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A Bloody Spring (Semi-Open; TG if Unsure)

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]
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Roania
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A Bloody Spring (Semi-Open; TG if Unsure)

Postby Roania » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:34 pm

Spring was in the air! That was the feeling in the City. Yes, in some unfortunate lands to the south the air still held a bite. In others, there could be snow. And of course, spring as a concept was a silly idea in an Empire as large and as powerful as the Radiant Empire. But it was spring here in the Imperial City, and that meant, too, that it was the New Year. There would be fireworks, there would be festivals, there would be feasts and parties and fabulous gifts, for the new year was a new year for all the people on Rudan Prime. Those now 16 would, at the end of the week, participate in the great Coming of Age rituals, then set out to find their new lives.

For others, though it was not a new year upon their homes, it was a time to come and pay homage. For the first time in months the great gates of the Closed City swung open, permitting some within who held no title or official business. Chief amongst those who had come all this way? Prince Li Thenho of the Kingdom of Thanh-Tonh, son of the King of Thanh-Tonh and half-brother to the Imperial Consort, Sen AiQien. His father, being too old to travel even for the purpose of seeing his master and son-in-law for the first time, had sent him, his wives, his sons and their wives on this trip.

And together, he and his party now stood outside the throneroom, behind a short line of others coming to pay tribute and ahead of a longer line. His chief wife stood on one side, his second wife on the other. They had been feuding constantly on the trip here, and it was beyond his ability to make them see reason. He could only hope that they did not make a fool of him before the Throne; if they did, his only hope was that he would be permitted to discipline them himself rather than see them taken away.

"This is intolerable, honored father." His elder son, that. Child of his long-dead first wife. "That we should be forced to wait out here while those... things stand before us?" HuuThuan gestured at the party ahead of them in line, a small cluster of... well, Li Thenho didn't know what they were. They were small, blue and had floppy ears. Those ears twitched at the sound of his son's complaint and the creatures drew closer together. "Are we not family? Are we not royalty? Are we..."

Thenho raised his hand and smacked HuuThuan across the face. "Fool! Will you bring dishonor upon us before all these beings? Shame your father and your King in front of he who holds our lives in his hand? If you have no thought of that, think at least of your people, whom you represent! Show yourself to be a man!"

HuuThuan's eyes smoldered for a moment, but his youngest wife, whom he had chosen to accompany him (And who Thenho could not recall the name of), put her hand on his shoulder and whispered in his ear. The man lowered his head and bowed slightly. "Forgiveness, honorable father."

"Father is correct. We must be patient." This his second son, ThaManh. A strange quiet fellow who had only just returned from a visit to his uncle in the far off land of the Sunset. "After all, we are a conquered people, and must show our betters our understanding of our place."

"That is enough from you! Both of you. I will hear no word spoken on this or any matter until we have returned to our quarters from any of my sons, or I will beat you myself!" The door ahead of them opened and the blue creatures scurried in, the smallest one hurrying to keep up. Thenho sighed, took a deep breath. Soon. Soon they will have given the bloodthirsty monster upon the Dragon Throne their gift, and he would be free to return to more congenial surroundings.
Last edited by Roania on Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Roania » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:34 pm

"Going well, isn't it?" Siela hadn't expected the Sovereign to agree to her proposal; he had made it quite clear he considered all such matters beneath him. Yet the urge to show his beloved wife off must have taken priority, for he sat upon the great throne now, one arm resting on a carved stone dragon and the other around his consort, his fingers almost brushing the edge of propriety.

"These things always go well." Ramiel took his glasses off and breathed on them, then cleaned them off. "It's a simple matter. The assorted worlds of the Empire come forward, present him with tribute, and ask for his blessing. Nothing, in all the years I've attended, has ever happened." The former and current Grand Secretaries were dressed in the finest robes the Empire could provide. As were all the officials present. A pageantry of color that reminded Siela of the cartoons she had watched as a child... and now she was in it.

And she could take this moment to her grave. She was proud of it. She was standing here, amidst the elite of her people, one of the most powerful women in the galaxy. Not bad for a college graduate from Ares. Even if the Emperor did chop her head off in seven months, she'd have this to take with her wherever she went.
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Postby Roania » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:42 pm

Damalin wouldn't say he was bored, but he could think of things he'd rather be doing then be given presents he already owned. His eyes momentarily drifted down and to the right, along AiQien's shoulder and momentarily into her cleavage. For a moment, and then she realized what he was doing and shot him a look. Attention refocussed, he turned his attention back to Aleis, who was saying... something... 'When did I stop noticing other women? Have I fallen that in sync with my wife?'

"...the emissaries of the Mari Race wish to present to you a token of their devotion and obedience, Honored Lord of Ten Thousand Years." Aleis bowed low, her robes sweeping with her, one sleeeve baring a length of perfect arm that six months ago he'd have salivated at. Now, his attention focussed on the small blue creatures that nervously approached the dais.

"Of course." As he had a dozen times already that day, Damalin rose to his feet, his wife rising with him. The Lord of the Galaxy walked slowly down the dais, his arms held high. "And I accept their kind gift, and in return I grant them my blessing and my protection." The lead Mari held up a small wooden bowl and flinched when he reached down to take it. "Ah..." He saw no real reason for them give him what looked like a thick green soup. Perhaps he should tell the Secretariat to spend more time developing their world? He glanced up, saw Aleis mime taking a drink, and gave a tiny sigh.

He gave his servant a glare, but tried to enter into the spirit of things and took a sip. If Aleis knew what was going on, then it was unlikely to be a poison. Or with his last breath he could order the Mari exterminated and her head cut off and put on a spike. And he may anyway. This potion was horrible. It... he didn't even know what it was. Bitter? Like one of those disgusting golden fruits his mother had once tried growing for decoration. Yes, that was the word.

But in his mercy he gave the bowl back to the Mari leader, who also took a sip. Once that was done, they began to sing in their high-pitched voices. Or were they speaking to one another? Or what? Well, they seemed happy enough. "Thank you for your..." Damalin tried, failed.

His wife came to his rescue. "My husband is grateful for the gift you have given him and the service you have rendered him. Please, if I could have the pleasure of asking you to stay here for longer, I would like to try your drink later as well." Well, serves her right, then. But the blue things were agreeable, and he saw no problem with it, and so they went and joined the other representatives. It wasn't like they took up much space, after all.
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Postby Roania » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:49 pm

"And now, the dignitaries from your loyal vassal, the..."

Prince Thenho had no interest in what the irritating woman was saying. Aleis, was it? Yes, she'd be an entertaining partner, but her people were always so pesky over 'marriage'. With two wives, he'd not have a chance. That 'vassal' word grated, but there were worse fates. And slowly, he advanced forward and knelt before the great podium, his entourage accompanying him. When his brother-in-law's puppet had ceased dancing on her strings, he permitted himself to look up.

And there they were. The monster and his bride. The ShenQin Emperor, Asen Damalin, hand resting on the shoulder of his sister as though it belonged there, listening to the rendition of the Tonhi anthem. Which, Thenho considered, it probably did. His sister looked much the same, he was pleased to note. Perhaps her features had sharpened, but then she was young. As they both were. Younger than his youngest son. Not that the Emperor looked young, no. As Damalin rose to his feet, his hands held up, he looked every inch the tyrant Thenho had expected. Cool eyes looked down on him, no sign of interest or recognition whatsoever.

And then he lowered his hands, and the music stopped.

"Brother!" AiQien smiled and walked to stand behind her husband. "Please, you and your family. Come here."

Thenho glanced from his sister to her husband. Not seeing a refusal or a countermand, he slowly rose to his feet. "Oh Suzerain Lord, I come from our father with greetings and gifts. I am Prince Thenho, son of King Thanh the Seventeenth, your loyal vassal and servant." And he stepped forward, onto the podium, knowing he was the first of his people in centuries to do so under his own power.

As he approached the Imperial Couple, sensing his companions behind him, he noticed AiQien was drawing closer. They had hardly been close, but he could feel her happiness at seeing a family member. Perhaps it would be wise to rebuff his siblings for their refusal to pay court to their sister. Perhaps... "I am pleased..." AiQien had reached him and with little decorum, she reached up and grabbed him, hugging him momentarily. "Sister! I mean, Imperial Consort, this is..." He feared the bolt of retribution that the furrowed brow of the Emperor no doubt indicated.

Not what followed, though. Damalin stepped forward as his wife parted from her brother, and grasped Thenho by the upper arm. "I greet you as a brother, Prince Thenho, and I welcome you our home." And the mask slipped, and the man he had hoped would marry his sister momentarily showed himself. "I shall have you and yours shown to my finest chambers. Family shall not rest beyond my walls. I am sure you bought many treasures from our father? Excellent. I will give you double, no, triple their worth to return, I give you the word of a Lord. As we are brothers, our peoples are one family, now and forever."

How much of this was the Emperor's own doing, and how much AiQien's influence, Thenho had no concept. Nor did he find the gesture as generous as he could tell the other man meant it. Still, there would be time for a discussion later, and perhaps this would prove simpler. "I thank you..." He opened his mouth, tried to say the word, saw his sister subtly shake her head. Ah. Well, Thenho had meant many men who were prepared to extend informality to others... in all but their titles. "Suzerain, for your kind words and your welcome. I will, if it pleases, present our father's gifts at a later moment."

"By all means, brother." Damalin clapped his fingers. "Guards! Servants! My brother and his family are to be given space at my left hand, as befits their rank! Clear the space!" The words echoed out, and the great tapestries behind the throne began to be pulled.

All was well, then.

"Honorable Lord of Ten Thousand Years, if I may have a moment of your radiant consort's time? My aunt's time, that is." Who was that? ThaManh? Carrying a box now? He must have taken it from the back of the cart.

Thenho reached up to slap his ignorant son behind the back of the head, but AiQien smiled. "I am happy to hear from you, Li ThaManh. I remember well your kindness to me in past years, and I am sure husband has no objection." And she stepped forward, while her husband shrugged the gentle shrug of a man who is aware his objections have no power.

"Thank you, oh blessed aunt. I have returned from a far travel, to visit the court of your older brother in the land of the Nematos. He sends you his regards, and wishes to beg your forgiveness for not attending your wedding." ThaManh stepped forward and held up the box slightly. "He has sent you a gift, though, as both a new year's gift and a belated wedding present. And a token of his feelings to our suzerain lord, of course, whom he hopes will forgive his childish insults."

AiQien took the box from her nephew gently, studying its courses and edges, the fine wood within. She smiled. "A lovely present, nephew. And I am sure my husband will forgive my older brother all his trespasses, without having need of a gift." Again, the same, slightly impatient now, shrug from the Emperor.

"Forgiveness, my lady, but the gift is within. The box is but a container for it." AiQien smiled slightly and began to lift the lid. As she did, ThaManh kept speaking. "The gift is a reward from my uncle for you, the reward he believes you deserve for your actions on behalf of our people." And AiQien let out a soft, shuddering gasp, dropping the box to the floor, a length of sharpened wood jutting out from under her left breast. Her eyes momentarily turned to her nephew, who spoke the words as though he'd practiced them. "Death. Suitable for traitors, no?"

And then, things began to go very, very badly.
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Hell Hath No Fury

Postby Roania » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:12 am

Siela barely had time to stifle a shout before the guards were everywhere, the Tonhi delegation vanishing behind a wall of silver and gold. From her party, Kousenel had taken off, calling for his bag and his assistants. It didn't seem real. It couldn't be real. Things like this didn't happen here, surely? At her right, she could hear Ramiel mutter a dozen oaths, while at her left she could feel Daeri tense up. The screaming began soon, the delegates not in the Tonhi party shrieking at this violence in the one place in the Empire where it was thought to be unthinkable; Aleis' melodic shrieks leading the chorus after another moment.

