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Point of Divergence V 4.0 : European Boogaloo (IC)

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Democratic East-Asia
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Point of Divergence V 4.0 : European Boogaloo (IC)

Postby Democratic East-Asia » Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:30 pm

Point of Divergence V 4.0 : European Boogaloo (IC)
An alternate history ISOT RP by Democratic East-Asia


“If there’s a zeppelin, it’s alternate history. If there’s a rocketship, it’s science fiction. If there are swords and/or horses, it’s fantasy. A book with swords and horses in it can be turned into science fiction by adding a rocketship to the mix. If a book has a rocketship in it, the only thing that can turn it back into fantasy is the Holy Grail.”
-Debra Doyle




OOC (HERE) | IC (HERE) | Our Discord server! (planning)
Moderation: Mirial System and Democratic East-Asia
Revolutionary Communist State set in Asia. PMT.
NS stats are not used.
Actively funding left-wing "terrorist" organizations since its founding.

Pan Asia Broadcasting Channel: "We will achieve communism in 20 years." - Chairman Wei Yenwu, Central Government | Automation of industries threatens millions of jobs, says economic advisors

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Remnants of Exilvania
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Postby Remnants of Exilvania » Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:32 pm

Kingdom of Skyrim
Eastmarch
Sacellum of Boethia


"Hey! You! You're finally awake!"

Nelacar groaned in pain, trying to grip his head and prevent that spinning headache from getting any stronger than it already was, the words spoken to him echoing through his head like thunder. To his surprise he could not grip his head, atleast not the way he wanted to, his hands somehow refusing to separate from each other.

"You were trying to cross the border, right? Walked right into that Stormcloak ambush, same as us. And that bootlicker over there!"

As Nelacar's vision cleared and all his other senses all returned to him, he could finally make out who was speaking to him. A male Dunmer with his black haired tied into a bun behind his head. Why was the scenery behind him moving? Oh...he was on a cart... His eyes soon fulled the Dunmer's, falling upon yet another Dunmer, a woman in a green dress and dark hair, some purple warpaint adorning her face. She was quick to spit back at the male, saying:

"Damn you Ambarys! Life was fine untill you decided your cornerclub wasn't enough. The Stormcloaks were nice and lazy and if you hadn't given them a reason to look into the Gray Quarters, I'd have probably managed to sail off with the next ship..."

She then turned to Nelacar, her tone becoming urgent as she quickly said:

"You there! You and me, we shouldn't be here! It's these troublemakers the Stormcloaks want."

It looked like the Dunmer she had referred to as Ambarys didn't take to her words very well, his eyes quickly narrowing as he spitefully said:

"We're all brothers and sisters in binds now, bootlicker."

Yet before the Dunmer woman could reply, the cart driver shouted to the back:

"Shut up back there!"

The Nord's voice indeed shut both of them up immediately, finally giving Nelacar some peace and quiet to soothe his headache as well as think as to what the heck was happening. Why was he even in this cart to begin with? He remembered coming out there to Eastmarch for some reason he couldn't remember and then setting up camp under some rock and after that...nothing. And now he awoke over here together with some Dunmer, tied up in a cart and carried off to Divines know where by the Stormcloaks?

"What's with him, hu?"

The quiet sound of the Dunmer woman's voice brought Nelacar back to reality as she nudged a slumped over Dunmer next to him with her foot. Ambarys retorted immediately and quite harshly:

"Watch your tongue! You are speaking to Belyn Hlaalu, true son of House Hlaalu of Morrowind!"

Belyn slowly raised his head, tired eyes looking back at the woman as she gasped in surprise and recognition.

"Belyn?!? The owner of the Hlaalu Farm? You're the most adapted Dunmer in Skyrim but if they captured you...oh Gods, where are they taking us!?!"

All that spite that the woman had previously shown towards Ambarys was gone, replaced by sheer terror as she craned her neck, trying to see where they were taking them but aside from snow and and rock there was little to see. Ambarys also seemed to have lost his venomous spite, somberly saying:

"I don't know where they're taking us but our ancestors await us."

The woman appeared to become even more frantic than before, quickly sputtering:

"No! This can't be happening! This isn't happening-"

"Hey, where did you originally come from, Suvaris?"

Ambarys quickly interrupted the Dunmer woman now identified as Suvaris, his voice still lacking that spite it had had before. It worked to an extent, with Suvaris no longer hyperventilating like crazy and instead focusing on her surroundings again snapping back at Ambarys:

"Why do you care?!?"

Ambarys didn't seem to care for her tone, instead just quietly and soothingly following it up with:

"A Dunmer's last thoughts should be with home."

It was but a simple few words but the way he said them seemed to do a great deal for Suvaris who visibly calmed down and, in a defeated tone, replied:

"Ebonheart. I'm...I'm from Ebonheart."

Yet as though the Divines were playing some cruel game with them, the gruff voices of two Nords conversing with each other broke that serenity that Ambarys had worked so hard to achieve, sending Suvaris right back into a panicked frenzy as she desperately tugged at her restraints.

"Galmar! We caught some more Grayskins during a sweep of the area!"

"Good! Let's get this over with."

"Azura, Boethia, Mephala...Daedra, please, help me!"

, Suvaris was already back to stuttering out her pleas, having apparently gone to praying now as final straw to save her life. Not that Nelacar could really approve of that, shooting her a glare when she muttered the names of the Daedra. Revering those was a dangerous game that could backfire easily.

Meanwhile their cart passed what appeared to be some ancient nordic ruins. Bloodsplatters were all over the ground and Nelacar thought to see what appeared to be a few Stormcloaks pulling some bodies to the side so the carts could pass easily. Dunmer bodies. Had it just been any bodies, Nelacar would've expected this to be some sort of bandit hideout, given the clothing of the dead Dunmer...but the fact they were all Dunmer indicated a much more sinister reason. Nelacar didn't like where this was going.

His gaze travelled upwards, to a sort of...bastion, where he could see a single, old Nord, clad in what appeared to be Stormcloak officer attire. Under the cave bear pelt he wore, Nelacar could see a merciless pair of eyes peering down at him before an old man in blue mage robes approached the Nord, causing him to turn away.

It seemed that Ambarys had followed his gaze as he spit out in the general direction and stated:

"Look at him! Galmar Stone-Fist, Ulfric's right hand man! And it looks like the court wizard is with him...damn Wuunferth, I bet he was involved in the Butcherer's murders too, sick bastard that he is."

Their carts slowly rolled into a relatively small area surrounded by bloody palisades. If the blood on the ground wasn't enough clue, this must've been some sort of makeshift gladiatorial arena. They stopped there and Nelacar decided to look back to where he had seen Galmar...but the Stormcloak commander was gone and instead his gaze was drawn to a statue of some sort. He couldn't quite identify it but it felt...eerie to say the least.

Again Ambarys seemed to have looked where he looked and he said:

"This is the Sacellum of Boethia...I wonder if Valvesi still is the Priestess...funny, when I was a boy, the Tribunal's altars used to make me feel so safe..."

Meanwhile Suvaris seemed to have entirely different, more immediate problems to talk about, asking the obvious:

"Why are we stopping?"

Earning her an eyeroll from Ambarys before he dryly stated:

"Why do you think? End of the line. Let's go. Shouldn't keep our ancestors waiting for us."

Already a few Stormcloaks were approaching, weapons in hand and their gestures made it quite clear that they were not up for any games, very much wanting their prisoners to get off the cart. All of them did not hesitate to comply, the sharp steel gleaming in the Stormcloak's hands being more than enough of an invitation to do so though Suvaris was quick to shout:

"No! Wait! We are not rabble-rousers!"

It earned her a slight shove from behind by Nelacar, who really didn't want her to make any further sound. He was absolutely sure that her just screaming around about it was not going to make things better. In fact, he was quite sure that attracting additional attention was just gonna get them killed even faster.

"Face your death with some courage, Suvaris."

Yet it did not appear as though Suvaris was ready to give up yet, continuing to ramble:

"You've got to tell them! We weren't with you! This is a mistake!"

One of the Stormcloaks who thankfully wasn't wearing a helmet seemed to have enough of Suvaris constant muttering, motioning for one of his subordinates to take care of the problem...which they quickly did by waltzing up to Suvaris and socking them in the face, sending the Dunmer briefly to the ground before she managed to crawl back up.

"Belyn of House Hlaalu. I figured this farm of yours was just a facade. Your simple, hard working existence was just too good to be true. Elvish deceit runs in your blood too."

The tired looking Dunmer that had been Belyn simple hung his head in defeat, as though countless years had just come crashing down on him and robbed him of all his strength. He merely nodded before a Stormcloak took him by the arm and shoved him away, up the steps to where the Boethia statue was.

"Ambarys Rendar. Of course a known troublemaker like you with ties to criminals would be caught up in this, betraying those who generously hosted you. But oh well, I shouldn't be surprised, considering you Grayskins worship a deity of deceit and treachery right here under our noses."

Ambarys said nothing but the hate-filled gaze he sent the Nord said everything that had to be said as he was led away by another Stormcloak. The Nord didn't seem to bother any further though, his gaze already settling on Suvaris.

"Suvaris Atheron. Of course you, working for the East Empire Company, were involved. Perhaps there was substance to Rolff's claims of you being a spy for the Empire afterall? Maybe you even like your new Thalmor masters over there? I'm sure they're far more linient to pointy ears like you than they are to us."

A Stormcloak already approached to take her away but Suvaris seemed to finally lose it completey, crying:

"No! I'm not a spy, you can't do this!"

And then, apparently having seen an opportunit when the Stormcloak approaching her, a relatively lithe looking Nord woman, hesitated, she dashed forward, pushing the Stormcloak aside and getting past the blonde Stormcloak who couldn't do more than shout:

"HALT!"

Just for Suvaris to cackle as she sprinted down the mountain and shout:

"You're not gonna kill me!"

The Nord didn't even move from his spot, instead just shouting:

"Archers!"

Two arrows flew through the air almost immediately after, Nelacar now spying the watchposts on the bastion where he had seem Galmar before. They found their mark without fail, these Stormcloaks clearly being seasoned veterans of the civil war and Suvaris having been an easy target, the impacts in her back making her fall forward before she started rolling down the path and over a cliff when it bent out of sight. Nobody needed to check if she was alive. After this she clearly wasn't.

And the Stormcloak's attention returned to Nelacar, a grim smile on his lips as he asked:

"Anyone else feel like running?"

A question Nelacar could only answer with violent headshaking.

"Who are you? I don't know you."

He answered quickly and diligently, hoping to win the Stormcloaks over by readily collaborating:

"Nelacar. I am a former member of the College of Winterhold. I-"

"Hu? Ralof, that guy ain't from around here. Heck, he ain't even a Grayskin! Tho he do be pretty far from Winterhold..."

Ralof, the blonde Stormcloak, gave the lithe female Stormcloak a death glare before saying:

"Forget that. He goes to the altar."

That voice did not accept any kind of arguments and so the female Stormcloak just grabbed his arm and started shoving him up the stairs towards the Boethia statue, mumbling:

"Sorry 'bout that, we'll make sure to haul your body to the Thalmor Embassy..."

Up on top of the bastion, forced onto the ground before the shrine dedicated to that Daedra Boethia, Nelacar found the others as well as a few Dunmer who certainly hadn't come with them in the cart. They were fairly bloodied so Nelacar assumed that they were Daedra cultists who had already been here and had been captured by the Stormcloaks.

Galmar Stone-Fist was of course also there, caught in a conversation with Wuunferth, the court wizard of Windhelm. They appeared to be debating something, with Wuunferth constantly shaking his head and Galmar angrily gesturing at the statue before finally throwing his hands in the air and shouting loudly:

"Fine!"

He then turned his attention towards the row of prisoners lined up before him and a sadistic smirk quickly adorned his lips as he came closer and inspected them all, each and every one of them.

"So, so, so. These are all the Daedric Cultists? Grayskins, the whole lot of you. Somehow I'm not surprised. That's your deity afterall, isn't it!?! Probably didn't get that we don't worship these things here, did you?!?"

He smacked a bloodied Dunmer women clad in simple hide armour with the palm of his hand, sending her to the ground before having two of his Stormcloaks bring her up to him by her arms.

"So you Grayskins love your Daedra? Why, how about I send you right to her? Right here on her altar?"

Galmar had had a pretty large iron battleaxe strapped to his back, one he brought forth now as his men pulled the Dunmer forward and then threw her against some form of small stone pillar erected before it. Nelacar was about to question that tactic when he noticed the Dunmer being incapable of removing herself from the pillar, for some odd reason stuck to it.

Galmar was clearly an experienced warrior. He didn't even waste any time taking visible measurements, instead just letting the axe come down...and cleanly sever the head from the body, the round thing rolling across the floor and stopping right before Nelacar, the light in the Dunmer's gaze quickly fading. Blood spurted from the stump and dripped out of the head as the body suddenly wasn't held anymore by the strange magics and collapsed on the floor.

"Fucking Cowards!"

"Nord filth!"

"Valvesi no!"

Several of the prisoners cried out, among them Ambarys as Nelacar noticed, though Ambarys rage seemed to be overshadowed by grief. It was clear that this Valvesi had still meant something to him. However, Nelacar had bigger worries as the Nord called Ralof pointed at him, saying:

"The Altmer next!"

Strong arms immediately grabbed him and hauled him onto his feet, hauling him towards the pillar. Nelacar tried to struggle, weakly, but there was nothing he could do. Altmer and he especcially were mages first and foremost and if a big brawny Nord warrior like the average Stormcloak decided to get rough with them then they had precious little to do against them.

However, just before they threw him against the pillar too, the guards stopped, some sort of commotion having occured down at the bottom of the bastion. Though of course they didn't let go of him.

It didn't take long for the commotion to come to them, a Stormcloak quickly running up the steps and to Galmar trying to whisper something to the man but suddenly being shoved aside by someone else.

Nelacar had to blink to be sure. Up till a moment ago there had been no one there and now all of a sudden there was woman clad in black before him. Her armour had a fairly odd look but he could not deny that it had been made by a master, the materials looking exquisite and the decorations being wonderfully fine. This had certainly not been made by any run-of-the-mill blacksmith in this province. It was a shame that he couldn't see her face though, her facing away from him as well as a hood having been pulled over her face. Perhaps she was a mage much like Wuunferth?

"Galmar, Galmar, I thought I asked for you to wait for me with assaulting this cultist hideout? Are you trying to deprive me of the greatest pastime of any Nord worth his salt, a good battle?"

There was something about the woman's words that made Nelacar's skin crawl, though he couldn't place what it was. It seemed like a perfectly normal sentence to say between two of those thick-headed Nords. Still, something was off about the woman, he subconsciously knew it and so too seemed Galmar though unlike him Galmar seemed to know the woman very well, breaking out into a hearty laugh before long and patting the woman on her shoulders, saying:

"Hahaha Stormblade, seems like you caught me there. Yeah, we were trying to solve this on our own since, as the new authority in all of Skyrim, we have to establish ourselves in the eyes of the common people. Can't have the Dragonborn running around solving every problem at once afterall. And some cultist filth like this seems like the perfect starting point for that."

So this was the mighty Dragonborn, hu? Nelacar got a headache just thinking about that person. He felt like there was something he was missing but he couldn't place what it was...whatever had knocked him out had done a good job on him. Still,he continued to observe and watched the Dragonborn put her own hand on Galmar's shoulder, squeezing. Nelacar wouldn't have thought it possible but for a split second he thought he saw Galmar wince in pain.

"You are absolutely right, I think this is something the Stormcloaks absolutely need to do. But this specific nest of cultists was found solely because of me...and because they sent an assassin after me. Suffice to say that I was very much looking forward to giving the end of their miserable lives my personal touch..."

The Dragonborn's voice got downright chilly towards the end, several of the Stormcloaks shifting in their fur boots as they listened, none of them wanting to stand in the way of the Dragonborn's rage. Galmar too quickly too his hand off the Dragonborn's shoulder, massaging his own shoulder instead though he made sure to make it look like he was readjusting his armour there.

"My apologies Stormblade but what kept you? You are normally very quick to appear when it comes to such matters? I thought-"

The Dragonborn just walked past him, patting Galmar on his hurting shoulder as she looked up at the statue of Boethia. In a friendly, mocking tone she stated:

"Don't think Galmar. We both know you're better at killing Elves and drinking mead than you are at that. No, I was doing some business in Falkreath Hold when I got attacked. On my way back I got distracted so I thought to send word ahead of me. Seems I should've just gotten back here myself.

So, what've we got?"

This time it was Wuunferth the court wizard who spoke after Galmar had sent him a glare, the old man stepping up to the Dragonborn and stating:

"A daedric shrine to Boethia, the Prince of Plots, the Dark Warrior, Deceiver of Nations, Queen of Shadows, Goddess of Destruction-"

"Alright Wuunferth, that's enough. We don't have to hear the entire library you must've read about her."

The Dragonborn's joke elicited a few chuckles from the nervous Stormcloaks all around them. Except for Wuunferth who mumbled something about ungrateful Nords but remained quiet otherwise. The Dragonborn then turned towards the prisoners, eyeing each of them. Atleast so they thought and they could feel her eyes upon them yet the hood hid them perfectly.

"And who are these poor bastards?"

This time it was the Nord called Ralof who replied, proudly stating:

"Grayskin cultists and cultist collaborators we found in the area. We were about to execute them all right here for their beloved Oblivion Prince."

"Is that soo..."

, the Dragon stated, half in thought, cupping her chin with a gauntleted hand as she looked at the prisoners.

"What a waste. Galmar, to make this debacle up to me, you are going to have these Dunmer loaded onto a ship and sent to Northwatch Keep. My servants will take care of things from there."

"But-"

"But what? You denied me the battle, now you'll deny me my would-be murderers?"

Galmar sighed before simply saying:

"Fine. I'll have them shipped to Northwatch Keep as soon as possible. Is there anything else?"

"Yes, there is indeed my dear Galmar."

The Dragonborn almost sounded like the old Nord warrior had reminded her of something she had put onto a trivial shopping list somewhere.

"I'll be putting together a new unit for the Stormcloak cause soon. A unit for more discreet operations and to protect the Kingdom of Skyrim and High King Ulfric from threats both within and without. I'll need you to give me a list of recruits in your army which are absolutely loyal, discreet and not too poor a fighter. I would also appreciate it if you could ensure basic equipment and supplies."

Galmar had raised an eyebrow at the Dragonborn's request, clearly not trusting her completely, inquiring:

"Why exactly? And uh...where would you be stationing that unit?"

"Ah, see, I was interacting with the Blades a while ago. You may even remember them, they were present during the armistice summit the Greybeards held in High Hrothgar.

Alas they...they were a bit too fanatical to the point that a simple disagreement between us ended...poorly to say the least. But it still gave me an idea. The Empire has the Penitus Occulatus, the Thalmor have their Justiciars...so why don't we have something to match them?

And I've heard the old Fort near Riften has been abandoned again. It should prove to be a perfect spot, spacious, hidden and close to Riften, a city filled with people specializing in discreet work. Hiring trainers there should be simple."

Galmar merely scratched his beard a bit at the explanation. It made sense to him, so much was obvious from his facial expression and even Nelacar couldn't find any fault in the Dragonborn's logic. Besides, he was still far too happy about not having to suffer the fate of execution on a daedric altar. He was almost thankful to the Dragonborn if there wasn't this unspoken promise within her voice that they all would experience far worse than this rather quick and painless execution by Galmar's axe.

"Sounds like you've already thought this through, Stormblade. I'll see how fast I can provide you with those things."

"Thanks Galmar, this rebellion probably wouldn't have gone well if it hadn't been for your organisatorial skill."

Now Galmar laughed again, the tension dissipating a little as he did so and, with a mischievous spark in his eyes added:

"Yeah, someone had to get all these good for nothing Elfslayers and Meaddrinkers organized into a proper army afterall. And who better to do it than the chief good for nothing Elfslayer and Meaddrinker around, me!?!"

He could see and hear the Dragonborn chuckling, the glint of white teeth visible for just a moment in the corners of her mouth. She was obviously amused by Galmar's joking callback to her tease way before.

"So, with that cleared up, you already got a solution for this altar?"

Galmar nodded, his head inclining slightly towards Wuunferth.

"Yeah, we'll be destroying it with the help of Wuunferth and some spiritual support from Brother Lortheim. May Thalos send this accursed place back to the darkness it belongs to."

The Dragonborn meanwhile had walked right before Nelacar, bending down and lifting his chin with her fingers, small pieces of metal set on her fingers cutting lightly into his skin like claws. She lifted his face so he looked directly at her, into her face, under the hood...and what he saw finally lifted the shroud that surrounded Nelacar's memories.

He was staring into a pair of glowing, gold-red eyes, an ancient, insatiable hunger already within them despite the Dragonborn's young age.

"I didn't think I'd find you again after you bailed on me, Nelacar. It seems fortune did not favour you at all. Couldn't even escape into death, could you?"

Nelacar's lips were trembling, the word being on his tongue but just not wanting to go past his lips as he stuttered:

"V-v-v-v-v-v-va-"

A finger was gently put onto his lips as the Dragonborn shushed him, her smirk showing off her fangs.

"Shush now Nelacar. You shouldn't say such bad things in public, atleast not yet."

But before she could devote more of her attention to Nelacar, a commotion was audible behind her yet again. Annoyance flashed over her face briefly before she straightened herself and turned around, asking:

"What is it?!?"
Only for Galmar to stare at her like he had just swallowed an entire flask of Skooma.

"The-the border. Morrowind's...Morrowind's gone..."
Ex-NE Panzerwaffe Hauptmann; War Merit Cross & Knights Cross of the Iron Cross
Woodhouse Loyalist & Inactive BLITZKRIEG Foreign Relations Minister
REST IN PEACE HERZOG FRIEDRICH VON WÜRTTEMBERG! † 9. May 2018
Furchtlos und Treu dem Hause Württemberg für alle Ewigkeit!

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Sudbrazil
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Founded: Jan 14, 2018
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Postby Sudbrazil » Sat Dec 26, 2020 5:03 pm

Tʜᴇ Dᴜᴄʜʏ ᴏғ Cᴀᴇʀ-Ys
Ochtahlan Depression, central Tennhairc Peninsula
Late at night, 31st of December, 1922 AD



An opaque sky covered the black fields of Tahleburg. Darkened grass flanked the road to the soot-covered mining town, itself pasted at intervals with charred splotches. Even the inky night seemed to have been blackened by coal dust, its luminaries swallowed by the gloom. The only source of light for miles was, rather ironically, Dante Kohlenwerk, whose braziers and occasional electric lamp fended off the shadows, allowing its workers to operate their equipment. Next to a few sheds, a gantry’s large metal limbs protruded over the coal pit’s mouth, holding up cables that plunged deep into the soil. Two kilometers into the bowels of the land, two dozen miners waited for their turn to surface.

“The Syndics have been talking about changing that old boiler for a combustion motor…”

“Hmm?” replied the Old Miner.

“They say it wouldn’t be cheap.”

“Hmm...”

“But I guess it will be better than managing the steam boilers.”

“Mhm.”

An awkward silence ensued. Far away, the cables spooled, and the elevator cage was brought down once more. Though it travelled with immense speed, the cage could only hold so many men, and the ore always went first. Three miners went up atop six rock-filled carts for another ten minute journey. Conrad Müller was the last in queue, which made his determination to come up with a distraction even greater.

“And the demand for coal is smaller every year,” he pursued. However, the old man’s carapace was hard as rock.

“Indeed.”

“But we could always go drill for oil instead. The papers say there are more uses for oil than coal nowadays.” The Old Miner seemed interested this time. He turned his head to face him, and their eyes met.

“The rocks speak,” replied the Old Miner as he scratched his beard. Puzzled by the old man’s remark, Conrad paused.

“Sorry?”

“The rocks are whispering… You are new here, hmm?”

“It’s only my third month.”

“Then let me show you how the rocks whisper.”

Immediately, the old miner picked up his torch and went back into one of the many tunnels surrounding the elevator’s cave. As the duo continued at a steady pace through winding stone corridors, the only sign of life was the little flame that their torches held. As Conrad did not dare embarrass himself by speaking again, not a word was said during the long walk, and the only sounds came from the echo of their boots and the wind of their breath. Slowly but surely, the air grew heavier with humidity, and the discreet sound of water introduced itself. Under a large dome of rock, an underground river surfaced briefly, running calmly. Two pumps worked to power the steam engines and feed the hoses that periodically doused the coal pit with water.

“Here, sit down,” offered the Old Miner as he dragged out two of the chairs used by the engineers who serviced the pumps, “The rocks are very timid, and speak very softly. Let me show you.”

Conrad cringed as the miner removed their torch’s glass covers and blew the little flames out. Normally the coal dust would have blown the entire tunnel up, but thanks to the local humidity and the constant work of the sprinkling hoses the mine was generally safer. On the ceiling, a tiny blue dot spoke out, glowing ever so slightly.

“Is it some glowing rock?”

“The men of the city say that. They attribute it to posh… phosphorescence. They say the rocks catch the light of our torches and throw it back. It’s rubbish of course. The rocks have been singing this harmony before any of us set foot in here with light. And as my grandfather taught me, they sing ever louder when something unusual happens.”

Then, like stars in the early night, other points joined in, glowing with an azure hue. Clusters of iridescent rocks arranged according to some pattern devised at the very beginning of the world dimly lit the cavernous roof, and even small patches of the ground under their feet turned into glassy surfaces through which emanated some of the blue light. Conrad was silent, and dared not move for some instinctual fear of trampling over them and robbing their glow.

“Then what is it? Is it...” and Conrad hesitated to spit out the disdained word, “magic?”

“In a way. These walls contain traces of volucite, which glows with divine power. Nobody has been able to extract this since the alchemists of the old Mediterranean Empires. It turns to rock when air touches it.”

Conrad sat quietly, bewitched by the Old Miner’s tales. He told him of Babel and its pride, Laputa the Mother of Abominations, who once ruled over the world, and the nobles and kings and peasants who fled from it in the days of strife. But the ringing of the elevator’s bell echoed through the mines, and the shouts of worried men soon followed. Something was happening at the mouth of the pit. Müller relit his torch, chasing away the light with his man-made flame.

“We should be leaving. They must be waiting for us.”


The Lights go out all over Europe
Fortress Tedus, southwestern Tennhairc


Though quiet to the ear, in essence and meaning the sobbing of the woman overpowered the crackling hearth and even the radio’s voice. Surrounded by ancient wood and stone, between the columns of their bed, the couple sat still. The man, still in his uniform, comforted the woman whose eyes were puffy with tears. In this state, the Duchess was quite an indecent sight – her hair was undone and messy, and aside from her nightgown only his hussar pelisse covered her features, but he could not think ill of her, not in this state. To do so would be to desecrate a mourning temple. Instead he thought of more relevant topics: gunpowder, horse charges and airships bursting with flames.

“Don’t you want me to change clothes? The jacket’s lacing is rough.” commented the Duke, caressing the head buried in his chest. Carl Morvarck och Ys, Grand Duke of the Tennhairc Peninsula and commander of its armies felt powerless to remove his wife from his lap to conquer this night’s sleep. He hoped his hints would reach that Russian heart, but like Napoleon’s armies a century ago, they clearly failed to overcome the great distance. The Duke briefly felt selfish as his wife let out another wail.

“Father promised me… He promised!” replied the Grand Duchess between sobbing. The Duke of course, knew this. But how could he blame the Tsar for breaking his oath? His heir had been vaporized, blood everywhere and only a few gunpowder-charred bits left. Such an offense could not be left unpunished. Morvarck och Ys would have done the same.

However, he could not forgive the Kaiser for rejecting the officers of the Russian investigation, nor could he forgive the Tsar for mobilizing. Now, Will, Nick, Charlie and even George were embroiled in a great diplomatic scandal, inching closer to war by the second. If war were to break out, a great bloodbath would erupt, a bloodbath on which the rest of the world was poised to feast like a pack of vultures. And that Carl could not forgive.

“Don’t worry dear, Nick won’t act on his threats.” The Duke, however, knew this was false. Russia’s pride was at stake. Her armies had already mobilised. One by one Caer Tedus’ clocks struck midnight, marking the end of the Russian ultimatum and sealing the fate of Europe.

But the Dawn did not care about war or even the time of night, as from the East, a dot of gold surfaced. Light flowed out from this small bastion, cresting the hills and spilling onto the fields in a torrential rush, growing brighter and brighter and brighter still. Though the sun rose no further, a cascade of warm beams poured from the horizon, filling the air and banishing the dark night, making the oily waves of the northern sea glow, vanquishing the ramparts and gun turrets of Caer Tedus. Brassless trumpets, pipeless organs, immaterial carillons rang in the sky while an invisible choir sang notes unknown to man, deafening yet soothing the ears of all listening. A flurry of wings and eyes covered the sky, and the melody made way for a voice like the trumpet:

“Tʜᴇ Dᴀʏ ɪs ɴᴏᴛ ʏᴇᴛ ᴄᴏᴍᴇ.”

Then, it was night again.

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The Peninsular
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 154
Founded: Apr 04, 2017
New York Times Democracy

Postby The Peninsular » Sat Dec 26, 2020 6:41 pm

Task Force Percival
TCS ‘Head Held High’, Confederation-class supercarrier
Deep Space, enroute to the Feodor System
2669.105


The drink synthesizer stuttered briefly. Its regular humming noise was interrupted by a gurgling, of sorts. Chief Petty Officer Jules Bankley scoffed, and kicked the machine. The humming resumed, and soon a cup filled with steaming black liquid was deposited onto the machine’s serving tray.

Bankley grabbed the cup, walking over to his station in the small flight control office. He was the only one inside, overlooking the Head Held High’s forward hangar decks. They were in FTL currently, and as such most fighters were neatly lined up in their bays.

Six Hellcat Vs of Blue Wing, six Arrow Vs of Yellow Wing and four Thunderbolt VII heavy fighters of Grey Wing sat outside, in alert positions. Their pilots, more than likely, were somewhere in one of the ready rooms, preparing before their assigned sorties upon arrival. Bankley could see a few deck personnel walking around, performing some checkups.

Along the entire deck, the lights flickered. Bankley frowned, and stood up. A light fixture flickering was nothing new, but all of them on an entire flight deck? The Chief Petty Officer lifted himself up from the chair he had just sat down in, going over to one of the wall-mounted direct-comms. His station had one as well, but wasn’t booted up yet.

“Flight control to CIC, this is CPO Bankley.”, he said in a tired voice. The speaker crackled for a moment, then came a reply. “CIC, Commander Linde here, speak.” He briefly cleared his throat. “Something wrong with the electrics, sir? All the fixtures on the flight deck just flickered.” “Wait one.”, came the answer.

A few seconds went by, then the Commander’s voice came out of the speaker again. “Yeah, uh. Looks like we’re having some kind of fluctuations in the ship. Engineering boys’re looking into it now. They say it’s nothing to worry about.”

------

TCS Gdansk

The TCS Gdansk cut through space elegantly, owing to its quite sleek frame. Positioned some distance to the left and behind the Head Held High and the task force’s other ship, the Sheffield, the crew under Captain Phu was busy watching the stars pass by.

For the last week since they had received their mission, the Gdansk’s crew had made like all the other members of the task force and prepared for the inevitable storm. The guns were restored to as good a condition as possible, the shields were recalibrated and their half-broken gravitics had been mostly fixed. Psychologically, though, they weren’t in as well a state as the condition of the ship would have suggested.

Nobody said it aloud, but it was universally accepted that their task was suicide. Feodor lay at the crossroads of a number of formerly Confed sectors, but now that Enigma, Vega and most others lay in ruin beneath the Kilrathi onslaught, the Feodor system was the obvious point of attack for an eventual push towards Earth. The task force’s job was to hold the system as long as possible, alone. The rest of the Confed navy was gearing up for a final stand at Sol, or the evacuation of as many people as possible - no one would come to the rescue once things went south.

The crew remained resolute. They were flying a Venture-class corvette, after all. It had only been a matter of time until they went on a mission where death was guaranteed. Besides, all ten had been Vega Sector natives, and lost most, if not all of their families to the genocidal Kilrathi campaigns. As with most Confed soldiers and navy personnel, the war had shaped them into men and women with little regard for their own lives anymore, and their experiences had universally resulted in an everburning hatred for everything Kilrathi.

“Status check?”, Captain Phu asked the navigation officer. The woman punched something into her console. “FTL stability still looking good. HHH’s reporting some minor issues, but nothing that should delay us.” Phu nodded briefly. “Well, don’t want to keep the furballs waiting. They’re already in-system, if I read the reports correctly. A frigate, at the corewards edge.”

One of the weapons techs, who were also present in the CIC and busy playing a card game of some description, raised an eyebrow. “So, are we gonna kill it first?” Phu shook his head and rolled his eyes. “No, they’re gonna let the Sheffield do it, from what I heard. Typical. Maybe we’ll get to shoot the lifepods afterwards, who knows.” Another crewman shook his head. “Nah, mark my words. The goddamn fighter pilots’ll get to have all the fun. You know how those guys are, always kill all the cats on their own.”

The rest of the crew murmured in approval. They were out for blood, but also the oldest vessel in the fleet, so would likely be relegated to support duties until the final stand came. The crew was about to discuss this topic further, when the navigation console began beeping.

Thoroughly startled by the ‘alert alert alert’ coming from her console, the nav officer turned around and began punching in commands. The rest of the crew became silent - an alert while at FTL was not to be taken lightly. “What is it?”, Phu asked quickly. The nav officer kept working at her console for a few more seconds. “Can’t categorize it. I’m getting anomalous readings, the other ships are too, it seems.”

Before anyone could add anything, however, the ship began to rumble. Bulkheads began creaking, and the lights started flickering. The crew watched in a mixture of awe and terror as the visible light around the Gdansk and her companions, the Sheffield and Head Held High, started to distort.

“What the frak is happening?!”, Phu yelled, subconsciously hanging onto his seat while the rest of the crew made efforts to get to their own chairs. The nav officer threw her hands up in confusion. “This should not be possible! We’re getting… pulled out of FTL!

------

Task Force Percival
Above TCS ‘Head Held High’, Confederation-class supercarrier
2669.105
Unknown planetary body


With a howl, the last of the remaining alert fighters shot out from the Head Held High’s main hangar deck. On the way out, the Thunderbolt heavy fighter clipped a flipped Arrow’s wingtip, scattered a fallen-over stack of spare parts all across the massive deck and had to dodge several unconscious deck personnel - all in all, it was chaos. Half of the alert squadron had been incapacitated one way or the other during the crash: Their fighters flipped or tipped over, wedged between other vehicles or their pilots simply knocked out by unsecured, flying objects.

As a a result, only four Hellcat Vs, two Arrow Vs and three Thunderbolts had managed to get airborne, and just barely as well: From what self-diagnosis the pilots were capable of, it turned out that at least three had suffered a mild concussion, one was still unable to focus properly and one of the pilots who’d ended up in a Thunderbolt was only qualified on Hellcats. They were circling at medium altitude now, attempting to form something at least resembling a formation and nervously watching their sensors for enemy fighters.

“Alright, sound off. Who do we got?”, the lead Hellcat asked on the comm net. “I’m Cyan-2.” “Pulsar-8 here.”, one of the Arrows responded. “Ice-4 here, with Ice-5 and York-2.”, came the message from the other three Hellcats. “Hound-9, that’s me.”, the second Arrow V identified itself. The three Thunderbolts came in shortly after. “Shift-6, Shift-11 and Hunter-4 here.”

Cyan-2 shook his head, though none of his fellow pilots could see it. “Not a chance in hell we’ll be able to coordinate like this. I’m designating us all as…” He paused for a second. “I’m designating us as Mixer. Assigning Hellcats Mixer 1 through 4, Arrows’ll get 5 & 6, and you Thunderbolts are 7 through 9.” A slew of responses came in over the comm channel. “So you’re taking charge?”, Mixer-3, formerly Ice-5, asked. Cyan-2, now Mixer-1, scoffed. “What, you have anything against that?”

Before there could be any argument, the central fighter command channel sprang to life. “All alert fighters, check in!”, a harsh voice barked, known to everyone as the Head Held High’s very own Colonel Pike, leader of the fighter wings. “Cyan-2 reporting, sir. Designated all operating alert fighters as Mixer squadron. Standing by for orders.”, the impromptu squadron’s leader communicated back.

A few unintelligible sounds came through the connection before Pike spoke again. “Alright, Mixer. Something pulled us out of FTL - damn Kilrathi must’ve built some sort of new weapon. Our main sensor array is KO, but we’re expecting them to come finish us off any minute. We’re trying to get everything in the air that can still fly - you need to buy us time.You are free to fire on anything, and I mean anything, that approaches our crash site. If those bastards are looking for a fight, we’ll give ‘em one!”
10000 Islands

The Constitutional Federation of the Peninsular is an FT nation.

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Speyland
Envoy
 
Posts: 348
Founded: May 19, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Speyland » Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:07 pm

Abaci Sultanate, Hisar, Royal Palace, Sultana Yelda Abaci Dracula I

The time has come for her. Sultana Yelda is pacing around the room, feeling nervous after the nation has experienced a sudden transition to a different world. However, she is yet to investigate the situation further if it wasn't for keeping her people safe, or else it might get worse as time goes on. She took a moment to breathe in and out to concentrate on herself and her surroundings. She looked out the window to enjoy watching the citizens going about their business despite getting transported to a different world. She can also see the trees having a slightly different color than before, appearing to have a much deeper green hue. Technically, the world looks the same to her, but it looks entirely different and out of place. Performing these calm activities can lower her stress level a little, but her mind is still out of control.

At first, her country was in the middle of a war against the Axis powers, having joined the war with the Allies and pressuring herself to comply with striving for the better. One day, a powerful storm has unexpectedly affected the nation, and it took a turn for the worse. Then, the storm has suddenly sent her and the people to a different world. And here they are now, trying to figure out a way to return to their world, but nothing will come to light.

Yelda's job as a sultana won't be easy for her as she has to deal with the unknown and by living in those troubling times. In the meantime, she must continue with her duties in ruling the nation and trying not to worry about what has happened recently. Her next task is to send at least a few explorers to the north to see what they could find interesting. If not, then they will go to the south instead.

For now, Sultana Yelda will focus on managing domestic affairs such as farming and industry (knowing that there is little to no contact with other nations, making the country lonely). She must also focus on establishing communication infrastructures to see if she can get in contact with unfamiliar nations. That's all there is to it, currently.

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Laiakia
Attaché
 
Posts: 81
Founded: Nov 25, 2019
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Laiakia » Sun Dec 27, 2020 9:17 am

Armored Response Coalition
A.R.C Command Carrier and Task Fleet Percerus
Coast outside New York
Year 2153


Broiling waves hit the A.R.C Carrier’s side, as their main guns fired at a steady pace. Seconds later, the secondaries followed up and demolished multiple flying demons enroute to the carrier. Fighters soared in the skies, taking down multiple Cacodemons and Gargoyles with their missiles, while supporting ships fired desperately at the huge swarm of incoming demons.

In the indoors hangar bay of the carrier, some infantry troopers and mechs were lined up infront of the main blastdoor. The booms of the guns continued, shaking the ship as the battle outside raged. Some small-talk filled the room as the unease grew. Many of the soldiers probably knew that this would be their last stand if the demons managed to get aboard. Many believed this fight to be folly. They had slaughtered thousands everywhere, yet millions more followed. They were driven not by any human instinct, only by their primal wanting of death and destruction. Some ignored all of these negative thoughts and simply checked their weapons and ammo. Most, if not everyone, had lost someone to the demonic hordes. All they wanted was revenge, for their anger and rage was the only thing driving them forwards. The talking stopped as the sounds walking and a blast door opening filled the ears of the men.

