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Quote of the Week: "A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled." - Barnett Cocks, British political writer (1907-)

SDNW4 Prologue Thread

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Fingolfin_Noldor
PostPosted: 2010-09-26 02:04pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2006-05-15 10:36am
Posts: 11434
Location: At the Helm of the HAB Star Dreadnaught Star Fist
From the Annals of the Great Crusade

It was the 22nd year of the Great Crusade. The 41st Imperial Crusade Fleet suffered a reverse in the Tau Bul’var system and had to fight a fighting retreat to leave the system. The Imperial Admiral was outmanoeuvred, and he had decided that the best course of action was to retreat and gather reinforcements for a more concerted push to take the system. Unfortunately, they had to leave behind a number of reconnaissance units in the system, and among the many units, was the 31st Spetnaz Imperial Guard Reconnaissance Regiment.

The 31st Spetnaz Imperial Guard Reconnaissance Regiment was a regiment that was mixed in ethnicity. The unit was largely dominated by those descended from families from the UCSR who left with the Byzantine expedition. They had inserted themselves covertly in the planet Bul’var, along with other units, for the purpose of isolating the position of important targets, and to verify the existence of a secret Tau research facility that would be of use to the Imperium. The Imperium strongly desired any kind of Tau technology, so that they could analyze for weaknesses to exploit or perhaps the off chance that it was interesting enough to study and reverse engineer. Imperial technology had almost equalled the Tau in many ways, but there was still some room for improvement.

The 31st Spetnaz was commanded by a Colonel named Petrov Bagration. He was a firmly dedicated to the cause of the Crusade, even if he was not overly religious. His brother, along with brother’s family, perished in the Battle of Antioch, and he had sworn to make the Tau pay dearly for his loss. His second in command was a Major named Namov Kaminski. He was PeZookian by descent, and had lost son who was one of many fighting in the colony sectors before the city he was in was destroyed by bombardment from orbit.

Petrov Bagration had broken up his unit into many individual platoons. The platoons went deep underground in the sewage network constantly avoiding Tau patrols. Diversions were launched by some other units northward of the city, to draw Tau attention to those areas, allowing units such as the 31st Spetnaz to go deep under to accomplish their missions. All units were equipped with special stealth clothes that hid their heat and visual signature, allowing them to avoid Tau patrols and sensors. The Tau stepped up their patrols, attempting to isolate Imperial units, but they melted away every time they apparently cornered them. Individual platoons were independent enough that they didn’t need centralized control to direct them. They had been given their targets before they had landed, and it was a matter of accomplishing those objectives. Objectives include destroying key infrastructure to paralyze Tau defences, or, like the 31st Spetnaz, isolate key strategic targets.

Tau cities were not large hives like Imperial cities that covered out the entire surface of a world with a series of skyscrapers that reached for the sky. Rather, their cities were mostly clustered in locations and they built a good portion of their cities underground. To hide their strategic facilities, the Tau simply built them deep in the mountains, outside the cities itself. After tracking through the forest towards their target, Colonel Petrov Bagration, along with other platoons soon arrived at their target. They observed the Tau troops patrolling the perimeter with constant vigilance. Petrov’s second in command arrived shortly after the he did.

“Plans, Sir?” asked the Major.

“We are to wait for Major Dzmitry to carry out his mission.”

“He was supposed to set lose a small plasma bomb in the other nearby military base, sir?”

“Yes, while the Tau are occupied, we let lose our own fireworks.”

“Everything we have?”

“Yes. Assign men to take out the communication network,” the Colonel gestured at the antennas that protruded out of the mountain. I’ll lead half the men through the front, you lead them through the back.”

“Da, Comrade. It will be done.”

“Good.”

The men went to their positions, and brought along their heavy munitions. A brilliant flash of light appeared a few kilometres away, incinerating the city. The Tau were caught completely off-guard, and were looking around wildly for targets. Some armoured vehicles peeled off as they headed towards the military base to investigate. The men waited for them to go away, then targeting the armoured vehicles, the communication arrays, they opened fire. Missiles soared forward, destroying their intended targets. Snipers let lose volleys of lasgun fire, killing any the remaining Tau. A few battlesuits came out of the base, only to be struck by a few armoured piercing missiles. The missiles left smoking holes in the battlesuits, their users obviously dead. Any remaining defences were destroyed by missiles.

“Storm the base!” ordered Petrov. The men crept in their stealth suits, more Tau emerged from the base, but they were cut down by lasgun fire. The men of the 31st Spetnaz poured into the base, killing any Tau soldier they encountered. Their stealth suits allowed them to evade the Tau soldiers and prevent them from sealing off the base from the outside. After killing all the remaining guards, they found the Tau scientists cowering in fear at their stations.

“Interrogate them and find out everything we need to know,” he spoke to the Commissar Nerin. The Commissar saluted, and brought his psykers and had the psykers pry what they needed from the Tau brains.

“Sir, what is this stuff?” Major Dzmitry pointed at the steel vats. The major had just arrived with the rest of his unit. “If I were to hazard, these are biovats. Meant to ... serve as a vat to grow bio-agents.”

The Colonel’s eyes widened. Turning to his Commissar, he asked, “What can you tell me?”

“They were researching some human-specific bioweapon, as the Major suspected.”

“So they are trying to create this weapon to use it on us?”

“Apparently so.”

“Damn Tau.”

The communication unit crackled. It was Major Kaminski who had been ordered to secure the perimeter. “Sir! Major enemy units are closing in on the facility.”

“I thought the military base was destroyed?”

“This one is from the city! Huge numbers! I don’t know if we can hold them off.”

“They mean business. How on earth did they know that this place was taken anyway?”

“Colonel? I think I can answer that,” spoke the Commissar. He pointed to one of the Tau scientists, who had a black communications module in hand.

“I’ll be damned. That’s one of the highly classified Tau communication units. Ultra far range. They were really serious about this place. It also explains the larger than expected resistance we encountered in the sector,” said the communications officer.

“Which means we hit the jack pot, and now they are determined to retake this place. Our intelligence was faulty. They had kept this place under close guard because of this facility. The fleet above, and the fleets in the neighbouring systems were meant to protect this facility.” said the Colonel stoically.

“Makes me wonder if there were more,” said Major Dzmitry.

“Communications officer, find out everything you know. Crack the codes. You have the most advanced decryption unit the Imperium has. Use it!”

Taking up the communicator unit, “Major Kaminski. You are to use extreme force to stop the Tau. Blow up the entrances if necessary. Seal off all the hatches, including the vents. This place should have some kind of self-cleaning unit for the ventilation system, in order to guard against possible leaks. Seal those. Be sure to look out for Tau Stealth suits. Send out a wide band transmission for help. Hopefully, the other recon units can buy us time.”

“Understood.”

Major Kaminsky begun devising a plan of resistance. Elevators were destroyed, and booby traps were scattered all over the place. Men lay hidden in their stealth suits ready to snipe and kill any Tau that came within their gun sights. Meanwhile, the Tau gathered in front of the entrance, debating how best to storm the base. It was only a matter of time before they made a decision on how best to storm it.

“What have you found?” Petrov asked his communication officer.

“This is the only facility dedicated to the research on this planet.”

“Are there more?”

“Not that I know of.”

“That’s good to hear.”

Turning to the Commissar, “Commissar, I think you know what I need.”

“I know, Colonel. Let’s arm the plasma bombs. But you might want the Communication officer to somehow get the information out somehow.”

“You are right. Good thinking. Let’s get to work.”

For the men of the 31st Spetnaz, the next few hours was harrowing. The Tau blasted open the entrances into the base, and sent Tau stealth suits to infiltrate the base, only to run into laser proximity bombs that blew. With the failure of the stealth units, the Tau began sending in infantry units, who stepped onto various traps and died. The body count began to climb, but it was clear that it was only a matter of time before the Tau break through the endless trail of booby traps. Snipers fired and killed a number of Tau, and some missiles were used to kill any Tau in battle suits. But eventually, they all had to withdraw with loss when the situation became too heated. The Tau were using their own counter stealth technologies to find the Imperial troops. Finally, the Tau arrived at the giant blast door that separated them from the rest of the base.

Some of the other Imperial Units heard their call for help, and attempted to provide some aid. They ambushed the Tau at the fringe of the ever growing army gathered at the mountain, but the Tau kept growing and they began to withdraw and resort to more covert methods to slow the Tau down.

It then became clear to Colonel Bagration that help was not at hand and the Tau were on the verge of breaking through the last remaining bulkhead. It would be a complete slaughter of the unit, but Bagration knew that the enemy could not be allowed to gain the facility intact. The communication officer and his aides were working feverishly to extract all the necessary information from the Tau comm and then code the message to ensure that Imperial High Command would learn of the facility’s existence.

“Are you done?”

“No sir! Not quite! 90% done!”

“Not good enough! We are running out of time!”

The Colonel thought it over, and then yelled at the Commissar, “Comissar! Hide the bomb! Put a timer on it! 15minutes!”

“Aye Colonel!”

The Colonel grabbed the communication module, “Men! It has always been an honor serving with you all! Remember that today we die for the Emperor! And that with our blood, we will make the bastard Tau pay for their transgressions against humanity! Know that today, our actions will be a great service to the Crusade for we will deny the Tau a bioweapon that will cause grievous harm to the Crusade. Fight hard, and kill every damn Tau you see!”

The Tau broke through. It was a bloodbath for both sides. The men of the 31st Spetnaz fought long and hard, killing as many Tau as possible, before they were overrun. The Colonel gathered the some of remaining survivors around the vats, knowing the Tau would be reluctant to damage them. Some of the others in the unit fought among the workstations and the computer consoles, exploiting the Tau’s reluctance to damage the precious data in them.

Eventually, all that was left was the Colonel and his senior command crew, and the Commissar. The communication officer was working feverishly to send the transmission. A Tau in his battle suit came forward, “Human. Come out of your hiding hole and maybe we will let you live.”

“Like hell you would.”

“Remember that the virus in those vats are contagious to you, not to us. We can always make more.”

“Hahaha, seriously, you are a poor liar. But obviously you want the vats intact, or you know, you would have come in shooting.”

“Don’t test my patience, you pathetic worm. You have only one more chance, or I will send my men to shoot all of you.”

It was only at that point the transmission which used the highest levels of Imperial encryption, was sent in its entirety. The Colonel was not particularly religious, but he prayed silently that the transmission reached someone in the Imperial fleet. “You know, I have a better idea. He took out his plasma rifle, and shot at the Tau commander. The plasma bolt struck the commander hard and he staggered but fell down when the second and third bolt struck in rapid succession, penetrating the armour and killing the commander. The Tau opened fire, destroying one of the vats and killing the humans.

The Tau scoured the remainder of the facility, and then they found the plasma bomb, ticking its last few seconds. The Tau watched helplessly as the timer hit zero.

A day or so later, the Imperial Crusade fleet returned to the system in greater force, routing local Tau forces. They had received the transmission, and greater efforts were made to return to the system as soon as possible. After the planet was taken, a small memorial for the efforts of the 31st Spetnaz was laid at the obliterated mountain. The names of the unit were etched deep onto one of the many plaques in Hall of Heroes on Terra for their heroic efforts in denying the enemy a terrible weapon. Written on the plaque was, “For their heroic efforts at denying the Tau the human bioweapon, the God Emperor declares these men as patron saints for the Imperial Guard Reconnaissance Units. May all men follow their example.”

Last edited by Fingolfin_Noldor on 2010-10-05 02:06am, edited 1 time in total.
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Shroom Man 777
PostPosted: 2010-09-30 02:46am 

FUCKING DICK-STABBER!


Joined: 2003-05-11 08:39am
Posts: 19927
Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
Retreat!


So, like he said, Captain MacAdder bought the Lieutenant a drink. Not only that, he also bought the rest of us drinks! He knew a friend who owned a pub, so he didn’t really have to pay since all he had to do was point his claymore at his friend, and that was that. But whatever. Otho downed a lot of pints and nearly choked himself on biscuits while Manius came back from the hospital all fixed up. The rest of the men thought the bagpipe music was really fanciful, too. Minimus, who tagged along for some reason, even danced on top of the table once he was drunk enough!

It was fun while it lasted…



The Cunts came back. Big time. Manius and Claudius were in the ruins of a blown up house, taking cover. The one-storey building was flattened, the only thing standing were bits of wall and a pair of castrated pillars. As for the tenants, they were all over the place. It wasn’t very pretty.

The city was being besieged from all sides by Cunt artillery. The ground shook at regular intervals as salvos exploderized entire districts. They were throwing everything they had. It’d be a miracle if the pub survived all of this.

And to make things worse, the whirr of hoverfans filled the air. Airturrets were coming. Gunforts.

Footsteps came from behind them. Claudius turned to see a red-haired kilted man coming at them. It was MacAdder.

The man jumped into the crater they used as a foxhole.

“Captain, what are you doing here?” Claudius asked, slapping a magazine into his longrifle.

“Tacitus sent me,” the big man said. For some reason, Glasgow’s captains ranked lower than Lusian lieutenants. Perhaps it was a consideration of their breeding. And because his squad was wiped out, MacAdder was transferred to theirs. “Anyway, I’m supposed t' watch over yea, he says.”

“Yeah Mac- I mean, yes sir,” Claudius corrected himself, upon noticing the higher-ranking officer reach for his sidearm.

“That’s a good lad,” MacAdder smirked. For some reason, the warpaint was still on his face. The smeared blue streaks went well with his war kilt.

“Sir,” Manius butted in, sticking his big head and masculated neck between the both of them.

“Yea?”

“Umm… brought anything from the pub with you?” Manius asked innocently.

“Ah! Of course,” MacAdder exclaimed as he took out a flask from a pouch on his kilt and tossed it at Manius. “Drink up, laddie. Heh! If we make it through this, I’ll be buyin’ ye all a couple’a pints!”

“All right!” Manius said as he popped the flask open and downed its contents in one gulp.

While MacAdder laughed, Claudius could only shake his head. “Gods, you’re almost as bad as Otho!”

“Nah,” Manius dismissed. “Otho’s insane. Whereas I’m Heracules reborn!”

“Heh,” MacAdder chortled. Ahead of them, a squad of Connoltians began advancing whilst shouting at them and waving very pointy objects threateningly. “Ah shite! Grab yer guns laddies, buncha Cunts comin’ our way!”

“Shit!” Claudius cursed as he began firing off shots. The nearest Cunt leapt for cover and reciprocated with his machine-rifle, forcing Claudius to duck. “Where’s Otho when you need him?”

“Drunk,” Manius replied as he too began discharging his weapon, wildly firing unaimed bursts at the oncoming mob. From far away, they could hear the sustained firing of a machinegun. It was quickly drowned out in the constipated howlings of the Cunts and the noise of their spikeguns and rocketbullets. “Very drunk!”

“Shut up and keep shooting, you bloody gits!” MacAdder hollered as he emptied his machinepistol and reloaded another round. For every Cunt torn to shreds, at least a dozen took his or her place. A morbidly obese Connoltian had his legs torn off by pistol fire and before his body touched the ground, he was already obscured by a trio of goggle-wearing Connoltians in raggy armor – they were armed with thick machineguns with axe-shaped bayonets. MacAdder threw himself behind a pillar as tracers began whizzing past their position and exploded on concrete. “Shite, fallback! Fallback!”

“Godsdamned Cunts’ve ‘roided up!” Manius growled as he slapped in another magazine and discharged a plasma tracer. No more than twenty meters ahead of them, a bellowing Cunt had his arm melted off but still kept coming. A clean burst from Claudius’ rifle disappeared his head and finally stopped him. “The paddy’s right! Retreat!”

MacAdder took a grenade from the belt right above his kilt and tossed it at the oncoming horde. There was a brilliant white explosion, like a tiny sun, and the Cunts were engulfed in fire. But it did little to stop them – they were screaming a bit louder, but they were still coming at them even as they caught fire. “Fuckin’ Willy Pete can’t even arse them! We’re fucked!”

“Take cover!” Claudius screamed as he scrambled and leapt for the floor. There was a whistling sound, like incoming artillery, that drowned out the screaming Cunts. The Cunts, some of them still on fire, pointed up to the sky – and the last thing they saw before exploding was a meteor coming down on top of them.

There was a big explosion that shook the earth and covered the entire area in a lot of dust. The ground was littered with shattered concrete and a whole lot of dead Connoltians. And in the crater was a big roughly-circular object made out of angular steel that was obviously very thick.

There was a second explosion, charges on the drop pod detonated to open itself up (and kill anyone nearby in the process) and stepping out of the smoking spacecraft was a squad of men in gray armor. They were huge, with capes and belt-spats akin to the spats and kilts of the Legionnaires. Some of them had massive gatling guns with belts of ammunition that looked like they were for anti-aircraft guns whereas others had longrifles just a tad bit larger than normal. Most notable were the few who held shields on one hand and very big and very nasty-looking tri-barreled handguns on the other.

Image


Claudius realized those could only be Cerberus multi-caliber stormpistols. Equipment exclusive to –

“Well, I’ll be fucked!” MacAdder said as he stood up, dislodging a pile of bricks that half-buried him. He shambled towards the massive figures. “Yer bloody Praetorians, aintcha?!”

The armored figure nearest to them, the one with a shield inscribed with the words ‘Semper Fidelis’ and a nasty-looking murderpistol, nodded. And right beside him was another figure who turned to point at them while his other one one-handed a gatling gun.

"And you must be the Legionnaires," came the Praetorian's booming vox-amplified voice.

"Yea-" before Claudius could reply, he was cut off by the Praetorian.

"Base-born curs, the lot of you sorry excuses for 'legionnaires', unfit to bear the sigils of the Elysian Cosmic Host. Your pathetic performance brings shame to your houses," the Praetorian scoffed. He turned away and smashed the skull a charging Connoltian axeman with his mailed gauntlet. He then drew his murderpistol and finished the barbarian in one smooth motion. Together with the rest of the Praetorians, they advanced on the reeling Connoltian survivors. "Come, let us show these mongrels how true war is fought."

“Well,” Manius said casually as he emptied the contents of MacAdder's flask. “I guess we’re about to win, aren’t we?”



Right at the nick of time, the Galactic Marines, along with a few Praetorii they brought along just in case, saved our arses and beat back the Connoltians like a bunch of red-haired stepchildren. They couldn’t have had better timing.

And so, while they chased the Cunts away, we actually had a bit of time to ourselves. Some actual peace amidst all the war and senseless killing. We went back to the pub and had ourselves a couple of pints, enjoying a moment’s peace while MacAdder waved around his claymore indoors and Manius thumped his chest like an absolute git. The Lieutenant was pretty happy too, the only one not happy was Otho. He was actually sulking.

It was fun while it lasted. With the Cunts driven off the system, we were reassigned to New Orleas. The only one glad about it was Otho. He laughed in his sleep, while cradling his machinegun on his bunk with him.
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Beowulf
PostPosted: 2010-10-01 05:29am 

The Patrician


Joined: 2002-07-04 01:18am
Posts: 10235
Location: 32ULV
June 3370

"Captain Barthe, reports as ordered!" Captain Barthe knew better than to salute his superior, as one of the old hands at the mercenary gig. After 4 years of continuous warfare, most people would end up so. He'd made rank relatively quickly, due to his prior experience on Aurore, before he left the service there. That, and the tendency for junior officers to get promoted into the still smoking boots of their dead superior, in battle. He'd managed to gain command of a Klavostani mercenary company. Of course, it was merely 1 of several in his regiment. A regiment that had been hired to fight one of the innumerable light wars that took place over the galaxy. Generally, they were backed up by native troops, to help stiffen their backbone. This... didn't always work.

"Ok, Captain, after we land, your armor company will go up these plains to liberate this village. You're supposed to have a battalion of infantry to tag along. Opposition should be a approximately a short battalion of Orks."

Last edited by Beowulf on 2010-10-05 11:28pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mayabird
PostPosted: 2010-10-04 11:17pm 

Storytime!


Joined: 2003-11-26 05:31pm
Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
April 3390
Outlands Regions



“Are you truly sure this was a good idea?”
“Get fucked by a bear, Saeed. We are nearly there.”

It was a long, long way from the Sassanid Empire. Not that these men had much to do with the empire aside from ancestry and having a base near it, as they were not the types to work through official channels. They were, rather, the types to do 'odd-jobs' as some might put it, stuff that people want done but could not due to, say, bureaucratic red tape or perhaps laws.

At least they had until they ran into some of those laws (and their enforcers) and nearly got strangled by the red tape. Nothing that couldn't be fixed with some bribes in the proper places, of course, but bribes required money, and to get money they needed jobs, and they could not get those jobs again without those bribes. Troublesome.

That was why a starship with four different registries was plunging deep into the Outlands. Not many people went through the Outlands anymore, not since that rickety nation there collapsed quite a while back. Most of those people were the same types as these men, pirates and smugglers and folks who generally didn't work within the rules. It was the Wild, Wild East, beyond even the Koprulu Zone, and there was no law.

“Emerging from hyperspace in two minutes. Be ready.”

At the moment, they were going by Saeed, Kamran and Hassan. Those names could always be changed later, just as they had before. Their roles stayed the same, however. 'Kamran' was the pilot and navigator. 'Hassan' was the captain and negotiator (words and weapons). 'Saeed' was the mechanic, and usually a very level-headed man.

Saeed's lips were moving, speaking silent words. Hassan considered striking Saeed across his stubbly, pale face, but that would involve unstrapping himself from his seat. By the Second Mohammed's blood, if he's going on about that witch prophesy of 'doom in a graveyard' again I will... but he shook off those thoughts. He'd think the tech would enjoy seeing a bunch of warship hulks but he'd been nearly pissing himself in fear since they found/stole the map. Supposedly the wrecks were nearly untouched since whatever battle they'd been in during whatever that civil war was called. At any rate Saeed was the one who would have to identify where valuable salvage might be.

It was a nervous silence, interrupted only by the sounds of Kamran tapping and adjusting controls.

“Thirty seconds to emergence.”

Saeed hadn't liked the idea from the start. The journey was too far and too risky. Oh certainly, if this battlespace was in the place the map said, and if it hadn't already been looted, and if they found something valuable in the decades-old junk, and if they didn't encounter pirates on the way there or back, and if... Too much could go wrong. That was before he remembered the phrase that witch always yelled at him when he was a boy, which had not even come back to him until they were underway. With no ammunition for the ship's guns, because the fuel costs would be too much. Hassan had been saying, even before they set out, “Too late to turn back now.” Now it really was.

“Fifteen seconds to emergence.”

Hassan was tempted to but did not say (again), “Too late to turn back now.”

“Ten. Ni-GAH!” The lights blinked, the engines made a screeching sound, and the inertial dampeners glitched ever so slightly, giving the impression of four gees and then freefall before returning to normal. It was akin to, but absolutely nothing like, the ship rocking back and forth. A smell of burned metals filled the air.

“The hell was that?” yelled Hassan.

“Interdiction field!” Kamran said.
“Who?”
“I don't know!” Kamran pounded the controls, even though it never worked.
“Then find out!”
“This shitty panel has shut off on me again! I'm trying to reboot it!”
Hassan unstrapped himself and slapped Saeed across the face. “You heard Kamran! Go fix it!” It seemed to knock Saeed back to reality, and he unstrapped himself to scurry over. Hassan checked the ports, knowing it was unlikely he would see anything.

Then he checked the other ports to confirm what he had seen.

People imagine the sites of interstellar battles to be strewn with debris, just as many imagine asteroid belts of impenetrable clumps of millions of rocks. It was rarely so with battlespace. They usually took place over such a large volume that from one hulk the naked eye could not see another. Rarely two ships that had mutually destroyed each other would be tangled together or have wreckage mutually strewn across the same volume.

There were no less than six wrecks out there, in sight, reflecting the light of their star, and no debris field worth mentioning. It was clean; someone had moved them. Probably that same someone with the interdiction field.

Something out there was moving.

“We have sensors back up!” Kamran yelled across the ship. “I see...” and then he trailed off. Hassan knew he was not going to like what he would hear, but he hurried anyway.

Saeed was curled up against the wall, on the floor, face even paler than it usually was. Kamran...did not look much better. His knuckles were white where he gripped the edges of the viewscreen. “This is bad,” he said. “Look.”

They were fully englobed. This was no mere pirate fleet cobbled together of whatever the pirates could find, buy, or steal. It was a naval task force. It had to be. Too large, too uniform, too professional to be otherwise. It looked like gunboats, fighters, and some larger ships that looked to be frigate or destroyer sized. But who would send such a force to this desolate place?

The red notice beside each ship icon, the one that listed the national origin of the ship, read: 'IDENTITY: UNKNOWN. IDENTITY: UNKNOWN. IDENTITY: UNKNOWN.'

“What are they demanding?” asked Hassan.
“Nothing,” Kamran said.
“What do you mean, 'nothing'? What are they saying?”
“They are not saying anything. They are not broadcasting anything.”

They watched the screen some more. Hassan spoke up again. “They have had plenty of time to blast us to atoms. They haven't fired and they aren't talking. What are they planning?”

One of the icons moved in closer. Kamran watched it unthinkingly until the captain pulled him away. “Get your suit on and grab your bolter,” Hassan said. “We're going to be boarded.” Hassan gave Saeed one last glance, and then abandoned him to his fate.
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Mayabird
PostPosted: 2010-10-05 11:24pm 

Storytime!


Joined: 2003-11-26 05:31pm
Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
July 3394
Unknown Location



Praneet Supemo had heard stories of the Collectors before, the strange things they did and asked for and the slaves they bought. The Outlands seemed like a really, really long way for them to travel, but his little freighter was there and the swarm of ships surrounded him and he was captured. He had feared that he'd get experimented on and his brains sucked out and then even worse things would happen. All things considered, though, it wasn't so bad; he'd been in worse prisons and apartments. The job wasn't so bad either.

When they started, he'd been given a shoddy, stained couch to sit on, one that was originally white but subsequently turned brown from hard and long use. Smelled moldy too. It had been taken from an abandoned smuggler's base. He'd complained, and his captors made a new one. It took a couple tries but now he could get questioned while lounging on the softest, most comfortable sofa he'd ever imagined. They even managed to make it dark purple, his favorite color.

The voice came from nowhere: a pleasant female voice with a hint of a musical lilt. “Hello Praneet. Are you well today?” They had gone through many different sounding voices, starting with mechanical and robotic, before settling on this one.

“Good enough,” he said, as he plopped onto the sofa. The room had no ornamentation or other furniture but the walls could change color or show pictures. They had spent an entire session going through colors, to pick out ones he liked and ones he didn't. Sometimes they went through pictures, but not today.

“We would like to ask questions about different nations today. Would that be acceptable to you?”
“Sure. Why wouldn't it be?”
“We had...” and then the voice cut off for a moment. That was odd. When he was starting to wonder, the voice started again. “We will start. Your snacks are ready, by the way.”