Slowly, the noise faded around them, the hall of the throne becoming as quiet as the mortuary it may very well be. And equally slowly, Siela realized all eyes and ears were on her. She gave her master a nervous glance. The young man stood where he had been, staring slackjawed into space, not processing anything. With a sickening thought, she realized that someone needed to do something, and that someone was her. A thought confirmed when Nesar leaned in and whispered, "Orders, Grand Secretary?"

"We need... we need to prevent panic. More panic. Guards, the remaining delegates outside are to be shown to their quarters. Not a word of this to anyone, no confirmation until... until someone gives the order." Siela took a deep breath and looked at Nesar, whose eyes were coolly locked on the tiny form of the attacked Empress, where Kousenel was working urgently. "Prince Nesar, Marquis Qinglin, I want you to have a plan for order and stability on my desk immediately. This is not the time for rash actions. A.... a horrible crime has been committed against our sovereign and against the realm, and we must punish those responsible after a full investigation.The madman had mentioned her home... this could be a problem. A terrible problem. At the burst of activity, she raised her voice. "I repeat! This is not the time for anger! Nor is it the the time for reprisal! We have laws, and we must follow them!"

And for a moment, one glorious moment, she thought it would work.

"No." The word echoed across the hall and through the palace. Perhaps beyond, powered by the arcane technology within the Dragon Throne. The Emperor had taken his seat, and his eyes had become flaring red flames. "Thank you, Grand Secretary, but I find myself able to give my own orders. Servants, carry out Miss Ma's commands regarding the remaining delegations of my loyal subjects. I will handle them in time. Qinglin, Nesar. You will await my commands on this topic." She would have preferred some hesitation. Some quavering. But the Lord of Ten Thousand Years held his voice steady, even as the flames of rage danced in his eye. "For my first command. Every member of Prince Thenho's party is to be bought to me. Now. Throw them on the floor. If they do not bend, then break them."

The guards, led by their quailing captain, marched their prisoners to the imperial dais and in perfect silence forced them to the ground. The Emperor's finger crooked. "Bring me the criminal, his father, and his brother." Thenho and his sons were dragged forward. The Prince and his elder son seemed in shock, while the man responsible stood there with an easy insouciance. "You. ThaManh, was it? What do you think you have accomplished?" ThaManh opened his mouth, and the Emperor lashed out with fury, striking the older man hard enough to nearly break his jaw. "I will tell you. To his knees, men." The guards quietly obeyed their master, and held ThaManh still while the Emperor struck again, to the nose. "You believe you have attacked a traitor, do you? On the contrary. Your name, ThaManh, is now a crime. I call it void. Any who retain your name by the end of this week are to be executed. Guards, servants, so let it be written, and so let it be done." And the Emperor kicked out now, scoring a direct hit to the man's eye. "The contract of vassalization is broken. Your people belong to me now, and I will have my blood price. You will find I was a far kinder suzerain than I will be a lord. And your people, if any survive, will curse your name. But now, to more immediate matters."

And Damalin's eyes moved to Thenho and HuuThuan. "You will have a choice, men of the Li clan. While my wife yet lives, I find myself inclined to mercy. Tell me who the traitor's wives and children are, and I will let your wives and children live. For a time."

Thenho stood stiffly and crossed his arms. "Honored Lord, I know there is no word I may speak to save my son. But I can and must speak to defend those innocent of wrong-doing. My daughters and my grandchildren have done no harm. If a mass-slaughter is what you need to sate your rightful anger, then you may carry it out on all the innocent, together." And Damalin's eyes momentarily softened. Siela could see it, and she realized she hadn't breathed in nearly a minute.

"It's them. Those five. Towards the end!" And HuuThuan went to his knees, tearing himself free of the arms of his captors and bending low a dozen times, then pointing out those that the Emperor had originally demanded. Thenho cursed quietly, as did the Grand Secretary, because the madness returned to the Sovereign's eyes in a heartbeat.

"Kill them, and make the worm watch." ThaManh was turned to face his wives and children, whose eyes opened wide and who began to try to protest, to beg. But Damalin was inexorable. "Now." Siela half-hoped there would be a rebellion, half-feared it. But the guards were swift and sure, as the swords they were. She looked away just in time, but knew she'd carry to her dying day the brief hiss and the sharp, agonizing screams of woman and children. And Damalin wasn't done yet. "As for you. Worm you are, and worm you shall be. I sentence you to be buried in the field of the bound. Take him from my sight."

"You cannot oppress a free people, monster! We will have help! My uncle promised us this! Thanh-Tonh will be free! Long live..." Damalin made a short, sharp signal, and one of the guards smashed ThaManh over the head with the hilt of his side-sword.

"Gag him. If he will not be gagged, tear his tongue out. But if he dies before the burial, guards, you will join him." And the Lord of Ten Thousand Years waved his hand. "Take the rest of these people away. So long as my wive lives, my mercy is infinite." And the blazing flames of insanity flickered for a moment, and an all-too mortal note of pain entered the sovereign's voice. "If she goes to the Light, though..." And the fury returned and the last words came out in a roar. "Her funeral pyre will be your people and your world, and you shall provide the start!"
Last edited by Roania on Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Official IC Notifications

Postby Roania » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:20 am

Official Communique to the galactic news services

The Blessed Lady on the Phoenix Throne, Imperial Consort AiQien, was the target of a monstrous conspiracy and is in critical condition. Her recovery is expected and the Spirits and the Light shall see her well.

The ShenQin Emperor has declared the month to be one of prayer and sacrifice. In addition, in order to ensure the thoroughness of the investigation, Tonh Prefecture is closed to foreign visit and communication. All Tonhi beyond the realm are asked to return.


***

The very first time anyone beyond the Empire, or on Thanh-Tonh itself, may have learned of it, though, was when any ability to communicate with the former Kingdom began to fail. There was a reason for this, of course, and it was linked to the arrival in orbit of the 7th and 8th Fleets in their entirety... and the total obliteration from orbit of the Intergalactic Communications center on the planet.
Last edited by Roania on Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Sunset » Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:12 pm

Erika and Demi's House, Botany Bay, Chuh-Yu...

'...have been cut off with the Tonh Prefecture - formerly the Kingdom of Thanh-Tonh - leaving many Tonhi living in the Republic fearing for the status of their relatives and family members,' Tanya went on, the stage behind her showing an image of the planet as though she was aboard a ship in orbit and it just behind her. 'Attempts are being made to establish contact with the Prefecture, but...'

Erika muted the channel, leaving the rest of the newscasters words to flow across the bottom of the hologram, and sat back with her arms folded across her chest and dark thoughts flickering through her eyes, "They might be better off not knowing."

"Poor AiQien..." Demi Love - Erika's wife, Ambassador of the Republic, and notably involved in the events that had led to AiQien being selected as the Imperial Consort - was about to offer further words of sympathy when she was cut off by the roaring blast of an assault shuttle setting down in her driveway. A glance to the living room window and she just caught the silver and blue of a Triumvirate roundel mounted on the shoulder of an armored Marine as they finished deploying around the house. Their normal pick-up was a casual affair with the pilot knocking on the door after a whisper-quiet landing but the jarring arrival had been enough to strip the petals from the flowers and send them scattering after the soldiers as they deployed. "Are we going?"

The butler's sudden appearance at the top of the stairs with two bags was enough to confirm her question and she stood to leave her thoughts for AiQien's safety on the couch as she walked to the door. Erika and Alex followed, the latter stopping just outside to leave an already-prepared note for the landscapers with both an extensive list of damages and what should replace them.

"How did you know that?"

"Hmm?" Alex paused at the shuttle hatch, a wide-swung armored panel that blocked her view of the dismayed gardening. "That's the key attribute of a butler; Anticipation."

The freckle-cheeked girl was not the only one with such readiness; Right behind her came the same Marine squads that had secured the landing zone and she had barely brushed her hands up under her skirt before sitting down when the door slid shut to be replaced by a view of the outside as the shuttle rose. Turning as it did, she looked out across the bay to another house that stood on the water's edge. Just a few days earlier a mother had stood watch there over her younger children - was she now at her daughter-in-law's side as she lay near death? The thought chilled her and she turned to Erika and asked, "What will he do? If she dies?" Or if she was already dead, but Demi knew the answer already.

"He'll burn it down, or try," the Secretary-General answered with complete certainty. "A young man, tainted with the belief in his own god-like status, given the love of his life," there was a moment's pause as she put her hand on Demi's leg with a soft stroke and her partner half-covered it with her own, "To have her taken from him? It's not the path I'd choose, but I'd understand it, now." But there was no time for introspection; High above them the outline of the Unconquered Sun loomed and she was already in leadership mode; "General conference," she instructed, with the butler already making the calls to the various military and diplomatic figures as required in her role as majordomo, "And Executor Miranna."

The Executor would play a pivotal part in whatever was to come; Most of the refugees from the abortive conflict over the now-Tonh Prefecture had settled either on N'Xypndiltn or Zeta Irregularis, both worlds with a similar climate and topology to their former homeworld, with the majority of these on the far-newer Republic world of N'Xypndiltn. She had taken her title from her role in the overthrow of the former rulers of that world, a bloody slaughter that had seen the decisive Xypndi warrior-woman eliminate the murderous false gods in an extended bloodbath that had pitted her and her Adjutant equipped with cutting edge technology against a cult of diabolic rapists and torturers. It was that dynamic ability that the Secretary-General was about to call on.

"Already on the line;" Part of the forward bulkhead was replaced with an image of a much shorter woman with goldenrod-yellow skin and a shoulder-length head of sandy-brown hair pulled back into a set of complicated braids. She was walking the floor of her own office - the sprawling command deck of a retired-but-still-active Bulldog Super-Heavy GravTank that had also served as her base of operations during the God Purge.

"...I don't see that happening," Miranna finished, turning from the end of a conversation with one of her staff - a bored-looking woman who had her feet up on a console and a sandwich in one hand while the other worked the controls of the massive war machine - to the interior of the shuttle on the far side of the communications link.

"Keeping track of the news?"

"That's right. The Roanians are asking, politely, for all of the Tonhi to come back home to assist in the investigation and as of right now we've had exactly zero uptake on that one. In fact, Tradia;" Her Adjutant and the more enthusiastic of the two killers, "Told me just a second ago that there are reports of at least one Tonhi Prince going into hiding as well as a handful of the more prominent families. We're not looking too hard for them, at least right now, but rumors are already lighting up the 'net that they might have had something to do with it."

A slight gasp at this and she turned to look at Demi, who had her hand over her mouth in half-apology; "Why?! AiQien..."

"...is a traitor," Ambassador Penguin made his presence known with a plop that ended with his holographic avatar seated on the butler's lap and his head - seemingly - resting comfortably between her rounded breasts and half-disappearing through her blue button-down vest. "At least that's the word filtering out of the Palace. Some snot-nose relative stabbed her and got most of his family killed in return. Right there too, blood on the carpets."

As the highest-ranking Republic representative in Roania, the Ambassador and his underling Liaison to the Thanh-Tonh Prefecture had the best conduit to the rumor-mill both in the Imperial government and among the common citizens.

"She saved them from a war that would have killed millions," Ambassador Love countered, pointing out the more reasonable course that the Imperial Consort had piloted, "And she was smitten with him."

She had been there in the room while the Princess of the Lotus Throne had been presented to the Emperor as a possible ending to the conflict and as a way to integrate what was, essentially, a culturally Roanian world into the Empire. It wasn't the ideal solution but realpolitik trumped idealism on more than one occasion. She'd also seen the glances, the very veiled attempts at flirting, and the not-that-unwilling look of acceptance when the notion of a Tonhi Consort to the Emperor had been breached.

