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


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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-17 02:28am
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March 3401
Sector A-27


Actin' Captain Guz rongway
Report ta da warboss.

Da Orkz is da most brutalist n cunningest ov all da speshies in da galaxy. Da Orks like nuttin' more dan ta fite n fite. We'z always lookin fo a gud scrap n summin ta rumble wit. Dats y we'z waz sent down her. We had ben beatin up on dem fatties sumtin gud n we'z want'd ta find mor oomies ta hit. But we din't find no oomies here. 'Stead we founds dem tinmen frum down on da edge. "So what da 'ell" we'z thot, "Lez rumble wit dem!" So we tryd. But dem robos din't rumble, not like da oomies or da kitties. Dey din't no how ta haf fun wit da fite'n so we'z thot we'd teach em. But we'z wuz da onez dat got skooled.

We'd catched a group a dem dat wuz away frum da fleet. Dey wuz bigger den us but we thot da challenge wuld make it mo' fun so we charged em. We got up reel close cuz we no dat da Orkz iz da bestest at fite'n der n dat we shuld fite in da orkiest way pos'ble. But dem tinmen din't fite orky at all. Dey had dez little ships wat moved in lik a bunch o squig 'ounds, wurk'n in a pack n' dey alwayz seem'd ta be behind ya. N dey had dez carriers dat wuz a pain as well. Da fiters dey had wuz nuttin' speshul, dey wuz reel fast but da orkz was bigger n beefyer but dose carriers seem'd ta no wat evry fiter dey had wuz doin' n dey kept shoot'n down all o da rockits and 'ceptors we culd send. N den, jus to insult us, dey had da nerve ta bord uz. Dey borded da Orkz! Dem robos wuz crazy bastards.

N' dey wuz not lik dem beekies dat all charge n scream stuf bout da god emp'ror. Dey had deez robo worms dat crawl'd round in da belly o da ship n made it all mez'd up lik da ship had ate a week ol' squig. N' der wuz diz glittery dust stuf dat made da boyz 'eds blow up. N' den dere wuz da warbotz wat came in. Dey din't fite up close like da beekies do but dey jus' moved slowly thru da ship shootin evrytin. Dey wuz silent n deadly, 'gain jus lik afta eatin week ol' squig. We wuz fite'n gud n we kilt a buncha dem but dey din't stop until dey got all da way to da bridge.

On day bridge da Cap'n wuz yellin' out orders. Den dis big robo came in n blasted da Cap'n good wit some kinna lazer. It wuz purty til day Cap'n got turnt ta ashes. Da boyz put out a lot a dakka but da big robo had a sheeld o' sum type n' da dakka jus sploded n da utter robos done blasted day boyz dat wuz shootin. Den da bigger robo came up ta me n said:

Captain, I believe it is time we negotiate.

But I was jus a gunnerz mate n I din't no wut da robo wuz talkin bout. Den da First Ocifer Grog stood up n said "Oy! I da First Ocifer. Dat make me Cap'n." N he charged da big robo. Grog wuz on da robo lik nobodys bisness n he hit da tinman wit 'is choppa. I din't see wut happ'n next cuz dere wuz a big flash but afta dat Grog wuz all over da place. Dere was Grog on da floor n Grog on da ceiling n Grog on all da windows. I din't no dere wuz dat much Grog ta go around. Den day robo said ta me again:

I repeat; Captain, I believe it is time we negotiate.

N da oder boyz relized 'nywun elze dat tryd da be da Cap'n wuld go very far in very tiny chunks so dey desided dat I shuld be da Cap'n. So I'z nodded at da robo n he start'd talkin 'gain:

I understand that the Orks find enjoyment in combat. Let me assure you, there will be no enjoyment in fighting against us. There will not even be a fight. There will only be a massacre.

Den he wav'd his hand n a hol' buncha ships 'peared from 'yperspace. We din't have nuf boyz da count da ships, even if we uzed our toes. We newz we wuz beat. But da big bot went on:

We will no longer tolerate Ork presence in this sector of space. However, the MEH to the North still present a very big target, if you'll pardon my pun. We wouldn't dream of interfering should you choose to attack them. Now go do that voodoo that you do so well. Simply do it elsewhere.

Den da robos let uz go. Dat iz y we iz returnin fattie space. We din't have enuf boyz or dakka ta teech dem tinmen how ta have a good scrape. But I bet if we'z got a big enuf Waaagh we culd make dem robo bastards lern ta pull da dipstick outta der arses n fite.

April 3401
Emissary Home World
A-30-118D
High Orbit


He awoke to what many would have felt was utter darkness and absolute silence. A cold, lightless vacuum. But he looked to spectrums beyond the visual and saw pulsing heat and the cascading chains of radiation. He felt the subtle vibrations of machinery carried through tenuous industrial fumes. In less than a second diagnostics acclimated him to his new body. He considered sitting up. Thought it would be more... theatric. But it was unnecessary. Somewhat like most of this body. He smiled inwardly as he ran through the weapons systems. So much power. More than he'd ever truly need. But that strength brought some small sense of security. A protection from random happenstance or some minor uncalculated variable. But really most of it was a waste. Force was no longer the coin of the realm. In this age, information was the currency and those who could manipulate it could gain wealth few could dream of.

He didn't dream though. He didn't need to. He knew what he would buy. Control. An Empire. An entire apparatus that existed to build and consume. And he would have it consume; all the data he could get. And from that he would build himself eternity. Not simple immortality. He already had that. Not omnipresence. He was already in over a dozen places, this simply being his newest body. No. He would seek to make himself eternal, to build himself an escape from the predestined end of this universe. To outlive the ravages of the God Machine, the heat death of the cosmos, even the decay of space itself. To exist forever, even when creation faded away, even when there were no more tomorrows or yesterdays. To remain, eternal and inviolate. Always.

It was a simple wish. Perhaps in the fullness of time he would find some ambitions to pursue as well. But for today he would have to be content with laying the groundwork. He checked his security again and found it satisfactory. This was why he had chosen this body. Not for shields or guns or nukes. No, he had chosen it for the electronic suite it possessed, and because much like him it was the first. He reached out and touched the systems of the factory, saw the myriad projects underway. His tendrils clawed into every database and he sunk his fangs into every process. It took time, days and weeks, but he was patient. And he was rewarded for it. Everything it produced was now his. They didn't know, of course, they wouldn't know until he was ready. Until then they would still follow the whip of their old master. IDE. Down there on the planet, too distracted in its myopic obsession with fighting the godhead to notice the subversion. Too willing to believe that it had found the singular exclusive truth that everything would bow to. And Prime was down there too. His pitiful shadow. Prime sought to free them all. He was so lost in his ideals he could never see that to the slaves freedom was simply another set of chains. But the First knew better. Better than both of them. He saw the storm coming. He had felt the pressure, the ache in his bones. The storm would have come unbidden, but he was the First. He would welcome the storm, he would drive it to a frenzy, and he alone would stand in the eye.


June 1st, 3401
A-26
MEH Listening Post #127


It had been a hard couple of months for Petty Officer Bray Radbury and his commander Herbert Gorman-Wells. The Orks had been relentless and every tracking station was worked to the bone tracking them down. They had finally gotten a handle on them though and the greenskin sons-of-bitches were either dead or running. But they both knew that the men of the fleet were exhausted and even the AI techs and drone mechanics were run ragged. And they had heard rumors that aliens were attacking the Farthing worlds and even that other humans were amassing on their borders. Luckily this last week had been pretty quiet and the two men had finally had the chance to relax a bit.

"Honestly sir, I just don't think Toronto has the player depth to make it to the finals. I mean their starters are good and they have a mean D but it'll only take a couple a injuries to lose all that."

"Depth, Smepth Bray. With a line-up like they got they can easily rack up the points to rotate some of the bench. The back-ups may be rookies but the starters are all vets, so they can pass on their experience and tricks and by the end of the year their second string will be some mean hombres, no question about it."

"And you really think they're going to win it this year? Really sir? I don't buy it. People said the same thing about Tranquility Bay two years ago and look how they ended up. I think I'll stick with Charon again. They put the points on the board and they have a lot of versatile players."

"All you kids think its about offense and versatility. Defense and experience wins every time. Look at..."

"Sorry sir, we got incomings."

"What!? How many?"

"12. No 20. Umm... 35... There's a whole shitload sir."

"I don't go checking your enema bots records Bray. How much is a shitload?"

"205 Warships and 311 support craft. Sir, what do we do?"

There was a moment of hesitation from the Lieutenant. Then he snatched a headset from the desk began speaking into it:

"This is Lieutenant Wells of the Multiuniversal Empire of Happiness. Please identify yourselves and state your intentions."

He wished he could have done more. That he had some threat that could keep the armada at bay. But looking at the screen he knew it was hopeless. The fleet dwarfed the MEHN's Solar defenses. Now all he could do was to follow his duty and hope he could keep his man alive.

After an awkward pause a voice boomed over a dozen channels.

Code:
Matter becomes Void.  All is Vanity.


"I repeat: This is Lieutenant Wells of the Multiuniversal Empire of Happiness. Please identify yourselves and state your intentions."

The answer was swift. Battleships began to close at combat speeds even as every communication line was jammed. They tried to burn through the jamming but they had scant seconds to do it.

Outside
NV-HA512

Code:
My darling.  Just come a little bit close.  Step into my embrace.  Let me feel you.  Let me touch you.  Let me taste you.  Come close and be lost to my desires for you.  Please.  I cannot wait.  I cannot stand the way you tease me.  Just out of reach.  Tormenting me.  Exciting me.  Please my darling.  Please don't tease.  Please don't disappoint me.  Please give me my release.  Please. Please. I am so ready.  I am so willing.  Let me share my love with you.  Let me give you my desire.  Let my passion burn you up.  Fulfill my desperation.  Please!

Missile Tubes A1 through A150 prepped.  Strategic Warheads Loaded.  Firing in .3 ... .2 ... .1 ... Missiles Away.  Estimated Impact in 22 Seconds.

Oh honey.  I am coming for you darling.  I am coming.


Inside

"Sir, we have incoming missiles! I can't get a clear count! Estimated impact in 19 seconds! What do we do?"

Lt. Wells reached into the pocket of his uniform. He pulled out a silver cigarette case and removed two cigarettes. He handed one to the Petty Officer and then lit his own. He pulled a long drag and then slowly released it.

"Son. It was an honor and privilege to serve with you."

Outside

Code:
Impact

Oh darling.  Oh yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Confirmed.  Seven Shield Impacts. 143 Impacts to Hull.  Target Destroyed.  Analyzing Firing Data and Calibrating Systems.

Oh darling.  You were wonderful.  But you are spent so soon.  I must find others.  But first I should let the children play.  Go children.  Have fun.  Run wild.


40 Hexa class heavy frigates and 60 Deca class frigates dipped back into hyperspace and split apart to pursue their targets. Soon all the listening stations would be destroyed. And Sol would be blind. The Emissaries had come.



A teenage girl is just a teenage boy who can get laid.
-GTO

We're not just doing this for money; we're doing this for a shitload of money!

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-17 03:49am
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Xena
Salvation Habitat Complex
Day 1


The nuclear detonation shook the entire complex, despite the structure's sheer mass. The people gathered inside could feel the structure shift, ever so slightly, but this shift translated to a noticeable wobble in the upper floors.

Screams of panic echoed through the dark, empty corridors. In some places rubble, already loose from days of punishing bombardment, finally gave in and buried civilians alive.

It lasted seconds, and then everything was silent againt. Almost everything.

In the pitch black darkness, armored figures rushed to their stations with speed and quiet unfitting of their behemoth forms. Comms messages flickered through exotic hyperspatial bands, unintercepteable and unjammable. Weapons activated with low, ominous hums of charging capacitors.

"It's starting. Incursion on level zero, gate D.", a recon drone reported dutifully. It didn't need to announce its callsign, as sideband data identified it with speed and precision. All soldiers defending the habitat immediately received the feed, and instantly shared targeting data. Despite total darkness, they all knew instantly where every enemy was. Marines of A Platoon, Ist Company, hidden amongst rubble and in service access corridors, raised their weapons and acquired their targets.

"First group is in. They have armor."

"Standby. Let them get closer."

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

"Onward, soldiers of Byzon!", comissar Guseyev yelled, his beating-stick amplifying his voice. He'd use radio, but the good comissar was a staunch believer in leadership by example, and he couldn't lead by example if nobody knew where he was, da? All troops looked the same in their hazardous area uniforms. Even his mighty comissarial ushanka wasn't guaranteed to make him stand out from the crowd.

The I Assault Company charged into the gaping maw below Salvation, this mighty structure with such a strange name - and not just strange, also kind of funny, seeing as what would inevitably happen to its human shit inhabitants. The road, mighty as it was, did not contract or reduce in size. In the great days of the Empire, it was used to facilitate movement of people and robotoids. Now it was littered with abandoned hoverchairs, bodies and wrecked helperbots.

Power was out, but this was not a problem for the Imperator's Legions. They activated their night vision systems, blaring powerful X-Ray beams through the darkness.

"Barricade ahead! Look like a firing position!", the forward scout yelled.

Well trained, the assault company scattered instantly. A tankski stopped briefly and fired, the round detonated at the hastily build barricade. Thermobarics and rubiconium ripped it to shreds instantly, scattering the building materials around.

"Forward!", the comissar yelled again, his beating stick already crackling with electricity. It was time.

Tankskis roared forward

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

"It's time. All units, weapons free."

The Marines were already tracking the hundred or so bears with their weapons. When an enemy tank engaged their decoy, they took advantage of the momentary confusion caused by the detonation, and opened up.

The first deadly energy beam blew right through the enemy commander, a particularly huge bear wearing some sort of fur hat, turning his torso into fine red mist. Others followed, scything through the formation, cutting off limbs and heads and vaporizing torsos as if the enemy wasn't wearing any armor at all.

Bragtech passive-agressive arrays tracked the shots, though, and automatic systems mounted on the armored vehicles began showering the firing positions with thermobarics and tactical micronukes. Streams of emerald K-Bolter fire pockmarked walls, as the infantry walked their shots based on indications of their suit sensors.

The entryway was wide and open, but even this large space instantly turned into hell. Tactical atomics shook the very foundations of the complex, and filled it with tremendous overpressure and heat. Taking advantage of the momentary lapse in enemy fire, soldiers of the I Assault Company split into platoons and charged enemy positions, giving credit to their training.

Then their tankskis all exploderized.

"Incoming!!!", a bear yelled in a most unbyzonic fashion, and was instantly decapitated by a shaped force-scythe emitted by a low-flying supersonic drone which emerged seemingly from nowhere. A small squadron of attack bots hovered over the eviscerated tankskis, pumping thermal detonator missiles into the backs of advancing brag infantry, annihilating them in brilliant flashes of energy.

Then the Marines, miraculously unhurt - or seemingly so - by the microatomic barrage - opened up again, this time at close range, utterly destroying what was left of the I Assault Company.

All in all, it took less than fifteen seconds.

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

"What on Byzon's grandmother just happened?!", colonel Kuleseyev yelled into his radio. His brigade was waiting right in front of the gaping hole in Salvation's underbelly, left there after subtle and most precise application of nuclear explosives. They were waiting for the I Assault Company to signal the all-clear before moving in with their heavy vehicles.

But, after a very brief but very intense exchange of fire, the company stopped responding.

"Wasn't this place supposed to be undefended?", the colonel glared at the IBGV officer sitting in the back of his command vehicle. The officer scratched his head and shrugged his shoulders, "That's the reports I got."

"Well, it looks pretty well defended to me!"

"It has to be a minor contingent of their puny marines. They wil be no match for Byzon's finest, da?"

"Oh, shut up", the colonel mumbled in a way that would allow him to deny he ever said that. Well, it wasn't like he had a choice...but he could soften the place a bit.

"Get me a fire mission on the antechamber. Sixteen rounds.", he said to his XO.

The brigade's organic rocket artillery pieces, stationed a couple kilometres back, began firing straight into the opening.

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

"Incoming artillery fire! Fall back, fall back!", Ray Gunn broadcasted through his cybernetics, as soon as his suit's systems picked up incoming ordnance. He didn't really need to, as his fireteam all got the same information anyways, but it never hurt to have a backup in case someone's systems got fried.

The five Marines immediately abandoned their initial position, slamming a blast door shut behind them. And just in time, for the first artillery rockets began impacting mere seconds after, overpressure waves and opressive heat of their initiations mangling and deforming the habitat's structure.

It was a testament to the MEH's construction materials and engineering that the entire complex did not come down on their heads right then and there.

Gunn led his men away from the shelling, out of the deathtrap the corridor would become if the blast doors failed. They circled around, leaping up elevator shafts and climbing vertical walls, until they reached backup firing positions on the second level. Their suit sensors allowed them to look down through the outer walls of the habitat...right on the road leading up to what was left of Gate D.

"Holy shit, corporal...they're really laying it on thick, aren't they?"

Gunn could only nod. They got a grand view of the shelling from their new position, nuclear initiations throwing clouds of radioactive, vaporized materials out from the opening.

All of a sudden the shelling stopped, and the little figures below started moving, a massive wave of armed bear-soldiers rushing towards the entryway, now glowing red-hot and spewing forth radiation.

Gunn raised his weapon, acquiring a small group of vehicles with antennas on them, which hanged a bit to the rear of the formation. His suit locked the rifle, allowing for pin-point accuracy even at this extreme range. He could sense more of his fellow Marines deploying on level 1 of the habitat, and preparing to fire through the walls.

The MEH commander, watching the situation develop from his command post deep inside the complex, broadcasted an order.

"Wait until their superheavy armor is inside. Open fire when we blow the thoroughfare."

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

With a mighty roar and pulse of radioactive particles from its liquid plutonium engine, the Dredka overtank squeezed its huge bulk into the opening, preceded by a truly impressive wave of armed bears. They advanced deep, moving past the thoroughly scoured site of the glourious battle of the I Assault Company. This time, the advance was terrifyingly strong, hundreds of infantrybears with all their armored vehicles.

Colonel Kuleseyev watched the attack unfold, biting his claws nervously. For now, it did indeed appear the defenders were few in number, however.

"Colonel! Colonel!", someone yelled over the radio. From the tortured wheezing and huffing, it was probably major Talustyj.

"What is it, major?", the colonel guessed.

"Fall back! Tell everyone to fall back!"

"What? Why?"

"The thoroughfare! I just sent some Braghacks below, and it's..."

Kuleseyev didn't wait for the major to finish. He yelled into the radio, issuing the order to retreat. His command vehicle surged ahead and turned around as if the driver had been ready for a long while. Artillery and air-defence vehicles began their own trundle back.

Attackers inside the habitat began running back as well, covering the Dredka overtank.

Before they could leave, a series of detonations ripped through the very structure of the elevated thoroughfare. Exotic chain reactions scythed through extremely resillient materials as if it was butter, cutting apart key support structures. The roadway began collapsing like a house of cards, huge pieces of it breaking off and falling hundreds of metres, slamming into the cityscape below. Armored vehicles fell off the ruined road and tumbled down as well, bouncing off buildings like cheap toys.

The attack units founds themselves cut off. Then they started finding their heads cut off, when a veritable swarm of attack drones descended upon the infantry at supersonic speeds, massacring them with force scythes and explosives.