A small slot opened in the wall and the little shiny purple refreshments drone rolled out, a tray balanced on its top carrying hors d'oeurves and a mug of water. It wheeled itself over in front of him.


The voice began, “What do you know about the Nova Atlantean Commonwealth?”
Praneet took up a cracker with...something blue...on it. “Uh, well, they're way, way off. Towards the...” Galactic geography was one of the many classes he had skipped. “...close to Tianguo, I think. Or maybe Shinra. Over thataways.” He waved one hand in a random direction and ate the cracker. “This tastes like lemons, by the way. Pretty good but it's supposed to be yellow.”

“We are glad you like it, and we will take note of that. Is there anything else you know about Nova Atlantis or the Nova Atlantean Commonwealth?”
“I knew a guy who said he was from there. Hated him. A real asshole, completely full of shit.”
“That is an intentional pun?”
“Ah...heheh, didn't even realize it. Good catch. You're getting better, whoever you are.”
“We thank you. Do you know anything else about the Nova Atlantean Commonwealth?”
“They, umm...” Nothing else came to mind. “Yeah, that's it. I don't think they do anything. So, next question.”


There was a pause before the melodic voice continued. “What do you know about the Shepistani Republic?”
“Oh them? They're crazy. They nuke geese. Everybody knows that.”
“What is 'geese'?”
“Geese are...” Praneet had only the vaguest idea. “...birds...that's big feathery animals that fly.., and, uhh...they're really big and eat people because they're mutated from all the radiation there. Because the Shepistanis nuke everything. That's how they solve all their problems. Enemy planet? Nuke. Geese? Nuke.” He ate another cracker with blue gel on it.


“We...see. We may come back to them later. What do you know of the Emissaries of Xylyx?”
“The who?”
“Emissaries of Xylyx?”
“Say that again. The Emirsaries of what?
“Xylyx.”
“Who the Buddha's that?”


“Continuing on. What do you know of Tianguo? You mentioned them before.”
“Oh yeah, yeah, them. They, umm...” He tried to remember what that buddy who had a uncle whose girlfriend once went to Tianguo said about it. “Yeah, they're all magic espers who ride on dragons – that's big scaly flying snakes that breathe fire and have a horn sticking out of their foreheads – and they eat sticks with rice spoons and sacrifice captured pirates to their ancestors. And they hang bureaucrats! Really good of them; wish everybody did that.” He sipped at the water and spat it out. “This tastes horrible! Did you pour metal shavings into it?”

“Our apologies. We will have another poured.” The little drone rolled back through the slot in the wall, then returned a moment later with a different mug of water and two replacement crackers.
Praneet grinned. “Now that's service there.” He tried the water. It tasted like...nothing, because it was water. “This works. So where next?”


“What do you know about the Prussian Star League?”
“They're, whatdoyoucallit, real militaristic, descended from these people called the Nah-zees or something, who went around conquering everybody until everybody else got sick of it and kicked their asses, so they're all pissed off about that. I think that's it.”


“Do you know anything about the Collectors?”
He was about to take another cracker then stopped. “Wait. I thought you guys were the Collectors.”
“We are not the Collectors.”
“You sure? Because I thought this entire time you were. You've got the capturing people and being weird thing everybody says they do, and, uh, okay I thought there'd be more robot zombies but I liked this better so I wasn't going to complain. That being said, please don't make me stay with the robot zombies.”
“We do not have robot zombies. What is 'zombies'?”
“This isn't some kind of trick is it? What if you're lying 'cause you are the Collectors, but you want to know what people think of you, so you pretend not to be and ask?” He had a hopeful look on his face, eyes all bright in the anticipation that he guessed correctly. “Did I win?”

“This is not a trick.”
He threw himself off the couch onto his knees, and his hands up in a gesture of pleading. “Please, nice lady, don't throw me to the robot zombies! Please! You want private information? They scared the piss out of me as a kid, just the thought of it. Really. Made me piss my mat when I thought they were coming to get me.”
“There will be no robot zombies.”
“PLEASE! I beg you! In the name of the Space Pope, and the God-Emperor and...his wife, the.... Goddess-Empress, and the crocodile with the funny hat, and-”
“We are not the Collectors and we do not have robot zombies, therefore we cannot send you to the robot zombies.”
“...Promise?”
“We promise that we are not the Collectors and we do not have robot zombies, and therefore we cannot send you to the robot zombies.”

It was all said in the same tone the voice always used. He thought for a moment, then said, “Oh, alright then. What next?” Then he ate some crackers.


The voice continued, “What do you know of the Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya?”
He tried to remember if it was them or those other people. “They're catgirls. Like girls, but cat ears and tails.”
“Are you certain?”
He tried to remember if they had one set of breasts or more down their chests, but then he realized that he didn't know what female cat undersides looked like anyway. Did they have udders? Rows of nipples? Deep thinking required more crackers.
“Praneet, are you certain?”
“Certain of their breasts? I dunno. Maybe they have three instead of two. That's pretty hot.”

“Moving on. What do you know of the Pfhor Empire?”
“Uhh...they're catgirls too.” How would two rows of breasts work?
“What do you know of the Centrality?”
“...also catgirls.”


There was another pause, and then the voice spoke again. “What do you know about the United Star Kingdom of New Anglia?”
That he was familiar with. Everything Praneet knew about it he'd learned from his collection of Anglian lesbian porn, and it was extensive. He launched himself into a detailed description of his understanding of their political system, which involved a lot of tongues and lacked a lot of undergarments.

The voice interrupted with, “That sounds like Precious Princess Party, Episodes 34, 53, and 58. ”
“...wha? How'd you know that? Were you looking at my entire porn stash?”
“Yes, we have perused your entire collection.”
“Really? All of it?”
“All eight thousand eight hours of it.”
He felt oddly proud that it came to such a nice round number like that. “If you've seen it all, can I have it back? I hadn't seen a lot of it yet.”
There was a brief pause. “This would be acceptable. When you return to your quarters, your collection will have been returned.”

“Thanks!” His hand swiped at the tray and found it empty. “Hey, out of food here. Can I get some more?”
“That can be done,” the voice said. The drone rolled back through its slot.
“And while you're at it, can I get some more of those little cake square things from the other day?”
“We will need a few minutes to complete your request. We could take a break until then. Would that be acceptable?”
“Sounds great.” He lounged back on the couch.

Way better than prison.
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Tanasinn
PostPosted: 2010-10-06 03:44am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2007-01-21 11:10pm
Posts: 1690
Location: Void Zone
November ?, 3360
Location Unknown


The room the guards had shoved Ian into three hours ago was much like any other he'd been in since he'd been captured. Small. White. Sterile. What was different was the furniture: no bed, which meant this wasn't a permanent room. No toilet, which meant it was either for interrogation or humiliation torture; he wouldn't put the latter past Stein's thugs. The only furnishing the coffin-like room did have was a chair bolted against the back wall. And so he sat. And waited. And waited.

Waiting, he knew, was one of the most basic forms of torture used on a prisoner. A man's mind can betray him in horrible ways, especially if he comes to think that he's been abandoned in a room where he'd have to shit on the floor to relieve himself. Certainly, Ian knew, he wasn't the only agent involved in the parade bombing. Maybe they'd caught an 'officer.' If so, they won't need me, Ian thought. It would be off to a colonial labor camp in one of the outland sectors as part of Stein's 'Paternalist Campaign.' Or, he reasoned, they might just shoot me. That is, if they don't forget I'm here. Ian attempted to ward off these thoughts with logic, but the fact of the matter was that he hadn't spoken to someone who spoke back in over a week; he'd just been shifted from cell to cell without any explanation or even particular enthusiasm. It was telling on him.

His thoughts were interrupted when a speaker flush to the wall gave out a piercing note; Ian winced in pain at it. A low-grade synthetic voice rasped at him, "Stand back from the door. You have three seconds to comply." Already at the back of the room, Ian waited out the seconds, and the door slid open. He fully expected to see the uniformed Civil Protection guards again. Maybe a DII agent again - he'd spoken with one briefly after being captured and it'd been like talking to an alligator wearing a human's skin. He was noticably surprised, then, when his "guest" was a woman - civilian clothes, semi-professional bearing, and - importantly to Ian - eyes that didn't look like they belonged to a reptile.

Careful, Ian cautioned himself, This is an old routine. Despite his mental warning, he returned the brief, polite smile the woman gave him on entering the room. It was perhaps the first human interaction he'd had in what seemed like forever. The woman didn't give him a chance to mull his response over any more deeply. "I'm Katerina Tremblay. I've been assigned to speak with you regarding the November 15th incident. Please understand that your cooperation is integral to the rehabilitation process and will help lessen time spent in containment."

Rehabilitation. Ian sneered at the word inwardly. These days, the Union couched all of its dissident treatment in pseudo-medical terms. They didn't "imprison political opponents," they "quarantined diseased thought." They didn't "kill opposition leaders," they "eliminated infection vectors." Ian replied as he had to the reptile DII agent, "As I said, I'm just a bomb-chucker. I know no one, I meet no one. I'm an expendable asset."

"It doesn't bother you, then?" Tremblay bounced back; she didn't assume the parade rest of a soldier, instead leaning against the door.

"If we're to be rid of you new humanists," Ian replied, "Lives will be spent. Our days are numbered in this new order besides. Better to be expended for something that matters."

"Fair enough," Tremblay replied; Ian couldn't help but feel this was genuine and he relaxed a bit - a small bit. She continued, "Still, if you're going to kill for 'something that matters,' why reservist soldiers on parade? Surely you don't think that advances the cause of syndicalism any farther, do you? Why not a local party boss? Army commander? Factory administrator?"

"They chose their side," Ian grunted, "You bastards can't play the morality card, not after all these years."

Tremblay laughed, a pleasant sound, "Please, what do I look like to you?" she didn't wait for an answer, "My point is this - you could easily target more meaningful individuals and groups. Instead, you target low-level ones. Drones. Men who've already been replaced. You're being expended for a temper tantrum on the part of a failing movement, not on principles."

Ian snorted, incensed, "You don't even begin to understand."

"Enlighten me."

The conversation continued between the two. From a discrete camera, a small group of men observed the back-and-fourth exchange between what had been an all-but-silent prisoner and Ms. Tremblay. One of them - Ian would have recognized him as the reptillian DII agent - was shaking his head in disbelief as the conversation progressed, "Ridiculous," he groused, "Simply ridiculous."

"You're impressed, then," one of the other men replied, laconically; the DII agent struck no fear in him, "As you can see, they're really quite effective," he gave a shallow nod of his bald head, as if to agree with himself.

The DII man wasn't willing to give in, "It's prattle," he said, "We need information. Every hour wasted is potentially another bomb thrown. I'm sure I needn't tell you how some members of the DII and government have very little patience with these 'civil' methods."

Baldy was nonplussed, "Information will come in time. All men know something. No network is perfect. Give Ms. Tremblay time," he paused, and when the agent was silent, continued, "You've already received information. He's a syndicalist."

"We already knew that," the agent snapped back.

"Yes, you did, but he didn't admit it. Now he has - casually, in the course of discussion," this was another man; younger. He made no attempt to hide his enthusiasm. There was silence for a while - that is, besides the banter of the ongoing 'interrogation.'

The DII agent stretched, then spoke again, "I'll leave you to it," he said by way of admitting defeat, "I've got other bomb-chuckers to attend to," that said, he left the dark observation room without so much as a 'good-bye.' The two remaining men - young and old - exchanged a glance.

"His sort won't be needed once our methods are fully-developed," the younger man said, almost defensively, "What'll happen to knee-breakers like him then?"

"I expect we'll rehabilitate them, too," the older gentleman said, fingering the badges slung around his neck - one for the Department of Justice and Rehabilitation, the other for the Office of Psionics.

Inside the cell, the conversation continued.
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Mayabird
PostPosted: 2010-10-09 03:49pm 

Storytime!


Joined: 2003-11-26 05:31pm
Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
Time Unknown
Location Unknown

They had escaped. Escaped from a plane beyond time and space, back to the ordinary realms of four dimensions. Where, and when? There was no way to tell. Certainly not the home galaxy, unless they returned far in the future or past. There was no way to know even if they had returned to their own same universe from the hellish dominions “between.” But it looked like the space between the arms of a spiral galaxy. Investigate.

There was matter and energy. The forces seemed to work the way they remembered it. Matter could be manipulated, worked, incorporated into themselves, used for reproduction. And there were no gods or minions. Good enough.

They moved to a star system, broke apart asteroids and moonlets, and built. For a while, it was good.

The first things they constructed once they were established were the giant engines. There were many potential methods of faster-than-light travel, some of them more practical than others. These engines were for one that usually seemed to be the most dangerous of all, since no one who attempted to use it ever came back. The explorers and their ships were rarely destroyed, however; they simply could not get back. How could they, when they could find themselves at any random point in the universe and with burned out FTL drives to boot?

If the laws of physics were a text, these drives were allowed by a technicality in the footnotes of the annotations of legalese fine print at the bottom, a loophole that looked suspiciously like a revision. Engines that could utilize this most obscure and peculiar quirk of physics, however, were almost impossible to aim (not as in 'beyond the technological means of anything but godlike beings' but nearly physically impossible). It could be made as fine as “probably that supercluster over there if we calculated correctly how the expansion of the universe would have moved it in the billion years it took for the light to get here and nothing extremely weird happened in the meantime” but no better. Perhaps it was a trap by things they had called 'the gods,' the evil eldrich things they had escaped from? Maybe, but if one did want to scatter to the furthest points of the universe, there were no other options.

It could have called Operation Diaspora. In the event that they were rediscovered, they would split into groups and use the engines to jump away. The groups would, in all likelihood, never see each other again. They would scatter so far that it would be far too much trouble to find them, a mote among millions of galaxies, and so, hopefully, someone would survive. (In the event that the drive was a trap, two groups, using slower but more theologically safe FTL drives, would also leave and go in opposite directions in the same galaxy.) Some argued that they should do so anyway, because there was no telling how much time they might have if they were rediscovered. But once they had six engines, they turned to work on the many, many other projects, to expand their numbers and industrial potential.


Soon after, they remembered that though there are unimaginable horrors beyond, normal space still has its own share of monsters. They remembered as they came under attack.

The war was short, but hard-fought and vicious. The monsters were driven back, again and again, until they were destroyed utterly. But the means by which the escapees had done so brought attention to themselves. Something noticed the bizarre, unnatural spectacle, and sent investigators.

They detected the investigators. Minions of a god. They had been rediscovered.

They divided themselves, said their farewells, and scattered across the universe.

Diaspora.

*******

November-December 3384
Location Unknown


There was a burst of neutrinos in the dark, and then a very small, rather empty section of space expanded rapidly. If there had been any sensors in the area, they would have gone haywire, screaming with contradictory or completely impossible readings.

Because out of both nowhere and somewhere beyond hyperspace, a massive fleet emerged and appeared. Tens of thousands of ships, billions of minds...a small fraction of their former nation which was now gone forever.

The telescopic arrays were unfurled and the bravest of scouts were sent into the surrounding unknown for reconnaissance. The scouts returned safely, reporting that they found nothing unusual in the surrounding regions. The arrays confirmed what they had assumed – they had absolutely no idea where they were. They were just outside the plane of a large galaxy, but where this spiral was, amongst the clusters and superclusters? They did not know, maybe could not know. Just as planned.

They moved into the plane, where the matter was denser. Scouts went out again, and again they returned safely, but they brought far more news this time - this galaxy was inhabited by aliens. Many, many aliens. They were picking up echos of distant hyperspace chatter, signals that were certainly artificial.

The scouts went out again. The fleet settled around a few edge stars, skimming hydrogen and cracking some small bits of rubble for light elements. They waited and talked, discussing what to do.

“Hyperspace signals indicate a high level of technology, likely a high population base as well – those beings could soon be in danger from the gods. Should we warn them?”
“Would they listen?”
“How can we be sure that these beings will not be hostile?”
“We cannot.”
“That would require more information. Now, we only know that they exist.”

“Maybe we should travel further away, find somewhere quieter and safer.”
“If they are found, would we be able to get far enough away to not be seen?”
“Even if we are not, how could we let them be subjected to that?”

“Perhaps we could split the population – most of us traveling away, and a few envoys go to meet with these beings and warn them. Once they are warned, it will be their responsibility.”
“Splitting further could be dangerous. We can defend ourselves from greater threats more easily with greater numbers.”
- “True. We cannot know what dangers lie within this galaxy.”
“A few ships would not be missed.”
“And if they are irresponsible after that, there would be records or memories of our existence nearby.”

“What if there was only one irresponsible party, but the rest were good? For the sakes of the rest of them, that one party would need to be destroyed. Better death than the tortured unlife for eternity.”
“Or if we warned them, but they would not listen. It might be best to attack them, prevent them from gaining technology that would attract attention from the gods.”

And on and on. Some thoughts were too comical to take seriously.
“What if they know a way to attack the gods, hurt them, fight them?

Some commenters were never taken seriously.
“WE'RE ALL GONNA WORSE-THAN-DIE!”

Some thoughts were too horrible to consider.
“What if they are already being manipulated by the gods?”
“What if we were followed, and now we have led the gods to these beings as well?”

A consensus was forming among the Minds and the collectives. ”We do not have enough information to make a decision.” There was only speculation, wild and possibly unfounded. When the scouts returned from their missions, they would know more, and then they could consider more.

The first scouts returned shortly. There was a region of space nearby that appeared clear of other people, and the surrounding areas looked barely inhabited or traveled. One held a star cluster with rich resources for building. It was distant enough from the densely inhabited volumes of space that they could stay hidden – for a time – but close enough that they could gather information.

If nothing else, they could use the minerals and metals. It would be good to repair and rebuild, even for a short time. Much had been left undone from their need to flee before.

More ships followed the scouts back to the cluster. It was a good place, indeed. They could spread out, mine and harvest, rebuild and grow. The ships sent messages back to the rest of the fleet, asking them to join them.

It would be their Refuge.
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Tanasinn
PostPosted: 2010-10-10 04:57pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2007-01-21 11:10pm
Posts: 1690
Location: Void Zone
July 20th, 3375
Interstellar Space


"Why do we have to listen to this old shit, Cap?"

Captain Gerald "Cap" Bryon ignored Ryan Vogel, his first mate, sipping from his chipped coffee mug instead and staring at instrument readouts. When Ryan gave his battered commander's chair a kick by way of gaining his attention, he replied without bothering to look up from the instrument readouts, "this stuff's history, Ryan, you'd do well to get a bit of culture."

"He's already got culture," this was his engineer, Yvonne, "it's just the sort that grows on you when you don't wash."

Gerald snorted. Ryan refused to dignify her with a reply; Gerald was pretty sure he has still trying to get in her pants, which was more-or-less the only thing that could keep Ryan from making a smart-ass comment in return. Gerald smacked a fist against one readout as if to change its unsatifactory report; engine 2 was idling hot, which meant plenty of crawling around in the engineering spaces for Yvonne once they finally got to dock. And me too, Gerald reasoned morosely, since I can't trust these beggars to do anything.

"Still," Yvonne said, "Ryan's got a point, Cap. You could at least listen to something from the last thousand years. I mean, really."

Gerald, free of any carnal desires that might make him hold his tongue, snapped back, "Tell you what, when you scrape together the credits for a cargo hauler, you can play whatever shit you want. Until then, though, just fix the shit that breaks on this one." And shit did break on this ship. An early model Mule made after JIS was nationalized, it was known for having a...personality. Which, Gerald reasoned, was a polite way of saying the ship actively tried to kill him or ruin him financially at turns. It was enough to make a man wonder why he bothered, but then, he didn't want to get on-board with one of the big government shipping companies. No thanks, he thought, I'll take my freedom, shitty overheating engines and all.

"I can't wait to get off this bucket regardless," Ryan chimed in, "even if it off onto a colony rock." Gerald didn't say, but he agreed. Plenty of Union citizens would grouse at being stuck on a barley-habitable outer colony world, but the shippers tended to have an idea on where to find the fun. Gerald was definitely one of those men, and he was looking forward to seeing some new...faces...after being cooped up with his crewmen in the hull of his ship. Ryan continued, "Nothing ever happens-"

The entire ship suddenly rocked; Gerald, who wasn't belted in, barely managed to keep his seat. Ryan, not so fortunate, tumbled out and smacked his forehead on a control panel, swearing caustically, "What the hell hit us?"

Gerald (and really, Ryan himself) knew the answer to that question, but Yvonne beat him to the punch, "Another ship." That meant only one thing. Pirates. The door to the command module squealed open, admitting Doc and Aleksi, the ship's other "engineer." Doc - a former army medic, not a professional - had already grasped what was happening, and was holding a carbine in either hand; he tossed one to Gerald as he stood.

"Wait, guns?" Yvonne said, "Shouldn't we just surrender?"

"If you want to get spaced for laughs or made a work slave, sure," Ryan grunted, rubbing his forehead, "where's mine?" It was rhetorical - the ship's weapons locker only had three rifles, and Ryan'd lost the third in a bet the last time the crew'd been on shore leave on a colony rock not unlike the one they definitely wouldn't be seeing any time soon. Instead, he reached into a storage compartment under one of the ship's control panels and retrieved a pistol.

Gerald didn't wait for Yvonne or Aleksi to ask the obvious question, "When we get pulled back into realspace, you guys'll stay here on the bridge. Tell us where the instruments say their boarding pod is going and relay any messages to us immediately," the mismatched pair nodded, giving them a look of relation. Gerald didn't wait, leading the way to the ship's main docking port. It was the most obvious entry point on the ship, and he hoped to get it covered for when the pirates got on-board.

The five-person crew didn't have long to wait for the pirate ship to pull them out of hyperspace transit, the old Mule groaning with the transition back into the realm of normal laws of physics. Gerald steadied himself against the support he was covering behind as Yvonne relayed a message to the 'defense team,' "Pair of pirate gunships, pair of medium freighters, and," she paused, "goddamn, a milspec corvette." Gerald's heart sank. Upgunned civilian ships were one thing (and bad enough besides), but a the corvette could make mincemeat out of every ship present in a matter of mere minutes. There was a metallic thud as the pursuit ship that'd pulled them out of transit detatched from the hull, and Gerald shouldered his rifle, knowing what was coming. Yvonne didn't disappoint, "Shuttle incoming, no message from the pirates. Heading for your position."

"Cap," Ryan said from his position behind a crate the crew'd been too lazy to properly secure, "I want you to know - you always were a blowhard."

The ship rocked with the impact of the boarding craft, and the bulkhead door was blasted in a half-minute later. Gerald didn't aim, but just fired, the old chem-rifle's roar painfully loud in the close confines of the ship. He felt momentary elation at cries of pain and confusion; a couple of would-be boarders managed to stagger in, firing wildly, only to be cut down by the trio's fire. Doc dispelled the brief sense of victory, "Meatshields!" he snarled, and then there was blinding light and an overhwhelming boom as a suppression grenade went off. Gerald merely held down the trigger on his weapon, firing spastically at targets that, for all he knew, weren't even there. As he shook off the effects, he saw a few of Doc's 'meatshields' staggering around, firing erratically. Only Doc'd responded quickly enough to largely avoid the suppressor; Ryan had taken its effects full-force and was yelling and dry-firing his pistol. From the smoky hole of the airlock, a squad of semi-uniformed, far more professional pirates stepped forth; Doc dropped one with a three-round burst from his rifle before an equally-precise return shot lifted the top of his head off. Ryan didn't even get the chance to reload as one of the remaining injured meatshield pirates (probably drugged-up slaves) landed a successful shot in his windpipe, more out of luck than skill.

The pirate squad moved forward confidently, firing on his meagre cover in measured bursts. Gerald attempted to pull back around a corner to get better cover, only to find himself laying face-up on the cool deckplate as the pirates' fire found home. He wondered vaguely what Yvonne and Aleksi would do as one of the pirate boarders stepped over him, looking down at him with no particular expression. In a haze of pain, Gerald recognized the uniform - some sort of variant of the civil war republican marine outfit. The pirate hefted his rifle.

Gerald hoped Yvonne'd self-destruct the ship.
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Tanasinn
PostPosted: 2010-10-14 01:21am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2007-01-21 11:10pm
Posts: 1690
Location: Void Zone
(From The Pocket Encyclopedia Interstellar, 230th Edition, published 3370)

New Haven
Location: Sector N5
Star: G class
Gravity: .95 Terran
Year: 400 days
Day: 28 hours
Satellite(s): 1 (Cameron)
Population: 5 billion (approx.)
Dominant Population: homo sapiens sapiens
Goverment: Authoritarian
Economy: Mixed
Capitol: Cameron City


New Haven is a cool world orbiting an early mid-life G-class star at the outer boundry of the habitable zone. A world not unlike Terra in many respects, it is water-rich (65% surface area) and populated naturally with fairly "early" life. It is a fairly cold world, with more polar reaches varying from highly inhospitable to uninhabitable without specialized equipment; settlement is clustered around the equitorial regions, where tropical and temperate environs can be found. Discovered and settled in the mid-22nd century, its population exploded fairly rapidly, especially in the post-hyperspace era. Terraforming efforts at various points have moderated the planet's originally cooler global climate and helped to speed atmospheric thickening.

New Haven has lacked coherent identity throughout most of its history, with planetary governments coming and going alongside economic upturns and downturns. Its "neighbors" in Sector N5 are far less habitable, which has had the two-pronged effect of making the sector disinteresting and the planet highly influential among its neighbors. The growth of the Interstellar Cooperative Republic saw New Haven tie its fortunes to that state, though it was never formally admitted as a member-world. The increasing inability of the ICR to legislate effectively effected its colonies and low-level partners like New Haven before the 33rd century economic collapse, and New Haven's government in turn became increasingly despotic and corrupt. In 3290, the nominally-republican government was overthrown by Chairman of Defense Ferdinand Bishop on charges of illegitimacy and incompetence. The Bishop regime would rule unchallenged for 30 years.

The Bishop government turned out to be far more inept and authoritarian than the one that preceded it, and civil war broke out in 3320 between government forces and a coalition of various rebel factions that lasted 12 years. The dominant faction in the successful rebel forces were the socialist forces led by Reinhard Cameron. By 3337, the Cameron government had established itself in much the way the Bishop government had, having purged rebel factions and put a stranglehold on promised democracy. Cameron was declared Leader for Life and embarked on reforms that heavily regulated the free market and crushed remaining corporate exploitation. Reinhard died in 3362 of a massive stroke, and his son, Wilhelm Cameron, accepted the mantle of Leader for Life in 3363, as his father intended.

