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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Postby Roania » Sat Sep 12, 2015 5:09 pm

Zepplin Manufacturers

Hael Selese hummed. And hrmmed. And made that curious popping sound that some people make when they're thinking. "It would be highly unusual." The Chamberlain turned his hand up and looked into the blue crystal stitched into his glove, a world of data and information flickering in his vision. "One might say unique." He sighed, broke the connection and met as much of Gession's eyes as he could. "Ambassador, I will tell you now that I have seen off three 'diplomats' from Outer Sphere worlds seeking to gain the Dragon Throne's favor with purported miracle cures, and ten emissaries from the Middle Sphere with much the same goal. Foreign and inferior creations are not what the situation calls for."

Selese held his index finger up and took on the tone of a schoolteacher administering a lecture. "For their safety, mark me, Ambassador. The Most High would not take well to miracles that did nothing, and the reaction to the situation becoming even worse would be... catastrophic. You would be the fourteenth, and I am sure you would not be the last. But none of your predecessors thought to secure an audience with a promise of secret knowledge that only the Dragon may hear. Curious, most curious. I should upbraid you for your impudence and send you on your way, but..."

Selese slowly, simply shrugged. "Your home is honored to have a permanent diplomatic outpost here, and you have been honored with the leadership of it. This puts you a cut above a mere seller of cheap trinkets and falsities. I will bring you before the Dragon Throne, then, and I hope you and your people will not have cause to regret it. Kindly follow, the way is winding and it would not do either of us any good if you got lost."

It could have been five kilometers, or it could have been half that. The palace had direct routes from the outer courtyards to the inner, but those that weren't reserved for the Emperor or for ceremonial purposes were intended for official business, and Hael Selese was nothing if not a stickler for the rules. Everyone else had to hike through gardens and long pillared halls and above all else the endless security to reach the Gate of Eternal Radiance, the great gate that marked the boundaries between the mortal world and the chambers of the Dragon. It stood alone In the wall, shining in yellow and silver, the seal of the Realm blazoned in the center. "Last chance to back out, Ambassador. No? Very well, on your tentacles be it. Kyim." At this word, he lifted his jeweled hand to the Dragon's eyes.

The eyes shone brightly, and the great gate rose into the wall in complete silence. After sufficient space had cleared, the Chamberlain led the Ambassador into the garden on the other side, where there was... immediately some confusion. The Imperial Guard was not in the habit of permitting unexpected foreign visitors through, Chamberlain's orders or not, and the Lieutenant on duty had a great deal to say, none of it complementary. Finally, though, superior authority won out and Gession was permitted to fully enter the Inner Court. From there, it was a simple passage through far more ornately decorated halls before they finally came to the Gate of the Dragon, which swung inwards soundlessly at their approach.

The Hall had changed since the attack, of course. Carpets had been replaced, the usual teeming mob of functionaries was now supplanted by silent ranks of guardsmen, the light had shifted from the usual soft and muted colors to bright sharp hues... oh, and there was a small dog sleeping on top of a pile of crumpled clothing on top of the Phoenix Throne. Just sort of there. Occasionally a hand reached from the right to stroke it from head to tail.

"Chamberlain." The ShenQin Emperor's voice was cool, quiet. He wore none of the elegant finery that may have been expected of him. Instead, he wore a simple robe of black and yellow, tied at his waist with a green belt. "I thought I'd ordered you to have yourself executed." Somehow his voice was as loud as if they were standing in front of him. And it was perfectly balanced, perfectly even and perfectly stable. "And here you stand before me."

"Indeed you did so order, Most High Lord of Ten Thousand Years." Hael Selese knocked his head to the floor three times. "And I swear, oh Lord, that I find my continued life to be a burden just as much as you. Nothing would please me more than to proceed to the guard on duty and have my head chopped off over my offenses, so that I may erase their infamy from my service to the Throne and from my family. But alas, Oh Lord, I cannot." A perfectly groomed eyebrow was raised, and the Chamberlain bowed again. "You see, Oh Lord, it would not do for me to fail to fulfill my service to you before I leave that service, but alas! No candidate for the post I would leave vacant has arisen yet that could aspire to my standards, and I would be a poor servant indeed if I put an unsuitable man in such a position as Chamberlain of the Palace. So you see, while I have the staff combing the records for men who are suitable, I must alas retain my miserable life. Forgive me for my failure to be prepared, Lord."

The ShenQin Emperor sat on his throne, staring off into the middle distance. "So I see. Quite a predicament. Yes. I can appreciate your desire to serve me and your earnest efforts at it. It is unfortunate you were not prepared, but you have been otherwise a most exquisite Chamberlain, yes? Of course. So I forgive you your trespasses, because I can be merciful. Do try harder to be able to anticipate my wishes next time, though. Dismissed." The Chamberlain bowed once more, knocking his head nine times, and backed out the door without looking up. "And now, Ambassador... Gession, is it? A pleasure to see you once more. Have you met Pe? Pe, wake up and say hello to the ambassador." Pe looked up from where it was wriggling its nose into its mistress's robe and gave a meek little bark. "Pe misses my wife, you see. Who I'm sure will be back with us any day now, of course."

"Now, Ambassador, what brings you here? What may I do for you? Or what do you propose to do for me?"

Dread Lady Nathicana

"Oh, this is intolerable. Nothing against the three of you, but I have work I must be doing, and the Secretariat's insistence on treating me like some sort of substitute for my granddaughter is beyond belief." Or so we may assume the good ArchChancellor was saying, as he was in the midst of eating a fairly large turnip. "Pleasure to see you again, truly, Majesties, Doctor. Don't know what the Chamberlain told you but he told me you wanted a look at the Consort? No news is bad news there, I'm afraid. Students been working in the archive for days with nothing to report, either." Turnip devoured, he tossed the stalk lightly into a delicate wicker basket before coughing a few times. Yes, he had probably gained a few centimeters in diameter. "Well, alright, this way."

Kouran had no need or patience for frivolities unless his life was on the line, and he had reached that age and place where he considered death as an abstract event that generally happened only to other people. So he quite cheerfully led Naiya, SHODAN and al-Fulani into the direct passage, brushing aside objections from guards and servants without even acknowledging them. Partway through, he gave into some innate urge to start giving a lesson on the palace's architecture, and how one series of arches and walls was clearly much older than another, almost identical, series. And then they were through a solid wooden door with the Seal on it, and there was a right turn, a left turn, another right and... "Your stop, Majesties, Doctor. I'm sure the Surgeon can arrange for you to get out if need be."

Inside, past the steadfast ogres and the tense and agitated guards, was... well, things had change here, too. All other beds and equipment had been set aside. The half-naked AiQien lay motionless on the bed, assorted local and solar medical gear hooked to her, providing endless seas of data onto a hovering screen in front of a felinoid who scarcely even looked up at the entrance. "Mmr? The specialists? Mrrrrr honored Surgeon Kousenel and Doctor Chang has stepped out to make a call and, mmmrrr... find some tea. I am Doctor Nmmr. Forgive mmmmreee for not bowing, but as you can see..." Nmmr shrugged his shoulders tiredly, "mrawp, we do what we can with what we have, and still it mrrrrocks us."

Nmmr swiped aside a section of the screen with a claw. "Mmmmr, all very well telling us we're doing a good job but just need to try harder. Mmrrawp, he doesn't know. Mmr, I would say release her, but... well, grieving husband, very sad. Grieving Master, very bad. So we try and try, mrawp, but no sense."
Ten Thousand Years to the Lord and Lady of Ten Thousand Years!

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Postby Zero-One » Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:14 pm

Naiya had met Kouran before. He was a decent enough sort, though as he began his treatise on the architecture, she recalled his penchant for going perhaps a bit overboard with such things. The young woman smiled in spite of the gravity of the situation, nodding appreciatively, making brief comments now and then as politeness required. It was harmless, really. And one never knew when such minutiae might come in handy.

“I hope Aleis is still doing well,” she offered when the young woman was mentioned, recalling the exuberant young lady with the heaving bosoms and desire to see that everything ran smoothly. It had been one of the nicer points in a rather interesting visit, seeing her making the rounds.

Of course once they arrived at their eventual destination, she drew back into a more appropriate, serious demeanor, waiting quietly for the explanations to be made, exchanging looks with her companions as the information was given.

“Please, no need for formalities,” she assured Doctor Nmmr. “There are more important issues to hand.” Naiya left any professional questions to her aunt, preparing to take direction from her as needed on a less obvious level.

As for her traveling companions, al-Fulani blended in the background and made no attempt to be anything but moving scenery while S.H.O.D.A.N. merely maintained her quietly regal bearing. She condescended--in the archaic, positive sense--to listen to Kouran with the smile of noblesse oblige and nodded politely to the doctor’s apology. “We’re all professionals here.” Her slitted pupils danced over the displays and what few notes were, and quickly assessed that the doctors here had probably done nearly everything that was physically possible. She may have been able to do it more deftly with less surrounding tissue damage, but the end result of conventional methods, even in her hands, would be approximately the same.

Accordingly, she contacted her niece via previously arranged channels. How would you like to assist your aunt in doing what she does best? From a snap diagnosis, I would estimate to a high order of probability that we are not dealing with any conventional injury, and so our more… esoteric skills may be particularly useful at this juncture.

Perhaps a surface scan of any neural activity, if anything. It might at least give us an idea of what state her mind is in. From there, I will follow your lead. I’m not comfortable with any of this, Zia. I don’t want to do any damage, accidentally or otherwise, came the silent answer. There were perhaps other things she could do, but Shodey was without a doubt, the most skilled in anything physical, and a great many other things. Naiya on the other hand rarely had the opportunity to flex her abilities. And for good reason.

S.H.O.D.A.N. stepped up smoothly next to the princess and placed her padded fingertips on either side of the patient’s face. From there--after a quick ultrasonic scan to establish brain structure--she could use the passive sensors in her fingers to monitor brain function down to the synapse level. “I am currently getting a physical view of her neural activity,” she explained aloud. “Naiya, if you could join me here, please?”

And besides merely the physical, we should look--merely look, mind, don’t touch--at what else may be acting. Reixanxi are, after all, not as mundane as your fellow countrymen are. The thoughts contained the hint of a smirk, even as she started using the powers that she had been nurturing ever since she had begun her research into psionics.

Naiya simply nodded slightly, and took the indicated place at her aunt’s side. Ever so lightly, she laid her fingertips on the unconscious Ai-Qien’s forehead, dropping her usual defenses and protections enough to just as lightly brush her consciousness against that of the comatose empress. such brushes were always passive, never invasive, and were things she had been capable of from a very young age without realizing.

There was nothing there, much as when a person had sufficient mental blocking abilities, knowingly or not. Even sleepers had dreams, but the delicate woman laying still there might as well have locked her mind away from any prying eyes. Naiya shook her head imperceptibly at the first check, then proceeded to carefully expand her search.

S.H.O.D.A.N. got the same result from her highly hermetic methods. Basic standardized assensing procedures--some cribbed from literature, others she’d built over years of experience--effectively delineated the wall the Naggorothi established previously. Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Appears to be a basic psionic barrier. I cannot place its origin without further analysis--which could potentially disrupt it--but it does follow common mage procedures and I do believe I can circumvent it whilst holding it in place.

It will be simpler to show you, I think, Naiya replied, her brow creasing in concern. The images that were strongest were that of serpents, writhing around inside the girl. It was they who continued to spread the poison, feeding the wound. How it physically worked, she had no idea. But through the more mystic lens of her birthright abilities, there was a dark void at the center of Ai-Qien’s self, and through it, her very being; her soul was being drawn away.

The Imperatrice was not foolish enough to do anything more than observe, and share her vision, as much as she wanted to know where her life force was being drawn away to. As her aunt had said, no touching. I wish I weren’t. I’ve never seen anything like this before.

Ah. You’re already past it. The advantage of more… nebulous methods. Allow me a moment to confirm. The process, if it had a physical analog, was less of that of breaking a safe without using a drill and more like listening to the tumblers to align them, and then threading a fiber-optic borescope in the resulting gaps to see inside without pulling the latch. I’m in. And… It took her a few moments to check, back-check, and confirm what she saw, based on databases of databases of experiments she’d run in Test Sectors scattered throughout space, as well as recorded data from emergent and exigent metanormal events throughout her experience. Well. This is less than fortunate.

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Benevolent Dictatorship

Postby Northrop-Grumman » Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:13 pm

The Ambassador to the Concordat’s office appeared to be in stark contract with the rest of the space station and was the result of someone who had managed to have enough pull to have it laid out just the way he wanted it. The walls were lined with bookshelves containing information on laws and regulations of member states and those he had worked with in the past, cultural handbooks, and local food guides. In addition, he had plaques congratulating him on ten, twenty, thirty, forty, and even fifty years in the foreign service. And of course, scattered about the room were pictures of his wife, including the obligatory dated wedding photo; his children; his grandchildren; and finally plenty of his black Labrador retriever.