"That's not the way they see it," he shrugged, invisibly resisting Alex's attempts to dislodge him. "Or at least a notable segment. You remember Senator Thang? Got shot in the face while she was on the pooper? She was part of a block of Thanh-Tonh ex-pats who would have rather seen the whole thing burned to the ground, salted, and defiled with an unholy alter to P̳͈̺͎̯̝͖͗ͧ͑̊͘͝h̤̫̮̰̓̏̍'̱̫̗͓̮́̋̿n͉̥͇̙̲ͫ̚̕͞g͍̮̩͖͔̹ͦͭ̉̒l͌̑̏̾ͧ́̐͏͏̺̥̰̘͚͎̦̳u̧͓̫͖͙̝̰͖͌̍̔ͧ̓͒ͫ͞i̩̬̣ͯ̈́͆͝ͅ rather than live under the easy heel of the Roanians."

"As was our missing Prince," Marinna added.

"Which means that if the Roanians come after the Tonhi that puts you right on the front lines," Erika broke in, changing the course of the conversation. A little bit of history was all well-and-good, but it was time for planning and for action. "Expect a TYCS Fleet to arrive shortly, along with an auxiliary force from the Sakkran navy." The Sakkran Empire was the closest distinct Triumvirate state to the E'Xypndiltn System and while Erika had ever confidence in the Republic's ability to defend itself, it was always wise to go with overwhelming rather than matching force. "Your priority is the people first, but evacuating all of the Tonhi won't do you any good. If Damalin wants any one of them dead, he'll go after the whole lot to make sure. The second is the ship lines..."

As part of an effort to boost the planetary economy, N'Xypndiltn had been chosen as the site of a primary production facility for the new Tempest-Class Assault Transport as well as minor production of several other classes of Republic starships. These facilities would be important both militarily and economically; The Tempest-Class was a Marine transport and if it came to war they would be a useful component in any attack on a Roanian world. Additionally the production facilities provided the largest single source of jobs for the planetary population, both through direct work on the ships under construction and through the web of component manufacturers that made up the enormous spiderweb of modern ship building.

"...I'll get on them to push everything that can fly out of the yards as quickly as possible. Even if I have to man them with cadets and police officers."
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Postby Roania » Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:31 pm

Doctor Kousenel was a great surgeon. No, he was the greatest surgeon. He knew it, his peers knew it, his colleagues knew it. And he had gotten to that position by himself, without augmentation, without implants. Just with hard work, dedication and skill. He had never given up on a patient before, and he wasn't going to now. Still... "We're losing her." He took off his gloves and stepped out of the operating theater, then tore the badge of office from his neck and hurled it to the floor. "We've stanched the flow of blood, and repairing the tissue should be trivial. But there's something more at work here. Doctor Nmmr, your findings?"

The junior, Doctor Nmmr, looked over from the hovering screen. "Splinters have perforated here and here, and there's massive trauma. Were she not in Sleep, she would be in immense pain. As it is, mrawr, she may well be anyway. Her brain is still firing."

"Doctor Ibledren, do you have the toxicology test?"

The Kaegani grunted, reaching a hand up to tug on the long braid that hung over his right ear. "The splinters, and the blade itself, have been contaminated with... something. But the system isn't matching it. I do not feel comfortable, Honored Surgeon, in making an analysis or a recommendation. I have contacted the Academy with everything we know, but the medical library there is sadly understaffed at the moment, and while they tell me they heard the Sovereign's call and are returning from holiday as swiftly as possible..."

"The year moves on and the seasons wait for no one." Kousenel finished, falling into contemplation.

"On my world, they say 'The sky is great and the wind blows through it without end, but yes. Any recommendation I make without information would as good as kill her, but waiting for recommendation is not..."

"There is an alternative, mrawr. It won't buy us a week, but it may buy us a couple of days, and we can use that time to buy ourselves longer if need be." Nmmr gripped the handle on one of the storage cases and twisted it, his tail thrashing behind him as the door swung open.

"It would be..." Kousenel paused as he considered the suggestion. "It would be unwise to let this be our first test in these conditions, but the situation is dire. Lives beyond hers hang in the balance, gentlemen. Not least among them, our own. I remember full well the tale of my predecessor and his own failure. We have more at our disposal than he did, Praise Ai. All that means is that the expectations are accordingly higher. But I cannot approve this unless all three of us agree." There was a quiet moment, and they all sighed and nodded as one. "Very well. Then I will clean my hands and prepare for the operation. Spirits of Healing to my side, I cannot do this alone."


In a quiet walled compound in a secluded park in the old city, meanwhile, an entirely different discussion was taking place. "You should go to him, Duchess. He's your son. He needs you." Siela sat across the table from two people she had never expected to see, with people she had never expected at her side. "We need you. Your homeland, this galaxy... your adopted land... your children, your daughter-in-law..."

"Enough." Alessa placed her frail hand on the table. "This galaxy has had me. Has had more than enough of me." She had once been beautiful, and in a certain light she could still be. But she was pale, and she was sick, though how sick Siela had never guessed, their previous encounters always being distant. Even when she tried to summon the voice of command that was her birthright, the former Empress could barely manage to raise it to a shout. "I gave everything to my people. I gave them what I never wanted to anyone, young lady. I have given them my health, my body, my freedom and my life, and now, at the end of that last, you wish me to throw what I've regained into a fight I will lose?"

"But he's your son..."

"He's her husband, first. If you are ever so lucky to find one, young lady, pray you will never understand, but pray, too, that you will at least have a glimpse at the meaning." And she raised her fist to her lips and coughed, hard. "I tried all my life, young lady. I fought. I wanted to make a better place than I was given. And I did. And... and that was the end of me. And I know, I know full well, that I haven't long, Miss Ma. I know, too, what my daughter is suffering... but I have no strength to avert it. That is all long gone." Another coughing fit, and she rested her head against her husband.

"Duke Selevar, then. Surely you can see..."

Selevar's voice came from a distance. "I see what you would have of me, and I am willing to return to the closed city with you, if I must. But my son will not hear me. Nor will he hear the pleas of our other children, alone or in concert." The old martial gentleman had aged a thousand years in a day, it seemed, and he leaned onto the table and rested his sharp chin in his hands, his eyes going to Siela. "I and my wife bought you into this, Miss Ma, and we can take you out of it, at least. We may remain on Rudan Prime longer than we expected." His eyes looked at his wife and returned to the Grand Secretary. "Much longer. But the ship that bought us here, I can give to you. My son will listen to that, at least. Go home, Siela. Go and be the woman you could have been. This can all have been a bad dream."

Siela bit her lip, tightened her fingers and didn't trust herself to speak. Who did... they were both unwell, but it did not excuse...

"Enough from you two. You're not dead yet, and I think you're stronger than you're pretending to be." Ramiel rose from the table and took a walk around the room, inspecting the little touches of home they had bought with them. "I've not known either of you to walk away from a responsibility undone, and you have that precious little girl of yours snoozing away in the arms of that creature." The man shook his amazing hair and smiled tightly. "For what it's worth, I agree. I remember your honored father..."

"Accursed monster." And some strength and force and voice came to Alessa for a moment, her hatred of the man and any applause for him conquering her weakness.

"As well, if not better, than you. We are either fortunate, or unfortunate, that the present Emperor's vices run to anger, not... in that direction. But I do agree. You cannot dam the river, but you can help us lengthen its course." Ramiel's eyes twinkled. "My best men... that is to say, Miss Ma's best men, are hard at work on keeping your daughter-in-law with us, and returning her to the Emperor. We simply need the time, and that you can do. You and Prince Tonen and darling Princess Ise. And perhaps..."

"No." Selevar, Alessa and Siela said the word all at once. Tolerant though relations may be, the last thing the situation needed was another source of stress and anxiety.

"Perhaps not, then. But come, time is wasting and we have your agreement. We must be on our way back to the city. I can only hope he's not begun levelling it for a memorial..."

"Who... you do not... we never consented..." But it was no use. The former Empress and her consort were bundled into the transport with their youngest children and the giant green monster.
Ten Thousand Years to the Lord and Lady of Ten Thousand Years!

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Postby Kajal » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:22 am

Towards the Galactic Core, and, by extension, the Radiant Empire - CFSNV Shalbatana

While most Kajali hadn't paid too much attention to the Tonh Prefecture (though most that did still called it Thanh-Tonh) in a while, it didn't take long for it to become a popular topic on SYSNET after Tanya Zaldano's story broke. News in Sunset was news in Kajal as quickly as it could be transmitted, and while there wasn't much to go on just yet, that only meant that as soon as any real news surfaced, there would be some sort of furor.

Of course, audiences being what they were, if there wasn't anything in a timely manner, the audience would largely forget about it in favor of the next big incident. Such an outcome would hinder certain initiatives more than anything, given that public pressure could often be quite useful when applied in the right manner.

To even have a hope of applying such an instrument, though, they needed news of some sort, and there certainly wasn't anything coming out of the Tonh Prefecture. Changing that would require a certain reckless precision, something which could also all too easily blow up in the faces of those involved.

Still, a directive had been issued, and, surprising as it was to Fleet Intelligence that the "mainstream" Federal Services had issued it, they'd deployed a cruiser as requested. It would take time, of course, given the distances involved, and it would be plain as day to anyone with the right sort of eyes, but when all indications were that only one's allies would even be able to see it, well...

With any luck, the cruiser would get there early enough to see if there were still any smoking guns. The mission was fairly standard in that regard, in that the ship would drop out of transit in the target system's oort cloud, well above the plane of the ecliptic, and release two similarly configured drone craft, each of which carrying their own sub-drones based off the TRIPWIRE designs and equipped with rudimentary low power subspace drives themselves. Given their size and the speed of their construction, they weren't as devilishly precise as the actual TRIPWIRE buoys, but having some eyes was better than none, or so they thought. The FTL unit wouldn't be capable of much more than in-system maneuvering before running out of power, and as such it also served as a self-destruct system. In situations where a drone would not have sufficient power to perform another intrasystem jump, it could open a jump point and pulse the realspace gravity drive, the interactions of which would turn the device into a carbonized lump not all that dissimilar from actual oort cloud contents.

The more audacious mission parameter was somewhat simpler, but vastly more overt. Once deploying the monitoring drones, one of the ramships would attempt to "buzz" the planet at well above local solar escape velocity. The ship wasn't much more than a drive vane with high power imaging devices, and while eminently expendable, it wasn't exactly hard to pin down where it came from, hence the riskiness of that mission segment.

It was, perhaps, why Colonel Ilenn was so uneasy when his ship made the scheduled insertion into the Oort cloud at the edge of the system. The cruiser's part of the mission could be accomplished relatively simply... but it was almost certain that the Roanians would know the Kajali government was spying on them. A few hours later, Shalbatana's TRIPWIRES had been deployed, giving a fuzzy picture of the situation in the system. Shortly after that, a burst from the ramship tasked with doing a planetary pass arrived, providing a number of images, LIDAR, and other surveillance data corroborating what the array had seen.

There would be no other data from that ramship, as it had self-destructed as planned upon being fired at. Everything gathered was neatly forwarded through YutLink, though it would only be a matter of time before the remaining eyes in system were discovered...
"Wait, what?"
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The Boundless Legion
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Postby The Boundless Legion » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:28 pm

"Let me know when we reach Roanian system space."

"Aye sir. ETA one hour, if the winds favor us."

The Dreadnought Bastion streaked through space at just over superluminal speed, its crews clamoring far and wide in preparation. A madness of this measure not only commanded Charles Montmartre's attention, it was enough for him to personally risk the Legion flagship to rush to the homeworld.

Commander Montmartre swiveled in his char towards a single receptor screen, wherein was displayed a visibly anxious man.

"Marcus. You perhaps know the Emperor best. I may have to ask you to be my point man on this. Even my charm and intel may not win us this day alone. "

"I don't like the idea of this ki...the Emp...my friend about to drop a xenocide. I won't go armed, I can't guarantee I won't--"
"You damn well won't, for precisely that reason. His godsdamned wife is in critical condition. Wouldn't you be ready to rip the galaxy apart, if you had to?"

The silence between the communications channels made their understanding known.

"Nyima's taking the entire Third to the Tonhi system, she's my best woman for the job over there. Only working in concert can we avoid another bombed-out planet case like Sing Die.