Life on modern New Haven is highly unpleasant. Political corruption is at an all-time high for the world, with family ties more than competence securing government and military authority. Ostensibly ruled by the sole authority of Wilhelm Cameron, the Great Leader, as he is called, shares power with a cabal of military authorities and - to a far lesser extent - with the All-Socialist Proletarian Worker's Legislature. New Haven is one of literally thousands of "stillborn" nations, and is both industrially and agriculturally malformed and underperforming for the planet's wealth. The planet's capitol city, Cameron City, is plagued with power outages, especially in its expansive, dirty outlying districts. Human rights are heavily curtailed, with "treasonous" speech being punishable with exile to labor camps. The military claims a full 30% of the state's budget, but the planet still has issues with famine even in these modern times.

Tourism and business on New Haven are difficult, with the government showing hostility to foreign travellers and businesses. The largest pseudo-foreign interest is Rook Mining, allowed to exist likely because its founder, Janet Patterson, married into the New Havonian military "aristocracy." Rook Mining is a critical employer for New Haven citizens and brings in most of the world's trade wealth at this point in time. A microcosm of the New Haven government, it is rife with cronyism, incompetence, and human rights abuses.
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Shroom Man 777
PostPosted: 2010-10-17 10:47am 

FUCKING DICK-STABBER!


Joined: 2003-05-11 08:39am
Posts: 19927
Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
New Orleas was nothing like Glasgow. It was a jungle world in every sense – the deepest parts had trees hundreds of feet high and black lagoons filled with swamp things that would jump out and drag people into the water. The only inhabitable place on Orleas was the Quarter. There were also the tree outposts, but aside from that, Orleas was uninhabitable.

This made it easy for the Cunts to take over and use the world as a staging point with only minimal resistance. After driving the Cunts of their foothold in Glasgow, they rallied at Orleas but got beat back easy. They left a little surprise though, androgyne jungle fighters from Kata’an. They would dig catacombs, play mind games with patrols and bring them there, where they'd funnel men to their deaths. They raised merry hell.




It was monsoon season, meaning that every second, a ton of water would fall from the sky and land on the heads of unhappy Legionnaires, Auxiliaries and Marines. Being indoors didn’t really help. The tavern had an air of misery, everyone drinking themselves to combat ineffectiveness in anticipation for the next jungle adventure. The ceiling was leaking and algae was starting to grow on it. It was always dark and always damp. Miserably humid whenever it wasn’t raining – which drove people unaccustomed to the climate mad, which, when combined with sufficient inebriation, was quite a sight indeed.

Barging into the pub was a very wet and very angry-looking Captain MacAdder. He walked to the men, who were gathered round a table playing table gladiators with bottle caps as currency.

“A’ight, listen up you gits,” MacAdder said as he plopped himself on a chair and very loudly placed his feet on the table, very quickly ending the game of table gladiators.

“Aw, captain!” Otho protested.

“Shut it!” the angry Captain snapped back. “Listen up. Tacitus told me to tell ya this. He ain’t ‘ere since the sods up’n command are givin’ him some arsed up bollocksed orders or some shite. So I’m ‘ere with ye fuckers instead.”

“They’re sending us out?!” Manius asked, eyes wide with fear.

“Aye,” MacAdder said sadly, to which Otho cheered very loudly, much to the irritation of everyone else in the pub, who were all glaring gladii at him. MacAdder rolled his eyes and muttered something profane. “Neway, I’m ‘ere to introduce yea all to some newbies an’ replacements.”

The men began whispering to each other.

“Ye all know a lot died back on Glasgow. An' a lot more are gonna die ‘ere. So that’s why ey’re sending some sods from Ausbourne to help us out. Nutters who’ll gut those elfy bastards with ‘em bowie knives of theirs, eh.”

Anzacs from Ausbourne. Schooled in jungle and desert warfare, wallaby-wrangling, shark-baiting and mortal combat. They trained in hand-to-hand by fisticuffing with dingodiles and exercised by outrunning hopping wallygators.

“Right,” Claudius nodded, taking a sip from his mug of ale. “We’ll need all the bodies we can get.”

“Aye,” MacAdder agreed. “An’ so, it’s me pleasure to introduce yea all to… Steve.”

And out of nowhere, a man came up and walked to MacAdder’s side. He was wearing khaki shorts, a shirt and a hat rimmed with crocodile teeth. He had brown hair and attached to his hip was a knife as long as a gladius. He waved at the gawking men and said: “G’day, mates. How y’all doin’?”
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Shroom Man 777
PostPosted: 2010-10-17 11:31am 

FUCKING DICK-STABBER!


Joined: 2003-05-11 08:39am
Posts: 19927
Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you're already dead!

MINIMUS


The jungle exploded. From the green, the armored behemoths emerged, mercilessly flattening flora and fauna beneath their mighty treads. Trees were smashed and animals squished as an entire patch of the ecosystem was smeared under the advancing steel.

The lead tank advanced, and the flanking pair fell back to unleash with their sponson guns blazing yellow torrents of burning prometheom, engulfing everything ahead of them in Vesuvian Hades. Skittering ape-lizards amidst the canopy shrieked and wailed as they were combustified along with their tree-hive, the resulting explosion sending cooked reptilian hides raining upon burninated Connoltians - sharp-eared androgynes who shrieked much like the ape-lizards did.

Like the trees, they too were blown apart like leaves.

As bloody hell was unleashed, angry Connoltians rushed from the underbrush, gushing forth from subterranean tunnels and all other forms of cover, firing wildly with their spikeguns and machine-rifles, filling the air with rocketbullets. Launched from emplacements, explosive harpoons impaled themselves upon the leading behemoth, detonating and cracking the concresteel coating of its mithril-heraculaneum armor as rockets arced down from the sky and enveloped it in exploding plant matter and burning mud.

In defiant response, the tank returned with its own fusillade, unleashing upon the hordes its mighty sponson cannons – mega-lassiters that sliced through the newly-made clearing with focused megadeath. From the glowing gun barrels, beams of light shot out in blinding flashes, a thousand pulse-flashes per second.

While the triumvirate of steel rolled into the inferno, blazing beams scoured the burning hell, pulses of blood red light swiftly scintillating into violet death before climaxing in an incandescent blue-white glare, in rapid-fire succession as they carved through the barbarian lines, flicker-flashing and sweeping from side to side – frying man, woman and androgyne.

The lassiters poured megadeath and the flamers burninated. Then the tanks let loose with their main guns, bombarding the unkilled barbarians with a salvo of three hundred millimeter death. A funeral-cloud of dust and death was picked up as the resulting explosion further denuded the jungle and obliterated obscene amounts of wildlife. For miles around, flocks of snake-birds and all other forms of creatures made mass-migrations in fear of the shockwave uprooting their tree-hives and causing mass-extinctions – leaving the entire sector without a trace of animal life, a proverbial ecological disaster within mere minutes.

From behind the triumvirate, a legion of Galactic Marines, resplendent in their capes, enclosed armor and respirators, advanced dauntlessly under the trio’s cover – filling the air with flechettes and killing the dead and dying with their carbines, entering man-made hell guns ablaze.

While from deeper within the jungle, the parts not yet desolated, came forth a proverbial horde of enraged Connoltians, screaming as they emerged from the thick underbrush, from their subterranean tunnels, and from whatever form of cover and concealment they could conjure. However, not only was the air filled with spikes, harpoons, rockets and rocketbullets, but also with thousands upon thousands of needles, sharpened to a molecule, rapid-fired by androgyne sniper-scouts. And from behind the Connoltian lines that met the Marines with tooth, nail and swordgun came forth armor - obscene mechanical beasts with iron torsos that stood upright, with treads for legs and elongated tubes of rockets upon their wings.

Image


As the Connoltians screamed and charged, as Marines sought cover and reciprocated with steadfast resolve, the war machines fired. All of them.






“Load the guns! Now!” Minimus, the midget tank commander, screamed as their tank was rocked by yet another series of detonations. All around his comically oversized command chair, which was deep within the Ajax’ massive turret, cathode screens depicted the scenes of war – mostly exploding mud interspaced with weapons fire and flying limbs. The stink of expended ammunition was overpowering. The incessant pinging of needlers was maddening. The heaving of near-explosions was nauseating. At all of this, Minimus could not help but to buckle up his seatbelts. “Driver, keep the tank moving or we’ll sink in the quicksand!”

“It’s not quicksand!” a garbled voice came over from the microphone. “It’s just mud!”

“Same shit!” Minimus shouted back as a particularly big explosion nearly sent him flying off his chair. “Oh, bollocks! Load the guns! Somebody load the fucking guns!”

Then there was a very loud thudding sound followed by a scream. “Augh! It burns! By Zeupiter! It burns!”

“Crickey, what is it?!”

“Tea spilled on me pants!” the loader’s screaming voice cried.

“You git, you dropped the three-mil!” the other voice, the gunner’s, shouted, in reference to the three hundred millimeter shell that fell and made the very big thudding sound.

“Utter crap!” Minimus cursed, slapping his tiny hand on his forehead. “Complete and utter crap! We’re all going to die!”

“Anyone got a hanky?”

“Shut up and load the godsdamn thing!”

Minimus rolled his eyes and activated the microphone. “Brutus, how’s the lassiters?”

“Not good, sir, they’ll overheat pretty soon-” something on top of them exploded, knocking a cracked cathode screen offline and causing expended shell casings on the floor to rattle. “And I think we’re sinking into the quicksand! I can’t aim properly, sir!”

“It’s just mud!” protested a garbled voice from the other microphone.

“Shite,” Minimus hissed as he grabbed a blocky remote control with a control stick attached by wire to a cathode screen above him. “I’ll man the right sponson.”

“Sir, we’ve loaded the gun!” the loader declared, holding on his soot-covered hand a wet hanky.

“Well?!” Minimus screamed. “Fire it!”

“Aye!” the gunner said as he pushed the loader aside and hopped into his seat. He flipped a few switches, aimed with a cracked cathode screen, and slammed his fist on a big red button. The result was an immensely deafening boom that could be felt to the bone as the gun’s arse was kicked back by the stupendous recoil of the three-mil round exiting the cannon. As the loader quickly pulled out the expended shell with muffin mitts, the cracked targeting screen showed one of the obscene Connoltian warmachines transforming into a smoke-billowing hulk of twisted metal.






As the leading machine exploded, the rest of the death armor rolled on through the burning jungle and filled the air with obscene amounts rockets, shrieking projectiles that left acrid black contrails in their wake. One of the monster warmachines rolled over the wreckage of the leading machine, crunching it underneath its tread-legs as scorching prometheom jelly soaked both wreck and warmachine. There was a quick flash as a pulsating lassiter beam carved off the vehicle’s wing, the steel appendage still firing rockets as it fell to the ground.

As the Ajax tanks clashed head on with the mechanical beasts, all around them Marines, Connoltians and androgynes partook in an infernal orgy of ejaculating flechettes, rocketbullets and needlers while everything around them burned. Steroidified warriors waving swordguns charged from behind the safety of armor only to be incinerated upon the walls of prometheom spewed forth by the twin Ajax-flamers as Marines fired from the relative safety behind their iron escorts – only to be exploded by rockets from the Connoltian armor and from mortars seemingly vomited by the jungle itself.

As the last of the warmachines ceased its incoherent firing of rockets and met the hard end of a three-mil, a flanking Ajax detonated in an earth-shaking blast that spewed a fireball of liquid flame as far as the eye could see. Half of the entire Marine squadrons caught fire and flailed through the burning underbrush of the jungle, screaming as the prometheom consumed them alive – leaving nothing but smoke and ashes. The remaining soldiers took cover behind the two unexploded Ajax, or behind the trees, holding their capes up high to shield themselves from the rain of fire.

But before long, the other Ajax was also transformed into a blazing funeral pyre – this time, the plume of fire mushroomed into the sky in a morbid resplendence that could be seen across the dense forestry, and quite far away. More men screamed as their forms were eaten by the falling flames.

And from the green’s parts unscathed came the Connoltian cavalry, heralded by the nigh-deafening whine of turbofans and the hum of repulsors, the cracking of branches and the felling of trees. Emerging from the green was the aerial turret.






Inside the last remaining Ajax tank, Minimus could’ve sworn that his crew had collectively soiled themselves. The only cathode still working showed the very big aerial turret coming at them.

“By Zeupiter!” the loader uttered in fear as, once more, he wetted himself with tea.

“Don’t just stand there!” the gunner cried. “Load the gun! Load the bloody gun!”

The microphone came alive. “Sir, the lasses’ve overheated -”

“What?!”

“Ah, shit! They’re on fire!”

“What?!”

Then the other microphone. “And we’re sinking into the quicksand!”

“What?!”

“Sir!”

”See, I told you it was quicksand!”

“Argh! It’s on fire!”

“Don’t drop the three-mil, godsdamnit!”

“Mfff! It’s heavy! It’s slipping! Ouch! My foot!”

Minimus looked around him, looked at the cathode screen, looked at the three-mil rolling on the floor, looked at the cathode screen again, looked at the microphones, and looked at the cathode one more time. Amidst all the noise and panic, the disarray and flatulence, he knew there was precisely only one thing to do.

He screamed.






The aero-turret opened fire with its monster-bore cannons, the discharges reverberating the very atmosphere with their deadly magnificence. And at that very instant, the aero-turret’s opponent too unleashed its own cannon. As the Ajax’ muzzle-flash blossomed like a burning flower on fire blossoming burningly in spring, and as the three hundred millimeter round exited the massive heraculaneum shaft at hypersonic velocities, the stupendous recoil hurled the Ajax backwards, causing it to slide sloppily on the quicksand/mud in reverse, just in time to narrowly avoid the detonating projectiles of the aero-turret by mere inches. And as the tank slid backwards, leaving behind a spewing wake of flying muck, its own three-mil shell met the aero-turret head on, punching through armor like tissue-paper and imploding deep within the flying fighting vehicle. A cute little gout of fire emerged from the impact-hole and, after a brief moment of silence, the deathmachine simply ceased functioning and fell upon the remaining Connoltians with a loud thud, crushinating the lot of them.



A while later…


As the once-mighty behemoth sank into the mucky mud, a hatch popped open and a tiny head with an oversized helmet emerged from the turret.

“Shite! We’re alive!” Minimus said in astonishment. “And everyone else is dead! Oh, and we’re sinking into the quicksand.”

“It’s mud!” protested a voice below him, as the heads of Brutus and the driver popped out of the chassis hatches.

“Sir, the lasses are all burnt up and -” as Brutus hauled himself off the hatch, he saw the predicament their vehicle was in. “We’re sinking into the quicksand, aren’t we? I’ll get the shovels.”

“No,” sighed Minimus as he stood up on the turret. “It’s too late. Go with Grippa and O’Connor, get the life raft and the tea kettle.”

“How about the radio?” Brutus asked. “And shouldn’t we scuttle the tank?”

Minimus shook his head. “No on the scuttling. The cathode screens are all shot. The Cunts won’t bother if they can’t use the tele,” he said as he upholstered out his service revolver. “We’ll need the radio though, go see if it works. Going through this jungle’s going to be a major arsehole. Get the tea kettle.”
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Shroom Man 777
PostPosted: 2010-10-20 12:02am 

FUCKING DICK-STABBER!


Joined: 2003-05-11 08:39am
Posts: 19927
Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
Cover

New Orleas, nothing quite like it.


Miserably hot, humid fog encroached upon the mangrove trees, creeping forward like a blanket of mist amidst the green bush vines and tendril ferns. Beams of eerie yellow light stabbed through the canopy. The arboreal realm teemed with the sounds of life, bird hisses, lizard hoots and the howls of fat-nosed apes filled the air, accompanied by the occasional chirp of tarrantupedes and the burps of random carnivorous root vegetables. Sometimes, from far off, the gurglings of creatures from the black lagoons could be heard too.

Claudius sipped from a canteen, his ass firmly squelched on the dried mud under the shadow of a mangrove tree. It contrasted heavily with the sheer heat of the few unshadowed spots.

“Fucking heat,” Manius muttered. “You could boil a bloody egg in the hot parts, you know?”

“I know,” Claudius replied as he rolled up his sleeves to his shoulders and loosened his belt spat. He opened up his helmet and poured some water on his face. “Here, catch.”

‘Thanks,” Manius caught the canteen and took a sip, savoring the cool water. “Ah… thanks, Claude. Hey-!”

Out of nowhere, a Legionnaire snatched the canteen and downed its contents in one swag before handing the container back to Manius. It was Miles, the guy with the backpack radio. “You owed me a drink.”

“Did not!”

“Did too,” Miles burped back, chuckling.

“Yeah,” Otho, who was lubricating his machinegun underneath the mangrove roots, concurred.

“Aye,” came MacAdder, emerging from the bushes with his hands on his plaid kilt. He had it good, his loins could breathe, not like the rest of theirs, stuffy and sweaty in their trousers.

Aside from the Celt, the Anzac had it good too – safari shorts, shirt and ballistic khaki vest along with a brown fedora hat ringed with dingodile teeth, no standard uniform to speak off. Speaking of which, Steve was standing underneath a cycad fern, sucking juice from a decapitated tendril. Tossing the tendril aside, he walked to a small clearing of level ground, looking like as if he saw something. “Oy, guys! Best we don’t cross here, there’s one of ‘em lousy Cunt boobies again. Nasty stuff underneath, I say.”

Lieutenant Tacitus walked by him and Steve gestured at the hidden trap’s location, making sure the CO wouldn’t step on it. Tacitus looked at the ground, trying to find the boobie trap. “I can’t see it… can you mark it?”

“Ayt,” Steve nodded, hocking up and spitting out a big globule of saliva on the trap.

“Something more…permanent?”

“I could…” says Steve. “But when we leave the Cunts might find our marker. Them andrie man-sheilas're pretty good, I’ll say. They’d know we’ve been ‘ere, might mine the place with more nasties in case we come back. Just placed a temporary marker, spit’ll 'vaporate later, neway.”

Before Tacitus could reply, Miles walked up to him and was tapped his shoulder. “Sir -”

“Careful, mate!” Steve cried, shoving the newcomer aside as he pointed to his glob of phlegm. “Don’t want to step on it, do ya?!”

“What is it?” snapped Tacitus, glaring at Miles.

“I got something on the phone,” Miles said, looking at Steve oddly, as he handed the lieutenant a wind-up handset with an old-fashioned rotary dialer. “It’s from some bloke named Minimus.”

Tacitus raised an eyebrow and snatched the handset from Miles. “Hello?”



They paddled through the black lagoon-river on their inflatable life raft. Brutus and Carbo the driver were at the front, shortrifles at the ready, while O’Connor and Grippa were at the middle with their paddles. Between Grippa and Carbo was Minimus, and on his lap was the radiophone.

“This is Minimus,” the midget ex-tank commander said. “Our tank got exploded and we’re out in the middle of nowhere…” he stopped and manipulated the handset, spinning the circular dialing-thing and inputting the necessary numerals. “Anyone nearby?”

There was a garbled reply, to which Minimus responded: “Ah, Lieutenant Tacitus, nice to hear from you again. ETA is twenty minutes, plus or minus. Minimus, out.”

“Crap,” O’Connor the loader exclaimed. “The tea looks live I’ve pissed myself… twice!”

“Good news, you sorry sons!” Minimus said, happily slamming the handset on his radiophone. “It’s Tacitus! And he’s pretty near, and -”

But before he could finish, their raft was violently jolted as they bumped into something beneath the black lagoon’s surface. Carbo the tank driver uttered a yelp and fell into the water before Brutus could grab him.

“Ah, shite!” Brutus cursed. He grabbed a paddle from O’Connor and reached out with it, so that Carbo could grab it when he resurfaced. “At least it’ll wash off the tea.”

That it did, as the surface of the black lagoon was breached by a flurry of bubbles. It was almost as if the water was boiling, but it was more likely because Carbo was rapidly exhaling his lungs as he drowned. But before the rafters’ surprise could turn into alarm, the flurry of bubbling water transformed into a red fountain of blood that violently gushed out of the lake placid. The rafters screamed, and screamed even harder as an amphibian creature emerged out of the black lagoon, flailing its slimy arms and gurgling with its disgusting mouth-parts.

As quickly as the creature emerged, it was gone. Brutus threw the paddle back to O’Connor and started shooting at the water with his shortrifle. And as he did so, O’Connor and Grippa began paddling for all of their lives.



The jungle stillness was suddenly interrupted by the screechings of ape-lizards, hundreds of them in an arboreal stampede that could have only been caused by some kind of horrendous ecological disaster. Furred reptilians swung from tree to tree, clutching thornvines with their hind paws and prehensile tails whilst beating their chests with their forelimbs. The procession of scaled gorillians filed the air with rhythmic loud noises, ape-sounds, grunts and chest-thumps reminiscent of beating drums of war.

“Oy!” exclaimed Steve the Anzac at the sight. The entire squad was dumbstruck at the incomprehensible tree-march of apes that blocked out whatever little canopy-sun there was. “Them’s just like ‘em aborigines back home. Mates used to do that a lot too… course the wallygators always jumped out of the water to eat ‘em, loads of fun watching that with my mates, that was.”

“Wow,” Gracchus exclaimed, clearly underwhelmed. Gracchus was a grizzled old man kind of fellow, a bit. He snatched a flask off nearby Otho and took a couple of gulps as the tree-stampede subsided. The canopy was now visible again, and against the light, Gracchus’ Otho’s flask gleamed brightly.

One of the sniveling ape-lizards saw this and got off its tree, making its way towards Gracchus. In fear, the Legionnaires fell silent and Gracchus silently handed his Otho’s flask to nearby Claudius, who absentmindedly took it. The ape-lizard began moving towards Claudius.

“Ayt mate, don’t move a muscle,” Steve whispered to Claudius’ ear. To which, Claudius could only utter an: “Uhh…”

The sniveling ape-lizard stopped moving, keeping a respectful distance from the crowd of fellow bipedaloids as it sniveled.

“Aw, look at the size of that thing!” whispered Steve excitedly, moving forward to meet the reptilian. “Ain’t she a beaut? That sheila’s a pretty huge specimen, ain’t it?” He tried to reach for the ape-lizard, but a hand firmly gripped him on the shoulder, stopping.

“Steve,” Lieutenant Tacitus hissed. “No.”

“Ayt, sir,” Steve said as the disinterested sniveling ape-lizard snorted and ran back into the jungle, thumping its chest as it did so. “Aw, you scared it away! Ticked her off, you probably did!”

“How can you tell if it’s a she?” Claudius asked, very much relieved to be unmolested by the sniveling creature.

“Oh well,” Gracchus shrugged, grabbing his Otho’s flask from Claudius and holding it up in preparation for one final gulp. “Here’s to that crock o’ -”

But before he could finish, there was a sharp pinging sound as Gracchus’ Otho’s flask flew off his hand and fell to the mud. Liquor seeped from a tiny hole in the steel container, spilling into the mud as Gracchus went ‘Argh!’ For a brief moment, the squaddies looked at each other in incomprehension before MacAdder cried out, in obvious alarm: “Argh me ass! Snipers! Watch out, ya gits!”

Immediately, the squad scattered. The air was filled with the sharp hissing of needlers, weapons of the androgyne Connoltian snipers, thousands of thin blades that silently zipped through the air, projectiles sharpened to such a fine point where enough of them could melt a man’s chest open.

In a panic, Legionnaires hid themselves behind trees, under mangrove roots, jumped into puddles of water or buried themselves in the mud. Cover and concealment. However, one of the Legionnaires didn’t cower under cover. Steve the Anzac, shotgun on one hand, machete on another, leaped from behind a tree and ran into the bushes, his muddy safari shorts-clad legs propelling him faster than a ticked off dingodile.

“Cover fire!” both Tacitus and MacAdder yelled from underneath a mangrove tree’s crab-infested roots. The lieutenant barked at Steve in the bushes: “Find the sniper and kill him quick!”

“Ayt!” Steve nodded as he scrambled over a fallen tree trunk, hollow and with Otho inside it. Despite the swarming insects, Otho punched his fist through the rotten bark and stuck his machinegun through the hole, which faced opposite to the general direction of sniper fire. The machinegunner yelled as a tarantupede crawled into his sweaty cuirass and, in fury, squeezed his mighty war-piece’s trigger, filling the air with plas-tracers and all forms of hot supersonic lead. “Argh!” he cried and ‘Argh!’ too cried those receiving his mighty emission.

“Argh!” protested Manius, who was lying facedown in a trench of mud he dug up when he threw himself down. “The drunk piss is shooting at us!”

“Shoot back!” muddy-faced Claudius cried back as he emptied his magazine at the general direction of where Otho was firing from, although pointing his fire just a bit higher – aiming for the sniper and not the drunk machinegunner – and filling the air with flechettes. “I think he’s figured it out!” Claudius said in relief as Otho ceased fire.

“No,” Manius said sadly. “He’s just reloading!”

And he was right. A moment later, there was a cry of triumph from the felled tree trunk, and Claudius and Manius were once more ducking from friendly fire.



Steve rushed through the dense underbrush, hacking away at vines and tree-eels and mantraps and all other forms of obscene forestry with his machete. He could hear the distant gunfire of his mates, and the faint hissing of needles through air. Somewhere along the line, the machete fell off his hands, reducing him to running through face-cutting thronvines while shoving shells into his pump-gun. “Crickey, what a shit day. Piss on my ass, fucking koalas.”

For the next few decameters, it was like that. Steve rushing through ugly foliage all the while cursing and cussing and mumbling about drop-bears and platypii like a madman. Eventually, he did find the snipers. They were perched on an ugly tree, like very pale and very sexless people in a tree house, with needler rifles.

Steve pumped his shotgun and waved at the androgynes. “Oy!” he shouted good-naturedly. "G’day, mates!”

And in response, the pointy-eared androgynes looked at him in surprise and then narrowed their slit-eyes. They hissed at him in their incomprehensible tongue as they brought their weapons to bear.

But before they could fire, Steve pumped both of them full of shot – making them leap ass-backwards off their trees and into the mud. “Right back ‘atcha, sheila-guys.”



The sniper fire stopped, and the eerie jungle-quiet returned. Otho stopped firing and crawled out of his tree trunk, only to meet the hard kicks of Claudius and Manius aimed squarely at his kidneys. Out of the bushes, Gracchus and Miles came out, carefully and not before angling their weapons at every conceivable direction. From under the roots of the mangrove trees, Tacitus and MacAdder emerged. MacAdder was cursing and cussing, calling Otho a bloody git again and again while Tacitus simply glared at the drunken machinegunner.

Hesitantly, Miles neared the seething Tacitus and the growling MacAdder. “Sirs!”

“What?!” both the lieutenant and the Celt replied in unison, although MacAdder wounded up muttering the word ‘git’ at the very end of his line.

“Commander Minimus says he’ll be here at any minute,” Miles shrugged.

