistine ignorance as displayed by the gawking Centralites would've been an affront enough for the Elysians to avoid their unenlightened world entirely. But no, there was one among the Elysians - a great Etruscan noble from an ancient and storied lineage - whose ambitions were so great that, in his search for everlasting power and godhood, he searched the stars for ways to obtain his birthright and visited countless exotic worlds in his quest. He searched for allies, he searched to learn the strange ways of men dwelling the Asiatic segments of the galaxy, to gain more knowledge - for knowledge was power. Now, his voyage had brought him to the Center of the Universe, for it was said that it was here that a great discussion was taking place. Here, wise men of the Orient and of all Europa came for they believed in one thing, the power of authority, the power of governance, the power to rule all men and sway them by the will of the state.

For this ambitious Elysian, these subjects resonated within him deeply for he too longed for this. He was a firm believer of power, of the authority to rule all vested at the hands of the state, which in itself was in the iron grip of only one man's will.

Image

Gaeius Juliaeius.



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-22 05:12am
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Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
Сo-written with PeZook

Unnamed System
Sector C-6
Unreal Time


Image

The two ships stared each other down, despite their vast difference in tonnage and firepower. While they seemed to be standing still relative to one another, there was in fact much activity going on that was unseen to the naked eye.

Resolution In the Face Of Danger was querying for orders, and carefully observing the gigantic Collector vessel for any signs of hostile intent, ready to commit suicide on a moment’s notice as its Duty demanded. The nameless, faceless Monolith, on the other hand, was carefully cataloguing all data it could acquire, and attempting to find an opening which would allow it, should the need arise, to Collect the unknown alien spacecraft for dissection and analysis.

Eventually, the dance was broken, when Resolution signaled a desire of its masters to open diplomatic dialogue. The Monolith’s intelligence sacrificed some cycles to consider the proposal and its implications, the many possibilities both for its mission and the Collective at large. It came to a decision after only a briefest moment, but not without much consideration.

The link is authorized. You will connect with one of my secure subsystems via laser link. I am sending out parasite craft to monitor the system and provide security., it signalled, and did as it announced. From a vast bay in the side of the otherwise featureless ship, a swarm of fighters and gunboats emerged - though tiny in number, at least compared to the massive tonnage of their mothership. They quickly sorted themselves into groups and set out to establish patrols of the outer system.

While this was happening, though, the Monolith’s intelligence was already engaging in diplomatic contact with the Lost’s ambassador.

Inside a shuttle in Resolution’s hangar bay, Diplomatic Unit Sabaoth readied itself for contact. The Lost ship had taken even greater precautions than its Collector counterpart and delegated the whole communications process to the diplomatic shuttle, a physically separate system from that of the ship itself. Inside the shuttle, scuttling charges were prepared and armed, while Resolution activated the trapdoor system inside its hangar, ready to destroy the shuttle the instant it became necessary.

Sabaoth approved of all these precautions. Even through the laser link, it could feel the power of the vast intelligence controlling the Monolith. It was a curious and disconcerting feeling, like interfacing with a ShipLord through a straw. Still, as unpleasant as it was, dealing with an alien Lord that could swat it like a fly, it had its Duty and ts mission to perform.

“Greetings, Collector Monolith,” Sabaoth sent. “I am Diplomatic Unit Sabaoth, representing the Lost. My mission is to establish diplomatic contact with your civilization. I have been authorized to release certain information about our civilization to you, as well as to answer such questions as you may have. However, before I begin, I have a question of my own. You have not responded to our initial communiqué, and thus we lack the knowledge to be able to interact with your civilization. I therefore must ask, what is the Purpose of your civilization?”

“This information is irrelevant.”, the Monolith replied in a split-second, “Disclosure of our full decision matrix and utility function would negatively affect security of our State. For the purpose of this exchange, I can disclose that our goals do not include conquest or destruction of other nation-states.”

Unlike the organic Emissaries, Sabaoth could not sigh, so it merely did a mental double take as it considered the Collector response. At the very least, the fact that they have refused to disclose their Purpose confirmed that they had one (unless they did not, and were hiding the fact behind the refusal). Assuming they did have one, however….Sabaoth thought about it, and realized that hiding one’s Purpose would be a natural response for any civilization, so it probably should not consider it as a hostile act. On the other hand, it meant that it would be taking a great risk, sending off information without knowing the purposes it would be used for. It wished it could contact the Council once more, but that, of course, was impossible. It had to make a decision, one that could possibly determine the future of the Lost.

“We are not concerned with any hostile acts from your civilization,” Sabaoth sent at last. “However, we find it difficult to deal with civilizations without knowing their Purpose. On the other hand, since you do not know our Purpose, you are probably facing the same difficulties. Very well, let me ask you this, then, does your civilization have an interest in the actions of “godlike” entities?”

There was a pause - a very, very slight one, perceptible only because of the sheer speed of the previous exchange, happenning on timescales way too short for organics to follow. The Monolith seemed to be...surprised? Or perhaps it queried its masters for instructions? It didn’t really matter.

“Yes”, the Collector ship replied, in an almost...cautious manner, which quickly seemed to be replaced by enthusiasm, “Very. An exchange of data on this matter would be most beneficial to both our States. Learning of the purpose advanced trans-beings have in their actions is a crucial priority when it comes to ensuring the security of all sentient civilization. The Primary Matrix has no reservations against cooperation of this sort. I take it you have a proposal in mind?”

“I have been authorized to release certain information to you,” Sabaoth sent. “Please stand by for data transfer.” The diplomatic shuttle began transmitting datafiles as Sabaoth continued. “The information concerns a political entity called the Great Unity which had controlled or had a presence in a total of 986 galaxies in what is currently known as the Norma and Centaurus Clusters in the time period of 3.1 MYA to 0.7 MYA. The Purpose of this civilization was to limit the influence of what your civilization terms “advanced trans-beings” on this reality by means of a large-scale modification of the physical laws governing it. However, this civilization was discovered and destroyed by hostile trans-beings before the project was complete. We have spent the subsequent millennia in isolation, however, recent events have forced us to reconsider our stance.

As an offshoot of this civilization we have a large breadth of information on the behavior of trans-beings and on the various means to combat them which would be of interest to your civilization. While we are willing to trade this information, we have another, better offer for you. After examining your civilization’s capabilities, as represented by your vessel, we believe that you may be of assistance to us in regards to certain projects we are working on. These projects, if completed, will benefit both our civilizations. We thus propose…an alliance of sorts, a defensive pact against the trans-beings and their agents operating in this galaxy.”

It took almost an entire second for the Monolith to process the raw data it received. It took another to consult the results with its superiors far away via submesonic link. The impact of that information was...significant. Possibly revolutionary, seeing as the danger presented by super-advaced beings to galactic sentients at large seemed to have went unappreciated by most star nations.

“Your proposal is reasonable and logical. It is accepted by the Primary Matrix. We propose to exchange liaison agents and submesonic node coordinates for coordination of mutual efforts. I have been authorized to release some intial findings concerning our analysis of materials samples recovered from the entity ‘Central Alliance’. We are ready to share the samples and enter joint research efforts.”

The message was followed by a stream of data about Collector experiments on samples of matter from extrasolar entities - mostly the Central Alliance, but there were also data tables about a great many spacial anomalies from all across the galaxy, compared,cross referenced and neatly itemized for analysis. Several distinct signatures were already identified, and even though the data was limited, it was clear the robot zombies put non-insignificant resources into analyzing each and every anomaly that could be tied to the so-called “godlike entities”.

Sabaoth was unable to give the information received more than a cursory glance while maintaining the link to the Collector vessel. Still, it could see that it was incredibly, unbelievably valuable. “Please stand by,” it responded as it sent an urgent request for Resolution to open a channel to the Council. Several seconds passed as the Shiplords discussed the matter among themselves before sending a response.

“We thank you for the information,” Sabaoth sent at last. “Attached are secure communication protocols that would enable us to work out the specific details of our cooperation. An Emissary and a Walkers-in-Shadow representative shall be assigned to you shortly. Until then, please direct all queries to Representative Lilith. We have constructed diplomatic facilities in Sector G-3 and you are welcome to visit them while arrangements are being made for possible permanent accommodations inside our space.”

This time the reply was almost instanteous, “We have received the information. Diplomatic Units will arrive at the specified location shortly. My mission here appears to be concluded. Therefore I will recover my parasite craft and report back to base.”

There was no hint of further questions: the Monolith abruptly recalled its screening force and spooled up its hyperdrive, disappearing as abruptly as it came.

