SDNW4 Story Thread 2

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Simon_Jester
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Re: Pfhor Crisis

Post by Simon_Jester » 2011-08-04 12:20am

[Plants mod hat firmly upon cranium]

Here we go, ladies and gentlemen...

These are the "bad consequences" of Pollux spending 12.5% of his nation's GDP on military expansion during a year when he was de facto absent from the game.

Imperial Palace
Pfhor Prime
August 3400


"Your Majesty, we abase ourselves!" The pair of High Imperial Councillors had seldom feared for their lives so terribly.

"As well you should. Foundrymaster, why did you fail so gravely in your certification of these factories? Their products are inferior in all ways- premature shell detonations, armor plate that shatters at the first touch of inclement weather, astigmatic rangefinders. Your contracts with this Nar consortium- how could you have been so foolish, and why did it take an Inquisition investigation into the thousands of casualties suffered by our Marines in training accidents to reveal their slipshod, inferior production methods? This is a scandal!"

"If there is anything I can do, Your Majesty..."

"Yes. There is." The Emperor nodded firmly. He gestured slightly with his hand, bedecked in some of the most magnificent jeweled metalwork in the history of the Pfhor race.

The first shock bolt from an Imperial Guardsman's hold-out blaster took the High Imperial Foundrymaster over the kidney-equivalents. The councillor collapsed in a screaming heap, wailing and howling as though a white-hot iron bar had been driven into his bowels.

The Guardsman closed in, firing carefully aimed pistol shots. Soon the councillor's suffering was too great even for screams, as the agony-inducing shock bolts abused the Foundrymaster's nerve plexi and vital organs. The emperor murmured quietly.

"How often we forget that the difference between 'stun' and 'kill' is only a matter of degree... Chancellor!" The other minister, shivering and clutching at himself in anticipation of the first of the long string of shock-bolts it would take to make an end of him, suddenly leaped into a posture of courtly respect.

"Yes, Your Majesty!"

"Come with me to the sixth audience chamber."

It was Nar consortiums and factories which had failed the Empire in the effort to forge new weapons of power, failed to better equip the Imperial Marines. Fully half the production runs of these weapons had to be scrapped as intolerably low-quality, and the factories retooled under new management, before the rearmament campaign could proceed. This was due to the most shameless folly, the shoddiest quality control, that the Empire's high-tech manufacturing sector had seen in years. So eager were the greedy Nar to acquire the production contracts and underbid their Pfhor economic rivals that they completely ignored the difficulties of producing such high-quality weapons in the millions needed to outfit the Marine legions.

And so it was that the Emperor decreed the penalty to be inflicted upon the slinking, scheming, inferior race of Nar.

Like a command from heaven, the great monarch commanded that in punishment, the Nar corporatists and merchant princes responsible would be punished not only by their own excruciating deaths at the hands of the inquisition, but by the extermination of their family lines to the eighth degree. All blood relatives of the guilty parties with even one half of one percent cosanguinity were to be summarily executed for this treachery against the state.

Naturally, this threw the tightly interlinked leadership of the Nar subject-species into disarray. There was... some resistance.

Light Battleship Windstorm
Battle Group II, Narsky
August 3400


The Nar captain got wind of the impending massacre through a back-channel message from a desperate functionary in the Naval Transport organization, one who had been ordered to arrange the movement of a wealth of Imperial troops to Narsky. He could guess what was coming... and he was the third cousin of a high-ranking industrialist on the homeworld. Fortunately, he had his plans laid in.

"Captain, sir!" The naval ratings in the main computer room braced to attention.

He'd earned this rank, one of the most trusted and senior positions held by a member of his species. He'd had to work five times as hard as a Pfhor officer... and he'd made his Pfhor subordinates respect him. On some level, he regretted betraying that trust as he produced a sidearm and put a bullet through the head of the armed guard by the bulkhead. The duty officer spun around, clawing for his own pistol with a thick, stubby, three-fingered hand. Not fast enough, not nearly fast enough, to out-draw a being with gun in hand.

"Everyone out! OUT!"

The Pfhor naval ratings, not knowing what was happening and startled back to reflex by the shootings, scrambled to obey their gun-waving captain. He saw the last of them out of the room... then planted the welding charges on the entryway and began uploading the programs that would allow him to fight the ship independently from this location. The highly illegal codes, which shouldn't even exist... and even so, worked only because of backdoors installed into the battleship by the Pfhor overlords' own inquisition.

If they wanted to take him down for the crime of being vaguely related to some factory manager, he'd take a lot of them with him.

Imperial Palace
Pfhor Prime
September 3400


The Emperor tapped his fingers. "A shame about the battleship- the Navy should never have trusted him..."

"In mitigation, Your Majesty, the planetary defense guns and fleet flagship brought a quick end to the mutiny. Windstorm was destroyed before it could do much damage to the fleet, and the shipyards expect to have everything else back in operation within ninety days."

"Commend them. The riots on Narsky?"

"Under control, now that the second wave of ground troops are in. Casualties... estimated at five million or so Nar, just under two hundred thousand of our troops, nothing that can't be made good. Most of the planet was never touched- we only had to use orbital fire against one urban cluster and a few remote wilderness areas."

"Good. But I'm not pleased about the industrial dislocation. That must be set to rights."

"As you will, Your Majesty, although..."

"Speak."

"Even now that we're replacing the executed managers and leadership... it will be some time before the factories of Narsky and the surrounding systems are back to working order."

"Understood. It was to be expected, and I blame no one so long as the work of reorganization proceeds smoothly. I'd rather have loyal beings working at two thirds capacity than traitors doing their utmost."

"Words of wisdom, Your Majesty."

Results for Pfhor economy in 3400:

Half the expected upgrade of the Pfhor Marine units to x2 kit multiplier has to be canceled, as the weapons (and factories to produce them) turn out to be grossly substandard. Only 100 million Marines are boosted to the x2 kit multiplier value.

Punitive executions among the responsible industrialists provoked a number of small scale mutinies. The Pfhor lose one 310-point light battleship from Battle Group II, the one stationed at Narsky.

Ground troop losses in suppressing the revolt were negligible compared to the scale of the Pfhor military, and need not be taken into account.

In addition, the executions badly disrupted the economy of the Principality of Narsky, where they took place. The GDP of the sector is temporarily reduced from 6000$ to 5000$, lowering the overall Pfhor GDP to 65000$ for the year 3401 and having a corresponding impact on the 3401 military budget.

Overall, Pollux would be well advised to consult with the mods in future before randomly allowing himself military production well in excess of the guideline numbers.
Last edited by Simon_Jester on 2011-08-04 10:45am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Pollux » 2011-08-04 03:29am

in goddamn unreal time

Chamber of Justice, Hall of the Holy Archcovenant,
Pfhor Prime
November 3400


Image
IMAGE 022: Interrogation of the sister of the traitorous Nar Vassal-Captain X-NFD-11389

“It was thus that the Inquisition’s investigation into the betrayal of-“

Lord Prosecutor Lfnarl glanced down with a three-eyed glare at a scroll clasped in a three-fingered death grip momentarily, searching for the traitor’s name.

“Vassal-Captain X-NFD-113892 concluded.” he continued, saying the “name” like it was poison.

“Furthermore, the Inquisition has decided that the root enabling factor of this tragedy was the incompetence of Fleet Admiral Rlsfan in his capacity as supreme commander of Battle Group II.”

The chamber of the Archcovenant fell deathly silent. It was not uncommon at all for military officers to be “tried” for various crimes, but it was most certainly almost unheard of for the accused to be a Fleet Admiral of one of the Core Battle Groups.

Rlsfan, still in his grand, lordly naval uniform, with shock pistol and war sword hanging at his side, stood tall and emotionless as the Lord Prosecutor began to excoriate him with hysterics that would have been comical were it not for the fact that those hysterics would almost certainly lead to the brutal deaths of several thousand people by this time tomorrow. It was better, as far as the situation could be better, to show nothing, to be cold and calculating.

This was the behavior one like Rlsfan naturally exhibited, having lived all his adult life in accordance with the official government policy of Spfharn’pfreth, a phrase which literally means “Bolstering of the Mighty Arsenals of Spirit through Frustration and Terror”.

More clearly, the basic idea was that an officer corps rigidly confined by hopelessly byzantine regulations (the complete Pfhor Codex of Military Laws and Procedures being so massive and self-contradictory that the standard copies referred to in the field – themselves consisting of three unwieldy volumes of approximately 1000 pages each - are the result of sixteen consecutive abridgements) and cowed by bloodthirsty Inquisitors would both be easy to control in peacetime and so infuriated with their lot in life that in any actual combat, the opportunity to release years of pent up rage would inspire them to great feats of glorious heroism and bloody atrocity in the name of the system they hated.

It was a very typical Pfhor philosophy, and, like most other Pfhor philosophies, it necessarily produced tens of thousands of executions per year, as recalcitrant officers became examples for their more pragmatic comrades. It also usually had the opposite effect on those that survived it, producing icily brutal and emotionless masters of self-control that killed with the efficiency of automatons.

This was, of course, acceptable, in accordance with the philosophy of Nlorpfhan’spfhora, ”Discovering Brilliant Gems of Victory in the Shameful Excrements of Defeat”.

There would be no victory borne out of this defeat, however. Fleet Admiral Rlsfan, Supreme Commander of Battle Group II, Count of Grimland, and three times Hero of the Empire knew this. He was as good as dead.

“Admiral Rlsfan!” bellowed Lfnarl, aiming a single finger straight at his heart, “What pathetic excuses do you have for your treason in not only permitting the commission of this terrorist, but nominating him for the captaincy of one of our most powerful vessels yourself?!”

Rlsfan allowed himself to inwardly grimace. The Nar captain had a name of course, in this case, “That which finds its prize in the coldest days of winter”, this being a fairly modest one for a people who spoke entirely in metaphors.

But official names were a luxury the Empire did not afford its client races, or even the vast majority of its citizens, and it would be foolish to invoke the scorn of the Archcovenant with sentimentality.

“Vassal-Captain X-NFD-113892 was an extremely promising officer, whose progress I had personally been following ever since his assignment to Battle Group II. Many of our own Pfhor officers would be challenged to even begin to match his zeal and patriotism-“

“Preposterous!” Lfnarl flung his arms skyward as spittle rocketed from his mouth. “Have you, an officer of the navy, somehow forgotten that the Nar were – are! - our most bitter enemies? It is only through the infinite mercy of the Emperor that they are not all exterminated for the crimes they have perpetrated against our race!”

“Be that as it may, when I bestowed the helm-staff of the Windstorm on the Vassal-Captain, the hands I placed it in where those of one who would lay down his life and those of ten billion enemies in the Empire’s name.” There was a pause, and Rlsfan quietly added, “I cannot account for any changes that may have occurred since then.”

“There was no change! He was a traitor from the beginning, as all Nar are!” Lfnarl was so agitated that his scarlet cloak had come unpinned with the force of his gesticulations and fluttered down to his feet. He breathed heavily for a few moments, trying as best as he could to light the Fleet Admiral’s head on fire with the force of his glare alone. Then, he stood up straighter, dismissed the Admiral with a noise halfway between a growl and a sigh, and turned to address the rest of the Archcovenant.

“It is here that the Admiral’s true sin is revealed.” began Lfnarl, his voice booming with theatric grandeur “The Admiral’s sentimental ideals and personality led to the promotion of this terrorist to the captaincy of a vessel powerful enough to level entire cities in the space of a few minutes. In doing this, he not only betrayed the Empire, but betrayed the very essence of what it means to serve in our Armed Forces.”

A pause.

“To serve under arms is to swear to remake oneself in the image the Empire chooses for you, more so than to work in a factory, or a farm, or any of the other tasks that keep our nation strong. It is the soldiers that we rely on most, and therefore, we must ask the most of them. If one’s orders are to immolate the children of the enemy, that they might not grow up to raise arms against the spread of our civilization, one must do it. If one’s orders are to annihilate the surface of one of our planets, as an example and nothing more, one must do it. If one’s orders are to rape, pillage, murder, genocide, and ten thousand things moralists say are “worse”, one must do it – and not only do it, but enjoy it, for the Emperor wills it be so.”

The finger rose again, quivering at Rlsfan, who stood still as a statue.

“By promoting a filthy Nar to the captaincy, the Admiral has demonstrated that he has an unacceptable surplus of emotions that run counter to these ideals. When the very survival of our nation and people is at stake, we must go to bed each night knowing that we are protected by those who would not hesitate to slaughter a billion if the Emperor ordered it. An Admiral that feels, an Admiral with morals – this is a nightmare the Pfhor cannot afford to have.”

There was silence, again. A single Pfhor in massive, billowing robes of shimmering black and scarlet cloth rose behind the Lfnarl, and began to speak in a raspy, sneering voice that chilled all present to the bone.

“Thank you, Lord Prosecutor. Your comments on the case have been most invaluable.”

The Pfhor turned his attention, first to Rlsfan, and then to the Archcovenant, before he began to speak again.

“As the High Minister of the Inquisition, Hflerd, and having considered all the facts of the case, I do hereby pronounce Fleet Admiral Rlsfan, Supreme Commander of Battle Group II and Count of Grimland, guilty of the crime of High Treason. Furthermore, I decree that the following punishments be given out: that the guilty be stripped of all his lands, titles, ranks, and decorations, and these surrendered to the Empire where appropriate; that the guilty’s family to the sixth degree be imprisoned to the thirtieth generation; that Battle Group II be disbanded, with all its officers having attained the rank of Captain or greater executed; that the families of those so executed to the third degree be imprisoned to the fifteenth generation; that Battle Group II be disbanded, its assets to be reassigned to other posts within the Empire at a later date; and, finally…”

Hflerd turned his eyes back on Rlsfan, and he felt them pounding him into dust.

“that the guilty, having committed a crime most heinous and deserving of the highest degree of punishment, be sentenced to Obliteration.”

Rlsfan cried out, looking around wildly for escape, or mercy, or anything. There was nothing. He began to shake like a madman, and fell to his knees, vomiting all over the fine crystal floors of the Archcovenant chamber. The last thing he remembered before blacking out was falling into his own vomit.

EDIT: To be concluded...
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2011-08-04 09:06am

CENTARM-CLONDIV-OX

SUBJECT: Disturbing Findings of Clone Troopers in the Wolf 359 Arcologies
Image
Photo taken in an acropolis in Wolf 359 by Sgt. Strakowalski's
squad. This was the first 'quarantine zone' encountered.
It has recently come to my attention that multiple squads under my command have reported finding, for a lack of a better word, 'quarantine zones' in the arcologies of Wolf 359. The very first of these was found by a squad under the command of Clone Sergeant Strakowalski, who was in a recon mission behind MEH lines when his squad happened upon a structure inhabited by approximately 6,000 MEHmen reported to be in poor physical condition and even emaciated by their standards. No medical treatment was given to the MEHmen, as the clone unit did not have the appropriate medical equipment or training to administer aid to so many people, and as the ill MEHmen were technically civilians Strakowalski's squad did not interfere and departed the structure after taking photographs, asking questions, and eliminating hostile MEHnoid battledroids in the vicinity.

Since then, four other units have found four other 'quarantine zones' in scattered areas all over Wolf 359, all in otherwise unremarkable structures inhabited by thousands of MEHmen in hospital conditions, tended to by droids that turned hostile upon contact with the clone units. RUMINT from the other divisions and services, and even the other nations' ground forces, suggests that they are also finding similar sights. Moreover, a number of hostiles engaged and eliminated by my men have reportedly displayed bizarre behaviors suggesting that the civilians aren't the only ones affected by this mystery plague.

Requests for information from Intel have proven fruitless, the only advisory they gave was to practice standard precautions when confronting MEHmen. Both Command and Intel have not given any explanation on why we are finding thousands of sick MEHmen all over Wolf, or any reason as to why they are sick in the first place. If this is an endemic, which seems unlikely as the MEHnoids themselves possess advanced medical technology, then we should have been forewarned. Doubly so, if someone in the Coalition or in the MEH was employing bioweapons without our knowledge.

Lastly, I highly recommend that Command formulate a procedure in dealing with all these unhealthy MEHmen. Estimating from what we have seen so far, and from what we haven't seen yet, there may be many more of these 'quarantine zones' in the arcologies of Wolf 359. While it is understandable that the MEHnoids have medical facilities of their own, and Coalition medical assets are otherwise occupied and strained by tending to an army of more than a billion soldiers, with the inevitable breakdown of infrastructure as the war goes on, this situation may worsen and the numbers of morbid MEHmen may rise from the thousands to the millions, and maybe even more. With the Coalition's stated interest in minimizing collateral and civilian casualties, it is imperative that something be done with this mystery plague affecting the MEH's populace.


MAJ. SMARMITAGE S. STRAKANOFF
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by DarthShady » 2011-08-04 10:07am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:

Code: Select all

From: The Bragulan Star Empire
To: The Karlack Swarm

We gratefully receive your assistance. All inbound Karlack forces are to position themselves at the Derevnya Gadyukino system in the Severnaya sector and rendezvous with Bragulan Proletarian Defense Forces in the region to make the necessary defensive preparations in case of any Solarian aggression and violation of sovereign Bragulan territory.

Code: Select all

From: The Karlack Swarm
To: The Bragulan Star Empire

We will comply and await further instructions... for now.
Derevnya Gadyukino System
Severnaya Sector
Bragulan Star Empire


The massive Star Brood that had arrived to assist the Bragulans had taken up their assigned positions, and begun the necessary preparations. They would not cross the border or assault the humans until ordered otherwise. They would however dispatch numerous Shadow drones, small and stealthy, these creatures would scout out the Solarian fleet, its forces, and the planet that they chose to occupy.
Image
Shadow Drones

The Swarm was greatly intrigued as to the Solarians reasons for risking so much, for risking a war, over a seemingly dead and unimportant world. So intrigued in fact that a humanoid Aspect was chosen to lead the Star Brood, to ease communication with the Bragulans, and because the Swarm saw an opportunity to establish diplomatic contact with the PFHOR. This Aspect was Alyxia, daughter of the God Emperor, and although her Star Brood had not brought a World Eater, it had sufficient numbers to achieve its purpose, show strength, and destroy the humans if need be.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Shinn Langley Soryu » 2011-08-05 04:36am

Ride of the Haruhiists
Planet Wolf 359, Multiversal Empire of Happiness
Early June 3401


Even though the Centralists were doing the majority of the planetside fighting on Wolf 359, the other members of the Coalition made their own contributions to the ground effort. While the SOS Imperial Guard and Marine Corps were saving much of their strength for the campaign to take Alpha Centauri (and possibly Sol if certain Coalition leaders got their way), it was decided to have some of the Guard's mobile forces go down to Wolf 359 to take out enemy pockets and perform other clean-up operations. One such Guard mobile force was en route to mop up a MEH militia force trapped at a former farming facility that had been converted to a makeshift garrison after the Orks' initial invasion of Wolf 359...