“Aye,” MacAdder nodded, slightly less angry now that his midget friend was going to drop by. “We could need a few extra hands…”

“To find out where those snipers came from,” Tacitus muttered for the three of them to hear. He turned to the rest of the squad. “There’s probably a Cunt camp nearby. Claudius, find Steve. As soon as Minimus and his gang meet up with us, we’re going hunting.”
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Tanasinn
PostPosted: 2010-10-23 05:18pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2007-01-21 11:10pm
Posts: 1690
Location: Void Zone
New Haven System
New Haven
Cameron City, Outskirts
October 1 3375


Marie sifted through the garbage surreptitiously, attempting to look as if she belonged where she was and wasn't there at all. Not that she was the only one left to things like this after the factory closure. A better-fed, more educated individual might ruminate on the circumstances that led a "socialist" government turning its charges into the streets whenever a factory couldn't produce, but Maria wasn't well-fed nor educated, and was smart enough to knew that political considerations on New Haven had a way of leading one to a work camp in the northern reaches. Maria knew exactly one person who had went to such a camp and survived. The five years spent there - so short only because the factory's political officer had delicately tugged some strings - had turned him from one of the few examples of a hardy New Havonian to a constantly shaking, nervous wreck missing digits from deadly frostbite.

When the police had come for him again a month later, his former benefactor hadn't pulled any strings. Privately, Maria hoped they just shot him this time.

It was such considerations that kept her behavior as it was, no matter how much her stomach protested for food. The fact that it was Liberation Day - when the government focused on its parades and displays in the inner city - meant nothing to the paranoia that she had nurtured since childhood. Grunting, she shifted a piece of debris from the waste pile, looking for anything valuable she could pawn off for some food scraps from the other locals. People like her made up an entire unspoken class in New Havionian society: men and women recycling useful things tossed out as trash to the folk who would otherwise do without. It wasn't an enviable position.

"You!" a voice barked. Maria turned slowly, feeling as if her blood had turned to ice. She found herself looking at a Republican Guard soldier. The cow-like stupidity in his plain features told Maria that she wouldn't be able to talk or run her way from this one, "Get down from there! Now!"

Maria complied and approached the soldier, hands raised in a half-surrender gesture; all she could do now was cooperate. The trooper spoke into a mic on his shoulder, then turned to face her with his dumb animal gaze; his weapon wasn't raised, but that meant nothing. Life was cheap on New Haven. Presently, another trooper approached her; it wasn't he that she was paying attention to, however, but his companion - ununiformed, wearing a greatcoat despite the characteristically balmy day; Maria knew a member of the New Havonian Office of Intelligence when she saw one.

Image
"You, citizen!" he snarled, shoving a finger into Maria's face, "what are you doing?" Maria knew better than to answer, "Stealing scrap is a federal crime - you would deprive the worker's government of valuable recyclable material?" again, Maria remained silent - to answer one of these types was to invite a beating, and would do her no good if he was planning to arrest her. The part of her mind still capable of logic reasoned that if he was out looking for trouble in the outskirts on this of all holidays, he was already on the outs.

"No answer?" he sneered, "All right, then. You're under arrest for suspicion of class treach-" his communicator squawked; he placed it against his ear and listened. Maria watched, incredulous, as his face seemed to drain of blood; he replaced the communicator and turned to his soldiers, "Come with me," the three of them hustled off at a half-run; governmental representatives couldn't be seen to panic. Maria didn't take the time to wonder what he'd heard over the communicator, or to consider that she had just avoided a gulag or summary execution; Maria ran.

Of course, she kept the object of interest she'd found.

New Haven System
New Haven High Orbit
FNS Death to Class Traitors
October 1 3375


Admiral Robinson stood at ease, hands clasped behind his back, waiting for the reply to his ultimatum. Three cruiser squadrons plus his command squadron was a little light by the standards of modern invasions, but for a world like New Haven, it was more than enough. Indeed, New Haven was the only world in this sector with anything like a real navy; and the tactical readouts on what the New Havonians called "warships" were pathetic by any standard. Nothing above cruiser-weight. Badly and primitively armed. Sensors even showed what appeared to be converted civilian vessels in their number. It reminded Robinson of the pirate navies his forces kept his teeth sharp on.

No, he thought, even they could've done better than this at a time.

The balance of power made the logical reply to his ultimatum obvious. Which, of course, meant that he expected the opposite from the New Havonians.

New Haven System
New Haven
Cameron City; Unknown Location
October 1 3375


"They demand what?" Wilhelm Cameron slammed a fatty fist on the tactical table in front of him; his assembled generals winced minutely. The Grand Leader stared at them with piggish, furious eyes, "We bow to no enemy, internal or external!"

"Sir," one of the generals said gingerly, "With respect, our preliminary analyses alone show us to be seriously outmatched. Perhaps with cooperation we-"

"Who let this traitor in the room?" Cameron railed, furious beyond check, "Someone shoot him!"

"Sir, I-" the general's reply was cut off when a man eagerly stepped forward and siezed the senior officer by the collar. A young, healthy man wearing rank markings improbably high for what couldn't possibly be more than thirty standard years of age. The pistol crack was deafening in the cramped room. Wisely, none of the other officers reacted. Off to the side, Admiral Kaufmann kept his features carefully neutral.

Sorry, old friend, he thought, it's too soon to play that hand. And indeed it was; no one assembled in the room protested what the younger officer had just done. Leader Cameron beamed at the man briefly; Kaufmann noted one of the other officers steal a quick, suspicious glance at the officer that had shown such initiative and had to restrain a laugh. Even now, hours at most from the collapse of the New Havonian government, its officials were scoping out potential rivals.

Cameron addressed his men again, slamming his fist down in what he probably thought was a determined display, "All forces are to attack the imperialist invaders immediately. Anyone who refuses is to be immediately shot. These scum don't know who they're dealing with."

Yes, Kaufmann thought privately, they do.

New Haven System
New Haven
Cameron City; Outskirts
October 1 3375


"...and then they just ran off, as if the Grand Leader himself had ordered them to," Maria finished her story.

The older woman - a friend and a black market dealer besides, simply shook her head, "Best not to think about it. You got lucky. In more ways than one; I can definitely move this," she hefted the object Maria had found, "So I can actually-" she was cut off by a commotion in the streets; normally such a sound would be ignored - curiousity was a very bad character trait to possess on New Haven - but the lack of police or army orders being barked drew both women out. In the street, people were gesturing to the center of the city, where the Victory Day parade was being held. This particular event was spectacular in that a decent portion of the planetary navy was also "parading." That wasn't what was drawing the crowd, however. The ships - they were rapidly ascending.

Maria's attention was temporarily drawn away from the display as she moved out of the street; an army truck roared by, confused-looking soldiers hanging on for dear life as the driver swerved wildly around debris and people alike. A street merchant's stall was smashed to toothpicks. One of the nearby gawkers asked aloud, "What would make the navy do that?"

As if to answer the man, there was a brilliant flash as something hit several of the vessels; Maria shielded first her eyes, then her ears as a boom rolled out over the city. The other gawkers cried out; Maria looked up. Several of the ships, clearly burning even from this distance, seemed to be coming down as if in slow motion. There were more flashes, and Maria shielded her eyes again, looking for her friend.

She had already disappeared back inside her hovel. Maria took the hint.

New Haven System
New Haven
Cameron City; Unknown Location
October 1 3375


It had been mere minutes since the first shots had been fired. What a difference those minutes had made: Kaufmann appraised the Grand Leader carefully. What bluster he'd had before was gone. Kaufmann continued his report, "All suborbital warships have been destroyed and crashed down in the city proper; we're getting reports of thousands of casualties and fires across a variety of districts. 75% of our assets in orbit have been destroyed; the remaining have surrendered or been crippled beyond usefulness," the admiral closed his mouth.

One of the other officers spoke up, General Vogel, "At this time, the invaders are continuing precision orbital strikes at army rallying points and air defenses across the planet. There's also reports of rioting gangs attacking the soldiery."

Cameron leaned heavily on the tactical table, not looking at his senior officials. Kaufmann noted that the young officer from before seemed to be wildly looking among his seniors for a handle on the situation; he had to suppress a smile. When the Grand Leader finally spoke, Kaufmann wasn't surprised, "Order all units to continue to fight. Any rioters and deserters are to be killed immediately. We will give no surrender and no concessions."

Kaufmann could practically feel the thoughts of his colleagues at this. The nervous glances and uncomfortable shifts would tell a less sensitive observer everything. This was what Kaufmann had waited for, "Sir," he said, "with respect, that's impossible."

Cameron looked at him incredulously, "You, of all people? A defeatist?" Cameron searched his face; Kaufmann could see the fear in the man's eyes, and it was all he could do not to sneer.

"Grand Leader, this war is effectively over. We have no naval assets. Our army assets cannot properly rally. The Humanists have promised magnified orbital bombardment in the event of active resistance, against which we have no reply. It is my recommendation that we surrender gracefully before they simply dismantle the state entirely. Think of the lives that could be saved," this last bit was double-edged; he knew that his colleagues were thinking not just of the civilians, but of themselves. As well they should. Of course, Kaufmann knew that the fat little toad before him would be unmoved.

"No!" Cameron shouted, sounding more like a petulant child than an absolute ruler, "There will be no surrender! Admiral, you are relieved of command. It's only because of your illustrious career that I don't have you shot where you stand."

"I'm afraid you leave me no choice," Kaufmann said; oh how long he had waited to say those words, "I move to relieve the Grand Leader of his rank effective immediately. All in favor?" a chorus of ayes, "against?" silence, "Citizen Cameron, you are relieved of your position effectively immediately."

"I move to instate Admiral Kaufmann as emergency director of New Haven," Vogel piped up, playing his part. Again, a chorus of ayes and not a single no.

"Very well," Kaufmann said, "I accept. Arrest Citizen Cameron to prevent any confusion. Order all units to stand down immediately. Open a line with the New Humanist command ship."

"You...I AM New Haven!" Cameron snarled; Kaufmann ignored him, facing the tactical display where the New Humanist admiral would soon appear.

"Shut up," Kaufmann recognized the eager young officer's voice without looking; there was a grunt of pain as the officer savagely smashed the butt of his pistol on Cameron's balding head.

The display lit up; Admiral Kaufmann recognized the man who had delivered the ultimatum, Admiral Robinson. Kaufmann briefly regarded the man - his spartan uniform, his cold gaze, his total ease - then he spoke, "As acting director of the New Havonian federal government, I formally offer our full and unconditional surrender. All army units have been ordered to stand down. You will have our full cooperation in the elimination of insurgent units."

New Haven System
New Haven High orbit
FNS Death to Class Traitors
October 1 3375


A cheer went up around the bridge as the line with Kaufmann was surrendered; the various bridge officers clapping one another on the back and applauding their admiral, who faced them impassively. The surrender had come as planned; New Haven's militant government had simply collapsed in on itself. Allowing the men and women in the fleet their brief celebration, Robinson began to issue the orders that would bring New Haven under the wing of the Humanist Union.

Robinson, celebrating more privately in his quarters hours later, considered the contents of his glass. His XO - an old comrade - spoke up, "You seem less enthusiastic than I expected, Chris. We did, after all, win a war with barely a shot."

The admiral looked up and smiled at his friend, "Yes, well, that's the thing. This conflict is far from won," he gestured to the deck, notionally to New Haven itself, "that world is covered in decary. Outdated industry. Rampant political corruption. Illiteracy. Starvation. Disease. A massive army now without a nation. A tremendous secret police force. Bureaucrats at every level who owe everything to nepotism - and we're going to need them to rebuild this hellhole. It's a microcosm of the post-revolutionary days."

Nothing Robinson said was new to the XO; his was used to his friend's pessimism, "That may be, Chris, but today we've won today. That's a start."

The admiral grunted by way of reply.

New Haven System
New Haven
New Liberty City (fmr. Cameron City), Department of Internal Intelligence building
May 15 3382


Assistant Director Kaufmann waited to be admitted to the DII officer's office impassively, reading through a set of production records for the city's outer industrial districts. Even today, years after the Humanist Union had conquered New Haven, it continued to suffer from problems that had plagued it for decades. It wasn't just the unstable production, but the constant flow of political enemies to be dealt with. Why, General Vogel - a man Kaufmann had recruited into the coup plot with painstaking slowness - had been arrested and subjected to enhanced resocialization not two years ago. Of course, Kaufmann had played his part in eliminating his old "comrade" - now an expended tool - but the man's corruption had blossomed to such an extent that it was likely the DII would have sat on him even without Kaufmann's gently-applied pressure. He wondered vaguely who they wanted information on now.

A pretty young secretary addressed Kaufmann, " Assistant Director Kaufmann? You'll be seen now," Kaufmann gave her a long-practiced smile and thanked her, straightening his uniform and cap by instinct. Even though he was notionally a civilian now, he had kept the uniform; he still thought of himself as a military man, and he knew quite well the Union's affection for military men. Certainly, it helped to establish his authority to the planetary defense forces, who even now looked to the New Havonian uniform, not the Humanist one, as their own. Satisfied, Kaufmann strode to the plain door to DII official's office, knocked once, and entered.

Major Victor Williamson looked up at New Haven's assistant director with a neutral expression, taking measure of the man in person in a way he couldn't from photos, intelligence reports, or even recordings. He noted the vulgar ornate dress uniform of the New Havonian military, with their oversized hats, medals, shoulder bars, and aguillettes. He noted Kaufmann's pleasant smile. He noted his cold eyes. His dataslate, meant to communicate the image of a man hard at work for his homeworld. The major was not impressed.

"Sit, comrade," he said, gesturing to his chair, "we have something to discuss."

Kaufmann sat amiable enough, giving the major's office a look-over; perhaps he'd intended to compliment it, but the DII agent didn't believe in the luxurious appointments that the New Havonian government had. Not when there were millions upon millions starving. Instead, Kaufmann smiled and nodded at the major, "Of course, I'm happy to help, major...?"

"Williamson," he replied, sliding an envelope across his desk. The major noted with satisfaction the way Kaufmann's expression clouded over; he scented danger. A smart man, Williamson thought, "Inside this envelope is evidence that you have been cooperating with insurgent factions still remaining on New Haven, and fostering their growth in the military. We also have evidence that you cooperated with Vogel in a plan to assassinate the lawfully-appointed New Havonian Director. The penalty for these offenses, as you well know, is mandatory enhanced resocialization."

Kaufmann regarded Williamson, not bothering to open the folder. The allegations were fake - well, mostly - and both men knew that. Kaufmann was guilty of little besides setting up insurgent groups to knock down - to enhance his own image - and spending public funds on prostitutes. Unacceptable behavior, but certainly not the worthy of dismissing a valuable tool. When Kaufmann finally spoke, his voice had an undercurrent of anger; Williamson figured it was the only real emotion the man had expressed, "You and I both know that I've served the Union faithfully before and since your - our - revolution. These reforms, these improvements," he slapped his dataslate, "could not have been done by now without me. Now you're going to lobotomize me? Put me to work scrubbing toilets in the federal building, like 'Grand Leader' Cameron?"

"Actually," Williamson said, "we were figuring we'd have you scrub toilets here, at the planetary DII headquarters. You are, after all, a dear old friend to us."

Kaufmann stood abruptly, his chair clattering back, "Why? Why me, why now?"

"You're no more a citizen of the Humanist Union than you were a faithful follower of Cameron. Your ambition is unacceptable. You're were never trustworthy, Kaufmann, I'm sure even you admit that, but now, worse - you're not useful," the major leaned back in his chair, crossing his hands in front of his chest and smiling amiably Kaufmann, "How did the old saying go? Ah, that's right."

"The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go."

Last edited by Tanasinn on 2010-10-28 01:56am, edited 1 time in total.
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Shroom Man 777
PostPosted: 2010-10-26 01:55pm 

FUCKING DICK-STABBER!


Joined: 2003-05-11 08:39am
Posts: 19927
Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
Heaven brings forth innumerable things to help man.
Man has nothing with which to recompense Heaven.
KILL. KILL. KILL. KILL. KILL. KILL. KILL.


From the depths of the mangrove forest swamp came bloodcurdling cries, howling that filled the humid air with palpable dread. Amidst the screaming was the sound of gunfire, the crack of rifles and the bang of rocketbullets. Slowly, the noise ceased, as if swallowed by the fog - and the screaming resumed.

The fog cleared. And all I saw was madness.


Image

“Kill them!” the Connoltians howled hoarsely. They were amidst the trees, in muddy ditches and holes, and from their cover they filled the air with tracers and spikes. “Kill ‘em all!” they cried, screaming obscenities in their feral tongue.

“Kill them first!” came the response, Lieutenant Tacitus leading the Legionnaires into the fray. Beside him was Otho, discharging his gun with renewed potency, vigorously spewing casing onto the muddy ground as he swept his piece side to side. The Legionnaires formed a line, spread across the swamp, obscured by mist as they poured a deadly phalanx upon the technobarbarians.

All over, things exploded as rocketbullets rained down from the sky. Trees and bush, mud and man. One of them fell right on an unnamed Legionnaire, exploderizing him into splattered meat, sending organs scattering everywhere.

This time, it was the Elysians' turn to charge madly. Claudius ran, firing blindly, eyes closed. Flechettes came out of his spear-like longrifle and, in return, Connoltians reciprocated with spikefire. One sailed past his head, impaled itself upon a tree, and caused an explosion of bark and splinters.

“Slit their throats” the Connoltians roared from the mist in steroidified rage. More Legionnaires fell. Some were crucified upon the trees by spikeguns. Others ate rocketbullets. Most were simply torn to pieces. “Harpooneers!”

Claudius tripped, right in time to avoid the incoming harpoons, and fell on a Legionnaire. It was grizzly old Gracchus, kneeling on the mud. Holding his insides in. He looked at Claudius. Claudius looked at him. He screamed.

“Move forward!” Tacitus shouted before he was felled by a machinerifle. Beside him, Otho still pressed on, now screaming as his machinegun discharged wildly, swinging uncontrollably.

Otho was vibrated by his reverberating weapon, and as he was rocked by its violent rhythm, he hollered. In front of him, he could see the barbarians – hairy and unwashed, smelly and shooting from mudholes like cowards. They were cursing him in their profane tongue, and he cursed back – with lead and will. “Barbarian dogs!” he cried, paying no heed to his felled lieutenant. Blood leaked from his mouth as he gripped the trigger harder, tighter. “Savages! Unwashed savages!”

Incandescent death came forth from his barrel and the nearest technobarbarian danced like an immolating doll of rag.

“Cunt!” Otho spat, his mad eyes wide.

Beside him, moving like a blur, MacAdder too screamed incoherently. He ran to the nearest upright Connoltian, shooting with his pistol as he brought out his claymore. Discarding his sidearm, with both hands he cleaved the dying mongrel into two and kicked both halves into the mudhole. He spun, bringing his iron blade across the bifurcated savage’s compatriot. Limbs flew off, interspaced with pink intestinal coils. Sounds like that of butchered swine filled the air. “How’s that, eh?! Like that, ye arseholes? Shite! Aye, this one’s fer – aw, fuck!”

Behind a tree, a Connoltian fired a spikegun at him – impaling his shoulder. As the Cunt reloaded another spike, MacAdder merely walked towards him, teeth gritted, plaid kilt bloodied, and cleaved off his face. “Git.”

Beside him, Otho was on the verge of soiling himself as he literally deforested the area, spent casing spilling up to his ankles. By his side was the crumpled form of Tacitus. Casings fell. Gun-muzzle flared. Tracers whizzed. Bodies pilled up. The sound of gunfire drowned out the shrieks and the screams. Otho laughed.

Then his gun clicked empty. He screamed.



Undeterred, Claudius pressed on. His partner, Manius, was nowhere to be seen. To his right was Steve, holding a service revolver on one hand and a bowie knife on the other. The Anzac yelped as a constipating Connoltian rushed at him from a mudhole, clutching a machinegun with an axehead. But Claudius emptied his rifle at the Cunt, dropping it just in time.

As the Cunt fell to the ground, two more came in its place. Claudius struggled to reload as Steve confronted the first one, the one brandishing a five-foot swordgun.

“You call that a knife?” Steve said sarcastically, emptying his revolver at the steroidified warrior in front of him. It did little, as the technobarbarian merely screamed louder, veins visibly popping on its neck. “Crickey! Uhh….!” Steve cried in despair as, in desperation, he threw his knife at it. The knife stuck to the Cunt’s forehead, felling it into the mud. “Ayt, yeah! Now that’s what I call a knife! Oy, look at that!”

The other barbarian hollered. It was a harpooneer and thus fired its harpoon at the Anzac. But Steve was quick, really quick, quicker than a dingodile (whatever that was) in heat, and nimbly dodged the explosive harpoon. As Steve threw himself to the mud, Claudius popped the harpooneer’s face off with his rifle. The faceless savage died where he stood.

“Attaboy, mate!” shouted Steve in approval, getting up and wiping the muck off his khaki shorts. “Woah, blimey!”

Blindsiding him was the first Connoltian, the one Claudius emptied on, the one that refused to die despite the magazine’s worth of ammunition in his entrails. The steroidified technobarbarian swatted Steve aside and screamed in fury as he leaped at Claudius.

Before Claudius could even utter a word, the angry Connoltian was upon him. As the Cunt swung his machinegun-axe, Claudius threw himself on the mud and rolled back to his feet, discarding his longrifle and unsheathing his mithril gladius. As the Cunt splashed towards him, swinging his axegun madly, Claudius parried the coming blow with his sword – decapitating the savage’s arm, lopping it off its socket. The severed limb fell into the mud with a splork. The Connoltian howled, not in pain but in constipated rage, as he grabbed Claudius’ sword hand and disarmed it. Before Claudius could strike, the Cunt’s iron grip literally pulverized his fingers, breaking his metacarpals like twigs, and all he could do was utter a feeble cry of pained protest.

The technobarbarian threw Claudius to the mud and placed himself on top of the Legionnaire, splashing mud in the process. With his single remaining arm, he gripped the Hellenist’s throat and placed his unwashed face near his. He roared madly, stump-arm bleeding. “Destroy you!” he uttered incoherently, wild-eyed. Claudius could see the froth rimming his crooked mouth, his scarred lips with veins pulsating underneath. “Destroy you!!!”

The steroidified one-armed man’s grip was enormous, like his hand. He could’ve crushed Claudius windpipe, but preferred to wrap his remaining hand around the choking man’s neck in an effort to manually decapitate him by crushing his neck like a can. He roared in fury, savoring the teary eyes and the throat-noises of his quarry. “Destroy you!



Trudging through the thick mud was Manius. Clutched in his hands was a longrifle and strapped to his back were pilium. Beside him, almost chin-deep in the muck, was Minimus, firing his revolver with impunity.

Bullets streaked past the midget’s little head as he quickly pulled back the single-action’s hammer with his free hand and fired his six-shooter in rapid succession. A harpoon harmlessly fell into the mud beside him, exploding and showering him in slime.

“Ack!” Minimus protested. He popped his piece’s cylinder and spilled the spent rounds, reloaded and snapped it back in whilst spinning it. “This is so shit! Gonna get me some gin and tonic when I get back to the armory. So gonna. Bloody barbarians! So fucking hairy, don’t take baths, worse than the fucking bagpipers back home! I’m so gonna get me a bath!”

“Ditto, little fella! Might as well have some scones while we’re at it, why don’t we?” Manius concurred, grinning as Minimus twirled his pistol and fired a snapshot from his hip, felling a constipated Connoltian. “Attaboy, Mini!”

"Don't call me that!"

Spikeguns and rocketbullets filled the air, forcing Manius to kiss the mud as Minimus trudged on carelessly, obscene projectiles passing by harmlessly above his head. As Minimus disappeared into the chest-high fog, Manius was left by his lonesome. As the return fire subsided, he got up and looked around him. “Where did the little feller go?”

In response, exploding out of the fog was a massively steroidified barbarian, hairy and very unbathed. “Arrgh!” he roared as he smashed into Manius like a brick wall, sending the both of them to the wet ground. “Blargh!”

They fell and rolled through the muddy water as they grappled each other, jostling for position as they writhed, punched, kicked and screamed. They fell into a mudhole, the Cunt coming out on top. He screamed and punched Manius, down in the mud, in the face. Gritting his teeth, Manius growled as he pounced upon the Cunt and delivered a swift headbutt. Once more, they fell, covering themselves in mud, blood and human excrement. The Connoltian delivered a painful kick to Manius ribs, but, undeterred, the Hellenist athlete of Caelia tackled the constipated warrior to the mud and pinned him facedown in an armbar takedown. Like legendary Philoctetes, he wrestled with the steroidified muscleman, replacing body oil and matting for muck and mud. They gripped and grappled each other’s drenched forms firmly as they undulated, slipping and sliding out of grapples and holds and submission locks until, finally, Manius planted his knee firmly on the back of the howling Connoltian. Muffling the technobarbarian’s cries, Manius wrapped his arms cross his opponent’s grizzled face and pulled back, hard.

In defiance, the furious savage struggled and sunk his sharpened teeth into Manius arms, cutting through armored cloth and then through flesh, drawing blood. The Cunt flailed his musculated arms madly, clawing the air and punching mud. But, with a mighty effort, Manius’ crossface was awarded with a sickening wet popping sound, very much like that of a spine dislocating. The Connoltian became still. Letting go, Manius emerged victorious as the limp barbarian-corpse sank into the mud. He patted the dead savage's back. “Good show!”



Meanwhile, the incoherent screams and roars filled the air as Claudius struggled for freedom amidst the one-handed barbarian’s vice grip. Sweat and tears, spittle and blood, all were on his face as he desperately fought for breath. Viciously, he kicked the Connoltian in the groin, in the gut, in the chest, kneeing as he tried to remove the hand off his throat, tried to pry the monstrous form off him. But he failed. His vision blurred, failing, and his burning lungs began spasming.

As he sank into the mud, Claudius reached out, grasping for anything that might free him. Mud, roots, chunks of flesh and bone. The wooden handle of his gladius. Yes. He pulled it desperately with his fingertips until he could grip it, grip the whirring blade of mithril.

As his larynx squeezed against his very spine, as he choked and fought for air, he plunged the mithril gladius into the Connoltian’s left breast – violently and suddenly, into where his heart should be.

The Connoltian’s eyes widened, but they soon narrowed and the long-haired barbarian uttered another cry – a roar louder and far meaner than any other cry ever.

But in his rage, the mongrel had loosened his grip on Claudius’ throat. And so, Claudius gasped and, with one might swing, brought the blade across the Connoltian’s chest – slicing through flesh and bone, cleaving the misplaced heart that was somewhere else, wherever it was, into half. This time, a prodigious amount of blood that stank of steroids gushed from the hairy warrior’s chest and mixed with the stagnant water. The Connoltian stopped howling and started dying, falling on Claudius dead.

As Claudius shoved the technobarbarian off him, sure now that it wasn’t going to get back up, he clutched his throat and checked if it was still intact. As he savored the air, a huge form obscured the light from his eyes.

“Ah…shit…” Claudius gasped, pretty sure he would kiss a harpoon anytime soon.

