STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Civilian freighter Hangrabi Freight Seven
Var Lorik Primary Spacedock
Korit System, Great Khemplar State


Agent Sam Volks of Nashtar Republic Intelligence nearly spit out his drink as he took in what the primary navigational display was telling him. “Jim, get Captain Hrothnor up here and power up the engines,” he ordered the pilot.

“Sam, for the last time you ain’t in charge of…” The pilot trailed off as he went white, looking at the sensor readout Sam had spun toward him. He put his bag of crisps aside and reached for the intercom. “Captain to the bridge, captain to the bridge.” As he spoke he flicked the switches to start warming up the freighter’s engines, a change that everyone aboard the ship noticed immediately. There wasn’t a civilian spacer in Nashtar that wasn’t keenly aware of the Yrch by this point.

It took the ship’s Ronoghan captain only a minute to stride onto the bridge. “What is the problem, pilot? We are not due to finish cargo offload for another thirty standard minutes.”

“Sir, there’s a Yrch raiding force at the belt stations,” interrupted Agent Volks. “Recommend we prepare to get clear, sir.”

Just then a Khemplari destroyer, either Sentinel-I or Sentinel-II class - it was hard telling in motion without magnification - sailed by at speed, it’s main engines opened up dangerously close to the dock facilities.

“Quite right, Navigator Volks,” answered the captain at that. “Pilot Evans, call Control, request immediate takeoff vector.” The captain keyed the intercom. “All hands, this is the captain. All aboard. Seal all hatches and secure cargo, we may need to make an emergency takeoff.” He turned back to Sam. “Navigator, plot us the fastest course to safe slipspace jump distance, avoiding the outer belt raid.”

“With pleasure, sir,” answered the agent. Of course, he’d already done that.

Instead he entered a quick intelligence report on his private - and heavily encrypted - background system in the nav computer, to be later transferred to his quarters and into his dispatches. He looked at his sensor display carefully and a chill ran down his spine. They were boarding the military service docks in the belt stations. Service docks that presently housed several warships on maintenance rotation. Warships that they had conspicuously not railgunned into scrap.

‘Oh, this is not good,’ he thought to himself grimly as he closed the encrypted note program and punched in the navigation coordinates.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Eternal_Freedom »

ODS Sutekh Portside Landing Bay

Fleetmaster Aratus could only blink in surprise at this strange being - though his physiology and mental control allowed him to limit the surprise to just one pair of eyes rather than both. He mentally sighed again (something he was sure he'd be doing a great deal over the course of this conversation) and nodded.

"Very well Ambassador, you shall accompany us to the pilot briefing room adjacent to this hanger. Your crew will remain here, under guard. You should further be advised that any crew visibly carrying weapons will be detained and any attempt to seal your ships or depart without clearance will be met with lethal force."

Conrad soi Vasilias nodded agreeably at that. "As you say Fleetmaster, I quite understand the need for precautions when encountering new species, It's a situation fraught with...potential landmines. Lead on then, good sir."

The Fleetmaster, the Interlocutor and the Ambassador headed for the hatch, although in passing the Interlocutor placed the strange golden coin into a hermetically sealed bag and handed it to a Marine, with quiet orders to have it analysed and scanned for any possible pathogen or explosive, along with an order to seal off the entire portside hanger area in a standard diplomatic quarantine - just in case. The quiet voice, and the bulk of the Orion diplomat, ensured that Conrad did not notice this byplay, or at least if he did he didn't say anything.

The Fleetmaster continued with the initial pleasantries as they passed from the hanger into a wide corridor - with sealed blast doors at the far end. Conrad noted this but didn't comment on it - yet.

Aratus smiled slightly. "You learned of us from the Endeavourites, Ambassador?"

Conrad smiled disarmingly (to a human at least) "Oh no Fleetmaster, though we have encountered the Endeavourites. We heard mutterings of your existence from data we salvaged from destroyed Amazo-X ships, the ones apparently in league with these Yrch raiders everyone seems so bothered about. Seems such a waste to me, why we can't all just be friendly is an enduring mystery."

Aratus turned two keen eyes on the comparatively tiny human. "A noble sentiment Ambassador, but one our history has taught us is unlikely at best. Hence our current policy - we react to friendly approaches with friendly responses, while we react to force and violence with force and violence. I would caution you and your Empire to tread carefully - of the six alien species we have encountered to date, including yours, four tried to destroy us. They failed - and paid the price for it. I was a part of the fleet sent to annihilate the Skarosians early in my career, I have no desire to participate in such an action again. But I, and every other Orion, will not hesitate if such action is necessary once again."

Conrad soi Vasilias could only nod slowly at that blunt statement and before he could formulate a response they arrived at the nearby briefing room. Aratus and Xytan took seats on one side of the long table while Conrad stepped around to the opposite side - he had some trouble taking his seat, since they were (quite naturally) designed for the much larger Orion physiology.

Aratus waited until Conrad was seated comfortably - relatively speaking - and then spoke again.

"Before we begin the diplomatic exchanges Ambassador, may we offer you some refreshment?"

Conrad smiled and then checked his chronometer, which the Orions were privately amused to note was an anachronistic as the rest of his apparel, a fine golden-looking device on a chain, held in his front pocket.

"That would be much appreciated kind Sir, this is just about my usual tea time after all. Some hot water, if you have it." Then he hastily added, in apparent fear of the wrong temperature. "Boiling, of course, not tepid. Would you care to join me in some tea? Assuming of course that tea is not toxic to your species."

Aratus smiled again. I could grow to like this human he thought He seems pleasant enough. "I have never tried this "tea" before but Orion physiology is robust enough to not be troubled by such things. I would be pleased to join you. Interlocutor Xytan?"

The diplomat nodded. "Indeed Fleetmaster, Ambassador, I am always curious to try new things. But perhaps I should also call for a standard medical scanner, just in case."

The three nodded agreeably and Aratus duly called for the boiling water, the scanner, and several cups to be brought to the lounge.

====

This post written with input and assistance from Elheru Aran
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

Possible Amazo-X/Yrch-Occupied System Outskirts

Unlike most navies' scout ships, the Astra-class had never been fitted with high-precision sensor equipment. The reasoning was, originally, borne from necessity; the Astras, being built as Hyperspace testbed craft, simply didn't have the power or physical space to fit such a sensor suite. This had been taken into what could be described as Endeavour naval doctrine: the purpose of the Astra was not to find out the composition of an approaching enemy force, but instead to determine that force's location. In this role, their high speed was a significant asset, and their lack of sensor equipment not as much of a detriment. Unfortunately, that meant that when a long-range scout was in fact what the fleet needed, that role was passed on to ships like the Kitsune-class cruisers or even the big fleet carriers.

This is why, instead of sending a light fleet scout to investigate the lead dug up from the ruins of a the Amazo-X factory ship in orbit above their old homeworld, the cruiser Yui Hirasawa was currently floating in the void, listening intently to the traffic in the system.

That in itself was the first sign that this system was indeed an Amazo-X or Yrch base. Unless the Scouting Force had the bad luck to make two first contacts in a row - which wasn't unheard of, given the mess in the Nashtar Nebula - the only people who could be out here were Amazo-X or Yrch. The second sign was the spindly station orbiting the system's sole planet, a gas giant with an infestation of bloated gas harvesters. The most decisive evidence, though, were the constant radio advertisements being played across pretty much the entire EM spectrum; even the high-energy bands, for some arcane reason that probably only made sense to the middle manager who'd insisted on it.

No warships had turned up over the past three days, though there was a constant stream of freighters and harvesters - the station seemed to be a nexus for Amazo-X resource harvesting operations, which would make removing it doubly useful...





Combined Fleet, Deep Space

Trixie had called an election the moment the fleet was out of action, hoping to pass on the burden of liasing with the Orion fleet to someone else. Unfortunately, she'd been unopposed, and thus found herself not only having to parse the myriad plans, schemes, half-baked ideas and such for dealing with the resupply station, but also passing those on to the Orions, without the benefit of video or a face-to-face meeting. She'd uploaded the three or four most promising of the bunch, all creatively numbered with combinations of 420, 69 and other similar "funny" numbers, and had just put on her diplomatic face.

"Alright," she said, "Give them a ring." It took just a few minutes for the call to connect. "Good afternoon, Fleetmaster."

-

Fleetmaster Silas looked at the holo-image of the various Endeavour battle-plans with a neutral expression. These humans are insane, he thought to himself, before he spoke in a calm, level tone.

"Greetings Commander Trixie. I have reviewed the four tactical options you uploaded. Two of them are unworkable given the timeframe. The third, the one numbered 69420 is tactically intriguing, but I lack any knowledge of this "Jell-O" substance so I am not certain how it would be of use in capturing the station. The plan numbered 696969, however, is workable, with some modifcation."

On her end, Trixie nodded. She wasn't remotely surprised that most of the ideas wouldn't work, though she made a note to revisit plan 69420 to find out exactly how Jell-O was involved. Wasn't that the one with... Oh, right. That made sense, though it would have been far more efficient to just use- She became acutely aware she'd taken a good five or six seconds to respond, so belatedly said:

"What modification, Fleetmaster?"

"The combined fleet will drop out of hyperspace outside of weapons range in a blockade pattern, to keep any ships from escaping, They may be under sentence of death but we shall gather as much intelligence as possible before carrying it out. My two battlecruisers, however, will drop out of hyperspace at point-blank range from the station and use their secondary batteries to disable the communications arrays and defensive systems. Then they will fire a volley of our EMP warheads to disable all nearby ships, allowing the Marines to board and take them and the station."

Trixie nodded thoughtfully, but saw a problem. Well, two. "Aren't your secondary batteries hypervelocity coilguns? Are they similar to our type, and can be utilised as low-velocity weapons? And I have to clarify - while there's no issue with killing soldiers in battle, but deliberate execution of civilians is another matter; if necessary, Endeavour is more than willing to to look after said civilians out of our own resources." Hopefully, they could side-step the philosophical debate, those had never interested her.

Silas smiled. "They are indeed, Commander. We can calibrate their velocity to provide a precise level of destruction. They will destroy the communications array, nothing more."

Another nod - she had to stop doing that - "Alright, but I'd recommend saving your missiles; our hypervelocity cannon can fire similar shells, even guided missiles, and we're capable of fabricating ammunition in the field. Given the distances you're sending, if we fire immediately upon exiting hyperspace with the combination shell/missile I'm sending over, they should impact at the exact same time as your coilgun rounds." That would require a bit of strain on the gun barrels, but those could always be replaced as well.

Silas smiled again as he reviewed the ammunition suggestion, but this was a predatory smile. "Yes, your idea has great merit. Our EMP warheads are still in the field-testing stage, it would be unwise to use them in such a situation when we need the ship and station intact."

Then he paused, and mulled over how to explain Orion's position. "As for the...disposal of the captives, you are correct that the elimination of civilians is frowned upon unless they offer resistance - or the entire race is declared hostile as the Gli-Mullen, Phos-Phorids and Skarosians were. The captives will be interrogated and if non-combatants are found they shall be released into your custody. However..." he trailed off, knowing the strange being he conversed with would take the bait.

She didn't disappoint: "However, Fleetmaster?"

Silas smiled that predatory smile again. "However, I very much doubt if we will find any non-combatants aboard the station or the ships. All evidence gathered thus far suggests these Yrch, and their Amazo-X masters, are as single-mindedly hostile as our former foes were. "

"The Yrch, maybe," Trixie responded, "Though hopefully not. We still know next to nothing about them. The Amazo-X humans, on the other hoof, are known to use indentured or otherwise civilian labour; I'd expect any such people to be on the station or the gas harvesters." She paused for a second, distributing and receiving status reports from the rest of the Endeavour fleet. "Our rounds have finished fabricating; we're ready to enter hyperspace on your mark."

Silas nodded agreeably. "I hope for your sake you are correct about the Amazo-X civilians, but we shall see. Our attack plan is plotted and all ships are synchronised. We jump in thirty seconds."

OOC: Parts of this are contributed by Eternal_Freedom. There may be a double post within the week; this was just to keep things rolling.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Civilian freighter Hangrabi Freight Seven
Var Lorik Primary Spacedock
Korit System, Great Khemplar State


“Permission denied,” crackled the communicator, the automatic translator rendering the Khemplari language understandable to the Nashtari. “Space lanes must remain clear for military operations. Remain at your dock.”

“What?” Jim at least had the sense not to open the mic when he spat out the word.

“Makes sense,” observed Sam grimly. “Sucks for us, but they don’t want us in the way.”

Captain Hrothnor started in his seat looking at the sensor readout just then. “The engines on that destroyer just fired.”

“The one that blew past here? Probably making a course correction, cap’n, they don’t need to be on full burn…”

“No, Pilot Evans, one of the ones in the outer belt maintenance docks.”

Agent Volks’ blood ran cold as his intuition proved correct. “The bastards are stealing them.”

“They wouldn’t know how, it’s a Khemplari ship and they’ve never seen the controls before. Probably crew trying to get clear before...”

“There is another one,” interrupted the captain. “I believe Navigator Volks is correct. The raid has gone on long enough that they are doubtlessly aboard the warships.”

One by one, the squadron in the maintenance yard fired engines and powered clear of moorings, not bothering to cast off first. Had the Hangrabi Freight vessel been out there to see, and somehow not blasted to scrap by the Yrch, they would have seen girders and gantries tearing away, atmosphere venting from ruptured boarding tubes.

“There is no way,” breathed Sam Evans, looking slack jawed at the sensor readout. Then there was an even larger bloom. The Haven class battlecarrier that headed the squadron in maintenance fired up its own engines. The Khemplari warships racing to reinforce the outer belt defences began to open fire at range - this was no dock crew attempting to get the ships free, then.

It was effectively over in moments. Not only had the raiders known how to start the drives and steer, but they’d also figured out the FTL systems. As the jump drives charged they kept moving away from the responding Khemplari warships, which couldn’t close the distance fast enough before they jumped. ‘Curious,’ thought Volks. There was definitely something going on here. There would be a great deal to his report.

Adams Building, Union City
Nashtar Republic Intelligence Headquarters


“Director, HUMINT assets in system confirm SIGINT findings from Farpoint. The Yrch have stolen a squadron of older Khemplari warships from maintenance docks in the Korit system. We have the sensor logs of a civilian freighter and an extensive report from our agent.”

Director Burns rested his chin on his folded hands. “Well that tears it, doesn’t it Higgins? How’s Operation TURNIP doing?”

“Fleet says they’re ready to execute. The package has been sent to the Venture. We just need to lay the trap and set the bait. It can start today.”

“With Admiral Blessinger’s permission, then, there’s no reason to delay. The Mansion is all hot about this, we need to find something soon.”
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

Location: "The Crossroads Continuity Nexus"
Time: Time is relative and a manifestation of the mind.
Weather: A comfortable 72.5 degrees, partly cloudy with a chance of meatballs.



In an area of space that existed outside of space and time, or perhaps could be said to exist everywhere in all times and space at once, was the physical manifestation of a Multi dimensional Quantum Fractal.

Two individuals moved into a small maintenance room that overlooked what would be called 'the factory floor.'

It was easily several hundred miles tall and at least three hundred across, forming a massive cylinder. Occupying the center of the immense room was a glowing sphere a good hundred miles in diameter. The sphere was something that, where anyone other than an Employee looking at it, would have driven a person mad. It was impossible to fathom physically. It occupied both Fractal and Quantum space at once. Immense towers of negative energy, hundreds of meters tall, erupted from it constantly at the pace of tens of thousands of a second. Likewise, bottomless holes would open with an equally quickened pace across the ever rippling surface.

It was a Nexus, THE Nexus, the singularity that existed in a point that both monitored and maintained the thing known as 'The Multiverse'.

For the Ployees of the Crossroads whom's task was to keep the universe in physical working order. It was typically ignored or left alone. The goings of the multiverse was usually something outside of their jurisdiction. Usually.

Today however, there had come certain instructions. They were not exactly very big or momentous instructions, they usually never were, but they still needed to be carried out.

And so it was that Ployee's Mort and Zonker currently found themselves in auxiliary monitoring station 27-J5 scanning through various realities.

"Ungh I swears these things read like VCR instructions." Mumbled Mort as he pushed a button that would advance a series of mechanical dials that displayed a reality marker. "Lets see where we are now. R-3211-ZZ, that's the shrimp universe, right?" Mort said as behind him, Zonker, consulted a massive tome that he had been given earlier.

"Um.. 3209, 3210, here we are 3211, Yes, that's the one where 95% of physics matter in the universe shifted into becoming small shrimp." Zonker said as Mort visibly shivered.

"Oy, I hate that universe. Um, oh lets just fast forward a couple of thousand realities. 3300, 4200, 5000. That seems good, where are we on S-5007-WD?" Mort asked again as the displays slowed down.

"Eh, ooh ugh, That's the one where those nasty robot creatures, you know, the Pepper pot ones? Succeed in purging all life and ended up forming a universe spanning utopia that they all grew to resent because of the spread of the Unicorns?" Zonker said reading from his great book. Once again, Mort sighed.

"What is it about machine life forms that always cause them to want to purge all other forms of life? And why do Unicorns invariably always end up in these things?" He grumbled before smacking the controls.
"BAH! Searching with this antiquated equipment always takes forever you know, we could be here all day doing this." Mort mumbled yet again, and then began counting the seconds before the inevitable interruption from Zonker.

5, 4, 3, 2,....

"Or, ya know, we, well, we could follow the instructions and, let the new automated system find the reality?" Zonker quivered as he thumbed through the instruction book he had been given. Ordinary at most other times Mort would have chastised him, told him about how things 'really' worked and how doing things 'by the book' never went as planned, typically because the people who wrote 'The Book' often had their head shoved in the place where the sun shines not.

However, Mort was in a bad mood, or perhaps, not in a bad mood as things went and truthfully wanted to finish and be out of the place as soon as possible.

"Ok, ok fine, we shall do things your way for once Zonker. The stage as it is said, is yours." Mort chirped before hoping aside. Zonker for his part, gave a predictably Zonker smiled, and hopped over to the controls. Pulling a massive lever marked "COMPUTER", a series of rumbles and opening of gateways parted, revealing a large mechanically keyboard and associated whirling magnetic tapes and various other equipment that looked as if it had come from the 1970s.

"Only the best Mort! This place is moving up! I know you always say the old ways are the best, but modern technology is the way of the future!" Zonker said energetically as he began inputting various parameters into the computer.

"Lets see here, Galactic subset 3275j, Sector 7G, Reality subset, Online Science Fiction God Game. Hmm, variation 2004, 2006, AHA! Here we are STGOD-2020! You see Mort? Did not take us that long at all!" Zonker said with a self congratulatory smile. Again, Mort held back on the urge to chastise the Rookie, giving him a rare moment to enjoy himself.

"Ok ok you found the blasted thing, let us input these orders and get out of here." Mort said as he brought up the arcane interface that would allow one to make changes to any given reality within the Multiverse.

"Lets see here. Orders are regarding a group of six species in the Meklon Expanse of the galaxy." Mort paused and scanned a small file they had been given earlier. "Hm, Time skip of group known as UISC forward in time to retcon in universe absence of interactions. Seems straightforward enough. Though I am telling you Zonker, this is a temporary patch at best. Considering the entities involved with weaving that reality, I would give the owner of this group 50/50 odds that we will probably need to be doing this again in another three or four months." Mort said as Zonker, ever the optimist turned to his old friend.

"Don't say that Mort! I know things got, well, a little behind, but everyone else says it's going to change this time! I think they will be able to keep up, sure it's hard, but well, I know they WANT to keep up with things, that should count, right?" Zonker said, twiddling his fingers as he normally did whenever he said something more to convince himself than someone else. Mort turned and simply gave him 'A Look' before turning back to the interface.

"Sure," he said, somewhat non-committal before inputting a number of commands and hitting a large red ENTER button.

In a few moments the NEXUS rippled and began to shimmer, an ethereal voice began to read out.