In the midst of this sat the Ambassador himself, Tom Davidson. His weight and height were about average, though he had managed to lose an inch or so from his younger days, and his white hairline had receded slightly, showing his age. He had on large thin-rimmed bifocal glasses. And his attire was fairly ordinary too: black slacks, white dress shirt, and a plain red tie. As he read through a folder of the latest missives from the other offices, the man swiveled back and forth in the positively ancient wooden desk chair and rapped his knuckles against the equally old desk. Yes, the uncushioned chair was uncomfortably straight, but ‘it’s better for the back!’ he had argued to anyone who dared replace it.

When Zhilra entered the office, his eyes brightened, and immediately he rose, gesturing towards the wooden chairs on the other side of his desk. “Please, have a seat!”

“So what can I do for you, young lady?” he asked, smiling, and then thrust a golden bowl full of golden wrapped caramel candy at her. “Here, have some candy!”
Last edited by Northrop-Grumman on Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Zepplin Manufacturers » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:48 am

Rudan Prime
Gession once again opened up the logo filled paper and reiterated its contents in senatorial deep tones that only someone of his stature could produce, he continued with the repetition of portents of relationship based doom if a wife were to find her husband had committed the genocide of her people and the murder of her entire family.

Then he got to the third section.

“It is our qualified analysis that If you carry out the destruction of the Tonh homeworld it is not just missing the target of your own justice or and vengeance, it is highly probable that the Roanian empire will suffer a point four point seven to point four eight internal event on the Seldon-Rice-Mollari scale escalating and that this was the goal all along. Escalating possibly to terminal levels should we reach full exchange. This results in a near perfect terminal situation for you, your line and close relatives, carried out in all probability by the same grouping presently deliberately straining your person by the attack or groupings arising from the escalating event. This attack was very well designed, professional, exotic and aimed at the destruction through you of the Roanian empire as a coherent military, political and market force for no less than two to three generations with minimal cost to the perpetrators and maximum collective destruction and fatalities amongst the general population of your empire. “

Gession looked up for a moment then continued.

“ The death of the Tonhi homeworld, your own effective discommendation from your peer groupings and social support structure if not your own assassination and your wife’s are secondary and sordid bonus objectives. In short this is not about you. Its tone is much darker than a mere revenge. Its tone is change of regime if not its collapse. Its tone is to erase you and her as a side effect. They know how to push your buttons. They are doing so. From your fleet posture and actions they are succeeding. You are our ally. We trusted you with a view within us and what it was to be bound by the duty. What it meant and what it means and its true implications on a personal basis. We do not do this often or lightly. You have the misfortune to be a fulcrum point of geopolitics. You did not ask for it. No one worthy does. You could be great. We would rather you were and we would rather not attend your funeral or watch over the funeral pyres of all of our worlds with lesser terms or worse attached to your rule. These options are now disappearing. The only way to win is to not play their game of death and counter death. It is what they want. It is what they will feed upon. Bring your enemies to your justice but do not allow them to win. For you have only to loose once, they in the shadows and darkness can try over and over again.”

He allowed the paper to fold itself away, its final click echoing throughout the room.

“Majesty as you have personally experienced the Gestalt are not .. the normal sort of ruler. They rarely issue such personal warnings without reason.”
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Postby New Naggoroth » Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:17 pm

The shuttle port attached to the Imperial Palace was usually a busy place, though today was one of usual calm. Plenty of comings and goings at nearly all hours of the day were the normal, as the palace was a hungry beast that needed constant feeding, and was the central hub of nearly all diplomatic travel in this quadrant. As the warm spring rain washed the tarmac as the various cargo lighters and small personal transports sitting idly by, Ellenith stood and watched what craft that were up and about come and go in order to pass the time.

The Reaver's Flight was supposed to have made orbit within the past hour, so Elly and Korhandris had gathered what they needed and gone to wait at the port. The rain had started not long after, and the blue sky had rather quickly turned an ugly shade of grey.

"Perhaps not the best omen, issyr," Ellenith remarked as she watched a small shuttle in Dominion markings touch down on the far side of the pad.

"In ancient times, perhaps. It was often seen as a sign that the offering to Manaan was insufficient. But perhaps we're more enlightened now then we were then, yes?" Korhandris said plainly, though there was something of a mirthful smile on his lips.

"But the gods are real... in as much as they can be," Elly said, turning away from him to once more scan the cloudy skies for signs of a ship sent by her sister.

"They are. But they don't interfere in the lives of mere mortals like us. Well, for the most part, as I understand it."

The low rumble of a naggorothi repulsor engine ended the conversation as their transport came swooping out of the low cloud to make it's approach. For a race that prided itself on its aesthetic sense, they just couldn't seem to make a space ship that was, ultimately, beautiful. The craft descending towards them looked more like a flying crate then anything, even if it did possess a pair of sickle-like backwards swept wings attached to it's rear quarter. It kicked up rain as it slowed above the landing pad, and ugly claw feet extended from its belly before it landed with a thump and a hiss of hydraulics. The ramp beneath the cockpit bubble on the nose dropped unceremoniously, and a slim naggorothi officer in a long coat and peaked cap stepped out quickly to greet them.

"It's been a long time," the officer said as she removed her cap, revealing her short blonde hair. "Marquise Ellenith, is it now? And Archmage Korhandris, a pleasure. Major Drakharn, at your service," she held out her hand to show them aboard the ship. "I understand we're in a bit of a rush, so if you please..."

Ellenith rolled her eyes as she grabbed both her and Korhandris' bags, and hauled them along after Korhandris climbed aboard. 'It was just so like her sister to be so damn casual and unconcerned and...'

Her thoughts were interrupted when the major pulled her close for a reassuring hug when they were alone. "What have you gotten yourself in to, sis?" she whispered, her worried eyes meeting Elly's. That was an expression she was not used to seeing on Scarlet's face; genuine worry and fear.

"It's... a long story. Lets get flying, and I'll tell you everything."
Last edited by New Naggoroth on Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Roania » Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:56 pm

The Boundless Legion

"How nice to see you again!" Faren, Duke of House Greizon, had been waiting for Marcus and his companions with two heavily armored giant guards that towered over him. "A shame we can't meet under friendly circumstances, Captain Marcus." The kitsuite was dressed impeccably in his old uniform, and reached out to clasp the Captain's hand "This is Captain Marcus, from the Boundless Legion. He was very helpful at that big Peach Festival a couple of years back." He glanced down to the woman who stood at his side with rather more confidence than most Imperial women. "Aesenae, this is..."

"Points for trying, Faren." Aesenae said, with a bright smile. "My husband has never entirely taken to local ways in some things, nor has he ever been a very formal individual. It is his charm." Her eyes twinkled and she performed a perfect bow, as was appropriate from the wife of a great noble to a Captain in the military. Age did not touch her as it had the Kitsuite; she may have been his equal or his junior, it was impossible to say, even more than with many women of her people. She was, however, significantly taller and curvier than the majority of them, too. Much curvier. Either way, she seemed very much her husband's companion, at perfect ease with him, and he with her. "I too wish I had the chance to meet you under friendlier circumstances."

Faren sighed, his eyes closed, and he shook his head. "Never would have happened under my watch, and neither would all this..."

"Faren Greizon, that is enough, and not why the good Captain is here!"

"Of course, Aese. Captain, if you and your men would care to walk with me and tell me about your observations and the thoughts of your commander? I'm afraid it's not been great here."

Zepplin Manufacturers

Many expressions may have been expected from the Emperor as the Ambassador finished his speech. Sadness, sorrow, puzzlement, despair, wrath... but he had none of them. His face didn't flicker at all, nor did his eyes change from the clear blue skies. "I see." The Emperor smiled. Or his lips turned upwards. "So, if I continue on my current course you tell me my actions may put my Empire at risk? Endanger billions upon billions of lives? Threaten the safety of my 'beloved' family?" He rose to his feet, and held his hand out to the side. "Come. What was... ah, yes."

The sword leapt into his hand, the blue crystal in its hilt pulsing. "I see. Oh, I see. You think me a fool, do you? You and yours in the west with your 'freedoms' and your dignities and so forth. A fool and a petty tyrant. I have long known. I have known all you have told me about the future. Billions will die, you say?" And the Emperor walked slowly down the hall from his throne, the force of his chen causing his guards to turn and kowtow as he passed, in rows out to the walls. "Billions. Well, that is a large number. I must say, Ambassador Gession, your course of action should be clear." The voice began to rise. "GIVE. ME. BACK. MY. WIFE." And he was shouting now, all without his expression changing even an iota. And then the shouting stopped. "It is a simple matter. You worry so much about billions of people? I am worried about one. I have always been told you in Sol are superior in technology to us. Be gratified! I am offering you the opportunity to prove it. And I will be thankful. Oh yes."

"You think you have seen wealth, Ambassador? For the man who returns my wife to me, who claims her back from the forces that seek to steal her, there will be wealth beyond your imagination. I can give them worlds. Not rocks and magma, but worlds of life! And they could do as they wished with them, with my gift. And I ask for so little. One life. Just one." And the Emperor stopped, halfway, and just looked down at Gession, his hand on the hilt. "I certainly hope it is not too much to ask from the miracle-workers of the west, Ambassador. I truly do. My doctors confess themselves baffled. No, not to me. They fear me too much. But they forget my eyes and ears are everywhere in this palace. But your doctors? Yours can do so much more, or so I am told. And they will. Oh, they will. Because otherwise, I may need to start providing them with some... encouragement. Billions of lives, remember?" And then his eyes and face finally changed, the first going as red as a furnace and the second twisting into a fanged snarl. "Dismissed."

Dread Lady Nathicana, Zero-One

Down the hall, past a dozen sets of motionless ogres standing with massive polearms in one hand and oversized guns in the other, through two sets of doors, was the surgery where Doctor Nmmr was increasingly disappointed with these specialists. Not that he would say so, of course. Bad manners.

As for the victim, she imperceptibly shuddered, and from within the wound at her center more snakes writhed out, these the color of fresh blood. The older serpents then died, becoming more of the purple venom that was killing her even as her soul was stolen away. A few desultorily threw themselves at the 'barrier', to continue the visual metaphor. It flickered once, twice, and a snake vanished, but then it returned in full force.
Last edited by Roania on Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Ten Thousand Years to the Lord and Lady of Ten Thousand Years!

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Postby Zepplin Manufacturers » Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:35 am

Rudan Prime
Gession stared down the considerable height difference between him and the tiny madman who did not even come up to his beak when sitting, as Damalin advanced past the bulk of the guards and what would be a safe zone against person of his size, nature, much less particular training. The light show hardly impressive for someone from a world where chromataphores were common much less holography. To him the no more than letter opener sized blade, powered or not, was a toy in comparatively angry toddlers hands. Oh wielded by a lunatic who commanded the dozens of weapons that even now were tracking him or anyone else who entered this room but the little mad emperor had stepped outside of his safe zone and had made the bulk of his own guard useless by his own rash positioning. Internal notes were made. The boy could now no longer be trusted even with his own self-preservation inside his own throne room.

He rose to walking height on limbs as thick as Damalins torso, gave a perfunctory bow and backed out of the room in an utterly silent glide that was eye jarringly non humanoid, the black orbs of his eyes point of interest unknowable as they swept across the throne rooms interior. As the door closed Gession's usually greyish orange shaded armored bulk that could be seen where the uniformed harness and tunic did not stretch turned a very particular off grey for a moment before sweeping back to his obscuring warriors orange mask.

If anyone had known it or cared to look it up, it wasn’t the color of fear or greed it was the shade of pity.

Exiting the palaces monitoring zone several dozen minutes later he made his way to the tear drop shaped and to his mind overly pretty dipsec air car. As its hatch hissed closed and the screens flickered up with the standard half a dozen warnings of people trying to listen in he quietly began filling in the orders to have the embassy reduced to skeleton staff for the period. He then authored more, for the Megafrieghter to turn back for her crew and in particular the stasis operators would no longer be guaranteed safety and then finally as the air car wafted down through the embassies hanger he gently coaxed his integral recorders to upload.

Nowhere in particular

“Well that could have been worse. But still hardly positive. He will remember this though. The shame alone should have impact. “

“To what point long term?”

“True. If it can happen once, it can happen again and given their positions is a likely event”

“We will no longer act to support him without a mechanism of regency given this level of weakness and with the obvious gratuitous lethality provided much less the threats he and thus they can no longer be trusted. That is clear. He has become a menace.”

“Worse a predictable one. We shall have to be ready for refugees core ward. Allocating resources.”

“Mark Roanian space down another six point two percent on the insurance indexes, insure that travel warnings are issued, allocate funds for early pick up for those wishing to leave.”

“Most unfortunate. Inform Milicom to start shadowing there military vessels discreetly as they enter our space. They can no longer be trusted given that last line, inform back channels through the pie seller and the rest of the reasons and the consequences should that last threat be carried out proactively”.