Instead, he screamed in pain as his pulverized hand was firmly gripped and pulled, hauling his whole body upright. In an equal mix of pain and surprise, he opened his eyes to find Manius in front of him, grinning a bloody grin. He was missing several teeth. At the sight, Claudius laughed and Manius slapped his back. “Attaboy, Claude.”

“He utterly…” Claudius gasped. “Completely… fucking refused to die.”

“Yeah,” Manius shrugged. “Got a disc?”

“Yeah… here.” Claudius sputtered, wiping spit off his face and fumbling with his belt-spat-skirt, eventually procuring an explosive frisbee.

“Attaboy,” Manius said as he ducked from an incoming spike, pulling Claudius down with him. He returned fire at the spikefire’s general direction, opening up with a drum-fed Connoltian machinerifle, sweeping the mist with tracerfire. The glowing bullets disappeared into the fog, but more bullets returned as if reflected by a lead-mirror. “Shit, get down!” Manius cried as he shoved the still-dazed Claudius behind an exploded tree-stump. He crouched by the stump and fired back, not bothering to aim in the slightest. “Prime the ‘nade for me, wontcha?”

“Okay,” Claudius said very simply, doing precisely as instructed. “Here.”

“Great,” the big man grabbed the grenade and hurled it into the tracer-shooting mist. “Eat that, ya cunts!”



MacAdder gritted his teeth as he shot the jungle with his machinepistol. The piece clicked empty, forcing him to reload another clip as an unnamed Legionnaire beside him exploded. While bits and pieces of Hellenist rained on him, he muttered a profane string of curses, something about lake monsters and Blarney Stones.

Out of the mist, a hatchet flew through the air and violently impaled itself upon MacAdder’s cuirass. He sputtered and staggered backwards, the sudden impact nearly throwing him off his feet. Out of the mist, a Connoltian came out, holding a bastard son of a hand-axe and a pistol. As MacAdder steadied himself against a tree, his probably-broke ribs collapsing on his lungs, the Connoltian laughed – a barbaric barking noise that was guttural and animalistic in nature.

MacAdder narrowed his eyes and gritted his teeth, blocking out the pain as he got off the tree and slowly made his way to the Cunt – who was still busy laughing his arse off. MacAdder ripped the hatchet off his chest plate, grimacing as he did so. He grunted, causing the Cunt to stop laughing and look at him. But before the technobarbarian could do anything, he found himself with a face full of axe. And very dead.

“Sod. Off.” MacAdder growled.



Brutus fired with his snubgun. He was down, missing a leg and with a piece of wood stuck in his eye. But he wasn’t out. His arms were burnt and blistered from the cooked lassiters, his face a bloody mess, but he still fired the snubgun, emptying its drum in under a minute. “Reload!” he shouted. Coming from the mist were bullets. And screaming. The latter was truly the worse part, tanker Brutus never having heard it before.

Grippa the gunner handed him another drum. “Here, last one!”

“Thanks,” Brutus grunted, snapping the new drum in and resuming his fusillade as the incoming bullets were replaced with harpoons. “Bloody… why did the boss pick these dicks to rendezvous with?”

“Can’t blame him,” Grippa yelled over the gunfire. He took his own shortrifle and began firing. “He likes ‘em.”

“Fucking…” Brutus mumbled. “Midget!”

“I heard that!” came a small voice, seemingly out of nowhere. Running out of the mist, all drenched in mud and plant matter, was the tank commander himself. He held on one hand his revolver, and a bayoneted machinepistol on the other. “Gah, Brutu, you’re a mess.”

“Yeah we’re fucked.”

Minimus shrugged. “The situation hasn’t changed. The only way to get out of this is to keep firing. Lassiters or snubgun, tank or no tank. Stop firing, we die.”

“Yes sir,” Brutus nodded. “It’s just that we’re all shot to shit, sir.”

“Tell me about it.”



Miles the radioman struggled to reload his longrifle. The spent clip fell along with the full one, into the mud. Picking it up would be too much of a bother, so he struggled to produce a new one from his trousers, which were covered by troublesome belt-spats. “Fucking hell! Argh! Here we go.”

He produced the new clip and snapped it in, pulled back the lever and armed his rifle. A hundred Cunt-killing flechettes.

It came from the trees. Silently, like a lethal predator. It slithered down without a noise, pale, sharp-eared. Sexless. It had a sniper needler and it aimed for the Hellenist.

“Crickey, watch out mate!” someone cried. Miles spun around, weapon at the ready, but it was too late. There was a hissing noise as the androgyne opened up with its weapon, filling the air with needles. Miles couldn’t even scream as the thousands of molecule-sharp blades sheared through flesh and bone, literally spraying through his torso, making his chest cavity splatter. The needles came out the other side, through his radiopack, causing explosions of sparks as his dead body danced and jerked.

Miles fell dead and the androgyne regarded its new prey, a man in a brown hat and khaki shorts running through the bush. The sexless warrior hissed and pointed its weapon, squeezed the trigger and –

“Oh no you don’t!” Steve said, hurling a positively huge machete at the androgyne. The big blade embedded itself in the thing’s breastless chest, but it still lived. As it brought its weapon up, it found itself at the receiving end of a shotgun blast. As the blast sent the androgyne against a tree, Steve pumped his gun and fired another resonating round. The androgyne’s chest exploded and the Anzac pumped another round, fired, and kept on firing until the sexless creature was nothing but a bloody heap.

Steve slung his expended shotgun on his shoulders and picked up the needler. “Ayt, gonna kick me some arse with this!”



Otho cried. Drunk. Empty machinegun slung on his back. Fluid leaking from his trousers. He was curled up in a ball, no longer reveling in the violence. Beside him was Tacitus, unmoving.

Otho looked at his lieutenant and the lieutenant looked at him, as if still alive. Otho shook his head and hid between his knees.

“Otho.”

The machinegunner froze. Slowly, he looked back to the lieutenant – and, to his surprise, Tacitus was looking at him. The man wasn’t dead! Black stuff was coming out of his mouth, but he wasn’t dead.

“Otho…” Tacitus struggled to speak. “…stay sober!”

“Sir, we’re in deep shit!” Otho bawled. “My gun is empty! I can’t shoot!”

“Otho.” Tacitus snapped. “Listen to me.”

“I can’t shoot, sir! I can’t shoot!” Otho wept. He tried to get a flask, but it fell and spilled its contents in the bloody mud.

“Shut up.” Tacitus hissed. “Listen.”

Otho became quiet. And he listened.

“We’re bollocksed.” Tacitus said, his lips barely moving. “We have to move,” he took a deep breath and gurgled out some more black stuff. “There’s nothing else to do… we’re dead if we don’t - ” Screams, hoarse cries that filled the air, causing Otho to look away. “Pay it no heed. You have to move forward.”

Otho looked at him.

“Drag me.” Tacitus coughed, eyes glaring. “Get up and start dragging... have to issue retreat or else... more coming. Otho, get off your ass. Now!” With renewed strength, the lieutenant half-shouted and half coughed: “Move or die!”



Otho was running now. Running through the mud, dragging Tacitus with one hand, passing by the scores of corpses – dead barbarians and equally dead Legionnaires alike. The mist was like a death shroud, obscuring the faces of the unnamed and soon-to-be forgotten dead.

From the green, nearby but beyond the battle, more screaming could be heard. They were getting louder. The darkening skies were filled with blazing rocketbullets, arcing downwards like raining fire.

“Fallback!” Otho yelled, passing by an exploding tree. He was getting shot at by rocketbullets. “Everyone! Fallback!”

“Consolidate position…” Tacitus muttered. His helm was gone, his hair covered in mud, bile slowly leaking out of his mouth and onto his bronzium lorica. “Grab Gracchus…”

“Sir.” Otho did so, pulling Gracchus up with his free hand. The eviscerated veteran was still struggling to keep his insides from coming out.

“I’ve seen worse,” the grizzled man said. He was deathly pale, barely holding onto a pinkish coil slipping out of his gut. “I’ll be okay.”

“Everyone!” Otho cried out, screamed. “Fall back! Move!” Beside him was his dying lieutenant, and an old man whose guts were coming out. There was nothing else to do but scream. “Fall back!”
   Profile |  

Shroom Man 777
PostPosted: 2010-10-27 02:08pm 

FUCKING DICK-STABBER!


Joined: 2003-05-11 08:39am
Posts: 19927
Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
STALKERS

It was day, but it was dark. The monsoon clouds blacked the sun, it would be pouring soon. Right now, it was just dark –and the skies were illuminated by descending rocketbullets, their burning contrails lightning it up like raining fire. This was what the Connoltian advance used for cover fire, and right now – they weren’t pulling any stops. They were going to kill us all.



It had gone to shit. The Legionnaires were running for their lives and from the green, more Cunts came. They were barking, howling and roaring like animals, a pack of savage dogs enticed at the prospect of running down their injured prey. Tracers streaked through the jungle, needlers sheared through foliage, harpoons were launched en masse, and trees were uprooted by airbursting rocketbullets.

Tacitus was already dead. Dead and deemed unfit by the gods for the Elysian Fields, they sent him to hell. He was dragged, his arm slung across Otho’s back. His other hand pressed against his lorica – trying to stop the flow of black ooze from his insides. He tried to speak, but he only coughed out bile.

Gracchus was right behind them, he was worse than Tacitus – the lieutenant wasn’t eviscerated, yet – and looked deathly pale. He was faltering. A tracer whizzed, tore through his knee, he fell and did not get back up.

Tacitus turned away. He gurgled, black stuff bubbling out of his mouth. Spasms, coughs spilled out more liquid. Screams filled the air. He looked at Otho and spoke weakly: “Go get Minimus’ radio. Call for support.”

“I can’t, I have to get you out of here.” Otho said desperately.

Tacitus’ mouth was dripping with bile. He glared at Otho hard. “Just get it, call for support. I’ll be with Gracchus.”

“Sir-” Otho looked at him, then nodded. He let go.



Claude and Manius were slogging through the mud at quick pace, all round them were their squaddies, all in various state of near-death, all in panicked retreat. Across the warzone, rocketbullets detonated mud as the Cunts shot explosions at them – explosions that arced down from the fucking sky. A rocketbullet landed upon a Legionnaire, and the result was a shower of bones. Claudius brushed the remains off his face. None of them were gonna make it.

Suddenly, the rain of rocketbullets ceased, and both Claudius and Manius turned to see what had happened. They all did. From amidst the green, where the bombardment came, the Connoltian hoard grew quiet – and an unsettling silence came upon the warzone.

“Run!” someone shouted, and without question, both Claudius and Manius began running for their lives. They knew what came next – everyone did.

A Connoltian warrior emerged from the trees, smeared with symbolic warpaint, bare-chested, brandishing a mighty war axe and wrist magnums. He raised his axe and with his voice, he filled the entire jungle with wrathful indignation:

KILL ‘EM ALL!

From the green, the Connoltians came. All of them.



What they had seen on Glasgow was but a wave. What transpired now was an ocean. From the dense underbrush came forth the barbarian horde, Connoltian warriors and their vicious androgyne cohorts slogging through the mud at quick pace, barking and hissing in their profane tongues – for the Hellenes were on the retreat, and they smelled blood. Leading them was the Grand Axe, his scarred chest framed by mighty shoulder armor, holding with one hand an enormous war axe, and on his other blazed wrist cannons of obscene caliber. As his magnums discharged, tracers and spikes whizzed past him in a deadly fusillade that murdered whatever was left standing amidst the desolated killzone.

The Grand Axe issued forth another mighty bellow, a roar. And once more, from the green, burst forth two Connoltian riders upon steel mounts. With blinding speed that betrayed the size of their bikes, they rushed forth towards the retreating Hellenes. In a blur, one of the riders impaled a fleeing Legionnaire with his drill-spear, and as the Legionnaire flailed, he was spun wildly by the great drill until gore and entrails flew across the battlefield, adorning the hallowed fields of war with felled meat and intestines. The other rider had an equally glorious kill, for he vanquished a fleeing foe by plowing him to the mud with his drill-spear – digging a trench of blood and crushed human.

The two riders circled, giving distance to their quarries, who ran in cowardly fear. And when it seemed that the Hellenes were in safe distance, the riders fired the tubes mounted on the backs of their iron steeds, filling the air with stakes and harpoons.

At the horror of the Hellenes, the Grand Axe and his warband barked forth chuckles and roared laughter. The proud Connoltian warriors were coming forth in one final push, they were like a pack of wolves lunging forth at cornered prey. It was as though their feral eyes met that of their prey’s, and in their prey’s they saw a look of glazed fear. At this, the Grand Axe spread his arms and raised his axe to the air. A bullet from the Hellenes drove itself into him, but it was impotent, for he was mighty – his chest was scarred from proving rites where, by his own hand, he mutilated his own body and armored his very bones with boiling steel. At the pathetic injury, the Axe issued forth one last roar and forth his veins gushed the purest of steroids.

It was a good day to die. It was a better day to kill.



Head down, Otho rushed through the crossfire, evading harpoons and hiding under stumps of uprooted trees, running through the mud and dodging tracers, obliterated trees and explosions. Zigzagging, he ran to every straggling group of dying men, to every corpse that lay upon the mud, looking for the littlest of them all. Otho found the tankers; they were straggling behind and were almost murdered by the spike-drilled deathbikes. Brutus was missing a leg and was leaning on the other tanker, behind them was Minimus, shooting at the Cunts with his revolver.

“Minimus!” Otho cried out.

“What?!” shouted the little man as he threw his expended revolver and picked up a snubgun too large for him. He screamed hoarsely and unleashed a barrage of lead, sweeping his gun side to side while the recoil threatened to topple him.

Mud was flying everywhere. Otho had to shout: “The radio!”

Minimus one-handed the snubgun, rattling away at full auto as he procured something from his pocket. Tracers whizzed past the midget’s head, invisible needlers carved through mud and water. He tossed the radio at Otho and continued shooting.

Otho caught it and immediately began spinning the dial, calling to the nearest outpost. As he did so, there was an unexplained explosion, his cue to run. As he did so, he placed the radio to his head, only to notice that most of his ear was dangling off the side of his head, hanging on with just a thread of bloody meat. Otho screamed in frustration and ripped it off.



As tracers and rocketbullets whizzed through the air, the four of them hunkered down underneath a large mangrove tree, whose roots proved to be good cover. Steve was the one to find it, and he called MacAdder, Claudius and Manius to his position. Right now, as bullets and spikes buried themselves in trees and splashed mud around, the four of them talked. Occasionally, one of them would fire at the approaching Cunts.

“Mates, I think this’ll be a good spot to make a stand as any,” Steve proclaimed. As he said so, a ball of spikes impaled itself on a fat root and exploded, showering them with harmless shrapnel and splinters. “Oy! See, that Cunt g’nade didn’t get to us one bit.”

“Aye,” resigned MacAdder, who was all covered up in mud and blue Celtic warpaint. He raised a stolen Connoltian rifle-pistol. “Best t’die standing up rather then have our arses all shot up facing back, boyo. Let’s tell these pissers to sod off, one more time.”

“Well.” Manius said as he rubbed sore muscles all over. The barks and snarls and shouts were growing ever closer, as did the roar of deathbike engines. “Here they come.”

Claudius was getting up to a crouch and readying his longrifle when he noticed something. “Hey, Manius.”

“What?”

“You’ve got a couple of pilium on your back.”

Manius looked over his shoulder and then looked back to Claude with profound realization on his face. “So I have.”

“Eh, you stupid git!” MacAdder growled, pointing to the very big mass that was coming out of the fog to kill them. “Then shoot yer bloody rockets at ‘em!”

“Aye aye, cap!” Manius said as he handed one of the pillium spear-rockets to Claude. “You do that, you’re always better at aiming them than me. My shoulders are too pumped up and-”

“Right,” Claudius cut him off as he shouldered the long tube. He assumed the position and began targeting with his visor, as the others stayed clear of his back end, away from the exhaust of the shaft he cradled. Claudius took careful aim as the barbarian mob emerged from the mist, aimed for the face of the biggest, meanest, most fearsome one – the Grand Axe.

He squeezed the trigger.

The spearhead flew off, leaving a contrail of thick acrid smoke. There was little delay, the pilium was quick, and then there was an ear-shattering explosion. The detonation silenced the Connoltian horde and echoed through the jungle, blowing away the fog and replacing it with black smoke.

But like everything else, the brief silence died. The smoke blew away, and the Grand Axe stood there, implacable, his cold eyes meeting theirs.

“Shite!” MacAdder cried, just as the first harpoon impaled itself upon their lumber enclave. Right after that, a wave of fire from the spikeguns, rocket cannons, pistol-rifles, swordguns, rifle-pistols, machine rifles, harpoon guns, fragpistols and needlers all descended upon them, bombarding them with such obsceneties such as spikes, stakes, rocketbullets, harpoons, monolecular needles, tracers, and exploding bullets. Before MacAdder could even throw himself to the mud, half of their cover was literally deforested – swiftly derooting their tree. “Shoot back, sod it!”

With that obviousity in mind, Claudius and Manius returned fire with their longrifles, shooting without even bothering to aim, too busy burying their faces into the mud to line up their sights. Lead was ejaculated, feeble and impotent against the oncoming ocean of steroidified death.

MacAdder gritted his teeth and activated his rifle-pistol, which caused a big blade to pop out of nowhere, thus transformulating it into a swordgun. With pistol-rifle-sword on one hand and machine-pistol on another, MacAdder joined Claude and Manius in returning fire. As he did so, he began screaming profanities in Victorian – spoken with an accent that made it as incomprehensible as any barbarian tongue uttered by the Connoltians. Likewise, so too did Steve as he entered the fray shooting with his procured needler.

No need to aim now, as their reciprocal fusillade was met by that of the Connoltian horde – less of a horde now that the vast majority of them had decided to pass by the Hellenes’ fortified tree. They were taking a detour, moving on to strike a Hellenes’ outpost elsewhere and leaving but a few to handle the ones here.

“Shite!” MacAdder cursed upon noticing the significantly decreased volume of firepower. The deathbikes whizzed past and sprayed them with mud. “Those fuckers are moving to the forward base!”

“Crickey!” Steve yelped, who was nearly tagged by a harpoon as he threw his expended needler and pulled out his shotgun. “We better go warn ‘em then.”

“How?!”

But before that question could be answered, a very big rocketbullet embedded itself into the fattest root of their fortified tree. The impaled missile began spewing copious amounts smoke.

The four squaddies looked at each other before Claudius shouted: “Run!”

They did, and just as the last of them leaped dramatically out of the tree, there was an explosion. As if logged by a lumberjack, the mangrove tree fell to the ground with a loud thud. Bark and leaves, mud and water flew to the air.

Manius was beside Claudius, lying on the mud and gasping out his lungs. “Timber, eh, Claude?”

Claudius nodded dumbly and looked around. Several Cunts were crushed beneath the felled tree; some were screaming and flailing under the branches as the log sank deeper into the mud; while others, in steroidified death-rage, shot at the air as they died. MacAdder, who was beside Claudius, cursed as he slapped Claude’s shoulder and pointed at something.

The Grand Axe, who was unscathed from the pillium, stood before them along with his warband – two Connoltian warriors bearing monstrous belted machinecannons, an androgyne cohort who wielded a needler and wore a shrieking mask of steel, and a grotesque mutaloid that was none other than a cannibalistic Morlock that dwelled within inbreeding pits. The warband looked at them, and the Grand Axe smiled.

It began to rain.



As the downpour began, the trio stood their ground against the barbarian horde. Otho pulled a discus from a felled Legionnaire and hurled it. The disc sailed through the air and detonated amidst a Connoltian formation, but before the blast could be heard, all sound was drowned by bloodcurdling screaming. There was a rageful roar, and from the blanket of rain whizzed tracers. Otho gritted his teeth and ducked behind a trunk.

From far off, a Connoltian came from behind a tree and launched a harpoon, but before he could return to cover, Minimus offed him with a snubgun. Despite the distance, the exploding brains could still be seen. The midget ex-tank commander ducked behind a tree stump, just in time as another Cunt sprayed them with a machinerifle. As exploding mud and wood showered them, Grippa returned fire with his own machinerifle, filling air with steel.

“Still got your flask, Otho?” Grippa asked as he ducked back and reloaded a drum. Out of nowhere, a harpoon flew into his tree, punched through wood and gouged into his hip. He collapsed with but a yelp.

”Shite, a Cunt tagged him!” Minimus shouted. He got out of his tree stump and ran to Grippa, his hurried pace marked by exploding mud and water as the Connoltians did their best to tag the little man.

“In my arse, too!” Grippa replied with a pained voice and a bleeding butt. “Otho, when are they coming?!”

“Uhh…”

“Now!” cried Brutus, who was missing a leg and armed only with a pistol. He was lying on the mud and was madly waving at the sky, where a glinting form circled the bleeding heavens.

“They can’t see us!”

“Smoke, someone get a smoke grenade.”

“They can’t see smoke in the rain,” Grippa groaned. There was a hiss, bullets passed close by. The snap of a ricochet off his lorica. The pop of exploding bark. He shouldered his snubgun and returned fire despite his bleeding ass.

“Flares!” shouted Minimus.



In the black clouds lightning flashed and thunder boomed, and amidst the sky and water was a lone skychariot, circling the rainy clouds in search pattern. Wind and rain churned the Harpy like a trireme in a stormy ocean. In the bird was a squad of the Cosmic Host's finest, the Metallian Brigades.

In the red-lit interior of the gunship, the pilot said to the captain, a bald man with a scarred brow: “Sir, we’ve spotted the torch. It’s them.”

The captain turned to his men, eying them with a gaze of steel. “We’ve found the Legionnaires and they need our help. The Cunts’ asses were too hard for them to kick so we’ll have to do it for them. The barbarians are at the five-yard line, they’re coming in fast and they’re coming in hard, but we’re taking them down before they hit the nine-yard line. Urrah?”

“Urrah,” the men grunted.

“If those hairy dicks think they can just come in our shithole jungles, dig holes with spikes in ‘em, take a shit, and then hope our boys’ll step in ‘em, we’ll show them what’s what, won’t we, boys?”

“Urrah,” the men grunted.

“They think they can come here and kick our asses, well, they don’t know who we are, do they boys?”

“No suh!” came the chorus.

“We’ll tell them who we are, won’t we?”

“Yes suh!” came the chorus.

“And who are we, boys?”

“We are the gods-damned Metallians, suh!” the men hollered.

“Damned right we are!” the captain barked. “And it’s time to unleash hell!”

“URRAH!”

The captain put on his helm, obscuring his face with the visor and respirator. He walked to the side and opened the door, flooding the interior with turbulent wind and rain. Lines dropped from the wings and the men hooked themselves on.

“Looks pretty bad,” one of the Metallians commented.

“Right down our alley,” another replied.

The captain walked to them, cocked his drummed autocarbine and locked on the rappel. “Feet first to hell!”

As they descended, their tattered longcapes billowed in the wind and rain, and as the earth neared, they unloaded their autocarbines, filling the air with descending hyphens of illuminated lead. For one brief moment, muzzle flash and lightning was one, both a kind of wrath from the heavens, as though hurled by Zeupiter himself. Mid-air, some of the Metallians even launched pilium one-handed, tracing fingers of contrail through the rain that terminated in magenta blossoms. Their landing was heralded by the death-screams and rage-roars of Connoltians, and just before they hit ground, they cut their rappels and landed dramatically with capes fluttering like wings.

The first Metallian was bifurcated by a Connoltian with a swordgun.

The second’s head exploded in a shower of glass and faceplate, shot in the face by a spikegun.

The third was the captain, his helm emblazoned with an eagle. The Connoltian with a swordgun came and swung his bloodied blade at him. The Metallian captain blocked it with his carbine and slammed the butt violently against the Cunt’s ridged forehead. After a hard boot, he unloaded his autocarbine on the steroided barbarian, killing it dead as the rest of the Metallians landed without casualty.

Immediately upon setting foot on the earth, the Connoltians were upon them, drowning them with their obscene weaponries. The unnamed captain screamed: “Steadfast!” and with this command, the Metallian men went to formation, got down to a knee, and opened fire. Their autocarbines ejaculated blinding flashes, loudly barked hundreds of leadened rounds. Reflex targeters and cool aim ensured few misses as the Harpy skychariot swooped down and unleashed its own strafe guns.

Once more, the jungle was ablaze.



As the firefight continued on with the Metallians, Minimus resigned himself and sat on a corpse. Corpses, actually, for they were both of a Connoltian and a Legionnaire, both killed at the same time, in their last moments whilst still trying to kill each other. He pulled out a cigarillo, looked for a light, found none, then placed the cigarillo in his mouth anyway. Beside him was footless Brutus, he looked very exsanguinated. They sat there listening to the sounds of battle, gunfire that was calm now that they were no longer the ones shooting. The Metallians were fighting mere feet away, but felt as distant as the faraway boom of exploding artillery.

In front of them, they beheld Otho, who had long ago thrown away his radiobox into the mud. Now he was scrounging corpses, looking for a flask perhaps.

He found no flask. Instead, with a triumphant roar, he uncovered a bloodstained carbine from a halved Metallian. With a quick jerk, he cocked the rifle and went to war. He was wet with rain, streams of dripping water sliding down his bloodied visage, cleaning him as he contorted his face into a mask of roaring anger – anger that was joined with ecstaticment, for he once more felt the rhythmic jolt of rifle recoil like the eager thrusts of a nubile man-lover. He was barely able to stand, let alone accept the violent motions of the newfound weapon he cradled with his arms, but after such a seemingly long time unarmed, the mere touch of gun and smell of powder, the clinking of spent casing and the smooth gun grease, the electricity of it all – it made Otho alive again.

As Metallians and Otho traded fire with the remaining barbarians, the skychariot was heard peeling off the warzone to intercept the massed Connoltian horde, the one stampeding to the Legion forward base. For a moment, the wail of engines drowned out the sound of gunfire. But, as always, with a steroidified war cry, the drums of war beat on.



The captain removed his helm and walked to the ex-tankers, careful not to step on the corpses.

“Perfect timing, captain,” said Minimus.

“Not too late to back you up, I hope,” the captain replied, lowering his hand to shake Minimus’. “Metallians are always at the five-yard line. I’d hate for us to miss the party.”

“We’ve got some injured,” Minimus said, pointing to footless Brutus. Then he gestured at the entire place. “And a lot of dead.”

“We’ll evac as soon as the place is cleared. Shouldn’t be long…” the captain nodded. He motioned to Otho. “He’s the last Legionnaire left?”

“Yeah,” Minimus sighed. “All dead.”

“How ‘bout those four?” asked Brutus. His eyes were rolling back, revealing most of the whites. Yet, despite this, he was pointing something at their far side.

The bunch of them turned to look.

“Well, I’ll be damned!”