"REALITY ALTERATION IN PROGRESS. ENTITY UISC TIME SKIP IN PROGRESS. RETCON IN 5-4-3-2-----












[THIS IS IGN, IMPERIAL GOVERNMENT NEWS]

"Welcome back noble citizens, I am Keojlula Corinelja. We begin tonight with the formal recommissioning of the Tajlan Prime Station. Following an eight year plan to rebuild and renew our largest facility. As seen here from the formal opening ceremonies, the recommissioned station is a shining beacon of pride for the Empire.

The station now has over twice the docking bays as before, many of them now outfitted to accommodate the ever growing diversity of ships from other races and governments in the local galactic sector. The construction beds around the station have been refurbished and are hard at work producing new ships for the Empire as well as other Sector races. We will have an in-depth tour of the station later in the show, but first news of the recent attacks but what are being called the 'Yrch' ----

[KISSHHHHH]

---- "All I am saying, is despite what we hear from the UISC general assembly, one cannot help but feel that the rest of the Galaxy and it's powers are passing us by! Look at the economic forecasts from Octona, Quatonia, and of course our own world of Conearazra. The numbers all seem stagnant as though we have been stuck in some limbo. The recent announcement of a new construction plan for vessels at the GM'Frd facilities at the Galacticus shipyards are all well and good, but one has to ask where are these resources coming from? The minerals and components needed for such vessels do not simply materialize out of thin air. It is far past the time that we need to expand our industrial base outside of the Sector and into great local galactic quadrant."

"Thank you Roonapa, as always we appreciate you on the show. That was Conearian Economist Roonapa Kozbaw of the Conearazra Economic Council joining us for our mid quarter economic discussion here on the Sector Industrial Forum News. Next up, we will be talking with a Trathalan representative about the recent upsurge in 'Crossgate' instability around the planet, and how fears of space-holes are affecting trade with the reclusive planet."

[KISSHHHHH]

The all new RUDI Gamestation Nine, We bring to you a new world of gaming video experiences for the mind and body. Utilizing an electronic spore technology that creates the fastest and most secure connection between mind and machine, you will be truly living in the game worlds you download. It's improved optic scanning allows you to see as never before, and with the new holographic add-on package, you can share the experience with friends or family. Live the experience of a lifetime and Teleport yours today!.

"The Gamestation-9, The Ultimate, just got better."
[Gamestation is a wholly owned subsidiary of RUDI Electronics]

[KISSHHHHH]

And now from the UISC Capital, and points around the Sector, it's the MacLocklawn Group! A weekly political discussion with the best and brightest minds in Sector politics. And now, here is your host of the show. Kaun MacLocklawn!

"Hello-hello-hello-here-we-are-again-everyone-Kaun-and-friends-to-discuss-mayhem-madness-miracles-poltical-messes-more-more-more. Tonight-here-evening-group-rountable-Retired-Trathalan-Diplomat-Corinth-Gaylinteldo."

"A great pleasssure alwaysss to be counted here."

"Big-Tall-lots-of-medals-Qwintoni-Commander-Drenath-Jalla."

"Thank you for having me tonight Kaun."

"Good-group-last-member-new-face-first-time-Professor-smart-lady-Kellsadian-Knowzcghlin."

"A pleasure to be here, thank you for allowing me on the show."

"Thanks-Welcome-All-Good-hellos-all-said-Tonight-topic-number-one-first-big-thing-What-blazes-going-on-in-Nashtar-and-what-we-doing? Wings-Corinth-Go!"

"Kaun, the knowledge of attacksss both sssmall and large hasss been reported for sssome time. But the magnitude and commonality of thessse reportsss have not been fully known until recccently. The talk of some sort of covering up of thisss or attempt at hiding hasss been greatly discusssed."

"I would agree with that as well. Within the largely scientific community, there have been numerous exploration ventures sent into the territories of our newly opened galactic neighbors. Such ventures have been sending us a wealth of information, however it feels as if this information only recently started getting to us within the last week or so. Reports of attacks by the Yrch, as well as diplomatic treaties and new trade between groups, especially between the Endeavor and Theophoric Empire seems to be everywhere now."

"Let us not mince words here. It is clear the UISC has been 'out of the loop' as the Humans would say. Steps are being taken to put things back on track of course and put us back on the path we need to be as members of the galactic community."

"Right-right-back-on-track-ramping-military-construction-fulltilt-rounddaclock-all-hands-on-deck-naturally-yes-yes-mister-Imperial?"

"Kaun, as much as I respect your opinion, the needs of the UISC Military have been growing steadily and must be maintained. The push in new ships is all part of what the Sector needs right now.

"Needs-want-no-one-knows-maybe-its-good-lots-of-scary-faces-out-there-these-days. Topic-two-second-on-list-Trathala-Whats-going-on-with-holes-will-there-be-new-cargo-container-from-Earth?"

[KISSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH]
[CLICK]

The view screen turned off. Visually at least, monitoring of the countless newsfeeds and info shows of course continued by various automated systems and algorithms. The information recorded, processed, and scanned for relevant data and information.

The figure that had just turned the visiscreen off turned, slowly, from it to a large circular window and looked out. The view before them was of Union City, the proud capital of the Nasthar People on Helios-III. The individual was Lord Macon of the Skothian Council, sole representative of his people on the planet.

Foregoing a facility or constructing a new building, the diplomatic Envoy from the Sector had set up offices within the large, though occasionally crowded Skothian shuttle that had delivered them to the planet several months ago. Macon paused.

Had it been that long? Sometimes it felt as though only a few weeks had passed, sometimes months. Time for their species had always been something that was very subjective to them. Still, Macon could not help but feel something was off about their 'time' on the planet. Such concerns were trivial of course. There had been so much that had happened it seemed, and so much more to do.

Macon reflected on the activities of the other representatives that had come along.

The Octona, Quatonian and Conearian ambassadors (as well as their staff) had somewhat predictably sought out space in a nearby complex to expand their presence and bring in more local officials and negotiators. They were still all officially addressed at the Shuttle turned Embassy of course, the new offices being registered as 'storage' areas for legal purposes.

The Tajlan Representative, Kuoja Drenderin, had spent much of their time it seemed trying to pursue Nashtari Military representatives in possible joint exercises and cooperating patrols regarding the new Yrch situation. Macon paused again 'New' how new was it exactly? Again, Macon pushed such thoughts away as they looked from the towers in the distance down to an area near the base of the shuttle.

There, as Macon knew they would be, sat Kentara Lontimanolla. Playing the strained instrument she always brought with her on such journeys. The music from it was something Macon had grown quite fond of, it always calmed their nerves on stressful days. Macon smiled [or as much as any Skothian could smile] as they regarded Kentara. The Trathalan, as with many of their people, seemed to focus on teaching their art, philosophy, and history to those that would listen. Often holding large lectures near the shuttle and giving presentations in the evening light of the busy capital. Of course, as Macon knew, there was much more that kept her busy.

There was so much that everyone was busy with, both public and secret. And as Macon knew, secrets never stayed that way forever.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Symmachia
Near the Geofront
Night



…”Synchronisation at 56%. Plug depth nominal. We are a go.”

“Understood. Pilots, stand by. Prepare for silent launch.”

“Silent launch is a go, sir.”

“Right, then. Launch 12-C!”

Gravity pressed Arthouros soi Fylachto down in the seat of the… cockpit, he supposed he could consider it, within the… plug? There were so many strange Eigo words he was learning lately. Outside, within what he understood to be a 360-degree ologramma, he could see the works of the Geofront zipping by as the Evangelion rocketed upward, locked within its cage restraint harness. He blinked and the gigantic… mecha? The Endeavourites had been extraordinarily vague upon the nature of the Eva, but when he asked if they were ‘mecha’, Dr. Akagi had shrugged and said ‘that works’... was standing on the surface of the planet, under the stars above.

Behind him and above, Rei murmured, “Command, this is 12-C. Launch successful. We will proceed with training.”

Arthouros cleared his throat awkwardly, but the Rei (he didn’t know which one; he’d been around Endeavourites long enough to understand that there were quite a few) continued calmly, “Pilot will take a step forward when the restraints unlock, please.”

There was a mechanical whisper behind the Eva as the harness disengaged from its armour and slipped back underground, letting the unit slump forward as Arthouros snatched the controls in front of him. The radio blurted with Colonel Katsuragi’s voice, “Remember, it’s just like moving yourself. The Eva is synchronized with your thoughts and will move with your mental impulses. So just think about taking a step…

He took a deep breath. Step… forward… and slowly, the Eva lifted its leg. And then it placed its foot down, crushing a couple of trees… but it was a step. Even so, Art winced.

“Very good,” came Rei’s calm voice from behind him. He’d had barely any time to meet her before they both took seats in the plug and the training session began. All the Reis he had met so far seemed nice, though. She flipped a page of the large binder she’d been holding-- he’d been in enough training sessions as an Empire cadet to recognize an official manual when he saw one-- and remarked, “Carry on forward, please. Just a brisk walk.”

“Yes ma’am, walking,” he responded crisply, trying to keep the nervousness out of his voice. Carefully, he brought the Eva’s other foot forward… and then the whole plug shifted as he felt stones shift underfoot, and as he flung his arms outward, the Evangelion fell backwards upon its arse and slid down the mountainside.

Dimly, he could make out cursing in the command center over the voice link, but he focused. Stop falling… there. The Eva snatched a large stone outcrop, and came to a halt. He pulled it up to its feet, and turned to look back up where the hatch was. Rei continued, “Good recovery. You may either jump back up or commence further motion. Using your feet, not your buttocks, please.”

“I thought you lot didn’t have a sense of humour,” he muttered under his breath. Not low enough, apparently-- she snorted. He decided not to embarrass himself further, cast about and saw a clearing nearby. Not quite within stepping distance… but almost before he realized it, he’d jumped there in the Evangelion, landing somewhat awkwardly but not falling over at least. There, further down… open pasture. No trees to wreck. A long jump, and with a deep bend of its knees, the Evangelion touched down.

Pages flipped behind him, but he knew what he was doing now. He took a step, then launched into an easy run, covering ground at an incredible pace. He began grinning, like he hadn’t since…

“When was the last time you saw your parents?” Dr. Akagi asked.

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess when I went for Uncle Betor’s funeral on Idunn.”

She took a note on her tablet and continued, “Were you happy to see them? Are you close?”

He had to think about that. “I guess. They’re okay.”

She looked at him steadily and sipped a steaming cup of tea. A matching cup with a NERV insignia on it sat in front of him, untouched.


Long-legged jumps took the Eva up a mountainside. They reached the top and Arthouros perched it atop the ridgeline, silhouetting the giant mecha… whatever… against the moons of Symmachia.

“Tell me about your family,” she asked.

“There’s not much to tell. I have six brothers and five sisters. So when I was very small, you know, my mom didn’t have much time for me. Edena took care of me.”

Dr. Akagi paused. “A nurse?”

“Yes.”

“What about your father?”

“I dunno. Always busy with genia business or other, I suppose.”


As Arthouros jogged the Eva down a valley, a gigantic ologramma projected the image of an enemy suddenly-- at least he assumed that was what it was, it’s not as if the waving tentacle-y thing could really be anything else and he’d been through enough shooting courses to know what he was supposed to do. The hatch opening in the hillside beside him and sending up a tower filled with gigantic firearms didn’t exactly make it subtle, either.

Swiftly he seized one and sent two rounds crisply in the direction of the ologramma, hitting it center-mass. It blinked out and in his field of vision, two gold coins drifted upward. He followed them with his head until Rei cleared her throat and said, “Keep going. Hold on to the pallet rifle.”

“So you grew up with your uncle Betor soi Fylachto?”

Arthouros thought about it a moment. “Yes.”

“What was that like?”

“Nice, I guess,” was his monotone response.

She wasn’t satisfied, of course. “Arthouros. Do you mind telling me a little more?”

He sighed. “I mean. I was a midshipman on the Dystropos with him. But we had dinners together every week. He would take me to events with other genia. Me and a bunch of my cousins, I guess.”

A little more satisfied, Dr. Akagi nodded. “About your genis. What can you tell me about it? I know your homeworld is Idunn.”

He gave her a blank look. “That’s not our world. That’s a moon.”


“Art, quit staring at the moons,” Rei interjected with a slight edge coming into her voice. Arthouros blinked. “Sorry ma’am. What was that?”

“Go for another run, and then it’s time to return to the Geofront. The internal batteries are starting to reach capacity.”

“...so yeah, I mean, I guess we’re okay? I don’t know that much about how the genis works. I can send my father a letter if you want.”

Dr. Akagi nodded. “I would actually be more interested in the history of your genis, Arthouros. What did you say your motto was again?”

He cast his mind back. “Our words are…
buom unwaith, byddwn ni. We once were, we will be. They’re inscribed on the stones of Avalon.”

“Avalon? What’s that?” she asked, perking up.

The Evangelion cleared the mountaintop in a long leap, and Arthouros felt his heart lighten as it almost floated in the air. Skidding down the side of the mountain, then another long leap…

“That’s, I guess, the family estate on Albion.” At that Dr. Akagi sat back. She considered for a moment and then asked, “Have you ever heard of a Pendragon?”

He shrugged. “Should I have?”

“And who exactly did you say you were named for?”

Shaking his head, he responded, “My great-uncle on my father’s side. Where is this going?”

Dr. Akagi-- she had said to call her Ritsuko, but he couldn’t bring himself to be that informal with her-- chewed the tip of her pen for a moment and then shook her head. “Nowhere, apparently. But not for lack of your help. I will be reaching out to you in time to see if you can connect me to your family archives. Thank you very much.”

Erhard had come in at that point, not particularly trying to seem like he hadn’t been listening at the door.


As the layers of the Geofront’s armoured shell flashed by, he cleared his throat and craned his head about to look backwards and upward. “Er, ma’am?”

“Just Rei is fine,” she responded calmly. He went on, “Uh, er, ma-- er-- Rei-- did I do okay?”

She directed those unnerving eyes upon him and stared for a moment. Just before he was about to give it up for a lost cause and turn back around, she replied, “You did fine, Art. Quite well, actually. We will be contacting you and Erhard about running a series of training missions over the next few weeks.”

He nodded dutifully and then sat back down, a broad grin on his face. As the Eva started sliding slowly into its cage, he could see Erhard, standing worried upon the bridge crossing the cage, and he waved before remembering the Wachter wouldn’t be able to see him. But he knew he’d be telling Erhard everything in a moment…


Helios III
Plot Designated for the Theophanic Embassy


Don’t step there!

Han-Rogg froze, one foot hovering in the air. The Theophanic scientist, somehow not sweating despite their heavy robes, swooped in as the Zambaran took a careful step back to a more stable position. He sighed. This had been going on for a while.

Quite a while, actually. The Theophanics had shown up before the Civil Planning Office of Union City bright and early. He’d had to miss breakfast, but the Theophanics had brought a whole meal-truck with them and their coffee was quite decent, even if it had a slight undertone of something he couldn’t quite identify. Some mineral or other from one of their worlds, he supposed.

They’d been going over the plot the government had decided the Theophanics could have. Han-Rogg wasn’t particularly impressed. Half of it was marsh bordering the river, the Union City starport visible across the river. The rest of it was nondescript pasture with some trees here and there. It’d been part of the local military base, he understood from the hastily-altered maps the Theophanics helpfully showed him.

That was another thing. The Theophanics were… entirely too helpful. He’d barely had time to savor the coffee before they began lining up beside him. Quite literally, and somewhere in the mess of all that (they were doing it to the other urban-engineering department officials that had come along) he’d vaguely noticed that they seemed to go in order of most fancy stuff on their clothing to least fancy stuff… but he had no time to ponder that.

They had submitted large binders; he opened them to find every single applicable form, from purchase agreements, receipts for same (the sum listed, with note ‘paid in gold specie’, made his eyes bulge), blueprints for the buildings, and an incredibly exhaustive survey of the plot… apparently they hadn’t been satisfied with the Nashtaris’ submitted survey and did their own.

Which was fair, he supposed-- the Nashtari survey had probably just been typed up at a moment’s notice by some Army noncom familiar with the plot, as he noted when he found it-- but did they really have to list every single species they found?! Including, as he noted, fifty-three species new to even the Nashtari biologists’ lists? How did they even manage that?

The scientist answered that question as he stood up. Han-Rogg refrained from an instinctive flinch when he saw the man’s heavy cybernetics, but his curiosity prompted, leaned in to see… some tiny amphibian carefully cradled in its grasp. A metal tentacle reached out from the scientist’s robes, and a laser scanned the creature briefly before a holographic screen snapped up in front of the Theophanic. Han-Rogg couldn’t read it, but the context was obvious as the scientist scrolled through a list of what appeared to be species (with helpful thumbnails by each listing). They sighed as they found a matching one, carefully released the amphibian back in a nearby bush, and bustled off. Not new, then.

In the distance, more Theophanics were setting up what looked like surveying equipment. Han-Rogg’s stomach rumbled, reminding him that he missed breakfast, and he started wondering if that meal-truck had anything suitable for Zambarans…
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

[Note, the following post was one originally 'mostly' prepared before the game went quiet and I went on a 3 month hiatus. Am mostly post it not just for the records and to finish up the Frederico trip to the Endeavor]





Behold.

See now the stalwart adventurer, Fred J Coweber, Captain of the Frederico and mighty explorer of the mysterious lands of Endeavor. Already he had faced many baffling trials and adventures in seeking precious artifacts from the locals.
For the most part, this consisted of him strenuously making sure that the vendors were properly paid for the goods he requested. Fred, like most Quatonians, still believed deeply in physical currency, and right now he was thankful he had taken a fair amount with him on the trip.

The treasures he had so far acquired were largely additional statues for the ship. Having sadly just recently lost a few after being liquidated to their component atoms from earlier. He wasn’t exactly sure of the nature or function of his purchases.
A few he guessed must be representations of mythical warriors or these strange ‘Magical Girls’ he saw here and there. Two were of machines of some sort, representations of piloted combat armor, which Fred deeply approved of. And the others he had, Well Fred didn’t know much about human anatomy, but he thought they were probably fertility idols of some sort.

Rounding a corner in the busy market place, he found himself suddenly looking upon a rather eye-catching facility that immediately caught his attention. The structure seemed to be festooned with images and visi-screens of deserts, iced fruit, creams, and other assorted sugar infused substances. Fred, having felt had sufficiently conquered a number of other merchants, now felt it was time to take a rest and sample some of the local cuisine. And if that was in a semi frozen fruit and sugar based substance, so much the better.

Of course what Fred did not think much about was the style of the structure. The piles of human skulls out front would typically be something worth commenting on, likewise the various bones hung around the front, and bladed weapons hanging like rusty icicles from the roof would give one pause. Fred for the most part regarded the structure with indifference. Who was he to say how humans decorate? The interior was no less foreboding than the outside, dark, gloomy, and very very cold. Fred looked about for signs of a shopkeeper, but could not know he was being watched, no not just watched, but hunted. After what seemed a few minutes, Fred turned, preparing to leave when ‘something’ erupted from the floor blocking his exit.

“TREMBLE NOW BRIEF MORTAL! FOR THOU HASSS ENTERED MY SSSAVAGE SSSANCTURY!!!”

The horrible visage before him was apparently some sort of spectral skeletal horror. What seemed like the upper torso of a human skeleton, but in monstrous proportions, the bones floated as if held together by some invisible force. From within a sickening blue glow emanated outwards. The skull of the horror having blue flames erupting from what had once been eye sockets. Fred looked up, and up some more at the… Thing. And then smiled.

“Good-Day-Human-Bone-Monster-Offer-Up-Best-Best-You-Have-Cold-Food-Give-Me-Options-I-Have-Money” he said as politely [IE slowly] as possible while making a big show of plunking down a number of Ten Vernick Coins, (Quatonian money, at least the non-digital variety, was much like its inhabitants, chiefly large and bombastic), each coin was about the size of a hand and emblazoned with a number of colors and various designs. Fred assumed it would look impressive regardless of what currency was locally used. Everyone else today after all had seemed to react in what he felt was a stunned reaction at his insisting on such payments. Clearly they had all been very impressed.