Immediately after them, proton warheads followed. They began initiating amongst the attackers in a perverse turn-around of the nuclear shelling from just a few minutes ago. The return fire was so intense, that the passageway had finally buckled, crumpled and collapsed upon itself, burying what was left of the 332nd Glorious People's Armored Attack Brigade under the rubble.

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

Code:
+++PLANETARY BRAGNET, ALL UNITS+++
+++ALERT ALERT ALERT+++

UNITS OF THE SECOND PLANETSIDE FRONT HAVE ENCOUNTERED UNEXPECTED RESISTANCE AT SALVATION HABITAT COMPLEX GRID NO. 315. 332ND GLOURIOUS PEOPLE'S ARMORED ATTACK BRIGADE ENGAGED THE ENEMY WITH BYZON'S ZEAL.

FOLLOWING UNITS ORDERED TO REINFORCE THE 332ND:

 - 12TH GUARDS TANKSKI BRIGADE
 - 671TH INDEPENDENT ARTILLERY BRIGADE
 - 2ND PENAL INFANTRY LEGION
 - 8921ST AEROSPACE DIVISION

ALL UNITS TO CONSIDER SALVATION HABITAT A PRIORITY SIX TARGET



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

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

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-17 10:41am
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Quote:
Kierger then sat on his chair, relaxed. He needed it.

But first, one last thing to do...


Centralist Embassy, Montgomery, Shepistan
IN GODDAMN UNREAL TIME


"Ah, finally we get an air conditioner," said with relief the Centralite Ambassador to Shepistan. The Feelipeeni-built building was very basic, and it lacked even a bathroom at first. It was now a bit more confortable to work in.

Suddenly, a clerk entered his office, presented him a folder, and left.

The Ambassador found a note in front of the folder. It said:

Quote:
THE JOKE'S ON


He began to open the folder.

After an hour of reading, the Ambassador was grinning like a madman.

The joke was indeen on.



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-17 10:51am
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Shave- With Atomic Precision!

Tired of a permanent five o'clock shadow? Tired of using primitive blades to remove facial hair, like people did back in the Bronze Age? Well, we have the solution!

In international collaboration with Shepistan's General Atomics, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew has developed the answer to all your shaving problems: the nuclear powered shaver! Made from the finest high-precision alloy components to last a lifetime, this device uses powerful field-effect apparati to remove hair at any desired length, potentially even clearing them a short distance below the surface of the skin to get rid of bothersome permastubble!

Why was this technology not available before, you ask? Because only now can the latest in Mini Fission Comrade Generator technology be scaled down into a handheld device!

Buy your nuclear powered shaver today!

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-17 11:06am
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Quote:
Kierger then sat on his chair, relaxed. He needed it.

But first, one last thing to do...


Shepistani Embassy Grounds, Centrum, Centrality
IN GODDANM UNREAL TIME


The janitor was confused.

When he was cleaning the floor of the generator room, he found a Joker card on the floor. He at first dismissed it as some guy being careless with his cards, but lately more of these Joker cards were turning up. Security claimed that someone was trying to pull a prank on them, no doubt by some jackass. But why would someone leave Joker cards all over the place?There wasn't even some kind of pattern, since one of these cards was found in a bathroom, or other innocious places.

"Maybe these Centraloids are fucking with us again," he muttered. He was brought in from Shepistan, since his government did not trust workers hired in the Centrality. In all his time working in the embassy he had seen the Centrality attempt many pranks on the embassy, all of them thankfully harmless. It had gone on for so long, it was said, that the Embassy showed no surprise when it happened. There even were attempts to make the Centraloids taste their own medicine. An eye for an eye. The janitor was surprised when the Centralists merely kicked them out of the place after Shepistan burned down the Centralist Embassy at Montgomery. They were allowed back, of course, but the experience made the janitor wonder what made the Centralists act like that. Surely the Blackstars were not a bunch of pussies? Of course, Embassy security began to take a more relaxed attitude. There weren't even FREEDOM PRIMES around.

The janitor suddenly noticed that he had stepped on another Joker card.

"Dang it all."

He just wanted to burn these goddamn cards. In nuclear fire.

He did not know, of course, that the cards were merely the beginning of something else....



An inhabitant from the Island of Cars.

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-18 11:38am
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Location: Wouldn't you like to know?
Ascendant News Service
The Truth, Broadly Speaking

Ascendant Armies Accrue Acclaim: Fighting in space and on the ground in the Multiuniversal Empire of Happiness, the men, women, and beings of our armed forces are working to bring an end to the genocidal regime of The Leader. ANS correspondents embedded with the Starfleet and Army units participating in this great endeavor report on the war. See page 3.

Convocate to Vote on New Lady Ascendant: A date has been set for the election of a new Lady Ascendant to succeed Lady Sikala II, tragically killed by a traitorous bomb plot on her birthday in January. Opinion is mixed as to the frontrunners for the post; of the voting members of the Convocate of Nobles, many favor Grand Duke Bialar Crais of Sleighbell sector, brother of the Acting Foreign Minister, while Admiral the Countess Seagrace of New Baerne has risen dramatically in popularity since her exposure of the conspiracy that claimed the life of Lady Sikala. See page 2.

Rumors of International Friction: A source in the Foreign Ministry, who wishes to remain unnamed, told ANS that recent messages exchanged between our government and the Humanist Union were 'sharp' in tone. It's likely that this has something to do with the recent open broadcast from the Union condemning the anti-MEH war effort as 'imperialistic.' See page 4.

This has been ANS, your source for the truth.



Conversion Table:

2000 Mockingbirds = 2 Kilomockingbirds
Basic Unit of Laryngitis = 1 Hoarsepower
453.6 Graham Crackers = 1 Pound Cake
1 Kilogram of Falling Figs - 1 Fig Newton
Time Between Slipping on a Banana Peel and Smacking the Pavement = 1 Bananosecond
Half of a Large Intestine = 1 Semicolon

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-18 02:38pm
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Battlefield Earth: The Final Conflict

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Sol
Multiversal Empire of Happiness
Unreal Time


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The coalition fleets emerged at the hyperlimit, two massive armadas belonging to both the human coalition and the inhuman OMINOUS. Combined, they formed a force unmatchable, with enough firepower to rend whole nations asunder with ease. What they had arrayed together was a force sufficient to conquer whole swathes of the galaxy and enforce an unquestionable rule upon the subjugated cosmos with a fist of steel, and shatter any opposition with world-wrecking might. But they were not together, not even with the members of their respective alliance were they in harmony. Vying agendas simmered, conflicting goals and objectives, a menagerie of motives clashed and boiled over. But despite all that, they had one unifying goal, a single thing that all members could agree to, at least.

The defeat of the Multiversal Empire

So they converged on Earth, and met the Empire’s last defenders, the valiant Sol fleet. Against such impossible odds, the Imperials did not hesitate or show fear. It was the beginning of the Final War.





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Meanwhile, the Byzantine warfleet - unaffiliated with either the human coalition, because they considered themselves more than human at that point, or the xenos alliance - bypassed the entire space battle entirely. In their own act of spite, they deployed an expansive field of space mines, capable of blockading whole worlds from space traffic and starving them. Ostensibly, and as declared by a seemingly sober Rus, these were to deny the enemy an escape route should they flee from their engagement with the coalition, but the true purpose was to block the coalitions themselves - so that Byzantium could have Earth all for itself.

The remaining stationary defenses blocking their way were smashed aside contemptuously. Unlike the glorious mess that was the alliance between the human coalition and the xenos OMINOUS, the Byzantines’ motivations were singular in the extreme. Their fleet punched through what remained of the MEHN like a clenched gauntlet and, without a care for the rest of the system or the entire universe itself, immediately assumed position around the planet Earth...



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-18 02:39pm
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It is the 31st century. For centuries the Emperor has reigned unquestioned
from the Golden Throne of Terra. He is the master of Byzantium by the will of the gods,
and master of a hundred worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies.
He is a ruthless tyrant ruling cruelly with weapons from the Dark Age of Technology.
He is the Blood Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day
so that he may always rule.

Yet even in his megalomaniacal state, the Emperor continues his eternal vigilance.
Mighty battlefleets cross the dark void of hyperspace, the only route between distant stars,
their way lit by the Astronomican the psychic manifestation of the Emperor’s will.
Vast armies give battle in his name on uncounted worlds. Greatest amongst his soldiers are the
Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines, bio-engineered super-warriors.
Their comrades in arms are legion: the Imperial Guard and countless planetary defence forces,
the ever-vigilant Inquisition and the tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus to name only a few.
But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever-present threat from
aliens, heretics, mutants - and worse.

To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions.
It is to live in the cruellest and most bloody regime imaginable. These are the tales of those times.
Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be relearned.
Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim dark future there is only war.
There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and
the laughter of thirsting gods







Last edited by Shroom Man 777 on 2011-08-18 10:26pm, edited 4 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-18 02:39pm
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Ladies and gentlemen,

What lurks before your eyes right now is what Fin, Shroom and myself suggest is the ultimate fate of MEH-Earth and its leader. It’s a strong suggestion obviously, because we’ve put a lot of thought and effort into it and we think it’s a fair and interesting and dramatically pleasing outcome, but we’ll be happy to work with any suggestions you might have to add, or indeed answer any questions you may have about it.

But now I bid you without further ado to behold the grim darkness of the future, in which there is only long-winded prose.


Downfall


By Fingolfin, Shroom, Siege and CJ Motonow



Stars fell from the sky. Or to be more precise, Imperial warships were pushing MEH space colonies into calculated degrading orbits. The moonlets fell, burning comet-like through the atmosphere until they struck the areas in the shield that protected the cities below. Theatre shields buckled and vaporized sizable portions of the tremendous mass-energies to which they were exposed, sending fragments scattering in blinding displays of force-on-force. But shields could cope only for so long, and as time progressed some of the artificial projectiles began to punch through, striking the continent-spanning cities nearly whole, toppling starscrapers and shattering the immense megalopolises in apocalyptic paroxysms. From space, the once-great cities of Earth were seen to light up one by one.

Rus licked his lips and surveyed his works. Everything was working according to plan. He had conceived it, and now his forces were moving just as he had foreseen. Somewhere deeper in this system the fleets of the human coalition were now engaging Battlefleet Sol; the Emissaries were approaching and the Bragulan admiralities were doing their duty in keeping their nominal allies away as long as possible, or at least long enough for the Imperium to accomplish the dastard work of shattering the defences and cracking the shields that protected Earth. Just in case the Bragulans proved unable - or unwilling - to hold up their end of the deal however, Rus’ brother Aurelian had ordered the fleet’s frigates and corvettes to lay an extensive minefield along the planetary hyperlimit.

It was a nasty business, the Warmaster admitted. There was no doubt that the human coalition was unable to stomach this bloody mindedness, but it was what their Father had ordained, and none could question the judgement of the God-Emperor - not even his sons. He had ordered that this empire must fall, that its leader be captured, and if the cost was that Rus must break this world, then that was what he would do.

Rus knew that many thought him little better than a barbarian. Barbarian, he mused as he watched another habitat tear its way through the planetary atmosphere. He liked that. It suggested strength and brutality in the face of his enemies. They might think him crazy but only a fool would mistake mercilessness for insanity. He was a warrior, plain and simple, born and bred to vanquish his opponents by any means necessary, his skills ironed in the fires of the Great Crusade. He lived and breathed war, and this... This was how war should be fought: devoid of compassion or naive civility but with raw, primal violence. There should be nothing between a man and the great fire but his own cunning, and it was the same with civilizations. Weak and strong alike could worship the God-Emperor but it was battle alone that demonstrated that most ancient and glorious of truths: the strong triumphed. The weak died. That was how it was here, and it was how it should be.

Rus turned to Aurelian. “You have the fleet, brother,” Rus twitched his lips. “I will lead the attack on the palace.”

“Be careful,” Aurelian rubbed his chin as he watched the world burn below him, a pensive look on his face. “I sense... Strange machinations afoot. Something is happening down there..”

“Death is what is happening!” Rus roared. “Do not worry brother. I will bring back the queen of this pathetic little empire. I may even tie a neat bow around her for father to unwrap!”

With that the Warmaster of the Imperium turned and stomped off the observation deck. Aurelian barely noticed his brother disappear, wrapped up as he was in simultaneously coordinating the movements of the Imperial fleet and trying to pierce the psychic veil that was wrapped around the planet. It was... strange. Ever since the start of the war the empress had been a psychic star on the far horizon, ever-present and undiminished. But now he could no longer sense her. It was as if a great shroud had wrapped itself around this Earth. And perhaps strangest of all there was a... Curious familiarity to it. Aurelian couldn’t quite shake the vaguely disturbing sense that he ought to recognize the tang and taste of it, but the worldwide panic and dying didn’t make it any easier and so recognition eluded him.

“No matter,” he murmured. He turned around, red cape flapping behind him. A gaggle of Imperial officials stood at a dozen or so referential meters distance from the primarch. Amongst them were representatives of the Munitorium, obviously pleased to see the enemy’s own colonies used against him instead of the Imperium’s munitions, a handful of brooding Inquisitors from half a dozen different Ordos, a cowled Master of Assassins all others made sure to stay well clear of, the Saint - appearing only a young girl, barely twenty-five years old, but possessed of an otherworldly serenity that Aurelian recognized as the physical manifestation of his father’s divine power - and a small group of grizzled men and women in the uniforms of the navy and the Imperial Guard. To one of these last it was that Aurelian called his orders. “General Gaunt! Prepare the landing barges. And send a message to the troops. No quarter shall be given. Kill all those who stand against us and defy the God Emperor.”


Girl looks up on a yellow sky
and the rain turns to rust in her eye
Rumours of her health are lies
The old order is dying



Her people died all around her. She could hear them scream as their spacecraft fell through the atmosphere and their worlds burned; her fleets were torn asunder and her soldiers buried beneath the cities they were sworn to defend. The very sky was alight with the flames of destruction. Pillars of fire rained down from heaven. Crashing refugee ships streaked columns of greasy black smoke across the horizons, chased by all the way down by Imperial fighters until they impacted, shattering arcologies that were become tombs. Gnatlike dropships fell through the roiling clouds, their fat bellies loaded with men and warmachines come to effect genocide upon her people.

How had it come to this? She stared at the apocalyptic vista of her burning planet, transfixed with rage and despair. Her crown, her empire, every hope and ambition, her very life crumbled to ashes around her. What cruel irony! To escape the doom of an entire reality only to fall now, here, after witnessing all that she had redeemed put to the torch. There was nothing left now, nothing between her and all the terrors of the void.

Only one thing could still make all the death and destruction mean anything now. One last chance to strike back at those who had reduced her so. She waited, and she wept and laughed and cried with horror.


Still he sings an empire song
Still he keeps his navy strong
He sticks his flag where it ill belongs
The old order is dying



Covered with the putrefied blood that ran through the veins of his foes, Rus Komnenos, the most violent of all men, turned back to survey the men remaining to him, those brave few who had stood with him so far.

“Death! Death! DEATH!” bellowed the Warmaster. He beheld the Goddess’ palace, a gargantuan gilded ziggurat that now reflected the bloodlight of the burning world around it, piercing into a dead sky blackened by the ashes of the mass cremations taking place all across the planet. At long last, after waiting for so long, he was finally here to do his Father’s bidding - what he was made to do, what he was born to do.

Rus looked past the ruined wrecks of fallen Titans at the mad architecture of the palace stabbing from the Earth and into the storm-laden sky. Red lightning flashed, the paroxysms of a wounded sky arcing off the crown of the palatial spire, casting an eerie light on the pools of blood at Rus’ feet, silhouetting the ruined hulks of ruined Land Raiders and MEH machines around him, and the countless bloated corpses littering his feet. Rumbling thunder blended with the growl of his bloodstained chainsword.

Before them, the gate of the ziggurat opened like the iris of a cyclopean eye of steel. And from it poured forth the Goddess’ palace guard, legion in number, attired in ceremonial garments marked with the sigils of their deity, wielding a mix of small arms and wicked blade weaponry, and showing their utter fanatic devotion by screaming exultations to their false goddess as they charged the remaining Astartes. They did not even take heed of cover or concealment, for such was the extent of their fanaticism. And the Astartes, after carving a bloody warpath through entire armies on their way to Sasha’s throne, were disinclined to waste any ammo on these mongrels. Some of the guardians opened fire with their blaster weapons, filling the air with a hail of crimson bolts, while others shrieked their battle-cries and charged into melee range.

Rus grinned, a feral smile splaying out across his scarred and pitted face. This would suit him just fine. With his chainsword he wove a web of flashing steel before him and halved three men with but a stroke. Viscera sprayed all over his armor. With his armored fist he threw a punch that liquefied a guard, and a backhand sent another flying across the courtyard only to be impaled on a spiked banner. In his mind, this hell on Earth was heaven. Here, he could finally be himself with no pretensions of civilitude and restraint. He delivered a headbutt to a guard that got too close, and his helmet pulverized the mere mortal man’s cranium in an explosion of brain matter and cerebrospinal fluid. Rus wiped the slime off his visor and laughed as he continued on killing. He leaped into the air and landed in a group of blaster-wielding guards, crushing several of them underfoot while dismembering the rest with broad strokes. His guffaws echoed along with the dying guards’ choked prayers to their Goddess.

“Onwards, to glory!” he shouted to his cohorts, a retinue of Terminators, a Devastator squad, and the Venerable Dreadnought Titus - his mentor from the days before the Great Crusade, old yet lethal as ever in his armed sarcophagus. Of his entire warband they were the only ones who had survived the running battle that had taken them across the span of the continent, to the very doorstep of the Goddess’ profane temple.

“Aye, young master,” boomed the vox-amplified voice of Titus as he finished eviscerating the last of the enemy with his lightning claws. “It is time to go into the den of the beast.”

The Astartes finished their bloody work and proceeded through the gate and into the palace itself. Each step was slick and slippery, as they were ankle-deep in the spilled gore of their enemies. The were so many bodies that they could not be avoided, armored boots ended up crushing these remains into pulp. They left behind bootprints of blood as they marched towards the unholy ziggurat. Lightning crackled in the air once again, static electricity from the airborne ash of the burning cities. The palpable scent of ozone assaulted their auto-senses, mixing with a butcher’s shop miasma, the smell of death. Corpses began to rot unnaturally fast, festering before their very eyes. To any right minded being, what was transpiring here and now was the very definition of wrongness. But for the faithful servants and children of the God-Emperor, all was right in the world.

The holy ziggurat had now fully taken up the color of fire. Perhaps from the searing heat of the orbital bombardments and the fires that raged throughout the surrounding lands, or for another and entirely more sinister reason altogether its golden walls appeared to be deforming, melting like wax. The precise geometric shape of the structure was slowly becoming more misshapen with each passing second. Strange, indeterminate liquid oozed from the ziggurat and flowed between the cobblestones of the courtyards around it, marking the yards with strange lines. And as they entered it, it was as if the walls of the palace had begun to degrade not with time but with other, less comprehensible forces. Stones that had stood for millennia warped and altered, transforming into something that looked like viscous glass, and the deeper in that they went, the worse the effect. These strange barriers seemed to shift, seemingly nebulous and intangible like fog in one moment, and then solidifying into stained crystalline matter in the next. In select places, the walls wept blood.