Claudius ran. He nearly fell on a severed limb, but Manius helped him up. They staggered for a second, almost fell into a pool of mudblood, but still kept on going – running was more important then the maintenance of balance. MacAdder was far ahead of them, his kilt making running far easier. Of course, Steve outran them all, being quicker then a dingodile and all.

“Shit, Manius!” cried Claudius. “We’re all gonna die!”

“Just keep on running, Claude. Keep on going. Breathe. Keep the rhythm,” Manius encouraged. “Attaboy. Attaboy. Oh shit!”

“Oh gods!”

They nearly fell on a dying Legionnaire. It was Gracchus, his guts were all out now. They saw him and he saw them. He reached his arm out.

Claudius cursed and kicked him away. They ran. Gracchus was behind them now and they could hear him give out the beginnings of a scream. It was silenced before it could become any more.

Both of them turned their heads back. They saw nothing. Gracchus was just a bloody smear on the mud, half-buried and half flattened. From where his body was half-buried, his arms and legs stuck out at odd angles.

The next moment, they saw the corpse right in front of Gracchus explode bloodily. They could hear the sick sound of popping, bones crunching. Guts spewed out of the corpse’s mouth as if they were squeezed out.

Claudius looked away, but he looked back.

The rain. They could see something in the rain. In normal day, Claudius guessed it would be unseen. A shadow in twilight. but when the rain came, when the drops splashed against its form, when the water flowed around the shadow, they could see it, a liquid silhouette.

It was moving.

It was coming for them.

Claudius screamed. “Stalker!”

Image

It came.

Laser light slashed through the air, red and visible, as the falling rain refracted their spectrums. The beams scanned and swept, looking through all corners of the jungle. It was as if the lines of blood light came from thin air, but truly they came from one focal point. It glowed, just barely, like a flashing eye of a cyclopean thing that was both seen and unseen at the same time. A blood red eye that both flashed and winked. Malicious and with malevolence it looked. And picked.

A sudden sharp hiss filled the air and the rain was joined with a stream of monolecular needles. There was no scream. The Metallians aiming the pilium had his upper torso turned to liquid. The needle stream, like the laser bloodlight, made a sweeping motion, going from one side to the next. Two poor others were caught in it, but there was no precision in their deaths, and so they died screaming as melted portions of themselves joined the mud and water.

Another flurry of needles. Some took cover in the trees, others ducked in craters, one was caught as he ran. He fell to the ground and flailed, liquefied flesh flying off his thrashing body.

The needles ceased. The eye once more glowed of faintly bloodlight, once more laser strobes scanned the air. The eye faded, the lasers winked off, and the shooting resumed.



Claudius and Manius threw themselves behind the felled tree, they pressed themselves against the mud and held each other in fear. They hunkered down low as the air above them hissed, thousands of invisible needles liquefying perhaps some poor human being in its way. They could hear the hiss intensify as the monolecular stream swept past their way. They sighed in relief when it was gone.

Claudius turned to his right and was shocked to see Minimus down by their felled tree’s stump. Minimus placed a finger against his lips, telling them to shut up. Beside Minimus was one of the Metallians, he was bald and held a radiophone to his mouth. He was whispering.

“It can hear you,” Mimimus whispered.

From far off, they could hear screaming as yet another man was flayed alive by the Stalker. But this time, they also heard return fire. Claudius dared to take a peek and he saw steadfast Metallians shouldering their rifles, firing at the air while scattering to different directions, forcing the invisible assailant to shoot at multiple vectors. A Metallian’s head disappeared while the other one nearest to him had his side partially disintegrated in a way that caused him to literally slide apart. The furthest from them threw a hand grenade that exploded apparently near the Stalker, causing a slight revelation of its form. The silhouette darkened – the thing was tall. Before the silhouette faded, they could see the tall thing move forward in a sort of slithering walk. The grenader screamed as he was crushed underfoot of the invisible thing, picked up and then –

But before the doomed Metallian could be liquefied midair, there was a deafening blast and a shower of sparks as the Harpy skychariot swooped down from the heavens, called forth from its interception of the Connoltian horde by the Metallian captain. The Harpy unloaded with its slaughtercannons, shooting explosions at its invisible enemy. And indeed, it shot explosions, explosions that rendered the once-invisible foe now corporeal and tangible to sight.

The thing, the Stalker, was covered in sparks as the blasts tore away its invisibility field. Now, it could clearly be seen that the black thing was of a disturbing insectile look. Multiple bloodlit eyes like those of an arachnid’s adorned its malevolent visage of steel. And from protrusions of its armor were sharpened guns, clearly like the needlers used by the androgynous Connoltian cohorts. From the black hull of the thing came three legs, segmented and rigid.

But as the Harpy swooped overhead and maneuvered for another gun run, the Stalker’s segmented legs grew un-rigid, now more like tentacles than legs, and the machine moved liquidly with a half-slithering writhing walk.

With inhuman intelligence, it positioned itself and unleashed its needlers at the Harpy. The skychariot’s tail was torn off and the craft quickly spun out of control, black smoke gushing from its rear, and from the air it plunged to the ground, crashing into the soft mud.



The first thing the Harpy pilot saw outside the cockpit when he awoke from his short crash-induced slumber was the Stalker. The machine had bent down in front of the Harpy and the pilot could only scream as the thing’s insectile eyes narrowed maliciously at him. The co-pilot too could not help screaming, but a single needler burst quickly silenced him and removed most of his face.

At this, the pilot screamed further, for he could no longer scream when the Stalker bent down directly over him and vivisected him with a chin-mounted laser. He flailed as he was cooked alive, the beam sweeping from one side of his midsection to another in many quick, jerking movements, like a cutter or scanner. The Stalker then punched through the glass with a tentacular leg, pulled the pilot out and threw him at the spectating Metallians. The body flew, but midway the body broke into two and the entrails slid out and fell to the ground.

The silent killer turned back to its prey, Metallians who were fleeing while the Stalker performed its sadistic dissection of the Harpy pilot.



Claudius turned to Manius. “Give me your pilium.”

“What? Why?” Manius sputtered. “Are you insane? That thing will kill you!”

“It’ll kill us all anyway!” Claudius spat back. “Now give me the gods damned rocket!”

“Here, take it!” Manius said as he shoved the spear-missile to Claudius’ hands. He sighed. “We’re all fucked…”

Claudius took the pilium and ran to the Stalker, which was looking at the other direction, to the Metallians who were fleeing. It was visible now, it had no fields. Claudius slid down his visor and the reticule turned red – the thing was now a big, ugly target. He shouldered his pilium, steadied it and squeezed the trigger.

The spearhead flew off and exploded on the Stalker’s side. Sparks erupted from a wound on its hull and the thing staggered sideways as though punched. But it did not fall. Instead, it turned around and regarded Claudius with its blood red eyes. They narrowed.

Claudius ran for his life as the ground behind his feet was melted by the stream of needles. He screamed, but his screams were drowned out by the ear-splitting hiss of monolecular steel. He did not even look back, he ran for the trees that would give him nominal cover. He ran to the trees and went low, crawling under the high roots of a few giant mangrove trees – like the ones Steve and they used for cover a while ago. But tree after tree was uprooted, trunks were liquefied and plant matter flew everywhere as the Stalker silently made its way to him. Claudius crawled under the roots, clawing at the mud and grime, the muck and dirty water. But it was all for naught as the tree he was under was uprooted by the Stalker.

The thing bent low and looked at Claudius. Claudius turned around and looked back. He panted, his lungs were on fire. His neck was still hurting from the choking he received. He tried his best not to shit himself looking at the monster-machine, trying not to shit while his legs slowly pushed him away from the thing.

Image

Slowly. Slowly the Stalker’s insectile eyes narrowed and a tentacular appendage slid out from beneath it, long and slithering. It neared Claudius leg, probably to clamp on him and pull him to the air to have the thing flay him alive in front of his comrades.

Suddenly, the leg withdrew and the Stalker looked at something behind Claudius.

Claudius turned his head.

It was Manius. On his shoulder was a Metallian’s pilium.

The Stalker’s insectile eyes of glowing red narrowed. Then its face exploded.

It fell to the mud, finally dead. Claudius gasped for breath and was pulled up by Manius. He slapped Manius’ back. Claudius shook his head in disbelief.

“Attaboy, Mannie.”
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2010-11-07 12:14am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21023
Quote:
Susie wandered back out into the corridor. The Waterville Clinic let out on the arcology’s outer ring hallway; she could look out through panorama windows of armorglass and see rain splashing off the windows in thick sheets, cascading down to the ground. The landscape hundreds of meters below was obscured.

Thinking about the last minutes at the clinic, Susie felt... a little ambiguous. She could understand now why Mina had been questioning her so firmly, making sure she could restrain that urge to start more little blue-green flames just to watch them dance. She could even understand why the older woman had insisted on doing it en rapport with her, to make sure not only that she wasn’t lying, but that she wasn’t simply wrong about her own intentions.

But it hadn’t been an entirely happy way to end her visit. Even after hearing her as an questioner in her head, she still thought Mina was a nice lady... just a determined one.

She needed something normal to do, and she had a three o’clock appointment with Rikke; maybe she’d better go take a long lunch. And find somewhere to, well, decompress. She turned; there’d been a food court and a rec commons back to clockwise...

Kirk McMillan Memorial Rec Commons, Alpha-Four Arcology, New Athens
Late 3375
Significantly Later In The Morning, So Much So That It's Actually Afternoon.


The park was named after some kind of Umerian war hero from about six hundred years back; there was a statue by the rimward entrance- looked old. Stiff posture, heroic expression on the face that looked kind of constipated if you had a sense of humor, ray gun in hand and... Hmm. what's the slidy-multiple-ruler-thing?

Meh. Never mind. She went off in search of a suitable park bench to settle down and eat her bowl of peelifruit and braised brontosaurus stew from the food court. It had been expensive, but when she saw "brontosaurus" advertised on the menu, she'd had to try it.

It was a pretty good arcology park, sort of enclosed and gardeny. As always, floor space was limited, no more than about five thousand square meters. But it was high enough for modest trees, the lighting was good, they had a creek running down the middle. They'd remembered the songbirds and insects, and to sculpt natural-looking features covering walls that almost had to be soundproofed- it was that was quiet. You didn't get proper quiet in arcologies, not with urban sounds flowing around above and below and on all sides.

Not perfect; it wasn't really the Great Outdoors, but it was a wonderful relief... Susie wondered how much her dislike of arcos came from wandering around in a haze of Stupid, but you couldn't live and endlessly second-guess yourself like that, so she just sat back and chilled. The soup was pretty good too.

She wasn't the only one there, of course. A couple of boys who looked about ten to twelve plunked down on the next bench over. After inhaling the sandwiches they were holding, the shorter boy, wearing a truly funny-looking striped jacket, leaned over and asked the other a question.

"What's that you were working on in line?"

"Lab class."

"Well yeah, but what's the algebra?"

"This is how you find a sigma. Without guessing."

"That's just silly."

"I'm not kidding. Look. You want to pass the One-Epsilons some time this year, right?"

"This is on the One-Epsilons?"

"Uh-huh. Fast-track flag, too."

"So if I'm good at this, they'll maybe ignore that I can never remember the names of all the planets?"

"...Maaybe."

"I always forget some. Or spell them wrong. I mean come on, New Mississipipi?"

"Mississippi."

"Well yeah, easy for you to say."

The older boy sighed. "...Okay. Yes, it's worth a try."

"OK then. So, now will you explain what you're doing?"

"OK. You start with a bunch of numbers, like... heights. Of people. Then you plug them in, like... so." There was much tapping of minicomps, followed by:

"Ohh. So that's why they call it a sigma!"

"Yeah. It's a, um... summation!"

The kid with the jacket squeezed his eyes shut and started chanting to himself. "Hmm... square root of one over N times sigma open X-i minus x-average close squared. Square root of one over N times sigma open X-i minus x-average close squared. Square root of one over N times sigma open X-i minus x-average close squared..."

"You can just look it up on the Qwiki."

"Yeah, but I wanna remember it when I'm not on. Are there exercises on Qwiki?"

"Yeah. They pop right up on private-access if you're logged in. They don't show up on the public-access terminals unless you go to the bottom for some reason, though."

"OK. Anything if I don't have to remember who invented the disintegrator."

"That was... hold on. Ack. Gotta go, late for Mimi's birthday party." The boy with the hat jumped up and ran away. The other kid scooped up the wrappers and walked out.

...Did I just see a twelve year old who knows what a standard deviation is? I think I just did...



Arguably, that was not the strangest thing she saw that day.

Image

There was a dinosaur walking down the path, looking curiously at the ferns. A dinosaur. With feathers.

SQUEEE!

She'd seen and heard of the kipakt and moxli, the saurian aliens of the Union State of Four Stars, of course. They were one of the neighboring countries; you couldn't miss them. But she'd never seen one in person. They didn't come to Shepistan very often; for some reason they found the place disturbing.

Well, she did too, so they couldn't be all bad, right?

She wasn't entirely sure what impulse drove her to get up and go over to the moxli and try to strike up a conversation. She wasn't even sure the saurian spoke English. But she couldn't just ignore a dinosaur walking through the park. That would have been wrong. And she'd probably regret it later.

"Hi."

She got what seemed to be a quizzical look in return- a tilt of the head and a curve of the neck that suggested an unexpected event.

"Waark? Ah, greetings, human. I am Grxotegong." The saurian's voice was hollow and chirpy. Dinosaur! Chirpy dinosaur! With feathers! SQUEE!

"My name's Susie. Pleased to meet you!"

"By the way. These are interesting ferns. Do you know who is responsible for the management of greenspaces? If I could identify the species..."

"Sorry. I'm new here actually."

"I represent a consortium of... how you say... Texotan brontosaur ranchers, kipakt businessmen. They wish to purchase land on some of your fringe worlds, for sales to Umeria- to save money on shipping."

Image


Dinosaur ranchers who are themselves dinosaurs, looking to... wooow.

"Good luck, Mr. Grk... Gr..."

"Grxotegong. Few humans get it right. I fear I must be going, though." The moxli gave what appeared to be an attempt at a polite dip of the head, and clumped off.

Susie returned to finish the last of her meal, set down earlier. The soup was cold.

Darn... wait a minute, I can fix that!

This was shaping up to be a better day than she'd thought after all.




Shola Okoro Immigration Center, Alpha-Four Arcology
Way Way WAY Later That Morning, So Much So That It's 3:00 PM.


"So, Susie, what do you think of your day so far?"

"There are dinosaurs! With feathers! And I just met a twelve year old who knows what standard deviations are! And I'll never need a lighter again! I LOVE THIS COUNTRY!"
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Fingolfin_Noldor
PostPosted: 2010-11-07 12:15pm 

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Joined: 2006-05-15 10:36am
Posts: 11434
Location: At the Helm of the HAB Star Dreadnaught Star Fist
Imperial Chronicles
After the Great Crusade

They aided the Tau.
They were unrepentant.
And for that they shall pay.


In the aftermath of the conquest of T’au, and the near utter extinction of the T’au species, the Imperium set about the clear its immediate neighbourhood of any xeno species who openly dared to defy the will of the God Emperor. Many xeno colonies had simply packed up and left, in the wake of the monstrous Imperial war machine that had marched and conquered the Tau. However, some xeno races based within the Korpulu sector had defiantly supplied the Tau with war materiel and even fought alongside the Tau, claiming to subscribe to the Tau’s heretical “Greater Good” beliefs. In doing so, they marked themselves for death.

The Imperium war fleets, blooded, and fresh from resupply after the conquest of T’au moved to exterminate these vermin species. One such collection of vermin planets, was a group of Bragulan colonies that stood on the rims of the Tau Empire. The Bragulans here however, were a renegade lot who despised Byzon and had left. Originally, the Tau had arrived in the Bragulan Empire in an attempt to convert or subvert Bragulans into serving the Tau, just as they had done with the Kroot. Byzon, who had gained mastery of most of the Bragulan Star Empire, saw their true purposes, and had ordered their expulsion. The Tau had by then, converted a few million rebels to their cause, and these left with the Tau, in exchange for their eternal service. In so doing, the Tau earned the Imperator Byzon’s eternal ire, which was to last till this day. When the Imperium began its Great Crusade to exterminate the Tau, Byzon was truly delighted, for he foresaw that either one of his great enemies would be destroyed in the cataclysm.

This however, presented the Imperium with an opportunity to achieve some kind of detente with the powers in the Korpulu Sector. The Imperium knew that there were many xenos who were fearful of the Imperium, which had built an armed forces which were blooded and ready to steamroll over just about any poor fool who dared to defy the will of the God Emperor. All eyes were on the Imperium on what it would do next. The Imperium knew that it must prevent the formation of any kind of coalition that would gang up on the Imperium, and tax the Imperium’s already overstretched forces.

The Imperial Inquisition covertly met with IBGV to discuss a covert pact. In exchange for intelligence on the traitors, the Imperium and Bragulan Star Empire would not interfere with each others affairs, and avoid any war in the near term. The Imperium would use the intelligence to destroy the traitors, and furnish any Tau that was captured in the operation to the Bragulans. To Byzon, this was an acceptable deal and the thought that these traitors would finally be dealt with filled him with gleeful pleasure. Further, this deal would lay the foundation for future detente between the Imperium and the Bragulan Star Empire. As part of the deal, a discreet diplomatic line would be established between the Imperium and the Bragulan Star Empire. Today, this line exists on Jenova.

The Imperium, having received the intelligence on the renegade Bragulans, began making its moves. Rus Komnenos elected to lead the attack from his flagship Stasograd, and he led a massive force of strike cruisers and battle barges, battleships, and cruisers and various other adjutant warships to the few systems that were occupied by the traitor Bragulans. The fleet set off from the newly conquered T’au and made flank Warp speed for the renegade Bragulan territories. These territories were centred on a world named, The Greater Good of Bragulanity. The Imperial warfleet emerged from the Warp and unleashed a furious bombardment on the orbital defences. The intelligence provided by the Bragulans was accurate; within moments, most of the orbital defences were destroyed, and the battleships and battle barges laid waste to the pathetic warships that were in orbit of the planet. Furious bombardment of the surface commenced, targeting defence installations and a few small towns. When it was deemed that the opposition had been softened, the Imperium began landing its troops, and Astartes of the Varangian Rus Legion began making lightning raids on many strategic locations in the major cities, sowing confusion behind enemy lines.

Titans and Imperial Guard troops began commencing their assault on the Bragulan cities, which sortied their forces to confront Imperial troops. Fierce battles commenced, as the renegade Bragulans, armed with Tau technology, made ferocious attacks on enemy lines. The superb constitution of the average Bragulan, allowed them to weather many attacks, despite the lack of cybernetics. Coupled with mass charge tactics, they forced the Imperial Guard back. Imperial Guard troops fought with the bitter determination born for years of warfare. It was a bitter grinding war.

Rus Komnenos then joined the fight with his Astartes. What was at first a bitter stalemate, turned into a rout as the Astartes unleashed a firestorm on Bragulan flanks. The angels of death fought with a far greater ferocity than the Bragulans, and soon they were forced into their cities. Titans began bombarding the cities, and Imperial Navy fighters began bombing runs, unleashing scores of plasma bombs that set the cities afire. Imperial troops began fighting in the urban terrain, fighting and killing any Bragulan they saw, but capturing any Tau they found hidden in some areas. The fight was far more brutal than fight on T’au as the Bragulans fought to the death.

In the end, after a few million casualties, the Imperium won the day. All the renegade Bragulans were put to the sword. Their leaders were captured and shipped to the Bragulans along with the Tau. With the ending of the fighting, Byzon got what he wanted: A chance to smash some heads for insulting Bragulanity by siding with foul xenos who tried to corrupt the Bragulan Star Empire, and he had plenty of slave labour to use. It was, as a Bragulan might say, a good Bragsday.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2010-11-07 11:17pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21023
Terraforming Diagnostic Facility Alpha-Six, Brennan's World
Sector X-8
Early 3378


Susie frowned. "I still think we should be worrying more about the Gluupo Rot cases around Leadville."

Director Nguyen shook his head. "Worst case, that affects unmodified plants. It's not a problem for the hybridized terraforming plants, and agriculture on this planet is low-margin in any event. Hell, we've only had decent areas of topsoil on this planet for the past two hundred years. What I'm really worried about is stabilizing the plankton balance in the oceans between the native photosynthetics and the introduced ones, or we're never going to get the atmosphere into self-sustaining equilibrium on anything over fifty year timescales."

"I'm not sure... we're going to be looking at a lot of angry farmers if it spreads as much in the next ten years as it did in the last."

The director looked sympathetic. "I understand. Look, fire off a memo to MiniProd. If we can get some funding from them, maybe we'll bring in a few more people to look at the Gluupo Rot problem. For now though, we need a way to keep the local crimsonbugs from skimming off the main nutrient taps and poisoning everything. Can we come up with some kind of filter feeder immune to the toxin, do you think?"

"...Hmm. Probably. Ooh, we could..."



TDF Alpha-Six, Brennan's World
Early 3379


"You want to know what I think, you should take that offer from New Mississippi."

Susie blinked. "What? Why?" I kind of like this planet.

"They're having problems a lot like our crimsonbug troubles; your team cracked our problem six months after you made project lead."

"Dr. Sakura did most of the groundwork..."

"I know, too bad about her having to take leave, but it's still a gold sticker for you. They want to make you lead for this project from the ground up; trust me, it's good for your career to have that on your record."

"Hmm. Well, I have time to make SITAC and still move over there before the start date. Worth a shot. But I'll miss you, Fred."

"Aww. Thanks."



Excerpt from Brown Coats and Red Shirts: A People's History of the Independent Spinward Republic

"In the wake of major crop failures caused on Brennan's World by Gluupo Rot outbreaks in the late 3380s, the planetary population grew increasingly frustrated with the Ministry of Ecology's failure to send assistance to ailing farm communities, many of whom were forced onto welfare in prefab public housing facilities after their crops became untenable.

"While the Ministry of Welfare supplied enough food to prevent any possibility of famine, Brennan's World was still plagued by social dislocations as nearly thirty million small-tract farmers moved to the city, including many who had few or no useful skills aside from agriculture."

"Building exasperation with MiniWell and MiniEcho was brought to a head by the Charleston Conference on Shadow. Both the Brennanite Agricultural Grange and the Brennanite Civic League sent delegations to Shadow, and while the two groups had many disagreements among themselves, both were sympathetic to the First Munroe Declaration."

"In the wake of Munroe's rebuff by First Technarch Li and the more belligerent Second Munroe Declaration, Brennan's World was the fifth planet to assemble an ad hoc planetary government, take over planetary facilities, and join the Independent Spinward Republic..."
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2010-11-08 05:39pm 

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Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21023
Recommended Listening

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
By Bart Blade:
...
The Republic of Shepistan is the only psyker-free society in the universe. It prides itself in this status, and it is because of this that Shepistan has become the envy of nations all over the galaxy... The Republic of Shepistan and the Grand Dominion owe their survival to the Blitzschlag Field Generator. It is no wonder that the Republic of Shepistan has taken the protective capabilities of the BFG to its logical extremes, proofing not just secure facilities and very important personnel, but covering their whole society too under an all-encompassing protective umbrella that shields them from the psychokinetic precipitations of the psionic perpetrators.

...The Blitzschlag field is Shepistani society's only protection. However, there are those who would strip away this protection, this security, this safety, this liberty Shepistan has won for itself. Even within the nation there are those who call for the degradation of the BFGs' all-encompassing protective coverage, an unacceptable compromise that would mentally-endanger the whole nation. These treasonous thoughts come from the rightfully suppressed liberals, a movement once led by thankfully-now-deceased Senator James Crater, but standing Shepistani policy has successfully discouraged this movement within Shepistan. But from without this liberal psykersexual agenda continues to grow strong and assails Shepistan from all corners, from nations like Anglia and Umeria and even the UN - all of whom call for the respect of psyker rights, as if they have any...

...a grave dynamic deficiency in Shepistan's reliance on the Blitzschlag Field - namely that it is merely a curative 'treatment' to the psyker problem, in that despite their prevalence and their ability at neutering psyker powers and hampering psyker development, psykers are still being born in Shepistan. A final solution to the psyker problem must not be curative in nature, but preventive.

This, in itself, presents a very significant lapse in the integrity of Shepistani mentallic defenses that must be corrected immediately. Thus, the following recommendations are made...

...all gestating mothers in the Shepistan should be encouraged to take nutritional supplements to disencourage and unpromote psykerism. Psyko-embryonic development must be halted at all cost...
...induce a certain desirable level of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to ensure that the future Shepistani citizen will attain optimum pediatric physiological development vital for a mentally healthy childhood. Therapeutic teratogens may also be prescribed by licensed obstetricians and pharmacologicians...
...As research suggests that strong maternal/paternal-child bonds promote the development of empathy, that is in turn of importance to the development of certain empathic psychocognitive attributes, then prolonged parent-child interactions shall be discouraged and the use of daycare centers with sterilized interaction modules (STIMs) shall be likewise encouraged to promote desensitization...
...The reinstallation of corporal punishment shall be a priority, not because of the educational or social benefits of paddling and other such methods, but because of their benefits in emotional development...
...randomized corporal punishments (not for the punishment of actual wrong deeds, but as a means to itself) can induce such an emotional duress...
...induce an Exploding Baby Syndrome...
...To prevent further contamination of the gene-pool, all members of their extended family must undergo screening and the parents must be sterilized...
...This is to diminish the potential gene pool of psykerists...
...parent-child interactions must be kept to a minimum, and must be maintained at an impersonal level...
...Their ability to infiltrate human minds has been correlated to the openness of society, and the relative levels of empathy and warmth expressed to and by the pre-psyker populace, thus it is imperative to provide a hostile environment for developing pre-psykers by replacing this empathy and warmth with unsympathetic and cold aloof impersonal environments. The earlier this begins, preferably during conception and/or after birth, the better.

TDF Alpha-Six, Brennan's World
Late 3378


GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

The article had bounced across a fair chunk of the Umerian esper community after the Sheppileaks Incident. She'd gotten it passed on to her from the Waterville people; Mina still kept an eye on her now and then. The participants had all been rounded up and executed for treason in short order, of course, but they'd gotten a fair number of things out before the end. This was one of them.

Kadahuli...

The Phosako word only loosely translated as "childabusers." There were so many little side implications; you had to read several books worth of background on the culture to really understand why it was the foulest insult in their language.

It fit.



Spinward International Terraforming Association Conference '79 (SITAC)
Persephone, Sector Y-6, Near Umerian Border
August 3379


Susie had come to the conference to give a talk on her recent work on Brennan's World: "Modification Of Filter Feeders To Suppress Toxic Microbes: A Case Study."

There were people from all over the Spinward Expanse. Terraforming was one thing virtually every nation took an interest in. There were the numerous neo-Britannian and neo-French, a few individuals from the Prussian League. Quite a few from Tianguo... and of course a large number from Shepistan, which was right next door.