--------------------------------------
Result: Creepy Robot Zombies of Wild Space ally with the Creepy Robot Daemons of the Great Expanse. The origins of the Lost are revealed.

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: 2011-02-22 08:23am
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Location: Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
CIS HQ, Central City
Centrum, The Center Sector, The Centrality
Unreal Time


The CIS HQ, to the uninformed person, seemed surprisingly small, but appearances were deceiving. Most of the building was underground, where many CIS personnel went about their daily business. The Analysis Room, in particular, was more busy than ever, as people worked on intrepeting the information recieved from a CIS sensor station.

"What would make the Shinrans repeatedly use their Warp Gate for? It doesn't make sense," one analyst said.

"Maybe some secret diplomacy? Wouldn't be the first time someone pulled off this stuff," another said.

"But what would provoke them to do so? As far as we know, Shinra has no real prroblems so far."

"There's always a reason. Nothing happens in a vacuum."

Just then, the hologram CIS Director, Hoover Gates, emerged from the Analysis Room's holoprojector.

"Have you found anything?"

"No sir," responded an analyst. "We're stuck trying to figure out the reason behind the Shinran Warp Gate activations."

"We do have a theory, sir," said another. "Perhaps the Shinrans were contacting states for some sort of action against the Orks. We do know that Ork activity in the region has spiked."

"The problem with that theory is that the Orks have focused on the MEH so far, and Shinra is not as close to Ork territory. Besides, the Orks are not strong enough to steamroll a major state on their own. We need another hypothesis," responded the Director.

"Maybe it's the MEH instead that they're worried about, sir?"

"Possible. Navy Intelligence has reported that its stealth ships in the area detected gravitational and magnetic anomalies nearby. They could be MEH stealth ships, but given the MEH's conduct I won't be surprised other nations are monitoring it."

"Sir," one analyst said suddenly and nervously, "Perhaps we are more involved in this than we would like."

"What do you mean?", demanded Gates.

"We managed to intercept a few MEH communiques before they somehow learned to better encrypt their messages. One of them said this:

Chaotic Neutral wrote:
Ryan Thunder wrote:
Hello, there!
Who the fuck are you, and what can we do for ya?
Sincerely,
The Representative from Nova Miratia to the Elected Assembly of the Interstellar Union of Worlds, Emorroth Kelechtia


To:Emorroth Kelechtia, Representative of Nova Miratia
From: Saint #264 of The MEH

Thanks for noticing us! We're new on the block, and would like to be allies with the other empire near the Orks.
Maybe set up a galactic purge of the Ork worlds, maybe just have a base of operations or shared defenses in your territory and ours. We will send an ambassador.

Additionally, since we were looking to run some experiments on/take the DNA of a few hundred psychers/espers/magicians/ect..., and we have a fleet going to The Centrality to pick up some cargo, we would like to know:

Do you have any sentenced to death, imprisoned as enemies of the state, or held to a low regard that you would sell to us?

Please respond before our ambassadors and transports get to The Centrality, you know how expensive time is.


Gates seemed pensive for a moment, then said, "This message must have come before the MEH's Leader decided to visit by herself. But how does that involve us?"

"Sir, we are not the only ones who intercepted the MEH's messages. Their first messages were hardly protected against interception, and those revealed-"

"I am aware of the content of those messages. Just what are you driving at?"

"Sir, my theory is that Shinra's use of it's warp gate was but cover for secret diplomacy against the MEH. Its moments of activation seem connected to those we monitored on other states. One of those is the Interstellar Union, which recieved the message that mentioned us. It's probable that they shared this information to the Shinrans and other concerned states. Before all of this, there was the whole international reaction when the MEH demanded we sell them those Blitz-class frigvettes, and the meeting with the MEH's Leader was related to that. Sir, it is possible that our meeting with the MEH's leader was not as secret as it was!"

Gates looked at the analyst, shocked. "No! It can't be!"

"Sir, I assure you, it's only a theory-"

"A theory that might be true! You know that the CSB can't always keep out foreign agents! If they ever discover, or think they have discovered, our dealings with the MEH, and gain the wrong impression, we will be in danger!"

"Sir, it is entirely possible that I may be wrong."

Gates composed himself. "I hope so, analyst. Nevertheless, we have to figure out what they know. We won't tell them of our true intentions, but merely ask them about the message spike. I will deal with it."

And Gates's hologram dissappeared.



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.


Last edited by Force Lord on 2011-02-23 09:32pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-22 10:05am
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HSF Kitty Surprise, system 11, MEH space

“I swear, it's almost like they knew what to say.” Talia said, minorly affronted at being out manouvered. She recovers though and smiles “Very well, they've just declared themselves a matter for the mistress of foreign affairs. Commence Ripper recovery and prepare us an evasive course back to our previous positions.” she ordered and motioned for another message to be sent.

Code:
 
It is a shame we cannot talk openly little mouse, our friends will now look forward to hearing from your friends. But as a token of friendship between cat and mouse, here are some playmates you should avoid as the fat cats play much less nicely with mouses than I.

What followed that or the transmission was a fairly long list of coordinates and estimated sensitivities for a great many MEH sensor systems that the Hierarchy had positively identified over the previous weeks.

“Was it wise to send them that?”

“It'll make Mela and Tia get on better if for once we actually made a nation happier by our involvement with them. Sides, it's not like it compromises anything of ours.” Talia replied and settled in as the Blade slowly angled back into hyperspace.



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-22 02:31pm
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The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF)
Vlyadibragstok, Southeastern Severnaya Sector / just beyond Northwestern Lena Sector
Unreal Time / October-December 3400


Yet again another spectacle fell upon the participants of the BEEEF. This time, there were bovinoids who came from the very edge of known space, drawn by Bragule's great promise of alliance against the mindless chitinous all-consuming nightmarish slavering hordes of humans of the galaxy, for they were horrified by the deprivations deranged human colonists inflicted to members of their species during the hated human Diaspora.* In honor of their noble commitment to the freedoms of the galaxy's peoples, and their staunch dedication to fight militant humanism, these bovinoids were given a prestigious honor in the BEEEF. The Bragulans allowed them to begin the Grand Thanksgiving Feast of Byzon's Supreme Culinary Masteries of All the Galaxy - a tradition upheld ever since the Imperator slew a monstrous paleodinosaurus and used its meats to feed the proletariats.

Image

For this occasion, the beefs brought by the Lost Emissaries would be the foods. Though many of the animals had been mangled horribly in their crossing of the thermonuclear minefields, enough remained of them to be edible. The pork posteriors were deep fried in Karlack-based cooking oils, or roasted over vegemite-grills, and other such preparations, before being put on catapults and launched at the feasting peoples. This was so, for in Byzon's day, he had carved the felled dinosaurus' meat with his bare claws and mightily hurled the meat-chunks to famine-suffering cities all over Bragule with his mighty arms, but as they were not in planet Bragule with the beloved Imperator, they had to make do with a huge catapult for the BEEEF. The pork posteriors were accompanied by potatoes, spuds, a kind of fruit named after a mighty Bragulan thermonuclear missile.

The bovinoids launched the pork posteriors into the crowd of BEEEF-goers, causing them to flee in panic, in feeble fear of having their faces smashed in by high speed beef butts. While some ran away from the meat-munitions, others ran to these beef barrages. Underfed Bragulan conscripts, overfed Bragulan celebrants, hungry hungry Orkoids, and swarming Karlack gauntlinglisks ran, trampled and slithered to the impact sites and devoured the pork projectiles.

But behind all of this was a clever bragskirovka. To anyone closely looking, they would see that the pork posteriors were aimed predominantly towards human concentrations, to disrupt them and send them scattering, screaming and scrambling for safety. As the bovinoid pulled the catapult lever, unknown to it the machine's mechanisms and subtle servohydraulics moved to direct the porcine projectiles towards the humans - guided by the passive-aggressive sensors festooning the interiors and exteriors and in-betweens of the BEEEF bunker building, and aimed by concealed IBGV teams with designation systems.

It would be all too easy to say that this was but another righteous act directed against the wickedness of humanity, to show them the error of their ways, to attack any concealed humanist extremists within them. For it was so that in both Bragulan and bovinoid societies, humans sought to conceal their vile forms by wearing veils and garments and things like clothing, in which they could hide their wicked weaponries, and it was only through progressive inhuman legislations declaring that the humans be shed of their veils and garments that corrected this - thus forcing them to go naked and clothed only by their own furs, to better help them adapt to the enlightened and superior societies of Bragule and bovines.

