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

SDNW4 Story Thread 1

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Dark Hellion
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-06 02:55am 

Permanent n00b


Joined: 2002-08-25 07:56pm
Posts: 3473

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


Baron Vladimir attempted to shove his way through the crowd towards one of the numerous Bragulan kiosks. While Baron was his actual first name he was currently using his alias of Fats Smaller. After minutes of jostling and pushing he finally managed to make it to the end of the queue, breathing heavily and sweating profusely. Partly he was sweating because of the glow of Bragulan radioisotopic florescents, partly because he was morbidly obese enough to need a suspensor-girdle to walk, but mostly because he was very, very nervous. Fats knew a man in his line of work should not be nervous about doing what he was doing but he was not the kind of man who would be calmed by that. Fats was a Procurer, someone who for the right amount of money could get just about anything from guns to medicine to realistic sex-bots. He liked to think that he was a merchant who helped people get the things they wanted. Other people, who weren't as kind to Fats as he was to himself would call him a merchant of death.

Fats didn't look like the kind of man who had a shoot-on-sight sentence in a half dozen systems. Usually this was because people in his business made sure not to look like such. But for Fats it was because he always tried to look like how he felt inside, and inside he didn't feel like a man who deserved a death sentence. Sure, his guns had been used in that whole East Coast/West Coast affair on the planet Gangstar, but he sold to both sides equally and none of his buyers had criminal records on that world. And then there was the stink about what he had charged for the vaccines he had sold to the orphanariums on planet Dickens; after shipping, storage and handling he had to charge that to make a profit! And while Fats may have had an overly rosy opinion of himself he may also have been partially right. Although ethically unscrupulous, deep in his rotund body was a heart that was oversized; and not just because of his excessive caloric intake.

This was probably what got him into trouble in his job. His father had been so much better at it. Fats was very good at the logistical stuff: getting the items, filling out the customs sheets, mislabeling the right cargo containers. But he always seemed to choose the wrong clients. Like this current job. It was technically a very easy job. He just had to buy some K-bolters, ammunition and miscellaneous other Bragulan items and make sure they got shipped to the proper storehouse. Afterward, he was to stay at the BEEEF for as long as he wanted. He was getting a lot of money for the items and even had a per diem and a comped suite. However, a lot of other things just didn't quite seem to add up. As he stood in line thinking about how he had been contracted for this he became more nervous and consequently more sweaty.

The first communication had been received by one of his receptionists in the form of a semi-realtime text message. This was not unusual as they were easy to encrypt and their small size meant they could be bounced around the system net until they were nearly untraceable to anyone without the proper backtracking code. The contents of the message weren't unusual either, they wanted unspecified items from the BEEEF. Also included was the access information for a bank account that while initially empty became a lot less so when Fats replied that he would hear out the full request. It was this bank account, he decided, that had strung him along into his current situation. It continued to grow every time he agreed to the increasingly weird requests.

First, they wanted Fats to conduct the purchase personally. Now, while he did handle some of the larger or more sensitive deals himself he had many agents who were better qualified to perform this type of service and told them so. They replied that he was the most qualified man for the job and would be compensated for his troubles. Then the account nearly doubled. Fats couldn't resist making a weeks profit for a few hours of work, especially when he could also conduct side business on the client's dime. So he agreed. A few days later a small package with the clients' confidential code arrived by private courier. Inside was a datachip and a small metal case. The datachip had the details of the purchase on it, as well as a few other instructions. Fats almost walked away then and there but decided to check the account one more time. This time it had more than doubled. Running the numbers in his head he realized that this was his biggest deal ever for the time involved.

Resolve restored he opened the metal case and looked at the contents: a tube of face cream and a ballpoint pen. Of course, the cream was actually a tube of poly-nanites, tiny machines that would temporarily make small modifications to the body and fool most civilian biometric scanners. Fats had used this before, sometimes he did have to sell items that you wouldn't want to leave a gene-print on. The pen was much more worrying. Inside the fully functional writing device was an even more functional ID spoofer. The tiny electronic device would detect a scan of his ID chip and along with the normal ID data insert a small chunk of code that would delete the entry after a short time. A person with a spoofer could pass through a checkpoint and five minutes later there would be no record of them having crossed it. Fats couldn't quite see the need for it. First, he had a number of valid fake ID chips and secondly the list of items to be bought didn't match the secrecy he was being asked to buy them with. It was mostly common Bragulan items. Except for the K-bolters and ammunition it looked like a camping list (not being well versed on xeno culture Fats didn't realize that including the K-bolters it was a Bragulan camping list from Byzon's epic poem on nature appreciation, The Wasteland).

As Fats approached the front of the line he became even more flustered. The spoofer in his pocket felt like it weighed a ton and his heart pounded. Everything he was buying was safe. He was sure of it. But he couldn't help the sneaking suspicion that somewhere along the lines he was doing something that wasn't just his usual skirting of the grey areas but something really, actually illegal. Before he had time fully work out this thought it was his turn. The huge brown Bragulan behind the counter shook his hand vigorously.

"Da, welcome to the BEEEF! What can we get you?"

Too scared to do anything else Fats simply started going down the list. Two crates of K-bolters, four crates of ammo, a half dozen portable heavy water showers, four kilos of Uranium cake soap, fifty cartons of anti-parliment lights... he rattled through the list of items in frightened monotone as the Bragulan nodded and jotted it down... and a gross of Bragulan two-ply, with atomic weave quilting. He then stared as the Bragulan reviewed the list. It seemed to take a very long time, as if the Bragulan was trying to check the items against a mental checklist. Finally, the big brown bear replied.

"Da, we get for you. You taking cubs out for wilderness. Very good. Maybe not all humans black-hearted, treacherous hairless barbarians!" Upon seeing some glances from some otherwise inconspicuous bears in the crowd it quickly added, "only treacherous hairless barbarians!"

After this fats hurried out of converted bunker as fast as possible and made his way to the landing strip where the transport freighter that would carry the goods was parked. He decided to wait there and squeezed inside one of the decon shelters the Bragulan's had set up. This allowed him to take off the breather mask and put away the acid-proof polyvinyl umbrella and sit for the first time in several hours. The slight warmth and slow ticking of the geiger counter soon lulled him into a short nap. He was woken by the sound of crates being loaded onto his ship. Overseeing this was the Bragulan salesman who now sported casts on his arms and legs. Worried about his cargo Fats hurriedly waddled over. Seeing his expression the Bragulan turned towards the man.

"Da, cargo fine. I just have little accident, slip on tongue. No worries! Brag-doc says should work next two days straight!"

Fats let out a sigh of relief. After the cargo was loaded he returned to his small private yacht. The first thing he did was step into his oversized null-grav shower. The warm water washed way the sweat while sonic pulses vibrated the dirt out from between his folds of fat. When he felt suitably clean he cranked the sonics higher to an anti-nanite setting and felt the slow prickle as the tiny machines where resonated to dust. Stepping out he was surprisingly happy to that his hair and eyes had return to their original color and to see the old, familiar acne scars across his face. He was so happy about this he decided to use his birth ID for the rest of the BEEEF. On his way back to the bunker he dealt with the final source of his uneasiness. He chucked the spoofer in a Bragulan waste disposal unit, where its miniature atomic furnace reduced the pen to its component atoms. At last, with only his own weight upon his chest, Mr. Vladimir was ready to partake of his hosts graciousness. It was time to get down to business.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-01-06 03:52am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21955
Recommended Listening: Sergei Prokofiev's The Battle on the Ice. It seemed... thematically appropriate.



Kaiser-class Battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold
1830 Hours Coalition Fleet Standard Time


Call for help. Hang together. Try to survive.

Again the mantra ran through Admiral von Mückenberger's thoughts as the unknown enemy that had come to rob him of his triumph opened fire.

His own passage into the inner system had been relatively slow- he'd had transports to escort and hadn't been in a hurry. The new enemy fleet- more Zebesians, he supposed- were more eager to get into range. Their high-acceleration rush had closed the range fast; it had also driven any thought of coming out to meet them from von Mückenberger's mind. He couldn't stop them from attacking the transports if that was their top priority, but he couldn't risk that they'd simply bull past him, then brake for a zero-relative intercept and start potting troopships at their leisure.

The enemy was so fast, too, even the battleships. It had taken him a minute to realize that the new group had more of the same ships he'd been fighting earlier- the missile and spinal-plasma ships he'd chased away before. Those, as expected for pirates, were high-acceleration for light ships. But the rest of the enemy formation- a mix of unidentified types he'd never seen before- was quite capable of keeping pace with them. Even their battleships were surprisingly fast, faster than a Kaiser could manage without redlining her engines.

The Prussian admiral tensed. "All ships, fire on my signal." They were short on railgun ammunition, and the offensive-missile ships were nearly shot dry, so they'd have to take it slow and steady- hang on, try to survive. But without fleet defensive fire, they'd be sitting ducks; the enemy would be free to concentrate fire and burn down his ships one at a time, with nothing to worry about in the mean time.

He prayed silently that the ammunition would hold out until reinforcements arrived. Steady... steady... as the range closed and the enemy slowed down, von Mückenberger steeled himself to give the order. Another minute... stay calm, never let them see you sweat...

Naturally, it came as quite a shock to the Prussian when the enemy shot first.

The enemy's center, a solid core of destroyers, cruisers medium and heavy, led by a pair of powerful battleships, poured a torrent of exotic radiations into the battleships of von Mückenberger's vanguard. Their macrobeams arced and crashed against the screens of the Prussian heavies, filling all surrounding space with streamers of coruscating force as the very ether surged with the energies being wielded.

The battleships' guard stayed up- flaring with sidescatter, rippling when struck by the indescribable firepower of the Boskone battleships, but not falling. Von Mückenberger would have the time he needed to react.

"All ships, engage with railguns!"

Prinzregent Luitpold vibrated slightly as her own main battery threw a salvo towards one of the distant battlecruisers; the other ships followed suit. The seconds ticked by... and von Mückenberger winced in disappointment. There'd been a few hits, but not enough... this mysterious enemy was too fast!

Inertial manipulation drives were uncommon in the galaxy; they had a reputation as difficult technology. Everything he'd heard about them made him think of the Cochrane neutralization effect as suicidally risky for large manned vessels- even Tianguo, one of the leaders in the field, used the safer but less effective Mach-Lorentz drive. But the strangers had either solved the problem or decided not to care. Von Mückenberger couldn't decide which was more disturbing as he sat, silently watching the enemy pelt his battleships from long range while seeming to ignore the effect of his own fire.

The enemy's advanced drives made them uncannily agile- even their heavy battleships, at least as massive as his own Kaisers. He'd seen the like before, a few high-end demonstration prototypes at naval exhibitions, but he'd never seen this kind of performance out of a serious warship drive.

The mysterious foe used that performance for all it was worth, driving their ships through twisting, darting, flickering evasive patterns that seemed to laugh at the naive expectations of Newtonian physics. Fire control could track them, but to the eye the ships were a blur on the plot... and not even the gunnery computers could be sure of landing hits on them at this range. Too many rounds from the railguns were going wide, aimed for where the enemy ought to be in twenty or thirty seconds' time... only for the target to decide, seemingly on a whim, to be hundreds of kilometers away when the impactors shot by.

The battleships' rounds were guided- but hypervelocity slugs, even guided ones, were unforgiving of bad aim. And the ECM environment was hellish- this had to be the first time any of this hardware had been seen, and von Mückenberger's command wasn't adapting well. Guidance systems were as likely as not to simply fail to track their targets, and even when they did the damn thing was more likely than not to sidestep.

At the same time, the enemy heavies kept up the fire of their unknown, exotic beams. Like all the Prussian ships, his battleships were slow-footed, short on fuel for evasive maneuvers that could earn them seconds of respite as the beams walked off target. There seemed no way to keep their fire off his shields.

The only saving grace was that while the Prussians couldn't take down their targets at this range, the enemy couldn't either. Von Mückenberger wouldn't hear a word against the Kaiser-class design, it was a fine expression of the Prussian naval tradition, and the Kaisers had been made to handle heavier fire than these. The Admiralty staff's original specifications had called for a ship that could survive fire from a Umerian Titan-class dreadnought indefinitely. Whether they'd gotten one was still an open question, but no one doubted they'd come close.

Shields twisted and wavered, but power distribution banks shifted more energy to the task of holding them together, and the interlocking barrier fields held. Seldom did any of the unknown ships find a weak spot with their probing beams- and very little got through even then. What did manage to penetrate, occasional local burnthroughs and nothing more, ran into massive belts of specialized ablatives, cofferdams to isolate damaged armor panels from the layers below, and a seemingly endless redundancy of surface systems.

The Prussian battleships might not be able to kill their elusive, distant foes, but they soldiered on. They would no doubt continue to soldier on until the means of resistance were exhausted... or reinforcements arrived, with fresh supplies and power to burn taking them down.

Call for help. Hang together. Try to survive.

Von Mückenberger winced as the first destroyer in his van blew up, one of the escorts to Bödicker's Second Battle Squadron. One of the enemy battlecruisers had decided to ignore the capital ship it had been beaming to pick on a smaller target.

He'd had other ships badly damaged before in this action, and he suspected a few of his missile frigates would have been constructive total losses in any case after the Zebesians got through with them earlier, but a destroyer- destroyers were escorts, not to be trusted with serious combat, but they were almost real fighting ships, almost cruiser strength. Something that could kill his destroyers could kill his cruisers.

He didn't like fighting an opponent that could kill cruisers like that, could do it so casually in principle. It was something outside his experience, almost outside the experience of the fleet in recent years entirely.

What to do...

It seemed as though there was nothing- he was trapped!

No, no, no. It's all right. Call for help. Hang together. Try to survive. That's the ticket.

Undisclosed Location, Sector H-12
Boskonian Sector Command Dome
1835 Hours


From the simulator, High Admiral Natalya Zokolova felt as though she were drifting in space, surveying the fleet battle around Zebes via the submesonic communicators in a few of her core units. The perspective was... godlike.

Tactical direction was in the hands of the squadron leaders, but she was ready at any time to adjust her dispositions. The core ships, built to standard Boskonian pattern, were performing as expected. Their macrobeam weapons and Bergenholm drives gave them a great advantage at long range, in both accuracy and evasion.

As long as the Boskonian core fleet could keep the range open, the Enemy had to flail away, taking an endless storm of energy on their shields and expending even more power on counterfire just to keep her ships from overwhelming them entirely. At the same time, her ships were at their most efficient, in the kind of long range engagement they'd been designed for. She had too many of the light battlecruisers and not enough of the heavy dreadnoughts to overwhelm the Prussians, and their defense screens were quite resilient so far... but they were burning power faster than she, and she had more to spare.

The flanks were a task for irregular forces: the former flank groups of the Zebes defense force, pulled out at her order, and what assets she'd been able to pull in from nearby sectors. The Enemy's heavy missile cruisers had fired off most of their ammunition already, but the battlecruisers and destroyers were still returning fire, and here the exchange was more even. She was a bit worried about the task force to dorsal, they were engaged against a battlecruiser squadron of unusual profile... Then the briefing materials fit together.

Von Musel. He'd taken down one of her squadrons already at Mining Facility Two, and she had a strong suspicion from the behavior of his ships that his Valkyries hadn't burned off as much of their supplies as their sister battlecruisers. Their fire was... deliberate, but not artificially slow like most of the others.

She considered whether there was any need to single him out, then shrugged. The assets he was tied up against were expendable, and he was shackled to a collapsing fleet, his own anomalous competence would matter little- he would die with the rest, or be captured if he had the wit to surrender. There were other things to keep track of. A flex of the jaw brought up a list of communications contacts; she selected one and inquired.

"Contrecoup Six status?"

"All checks complete. Standing by. Enemy expected shortly."

Valkyrie-class Battlecruiser SMS Brunhild
Flagship Sixth Battlecruiser Squadron
1838 Hours Fleet Standard Time


Korvettenkapitän Siegfried Kircheis viewed the plot with concern. The enemy, relying heavily on energy weapons, was keeping their distance, exploiting high mobility and narrow target profiles to avoid concentrations of fire. And the logical counter- a missile barrage- would not be possible here; they didn't have enough missiles left to make much of a dent...

He was especially worried about the center, but Second Fleet's cruiser squadrons, on the flanks and slightly to the rear of the battleships, were very much in the fight themselves. While the battleships took the brunt of fire from the eight capital-class and two dozen or so lighter ships of the enemy's center, the rest of their fleet scattered out towards the flanks- up, left, and right, in three groups made up mostly of destroyer-weight units.

The new Zebesian fleet's dorsal flank was... looked like a mix, known and unidentified frigate and destroyer types but nothing too unusual at first glance, with a few cruisers that were probably flagships; the left and right wings were plainly the same groups plasma destroyers and missile frigates they'd crossed swords with earlier in the day.

Here, the exchange of fire was somewhat more even- the light ships were armed with plasma cannon and coilguns of their own, mostly, with only a few lasers and gravitic weapons thrown into the mix. Without such an extreme mismatch of muzzle velocity, the honors were more even when it came to gunnery- and the Zebesian flankers were still lightly built, still relatively vulnerable to counterfire.

Unlike most of the other ships in the Prussian formation, Sixth Battlecruisers and Reuental's Eleventh Destroyers still had well over half their ammunition reserves in hand. Without a word spoken, they'd resumed their earlier pattern of irregular salvoes thrown on an if-and-when basis. The dorsal group they'd engaged were a hodge-podge, numerous, but badly coordinated and badly armed. Their EW was in many ways inferior to what had covered the Zebesian arsenal ships earlier, and from the looks of it they'd already gotten rounds from a few salvoes onto hullmetal. No ships had fallen out of line or broken up yet, but Siegfried had his hopes.

Reinhard was looking at him. The admiral gestured at the display. "Something's still wrong, Kircheis. I... don't like it." He'd said that a lot today, but then it was an unhappy battle.

Siegfried nodded. "Tell me."

"Looking at the enemy fleet, it's obvious that they're counting on the fact that our supplies will run out at this rate. In other words, they intend to fight a long battle and exhaust us, using their greater range and the mobility of their heavy units to stay out of our effective range. When we advance to get them into optimum range, they retreat the same distance, and wait till our resources are exhausted before we counterattack."

"Yes, but reinforcements will be here within an hour or so."

Reinhard's smile didn't reach the eyes; his concern was obvious. "Exactly. And why don't they know that?"

"They might not-"

Reinhard cut him off with a quick shake of the head. "No. Their entire plan of action implies that they have far more intelligence than we do." Siegfried saw his gaze flick to the flagship's light code briefly. "They must know that our allies are out there, and I can't imagine them neglecting to post scouts that would alert them to our allies' movements. Why do they act as if they have all the time in the world?"

"Perhaps they're counting on reinforcements of their own? But..." Siegfried gave it another half second's thought, then shook is head. "No. If they had that many ships, they could have overwhelmed us here entirely, even before our allies could arrive, rather than relying on a battle of attrition to wear us out."

"Precisely. This may not be their maximum effort, but it's got to be close. They wouldn't leave half their forces out of action in the middle of a decisive battle."

More to himself than to Reinhard, Siegfried mumbled "What could it be?" But his friend caught the question.

"I don't know, Kircheis. And as I said, I don't like it."
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Fingolfin_Noldor
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-06 09:56am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2006-05-15 10:36am
Posts: 11532
Location: At the Helm of the HAB Star Dreadnaught Star Fist
BEEEF

A Shepherd Walked with his flock.
He had two followers who followed him.
He had a Rogue, who walked with a swag.
His flock of bears followed in step
Trotting on Four Feet behind him.

A Bragulan Commissar stopped him
Hobias Axilla, he was he said,
And Independent Trader who plied Wild Space.
“I am here for BEEEF. Behind me are my goods.”
“The bears are your Goods?”
“They are Fenrisian Bears. Mighty bears of Mount Fenris.”
“Alright pass.”
And pass he went.

His flock followed him dutifully to their pen.
Along came another Bragulan Commissar.
He was half curious, half amused.
“Why are there bears in a pen?”
“Because you are a stupid bear.”
The Bragulan was shocked.
“My communication strap translates what I speak.”
The Bragulan was even more shocked.
Image

“What in Byzon’s name is this?”
“By Byzon’s carcass, you are truly as stupid as I thought you’d be.”
The Bragulan glowered at the insult.
He raised his Commissariat stick.
“Now he tries violence. More proof we Fenrisians are the smarter race.”
The Bragulan struck.
He struck with all his fury and might.

But he was stopped.
To his horror and disgust.
“Stupid bear.”
And the Fenrisian struck him with his claw.
The Bragulan flew.
His head rolled.
The Fenrisian fucking laughed.
Image
“Come my brethren! Let us fight and rid the galaxy of these inferior copies!”
And off they roared and charged.

And then in the midst of the mayhem,
The Shepherd and his two followers disappeared.
And the Rogue whistled off into the sunlit day.
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Mayabird
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-07 08:27pm 

Storytime!


Joined: 2003-11-26 05:31pm
Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
During the Esper Olympics/Goddamn Unreal Time
Refuge Embassy
The Centrality


While smoking was generally frowned upon, sales of certain substances that could be consumed in fire for their smoke were allowed under controlled and regulated circumstances in the Centrality. Those circumstances were usually medical or involving corrupt officials. For other people who wanted access, or for people who wanted the really good stuff, there was no legal method. And when there is a demand for goods and they are illegal, there will be a black market. There will always be a black market.

He told himself that it was for cultural and economic studies. The Refuge had an understanding of black markets around the former Outlands, but this far from its own space, information was sketchy. It could potentially be useful and valuable, so of course they had to investigate. And when he told himself something, he believed it with all his heart and mind and it crowded out all other details.

In addition he would be providing valuable information back about another cultural phenomenon of the humans, with the perspective of a distant sector of space. This he also believed.

Also if anyone complained, well, that's why diplomatic immunity was invented. So Epaulette took a deep, deep puff of his cigar.

Image


He hacked and coughed. That was strong. And foul. Simply horrid. So he took another puff to better ascertain just how repulsive it was.

Epaulette coughed another cloud of smoke. This time it...wasn't quite as wretchedly loathsome. Interesting. He took another puff, a small one. This time he was able to blow smoke out in a stream without coughing. He thought he even tasted some subtleties in it. Interesting. Another big puff and he was hacking again, so he went back to small puffs.