The Lich, [whose name was Rupert Plumbean, though this was not important] looked at the, thing, before him. Being a merchant, it was to be expected to be familiar with every possible humi-form as much as possible and after only a brief moment searching, the name “Quatonian” popped up on his stream. Ah, one of the new ‘Aliens’ Rupert decided to change his normal approach and adjusted an internal set of gears. His normal ‘sales pitch’ would be somewhat wasted between the interpretation programs he was told they used. Instead he wordless activated a number of scrolling display screens showing various 3D holograms of some of the finer goods for the traveler. The visitor seemed to regard these with a detached interest, nodding occasionally at an image before moving to another. It pulled out a data pad and seemed to consult some notes before looking back up at The Lich.

“Respectable-Slection-Good-Choices-Looks-Normal-Enough-But-Know-Theres-Going-Be-Fancier-Things-You-Got” Fred spoke, trying to give what he felt was a discerning squint to the apparition of floating bones and blue fire. The Lich, Rupert, couldn’t help himself, and launched into his most theatrical speech.

“I ssselll forbidden treasures of ssswetness from placesss mortalsss fear to tread… And we also sssell Frozen Yogurt, which I call Frogurt!” Fred nodded at this.

“Sounds-Good” he said simply.

“The Frogurt contains a curse not for the likes of mortalsss.”

“Sounds-Bad”

“They come with your choice of toppingsss.”

“Sounds-Good”

“The Toppingsss contain Potasssium Benzoate.” When nothing immediate came forth from the individual, Rupert added “Thatsss Bad”

“FROOM!” He said at last and seemed to have made a decision.
“You-Drive-Hard-Bargin-Admire-Good-Selling-I-Will-Take-The-Best-Cursed-Treasure-You-Have!”

The Lich regarded this, always give them what they want, he considered.





Far away from unfolding Ice Cream based horror, Maddisian Trynskorn, Master Engineer and self-appointed ‘Chief Industrial Director’ for the Frederico had been making his way toward what his data pad had told him was the closest ship repair facility.
He had been making slow progress, the sights of ‘The Endeavor’ were distracting to say the least, and often he found himself continuing to repeat the phrase:
“Technically they are humans” on several occasions.

He had been making a list of materials, equipment and possible, if theoretical alterations he would need to make to what he was increasingly realize was a very temperamental FTL Drive. Not just FTL he reminded himself after reviewing a number of readings taking during the trip. The Skothian drive seemed to function within some sort of probability matrix that allowed it to virtually “re-write” reality around it as it traveled, changing its speed as some sort of mathematical equation. He had [thought] he had a grasp on it when they left, but the buckets of fruit preserves and puddles of liquefied statues had made him realize there were a few things that needed to still be worked out.

He paused as he came to the large entrance to the facility. Several vehicles and machine loaders moved equipment in and out as he watched. He couldn’t help but note that, even here with something as fundamental as “engineering” that the Endeavorites seemed to delight in decorating and making fanciful constructs. One of the larger cargo loaders he swore looked like a house fitted with some sort of very thin animal legs. He blinked and rubbed his head.

“Ok, ok, you can do this. No one here knows what Skothians are, and none of them will certainly know what a Skothian ship is.” He sighed, or if they did they would be hard pressed to recognize that the Frederico had started off as one. He paused and rubbed his forehead a moment while thinking.
“Try and find whoever looks the most competent before saying anything, you know what happened on the ThunderBird during the encounter at the Nebular. Their Cid suffered a concussion from the rush of Engineers wanting to ‘help’ fix the ship's drive. Try to be somewhere you won’t get crushed if things get out of hand.” He said mostly under his breath as he looked around.

In a quick glance he saw a variety of ‘mostly’ human forms, if possessing various exaggerated features, a few individuals in what seemed curiously antiquated, almost clockwork armor (he swore there was a chimney with smoke coming from it on the back of one of them) and a number of the colorful ‘Ponies’ whom he was still confused about how they interacted with objects around them.

He was partially considering just waving everyone out and see who might survive the ensuing fight to 'help', when one individual caught his attention near the bank of the large facility.

Maddisian looked him over and to his surprise, he seemed to be a regular Human. Or at least 'regular' in terms of looking as if he had stepped off from some savage primitive world. He wore what looked to be a garment made of animal skins and various tanned hides (though from what he knew of the Endeavor culture, these would all be synthetic.). The shoes were big and heavy, and a sword was slung on his hip along with a smaller dagger. Across his left arm was strapped a thick plate of metal that looked perhaps like a small yet highly durable shield of some sort. His face. Well, Maddisian was clearly not the best judge of Human appearance, but it seemed to him as if the individual was attempting to appear 'grim' without actually being so.

His face wore a deep scowl, as if he had seen and done terrible things. There were lines across the face that hinted at scars and deep scourges from battle and married by the harsh realities of life. Yet, when looking at it all together, the face (again to Maddisians understanding) seemed to be, almost free of blemish. As though looking both grim yet stunningly beautiful at once. In truth it made his eyes water a little.

"Enough of this, let's make a choice and see what happens." He said before striding forward to the individual. He could tell that many others in the area had been watching him, and no doubt had been considering that this new 'alien' was going to need technical assistance that would allow them to see something 'New' which, Maddisian had been told most Endevorites deeply desired. However the person before him had been one of the very few that seemed disinterested in him and in a way, that had made up his mind on the selection.

Approaching the Human, Maddisian pulled out his table and began to run through some simplified translation phrases he hopped would get the message across.

"Greetings (apparent) Human member of Endeavor. I am Maddisian Hawkczji, primarily an engineer to Fred and Associates transportation. Request is offered for mechanical assistance to primary drive of transport vessel. Drive is of [REDACTED] experimental nature and request is made of outside assistance in stabilizing of systems." The tablet read out the pre-prepared translation in what he hoped was a pleasant sounding Human voice. When it finished he proceeded to thrust his hand forward in the observed gesture of friendship, and waved it vigorously in the air.

The human for his part looked at him and then, in defiance of everything Maddisian had so far learned to expect of Endeavor Humans. Seemed to turn and ignore him. The human, face still stoic and lacking emotion, stared off into the massive hanging doors.

Maddisian, politely, waited a moment or two, wondering if the individual was having some internal conversation through the internal network system; they all seemed wired too. When no further response came. He gave a soft cough and pressed the 'Replay' option on his tablet, repeating the message. After it had finished, the Human turned back to regard the Octona.

"I have heard from you the first time, do not think that I wish to decline your offer, however such an opportunity does not come along without a price. And I am sure it will be one that I am unwilling to pay." The human spoke aloud, his voice low and gravely, as though he was trying to sound several octavos lower than it would naturally be.

Maddisian, bemused and not sure if he was missing some eclectic Human social custom, began to type up another response on the translation program but was interrupted before he could finish.

"I know your type, you wish to use me for my talents and then you will betray me at the first chance you get. Said the Technician with a long calculating look down his face to the shorter Octona. Maddisian was stunned and rapidly typed back a response now.

"Betray, unthinkable, what purpose served? Questioning reasons for this?" The tablet responded as the edgy individual went onwards.

"Everyone does! Life is nothing more than a series of misery, friends are for the foolish and anyone you put faith in will eventually turn on you. Do not play innocent, you will be like everyone else!" The technician said, now sounding as if he was reciting some well practiced speech, moving his arms dramatically and flourishing the cape behind him. Maddisian pushed forward, annoyed and trying to keep himself composed. Was every member of the Endevoritie mentally unbalanced in some way? He had had enough.

"Now see here! I come before you asking help and nothing more! You technicians are said to be eager at new technology and I will show you technology you have never seen before! It is everything you want and you respond with nothing but rudeness and impoliteness! I cannot stress to you that no matter what, I will in no way in any form betray you or attempt to ruin your name and standing in your community!" Maddisian finished, actually speaking in Human-common for the first time and tossing the translation pad away in his frustration.

There was silence for a moment. The Human looked suddenly crest fallen and turned away from the Octona for a moment. And then, in an almost defeated voice asked gently.

"Are you sure? Not even a little bit? It's just, it does good to maintain an image after all. Oh, my name is Makoto, Misumi Makoto, Edgelord Technician. I am still somewhat new to this, I used to be registered as a Light Technician but I decided to change my Major last semester"





Clukor and Patreecia had met up with one another after some ‘interesting’ attempts at shopping. Each of them had a bag with various local souvenirs, some of which they had genially wanted, others had been more ‘energetically’ offered to them. Both of them were currently examining a snow globe that neither of them remember obtaining.

“It was probably just slipped into our bags at one of the shops, I get the impression that obtaining goods here is less about actual ‘business’ as we understand it, and more of a prestige or status symbol.” Clukor said, always one to analyze. Patreecia tossed the glass orb in the air a few times before placing it back in her bag.

“It makes a strange sort of sense, if your society does not need a normal monetary based economy to function, then ‘owning’ lots items ceases to be the status symbol that it is in most economies. Instead, a sign of ‘success’ is having others own your products. Which, I guess explains where we got these, orbs.” She said, taking a moment to squint at the tiny contents within the sphere. Inside was what seemed a “jolly” if somewhat crudely statue of a rotund human wearing a red jumpsuit and the phrase ‘Seasons Greetings’.

The two had been somewhat aimlessly wandering the corridors seeing where it might lead. Turning a corner, the corridor suddenly opened up significantly and the two found themselves walking into a massive open green space. Trees erupted from the vibrant green field overhead an artificial sky and simulated a nearly clear sky marked with only a few white clouds. A breeze seemed to blow as Patreecia and Clukor had a genuine moment of surprise.

“Well, I did not expect to see anything like this here. Though it is certainly not unwelcome.” Patreecia said, cupping her hand over her eyes as she looked up at the ‘sun’ high overhead.
“It certainly feels good to see some natural plant life” Clukor said, though she immediately corrected herself. The expansive facilities they had wandered through had plenty of ‘plant life’ indeed a few areas seemed overgrown with various thick ferns, vines, and other plants, though in reflection Clukor was not sure how much of it was actually real. It seems real enough, perhaps that was what was important.

The two continued on in silence for a while, each one enjoying the feeling of walking through a lush and vibrant forest. In time the path seems to turn into a large open plaza. As the two walked into the clearing, lined with statues and fountains, they saw the explosion of trees and greenery began to give way to a display of things that caused explosions.

"It would seem we have stumbled into what, I assume, is an outside display of Mobile Artillery." Clukor said as the two approached the first of what seemed to be a series of armored machines that were situated around the large circular plaza. In the distance could be seen a large structure that one assumed was a museum of some sort.

"I believe the ancient humans commonly referred to them as 'Tanks'. Motorized carriages of either fixed or turreted heavy weaponry. I was reading something about it when we got here. The modern Endeavorites evidently use, what I assume are, less lethal versions of them for a Sport. Something like our Cowlvahn Ball, but, with something like this." Patricia said, gesturing toward a somewhat mid sized vehicle with a modest turret.


The two stood before it for some time. Staring, each one waiting for the other to add something to the conversation at this point. When nothing immediately seemed forthcoming, Clukor finally spoke up.

"I would say 'you must be joking' but at this point from what we have seen, I would be surprised if such a thing were not true." She said, Patricia giving a slight chuckle in response.



It was not long afterwards that the group began to meet back up with one another outside of what was listed as the "Mighty Tank Wan Do Museum".
Fred arrived first, dragging a wheeled cart behind him which was no doubt loaded with any number of statues and knickknacks he had obtained. In his hands was, well one immediately hoped what he held was fake at least. At first glance it appeared to be a large skull with a fearsome toothed visage. Large spiked teeth thrust downward from the bottom part of the skull, the top part appeared sheered off and had clearly been turned into a bowl, the contents of which even now glowed with a disquieting blue aura, whips of fog and vapor curled off from the substance which upon closer inspection looked to be... Ice Cream.

"BestcursedtreasureItolddoublegoodworththepricegoingtomakeperfectkkepsake!" He gabbled as he approached the others.

Budecian had apparently gone back to the ship and taken a nap, something the others were starting to regret not having done earlier. Eventually Maddician arrived looking somewhat haggard and exasperated, which did not immediately give confidence to the rest of the crew.

"I think I have the situation taken care of. I found an Endeavor technician whom, despite some perhaps not unexpected eccentricities, seemed to catch on to the principles of the drive engine surprisingly quickly. He has a team of their own and they should be meeting us at the hanger with, what I am told, would be a solution to the instability we experienced. I was told it would somehow involve a 2 cubit by 2 cubit icosahedron of solid Gold" He said, adding the last part with what he hoped was a straight face.

The others looked at one another, each sharing a sensation that was rapidly becoming more common to each other. The sensation roughly came out mentally as:
"We shouldn't believe this, clearly this should be a joke, but we are going to believe it, because it's the Endeavor."
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Situation Room, Presidential Mansion, Nashtar

“Mr. President, the plan is simple. The Yrch raid shipping and outlying colonies. Their threat is increasing with the theft of the Khemplari squadron last week, and it has become imperative that we locate their base of operations. Therefore, we propose to detach the Venture and her battlegroup from Fourth Fleet and move them into the colony zone. The carrier and her battlegroup will engage the first Yrch raiders they encounter. That’s where NRI comes in.” Fleet Admiral Blessinger advanced the display to the next frame.

“Several standard bomber-borne anti-ship missiles have had their warheads replaced with limpet attachment homing beacons. Based on previous behavior, we expect the raider to run at the first encounter with a superior force. We’ll have to act fast before they flee. A wave of the carrier’s fighter/bombers will engage with a mixture of standard warheads and tracking beacons. Hopefully they either won’t realize that some missiles failed to explode or will attribute it to warhead failure.” He advanced the display again.

“The limpet trackers will remain dormant until after the ship jumps and subsequently emerges into realspace. When this happens, they will begin to emit a high powered subspace signal, which should be easily detectable by the Farpoint array. The trackers also listen for their own signal and are on variable timers, so one going off will deactivate the others, to avoid their discovery in the event the Yrch vessel makes multiple jumps. They’ll probably pick up on the pattern after the second one, but it gives us some room for error and makes the job of finding them harder.”

President Harrison lifted his head up from where it had rested on his interlaced fingers. “It seems like the best plan we’ve got,” he said. “What are the risks?”

“Apart from the obvious of risking a fleet carrier, though minimally with the support of a battlegroup against the typical Yrch raider, mostly the risk of early discovery. If the Yrch make multiple jumps and are monitoring outgoing communications, they will likely pick up on the fact that they’ve got multiple trackers and avoid returning to base. Phase two of the operation involves the Rraskantha. Upon receipt of a signal, Admiral Greer will dispatch the stealth frigate to follow up and assess what we’ve found. If it appears that we have found a Yrch staging area or their base of operations, a strike package will be swiftly mobilized from the fleets. This risks the temporary vulnerability of our core worlds, but the admirals have been briefed and mobilization and return should be relatively swift, minimizing that window. A cruiser battlegroup from each fleet will be left behind at minimum.” He sighed. “I wish we had Fifth Fleet operational for this, but Oro Shipworks won’t be done with the Indomitable for another few weeks. But this can’t wait that long.”

“Agreed,” answered the President. “Your operation is authorized. Bring it home, Admiral.”

Bridge of the NRS Intrepid
Deep Space, Nashtari Colonial Zone
Ten Days Later


Ensign Lovell leaned her head in one hand and she kept watch over her sensor readouts. Third watch aboard the carrier was well underway, and the tedium was getting to everyone. Nothing but occasional freighter traffic on scopes, as it had been for the past week and more.

Her crew commander was about to reprimand her (though he would not note it in the log; it was entirely understandable) when a red light accompanied by an insistent beeping started flashing at the top of the control panel by the scope projector. She started to full alertness instantly.

“Conn, Sensors,” she called out, hands flying over the controls to bring the object the ship’s AI had flagged into focus, “FTL contact, heavy warship class, bearing 260 mark 5. Assess it is slowing for reentry into realspace in the vicinity of the N-165 freight lane junction.”

Lieutenant Commander Narvoth’s skin flushed a fire engine red as she stood. “Sound general quarters.” Klaxons began to sound as she reached for the address system. “Captain to the bridge. All hands, this is the second officer. General quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations.”

Captain Nogoroth swept onto the bridge in moments, soon followed by Admiral Greeley, still buttoning his uniform. “Conn, Flag, report!”

“Large FTL contact matching Yrch warship profile inbound to the freight junction. They’ll likely beat us there, sir.” She turned to salute the captain and saluted. “Sir.”

Captain Nogoroth returned the salute. “Officer, you are relieved. I have the conn.”

“Aye, sir, you have the conn. I stand relieved.”

“Comms, Flag,” Greeley interjected. “Signal the battlegroup to prepare for immediate combat jump. Conn, proceed.”

“Aye, Admiral,” answered the captain. “Helm, Conn, set course for N-165 and engage slipspace drive when battlegroup reports ready. CAG, Conn, ready combat craft for immediate launch on reversion.”

“Flag, comms. All ships report ready, sir.”

“Comms, Flag, very good. Helm, engage slipspace drive.”

“Flag, Helm, aye.”

Slipspace rifts tore open in front of the ships of Fourth Fleet’s first battlegroup and closed behind them as they entered.

Force Declaration
One Intrepid class fleet carrier - NRS Venture
One Kensington class heavy cruisers - NRS Galileo
One Guardian class light cruisers - NRS Galatea
Two Polaris class destroyers - NRS Alphard, NRS Canopus
Two Bandit class frigates - NRS Doc Holliday, NRS Will Scarlet
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

Helios-III, Union City, Capital of Nashtar.

In a series of offices in an un-assuming political building (one of countless others in Union City) The ‘Off-Site’ UISC Ambassadorial Office resided, at least for now. Files and equipment had been slowly moved from the Skothian shuttle that had previously been their residence into the relatively new offices.

In one such office, Imperial representative Kuoja Drenderin was currently reviewing a series of papers. One had recently come in from the UISC Council directly that had particularly caught his attention. As Kuoja was reading it for a second time, there was a polite knock at the front door and in stepped another Tejlini, Luowna Kejcuolon one of Kuoja’s personal aides. Kuoja regarded her for a moment, bright lass from the Northern federated territories, her fur was noticeably longer than most of the others in his delegation and Kuoja often worried she would get heat stroke someday in the hot Union City afternoons.

Kuoja set the document he was holding to one side and beckoned her forward.
“Good day Luowna, what news do you have for me?”

“The usually sir, mostly a couple of requests for Imperial information on manufacturing requirements from local merchants, but also something a bit unexpected.” She said as she pressed a few buttons and handed over a datapad. Kuoja accepted the pad and skimmed through it, then give a soft mix between a chuckle and a sigh.

“The mighty Theophoric Empire is humbly inviting us to ‘Establishing of Edifice’ to herald a new embassy on Helios-III. Hmm well they certainly took their time in deciding to set up an embassy here in the first place.” Kuoja said with a slight chuckle. And then, almost but not entirely under their breath he could hear Luowna mutter:

“Probably not enough Humans here for their liking.” She said and regretted it immediately as she looked up and met Kuoja’s gaze. “Oh Sir! Please, I didn’t mean to imply, that is I meant.” She began to stammer and Kuoja waved her into silence.

“No no, I understand. ‘Human hate’ is everywhere these days, and I know the Imperial council is very much trying to push it as a wedge between various groups in the UISC upper circles. Even the most tolerant and open minded out there find it gulling that four out of the five local galactic forces are virtually all from one species.” And then because he couldn’t help himself added. “With a possible exception to the endeavor.” A brief if tense chuckle was shared between the two as Kuoja wordlessly turned the cooler down a bit to get the fans going. Poor girl was probably already feeling over heated, and he felt sorry for her.
“Well, I am sure the others will be interested to see what this actually involves. I doubt Macon will attend, but one never knows. In any case, we may be having our own ‘event’ to invite diplomats too soon enough if some new council proposals pan out.” He said cryptically, and then handed over the first page of a somewhat thick document he had previously been reading. He watched Luowna begin to look at it, following her eyes down the page, he waited until she seemed just about towards the bottom and…

“That would be over two thirds of the entire UISC standing fleet in total! Sir, do you think the rest of the council is going to go along with this? It is mobilizing a significant portion of the operational fleet I am sure there will be concerns over weakening security on the home front!” Ah, just the response he had imagined. Kuoja chuckled as Luowna continue to read.