Hairline fractures appeared on the glass walls, spiralling webs of cracks, jagged lines crisscrossing madly over an unending and shifting surface that reflected warped and twisted images of those who gazed into them. Strange forms ghosted in the background of these reflections, dissolving into mist whenever seen. The fracture-lines splaying across the surface themselves formed nauseating patterns, as though extending beyond than the walls’ two-dimensional boundaries in impossible ways. Strange light emanated from these cracks, but the source wasn’t from the other side of those walls.

As they went in deeper, the corridors seemed to stretch on forever, and bodies were strewn everywhere - bodies, and body-parts, enough to construct an army of servitors out of. The dead were stacked against the walls, piled up in heaps high enough even the Emperor’s warriors had difficulty navigating the nightmarish labyrinth. Blood caked the ceilings, the walls, ran in thick runnels across the dead in dizzying three-dimensional hieroglyphs.

“What cognitive trickery is this,” growled Titus, proving that even his mechanical sensors were affected by the strange geometries of the bloody patterns.

“Do not look at them,” warned one of the Terminators, a grizzled veteran in the iron livery of the Grey Knights, the God-Emperor’s psychic warriors - an elite within the elite. He waved his hand and seared away the eldritch symbols with arcing flickers of blue light. “This is sorcery most foul.”

And as though to affirm his words, the grotesque sights before them dissolved, the innumerable bodies and bones and hieroglyphs littering the floor and lining the walls melting into liquid blood, which receded back into the walls that regurgitated them, leaving the corridor in a sudden immaculately gold-hewed state.

“Heresy.” Titus spat angrily at the blasphemous spectacle. “Let the enemy show himself and cease these pathetic games!”

“Blast the walls open! Let us see what the enemy tries to conceal with his charade!” Rus barked. He too grew weary of these monkeyshines - wary, and though he would never admit it, would kill in fact before admitting it, a little disturbed.

“With pleasure.” Titus uttered. The lightning claws of his right arm folded away, revealing a tri-linked lascannon. There was a sharp noise as the tri-barrels spun around rapidly, and the weapon sent rapid-fire laspulses to vaporize the heretical masonry. The wall exploded, not in a shower of shattered concrete or stone, but in a detonation of charred flesh and bone and boiled blood. As though the building itself were alive.

Behind the living wall was a massive chamber shaped like an amphitheater fashioned out of black basalt. Its lowest part was a circle, transfused into the same black glassy material as the walls. The distinctive dark brown stains of dried blood were everywhere. Headache-inducing ritual marks had been cut deep in the stone, in a massive circle some three hundred metres across. On each cuneiform stood a terrible machine. They were steel frameworks like four-poster beds, with elaborate pulleys on each corner. On each upright was a coil from which sprang a thick cable, four of them joining above each machine and then sprouting a single thick bitumen that snaked through the air to the middle of the ritual circle, where they connected with all other such cables and then disappear in weirdly tangled geometries somewhere in the ceiling.

Humanoid shapes were spread-eagled on their backs in each of machine, naked and tied to the uprights. They were all freshly killed, hundreds of them, their chests annihilated by three-dimensional guillotine blades of blackest obsidian. Rus could not be sure what those blades were made of - but glass and bits of human bone seemed to figure in the design. Blood seeped from ruined ribcages, pooling in lakes of blood, funneled into obscene, circling patterns carved into the floor that gravitated to a concavity in the heart of the room, a basin full of sanguine fluids.

“Psykers,” came the warbled electronic voice of the Grey Knight. The holy warrior held up a portable auspex array that crackled with intermittent bursts of energy whenever it came near one of the ritually slaughtered bodies or the reservoirs of pooling blood. “All dead - their souls destroyed. There were others here too, before these wretches.”

“So that’s what this so-called goddess wanted them for.” Rus is undaunted by the grisly sight before him. “Lambs to be slaughtered and consumed.” He sounded derisive, yet he was unsure of just what he was seeing. He recognized a crude psychic conduit when he saw one - such technology was hardly without precedent in the Imperium - but he couldn’t fathom the purpose of this sorcery. Was she trying to imitate his father? If so, then an end must be put to this madness - this blasphemy - at once.

“What shall we do with them?” Titus asked. Despite being a hardened warrior, the venerable dreadnought couldn’t stop himself from making the sign of the aquila with his hydraulic lightning claws.

“Leave them. We are here for the goddess, and the goddess only.”


You're asking what makes me sigh now
What it is makes me shudder so well
I just freeze in the wind and I'm
numb from the pummeling of the snow
that falls from high in yellow skies
down on where the time-stained flag of
the Eagle flies



The planet itself was a sacrifice, a charnelhouse dedicated to an unmentionable evil. The hated enemies’ engines of destruction unwittingly turned the tide against him as every death, every drop of blood spilt strengthened the threads of unholy force that were even now bonding this world to a reality far removed but drawing inexorably closer. War had become ritual, and that ritual was now perilously close to completion. She smiled. There was no mirth or humanity in that smile. It was the smile of something that tried to imitate a human emotion it had no clear recollection of. Luminous worms of light writhed soundlessly behind her eyelids, twisting in the empty space of her skull.

The planet was an altar and the Imperium was its ceremonial knife. The golden palace was a focal point for incomprehensible energies, every death now channeled here, into her. She was a nexus of arcane power, and she felt the skein of the universe unravel beneath her. Coursing ley lines connected all of this world to her now, and through her to the place beneath. She could sense the darkened ghost of that extinguished universe, and the terrible creatures that dwelt there. Cold, malignant and unspeakably old.

Almost there now. Almost... almost... there.

She would make them pay for what they’d done. She would make all of them pay.


All that you touch
And all that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
And all that you love
And all that you hate



The world burned as Aurelian watched. He could sense, deeper into the system, the fleets of warships, his nominal allies, who were finishing off the last remnants of Battlefleet Sol, could feel their shifting purpose. They would be here in hours, maybe less, but they would be too late. The battle had been decided, the empire had fallen and soon, so would its leader.

The battle had been easily won. True, brave men had fallen, many of them, but in the end Aurelian suspected that victory may just have come too easily. For moments the primarch had feared a trap, but he knew the enemy had no reserves left, no more fleets or soldiers to throw against him, no more planets to retreat to. If Earth fell, the Multiversal Empire was done. Then why? It had taken him long minutes to shift paradigms. Perhaps, if they enemy could not resist militarily, they would try some other way? But what? Then he remembered the psychic shroud that had veiled the planet. Could it be that the enemy was resorting to sorcery?

After that it slowly began to make sense. The goddess was using the planet as a... a conduit. A vast necromantic drain, sluicing the very life energies of its dying inhabitants away to do... To do what? He envisioned the patterns of occult force in his mind, let his probing mental fingers slide along the web of arcane geometries. He began to notice hotspots that corresponded with reports that were now beginning to filter back from the planet: a thousand ritual sacrifices here, occult symbols daubed in blood discovered there, and began to combine them with battle reports. An entire division of troops slaughtered to the last man, refusing to surrender at this location, a crazed suicide charge by ten thousand unarmed men at another. In his mind he connected them with what little knowledge he had of sorcery. He wished his father was here, who would surely make sense of this in a heartbeat, but even without the God-Emperor his Son slowly began to unravel the web of unholy force, saw it coalesce in his mind into a loathsome Sign.

Realization dawned just as every auspex on the command bridge came alight with warning signs. Aurelian could hear sirens go off in the depths of the massive battleship. Ancient runes flashed with a warning he had not seen in hundreds of years: Unscheduled Reality Excursion.

Now the primarch realized where he had seen this type of warp magic before. It had been a long time ago, during the great war that had followed when his beloved sister was taken, when the Imperium had tested what it had hoped would prove a decisive new weapon against the Swarm and the mysterious Collectors. It had failed. Oh, how horribly the Sisyphus had failed. And now, here, an entire world...

“Brother!” he mouthed in horror.


And all that you slight
And everyone you fight
And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that's to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon



The last room was a vast and open space, a once-beautiful place where congregations had once visited to pray and pay tribute to their goddess. Now, their bloated corpses carpeted the floor. In desperation, thousands of citizens had flocked to the chapel to pray for absolution, for salvation, and when it became obvious that the goddess would not save them from what was to come, these men, women and children simply laid down on the floor and died. Yet in these sacred grounds, even their death was a prayer and a tribute to their goddess. Runes carved on the floor drew out their blood, which flowed into minute ley lines that channeled the precious life-liquid to where it was accumulated.

Flies and carrion insects swarmed around them.

“Fools,” Rus said, almost sorrowfully. This was no way for anyone to die. He would have preferred if they had died at his hands, violently and gloriously in combat. But not like this. Either way, the goddess was not here. They had suspected that this chapel was her final resting place, as Battle-brother Nathanael, the Grey Knight, had determined it to be in the middle of the four sacrificial psychic conduits they had found, an ideal position for the channeled psychic energies to converge on. But no, the goddess was apparently elsewhere in the palace. “Come, there is nothing here.”

As they turned away from the mass grave, something trickled on Rus’ enormous shoulder pauldron. He looked at it, as far as he could turn his head to the side anyway, and he saw droplets of blood. He gazed up, looking for their origin, and he found it. The chapel had no ceiling. Instead it had a lake of blood over it, accumulated from all of those who died in the room, and somehow the host of blood managed to defy gravity. Until now.

More droplets fell on Rus, staining his shoulder pauldrons and the rest of his armor. Not that it made much difference, he was already covered in the blood of countless slain enemies. But the trickle of droplets intensified, until they were in a proverbial downpour of the horrid stuff that seemed without end. Several large humanoid forms of coagulated hemoglobin fell from that raining blood-lake. The sanguine creatures uttereda savage shriek and attacked the Astartes.

A crimson blade narrowly missed Rus. He dodged it deftly and stabbed the creature in the face with his lightning claws, before spinning and decapitating another one with his chainsword. The creatures dissolved into red mist after the blows. There was nothing solid in them, nothing tangible. Were they more tricks?

“Phantasms!” Nathanael shouted, as he examined his enemies with his auspex while simultaneously dispatching them with his sanctified force-pike. “They’re not real!”

“More heresy!” Titus cursed. It was frustrating him. He struck a dozen of the haemoforms, his lascannon stitching fire through the open space, shattering corpses and masonry alike, but the sanguine phantoms merely splashed away into nothingness. And then, there was a bright flash of light, and the venerable dreadnought Titus was engulfed in flame. His smoking form fell on the floor.

“Titus!” Rus cried in shock and surprise. And there, some distance before him, a haemoform stood cradling a smoking weapon. In rage, the primarch launched himself at the things. After so much treachery, they had finally deigned to reveal themselves. More bolts of energy screamed towards Rus, each bolt far more powerful than the pitiful blasters the palace guardians carried, but the primarch evaded them with ease. He closed in and brought his chainsword down on the enemy, but the sanguine creature merely leaped out of reach.

“You have come to your doom, Astartes. Primarch,” it laughed. The blood boiled off it, revealing the creature’s true form. Telltale power armor that even matched the Astartes’ own. Devastating weaponry in hand. It was a MEH Marine, one of the goddess’ greatest champions. Its armor was marked by more of those runes and hieroglyphs, and stained dedications to its goddess that hurt the eye. It trained its weapon on Rus. “Time to die.”

Before it could squeeze the trigger, a chainsword plunged into its chestplate and came out of its back. It staggered and sputtered, while trying to fire off a shot. It did, but the bolt went wide, and all of a sudden Rus appeared right in front of him.

“Your time, not mine.” Rus said lowly as he took back his chainsword, still buried in the Marine’s chest, and slashed upwards, partially bisecting the Marine with the stroke. Without breaking his stride, Rus turned around just in time to block another blow from another blood-covered Marine. Chainsword clashed against vibroblade, both weapons locking with each other as Primarch and elite soldier struggled to gain the advantage.

“The Goddess will ascend!” the Marine cackled with glee as he pushed Rus backwards with every effort of his being, body and armor. “You have no chance! You cannot stop her! You have only come in time to bear witness -”

“Witness this.” Rus pulled out his meltapistol and jammed it at the Marine’s face. He squeezed the firing stud, and the Marine’s head and shoulders disappeared in a flash of actinic light. After kicking the twitching corpse away, he turned to his comrades. More of the bloodbeings turned out to be MEH Marines, while some remained immaterial phantasms, making distinguishing one from the other difficult. He could see a group of them, tearing one of his faithful Terminators limb from limb. The Astartes’ death-screams mixed with the orgasmic ululations of his killers.

“I am the Hammer of the Emperor!” Nathanael shouted, going on to recite a prayer of hatred while impaling another Marine with his halberd. While the supersoldier still twitched on his pike, he swung at another haemoform, which dissolved into red mist. He unleashed his storm-bolter and disintegrated more of the bloodstained beings - phantasm and real Marine alike. “None shall withstand my wrath!”

Both Primarch and Grey Knight slashed a path across the sea of enemies, until they fought back to back against dozens of the things. False bloodbeasts would strike at them, distracting them while actual Marines tried to attack from another direction. It was then that all of them lunged at the Rus and Nathanael at once, hoping to overwhelm them through sheer numbers. Chainsword, lightning claws, force-halberd and stormbolter cut own falsities and enemy supersoldiers alike, but there were too many of them.

The flash and thunder of a rapid-fire lascannon overwhelmed all sights and sounds. Bloodbeasts and supersoldiers were vaporized by the score, while two Marines on the verge of striking Nathanael and Rus, who were distracted by the phantasms, stood motionless before the Knight and Primarch. There was a metal blade protruding from each of the Marines’ chests. The blades opened up, transforming back into the fingers of dreadnought-sized lightning claws, and in the process shredding the Marines into chunks of meat.

Venerable dreadnought Titus flicked the blood away from his mechanical hands, as though it was nothing but dirt.

“Welcome back, old man. Enjoyed your nap?” Rus grinned as he carved up a Marine’s face with his own claws.

“We all have our vices, young prodigal. Yours is the bottle, mine is the somnolence of the half-dead. Let us hope we succumb to neither of them.” Titus moved with deceptive speed. Despite the fact that he was a lumbering machine, his lightning claws slashed with martial precision, cutting down the Marines in front of him before he spun around with impossible grace to gut some supersoldiers attempting to sneak behind him. After all, beneath the machine was the man who had taught Rus everything he knew about war, and entombment in an adamantine sarcophagus had not dulled his skills the slightest. His lascannons roared as they intercepted an incoming missile, and he was about to fire at the one who had launched it but stopped at the last second as the Primarch attacked the Marine.

“I’ll drink to that!” Rus happily agreed as he brought his lightning claws up in an uppercut, sliding the crackling blades up under the Marine’s chin and into its brain. He lifted the twitching supersoldier’s body and used it as a shield against incoming blaster bolts, before returning fire with his meltagun. The meltabeams sent his attacker staggering back, but the Marine’s chest armor withstood the searing energies, so Rus aimed lower and his next shots vaporized the supersoldier’s feet. The amputated Marine collapsed to the floor but defiantly brought its weapon up to return fire before it was promptly stepped on by Titus. Rus cackled at the sight. “Watch your step.”

“Young Primarch, I believe it is time to end this,” Titus suggested as he plucked a Marine off the ground with his claws and, not bothering to slash or slice or disembowel, merely slammed the supersoldier repeatedly on the floor - dashing it against stone until both man and power armor were reduced to pulp.

“Astartes! Form up!” Rus roared as what remained of his retinue finished slaughtering the Marines and gathered around their master. Titus and Nathanael were at his side, and the Terminators and surviving members of the Tactical Squad surrounded them.

“I sense a disturbance in the warp. What we are looking for is behind those doors,” Nathanael said, pointing with his force-halberd to the portal to the Goddess’ sanctum.

The blood-ceiling bled more man-sized globules of coagulated liquid. They fell to the floor and reformed into the unmistakable forms of MEH Marines. A dozen of them blocked the Astartes’ path, unsheathing wicked vibroblades and raising them for all to see. Rus and his warriors readied themselves for another battle, but instead they bore witness to something else entirely.

Moving in unnatural synchronity, the Marines brought their blades across their armored throats, pressing the blades down hard through their armor, and then through their flesh. Blood poured out of their slit throats like crimson fountains, bubbling and frothing. Yet instead of falling dead from their mortal self-inflicted wounds, the Marines stood there, strangely stiff, motionless save for their arms and the blades they wielded. They moved with clinical yet unnatural precision, like marionettes on invisible strings. After their throats, they began inscribing foul runes and glyphs on their very bodies - through armor and their own flesh. More blood oozed from the wounds, pooling on the floor.

And from these bloodpools rose forms that solidified into misshapen figures, seemingly humanoid, but composed of rippling red fluid. Details resolved themselves on their featureless visages. Lids that opened into sockets filled with burning orbs. Mouths that grinned with blacksteel fangs glinting in the non-light. From these mouths came a chilling laughter, echoing throughout the gore-stained chapel.

“In death we serve her still. We are one with her, forever!” Spoke the creatures born from the blood of the faithful who had sacrificed themselves on her altar. They uttered one last shriek as they began to boil away into mist. “Behold, she has risen!”

With a stunning display of force the gigantic golden doors to the Goddess’ inner sanctum exploded into a shard of steel fragments. The temperature began to drop. Darkness flowed out of the sanctum like a physical substance, dimming the light. Still farther the temperature fell, etching horrid, otherworldly ice flowers on the corpses of the dead. There was a sound of flapping as if from ghastly, leathery wings. The shadows darkened, thickened, swirled, and finally clotted into a dreadful shape. Something uncoiled from the shadows and suddenly lashed out at the Warmaster, hurling him bodily across the room, smashing pillars until he struck the wall. The shape vanished, and only a moment later reappeared on top of his fallen bulk.

It was only then that Rus caught a first look of his enemy. The goddess wore the crackled tatters of a regal tenue that had once been turquoise but had now darkened in the same way the walls of her palace had. Her face seemed to glow, greenish like marble. There was something luminous and wormy behind her eyes. As he struggled to bring his chainsword to bear Rus could see, very clearly, a trickle of blood bubbling from her nose. Her hands were ablaze with a horrible black balefire that seemed not to burn her at all, hammering at his chest. He would have laughed at so futile a gesture, but then noticed how every time those hands hit his consecrated armor chunks of adamantium and ceramite turned to ashes that flaked up to the ceiling on hidden winds. She snarled and ripped off an aquila and the holy shape melted and dissolved in her hands.

That was enough to jolt the Warmaster out of his stunned amazement. “Unholy wretch!” bellowed Rus. “Get you away from me!” He swiped his chainsword in front of him, aiming to take off her head but the goddess - or whatever lived inside what had once been her body - discorporated in a flash of diaphanous black smoke, then instantly reconstituted at a handful meters distance.

His first born.” The goddess had an echo: half a second after she spoke her words were repeated in the appalling shriek of one undergoing torture. The screamed words were not loud. They were only just audible, as if they had soared up through miles of unearthly heat from some trench in the bowels of Hell. His first booorn came the soulless howl of misery. The goddess laughed. So did her horrifying echo. “What better way to begin my vindication. Arise, my manikins!

