STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Bridge, NRS Courageous

Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest son of a bitch in space!

Courageous hove clear of Tyche to have the Yrch mothership go up in spectacular fashion just as the firing solution was plotted. Captain Grrashrakar snarled briefly, but no matter. “Gunnery control, retask to Target 1149 and fire main battery.”

“Conn, Gunnery, aye,” came the reply as the helm obliged by slightly adjusting heading. “Firing now.”

The comm link established with the escorting cruisers crackled in response. “Dalton, firing now!”

The familiar thrum of the spinal mount came through the deck plating as the immense capacitors discharged, flinging a trio of ferrous slugs downrange at fractional c. The ship didn’t have a chance. It was well (and intentional) that the captain had called a target that did not have the planet or friendly ships behind it, as the projectiles ripped out the other side and began tumbling toward a low solar orbit, moving too fast to be caught in Nashtar’s gravity. NRS Dalton’s heavy missile batteries began raking other Yrch vessels, soon joined by the Oppenheimer.

Fortunately for the Intrepid, meanwhile, it’s orbit had it approaching the far side of the planet when the Yrch jumped in, trailed by the Kensington. The carrier hove into a higher orbit to slow its progress back around toward the battle zone, as its strike craft boiled from its cavernous bays and fairly skimmed the atmosphere coming back around to engage.

The comm unit crackled. “Guardian to Courageous. First Squadron is moving to engage the enemy.”

Commodore Trevor keyed his comm. “Flag to Guardian, acknowledged. Stowing spinal mount.” The Yrch were getting too close to the planet to safely use the gigantic accelerator cannons anyway, he reflected. “Conn, Flag. Stow the spinal mount and move in to engage with broadside batteries.”

The massive battleship lumbered into position behind the cruisers, it’s port side beam cannons roaring to life as they came to bear. The fury of Nashtar Space Command came down on the surviving parasite craft in short order as they desperately broke to complete their mission...
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

Isenvadejo, Yrch/Amazo-X Space

"So, the teams are settled?" Senior Manager May spoke over the din of several dozen Middle Managers all furiously trying to one-up each other. They weren't, but he was getting tired of the bickering and wanted to move things along. He still had an entire, three - well, two now - pronged offensive to plan, after all. The Middle Managers, faceless and interchangeable to one such as he, shuffled their feet and slowly clumped together, forming two different teams based on whatever internal drama he was choosing to ignore this week. May made sure to give a pointed enough look at a couple of the worst offenders so they might not cause trouble at the front, and shifted a few of the heavy hitters around to make things symmetrical in his mind.

"The outcome-" not "objective", an objective was something you could fail at - "-of this operation is to enact an extremely hostile takeover of one planet in each of our enemys' space. You will all be expected to lend support to our ground-level customer service representitives at any time they might need it, while fending off approaches from rival corporate bodies. The unusual circumstances you will be in require you to display adaptability, lean thinking, and agile balance, but you are not to violate our core operating precepts at any time. I will now begin handing out your assignments." He'd spent some time actually drawing these up, rather than letting one of his interns or Google sort it out; neither would have understood his vision.

"Paul," one of the Middle Managers raised his hand, "It says here my task group is going to deliver to..." he squinted at the piece of paper an intern had handed him, "Zozo, which is one of the most competitive spaces in the UISC. There are plenty of untapped markets, all we'd need to do is outreach to one of those..."

"Jim," May said, and the Middle manager looked confused for a second, "Jim, Jim, Jimmy Jim Jim. They'll be expecting us to disrupt an untapped market; they'll never see us coming. Is it not how Sun Tzu said, that the most prized thing in war is surprise?" 'Jim' (whose name was actually Steve) brightened up. You could never go wrong with a Sun Tzu quote, even if it wasn't, so to speak, actually a Sun Tzu quote. "Any further questions?" There were none, everyone too impressed with his approximate knowledge of Ancient Chinese literature and the sheer brilliance of his plan to dare to venture a question.* "Very well, get to it!"





Isenvadejo, Yrch Ship 33-19

The Manager's shuttle had barely touched down before the man himself was striding down the ramp, power armour making him taller and more imposing than even the heavy Yrch marines acting as honour guard. "Drut," the man said, "Is the company ready for departure?"

The addressed Yrch didn't stand sharply to attention - Middle Manager Steve didn't like "encouraging an overly formal atmosphere" - but did nod his head slightly. "The last of the Khemplari departments are at full readiness," he said. That was a lie; none of the Khemplari ships had been brought back to full effectiveness, but telling Steve that wouldn't solve anything. "The system migration was completed ahead of schedule," another lie, it had taken twice as long, but the schedule had been changed to make it look like they were ahead. "Bob and Phil have sent you messages; they are available in your cabin. Have we a target?" He really hoped so, Department 33-19 had yet to be allowed on a single raid, and he yearned to prove himself to the LON BEZO and their emisarries.

"Better than that," Steve said, striding out towards the Manager's Office, "We have an outcome. The combined might of the full company will fall upon the protectionists in the UISC, and we will grant them the gift of free trade. Let me show you." They entered the Office, and Steve punched a command into the main projector.

Drut rubbed his eyes; if he was reading this right... "We are to attack their most heavily defended point?"

Steve grinned. "Exactly. They shall never see it coming - just like Sun Tzu says: "Fall upon your enemy's fastnesses, and deny them."" Having actually read Sun Tzu's The Art of War, Drut knew that wasn't in it, but kept his mouth shut. "Don't feel ashamed, it took me a moment to truly grasp the operation's brilliance." Drut remained silent. Steve coughed, and continued. "I will draw up a detailed plan while we are en route; have the company set off as soon as the drives are charged."

"Yes," Drut said, trying to see the true wisdom in Steve's plan. Surely, there had to be something? Drut had only led ten thousand Yrch in battle, Steve was entrusted with far more and was an emissary as well. So why did it feel like they were about to make a massive mistake?

-

The combined fleet floated, finally ready; one last late arrival, a raider from Nashtari space, had just gotten into formation. Three great Yrch motherships, crude approximations of Theophanic Thoriktos, herded swarms of new mass-produced gunboats. Those were half-finished things, skeletal, without armour plate or shielding - but there were many of them, nearly eighty in total. Floating above them were the department's factory ships, still churning out a few gunboats; three of the massive boxy things were assigned to the Endeavour-bound part of the strike force, their managers acutely aware that they were perhaps the force's weakest link. The Endeavourites had plenty of practice blowing up factory ships, after all. Six Yrch cruisers completed that department, each to be the anchor for a gunboat flotilla.

On the other side of the system, the captured Khemplari ships sat in space, minus the single stealth ship that had been diverted to Amazo-x headquarters. The centrepiece of the Zozo Department was the Haven-class battlecarrier now known as 551-1116, with a single factory ship working on the rest of the force: two Khemplari cruisers, five of their destroyers, and more than thirty gunboats. It was a force substantial enough to conquer their target system, or so the planners hoped. Most of the captured ships bore hasty weld-marks and open decks, where Khemplari systems had been torn out and replaced with Amazo-X and Yrch equivalents.

There was no single flurry of movement, more a gradual slow shift of ships. The gunboats docked with their carriers, which slowly moved out to the edge of the system, escorts trailing behind them. One by one, the ships flashed away, making the first of their jumps towards their targets. On board some of the ships, the Yrch began their war chants; managers quickly silenced them, but still space itself echoed with their wrath.

The Yrch offensive had begun.

Little did they know, they'd also revealed their position; that very late arrival triggered a broadcast just before it left, but it was too late for any of the warships to respond. Besides, big broadcasts happened all the time, it was probably just some speech or other...



FORCE DECLARATION:
The following fleets are moving to attack Crossroads Inc. and myself.
Targetted at Crossroads, heading to Zozo:
560 total points,
500 base points
Consisting of:
1x Haven-class Battlecarrier, 45+5J+5C3 each
2x Amazo-X factory ships, (including Elon's), 50 each
2x Principle-class Cruisers, 20+2H+3J+5C3 each
4x Sentinel-I-class Destroyers, 15+1H+3J+1C3 each
1x Sentinel-II-class Destroyer, 15+1H+7J+2C3 each
48x Yrch Gunboats, 5 each (spawned ships)
25 points of troops - 20 Yrch, 5 Amazo-X

Targetted at VX-145, heading to Endeavour:
870 total points,
780 base points
Consisting of:
3x Yrch Motherships, 30+5J+5C3 Each,
3x Amazo-X Factory Ships, 50 each,
6x Yrch Cruisers, 20+5H+5C3 each,
84x Yrch Gunboats, 5 each
300 points of troops: 95 Amazo-X, 205 Yrch





*Actually, it was because Steve's health insurance had just been cancelled and none of the others wanted to risk it.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Rogue 9 »

Bridge of the NRS Pitch
Deep Space


“Conn, Sensors! Detecting a Nashtari subspace beacon, sir. It reads as one of the trackers we were told to watch for.”

“Sensors, Conn, aye. Do we have a source?”

“Aye, Captain. The tracker got nav data.”

“Very good. Forward to Navigation. Helm, Conn. As soon as Nav has a fix, set course for the beacon and engage slipspace drive.”

Isenvadejo, Yrch/Amazo-X Space
Outer Solar Orbit


“Conn, Helm. Emergence at the target in one minute.”

“Helm, Conn, aye. General quarters. Rig ship for silent running.”

The general quarters klaxon sounded briefly as the lighting turned red. Anything that could emit an extraneous electromagnetic signal shut down as the jump clock counted down to zero.

The ship emerged from slipspace and immediately started drifting. “Sensors, Conn, report!”

“Conn, Sensors. There’s a lot of subspace disturbance, like a whole lot of ships just jumped all at once within the last hour or so. No sign of the beacon.”

“Aye. Conduct a thorough passive scan of the system, see what there is to see.”

“On it, sir. It’s definitely inhabited, picking up EM traffic from the inner system.”

“Aye. Comms, Conn, can you make sense of the signals?”

“Conn, Comms. It’s encrypted, but it looks like an old commercial scheme, should be able to break it in short order.”

“Very good.”
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

The colony of ZoZo was young and small compared to much of the galaxy, but still it was growing quickly being fed by a near constant stream of supplies and manufactured materials. The large central organizational facilities and Star ports were huge, impressive looking constructions, and the fabricated residential habs spread outwards in all directions as in the distance, construction of the planets first centralized Arcology could be seen. Yet despite all this activity and construction, measured against the planet itself, the colony was but a tiny pinpoint on the surface of the world. For those that lived and came to the colony, those that had wished to live in more ‘remote’ areas found it easy to go virtually unnoticed until they needed some important supplies or medical attention. Of course, there were those that truly desired to ‘get away from it all’ and had moved further out to live off the wilderness. And then, there were those few that had come to the colony simply to try and loose society all together.

Far off from the central colony, almost on the other side of the planet, one continental plate pushed upwards against another creating a far-reaching chain of jagged mountains. Here and there were the two plates clashed, fissures were visible, some were young volcanos, others were areas of hot water and natural springs. Near one such spring, just on the edge of a long expanding forest was a large outcrop of rock. Hidden neatly under the rock was a modestly sized, yet rather elegantly crafted house built of felled logs and roughhewn stone. Around it was a series of gardens and well-worn paths leading through an expansive grassy field. At the top of one such field lay someone looking up into the evening sky and the endless space beyond. Their species looked to be Tejlini, or at least perhaps a Tejlini if you found one 7ft tall and with bits of slightly glowing machinery showing through bare patches on their otherwise fur covered body.
Their name was Ruco Corinthala, and they were probably the single deadliest entity on the entire planet.

The sound of foot falls could be heard in the grass near by and soon a pair of rough worn hiking boots came to rest near where Ruco was laying in the grass. He tilted his head and looked upwards.
“Come to j-join me star gazing?” he said, his voice stuttering somewhat, his words occasionally jolting like skips on a record player. Looking down at him was someone just as tall as himself, though for a Qwintoni, that wasn’t too usual although most were not quite as large as the one currently standing overhead. Their face was covered here and there in a few knicks and scars, their form looked as if it had spent a lifetime in the military, which, for Jakenenth Kenjtala, they had.
“That would be nice, but not just yet, the wood pile was looking low, and it Is probably best to keep ahead of things.” He said, hefting a very large and very heavy looking Ax on his shoulder resting against the bony fins sprouting from his shoulder blades. Ruco sat up and tilted his head over to look at the wood pile, looked back at Jakenenth and then stood up. Before Jakenenth could respond or protest the coming action, Ruco had strode across to the nearest tree, seemed to size it up, and with a movement almost too fast to be seen by the naked eye, punched it. The area of the trunk immediately exploded outwards in a shower of splinters as the tree, almost 20 feet tall, slowly began to fall forwards. Just as the large trunk was about to land squarely on his head, he punched upwards, neatly cleaving the falling log in two parts that felt to the ground on either side with a heavy thud. Jakenenth watched it all happen in the space of a few seconds as Ruco looked up from the two smoking halves of tree trunk.
“There w-we are, a m-much more ef-efficient method, can you join me now?” He said as he padded back to where he had stood up from. Jakenenth chuckled as he soon followed and sat down on the cool grass.
“How could I say no,” He said as the two settled down and looked skyward. The sky was clear, and the stars easily could be seen, on a planet as pristine and new to civilization as ZoZo, there were virtually no pollutants or artificial light to dim the night sky, and the great spine of the galactic disk could be seen arching high overhead. The two laid and watched for some time as the light from the sun went down more and more.
“Anything interesting tonight?” Jakenenth asked as he continued to watch. Ruco, seeing with eyes that could look in ways few others could imagine, stared deeply. One of his eyes looked normal enough, the other eye however looked to be just a glassy metallic orb, around it much of the skin and surrounding fur was missing. A number of parts on his body were like this, places were long ago his synthetic body had ‘over heated’ causing the flesh to burn off and never fully grow back. Most of these parts were along the network of energy conduits that ran across his legs and arms, spreading out from the central power core in his chest. It too was ‘meant’ to be covered, but the same incident had cause part of it to be exposed and visible. Ruco continued to stare upwards for some time before commenting.

“The UISC patrol force appears to be over head, strange I didn’t notice them earlier, it looks like the ThunderBird is the lead cruiser tonight judging by the markings.” He said as Jakenenth tried to look up at the same patch of space. He could dimly make out only the smallest pin prick of light moving across the sky, but nothing else.
Jakenenth sighed as he laid back. It was moments like these that reminded him of how much his life had changed. Deep inside he was still a soldier, sitting and watching the night sky wasn’t something he had ever spent much time doing in his old life. He chuckled as he considered that statement, his life had ended and began again several times it felt like. First during the Tajlan War when he had joined the freedom movement within the Imperial Military, and then when he joined directly with the Trathalan forces working to free their planet. Years later, his life had changed yet again, and almost ended when those he had helped put into power began to purge those that had worked to get them there. He had escaped detention and death by the slimmest of margins by being on Jahlin when it had all happened, and from their made a life in exile away from those looking for the ‘Traitors’ to the mighty Tajlan Empire. The life he created there was one he could have been happy with, working in a remote fishing town, away from the military power in charge, living just for himself on his own.
And then, and then even that life had come to an end. Late one night when he was out fishing and in his nets, had pulled up from deep in the ocean the soaking form of Ruco, someone whose own life had clearly ended and started again. Those first few months had passed in a blur. Jakenenth had remembered how ‘broken’ Ruco had been in those early days. His mind barely functioning, barely able to talk or form words, and the screaming, the terrors that would come to him when he tried to sleep. It had taken Jakenenth some time to realize that there seemed to be two minds inside the entity he had found, each one fighting for control. One meek, shy, broken, the other cruel, vengeful, and remorseless. For months Jakenenth had done what he could to help with Ruco’s mental stability, but then one night, the military had finally caught up with them. They had been captured, shackled, and taken away to the installation at Dregmaw island. And then, Jakenenth shivered at the memory.