"And with luck, a broken heart..."

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New Naggoroth
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Postby New Naggoroth » Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:14 pm

A darkness weighed heavily on the Closed City. There was no other way to describe it. It was a something that sent chills down the spine of Ellenith Drakharn as she furiously paced through the halls of the guest wing, back towards her chambers. The assassination attempt on the Emperor's wife was as sudden as it was unforeseen, and that was particularly troubling to the young elf maid.

This was no mere weather, but rather, it was more a darkness of the soul. Blood had been spilled within the gilded palace walls, anger simmered and festered in the minds of lord and servant alike, while the threat of violence loomed over every action. It felt smothering, oppressive, and it explained, much to Ellenith's frustration, why she hadn't seen this coming.

"Some seer I've made," she muttered to herself as she threw open her chamber doors, then slammed them just as quickly. Too much emotion, radiating from everyone involved, had clouded the strands of the future and blinded the seer. Morei-heg loved to play games and hide the strands of fate from the prying eyes of mortals, and Elly now felt that she should have known better to have looked harder, been more thorough, when her first scryings had been inconclusive.

The guest room's armchair, likely a priceless work of some ancient Roanian artisan, felt the full brunt of her wrath, as the frustrated sorceress lashed out with her power, hurling it across the darkened sitting room to be smashed to pieces against what was likely an equally priceless bookshelf.

"Are you sure that's wise, my dear?" came a steady, sonorous male voice from the same room, as he sat in the other chair beside the unlit fireplace. "Now you have nowhere to sit."

"Korhadris," Ellenith growled the other elf's name, the burning coals of her eyes dimming as she found herself once more scolding herself for displaying a lack of patience. She took a deep breath to calm herself before she continued, "I had thought you departed for Saphery last eve. I was not expecting... company."

"The strands of fate held me here, as they hold you too now, it would seem," he said cryptically, while he made a slight motion with his hand as he stood, causing the hearth to blaze to life and bathe the sitting room with its warm glow. "And while I know you are beyond such lessons, my dear, master Korhadris is how you should be addressing your seniors. Other tutors are less forgiving on this point then I."

"Of course, master," Ellenith sighed as she approached the fireplace, her shoulders slumped as the weight of the day finally fell upon her.

Ellenith, slim and willowy, was quite the opposite to her mentor. Korhadris was strongly built for an elf; he was a full head and shoulders taller then his pupil, broad-chested, and possessed of a short shock of crimson hair, now shot through with small flecks of silver. His lean, aquiline face was set in a very stern look as he regarded his young protege, his cool amber eyes missing none of the subtle signs of Ellenith's dejection.

"Morei-heg is fickle, young one, and if you wish to court her knowledge, you must understand that she will never reveal everything. Some fates simply cannot be changed or avoided," he stated sympathetically, though also rhetorically, as both of them were well aware that far-seeing was far from a perfect art. "You must not let guilt and fear cloud your senses, elsewise the Crone will show you worse then nothing; you will only see doom you are powerless to prevent."

"A cautionary tale if there ever was one, master," Ellenith said half-heartedly, as she slowly weaved a spell to undo a strand of fate, and bring the destroyed armchair back into being as if Ellenith's wrath had never touched it. Once she had a chair to slump into, she did so without hesitation.

"I failed him. Damalin... the Emperor trusted me," she said, tears starting to well in her eyes. She didn't know where this wellspring of emotion fed from, but it was there nonetheless, "How can I stand before him with confidence again?"

"By first forgiving yourself," Korhandris said softly, as he lay a hand on the woman's shoulder in comfort, "It was not your failure that led to this. A single pebble might start and avalanche, but it cannot stop one. Such violence that has been wrought here today was, ultimately, inevitable. But what is in our power, my dear, is to prevent far worse."

"Worse? How? His wife is dying, and I am no mage of Ghyran, able to preserve and renew life. I have only the faintest sense of wielding Qhaysh and Dhar, not nearly enough to be useful..."

"Saving the life of the Imperial Consort may be beyond our means," he said bluntly, a sadness falling upon his noble features as he spoke, "But we can do our best to forestall what may happen if she does pass into Mirai. The young Emperor will lash out with a fury buried deep in his blood, and an entire world will die. I have seen this, and if we do nothing, we are complicit in this butchery."

A look of horror crossed Ellenith's face as Korhandris made his pronouncement. Surely Damalin was not capable of such brutality? She understood him lashing out at the immediate perpetrators of the heinous act, even if the wailing of the women before the imperial guards fell upon them would haunt her for a century. But to murder an entire people... it was unthinkable.

"What must we do?"

It was clear that Korhandris had thought this through, even if he disliked what the end results could be. "If he will allow us, we will go to the stricken Consort and do what we can to save her life. If we do not succeed... well, we must be prepared to do what is right and necessary." he paused, and gave a sardonic chuckle, "Perhaps you can relate to him the tale of Aenarion, and how his acts born from desperation and loss nearly doomed our people. I'm sure that will cheer him up immensely."

"Oh yes, that should give him no end of comfort, I'm sure. Distraught young men being such wise and captive audiences," Ellenith laughed, as she rose to follow her master from the guest chambers, and quite possibly to both of their deaths.

'There's still one other card to play,' Elly thought to herself as they marched through the empty halls of the guest wing, their footsteps ringing loudly on the bare marble.

'Oh Scarlet...'
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Roania
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Postby Roania » Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:45 am

The Halls of the Dragon

"Ah, Captain. Just the man I wanted to see." Kai knew that voice. It was not a good voice. It was not a voice you ever wanted to hear from the man who held your life in his hands. "Come, don't cringe before me. After all, am I not merciful? Am I not generous? Have I not always been good to you?" Slowly, carefully, keeping his hands visible and away from his weapons at all times, the Captain of the Imperial Guard rose to his feet and faced his master. "Well? Speak up, I can't hear you. Am I not, in fact, the most generous and gracious ruler you could ever have hoped to serve?" The ShenQin Emperor's voice was steady, but his eyes remained pools of lava, and the tone remained one of a thousand knives.

Kai opened and closed his mouth a few times, trying to find his nerve, trying to do anything but... "You are, Lord of Ten Thousand Years. Most gracious, most generous, most merciful, and most kind."

"Good. Good." His master's eyes wandered the empty, echoing hall, going to each splash of blood still on the carpet. "You and your men failed me, Kai."

"I... yes." Kai closed his eyes and let out a long sigh. "We did. I did. I ask for your forgiveness, Most Blessed Sovereign."

"And you shall have it. All I ask in return, my friend, is the life of the men who cleared my dear wife's family and their 'gifts'." The Sovereign's eyes narrowed, and the red grew more intense. "Bring them to my throne, and execute them yourself."

Kai's breath caught in his throat, and he swallowed a few times. "Sovereign, we were following standard protocol at every turn. It... the box passed all the scans. The weapon would not have shown itself as it was made from the same material as its cask. There was no way of knowing. I... I..."

"Mistakes were made, perhaps? Amongst them, the inability of my personal guards to protect my wife through the simple measure of opening a damn box?!" His voice rose to the dragon's roar, and Kai trembled and stepped back. "You failed me, Kai! Your protocol failed me! I have neither the time nor the patience to reform failure through education! Your crimes against your master will be expiated in blood! If not theirs, yours!" And Damalin whistled long and low, and the two large figures at either side of the great throne came to malevolent life, striding forward in lockstep.

They were tall, and broad, and powerful. Kai had never seen them move, never heard them speak. He knew not where they lived or how they lived. But he found them terrifying, regardless. Damalin's mother had favored the salamanri of Rk as her personal guard. His grandfather, the dogs of Korsc, never to be spoken of again. The Present Sovereign Upon the Dragon Throne, though, eschewed exotics. His bodyguards were ogres.

Kai stepped back, his hand reaching for, then falling from, his pathetic sidearm. "Sovereign, wait. I... I acknowledge mistakes were made. And the protocol will be... has been changed. It has been changed. This will not happen again. Please, oh great Lord, show mercy. We, all of us, feel your pain as deeply as if it were our own, but we are loyal, we are true, and..."

"And you will not return your wife to health by lashing out blindly." It was a voice that had not been heard in this hall for some time. Duke Faren, newest noble of the realm, hero and savior, loyal friend of the Asen clan, had arrived. "Lord, this is beneath you." The kitsuite stood at the door, his small, red-haired wife at his side. The ogres slowed, stopped, and as they had been trained, went into a kneel.

Damalin's eyes wandered the room now, taking in what was happening, where he was, who he was. For a moment, the red glow flickered and the soft blue gaze of old returned. "Faren...I..." And then it was gone. Damalin whistled again and his bodyguards returned to their statuesque pose at his side. "Dismissed, Kai." Was the final word from the Sovereign. "I will expect a full report on what happened and how to prevent it. Do not fail me."

Kai bowed and sped off down the hall. Yes. A report. Horrible things had happened. Mistakes were made. How? Who was responsible? Where could he pass the blame on so that the sovereign's wrath, when it returned, would fall on those who really deserved it... or at least, not on his men?
Last edited by Roania on Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ten Thousand Years to the Lord and Lady of Ten Thousand Years!

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Scolopendra
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Postby Scolopendra » Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:37 pm

Executive Apartments, Stonozka

-I don't want to say "I told you so," but-

Mballa, to her credit, did not transmit the rather uncouth words that immediately came to mind at the Akashan's chiding. She did, however, immediately hang up. Standing from the chair that was much too large for her, she paced over to the window that made up one wall of her office. It looked out onto Topside's Central Park, where some of Titan's original topography still remained--minus the changes caused by the Tethys river, of course, and the settling caused by the woodlands and meadows--surrounded by the paved regularity of Stonozka. Karmabaijani air-taxi blimps waddled about through the sky, fat as scarab beetles and equally harmless in their plumpness against the reinforced concrete and steel of Scolopendran construction. That was why they were allowed.

She frowned harder than she usually did, not really seeing the trees or the grasses or the towers or the blimps. This is always the way of things, she thought, clasping her hands behind her back. Give it time, they say. And they're right. Except there's never time. Now a boy who should've never been on the throne to begin with has had his control rod pulled. Meltdown not just immanent, meltdown underway[. Her inner monologue paused for a few ticks as she cleared her mind and let the pieces fall together. She looked at the picture they made. She frowned still harder. Fuck.

Turning on her bootheels, she returned to the over-large chair. "Shodey," she called over to the perpetual visitor upon the couch, "time for you to start doing those favors you owe me." Sitting down, Mballa Ipolla, Supreme Emperor of the Federated Segments of Scolopendra, made eye contact with her desktop screen and started dictating through her headware.

Your Majesty,


The situation called for formality. She may have been close to him, but who knew what it was worth now.

The senseless tragedy that has befallen your house angers me as it should any right-thinking soul. I wish to do what I can to help you track down those responsible. To that end, I can offer these things. First, Scolopendran SPIR chapters can assist your law enforcement and intelligence agencies in their investigations along our mutual frontier, on your permission. Second, I will personally see to it, through the auspices of the Federal Police and the unity of the Akapendran Union, that my house is in order. I will bring anyone found complicit in this attack to justice. Third, again on your permission, I can request Queen S.H.O.D.A.N. to aid your wife. Though she has a reputation, she is the greatest doctor I know of in the multiverse and she owes me--thus she owes you by extension. Give the word, and she will come.


The dark-skinned woman paused for a moment, frowning thoughtfully. When push came to shove, what united them? Experience, mentorship, and--most of all--anger. Thanh-Tonh publicly going silent, and the intelligence coming from there, made sense to her. It wasn't right, but she understood the underlying principle even if she were an island.