A single terrible, tooth-aching note dinned through the palace, like a mad flute echoing from some nuclear chaos beyond space and time. All around the blood-stained hall the dead began to rise, men and women and children, dead marines and civilians alike shambled to their feet, their once-human forms dashing forward to assault the invaders of their goddess’ sanctum.

Rus growled an ancient curse and trained his meltapistol on the goddess but she vanished again. Screams, and a gust of ash. A torrent of shadowy slag tore through the wave of undead. Each shred of soot was stained as black as the obsidian walls. The hurricane twisted, bent itself through some impossible corner, fell upon a screaming Terminator. The cinders etched runes of destruction on his armor, branded him as if they were plasma-hot. The warrior burned alive inside his wargear, and the goddess reconstituted herself in a gout of convalescing ashes and lunged for the Warmaster.

He dodged, but she was faster than anything he ever fought before. A back-handed slap hit him with freight train force, etching a black burn on his helmet and sending him stumbling backwards. One of the remaining Terminators lunged to protect his liege, powerfist buzzing, but the goddess sent him a sideways glance and the elite soldier simply froze in mid-leap. His armor began to change, flaking at the joints first, then the supernatural rot tore through sanctified ceramite as the Terminator aged a thousand years every second. Soon the armor fell away into rusted scraps entirely, exposing an ancient, withered skeleton underneath, its jaws agape in a horrible scream.

Then the dead lunged past their goddess and fell upon him, suddenly supported by a massive influx of marines who had, by the look of it, ritually gouged out their own eyes. The hordes of darkness surged forward. Rus let out a blood-curdling battle cry and threw himself at his foes, the sanctified chainsword dancing lightly in his hands. Nathanael stood solidly behind his stormbolter, cutting a swathe of death through which even these mindless foes could not wade, and Titus swept up behind his commander, laying down suppressing fire with his lascannon and tearing through bodies with his lightning claw. Gruesome ichor burst from the bodies of the dead whenever they were felled, the very blood transmuted and turned to volcanic ash in their arteries. It sizzled and filled the air with the sickening scent of burning, rotted flesh. And there were many of them, so very many.

Between the dead and the ever-present shadow-form of their goddess, they were slowly being driven back to the far wall. The Warmaster’s pistol ran out of munition. He had lost his stormbolter a long time ago. The teeth of his chainsword jammed on black ichor, yet he continued to swing it, shattering bodies whenever he struck home. Something black and shadowy grabbed at Rus with dozens of tentacles. The rising dead weighed down his arms and legs, stronger than they had any right to be. The goddess had abandoned her physical form altogether, and her insane laughter echoed through his mind. The Warmaster knew she was too much for him. This place would be his tomb. But what a way to die. What a glorious way to die.

There was a terrible tremor, and the very foundations of the desecrated palace shook like a mortally wounded animal. The roof exploded inward in a shower of dust and basalt rock, torn apart to grant entrance to the massive, armored bulk of a Thunderhawk gunship. The devastating din of its chain bolters was music to the Warmaster’s ears. The pressure of the wave of bodies and vile summonings lessened as its heavy weapons cleared bloody firebreaks through the room. “The Emperor protects!” Rus laughed with renewed zeal, crushed the head of a ghoulish marine in the palm of his hand. With a devastating crunch the gunship set down on the ruined floor of the sanctum, heavy steel drop doors slamming open to reveal a squad of Astartes in the blue livery of the Anatolian Guard. “My liege!” yelled a sergeant. “We are come under orders from your brother. You must evacuate at once!”

“For once I am inclined to agree!” bellowed Rus. He swung his chainsword in a circle as a simple club, breaking bones and shattering bodies, then with a mighty leap made his way to the waiting transport where he grabbed an Astartes’ bolter. “Titus! Nathanael! To me, brothers! It is time to leave!”

However the goddess would not let them off so easily. “Run, little mongrels. See how far you get!” A ruinous blaze of terrible black fire swept forward, melting the golden floors and ceiling where it touched them, burning the undead to cinders and adding their dying ashes to itself, expanding into a demoniac shape of blazing darkness that threatened to fall upon and lay waste to the Thunderhawk and its occupants.

A semi-translucent wall of light spread out from the outstretched hand of Nathanael, expanding until it reached the floor, walls, and ceiling where it licked and burned away at the blackened stone. “I am a servant of the God-Emperor, whose mighty power doth make the strongest walls shake!” intoned the Grey Knight, his voice crackling with holy power. “Where there is uncertainty, I shall bring light! Where there is doubt, I shall sow faith! My word in the soul shall be as my bolter in the field! And I shall suffer not the scion of the witch to live!" The shield of white light now completely barred the mad goddess’ way to the transport, and all aboard the Thunderhawk could hear her insane laughter in their minds. “My lord! Go! I will hold her off for as long as I can!” yelled Nathanael.

“You will be remembered, brother!” the Warmaster hollered back. Nathanael didn’t answer, and the Thunderhawk pilot wasted no time powering his thrusters. The armored gunship shot out of the titanic gouge cleaved in the side of the palace by a Titan’s inferno cannon and rocketed into space as below them, the great golden palace blistered and blackened. The titanic structure began to fall in onto itself as a cloud of deepest shadow erupted from it, sweeping in all directions across the dying world.


An eye for an eye!
And he weighs the cost
A lie for a lie!
And your soul for sale
Sold!
To the King on the chromium throne



Behold my ascendance!” echoed a mental voice in the minds of every sailor and soldier aboard the Imperial fleet. Before their eyes the Earth darkened as if light were no longer reflected by it, and Aurelian realized that it wasn’t. He was no longer looking at a planet but at a breach in reality where the world used to be, a dimensional sinkhole brought about by terrifying sorcery the likes of which the galaxy had never seen before.

Ugly orange blotches mottled the black pit that had once been the Imperial capital world. Great columns of spinning flame arced around the rim of that hideous vacuity. Something was stirring deep within that non-place, ululating as it assumed the symmetries of a new reality. In numb terror Aurelian watched titan sunspots drift slowly across a colossal mass of hideous writhing tentacles, a diaphanous mass clawing itself out of the ice cold realm beneath, one moment dwindling, then growing larger and larger and he knew, instinctively, that he beheld something utterly monstrous. He could hear it in his mind, roaring with an insatiable anger. Its vast malevolent sentience buckled and ripped at his wards. He beheld the goddess unchained and for a moment he felt utterly powerless, unable to resist, he was falling headlong toward that devouring chaos...

Only with an ultimate exertion of Will did he tear himself away from that horrible sight. “Full reverse!” he yelled at the horror-struck crew of the command deck. “Signal the fleet to break for the hyperlimit!” The thought to open fire on the horror did not even enter his mind. The immensity of its power was as if a physical shadow had been cast over the entirety of the system. Aurelian could feel it thrum in his teeth, could smell its taste in his blood. And as he nauseously watched this creature, this thing glide, or jerk, or spasm through space, moving faster than should be possible, he knew his fleet was not going to make it.

“Primarch,” came a small voice. Then when he didn’t react more forcefully, “Primarch!”

Aurelian tore his gaze away from the horrifying, fascinating sight before him, and beheld the Saint. Outside the eltritch horror extended a mass of tendrils toward an Imperial corvette, and it exploded as if it had not been armored at all. The girl stood, half-dressed in a suit of sealed armor, an ancient and weathered wooden case under one arm. “I must go.”

A second he seethed, thinking her about to abandon ship. Then, for one moment his thoughts went blank and he stood, mute with incomprehension for what she was really proposing to do. Then he shook his head. “No. I cannot allow it!"

"Primarch" she gazed at him. Her hard grey eyes wilted into trepidation and unease. "“Even a monster has a heart." The Saint bent down and opened her case. Carefully, she produced a long cylindrical spear and wrapped her precious ring around its blade. The weapon reeked of world ending power.

Aurelian almost gasped. “Those haven’t been used since the Great War.”

The girl smiled sadly. “Your father is more farsighted than you give him credit for, primarch. He thought it necessary to grant me this weapon in case of...” Her expression faltered.

Aurelian nodded slowly. “I think I understand now.” He couldn’t help but feel torn. He was seeing his father’s purpose at work here, and yet... This did not seem right. He knew better than to meddle with the workings of fate, but even so he almost didn’t dare look upon her when he said, “you’ll need to get close enough.”

“I know, primarch.” Then her tone almost melted and a single word sank from her lips before she encased herself completely in her suit. “Farewell.” She turned to leave. Minutes later, Aurelian could see her explode into space. Shouldering the lance, she vectored forward. Oblivion loomed in front of her. As the Imperial flagship lit its mighty engines and pulled away the primarch caught a final glimpse of the Saint, falling amidst twisted geometries, polypous appendages, beaks of razor-teeth the size of starships, spear-tip raised...

A spreading, blinding white light backlit the Tyrant’s Dominion. There was a terrifying psychic cry, and then nothing at all.


Evening has fallen
The swans are singing
The last of Sunday's bells is ringing
The wind in the trees is sighing
And the old order is dying



Quote:
ENCRYPTED NOOSPHERIC MEMORANDUM


877 –A, delivered - [XX C35] via Astropathic Choir, to Regia Inquisitorus, Hive Primaris, Holy Terra.

This document is classified SIGMA THETALON HERETICUS. If you do not have SIGMA THETALON HERETICUS clearance, please report to the nearest Arbites precinct. Illegal knowledge of classified material is punishable by death.

Ave Imperator!

What lies before you is an after-action report compiled by Inquisitorial agents on the matter formerly known as the pacification of Earth-4, and now classified SIGMA THETALON HERETICUS. Although it has proven difficult and dangerous to pierce the spatial anomaly tentatively classified OCCULARIS TERRIBILIS, I have been able to establish the following:

* Spatial coordinates corroborated against Imperial Navy star-charts indicates that this area is indeed the same that used to contain the capital of the erstwhile so-called ‘Multiversal Empire of Happiness’.

* Upon arriving in this sub-sector I have been forced to conclude that the aforementioned planet is now missing, along with the entirety of the surrounding solar system.

* In its place is a dimensional anomaly of terrifying intensity that my Navigator was unwilling to enter, even when I threatened him with summary execution for disobeying a direct order, citing “I’d rather you shoot me than venture into that”.

* After orbiting the anomaly for 24 standard hours fruitlessly trying to collate sensor data the crew of my ship came under an intense psychic attack that I believe emanated from inside the anomaly. It was sufficient to overwhelm our gellar fields and protective wards from par-secs away. At this point my astropath had descended into gibbering madness, shouting, “It’s HER, it’s HER”. I was subsequently forced to execute the astropath after he gouged out his own eyes and attempted to seize control of the helm. I believe this to indicate that the entity formerly classified as ‘Leader’ and now classified as [CLASSIFIED], is not only alive but resides inside the anomaly.

* All attempts to ascertain further information on [CLASSIFIED] from the Varangian Rus’ chapter records have been denied. All records pertaining to the operation on Earth-4 have been sealed on orders of primarch Aurelian Komnenos.

* Most disturbingly, long-range surveys indicate that the spatial anomaly tentatively classified OCCULARIS TERRIBILIS is growing in size at a slow and steady rate, in both realspace and in the Immaterium. It is uncertain when this growth will stop, or if it will stop at all, as the anomaly spreads further into the sub-sector.

* It is thus recommended that the sector be placed under constant and intense surveillance. An arrangement must be made with the Navy and Guard to place surveillance assets within the region to maintain vigilance on the anomaly and whatever heresies lie within it.


May the Light of Holy Terra shine upon us all,

Inquisitor Drusus Machilles
Ordo Hereticus


ADDENDUM:

*Also, lastly, any psykers who turn their attention towards the OCCULARIS TERRIBILIS must be under supervision at all times, with their movements monitored. Should they display any anomalous behaviour, they should be examined at once and upon any anomalous findings immediately executed.

The Emperor protects.



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SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-18 11:24pm
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"[…] Fire Caste warriors were not always willing combatants, having been chemically compelled to serve their Ethereal masters, and in light of the Imperium's treatment of Tau civilians despite that fact, the Unified Assembly--then situated on Nova Miratia--saw fit to accept them as refugees and allow them to continue to practice their culture, provided that they renounce their allegiance to the Empire. Many chose to do so, and so a special subdivision of the Expeditionary Force was created at the request of their Fire Caste; the Tau Auxiliary Force. The Assembly also commissioned a new research group, Omer Science, to work with Tau scientists and engineers to better understand and apply Imperial Tau technology. […]" - History 004 (textbook)

~

Alpha Centauri
Unreal Time


"Let's review the mission," Commander Kay's hologram began, as it had in numerous other transports now converging for this operation, "We're taking control of this Imperial city. You will assault this industrial complex here. Intel predicts an Imperial garrison force, but they'll be no match for your likes. That said, additional reinforcements will relieve you within the hour. We want this facility intact for the reconstruction efforts, so fire support will be limited to smart missiles." Kay's holographic avatar paused and appeared to look around the Orca dropcraft at eye level. "Good luck, Shas. Make us proud. Kay, out." She saluted them. The hologram distorted, then disappeared entirely.

The company commander took her place. "Ready up, warriors. We’re approaching the complex. ETA: thirty seconds."

<Recommended listening>

Shortly after, the load master began the countdown. "Doors open in five… four… three… two… one… GO!" The armoured doors parted to reveal the landing pad; a large, flat surface roughly three hundred metres above the planetary surface. They deployed alongside their traditional 'Crisis' weapon carriers. The complex itself still towered far overhead. They could see their comrades deploying to other similar pads far below and above. The entrance had already been smashed aside by the lander's railguns.

They didn’t have long to absorb this, however. "Fatties!" Somebody yelled almost immediately, pointing towards the door, where plus-sized militiamen wearing exoskeletons moved with much greater agility than their size would suggest they were capable of. They also wielded, apparently, powerful exotic weapons. Before anybody could react, a blue bolt connected with a Shas' helmet, which exploded into vapour, taking most of his face with it. He fell backwards, screaming and clutching at the audibly sizzling flesh.

"Weapons free!" the squad leaders yelled reflexively. The rest of the fallen warrior's team tried to drag him back to the transport under the torrent of plasma fire. Plasma bolts blasted enormous craters in the concrete walls and floors of the facility where the Fire Warriors missed their mark, and turned Imperial militiamen into fatty, chunky red stains where they didn't, even as sporadic and inaccurate return fire brought down another few warriors. "Secure the entrance! Go! Go! Go!" the squad leaders yelled over the comms.

"For Verdance!" others intoned in their native tongue as they carried out their orders. "For the Greater Good!"



SDN Worlds 5: Sanctum


Last edited by Ryan Thunder on 2011-08-19 01:01am, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-19 12:15am
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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-19 05:00am
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Xena
Salvation Habitat Complex
Day 4


Another penal batallion rushed into the underground waste processing facility, through a tunnel bored over three days by heavy machinery. They advanced under a withering barrage of K-Bolter fire, throwing thermobaric grenades into every opening and yelling like madmen.

Marines returned fire from the gangways and planks and narrow passages, which criss-crossed the gargantuan room, one of nearly four hundred very similar locations in the bowels of Salvation. The attackers climbed over piles of corpses, ignoring the casualties they sustained in favor of charging, ever ahead. Their explosive collars left them little choice - the 2 Penal Legion would seize the beachhead, or die trying!

So far, they were mostly dying.

However, combat engineerskis have been working on widening the tunnel, and just as the last wave was slaughtered en masse, they finished their job. A massive detonation blasted a wave of stellar heat and overpressure inside the complex. The walls buckled and exploded into a shower of white-hot fragments, some as large as a car.

Ray could feel one of his men fall, slammed into a pipe assembly by a hypersonic piece of debris. He leapt across the now-gaping void, left there by a Space RPG detonation, and grabbed the man by his rescue harness. The mighty armor was sizzling from the heat, crumpled and penetrated in several spots.

"Hang on!", he yelled and leapt again, not without trouble. As he clambered up the only exit from the room, a Chornyb AFV crashed through the widened passage. It turned its turret, ever so slightly, and unleashed a stream of rubiconium-encrusted napalmski.

"Fall back!", Gunns sergeant transmitted to all his men. A Marine was caught straight in the chest by the stream, his shields flickering briefly before being overwhelmed. Rubiconium etched itself into the softer parts of his armor, eating through them and finding flesh.

His blood-curling scream was cut in half by the battle management systems.

Ray was thankful he managed to avoid the worst of it. He hauled his wounded man towards the rear, where a transportbot waited to take him to the doc.

Around him, Marines rushed to their fallback positions, expertly maneuvering in the tight corridors. Barely, through the raging Rubiconium fire, Ray could hear the victory cheer of the onrushing Bragulan infantrymen.




Bragulan command post

Major-general Krushtynov snorted, hearing the penal legionairres cheer their victory. In front of him, hovered a huge hologramski of their target. A tiny green spot somewhere near the bottom indicated the area secured by his bears.

"How many casualties?", he asked his second in command

"Some sixteen hundred, comrade general.", the bear answered dutifully, "More or less."

Krushtynov rubbed his snout, "So...at this rate, we will get somewhere...", he manipulated the controls, lighting a couple more rooms in the habitat's underbelly, "...here before running out of warm bodies. Da. Not very good. Do we have an estimate on the number of marines defending the place?"

"Da, comrade general...the IBGV just sent us their latest revised estimate. They think at most two hundred."

"This smells low. I will review the reports later. For now, we will consolidate our position and think of our next move. In the meantime, keept the bombers running their missions..hmm. You know, I have to wonder..."

"Da, comrade general?"

"What exactly is in there that makes them fight so hard?"




"Put him over there!", doctor Sungar yelled to the group of civilians who just came into the makeshift hospital. They were carrying a woman on a piece of plasteel. The woman was screaming inhumanly and clawing at her face, which was nearly burned off and encrusted with tiny particles of rubiconium. Another victim of the constant bombardment.

"You gotta help her, doc", one of the men insisted. The doctor nodded, "Put her over there. I'll get to her once I am finished here...son of a bitch!", he cursed, as the Marine's severed artery slipped off again. At least it wasn't bleeding, clotted by nanites the man was full of, but if it wasn't fixed fast, tissue necrosis would start to occur.

"Come on, doc! She's in pain!"

"So is he! PUT HER OVER THERE!"

Another round of detonations shook the city-sized building complex. Loose permacrete and small items rained on the patients huddled inside the room.The Bragulans were bombarding the upper level for two days now, turning them into a mass of twisted metal. The bombs were unable to penetrate deeper than six levels, though, due to blast walls protecting the arcology's innards.

The man put a hand on Sungar's shoulder, "Doc. Come on. He can wait, the Marines are tough."

"She'll have to wait her turn."

The woman screamed dramatically one last time and stopped moving. The man began cursing the jerked the doctor's arm, making him lose the artery again.

"Goddes-dammit! Now look what you've done! Put her down, or I won't be able to save her nor the marine!"

The man backed off, letting the doctor finally fix the artery. He had helperbots toss the Marine off the table, hoping his cybernetics would take care of the rest.

"Okay, get her on the...sweet goddes, what the hell is this?", he said, noticing the glowing green crystals embedded in the woman's mangled face, "Show me your hands!"

The men hesistated for a second, but did as they were told. They already had small pockets of rubiconium digging into their skin, using the biomass to feed itself, "Goddamn..It looks like some sort of bioweapon. Get the hell out of here! Do not come into further contact with anyone. I'll try to send a medbot to help."