“The concern will certainly be raised, but the Council I am sure will go along with it. In a way they, we, do not have much of a choice. The authors of this Mobilization bill I will say have some rather strong points in their favor here. The Sector has been almost unnaturally lucky thus far in avoiding any significant attacks by these 'Yrch' Almost as if we have been, invisible to them for some reason." The words were said in a low tone, a look exchanged between the two.
"Our 'good fortune' surely has not gone un-noticed by the other powers in the local sector. The colony of ZoZo at Zenar Minor would have made a prime target for them, but it as well has gone un-touched." Kujoa said as he looked up at the ceiling, as though staring off in thought about things. Luowna finished reading the next page and considered things herself.

“I would imagine the thought amongst those in the council behind the Mobilization bill then would be untouched ‘but for how much longer’. But if they are truly concerned about the Yrch, these orders seem counterproductive. It calls for the deployment of three massive fleets. You could easily split these ships up into six or even nine patrol groups to cover more space. More to the point, from what we know of the Yrch, they move fast and flee immediately from forces with large capital ships.” here Kuoja raised an eyebrow (at least the one that didn’t have a scar through it) He was impressed with Luownas quick assessment.

“Very astute of you to notice. And no doubt others will as well. More than likely this has its’ roots In the Tajlan Imperial council, pushing to display a big ‘show of force’ and using the Yrch as an excuse for such an unprecedented mobilization.” Kuoja said as he leaned back and rubbed his artificial eye, he really did need to have it looked at he reminded himself. A word caught his attention as he looked back up to Luowna.
“Hmm?”

“I said, could it be possible that the Sector has so far not been attacked because of the Skothians? Could they be driving off the Yrch, or somehow the Yrch are avoiding them?” she said.

"Highly unlikely, few of the other races really know about what the Skothians are, and I do not think any of them have made contact with Skohotintot or know of its abilities." He said, and then gave a dark chuckle. "Which would include us as well truth be told." The chuckle was shared between both of them, half out of exasperation, and half out of a shared resignation of being powerless in current circumstances. Finally, he gathered up the documents on his desk and stood up.
“Ok, Luowna, if you can distribute the invitation for the new embassy to the other representatives and let me know if anyone isn’t coming. In the meantime, I should work on drawing up an announcement and invitation for dignitaries when the mobilization bill no doubt passes. The last thing we need is some Endeavor, Nasthar or Goddess forbid, a Theophoric force, stumbling across one of the fleets and taking it with hostile intent.” Kouja said flatly as the two exited the office and began to walk away on their errands.

As Kuoja strode away, he was finding his thoughts drifting for a moment. Thinking back to the Mobilization bill he was sure would be implemented. Part of him to his annoyance agreed it. Not so much with the blatant ‘show of force’ but of getting military units moving, active, training and learning. One way or another it was only a matter of time before the Sector found itself under attack. When that time came, they would have to be prepared.

.





[DIPLOMATIC TRANSMISSION TO ALL PARTIES]
UISC forces will be mobilizing a series of border defense fleets in response to the current threat from Yrch forces. In the interest of open channels and to avoid any miscommunication about the nature and roll of the mobilization, the launch ceremony will be open to all diplomatic envoys. Please be advised while diplomats and observers will be welcome. Recording devices and live-streaming will be prohibited from the event during the launch but allowed afterwards.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

Amazo-X Service System

Steve Wilson's 16-hour shift was in its final hour when everything went to shit. First, what looked like a hundred ships dropped out of FTL around the station; then, his computer (and the lights) went dead, and finally something clang'd into the station with enough force to overcome the artificial gravity and send him spawled backwards, on top of the printed-out reports he'd just finished printing out. If one of them was even a little crumpled, he'd have to do the whole thing over again, he just knew it. The emergency systems whirred, clattered, and failed, as they had every time they'd been tested, but Steve had a Workplace Essentials Survival Kit under his desk, and using it would at least indicate Dedication to the boss; and, if it didn't work, well, it wouldn't be his problem much longer. The air would run out in... oh, about three minutes, give or take. And, while emergency protocol dictated that employees remain at their desk and attempt to continue working until physically impossible - well, he was a Comms tech, and there were no Comms to tech, so he had justification for wandering off.

He made it about as far as the airlocks, his plan being to get an EVA suit and conduct an inspection of the antennae, when they all blew inwards at precisely the same moment; a quartet of security drones (which he'd mentally blanked out; they were always there) were cut down by the debris, but he was far enough away to come out with just a minor scratch. Well, that was another $4000 down the drain. Groups of immense, four-armed humanoids bearing heavy armour and heavier weapons streamed out from the airlocks; well, all but one of them. That one instead disgorged a... platoon of Star Wars battle droids? One pointed a spindly arm in his direction, and, okay, yes, the Employee Handbook told him to fight to the death, but it also said he was liable for any damages incurred as a result, so he put his hands in the air.

The droids approached. "For you," said the one in the lead, "The war is over." It was promptly smacked on the back of the head by the one next to it.





CEO Quarters, Fulfilment Hub A

Soon. That was the only word Bezos needed. Everything would finally come to fruition - soon.

He raised one trembling hand, and pulled his aching body out of the medical sarcophagus he had been confined to for the past week. Even the alchemical processes by which they'd straightened out the Yrch with were insufficient to heal this last of his spare bodies. He should have made more, in his youth, but how was he to know every other plan would fail? That he would be forced back onto this contingency of contingencies? Everything else had seemed so promising, but all had their fatal flaws; this process would have made him mindless, that process was stopped before he could even take advantage... Ten thousand attempts to achieve his aim, ten thousand failures.

This time, he had left as little as possible to chance. Everything had been carefully considered, from the actors to the props, and the only variable left was when the final event would happen - and that, he knew, was soon.

"Dispatch the oracle," he wheezed into the thin air. A machine took those words, and checked them against a table in its memory banks; they corresponded to a specific action, so it undertook that action. Signals went out to every single Yrch ship, and the four factory ships available: begin massing at Isenvadejo. All acknowledged reciept; some sent back a message declaring they were in the midst of an operation, and would withdraw "at the earliest opportunity".

Isenvadejo itself was set to work; the only nominally Yrch-held planet outside of their home system, it was specifically built as a staging ground for their fleet. Damaged ships were hastily patched up, captured civilian ships armed or fitted with explosives, and the immense cryobank at the colony's core began thawing out row after row of Yrch warriors, each taking their place in turn on board the warships. Khemplari ships, recently captured, had their control systems torn out - in many cases literally - and replaced with Yrch-suitable controls.

Four factory ships - an endangered breed - floated silently a dismissive distance away from the Yrch and their works; they bore the fleet's orders - to mass, and spread; to attack on all fronts at once, in the hopes of finding a crack in one of their enemies' armour. It was expected that many of such attacks would fail, but hopefully one might succeed, might wrest away an advantage from one of their foes - technology, ships, shipyards, anything to even out the massive gap between the two powers and their assorted enemies. This, those captains were assured, was all part of the plan.

None of them even suspected for a moment that they could be wrong.




Kapetenos quarters, Megokolymvitis

Kharon reached a hand out, and felt a slight resistance as it met the twist of wire.

"I am Clippy," it said, "Your guide to the new world! Let's go over the basics..."

The tutorial could not be skipped. Kharon learned far more than she ever wanted to about how exactly to operate within the many, many different little nooks and crannies of what she'd taken to calling the Ambience. Everything from how to create your own virtual avatar (seventy-six times over) to how to learn entire new systems in an instant to not suffering from the effects of various memetic hazards was covered in at least cursory fashion. Clippy - the twisted wire thing - claimed that further and more detailed knowledge could be installed on an internal hard drive, which in turn could be accessed either consciously or, and this was the strange thing, subconsciously. The thought of knowing things without learning them was both appealing and horrifying - it would certainly explain how these Endeavourites seemed to be able to come to decisions so quickly, even as a group, but what would that mean for her? Would she just be subsumed into some sort of hive mind, stripped of all semblance of individuality?

"You know," said Clippy, "If that hasn't happened to anyone else then I'm pretty sure you're safe from that."

Kharon nodded. "It's just... a strange feeling," she said. She'd already had to turn down the not-quite-metaphorical dial regulating how much information was flowing across her vision at any time, and as she saw a dozen forum threads pop up at once ("Rei Ayanami: Best thing to happen to Endeavour, or best thing to happen to the universe?", "Please move your damn car, James" and "Whatever happened to those Sector guys, anyway?" to name three) she considered turning it down some more. Then, she was invited to vote on whether the tables in one of the Arsenal's break rooms should be oblong or rectangular, and informed of a flash sale on Type 6 anti-submarine depth charge launchers (cutting the price from free, to free!) and could, if she wanted, tour the whole Arsenal without ever even standing up.

It was, in short, a lot to take in.




[DIPLOMATIC TRANSMISSION TO ALL PARTIES]
UISC forces will be mobilizing a series of border defense fleets in response to the current threat from Yrch forces. In the interest of open channels and to avoid any miscommunication about the nature and roll of the mobilization, the launch ceremony will be open to all diplomatic envoys. Please be advised while diplomats and observers will be welcome. Recording devices and live-streaming will be prohibited from the event during the launch but allowed afterwards.
Shortly after this message was received, threads began being posted on various forums, all titled: "Who wants to go see?". Later, the Sovereign Protector would claim that she'd only ever intended to use these threads as a starting point, that actual diplomats would be chosen from the thousands of people all commenting that they would, in fact, like to go see the UISC mobilisation. That was most likely a lie, but it didn't matter; upon seeing the enthusiastic crowds all chomping at the not-always-metaphorical bit, many habs voted to send represenatatives themselves to the mobilisation. After all, the message had specified all diplomatic envoys were welcome...

And so it was that the Imperial-I Class Star Destroyer Devastator was filled to the brim with enthusiastic tourists and amateur diplomats, and set off towards the Sector. Thankfully, the Devastator was a cosplay and Ultimate Ship Battle Royale vessel, not a true warship, or some eyebrows might have been raised.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Ten Raab

Captain Vir Cotto of the Bebop, current ambassador-somewhat-by-default-as-ranking-Endeavourite-on-world of Endeavour to the Theophanic Empire, walked through the ornate carved doors and came to a screeching halt. “Um, you’re busy, I see. Do excuse me, I’ll be right back…”

Matthau soi Drakon turned and waved a hand dismissively. “Not at all, Captain Cotto. Young soi Vlakas was just now leaving.”

Cotto could only lift his brows and grin cheerfully as Matthau turned to the previous visitor and exchanged a few further quiet words. The young man-- at least Cotto figured he was young, and male, under the heavy uniform thick with layers of gold braid and festoons and epaulets and other gewgaws-- bowed and turned to leave. He managed to somehow direct an arrogant sniff in the Endeavourite’s direction, a feat Cotto was vaguely impressed with, even as he wondered just how inbred the boy had to be to have practically no break between adam’s apple and nose other than a wispy excuse of a moustache.

Wisely he refrained from saying anything, simply inclining his head until the doors closed behind the minor noble. Matthau sighed, reached up to his shoulder and swung the thick cape off his shoulders, throwing it on a nearby table as he turned and walked to the massive fireplace nearby. Cotto took a moment to look about the room as he slowly stepped towards the Theophanic lord.

It was a massive chamber for an office, nearly the size of several of Bebop’s staterooms combined, pilastered columns running down the sides with various trophies hung up between them. Wood vaulted ceilings arched high above, dark in the twilight, but as high as they were upon the hive, sunlight still streamed through the windows lining one side of the room. Matthau’s desk (Cotto fancied it was the size of the Bebop’s bridge entire) took up one end of the room, but he was pouring himself a drink by the fireplace. As Cotto approached, he noted soi Drakon filling a second cup.

Matthau picked up the cups and gestured with one hand to the overstuffed chairs covered with rich fabric nearby. Cotto half-bowed in acknowledgement and awkwardly eased into one as the lord handed him the cup of dark blue liquor that practically curled his nose-hairs as he took an experimental sniff. Matthau gave no toast, but did tip his glass at Cotto before throwing it back expertly. Well, nothing tried, nothing gained…

That was a mistake, but Cotto wouldn’t realize that till later; it went down with almost no sensation other than a pleasantly fruity taste. He lifted an eyebrow and remarked, “Excellent vintage, my lord.”

Matthau snorted. “You wouldn’t know if one of my brother’s dragons pissed the stuff, Cotto.”

He blinked. “I suppose not. Excuse me.”

soi Drakon sighed. “Pardon me. I’ve had a long day. The last visitor I had, that young man?”

At Cotto’s nod, he continued, “He’s the latest gentleman asking for Stefon’s hand. I’m inclined to let him have it, but she would chew him up and spit him out before he knew what was happening. With a name like Chauncey Bertram Algernon soi Vlakas, I’m not sure anything else would happen.”

Cotto coughed, daintily hiding it with a handkerchief he produced from his sleeve. He remarked offhand, “I cannot say that I am familiar with your daughter, but from what we heard from other Endeavourites on Symmachia, she is a formidable woman indeed.”

That brought a grim smile from Matthau, who got up to refill his drink. “Yes. She takes after me, I fear.” He went on, standing by the drink cart besides the fireplace, “I actually asked you here regarding her.”

Interesting. Cotto kept his face smooth as he held out his cup for a refill and murmured blandly, “Ah, yes. Do go on.”

The drink replenished, Matthau handed it back and looked into his own. Thoughtfully, he answered, “I understand that you Endeavourites have faster-than-light communications capable of reaching other worlds with little or no delay. Would it be possible for me to use it to reach Stefon?”

Cotto sat back, sipping his drink. “I don’t see why not. Come by the Bebop anytime.”

Matthau inclined his head minutely. For a noble of his rank, that was a great gesture, and Cotto had become familiar enough with Theophanic protocol to be aware of it. He cleared his throat, flipped the handkerchief he still had in his hand, and blurted, “Don’t think anything of it, my lord soi Drakon. There’s a line, to be sure. You’re not the only one who wishes to communicate with Symmachia.”

An eyebrow was raised. Matthau asked drily, “Is there a fee, then?”

“Oh, heavens, no!” Cotto chuckled, “But you might have to wait your turn!”

A snort was his answer as Matthau sat down again. Cotto grinned and settled down to, hopefully, a pleasant bit of conversation. Waking up the next morning was far less pleasant…

[OOC: I must plead a severe case of writer's block of late. Hopefully the Theophanic Embassy on Nashtar bit will be forthcoming shortly, but in the meantime, short bits may be the main thing coming out. My apologies]
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

Outer Edge of Shand System, Asteroid Moon Galacticus

High atop the central observation platform of the primary Office station that Gm’Frd industries used, a party of sorts was taking place. It didn’t exactly start off as a ‘party’, as many of the now somewhat haggard organizers were quick to remind people, it was supposed to have been a simple launch ceremony attended by diplomatic envoys. Of course, the definition of ‘diplomatic envoys’ was something defined quite differently by different groups in the local Galactic sector.



The facility of Galacticus, an Asteroid large enough to be considered a small moon, was the UISC largest shipyard. Ship docks and massive fabrication plants encrusted the surface of the facility as well as hung thick in orbit around it. As always almost all the docks and facilities were full of activity. Although currently, at what you could consider the ‘North Pole’ of the moon, there was far more activity than usual.



In the space above the northern pole, was a large and rather ostentatious space station that served as the main corporate offices of Gm’Frd industries. The station was usually the used as a platform for more public or civilian spectacles and tours. One could often find a few passenger ships or charter sight seers around, however currently the space was packed with ships from across the local galactic sector.



“Gm’Frd Central Control, yes we have you on scanners, please report to holding area 56-27 to await docking. Current wait time is approximately thirty standard minutes until a hanger is available. We thank you for your patience” This was said by one station traffic controller who had been at the job long enough and had learned to disconnect the call immediately before those on the other end could begin the inevitable complaints



What had begun as a simple ceremony more for mere formalities than anything bigger, had quickly ballooned into a mix of grand pageantry and impromptu business conference as the list of groups from outside of the Sector (naturally most of them from Endeavor) grew and grew. Sector based industries, wishing to take advantage of any possible new business opportunities, suddenly flocked to the station in the time leading up to the event. Setting up advertising booths, reception parties, and catering vast amounts of fried things stuffed with other fried things. (a very traditional Conearian food.)



“We have a big one coming in!” This was said by the frazzled voice of yet another traffic officer in the central hub. A flurry of shouts and very quickly moving of some smaller ships for fear of being trampled ensued before a rather sizable if unarmed civilian Endeavor transport arrived. The rather drab, grey and wedge-shaped ship lumbered by as a few of the staff in the control hub regarded it.



“The Edeavorites do have some interesting designs. I tell you the ship looks like it was designed as a military ship but converted for civilian use. That wedge shape would make gun emplacement highly efficient. Placing the heaviest weapons along the trench would give it a commanding firing arch.” Said one Qwintoni traffic controller taking an impromptu break. The Octona next to them gave a calculating glance and then snorted.



“Perhaps, but if it was a military ship, look, see those castle-like structures along the top? They look to be weapon mounts for massive gun emplacements. But if you placed weapons along those archs , they could only give a broadside. If you tried to fire directly forward the turrets behind you would hit the turret in front.” The Octona said as the ship loomed closer on its way to a holding area. The first controller seemed to regard this for a moment.



“I see what you mean, that would be quite a problem, you could only focus all the ships weapons by tilting the nose of the ship downwards for the turrets to fire over one another, perhaps a glaring design flaw. And now that I think about it, the structure on top, that hammer shaped superstructure. If that is where the command bridge is it seems quite exposed.” Here the Octona nodded in agreement.



“Indeed so, the vessel at first glance ‘seems’ quite formidable, but I feel it is perhaps designed by someone who wished to emphasis a menacing appearance without regards to functionality.” They said as they finished watching the ship go by. Once it had seemed to park in an area near the station, the two watched it for a while longer before one leaned over to the other and in a quieter tone spoke thusly.

“It is strange, I have this overwhelming urge to argue about its technical specifications with you for the rest of my shift.”
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

HIMS Devastator, Shand System

"-that the turrets are clearly arranged for the forwards-dorsal fire cone!"

"That's ridiculous, you'd expose far more of the ship when you could just have the guns staggered to fire forwards - or even superfire!"

Another day, another debate. Captain Wermis-Corssin had volunteered the Devastator in the hopes of recruiting more players for the next USBR Season, and now he was beginning to bitterly regret that greed. Adjusting to the thousands, maybe more, of diplomatic representatives from habs across Endeavour had been relatively easy - he played Imperial, that didn't mean he had to think like one - but then they'd gone and gotten themselves all infected with a memetic hazard... on purpose. And that was before the ambient shenanigans - he'd come across more "Illusory Wall Ahead" messages in the past week than he had in his whole life, let alone other spray-memes. He was half tempted to set the ship to Disney canon if this kept up.

Luckily, the diplomats weren't going to be his problem much longer; he was, in fact, just on his way to the bridge to oversee their emergence from hyperspace. The turbolift stopped, and he stepped out. "Report."

Commander Nagisa presented a crisp salute, and followed Wermis-Corssin to the front window. Normally, Vader would be there, but he'd decided to take the week off. "All stations report readiness for hyperdrive emergence. We are at the assigned meta-coordinates, waiting for the order to descend."

Wermis-Corssin nodded. "Very well. Notify our passengers, and take us down."