But this was nothing like that at all. It was bragskirovka, and such an obvious conclusion - that raining pig pieces on the humans was a move to freedomize them and topple their humaninarets - was thus also the wrong conclusion.

In the chaos and confusion and the gluttonies of debased bears and gauntlinglisks alike, as humans cowered in fear, so did a select few of the BEEEF goers receive a hidden signal. The IBGV agents came to sneak them away from the commotion, and bring them somewhere else...




Somewhere else


The secure site was miles underground, in a chasm that was created by a mighty Bragulan effort known as Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy. It began with an underground vegemite-nuke detonation, which initially was meant to stimulate an ejaculation of petrochemicals from deep within the planet's crust. It did so, and the petrochemicals were likewise enriched by the exotic crystal growths. But there was an unexpected side effect. The vegemite nuke was a repleted one, military-grade, with an extra vegemite coating to ensure maximum fallout. After the underground explosion, the vegemite residues began to grow and decades later, it had grown into a huge vegemite vein and was thus subsequently mined out of the ground itself - creating a hollow chamber which was then filled with Bragcrete and Bragsteel, thus bunkerized and ultimately fortified against any prospects of orbital bombardmentations.

It was thus, within this ultimate bunker within a bunker under a bunker inside the gap of a mineshaft where the planetary governors built their homely dachas, using the nuke-mutated and hardened hardwood of the tundra trees as building materials, and with the fortified cavern of the bunker-bunker-bunker-mineshaft giving them a rustic aesthetic reminiscent of sweet home Bragule.

One of the high ranking Bragulans owned property here, and the IBGV agents delivered his guests there. First of these recipients of Bragulan hospitality was the Eoghan Envoy of Nations Ailill who was looking around sharply and apprehensively, and following him was the Chamarran ambassador Satia who slinked along cattily, and then a Kipakt dinosaurianoid who thundered into the room, and even a rarely-seen Iduran. There were also other alienoids from many kinds of nations, including a bovinoid, a dolphinoid, a Gron, and many more.

Their IBGV escorts suddenly disappeared, leaving them inside the spacious and library of the dacha, complete with a Bragwood long table surrounded by ornate chairs, shelves of classical pre-Byzonic Bragulan literature and a nearby liquor cabinet boasting some of the finest drinks of the galaxy, like Bragnoff K-vodka, vintage Nova Terran scotch, and Apexai nectar-wine fermented during the prehistoric periods of other space races, just to name a few.

They found their host sitting quite comfortably on a chair by the head of the table, which was also conveniently by the fireplace. He stopped reading a hide-bound book labeled Ominous, took a beating stick from somewhere and used it to poke the vegemite-encrusted coals. Then he turned to greet his guests.

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"Comrades, welcome," said Volydimyr Putyn. "The Refuge and Karlack representatives are elsewhere at the moment, but the will be joining us shortly for the first ever meeting of... The Inhumanist League."




*Starving colonists landed on a bovinoid world, mistook its lands for green pastures full of cows, and proceeded to have a great feast of steak while milking some for drinks. To the bovinoids, this was a great atrocity as their males were butchered and eaten, while their females were molested en masse



Image Image Image
shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-22 04:24pm
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Lochley Landing Spaceport
Lochley's Retreat, The Outback
23 October 3400



His night in the dorm had been comfortable enough. Stephen had sent only a brief message to Sidney along pre-arranged channels, informing him of his arrival and his intention to fly to Doreia to meet the Order Council. He had spent the rest of the night mostly in solitude, though he did watch the night training for some of the Knights' Apprentices.

The next morning he found a small crowd growing in the chapel and followed, to find a Rite of Bonding ceremony about to start. Finding a seat in the back, he watched the young half-Asian woman and her lover go through the Bonding rite, taking in the solemnity shown here. This was no ordinary marriage, after all; these two women, younger than Nisa, had dedicated their lives to something greater, and even their love paled before the weight of the oathes they had sworn (indeed, knowledge of that mutual burden intensified that love, he suspected). He applauded respectfully when Yuna and Ashe kissed to end the ceremony, unable to do anything but laugh lowly when a small child, Rana's neice-in-law from the introduction he'd remembered, shouted her joy to the newlyweds.

Afterward Syrandi introduced him to the Pontcaire family, including Rana's wife, showing some pride in the small girl Hope as the child's language instructor. Stephen sensed a slight aura in the child and suspected the day would come when the younger Hope Pontcaire joined her "Auntie Rana" as a Sister of the Sivler Moon. Giving her an affectionate pat on the head, and trying like hell to not think too much of his long-past daughter Deirdre, he followed Syrandi into her office. "We leave tonight," she informed him. "The Order Council is ready to receive you as a petitioner for assistance."

"I am grateful you secured my audience with them so swiftly."

"It is not even close to fulfilling my debt to you," the Dorei woman insisted. "Yamia has told me much about you, Master. But when I look at you, and sense your aura, I feel something i cannot quite place. You are not merely someone with a powerful Gift, that much I know."

"There is nothing mere about me or my origins," he replied succinctly. "And it is best if we say nothing more on it."

The coldness in his tone, and sensing his determination to say nothing more, prompted Syrandi to move on. "We will likely arrive on Doreia in the mid-morning hours, but the Council has agreed to meet you first thing in the morning and provide you a room. It took some doing, I must admit; the Council members have schedules of their own to keep, after all."

"I understand."

"I hope they can give you what you need, and either way I intend to go with you for this mission," Syrandi continued. "But I am not sure they can agree to something at the scope you request. We have only so many Sisters, you see. We take casualties every month, here in the Outback, in Wild Space.... we lost 20 Sisters on Nova Genoa alone."

"I understand I am asking for a great deal from your Order. But I also know your commitment to doing great things regardless of the cost, and if we are to save lives I will need people willing to lay their lives down for that purpose. My friend's mercenaries... may not have the same compunction." Of course, they had uploads, Stephen pondered to himself, but did they all actually have them? And from his experience, even those with uploads still fought like hell to avoid death, since, well, certain metaphysical concerns might yet sneak up on a mind in tight situations. "I hope your Order will not endure much in the way of loss."

"We will all die one day anyway," Syrandi answered. "The Goddess preserves us when it is Divine Will, and calls on us to sacrifice when it is time."

"'Some must be sacrificed, if all are to be saved'," Stephen sighed, the phrase popping up among his most ancient memories. "Anyway, I shall go now to make arrangements for my vessel to be brought to Doreia after we depart, should I need to return to Solaris urgently. I'll return for our meal before departure."

After he left, Syrandi sat at her desk quietly. Yamia was off going through the volunteers for the mission; unless outright ordered not to aid, Syrandi intended to take thirty of her Sentinels and Knights on this mission. It would mean altering things, shifting the schedules of Sisters sent to the minor chapters in the Outback, or on long-term assignment. But this was something she was willing to do.

Her Apprentice, Trinande, came before her as she did such work. "Master, I request permission to join you on this mission," the young girl asked.

"Denied," Syrandi answered immediately. "I will not risk Apprentices and Acolytes on such a bold venture."

Trinande bowed her head. "I understand," she sighed.

"Stay here. Continue honing your skills, it is my hope to have you taking your Trials before next year is out," Syrandi continued. "I have already ordered Knight Pallita to remain behind in my stead, she will take over your training during my absence."

That prompted a nod of acceptance. Syrandi could sense her Apprentice had more to say, however, and after a moment looked up and asked, "What more?"

"The Master Hermit... he scares me, Master," Trinande answered. "Not just from his use of the forbidden arts, I understand Humans do not view those the same way. But it's... even my senses can feel the power there, and I get the sense it's not entirely contained."

"Perhaps that is why he spent so many years as a hermit, my dear student," Syrandi replied. "Think of our own nations, and our traditions for powerful Gifted to go into seclusion to master themselves. Now, I must get this work done. Please go see Sister Pallita to begin your training for the day."



Stephen had made it to the Spaceport when he confirmed he was being followed. The fellow was non-descript enough, in dark clothing and shades, looking like any number of shady characters in the city who wanted to make people desire to Stay Away. Pondering the likely suspects, Stephen soon realized the most obvious one and decided upon a direct approach to the situation. He walked along toward his hanger and entered it, pretending as if nothing had changed.

His quarry, however, was no fool, and clearly knew he'd been detected. Nevertheless, he approached the door of the hanger and boldly knocked, as if this was a perfectly ordinary thing. When he heard the ignition of a beamsaber behind him, he turned and faced the green blade non-chalantly. "Mr.... well, I'm not sure of your name, clearly the 'Smith' on your paperwork is an alias."