As your friend, I'm expected to say things about letting go of your hate, counseling calm. I can't. What happened is deserving of hate. Not the rage of all-consuming fire, but sharp, clean, pure hatred that inerrantly pierces the heart of the singularly guilty. Everything I have done, I have done through channeling my rage into something cleaner. Something more precise. Even though the entire multiverse seems to have wronged us, we must not waste our efforts on those undeserving. We must focus ourselves and become the force of justice that we seek, and to do that we must be just. Whatever scum is responsible for this, they are finite in number. One. Ten. A conspiracy of a hundred, maybe. Certainly not millions. No matter the temptation, we cannot allow ourselves to descend to their level, destroying the loves and lives of those who didn't, couldn't know and are blameless.

We will find those that are guilty, explicitly so, who with malice aforethought aided the assassins. We will destroy them. Should our hatred, our anger, be pure and just, that will be enough.

In justice,

Supreme Emperor Mballa Ipolla
Federated Segments of Scolopendra


* - * - *

N'Xypndiltn System

"Alright," Fleet Admiral Shalin Manggang said as she leaned over the conference table aboard Supercarrier Superfortress, "here's the plan as it comes down from Walks-With-Pride himself." She brushed a few strands of her bobbed black hair back behind her ear as she looked between the component commanders arrayed around the table and the relatively miniature strategic situation display centered on the burnished steel surface. "I'm now in charge of Task Force HAMTRAMCK--standard Ticks random word picker at work--which is you three battleship components plus the 16th Ess-Cee-Vee. Fleet Admiral Riber will be commanding Task Force MOLTKE--Zaxxon and the 19th along with three more Bee-Bee-Cee-Ones--in Zeta Irregularis. This is us showing the flag but hard, defending major Tonhi diaspora populations along projected Roanian lines of advance."

She knew that wasn't exactly the right term, but brevity was the soul of wit. "The rest of the Theatre is on alert but maintaining patrol. We're the tripwire--shut up, Nasim, not that TRIPWIRE--"

A slightly balding man a couple hundred thousand kilometers away aboard Battleship Infinite Mercy stifled a grin.

"--and so we're going to be doing full CAPs on constant rotation: everything we can keep in flight stays in flight, in extended formation. The instant we see anything, reinforcement Task Forces CINNAMENE and ENNEANDRIAN--"

The man aboard Infinite Mercy failed to not giggle.

"--seriously, Nasim, are you twelve or something? They go on stand by. We react to the jump-in and they respond in an envelopment maneuver. If things are already hot and heavy they'll be firing via telemetry based on our solutions fed through the tac-net. That's why we need max spacing and movement for best resolution."

A not-quite-definably-not-human, captioned 'Battleship Columbia,' raised a hand that wasn't quite right. "And if they counter-jump our counter-jump, ma'am?"

"Then it's a fucking furball, but that's what SEELE is for. Just understand that no matter what we are not firing first. If that means they want to try bumping like it's the Blue Water Age all over again, then we let 'em bump but we don't let 'em pass. If we fire, or they fire, the balloon is up, my friends. If the balloon goes up, we can expect the Concordat to get dragged in."

"You're making it sound like they're already on the move, ma'am."

The fleet admiral took a deep breath, leaned back, and shook her head. "We've got no intelligence to that effect yet. The intelligence is that their boy-king has got a case of the rage-sads but rather than interweb trollery or Spacepedia vandalism as instruments of revenge, he's got war fleets that do exactly what he wants when he wants because he's the Emperor, by jingo. If he wants them to enforce his 'order around foreigners living abroad' policy, that will bring them here."

"What if... well, what if it's kind of justified? It wouldn't be the first time a diaspora's backed assassins."

"Doesn't matter as far as we're concerned; that's a job for the diplomats. If they ask for Mister John Q. Sink, we pass that along to the local constabulary and ask them over for some tea and crab rangoon while the locals deal with a manhunt. Primary objective is to keep any visitors from starting a war. Secondary objective is to annihilate them if they do."

The officer on the other end of the link sighed in a indescribably mildly unusual way. "Just how insane are we planning to go if the balloon does go up?"

"I've got no visibility on the greater strategy at the moment," Manggang admitted, "though I don't think we're planning on going completely insane. I get the feeling it will depend on just how things go here."

"If they 'go' here."

"Yes."
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Roania
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Planet Tonh, High Orbit

Postby Roania » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:14 pm

"Admiral Ko, Admiral Lan is on the network for you."

"Thank you, Captain. Send it through." Ko put his hands up and behind his head, staring up at the ceiling. The communication crystal flared up and his counterpart in the 8th Fleet came through.

"Admiral Ko, the local navy has given us their answer."

"I had noticed."

"My ships have caught a few of them, but the majority have escaped. Shall we pursue, or shall I hold them back?"

Ko flipped open the tactical screen on his desk, and read through the information received. "Hold to position, Admiral Lan. We received no orders justifying pursuit. As for the ships captured, disembark their crews on the surface, then have them pulled into lunar orbit at the system's quaternary."

"As you command, senior."

"Remember, when the word comes, they will all go together. Let us not begin the toll before it's time. And even when it is time, we may still admire their clarity of purpose and will, no? Let us hope we will always serve the True Sovereign as well as they serve their false one. No, we have other matters to deal with. An emissary will be arriving from Home soon to meet with the local Governor. I give that charge to you. I have my own work to do. Ko out."

With communication with Lan broken, Ko resumed his ruminations. They had blown up the central link, as per their instructions. Civilian traffic had been completely silenced. But what no one had told them until afterwards was that there was a consulate on the planet's surface. One that retained communications tactics. A consulate. Such a ridiculous thing. Who had ever heard of... but when he'd gone to the Grand Admiral, it had been confirmed. And he supposed it made sense. Permitting the Tonhi currently beyond the realm to speak with their homeland was obviously important.

This left him and Lan, and their underlings, in something of a bind. Their orders were to silence Tonhi communication with the outside world. But a foreign diplomat's office was hardly Tonhi communication, was it? And yet, the orders had said... but how could he? And he had asked the Grand Admiral for clarification, and the Grand Admiral had given him the same orders as before. And asked for further orders, and told that this was not a matter for the Banners or Fleets to consider and he should communicate with the civilians.

Hardly doable. That SFA had apparently suffered a breakdown, and was currently hospitalized. Her underlings felt unable to make such a decision on their own. The Grand Secretary? Out and about in the city meeting with people, unable to take calls. Who did that leave?

The Throne? Could he go to the Throne? He supposed he must. "Computer. Imperial ..." But no, even as the men around him stiffened, he had second thoughts. "Cancel that." To ask the Sovereign himself, while he was mourning and praying, for orders on this subject? That would be unheard of. He was no mere minion, no, but nor was he worthy of the Dragon's gaze. Not when he'd been given his orders, and the need to carry them out. That was why he was an Admiral. To spare the Sovereign the effort of making such decisions. Yes. "Captain, surface communications, Embassy Traffic. Leave them a message. Remind them that the Sovereign and his Secretariat has declared this planet and its people silent, and request that they take all reasonable steps to prevent local traffic the use of their frequency. Thank them for their obedience, too." Yes. That was what he could do. Mission accomplished!
Last edited by Roania on Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ten Thousand Years to the Lord and Lady of Ten Thousand Years!

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The Boundless Legion
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 63
Founded: May 27, 2014
Ex-Nation

Rudan Prime system, Rudan Prime space.

Postby The Boundless Legion » Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:22 pm

Imperial sensors officers would detect the two Legion Dreadnoughts dropping into the system, one of whose IFF tag was stored prior in the logs as the Defiant; the other was new. Its sensor profile was larger than the Defiant by a full half. Each ship beamed a brief salutation message, before the Bastion dropped shields and sent a transmission.

"To the Lord of Ten Thousand Years, or his communications staff if you are listening, this is Boundless Legion Commander Charles Montmartre, commanding LDN-0. I humbly, urgently request an audience with you, on behalf of myself and Captain Jasen Marcus of LDN-5.

"We've kept an eye on this situation since the news broke, and the Legion finds it in the region's and the Lord of Ten Thousand Years' interest if we...sat down and had a little talk.

"We're not here to threaten and bluster about tactical errors and fleets and navies. We're not here to try and coddle anyone or convince you of any unilateral charter of action. In a measure of trust, you will find our shields are down. I and the crew of the Bastion sincerely hope this gesture is reciprocated.

"Montmartre out."

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Northrop-Grumman
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1619
Founded: Dec 28, 2003
Benevolent Dictatorship

Postby Northrop-Grumman » Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:45 pm

Cold dampness permeated the underground room; no windows could be found in the coarse stone walls, nor any future that was not hewn from that same material. Only the fireplace’s crackling flames provided the needed warmth and light for the room’s current occupants. A typed paper document, letters from each word of the Roanian Emperor stamped into its surface by a mechanical ball, crinkled in the elven woman’s hand as she rolled it up.

“Too bad it wasn’t the little shit that got it instead…” she muttered under her breath and slumped back into the carved seat, as the paper ball was tossed into the fire, sending cinders floating up into the chimney. “Say what you will about the dimwitted former Empress, but she knew how to keep order…or at least not constantly stir shit up. Points against her though for shirking her duty and letting that egotistical jackass come to power. She could have waited until he was actually ready for ruling, but no, we must all suffer.

“As usual, they are hiding behind their weasel words. Oh yes, ‘thoroughness of the investigation’” She punctuated the statement with the sarcastic hand quotations and rolled her eyes. “Translation: everyone is guilty so everyone will die. I cannot say it is surprising coming from them, murdering innocents. It’s their normal plan of action when it comes to anything going wrong; I would not be surprised that, if someone doesn’t bow at the correct angle, heads start to roll. As always, they overreact towards every situation.

“Hopefully, no Tonhi is stupid enough to follow that order return home. If you wanted to truly investigate, you certainly would not go about it this way. Would coordinating with the various countries not be sufficient? What would happen if the Tonhi choose not to come back? What would happen if the host countries tell the Roanians to shove it? War?”

“I knew that this would eventually happen. Someone utter moron thought of achieving peace by marrying these two together. Yes, the two societies about to tear each other’s throats out, ready to drag the intergalactic community into the fray, are just going to lay their arms down and be at peace because of a shotgun wedding. I can see it now – A Tonhi fighter, ready to die for his cause, hears the news of this peace, drops his firearm, and walks away, saying ‘Welp, now they’re fuckin’, so I guess that’s settled!’ What a bunch of idiots! This stupid matchmaking bullshit has now brought around the next round of stupidity from that damned place that’s bound to wind up on all our laps to deal with! Someone needs to go over there and knock their teeth in and get them to stop this, first of all with their conquering shit!”

Another voice, long since used to the extensive rantings of its superior, spoke up from across the dimly lit table. “Sound familiar?”

“They-who-must-not-be-named?” the elven woman answered as if to say their name would summoning those people to her doorstep. “Certainly. Regardless of their rationale – liberty, civilization, or whatever – the end result has always been the same: conquer others and force them to conform to your ways…or die. Quite frankly, despite my annoyance with their usual behavior, if Yut decided to ground the Radiant Empire to dust because of their genocidal conquering, it would be well worth it. I wouldn’t raise a finger to help them ‘defend’ themselves – alliances be damned.

“And like those other people, I have not the power to solely eject them from the alliance and neither the votes to be able to pull it off. The Oyadans seem reasonably content with them, almost kindred souls of sorts, except less antagonistic and they keep their house in order. The Midlonians, despite their seeming indifference towards all internal squabbling, are content as letting the alliance exist as a sort of feather in their cap, nothing more. ZMI mainly wants stability so they can plaster their ads everywhere and sell them their wares. And the Solontians…might as well be in bed with them…”

Ever questioning, the voice asked, “Is it time for a repeat?”

“Perhaps…perhaps not. We shall do what we have always done. Watch and wait. See if this blows over without anyone coming to blows. If not, it may be time to reconsider our ties…”

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Sunset
N&I RP Mentor
 
Posts: 3805
Founded: Antiquity
Civil Rights Lovefest

Cross-Posted

Postby Sunset » Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:57 am

SDF-Unconquered Sun, En Route to Rudan Prime...