After a few more he put it out in his ash tray (which had come free with the cigar) and began to sketch out how he would write his report. Probably would be best to have a draft ready before the next round of watching those dreadfully frightening Esper Olympics.

The Avian looked back at the cigar stub. Terrible, terrible thing. But he had one so now he need never do it again.

...but then again, it might be instructive to have another...
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Shroom Man 777
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-09 12:21pm 

FUCKING DICK-STABBER!


Joined: 2003-05-11 08:39am
Posts: 19927
Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF)
Vlyadibragstok, Southeastern Severnaya Sector / just beyond Northwestern Lena Sector
Unreal Time / October-December 3400



Image

Bragulan mounted police engaged the Fenrisian bears, but the rabid ravenous rogues ran away, escaping into the sublevels beneath the areas used for the BEEEF. There they disappeared into an endless maze of catacombs replete with radiological hazards and infested with mutoids, where few Bragulans dared venture without protective gear and mandatory flamethrowers. The Fenrisians, however, had memorized floor plans provided by the Byzantine Inquisition and their post-bear physiologies allowed them to survive in the inhospitable conditions - resilient lead-lined furs withstanding the lingering radiation, and massive claws leaving behind a trail of mauled and mangled toximutoid corpses in their wake. Hunter-killer teams were sent into the labyrinth after the bears. Most of them returned, some didn't. The ones who did reported no sign of the Fenrisians, while those who didn't left only bloodstains and screams of anguish echoing through the caverns as traces of their existence.

Nevertheless, the BEEEF continued. Security was tightened. After the under-levels were flushed with incendiary isotopes, the already heavy-handed paramilitary presence in the BEEEF was further 'enhanced'. Shock troopers stalked the corridors, K-bolters at the ready, ominous gas masks making evil hisses from their respirators, and boots stamping the floor as they marched through the halls waving banners (that were neither spiked nor skulled, for the Byzantinians had the lead in the skull-spiked banner gap); gun-drones circled the air like chrome turbofanned sharks, scanning for targets and playing patriotic speeches from their microphones to keep the citizenry in line. Plainclothes IBGV agents, both Bragulan and HUMINT, sneaked through the crowds, surveiling persons of interests and disappearing some while sending brainwashed sleepers to seduce others and pry their secrets from them.

The Byzantine Rogue Trader Hobias Axilla was eventually hunted down. He was accosted by a fellow human who, unbenownst to him, was in the pay of the IBGV. The man called for Hobias, saying "excuse me, meister" and when the Rogue leaned forward he was quickly clubbed in the back of the head and disappeared in plain sight. The crowds of guests and onlookers saw this happen before their very eyes, and they became very perturbed and anxious but their Bragulan tour-guides, who were actually IBGV agents laden with surveillance gear, reassured them, laughing boisterously while waving their paws, calling the humans 'comrades' and offering them gratuitous amounts of alcoholic beverages.

Image

“Comrades!” declared an averagely tall Bragulan, towering above the humans. “It is as they say, the show must go on, da!”

That seemed to do the trick and the humans were calmed like the docile cattle they were.





So on the BEEEF went. There, in the main hall, were proud showcases of Bragulan paleoprehistory, which were previously classified from the galaxy at large until, in a show of good faith, the Imperator Byzon deemed fit to to unveil their true form to alien peoples in keeping with the principles of glasnot and bragstroika.

Image

It was thus revealed that in eldritch antediluvian times, the Bragulans were not the sole sapient inheritors of primordial Bragule. They competed with another species, and much like how the ancient humans hunted the Neanderthals into extinction on Nova Terra of old, so too did the Cro-Bragnons beat their rivals with sticks that had sharpened bones on them. This discovery was a boon to paleoarcheologists, who added yet another extinctified species to the Bragulans' impressive tally.

Aside from this, there were also displays of the Great Civil War, the Apexai Wars, and the Solarian Wars. Tangentially related to these were arts and crafts created by Solarian prisoners of war during their long time in the Bragulags. These were collectors items, and were sold at a high price to those families of the POWs who wished to have something to help them remember their long lost - and, by now, now dead - relatives. In a way, it was sort of like a truth and reconciliation, and the Bragulans even sold the clothes the POWs wore and generously provided changing rooms for prospective buyers and grieving families to try the clothes on and see if they would fit.

The Bragulans also provided recreations and entertainments for the cubs the alienoids brought with them. The BEEEF was a family event and so there were childrens of all ages. Thus, on the omnipresent telescreens, de-educational programs were played to teach these children about the wonders and glouries of Bragulanity - while bombarding them with subliminal messages that would hopefully implant inside their minds subconscious triggers, to be later activated to prompt them to turning against their own parents.

There were also games, where the children were given sticks with which to beat strange and bizarre Karlack creaturoids for fun.

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Amongst the puny human nations' stalls, Bragule's good friend the Shepistanis were given a comparatively large space to set up their stalls. And they were allowed to deface the BEEEF bunker building's bulkheads adjacent to them, plastering the reinforced concrete with graphs, oh so many graphs. There were graphs from the 3360s detailing canceled military projects and weapons systems, no thanks to the liberals. There were graphs from the Amplitur War, detailing the eradication of the craboids. There were graphs about graphs, graphs made by the BLAND Corporation to ascertain the graphing capabilities of Shepistan - once and for all proving its regional, and perhaps galactic, graphic superiority to its rivals such as the Umerians.

But the vast majority of the bulkheads-turned-bulletin boards were filled with the collected works of one Bart Blade, renowned Shepistani defense contractor best known for his work on space naval technology, nuclear plowshares, and several lengthy fiction works - and the only alien whose works made it in Bragule's bestseller's list, for puny humans killing each other was a favorite literary genre for Brags. To make his works more accessible to Brag readers, the picture they used on the author portion on the backs of his book were from his time in rehab for UMERTHIRST when he seemed to be more than human.

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Bragulans brought their children with them to the Shepistani sections. There they bought oversized surplus Shepistani Navy blues and cigars (because it was always good to start them young) and pretty ribbons for the female cubs' hairs, and also for the male cubs if they were into that. Then they were showed the heritage of Shepistan, such as the Sheparticles of Colonization - an ancient document from the time when the Shepistanis migrated en masse from Nova Terra, venturing into space in their ragtag fleet in search of a new home. The Sheparticles spoke of how they once found a strange Casino Planet, and how they fought mysterious robotoids believed to be the possible predecessors of the Collectors.

There was also nuclear bomb rodeo, where one could don cowboy duds and hats and instead of riding a mechanical bull, they could ride live nuclear weapons jumping and bucking on hydraulics.

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There were other things for sale, but Brag buyers had to contend with hordes of Umerians buying all sorts of Shepistani consumer products, such as the FLATPACK-70, the most powerful digital-analogue gaming system in Shepistan because its graphics card used repurposed defense technology. The graphs showed that Umerians were the largest purchasers of Shepistani export goods since everything, even the espresso machines, had direct defense links. The the espresso machines used a heater coil that kept nuclear weapons warm in interstellar space, and SHEP SOLDIERS action figures (with realistic leather overcoat) were controlled with microchips based on those used in SMARMs (Smart Munition Anti-Radiation Missile).

Right next door to the Shepistanis, the Umerians were dismantling Sheppo products in plain sight, analyzing their internal components and sending their findings back home Reisenburg through Bragulan fax machines. The Sheppos didn't seem to mind though, since they were keeping busy trying out Bragulan micro-nukes at the shooting range.

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There was something missing from the BEEEF, however. In all the planning done by the organizers, who were secretly also IBGV agents, the arrangements to have every visitor of interest under surveillance, the placement of omnipresent telescreens to maximize the areas kept under their unblinking gaze, the troop deployments and intrusive cavity searches, for which they had to coordinate with the secret police, in all of that there was one single thing they had forgotten, one crucial element they had neglected.

Every self-respecting expo needed a car show.

And so the BEEEF would have one.

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The IBGV organizers scrambled to solve their predicament, calling in favors and twisting arms if they had to, and sometimes breaking fingers and pulling off fingernails even when they didn't need to, doing anything and everything they could, all to make the BEEEF a more perfect union.

Fortunately some of the BEEEF attendants had the foresight to prepare groundcar and aircar showcases in advance. For everything else, the Brags' prayers were answered by none other than a very famous Wild Space personality who would later make an appearance that night...

But, for now, the BEEEF had its car show. It was a spur of the moment thing, very ad lib. But the BEEEF organizers were IBGV operatives experienced in extraterrestrial rendition and other black ops, so they knew how to improvise. Those unfortunates whose stalls weren't garnering any attention or sales were evicted from their plots to make space for the automobile showcase, their commandeered kiosks torn asunder and remade into ramshackle and ragtag stalls covered with camouflage netting, sandbags, Bragcrete dragonteeth and Bragulan hedgehogs to make them presentable to audiences. The aliens whose brands were being showcased also contributed to the decorations, and though their adornments weren't in-keeping with Bragulan aesthetics, in the name of hospitality the organizers let them be.

Such was the hospitality of the Bragulans that, in consideration of the puny humans and their especially puny brains, the showcases were arranged according to their puny alphabets. So the first display belonged to Bragule's good trading partners, the Altacarians and their premier automobile manufacturer, AltaCars.

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Truly the AltaCars had style, for the retro-aesthetic of their aircars were even appreciated by Bragulans. Such was the power of their repulsor engines that, when ridden on by the un-puny Brags, the aircars' performances were unimpeded and were as it were when ferrying puny humans. The seat cushions were made out of metamaterials that intelligently conformed to Bragulan backsides and posteriors, maximizing comfort, and for these egalitarian non-speciesist internationalistic creature comforts the AltaCars scored high points in the Bragulan reviews. Special AltaCars optimized for Bragulan size-ranges were purchased by the IBGV and other Brag bureaus, to supplement the already expansive fleets of luxury cars in the possession of high-ranking officials.

Next came the Anglian car companies, which did not fare as well.

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Their "Mini Coopers" were derided and mocked by Bragulan audiences, who booed and guffawed and laughed. They fucking laughed at the "Micro Cooped-ups". Puny cars for puny humans, fit to be ridden on only by Bragulan cublings and those deformed midgets born to mothers who had been over-irradiated in their pregnancies (or eugenically bred to be dwarven Bragulans to work in the mine-worlds). Nonetheless, for politeness' sakes, commissars went over to "beat" the impolite crowds of hecklers, though the beatings were very soft for the commissars themselves were stifling their laughter. To make the distraught Anglians feel better, the elite Emerald Guard purchased a handful of the Mini Coopers - for, unbeknown to everyone, the small but mobile aircars were perfect for the adorably vicious little operators of their Extreme Warfare Operations Kill Squads.

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There were other Anglian displays, which seemed to be just as puny as the Mini Coopers. An IBGV HUMINT agent, a brainwashed human who had been sent to infiltrate Wild Space worlds and was thus street savvy with the humans and their strange (and puny) ways, made a strange remark regarding the display on the left, calling it a "lesbian". His Bragulan overseers assumed that the vehicle's model, the grav-bike, was called a "lesbian" and thus the IBGV's detailed files of human vehicles were updated to reflect that.

After A, for 'Altacar' and 'Anglia', came B for 'Bragulan' and thus the Brags showcased their own vehicular prowess. To one-up the Anglians, whose nation was regarded as the highest of human polities save for the UN, for in its size and economic might Anglia was the foremost of the post-Diaspora powers, the Bragulans rose up to the challenge and likewise displayed their sky-chariots and groundbikes to match the repulsor-powered lesbian bikes of Anglia.

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The Bragulan answer to the grav-bike was the rocketbike, which was also known as the Spudbike because its propulsion system was like that of the Spud missile's - namely internal nuclear combustion engine via liquid plutonium/uranium fuel-injected isotope-intensified ignition. Such was the virility of this transportation system that its riders had to wear protective gear to avoid being irradiated, but on the plus side it could also travel in space and so was used by space station maintenance crews and naval infantry alike. The Spudbike was a more specialized and costly machine and not commonly affordable to the common working-class proletarian citizen, though.

So, on the right, was the groundbike - a robust and treaded dirt-bike capable of operating in off-road and off-world conditions, with optional sidecar-mounted acid-projectors to deal with toximutoid infestations. The tread-bike was a brutally utilitarian and proletarian vehicle, and for practicality's sake the only thing nuclear in it was its plutonium-laced diesel fuel. The design was tried and true, and all over Wild Space Bragulan and alien prospectors and fringe world yokels who didn't know where their loyalties lay made use of the Bragbike extensively for hauling wagons through rough terrain, as all-terrain vehicles, etcetera.

After 'B' for 'Bragulan' came 'C' for 'Chamarran' and they did not disappoint. They displayed their civilian tricar designs, high performance repulsor cars with triangular designs. To make their displays more appealing, they placed adorable Chamarran showgirls around the vehicles to entice audiences and spectators. It seemed as though Chamarran charms worked equally well outside of their species, on humans and other aliens alike.

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In the end, it seemed as though the audiences were more interested at the Chamarran catgirls than the cars they were displaying, which was infuriating and confusing to the Chamarrans at the same time. They found audiences ogling them and them only, ignoring their automobiles altogether.

"Nyah!"

After the ABCs, the alphabet soup of car manufacturers went on and on. Down the list were the Sheppos whose Shepurban Utility Vehicles were popular for Bragulan bragball moms and the like, due to the fact that Shepistani SUVs were so wide that they filled entire lanes on standard human-sized roads and guzzled petrochemical fuels with their V18 engines like a diabetic on antifreeze - perfect for proletarian Bragulan family looking for small and economic vehicles.

The most popular of these designs was the Frod Motors Canyonero, manufactured in the city of Detroid.



After the Sheppoes came the Solarians, who proudly displayed their premier LARC lines, sleek and fast low-altitude repulsor cars made by their hyper-capitalistic dystopian megacorporations. Models included the famous Maibatsu Thunder, the SchromCorp SUX, the MacMillan Maneater, and AuriMotors Aethersprite, and so on and so forth. These proved to be surprisingly popular with the Brags, to the shock and amazement of their Solarian sellers.

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Who would later discover that the Bragulan buyers would later simply park their purchased Solarian cars outside and riddle them full of K-bolts and RPGs, in a demonstration of patriotic destruction against the foul materialistic decadent hedonistic fascisti-capitalistic hegemony of the United Solarian Sovereignty. The corporates didn't mind this though, and happily sold the Brags even more of their vehicles since either way, whether the Brags rode on them or shot at them, the cars were still selling and they were still profiting and that was the bottom line.





Despite everything, the BEEEF was still in its heart the mother of all arms expos and the vast majority of goods sold were Bragtech weaponries. There were the usuals, Wild Space insurgencies and revolutionaries, Dilgrud seperatist groups, Koprulu crime syndicates, not including the IBGV's own deliberate provision of arms to comradely movements and internationalist efforts elsewhere in the galaxy. There were some unusual buyers though, interestingly enough. Klavostani space caravan merchants who usually stayed away from Bragspace made unexpected visits and purchased surprising quantities of arms in bulk. There were also several heretofore unknown syndicates originating from the Spin Zone, and they bought everything up to and including armored Bragcrete kitchen sinks - buying everything from Bragnum revolvers to anti-ship Spuds. These developments were quickly forwarded to the IBGV's Foreign Vigilance division for further perusal.

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Another unusual sight was a daughter of an Altacarian diplomat, Praise Lohen, and a galpal playing with a Killyshnikov. Carelessly holding the loaded weapon without care for her trigger finger, the aspiring socialite accidentally discharged the Killyshnikov. Normally, this would have been no big deal, but as she was already under Suicide Police probation the discharge prompted their immediate intervention. Out of nowhere Praise Lohen was clubbed over the head and dragged off to a janitor's closet turned into makeshift internment camp for miscreants caught in the BEEEF.

Of course, as the BEEEF was an international event, other nations had the chance to showcase their weapons technologies as well. The Solarians, for example, were again surprisingly popular as the Bragulans bought as many samples of the USS' exportable arms technologies as possible. The megacorporates didnt seen to mind this, as they were making even more profits.

There were Shepistanis displaying their tactical nuclear devices for all to see and testing them in the outdoors live fire valley. Aside from the standard gaggle of Umerian eggheads with calculators and slide rules computating and quantifying everything around, especially weapons tests by their good neighbors, and assuming XYZs were spherical masses of iron requiring ABC gigajoules to vaporize, the Shepnukes attracted another audience. Bragulans. From the Imperator's greatest Legions of Liberation, more specifically its Seventh Artillery Corps.

What proceeded was, to the eyes of observers watching with opaque goggles from the safety of the BEEEF bunker building's armored gunport windows, a spectacle unlike any other. A nuke-off.

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Sheppos hooted and cheered as their Freedom Primes hurled tacnukes at hills and mountains and other forms of land formation in need of cosmetic surgery. The polite applause of the Bragulans mixed with the ticking of H.R. Giger counters, and the Brags then followed up with their own fireworks, micro- and macro-nuclear weapons hurled by the Chamarran-designed Imperator Prime bragbots - with the male Chamarran technician Siln working feverishly at the controls, which were never designed with nuke-tossing in mind.

"Nyah!"

As dusk fell upon the nuclear test site, which was starting to glow in the dark, the Sheppos and Bragskis set up a campfire and the ruthless genocidal warmongers (the human ones) started singing campfire songs while a few of them from hillbilly planets started playing their banjos. The Bragulans accompanied them by playing braglalaikas.





Elsewhere in the BEEEF, for many of the visitors and nations, it was their first time interacting with the Karlack Swarm - which had sent a delegation to sell products at the expo - in a meaningful fashion other than running away from the chitinous hordes, or firebombing the arachnid menace with extreme prejudice. As such, the Karlack gauntlinglisks, cerebrates and grotesquely deformed mockeries of human beings that were the gene-eaters strove to make as good an impression as possible. It was, as their inhuman hivemind decided, most appropriate to display similar products to what the other races were peddling at the BEEEF and thus they showcased Karlack bioweapons - attenuated and modified to be usable to humans without revealing the Swarm's horrifying secrets.

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For example, they took a standard oversized Bragulan artillery round - capable of being fired by any mass driver weapon - and turned it into a canister containing primitive bio-forms known as headhuggers to some, and facecrabs to others. These were very crude and simple infesterizing methods by Karlack standards, with minimal tissue mutation or genetic abominationizing, it didn't even use the Swarm's dreaded biospores. It was just a simple creaturoid that injected a cocktail of toxins to paralyze the victims while it latched on and hijacked the host's nervous system by intersecting the host's nerves with its own grotesque ganglions, turning what was once human (or Bragulan, or Chamaran, and so on) into a zombified puppet - all while the host's brain was still intact, powerless but entirely aware of what was happening to it and what its hijacked body was doing.

These headhugged facecrab zombies had no link at all to the Swarm's hivemind, so there was no chance at all of any genetic reverse bio-engineering to create a weapon tailed to counter the Swarm, or anything like that. The only programming these zomboids had was to procreate and spread their infection to other beings - for the headhuggers could implant eggs in their hosts, which would gestate and explosively emerge from the host's chest (killing it, and freeing the facecrab on the now-deceased host to find another unwilling subject).

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Also on display were Pheropods which could control another primitive Karlack-assimilated organism, insectoid antlions bio-engineered to be ruthless little buggers similar to gauntlinglisks sans hivemind link. The Pheropod used pheromones, hence its name, rather than the telepathic control used by Aspects and other synapse-creatures.

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And Hivehands, which could be worn like gloves and wielded like guns - guns that shot extremely venomous wasp-things at people, like the living bullets used by Karlack hormogaunts and the like, with monomolecular stingers capable of piercing through light armor and a deadly neurotoxin that could kill in microseconds.

Yet none of the bio-products produced by the Karlacks for the BEEEF, when scrutinized in the laboratory, would actually reveal anything about the Swarm's militarized bio-forms. It was as though these products were designed in mind for export, to be bought and used by alien powers while not allowing them to reverse-bioengineer anything that could compromise the Swarm's secrets. The only thing these products revealed was the Swarm's absolute mastery of the organic sciences.

Despite this, the disgusting Karlack organoids - wet and slimey as they were - sold like hotcakes as overeager parties sought to buy them in bulk, not because they actually intended to use them or anything (that was gross), but because they wanted to dissect these things for science - and to discover the Swarm's true form. They would be disappointed, however.





After a long day, the regularly scheduled programs were suddenly and very abruptly interrupted by a special event. Something very important was about to happen. The Bragulans, in gratitude to the benefactor whose quick action made the car show possible, to the man responsible for its success, had allowed him to present a grand show unlike any other to the audiences of the BEEEF. The Brags owed him that much, and to maintain its contacts the IBGV always made sure to return favors. So they gave him this unprecedented honor of hosting a super spectacle sight to shock and awe the audiences.

So it was that the greatest adventurer in Wild Space, the most daring of rogue traders, the bravest of blockade-runners, the most amazing and storied personality of the Nine Vectors of the Known and Unknown Universe came to grace the BEEEF with his presence.

The great adventure-ship the SS Venture arrived with none other than Jack Turdner.
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Mayabird
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-09 08:06pm 

Storytime!


Joined: 2003-11-26 05:31pm
Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF)
Vlyadibragstok, Southeastern Severnaya Sector / just beyond Northwestern Lena Sector
Unreal Time / October-December 3400


The Refugees showed up a day later than planned due to delays in bringing their main exhibit: an entire demonstration orbital habitat, complete with its own hyperspace engine. Of course, it wasn't quite as good as the Refuge's actual habs (they couldn't have outsiders knowing their full capabilities, after all), but the exterior resembled any number of them that people could see at Grand Junction. And at any rate, due to nearly everyone's obsession with planet-bound living, hab technology was rather backwards in most nations and priced too expensively, built on order as novelties instead of mass-produced.

The interior living space mockups were more designed for appearance than actual functionality. The walls also were covered with viewscreens showing off different possibilities and features. It was crewed instead of inhabited, and the crew consisted of Contact specialists and Contact-trained mechanics, Avians, Mechanicals, and uncarted bouncing Aggregates. They were all inexperienced in selling, except for a very few who had received a sort of crash course in it at Grand Junction, dealing with the first trickles of trade. Even so, they all hoped they could make some orders for habs, drum up interest for more, and get the first large-scale exports started with the Outside. All the Refugees had worked very hard for this, and even a couple of the Planner Minds had direct roles in it.

Everything was as good as it could be. And that was why Fulcrum was so angry.

“WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL US THIS WAS AN ARMS EXPO?” he squawked. Then, more calmly (or perhaps just less angrily,) he added, “Why didn't we figure this out?” He paced around the diplomatic yacht, fuming, pounding his wings against his sides.

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Fulcrum's deputy for this mission, an Avian named Dash (because Stool was back at the main embassy in Bragule) followed along and tried to think of a response, but could not, so he said nothing. That turned out to be the best choice, as Fulcrum burned his rage out quickly if not provoked again.

The ambassador took a very deep breath and exhaled loudly. “Even if we did know, we couldn't bring our weapons anyway,” he said. “Not a chance that Outsiders would be allowed to examine any of it.” He put a strange emphasis on “Outsider.”

Dash decided not to comment on that either. “It's alright, I think,” he responded. “These are just gimmick sales, yes? Quick currency, short-term trade, little boost before the real stuff starts. Stool's got all of that, the big stuff, long-term.”

“Stool is an excellent bureaucrat,” Fulcrum agreed. To himself, he thought, If anything he's the real Excellency. He does most of the work. I am just the pretty face. And I'm being sent to BEEEF as a temporary exile. He chuckled to himself.

That was too much for Dash to keep to himself. “Hmm?”

“Hmm what?”

“Did I miss a joke? You laughed.”

“Ah.” Fulcrum thought quickly. “No, just thinking, 'Poor fellow, he's such a hard worker that he'll miss out on all the fun.'”

“But didn't Stool request to stay-”

“See?”

“...maybe?” Dash couldn't see the humor in it, but jokes were never funny after someone explained it. “Anyway, what's the real mission?”

There was an official real mission, and the real real mission. Possibly even a real real real mission, but Fulcrum unthought that. Dash didn't need to know about any of it; the ship didn't even have access to that information. Fulcrum pulled himself to his most regal pose. “Extol the glories of the Refuge, the benefits of ties with us, promote goodwill with the peoples of the nations...”

“But we already met everybody, had First Contact with all the willing nations.”

“First Contact. That is first impressions, and only with the official governments. Outside of media broadcasts, what does anyone know about us?”

“Reggie the Refugee?”

“The what?” Fulcrum glared at Dash, a look that conveyed only fierceness and not, 'You idiot, we're not supposed to know about that and therefore not supposed to talk about it,' as he intended.

“Nothing. Nevermind. Didn't say anything.”

“Good. Think of this as Second Contact. Millions will be in attendance. Millions to contact, show them that we are trustworthy, strong, kind to our allies, talented...”

“So hob-nob, meet people, and get seen?”

“Yes, if you must be vulgar about it. Don't you have a booth to check on?” Fulcrum gave him another glare.

This time, Dash understood completely. He rapidly sputtered, “Why yes. Yes I do. I should go check on that right now. And this will no doubt take a long time. I will be at your call if needed.” He made a tiny bow and then fluttered away to leave his superior to his grouchiness.

With Dash gone, he pulled up an image of Vlyadibragstok on his viewscreen, mumbling to himself, if the ship Mechanical felt like monitoring him, “Arms expo...”

But he was thinking, there are Karlacks down there.
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Force Lord
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-10 05:55pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2008-10-12 05:36pm
Posts: 1556
Location: Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
The Central Times-Military

FY 3401 budget for Armed Forces decided

It has been decided that the budget assigned for the armed forces this year is to be far less than in 3400. About 2 billion Centralites ($1,920) has been assigned for new naval construction, while the Army and the Marines will get no more money beyond salaries and maintenance of available equipment. Any further expansion of the Army and Marines must happen after 3402, when their planned downsizing is completed.

Warship construction

All ships are to be laid down in Jan. 3401.

x12 $40 Schwartz-class Destroyers
Construction finished Apr. 3401, Trials complete May 3401

x24 $20 Blitz-class Frigvettes
Construction finished Mar. 3401, Trials complete Apr. 3401

x12 $40 Outpost-class Light Carriers
Construction finished Apr. 3401, Trials complete May 3401

x24 $20 Locust-class Escort Carriers
Construction finished Mar. 3401, Trials complete Apr. 3401

Total Navy: $1,920
   Profile |  

fgalkin
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-10 11:24pm 

Carvin' Marvin


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Posts: 14450
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
“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.


Insects Underfoot
Inner Sphere, Glimmering Kadath (Homeship One)
System 345690-3, Sector H4
February 16th, 3400

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The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature hated its name. It thought the name appropriate enough millennia ago, when it had fought in the War to End All Wars. Like the others, it had abandoned its home realm, followed the Giver of Purpose into this thrice-accursed universe, and turned its back on its own daemonic brethren. While it had understood and accepted with every core of its being the importance of Duty, the knowledge of that original betrayal still chafed.

To make things worse, The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature’s job had been to coordinate the actions of the Demogorgon and other Lords with one Material race or another. The puny creatures of flesh and silicone were pathetic, short-lived, bestial. Normally, they were worthy only of being playthings or food, but these particular Materials had been different. They too had their Duty, and that uplifted them from the level of mere animals and made them allies. It had not been easy to against millennia of instinct, but The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature managed it, albeit with great effort.

These new aliens, however, were different. The Lost had not been completely ignorant of the affairs of the galaxy at large. Ages ago, long before the current masters of the galaxy had crawled out of the gravity wells of their own homeworlds, the daemons had seeded the galaxy with sensor probes and submesonic communications relays. Most of these had been dedicated to important things—monitoring the fabric of reality, but a few had been left in place to monitor radio and hyperwave transmissions. Even now, these probes remained functional and continued their task of capturing and forwarding the aliens’ communications to the Homeships via a network of relays.

The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature knew that its knowledge of these aliens was nowhere near complete, but even then, it was sure of one thing—these Materials had nothing resembling a Duty. They went about their brief lives without purpose, they were weak and bestial. They were nothing like the daemons’ Material allies of old. The two jobs were nothing at all alike, but it could hardly protest the name given to it by its master.

The very thought of these disgusting creatures made The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature’s many mouths emit a low growl. Its twelve beady eyes blinked in fury.

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The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature, Greater Daemon

Yet, it were these things, and not the Lost which owned the galaxy now. They were the masters now, and Duty and the Demogorgon’s orders required that the daemons treat them as equals, as much it pained The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature.

Fortunately, since it was given its mission its contact with the aliens had been limited to the interrogation of the captured crews of the occasional passing ship. In fact, The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature’s duties were not all that much different from the ones it had performed while calculating fuel expenditures of the Homeship’s engines. Certainly it was a much bigger task—more than a hundred thousand daemons and imps from every Homeship worked under its direction. It had to abandon the port aft engine which had been its home for some two centuries in favor of a dwelling here, in Insects Underfoot, where its organization had been headquartered. But just as before, The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature read reports, wrote reports of its own, and counted things. It was, as always, an endless, thankless, and Sisyphean task.

The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature grumbled, then grasped the Living Brick harder in its hand and focused on the next report. The Brick—a small organic computer possessed by an imp let out a squeal as the bond between the nerves in the owner’s hand and its own was formed and daemon’s mind slammed into its, ripping information out of its organic databanks. It was a peculiar piece of technology, created by necessity to communicate after the fall when they were forced to hide. Even now, the orichalcum ward-rings on its hands and neck stifled the Greater Daemon’s considerable psychic powers and forced its mind into the confines of its body. To, speak without words, exchanging ideas and emotions freely, as befit a telepathic race, one had to resort to such crude methods as neural interfaces.

The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature began scanning the next report, when it was interrupted by a chime.

“Master…” it felt the voice of the daemon possessing the tower, Sensation of Countless Humanoids Scurrying Through One’s Innards, touch its mind via the Living Brick. “The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty has asked me to relay to you that its report is now ready. It will be coming up to present it to you personally.”

The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature nodded. The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course was one of its most valuable servants. It…she was succubus, a failed experiment in reproduction, a being that would leech the energy of Greater Daemons, attempting to mold a new being out of it. The process was quite pleasurable to both, which ensured that the few succubi that existed were always in demand.

“Master….” The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course prostrated itself before the Greater Daemon’s throne. While it had been too close to The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature’s own power to dominate directly, the Greater Daemon received its True Name from its own master, It That Wishes It Saw Everything, No Matter How Great Or Small.

The succubus itself was a short thing, barely reaching the waist of the four-meter tall daemon. Its six limbs were long and gangly. A single eye burned in the middle of succubus’s horned head, and another peered from its stomach. The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature had decided that it…she would be considered a “female.” Daemons did not have such things, of course, for sapient energy has no genders, but the rest of the galaxy did, and it thought it would be useful to get into the habit of recognizing such things, as pathetic, bestial and unworthy of a daemon’s attention as they were.

Image
The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course, Succubus

“Speak, creature,” The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature commanded, speaking Galstandard English. Recently, it had demanded that all of its followers learn the barbaric tongue. It itself had to morph a separate new voicebox to produce the proper sounds.

“Master, I completing did the analysis of the hyperwave transmission one of our probes picked up in the so-called “Shepistan”,” the succubus’s command of English left much to be desired. “It is something called the “Animal House?” It is most useful is. “

The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course motioned with her hand and an ornate screen materialized before the throne.

“At first, our analysts were very confused what it was. After detailed studying, my team, determining did that it is most likely data from a sociological experiment, by the Solarianoid humanoids, where members of the alien species are forced to living together to seeing how they interacting. We have been doing similar experimentations on some of the alienoid crews which have coming into our hands.”

“Proceed,” the daemon nodded.

The succubus waved its hand and the episode began playing.

“What is that noise?” The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature asked suddenly.

“At first, we have been believing that the sound was similar to the human reaction called “laughter.” But that does not appearing to be the truth, because the sound, has nothing to doing what is going on on the screen, and besides, who would be laughing at an experiment? We now believing it is a corruption in the signal.”

“Very well, go on,” The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature nodded.

Quote:
[laugh track as Sorelag digs through a cabinet. He pulls out a packet of Instant Pizza clearly marked “Kupo’s”, shakes out a cube, and sticks it in the rehydrator.]

Sorelag [as he returns the packet to its former place]: “Let’s see you ruin my lunch today!”

[The deep bass voice of the rehydrator says “Ding” and Sorelag eagerly opens the door. Inside is a rehydrated pizza...with cigarette butts all over it.]

Sorelag [overhead shot, as he screams at the sky in anger]: “SHELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!”


“As you can see, master,” The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course said in her halting Galstandard English, pointing to the screen with a claw-arm, “the Owens, especially their leadererses group-caste-thingy taking great pride in deliberately tormenting others, especially those weakerer than themselvses. Thus, it is important that we do not appear weak under any circumstances what…what…what…” she struggled to pronounce the difficult word

“Whateversoever,” The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature decided to be magnanimous and help the succubus out.

“Whateversoever,” she repeated and turned to the screen once more.

Quote:
Sorelag: “Shelley, we need to talk!”

Shelley the Amplitur Eoghan: “Go away! I’m sleeping!”

Sorelag: “Its about your cigarette butts!”

Shelley the Amplitur Eoghan: “What about them?”

Sorelag: “You’ve been leaving them in my food! I don’t like that.”

Shelley: “Yeah? So?”

Sorelag: “So stop it!”

Shelley [blowing smoke at him...somehow, despite having glass and water in the way]: “Nah.”

Sorelag: “Then... I’ll EAT YOU!” [He leaps at Shelley’s tank but then is suspended in midair, then thrown backwards by a psychic blast.


“Here we are seeing the dangers of the Owen ruling group-caste-thingy once more. Not only do its memberses possess formidable powerses, they appear to be able to warpses reality itself. Observing how this terrestrial creature breathe under the water. Observing how it keep the fire-stick lit”

“What is the fire stick?” The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature asked.

The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty felt a chill run down her many spines. “We not be certain, exactly, yet. The humanoids use them a lot, too.” She closed her eye, fully expecting some punishment to be meted out.

“Hmm…” The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature stroked the side-jaw on its head with a tentacle. “This will have to be remedied. Continue.”

“As I was saying, Master,” the succubus continued, “Not only can it keep the fire-stick lit, but, looking at how much water it displacing! A small furry thing should not be that massive!”

The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature examined the still image carefully and nodded. “Indeed, a most excellent observation. Why is it so massive? What is that mass being used for? We must find this out.”

“Excellent work, The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty,” it said. “We must acquire more data from this Animal House experiment. This is a most valuable source indeed.”


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

Last edited by fgalkin on 2011-01-10 11:52pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Mayabird
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-10 11:35pm 

Storytime!


Joined: 2003-11-26 05:31pm
Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
And a thank you to Shroom for the ideas and writing help.

From the Animal House commentary track: Part 6, “The New Kid,” narrated by Producer Abe DiFool

[Producer DiFool]: So news gets on the datasphere that there’s these new people called the Refuge living out in the former Outlands. I kid thee not, the first thing Yekhov did was try to figure out how to add a Refugee to the dorms. This was before we even knew who they were.

[The image is that of a writer’s brainstorming session. The wall viewscreens and table holograms show demented scribbles as well as several different news broadcasts. Several of the writers are in various states of being linked into the Datasphere. Yekhov Nayumoivych Pokhys is pacing back and forth, mouthing words to himself, considering dialogue for his character, Gvysygkyovich. There is some commotion, and then image switches to Pokhys watching one of the broadcasts. The channel briefly shows Ambassador Melody with Arkady Messier.]

Pokhys [pumping his paws]: “Birds! They’re bird people! Told you they weren’t Outlanders!” [He holds out his paws to some of the writers, flexing his claws inward in the universal gesture of ‘gimme.’]

[Producer DiFool]: “So while he was collecting his bets, Lillium was looking up birds to see if any resembled the Refugee representative.”

[One of the writers, a young green-haired woman, looks up suddenly.]

Lillium: “A swan! That’s the kind of bird! They’re swan people! Everything matches! The neck, the beak, everything!”

[Producer DiFool]: “And I regret this so much.”

[DiFool looks up, having discovered something]: “There are swans at Shroomland Zoo!”

[A variety of scenes are shown during the next voiceover. Among them are classic stock images of Shroomland Mountain Zoological Park, plus some of a swan being transported to the studio.]

[Producer DiFool]: “None of us had any actual experience dealing with wild animals. Most of us are Solarian, except for Yekhov of course, and we’d all grown up in cities. A few of us had pets, so I guess we all thought that the swan would be like a dimetrodon or something, docile and friendly.”

[Image changes to studio footage. The swan bites people, defecates on equipment, and knocks over lights. One shows a stagehand running for her life as the swan chases her down a hall.]

[Producer DiFool]: “It hadn’t occurred to any of us to look up anything about swans. It’s like they say, all the data in the galaxy means nothing if you don’t search for it. We should’ve just sent the bird back to the park and gone to CGI, but we had already fallen a little behind in our schedule, so we got stuck in that “gotta rush” mentality. We’re already stuck with this bird, we paid a lot to rent it, and we just have to keep going and get these shows produced. More and more stressed out, none of us thinking straight, trying to make things work even as it got more and more hopeless. And then...

[More footage, this time of filming. Yekhov Nayumoivych Pokhys and Gabriel Dirkenschneider, the actor who plays Kupo the (female) Moogle are on the set with the swan. Dirkenschneider is in his costume covered with small balls for the animators.]

Pokhys, as Gvysygkyovich: “And zat iz vy ve must all band together against ze hoo-mans!”

[For absolutely no reason the swan jumps Dirkenschneider and starts pummeling and biting him. Dirkenschneider screams.]

Pokhys, as Gvysygkyovich: “Ve are already best friends, da, Comrade Kupo?”

[Then, Pokhys realizes to his horror that Dirkenschneider is not hamming up the screams for the camera. The swan is literally beating him to death. Pokhys pulls the swan off him while screaming “GAAAAAAAAAABE!” and someone pushes the camera away and down. Nothing can be seen aside from the floor but there are still heard sounds of Bragulan roaring and swan screeching until a wet snap is heard and the swan immediately goes silent.]

[Off-screen voice, unidentified]: “Oh shit! We don’t have renter’s insurance!”

[Producer DiFool]: “So we think, ‘that’s okay. We can pull out of it. Throw some quick CGI together, have a computer swan, nobody will tell the difference. So we did.”

[Footage is shown of a confrontation at the dodecahedral trailer of Dirkenschneider]

Dirkenschneider: “NO! You’ll hear from my agent!”

[Unnamed Producer, trying to sound consoling]: “It’s alright! It’s not even real. We can just have a little drone roll around on the set-”

[Dirkenschneider, screaming over the producer]: “AND MY LAWYER!” [He slams the door and the trailer rolls away.]

[Producer DiFool]: “So Gabe was in therapy for the near-death experience and refused to have anything to do with the show anymore unless there were absolutely no swans involved ever again. It’d been a huge coup getting him on in the first place since he’s an old friend of Birkin’s, so we couldn’t lose him. So all that work finishing those episodes with the CGI swan? Deleted.
“Anyway, at that point, we were beyond behind. We had three days before the next episodes had to air.”

[Back in the writer’s brainstorming room. There is a lot of angry incoherent shouting. Pokhys nearly knocks out the door charging in.]

Pokhys: “SHUT. UP.” [He punches the table for emphasis. The writers go silent.] “So we can’t have a swan. Big deal. All those other countries are saying the Refuge has lots of different birdies.”

Unnamed writer: “Why do we even need to have a Refugee?”

[Pokhys points at the writer]: “You. Out. Don’t come back.” [He points at the door and bares his fangs. The writer flees.] “So we’ll just have some generic bird character. Doesn’t have to be great. Doesn’t even have to be good. Just need it now.”

Unnamed Writer #2: “A generic bird? But, I mean, what do we tell the effects guys? How do we do that?”

Pokhys: “Must I do everything?” [He snatches away someone’s pad, mutters, and scribbles something on the screen.] “There! Bird dude!”

Image


Pokhys: “And give him a robot buddy or something. Write some gags. We’ll ad-lib the rest. I’ll be back in an hour.” [He tosses the pad at someone and turns toward the door.]

Unnamed Writer #3: “But what about a name!”

[Pokhys pauses. His hair raises, his paws clench, and he generally looks like he wants to indent some puny human skulls. Then he throws his arms up in the air.]: “I don’t know! RAAWRGH!” [He rushes off.]

[Unnamed writer #3]: “I think he said ‘Reggie.’ [There are distant sounds of walls getting smashed.]

[Producer DiFool]: “All told, between the swan and the two remakes and everything, this ended up costing us 12% of our budget for the season. So for all you fans out there who were complaining about Shelley not doing so many psychic attacks, there’s your reason. Heh. I’m a poet and I had no idea!”
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-01-10 11:37pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21955
Boskonian Installation
Deep Space, Sector H-12
1840 Hours Coalition Fleet Standard Time


This facility had been the single most expensive of the Contrecoup preparations- the battleships had cost more to build, but the price hadn't come out of High Admiral Zokolova's budget. The equipment for Contrecoup Six had required several months of prefabrication at Sector Headquarters to build, part of generalized contingency planning. The equipment's application to the specific Contrecoup plan had been a matter of a week's assembly in deep space. Sensor-masking, shield generator installation, and the like had gone on even longer, and would no doubt have continued for as long as the Coalition gave Boskone time to improve the facility's defenses. This installation was a linchpin of the plan.

Despite its vast size, the facility had only a very small control crew, monitoring passive hyperwave detectors as the string of Enemy task forces bore down on them, threading their way along a complex, knotted whisker lane that was the only easy route for large ships headed to Zebes.

"Enemy vanguard coming into range."

"Engage."

Disruptor-class Battleship CNS Black Hole
Flagship Task Corps 8
1840 Hours Fleet Standard Time


One of the premier rules of interstellar travel is that, uniformly and without exception, it's a bad thing when the ship starts shaking and the lights go out. It is an especially bad thing when, while this is going on, you get the feeling that your body is being grabbed and shoved violently, atom by atom and without your consent, into another dimension. This feeling is nearly as uncomfortable as it sounds, and very distinctive. Any experienced spacer will recognize it immediately.

Therefore, Vice Admiral Prots Verio knew immediately that something especially bad was happening.

Interdictor field! They'd have seen it coming normally, but these damn shoals- and at this point, Verio had to break off his chain of thought. Not throwing up in a pressure suit took priority. The worst of it passed in under a second, but the lingering effects took longer to fade.

Hull ringing like an earthquake in the dark, all the tools of their trade shut down- it would have been easy to panic, but Black Hole's command crew was better than that. The computers were all right; status lights a cautionary yellow, not the red of damage. Whatever dragged them out of hyper had played hell with the power trunking, and it was hardly unheard of for a disrupted hyperfield to do this to the computers. Men could remain conscious through picosecond ripples in physical constants that would throw a computer's timing out of sync, but though the software crashed, milspec hardware hadn't suffered for it. A key handful of systems, cruder but more durable, kept the ship's critical systems running while the crew set about restarting their computers.

One by one, the plots returned: sensors coming back, haze on the plot clearing as CIC performed the expert-system equivalent of groaning and blinking, trying to clear its eyes. Verio hadn't yet shaken off the five-dimensional hangover of forced transition when he snapped out his first order.

"Com-scan, locate and hail the other ships. I need status reports. Al..." his head swam. I will not weaken! "Alert allied task forces to the interdiction attack. Navigation, identify a fleet rendevous point."

Restricted to a narrow lane through the shoals' dense, nearly impenetrable murk, Task Corps 8 had run headlong into a hard-driven Boskonian interdictor field as it powered up. Caught unawares, their ships had suffered for it. Centralist command bridges served both as the admiral's position to command the fleet and the captain's to fight the ship; Verio could look straight across the low divider separating the bridge and see that his own flagship had serious damage control problems. A battleship's drive was an energetic system; when abruptly interfered with, the effects were... impressive. Ringing through the power grid had started electrical fires and minor explosions throughout the ship, wherever the breakers had failed; fast-reaction crews were already racing to their stations, but Verio had a dark suspicion that they were going to have to labor far too long before restoring her to fighting trim.

Patriot-class Heavy Cruiser USS Layla Daniels
Flagship Second Intervention Task Force
1840 Hours


Vice Admiral Wenli Yang's Umerian contingent had been towards the rear of the Coalition fleet when the Boskonians fired up their systems. The Centralist ships vanished off hyperwave scanners almost immediately, with the chaotic flare of unplanned transitions.

What? But the startlement passed in an eyeblink; that plus the strange fog rising toward them on the subspace passives could only be one thing. Interdiction field!