"Who I am is none of your concern," Stephen stated in reply. He kept his weapon active, though he did rest it a bit to give the unknown figure room. "Though I was wondering how long it would take for CEID to try something. And since we're forgoing falsehoods, let's be clear on that, yes? CEID undoubtedly is interested that Sidney Hank has guests at his Villa."

"Very well, I shall be direct in my inquiry. Who are you to Mr. Hank?", the CEID operative asked plainly.

"An old friend," was the reply. "And that, Sir, is that."

"An old friend of one of the Sovereignty's founding fathers, a man who to this day operates with his own agenda even when it is potentially contrary to the security or interests of the Sovereignty? It's not that easy, sir, and you should know that." The agent showed slight tension, as if he knew he was about to say something dangerous. "Especially given who you are."

Stephen blinked at him. "Pardon me?"

"No falsehoods, remember? We have your face on record, as part of a particularly interested recording recovered from the Bragulans about twenty years ago. From their failed attempt to conquer Leston. Mayday 3375 is the day, I believe?"

There was silence. "I see," Stephen muttered. So CEID knows about Redwood City... "So that is what this is about? You fear what Sidney might have in mind, working with me? Someone who single-handedly provoked the Bragulans into dropping atomic weapons on their own troops?"

"Oh, please Mr. Smith, we know that's not what happened," the CEID operative said, chuckling. "The Sovereignty did its own investigation of the destruction of Redwood City. The radiation levels there were only consistant with the regular combat operations of Bragulan ground troops, not the use of a Rubiconium-encrusted nuke as the rest of the Bragulan zone got. No, given what we know of the situation, we are more concerned that a man like Sidney Hank has as his 'old friend' one of the most powerful Espers in the galaxy, a man who re-directed an entire atomic barrage by an orbiting Bragulan starship and who, apparently, is powerful enough to level an entire city by himself. In fact, I wonder how your new friends in the Silver Moon would think of you if they knew how powerful you really are. They might not be so eager to have you visit Darnis after all, I'd imagine."

And so we get to the point. "I imagine, then, that you will refrain from telling them, if only I help you with something?", Stephen answered bitterly.

"We are interested in some of the things Mr. Hank has been up to," the agent began, but before Stephen could protest he continued, "but we'd hardly expect you to spy on your own friend for us, no sir, not at all. What we expect, Mr. Garrett, is for you to finish whatever project you are currently on with Mr. Hank and then to find somewhere else to settle down. A man as dangerous as you is someone we don't want in the Sovereignty."

"I see. And I suppose this is CEID asking kindly?"

"Of course," the agent said. "You would know if we were being otherwise." Giving a nod, the agent stepped away. "Take care, sir. Good luck with busting up General Julia's operations."

With nothing more to say, Stephen watched the CEID man walk away. He reminded himself to see how many direct-perceptives Syrandi had around to see if they could find the listening devices CEID undoubtedly had placed in Chapter Sunelis. Presuming, of course, they weren't CamDust bots, then they'd probably never get them out...



”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: 2011-02-23 12:07am
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Susa Primus
The Golden Palace


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Shapur XIV was not a very imposing figure. He was mostly bald and while his white beard gave him a certain amount of dignity, by itself it would not have been enough to give him any aura of authority whatsoever. But his finely-cut uniform, adorned by the black-grey sash of the Emperor, more than made up for it. He was the Padishah Emperor, the ultimate authority in the Empire. His word was law, and would be until the day he died.

At the moment he was conducting a holoconference with his brother, Narses Sassan, Grand Vizier of the Empire. That he even had a surviving brother was an oddity, seeing as how they too often expedited the death of their siblings. But his brother was different. He had never had much ambition, instead being considered something of a freethinker who did not seek glory, but rather tried to be as good as father and familymen as possible. He even was sommething of a radical, even allowing his daughters to choose whom to marry - or freedom not to, as in the case of the second one.


He truly is a decent man, Shapur thought. Unlike his eldest. It was hard to see how such a good and decent man, who never even took a mistress (not even after the death of his wife), could have fathered such a devious mind like the first daughter, who took her title of Lady of Murder very seriously. Not that she had been any less vicious before, as the mysterious deaths and accidents among the rest of the family had shown.

The Emperor had often wondered if she had been the one who had arranged for the deaths of his own children. But if she had been, she had been too good to leave any tracks. And it was not like House Sassan had any shortage of enemies. Though oftentimes Shapur had wondered if he should simply order Poran's execution - but currently she was the only one who could ensure the line of succession. And she did a very good job as head of the intelligence apparatus, weeding out perceived or real spies by the hundreds.

Still, he had toyed with the idea of simply marrying Nasrin off and deal with Poran once and for all. And then the Xenos had arrived. When they had arrived, he had been in the highly altered state of mind caused by the drugs. Some poets called it the Emerald Dream, some sientists drug induced visions and his doctor a hazard to his healt. Those descriptions were wrong - well, the first two at least. True, there were visions and psychedelic effects. But it would be more accurately described as a vast acceleration of his mental capacities and much strengthened psychic powers. As he had watched the proceedings in his throne room, everything had become clear to him. He knew what he had to do. For House Sassan, for his nieces, for the Empire itself.

But his idea of a perfect future was not something that could just be commanded to come into existence, no matter how much his own propaganda exaggerated his powers. No, plans had to be made. And contingency plans. Plans in which everyone, even Poran, would have to do their part. And if he was very, very lucky, he might just pull it off.

speaking of pieces.... He turned back towards the holoprojector. "The Solarian ambassador has arrived?" "Yes." "Good." It was unnecessary to inquire any further. After all, he had already sent his written instructions to his brother. "How goes the business with the Bragulans?"

The holofigure portraying Narses shrugged. "The usual insanity. Though the Bragulan Marshal in charge of the ground troops appears to get along well with Sänger. So far, nobody has lost any limbs."

"Good."


Ctesiphon
Persepolis
A few minutes later


The Emperor's holo flickered out and Narses allowed himself the luxury to relax in his chair for a second. At the age of 142 years, there was only so much medicine could do to stop the eventual decline. He fully expected to die within the next ten years and would have even looked forward to it save one fact which made him glad that he was still alive.

The opening of the doors signaled the arrival of that fact and soon his daughter was standing opposite Narses, with her body language and expression signaling her desire to start speaking. But his daughter knew him well enough to allow him a bit of rest, time he spent observing her. He often wished she had been born sooner, so that he might have had more time with her. He had not even expected to be able to still father children, yet there she was, living proof of that. In his presence, she abandoned the body language she wore like a mask in public, and her mannerisms only served to remind him of his late wife, who had died in childbirth. The memory of that night was still fresh and painful - his wife refusing to save herself at the expense of the unborn child, and eventually succumbing to the massive blood loss which had happened too quickly for even the best medics to do something about it.

Some had expected him to reject the child. But how could he reject something that had been so precious to his beloved Shirin? And he was certainly proud of his daughter. After all, no other noble child he knew had graduated from the Empire's most prestigious university, and no other princess was that much of a scholar. There were only two things wrong with Nasrin Irulan Sassana, now 24 years old and in her prime. She was not a man, and therefore the line of succession was not complete. Well, at least not until his other daughter would bring forth an heir. And what a pleasant thought that is, he remarked bitterly to himself.

The other thing that was wrong with her is that she lacked a certain ruthlessness. He wanted to blame her being a female for that, but as Poran proved females had no deficiencies in that regard. He would be lying if he would claim that he would not worry about her. He'd have much preferred if she had married a noble who would be able to protect her, but so far she had shown no inclination of doing so. And he was not going to force her.

Still, it was nice to see that at least he had done something right in his life.

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He noticed that she had now started to shift weight from her left to her right foot, a clear sign that she had finished her thought process and wanted to ask him something. "Yes, my dear?"

"Has the Emperor revealed why he wanted me to extract Sänger's DNA?" The Grand Vizier chuckled. "Yes, quite the mystery. I did ask him. All he said was that I should 'tell my dear niece that everything will be revealed in time'. And he also ordered the DNA be turned over to the tenth legion." "But..." Nasrin bit her lips. The Tenth legion, or rather the X Legio Irulana, was her own personal legion, or at least in name - it of course answered exclusively to the Emperor, like all Sughdian legions did. Stationed on the outer rim of the Empire, it was charged with guarding the borders to the Solarians. "But why, you think to ask? Everything will be revealed in time."