Out from an elevator stepped Samuel Hayden, leader of the A.R.C and the resistance effort against the mortally challenged. As Hayden walked towards the blastdoor, he began speaking.
“Against all the evil that Hell can conjure, all the wickedness that mankind can produce, we will send unto them… only you. You are the men of the A.R.C. You have all stood against the hordes for many years now, keeping humanity safe. The demons can not, and will not win this day. You are the A.R.C’s finest! You will rip and tear, until it is done.”
The lines up soldiers erupted in some cheers as Hayden finished speaking and grabbed a plasma rifle from the floor. He turned around and nodded to a flight-crew assistant that then pulled the lever down, making the door decompress and an alarm sound as demonic roars could be heard outside.

Immediately, plasma rifles were discharged at some demons that had landed on the carrier’s flight deck. The soldiers and mechs all charged out, firing wildly at any demonic presence as the booming of the heavy guns erupted once more. The battle raged on as more and more demonic threats appeared on radar, and hell-portals opened on the deck. Eventually, the opposition grew to much.
“Can’t hold ‘em of!” A female soldier shouted over the sound of booming guns and hellfire.
Hayden looked between himself and the rest of the troops as more and more demons landed on the carrier. He growled internally as the blasted another demon and turned to give a new order.
“Fall back, now!”
More demons came and more soldiers were slain as some ran back into the carrier with fear.
“They’re killing everyone!”
“They’re everywhere!”

Soon enough, all the soldier were back in the hangar, breathing heavily as the blast door shut tight. The booms of the carrier guns were now backed by loud hitting on the metallic door. Hayden himself was checking his own weapon while grasping his metallic shoulder. In the skirmish, he must have been hit by the demon’s attacks.

As the banging on the door grew louder, a small group of soldiers stood up and walked infront of everyone else, drawing their attention. The leader of this small group gulped a little before speaking.
“..We must pray now, brothers.. Pray that He is watching.”
Hayden scoffed internally. He had really wished that this thought of the Doomslayer as a ‘god’ hadn’t taken such a strong hold.
The soldier continued. “For it is He that they fear. Not man, nor his armies. They fear the Mark of the Beast!”
Just as the soldier was going to continue, the banging on the door ceased, and was replaced by pained howling and scrambled shooting, though one noise seemed to overpower all of these sounds. The loading of a shotgun.

Hayden looked over at the flight-crew assistant and half nodded, and the doors opened again. There were no live demons near the door anymore, for now there stood the Doomslayer with a demon spine in hand and his trusty super-shotgun. The next few seconds were filled with adrenalin.
Rifles were discharged once more as newly motivated forces came charging out, blasting the demons in deadly plasma, while the slayer ran around with such a speed that he couldn’t have been a normal human. In one second, he had torn a Gargoyle in half, and in the next, he had already moved on to the next one.
“Perhaps it is true..” Some of the soldiers thought. “Perhaps the only thing they do fear, is Him.”


Despite only having appeared minutes ago, the Slayer had already coated the deck of the carrier in a new layer of demon guts and gore. Horrible shrieks came from the demons who were remotely alive, but these were silenced by louder plasma blasts and shotgun blasts that ripped through the air into new demons.
Eventually, their numbers thinned to a ‘safe’ degree so fighters could land and resupply. As the last fighter landed, a blaring alarm caught the attention of those who weren’t busy killing demons. A secondary alarm followed.
“Warning. Unidentified energy spike detected. Source: Unknown. Threat level: Unknown.”
Beneath the carrier, the water began boiling, something only noticed by a few. A second later, a huge white orb consumed the carrier and the nearby battleship A.R.C.S Bismarck. After 20 seconds, the orb dissipated and left no sign of the ships or their crews.


Unknown
Chaos spread across the deck as more and more people looked at their surroundings. Trees and grass and blue skies. No signs of any demonic corruption. Even the Slayer himself looked confused as he finished off a demon he had in his hands. Walking to the edge of the ship, the Slayer looked down and saw land. Hayden followed him and looked down too.
“What just happened?”

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Greater Redosia
Minister
 
Posts: 3423
Founded: Aug 01, 2016
Tyranny by Majority

Postby Greater Redosia » Sun Dec 27, 2020 12:30 pm

Roma, Senātus Populusque Rōmānus
Gaius Marius' Triumph, Consulship of Gaius Marius VI and Lucius Flaccus


Riding down the street of Rome, upon the chariot that was pulled by two of the finest horses that Roma and her armies had to offer. There stood Gaius Marius wearing the regalia of old Roman Monarchy, the purple toga and the laurel that sat gently upon his head. In tow were the city's Legion that marched down the street behind his chariot, in tow with them were the slaves that revolted against Roman rule, the ones he personally defeated in battle and captured them to be brought back to Rome and turned into gladiators. It was not a genuinely exciting part of the year he would enjoy, triumphs were a waste of money better spent on more Legions, but it was the Senate that demanded one and so he was there to provide.

Riding up quickly beside on a horse, a man raises an arm to the Consul in which the Consul gave in return.

"What is it Pilate, you know such an occasion such as this we cannot be made to converse openly...It is a break of tradition."

The Roman messenger, named Pilate by the Consul gives a bow of apology. "I am sorry your Consul. It is simply that Senate wishes to know if you plan on becoming elected again next year, just so they can prepare themselves for the elections that are to come."

Gaius looked annoyed, "It is what they always think about, isn't it. If I am to be elected or even choose to run again, if anything they will choose someone like Sulla of all people to become Consul and they shall see what happens when they deal with matters that mean nothing than those that do matter."

Before a reply could be given by Pilate, a flash light and loud boom rang through the air, filling the sight of the Consul and all the people of Rome. When the light disappeared from the people of Roma, the Consul was on his back on the ground, having lost his balance standing on the chariot. The people began to panic and start rushing through the streets to get back to their homes. The Legionaries who were right behind the Consul rushed forward and formed a square around Gaius Marius, compacting themselves so no gap in the shield line was visible, Pilate dropped from his horse and rushed over to the Consul, picking his head off the ground and looked down upon the most powerful man in Rome.

Blinking, Gaius looked up at Pilate and tried to piece together what happened. His ears were ringing and the back of his head was throbbing, he saw the mouth of Pilate moving but he couldn't hear a thing so he simply gripped onto the front of their tunic. Closing his eyes, he focused on his breathing, trying to calm it as he let his body catch up to the present. The rumbling of feet as men and women ran in fear, his soldiers keeping guard from both them and the slaves who were chained together, not wishing to have them escape in a place such as this where they would most likely never be found. But that wasn't the matter at the moment, Gaius tried to sit up more but the throbbing in his head wouldn't allow it. More thuds could be felt from the ground as he suddenly felt his body move off the ground. Was he dying?

"Don't take me Pluto...Not yet.." mumbled Gaius, reaching out to grab something, his hand being held on by Pilate as the legionnaires came with a large piece of cloth to carry the Consul in. "Do not worry...We shall get you home safe." Turning the the soldiers carrying the man of triumph, the look of a fallen king as his purple toga was becoming wrinkled and the laurel having lost several leaves and becoming damaged from the Consul's fall. "Take the Consul back to his domus! Ensure he gets the care he needs! I must get back to the Senate, the Gods have broken the sky and we must understand what we must do!" The soldiers gave a nod and began their slow march to the home of Gaius, Pilate took the reigns of his horse and climbed onto the saddle where he gripped his legs onto the side gently to keep himself steady. Pulling the reigns back, he launched them forward as the horse shot off down the streets of Rome. The day has become a tragedy, Pilate simply hoped that no more would follow.

Roma, Senātus Populusque Rōmānus
Two days after, Consulship of Gaius Marius VI and Lucius Flaccus


"With Gaius Marius recovering from his injuries, it is obvious that we must install a temporary Consul to replace him for the time being! After all, the Gods shattered the skies on the day of his triumph...Is this not an omen that his reign as Consul will only bring us to death and destruction?" shouted the senator, angered by the posturing and attempts at delaying the obvious. "We cannot do such a thing! Gaius Marius is not dead nor has he announced that he would step down as Consul, he is recovering and is still recognized as the First Consul of Rome by the laws we've adhered to since the foundation of our Republic! Those that wish to go against the very words of our Senate shall be amounting themselves to treason against the State, which no one wishes to be in that position, now do we!"

With the silence now growing, the senators sat back down. Pilate taking himself to the center of the Senate as he looked around at the Senators, some of the most powerful men in Rome now surrounding him. He gave a bow to one direction as he opened a rolled up parchment he held in his hands. "From what we know, Roma is safe from the wrath the God's have brought before us. Neopolis in the south has been said to be safe as well, along with its surroundings. No ships have arrived from Sicily yet, so we have dispatched several to ensure that our nation is whole...As for the North?"

Pilate stood there silent, swallowing the anxiety that was within his throat as he did not know what to say. Lucius stood and looked down at the messenger, "Well? Out with it! What is going on North of Roma!" Pilate winced, looking back at the parchment, "It says that the North has been swallowed by snow, we do not have any clue what has happened to Pisa or have we received word from anything North of there..." The Senate was shocked with the news, their scouts worked quickly but this news only brought more despair than answers. When the Gods broke the sky, they thought it was simply in Rome to denounce the man Gaius Marius, but instead it broke their Republic into pieces. The last thing they needed though, was the city in uproar. Marcus Antonius raised his arms out to calm his peers, trying to be the man of reason.

"Whatever the cause may be, we must recognize the disaster it is if we have lost the city of Pisa...The main port north of Rome...I demand that the Senate sends a cohort northward to this land of snow. Give them the finest equipment available to keep them warm on the march, ensure they have ample supplies of wood for their fires and meat for inner warmth. They shall act as our eyes, our ears and as our voice if they find anyone left." With a mumbling, the Senate could at least agree that sending a cohort was the best option for the time being. Marcus slowly leaned down to one of his allies, whispering to ensure no one else could hear him, "Ensure that Flavian Ovicula is the one in charge of the cohort, I can trust no finer and loyal a soldier such as himself. Tell him that we will increase his pay by double for this effort he is doing in the name of the Republic." With a nod, the senator quickly shuffled past the others and made his way out to go and bribe the other centurions as well as tell Flavian of the new role he is to play.

"Well then, Pilate. Is there anything else in order that must be brought to attention?"

Before an answer could be given, the sound of a horn rang through the Senate as the arrival of several figures with hooded robes entered. The white and gold cloth of the leader, being followed by the cheaper brown clothes of their followers. Following them was a sheep. The Senate became more quiet than ever before, Pilate stepped aside from the center of the Senate and allowed the white robed figure the floor. Lucius squinted down at them, "Augur...no one requested your presence.." The augur smiled as he tilted his head slightly, letting his mouth be seen and allowing the shadows cover the remaining parts of his face. The white teeth of a mad man made the others flinch.

"Ah. But the Gods themselves have requested me and my haruspices, I traveled far to give the message of the Gods. Surely you respect their plans and their ideals, since you ask for my services over and over for your battles and your harvests. And yet, the moment when the Gods shatter our world, you simply go quiet. Are you perhaps afraid of their will?" Silence was the response to the augur, "It is what I thought. By Jupiter, you all are afraid of what he wishes to bring to this world and now we have our chance to learn!" With a slightly maddened laugh, he turned and pointed at the sheep. "Tell us their will!"

One of the hooded figures, a female who was most likely equally as mad as the augur came down and gently patted the head of the sheep. shushing it gently as she deafly slit the throat of the animal, without a single noise it collapsed to the floor in its own pool of blood. Allowing her to begin cutting it open, as a haruspex it was her duty...one she enjoyed. But she quickly stepped away in horror, dropping the dagger in her hand as she held the blooded hands close to her chest. The augur as if having a moment of concerned clarity, stepped over to the dead body of the sheep, sticking his hands into the body and pulling out the pieces nobody wished to see. Giving an audible "huh".

"There doesn't seem to be a liver in this one."
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Acharybdis
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Posts: 24
Founded: Sep 27, 2020
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Acharybdis » Sun Dec 27, 2020 2:43 pm

Prime Minister Agnes Maltoun
An Underground Military Base in Antarctic

A clang rang out through the room, causing Agnes to winch as she watches over the knightmare production. She brushes some of her blonde hair aside as she retakes a look at her notepad. This production line was responsible for producing the 7th generation knightmare Vincent Ward. She briefly glances at the paper to see what their quota was supposed to be. Agnes looks up to a computer screen on the catwalk to see how many Vincent Wards they produced today. She sucks her teeth as she realizes that they won't be able to make it to their daily quota today.

"Unhappy about something?" A voice behind her asks. Agnes spins around to see who would dare sneak up on her. She sighs as she recognizes the young man. His brown spikey hair matches his overbearing demeanor and sage green research outfit.

"Llyod, I thought I told you to stop sneaking up on me," Agnes replies as she crossed her arms.

"And I thought I told you to stop sighing so much. Too bad, we live in a world that doesn't live up to our expectations," Llyod sighs and leans against the catwalk. Agnes shakes her head at this before flipping to another page in her notepad.

"So what got one of our fearless leaders so worry?" Llyod asks.

"Our Vincent Ward production won't meet our today's quota. Do you why this is happening?" Agnes says after a second of silence. Llyod chuckles at her reply, which caused Agnes to scrunch up her face.

"Don't tell me you forgot that we are assembling a new 9th generation knightmare for the new Knight of the Round. I heard that they found her wasting her talent in the Black Knights," Llyod announces as he leans close to Agnes, which caused her to pull away and for Llyod to raise his hands. "I heard The Witch of Britannia personally trained her. I think that, among several other reasons, is why his excellency took interest in her. He said to build a new knightmare for her, and it has to be suited to her style. Also, I heard one of the embezzlement rings got busted. So funds will be a little tight this month. His excellency reallocates some of the resources for the Vincent Wards to her knightmare's production. I can't say I disagree with his decision because he put me in charge of creating it." Llyod ends with a smile.

"You knightmare fanatic, but a new 9th generation knightmare would be worth the missing Vincent Wards. How is it coming along?"

"Well..."Llyod begins and pauses. "It is coming along fine." This exchange caused Agnes to smirk as she begins to wonder what kind of knightmare stump Llyod.

"Did you finally meet your match? What knightmare are you designing for her?" Agnes inquires.

"She wants a knightmare that has a better version of Excalibur. Oh, it doesn't stop there. She also wants to intercorporate the hadron cannon from the Modred and the wings from the Lancelot. She also wants missiles embued with radiant wave technology and Megistos Omega from the emperor's knightmare. The emperor's knightmare! Are you sure we didn't recruit a money-sucking vampire? This knightmare is taking so much of our research department's budget. Forget the 9th generation. This knightmare is a 10th generation knightmare. Not even the UFN dares to say that they have 10th generation knightmares" Llyod rambles and throws his hands up in defeat. "Even worst, she dares to ask us to include our latest developments in her knightmare. Like I know you are skilled, but you have to think about others."

"Ouch. That is a pretty hefty order. I hope this isn't affecting our other production lines. How is the progress on the knightmare?" Agnes probed.

"Well, we are about 45% done. Combining the different parts from knightmares isn't hard, but lowering energy consumption is a daunting task. The best part is that his excellency ordered us to start on this knightmare a year ago, almost like he knew she would have outrageous demands. The knightmare is capable of combat, but its energy consumption is the same as all of our 9th generation knightmares combined. Sure, it is a game-changer, but the number of times we can use it will be scarce. Also, to your query about the other production lines, I like to remind you we aren't an official nation yet. Of course, our other production lines dipped. However, I think this will be worth the cause as this new knightmare will be a game-changer. If we can mass-produce this sort of knightmare, then that dream about reviving the Holy Britannian Empire won't be a fairy tale anymore."

"Don't forget that a knightmare like that needs very skilled pilots. Why waste so many resources when there is no one to pilot them." Agnes responded. Agnes and Llyod ponder on these developments before they hear footsteps approaching them. They turn to see a Britannia soldier running up to them. As soon as he is in arm's reach, he stops and salutes the two.

"Prime Minister Agnes and Earl Llyod, his excellency, wants me to inform you that he is departing for the thought elevator and that he wishes you to see him off," The soldier announces. Agnes looks to Llyod, who shrugs his shoulder before signaling the soldier to lead them forward. Agnes and Llyod follow the soldier out of the production facility as he leads them to the elevator. The group grabs and puts on their winter coats before entering the elevator. The entire base was underground, and some floors were in the ocean. The Galla family fortune, Britannian nobles' donations, and their embezzling racket funded the base as conflict died out worldwide. Therefore, multiple Britannian family crests were plastered around the base. The soldier clicked the button for the top level, which was slightly below the surface. They rode in silence as the elevator rose through the floors and came to a stop at their destination.

The soldier holds the elevator for Llyod and Agnes to exit as the loading bay's bustling sound embraces them. A Britannian noble come flying toward them before someone swipes them down in the air.

"Come on now! If you are going to lose, at least avoid knocking down the spectators," A voice in front of them exclaims. Agnes sigh as Llyod chuckled off to the side as a young man with white hair and dressed in a maroon Britannian combat uniform kneel before Agnes. He takes Agnes' hand and kisses it.

"Are you hurt, my lady?" He asks. Agnes maintains her stoic look as she takes his hand from him and walks past him.

"It is nice to see you too, Lord of the West," Agnes says with slight scorn as she looks for Dash. Llyod shakes his head at Roland before following behind Agnes.

"I don't think that will stop him," Llyod comments as he sees Roland helping the noble up. Agnes takes a glance back to see Roland smiling at her.

"Unfortunately," She sighs as she looks back to the center to see Dash watching a sparring match. She walks over to Dash as he adjusts his formal apparel.

"You wanted us to see you off?" Agnes asks. Dash continues to look forward as if he is not paying attention to them before shaking his head.

"I wanted you to see this girl's talent for yourself. After all, I can't ask you to build a knightmare without knowing her potential." Dash tells them. Agnes looks over to see a black hair girl tearing through her opponents with a wooden sword. She judges that she was probably the one that sent that Britannian noble flying. After a minute, she couldn't help but gawk at her fighting skills, and there is only one reason she could be this good.

"Is she..." Agnes begins as Dash nods his head.

"She is the first. My first perfect creation," Dash says. Agnes looks back in amazement as Llyod seems to catch on and had the same expression as Agnes.
"Imagine her ability in a knightmare. Her skills alone can let her solo a fifth-generation knightmare with the proper weaponry. If we add a 10th generation knightmare, she will be unparalleled on the battlefield." Dash continues.

"Truly amazing. I can see why you had me assigned to build her knightmare. With her, our military prowess will dramatically increase." Llyod praises. "Will she be joining you in the expedition, your excellency?"

"Yes. For now, I will keep an eye on her to make sure that the transformation is complete. I haven't created a knightmare for a long time. I plan for her to become the lance that eradicates all of Britannia's enemies," Dash answers. "Anyway, it is time for us to start heading out. Hopefully, this thought elevator is still functional." Dash turns as he prepares to give an order before a scream rings out. The trio spins around as they see a bright light appearing at one end of the loading bay and rapidly expanding.

"How is this possible? How did we get discovered?" Dash exclaims as the light approaches him. Thoughts race through his mind as he tried to calculate a way to save their organization from the enemy's attack.

"There...is..no..ne." Dash stammers as the light swallow him whole.

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Rupudska
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 20621
Founded: Sep 16, 2010
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Rupudska » Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:49 pm

Image


May 17, 1995
Directus Castle and Presidential Palace, Republic of Ustio
10:21 AM


The castle of Directus had never been a royal palace, but it was no less beautiful because of it. Sitting in the narrowest peninsula of the Crescere River in central Directus and facing the north, the P-shaped building of brick and marble had evolved and been built (and rebuilt) many times over the years (especially during the Baroque and Enlightenment Periods) but each addition was blended expertly with the last by Belka's finest architects. Even to the fiercely independence-minded Ustians, credit was given where it was due, and the Belkan dukes and lords of old knew that a city famed for legendary craftsmanship deserved a palace of equal splendor. It had sustained minor damage in the invasion, and a little more during Operation Constantine to retake the city for Ustio, but nothing a few days more of repair work would fix. And besides the light damage, the only things marring its roof were the expertly-hidden communications antennae and satellite dishes.

Though no dukes lived there now, and hadn't since Belka became a federation, it still served as the home of the ruler of Ustio - well, one of them anyway. President Pavel Linhart was an old man, who had fought in old wars for Belka, and was now fighting one against it. At times he seemed to bear the full weight of his seventy four years of life, as time wore the old commando's body away faster and harder than the exercise he had time for could rebuild it.

He stood on the balcony facing the castle square with his hands clasped behind his back. Once, there stood a statue of a Belkan duke who once ruled what was now Ustio - it had been moved to the National Art Museum's archive building in 1989 to keep it safe from ultranationalists - and for the past few days had stood thousands of citizens celebrating the liberation of Directus and consequentially all of Ustio. Now the square was empty even of the usual post-parade detritus, and the city had begun to refocus on the war effort as the Inter-United Nations (or the Allied Forces, as the news called it) prepared to push the lines into Belka, despite assurances to the Assembly of Nations that they would do no such thing. The Osean president, Albert Longstreet, had called it a "nuclear inspection" a few days ago, to ensure Belka wasn't developing weapons of mass destruction.

He shook his head, chuckling. What an underhanded move, and he caught himself thinking that it was a very Osean thing to do. The first battle of the Second Osean War was started by Oseans claiming to be involved in live fire exercises. He would know, as he was there, a simple infantry second lieutenant in the Belkan Army, on a day not unlike today.

But the Ustian military would have a day very much unlike the one here in Directus. The first thing lying in their path, which would be attacked in, oh, about eight hours judging by his watch, would be the Glatistant. An ancient city dating to the early medieval period, the ruins around and atop Mount Ivrea had been converted to an impressive anti-air fortress. A few hundred miles to the west yet only a dozen or so to the south, the Hydrian Mountains had snow even now in mid-May, even if it was limited to the peaks. He didn't envy the ground troops. Even with Galm Team, the aces who shot down two of the famed Rainbow Squadrons of the equally famed Belkan Air Force and had helped liberate Directus, the fighting on the ground was expected to be ugly. The forecast called for sleet on the mountaintops, and the Allied air forces' jobs was to eliminate the Glatistant's anti-air defenses and aircraft, with the anti-air divisions' barracks as a secondary target. Even Galm Team was only two F-15s, and even they could only carry so many bombs and USMs.

Still, for the moment, he himself had little to do. His next meeting wasn't for another thirty-eight minutes or so, and the last parade in celebration of Ustio's liberation had concluded the previous evening. The plans for the attack on the Glatistant, such as he was involved in designing them, had already finished - to be honest, more with Prime Minister Mesmer's input than his own. She was the one who had been involved in the Belkan Air Force's logistics back when they were both in that nation's military, and she was better at organizing the orders of battle and the initial drafting of plans. He was just the executor, the one better suited to changing and adapting those plans to fit the situation.

A television in the room facing the foyer showed some football match or another. He wasn't sure of the teams, and thanks to the war none in Ustio or Belka were playing, but even a boring match was good background noise. The screen flickered for the barest moment, but Linhart ignored it - all the televisions in the building received via satellite, and an unstable connection was simply how satellite television was at times, even on clearish days such as this. It was a usual event, and the nature of the beast.

What was not usual was for the signal to simply stop, the display changing to the "SIGNAL LOST" screen. He sighed, heading in the direction of the remote control (which was also hidden, to keep visitors from finding it), when an aide burst through the door, looking like he had run all the way from the Lebanyev Manor, serving as the temporary Defense Ministry HQ while the Black Arsenal was under repairs.

"Sir- the- the sa- the satelli-"

Linhart held up a hand. "Calm yourself first; no message is ever important enough that speed is of greater value than clarity."

"Sorry... sir..." he said, panting and wiping his forehead. He stood up - he couldn't have been more than twenty-five, and he seemed about to vomit with fear. No, something beyond fear - and that alone was enough to form a lead ball in the president's stomach.

"A few minutes ago, all our satellites started travelling a new angle - it was as if the entire planet had tilted, sir, based on the speed of their change-"

"A - what do the techheads these days call it - a cyber-attack?" Could the Belkans even pull off something like that? Could Osea, were it even in their interests to do so? And what would possess the Belkans to make a cyber-attack of this nature?

"No, sir, we would have noticed it, and it's too perfectly timed for that. But that's not all, sir -" He handed Linhart a manila folder, which he opened, and his blood ran cold at the image he saw.

They were hasty prints, not the high-detailed ones usually produced by spy satellites, but there was enough detail to show what needed to be shown. The first showed part of the western border - Belka was gone, replaced by... something, but he didn't recognize the geography of where the satellite said it was looking at at all. It looked like someone had cut Belka out with a knife and replaced it with something else. Somewhere else.

The second showed, for the first time as seen by human eyes, and the first time in eons, saltwater crashing into the desert of Area B7R.
Last edited by Rupudska on Sun Dec 27, 2020 7:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The Holy Roman Empire of Karlsland (MT/FanT & FT/FanT)
THE Strike Witches NationState
Best thread ever.|Ace Combat!
MT Factbook/FT Factbook|Embassy|Q&A
On Karlsland Witch Doctrine:
Hladgos wrote:Scantly clad women, more like tanks
seem to be blowing up everyones banks
with airstrikes from girls with wings to their knees
which show a bit more than just their panties

Questers wrote:
Rupudska wrote:So do you fight with AK-47s or something even more primitive? Since I doubt any economy could reasonably sustain itself that way.
Presumably they use advanced technology like STRIKE WITCHES

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Democratic East-Asia
Negotiator
 
Posts: 6005
Founded: Aug 30, 2016
Democratic Socialists

Postby Democratic East-Asia » Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:42 pm

New Cariston, Aterian Empire | January 1st, 513th Imperial Year
General Yang's Residence

The coffee just went cold again. Well, the “coffee” if one wanted to be specific. General Yang was fully aware of this fact: if coffee was left out in the open, given enough time it would naturally cool. That being said, the good General wasn’t quite sure why his mind was fixated on the matter of his afternoon coffee. Perhaps he was bored, perhaps Perkins screwed up the sugar ratio again. Either way, it honestly wasn’t important: coffee was coffee. This was the last batch of fresh coffee available this week so it was best not to waste it.

“General, a message to you from Floyd.” An aide walked in and handed Yang a rather messily written letter. Judging by how rushed the letter’s assembly appeared to be, chances were that Bethany the mammoth was acting a bit moody today. It always was the mammoths, wasn’t it?

“It’s Bethany, isn't it? I swear the mammoths always get angsty whenever something’s slightly off around here.”

“You are… quite right,” the trooper nodded, “The mammoths, well, actually all of the livestock around New Cariston’s been acting up. I’d say it's the weather at fault but climatically nothing seems wrong around here.”

“Well let’s see what Floyd wants from me…” the General quickly skimmed over the contents of Floyd’s letter. “And frankly I have no idea what he’s going on about. Blame me for barely passing chemistry class, but almost everything on this paper makes no sense. Just.. tell Floyd he can borrow a few laser weapons and spare carts of hay. I’m sure he’ll figure out something.” Yang finished without much of a second thought. Managing the animals wasn’t his concern and he sure as hell didn’t know how to keep a herd of amok mammoths under control.

“Anything else?”

“No sir. The rest of the base seems to be in working order,” the trooper replied. The General, satisfied with this, nodded in affirmation.

“Well then, I guess another day passes without any issues!” The General declared more or less oblivious to Floyd’s plight in the Mammoth pens. It truly was just another day in New Cariston and the skies sure were looking mighty interesting this time of year. Yang couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen such a colorful aurora borealis…




New Cariston, Aterian Empire | January 1st, 513th Imperial Year
Testing Grounds | Dr. Harris’s Independent Science Laboratory

“Testing. 3… 2… 1… FIRE!”

A bright flash of light lit up the area as a bolt of lightning streaked across the field and slammed into its target with a vicious crackle. The target, a dummy ballistic-gel mannequin dressed up like a fully equipped Aterian trooper, erupted into flames as multiple amperes worth of electrical current coursed through its body. With a resounding boom, the mannequin exploded. One of the scientists swore he smelled boar fat from the fumes emanating out of the “carcass”.

“Not bad. Not bad at all,” A somewhat stocky yet tall lady grinned at her notably thinner (and younger) counterpart. “Your predictions that the new lightning gun model would conserve 30% of its energy while maintaining the same effectiveness happen to be correct. I guess all those months reading research notes and tinkering with circuits actually paid off!


“I’d be damned if they didn’t,” the second scientist checked her notes a third time. “Spent over a week trying to figure out the electronics required to operate the thing. I swear, the lack of coordination between the Empire’s science institutions is astounding! Those fools at Installation 12 always had a knack for overengineering their products, and now they’re not even around to fix their errors.”

“Bureaucratic inefficiency at its finest…” Dr. Harris replied as she watched a nearby trooper reload his lightning weapon. It was a large and somewhat bulky device that required the user to wear a backpack battery. In the past, lightning guns had been notorious for their unreliability and the danger they carried for their users. Naturally the Empire didn’t care: human life was expendable back when the Empire was still standing.

The trooper in question finished loading a new energy cell (both smaller and more efficient than older models) before turning towards the two scientists and giving them a thumbs up. Harris and Aurora nodded in return.

“Sooooo… what’s going on here?” Lt. Morgan, the base’s 2nd in command, stumbled in out of nowhere. Naturally, the good Lieutenant happened to be enjoying a nice bottle of whiskey, and it was quite obvious that he wasn’t quite right in the head at the moment.

“Ahh, if it isn’t the base’s resident drunkard,” Dr. Harris said sardonically. “You happened to stumble in upon us at the right time, that is if you just want to see things blow up.” The doctor finished right as a few troopers nearby blasted an old recon vehicle with their weapons.

“The smell of burnt metal and kerosene… reminds me of the time our first recon rolled out of the assembly line…” Morgan briefly reminisced. “It was a good recon. A real shame some damn raptors ended up scratching up the poor thing… goddamn raptors...”

“Anyways,” Aurora continued, ignoring the slightly drunk Lt, “These new lightning guns should be ready to enter mass production within a week.”

“Is there any point in talking to him?” Dr. Harris sighed, “Or was that addressed towards me? Either way, send a report to the Captain and inform him that this task’s complete.”



New Cariston, Aterian Empire | January 1st, 513th Imperial Year
Morgan’s House

“And they said to me: ‘we can’t afford another four super tanks’ despite SOMEHOW having the funds to build six more of those salamander trash heaps! I swear to god that the Marin’s garrison commander has his head stuck up his ass,” Morgan ranted as he took a swig from his whiskey bottle. The mostly drunk Lieutenant scowled after he noticed there wasn’t any drink left. “Damn. Perkins, bring me more whiskey!”

“YES LT!” Perkins scrambled back into the house’s pantry and grabbed a few bottles of Morgan’s favorite brand. “Here you go sir!”

“Thanks Perkins… anyways, where was I? Ahh yes, that idiot down in Marin! I swear that man’s more concerned with the local wildlife than well, the LITERAL REBEL ARMY right at our doorsteps! Sure the city already has two armored divisions stationed in its vicinity, but the Rebel Army is whole leagues larger! Sure they can find the resources necessary to raise a few additional regiments at least, instead of well, growing more corn!”

“I’m pretty sure the mayor ordered a larger corn crop this year to help stabilize the animal husbandry industry. Last time I checked they were running short on fee-”

“Perkins I didn’t ask for your opinion.”

“Yo Lt!” A lanky, short-haired girl in work overalls appeared by the door. It was Zoey, the outpost’s resident mechanic and engineering expert.

“Awkward timing…” Perkins muttered to no one in particular.

“Oh Zoey. You happened to catch us at a very inopportune time! Now, anything you want to say before I go back to my tirade on Marin?”

“Look towards the skies! There appear to be multiple shooting stars coming our way.”

Both Morgan and Perkins took a moment to get out onto the patio and check for themselves.

“Wow… those are some really large shooting stars… which also seem awfully close to us.”

“Dunno about you two,” the drunken Lt shook his head, “but those DEFINITELY aren’t shooting stars! The rebels must’ve developed space planes or god knows, allied with aliens! Sound the alarm, we’re under attack!” Morgan yelled before he proceeded to unlock a small suitcase and slam red “PANIC” button. His timing happened to be impeccable, as right that instance the Northern Frontier lost contact with the outside world.

The base was on lockdown.




Northern Frontier, Aterian Empire | January 1st, 513th Imperial Year
Southern Border Checkpoint

Private James Sheldon of the 17th Armored Battalion was freezing his ass off, but the same could be said for everyone else stationed at this miserable checkpoint. The Northern Frontier had always been known for its frigid winter weather, but even three years into service, the Southern Aterian in James still balked at the sub zero degree temperatures. The army’s standard winter gear: a thick olive green trench coat, polypropylene undershirt and underwear, and the Empire’s unique orange combat gloves was just barely enough to keep the poor private from metaphorically turning into an icicle. That might’ve just been him, seeing that some of the other members of his squad were faring just fine.

“Anyone mind passing over the portable heater?” James asked, to no one in particular, while visibly shivering.

A nearby trooper reached into a bag resting on top of a tank and took out a small heating unit. He tossed it to Sheldon without much a fuss.

“Thanks…” James muttered as he caught the heating device. It wasn’t much, but at the very least it kept the surroundings a bit warmer.

“Is it just me, or is it getting awfully dark around here?”

“I mean, we are in a snow storm right now,” a nearby Lt. dismissed. “You’d expect visibility to be subpar at best.”

“No, look for yourself,” a tank commander sitting on a nearby M-40 pointed towards the steadily darkening horizon, “Last time I checked, the horizon wasn’t pitch black.”

“Jesus Christ,” an older officer sighed as he unholstered his pistol. “For all we know, this could be the beginning of a Rebel attack. Everyone to your positions!”

And just like that, dozens of troopers quickly made their way to the trench lines and pillboxes that dotted the border checkpoint. Machine guns were manned, rifles loaded, and eyes trained on the increasingly dark horizon. James remembered the mantras the old political officer had drilled into him, and recited them as he slowly moved a finger to his rifle’s trigger. The Imperial M15 assault rifle was a venerable and powerful weapon of war, its full rifle-calibre rounds capable of downing a man in a single shot. If the situation went south, James knew (in theory) that he was well equipped for a firefight. Yet this did little to assuage his rising anxiety. There was something incredibly off about the whole situation and he couldn’t quite determine what…




New Cariston, Aterian Empire | January 2nd, 513th Imperial Year
Bunker, 100 meters under the General’s house

“So, barring the fact the entirety of Ateria other than us just suddenly disappeared and got replaced with… this new continent, everything else is in order?”

General Sam Yang took a moment to assess everyone’s expressions. News of the sudden temporal displacement had been a huge shock to the normally composed Imperials. Even now, Yang himself found the whole situation rather difficult to comprehend. Absolutely nothing made sense and as far as he knew, there wasn’t any sort of ancient or rebel superweapon in existence that could do such a thing.

“Based on the reports we’ve received from Marin and other settlements in the frontier, luckily nothing substantial happened,” Floyd replied haggardly. Visibly exhausted, Floyd looked as if he’d spent the last 24 hours chasing around (and running away from) crazed mammoths while simultaneously attempting to manage both the boar and raptor pens. “Well, other than some minor damage to the animal pens and some slightly increased activity in the boar badlands.”

“All our troops are accounted for,” Sgt. Ramsey reported.

“Everyone at I17’s been holding up,” Aurora added. “We’ve already been separated from our families for years on end anyways, and half of us barely talk to anyone from the outside. Just keep the resources flowing and we’ll manage.”

“Ahh, well that’s great to hear,” the General nodded, “I guess the Empire lives on then, albeit completely separated from its own world. Though that does make me think whether or not we’re still an empire, though I guess that’s a question for another day. Anyways, is all the satellite footage ready and compiled?” He turned towards the military intelligence officials in the room, including Perkins.

One of the gas-mask wearing intel officers took out a small remote and pressed a button. The bunker’s digital displays quickly flickered to life, showing an overview of most of the new planet. Since it had only been a day since the displacement, the map itself was still rather crude, but important locations (or suspected locations) had nonetheless been marked out. There was of course the Northern Frontier, which had been roughly marked off from the rest of the map and labelled. Then there was the rest of the world.

Perkins and his fellow agents had spent the last 24 hours piecing together the locations of a few dozen different points of interest: population centers, suspected military bases and assets, infrastructure, etc. that happened to be laying around the world. It was quite obvious that this new planet was populated and judging by the vast differences in architecture and development, there were at least a dozen different countries around. Out of these nations, only a handful appeared to be modern - Perkins and the others took extensive photos during the night - including a state directly south of Ateria and one on its new eastern border.

“This map shows everything we’ve currently determined to exist on this planet…” Perkins scratched his head. “Our immediate concerns should be the three regions we now neighbor. I believe it would be best if contacted them as soon as possible.”

“What about those goddamn meteors that flew by yesterday?” Morgan interjected.

“Our border patrols are already looking into it,” General Yang replied. “They should be making contact with whoever or whatever landed right about now.”
Revolutionary Communist State set in Asia. PMT.
NS stats are not used.
Actively funding left-wing "terrorist" organizations since its founding.

Pan Asia Broadcasting Channel: "We will achieve communism in 20 years." - Chairman Wei Yenwu, Central Government | Automation of industries threatens millions of jobs, says economic advisors

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Wasi State
Diplomat
 
Posts: 749
Founded: Mar 25, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Wasi State » Sun Dec 27, 2020 7:34 pm

The United States of America
Washington D.C.
Oval Office


As the clocks stuck midnight on the Eastern Seaboard, the time was now 0000 Hours, December 25th, 1984. Not even a full day after Jim Henson had barged right into the Oval Office as President Reagan was in a crucial meeting with Gorbachev and preceded to shoot and killed the President at point blank range in the head with a semiautomatic handgun, killing him without any shadow of a doubt, and brutally so. And with it subverting American Democracy forever and putting the nation into an instant turmoil. With the Executive Branch successfully couped by the unhinged puppeteer who had months prior suffered from a severe psychotic break that had garnered him an equally unsavory posse of sympathetic personalities backing him on his self-declare crusade to "Save the Land of the Free from Itself."

It was perhaps only a matter of time however before Jim Henson's Regime would have been otherwise proven rather short lived from a almost immediate US Military response to stabilize the situation in the DC Metropolitan Area, with nearby divisions, air wings, and even a carrier strike group arriving in full force to enforce a martial law onto the Capital region in rapid response, in order to contain any outreaching powers coming from the Henson 'Administration' until further notice. However in an instant once the clocks had struck midnight, something both mysterious and far beyond the capabilities of anyone in that point and time being able to come even close to understanding what had happened. It was as though the DC Metropolitan Area had seemingly vanished from its original point in time and space overnight, teleporting in an instant to a whole other world, a different dimension perhaps, no one was sure to say.

Panic didn't immediately set in until about a few minutes after when anyone who was still awake and checking in on the radio and comms realized that contact had been lost with the rest of the United States, having initially been written up as a simple communication error or enforced black-out performed by the Military at first. However the grim reality only set itself in once the Soviet Embassy housing Gorbachev raised the alarm once communications with Moscow had also ceased altogether on their private channels. Like wild fire the new information on the affairs of the DC Metro Area had reached the White House, and very soon Capitol Hill, who in acting outside of the jurisdiction of the 'current' executive branch, had ordered a convening of Congress at 0800 hours sharp to enact the National Emergencies Act to grant emergency powers to Vice President George H.W. Bush, and to officially sworn him in as acting President, despite his current whereabouts still being unknown following the fall of Olympus the day before.