“And our mobilization?”

“Maintain standard profile as prior, but divert another four long patrol groups to cross party justice and increase the junk positional data by another forty seven percent in cross accessed systems.”

“Have Dip-Sec contact the concordat ambassadorial local group and inform them of the outcome in gross terms but without detail. All but the Roanian ambassador. Forward a further complete report of that session, full records but no more than class two analysis to the Oyadans, address it to Naragan and mark it as coming directly from our office. ”

“Sig int suggests Shodey has an avatar present , directly monitoring with simple traffic volume analysis.”

“Forward the readings taken during the interview to her directly. Degrade the results only slightly. No addendum. She can perform her own analysis.“
Last edited by Zepplin Manufacturers on Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Zero-One » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:22 pm

“The poison continues to feed into her system,” Naiya noted aloud. “You were right about it not being a ‘normal’ wound, doctor. It’s being fed by a source somewhere outside. And I’m not sure how yet. We’ll need to look deeper, and that could be dangerous.”

Who in these parts uses magic on this level anyway? I thought they’d put a damper on all of that some time back. I know it’s partly why his mother had difficulties with me for so long.

All the more reason to keep such things quiet, the feline gynoid responded in like kind before speaking aloud. “The technology is subtle, but not outside of my understanding.” Any sufficiently advanced technology… in any case, I do recognize this. It resembles one of any number of serpent ‘deities’ that are unfortunately common in the multiverse. HELLSING has had to deal with several. A different node took receipt of the Gestalt’s recording of Gession’s interview with the emperor; still another sub-network of nodes analyzed it. This puts our host’s psychological instability into a new context. Snake-gods tend to infect via memetic vectors--’charm’ is much too nice a way to describe it--and there are, of course, the standard Judeo-Christian parallels of corruption and temptation.

That might explain what I saw a bit better. It appears there may be a link between she and he. He’s being poisoned through her. The poison, or whatever it is, ‘left’, as well as being replenished. Given the reaction we heard from elsewhere… it’s my best guess without knowing more, but given how rapid a change we’ve seen in him, beyond what one might expect, it at least seems to fit.

Shodey frowned, but only internally. That presents a problem. Snake-gods are also all about renewal, be they hydras or the ouroboros. We will have to defeat it quickly.

The young leader gently stroked her fingertips along the stricken Ai-Qien’s forehead, her own brow furrowed in thought. How do we defeat it then? Wouldn’t we need to find the source, and attack it there, while keeping these two alive and as healthy - and controlled - as we can? We aren’t even sure where ‘it’ is, let alone who. Or what, exactly.

That would be the only way to beat it permanently, yes. Assuming we can’t strike it through the fissure, the best we can hope for is that they are chained: take care of it here, and we take care of it in him. She calculated probabilities and ran rapid wargame simulations in her head, tweaking the variables to get a sensitivity analysis. However, even if it regrows heads there’s still only one of it and many of me, and plotters and schemers can be charmed by plots and schemes. I can isolate this node with a failsafe trigger and attract its attention. Worst case scenario is that it can infect me, does, and I can’t hold it off--no matter, it is not as though I haven’t died individually before. While it’s distracted, you kill it, or at least sever its local connection. Best case scenario is I can distract it, we take it down together, and I take advantage of the consilience of local imagery to reality to quite literally suture up that wound.

Naiya let out a slow breath, weighing things in her own manner as her aunt laid out the scenario as she saw it. The young woman didn’t like it, not given the risk, even if it was simply ‘one individual death’ in the grand scheme of things. That said, this was at least in part what she had bargained for when she’d made the choices she had. Even if the enemy was not the one who had been prime in her thoughts, and other’s plans.

Are you certain you could contain it within one remote body? Giving something like that access to You, as a whole reaches nightmare levels of concern, at the very least. And … are we talking deity with a small ‘d’ here, out of idle curiosity? I’m afraid my own background in various mythos is not nearly so encompassing as yours.

The concern did make the old mechanoid smile, and that she permitted to be seen visibly. Hence the isolation. This node by itself won’t be as strong, of course, but it should be fit for purpose. After all, all my bodies are remote. As for capitalization, yes, the lowercase would be appropriate. I could probably take it by myself rather handily in full force, but first that’s something of an excessive risk and second we are in a rather mundane young girl’s head. Those tend not to react well to titanic battles between unstoppable forces of will.

The young woman nodded, hearing the confirmation was enough for now. And what of Damalin? I can’t help but think allowing him to continue running about unfettered will be a very, very bad idea in the end. If nothing else, he’s already got several nations upset and suspicious from last I’d heard. There is no way they can understand the totality of the situation, and I don’t think telling everyone all the details is such a hot idea either. I worry that if we attempt an action on this end of the connection, the power behind it might respond on the other. If he’s out of reach, we may lose him while trying to save her.

Taking both on at once would require splitting up. They are probably chained; curing AiQien should at least stabilize Damalin, if not put him immediately on the road to recovery himself. If we split up, I will have to dedicate some portion of myself beyond the individual to taking this on alone, which increases the overall risk should I miscalculate the threat and fail. Finally, we do have a third agent, though his methods of intervention would probably be single-use only. Even if he merely knocks Damalin out, he won’t be long for this world. Her mental voice contained the slightest hint of a shrug. We have some degree of insurance in the immediate term, at least. In the longer term, we can determine what fetters to forge later.

Perhaps al-Fulani would be willing to be our eyes, at least as a stop-gap? Naiya asked, though her gaze shifted to the nondescript gentleman who had accompanied them, one brow arching up questioningly. He could ask or convince Damalin to come here if things are really looking to go sideways to a degree that we require some hand-on with the young man. That way, we needn’t split our attention, or presence, and even then, only at arm’s length if necessary.

Outstanding. “Doctor al-Fulani,” the neko-shaped mechanoid said aloud.

“Yes, ma’am?” Unremarkably polite was his response as he leaned up nonchalantly against a convenient wall.

“It may be useful if you could attend to our host--not impress upon his time, of course, for he’s busy”--and on an encoded tightbeam she sent along Gession’s slightly-scrubbed experiences to explain why--”but simply be available should he have any questions or concerns while we work.”

“But of course, ma’am,” he replied aloud. -And what’s my sanction?-

-Bring him here if he starts getting murderous. He loves his wife dearly, so that will be your hook. In the most extreme circumstances, knock him out. Be advised that doing so is--

-One way ticket? Well, I have but one life to give for my country. Make it count.- With a short bow in the unremarkably standard Scolopendran style, ‘Doctor’ al-Fulani made his exit. Should anyone ask, he would insist that he’d stay quiet and in a corner like he had been; he was simply being dispatched to be around should the Dragon Throne require him, whilst the primary team worked.

“Excuse me, Doctor Nmmr? Please continue to monitor her vital signs, and if you could--” The doctor-queen S.H.O.D.A.N. requested an entire string of complex diagnostic tests that would keep the local medical staff busy and hopefully unquestioning.

Naiya had watched al-Fulani go, her expression blank, though the wheels were still turning. Who exactly he was, what exactly he could do here, she still wasn’t sure, but even with the task to hand, it was a question she wasn’t likely to let go.

“If there is anyone free who might make it down to the market sector, I think the empress could use with a bit lighter air in here as well,” she commented. Granted, she knew the essential oils and herbs that she listed as her request would do little to actually help Ai-Qien, but they did help clear her mind, and they certainly smelled better than the usual hyperclean medicinal smells every hospital she had ever been to seemed to hold. She offered her aunt a slightly apologetic look and a slight shrug all the same.

S.H.O.D.A.N. simply sighed very softly and shook her head. Are you ready?

Naiya offered a brief nod, with only a sidelong glance at the other doctor as indication of her concern. Voicing it wouldn’t do any of them any good anyway.

Good. I’m isolated. Time to get its attention. In the mindspace representing something that wasn’t quite reality, where the snakes writhed and the poison hissed, the mechanoid, quick as thought, popped her head into the hole, took an equally rapid look around, then jerked it back out and retreated tangentially from Naiya. Crude, but sound: should anything follow, it would be automatically exposed.

The young Dominion leader was already quietly attempting to add some energy to the dwindling resources Ai-Qien had. It was healing of a sort, on a very light level. Enough, she hoped, to assist if their efforts resulted in a backlash from the source. The direct contact of her hands on the girl’s forehead and shoulder were not entirely necessary, but such things had always helped her with more ethereal contact. Meanwhile, she focused her will to a knife-edge, in anticipation of Shodey’s efforts drawing back rather direct attention. Serpents were sneaky, yes. But they could also be lightning-fast when they chose.

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Sunset » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:10 pm

Thang Long Citadel, Near D'Zytendi City, N'Xypndiltn...

One wrong turn followed another and Tradia found herself in a section of the tunnels that they hadn't seen on their way through to the Citadel and its maze of empty rooms and echoing hallways. There was a moment when she was about to turn back and check her mental map but something on the floor stopped her and she knelt to hover a hand over a wide trail of footprints pressed into the dust. They were older, though they were not Xypndi but distinctly Tonhi with their longer stride and sharper edged boots as opposed to the torn edges of the native sandals. A scattered streak wandered through them, however, obliterating most of them as it swept back and forth in a lazy motion. Ahead the passage turned off to one side into a larger chamber and behind...

She swiveled in place, following the tracks with her eyes as they lead back in the direction of the palace.

'Another entrance? I didn't see any;' But there were a lot of hidden rooms and side chambers where anything from a rug to a dresser could have hidden a passageway. 'Which way?'

'If we're satisfying our curiosity, then towards where we have not been. These marks,' Inspector Min pushed a toe at the odd trail that wound through the other tracks, 'Draw my attention as well. I am not sure what they suggest...'

'I have an idea, but you're not going to like it.'

Tradia's dark warning proved fortuitous. A thin, winding brown trail clotted its way through the accumulated grime and stopped just at their feet as they rounded the corner to find a much larger chamber that looked out across the water through a curtain of vegetation and a jaw of cruel rock that obscured the chamber from the outside world. A crude throne cobbled together out of several ramshackle pieces sat in the center and long-dead candles puddled on either side. The body of a young woman was tied firmly in place at ankle and wrist and her head lolled at a sickening angle. Even from where they stood, they could both see that there was something wrong with her beyond death and Tradia crept closer while the Inspector slowly circled.

"This is a foul place," he warned, skipping the silence of their Augmented communications to speak aloud for the first time since the shore of the lake. "These symbols," he circled one carved into the floor, careful to avoid even touching it, "I do not know them fully, but there are warnings. If they are found, we are to report it immediately..."

"She looks like she's been drained," The Adjutant ignored him for a moment, reaching out to touch the skin of the dead woman. She was no Xypndi - standing she would have been head and shoulders above even the tallest of the jungle warriors - but what she had been was hard to say; Her skin was drawn and tight and where the warrior's fingertips brushed it long flakes fell off in thin layers.

"A sacrifice," Min hissed. "To some foul god. And she was not alone." His foot had touched a pile of dirty clothing and turned it aside to reveal a long bone that was unmistakable in its origins. Shoveling more aside he revealed a handful of skulls and broken bones as well as trinkets and amulets broken and soaked in long dried blood. All were inscribed with the same symbols that decorated the floor and Min kicked these away from the pile in clear disgust. "I cannot believe that Li Nesar was involved in something so heinous but this is his own house - He cannot be innocent even if he only ignored it! I must report this to my superiors..."

"Does this mean he was involved in the attack?"

"Perhaps, but perhaps not. I cannot see how one is related to the other without knowing what all this is. But we still have the question of the ship's schedule; Perhaps that will shed additional light."

"I'll call the starport as soon as we get off the island. And the Executor. They might have recordings that we can look through."
Last edited by Sunset on Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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A Bloody Spring (Semi-Open; TG if Unsure)

Postby Roania » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:50 pm

Zero-One, Dread Lady Nathicana

"Aesiyah, this is a clean room." Once he had been heavy. Not as heavy as his colleague, but stout nonetheless. Now, though, he was cadaverous, and dressed in black and red, the little surgeon's badge and its attendant feathers of rank stapled to the shoulder of his robe, as if to remind everyone around him that he was an excellent doctor who had served for many years and deserved the faith of his superiors, whatever one or two lapses might mean. "I do not recall authorizing visitors, Doctor Nmmr." Kousenel had returned, his robes of state trailing behind him along with two or three less senior doctors.

"Mrawp? These are not the specialists you were expecting? Mrrr... they were escorted here by the Archchancellor himself."

Kousenel gave his felinoid underling a quick glance and scowled. "That old duffer has no idea how anything actually works, let alone the conditions our work requires, and it won't be on his head if it doesn't. Typical academic, barging in.." A momentary frown, and he sighed and lifted his hand towards his head, then exchanged in a rapid exchange with a woman on the other end of the network, fast syllables flying back from him and being answered slower and more uncertainly. Finally, the doctor sighed, crossed his thumb over his palm, and shook his head, the lights in his eyes flickering as he blinked once or twice. "Very good. My apologies, Aesiyah. I am the Imperial Surgeon, Kousenel Hai. I trust you will forgive me. While as you both know, female nurses have become common here over the centuries, it is still something unexpected to learn that two young woman such as yourselves may reasonably hold a claim to expertise in the medical field."