Nasrin nodded, definitely unsatisfied with that answer. Narses stretched in his chair, noting with displeasure that his bones ached particularly bad this day. "Is there anything else?" "Yes. Did he mention when Sänger will be recalled?" "No." Narses tried to decipher her thoughts, but could not read her. So he asked her. "Is this a....personal matter for you?" Nasrin's left eye twitched. "I am just wondering what logic there is in the recent orders by the Emperor. Why expose him to the Galaxy? And why order a DNA sample to be taken? You know as well as I that there is only one reason the Emperor would have reason to test his DNA, namely a search for possible genetic defects which would diminish his value as a husband and potential father."

Narses nodded. "Would you consent to marrying him?"

He had awaited any range of reactions, from a blush to an outright denial. Instead, she surprised him by smiling. "Father, there are several reasons why such a thing will not come to pass. First of all, as the husband of my dear sister is a commoner and she has not produced any heirs, any hypothetical noble husband of mine would be in direct line to the Imperial Throne. You know as well as I that the Duke cannot be a reasonable candidate. He has no lineage. His forces, while impressive, are not strong enough to guarantee his ascension to the throne in the face of certain noble opposition. And he is not a psyker, so the drugs would kill him."

Narses nodded. "I taught you well. Now, daughter, help an old man prepare for the reception of the Solarian ambassador."


SUSA SECUNDUS
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Under the eyes of Spahbod Shahrbaraz Farrokhan, the Legio III Sughdia was inducting new trainees. The experienced combat veterans taught a young clone how to handle the new weapons provided by the Xenos. Or rather, staffs that roughly corresponded to extended Xenos weapons. The trainees would spend years training with practice weapons before those that survived the training were allowed to handle real weapons.

The Sughdians praised themselves on being an Elite, the best of the best. This was also their greatest weakness. Their losses could not be replaced overnight, unlike, say, the warriors of the Karlack swarm. Farrokhan would often have preferred expanding the army, sacrificing quality for quantity. But the accord of 3151 limited the Sughdians to 60 legions. At least the Xenos gear would be a welcome boon to the forces. Most important had been the widespread introduction of the Cylinder-type weapon which did not only extend itself into a fighting staff, but also fired seeking projectiles composed of nanobots. Before the introduction of that weapon, combat had mainly consisted of either side peppering the other with lasgun fire, hoping the personal shields of the other would give out, or (when in close combat) outright charging each other with swords.

The nanobots however penetrated the shields, which was why the Xenos weapon gave the Sughdians an immense firepower advantage. A standard sughdian had already been valued at several times the value of a standard noble soldier. With this weapon, he assumed that gulf would widen to ten to one. He would have kissed Sänger and that accursed woman of his, had they not been the enemies of his wife. Thinking of Poran, he nodded at the trainees to continue and turned to meet her on the Balcony.
Image

She was a glorious creature, as fierce, ruthless and fiery as the winds of Susa Secundus herself. She was his warrior Queen, the woman who had trusted him enough to share her deepest secret with him. At the age of fourteen, Poran Nasrin Sassana had been trying to strenghten her own resistance to Poison. She had overdosed on a particularly nasty substance she had obtained from Dominion space, which had left her permanently infertile. And as she did not trust others with her genetics (lest they manufacture a poison which would only target her), she had not secured some of her ovas before this had happened. He remembered the scene as clearly as if it had just happened a second ago - him, as Commander of the guard units attached to her personal resort, being urgently called to the Princess' quarters.

She had been bleeding viciously out of every orifice, while the Sughdians had stood around her helplessly, their attempts to alleviate her suffering with the standard medkit clearly being unsuccesful. He had picked her up and started running to the medlab. But before he had been able to put her down, slender fingers had wrapped around his arm and she had ordered him to keep whatever happened a secret. Then, through the pain, she had given him clear instructions how to deal with the poison - mainly by doing nothing but transfusing her every hour with fresh blood. She had then ordered everybody out of the room but him, finally falling asleep after twenty hours of agony, still holding his hand. This secret formed the bond between him and her, each knowing they could easily destroy each other with it.

It was also the only reason her weakling sister was still alive. For if their plans were to come to fruition, there had to be one person who could continue the royal bloodline. Had she been a commoner, she might simply have had commissioned a clone of herself, but as a princess this option was not available for her. Being of common origin himself, Farrokhan never understood the Royal presumption for heirs being created the natural way by the designated Imperial consort, especially considering how many Bastard Children the average Emperor was producing, but this was the way of things.

Still, everything had been going as planned as every presumptive heir had died of seemingly unrelated causes. Their ascension had been secured - they would ensure Nasrin would bear a child, then dispose of her. And then the Perseid revolt had happened and the Xenos had arrived. And the weakling sister had suddenly found herself with her own base of power. Which would make any husband she would take not just a puppet to be used, but thanks to the support of the Xenos, a legitimate contender for the throne - provided he came from a noble house with enough standing. There were certainly at least six or seven candidates now.

Mulling over the implications of that, he joined his wife on the balcony. She knew that it was him, for she could easily recognize his step. "The Emperor continues to favor the Xenos. The trip to Bragula was supposed to have been my assignment." After a while, Poran nodded. "He also gave orders for Sänger's DNA to be stored. And then had it taken to an unknown location." She stopped observing the rough landscape. "We may have to accelerate our plans."



Istakhr

The specimen had been unfrozen and was now being prepared for the purpose the two Dukes had intended for her. After one hour, Chosroes and Xerxes descended from their palace to view the finished product. "What a waste", Chosroes Intoned. "Indeed. Maybe some more blood at the ankles?" Chosroes walked over and inspected the ankles. "Why not? Though you are right brother, the whipping effects on the back look so convincing." Xerxes nodded. "Oh, and we must not forget the chains." "Indeed, brother. It wouldn't look good without chains. After all, brutal slavers never miss a chance to use chains."

After another thirty minutes, Xerxes was satisfied. "That'll do." He walked forward and grasped the head of the woman. After staring into her blank eyes for a second, he released her. "What a waste indeed." Turning to the servants, he gave his next orders. "Take the holos, then clean her up, imprint her mind and get her to the space platform."

As the two brothers walked to the lift that would bring them back to the comforts of their palace, Chosroes remarked "You should have let me enjoy her first." "Please, brother. Your genetics on her might have been able to be traced. I trust you have already ordered the termination of the servants?" Chosroes went sullen for a minute. "Oh, sure, once they are done with little miss pandora over there. Do you think the Anglians will buy it?"

"I have no doubt of that. After all, Pendleton was still so uncivilized to use slavery...and nobody knows much about the Xenos. This will work. And if not, there is always Plan Kosmos."

"Indeed."


Results:
- a lot more exposition and introduction to other characters
- scheming. Wouldn't be Sassanid without scheming



Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-23 01:33am
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The Kolponomos Wormhole, CC+4 Terminus

Bessières looked like ass. There was no other way to put it, being detained in an otherwise nicely appointed cell but subject to Blitzschlag fields these many weeks with his terrazine feeds pulled had left him a mess. He wasn’t in the mood to converse much with Morgan, who had resorted to playing Quake 13 endlessly with himself in his head. As far as he knew, there were no other Dominion agents that had headed to Norrland before himself and Bessières, not even the Indiamen who plowed the inky wastes of The Verge and sometimes were the only reliable sources of intel to those in Civilized Space. And another P12? You couldn’t exactly just bump into one of those on the street. Morgan sighed(not that he needed to breath). It was one hell of a chin scratcher.

The door chimed and opened.

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“Come with us, the Boss wants to see you.”

Morgan stood and Bessières groggily got to his feet. Yogi ran a tight ship, and Morgan was forced to admire how secure the facility was and how professional the muscle was for a bunch of legitimate businessmen. The Kolponomos Syndicate were probably the most squared away organization in The Verge, besides the Norsk Indies Company, and the handful of Xenos Empires that managed to control more than one system. The half a dozen or so guards escorted the two FIS agents to the woodland simulation where they had first met Yogi.

Image

“I see you are admiring simulation. Is like forest planet where I spend youth in pioneers, not bullshit industrial wasteland planets that Bryzon force on his people.” Yogi nodded back. “I get word from Jewish Banker. He say it very important that I make distinction between his tribe and other hew-mons, maybe because he is more proud of hat and facial fur. He say check cleared, you are free to go. Here is agreed upon information.” One of the entourage unceremoniously dumped 6 or 7 magnetic DAT tapes on a table. “You will find your courier in serviceable condition. Oh yes…Planetary Express courier arrive with this for you.” He slide over a UMD, the kind that FIS used for field agents. “It was encrypted.” Yogi sounded put out.