The view from the bridge windows shifted nearly immediately from the strange colourless-but-colourful-streaks of mid-band hyperspace to the familiar speckled black of space. A planetoid floated nearby, swarmed by dozens upon hundreds upon thousands of ships and mobile space stations; some were hurriedly diverting out of the Devastator's path, and he was half-tempted to order them lit up with the ship's guns - then again, even if they were fake, firing off a few hundred turbolaser bolts next to what looked to be a major shipyard was probably a diplomatic faux pas. Maybe they could get away with it on the way out.

Traffic control was dealt with by one of the many spacers pushing buttons on terminals in the crew pits; that's what they were there for, after all. Well, that and playing video games. Wermis-Corssin took the opportunity to size up the UISC ships, miliary and civilian. There was a little less variety on display than he was used to, but still a respectable amount; there seemed to be five or six different aesthetics in play. As they approached the station, hailing requests came pouring in from dozens of different ships. He selected one at random:

"Here at Conealoxx Manufacturing, we know our customers demand excellence. We provide flexible, on-demand services at all hours-"

Advert. He switched to the next hail.

Hellogentlebeingfellowsentientorotherdescriptornounmaybeadjective! BuyourcarsautomobilesgenuineclassicQuatonianhotrods! Buybuybuybuybuybuybuybuybuybuy! Youdearcustomeramazingcustomerwillnotcouldnotpossiblyregrethavesecondthoughtsaboutbuyingouramazingcars!"

More interesting, but still an ad. Next.

"RUDI Electronics: Yes, We Have Garfield Phones!"

Well, that one was just odd. "Activate adblockers," he ordered. "Record them all, but route only the relevant hails to me."

The next ten or twenty minutes passed in silence, the great ship gliding slowly towards its assigned berth. Of the UISC military, only a few corvettes were in evidence, all conducting traffic control duties. One was sheparding what looked like a farting blimp into line; a quick query confirmed that it was a replica of some historical ship. Other than that, things seemed to be proceeding smoothly; he supposed that the UISC commanders wanted to keep their fleet under wraps until the big event. They'd done pretty well, especially given the sudden RSVP from pretty much every hab in Endeavour. Slowly, the Devastator ground to a halt, spindly docking arms holding it in place and gantries connecting to the ship's airlocks. A tube extended out into one of the autologi ports - it seemed that someone here had been doing their research. That would shave a few hours off unloading everyone's luggage.

"Have 1st and 2nd squadrons prepare for the flypast and inform all passengers that they are now free to get the hell off my ship." Wermis-Corssin waited until Nagisa acknowledged, then turned. "Let's go see what this place has to offer..."
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Bridge of the NRS Intrepid
N-165 Outer Solar Orbit


“Conn, Helm, reversion in thirty seconds.”

“Helm, Conn, aye. Tactical, sound general quarters.”

The ship had, of course, stood to battle stations at the call of a combat jump, but the final general quarters served as imminent warning. As the klaxons sounded, void-tight hatches swung shut across the ship and cockpit canopies were sealed in the cavernous fighter bay.

“Comms, Flag,” called out Admiral Greeley. “Full spectrum hailing at reversion, my station.”

“Flag, Comms, aye,” came the response from the head of the comms bank. “You’re on, Admiral, broadcast will go live at reversion.


“Conn, Helm, ten seconds.”

The countdown seemed to go too swiftly, as it always did. Before long, the familiar white slipspace portal tore open at the bow of the ship and it plunged into realspace, surrounded by its battlegroup.

“Conn, Sensors! We have the target on scope along with a freight convoy, but it seems to be already withdrawing, sir.”

Captain Nogoroth and Admiral Greeley exchanged puzzled looks momentarily before springing into action.

“CAG, Conn, scramble the aerospace wing, immediate attack vector. We can’t let it get away.”

“Attention unidentified ship, this is Admiral Greeley commanding Fourth Fleet, Nashtar Space Command. Heave to and prepare to be boarded or you will be fired upon. This is your only warning.”

“Conn, CAG, the 151st and 45th are clear of the deck, 92nd Strike launch in thirty seconds.”

“CAG, Conn, very good. Tell them to firewall it.”

Combat Space around Freight Junction
N-165 System


“Turn and burn, Aces, the bastards are already running,” Commander Braxton called out over the squadron comm. The squadron’s F/A-419s spewed fire from their afterburners and they buzzed across the hull of one of the bulk ore carriers that had been the Yrchs’ intended targets en route to their target, a large Yrch vessel. Like all of the ugly bastards, the thing looked like it had been hammered together from scrap. “Prepare ordnance for ripple fire on lock. Keep it loose, we’ll be in their flak envelope any second.”

Galatea Tactical to fighters,” crackled the comm, “Stand clear of firing lane, we’re opening up.”

A quick look at the FIRESNET display showed that the Aces’ approach vector wasn’t along the cruiser’s firing vector. Railgun shells started to pound at the Yrch ship as its own mass drivers began to hurl ordnance back. “Got to make it look good, I suppose,” observed the squadron commander to his WSO. Yrch flak batteries began firing at his squadron at that moment, and the veteran pilots began to execute evasive maneuvers. Meanwhile the targeting scanner’s beeps began to get longer and closer together. Before long it was a solid tone.

“Good tone, bruiser, ripple!” The call from his wingman was echoed by other pilots in the squadron as missiles bloomed from underneath their wings. As each fighter salvoed its anti-ship missiles they peeled away, even as the 45th Phantoms were doing the same thing on the other side of the enemy vessel. They didn’t need to bother evading, though, as less than a minute after launch the Yrch vessel leaped forward and went to faster than light.

Bridge of the NRS Intrepid

“Sensors, Flag. Was the package delivered?”

“Flag, Sensors. Aye, Admiral, looks like good hits.”

“Very good. Comms, Flag, dispatch to Fleet HQ. First stage complete, awaiting developments.”

“Flag, Comms, aye.”

Admiral Greeley turned to Captain Nogoroth and Lt. Cmdr. Narvoth beside him on the flag bridge. “And now we wait.”
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Shinn Langley Soryu »

Rogue 9 wrote: 2021-08-23 06:31pm Edge of Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya Space
Bridge of NRS Sherwood
Day 1, Week 12, Turn 2


...

“This is Captain Tomas Hagedorn of the NRS Sherwood, First Fleet Nashtar, hailing the government and fleet of the Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya. We approach on a diplomatic mission, carrying the embassy of the Republic of Nashtar. Request instructions, over.” The captain let go of the comms switch. “And now we wait.”
Wendee Lee-class destroyer HSS Kira Buckland
Edge of Holy Imperial space


After withdrawing from the Cradle of the Stars, HSS Buckland and the other ships of DesDiv Four returned to their patrol routes on the fringes of Haruhiist space, keeping watch for potential Black Star excursions... or the arrival of diplomatic missions from other polities. Even if the Dystrophos summit had largely been a failure as far as the Holy Empire was concerned, there was still a sufficient opening for Nashtar or other nations to pursue further diplomacy with the Holy Empire if they were so inclined, and all SOS Imperial Navy ships currently out on patrol had standing orders to greet and escort any foreign envoys should they ever bother coming to their isolated corner of known space.

A straightforward reply came through the hailing frequency: "NRS Sherwood of the Republic of Nashtar, this is Captain Kirumi Saionji of the HSS Kira Buckland, Destroyer Division Four, SOS Imperial Navy. Your intentions are acknowledged, and you have permission to proceed. Stand by to receive navigational data and prepare to follow our ship. Do not deviate from the designated course."

Hopefully the navigation data provided to the Nashtari ship could actually be read by its computers. In the meantime, a short message was transmitted directly to the Admiralty and the Holy Imperial Department of State informing them of the impending arrival of the Nashtari diplomatic mission. If the Nashtaris had any questions, they would certainly get answers. Whether they would actually believe those answers was another matter entirely.



Akira Kurusu-class technical research ship HSS Futaba Sakura
Oort cloud of Korit system, Great State of Khemplar
Around the same time as the Yrch raid on Korit

Elheru Aran wrote: 2021-08-24 08:18pm The translation software beeped on cue and Smith quickly pressed the ‘speaker’ button.

[indistinct screaming]

...Mayday! Mayday! To all Khemplari ships nearby! We are under attack-- [static]

[explosion, gunfire] Well take that you [untranslatable slang]! [gunfire]

This is Korit Belt Stations calling for help! We are under attack by a massive ship and many smaller craft! They have boarded with massive force and we are resisting, but we cannot hold out for much longer! Send help, or send revenge! This is-- [static, more gunfire]


The translation cut off at that point and Smith traded looks with the Ronoghan officer.

Then a crackle across the signal, a more powerful broadcast cutting into the Khemplari distress call. Instinctively, Smith turned up the gain and turned the volume down.

Por Bezo kaj Lon, ni ofertas ĉi tiun oferon.
Por la premio, kiun ili donis al ni, ni dankas.
Por la novaj stelŝipoj, ni verŝas sangon.
Ni militos en via nomo sub la granda Okulo!


The Khemplari signal cut out abruptly. They had no idea what had been said, but both of them knew that couldn’t be anything good.
Rogue 9 wrote: 2021-08-31 11:01pm One by one, the squadron in the maintenance yard fired engines and powered clear of moorings, not bothering to cast off first. Had the Hangrabi Freight vessel been out there to see, and somehow not blasted to scrap by the Yrch, they would have seen girders and gantries tearing away, atmosphere venting from ruptured boarding tubes.

“There is no way,” breathed Sam Evans, looking slack jawed at the sensor readout. Then there was an even larger bloom. The Haven class battlecarrier that headed the squadron in maintenance fired up its own engines. The Khemplari warships racing to reinforce the outer belt defences began to open fire at range - this was no dock crew attempting to get the ships free, then.

It was effectively over in moments. Not only had the raiders known how to start the drives and steer, but they’d also figured out the FTL systems. As the jump drives charged they kept moving away from the responding Khemplari warships, which couldn’t close the distance fast enough before they jumped. ‘Curious,’ thought Volks. There was definitely something going on here. There would be a great deal to his report.
Of the eight Akira Kurusu-class spy ships sent out to scout the nine vectors, HSS Futaba Sakura had been assigned a course that took it along the eastern fringe of the nebula known as the Cradle of the Stars. Bypassing Nashtari space, HSS Sakura continued on to the so-called "Great State" of Khemplar, arriving right in the middle of a Yrch incursion against Khemplari naval installations in the Korit system.

"Having any luck with the translation software?" Operations Officer LCDR Ibara Kaizuka asked the operations specialist assigned to monitoring comm traffic.

"We got nothing, ma'am. Zero correlation with anything in our databases. Hearing a whole lot of explosions and weapons fire in the background, though."

LCDR Kaizuka turned to address another operations specialist. "What do we got on long-range sensors?"

"Got lots of movement in system, but at this distance and without decipherable comms to provide full context, we don't have much of a clue as to what exactly is going on over there. All those ambient battle noises on comms definitely don't sound good, though."

"Detecting multiple energy spikes consistent with FTL jumps," another operations specialist chimed in. "Whoever it is, whatever it is they're up to, they're now egressing from the system, and fast."

The crew of HSS Sakura had just witnessed perhaps the most daring Yrch raid to date, though the true significance of these events would not be known to them for quite some time afterwards. Whatever the case was, it was abundantly clear that this universe the Holy Empire found itself in was most certainly a hostile place.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Endeavour
Arsenal Docks


Miko Miyasawa was vaguely disturbed, and didn’t know why. She was walking down a corridor of Megakolymvitis, which should be absolutely familiar to her… but something was off.

A knot of chattering technognostiki walked by and she habitually stepped aside for them; they didn’t tend to mind their step and their cybernetics were heavy. But they were normal (though her sensors picked up some odd new frequencies emanating from them). There were plenty of sailors and soldiers going about as she emerged into one of the massive halls that served as some sort of assembly chamber, currently being used for what appeared to be some kind of combined training session slash motivational lecture. She shuddered inwardly and hurried on towards Kharon’s chambers.

By the time she pulled up to the doors, being hauled open by a guard she vaguely recognized and waved a casual salute to (she’d grown to enjoy the twitch her salutes invariably evoked on well-trained Theophanic expressions), she had finally twigged what was going on. Someone aboard had been using Endeavour ambience technology!

And that someone was Kharon soi Chelonis, much to her pleasant surprise. As she walked in, Kharon was currently looking at something in the air in front of her… and Miko couldn’t see it. She blinked, quickly rebooted her visual inputs and expanded the frequencies-- there it was. She blinked again, this time because Kharon was looking at… a lot of stuff all at once.

Kharon’s valet Iosif materialized at her side, and this time she managed to not jump. Or exclaim, shout, ejaculate, gesticulate, or otherwise express surprise. She cleared her throat and informed him, “Thank you but I’ll just be a moment, you don’t need to take my jacket.”

Iosif sniffed primly and vanished (but she found she was holding her favorite Theophanic beverage-- chocolate milk-- freshly made to boot). She lifted an eyebrow (but sipped anyway) and Kharon, without looking at her yet, murmured, “Just hold on a moment, dear. There…” and she rapidly began editing multiple tabs at once with an open code-processor.

Miyasawa was slightly apprehensive. She’d known Kharon had gotten augmented (the tutorial stage with Clippy had been fun to watch) but she hadn’t known Kharon had gotten… this good so quickly. Kharon finished doing whatever she was doing, swiped away the display, and turned to her. “So sorry, Miko. Since the Theophanic mercantile fleets started showing up, I’ve had my hands so full. It’s good to see you. What brings you here?”

She grimaced. “Less than pleasant occasion, I’m afraid. Here, let me show you,” and she quickly sent Kharon a file.

Kharon opened it. She stared for a second, and then her lips tightened. “When did this happen? And where?”

“Outside the… I think it’s the Endoxi Parousia tou Theouautokratora’s berth. A few ships down the docks we assigned the fleets,” Miyasawa answered quickly.

The image floated between them. A platform set up on the dock besides the gigantic merchant-ship… and a tall post on that platform, the iron ring set on top suggesting a function. Certainly the milling crowd of agitated Endeavourites beyond a line of armed Theophanic sailors seemed to think they knew what it was for. Kharon confirmed when she asked, “And when did they put the whipping-post up?”

“This morning,” Miyasawa answered promptly, “but I didn’t hear about it until just now. Protector Ayanami asked me to ask you if you could do something about that.”

“She means get rid of it post-haste, I suppose,” Kharon responded grimly. Miko nodded. Kharon went on, “Well, that I can do. The kapetanios of that ship should have known better. I don’t permit that kind of discipline aboard Mega, but it is within the Theophanic ships’ code.”

Kharon thought for a moment and added, “Even so, it is quite unheard of. And even if it happens, it is always in-board.” She looked at Miko and lifted an eyebrow. “I wonder.”

But she didn’t finish the thought, instead standing and striding out of her chambers. Caught off-guard, Miko trotted after her, and Kharon started pulling up tabs in the ambience as she went directly on a route Miko recognized as taking them to the bridge. Kharon clicked one tab and rapped out, “Kapetanios to bridge. Beta alert. Have my longboat hot and ready to go from the bridge airlock. Load up a couple of kleptoi with troops. Class two equipment only. No weapons. That’s firm.”

Another tab clicked- “soi Chelonis to Endeavour Control, do you read?”

soi Chelonis, this is Control, we read.” Miko blinked. That had sounded hostile.

Kharon didn’t break stride. “I’m sure you’re aware of the current situation at the mercantile docks. I’m going to handle it. Please inform the appropriate authorities. soi Chelonis out.”

Miyasawa quickened her steps. “Kharon, you need to be careful--”

Kharon stopped, and Miko almost ran into her. They faced each other, and Kharon stated firmly, “I know, Miko. I know this is an enormous breach of protocol, that it is horribly offensive to your lot, and has already caused what is likely to be the biggest diplomatic incident in the short history of our alliance. The least I can do is clean up our mess. Yes?”

Miko looked back at her steadily. “Yes. Just be prepared. It’s bad.”

Kharon turned back around and started walking faster. “Oh, I know it’s bad. Someone’s getting sent back to the Empire in irons if I have anything to say about this.”

Miko looked sideways at Kharon as she trotted to keep up. “Hopefully there’s still someone to send back at this point.”

That got her a sideways look from Kharon, but nothing more was said. They went through an airlock Miyasawa hadn’t known was there near the bridge, which took them to a small hangar (well, ‘small’ by Theophanic standards, it could have easily held the sneaky snek or a squadron of fighters) with a couple of what she recognized as makrysofas, Theophanic small-craft within. They boarded one to the salutes of its crew standing beside (this time Miyasawa didn’t salute back) and set off.

The trip down the docks was fairly quick, the Theophanic arrivals having been berthed near Megakolymvitis for convenience (and also because that end of the dock had a lot of void-space; even so, things were somewhat tight with the kilometres-long freighters almost stacked up on each other). Kharon emerged from a stateroom at the back of the makrysofas, having changed into a long dark brown jacket over cream vest and dark green sash holding the ensemble together, hair quickly drawn back into a ponytail and a traditional steel sword with ornate gilt hilt at her side. Miyasawa lifted her eyebrow and Kharon muttered, “Gotta look the part.”

It was pretty obvious when they got to the right dock. The freighter was buttoned up tight, the whipping-post and its scaffolding the center of a bonfire, and the crowd of irate Endeavourites had grown quite a bit to the point where they were starting to clamber on the hull of the freighter. Other small-craft, Endeavourite pleasure-ships and yachts and taxis and such, were hovering around the Theophanic craft, much profane grafitti having materialized on its sides.

As they drew up to the freighter, Kharon cleared her throat and pressed a button on a nearby console; Miko saw her toggle a tab in the ambience as well, and she spoke, “Attention, Endeavourites and Theophanics. This is Kharon soi Chelonis. Please clear a space on the Endoxi Parousia for me to land. I repeat, this is Kharon soi Chelonis.”

With another button-press, half the external bulkhead of the makrysofas hinged upward, much to Miyasawa’s surprise; but then she supposed this must be one of the craft they use for landing troops as well… Kharon stepped forward and stood in the opening, in clear view of the crowds below. A strand of her hair waved in the wind of the smallcraft’s thrusters. Though a tomato arced upward from the crowd below, she didn’t flinch, and the tomato fell short anyway.

The makrysofas began lowering slowly towards the freighter. Miko heard chatter on Endeavour military frequencies as a squadron of mecha touched down on top of its hull and began clearing a space for the Theophanic craft to land. She nodded; Endeavour was pretty unhappy about what had happened, but even so, Kharon hadn’t personally done it. So that got her some mileage… for now.

As the landing gear made contact, before it settled fully, Kharon jumped out and strode down the hull to the nearest hatch. Before she got there, it cracked open and a nervous-looking sailor poked their head out, then a larger cargo hatch hinged upward. Kharon stood and waited as figures stepped out. Miko blinked.

There was a squad of sailors, wearing combat vests, helmets and holding shotguns… an uniformed woman with what she recognized as captain’s stripes, and various ships’ officers with her… but the surprising part was the two massive class-four warsuits that stepped aside to reveal a pack of class-threes. These were garbed in barbaric splendor, tall crests nodding above T-visored helmets, furs on shoulders, long spear-looking things with what might have been massive firearms attached, and were trumpets actually playing?

They were indeed. The smaller warsuits parted, the docks’ many-coloured lights rippling on their brazen armour as they expanded into a loose ring around a single warsuited figure wearing a rich but slightly ragged cape. Kharon crossed her arms and waited as the tall figure stepped up to her. Though she had to tip her head back-- Miko was as well, she estimated that without the warsuit this genia asshole (couldn’t really be anything else could they?) was perhaps seven feet tall-- Kharon remained coldly arrogant in her bearing.

The warsuited figure stared down at them, and slowly reached up to undo its helmet. This one wasn’t a masque like Kharon used then, Miko noted. The face revealed was thick-featured though not without a certain refinement of its contours, dark-eyed and shorn-headed. A dark scar cut across one eye, and a red cybernetic glowed in its place. As he tucked the helmet under one arm, he scowled at Kharon and grumbled, “We were about to deploy and show these boarders the egress, cousin.”