"...right behind you," Grand Admiral Glafka finished, her hard-cast disguise not showing the stress that had crept into her tone though there were other signs; Hair that had been pulled back into a short tail now hung half-loose around her face and the muscles on her neck were visibly tense. "It would help if you would slow down."

Their meeting, held via holographic relay from Glafka's Dauntless, was being held at the elbow of the chair at the center of the upper command deck aboard the Unconquered Sun. Wheels within wheels, the larger strategic headquarters of the Defense Force itself encircled the regular command deck of the starship with its own cadre of officers and array of stations and consoles. At the center of the whole thing sat the tactical holosphere that currently showed the orientation of the ship relative to its destination while above it, across the ceiling, floated an enormous version dotted with a hundred stars and many times more brilliant points that displayed the disposition of the forces at their command.

Erika shook her head once, "I can't do that. The Roanians announced their arrival by destroying the planetary communications array from orbit. The Triumvirate Consulate reports they are holding their position, but that's for the moment;" Glafka nodded in turn - she'd seen the transmitted recording as well. The pillar of fire as the Communications Centre had been annihilated had been a stark reminder of what fate awaited the Tonhi if nothing swayed the Emperor. The question of what would happen after that awful moment hung in the air like a millstone around the neck. "And now the Tonhi fleet has fled."

By all indications they were headed toward the Diaspora - those worlds settled by the refugees from the previous crisis that had led by a short path to their current position. It was an perverse reversal of affections and a warning against the very nature of a Tyrant. Though manipulated, Damalin had desired the Tonhi for his own and had been willing to spend the blood and treasure of the Roanian people to take it. Now they were his and he would destroy them if he so much as desired; The perils of one given power without earning it and rewarded without understanding the value of the gift.

"But it's not your intention to try and stop them."

"No. Even if we attack their fleets, all he has to do is give the order and the loyal men of the Roanian navy will open fire on the planet, even if they have to die to do it. And if we do, he might just order it out of petty revenge. This is about one man - a boy - who shouldn't be sitting on that throne. His rage might be understandable," She squeezed the hand that sat under her own, "But his actions have no excuse."

"But we don't have solid proof that he intends a massacre." It was Demi's turn and the Ambassador slipped her hand out from under her partner's so she could sit forward, "If we step in before he does, we will be the aggressor."

"Murdered wives and children would seem to state otherwise."

"And I can't condone or even understand something so terrible, even in the heat of the moment. No matter if they agreed with the sentiments of the assassin or not, he has already received punishment for the crime. But if we try to step in - especially if she dies - we could be pushing the whole thing over the edge. Not just the Tonhi but anyone else who happens to be inconvenient to the war that will follow. I would hope that his allies see this as being as stupid as we do, but... Let's find out first."

"You don't have much time to talk," Glafka warned, her tone dark. Taking a half-step back, she turned to emphasize this by looking pointedly at the holosphere below them and the regular command deck that showed their destination and the rapidly approaching arrow that was the Unconquered Sun. "That golden tongue better be quick, too. And subtle. If he catches wind that we're talking behind his back, he might just flip the table then and there."

"Let's do it then," the Secretary-General ordered, "Right here. Get everyone with a stake in the matter on the line and let's see how they all feel about the petty tyrant..."
Quick Overview: Future-Tech, Extra-Solar, Multi-Species, Republic, Renewable Capitalist
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Roania
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1797
Founded: Antiquity
Ex-Nation

Throughout the Realm and Beyond the Stars

Postby Roania » Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:07 pm

Grand Gates, Radiant Palace, Closed City, Rudan Prime

"You have my thanks, Miss Ma."

As soon as Siela saw the Emperor, standing on the front steps of the palace, she knew that her day was heading drastically downhill. Of course it was. Why would it not be? Everything had started out so well. She had really thought she'd gotten the hang of this job. Had everyone ticking away nicely. Not the best of situations, but it wasn't a rotten one, either. And then that idiot had gone and stuck a wrench in one of the gears that ran this place.

And it was her fault. She knew it was her fault. In his mind, at least. She had suggested the wide invitation and the tribute, she had insisted that the Consort's family be treated as his... that he had agreed, she had agreed, would have no impact in his disordered mind. She wondered when the bell would toll for her, and how swift her end would be when it came. Still, protocol was protocol. And so she bowed slightly, keeping her wary eyes on the ogres and soldiers that stood around and behind Damalin. "It is always my duty to serve you, Lord."

"Yes. You have spared me the effort of sending for my family." And the Sovereign crooked a finger and beckoned his mother (holding Ise), his father and Tonen forward. "Good afternoon, mother. Father. Younger siblings. Everyone I could want except one, and I'll have them dealt with in time." The red eyes gazed downward, one of the eyelids twitching violently. And then he roared with the force of the dragon. "Is this how you greet your master? ON YOUR KNEES! ALL OF YOU!"

Slowly, Alessa handed Ise to Siela and went to her knees, bowing her head forward. After a moment, Selevar followed, his injured leg protesting. Only Tonen stood, shocked, upset, hurt and on the edge of tears from what had been possibly the worst day in his short, eventful life, and Siela ached to see the pain and terror in him as he stared at the older brother he had once worshiped, now become... this.

Ramiel had no time for such thoughts, though. He stepped forward, quickly, and took Tonen by the hand. "I trust, Lord, that you will remember that by your word and the word of your predecessors, children of this age are not responsible for their actions or lack-thereof."

Damalin's eyes focused on the older man, and the two stared into each other's eyes for a full three minutes, before the sovereign looked to the left. "As you please. But they remain. My brother, especially. I will have him learn from what is to come."

Ramiel closed his eyes and stepped back. "As you wish." And he backed over next to Siela and dropped his voice to a whisper. "If you need to, run. This may not be good."

"What is to come... Ramiel, you knew?" Siela's own hoarse whisper came out, the tableau before her suddenly growing with terrible meaning.

"I suspected." And before Siela could say another word, he reached down and gave her an affirming pat. "Trust."

Damalin, meanwhile, gazed down at his parents with the most violent expression Siela had seen on his face in her time here. They knelt before him, hand in hand, waiting. "This is your fault, mother." He whispered, using his chen to crack his words like a whip. "You put me here. You let these things happen. Why? Why would you do that?"

"Forgiveness, son. I thought you were ready." Alessa whispered. "And I had... I had no choice."

"There is always a choice. Did not you teach me that, father? We may do what is lawful and correct, or we may... not. I am your Lord, am I not? I say that the two of you have chosen the wrong path. And you know what I feel must be done with those who chose poorly, hmm?" And Damalin smiled a sharp-toothed smile. "After all, you put me here. You made all this possible." Damalin thrust his cloak aside and revealed the belt, and the scabbard hanging from it. "It has been a long time since I resorted to violence myself. I find myself growing accustomed to it. And it has been a longer time since the blade of the Emperors saw blood. How fitting, then."

And the blade was drawn, and Damalin cut it through the air testing the weight. His smile faded. "There remains, in my soul, one ember of mercy. Two, perhaps. After all, neither of you will suffer as I suffer. But no. I give you... I give you a choice." And the blade was returned to its scabbard. "Take back your Empire, mother. Take it back and leave me to my grief and my wife. Take my name with it, that I need never bear this burden again. I will take my wife, and I will leave this realm, and you will never need concern yourself with me again." And his hand went to his brow, and he took off his crown. The other went to the ring that bore his seal, and he removed that, too. "I give it to you. As a gift."

Siela could have dropped the infant in her arms. There was perfect silence. The guards said nothing. Ramiel said nothing.

The galaxy spun on this moment, and slowly the Retired Empress rose to her feet. For a moment, just a moment, her grey and lifeless eyes flared blue, and there was energy and strength to her movement as she stepped forward. And then it was gone, and she stood there, tired, sick, frail, defeated, and quietly shook her head. "Do you hate me so much, son?" She whispered. "You offer me the choice of being slain by my child, or of quickening my death myself."

"It is a choice more than you offered me, woman!" Damalin roared. And on went the crown, and on went the ring. "I have changed my mind! You shall suffer exactly as I have suffered! Guards! On my order, give the Duke a slow death." Selevar inclined his head, accepting his fate with equanimity.

And that was the end of that. "ASEN DAMALIN, that is enough!" Alessa stood tall once more, heat pulsing in her face, the eyes still grey but shining like diamonds. "You will stop this foolishness!" And she stepped forward. "Emperor or not, you will not speak to your father or I in that fashion. You forget your place! You are my son, and I know I raised you better than that!" And the Retired Empress marched up the stairs, the guards uncertain (and unwilling to fire on a woman they had recently been sworn to obey). And then, for the first time in Damalin's life, his mother struck him across the face.

Damalin's eyes widened, and he swayed in shock. The ogres who flanked him had no questions of loyalty to a woman they didn't know, though, and it would have gone very poorly for Alessa had he not fallen quietly into her arms, sobbing heavily against her shoulder. "I never wanted any of this..." He whispered. "I just want her."

"Without any of this, darling, you wouldn't have her." Alessa pushed her son back for a moment, studying his reddened eyes. "Come, let's bring you inside and upstairs, child. Husband, take younger daughter from Miss Ma, please. Let's see what is being done, and what we may do. Number two son, you shall stay with Ramiel for the time being." Tonen nodded, squeezing the man's leg tightly as Damalin helped his mother up the stairs and into the palace.

Selevar took a quietly crying Ise from Siela and sighed. "My wife could play that card only once, I expect, Miss Ma. Do not expect your problem to be solved so easily... anymore than I expect our problems to be truly solved." And he was off, leaving the officials behind.
Ten Thousand Years to the Lord and Lady of Ten Thousand Years!

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Oyada
Envoy
 
Posts: 218
Founded: May 13, 2008
Father Knows Best State

Postby Oyada » Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:29 pm

Hovering over a gas giant unnamed by Oyadan observers, merely accorded the dignity of a serial number for the benefit of the observatories and astronomers, a cluster of dispersed shapes scuttled, engines flaring as they fought the massive object's gravity well. To and from their hulls, insectoid swarms bustled; silvered, fattened, satiated tick-shapes, bulging with hydrogen to be refined into fuel for the Imperial Navy, and the work was urgent and endless. The Navy ate fuel at an appalling rate.

Their escorts, a squadron of eight destroyers led by a scoured-hulled light cruiser, watched the dull-seeming work with care from their distant positions, a ragged half-sphere sandwiching the tankers between themselves and the planet's roiling clouds. No telling where the keiti might show up; if they did, the destroyers' job was essentially to keep them busy until reinforcements could arrive, and the tankers could get clear of enemy fire. It was a poor chance; their charges outnumbered them three to one, skimming off the valuable gases like grazing cattle, and there was essentially zero chance of their all escaping should they come under attack. There was precious little talking anywhere in the lonely group; the net was alive with news from Roania once again, and that news had brought them to this planet. Behind them, it had also brought Mobile Group 67; three destroyer squadrons, two cruiser squadrons, and two battleship divisions, plus their auxiliaries, all in need of fuel, thirsting for it as they trekked the endless celestial desert.

The chain of fuel-scooping probes continued their journeys to and from the gas giant. In the distance, the vanguard squadrons of Mobile Group 67 were entering the system; scheduled to pass through, top up their fuel tanks, and then head on their course. Once that was done, everyone could breathe a little easier; the tankers and their escorts would move onto their next appointed position, and repeat their work for another group in turn. MG67 would turn their bows to their destination: Thanh-Tonh.

The name was familiar enough; not long ago, MG14 and MG25 had sat outside the system for several uncomfortably tense days, waiting for the alarm which, mercifully, hadn't sounded. The Roanians had been pushing their luck then, and they were pushing it even harder now. The duty rumours were grim, ugly, angry; angry at the Radiant Empire's irresponsibility, yes, but angrier yet at those who now ranged against them, summoning mighty forces which they would turn against anyone who failed to conform to their will. Oyada couldn't stand against those forces, realistically. That much was known to anyone who knew a little about Yut, and who had done the simple calculations that showed how hopelessly outmatched she was. That was why the Roanians must be defended; they were the last significant player who hadn't fallen into the orbit of the bloated Triumvirate, steadily expanding its way across the galaxy, bringing with it the “civilisation” that it so lauded.