Morgan reached over and loaded the UMD into his reader, and read a curt message from FIS. Was this for real? Who the flark gave a flark about the Sassanids? Bessières looked at him hazily. Morgan licked his mechano-man lips and spoke.

“Listen Mr. Yogi we have additional instructions from our boss. Do any of your, ah, legitimate businessmen friends conduct business with the Sassanids?”

“Just independent small legitimate business import-export types, not with government or corporations. Is too far away. Why do you ask? I can get good kabob if you want.”

“No no…surely you must have friends with the legitimate businessmen in the Bragulan Star Empire. Closer to the Sassanid Empire…”Morgan trailed off as he saw Yogi’s fur starting to stand on end. The Bragulan agents on the Hellbender acted in a similar manner when they started to get agitated.

“There are no legitimate businessmen in Bragule! Only corrupt officials who are slightly less brainwashed than the rest of the population! Is very expensive to do business with them! Get off my station!” Yogi roared. Morgan and Bessières stood and started to leave.

“Wait.”

They turned back.

“What do you want done with the Sassanids?”

“Just some information, one nobleman in particular.”

Yogi grunted.

“I will see what I can do.



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: 2011-02-23 01:55am
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Location: 32ULV
S-101497 Miss Laid
System 11
MEH Space


Shang Wei O'Malley looked at the message, and the tactical plot in shock. The kitties were being surprisingly helpful. That, or as the more paranoid side of his brain was thinking, leading them to a trap. Be an interesting way to play with their prey, certainly, but possibly too indirect for them. And the gunboats were disappearing, presumably being collected by their stealth ships. Out of courtesy, he decided not to engage active sensors. Wasn't likely they'd pick up anything the passives couldn't anyway. Miss Laid had one of the best passive sensor fits for it's size in the galaxy, and one of the worst active sensor fits. He knew where they were, as the gunboats disappeared, but was tough to puzzle out more than that. He'd let the eggheads back home figure it out.

After the Kitty Surprise, and her consort had left, O'Malley signalled to Sneakily Does It that they were ready for pickup, and moved towards the predicted location of it.

--

K-80424 Sneakily Does It
System 11
MEH Space


"Interesting. Would have been unfortunate if Miss Laid was destroyed. This is a stranger outcome than I would have expected. We should head back to Shinra. Send out a message to our other sloops to meet us at Rendezvous B. This one's been compromised. Prepare for hyperjump. When we've collected Miss Laid, we'll get going."



"preemptive killing of cops might not be such a bad idea from a personal saftey[sic] standpoint..." --Keevan Colton
"There's a word for bias you can't see: Yours." -- William Saletan

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-23 02:01am
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Location: Tampa Bay, Florida, USA
SRS Tiger's Claw - Sector C-6, several lightyears from "Unnamed System" - After the Monolith's departure

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Ambassador Aeris Gainsborough turned her head when she heard her door chime sound. It was a reflexive action born of surprise, as she could normally sense the approach of others due to her Esper nature. But of course, aboard a warship of the Shinra Republic Navy, her gifts were of no help due to the omnipresent Null Fields kept running. She pressed the speak button on her intercom. "Enter, please."

Rear Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn winced slightly at the brightness level of the VIP cabin's lights. "I know we normally keep it fairly dim by planet-side standards, Ambassador. But this seems a bit much."

"My apologies, Admiral. The light does not bother me as much as it does most humans, and in fact helps me relax." It might have seemed an unusual statement, as the pretty young woman appeared to be human. But she was not strictly human, she was a Cetra. "It reminds me of what the Lifestream is like, as I cannot touch it here."

"Quite," replied Admiral Tolwyn noncommittally. He personally didn't believe much in this Lifestream business the Cetra talked about, although he did know they were fairly strong Espers. "I apologize for the Null Fields, Ambassador. Normally for a person such as yourself we would disable them as a courtesy, but as this is a first contact mission with a species we know nothing about, I must keep them on for the safety of the crew."

"I understand, Admiral," replied Aeris with a smile. "And please, call me Aeris." This was not the first time she had given the Admiral such permission, but the naval officer was the proper sort and had thus far declined to refer to her informally.

"Thank you, Ambassador. I came to inform you that the RF-102s have returned from their recon. They report no sign of the Monolith, confirming what our sensors indicated as the ship's departure from this sector of space. They also report that we have been redirected to a diplomatic station in Sector G-3. With your permission, we will reroute the Task Force to the indicated coordinates."

"Of course, Admiral. It is your fleet, so I trust that you will deliver us safely where we need to be." Although she preferred the title Ambassador, as among her many postings she had held ambassadorships in such places as New Anglia and Earth, she was presently an Assistant Secretary of State and thus technically outranked the Admiral and served as the mission's leader. Nonetheless, she didn't want to appear to be stepping on the Admiral's toes, and had kept a fairly low profile during the trip.

"We will be departing soon, Ambassador. You will, of course, join us in the wardroom for dinner?"

"I would be honored, Admiral Tolwyn."



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

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

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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Zebes, Chapter Twenty-Nine Part Two PostPosted: 2011-02-23 02:24am
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Type 22 Core Ship, Serial Number 12E886C8
Flagship Boskonian Core Subfleet
2050 Hours


Image

DIE! DIE! DIE! Why won't you DIE?

Time after time, his ships had cracked the shields of one of the Prussian superheavies, burning off chunks of their hull by the thousands of tons- the hundreds of thousands, even! But always, before they could finish the things off, the other battleships would smash his ships back and away with those absurdly primitive railguns! And the maimed ships continued to lurch along, still under power, still moving, even still fighting!

Were they somehow, against all the laws of nature, too stupid to know they were dead? It was like fighting shambling, mindless zombies! Again and again, he hit them with fatal blows, blasts that would reduce any normal ship- any normal mountain range- to half-molten wreckage. And again, and again, and they just would not DIE!

Cosmog's frustration had grown too great to be contained. He leapt from his command throne, dancing madly to burn off the surplus of adrenaline-equivalents flooding his system. He had no time to outwait them, not anymore, not with the rest of the Coalition fleet breathing down his neck. At any moment he might be forced to retreat or face destruction...

DIE, damn you!

After several seconds, Boskonian conditioning won through: rage was permitted, but only in those who could continue to think while enraged.

"Communications! Get me Delion of the Kavoolites!"



Patriot-class Heavy Cruiser USS Layla Daniels
Flagship Umerian Contingent
2052 Hours


Vice-Admiral Wenli Yang leaned back into his seat, eyes on the display as the distant interdictor platform flared and wavered under Prussian assault. He toyed idly with an interface stylus in one hand, spinning it around his fingers. They were useful for tracing on a flatscreen display, and something to keep his hands busy while he was trying to think. He only had so much to go on, which meant having plans he could improvise patches into on the fly. Difficult...

When the interdictor zone finally started breaking up, he wasn't as ready as he'd like to be, but he had the first part figured out.

"All ships, stand by to make the jump to Zebes. Priority flash to cutters: recover the recon shell, return to tenders at greatest possible speed." Idly, he tossed the stylus into the air...

Then a thought struck him.

Communications had been truly bad; the Prussians hadn't specified what the enemies pressing them had that was giving them so much trouble. But it wouldn't be other railgun or missile ships; they knew how to deal with that. He'd be looking at long range beam armament, probably capital-class... and with the Centralist heavies out of action, his heavy cruisers would get thrown in against that.

Flip polarity for long range gunnery? No, not enough time, and that didn't work so well on three-beam ships anyhow. Best make sure everyone was ready for long range anticapital engagement though. At least he probably wouldn't regret his squadron's lack of carrier support, not if he concentrated on energy-armed ships. Best go looking for some of those; if the Zebesians wanted a battle of the beams, the Space Security Force would be happy to oblige.

...The stylus dropped back into his hand; distracted, he fumbled the catch and it bounced to the floor.

"Message to all ships' tactical departments, review engagement plans Alpha-One through Alpha-Three." Long range action against ships of equal or heavier tonnage- that would be it, in all probability.



Disruptor-class Battleship CNS Black Hole
Flagship Task Corps 8
2052 Hours Fleet Standard Time


"Sir, picking up disturbances in the interdictor locus... it's breaking up!" then Verio saw it too. Perhaps the Eoghans had finally connected with multiple torpedoes; perhaps von Musel had cracked the station's shields from behind. No way to be sure which, but the interference washing over his command evaporated with amazing speed.

"Admiral, the Prussian squadron leader is hailing us."