Raven Rock has remained silent thus far during the chaos, though it had been assumed that the Vice President had managed to be evacuated to the complex in time and awaiting further governmental contingency plans to begin the emergency government, though no more news had shown itself yet at this time. Though some had theorized that Bush was purposely maintaining radio silence. However with the revelation that the DC Metro Area had been teleported to another world, another theory had quickly sprung up that Raven Rock simply hadn't been teleported to this new world either (or so they think).

In the Oval Office, with the blood stains still fresh on the carpet and desk where Reagan once lived barely a day ago, Jim Henson was currently convening with his new Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss important matters of this brave new world. The time was now 0330 hours, and Jim Henson was hiding behind the desk of the President, using a Kermit the Frog puppet to communicate to his cabinet with.

"So there's good news and bad news is what you're telling me? Well lay it on me you big pals of mine, gimme the details!" Jim Henson, imitating Kermit's voice then said.

"Well Mr. President... We have a situation developing as we speak, our contact with the rest of the United States have been lost, and we're not even sure we're even in North America right now." Oliver North then told the 'President.'

"Well lay it on me jack, cause I sure as hell know we ain't in Kansas anymore." The puppet's head then jerked towards North.

"Well our satellite imagery is indicating that we're in Southern France currently, however any communications we attempted with NATO or even the Soviet Union has been proven unresponsive, or inconclusive at best." If random responses or radio garble could've been considered 'inconclusive' that is.

"Inconclusive you say? Well geez Mr. North, you better get down to the bottom of this, before my wife, Miss Piggy, finds out and she has to cancel her appointment at the hair salon, would sure be a shame on my end of the deal." The puppet then made a shuddering movement at the implication.

"Yes... Sir. We'll send some teams right away to investigate our surroundings. However first we have some... Patriots in our midst." North, keeping as straight of a face as he can, then ushered in the equally as sudden presence of the Enclave into the topic, as a heavily armored and imposing man then was allowed to entered the Oval Office. Covered head to toe in T-51b powered armor, the metal man then took a step forwards towards the 'President.'

"Enclave here, so this is why your radio feed wasn't working." The metal man then said, the iconography on his armor indicating him as being part of the Secret Service, apparent one for a presidency almost a hundred years into the future. "So who the hell is this?" The Enclave Officer then pointed towards Kermit the Frog, being equally as confused as everyone else in the room, well besides maybe Jim Henson himself.

"Well I can ask you the same thing, it ain't easy being green y'know." Kermit then replied.

"Who the fu-, who the fuck is this?" The Enclave Officer was already flabbergasted.

"The President of the United States, you tin man, well the acting one after the last one got shot."

"Wait hold on? The President, you're the President of the fucking United States? Is this some sort of prank?" The Enclave Officer was almost livid at what blatant lunacy he was witnessing before him at this point.

"Yeah that'll be me, Commander in Chief, Kermit the Frog, the real deal right here." Jim Henson insisted.

"Okay I had enough, you wise guy huh!" The Enclave Officer then came over to the desk and ripped the Kermit puppet from Jim Henson's hands before tossing it aside, prompting the puppeteer to stand up and glare at the powered armored man.

"Y'know it's not polite to interrupt a performance." Henson then said after a minute long pause.

"Not polite? Hey jackass have you noticed we're not even in North America anymore! And that I'm from the year 2077 along with the rest of my men, or were you just going to ignore that shit, huh? Cause right now we need to establish some things here first before shit hits the fan and fast." The Enclave Officer then shouted at Henson, clearly infuriated that this was what he was having to work with for the time being as the situation was developing that already came completely out of left field.


Capitol Hill

Several hours had passed, and now was the time for Congress to convene on the state of the nation, well the ones that were at least in DC at the time of the displacement that could show up. Already on the streets that morning there were instances of looting and rioting from the chaos stirred from the fact that the DC Metro Area had been teleported to some other world entirely in seemingly
complete isolation, with no way to explain on how it happened to begin with, and how to get back to the world they left behind. Ironically it had helped somewhat that Martial Law had already been declared the day prior, but obviously the unrest afflicting the nation (well what's left of it), would be quite the problem early on regardless. Though given the heavy presence of the US Military in all its forms, both from 1984 and 2077, had proven invaluable to minimizing damage to the DC Metro Area in the meantime as public arrests were made to enforce law and order.

With Congress meeting, only one thing was left to do to instill Jim Henson's indisputable 'Presidency' in order to solidify absolute control now with the absence of any force capable of removing Henson from the office of the Presidency. With no one stopping the President in his black shirt attire at the doors, having been accompanied by Secret Service and powered armored clad Enclave soldiers. Henson made his entrance into Congress and demanded he be given emergency powers by their consent, in complete violation of the Constitution in doing so of course, but the threat he clearly presented was quite clear in a damning sense.

"This is insane! We won't tread on the freedoms and rights this nation stands for just to put this madman in charge!" A Senator from Delaware then attempted to voice disapproval towards the insane arrangement being proposed to them, but they fell on either deaf ears, or ear that dare not hear no more.

In an almost deplorable decision made by barely a half of Congress actually present, Jim Henson was officially sworn in as President in a controversial decision of the ages. And which it in a new degree in order to stabilize the country and further cement his rule, he had ordered several away-teams to scout out the local region to investigate the circumstance surrounding their mysterious teleportation, in hopes of perhaps finding any kind of answers to their predicament.


Taskforce Romeo

The twin Vertibirds had lifted off from the USS Theodore Roosevelt at around 1200 Hours the day after Jim Henson's speech to Congress, carrying with it an Enclave away team that was assigned a US Marine Corp officer to keep a close eye on the team and to study their equipment up close. The Taskforce was more than equipped to deal with any small scale problems they may come across, but their main priority of course was to get in contact with Italian Air Command, and if failing to do that, the Italian Government stationed in Rome. At least what their maps were telling to go off by.

Of course no radio contact had been made thus far with the Italians, as though their equipment was 'lacking' to say the least. Or possibly didn't exist at all for all they knew. Regardless their crafts flew their way towards Rome to make contact with whoever was residing there. Knowing for sure that would likely clear things up.


Taskforce Juliet

A more secondary Taskforce was then assigned to scout out the Northern Italian region of the Peninsular after two desinagated Blackhawks had departed from the USS Theodore Roosevelt just moments after Taskforce Romeo had left. Going as far as to investigate the edges of the Alps if needed to find what they were looking for. Though having been skimming along the coastline as required for any signs of contacts as a first priority, from where Monaco to where Tuscany would've been in any normal world.
Last edited by Wasi State on Sun Dec 27, 2020 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Imperial Warglorian Empire
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Imperial Warglorian Empire » Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:28 am

Straßburg, Großgermanisches Reich
October 28, 1965 CE
6:00 AM

Bouhler stood in the middle of the elevator, adjusting his rounded glasses and fixing his tie, a swastika pinned proudly on it. Things...had been hectic, to say the least. Just last night, a bright flash had engulfed the entire nation, and it was soon apparent that something had happened. It was complete chaos, with Bouhler himself only being informed a mere hour before while he was asleep.

Initially, he had dismissed the reports as simply being war nerve: after all, the most important war since the West Russian one had just erupted a few days before. But soon enough signs had begun appearing that he could no longer ignore, as well as some people.

Bouhler briefed a glance at the other two men in his presence, presences that should have been impossible. One had the grey uniform of an SS-Briagdeführer, though he wore a black greatcoat over it denoting the man's former position as a member of an SS Panzer Division. His blonde hair, blue eyes, tan skin, cleft chin and generally handsome features gave him the image of a perfect Aryan, even with the wrinkles that had begun to cover his face.

Where one looked dashing and confident, the other looked cold and disgruntled. With gaunt features, thin figure and balding scalp, the man more than compensated with a presence that chilled even Bouhler himself to the very core. If it weren't for the Obergruppenfüherer uniform he wore, Bouhler would've assumed the man to be a Jew.

"If the elevators move this slow, I dearly fear for the efficiency of this nation," the Obergruppenführer sighed, "though perhaps it is not Der Führer's fault, wouldn't you agree Herr Bouhler?"

Bouhler did not respond to the Obergruppenführer's attempt to bait him: he was Reichsminister after all, to respond would be unbecoming of him.

The elevator doors soon opened with a ding, as he and the other two walked out and down the hall with him. Banners, waving both the SS runes and the swastika, covered the otherwise bare and dull walls of the hallway. Clad in black uniforms and identified by the silver profile of Adolf Hitler on their collar, soldiers of the Führerbegleitkommando patrolled the halls, saluting Bouhler as he passed by.

After a short while, passing multiple doors, the small group came upon a door in the middle of the hall. Unassuming, if it were not for the simple nameplate with the words "Führer Büro" stamped on it and the two SS soldiers stationed right outside of it, it would've looked like any other door.

"I have urgent business with Der Führer," Bouhler simply stated.

The soldier nodded and knocked on the door, "Mein Führer, Reichsminister Bouhler requests an audience, he states that it is urgent."

"Let him in," a muffled voice replied from inside. The soldier opened the door, with Bouhler barely waiting a moment before marching through.

Walking inside, he soon found himself in a relatively spacious yet near-empty room: with a few simple wooden chairs, a desk on the side, and a single bed in the corner. The only real decoration was a few pictures and a cabinet containing various memorabilia.

Yet Boulher's attention immediately turned to the heavy breathing that emanated from the other side of the room. Turning, he saw the sound's origins: a man, wearing a white buttoned shirt, rapidly performing pull-ups on a set of bars attached to the wall.

Bouhler didn't hesitate as he immediately snapped his heels together and raised his arm in the traditional salute, shouting out a brief "Heil, Mein Führer!"

The man, after performing one last pull-up, dropped back down and turned around, breathing lightly. Like the Brigadeführer, he too had the traits of a perfect Aryan: strong facial features, sharp blue eyes and blonde hair that had begun to turn grey. Yet, even with his face beginning to show its age, the man's piercing eyes watched Bouhler like a hawk, seemingly staring into his very soul. He had gone by many names: The Man with the Iron Heart, the Hangman, the Blonde Beast, the Butcher of Prague, the rightful Führer of the greatest empire man had ever seen.

Yet at this moment, the 61-year-old Reinhard Heydrich simply responded with a raised hand and poured himself a glass of water from a nearby pitcher.

"Reichsminister Bouhler, an odd time for an interruption, especially since you know my routine," Heydrich said, sipping from the glass, "this must be important."

"It is Mein Führer, something...has happened," Bouhler replied, struggling to find the correct words.

"Bouhler, you know how much I detest vagueness."

"Well, Mein Führer, perhaps it is simply easier that I showed you."

Bouhler signalled for his two compatriots to walk in as well. The two, similarly to Bouhler, snapped their heels together and saluted with a loud "Heil, Mein Führer!"

Heydrich paused, glancing at his glass to make sure it was, in fact, water. He turned around to face two men he hadn't seen in over a decade and who, as far as he knew (and he always knew) weren't even in Germany.

"You look like you've seen a ghost, Mein Führer," Obergruppenführer Adolf Eichmann snarked.

"Reinhard," Brigadeführer Joachim Peiper said, "we need to talk."

Heydrich, surprised for the first time in a rather long time, quickly nodded and reached out for his uniform.

Minutes later
The group found themselves boarding Heydrich's vehicle, with it driving off soon afterwards towards the SS-Führungshauptamt.

"I find that hard to believe, Joachim," Heydrich said.

"It's true! Last I knew, I was in my room in Ost-Paris, next thing you know I wake up here!" Peiper replied, "nearly got shot too by those men you call sentries..."

"And you, Eichmann?"

Eichmann didn't seem to at first notice Heydrich as he looked out the window. They briefly passed the Strasbourg Cathedral: a once-mighty structure laid to rubble on Heydrich's orders, with only half of the great church still standing and the rest reduced to debris. However, the Civil War had drawn resources away from the demolition, and Heydrich made a mental note to finish the deconstruction. He hated seeing a job half-finished.

"Love what you've done with the place," Eichmann absentmindedly muttered, admiring the sight of a city at war.

"Eichmann?" Heydrich asked once more, calmly yet with a tinge of impatience.

"Yes, yes, I was overseeing the disposing of a few thousand French labourers," Eichmann replied, "I was up late at night filling out some paperwork when this bright flash nearly blinded me. Next thing you know, I was in the middle of the street."

"And it wasn't just us two Reinhard," Peiper spoke up again, "thousands of others from the Ordenstaat also arrived!"

"Yes, 44,000 soldiers and 200 Panzers, of which half spoke either French or Dutch," Bouhler said, filling out some paperwork, "a miracle a firefight didn't break out."

"They're more well behaved then you think," Peiper replied, a strange sense of pride filling his voice.

"And you say that there is more to report, Reichsminister?" Heydrich asked the silent workhorse.

"Indeed Mein Führer, we're getting reports from all over the Reich, reports that even now I find hard to believe," Bouhler said, his fingers nervously fiddling with a pen, "Fighting has ceased on all fronts, the enemy has simply disappeared. Some frontline troops are reporting that entire forests have sprung up out of nowhere, and others that ocean has appeared! Sentries to the north have reported encountering fellow SS who claim to be members of the Prussia garrison, Mein Führer!"

"Ridiculous," Heydrich quietly exclaimed. His exterior was as cold and emotionless as ever, yet internally Heydrich was beginning to grow anxious.

"As much as it might sound like fantasy, Mein Führer, it is simply not," Bouhler simply replied. Suddenly, Bouhler pulled out a folder he had been keeping by his side. Opening it, he pulled out its contents, revealing a black and white picture of Europe taken from a birds-eye view. Heydrich immediately recognised the continent as what it was, but something looked...wrong. As if a toddler had erased massive chunks off a hand-drawn map, significant chunks of landmass had disappeared.

"We received this from Reich Zentrum für Luft from one of their satellites, somehow our position in the Rhineland has been moved east right next to our land in Prussia!" Bouhler continued, "not just that, but as you can see large parts of Europe have simply vanished, Eastern Europe has simply disappeared."

Silence permeated the car, as the three other Nazi officers absorbed what exactly was being told.

"Well, at least there's one bright side to this," Eichmann retorted, "Poland is finally gone."

Heydrich, though, found himself in a deep state of thought. This...changed things, to say the least.

"Do we know if the others were also...brought over? Speer? Göring? Bormann?"

"Unknown, Mein Führer, I have ordered a state of radio silence, to avoid revealing our position if they indeed were brought over," Bouhler replied, "I've also ordered that all communications are to be done through encrypted channels Mein Führer."

"Clever," Heydrich thought. There was a reason why he had made Bouhler his Reichsminister, the man had a keen sense of intelligence and, like Heydrich, was adaptable.

"Good, continue on Reichsminister," Heydrich replied, with Bouhler simply nodding. The car soon came to a halt, as the SS-Führungshauptamt, the heart of Heydrich's military operations, came into view. Heydrich and the others quickly disembarked and were soon greeted by a group of high ranking SS officers. Among them were Paul Hausser, Sylvester Stadler and Herbert Gille, key members of Heydrich's SS-Kommandostab (the military High Command), with Gille as its Chief of Staff.

"Heil! It is good to see you Mein Führer," Gille said, looking worse for wear.

"The same," Heydrich swiftly replied, walking up the steps to the building while the retinue followed, "we need to get a hold of the situation: Generalfeldmarschall Gille, order the border guards on high alert, maintain radio silence and detain anyone you find from outside, they may know something."

"Jawohl, Mein Führer."

"General Andrae, dispatch reconnaissance aircraft to begin scouting the landscape: tell them to remove any identifying insignia, both swastika and balkankreuz, we must keep our enemies confused if they are out there. Their top priority is scouting, they are to turn back at the first sign of danger."

"At once, Mein Führer."

"Admiral Eck, send a message to Großadmiral Prien at once, tell him to dispatch U-Boats to begin scouting the coast."

"It will be done Mein Führer."

As they got to the top of the stairs, Heydrich turned to them.

"Gentlemen, while this new development may complicate matters, remember that our mission remains the same: the survival of the Reich at all costs, to work!"

As Heydrich finished, a voice called out his name behind him. Turning around, Heydrich saw his Gestapo Chief, Heinrich Muller, approach him.

"Mein Führer, we have received reports from Königsberg," Muller said, his eyes filled with shock unusual for the stoic man.

"Mein Führer, the Volkshalle is in Königsberg."

Ramstein Air Base
Later that day

Orders had been received and, despite the initial shock, the pilots of Heydrich's Luftwaffe had sprung into action. Multiple Focke-Achgelis Fa 452 "Lerchen" helicopters, following Heydrich's orders, were stripped of their symbols: both the balkankreuz on the hull and SS runes on the tail being painted over. They even went a step further, with the pilots removing their SS armbands and other insignia on their uniforms.

Soon enough the helicopters were in the air, going in every direction to scout out this new land they'd found themselves in.

Danzig
Around the same time, several Type XXX U-Boats finished their resupplying. After some final checks, these massive nuclear submarines departed from port and soon afterwards submerged into the waves to begin scouting the coastline.

The Reich would not be caught off guard, and knowledge was power.
Last edited by The Imperial Warglorian Empire on Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:16 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Union Princes » Mon Dec 28, 2020 3:07 pm

Arkhangelsk, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
September 22, 1971 CE


The last thing the Zhukov ever saw of the frozen north of Arkhangelsk was the Aurora Borealis that lit up the night sky and filled with mild joy. The new capital Ryskov was much further south, specifically chosen to escape the Arctic cold. But for the Champion of the Russian People, Georgy Zhukov decides to spend one last night at this freezing port city that served as the headquarters of the West Russian Revolutionary Front for many decades. For nostalgia’s sake, he went to sleep in his old bed.

In his thoughts, the Grand Marshal found himself thinking about his dead rival Mikhail Tukhachevsky, the Red Napoleon that rebelled after Voroshilov’s death. Zhukov should’ve just forgotten about his most hated enemy after the Nazis, but after unifying Russia and defeating the warlords, his consciousness begged the question if Tukhachevsky would be proud or envious of his work. Despite being a pain in the ass, even Zhukov knew that the Red Napoleon loved Russia as much as he does.

“Probably fucking disappointed that I didn’t do enough…” The Grand Marshal half-laughed, half-whispered to himself. His room completely bare except for his pistol, uniform, and some leftover pictures and documents. He was truly alone with his thoughts. “Give me a fucking break... There’s plenty of Nazis for me to send to Hell for you to fuck over down there....”

With that, Zhukov closed his eyes as the Northern Lights danced across the horizon in brilliant shades of apple green, ocean blue, and royal purple. A sign of his eventual victory? Or the heavens already mourning for his unsuspecting defeat? After all, it’s all of Russia against all of Nazi-occupied Europe. He had legions of veterans and tanks but so did they. The Nazis had an airforce, he didn’t. They have the nukes, he doesn’t. Could bullets and bayonets ever be enough to turn back the black tide of Nazism from expanding East?

Zhukov hopes so. He certainly hopes so. What would he be now if the Motherland and her people perish from this Earth?

The only answer Destiny gave to the Grand Marshal was a bright flash of lightning and a loud clap of thunder.


The first thing that Zhukov noticed when he woke up was not the bright clear blue sky but the complete lack of the Arctic Ocean smell that normally cling to the port city. When he got out of bed to look outside the window, he quickly realizes that there was no ocean to smell. No matter where he looked, not a single drop of ocean water was seen for miles around, only grass; fresh green grass. Even the port of Archangelsk seems to have transformed into a parking lot/open space storage unit. After getting over his initial shock, Zhukov quickly dressed himself to get to the bottom of this new sight.
There is no such thing as peace, only truce between wars

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Sentinalyia
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Ex-Nation

Postby Sentinalyia » Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:34 pm

7th Day of the Sixth Umbral Moon, Year 3 of the Seventh Astral Era
The Crystal Tower, Unknown Position


The hallways were silent, save the clattering of boots upon metal tile and the distant roars of monsters. The hewn crystal walls lit dimly from within; interwoven with golden filigree. G’raha panted, exhausted. He rounded a corner, dropping into a slide down a sloped corridor, leaping to his feet at the bottom and continuing onward, his crystalline arm scraping against the metal tile with a screech like an angered voidsent. Almost instinctively, he reached out, grasping the aether -the air here was thick with it, stifling like the miasma outside- and pushed it into his aching legs, the rush of energy propelling him onward just that little bit more. He couldn’t afford to slow down. Not with the Tower’s defenses on full alert. He knew the defenses of this place, perhaps more than anyone else still alive- and he knew that he stood no chance against any of it.
He had to get out. He had to warn them.

The aether in the air was growing thicker still.

--

7th Day of the Sixth Umbral Moon, Year 3 of the Seventh Astral Era
The City of Ishgard, Borel Manor


Aymeric de Borel was many things, to many different people. Lord-Commander of the Temple Knights. Head of the House of Lords. The estranged, bastard son of the former Archbishop. A friend to many, a rival to many more. Aymeric was many things, but one thing he was not was particularly fond of visitors. At least, visitors to his own home. The Borel residence was small, as the homes of Ishgardian nobility go, though still luxurious by any reasonable standard. It was decorated simply and comfortably, and sparsely inhabited. On most days, only Aymeric himself and the most senior servant of the Borel family could be found there. As one of the busiest people in all of Ishgard, he preferred to keep his home a safe and silent refuge. With all things, however, there are exceptions, and there are some people who the Lord-Commander was happy to welcome into his home.

The fire within his study’s fireplace crackled quietly, casting its dim light along the walls of the room. The walls decorated with portraits of past heads of the Borel family, as well as simple patterns in classical Ishgardian style. His study was relatively unadorned, comfortable, with a few chairs, a desk, and an assortment of books. Aymeric sat, quietly working his way through the memoirs of the former Duke Fortemps, when he heard a soft, familiar knock on his study door. “Come in.” He called, placing a mark into his book and putting it to the side. He watched the door open to reveal a pair of familiar individuals, who both slowly stepped into the room. One, the elderly figure of the Borel family’s senior servant, and the second a short, elegant Au Ran woman, swathed in a traditional Ishgardian high house dress, red as blood. “Please, have a seat.” Aymeric smiled, and gestured to the chair across from his own.

The woman almost glided across the room, taking her seat in a single elegant movement. He smiled, silently amused. Though very few people would notice, he was familiar enough with his guest to know to look for the small shimmer around the edges of her dress, the places where it reflected the light from the flame in just the wrong way… and the way she sat favoring her left side, though nothing seemed to be there. Even now, armed and armored, and swathed in an illusory glamour rather than risk a moment unprotected. Not that he was particularly concerned. It was her wont, and he had little reason to complain.

“I must admit, your request came as something of a surprise.” Aymeric began, sending a small glance to his servant, who nodded and exited the room quietly. He returned soon after with a small serving cart, packed with supplies for tea. “You aren’t usually the kind of person who seeks out rest.”

She glanced at the book on the table between them, and quirked an eyebrow. “...Dragonsong.” She stated in a soft voice, rather than answer his implied question. He nodded.

“Yes. I find it quite fascinating reading, being as I was not present for much of your journeys through our city some few years ago. Duke Fortemps was quite thorough in capturing everything he could, and his language is… evocative.” He noted silently the way her face grew withdrawn at that.

“...Yes. He is quite the writer.” She responded flatly.

“You do not enjoy it?” Aymeric stated.

“I do not enjoy… reminders. Of that time.” Was her curt response.

“Ah.” Aymeric replied. “My apologies, then.”


She waved a hand. “You are quite alright.”

A short pause reigned, as both of them listened to the sounds of the crackling flame and the clinking of glasses. The servant slipped between them, silently placing a tea pot and two cups- one already filled in front of Aymeric, and one empty for his guest. Aymeric watched as she meticulously poured out her own cup and her own additives. A habit she insisted on whenever possible, Aymeric had found.

“So.” he began. “What brings the vaunted Warrior of Light to my residence?” He quirked a smile at the flat look she gave him.

“None of that.” She replied. “I get quite enough glory as it is.”

“Of course, of course,” he chuckled. After a moment a small smile ghosted across his guest’s face as well.

“Well… It’s simply been a while since we have last been able to speak.” She finally responded. “I believe the last time I visited your home was a few years ago, now.”

“Shortly following the issues with Nidhogg, if I remember rightly.” Aymeric replied, nodding. The Warrior shifted in her seat.

“Indeed. So, I just wished to speak. No imminent disasters, no war with Garlemald. Like then.” She looked away as she spoke, glancing into the fire.

“As I recall, that meeting was rather rudely interrupted by one of your colleagues having been injured by a band of marauders.” He replied, with a tinge of sarcasm.

“I should hope none of them are currently trying to sneak past bands of marauders, then.” She bit back, taking a careful sip of her tea.

At that, came another knock at the door. Aymeric quirked an eyebrow at his guest, then called “Yes?”

His servant slipped into the room once more. “My deepest apologies, but I have been asked to deliver an urgent message on behalf of the Scions. Their messenger is outside.”

He shot the Warrior of Light a look of concerned bemusement, as she took a deep breath, followed by an exhaled curse in her native tongue. “And that is?” He replied.

“I cannot claim to understand it, but Ser Alphinaud says that Garlemald has… disappeared. He asks for both of you to speak with him.”

The two looked between each other, a shared feeling of bewilderment passing between them. “Disappeared?” Aymeric said.

“Bring him in.” Khenbish Moks said, as Aymeric nodded. “This is important.”

--

7th Day of the Sixth Umbral Moon, Year 3 of the Seventh Astral Era
The City of Gridania, Stillglade Fane



Stillglade Fane, in contrast to its name, was now shrouded in chaos. Wood Wailers and Adders rushed every which way, along with Conjurers and Padjal trying their best to make out the voices of the Elementals. In the middle, calmly, stood Kan-e-Senna. The rocky glade, surrounded by small creeks, was the seat of all Gridanian governmental meetings, and also the site where the voices of the Elementals could be most clearly heard. As such, as many Conjurers and Padjal as possible had to be brought in. For a few hours ago, the Elementals had begun a cry of panic, and still had yet to cease. Little yet had been learned, save that the Elementals had detected a massive shift in the land’s aether. Combined with panicked reports from Alliance scouts and the Scion liaison, it painted a confusing picture. Eorzea was now elsewhere, for the Garleans at Ghimlyt had disappeared entirely, replaced with… Gods know what. On top of that, malms of Gyr Abanian and Eorzean coastline simply were not anymore, attached seemingly to unspoiled, winter forest. The impact it would have on coastal villages was… Kan-e-Senna shook her head. Now was not the time to consider such matters.

She tilted her head back and closed her eyes, opening her mind to the cacophony of Elementals, their choirs singing in confusion and worry. She casted soothing thoughts to them, hoping to clear what little of the chaos that she could.

A meeting between the city-states must needs be arranged.

--

7th Day of the Sixth Umbral Moon, Year 3 of the Seventh Astral Era
The Sultanate of Ul’dah, Royal Meeting Hall


“Our investments outside of Eorzean spheres must be considered defunct.” Lord Lolorito stated, grimly. Several other members of the Syndicate nodded in agreement.

It took all of Nanamo’s willpower not to respond with ‘Good.’ But, she held her tongue. It would not do for her to antagonize the Syndicate any more than necessary. She had survived one assassination attempt already; she had little interest in tempting another.

“My concern is how such a thing could have happened. Is there any information?” One member of the Syndicate spoke up.

Lolorito looked his way, eyes as always hidden beneath his mask. “Little and less, I’m afraid. Several have spotted a massive meteor shower, which may be part of the event, but I doubt that could be connected to the cause of the event.”

“I will contact the Warrior.” Nanamo spoke, suddenly. The Syndicate turned to look her way.

“Truly?” One asked. Nanamo nodded with determination.

“Yes. Her and the Scions. I will make a formal request for their investigation into the matter.”

“I doubt that will be needed.” Lord Manderville spoke up, for the first time since the meeting had begun. The rest of the room immediately quieted. “If I know the Scions, and their Warrior, they will have already begun an investigation. A formal request is unnecessary.”

“Unnecessary, perhaps.” Nanamo responded. “But better than nothing at all.”

--

7th Day of the Sixth Umbral Moon, Year 3 of the Seventh Astral Era
The Thalassocracy of Limsa Lominsa, The Topmast


Merlwyb paced in her office, considering the next step. She spun on her heel sharply, turning her eyes on her aide, who immediately straightened. “Contact Maelstrom command and the Armada. Order all available ships out on exploration patrols. I leave it to them to determine the most efficient routes. We need to learn all we can about our new neighboring waters.”

He threw her a Lominsan salute, and called “Yes, Ma’am!”

“And another thing.” She cut in before he could leave. “Tell the crew to be careful. We face uncharted waters. The last thing we need is our Galleons wrecked on rocks and left to rot.” He nodded, and fled the room. Once he was gone, she sighed, turning to return to her desk. She dug her way through the mountain of paperwork and scrolls still placed upon it, pulling up several documents to file. She needed to send several messages to the Arcanist’s Guild to temporarily suspend trade contracts with non-Eorzean nations, consider the matter of foreign traders trapped within her ports…

It was going to be a long, long night. For everyone.

--

7th Day of the Sixth Umbral Moon, Year 3 of the Seventh Astral Era
Mor Dhona, Base of the Crystal Tower


He collapsed to the hard, packed dirt. All around him, crystal glimmered in the night, like the stars above. It felt like he could barely breathe. He’d been pushing his limits for far too long, but he’d managed. He rolled over, staring into the night sky, the massive, burning shower overhead. It took him a moment to process the image, but once he did, he closed his eyes and groaned. “And to add to all this… The mother crystal will be gaining quite a few more helpers, too.” He muttered, barely able to get the breath out.

He heard a familiar voice calling out, as the Crystal Tower pulsed brightly behind him, thrumming with far more energy than usual. From its tip issued massive crackling flashes of aether. His connection to the tower remained, but it was thinned, barely enough to keep him alive. He raised his hand, the cyan crystal matching the gleaming wall of the tower above.

G’raha Tia let out a short, exhausted chuckle, and then everything went dark.
Last edited by Sentinalyia on Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Founded: Sep 16, 2010
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Rupudska » Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:37 pm

May 17, 1995
Valais Air Base
Tyrann Mountains, Eastern Ustio
1:30 PM (?)


The briefing room was in chaos.

It was something to be expected, with what had happened that morning. Countries ending up on entirely new planets was the sort of thing that happened in fantasy or science fiction novels, often not even good ones, not real life. It ended the Belkan threat once and for all, certainly, but there were now Belkan prisoners, allied soldiers, and thousands of mercenaries with nowhere to go unless Ustio found friendly nations nearby, and fast. And no home to return to, which no amount of allies would fix without a dimensional portal.

Needless to say, it was shaping up to be a very bad day to work in administration at Valais Air Base, home to the 6th Air Division - the only division in the Ustian Air Force whose aircrews consisted solely of foreign mercenaries. In fact, the only non-mercenary aircrew on the entire base were the team inside Eagle Eye, who were part of 4th Division’s 53rd Air Control Squadron.

In Briefing Room No. 6, the briefing room for squadrons 61 through 68, the single CRT projector in the room showed a hastily-drawn map of Ustio’s new geography. The landmarks were all there, the cities were all there, but every mountain had been removed from its place, if only a little. Ratio, Sapin, and Belka had all been replaced with something - somewhere - else, and Recta was gone. In its place, along with part of Belka, was only ocean. The CRT was connected by a thick cable to a chunky-looking desktop computer in off-beige at the front of the room, on a fake wooden table.

A haggard colonel in a dress uniform, and the disheveled state of the uniform made him look all the worse for wear. He practically slouched into the seat in front of the computer, the last to arrive. Normally there would have been all kinds of banter at his appearance, but today there was silence. Silence that had been preceded by worried whispers, not jokes and small talk.

“I’m sure… by now, I’m sure you’ve all heard what has happened,” he said, looking up.

Nods all around.

“I won’t sugarcoat things. The situation… it’s bad. Ustio has been transferred, beyond all logic, sanity, and shadow of a doubt, to another world. Where that is - where here is we don’t know."

Bad news was usually received with groans, boos, and jeers, but this time there was only more silence. Silence and faces bereft of hope, or at least happiness. In all likelihood, most would never see whatever family or friends back home they had again. One pilot in particular looked especially displeased (by the standards of the individual), and for good reason. Artura Jo Kiraly, aka Galm One (callsign Cipher), was Shilagean, and Shilage was a whole continent away and under Erusea's thumb - and that was when Ustio was back on Earth. The only daughter of a family that fought in Shilage's revolution a few decades back - her father a fighter pilot and her mother a transport pilot, her mother had gone back to the farm while her father became a senator. They were drawn back into the sky for a brief period a short while later, as the Kingdom of Erusea rolled in like a tidal wave and crushed the Shilagean military - even as the Radicals and the Socialists continued to bicker over how to respond. Her elder brothers had fought then. She had joined Erusea's air force academy and had gotten far in training, but was ultimately rejected from fighter school due to her "political connections", despite her own lack of interest in politics. She had bought a Draken and flown to Ustio two years prior to join their mercenary corps, and now she had her own squadron - and an F-15.

The colonel sighed, pressing a few keys on the computer. The image on the screen changed, now showing different colored blobs along the northern third of Ustio's new boundaries.

"But that's part of our job, and that of the border patrol agency. Find out what the hell is out there, what we're up against. The Border Patrol was already out doing its job, so they were in the best position to immediately scout out our surroundings. They all have a radio in their vehicles and on their persons that can connect to military channels. Their job, as handed down from high command, is to scout our surroundings, and see if any of the polities nearby, should any exist, have formed an opinion of us yet. Officially, they don't have any orders regarding making contact, but unofficially they've been advised to make contact with any friendly locals if they can and establish good relations as soon as possible. Other branches of the Army are doing their part in other areas, but this far north only the Border Patrol was out and about."

He stood up, pulling a pointer out from under the desk, and using it for its intended purpose at the blobs. "Our job is SCOCAP. Command wants birds in the air all over the border, especially along our new coastline. Firstly to observe the terrain from the air, secondly to keep any potential air threats out - we're in another world, folks, so even dragons aren't out of the question for now -" his attempt at a joke only partially fell flat, generating a few nervous chuckles "- and thirdly in case the border patrol gets over their heads with their unofficial mission. They do their job, but they're not military by a longshot."

"The whole airbase is sending up planes for this, but your area of responsibility is here" - he pointed at two of the blobs in the upper corner - "in the two northwest sectors. Galm and Amarok will go up first with Galm taking the southernmost of the sectors, followed by Kirkegrim and Cerberus in the same areas respectively, then Fenrir and Warg. Loadout will be mixed air-to-air and unguided air-to-ground, but light - we only have our own fuel deposits for now until we can confirm others, but we have plenty of reserve fuel at the moment, so you'll be going up with drop tanks. And we don't want to antagonize anyone who might be out there. Each squadron will loiter for 3 hours. Any questions?"

A hand shot up. Larry Foulke - Galm 2, Pixy, a Belkan. He had actually joined earlier than Artura, but he had turned down leadership of Galm, which command didn't mind since, being a two-ship team, the flight lead was more who got to the AO first.

"I got two - what's our rules of engagement, and what support can we expect?"

"You'll be getting Eagle Eye again as AWACS. Poor bastards will be up there until Fenrir and Warg lands, but they have a fridge and a coffeemaker. ROE is to only fire if fired upon, or if the agents on the ground request it. A weird arrangement, I know, but it's all we got on this short notice."

"Anything else?" No one spoke.

"Galm, Amarok, I want you both over your assigned areas by 1500. Kirkegrim, Cerberus, you'll be up to meet 'em, and Fenrir and Warg will be up to meet you. Dismissed."
The Holy Roman Empire of Karlsland (MT/FanT & FT/FanT)
THE Strike Witches NationState
Best thread ever.|Ace Combat!
MT Factbook/FT Factbook|Embassy|Q&A
On Karlsland Witch Doctrine:
Hladgos wrote:Scantly clad women, more like tanks
seem to be blowing up everyones banks
with airstrikes from girls with wings to their knees
which show a bit more than just their panties

Questers wrote:
Rupudska wrote:So do you fight with AK-47s or something even more primitive? Since I doubt any economy could reasonably sustain itself that way.
Presumably they use advanced technology like STRIKE WITCHES

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Fascist Republic Of Bermuda
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1975
Founded: Apr 28, 2014
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Fascist Republic Of Bermuda » Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:01 pm

South Vegas

“The stars are beautiful, aren’t they, Kel?”

Private First Class Jesse Delaney wasn’t supposed to be there. He was supposed to be fast asleep in Camp McCarran, not in the ruins of South Vegas, dressed in civilian garb.

But, then, Kel wasn’t necessarily supposed to be there, either. She was an ex-Fiend. She never really left the gang, per se, so much as the Fiends dissolved around her.

Their meeting had been entirely by chance. He’d been on patrol with his squad when he’d excused himself to go see a man about a brahmin, and found her huddled in the ruins of a building, almost just skin and bones. He’d given her some of his caravan lunch and tried to get her up and at ‘em again.

One thing led to another, another chance meeting while he was on weekend leave, and they agreed to start seeing each other. They’d always agree to do it quietly, sneak out at night when nobody would miss him. As a bonus, it let them gaze at the stars together.

“Yeah…” Kel agreed, snuggling a bit closer, “Are the stars like this back in California?”

Jesse smiled. “Ah, no, they’re even better. No Strip, no light pollution.”

“Will you show me ‘em, one day?” Kel glanced up.

“You bet. I’ll take you all ‘round California. Dayglow, Boneyard, Hub, Junktown, Shady Sands… you better believe it, sister,” Of course, he didn’t know if he had the caps to do that… but it didn’t matter. He’d find them.

“Hmmm…” Kel thought for a moment, “I kinda just want to crash at your place… it’d be nice to live in a place that’s not, y’know, Vault 3…”

“Ah… Junktown. There’s a city, alright. Pop’s got a farm, a couple dozen acres. Nothing big, but it’s honest work. I think you’d enjoy it.”

“Farming…” Kel giggled a bit, as if amused by the image of herself as a farmer.

“Hey, don’t knock it ‘til you try it, now,” Jesse laughed.

Kel rolled her eyes and glanced up. Her smile dropped, and her eyes narrowed.

“Something wrong?”

Kel shot up, pointing up. “Stars… they’re not… right…”

“What? Kel… have you been taking chems again?” His voice had a hint of… well, disappointment. She’d been doing good, getting off all the chems she’d been on back in her Fiend days, but with this...

“Nonono!” She shook her head, “Not chems! I’m completely cold turkey, just like we’ve talked about… Fixer’s the last one I took, I swear… just look up, okay?”

“Okay,” Jesse looked up, to amuse her if nothing else. She was on something… Jet, perhaps, but he wasn’t a doctor… Wait. The North Star wasn’t supposed to be there… “Holy fucking shit…”

“D-do you need to tell your NCR friends about that?” Kel asked.

“Y-yeah… I think I do… s-stay safe, I’ll see you this weekend… if we get leave,” Delaney got to his feet, grabbed his service rifle, and with a final kiss, left his girl to go do his duty.

Camp McCarran

“Run it by me again. What happened?” James Hsu, for one, was completely lost. He’d woken up to reports that the Long 15 just kinda… ended, now. The entire Mojave was now surrounded by… well, forest. Very pleasant forest, too. And there was some PFC who - despite not being on chems - claims the stars were wrong. So he had thrown on his uniform, marched right down to the Office of Science and Industry East, and demanded an explanation. Doctor Thomas Hildren, director of OSI East, hadn’t had an explanation. And so Hsu had ordered… sorry, requested (as Hildern is a civilian, and thus Hsu’s rank theoretically held no sway over him) Hildern call up the Think Tank, OSI’s own “independent contractors.” To call them eccentric would be a… severe understatement. But perhaps that couldn’t be helped, given they were a bunch of brains floating in jars.