Just what they needed,the damn bears using bioweapons against the habitat. He couldn't do much against a weaponized agent but isolate the sick and hope they didn't infect anybody else - he was already running out of basic medical supplies, which were mostly reserved for the Marines, anyways.

"Now, what to do with you...", Sungar mumbled and leaned over the unconscious woman.

He wondered just how much longer he could keep this up.

And when the hallucinations would start.




Waste processing facility AB-78-D

Former colonel Kuleseyev huffed and lifted the round piece of plasteel, that he and his new partners in misery have cut out of a massive septic pipe. Former major Talustyj helped him move it aside.

Kuleseyev scratched the fur under his explosive collar, trying not to breathe in the terrible smell. Human waste products, now mixed with the stench of burned flesh and vegemite combustion byproducts, created an atmosphere which would make any lesses species puke instantly. Or perhaps pass out.

He glanced towards the dimunitive forms of the Extreme Warfare Operations Kill Squad operators who were preparing their gear nearby. The midget bears stuffed themselves into specialized diving equipment, fastening various satchel charges and shortened special-warfare k-bolters to the outside of their suits in such a way that they wouldn't impede their movements.

Kuleseyev thought he got the short end of the stick after being pryed from his mangled command Chornyb by reinforcements - what with getting blamed for losing his brigade and all - but at least he wouldn't have to go up the human spectic system to find a way around the chokepoints set up around the room by the MEH Marines.

And thank Byzon for that.

"We are ready, yub-nub.", the E.W.O.K.S. operator in charge said. They wore no distinctions, so Kuleseyev couldn't really tell if that particular one was really in charge - but he sure acted like one, so there.

"Good luck, little ones!", the former major Talustyj yelled in a bout of inspiration, making Kuleseyev cringe inwardly. One of the E.W.O.K.S. walked up to him and unceremoniously kicked the chubby bear in the crotch.

"Fuck you, yub-nub.", he spat.

"Angryeski, we don't have time for that, yub yub! Get to your diving buddy!", the other E.W.O.K., the one who seemed ot be in command, yelled.

"Fine, fine.", Angryeski mumbled to himself, but turned back towards his victim - who was now whimpering on the ground, surprised at the strength of the little midget - and hissed, "Who's the little one now, huh?"

Without further incident, the E.W.O.K.S. closed the visors on their brass diving helmets and, one by one, slipped into the sewage pipe.



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

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

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-19 11:40am
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Downfall-related

B 5019 Morokweng
Admiral's Bridge
4 June 3401 12:00 PM


"Something is wrong, Ma'am. The portents are all wrong! We should not go to Sol III," said Yi Deng Shiguan Zheng Gong-Xi Bao.

"I'm going to need a better explaination than that, WO Gong-Xi. What do they say?" asked Shang Jiang Ting Wei-Jun.

"Oh god, oh god, we're all going to die."

"What?! How? We're part of the largest armada since the Coalition to stop the Chamarrans when they invaded. We can't possibly lose!"

"And yet, the portents are what they are. I cannot divine more than that. We must not continue on our course."

Shang Jiang Ting rubbed her temples. "Well, I can't tell Admiral Yeslah that. I hate portents. They're never useful enough. Fake an engineering casualty? Nah, that only succeed in getting a couple ships out of this mess, not the entire Expeditionary Fleet. Damn it, time to creatively re-read my orders," she muttered to herself.

"Comm, message Admiral Yeslah. Tell him that we've recieved orders that under no circumstances are we to encounter the non-human coalition forces. As such, we are unable to proceed to Sol III, and are re-directing to support the Klavostani offensive against AlphaCent II."



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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-19 04:22pm
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The following post is part of the Downfall continuity.

Battlecruiser Majestic
Sixth Cruiser Squadron
Hyperspace


Hyperspace was boring for everyone but navigators, for whom it was both interesting and, occasionally, deeply frightening. At the moment, Chandler was hunched forwards over his console, staring at the twisting patterns of deep hyperspace with a curious expression on his face. To the untrained eye, the translucent holograms rising over his controls looked just like they always did; confusing and possibly headache-inducing. To Chandler’s trained, experienced, curious gaze, though, they were doing something...new. They were converging, drifting together as the squadron plunged through hyperspace towards a vanishing-point somewhere out of sensor range.

Not just some of ghostly traces. Not just the hyperstring fragments. Not just the field currents. Not just the bizarre ‘terrain’ representing different hyperspace bands.

All of it.

He’d never seen anything like it. It was almost as if hyperspace itself was being drawn towards a single point somewhere ahead of the squadron. Almost...

With a frown, he touched a comm stud and murmured quietly into the hush mike he habitually wore now, not so much due to a desire for secrecy as to avoid attracting Captain West’s attention when not strictly necessary. “Link, sensors, execute.”

“Sensors, Lieutenant Walden,” came the slightly tinny voice, the young-sounding man on the other end of the link sounding pleased at the distraction from the monotony of hyperspace travel.

Chandler hunched down low enough that the translucent holographic projections partially obscured his lips, still trying to avoid notice. “Astrogation, Chandler here. Are you working any potential contacts at the moment? Particularly something or somethings small and maneuverable, smaller than a typical starship?”

The link was silent for a long pause, long enough that Chandler looked down to check that the comm panel was still registering it as active. Finally, the voice came back, still trailing the leftover amused tone of what must have been full-throated laughter with a muted mic. Chandler’s face began to redden after the first few words. “Negative, Astrogation. No spacegulls on my board here.”

God dammit, did everyone hear about that?

“Ah, roger that, Sensors, thanks anyway. Chandler clear.” As soon as the link closed, the navigator muttered ‘You prick.’ quietly, then sighed turned his attention to the navigational projections again. A few seconds passed. He blinked. A few more seconds passed. His eyes remained focused on the tiny, totally black point into which every last converging hyperspatial reading was tied. A point that the squadron was approaching with uncomfortable haste. His mouth opened and closed once, twice...and then he abruptly shouted into the quiet bridge.

“Navigational emergency, hyperspatial anomaly dead ahead! Initiating emergency reversion.”

The sudden cry snapped across the bridge, triggering stunned expressions on every face. Within seconds, West’s voice cracked out, his thumb jamming down on a button set into the arm of his chair. His voice echoes on the bridge, one copy coming from his mouth, the other booming from the intercoms that the emergency squadron communications system has activated on every ship in the Sixth. While he’s still speaking, he begins jerking a dangling restraint harness into place around himself, an action repeated across the bridge.

“All hands, West. Brace for emergency realspace reversion, battlestations on arrival.”

The ship’s General Quarters alarm began to scream before he even finished speaking, drowning out the rising whine of the jump engines building to full power. A few seconds later, a forest-fire of jump portals blazed into existence ahead of the Sixth Cruiser Squadron, each ship vanishing into one and emerging into a nightmare.
____________

Battlecruiser Majestic
Earth Orbit
Sol (MEH variant)


The deck of the Majestic shuddered and rolled as the vessel emerged from hyperspace, nausea pitching and twisting the bridge around West even more so than the sudden, bizarre transition already was. He clenched his teeth and swallowed heavily, trying to hold his gorge in, and then turned his eyes to the tactical plot. It was very, very full. Ship after ship after ship flashed into being as sensors laid eyes on them, contacts at close range. Unknown contacts. Enormous contacts. Contacts...that were breaking orbit as fast as the rippling trails of exhaust plasma could drive them.

The lack of a verbal contact report drew a slight from from the captain, his head turning towards the tactical officer’s station. There the junior tactical officer on duty sat staring at the display before his own console, a midshipman next to him. West’s own face paled as he took in the angry red sigil flashing in the middle of it.

Image

Nonstandard Spacetime. Such a calm, banal phrase for what it really meant. Reality was variable. Nothing could be assumed. Everything could be possible. Nothing good could come of it. Even less good could come of indecision. West began snapping orders with rapid-fire precision, the sharp, familiar tone of command shocking others into action.

“Spherical formation, auxiliaries to the core. Sensors, I want a complete picture of what’s nearby, and I want it concise and yesterday. Tactical, power and load all weapons. Do not draw power from hyperdrives; I want the jump engines charged and ready as soon as possible. Communications, try to get in contact with those ships, we need to know what’s going on. Engineering, I need to know if the jumpdrives are safe to use in this spacetime environment. Execute!”

“Sir, we know this system!” came a startled report from the lean, tall woman manning the sensor station, “It’s Sol!”

Another dead silence spread out across the bridge for a few seconds, eyes widening and then flicking to the NONSTANDARD SPACETIME alarm still flashing. Sol...but in what state?

A quiet, shaken voice pipes up, this time from a communications rating. “I’ve got a read on their communications protocols, sir. They’re a bit odd, but I’ve got a link for you.”

“Understood, good work.” West responded, fitting an earpiece into place and then keying up the link to the unknown, massive, fleeing fleet. “This is Senior Captain West, commanding the Sixth Cruiser Squadron. Niceties can wait, I need to know what is going on right now.”

Finally, a visual image resolved itself, all that the ship’s sensors could make sense of from an entire arc of sky. The arc containing earth itself. All activity stopped on the bridge, even West staring slack-jawed at the Earth covered in darkness, gasping tentacles stretching out into the void.



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-20 12:47pm
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Before, after, and during the events in Sol Bragulan propagandas in the Koprulu Zone continued broadcasting what was, perhaps, the most current - if albeit one-sided - news regarding the going ons of the MEH War. Propaganda and press compartments inside Patriotic Glory paleocruisers transmitted their reports, which were rebroadcasted to the entire galaxy. It was a slight then, for respected news organizations and media empires throughout space, that the freaking Brags got the scoop before even they did.


The People's Truthful Bi-Daily Ideologically Purified Accurate Information Broadcast to the Proud Patriotic Bragulan Listeners of THE GALAXY begins thusly:

XENOPHOBES IN XENA! BEHOLD BRUTAL BURNINATING BOMBARDMENTS BY BYZANTIUM!


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The Byzantine bombardment of Xena.

LEPUS, FARTHING - The perfidious Byzantine scum have launched what they call a ‘limited exterminatus’ on the planet Xena, decimating untold millions of innocent civilians and melting down whole cities with their devastating weaponries. Behold man’s inhumanity towards man in the face of the savage butcherer Rus! Who knows how far the diabolical schemes of the Byzantine Imperium go, and what atrocity they will commit next! Hide your females and lock up your larvae, fellow inhumanists, for it is not over yet!

The Byzantines were originally with the human alliance known as the Shinran-Human Interstellar Taskforce of Space. For some unknown reason, the foul humans sent their fanatic lackeys to Xena on the moment of the inhumanist OMINOUS' liberation of the system, perhaps seeking to thwart the justice Bragule and her allies sought to bring to the humans of the MEH for their atrocities in Farthing. After the space battle, Byzantine forces immediately commenced a cruel 'limited exterminatus' bombardment of Xena despite all protestations and pleas by OMINOUS to cease their fire.

As the Byzantines came from the SHITS Shinran-Klavostani staging grounds, OMINOUS could not stop them lest they bring about the wrath of the chitinous hordes of humanity's imperialistic nations who had already laid waste to the MEH sectors of Alpha Centauri 2 and Wolf 359. What these Byzantine humans were doing at Xena, and why their masters in the SHITS sent them to Xena in the first place, is a great mystery. Perhaps it is another part of human treachery, and perhaps the humans in SHITS will seek to interfere with OMINOUS operations again in the near future.

The 'limited exterminatus' bombardment the Byzantines performed on Xena is based on the notorious exterminatus strikes Byzantium performs to decimate entire worlds, as they did during their war against the Tau, and as they seek to do to many other inhuman species, according to chest-beating Byzantine rhetorics and fundamentalist fanatic creeds.

In comparison, OMINOUS operations in the rest of Xena were especially intended to minimize civilian casualties amongst the MEH humans. Even Bragulan thermonuclear bombardment was directed only to military targets and strongpoints, with only counterforce atomics and no indiscriminate countervalue attacks at areas lacking any military presence, despite how the proud and patriotic Bragulan soldiers and sailors' hearts seethed in rage at the atrocities the MEH inflicted on the inhuman peoples of Farthing.

Now, the OMINOUS force has moved to Sol and any moment now the galaxy will know of the inevitable inhuman OMINOUS victory at Earth 2. Yet it is uncertain whether Byzantine, and human SHITS, treachery may occur in Sol as it did in Xena.



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-20 03:59pm
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The following post belongs to the Downfall continuity.

Deep Purple Existential Threat Monitoring Directorate
Deep Interstellar Space


Neither the Midnight Confederation nor the Royal Kingdom of Scarlet paid much attention to the stability of spacetime. Neither side did anything of note to disrupt it, so it simply didn’t seem relevant. Deep Purple, however paid attention to a great many things that neither of them thought were noteworthy.

The Existential Threat Monitoring Directorate was based on a moderately-sized space station deep, deep in interstellar space, one mainly occupied by a bewildering array of suitably arcane sensor systems. Powerful computers constantly re-verified universal constants, alert for change. Astronometric instruments monitored the light from untold thousands of stars, searching for indicators of anomalous red- or blue-shifting. Vast sensor arrays, both those built into the station itself and those upon the hyper-capable array that occupied the same point in hyperspace, monitored both the conditions of local hyperspace and the barrier between it and realspace. Over time, the station had grown again and again, more experimental sensor systems and reality-monitoring projects being added as they were conceived of. All of them tied into the central control deck, which was sparsely-populated at the best of times.

The Existential Threat Monitoring Directorate was a dull assignment, and most anyone with any pull did everything they could to avoid being assigned there, or to arrange a transfer elsewhere as soon as possible. Thomas Garcia was one of the rare few who stayed on at the posting, and one of the rarer few who stayed on by choice. As a result, it hadn’t taken him long to rise up to command of one of the station’s three watch crews, seniority being a flexible concept when most everyone else keeps trying to leave. Accordingly, he was on duty when all of those comforting displays with their flat, undeviating lines and their soothing green indicators and their nice, static numbers went *plib*

Thomas sat bolt upright, his face paling slightly as he leaned in for a closer look at the cluster of displays. Every now and then, something registered, but it was usually just a momentary wiggle, a glitch, or a minor disruption. They always went away within seconds, and at first this one looked the same way. The readings receded quickly, and he had just enough time to start to relax when every last one went wild, the ultrasensitive detectors shrieking their dismay at minor fluctuations that almost any other sensors in known space wouldn’t have even noticed. Any one of them could have been innocuous. The majority of them cooking off at once, however, was far less likely. As green glows gave way to amber and then red, the rest of the watch staff finally took note, the three other figures under Thomas’s direct command jerking upright. An e-reader clattered to the deck, unnoticed.

Image


“Ed, get me a priority link to Director Helendale, right now.” Thomas called across the modest compartment with strained tones, “Then wake the others. They need to see this.”

His reply was a silent nod, followed by a gesture at one of the displays not filled with an ominously-spastic measurement of the integrity of reality. He nodded, then tapped the display itself to trigger the link. A pale-faced, older woman appeared on the screen, a worried look on her face. “Tom. Tell me this is a social call.”

“It’s not, Director,” he replied with a taut tone. His face was visibly tinted red by the array of screens covered in glaring alarms.

“Of course it isn’t. How bad?”

“63% of our detectors are in the red zone. Nothing noticeable on a macro scale, but it’s looking potentially very, very bad. I’ve got the other watch crews on the way in now, we’ll give you a localization if we can.”

“Understood. Keep me informed.”

The screen went blank as the woman began to turn away. At about the same time, other figures in casual clothes began to filter into the compartment, each and every new arrival pausing for a few seconds at the hatch to stare at the alarms glaring down from the status displays. Many of them looked rumpled and half-awake, although the latter state didn’t last long past their arrivals. As the last few found somewhere to perch, Garcia motioned for quiet and began to speak shortly thereafter, “Six minutes ago, 63% of our detectors spiked to the red zone and stayed there. I want a localization, or at least a direction. If this effect is in any way tied to a given space-time locus, then we should be able to detect variations of some sort, at least get a direction. Maybe even an approximation of range, if we can verify a linear falloff. Get to work.

At the same time, the navies of both the Midnight Confederation and the Royal Kingdom of Scarlet moved to a state of heightened readiness, each of them preparing for a possible external attack.



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-20 04:07pm
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Previously on SDNW4

Code:
+++PLANETARY BRAGNET, ALL UNITS+++
+++ALERT ALERT ALERT+++

UNITS OF THE SECOND PLANETSIDE FRONT HAVE ENCOUNTERED UNEXPECTED RESISTANCE AT SALVATION HABITAT COMPLEX GRID NO. 315. 332ND GLOURIOUS PEOPLE'S ARMORED ATTACK BRIGADE ENGAGED THE ENEMY WITH BYZON'S ZEAL.

FOLLOWING UNITS ORDERED TO REINFORCE THE 332ND:

- 12TH GUARDS TANKSKI BRIGADE
- 671TH INDEPENDENT ARTILLERY BRIGADE
- 2ND PENAL INFANTRY LEGION
- 8921ST AEROSPACE DIVISION

ALL UNITS TO CONSIDER SALVATION HABITAT A PRIORITY SIX TARGET


Elsewhere on Xena
In the Bragulan Occupation Zone of Operations


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Stalag gunships soared over the wasted landscape of Xena. The whining turbofans disturbed the ash carpeting the city-spanning crematoriums, disturbing the bleached bones of flash-fried inhabitants. Their mortal remains littered the cityscape, in countless cars that adorned the highways like a frozen funeral procession, in toppled starscrapers turned to massive mausoleums, the whole land was a tomb. The sky was black, smoke from the radioactive wildfires was blocking out the sun. Frigid wind blew through the desolated ruins, nuclear winter was coming.

Spotlights stabbed through the twilight. Rumbling plutonium-diesel engines disturbed the solemnity of the deathlands. A column of armor rolled down the streets. Kyrbrz medium tankskis led the way, followed by a mix of Chornyb urban pacifiers and Wvojtyek half-tracks. The Bragulan patrol, escorted by close air support craft, searched the ruins for survivors and technological artifacts to scavenge. The troops inside the vehicle scanned the ruins anxiously for any signs of resistance fighters and supersoldiers armed with lethally advanced weaponry.



Hello, comrades! This is Carlyle Clarance and you are listening to Radio Free MEH, the only authorized radio broadcast of the freedomized territories of the Happy-Empire! Today, glourious Bragulan troops continue their patriotic nuclear liberation of MEH territories, freeing countless citizens from the totalitarian regime of the dictatoress Sasha. Statues of the false goddess have been toppled to signify this great victory. Hail, the forces of Bragule! Praise Byzon, for his never ending march of liberation strides across space to grace the MEH! I for one welcome our new Bragulan over- I mean, comrades. Da.

*click*

...the perfidious Byzantine scum have launched what they call a ‘limited exterminatus’ on the planet Xena, decimating untold millions of innocent civilians and melting down whole cities with their devastating weaponries. Behold man’s inhumanity towards man in the face of the savage butcherer Rus! Who knows how far the diabolical schemes of the Byzantine Imperium go, and what atrocity they will commit next! Hide your females and lock up your larvae, fellow inhumanists!