"Put him through." Von Musel's face materialized on the console before him, the hard, assessing glint in his eyes doing much to offset the fact that he looked absurdly young for his rank. DId von Musel presume to assess him, rather than the other way around? Verio's eyes narrowed.

"Hello, Admiral. Your commanding officer has... interesting things to say about you."

Things along the lines of 'attempting to desert; to be apprehended and brought to justice by any means necessary...' But even under Centralist discipline, court-martials were a post-battle task, and the battle was at its highest pitch. Verio would not forget von Musel's violation of orders, and he doubted von Mückenberger would either, but now was not the time to ignore the boy- no, the man- who'd just opened the road to Zebes for Coalition forces.

The golden-haired Prussian admiral's reply was level and quiet. "I believe there's been a misunderstanding over my orders, sir; it's an internal Prussian matter. For the moment-"

"The matter of reinforcements."

Von Musel nodded. "Yes, sir; Second Fleet won't last another hour without support." That was even worse than Verio had thought- surely they couldn't be that low on fuel and ammunition; what would von Mückenberger have done with it all? But again, that was a question to be answered after the battle, and one it would be best if the Prussian fleet was alive to answer.

"I will order as many ships as possible to your aid. Verio out!" Von Musel nodded, bracing to a posture of attention, and the display faded.

Who to send? He must make the decision, and quickly. But there were many confounding variables.

His capital ships were helpless aside from the battlecruiser Trogdor. The Tianguo carriers, similarly disabled, having been almost as far into the interdiction zone as his own ships. Several of their cruisers were reporting drive function, though. Behind them, the Umerian, Eoghan, and Atlantean contingents were intact... but none had ships over heavy cruiser tonnage.

There were reports that somehow the Zebesians had managed to put together a core of capital-class units. To counter that, he needed the strongest possible reinforcement group for Zebes, while keeping something in place to screen his immobilized heavies. His heavy warships, most of them still far from repaired, would be a respectable prize for the Zebesians in their own right. In deep space, without their hyperdrives, the Centralist capital ships would be at a grave disadvantage against ships free to make tactical FTL maneuvers.

Obvious solution: keep his screen in place, send the foreigners on ahead. But that would mean leaving the Centralist Navy out of the battle entirely while the allies saved the day- not good politically.

Perhaps... use a foreign contingent to cover his ships, send his own screening cruisers and destroyers on ahead? Even TC 8's screen elements were, taken together, a force comparable to any of the other fleets under his command. That would secure Centralist participation in the battle... yes.

So, who to keep behind, and who to send? The Umerians had the largest undamaged formation under his command; at least some of their officers were proven in intense combat. And there was Vice Admiral Yang's strange, near-esper ability to outguess people to factor in. He might be useful in a fight against a tough opponent. Best to send them on to Zebes, and hope Yang's mind reading tricks worked as well on Zebesians as it did on Verio himself.

The Tianguo contingent's big Type 39 cruisers would also be valuable at Zebes- not capital-grade, but strong enough to tangle with battlecruiser-sized units without getting slaughtered in droves. Most of his other available ships were lighter- too much so. He didn't want to leave them behind, either; that would mean keeping a large fraction of his total cruiser force out of the battle. Which left the Eoghans and Atlanteans.

Like the Tianguo fleet, the Atlantean and Eoghan contingents had a strong core of solid, well-built and well-armed cruisers, types he knew enough about to respect. How he wished the ships they'd left to cover the fleet base, at his orders, were here! But he didn't regret the decision, not really. Against this cunning veldtchomper of an enemy, bot covering the base would have invited a devastating attack.

So- one of the four foreign fleets to cover his damaged heavies. Which would it be?

The Umerians, he wanted to send on to Zebes; the Tianguo detachment, likewise. He could keep the Eoghans- but something about them unnerved him. After his experience earlier with the Zebesian raiders' Heim torpedoes, he didn't want to take any chances with the Eoghans' remaining supply of similar, equally deadly missiles. The thought of betrayal against his ill-prepared and immobilized ships was a daunting one. But the fleets least likely to betray him were those he needed at Zebes the most...

The Atlanteans.

At this point, Verio was tempted to sink his head into his hands. The demands of politics and tactics together had boxed him into being forced to rely on one of the State's traditional enemies. But compared to the mongoosoid Pdeudemar, the Commonwealth's cyborg admiral seemed positively normal and easy to read. Verio believed that the Atlantean was an ingenuous sort, a man of simple plans and simple interests. He might fail to perform a task, he might do all sorts of strange and exasperating things, but... very unlikely to commit an act of outright treachery.

Verio frowned slightly. Yes, that was probably his best option, given the need to both win and look acceptable doing it.



Type 22 Core Ship, Serial Number 12E886C8
Flagship Boskonian Core Subfleet
2054 Hours


"Admiral Delion."

The Kavoolite looked back at him from the bridge of the disruptor cruiser Ludelatar; he'd transferred after the Prussian attack damaged his flagship. He nodded briskly- not properly deferential, but not outright disrespectful. Cosmog had learned to live with that; it was the best those of his species could expect much of the time.

"Are we to retreat yet?"

"No. I want to coordinate a torpedo and massed beam strike on one of the enemy battleships-"

"Might I suggest a target? My signals section has identified what appears to be an enemy flagship: target B6 on your list."

Cosmog suppressed the urge to start in surprise at that- with their primitive hardware, they'd managed...? Well, it was as good a target as any, even if the Kavoolites were wrong. "Very well. Line up your torpedo attack. I'll arrange the followup strikes."

"I must confess that this is something of a matter of pride for me."

"Understood." Oh, how understood... why won't those monstrosities DIE!



Kaiser-class Battleship SMS Oldenburg
Flagship Second Battle Squadron
2055 Hours


Vice Admiral Friedrich Bödicker winced. There was no doubt now, the spread of antimatter torpedoes from the Zebesians' dorsal group were headed straight for him. Four times in the past twenty minutes they'd crashed down on one of the Prussian battleships, each time flaring down the shields for the enemy's center to rake the target with beam fire. Now it was his turn to take a devastating blow, one he was far from sure he'd survive- the twin to the damage von Mückenberger's flagship took in the opening salvo, before Bödicker's ships could drive the enemy off him.

As always, these missiles came in fast and smart- tiny targets that ignored the bulk of his ships' ECM and weaved their way past streams of fire from the QF railguns and blasts from Oldenburg's flak guns. The old battleship rolled to bring those of her countermissile batteries sill loaded to bear, but her maneuvers were slow, slow; the ship had taken serious engine damage from missile strikes in the first phase of the battle. Some of the launch cells never cleared to fire.

Pattern fire from Acheron fusion missiles brought down a fair fraction of the torpedo launch... but nowhere near enough. Proximity fuzes on the Kavoolite torpedoes lit off, and their antimatter charges burst in flickering gamma-ray bursts, lighting the ship from all sides in a hail of high-end ionizing radiation. Oldenburg's shields wavered, strained, and failed- slow failures, graceful failures, but failure nonetheless.

Then Cosmog of Narshe directed the combined macrobeam fire of his own battleship, two Boskone battlecruisers, and a double handful of lighter escorts against Bödicker's flagship. The Boskonian ships threw everything they had- and they had plenty. Blazing forces of ether-wracking intensity gnawed away at the ultra-refractory metal and composites of Oldenburg's main armor belt. The macrobeams bored inward, scattering blue-green radiance throughout the surroudning space, devouring the material defenses of the Prussian ship in thousand-ton bites and howling for more. Internal baffle-screens, cofferdams, and bulkheads gave their all- their ephemeral, millisecond-long all- before burning away into nothingness, boiling off in torrents of half-ionized plasma.

The Boskonians neither knew nor cared whether there was waste or excess in the torrent of subetheric violence they cast against the Prussian ship. Boskonian technicians emptied their capacitor banks, locked beams and held ith every erg of power to be had, with only one aim in their minds- make that battlewagon die!.

And die she did.

Image
Prussian battleship may not appear as depicted. May contain more turrets or expanding clouds of wreckage.


At last, her incredible armor scheme pierced by countless, immeasurable blasts, the core hull broke up. Reactors let go and missile magazines burst, secondary explosions twisting armor and opening chinks in the carefully planned defense schemes, helping to clear the way for the far more potent force of the enemy beam fire. For the crew, death came quickly in staccato bursts, with heavy internal baffling keeping each compartment safe until the irresistible macrobeams found them in turn.