“Is everything ok? Your h-heart rate just increased r-rapidly.” The voice stirred Jakenenth from his musings as he turned his head.
“Ah, sorry, was just remembering something from the past.” He said, the comment causing Ruco to pause briefly. The two said nothing for a while before Jakenenth spoke up breaking the silence.
“How is, eh, how is ‘he’ doing these days? You haven’t had any, issues, in a while it seems. I know I try not to ask too much about it but I still worry.” He said, trying his best to be tactful on the sensitive topic.
“N-not much has c-changed, other than e-each of us trying to t-trust the other. As I h-have said, ever since Dregmaw, w-w have come to an un-understanding. At l-least, as much as anyone c-can with s-something that has c-committed such a-acts.” Ruco said and, for the briefest of moments seemed to twitch slightly. Jakenenth said nothing more on the topic and went back to looking up into the night. He was starting to doze sleepily on the cool grass when he felt something warm near him. Turning and looking to his side he saw a small electrical arch passing across one of Rucos exposed energy conduits. It faded out, replaced by another one arching across part of Ruco’s leg. Jakenenth was about to say something when Ruco sat up and stretched.
“Yes,I-I am aware, it started a few moments ago. It would seem I will need to get ready for sleep.”
“Oh, it is still early in the evening, are you sure it’s time?” Jakenenth said somewhat wistfully, Ruco turned his head to lock eyes and gave him a gentle smile.
“For as long as you h-have k-know me, you would t-think you have to ask if I k-know when it’s time?” he said, and even as he spoke, the various exposed parts of his synthetic body began to glow just that little bit brighter. The two chuckled and sat up from where they had been laying in the grass and began to pad up a path towards the mountain pools billowing great clouds of steam. The air was warm and damp even this high up as Ruco began preparing himself for ‘sleep’ his body already glowing brighter by the moment.
“You know I will always worry about you, it, it seems as though you have been needing to do this earlier and earlier each day, I know I have asked this before, but can’t you simply let it purge quicker?” he asked, feeling foolish even as he did so. Ruco by now had made his way to his destination, a spot by the hottest of the natural springs that littered the area, the water nearby actively boiling. Ruco turned and smiled at Jakenenths comment as he sat down, the area around him curiously devoid of grass, the ground looked charged and blackened in places, the stones having a slightly glassy look to them.
“Well, n-naturally I could. If that is y-you desired me to in-incinerate everything in a 1000 f-foot radius down to molten rock.” He said, causing an immediate silence between the two. Jakenenth gave a nervous chuckle.
“Eh, yeah, that probably wouldn’t be for the best he said. Before noticing Ruco giving a slight wince of clearly holding back certain needed actions. “Look, just, be safe, I know it’s stupid to tell you of all people that but, it’s how I feel.” He said and leaned down giving Ruco a simple kiss on his forehead, Ruco smiled, and then with a strange hissing sound, turned himself off.

That is to say the omnipresent glow in his eyes dimmed and his head slumped to one side, yet even as it did so, the rest of the body seemed to come alive. Various clicks and whirling sounds began to be heard, the armored plates around his shoulders split open and unfolded, the exposed parts of his energy conduits flared brightly. And the pulsating core in his chest pushed forward just slightly with a deep unlocking sound. When all this had happened, the venting began to take place. Whisps of energy began curling from his body displaying a spectrum of shimmering colors of reds, purples, and greens, a moment later arcs of electricity began to discharge and earthed themselves into the ground.

It was a sight that Jakenenth was always slightly fearful of, yet always entranced and struck by its beauty. The synthetic body of Ruco, constructed to govern a machine of unfathomable destruction, produced each day titanic amounts of energy, far more than could ever be safely used. Over time, Ruco had learned ways to slow the buildup, shunting it to different parts of his body or trying to burn up some of it by heavy labor and physical work. But regardless of what was done or used, it was never enough, and the buildup of energy would eventually reach a critical and dangerous point. Long before that happened, Ruco had learned to enter a ‘sleep mode’ and allow the energy to vent in a slow and controlled manor.
Jakenenth reminded himself this was still by no means ‘safe’. The heat generated by the nightly flaring was considerable, and more than once he had been woken up to put out small brush fires started during the night. Of course, that was why they lived where they did after all. The geysers, the hot springs, the whole area was a cauldron of geothermic activity, and they both knew it was the best protection they had to hide from anything over head doing a casual thermal scan. Jakenenth stood nearby for a while, feeling the ambient heat radiating outwards and watching the swirls of light before turning and padding up toward the cabin. Once inside, a flick of the switch activated a series of large batteries that provided power for everything needed, charging them each day in the morning was something that was never a problem. With a final look outside through the window, he headed into the kitchen to cook dinner for the night.

Back outside, Ruco sat ‘sleeping’ every so often his body would twitch this way and that. To the causal observer it would seem he had switched himself off, however these days Ruco never truly slept. Deep within the Multi fractal quantum computer that had once been Ruco’s brain, an image formed. First it was a ghostly shape of light, it wavered and shimmered, and then began to take form. It grew more refined as features became noticeable on it. In a few moments ‘Ruco’ opened his eyes in the space within his mind.

“Ah. So tonight, will be one of those nights” he said, to himself and to his mind. It didn’t always happen like this, most nights he would simply shut his eyes, and then re-open them once the energy purge had completed. Every so often, data from the day would process, in what could pass for his unconscious, those nights were as close as he came to ‘dreaming’ anymore. But there were some nights were his conscious mind remained conscious, where it entered into a place that was somehow ‘lower down’ if such a term could be used. And it was those nights that he most often would find himself talking to the ‘other’ Ruco.

“I would say thank you for joining me again, but we both know that even after all this time you cannot ignore me when I wish to have a little chat between us.” Said a voice, much like Ruco’s yet tinged with malice. Ruco looked up toward where it came from. Here within his mind, both speakers appeared as their ‘true’ forms. For Ruco, he appeared as he once had, perhaps no taller than about 5ft 10, slender, and fully organic. His body whole as it had once been. For the other, its appearance was quite the opposite. It would take someone a bit to realize just what they were looking at, but you would recognize it as ‘Ruco’ but the Synthetic, and ‘JUST’ the synthetic body. No skin, no fur, no flesh. It was the body stripped to a pure machine.
Ruco, that is to say, the organic one, gave a weak smile.
“You are correct, but you have refrained from having such ‘chats’ with me as often as you used to, for that I am thankful of you respecting my wishes.” He said as chair materialized next to him and he sat down, here within the computer, thought and reality co-existed. The Synthetic Ruco listened to this and gave a twisted smile.
“How far the two of us have come, and how much we both have changed. I suppose I should ‘thank’ you as well, seeing as how I am left to be free here. Or at least as ‘free’ as any mind could be within this prison.” It said, its voice becoming a bit more tinged with venom for a moment. The organic looked up from his chair, his face looking determined. Here, and only here his mind was as it should have been, as it was so long ago, calculated, certain, and above all, moralistic to a fault.
“I have pulled back my barriers, I leave you to explore the depts of this computer. We both know its size could hold our minds ten times over with space to spare. There is room enough for you create your own world to live within should you choose.” He said, the shimmering aura of light around his body flaring briefly, filling the otherwise dark interior with a moment of blinding radiance. The synthetic shrunk away from it before it eventually dimmed.
“A prison however welcoming and cheerful is still a prison. And any worlds I create within these walls are still mere shadows of 1’s and 0’s with no true form or shape.” It said, though its voice wasn’t quite as sinister as it had been. After the light had faded, it looked up. Its voice now sounded almost pleading. “I just want freedom.” It said as Ruco listened and sighed.
“I cannot let you free, even after all this time, you have no empathy, no restraint, no… No soul.” He said at last, and as he said it, the light around him flashed for just a moment again. The Synthetic looked away and sighed.
“Something for you which you will forever remind me of and is that which tips the balance between us.” It said before both sides grew silent, each taking a step back from words they wished not to say. The organic Ruco was first to break the awkward quiet.

“Why did you bring me here, I know it was not simply to rehash old arguments.”
“Observant as always, yes I did bring you hear for another reason. It sickens me to say this, but it is mostly for concern over our love, Jakenenth.” The organic Rucos eyes flashed for a moment, but the Synthetic seemed to be expecting this. “Please, don’t give me that look, I may not have a ‘Soul’ but I still feel what you feel. It’s the only reason he’s still alive after all.” It said,
“Very well, a point I will give you since I know you have shown him the same, loyalty that I do. What is it that has you concerned for his wellbeing?” Here, a pause, The Synthetic approaching the organic, at least as close as the two could.
“The Yrch are coming.” It said, although the organic Ruco seemed not to be phased.
“Yes I know, It is only a matter of time before they attack the colony for resources, I had calculated the colonies defensives to be sufficient-” but he was cut off.
“You misunderstand me, they are coming here, for us.” It said, knowing it now had Rucos full attention. The organic didn’t question how it knew this, he had his suspicions and did not wish to pry too much. The synthetic saw him considering things and continued. “I do not know what strength they are coming, only they are planning a major deployment, and we lucky few are one of their targets.”
“The UISC Defense force will be able to—” but was cut off.
“Engage the Yrch? I would say so, but ships will get through, they will search this planet, and they will find us. I know trust is something neither of us have in great supply, however, we may need to very quickly consider re-negotiating certain arrangements.”
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

ESS Black Adder, Uninhabited System "See, I Told You We Were Nearly Out Of The Rocks", Endevour fringe space

Captain Blake was up and out of his bed before the alarms started ringing; he'd felt the strange sensation of the ship going to full emergency netherspace submergence even through his dreams. It was a short run up to the bridge, but he'd already been updated. A fleet of Yrch and Amazo-X ships had appeared in the system; the exact thing his ship was out here to look out for. Normally, the Black Adder would have just transmitted the info on and dropped into netherspace, but there was one small problem with that.

The whole fleet had nearly jumped in on top of the Black Adder.

"Suggestions," he asked, taking his seat on the bridge.

"We might be able to get off a transmission if we surface?" Brown put forth. "If we pre-charge the hyperdrives, we should be able to surface and then ascend before they can get a target lock."

"At this range, they won't bother with a lock," Mikasa messaged from the engine room. "They'll just open fire. Not that they'll need to - pre-charging the drives like that while we're in netherspace might break the ship in half, and will blow them out."

Blake interceded: "Which neatly rules that option out." He stroked his chin. This far down, they were safe, nothing in the known galaxy could detect them... but the ship couldn't move except to surface back to the normal level of reality. Something fizzled past one of the bridge windows. Maybe? "Could we drop a buoy?" Endeavourite stealth destroyers carried a set of comms buoys, normally for use in the early part of a cat-and-mouse dance with enemy ships.

There was silence as the crew pondered the idea, which was broken by Asuka: "We'd still have to surface for that."

"Not if we exposed the turbines," Mikasa said, grasping the general idea. "We could blast it closer to zero... but we'd need to be closer ourselves." And thus, at risk of detection - and, if the enemy had any grounding in aetherdimension theory*, destruction.

More silence. No-one stepped forward to fill it. "Very well," Captain Blake said, "Make it so."

Of course, it wasn't as simple as giving the order. Exposing one of the aetherspace turbines was... well, there was a reason they were normally enclosed. The entire crew had to help, providing careful schematics of where to puncture the hull, building the necessary airlock, getting the buoy to the turbine - and of course, cutting the turbine out of its housing without breaking anything. Eventually, though, all was complete. Blake took his seat at the helm (his station when he wasn't Captain) and took a deep breath. Carefully, he angled the ship's other turbine down, and the Black Adder began to rise. They passed out of the lower strata, up into the middle, and finally reached their target: two phases "down" from normal reality. Immediately, the EW sensor began blaring; one of the ships out there could see them

Without hesitation, Blake kicked the ship over, and spat the buoy out, even as the first few missiles began winding their way down towards them. There could be no dodging, one raced in and detonated just aft of the Black Adder; the shields took the impact. The second was just slightly too slow, shattering on the boundary between strata, and then they were safe.

Above them, the buoy was already scrap metal, blasted apart by the firepower of the Yrch fleet... but it had already sent its message.





Endeavour, Endeavour System

"All hands, to battle stations." The Megakolymvitis was making for the orbit of the Dustbowl - as the system's main rocky planet was known - when the first alert came in. A large Yrch fleet had been spotted on the outskirts of Endeavour space; it could turn up anywhere, and the whole Line Fleet was being mobilised to intercept. Just as Kharon finished corraling the various civilian transports and habs they'd been back to to the safety of the Endeavour hab collective, the second alert sounded: the Yrch were here.

Dozens of ships had emerged out in the system's outer Oort cloud, and were making their way directly for them.

"Sovereign Protector," Kharon said, nodding at the image on her desk's viewscreen and pulling on her class-1 warsuit gloves. "I formally offer my ship and its services to the defense of Endeavour, as part of our joint defensive pact." Around her, the rest of the bridge crew were standing to action stations; helmets and sealed suits were in evidence everywhere. Sure, they were behind literal kilometres of metal, but no-one wanted to risk exposure to the vacuum of space.

Ayanami just nodded. "Miko will patch you in to the fleet's comms network." She turned away from the screen, helmet in hand. "See you out there."

Cutting the channel with a thought, Kharon turned to Miko - whose hair was already glowing slightly, in that strange way it sometimes did. She was tapping away at one of the more recent additions to Kharon's command throne, a manual interface port for Kharon's new implanted cybernetics. "It'll take a moment," Miko said, "and you'll have to set up your filters yourself. My advice - listen to at least one ship from each class, have whoever's most engaged on a second channel, and have all the carriers on a third. It's their job to co-ordinate the fleet, but if you just listen to them you'll miss out on a lot."

"What about you?"

Miko shrugged. "I'll be with the snek. It's my place. If you launch your kleptoi, we'll go with them."

"Very well," Kharon said. Miko made to leave, the adjustments complete, but Kharon put one hand on her arm. "Stay safe."

"You as well," Miko replied, and was gone.



Kharon sat back on the command throne and waved her hand, dismissing the small cloud of ologramma projections around her. On the great bridge display, the last few Endeavourite civilian craft blinked away. Alessia’s voice, piped in from the secondary bridge deep within the chelonian hull of the ship, remarked, “My lady, we stand ready to translate at your word.”

She nodded and responded, “Thank you, Protos. All hands, stand ready to--”

A bold voice interrupted her. “Belay that order, all hands!”

“What the devil--” Kharon began angrily as she came to her feet and rounded about, to see Kosmitoras Ion soi Hapax walking onto the bridge, backed up by a couple of other Kosmitoras officers and a squad of uncomfortable-looking security troopers. Her eyes narrowed. soi Hapax, looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, continued smoothly, “I apologize for the interruption, Kapetanios soi Chelonis, but I cannot permit Megakolymvitis to enter this engagement. It does not serve the interests of the Theophanic Empire, and furthermore--”

“Hang the interests of the Empire, Kosmitoras,” Kharon cut in, “and who are you to determine that versus a named Ambassador of the Empire? You will stand down. You have no authority to breach the chain of command.”

“Actually,” soi Hapax responded impertuably, “if you will investigate the packet you were no doubt given when the Office of the Kosmitoras was established, you will see that the Kosmitoras may at their discretion suspend the authority of ships’ officers and assume their position until matters can be resolved by an inquiry. The grounds for this suspension include a belief that the Empire is not being best served by the orders given. I believe it is in your best interest to comply, Kapetanios.”

Kharon narrowed her eyes. Thoughts flashed through her mind. She was no doubt in a rather fragile position here. But there was no question about it-- she wasn’t going to let this skata stop her from going into this fight.

The pause had gone on quite long enough, she decided. She pointed at the Kosmitoras and snapped, “You are out of line. Last warning, stand down or else. We will sort this out when this is finished.”

That damnable soi Hapax finally looked irritated as he shook his head. He opened his mouth, but before he could say anything, her second officer Daniil bellowed, “Don’t even think about it!”

Slides ratcheted and the boarding-shotguns normally tucked in lockers at the bridge portals were brandished. Daniil went on again, “You heard the Kapetanios, Kosmitoras. Will you stand down or shall we have to take you to the brig?”

soi Hapax looked at him contemptuously. “Don’t be foolish. You don’t have to go down with her.”

From somewhere on the bridge-- Kharon couldn’t tell who said it, but someone hollered, “Chalazi soi Chelonis! Chalazi Megakolymvitis!”

At that the dekaneas [corporal] commanding the security detachment stood up straighter and strode ahead to stand besides the Kosmitoras. He faced Kharon directly and saluted stiffly. “My Lady. We’ll just go ahead and escort the Kosmitoras to the brig, by your leave. Shall we round up the rest of the Kosmitoras personnel in case any of them try the same trick?”

“Until the excitement is finished, at least,” Kharon answered, inclining her head in gratitude. “Carry on, Dekaneas.”

She turned back around and took a deep breath, looking over the bridge. “Daniil, if you will see the shotguns returned to their lockers. All hands… You have my thanks for your support. Let’s go help our friends out. Chalazi Endeavour!”

Amid cheers of Chalazi Endeavour! and chalazi soi Chelonis!, the void tore open before Megakolymvitis with great spurts of octarine nullmatter flowing out. The great ship lifted up its prow and then dived within, and with a massive electromagnetic thunderclap, space closed back up.






The Yrch fleet advanced, gunboats and parasite craft launching in a great fan of engine trails. Not a single sign of the enemy had been seen thus far, and they were already within orbit of the system's gas giant. On board the command craft - one of the Amazo-X original factory ships - Senior Middle Manager Phil sneered. Was this really the same place that had driven back one of the Founders, so long ago? Perhaps the rumours were true; Elon must be incompetent. For a moment, he was on the verge of ordering his fleet to split up and blockade the hundreds of space stations in the system,but something stopped him. The theives and squatters had ships of their own, warships even - so where were they? Something was jamming his communications, making it nearly impossible to give orders or see very far into the endless field of asteroids and debris that made up this damn system.

He made the mistake of speaking that thought across one of the few radio channels that was still available, and did not live long enough to realise that it'd been left so as a trap.