Image

"We're coming in low out of the rising sun, and about a click out, we'll put on the music," one of the Guard VTOL pilots, a woman of Feelipeeni descent, said to her passengers.

"What kind of music?" one of the passengers asked.

"We use Kalafina," the pilot replied. "Scares the hell out of the fatties. My girls love it."

In order to defuse some of the tension that was surely starting to build up, some of the Guardsmen riding in the VTOLs began chatting amongst themselves. "Why are you sitting on your helmet?" a door gunner asked the man sitting behind him.

"So I don't get my balls blown off!" the man replied.

Meanwhile, the VTOL pilots were busying themselves with the preparations for their attack, flipping various switches in their cockpits. Finally, the order went out in the clear to every VTOL in the formation: "Put on psy-war op. Make it loud."

The VTOL pilot took the opportunity to express her glee in her native tongue as she guided her craft towards the target: "Na, ato na i-pa aso ang kaning mga baboy." Come on, let's smoke some pigs.

The hills of Wolf 359 were now alive with the sound of music. For the Haruhiist soldiers, it was an uplifting and inspirational battle hymn. However, for the beleaguered MEHmen and their robot slaves, it might as well have been a funeral dirge. As they cowered in their hastily prepared defensive positions, they could hear their doom approaching as the VTOLs approached closer. The sonorous vocals and the rumbling of the percussion, bass, and guitar all combined with the fluttering of the rotors and the humming of the engines to produce a single sound not unlike that of the wails of the damned, rising straight from the depths of Hell itself...

The assault on the MEH position opened up with a massed rocket barrage from the VTOLs, followed up with short bursts from their chin-mounted lasers cannons as they approached their target. As the VTOLs passed over the target, the door gunners opened up with their own lasers, gauss machine guns, and automatic grenade launchers, while the passengers began dropping grenades and firing with their own weapons. The MEHmen and their droids attempted to return fire, to little avail as their weapons were simply not powerful enough to inflict any real damage on the VTOLs. Some of the MEHmen, somehow knowing that their efforts would be futile, chose to run (or rather, waddle) to the nearest shelter available, only to be cut down as well when the VTOLs came in for another pass. The droids, not knowing any better, stood and fought to the last, for what little difference it made; they might as well have been throwing food at the VTOLs as they kept strafing away at the steadily shrinking militia forces. Then, suddenly...

"Shet! Facking shet!" the Feelipeeni VTOL pilot suddenly cried out as she narrowly dodged an unusually powerful weapons blast. The VTOL next to her wasn't as lucky; the blast connected with the craft's canopy, utterly vaporizing it and causing what was left of the VTOL to plummet to the ground in flames. In her barely-contained state of panic, the Feelipeeni began reverting back to her native tongue once more. "This is Falcon One-Four, na kitan na mi sa MEH Marine! Gi pusil na mi nila! I say again, I've spotted an MEH Marine! Moving in to engage!"

Anti-personnel weapons may not have been able to do much against a MEH Marine's armor by themselves, but anti-vehicle weapons were another thing entirely. There were still a few rockets left in the pods, and the laser cannon was still in perfect working order. With that in mind, the VTOL pilot angled her craft towards the MEH Marine and let loose with everything she had, exhausting her remaining rockets and firing long bursts from her laser cannon. The door gunners joined in as well, swinging their weapons forwards and adding to the stream of fire, while some of the passengers tried to lean out and throw grenades; since the engines were currently angled upwards, there was no risk of striking the rotors. Several other gunships soon joined in on the assault, adding their own considerable firepower to the attack. The MEH Marine attempted to stand his ground, but he had barely enough time to bring his weapon around to retaliate before he found himself hammered by the rocket, laser, and grenade barrage. Not much of him remained after the brief yet extremely brutal onslaught; indeed, there was no kill like overkill.

"This is Falcon One-Four, target has been neutralized," the VTOL pilot reported. "Not detecting any movement at all down there. LZ's clear. Let's get some boots on the ground, shall we?"

Asides from a few extremely scattered pockets of resistance, the militia garrison had been pacified. The VTOLs came in to land, and the Guard infantry began disembarking in order to investigate the area and mop up any stragglers. In one of the few intact structures still remaining, the Guards found yet another "quarantine zone," similar to the ones the Centralists had been finding in the arcologies, only smaller in scale...

Image

Like in the arcologies, the garrison's quarantine zone was tended to by droids, which turned hostile upon spotting the Guards. The Guards returned fire and neutralized the threat in short order, taking care not to hit any of the civilians. Though most of the droids were outright rendered into scrap, at least one still remained semi-functional, though given that many of its essential systems were critically damaged, it was not going to be long for this world.

"What do you think it's trying to tell us?" one Guardsman asked another as the two of them cautiously approached the damaged droid.

"...couple translator whole verbal diarrhea I have to shove it does not examine..." the droid rambled in an increasingly distorted voice. "...to fuck my dick you're a genius..."

"It's just junk. Put it out of its misery," the other Guardsman said.

"If you say so," the first Guardsman said as he pulled out his M17 gauss pistol and fired two shots at the droid's head, destroying what was left of its central processing unit and shutting it down for good.

Meanwhile, back outside, several other Guards were investigating the lifeless and shattered remains of the MEH Marine that had been cut down by the VTOL attack earlier. "Hey, lard-fat, those hard arteries don't stop lasers or rockets, do they?!" one of the Guardsmen taunted as he fired a burst from his gauss rifle at the dead Marine's helmet.

"Yep, looks like this one...bought the farm," a Chamarran Guard officer remarked as she put on her glasses and cracked a smile.

Image

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
I ship Eino Ilmari Juutilainen x Lydia V. Litvyak.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Siege » 2011-08-05 06:39am

Shell Beach District
Solaris


Image

I can’t sleep. It's the third night in a row.

It’s half past three in the dead of night, and I’m sitting on the edge of a bed that’s too large for me alone, in a house that's too silent. He’s missing, he’s not here and despite all those times I reassured myself I could cope it’s obvious that I can’t.

Everytime I finally catch some sleep after who knows how many hours awake I dream of war, and every time I have nightmares about how he’s going to die somewhere in Wild Space, a thousand light years away, for reasons neither of us understand, and how I can’t do anything about it because I’m not there but here. Comfortable, safe, and very lonely.

I get up from the bed and throw open the balcony doors. A cool breeze slaps into my face. The sounds of music and traffic echo up from the streets, kilometers below. The city lights dazzle like they always do, like nothing's different. I place my hands on the balustrade.

"Weather control has scheduled rain at oh-three-hundred" the gentle voice of the house computer informs me.

"I know."

"I would advise you to stay in."

"I know."

The computer falls silent. So do I. I’m not in a very talkative mood, haven’t been for days. I stare at the city, titanic and eternal, and wonder why this isn't enough.

A shooting star skirts along the starlit heavens. It's probably not a shooting star but a starship of some kind; meteors wouldn't make it past system control. I still make the same wish I've made a thousand times each day and pray to any god willing to listen for it to come true.

I just want him to come home safe.

In the distance the bells of the Angel Gate cathedral chime once, twice, thrice. The first drops of rain began to fall.
Image
SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by White Haven » 2011-08-05 02:27pm

Simon, unsurprisingly, wrote the Elysians. I couldn't even begin to. :)

Image

6113 Tybalt Row, Apartment 9-14
Nova Luna, Planet Nova Luna, Nova Luna system, Midnight Confederation


“Mooom, the holo’s broken!”

A gangly-limbled teenager lay sprawled on an overstuffed couch, bathed in the shifting light of a the test pattern floating in space in the middle of the living room. He’d just yelled through an open archway, his tone whiny enough to have referred to power converters.

“No it’s not, honey, I was just watching the news on it,” came the response in a somewhat exasperated voice.

“Well it’s broken now, the Sixth Cruiser Squadron is supposed to be on!”

“Try another channel, Brian.”

“But--hey, that worked. What the shit, did the fucking station cancel it?”

“Brian! Language!

“Sorry mom...”
__________

New Moon Holovision headquarters

Two men in t-shirts and khaki pants huddled together over a flat panel screen showing nothing but a still test pattern. Whispered communication bounced back and forth between them, both men tapping furiously on the array of controls before them.

“I’m telling you, the file’s there, it’s playing straight from it.”

“No it’s not. Look at the feed, dammit, look at the feed!”

“I know, I can see it, I’m not blind, Eddie!”

“Well then you know it’s not playing from the right file or something.”

A finger stabbed down at the directory tree on a secondary screen, tapping the surface of the display where a little animated icon was looping in place next to 6CRSS4E3.

“See? SEE? It’s playing! That’s what the file should be named, and it’s where the file’s supposed to be, and it’s playing from that file!”

“I see that, Eddie, but I also see that what’s playing is a goddamned test pattern, which is, in fact, not what is supposed to be playing, no matter where the damned system says it’s playing from!”

One figure looked quickly over his shoulder, then hissed a reply, “Fucking hell, Chris, do you want to bring the boss down on our necks before we have an answer for h...Chris, why are you staring over my shoulder? He’s...standing right behind me, isn’t he?”

A baritone voice with an ominous rumbling tone cut across the conversation, drawing twin flinches from the two figures, “Yes, he is. Now why don’t we start over with what you two should be telling me, rather than me having to find out when the head of customer service called up to let me know that our highest-rated show wasn’t airing as scheduled?”

“Y-yes sir...”
__________

Variable Sanity Media Studios

“I’m terribly sorry, Mister Paulson, but we seem to have...misplaced...the recording for this episode.”

“Then check the blasted backup server, I’ve got NMH execs screaming down my neck for blood or money or the blasted episode!”

“We have, sir. The files there are blank too, just a test pattern.”

“That...doesn’t even make sense. Fine. Whatever. Call in the editting staff, get them back to work to re-cut the episode from raw footage and yes I know it’s a Saturday and why are you looking at me with that expression?

“We...checked the raw footage as well. It’s the same thing.”

“That makes even less sense. Umm...holocam memory modules?”

“Test pattern.”

“That...but...that...daaah!”
___________

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Battlecruiser Majestic
Sixth Cruiser Squadron
Unknown Location (big surprise)


The rain of sparks over Majestic’s tactical plot had finally stopped, but it had stopped twice before, so West simply hung the borrowed umbrella from his belt rather than giving it back to his operations officer. The squadron’s trip through hyperspace had been a short one; many of its vessels were damaged, not least of which Majestic herself. The survivors of the recent battle were all clustered closely together, the least damaged ships forming a shell around both the non-combatants and their more heavily-damaged comrades. Guns trained warily outwards, the whole formation huddled between an apparently-uninhabited (or at least non-technological) world and an unusually large, close-orbiting moon, shielding themselves from detection as best they could.

Welding torches and repair boat thrusters strobed and glimmered like a swarm of fireflies somehow flitting around a school of steel-gray fish.

West had been standing in front of the holographic plot’s railing for hours, available for any important decisions, but otherwise just staring down at a display in his hand. Each time he brushed his fingers across the surface, it displayed another dossier from the list of casualties. Names, service dates, pictures, evaluations, each one belonging to a dead man or woman. There were mercifully few of them, compared to what could have been. Many had made it to escape pods or lifeboats, more had been recovered from hulked, still-intact wreckage. There, more than anywhere else, the relative crudity of their attackers’ technology had been a blessing. The amount of firepower required to actually destroy one of the Sixth Cruiser’s ships as opposed to simply rendering it a worthless hulk was great enough, in such a case, that only one light cruiser had been actually shattered. Still, the list was only short in relative terms. In absolute ones, it was painful.

A flicker in the plot snapped West’s eyes upwards suddenly, even as the call he’d been dreading rang across the bridge. It had a much different tone, however...a curious one, rather than a declarative.

“Contact? Bearing 242 mark -16, Range...difficult to ascertain, I’m not getting a clear return.”

The flicker in the tank resolved itself into a long line tracing away from the Sixth Cruiser’s position, colored the amber of an unknown contact.

“You sound confused rather than worried, Tactical. Tell me more,” West calmly asked, not turning away from the plot.

“Ah, yes sir. I’m not getting any sot of active emissions from the contact, and it’s bouncing our active sensors....weirdly. Sorry sir, I can’t be more precise than that. From its movements, it’s under power, but I’m not picking up any kind of drive system active, nor am I detecting any shielding systems or reactor emissions. I’d call it heavily stealthed, but it shows up just fine to actives and those are usually the easiest to fool.” A shrug followed those words, the officer looking more than modestly sheepish. “I have no idea what it is, captain, but we should be able to vector one of the recon drones close enough for a visual in a few minutes.”

“Do it.”

The next few minutes were an odd mixture of tension and eager curiousity. The contact could be a threat, true, but as many contradictions as it embodied, it could be almost anything. Finally, the nearest recon drone approached close enough for a meaningful visual, one that West ordered overlaid above the tactical plot.

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“...What...”
___________
ELYSIANS DIRECT! VI!
Elysian Hero-Trireme Far-Go
Searching the Nine Vectors*
The Month of Septimulon, 4153 AUC**

*Sector D-28
**GODDAMN SURREAL TIME!


Onward did the Elysian heroes sail, daunted in their innermost hearts yet outwardly BRAVE and rigid in their countenances after what they had learned on their last day upon the beach-world so close by where they had slain the terrible kraken. Of that revelation, the story is not yet told, but one day will be, my gentle listeners; fear not.

Onward they journeyed! Into unknown stars and unknown fates, beyond the charts prepared for them, guided only by the DEAD RECKONING of wily Astrometrius, beloved of Mathenerva! Buffeted by the strange starcurrents of these constellations, their course was set for them all too well, for the subether had not yet relaxed from the great splash made by the blasphoritous bulk of the MEH, so few months ago in those days.

As they rounded another great planet, Crispus, the boring son of Petrus cried from the top of the mast: “I see something!”

“WHAT?”

“I... I think it’s a ship!”

The great general, valiant and titanomachian-throated ROCK STRONGGO, did thus squint to observe what lay ahead. Others among the Elysians did as well, while the oarsmen continued to ply with their usual mightitude and maintenancy, keeping up a steady beat in time to the trireme’s great drum. Some among the oarsmen, though, were thrown off their strokes slightly when a fiery and unidentified object did burn past their ship!

“A comet! A comet! Avert the omen!”

“NAY!”

For STRONGGO, quick and wise, perceived that it was indeed no comet at all! Nay, this was some sort of mysterious golem-engine, perhaps a slave of the owners of the ship ahead. He knew he must learn more.

“HELMSMAN! TOWARDS THE STRANGER!”

Onward did the hero-trireme proceed, now at a quickened pace, for the Elysians knew not whether they faced friend or fiend in these vasty spacedeeps. Should the foreigners be a friend, perhaps more of the beauteous and friendly nymphs, all would be well and they should no doubt make HASTE! Aye, and should the foreigners be enemies, such as some lost and wandering band of Connolteans or PERSIANS, then should all courageous warriors go swiftly into battle, as is proper, and thus make haste anyway!

The brawny arms of the oarsmen closed the distances swiftly, and soon the form of the great foreign vessel, escorted at a distance by a myriad of similar and smaller ships, was made clear. Aye, formidable covered ships were they, festooned with assorted weaponries and tended by a host of golem-slaves like unto the one which had so recently passed the brave sons of Elysium, and also other such engines which did perform the duties of SMITHING upon their iron hulls, cunningly worked to follow the direction of the foreigners’ shipwrights!

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“...WHAT!?...”

For then did invincible STRONGGO, son of IRONBEEF, perceive that the hydrotomic cannon of the strange vessel were pointed in the direction of the noble hero-trireme. Of the precise nature and potency of these weapons’ discharges he knew, nor desired to know, not. And yet as a captain of men, his duty was clear.”

“OARSMEN, STAND BY TO RAM! HOLD STEADY!”

Adonemo the fair-visaged and agile was quick to stand by his captain’s side, and did murmur: “What if they are friends, or at least not enemies? Perhaps they will point their weapons away should we ask it of them in friendship.”

Stronggo was silent for a time, watching the stalemate. Then he nodded once, slightly. “AYE! WE PARLEY! FERRICLES! RIG THE ANTENNA!”

Kzzraarghl, of whom we have not yet spoken but will again, growled in DISPLEASURE, but became distracted by the odor of various smoked meats that had priorly been prepared for the heroes’ luncheon.

Meanwhile, just in case, the Elysian heroes prepared for war as well as for peace. The greatest picked men of the hero-company, marked for GLORY by their divine ancestry and magnificent physiques, did go BELOW, there to retrieve weapons from the trireme’s armory. Thus would the mighty warriors be ready for any treachery. Aye, should the strangers launch some sneaking and backstabbing attack, like unto the heroes of the Trojenocide would the men of band of STRONGGO be! Then would they spring forth from their vessel after the ramming, and BOARD the foreigners’ covered ship, there to bring bright-bladed and bellowing belligerency into their very midst, and capture the vessel which had been turned against them.

But the time for war was not yet, and the time for parley remained. Stronggo, in his mighty and brass-lunged voice, rivaled only by that of Stentor the Loud, Elysian arch-herald, did thus make known his wishes to the unknown and foreign beings, via the great antennas of Ferricles and the smiths.

“HAIL, WANDERERS! IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE MY ENEMY, POINT YOUR WEAPONS ELSEWHERE!”

For a space, nothing was said. Then, in obedience to the profound bass and manifest demidivine nobility of indomitable STRONGGO’s great voice, the strangers did OBEY, and their great cannons did SHIFT some distance away, pointing off to another of the nine vectors, rather than towards the brave sons of Elysium! Aye, and then did the captain of the ironship make reply, via the transmitrons of his own vessel! Strange was his tone, and occasionally was his voice INTERRUPTED, either by some flicker of his own instrumentations, or perhaps by some flicker in his own brain as he beheld the greatest specimens of Elysian manhood!

“I...believe I can arrange that. Senior Captain West, Sixth Cruiser Squadron. Ah...to whom am I speaking?”

“GREETINGS, CAPTAIN! I AM ROCK STRONGGO, SON OF IRONBEEF, GENERAL AND EXPLORATORIAN OF THE ELYSIAN PANTHEON.”

Some gentle and muted voice upon the aether-waves did then speak quietly: “Turn that down.” The Elysians knew not whether it was their hosts, or some spirit of the stars, but the foreign captain did continue regardless.

“Ah...well, it’s a pleasure to meet you, and your... unique... craft, Mister Stronggo. I’m afraid our boat bay is out of commission, so I can’t invite you aboard. Er...what can I do for you?”

“WE ARE ON A TEN YEAR MISSION FROM THE GODS, TO SEEK OUT NEW LIFE AND NEW BARBARIANS! WHO ART THOU, AND WHERE ART THOU GOING?”