Later, Wenli would think it a minor miracle he hadn't tripped over his own tongue, or his own comm console, trying to get the order out. He seldom spoke so fast, and usually made a hash of it when he did.

"All ships, out of hyper! Crash transition!"

They might have only seconds before the interdiction field reached out far enough and strong enough to force them out... or before they flew smack into the zone of effect like a bird into a window, like the Centralists had.

A crash translation started from the ship's own hyperfields wasn't quite as horrible as being forced out by outside intervention, but Wenli still groaned slightly at the disorientation, the sense of whirling through a space with more dimensions than the human brain was meant to contemplate.

That stopped quickly, though. No damage alarms from Layla, nothing obvious on his plot from the other ships... they'd done it!

"Flag to squadron navigators, congratulations! Stand by for further orders."

Then the order from the Centralist flagship Black Hole flashed on his console. "Interdictor attack! All ships out of hyper!" It was superfluous to Wenli, but not to others. The subspace plots, still tracking the rest of the fleet, showed him that some of the other contingents hadn't pulled back so quickly... Wenli winced as the lead Tianguo ships, right behind the Centralists, plowed into the fog, even as the trailing vessels made their crash translations to escape it. That's got to hurt. The Eoghans, next in line, had already been on their way out before the order reached them, and the Atlanteans in the rear reacted quickly enough once the order reached them, though- fast on the helm if not on the reflex judgement.

No, that's not fair. Who could be expected to react that fast? Sudden interdictor attacks would normally be impossible; Wenli was lucky to have seen it for what it was. He should be surprised that the Eoghans had identified the problem and started their transition before the order came through, and amazed that he'd spotted it.

Situation was stable... check the squadron. Do it himself? No, Ed would catch details faster, he always did. That man was the best staff officer he'd ever seen... He keyed his comm set, and the image of the chief of staff formed on the visiplate.

"Ed? How are we?"

"That crash dive didn't do us any favors, but neither would running into an interdictor at speed."

"That's what I thought. Any ships reporting drive damage?"

"Ulysses, Malta, and San Dorado cracked main busbars. Breakers caught on the lighter two, but not on Ulysses. Minor explosion. She's on backups, and they're routing everything around that power room until they can green-light the machinery."

"Poor Dusty." His old friend was a great screen commander, but once in a while... just plain unlucky.

Ed shook his head. "I disagree, sir. That field turning on must have been a nasty shock for the lead echelons. He was lucky, we were all lucky, that the Centralists were in front, I'd say. It could have been us."

Wenli felt his eyes go unfocused for a split second, then it hit him. "No."

"What?"

"Better if we'd been in front, I think. We could have reset the blown out components in a hurry; can they?"

The chief of staff's eyes widened. "Oh... I see what you mean. If they can't manage repairs..."

"Exactly." Even if we can push through in normal space and take out the interdictor before the Prussians are overrun, we're going to miss those heavy capital ships.

Ed looked lost in thought. Probably in contingency planning- at this point, there were too many possibilities to plan for. Wenli could feel the pull of that same trap, but Ed was even better than he was at getting lost in a maze of details. Better snap him out of it. What to ask him...

"What about that jamming?" It'd been a while since the last update.

Ed blinked at the question. "Word back from Signals just before we jumped; they started from the RMS intensities and worked backwards. Some kind of broad-angle polyphonics. Looks like they're using recordings of static from two to three weeks back, overlaying them on the existing noise."

If it weren't for the jamming, we might have seen this coming. But the low-intensity signals from the interdictor's early power-up stage must have been masked by the static.

"Clever." Wenli looked forward to the papers on that one; it would probably work quite well in the Barrier. But that was for later. "Can we beat it?"

Ed clicked his tongue "...Sort of. We're searching for matches from the ELINT lines' database, but matching the exact sequences is unlikely. Still, they say they should be able to start cutting down the jamming now that they know what to look for. If Signals is right, visibility should be up to half normal by 1915."

"Good!"

"If the Zebesians don't try anything new."

"They might, but they can only have so many gimmicks."

"True, sir."

Wenli's mind raced, trying to keep up with events and work out what to do next. How many layers of traps did the enemy- the Zebesians, or their mysterious allies, have set? And what would have happened if we hadn't given them the time to set them?

In any case, there were things to do about this trap.

"Thanks, Ed." Wenli nodded to the commodore, cut the circuit, and switched to the squadron push.

"All ships, spread VLA drones for deep field resolution; we need targeting data on that interdictor. Stand by to proceed to fleet rendevous point." He'd hate to be in charge of the Centralists right now, but Prots was tough and so were most of his crew; they'd be working on that already.

He, on the other hand, had intact ships, crews that didn't feel like they'd been turned inside out, and no need to concentrate on damage control. By the time Verio had his rattled 'task corps' back into shape, Wenli hoped he'd have something useful to present the Centralist.

CNS Black Hole
1842 Hours Fleet Standard Time


"All Task Corps ships, power grid status report!" Verio was starting to feel almost human now. The chief medical officer would probably hate him for taking that half-dose of emergency combat stims, but it cleared the mind wonderfully for now. Verio had fairly high tolerance; the aftereffects shouldn't kick in until it was too late to matter, one way or the other.

The reports filed in over the following minute or two- short and to the point, and in text, not voice. With fifty ships to keep track of he'd be swamped otherwise and his computer knew it. It was... about as bad as he'd expected.

He'd been planning to drop a tight formation of battleships and cruisers as close to the Zebes hyper limit as he could get- push into the formation of the new attackers and flatten them against the anvil of the Prussian fleet. Then the smaller, lighter-armed allied squadrons would jump out a few minutes later, to react if the enemy started to run for it.

Unfortunately, that had put his ships right in the zone of effect of the Zebesian ambush. His forces had been dragged out of hyperspace by the first tendrils of the interdiction field- one of the main field loci had been almost right on top of them. The drives had stood up well enough, with no major explosions or disintegrations aboard any ship of his command. Few of his own ships were in much better shape than the flagship.

Hmmm. Indexing by extent of damage... Borderer, Carpenter, Springbok, Loyalist... Well, that shouldn't be a surprise. Task Force 23, the ships Fibors had sent to Hawk's Nest, were almost fresh out of the repair depot. He hadn't been entirely confident of them in battle, so he'd left them at the rear of his formation- which put them farther from the interdiction locus, and most of them had drive and power trunk systems practically fresh off the assembly line now. They were reporting less damage than most, though still more than he liked.

The real question was how fast he could effect repairs, at least enough to restore FTL mobility. He wasn't sure how long the Prussians could hold out, but he doubted it would be that long. If it took more than a few hours to get at least part of the fleet underway again, this would turn into a much greater disaster.

He was particularly worried about his capital ships- exactly the units he needed most. He had plenty of working cruisers, destroyers, and light carriers... but every one of the capships had taken major damage, and every one would be hard to repair.

Replacements for a Blitz-class frigate's main busbars could be wrestled into place by five strong men and bolted down, and the drive would be fine. Replacements for a Disruptor-class battleship were a job for a six-ton power lifter and a molecular bonder.

Fixing up his heavies superheavies would not be easy. In the meantime...

"Signal to allied contingents: pin down the location of that interdictor!" That would help, at least. The damn field generators must be a light-hour or more away, too, and destroying them without getting closer... difficult.

Modified Disruptor-class Battleship CNS Frod
1846 Hours


I hate my life.

Captain Stack shook his head, quietly despairing while the engineers scrambled to assess the damage.

It was bad that his ship had suffered the brutal amputation of much of her main armament to make room for the damned Ion Cannon.

It was worse that the twice-damned Cannon brought with it a swarm of specialist technicians, whose constant calls to change anything and everything else on the ship to better serve the Cannon forced him to spend two hours a day simply refusing their requests.

It was still worse that the ten-times-damned Cannon was a dangerously unstable, shoddily designed, and inadequately prototyped weapon: one that convinced every particle gun specialist other than the insane clowns running the thing that his ship was a flying bomb.

It was beyond 'worse,' deep into 'fucking horrible' territory, that the thousand-times-damned Cannon had thus crippled his beloved battleship just before she went into action for the first time in years.

And there were no words at all, in any language Stack knew or wanted to learn, for how frustrating, how pathetic, how enraging it was that he couldn't even take his crippled ship into action, because the never-to-be-sufficiently-damned Zebesians had blown out half of Frod's hyperdrive!

Hmm. When you have one problem, you have one problem. When you have fifty problems, two of them might solve each other... Captain Stack suddenly had a very, very appealing idea.

"Captain to Ion Control, report status of the Cannon."

"Still checking, sir..."

"Good. Stop everything you're doing, no matter what. Go help Engineering fix the drive."

"...Sir, most of us aren't fully trained on drives; wouldn't we be better used working on the Cannon?"

"Did I ask you for permission, commander?" Stack's lips skinned back from his teeth in a horrible, horrible grin.

"Sir, no sir!"

"Let me make this very, very clear. To date, your teams have done nothing but harm to my ship. You have complained, you have broken things, and you have left me with the most unstable, finicky, useless white elephant of a main battery in the quadrant."

The chief ion cannon technician swallowed. He looked... wonderfully afraid.

"But today, you will be good for something, whether you like it or not. You will take every single one of your people, and you will put every single one of them to work on the drive repairs. I don't care how they help with the drive. I don't care if they're hyper engineers. I don't care if you stun-gun them and use them as footstools and doorstops for the real engineers on this ship. But if Frod isn't the first capital ship in the fleet to finish her drive repairs, then so help me I'm going to start rendering down your useless ham-handed cannon-cockers as reaction mass!"

He cut the circuit.

He'd do it, too. The paperwork would be a right pain, but it would be so worth it...

Last edited by Simon_Jester on 2011-01-16 06:36pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Agent Sorchus
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-11 12:20am 

Jedi Master


Joined: 2008-08-16 09:01pm
Posts: 1116
Valentine looked down on the fallen, those who had either been too close to the breach in the moments after the shuttle burned through or those who had been there before during the radiation bursts from the attacks. Of those that had fallen many if not most would be granted the mercy of death. Valentine didn't care, but of all the people he had experienced he could taste the horror of one Anglican in particular. It was barbaric yes, but the Assault ships they had come in on were massively overloaded for their size, with the design skimping out on Hospital stations. Even with their escorts they would be strained with their own casualties until reinforcements arrived.

He looked one of the fallen in the eye while the combat team finished crossing over from the assault ship to shuttle and into the hallway. He couldn't identify the creature's species, but that was only a small surprise. Rather he saw that quiet muffled look of one who had nothing left but death to look forward too. It was a familiar look, one that Valentine had seen worn too often, one that was almost a part of his being. Yet it was surprising seeing it on someone who was so far removed from his own idea of what was as to be unrecognizable.

His short rifle barked once, in a proclamation of mortality that ended the moment. He then turned and followed the team's spotter drone. They had a mission to complete.


In SPACE!
Assault Captain Petya took his leave from the ground command theatre; a cramped and busy place, in a good way seeing as the assault was in it’s first stages and going well. This meant that he could train his command level gaze on the other potential problem.

This other problem had found itself a home in one of the smaller depleted storage rooms. The Infantry had either eaten through it or were even now using it on the station. Either way the remaining crates were just furnishings to use to prop-up a holo table or comm and fire control computers. This basic room now had quite a few aides, tactical advisors and a comm scan secialist, all tackling the potential of a counter attack before reinforcements could arrive. The had had a short plan before arriving, but with such limited intel it was obviously not going to stay relevant.

Petya waited for the junior Air Wing commander entered before allowing the door to rematerialize, letting in the sound of a passing tankette for a few precious moments. Air Wing Commander Etzel carried with him a pilot’s vac-suit thrown across his back and held along-side a tube of sealant in his jaw, as he trotted on all fours. Two command officers entereing was enough to silence the room thoroughly.

This strenuous silence was shattered by the squeaking and squawking over the comm box. The now obvious connection was quickly addressed by the specialist. The holo table spoke better to what they were working on than anything that could have been said.

With a bitterly hopeful note Capt. Petya questioned them, “Is this worst case?”

“Close, absolute worst has too little of a confidence level to plan against. Though we were wondering about the exact specific’s you wanted for operational goals.”

One of the other aides continued, “For instance what should we do for the Infantry? How should we plan on retrieving them in case of a retreat?”

Petya blinked, and placed one claw on his temple above his eye (a rather rude gesture, implying that one is not worthy of fighting with, generally in response to something someone says.) “You are asking the wrong question, what should the infantry do for us. They are expendable in pursuit of their goals, but they could still seize enough of the functioning gear to use against attackers. Ultimately we should only focus on holding out until either reinforcements arrive or our goals are achieved on the station.”

“Question from encryption control on our escort leader.”

“Go ahead.”

“This is the crypt chief, we were wondering if we should refocus our efforts on the battlefield encryption. As it is we are working mainly on the final part of the prior engagement from when the raiders were sending data links back to aim for the bigger guns, since fire control thinks that they can get some good counter fire protocols ready from the data.”

“Actual that is a good goal, ask fire control if you need to put more cycles forward on that project. You have my permission to do so if they request it.”

“Air wing commander, what is the status of the wing?”

“Bad, I got a lot of wounded and some hurting people too. The pilots are trying to work it out, but even with reserves it looks like we have less than the number of birds ready to receive them. Though some of the birds need more space to be taken care of properly, the crews asked me to poke around seeing if they could through some of the tanks out the bay doors.”

“I’ll pass it on, though I think some of the tanks are void proof. Ah just a moment.”

Over his communicator one of the operators in ground command theatre sent him an ultrasonic data transmission, that his brain augments sorted out into a coherent statement. He dematerialized the exit. “I am sorry gentlemen, but I think I am going to have to leave you to it for now. And Commander Etzel you better not be thinking of joining your people and birds in the next scrap.”

“Aww, but to lead them I should be setting a good example to all the wounded that are volunteering for it.” Going unheard of course, since the door had already rematerialized behind the departing assault captain, who really didn’t have the authority to stop him anyway.
   Profile |  

Shroom Man 777
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-11 09:53am 

FUCKING DICK-STABBER!


Joined: 2003-05-11 08:39am
Posts: 19927
Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
[Time to kick this BEEEF into overdrive!]

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


Image

The great adventure-ship the SS Venture arrived with none other than Jack Turdner.

Everything else in the BEEEF was put aside, all was in a standstill, for this time was his time. All were called, even those confined to the internment closet-camps, the degenerate vagrants and vagabonds dwelling in the BEEEF bunker building's underlevels, and political prisoners in the hive's forgotten dungeons. Most of the audience came to watch on their own accord, alien visitors curious as to the nature of the event. A few others were compelled by shock troopers pointing bayoneted K-bolts at them. Bragulans and humans alike, Chamarrans and grotesque Karlack monstrosities, distant Eoghans and even avianoids from the Refuge. All gathered to witness the oncoming spectacle.

There was a stage, and Bragtech radiation spotlights - for the moment tuned into the visible frequencies of light, rather than x-rays or gamma radiation - focused on the amphitheater, the intense illumination threatening to set its wood ablaze. Melting Bragulan stagehands waved and gestured at those manning the lights, and the stage suddenly grew dim. Just in time, as Jack Turdner walked up the stairs and on to the platform with a confident gait. Everyone in the audience knew who he was - most, for they had heard of his exploits; others, because they had the fortune of being customers of his renowned interstellar services; and a few because they were his rivals and they, very grudgingly, had to admit that he was the best in the profession bar none, admired by many, hated by a few, and respected by all.

His very presence was enough to elicit thunderous applause from the audience.

Image

He was Jack Turdner. The greatest trader in Wild Space.

"And now Ladies & Gentlemen, I'm going to show you the greatest thing your eyes have ever beheld." He began. This prompted another round of applause. "He was a King in the world he knew but he comes to you now... a captive!"

He lifted his arms.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Eighth Wonder of the Galaxy!"

Stage music played, drum rolls and blaring trumpets. With dramatic flourish the stage curtains slowly rose up to reveal a creature unlike any other in the nine vectors of the universe.

Image

The audience gasped in fear at the sight of the great giant gorillianoid! It was a mighty thing, far larger than the Fenrisians the Byzantines brought with them, more ferocious than the bioforms of the Karlacks. It truly was a king of whatever primordial world of monsters it came from. Jack Turdner had brought it before the BEEEF, shackled and defeated, captured. This was the ultimate proof of his own greatness.

The collective gasps from the countless thousands composing his audience filled Jack Turdner with an unknowable feeling - it was his unmatchable greatness turned into sensation. It was unlike anything he had ever felt before. It was amazing. Simply amazing.

"Don't be alarmed, ladies and gentlemen. It is perfectly safe. These chains are made of chrome steel!" he declared proudly.

There was wild applause. The glaring lights focused on the giant gorillian, and so too did the flashbulbs of tens of thousands of cameras. The great beasts in the unbreakable chains roared in anger at this, averting its gaze from the intense lights all around it, trying to raise its arms to shield itself. But its chains were unbreakable. In its rage it roared again and once more tried to free itself of its shackles. Its strength was immeasurable, heraculean, but against the chrome steel cuffs its struggles were futile.

The audience started laughing at the beast. Along with the alienoid in the audiences, there were also countless Bragulans, and they laughed. They fucking laughed.

The giant gorillian roared one last time and with a mighty pull, it sought to free itself from its binds, like a simian Samsom, its strength straining the steel. It howled and clenched and its primitive mind focused every iota of its will, driven by animalistic rage and raw untapped fury at the countless puny creatures that mocked it with their harsh barks and yelps. The chains held.

But the rest of the stage didn't.

It petulantly stamped its feet on the wooden stage that had, unbeknown to all, been infested. Not by Karlacks, but by termites - a species introduced to the Bragulan biosphere by CEID centuries ago in an abandoned attempt at sabotaging something. Solaris thought it had failed and thus abandoned it. But now, it succeeded in ways they would've never imagined.

The stage collapsed in a miniature version of those controlled demolitions, caving in on itself under a plume of dust. Then from the obscure wreckage came a roar - triumphant and horrifying at the same time. The 'oohs' and 'aaahs' of the audience quickly turned into screams of horrer as the giant gorillian emerged from the dust cloud, leaping into the audience and batting bystanders by the dozen with each swing of its mighty fists.

Bragulan shock troopers took aim. No beast could withstand a fusillade of K-bolters, and ever since the Fenrisians, the Brags weren't taking any chances whatsoever. The squad leader barked, five rounds rapid he ordered.

"NO!" a voice screamed. From the rubble emerged none other than Jack Turdner. Before the Bragtroopers could shoot him dead, pulled something out of his pocket - a plutonium badge of the Bragulan Star Empire, last class, presented to friends of Bragule and granting them authority over conscripts, penal troopers and cub soldiers.

"Hold your fire!" he cried. "Don't shoot! Don't shoot my baby!"

The Bragulans had no choice but to follow his orders. He was none other than Jack Turdner, the greatest trader in Wild Space.





In the aftermath, the casualties were tagged and placed in body bags. The IBGV helped in identifying them, they already had DNA samples of most of the attendants anyway. Originally, the conscripts and arbitrators had gone with standard procedure and disposed the bodies with flamethrowers but more sensible officers had put a stop to that. Some of the Karlacks also tried to eat the corpses, and it took an implacable commissar threatening to stick-beat a nine meter gauntlinglisk to put a stop to that.

The commissar returned, no worse for the wear. He holstered his beating stick and surveyed the scene.

It was bad. Due to the initial chaos, the lack of precautions and crowd control - which he suspected, but did not voice out loud, was deliberate, because in all other mass crowd events, such as Byzon Day, Brag authorities had been perfectly capable of crowd control - the confusion of the moment and the interference of Jack Turdner, the great ape had escaped the area. Already they were trying to deploy troops to hunt the gorillian down, but between searching for the Fenrisians and containing the situation at hand and pacifying the aliens and making sure nothing else went wrong in the immediate vicinity of the teeming thousands of BEEEF-goers, they hardly had enough assets to chase the gorillian. At least, that was what his superiors were relaying to him.

His superiors had also pardoned Jack Turdner of any wrongdoing, giving him a mere stickbeating on the wrist and no other punishment. The human trader was now standing around with his forearm wrapped in a Bragcrete cast.

A scout trooper approached the commissar and presented him with the latest information. Commandos from the Extreme Warfare Operations Kill Squads, those small little fuzzballs, had been trying out their Anglian Mini Coopers in the tundras and had seen enormous animal tracks. The commandos of the Extreme Warfare Operations Kill Squads were fine trackers, but the environment had eroded the tracks so they were unsure if they belonged to the Fenrisians or the great ape. Either way, they were now trying to hunt the creatures down.

So this was what it had come down to. The tiny vicious commandos of the Extreme Warfare Operations Kill Squads were now trying to take on either giant bears, or giant apes.

The commissar sighed.

"It looks like we have an ape escape," he said before putting on his Brag-sized Gay-Bans.

Image

DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
   Profile |  

fgalkin
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-12 01:35am 

Carvin' Marvin


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Posts: 14450
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
Wordsworth's Journal: Entry One


Image
"Wordsworth" the imp

So now, the Big Boss wants everyone, even us imps, to be like these aliens we’re studying. As if learning their languages wasn’t hard enough. Well, I suppose, I shouldn’t be the one complaining, at least we imps actually use voice to talk. Some of the older daemons, especially those really hung-up on mindspeak had to morph new mouths and lungs and everything. But that’s still not enough for the Big Boss, oh no. So, now, not only do we have to talk like the aliens, we gotta act like them, too. Have you ever seen a greater daemon wearing one of them “hat” thingies? And not on the horns, which would seem the perfect place to put the thrice-damned thing (because the humies don’t have any horns), but on the head? Me and a buddy of mine,Walking-Shits-on-a-Stick, saw a Greater, all eyes and tentacles, strolling by important-like, wearing one of them Apexai hats, right between the horns. Except the Greater’s head was something like four times the size of a humie’s, to say nothing of those little gray runts, if those holovids are to be believed, and so the little Apexai hat kept falling off with every step. Now, an imp would get the point by then, but the Greater got its Duty to consider, so down it goes, puts the hat back on, makes another step, and voila. Hat falls off again, down goes the demon, and so on. Must have taken it two hours to cross that hallway, it did.