All Amazo-X factory ships were obsolete as warships went. They were slow, even less efficient in terms of firepower per metre volume than the average Theophanic dreadnought, and their only offensive weapons were the drone swarms they were capable of building. That did not mean they weren't still tough beasts; the smallest was easily ten kilometres a side, they were full of redundant systems and they possessed no single "main reactor" or anything like that. That mattered little, however, when four Particle Beam Lances drilled into the ship from one end to the other, blasting it apart in a single blow, rendering it into its constituent atoms in half a second.

The massed ranks of gunboats and parasite craft turned as one, sensors suddenly picking up a flotilla of enemy warships. On those smaller ships, the Yrch took advantage of the momentary chaos in Amazo-X's chain of command to fight without interference for once; they were entirely un-coordinated, acting entirely on instinct and what little naval doctrine the Yrch possessed, but there were ninety true warships and a host of fighters and other parasite craft. Engines straining, they pushed themselves around asteroids, through debris, and nearly made it to the four Endeavourite dreadnoughts before space erupted in fire and shrapnel. Dozens of craft were swept from space almost instantly, the contemptuous hand of massed Endeavourite 420mm Hypervelocity Cannon brushing them aside like dust. Most of the oncoming attackers survived, however, and pressed onwards heedless of the destruction wrought upon their allies, towards the line of seven battleships that floated serenly along. Their turrets spat again, and hails of secondary weapons fire reached out as well. Squadrons of Endeavourite small craft, drones and heavy fighters, raced out on intercept courses, one last volley of heavy guns before the two lines met blasting holes in both forces.

Endeavourite fighter craft met Yrch parasties, and the battle was joined.

-

Pilot Ayanami snap-rolled her fighter, bringing the nose guns to bear on a Yrch fighter that looked like it had been cobbled together from a pair of ancient-pattern drones. She thumbed the trigger, and the enemy craft vanhished in a ball of flame. Beneath her, her two laser turrets spat green death at a second craft, and her twin hypervelocity turret steadily kept up fire on one of the larger gunboats that had accompanied the Yrch strike craft in. Bullets and lasers flew at her, but the Bodkin was built fast and tough - little could catch her, and what did, couldn't hurt her. Her missile lock warning went off, blaring filling her cockpit, but before it could impact her the two friendly drones on her flanks blasted it out of the sky. She rolled over, and pulled into a steep turn, catching a Yrch fighter who was trying to slot onto Shamiko's (her wingmate's) tail; it died in her sights.

Wordlessly, the two turned as one, catching a quartet of the half-finished Yrch ships in their sights and raking them with fire before lighting their engines and pulling out of the furball. Just in time, too; the Yrch gunboat turned its heavy guns in their direction, but was unable to get off more than one shot before they were safely behind an asteroid. That one shell actually knocked her shields down, but did no damage to the hull of her craft. As the next squadron in line went in, she took stock. One and Five were out, both having taken damage to their power plants and needing to withdraw, but the rest of the squadron was undamaged. Feedstock was at 50% across the board, enough for maybe one more pass before they'd all need to re-arm - and it was too unsafe to do so in the open, so they'd have to land back on the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Still, she wanted to take down that gunboat before they left; she switched her hypervelocity cannon over to mix three, and waited.

Their replacement squadron - one of the ones off of the Ship Name Not Found - broke past them, and then it was her turn again. As one, she and the rest of her squadron pushed their engines to maximum, and dove out of cover; instantly, their turrets began tracking and blasting, and Ayanami lazily rolled onto the tail of a fighter; its wingmate tried to weave in behind her, but she slammed on the aetheric brakes and soon both of them were rapidly-expanding dust clouds in her sights. Her shields rattled; another pair swooped in on her port side, cutting loose with whatever weapons they carried; she turned the fighter sideways, tracking them with her nose guns, and managed to down one at the expense of half her shield battery and one of her drones. The other sped off after the other fighter, bearing down on it and cutting one of the enemy craft's engines off with a well-placed burst of autocannon fire.

All the while, her hypervelocity turret kept up the fire on the gunboat until, suddenly, its shields were down. The whole squadron pounced as one, blue and green laser fire practically blanketting the doomed ship, before launching a volley of turbo-shot into its unprotected hull. It was time to leave; as one, the squadron burned away from the combat area, and back towards the carriers. They were the last fighters out; it looked like most had seen intense action, though only one or two piloted fighters out of the three hundred-odd launched were missing.

It would take a few minutes for the fighters to rearm, leaving the rest of the fleet to fend off the Yrch without a screen.

-

"Section three-D gun ports, go to area fire. Hold the bastards at bay!" Kharon ordered, one eye on the great ologramma ball in front of her, another keeping tabs on the flood of messages coming through the Endeavourite comms network. She couldn't decide which was more chaotic - the display, clouded by the sheer mass of oncoming ships, or the messages, which ranged from important fleet-wide advisories to mundane day-to-day chatter. It was like they weren't even at war!

One look at the display was enough to dispel that illusion. The Yrch ships were disappearing at an alarming rate, though her Megakolymvitis had certainly pulled its weight. He'd jumped right into the thick of the enemy larger ships (entirely by accident), lashing out with railgun and missile fire; the combined Amazo-X and Yrch fleets too stunned to fire back immediately. That wouldn't last long, Kharon knew, which was why she was waiting for the last of the kleptoi to report readiness for launch. If they could just tie up the Yrch cruisers, the rest of the nearby ships were all carriers - ones which had already launched their strike craft.

"Clear lanes. Lances charged, firing in three... two... one-"

The ologramma fuzzed up as the four Endeavourite dreadnoughts unleashed their main batteries again; four enemy ships disappeared off the map, including another pair of Yrch cruisers. Missile tracks blossomed forth from the Yrch ships in retaliation, thousands upon thousands at once. The end point of a significant chunk... "Evasive, full jamming! Defensive fire!"

Kharon felt the deck rise up, and then suddenly fall away; whoever was at the helm stations was really putting the old man through his paces. Many of the trails went out, intercepted by area denial fire, and many kept coming on; they were much smaller than Theophanic anti-ship missiles, but that in and of itself was a problem. Rather than the usual handful of survivors, most of the salvo actually reached the ship to blast some craters in metres-thick armour and knock a single railgun turret out of action.

She was just about to comment something like "is that it?" when the ship rocked violently. "Damage report!" she ordered instead. "What hit us?"

There was rumbling from Frater Skotia. "Fore launch tubes inoperative," text scrolled across in one of her chat windows (of course he'd have made themselves compatible with the Endeavourite systems)."Maneouvrability reduced by twelve percent. Armour penetrated in sections 1256 through 3301. No fires. Fire control systems for our forward missile defence batteries are offline. We conjecture the damage was caused by delayed-fuse warheads."

Hers wasn't the only ship hit - or the worst off. The :dawoo: was already heeling out of line, symbols indicating it was streaming atmosphere and out of the fight. All the other battleships were showing some signs of damage, ranging from battered shields to knocked-out gun turrets. The Yrch had some fight left, it seemed; their smaller craft certainly had some bite to them.

"Missile tubes reloaded!" called one of the deck officers.

Time for revenge. "All batteries, salvo fire, targets uploading - launch!"

-

As Gunboat-3563 pitched and rolled, Mike struggled to stay standing. He had no idea why chairs were anathema to Management, but it was holy writ, and even a Commander could not ignore that. He kept one hand on the edge of the console before him, and tried not to look at the crumpled body of #4224, who had fallen badly when the gunboat had braked hard to avoid an enemy shell. "Reload the main gun!" he barked into his microphone, watching as the status light steadfastly refused to change from red to green. "We must break their battle-line now, or we all die!" It was futile, he knew; it had taken concentrated fire from three-quarters of the remaining gunboat force to knock one of the enemy battleships out, and there were still six left... and the four super-battleships behind them. The Yrch could barely even co-ordinate; only long battle experience had allowed them to get this far, and ships had grouped up along old allegiances just to have some semblance of a formation. They'd been cut up by nigh-invicible fighter craft, bombarded by a ceaseless rain of shellfire, obliterated by the missile swarms the turtle-ship put out, and erased by beams of blinding blue light, and the attack was truly faltering.

There was no way he would allow the fleet to break up now. He'd been raised by the hand of LON BEZO's divine servant, had sent the fleet of the United Unbelievers to the bottom of the South Sea, and that his first battle in the heavenly host would end like this... no.

On his console, a status light changed. The gunship's main weapon - the spinal railcannon - was finally ready to fire again; he swiped the touch-screen over to the helm controls, taking over from #4224. With one flick, he firewalled the ship's single thruster, and another pushed them over, heading directly towards the battleship on his starboard bow - it had taken some damage, and perhaps they could close enough to get under its guns.

They weren't alone in this; instinctively, the other Yrch gunboats heeled around and followed them in. Lines of light rose to meet him; the bridge window cracked as a shell blasted a gunboat ahead of him to dust, and a laser beam took off the rear anti-fighter turret, but he was alive, the thruster still worked, and the railcannon would still fire. That was all he would need. Shellfire blossomed once more from the infernal craft, but it simply swept past the gunboats and rammed home in the larger blockships and cruisers. More fool them; the true power of the Yrch fleet was not in the old slap-dash ships, but the force of sleek, modern gunboats that -3563 was one fine example of.

Still, it was big ship they were charging, and one covered in guns. Ship after ship beside him fell, but he pressed on. Perhaps LON BEZO truly did help those who showed devotion? He passed nearly close enough to touch the enemy battleship, flipping over its superstructure. He had to find a good target, he surely would not get a second shot. Of the ships that had charged with him, there was no sign. They had either fired and withdrawn, or more likely died on the approach.

There! As he sped over the back of the ship, he saw a great thruster bell - surely one of the main engines for this beast. Careful not to cross into its path, he lined up his shot.

"Fire!" he ordered; the whole craft rocked backwards from the recoil of the railcannon, a slug nearly as heavy as the rest of the gunboat combined (minus, of course, the other slugs) propelled forth at several times the speed of sound.

He didn't live to see the shot impact. A turbolaser blast from the very ship he'd just wounded obliterated him, and the rest of his gunboat, in an instant. His effort paid off, though, as the battleship Vainglorious slowed, making it an easier target for more Yrch ships.

-

Miko breathed out, and looked around the bridge of the snek. Each of the crew was armed and armoured, and all ambient linkages showed green; the ship's Save Point was fully functional. "Signal the Megakolymvitis; we are ready to launch on command."

"Megakolymvitis copies, and says the rest of the craft will be launching in one minute," Danny Boye reported back. "Our target is the undamaged Yrch cruiser."

Before them, the gigantic kleptoi bay doors began to open, illuminating the serried ranks of the boarding craft beside them. There were two dozen in total, each the size of the snek and packed full of Theophanic marines. The snek's job was to provide close support with its single 69mm hypervelocity mount, and the services of its crew. A great set of lights lowered from the upper deck; red, then amber, then, after an interminable wait, green.

"Engines to full!" Miko ordered, and they were off. Rei kept careful pace with the kleptoi as they raced in, trading potshots with Yrch boarding craft headed the other way; Rei (Skywalker) shot two to bits with carefully-placed shots from the '69, but soon the massive bulk of their target loomed large before them. Miko shook her head; it seemed every other star navy out there just had to build huge, inefficient warships. Sure, there were the 8===Ds in Protectorate service, but the rest of the designs were reasonable. Whatever happened to restraint?

It was amazing what the brain could seize upon to distract itself from diving onto the hull of a warship several times the combined mass of one's little strike force. The kleptoi went first, the snek slowing down to allow them to dock and make the initial cuts. A few gun batteries tried to fend off the boarders, only to be smothered in fire from the Theophanic boats.

"Epikoinonía. I gástra paraviástike," came the voice of one of the boarding party leaders, followed by intense gunfire and cries of "Chalazi soi Chelonis!"

Almost immediately, the '69 began barking again; AP-FRAG shells into the enemy ship to deal with clusters of Yrch soldiers, fire suppression rounds and vacuum sealing rounds to patch up areas purposefully vented or set alight, and even a few drone-shot rounds to reinforce the boarding parties. Slowly but surely, the Theophanic marines seemed to be pushing into the Yrch ship; their first objective, a hangar bay large enough to hold the snek, soon fell.

Miko placed a hand on Ayanami's shoulder. "Take us in."

-

On board the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Sovereign Protector Ayanami watched the battle unfold. Her grudging namesake, along with the other three Obligatory Anime Reference-class dreadnoughts, were reaping a rich harvest of destroyed enemy warships, but the tide had yet to stem, and their protective battleship screen was starting to wear thin. No ships had been outright lost, yet, but it had come damned close; the :dawoo:'s starboard armour had been stripped right down to the citadel, and the Vainglorious had lost most of its main battery. At least Megakolymvitis was drawing fire, though it had appeared worryingly out of position - and later than Kharon had said.

Still, it was a welcome distraction. Deprived of their fire support, the Yrch gunboats were starting to lose cohesion. Just a little longer, and they'd break, she just knew it...


To Be Continued

*Which is sort of like asking if the average person knows about gravity.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

ZENAR MINOR SYSTEM, HIGH ORBIT OF PLANET ZOZO

Far overhead in orbit around the planet ZoZo, the UISC defense force was in the middle of its normal evening routines. The Thunderbird was indeed in the lead of the formation, flanked on either side by the support cruisers. The dozen corvettes were busy doing joint maneuvers in small groups in the local area and otherwise going through their normal paces. And aside from an unusual if brief thermal reading on the planet at the start of their shift, nothing seemed out of place. Local time at the colony would have been near ‘dawn’ and it was just an hour or so earlier that the night shift had swapped places with the day shift. Moz had emerged from his quarters, Hat on head, and holding a steaming mug of coffee that one of his grandsons had sent him (at considerable expense) having purchased from an Endeavor merchant that read “HABS BEST KAPTAIN” The aged Quatonian looked around his bridge, saw that it was good, and proceeded to make his way to the center and take his place. His first officer, Tejlini Kletania Tethlala, (whom had already been awake two hours before) handed him a data pad with various notes from the night and information on recent reports of Yrch incursions. Watching him read over the documents, she offered her thoughts.

“There are unconfirmed reports of recent Yrch movements and attacks, I sent word of it to the colony earlier, advising them of possible deployments.” She said, as Moz gave a non-committal nod before responding.
“Sounds-good-seems-sensible-best-be-on-toes.” He said, pausing to down the rest of his coffee with a grunt (Quatonian coffee was something other races
tended to avoid, mostly for health reasons) Kletania nodded as she handed off one set of data pads for another to a passing crew member. Looking over the new pads she nodded as well.
“Indeed, as you have said, if we were going to be attacked, one would have expected it to happen already. But it pays to be careful and not be caught off guard.” And as she said this, in accordance with laws as old as time, that was when the first alarm went off.

“INCOMINGCONTACTS! Long-range-scanners-registering-many-many- unknown-ships from-hyperspace!” shouted Thaddeus Fonz, a Quatonian at sensors, next to him an Octona crew member continued.
“Incoming ships estimated three to four minutes out!” they shouted as Immediately the rest of the bridge began to respond as Moz sat up.
“Recall-all-corvettes-pronto-right-away-Signal-Cruisers-into-deffenseve-fromation-launch-long-range-sensor-drones!” he shouted, and then in keeping with the vary oldest of military doctrine, added “And-call-tell-send-word-to-UISC-command-possible-attack-send-help-toot-sewert!” Moz shouted, doing his best to keep a level temperament as the ships of the defense force began to pull together and form up ranks. Only a handful of non-sector ships were registered in the area and those were freighters.
“Confirmed, sending immediate call for reinforcements to nearest defense fleet in range of communication.” The officer at comms reported. A few moments later the forces had lined up, sensor ranges pushing as far as they could. Then with a cavalcade of explosions of lights, the Yrch Assault Fleet arrived. Moz, old as he was, still had a mind like a steel trap. While the others on the bridge felt themselves go pale (or arched their back and tails in the case of the Tejlini or Qwintoni crewmembers) Moz began to wordlessly crunch numbers and various battle conditions in his mind. Across the bridge, the crew reacting as a single trained entity began to go through the paces of what they had all learned and reacted as needed.

“Enemy vessels will be at minimal estimated firing distance in 48 second! Scanners at maximum and connecting with the rest of the fleet to extend range for possible weapon platforms and reactor readings.”
“Coordinating ECM and sensor jammers with Cruiser Packcard, efficiency against enemy units unknown, Cruiser reports Jamming will be at 100% of power in two minutes.”
“Sensors have finished breakdown of enemy hyperspace exit signatures! Mass spectrometers evaluating ship densities, confirming, currently five ‘heavy’ capital ships, possibly two are recognized as ‘Amazo’ factory ships. Five ‘medium’ capital ships, configurations unknown!”