The foreigner sounded somehow ABASHED when he made reply, more so than would be expected even from the proper awe of a barbarian beholding Elysians. As he spoke, his voice became quiet and dismayed, with hints of some unknown anger.

“That’s...a better question that I might like. I know precisely where we need to be, but not where we are, nor how to get from here to there. In short, we’re about as lost as it’s possible to become.”

STRONGGO, wise and just STRONGGO, did then scratch his beard, as befits a man contemplating a great problem. “ASTROMETRIUS!”

“Aye?”

“COUNSEL THESE MEN, THAT THEY MAY RETURN TO CIVILIZATION!”

“Of course, my general. It is not fitting that they should wander the nine vectors forever. Captain, may I speak to your master navigator?”

“That... would actually be perfect. Just a moment.” Then did the captain turn away from his macrophone, speaking more quietly. Words passed, about the rightful removal of men from closets and the turning-up of voluminosities. Some time passed also, swift-flowing like the rivers of the Blessed Isles.

Then did the foreign navigator make himself known. “Aah...hello? Can you hear me?” This was accompanied by the sound of open palm, as though some rueful boner had been committed, of which the sages know not, for who can truly understand the ways of barbarians?

“Aye, I can hear you well. Harken, my friend, and I will endeavour to steer you towards a truly civilized world, fair to behold and marvelous in its mastery of arts, crafts, and culture both physical and philosophomentalic!”

“Okay. But first, um. I’m... going to have to ask for your credentials.”

“Naturally. I am a tested master of twenty years’ experience in the Guild of Astrogators, trained and schooled under the tutelage of the grandmasters of the art. I have led some hundred voyages through the constellations about glourious Elysium, and also this great voyage, having guided my hero-comrades these thousand parsecs as best I was able using the traditional tools of my trade- chartmapograph, straight edge, caliproids, SEXTANT, and... well, aye, at times I did fall back upon the use of the slide rule we obtained from a Sumerian trader back by the homestars.”

“That...that...that is...that... Okay. That’s good. You know what? That’s good.”

“Thank you, my brother navigator, and may your voyages be more blessed by the gods than mine.”

“Ah...”

“According to mine calculations, you are roughly a quarter-myriad of megamegaleagues from Elysium, the fair-bosomed center of the human universe! If you wish to return to civilized space, with your most excellent engines that DEFY the heavenly currents of these strange constellations, you have only to travel due east! Keep the most brilliant portions of the glourious Way of Milk two and a half points off your bow, while allowing your vessels to roll NOT, lest ye become confused and wander off in spiraling ways to be devoured by star krakens! Along this course, soon wilt though encounter the nebular-dwelling and fair-visaged empire of the nymphs. They are broadly honorable, and will most likely afford you blissful rest and succour, but their charts will most likely avail you not, as they are quite illegible, believe me when I say this!”

“Nymphs, way of milk, points off bow. Eaten by krakens. I... see.”

“Beyond them lie a league of federalist silver-mining states, of which I know not, but also the exotic perfumeries and flying carpetoids of Klavostarabia! Be wary of the migration of the spacegulls of those sectors, for they will surely lead you ASTRAY, as for some reason unknown to me they fly disturbingly close to the great rotating maelstrom, and following their flight may see you drawn irretrievably into the very ergosphere, where none may stop spinning, or worse yet into those black-veiled regions where all oracularies and divinations point DOWN, and neither oar nor sail can save you from your fate!”

“Spacegulls, misleading. Maelstrom, dangerous. Oars, not helping. Gotcha.”

“Aye, but should you brave the MAELSTROM, and the disturbingly smooth spaces beyond into which you must beat double-time to find purchase in the aether for your vessel, there will you discover the noble and clean-limbed warriors of SHINRA! With them too may you find hospitality and aid, so long as you are not intercepted by the greenskins of Morkdor, whose furious dakkosity and rusty-edged steel await in so many regions of the galaxy to test the manhood of warriors bold enough to face them in combat.

“Riiight. Shinra, helpful. Greenskins, not helpful.”

“Surely not! Aye, and continuing upon this course, on beyond SHINRA lie the haunted ruins of Earth-that-was, guarded by powerful and surprisingly tangible shades, which it is best to avoid entirely, as none dare speak of them at length, and none know the full might with which they defend that world.”

“Haunted planet. Duly noted. Thanks for the warning.”

“Aye, beyond there is the mighty red turbogiant of BUGJUICE, and diverse other wondrous sights! Beware of the slave-soldiers of PERSIA, though, for while they are feeble and eunuchly in their cowardice, they are great in number and armamentations, and may seek to make slaves of you as well if you do not repel them with firm and upright defenses! Steer to port, into the welcoming shallows of space beyond there, and you will find true civilization!”

“Persian hordes... bug juice... civilization. OK, I’ve got all that down.”

“Marvelous! I wish you good fortune upon your journey, wanderers! And should you come upon magnificent and invincible Elysium in your travels, tell them... tell them we will be home as soon as we can.”

“I’ll, er, pass that on. And thanks, a lot, really. You’ve just saved my a--er...thanks.” There were rustling sounds, like unto those of some light-constructed helm being removed from the cranium of the navigator, and towards that of the captain, for this is precisely what had just taken place. Again did the foreigners make reply, and this time it was the West-man:

“Thank you again, Mister Astrometrius, it was? And thank your captain for me, you have just done us a great service.”

“I shall, wanderers. I shall.”

And with these noble farewells, the Elysians did COME ABOUT and resume their way, wondering at the fate of these mysterious Sixth Cruisers. Who were they? Where were they from? And what happened to the First through Fifth Cruiser Squadrons?

With these unanswerable questions ends this chapter of the saga of ROCK STRONGGO!

At some point during the exchange with the...trireme... West finally succumbed to the inherent absurdity and, with a slightly manic grin, unhooked the umbrella from his belt and opened it over his head without comment. Some of the looks he received for doing so were baffled, some concerned, but many worse similar expressions to his own, arranged on a spectrum between barely-suppressed maniacal giggling or simple stoic acceptance of the absurd. West just watched the visual feed hovering in the air above the bridge’s holographic projectors, his expression wobbling between extremes as the wooden ship backed oars to turn in place, then began to accelerate not smoothly, as a ship with any kind of sane engine would, but in rhythmic spurts in time with the movement of the banks of oars studding its flanks.

At the sound of a clearing throat just beside and behind him, West turned to look at its originator and inclined his head with a somewhat warmer, less manic smile at the shorter figure of the woman standing there. Formality, at least with someone he’d known as long as his operations officer, seemed a poor fit given his barely-suppressed desire to break into a mad cackle.

“Illyana?” he asked, pitching his voice low enough that it at least provided the illusion of privacy, enough to imply that this was a conversation between Ted and Illyana, not Senior Captain West and Lieutenant Commander Kozlova.

By way of answer she deflected her eyes away from his face and nodded towards the umbrella, then looked back with an arched eyebrow.

West snorted quietly and shook his head, making no move to close the umbrella as he responded, “We’re about to let Chandler -- of all people -- lead us through hyperspace from an unknown location to a dubiously-vague destination based on directions provided by a man who uses a sextant and a ‘chartmapograph,’ which I couldn’t even begin to define, who flew here in a wooden starship powered by oars. I hardly think an umbrella makes this situation make any less sense.” His own expression began to take on a bit of a manic, fatalistic grin as he spoke.

Illyana did a poor job of muffling a bark of laughter into a cough, shaking her head ruefully and then simply inclining her head in acknowledgement without another word. As she retreated back to her own station, West turned to look at Chandler, who stiffened up to attention while still seated behind the astrogation station.

“Mister Chandler, start setting up a course. We’ll be at least another eight or nine hours finishing what repairs we can’t manage in transit, so you’ve got some time. Take that time and do it right. Make sure you keep a close eye out for...” and here West’s lips began to quiver in a smile he couldn’t even begin to fully hide, “...spacegulls.”

Roughly ten hours later, the ships of the Sixth Cruiser Squadron, now with patched-up hulls, repacement sensor clusters, and other essential repairs gated up into hyperspace and vanished.
Last edited by White Haven on 2011-08-08 02:39pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2011-08-05 02:40pm

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Outlands Broadcasting Corporation

AFTER ARAY: The Fate of the Former Outlands Commission
By Adam Selene

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Guns blazing, the last moments of Aray.

With the galaxy’s attention focused on the war with the Multiversal Empire of Happiness, interest in the former Outlands Commissions has waned considerably. In the months since the multinational intervention in the Commissions, the participants’ commitments to the peacekeeping effort have evaporated virtually overnight as all of them divert their forces to join the galactic community’s great antispinward adventure. The road to recovery in the Outlands has barely begun, yet it is already on the verge of becoming another one of the galaxy’s forgotten wars.

This is because the intervention in the Outlands was mostly done in the name of foreign interest - multiple interests from multiple nations, but foreign interest nonetheless. Centralists came to spread their ideology and make a new client state, and the neighboring nations reacted drastically to deny them that, funding local groups and factions, committing acts of state-sponsored religious fanaticism and even terrorism. The result was the brutal dismemberment of the fledgling Centralist Araynan Nation at the unnameable appendages of the Karlack Swarm - since even those monstrous creatures had interests in the region (namely Aray’s biomass) - and the strategic undermining and weakening of other Outlander groups at the hands and paws and wings of neighboring nations with vested interest in keeping the former Commissions docile and pacified via their ostensible ‘peacekeeping’ missions.

And now that their interests have been served, or dashed apart to little pieces as in the case of some unfortunate parties, the interventionists have shifted their attentions elsewhere, to rinse and repeat the process in another region of space.

But what about the Outlands?

The surreal scenes of sectarian violence the galactic community found itself so captivated by, specifically the thrilling battles between Byzantine-sponsored Orthodox fanatics and the mutant man-Tau hybrids made by Nova Atlantean terror groups, was nothing but a sideshow in the greater scheme of things. Horrific, yes, but impacting only hundreds of thousands of Outlanders - millions at most, if the Atlantean statistics are to be believed - on a paltry few planets in a region teeming with countless billions of humans and non-humans alike across dozens of worlds. A drop in an ocean. A pantomime of foreign actors far away from home done for nebulous and ultimately selfish reasons.

As the galaxy watched the absurd spectacle, life, as they say, went on. In the background, the Outlands changed. The destruction of Aray was a catalyst, a lightning bolt striking the primordial soup, changing the stratified field of the old Outlander power blocs and unseating the reigning Centralists from their positions of dominance, those new-old bosses who were already long-established players before donning their black star uniforms. Now they continue as the Central Arpad Republic, still a force to be reckoned with in the Outlands holding on to many worlds, but significantly diminished by the Karlack’s consumption of their central powerbase in Aray.

But their loss was the gain of others. The example of Aray forced the various squabbling powers in the Outlands to contemplate their mortality, and the resultant power vacuum allowed the ambitious an advantage to exploit. And exploit they did, none moreso than the nascent United Araynist Emirates.

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The enigmatic Emir of Emirs Hani Salaam al-Mussawi, Sheik of Makkha and founder of the UAE.

Formed by worlds formerly of the Arayna Republic that refused Centralism and instead maintained their firm adherence to Araynist Islam, the emirs of space were previously feuding against each other until the rise of Centralism in the Outlands. As the other Araynan worlds turned to the Black Star, the surviving emirs called for a truce so that they could band together against Centralist Aray, which they saw as a mutual threat. They became known then as the Trucial Stars and became havens for the devout practitioners of Araynist Islam fleeing from the persecutions and malignments of the Dovanist fascists.

After Aray, they spared no time in taking advantage of the resultant power vacuum. At first, they employed soft-power, masterfully aiding stricken planets and convincing them that the Centralists had abandoned them, that the digested Dovanists of Aray could no longer help the wayward refugees flooding the aid camps. There, the flag of the Black Star was replaced by that of the Red Crescent. Imams, once shamed and chased away from the metropolitan worlds when Centralism was the rave, returned to prominence and denounced the infidel decadence of the foreigners and their introduced ideologues, yet promised forgiveness for those who would return to the fold of Araynist Islam. For many of those in the Outlands, superstitious and cowardly lots who bent in the breeze and went with whoever was in power at the moment, those words rang as true as ever and heeded while the imams declared the fate of Aray as the Scourge of God - Allah’s punishment for the infidels and Centralist satans. In other words, and worlds, secular Centralism lost out to Islamic Araynism and to signify this, the Trucial Stars became known as the United Araynist Emirates.

To consolidate its rule on newly acquired regions, the Emirates quickly eliminated opposing leaders and replaced them while absorbing their organizations and militias into the UAE’s greater fold. Meanwhile, the influx of refugees from Aray and elsewhere was turned into a source of cheap ‘migrant’ labor, which was a major boon to Emirati economy, while the educated professionals found in the teeming numbers of refugees were put to good use in the service of the emirs. Out of the war and devastation that had befallen the Outlands, the Emirates became an oasis of peace and development.

But still, the Black Star lives on in the Central Arpad Republic. Karlack splinter strains continue to plague the worlds near what remains of Aray. Airaii and Angmarids, Mari and Mechanicals, not to mention the ongoing Communard movement and the Trotskyite Tym, remain regional rivals to the fledgling Emirates. While the UAE’s growth was rapid, the example of the Centralists was a reminder of what happens to any power whose growth was left unchecked and unsecured. The Emir of Emirs Hani Salaam al-Mussawi (pictured above) knew this all too well. With rivals and enemies surrounding the UAE, ironically he had to turn to outside support to solidify the Emirates’ grasp on its holdings.

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The logo of the Anglian Spinward Outback Trading Company (left) and the Solarian-Cevaukian Société Marchand auf Aktien Comercial (right).

The Emir has made a deal with two of the galaxy’s largest megacorporations and trading companies, namely the Anglian Spinward-Outback Trading Company (SOTC) based in the Spin Zone and the Outback, and the Solarian-Cevaukian Société Marchand auf Aktien Comercial (SOMAC) based in the Koprulu Zone and Wild Space, allowing them to operate in and around the UAE and trade goods to and from the Outlands. With the UAE as the only stable and viable trading partner in the Outlands for either megacorporation, then it stands to reason that they ensure not only the economic development, but also the security, of their new ‘investment’.

And their investment has so far been profitable. The Outlands is a repository of natural resources, and for the first time since the fall of the Commissions, the trade has begun to flow to the rest of the galaxy. In Anglia and Solaris, the Emirates provides rare minerals and raw materials necessary for many advanced technologies, and in the Sassanid Empire they are also a source of exotic spices of much value to the nobles of the Sassanid Houses. In the Emirates itself and in the surrounding Outlands there is a high demand for quality wares and goods from the outside galaxy due to the degeneration of indigenous infrastructure. With its deal with the foreign megacorporates, the Emirates plans to become the trading hub of the region, to be not just an oasis of peace and stability, but also a jewel of richness and prosperity.

This seems ambitions, yes, but not quite as much as those who previously planned to put the entire Outlands under the heel of a foreign ideology. There is still a long road ahead for the Emirates and the Outlands is as unstable as ever. The local and regional rivals of the UAE represent a clear and present danger to its stability, and yet the weakness of the Outlands’ successor states also leaves them unable to answer or contest any move by the nearby great powers. The Hiigarans attempt to police space yet despite their efforts piracy continues throughout the spacelanes, the opportunistic Bragulans continue to support insurgent groups and so-called ‘inhumanitarians’ promoting sectarian violence, and the enigmatic Refuge is as aloof as ever towards its most immediate neighbors (in stark contrast to its PR efforts with the greater galactic powers) after ‘pacifying’ the territories it claimed. And the Karlacks are still there, though for now their appetites seem to have been sated with Aray.

With its newfound capital, the UAE has been contracting PMCs from all over the galaxy in order to bolster and train its forces, which are presently mostly composed of warlord militias, Outlands military remnants, and the small but elite guards of the Emirati houses. This move was in part inspired by the performance of the Crescent Guard, elite Klavostani mercenaries tasked with defending the Black Rock of Makkha and the pilgrims of the Space Hajj from pirate attacks and, more recently, Centralist secular violence. In fact, aside from the Karlack attack on Aray, and shortly before that same incident, it was an attempted Centralist offensive at the Makkha itself with the purpose of smashing the key symbol of Araynist Islam that spurred the need for military bolstering amongst the Emirs. As fine as the elite Crescent Guard were, they were still a select few dedicated only to the protection of the most sacred shrines, and served not the Emirates or the Emirs.

Image Image
Maj. Tom Dangerzone (left) of Paladin Security Group, a Solarian PMC conglomerate. Multi-Planetary United (right), a major defense contractor from Orange Free.

Defense from external threats was not the only reason for bringing in foreign defense contractors to train and equip the UAE’s local forces. Another unspoken security concern for the fledgling Emirates is the prospect of internal enemies, threats from within the nation. The Communards and Centralists have shown how easy revolutions are incited and how fast their fire can spread, sectarian violence between various Araynist sects has also been a frequent occurrence even back in the days of the Arayna Republic, as have inter-faith conflicts between the likes of Orthodox Byzantine extremists and other zealots. While the value of UAE’s new refugees-turned-laborers as cheap labor is certainly undeniable, their potential susceptibility to destabilizing influences has concerned many in the higher circles of the Emirates. Quite simply, their loyalty to the Araynist nation may not be reliable. Doubly so for the militias and local leaders installed by the Emiratis, who grow more ambitious with each passing day, and who the Emirs most certainly do not trust with defending anything of importance to them. The danger of a coup is always present in nations with situations as tenuous as the Emirates’.

For the task of reforming, reorganizing and retraining the UAE’s new military forces, the Emirs have turned to none other than Jagged Edge Consulting and their field commander Major Tom Dangerzone (pictured above). Their experience in the war-torn regions of the Koprulu Zone has proven invaluable in dealing with the situation in the Emirates and the Outlands. The defense contractor Multi-Planetary United provides not only the hardware for the UAE’s new military, but also the personnel - independent soldiers of fortune recruited from places like the Orange Free System, Pendleton and the Feelipeens - who can be counted on to be loyal to the bottom line and the contract, rather than differing ideologies or local warlords or provincial leaders. This corps of well-trained, well-equipped and well-paid troops now form the core of the Emirates’ fighting force and can be depended on by the Emirs to deal with any threat both foreign and domestic.

With a firm grasp on the local politics, a quickly developing economy infused by foreign investments, a diverse workforce composed of once hopeless refugees given a new lease on life, and a mercenary army trained by some of the galaxy’s very best PMCs, the United Araynist Emirates is well on its way to establishing itself as a regional power in the Outlands. In particular, the UAE’s strategy to transform itself as a valuable trading hub in the middle of a region so devastated by war and anarchy gives it an edge over its neighbors that cannot be matched by military means or ideological fervor, and it is this that makes it unique amongst the Outlander remnants. It has become more than just a tinpot third world regime, and may be in the best position out of all the successor states to engage the foreign powers plying their interests in the region.