"Honored surgeon, the honored human doctor presented me with this list of supplies she said may help." Nmmr diffidently handed the paper over.

Kousenel glanced down the list, turned to Naiya for a moment, and frowned, his brow seeming to have more skin than expected for the purpose of forming wrinkles. Then, with expertise born from practice, scratched a swift series of symbols at the bottom. Then he slapped the list into the hands of one of his juniors. "Doctor Nmmr! You, Ching, Sai and Jo are to go to the market at the far gate and obtain these components immediately. It is imperative you do not return until you have found all of them, especially the ones I have listed at the bottom. I can only trust the four of you with this mission. Do not fail me, or our master! Lives hang in the balance, not least among them your own!"

Then he stepped out from beyond the door and pointed at the giant ogres waiting there. "You! Follow that man and render him all assistance! Don't look at me that way! You serve no purpose beyond keeping the sovereign happy, and the best way to do that is to help him!" After a moment's thought, the brutish guards shrugged, strapped their weapons to their backs, and wandered off after Al-Fulani. Them gone, he snapped the door shut and secured it with a press of his palm. "How does it... no matter." He stepped to the side, bowed low, and resigned himself to a supervisory position.

Whatever the lady doctors were doing, after all, now it would just be him and they to bear the brunt of imperial fury when it went wrong.

Dread Lady Nathicana and Zero-One, but 'elsewhere'

Describing the other side of that space is neither possible nor desirable. What is certain is that there were. far more dangerous places to be, but that it was still not a desirable getaway location. Even as the cat-eared head looked, another splash of color, the red of newly-shed blood, seeped in and down, carrying with it a river of reddish snakes. When they approached the hole, in that time beyond conception and actual time, where an instant could last a thousand years or less than an instant, the river stopped its flow to find its exit occupied.

There was a 'sound', after a fashion. A hiss, or a snarl. And as Shodey pulled her head beyond, back into the real world, the hole snapped shut, narrowly missing her head and then pushing forward to reveal it had been the maw, or a maw, of something far greater. The void began to spread, and AiQien screamed in a way that could never be heard in the mortal world, while the snakes that were left began to throw themselves repeatedly against the barrier, all while the rising serpent began to cast itself around, looking for a target.

Hall of the Dragon Throne

Having seen off, to his satisfaction, the impudent barbarian it was now time to return to his throne and await the reports of his minions. A touch of his hand to his head sent off the question.

"Honorable Prince and Princess of the Cheruv Clan, how goes your service? I grow evermore tired of the delay in seeing justice for This Lonely One and his wife, and it seems the fools in the west are unwilling to work the miracles I seek. Perhaps they need a demonstration to prove how sincere I am. Or perhaps they care as little for the lives of men as I have always suspected."

"Honored Sovereign, we have learned much to justify your..."

"What my lady wife intends to say is that we have learned much to justify your continued patience. I promise, when we have found the guilty amongst this world's population, we will bring them before you, Oh Most Enterprising Lord. Wherever they may hide."

Out loud, then, Damalin snarled and slammed his hand down upon the chair of his throne, startling a sleeping Pe. "They are all guilty! I thought you many things, Prince Nesar, but never a fool! Their guilt is firmly established in my mind! Your mission was to find those who are deserving of my especial attention, that they will suffer as I suffer!"

"Oh Lord upon the Dragon Throne, guilt and innocence are yours, as is life and death. I merely wished to draw your attention to a few matters..."

"Lord, there have been certain delays here as we search the jungles. I hope you do not propose to have this world destroyed while your loyal servants are on it?"

"Of course not!" And then a thought struck him, quite quickly. "Of course not, honored Prince Nesar. But... perhaps it is time to put in place a schedule? A time by which we will have to admit defeat, and I should begin the work."

"Glorious Sovereign, Lord of Ten Thousand Years, Master of Life and Death, Keeper of the Fulcrum of the..."

"I know all my titles, Karae Daeri. They are constanly on my mind. Do you have a point?"

There was a moment's silence, and then Nesar spoke for both of them, his voice loud and clear in the throneroom now, the crystals on the wall pulsing with each slow and deliberate word. "Sovereign, we understand your grief and pain. We share it. In the past, I felt it myself. It is not my place to lecture, or instruct, or demand from you, either. But I humbly petition that as I have always shown my due respect for the Lady Upon the Phoenix Throne, my wife be shown her due respect as both my wife and as your servant, and indeed a servant of your family from before your birth. If it would please you to do so, Lord."

Damalin's eyes snapped open, and his guards tensed at the sudden red glow from within them. But they coolled back to blue quickly and in a far softer voice he murmured, "Forgive this one. What is a King without the Respect of his People, and what are the People without the Respect of Their King? This is called 'The Worth of the People', and those who observe it prosper."

"It is not for me to forgive, or not to forgive, for it is not mine to sit in judgement on my sovereign. Now, it is of course within your rights to demand a speedy end to our search, and not my place to gainsay it. But we are quite close to a breakthrough, and as my beloved wife could tell you if she had not suddenly been called elsewhere by one of your other servants, you do not want to cancel an investigation after a mere few days. To find the guilty, forgive me, the especially guilty was never viewed in our mind as a matter of days or weeks. We have a whole world to hunt and the local authorities, if not treasonous, are not up to our standards either. I beg you for more time."

"How much more time?" Damalin stroked Pe's fluffy head some more.

"A month, I think, would allow us to cover the significant populated areas and follow any leads in the jungle."

"My wife may not have a month. You have one week."

"Honored Lord, I humbly understand how it may seem that way, but you must have some faith in the servants of the Dragon and their ability to fulfill their duties. And permit them the time to do so. Three-and-a-half weeks."

"Three weeks, Honored Prince, and no more. As it is, in two weeks I am sure the Grand Admiral will petition to to allow him to cycle his fleets."

"Then we will do all we can in three weeks, as you have commanded. If it will please you, Oh Lord, then I will redouble our efforts."

" month, Prince Nesar. One month, no more. Do not ask for an extension. And that is by IST, not whatever local day and time it is. Is this one crystal?"

"Perfectly, Lord of Ten Thousand Years. I will see to my wife and give the needed orders now. Thank you for your mercy and understanding. Prince Nesar out."

Damalin fell back on his throne and closed his eyes. A month, then. One month, and he would either have the truly deserving subjects of his wrath before his throne, or they could all burn together.

What a splendid sacrifice in AiQien's memory that would be.
Last edited by Roania on Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ten Thousand Years to the Lord and Lady of Ten Thousand Years!

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Postby Zepplin Manufacturers » Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:53 pm

Rudan Prime

The Imperial Market district heaved with people on foot from half a dozen worlds, it's smells varying from the enticing to the dregs of the galaxies culinary produce. The drone of voices and raucous traders calls echoing off buildings that were in some cases millennia old, in others synthetics that mimicked the style but had been thrown up last week and would be pulled down next. Walking through all this was a man who was Roanian down to the last detail, an unmemorable minor trader who sold his goods through half a dozen stands dotted around the market, an importer and trader of very minor note indeed. Loa Zei was indeed all of those things, and for the vast majority of his life utterly unimportant. He was also though he did not know it a superb, attentive and reliable int-sec asset.

The ring of vending machines dotted around the market selling there oh so tempting cool drinks vied with half a dozen other brands but the draw of the sweepstakes, that one chance to become richer than most who owned whole worlds drew everyone eventually. And so they spread slowly but surely, an insidious small refrigerated beverage or instant meal at a time, district through slow district, and most did just and only that. Loa was one of dozens of resellers who was more than happy to support the franchise. Easy money.

Though the machines did need the odd repair or upgrade for new recipes. Smiling at the shoppers as they passed he put up his small sign on a stick, it's polite apology guaranteeing service would be returned shortly and repeatedly asking forgiveness for the delay. Pulling out the key he gently slid open the tiny system panel and turned on the idiot box food fabbers tiny uplink.

Clucking to himself, after all he couldn't be too careful to not let some foreign code obsessed teenager reprogram everything to come out as rotten egg or something actually unsafe, no that could ruin his carefully won if very unimportant reputation. He carefully tapped his pad and waited for the update to complete, closed the uplink and sealed the box. He stood up and cleared the crick in his back before making his way home, taking his sign with him.

A few hours later after his evening meal as he went to link the pad up for the latest update it would quite silently upload the latest information to the Happy Happy foods server on the system health of the vending machines that now provided half his income. He and the other half a dozen minor merchants dotted across the planet would never know just what else was buried in those reports.

Deep within the food fabbers tiny system board molycircuits that weren't there a moment ago finished re etching themselves as darkness returned to inside the cabinet. A tiny section of the ear on Rudan prime opened up to listen again, well that and serve the best deep fried breakfast cabbage bars this side of the galactic core. After all it wasn't food if it wasn't happy.

Nowhere in particular

The harmony was now speaking to a single lone and very human presence. That suited presence though drenched with years of experience was a very small thing indeed compared to the orchestral response around it.

“Well he addressed someone directly on the Tonhi homeworld, and no known member of their government or the imperial hierarchy or at least an end point we have on record. So we at least know he is trying to find the guilty ...though not in the right place at all”.

“Do we have authorization to start hard cracking?”

“No Director you may certainly not, we are after all legally still there allies, you will have to do with signals intelligence.”

“and the active agents?”

“The pie seller has been used too often, cycle him somewhere unimportant for a a year or two.. outside the empire before he can be allowed to vanish. Activate the cobbler's daughter who serves the tea that they like. Keep Ramiel on his ..toes.”

“Inform the station head that we will return his post to her as soon as this situation passes. We feel this requires our personal attention. She is to enjoy her vacation. Enjoy your lunch director.“

The single human presence vanished to be replaced by another. This time instead of a suit it was a uniform.

“Admiral, you are to allocate thirty six percent more personnel to ONI’s Roanian section.”

“Ah yes, will do but the strain on the outer sectors is already building with the latest migration patterns and....”

“Of no importance compared to the number of lives in play in this affair, triage Admiral. It is all we can do.”

“As for the Sarians see that they are brought into play. We need to give Admiral Lan something to worry about other than bombarding Tonh.. after all the scavengers would turn up to raid what's left of a dead world. Or for that matter a live one. The Shr’in clan. They lack the capital ship numbers to really challenge him but they can hurt him sufficiently to make him worry and that Juggernaut is a threat that needs to be dealt with. The standing triple cut out through the Re”in minors guild will suffice.”

The admiral winked out of the space after nodding.

“They would have run into the imperial fleet in a few months in any case ..let us accelerate it and give Lan something he's actually meant to point all those weapons at.".

“Give Roanian fleet intel warning?”

“Why not. We are after all allies.”

Last edited by Zepplin Manufacturers on Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Co-written with Zero-One

Postby Dread Lady Nathicana » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:06 pm

One of the benefits of enjoying demi-godhood, or at least a close equivalent, was a relative lack of the usual limitations. Focus and attention on one thing need not preclude attention elsewhere. Naiya was in no way close to omniscience. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But insofar as the same room as her physical self, and projected will? That she could manage.

Her physical body managed a respectful nod to Doctor Kousenel when he made his introductions, and waited for an appropriate time to reply. “Bene grazie, il dottore. I can understand your concern. And I think we both have an appreciation of your currently precarious position. I’m Naiya. And I’m here to help your empress to the best of my ability. I’ll allow the good doctor here to introduce herself as she chooses.”

On the more ethereal side of things, Naiya’s attention was honed on the opening, observing as it snapped shut, feeling more than seeing the imagery of the gaping maw, the malign intent behind it. Her first instinct was reflexive, sending a ‘blade’ of her will straight through to the center of that dark core, while another slammed down just behind the ‘head’ of one of the newly-introduced snakes.

Ai-Qien’s scream sent a ripple of discordance through her projected image of self. Her reaction was to modify it. To counter the red-tinted darkness, her form took on a cool white glow, this time armored more fully for the fight in a clear challenge to whatever it was waiting on the other side. Their charge was not forgotten, as she added her own layer of protection between the shield the serpents were battering against, hoping to try and if not prevent entirely, at least lessen their effect.

S.H.O.D.A.N. had heard screams from nearly every species in nearly every state before, so her half-latent half-professional sociopathy held her in good stead as she spun around on one heel to confront what chased her. The form she took on here was her most comfortable one--the grey-skinned Ghost of Citadel--and her fingers danced around her as she mentally coded out the various techniques she’d researched and invented. This was also somewhat intentional--only somewhat due to her intrinsic madness--since if this were in cyberspace, she’d be moving more naturally, like Naiya was in this case. Descriptions aside, the result were two fractal webs crystallizing from the aether: one reinforcing the walls surrounding their battleground, and another wrapping around the serpent to constrain it. The latter included a cord that went to her hand, which she used to tug the monster in her direction, thus keeping it stretched out and open to Naiya’s attacks.