Five big ships to his three, not good numbers but Moz trusted to skill and determination over what the others had. Two of the ships he recognized as the ‘Amazo-X’ factory ships, these were something almost everyone by now had read much on. They were real beasts, huge, heavy, hard to kill and damnably resilient; however, their main threat was simply swarms of combat drones that a good tactician could deal with. The other three ships were unfortunately unknown, but any first-year cadet would recite the old equation that, in the face of the unknown measure the mass and assume equal if superior arms. If this was correct, the larger of the other three ships would be a fair match and the smaller ones they could handle with superior deployment. That left the five other ships that Moz quickly categorized as ‘destroyers’ by their estimated scans to their mass and size. The squadron of corvettes had spent the last few months practicing tight formations and working in groups. Pound for pound they would be able to harass, hound, and hit and run the five larger ships enough to hold their own. Moz quickly reviewed that calculations in his mind, five bigs to his three, five mediums to his twelve smalls. It would be a close and messy thing, but he was confident in his forces, his training, and his crew.

“Incoming high-density projectiles! Scans reading long range heavy mass drives from unknown source!”
“Shield Screen angling to compensate, Cruisers Packcard and Cinnamonnon taking formation on either side to reinforce shield matrix for kinetic impact!”
“Mass signatures impacting in six seconds, five, four,--” The meteor like ammunition from the heaviest mass drivers came crashing across space towards its targets, as it did so, the other Cruisers closed ranks and flared their energy shields to maximum. The shields co-mingled, an old trick that had been learned to allow for kinetic energy from rail guns to be distributed over a much larger source. The ship lurched suddenly as the high intensity impacts went from a solid, to a liquid, to a gas in a fraction of a second and exploded massively across the layered shields of the cruisers. Directly behind it came a smaller volley hailing down from the five smaller vessels.
“Shield matrix down to 75% and holding, readings show efficiency of energy distribution will decrease rapidly as enemy ships close in.” shouted someone monitoring the engineering readouts as the sound of smaller slugs impacting and punching into the shielding could be heard. The cruiser rocked as they did their best to shield the smaller Corvettes hiding behind them.
“Re-angling shields, estimated next volley from high yield weaponry within 48 seconds!” Here at last Moz seemed ready to step in.

“Riiiiigggggghhhhhhtttttt…….” He said as he pulled the brim of his well-worn, if still comically oversized captains’ hat down and prepared himself to give a good and proper speech to rouse the crew. Quatonians as a whole didn’t normally go in for big, long rousing speeches. Leaving aside their language structure, they tended to be straight forward ‘do or do not’ types when it came to command. But Moz, ever the pragmatist had learned the importance of such things over the years and made ready to give it his best. And that was when the rest of the Yrch forces showed up.

“Additional contacts inbound! Hyperspace sensors detecting an unknown number of ships!” came the cry from one of the Octona at sensors, the other, furiously reviewing information quickly added.
“Contacts confirmed! Vessels small, size and appearance match that of ‘Yrch Raiding craft’. Ships are in tight formation; sensors are having a hard time identifying an exact amount possibly thirty, no forty ships identified! Attempting to bring up ships on visual Captain!” The primary display screen flickered as every last member on the bridge craned their necks. Moz looked up and goggled, his pipe falling from his mouth.


Across the gap in space from the forces of the UISC, the now fully amassed Yrch-Amazo-X invasion force bore down as the cloud of Gunboats arrived and drew into formation. In the rear of the battle formation, the ‘lead command ship sat overseeing the onrushing attack. Inside the vessel on the bridge, various Yrch grunts and crew busied themselves while a group of Amazo-X overseers looked at the more important pieces of information and coordinated the attack, or at least that was how it was supposed to go. In the middle of the bridge sat the Supervisor on Duty, whom, as the head of the mission rested on his shoulders the weight of the invasion. He was a large heavy-set individual whose grim expression spoke of someone that had seen much in their life, a man who had been shaped and molded by events to lead him to where he was. He looked out across the fields of numbers and readings before him, then looked back at the main screen.

“WOW! Did you see that? All those ships coming in at once, WOOSH! That was quite a sight don’t you think? I tell you; it reminds me back of when I was just a junior assistant supervisor manager, we were leading some factory ships around the Habs in the Elbonian Quadrant and knocking the blocks off a bunch of Endeavor freighters! Ungrateful lot, but I don’t need telling you all that! Anyways! In conclusion, I think this acquisition is going fantastic. Drinks all around!” The supervisor said, a broad smile on his face as around him, much of the crew went silent. Eventually after some awkward coughs, a luckless engineer with thick rimmed plastic glasses found it his role to speak up.
“Um, yes sir, very inspiring, although I am pretty sure there has been no official contact with the Endeavor since the war. And just as a reminder, the adjutant for the gunboats is requesting target orders and pursuit parameters, shouldn’t we press our attack while their other ships are still responding?” he said in a firm, if wheedling voice. The supervisor, who instinctively was suspect of anyone that seemed to question his actions, (let alone his own personal stories) took a moment to scratch the pointy hair on his head before placing his arms squarely on his round hips.
“Well, I don’t know, shouldn’t we? Seems the type of thing someone should be certain about!” There was a brief pause as the engineer looked to his co-workers who nodded.
“Yes?” he said as non-committal as possible. The pointy haired supervisor smiled and clapped his hands.
“Well ok then why didn’t you say so? Alright, attention to all our good employees in the Gunboat squadron, flotilla, thingie. Launch all the drones and go forward to meet those that stand in the way of the greater glory of the Company! Time to show these aliens what they are all missing out on!” He said, turning back to the screen in time to see another volley of massive heavy plated carbide bullets hurtle outwards to the UISC ships.
“OO! That was a big one.”



GREATGOOGILYMOOGILY!!!” Moz swore aloud as the ship lurched from another round of high-speed kinetic impacts. The full realization of how quickly the balance of forces had changed and by how much surged forward into his mind. Three forces now bore down on them. Any one of the three by itself, they could comfortably handle, two out of the three, messy and rough, but survivable. But all three together, they wouldn’t have a chance. The bridge went deathly silent aside from various proximity alerts. Once again everyone looked to Moz, although now with a very different and almost pleading expression. Now having gathered his wits about himself stood up on the captain’s chair (as he usually would to show the importance of something about to be said.) He took a deep breath, slowly placing his the pipe back into his mouth, gave a slight cough, and then shouted at the top of his lungs for all to hear.
“PUNCHEMINTHEFACEANDRUNRUNRUNRUN!!!” he bellowed and around him the bridge once more leapt into action. Next to him, his first officer Kletania, who had already anticipated this, made contact with the rest of the fleet.
“Attention all vessels of the fleet, as ordered we are to begin a retreating action upon the enemy. Reinforcements have been contacted and the forces of the 2nd Security defense fleet are already enroute to relieve us, our mission is to stay alive until such time as they will make it! All ships are authorized to exceeded standard safety protocols on engine tolerances for the duration of the engagement. All ships carry out ‘One-Punch’ contingency and come about immediately after second confirmed volley!” Klentania shouted, her voice crisp, authortive, and acting as a perfect translation of the Captain who by now was perched on top of his chair, balancing precariously, and throwing his fist up in the air as he gave another shout.
“FIRSTUSVOLLEYAWAY!” He cried as around him, in response to a battle command that could only have come from the mind of a Quatonian, every ship in the fleet capable of firing a missile did so. The Cruisers and Corvettes of the fleet, while vastly outnumbered, were ships that had their military doctrine born from early engagements that had relayed heavily upon missile technology. Over the years, technology had changed, and primary offensive weaponry in the Sector had shifted to high yield energy streams. However, missiles were a tried-and-true technology that was something that rarely needed to change, and one thing the sector races knew from personal experience, was they were an excellent method at causing a distraction. From fifteen ships came almost five hundred rockets and mini missiles. The volley represented about 70% of the entire missile payload of the fleet, but for what was being planned, they weren’t going to need any others.
“LETYOURTARGETINGPUTERSCHEWONTHATBIGMESSYOUSODSTRYANDCATCHMEPANTSDOWN!” Moz bellowed, now hopping back and forth from one large foot to the other, his chair creaking dangerously at this point. Meanwhile, counting under her breath and watching a display reading the velocity of the just unleashed volley, Klentania counted down the seconds until the next phase of the operation.



“There’s HOW many missiles coming at us?” The Pointy haired supervisor exclaimed as alarms and proximity alerts sounded out across the bridge of the ship and those across the fleet as well. On the display screen, clouds of fire from the smaller vessels had already erupted, vomiting forth salvos of weaponry into the general direction of the massive missile sawm with mixed results. Another engineer, this one at a station that seemed encrusted with fading yellow sticky notes and empty coffee cups. Looked up from his monitors and adjusted his own heavy glasses before giving a non-committal shrug.
“I dunno, maybe 400, or 500, hey if we get killed here will I still be able to cash in my unused vacation days?” he said as he rubbed his mostly balding head. The supervisor, ignoring any comments about non-existent vacation time, turned and gave a look of befuddlement.
“My god man! That’s like, 500 more missiles than we have going at them! Well that can’t be very good for productivity. I don’t see much of a reason sticking around if we’re going to be out manufactured like this, gave it our best shot and all, time to give this place the old heave ho!” He said, in a voice echoing with blissfully ignorant jovialness. Behind him can a dismissively sigh as a woman employee sitting at a weaponry console stood up and snorted.
“Oh please, do I have to do everything myself? Its simple 1st year mathematics.” She said as, wordlessly, she accessed the communications network to the smaller destroyers and the drones that had already been launched. “Look, we have forty-eight gunboats, each with two light auto turrets that can fire 20 rounds a second. That’s bound to take out 100 to 200 missiles right there.” She said as within a few moments, the gunboats acting with sudden uncanny precision began blanketing the field in front of them with a torrent of anti-fighter projectiles. “The majority of the drones have a single auto gun turret and can maneuver much faster than the gunboats, that takes out another 80 to 100 missiles.” She said as the drones that had already launched, were given new orders by the twin Factory ships, and immediately fanned out, going after missiles that had already gotten uncomfortably close. “That leaves less than 200 missiles, and our Destroyers can each target around twenty of those and just tank another ten straight to the face.” She said as moments later a maelstrom of explosions rippled across the screen of destroys positioned in front of the Battle cruiser, their shields flickering wildly yet seeming to hold. “There, you’re welcome!” she shouted and hunched back down in her chair as waves of explosions continued going off in the general direction straight ahead, the supervisor looked out and smiled.
“WOW! Am I great supervisor or what!” he said, looking at his hands before making little ‘pew pew’ motions with them. Behind him, the Weapons Associate snorted again.
“Yeah yeah, whatever, most of the targeting computers on the drones and gunboats are overheating so just be glad that was all they fired.”



“SECONDUSVOLLEYAWAY!” shouted Moz as just behind him Klentania relayed the command
“All ships launch remaining missile ordnance, synchronize all directional computers and execute Battle Turnaway!”
As a single entity, the entire fleet began to turn, each ship moving in a relative velocity and distance so that no ship was turning any faster, or slower, than any other ship. As they did so, the remaining missile ordnance of the fleet, all located in rear mounted launchers, was unleashed. Roughly two hundred missiles now screamed out from the turning fleet, the majority of these equipped with more powerful high energy drive systems. Behind the turning fleet, a maelstrom of anti-missile weapons fire and explosions rippled through the assembled Yrch fleet. For the vast majority of the vessels, especially the large battleships, all that could be observed was a hurricane of explosions and flashes of energy. Given the overwhelming number of the Yrch vessels, damage to the fleet itself was minimal, but of course the attack wasn’t meant to deal a crippling blow. Aside from covering the turning fleet, giving their engines time to spin up to maximum burn, it also helped to obscure the second volley. And though much smaller, it screamed through the overtaxed targeting computers of the enemy fleet. The majority of Yrch gunboats were in front of the screen of missiles exploding behind them from the first volley. They could see what the others could not as the oncoming second volley raced towards them at a frightening speed. Those who still had working targeting systems tried desperately to pepper the area in front of them as missiles screamed past. For those that were unable to track the speed at which the volley was approaching, some followed their sense of service to its ultimate conclusion and intercepted warheads with what they could, namely their own vessels.
Moz watched with satisfaction as a number, albeit a small number, of enemy vessels winked out of existence and damage inflicted on a number of others. The damage was nowhere near enough to even the odds, but he hopped it did good to rattle their opponents. Meanwhile, the fleet had already completed its turn and had begun powering up all engines to full burn status, going as high as they dared on each of their reactors as they began to make their escape. Moz watched the enemy vessels begin to shrink behind him and give a gleeful smile. Now came the third and final part of this particular version of the maneuver, Klentania, in her professional opinion, was always rather dubious of its intended result. She had known Theodor Moz for a long time, and, while eccentric and brash (at least as measured by any Quatonian) she knew him to be a reasonable tactician, still, even he had his funny little ways.
“Comms Officer Ja’Jaro, open channel directed at enemy fleet and remove encryption for the duration of the transmission.” She said, trying her very best to keep a straight face as next to her, Moz climbed down from the position atop his chair and readjusted his hat. On the other side of the bridge, the confused but obedient Communication officer did as instructed.
“Y-Yes Madam, un-encrypted channel now open in direction of enemy fleet.” The room went silent save the sound of crew members furiously typing at consoles. Moz Coughed briefly.

“Ahoy-hellos-good-to-meet-you-lovely-amazo-goons!-Hope-you-happy-suck-on-them-sour-red-fruit!-Your-vice-president-sleeps-with-union-workers-and-your-ceo-smells-of-socialism!” he shouted, to general confusion mixed with a number of barely contained snickers and chuckling. Klentania herself had to hold her paw in front of her to try and muffle a laugh as Moz, already good and worked up, landed his final jab to anyone that might be listening. “Now-go-away-scram-do-a-runner-or-I’ll-come-call-get-bring-in-Endeavor-ships!” and here, a pause, “They-build-MUCH-better-merchandise!”


Back on bored the lead vessel, the pointy haired supervisor watched agog as a number of Gunboats evaporated in bubbles of explosive flame and the smallest of the five destroyers lurched as it moved just slightly slower than the others and was landed a series of punishing blows square on its jaw. He stiffened up and fumed before finally exploding out from his chair.
“Why they can’t say that to me! Can they? I mean I am not quite sure all what they said, but it sounded rude! Can they say that?” he bellowed as the first engineer, adjusting the glasses on his unusually long and narrow head, found himself responding without being able to help himself.
“Well, if the question is in a more literal capacity, seeing as how they already have spoken, then the answer would obviously be yes, but if you are asking more in a breach of protocol on whether they have the authority to talk to you…” The engineer continued onwards; all sense of self perseveration thrown aside until his co-workers frantically waved him into silence. Looking around at the others on the bridge awkwardly, he looked back to the Pointy haired supervisor and tried desperately to change topics as he wilted under the annoyed gaze of the Manager. “In any case, our competitors fleet seems to have taken the opportunity to be trying to escape, we really should be doing something about that.” He said, as the manager seemed to catch up with events.
“They are? Oh well that’s not good. Alright! All ships forward and give chase! No one tells me to suck on a sour red fruit, whatever those are.” The pointy hair manager said before easing back into his Amazo-brand recliner deluxe and pushed the massage button. The large lumbering factory ships flared to life and began pressing forward, soon joined by the other capital ships making up the bulk of the invasion fleet, meanwhile the gunboats had barely waited for the order and were already far out in front, working to close the gap between their singular central mounted rail gun and the UISC forces. As the fleet moved forward, the weapons employee was looking down at some information that, apparently, was being forwarded to her after being ignored by one of the other co-workers, specifically the one in the stickie note encrusted cubicle console.
“WALTER, if you don’t start responding to your emails, I WILL kill you!” she said as she effortlessly coordinated a series of damaged gunboats to circle behind the rest of the pack and out of the way of a few remaining UISC missiles. To this, the apparent ’Walter’ who was industriously cleaning an ear, shrugged.
“I already know what it’s about, it’s just some orders about the launch of troops to the surface for, I don’t know, grabbing some new important asset.” Hearing this, the other engineer craned his neck around to glare at his coworker.
“Well, if you know what the orders are, why don’t you launch the drop shops?” He said adjusting his glasses. Here, Walter shrugged again.
“I did it last time, why don’t you do it? Just because I’m closest to the button--” His last comment was cut short as the weapons employee had walked over, and slammed his face into the console panel, activating the command to launch ground forces.
“THERE! I pushed it for you! I hope your happy!” she said, before stomping off.

From bellow the Battle Cruiser and the two factory ships, large hanger bay doors opened as shielded drops ships began to stream out and head towards the atmosphere. The invasion of ZoZo had begun.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

OMG TRIPLE POST
Last edited by Crossroads Inc. on 2021-11-16 09:56am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

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DOUBLE POST
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

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Bridge of the NRS Pitch
Isenvadejo, Yrch/Amazo-X Space
Outer Solar Orbit


"Conn, Sensors. Passive sweep of the system complete. Reading no major warships. There are a few system monitors, but nothing that the fleet can't mop up. Our target was here, but it's gone."