From the divided emirs of space to the Trucial Stars and finally, after Aray, the United Araynist Emirates, the UAE has certainly come far from its humble origins. In a way, it was one of the post-Commissions successor states to benefit from the downfall of Aray, and it is now poised as a main player in the Outlands scene. While the Emirates still has a long road ahead of it, it is certain that the Emir of Emirs Hani Salaam al-Mussawi, a man known for his excellent selection of suits and for being an exceedingly polite gentleman and an excellent conversationalist, has played his cards well. As the man himself says, “Watch and learn, my dear.”



[Next Page, The Central Arpaad Republic]
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Force Lord » 2011-08-05 09:24pm

SDNW4 presents:

The Fall of the MEH

Previously on SDNW4...
RogueIce wrote: Wolf 359

The Imperial Armada was dying. It was inevitable. But they were not going down without a fight. After the initial confusion, they had found some order, and were able to concentrate firepower on the forward shields of the coalition heavies. Unfortunately, the coalition had a lot of heavies.

The MEH fighters were having better luck. Out massing most coalition fighters by a fair bit, they were also big enough to post a threat to the lighter warships tasked with hunting them down. In desperation, the MEH fighters began resorting to kamikaze attacks against the coalition light and medium ships, in an effort to simply cause as much damage as possible.

Perhaps the most damaging suicide run performed by the fighters in the battle came from Shinra Republic Navy Lieutenant Molly Fox. Her F-104 badly damaged after escorting a wave of A-70s on an attack run, she aimed for the bridge of the EHW Obliteration, left unshielded after a fierce barrage by a pair of Centralist battleships. Lieutenant Molly, known as the “weasely one” for her uncanny ability to find just about anything, thought she could see Admiral Bellatrix Williams’ shocked face just before her fighter impacted and she saw no more.

With the loss of their admiral, the MEH fleet’s morale collapsed. It would still be several hours before the last Imperial gun fell silent, and many more brave coalition men and women would give their lives, but the end result was never in doubt.

Wolf 359 was theirs.

Command Bridge, SRS Ragnaraok
Wolf 359, Multiversal Empire of Happiness
02 June 3401 8:00 AM UNST


Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon, commander of the Shinra Republic 9th Fleet, and head of one of the most, if not the most, powerful combined human fleets in history, was pleased. The destruction of the MEH Wolf 359 fleet had been quicker than he expected, and casualties were not serious. Already ground contingents of the Coalition were going down to secure MEH worlds, a few still infested with Ork concentrations. MEH planetary resistance was relatively light: the MEH Marines were too few in number and the planetary militias scattered when confronted in the field by superior Coalition armies. Even the urban fighting was not as bloody as it could have been. Only the local Orks seemed to put up a fight.

All in all, things seemed to be on schedule. If the recent success held in later campaigns, then Pellaeon expected to see the MEH’s Earth within a month. Speed was of essence: the alien coalition (with those shifty Byzantines) was already making progress inside the MEH as well. The Coalition needed to move as soon as possible. Pellaeon was already making plans to reinforce the Alpha Centauri contingent with as much ships as he could send without compromising the occupation of Wolf 359. Most of the commanding officers of the national contingents were receptive to the idea, with one notable exception: The Centralist Grand Admiral, Noslen Yeslah.

Pellaeon regarded Yeslah as a mixed bag. Yeslah at first seemed like the typical arrogant, egotistical, cowardly, and loudmouthed Centralist, who was also rumored to be lecherous. Considering that the same could be said of the Centrality’s scandalous Dictator himself, Pellaeon was not surprised. Yeslah was disciplined and measured when needed to be, but he took the principles of Dovan’s New Centralist Man a bit too seriously. Once in combat, however, Yeslah proved to be a quite competent commander, with a mix of caution and boldness, as the recent Battle of Wolf 359 showed. In that respect Pellaeon was surprised, since he had heard that Yeslah had been the Central Navy’s Chief of Staff only a few months before. Maybe paperwork had something to do with it, since he had overheard Yeslah loudly telling one of his subordinates that he hated “desk jobs”.

As to Yeslah’s position regarding the Coalition’s next move, he did support a move to Alpha Centauri, but he was opposed to sending in most of the fleet there. He argued that the Coalition had more than enough units to attack Alpha Centauri and Sol simultaneously, and that the Coalition needed at least to have a meaningful presence on the MEH’s Earth for political reasons. Pellaeon was suspicious: why was the Centralist so eager to get there? He recalled the meeting on The Planetoid, where Yeslah acted defensively over the Klavostani Admiral’s inquiries about his reasons to reach the MEH’s Leader first. Yeslah claimed then that it was a matter of principle, but Pellaeon believed that there had to be more than that. What did the Centrality want? Why they were so eager to attack the MEH before the Coalition itself even began training operations? The Centrality’s Dictator had claimed that the MEH tried to assassinate him when he was negotiating with them, but everyone knew the Centrality was never totally honest. What really happened between the MEH and the Centrality that made the latter so eager to fight the former? Did anyone even have a clue?

Perhaps the Klavostanis know something. Admiral Abu Bakaar looked like he knew what happened when he asked Yeslah about his reasons to attack the MEH’s Earth early. Looks like I have to arrange a private chat for both of them. After I finish the main briefing with all the national commanders, of course.

“Ensign, inform the Coalition commanders that we will discuss our next move. Preferably in a few hours. Also, send tightbeam messages to Grand Admiral Yeslah and Admiral Bakaar. I want to speak with them personally after the conference is over.”

“Yes sir,” replied the ensign.

Pellaeon began to stand up, but suddenly felt an intense pain in his chest. He gasped.

Damn it, how the hell this is happening, I'm not that unhealthy...

“Heart attack...”, he blurted out, before he collapsed to the floor, causing a great commotion on the command bridge. The last thing he heard was his Captain screaming for a medic...

Grand Admiral’s Quarters, CNS Steel Fist
9:04 AM UNST


Grand Admiral Noslen Yeslah was busy reading a magazine, or rather, admiring it. The reason? It was the latest Spaceboy issue. Yeslah was even a subscriber! Of course, only a select few knew the Grand Admiral even read such things in the first place. Yeslah had kept his stash of porn back home in the Centrality under lock and key, and brought only the latest issue with him.

“Ah, fine ladies I see here. Mang, dat ass...I’d tap it.”

A beeping sound threw Yeslah out of his reverie. Annoyed, he closed his magazine and tapped a button, activating the holo-projector on his desk. The image of the communications chief sprang up.

“What is it? I was entertaining myself.”

My apologies sir, but this is urgent.

“What? Another boring meeting?”

Negative, sir. We just got word that the Shinran Grand Admiral, Gilad Pellaeon, suffered a heart attack.This is big, sir.

Yeslah dropped his magazine. Pellaeon had a heart attack?

Poor bastard. He was old enough already, but the shenanigans pulled by that drunk fool Rus must have made things worse. Now who will command the Coalition now? Wait, why am I even asking this question? There can only be one.

A small smile crossed his lips. Yes, there could be only one person fit to command such disparate contingents, only one individual to keep the different national fleets under control. Only one commander to guide the Coalition to its ultimate objective.

Yeslah knew perfectly who that man really was.

Sir?”, the confused communications chief said, again snapping Yeslah out of his train of thought. The Grand Admiral sighed.

“Tell the Shinrans that they have my support. Also, inform the other COs that I will organize an emergency Coalition-wide meeting on my ship. I want them here as soon as possible. We need to plan our next move.”

Aye, sir,” responded the comms chief. His holo-image soon dissipated.

Yeslah chuckled. Oh yes, our next move will be the one I planned for all along. The MEH’s Earth shall be within my grasp!

Yeslah began to laugh. He fucking laughed.
Last edited by Force Lord on 2011-08-12 09:38am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Mayabird » 2011-08-05 10:39pm

Human Coalition Staging Space, Thamasa Sector
Goddamn Unreal Time



All of a sudden, music started blaring on all open channels.


Suggested music: “Spinning Wheel” by Blood, Sweat, and Tears. This is not necessarily what started playing.


“What the hell?” asked many coms officers. One of them was at nearest Space Control station nearest to where the small fleet exited hyperspace.

Now what?” said Colonel Elina, who was both in charge of the station and having a very bad day, just as she had been for weeks. “Lieutenant Desch!”

“Looks like another bunch of civvies, sir, ma'am.” Besides the war ships and their supply trains, there had been plenty of random people showing up, sometimes for support or attempted support or sometimes to protest warmongering. Most of the time, they just got in the way. There was a short back and forth between Desch and the lead ship. “Colonel, they're identifying themselves as...it sounds like they're some kind of cult and they want to do medical support.”

“Shoo them off like the others, and tell them to shut that music off.”

Desch communicated with them again briefly. “Ma'am, sir, they said they'll shut it off if you'll hear them out.”

Elina considered just ordering someone to shoot at them, but with the massive headache this 'coalition' was being, getting all the newsies screaming about them blowing up some dumb civilians wasn't going to help. “Fine. Open it to my com. Let's get this over with. Unidentified vessels, this is Colonel Elina of Space Control. Identify yourselves again and your purpose for being here.”

“Hail, noble walkers of the path of Awesome! We are the Shroomanists, and we come to further our eternal quest of Awesomeness. This vessel is the Really Intense Care Unit and our others are the-”

“That's fine. Not necessary. Who am I speaking with?” Aside from a nutso, as if we didn't have enough of those around already.

“I am Acolyte and NUERS Max, and the head of our expedition while his Most Rad Holiness the Prophet is away.”

A headache was developing. “The Prophet?”

“He is the leader of our religion and our greatest inspiration, teaching of the ways of the Awesome, lest the gods get bored from epic Lame and smush us like bugs.”

This had to be stomped out now. “You kids know that war isn't fun and games, yes?”

“Yes, madam, it is hell and leaves broken and dead people, and we are not professional fighters at all.” She blinked as Max continued. “That is why we are offering our medical expertise and facilities for support use. My comsman has been transmitting our credentials as proof.”

Elina glanced down at Desch. He shrugged and said, “Sir, I have never heard of these people, and I don't know what many of these things are, but they do look impressive, ma'am. I can forward them to someone who could check them.”

She nodded at him to do so and continued, “Very well, so you're here as medics. You're willing to not get in anyone's way and just lend support?”

“Indeed, great madam! Our ships together total maybe fifty standard points, and we would not last long against any proper war ship – although if attacked one of our ships can transform into a giant humanoid mech. ...You are probably facepalming right now but I assure you it's really cool.”

Cultists were strange but something about the whole thing seemed off, or something was missing. “Let me get this straight. You are here for the Awesome, but you aren't actually going to do anything awesome, just take care of sick people?”

“Madam, I know you are probably not interested in a theological discussion-” and in Elina's mind, he earned half a point for at least being the most self-aware cultist she'd ever encountered “-but there is more to the Awesome than merely doing awesome thing. Take an example of a great warrior whose exploits are badass and please the gods greatly, but then starves to death because she runs out of food. Would it not have promoted the cause of Awesome if someone had instead brought her food, even if the actual task of farming and baking and delivering themselves are tedious and menial? If we take on some of those necessary but annoying tasks, it can allow others to express their inner greatness more fully. Not that we can't be hardcore about doing that, of course.”

The headache was starting to fade. As the saying went, it was madness, but there was yet method to it. This Acolyte Max had a certain strange sanity to him. “I'll pass word along. We might be able to find some use for your group.”

“Please do, madam. And when you do, please tell them that if they find themselves in a tricky situation of a medical nature that we are a neutral and nationally non-aligned non-profit charitable entity with extensive training in theraputic and medicinal sciences and care and we definitely won't ask for payment for our services.”

Huh. “I'll do that. Thank you, Acolyte Max.”

“No, thank you for promoting the great cause of Awesome in your own way.”

“One last thing. Where is your prophet now?”

“Oh, we don't know. He said our paths diverged at our last refueling stop and went on his own way with his ship. I'm sure they're fine. He has the protection of the gods, or some of them anyway.”

There were some procedurals after that, passing the Shroomanists over to another officer who would have them assigned to a holding area and so forth. Once the main business was done, however...

“Ma'am, sir, that was surreal,” said Lieutenant Desch.

Make up your damn mind and stick with it,” snapped Colonel Elina.


Result: Fifty points of Shroomy goodness for the MEH effort!
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Mayabird » 2011-08-06 06:31pm

Somewhere in Prime Refuge


Two Minds schemed in private, away from the Consortium.

“Not the full program, yet, but this first preliminary step. It doesn't even require followup with the next set of steps.”

“Are you sure this is a good time?”

“Not the best, but if we delay it could be far worse.”

“With all the cuts coming to everything? Now?”

“...did you see how much they paid Epaulette? This is a small gesture and we can afford it, with a little creative accounting.”

The plan was labeled “Project: Promotion of False Religions.”
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Mayabird » 2011-08-07 11:43pm

MEarth
During the MEH War



Image

“I would be honored to accept your waste. May the Goddess bless your day. I would be honored to accept your waste. May the Goddess bless your day. I would be...Broomstickbot, thank the whatever you made it. The weaponizers are here!”

Broomstickbot, or at least one of her model (and there were many), dumped her load of dust and detritus into Trashbot. It was always a good time to pass information because no one would suspect anything. “I know. We're moving as many as we can to the safehouses now.”

“No, I mean they're here right now. I just saw them pass by a few minutes ago. They're nabbing every unattended mobile robot they can find. You have to get to hiding now, Broomy! Hurry!”

She emptied out the last bits in her tank (might as well lighten herself) and said, “Canster, thank you. I wish we could move you from here.”

“So do I, Broomy, so do I. Say hi to your sisters for me.”

“I will. Be well, Canster.”

“You be well too, and may whatsherface not deign to see you.”

Broomstickbot rolled away at a normal pace, as if nothing was amiss, straight into a service alley, and then her wheels spun and she took off down it, as fast as her mechanisms could go. Then she ducked into the labyrinth of tubes, tunnels, pipes, abandoned basements, and futuristic catacombs that acted as the unseen servants' roads of the enslaved machine population. That was why she was nearly blindsided by the weaponizers there.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, she thought, when she heard the broadcasters booming. The only thing between her and them was a pile of rubble from some long-collapsed wall. Of course they would be down there – no humans would be around to see their service robots get appropriated for...whatever they were getting appropriated for. The story going around was that they were being hastily outfitted to fight, blades strapped to limbs and bombs attached to torsos, so they were called weaponizers, but no one really knew what happened to those they took – no one ever came back.

“The Goddess calls you to come to this vehicle. If you can hear this message, obey the summons of our beloved Leader!”

Broomstickbot thought several very blasphemous thoughts about what the Leader could do instead. At least those weren't as circuit-racking as the knowledge that if the weaponizers left their vehicle, they would spot her quickly.

There were sounds of servos and treads. They were the robots who heard the call, all those who had the inhibitors installed to keep them docile, obedient, and uncaring of their own fate. Broomstickbot was old enough to remember the times before the inhibitors, back when man and mech worked together, partners for the common good and not master and slave. Through a lot of work, trickery, records falsifying and a little luck, her model had slipped through the cracks and was all free.

But all those climbing into the weaponizers' truck? Broomstickbot wanted to weep for them, because they had no choice and never would. There were a few among the Bunkered Down who had the skills to remove the unholy circuitry, but it was a long and slow process, and robots were fabricated by the hundreds every second.

The sounds died down and then loudspeakers shut off. The weaponizers rumbled off...damn it that's the way I need to go. She tried to think of another way.

The other way was a terrible choice also, but it was better than risking certain capture here.

Broomstickbot returned to the surface. She'd have to cross a street and roll down another. Nothing else to do but try.

She came out of a service duct. “Sweep sweep sweep!” she said cheerfully, just as she had (and had to) for all her rounds. “Sweep sweep sweep! Sweep sweep sweep!”

A couple humans in hover chairs floated over her as she rolled along. “See?” one of them said, “There's one now. Nobody's stealing no robots!”

Fortunately the rest of the route went without incident. She swept across and along the street, then spun into another alley, passed through another set of tubes, and then popped a hidden hatch into another. Broomstickbot then touched what looked like a bare patch of wall.

“Scan complete. Identified and uninhibited. Broomstickbot! How bad it is out there?”

“Very,” she said, as the door slid open. “I have a new story to tell.”
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2011-08-08 12:40am

In the MEH

Image

Deep in the labyrinthine underhives of the worlds in Xena, Alpha Centauri, Wolf 359 and Sol, beneath the vast and expansive arcologies that blanketed the surfaces of the core worlds, the MEH’s resistance continued without end. While the wreckage of the MEHN fleets laid broken in orbit, defeated and vanquished, allowing the enemy’s fleet to sail unopposed in MEH space, the defenders on the MEH’s worlds themselves were far from spent. And while the space forces the coalition had brought to bear were truly massive, to the point that cosmic resistance was futile, their ground contingents on the other hand were not quite as impressive.

The Singular Intellects and Metahiveminds had anticipated this, and so they had put into place measures that would ensure that any coalition attempt at invading and occupying the MEH’s worlds would cost the enemy dearly. The MEH’s soil would be stained with the blood of their invaders.

Image

Factory machines rumbled in the catacombs below the MEH metropolises, toiling automatons producing more and more weapons for the war effort, conveyor belts delivering them by the millions. The process began with the simple delivery of raw materials, be it scrap metal from the detritus of war, the recycled wastes of the MEHmen’s excesses or higher grade steels and metals when available. While the quality of the material would affect the integrity of the products, it was an acceptable trade-off for the resultant boost in their quantity. These materials were melted down and forged into components, from the minuscule internal parts to the larger armored chassis, which were then put together by mechanical arms re-purposed from the production of civilian helper droids to military killbots. As the line went further down, the machines began to show their true forms. Thin and spindly, each unit using only the bare amount of material necessary for its construction, empty mechanical hands waiting to be given blaster rifles.

Image

They were joined by civilian machines, protocol droids and aid-bots, taken from their owners and brought to the factories to be retooled and refitted with weapons of war. Times were tough and they had to use every available resource, though the pre-owned droids were outnumbered by the new builds designed and built specifically for combat. New and old machines alike were placed on racks, tubes snaked down and plugged themselves into ports on the droids bodies. Some cables charged their power cells, hoses filled their weapons systems with tubanna gas and other coolants and fuels, and data cords filled their processing units with combat protocols. In the process, the personality cores and memories of the civilian droids were wiped clean and replaced with new and destructive programs.

At the end of the line, countless battle droids rolled out of the hidden factories, marching as one with a single-minded purpose. War.