Kharon’s eyes narrowed, and instinctively Miko took a subtle step backwards. “You have no right to call the Ambassador of the Theophanic Empire ‘cousin’, soi Varvaros. Especially not after a screw-up on this level. You will return to quarters. I’ll deal with you later.”

She turned away from the genis to the ship’s officers, but soi Varvaros flushed and grabbed her shoulder. From the crowd of Endeavourites watching the action avidly came an audible ‘ooh’. Much to Miyasawa’s dark satisfaction, exactly at that moment (albeit they had been orbiting, waiting for a suitably dramatic time) a demi-platoon of Endeavour mecha touched down surrounding them. Targeting lasers painted dots all over soi Varvaros.

“I say, kindly unhand the Ambassador,” crackled one of them, “or we’ll unhand you. But we’re not barbarians, unlike you lot-- you’d get your hand back.

soi Varvaros’ eyes narrowed, and the warsuited entourage brought up their shields. But the genis dropped his hand, the targeting lasers shut off (though a few more hovered on him for a moment from the crowd) and Kharon snapped, “If you’re done being an ass, show yourself back into the ship. Now.”

Turning her back on soi Varvaros again, she pointed at the bonfire and growled, “Right. Which one of you did that?”

The kapetanios reluctantly stepped forward, a grey-robed Kosmitoras alongside her. They both saluted stiffly, which Kharon ignored. Her cold eyes fixed upon the kapetanios, who swallowed visibly but held her salute.

“Answer the question.”

The proctor spoke up in an oddly soft voice, “That would have been my suggestion, my Lady.”

Kharon looked at the Kosmitoras officer like something unpleasant upon the sole of her boot, and then shifted her stare to the captain. “And why did you go along with this cockamamie notion, in a foreign port where their customs are not ours?”

“I have no excuse, my Lady,” was the prompt response. “Kosmitoras soi Geraki overruled my decision to administer discipline onboard. She stated that a public display would ensure all Theophanic craft in port would understand that discipline is to be taken seriously.”

“Is this true?” Kharon demanded. The proctor shrugged in response, and Kharon’s eyes narrowed. From the hatch, soi Varvaros bellowed, “What’s the holdup?”

Her head jerked around to stare at him. “Kleptoi Gamma, land and take that individual into custody!” she snapped.

Want us to take care of it? We’ll even do it for free,” crackled the nearby Endeavourite mecha officer as the kleptoi touched down in a hiss of hot exhaust, warsuited troopers jumping out before its landing gear even touched the hull and rushing the hatch. Kharon, thin-lipped, shook her head as she turned back to the officers. Miko sent a quick ambient message-- let her sort it out, but thank you-- and stayed where she was.

To the loud protests of soi Varvaros as the Mega’s troopers laid hands upon him, Kharon stepped forward slowly until she was almost nose-to-nose with the Kosmitoras. Drone-cameras closed in, broadcasting the moment over all Endeavour. Kharon ground out, “You are under arrest. You will stand down your authority and remain in quarters. Kapetanios, you will recall any crew on leave and depart within the hour. Inform your clients that they may recover the freight they invested in, but they will see no profits.”

As she turned away, she growled, “And you will bear a letter from me to whatever mercantile authority you are working for. There is no excuse for this kind of display. Understood?”

The Endeavourite crowd upon the deck muttered. Miko took a brief look at the ambience feeds, and lifted an eyebrow. The Theophanics weren’t coming off too well… but at least most of the commentators weren’t actually advocating starting a war? And at least Kharon was trending relatively positively. If she could keep that up it’d probably be okay.

As Kharon stepped back into the longboat, it was right then that the Kosmitoras called after Kharon, “You do realize, Lady soi Chelonis, that you have no authority to arrest me nor strip me of my powers?”

Kharon stiffened, and Miko blinked as her… aura? in the ambience spiked. Aura? And then she jerked as she realized Kharon wasn’t there anymore. Kharon had literally crossed the several dozen metres between the makrysofas and the cargo hatch in the blink of an eye, before even Miyasawa’s military-augmented reflexes could react. She had picked up the Kosmitoras officer by her collar and was holding her over the deck, that damned ambient aura boiling golden.

Below, the Endeavourite crowd had actually fallen silent for a moment, but then they started cheering as Kharon told the proctor coldly, “I don’t care. Your authority ends now, or you will.”

She dropped the proctor, who landed in a heap at her feet, and snapped at a couple of anthrosasteri nearby, “Collect this… individual… and throw them in the brig. Now!”

The sailors looked at each other, then saluted sharply and hurried to comply. Kharon stared coldly at the rest of the Endoxi Parousia’s crew on the hull, and they all stiffened and saluted. Then she turned and looked at the Endeavourites below, and Miko held her breath.

Kharon reached into the space before her-- Miko thought inanely for a moment, she needed to show Kharon how to engage ambience protocols without haptic movements-- and toggled a feed. “Endeavour, hear me. You know who I am. As Ambassador of the Theophanic Empire… I apologize for this. I regret that it has happened, and I will take measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I can only ask for your forgiveness, and that our nations may remain allied despite this incident. Theoua’s Light upon us all-- or as you might say, may Rei smile upon us all.”

The crowd was silent for a moment, and then began cheering. Miko finally felt safe to let her breath out as Kharon held up her hands to the crowd.

One situation resolved, she hoped, but there were new questions to be asked about the Theophanics…
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

It had been some time since the arrival of the Endavorite starship “Devastator” and with it the atmosphere of the event on bored the GM’Frd station had certainly changed, perhaps to the consternation of those that had organized it. The eager and hopeful UISC merchants and industrial reps soon found their business conference devolve into more of a miniature Mardi Gras.



The station itself, designed to hold around 10,000 people at any one time, was soon flooded with almost twice that number. Guards had to be posted at entrances in the docking bays to begin to strictly enforce attendance controls. A Parade of Endeavorites marched through the halls and into conference centers, typically walking by and ignoring the various booths and industrial reps who began to realize any chance for making business agreements with this crowd was about slim to none.



Overseeing most of this was the current head and CEO of Gm’Frd Industries, a particularly prickly Octona by the name of Laosuan Kleowjuaz. A relatively tall individual, for an Octona, she currently stood in the station’s primary security hub while looking at various monitor feeds and info read outs. An astute observer would notice the subtle twitching of their eye as events unfolded. It was only about twenty minutes before that Laosuan was in her private office, reading through the speech she was about to give. She was quite proud of it and would have to make a note to say as much to the writer who had put it together. Laosuan skimmed over the last part again, making just a slight change to the final few words and smiled.

It had been several years since the night when she got a message saying that the UISC had authorized a massive new spending bill for the expansion of military forces, and she reflected on just how profitable it had been. To be fair, Gm’Frd Industries had been responsible for about one quarter of the ships requested by the authorization bill, but when you considered that three fourths of those ships came from a combination of six different construction firms, well, it was enough to give anyone pause to savoir the scope of their companies might and production capacity. Of course, for Laosuan, it wasn’t just about profits and sales, being the CEO of a Multi Steller Industrial conglomerate was just about the highest status anyone in the Sector, especially for an Octona, could dream to hope for.



And that, naturally, was when an alert summoned her attention.

“Madam Laosuan, this is the security center, we wish to inform you of a yellow alert situation.” Laosaun paused and gently put down the data pad she had been reading from before responding.

“Security, we are in the middle of Spacedock, exactly how is there a yellow alert?” here, another pause, this time on the part of the security detail.

“There is, that is to say, we think some of the Endeavorites could have smuggled abord dangerous weaponry.” An image instantly came up before her that took some time to identify what she was looking at. A number of armored figures seemed to be running around one of the, supposedly, unused conference centers. Laosuan stared in disbelief as she saw people, some of them in wildly gaudy multicolored suits of armor, some of them in stark shiny white armored suites, and some of them were, well, Laosuan reminded herself they were ‘technically’ human. From there, things steadily escalated.



Now looking over a number of monitoring screens in the central security station, Laosuan slowly grit her teeth as she looked from one conference hall to another. The images she had first been shown were very quickly verified to be individuals NOT in possession of large and highly deadly looking energy weapons but was in fact what she was informed was a ‘Flash Laser Tag Mob’ which was yet another of the ever-increasing Endeavorite ‘sports’ she was having to learn about.

One room had an impromptu ‘Disco’ set up, with a colored dance floor, rotating crystal ball, and one of those bizarre Pastel colored Quadruped mammalians, or ‘Ponies’ that often could be seen in Endeavorite groups. This one was a mostly white form with hair and tail colored in stripes of light and dark blue, it was wearing a bright purple set of sunglasses and, somehow, moving the record discs on the turntables with its hooves.

In another conference room, which she remembered actually HAD been reserved by an Endeavor representative for what she was told was a ‘business seminar’ she now saw that the supposed seminar looked to have actually been a proselytizing sermon from members of the ‘Cult of Rei’. Something that she was still trying to understand from various briefings she had received.

Laosuan closed her eyes and took a deep breath, were she a more religious Octona she probably should have offered some prayers to the spirits of mischief and disharmony to help stem the chaos. But pragmatism tended to win out over faith in her mind.



“Very well, I would say that, before any more damage is done to the furnishings, let alone whatever networks they have tapped into for that, ‘dance’ party, this would be a situation where we should authorize the opening of, the package.” Laosuan said followed by an immediate gasp. A few moments, and the signatures of three other Executives as well as hers on various documents, a large and impressive vault was wheeled into the room.



The ‘threat’ posed by the Endeavor, at least as far as the company was concerned, was one that had been considered quickly after initial contact. And it was not long before various consultants were consulted in terms of what to do if a party got out of hand. Eventually, they had talked to what they were told were ‘senior executives’ of Endeavor, and informed that if such a situation were to happen, to open the package they would leave behind. Laosuan remembered the conversation, words like “only in the most dire of circumstances” and “you must be prepared to do what is necessary” had been used, and she was already preparing herself to take full reasonability for whatever would happen. A set of instructions were brought forward and was soon read off.



“After retinal scan has been confirmed, turn the wheel next to the scanner exactly 45 degrees to the left.” There was a dramatic hiss, and a hatch opened, inside, was another circular sealed opening and what looked to be a number of switches. “Toggle switches in the following sequence 01010010-01100101-01101001, and then insert the enhancer disk located on the inside of the door into the aperture above the opening.” This too was done by the hapless technician who was brough in to assist, all while Laosuan watched, eyes glaring daggers to hurry the process up. At last, the final door opened with yet another dramatic hissing sound. Inside was a series of plastic cards. After consultant a code book that had been provided, the appropriate card was retrieved. Laosuan held it in her hands, fingers shaking slightly, the card was bent, cracked, and a thin document from inside was retrieved.



She opened the document and wordlessly read the instructions, and then read them again, and then sighed to herself.



“PLEASE ASK NICELY FOR THEM TO STOP



Really, she should have known it was going to be something like that.



Within about 10 minutes, most of the party goers, laser taggers, and proselytizers had polity begun packing things up and were attempting to clean such messes as could be cleaned. A few more rebellious and hardheaded individuals tried to hold out against the inevitable ‘Party Poopers’ but were eventually herded up by a mix of other Endeavor members who didn’t want them to make a scene, and the stations own security force, almost completely made up of Qwintonians who, averaging between six and seven feet tall, did tend to help ‘convince’ many to call it a day.



And so, the speech and its grand presentation could begin, and eventually, could then finish.



“May I introduce to you, the newest production starships, and the pride of GM’Frd Inudstries, the newly mobilized UISC defensive patrol fleet!” Laosuan announced with what she hoped sounded like a suitably excited voice as a small flash of modest pyrotechnics (that had clearly been added within the last 24hours) erupted just behind the podium. Turning and gesturing behind her to the great open expansive windows of the observation deck, there was a moment pause before two newly minted cruisers arrived together with a flash of oddly colored lights. An appropriately dramatic musical score began to play over the loudspeakers as the duo floated briefly almost perfectly next to one another before the next group of ships arrived. The first two flashes were quickly followed by the arrival of six destroyers, again arriving in formation in a ‘ring’ around the two cruisers, their piloting pulled off with well-practiced precision. The music shifted up a notch to a higher register of ‘dramatic’ before a third set of ships appeared. Now there were twelve flashes followed by small corvettes, these arriving in a third ring around the destroyers.



The fleet floated trying it’s best to look impressive before the much much larger audience than had originally been planned. The ships spent a few moments drifting in formation before moving forward and coming to rest about two thousand meters from the station. As they did so, on either side of where the fleet was, two pairs of additional flashes erupted as two more pairs of cruisers arrived. In a few moments the formation was repeated twice more as now three identical, and quite ‘new’ looking fleets hung in the space before the station.



After the appropriate amount of time was given over to the assumed ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ of the crowd, Laosuan continued her speech.



“The UISC is new to the Galactic stage and new to the dangers and uncertainties it possesses. However, we are unified in a way that cannot be overlooked nor second guessed. Our history is still young but forged together in a strength that we will in time prove to all that would seek to break those bonds of unity or dare to sunder what we have built. The people of the Sector are forever forged as one, we shall build as one, and we shall fight as one!” Laosuan said to general applause and chorus of cheers from those Sector races, the Endeavorites in the crowd being content to watch the spectacle to see if anything more interesting would be happening. A few moments later, the beginnings of ‘something’ started to take shape.



As the speech seemed to be reaching its conclusion, an aid scurried up toward the podium with a message. The speaker looked to the message bringing, and then to the audience, and then out the large windows behind her where the vast fleet of ships had just dramatically arrived and sat poised to embark. And then for those closest to the speaker at the front of the crowd, she could briefly be heard to exclaim.



“I swear to the nether hells, if they so much as bump one of my ships…” a moment later, a much more flustered Laosuan turned back to the audience before her and gave a weak chuckle.



“Your attention good visitors and dignitaries. The arrival and mobilization of our fleets has nearly concluded, but we have one more ‘surprise’ in store for you on this occasion. The Skothian Council has announced it will be attending the events as well and an envoy for them shall be arriving soon. I have specifically been informed they will be arriving in Skohotintot.” This was said with a somewhat, strained tone to the audience before Laosuan turned away from the podium and moved somewhat quickly to the large open window behind her to watch the assembled fleet. As soon as they had finished a strange and somewhat unnerving silence began to spread out from certain UISC officials in the audience.



A few seconds later, the music started.



There was no point in trying to find ‘where’ it came from, it seemed to simply fill the space for all to hear. About 30 seconds later, a vessel some 8000 meters long came into existence, which was perhaps the best description for its arrival. It didn’t ‘warp’ in with a flash of light and a streaking visual, nor did arrive in a vast swirling wormhole, or hyperspace rip. One moment there was simply empty space, the next moment Skohotintot floated less than a few hundred meters below the fleet of ships that made ready to depart.



To the casual observer, the ship seemed more rock than metal. A five-mile-long asteroid that looked to have its top sheared off, much of the space on top seemed to be of all things, some sort of nature preserve. Much of the space looked green with thick, overgrown forests and massive trees, poking up from this was a hill or perhaps part of the asteroid that had been landscaped to look like a small mountain. At the front was the circular visible city scape and the central command tower of the vessel, the tower itself a building some 500 meters tall floated ever closer as the ship effortlessly drifted towards the station.

The ship passed under the station at an uncomfortable close distance. The command tower passing by with the top of it almost level with the observation platform. At this distance, whatever system the vessel used to move could certainly be felt as the station shock and vibrated slowly in the wake it left behind.

Eventually the ship took up position perched just above the station and held its location, the moment it did so, the music stopped, and the ship came to rest. The whole event took just under two minutes.



A silence fell over the crowd as those assembled had watched the ship go by, as it came to rest, the quiet was finally broken by a voice near the back. “Now THAT’S how you make an entrance”
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

Tajlan, Telos System

One of the things that had bugged Han was how hard it was to get out of the city. Not because of any massive walls, or checkpoints, or any of the other tools of the unimaginative despotic government. No, the real problem was transport; everything ran unsettlingly like clockwork, which was the problem. Things lined up perfectly for the average worker, or even a local on holiday going towards the city, but terribly for a tourist going out. In one place, a bus would leave before a train arrived, with the next due a full hour later, and in another, there were plenty of trains going towards the city but next to none going out. That left the small group with two options: take their own transportation, or walk. In that case, there was really only one option; a minivan was fabricated up, hastily registered, taxed, taxed again, insured, inspected (it was amazing what you could get done fast with enough money, and the Hood was practically swimming in the stuff after selling the last of their goods) and finally cleared for use on Tajlani roads. There was also a lot of giggling from the crew and hangers-on who'd elected to stay behind; Han caught a glimpse of a book titled "Tajlani Imperial Legal Code" and decided it was probably best to just get on the road.

Said road consisted of a very long highway, on which little traffic was evident; it was a grandly-built thing, with twelve lanes and accoutrements out the wazoo (Han had been looking for an excuse to use the word "accoutrements"), which made its emptiness all the more striking. Han suspected that if he had access to the appropriate statistics, he'd find that public transit was barely used outside of peak hours.

"May we have ice cream?" Rei asked, about an hour into the journey; a few exits had passed by, but Han hadn't felt like taking any of them.

"Oh, yes, we must stop for ice cream!" Belit added, because of course she did.

Oh well. He had a good feeling about the next exit anyhow. It was labelled with abbreviations, so he didn't actually know where any of them led*, but that was the joy of the thing. He tuned out Rei (another one) talking about highway design since she was deliberately getting everything wrong (and Belit was, of course, hanging off every word like it was the gospel truth), and soon came to a reasonably-sized little town, parking in between a dazzling array of agricultural equipment. Of course, he had to pay because Tajlan was behind the times, but again - the Hood traded in large quantities, and made large quantities of money. Besides, he'd only donate the rest to the first vaguely good-looking cause he saw on the way out of UISC space.

Han handed some physical currency over to Rei (that one again), who was probably the most responsible person to hand it to, and let the Ice Cream Gang, as they were now calling themselves, go off and... get ice cream. Rather than join them, he decided to take a stroll around the township; you never know, there might be a halfway-decent bar that opened before 9pm around here. Hells, there might even be a local card game - and if there wasn't, well, he could always introduce one.

The town was... actually pretty dull, somehow, nice-looking architecture in a classical Teljini style, but all sterile. There were a few shops, scattered about - places that looked like large chains, one or two specialist places, that sort of thing. According to the local internet, this town had been fought over twice before the discovery of the Qwintoni, but there was nothing to indicate that, not even a small plaque. Something about that was troubling, somehow, tickling something at the back of Han's mind, but it probably wasn't important. Or, more accurately, it probably was important, but there was no way in hell that he was sticking around to deal with it. Still, for all the sterility, there were one or two people about, most staring blankly as Han passed. You'd think they'd never seen a human before.

"Hello friend!" a Teljini called out, "You're a human, ain't cha?"

Han turned, one hand carefully hovering near his blaster, more for the aesthetic than any perceived need. "Last time I looked, yeah. You need something?"

The other man beamed. "You guys really are furless! Is it true you have a hundred babies a litter?" That was out there. Was this some sort of joke?

"Uh," Han blinked, "No. Who's feeding you that crap?"

"It's all over the news! Late Night with Cafi even had a whole segment on it, "the shocking truths of the Theophanic Empire"!" The Teljini almost looked disappointed. "You mean you're not here to take our jobs and swarm over our planets like a plague of crop-eating insects?" Yeah, this guy was having him on; the reactions of the other locals he'd passed by hadn't reflected any sort of internalised anti-human propaganda, but a quick search of the internet did show that it was out there. Luckily, it didn't seem anyone actually believed any of it... just yet.

"I don't know, I'm behind on my Galactic Domination Society dues so they don't let me in on the juicy stuff these days.** Last thing I heard, though, was that the plan was to build a De-Caffine-ator and take over the galaxy while everyone was sleeping.***"

"How nefarious!"