In realspace, the cat-woman avatar merely stood, turned, and smiled with a nod to the doctor. With the young princess’ neural networks mapped out, she could maintain connection using the “Outstanding work in stabilizing the patient, Doctor. We’ve subtler methods that are currently in work. The poison included a memetic vector”--she didn’t exactly lie--”that we’re counteracting with direct therapy to eliminate its hold.” That wasn’t a lie at all.

She’d answer who she was if asked directly, but she figured the combination of being grey, the patterns in her fur, the the circuit-board embellishments of her clothing, and her traditional usekh gave her away easily enough.

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Postby Zepplin Manufacturers » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:38 am

The surface of CHlacet, third ferrous moon of an unregistered black body gas giant in interstellar space, forty eight light years spinward of Tonh

If one thing encapsulated the location it was the smell. The mining platform reeked. It was angular, but angles that clashed with the two and a half metre tall heavily suited figures sensibilities almost as much as the orange lighting did. Worse the reek was a bad sign for any spacer, it stank not of crew or the tiny wafts of food from a galley but of the deep ingrained stink of oxidising metals and sulphur, of leaking mechanism and lubricant. But then the Re”In didn't really care very much for the safety of their seconds as he would care and indeed die for for his own engineer caste females much less his own position or for that matter any member of the clan or his property.

The Re’In seconds or manipulators were vile to behold in his opinion, extrusions of dark grey musculature and sense organs seemingly haphazardly tacked on, only one of the four in front of him was capable of speech, and that that it did say was helped along by a thick layer of thick viscous mucus. A vile effluent that the creature greedily licked back into itself after each utterance released rivulets of it. As another waft of rotten metal hit his nasal cavity he almost balked but then caring about the seconds as long as the fat slug like central body was intact was alien to the Re’In. The amorphous slugs did not care very much about anything at all save there own luxuries and safety and they could always split off another few dozen seconds given enough protein.

The suited figures eyes were a deep umber, his flesh a toned muscled green covered in tattoos that had once evolved from fleet insignia. His voice was low and steady, straining to not react to the filth in front of him. After all he was a herald and it was just not done for one of his rank to show emotion to such as this. He now held in one four fingered hand (but thinly between two fingers and after much wiping) a thick armoured data cassette.

“And you say they will burn their own possession because of this child's rage?”

“Yeeess yesss gggsgs it will overflow with ash then you can scoop up all that you wish, this one only wants a taste of that which isss gggsss gathered.”

Invisibly fighting his own disgust and the need to drive the muzzle of the accelerator pistol in his holster through the creature's torso before holding the pistol till it was little more than heated mist the suited figure replied.

“You will get what you want Vask, more if this pans out as did the others, we always pay our debts”.

“Yeess yess gggs you are known for it Has, ggs very good customers always but the payment gggs now for the last gggss shipment?”

The figure gently tapped something on his belt and there was a dull thud audible.

“On your landing pad Vask. You will have to move it yourself”.

“Ggss of no trouble honoured Sarian warrior of no trouble ggsss”

“Insure that it isn't, or the next time I visit it will be as they say with the family, I will leave you to your own … amusements”

The suited figure turned and entered the airlock as he bid his farewell.

Has T Shr’in of the Sarian raider clans spat a phlegmy mass onto the dust ridden floor of the outer lock floor before his helmet clinked closed. As he exited the spidery landing legs of his Beheader class assault corvette, Swift sure blade to the third eye, were already withdrawing into the hull as the mass of the cargo pallet had been dropped. Jumping in the low gravity he pulled himself into his own ships lock in one smooth long practised motion, all the time gentling patting the data cassette. The clan had needed a good blooding for a while to weed out the weak, the Prince would be pleased. These infighting Reixanxi already so close to drenching themselves in their own blood would do nicely. Anyone prideful to call all of space there own well, he smiled over his system boards as the drives warmed up and as his third wife coaxed his suits helmet off with skilled fingers that played across his muscles, they very well might be a worthy challenge and at least he would never have to deal with the damn slug again with a prize like this.

As Swift sure blade to the third eye jumped from CHlacet orbit barely an hour later the mining station erupted in light and fire as the Sarians “cargo” delivered its final amusements. The warhead had been getting old anyway the Princes gunwarden had said, beyond its final reprocessing and the Prince had been quite clear he did not want to have to pay Vasks price of exclusivity this time.

When the Blade erupted back into the real void she was not alone, the sky glittered and not with the endless stars of deep space, her drifting sisters danced played and fought, clan families in bitter blood rivalries etching out there final moments in sagas as they slowly orbited the ship lords great capital vessels. In the midst of it all though something lurked, obscured by the mass of drive flares, stolen cargo vessels and re purposed cruisers taken from half a dozen system navies. Its hidden form was a massive declaration of raw power.

Three hours later the Shr’in first wave of nearly two hundred Beheaders crewed only by the dregs of clan outcasts, the radiation worn and those the clerics had declared to be reviled ones performed a mass jump to the edge of the Tonh system. They would slaughter everything in there path until death though that would probably be far swifter than they had hoped and less personally glorious. The Sarian method of intelligence gathering was not always as refined as that which the heralds practised but after all the Prince wanted his winnowing.

Wither the Radiant empires fleet intelligence had heeded the ZMSF ONI groups warnings or saw fit to inform Lon of what was coming his way and soon was another matter entirely.
Last edited by Zepplin Manufacturers on Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Kajal » Thu Sep 17, 2015 1:33 pm

// CFS-TYCS Interservice Datagram //



//octet stream (type::CFS BMS charset::RI-EXT) RE-TT-OBSV-591:380.bspx//

Combined Federal Services Naval Vessel Shalbatana has detected foreign vessels entering the Thanh-Tonh system. Configuration and flags are not familiar to Combined Federal Services, though arrival followed an observed increase of Incorporated State communications. Platform MANTICORE has been dispatched from below ecliptic to augment current platform SPHINX in CFSFI opSec "DIRAC".

A.) Foreign presence entered near Platform SPHINX initial entry point at system edge; energy emissions indicate high probability of active weapons systems. No efforts to mask approach have been observed.

B.) Appearance of foreign presence was preceded by notable markdowns in Incorporated State indices associated with RE spheres of influence. Additional Long Patrol elements appear to be mobilizing, suggesting a foreknowledge of events.

C.) Communcations between IS and RE suggested advance warning communicated, but no indications have been observed locally that such has been heeded. RE local elements have not demonstrated any reaction thus far. Any changes in posture or intent will be communicated at that time.

CFS carrier groups Tikkun and Tasale have now deployed at N'Xypndiltn; Group Melaea will arrive shortly at Zeta Irregularis. CFS coreward 1st and 3rd elements are now on hot standby within 30 LY; this posture can be maintained for only 36 hours before jump drives must be discharged.




The sharp sound of boots clacking over marble echoed through the hallway, though the cladding of the hall belied it's true nature. It was almost completely deserted, and had been for some time, sitting in dry dock as it had for several years. That had been a fairly happy coincidence, really; the Combined Federal Services' head honcho had been without a suitable flagship for some time in the aftermath of the Time Hole, and in the time since had not had need of one.

That had changed, though, and the happy coincidence was one of proximity more than anything else. No one had deliberately kept it close. But now, it sat ready, with crews filtering in through a multitude of airlocks. She'd been updated to incorporate all the technologies that flew aboard the much smaller Shalbatana, and then some. Her presence would not add a huge tactical edge, that much was true, but politically... Politically she was a very bold statement.

With a hiss, the double doors to the CnC opened, and Grand Admiral Li Vaan strode into the heart of the CFSNV Kajurmani (neé Titan, but rechristened after the time hole), and with an "Admiral on deck!", those officers present dropped what they were doing and saluted. The Admiral simply smiled.

"As you may know, we are shipping out! This is not a momentous occasion, but it is a necessary one. We will be joining the carrier groups Tikkun and Tasale and serving as a large, visual deterrent if everything goes well. If not, I trust you will all perform to your utmost in the defence of our allies."

Vaan swept her gaze across the room before continuing.

"Prepare the ship for immediate departure. Time is not on our side. As you were."

A few scant hours later, Kajurmani would flash into existence over N'Xypndiltn. Hopefully it would be the most interesting thing to happen there all day.
Last edited by Kajal on Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:16 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby New Naggoroth » Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:43 pm

System Transit Point C-3, Karond Transfer

With a few flashes of light and a slight distortion of space, the Griffon-class long range transport returned to realspace inside the Naggorothi home system. Distant Anar's Star cast it's bright glare across the dull grey of the hull of the small ship, while the twin worlds of Clar Karond and Karond Kar spread out below them as the pilot oriented the ship for another short hyperspace jump.

While the trip had been thankfully uneventful, the mood was pensive at best. Ellenith's news about the latest happenings at home were disconcerting, at the very least.

"The fleet's gone," Scarlet said, some surprise in her voice as she looked out of one of the shuttle's view ports.

"Must have just missed them," her sister said as she half-pushed her out of the way to look herself. "Didn't you say that the Second had been activated and sent to join other Concordat forces?"

"Yes," the older sister grumbled as she fought to retain her spot at the porthole. "But they weren't supposed to be leaving for another few days. I was supposed to be going with them."

"Perhaps you should be thankful you're not," Korhandris interjected in his usual resonant tone as he entered the main cabin the sisters were occupying. "I see your prosthetic has healed nicely. So keen to earn more?"

"Now now, issyr, don't tease my sister about her eye. She saved eight people's lives by holding the bulkhead open long enough for them to escape. It's not her fault she doesn't share my sight and lost her helmet while on damage control."

Scarlet grumbled at the terrible pun, while Ellenith's tutor merely chuckled. Just then, reality seemed to shift once more, and the transport made a finely calibrated FTL jump from the main system transfer point to the smaller orbital entry point above Saphery, another of the worlds of Naggoroth, and Korhandris' home.

The shuttle began a rapid descent once the passengers had buckled in, the ungainly craft swiftly hurtling down through the thick clouds that had taken up residence over the western coast of the largest continent. Neither of the Drakharn sisters had every been to Saphery before, and they were both impressed once they cleared the clouds and could see the land properly.

A long broken coast stretched out below them, and the calm sea glittered like the gem the world was named for as it lapped at the hundreds of tiny islands, beaches, and cliffs that made up the coastline, while sea birds drifted lazily in large flocks in the warm air. While the land appeared verdant and green, central to the coastline was the glimmering mage-city of Hoeth, built atop a large plateau that overlooked the ocean. Dozens of slender towers, along with scores more of smaller buildings, all built of splendid white marble made up the bulk of the city, though they all paled compared to the central spire, the fabled White Tower, home of the Loremasters.

It was towards this particular tower that the shuttle aimed itself, only to finally arrest its flight and settle onto a landing bad at the tower's base. The ramp dropped with a thunk as soon as the craft touched down, and the occupants hurried out.

"Now, on your best behaviour, seshania," Korhandris admonished his student as they departed the cooling landing craft, as he did not want a repeat of Ellenith's rash actions in the Imperial Throne room. "The High Loremaster is... not one to suffer fools."
Last edited by New Naggoroth on Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Roania » Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:54 pm

Zero-One, Dread Lady Nathicana

"Memetic... direct therapy..." The Surgeon frowned and shook his head, adding this to the long list of things he could not be having with. If it worked, it worked, it didn't... well, maybe it would be good, and maybe it would be bad? And he resumed watching the vitals, which were behaving... he couldn't say if it was good or bad.