“HSU-LOBOTOMITE! HILDERN-LOBOTOMITE HAS TOLD ME MUCH ABOUT YOU! YOU ARE THE ONE WHO HELPS US ACQUIRE MATERIALS FOR OUR SCIENCE!, AND FOR THAT DOCTOR 8 BELIEVES I SHOULD THANK YOU.” The image on the television flickered slightly. An… unsightly thing, the brain in the jar, three monitors, two with an image of an eye, one with a view of a mouth that didn’t move. It was like a crude facsimile of a face.

“Doctor Klein, please refer to him as General Hsu, for chrissakes...” Doctor Hildern requested. It was normally Hildern’s job to deal with the Think Tank. Nobody else really wanted to deal with them. Hsu hadn’t had the dubious honor of meeting them before now, but he was starting to see why this was normally a job shunted for Hildern, whose popularity could be charitably described as… controversial.

“VERY WELL, HILDERN-LOBOTOMITE!” The monitors of Doctor Klein’s casing seemed to make a nodding motion, “NOW, AS I WAS SAYING, GENERAL-HSU-LOBOTOMITE! THERE IS NOTHING TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT. PROBABLY.”

Hildern buried his face in his hands.

“WE WERE TESTING A PSEUDO-QUANTUM FLUX CAPACITOR TRANS-DIMENSIONAL TRANSPORTALPONDER,” Doctor Klein explained, as if that was a common thing to do.

Hsu blinked uncomprehendingly. The only bit he came even close to recognizing was… quantum. What, like Nuka Cola Quantum? How did Nuka Cola factor into any of this?

“Allow me to explain, Doctor Klein-” Another think tank hovered into the frame.

“NO, DOCTOR 0, I AM- UGH. FINE. EXPLAIN TO GENERAL-HSU-LOBOTOMITE IN TERMS IT WILL UNDERSTAND. ITS LOBOTOMIZED BRAIN IS TOO DAMAGED FOR COMPREHENDING SCIENCE!”

Hildern at this point was so defeated he didn’t even try to raise the point that Hsu was not, in fact, lobotomized.

“Thank you, Doctor Klein.” The think tank containing the brain of Doctor 0 turned to face the screen, “It was a device that was supposed to allow us to jump into alternative dimensions and timelines to get more test subjects since the outside world has been claimed by Doctor-”

“THAT LOBOTOMITE IS NOT A DOCTOR, WE HAVE BEEN OVER THIS, DOCTOR 0,” Klein declared from offscreen.

“So… what happened?” Hsu got it… kind of. Maybe. Roughly.

“Well, uh…” 0’s monitors glanced around awkwardly, “When we turned the device on, at around midnight, it kind of… blew up.”

“AND, THANKS TO DOCTOR 0’s INCOMPETENCE, THE BLUEPRINTS WERE DESTROYED AS WELL. WE ARE NOW STRANDED IN THIS ALTERNATE DIMENSION.”

Hsu rubbed his hands to his temples. “So, what you’re saying is that not only are we thrown to an entirely different world, but you’re also telling me there’s no way to get home. Correct?”

“That’s… about the long and short of it, yes.” 0 agreed.

“Thank you, doctors, that will be all,” Hsu’s voice was barely holding steady. The monitor flicked off. “I will… be in my office,” Hsu declared. He shot up and left the room with all due haste, leaving Hildern alone to stew in his misery.

Legate Outpost

“I tell y’all what, now, say whatcha will ‘bout the Legion, but they kept the roads safe! After the NCR knocked ‘em out at the Dam up here, east of the Colorado’s treacherous ground, now. The land was cleared from raiders, and now look at it! You got downright raider-kings goin’ on! There’s that Lucius fella, I hear his dogs have more rights than his people! Ya got that Spartacus chick, or whoever heads that slave revolt - don’t get me wrong, I ain’t pro-slavery, but they’re drivin’ people away with their violence and talk ‘bout ‘No Gods, no Masters’ or whatever their slogan is these days. And you don’t even wanna know about Flagstaff, lemme tells ya! Madness, it is. There’s a reason we took a large berth ‘round those parts. Now, the NCR, they’re everywhere that way now, tryna pick up the pieces, but they don’t want order, they just want to tax everything. They don’t enforce peace like the Legion-”

The driver of the wagon, an aging, sun-baked man with a couple of missing teeth, had been talking, seemingly, since they had started the trip. It was a slow ride, the fairly rickety wooden wagon being pulled by a brahmin that didn’t seem overly motivated.

The four unfortunate souls crammed into the back of the wagon, his captive audience, were a motley bunch, brought together only by their desire to head west. Half of them hadn’t said a word the entire trip. There was a ghoul who had slept the entire way, cowboy hat angled to protect his face, a young man with a gleam in his eye and a big iron on his hip, an uncanny young woman with a bizarre energy weapon poking out from her cloak, and an uncomfortable-looking middle-aged man in a suit with graying hair and a pair of round glasses; a professor, or so he claimed. Of and where, he did not say, but nobody pressed him too hard on that.

The cart shuddered to a halt, and their driver shut up, finally.

“Oh, look at that, NCR!” The lad pointed excitedly.

The ghoul pushed his hat up, blinking slowly.

The professor removed his glasses to clean the film of dust off of them.

The woman turned her head back and worth, expression unchanging.

An NCR soldier was talking with the driver, now, something about taxes. Another NCR soldier, this one sporting a bandolier, circled to the back and put a hand on the rear railing to get something of a better soapbox.

“Welcome to Legate Outpost,” the trooper with the bandolier started, “Are you all a party?”

“Uh, no, sir, we just all bought a ride west,” the professor said, “I’m a professor, see-”

“Yeah, yeah, sure, okay,” the trooper waved his hand, “Tell it to the Major. Gotta run some paperwork. Ain’t gonna be no trouble, just logging your name and purpose for the record.”

And so the passengers clambered out of the wagon and headed to an open tent, where an exceptionally bored-looking NCRA Major sat with a logbook.

“Next!” he called out.

“Oh, are you, like, an officer?” The lad asked, practically bouncing up to the desk.

“Yes, I’m Major Skinner, NCR Army. I’m here to log your name and purpose. Caravan, citizen, pilgrim, or…”

“I want to enlist in the NCR Army! After Caesar” He pronounced it Kai-sar, “Died, my cohort kinda fell apart. We were gonna go on a lot of adventures, but… well, Centurions started fighting about who was the rightful leader. T-then we heard about the slaves getting ideas about rising up, and we all were scared, so I kinda… ran.”

Major Skinner raised his eyebrows. “Really. I lost a lot of friends to Legion ‘adventures.’ You an NCR citizen?”

“Uh… no… but-” The lad sputtered, “I’m hoping to work on it!”

“Right. Gonna mark you down as an immigrant, Mister…”

“Octavian!”

“Octavian,” Skinner’s eyes betrayed the incredulity of that, even if his body seemed to be stuck in a slouch of permanent resignation, “Cross Hoover Dam, follow Route 95 up to the Strip. At the former embassy they’ll figure out what to do with you. Word of advice, Octavian…”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t go around flaunting around that you used to be Legion. They have a bad name this side of the Colorado.”

“Oh… okay. Yes, sir!” Octavian snapped into a salute with a wide grin, before scampering off in the direction of the Dam, helpfully indicated by signs.

Skinner sighed, shaking his head quickly, before calling out “Next!”

The woman stepped forward. Skinner’s eyes went to the laser weapon - bright white and orange… or, well, it seemed like that, underneath several layers of wear, tear, and grime. “Where’d you get that?” He asked, pointing his pen at the “Looks unique. Didn’t know there were many energy weapons East of the Colorado.”

“Classified.” came the immediate reaction, without any change in expression.

“... Classified,” Skinner repeated, nodding slowly, “Okay. You a prospector?”

“Classified.”

Skinner sighed. “Right. What do you want here?”

“Classified.”

Skinner placed his pen down and rubbed his eyes. Oh, boy. You never know what’s gonna come from the east of the Colorado, but today was a bit weirder than usual. “Lemme guess, your name’s classified, too?”

“Negative,” She blinked, and seemed to relax just a bit, “Rachael Deckard. Apologies for my rudeness. My purpose is… exploration.”

“Ah. Heard about the bright lights of New Vegas, wanted a piece for yourself, eh? Common enough story.”

“In a way, yes,” She gave a very stilted nod.

“That’ll be all, ma’am, move along,” Skinner waved her away.

“Understood.” She nodded again, as stilted as last time, and moved towards the dam.

“Next!”

“FINALLY! Have you damned smoothskins ever heard of getting a fuckin’ move on?” The ghoul sauntered up, spitting into the dirt before declaring, “I’m a gambler! I want to gamble! Is that so hard to say?!”

Skinner pinched the bridge of his nose. This was going to be a long, long day.
N U T S !

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Mirial System
Secretary
 
Posts: 27
Founded: Aug 07, 2020
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mirial System » Wed Jan 06, 2021 5:23 am

Main Entrance, Chaldea Security Organisation Headquarters, ?Antarctica

As she stared through the torn-open main doorway of the Chaldea headquarters and into the blizzard that engulfed all that laid ahead, Fujimaru Ritsuka figured that for better or for worse they've definitely left their old timeline behind. Perhaps it was the lack of towering Fantasy Trees surrounding the facility that gave it away, hmmm? Eventually, staring at a veil of snow grew boring even to the procrastinating Master Candidate, and she turned around to head back indoors - planning to warm up and continue avoiding the reconstruction work that the facility would require after the battle that took place shortly prior.

She barely passed by the first side door in the entrance hallway - the sign indicating that it was a cloakroom - when the door slid open and a slim hand in fingerless gloves reached out and grabbed her.

"EEEEEEK-"

Shrieking as she attempted to jump away from the inhumanly strong grip, Fujimaru turned to see...

"-huh, you became a girl-"

The other individual slowly looked up at the human magus with a glare, even as she delicately picked off an errant scarf hanging off her head with her free hand. "Let's go find your Merlin - I need to bash his stupid face in with my staff for pulling whatever the hell that was he just pulled."

As she stared unblinkingly back at what the back of her mind screamed as being Merlin ... but female... Fujimaru recalled a slight issue with that growled-out request - the fact that Merlin, her Merlin, had in all likelyhood sacrificed himself to ensure her survival. The last moments of the battle she had just left behind, her last memories of the Magus of Flowers, played out over and over again in her mind.

A moment of silence passed as the mysterious not!Merlin stared at the frozen Master Candidate. "... geez, what happened to you girl?"

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

Main Recreation Room, Chaldea Security Organisation Headquarters, Maaaaaybe Antarctica??

It took a couple of moments - rather short moments admittedly given that Fujimaru had a veritable army of Chibi-Nobus at her disposal - but she managed to gather everyone that was in the facility. It was rather depressing, really, when she took a look at who was still with her.

So many were gone, having stayed behind to ensure her escape from the forces of the Cryters that assaulted Chaldea.

And speaking of Crypters, her gaze turned towards the odd pair that was Oda Nobunaga - the Archer-class Servant, that is - and Okita Souji. The two of them had a rather... interesting individual held at gunpoint - literal for Oda, figurative for Okita - and was marching her down the corridor towards the main recreation room where Fujimaru decided to hold this meeting.

'Let me add another gun to the mix', the magus thought, as she approached them and unholstered her own Mystic Code.

"So you came along for the ride, Crypter.", she spat at the older woman whom she was almost certain wasn't wearing a suit moments ago, levelling the oversized handgun that was her weapon at the interloper's head.

"... I have no idea what you're talking about, Fujimaru-"

"Don't hurt Mother..." Annnnnd there was now a knife poking at Fujimaru's back, courtesy of a tiny white-haired girl that her instincts pointed at being a Servant. Probably Assassin-class, if she managed to get behind her without being intercepted- never mind, Stheno had a knife to the girl's neck now-

"ALL OF YOU, STOP!"

That was when she finally noticed the bunch following behind behind the trio - and leading that group was...

"D-Director?"

Arching an utterly unamused eyebrow, Olga Marie Animusphere - whom Fujimaru noted looked a touch scruffy somehow - nodded. "Last I check, that was my position around here. Pray tell me, just what is going on here?"

She took a moment to notice Merlin - at least, the one she knew... somewhat - idly sipping tea at the massive kotatsu that dominated the recreation room.

"Really, Merlin?"

Olga merely received a raspberry in reply. A literal raspberry, that was - picked off a nearby cake and thrown unerringly at her face to bounce off her forehead.

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

"So... you're saying that in your timeline, I'm dead? Even before Fuyuki?" As she digested what she was just told, about Fujimaru and what the Master Candidate had gone through in the past two years, the Director of Chaldea found her grip on her teacup trembling ever so slightly - reflecting her badly shaken inner thoughts.

Suffice to say, being told of one's own death usually do not go down well for most people, and Olga was no exception.

"Technically, you're more likely still actively dying rather than having reached the endpoint that is death, given CHALDEA's wormhole-like nature-" Across the table, the Ruler-class Servant who introduced himself as Sherlock Holmes started musing, before being cut off by his own Master.

"Not now, Sherlock.", Fujimaru muttered under her breath as she gave Sherlock a look. "But yes - we had reason to believe that Professor Lev planted his bombs specifically to kill you, and that the Master Candidates caught in the blast were more akin to a secondary target compared to yourself, Director."

At the mention of Lev Lainur Flauros and his betrayal of Chaldea, Olga stilled. "Even in a different timeline... he..."

"What happened?"

"It was bombs as well. I was lucky that Miss Yu- I mean, Miss Akuta dragged me off stock up on more books for herself. We- our flight was delayed and the bombs went off right before we entered the headquarters." Pausing in her retelling of that most painful of betrayals by the very person she looked up to all her life as a mentor, she gave Fujimaru an odd stare. "I suppose I should mention this - in my timeline, both you and Miss Kyrielight..."

"We... we were caught in the blast, weren't we Director?" Seated beside Fujimaru, Mash Kyrielight sighed. "You... that look you're giving us now, it's familiar - you do that all the time when you were hesitating."

"... yes. I had to have the both of you held in cryostasis alongside the other casualties - in my timeline Miss Akuta was the last active Master Candidate, and it was her who led our efforts in clearing out the Singularities. I presume that would be the position you hold as well, Miss Fujimaru?"

"... yep." Then a pause, as Ritsuka came to realise something. "... huh. That means I could end up as a Crypter in your timeline. Weird...- OUCH!"

A quietly fuming Mash lifted her fist from having just bopped her partner - take that as you will - upside the head. "Mind not joking about us having a near-death experience, other timeline or not?"

"I mean..." Pondering that rebuke perhaps entirely too deeply, Fujimaru took a bite from the cake that someone had prepared for the meeting. "I think we've personally went through more than enough near-death experience for one more to not really matter, right- OWW! Dang it-"

"If you don't mind me asking... what is a Crypter?"

The question from one Akuta Hinako, who had been silently listening to the conversation until now, drew its own set of odd looks from Fujimaru and her group.

"Well..."

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

As Fujimaru described the earlier assault by the Crypters that her team had encountered just hours earlier, and their nature as the other 47 Master Candidates that had somehow turned against Chaldea and humanity, Hinako's silent disbelief merely grew - that somehow, in that timeline, she would betray the very cause that she had fought for nearly two years.

"Do we know why they turned? Surely it wasn't for no reason that those who once stood as protectors of Humanity would turn against their mandate-"

"Not a damn clue, missus. Still figuring that out, we are." The slight slur in Sherlock's speech prompted a rather surprised Fujimaru to give the Servant a glance, her gaze resting on the almost empty bottle of single malt seated between him and Himiko, the other Ruler-class Servant who came from the other timeline.

"What." It wasn't everyday that the Master Candidate saw two Servants getting positively shitfaced, after all.

"The Throne is soooooooo screwed~~", the shamaness-queen of Yamatai-koku managed to giggle out before collapsing face-first onto the kotatsu's tabletop.

"Weak you are, my dear friend." Sherlock merely shook his head and with a surprisingly steady hand poured himself another measure of whisky.

"..." Looking at Hinako's bunch of entire-too-young-looking Servants - who had by now gathered around "Himiko-nee" and started poking the insensate woman, Fujimaru sighed. "... Nobunaga-"

"Yes?", came the response - in triplicate.

"... right. Berserker, mind bringing Sherlock away from that cursed bottle? Avenger, take our dear visiting Ruler to a spare room. And..."

"Beni-enma, I think the girls have seen quite enough." Hinako muttered. "Go see if you can wrangle a tour from one of those..."

"Chibi-Nobus." Fujimaru approved of her otherworldly counterpart's plan - she didn't quite like how some of those beings were eyeing the half-eaten cake, and she definitely didn't need a bunch of hyperactive chibis running riot at this time. Better to keep them occupied for the time being.

She had the feeling that she'll regret sending them off practically unsupervised, later on.

"Right. Chibi-Nobus."

"Nobuu!" Somehow, within moments a leader had been chosen and to the cheers of Jack the Ripper and Nursery Rhyme, a sea of tiny beings departed with the two child-like Servants - and their long-suffering if equally petite caretaker - in tow. Thus leaving much breathing room for those remaining in the recreation room.

"Now... where were we?" Olga began, looking across the room to take stock of who were still present- and thus spotting an irregularity.

Namely, the absence of a certain Magus of Flowers, who appeared to have absconded in the midst of the earlier chaos.

"... MERLIN!!!"

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

Security Office Armoury, Chaldea Security Organisation Headquarters, Are You Sure This Is Antarctica???

"A-are you sure we should be doing this? I thought we were going on a tour?" The small uncertain voice of Nursery Rhyme wavered a bit as she watched a literal tower of Chibi-Nobus try to dislodge a P90 submachine gun from its place on the weapons rack.

Behind her, Jack the Ripper simply watched quietly - although with obvious interest.

"Nobuuuu! Nobu bu nooob!"

"... did you understand that, Jackie?"

"Nuh-uh."

The P90 shifted just a tiny bit more...

"THERE YOU ARE YOU LITTLE SH- SHOOTS, DECHI! BAMBOO SHOOTS YES, DECHI!" The doors to the armoury slammed open right at this moment, causing the trespassers to jump.

"EEP!"/"NOBU!"/"...ah."

Standing by the doorway was ... one of the Nobunagas, as Nursery Rhyme recalled from the introduction tea party earlier. The... the one with the guitar, yes! She had no idea what was the other Servant's class but clearly that was hardly important at this moment.

"We... we were- wait, is Older Sister Beni here?"

A pause, then a tiny red-head peeked out over Nobunaga's shoulder practically radiating displeasure. "Yes I am, dechi! Of all places to run off to, seriously dechi..." Climbing properly over the shoulder before hopping off- and in the process shoving Nobunaga's head aside to the other Servant's grunted annoyance, the little Saber trotted over to her charges and bonked them upside the head. "The armoury, dechi?"

"It... it was-"

"Yeaaaaah it was probably the Chibi-Nobus' idea to be honest." Sauntering past the trio, Nobunaga the Berserker picked up one of the Nobus by the scruff of her neck. "Why the he-"

A side glance towards the two children present.

"-heck did you all think a 'tour' should end up here, huh?"

"... N-n-nobu?"

"Lost." Nobunaga's expression turned flatly incredulous. "You got lost. And you decided the solution to getting lost, if we go by that, was to grab one of those guns? Pull the other one, it has bells on it-"

And that was when the P90, left unattended for the entire conversation and sitting unsteadily in its rack, slipped off completely, slamming onto the floor, and discharged point blank into Nobunaga's foot.

"FUCK!" The armoury's occupants were frozen, for a rather simple reason - that was most certainly not supposed to happen. That is, the bullet actually causing damage to a Servant, given its mundane nature.

As the dropped Chibi-Nobu scurried to hide behind her legion of compatriots, Beni-enma regained enough of her faculties after the bout of suprise to bark at Nobunaga.

"LANGUAGE, DECHI!!!"

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

Global Environment Model "CHALDEAS" Simulation Facility, Chaldea Security Organisation Headquarters, This Doesn't Look Like Antarctica?!?!

"So... can we both agree that we're decidely not in Antarctica anymore?"

Sipping a warm steaming mug of instant coffee - oh the horror, oh the humanity - Leonardo da Vinci, Caster-class glanced at... the smaller Leonardo da Vinci, Rider-class, as both stared at the cerulean blue globe projection that was CHALDEAS' graphical output.

The region they were studying was centred on a certain pale blue, blinking dot. One neatly labelled as Chaldea.

"Mhmhm~! Last I checked Antarctica wasn't boot-shaped- oh hey we're in the Casentino, aren't we?"

"Huh." The older-looking da Vinci zoomed in the projection slightly. "So it seems... did we cause Merlin's shaft to home in on Florence? And... I guess we missed?"

Small da Vinci merely shrugged. "Dunno what'cha Merlin did. Ours was screaming about someone doing something that someone wasn't supposed to do." And took a sip of her coffee. "Urrrgh. Instant suuuuucks."

"You tell me, Mini-Me. Now..."

"Wait!" Shoving over her taller counterpart slightly, Smol zoomed the projection out. WAY out. "... What. Happened. To the world?"

The two took a moment to look at what for all intents and purposes looked like a Continental Europe-shaped supercontinent on the planet they were on right now.

"... is that Mindanao?" Taller da Vinci pointed out, her voice weak.

"Have a look at Scotland. Wowsies..."

"Poland clearly dislodged itself and went to space."

"Seems like Turkey really wasn't a European nation hmm-" Nudging the controls slightly, Tiny da Vinci brought up the Thaumaturgic Activity overlay. "Oh wooooowsie look at Germany! It's all glowy and things-"

"Have you seen France?"

"... oh wow. Okay that is decidedly NOT normal. Does the Clock Tower even shine that bright?"

"Pretty sure Atlas doesn't and they do some high energy shenanigans there-"

Suddenly, a pair of hands landed on both their shoulders - somehow, despite the height difference - and the head of a certain Magus of Flowers peeked in at the holographic globe, between the two da Vincis.

"Didn't expect to see two of you, Tiny. And she has more-OUCH"

"Shush, Merlin." Petite da Vinci practically growled, before lifting the heel of her loafers from the mouthy magician's toes. "Since you're here, any contributions you wish to make?"

"... errm", the half-succubus court mage frowned. "What the heck is wrong with the world? And what's with Francia?"

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

Southern Border, Definitely Not Antarctica!!!!!

In the dying blizzard, the odd humming of the engines belonging to the tanks in a patrolling Sonae of Chibi-Nobus sang almost pleasantly, acting as a rather discordant backdrop to one hell of a weird marching cadance for the patrol.

"Nobuuu no nobu, nobu nobu nooobu
Nooo nobu nobu nobu, nobu nobu nobuu
..."

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Remnants of Exilvania
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Founded: Mar 29, 2015
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Postby Remnants of Exilvania » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:55 pm

May 17, 1995 (?)
Western Border of Ustio
3:17 PM (?)


Border patrol was a thankless job at the best of times, but there were certain situations when it was necessary, especially for landlocked countries like Ustio. War, for instance, was one, though it was a dreadfully unglamorous job compared to most in the military - which Ustio Border Patrol wasn’t, as it fell under the Ministry of Justice.

Such were the thoughts of one Erik Hammerling as he drove a blue ‘92 Toyota 4Runner with the UBP seal on the doors down a dust-choked dirt road. He looked back at his three companions - Nikolas Beran, Alena Misurova, and a Cane Corso named Geronimo. It hadn’t rained in almost a week, but with the new… changes… to the topography, which were still a little hard for him to wrap his head around, that was likely to change.

This far north, the fields of Ustio turned into the inhospitable Belkan Desert surrounding the Round Table. Hot in the summer and brutally cold in the winter, its vast mineral deposits had been left unexplored for centuries due to the climate. And the snakes.

But the… unusual events of that morning were evident this close to what was once the Belkan border. Global satellite positioning was useless, of course, but from his own reckoning the mountains of and surrounding the Round Table should only have been a hazy smudge just above the horizon to the north. But now it was far beyond the horizon to the northeast, bordering the ocean - ocean! The last time Ustio bordered the ocean, there were still dinosaurs! - and there were new mountains in the direction of what should have been the Schayne Plains.

Though they sloped steadily downward towards the north, and here were barely foothills, there was still a deep geographic wrongness to them. They were blanketed in snow and ice, and a chill wind blew constantly from their direction. Even now, storm clouds grew in the heavens, threatening more than a mere "flash" flood.

"Fuckin' hate this kind of weather," muttered Nikolas, looking up at the clouds. "Never know what could jump out at you."

Erik rolled his eyes. "The war's over-"

"Only on paper-" Nikolas began, but Erik held up a hand. He turned onto an even more poorly maintained road, which would take them even closer to where the border was believed to be.

"Whatever, and we don't even know if there is a Belka out there now. What're you afraid of, a dragon?

The poorly maintained road soon turned from dirt and grass to cobblestone as the Toyota reached the former border, the road connecting seamlessly to the one they had just been on and snaking its way up the mountains and through the brewing clouds. Chill winds blew over the Toyota and streams of water ran down the side of the road, the water slowly trickling away into the desert sand. Considering the lack of snow down here but very obvious difference in soil, it likely meant the weather of the desert was doing its work as the best snow remover there had ever been.

The sturdy Selatapuran truck made little protest at the sudden change in temperature between desert and alpine, but the same could not be said for its passengers. There were curses and groans as window cranks were spun, jackets were reached for, and the heater was turned up. The SUV was fairly new, so it didn’t take long for the interior to settle at a comfortable temperature despite the outside air, a much easier feat in the cold.

The truck bumped along the cobblestone road as classic rock played lightly over the radio. They soon came upon a wooden signpost, reading Empire of Tamriel, Imperial Province of Skyrim, Jarldom of Eastmarch. The font was distinctly nonstandardized, and the sign looked at once too old to have been used in Ustio recently and yet too new to have been there long enough to warrant its archaic appearance.

Nikolas coughed from the passenger seat. “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Pawnee anymore.”

Erik nodded. “Yeah… yeah I think we’ve passed the border.” He slowed down as the truck approached a crossroads with another cobblestone road. “We should keep going, see what other entries into and out of Ustio there are nearby.” He flicked on the turn signal, even though he somewhat doubted there’d be any cars to see him do so for miles.

He turned to Alena. “Make sure to report this, and that it was my idea. If anyone’s head needs to roll, it should be mine.”

She shrugged. “It’s not a bad idea, Erik. We’ll probably be ordered to do it anyway over the next few days.”

Before long, the cobblestone road seemed to have reached its highest point, the vehicle having made the ascent up the mountains a relatively fast (though rather bumpy) affair. With crags towering to either side of the road, the team finally got a good look at the landscape ahead.

Snow covered the land as far as the eye could see and fir trees rose from white blankets, covering the roadside in small forests. In the far distance to the north, they could see what appeared to be water, perhaps a sea or a river, glistening in the light of the sun. Or was it the ice reflecting the sunlight?

A bit closer though, still a good way down from their current position, there was another clear sign of civilization. A stone tower, leaning in a way that made one question why it was still standing at all, the thing looking like the ground had given way below it and caused it to nearly topple. Yet despite its archaic look, the tower was still standing.

There’s a comforting sight,” said Alena sarcastically.

“Oh, like Belka isn’t littered with hundreds of medieval ruins?” asked Erik, as he slowly drove the SUV down the cobblestone road. The stones were slick with time, moisture, and ice, and the rubber tires could only do so much. The road bent slightly as they approached the tower, and the radio soon cut out - wherever “here” was, there wasn’t any radio.

There were a few bits of low stone wall on the approach to the tower, along with another signpost. Near the signpost was a small stone pedestal, along with a book. Erik stopped a few meters away from the first wall, not wanting to get too close to the tower - in case the sight of a horseless carriage would cause any negative reactions from what inhabitants there may have been.

The caution seemed to have been for naught however, as the inhabitants of the tower appeared, likely alarmed by the sound of the Toyota's engine and the ice crunching under its wheels.

There were two, and if they were the standard for what they were going to meet in these parts, then Belka was definitely gone - for these things were clearly not human. Tall, humanoid, and with their backs covered in white fur, the two creatures who had emerged from the tower began jumping up and down like oversized apes, slamming their large hands onto the ground and throwing snow into the air all the while roaring challengingly.

“Snow gorillas!” Nikolas said, goggling at what were clearly snow apes.

One of them turned, and it had three eyes. Two normal-sized ones beneath the typical heavy brow of an ape, and a larger one in the middle of its forehead with a smaller brow, shaped so that its third eye looked surprised at everything. It had two thumb-sized horns on its head, and more on its shoulders. It locked eyes with Erik, through the windshield, and bared its teeth.

Geronimo, who had been silent until then, responded in kind, growling lowly.

Nikolas’s eyes switched from the snow gorilla, to Erik, and back to the snow gorilla.

“Maybe let’s not antagonize the ape the size of a motorcycle,” he said quietly. Erik nodded, and shifted the SUV into reverse. With a gentle press of the pedal, he started to back up, taking care not to move too suddenly.

One of the apes was still quite busy, now drumming on its chest like a gorilla, yet the other one had noticed the vehicle attempting to leave and clearly decided that they had violated its territory. And its one apparent tool to punish such things or communicate them was violence.

The ape-like creature started quickly walking or perhaps hobbling in the direction of the SUV, moving much like an ape, with its arms nearly touching the ground and slightly sideways. It wasn't the fastest creature and under normal circumstances likely never would've caught up to the SUV...but these weren't normal circumstances. The incline the SUV was on, as well as the frozen surface of the road, gave the wheels very little opportunity to gain traction and the ape enough time to reach the SUV.

Upon reaching it, the ape raised its fist into the sky right before the car, before swinging it down in a slam that would’ve at minimum put a dent in the hood, and at most put a dent in the engine block.

Erik panicked and slammed the accelerator. The ice was slick, but not slick enough to keep the SUV from lurching backwards, causing the ape's fist to fly through empty air, missing the license plate by centimeters. The three eyed monster stared at its hand, surprised it had missed, then let out an even louder roar as it charged.

Thankfully for the border patrol agents, a frost troll wasn't much faster up a hill than a Toyota SUV backing up, and it managed to avoid a second swing. In something approaching panic, Erik switched gears again and charged forward, goosing the throttle as the truck sped past the first, and then the second ape. He pulled it into a controlled sideways slide, stopping in front of the entrance to the tower.

"Don't just stand there," he said, reaching for his holster, "shoot the damn things!"

The other two agents wasted no time, cranking the windows just enough to let their guns and not Geronimo out. The air rang with the sounds of 9mm Parabellum and .223 Remington as Nikolas and Alena opened fire.

At the very least the apes didn't feature an armoured hide or something of the like, the bullets easily penetrating the skin and causing multiple bleeding wounds, the apes constantly pushed back a little by the sheer force of the impacts.

Yet they didn't drop.

Layers of fat and muscle as well as adrenaline, putting them into some sort of berserk state, more so than before, ensured that they did not drop as quickly as the patrol would've liked. A thick skull also prevented a quick kill by a headshot, though one of the apes' third eye got shot out by a 9mm round.

Bleeding from multiple deep wounds, one of the apes sank to its knees, heaving and sputtering in pain. But the other one seemed even angrier, flailing its fists about and roaring as it charged the SUV yet again.

“Don’t we have anything bigger?” asked an incredulous Erik as Alena paused to reload her M16A2. She opened fire on the more injured of the two apes, aiming for its upper left torso where it had sustained the most wounds. It finally went down for good, coughing blood as it collapsed face first into the snow, but it took half a magazine to do it.

“No!” she replied as she turned to the other ape, whose skin seemed to have sealed over some of the wounds it had sustained. But that was impossible - wasn’t it?

“Just drive, dammit!” Nikolas shouted as he dumped a magazine from his pistol into the berserk ape’s chest, to little effect besides making it hold out its hand to try and block the annoying impacts. Erik obliged, turning the wheel and accelerating away down the road, honking the horn in case anyone or any thing was in their path. Alena unbuckled her seatbelt and crawled into the back with Geronimo, opening the rear window just enough to get the barrel of her rifle out.

The beast's roar followed them down the mountainside as the SUV skidded across the frozen cobblestones. The ruin of some sort of house came up on the right, little more than some wooden walls, partially torn down, before vanishing again. Yet another sign of civilization and yet again in ruins. By that point, the ape had vanished well behind the SUV, and had long since fallen beyond the range of Alena’s rifle.

Erik slowed down to a more normal speed - for city travel, at least, not wanting to risk the relatively new SUV on an ice- and snow-covered cobblestone road, 4-wheel drive and all-terrain tires or no. Alena eventually pulled in the rifle as they reached a more level spot, and gingerly crawled back into her seat as Erik slowed down further. He didn’t slow down long, though, as they all heard the bestial roar of the ape again.

The team's luck soon seemed to turn however, as Erik spotted more humanoid figures on the road ahead. These at least seemed much less oversized than the apes they had left behind and were clearly wearing clothing. By modern standards though, that clothing was quite ridiculous, as though they had run into a group of LARPers.

It appeared to be a roughly platoon strength formation of humanoids, clad in medieval era armours and carrying weapons of similarly old make. Axes, bows, swords, and the like. They also had several horses from the looks of it, the animals being utilized as pack mules, carrying a large amount of bags and sacks.

Upon seeing the SUV, the warriors or LARPers ahead reacted quickly, getting into a tightly packed formation that blocked the road. Several of the archers took up positions to the side, drawing their bows and nocking arrows which they pointed at the approaching SUV.

“Oh thank God, signs of live civilization,” Nikolas said as they spotted the LARPers - or troops, judging by the shiny glint of their metal weapons. Their armor consisted of helmets with spikes and leather on top, covering the whole head but the eyes, fur gauntlets and boots, and a jack-of-plate over a mail shirt and under a blue cloth wrapped atop it.

“They don’t look too friendly,” Erik muttered as he saw them move into what was clearly a defensive formation almost the moment they spotted the approaching truck. He slowed down, dropping to a light jogging pace.

“Well - look at them!” replied Alena, gesturing with an open hand towards the armored figures. “This area seems pretty medieval, and so do they - I’ll bet twenty krone, here and now, that they’ve never seen or heard of an SUV before.”

Erik nodded, slowing down even further. “Yeah… you may be right.” Finally, he let his foot off the gas pedal entirely. The SUV began to slow to a stop, with Erik pulling it to a stop perpendicular to the road about 50 meters or so from the archers - inside the range of a typical archer with a typical recurve bow, but only just. He had stopped so that the driver’s side - his side - was facing the group, and left the engine on. It was so that the armored men (and women, judging by the shape of some of them) would quickly realize the car’s engine running was not a threat, of course, and certainly not in case they needed to make a speedy getaway.

He rolled down the window, deciding not to open the door - he was trying to be friendly, not reckless - and gave what he hoped was an amiable smile and wave.

“Grüß Gott,” he said with a wave. “[Would you happen to know the way to the nearest city, or government official?]”

Several of the warriors seemed to whisper among each other, pointing at Erik's face but otherwise not breaking formation. With the SUV having come to a stop, the archers fanned out further, creating a half circle around the stopped vehicle. Though their arrows remained knocked, they also hadn't drawn their bows anymore.

It took another few moments of whispering about Erik's wave before the formation parted slightly to let a man through. He seemed to be in his late 30s and donned the same armour as all the others, save for a different helmet: a construction of hide and metal that left his face open. Said face featured a mane of blonde hair as well as an equally blonde beard, all of which framed two blue eyes which were on alert as they looked at Erik and glanced over the SUV again and again as the man approached.

He stopped roughly 5 meters away from the SUV, enough of a distance for him to easily unsheathe the axe dangling from his belt should Erik attempt to charge him, or to get away should the SUV do anything strange. After giving the SUV another worried look, he waved back at Erik before saying something in what appeared to be accented and crude english:

["Who goes there in Eastmarch and what is this automaton you have there? Answer me or by my authority as Captain of the Stormcloak Army, I will have you arrested and these strange goods confiscated!"]

He spoke every word slowly and deliberately, likely not having understood what they had said before and thus assuming they spoke some odd language - and thus might not understand his.

“Oseisch?” asked a shocked Nikolas, giving voice to the question every Ustian in the truck had on their mind. Sure, the accent was strange, but the man had clearly spoken Osean.

It was a surprise, to be sure, but a very welcome one. Ustio didn’t share a border with Osea, but they were close trade partners, and the Osean border wasn’t that far. That, and Osean being a lingua franca of the world, made it a required language to know in Ustio’s border patrol.

Erik cleared his throat, and addressed the captain. “Greetings, sir, I am Ustio Border Patrol Agent Erik Hammerling, and these are my fellow agents, Nikolas Beran -'' he gestured to Nikolas “- and Alena Misurova -” he did the same for Alena. “This… automaton, is an automobile - think of it as a carriage that propels itself. We are here due to an event that occurred this morning, where the borders of Ustio and the lands outside them changed suddenly. If possible, we would like to speak to agents of your own border patrol, or other government agency - our own superiors have not specifically ordered us to do so, but they have… suggested that we try and work out the details of Ustio’s new borders as quickly as possible.”

"Agents?"the self professed Stormcloak Captain asked with a concerned look.

"Are you agents of the Penitus Oculatus? Is Ustio some newfangled Imperial sub-province?" The Captain's words gradually took on a more hostile tone, these Stormcloaks clearly not being on the friendliest of terms with this Empire.

“Peni-what?” asked Erik, clearly not understanding what this ‘Penitus Oculatus’ was. “And what ‘Empire?’ Ustio hasn’t been ruled by an empire in decades.”

The Stormcloak Captain relaxed a little at that, an almost apologetic smile crossing his face as he said:

"A relief to hear so. With the Empire kicked out, it's been said that they'd resort to more underhanded methods, smuggling in their spies and agents.

“Even more of a relief that the Empire hasn't acquired these automobile automatons yet. Say, that is Dwemer in origin, right? It's lacking the typical golden look but otherwise it looks like something those dwarves would've built. A carriage without a need for horses, ha!"

The Stormcloak Captain slapped himself on the thigh, apparently finding the idea of a horseless carriage rather amusing. He was clearly becoming less hostile to them relatively quickly, approaching a little bit further while scratching his beard.

"Name's Ralof, from Riverwood. Looks like we've got similar tasks.

See, I was sent out to go and check what's happened to Morrowind. Given that you just came from there, I'm gonna guess that Ustio stuff of yours has happened over there?

You mentioned wanting to talk with some sorta official about the border or something? I think that's something you'd have to discuss with Steward Jorleif in the Palace of Kings if not even with the High King. We could take you there. Actually, we ought to."

Erik relaxed visibly as Ralof calmed down, and the other two border patrol agents shifted away from the defensive postures they had taken - not that there was much difference with seat belts on. Nikolas turned the car’s built-in radio entirely, almost as an afterthought. It’d do no good to spook these Stormcloaks now, and with the mountain range between them and Ustio it wasn’t like anything but the military-grade communications radio would get a signal.

“That sounds like a good idea, Ralof,” said Erik. “No idea what a Dwemer or Morrowind is, but from the sounds of it, whatever happened to Ustio might have happened to your country, too. Lead the way, we’ll follow behind - this automobile may be faster than any horse, but you know the area, and a horse won’t slip as easy on these icy roads.”