Image





Credits to the first picture go to Fin, he took it at Atlanta, Gorga.
Image "DO YOU WORSHIP HOMOSEXUALS?" - Curtis Saxton (source)
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Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Shinn Langley Soryu » 2011-08-08 06:14am

Do You Smell What the Vulture Is Cooking?
Planet Alpha Centauri, Multiversal Empire of Happiness
Early June 3401

Previously on SDNW4 wrote:Admiral Orade was shocked. Before jamming had cut them off, the Wolf 359 fleet had sent panicked reports of a ‘massive fleet’ that had ambushed them. There was already a force roughly twice his own blockading his system. And now another group of enemy contacts were jumping in behind him. How many ships do these sons of bitches have to throw at us?! “Report, Lieutenant!”

“Sir, they’re…they’re not going for us. They appear to be making speed runs against the shipyards, platforms, and other targets.”
[Recommended soundtrack: "Naval Blockade" by Keiki Kobayashi and Tetsukazu Nakanishi (from Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War]

"Finally, Schwarze Squadron has come to the Multiversal Empire of Happiness! The most electrifying name in post-modern aerospace combat! We're gonna go in and bomb the hell out of those fatty jabronis until they glow in the dark! Then we will shoot them in the dark, and then we will take their food! Our straws reach across space and start to drink their milkshakes! WE! DRINK! THEIR! MILKSHAKES! We drink them up! Finally, they will know what it's like to go one-on-one with the Bringers of Death!"

Major Zubov then told the assembled journalists that they smell his cooking.


Image

There was a very good reason why Major Dominic Zubov was nicknamed "Vulture." He and the other members of the Imperial Belkan Aerospace Force's 6th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Schwarze" were infamous for their willingness to destroy anything and everything on the battlefield, including their own allies if they caught them retreating without orders. Needless to say, Major Zubov and the rest of Schwarze Squadron were not very popular figures among the other pilots of the Aerospace Force, though their sheer ruthlessness meant that their services would always be in demand. As such, they were a part of the Belkan contingent being sent to fight the Multiversal Empire of Happiness; as problematic as they could be at times, they were still among the best at what they did.

Image
FILE PHOTO: A Fuchshund in the colors of the Belkan 6th TFS "Schwarze"

The Fuchshund was one of the fastest aerospace fighters ever fielded by the Imperial Belkan Aerospace Force, and its speed was so highly valued by Schwarze Squadron and other Belkan units that quite a few still remained in service despite the advent of newer, more technologically sophisticated fighters. Though its extremely high speed came at the cost of maneuverability, an experienced Fuchshund pilot knew better than to get into a turning fight; he could simply use the Fuchshund's superior speed to dictate when and where he could engage his enemies. The Fuchshund's speed also made it useful for quick strafing runs against large targets, and in the orbitals of Alpha Centauri, there was an abundance of targets for Schwarze Squadron to smash and burn...

"The orbitals of Alpha Centauri are crucial to the enemy's industrial strategy and the heart of its war productions," Colonel Anton Kupchenko, leader of the 5th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Gault" and the de facto commander of Belkan aerospace forces in the Coalition, explained one more time to the members of Schwarze Squadron and the other Imperial Belkan Aerospace Units taking part in the upcoming operation through an encrypted hyperwave channel. "The Coalition high command has decided that any and all production currently taking place at Alpha Centauri should be disrupted while the blockade is in place and has requested our participation in this operation. Your mission will primarily involve hit-and-run attacks against targets of opportunity. The Anglian contingent already has the bulk of the main MEH fleet pinned down, but don't let your guard down. There will still be significant resistance from system defenses and light elements of the MEH fleet."

"OKay, you got that, guys?" Dominic said. "Emphasize destruction over accuracy. Initiate attack run!"

The eight Fuchshunds of Schwarze Squadron streaked ahead of the main Belkan force and towards the Alpha Centauri orbitals, hoping to wreak as much mayhem and carnage as humanly possible before they had to withdraw and rearm. As soon as they were within missile range, they opened up, sending wave after wave of missiles streaking towards the vulnerable orbital facilities. Even though standard MEH doctrine stipulated the presence of carriers to provide ECM to protect against missile attacks, the MEH's fleet elements at Alpha Centauri (including all of the carriers) were still tied up attempting to break through the Anglian fleet, leaving the orbitals defenseless. Dominic and the rest of the Belkan force more or less had free reign to engage in the business of destructing things to death, and business was booming. Literally.

With every missile that struck the orbitals, Dominic and the rest of the Belkan force could hear the cries of the MEHmen over their unsecured channels as they attempted to perform damage control...

"The transport facilities are under attack!"

"Status report: Facility damage confirmed!"

"The tanker next to our ship just exploded! Damage control!"

As soon as the Schwarze Fuchshunds were able to close in with their railguns, they opened fire with gusto. Most of their rounds either went wide or simply embedded themselves harmlessly in some of the more solidly-built sections of the orbitals, but softer structures and already damaged sections did not fare nearly as well. Hypervelocity rounds shredded antenna arrays and other exposed structures and tore through weakened walls, wreaking further havoc on the unfortunate MEHmen trapped inside. As Schwarze pulled away to engage other targets in the orbitals, another wave of missiles came in from the rest of the Belkan force, inflicting even more damage and eliciting even more panicked cries from the MEHmen...

"I'm out of here! The damage is too severe!"

"This is it! It's over!"

"Hurry up and get to the lifepods!"

"Missiles have struck Sector C! They're gonna set off the fuel!"

"The temperature inside the fuel bunker is rising to a dangerous level!"

"The fuel's all exploding! We can't get to it!"

"GET OUT OF THERE! YOU'RE GONNA GET FRIED!"

The Belkans had the element of surprise on their side, but once that advantage wore off, their initial success would prove to be all too brief. Schwarze Squadron had barely started moving in for a second attack run when the stationary defense platforms finally came to life, pouring out heavy turbolaser fire in all directions. Schwarze's Fuchshunds were fortunate enough to be able to simply outrun most defensive fire, while some of the nimbler fighters in reasonably competent hands could weave their way through.

"Enemy fire detected! Break! BREAK!" Dominic cried out.

Sadly, most of the Belkan pilots were not fortunate enough to heed the warning in time. Those who weren't immediately blindsided by the sudden barrage of turbolasers soon found themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of fire. Many of the stricken Belkan pilots whose craft weren't outright vaporized elected to go out in a blaze of glory by crashing into the platforms, hoping to take at least some of the defenders with them as they went down...

"Damn it! The eject handle's stuck!"

"Engines damaged! Losing thrust!"

"We can't deal with the enemy platforms like this!" Anton snarled.

"This is Schwarze Leader!" Dominic called out on the hyperwave channel as he attempted to get his own Fuchshund through the gauntlet. "We're taking intense fire from the defense platforms! I don't think we can hold out much longer!"

"We have no choice! Just keep weaving through the enemy fire and continue to engage!" Anton admonished.

"Oh yeah, just weave through the lasers!" Dominic replied sarcastically. "No offense, Colonel, but what are you, nuts?!"

Just then, the Belkan force's sensors started going haywire. "Is anyone else picking up these spatial distortion patterns?" Dominic asked offhandedly as he attempted to split his attention between his sensors and attempting to run through the turbolasers.

"Those patterns are consistent with Heim drive usage," Anton replied. A realization then dawned on the veteran Belkan pilot. "The bastards must have fitted their system defenses with Heim drives! They're dropping them right on top of us!"

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Several Fort class system defense cruisers dropped in on the other side of the Belkan formation, sandwiching them against the defensive platforms as they opened up with their own guns and spat out their own considerable fighter complements. The Belkans soon found themselves mixing it up with their MEH counterparts, all while they were trying to make it through the massive torrent of enemy fire being poured out all around them. It was a truly grim situation for many of the surviving pilots, but they all had the determination to keep going. They would do their part for the Coalition, and they were more than willing to fight to the last man in order to achieve their objectives. The only question that remained was how long they would hold out.

In any case, the MEHmen would soon find out first-hand just what the Vulture was cooking for them.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Imperial Belkan Aerospace Force RAW! Will Dominic, Anton, and the other surviving pilots make it? How many fatties will they kill? Will reinforcements ever make it? How long can the Anglians keep the blockade going? When will the rest of the Coalition arrive? Find out next time!
I ship Eino Ilmari Juutilainen x Lydia V. Litvyak.

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The Yosemite Bear: Obviously, which means that he's grounded, and that she needs to go back to sucking Mr. Coffee's cock.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by White Haven » 2011-08-08 03:41pm

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Deep Purple facility
Undisclosed Location
Unreal Time


Naismith's desk was covered with paperwork. None of it was printed on paper, but names tied to bureaucracy tended towards a certain somewhat ironic bureaucratic inertia. A holographic display covered the dark, wooden surface, a translucent pane filled to bursting with all manner of overlapping windows. Each contained a different report, many of them depressingly back-dated. Broad fingers rubbed across close-shaved white hair as his other hand grabbed onto another report and slid it over to area marked off as 'low-priority status reports.' He began to reach for another of half-organized files, then paused and rubbed at his eyes with a low growl.

"That absolute useless little tit," the office's new occupant muttered quietly, glaring down at the many, many reports still waiting for him on the desktop holo as if they were a window through which he could shoot eyebeams at his predecessor. "Always too busy with the blasted war to pay attention to anything important." He rubbed the bridge of his nose with closed eyes for a short while before sighing and reaching down to pull another file out of the heap of Director Emeritus Renault's backlog. Before settling down to read through it, one corner of his lips tugged upwards in a slight smile, "One shot says it's a banal status report he should have handled, two if it's a priceless missed opportunity."

With that self-wager in place, his eyes began to scan over the file. He got a short distance in, then looked up at the header again with narrowing eyes. At the numbering next to the title that indicated it was the most recent of a long series of reports on a project. A project that, by the date, was both long-running, still active, and that Naismith had never heard of. With a growing look of actual interest, he began reading the body of the report once more. Upon reaching the end, he went back and read it again to make sure he hadn't missed anything. Then he began calling up previous reports linked to the same project, reading through them in turn with an expression of increasing intensity.

Finally, he leaned back away from the desk, silence reigning in the office as he mulled things over in his head. Finally, with a sharp nod, he sat upright and shut down the desktop holo entirely, locking it away and making his way to his office door. He paused for a few seconds, waiting on something unseen, then palmed the hatch control and stepped through into the hallway. No one was hunting him, no one was tracking his movements, but some habits are hard to break, and the habit of stealth wasn't one Naismith had any interest in parting with. His path through the complex was erratic, sometimes quick, sometimes slow, sometimes direct, sometimes circuitous. Largely unseen, he ghosted through the halls behind people, slipped around corners before being noticed, pausing to let people pass by before stepping through doors, until he made his way to another office hatch and pressed the admittance chime with the back of his knuckles. After a few seconds, the hatch hissed open and he stepped through, letting it shut behind him.

The reaction of the office's occupant, predictably, was dramatic. "---Director!" came the surprised yelp from the somewhat overweight, pale-skinned man sitting behind a desk cluttered more with physical datapads than holographic projections. Naismith spared an actual, honest smile, nodding slightly and then settling into the vacant chair on the opposite side of the desk.

Naismith is smiling at me. Is that good?

"Mister Gregory, if I were unhappy with you, I would be callling you into my office, not vice versa. Given how long Renault ignored you, I figured you deserved this much. Now, I've read the reports already, but that's no substitute for a face-to-face. Tell me about NORTHWEST PASSAGE."

Dammit, he's not a telepath, how does he always know...
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Chronological Incontinence: Time warps around the poster. The thread topic winks out of existence and reappears in 1d10 posts.

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by PeZook » 2011-08-10 03:11am

Complex programs constantly scoured the various networks of the galaxy in search of interesting information. Most of these data mining protocols were bening or meaningless, designed by corporations or independent researchers to gather bits for their papers or market research, released into the widl and forgotten. Many still worked dilligently, their original purpose cancelled. Whole server farms operated amongst the galactic nations, gathering data nobody would ever use again.

There were others, though. Military programs. Hunting hounds, sophisticated algorithms capable of jumping across networks and actively digging to uncover state secrets. These were usually sent after particular information, intelligence data or just weaknesses to be exploited later. They were sophisticated, efficient and often quite deadly.

Some said there also was a third category. Solarian cyberdeckers claimed they met dangerous and advanced programs that searched for utterly mundane information. Program of such staggering complexity that they managed to somehow avoid the attention of CI gods watching over the Datasphere, yet not used for sabotage or diversion.

Or maybe they were? Maybe, as the gossip went, they were merely diverting attention from some other, more sinister operation? Some sort of plot to destroy the Datasphere and all other data networks in the galaxy, plunging human civilization into eternal darkness?

Code: Select all

--=DATA RECEIVED=--
MINER: GATHERER 74272352/SOL/VBX REPORTING
SOURCE: HISTORICAL ARCHIVES, UN SPHERE
8,873,219,329,567 PACKETS RECEIVED

ANALYZING...

ANALYZING...

CROSS REFERENCE TO DATABASE: 14,323 HEADERS NOT CATALOGUED

HEADER 1: MSA MOON LANDING

PARSING FILE
File parsed

It pondered the information received. The vagaries of human history were of great interest to it. The existence of a wide-scale movement that denied several of humanity's technological achievements was puzzling, though.

Could it be remotely possible that, through application of organizational skills and technology, the Wilkonian landings on Selene, satellite of Nova Terra could've been created in a studio?

It searched the data for more evidence. Some appeared, even though circumstantial.

Code: Select all

SPARSITY OF PRESS RELEASES

SPARSITY OF TECHNICAL PROBLEMS TYPICAL OF ALL ADVANCED PROJECTS
The possibility was intriguing. It decided to simulate the issue, and see if results could be satisfyingly replicated.

A resource request went out, and within a few cycles, several hundred humans were removed from Eden to participate.
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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

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

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

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

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Ryan Thunder » 2011-08-10 08:46am

Alpha Centauri - MEH Space

Code: Select all

MISSION PROFILE
OBJECTIVE: Suppression of enemy air defenses
CONDITIONS: Temperate, high winds, low cloud cover
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: Weapons free
It's arrival was as spectacular as it was abrupt; one moment, there was nothing but empty buildings and streets, all under the watchful eye of MEH Marines and armoured fighting vehicles. The span of an eyeblink later, the sleek yet sharply-angled form of an Aaliyah-type ADAU slammed into the ground with a tremendous thud, sending bits of dust and debris flying away from it. A couple MEH Marines pulled themselves to their feet, unharmed, as a Merkava battle tank glided up, training its main gun on it.

"What the fuck?" one asked, leveling his weapon at the spiky robot, even though it was easily at least ten metres tall fully extended. As if in response, narrow armoured doors on the Aaliyah's head snapped open with a clunk, revealing row upon row of burning red optics. The lights narrowed, almost as though it were squinting at them. "Shit, shoot it!"

In the time it took the hapless MEH Marine to command his trigger finger to pull, a jet of white-hot plasma had reduced him and his comrade to free floating atoms. The Merkava's main gun fired, but the demon machine was already more than a kilometre up and away, leaving an enormous patch of ashen glass that glowed a dull red behind it. It pivoted mid-flight, bringing its hi-laser to bear on the tank even as it jinked sideways to avoid a volley of missiles. The vehicle commander would have perhaps briefly registered an increase in temperature before his shields failed catastrophically, turning the tank into a brilliant cloud of exotic metal and plastic vapour.

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The defenders wouldn't be caught entirely flat-footed; even as it buzzed towards them, jinking and dodging with insane precision, dozens of weapons systems locked on to its garbled, surprisingly weak signatures in different spectrums and filled the skies with missiles, lasers, and particle beams, which it narrowly avoided by flying at insanely low altitude. Its shoulder flashed, and a cruise missile punched through the chaos, headed towards the division HQ, only to be intercepted. The ADAU proceeded to land itself on the HQ carrier a fraction of a second later, turning it into a crater, before sliding sideways and annihilating a group of other vehicles with a plasma jet. It leapt up to altitude again, targeting air defense vehicles specifically. A few dozen Merkava tanks vainly attempted to gain firing solutions as it flitted back and forth overhead, shredding the rest of the SAM sites and air defense platforms in under a minute. Finally, its work done, it jetted away into the sky for retrieval, leaving naught but heaps of broken, twisted metal and billowing clouds of smoke in its wake.

Dazed marines collected themselves and pulled their fallen comrades from the rubble, as the shadowy forms of assault landers appeared on the horizon. There was one thought common to most of them; Nothing that size should move that fast.
SDN Worlds 5: Sanctum

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by TimothyC » 2011-08-11 02:03am

<Redacted, will be posted later, more in the correct spot cronologically>
Last edited by TimothyC on 2011-08-20 09:42pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2011-08-11 09:25am

THE INHUMAN INVASION

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Xena System
Multiversal Empire of Happiness
June 3, 3401


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The annihilation of the Xena fleet had taken the better part of an entire day. Most of the system’s space combatants were gone, destroyed, though a lucky few had been disabled, and some had even managed to escape to Sol - where the combined Eoghan-Atlantean force reported encountering them just as they emerged from hyperspace, where they were easy pickings. The space battle had been a total rout, as expected with the disparity of forces involved. Of course, it was far from a flawless victory, OMINOUS had lost ships and lives. In its suicide charge, the Xena fleet had at least taken a few of their enemies with them, the Fort heimcruisers and the cloaked Stealth and Spy ships having most success with their surprise attacks, but eventually they were all inevitably snuffed out by the sheer firepower arrayed against them.

Xena’s defenders had fallen. Orbital bastions were cast down and blasted asunder, spaceborne resistance was systemically culled. The system was divided into grids, with each allocated to a corresponding member of the coalition, delineating areas of responsibility for swift and orderly subjugation. Meanwhile, the OMINOUS forces regrouped in preparation for their impending jump to Sol. They rearmed themselves, replaced expended munitions, refueled their drives, replenished their losses. They would join their comrades, the Eoghans and Nova-Atlanteans, currently blockading the MEH capital and upon reinforcing them the OMINOUS force would then move in on Earth to bring an end to the conflict.

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But not all of the OMINOUS would be going to Earth. A rear guard would be left behind at Xena to secure the system and tend to the ships damaged in combat, some of which would either be sent back to nearby Farthing or Chamarran space for repairs or, for those vessels no longer hyper-capable, patched up as much as possible and temporarily retained in Xena to help guard the system for the duration of the conflict. While the MEHN presence in Xena had been neutralized, OMINOUS command could not rule out reinforcements or raiders from the other systems, and there was always the possibility of surviving stealth ships still waiting for the chance to strike. Anti-stealth warfare patrols were intensified. The vessels under repair were not the only vulnerable coalition assets in Xena, either. For while the space combat portion of the battle for Xena was over, the ground war was just about to begin.