Someplace else, however, the serpentine head settled across one of AiQien's small breasts and curled around them, indicating its ownership of the body it was killing.

w̢h͟o͏ ̢̛a͟͠͝r̸̡ȩ̡̧ ͏y̶̧o̸͏̡u̶͜ ́҉t̡̕͘o̶ ҉st҉̨a̧n̵d̡ ̷b̛è͜fo͢͞r҉͝e̷ ͜me ̡̡
̨͟n̵ờ͘t͘͞ ͜m̧y͜͡͞ ͢͝b̴ro̸҉th̕͡ę̸̛rs͘
̕͢͏n͏o͏t̀҉̶ m̢̛͜y ͘͞f͜͡á͞t̶̢̨h͜e̸rs̷̨͟
͟n̶͢͞o͘͜t̶҉ ̧̧m͢y̴ ̷s̢͘͜i̕s̕t͢҉e̡r̨͞s
n̸̵o̴t͠ ͠͏͢m̛͘ý̷͢ ̵mot̢͜͜h̵e҉r̸s̡͜͡

Slowly the snakes began to draw back within its bulk, giving it greater strength, as its infinite link began to twirl around the young woman, through her legs and along her waist until it had drawn itself into a perfect 8̸̢̧͘ on its prey.

i̧͞ ̸̧c̛ơ͘m͘e͡҉ f́ŕo͟͝m͜ ̴͞҉m̕y̵̡͡ ̕͡f̡a̕͢t̶̀h͘͠҉e҉͝r̵̨s̸̡̀
̛͡fr̷̷̀o̵͝͠m͟ ̴m̛y̡ ̢s̶͡i̧͢͠s͘͟ter҉̴͢s҉
͠͏̷f̵r̴o͜҉̛m͞͏ ̀m͡҉̡y̕ ̨̕͏m̸̢͞o͢͝t̸h͢e̴͢͢r̕s͏
̵f͏̡͟r͏̡o҉m͠ ҉ḿy̸̧ ͝br͝o҉t͠h̛e̸r̴͟s̨͡
͜t̢h͜͠is ̶́͢is ͘m͝y̕ ̴̵s̶̢ą̀̀çŗ̶̕i̡f̧i͘̕ce̴̡
i̴ h̡͝a̴̛v҉͢e ͝͏b͘ee̶n͟ ̧̢gi̶v̵e̢n ̵i͝͠t̶̛
̨̛͟y̧oų ҉͏w̡i̸l̡ĺ͝ no̡͡t̴ ͢͠ţ̧͝a͢ké̡ ̶̛it̴
͟y̛ou ̷͜m͏u͏͡s̛͝t̴̡ ͟òff̨͟è͘r̷̷͘ á ́tr̷̷a̷̵̢d̸͠e͟
Last edited by Roania on Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Roania » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:09 am

All Observers in the Tonhi System

"Admiral, multiple incoming vessels!"

"Tactical Report."

The report that followed was terse and brief, as was the conference between Admirals that followed.

Code: Select all
All ships of the Master of the Galaxy, this is Admiral Ko. The 8th Fleet under Admiral Lan will progress to meet the intruders and exterminate them if they remain on their present course under Pirate and Raider Protocol. The 7th Fleet, under my direct command, will deploy a picket fleet to retain orbital control over major urban centers on the planet, as per High Command's orders. In the event of a withdrawal, said picket fleet is to fire upon the planet's surface as per contingency planning. A notice has been sent to Prince Nesar and his subordinates, and the local garrison has been instructed to cancel its departure and assume established defensive positions. For Ten Thousand Years!

Half the combined system control fleet turned and wheeled about, a soft blue glow appearing as heavy weapons came online. On many ships, the carved dragons on the prow opened their mouths. There, a red glow started to build.

Finally, a quick situation report was sent directly to GHQ, informing the Grand Admiral as to the appearance of raiders in the system and requesting Support Protocol Five be enacted. This meant that if requested, or if communications broke down, elements of the 9th, 6th and 5th fleets would be rushed to the system to provide full support. Which left one simple question for Admiral Ko.

"This doesn't make sense. They know their lives to be forfeit the minute they approach our systems in force." Ko rubbed the crystal in his palm. "Thoughts, Captain?"

"Western Powers could have hired them as mercenaries to distract us and probe our defenses."

"Mmm... unlikely. If they wanted to save the planet, they would hardly call upon allies as likely as us to destroy it."

"Yes, Honored Admiral. Perhaps it's simply a fleet in transit from far away, with no knowledge of the situation as it stands. Barbarians lack the powers the Realm has at its disposal, after all."

"Perhaps." Admiral Ko tapped a code on his crystal. "Admiral Lan, new orders. If fighting breaks out, I want prisoners. As many as you can gain. I wish their point of origin to be known to GHQ so that when this grim duty is finished we may deal with them fully."

Zepplin Manufacturers

"Understood, Admiral Ko." Lan issued the orders for ship-disabling weapons to be ready as he walked to his flagship's bridge, flanked by towering armored marines. "Captain. Open full comms to all barbarian vessels."

The Flagship flexed its muscles, a powerful wave of data cutting across all known channels of all available communications systems.

Code: Select all
This is Admiral Lan of the Eighth Fleet. According to the Law, your lives and those of your people were forfeit the moment you entered a system that contained a world under the direct rule of the Dragon Throne. But the Dragon is merciful, as well as vengeful. Should you choose to depart now, we will not pursue. We have more important matters to attend to for the moment.

Do not attempt to climb the mountain of our priorities. We are old, but we are not weak. You and yours will suffer for any rashness.

Without breaking communications, the Admiral clapped his hands twice. A siren wailed across the vessel, the call to all hands to report to battle stations immediately.

Code: Select all
All ships, pick your targets and open fire when ready. If and when you have a clear shot for the Disabler, use it. We want prisoners. Or at least their heads.

Communications closed.

Death awaited for all pirates under the Law, sooner or later. Some chose to bring it upon themselves. And the very first raider vessels that entered range were met with dozens of crystal blue rays of destruction and death, little brothers of the lance batteries that had destroyed the Communication Center and left it a still-smoking crater.

Those were still charging.
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Postby Zepplin Manufacturers » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:52 am

Tonhi system. Sarian First wave

It, or he was a truly pitiful figure. Scarred, ragged, brought from the dark corner he dwelt in to a converted alien life support pod on the great deck, that the pod was too small was of no matter to those that goaded him. They had lased off his left leg to force him to fit, before roughly shoving him in and jabbing in the dregs of a warriors set of stims. All the time he had thanked and blessed them for it though. For the chance for one last ride into the dark. They had not answered. Wincing or striking him every time he pawed at them. Not wanting to be defiled by what he had become.

Once he had a name. It was a glorious thing to have a name, to be someone. Though his had been a humble thing not yet drenched in history, achievement or honor. He no longer even remembered why he had been judged. But the clerics always knew. Now he yearned just to be more than a thing, eyes bright under the scorched, scared and beaten brow. A face disfigured by burning brands so that none may recognize him. Even slaves after all had names. But along with his manhood they had taken that most basic thing, who he was.

With endless patience and cruelty and countless victims at their scalpels and instruments disposal the clerics had stolen him from the world and himself before returning this ambulatory wretch. He was unseen now by even those who had known him, but maybe some kicked a little less hard, shouted a little less. Even to them though he was now just another of the lowest of the low, a fate to be avoided at all costs and never spoken to as anything like a person, never addressed as anything more than one would address a door mat or the contents of a lavatory.

He was used for the most horrid of tasks, moving the worst of slops, the most toxic of substances, his once proud skin bearing the marks where his tattoos had been stripped from him in the roughest manner and countless lash marks and worse. The clerics had ways to make his kind live through such and stay moving and healthy enough to lift and carry though. Now through petitions that did not speak his name for he had none, through prayers and bribes granted to the clerics and through the chance of fate that saw his most generous prince once more have that most tiny of worth's for him he had a chance for just one moment to have his name. To be him. To remember. Through a mouth missing many teeth and eyes rearing wild as the flashing beams of the Roanian fleet began to choose those he did not count as squadron mates but as occupying the same space as him he roared his name over and over, crying with joy as once more he was allowed to be himself for one brief moment as the barriers the clerics had imposed both physical and mental dropped from around what was left of his mind.

Sweating, filled with radiation poisoning and an overdose he finally spoke. “RAS! I AM . RAS! “, he roared across the communication bands left open so all may know, dozens of voices joining him in a final serenade as one by one they were cut off by light and sound. Saying to all that here died not a reviled but a Sarian.

Mere moments later, still pulling the controls and shouting he would be reduced to ash.

The first edges of the assault had been made up of rag tag small craft that had been heavily modified. Shuttles, racers. personal yachts, life boats. Anything the Sarians could strap real drive stacks onto at least once. Unsafe end of life drives had been added, ontop of that. Boosters far beyond tolerance. Reactor shielding removed or added to the nose, systems stripped, most of the radiator mass removed. A swarm of cobbled together vessels from half a dozen races ships, some no more than a few missile drives and a life pod.

These died in there tens and dozens racing directly towards the beams of the Dragon thrones fleet. The reviled crews cut to shreds or evaporated as the synthetics and ablatives designed to shrug away point defense fire and small kinetic impactors and micro meteors proving almost useless against the slashing blue capital crafts dual purpose energy weapons.

In their dying a hail of junk, screaming energy sources, shreds of foils and metallic dust, flashing orbs of unknown providence that distorted light and reality itself and disturbing not quite gas clouds that brought strange geometries spread. Space danced as sensors began to be obscured, the cloud of trash spreading with each hit.

The modified Beheader cockpit was a darkened place of dull red readouts and few flashing lights. Muted. Its décor and family markings stripped save for that of the clan itself. It hung back and below the action, darkened and obscured by stealth plate, its hull as cold as space. A slow counter upon its cockpit giving its crew the time until it would once more need to radiate. In its command position sat a figure wrapped in old coats of rank, layers of tattoos prominent but his whole person shrunken.

He was Pa “ R Mar. He was Radworn. A shipwarden though not quite a lord. This would be his last mission. Ranked. Honored. Dying of a half dozen age related illnesses. Vicious. His voice was cracked and aged like his leathery hide as his eyes watered.

“Give this Lan ..give him the drums now that he has heard some of our many names...”

He waved and gestured behind him to one of the positions where another broken old figure sat.

The communication bands from the swarm of debris were now filled with the slow thudding of a thousand drums as some of the junk began to broadcast.
His voice rising he stood, waving at the command holograms around him with deft fingers practiced through decades of service.

“Send in the breakers, let our brothers have their moment. Let these Reixanxi see the soul of what it is to be Sarian!”

With this final roar his crews old and broken voices joined him to the drum beat.

Behind the roiling mass of interference and obscurants came the ram ships. Roaring on tails of fire and distorted space, each having half a dozen small crafts drives clamped on. Great logos and symbols harshly worn down there flanks. Once these had been wedge shaped planetary assault shuttles, missile tenders, and small cargo tugs that had been gutted, slabs of thick Sarian haik armor added and packed with warheads and missile drives. Crewed by the honored son to be dead, the radworn. Those who had done there duty and survived simply too long, or too many times. Those who had gained an illness the clerics deemed too expensive for their caste to have fixed. Those who had become expendable that the clerics had decided had to be informed they had months to live. Those who had strayed too close to a warhead detonation.

As they closed they went from merely swift to truly fast, crews roaring as they had depressed the final levers and that kicked in far more missile drives then there compensators could ever hope to hold back and their lives were leached from them. Some would shriek in horror and anger as there drives refused to respond, the Radiant empires disablement devices having done there task. These would begin arming for the last fight, by accelerator pistol and moly blade they would die then rather than in the flash of light that would spread through all creation. But they were old or ill or judged unworthy. For all a Sarians stamina and strength the young fit boarding groups of the Radiant Empires navy would overcome them all. Some would be captured, found battered and unconscious under the piles of ablative meat that had been there crew mates. In most cases however the Sarians had to be reduced to ash when they did not do it themselves. There suicide charges and accelerator pistol fire a horrid surprise for someone expecting a broken pirate crew but still nowhere near enough to hold up an assault of a capital vessel.

Of those ram ships that were not disabled most would die to the beams or simply miss as the Radiant empires ships deftly dodged them. Some would not hit but strike shields, leaving systems stressed, shields collapsing, crews shocked.

An honored few, most reduced to nothing more than a burning mass of Haik would slam into ships hulls where shields had failed, to do untold damage.
Aboard the stealth corvette Pa “ R Mar roared as he saw it occur, too many had died to really kill this fleet. “Good! GOOD! .. now young brothers! Now is your time! Strike the weak!” he gestured at his communication officer once more.

The final part of his formation, a unit of reconditioned Beheaders, not quite the dregs of the squadrons but close, there hulls covered in countless patches of lesser metals, there systems many times repaired and possibly rebuilt from a burned out wreck a dozen times now emerged from the edges of the obscurant cloud.

These had guns that spat fire and stripped near hull systems, there missiles roaring atomic fury at few damaged or outgassing vessels of Lans formation, hoping in vain outside of their mass class for a kill. They dove in closer and closer. Drives whining as they dodged and died, there haik taking far more than the swift death of the reviled as there outcaste and radworn crews danced in their final fire fight. Finally the Roanian vessels prow guns fired, reducing entire squadrons of the freewheeling and dodging Sarian corvettes to drifting particles and shreds of burning plate.

After all the death all that was left not in bloody close combat aboard drifting disabled ships was Pa’R Mar his stealth beheaders stealth counter slowly ticking down

“So now we know. It is time brothers. Open the communications and fire the ship. We have seen our last battle.”

His ship, unseen until now erupted in light and fury as all the pent up energy that had not been radiated flowered out and its reality compression reactor cooked what was left.. As it died the energy was harnessed, messages burned outward omnidirectionaly fed by this last burst.

A bridge appears. The stealth corvettes confines are hard and armored, its displays robust. No sign of comfort. Pa’R Mars aged green face shines in the light, amber eyes staring at the point of view as behind him consoles glittered and system light flashed and reflected on his many decoration filled coats.