Ralof gave them a hearty laugh, banging against the SUV once before turning around and shouting some orders to his men. The formation of warriors quickly parted, opening the road again for the SUV with some of the warriors staying and filing in behind the SUV once it passed.

The trip took a while, and the team likely wouldn't have needed any guides - there was only one road and it led west and only west. Eventually the trees on the right hand side started thinning until finally opening the view on the outflow of a river into an icy sea, and on the opposite bank of the river was clearly a city. Black walls towered high into the air, and beyond them the smoke of a great many chimneys rose into the sky. A strong and sturdy bridge of stone led across the river, ice climbing up its supports.

"This is Windhelm, strangers. The old city of kings, founded by Ysgramor himself they say. In all of Skyrim there are few that can rival it," Ralof told them as he leisurely strolled alongside the SUV. They passed several farmsteads where farmers worked the frozen ground ceaselessly, vegetables miraculously sprouting from the carved up and snow covered soil.

Nikolas whistled appreciatively, looking around at the gates of Windhelm. It may have been “just” a medieval city, but such things had a charm of their own, and even by the standards of Belka’s great ancient citadels, Windhelm was damned big - and none of the walled cities of Belka were ever built this far north, if the snow cover was any indication!

“It’s even bigger than Directus was,” Alena said quietly. And it was true, if only barely. Erik said nothing as he gently drove the truck onto the stone bridge, more out of fear of spooking the other guards than any concern for the bridge’s ability to support the weight. The bridge looked like it could support a whole platoon of tanks without complaint.

The guards had noticed their coming well in advance, their little patrol and the SUV not being particularly inconspicuous out in snowy Eastmarch. But Ralof’s presence seemed to put the guards at ease for there were no more formations blocking their path or weapons drawn at their approach. Indeed, the mood seemed wholly different, with guards occasionally calling out to Ralof or giving him a manly handshake or pats on his back, pointing at the SUV and inquiring with obvious interest as to what he had brought back to the city.

Otherwise the trip went without incident, the massive, metal reinforced gate opening before the SUV and letting them all pass. However, once past the gate, a new problem became quite evident. That being that this city had clearly not been constructed with automobile transportation within the city in mind. Ralof seemed to have thought of this however, knocking against the SUV to get their attention before pointing to a relatively small spot to the right hand side of the gate.

“Leave your Dwemer automaton here, strangers. You will not be able to go any further with it. I will have guards stationed around it for its and the citizens’ safety.”

Erik nodded, turning to his other patrol members. “Guess this is our stop,” he said as he pulled the SUV into the impromptu parking spot. It was mercifully large enough for the truck to not only fit, but open its doors enough for them all to get out, including the dog, which Nikolas put on a black retractable leash.

Erik shut the car off as soon as they were completely stopped, unplugged the radio and its satchel, and slung it over his shoulder as he stepped out of the vehicle. Alena left her rifle in the back of the car, instead opting for a 9mm pistol like the other two agents had.

In terms of appearance, the three were… fairly plain, really. Erik was blond, like most of the Nords present, but a little on the short and thin side for a Nord, and completely beardless. Nikolas had a goatee, making him look a bit like a movie villain when combined with his tan and haircut. Alena looked more like she cooked for a living, being decidedly on the plump side, but not enough that there was any concern about her health. The three wore a fairly simple uniform - a dark grey-blue buttoned shirt with pockets on both breasts, a black leather belt, khaki pants with pockets, and slate grey plastic holsters for pistols.

Geronimo was, well, a dog. A Cane Corso, he was big, he was black, he was intimidating, and he was clearly happy to be surrounded by so many new smells.

Ralof watched them dismount with raised eyebrows, probably thinking all kinds of things about what must’ve looked like some rather odd clothing to him. His face softened considerably however when Geronimo came out of the car, happily wagging his tail, running around as far as the leash allowed and sniffing whatever and whoever was in range.

Once he was certain that they were all set and ready, Ralof waved for them to follow him and led them straight forward, past a rather large building which he quickly introduced as:

“Candlehearth Hall. If you will be staying here for longer, you should get lodgings here. Best inn in the city.”

He was about to proceed when suddenly there was a commotion behind them, roughly in the direction where they had left the SUV. Looking back, the Stormcloaks who’d been placed around the SUV as guards gripped their weapons tighter but seemed otherwise quite lax, looking at something that, judging by the sounds, was coming from the right. It didn’t take particularly long for that something to appear.

It was some form of people. “Some form” due to them having some traits that clearly distinguished them from people such as Ralof or themselves. These...humanoids had gray skin and weirdly pointy, angular heads with pointed ears. More of those Stormcloaks accompanied them, seemingly escorting them though in a very different manner from how Erik and company were being escorted by Ralof. They had ropes bound around their wrists and necks, tying them to each other, said ropes being tugged along by their Stormcloak escorts who would occasionally shove them if they weren’t going as fast as they wanted. Some citizens were also quickly gathering and would’ve blocked the group’s view of the scene if they weren’t on more elevated ground, thus allowing them to see how the citizens weren’t just jeering at the strange gray skinned people but also throwing snowballs at them.

“Another batch of them Grayskins being shipped out. See, where your ‘Ustio’ now is, used to be their home. We actually wanted to ship ‘em right back there but well...there’s a problem there now. So we had to find a new and hopefully permanent solution for that elf problem in our midst.”

The mood with the border patrol agents changed as swiftly as a burst light bulb, though their expressions did not. Only Geronimo seemed to notice, as his tail slowed down and he moved closer to Alena, nuzzling her hand with his massive head and looking warily at these “grayskins”. It didn’t take someone with a doctorate in sociology to know that they were properly called something else.

Alena looked at Erik. He shook his head, slightly but clearly to the trio, and made a placating gesture with his hand. The intent was clear - not now. Racism may have been an alien concept to them, as only the most extreme Belkans believed in “permanent solutions” to non-Belkan residents, but it wasn’t unheard of. It simply wasn’t done.

Not too permanent, he thought internally. “Something for our superiors to discuss, I suppose.”

“I agree. The pointy eared threat must absolutely not be underestimated, especially if the Aldmeri Dominion continues to exist. Your superiors will surely appreciate any information my leaders can provide,” Ralof mentioned, either not noticing or choosing not to notice the rapidly changing mood. His fur gauntlet rested itself on Erik’s shoulder, lightly tugging at it to gain the agent’s attention as Ralof pointed behind him to an even more elevated square and beyond it and more high walls, a blocky building of stone that towered over the rest of the city.

“Come on, if you want to watch the Grayskins, I’m sure we can show you around the Gray Quarter later but for now we’ve got more important things to do. The Palace of Kings is just ahead.”

With that he led them further, past the walls and guards that threw wary glances at them but otherwise didn’t interfere or block their path on their way to that fabled Palace of Kings. After passing through another form of courtyard and another set of gates, they had arrived in what looked like something akin to a throne room, not in the least due to the large stone throne on the other side of the room.

A light blue rug formed a path straight through the center of the largely barren room, splitting in its center to go past a large banquet table before reconnecting before the stone throne again. Metal reinforced doors were on either side of the room, leading to who knows where and light blue banners with white rims hung from the ceiling, some of them featuring the blue head of a bear on a white stripe.

The throne room was empty however, with the exception of several more of these Stormcloaks, their equipment appearing to be of better make with the men carrying plate gauntlets, boots, and pauldrons, unlike the other Stormcloaks they had met before. Likely some form of palace guards, the members of which gave them just a short glance before staring into the void before them again, unmoving like any good ceremonial guard. Ralof ignored those men, his gaze wandering the hall but not finding what he looked for, causing him to grunt in annoyance and say:

“Well, tough luck. Seems like everyone of note’s gone right now. Probably some form of meeting concerning this strange phenomenon that has transpired and brought you unto our borders. Let me see if I can’t get you someone though.”

With that, he turned to one of the guards and quietly said something to them, the guard remaining still for a moment before slowly nodding and walking off. He took a door to the left, vanishing for quite a while before the sound of his armoured boots returned, approaching the throne room again. When the door opened, he was accompanied by an older man, likely in his late 40s or 50s, clad in red and orange clothes, a fur cap on his head and a magnificent sort of walrus moustache adorning his face.

The guard quickly returned to his post while Ralof led them towards the newcomer who had taken up a position to the right of the throne, crossing his arms and mustering them with indignation.

“What is it Ralof? I hope whatever it is you need me for is damn important because by the Nine, I have enough work as it is. Besides, don’t you have an important task of your own?”

Ralof merely stepped aside, fully revealing the agents he had brought with him and said:

“Yeah, it’s while executing that task that I stumbled upon these people. Some sort of agents from some Ustio they say they are. From what they told me, I could already see that they were pretty important to my mission so I figured getting them here and talking to you would be working towards completing it. They came from the direction of Morrowind.”

The man’s eyes immediately narrowed as he stared down the agents, asking simply:

“Is that so?”
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Rupudska
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Postby Rupudska » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:58 pm

May 19, 1995 (?)
Windhelm
??:?? PM


Erik wasn’t military. None of them were, which was why they were border patrol, but border patrol and the military shared a few customs, and one of them was how to carry oneself around superiors. Erik didn’t know who this person was, but he was clearly important.

He snapped to attention, heels together and feet at an outward angle, and the other two agents matched him. He didn’t salute, in part because he had no idea what these Stormcloaks did as a salute, but the implication was there. Geronimo, recognizing the action if not the situation, sat down with his eyes staring intently at the far wall in front of him.

“Erik Hammerling, sir, Republic of Ustio Border Patrol. What Ralof says is true, and by his descriptions, something similar happened to us as well this morning. Before then, Skyrim’s apparent border with us used to be the border with a country called Belka, and there wasn’t any such place as ‘Skyrim’ bordering us or anywhere.”

For a moment the unknown man simply stared at Erik. Then he turned around to face Ralof again, asking:

“And you are certain these aren’t Imperial spies?”

Ralof simply shook his head with a wide grin, the unknown man facepalming immediately and groaning in pain and annoyance. After massaging his brows for a little, he finally faced Erik again, formally introducing himself:

“I believe I haven’t introduced myself yet. I am Jorleif. Jorleif Snowman, Steward of Windhelm and advisor to the High King.

As for these...news you bring, Erik, then I must admit that these are not the kind of news I or in fact anyone had hoped to hear. Morrowind just gone… it is unheard of… or perhaps it isn’t. Say, have you any news of your other borders? Is the land as it should be for you? Are you perhaps bordered by Argonians in the south? Perhaps the Empire in the southeast? You see, we already had it occur once that an entire people just vanished from Tamriel...but they were not immediately replaced nor was the lay of the land changed. Still, perhaps there is hope and you are the sole anomaly.”

Erik grew more and more confused - and concerned - as Jorleif went on. Argonians? He already knew that the Empire they were talking about didn’t exist. Argonians might have been these “greyskins’ Ralof was talking about, but for some reason he doubted it. Likely another group of humanoids, or even another species for all he knew. Hopefully it wasn’t anything like that snow ape they ran into earlier.

When the steward finished talking, Erik shook his head.

“I doubt it, sir. Ustio was landlocked before this started, and now we have a coastline. All of the nations bordering us are gone, and we’ve never even heard of Argonians or an Empire - and if this ‘Empire’ is as much of a concern as you, Ralof, and the other Stormcloaks seem to think, we’d have been informed about it even if all they had to come at us with were pointed sticks.

“As far as we can tell, our western border is you, Skyrim, our southern border is empty forests, and our eastern border is… some other country. Clearly inhabited, but I haven’t heard anything about who or what lives there yet.”

Again Jorleif massaged his brows before kneading his chin as well, clearly deep in thought. Ralof also seemed concerned but knew better than to interfere. It took a while until Jorleif continued, though it seemed like he was talking more to himself than to Erik and the other agents:

“Hmmmm...perhaps this is where the Dwemer went? Possible, possible but also terrible. Have we enraged the Nine with our war? Or was it a daedric plot? Ah, what a terrible fate to befall Skyrim now that we have finally thrown off the shackles of the Empire and its elvish masters…”

It was only then that he seemed to notice that he had apparently voiced his thoughts, clearly unintentionally as his hands fidgeted around for a moment in nervosity as he quickly said:

“The Empire is no concern. It is weak and has bent its knee to elvish masters...but it is also a great proponent of cloak and dagger politics and subversive activities. They can’t afford to send their legions north to take our independence away from us again so they have to resort to such methods.

Regardless, you say there is even more land to your east? Most concerning, Morrowind used to have a coast there...it seems that we have indeed suffered the same fate as you have and both of our countries have been transported away by some foul sorcery.

I do, of course, not have the authority to authorize any greater agreements and I assume neither do you, however, given this very sudden and very upsetting shift in the balance and make of the world, I would say it is imperative that we sign a pact of non-aggression and perhaps begin earnest trade as soon as possible.”

Erik nodded, though Jorlief’s phrasing about the Empire’s “elvish masters” was… a little concerning. As were the things Jorlief seemed to have said accidentally. He didn’t know who the Dwemer or the Nine were, nor what a daedra was (or why it would be plotting), but he could feel his surety in modern science ebbing with almost every word.

And oh, would the revelation of the existence of magic be a fine cap to the insanity of the day.

“You are right, I don’t have the authority to authorize agreements, but I can get ahold of people who can, and I agree - in fact, that’s part of the reason for us being here, on your side of the border - non-aggression pacts and trade deals.”

Even if they’ll likely be very one-sided, he thought to himself.

Jorleif clapped his hands eagerly, rubbing them for a moment as he said joyfully:

"Excellent! Fantastic in fact. I am certain the High King would be most pleased to see to the signing of such an accor-, no, agreement. With the loss of the Empire and all of our other trading partners, it is an absolute necessity to re-establish trade routes or the Kingdom might face famine before long."

Jorleif's expression turned sour at that, admitting to them being so lacking in such a basic good that their citizens could easily starve clearly not being something he liked to do.

At the admission, Erik actually smiled, though he hoped it wasn’t enough of a smile to aggravate Jorleif. “Well, that happens to be something we are likely to have somewhat of a surplus of. Even with the recent Belkan occupation, our own food production never really dropped - we have plenty of farmland.”

He paused, if only for a moment - Jorleif had exposed a weakness, a rather severe one, of Skyrim. Should he reciprocate? He was no politician, no diplomat. This sort of thing wasn’t what he was trained to do.

But, he had gotten this far...

“What we are in need of is mining equipment, and miners to use it. We’ve been sitting on some enormous deposits in our northern desert for a few years, and between sorting out our independence and the war, we just haven’t gotten around to extracting any of it.”

Jorleif briefly stroked his beard, deep in thought about that. Mines in the north could indeed be a great boon to economic activity. There was only one tiny problem as the agents could easily tell from how wrinkles started appearing on Jorleif's forehead. When he finally spoke he did so rather apologetically, as though he was trying to apologize for an inadequacy:

"I am sure that supplying shovels and pickaxes to your kingdom should be no issue.

However, the prospect of workers is a much more difficult one. You see, our people are not particularly used to deserts. I am sure you noticed the rather...frosty weather on your way here.

There are those within Skyrim who are of course used to such climates. Foreigners, especially Khajiit but also Redguards. However, their numbers are very low and it'd be difficult to convince settled Redguards from seeking work even farther away. The Khajiit have no such problem, being largely nomadic so such a thing should be no issue for them. They do however bring their own risks...they're filthy thieves, squatters, smugglers, spies, assassins and skooma dealers, all under the guise of being simple traders. I do not recommend taking them as a workforce unless they are in chains.

Which is something the High King plans to arrange in due time anyway, ending the Khajiit Scourge once and for all so we can all rest safely again."

So these “Greyskins” aren’t the only ones on Skyrim’s shitlist, Erik thought to himself. Disappointing, but unsurprising. And something that could be relatively easily dealt with - by his superiors. So far, all he’d seen of Skyrim was swords and bows, and such things were hardly a threat to the Ustian government - or military. While Ustio didn’t have the industry to build its own mining equipment, and only recently enough to build its own aircraft (thanks, ironically, to Belka), manufacturing bullets by the truckload was easy.

Whate’er happens, We have got, the Maxim Gun, and They have not.

“Ustio does not practice slavery, nor would most be willing to even consider it, but I don’t imagine it being very hard to… convince these ‘Khajiit’ they’re better off doing as they’re told.”

Alena’s eyebrows shot up and she turned to Erik, who made a placating gesture behind his back.

“And the heat should be no issue. One of our world’s greatest scientific achievements is machinery that can heat and cool entire buildings to keep them at comfortable temperatures, and what is a mine but a building in the ground?”

"Machinery, eh?" Jorleif asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Sounds like what them Dwemer did with their ruins, supposedly full of all kinds of machinery with spinning wheels and hissing steam and thumping stuff. Very creepy I tell you.

“Be careful with these Khajiit however. They may not be as good with words as the Imperials but they ain't gonna leave out an opportunity to scam you out of money. I heard they once tried to sell Wuunferth his own key to his quarters, that's how brazen they are.

“Now, I believe we are at an impasse as the Imperials and Bretons say. Neither of us can currently commit to an agreement as we both lack the authority. However, I am certain that I can arrange for the High King's agreement as well as the collection of a...respectable number of Khajiit workers to receive your offer."

“Well, as long as they’re healthy and of sound mind, that should do for now,” Erik said. “We may end up asking for a few just for medical and physical evaluations - to get a baseline for what we can expect an average ‘Khajiit’ to be capable of, what diseases we should be concerned about either getting from or giving to them, that sort of thing.”

Nikolas turned slightly to the side, pinching his chin in thought. “We might need to do that for any non-human races, actually… or even human ones, for medical stuff. We’ll probably have to do that jointly. Don’t want to catch any diseases we have no resistance to, and I’m sure you don’t want any of our diseases to do the same.”

At the mention of diseases, Jorleif seemed to shake for a moment, throwing a glance at the door he had just come through before quickly looking back to Erik and hesitantly saying:

“In...deed. It would be to both of our advantage if we could cooperate on this matter. We just came out of an...epidemic so to say as well as a civil war. The stocks of potions and ingredients to cure diseases have run low and much of the land is still filled with brigands and...worse. It is imperative that another epidemic is avoided at all costs. I will have some of our best alchemists gathered for when next we meet.”

He then turned to Ralof, asking:

“Have you already rented rooms in Candlehearth Hall for our guests?”

To which Ralof merely shook his head, his voice unsure as he asked:

“Well, I uh, I wasn’t sure yet if we’d have them as guests.”

To which Jorleif threw his hands in the air and shouted:

“God damn it boy, these people came all the way from a far foreign land! Of course they will be our guests. After such a journey they will certainly appreciate some peace and quiet, good food and drink and a warm bath.”

He then turned back to Erik, smiling apologetically as he said:

“Please, do honour us with your extended presence. You must be weary and Candlehearth Hall is the best tavern in the entire city.”

Erik scratched the side of his face, for once truly looking unsure of himself. “Well, I may have to get the OK from my own superiors, but I don’t see why not. At least until a proper diplomatic team arrives, and I can’t imagine the foreign affairs ministry not wanting to send one over as soon as they possibly can.”

Sure as hell beats getting threatened by farmers for “trespassing”, who then accuse you of lying about a war being on - or Ustio being independent!

“Perfect! Ralof, you’ll be leading these fine people to Candlehearth Hall. Arrange with Elda that they receive anything they require,” Jorleif immediately exclaimed, unfastening a pouch from his belt which he tossed Ralof’s way, the Stormcloak easily catching it in the air. The clinging of metal indicated the contents of that little pouch. He then respectfully bowed his head a bit in the agents’ direction before leaving through the door he had entered, likely informing his High King of the developments taking place.

Meanwhile Ralof waved for the agents to follow him, leading them out of the palace and back the way they had come to the building which he had shown them earlier. Already they could see that their SUV was still as they had left it, except for a thin film of snow resting atop of it now. The Stormcloak Guards around it didn’t seem to have moved, one of them currently in the process of shoving a curious gawker that got too close aside. There were also no more of those ‘Grayskins’ getting escorted by Stormcloaks.

Ralof was about to open the door to the inn when suddenly there was something in the far, far distance that made Ralof perk up immediately. To some it likely sounded like a sudden rush of wind or thunder in the distance. Those with more fantasy could even liken it to the roar of a prehistoric beast.

“Oh no, no, no, no, no, not again!”, the Stormcloak muttered as he pulled out his axe and looked to the sky, his eyes frantically searching for something. Several of the Stormcloaks around seemed to have noticed as well, having pulled out weapons of their own and looking to the skies while civilians were suddenly very eager to move and find a door to hide behind.

Geronimo’s head snapped around at the noise, a low growl on his lips.

Erik didn’t quite know what was going on as Ralof pulled out an axe, and a well-used looking one at that, but as he looked to the skies he suspected it wasn’t for chopping wood. He’d heard the roar of… something, and felt it in his bones almost as much as he heard it. The tiny speck in the air grew and grew, faster than any bird he could think of, and it was still a ways distant by his estimation.

A hand went to his holster, wrapping around the grip of his pistol. Geronimo whined and began to back away towards the door of Candlehearth Hall.

As it began to approach, his eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.

“Is that a fucking-” started Alena as the thing that could not possibly exist became clearly defined to the eyes of all.

A dragon the size of a fighter jet, orange with a wide greyish-purple stripe down its back and yellow bat-like wings, climbed for altitude almost as soon as it passed over a horse farm on the other side of the river. It rolled gracefully in the air, sticking to high altitude, before barreling down towards the hall, purple eyes full of hate.

Flames, honest-to-God flames, spilled out of the corners of its mouth as it spoke -

“Yol… Toor… SHUL!”

The flames came out in a narrow jet, white-hot and intense enough to set thatch ablaze with even a miss. But it didn’t miss one of the cargo boats on the river, whose mast went up like a torch.

"By Talos, what a beast!", Ralof shouted next to them, his axe gripped tightly. Yet within just a short time he seemed to come up with a plan, motioning for some of his fellow Stormcloaks to come over. When two of them had joined them, he turned to Erik while pointing at the Stormcloaks with him:

"I need to go get the Dragonborn! To our luck she must still be in the city, probably talking with the High King. These two will make sure that you are safe. Go and find cover!"

With that he left the team, sprinting back to the Palace of Kings with the two Stormcloaks staying behind. One of them, a man with a bow, kept watch over the sky, frantically keeping his eyes on the dragon and an arrow nocked just in case while the other, a beautiful blonde, blue eyed woman who seemed to have lost her helmet and whose beauty was marred by a rather ugly scar that had apparently almost taken one of her eyes. She harshly shouted at the agents, gesturing to the left with a massive two handed sword:

"To the Temple of Talos! Go, it's that way! We will be safe there!"

Erik didn’t need to be told twice, but he did have something he needed to do first. He unholstered his pistol, holding it in a low and ready position, as he motioned for Nikolas and Alena to follow the Stormcloak.

“You two, follow her, and take the dog! I don’t think there’s anything in the truck that can kill a God-damned dragon,” he said as he unzipped the satchel.

Inside was a typical long-range two-way radio - a long black box taking up the entire satchel, with buttons, switches, dials, an LED screen with green numbers, a small speaker, and a phone handle on a coiled black cord. He turned it on, rapidly pressed the keypad buttons, and held the phone up to the side of his face - all in all, a very strange display for the Stormcloak, even as he ran in step with her.

A few arrows shot up at the dragon as he finally connected, but they all started falling back to the ground before reaching the dragon - who spewed more fire in their direction all the same, before entering an orbit above the docks, blasting fire - and ice! - at the larger ships and piles of cargo.

<<Mayday, mayday, mayday, To any aircraft on this channel, any Ustian aircraft on this channel,>> he started, <<this is Ustio Border Patrol unit Charlie 11 - we’ve made friendly contact, even found a city, but we’re under attack by a dragon>> - the dragon roared again, as if punctuating his incredulity - <<and I must have left Excalibur back at base, so we’ve got nothing that can do anything other than piss it off. Somebody come and take that thing down before more people get hurt!>>

To what was no doubt the Stormcloak’s even greater surprise, the black box actually voiced a response - in a surprisingly calm male voice.

<<Charlie 11, this is AWACS Eagle Eye, we have your location... now. Alright, I’ve got two fighters in your immediate area, I’ll send them over. They’ll be over ASAP. Callsign is Galm.>>

Erik showed visible relief, slacking for a moment before he remembered he had to run. Galm Team were two of the best aces Ustio had to offer - if anyone could shoot down a dragon, it was them.

<<Wilco, Eagle Eye. Just tell them to hurry. Out.>> With that, he put the phone device back in its slot, but otherwise left the machine alone.

The Stormcloaks both stared at the phone, even when Erik had put it away, distrust and concern clearly visible on the woman’s face while the man’s features were perfectly hidden by his helmet. They had already led them to what looked like a very solid stone building, situated right next to the inner wall that separated the Palace of Kings from the rest of the city. Dragonfire would certainly have a hard time getting through that.

However, the Stormcloaks didn’t let them in, the woman blocking their way with the two handed sword while the man kept a lookout for the dragon. She merely pointed Erik, saying harshly:

“Your artifact may not enter this holy place. Only a foul, bewitched relic should be able to speak and we will not have you corrupt Talos’ place of worship with it. Leave it here.”

This issue could’ve probably been foreseen, talking inanimate objects likely seeming like sorcery and the like to any medieval age society.

“It isn’t a-”, Erik started, half-indignant, before remembering his surroundings. “You know what? I don’t have time for this. Fine,” he said, sliding the thing off his shoulder. He zipped it up partway, and left it against one of the columns by the entrance. He then faced one of the Stormcloaks, pointing at it.

“That stays there, at least until that damn dragon gets shot down and I can explain how it actually works, or we can get someone over here who can.

The act didn’t seem to have assuaged all of the Stormcloaks’ concerns but apparently it was enough for the woman to open the door and let them in, leading them into a spacious but decidedly dreary room, there being little in the way of decoration or furniture. No, there was little more than naked stone, a few benches and, on the opposite end, the statue of some great warrior, his sword piercing a winding serpent underneath his feet. The banner they had seen aplenty in the Palace of Kings waved in the small breeze that came in with them.

The male Stormcloak closed the door behind them with a bang, shutting out that breeze but not managing to fully shut out the sounds of the dragon roaring outside, the roars still coming through the walls albeit in a much more quiet, muffled manner. The Stormcloaks visibly relaxed, more than could be explained by the thick walls surrounding them now. Perhaps it was because they were in the temple of some deity they were worshipping, the Stormcloaks getting reassured by what they believed to be divine protection?

Pushing a strand of her blonde hair out of her face while sheathing her weapon on her back, the Stormcloak female remarked:

“And now we wait. Don’t worry, the Dragonborn will save us soon since she should still be in the city. She’s put down plenty of these beasts so another one will be no issue.”

Erik sighed, taking a seat in one of the pews - he took an edge seat, and Nikolas and Alena both took ones beside him.

“I certainly hope so,” he said. “We aren’t in much of a position to help ourselves, and even if we were, replacing our own ammunition would be a lot more difficult than strapping an arrowhead to a stick.”

As he listened outside, he could still hear the dragon through the thick stone walls and narrow glass windows. It was closer now, so wherever it was, it wasn’t over the docks. It also sounded lower, clearly getting more confident in itself - perhaps it assumed, whoever this ‘Dragonborn’ person was, that it could cause what chaos it wanted in such a large city and be off before she could get to it.

He certainly hoped the Dragonborn or Galm Team could get to it before it could get away. The last thing he wanted to worry about was flying carnivores smart enough to talk.



The roaring of the dragon was audible even within the Palace of Kings, in the very room in which Ulfric, Galmar and the Dragonborn had spent so much time together, planning the single steps of the civil war against the Empire. A civil war they had ended up winning, robbing the room of its purpose. At least until they had decided to reconvene here following the immense changes that had taken place outside of their borders.

She had called upon the Dragon when their discussions turned in a direction and took on a tone that she, the Dragonborn absolutely did not appreciate. It had been simple enough her Thu’um stopping time itself before she called upon one of the dragons, leaving Ulfric and Galmar none the wiser as to why the beast had descended onto their city now all of a sudden.

Galmar had of course immediately rushed out the door the moment the first roar had been heard outside, the old Stormcloak seeking to look out for his men and coordinate the defense, leaving Ulfric all alone with her. As the High King attempted to leave, she simply leaned against the doorframe, blocking his way and smiling up at him, an act that left Ulfric confused and distraught as the towering Nord wanted to rush past her but also knew not to force himself against her.

“W-what is it Dragonborn? We must save Windhelm, especially you! Shouldn’t you be out slaying this beast?”

She could smell his confusion in the air. Almost like the sweet, sweet scent of fear. But only almost. Licking her lips, she wondered how he’d taste before shaking her head. No, not yet. Not so soon. Instead she looked up into the air, stating calmly:

“Exactly. I must save Windhelm. And I am the only one that can unless you intend to relive Helgen and put it to the test.”

Ulfric didn’t seem to grasp what she was hinting at quite yet, nearly shouting at her:

“Yes, I know now go out there and slay that beast before it destroys my city!”

She rolled her eyes at that before pulling her hood over her head again, preparing to head out into the day. Sometimes she wondered if the man was dense. He clearly wasn’t, considering the schemes he had already put into motion but sometimes he just really didn’t seem like the one who had actually done so. Just to make sure, she reiterated:

“Exactly. And there’s plenty of dragons still out there because there’s been no Dragonborn to slay them properly. I recommend you watch your tone unless you want me to be unavailable the next time one such beast shows up. Skyrim is a large province after all, and I can’t be everywhere.”

Suddenly Ulfric became very calm, his ice blue eyes resting on the Dragonborn as though he was sizing her up, for the first time as something that might even be a threat.

“You wouldn’t.”

To which she merely laughed, making sure to cover her mouth with her gloved hand as she did so so that he didn’t see the fangs.

“Oh, if it can be helped I certainly wouldn’t. But if it can’t be helped…”

She was certain now that she had made her position and power over him clear, turning right after and leaving the Stormcloak leader and High King alone to ponder the mess he had gotten himself into with the Dragonborn. She had a dragon to publicly slay and boost her popularity among the common folk of Windhelm.

Her enhanced hearing could pick up Ulfric muttering:

“Helvaria...what happened to you…” as she left, putting a smile on her lips. As she left, barely perceptible at first, there was a sound of distant thunder...



May 17, 1995 (?)
Skies over Windhelm
??:?? PM


OST: TESV Official Soundtrack Disc 3 Track 12: Watch the Skies

<<Almost spooky, isn’t it?>> muttered Galm 2 - Larry Foulke, callsign Pixy - as his red-winged F-15 left the mountains that marked the border with this strange, new world behind his visual range. His own craft wasn’t radiating, but according to the data provided by Eagle Eye, the city the border patrol agents wasn’t too much farther. A few minutes away, at their current speed.

The land below was apparently - and clearly, in some spots - inhabited, and they could see people and horses moving about on the ground as little more than ant-sized dots. But there was neither hide nor hair of what passed for “modern civilization” in the world he and Cipher had come from. Larry was no anthropologist, but as far as he knew there were few if any uncontacted tribes left on any of the four inhabited continents, and even the most primitive hunter-gatherer villages were never far from a radio source.

And there were certainly no such villages anywhere with snow.

Cipher, as usual, did not respond, besides a double-click on the mic to indicate she agreed. She was never the talkative sort, especially so in the air, and what orders she did give were short and to the point. It was refreshing, in a way - at the very least, it meant she trusted him to watch her back.

Far above and a little behind them, and growing more distant by the second, was the black-and-grey E-767 of Eagle Eye, fulfilling its callsign and duty by providing overwatch of the area. And stating the obvious, but all AWACS did that at times.

<<Galm Team, you should be coming up on the city the border patrol mentioned now. We have the “dragon” on radar - definitely a living thing, based on how its signature changes shape, and the pilot up here says it’s sticking to the city docks. Bandit is low, hasn't come above four thousand feet since we’ve started tracking.>>

<<ROE?>>
asked Cipher.

<<Weapons tight. Command has requested that you keep within visual range while engaged, they want these people to know we’re here to help, and know that the Ustio Air Force did the helping.>>

<<Hearts and minds, got it,>>
Pixy replied.

As Eagle Eye predicted, they came upon the city of Windhelm quickly - a walled city, with an icy river on two sides and a mountain on the other two. Sure enough, there was a dragon flitting about the docks just outside of the city’s walls, attacking with reckless abandon. It was fast, faster than any flying thing had a right to be, but the two Eagles were faster.

<<Tally ho,>> said Cipher as soon as she spotted it. <<Eagle Eye, we’ll attack it from the direction of the city so any misses land in the water.>>

<<Understood. Galm Team, you have permission to engage.>>

<<Galm Team, engaging. Eagle Eye, judy. Pixy, I’m coming in low to see if I can’t get Fafnir’s attention.>>


Without waiting for a response, Cipher proceeded to do just that - She dove towards the dragon, contrails passing over the navy blue tips of her F-15’s wings, and began to pull up just before she would have needed to worry about hitting the walls.

As the two planes approached, the dragon was moving towards the Grey Quarter. It was readying a Frost Breath, when it heard an odd noise - like a group of dragons breathing fire, but constant. It tightened its turn to face the east and snarled.

“Who dares-” The dragon made a sound between choking and screeching in shock as some metallic thing with navy blue wingtips rocketed over its head at speeds it wouldn’t have risked anywhere near something it could crash into. The dragon dove towards the river, trading altitude for speed before popping back up over the wall as yet another of the metallic things flew by, much higher this time - this one with a single red wing.

It and its twin flew up the side of the mountain before performing an Immelmann turn and heading right back towards the river. Flashes of light came out from them, first the blue-winged one, then the red-

Pain! The flashes of light actually struck him! He dove down towards the mortals’ city, passing under the things in a split second, struggling slightly for altitude as there were now ragged holes in the membrane of his wing, and blood seeping from wounds on his arms and back. He examined one of the wounds closely as he came about in midair. Something was shining in the blood, so he bit it and pulled it out. A chunk of metal - the lights were arrows of some sort, no doubt.

No matter. He had faced arrows before, and though painful, the aim of these metal monstrosities was poor. As he hovered in the air, he saw them come back around for another pass, and the blue-winged one fired a rocket at him.

Feh! Did it expect to frighten him with noise and colors? He opened his mouth and prepared a blast of fire to enlighten these abominations on who the sky truly belonged to.

“Yol Tor Sh-”

The Universal Standard Missile’s warhead was of a continuous-rod type. In simple terms, it was a cylinder of metallic rods welded together at the tops and bottoms, so that when the explosive in the middle was detonated, the rods expanded out like an accordion to slice anything in their path. Older missiles used steel, but more modern ones used a specialized alloy that could even damage tanks.

The USM fired by Cipher detonated almost dead-center in front of the dragon’s neck, where most of the heat was being concentrated. The cylinder of rods expanded outward faster than even the dragon’s eye could see, and nearly decapitated him.

He fell like a stone, gurgling a scream of terror all the way down. He landed in the courtyard in front of Candlehearth Hall head-first. The impact snapped his neck, and the dragon knew no more.



The roaring of the dragon and of the air he glided through had accompanied the team of agents and the Stormcloaks throughout their entire stay in the Temple of Talos, giving them a pretty good idea of what was going on outside. Namely, the dragon still being there and laying waste to whatever parts of the city he could get to. Caged in the Temple like they were and with such danger looming outside, every second seemed like hours, not even to talk about the minutes they spent here.

The sound of a long, continuous spew of fire came from outside, pretty close too, the male Stormcloak offering a silent prayer to whatever deity he believed in, clearly hoping that this fire was not going to be spewed their way while the woman tensed, her eyes pinned on the door and her fists clenched as she cursed:

“Damn, it’s setting the whole city on fire.”

The sound of fire ceased, replaced with the sound of massive wings flapping in the air not far from them, the Stormcloaks tensing even more in preparation for what was most likely their inevitable death...but then an explosion could be heard outside, followed by a loud, gurgling sound and the whistle of something dropping out of the air. An impact followed shortly after, shaking the flag slightly.

And then it was silent.

The Stormcloak woman was the first to check, carefully opening the door and looking up into the sky and then up and down the street. When she looked to the right, everyone could instantly see her relaxing, her shoulders dropping a bit and her grip around her weapon becoming much weaker. When she turned to the team she motioned outside with her head, stating:

“The dragon is slain. It should be safe to leave now.”

Erik had heard the sound of jet engines - fighter jets by the way the noise came in and out - and while the Stormcloaks seemed nervous, the Ustians were downright elated. Whatever harm the dragon could have done, it would fall that day, and it did - even faster than Erik thought it would, once the fighters started firing. Did aerial combat really go that quickly?

He cautiously stepped outside, looking around. There the dragon was - lying in a heap in front of the Candlehearth Hall he and the others had been shown earlier. There were massive gashes in its back and holes in its wings, so no matter what ultimately killed the monster, Galm had at least gotten a few hits in. The other two agents soon followed, with Geronimo warily trailing behind them - he saw the dragon, and clearly recognized it was dead, but the dog seemed to have decided that it had had enough excitement for one day.

“Speak of the devil,” Erik said as the roar of jet engines came back around. Two F-15s flew over the city again, low and slow (by their standards), with the one with blue wingtips wagging its wings in salute as it passed over the city. Erik waved up at the pilots, and liked to think that they saw him do so, but he knew it wasn’t likely.

The radio, almost forgotten, crackled to life. Erik swiftly threw it back over his shoulder, unzipped it all the way, and picked up the receiver.

<<Charlie 11, this is Eagle Eye,>> it said through both the receiver and the speaker on the radio itself, <<Galm Team reports they have successfully slain the dragon. Galm Two wants to know what he should use as a dragon kill mark.>>

The Ustian agents laughed at that, Erik shaking his head. The jets did another, higher, pass over the city before flying off towards the mountain, no doubt intending to loop around the city before heading home.

“I’ll be sure to ask the people in charge, Eagle Eye,” he said. “We should be good for now, unless this river has sea serpents, too.”

<<Understood, Charlie 11. Eagle Eye out.>>

The radio clicked off, and Erik turned it off before zipping it up completely. He turned to the Stormcloak who had opened the door. “Well, this has certainly been an… interesting… day, but all things considered I think we’ll head to Candlehearth Hall now and wait for a proper diplomatic team to arrive.”

The Stormcloak just stared at the sky with her mouth agape, having seen the jets just fly past, probably never having seen something like it before. Even his radio had apparently been forgotten by her. Yet behind the Stormcloak, further up the road stood someone else. Another woman by the looks of it, clad in black leather and a cloak, metal embellishments and reinforcements topping off the look of someone sinister.

From below a black hood a pair of golden glowing eyes stared down to the slain dragon. The woman’s fist tightened audibly, the leather creaking under the strain all the way to their position. The golden eyes briefly flitted over to him, a feeling of malice and unease gripping Erik and making his eyes water slightly from the intensity of the gaze.

Yet when he blinked the woman was gone, no trace of her presence remaining where she had stood.

Meanwhile the male Stormcloak seemed to have gotten his bearings again, saying timidly:

“Uhm, yes, uh, of course. Please, follow us to Candlehearth Hall”, while he tugged at the arm of his slack-jawed companion.