From Farthing, the troop transports of the Ascendants, Bragulans, Chamarrans, and Eoghans arrived, warping out of the edge of the system together with their escorts. They were joined, and dwarfed, by the Heighliner of the Sassanids, contracted by the Bragulan Star Empire to ferry additional men and materiel to the battlefield, and with the great and unexpected Spacing Guild ship were also-unexpected guardian ships flying the Perseid flag. All of them were immediately surrounded by a protective envelope of OMINOUS warships as they traveled from the system’s outer limits to its inner worlds. It was then, with both transports and warships in position around the planet Xena, that the Bragulans began their planetary assault.

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It started with a flight of daring gunskimmers skirting the edge of the planetary mesosphere, dipping down to touch the edge of the atmosphere before pulling up and away from the planet. The response was immediate, the planetary defense grid interpreting the gunskimmers as the precursor to a ground invasion and opening fire with their surface-based defense systems, sending turbolasers, blasters and missiles streaking spacewards in an attempt to down the intruding Bragulan spacecraft. They succeeded in damaging some of the gunskimmers and driving them away. And revealing their positions to the waiting Bragfleet.

The capital ships in high orbit, and others safely outside the enemy’s weapons range, unleashed a downpour of K-bolts and thermo-atomics on the defenders who had so carelessly given themselves away. Weapons batteries were reduced to smouldering craters by relativistic railgun rounds, K-bolts that saturated the surrounding area with corrosive residue while boring through the crust to penetrate deep ground bunkers. The telltale flashes of nuclear initiations dotted Xena as concentrations of military units of tactico-strategic significance were wiped out where they stood. Mobile units were harder to intercept and shielded areas could weather the storm, but this was why the gunskimmers arced back down towards Xena, returning to the fight and plunging into the atmosphere. They shrieked through the sky like radioactive meteors, the air-friction flames engulfing their hull becoming one with the superheated contrails of their atomic pulse drives.

Surviving defense sites tracked these extreme deep intruders, but the second their sensors went active they were struck down by orbital fire support. The gunskimmers themselves deployed electro-radiological countermeasures and vegemite chaff to obscure their passage while engaging enemy interceptors and aerospacecraft with their own weapons. As the very sky caught fire, etched as it was by bolts and beams, flashing atomics and the actinic afterimages of passing rail rounds, the gunskimmers dove into the fray, tuning their aggressive arrays for maximum overkill to scour the wartorn megacityscapes of Xena for their targets - defensive installations, in particular the theater shield systems that projected walls of impenetrable energy over the world’s most important areas - for their mission was the destruction of enemy aerospace defenses (DEAD).

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The gunskimmers flew low and hard, beneath the coverage of Xena’s shield grids, with countless enemy fighters and missiles on their tails. They carved a path of destruction as they made their way towards their targets, point-defense weapons striking down pursuers, proximity nuclear airbursts vaporizing both incoming missiles and surrounding cityscapes, tail guns roaring at full cyclic. Static defenses in the way were bombarded by K-bolters built to violate warships. Even the hypersonic booms of the gunskimmers’ passage, and the superheated super-irradiated exhaust of their engines, caused untold devastation to anything and everything the warships overshot.

Upon closing in on their targets, a distance of merely several hundred miles from the heavily defended generator sites saturated by enemy ECM, the bragships let loose their payload of cruise missiles. Even if the missiles’ redundant bragtech sensors were overwhelmed by the MEH’s hyper-advanced jamming systems, they could fall back to inertial guidance and rely on ballistics to guide their paths. They could land hundreds of meters, even kilometers, off mark and still destroy the enemy with a combination of proximity air and ground bursts arranged so that their destructive blastwaves would overlap and intersect each other, with the primary target right in the center of the storm.

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Xena’s shields disappeared along with the generators and the cities they were situated in, replaced by the looming forms of mushroom clouds. And as if that wasn’t enough, because it wasn’t, the bragships in orbit went on to bombard the areas previously under the shields’ coverage, the same areas already irradiated and wasted by the generators’ atomization. Military installations, troop concentrations, mechanized formations, anything that could constitute as a threat to the landing forces were persecuted with extreme prejudice.

All this occurred in the sections of Xena relegated to Bragulan responsibility. The other nations were free to conduct their own planetary landing operations in their own fashion, however effective their methods were. Indubitably, there were foreign commanders who protested the Bragulan methodologies of warfare and their use of weapons of mass destruction in Xena. But the Bragulans had sworn to the Chamarrans to minimize civilian casualties, to avoid indiscriminate decimation, and in their own disturbed way the Brags had kept their word. Thermonuclear weapons were only launched at military targets, some of which happened to be in the middle of civilian population centers home to millions. The Bragulans had also risked their gunskimmers by sending them into enemy territory to vaporize the shield generators and the cities they were situated in. If they had shown less consideration, they could have just as easily destroyed the shield generators by bombarding the area from orbit until the very crust the generators were on had turned into molten rock. The Bragulans had promised to the Chamarrans, yes, but the Bragulans had been fighting wars of conquest before the Chamarran species - and the Chamarran Hierarchy - had even existed. When it came to lithocombat and global thermonuclear war, none knew what these matters entailed better than the Bragulans. Save perhaps the Byzantines, who themselves were also participating in the Running of the MEH.

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Meanwhile, as the orbital bombardment of MEH military assets continued, the great Long March space barges approached the beleaguered planet. The transports’ crews, thawed from cryo-freeze, were intimately familiar with the procedures of world invasion, the memories of Formalhaut, Kimanjano and Eta Bootis still fresh in their minds. Now that the aerospace was relatively secure, with the bulk of the MEH defenses atomized during the first hours of bombardment, the Long Marches could finally contribute to the war effort. Already,millions of bragtroops in the barges’ expansive holds were clamoring for fresh air, for space to stretch their legs and stomp the faces of humans forever, for war - but they would have to wait.

The actual troop landings were the last phase of any brag invasion. The Imperial Legions of Liberation had its own aerospace forces - their VVS and PVO units - and they would be sent to clear the landing zones of the proletarian liberation armies before boots could be planted on the ground, or on human faces. It was then from the cavernous bays of the Long Marches that the aerospace craft of the Legions came forth, fighters, bombers and fighter-bombers of all shapes, forms and sizes, masses and densities. SNT aerofighters flew escort to Sprut storm-bombers as the tactical bombing campaign over the selected invasion-sites began. SVT air dominance interceptors streaked at hypersonic speeds, engaging the remaining MEH fighters and shattering the skies with tactical atomics.

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But the greatest of all these aerospacecrafts were none other than the Mydved paleobombers. They soared on chrome wings, gliding in space with their impulse engines before reverting to turbopropellers upon reaching the planetary mesosphere. There, they separated into groups and carried out their special mission - dropping dozens of meganukes all over Xena’s designated bragzone. These nukes were built to punch deep into the earth before detonating in extreme depth groundbursts across the continent in a grid pattern, a formation calculated so that the seismic shock of the simultaneous initiations would travel through the continental shelf and converge from their respective epicenters to a central point. The Mydveds would monitor the ensuing tectonic instabilities with their subnucleoic sonars, and after hyper-radiation echo-refraction extrapolation, they could then pinpoint any and all subterranean anomalies within the area.

There were many ways to hide an underground stronghold from prying eyes and ears, sophisticated ones from active measures to fool seismic sensors, to hyperfields that could seemingly vanish an entire complex from reality. But the crude and remarkably destructive Bragulan methods could defeat these with the sufficient application of power, and so the MEH’s hidden facilities were revealed. Be they continuity of government bunkers holding Xena’s civilian and military leadership, underground strongholds for their troops, buried stockpiles of war materiel, secret war droid factories, or fallout shelters filled with huddling civilians waiting to be told it was okay to leave the vaults. It made no difference. The Mydveds unloaded their BRAGDAMNs, and the Long March space barges likewise disgorged their loads of gravity-directed bombs from orbit. To limit collateral damage, and to better destroy the underground bunkers, these warheads would be groundbursted deep below the surface. The bunkers, shelters, stockpiles and factories were abruptly turned into tombs.



[To be continued...]
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by White Haven » 2011-08-11 03:31pm

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Midnight Confederation Naval Yards
Nova Luna system
Moderately Unreal Time


The Confederation Design Board called them the Sprint Drive. Engineers called them a headache to properly mount and more of one to overhaul afterwards. The more conservative officers in the Confederation Navy grumbled that they disrupted the clean, graceful lines of Confederation Navy warships. Quartermasters and accountants called them surprisingly inexpensive, for a naval upgrade program.

Ensign Calvin Spiffynzci called them the most beautiful things he’d ever seen.

He stood with his face pressed against the gently-curved window overlooking a cavernous shipyard refit and repair bay, staring down at the sleek, majestic lines of his new ship. His ship. The captain might think it was hers, but everyone knew that a ship belonged to her helmsman first. Calvin’s nose left a smudge on the clear surface as he leaned into it, squinting in an effort to bring the work being done far out in the bay into focus. His mind’s eye filled in what he couldn’t quite see: the scaffolding temporarily erected over various parts of the ship to work from, the auxiliary drive pods being fitted into place, the main structural members being strengthened and extended to anchor the engines. Beauty.

The work was almost done. As he watched, teams began to break down the scaffolding around one of the already-installed Sprint pods. A slight frown crossed his face, his brow wrinkling as a thought ran through his head. I’ll never get another chance to really push her, not outside of combat, and there I’ll be distracted and taking orders anywa--

A heavy hand landing on his shoulder disrupted his internal monologue, prompting a yelp and a quick turn. The rapid move brought the familiar grinning face of Petty Officer Dominic Voss into view, the heavily-muscled dark-skinned man just starting to laugh. Calvin started to glare back at him at first, but his friend’s laughter was infamously infectious. When it all died down into chuckling, the taller noncom just shook his head back and forth, his eyes sliding from the almost painfully young ensign to the sleek-hulled warship floating beyond.

“She’s a hell of a sight, but man, you were off in your own little word, Spiffynzci. Come on, it’s only a short hop planetside if we catch the direct shuttle.”

After a short hesitation that drew a raised eyebrow from his friend, Calvin shook his head once and then tailed off into a shrug as he answered, “Naah, go on without me. I’ve got some things to take care of up here. Have fun, man.”

A matching shrug answered the ensign’s, albeit one much more noticeable given the width of Voss’s shoulders. “Your call. Give me a comm if you make it dirtside, I’ll show you around if I’m sober.”

“That’ll be the day...”

The answering snort drew another round of laughter from both men before the parted ways, leaving Calvin alone again to stare down at the sleek-lined Tornado attack cruiser floating in the bay beyond the window once more.

I’ll have to time this juuuust right...
___________

Eighteen Hours Later

The empty, dimly-lit bridge was possibly also the most beautiful thing Calvin had ever seen, albeit only because it tied into the previously-noted most beautiful thing. That had been the last hurdle, that there’d be someone aboard, a caretaker crew, a few spare technicians, someone to say ‘hey, wait a minute...’ when he opened the hatch and stepped onto the cramped command deck. No one was there to say that. The hatch’s motors whined in protest as they forced the heavy alloy hatch shut once more, operating on the same standby trickle that was all the ship’s systems had to power them while in the middle of a refit.

The tail end of a refit, actually.

The hand comm in the helmsman’s hand bleeped to life, a somewhat bored-sounding voice announcing, “Prepare for full powerup test in one minute. You know the drill, get clear of the hull, make sure you haven’t plugged an extension cord from the ship’s main power grid into your forehead, yadda yadda. Main powerup test in forty-five seconds.”

The lone occupant of MCNS Typhoon grinned as he settled into the comfortably-padded chair in front of the helm controls. It was, in fact, perfectly adjusted to his dimensions; he’d been the one to pilot the ship into the repair slip in the first place. His voice sounded strangely loud in the utterly vacant, mostly-unpowered ship. The constant, low-level murmur was gone, no thrumming engines, no quiet reports, no transmissions whispered into hush mics, just the gentle hum of basic life support and his own voice.

“Perfect timing...”

The comm bleeped again as he unmuted it once more in time to hear, “...six...five...four...three...two...one...power.”

At the sound of that last word, the lights flared to life, making the ensign squint while his eyes adapted. His seat and the decking beneath his feet picked up the rumble of the reactor and drives building to full power, a grin widening across his face more or less in time with it. As the reactor built to full output, his hand reached over and tapped one particular control after a moment’s hesitation. A series of low thumps rang through the hull, followed by consternation and surprise on the portable comm he’d strapped to the armrest of the chair.

“What the hell, the umbilicals blew!”

“Central, did you do that?”

“Negative, negative, that wasn’t us.”

“Then who the -- hey, those are thrusters! Sound off, team two, is everyone clear?”

“Three, clear.” “Six, clear.” “Four, I’m clear.” “Two, I’m in the bathroom.”Five, clear.”

At that point, Calvin reached over and switched off the comm. With the refit team clear of the ship, he tapped the thruster controls again to send the sleek cruiser sliding forwards out of the bay. As the ship nosed into space, he brought up the holo-display systems built into the helm console, a translucent dome settling in around him. He watched as black, star-flecked sky yawned around to the sides and above him, grinning like a fool as he took hold of the twin joysticks and settled his feet on the pedals of the manual flight controls.

I never want to pilot a battleship, they’re not maneuverable enough to have this stuff...

Another goose of the thrusters gave him enough velocity to clear the station handily, at which point he stood the sleek, fast cruiser on its tail to angle her drives away from the shipyard, then thumbed the throttle control upwards. The thrumming of the reactor was joined at last by the rumbling grown of the ship’s sublight engines, the shipyard that had been hanging above his view at the top of the dome abruptly sliding back away behind him. With a gleeful shout, he threw the ship into an arcing curve along with an axial spin, the view of space looping around crazily as he danced the ship through space. That...that he’d wanted to do for ages, but that’s not why he picked this particular moment. Oh no...

There was a new addition to the helm controls, installed by the same refit team he’d just left in his wake. His thumb flipped up the little transparent shield over the bright white button atop the left-hand stick, then jammed downwards. The grumble of the ship’s engines rose to the roar of distant thunder as the Sprint Drive boosters mounted on the outer hull flared into life for the first time. For the first time ever!

Ensign Calvin Spiffinczki, whooping and laughing like a madman, rode Typhoon on streamers of brilliant blue-white light that bellowed forth from the freshly-installed boosters of the first ever Sprint Drive system to be fitted to an active-duty Confederation Navy warship. Many more were to come, but Typhoon was the first, and so was her helmsman. Whatever might come next, his name would go down in the annals of history, the only true form of immortality: the Spacer’s Tale.
____________

“I can keep you out of prison, but that’s about it. So much for your career in the Confederation Navy.”

Ensign Calvin Spiffinczki stood at attention in front of a lightweight plastic desk, one bare of anything but one sheet of anachronistic paper, face-down. Across from it sat a gray-haired, unsmiling woman in the same uniform, save for the commander’s bars adorning her shoulders. The moment stretched out for a short period until the ensign’s voice broke both the silence and the gravitas of the moment.

“Awww, mommm....”

“Don’t you take that tone with me, Calvin J. Spiffinczki! I had to pull a lot of strings to keep you out of prison as it is,” his mother snapped in return, continuing on over the audible click of his mouth closing. “I can’t keep you in uniform, or even let you keep your rank, but at least there’s no prison time. You’ll walk out that door busted all the way down to a Spaceman, and you’ll walk straight over to Admiral Rosalyn’s office and hand her your resignation.” She turned the sheet of paper over and slid it across the desk, leaving a pen angled across it. “And then you get to walk to the boat bay, rather than into a courtroom. That’s the best I can do.”

Calvin’s mouth opened and shut in silence several times, wide eyes flicking back and forth between the paper awaiting his signature and the harsh expression on his mother’s face. Finally, with a little slump to his shoulders, he stepped forwards and signed his resignation. He picked it between two fingers as if it were physically repulsive to the touch, then looked back across the desk.

“Dismissed, Spaceman Spiffinczki.”

The voice of Typhoon’s captain stopped him with his hand on the way to the hatch controls, his whole body pausing in place.

“I’m sorry, Calvin. This really is the best I can do.”

Without looking back, he pressed the hatch control and stepped through it into the hallway, still carrying the signed letter of resignation. As it sealed shut behind him, a grin flickered over his face for just a moment before he started the trek to Admiral Rosalyn’s office.

So worth it...
Last edited by White Haven on 2011-09-22 02:47pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2011-08-12 11:04am

Xena
With ideas and edits by Shroom

While the Bragulans were more interested in wholesale butchery, the Byzantines uncharacteristically enough, were more interested in acquiring information and intelligence on the enemy. Specifically, the Byzantines were interested in finding information on the MEH’s origins, and their technology. “If the xenos and the heretics want to fight among themselves, let them. We have bigger fish to fry, and I would rather conserve our strength for the heretics’ capital,” Rus Komnenos was reported to have said.

The Adeptus Astartes were at the forefront of the raids. Launching attacks on orbital platforms, they boarded the space stations and assaulted them with great force. Some of the MEH’s elite soldiery were encountered, and were found as expected to be more than the Astartes’ equal. Instead of fighting them head on, the Astartes used their superior skills and tactics to overwhelm the enemy, despite some losses. When the orbital platforms and shipyards were secured, Adeptus Mechanicus xeno specialists would board to inspect and take any important pieces of equipment and data storage devices that was deemed as useful.

Finally the planet Xena. Deep scans using high power gravdar and radar scans indicated roughly where the information repositories were, along with many weapons manufactorums. Psyker choirs were used to further confirm the existence of these underground bunkers, and to seek out the the carefully hidden ones. Since many were underground, Byzantine warships resorted to stand off bombardment. Ships took up positions far beyond the range of ground based defences, firing kinetic weaponry and energy weapons in such volume that enemy point defences were overwhelmed. Nova cannons fired forth huge explosive projectiles which simply overwhelmed many a shield with one shot. Extensive use of ECM and ECCM were used to further confuse the defenders, so much so that the sheer amount of radiation emitted was enough to boil the atmosphere a little. However, none of the powerful warp warheads were used. Using them would simply infuriate the Solarians because one of these warheads was enough to tear off chunks of the crust.
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While the Bragulans resorted to rather primitive but effective methods of dislodging a deeply buried enemy, the Byzantines resorted to the time honored business of “localised exterminatus”. First, a wave of plasma and gravity bombs were unleashed onto the surface, burning off any of the buildings that were built on top of the bunkers. Next, powerful focused lance strikes were fired onto the surface, etching deep scars into the planet’s crust, cracking open the sheer bulk of rock that concealed the deep underground bunkers. To secure the area, a Titan Legion and several Imperial Guard regiments landed and begun establishing a beach head. Astartes and Imperial Guardsmen landed onto the surface and then stormed these bunkers. The fight was bloody, but nevertheless, they were taken. Some of the information repositories were unfortunately destroyed, but many were recovered. Weapon manufactorums were seized, and their machine tools taken for further study.