“I am Pa’R Mar. Bourne of Mas V Shr’in himself. A warrior and shipwarden of lost holy Saria!. You are among the weak Reixanxi. We come. We take what we will. You will winnow our weak. Those of you that live you will be become the broken. Their children’s children may be given the chance to ascend to the court of knives! Now you know what this will be when we do. Now you know the soul of Saria! Witness Us!”

Buried beneath it in phrase and movement was the entire record of the engagement, and the gathered sensor records of the half dozen beheaders that had not been totally ready for the scrap pile found in the simple flashing of displays.
Last edited by Zepplin Manufacturers on Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Oyada » Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:43 am

Mobile Groups 11, 12, 41, and 67 stood largely silent, gently poised far above the peacefully uninhabited orb of the fourth planet of the Tonh system, waiting for some specific instruction. Nothing much had come from the Roanians; they had merely ordered the Imperial Navy to park itself and await developments, assisting if the need arose. No such need had, so far, arisen; the four Mobile Groups were, in consequence, combined into two Mobile Forces, poised above antipodes on the silent world. For the duration, there was nothing much to do except stay reasonably alert, keep their sensors ticking over, and watch for enemy movements. Aside from the regular but infrequent dull twanging of drone carriers being launched and retrieved by their motherships, the ships were almost eerily still. Even their enormous sensor arrays, clustered across their angular grey superstructures, mainly sat passively, their operators meanwhile sitting pensively. A week of this was dull and yet deathly tense work for everyone, and there was precious little to do but check systems, watch the passive sensors that reached out to probe across the aether and its near-unreal underbelly, eat, exercise and sleep; many doing so only fitfully, waiting for the tension to break. Only the crews of the destroyers, waiting in their picket positions, were reaching out with their powerful active arrays; and circling drone carriers, near-mindlessly dropping their inquisitive cargoes in a vast sphere that encompassed both the Mobile Groups and their Roanian allies, had had if anything too much to get on with.

The first indication of anything amiss came with the massive energy signatures that bloomed across the sensitive lenses of dozens of long, cylindrical drones, watching the void with lidless eyes and covered with spiked directional antennae. The carriers, farmers sowing a field, scattered drones in their dozens, and the drones listened, watched, waited, patiently conserving their onboard power cell life, and keeping tabs on friendly forces by occasional transmissions and, of course, by their own observations. The drones were peaceful, silent, jet-black morning stars; they cared only for watching and occasionally speaking to their builders. When the battle was over, they would continue to watch and, when the chance came, to speak; there was a non-zero probability that they would far outlive their creators.

Those creators, as their master computers began receiving these delicate sensor inputs, knew more than their allies. The Sarians had preyed on Oyadan ships before; not once or twice the Imperial Navy had charged from patrols or even berths in response, though it had seldom found anything. The raiders were a cowardly foe, but an intelligent one; that accorded them a wary respect that belied the less wary contempt they received in public. Already steaming in limited readiness for action, the Mobile Forces could relatively easily change to Battle Readiness; those whose sleep had been uneasy were now jerked to red-eyed consciousness by the brain-sawing bellow of buzzers. The last men into their stations, clad in complex lightweight spacesuits and breathing air canned gods-alone-knew where, heard the ominous roar of the ventilation system, drawing away pressurised air from anywhere it didn't absolutely have to be and coincidentally rendering most of the ship uninhabitable. Better that than fire.

On the bridges, while armoured shutters rolled or swung or slid ponderously into place, there was more irritation than unease for many. The Roanians had, not in quite so many words, told the Mobile Forces to sit around Tonh-4 and mind their own business. There was precious little honour in waiting around while the catbats did the fighting, but those were the orders – at least the attentive drones were picking up some magnificent data on all involved parties. For now, all the Mobile Forces could do was watch, wait, and make ready to see off attacks that might come their way. The worst part was always the waiting.

Pethbrigg gave the Roanian his best diplomatic cough, a useful shorthand he'd deployed many times on Shining Light and which almost inevitably stood in for the words “utter bollocks” quite nicely. Narrowed eyes watching his mellifluous counterpart with practised neutrality that hid his mild irritation, the aged ambassador nodded in false sympathy.

“I sympathise with your position,” he lied. “Nonetheless, this is no longer an internal security matter, regardless of what your sovereign may think. It ceased to be so when it aroused the attention of the wider galaxy. Your esteemed position as allies of the Empire makes threats to the Radiant Empire threats to us, by proxy.” He sighed; it would be pointless to argue with the petite woman. She would discharge her duty as faithfully as any simple machine. He would discharge his; when one stripped away the extraneous verbiage and tiresome platitudes, it was simple enough.

“Convey to the Dragon Throne, directly, that the Empire does not wish to see its sons slaughtered on the whim of a child. It will stand beside the Radiant Empire so long as the Radiant Empire is worth standing with. If the Emperor Damalin insists upon provoking numerous and powerful keiti to act against him – and therefore, by proxy, against the Empire – by his own reckless actions, it will be the regrettable duty of this office to disengage itself from all commitments to the aid and defence of the Radiant Empire. It will further be the duty of the Imperial Ministry for Foreign Affairs and of His Imperial Majesty to reconsider the entire question of relations between our two states. These words,” Pethbrigg added weightily, “are those of His Imperial Majesty himself. I merely act as a messenger. In any case, ma'am, my thanks to you.” Pethbrigg bowed sharply and retreated, spurring himself to a brisk walk as the doors shut behind him. Time to pay Ruby a visit.

“I am not a 'young lady', Ambassador! I am-- wait, candy?” Zhilra paused, her indignation overridden entirely by an almost irresistible love for all things sugary. She picked a long, hard-shelled thing that looked a bit like a boiled sweet from the heap and tasted it cautiously, then retrieved another handful and placed them on the table before her, tossing her head to clear an exasperating length of orange hair hanging over her eye. “Viff if goob'!” Zhilra exclaimed, swallowing the sweet whole. “I must get some for home. Anyway, ambassador, I am not a young lady. Hardly a lady at all, actually.” She grinned. “I have been instructed to have a word with you regarding our esteemed allies, the Radiant Empire of Roania. More specifically, the latest acts of note by their much-revered Emperor Damalin.” She pulled her UC from a pocket and brought up The List, reading them off in the voice of a wearied police constable marshalling someone too drunk even to understand what a crime was, never mind why urinating into a bin constituted one.

“Imposition of collective punishment without evidence of suspicion or of guilt; suspension of judicial process, though I doubt they actually have one; wilfully inciting the enemies of the Empire to act against the Dragon Throne; wilfully inciting the enemies of the Empire to act against the Empire, in its capacity as ally and assistant of the Dragon Throne; wasting diplomatic time and paper.” Zhilra shook her head in wonder. “In any case, Tom – if I can call you that, it's Elana, by the way – the Empire is considering its options regarding Roania. Their latest actions should an impressive level of indifference to international opinion which will last just long enough for them to be sucked into the eternal darkness, at which point, my bosses at Foreign Affairs are pretty sure he'll come screaming for help. Not just to us, either. He'll probably try to plead for Concordat MDP activation.” Lazily placing her fist in her palm, Zhilra smiled lopsidedly. “The Empire isn't interested in throwing away thousands of its own for the sake of a stroppy child's tantrum, which is what it understands this to be. We have long considered Grummia to be among the most trustworthy of the keiti we know.” She paused, considered, and popped another sweet into her mouth, crunching it to pieces and swallowing in seconds.

“There are three questions. One, what is the Grummian understanding of what's happening in Roania? Two, what does Grummia intend to do about it? Three: What does the Grummian state think of affairs in Roania altogether?” Zhilra paused again, looking at her hands thoughtfully.

“You see, it is becoming clear to the Foreign Affairs ministry, and to the Emperor personally, that Roania may have outlived its usefulness as an ally. If our understanding is correct, and if others are reaching similar conclusions...” Zhilra shrugged, cat-like. “Where d'you stand?”
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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Benevolent Dictatorship

Postby Northrop-Grumman » Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:02 am

The Ambassador’s eyes twinkled in amusement, gently smiling, as his candy dish quickly cleared out; it wasn’t often that he found himself with guests but she certainly was an interesting one. He listened intently, nodding his head appropriately, while she related the Oyadan stance on this mess. It did not sound too terribly different than the Grummian viewpoint, nor was Foreign Affairs’ assessment of the next steps of the Radiant Empire too far off their mark from their own.

“Weeeeell, Miss Elana.” He braced his elbows against the curved chair arms and clasped his hands together. “We think that the early years of a reign give a pretty darn good indication of how the rest of it will go. Oh yes, you’d expect some growth as you figure out what works and what doesn’t, but all that eventually falls back to who you are as a person.

For him, as you say, he’s a child, so he’s really not that ready and should’ve matured a lot more before he had the throne dropped on him. Now, he needs maturing, he needs to learn how to deal with people, and most importantly he needs someone to tell him ‘no’. Who is going to do that? He is the Emperor internally, and judging by how he’s been acting, everyone’s going to tell him what he wants to hear, lest he start lopping heads off. Externally, this should’ve been stopped waaaay back at the first Tonhi affair, but of course, people coddled him and look where we’re at.”

The chair creaked slightly as he tilted it back in contemplation and glanced across to a picture of a young family. “It’s like…you have kids? Eh, suppose it doesn’t really matter; we’ve all been kids ourselves. Weeeell, my son got it in his head that, if you carefully explain to a kid that you shouldn’t touch the stove, that they’ll get burned, they’ll instinctively understand, because, you know, kids are rational, listen to you, and don’t do dumb things. Weeell, he kept trying to explain that to my granddaughter that the stove was hot; she didn’t listen. He wound up burning himself a good many times, trying to keep her hands away, but really, it was all pointless anyway, because he couldn’t get there in time and she learned her lesson. Didn’t touch it again.

While longwindedness was certainly his forte, he wasn’t the sort to expend energy rambling pointlessly though and got straight to his rationale. “Anyway, the point is that none of this is going to change until we stop appeasing the Emperor and he finally learns his lesson, somehow, because if he doesn’t cut it out soon, we’re going to have to put up with decades, maybe even centuries of this constantly happening before the situation is dealt with internally or getting mired in some dumb war. We’re not too keen on tossing our people in the meat grinder for him either. Yes, the Chair gets that the Concordat is supposed to be for mutual defense against meddling outsiders, but there’s a point where you’re attracting way too much attention and start becoming a liability to us all.

And then there’s that moral issue too, like you’ve mentioned with the collective punishment. We understand that societies are different – that’s what makes this great big ‘ol universe as interesting and as fascinating as it is. But we’re worried that actions in the Radiant Empire may cause us to be tarred with the same brush; it’s happened before with our less-esteemed ex-allies. There’s a certain amount that anyone can tolerate, and the Chair is starting to reach that point. Now, as for what we intend on doing about it, the Chair’s evaluating its options, including our current relationship with the Radiant Empire.” He paused briefly before leaning over the desk. “Let me note that, regardless of whatever we do outside of the terms of the Concordat, we both are still bound to them by the alliance…for now.”

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Co-written with Zero-One

Postby Dread Lady Nathicana » Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:21 pm

“Give us a moment to consider your proposal,” the grey-skinned gynoid said in the space that wasn’t really anywhere at all. She communicated to Naiya on a different level; whether it was different enough remained to be seen. Let us assume that we aren’t conferring in the strictest confidence. That being said, if it’s that simple, I have more than sufficient assets in Test Sectors to appease the beast. If it’s not that simple, we have our previous contingencies.

Agreed. I do not believe it is that simple, however. There is also the option of getting to the bottom of who offered her as a sacrifice, and offering them in her stead. It has a certain sense of justice that I find appealing, Naiya said, her 'aether-scape' featureless eyes flashing for a brief moment. At least they had the entity’s attention. That it had deigned to speak with them told her that their actions had been taken seriously, even if she wasn’t sure what her attacks had actually done to it. It was difficult to read. Of course she hadn’t thrown her all into them. That would have been foolish. But she had hoped for some indication of what would happen, even in interfering with the snakes that were the device introducing the poison to Ai-Qien’s system, and attacking what was left of her reserves. From all she could tell, the one she had attacked merely dissolved into more of the poison. That was likely not the ideal form of cleansing, at least.

The two are not mutually exclusive. The ethereal gynoid flashed her armored companion a sly grin, despite the latter’s disappointment. Experience had taught the old Ghost that this was sometimes how things went, and it was often best to roll with it. In any case, it is an opportunity. She turned to address the snake-being. ”Trades can be made, though we question who would dare insult you with such a wisp of an offering when so many better are readily available. Tell us the offending party, so if they should cross our path we can teach them proper manners towards those of our stature.”

This also bought her some time to get back into contact with Herself, and make the necessary metamathematical proofs that she hadn’t been compromised. When she told Herself her plan, the greater gestalt decided rather to simply provide her with only the necessary links to quickly-reconfigured Test Sectors. While there was still a risk of complete system corruption, she was still on her own.