Vice Admiral Bödicker watched the damage indicators flashing red towards his position on flag bridge, clenching the arms of his command chair and steeling himself to face his end with dignity. He felt a brief tingle like incipient sunburn as a fraction of a percent of the leading edge of the Boskonian firestorm leaked past an auxiliary shield barrier outside the bridge. The leak grew more intense, tingling sensations rose into active pain...

His brain never registered the milliseconds after the barrier screen failed, not before the ravening ultrawaves washed through him.

Type 22 Core Ship, Serial Number 12E886C8
Flagship Boskonian Core Subfleet
2056 Hours


Cosmog's glee as he watched the Enemy battleship burn was so great that it broke his composure, to an extent he hadn't experienced in years. Where before he was dancing with fury, he now danced with glee.

"DIE! DIE! DIE! KUP- GAH! DIE SOME MORE!"

Perhaps it really was Mückenberger's flagship, though in that case he might be doing the humans a favor by killing him. Perhaps not- perhaps the Kavoolites were wrong, or perhaps they'd picked a ship that was communicating heavily for other reasons. He neither knew nor cared. All that truly mattered to him was that even if he got chased off today, he'd made one of those absurdly durable battleships DIE!



CNS Black Hole
2056 Hours


Flag officers... no time to transfer anyone, no one above a commodore on any of the ships he had mobile. Who to put in charge? Commodore Glorpov on Trogdor or... ah. Someone he knew could handle intense combat, with good people and recent battle-hardening...

"Com-Scan, get me Commodore Liggs!"

The young flag officer appeared soon enough, braced to attention. "Sir!"

"You are hereby breveted to Rear Admiral and assigned command of Task Corps Eight's screening formations- all ships of cruiser tonnage and below, and all capital ships attached to the screen. Your orders are to proceed to Zebes in conjunction with the other Coalition forces, rescue the Prussian Second Fleet, and destroy the Zebesian forces."

"I... won't let you down, sir!"

"You'd better not. Fail here, and it will be for the last time." Picking Liggs was a gamble, but he had a good feeling about the man's courage and decisiveness- and, again, there simply wasn't time for one of the more senior officers available to transfer to a hyper-capable unit. He listened as Com-Scan forwarded orders to the other ships- follow Loyalist's lead, proceed to Zebes when ordered to move out.

A pity he had only the one battlecruiser to send with them...

His musings were interrupted by a voice from the Pit- literally, given that they kept Com-Scan in a recessed part of the bridge floor below the main deck level.

"Sir? Message from Frod, shall I put him through?"

"Yes."

Captain Stack of the ion-gun battleship Frod had his helmet visor up. The wild glee in his eyes was somewhat disturbing, but he seemed to have it under control. Seemed.

"Admiral, we have completed drive repairs. All hyperdrive systems are go, and we are ready for duty!"

Verio knew well of the reports on the Ion Cannon's instability. On orders from the Center, Umerian gunnery officers had been brought in to inspect the Cannon. By all reports, most of them couldn't decide whether to laugh, cry, or run screaming in terror before the weapon exploded and destroyed the battleship outright. It wasn't Stack's fault, but Verio was rather nervous about committing Frod.

"Captain, I admire your readiness, but with the Cannon, your ship has dangerous engineering problems even with the drive repaired."

The junior man's eyes went wide. "Am I ordered to remain here, sir?"

Verio wasn't entirely sure what to say. Ultimately, though, it was the captain's responsibility to decide whether his ship was fit for action, so long as he himself was fit. And they could certainly use a battleship at Zebes, even one with a gutted main armament.

"...In your judgment, is your ship ready for intense combat?"

"We live, we are able, we shall contribute. Long live the State!"

Perhaps Verio was taking another unjustified risk, perhaps not. But he did want Centralist capital ships at Zebes, and it was worth taking risks to get them there. And who knew? Maybe the ion cannon would work after all.

"Very well, Captain. Proceed to Zebes under command of brevet Rear Admiral Gever Liggs aboard Loyalist, there to engage the enemy as he sees fit. Verio out!"

With that order of business taken care of... well, Liggs would be sailing away with his entire screening detachment in short order. Time to check up on the Commonwealth ships he'd ordered to cover him.

"Com-Scan, query the Atlantean admiral. Is he prepared to screen our ships?"

There was, as always a delay, but this time a short one.

"Sir, they confirm that. Reply from the Atlantean flagship is: 'We will do wall that we can. We are prod to be of assistance!' Message ends."

"..."

"Is something the matter, sir?"

"Prod."

"The meaning is clear in context, sir."

"Yes. Carry on, ensign."



Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
What is this 'favourite character' you speak of? I have walls lined with bookshelves, having a single favourite character would be like having a favourite brick.
-Story of my literary tastes.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-02-23 06:34am
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Joined: 2002-07-18 06:08pm
Posts: 13236
Location: Poland
Quote:
Widebeam broadcast

Attention all Wild Space traders.

Space around trade station Icarus Zeta is closed for traffic. All ships are advised to stay away due to unexpected navigation hazards.


Image

Trade Station Icarus Zeta
Zeta Sector, Collector space


"Goddess forgive me,", Caria Soleno, captain and proprietor of the Wild Space bulk freighter Song Of Money, growled angrily, "But I have to say this. FUCK ME this is a bad week."

Caria's copilot could only nod. They were stuck near the damned place for days now, as Collectors brough in more and more assets in system to help with clearing the mines. Swarms of fighters, gunboats, Wasp patrollers and strange, bulky vessels trawled the approaches to the station ever since the Bragulan attack.

The navigator walked into the cockpit, carrying some instant soup for the flight crew. He glanced at sensor readouts, showing the massive pileup of delayed freighters and said, "You know, if this continues any longer, we'll miss our scheduled pick-up on Zubrich."

It was Caria's turn to shrug, "I'd rather do that than get blown up. My backup premiums are already sky-high.", she sipped on her soup, "Did you get any more juicy rumors about the whole debacle?"

"Yeah, scuttlebutt says the Brags did it because Collectors kidnapped Jack Turdner from that BEEF thing of theirs."

The copilot's head jerked up, "Seriously? Man! They got Jack Turdner?"

"It's just a rumor, don't get too excited."

Caria suddenly put her soup down, seeing the situation on her scopes change, "Something's moving! Get me an engine diagnostic!"

"Oh finally..."

The backup began to unload, very slowly, as Collector drones escorted the independent freighters through a cleared corridor to the hyperlimit.

Primary Matrix thoughtspace
Unknown location


Code:
ADMINISTRATION
Traffic at Icarus Zeta will not return to normal for a minimum of 12.412 megaseconds. Probability of clearing entirety of navigational hazards from area very low, unless resources assigned double in immediate future.


Code:
ANALYSIS
Report complete. Motives for attack ascertained as retaliation for attack on disturbance source CYXB453281.

Inefficient use of resources and disproportionate escalation tied to organic notions of honor and revenge, consistent with observations of Bragulan activities in experiments. Modelling failure of Bragulan decision-making likely responsible for poor response to threat.

Recommend de-escalation. Recommend gathering more data on Bragulan behavior.


Code:
STRATEGY
Objectives incompatible. Increased data gathering efforts likely to escalate situation further.


Code:
ANALYSIS
Inference correct. Judgement value required.


Code:
AMALGAM
Risk of further attacks acceptable. Increase resources assigned to Bragulan behavioral modelling experiments.

Prepare for acquisition of additional specimens.


END SESSION



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: 2011-02-23 08:28am
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FUCKING DICK-STABBER!
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Joined: 2003-05-11 08:39am
Posts: 19927
Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
[I wanted to repost this for a while but forgot. Then I remembered!]



PO-MO:
An Art Post for Post-People

A Nova Atlantean Pubication for Post-Philistines

Zor wrote:
Image

An Imperial Bragulan Legionnaire, standing at attention while smoking a heavy Cigar after a triumph. One of vast hordes of Bragulan Conscripts that stand as the Iron Hammer behind the will of the Beloved leader Imperator Darvyl S. Byzon . Clasped in its hands is a mighty B-11 K-Bolter with its massive hydraulic based recoil suppressors. He is clad in heavy Bragulan Plate armor, specially awarded to him for past valor against the Enemies with various patches in it. Foolish Humans say that this is because Bragulan Military is too cheap to buy new armor for its soldiers and simply patches up old armor. These propagandic lies are completely false, The Armor of fallen Heroes of The Bragulan Star Empire is repaired and issued those conscripts which show particular valor in combat. Behind him burns the flag of the despised enemy, the Byzantines. Never the less, soon with righteous fury and atomic fire the armies of Bragule shall march on, for eternal vigilance is the Price of Bragulinity.



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

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