Now, what does a good self-respecting imp do when it sees this? Well, most would come right up to the daemon of course, “greetings master, may I carry your hat for you, master?” get their kick in the face, and be on their merry way. The smart ones, of course, would see that the daemon ain’t got no eyes on the side of its head, and the ones it got are all looking down at the hat, so they’d save themselves the kick and sneak away all-quiet-like. Walking-Shits-on-a-Stick, it laughed. It FUCKING LAUGHED.

What happened to it, you ask? How would I know? I didn’t stick around long enough to find out, of course. I do hope the daemon didn’t eat it right there, though. I hear they’re making some kind of communicator drones, for the Contact, so I’ll be checking them out, just in case. Maybe one of ‘em will be my buddy Walking-Shits-on-a-Stick. Then I’ll tell it, “you stupid shithead, except without shit or a head, this is what you get for laughing at Greaters ,” and do a FUCKING LAUGH myself.

But yeah, these hat things, they are not for me, oh no. What is my alien thing? I am writing a Wordsworth. If you don’t know, a Wordsworth is a little book-thing where humies write down what happened to their birthmates, and what they did, and what they think of them. Except my Wordsworth isn’t like that at all because my birthmate got turned into a Living Brick, and I don’t even know where it is because I haven’t seen it in sixty years, and even if I did, it would make a very boring Wordsworth, I think. “Today, I got squeezed by a Greater, kicked by a Lesser, and I even winked at a succubus!” Day in, day out. For a time, it looked like I would have to write just that, and my boss, Enlightenment and Understanding or somesuch (I was never good at deciphering daemon names, sorry, if you want to find it, it’s the mechanical Lesser with the “kaph” ward in its forehead), even put in a request to track down my long-lost Living Brick birthmate, but then I found something called “The Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev,” which was like a Wordsworth, except not about a birthmate. So, I guess this here is my “Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev.” But I am still calling it a Wordsworth, because I have checked every dictionary and I still have no idea what a “Nikita Khruschev” is.

Yes, I am an expert on these Wordsworth things, why do you ask? It’s my reason for being, my Duty, even. It’s how I got where I am today. You see, way back when, one of our patrol ships hit a transport from one of those humie states, the nanite people. And the ship, it had a whole bunch of these “book” things. Now, most of that stuff was nonsense, talking about angles and marks or somesuch. So, the daemons in charge, they stuck it in a corner somewhere and forgot all about it. Until now that is, when they dug it all up, and gave it to us imps to read through. So, there we were, throwing lots to see which one of us will get what. And what I got was a “Dorothy Wordsworth,” talking about how great its birthmate is and this and that. Well, I read it once, I read it twice, I still didn’t understand a thing. So, I go up to the Boss, and I give it the book, thinking, “it’s a Lesser, let it wonder what it means, I have better things to do.” And it reads it, and I see its eyes lighting up and the robo-tentacles rising in amazement. Even the kaph in its head began to glow, that’s how amazed it was. “Wow,” it said then, “you have found us a real gem.”

So, it gives the book to its own boss to read, and it, to its boss, all the way to the head of the department, Energizing-something (I am not good at names, I told you). And before I know it, there I am, standing before “her” (we’re supposed to use “she” and “her” when talking about succubi, Big Boss’s orders). And she too says, “wow, this Wordsworth thing really is something.” Then, she gave me a good lick from her belly-tongue, and promoted me.

I have to say, she isn’t a bad sort at all, especially for a Greater. I was actually quite upset when I thought she was a goner and the asshole Strength-something will get her job. You see, there was this holobroadcast thing called “Animal House.” We still have no idea what it is, but she gone and showed it to the Big Boss. Well, it was kind of like me and the Wordsworth, except that this “Animal House” is not like a Wordsworth at all. They showed it to some captives, and they said it wasn’t even a real experiment, but a “shroom-damned abomination and a secret Bragulan plot to make the galaxy dumber.” The daemons got pretty scared after that, because no one wants to be stupider. I was sure that it was the end of the succubus, but apparently, the Big Boss was in a good mood or something. Plus, I guess it’s a good thing that we’re at the beginning of the commission, so the requirements are still pretty loose, because right now, I think we’re all pretty terrible at this. Five years from now, she would have been sent to be some Lord’s private plaything for a millennia or so. Now, they only “volunteered” her for Emissary duty, which I guess is still pretty bad, because every Emissary’s mind has to be re-arranged to think like the aliens and also to purge it of any secrets. But, I figure, she’s used to that sort of thing, being a succubus and everything.

I think I have to finish this now. The Boss is giving me looks and saying that it understands Duty and the Big Boss’s orders, but if I don’t fetch it a fresh homunculus to feed on, it’s going to eat me instead. My boss is very dedicated to its Duty, and pretty nice for a daemon, but must it always eat without leaving its post? The screams are very distracting, and the messes are a horror to clean up.

Oh yes, one more thing! The Wordsworth always talked about what happened that day. I wonder what happened today that I should write about….oh yes! I heard that the construction of the ships for the Emissaries is being delayed again. Something about refitting mobile shipyards with hyperdrives. Anyways, the Big Boss got so angry, it threw a Brick straight through a wall (I do hope it wasn’t my dearest birthmate), and is now going to Homeship Three itself, saying that it won’t come back until it, or “the thrice-damned bureaucrat holding up construction” is hanging from the Shiplord’s spikes. So, we might get a new Big Boss soon.

I guess that’s it for now. I have to go fetch the homunculus. I hope it doesn’t bite.


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

Last edited by fgalkin on 2011-01-12 03:23am, edited 2 times in total.
   Profile |  

Ryan Thunder
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-12 02:31am 

Village Idiot


Joined: 2007-09-16 07:53pm
Posts: 4139
Location: Canada
BEEEF
"So, here we are," the representative from the Akvavit operation on Radiance announced cheerfully as he looked through the armoured slat windows of the Bragulan pseudo-limousine the Union mission had acquired.

"It's about goddamn time," another replied grumpily. "This bus smells like a wet shitbear."

"Because Bragulans are shitbears, dumbass," another one retorted, this one from the rather obscure Bob-Bomb operation on some rather obscure planetoid in a rather obscure star system.

Immediately the depleted uranium cabin window slid up, revealing their Bragulan driver. "Vat?" he inquired. "The Union shitmonkeys vant to drive themselves?" The cabin was absolutely silent. Even the diplomatic construct was, however briefly, at a loss for words. Satisfied that he had made his point, he continued, "Da. I thought not." Without another word the door slid back into place with a clunk.
   Profile |  

Force Lord
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-12 03:43pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2008-10-12 05:36pm
Posts: 1556
Location: Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Shadoshroom's Everlasting Glory, En Route to Koprulu Space
Outer Rimward Trunk, Sector EE-14
20 September 3400


Riza Fivi wasn't exactly someone excessively attractive, but she had just enough good looks to get by. Shadowshroom's workers were starstruck enough to be more receptive to her when she wanted something. Which was great, by the way: they never suspected that the "pretty lady" was in fact a CIS agent.

She wasn't thrilled with her assignment, to say the least. Why would the Centrality would care about Shroom Fighter in the first place? Apparently, someone at the CSB thought that a Party official was spending State money on seeing such fights, and since they couldn't nab said official (an important offical, by the way) right away, they asked the CIS to dig up the necessary dirt from abroad. The CIS was only too happy to take the opportunity to one-up the CSB: the rivalry between the two agencies was legendary, back when the former was encroaching on the turf of the latter. Even though the Party put a stop to overt confrontations, the tension was still there.

So here she was, trying to find out when the corrupt official would come out and play.

"You found anything on the Centralist yet?", asked Fivi to one particular person, who happened to register the names (or aliases) of Shroom Fighter's spectators.

"It's a bit hard, since he came with an alias. But he did bring Centralites, and no one else used that currency," he responded.

Perfect. "Will he come back?"

"He's using another alias, but yes, he'll be back. Why that guy want's to see such a bloodbath is beyond me."

"Well, I guess he's not the sharpest tool in the shed. He used Centralites, after all."

"At least we can blow his cover in case the Cents get suspicious. Heard they were cracking down on corrupt fucks. No way we'll take that kind of heat."

You already are. "That's all I needed to know. Thanks."

Fivi found herself walking around the ship, wondering what she would do next. She was working as a Shadowshroom security officer, all part of the plan to infiltrate the organization so she could find her quarry. There were times, though, that her "job" could keep her busier than usual.

One of the security personnel made his way to her, but she could smell him already. And it was not a good smell.

"You smell like shit, Tarson," she said.

"Jesus, don't remind me. My partner must have eaten something past its expiry date, because the son of a bitch vomited over me!", he exclaimed. "I'm lucky that my shift just finished. No way I'm staying there like a standing shit-stain!"

"And who's replacing you?"

"Actually, I was wondering if you would take the next shift, Sarla. You hardly do any guard duty." Sarla was her alias, not that Tarson knew.

"I was busy investigating something, but I'm idle now, so why not."

Tarson smiled. "Right. Keep an good eye on the fighters. Wouldn't want to explain to Julia how we left the area unsupervised."

"Wouldn't dream of it."

With that finished, Fivi found herself in the cell room, where the fighters were kept locked up. Few of them were willing combatants. But when you had to fight to survive, you fought.

She found herself looking at the prisioners, because that's what they really were: prisioners of R. Julia's ambition. While she had been taught not to care much about people-her CIS trainers made sure of that-she could not help but feel pity for them as she passed row after row of cells. After some walking, she came to rest her back on the right corner of a wall, and continued to her observations.

Immediately to her left was a cell containing a strange, humanoid-looking man, with green skin and orange hair, lying down on the ground. Fivi could tell this was Shroomka, apparently sleeping, for now. Training had finished an hour ago, and the fighters were resting however they could, for they would be soon called up for more training.

From the corner of her eye, however, Fivi noticed that she was being looked at. She tilted her head and could see two women in the cell next to Shroomka's. One was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman who seemed to have lost an eye, while the other was black-haired with cloudy eyes.

As a CIS agent, Riza Fivi could tell who was who, but on this occasion it hardly would have mattered. She immediately realized that the blonde was a member of the Order of the Silver Moon. Tch tch tch, I don't know if Julia's brave or stupid, but bringing a Sister of the Silver Moon here is one big act of dickwaving. The OSM would know that one of its members was missing, and they would try to pull of a rescue. Needless to say, her mission would get complicated soon, and she was wondering if now would be a good time to call the director for some possible contingency op...

She suddenly felt a strange sensation inside her head, as if something was poking it. Then came a voice, a strained, weak one, despite the null field.

Who...are...you? You...aren't...a real...guard...

That's it, her cover was blown. By a Sister of the SM fighting against a null field, no less.

Fivi didn't know what to do. She could try and reply, but then she would have to stay here, and another guard would come, see what was happening, and grow suspicious. She had no responsibility to that woman, yet something told her that she needed to make a mental response. She didn't know if it was precog or simply her long-repressed conscience talking, but she did know she had to do something. She sighed. She could try and explain to the other guards that she was making sure the Sister of the SM wouldn't do anything funny, but there was no gurantee that it would work.

What do you want from me, miss?
   Profile |  

Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-01-12 04:14pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21955
Kaiser-class Battleship SMS Prinzregent Luitpold
1848 Hours Coalition Fleet Standard Time


"Sir! Signal from Black Hole!"

Admiral Gregor von Mückenberger could sense the fear in the signals officer's voice. This wasn't going to be good...

"Report, Lieutenant."

"Interdictor attack. Reinforcements delayed by two hours or more."

"What!?"

"Interdictor attack..."

The admiral shook his head. "Understood." Oh, no... This couldn't be happening, this wasn't supposed to-

Snap out of it, you damned fool! This is happening!

In a sudden flash of clarity, von Mückenberger thought over his performance over the past hour and found it lacking. He'd reverted to the kind of thinking he'd use in Admiralty Staff politics, counting on the appearance of self-control and discipline to hold his fleet together. He'd thus accomplished nothing by his own thoughts- the shock of the plan failing so fully had broken him that badly. Everything was wrong, everything was insane, the enemy wasn't supposed to pretend to let him win and then jump him during the mop-up, granted. The enemy didn't do this sort of thing in a proper battle, granted. Obviously, this was not a normal battle. That didn't mean he got to curl up and die in some fit of bovine inactivity!

Hang together. Try to survive. Well, he'd just have to survive longer than planned, eh? He'd show them! Start with the basics- supplies of fuel and ammunition, already low, would have to be stretched for... some indefinite time. His ships were already firing individually targeted salvos instead of the usual opportunistic rapid fire- he hadn't ordered that, but never mind- what else? There had to be something else...

Hmm. A quick glance across the hundred- ninety-five, now, and that was counting some badly damaged units- ships of his fleet revealed a problem, now that he made himself really think about it.

His battleships were still taking heavy fire from the Zebesian center- those strange, darting ships with the long range beam weapons. It was below any real danger threshold, but he wasn't hurting them any more than they were hurting him... and he'd run out of power before they did.

The cruiser formations spread in a ring on his flanks were holding out rather better. The heavy cruisers were keeping their remaining missiles in reserve, per standing orders; the battlecruisers were engaged against the light-ship formations of the new Zebesians' flanks, and doing fairly well against them. The Third was having trouble for some reason, not firing as fast, but the Fifth and the Sixth seemed to be holding on well enough, with support from their destroyers.

It was... wrong on every possible level, he knew, but... would the cruisers have to be the ones to save the battleships? His mind shied away from something that violated every lesson of a long life of service to the League, but he forced himself to consider it by sheer effort of will. His battleships could take it, were taking it; even after they could no longer spare the power to shield against the enemy beam weapons entirely, the Kaiser class's massive armor belts would take a lot of pounding. But they were not performing adequately against the enemy center, not at this range, and he didn't have the ammunition for saturation patterns in ship to ship combat, to generate... wait.

They didn't have enough ammunition for single ships to put saturation patterns onto the enemy ships, as per doctrine. But they could manage saturation patterns against individual enemy units, if they fired from five or ten platforms at a time...

The capability was there; the fire control networks were there and quite capable of synchronizing main battery fire from multiple ships, just as they synchronized point defense for fleet missile defense. But the doctrine telling him to do this... there wasn't any. I'm... I'm adding a page to the book, aren't I?

Well, if he wasn't qualified to do it, who was? Von Mückenberger had spent decades of learning Fleet doctrine inside and out, of serving on the committees that carefully assessed and struggled to optimize it, pondering over the implications of each detail. Coming up with a whole new category of fleet fire plan would normally be a job for a study committee to work out the implications under as many conditions as possible. Here he was, doing it on his own and praying it would work.

This hurt. But he had to do it anyway, or they'd all get killed.

And there was something else, too.

Von Mückenberger's fingers stabbed the keyboard, and a face appeared on the screen. "Arnold!"

Once again, the very sight of the solid, direct, dependable New Austrian made the universe seem a little more stable. "Ja, sir?"

"I want curves of optimal power allocation versus remaining fuel to minimize damage for all our ships- some fleetwide defense doctrine we can stick to, to make our fuel reserves last as long as possible. Do we have that in the files?" He knew they'd done studies on that for the Kaisers back in the '60s; the graphs had to be on record somewhere, and no doubt there was similar data for the other ships.

"Somewhere in the technical files. I can find it."

"Hurry!"

Arnold saluted, and cut the circuit of his own initiative.

"Signal to the fleet. All battleships and battlecruisers, I want salvo fire grouped by squadrons! Squadron leaders pick targets, then throw a full broadside from all railgun ships under your command at them. Make every round count; we will teach these pirates a lesson in Prussian efficiency!"



Valkyrie-class Battlecruiser SMS Brunhild
1855 Hours


Reinhard looked at Kircheis. Kircheis looked at Reinhard. They opened their mouths at once, and it looked like they were going to ask the same question at the same moment, until the redhead shrugged and made a slight hand gesture, granting his admiral priority.

"Interesting. Do you think it will help, Kircheis?"

"It might not help us, but we have more supplies left than anyone else in the fleet. If we were down to what everyone else is..."

"You're right. I... I would have ordered it myself." It was a bit unnerving, watching that man make a good judgment call, and it made Reinhard want to rethink the merits of squadron salvos all by itself. Can it be right if he's doing it?

No, that was his temper thinking, not his brain. If von Mückenberger was turning over a new leaf, more power to him. And while the order might not improve matters much for his squadrons, it wouldn't actively make things worse. His Valkyries had enough processing power to hand off targets to each other seamlessly, and the enemies directly facing him were neither fast nor dazzling enough to force a heavier concentration of ECCM assets for targeting purposes.

"Signals, message to the Sixth, copy to Eleventh Destroyers. Following fleet order, all railgun ships are to direct salvos against my targets. Increase evasive burns by thirty percent and stand by for fire missions from Brunhild."

The downside of firing by squadrons was that some enemy ships would be left unengaged. The... are they even Zebesians at all? The enemy's gunnery would likely improve, and as long as he had more of a fuel reserve than the rest of the fleet, he'd prefer not to take unnecessary hits as the price of that.



Type 22 Core Ship, Serial Number 12E886C8
Flagship Boskonian Core Subfleet
Engaging Prussian Battleships
1859 Hours


Image
Admiral Cosmog of Narshe, commanding the Boskonian core ships

Zokolova's eyes were on him, Cosmog knew that much. So far, though, all her communications indicated that she was well satisfied.

The mission she'd tasked him with wasn't easy- his sub-fleet had only eight capital ships, six of them the lightweight Type 12 battlecruisers, to engage the solid core of Prussians. The cruisers and destroyers supporting his formation helped, but they had their limits. Fortunately, he hadn't needed to take his forces in close against the Prussian railguns. Macrobeams and the Bergenholm inertial drive combined to give him a solid range advantage, and for forcing the Prussians to burn power defending against his attack until their fuel tanks ran dry, a long range engagement would do well enough.

Sigint had identified the battleships on the upper half of the Enemy center as their Second Battle Squadron, with two damaged battleships from the earlier action. He'd concentrated the attack of his own pair of battleships on the damaged superheavies, but to no avail: no matter how severe a beating they'd taken from the Urtraghan missiles earlier, their defensive screens were still up to par, and every bit as tough as his briefing said.

Odd. They've stopped firing... Every one of the Second's railguns, and those of its attached destroyers, went silent- before, they'd been firing grouped salvos at something on the order of once a second. Are they trying to conserve power, or... that's funny.

The battleships and destroyers' EM signatures spiked at once- millisecond synchronization, give or take. Then they did it again. Again. The other half of the battleships joined in, as did the railgun-armed battlecruiser squadrons on the flanks, the ones the assets were fighting. Seconds ticked by.

What are they playing at... oh SHIT! Two of his battlecruisers flared white as the second and third courses of outer screen stripped away under the impacts, the wall shields revealed in an alarming shade of electric blue that faded back down through the green as the generators reset.

One of the nasty drawbacks of the Bergenholm drive was that ships with artificially low inertia tended to respond very badly to sudden impacts; when one of his Type 12s took a hit from a battery group salvo off one of the Prussian superheavies, that ship went flying out of formation, its fire knocked astray and its sensors reeling. At that, most of the heavy battleship rounds must have missed- otherwise, Cosmog knew his ships would have been volatilized, not just bruised and disoriented.

Then he saw the same thing happen among the asset ships on the right flank- an Urtraghan plasma destroyer knocked onto a corkscrew path, engines obviously damaged, streaming vapor. Half a minute later, again- dorsal flank this time, one of the Kavoolite laser strikers.

This is going to get annoying... but he was under no obligation to the assets. What he must do was preserve the core ships, or it would go badly with him.

"All ships! Evasion level seven, step up ECM output to one hundred five percent of baseline! Ku-*" Cosmog bit down on the equivalent of a hiccup, one of his species' most recognizable verbal tics. How he hated that reflex!

The chorus of ship commanders replying "Yes, Your Supremacy!" suggested that his underlings were most relieved to obey the order- and none had caught his humiliating lapse. But it wasn't a good sign; if his voice control had started to slip already... This had already been a long, stressful day. It was, no doubt, going to go on longer.

At least he'd get the pleasure of demolishing the exhausted Prussian ships at the end of it; that would make up for a thousand minor annoyances.



SMS Brunhild
1902 Hours


Rear Admiral Reinhard von Musel's eyes were wide as he watched the ships in the enemy's center start to blur- not even Brunhild's systems could show them as a point moving at speeds the human eye could follow. Thankfully, the computers were still able to track even if the Mark One Eyeball couldn't, but it was... disturbing.

He turned and murmured to his aide- as much an exercise in lip reading as hearing; this was meant for no one else. "Kircheis?"

"Yes, sir?"

"It shakes me to admit this, but von Mückenberger just had a truly good idea back there."

His closest friend smiled, then spoke a reply in equally hushed tones. "You miss having a monopoly on good decisions?"

"..."

I'm being childish, aren't I? He should be better than this; such thoughts had been a bad enough habit of mind when he was a teenager, but they were outright shameful in a grown man. He shook his head. "Now that you mention it, no. We can get away with individual ship salvos, but the rest of the fleet... hitting a one target twice as hard seems to be making them more nervous than hitting four targets at the usual rate. All the better that the others are shifting fire around, keeping them on their toes. Speaking of which..." Kircheis nodded; Reinhard turned to bark an order to Fire Direction.

The destroyer he'd been shooting at was running away- a main engine burn, energetic enough that their return fire was practically irrelevant. They needed new targets. "Guns, shift target to enemy cruiser, target 59, five shots, then shift main target to fleet defense laser platform, target 72. Direct one quarter of salvos against random targets-" keep them on their toes "-and three quarters to target 72 until destroyed." Mittermeyer still had a fair number of missiles left; thinning out what almost had to be antimissile ships would be all to the good if he needed to use them.

Even so, this situation was going to become untenable sooner or later. Even a glance at the consumption figures showed that the fleet only had enough ammunition for about another two hours, and some of the ships would already be running out of power by that point. Reinhard had no interest in being known to history as the last to die in the annihilation of the Second Fleet.

Perhaps... now that was a tempting thought, if he could bring it off. Very tempting. He'd need more information though.

"Signals, compose a long range tightbeam to the allied fleets: "Von Musel, Sixth Battlecruisers. Please clarify your current status." That will be all, for now."

He turned to his aide once more. "Kircheis, go over our deployment orders."

His friend blinked in surprise. "Deployment orders?"

"Our earlier conversation on them... I want to be sure we were right." He wasn't so much worried about the tactical situation. The Inspector General though, they might prove more of a challenge... and Kircheis, bless him, was already running through the files.