"It really was," Han muttered. "If you'll excuse me...?" A pointed look and gesture was enough to convey Han's desired intentions, and he was able to continue unmolested. Having taken in the complete lack of sights, Han made his way back to the car, which was now more fridge than car.

"And where are you all going to sit?" Han asked, holding his face still at the sight. He checked the fridge - it was full of ice cream, most of which was distinctly Endeavour-branded****. There was probably a story there, but he didn't give a damn.

"I thought of that!" Zoidberg said, gesturing towards a small, seat-lined trailer with one claw. At that gesture everyone who was going to ride it - which meant everyone except Belit and Han, and included the one of Belit's hangers-on who'd decided to tag along, crowded into it. "Crowded" being the perfect term; it certainly didn't look like it would be a comfortable ride.

Han took it all in with an impassive face. "You could have made it bigger."

"That is what my partner said!" the good Dr. Zoidberg replied, to general wooping, "But no, we really couldn't."

Luckily, the drive back was just as empty as the drive down, otherwise they would have probably caused an accident through sheer rubbernecking. They made it back to the ship about an hour before the legally-enforced curfew (which Han was sure the crew had already retaliated for), to find a Qwintoni police officer waiting at the foot of the ship's ramp. Han made sure to drive slowly up to the ship, step out of the car - which automatically drove up the ramp without him - and ostentatiously inspect the Hood from bow to stern. Well, what of it he could see from the ground, anyway. Then, and only then, did he allow the police officer to make eye contact.

"Is this your ship?" she asked, in that tone of voice that implied that the crew who'd stayed behind had probably retaliated for some particularly odious piece of local legislation, or failing that, simply gotten bored. Or both.

"I'm the Captain," he said, and if she chose to believe that he owned the ship as a result, well, that was her problem. He braced himself for the laundry list - and vaguely wondered if Rei and the Mystery Inc. gang had managed to find a local equivalent of the Old Earth law against handling a salmon in suspicious circumstances.

"Your crew haven't committed any crimes."

Han's hand was halfway to his wallet, ready to pay off any fines accrued, when he realised exactly what the police officer had said. "Run that by me again."

"The people you left here, identifying themselves as crew of the Robin Hood, haven't committed any crimes."

"...Well, thanks for telling me, I guess. You have any other non-stories lined up? "Planet fails to explode", perhaps?"

The Qwintoni took a step closer, and Han could see one eye slightly twitching. Oh dear. "I have been pursuing them all day," she said, "And they have skirted the very edges of the law, but not once broken it. I have personally witnessed that dog use a litter-picker in order to handle a trout suspiciously, which apparently is legal. Two of your crew made sure to always carry between them - literally, in a little bag - the components for a can of spray paint, but no actual paint. And that man in the green shirt ate a sandwich that was just under the legal limit." That one was probably a coincidence. "I would have booked them for wasting police time, except they said, multiple times, that they weren't going to commit any crimes and I could go on my way."

"So...?"

"Are you going to punish them in any way?" Han shook his head, and the woman sighed. "Then please, just leave."

Well, how could he refuse after that? He left the lady to her sorrows, and very carefully did not give a thumbs-up sign to the Mystery Inc. gang or Rei. Instead he waited until the ramp retracted, and looked them in the eye. "That was cruel."

"ACAB," was the unanimous reply, except from the passengers, who simply looked confused.

Han shrugged. "Fair. Where to now?" He addressed that as much to the crew as to the passengers, though he didn't go so far as to draw up a quick poll - that'd be rude, since only a couple of the Theophanics would have been able to vote in it. A map appeared, projected by... well, Han didn't actually know. Someone was probably doing it. It zoomed out from the planet, to show UISC space; they'd already hit the interesting planets, so it zoomed out further. Northwards was Nashtar, Ernarn, the Khemplari State (which had a big "no entry" sign on it - there had been a big raid there recently), and the Holy Empire. Eastwards was far less appealing - there was only Endeavour and the Theophanic Empire, though there was apparently some other power to the North-East. Needless to say, the results were even unanimous than the declaration of ACAB - the Robin Hood would load cargo, and go north.





Shand System Outskirts

Elon had his hands clasped behind his back in the No.3 Cool Pose, staring out and ennumerating the UISC fleet that had appeared. He had to admit, the aliens knew how to build ships - far better than Bezos' Yrch, though he had seen children build better ships. Still, on a one-to-one basis, none of them could compete with the factory ship he had as backup... not that that helped, since not only were there three little battlegroups but also a couple thousand theives running around who would likely be very glad to see him in the sense that they could then shoot him.

Which was why he was standing imposingly at his yacht's bridge window as opposed to walking about on the station.

Then, Skohotintot appeared. Eight kilometres of untold technological wonders, just sitting there under the asses of a race of knock-off Jabba the Hutts. Could he call in the factory ship and have it eat the damn thing, and escape before it was destroyed? Probably not. If he could just get the fleet to fuck off, everything would be in his reach... damn Bezos and his short-sightedness. A few Yrch ships and they'd finally win! But no, Bezos just had to go full sunk cost fallacy, when for all the times he'd consorted with strange powers, it had never once worked!

Something caressed the back of his mind. Of course. That. He hadn't paid it much mind since he'd had it transferred to his ship - he doubted Bezos even knew it had been removed. But that it was active now, and calling to him, when it had never done so before... how odd. Well, perhaps it was finally recognising that he was as much an intellect as Bezos was, perhaps even more.

He left the bridge, paying no heed to the crew, and proceeded to the cargo bay. Where was it, that thing... it was in one of the boxes, had been there for years. Right, that one. He opened the box, and examined it for the first time in a century or more. It was a large cube, with intricate designs upon it - Bezos claimed they were some sort of puzzle, but they were clearly just decorative. That took him back; how many hours had Bezos sunk into this thing? Dozens? Thousands? Only for it to render nothing of use to either of them, just more empty promises and inevitable betrayals. Still, they were running out of options. Anything to stave off the dark, after all. He reached out. The moment he touched it, pictures, co-ordinates and words came flooding into his brain: a border colony, an exile, that which he had been seeking, and a deal. Naturally, he took the deal.

"Signal the factory ship," he said to thin air, knowing the order would be picked up on. "Prepare to move out to the Zozo colony."



*He could have simply used the local GPS map, but that would have been boring.
**This was true. The dues in question were one throat lozenge per decade, but Han refused to pay up; it wasn't like there were many other ways to be an outlaw in Endeavour.
***Also true. The machine worked as advertised, but since the Society was composed of caffine addicts, they were the first victims and thus did not have the opportunity to put Phase 2 into action. Phase 2, of course, was "?????".
****In that the branding ranged from "literally just a blank carton" to "This Ice Cream Will Not Kill You!" to "literally just a blank carton", that phrase being printed onto the carton.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Edge of Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya Space
Bridge of NRS Sherwood

Shinn Langley Soryu wrote: 2021-10-01 08:16amA straightforward reply came through the hailing frequency: "NRS Sherwood of the Republic of Nashtar, this is Captain Kirumi Saionji of the HSS Kira Buckland, Destroyer Division Four, SOS Imperial Navy. Your intentions are acknowledged, and you have permission to proceed. Stand by to receive navigational data and prepare to follow our ship. Do not deviate from the designated course."
“Acknowledged, Kira Buckland, we will follow assigned course.” Captain Hagedorn released the comms switch. “Navigation, Conn, retrieve the nav data from Comms and set the assigned course. Helm, stand by to follow our escort.”

“Conn, Nav, aye,” came the answer. A beat passed. “Conn, Navigation. Course plotted, sir. They’re taking us to one of the new stellar bodies.”

“Nav, Conn, very good.” The captain turned to his first officer. “Well, that about tracks, doesn’t it?”

“It does go some way to explaining their sudden appearance, if these are their star systems that have appeared as though from the void.” Commander Rho-Trosk’s skin subtly changed shades of orange. “I look forward to unraveling this mystery.”

“First thing’s first, though.” The captain reached for the internal comm and keyed the code to call the ambassadorial suite.

“Yes,” came the answer over audio.

“Ambassador Krrorsk, this is Captain Hagedorn. We have made contact with the Holy Empire and have been given clearance to proceed. We expect to arrive at the designated system within the day.”

“Very good, thank you Captain,” came the answer. “I will inform the rest of the delegation and we will prepare to debark.”
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

Time had passed, events had moved on, the rush of excitement that comes from battle flares and just as quickly diminishes as the peace and daily routine returns yet again.
For the crew of the Thunder Bird, their adventures in the Nashtar Nebula saw them stationed there, making sure all was in order before they eventually were able to set out to their original destination of the star system of Zenar Minor and the colony of Zozo. Delayed but no less welcome by its inhabitants.

Much of its cargo had long ago been carried to the colony by other ships and transports, however the powerful computer core it carried was still very much in need and was something that wasn’t easily extracted or could be carried by another vessel. (Especially as it was in use by RUDI, who couldn’t exactly leave it without another means of transporting himself. This was eventually provided by way of a RUDI Industries transport sometime later, it had donated a large amount of needed industrial goods to the colony and in return it silently allowed transportation of RUDI back to the rest of the Sector.)

Captain Theodor Moz, always a pragmatic individual, welcomed the return to peace and routine as did much of his crew. Usually, it was only the very young, or very stupid, that ever ‘longed for the thrill of battle’ as they would sometimes say. Moz had naturally learned that those that hungered for such thrills, typically did not do so for very long, and often had interesting if short careers.

Moz’s first officer, Kletania Tethlala, had almost immediately put in a request to inspect the facilities on ZoZo surface. Moz knew her well enough that it was a thinly disguised plea to get off the ship and stretch her legs. Kletania was a brilliant individual and excellent at organizing the ship from top to bottom, but she still suffered from what ancient sailors would call “cabin fever”. That, and Moz knew she was good friends with the ZoZo Operations Manager, Alyeena Kelonoa. Probably a bit more than ‘good friends’ Moz reflected, but it never seemed to interfere with her performance and so it never bothered him. Of course, if it ever had, Moz chuckled there wasn’t much he could do about it as Alyeena technically outranked him.

For Chief Industrial Director Nasenjs Unsceut, he was happy to spend his time overseeing full repairs to the ship and its drive. The temporary one provided by the Endeavor Engineers more than functioned to his expectations and even now he was learning some rather interesting aspects to its design properties. But that aside, he was happy to get a good set of new Manifolds reinstalled and the system back to normal. For much of the rest of the crew of the ship, they too enjoyed a more relaxed set of day-to-day activities as the Thunder Bird, as well as a trio of corvettes, was reassigned for patrol duty around the system of Zenar Minor.

The patrol itself was at the time seen largely as symbolic more than anything else. The discovery of the other races had set off more than a bit of alarm and it was seen as prudent to have a Cruiser stationed at the planet if mostly to give the colonists a better sense of ease and protection. The newly discovered races seemed peaceful enough and there seemed no direct threat of war upon the borders of the UISC. And as far as the pirates that were encountered, the bulk of their forces had been battered and scattered to the winds. It had seemed very much that activity at the colony was as ‘normal’ as one could expect. And then, news of the ‘Yrch’ began to trickle in.

Far more powerful and vicious than any pirates, armed with weapons and ships that could give even a purpose-built military warship a run for its money, the Yrch were a threat that couldn’t be ignored. The mood at the colony changed quickly, as did the crew of the Thunder Bird. Talk was made of deploying additional forces to Zozo as well as mobilizing large parts of the entire UISC Armada. As yet more reports of Yrch attacks and brutal hit and run raids upon weaker targets continued to come in, it wasn’t long before another Cruiser was dispatched to ZoZo. Along with it, the trio of corvettes was raised to a full wing of ten such vessels. Fear of an attack quickly led to the fledgling colony becoming, if briefly, one of the most well protected planets in the UISC.

And so, it was that in the middle of organizing new ships, dealing with new officers, and trying to put together a task force that everyone could agree upon, that Captain Moz suddenly found himself looking up at a crew member who had just given him most troubling information.

“YOUCANTLEAVENOWNEEDYOUMORETHANEVERYOUKEEPTHESHIPRUNNINGSHIPSHAPE!” he gabbled franticly as in front of him, Delena Liyateloma, one of only two Trathalans on the ship, stood looking almost embarrassed before the exasperated Quatonian. This in itself was a rare sight. Delena, chief of Security on the Thunder Bird, was a formidable and fearsome individual. Coming from the Liya Clan, she wasn’t just physically large, but physically powerful. Trained in some of the nastier and more ‘effective’ Trathalan defense arts, she had been at her job for the past six years and in that time earned the respect, both good and bad of everyone on board. And now, apparently, she was asking to leave her station just when Moz had need of her the most. He tried to calm down somewhat and form his words a bit more coherently.
“Don’t-make-sense-you-going-off-want-go-leave-duty-youra-best-officer-i-have-loyal-proud-trustworth-this-not-like-you-at-all.” He said, somewhat slower now as he gave a short hop upwards and landed in his chair. Absently picking up his elaborately carved pipe and clenching it firmly in his mouth as he typically would do when facing some problem. Silence quickly filled the area. Delena, uncharacteristically was at a loss for words. She seemed about to say something, stopped, tried to start again, and then, as if resigned to something she had been fighting against, reached into a bag she had been carrying and pulled out a beautifully carved wooden box. Moz recognized it immediately, inside would be a pair of Trathalan meditation crowns, or, as they were more commonly known ‘translation rings’. Delena pulled one out, the ring studied with various gems and beautifully decorated. She held it out almost pleadingly.
“Pleassse” she said simply. Moz relented, if she was offering him this to speak with, it meant whatever she had to say was something she wished to do so as concise and as directly as possible. Trathalans having more of a snout instead of a more tradition mouth with lips, often had problems speaking the various languages of the other Sector races, and a ring was the one thing that could allow them to speak to someone else as they would speak to their own kind.

Moz felt the fuzzy tingling sensation he always felt when attaching one to his person, and soon after began to hear.

Thank you deeply my friend, my Captain. Indeed, I do wish to talk to you as only one can by this method.” She bespoke to Moz, directly mind to mind, Moz nodded and gestured for her to continue. “I wish to first let you know this is something I do not due lightly nor in any way do as a sign of discordance between you or this vessel I serve. What I wish to let known however is since the time that has passed from our engagement at the Nashtar Nebula, I have had to come to terms with something that has shaken my very beliefs and in a way the beliefs of all my people.” Dalena bespoke, pausing a moment to look out the window, Moz could see her looking down at the planet below and deep in thought, he wondered how this would play out. At last, she seemed to find her words.

You know the history of our past and sadness of loss, but I desire for you to understand exactly what we gained from the sorrow and how it is important, no fundamental to who we are. The ‘gift’ of Crie, the gift of our abilities did not come as multitudes believe shortly after war. For almost 1000 years our people suffered, wandered, drifted apart. The Teachings Of Crie came to us in that time, that helped us survive, they helped us endure, but people still scattered, still held on to anger of the past even as we died in the poison of our ruined world.” Here she sat back in the chair in Moz’s office. Using the translator ring helped to convey the emotional depths she felt was needed, but it still took a great deal of concentration, even for a Trathalan. She mediated a moment, drank some water, and continued.
In time the Gift began to show itself, it was slow, and took long for many to even know what it was or how it could be used. But in time the Gift did what nothing else could, it united our people. Thoughts, emotions, fear, joy, the beliefs and memories of one another could be shared in a way few could dream. The abilities that so many of you focus on, healing, movement, the control of heat and cold, these ‘powers’ to us are but secondary to what our ability to share our minds gives to us. And yet.” Here she paused again, “yet for something that brought our world together, we never could realize how alone it would make us in time.” And hear at last Moz began to feel he knew what was coming. Moz raised the pipe he had held on to, much like raising a hand to speak, a sign of respect used by Trathalans to speak when they were not sure the other had finished.

Delena nodded her head.

What good gift of being together, if together only with ones self race and none other.” Moz bespoke to Delena before thinking further along what it meant. “Not share mind with new race, not time one, but time two, three, five. Six race there are in space of Sector, only one race can share mind and none other.” He bespoke, before dipping his head as best he could to signify, he had finished his thoughts. Again Delena nodded and continued.

At the meeting of the Nebula, for the smallest of moments I know I felt another, I felt the touch of another mind, one that was not of our people. If there exist others, or even just one other that can share that gift, to share ones self mind, that is something I will forsake my vows to you to seek out such an individual.” Delena Bespoke, her voice within Moz’s own mind stern and determined. Moz remained silent for a moment, he could see the look of absolute conviction in Delena eyes mixed equally with fear. Vows and promised were something Trathalans took very seriously, though Moz reminded himself, they tended to take most everything seriously to some degree. At last, he took pity upon her and relented. Plucking the ring from his head, he gave a wide grin.

“Now-now-come-along-no-need-fret-breaking-promise-no-worry-about-hounor-duty-all-that.” He said as he placed the ring aside and leaned back in his chair. “Never-took-a-day-sick-never-took-day-off-always-stay-in-when-crew-goes-on-leave.” He said as though working through something in his head. Dalena seemed just about to speak when Moz cut in. “Think-it-extra-time-you-due-vacation!” Moz said with a bit of a dramatic flair. Dalena for her part look confused, then tilted her wings back and ‘laughed’ as only a Trathalan could.

“A Vacasssion you say? Those that command you from above I am sssure will have much to sssay about your ability to allow an offissser to take a yearsss worth of vacasssion all at onssse.” Delena said, placing the ring back in its engraved case, her voice dripping with relief that there was a path for her to go and not shame herself. A perhaps flimsy path at best, but one she had certainly never thought to consider. As she returned to her quarters, relief flooded over her, even as it did so, a new sense of anticipation began to swell up inside. Stepping inside she looked around her quarters, they were very traditional, as was almost all things with her life. She looked at statues of her ancestors, hanging scrolls of prayers and chants, the shrine to Crie where she prayed at four times a day as was tradition. The room like her life was full of the traditions and ceremonies she was accustomed to since birth. And she knew she would be leaving it behind to make a journey that she never dreamed was possible.




Shand System, Tarthala, Northren Sub-Continent.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Sector was the homeworld of Dalena. On the island of the Lonti Clan, two individuals sat atop a hill during sunset and began to watch the Trathalan equivalent of the Aurora Borealis. The Lonti clan, being in the northern part of the hemisphere meant it was already in a prime location to observe the phenomena, radiation from their sun impacting the planets magnetosphere. On Trathala however, the awe-inspiring spectacle contained an additional aspect to its otherwise mesmerizing display. Every once in a while, during the auroras, the great shimmering fields of color would seem to “snap” and a thin arch would twist downwards like a lightning bolt. Indeed, as the event moved lower through the atmosphere, it would pick up energy and charged particles. By the time it reached the ground, it often had the same force and power as a bolt of lightning, although tinged with brilliant colors.
The reasons for these were ‘knots’ of dimensional instability that would occasionally flare across the planet. Places where reality was ‘thin’ and could cause space and time to act in strange ways. To the Trathalans, they were called Crossgates. To most others they would perhaps be called a ‘wormhole’. Typically, these events were rare perhaps happening no more than once or twice a week if the Auroras were especially active. Recently however they had been happening several times a day.

High atop the hill, the two figures watched the brilliant and stunning sight of a river of undulating greens, purples, and reds dance across the sky. Swirls of color curling and twisting, and then, like the snape of lightning, a streak would surge downwards.
There see now, another far off by the mountain. I contemplate the rarity of such an event, its witnessing is a true wonder to view, yet it feels strange that there are so many now. The records of when last the crossgates were so numerous were from when.” And here, the speaker trailed off, looking to the figure next to them who smiled.
From when I came to this world, is what you wished to say is it not.” The other figure responded, each one knowing the others mind and thoughts, now the other smiled, or at least smiled as only a Trathalan could.
You know me well Adric my beloved, it was indeed the time of your arrival that the sky was last as vibrant as it has been. Where I younger, and perhaps more foolish, I would think such an event to be a sign of some great portent or sign from the fates. Still, one never knows what is to happen or what the future has for us.” This was Bespoke by Darnethlil, to Adric, the two sharing the spectacle of the Auroras with many others spread out across the town they lived in. A quiet moment was spent between the two before Darnethlil Bespoke yet again. “Have you had any former contact with the other Humans? I know you enjoy using the stellar network for games; however, I have been unsure if you had reached out to anyone regarding your home.” Darnethlil bespoke, the tone of his thoughts shy, almost as if embarrassed to ask such a personal question. Adric looked away from the spectacle above, and down into the lush green valley that expanded out before them. He thought about his home, about earth and sighed. For so long he had always assumed that when he was transported across the galaxy that Earth would just keep going. He remembered the burnt remains of his wristwatch that, somehow, survived the trip. For years he used it to count the time from his arrival, through the war and after it. For all he knew it had been about thirteen years since he left, not three thousand.