Judy = Aircrew has visual/radar contact with the correct target, has taken control of the intercept, and only requires situational awareness updates. Controller will minimize radio transmissions.
Last edited by Rupudska on Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Holy Roman Empire of Karlsland (MT/FanT & FT/FanT)
THE Strike Witches NationState
Best thread ever.|Ace Combat!
MT Factbook/FT Factbook|Embassy|Q&A
On Karlsland Witch Doctrine:
Hladgos wrote:Scantly clad women, more like tanks
seem to be blowing up everyones banks
with airstrikes from girls with wings to their knees
which show a bit more than just their panties

Questers wrote:
Rupudska wrote:So do you fight with AK-47s or something even more primitive? Since I doubt any economy could reasonably sustain itself that way.
Presumably they use advanced technology like STRIKE WITCHES

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The Peninsular
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Founded: Apr 04, 2017
New York Times Democracy

Postby The Peninsular » Thu Jan 07, 2021 4:33 pm

Collaboration with Democratic East-Asia

Northernmost Frontier, Aterian Empire | January 2nd, 513th Imperial Year
Northern “Border” Region - 107th Company

Lt. Tom Stevenson sat quietly as the Night Owl recon vehicle carrying him and six other troops made its way across the snowy expanses of the Northern Frontier’s vast frozen wasteland. The road in this region was nothing but a dirt clearing, and given the terrible weather was honestly non-existent in terms of functionality at the moment. The recon vehicle shook and bounced around as it made headway towards the new “border”. One of the troopers hit his head against the wall after the recon traversed over some particularly bumpy terrain, resulting in a few curses and grunts of disapproval. Stevenson honestly was used to this. The Night Owl was a great vehicle in terms of reliability but the thing wasn’t designed with comfort in mind.

“Attention everyone, we’ll be approaching the designated location in a few minutes.” A nearby radio announced. Stevenson was quick to rouse his men from their whereabouts and send an alert to the tank platoon that was trailing behind. The double-barreled M-40 super tanks were pushing forwards at nearly 70 km/h, quite impressive given how bad the snow was today.

“The hell is high command expecting us to find? Alien artifacts? Invaders from space?” One of the older troopers sighed as he loaded his machine gun. Stevenson honestly wondered how the veteran in question managed to fire the thing accurately. “I sure hope it ain’t the second.”

“As do all of us,” Stevenson nodded. “The last thing we need is another goddamn invasion force on our soil.”

“We’ll be pulling up shortly!” The recon’s driver announced as the vehicle reached the top of a small hill. The Imperials honestly had no clue what to expect.

“Pulsar-4, you got anything?”, the Head Held High’s central flight control officer asked over the comm net. Pulsar-4, flying his Hellcat fighter at medium altitude, glanced at his sensor displays, which were mainly oriented to the planetary west. Normally, a fighter would have fully effective 360° coverage, but the hard crash had damaged his craft’s array. “Negative, Control. The only air contacts I’m holding are Pulsar-2 through 5 right now.” The air controller acknowledged, and terminated the connection.

Below the four Hellcats, the TCS Head Held High rested. Upon impact, the massive, almost 1000 meter long supercarrier had left a tiny valley behind it, with trees and dirty strewn all over the area. The ship itself mostly lay dark - problems related to the crash and several internal (and partially still external) fires had led to all unnecessary systems being shut down. The only other visible source of light was the command deck at the back and top of the ship, which was dimly lit.

“What’s taking the goddamn furballs so long?”, Pulsar-3 asked. “You’d think they’d have been on us 20 hours ago.” All four pilots simultaneously shrugged in their cockpits. “Well, maybe they don’t realize the HHH’s main gun is out. Remember, that thing can blast the hell out of any Kilrathi ship.”, one of them suggested, though this theory was generally met with disapproval. “Maybe they’re messing with us, playing some fucked-up mind games. Wouldn’t put it past them, cruel bastards.”

Before they could continue discussing, though, one of the sensor scopes in Pulsar-4’s cockpit lit up, showing some odd speck. He frowned, recalibrating it. The anomaly persisted. He started flicking through the various sensor modes, but quickly stopped when he switched to optical sensors. The high-tech cameras, mounted in the main sensor array of the fighter, focused on a particular patch of darkness, currently busy fording a small river. Without hesitation, Pulsar-4 opened a channel to the Head Held High. “Alert the Marines, I think I’ve got something here.”

Down on the ground, a troop of Marines were notified. They were just two fireteams, eight men in total, but one of them did heft a heavy anti-armor railgun. Activating their suits’ camo systems, the men readied their rifles and slipped into the vegetation, intent on identifying whoever it was that dared approach the fallen giant of a carrier - and shooting them, if they even so much as seemed Kilrathi.

“So, if these newcomers do turn out to be aliens, what do you suppose we’ll do with them?” One of the younger troopers asked Lt. Stevenson, who shrugged in return.

“They used to say ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ back when I was a grunt but we’re frankly not in a position to do that. Me and a few others, including everyone in this recon, will approach first to assess the situation while the tanks and the rest of the platoons stay back. If things go south… well that’s where your training kicks in.”

“Aliens or not, they’ll be in for a world of hurt if they decide to mess with us!” The squad’s plasma trooper, a rather angsty fellow hailing from Marin, declared as he pretended to cock his plasma rifle like a shotgun. The two troopers sitting next to him were slightly alarmed. One did not simply play around with a weapon as potent and dangerous as an Imperial X918. If that thing exploded, the whole goddamn recon would turn into molten slag.

“Jeffrey put down the goddamn plasma gun! I’d rather you not accidentally kill everyone onboard this vehicle.” The Lt. yelled right as the recon came to a stop. In the nearby horizon stood three massive, unknown vessels. Stevenson took a brief moment to register his thoughts and proceeded to get out of the recon. He himself wasn’t the biggest fan of science fiction, but some of his troops certainly were. They had to be spaceships, those vessels in the distance. There was nothing else they could be.

“Well I’ll be damned, those may very well be ships from the great beyond,” The Lt mused. “Jeff, Harold, and all of you get over here! We’ll be checking out these crash sites in a few.”

The rest of the squad, alongside a few other squads, quickly disembarked from their recon vehicles. Weapons at the ready, gas masks on, and their winter trench coats shielding them from the cold, the soldiers of the 107th meant business. While everyone’s face was obscured, with the exception of the Lt (who really didn’t like gas masks), it was clear enough that the Aterians were very much human.

Lying in a nearby bush, Master Sergeant Paolo Ferdinandez regarded the arriving vehicles with a mixture of surprise and suspicion. He glanced through the magnifying optic of his RPH-303 plasma accelerator rifle at the leading vehicle, some sort of four-wheeled armored car, and hissed an order for the anti-armor gunner, lying nearby with his railgun lined up, to take his finger off the trigger.

“Well, I’ll be damned. Those things don’t look Kilrathi at all!”, one of the other men whispered. “I think I saw one of those in a museum once. With one less gun, though.”, the corporal in charge of the other fireteam remarked, and indicated one of the armored vehicles. Suddenly, they stopped, and several of the vehicles’ doors swung open.

“Those guys aren’t cats!”, the railgun operator half-exclaimed, and Ferdinandez couldn’t help but be surprised too. Even if most of the intruders had their faces obscured, it was clear they weren’t who the Marines had expected them to be - too short, all of them. When he spotted one without a mask, it became clear they were dealing with other humans. The Master Sergeant relayed this back to the Head Held High, and motioned for his men to stealthily start backing off.

“So I take it we’re not gonna shoot them?”, one of the men asked. “Not yet, at least. They could be pirates or scum like that. You know how some of those traitors are.”, came the answer. “There’s a small patch of forest between here and the next vantage point where they can see the HHH from. We’ll set up there and see what they do. I’ve radioed for a few more fireteams to join us.” The Marines quietly crawled backwards, ducking into the vegetation again as they repositioned, still alarmed but thoroughly confused.

“I wonder what these aliens look like! Maybe they got nasty claws, maybe they’re faces are just a huge morass of tentacles, maybe they’re space catgirls-”

“Alright shut it Oscar. We don’t need none of that weeb bullshit,” the squad’s veteran groaned as he and the others slowly made their way towards the grounded spaceships on foot. The Aterians were moving quickly but cautiously and had their guns trained on their surroundings.

“Ehh lettem say what he likes. He’s bound to be disappointed.” Lt. Stevenson chuckled. “Space catgirls? Give me a break. For all I know statistically its more probable that we bump into shapeless silicon entities than anything remotely similar to a catgirl!” The other troops laughed at the thought. Given how tough life was out in the frontier, most of the troopers honestly expected these aliens to be some degree of “otherworldly horror”.

Jeffrey, who happened to be the only one in the squad who possessed a “high tech” weapon, seemed quite satisfied with the situation. The others could only imagine. If these aliens turned out to be hostile then in all likelihoods the M15 battle rifles most of the squad was equipped with would be inadequate. This was especially the case if the aliens were fielding any forms of advanced battle armor or whatever the hell advanced aliens used. Now the X918 plasma rifle? That weapon could melt through tank armor. Stevenson was pretty sure that would be enough to deal with any would-be hostile extraterrestrials.

“Someone hand me a loudspeaker,” the Lt. looked at his troops and awaited a response. Naturally one of the nearby troops was equipped for this moment. “I’ll make it clear that we’re here to talk… and initiate first contact peacefully.”

He grabbed the loudspeaker in question and moved towards a higher vantage point which happened to be closer to one of the large spaceships in the distance.

“Attention newcomers from outer space! This is Lt. Tom Stevenson of the Aterian Imperial Army speaking to y’all. I’m not sure if you can understand standard, but if you can, I shall make clear the following: Me and my men hail from a land to the South known as the Aterian Empire, and we come in peace! Now if you’re willing to talk, I’m all ears! If you want to fight… well I don’t need to continue.”

As the Lieutenant spoke, most of the soldiers’ jaws dropped. “Is… is he speaking English?”, one of the men asked in disbelief. “Maybe they’re pirates or some local backwater faction? Who knows, they could be some ancient lost colony, or some BS like that.”, another suggested. Ferdinandez gestured for them to be quiet. It wasn’t impossible, though their existence of course didn’t rule out a Kilrathi presence. Suddenly, he had an idea. “Command, this is Fox-1-1. Connect me to the PA system.”

After a few seconds of arguing, the connection symbol on the Master Sergeant’s HUD lit up green, and a few crackling sounds could be heard from the bridge tower of the Head Held High. For some reason, even though the ship wasn’t made to land on planetary surfaces, it included a PA system, but Ferdinandez wasn’t about to complain about that fact. He was rather more busy thinking about what to say. After a few more seconds, he finally settled on it, then spoke into his microphone while watching the Aterian’s face closely.

From the bridge tower of the massive Confederation-class supercarrier echoed his message. “Attention... Aterians. You are straying within the direct vicinity of one of our warships. As such, please holster your firearms and state and prove your interstellar allegiance under the Deneb Accords of 2612. Alternatively, please stand by to be subjected to inspection and search.”

“Interstellar allegiance? Deneb Accords, the hell are those,” Stevenson asked nobody in particular. None of the troopers knew what to say, some just shrugged. “I mean, at least they speak standard so that’s something.”

“Should we comply with their orders, Lt?” The old veteran glanced at the Lt, his fingers still close to the trigger of his LMG.

“Errr, there’s nothing else we can do. I mean, personally I doubt the tanks we have on those hills over there can do much to a grounded space warship, and its likely our friends here already have eyes on those tanks.”

Stevenson briefly considered his options, and decided he’d rather not risk his life for no real gain.

“Alright men, make yourselves comfortable. We’ll be receiving visitors shortly,” he finished before turning back towards the ship in question.

“Since I have no clue what either the Deneb Accords nor any ‘interstellar allegiance’ are, you’re welcome to come down here. We’ll be waiting.”

Upon seeing the man’s reaction, and his answer, the Master Sergeant suddenly felt relieved - of course, they were still expecting a Kilrathi attack to come at any moment, but these men were likely not involved with the cats. Nevertheless, it was time for actions now. While radioing other fireteams as they were moving into concealed positions nearby, Ferdinandez gestured towards three other of his troopers, and they slipped down the hill from their position.

A minute later, four men clad in sleek Marine armored suits crested the hill in front of Lieutenant Stevenson. Their camo system had colored their entire attire snow white, with some specks of grey here and there - even their visors were the color of the surrounding snowy area, intransparent. Three of the Marines carried their plasma rifles openly, while Ferdinandez had elected to holster his weapon and walked at the front of the team.

The fireteam came to a halt in front of the Aterians, and the Master Sergeant stood in front of Stevenson. “Greetings, Lieutenant. We will be conducting the inspection. Please tell your men to remain calm, it won’t take long. Afterwards, should the results prove to be within acceptable parameters, we can move on to the topic of ‘first contact’ - I believe that is what you said you were here for.”, he told the Aterian officer in a rather monotone tone of voice. Even if they weren’t aligned with the Kilrathi, it was still possible for them to be all sorts of other scum and villainy, so Ferdinandez decided not to be too friendly about it yet. Without waiting for Stevenson to respond, one of the soldiers shouldered his rifle and produced a compact, trapeze-shaped hand-scanner, walking up to the first Aterian infantryman and beginning to scan the man.

The Aterians simply stood by as the Confederation Marines went about with their business. Stevenson couldn’t help but wonder how the odd scanning devices used by these foreign soldiers worked. Must’ve been some higher form of technology that people totally flew over the heads of people like him. The armor too was something that looked like it came out of a sci-fi film, and not one of those cheesy mid-Imperial era ones his father liked to watch.

“Geez, you think those are energy weapons they’re carrying? They sure look sophisticated.” Oscar, one of the youngest soldiers in the squad, asked the Lt.

“I mean, maybe? Last time I checked you don’t see old fashioned rifles in all too many modern science fiction games or films. And those don’t look like old fashioned rifles…”

To be honest, Stevenson wasn’t sure what to make of the four foreigners standing nearby. They were clearly soldiers but there was no way to assess how much of a threat they posed nor how effective their equipment was. To say the very least, the rifles each Confederation Marine carried in his hands were definitely a few generations ahead of the venerable Imperial M15. Maybe they were automatic railguns, maybe direct energy weapons. If Stevenson were to warrant a guess, it was probably the first due to how the foreigners’ rifles seemed to resemble advanced ARs. The armor too was an enigma: the various modules and full-body nature suggested that these foreigners were likely expecting to fight in dangerous environments. That or they were “space marines” of some sort. Oscar always liked to ramble about the idea of power-armored infantry in outer space. It was a popular if somewhat overused trope.

While one of his men was busy scanning, Ferdinandez and the others took closer looks at the Aterian soldiers. All were carrying rather archaic rifles, likely not rail-assisted either, but their attention was drawn by one man in particular. He hefted a large, unwieldy weapon looking like some sort of toy - it was a second later that the men recognized it as a plasma weapon. Its construction heavily resembled early Confed designs, and while these early versions were usually heavy, slow-firing and not fit for infantry combat, they could still do serious damage. The Master Sergeant remembered a headline, almost ten years ago, of a museum curator taking out three Kilrathi infantrymen with an ancient prototype.

A somewhat awkward silence befell the gathered men as the Marine with the scanner was finishing up his inspection, scanning the Aterian officer last. Finally, he gave the thumbs up - this meant that they were not carrying concealed explosives, spy equipment or other nasty surprises. Ferdinandez nodded and relayed the news back to Command, on board the Head Held High. It took the officers in charge half a minute more to make a decision.

“Yes, sir.”, Ferdinandez acknowledged his new orders, and turned towards Stevenson once more. “Lieutenant, my superiors want to talk to you. We can meet them just outside the ship. Of course, you’ll have to leave behind your bigger weapons - sidearms only. You may take a few men with you.”

“Very well then. Oscar and Johnson come with me!” Stevenson turned towards the two troopers in question and waved them over. “We’re gonna meet some folks from outer space!”

“I guess this should pass as a sidearm,” the Lt. twirled around a rather large pistol. It was the Empire’s signature “Tundra Eagle”, a heavy sidearm chambered in 12.7mm. Stevenson quickly holstered the pistol and nodded.

“Lead the way, man from outer space.”

With a quick gesture, the Master Sergeant ordered his men into escort formation - the group made their way downhill, with Ferdinandez and another man leading, two in the back and the Aterians in the middle. He didn’t worry much about the other Imperial soldiers - other Marine teams were in position to prevent them from doing anything stupid or violent.

The hill was relatively steep, and frozen over, but the present underbrush allowed the men to remain steady on their feet. Ferdinandez had his rifle still slung over his shoulder, the others kept theirs low. After around two minutes of walking, they reached the bottom of the hill and began approaching the ship itself.

Even with most of its lights off, the frame of a Confederation-class warship still looked imposing - it was over 950 meters long, after all. They had descended from the hill at around the front third of the ship, and made their way towards the very front. From a distance, one could already spot the makeshift guard posts, bustling with Marines and (to a lesser degree) Navy personnel in thick arctic anoraks, wearing gloves, ski masks and goggles - many of them came from warm or temperate worlds, and were not used at all to the cold.

Approaching the post, Ferdinandez looked up as a roaring noise got louder. “I’d recommend you cover your ears.”, one of the Marines told the Aterians. Two massive Thunderbolt heavy fighters became visible in the dark, switching on their powerful lights. Their engines were not noise-dampened. As such, they gave off a hellishly loud screeching sound while the two craft went low and slow, vanishing into the Head Held High’s primary flight deck.

The outside command post was constructed rather hastily of whatever the Marines had. Bags filled with sand-derivative composites layered in front of large, metal, mobile barriers, two armored hover-cars had been grounded and reinforced in the same way, with their gun turrets constantly scanning the surrounding area.

Once inside, the four Marines led the three Imperials into a large, heated tent. In the middle of it, a holotable and some rickety metal chairs were set up, which they pointed Stevenson and his men to. Ferdinandez put his rifle into a nearby metal locker, as did another of the Marines. Two did not, simply taking two chairs and sitting down near the tent’s entrance. “Grab some chow for everyone, Corporal.”, the Master Sergeant instructed the other rifle-less Marine. The man nodded briefly, and walked out.

As he sat down opposite of the Aterians, it felt to him as if the entire weight of three sleepless days and nights was crashing down on him. The Marines had been preparing for their seemingly inevitable doom, just like the Navy personnel. As a result, everyone had been hopped up on combat stims at least twice during the last week, and these chemicals made it infamously hard to sleep.

Without speaking a word, Ferdinandez took off his helmet and laid it on another chair. He made an effort to look as friendly as possible, which was hard considering his face was visibly marked from almost 18 years in the Corps and at war. Despite being barely 40, his hair was already grey in many areas and his face shared the signs of prolonged stress. “Well, Lieutenant.”, he told Stevenson, “my superiors should be with us in just a moment. In the meantime, feel free to ask some questions.”

Stevenson took a few good seconds to register his new surroundings: the hasty setup, the collection of tents and defenses, and naturally the two advanced-looking APCs that stood at the ready. It was again evident that these newcomers hailed from and advanced society, but fundamentally there wasn’t much different about them. His thoughts were only confirmed when the people he was talking to happened to be human (prior to introductions, Stevenson had decided to refrain from immediate judgement). In all honesty it was rather surreal: Stevenson (and his two companions) were the first Aterians to meet representatives from an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, and these aliens happened to be human beings too!

“Hmmm, honestly this whole situation is slightly overwhelming,” Stevenson shook his head, “and to think we’d be talking to aliens, no, human beings from outer space this whole time! I was expecting some degree of incomprehensible space monster.”

“So who the heck are you all?” Oscar interrupted. “Sorry, I’m just feeling really excited right now is all.”

“Ahh yes, who exactly are you people?” Stevenson asked.

“Generally speaking, we are the Terran Confederation.”, Ferdinandez stated. “I am Master Sergeant Ferdinandez of the Confed Marines Corps, and these ships are operated by the Confederate Navy. More specifically, we are a task force sent on a particular mission, which, as you can probably tell, has been derailed quite unexpectedly.”

It was at that moment that the Corporal from earlier reentered the tent. He carried a number of items in his hands and deposited them on the table. All of them were ration packs or parts of ration packs that he had likely ‘requisitioned’ from the guard post’s food supply. They largely consisted of two canned foods, one designated as ‘corned beef’ and the other as ‘cooked vegetables’, as well as a package of hardtack-like crackers. A few tiny condiment packages were among them as well, mostly containing sauce, as the ration foods were generally not all that appetizing on their own.

The Corporal handed both of the Marines sitting at the entrance a pack each, threw one over to Ferdinandez and put the rest on the table. He and the Master Sergeant almost immediately opened theirs up and started eating, one big chunk of meat at a time. Ferdinandez gestured towards the rations. “Sorry, we’re quite starved from our last shift. Help yourself, if you want to.”

Stevenson nodded before grabbing a piece of hardtack and a can of corned beef. He bit into the hardtack expecting it to be nothing more than a simple cracker, and oh man he was wrong. It was both stale and very tasteless, even worse than the emergency rations Stevenson once had the misfortune of putting up with. The corned beef, something which sounded like a proper Imperial dish, was almost just as bland and seemed to have an odd, not particularly pleasant aftertaste. Stevenson didn’t even bother with the vegetables.

“You know, for a bunch of supposedly advanced humans from outer space, this food tastes… pretty subpar,” Oscar said to Fedrinandez, doing his best to be polite.

“More like absolute shite,” Johnson visibly recoiled after taking a bite of the “cooked vegetables”. “God, how do you all survive off of this?”

“Terran Confederation?” Stevenson asked, ignoring Johnson’s rather rude comment. “Never heard of that bunch before, nor any ‘Confederation Marines and Navy’. Last time I checked, human beings on our planet only just managed to touch down on the moon.”

“Speaking of that, when did y’all land on the moon?” Oscar asked, trying to get some interesting, if non important info out of the Confederation Lt.

The Corporal chuckled briefly and Ferdinandez gave an exhausted smile at the Aterians’ food comments. “I’m not big on history, but I think about 700 years ago.”, he answered Oscar’s question, and the other Marines collectively shrugged.

“As for the food, well…”, he began, trailing off quickly. His mind started working on a way to make the Confed’s general and the Task Force’s specific situation clear to the Imperials, especially the fact that the Kilrathi were certainly still out there somewhere.

“Shit’s fucked.”, the Corporal filled in the awkward silence. “Besides, the most we’d have to put up with these rations anymore would have been a week, maybe a bit more. Now… I’d say a few days, at most.” Because we’ll all be dead by then., the Master Sergeant completed the Corporal’s statement in his mind.

“Yeah, well, they better show up soon. You’d think they’d be spoiling for a fight.”, one of the other Marines mentioned, and brandished his rifle. “I’ve got four hundred shots with an entire bataillon’s worth of names on them, right in here.” The man patted his ammo pouches.

“I guess it would only be fitting for me to ask about this enemy you’ve been preparing to fight,” Stevenson noticed that the Confederation troops here were somewhat anxious. “From the little I’ve seen so far, I’m guessing this enemy of yours has been quite persistent.”

“So, who is this opponent of yours?” Oscar asked, ever more interested in what the space humans had to say. “Some sort of ravenous horde of space bugs? Genocidal totally-not-orks? Catgirls?”

The Marines slightly shuddered at Oscar’s last mention. Before they could reply anything, though, two new figures stepped into the tent. The Marines immediately sprang up, standing at attention.

“The Kilrathi, gentlemen.”, Rear Admiral Pasha Kovalski said as he entered the tent, the always-recognizable figure of Colonel Renner, the Marines’ own CO following behind him. “At ease.”, the Marine Colonel added, and Ferdinandez and his men sat down again. The two newcomers pulled up two chairs and sat themselves down at the table; both were dressed in officers’ duty uniforms, the omnipresent ‘Confed Blues’.

Once he’d sat down, Kovalski reconfigured something about the holotable. Seconds later, the shimmering figure of a holographic Kilrathi in traditional warrior’s garb appeared in the middle. “Persistent is an understatement.”, the Rear Admiral began. “What you are looking at here is our enemy of 35 years of war. And there’s no sugarcoating - we’ve lost. And if we’re being entirely honest, an indeterminate number of the bastards are probably sitting somewhere in-system right now. We’re surprised they haven’t tried to finish us off yet.”

“I assume I’m not being told the whole story here, seeing how a 35 year long war is nothing to scoff at,” Stevenson sighed. “And if what you say is true, I feel like we’re utterly screwed. What are these oversized lions even seeking to accomplish?”

“I mean, if they hold orbital superiority over us, they could just pummel everyone here into ash without much threat of retaliation…” Oscar mused, “that is unless y’all possesses space fighters, which I’m assuming you do. Those aircraft that flew by… they must’ve been space fighters!”

Colonel Renner shook his head. “That’s not their way. The Kilrathi are a race built on warrior ideals - that doesn’t necessarily mean they are ‘honorable’, or any such thing, but if they get the chance, they’ll almost always want to go in close and personal. Then again, whoever the big cat in charge is on this one, he’s surely not behaving like they always do - they should’ve been dropping on top of us by the hundreds minutes after the crash.” He rubbed his chin, as if thinking about the possibility.

Kovalski continued. “As for their goals, as the Colonel elaborated, they’re a ‘warrior’ culture. Their main motivation seems to be wanting to fight things - and in our case, we seem to have pissed them off enough in the last 35 years to warrant a little bit of species-wide extermination as well. It’s some sort of ‘strong eat the weak’ bullshit if I recall correctly.

“When it comes to our defenses… we’re still evaluating on that front. If we need to, we could put up some fight. Possibly enough to make their losses substantial enough so that they back off. I doubt many of us would live through it, but death was really the only way our mission was gonna end, anyway.”, he remarked in a chillingly non-chalant tone. The ships themselves were still being checked for damage - possibly some of the capship missile launchers were still operational. Then again…

“That said, the cats have been behaving highly irregularly. We’ve even yet to catch them on our long-range.”, he added, referencing the Colonel’s observation.

“Well jeez these Kilrathi seem like a bunch of genocidal assholes,” Johnson snorted. “Species-wide extermination campaign? Can’t say I like the sound of that, especially since WE’RE the species in question.”

The other Aterians nodded in agreement.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m hoping they didn’t come along like the rest of us on this fucked planet,” Stevenson shook his head, “I’m sure you all know what’s going on, yes?” He asked the rear admiral. “A day ago an inexplicable event translocated the entirety of our nation’s northern frontier to this god forsaken planet, and if our satellites are trustworthy, potentially dozens of others suffered the same fate.”

Kovalski raised an eyebrow in a mix of confusion and disbelief, while the other men stopped what they were doing.

“You’re certain?”, he asked the Aterians. “If that is the case, we were not aware. Too busy preparing for when the Kilrathi decide to show up. It must have been them, we were pulled right out of FTL cruise. Granted, that hasn’t happened before, but this isn’t the first time they’ve come up with some crazy new weapon.” A sliver of doubt manifested on his face.

Ferdinandez nodded in agreement, although he was also beginning to feel small but persistent doubts gnawing at his situational assessment. “No offense, but what you say sounds arbitrary as all hell. There’s no way that something like that could just… happen.” He glanced over to the others, and all of them slightly nodded. All except Renner.

“Well…”, the Colonel began. “Maybe. But isn’t this planet also only about the size of Vega Prime’s moon? We extrapolated that from the planetary curvature. And despite this, we’re experiencing regular gravity. That certainly seems odd to me.”

“Maybe the core of this planet is more dense. Like with a neutron star, but less.”, Ferdinandez retorted. Now it was Kovalski who shook his head. “No, our scans of this body have been oddly normal. Besides, there is no known planetary body in our data banks with such a phenomenon...” He paused for a moment, thinking, then tapped his communicator. “Kovalski to Central.”, he spoke in a tone that conveyed authority.

“Central here.”, came the reply. “Get me two fighters, have them climb outside of orbit. I want a full planetary optical and multi-sens scan.”, the Rear Admiral ordered. The officer on the other end hesitated. “But sir, that’s outside the perimeter! When the Kilrathi attack, they’ll be sitting ducks!” “Just do it, Commander.”, Kovalski barked, and terminated the connection.

Far above the tent, two short, blue flashes appeared in the sky, as two of the patrolling Hellcats ignited their afterburn boosters and shot straight up, towards high orbit. “If we’re lucky, we’ll have the first results in, say, 15 minutes.”

“Fifteen minutes… that’s fast.” Stevenson mused. If only the Aterian Army had the ability to deploy orbital fighters and space planes. Those existed on paper back in the day, but ultimately all the plans were either shelved or lost when the Empire collapsed. Still, the idea of holding orbital supremacy via multi-purpose fighters and bombers? Astounding.

“Anyways, assuming that the friendly overgrown lions aren’t here, do you all have any solid plans on what to do next? From what I can tell your ships suffered rather serious damage during the fall. I’m not sure anyone on this goddamn planet has the ability to repair those.”

“We’re still assessing the damage, but we’re of course going to try and get back to the Confed. Confederation-class carriers are sturdy ships, and I doubt the damage is enough to put us out of commission hard enough so we can’t get back. Which is our plan. We are going to carry out our mission. Make the damn cats pay.”, the Rear Admiral stated confidently.

The next dozen or so minutes passed uneventfully. Kovalski’s statement had seemed to have killed the conversation for the moment, and the men were relatively quiet, waiting for the projected first results from the designated fighters.

Finally, a whistle emanated from the Rear Admiral’s communicator unit. “Kovalski here.”, he answered it. “Sir, the fighters are up and ready to report initial findings.”, the officer on the other end said. Kovalski gave a grunt of approval and reconfigured the holotable again. “Patch them through.”

Almost immediately, the voice of one of the pilots came through. “Hound-1 and Hound-2 here, Rear Admiral, sir.”, the woman identified herself and her wingman. “Are you receiving properly?” “Affirmative, Hound-1.”, Kovalski answered. “Report on your findings so far.”

“Yes, sir. In terms of the rest of the system, not much to report yet, but we’ve yet to spot anything on our long range scopes. No Fralthis, no Kamekhs, not even a single damn Darket.”, Hound-1 reported. “Neither are we seeing any of the usual interference when the cats are around; no exhaust trails or EM transmissions.” The Confed officers and marines in the tent collectively frowned, confused.

“What about the planet itself?”, Kovalski continued. “It’s… weird, sir. We can’t quite put our fingers on it yet, but this is what we’re seeing so far. Transmitting image.” The holo display updated, revealing an image of the planet below, taken by one of the fighters’ high resolution optical sensors.

Parts of the surface were obscured by cloud cover, but others were not. The force’s own crash site was situated in a small, coastal area featuring many rivers and river deltas - in fact, the Head Held High and Sheffield themselves had crashed on one of the large ‘peninsulas’ in the area. To the planetary west, some sort of large island floated in the ocean, extremely close to what seemed to be the main continental mass, which extended into another large peninsula, then continued southward. To the east, another landmass extended away to the north. And to the south…

“Wait, no. No.”, Renner began. “No. This isn’t what I think it is. It can’t be.” Kovalski and the Colonel exchanged bewildered looks, while the other Marines reacted in a confused manner to their CO. “Sirs?”, Hound-1 asked hesitantly over the comm. A few seconds later, the coin dropped for her as well. “Oh, son of a fu-” She stopped herself before she could finish the curse. Kovalski slowly lifted himself from his chair.

“Gentlemen.”, he said. “What we seem to be looking at, is a part of the continent of Europe… from Earth.”

The Aterians were confused. Earth? Clearly it wasn’t their Earth, but the fact these Confederates recognized the planet was concerning in itself.

“Wait, so are you saying this… planet is composed of one part of a larger, pre existing one? I find that incredibly strange.” Stevenson shook his head out of disbelief.

“I mean as far as we’re concerned, it doesn’t make a big difference, does it?” Oscar noted. “All we know is that this isn’t the planet we came from, that and the alignment of the stars seems to be completely off.”

The Confeds all collectively shrugged. “Well, we don’t know either why it looks this way. Again, the word ‘arbitrary’ seems to describe this all quite well.”, Renner remarked. “This is either some sick joke or a one-in-a-sextillion occurence.” The others nodded in agreement.

“Regardless, this doesn’t change our plans. We will be at the ready to see if the Kilrathi make a move - if there’s truly no cats here, then we will repair what we can and try to get back, with luck before the Sol Sector is overrun.”, Kovalski stated. “On that note, now I’d like you to tell us something about this ‘Ateria’ you are from.”

“Well, where do I start?” Stevenson thought for a moment. He might as well give them the basic overview of the Empire. “Ateria refers to the continent our people come from, though my nation calls itself the ‘Aterian Empire’ due to its economic and political dominance over the region. The Imperial nation dates back approximately a thousand years; its predecessor states do anyways. Records prior to that are spotty but most historians agree that there used to exist an ultra-advanced ancient civilization a millenia ago or so. I guess that’s a story for another time since I’m no archeologist or archaeotech specialist. Anyways, around two hundred years ago, the Empire industrialized and went on a major conquest spree across Ateria. A whole lot of formerly independent nations were absorbed by force and some questionable stuff happened. We’ve always been a rather imperialist nation, though it was arguably a lot worse during those days. Unsurprisingly a bunch of natives got pissed off and rebelled against us around 10 years ago in a civil war… we proceeded to lose. That’s the short story anyways.” Stevenson sighed.

“As of the modern day, we soldiers represent but a small remnant of the old Aterian Empire, now confined to a largely untamed frontier region,” Oscar added.

“That’s awfully basic.”, the Corporal commented. “For a description, I mean.” A stern glare from Renner told him to be quiet. “I do have to agree with the Marine, Lieutenant.”, Kovalski said. “How large are we talking when you say ‘a fraction’? And what are your plans after this… event? We’re just wanting to ascertain how safe it is around here, you understand.”

“A territory with approximately a million inhabitants, second rate industry, and at most a few divisions of garrison troops if I were to take a guess,” Stevenson shrugged. “Not a native to the Northern Frontier, but it was never one of the old Empire’s important territories.”

“I doubt anyone wants war, people here are exhausted from the great rebellion,” Oscar said, “If anything, the frontier population’s content to simply survive given the terrible circumstances we find ourself in.”

“As for Imperial High Command? We’ve been given orders to sit tight. After we survey the rest of the world I reckon some changes will be made here and there, but generally speaking we’ll be keeping within our own borders.” Stevenson finished.

Kovalski rubbed his chin. “Very well. That’s some good news for once - the last thing we need right now are aggressive neighbors.”, he remarked. “Well, at least we’ll be gone again once we get the ship up and running.”
“That said, while we are here, even if it’s only a few weeks like we are hoping it to be, we should get down to talking diplomacy, since this technically constitutes a first contact scenario. If you’d like, I’ll have some of the formal data package prepared… although you might want it in paper, given we don’t know what kind of data-storage you use.”

“A data package… you know what, I’ll take a few books or maybe an encyclopedia or two. I doubt our computational systems are compatible. Now if you want anything more in detail, you better visit the General back at base. He’s bound to have any information you need about Ateria and the Empire,” Stevenson noted.

“Provided you’d be interested in meeting the General, that is. I can provide you with coordinates for New Cariston, our capital.”

“Very well.”, Kovalski answered, calling his adjutant to print out the documents in question. “So, do we just… fly there then? I assume you’d want us to authenticate some way first. I assume you’ll be reporting this back to your headquarters later on?”

“Of course, such would only be natural,” Stevenson nodded. “I shall alert the high command of our new neighbors: you, and your desire to establish open communications and diplomacy with us. Here, take this,” Stevenson handed Kovalski a set of marked documents.

“These should affirm that a ranking Imperial official has met with you before, which should make any authorities down south less concerned about your intent.”

The Rear Admiral looked through the documents for a few seconds. “I see, thank you. In the mean time, let’s check up on the progress of the documents.” He tapped his comms unit again, waiting for his adjutant to answer.

“No, sir, we haven’t gotten them ready yet. Every damn printer in the CIC is bust.”, the young man answered in a dejected tone of voice. “As are all the ones for seven decks down.” Kovalski cursed lightly under his breath, acknowledged the communication and closed the channel. “Well, Lieutenant, it seems the crash was a bit harder than expected… we could bring the documents in question with us once we visit your general, though. It’ll be several thousand pages anyway.”

“Several thousand pages? Jesus Christ how much is there to know?” Johnson’s eyes widened slightly.

“Evidently, quite a lot,” Stevenson deadpanned, “I guess we have enough analysts back at base. A few thousand pages? Give them a day or so, they’ll parse through it. A small price to pay for establishing peaceful relations and mutual understanding. And that should be fine,” he addressed the Rear Admiral, “just be sure to bring the required documents when you meet General Yang.”

“Say, now that you mention the crash, do you suppose there’s anything you might need for repairs?” Oscar brought up. “As far as technology goes we may be lacking, but Ateria should have some materials available if you’re willing to trade for them.”

The Confed men looked at each other for a brief moment. “Well, we haven’t gotten any damage reports yet, but…”, Renner began. “We might, is what the Colonel wants to say.”, Kovalski finished the sentence. “Now, God help us, we’ll be off this rock and back to killing Kilrathi before long, but we’ll reach out to you in case we do need something. If we’re being entirely honest, looking at the Sheffield, I highly doubt she’ll fly again. So as payment I suppose there could be some warship scraps on the line.”

“Sounds about right,” Stevenson checked his watch, “anyways, I’m not sure there’s too much else I can offer at this time. Since I have no further orders other than to establish first contact, me and my men might be taking our leave shortly.”

“Very well.”, Kovalski said, standing up along with Renner. “We’ll contact you when we need to, then. Just make sure, if you’re going to do anymore scouting around, to stay clear of our ships. My crews and Marines are jumpy after what happened, and even faster on the trigger.”, he gave a word of warning. “Farewell, then. Marines, I believe you can handle it from here?”, Renner asked Ferdinandez and his men. The Marines nodded in unison, standing up as well and grabbing their helmets.

“Lieutenant.” The two higher-ranking officers saluted and stepped outside of the tent, taking the documents which Stevenson had given them with them. The Master Sergeant and the other men finished the last scraps of their rations, and put their helmets back on. “Shall we?”
Last edited by The Peninsular on Thu Jan 07, 2021 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Constitutional Federation of the Peninsular is an FT nation.

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The New Byzantine II
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The New Byzantine II » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:46 am

Imperial Palace
Tokyoto, Imperial Capital Region
Imperial Heartland, Empire of the Rising Sun
August 15, 1986

It’s been hours since the Empire declared war both on the Allies and the Soviet Union, the Emperor’s son Tatsu - who is the Crown Prince and the sole heir to the Chrysanthemum throne, will lead the invasion of the United States and is already at the Tokyoto docks to set sail to Oahu as Hawaii is already a staging point to launch an amphibious assault in the continental United States. The second batch of the invasion forces for the Eastern Front are well-aware of the consequences and are fully prepared for this to fulfill the Empire’s destiny to conquer the world and triumph over the two global superpowers.

In the Imperial Palace, Emperor Yoshiro was waiting for the reports from the unnamed Imperial Commander (protagonist in Rising Sun campaign in Red Alert 3) who successfully conquered Central Asia and is currently leading the invasion of Leningrad. The strong 73-year old Emperor is currently gardening by himself, cutting some leaves here and there until a bright flash came out of nowhere. The Emperor covered his eyes with his left hand and the flash faded away. He is completely confused as to what was the flash all about, then a lot of beeps that were heard in the Emperor’s room and finally, there is a report about the progress of the Empire’s divine destiny for world domination or is it? Emperor Yoshiro entered his room and pressed the button. The Emperor is a bit disappointed because he thought the call was from the protagonist Imperial Commander.

“Your majesty.” A woman's voice replied.

“Secretary Toyama?” the Emperor paused for a moment. “I assume you have a report?”

“Your majesty, we have a problem…” the line paused for a moment as well.

“What problem, Secretary?”