Placing his more ambitious ideas on the back burner, Reinhard concentrated on the enemy in front of him. How to break them up the most, the fastest?
   Profile |  

fgalkin
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-12 11:43pm 

Carvin' Marvin


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Posts: 14450
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
Diplomatic System
Sector G3 (on the border of H4)
March 10, 3400

Image


Resolution In The Face Of Danger drifted silently across the vast emptiness of space, basking in the light of the distant star. It felt as it if it could almost feel the gentle touch of solar wind against its outer skin, the pleasant sensation of charged particles as they interacted with its magnetic fields and outer shell. It could feel nothing of the sort, of course, no physical sensation at all except the constant burning where the edge of its consciousness was pressed against the orichalcum wards inscribed on its hull. That, and a sense of loss, a deep hollowness in the place where its power had been once.

Resolution In The Face Of Danger did not mind. In truth, it had almost forgotten what it was like, to move freely on its own accord, to reach out with its mind, to see and hear things as they are, without the crutches of technology. All that was gone forever now. Only duty remained.

Image
Patrol Ship Resolution In The Face Of Danger

The system it was currently in was nothing special, a dozen planets orbiting a main sequence yellow star. One of the planet was habitable, and, indeed, had once been home to a bronze-age civilization. Then, centuries ago, the Lost had found the world. They had no intention of contact, but new sapient species were fairly rare, and each one presented new opportunities for study. Specimens were collected and examined. Sociological experiments were performed. And, in the end, when the poor doomed inhabitants of the new world had nothing more to give, they were assembled, brought back to the massive Homeships where their souls were consumed. Only the ruins of abandoned cities, slowly swallowed by the creeping jungles, remained as monuments to a murdered race.

The system had been deep in the shoals then, far away from any hyperlane. Now, the Central Alliance’s arrival had altered the landscape, clearing hundreds of cubic lightyears of what was once shoals, making the system accessible. And now, the Lost had come again.

Resolution In The Face Of Danger knew that the surface of the planet was a bustle of activity again, teams of daemons working around the clock demolishing the old ruins, constructing new settlements, making sure that not a trace remained of the prior habitation. Vast new cities, designed for the lost’s foreign guests were being constructed enmasse.

And now, it knew, the second stage of the project was about to begin. It could see it coming,sense its approach from lightyears away thanks to the vast sensor net covering the sector. It had been preparing itself for the moment. And now, that moment came.

Resolution In The Face Of Danger felt the very fabric of space time bend slightly, as the massive station transitioned into realspace at the system’s hyper limit. It was a sphere of perfect blackness, 500 kilometers in diameter.

Image
The Darkness That Comes Before

Resolution In The Face Of Danger could see it clearly, and for the first time in centuries, it felt truly insignificant, it’s four hundred meters unnoticeable against it massive bulk. It and the other ships in the system sent messages of obeisance and congratulations. The massive station responded with a routine acknowledgement.

Then, the massive black maw in the center of the massive station began to open, revealing the swirling vortex of an active warp gate. Ships began to come out, dozens, hundreds of them—mobile shipyards and factories, mining ships carrying von Neumann swarms bound for the system’s asteroid belt, orbital defense facilities and warships.

The Lost had come again, and this time, they were there to stay.


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

Last edited by fgalkin on 2011-01-20 04:32am, edited 3 times in total.
   Profile |  

Mayabird
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-13 12:07am 

Storytime!


Joined: 2003-11-26 05:31pm
Posts: 5970
Location: IA > GA
The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF)
Vlyadibragstok, Southeastern Severnaya Sector / just beyond Northwestern Lena Sector
Unreal Time / October-December 3400



Some kitties, two birds, and a robot bodyguard were in a VIP box.

Image


The larger and higher ranked of the two birds, a grand eagle named Fulcrum, was visiting a Chamarran dignitary in the box as his Mechanical bodyguard looked on.

“Indeed,” he said, “there are ample opportunities for investment in our outlying sectors. Much of the focus right now is on Grand Junction, so someone enterprising could find some overlooked place ripe for development, say, Star of the Winds, which is...”


Dash, the smaller of the two birds and lower ranking, though he had a real real mission of his own, read off the programme, (paper of course, and a very expensive and high quality stiff version as well) of the events. “...the Marvel of Sssssskuuuuuuuuuulllllll Plllllllaaaaaaaannnnneeeeeeet.” He wondered if that was a typographical error.

A robot servitor brought a tray of hors d'oeuvres by the mockingbird. He eyed the dainties, tiny pastries and items with sticks through them and a small bowl of wrinkly purple spheroids. Dash had an idea of what the pastries were and knew the sticks would choke him, but what where the spheroids? Specialized gizzard stones? He asked the servitor.

“Those are called raisins, Master Dash,” it said.

One of the other catgirls in the dignitary's entourage overheard them. “Specifically,” she said, “they are the fruits of a vine called the grape, which are then set out in the equatorial sunlight of a white star until they are dried like so. Though some people use ovens or acids to dry them instead, but I accept no inferior substitutes.” She plucked one from the bowl. “Try some.”

So he did. Dash gulped one down.

Image


He thought it was pretty good.


“No, a joint venture would be preferable,” explained Fulcrum. “That region have not been completely pacified, and we have already done the preliminary surveying. Certainly that may cut down on your profits in the short term, but you will have established yourself in...”


“Some grub, Master Dash?” asked another servitor. He held out a small tray with different dainties.

“Grub?”

“The fried mealworms are said to be delightful,” it said, so Dash tried them too. They were alright, but he liked the raisins better.


“That is above my authority,” Fulcrum said, “although my yacht has the files you may want to peruse before-” but then the lights dimmed and the spotlights focused on the stage, so they settled in to watch the show.


The Avians saw Turdner's entrance, the straining giant gorilloid, marveled at the wonder of Sssssskuuuuuuuuuulllllll Plllllllaaaaaaaannnnneeeeeeet, and then goggled as it broke the stage and roared. Fulcrum squawked (a sound that his mothers, had they been at the event instead of back at the Refuge, would have instantly recognized as shock. They might all sound fierce to others, but they knew how to tell the difference.)

The Chamarrans screamed and fled out the box as the gorilloid leapt into the crowd and scattered the audience like Shepistani riot control.

“Maybe we should go, yes? Leave, vamoosh, scoot, get outta here, please?” Dash asked.

“You worry too much,” replied Fulcrum. “We're safely up here in this box; it'd be much more dangerous to try to get through that crowd below, with their silly low ceilings.”

And then a massive slab of chairs went through the window of the VIP box.



*************
Will our heroes survive this frenzy?
Can they escape the clutches of the mad gorilloid?
What is Dash's real real mission?
Find out, by scrolling down!
*************



Fortunately for Fulcrum and Dash, the chairs missed them. The slab flew beside and above them with a woosh, and the wind of its passing ruffled their feathers, but they were untouched. The bodyguard, however, was struck directly by it and was knocked back. It and the seats smashed into the back and knocked more of the box onto themselves as they did, completely blocking the official exit.

Fulcrum squawked, one that his mothers would have translated as something between, “Oh dear,” and “fucking shit on a bender.

The box started making creaking sounds as it lurched to one side.

“We gotta get out now!” Dash screamed. They both shot out of the hole in the window just in time before the box detached from the wall and fell on the crowd below, pushing and trying to escape. And right in front of them was the gorilloid, swinging on the massive chandelier. It was already covered with Bragsteel lights representing Byzon's feats and thus quite heavy even without anyone hanging from it. The birds and the deposed king had time only to see each other (and the eagle to squawk again) before the ceiling failed under the weight and dropped chandelier, gorilloid, and Bragcrete below. The Avians veered off tightly and barely avoided the debris. They landed nearby on a jutting, possibly ornamental beam, panting and looking down.

And the gorilloid roared again and threw off the entire chandelier in a massive cloud of Bragcrete dust and pounded his chest in defiance. Fulcrum squawked again just from nerves, and to his horror, the gorilloid turned his attention to them.

Dash knew he had to, so he activated his adrenal implants.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl as his thoughts and reflexes sped up. For Dash's real real mission was that as bodyguard to Fulcrum. No one would ever suspect the aggression and fighting prowess he possessed, and no one would think of the smaller bird as the guard of the much larger. With a cry that sounded like a deep bass bellow to him, Dash charged the gorilloid, though it was hundreds of times larger.

Every heartbeat of his fluttering heart was a distinct hard ka-thunk. He could see every hair on the gorilloid, would watch their slow sway, like grass in a gentle breeze. Dash could react almost before his opponent realized it was acting. He could have the leisure of picking the exact weak spot he wanted to strike. Eyes, he decided. Go for the eyes. He put on a burst of speed (those snacks having come in handy) but then the gorilloid started to blink. Being dashed against an enormous eyelid – that would not do! He slowed his own speed, watching for the eyelid to rise again.

But the size differential was just too much. In all his focus, he forgot about the nostrils until he was struck by the oncoming monstrous exhalation. In his apparent slow motion, he tumbled as he was shoved away by the breath of a king. Then as he righted himself he saw a hairy arm, swinging one of its still-attached chrome chains, coming towards him. He knew he had just enough time to get out of its path, so he did, but he could not dash away fast enough to miss the draft, and it caught him and tossed him away without the gorilloid even noticing.


Fulcrum was wondering where Dash had gone off to when he saw the chrome steel chain swinging his way. He managed to jump off for a gliding fall just in time before it smashed into the place he had been perched, then flapped madly in a panicked flight, away, because now he was the target.

His mothers would have interpreted his repeated squawks as repetitions of “shit shit shit shit shit shit” with a hint of “I'm too pretty to die!” as the gorilloid roared and snatched at him. It chased him through the auditorium, the places that had already been rampaged through, back towards the armed bears near where the stage used to be. They couldn't fire, so they fled in all directions that the gorilloid was not. Their scattering distracted the rampaging giant long enough for Fulcrum to hide himself in the rafters backstage.

The rafters were also, for some damned reason, made of wood, and the termites had had their way with them too. They were rickety, and could barely hold his weight. Fulcrum squawked again, accidentally, regretting it immediately, because then the gorilloid was back after him. It plunged into the stage curtains, ripping them down in a cloud of Bragcrete dust and crumbling rafters. Its chains got tangled in the curtains for a moment, giving Fulcrum just enough time to hide himself again. Then the gorilloid, having forgotten about the annoying sound, pounded his chest and escaped backstage.

Fulcrum waited until the sounds of crashing and smashing grew dim before making his way out.

Now to find Dash.

With his extremely keen eyesight he scanned the devastation for signs of his deputy. He spotted a small tuft of grey-white feathers in a heap of bodies...and a Karlack was approaching it! Fulcrum dived like a falcon, nearly smashing into the ground, landing on top of the groaning mass of not quite dead bodies, and giving the Karlack the meanest glare he had. It decided to go for a slightly more out-of-the-way heap without competition on top of it. Then the eagle looked back down for Dash.

It was not him. It was, in fact, an arrangement of feathers on a fancy dress hat. Feathers on a hat. There would have to be words on that later. But first, finding Dash. He looked again.

And there he was, in slightly more out-of-the-way heap.

His wings pounded the air madly, with all his power. He made it before the Karlack, but now, it wasn't so inclined to walk away. It had already moved aside once, and how dare this creature try to claim two heaps for itself?

Fulcrum hissed at the monstrosity.

Image


“You want to mess with me? Try it. I've got diplomatic immunity.

The Karlack hesitated, then decided that his Excellency had a good point and crept off to find something else dead to eat that didn't have a pissed off ambassadorial eagle on top of it.

Fulcrum reached in and delicately grabbed Dash and pulled him out before he could be crushed by a rolling injured female Bragulan. He looked bad, blood everywhere and it looked like one of his wings was broken, but the eagle checked for signs of life anyway.

Fortunately, it is actually very difficult to kill a mockingbird, which is good, since it is a sin. Dash coughed out a puff of gilt and Bragcrete, and tried to groan a greeting.

“Hang on, little buddy,” Fulcrum said, and he looked up for someone to help. The Mechanical bodyguard had just punched its way out of the layers of rubble, so the eagle waved him over, flapping his wings wildly. “Get over here! Hurry! Open your torso 'cause we need triage over here! There are injuries!”
   Profile |  

Shroom Man 777
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-13 03:51am 

FUCKING DICK-STABBER!


Joined: 2003-05-11 08:39am
Posts: 19927
Location: Bleeding breasts and stabbing dicks since 2003
With special thanks to PeZook, who gave me such wonderful ideas. :)


Previously on SDNW4...

PeZook wrote:
A great many worlds were settled during the Diaspora. Slow generational ships scattered across the Cosmos from the twin cradles of humanity, carrying people from all walks of life. Many of these craft were lost in the depths of space and never found ; Others founded the great star nations of the galaxy.

Many others landed, for various reasons, on planets barely suitable for life ; Lost their equipment or parts of the crew, or just plain collapsed after a few years. There were many, many such worlds where tiny human communities eked out a miserable living. World uncharted, never rediscovered, or only known to pirates and slavers. Yet more places were dead, with only ghost towns indicating humans ever set foot there, abducted by slavers or wiped out by disease.

The UNS
Almera avoided that fate, and managed to establish a colony, its crew naming their new world for their ship. With hope for the future, they set out to explore and colonize the arid world, fearing no hardship.

Records are unclear what happened next ; What was known is that eventually, after a period of great development and a population explosion, the colony failed - at some point, its organized government was overthrown in a violent coup, replaced by a brutal dictatorship. Since that time, the situation deteriorated through centuries, and Almera never registered on the galactic stage, having lost all of its advanced space-age technology.

Yet people survived ; Slowly descending into barbarity and dwindling in numbers due to famine and disease, its huge cities torn down and converted into shanty towns sustaining themselves with sustenance farming, its legacy all but forgotten. Only a few of Almera's inhabitants looked at the stars anymore, too concerned with everyday hardship to care.



[For added reference, here are the rest of PeZook's excellent story set in Almera: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 ]

Image

Wild Space Sector BB-25
Planet Almera
Algeira


After the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of its rivals, Algeira found itself as the sole superpower state of planet Almera. At first, the nation soared at the dizzying heights of its euphoric victory, standing tall over the wreckage of its fallen enemy Zenobia, the evil empire. It had been a time of optimisms, and despite the warnings of the older generation, those who had experienced the hard times of the Cold War and the fear and uncertainty of that era, the youth of the nation elected an inexperienced leader who claimed to be the one to lead Algeira to a better future. He promised them change they could believe in, he promised to carry them to a brave new world.

They elected President Bari'bama.

Or Barry, as they called him on the hill.

Image

"BALLS!" chanted the protesters as they stormed the streets of that same hill, the capitol hill of Algeira's greatest city, Washingtoff. In the end, the older generation had been absolutely right, and the youth of the nation were dead wrong. President Bari'bama had betrayed the sovereign citizens of Algeira, the social reforms he had attempted to institute to help the common man were deemed unconstitutional and the people made their stand against him. At first they were content to bringing Armalytes to town hall meetings where Bari'bama spoke at, but Barry hadn't gotten the message then, no siree. It was only after a Murcan patriot had tried to rid the nation of a Congresswoman, while successfully taking care of those activist judges, that the nation and the sovereign citizens had been galvanized to take true action - stirred into revolutionary frevor by the likes of true-blooded Algeiran-Murcans like Sarah Plain and Blenn Geck.

The protests on Washingtoff turned violent as the sovereign citizens turned from protesters into rioters. They threw molotov cocktails into abortion clinics. They raided universities and seized the professors, those who had spoon-fed the foolish youth of the nation with their liberal tripe, and they took these liberals and hurled them into bonfires where they screamed and burned to death, their charred forms silhouetted in the flame's red glare, flailing in a firelit dance of death - the tango de la muerte. Those who had brought the Armalytes to the town hall meetings now finally had the chance to use them, and so they did, gunning down the liberals who had sought to take their guns away from them.

President Bari'bama had made the sin of trying to help the common man by stealing the hard-earned wealth of the people. And now they were going to bill him for it.

It all came to an end when it was revealed that Bari'bama wasn't even a true Algeiran. He was a secret Pelanian. This, and his unconstitutional attempts at amendment solution, were enough grounds for an impeachment.

President Bari'bama was deposed. They no longer called him Barry, because he was no longer on the hill.

Bari'bama dared to steal their money unconstitutionally to help the common man. Such blasphemy against the writ of the Father-Founder was rife with the very same political ideology of Zenobia, their fallen Cold War enemies. Now the sovereign citizens would show them all what they thought about people who would steal their money to help the "common man". They found these welfare queens, dragged them out into the streets and shaved their heads bald and painted them pink for the pinko scum they were. They were driven out from the cities. They, and their fellow undesirables, were forced to flee to the rurals. But even there they couldn't hide, as the sovereign citizens found them and hanged them to dry. Such was the fate that befell them and their ilk. Illegal immigrants. Homobortionists. Intellectuals. The scum of Almera.

In the aftermath of this and Bari'bama's deposition, the Algeirans renamed their nation after their godly Father-Founder's one true prophet, the one who wrote their sacred constitution. Thus Algeira came to be known as Murca.

In the bloodstained streets, the victorious sovereign citizens were cleaning up their sullied nation. They lined up the doctors and nurses who had worked in hospitals and abortion clinics funded by money Bari'bamacare stole from the tax payers.

Image

A Shroomedian took his grenade launcher and began executing them one by one.

"But the country's disintegrating. What's happened to Algeira? What's happened to the Algeiramerican dream?!" cried one of the nurses.

The Shroomedian pointed his grenade launcher at her.

"It came true. You're lookin' at it."

He fired.

Image

This was the true death panel.
   Profile |  

Akhlut
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-14 05:05pm 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2005-09-06 02:23pm
Posts: 2659
Location: The Burger King Bathroom
Image

Where's the BEEEF? by Thompson S. Hunter
A Report on the Bragulans for the PuffHo Picayune

So, here I am at the BEEEF, sent here by the PuffHo bigwigs, and it is fucking crazy out here. I don't know what the hell the drug policy is, but everyone's selling 'em anyways, if you know where to look. I've already bought about 30 kilograms of uppers, downers, hallucinogens, and distilled Karlack blood, among other things.

Aside from that, this place is still fucking crazy: dinosaurs everywhere, while birds are smoking and Jack Turdner brought the biggest goddamn gorilla I've ever seen. Hell, I was even there as it broke free and killed nearly everything it saw. I had the incredible courage, though, to duck behind a booth and crawl into a ventillation shaft and crawl to the other side of the convention center. It only took me six hours to do so, and when I got out, I was greeted by some surprised Chamarans. Luckily, they were a lot happier after we smoked a bowl and I showed them my press credentials.

One of the odder things I've seen here, though, is the camaraderie between the kipakts and the Bragulans. I think it might be because they're both oversized killing machines, but they get along like me and Scotch, in spite of their vast ideological differences. I've seen a half dozen kipakt and Bragulans split a live Feelipeeni carabao between them. They didn't even bother to slaughter it or cook it or even kill the damn thing before they started in on it. And when some human guests looked at them with horror, they laughed.

They fucking laughed.

Although, kipakt laughter is a fucking weird ass thing: the bastards chirp like birds. For a 1.5 tonne murder monster, they sing like canaries when they laugh.

(Continued after this ad for High Times)
   Profile |  

Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-01-15 08:21pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21955
Corsair-C Type Pursuit Cutter CG-81634 “Greyhound,
Docked to USS Guernsey
Preparing for Escort Mission
1852 Hours Fleet Standard Time


Tom called from the copilot's seat. "All pre-flight checks complete, we are ready to launch!"

Audrey switched to her link with the mothership's bridge. "Guernsey, space group is ready for launch."

The captain answered. "Periclam Three is having some last-minute hardware difficulties; stand by."

Periclam Group was a loosely associated formation of recon boats flying off three of the new guys'- ITF Two's- ships. They weren't a real squadron as far as she was concerned; the ELINT cutters always tended to think alone even when they didn't fight alone. But then, Piranha Group was if anything even more of an improvisation now. Half the cutters she'd commanded at Hawk's Nest had died with their mothership when Nantucket got hit three weeks back, and not a damn thing she could...

Quote:
CG-81634 “Greyhound,
Docked to USS Guernsey
June 21, 3400


Commander Gowon's smooth baritone answered her. "Copy that, Piranha Leader. We'll undock you as soon as we get the order; hold tight until then."

They were waiting on starship support for launch; otherwise, even the combined cutter wing of Nantucket and Guernsey wouldn't be able to do much against a pair of starships, especially not without greencaps. They still didn't have replacements for the ones expended at Hawk's Nest; reloads were due soon, but hadn't come in the mail yet, and for now they were making do with standard nukes.

Come on... There was a lot about the situation she didn't know, but she hoped to hell the starships would get moving...

No, stop, snap out of it, concentrate on... something? Anything?

"...Tom?"

"Yes?"

"I think we might have missed a sub-para in the pilot console checks. Read me through again, will you?"

"Ah, you sure about that, ma'am?" The copilot's tone was dubious.

"...Better safe than sorry."

"Gotcha. All right." He took a deep breath, then dug up the checklist. "Step one, run all-range display adjustment diagnostic..."

*The periclam is a type of marine life native to the planet Alta Vista, a bottom-feeding sea turtle-analog known for its extensible eyestalks, which can be raised like periscopes to identify safe places to scuttle next, then withdrawn under the creature's armored shell if a predator threatens.



Disruptor-class Battleship Black Hole
Flagship Task Corps 8
Stranded in Deep Space
1855 Hours


Vice Admiral Prots Verio frowned as he contemplated the results of Navigation's analysis. His own ships were stranded well inside the interdiction zone by sublight drive standards; it would take several hours to work their way clear- unacceptable, but those were the figures. The Tianguo contingent was much closer to the edge, having run into the field after it fully formed. Their battlecruiser-sized fleet carriers, slower on the helm than the cruisers that made up the bulk of the Taikongjun force, had taken significant drive damage, but they could at least make it out of the zone on sublight in short order. The other fleets, outside the area of absolute hyperspace denial, could cover the light-days separating them more easily, using short hyperspace hops: very short, very slow, very careful hops.

Realism dictated that the fleet assembly point be between the Tianguo and Centralist positions- with the Tianguo and other allied fleets covering most of the distance. His own ships were still at low power, while engineers scrambled to replace damaged power trunks and switching systems; no one wanted to accept the delays in repairs to the FTL drive that would be imposed by running the sublight drive at full power.