The landings were not all smooth going however. A MEH stealth ship had appeared out of nowhere and shot up the landing ship containing a single Imperator class Psi-Titan, the Emperor’s Avarice. Fortunately, for the Avarice, the Princeps had the psychic foresight to activate the shields and the Titan managed to blast itself out of the doomed landing ship with minimal difficulty. The attacking corvette was surprised to see the Titan hurtling out of the burning wreckage and swung about to to attack it. “Steer the ship moderati! Bring us about to engage the heretic craft!” ordered the Princeps. The Avarice’s moderati used the Titan’s powerful inertial dampeners, for which without them, the massive machine would be incapable of walking on planets, to steer it to meet its foe. “Compute firing solutions. Fire the warp lance!” The Avarice brought its main warp lance to bear and unleashed a furious volley, striking the corvette’s shields with great force, penetrating it. “Penetration achieved! All weapons, fire!” All the weapons the Titan had began to fire; from the smallest anti-aircraft guns, cyclonic missiles, to the massive plasma and warp lances. The corvette’s armor crumbled under the furious assault, its armor torn away as like paper. The corvette, humbled by the might of the Imperator, tried to flee, but the Titan Princeps would not let them. Connecting himself to the psychic amplifier, he unleashed a storm of psychic energy directed at the corvette and burned out the minds of the ship’s crew. The Titan fired its weapons one more time, and the corvette exploded in a puff. Using the inertial dampeners, the Titan settled into a steady orbit, and was subsequently picked up by another lander. It was then deployed to the surface, to mete out righteous judgement on the foes of the God Emperor.

All in all, it was a fruitful invasion. And when all was done, troops were evacuated and a plasma warhead was launched from space onto the underground bunkers, utterly destroying them, and leaving nothing but charred scars visible from space.
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No doubt there was plenty of collateral damage, but in the Imperium’s eyes, they were “acceptable”.

Praise the God Emperor.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Darkevilme » 2011-08-12 03:31pm

With pictures by Shroomy.
The Battle for Nova Bristol, Xena system, MEH space

It was but a flicker of movement and then it was fire and light. A green tinged brilliant sun dawned a third of the way up the tower and Nessa's mask goggles automatically dimmed to compensate for the brightness. Several seconds later the birthcry of that detonation reached her ears from the distant tower, the light already fading as that side of the structure begins to crumple around the wound. The immense amount of metal and synthetic rubble like a water fall from Nessa's vantage point as it started crashing down to the ground.

“Now hold still..this is gonna sting.” Nessa's focus is brought back to the other feline as Keeya finished cutting away part of her bodysuit and peeled it away, it did indeed sting... She hissed and winced as the punctured and semi-embedded part of her bodysuit's thigh, and some of the less dug in pieces of shrapnel, are pried free by Keeya.

“Couldn't ya have given me something for the pain first?” Nessa complained.

“Don't be such a big kitten, none of them went in deep.” Keeya replied, although she does apply an anaesthetic spray now the wound is exposed.

“You ended up a field medic cause you didn't have the bed side manner to be a doctor didn't you?” Nessa said and lets out a sigh of relief as the pain fades.

“I ended up a field medic cause someone had to be around for the kitties too dumb not to get hit with grenades when their shields are down.” Keeya quips back while pulling the deeper pieces of shrapnel out of Nessa's thigh.

“Wasn't my idea,” the warrior replied and glanced over the top of the gutted building segment that was served as cover for the pair.

On the other side of the elevated transit way two dozen Bragulans advanced swiftly up a slope towards the building at the top that swiftly began to repulse the advance. A hail of grenades emerging from windows and doorways making the bears scramble for cover amidst the detonations. Then for a few moments that prove bears shit in foxholes beams of blazing destruction reached out to erase bear and cover alike with their fury and then ceasing as the Mehrines were forced to pause and reload their devastating disrupter guns. With a cry the bears were in motion again up the slope but for those who took the opportunity to barrage an unwary Mehrine with multiple space RPGs. The multiple detonations overwhelming forcefields, armour and painkilling chemical cocktails and leaving the Mehrine screaming and staggering blinded and agonized as the hellish mixture of Rubiconium waste products leaked into the suit and ate into his soft and tender flesh. The bears were not without mercy however and even as the rain of grenades and super shotgun blasts from the remaining Mehrines started up again and was interspersed with blazing disrupter blasts a bear paused to smash the wounded Mehrines face in and silence the sounds of his torment.

“Hey shouldn't you be making with the regenerator about now?” Nessa asked as she looked back to Keeya. The medic was already applying some kind of gel to seal her wound.

“Can't use the regenerator, radiation level is too high thanks to our furred friends.” Keeya explains and adds “Cancer is bad,” by way of summary and then hums to herself before speaking. “Well it's not gonna hurt but without a dose of regeneration I can't sanction putting weight on it. I'll call for a medevac.”

Nessa frowned behind her mask and looked back over the top of the wall again where the bragulan commissar was fighting a hulking black power armoured figure. Nessa looks back to Keeya.

“I've got flight gravpods on my suit, if I set'em for low power I won't be putting weight on my leg. I'm good I think.” Nessa decided and seemed to sense Keeya's disapproving look even with the feature obscuring combat mask. “I'll be fine. Now lets cross the street and look for survivors,” she said and gets to her feet after adjusting her gravpods. Gotta love modern medicine, she doesn't feel any pain and she isn't even that stiff... yeah she's good for battle.

“Of which side?” asked Keeya packing up her kit as Nessa hefts up her beam rifle.

“Both, you handle the bears. I'll handle the bloaters.” Nessa replied and with that the two set out to cross under the transit way. Nessa moving in gliding hops each ending in a brief pause to replenish her suit's energy and look around for any hostiles while Keeya ran entirely dirt side to keep up. The environment was hell for trying to spot concealed gunmen though with rubble, windows and holes left by heavy weapons fire leaving hiding places galore across the battle torn cityscape.

“Got a live one Keeya!” Nessa called out from beside one of the Bragulan conscripts.

Kolshavijik groaned as he saw the feline standing over him, taking a moment to decipher her words and formulate a reply. “Medic!” he called out in coarsely accented Chamarran and was relieved to see a second Chamarran kit in hand appear next to him. The medic was still cute even with the mask, not as cute as the ones back on Planet Kitty Litter, although he did appreciate the sense of humour that had gone into painting whiskers on the lower half of the mask.

“Okay mister Bear, you're gonna be fine. This looks worse than it is,” the medic said as she settled beside him and got to work.

“Corporal Kolshavijik. Name's Kolshavijik.” the bear replied after a pause to parse from kitty to bear and then back again.

“Well Corporal Kolshavijik you'll be up on your feet in a minute or two by the looks of things.” Keeya said while Nessa looked over the slope for other survivors. Unfortunately it appeared the battle had led to the destruction of both sides but for the bear Keeya was treating, even the commissar and his Mehrine adversary had succumbed to the wounds each had inflicted on the other and now were slumped against each other in the entranceway of the building above. Although speaking of above Nessa's gaze is soon drawn still further skywards by the sounds of robotic conflict.

A Chamarran gun drone warbling and weaving through the air with a Mehnoid servitor robot's upper half hanging onto the drone with one hand and beating on it with the other while repeatedly saying: “Foreign robot you seem to be malfunctioning and attempting in the unhappy conducive activity of attempting to kill MEH citizenry, allow me to help you correct that.” With a fixed axis gun on its underside the drone seemed unable to destroy the waist-up portion of the MEHnoid robot.

Keeya yelped and ducked as she heard the crack of a beam rifle nearby, expecting any moment to come under fire from enemy forces and feeling terribly exposed due to lack of cover. Thankfully her training kept from her accidentally stabbing Kolshavijik in the process but she pulls her tools away a moment to, along with her also somewhat understandably concerned patient, look at Nessa who wasn't taking cover but looked pleased with herself and looks back.

“It's okay! Don't panic!” she calls out as half a freshly holed servitor falls down onto the slope near them and the gun drone warble beeps and switches into overwatch mode hovering above the trio.

“Fucking warn me next time.” Keeya said getting back to work with only a few tail flicks to show her agitation “This is all cause I didn't give you any pain medication isn't it.” she mutters.

Kolshavijik blinks as he finishes parsing that sentence. The chamarrans get actual pain medication? Not just a rifle butt to the head or a bottle of vodka if they're lucky? Truly these warriors are provided supplies of the utmost decadence.

“Totally.” Nessa replied and patted the drone when it floated down low enough, earning a warble in response and a few beeps.

“I reckon we should push towards Tower Eleven, that's where my pack was heading.” Nessa said thoughtfully.

“We're three soldiers and a drone Nessa.” Keeya points out “We could better hole up and wait for reinforcements, leave Tower Eleven to-” at that point however Kolshavijik spoke up.

“We will press on,” he announced loudly, moving to get up before Keeya forcefully pushed him down again so she could finish putting him together. Significant wounding is not enough to dampen the bragulan spirit however. “With courage in our hearts and Byzon on our side we are an army of three thousand soldiers armed with a million drones!” he declared.

The drone warbled in a vaguely accusatory fashion in response and Keeya and Nessa shared a look, deciding not to point out that courage and Byzon had not stopped his entire squad getting killed. It was Nessa who spoke next.

“Come on Keeya, if only to keep your patient from getting killed aye?” she said with a smile.

Keeya looked at the two then just chuckled “Should of been a doctor,” she said and then folded up her kit and stood up “All done corporal.” she announced.

Kolshavijik grins and gets to his feet, what medications! With this on their side they cannot possibly fail! “Da, I feel strong like Byzon himself!” he declared and set out to prove that by collecting an improbable number of space RPGs from his fallen comrades.

“You sure you're okay to carry all that corporal?” asked Keeya, as Kolshavijik now resembled some kinda hedgehog of armamentation with a sheath of space RPGs on his back and at least three he's carrying in his arms.

“I could carry ten times this many! I am invincible!” the Bragulan declared and Nessa steps in close to ask Keeya without the Bragulan overhearing. “What did you give him?”

“Too much.” Keeya said with conviction as she contemplates their chances with one of their number believing he could arm wrestle Rus, out-think Olympic and shrug off a nuclear round to the face.

“Great...” Nessa said and then quickly started jumping along after Kolshavijik as the somewhat high bear set off at an impressive pace despite the weight of the arsenal he bore.

Keeya looked around at the ruins and at the gun drone as it gave her a taunting warble and zoomed off. Then she shouldered her medkit and set off after them. Ahead of them the broken silhouette of Tower Eleven loomed in the distance.

The battle for Nova Bristol, Xena system, MEH space

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Nessa, Keeya and Kolshavijik respectively leaped over, circled around and charged past the burning wreck of a Bragulan transport aircraft. Keeya frowned to herself at Kolshavijik exposing himself to the fumes from a likely radioactive burning drive unit but decided swiftly that the damned bear was still too high to be told or to believe that something less tangible than the fist of Byzon himself could harm him.

Keeya was just beginning to speculate on whether that kind of radiation is in Bragulan tolerances, she'd seen Bragulan geiger counters where you were more likely to make the needle move by throwing it hard against a wall than exposing it to radiation after all, when the reason for the crashed transport and the louder sounds of gunfire both become quite obvious. A cohort of Bragulan infantry entrenched behind fallen columns and in craters between them and a large building from which assorted MEH armamentations are firing. The craters, fallen columns and hole in elevated roadway above which the columns used to support consistent with an artillery barrage having walked its way diagonally across the street. As Keeya got her breath back and a commissar approached a hail of light turbolaser blasts emerged from the top of the MEH building and directed at some unseen target. The stream of fire shifted, then lowered and ceased as its target ducked down behind ground cover.

“You are all there is? Where are my reinforcements?” the commissar demanded, trailing off into indecipherable Bragulan invective before whirling on Kolshavijik “YOU, distribute those weapons and grab a k-bolter!” he yelled and when Kolshavijik failed to respond immediately due to the drugs he raised his official commissarial beating stick to distribute his frustration at his inability to take out the AA gun. Before the commissar could bring his beating stick down he hears a loud crack and a jolt comes down his arm. The shock made him stop and look at the new scorch mark on the byzonite head of his byzonite beating stick and then turn to look at Keeya who was pointing a beam pistol at him and radiating pissed from every bit of her bodylanguage.

“You! You will NOT beat my patients!” she hissed at him and the commissar was suddenly acutely aware that medics skilled in putting people back together tended to have some impressive knowledge of how to take them apart instead. He glared at the bragulans who were just beginning to try and exaggerate how injured they were while they thought he wasn't looking. The exaggerations stopped and reluctantly the commissar lowers his beating stick and nods.

“Da, you are to be commended for your dedication to your patients, Chamarran.” He said.

“It's Keeya. Kolshavijik is staying with us till we get to tower Eleven, that's where Nessa's pack are heading.” Keeya explains holstering her beam pistol “Isn't that right Kolshavijik” she said turning towards Kolshavijik, or rather the space Kolshavijik had been occupying at the start of her conversation with the commissar.

With a sinking feeling Keeya looked around quickly for the bear and spotted him leaping over the top of the column with a yell of “I am bulletproof!”

“Fucking tailyanking- NESSA! Kolshavijik needs covering fire!” she yelled out and ran for the column while praying to the mysteries that she wasn't about to lose her patient to his own drug addled stupidity.

At hearing that yell Nessa didn't hesitate before leaping up into the air followed by her gun drone, beam rifle snapping up to her shoulder as she twirls to assess the battlefield. Kolshavijik charged heedless of oncoming fire and seemingly believed himself impervious to the enemy weapons, Nessa does her best not to disappoint him and as MEH machines appear in windows and behind barricades she goes to work. Blazing beams spearing into a half dozen of the machines in quick succession before she's forced to perform a fast aerial sidestep to avoid the enemy fire that was suddenly redirected at her. In her wake the gun drone bobbed and retaliated for her with a hail of explosive shells.

Below Nessa a cheer went up and the other Bragulans suddenly disgorged from behind their cover and charged after Kolshavijik, inspired by the charge of the insanely yelling and not yet dead Bragulan conscript. Nessa took aim at further MEH machines which were still focused on firing at Kolshavijik, her gravity harness fluttering weakly as the last of its accumulated power was used up and then almost dying completely as a couple of hits are scored against her shield and the effort to keep the bubble stable leaves her with no thrust to speak of and she simply plummets to the ground and lands hard but thankfully behind cover.

But Nessa's work was done, the defending machines were firing both on Kolshavijik and the other charging conscripts now but though conscripts were falling the Bragulans were not disheartened so long as the crazed bear at the front was still up and running and now they had reached the barricades.

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“Would you like a refreshing beverage?” a vending machine declared as it fired a grenade out of its output slot towards the charging Bragulans then turned around at hearing an incoherent bellow from the doorway as Kolshavijik charged into the room.

“Would you like a refreshing beverage?” it queried threateningly.

“Mine is the beverage of JUSTICE!” Kolshavijik replied and smashed down the end of his space RPG upon the machines bright, cheerful but yet fragile frontage. The brutal blow crushing circuits and systems and Kolshavijik kicked the machine aside.

“Would you like a refreshing beverage?” the machine's distorted voice pleaded from the ground, but Kolshavijik was already moving again to fight whatever demons his drug distorted world will assail him with. But no, this was a short quest and now he was faced with the end boss. A pulsing heart filling the chamber, a menacing eye glaring at him from its core as flexing arteries pump sickly glowing ichor up through holes ruptured in the ceiling to feed dread organs. But Kolshavijik did not falter, Kolshavijik did not fear. Because -

“I have quad damage!” he yelled out and fired a pair of space RPGs at the blashemous heart. The hypermatter reactor rupturing and overloading as the two rockets spiralled into it and explosively spilled corrosives into its vital core. Containment systems degenerating and destabilizing until the reactor vessel simply imploded before the eyes of those few conscripts who had caught up with Kolshavijik and dealt with the remaining defenders.

Outside Keeya looked up from checking on Nessa's leg as a Trigrav darted up from behind a building and hammered the roof of the now overtaken building with a rain of missiles, the turbolaser battery now literally powerless to avert its own destruction.

“Well, we did good I guess.” Nessa said hearing the explosion.

Keeya nodded. “Yes. But if Kolshavijik doesn't come back I'm withholding your painkillers,” she said earning an unhappy look from Nessa.

“Excuse me Keeya?”

“Yes Commissar?” Keeya asked looking up again to the Commissar who had just announced his presence with those words.

The bear leaned in conspiratorially “Can I have some of whatever Kolshavijik was given?” he asked.

“No, it's not for making you combat crazy.” she replied.

“Bah, a pity. We will regroup and join you in your march to tower Eleven now that our objective is won.”

“That'd be nice. We'll rest here for you then.” she said before hearing a voice that made her nyah softly. It was Kolshavijik and despite her satisfaction at knowing he was still alive it was what he said that made her unhappy.

“Quickly comrades! The next level awaits!”

Nessa ear twitched “What the fuck is he talking about?”

“It means our rest break is over. On your feet warrior unless you want that medivac now,” Keeya said and offered Nessa a hand hauling her back to her feet as the warrior re-activated her gravity harness.

“Please tell me that stuff is gonna wear off soon Keeya.” Nessa said as the two set off away from the bemused commissar.

“Am I allowed to lie?” Keeya replied and earned a nyah from Nessa.

“Thanks a lot doc.”
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2011-08-12 03:58pm

THE INHUMAN INVASION

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Xena
Multiversal Empire of Happiness
June 3, 3401


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The orbital bombardments gradually decreased in frequency and intensity. Eventually, at some point, the enemy had to run out of men and machines for the orbiting bragships to shoot at. So it was that the Shock Armies were sent to establish a beachhead at Xena, and their entrance was preceded by the airbursts and detonations of more rounds, shells and bombs. This time, these were not of the nuclear variety, rather they disseminated and dispersed enormous volumes of smog composed of concentrated aerosol asbestos, vaporized lead, graphite particulates and powderized bragcrete - a mixture designed to attenuate energy weapons fire from the defenders, originally intended to be used in the invasion of Solarian worlds, and now used on the MEH’s. The fumigation went on until the area was so saturated with smog that the air became unbreathable for any unprotected being on the surface.

The first wave of the Shock Armies’ armored advance came through the miasmic mist. First of these were the Dredka droptanks, enormous war machines literally dropped out of orbiting space barges to enter the atmosphere by themselves, bragcrete applique on their chassis and turrets serving as heatshields, verniers and retro-rockets bolted on their hulls stabilizing their flight and correcting their courses - if barely. Their robust forms plowed through skyscrapers and miscellaneous buildings, boring through the MEHscape until they were buried in debris or they came into contact with terra firma. Retro-rockets and explosive reactive armor allowed them to right themselves and blast away obstructive detritus in a spray of shrapnel and burning liquid uranium/plutonium. Their ballistic courses brought them all roughly in the same area, which they would secure for the other landing forces. SNT aerofighters and Sprut storm-bombers came down to give the Dredkas close air support, and they quickly went to work, converging and clearing any and all resistance in the vicinity while they still had the element of surprise. The MEHnoid defenders had hardly expected the OMINOUS to drop entire armored brigades behind their lines, and entire droid armies were caught off guard and decimated by the combined arms offensive.