Oyada had been “civilised” once before. The Navy's duty was to see that it should not be “civilised” again. Failing that, it was to make their enemies pay for their civilising mission in blood. The civilians would waver and fall, bow and scrape and capitulate, but the Imperial Navy would fight to the death. And if that meant fighting, and dying, to defend the idiot catbats, so be it.
Last edited by Oyada on Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Freedom's price is liberty. The individual and his liberty are secondary to our objectives; how are we to protect our lives, our culture, our people, if they all act independently? If each man pursues his own petty aims, we are no more than tiny grains of iron in a random heap. Only by submitting to the need of the whole can any man guarantee his freedom. Only when we allow ourselves to be shaped do we become one, perfect blade. - General Jizagu Ornua, The cost of freedom for Oyada, 1956.

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Tarasovka
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 371
Founded: Antiquity
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Tarasovka » Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:44 pm

Closed Session of the Defence Circle, Imperial Council of Ministers

“Our allies are adopting a defensive posture to the recent events in Roania,” the Duke Shen-Shoturskiy, the Foreign Minister of the Taraskovyan Empire, advised to the other attendants of the Defence Circle. The Imperial Council of Ministers, reduced as it was, subdivided into a number of ‘circles’. Each circle was presided by the Chancellor of the Taraskovyan Empire and involved the Ministers related to the subject matter at hand, serving as a sort of a formalized ‘brain storming’ club to quickly decide on policies for a multi-billion federal Empire stretching humongous numbers of lightyears and the Seven know how many cultures. Emergency reunions of a circle, just as for a Council reunion, also involved His Most August Majesty the Vasilevs Mikhail of all Taraskovya and Her High Excellency the Chairwoman of the Veche (the Taraskovyan Parliament), none else than Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Vethara of Taraskovya, also conveniently the Vasilevs’es younger sister.

The meeting at hand was urgently convened upon the request of the Foreign Affairs Minister upon the eruption of the crisis in Roania. All of the participants joined in remotely from all over the Empire.

“TYCS assets are reinforcing fringe worlds settled by Tonhi refugees and that are under Yut protection,” the Duke Orlov, Minister of Defence, confirmed. “However, pending diplomatic efforts, aggressive action inside Roania proper is not on the agenda.”

“What do we have the closest to these planets you mentioned earlier and to Roania itself?” the Vasilevs said pensively.

“Terebonka, Sire,” the Defence Minister immediately reported.

“Terebonka? Seriously? We actually called something like that?” the Vasilevs did sound genuinely surprised, even if, ruling the Taraskovyan Empire and its curious toponymic traditions, he was used to all sorts of irregular things.

“It was discovered by the expedition of Captain Third Rank Agniezka Terebonka of the Deep Space Reconnaissance Directorate, Sire. And in line with our general naming policies…” the Duke Tal-Nash of the National Security Ministry explained.

“Poor woman,” the Vasilevs sighed.

“His Serene Highness the Duke Mstivoy of the Imperial Blood is the namestnik of Terebonka,” came the voice of Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess. “As your Most August Majesty has appointed following His Serene Highness’es mission to New Edom. Additionally, His Serene Highness commands the Terebonka Combined Arms Group of the Third Outer Colonial Theatre.”

There was a moment of silence as everyone pondered on the Vasilevs’es next words. The Vasilevs’es first cousin once removed, the man that His Most August Majesty wanted to keep as far away from any events in Taraskovya as possible, suddenly popped up on the center stage of a possible international conflict. All the stars aligned: Taraskovya’s hatred towards Roania, Mstivoy’s appointed to Terebonka.

“Yes, I do remember,” the Vasilevs said pensively. “The Namestnik’s assets are clearly not sufficient to deal with a major crisis.”

“We can place additional assets under the Namestnik’s command pending the evolution of the crisis,” the Minister of Defence contributed to the discussion.

“I do not believe there is a need for it. Dispatch a Carrier Group to Terebonka as an independent force, there is no need to distract the Namestnik from his current occupations,” the Vasilevs said. "Have our Ambassador to the Council of Yut inquire whether any additional armed assets are required as part of a TYCS responce and arrange accordingly, within reason, of course."

The remotely conferenced meeting would carry on for some time, but somewhere far away on Terebonka, where it was already night, His Serene Highness the Duke Mstivoy of Imperial Blood, Duke of Lyazhsk-Starobrod, Namestnik of Terebonka, Commodore of the Naval Arm of the Taraskovyan National Defence Forces, CO of the Terebonka Combined Arms Group of the Third Outer Colonial Threatre, woke up with a hick up and went to fetch a glass of water, still unaware of the update that would pop up on his comms in a matter of hours.
Last edited by Tarasovka on Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Links: Nation Maintenance Thread and various Bits and Pieces

INCORRECT SPELLING - DOES NOT EXIST:
Adjective: Tarasovkan

CORRECT SPELLING:
Noun: Taraskovya (formal, high flown) ; Tarasovka (routine)
Adjective: Taraskovyan

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Zepplin Manufacturers
Envoy
 
Posts: 322
Founded: Antiquity
Ex-Nation

Postby Zepplin Manufacturers » Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:30 pm

Comet 4C Thiese, 2.8 AU from Tonh. Three minutes after the destruction of the interstellar communications hub.

Energy reaches it. Snap. Lenses and arrays on the sun side flower open, complex algorithms and the constant moving mass of thousands of cryo mass covered micro bots already controlling and predicting the flow of the outgassing and particulate loss to such an extent that as far as the lenses were concerned the view was clear as day. They expand as there flowerlike arrays open further as more circumstances are fulfilled in their pre programed triggers, the tiny percentage chance of being observed judged to have met requirements.

Moments later just under the methane outgassing dirty ice covered starward side of the cometary mass, visually and thermally utterly obscured, something erupted upward in the cold fire of a cometary tail. It screams automation, a towering obscure mast. For a moment it glitters, parts seemingly disappearing before it folds up like a dali paintings interpretation of a clockwork umbrella innards as it vanishes into the ice.


Long Patrol SC29 Judgement Free of Charge “How worthless freedom is without law”
Day Shift


It had occurred during the lunch session in the deep. Captain of the peace James Frankswerthy was a squat pug faced man of martian extraction, presently rather than in captain's formal regalia wearing a rather less than new or formal and mostly synthetic Spacers Working Suit. Only visibly different to his bridge crews by the rank markings and the fact it was a lurid red. A cool can of insta carrot and a deep fried kale bar (remember it’s not food if its not happy!) in hand while reclined in the C&C. He had been grinning as the engineering crew tried for the fourth time in vain to beat forward weapons ops in rapid simulation.

Just as he lifted his can of insta carrot, the smart straw self seeking a point between his lips the alarms broke out, the free of charges SI barking out warnings as the ships reactors ramped up. “Echo X-Ray Black four, Echo black four, Crash re-task issued!” roared around the ship.

At its first roar the can began to fall from his hands as Frankeswerthy slammed half a dozen controls and began streaming out orders, unnoticed below him a scutter deftly caught the can, the straw already having valved shut it neatly slid it into the closest resyk hatch as the hustle of activity and the number of screens open went up by a factor of ten and the dull clang of the ships citadel doors slamming and irising closed could be heard. The coms pit was already awash with displays as overhead the main plots updated and updated again as the squadron and general fleet indicators flashed and altered sector wide.

A hastily shocked crew operating by rote and training rather than thought had slowly got their minds around the priority one. The Market Saturation class cruiser, her long patrol grey and orange ripped through space, stealth a far concern as 11.2 gigahorses of output rammed into her mil spec transit drive.

Discontinuity.

Tonhi system. Stellar corona. Six hours after the destruction of the communications centre.

The Judgement free of charge sat wrapped in planet sized prominence's for a moment before bursting upward, the flash of her crash transit echoing outward in twisted colours and hues. Then she stopped, a close but safe stellar powered fractional orbit.

Unhidden and unbidden, her grav blades extended for rapid maneuver but her turrets still stay snug against her hull, missile cells cold, morass of sub craft, remotes, bounce platforms and sundry other horrors still firmly in their various bays and tubes. Her sensors however were roaringly active. Not painting but steadily actively scanning and recording even as sensor drone after drone vended outward in a great set of randomly walking spirals. Then she began to simply broadcast, her mil grade ansibles flashing in and out of reality like strobe lights.


Nowhere real in particular…

Voices. An overlapping harmony with a central morass of hard data flooding together in perfect synchronicity. The voices are while in the individual occasion seemingly split and speaking at once always part of the same harmony, in some cases the same voice speaking multiple lines at once. Overall though only the harmony counted as far as thought became action.

“His actions are no longer within publicly redeemable acceptance for the majority of the sol sector general public, continued public polling within all demographics of our own citizen shareholders are now at point zero eleven percent approval and dropping, the killing of minors is especially negative. Majority of free press now using the terms “despot” “grief fueled maniac” and most worryingly “rogue state”. The lack of checks and balances is exceptionally unfortunate.

“Eleven? Speculate and analyse lower income groupings lower percentile C2 to DE in megs one through three, isolate Meg one, increase annual sociopathic tendencies watch funding by .93 percentage points. Confirmed. Bill raised in concilium, time to ratification fourteen hours, expected opposition negligible outside of outliers.”

“He will have forced us into a position where he will violate our prime obligations to the point of non viability of treaty fulfillment. We cannot defend action on worst scale scenarios if we are unable to even begin to defend his actions now. Possible implications in ninety eight percent off all negative scenarios are now classified as exceptionally unpleasant. Positive scenario windows are closing and of limited effect.”

“Gesion?”

“The embassy has full auto doc facilities and a class three medic but without stasis it is unlikely she will survive the trip. Further there medical practices are viable at the high end in theory. All probability shows that if we were to fail during stasis process, transport, hand over or base interaction or worse violate what they consider acceptable medical practice to save her sentiency embassy staff could be under maximum threat and percentages are far from good.”

“Unfortunate, rationality compromised in the extreme, logical appeal now highly improbable.”

“Oyada?”

“Will follow them into the cycle to a point of 90th percentile.”

“Recourse?”

“For the Oyadans.. let them eat the same silence the rest will receive under echo x-ray black four, all out system fleet elements are going to full non observability, we will not follow them into madness.”

“His mood in all simulations now precludes direct contact. He may even threaten us in person. Slay the messenger protocols are now for all intents and purposes in effect as the casualty count proves.”

“Inform Ramiel by back channel of our choice. The pie seller. Yes. That one. He is more than cogent enough to understand if not like or even appreciate our view situation. WE will not permit Rudan to burn… but nore shall we save the mad.”

“Fleet comcon is now at black echo. Long patrol plan Cross Party Justice is assembling. Battle fleet is now at active, strategic elements are however in cold standard deployment”

“No increase is necessary. Exchange is for us at least terminal. Maelstroms two through twenty will remain docked as planned”

“Inform Yuts sovereigns, directly of our position. It must not be misconstrued at any point within their structure.”

“Full code book violation? No. Level three only. They can speculate further.”

“Why not. They would do it to us and within all probability can. Broadcast it to their flagships, task force leaders, supreme military commanders. Eyes only… make the origin point her. ”

“Her?”

“She would be the one doing it to us in the opposite situation.”

“Level of detail?”

“Public ROE for code echo xray black four, no other contingency, only the first three layers of the decision tree sans clause four. They after all would not even be engaged under it”.

“Signature ?”

“Full formal. ours. Address it to them individually”.

“Oh a spamming we shall go”

“Indeed...”


“Prepare a folio. For after.”