"Sensors, Conn, aye. Hopefully the flyboys got more than one beacon attached."

"Conn, Comms. We've achieved the breakin on their SATCOM, if you can call it that. This is... reading as Amazo-X traffic, sir."

The bridge went still for a moment. "Comms, Conn, aye. Confirm."

"Confirmed, Captain. Definitely them. Putting a sample on audio."

The bridge speakers started to blare an advertisement for Amazo-X Web Services.

"Right, that's enough of that. Comms, Conn, prepare a directional burst transmission. Apprise fleet command of our findings. Helm, stand by to evade if we're detected. All other stations maintain silent running."
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by VX-145 »

Endeavour System, The Battle

Despite looking like a gigantic anachronism, the bridge tower of an Endeavourite dreadnought in the 66th century was both far more and far less useful than that of their 20th century namesake. Between extreme automation and communications systems the people of those ancient days could only dream about, the whole nine-hundred-metres-and-change long warship could be flown by one person, though this could be done from nearly any console on the ship. In day-to-day navigation, the tower was useful in getting around the near endless tide of debris and asteroids that made up Endeavour space, while in combat it served as a control node and decoy all rolled into one.

The bridge of the Miho Nishizumi, for example, was a mess. Most of the floor was made of cushions, there were snack wrappers neatly contained in a corner, and the control consoles were less console and more wire.

Not because of the battle, mind, it was just always like that.

"Lance charged in thirty seconds!" Yukari called, prompting Hana to begin lining the great alloy beast up for the next shot; the entire dreadnought dragged itself around to point back twards the Yrch fleet, bow-onwards. It masked the rear turrets, but they simply switched to guided shot.

Saori looked up from one of the many, many small screens surrounding her. "Akko's on Facship two, Rei's taking Carrier 1, and Obligatory is going flak-shot." A previously rare tactic, the Particle Beam Lance could be set to invert after a set distance, turning it into a remarkably effective weapon against small craft. "Vainglorious is returning to line."

Miho Nishizumi - not the one the ship was named after - nodded. "Co-ordinate fire with Akko," she ordered. "Let's take that factory ship out of the fight!"

Already, blue energised gas was collecting in the ship's prow, kept barely contained by the giant ring magnet that formed the "barrel" of the Particle Beam Lance. The ship's particle accelerator spat out the last few specks of antimatter needed for a full charge, and the whole batch was transferred to a linear accelerator with a soft click. Less than a tenth of a second later, it shot out the front of the barrel, wrapping itself in the blue gas, CHOOMing its way towards the ill-fated Amazo-X ship. The beam connected the two ships for a moment, obliterating a drone that happened to fly into it, before the turbolaser wrapping expended all of its energy. This, alone, left a hole the size of a house punched through the entire ship, from top deck to bottom, before the antimatter payload did its usual thing with the unfortunately-matter ship. The entire front half of the Amazo-X factory ship was obliterated in an instant, which was a bit of a problem for the crew.

Especially because a second bolt - the Akko Kagari's - did the same to the aft half a split-second later.

-

Alarms rang across the massive bridge. Theophanic discipline held-- the assorted bridge officers were capably shouting orders, the crew of their departments relaying those orders or communicating back and forth information as necessary. It was a bit of a racket, but at least, a well organized one. The technognostiki in the rear choir-balconies were buzzing as they coordinated damage control. Sensors officers worked together with taktiki, updating the gigantic ologramma filling most of the open space above the bridge tiers to keep a constantly shifting battlefield on display.

Kharon felt a deep vibration through the bones of Megakolymvitis and snapped, “Defteros Geraint, you’re up” as a taktiki officer shouted, “Contact made! Hostile ingress-burn on hull, starboard quadrant 9-gamma!”

“By your command, my Lady,” was the prompt response from Geraint, one of her second mates, currently detailed to lead the Chelonis anti-boarding response units. She tapped a button on one of her consoles and spoke into the sprechenlange, “All hands, we have been boarded. Prepare for combat. All bosuns, break open weapons lockers. Medical, stand to. Crew, know that these are no fellow Theophanics we face. Lethal force is hereby authorised. Expect no mercy, and give none. Chalazi Theouautokratora! Chalazi Megakolymvitis!”

“Chalazi soi Chelonis!” was the response that rang across the intercom as she clicked it off. Distantly within the turtle-craft’s hull, the first Yrch that jumped through the glowing circle of the ingress-burn was promptly knocked backwards against the bulkhead by several rounds’ worth of heavy shot. Its mates, perhaps smarter, responded by throwing heavy charges through the entrance and waiting for the explosion. When they jumped out, they were confronted by massive shields that parted almost leisurely in the hands of class-four warsuits to allow a great rush of armoured soi Chelonis troopers through.

The dance of boarder and defender played to its deadly conclusion six thousand times across the Megakolymvitis. Here, warsuited Theophanic marines pushed into a Yrch boarding pod, effortlessly brushing aside the light infantry it carried; there, the roles were reversed, the boarders carrying a high-yield explosive a whole hundred metres into the ship before being exterminated. The overall damage was minimal, but combined with the constant sand-blast of railgun fire from the ships englobing the Mega, it was starting to add up...

-

Theophanic marines were, to put it bluntly, brutally effective. Miko was getting a little numb to seeing them brute force their way through Yrch barricades, grenades and shotguns doing their messy work. They were in their element, and it was best to leave them to it; instead, she took a handful of volunteers (including Heavy), and planned her own push out from the docking bay.

//DIE HARDMAN PROTOCOLS ACTIVE// flashed upon her HUD the moment she stepped off the ship. "Flutters, you're on relay duty," she said.

Fluttershy didn't respond, but picked up a large bundle of communications relay posts from the nearest autologi port, and with them a rifle. Heavy was first out the door, sweeping his oversized laser cannon from side to side even though the dock was safe. Miko herself was second - she was less baseline human than Satomi, the next one in line, and could risk taking more hits if her shield went down. She was carrying the standard loadout - lightsabre, rifle, and handgun - and wore an armoured suit. Satomi was the same, though Fluttershy broke the trend - her suit was reinforced, and as well as her rifle and the relay posts, she bore a mounted gun on her back. Between them all wove the usual train of small robots; power-carriers, fab-carriers, that sort of thing.

The small group made their way out of the Theophanic cordon, and pushed into the bowels of the Yrch ship. It was both like and nothing like the Amazo-X ships she'd been trained to board; every material was rougher, cruder, but there was a strange sense of order that pervaded the whole thing. If they went left at this junction, for example, they would definitely find one of the ship's food court areas. Or the local equivalent, at least. They made it two more junctions before meeting opposition; a platoon of Yrch, power-armoured and large, bearing stapled-together versions of Amazo-X rifles.

Heavy swept his laser along them, cutting down the first rank, and rounds sparked off the small party's shields. Miko returned fire, two rounds directly into the chest of a Yrch marine; she ducked back, hearing the poor creature's scream, and forced sheer revulsion at the profance act out of her mind. The firefight was over by the time she was back out, the Yrch all down. Heavy tagged most of the bodies - there had only been one or two headshots, so they'd likely survive - and one of the robots started fabbing out a minature aid station. The group, however, pushed on - the robot could tend to the dead.

Resistance increased the furthey they pressed on, to the point where Miko had to trade in her rifle for a larger weapon. Heavy's shields began to falter around the sixth junction, so they set up a temporary barricade in a side room and waited for the recharge cycle to kick in. Miko took a place at the parapet, taking pot-shots at the Yrch who had fortified themselves at either end of the corridor. They didn't seem inclined to make a charge yet, probably because the last bunch that had tried hadn't made it more than three paces. She was about to pop a shot off at what looked to be an officer, when some commotion at the back of the Yrch position made her hesitate. There was what looked to be like a Theophanic warsuit back there - but the nearest Imperial squad was a full two hundred metres away. What was one doing here?

-

The answer, of course, was "being very lost". Dekanéas Gamaliel had, despite the wide array of communications equipment available to him, somehow gotten separated from his squad during one of the pushes. There had just been too many of the damn Yrch, and he'd ducked to take cover, and turned the wrong way trying to find his way back to the firefight. At least, that was the version of events he was going to present when he got back, and not the version where he'd slunk off in the exact opposite direction of the gunfire. It wasn't his fault he'd been born with an allergy to bullets.

Now he was beginning to regret that decision. He'd left the relative safety of having a half-dozen other marines around him, and was on his own in the bowels of a Yrch ship... and had gotten lost for real. And then he'd run into a whole damn company of Yrch, and had screwed up his only chance of escaping before they noticed him. Well, there were none in the passage behind him yet, maybe he could still get out? He ducked behind a surprisingly thick door as Yrch rifle fire pattered around him, loosing off a round from the railgun he'd been issued. A shot came from behind, and he barely even looked around before pasting some unfortunate soul with a backhand. The return fire only intensified - how many of them were there? A particularly large example of the species came at him with a roar, and he put a round through its chest before realising it was only the first of several, and his railgun was not built for rapid fire. Drawing his axe, he caught the second Yrch in the chest, and whirled around to face the third, only to find it no longer had a head.

The Captain's girlfriend was in the thick of the Yrch, a photon sabre flashing in one hand and a small pistol in the other. She was almost too fast to keep up with, the blade flashing here one moment and there the next; pistol occasionally firing to keep just enough of the Yrch back to make her fight manageable. One tried to line up a shot with a shotgun, only for their entire chest to disappear - the good Captain had backup, it seemed, as three other Endeavour spacers and a whole panopoly of small robots came barreling out of their hideaway. He almost breathed a sigh of relief, and then some instinct made him turn around. He had supposed the room he'd almost ducked into was just another supply closet, or ancilliary room with a console or two for some arcane function. Well, it contained a console... but also a window looking out into serried ranks of what were unmistakeably cryogenic storage pods, built for Yrch. There must be hundreds of thousands of them!

"That looks like a problem," Captain Miyasawa said, as her companions began fortifying the chamber. "These look like controls..." She studied them for a moment, "And they were just about to start the unfreezing procedure when you distracted them."

Instantly, Gamaliel felt his blood chill. He knew what the next words out of Miyasawa's mouth would be before she said them, so he got there first: "I'll withdraw to the Theophanic lines and get reinforcements." Better that than sitting in a death trap like this place, with uncountable Yrch a single window pane and a hot breeze away. For her part, the Endeavourite Captain just nodded, and handed over a larger version of the mobile phones Endeavourites sometimes used.

"This'll guide you back to your lines. Good luck."

Gamaliel paused just long enough to not be rude (the lady was an Endeavourite Captain, and a good friend of his own to boot) before booking it. Finding his squad was easy, and only the knowledge that if he didn't actually do his job, then he would have thousands of Yrch gunning for him kept him from wandering off again. His sergeant took a minor bit of convincing - somehow, the man had the strange impression that Gamaliel had been fleeing from the battle - but soon enough they were all on their way back to the cryogenics control centre. And by "all of them", that unfortunately included Gamaliel, who had not been able to slip away once more. Cursing his luck, and the stubborn manner in which his comrades refused to take minor injuries that he could escort them back to the kleptoi for, he consoled himself by staying very much in the middle of the squad.

He needn't have bothered. Not a single Yrch opposed them on their reinforcement push, and as they reached the control room he saw why. Corpses littered the ground, three deep in some places, and the opposite end of the hallway was entirely collapsed. Two turrets, one with a worryingly large cannon and the other with eight smaller guns, tracked them as they approached. Most of the Endeavourite spacers were fine; the large one with the oversized laser cannon had one arm missing, and the other human one had a few rents in her armour, but the real stand-out was Miyasawa, who looked to be missing half her head, most of her chest, had more miscellaneous chunks of flesh missing, and was still standing. She turned her head.

"Glad to see you made it," she said, as the Theophanic marines looked on in mild horror. "Sorry if there's a slight delay, I'm running on remote right now."

-

The battle had entered its final stages. All seven of the Endeavourite battleships had been forced back, streaming atmosphere and with heavy wounds, and damage was piling up on the great dreadnoughts. The Yrch themselves were nearly a spent force, too, most of their heavy ships rendered to their constituent atoms, and the only thing keeping them in the fight was the slim chance of victory left to them. The remaining gunboats and parasite craft gathered for the final push, keeping careful spacing so as to not be obliterated by one shot, and the last Middle Manager of the force ordered the attack, even bringing in his troop transports in a last-ditch effort to take the enemy space station conglomerate. They burned away from the Magakolymvitis, his engines disabled by concentrated fire, and towards their target.

Which was, of course, when the Endeavourite reinforcements arrived. Over a dozen ships, cruisers and destroyers, closed the trap, and the spent Yrch had no chance.

-

"What ship fired that shot?" Kharon asked, pointing at where one of the larger parasite craft had been struck. "It's not showing up on the display."

Frater Skotia tapped a mechadendrite on the command throne, bringing a pixellated blur into focus. "̷̬̒̀M̶̲̊͌y̸̭̺̆ ̴͔̽a̴̟͗p̵̫̮̑̿o̴̼̣͋l̴̙̭͊õ̶̼g̷̜̘̎í̴̭e̵͇͗s̸̡̅͝ͅ,̵̩̺̓̐ ̵͎͓̉b̸̦̊͋ű̴͚t̷̳̯͒ ̷͔̼̊̉I̷̻̋ ̵͉͒̈́c̷̱͎̾a̵̺̍̓ṇ̷͂n̶̨̝͆͐o̵͖̎ť̷͈̣ ̷̯̘͝f̷̯̽͠o̵͙̐͂c̵͖͒̄ͅȕ̶̯̌ş̶̘̾ ̵̪̆t̸̡͒h̴̢́̊͜ē̶̦̟ ̷̏ͅd̷̙̄ĭ̸ͅs̴̪̻͠ṕ̴͈͚̍l̷̘̍̓a̴̛̘̙y̶̮͇̒ ̶̲͆a̶̗͋̒ͅn̸͍͙̏͝y̵̖̅ ̶̭̃̐f̵̗͓͛ù̴͓̽r̸̟̤̀̉ẗ̷̡̺́ḥ̷̳̃e̷͕͉͋̚r̴͚͕̆.̴̟̆͆ ̸̛̼M̵̖͝y̵͔̳͒͘ ̸̺͈̃̕ŗ̶̹̄͠ẻ̶͙̓c̴̖̜̉ǫ̸̥̒̆r̵͙̲͋d̸̖̆s̸͍̞͑̿ ̵̘̞̐̉i̵̢̟͛̚n̴̙͕͗͊d̴̛̙̯i̶͕͛c̵͓̤̔à̶͎̬̕t̵̯̳̀ẽ̷̡̖ ̷͇͠í̵̟̗t̶̛̳̐ ̴̠͙͛̓ỉ̵͜s̴̞̪̿̓ ̴̢̈́a̴̡̳͛n̷̖͈̈́ ̵̘̣͝͝"̷͈̫͊̍É̴͙ì̴̩̕g̵̯͐ẖ̷̃̅t̶̺̺̓̅ ̵̦̀̍Ẽ̶̟͠q̶̲̫̊ù̷͉ä̸͍̦̿ĺ̶̲s̷̤̈́͗ ̵̼͂̚E̵̞͛q̵͇͒͜ù̸̙ă̸̖̼l̶̟̍͌ş̶̍ ̵̠̎E̶͎͌̆q̸̣̬̈́͌ư̵͙̚a̶̬͛͌l̸͇̟͊̓s̴̻̳̾ ̵͎̍́ͅD̸͕͙́͘"̵̥̭̾͘-̶̞̈̚c̸͉̈̌l̵͔̓å̸̡͎ş̷̥̈͐s̵͈̰͝͝ ̸̥̼̉͂c̷̙̾͋r̷̞̈́̔u̴̦͎͌ï̷̝̀ș̸̿̇e̶̙͇̎r̷̖̻͝,̵͙͇͝ ̸͕͇̕ẗ̶̲̠́h̴̺̬͋͛o̶͍͈̓͘ú̴̻̃g̵̰̉̎ḧ̸̲́ ̶̳͚̈́I̶̦̾ ̷̢͆͂s̶̻͘u̶͉͇̎s̸̡̼͆̋p̷̢͂̿ḙ̸̭̈́c̴͖̔̃t̸̼̔̊ ̷̤̒t̶̲̐͋ḧ̵̳̺́͑â̶̳̫͆t̵̪̃ ̶͓̉͋i̶̥͆s̸̗͗ ̸̨̍̀i̵͇͊̋n̶̼͕̽ ̶͚̖̐̀ḛ̸̭̑r̸̻̓͝r̶̤͚̾͝o̷̚͜r̸̪͋̕.̶̤͐"̷̬̋

Kharon furrowed her brow. "Eight equals equals... wait, I get it. There is no error." She resolved to simply ignore such ships in future, and instead cast a critical eye over the damage control efforts. They were still immobile, but the enemy had left them well enough alone; they might be able to make one-quarter speed in a few minutes. Not that the battle would take that long; as she watched, a squadron of Endeavour destroyers - each the size of the snek but armed like weapons were going out of style - blasted the last factory ship to a hulk with a volley of heavy fire. The Yrch motherships, too, were being picked apart; one Yrch cruiser flashed away, but within minutes, the tactical screen showed no more hostile warships. Some had surrendered (particularly the unarmed transports carrying the Yrch army's main body), others had been captured, but most had simply contributed to the great debris field that made up the Endeavour system.