“Your majesty, I know this sounds absurd… seventy of our military disappeared after that bright flash appeared out of nowhere. We have lost contact with our forces in the Soviet lands. We have lost communication with the Kyushu, Shikoku, Hokkaido then the Choguku (China), Kankoku (Korea), Indoshina (Indochina), Dai Indo (Greater India), the Southern Territories (Maritime Southeast Asia) and Hawaii, everything is gone, your majesty…”

There was a pause in both of the lines. The Emperor couldn’t believe what the high-ranking and trustable officer was saying. Then there are a lot of calls that are related to what Officer Suki Toyama was saying. Did the Shinto gods punish the Emperor and the Empire of the Rising Sun as a whole?


Hours later…

All of the figureheads or key leaders of the Empire except the protagonist Imperial Commander and Kenji Tenzai were at the Imperial Palace. They are all seated around a table, arguing loudly on what is happening. Officials and high-ranking officers privy to the discussion. The Emperor was observing these bickering scenarios coming from the key leaders. Finally the Crown Prince had enough as he slapped the table multiple times. Tatsu’s voice booms above the din. The crowd falls silent.

“Father!” The Crown Prince shouts. “This will take us nowhere. We don’t know what is happening out there or where that flash came from but this must be the FutureTech’s doing! The Allies fooled us and the Soviets! They are gathering forces as we speak. Let’s remobilize our forces for the defense of the Heartland. Even if we suffer large casualties, we can drive them out of the Heartland if ever they get here.”

Some people cheer, rap their fists on the table. Others object loudly from the Crown Prince’s statement. Shinzo Nagama jeers.

“Even if we lost communication with Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido, we still have control of the Heartland! We have 40,000 men!” General Kurikawa yelled back in the support of the Crown Prince’s statement.

“Even if the Allies mount a full-scale assault, they won’t stand a chance against the Imperial Army!”

The crowd got loud again until the Emperor began to speak.

“I have ordered the Imperial Navy to scout the waters to see if there are Allied presence in the area.” The Emperor said in a strong tone but a calm manner.

“They are toying with us.” Secretary Toyama replied. “My informants tell me that they have seen ships bearing swastika flags that will strengthen the Allied barbarian invasion.”

“Swastika? Did the Indians rebel and joined the Allies?!” General Kurikawa paused.
“See? Crown Prince Tatsu is right! Even our client states have rebelled. We must act now!” Kurikawa exclaimed.

“With respect, your highness.” General Shinzo Nagama looked at the Crown Prince. “You said the Allies stood no chance against the Imperial Army right? Then we must attack them instead of defending!”

Pro-defense officials yelled in disagreement.

“When the Allies fought the Soviets in Europe then we launched a surprise attack in Pearl Harbor forty-five years ago, did the Americans declare war on us? No. The Americans just ceded Hawaii to us because they knew that we are the strongest nation in the world than these Western barbarians! Both Allies and the Soviets are weak! We shall fulfill the divine destiny that bestowed upon us!”

“He is a fool, your highness. Times have changed.” General Kurikawa whispered to the Crown Prince in a loud tone. General Nagama heard this, raising his eyebrows at the young general’s words.

“Well said, General Nagama.” General Takeuchi, who has a Filipino blood said proudly.

“General Nagama, if they are weak, why did they jammed...or should I say - destroyed our communications? Why is it that they are on our waters already when they are on the verge of getting defeated by the Soviets?” the Crown Prince asks the old general.

“I agree with General Nagama.” General Takeuchi paused.
“I choose to attack the Allies.” he replied.

“You are blind. Instead of sitting here all day, we could be out there, gathering arms, preparing our defenses and training our men to fight from the incoming Allied invasion. We are not in a position to attack! Eighty percent of our military disappeared without a trace! Our military forces are reduced from 1 billion to 40,000! There is no room for blindness in this fucking meeting especially that we are in this dire situation!” the Crown Prince yelled.

“What about the fulfillment of our divine destiny? What about world domination? We have Commander Yuriko here and her sister Izumi.” Yuriko raised her eyebrows and lowkey rolled her eyes, Yuriko is already on the side of the Crown Prince at this point.

“The Emperor is already disappointed with your words, your highness! How can we show to the Western barbarians that we are the ones who will rule the world?” General Takeuchi asked.

“Attack until we cease to exist or defend for the future of our nation? The Empire or your blind principles? You choose!” At this point, the Crown Prince is already irritated at the old General. Meanwhile, General Takeuchi doesn’t know how to respond to the Crown Prince’s statement.

“I know you. You are a member of the Imperial Way faction. The reason why you guys didn’t launch a coup against us because the Empire is destined to go to war with the Western barbarians anyway! You have no desire for life and all you think is war and violence. Now that the Empire - once stood proud and now walking on thin ice, you still think war is the answer to all of this?”

Some members burst into laughter. Takeuchi slinks back to his seat and Nagama is losing his temper.

“Enough. We all have our own ideals and interests. We’re humans, your highness.”

“How can anyone have their own ideals and interests when our beloved Empire is dying?!”

All of the crowd got silent. Then the Emperor began to speak.

“This is what you call true leadership. You can see in his body language, the way he speaks. I am proud of you, son. Now that you have convinced me, we will do the utmost priority. The defense of the Empire and to reestablish communications with the others.” the Emperor said.

“Arigatōgozaimashita, father.” the Crown Prince bowed to his father with respect.

“This meeting is adjourned.” the Emperor said in a strong tone. All of the officials including the Crown Prince left the Imperial Palace to do their tasks.


Later that day…
Port of Tokyoto, Tokyoto, Imperial Capital Region
Imperial Heartland, Empire of the Rising Sun
August 15, 1986


Several Yari mini-sub ships finished their resupplying. After some final check ups, these anti-ship scouts departed from the imperial port and soon afterwards submerged into the sea (Polish Gulf) to begin scouting the coastline. Of course, these anti-ship scouts were cloaked to avoid detection from the Allies or.. is it?


Border with Zhukov’s USSR(?)
Imperial Heartland, Empire of the Rising Sun
August 15, 1986


Several imperial transport vehicles were heading to the western sector of the Imperial Heartland of the Empire as they are one of the regions that lost communication. It’s been almost two hours since they left Tokyoto. Most of the soldiers were quiet after most of them lost communication with their family, their friends and their loved ones from the so-called flash. Nothing is happening for now until the leading transport vehicle stopped.

Saisho no Yuso. Why did you stop, over?” The second transport asked the first transport on the radio.

“You need to see this, over.” The first transport opened the camera and zoomed out what seems to be a Soviet flag and took a picture. The first transport sent it to the second transport and then to the other three transports. The soldiers began to bicker about this.

All imperial transport vehicles began to activate their cloak, including the Imperial warriors. Five cloaked Imperial soldiers got out of the vehicle to approach some sort of a camp with a raised Soviet flag. The Imperial warriors were really confused.

“Since when did the Soviets get here?” one of the warriors asked while looking at the camp.

“Don’t tell me they collabed with the Allied barbarians. It’s impossible since they are arch-enemies.” The other Imperial warrior replied.

“Only one way to find out.” the other Imperial warrior said as he extended his right arm to his pocket, grabbing a burst drone. The Imperial warrior activated the burst drone and let the drone fly towards the unknown camp. The Imperial soldiers took a seat as they looked at the hologram which captures what’s inside the camp. The burst drone which is already inside the camp would look like a fly in first glance.
Last edited by The New Byzantine II on Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Original NS account was banned (created in Dec. 24, 2014)

Kumbhalgarh wrote:Shwetang teleported out of the car. He teleported behind of the teacher, and poked a stick into his/her butt, and then Shwetang teleported back.

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Ex-Nation

Postby Sentinalyia » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:14 pm

Collaborative post with Democratic East-Asia.

--

4th Day of the Sixth Umbral Moon, 3rd Year of the Seventh Astral Era
Northeast Aldenard, Ghimlyt


Even with the changes the rest of the world had faced, Ghimlyt remained as dark as ever. M’zeta and the rest of her squad picked their way through the former no man’s land of Ghimlyt, still pockmarked with the blue flames of burning ceruleum and wrecks of Garlean warmachina and Eorzean gun emplacements alike. The only light shed naturally was from those burning spouts of ceruleum, blue flares in the unending darkness of Ghimlyt. The unit of Ala Mhigan scouts had so far been forced to navigate using torches, as this far out in no man’s land, nobody kept lighting emplacements functional- whether Garlean spotlights, or Eorzean firepits. Well, torches and M’zeta’s ears.

As the unit moved through the ruins, M’zeta raised a hand, bringing the rest of them to a halt. She nodded her head forward, as the rest of her unit not quite blessed with a Miqo’te’s ears, could finally make out the sounds of panicked voices- and the distinctive clanking of warmachina. Garleans. Moving carefully and quietly, the Claw scouts made their way along the burnt-out husk of a Garlean airship, until eventually their quarry came into view. A lost unit of Garlean soldiers, with several in the distinctive silhouettes of Magitek Reapers. The Decurio was yelling furiously into a magitek comms device, receiving only scattered and similarly confused responses.

The Claws glanced between each other, lit dimly in the distant light of a burning machina wreck, and with some silent pantomiming and signalling a rough plan was devised.

The Ala Mhigans got to work doing what they do best: killing Garleans.

--

“What do you mean high command is gone?” Acies pyr Fidelis shouted into his comms unit.

“Nobody’s been able to get any connection to Legion command. Any Legion command. And we have no idea where they’ve gone. The surviving rearline and support units all report that anything past Ghimlyt has vanished.” Came the reply through the comms, scratchy and distorted.

“So… what do we do, then?” One of the younger members of their unit spoke up, fidgeting nervously, shrinking when their commander turned his baleful gaze on him.

“What do we do? What we do, is regroup with as many of us as we can, and set up some kind of fortifications so the damned savages can’t-”

There was a loud sound of tearing metal as an enchanted arrow lodged itself solidly through the middle of the commander’s head, as two more found their marks in the skulls of the Reaper pilots. The rest of the Garlean soldiers cried out and leapt to their feet, gunblades at the ready.

“EORZEANS!” One cried, shortly before another arrow thumped into his shoulder and he let out a scream of pain. With little other choices, the remaining Garleans charged forward toward the rough location of the archers- and quickly matched blades with a set of Ala Mhigans that had emerged from the darkness, brandishing their curved blades and bucklers. A ripple of gunfire echoed through the clearing as several Garlean soldiers unloaded their gunblades into the Eorzeans, a few going down with a spray of blood.

From atop the wrecked airship, fire sputtered into being, the shimmering aether catching the eye of several Garleans as it weaved around the silhouette of an Ala Mhigan. “Watch out for that mage!” Another Garlean cried, unloading his gunblade in the direction of the growing fire spell. With a gesture, the Ala Mhigan mage discharged a blast of flame into the Garlean ranks.

At first, it seemed solidly in the Eorzeans’ favor. What little command remained among the Garlean forces was about to call a retreat when the loud thrum of a magitek cannon charging caught the attention of every person in the clearing. Garleans and Eorzeans alike leapt out of the way as one of the Magitek Reapers discharged its main gun into the melee, sending a scintillating blast of raw aether rocketing across the clearing. One of the Garleans had stayed back and tore the dead pilot from the seat of one of the Reapers, taking control of a warmachina he had little experience in piloting- but was desperate enough to try using anyway. With one of the Reapers now again in play, the Eorzeans were forced back, the skirmish continuing with the clang of steel and the roar of gunfire…

--

Some distance away, the troopers of the 115th armored expeditionary company were making their merry way through what could only be described as a “deathly, otherworldly wasteland”. Everything about their surroundings was wrong but that didn’t deter the Aterians from venturing on forwards. Everyone quietly thanked high command for giving them proper equipment in time. Had it not been for the night vision devices the 115th was equipped with, chances were that they’d be having a much harder time navigating through the countless wreckages and hazards that littered this particular region.

At the front of the 115th were the company’s five MBTs: four M-40 “super tanks” and a single super-heavy M-55 Mammoth. Why were the Aterians driving around tanks in an expeditionary group? The reason was simple: the 95th always seemed to bump into enemies with way too much firepower whenever it was out missions, so it was deemed heavy vehicle support was necessary for any Aterian soldiers who wished to venture into unknown, potentially dangerous areas. Of course this also meant there were a few fuel-trucks tagging along with the troop column. That was beside the point though.

The tanks, being tanks, were quite loud as they unknowingly approached a chaotic battle unfolding just some slight distance away. All the rubble and wreckages were blocking the sights, which forced the company tank commander to get out of his hatch and look about.

“Driver, slow down! I think there’s something in the distance!” Captain Theodore Gompers yelled as he put on a night vision device. It wasn’t particularly helpful since he didn’t know where he was supposed to look, but might as well be prepared.

“Err captain? You see anything?” The tank’s driver asked over the radio.

In all honesty, Gompers was still unsure what was going on a few hundred meters away, but he had a general idea of where to head. It was as if part of his body was simply drawn towards conflict; that or Gompers was getting jittery. Now the smart thing to do would be to send forth a few scouts and ascertain the situation, but Gompers didn’t have any time for that.

“All tanks, forwards!”

The 70 ton battle machines lurched forwards as their engines sprang to life, 1800 hp of pure imperial mechanical muscle driving the tanks at surprisingly high speeds. The ground rumbled as the Imperials got ever closer, and it became apparent some scuffle, no, battle was going on near the ruins.

“All men be on alert and have your weapons ready!” Gompers announced through his personal radio. “There might be hostiles nearby!”

As the Garleans and Eorzeans were busy at each other’s throats, the lead tank of the 115th broke through a pile of scrap and awkwardly landed into the clearing everyone had been fighting in. It certainly wasn’t what you’d expect to see on a normal day.

“Errr, what the hell is going on out here?” The tank’s commander, currently sticking out of the M-40’s hatch, asked out of total confusion.

--

[A few minutes earlier…]

The Magitek Reaper barrelled into the fray, firing its leg guns while its main cannon recharged. It skidded to a halt in the midst of the melee, raising one mechanical foot to stomp an unfortunate Eorzean soldier who had been knocked over into the Ghimlyt mud.

As the skirmish continued, M’zeta overlooked the melee from her concealed position atop some nearby ruins. As an archer, it was better for her to remain out of the fray. Better for her to spot potential targets… or potential issues. Occasionally, she gave out orders over linkpearl, but for the most part she trusted her soldiers to handle themselves.

She heard it first, before she spotted anything. A low rumbling, at first lower than any hyur could hear, but rapidly growing louder. She flicked her tail, concerned. Garlean reinforcements? Wheeled or tracked warmachina were rare on this end of the front, but it wasn’t impossible that one or two had been attached to this cohort…

No, they didn’t quite sound like warmachina. The most she could make out in the gloom was a rapidly approaching set of lights… Definitely no Garlean-standard lamps, those.

She raised one hand to the top of her head, triggering the linkpearl nestled in her ear. “Unknowns approaching, potentially dangerous. Unsure if Garlean reinforcements, but not Eorzean. Be warned.” She received a set of acknowledging pings from the soldiers not currently in the midst of battle.

The Garleans, however, had no spotters, and nobody to warn them when a massive, multi-tonze tracked warmachina burst straight through a pile of scrap into the clearing. There were several cries of alarm from both sides of the skirmish at the sheer scale of the machina. The battle temporarily sputtered to a halt as both sides considered how to react, both to the machina’s sudden appearance and to the question asked by its apparent commander.

The Ala Mhigans, swathed in the gray jackets and masked hoods of the Griffin’s Claw, were the first to respond. One of them, a Highlander Hyur, stepped forward, keeping the Garleans in his peripheral vision and his blade at the ready. “We are Griffin’s Claws, of the Eorzean Alliance. This region, Ghimlyt, is under the protection of the Alliance. Identify yourself.”

The Garleans closest to him simply stared in response to the Gyr Abanian’s sheer audacity. After a short period, a Garlean stepped up. “We represent the Fifth Legion of the Garlean Empire. Ghimlyt, and Eorzea, is recognized as rightful territory of Garlemald!”

For the moment, an uneasy ceasefire seemed to have been established. Several of the Garleans and Eorzeans who had previously been engaged stared at each other, unsure of what to do next, but neither side quite willing to be the one to restart the battle.

“Well, at least it’s not more Garleans.” M’zeta muttered to herself.

--
Captain Gompers took a good look at these foreigners and mentally sighed. What the actual hell was he getting himself into? Were these people even humans? Why were they wearing medieval armor and carrying antique, if surprisingly intricate weapons? Clearly the two groups in question were at odds, but Gompers being an outsider knew nothing of why this was the case. From the little he heard from the Garlean, he assumed they were probably imperialists invading this land. That very same catchphrase was all too common back in old Ateria.

It was rather comfortable inside the M-50 mammoth tank, but Gompers believed it would only be proper of him to meet these foreigners in person. It took a brief moment to climb out of the tank, after which the captain jumped to the ground and radioed for a few troopers to cover him. The rest of the tanks behind slowly made their way to the clearing, followed by a number of armored recon vehicles. A few troopers dismounted with haste and ran up to their commander.

“Alright, now that we’re settled I guess I shall answer your questions. I am Captain Theodore Gompers of the 115th Armored Expeditionary Company of the Aterian Empire. I’m sure you all know something’s terribly wrong at the moment. We happen too as well, and needless to say everyone’s at a total loss at what just happened to the entire world. Anyways, my company was dispatched by Imperial high command to survey the lands directly south of our southernmost border. Needless to say… I was not expecting this as my first meeting with the locals. Anyways, we Aterians come in peace and do not seek conflict. Please do not attack us, for I’d rather not kill anyone today.” The Captain finished before awaiting a reply.

--

At that, a few murmurings rose up among the Eorzean contingent, while the Garleans mostly just tried to get into some semblance of formation. The one piloted Reaper stomped its way behind the Garleans’ representative, the rest lining up into parade rest. “Lucius oen Malar, Duplicarius of the Fifth Imperial Legion.” The Garleans’ representative introduced himself, removing his helmet to reveal the sharp features of his Garlean heritage- and the blind third eye on his forehead, marking him as pureblooded Garlean. “I am the last surviving officer among our forces, given the Eorzeans just slayed our Decurio.” He turned to the Eorzeans’ representative. “Are you the leader of the Eorzean force?”

At that, the Highlander shook his head. “No.” He raised his hand to his ear, pinging M’zeta. “But if that’s what we’re doing now, she’ll be here shortly.”

M’zeta slipped from her hiding place, dropping down into the clearing from atop the ruins and sauntering up to the impromptu meeting, her long feline tail flicking behind her as she went. Her hood was kept down, unlike the rest of her soldiers, revealing the pair of Miqo’te ears upon her head. Compared to her fellow soldier, she was several feet shorter and far less imposing looking, but still managed to radiate an aura of danger. Perhaps part of that was due to the massive, carved longbow slung over her shoulder. “M’zeta Thul,” She began. “Bannerwoman of the Griffin’s Claws of Ala Mhigo.”

She looked between the two Imperial forces in front of her, and silently wished she had stayed in her cot today. “A pleasure.”

--
Gompers thought the whole situation was funny, in an awkward way. His thoughts were indeed confirmed: these were two separate factions who by the looks of it followed different ways and hailed from drastically different societies. The Garleans seemed regimented, highly professional, and more sophisticated than their Eorzean counterparts. Naturally, Gompers wasn’t one to miss out on military displays and waved his hand at his troops, who quickly assembled themselves and stood in parade position.

“The pleasure’s all mine,” Gompers smiled after taking off his gas mask, revealing a rather typical looking caucasian male. “Now before I continue, does anyone mind explaining what just happened here? A few seconds ago you all seemed intent on killing one another.”

--

“Rather difficult to continue with that when there’s a big machina with its guns pointed at both sides.” M’zeta responded flatly, ears flicking. Her Garlean counterpart huffed.

“As blunt as any savage, I see.” Lucius grumbled softly, causing M’zeta to send him a dirty look. “But the Eorzean is correct.”

M’zeta nodded. “Aye, I am. Now. We’ve been tasked with clearing up the remnants of the Garleans’ forces here on this section of the front, after the bulk of their empire and army up and vanished a couple bells ago.”

“And we’ve been… trying to regroup during that time, which ended with the Eorzeans putting an arrow through my superior’s head, and the skirmish you saw.” Lucius concluded. “Now, we’re here and not trying to kill each other, so unlike my superior I think it wiser to try and avoid more conflict if I can. My men and I are alone and without support.”

--

“Mhm,” Gompers nodded, seeing the predicament Lucius happened to be in. “Now I guess my followup question will be quite simple: any ideas as to why the Garlean Army just vanished into thin air? I have a few possible guesses if anyone’s interested in hearing. Also, where the hell are we? My men have been wandering this ghastly dark wasteland for the past few hours without seeing a single soul. There’s bound to be civilization somewhere, yes?”

“Definitely not any civilization we’re accustomed to…” one of the junior officers mumbled.

--

M’zeta let out a short laugh. “If you want civilization, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is Ghimlyt. You’d have to ask a scholar on why, but the whole place is eternally black as tar.”

“It’s the result of an aetheroclimatic anomaly.” Lucius piped up. “Too much umbral-aspected aether in the air.”

M’zeta waved a hand. “It’s also the only land border ‘twixt us and the Garleans, and with the recent invasion it’s become what you see here. If you’re looking for civilization, it’s a good trek from here down south to get to Gyr Abania. Even with all those machina as transport you’re looking at a days’ travel to get there, at least.”

“As to where the Garlean army went… I have little and less to say on that.” Lucius cut in. “We’ve had some reports of the Garlean Empire simply being… missing. Wherever she went, she took her favored sons with her, too, it seems.”

--
“Hmmm,” Gompers thought to himself for a moment. “I have no clue what an ‘aetheroclimactic anomaly’ is, but I’ll assume its some sort of environmental condition this place has.”

“Aether? What’s that?” The junior officer from earlier said with some confusion. “I don’t recall Ateria having anything of the likes.”

“Because we don’t,” Gompers deadpanned. “I’ve only ever heard that term used in fictional writing and card games the nerds back in university used to play. We can ask about that later.” He turned towards M’zeta and Lucius. “Anyways, is there anywhere for us to go? I sure as hell am not heading back given the mission at hand, but us Aterians would prefer somewhere… more lively than these wastes.”

--

M’zeta hummed, shelving the matter of these people having somehow never heard of aether before for a better time. “Well, your best bet’s likely to head for the nearest Eorzean camp here in the dark. It’ll still be dark out, but at least you’re not picking through mud, wreckage, and ceruleum spills. We’ll need to be heading back soon anyway, thanks to the Garleans.” She looked to the group in question. “If you’re really not looking for trouble, I suppose you won’t complain if we take you with us? In custody, that is.”

Lucius sighed. “I don’t particularly like it, but it’s the best bet I have.”

“I’d say you’re making the right choice, myself. But I know you won’t particularly care for the opinion of a ‘savage’.” M’zeta responded.

Lucius simply shrugged in response.

M’zeta gestured to her men, who moved forward to take the Garleans into custody. Lucius ordered his men to stand down, and soon enough the two groups had somewhat merged into one.

“If you come with us, we’ll be able to lead you to the camp.” M’zeta said to Gompers, her tail flicking once more. “I’d bet that command is going to want to speak with you.”
--

“Well if that’s the case, I shall gladly take up this offer,” Gompers nodded before motioning for his troopers to get back on their transports. “Actually, there doesn’t seem to be too many of you. If you want, I could offer everyone here a ride back to base. There’s enough space in the trucks and I can make a few of my own troopers sit on the tanks if necessary.”

“You sure that’s a good idea, captain? I mean, just letting a bunch of foreigners onto our transports like that?” An officer asked.

“I see no problem with it. Plus, everyone here’s bound to be somewhat tired after that scuffle earlier. Our trucks aren’t perfect, but it beats walking and we should arrive a lot faster by automobile.”

“What about the dead, sir?” The same officer brought up numerous bodies that littered the ground.

“I’d be inclined towards burying them, assuming Lucius and M’zeta agree.”

--

The two officers looked between each other, a pause as each considered. After a moment, Lucius was the first to speak. “We cannot exactly return our dead to Garlemald now, so I will defer to the Eorzeans on this matter. I would but ask them to treat our lost with the honor they deserve.”

M’zeta nodded. “Of course. We’ll treat them like we would any of our dead.” At that, she turned to Gompers. “When we return to base, I’ll inform the local thaumaturges, to have someone pick up the dead to be properly embalmed. You needn’t worry about dealing with them. As for travel… if you are willing, we would be happy to travel with you, though I will need to warn the garrison to expect you before you arrive. Several unknown machina arriving out of the dark would be… concerning, and with recent events they’ll be jumpy.”

--
“Of course, inform your people of our arrival,” Gompers said in agreement. He then turned towards his troopers and gave them new orders.

“Alright everyone, make some room! If there isn’t enough space use the tanks for transport! And prioritize space for the wounded! We have some guests coming along with us and they’re here to lead us to friendly territory!”

The troopers proceeded to make way for the newcomers without much of a complaint, though privately a few were a bit annoyed by the situation. This was in part due to the fact there wasn’t that much space available, and also due to the fact some of these foreigners were… massive. A fully armored garlean easily towered over the typical Aterian trooper, as did around half of the Eorzeans. Of course, this was the Imperial Army so its not like whatever the troopers thought at the moment really mattered.

Gompers motioned for M’zeta to join him on the company’s lead command tank, the M-50 “Mammoth”. It was slightly larger than the double-barreled M-40 “super” tanks behind it and featured a large 155mm gun, though these numbers were probably meaningless to the foreigners. Since the tank only had one hatch, Gompers decided he’d let M’zeta take the commander’s spot if she liked. He’d sit on the turret and hope the tank didn’t hit any rough terrain.

“Hop right on!” Gompers waved at the shorter Miqo’te girl. “We’ll need someone to give us directions, so you might as well be on the company’s lead tank. Anyways, before we go, does anyone have any questions?” Gompers looked towards the crowd.

--

“None that I can think of.” M’zeta stated. She sent a glance to the rest of her soldiers, receiving an array of negatives.

At that, M’zeta turned and started barking orders at her soldiers, captured and otherwise. The Eorzeans and their Garlean counterparts spread out to enter the transports. Though several issues ensued when the unit’s Roegadyn members attempted to enter some of the more cramped transports, eventually they were all squared away.

M’zeta looked up at the mammoth warmachina above her, and squinted slightly as she did some mental calculations. She spread her legs slightly, and with a push from her soul drove some aether into her legs, feeling the heat of the aether as she bent her legs and cleared the entire tank’s height in a single leap. As she landed atop the tank, with a single movement she spun around to face the Aterian below her. “If you do not mind, I’d prefer to stay out here.” She smiled down at Gompers.

She was really glad she’d convinced one of those snooty Ishgardian dragoons to teach her the basics of their leaps.

--

“Whoa,” Gompers was slightly taken aback by M’zeta’s sudden display of agility. And to think he actually had to climb into the goddamn tank. The world certainly was unfair.

“Damn, now that’s what you call magic,” a nearby trooper half joked. “I mean, how else is that possible?”

“Ehh whatever. We can ask about all of that later! All units, move out!” Gompers yelled through his radio unit.

The 115th, after its brief stop in this god forsaken wasteland, was once again on the move. Led by the five MBTs, a dozen or so trucks and APCs quickly made their way through the wartorn grounds of Ghimlyt Dark. The journey back to the Eorzean camp, which should’ve taken approximately an hour by foot, was traversed in maybe a matter of 10 or so minutes. It was one of the benefits of running a fully motorized army: moving around was quite easy when the terrain was mostly flat. All in all it was a rather quiet trip: the Eorzeans and Garleans didn’t seem too keen on socializing while the Aterian troopers likewise were rather out of their element. Either way, the Eorzeans back at camp were definitely in for a surprise.

--

As the 115th made their journey, atop the commander’s tank M’zeta reached up to one ear, switched her linkpearl’s linkshell with a small flick of aether, and opened a connection with the base they were approaching. ”Report.” came the echoing reply through the linkpearl.

“M’zeta speaking. We’re returning from patrol early. We’ve captured several willing Garleans and have made contact with some interesting new faces.” M’zeta muttered under her breath into the pearl.

”What do you mean by ‘interesting’, exactly?” The responder queried.

“Interesting enough that the General will likely want to know, soon as possible. We’re approaching the base with them; tell the door guards to expect a veritable caravan of machina.” M’zeta’s ears twitched as her hair twisted slightly in the wind from the tank’s movement.

”Machina? What sort?” Came the confused response.

“Not Garlean. You’ll see them coming by their lamps.” M’zeta clarified.

”...Understood. We’ll keep watch.” The connection closed with a short tone.

--

As the convoy rounded some wreckage, those at the head of the force were the first to spot what had to be the Eorzean camp. Rising out of the mud and ruin was a hastily-built fortress, wooden log walls standing strong. Archer towers arose from each corner, and gun emplacements peppered the ground outside the walls; captured Garlean guns and Eorzean cannon alike. Individuals dressed in a riot of different uniforms could be seen running to and fro, as the main doors remained open to admit their ‘guests.’

With the approach of the 115th, several of the milling soldiers stepped into defensive position around the main doorway. M’zeta raised a hand in a confirmation signal, and the soldiers stepped aside. Several of the nearby soldiers could be heard mumbling amongst themselves, commenting on the bizarre machina.

M’zeta called back to Gompers. “They’ll let a few of you in, but I doubt your whole force will fit in the walls. I’ll leave how many you want to bring up to you.”

--

“Well I’m all fine with camping outside. I doubt anyone’s gonna try messing us,” the tank’s driver called from down below. Gompers shrugged.

“Alright, squad 1 sembark and follow me! I assume there should be enough space for the twelve of us or so,” Gompers called out on radio before climbing out of the M-50 and jumping to the ground. “Ack. Goddamn falls always get me. Kinda wish I had your level of agility!” He said to M’zeta.

One of the lead recons within the convoy came to an abrupt stop and quickly unloaded its occupants. The twelve troopers in question, armed with a mix of standard Aterian firearms and a handful of “special weapons” (the lighting gun in particular stuck out like a sore thumb), hopped on out and slung their weapons over their shoulders. It was more or less indicating they weren’t intending to get into a fight.

“Everyone, line up in formation. Carry yourselves with the dignity and discipline of Imperial troops! It’s important we give a strong first impression to our guests!” Gompers addressed his men, who proceeded to march in order as they followed him.

“Looks like we’re good to go,” he said to M’zeta.

--

M’zeta nodded, lightly leaping down to the ground next to Gompers. Raising a hand to her ear once more, she pinged her unit to disembark. The Eorzeans exited the Aterian transports, the Garlean prisoners moved into the middle of their formation as they regrouped. M’zeta raised her hand in a signal, and the Eorzean scouts ranged ahead into the fortress to deal with their Garlean guests. M’zeta, now the lone member of her squad still with the 115th, gestured to the open doorway. “This way, then.”

She turned to enter, crossing through the large wooden gate as the Aterians followed. Within, it could only be described as organized chaos. Messengers rushed to and fro, mixing with soldiers leaving and returning from patrols. Others were milling around on break, performing training exercises with the set of training dummies along the far wall, or hovering near their unknown guests in case of any sudden hostility. The base itself was mostly open space, the only ‘interiors’ being either open-air pavilions where a roof had been set to protect whatever was beneath from rain, or a variety of pitched tents and tarps. M’zeta led the Aterians through to one of the larger structures. Though still open air, it was draped with cloth and tassel, five crests displayed proudly in a line above the main entrance. Within could be seen a planning table and several officers, dictating the movements of Eorzean soldiers along this region of the front.

A small, shining blue crystal was visible near the entrance, cradled and floating in what was once gold finery before the darkness and mud rendered it indistinct. A recent addition, the aethernet line along the Ghimlyt front had taken a great deal of effort in installation. Aethernets were normally only viable over short ranges, as each shard had to remain in far too close proximity to another in order for the whole system to function. With the usage of strategically-placed ‘relay stations’ along the front, the Alliance was able to link the majority of their bases within the aethernet network, allowing for nigh-instantaneous transit along the length of the front. Though still not too useful for large scale troop movement, it greatly simplified logistic concerns and freed up the chain of command.

As the party approached, the shard flashed, before with a noise like rustling sand and several flashes of light, multiple figures coalesced next to the Aetheryte shard. The first to appear cut an imposing figure, a massive, dark-skinned man in blackened metal armor, his face hidden within a horned helm whose design called to mind a raging bull. Along his left side, a long and ragged cloak was draped, hiding the left side of his body from easy view. A large, wide-bladed sword rested in a sheathe on his waist. With his appearance, M’zeta stopped and threw up an Ala Mhigan salute, calling a slightly surprised “Sir!”

The second to appear was a much shorter, fair-haired girl, her legs ensconced in a pair of long, red plate legwear, but the rest of her body in a much more casual outfit of a red jacket, some short gloves, and shorts. She waved to M’zeta. “At ease, girl.”

The third was a short lalafell, his childish form swathed in the deep blue uniform of the Immortal Flames. He gave an Ul’dahn salute to the two others, and then departed for the central command area.

The large man looked between M’zeta and the Aterians, his thoughts unclear. After a moment, he nodded and reached his right arm up to raise his helm’s visor, revealing a heavy-set, deeply scarred countenance. “I take it you are our unusual new guests? Raubahn Aldynn, at your service. General of Ala Mhigo.”

--

Gompers almost instinctively saluted, seeing as that was standard procedure within the Empire when one met with higher ranking officers. His mind was racing thinking about all the different things he’d just seen inside this base. The colorful scenery, interesting variety of uniforms and (possibly) nationalities, and the use of honest-to-god teleportation devices. Some of the feats he’d seen certainly belied the Eorzeans’… “primitive” appearance. The Imperial officer honestly wasn’t sure what to make of everything. This definitely wasn’t the typical industrial age Aterian army Gompers had spent the last decade serving in.

“That would indeed be correct,” Gompers nodded at the Eorzean general, “I am Captain Theodore Gompers of the 115th Armored Expeditionary Company of the Aterian Empire. I’m sure you’re probably at least somewhat aware of our reason for being here, but to reiterate, my men and I are currently on a mission to explore our nations’ new surroundings.”

--

Raubahn raised his arm, waving a hand, when Gompers saluted. “There’s no need for such formalities here. You are not one of my soldiers, and I shall not force you to act as one.” At the word ‘Empire’, the general gave a short glance to his companion, but otherwise his face remained impassive.

“‘New surroundings.’ So, you are not native to this land either?” The shorter girl accompanying the general spoke up, suddenly. Her voice had an impulsive tone to it. “We were hoping you would be able to tell us something of it.”

The general paused, then nodded. “Aye. My friend here has the right of it, though I wish she had not said so outright.” He gave her a look, and she shrunk away slightly before he chuckled good-naturedly. “Now, there are many things we will need to discuss, I am sure. Come, join me in the command post.” Raubahn gestured to the structure behind him, then turned his gaze on M’zeta. “As you were the first to meet our guests, I would like for you to join us as well.”

M’zeta smiled. “Of course, sir.”

--

“Indeed, I’m sure there’s a lot to go over. And yes, we are not from this country,” Gompers replied matter-of-factly to the shorter girl as he followed Raubahn to the Eorzean’s command center. “Most of your questions will ideally be cleared up by the end of this, I’m hoping anyways. I’ll do my best to answer anything you might want to ask.”

--

As the party entered the command center, Raubahn stepped around the large table in the center, which was crowded with scrolls, books, and various writing and marking utensils, as well as several candles. He turned to face the entering Aterians, leaning over the table while resting on one arm. As he did, his cloak draped forward in such a manner as to reveal that where his left arm would be, there was simply open air. One of the nearby officers unfurled a large, highly decorated vellum map, laying it upon the center of the table. In the upper corner, in a script not unlike that of the standard english alphabet, it was simply labelled ‘EORZEA’.

“I will begin with a general introduction.” He started without much preamble. “As I am sure you are aware, you are currently within the area known as Ghimlyt, which is here.” He gestured to the northeastern corner of the map. “Ghimlyt is, or rather, was, the primary land entrance to our home, Eorzea, situated upon the continent of Aldenard. Eorzea lies under the protection of the Eorzean Alliance, whose primary members are Ul’dah, Limsa Lominsa, Ishgard, Gridania, and my home of Ala Mhigo. We are united in the protection of our home lands from any who would do them harm.” As he named each, he pointed out the location of each upon the map before him. “Until very recently, that phrase was nearly synonymous with the Garlean Empire. I understand you have met some of their soldiers.”

--

“Ah yes, the Garleans,” Gompers recalled the small skirmish he’d observed just an hour or so ago, “we happened to bump into them just awhile ago while driving around this area. Can’t say I know much about them but they appear… quite different from yourselves.” Gompers honestly wasn’t sure how to describe the Garleans.

“I guess in a way, they somewhat remind me of the previous generation of Aterians, such as my now deceased father. Heads held high and always a mission of ‘civilizing’ the neighbors. Can’t say I really care for it.”

--

“Aye, you have the right of it.” Raubahn agreed. “My homeland, Ala Mhigo, was held under their boot for nigh-on 15 years, and we have only recently begun to recover. As you can understand, this has rendered us somewhat wary of empires.” He paused, looking down toward the map. “Of course, I hope to not let that get in the way of any potential relations. Your force has already proven itself quite a bit more reasonable than the majority of Garleans.”

“Now, if you don’t mind, I would like to ask you; what sort of land is your Aterian Empire?”

--

“Ateria? Well I guess that’s a long story,” Gompers mused. “The old Empire was established around a thousand years ago, but for most of its history was confined to one part of the continent it derives its name from: Ateria. Two hundred years ago, one of our emperors set about towards industrializing the country, building great factories, mines, and other infrastructure that stretched across the land. In order to sustain our economy and expand Imperial power, the Empire set about towards conquering its neighbors, something we had been doing for the past two centuries or so. Unsurprisingly the modern Empire was a very diverse, massive place that spanned the near entirety of its home continent. The last census indicated around 400 or so million inhabitants within our territory, could’ve been more,” Gompers said.

“Of course, all this conquest and the Empire’s blatant disregard for indigenous people and their cultures ended up being our undoing. Around a decade ago a great rebellion began within the Empire’s southern territories and quickly spread throughout Ateria. They used to tell us that the million man Imperial Army was invincible, but that quickly changed when nearly half of its troops defected to the rebels or deserted. The war was terrible, destroying our economy and devastating hundreds of towns and cities. Three years ago our capital, Carriston, was taken by the Rebels and reduced to a burnt out crater. After that the Empire collapsed. It’s been utter anarchy down in the heartland ever since,” Gompers sighed dejectedly.

“The portion of the Empire that now exists in this world roughly corresponds to our old Northern Frontier, a relatively underdeveloped and sparsely populated region. However,\ it is home to some of our finest veterans, so we do take pride in that fact.”

--

Raubahn nodded, musing on what he had just heard. Though much of that was only history, it was an unfortunately familiar history to him… It seems empires change little, even between worlds. “I see. It seems both of our lands have been facing quite a bit of turmoil recently.”

“As for our history, well. To discuss the history of each city-state in turn would take far more time than is rightly needed.” Raubahn continued, tapping the fingers on his single hand against the vellum beneath. “Eorzea as a region entered its modern era in the first year of the Sixth Astral Era… As that likely holds little meaning for you, that is a little over a millenia and a half prior to this day. T’was the Sixth Astral Era that saw the formation of each city-state in their modern form… and the rise of Garlemald, as well. The Alliance formed then, as well, in the closing years of the Era, to face a concerted Garlean invasion- which itself was in the aftermath of an earlier attempt. That invasion came to an end with the Calamity, when the moon Dalamud nearly impacted the flats of Carteneau.” He ghosted a hand over a location on the map of Eorzea as he spoke, marked with ‘Carteneau’ in the Eorzean alphabet. “The circumstances behind that… are difficult to explain, especially as most cannot remember the specifics of what led to our survival in the first place. We faced a period of peace for five short years afterward, before once more we found ourselves in the sights of Garlemald. They were repelled once again, then. What you see here is the aftermath of, in total, a fourth attempt at invasion- sparked by the revolution which freed my homeland from their heel.” He sighed. “Garlemald is nothing if not persistent.”