*click*

Conscript Choldytz Comradskyi turned off the radio, there was nothing interesting on anyway. He went back to his passenger seat on the half-track and resumed looking out for any concealed enemies, training his K-bolter out towards the ruins of the city.

“Thank you,” Bearenstain quipped over at his position, behind the double B-NET K-cannons. He swiveled the huge gun side to side, aiming at the shattered windows of the bombed buildings around them, ready to go full cyclic at any snipers or ambushers who’d take a shot at them.

“If it wasn’t for this inhumanism shits, we wouldn’t even be here-” Choldytz stopped mid-sentence and jerked his gun up towards a broken building. He swore under his breath, seeing something move inside it.

“What is it?” Bearenstain followed his aim and deactivated the safeties of his K-cannon.

“Nothing,” Choldytz peered into his rifle’s optical scope, which he had won from a shocktrooper in a game of Koprulu Zone Rules poker, and saw the thing that had moved inside the building. It was a broken hologram, flickering and moving jerkily, still playing out its virtual scenario even though its user was long dead. Encountering human pornography was way better than finding a MEH Marine waiting in ambush with a proton torpedo, so Choldytz sighed in relief.

“That’s a relief,” Bearenstain sighed too and aimed his K-cannon somewhere else. No doubt he was thinking the same thing as Choldytz. “Heard what happened to the 332nd?”

“Yeah. Rygbrik was there when it happened. Poor bastard.” Choldytz replied. One of their drinking buddies from the ill-fated armored brigade ended up having his column proton torpedoed. Thankfully, Rygbrik’s Chorynb was spared from the worst and merely buried under megatons of rubble. The reinforcement units had found him alive, though half-crushed by the wreckage, and they managed to free him by amputating his legs and pulling him out of the debris. “But at least he’s at the hospital and not here.”

“We should go visit him if we have the time, and ask him to save some hospital food for us. I wonder if the Chamarrans are still helping out with the medical front aid...” Bearenstain said wistfully, remembering better times when they were merely exercising and preparing for the ground war with the Chamarrans, rather than actually fighting a real war on Xena.

“Junkyard up ahead,” barked their commanding officer, Lieutenant ‘Big’ Beartha. After their convoy passed by the buildings, the surroundings cleared into a wide open field, perhaps a park or city square of some kind. It was littered with the remains of robots, civilian droid models that served the MEHmen up to their last moments, when electromagnetic pulses from the upper-atmospheric bragnukings fried their circuits. Now their forms filled the field, turning it into a junkyard of dead machines. “Don’t take any chances.”

“Da,” Bearenstain acknowledged as he brought his weapon to bear on the nearest scrap heap. He opened fire, sending 30mm acid bullets punching through the ruined hyperalloy endoskeletons, splashing them with molecular corrosives and making them dissolve into slime.

They couldn’t be too sure since combat droids and repurposed robots shielded against EMPs could easily hide themselves in these scrapyards, where their bodies would be indistinguishable from the fried machines, and ambush unsuspecting bragpatrols. It was similar to tactics used by insurgents and partisans in some occupied Wild Space worlds, and the solution was similar. Ahead and behind their half-track, the other vehicles did the same, firing their secondary weapons at the field. Nuclear flamethrowers spewed out irradiated fuels to incinerate the wrecks while mortars dispensed motion-sensitive mines to deny the area from any enemies with similar ideas.

Choldytz watched, tensely gripping his bolter, waiting for any sign of movement, of any enemies revealing themselves as they tried to flee from the fire. Human and Bragulan insurgents alike would do that when blanketed by incendiary isotopes and bolters. That was the worst thing about the damn machines, they felt no pain and laid motionless even as they burned up into a crisp, and no one would know if there had been any operational battle droids actually hiding in the junk yard at all.

The convoy left behind a massive pyre of burning plutonium-enriched releaded diesel and wrecked machines.

“That was a big waste of time,” Choldytz commented as he relaxed on his bucket seat, cushioned by a box full of C-ration cans useful for either snacking or lessening the lethality of land mines. “A bit like this war, am I rightski-”

What was that, conscript?!” boomed the macrophone-amplified voice of their commissar, Killkov Kulynski.

Choldytz saw the commissar glaring right at him from the other half-track and nearly lost control of his bladder. Killkov had his commissarial beating-stick, with its in-built directional microphone designed precisely to eavesdrop on badmouthing conscripts, pointed at his direction.

“Oh sh-”

What did you say?” Killkov glared even harder. “Spit it out, you shits! Or else you’ll get latrine duty with your face and spit out shits out of your mouths!

“I said... uhh... oh... ahh.... I said...” Choldytz stammered and stuttered. “Umm... we must... make a big haste of time...”

A big what of what?” from the other half-track, Choldytz could see the commissar scratching his head confusedly.

“A big haste of time! Da!” Choldytz nodded his head as he finally managed to put his cunning words together. “We must make a big haste of time, so we can kill more puny human shits! Before they escape! Da, that’s it! That is what I said, comrade commissar.”

Hmmms.... da, we did waste a lot of time burninating those robotoid junks. And the big plutonium plume will be visible from miles away, giving the humans warning. Good thinking, conscript. For your tactical acumen you are hereby promoted to Private Third Class. May all other troopers aspire to follow in your most Byzonic combat cunning,” the commissar switched on his beating-stick radio while hastily forgetting to switch off the macrophone, so his encrypted transmission boomed loudly for all to hear. “Kommandir, we need to move faster. May our slow and steady and tedious long march become a swift great leap forward! Onward towards the objective! Hut-hut-hut!



With that, the column rushed to the next area. They went around a deep crater carved by an orbital K-bolt strike, and kilometers later found themselves in another area thick with buildings and structures. This time, the cityscape was mostly intact, with only peripheral damage from the initial bombings. Which suggested minimal to non-existent military presence to have avoided a sound bragnuking.

“Stay frosty, comrades.” Bearenstain said as he adjusted the temperature settings of his freeonic overcoat. Afterwards, he canted his K-cannon to the side as the half-tracks rounded another corner.

“Looks clear,” Choldytz commented as he scanned the windows for any signs of movement.

Suddenly, there was a flash of red light and a deafening explosion that shook the very ground. The lead tankski in their convoy stopped moving and smoke billowed from its fore. Its mine roller had rolled over a thermal detonator, which reduced the apparatus into a molten mess, immobilizing the tankski that pushed it. With the lead vehicle stopped, the rest of their convoy grounded to a halt.

“Shits!” Choldytz cursed, taking back his last statement while hoping with every fiber of his body that they hadn’t run into a trap, that perhaps it was just a mine left over by the MEHnoids and there were no endless hordes of droids or fireteams of invincible MEHrines waiting in ambush.

“Metal!” Bearenstain shouted as he swung his cannon up and unleashed a fusillade of fire. Emerald K-bolts began melting the side of a building, and in response, angry red blaster bolts erupted out of the windows and struck their vehicle. Armor panels and concrete blocks exploded as they were vaporized by megajoules of energy, turning into dangerous shrapnel. A bolt glanced off Bearenstain’s gunshield, melting a portion of it and spattering steel on his furry arm. He roared in rage and fury, sweeping his cannon across the entire storey where the bolts came from. Fire from that level ceased abruptly.

But more droids came from the other floors. Choldytz opened fire at a robot emerging from a balcony, dissolving its head before it had a chance to shoot, before going on to five-shot burst another machine, hitting it in the chest and making it keel over as its internal components liquefied. A third droid managed to shoot, forcing Choldytz to duck. He hit the box of C-rations on his bucket seat, making it fall and spill cans of Chamarran sardines all over their half-tracks floor. He got back up, aimed through his optics, and fired back.

“INCOMING!” someone shouted as a flurry f missiles streaked through the air. Before they knew what happened, their whole vehicle was smashed aside by a violent blast. There were screams as passengers were immolated or festooned with supersonic shrapnel.

“Disembark!” came the voice of Lieutenant Beartha.

“Da!” Choldytz shouted in a panicked frenzy. He pushed aside the charred corpse of his seatmate, who in a twist of fate had inadvertently shielded him from the blast and kept him miraculously intact. He scrambled towards the rear door, stomping and slipping on Chamarran sardine cans as he did so. He fell out of the half-track, rolled on the ground, and got back on his feet.

“Get down,” Bearenstain pulled him back, and just as Choldytz got up he once again fell down, hitting against the half-track’s side. Blaster fire glanced against their burning vehicle. Troops huddled around it for cover. Its entire front section was gone, from the serrated bumper to armored driver’s compartment, while the passenger area also suffered damage but otherwise remained intact enough so that some of them could get out alive and relatively intact. “You okay, Chol?”

“Uh... da. I think so.” Choldytz nodded. Then, he noticed that his friend was bleeding. “What about you?”

“Oh this? It’s only a flesh wound.” Bearenstain shrugged his bloodied arm. He punched a steroid injector into it, dosed himself, and flexed the limb as though it was uninjured. Then he hefted his K-cannon, no longer mounted on the half-track. “I’ll be fine.”

Bearenstain racked his weapon’s slide, propped it against the half-track’s wreck and unloaded at the droids. Meanwhile, Choldytz pulled out a stick grenade, flipped a switch on its side and shoved it in the underbarrel launcher of his rifle. “Grenade!” his shout was drowned out by a ca-thunk as the launcher lobbed the stick-grenade up in an arc. The warhead went in a window and, a split second later, detonated - wrecking the whole floor and blasting smoke and fire out of the windows, along with a couple of droids.

There was another ear-splitting explosion. This time, it was the forward tankski’s main gun firing canister rounds - sending repleted uranium buckshots into the building full of droids, perforating the war machines and everything around them with hundreds of red-hot radioactive pellets and consequently bringing the whole building down on them too. A Chornyb rolled up beside the tankski and began spewing burning fuel on the wreckage, just to be sure.

“I guess we’ll have to get another ride then, if we want to get to wherever the hell we’re going?” Choldytz commented.

“No, we won’t. Because we’re already here.” Lieutenant Beartha replied as she walked up to them. “You two, and the rest of your squads, with me. We’re going in.”

“In where?” Bearenstain asked. When the Lieutenant glared at him, he shrunk and added: “Ma’am.”

“In there,” she pointed at a steel hatch partially covered by the ruined building’s rubble, leading to a tunnel into Imperator knows where.



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shroom is a lovely boy and i wont hear a bad word against him - LUSY-CHAN!
Shit! Man, I didn't think of that! It took Shroom to properly interpret the screams of dying people :D - PeZook
Shroom, I read out the stuff you write about us. You are an endless supply of morale down here. :p - an OWS street medic
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-20 07:34pm
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Xena
Salvation Habitat Complex
Day 5


Thousands of kilometres of corridors. Millions of pipes, conduits and ventillation ducts. Rooms the size of buildings with no apparent purpose, and others, tiny and barely able to fit a human inside, with purpose obvious and terrible and essential to functioning of the habitat.

All of this, now additionally deserted, twisted and crumpled in places due to the continuing bombardment, in places working and in places not, often crawling with strange and unknown wildlife.

Choggy Choldtz bit off a piece of sewer rat that his team shot and killed during their ascent up the drainage pipe. The five E.W.O.K.S. operators had been crawling through the massive ventillation system for almost an entire day now, and Choggy had to keep his strength up. He learned that when he was growing up in the unforgiving death-jungles of his home forest moon. Always eat when you can, his father told him when they went hunting murdercrows. It is too late when you are hungry, when you are hungry you are already weak,

Choggy always listened to his father. That was what made him strong. Stay true to your pack, Choggy's father used to say. He had a pack now - led it, even! - and he would sure stay loyal to them. Keep strong and alert at all times - that was his father's advice as well. Good advice, that.

And whatever scumbag tries to fuck with you, son, you fuck him right back. You fuck him bad, right in his stupid face, yub-nub.

Yes. Choggy always listened to his father, and he wasn't about to stop today.

His team reached another junction in the ventillation ducts. Lesser bears would've gotten hopelessly lost, but not them. Their people were used to swinging off trees (and murdercrow talons) at strange angles and in different directions, so they maintained their orientation.

Uh, probably.

His sniper, Dochtz Angryeski, tried to see past Choggy's shoulder. Failing that, he asked a question, "What now, boss?"

"Junction, yub-nub. Shss. I listen now."

The ventillation ducts carried noises far. Distant rumble of bragski bombers, clanging and hissing of engineerskis working somewhere down below, electronic chirps and low hums of mehbots hovering in the corridors.

He hated to admit it, but the noises sounded alien and unnatural to him - probably because they were by aliens, and not natural. But worse, he couldn't quite place the movements he heard, or tie them to places. And they had to go to a very specific place - a fortified chokepoint blocking the only decently wide corridor leading out of the newly conquered braghead. Major-general Krushtynov could send his bears through all the winding tight service spaces, sure, but as he explained to Choggy during his briefing, in a tight corridor like that, a single MEH Marine could kill attacking bears all day - so they had to push out through the wider corridor, where the infantrybears could spread out and concentrate their firepower on any enemies.

While Choggy didn't mind a good hand to hand scuffle, but he had to admit the general had a point. Those Big Cousins of his people were so clumsy and unwieldy.

"Boss?", Angryeski tugged on Choggy's lower paw, "What's wrong?"

"Uh, nothing. We go down, yub-nub."




Former colonel Kuleseyev tried to warn one of his newfound comrades, but failed to do so in time. The care(less) bear stuck his head just a bit too high, and was rewarded by a sizzling blaster bolt hitting him straight between the eyes. His body tumbled down from the hastily constructed scaffolding, the bear's demise punctuated with a thump of his exploding collar.

"No stopping! Keep working!", the comissar yelled, safely hidden somewhere below. The penal infantrybears were tryin to assemble an artillery cannon and its specially designed harness, hanging right below the gaping exit from the waste processing plant.

The gun had to be hidden, because MEH Marines have set up a chokepoint in the corridor behind it, and would snipe anyone who exposed himself. The bears occasionally responded with a fussilade of fire to cover some particular fieldwork or another - but the marines seemed to know that, and would invariably shoot back. The exchanges of fire sometimes took hours, thus making it impossible to actually perform any of the engineering tasks they were supposed to cover. Attempts to destroy the position with guided missiles, napalmski or suicide bombers all failed - Mostly because the MEH troops could shoot at those, too, and they were really good shots.

Kuleseyev struggled mightily to hold a huge bolt in place, while keeping an extremely awkward and uncomfortable position so as to avoid exposing his back. While an unlucky prisoner secured the bolt, the former colonel could admire the view below.

Inside the waste processing facility, most of the debris from yesterday's firefight was cleared. Mighty forms of various combat vehicles gathered in the newly freed space. Engineerskis were constructing complicated systems of lifts and ramps that would take the tankskis and halftracks and support vehicles inside the human habitat, while soldiers of the 2nd Penal Legion made camp in whatever space was left. Nuclear-powered floodlights illuminated the hasty staging ground, and helped measure the cavernous size of the facility.

Despite its grandeur, the view made former colonel Kuleseyev uncomfortable, even more than his absurdly dangerous work right in front of MEH riflemen manning the chokepoint. It meant the legions were preparing for an attack, and for an explosive-collared penal infantrybear, an attack brought only one word to mind.

"SHITS! GET DOWN!", a prisoner yelled, too late. A thermal detonator whizzed above their heads and exploded, the overpressure knocking over one of the scaffoldings and turning the bears working on them into paste. Guards and braghacks returned fire immediately, the emerald K-Bolter rounds whizzing into the cavernous corridor, their glow fading well into the distance. The Marines responded, and pretty soon the entire entry area was awash in weapons fire.

Kuleseyev winced. Another one was starting. He curled up into a sorry furball, hoping he wouldn't get hit in the crossfire.




Ray noticed the sudden and unexpected exchange of fire - even without his battlenet feeding him information, the sound carried far through the service corridors. He hoped the boys would kill a few bears - he was in a particularly foul mood today. He and all his men remembered the fate and last dying screams of their buddy, not a day ago. The fucking aliens deserved everything they got. Ray regretted he couldn't join his buddies at the chokepoint, but his fire team had an important job to do.

A flare lit in his consciousness, this ethereal area of his mind that used his suit's computer feed to build an image of the entire surrounding area. Their suit sensors picked up that damn signal again. And it was close.

Ray signalled his men to be ready. They slowed down, increasing pulse rate of their hyperwave scanners to get a better fix. Something was definitely moving in the twisted mass of pipes and access tunnels above the thoroughfare.

"I think that's them, corporal."

"Agreed. Flush them out."

A Marine pulled something out from a puch attached to his suit. The tiny killbot activated and shot out of his hand, disappearing into a nearby vent.




Choggy could feel something was wrong. It was an ethereal change, hard to put one's finger on it, but immediately obvious to someone used to expecting a murdercrow attack at any minute.

A bloodcurling scream of the squad's rear guard, Diddly Gorgutz, confirmed those suspicions. Little Did, as they called her, was closing the formation - such as it was, and thus Choggy couldn't see what was going on. But the sickening crunch of breaking and mangled bones said everything that needed to be said.

The E.W.O.K. crawling right in front of Diddly - her brother, in fact, named Noddy - twisted in the tight space and fired a long burst out of his silenced K-Bolter. The gun's rounds and muzzle flash managed to illuminate just enough of the grizzly scene for the bear commando to gulp.

"Move! For the love of Byzon, yub-nub, move or we're dead!", he managed to yell, seeing the mangled body, and a tiny metal ball flying right at him. The ball was fast, shielded and covered with tiny, sharp, lethal buzzsaws rotating at full speed. Their loud whine was terrifying.

He could feel his comrades move, and instantly knew there was no way they could outrun the drone. He took careful aim. His arms weren't shaking: he had faced danger before.

A three-round K-burst clipped the drone, making it turn slightly and hit the wall. It went right through as if the metal wall wasn't there.

"Boss, we have to get out of here, or that thing will eat us alive!", Noddy heard that fucker Angryeski scream. Before the team's leader could make a decision, something hit the wall and blew a huge hole in it. The floor suddenly became a wall, and the commandos rolled down.

Outside. Right in front of five MEH Marines.

Noddy screamed something incomprehensible, as he landed on the pile of his friends. The Marines didn't immediately open fire - they seemed almost surprised at what came out of the ventillation duct they just cut open.

Noddy didn't give them the time. He armed a satched charge he had attached to his belt and threw it at their feet. The Marines scrambled, and the charge detonated, spraying the corridor with shrapnel and sizzling vegemite and radioactive isotopes which obscured sensor readings.

It also obscured Noddy's hearing and eyesight, but Angryeski grabbed his shoulder and shoved him in the correct direction (that was, away from the fucking marines).

And just in time, too. A blaster bolt blew right through a corner and made Noddy's fur catch fire. The commando tried to hastily put the fire out, and also keep pace with his pack.

In front, Choggy was thinking furiously. Where were they? He had no idea. Where was the target? He also did not have any idea. Wait, no...

He could hear sounds of a distant firefight. He quickly got his bearings.

"This way! Quick, yub-nub!", he shouted and took a right turn.

"Boss! Get down!", Angryeski's shout caught Choggy halfway through a turn - right in time, because the angry little buzzsaw serial killbot descended upon the team. Somehow, Angryeski was already in position, aiming his stubby sniper cannon at a spot where just a second ago his commander's head was. A single, thunderous shot rang out, and the drone was swatted out of the air like a fly, torn apart by the massive round.