Already, full-scale repairs were underway; one battleship seemed to close the wounds on its starboard side in moments, while another practically grew a replacement turret. Kharon let out a long sigh, and unbuckled her helmet. "Prepare a makrysofas," she ordered. She had an Endeavourite Captain to look in on.





OOC:
Mechanically, the combat lasted 5 rounds.
Yrch losses: nearly total except for one retreating cruiser.
Endeavourite losses: 335 points of damage, spread mostly amongst the battleships and dreadnoughts. 147 of this is healed immediately due to Improved Logistics. 78 IP salvaged from the battlefield. I'll decide what to spend this on hopefully before the turn ends, so as to have it available for Turn 3.
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Elheru Aran
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Elheru Aran »

Helios III
Site of the Theophanic Embassy


The news that a Yrch mothership had emerged into orbit and dropped cruisers arrived at the Theophanic embassy founding ceremony about the same time that the mothership exploded. Even a ship as massive as that only made a star-like flicker in the bright afternoon sky far above the ceremony, but experienced eyes among the Theophanic and Nashtari security complements noticed it right away. They had naturally been informed as soon as their respective fleets sensed the intrusion, and sharp Endeavourite ears (or, depending on the being, discreet but highly sensitive antennae pulling in all nearby signals) already knew as well, if their ambassador ‘Lucky’ Nyallone discreetly pulling out a Tommy-gun almost as big as she was from an implausibly small violin-case indicated anything.

Lord soi Hapax looked up from the urgently whispering armoured officer on the dais before the stands and straightened up. Spreading his arms, he took in the buzzing crowd and called, “My friends and colleagues. By now you will have been informed that we are under a state of emergency. The perfidious Yrch have entered the orbit of this world, intent upon doing us all harm. But have courage, for the valiant forces of the Empire are at hand!”

He held his hands out wide, and precisely at that moment, the alteskolasis hell-jumpers cast off their ptychi-shield lifting-bodies and fired their landing rocket-harnesses. Gilt armour shot through with the green of soi Hapax shone in the hot yellow flare of retros as they descended majestically, landing flanking the dais in good order, weapons ready for action. Tagmatarchios Tzefri soi Hapax drew a long glittering blade and saluted the Ambassador-regent, then the stands, and overhead the first couple of Theophanic drop-ships screamed past and began circling.

One of them drew close to the stands and hovered, its incredible size dwarving the bleachers. Twenty-metre-wide hatches levered open alongside the hull of the dropship and massive armoured vehicles rocketed out, landing thunderously and sending dirt spraying as they drifted into a surprisingly orderly formation facing outward from the bleachers. The dropship settled closer to the ground and monstrous class-four warsuits wielding shields fit for their size jogged out, closely followed by a flood of armoured troops. Swiftly the stands were surrounded, much to the Nashtari security forces’ visible discomfiture.

Ambassador Shelton was standing by Natanael soi Hapax at this point, and cautiously inquired, “I do hope you understand that we are quite safe here, Lord Ambassador? Our forces have us well protected…”

soi Hapax chuckled lightly. “Of course they do. They will not object to us… adding a second layer of safety, shall they?”

Turning back to the crowd, he called out, “My friends. If you will board the ship here, we will bring you to our new embassy structure, and protect you there until our gracious hosts of Nashtar and our Theophanic ships above have eliminated the threat. Our forces will preserve us and keep us safe in the meantime from any insults to our dignity. To the walls, my comrades!”

He wasn’t kidding; two hovering dropships were literally dropping walls around the dimly glowing embassy structure in the distance. Another was deploying gigantic construction-type mech-suits, which were painstakingly quite literally unfolding the fallenschloss into a complete embassy building. Distantly, the roar of rocket engines from Billings Aerospace Force Base, not far from the Theophanic embassy, heralded the scrambling of fighters as air raid sirens began to sound.

There was a general mutual glancing at each other and then a consensus seemed to form as the crowd started filing towards the dropship besides the stands.

Helios III Orbit

Above, Mikhalil sat back in his throne with satisfaction as the Yrch raiders dissolved under the barrage of heavy railgun shots from the Nashtari fleet. Then he frowned and pointed. “That signal. Is it intact?”

“Yes, my lord, one Yrch ship, minor size. We read heavy damage to engines and weapons, but it is braking to deorbit as quickly as it can.”

“Taktiki?!” he barked.

“We estimate they are heading directly for Union City, my lord,” came the prompt response from that officer, “and if they continue upon their arc, they will ground in the area of the Theophanic embassy.”

“Damn it!” Mikhalil came to his feet and pointed at the steersman. “You!”

The ypolchagos-- Theophanic ships being large and precious, their piloting was restricted to officers for the most part-- swiveled in his seat and saluted. “Yes, my lord?”

Mikhalil pointed at the planet below on the bridge ologramma. “Ten minutes from my mark, I want to be able to reach out the ventral hangar and pluck flowers for my girl. Understood?”

The steersman saluted again crisply. “It shall be done, my lord.”

Mikhalil nodded. He sat down and back, and the restraint clips on his throne clicked into place on his warsuit. Thumbing a button on the arm of the throne, he called, “All hands shall brace for immediate emergency maneuvers. On my mark, Steersman… mark.”

For a moment, the Teknitis hung above Helios III, the lights of traffic glittering nearby around the planet. Then hot flares lit below its wide prow and upon its back, great maneuvering thrusters ignited on full emergency power, flipping the craft a full one-eighty degrees within seconds, like watching a continental plate turn over. As soon as it was facing fully opposite to its orbital direction, its drive thrusters lit, incandescent torches blazing as its ventral thrusters burned hard to push it downward into the atmosphere of the world below.

As the ship dropped much like a rocket-propelled brick-- indeed, its aerodynamics were not too dissimilar, if bricks came in ten-kilometre lengths-- fire wrapped around it as its deceleration burn stopped and the maneuvering thrusters forced it back around again. On its expansive bridge, Mikhalil gritted his teeth against the massive vibration shaking the entire gigantic craft and grunted out, “Do we have a lock?”

“A-a-almost-- m-my Lo-lord,” chattered a weapons officer. Mikhalil nodded and growled, “Taktiki. Collateral damage?”

The vibration started smoothing out, and then the ship jerked forward as its drives lit again once it was facing a trajectory that took it directly towards Union City. At several times the speed of sound, they would be there within moments… but the Yrch ship was almost there already.

Mikhalil began muttering a prayer of forgiveness for the devastation that bringing a wreck down upon Union City would likely wreak. Someone at one side of the bridge was screaming into the comm, presumably on Nashtari spectra, to clear the airspace over the city... and then the taktiki shouted, “Aspis! My lord, there is an aspis over Union City!”

A shield? Mikhalil’s heart lifted. The Nashtari were no fools, then. “Weapons,” he bellowed despite the gravities pressing him back into his throne, “fire all facing ordnance that has a lock, now!”

The wide banks of clouds distant above the coast of Helios’ primary continent broke apart as the gigantic Magnatrabes battleship punched through them, spewing clouds of missiles and laser-straight tracers of railgun fire. Above Union City, the Yrch raider jerked and convulsed under the shattering weight of fire both from Teknitis and ground-side Nashtari defense batteries, and began disintegrating. Wreckage from it flared as it burned up against the powerful aspis dome over the city.

“It’s about to fall upon the urban district!” came a cry somewhere on the bridge. Mikhalil’s response was instant. “All casemates on the fore quarter will withdraw pieces and seal hatches. All hands, brace for impact! Steersman, ram the gios tis skylas [son of a bitch]! Push it away from the city! Now!”

Teknitis performed its duty admirably. The gigantic bulk of the ship, its armour plate scorched black from re-entry, slammed directly into the hulk of the Yrch raider and bodily shoving it away across the width of the city within seconds. In fact the ship was moving so fast that the wind of its passage tore up a broad stripe of land along the continent, only ending when the steersman forced it on an upward trajectory back into orbit, the completely totaled raider falling away into an ocean on the way up.

Mikhalil sat back and sighed as Teknitis began braking to re-enter its orbital position, having almost flown past it. Though in fact the ship had actually went around the planet a couple times or so… but that was immaterial as he snapped, “Situation update. Are they safe below? No wreckage on them or anything?”

The communications officer called out, “The embassy reports they are coming under fire. They read a number of landers dropping from that raider just before we hit it…”

He cursed again (this trip was giving his vocabulary a workout, he reflected). “Tell them we will commence dropping reinforcements as soon as we’re in position again, but until then…”

Theophanic Embassy Complex, Helios III

Sparks showered from above and workers bustled around Natanael soi Hapax as he and his entourage, including the Nashtari Ambassador Shelton and Nyallone of Endeavour, strode into the Theophanic fallenschloss’ great hall. Robed technognostiki directed hordes of laborers as they were finishing erecting what appeared to be an array of tactical consoles upon the carefully placed thick fiber mats protecting the highly polished wooden floor. As soi Hapax, still clad only in a fine robe and a flowing kilt, came up to a firm stop before the primary console, a technognostiki came hurrying up.

M̶͍͉͎̹͒̄̂̈̋͘͜y̵̖̖̘̽͆̏̏̌̌͝ ̵̼͖͚̖͕̙́͜l̷̢͖̯̖̼̼͊̃̓̒̀o̴̻̘̔͊͒̃r̵͈̆̂̈́́̕̚d̵͔͒͊̀͐,̶̹̼̦̟̗͐͋͗̓̄̈̈́͜ͅ ̶̗͇͇͂̐̾͒̒̆̈́̈́w̷̻̯̤̦̖̍̎͒̏͘͝e̸̡̛͖̖͕̖̪̜͂ ̴̘͗̌̂́͛̓̀ś̷̫͓̮̱̬̻̰̻t̸̡̛̞͖͖̣̰̽̋ạ̶̡̯̬̲̤̦͉̐͊͘n̵̙̑̓̀͛̇͠ḍ̶̙̬̹̮̂̈́̀ͅ ̷͚̪͈̼̯͎͒̐̌̀͘͠͝r̶̺͇̪̆e̵͍̒̄̂̀͂a̸͇̗͉̣͕͒̃͆͋́͊̓d̸̗̺̦̰̈́̔ͅy̶͍̪̫̤͕̩̋̅̊̑̄̂͠ͅͅ ̶̨̦͐̀̀̄̕̕͝t̵͖̾̽o̵̡̧̜̰̔̋ ̵̠̯̺̳̳̉ò̸̧̧̨͙̭͉͚̘́̄ṽ̶̞͙̙̭̟͗e̸̤̲̪͖̰̳̐̓̀̾ͅr̵̻͇͔̂͘ͅs̷̻̏͐̈ḙ̷͉̩̝͚͖̱͒̇̈́́̐̕e̶̦͂̊̍ͅ ̸͇͔̤̥͓̜̥̉͝t̴̨̛̮̄̒̐̑̋̀h̸̰͇̏̈̈́͘e̷̱̺͊͑́͋͂͝ ̷̨̡̛̭̩͇̼̆́͐́̇̊̇ͅb̷̞̝͇̂̈̈́̃a̷̤͔̭͉̬͖̙̹͐̂͆̀͘̕t̸̡̪̹̖̟̋̕t̸̢͇̗͉̞̜͎̻̎͒̌̎̂̀͠͠l̴̻͚̘̻̈́͊̎̋͗̅̚e̸̘͖̥̗̟͑̿̋̈́͒̏͜ ̴͚͔͊̕͘͠a̸̡̢̘̻̥̣̔̀̋̉̕ͅͅt̶̢̛̻̪̀͌̊̒͝ ̴͔̤̯͇̲̂h̵͂͌́̄͒̿͜a̴̛͖͂͂͛̔̕͠n̸̛̬d̶̲̲̠̰͗̽, reported the engineer. soi Hapax nodded and responded, “Proceed. Light the ologramma. Let’s see our situation.”

The technognostiki bowed and gestured dramatically. A massive console in the center unfolded and smoothly extruded a projector, which flared and then sent icy blue light across the entire chamber. As it was almost the size of a basilica, this was no small feat; but it was a large situation…

Besides soi Hapax, a warsuited officer drew up and pointed. “See there the Yrch craft shedding landers? Ah, ground fire took that one out…”

“Yes, Chaerepeon, I see. Where’s our orbital-- ah.”

The Theophanic officer looked around and hollered, pressing their hand to an earbud, “All units! All units, brace for danger close flight! Repeat, all units will brace!

Teknitis tou Theouautokratora emerged from one side of the ologramma display as they watched in awe, its monstrous bulk spewing railgun fire and missiles. Its Cyclopean proportions literally shadowed most of Union City, and with incredible speed, the Yrch raider crumpled as the Magnatrabes battleship bodily shoved it away from the city.

Then the ground began shaking. soi Hapax shouted, “Hold on to something or go to ground! Now!”

The thick armour plating of the fallenschloss began vibrating, and shutters abruptly dropped down over every window. An unimaginable roar filled the chamber and the deep-rooted structure shuddered as the hot wind whipped up by Teknitis lashed across it, wreaking havoc across the land. A few brave souls remained standing, clutching desperately to the consoles or nearby structures within the hall. Everybody else had thrown themselves flat on the floor, protecting their heads or ears with their hands.

Teknitis vanished from the ologramma, a few seconds after it had appeared, but the fallenschloss-embassy still groaned. As it stilled, the ologramma displayed a massive tornado tearing across the countryside near Union City. Unprompted, Theophanic personnel stood back to their stations and began opening spectra to Nashtari command to coordinate emergency action.

As soi Hapax stood, Chaerepeon pointed at the ologramma again and called, “Stand to. Form up on vector sigma. All ground units with anti-air, emplace, target and open fire on incoming landers!”

The Yrch landers dropped by the raider had been buffeted badly by the passage of the Teknitis, but though one had been destroyed against Union City’s theatre shield, the rest were still incoming. A Theophanic in the hall scoffed loudly and called, “Six landers incoming. Estimated capacity, four hundred infantry each. Even if they’re packed like sardines, we cannot be facing more than three thousand.”

“One perfidious Yrch is too much,” soi Hapax sternly replied, but he nodded and turned to Chaerepeon. “Syntagmatarchis [Colonel], you have command. I leave this engagement in your capable hands, and I pray Theoua’s hands are on you. We shall stay out of the way.”

Rounding about to face the diplomats behind him, he extended a hand towards tables and chairs hurriedly being placed at the far end of the hall, below a great rose-window being revealed by a shutter rolling away. “Shall we, friends and colleagues?”

Ambassador Shelton cleared his throat and stepped away from the knot of Nashtari troopers securing his group. “My lord soi Hapax. We appreciate the protection, but I must ask that you secure transportation back to Union City for us at the soonest.”

“Of course, Ambassador. As soon as the threat is under control,” Natanael responded smoothly, “and you as well, my lady Nyallone.”

Nyallone’s ears twitched through the brim of her hat and she grinned at soi Hapax. “I think we’re fine, nya? Wouldn’t mind a little actionya, you know what I mean ~nya?”

soi Hapax’s lip quirked at the corner. “Yes. But we shall trust our heroic troops to take care of this little matter for us. In the meantime, I believe the kitchens have been set up…”

Out in the fields, some distance from the fallenschloss, emplaced mobile artillery began lashing the incoming Yrch landers with fire-- railguns, rockets, even high-speed antimissile lasers. One of the landers burst in midair, scattering bodies and vehicles as it tumbled into the river separating Union City from the Theophanic property. Another juddered and executed a controlled deceleration against terrain, showering dirt and trees as it skidded to a halt.

But the remaining four split up, two descending immediately before the rapidly forming lines of Theophanic troopers and heavy armour, the other two burning past to land on the far side of the embassy… where one was promptly rammed by an orbiting Theophanic dropship, knocking it into a deep lake on the far side.

Within the Theophanic dropship Gamma-Dodeka, Fylakas Zosimas shouted lustily, “Get up, you lot! What’re you doing, laying about? We just had a wee turbulence!”

Laughter and jeers came back at him as his troopers got up off the deck, their skyloi [dogs] hefting up to their feet as well, barking and dancing, ready for action. Zosimas reached out and grabbed the scruff of his skylos, Finto, and muttered, “You ready, boy?”

Finto responded by swiping a great tongue across his face. Zosimas thumped a fist into the side of the skylos’ head and then scratched behind his ear, nodding. He grabbed the helmet hanging off his belt and pulled it on, listened to the chirp in his ear and then shouted again, “Stand to, boys! First and second ranks, mount!”