“The victims. Encapsulate them. Tailor it. Maximum targeted empathy, impact with implications for restoration of sanity. Especially the minors. Pull everything. If he must wield the sword he shall know its price not in full as we wish as that would break him still further but what we judge necessary.”

“Final contingency?”

“Two hours plus or minus twenty minutes depending on the relative position of the Roanian home fleet elements. Thats how long we can jam them before the ..device burns out beyond recovery or they can send a courier outside of its field of effect. We have increased its efficacy by seventy six percentage points after all.

"Should he find out where it was originating from and turn what is quite clearly now his military on the compound ..minutes only, it would ruin the province.. but at that point we do not think he would care.”

“And at that point?”

“Echo X-ray Black four, clause four. If one must die so a world may live so be it.”

"Prime actor?"

"Marie."

"Most capable. Time to implementation if triggered?"

"Twenty three minutes, seventy two percent success ratio plus minus twelve"

"Gession would be in mourning for an estimated thirty two months on failure of her containment."

"Acceptable. His services would not be in such demand given clause fours implementation."

“Response echo x-ray black four indeed.”
Last edited by Zepplin Manufacturers on Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:37 am, edited 4 times in total.
What are you going to do? Assemble a cabinet at them?!
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Tarasovka
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Tarasovka » Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:41 am

ZMI: On matters Martian and Sanglanti

A very polite message is dispatched from the Taraskovyan Empire to their ZMI partners, both protector powers of the Sanglanti Coast on Mars, with the ZMI holding the west and Taraskovya the eastern reaches of the Coast.

The message is clerly in line with all the flowery Taraskovyan diplomatic political correctness and expressions of respect to their partners. The points outlined in the message are quite straightforward:
    1. Given the potential escalation of tensions over Roania and the hypothetical strategic considerations arising out of this theoretical escalation potential, Taraskovya proposes to ZMI that both powers refrain from any further militarisation of the Sanglanti Coast within their respective spheres of interest and responsibility.
    2. Taraskovya proposes that the Sanglanti Coast be removed from any potential considerations of strategic importance in using the Coast as a theatre due to the position of Roanian Darsalin Base to the west of the Western Coast. Thus, should such agreement be reached, no party shall include into their potential strategic considerations any transit plans for the Coast in any hypothethical escalation scenario for either them or any other parties.
    3. Should Taraskovya's assistance be required in any interactions between ZMI and the Triumvirate, such shall be readily provided. Taraskovya in turn counts on the support of ZMI should any interactions be required between Taraskovya and the Concordat.

The message ends with reassurances of further amiability and cordiality from the part of the Taraskovyan Empire towards their old time and established partners in the ZMI.

[OOC: I am sorry for not writing out in properly IC diplomatics, but really, really brain dead.]
Last edited by Tarasovka on Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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INCORRECT SPELLING - DOES NOT EXIST:
Adjective: Tarasovkan

CORRECT SPELLING:
Noun: Taraskovya (formal, high flown) ; Tarasovka (routine)
Adjective: Taraskovyan

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Roania
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Ex-Nation

Tonh System, Planet Thanh-Tonh, Orbit

Postby Roania » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:03 am

This is not a drill. Foreign ships have been detected entering the System. All men, this is not a drill. Report to battle stations. Repeat, report to battle stations.

Klaxons wailed across the ships of the 8th Fleet, captains moving their men into position. Behind that vast armada, the 7th fleet was moving to high alert, but Admiral Ko had other matters to concern himself with at the moment.

***

Admiral Lan walked into the bridge. There was a chime. Admiral on Bridge. The crew stood up, and sat back down at his nod. "Information, Captain?" The Admiral took his seat behind the Captain's command chair and leaned forward even as the tactical overlay popped up. "News?"

"Honored Admiral, our sensors are picking up several foreign vessels in orbit of the star. We haven't determined their origin and their heading yet, just their entering real space. Results will.."

Lan stroked his chin. "Full Comms, Captain. Text only, Wide beam, all headings. And go."

Code: Select all
I AM ADMIRAL LAN OF THE EIGHTH FLEET. HEED MY WORDS. THESE WORLDS ARE, AS ALL WORLDS SHALL BE, SUBJECT TO THE DRAGON THRONE. THE INCUMBENT ON THAT THRONE, OUR SOVEREIGN THE SHENQIN EMPEROR, THE LORD OF TEN THOUSAND YEARS, HAS DECREED THAT THE PLANET TONH IS CLOSED TO ALL WHO WOULD LEAVE AND ALL WHO WOULD VISIT. YOU MAY STAY IN THE SYSTEM OR DEPART AS YOU PLEASE, CHILDREN OF THE OUTER SPHERES. BUT ANY ATTEMPT TO APPROACH THIS WORLD OR INTERFERE WILL BE MET WITH FULL FORCE. THERE WILL BE NO SECOND WARNING.
Ten Thousand Years to the Lord and Lady of Ten Thousand Years!

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Scolopendra
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Scolopendra » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:06 am

TYCSHQ, Port Aurora, Titan

GLONET was an interesting angle of--'attack' was the wrong word--distribution for the Zeppers' message. It makes perfect sense to the CINCTYCS as he mulls of his copy, looking between that and the reports coming in from Sky Marshals and component commanders of compromised comm codes and unauthorized foreign messages. Those reports came in via the air-gapped Glow Cloud, the successor to the far more hierarchical Psychedelic Christmas Tree made strategically insufficient by the Time Hole Incident, and the codes used were open-comms peacetime ones that generally contained mundane data. Having that compromised isn't pleasant, since quite a bit could be inferred from it, but neither is it a MAGIC or ENIGMA-level strategic failure. That was ensured by procedures enacted in the wake of the Overdub Incident, which made it very clear that neither GLONET nor the YutLink were particularly secure to a sufficiently powerful force. Hardware air-gap security would, now and forever until better data came along, supersede software security as far as the TYCS was concerned.

"Have new open and semi-dark codes generated by Central Dogma and distributed through the Glow Cloud," the short man of Chinese extraction says from behind his spot-lit desk. His mirrored MacArthurs reflect only the documents and pool of light in front of him, as the shadow of the visor of his wheel cap protects them from the spotlight above.

The Adjutant nods from her place in the relative darkness, her greying hair bobbing slightly with the motion. "We're not going to pass it through CodeWANCC?"

"There's always a higher possibility of compromise when going through academics. Have them keep working on new codes anyway."

"Shall I have things organized on a counter-intelligence basis?"

"No, they're too bright for that. Personalize or segment the streams and they'll catch wise. Simply increase surveillance for a period."

"Acknowledged. What about the direct transmissions to the Council?"

"I'll address them personally, just as I am about to now. Thank you, Adjutant."

Knowing the score, the Adjutant rises, nods, and leaves the room. The light goes out.

TO: Whomever it may concern, ISZM
FR: CINCTYCS
SJ: Mutual understanding

Thank you for the detailed and thorough establishment of your planned rules of engagement regarding the current affair with the Radiant Empire. While I should be institutionally paranoid about such a statement--and I am certain Director Coranth of the Special Services will be quite wroth--we have always dealt plainly, if not on the same side, in such matters before. As such, allow me to respond officially in similar intent if not quite like kind*.

  1. You will soon see reports of our currently ported Nemesis-class strategic attack cruisers and their Shado-class escorts leaving port after emergency recall and refit. As you might expect, this is a standard pre-conflict procedure intended to preserve our strategic deterrent for second-strike capability. Since we have reliable intelligence that your strategic assets have done similar, I trust that this movement is not only understood, but expected.
  2. Current Triumvirate-level strategy is purely defensive at this stage. Unless we get Council orders to the contrary, protecting Thanh-Tonh is a job for the diplomats. PoliWANCC and PsychWANCC projections already establish that even requesting an Extraction Campaign would be considered further proof of conspiracy and would only increase the likelihood of genocide.
  3. As such, the Coreward Theatre Fleet is, as you've probably seen, reinforcing the Nimatojin systems of Zeta Irregularis and E'Xypndiltn due to their high concentration of Tonhi refugees. Tonhi populations inside the Akashan Union are, for the time being, considered to be outside the effective range of concentrated Roanian effort and are currently protected by Akashan and Scolopendran units as per their Akapendran Union agreements.
  4. Should Thanh-Tonh be attacked, however, Charter obligations would effectively force us to intervene. However, WarWANCC projections of Radiant Empire strength over-world indicate that full planetary bombardment will leave us with no one to save and, despite common misconception to the contrary, we are not obligated to prosecute vengeance campaigns. Indeed, should Thanh-Tonh be attacked, WarWANCC and PsychWANCC concur that our current defensive priorities would be the next 'logical' targets. We are currently planning for this contingency; please forgive me for not going into further detail than this.
While I understand the purpose behind your previous broadcast, it will perhaps be more efficient in the future to retain standard points of contact. I may be contacted securely using the attached code. It is probably not one you have, as of yet, compromised.

Respectfully,

CINCTYCS

* Clever use of GLONET. You are to be commended for taking advantage of publicized weaknesses in the wake of the Overdub Incident.
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Roania
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Ex-Nation

Rudan System

Postby Roania » Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:19 am

Inner Stellar Orbit

The First Fleet was on high alert. But that was nothing new. Every minute, warships appeared and disappeared around the great fleethold on Rudan Secundus' moon. The Grand Admiral was on the watch, and he'd ordered the entirety of his command to Rudan. Oh, let the foreigners come, if they had the nerve. Their vessels may be more advanced, perhaps, and there may be more of them... but the Empire was still the stronger, and this was its heart.

Rudan Prime's defenses were on high alert. The great stations in orbit bristled with weaponry. An attack on the Imperial Consort was an attack on the Emperor, and an attack on the Emperor was an attack on the Realm. There would be no mistake again. No trust.

Every foreigner was now suspect. Not that the servants of the Empire were so gauche as to say so openly. The laxity of recent months was gone, though, and everything was being done by the book. Determined Nmmr hunted through baggage ruthlessly. Crates that a week ago would have passed through with a nod and a wink were forced open and their contents scanned. A few Customs officials refused even to take gifts or currency in exchange for passage, even when the goods were not weapons. Not all of them, of course. Business is business and kickbacks were part of it. But enough to make getting 'contraband' in difficult.

Imperial Subjects, meanwhile, were divided in three camps. The residents of the Inner Sphere, who were appalled by the crime committed against their beloved Sovereign and against Ai and its cherished order. As was usual, they wafted through customs, a smile, a nod and some papers being their only requirement to pass through and reach the surface.

The residents of the Middle Sphere... well, some of them were appalled by violence against their master, and some of them secretly thrilled (though not foolish enough to say so). Either way, they bore the brunt of Internal Harmony's inspections. Every law was followed, every regulation applied, and most every weapon confiscated with a promise to return upon departure in the case of 'traditional weapons', and its destruction and a caning for those holding weapons not permitted. As per the law. And the residents of the Middle Sphere sighed and took it, because after all, this was the Law, the Emperor had been hurt, and fear was rampant. Well, some of them resented it. And that was permitted. But it was noted.

And then there were the Tonhi. No one wanted to be seen near the Tonhi. The word from on high was to either bring them to the planet to await orders, or send them back to Thanh-Tonh. And so that was slowly being done. Slowly, because commercial flight wasn't easy to come by, and the DIH had limited seats available, and again, no one wanted to be seen with the luckless individuals. All they could do was pray. Some of them prayed their little princess would be restored to life and things would return to what passed for normal these days. Some of them prayed for the safety of their home and family. And some of them, quietly, with ever-growing malice in their hearts, prayed for the death of the traitor-slut, because they knew it would mean the freedom of their world. Had they not been promised that? Yes!

Boundless Legion

"This is Hael Selese, servant of the Lord of Ten Thousand Years. You and your party, unarmed, are welcome to land in a shuttle at the palace port. Follow the attached flight course. At the first deviation, you will be fired on and your ships will be destroyed."
Ten Thousand Years to the Lord and Lady of Ten Thousand Years!

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