Knowing what I now know, I do not feel I could call it my home anymore. This world, and its people are my home, and I feel no sadness from that. And in regard to your query, I have read much of the groups that have spread out from my world in the time that has gone by and in truth, I feel myself to be a relic of the past, I do not see what benefit would come from making any group aware of my history. I feel I can say I am happy with how my life is, and knowing the history of Earth, would not wish to return to my life as it was.” Adric said gently, trying to hide some of the tears on his face. Again, silence was shared between the two, each leaning against the other as they looked back towards the heavens. The sky seemed more vibrant than ever, especially directly above them, the colors twisted, and seemed to twist quicker and quicker still and then with a thunder explosion, a Crossgate opened almost directly in front of them.
The blinding flash of light was mixed with a wave of intense heat that billowed outwards as a tower of super-heated charged particles from on high cascaded down wards. The event lasted no more than a second or two before the light faded. Both Adric and Darnethlil rubbed the spots from their eyes before looking at where the gate had been. As they did, both of them instantly felt a sensation disbelief. Finding words, Darnethlil spoke first.

My beloved, I think ‘that’ may be a reason to contact the humans, they need to know they have lost a Rei.”
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Elheru Aran
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Helios System, Republic of Nashtar
Helios III Orbit


“Helios Control, we say again, clear all traffic from these vectors. Ballistic entries in… 13 minutes now.”

Mikhalil soi Vasilias grinned as he imagined the conniptions in the aerospace traffic control center below, or possibly in one of the stations around the planet. Ever since the Furstepiskopos had consecrated the site the Nashtaris had found for the Theophanic embassy, the fleet had been in a furor of preparation. They meant to give the Nashtaris a show!

But they weren’t going to be rude about it. Of course they helpfully warned the Nashtaris of what they were about to do. Wouldn’t do to have a shooting war start just because someone took the wrong message from a full orbital insertion of a Theophanic genis fallenschloss and accompanying corps, after all. That they had submitted the necessary paperwork five minutes before the orbital control offices closed the previous day was irrelevant…

Below, on the fringes of the expansive plot of land granted the Theophanics, bleachers had been erected convenient to the nearest access road. The Theophanics had hired a local entertainment company to provide the bleachers as well as some vending conveniences and species-appropriate temporary sanitation facilities. They had not considered, however, the UISC diplomats that they had invited to the event-- but foresight upon the part of those aliens had them arriving in a shuttle, presumably equipped with facilities for their use.

The fields beyond seemed largely virgin, the only changes the Theophanics had made thus far being a smoothly paved road and a couple of bridges well blended into the local environment. The dim lights of Helios space traffic slowly orbited overhead as the spectators, mostly a selection of Nashtari diplomats-- perhaps not so much a selection as practically all of the on-world government personnel in Union City-- and the Endeavourite and UISC embassies.

Quite a few Theophanics were present, of course-- most of the off-duty crew of the fleet above, the merchants and their own crews, and a selection of officers and diplomats were mixing with the Nashtaris, Endeavourites and Sector dignitaries. A prominent pavilion, the size of a small palace in and unto itself, stood at the side of the bleachers, surrounded by Theophanic troopers; the golden diplomatic barque sat calmly beside it. As the appointed time approached, the troopers began forming up into lines flanking a long purple carpet connecting the pavilion to a tall dais facing the bleachers. Other troopers, stationed at the bleachers, began calling and directing unseated spectators to their places. The leader of the UISC delegation, one enormous Skothian named Macon, was placed upon a mobile lift to elevate him and his party to a reasonable viewing height.

At the side of the bleachers, in a conveniently shady spot, the boldly mustachio’d Theophanic wielded two overflowing mugs of some probably alcoholic beverage and approached the similarly mustachio’d Nashtari trooper from some weeks ago, now wearing undress uniform (but retaining a flak vest despite the warmth of the day). The Nashtari, one Sergeant Maguire, lifted a bushy eyebrow and remarked, “We’re on duty.”

“How unfortunate. We’d better get these out of sight, then,” responded Lochias [Sergeant] Shaoul, and suited word to action by taking a hefty quaff as he handed the other mug to Maguire. His counterpart grinned under his thick facial hair, tipped the mug to Shaoul and took a deep draught of his own.

Horns blew and centaur-cavalry mecha began walking down the carpet. Behind them, resplendent in a golden centaur-suit with a long iridescent cape trailing behind him, was Furstepiskopos Natanael IV Dieudonne soi Hapax.

The centaur-cavalry split around the dais and formed up around it smoothly as the Lord soi Hapax trotted up the dais to the bows of the Theophanic dignitaries atop it. At the top of the steps, he paused and the centaur-suit split apart, allowing him to step out gracefully. Unlike previously at the Union City government offices, he was wearing a (relatively) simple robe in dark silks underneath the centaur-armour.

“Hello, and welcome one and all, distinguished gentle-beings, to the Laying of the Theophanic Embassy to the Republic of Nashtar!” sounded a staticky tannoy. There was a collective wince, and with a crackle of feedback, the sound adjusted. “My apologies, a minor technical difficulty. Behold, His Eminence the Lord Reverend Furstepiskopos soi Hapax, Ambassador Regent of the Most Holy Theophanic Empire. Behold, the symbolic spear. Witness the Cast.”

No speech was intended, apparently (much to the visible relief of the Theophanics in the audience, who had been expecting interminable monologuing). One of the dignitaries on top of the dais, wielding what appeared to be a sizeable spear, bowed and handed it to soi Hapax as another couple stepped behind him and smoothly removed his robe, leaving the tall figure of the Theophanic lord clad only in a well fitted sort of kilt. Silver tracery embedded in his skin glittered in the sunlight as the dignitaries stepped aside, and soi Hapax’s trim, muscular body twisted and then recoiled as he launched the spear with a powerful lunge that almost took him off the dais.

Far above, on the bridge of the Teknitis, Mikhalil leaned forward with a broad grin on his face, expectant, watching the flight of the spear from visual feeds being streamed from the event below. As it hit its apex and began descending, he held out his hand, almost vibrating with eagerness… “There! Fire, now!”

As the spear landed, thunder boomed across the fields and the ground shook as a massive eruption of dirt shot upward in the distance. The PA rang out as the thunder faded, “Behold! This land we take in the name of Theouautokratora, the God/dess!” The crowd exclaimed as the dirt fell away in the wind to reveal a massive metal shaft, shimmering in the residual heat of re-entry, impaled deep within the ground. Then one end opened and a tall pole telescoped upward, unwinding a massive Theophanic ensign as it went until an enormous flag waved across the fields.

The tannoy continued, “Witness you now the deployment of fallenschoss and the Hapax Corps Gamma. Sound neutralization fields will now be turned on for your safety. Please do not leave the bleacher area within the next fifteen to twenty minutes, otherwise we cannot guarantee the safety of your hearing faculties.” A rainbow shimmer briefly surrounded the bleachers. Just in time, as a dull roar began vibrating the occasional pebble nearby, and all eyes turned to the sky.

Far above, a dark dot began blinking and then flaring, surrounding itself with a cloud of exhaust that rapidly grew to massive proportions. Even with the sound-neutralization effect, the sheer vibration running through the ground began creating a deafening racket as the bleachers shook. Trees and grass in the fields below began bowing, and a hot wind rushed across the field, blowing dirt and leaves in a surging wave that was abruptly deflected by the sound-neutralization fields… or perhaps the Theophanics had borrowed shield technology from the Nashtaris for the purpose.

The gigantic cloud above descended rapidly, and dirt fountained across a massive section of the field well distant from the bleachers. Flames snarled and bit deep into the ground, and with a deep, monstrous shudder that shook windows and toppled glasses in Union City across the river, something massive made contact with the ground.

In orbit aboard the Teknitis, a bridge officer stood erect and reported snappily, “Fallenschlosstroppen successful, my lord!”

Mikhalil nodded benevolently from his command throne and waved a hand leisurely. “Inform the alteskolasis they can deploy. Drop status?”

“All eight richno-ploi [dropships] are en route, my lord. Time to target for the first wave, fifteen minutes. Second wave, thirty minutes. The final two are ahead of schedule, forty minutes.”

A troop transport descending from one of the Theophanic craft juddered as parts of its hull plating came away in its descent through the atmosphere. Queried sharply by Helios orbital control, they were profusely apologetic but assured Control the hull plating should burn up in orbit rather than hitting anything on the surface. Sure to their word, the plating soon vanished… from radar, anyway.

A glowing ptychi-shield enveloped Tagmatarchis [Major] Tzefri soi Hapax, and casually he tweaked its form to plane better through the air as a lifting-body shape. His companions in the hell-jumpers, he knew without checking the status readouts on his HUD, were doing the same, smoothly gliding through the air in folded lifting-bodies composed of sensor-absorbent material enveloping their class-four warsuits. They were approaching the drop-zone quickly, skimming the edges of Union City’s airspace when a light blinked in Tzefri’s HUD.

Helios System Traffic Control
Union City, Nashtar


Nashtar’s trade systems were nothing if not efficient. The planetary sensor net was networked with the sensor suites of the patrolling fleet, leaving little to chance and monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic. And the commercial traffic was generally punctual, thought Controller First Class Rak-Shul as she took note of the incoming FTL blip on the Orodan route. The Tuesday 1530 processed ore delivery was early. She keyed her comm.

SS Orodan Freight Nine, this is Helios Control. You are ahead of schedule. Please emerge at standard grid 1146 star relative for holding. We must clear your lane.”

No response.

“I say again, Orodan Freight Nine, your approach lane is still occupied. Please assume a holding station upon arrival.”

Still no response. The previously bored Ronoghan began to take a closer look at the sensor readout. Come to look at it, this signature was marginally different from the gigantic bulk carriers used for shipping between Oromos and Tyche. Perhaps the engines were running hotter than normal. This would explain the slightly early arrival. It would not, however, explain the lack of response.

The contact approached the Oort cloud and… did not slow down.

Then a new contact appeared behind it. The 1530, exactly on schedule.

She flushed a bright red as she slammed the alarm button on her console. There was not much time.

Above, Mikhalil stiffened as a readout of local space sprang up on the bridge ologramma. His tone suddenly much more businesslike, he snapped, “That signal. Report!”

All eyes were on the pulsing dot that had just emerged from the orbit of Helios III. The sensors officer looked up and called over her shoulder, “My lord, it reads as Yrch.”

Mikhalil was already shouting. “Comms! Broadcast in the open spectra! Helios Control, Nashtar Fleet, we have spotted Yrch inbound! One large craft dropping smaller ships! To arms, my comrades!”

Bridge, NRS Courageous

“Conn, Comms! Priority alarm from Helios Control, incoming unknown large contact.”

Commodore Trevor sat bolt upright at the call. “Comms, Conn, aye. Alert the squadron. Tactical, Conn, sound general quarters, all hands stand to battle stations.”

The massive battleship’s systems began to wake up as the well drilled crew rapidly brought the vessel to combat alert. The shield screen flared blue before fading into transparency as it snapped into place.


Saiph System, Orion Dominon

Evan soi Morr slouched in his command throne and checked the chronometer. Lord soi Vasilias had been aboard the gigantic Orion ship, with two of his kleptoi, for a couple of watches and then some now. They had downgraded to Beta alert, but were still watching the Orion fleet sharply, monitoring their communications spectra and trying to decrypt their messages. They’d had precious little success so far, Theophanic cryptography naturally being oriented more towards understanding Theophanic messages rather than xeno…

soi Varro entered the bridge, yawning, a cup of coffee in one hand and a screen in the other. Evan grunted, “How’d you sleep?”

His Protos shrugged and took a deep slurp of the coffee. “About as well as can be expected. No word?”

“None,” soi Morr grunted. “The kleptoi have not broadcast anything that we’ve been able to make out, but their beacons are still lit at least. And they haven’t done anything, so who knows. But if they haven’t-- oi!”

His exclamation came from a pulse upon the bridge ologramma, and at his quick wave it turned into a full-screen display of Conrad soi Vasilias standing alongside a massive xeno.

”I say, is that on… ah, hello, Kapetanios,” soi Vasilias hailed. Morr sat up straight and asked sharply, “Is all well, then?”

Quite well, kapetanios. As a matter of fact, I wondered if I could trouble you to have my chambers packed up and sent over here?

soi Morr and soi Varro looked at each other. This was… unexpected. Evan asked slowly, “...may I ask why, my lord? And shall we accompany you further?”

That’s a fair question,” Conrad responded thoughtfully. He looked up at the massive xeno beside him and inquired, “Do you have any objection to the Omonoia accompanying us?

It rumbled, “None, provided they observe certain restrictions. We are very… cautious.

soi Vasilias turned back to the screen and shrugged expansively. “There you go. We’re going to visit the Dominion!

Evan nodded slowly. “By your command, my lord. Anything else?”

Oh, yes,” Conrad exclaimed, “do send a couple crates of black tea around as well, good man. The Fleetmaster rather appreciated it when he tried it, but Orion mugs are the size of my teapot. We’ll need a bit more than I fit in my supplies!

soi Morr exchanged looks with his Protos. Back to the screen, he half-shrugged and nodded. “We will see what we can do. We’ll have your things packed and sent over within the hour. Just make sure your… hosts… are aware. We’ll detail some anthrosasteri as well--”

No need,” soi Vasilias responded firmly, “My valet Alfred will be all the help I require. I appreciate your consideration, Cousin, but I promise, I’ll be just fine. I told you that when I came aboard. All I need is my things, Alfred, and my light-pinnace, which fortuitously is already in the docking bay here. We’ll dispatch my kleptoi escorts back to you as well. Our spectra are always open, please do hail if you have any questions. soi Vasilias out.”

The only thing Evan and Ruprecht could do was nod and salute as the screen blinked out. They looked at each other again. Evan sighed and stepped down from the command throne. “You have the conn, Ruprecht. I’ll go take care of the Ambassador’s things-- what the devil?”

An alarm had suddenly started blaring. One of the sensors crewmen shouted, “Translation, danger close! Amazo-X or Yrch hyperdrive spectra!”


Gm’Frd Station, Shand System, Sector Space

Captain Wermis-Corssin of the ESS Devastator sat back and put his feet up on the desk, sighing. A captain’s office just off the bridge was completely non-canon, but at the same time, nothing in the Lucasfilm archives indicated there wasn’t one such on a Star Destroyer bridge… and it’s not like there wasn’t plenty of room for one, anyway. He loosened the collar of his uniform, and as he picked up his embroidery hoop, a mental impulse started a cup of tea brewing in a nearby autologi receptacle.

He had finally picked what part he was going to stitch next when the alarm went off. He stared, cursed, stabbed the needle (carefully through an unstitched portion of cloth), put his feet down and stomped onto the bridge. “What in the name of Rei is going on?”

Commander Nagisa, who had volunteered to stay aboard and help maintain a watch aboard the ship during the first few shifts here at the UISC station, looked up from the crew pit and called out, “Incoming hyperspace entry, danger close! Theophanic ship, big one!”

Wermis-Corssin took a deep breath. “Right, then. If the Sector aliens haven’t picked up on it yet, broadcast a general alarm in the open. Flash a message to our crew and passengers aboard the station. Shields up. Figure out where it’s going to emerge and put us a safe distance away. Let’s do it!”

He stepped forward to the massive bridge viewport, pulled up his preferred holographic display (half the controls on the bridge were just colored lights that did nothing anyway) and started working through his list.

Aboard Gm’Frd station, in its expansive bridge, the station commander, one Jahnola Kahlada, was first alerted to the incoming disaster when a particularly piercing alarm began to fulfil its purpose with amazing efficiency.

“By the Goddess, tell me that is not what i think it is!” The redundant question shouted in that desperate delusion of the person asking it, hoping it may not be true even though they already knew it was.

“Confirmed commander, Incoming hyperdrive exit, Class, my gods it's Class-10. It's a Theophanic Battleship!” To this Jaahnole, along with most of the rest of the command staff all went pale (except for the Qwintonian Security on the bridge, it was always hard to tell skin color with their fur)

“Signal General alert, All civilians to secure areas of the station, all non military ships are to clear the area. Calculate the ships exit point! We know they have to exit within a certain distance of any other structure or vessel.” A silence quickly gripped the staff, half of the crew frantically calculating, the other half praying to various deities about what was going to happen next. In a matter of seconds an answer came up.

“Sir, it’s, It’s already passed the safe exit zone, the ship, Its coming out right on top of us!”

As the Devastator coasted to a halt some distance away and slowly rotated to face Gm’Frd station, the countdown in the corner of Wermis-Corssin’s holographic display came down to zero. He, Nagisa and a few other crewmen, stared out the bridge window, holding their breath.

Strange lights, unnameable in hue, slowly flickered across space like a broad aurora. The enormous bulk of Skohotintot was brightly back-lit for a moment, and then Nagisa blinked and looked around the bridge, as did Wermis-Corssin and the others. Music was floating around the bridge from nowhere, and the captain checked. Nothing was queued on the bridge playlist.

Everything turned negative for a moment. The grey bulkhead turned dark, the white lights above turned black, the flooring below them white-- and as they recoiled, it went back to normal, and a monstrous Theophanic starship was right there. No flash, no null-matter, no waves of radiation or electromagnetic signals… it was just there in its cyclopean bulk, shadowing even the enormous Skohotintot.

The music faded away. Kapetanios Lord Vador IV Micha soi Geraki leaned forward on his command throne and jerked his hand sharply, ending a blaring alarm. He stared at the bridge ologramma taktiki display, taking in the sight of Gm’Frd station, the Skohotintot, and the nearby Devastator as well as a veritable horde of ships from the various Sector nations. Finally, he took a deep breath.

“Report,” he snapped. The rigorously trained bridge crew performed as ordered despite the red alert lights and scrolling displays commanding their attention. The Magnatrabes Zerstorer had been carefully calibrated at Limani [Port] Kinitirapateras based upon navigational information provided by the UISC ship Thunderbird at the Dystropos council. They had intended, well aware of the dramatic nature of their own faster-than-light drives, to emerge at the edges of Shand system and cruise slowly in to Gm’Frd station… but here they were. Moreover, their controls were still set to take the ship into nullspace, not registering as having translated out of nullspace yet. But the stasi-field was deactivated, and the ship was sitting in realspace, all systems operating normally other than the nullspace drive.

soi Geraki’s fingers tapped impatiently on the throne’s arm as he considered his options. Finally, he stood. “Open spectra. Broadcast direct to the station… begin broadcast, now. Hail. We are the Magnatrabes Zerstorer, come from the Theophanic Empire. We apologize for exiting space so near the station, but we give thanks unto Theoua for our safe arrival. We bear the Ambassador Plenipotenary my Lord Maksim Konrant Faderik Louvois, Komis Yamorosk, Euangelos Theouautokratora, Philocleon Klironomos Genis soi Foinix. Kindly prepare for arrival of a Theophanic contingent within the next two hours. Zerstorer out.”

He turned away and directed his attention to the technognostiki stations at the back of the bridge. The chattering fraters looked nervous, if that was possible with their extensive cybernetics. He growled, “You lot have some explaining to do. What in the name of the Seven Hells happened here?”

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OOC: Apologies for the massive post, but I wanted to get all these out at once. Life has been busy lately and I wanted to get some things moving ;)
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.
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