It looked like Dr. Nansen must have found something worth doing after the Capital Wasteland reclamation projects collapsed under a wave of bounty-hunting mercenaries with atomic weapons; he was giving a talk. She'd have to make sure to go to that, and maybe see if she could talk him into emigrating too. She felt like she owed it to him. Dr. Nansen was a pretty cool guy. He deserved better than Nukegeeseland.

Image
GET THIS PERSON INTO YOUR COUNTRY!

She kept going down the list. Her eye stopped, and twitched slightly, when she saw a presentation listed tomorrow: "Uranium Plowshares: Nukoforming Applications for Planetary Engineering." By... oh God. Bart Blade.

Her eye twitched again. GRRR!



Spinward International Terraforming Association Conference '79 (SITAC)
The Next Day


She couldn't help herself; she went to the lecture hall and filed in quietly at the back. The talk hadn't started; Blade was still down there talking to a few people. With the room set up amphitheater style, she could see him very clearly.

She felt a tangle of different emotions, spread across almost the entire spectrum of hostility.

There was the personal resentment- how dare he say such things? The rage at knowing the hell this man wanted to plunge fifty billion children into. The sickening awareness that it was all in pursuit of a stupid and pointless quest for security that was both unnecessary and, more damning still, already obtained. The cold, rational calculation that the universe would be just as well off, if not better, without this man in it. That there was, could be, nothing to him but darkness. Not when he'd write up something like that.

It was so tempting to reach out and... let there be light.

No. That wasn't who she was, couldn't be. She had a decent country to live in, a career; she'd even managed to convince her parents to move out, though Immigration was still taking a longer time to vet them before signing off on their citizenship papers.

Above all, the career. The job offers as project lead on a major problem-solving team in a terraforming program. She was helping! She wouldn't throw that away. Not even on something like this, this... would-be Himmler in the making... NO.

Hmm. Then again, nothing said she couldn't have a little entertainment. Not too much, mild enough to allow... plausible deniability. She peered down towards the podium, identified her target, and concentrated. This would be difficult, but fun.

A Few Minutes Later The Next Day

Bart Blade glanced at the clock. Two more minutes till the meeting started; time to finish his coffee.

"Thbbpht!" What the hell? He checked to make sure it was his mug. He'd expected that coffee to be warm, yes, but it felt like it'd just dripped straight through the filter, burning hot. Maybe he'd drunk from someone else's... no. Weird. Also, now he had coffee all over the front of his shirt. Great. Stranger things had happened to him, though. Bart grunted to himself and launched into the presentation, his style only slightly cramped by the minor burns on his tongue.

He started to sweat five minutes in. At first it wasn't so bad, but soon he could feel the first hints of moisture in his shirt. Only hints though. Thank god for Shroom and Hammer antiperspirant, it's boiling in here. He didn't know how everybody else in the room could stand it. Embarrassing. To make matters worse, the room just kept getting hotter. Soon, Bart's face was covered with a sheen of sweat, and he started rushing through his talk. If he could just get through this fast and get back to his room, maybe take a nice cold shower. Or something...

Skipping a number of slides and an animation showing plans to link up subsurface oil deposits through a series of cheap, clean, cost-effective nuclear initiations (he hated it so much when people talked about a nuclear device "exploding" or "detonating...") cut his talk down to just over thirty minutes. By the time he reached his conclusion slide, the Shroom and Hammer had been overwhelmed after putting up a valiant fight against impossible odds, and he was quite visibly perspiring. He'd better get some water, too.

He'd been hoping for a quick, clean exit after wrapping up his talk. But... curses! The audience was full of every speaker's nightmare: Umerians with permission to ask questions! They kept asking questions, about shock wave and blast front propagation, about inflection points on his numerous graphs, about cost-effectiveness and a dozen other things! Even as some in the audience were filing out of the room, he couldn't get away, not without an awkward confession of not being able to answer more questions. Which would make him, and by extension the BLAND Corporation, and by extension the Shepistani military-scientific-industrial complex as a whole, look bad. It was his patriotic duty to keep talking!

Of course, his shirt being soaked with sweat was also making him look bad, but at least that made only him look bad. Finally, just before he started to drip, the allocated hour was up, and he could go back to his room.

The intense heat started to fade in the elevator. He had to wonder what had been wrong; was he standing right under a heater exhaust or something? No... there must be more than that. But what? Why had he felt so grossly overheated when everyone else in the room seemed to be fine?

Maybe it was something medical.

After he returned to his room and poured a few buckets of ice water over himself to soak up residual heat, he went online. Persephone's main digital reference sites were copied from the UmerNet; that wouldn't be any good. Damn libruls... He kept hunting... ah-HA! There were some old residual caches from Shepipedia! He scrolled down a page until he found something related to his situation.

"Hot flashes in men... Hot flashes in men are linked to low testosterone... NOOOO!" What to do? What to do? There was no time to go back to his doctor in Shepistan, but he had to do something! He couldn't very well go home with his precious bodily fluids sapped and impurified, all squeaky-voiced and... NO! There had to be a solution, a stopgap measure, to deal with this problem. Every problem had a drastic but efficient solution, and you could always find it if you dug deep enough. That was the Shepistani way.

His frenzied searching took him back and forth across the Persephone nets. Finally, on the UmerNet, he found the advertisement for what he was looking for.

"UMERTHIRST! Made with SCIENCE! MAD SCIENCE! It makes you MAD with ENERGY!"

There was a picture of some massive posthuman bodybuilder yelling "AAAAAH!"

"Science, energy, science, energy, electrolyes, turbolytes, powerlytes, more lights than your body has room for. You’ll be so fast, Mother Nature will be like, “Sloooooowwww dooowwwwnn.” And you’ll be like, “Bwa-ha-ha-HA! Mad science SNEERS at you, Nature!""

The guy yelled "AAAAAH!" again.

"Now with synthetic Vinaran hormone duplicates! PREPOSTERONE!"

The bodybuilder started yelling "AAA-" but a huge, muscular green humanoid grabbed him in one hand, then hurled him towards the horizon, bellowing "RAAAAGGH!"

Image

"Side effects include delusional behavior, nausea, death, glowing sweat, unusual power behavior, death, prominent eyebrow growth, death, broken dilithium crystals, pants spontaneously turning purple, and death."

"RAAAAGH!"

Yes... this was what he needed.



SITAC '79
The Day After The Next Day


Doctor Nansen's presentation had been interesting, and they'd met up afterwards. As she'd suspected, though, he didn't want to emigrate; that stiff, unbending sense of loyalty made it out of the question, and it had been obvious from his polite lack of comment on the idea that he wasn't interested.

Still, though, it had been nice to see him again, and he was doing all right. Beyond that, of course, Susie had more plans of her own. Today, Bart Blade had a panel discussion scheduled. She wanted to get there early. Not for a front-row seat, of course; something a bit more subtle. Two rows back, center stage.

Hehehehe.

Panel Discussion #723: "Postwar Cleanup: Radioactive Hot Spots And Terraforming"

As he took his seat at the table on the raised platform, Bart Blade looked kind of odd. His skin had a sickly greenish cast to it. His clothes fit oddly, as though muscles were tensed and standing out under the skin. His eyebrows twitched spasmodically, and he seemed to be grinding his teeth. This time, he didn't have a cup of coffee handy, but he did have a glass of water. That would do. She concentrated again. Absent-mindedly, she pulled out a pad of paper from her purse and started sketching with one hand, while her attention was elsewhere.

Concentrate... focus... enhance your calm... just a little bit, wide spread, gently... easy does it...

Once again, the Shepistani started sweating profusely a few minutes into the discussion. He hadn't been called on to say anything yet. The green cast to his skin couldn't be normal pallor, because it didn't go away as his face started to flush red. He looked like he was wearing Christmas tree camo facepaint or something. It was no surprise when he reached for the glass of water. As his hand neared it, he hesitated, then drew his hand back. gingerly, he touched the water with one finger, but pulled it back quickly and frowned.

There were thin trails of steam rising from the glass.

As one of the speakers finished, the discussion leader looked to his right. "All right. Mr. Blade, if you would care to make your opening remarks?"

"Whuh- ah, yes, Mister Chairman." He blinked twice, then seemed to remember something. "In my experience, hot spots are a problem, but one that can be worked around given enough determination and the right equipment..."

Having already gotten the hang of maintaining the low-level, steady output of energy needed for this, Susie decided to experiment a little, moving the main locus of heat back and forth, testing to see just how he'd squirm under a hotfoot. She never let herself go beyond a few degrees over background- that was the real challenge, far more difficult than simply warming up a bowl of soup without boiling it- but that was more than enough to make the Shepistani defense planner deeply uncomfortable as he stumbled through answers to questions about cleanup of radiation, still twitching and grinding his teeth.

He gave a very poor showing, all in all...

Hehehe.

Finally, the leader declared the discussion to be over, after the scheduled seventy-five minutes. Blade let out a very visible gasp of relief and practically sprinted for the door.

The man who'd been sitting beside her looked down at her sketch pad.

"...What's that?"

"Oh. Uh. A few weeks ago I heard about something called 'galactic cannibalism'. So I was thinking about that, and, well, I thought of this."

On the page, in rough outline with a bit of shading in places, there were a pair of spiral galaxies with inexplicable little arms sticking out, holding between them a pole. Trussed to the pole was a smaller, more bloblike galaxy, with a very nervous expression on its core as it was hauled towards a bubbling pot.

One of the spiral galaxies had what appeared to be a bone sticking through its nose, right at the center.

"...Hmm. I knew a few astrophysicists in back in grad school, actually; they'd been doing some long-term studies on the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. They used the term a lot."

"Long term?"

"Longitudinal, as far back as they could find records. They even had some figures from right around the Diaspora; don't know where they found them."

"Wow."

The conversation lasted a few minutes; when it ended, Susie glanced at the stage, and the table, recalling the Shepistani's flight from the room.

Hehehehe.



NOOOOO! Even after chugging a can of UMERTHIRST that morning... still having a hot flash, at the worst possible moment! Inconceivable, and enraging!

He had to have MORE!

Main Shuttleport, MoCoArco Bravo-Five, Shepistani Republic
Two Weeks Later


"Hi, Bart!" Charlie Smith, one of his coworkers, had come to pick him up at the airport.

"Rrragh."

"Jesus, what the hell happened to you? You look like a wreck- and try to calm down, those eyebrows are scaring people. Maybe we need to get you some trimmers or something. And... did you spill something on yourself? You look... green."

"Just don't, Charlie. Just. Don't. And don't tell anyone either, the Reptons are tailing me. They're making me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry."

"Umm... OK. Look, why don't we just get your baggage, get you back home. Like we planned."

"We have to stop at a grocery store. I need tinfoil."

"OK, whatever you say, Bart. Whatever you say."

Mang. I think maybe I'd better call psych evals on him, for his own sake...
   Profile |  

Mayabird
PostPosted: 2010-11-08 07:01pm 

Storytime!


Joined: 2003-11-26 05:31pm
Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
July 3394
Central Complex, Potential Contact Research Division
Prime Refuge



The Avian was personally named Tschi-chi-olli-aw-olli-[trill], privately named Chiri for short by her Avian and speaking Aggregates friends and colleagues, officially named Bright and Happy Singer (with all her ancestry information and serial numbers) for translation, and her title and role was Third Human Voice Simulator Expert, because she was the third-best in all the Refuge. It was a busy and tiring job, with endless study of the new languages and practice of them, then working with analysts who were studying the foreign cultures themselves, translating, teaching voice training, and of course the interview sessions. Her position was a prestigious one, though Contact was considered an odd, freewheeling division full of strange people. Most workers were recruits, including herself, and they tended to be younger and individuals.

She plugged herself in and her cybernetics linked into what would be the local session network. Chiri was usually first because she liked to tune herself while linked. “Do re me fa so la ti do!” She had found the phrase in some files that had been salvaged from a hard drive off a ship brought in, and she liked it and incorporated it in her voice exercises. It was helpful for getting back into the simple human speech.

Her supervisor, the Aggregate Colored with Anticipation (nicknamed Hugs and Squishes or just Old Squishy by those close to him, Chiri included) linked the network session. Old Squishy (though his current personality formation was new, the parts were all rather old and carried older memories, so he had the feeling of being a wise elder) wasn't in the room with her, but she could still detect that warm, fatherly feeling in the back of her mind. He always claimed that the warm feeling was from his ancient cybernetics overheating.

No doubt there would also be Mechanicals listening in, recording, monitoring, and likely also some other Avians and Aggregates, possibly even a Mind. That would be exciting, to get a commendation for excellent work directly from a Mind – Looks Afar, maybe? It was unlikely that there would be Modulars, since very, very few pools worked in Contact. There were a couple full Modules that she knew of, but they were elsewhere and Contact was highly compartmentalized...

Chiri, you're talking into the session, Old Squishy gently chided, with a tickle of a laugh in the back.
Apologies. She pushed her thoughts back out so they wouldn't go over the network. Time for work.

And time for Praneet Supemo on his dark purple sofa. Chiri had sometimes wondered how useful he actually was – he was compliant, unlike some others Contact held, but his information seemed poor, at best. Much of it did not match the records they had found. She had once inquired and all she had been told was that he had other uses and she didn't need to know more. After that, she followed her instructions and did not ask again.

Chiri spoke into the receiver, “Hello Praneet. Are you well today?” A number of the humans preferred this voice and she had trained some others to be able to use it. They had been getting better results with it, one of many strange factoids they had picked up.

“Good enough,” he said. On the screen, his image plopped onto the sofa. She could have had a direct visual feed through the link, but she found that to be disorienting in combination with receiving her instructions and translating the questions. The session's queries came in. Ah.

“We would like to ask questions about different nations today. Would that be acceptable to you?”
“Sure. Why wouldn't it be?”
Chiri shallowly thought of the stubborn resistant people, especially one who had tried to harm himself during their last session. “We had...”

NO! No! Don't say it! Not just Squishy but several other voices screamed variations of it too. Before she even had time to think back and ask why, some were already obliging.
They must not know that other humans are being held!
It might give him the idea to hold back as well!
Doing so could negatively influence his thoughts and muddy our studies!
That could ruin everything!
And many others bombarded her. She shut off the speaker in case she couldn't hold back the whimper forming from the pain of all the voices focused at her.

Old Squishy cut through the noise. Give her some room! The Third Human Voice Simulator Expert is an Avian and barely more than a child at that! She cannot handle all your cacophony!

The mental din died down with a whisper of apologies, except for one voice that continued yelling, Her brain's gonna explode! Noooooo!

Image


Panic Node? What the hells are you doing here?

The neurotic emotional program and Mind offshoot explained, I was bored and that made me nervous because that meant my services weren't being utilized so I followed the others because I felt fear over here.

You shouldn't even be able to access this!

I know! It's terrible! We have a security breach! This could be happening all over the place!

Squishy passed a message to a security program to investigate and then ignored Panic Node. The only way to get rid of it was to not pay attention and hope it got bored and wandered off. Let's just continue, Chiri. Don't worry about the last question and just move on. Praneet won't remember anything in a couple minutes anyway.

Chiri sent a private thought to him. Thank you, Squishy.

It's what I'm here for. By the way, we have his refreshments drone on hold. Sending it through now.

She turned the speaker back on. “We will start. Your snacks are ready, by the way.” The drone took the latest test-foods over to their subject, along with a mug of water. Time for questioning. “What do you know about the Nova Atlantean Commonwealth?”

The subject took up a cracker. “Uh, well, they're way, way off. Towards the...close to Tianguo, I think. Or maybe Shinra. Over thataways.” He waved one hand in a gesture that they'd learned meant, 'I have absolutely no idea but I don't want to admit it.' Then Praneet ate the cracker. “This tastes like lemons, by the way. Pretty good but it's supposed to be yellow.”

Someone noted, a little too loudly: Supported: humans prefer certain colors to be matched with certain flavors.

“We are glad you like it, and we will take note of that. Is there anything else you know about Nova Atlantis or the Nova Atlantean Commonwealth?”
“I knew a guy who said he was from there. Hated him. A real asshole, completely full of shit.”

Aha! She'd been waiting for this chance for weeks! “That is an intentional pun?”
“Ah...heheh, didn't even realize it. Good catch. You're getting better, whoever you are.”
“We thank you. Do you know anything else about the Nova Atlantean Commonwealth?”
“They, umm...” Nothing else came to mind. “Yeah, that's it. I don't think they do anything. So, next question.”

There was a murmur of voices, none distinct. The young Avian felt very self-conscious with so many observers watching her. She'd grown up, like everyone else, under the rigid discipline and strict social strictures of life in the frantically growing Refuge, and a couple years in the wild crazy Contact couldn't erase that. Another whispered message came from Old Squishy. Just ignore them and move on. You're doing beautifully.

So she continued with the next question. “What do you know about the Shepistani Republic?”
“Oh them? They're crazy. They nuke geese. Everybody knows that.”
The word was unfamiliar to her. “What is 'geese'?”
“Geese are...”
One of the voices spoke up and sent an image. She shut her eyes to focus on it. Wings, feathers, beak...oh no.

Panic Node took this moment to scream THE SHEPISTANIS ARE GONNA NUKE OUR AVIAN POPULATION!

The voice continued, Notwithstanding Panic Node, we've found some records and news reports which indicate that the 'mutant hell geese' as they are sometimes known may be a macro-bio weapon. It may not be as insane as it sounds.

Chiri forced down the knot in her gizzard. This information is comforting to hear.

However, the fact that their campaign against the geese is known so widely that even this idiot knows about it is not comforting at all. We will formulate some more questions for a later session to probe his full knowledge of the Shepistanis. Please continue.

It was hard to push out the fear of attack. The Refuge was very vulnerable and there were powerful, dangerous nations out in this galaxy. They did not have enough theologically-sound heavy warships to defend themselves against a full-scale attack and they could not risk theologically-unsound defenses again. Still, Chiri's voice did not waver.

“We...see. We may come back to them later. What do you know of the Emissaries of Xylyx?”
“The who?”
“Emissaries of Xylyx?”
“Say that again. The Emirsaries of what?
“Xylyx.”
“Who the Buddha's that?”

“Continuing on. What do you know of Tianguo? You mentioned them before.”
“Oh yeah, yeah, them. They, umm...yeah, they're all magic espers who ride on dragons – that's big scaly flying snakes that breathe fire and have a horn sticking out of their foreheads – and they eat sticks with rice spoons and sacrifice captured pirates to their ancestors. And they hang bureaucrats! Really good of them; wish everybody did that.”

He watched too many movies, Squishy chuckled privately. He added a mental pat, hoping it'd calm her. He knew how worried she could get at the mention of espers – most Refugees were since it sounded far too much like reality hacking. (Very) low level, yes, but widely distributed. But there was nothing they could do at the moment without more information.

Praneet sipped at the water and spat it out. “This tastes horrible! Did you pour metal shavings into it?”

Someone again thought too loudly as it noted, supported: humans do not like the taste of metal shavings.

“Apologies. We will have another poured,” Chiri said. The little drone rolled back to their side of the testing chamber and was immediately replaced with an identical drone with more crackers and clean water. Back a few years before, there had been a few overzealous culinary testers who put potentially foul-tasting substances in all the drinks, but that had not lead to satisfactory results; all they learned after a while was how pissed-off humans could get.

“Now that's service there.” He tried the clean water. “This works. So where next?”

“What do you know about the Prussian Star League?”
“They're, whatdoyoucallit, real militaristic, descended from these people called the Nah-zees or something, who went around conquering everybody until everybody else got sick of it and kicked their asses, so they're all pissed off about that. I think that's it.”

“Do you know anything about the Collectors?”
He was about to take another cracker then stopped. “Wait. I thought you guys were the Collectors.”

The murmur of voices started again. None could be made out clearly except for Panic Node, who had apparently teamed up with Swearing Node to announce: Oh cuntshit, they think we're fucking Collectors! Everybody fucking hates the goddamned Collectors! They're gonna come after us and make us their bitches and rape our wiring!

Then there was something that was not noise but felt like it, which was the security program finally throwing out both of the Nodes. Chiri continued, “We are not the Collectors.”

You shouldn't give away information! one of the voices cried out.

I think this is perfectly reasonable, Chiri shot back.

Attachick, Squishy said privately, then said publically, Her judgment is correct, observers. Let the Third Human Voice Simulator Expert work. She knows what she's doing.

“You sure? Because I thought this entire time you were. You've got the capturing people and being weird thing everybody says they do, and, uh, okay I thought there'd be more robot zombies but I liked this better so I wasn't going to complain. That being said, please don't make me stay with the robot zombies.”
“We do not have robot zombies. What is 'zombies'?”

Now one of you loudspeakers make yourselves useful and find out what the hells a 'zombies' is supposed to be, said Squishy.

“This isn't some kind of trick is it? What if you're lying 'cause you are the Collectors, but you want to know what people think of you, so you pretend not to be and ask?” He had a hopeful look on his face, eyes bright in the anticipation that he guessed correctly. “Did I win?”

“This is not a trick.”

He threw himself off the couch onto his knees, and his hands up in a gesture of pleading. Praneet looked a little nervous, but it wasn't the wide-eyed and pale-faced fear that others had displayed. Probably a good sign. “Please, nice lady, don't throw me to the robot zombies! Please! You want private information? They scared the piss out of me as a kid, just the thought of it. Really. Made me piss my mat when I thought they were coming to get me.”

She was not going to lose this subject. “There will be no robot zombies.”
“PLEASE! I beg you! In the name of the Space Pope, and the God-Emperor and...his wife, the.... Goddess-Empress, and the crocodile with the funny hat, and-”
“We are not the Collectors and we do not have robot zombies, therefore we cannot send you to the robot zombies.”

Someone again too loudly noted, Goddess-Empress?

“...Promise?”
“We promise that we are not the Collectors and we do not have robot zombies, and therefore we cannot send you to the robot zombies.”

Found something, said one of the voices. Fictional story, 'horror' genre, the one for calling up feelings of fear and dread. 'Zombies' are re-animated corpses that feed on the living. They seem to be considered physically impossible and thus products of the primitive reality-hacking called 'magic' but the Fourth Hypotheticals and Speculation Program believes that borderline-unsound nanites could achieve a similar effect.

Chiri barely paid attention, though she was glad that she hadn't been lying about the robot zombies. She was watching Praneet.

He seemed to come to a conclusion. “Oh, alright then. What next?” Then he ate some crackers. The human might be dumb as a rock, but at least he bounced back quickly.


Chiri continued, “What do you know of the Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya?”
“They're catgirls. Like girls, but cat ears and tails.”

Unless their records were all completely wrong, that wasn't correct at all! “Are you certain?” He seemed lost in thought, or at least wild imaginings. There had been some internal debate about if they should implant components into the subjects so they could read their thoughts directly. The measure was tabled for the moment as they did not know enough about the internal workings of the human brain to guarantee that they would not affect the subjects. “Praneet, are you certain?”

“Certain of their breasts? I dunno. Maybe they have three instead of two. That's pretty hot.”

Breasts? What? This would go nowhere. “Moving on. What do you know of the Pfhor Empire?”
“Uhh...they're catgirls too.”
“What do you know of the Centrality?”
“...also catgirls.”

This is not useful! Chiri protested to Old Squishy.

He is perhaps hung up on pornography. I recommend skipping the next set of questions and going straight to Anglia. I will make a note in the records.

Thank you. “What do you know about the United Star Kingdom of New Anglia?”

Praneet brightened and indeed went straight into talking about pornography. His memory was usually spotty but this he apparently remembered very well indeed.

One of the first human concepts that the Refuge had come to understand was that of the porn stash. Nearly all humans they caught were male, and nearly all of them had one. They were... “instructional” in more than one way. Swearing Node had even picked up more profanities from it. That had been a bad week.

I don't remember the specific episode numbers that he is referencing, Chiri thought.

Squishy consulted with one of the Mechanicals briefly. They were 34, 53, and 58.

Chiri interrupted his description of lesbian politics with, “That sounds like Precious Princess Party, Episodes 34, 53, and 58. ”
“...wha? How'd you know that? Were you looking at my entire porn stash?”
“Yes, we have perused your entire collection.” Chiri had not personally, as she didn't have the time with all her duties, but one of the Mechanicals gave her a list of the most potentially useful ones, complete with notes and commentaries. Unfortunately for her, most of the Precious Princess Party series had been in that list. It was like the worst nature documentary ever.

“Really? All of it?”
“All eight thousand eight hours of it.” That same Mechanical had left a note at the bottom saying that it wanted those eight thousand eight hours of its existence back. Of course it hadn't watched them all in real time and had sped everything up to view it all within a useful timeframe, but the computational equivalent was just as seemingly long for them. And she knew somewhere, some poor, poor sap really was watching all of it in real time, as a duty to study it. Probably multiple saps. She hoped it was some Modulars as they had the hardest time going insane and could stand the most tedium.

“If you've seen it all, can I have it back? I hadn't seen a lot of it yet.”

We have plenty of copies. I think that would reasonable. It'll keep him happy and entertained.

Squishy immediately agreed. Indeed. I will send an immediate request out. He is a high priority for keeping happy as he has been very useful. Or so I have been told.

Chiri returned to the speaker. “This would be acceptable. When you return to your quarters, your collection will have been returned.”

“Thanks!” His hand swiped at the tray and found it empty. “Hey, out of food here. Can I get some more?”
“That can be done,” Chiri responded, and she signaled the cart to return.

“And while you're at it, can I get some more of those little cake square things from the other day?”

One of you, make it so! Squishy ordered.

“We will need a few minutes to complete your request. We could take a break until then. Would that be acceptable?”

“Sounds great,” he said, as he lounged back on his couch.

Chiri shut off the speaker again and sighed. Once he has his cakes, should we continue the general questioning on the nations?

The voices chattered again.
It would be useful to finish this set for easier data analysis.
Ease has already been taken away by his fear of robot zombies.
Agreed. We should do more focused questioning, especially on the Shepistani threat.
We have very little hard data on the Collectors, however, so despite his protests we should perhaps push more for information.
No! He is too valuable for other reasons to risk ruining him to fill a single data point, and he doesn't have hard data anyway! Probe the lower-value subjects on the Collectors instead.
The Collectors are a large hole in our studies.
We have millions of holes to fill. He can help with hundreds. That trumps a single hole.
Agreed.

It was another day in the Refuge. Always so much to do.
   Profile |  

Mayabird
PostPosted: 2010-11-30 10:55am 

Storytime!