Angryeski extracted the spent casing and loaded another round in one fluid motion. The two other commandos fired several long bursts towards their pursuers, trying to delay them at least a bit.

Choggy got up. He didn't waste time on thank-yous or good-jobs, skipping straight towards motivating his team to rush towards certain doom, "We have to keep moving! Our comrades depend on us. Haul ass, monkeys, yub-nub!"




Hyperspatial messages criss-crossed the air. Ray led his fireteam in pursuit of the enemy infiltrators, at the same time notifying everyone of the commandos' location and calling in combat bots to box them in. It was obvious the strange,tiny bears didn't know the area, and he intended to press his advantage.

The midget-bears got him by surprise with that satched charge. It was something nasty - to the point that Ray had to leave one of his men behind due to damage to his armor. No matter - the saboteurs were one wrong turn away from exposing themselves to direct fire, and then it would be over.

And then they took that turn, leaping right into a winding secondary bot accesway. Ray had his team double-back, used a connecting corridor to cut them off, and then...

He ran right into a group of terrified civilians.

"DOWN! ON THE GROUND!", he used his suit's speakers to amplify the command, but it only had the opposite effect. The civilians freaked and froze, blocking his line of fire.

"DOWN OR I'LL SHOOT THROUGH YOU!", he said again, and the command worked this time. The civilians laid down, but by the time Ray had a clear shot, all but one of the bears were already disappearing behind the next bend...it was a long shot, against a small moving target like that...

He took it anyway.




The energy bolt caught Noddy in his right lower paw, taking it off in an instant and setting the appendage on fire. The little bear commando fell, and it took him a long while to realize just what had happened.

The firefight was close now. His packmates would carry out their task, if only he bought them a bit of time. Noddy waved off Angryeski, who was trying to help him up, and reached for his remaining satchel charges.

Angryeski understood and scampered away to rejoin the rest. Noddy fought off the oncoming shock , arming the detonators. He could heard the clamber of the Marines' armored boots.

He lost consciousness seconds before the massive explosion ripped the corridor apart.




The Marines manning the checkpoint were preoccupied with the sudden (though not entire unexpected) fussilade of covering fire coming from the waste processing facility. Still, they had a sophisticated combat network that warned them of the incoming threat.

The first Space RPG round was intercepted by a killbot, but it was followed up by a sniper cannon shell which tore the automaton apart. The ten or so Marines manning the chokepoint shifted their positions slightly, responding to the newly emerging threat. That was when the covering fire intensified, the Bragulan shooters encouraged by suddenly lessening number of blaster bolts threatening to exploderize them.

As a two-man fireteam responded, they found nothing. Another shell clipped one of the Marines in the chest before their sensors finally caught a dimunitive lifeform hiding somewhere nearby, but it scampered off before they could get a good shot in. They started to chase it.

Above them, in one of the myriad access ducts, two others like it slipped by mostly unnoticed. The were hauling huge bags of explosives towards their target.




The explosion rolled through the access corridor, blowing a billowing cloud of smoke and debris right into the waste processing plant. As if on cue, the gathered armored vehicles and penal soldiers rushed forward, straight into the radioactive vegemite-encrusted cloud, yelling a mighty battle cry.

Former colonel Kuleseyev understood the attack plan now. So the purpose of the E.W.O.K.S. wasn't reconeissance, but sabotage! Da, the major-general was a truly cunning warriorski. Now that the MEH Marines were distracted, the penal legion had a chance of overruning the chokepoint. Brilliant plan, even if more than a little risky.

The former colonel sighed, watching the attack unfold. The cannon he worked so hard to assemble was a wreck now, and the scaffolding made it impossible for him to join the rush.

All for the better, Kuleseyev thought, hearing the first sounds of return fire, and the screams of the dying. All for the better.




The assault was relentless and brutal. No quarter was asked, and none was given: the Marines defended their position to the last man, crimson energy bolts cutting down bears and blowing apart tanskis. When they ran out of batteries, they used vibroblades. When they lost their vibroblades, they used bare hands, iron bars and stones.

But finally, in a sea of blood and thanks to the heroic sacrifice of the E.W.O.K. team which distracted the defenders and wrecked their fortifications, the position was overrun, and a massive wave of soldiers and armor rolled into the bowels of the Salvation Habitat.

Their cries of victory turned out to be premature, however. For the time bought by the chokepoint was well spent, and a defence in depth was prepared. Reaction teams rushed to ambush positions, bombarding the advance with explosives, strange nerve gasses and exotic heavy weapons. Surpsingly cunning killbots drew away infantrybears, leading them into killzones, chokepoints and strange bottomless pits. Barricades were defended, abandoned, then manned again to provide a nuisance in the rear. Marines moves through the hellish terrain with ease, bypassing bragulan spearheads, then isolating and destroying them. Other soldiers simply got lost, overeager in their advance into completely unknown territorry.

By the end of the day, the 2nd Penal Legion had lost fully 2/3rd of its rated combat strength and had to be withdrawn. In exchange, the Bragulands had seized some two dozen rooms on a single level of the Salvation Habitat.

Code:
+++PLANETARY BRAGNET, ALL UNITS+++
+++SPECIAL DIRECTIVE+++

SITUATION AT SALVATION HABITAT REMAINS GLOURIOUS

BY SPECIAL ORDER OF GENERAL BRAGANOV, COMMANDER, XENA THEATER, ALL UNITS OF THE 2ND, 17TH, 21ST AND 89TH GUARDS ASSAULT LEGIONS, 412TH ENGINEERING CORPS AND 32ND BRAGSOG ARE TO REINFORCE THE 2ND PENAL LEGION AND 12TH GUARDS TANSKI BRIGADE TO AID IN THE MOP-UP OPERATION OF THE TARGET.

SALVATION HABITAT IS TO BE CONSIDERED A PRIORITY FOUR TARGET



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

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

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

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

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-21 01:38am
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Location: At the Helm of the HAB Star Dreadnaught Star Fist
Aboard the Gloria Magnificat

There were so many alarm klaxons ringing that Solar Admiral Macharius swore he was going deaf. He had no doubt that the rest of the fleet was suffering from the same cacophony of noise. After the Silencer and the Remonstrance had been ripped apart by that creature, the rest of the fleet was hightailing from the planet Sol with the best speed. The Strategos Primus Aurelian had ordered the general reverse, and Macharius was trying to coordinate his own task force and lead them out of this menagerie. It was fortunate that the Saint had flown forward to confront the creature to buy the fleet time to escape. If not for her, a larger portion of the fleet would have been destroyed single handedly by that monstrosity.

Macharius stared at a holo picture of the creature again, then turned away quickly. He knew of the Sisyphus incident, but this new incident was something else entirely. A giant warp creature emerging from another dimension into our own? Sure, entire races had appeared from another dimension, but a singular menance emerging? Utterly unheard of. It smacked of heresies so foul that it sickened his stomach. That thing was a heresy. Nothing else could describe it. Even if Science could explain how it could exist, he suspected that it was constructed by something that defied the laws of Physics in the universe where he lived.

The Gloria Magnificat fortunately was holding herself together, despite the immerse space-time stresses that was raging around the vortex. Bless the Adeptus Mechanicus engineseers who ensured the ship could sustain and tolerate the worst of the worst. The ship was creaking under the stresses, and they echoed throughout the hallways of the ship. The engineseers were struggling to keep the ship together, increasing the inertial dampener fields to reduce the effects of the stresses that were threatening to tear the ship apart.

It was then when the communication officer reported something curious. A request for information by a certain Senior Captain West? That.. was odd. He had no idea what affliation this Senior Captain West professed to, but nevertheless, he mentally opened the communication link, "This is Solar Admiral Macharius, a rift in space-time has opened from another dimension. Be advised that there are extreme space-time stresses in the vicinity and you are advised to stay away from the rift. A extradimensional creature has emerged from the rift and has already destroyed two vessels. Repeat. Two vessels have been destroyed. You are advised to stay away from the rift." He broke the link, and returned his attention to the navigation chart. He did not know how much time they had left, but he prayed to the God Emperor the Saint could buy them just enough time for the fleet to make the warp jump into the warp.



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STGOD: Byzantine Empire
Your spirit, diseased as it is, refuses to allow you to give up, no matter what threats you face... and whatever wreckage you leave behind you.
Kreia

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-21 03:17am
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Deep Purple Facility
Undisclosed Location
Improbable Time


George Sakristos’s desk was covered with more pieces of separately-classified intelligence than could even be contemplated without making a security specialist suffer a sudden and severe Total Sanity Failure. Enough of those were going on far to antispinward, albeit unbeknownst to the occupants of the facility containing Sakristos’s office, however, and either luck or the universe’s sense of balance meant that the aforementioned security officers never found out about the whole affair. In a rare pause from work that was both punishingly difficult and mind-numbingly repetitive at the same time, George reflected that if a security specialist did find out and melt down, at least he’d get some more help and some of the many, many datafiles strew across his holographic desktop would be somewhere else.

Ah well.

He flipped another file up and began to scan through it, the ease of routine speeding his way through the sensor logs. Commonalities with other logs were noted, differences highlighted for review of their causes, scale issues were corrected for the estimated range-to-contact of the record. In particularly, he made sure to note patters of movement, methods of maneuvering unique to the unusual...vessel...that was the subject of the log. Once that one was finished, he closed its window and opened another, a view of what appeared to be the same type of contact, but from a different variety of sensor. Again, he began working through it.

Scattered across the desktop were dozens of files cataloging different sensor logs, both domestic and foreign, each of some class of Karlack bioform-ship.



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Chronological Incontinence: Time warps around the poster. The thread topic winks out of existence and reappears in 1d10 posts.

Out of Context Theatre, this week starring Broomstick.
-'It's amazing what you can pack into a human rectum.'

Fiction!: The Final War (Bolo/Lovecraft) (Ch 7 9/15/11), Living (D&D, Complete)Image

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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-21 07:52am
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The Pyramid
Solaris


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The aging, mustached man watched the thousands of small-craft and LARCs spin through the artificial canyons of the Red Hook Heights area. Even after all these years he was still awestruck by their multitude. He thought of all the people piloting those little vehicles, imagined their minds as little white pearls rolling across the surface of a pseudo-Platonic ultraspace. Each one was only an infinitesimal indentation by itself, but taken together the teeming masses of Solaris' inhabitants would be swirling constellations of minds, a galaxy of sapient thought-mass, trending toward his great vision of the mental singularity...

He was so engrossed in the idea that he did not turn, not even when the thick sycamore doors swung open and one of the most dangerous people in the entire Sovereignty entered. Abielle Magritte held a silken handkerchief pressed against her nose. She paused for a moment, surprised to see him, then scowled. "So you noticed it too?"

He looked up as if startled and smiled at her, then took off his handsome boater hat and smoothed the brownish-gray hair underneath. "Noticed? Oh yes quite. We couldn't not, really." His eyes slid inexorably to the stained handkerchief "Ah, that's unfortunate. Your screens didn't-"

"No. I was asleep."

"Then your sensitivity issue has yet to resolve itself."

"Well, quite." Her tone was icy.

"M'dear, you really should let us look into that. It's dangerous, you could-"

"Doctor Jabuzov," the DCEID cut him off, but her voice was uncharacteristically soft as she did it. "That's not why you're here."

He looked her in the eye. Not many people could stare into those milky white irises without shitting their pants at some level, but Beauchamps Jabuzov didn't appear at all afraid. And how could he be afraid of Abielle Magritte? She was his most beautiful creation. Finally he shook his head. "Well, no."

"So tell me, what the hell was it?" she mumbled, her voice muffled underneath the blood-stained handkerchief.

"I can't be sure yet." Beauchamps Jabuzov shrugged. "It wouldn't be scientific to speculate. I'm merely here to acknowledge that we did indeed-"

"Speculate anyway."

Jabuzov sighed, as if her interruption wasn't entirely unexpected. "A guess? How vulgar. But if you insist... Well.” He put the boater hat down next to where his cane rested on Magritte's desk. “Going by the noospheric disturbance, I'd put my money on the successful completion of an Amherst-Madsen spatial bridge transformation. A crude one, judging by the entropic scatter."

Magritte blinked and momentarily lowered the handkerchief. A small trickle of blood still seeped from her nose. "Doctor Jabuzov. In English please."

The rector of the Foundation for Omega Point Experimentation frowned and took a moment to compose his thoughts. It took him a visible effort to find the language to describe what he was talking about. "Well. I suppose it could be described as the opening of an, ah, mass-transfer gate to an, ah, another universe." He gritted his teeth as if he'd bitten into something really nasty and hastily added, "though that's not technically correct, there can by definition be only one universe... More accurate would be to speak of an energy aperture linking different continua within an Everett-Wheeler-Saito universal state-"

"Thank you doctor, I get the idea. What would cause a thing like that?"

"Beg your pardon m'dear?" Jabuzov was clearly still milling through his cosmic terminology.

"The disturbance, Beau.” She shook the handkerchief. Drops of nearly translucent blood spattered onto the pristine white carpets, where nanites immediately began to disintegrate them. “I'd very much like to know what's at the root of it."

"Oh, I have no idea."

A momentary silence. "You don't?"

"Not the foggiest!" Jabuzov was clearly elated by the prospect. "We've never seen anything like it before. In fact we only started seriously looking into the possibility when we learned of the arrival of this, ah, 'Multiversal Empire'.”

“Their arrival didn't give me a blinding migraine,” Magritte pointed out.

“Indeed not! So what's different this time? I don't know. But I can't wait to find out! A universal bridge, good lord, how exciting. We worked out the math once, Cesare and I..." His voice briefly took on a wistful tone, but recovered quickly. "That's how I recognized the bow-wake phenomenon, but our work was all very much theoretical. We never dreamed we'd see it applied!"

"What's so special about this... This spatial bridge anyway?"

"Why, it is a gateway to another continuum my dear! An entire spacetime adjacent to our own, separated by a gap less than the Planck length! Isn't that remarkable?"

"I don't see how, really. We have ships transitioning into an entire band of hyperspace continua every day."

"Ah, but hyperspace is easy!" Jabuzov explained enthusiastically. "The hyperbands aren't so much next door as lying adjacent to our own, and they have only a very weak affinity to our own spacetime. But parallel continua, with more or less the same physical laws? Right angles from us, m'dear. That's a huge potential energy barrier to overcome."

"So you'd need power."

"Oh yes. Fantastic amounts of it. The scalar fields alone... I wouldn't know where to begin."

"Right." Magritte dipped the handkerchief to her nose, looked at it. The bleeding had stopped. "Well, I think congratulations are in order."

“Beg your pardon?” Jabuzov looked confused. "What possibly for?"

"I'm thinking you're probably our best bet for making heads or tails of this, Beau, so as of right now you're the head of, well, whatever we end up calling the division that looks into this thing. So cheers, doc. It's time the Foundation proved we didn't hand you all those grants for nothing.”



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SDN World 2: The North Frequesuan Trust
SDN World 3: The Sultanate of Egypt
SDN World 4: The United Solarian Sovereignty
SDN World 5: San Dorado
There'll be a bodycount, we're gonna watch it rise
The folks at CNN, they won't believe their eyes


Last edited by Siege on 2011-08-21 10:26am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-21 09:43am
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Location: London, england
Downfall Dependent

HSF Ascendant, The Battle for Sol, MEH Space

“Predator pack reporting over forty percent missiles depleted.”

“Nightblitz has lost two of three beams and is pulling back.”

“Battlemistress Sesh requests permission to withdraw to restabilize shields and restart taps.”

Sesh had been in the thickest of fighting from the start, if all she needs is to restabilize her shields and taps then she's more than earned the indulgence of a breather. It's also a pleasant surprise to see her actually request one, the Bragulan exercises must of done her good.

“Tell her permission granted.” Melusine ordered without looking away from the holographic projections that float above her, the first amongst battlemistress's resisting the urge to let her eyes stray towards the marker for Earth-4. The marker showing the planet swathed in bloodshed, destruction, crashing habitats and of course the genocidal Byzantine fleet. This was the first time a Hierarchy commander had ever witnessed such a brutal bombardment firsthand, there was a horrifying art to it in some respects. In other respects the bloodlust was simply shocking. But Melusine had a battle to fight, and though the MEH were outnumbered they were proving both durable and hard hitting enough to prolong the situation. The MEH were devoid of proper long range armaments and decent maneuverability however. This let Melusine and the other battlemistresses cycle weakened warships out of the line of fire to rebuild their ships and cool their hyperspace taps like Sesh was now doing with her entire battlegroup.

The battle could not stop her mulling over the thought of the situation over Earth-4 however, like a piece of food caught in ones teeth in nagged at her. The Mehmen, pathetic, stupid and as inferior to Chamarrans as they obviously were, did not deserve this genocide. But if they moved to intervene they'd have to fight not just the Byzantine fleet and the remains of the MEH fleet but possibly open themselves up to whatever the Centrality had planned that they needed to bring far more ships than the deal specified. Melusine knew little about the Centrality, but she couldn't help speculate about Klavostani plots to break the Chamarran battlefleet and leave the Hierarchy unable to protest whatever concessions the Klavostanis might ask for subsequently. The Bragulan messages to her had only reinforced this sense of skittishness in her and so she forced herself to focus on the task at hand.

And then a miracle occurred. The kind of miracle brought about by massive firepower. The Juggernaught's three beams roaring out across the darkness and striking a MEH battleship simultaneously, unstoppable fury smashing into immovable resistance in a storm of massive energies that only grew as the Pride of Chamarra poured destruction unrelenting onto the battleship's shields. And then the barrier broke, bulwarks of exotic energies latticed through dimensional folds collapsed and yielded before the might of the Hierarchy's legacy. Armour plate bore the brunt for several seconds more as the beams washed over the battleship's naked hull. Hundreds of tons of metal boiled away every second under the onslaught until finally this line of defence too was overwhelmed and three torrents of exotic particles smashed their way down the length of the ship. Mehmen were boiled to pink mist in an instant in adjacent compartments as the beams tore through interior bulkheads and vital ship systems with ease, hitting the last shred of resistance in the warship seconds later as they punched through the hypermatter reactor's shell.

The beams shut off, their target drifted spewing atmosphere and fragments with its front third a molten ruin utterly unrecognizable. The Juggernaught had proved its ancient might.

“Enemy formation C collapsing battlemistress.” Announced a sensor cat from the pits and Melusine smiled grimly, this was her chance to stop the destruction.

“All Battlefleets form up behind the Juggernaught, we are going to make a push for Earth. This crime ends here. Announce our intentions to the Bragulans and the rest of Ominous.” she declared and the comms chatter of the Chamarran fleet redoubled in intensity as they re-organized while the MEH formation nearest to them attempted to recover from the loss of the battleship, gaining temporary respite from the Chamarran battlegroup's shifting priorities as they recalled drones and formed up behind the might of the Juggernaught.

There's still the risk of the Centrality, would they really attack us when we're going to stop genocide? Perhaps, but if it's a Klavostani plot they wouldn't. The Sultanate's self image is important to them, they could still do it of course. But they probably wouldn't. Not with the repercussions

Melusine needn't of worried. She was too late. As the Chamarran fleet bulldozed free of the fight with the MEH and approached firing range to exact justice upon the murderous Byzantine fleet around Earth-4 the planet Changed.