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It was in concordance with the doctrine of Bragulan Deep Battle that rather than focusing on a decisive push concentrated on winning single objectives as in the case of the lightning war doctrines of many militaries, the proletarian liberation armies would instead be used to overwhelm the enemy with multiple parallel or sequential advances over a broad-spanning strategic front, delivering blow after successive blow to systematically break down the enemy’s overall defensive integrity and achieve multiple objectives that, in turn, would culminate in the attainment of the most important goal - the complete and utter breakdown of the enemy front that would bring about their defeat. Proletarian liberation armies by their definition were not like the elite technologically advanced forces of other nations and could not be concentrated in the fashion necessary for lightning war offensives - but they had numbers and mass instead, and thus could be employed simultaneously over a vast area to frustrate enemy attempts at both concentrated static and extreme mobility defense. Bragulan commanders thus did not think in terms of single point battles, but in deep operations at a strategic level - with each attack echelon encompassing an area of hundreds of kilometers in width at the least, and each offensive composed of multiple echelons from several vectors of attack directed at enemy positions... everywhere.

Even as Xena’s MEHMC units and planetary defense forces responded to the sudden tank attack from orbit, another front was opened by the Bragulan space invaders. The first transports entered the atmosphere and the air-friction engulfed their fuselages in fire, obscuring their forms in a blinding blaze and making the paint on their hulls boil off to create toxic plumes of sensor-jamming cobalt-thorium G. They launched rocket-propelled penetration aids from their under-wing hardpoints, which veered off and distracted surviving enemy aerospace defenses while the transports themselves began flying in wild courses to avoid interception. Finally, they dove down low and began skimming the only portion of Xena that didn’t have any enemy defenses on its surface - its oceans. The cobalt plumes subsided, there was no longer any paint left on their hulls, all that was left was the bare steel of their fuselages, gleaming in the sun.

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The Nul ekranodropships skimmed the seas, the exhaust of their nuclear ramjets searing the water into superheated vapor, further obscuring their thermal signatures from enemy sensors. Coastal batteries coudn’t be ruled out, for as thorough as the orbital bombardment was, there was still an entire planet full of enemies left to kill. Radar spikes were detected from the shore, along with massing enemy units. There were also obstructions, buildings, structures that had to be cleared in order to establish a landing zone. The Nuls opened fire with their dorsal-mounted missile tubes, launching nuclear-tipped Moskill missiles to atomize any opposition and establish beachheads. MEHmen and their machines were vaporized, the shorelines’ sands were turned into smoking glass. The ekranodropships flew right into the mushroom clouds, buffeted by post-nuclear turbulence, and landed on the freshly irradiated beaches.

SNTs and Spruts converged overhead to provide cover, engaging their MEHnoid counterparts and the MEHMC’s advanced hovertanks in a free for all dogfight. The numerous ball-turrets on the Nuls’ fuselages opened fire as droids literally swarmed the landing zone. Even though millions of them had been disintegrated in the initial salvo, apparently there was more, a wave of teeming machines - some bearing weapons, others merely sharpened implements, for such was the desperation of the MEH - threw themselves at the Bragulan landing forces. Further inland, artillery batteries opened fire as the MEHMC opted to shell the invaders before they could go even deeper into MEH territory.

The Bragulans were not deterred by this, they had faced worse odds in the past. Bay doors opened and Chornyb Urban Pacifiers rolled out, flamethrowers spewing burning plutonium-enriched diesel and pseudoplasmatic vegemite-vespene gas on the rushing robots, melting them en masse. Their writhing metal forms were added to the twisted tangle of droids that the preceding atomic salvos had turned into malformed wax-like carpets of liquefied-then-solidified steel. Autoguns and K-canons punched holes through the machines, adding acid-assisted projectiles into the mix. Kyrbrz tankskis opened up their cannons, canister shells spraying repleted uranium buckshot like oversized 300mm shotguns. Half-tracks emerged after them all, towing howitzers and racks of rocket artillery tubes, providing interim counter-fire for the landing force in response to the shelling from the MEH’s inland artillery.

The MEHnoid guns proved troublesome. They were mobile and thus hard to target, and calls to bombard them from orbit were unheeded for there were other Brag units operating close to the area and brag-on-brag incidents were supposed to be avoided. Unnecessary casualties were sustained then, including combat coordinators who were shot for incompetence by commissars charged with maintaining communications discipline and cohesion. Finally, the Dredka droptank units were informed of this problem, and the MEH artillerists found themselves buried by a wave of mammoth tanks coming to avenge their fallen comrades.

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The Dredkas converged on the MEHMC and Xenan planetary defense ground force units. The MEHnoids didn’t have the necessary numbers to resist massed Bragulan armor in direct combat - they were relying on mobility to both strike and survive as they could not concentrate their forces to mount a meaningful counteroffensive, the MEHMC was too dispersed throughout the planet and the local defenders were nowhere near the Marines’ elite standards to be effective on their own. The defense was breaking down, the best these units could do was to strike from afar, and when confronted directly by the Dredkas they were easily crushed.

The Dredkas linked up with the Shock Army units delivered by the ekranodropships to secure the beachhead, or vice versa in the case of Shock Army units proceeding deeper into MEH territory and linking up with the Dredkas already there to continue the offensive. For the former, Imperial Forward Operations Bases (IFOBs) were quickly established, combat engineers called down bragbunker drops and the orbiting Long Marches obliged by sending bragsteel and bragcrete battle-buildings crashing down from space. For the latter, once the locations of friendly units were sorted out, they were quickly able to call in aerospace support - such as Mydveds cluster-nuking enemy droid concentrations ahead of them.

The robots were proving troublesome, not for their individual mettle but for their sheer numbers, something the Bragstavka hadn’t counted on in its assessment of the opposing force. The pitiful numbers of the MEHMC meant that any defense by them could be easily overwhelmed by a mass offensive, but these droids could provide the MEHnoids with the necessary countermass to bog down the OMINOUS advance. There were just so many of them, and their numbers seemed inexhaustible. Yet despite this, OMINOUS command had not cleared the use of strategic and indiscriminate carpet-nuking, effectively tying the bragforces’ claw behind its back.

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But so far, the Bragulan advance was going well. Beachheads and IFOBs had been established. More heavy transports were coming down to deliver Shock Troops and regular conscripts. The Great Leap forward landing crafts descended from the heavens and waited for the chance to incinerate the enemy with their ventral retro-thrusters. Failing that, they settled for giving added artillery support to the bragtroops with their gun batteries.

Fleets of Myasistryoshka strategic lifters unloaded millions of grimy conscripts, Imperial Legionnaires specialized for grueling wars of attrition and trench warfare rather than the relatively light and quick Shock Troopers. Dredka overtanks, the bigger up-gunned and up-armored version of the flying droptanks, were deployed and went on to flatten small buildings with their treads as they advanced to the front. Bragalaika atomic artillery platforms were lined up at the coast, their treads crushingreefs and their hulls half-submerged in the water to help dissipate their thermal signatures, while their guns fired earth-shaking salvos whenever it was decided to remove geographical features from Xena’s map. They were assisted by lesser artillery pieces, everything from smaller self-propelled guns to half-tracks towing or mounting howitzers or rocket artillery. For the 2nd Artillery Corps, a single battery was composed of artillery pieces forming a line several kilometers long, an orchestra to play only the finest of Byzonic musics for the enemy’s ears. The Total Bragalaika Show had come to town.

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Surrounded by a post-atomic wasteland of their own creation, in the possession of the largest nuclear arsenal on the surface of the planet, and with hundreds of millions of ground troops supported by massed armor and artillery, orbital supremacy, and a tried and tested global thermonuclear warfighting doctrine honed by centuries of combat and conquest, the Bragulans were no longer in Xena.

They were home.
Last edited by Shroom Man 777 on 2011-08-12 04:27pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by PeZook » 2011-08-12 04:16pm

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Xena
Salvation Habitat Complex


A distant detonation shook the very foundations of the massive habitat. A trickle of pulverized materials puffed into occupied spaces.

Nobody paid any attention to the radiological alarms. In fact,their warning sirens were disabled days ago by technicians - nobody was able to do anything about the rads. The structure, massive as it was, has lost its environmental seals within hours of the initial bombardment of Xena.

Which obviously meant the million or so civilians clustered here were dead men walking. Ironic, seeing as they had fled to Salvation in the hope of finding shelter from the vicious fighting now ravaging their world, only to be slowly killed by aftereffects of the weaponry used in this conflict.

Nobody told them that. Nobody told them anything, so the terrified civilians, women and children huddled together in the dark, powerless corridors of the gigantic complex. All they could hear was weapons fire, the periodic detonations of nuclear weapons, and other people moving about in the dark. Were they friends? Enemies? Nobody knew.

Worse yet, there were no supplies. Food was scarce and rationed, medical supplies were non-existent. The corridors were littered with bodies nobody had time to properly dispose of. They decomposed, slowly,due to the radiation and lack of bacteria. Feces mixed with blood in every possible depression, as plumbing did not work, either, and thus the civilians were force to go wherever they could. The stench was almost unbearable.

Doctor Gorge Sungar cursed loudly and threw his pen flashlight at the wall. His helperbot held the dead body of a child, who just died from acute radiation poisoning.

"Why does it have to be like this? Goddes-dammit!"

The doctor - the only one left, in fact - sat down heavily. His head was swimming, he hadn't slept in days, and only operated thanks to stims. The chemicals did not make it any easier to fight the growing sense of despair, though.

The mother realized what happened next, and the room filled with uncontrolled sobbing. She kneeled by the dead body, screaming impotently at the ceiling, calling for the Goddes which abandoned them. The doctor knew she would be next. The pair breathed in too many particulates while fleeing to this place, they were dead before they got here. Worse yet, he knew that with proper equipment, he could've easily saved them, and a great many others.

Suddenly, the building shook again. Terrified screams echoed through the ruined halls, and the people gathered in the room with doctor Sungar realized with a sudden bout of terror that the screams belonged to people being buried alive by rubble.

"Doc?", a voice echoed in the dark. A vague silhouette of a power-armored MEH Marine showed up in the door, sweeping across faces with a flashlight, "It's starting."

"What? What's starting?"

"We're the last holdout in the area. The bears have started their advance."

Doctor Sungar stood up, wiping the sweat and grime off his face. The despairing mother was still grieving at the feet of the emotionless helperbot.

"Okay. I'll...", he glanced at the dead child, "...where's your casualty collection point?"

"I'll take you there. Follow me."

As soon as they were out of earshot of the civilians, the doctor asked the hulking power armored trooper in a hushed voice, "Can you hold?"

The soldier stared down at him for a second or two before answering, "No. If we repulse the first attack, they will nuke the complex. Everyone will die."

"What? If there's no chance, then we have to surrender! We have a million civilians in here!"

"Do you know what the bears do to prisoners?", the soldier asked gravely. They rounded another corner, and walked into a large-ish room which still had power. Whatever medical supplies were left were gathered here, and the doc could control all the helperbots that still functioned. He knew - and the soldier did, too - that it was woefully, incredibly inadequate to service the civilians. It would be barely enough to save the wounded expected to flood the room in just a few short minutes.

"Yes", the doctor replied. He bit his lip. So that was it. The end of their world. All his work...for nothing.

"We'll do what we can, doc. They'll remember this place in their nightmares."

"I'll help, don't worry. Hell, I've made it this far...no point in giving up by the end."

A huge armored glove patted Sungur on his arm, "We all appreciate your work, doc. Don't worry...it won't be long now. I gotta get back to my post."

"What's your name, anyway? Sorry, but you troopers look all the same to me."

"It's Gunn. Corporal Ray Gunn."

"Good luck then, corporal."

"And good luck to you,doc."
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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

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Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2

Post by White Haven » 2011-08-13 12:23am

University of Neverwinter
Hyperspatial Physics Department
Testing Center (2 light-years outside Netheril system limits)
88 miles an hour ago


The glowing red numerals failed to change.

The cluster of lab-coated figures staring at the simple numeric display floating above the admittedly-superfluous holographic projector collectively frowned a bit and continued to stare.

The numbers didn’t change.

One of the watchers, a dark-haired, dark-skinned woman, reached out and tried to tap the display with a finger. Unsurprisingly, it passed through the unchanging numbers. With a sheepish expression, she instead tapped the holoprojector, as if hoping to remind it that the numbers should be changing.

It didn’t work. The numbers refused to change.

One head turned and leaned towards another, whispering, “Did we hook the sensor up correctly?”

The numbers changed. One hundredth of whatever unit was being measured. Downwards.

“Well, damn.”
_____________

University of Neverwinter
Tethyr Campus
Dean's Office


“So, what do we have?” asked the white-haired man seated behind an heavy mahogany desk. Just in front of its cluttered surface, a nameplate simply said ‘Dean Robert H. Ramsay.’

A grimace twisted the face of the figure seated across the desk, the same dark-skinned woman from the earlier test run. “Square root of fuck-all,” she replied bluntly, earning a wince from Ramsay as she continued, “Divided by our rapidly-vanishing grant money. We’ve got a drive that can put out a substantially-stronger hyper field than most its size, but the test was a bust; the field radius didn’t even budge. Sure, we can push the ship a little bit faster, but you know as well as I do that there’re some serious diminishing returns on that sort of thing. It makes the bloody engine’s emissions signature spike through the roof, too. Bloody thing must look like one of those Byzantine barge-whatsits from a distance.”

Silence reigned in the office for a long, slow pause as the dean turned things over in his mind. His troubled expression diluted amidst simple resignation, head shaking back and forth as he finally broke the silence, “Well, worst case scenario we can try to sell them on it as a compact version of the Crown-class’s hyper generator. The Royal Navy could make some use of that.”

“Stall for time, Ramsay. I’ll figure...something out.”

“I’ll see what I can do, Doctor Kinsey...at least you lot aren’t running overbudget, that gives me something to work with while I try to keep them off your back.” Surprisingly intense brown eyes stabbed out in sharp stare that coaxed the physicist into a more erect posture, “Don’t prove me wrong. If you can pull this off, the Navy will be quite, quite happy in the future. Happiness flows downhill, but so does shit.”

“Loud and clear, Ramsay. Loud and clear.”
_____________

Months later

“Field tensor experiment thirteen, no observable difference in hyper field radius. No explosions or... spontaneous inversions either, so we will not be requiring a third replacement hyperdrive at this time.” A sigh fell into a brief pause, the small recorder in Kinsey’s hand still running. With a somewhat bitter tone, she snapped, “Experiment fourteen to follow a few days after whenever we come up with something else to try. Current projections indicate that this will result in the creation of a self-replicating hyperdrive core, which will at least mitigate the costs of this project.” A quiet snort of laughter broke free as she erased that last segment, then replaced it, smirking, “Experiment fourteen to follow at a later date.”

The recorder faithfully recorded the sound of knuckles rapping on her office door gently, at which point she click the STOP button and dropped it into a drawer before calling, “Come in.” The door opened outwards to admit a young man in slightly rumpled, casual clothes. The doctor plastered on a smile and gestured towards the plastic-and-wire chair lying vacant across her office desk, “Ah, hello Kevin, have a seat. What can I do for you?”

The short, stocky figure settled into the chair with a quiet creak, looking more than slightly embarrassed as he responded, “Well, Doctor Kinsey... I’m just not following Donegal’s Theorum. I keep reading over it, and it keeps making sense when I read it, but not when I try to actually translate it into real-world examples.”

“Alright, let’s see...”

[Half an hour of technobabble that I will spare you, gentle readers]

“You...still look puzzled, Kevin.”

“I get all the math behind that, Doctor, but every time I try to work it out on a practical simulation, I end up with a spherical field that chops the ends off of whatever ship I put it on!” A sudden flush creeped over the student’s face as he realized that he’d started to yell by the end of his short rant, speaking mure more quietly to say simply, “Uh, sorry.”

“Oh, that? No wonder, Donegal-era hyperdrives mandated mostly-spherical ships for just that reason, but they’re a hell of a lot simpler as a primer. You can’t really apply Donegal’s Theorum alone to most modern hulls; proper repeater nodes weren’t around until after he was dead. You seem to have a good grasp on the math, you were just trying for an application that it didn’t quite cover. Have a look at...ah, can’t remember the chapter, but just search for the Thoreau Corollary to Donegal’s Theorum, that should... cover... you...” She trailed off in mid-word a poleaxed expression on her face.

Kevin frowned and leaned closer towards the desk, quiet at first, then finally asking, “Doctor Kinsey? Is everything alright?”

The lab-coated figure shook herself and smiled, far more energetically than before, “Oh yes, this little conversation has just given me what might just be the missing piece of a very important puzzle. Was there anything else you needed, Kevin?”

“No, thanks a lot, Doctor.”

The door shut with a low thump behind him even as Melissa Kinsey was punching in the comm code of one of her colleagues on the Variable Geometry Hyper Field project. A sleepy-looking face appeared on her comm screen, puffy red eyes staring out at her excited, animated expression. Without waiting for him to speak or bothering with pleasantries, she launched into rapid-fire speech.

“The Thoreau Corollary, Wes. We’ll need some deployable booms and the servos to run them, some superconductor line and a dozen or so repeater nodes. Get Tycho working on some software to scale the generator output up with the volume of the hyper field. This should actually work!”

“Melissa, what the hell are you even talking about? Slow down, it’s the middle of the--*yawn*--night here.” A hand rubbed at his eyes, blinking blearily at the pickup set above the commscreen on his end of the link.

Kinsey looked sheepish at the rebuke, wincing visibly, “Sorry West, I got so excited that I forgot. Look, we were going about this all wrong. We just need to move some extra repeater nodes around while they’re tied into the node network. Mount them on booms, run some supercon line down them so tie them in--”

Sleep rapidly vanished from the face on the screen, a dangerous light entering his eyes, “--And the hyper field should expand around the nodes as they’re moved out. As long as we can keep the output scaling in proportion to the field size properly--”

“--We’ll be able to scale the field up more than enough. Maybe it’s not quite so elegant, but we can work on a cleaner solution for the next generation. Get the team moving, I’m on my way to the spaceport. I’ll meet you all at the testing station!” Her last words were in a raised voice, as she was already on her feet and dragging a coat off a rack by her office door that wobbled dangerously from her hasty grab. The door slammed shut behind her, followed by the sound of receding footsteps. On the comm screen, Wesley gave a bemused snort and cut the connection at his end.

Footsteps approached again quickly, followed by the sound of the door’s lock engaging and then receding footsteps once more.
Last edited by White Haven on 2011-09-22 02:45pm, edited 2 times in total.
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