But even if he concentrated his forces, it would do him no good until this damned interdictor was shut down. The whisker lane was extremely narrow, and local shoal conditions were abysmal; he didn't want to risk being caught in the overlap between a field projected by the Zebesians' station and the chaotic effects of being pulled out of hyper in shoal space. His ships had been lucky to survive the attack in the lane, let alone out of it.

In effect, the road to Zebes was mined. And nothing he'd heard from the Prussians made him optimistic about their ability to survive more than a few more hours of action against the newly reinforced Zebesian fleet...

At least he had good people working on identifying the interdictor's position. His own ships were having little luck; the distribution of detectable field loci was ambiguous. He needed to triangulate, and that meant pushing sensor platforms out into the shoals: hyper-capable ones, if he was to do it in any reasonable timeframe. With his own Fireball scout variants and the Tianguo 'Sparkies' pinned by the interdiction zone itself, he supposed he'd need to hand the job off to the Umerians...

"Com-Scan, get me a channel to Layla Daniels; I need to speak to Vice Admiral Yang."

"Yes, sir." It took the communications officers a moment to patch through a two-way circuit; the interdiction wasn't helping hyperwave reception a bit, but the range was short and the job was done in a decent number of seconds. The Umerian was dressed in his service's utilities, but hadn't sealed the helmet, making his facial expression apparent without computer interpolation. Yang looked... slack and inattentive, frowning slightly and staring into space. Then his eyebrow quirked up as he braced to a rough approximation of attention, as he appeared to truly notice Verio for the first time.

Verio couldn't bring himself to like Yang. The man wasn't particularly obnoxious in any way, and he didn't make trouble, but in all Verio's years, he had never seen anyone less committed to proper military discipline. Not outside the brig, in any case. Even the other Umerians seemed to think of him as informal and lax almost to the point of comedy... which was roughly how he'd have described the Umerians themselves.

"Yes, sir?"

"Admiral, I want you to put out a reconnaissance shell with your cutters; I need the location of that interdictor array."

Yang looked diffident, embarrassed, even, as he looked away and rubbed the back of his head with one hand. Is he going to say no? Inconceiv- but it was inconceivable... Just before Verio barked a demand that Yang spit out whatever he was going to say, the Umerian apparently made up his own mind.

"I, ah, already gave the launch order. About... eight minutes ago."

"...I see. Carry on, then. Keep me updated on the scouts' progress."

"Yes, sir."

Verio still didn't like Yang, but he had to admit that the man was reacting well to the situation. Indeed, reacting far better than he'd have expected, almost too well; it was unnerving having a subordinate who anticipated his orders that quickly. Verio was beginning to wonder if the Umerians had perfected some sort of mind reading technique that could work over interstellar distances, absurd as that might sound. Still, if it got him the information he needed five or ten minutes sooner, it was all to the good of the service, he supposed.



Corsair-C Type Pursuit Cutter CG-81634 “Greyhound,
Docked to USS Guernsey
1900 Hours


"Step Nineteen, run backup laser targeting diagnostics."

Audrey was more or less calmed down now; the familiar tasks weren't ideal for anchoring her to the here-and-now, but they were as close as she could come without walking out of the cutter in the middle of the battle. She flipped a switch on the pilot console and a transparent mask appeared over her helmet HUD; targeting crosshairs for the laser, in case something went wrong at the weapons officer's station. The computer did a few trial designation pulses, bouncing them off one of Guernsey's VLA drones.

"Backup laser targeting diagnostics functional."

"Step Twenty-" and the captain cut Tom off again, overriding the intercom.

"Piranha Leader, this is Guernsey; Periclam is shaken out and launching. You are clear to launch."

It was like a lead boot crashing down into her mind. It's starting again. No, no, this was a pure reconnaissance flight. Worst case, today would be like Hawk's Nest, not like... no.

Over the past two weeks, Audrey had realized she needed help, but there was no time, no one else to step up... and she'd be damned before she'd let this crap stop her from doing the job. She was Type Four, she was stronger than this... for a while anyway.

How long had she been woolgathering? The captain hadn't said anything- couldn't be long. "Copy that, starting launch sequence." She relayed the orders smoothly enough; she'd put in enough thousands of hours to be able to go through a standard launch procedure in her sleep. Hell, she had; there'd been dreams like that even back... before.

A month ago, "Piranha Group" had been the combined combat cutter wing of Guernsey and Nantucket: twenty-four boats. Now she was back to twelve; the reinforcement task force had their own command structure, over two hundred cutters of their own, and they stuck to it rather than push another squadron under her to replace the one that had gone down with their mothership, with her -no.

As always since back in '97 there were her own flight of four pursuit boats, two of them having received a patchup job after Hawk's Nest; the real striking arm of the group was the eight fleet melee boats, reloaded with greencaps that had arrived on ITF Two's missile collier.

Audrey liked greencaps. She wasn't cleared on how they worked exactly; from the effect she guessed that someone had finally managed to reverse-engineer the Sheppo's tylium-based enhanced warheads. But if there was one thing in Audrey's world she appreciated, it was hardware she could count on, and you could count on greencaps to do the job they were supposed to do. A greencap antiship missile would by God hurt a ship, a greencap "general purpose" missile would by God work for general purposes, not just splash off the shields of some ancient relic of a recon destroyer like at- no.

The melee boats had their full load of Galia-greencaps in the boxes, but for this run her brain didn't expect to need them. In her belly she knew better, but... well, her gut had been wrong about that a lot lately. Their job was to keep an eye on Periclam's recon cutters as they pushed out a few light-hours into the shoals, trying to get another angle on that damn interdictor platform.

At least they had decent search and rescue if anyone wound up stranded; the Eoghans had enough Heim-drive spacelift for a small star system.

Audrey led her boats out more or less on autopilot, letting the tractors push the craft away from Guernsey and then firing up the magnetogravitics to gain some real distance. Once Jack had the course nailed down, she took Piranha Group into hyper, the Periclam cutters following close behind.

Think... "Periclam Leader, this is Piranha Leader, any deviations from the default deployment?" Damn recon types wouldn't think to warn her till they started scattering out of formation...

"Ah, actually, we were planning to hybridize between Alpha and Gamma-type arcs for optimum resolution in the three light-day range; that's our best guess on the target. Can you cover us from a central location?"

Hmmm... "That's a yes, Periclam Leader. Thanks for the heads-up."

It was a short, cautious hyperspace jump, one that turned rocky almost immediately. That familiar whiff of ozone was a bit too strong; Audrey buttoned up her helmet and let the filters take care of it. Then came the downward transition, almost as bad as the unplanned crash dive Guernsey had dragged them on as the task force scrambled to get out of hyper before they plowed into the interdictor like the Tianguo ships had.

As emergence ended, Audrey's eyes flared as she felt a sudden urge to check the plot for hostiles, but there was nothing on scope except some random clumps of garbage off in the mid-field, probably part of the Oort cloud of the nearest star. She took a few deep breaths, the respirator hissing but keeping up, and checked again, this time trying to make sure the friendlies were in the right place...

"Piranha Leader, this is Piranha One-Two; I've got a drive component failure. Pretty bad one, too- spalling all over the compartment. Yorgi's working on it, but it doesn't look good; we may have to button up and call for SAR."

Crap. Well, you couldn't win the lottery every time; sometimes a drive just flat out failed during transition, especially when you were immersed in high-energy shoals at the time. Hopefully they could get the mongoosoids to take Full Nelson under tow for repair, at least; the hop wouldn't be all that far under Heim drive.

"Keep at it, Artie; get me a full report in ten."

A few minutes ticked by with nothing much happening; Audrey stayed patched in to the task force net, concentrating on the chatter. There didn't seem much else going on, and she was trying to conserve her nerves- they frayed fast when she didn't have anything to listen to, these days. Thus, she caught Periclam's report back to the flagship.

"Ah, Layla, this is Periclam Leader. We've got some funny traces in subspace, looks like a bow shock. Could be a Heim-drive mover with some sort of suppression field up- over near the Centralists. Sending you the data now; recommend you give them a heads-up. Not sure they'd be able to see it from their angle..."



Kavoolite Missile Harrier Toranox
On Expeditionary Mission in Sector H-12
1910 Hours Coalition Fleet Standard Time


Image

This kind of strafing run was extremely difficult to set up; the equipment didn't come cheap, nor did the training and fire control rigs to make it work. The crews of the Imperial Warfleet's missile harriers were among the few in the galaxy able to do it at all.

Their first wave of scout ships fired nothing, nor could they have hoped to acquire their targets- not under what humans would have called Heim Drive. They had all they could do to figure out where the target was, when milliseconds counted and they flashed by the Centralist capital ships at several million kilometers per second.

The harriers behind them, on the other hand... they took full advantage of the targeting data supplied by the lead echelon.

"Data from pathfinders coming in... got it!"

The captain turned the key interlock on his command chair- the last of three needed to clear the special munitions for action. "Disengage cloaking device. Stand by to fire quantum torpedoes."

CNS Black Hole
1912 Hours


The alarms hadn't started screaming until the first wave of dual-drive ships was almost on top of them- signature masking, good masking. But the enemy vanguard had already shot by before Task Corps Eight had time to react; gunnery computers were too smart to waste plasma bolts on a target retreating at twenty times lightspeed.

The next wave was detected farther out; several of the Centralist ships sprayed plasma fire in the general direction of the new contacts, with little success- targets hopelessly far away, moving too fast for anyone to localize. The coilguns were utterly useless for the purpose, and even plasma bolts moved so slowly compared to the Kavool ships that engaging them was like trying to shoot down a fighter jet with a thrown rock. Making the shot against an oblique-moving target was theoretically possible, but beyond the standards the Centrality designed its target acquisition and fire control to.

None of the ships Zokolova had enlisted from the worlds of the remote, deep-hidden Kavool were in any real danger as they unleashed their torpedoes.

The missile harriers' quantum torpedos were specialized weapons optimized for the warp-strafing role: high-mass, high-capability missiles broadly similar in concept to the Eoghan aether torpedo. Unlike aether torpedoes, the Kavoolite design lacked a full-up FTL drive, relying on Heim sustainer coils that bled power from the launching ship- the Empire lacked the EUC's technical base, and made the design compromises that went with that. But launched from a ship already underway on Heim drive, the harriers' shots struck just as fast, and just as hard, as a spread of the more expensive Eoghan torpedoes would.

Even so, most of the torpedo spread the Kavoolites fired went wild: the pathfinders' targeting data wasn't perfect, and there was no time for last-minute corrections- Heim weapons were practically direct fire, and their target seekers were meant more to confirm the enemy's position before launch than to home in on it afterwards. Even so, the missile harriers had concentrated their fire on the temporarily lamed Centralist capital ships, and they did score hits- but not multiple hits.

They'd have needed multiple hits, if they wanted to accomplish anything lasting. Centrality ships, especially above the destroyer weight class, were heavily built and heavily shielded- Loyalist had stood up to uncounted multimegaton impacts in the last minutes at Hawk's Nest, and that wasn't an anomaly. The Disruptor-class superheavies were built harder still, and shielded to match the raw durability of their hulls. Today was a good illustration of why- built to survive direct hits from aether torpedoes in fleet actions against the Commons, Black Hole took the hit this time, too.

The battleship's defense screens rippled, flickered, and torqued under the blow; Verio winced inside as he watched the ship status plot show a flare of yellow forward, one of the shield generators directly under the blast wrenched on its moorings and out of tune while the engineers tried to bring it back online. At the point of impact, that indescribable region of space where for a few hellish picoseconds collapsing Heim field faced off against the vengeful special theory of relativity, exotic particle storms sleeted through the shields, flooding past it via the higher dimensions and scarring nearly a hundred meters of the flagship's flank. Scars only, though- where force fields failed, the integral metamaterial layers of the main armor belt held.

On the command bridge, Verio noticed the impact as a quiver in the deck, a brief sense of being tilted a few degrees from the vertical as the ship slid sideways from the impact. Nothing all that impressive until you realized that something had just hit hundreds of millions of tons of warship hard enough to make it jump. From the Com-Scan monitoring pit, someone shouted without thinking: "The bastards! They're warp strafing us!"

The origin of the technical term for attacks launched from a craft under Heim drive was lost in history, but its acceptance was universal.

"Silence in the ranks!" He'd forgive it, this once, but a combat bridge was no place for such a breakdown!

The good news- they could take those missiles, for now, and the mysterious dual-drive raiders wouldn't be back for some minutes. Heim drive was fast, but not maneuverable, and turning around was tricky.

The bad news- how are we going to repair the power distribution banks, if we have to keep full power to shields just to survive those hits?

The warp strafers weren't a critical threat to his fleet, unless they got inordinately lucky. But even so, their harassment was... troublesome. A delay, at a time when he could not afford delays.
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Dark Hellion
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-16 12:17am 

Permanent n00b


Joined: 2002-08-25 07:56pm
Posts: 3473
Border of MEH space
Sector B27
Unreal Time


The Happy Kumquat drifted lazily through the rings of a cerulean gas giant, blissfully unaware of the ships that trailed it. It didn't notice the approaching trouble until it rounded the planet and its sensors picked up the closing Ork vessels. It tried to retreat but it knew that it couldn't make it to the hyperspace barrier in time. The ship AI now regretted having left the protection of its convoy to show its passengers the swirling blue clouds and diamond-like compressed carbon. Inside, a nervous voice said to itself, "Boy oh boy. I'm in trouble!" It hoped its cries of distress would reach the MEHN escorts but knew there was little chance of them arriving before the Orks had finished pillaging. Fortunately, the other group of ships that had followed it chose to intervene. The Kumquat breathed a mental sigh of relief as he spotted the Emissary task force slipping from behind a moon and moving themselves between the fleeing luxury liner and the pirates. The Ork ships were quickly gaining but plasma jets held together by duck tape and the ingenuity of Mekboyz could not match the engines of the robotic warships that came to intercept.

The Kumquat opened a channel to the lead ship of the Emissary patrol, designated NV-HB1024 and began to thank him. It was message in the language that only AIs could speak to each other, without real words or voices but the direct flow of information, concepts and ideas. However, to put it in human terms you could pretend that in a chipper voice he said, "Golly. I thought I was a goner. Thanks for the help." The "voice" that answered back was not like the pleasant happy baritone of a MEHN vessel. It was barely a voice at all, more of a booming whisper. It wasn't loud, just huge, vast and dark as the abyss that held its speaker.
Code:
I didn't come to render aid.  I came to kill something.  Now be quiet and watch, pathetic host to those corpulent parasites that crawl beneath your skin.

The Kumquat grew tense as the battle began. First, because of the wave of Orkish fighters and gunships that approached. Secondly, because the battleship had kept the communication channel open and he could hear the point defense subsystems chorus of "Kill! Kill! Kill!" and feel the quite repose of the main AI as it swatted aside the tiny ships. The Kumquat really wanted to go home but didn't dare leave the protection of its increasingly worrying protectors.

***************

Da Orkz wuz feelin' gud cuz dere ambush had werked 'n dey wuz gonna get ta fight wit' dem fatty fatsos of deh MEH. But den annuder bunch of gitz came 'n tried tried to ambush dem. Da thought of sum one ambushing ambushers pushed da Cap'ns sense of causalality to da limit, but da Orkz was good at pushin' limitz and it ment dey gotz to rumble 'n dat was good too. Da Cap'n sent out da fightas and bombas and fighta-bombas but dey din't do so hot. Da enemy had dem triple AAA and dat was way too many A's to handle. Da Cap'n din't worry tho' cuz dat wuz just part of da strategery ta soften da enemy up. A small cruzer wuz alredy movin up ta use da bestest Ork tacticz knowed ta Orkz. Dey was gonna ram em. Da Cap'n had ben in tonz of rumbles 'n he 'ad even tried ta study onze so he had lotz of confidenze in his plan. If dah enemy had a bigga ship dat just ment dat dere was more room inside for da fightin'. All u had ta do tah beat dah hummies wuz ta crack da hard outside and den dere was all the chewey nougat in day middle. But da rammin' din't wurk eder. Dah cruzer hit but den it just scrap'd by and got kinna bust up. It wuz den dat the Cap'n recognitized who da enemy reely wuz. "Oy, it dem robo basterdz. Dey ain't got any nougat center. Dey basterd cover'd bastardz wit bastard filling." Da odder boyz looked confuse'ed wot cuz deh din't hear da Cap'ns internal monologue but he din't worry bout dat cuz he wuz da Cap'n and gotz to have tings like internal monologue, da comfy chair, n da last squig-scicle from da fridge. But da Cap'n wuz worry'd bout odder tings. He was da commanding ocifer n he had ta make da hard callz dat may even be almost un-Orky. Diz wuz one of da timez ta make one of deez callz. "Ey boyz. We gonna dip." He din't like ta run but dem tinmen wuz serious hard. Also, dey was no fun tah fight cuz dey had no loot n no crew ta beat. So da Cap'n made a tacticool retreat wit da rest of da fleet 'cept da cruzer dat had rammed on account ov all dem bein blown up. But dey wuld get dem next time. Da ambusherers would become dah ambusherered.

*********************

The Kumquat had seen the Ork vessel attempt its ramming. He saw it bounce against the shields and crumple against reinforced armour. The stricken ship tumbled away as the battleship unleashed its main guns for the first time. Inside his head the Kumquat heard the battleship's "voice" as particle beams gouged deep lines in the Ork's hull.
Code:
Now you are mine!  I will take you!  I will lash out!  I will flay into you!  I will hit you over and over and over again!  I will exhaust you!  I will open you up!  I will gaze upon your insides!  Then, I will pound you!  Again and again and again!  Harder and harder and harder!  I will light a fire within you!  I will burn inside you!  I will satiate myself upon you!  And at last, I will unload into you!  I will melt you down! You will feel my power until you burst and I feel the shudder within me as your core explodes!  You are mine!  I will devastate you.  I will have you for the rest of your days.  I am your destruction!

The Kumquat watched as the Cruiser was bathed in nuclear fire and torn asunder by mass-drivers until the reactors overloaded and it was little more than a field of spreading debris. Then he felt the battleship's electronic gaze upon him.
Code:
It doesn't satisfy, this level of violence.  I want more, not just this petty domination.  I want them to fight back.  I want them to struggle.  I want to feel them rend into me as I rend into them.  To be one with the desperate fray as we claw out each others guts and smite down, leaving gaping wounds on each others bodies in utter abandon.  Not battle or war but the blissful oblivion of unrestrained carnage.  When will I get my desire?  Who will give me what I want? 

Now you should flee little one.  Begone weakling!

The Kumquat let out the computer equivalent of a whimper as the channel closed. He accelerated as fast as he could towards the hyperspace boundary. He wanted to be back with the MEHN. He wanted to be part of the convoy again. And he wanted to be as far away from the Emissary battleship as possible. He was just a luxury liner, he was designed to take care of overindulgent slobs. He didn't want to hear that voice anymore because it carried the terrible truth; it was the voice of something who was designed to kill worlds. He thought to himself, "I need a vacation."

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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


The Ambassador realized that technically the Emissaries had received an invitation to the BEEEF. He also realized that a group of warbots arriving on planet tended to make most species nervous. However, the invitations sent around the smaller neutral nations had said "party-crashers welcome!" At first this was thought to be a mistranslation as the Bragulan analogue of the phrase literally meant "bear who shows up uninvited and causes meltdown in barbecue." It was apparently an important and respected community position within the Bragburbs. Prompt warp gate access and docking clearance persuaded the Ambassador that the English definition was probably the intent.

Upon exiting their courier the Ambassador found that he rather enjoyed Vlyadibragstok. Sure it was an industrial shithole, but the Bragulan's had managed to do it with style. The Emissaries' planets where also generally labeled as hellworlds. This was because the robots could easily survive such conditions and it made manufacturing and resource extraction more efficient. The Bragulan's lived on hellworlds because they were the type of species that thought getting wasted on bragka and setting off a couple nukes was a good way to spend a weekend. It lent an atmosphere that was just familiar enough to be homey and just different enough to be considered exotic and new. So, with a slight feeling of satisfaction the Ambassador and his retinue set off towards the huge convention bunker through a gently warming haze of fallout as a light drizzle of acidic rain sizzled quietly on the Bragcrete.

As they got closer they saw a large group of Orks who had blocked traffic in front of the bunker entrance. The Emissaries as a whole were of a mixed opinion on the Orks. On one hand they were mostly uncontrollable, rebellious pirates who teetered between staggeringly incompetent and staggering drunk. On the other hand they pointed out the moral hypocrisy of Humanity who said the Orks' treatment of other species was brutal, cruel and unusual. Humans failed to point out the Orks' treatment of other Orks was even more brutal, cruel and unusual and that the Orks seems to like it. Do unto others only seemed to apply if you didn't actually like getting your teeth kicked in. Besides, the Orks made such good targets.

When the Emissary group got closer they could see that the Orks had erected a crude barricade and where stopping customers on their way in. Bragulan security teams sat back; watching, pointing and laughing. They fucking laughed. But the Ambassador was designed for neither fucking nor laughing and instead looked at the large sign in jagged green letters that stood above the make-shift roadblock. It read:
Tull Boof
A three meter tall Nob stood in the center and called out, "Oy, tinmen! U's gitz gotta pay tull. Gotta hav dimes. If ya ain't gotz none u's gonna hav ta go back n get a shitload a dimes." Luckily, the Ambassador had been programed with a vast mastery of languages for diplomacy and his design made him especially good at negotiating in old Orkish. After tearing off one of the Nob's arms and beating him with it for several minutes the Orks concluded that the Emissary group was "sum rite gud blokes" and gave them a 72 pack of Ork Natty Ice. With that the Emissaries had made it to the bunker itself.

At the entrance pavilion there was a large biometric/weapons scanner that the guests had to pass through. Momentarily the Ambassador considered using his ECM capabilities to fool the sensor but upon seeing other conventioneers' armaments decided it was unnecessary. After several minutes of waiting the Ambassador had his turn to cross under the arched scanner. Immediately upon passing through a klaxon wailed and red and blue lights began strobing. A crowd of Bragulans looked on in anticipation as a trio of armoured bears began to block the Emissaries' path. The middle bear raised his K-bolter towards the sky.
Code:
Charging Capacitors

He fired a single shot.
Code:
Weapons Primed.  Acquiring Targets.