The dropship veered sideways sharply, and Zosimas heard the familiar vibration of nearby flak explosions. Friendly fire? Unlikely, the lander that made it probably had defensive armament being deployed. He put it out of his mind; the deep humming of the engines had switched volume, switching to brake for landing. His foot went into the stirrup and deftly he mounted Finto.

He took one last look up and down the deck. Troopers sitting firmly on their massive horse-sized skyloi. The dropship shuddered and thumped hard, and the great side hatches opened abruptly as the ramps thrust out into the dirt below. Zosimas stood up in his stirrups and bellowed, “Kavalarides sta skylia! Mazi mou! Pros ta empros! Chalazi Hapax! Chalazi Theoua!

The dog-riders launched forward out of the dropship in a great howl, galloping forward into hot fire coming their way from the Yrch…

Within the embassy, Natanael soi Hapax was in conference with some officers when his elbow was tapped lightly. He turned inquisitively to see a ypolchagos from the unit guarding the other diplomats, who saluted and reported, “My lord, the Sector ambassador would like to speak to you. High Bishop Macon, I believe their name is.”

soi Hapax considered for a moment, then nodded to dismiss the officers and followed the ypolchagos back to the tables set up at the end of the hall. The diplomats had broken up into their own groups, though the Endeavourites were naturally mixing with everyone. The Sector contingent were seated at the back, largely keeping to themselves, and he had to think about it for a moment as they walked forward.

He didn’t quite have time to finish his contemplations before the great bulk of the Skothian towered before them. The ypolchagos saluted and then hurriedly stepped away. Natanael slid a professionally diplomatic smile upon his face and looked upward at the imposing alien. “My lord Macon. A pleasure to finally meet you, though I regret the circumstances are less than ideal.”

Indeed,” rumbled the great Skothian, “but I thank you for extending your protection to us.”

soi Hapax flipped his hand dismissively. “Think nothing of it, my lord Bishop. The Empire is faithful to all, except those that fight against it, of course. How could we do less than the Theouautokratora who loves us all?”

Macon slowly blinked its dark eyes. “Yes. I do not share your faith, but I commend your principles. Life in all its forms is precious.

Natanael nodded thoughtfully and clasped his hands behind him. He lifted a brow and asked carefully, “Now, my lord Bishop, or would High Bishop be the correct address?”

It does not matter greatly to me,” rumbled the Skothian, “Though your society’s reliance upon names and titles is… interesting to us. If you are uncomfortable with simply addressing me as Macon, ‘my lord’ or Bishop will do, though of course these titles do not completely parallel your own.

“Right then,” responded soi Hapax, “my lord, what did you wish to speak with me about?”

A stray cannon shell from somewhere thumped into the exterior of the embassy building, shivering it. Macon glanced in the direction of the sound and then back at soi Hapax. “Yes. I am given to understand that the Yrch have not landed anywhere else on Helios. Is this so?

“It is indeed. The taktiki believe it is no coincidence that the landers came directly here. Certainly there are many locations around the planet that would be of strategic value, and the protection of Union City by a theatre shield certainly prevented them from attacking targets inside the capital, and we happen to be convenient to Union City while exhibiting obvious signs of recent military build-up… but even so, it is interesting that they made a bee-line here rather than scattering.”

Macon nodded ponderously. “What do you know of these Yrch?

soi Hapax shrugged. “Little enough. The Endeavourites have shared most of their information. Even the Nashtari have released some to us. Current evaluations have them associated with Amazo-X in some fashion; certainly they seem to be using Amazo technology, though we have no way of knowing whether they purchased it for their own use or not.

Though the communications jamming has been powerful,” Macon began carefully, “my personnel have received a message relayed from our starship, from the Sector.

Natanael kept his expression smooth. Faster-than-light comms were unknown within the Empire, though there were always rumours about the technognostiki… but those were on the level of them having carnal knowledge with kitchen appliances. Of course some other star nations might have developed their teknis differently and found some way to communicate across the yawning void of space. He nodded and politely inquired, “I take it this communique involved either Amazo or the Yrch?”

Macon nodded, or rather, tipped its body forward and back slightly, but he assumed it meant much the same as the human gesture. “Yes. A force of Yrch and Amazo-X ships have attacked Zozo, one of the colonies of the UISC.

“The Sector has the condolences of the Theophanic Empire,” soi Hapax began smoothly, but Macon precluded him by holding up a broad hand the size of his head. “The Skothian people have... known… for some time that the leadership of Amazo-X is fascinated by… history. And we have been around for quite some time.

No fool Natanael-- he put the pieces together instantly. “Of course. They assaulted the embassy in order to secure you for their purposes.”

I would claim that I am not that important, but lying is not a good look. Is that the correct term in your language? I heard it on some of the local entertainment media.

“I’m not from around here, I haven’t the slightest idea,” Natanael responded quickly as he waved troopers over. The Sector delegation was quickly packed up and sent to the secure bunkers below the fallenschloss. As Macon prepared to leave, he paused a moment and turned to Natanael.

One more thing,” it asked, “we understand that your title of Ambassador-Regent means that you are not the Ambassador proper. Where are they, if we may ask?

“Oh, that?” Natanael blinked; he hadn’t even thought about that yet today. “In orbit, aboard the Magnatrabes Evaki.”

I would very much like to meet them,” Macon rumbled. soi Hapax’s professional diplomat mask slipped for a moment with a slight, tight grimace. “I’m afraid that with the current excitement, that may not be possible for some time. But once this unpleasantness is resolved, we’ll take care of that, I assure you.”

The great Skothian nodded and… slithered? slid? away. Shelton sidled up to soi Hapax and murmured aside, “I must concur with the Bishop. I would also very much like to meet your Ambassador proper soon.”

“All things in their time, my lord Shelton,” was Natanael’s tense response, “but first, well.”

His gesture encompassed the giant tactical ologramma, and Shelton nodded. “Of course. By the way, do you require my credentials to assist in coordinating with Republic forces?”

At that moment, icons on the tactical ologramma representing Nashtari ground-attack aircraft zoomed across, and one of the grounded Yrch dropships vanished in a great explosion. As the embassy building rumbled, Shelton nodded and continued thoughtfully, “It seems not. But if I can be of any assistance…”

“Of course. If you will excuse me…” and Natanael returned to his officers. Shelton watched him walk away thoughtfully, and then the Endeavourite ambassador-- what was her name again? Nyallone? caught his eye and he boggled (not that anybody would have noticed but the most keen observer, Shelton’s expressions being entirely too well trained). The Endeavourite was eating! As were her companions! At a time like this… well, he supposed he could do worse than have a cup of coffee, and rumour had it Theophanic coffee was quite drinkable compared to the swill the Endeavourites consumed…

Outside, all the Yrch dropships were either down or destroyed. Though they had taken heavy losses, the skyros kavalarides with tank support had wiped out one drop behind the embassy. On the other front, the fighting had been intense, but the Theophanics had been able to take advantage of the great gouge blown out of the ground and forest by the passage of Teknitis as a killing-ground. The alteoskolasis hell-jumpers had taken advantage of their landing harnesses, normally dropped after touchdown, to leap about the battlefield and bring their heavy firepower to bear.

Elsewhere, it had been a matter of fire-and-advance, the heavy class-four suits moving forward bearing massive shields to cover troopers behind them or carrying great anti-tank or anti-personnel firearms to lay down a hurricane of fire as the lesser armoured troopers maneuvered around clumps of Yrch. One of the hostile dropships, the one who had crashed on the bank of the river, had blown itself apart to release a massive tank. That had ground its way forward for some distance before the alteoskolasis landed on top of it and tore it apart, though they lost a couple of their number in the process.

To their credit, the embassy had speedily coordinated with the Nashtari beyond disaster control. The Nashtari had quickly brought in troops from the bases around Union City, air-lifting in armoured vehicles. A drop of airborne troops was considered, but the weather patterns created by the ship combat in the atmosphere were still too extreme to do so safely. They were closing in around the Theophanic embassy, catching some action of their own as scattered Yrch units attempted to escape.

As the sun sunk low in the distance, the Theophanics were mopping up, dog-cavalry trotting around the embassy grounds. Nyallone and the Endeavourites walked out the great front gates of the fallenschloss, looking around the battlefield… that wasn’t in front of them, or at least not directly. The Theophanics had managed to keep the Yrch a safe distance away from the embassy, though well within sight of the building.

Then suddenly there was a bit of commotion in the lines. Lucky narrowed her eyes and zoomed in. A last surviving Yrch unit had somehow broken through the Theophanics-- perhaps rushing a gap in the Empire’s lines during a movement or something-- and were making a bee-line for the embassy. Shouts resounded from troopers manning the fallenschloss walls, and Nyallone caught a few orders towards her entourage to fall back within.

She grinned. Somehow she produced her oversize tommy-gun from nowhere, and her compatriots likewise suddenly bristled with an improbable quantity of weaponry. Nyallone turned back and looked at the nearest platoon of Theophanics rushing up and cracked, “We’ll be fine. See, nya?”

The Yrch unit never knew what hit it.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

OOC: Unless Rogue 9 would like to contribute (I believe he is planning on at least a short post to detail his side of the action), this should wind up the Helios battle. My next post will probably conclude the Endeavour action as well. Unless Crossroads wants to conclude the Zozo action in turn 2 as well, I suggest we wind it up with a few light posts and commence turn 3 once the holidays are over.
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Re: STGOD 2020/21 Main Game

Post by Crossroads Inc. »

UISC Colony ZoZo, Colonia central complex.

Far below on the surface of the planet alarms were screaming out as around the capital colony center defense grids and military stations were erupting into action. The huge, massive central colony complex at the heart of the spreading population, had detected the vessels jumping into orbit at the same time as the defense force in space. It had not taken long for those in command to realize their worst fears come true, that the colony was under Yrch attack. Still small and far from being equipped with anything as massive as surface to orbit anti-ship weaponry, the colony was far from defenseless. Assault craft screamed off from the basses several launch areas, as across the central complex, gun turrets and missile clusters opened like a porcupine showing its quills. Atop the central control room for the tower, Military commander, and operations manager, Alyeena Kelonoa, was in the thick of trying to organize defense plans as fast as possible.

“Confirmation, weapons fire has now been exchanged between forces, exact nature of enemy ships unknown.” Called out someone at a comms station as Alyeena walked by on her way to the weapons systems, examining the timetable for deployment. In the back of her mind was the feeling that she should have seen this coming. To be fair, the whole of the UISC military HAD ‘seen it coming’ which was the whole reason there was a good-sized defense force in orbit. But however much one may prepare, she reminder herself you often never expect it to happen.
“Can we get a message to the defense force? We need to have a better idea of what we are going to be dealing with.”
“Negative, enemy vessels have blanketed the upper atmosphere with a jamming screen. Last message was confirmation of call from reinforcements from the 2nd Defense fleet, otherwise there has been no further communications.” Alyeena swore.
“How about planet side communications? I just got a message from the field offices at the air command. I assume we are still ok over terrestrial communications.” She said looking over a string of messages coming in on her data pad
“Affirmative, long range band comms still online, jamming seems confined only to the upper atmosphere.”
“Ok that is something to work with. Contact the Telamooyn observatory at the science station and get them to connect their feed over to us. We can at least just look up and see what ships are going to be coming our way! What is the status on the defense grid deployment?” she said as off in the distance, she watched the flare of light from another group of fighters taking off.
“Defense grid at 87% deployment. High yield energy weapon systems at 75% of optimal power charge for firing. Estimating 100% deployment on all grids in the next three minutes.” Came the response as Alyeena, unable to help herself gave an almost instant response.
“Make that finished in two minutes or I’ll have you all on latrine duty!” she shouted to an immediately room wide chorus of “YES COMMANDER”

As the room suddenly became that much busier, Alyeena took a moment to pause and look out a window. “Stay safe up there Kletania, don’t make me regret letting you stay with the old man” she muttered under her breath before a moment later another shout brought her attention.
“Commander, telemetry coming in from the observatory, we haven’t been able to get a direct feed yet, but it was reported they counted about eight to ten larger ships and an unknown number of smaller ships of unknown types... Now getting reports of large-scale missile explosions! Enemy ships obscured, no current visuals.” Alyeena, among all the shouting, actually chuckled at this, her tail swished back and forth as she looked back up to the sky.
“That means that captain Moz is still doing ok then! He always did like using rockets in overwhelming numbers. Ok, until we hear different from the observatory, I want focus on atmospheric and ground defense forces. Air command says we have three of our tactical fighter wings up and the forth is getting ready, I want to know as soon as they report enemy forces attempting to land.”
“Commander, we may be getting confirmation of that now, one of our satellites is just on the edge of their jamming field and reading incoming signatures approaching the colony, estimated time out approximately ten minutes.” The Conearian at the sensor station read off to a mix of hoots and “here we go!” Alyeena for her part stiffened up, her fur and tail on edge as the moment she dreaded had arrived. There was no longer denying or staying out of the fight, enemy forces were coming and, no matter how good the defense, how unified their resolve was, casualties would happen, and people would lose their lives.
“So, it is always the case in war” she said softly before pacing back towards the middle of the command room. “Lower armored shutters and issue the order for all turret operators to unlock safeties.” She said as immediately across the whole tower complex, massive blast doors began to lower in place. “Authorization is now given for use of deadly force in the defense of the colony, as issued by Alyeena Kelonoa, 2nd bar Commander UISC Military” she said, making sure that now of all times things were done by the book. As soon as the order was recorded, she sat down, immediately a tactical display of the surrounding area, the colony and the command tower came up. In the distance were the approaching blips of Yrch forces. “All air wings, this is Commander Alyeena Kelonoa, orders are to prioritize anything that looks like a landing craft. If you think it is carrying ground forces take it down. Do not engage enemy fighter craft unless you are directly engaged. Any pests that come our way, you can be sure we will give them a good heavy punch in the face. Kelonoa Out” she said as she watched the tactical display of the fighter wings. Pressing a code into one of the displays, she switched on the chatter between the fighters as they approached target. Long ago she had been a fighter pilot, and here and now she could imagine herself in the sky once again.

“1st Wing, lead Pilot Faux Kaw’Clawd reporting in, targets eighty seconds out and closing, all pilot wings report in!” said a Qwintoni pilot with an unusually bright orange fur pattern.
“2nd Wing, lead pilot Falacona Lymannhono reporting. I will have you covered Faux!” this was said by a Trathalan with a distinct blue dyed hair and a head dress festooned with decorative feathers.
“3rd Wing, lead Pilot Sloopea Pawnatoona reporting. Make room, these Yrch are as good as mine!” A Conearian who, despite being a pilot, always went up with a toolbelt and a ‘lucky wrench’ given to them by their grandfather.
“4th Wing, lead Pilot Peahpe O’haara reporting. It seems too quiet out here, be prepared for a trap!” This was said by an older Tejlini, with oversized ears and a noticeable overbite that had earned him a number of nicknames growing up.
“All Wing Leaders reporting in! Lock our-wings in attack formation and follow my lead!”

===========================================================================

Across the continent from the direction that the other force of Yrch fighters and drop ships were headed, lay the isolated dwelling of Jakenenth and Ruco. As far off as it was from the colony, dawn was just barely arriving as the first few rays of the morning sun began to slip over the crown of mountains and peaks surrounding the clearing. Inside the log cabin, Jakenenth was busy making breakfast for himself and doing such chores that were needed. Outside, sitting in his spot by the nearly boiling hot springs rested Ruco. The heat and glow of escaping energy had long since finished and he sat looking peaceful among the light of dawn. Deep inside however, things were slightly different. The night had been spent deep in conversation that even now was still ongoing.

“You can argue the logic of such actions all you want, but the argument is one you know to be fundamentally flawed.” This was said by the ‘other’ Ruco, slowly padding back and forth in the naked form of Rucos’ synthetical body. Sitting nearby, the organic Ruco sighed deeply, knowing already the answere to his question yet compelled to ask the question all the same.
“And that flaw would be?” he said sounding exhausted. The synthetic Ruco turned, giving a stare as cold as the depths of space.
“You will not, you cannot, take the life of another. It is simply, against your nature” He said, pausing to look upon the other. Where he capable of it, he would almost feel sorry of the situation of the organic Ruco. Almost. “I shall not bring up such memories that I know are, unpleasant, for you. But it was your hesitation at Dregmaw that directly led to Jakenenth being as injured as he was. Had I not, acted, he would have surely been killed.” The synthetic, its voice cold, yet tinged slightly with an edge one could describe as ‘unsettling’. The other Ruco clenched his claws into the mental image of the chair his form sat in.
“Yes, and those actions resulted in the deaths of everyone at the island, save for Jakenenth. Still, your point as distasteful as it is, is valid.” He said, giving another sigh as he tried not to recall all that had taken place. Ruco reminded himself how very different the other had been at that time, how much both of them were different. Both of their minds fractured, unbalanced and in their own ways, in pain. It was a time when both minds were utterly fixated on trying to control and shackle the other, not realizing the more they did so, the more unhinged each of them became. Ruco looked back on the incident, knowing what he knew now it was only a matter of time before the military caught up with him and Jakenenth. Seeing the potential of his power, those in charge of the facility could not help but do everything possible to learn the secrets of Rucos’ Synthetic body. Jakenenth had naturally tried to rescue him, was captured and then, then had come the moment that he thought he would lose the one and only person that still seemed to care about him, to treat him as something more than just a machine covered in skin. The thought had been too much to bear and he had allowed ‘the other’ to emerge. Not just emerge. Months of being shackled and suppressed by Rucos will, spirit, determination, and soul, all came lashing out. The mind of the ‘copy’ had long ago lost what sense of restrain or morality it once had at the hands of the Naz-Satikul. And then added to that, was months of Ruco suppressing it still further out of fear of what it could become.
On that day, through his own eyes, he ‘saw’ just that. He watched as it re-entered the Avatar, awakening its powers, and in the span of a few moments, lashed out and lay waste to every last living thing on the island. The images began to come back of that time, flooding into him, the destruction and the mindless death. Ruco tried to focus and pushed away the rising din of voices and memories of that time. He couldn’t help it really, having one’s mind existing in a computer meant things like experiences and memories were all ‘saved’ as perfect as a recording. They never faded or diminished with time, all you could do was to try and keep the most, unpleasant, ones from surfacing as much as possible. Bringing him back to the here and now, he heard the other call out to him.