--

“Four invasions? Even with ongoing natural disasters and repeated failures? Makes me wonder why they’d go through so much trouble, though I guess old Ateria has done similar in the past.”

Captain Gompers nodded. “And you mentioned a moon out of all things slammed into this region? Wouldn’t that have caused a mass extinction level event? It’s either the laws of physics don’t quite work the same where you come from, that or I’m mishearing things!”

--

“They do indeed have reason for their persistence. Garlemald sees themselves as the world’s guardians, stewards. All you need know right now is that there exist groups of people in our lands capable of bringing forth what Garlemald considers the single greatest threat to the world.” Raubahn frowned. “That is what drove their armies into our lands, again and again.”

“And yes, the moon Dalamud. I cannot rightly say what happened on that day, and I was there to watch it fall… and to watch the emergence of the elder wyrm Bahamut from its interior. You have the right of it; I should not be alive to speak with you, nor should most of the people here today. And yet, we stand. Proof that the Twelve watch over us, I suppose.”

Raubahn was silent for a moment, before M’zeta spoke up off to the side of the meeting table. “Permission to speak?”

The general nodded. “Aye, go ahead.”

M’zeta turned to the Aterians. “While we were out in the wreckage, you stated you have no familiarity with aether. Does your world truly lack it?”

--

The Aterians looked at one another for a moment before one of them shrugged. Gompers decided it was best to let the Eorzeans know of the Aterians’... total lack of knowledge in regards to “aether”.

“Well you see, I’ve only ever heard of the word ‘aether’ in fantasy novels and electronic RPGs. Our world indeed lacks what you’d consider aether… assuming you’re referring to the almost magic-like abilities you demonstrated back in the wasteland and all the otherwise incomprehensible tech around here. Aether is completely new to us.”

--

At that response, Raubahn raised an eyebrow. “Interesting, that you have a concept of both aether and magic, despite lacking it entirely. Ultimately only an academic concern, but I imagine our naturalists will have many and more questions than that about this new world...”

“Aether is the source of magic, yes.” M’zeta cut in. She raised a hand, channeling aether through herself and into her hand, a small shimmering light forming in her palm as the visible tides of aether shifted into being around her. A simple spell, taught to most youth as the basis of their arcane education. A light too small for much use other than aetheric practice, or demonstration. “In our world, Aether is everywhere, and in everything. It is the seat of the soul, the force that drives all natural processes. Magic is the act of reaching out to that force, something most people can do.”

“Most, save Garleans.” Raubahn finished, flicking a small flame into existence in his palm. As the Bull of Ala Mhigo, he was far from unpracticed with aetheric manipulation. “You would also be correct in that most Garlean machina make use of aetheric manipulation- something they use to make up for their natural deficiency. So yes, I suppose you could say that the laws of existence in our world are quite a bit different indeed.”

--

Something most people can do? Gompers thought to himself. All of these people knew how to use magic? That was certainly interesting, but also concerning at the same time. To think Ateria would now find itself bordered by a nation of magic users.

“Omnipresent magic you say? Well that’s definitely quite new to us. I’ll have to pass this information along to my superiors, and I’m sure they’ll be quite interested in exploring the applications of this.. ‘Aether’ you speak of,” Gompers said, “In the meantime, are there any dangers we should be aware of within your lands? Seeing that almost everyone here is capable of using magic… does that include the wildlife?”

“If the Aterian mass media is any use, we might find ourselves dealing with actual dragons at this rate!” One of Gompers’ officers exclaimed, half jokingly.

--

At that last decree, Raubahn chuckled. “Aye, that you will, should you ever find yourself near Dravania. The dragons there are no longer quite so aggressive, I hear, but still quite wary.”

M’zeta nodded. “And yes, to some degree many creatures can perform magic. It’s an instinctive thing, lacking the directness of a human mage, but it is not unheard of.”

“As for dangers beyond the wildlife, you might face what any traveller potentially meets on the road; highwaymen and bad weather. Albeit, that first one may be slightly more of a concern. The common man here in Eorzea associates machina with Garlemald, and should you travel openly with such advanced transportation you’re like to draw their eye… and, perhaps, their ire.” Raubahn finished.

“This… rebellion.” The girl in red finally spoke up, having remained quiet and somewhat awestruck throughout much of the conversation. “You mentioned them storming your capital. Are they still around?”

--

“And I was just joking about the dragons…” the unnamed officer mumbled. Gompers shook his head out of disbelief. Of course the damned wildlife could use magic, and obviously there just had to be dragons didn’t there? In the meantime, the fact that advanced machines were apparently associated with the Garleans was… concerning, but Gompers was sure he could address that concern without shooting anyone.

“Ahh the rebels,” Gompers noted, “We managed to clear most of them out a few months ago after the deployment of a new… special weapon of ours. Needless to say, the Northern Frontier is completely free of such scumbags…” he smiled, before recalling a few recent skirmishes with “partisan” forces. “Actually ignore that earlier statement. There are still some straggler groups of ‘partisans’, broken up rebel units and mercenaries that have been sneaking around and up to no good. They’re too weak to challenge us in the open field of battle so they’ve resorted to guerilla tactics and terrorism. A sad bunch, really. I’d like to say that they’re no threat but that would be downplaying the problems. Terrorists with automatic rifles and military grade explosives remain rather dangerous, but we have been cutting down on their numbers.”

--

The shorter girl hummed in response to that, evidently thinking.

“So long as they don’t begin starting trouble in our lands, that should not be much of a concern. Though, that’s not to say we will not be facing similar issues. The pockets of Garlean forces now trapped within our borders, with no home to return to… I expect they will be quite desperate.” Raubahn replied. “I only hope they and your rebels do not find some sort of common ground. That will be a problem neither of us want.” He carefully ignored the mention of a ‘special weapon’, noting it down to inform the other nations of at some point.

Raubahn paused, running his hand once more over the map below him. “Is there anything more you’d be interested in knowing?”

--

“Indeed, we shall do our best to keep our end of the border… safe and secure so that peace may reign,” Gompers nodded. “Anyways, I guess the most important thing I need is permission from a recognized authority to travel this land in case anyone accosts us. That and a map with directions to the closest city, since I’d rather not be wandering the countryside endlessly. If those two things could be provided, that would be splendid. In the meantime I reckon my men could use a few hours of rest, and we’d prefer to camp nearby if possible.”

--

The Eorzean delegation looked between themselves, a silent discussion taking place between them for a moment. “That,” Raubahn responded, “I believe we can do. The closest city-state to Ghimlyt is my home of Ala Mhigo. My word carries weight there; my recommendation will get you past the walls. From there, you’ll easily reach Gridania… who will likely be quite interested in meeting you as well.”

“‘Carries weight’, my arse. You practically run the place…” The shorter girl mumbled under her breath.

Pointedly ignoring his associate, Raubahn continued. “As for rest, you’ll be able to camp nearby if you wish. I’d offer you a place behind our walls, but I’m afraid we don’t have quite enough empty bunks. Still, my men will appreciate your presence; the Garleans are not likely to attack us with your machina nearby; and friendlier neighbors will be a welcome reprieve to us all.”

That earned him several nods of agreement from his fellow Eorzeans.

“If that is all, I will not keep you for much longer. I imagine you will have much and more to do ahead of you, for Eorzea is a vast land.” Raubahn gave the Aterians a thin, polite smile. “May you ever walk in the light of the crystal.”

“Best of luck to you as well, general,” Gompers nodded. “If that is all then I shall be on my way,” he finished before assembling his officers and leaving the premises. And with that, Ateria’s first contact with Eorzea had come to a peaceful conclusion. Gompers would later send regards to Imperial high command noting the receptiveness and temperate manner of the Eorzeans. New Cariston would make preparations to dispatch a proper diplomat sometime later.

--
Last edited by Sentinalyia on Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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The Imperial Warglorian Empire
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Imperial Warglorian Empire » Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:12 pm

Königsberg, Großgermanisches Reich
October 28, 1965 (Day 1)
7:00

Königsberg, the original capital of Prussia and a symbol of German power in the east for centuries.

Unlike Berlin, which had seen a significant renovation and demolition in order to create Hitler's vision of Germania, Königsberg had been mostly left alone due to the Reich's economic crisis in the 50s. The city still retained the majority of its old architecture built during its many centuries, from interwar cafes to Prussian castles. Even the cathedrals still remained (albeit with most of their symbols removed), as efforts had been concentrated on fortifying the under garrisoned region rather than pursuing Heydrich's policy of demolition.

In the Stadthaus, the centre of government in Königsberg since the 1920s, a lone man strode through its halls. Obergruppenführer Hermann Fegelein suffered a nasty shock when he'd found himself transported from his luxurious home in Ost-Paris to the lobby of the Stadthaus. It wasn't long before he recovered and had established himself among the Prussia Command. Least to say, Generalfeldmarschall Karl Hanke had been surprised to meet Hitler's infamous brother in law, especially since the man was supposed to be on the other side of the continent.

That surprise, and the questions that came with it, dissipated however as more urgent matters had sprung up. Apparently, Fegelein wasn't the only one suddenly transported. Or, in this case, wasn't the only thing.

"...he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake," Fegelein quietly sang, lighting an expensive Cuban cigar and taking a deep draw, "he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!"

Fegelein soon arrived at a set of heavy-duty doors, which he swung open revealing the open roof of the Stadthaus. A full squad of soldiers, clad in black uniforms and carrying MP64s, briefly saluted Fegelein before standing to attention around a helicopter pad. Fegelein continued to smoke on his cigar, as he heard the sound of jet engines roar through the air. He turned just in time to see four Heinkel He-541 "Zauberer" jets pass over the air, quickly followed by three Dornier Do 31s. Two of the Dornier Do 31s landed first, dispensing their full contingent of SS soldiers clad in combat feldgrau rather than the typical ceremonial black.

"You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout and I'm telling you why," Fegelein drew on his cigar one last time, witnessing the final Dornier Do 31 begin to touch down on the helicopter pad, before tossing it to the ground and extinguishing it with the heel of his boot.

"Reinhard Heydrich's coming to town..."

The final Do 31 opened its side door, allowing for multiple officers to disembark from the VTOL. Soon the VTOL's last passenger disembarked, wearing a grey overcoat and cap to match it, denoting his rank as Reichsführer of the SS. Reinhard Heydrich made his way down the VTOL's stairs, with the many soldiers around him raising their hands and yelling out a brief "Heil Heydrich!"

"Welcome to Königsberg, Mein Führer," Fegelein said with a lazy salute.

"Fegelein," Heydrich grunted out, a cold scowl covering his face. It was no secret that Fegelein was among the most despised members of both Hitler's and Himmler's inner circles, especially among Heydrich and his followers. Even while in the Ordenstaat, Fegelein openly never participated in the Burgundian System's Spartanicst tenants. It had been all but an open secret that Fegelein was the De facto leader of the Großgermanisches Reich's black market and criminal elements. The man's alcohol and art hoarding efforts in France had become the stuff of legends and most assumed he was only kept around due to his silver tongue and his familiar relation to the now late Adolf Hitler.

"You've come just in time, Mein Führer," Fegelein said, a smirk on his face, "we have a little...construction problem."

A while after
"I suppose you could call this Speer's last vengeance," Fegelein snarked, with Heydrich staring apathetically.

Down the street, barely a few blocks away was the gargantuan monstrosity of marble and concrete known as the Volkshalle. Its giant dome seemed to almost block the sun, as it completely shadowed over every other building in the entire city. It was an awe-inspiring sight, even with the sound of battle in the background as muzzle flashes could be seen in the distance.

"Mein Führer!" another man suddenly said, greeting Heydrich, his wrinkled face and grey hair even more weary than usual. Oberst-Gruppenführer Felix Steiner was a rarity among the Nazi military hierarchy, being a respected and popular figure among both the SS and the Wehrmacht. Even Heydrich saw the aged general in high regard, a rare honour indeed.

"Oberst-Gruppenführer," Heydrich briefly greeted back, shaking his hand, "status report?"

"Mein Führer, as you know the Volkshalle appeared several hours ago, as did the rest of Großer Platz," Steiner explained, directing Heydrich as the man looked through a pair of binoculars. Heydrich saw that along with the Volkshalle, the rest of Großer Platz was indeed also transported: with the Reichstag, Kroll Opera House, Reich Chancellery and Oberkommando der Wehrmacht all surrounding the massive domed building. "Apparently, Speidel had been addressing his men when the Volkshalle was brought over. Soon after the appearance, a firefight broke out between our and Wehrmacht forces, they've dug themselves in ever since."

"Numbers?" Heydrich asked.

"We estimate about twenty-thousand or so, Speidel wouldn't risk bringing more than that for a simple address,"

"Casualties?"

"Minimal, mostly small skirmishes and snipers taking potshots," Steiner continued, "I've been calling for reinforcements in the meantime, but I fear that the longer we wait, the harder it'll be to dislodge Speidel."

"Don't worry Mein Führer, Steiner's assault will bring them under control," Fegelein suddenly stated. The street began to rumble, as Heydrich noticed the column of SS soldiers marching to the front, led in front by a squad of Leopard Is and Schützenpanzers. The Volkshalle was a massive structure, and Heydrich knew that to have such a large internal threat in the middle of an important centre like Königsberg was a massive security risk. Yet, twenty-thousand men dug into such a large structure would be costly to dislodge by force. They could, alternatively, destroy the Volkshalle (something Heydrich would have no qualms doing, he had no love for Speer's pompous architecture) entirely or simply starve them out, but either one would be both resource and time-consuming.

"You could, alternatively, try and talk to them," Fegelein continued.

Heydrich sharply turned to glare at Fegelein, "I'm in no mood for jokes, Fegelein."

"Ha! Never to you Mein Führer, there'd be no use," Fegelein replied, "but I've read the reports: we're for all intents and purpose stranded in this new world, with God knows what out there. They've got it even worse, stranded within our land, they're double-stranded! Speidel, the self-righteous prick he is, still has common sense. He has no hope whatsoever, and if he wants his lackeys to survive, he'll have no other choice but to submit."

Heydrich was half tempted to simply ignore Fegelein. Unlike what many would assume, Heydrich didn't actually hate Speidel: though the man had stopped the SS coup and helped exile Himmler all those years ago the man's discipline, strategic mind and dedication to duty was something he respected. And the moment Himmler had ordered him to seize Berlin and overthrow Adolf Hitler? His Führer? It was his lowest point, the moment that could've branded him traitor by either side depending on what he chose: a cowardly oathbreaker. If anything, he'd secretly been grateful that Speidel had stopped the SS coup before Heydrich could come to a decision.

Yet Heydrich was the Man with the Iron Heart for a reason. He was not one to bend to the will others, not one to give out mercy as the cowardly Americans would. It was others that bent, others who showed weakness, others who would submit or be strung up on lamp posts with piano wires! Yet...

"Damnit, he's right," Heydrich clutched his binoculars tightly. He had no time for this, the Reich had no time for this.

Heydrich sighed, attempting to calm himself, "Oberst-Gruppenführer Steiner?" Heydrich suddenly said, Steiner standing to attention, "make the necessary preparations but hold off the attack, await my orders, I shall attempt to...negotiate with Speidel."

Fegelein glanced at Heydrich, surprise quickly turning to a victorious smile, seemingly mocking Heydrich for accepting advice from such a "degenerate" like him. Steiner simply gave a questioning look before swiftly nodding and saluting, "It will be done Mein Führer."




Heydrich stood rigidly, tightly gripping the leather gloves he held in his hands as Speidel looked through the papers he'd brought with him. It'd been a close thing trying to get an audience with Speidel, a few Wehrmacht troops had even tried shooting at him. But eventually cooler heads had come through, and now Heydrich found himself in the Führer's office in the Volkshalle, surrounded by both his own men and Speidel's High Command.

Speidel's face seemed to scrunch up with every minute as he continued to look at the documents. The documents which detailed the new Neo-European continent, the sudden instantaneous shuffling of their positions and more.

In the meantime, Heydrich observed the room around him. The office that, by right, should have been his unconditionally. He spied the various Wehrmacht officers who, while not looking over said documents, all had eyes directed at him. Of particular note was one Generalfeldmarschall Claus von Stauffenberg, whose bright blue eyes seemed to glare at Heydrich especially hatefully. Another was General Axel von dem Bussche, who looked like he was going to strangle Heydrich at any moment.

Heydrich knew that to convince these men to join him would be a massive boon: many of these men in the room were some of the brightest military minds in all of Germany, possibly the world. The fact that most of these men were of the apolitical professional military nature was both a potential advantage and massive disadvantage.

On the one hand, Heydrich controlled (as far as he knew, and he always knew) the last bastion of the German nation in this new world, something that would especially matter to these dutiful officers who evidently cared more for the nation than the radical ideas of Speer, stunted ideas of Bormann or military authority of Göring.

On the other hand, the Wehrmacht always had a near hostile relationship with the SS, and Speidel's own bias in stopping the SS coup might make them resistant to joining with Heydrich.

As implied with Heydrich's Spartan beliefs, he absolutely despised unnecessary wastage of resources. And this was one resource Heydrich was driven not to squander.

Heydrich's thoughts were interrupted as Speidel finally put down the documents and approached Heydrich. A tense silence followed as the two seemed to stand their ground, unwilling to show any weakness.

Finally, Speidel broke the silence.

"If this is your idea of a joke, Reichsführer Heydrich," Speidel hissed, "then it is in very poor taste."

"Never," Heydrich bluntly replied, his eyes hardening.

"You know better than that, Hans-si, our Führer's as humourless as a rabbi in Auschwitz," Fegelein suddenly snarked.

Heydrich glared at Fegelein for the implied insult, even though he wasn't afraid to admit it was true. He'd decided to bring Fegelein along on the off chance that the Wehrmacht might betray him while in negotiations: that way, at least Fegelein wouldn't survive him. Yet now, Heydrich was beginning to fear that he would be the death of him.

"And I assure you, Generalfeldmarschall Speidel, I can think of far more believable stories then what's detailed on those papers," Heydrich continued.

Silence reigned over the room as the Wehrmacht officers began to process exactly what they'd been told. Heydrich, as head of the Reich Main Security Office, was very much experienced in twisting truths for his own benefit. Yet, in a way that lent further credence, for the concept of being transported to a whole new world was so fantastical, there was no way someone like Heydrich could lie about it for his own benefit.

"Right, fine, let's say Heydrich is telling the truth, and God has decided to punish us by sending us to some new world," Stauffenberg sneered, ending the silence, "what now? Do you expect us to simply submit? To let you send us to death camps, to purge us as Bukharin did the Red Army? I am sorry, Herr Heydrich, but I for one have no plans to simply keel over and die like one of your camp victims!"

Many of the Wehrmacht officers responded with murmurs of agreeance, as their stances changed with newfound willpower. Heydrich could even eye a few of the officers hovering their hands over their sidearms, with his men in kind hovering over theirs. The room's atmosphere seemed to grow even tenser.

"Gentlemen, if this were any other situation, rest assured there would be no need for camps," Heydrich declared, his voice cold and steady, "most of you will know that I have no love of Speerite architecture, so believe when I say I'd be fully willing to bombard the Volkshalle into ruin and bring this domed monstrosity down over all your heads. I would not bother with arrests, I would simply shoot all survivors on the spot. And I would not at all waste time with mock trials for any officers who survive, I would instead hang all of you along the streets of this very city immediately, to dissuade any other subversive elements from following your hypothetical continued resistance against me."

As Heydrich had spoken, the Wehrmacht officers faces grew more and more resentful. By the end of Heydrich's "speech," many of the officers began shouting with indignance and outrage at Heydrich's statements. One even drew his sidearm as Heydrich's bodyguards responded in kind. Heydrich closed his eyes and sighed, exasperated at the situation and fearing that he had perhaps gone too far.

"SILENCE!" an aged voice suddenly commanded, the Wehrmacht officers immediately falling silent. Heydrich reopened his eyes and turned to see another man, one whose age was clearly visible as he stood up from the chair he had been residing the entire meeting. Though somewhat withered, the man still had a posture of confidence and regality, his aura oozing with unsaid power. On his uniform was a large number of medals and ribbons, the decorations only working to enhance his image. Yet perhaps most visible was the Pour le Mérite that hung proudly around his neck, seeming to contrast with the many swastika-ridden medals that similarly permeated his figure.

With his red and gold Feld Marschall baton by his side, Erwin Rommel looked around the room, almost daring someone to interrupt him. None did, some even averted their eyes in respect. Rommel then turned to Heydrich, his eyes filled more with weary curiosity than pure hatred.

"You said in any other situation," Rommel quietly asked, "so what of this one, Herr Heydrich?"

Heydrich, ashamedly filled with envy at the amount of respect showered on the Desert Fox, took the chance he was given to speak.

"In this situation?" Heydrich replied, "Well, as far as we know, gentlemen, we are all that is left of Germany. My followers and yours, all are the sole remnants of German culture and the ideas of National Socialism in this new world. It is because of this, of this last remaining connection to the Reich, that we must work together."

Heydrich surveyed the room, probing the reactions of every man as he spoke. "I will admit, that I dislike most of you. Not only did you refuse to acknowledge the rightful line of succession, but you actively resisted me. Yet, if there is one thing I admire about all of you, it is your sense of duty: that you felt I was not what was best for Germany, and that it was your duty to resist me because of it. That perhaps, one of the others: Speer or Bormann or Göring and their ilk were better alternatives than I."

"Well, gentlemen, Speer is no longer with us. Bormann is no longer with us. Göring is no longer with us. Neither they, nor their ilk, nor the rest of the Reich is here with us. As of now, I am the sole contender for the Großgermanisches Reich, it is my power base that has followed me into this Neue Welt, my armies, my people. You may retort, and say that we are but a rogue SS rebellion, a successor to the revolt from over a decade ago. But now, this "rebellion" is the sole remaining major government of Germany now in existence," Heydrich continued, his speech slowly turning fiery, "and it is your duty as loyal officers of the Wehrmacht, uncorrupted by the political bias and conflict that has so split apart the Reich for so many years, to serve Germany unconditionally. Well gentlemen, now we, the faction you so despised, are Germany. Now, I am Germany."

"And it is more important now, far more important than ever before, that you recall those oaths you swore so long ago, and serve Germany. Some may notice that those documents detail the appearance of other settlements, foreign settlements. We are not alone, we are surrounded, and worse than that those we are surrounded by are currently unknowns. We know nothing of their power, their origins, and most worryingly, of their intentions. If even one of these unknowns proves to be hostile and find us squabbling among ourselves, they'll smell weakness and strike," Heydrich continued, "gentlemen you have two options: resist and be crushed, your sacrifices overall meaningless. Or join me, and together we can protect our Germany."

For seemingly the thousandth time this day, the room fell silent, as many of the Wehrmacht officers found themselves in deep thought.

Rommel simply began clapping as he approached Heydrich.

"Well, if there's one trait you inherited from our late Führer, it was his fiery oratory skills," Rommel laughed, if a little strained, "and...I suppose even that is better than having none of them...Mein Führer."

The eyes of many men in the room sharply widened in surprise and Heydrich had to consciously stop himself from doing so too. Ever since the Manfred Scandal, Rommel had typically been found on the opposing side of any argument against the SS.

"Erwin?" Speidel questioned, his voice full of confusion and a tinge of betrayal.

"He's right," Rommel reluctantly sighed, fidgeting with his baton, "to resist is to simply damage ourselves further, while God knows what lurks in the shadows out there. We have a duty to Germany, and even if it is an Ordenstaat Germany, it is still Germany nonetheless, besides..."

"Better the devil you know than the one you don't." Rommel finished. The room seemed to become split, as many of the Wehrmacht officers began gravitating towards Heydrich, following the lead of their beloved Desert Fox.

Eventually, Stauffenberg approached the group, a strained look on his face as he gave Heydrich a stink eye before standing next to him. Speidel soon followed afterwards.

"I want it to be clear, that I choose this only for the good of Germany," Speidel whispered, his hand clenched in a fist, "Mein Führer."

Heydrich simply gave a small smirk, "I would expect nothing less of you, Generalfeldmarschall."

Soon, only a small group of Wehrmacht officers laid about the sides, outside of the group that had approached Heydrich. One of them was von Dem Bussche, who was red in the face and looked about ready to explode.

"No! The SS will NEVER rule Germany!" Busche exclaimed, the small group of remaining Wehrmacht officers seeming to rally around him.

"Then you have no place in the new order," Heydrich simply replied, gesturing to the SS and Wehrmacht soldiers in the room. The SS immediately went into action, grabbing the men and disarming them. The Wehrmacht soldiers hesitated for a moment, before acquiescing and following the lead of their SS counterparts.

"YOU'RE ALL TRAITORS!" Bussche yelled, struggling against the guards as he and the other rebel officers were dragged out of the room.

"Unfortunately for you, history will not see it that way," Heydrich retorted as Busche's shouts grew more and more distant. Heydrich turned to those who had stayed with him, "gentlemen, you made the right choice."

"Meine Herren! Der Führer!" Fegelein suddenly shouted out, snapping his heels together and raising his arm in salute, "Heil Heydrich!"

"HEIL HEYDRICH!" the shout permeated across the room, the SS officers enthusiastically shouting and saluting, while the Wehrmacht officers reluctantly followed them.
Last edited by The Imperial Warglorian Empire on Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:59 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Sudbrazil
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Posts: 431
Founded: Jan 14, 2018
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Sudbrazil » Sat Jan 16, 2021 4:50 pm

Tʜᴇ Dᴜᴄʜʏ ᴏғ Cᴀᴇʀ-Ys
Aldberg, Northern Tenhairc
7:07 AM, 1st of January, 1922 AD



“Berlin is not responding, the cables have been cut.”

“Try the Gondoan embassy!”

“We tried the embassies first, none of them responded. Telephone, telegraph, radio, nothing.”

“Give it thirty minutes and try again,” replied the administrator. He was a greying man from the south, who had not sweated this much since his time in the Heimwehr. Baffled clerks ran around him waving telegrams among the ringing of telephones. With the amount of calls and letters flowing to and from the building, the Ysan Assembly’s communications wing had repaid its installation costs in one hour. As another strip of tape came out of his printing telegraph, the fancy new internal phone he was aching to use rang.

“Hello, hello? The Prime Minister? No, nothing clear yet, we are waiting on the Army’s report.”

On the other side of the line, Harold von Aldberg, Prime Minister of the Regional Assembly, hung up in frustration. Before him were a host of politicians charged with the representation of the Duchy in the Bundesrat and Reichstag, summoned for an extraordinary session. None of them wanted to be there. A constant murmur akin to a beehive occupied the room as the multiple parties discussed the news trickling in. Though all were tired and sullen, the market liberals and their socialist counterparts were particularly angry.

The receiver rang once more, and von Aldberg rushed to answer it. His assistant continued his vain efforts to calm the small crowd, and any semblance of solemnity and calmness vanished from the room as the pale-faced official spoke.

“Gentlemen, we have confirmation from Aerial Battleship Gradlon that the coast of Gondoa, Finland and the Baltics has disappeared.”

Another murmur swept through the Assembly like a blast of wind. Many hip flasks were unscrewed, and much hair was lost.

“This is going to be terrible for the economy…” muttered someone.


“Comrades, we must not be discouraged by our present state! Our brothers in Russia and Prussia have already struck, and why should we not in this peculiar hour?”

Like the waves of the sea, the crowd roared with approval. For too long, the dishevelled masses of workers had been exploited. Under the boot of the bourgeois and the banker, they had suffered and suffered ever since their exodus from the fields. The speaker continued at a rhythmic pace, like that of a machine gun’s action.

“Our comrades in parliament have just snuck out word that the great cataclysm we witnessed today stripped away parts of the world –” gasps and surprise “– This is a great tragedy, and we will mourn our international comrades, but this means that the reactionaries abroad will not come to save their lackeys in this peninsula! Our comrades in the army. Our comrades in the police. Our comrades in the parliament stand ready to bring the dictatorship of the proletariat to Caer-Ys. Next week, we shall strike! Now let us sing in hope, for tomorrow we shall be free!”

The crowd cheered in approval, shaking their underground halls. And the choruses of besweated workers and sympathetic poets and impoverished peasants and poor craftsmen broke out into a Germanic Internationale. Rifles and machine guns were held high as boxes of machine guns were distributed. Chairman Peter Wurtenstein sat back and took a swig of moonshine, profoundly content with himself and his friends. In far-off smoky backrooms, some were not as happy.


“What shall we do now, old chap?”

The thin man paused to adjust his tie as the fan above blew away his cigar’s smoke. He had never been good at chess.

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry…” replied the fat businessman as he took another pawn from the thin man.

“I’ve had my men tap the wires while doing some maintenance,” chimed in another voice. “It seems we are truly cut off.” He leaned closer to the table as he took another gulp of whiskey, wondering how his friend was losing so badly. He had great foresight when it came to the stock market. Granted, that was because he practically planned a third of it, but surely some of that would have translated into the game.

“Don’t worry,” said the fat man, who was behind another third of the stocks, “Nothing has changed internally. As to the situation externally, well, we will only have hand it off to our sons.”
Last edited by Sudbrazil on Sat Jan 16, 2021 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Regria
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Founded: Nov 04, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Regria » Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:01 pm

Rykov, United Soviet Federation
October 28, 1976 (Day 1)
7:00


It was all over in a flash.

A certain Nikolai Kardashev cowered on the floor, hands over his head. The man was shaking in terror, perhaps at the various unexpected noises the contraption before them made immediately prior to it exploding quite violently. Not only did it leave the ears of the scientific council present ringing, but it had also forcefully disassembled several hundred million Rubles in research-- the only prototype they had. With bits and pieces of the device scattered about and still falling, it was no surprise that the others were in similar states of panicked disorientation. It was a miracle that nobody had been injured in fact, most harmful shrapnel having clattered to the ground or embedded into the various desks and chairs scattered about.

The dust created by the blast left many coughing and choking however, the already dry and unpleasant air being made far worse-- despite the fact various parts of the massive room were missing. Scientists and security struggled to see one another through it all, and the hurried cries of emergency medical personnel grew closer to see if anyone required their care.

Slowly however, one of the many scientists stood to his feet, dusting his labcoat off. Grabbing another man off of the ground and up onto his feet, he glared daggers into the other, his words seeping with venomous hatred

"Comrade Dyatlov... Was this planned?" He asked calmly and slowly at first, a fist balling up.

"N-No, comrade Krasnikov. Not at all! We had the numbers right, 1.2 Gigawatts of total energy, exactly as you specified!" Dyatlov stated in a panic, his voice shaky with fear. Too frightened to realize the gravity of what had just happened, he could only respond with nigh-incomprehensible stutters.

"Oh really?!" Krasnikov snapped back, yelling in Dyatlov's face. "Read the fucking gauge, Dyatlov!! 3.8 Gigawatts! What the fuck were you thinking?! Did you not notice the readings going out of control?!" He continued to yell, berating his frightened subordinate as murmurs began emerging amongst those whom had decided it was safe to stand again.

"You're delusional, Krasnikov! There's no way tha-" Dyatlov began, before glancing over at the gauge. 3.6 Gigawatts. The realization caused his heart to sink like a boulder in the Bering strait, left there in shocked silence.

"Not sure that what, Dyatlov?! Tell me! You incompetent bastard-- I knew our old Paramount leader was a fool to allow you to come to power!" Krasnikov screamed as Dyatlov shrank in utter hopelessness, starting to sob. His career was over. If the Paramount leader even let him live, he would be relegated to janitor duty in the halls of the bureaucratic apparati-- a fate worse than death for an ultravisionary.

As Dyatlov fell into despair, the well-dressed Kardashev slowly stood, groaning lightly as he scrambled to grasp something to help him up. He was met with the ledge of a surviving table, rubbing his head as he looked out amongst the carnage, dusting off his black suit which was now more than ruined. Sighing deeply, the man’s expectations had been met. He knew from the moment that he was sober, that this project would end up as a catastrophic failure. That it had no basis in current proven sciences, and took a lot of liberties when it came to physics. But he couldn’t back his support out of it at that point, for the political backlash would be far too great. And so here he was, to witness the conclusion of this project which was doomed from the start.

“Are… Um, Is everybody okay…?” Kardashev asked to no one in particular, more concerned about them than himself in the moment. He spoke with his usual sheepish demeanor, easily overwhelmed if one were to try. But at the Paramount leader’s words, nobody in his presence spoke over him. In the case of Zhdanov, it meant almost certain persecution, so one had to tread carefully. Many of the old guard didn’t want to try fate.

“Yes, Paramount leader…” Responded Kraskinov, getting a better look at the room now that the smoke was clearing. The damage made truly apparent, his face contorted to that of pained disgust in knowing how much of a nightmare this would become on every front. “I’m quite certain we would have heard someone by now if that were the case.”

“G-Good. Good…” The Paramount leader responded, wiping his face off of some of the dirt and dust. “M-My god… So many resources, lost in an instant. What do you think happened, comrade Kraskinov…?” He asked with a sense of awe, not glancing at the side towards the one who just so happened to be closest to him.

“I think that comrade Dyatlov here wasn’t doing his damn job! He let the power spill over by over three hundred percent! How the fuck do you do that?!” He spat out, the man’s anger returning once more, Dyatlov himself refusing to speak for fears of stepping out of line.

“N-No… I do not think that is the case, c-comrade Kraskinov.” Kardashev stated, deep in thought. “There is no way that one in such a controlled environment would let that occur, especially as they were calling out the numbers they were supposed to…” He concluded inquisitively, glancing towards the man who was blaming his subordinate. “I think it was an e-external factor. P-Perhaps this sort of experiment is doomed to fail from the start, as unfortunate as it is.” He concluded, much to the visible dismay of Dyatlov and the sour nod that Kraskinov gave in response.


“Well… To be frank, Paramount leader, I wasn’t the one to suggest the project.” Dyatlov stated with a bit of a scowl, looking off to the side. “I was just forced along.” He claimed, causing Kardashev to let out another hearty sigh as he looked back out across the destruction, and various personnel helping eachother around the rubble.

“S-Several hundred million Rubles, down the drain again for a vanity project a sober me would n-never endorse.” Kardashev groaned in annoyance, grasping his head with a hand. “We’re going to have to re-evaluate our f-financial plans…” The scientist-made-politician stated with a notable amount of strain to his voice.

Kraskinov and Dyatlov exchanged looks for a moment. Both were the ones assigned to supervise the project, and whilst neither had much of an investment in it, they still felt the gravity of the situation. Millions of Rubles, for such unproven technology… Was it even worth it-- even if by some miracle these vanity projects ended in a resounding success?

Kardashev seemingly gave them their answer. With a half-groan, half-sigh, he slouched in defeat, shaking his head. Turning away from the carnage, he moved towards the door behind him to open it, stopping to call back to the two there. “I need a moment to unwind. I’ll call you two to my office o-once it is done with…” The Paramount leader said exhaustedly, shutting the door behind him and leaving both project supervisors standing there to once again observe the damage control being done. Perhaps the ultravisionary spirit he had was only reserved for the sane?




A While Later

“P-PARAMOUNT LEADER!” Yelled a man as he barged through the office door in a cold sweat. It was uncalled for, but uncharacteristic for the many information liasons of the Federation-- usually filled with fear and dread. The sudden entrance caused Kardashev to yelp in surprise, leaping in his chair and scribbling a panicked line across the entirety of the document he was signing. With the Paramount leader huffing lightly, he slowly put down his ink pen, placing his hands together, elbows on the desk.

“Um… R-Radinov… You know as well as I do t-that you must ask for permission to enter after three knocks.” He stated rather sheepishly. The man had heart and a confident spirit when it came to science and administering the bureaucratic machine that was the Federation, but still wasn’t the best in conversation.

“A-Apologies, Paramount leader, but I have a most urgent emergency report to make! We’ve lost all communications with anyone outside of Rykov!” The suited man blurted out in a panic, adjusting the thick-brimmed glasses he wore and the crooked tie he had from presumably sprinting to Kardashev’s office.

“I-I’m sorry, you’ve… Huh? WHAT?!” Kardashev blurted out, dropping his pen as his eyes went wide, suddenly slamming his hands against his needlessly large desk. Paying full attention now, the shock overcame the curiosity he’d usually be feeling. “E-Everyone?! But… I-- Even the redundancies? We rebuilt the entirety of Russia’s communications architecture from the ground up-- and we built in countless emergency contingencies! You mean to tell me that contact with the world has just… Ceased?!”

Liason Radinov nodded, his expression laden with fear. “Yes, Paramount leader! We’ve even tried to contact the outside world… There’s nobody receiving our transmissions, and the ones that have been received are of completely different packaging formats! We can’t even unencrypt some of them! Moreover, there’s chaos in the streets right now!”

“Well, of course there is! We’ve been cut off from the rest of Russia--” Kardashev started in a loud roar, only to be screamed over by the liason before him, his voice cracking out of the sheer stress imposed by the situation.

“NO! Paramount Leader-- you don’t understand! The roads-- the roads around Rykov, they’ve… They’ve VANISHED!” He cried out, flailing his arms outwards in a display of utter panic and confusion.

“W-W-Wait, As in… C-Completely gone?! No traffic going in and out? Logistics trains being ruined?” Kardashev snapped back, not noticing how the man cut him off when that would usually mean a death sentence.

A solemn nod is all Kardashev needed. He had a moment of pause, placing his fingers to his chin, narrowing his eyes in deep thought. “No… It can’t be.” He mumbled under his breath.

“P-Paramount Leader…?” The suited man before him slowly asked, shakily raising a finger.

Immediately, Kardashev grabbed a bunch of papers on his desk at breakneck speed, flinging open drawers and collecting more into an unorganized stack, letting some fly around the room. He glared back at the other with an expression usually never seen by anyone from the Paramount Leader. “Go, tell the Security Minister to mobilize Rykov’s garrison! Get him to set up recon patrols all the way around the city, as far as possible!”

“W-What?! Why?! What’s happening, Paramount Leader?!” The liason asked with a renewed sense of panic. “Why are you in such a rush?!”

“It’s the madmen’s experiment! Dyatlov and Kraskinov, their experiment… It…” He started, pausing to catch his breath, his expression a mixed bag of terror, anxiety, stress, and excitement. He turned to stare the other man in the eyes, the desperation made clear for him to say. “Their experiment wasn't a failure… It was a success, too much of one!”

As the liason raised a finger to speak, he was rapidly approached by Kardashev, where the usually-kindred spirit shoved him out the door.

"GO! Go and tell him! I've got a lot of work ahead of me-- he's a difficult man to speak to, but I'll promote you later for the trouble, just remind me!" Kardashev yelled, slamming the door behind him.

And with that, Liason Radinov stood stunned for a moment of the Paramount Leader's panic. He was about to peek through the door to see what was happening, but heard a loud thunk, followed by expletives uncharacteristic of the usually shy, scientist of a leader. Radinov decided that perhaps the Paramount leader be left in peace, turning to walk briskly down the halls. After all...

The Paramount leader himself gave Radinov a direct order, and to get out of his mundane liason job? This might be just the break he needed.
RED COMMUNIST SCUM WILL FALL
DEMOCRACY SHALL NOT FAIL
ENEMY COMMUNIST VICTORY-- IMPOSSIBLE!

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