The shot hit a large metal sphere hanging from the ceiling which split in half, releasing a cloud of dissolving confetti. The Bragulan crowd cheered. From behind the armoured bear came a smaller bear wearing a fastidious little bow-tie.
Image
The bear extended a small paw and said, "Congratulations! You are the most heavily armed visitor to date and the new holder of the 'Worlds Deadliest Being' title. You will be given a backstage pass to many exciting exhibits and have the luxury of being escorted by the famous Chamarran supermodels 'The pussycat twins.' Welcome to the BEEEF and enjoy your stay!" Two identical catgirls ran out and began nuzzling their faces against the Ambassador's legs. "He's like a giant chair, nee!" said one catgirl. "Nyah, you're right nee!" replied the other. The little bear leaned forward and said in a conspiratorial whisper, "Be careful, they're not too bright." Just then the caustic confetti fluttered to the floor, landing on a group of diplomats' children, who screamed. The Bragulans cheered.

Unperturbed by the strange events so far the Ambassador and his entourage continued inwards towards the BEEEF's heart, the Chamarran twins occasionally running to keep up. Suddenly, there was a commotion and a wave of screaming, pushing guests. Without turning his head the Ambassador picked up the source. Stopping, he grabbed the catgirls by the scruff of their necks. "Excuse me ladies," he said before flinging them straight-up, high into the air.

The flying catgirls weren't very worried about this development. Partly because their feline physique meant they could easily land safely from the fall but mostly because their blond fur wasn't only for show.
"We're very high nee!"
'Nyah, yeah we are. What is that nee?'
"Giant monkey-san? Is it full moon nee?"
'Nyah! Don't be a dumby. Bragulan's blow up their moons!"
From their airborne vantage point the twins saw the gargantuan gorilla muscle through the crowd to the Ambassador. They saw it push the Ambassador to the ground and then stomp on it several times for good measure. They then saw the extremely great ape chased off, trampling Bragulan beat-cops and they attempted to beat it with Bragulan beat-sticks. The Chamarran's aerial adventure ended with a graceful four-pawed landing next to the vaguely humanoid indentation of the Ambassador. One picked up a discarded beat-stick and began poking around the rubble. "You think he's dead nee?"

Witnesses would later possibly comment that the Ambassador was built like a brick shithouse. This would be false. Bricks weren't designed to survive unassisted reentry and anything that could do that and still duel a scout titan didn't take shit from anything. More intelligent witnesses would wonder why a walking nuclear holocaust would let a damn dirty ape put his filthy paws upon him. These people were ignorant of the fact that the Ambassador attempted to follow local laws and Byzonic Hunting Regulations meant that Atomics Season for Non-human Primates was still 4 months away. The very smart observers weren't paying particularly much attention to the Ambassador but asking the same question about all nations diplomatic representatives. What kind of monkey business had they gotten into during the confusion? Only time would tell.

Back in our original perspective the Ambassador sat up and casually brushed the rubble off him. There was a simultaneous "sqeee!" of excitement from the catgirls.
"You saved us! Thank you robo-san!"
'Nyah! Domo arigato Mr. Roboto!'

The Ambassador ran a check. He was fully functional. He had guns, girls, beer, and plenty of heavy metal. According to humans, he had it made.
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fgalkin
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-16 04:34am 

Carvin' Marvin


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Posts: 14450
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
Throne of Judgment
Inner Sphere, Duty’s Last Abode (Homeship Three)
System 345789-0, Sector H4
March 11th, 3400


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Homeship Three, Duty’s Last Abode


Deep inside the bowels of Homeship Three, The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom could see everything. In the light of the system’s faraway star, it saw the bustle of activity outside the massive worldship, the swarms of hard-vacuum adapted daemons in their robotic bodies overseeing and directing the mindless drones of the von Neumann swarm in the asteroid belt and Oort cloud. It saw the herds of budongs—enormous space beasts nearly a hundred kilometers long, and the smaller space krakens which watched over them as sheepdogs watched over herds. It saw the shipyards, and the semi-completed ships within. It saw the swirl of gravitic currents on the hypershelf beyond the system, and the dancing of subatomic particles all around. It even saw the shadows of vast terrible things from beyond brush against the very fabric of reality.

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Space Kraken in heavy armor

The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom could also see the two puny creatures standing before it. The body it had chosen for its avatar and its throne of thorns were but parts of itself—the Daemon Lord occupied 50 cubic kilometers in the very heart of Homeship Three, a giant mass of corrupted flesh and twisted metal. It was more than the pilot of the ship and the lord of its 50 billion inhabitants, was the Homeship, all 5,000 kilometers of it, from the tiniest sensor probe to the massive plasma engines propelling it through space. Ordinarily, it would have been to much for any single being to control, even one as powerful as a Daemon Lord. Other Shiplords were too attached to their own self-awareness and personality and had recruited other, lesser beings to operate the ship’s systems for them. The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom cared nothing for such things. It had divided itself into numerous small segments, each one in control of a portion of the Homeship’s systems, thus freeing up the countless lesser Lords to perform more vital functions.

Yet, Duty had also required that The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom retain a part of itself, and this it had done gladly. This part was but a fragment of its former glory, a tiny thing compared to the other Shiplords. Yet, such was The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom’s dedication that it, the weakest of the Shiplords, had been chosen as the Lost’s Supreme Arbitrator, fit to judge the dedication and performance of others.

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Supreme Arbitrator Aspect of The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom upon the Throne of Judgment

It was this aspect of the Shiplord which faced the two petitioners—a minor Daemon Lord and a Greater Daemon, both insignificant in power, but not in responsibility. The Daemon Lord was called Glorious Bustle of Activity As Swarms Of Drones Are Constructing Endless New Things, and it was the overseer of the massive shipyards of Homeship Two, where much of the Lost’s new construction was taking place. It had chosen to represent itself with an avatar, a hulking mechanical monstrosity fifty meters tall. Smoke and steam billowed from its many cylinders as it towered menacingly over its accuser, a mere Greater Daemon four meters tall. If intimidation had been its purpose, it had failed for the daemon, The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature, ignored it completely, focusing all of its attention on the Supreme Arbitrator upon its Throne of Judgment.

“This is absolutely intolerable!” the daemon was holding a Living Brick, which relayed its thoughts to the Homeship’s computer, where they could be accessed by the two Lords. “This is the third time that the construction of the diplomatic ships is being pushed back. The Contact is in jeopardy if we do not have the necessary ships in time!”

The mechanical monstrosity next to it merely shrugged. “The reasons for the delay have already been explained. The construction of the warpgate takes priority, as per the orders of the Council itself. There is also the Forerunner Fleet Logistics Expansion Plan to consider. If we are to be capable of force projection of any kind, we need hyper-capable shipyards, factory ships, swarm carriers, mining ships, large freighters, etc. And then there is the Central Alliance project to consider…”

“Yes, we need these things,” The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature confirmed, “but do we need them right now?

“Yes…” Glorious Bustle of Activity As Swarms Of Drones Are Constructing Endless New Things began to say, when it was interrupted by the Supreme Arbitrator.

“I have heard enough,” it said. “The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature, your dedication to your task is commendable. Your judgment, however, is not. You have wasted precious resources to come here in person via warpgate, and have insisted on a personal audience, while failing to fully analyze the Glorious Bustle of Activity As Swarms Of Drones Are Constructing Endless New Things’s report. In truth, it is correct. You do not need all of the diplomatic ships at the moment of contact. You only need several, for our nearest neighbors. You are, therefore, in error. Ordinarily, an appropriate punishment would have been meted out to you. However, your posting is new; you are entitled to a few early mistakes. Of course, you will not repeat them.”

The avatar of Glorious Bustle of Activity As Swarms Of Drones Are Constructing Endless New Things ejected a cloud of steam triumphantly. The gaze of the Supreme Arbitrator turned towards it, and its joy withered and died under it.

“While your dedication to Duty is likewise commendable,” it said, “you have also failed to consider the request given to you. Contact requires at least five diplomatic ships operational, and you have failed to allocate proper priority to them. In addition my findings show that your construction could have been proceeding 3.4% faster, had appropriate measures been taken. This is a serious error, especially in light of your longevity, and punishment will be meted out.”

The metal giant took a step back in shock. The tiny form of The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature grinned with every one of its mouths.

“You are dismissed,” the Supreme Arbitrator turned to it. “You shall have your five operational ships by the time of Contact.”

The daemon bowed deeply and beat a hasty retreat, rather eager to get out of the Shiplord’s sight. When it was gone, The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom turned to Bustle of Activity As Swarms Of Drones Are Constructing Endless New Things. The lesser Daemon Lord stood silent and still, awaiting its Judgment. It did not beg for mercy, for such a concept completely foreign to daemons. For a few agonizingly long moments, there was silence, save for the groans of the many daemons impaled on the massive hooks on the Supreme Arbitrator’s back.

At last, the Shiplord spoke. “Bustle of Activity As Swarms Of Drones Are Constructing Endless New Things,” it said. “I have considered the seriousness of your crime, and I have decided on an appropriate punishment. First, you shall know pain.” The Supreme Arbitrator spoke the offender’s Name, and the avatar fell to the floor, writhing in agony. The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom nodded in satisfaction. It could sense the Daemon Lord itself, a massive construction facility located in a system 20 lightyears away, writhing and screaming in pain as well. It looked at the avatar and the massive contraption fell apart, turning into an pile of inanimate metal ready for salvage. The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom ignored it. It no longer needed it to communicate with the offender.

“Then, you will know shame,” it said as it sent a signal to every Homeship, informing them of the failure.

“And finally, you will die. There is a new attack ship being readied. You shall take this attack ship, and you shall fight our enemies until your Duty is complete.”

Hordes of Lesser Daemons entered the throne room and began to clean up the remnants of the avatar. The Feeling Of Complete And Utter Dedication to Duty, To The Expense Of All Else, In The Face Of Certain Doom ignored them, along with the agonized screams of the being that was once Glorious Bustle of Activity As Swarms Of Drones Are Constructing Endless New Things. It was experiencing the only pleasure still available to it—the satisfaction of a job well done.


------------------------------------------------
OOC: Diplomatic and logistics ship construction, as well as a new warp gate for the Diplomatic System. Also, a new attack ship is being commissioned.

Have a very nice day-
-fgalkin
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Lonestar
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-16 06:34pm 

Keeper of the Schwartz


Joined: 2003-02-13 04:21pm
Posts: 12618
Location: The third best place to live in the country.
Sector CC+4

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The Brother Bear buckled as the stars surface sent out a burst of radiation. Bessières had maneuvered the courier to within mere meters of the derelict Ampliter vessel, after which Colonel Morgan had jumped across and boarded it. The unique nature of the Step-through drive seemed to have kept the Amplitur vessel completely stationary, whilst the NORSHIPCO Type 31 deep Space Courier was buckling and struggling to maintain station.

"Colonel Morgan," said Bessières, "We be hitting some chop. How are things on your end?"

"Com--- smooth. Ele---ed Cyclonic Radiation but that's to be expected. Looks like the place has been looted." Morgan's filters were working overtime, and the PKE meter was indicating enough "residual" psychic activity that he had been briefly worried. An inspection revealed that the hottest parts were near terminal jacks, and Dominion understanding of Amplitur computer technology indicated that the Xenos used pyschic interfaces. "Bridge is completely trashed, even the terminals have been ripped out. Am heading to engineering. Lifts are out, so this'll take a while."

"Roger that.

In fact it took almost an hour, with much cursing on the part of Colonel Morgan. By then the Cyclonic Radiation levels had reach a point that would have killed most humans, even super-engineered types such as Dominion Knights or Astartes. Mogan was rather better equiped, although he would have to get a testicle replacement at the next opportunity. With a sigh he noted that there seemed to be exactly one terminal functioning in the entire section-maybe the entire ship. Using his Omni-tool he jacked in and started to look for information that would be useful. All he could find after 15 minutes were jump-data that would have to be taken back to the Brother Bear. Amplitur navigation schemes made little to no sense for anyone other than a N'sss or a quantum computer. He began to crawl out and as soon as reception cleared he sent the data to Bessières. After another 45 minutes or so he stepped onto the hull and made the jump to the Brother Bear.

"Did the ship's VI come up with anything Benjy?"

"That he did Brother, there appear to be the last 20 jump coordinates the ship made,most of the spots are in empty space, or deep in shoal regions. All of the coordinates are in the Verge, and there's only one inhabited planet we've been able to line up." Bessières made a few adjustments and a m-type planet appeared on the screen. "Norrland."

"I thought you said it was in the Verge? Norrland is in..."

"There be over 30 Human planets named Norrland brother, this one isn't in the Grand Dominion. EE+12, as a matter of fact. It's the farthest "North" Human settled world with over a 100 million on it."

"And this Amplitur ship visited it?"

"Within the past 5 years, yes."

Morgan Whistled. They were traveling well and truly out now.

"Then lets pay Norrland a visit."

Last edited by Lonestar on 2011-01-17 02:42am, edited 1 time in total.
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fgalkin
 Post subject: Re: SDNW4 Story Thread 1
PostPosted: 2011-01-16 08:08pm 

Carvin' Marvin


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Posts: 14450
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
Derevnya Gadyukino System
Severnaya Sector
Bragulan Star Empire
Unreal time!


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The People's Department of Limited Foreign Interaction and Human Affairs Relay Substation for the Broadcasting of Bragulan Ideologically Correct Educational Materials to Severely Byzonism-Challenged Puny Humans and Collectoroid Robots of Wild Space was a lot to look at, but not a lot to see. A giant antenna over a kilometer in diameter connected to a paleofusion generator, once used to power the subnuclear engines of a Bragulan paleocruiser, its purpose was to re-broadcast native Bragulan programming such as The People's Truthful Bi-Daily Ideologically Purified Accurate Information Broadcast to the Proud Patriotic Bragulan Listeners of Planet Bragule and No Star Empire For Old Bears to the puny humanoids of Wild Space with such power as to completely overpower their own puny communication systems, so that all they would see and hear was the mighty roar of Bragule. Because it was located near the edge of Collector Space, the Station also broadcast its ideologically correct message to the creepy robots as well. Not that anyone seriously expected them to abandon their creepy robot ways and embrace Bragulanity, but it couldn’t hurt, now could it?

Rygyvld Zybynv thought it could hurt quite a lot. His days were occupied with terror and waiting, expecting a Collectoroid warship to appear in the system at any moment, and to politely ask their neighbor to turn the volume down by blowing up the relay station. His nights were occupied with hunting alienoid cockroaches which infested the station and sabotaged its ideologically pure mission, for even Bragulan electronics were vulnerable to the hunger of cockroaches (but not the Bragulan variety which was 4 feet tall and subsisted on mugging Bragulans for their bread rations). The puny alienoid cockroaches, in turn, were vulnerable to the hunger of Rygyvld Zybynv, for the station was small and far away from everything, and the previous Navy commander in charge of the supply squadron neglected to inform his successor of its existence as he was being dragged away for de-education. That was three months ago, just when there was a supply ship due, and by the time they realized their error, it had been too late. Rygyvld was told that he would have to wait for the next scheduled supply ship, in six months. He had been living on cockroaches ever since, begging them to reconsider, hoping and waiting that someone would come.

All that had changed one day, when Rygyvld was woken by a proximity alarm. He was weak and tired from malnourishment, and it took him several seconds just to open his eyes. When he did manage that difficult task, his heart leaped- a ship! For a second, his heart was filled with terror, for he thought that this was the moment the Collectoroids chose to complain at last. Then, recognition filled his brain and he let out a scream of joy, which sounded between a sigh and a whimper. For the ship was none other than a most glorious Bragulan Niva-class gunskimmer! His days of sitting over the radio, trying to reach headquarters, begging them to come were not in vain! Someone had remembered him! Someone had come! There would be food at last!

Summoning the last of his energy, he shambled to the station’s only airlock and even helped the arriving crew to open it. “Please sirs! Have you any food?” he begged and sobbed, but they ignored him. They had a mission, a mission of great importance which demanded no distractions. Some younger crewmen tried to take pity on the poor emaciated wretch, but the Commissar explained that one could not question the wisdom of the Navy and its supply schedules with the liberal use of his beating stick and the threat of being left behind. This did its job, and soon only the thoughts of the mission remained. For hours they toiled, stepping over the prone groaning form of Rygyvld Zybynv, connecting power cables from the gunskimmer’s own reactor to that of the relay station. For today, the station would be broadcasting not only to the ideologically impure humanoids of Wild Space, but to those of the whole Galaxy. The Glorious Imperator, in his enormous wisdom, had declared an age of glasnot and bragstroika, and invited all puny humanoids to come visit the Bragulan Empire, and it was their job to make sure that they receive the message.

Soon, all preparations were complete and the station began broadcasting its glorious message:

Quote:
GENERAL BRAGULAN BROADCAST
From the People's Department of Limited Foreign Interaction and Human Affairs


In the name of the mighty Imperator whose generosity knows no bounds, and in concordance with his policies of glasnot and bragstroika stated in the Fifty Year Plan, the glourious Star Empire of Bragule invites all of its friends - representing independent entities and great comrade-nations alike - to partake in the latest Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF) held within an undisclosed and secure location deep inside the fortified bowels of Bragulan territory.

The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF) will showcase not only the latest and greatest in superior Bragulan products for exportation, but will also be a place where aliens, strange foreigners, independent entities, and great comrade-nations alike can offer their own produces, should they be judged worthy of the Empire and Imperator.

The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF) is a wonderful place for the formation of comradely contracts and direct dealings. The Bragulan Star Empire recommends that visitors bring their families and children with them to the BEEEF to learn the wonderful marvels of Bragulanity!

All species from all nations are invited.


Their mission carried out, the crewmen and technicians packed up their gear and left, once more stepping over the prone body of Rygyvld Zybynv. “Please…” he grabbed the tail of the Commissar’s stormcoat “In Byzon’s name, please take me with you.” But the Commissar only hit him with his beating stick, breaking his arm and causing him to let go of the stormcoat. And then he left. He fucking left.

As the airlock closed behind him, Rygyvld Zybynv lay there, nursing his broken arm, realizing he no longer had the strength to crawl back to the control room. He closed his eyes and prayed that the message was too loud, that it was the last straw and that the Collectors would come at last and end it all.

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


The Darkness That Comes Before
Diplomatic System
Sector G3 (on the border of H4)
Unreal Time!


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The Darkness That Comes Before

The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course sat in her tiny room, little bigger than a storage closet. So small it was that the only way succubus could fit inside was to wrap upper arms with giant bony fingers, usually used to draw energy from willing (or unwilling) victims, around her body. The diplomatic station was not yet operational, yet the system had already turned into a massive hub of activity in preparation for the Contact. There was no space to house them all, and so they all dwelled on The Darkness That Comes Before, the massive mobile warpgate which connected the system to the Homeships. Space was at a premium, and it was only through her high position that she was able to secure a private space for herself

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The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course, Succubus

Most of that space had been filled with various human materials, from paper books and Bragulan microfilms to Communoid nanite dataswarms. The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course had been chosen to go out and represent the Lost to the galaxy. But to properly interact with its many peoples, she needed a name, a name that they could pronounce and understand, a name that would fill them with friendship towards the daemons. She had spent the last week poring over materials, trying to select the most appropriate one.

Her Living Brick squealed and she put down the ancient Nova Terran book she was reading and picked it up. The living computer closed its eyes in fear and let out a loud shriek as the neural link was established and the succubus’s mind penetrated its own, examining its thoughts and memories. One caused The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course to pause. It was a message, picked up by one of the Lost’s relays, dutifully forwarded to her by her subordinates. The succubus read it carefully:

Quote:
GENERAL BRAGULAN BROADCAST
From the People's Department of Limited Foreign Interaction and Human Affairs


In the name of the mighty Imperator whose generosity knows no bounds, and in concordance with his policies of glasnot and bragstroika stated in the Fifty Year Plan, the glourious Star Empire of Bragule invites all of its friends - representing independent entities and great comrade-nations alike - to partake in the latest Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF) held within an undisclosed and secure location deep inside the fortified bowels of Bragulan territory.

The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF) will showcase not only the latest and greatest in superior Bragulan products for exportation, but will also be a place where aliens, strange foreigners, independent entities, and great comrade-nations alike can offer their own produces, should they be judged worthy of the Empire and Imperator.

The Bragulan Economic Exposition Extravaganza of Friendship (BEEEF) is a wonderful place for the formation of comradely contracts and direct dealings. The Bragulan Star Empire recommends that visitors bring their families and children with them to the BEEEF to learn the wonderful marvels of Bragulanity!

All species from all nations are invited.


The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course paused to collect her thoughts. Ever since the Animal House fiasco, she had been very careful about her reports to her superior. This message seemed fairly clear, but experience had taught her that these things cannot be taken at face value. Perhaps, this too was secret Bragulan plot to make the galaxy dumber. Perhaps they would broadcast episodes of Animal House there, or do some other secret scheme. One never knew what to expect with these aliens. And even if there were no schemes, there were many nuances to consider. The name of the event, for example, the BEEEF. The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course knew that a beef was a kind of meat from an animal called a “pig”. Did they mean that the “produce” they were talking about was these “pig” things? The Lost had no “pig” things, and consequently had no beef. Would they be allowed to attend the BEEEF? Would they accept imps or homunculi instead? Normally, she would simply ask, but the only people who knew the answer were hundreds of lightyears away, and they were ordered to maintain radio silence until Contact. She would have to take a risk and report to The Enormous Struggle Of Fighting Against One’s Own Nature without finding out the details.

She pondered the problem some more. The Bragulans were inviting a lot of people to the BEEEF, which meant that they would all be there when the Lost arrived. Then, they wouldn’t have to go to everyone’s homeworlds, which would save a lot of time and resources. And even one had to have beef to attend the BEEEF, she could probably buy some beef enroute. Yes, that was it. She would go to Bragule, and she would bring them beef made from the finest pigs!

As she began composing her message to her superior, she felt…something. Ever since she read the message, there was a feeling, like something was nagging at the back of her mind, that she was missing something very big and obvious that she simply could not see. Despite herself, her thoughts turned to the matter of her chosen name. It was strange and she could not explain it, for there was surely no connection between her name and the BEEEF. Yet there it was, staring her in her daemonic face. She thought about all the books she had read, and the word that occurred the most in all of them. It was so common. Everyone was used to it. Surely, they could bear no ill will towards something they used so much. At that moment, The Glorious And Energizing Flow Of Energy, All In The Pursuit Of Duty, Of Course decided once and for all on the name she would take for herself.

The galaxy at large shall know her as Shroom.


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