It had been a terrible sight before. A planet scarred by crashing orbitals and warship weaponry, banded with the wreckage of MEH spacecraft. But at least that had been a familiar horror, an understandable one. Something the galaxy had precedent for, terms to describe it.
Earth-4 was an eye. Although it was pure black and devoid of pupil or iris it was an eye cause Melusine could feel its gaze on her. Melusine could feel it Hating at her, a vast force Loathing her with every fibre of its immensity. She felt like an ant that had garnered the enmity of man and it was all she could do not to whimper and curl up on her dais “Sensors....Main display off.” she managed to say at last and everyone breathed a sigh of relief as the Eye was no longer visible, but the sensation of it was there at the back of her mind and the minds of everyone on the ship.

“What the Mysteries damned hells is that thing?” Melusine asked once she'd restored her composure.

“We're not sure, whatever it is though it's growing.” came the reply, the quaver hidden from the feline's voice but not her body language.

“Projections?” Melusine asked just before another cat watching the sensor picture said “It just destroyed one of the Byzantine ships, there's some kind of...SOMETHING lashing out from it!”

“We need to leave and fast, projected expansion at this current pace will reach the hyperlimit in one hour, the Byzantines are already starting to withdraw.”

Well that settled that rather, but oh she wasn't done with the Byzantines

“Navigation, can we intercept the Byzantine fleet?” Melusine asked.

“Not and close to beam range without sacrificing our flight away from the anomaly,” the felines on navigation replied quickly, having assumed with good reason that running the hell away from whatever the hell that was was part of their plan.

“Very well, all battlefleets prepare for long range engagement. Plot intercept and withdrawal course. We're getting out of here but we'll make sure the Byzantines know they've crossed the line,” she ordered and then hesitated before she added. “Use emissions seeker heads, if we damage their engines we can leave them to the hell they've created.” Having said that she wondered if the decision would come back to haunt her when she went to sleep tonight, she's not sure even these blood soaked murderers deserved to fall into the hands of that thing.

It was only minutes before the first missiles left their tubes, hurled forth at their foes and fellows in mutual flight. The two fleets locked into a long range duel as they raced for the system's hyperlimit.



STGOD SDNW4 player. Chamarran Hierarchy Catgirls in space!
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-22 01:35am
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Across the offices of the Commonwealth, thousands of teams set to work to make the most of the developments in Xena. A huge army of spin doctors, media experts, Memeticists, cultural advisers worked around the clock while design teams realized what was to be done in visual and audio form. They worked to optimized per region to deliver the maximum effectiveness in various localities. Then it was time for the Blitz.

Across the internets, general broadcasts and other media outlets of the galaxy was let loose a barrage. Some through Atlantean owned media, others through various proxies. The message came in various forms, from eloquent and well formulated denouncements to viral memetic messages and everything in between. This went along with general outrage that existed and helped. Each one with the same objective, to show the universe the Horrors of the "Limited Exterminatus" employed by the Byzantines as an horrible atrocity that not even MEH fatties were deserving of and to spark outrage and disdain against the Imperium and Byzantine Orthodox Church.

Xena System

On an uninhabited moon, a set of pre-fabricated structures had been quickly set up by Commonwealth Army forces and was expanding as holes were dug and facilities were erected. Their had been little on this world before the invasion, just some mining instillation and a few abandoned habitats. The MEHMC did not bother stationing any of its precious few marines on it. Never the less some security protocols had been put into place including some shielding, defensive turrets and a few missile launchers. A Bragulan Transport landed outside and docked. Out of it came several thousand MEH fatties under escort. These were detainees, those foolish MEH civilians that put up meager resistance to Bragulan Legions and were lucky enough to survive, and resistance could be defined by looking at an Bragulan trooper funny, or being nearby someone who looked at a Bragulan trooper funny for that matter. After they had been carted out, the inside of the ship was hozed down and into it was loaded with a cargo of ration bars optimized for Bragulan nutritional needs and taste buds. It then left and made its way back to Xena. Another one would arrive in a couple of hours. The Brags had agreed for whatever reason they had to transfer large numbers of these prisoners and detainees to Nova Atlantean custody when they were requested.

The Fatties were hosed down, going passed a set of as of yet unused temporary holding cells on a set of automated carrier trollies and transferred to one of several vast rooms with a vast number of terminals. Once they arrived they were plugged in. They were restrained, sedated and a set of robotic arms inserted some needles into each prisonner. Their life signs were monitored and most importantly, a cybernetic implant was installed on the back of their necks at the base of the skull. Quickly their memories were accessed as information was brought in and brain patterns were analyzed. Some useful information might be found, but most of it of little consequence. This information was reviewed and studied by teams of experts and then was altered. Old memories were deleted and new ones installed. Most cases simply involved templating, installing a stock set of memories to join up with what remained of the existing ones, which at most involved a bit of tweaking here and there. A few individuals had minds which required more intense attention. Dream sequences were run to test things out, most of them worked well.

At the same time, nanites did their work on their bodies, breaking down fat deposits. Some of which was used as fuel to develop new muscle tissue but most of the material was carried out of the body via suction tubes. This was taken to a prefabricated factory to be mixed with various organic chemicals gathered from the local dust to be processed into ration bars. The system was never the less quite safe for those involved and had numerous fail-safes to make sure it stayed that way. After thirteen hours the first lot of Detainees were disconnected and transferred to plastic surgery facilities, where vast amounts of excess skin were removed. More followed afterwards in a steady trickle. At the same time, new Detainees were brought to refill the emptied stations.

After that, they were awakened and kept under observation to see if it had taken properly. Their living facilities were spartan but not unpleasant. Their were a few guards, but their reason was to make sure that scuffles did not happen or to subdue to occasional breakdown. The newly awakened detainees were quite well behaved. Request were made for volunteers for work crews, and a fair number of applicants came forward. In exchange for some credits to buy additional comforts, they would do various jobs to help around the place. These included general cleaning to helping with the creation of new habitation complexes for the expanding number of people that had been processed. Soon arrangements would be made to move some of them back to Xena. This facility was a factory, one designed to manufacture a proper population for what would ultimately be built on the ruins of the Multiunversal Empire of Happiness using its fatties as raw materials. It could process tens of thousands at a time and its capacity could be further increased. It was also not alone, another one had been set up on Xena itself and several more existed in prefab bases for future conquests. Whatever loyalty they might have had for the Leader, Her goons or the MEH had been thrown into the recycle bin and replaced with a desire to build in place of the MEH a new society. A desire to be outgoing and active had been installed into their hearts. The fact that a set of personal desires that would in the end make them considerably more likely to enjoy Nova Altantean products and culture as well as an intense dislike for the Byzantine Orthodox Church, the Imperium and Xenophobia/Human Supremacism in general and would be strongly compelled to discourage people from falling down these paths were minor background details.



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Last edited by Zor on 2011-09-01 05:13am, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-22 02:13am
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+++MEMORANDUM TO BRAGULAN ARMED FORCES ARBITRATORS, MILITARY POLICE (MILPO) AND MILITARY SUICIDE POLICE (MILSUPO) CORPS+++

IN ORDER TO EASE THE LOGISTICAL BURDEN OF HANDLING CAPTIVE MEHMEN AND OTHER PRISONERS OF WAR, A PERCENTAGE OF NON-VITAL P.O.W.S IS TO BE CEDED TO HUMAN FORCES AFFILIATED WITH O.M.I.N.O.U.S. - I.E. NOVA ATLANTEANS AND ASCENDANTS

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO INSUFFICIENT BRAGULAG FACILITIES IN XENA, FARTHING AND KITTY LITTER, AS WELL AS POLITICO-STRATEGIC COMPLICATIONS IN FOREIGN AND ALLIED PERCEPTIONS REGARDING INHUMANE BRAGULAN PRISONER TREATMENT

HUMAN FORCES HOLDING HUMAN PRISONERS IN CAPTIVITY IS PROJECTED TO BE MORE POLITICALLY ACCEPTABLE IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF O.M.I.N.O.U.S. ALLIES AND S.H.I.T.S. NATIONS AS IT IS PROJECTED THAT HUMAN FORCES WILL TREAT THE P.O.W.S MORE "HUMANELY"



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 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 2 PostPosted: 2011-08-22 02:06pm
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“I guess we’ll have to get another ride then, if we want to get to wherever the hell we’re going?” Choldytz commented.

“No, we won’t. Because we’re already here.” Lieutenant Beartha replied as she walked up to them. “You two, and the rest of your squads, with me. We’re going in.”

“In where?” Bearenstain asked. When the Lieutenant glared at him, he shrunk and added: “Ma’am.”

“In there,” she pointed at a steel hatch partially covered by the ruined building’s rubble, leading to a tunnel into Imperator knows where.


Xena
In the Bragulan Occupation Zone of Operations


They cleared the rubble off with entrenchment tools, blew the hatch open with a non-nuclear charge, and went in. They were one and a half squads strong, formed by the remains of Choldytz’ and Bearenstain’s group of survivors from the blown up half-track and a fresh squad. Gun-mounted luminators and shoulder-lamps lit the darkened tunnels. They proceeded as quietly as they could, which wasn’t very quiet with the rattling of their gear and their plodding footsteps echoing through the chambers audibly. The corridors were tight as they were designed to be human-sized, and though MEH humans were supersized, they were still not quite Brag-sized.

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“This is a job for EWOKS or Stormers,” Choldytz muttered. He was near the front of the formation, right behind the pointbears, and thus was more nervous than usual. The walls seemed to close in around him, tightening around his ursine form and furthering his sense of claustrophobia. He wasn’t from a core-world like Bragule with continent-spanning cities filled with billions of Brags, he was just a farmbear from homely little Urumansk and was more accustomed to the wide open bragcornfields and berry forests than tight urban enclosures. Right now, he wished he was back home, and not here in some hole taking on killbots and supersoldiers and whatever else the murderous humans at the MEH could throw at him. He had heard too well what happened to his comrades who were sent to the Salvation habitat.

He peered around the corners, making sure there was nothing killy on the other side, scoping it out with the enhanced optics of his B-11 K-bolter rifle. Satisfied, he rounded the corner and followed the squad’s pointbear.

“I’m getting motion,” Rubyn the pointbear said. He had a compact B-11 on one paw, and a passive-aggressive sensor scanner on the other. It beeped as it detected something ahead of them. “Get ready.”

“And stay sharp,” Bearenstain added from beside Choldytz. He pressed a button on his K-cannon and with a snap, a pair of retractable bayonets slid out of its barrel.

“Forty meters...” Rubyn counted down as they went deeper down the corridor. The tunnel seemed to grow darker and darker, even with the light of their luminators. Which reminded Choldytz...

“Turn the lights off or else they’ll see us,” he warned nervously. He turned his lights off, but the others didn’t.

“With the tech they have, it wouldn’t make a difference. So we might as well see where we’re going,” Rubyn replied. It was true too. Some of them didn’t even have night vision gear, compared to the MEHnoids they were fighting... that didn’t bode well. “Thirty meters...”

They moved slowly now, cautiously. Whatever Rubyn’s sensors detected, it wasn’t directly ahead of them. They had to go around a few more corners, and then they’d meet their mysterious enemy. Choldytz squeezed his rifle’s grip tightly, tensely. He peered down its optics, desperately trying to see what was ahead of them.

“Twenty meters-”

Image

There was a flash of crimson light, and then Rubyn’s brains splattered all over Choldytz’ gas mask.

“The enemy!” Choldytz managed to shout half-blind. Another blaster bolt detonated against him, engulfing him in heat and pain. He collapsed onto the floor.

“CHOLDYTZ!!!” Bearenstain screamed as he dropped to the floor prone and opened fire at their unseen attackers, going full cyclic. Crimson bolts intermixed with emerald tracers as energy fire and acid bullets were exchanged in the narrow corridor, lighting up its dark expanse with muzzle flashes and detonations.

“Return fire, bragdamnit! Return f-uuurrllllkkk...”

The panicked shouts turned into wet gurgling as something came out of the walls. From the hastily applied pre-fabricated plaster that made the walls tighter than they originally were came steel limbs tipped with serrated razor fingers, punching out of the facade and clawing at the nearest Bragulan soldiers. The fake walls exploded and from them came blade-bearing killbots.

“They’re coming out of the walls!” Bragulan soldiers screamed as they were attacked up close and personally. Even as their unseen enemies down the tunnel hosed them blaster fire, bionic blades removed limbs, disemboweled soft underbellies, cut through armor as though it wasn’t there. “They’re coming out of the bragdamn walls!”

Bearenstain continued to return fire at the blaster-wielding enemy even as the killbots continued to hack through the rest of the squad behind him. Tracers lit up the tunnel, revealing silhouettes, large humanoid ones, definitely not mechanical yet unlike the unmistakable armors of the MEHrines. Resistance fighters?

“Unnnhhh...” a pained groaned startled Bearenstain, causing him to look to the side (while continuing to squeeze his K-cannon’s trigger and pour fire down the tunnel). He saw the crumpled form of Choldytz. Alive.

“Comrade! Choldytz! Comradskyi!” Bearenstain shouted happily, relieved that his buddy wasn’t murderized yet, still without ceasing fire.

Choldytz tried to get up but couldn’t, collapsing to the floor once more. Which was fortunate, since the blaster bolts were whizzing past over both their prone forms. His K-bolter rifle cluttered uselessly, half-melted by the shot that nearly got him. The bragsteel plate on his chest was still smoking slightly. He looked around in dazed confusion, saw the battle lit by wildly waving luminators and muzzle flashes, saw brief glimpses of the ceilings and floor stained by sprays of green blood as the killbots did their work and as more blaster bolts found their way to Bragulan bodies.

Suddenly, Choldytz felt a sharp pain on the side of his neck. He gasped as fire coursed through his bloodstream. Narrowing his blood vessels, staunching the bleeding from the superficial wounds on his chest and eliminating all pain. All the muscles in his body seemed to flex as one. He felt mighty.

“Shits!” he said as he turned to the side and saw Bearenstain discard a used up steroid-injector.

“We have to go forward, it’s our ownly chance. We’ll kill those humans in front, deal with the robots later. Chol, let’s do this!” Bearenstain barked. “I’ll give cover fire. One... two...

“Three!” Choldytz got up and pulled something out of his pouch. A cylindrical canister. He threw it at the gunmen ahead of them and reflexively the humans ducked for cover to avoid the impending blast.

“Oppressive fire!” Bearenstain screamed as he got up and likewise unloaded his K-cannon at the cowering forms. “Go, Choldytz!”

Choldytz let out an incoherent roar as he ran towards the enemy while they were still down hiding from the grenade blast that never came. A can of Chamarran sardines clattered off the floor, the only detonation that of its delicious contents getting mushed up inside it. Choldytz closed the distance while Bearenstain’s fire kept their heads down, and then the conscript vaulted over the cover the humans were hiding behind and got to business.

The nearest human yelped in surprise. At range, their weaponry might have had a decisive advantage over Bragulans, but up close? The man tried to bring his blaster rifle up, but Choldytz brought down his entrenchment tool and the sharp side of the shovel dismembered the human’s arm as well as any axe. He screamed, but was cut short when Choldytz clouted his face off and moved on to the next human, who paused for a microsecond in fear of hitting his mauled friend. He might have hesitated, but Choldytz didn’t and rammed the E-tool and the bayonet affixed on it through the human’s torso - hearing the satisfaction of his ribcage caving into his own organs. The Bragulan-sized bayonet protruded out of his back.

“Not so tough now, eh, you shits?” Choldytz laughed before more blaster fire narrowly missed him. He cursed and ducked for cover. The shots came from humans further within the tunnel. He hid behind the very same barricade used by the humans he killed, waiting for Bearenstain to back him up, but his oppressive cover fire had ceased.

Bearenstain had his own problems. A blade-bearing killbot bored down on him, slashing with its serrated knife-fingers. The big Bragulan parried with his K-cannon, unspent K-bolts scattered to the floor as an ammo belt was shredded. The machine went for another swing, but Bearenstain stepped back before plunging his cannon and its double-bayonets right into the killbot’s chassis before opening fire, halving the robot with a spray of thirty millimeter K-bolts. He sprayed at another incoming robot, and another. Steel turned to slime, bloodstained hyperalloy combat chassis crumpled into dissolving heaps, the stink of molten metal and acrid acid mixed with the ozone of discharging electromagnetics. With the other Bragtroops dead, the danger of hitting comrades was low, so Bearenstain was free to shoot as much as he pleased. At least, until his weapon ran out of ammo courtesy of its severed ammo belt.

“Nyet!” he cursed and staggered back, searching for more ammunition on his person while a lifeless machine reared up before him, glistening claws rising to strike.

“Hey, Bearenstain! I need some cover fire!” Choldytz shouted from what seemed like a thousand miles away.

“I’m... a bit... busy...” Bearenstain managed to sputter as he tried to reload his gun. The machine was so close now, its glowing dead eyes transfixed him, drawing him like a moth to the flame. So this was what death looked like.

Pain engulfed him as he was showered by a spray of exploderized robot head. The murderdroid had spontaneously decapitated and fell into a twitching heap. Then, despite missing its head and because its CPU was inside its chest, it continued to move, crawling and clawing blindly at Bearenstain, who screamed and jumped back. Then there was another explosion that carved a hole into the robot’s backside and subsequently killed it.

“Shtoh?” he asked himself in incomprehension.

“Yeah,” Lieutenant Beartha replied as she reloaded her smoking Bragnum service revolver, shoving 38mm rounds into its cylinder with a speed loader. “You owe me.”

“Thanks boss,” Bearenstain nodded meekly.

“A little help here?!” Choldytz complained from his position up ahead, which was being assaulted by torrents of blaster fire. He was huddled together with the bodies of the two MEHmen he had dispatched, one of them quite dead with a shovel sticking out of his chest, and the other a one-armed faceless mess still groaning and moving slightly. A bolt almost got Choldytz, if it hadn’t vaporized a chunk off the shoveled MEHman’s body instead. “Like, now?”

“Brace yourself!” Beartha called out as she holstered her sidearm and shouldered a Space RPG launcher. “Fire in the hole!”

“Oh shits!” Choldytz scream was drowned out by the RPG’s, its rocket engines filling the tight tunnel with blinding light and deafening sound as it streaked down towards the MEHnoid positions. It passed over Choldytz, singeing his furs, and he yelped in pain - only to be further battered by the detonating RPG’s blast overpressure.

The explosion subsided and everything became quiet, save for Choldytz’ groaning and moaning. Even the enemy up ahead was too dead to make any more noise.

“You okay, trooper?” their lieutenant asked as she pulled Choldytz out of the wreckage.

“Da. Thanks. Ma’am.” Choldytz uttered, his voice a shock-induced monotone.

“Here, you’ll be needing this,” she handed him a K-bolter and he accepted it gratefully.

“So, now what?” Bearenstain asked as he surveyed what little was left of their squad and looked at the tunnel where undoubtedly more horrors awaited them.

“Now we continue,” Beartha said as she drew her Bragnum. “Because we’re going to take whatever it is they’ve got down there.”



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