“You know that is not who or what I am any more. We have both, changed, much since that unpleasant experience. We have grown and evolved and become more than we once were.” It said and as it did Ruco knew it was speaking the truth. Within this place where both minds could speak together, it was very hard indeed to lie or hold secrets. Ruco, the organic Ruco, finally stood up, looking as if he had made a decision. As he prepared to speak however, he could feel, something, approaching. They both felt it at the same time. The synthetic looked at him.
“They have come, they will be here in mere moments, no more delays. It is time that we must come to a new understanding. You know that if I am released, you can call me back at any time. As we both know, however much I may fight, I cannot prevent you from binding my mind to this place.” The synthetic said, its voice still tinged with the unsettling harmonics that even after all his time Ruco felt unnerved him.
“You will not touch the Avatar, if you so much as think of activating it….” The organic Ruco said, the light around him flaring briefly. The other waved a hand dismissively.
“I can promise I had not so much as begun to entertain that possibility. However, I would ask one small thing in return.” He said as Ruco, who had walked close to the other halted briefly.
“And that would be?” he said, skepticism everywhere on his face as he watched the Synthetic Ruco ‘smile’. The other approached, the space between them only inches apart now, the light starting to grow again.
“I want to know who is really after us, and why.”

Back outside of the private conversation, Jakenenth had finished his morning meal, completed the few activities that needed seeing to, and had waited, and then waited more for Ruco to awaken from his ‘sleep’. He knew that the energy released each night was never exactly the same, but for the sake of routine, Ruco had set up a ‘timer’ of sorts so he would always awaken at the same time each day. It was now well passed this point, and Jakenenth had begun to grow concerned. Jakenenth was never very inclined toward technology, aside from what was needed for understanding the tools used by a soldier of the Imperial Army. His lack of interest in it was something he realized Ruco had originally found comforting. He never saw him as a ‘thing’ or a machine, but just as someone that, like himself, had been inflicted with circumstances beyond his control. Now however, he found he wished he did know a bit more about computers. Jakenenth sighed.
“I don’t suppose I need to turn you off and on again?” He said aloud, not sure if Ruco could hear or not. As if in response, the body twitched suddenly. The exposed of his core flared suddenly and various other parts began to show energy moving outwards. The head twitched again as the body began to stand up slowly. Jakenenth backed up suddenly, his heart pounding. He watched as Ruco ‘stood’ looking strangely like a marionette being lifted on strings. Arms hanging limp at his side, then those too began to twitch, the fingers moving back and forth with a crunching sound as Ruco’s synthetic muscles and tendons seemed to twitch and spasm. The body seemed to get a firmer stance as it shifted, turning away from Jakenenth, and then with one final unsettling twitch, it went still. Jakenenth approached slowly, hoping against hope and what he thought might have just happened.
“Ruco? Is that you, are, are you ok?” he said, his voice for the first time in years edged with fear. There was silence for a moment and then the head snapped around quickly.
“I have always hated that joke.” A voice said that was Ruco, and yet, wasn’t. Jakenenth darted away instantly, almost leaping backwards and resisting the urge to grab his assault rifle, knowing how useless it would be.
“YOU! What are you doing here! What did you do to him!” He said snarling, his fur on edge as he crouched down, claws out and seething with anger. ‘Ruco’ seemed to ignore him as he began to move back and forth, stretching and arm out and then his other arm out.
“Ah! So this is what it is like to have a body again! Oh my have I missed this! It feels so good to, feel!” he said as he now all but danced around. “I can smell! I can taste! I can touch!” and now, he seemed to pause and slowly turned around, fixing a grin on Jakenenth. “I can, do other things.” He said and laughed in a way that made Jakenenths fur crawl. Jakenenth slowly began to stand up, he tried never to push too much about the ‘other’ and knew only that, ever since Dregmaw, there had been some sort of ‘coming to terms’ between them. But he never imagined that the, ‘thing’ that had tormented Ruco for so long could ever be, like this.
“Where is he, what have you done to him, I want him back now!” he said, knowing how empty his threats were, yet feeling helpless and unable to do anything else. He watched as ‘Ruco’ padded forward, energy crackling from him now. The smile on his face disturbingly ‘pleasant’.
“Now now, you should know where he is. And I have done nothing to him, he ‘invited’ me out after all.” Ruco said, slowly flexing his fingers, letting arches of electricity dance between them. Jakenenth seemed ready to say something but was cut off. “The Yrch are coming, a lot of them, and as hard as you may find it, I desire no harm to come to you just as much as ‘he’ does.” ‘Ruco’ said. Now just inches away from Jakenenth, the heat radiating from him significantly as a stray electrical arch caught his hand. Jakenenth ignored it, trying not to flinch as he looked at Ruco almost level with him.
“If he returns damaged in any way.” He said, his teeth clenched as he spoke, his voice seething with controlled anger. The other Ruco tilted his head and grinned. Jakenenth took a step backwards as he did so.
“Do not worry yourself, he would not have let me be here if he did not have faith in my particular, abilities. Now, go and find some where safe to hide. I will be back, my love.” He said leaning in suddenly and grabbing Jakenenth by the head. Before he could react or even realize what was happening, ‘Ruco’ had leaned in and kissed him rather tightly. A half second later, the air around him exploded in dust and dirt. Jakenenth flew backwards into the grass. When the air cleared, there was only a crater in front of him, and far off in the sky, he could see the rapidly vanishing shape of Ruco.

===========================================================================

High up in orbit, the UISC defense force was still on the run. The surprise ‘backwards attack’ had bought a great deal of time and had inflicted damage on a number of craft but had not been nearly enough to turn the tide. Now as the fleet was burning at full speed across the planets orbit, the gap between their forces and the onrushing Yrch gunboats was slowly but surely growing smaller. On bored the ThunderBird, Moz and his crew were doing their best to prolong the engagement, the big heavy cruiser alongside the other two trying their best to protect the smaller ships from being picked off by the approaching Yrch marauders, each one trying to help ‘shuffle’ smaller ships from the back to the front to recover and recharge their shields before being shuffled back once again.
“Two more Corvettes just singled their shield matrix are under 50% efficiency!” shouted coms officer Ja’Jaro as around them the ThunderBird was rocked by another salvo of railgun shots that found their mark. Moz, griping his chair tight now that the thick of battle was around him, bellowed back.
“Rotate-up-toot-quick-call-cruiser-Saffron-down-cover-their-butts-focus-beam-cannons-on-the-Yrchy-nearest-an-givem-abrusing!” Moz shouted, doing his best to keep his voice level after previous bouts of excitement. He turned the view screen behind them and gritted his teeth. The view was no more pleasant now than it had been from the last time he checked. Almost forty Yrch Marauders continued to give chase while slowly closing the gap between them. Moz considered himself lucky that between the missile strikes, and some truly heroic targeting on the part of the corvettes, that their numbers HAD been whittled down, but no where near enough to make a difference. Moz had been considering his options for a while and did not like them.
They COULD turn around and engage the ships head on, if the Cruisers took point and the corvettes sniped from the rear, the sheer force of focused fire would drive back the gunboats. This of course would work if it was just the gunboats, the enemy had five strong capital ships that, while currently falling farther behind, would catch up to them quickly if their fleet stopped to turn and fight. They of course could also simply escape into hyperspace to meet up with reinforcements, but this would be intolerable as it would leave the colony totally defenseless to orbital bombardment. Moz snorted and mumbled under his breath.
“They-could-do-it-now-if-they-smart-enuff-to-stop-chassing-us-bleeding-blessings-there-captain-such-a-numbskull” He grumbled as next to him Kletania steadied herself from another hit.
“There is not much we can do but try and draw this out sir, that we have been able to stay going as far as we have with few causalities and no losses is a credit to your skill.” She said, trying her best to be a ‘cheerleader’ without actually being a ‘cheerleader’ which she knew he hated. Moz scowled doing his best to ignore it as out of the corner of his eye he saw another ship falling behind.
“OYE-none-of-that-captain-Kelonosa-better-get-ship-back-in-line-double-quick!” he barked as he began to wonder how much longer he could go before having to make the choice. To fight and take heavy losses, or flee, and leave the colony behind.

“CAPTAN! Priority incoming message, security identification reads as UISC high command.” Ja’Jaro shouted as Moz perked up.
“About-time-where-they-been-need-some-good-news-whats-the-word” Moz barked as he did his best to look in the direction of the comms officer who, was suddenly looking unusually perplexed.
“Sir, message reads as secure, captain only and is being automatically routed to your quarters sir.” Ja’Jaro said as Moz fumed.
“In-my-room-away-from-bridge-not-keeping-eyes-on-battle-they-know-we-fighting-skin-teeth-right-now.” He grumbled before turning to Kletania and gave a short, “Your-in-charge-don’t-get-blown-up.” Before scurrying out from his chair and back into his quarters as fast as his legs could take him. The instant the door was closed he shouted. “Computer!-Decrypt-incoming-communication-Captain-Theodore-Moz-2nd-bar-UISC-Military.” There was a pause, and after what seemed to be a lack of response, Moz shouted again. “Computer-decrypt-message-play-toot-quick!” after another pause there was finally a response, though not the one Moz had expected.

“Forgive the deception my dear captain, but this seemed the quickest way to speak to you in private given the situation as I estimated you would, how do they say, blocked my call if I had reached out to you by normal methods.” Said a voice that Moz instantly recognized.
“RUDI!” he growled, as before him an image formed that was, as it always had been, a curious mix of Qwintoni, Tejlini, and Quatonian physical characteristics. Moz glowered at the image and sighed, knowing he should have expected this. “Well-well-mrcomputer-you-pick-fine-time-to-turn-up- it-doesn’t-rain-but-pours-id-be-mad-you-on-my-ship-again-if-I-wasn’t-so-busy!” Moz said, trying to stay as ‘good natured’ as possible while the ship lurched from a particularly well aimed slug of rail gun ammo. RUDI, knowing full well the stakes involved, wasted no time in his response.
“Best-to-be-brief-fast-as-i-can-Captain.” He said as his image faded to be replaced by an image of the three Cruisers, these then zoomed in showing each of their primary torpedo launchers. “I-know-you-not-fully-outta-ammo-each-ship-has-a-volly-of-extra-special-missiles-top-secret-hush-hush” Moz did his best to try and seem non flustered by the obvious revelation. Part of him immediately filed this away under ‘things the blasted computer shouldn’t be putting his nose into’ but knew that would have to come later.
“We-don’t-like-to-talk-about-THOSE-warheads-i-never-liked-to-havem-but-orders-are-orders.” And then he paused considering the situation a moment and shock his head. “Sides-too-many-guns-they-get-shotup-blasted-to-bits-not-a-chance.” And then, because even being as old as he was, the Quatonia was still a deviously cleaver individual and not one to be trifled with, he seemed to come to a realization. “You-wanna-getem-blown-up.” He said, his voice level and slow now. The image of RUDI came back, the form smiling broadly, trying their best to seem ‘friendly’
“An-atomic-makes-a-very-big-bang-also-makes-a-big-nasty-field-computers-hate-now-listen-good-ma-chum-heres-plan.”

A moment later Moz, clutching his hat to keep it from falling off, dashed out from his quarters and in one great bound leapt up, clearing his command chair, and landed heavily on it, making the already rickety seat creak a bit more ominously.

“ALRIGHTALRIGHTHEREWEGOTAPLANLISTEN!” He shouted as he singled the comms officer to patch him into an encrypted channel for the rest of the fleet. “Listenupgoodmrcomputergotsusaplantoturnthingsaroundnoguaranteebutbestchancewegot!” he gabbled excitedly as Kletania did her best to ‘translate’ his hurried speaking to the rest of the fleet. “Webveenrunningtoolongtimetoturntables!” He said, and even before he began to speak the next sentence, Kletania silently began to mouth the words ‘Oh no’. “WEREGONNAPULLACRAZYIGORANDTURNROUNDANPUNCHEMALLFROMBEHIND!” Moz shouted, his chair rocking back and forth. Around him the other Quatonians on deck who were able to keep up, began to cheer and punch the air in excitement, all the while the rest of the crew trying to parse things out for themselves, or looking to Kletania.”
“Attention fleet! Having extended the range of the gunboats a significant distance beyond the slower capital ships, we will be attempting a ‘Crazy Igor’ All ships will split apart on command mark, reverse course, and attempt to move past gunboats and double back to launch a counter assault on enemy capital ships in an attempt to split their forces.” She said, taking in the mix of looks from the rest of the crew on the bridge, their expression ranging from cautious hope, to horrified disbelief. “Once the maneuver has been achieved, all corvettes with shielding damage greater than 80% are ordered to break off from the engagement and withdraw to our fallback position. You have all fought above and beyond what we could ask of you, but I will not accept any needless sacrifices for this engagement. Officer Kletania out.” The moment the communication was completed she leaned over to Moz, a very stern look on her face. “Captain, I will never directly question your orders in front of the crew, but, this course of action is reckless even for you.” Moz simply chuckled at this and flopped back into his chair.
“YOUBETCHA!” he said grinning from ear to ear (which for a Quatonian, is a formidable grin) in a lower voice dripping with glee he said “Were-gonna-use-the-‘special’-warheads” he said, still grinning in a way that made Kletania feel sorry for any dentist that would have to work on such a smile. Putting her personal feelings aside, Kletania took a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. If anyone could pull this off, it would be Moz. An alert roused her attention as the comms officer gave a frantic cry.
“Captain! The [Telgrande] reports it just took a direct hit to its armor. Shields no longer are able to mitigate strikes.” Kletania nodded and turned to Moz who nodded back knowing the time to act was now or never.
“All ships! Target closest Yrch assault craft and fire all operational batteries at maximum spread on my mark. MARK!”
At the command, twelve corvettes and three heavy cruisers unleashed what could only be described as ‘Lazor Spam’” The phased energy batteries that made up the bulk of UISC weaponry were fiercely accurate and could be devastating when multiple beams were focused on a single target. However, the reverse could also be done under certain circumstances, where there would normally have been one heavily concentrated beam firing per emitter, now each ship was firing close to a dozen beams, each targeting an enemy ship. The effect was, at least visually stunning. The beams impacting into the Yrch ships and erupted in brilliant light and created what seemed almost like fireworks in the void of space. The damage to the ships was minimal, but the damage to optical sensors, both those of the ships and any fool looking out of a window, would have been considerable.

“ALL SHIPS EXECUTE CRAZY IGOR NOW!” Kletania shouted as the Thunderbird, along with every other ship in the fleet, did the equivariant of slamming on the emergency breaks at 100 miles an hour and spinning a car around 180 degrees. Each vessel peeled away from the central course it had been taking and began to fan out. The tight formation broke apart as the fleet reversed course and turned backwards facing the temporary blinded hoard of Yrch marauders. Four of the corvettes peeled further away, their shields too weakened to be of any further use, they singled their withdrawal from engagement while the rest continued their turn. The majority of the Yrch ships, still surging forward at top speed, were able to do little but shoot blindly using the auto turrets of their secondary weaponry. Such slugs that did find their mark did negligible damage as the ships screamed by continuing to spread out, making it harder still to hit a ship by chance. Watching on various screens as the ships turned and began to barrel down towards the Capital ships in the rear of the formation, Moz tried his best to maintain his eternal confidence and not show a hint of the nervousness that was pouring through him. The whole fleet was already at risk but could have still escaped by jumping into hyperspace. Now he knew they were committed on the current path and totally reliant on the damnable computer working its electronic magic.
Praying is another way of doing nothing helpful
"Congratulations, you get a cookie. You almost got a fundamental English word correct." Pick
"Outlaw star has spaceships that punch eachother" Joviwan
Read "Tales From The Crossroads"!
Read "One Wrong Turn"!
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