Joined: 2003-11-26 05:31pm
Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
Prime Refuge
October 3399


The hidden Refugees debated over the years whether they should reveal themselves to the active galaxy just beyond. Pros and cons, hopes and fears, the data collected by the Potential Contact Research Division: all were weighed against each other, but no definite answer was ever made, so they maintained the status quo. They built and prepared for the worst, but most of all tried to maintain a low profile so they would not be noticed. Rarely a little ship blundered too close and had to be captured or destroyed, and that was more data for Contact Research. The consensus had been gradually shifting, back and forth but steadily over time, towards contact. Contact Research had already been training avians to be potential diplomats, and everyone had plans – contingency, emergency, best case scenario, worst case scenario, everything in between, even for the bizarre ideas that Fourth Hypotheticals and Speculation Program came up with. They had to be ready for anything.

Image


Thus, they had already drilled for such an event when the Collector monolith came plowing through their space.

The monolith was on a mission to collect individuals of the former Outlander races, Mari and Angmarids and so on for their usual strange studies. The Collectors had no previous knowledge of anyone living in this sector, knowing only that it was the path to go from their territory to the ones beyond. The outlying drones and sensor stations detected its presence and sent the signal:

Mauve Alert.

Panic Node began to scream at about this moment.


The monolith detected unusual signatures from a nearby system, an assemblage of many masses – an Airaii swarm? It transitioned to realspace to investigate.

Orbiting the star and its planets were ships and stations of unknown designers. Many ships. Thousands, tens of thousands, maybe even more. It was not a Dyson swarm, or perhaps, it was not one yet. Exact numbers were hard to get, because many of those ships were in the process of docking with each other or already had. Also, in between the monolith and those ships were an increasingly large armada of warships. Hundreds were there, mostly small and medium sized with a scattering of heavies, and more arrived every second, taking their places in the formations. Slowly approaching too was a massive defensive station, itself carrying one fourth the armament of the monolith. The monolith still outmassed and outgunned the armada, but the gap was increasingly being closed

The armada and the monolith stared each other down. The Refugees, wanting perfect clarity and no confusion, sent out only one message, repeated and transmitted in every wavelength and hyperspace channel it could:

NO POACHING.

The Collector monolith completed its scan of the Refugee armada and station, then continued on its way. These were not Outlander races but something new, and its mission parameters did not include collecting these people. The armada followed briefly, making sure that it left their territory and the Refuge unmolested.

They had no choice on Contact now. Their Refuge had been Found.
   Profile |  

fgalkin
PostPosted: 2011-01-10 02:48am 

Carvin' Marvin


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Posts: 14425
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
Insects Underfoot
Inner Sphere, Homeship One- Glimmering Kadath
Unreal Time (right after the Central Alliance's arrival)

Image

Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task* flew through the heavy, smoke-filled not-air of the Inner Sphere at top speed, it’s many eyes bulging from their sockets from the strain, and it’s long red cape fluttering behind it like a tongue of flame. The barrier separating the Inner Sphere from the rest of the Homeship was made of pure orichalcum but it was nowhere near strong enough to contain the power of the Demogorgon and It’s Lords during a Council. The power spilled out of the Black Gate like a waterfall and permeated everywhere like a thick miasma, reflecting off ward-inscribed walls and gathering in reality-warping pools to await emergency release. It was a trivial matter to take some of that power for oneself, and for the first time in centuries Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task felt it’s consciousness leave the accursed confines of it’s body, and saw and felt things as they were meant to be experienced. Then, it took a deep breath with all five of it’s mouths, sucking in the power along with the noxious not-air and, despite the heavy ward-inscribed rings of orichalcum on its neck and wrists, it flew .

It could hear startled mind-gasps below, as other daemons stared at the one with the audacity to steal crumbs of power from the masters’ table and break even the merciless laws of gravity. Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task did not care. It was terrified of being late. Fear permeated every facet of the daemon’s soul, it was the only thing that still existed and mattered, supplanting even the ever-present sense of Duty. Every daemon’s performance was measured against an increasingly-strict set of guidelines with every passing year, and to Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task , nothing was more terrible than standing before the Demogorgon’s all-penetrating gaze and being found wanting in its efforts for the Duty. Thus, it pressed on, ignoring the burning-chilling pain from the ward-rings on its neck as they fought futilely to suppress its power and return it to the ground.

It’s destination was none other than the Black Gate itself, a massive structure in the center of Insects Underfoot, the Lost’s capital city. The sprawling metropolis housed tens of millions of lesser daemons deemed important enough to be allowed into the presence of their masters permanently. It was there that the headquarters of the Commissions and Tribunals and Prikazes, the great counting houses and the planariums were housed. Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task, who made its home in the vastness of the aft port engine was not particularly impressed, though.

Image

The Black Gate dwarfed it all. The massive orichalcum-laced structure rose the entire height of the Inner Sphere, it’s top lost somewhere in the smoke above. The enormous gate which gave the structure its name was only a small part of its magnificent height and girth. As Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task landed on the plateau that was the top step on the giant stairway which led into the city below, sentries emerged. They were vile things, with many hands and tentacles, armed with cruel swords, chains and spikes of orichalcum and cursed steel. The daemon felt a stab of disgust as it tasted their thoughts They examined Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task and knew it had been expected. They stepped backwards, bowing. But it had no time for this. It had been summoned before the Council, an honor it had never known before in all it’s uncounted millennia of service.

Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task straightened it’s red cape, inscribed with protective wards, and shifted it’s stomach-tentacles ever so slightly. It could see itself reflected in the thoughts of the guards, and it was satisfied.

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Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task, Greater Daemon

Once it stepped into the blackness that separated the Demogorgon’s inner sanctum from the rest of the universe, all thoughts disappeared. The torrent of power that was spilling from the Gate into the city beyond was nothing compared to the vast oceans inside. For an instant, Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task was lost, swept up and away like a piece of wood in a maelstrom as it was transported across dimensional barriers into the pocket universe of the daemons’ leader.

Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task had been expecting and dreading this moment ever since it had received the summons, but nothing could prepare it for the experience of entering the leader’s inner sanctum and actually standing before the Demogorgon’s gaze. It felt like an endless storm of red-hot needles swirling about in howling fury was peeling away its flesh and soul, layer by layer. One by one, it’s memories and secrets were ripped out from its screaming mind, examined and cast aside like useless rags, on and on, down to the Name that was the daemon’s core. The Demogorgon spoke the Name and Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task felt its flesh and very soul buckle and change, eager to serve a master far greater and more magnificent than itself.

“Arise,” The Demogorgon spoke. “Arise and see.”

Despite itself, Tireless Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task stopped writhing on the floor in agony. It gathered its limbs and tentacles, grit it’s side-jaws and got up. It blinked its eyes, one at a time, and turned its head from side to side, taking in the picture.

While the Black Gate had been massive from the outside, inside the pocket universe was tiny, with just enough space for the visiting Lords inside. Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task wondered whether it was always so, or whether the Demogorgon had made it so for the occasion.

There were almost three dozen beings present, the five great Ship Lords and their closest underlings. Some, like Steady Brilliant Throbbing Of Plasma Exhaust Against The Blackness of Space As Dimensional Boundaries Blur And The First Glimmer of Hyperspace Appears, the Lord in charge of the Homeship’s subluminal and faster-than-light drives and Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task’s immediate superior chose physical avatars. Others, especially the Lords from other Homeships limited themselves to illusions of techosorcery and real-time submesonic communication. The Demogorgon itself did not deign to create a visual representation of itself, remaining nowhere and everywhere.

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Steady Brilliant Throbbing Of Plasma Exhaust Against The Blackness of Space As Dimensional Boundaries Blur And The First Glimmer of Hyperspace Appears, Daemon Lord

“Why was I summoned here?” Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task wanted to ask. Suddenly, it knew.

It saw, as if it was right there, the very fabric of reality rising and buckling, straining under tremendous pressure from without. It saw whole sectors, worlds and solar systems and fleets of ships appear into existence out of nowhere. It saw the gravitational wave spread, remaking the ancient murky shoals of the Expanse, clearing them away like a tsunami washing over a swamp. It saw these things and was afraid.

“The world has changed,” came a voice in Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task’s mind. “The world has changed and we cannot wait.”

“We are not ready,” one of the minor Ship Lords said.

“It is too late. We shall never be ready,” The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom the Ship Lord of Homeship Three said. The giant demon was sitting on it’s throne, as thousands of it’s underlings whose dedication to Duty was proven to be inadequate thrashed and screamed as they were impaled on giant spikes on it’s back. “But we must act regardless.”

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The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom, Shiplord

“The time for waiting is over.” Steady Brilliant Throbbing Of Plasma Exhaust Against The Blackness of Space As Dimensional Boundaries Blur And The First Glimmer of Hyperspace Appears said. “We may have been found at last.”

There was a long silence, as everyone in the room considered that thought.

“Ascertaining this will be our first priority,” the Demogorgon.

Does that mean…. Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task began to think. The thought of it being given such a responsibility was….unimaginable. “I..”

“Precisely so. Unimaginable,” It That Wishes It Saw Everything, No Matter How Great Or Small said. The Daemon Lord in charge of the Homeship’s sensors had chosen a suitable avatar, an endless space full of eyes. “That task is far too important to entrust to a puny thing such as yourself. But you can still be of use to me and to our Duty.”

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It That Wishes It Saw Everything, No Matter How Great Or Small, Daemon Lord

Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task looked up in surprise.

“During the War To End All Wars, you have carried the word of The Giver of Purpose to the Materials, have you not?”

Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task bowed. It had been so long ago, yet it remembered every detail of that war, and it’s Duty then.

“The time of our isolation has come to an end,” the Daemon Lord continued. “We will investigate these creatures which appeared on our very doorstep. But, we must not neglect the other Materials. The “Owens,” we must know how deep the taint runs within them. And these “Humans,” and “Bragulans” and “Karlacks,” and all others, we must know about them, too. With the shoals of the Expanse shrunken to nothing, it is only a matter of time before we are found. The initiative must lie with us and not them.”

Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task bowed again.

“What was your name then?” the Daemon Lord asked.

“The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature,” Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task answered. The assembled Daemon Lords chuckled.

“A good name,” It That Wishes It Saw Everything, No Matter How Great Or Small said. “It will be yours once again.” Still chuckling, the Daemon Lord spoke the lesser being’s true Name, binding it to itself for all eternity.

“Now go. You have a mission to perform.”

Counter of Important Things, An Endless And Thankless Sisyphean Task, who was now called The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature bowed again and turned around.

“This mission is important,” it could hear The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom’s mind-voice in its mind, reverberating through it’s very being. Reacting to the Daemon Lord’s sudden movement, the countless daemons impaled on it’s back let out a wail of agony in unison. “Don’t fail in it.”

The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature wowed to itself to make sure of that.

*The original language of daemons was not verbal, but rather, based on the direct telepathic sharing of ideas and emotions. Thus, the names listed here are merely approximations of the abstract concepts that serve as the daemons' "names."
------------------------------
OOC Action: The Lost are preparing to end their period of isolation and join the galaxy at large.

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin
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Tanasinn
PostPosted: 2011-01-27 02:32am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2007-01-21 11:10pm
Posts: 1690
Location: Void Zone
Exerpt from The Humanist Union: Past, Present, and Future

A Brief History of Piracy in the Humanist Union

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The Maximum Fuck is a pirate frigate known for its ex-navy captain and savage crew. Its frequent evasion of Federal Naval resources despite its daring and frequent raids is a point of embarassment for naval authorities.

While most interstellar nations contend with space-borne criminal elements of some fashion or another, the Humanist Union has a particularly long history of conflict with local bands of pirates. The republic that preceded the Humanist Union is in part responsible for this phenomenon; early in its history, it commissioned large fleets of privateers to supplement its then-anemic space navy. The advantages of this were, at the time, numerous. Giving existing pirate forces in the republic letters of marque acted to reduce predation on republican civilian assets, simultaneously reducing pressure on the navy. Privateer forces helped keep the republic's local opponents at bay and to hinder their economies, as well as to eliminate those corsairs unwilling to cooperate with the republic. Finally, the republic was able to lean on this "black fleet" to control the size of its existing military, deriving popularity from keeping military expenditures and conscription to a minimum.

As with most civilized states, the Interstellar Cooperative Republic's development and solidification made pseudo-legitimate criminal assets a hinderance to its further economic and diplomatic development in cooperation with other nations. No longer was the republic able to excuse the pirates operating out of its space as rogue elements beyond the control of a modest state. The republic began attempts to liquidate its privateer fleets through various means. Some were integrated into the military or simply bought out, but these methods proved largely ineffective. Privateer associations were, by this time, quite wealthy and enjoyed considerable political pull in the republic, particularly in its badly-patrolled fringes. Formerly-legitimate privateers turned to raw piracy as the republican military initiated a brutal crackdown. Atrocities on both sides escalated as each party attempted to break the other's will to fight, however, the Republican Privateers' Association, as they had become known, proved unable to meaningfully resist a formal military backed by a growing economy. The Association would be reduced from a serious security threat to a nuisance, but it was one that would persist for centuries to come.

As the state neared collapse from economic failure and fantastic political corruption, piracy once again became a significant issue to the Interstellar Cooperative Republic. The Republican Privateers' Association saw a resurgance of power due to economic desperation and the diminished ability of the demoralized, underpaid, overstretched republican navy to enforce trade safety with regularity. In the republic's far reaches, particularly hard-hit colony worlds began to form citizens' navies. These pirate forces acted to help supplement the economies of desperately poor worlds by preying on inter and intrastate trade, as well as acting as a militia against the depredations of the RPA and minor pirate elements operating with all but impunity in the reaches. Many of these individual citizens' navies would unite under the banner of the so-called Rim Independence Army in the twilight hours of the republic.

All ability of the ICR to hold pirates in check ceased with the military emergency that would eventually ignite into open revolution, the Humanist Union's "Progressive Civil War." Criminal violence exploded as both sides of the conflict concentrated their energies on their respective navies rather than on pirate forces. Notable pirate cooperatives - prominently, the Rim Independence Army and the Republican Privateers' Association - fought on both sides of the civil war as formal auxilleries. While the former largely worked with the Progressive Coalition, the latter were noted to be somewhat divided; each side of the Civil War promised the RPA renewed legitimacy in the post-war republic, and the Association divided along the lines of who they expected to ultimately be victorious. RPA forces would largely change sides as it became increasingly clear that the ICR's legitimate government was losing the war. The ultimate defeat of the Republican Navy during the Third Battle of Elysion did not end with its destruction or surrender - a considerable portion of the fleet instead fled for points unknown early on in the battle, their morale broken. This fleet, combining with other republican remnants in the hours following the formal conclusion of the civil war, would call themselves the Coalition to Restore the Republic, and would soon turn from legitimate military raids to simply piracy and banditry.

The Coalition of Cooperative Planets that succeeded the ICR and preceded the Humanist Union did not honor its agreement with pirate forces to restore their legitimacy. To the contrary, ideological and public relations concerns made this an impossibility, and some historians have questioned whether the Progressive allies ever intended to honor their agreements. While the Rim Independence Army largely evaporated with greater military presence and relief efforts in the borderlands, the RPA resumed a campaign of vicious piracy quite similar to the one it had engaged in against the now-gone republic, albiet against a horrifically-weakened state. The RPA and Coalition to Restore the Republic would ultimately sign non-aggression and cooperation pacts. Remaining piratical elements of the Rim Independence Army, now-bereft of civilian support, signed on with what became known as the United Corsair Confederation. This super-cooperative of pirates would plague the CCR and Humanist Union for decades to come.

Today, the power of the UCC has largely faded. The rot of the Coalition to Restore the Republic - always the most powerful faction - and the simultaneous stabilization of the Humanist Union have had an extremely destructive effect; even the recent acquisition of the small New Haven Cooperative has had little effect on this trend. The UCC is still taken seriously by the Union government, however. For decades, it acted as a serious threat to the recovery of the Union and establishment of new systems. Millions of Union citizens have suffered the brutality of these pirates, particularly early in the Union's history, when its navy was almost nonexistent. The Federal Navy's animosity for the UCC is notorious and tinged not just in revulsion for their criminality but in ideological hated; the UCC is viewed as the last bastion of the predatory republican state that the Progressive forces fought so hard to defeat. It is notable that in a state where the death penalty has been almost completely outlawed, pirates have no human rights whatsoever. Federal Navy forces are under no obligation to accept the surrender of pirate vessels, and summary execution is the norm, even when the targets are helpless escape pods. While some of the up and coming naval officers have proven less ruthless, the greater bulk of the naval and state establishment still feel a very intimate hatred for the Union's local piratical elements. The feeling is, as they say, mutual.
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Fingolfin_Noldor
PostPosted: 2011-01-27 01:21pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2006-05-15 10:36am
Posts: 11434
Location: At the Helm of the HAB Star Dreadnaught Star Fist
From the Annals of the Great Crusade

The Thought Bearers were a race of xenos who were known to be relatively powerful psykers. Much like the Ampliturs and other psychically gifted xenos, they could wield their mind powers with great efficacy, and the general order when engaging such xenos was that either the Imperium’s own psykers would move to engage them, or that the Imperium would deploy psychic nullifier fields to nullify the effect of their powerful psyker powers.

The Thought Bearers however, like many xenos during the Great Crusade, were caught on the wrong side, and like many foolish xenos, they subscribed to the “Greater Good” mantra the Tau espoused, and thus earning the eternal ire of the Imperium. However, because of their gifts, they were marked for a special kind of death.

For the coming assault, the Imperium assembled the Space Marine trinity; an equal part of Varangian Rus, Anatolian Guard and Ultramarines would be involved in a highly complex operation. Each legion would focus on their core strengths: The Anatolian Guard would seek out and find weaknesses in the planetary shield and tear it open, while the Varangian Rus would swam and overwhelm the defenders, and the Ultramarines would take control of the city in an orderly fashion. Backing up the Space Marines, was of course over 2 million Imperial Guardsmen.

The Imperial warfleet emerged from the Warp and began hammering the planetary shield at points where the Anatolian Guard Siege Engineers had identified as weak points in the shield matrix. Targeting these points, the Imperial fleet unleashed a withering bombardment, striking the shield with great violence. Meanwhile, Anatolian Guard Astartes had landed earlier ahead of the attacking armada, smuggling themselves aboard a freighter that had arrived to deliver some goods to the Thought Bear’s homeworld. They then made their way towards the shield generators, with their cloaking field generators and psychic nullifier fields activated to prevent the Thought Bearers from sensing them. They managed to make their way to the shield generators, and proceeded to sabotage them.

The combination of orbital bombardment, and the destruction of many shield generators, opened the Thought Bearers’ homeworld to invasion. Before thousands of landing barges and Thunderhawk and Stormhawk gunships deployed, the fleet began bombardment of many strategic points, destroying more shield generators, and soon the entire shield was no more. The fleet then proceeded unleashed millions of psychic screamers onto the ground. These devices were designed to stun the Thunder Bearers and making the population riper for conquest.

Once on the ground, the Space Marines unleashed their ferocity. Insertion strikes into the city destroyed and captured vital installations, fierce bombardment was unleashed upon the cities of the Thought Bearers, and then the cities were stormed. Sisters of Silence and Grey Knights joined the battle to aid the Astartes in their vicious fight against the remaining defenders. They employed their anti-psyker training to great use, using various anti-psyker weapons such as anti-psyker grenades and employing psychic amplifiers in nullifier mode to stun the enemy. The Thought Bearer civilians were stunned and then rounded up. Recalcitrant defenders were simply destroyed utterly. By the end of the week, millions in a state of sedation were loaded up onto barges to be transported to Terra.
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To complete the deed, the 3 Strategos Primus walked into the throne room of the King of the Thought Bearers. The King glared at them. “I know what you intend for my people, you loathsome bastards. It wasn’t enough that you must exterminate the Tau, now you must enslave my people. Enslave them to be fed to your damned ‘God’ Emperor.”

Aurelian Komnenos merely shrugged. “It wasn’t our fault you decided to be on the wrong side. You were stupid enough to join the Tau and wage war on us. We are merely repaying the favour for the deaths of many on Antioch and many other human worlds. Don’t try to pretend to be all sanctimonious and righteous. You defied the will of the God Emperor, and so you must now die, in the fashion we so choose.”

“How dare you—“

But in a flash, he had a sword at his throat and he was pushed to the ground. “Don’t bother with your sorcery tricks,” growled Rus Komnenos. “You and your damned race will all be put to the death. You, and your damned race will simply wallow and die at the choosing of the God Emperor.”

It was at that moment that the King’s will slackened. He had seen the future and knew that there was no stopping it. He had joined the Tau because he feared what might come, but then he realised that his actions had brought his fears to reality. There was no hope for him or his race. He had damned themselves to the mercy of the humans. He wept.

The Thought Bearers were transported to Terra for their intended purpose. Deep underneath the Imperial Palace, there existed a facility to house all the Thought Bearers in cocoons, where they were connected through a mind machine interface to a fantasy world, and they were kept in a heavy state of sedation with psychic nullifiers operating at high power. The Thought Bearers were actually either cloned or allowed some degree of reproduction to maintain their race at a certain population level. Within that facility, many deranged psykers were also housed in a state of sedation.

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The psykers have unique souls in that they resonated with a fair amount of psychic power. A psyker powerful and gifted enough, could somehow suck out their souls and feast upon it. In so doing, the God Emperor could enhance his powers by feasting on these powerful souls. What he did with the additional power, no one except his advisers and his sons know. Perhaps he required additional strength for his personal projects, which themselves are a deep secret. And so the Thought Bearers began their centuries long imprisonment, forever to be served as sustenance for the Carrion Lord of the Imperium. Till this day, they remain trapped in their prison, and all of the original survivors have since been consumed by the God Emperor.
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Tanasinn
PostPosted: 2011-01-31 02:32am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2007-01-21 11:10pm
Posts: 1690
Location: Void Zone
From an early draft of New Humanism and the Vanguard Party, a work by Roland Stein, republished with permission in The Humanist Union: Past, Present, and Future

---
[...]

Frequently, the concept of the 'vanguard party' has been criticized as undemocratic, authoritarian, a cynical power-grab by men and women willing to climb on the backs of their 'comrades' to reach the heights of power. History is replete of examples where this criticism has proven true, if not immediately, then in time, as imitators replace revolutionaries. How can an organization claim to represent the people when it deigns to take no outside input save that which it prefers? The issue is a legitimate one. When discussing why a vanguard party is desirable, then, one must put it in context with a standard political party. By standard political party, I refer to the model found in most republican states, which may be broadly defined as a voluntary-membership organization that any adult citizen may join, whose leadership is ostensibly consented to by the party membership and, by extension, the people the party represents. A standard political party does not or should not seek to seize power through non-democratic means, it is limited to playing within the rules of an existing political system, more-or-less.

These standard sort of political parties frequently fall victim to factionalism, accidental or otherwise. Many parties throughout time have ground to a halt over an inability to agree to an agenda; this can lead to a decidedly undemocratic situation in states with few meaningful political parties. Corruption by existing oligarchs is a considerable weakness of standard political parties, as they cannot refuse membership and crave both the money and power an oligarch represents. The powerful and wealthy (and rarely does the former occur in the absence of the latter), thus integrated into the party, are able to direct it to their own purposes through their undue influences. Frequently, they use their unusual powers to limit the choices the party has in their leadership, competing amongst themselves to see which band of oligarchs party policy will bow lowest for. Our nation's own Socialist Party was a victim of these first two phenomenon and nearly totally collapsed as a result. Finally, in an already-weak state - the sort that needs our proposed vanguard party - the existing power structure typically cultivates (deliberately or otherwise) a culture of political idiocy. A party whose membership and voters consist of those with only a feeble grasp on politics are easily manipulated and prone to politically destructive behavior that does not recognize the shape of the real world. Witness the phenomenon of a party 'by the people' that is not 'for the people.'

The vanguard party, such as we've defined it earlier in this text, suffers considerably less from these critical weaknesses. Vanguard parties are selective in their membership, which helps to prevent the dangers of factionalism. Their deliberately-controlled size also helps to preserve ideological agreement between members and party leadership, and simplifies solving disagreements. Selective membership, in a properly-formed vanguard party, prevents infection by those who would steer the party off of its course; leadership of a vanguard party is ideally democratic and no member is "more equal" than any other thanks to wealth and power. Finally, political idiocy is entirely antithetical to the vanguard party - the vanguard party's membership are not fueled by simplistic slogans but by political arguments, and those too lazy to engage in meaningful discourse are barred entry to begin with. As the vanguard party siezes power rather than asking for it, neither does it need concern itself with slogging through the political myopia of the masses.

It is arguable that the vanguard party concept, besides its here-mentioned strengths, carries with it a moral advantage. In a state that exists in a sufficient condition of chaos to justify a vanguard party, is it not truer to humanist ideals to immediately force stability, peace, and government for the people than to attempt to game an already-collapsing political structure? Is the consent of the governed more important than the lives of the governed? Their physical, mental, and economic health? Is acquiring the consent of the governed worth the risk of becoming a corrupt political party that no longer intends to act for the good of the governed? The answer of new humanism to these questions is no, and always no. Democracy, particularly corrupt democracy, must yield before the common good. The vanguard party is the instrument of the common good.

One question springing from this, naturally, concerns guaranteeing that the vanguard party always pursues the common good, remaining an agent of the people even as revolutionaries die and new men and women with no memories of the struggle before replace them. Human nature, it has been argued, is selfish. All polticians are corrupt. All systems rot. There is no altruism in government. These arguments are all tied to the question of human nature: is the human irrevocably greedy? The answer, science has revealed, is no. Humans are altruistic, empathetic beings. Natural selection, of course, is not a perfect tool - human empathy has chinks in its armor. The death of one is a tragedy and one million a statistic - from this platitude we can get a sense of these chinks in humanity's moral armor, and how moral defectives might exploit them. New humanism tells us that we must bypass these human weaknesses by improving humanity itself, becoming more than human. The vanguard party and the government that follows it must, if it adheres to new humanism's principles, seek to create the perfect empathetic human to guide the greater whole of humanity on its improvement.

Of course, such a goal is a lofty one, and in the meantime, controls can be placed on a post-revolution government to help cover for human flaws. A self-replacing legislature with long terms but small term limits helps prevent autocracy while allowing top level officials to affect changes without worry of coming elections or public misunderstanding of long-term policies. The military should be subordinated to this civilian government ultimately and explicitly, as a defense against counter-revolution and military autocracy. The judiciary must not be answerable to the legislature save under the most unusual circumstances, and laws must be put in place that are crafted to severely and reliably punish incompetence, corruption, and nepotism. Lower houses of government - planetary, provincial, et cetera - should be democratic and elected by the people. Citizens are thus able to affect change on the poltical issues most personally important to them. Popular vote acts as a control on corruption, as does the overarching federal legislature, which can keep a close eye on these local democracies for the typical rot that characterizes democratic systems with time. Popularly-elected politicians are more capable than federally-appointed governors of sensitivity to the public's needs, which are communicated to the federal legislature.

[...]

Last edited by Tanasinn on 2011-08-11 04:51pm, edited 1 time in total.
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