Naiya simply observed, watching, feeling tentatively for any reaction from the entity at her aunt’s suggestions. If nothing else, she felt she could pose a previous ‘claim’ on the girl, challenge the right of whoever it was who’d offered her up to this lurking horror. After all, she had promised she would do what she could to help. That could be interpreted in a number of different ways, were it required.

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ATT: Mballa, for Wider Distribution if You Would Be So Kind

Postby Roania » Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:02 pm

Gentlemen and Gentlewomen,

Forgive me, I am unaccustomed to writing in this language formally, and your characters still seem odd to me.

I apologize for the excitement of the past couple of weeks. As you know, there have been certain matters that needed attending to. Matters that, alas, leave me tired and sore and alone. Infinitely alone, now, as I had never known a man could be. I thank you for the kind words that have been sent, your hopes, and your prayers. Though I deplore the last, I certainly appreciate the spirit in which they were sent. Your words have almost been a balm for my aching soul, and have given me the strength to see my way clear.

My resources, vast though they are, have failed. I am told that this is happening, that is happening, that she needs care, that she needs more time... but I see it in their eyes. My doctors are the finest assembled, and they are losing her. Losing my wife to an enemy I unknowingly permitted to enter my hall, an enemy whose strike her kindness caused. Whose love for her people bought from them only hatred. I will see them punished. All of them. All those whose hatred nursed in their hearts for my wife and I, this lonely and anguished one, led to this attack. It is my right. It is my duty. To the Empire, perhaps, to see these ungrateful dogs laid low. But more, to my beloved flower. If she should truly be stolen from me, I will live as I must so my Throne can be passed to one more willing, perhaps, but certainly more fortunate. What husband would I be if I left her to return to the Light alone?

But I would put aside my sword, cast aside my cloak of mourning, and rejoin the light of a blessed day if she could be restored to me. And so I turn to you. Not as a sovereign, not as the Lord Upon the Dragon Throne, but merely as a man, as you are all men and women, whatever your species or origin. I have heard of the great wonders of the West, of the arts and sciences you have studied that we once cast away. I have despised them all my life. And I despise them still. But it matters not to me. It may never again.

I call upon you, Lords of Sol. I do not beg, for you would not respect a beggar anymore than I would, but I will ask. Save my blessed flower, my beloved AiQien. I will make the man who returns her to me rich. I will give all that I reasonably may give. My power and realm at his dispoosal for one wish. And to you, you who seek peace, I would turn the fleets of the Empire from Sol and its worlds for my life and the life of my son, and his son to come. I will give you that peace for that long. Mark my words well, children of Sol, for they are sincere and well-met.

If you care not for me, and truly, why would you? If you care not for me, as I said, think of my innocent wife, dying from her own love. Think of the children she has not yet had, who had no part in their father's crimes, whatever you may think of them. And think, moreover, of those whose punishment I will remit if it is made as though no crime has happened. And help them, if you would not, cannot help this broken man regain his happiness.


Asen Damalin, mournful and thrice-cursed
Last edited by Roania on Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ten Thousand Years to the Lord and Lady of Ten Thousand Years!

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Postby Roania » Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:53 pm

Zero-One, Dread Lady Nathicana

th͞e̵ ͜he͜iroph̶ant̸ ͜m͡a̡de̡ ͟t̢h͝e̷ ͢co͜nt͘ra̧ct
͢lin͟g͘e҉r ͏th̶i̧s o̵ne ̸i͟n͠ t̢he ̷earth ̸of my ͘m̡oth̸e͞r̶s

l̀i͢ng͏e͜r͝ th̀i͜s̶ ͝o̸ne͠ in t͞he ͢sèa ͜of̷ ́m̧y ̀s҉is̵ter҉s

̵l̢ińge̢r this ͏one͞ ͏in̕ the ̢f͞i̡ŗe ̀of my͠ ̨b͡r̷o̷t̕he͜ŗs
lin҉g͜er ̛t͡h̡įs ͝on̸e ̸in the dar̴k͟ǹe͝s҉s ͟òf͘ ́my f͟athérs
̨t͡h̷re͞e̵-̴s̴c͡o͜r͝e-̸ti̧me͜s̢-́thr̶èe ̕s͝ac͠r͠if̕i͡ces̴ sh̀all ̢b̴e made̕

̀h̨e fųl͡fi̶lĺs ̢his co͜nt͟r̶a͝c̕t͢

a̷ ǵlut͠ ͜of́ ͏wa̷r͠m blo̢ód an̷d ͡f̀er̛tile ̀ĺi̴f̸e͞ ̀c͜o̧m̢es͘ ͘eac̵h ̛day
̡from̴ f͜ár̡ off a͟ ̛wo͢r̨ld̴ u͠nknown
̸a҉ worl̀d͞ ̶o̴f g҉r̕e͘e̶n͡ ͏j̛u͝ngle ąn͟d ̴d͜àr̵k ̨d̕eeds҉

͠w͢hen ̷t͞he͢ t͟i̶ḿe̷ ́c̢om͢e̢s̴ ̨

h̕e ҉w͡i͟ll cal͢l my͡ ̡f̕athers̴

h̷e̛ will ̵ca̡ll m͏y̷ m̸o͘th̕er͘s
he ͟w̵il̸l͟ ̴ca̢ll̨ ͢my҉ ͞s͘i̸st͞e͠r̸s

h̸e w͟i͡ll͢ ͝c̀al̛l͠ ͏m̀y brot̵he͘r̀s

what ͢hav̡e ̢yo̵u ͞to ̷offer in ͟h͡i͞s ̨plac͝e

The serpent hissed softly once its speech was done. It had suffered some damage in the brief conflict, hence its careful positioning so that another strike to this extended part of it would risk damaging the young woman it was wrapped around as well, and she could probably not take a fight anywhere near as well as it could. Several of the snakes remaining continued to slide back towards it, as it gathered its essence for a fight.

this͏ chil̷d wa̕s͏ ̸gi̛ven̸
ás̢ w̡as҉ ̵tḩȩ lif͜e ̴wit̢hin͏ ̸h̸e͜r

th͘e b͠l̵ade was̵ sworń

͢thei͠r̴ blo҉ǫd ̸was͠ ͝m͞in͠e
̵i͢ h̢ave tak̴éń one
b̵út hold ̵he̴r̀ ̸to ͢this̨ ͞l̷ife͘
mo҉re l̀ife ͝s̕h͏aļl̢ be ͜mi͢ne͜

my͞ ̛b̧ite is̸ ̷th͟e̢ s̵̨̢͚͖͔͍͈̫͔̓͗͐ͧ̍̄ͦͬ͑ͫ̓͗͋̊ͮ͘c̳͍͇̻͉̜̮̮̝͂ͦ̅̅̅̔̉̂ͩ͒̽̒͊͛͂̂̚̚̕͜͟͞͠y̵̧͈̦̲̣̬͙̳̘̲̯̤̮͙̺̮͔̥̐̆͐̈́̓̄ͧ͡ͅt̸̨̛͖̬̣̟̘̬̭̼̫͎̠̰̘̃͗̑ͥ͗ͬ̉̄̉͒̓ͦ̔ͨ̈̔͘̕h̹̭͎̤̮͈̣̫̙̹͒̇̑͆͝e̢̹̼̙̻̞̙̺͉̝͎̬̻͍̣͖͖ͭ̊̋̿̑̊͂̋͘͜ ͢of ́my si̷ste͏r͢s
i͜ ͡car͜e no͏t͢ w҉hy
she̷ i͞s t̸o ̴l͏įv̶e͢ ͏for͟ n̢o̡w̴
͘i̶ ͞ca͡rȩ ̨n̴o͞t͏
w̕hat ́d͜o yoú offe̛r͝

Oyada, Zepplin Manufacturers

"Command is yours, Captain." Admiral Lan walked from the bridge after formalities were concluded, studying the data hovering in his hand. "Eight ships lost? Sloppy work, Ensign, sloppy work. Get the names to the Bureau of the Heroes as soon as you can." They continued in silence for the five minutes it took to reach the command room on board his flagship, where the Admiral sat heavily in his appointed chair and studied the report from the recent battle. "Let's get this over with... three destroyers, five corvettes crippled. AiJian, three seers lost. We'll never hear the end of that. Computer, final damage reports from lost destroyers."

The three reports now hovered in the air in front of him. All three destroyers were of the newer Shifil class...

Well. "According to these reports, the ships were destroyed by crystalshock after damage to the engine. Ensign, what does this indicate?"

"The Seers must have been disabled beforehand, perhaps from an earlier impact. Destroyers don't provide them much space to perform their duties safely." The Ensign clicked his heels and bowed in salute. "These tactics were not covered in the standard combat manual, nor were the men in the smaller ships prepared for close combat. Such a thing has not happened in... in..." he paused.

"Decades. This doesn't make any sense. Old ships, antique behavior... Computer, have the capture teams transferred the prisoners to the Knowledge is the Finest Way to Defeat the Enemy?"

Significant resistance reported. Marine deployment reported in three cases. No survivors in two. Sedated enemy crew en-route to the Research Vessel, research labs standing by.

"Computer, open contact with the Admirals of our esteemed friends the Oyadan. Ask them if they would care to attend a vivisection. I believe the Chief Researcher on the Knowledge has an excellent drinks cabinet, and my personal chef shall be attending."
Last edited by Roania on Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Sunset » Sat Sep 19, 2015 4:47 pm

Thang Long Citadel, Near D'Zytendi City, N'Xypndiltn...

"I vowed I would never do that again and I re-double that vow," Inspector Min gasped as he tore the re-breather out of his mouth and leaned up against the closest tree, sucking in big lungfuls of crisp morning air.

"No time to rest now..."

There was a low roar overhead and both looked up to where the sculpted under-carriage of Tradia's hovercar was just coming into view through the treetops. A sliding descent and it dropped into the gap between four large trees. A pop, the doors swung up, and the Adjunct climbed inside. There was little reason for stealth now but many for speed and in a moment the doors had closed and the sleek car lanced into the sky.

Touching the controls, the Xypndi set their next destination before activating the communications display; "Executor Miranna," she instructed, adding; "She's probably asleep."

But it didn't take long for the Executor to appear as a ghostly image in front of the windshield and this slowly solidified as the car determined the conversation was now the central focus rather than the jungle covered hills whizzing by below as they arched towards a far-distant city, "It's four in the morning so this has to be - had better be - important. How'd your investigation go?"

She didn't quite look like it was four in the morning though; Instead of her underwear or nothing at all, the Executor was wearing a rumpled looking variant on the Defense Force's dress uniform in solid black and decorated with the carved wooden icons that were still an important part of the native culture. While the camera on the other end gave no indication of where precisely she was, it would be a fair guess that she was still at the office organizing the civilian response to the potential threat of a Roanian attack. Any sleep she had been getting would have been on the couch in her office.

"The Prince wasn't home, but we sniffed around. We've got a potential lead - he was keeping track of the passenger liner schedule between here and Thanh-Tonh - and there's something else too," Tradia looked over to the Inspector, the hologram following her to settle eyes on the man, who looked slightly uncomfortable though it wasn't immediately clear whether what the reason was until he spoke; "I hesitate to ask such a favor from the representative of a government hostile to the Dragon Throne but the circumstances are extraordinary," Inspector Min explained, a deferential tone in his voice.

"There is substantial evidence that the Prince was involved or had knowledge of the activities of a death-cult occurring on his estate - a cult that is or was Roanian in origin. This involved the murder of individuals and a presumed sacrifice but here I do not have all of the information I would like to have at hand," he explained. "Instead a general notice has been issued to all Inspectors to be on the lookout for any use of the symbols in question with orders to immediately report them to my superiors if they were uncovered. During all my time in the service I have never seen them and merely assumed this order was another relic from days past - an order given out because it had so been done to the previous generation and was now tradition. I can now say I regret that assumption. But I now find myself forced to ask a favor of you."

"Given the connection between the Prince Li Nesar, his possible involvement with the attack on the Imperial Consort, and the appearance of these cult symbols, I would normally make such a report immediately. However, as my superiors are on Mars and separated from the events back home by many layers of bureaucracy, I believe this should be instead reported to Internal Harmony on Rudan Prime instead. The communications I have here are not sufficient nor authoritative enough to that task and thus I ask that you allow me to use your communications to give that report, perhaps through your diplomatic offices."

"Hmm, alright," the Executor considered, "Not something I have any idea of how to do, but there's plenty of Admirals and whatnot around here who probably do. I'll make it happen. What about you?" She turned back to Tradia just as a sparkling lance of sunlight reflected from the pinnacle of the far-distance pyramid city shot over her shoulder to illuminate the inside of the car for a moment before the windscreen darkened. "Anything you need?"

"Sure, if we're pulling rank. We're headed to the starport to talk to the liner company. See if they'll let us check their passenger logs or whatever for the Prince. They probably have security recordings as well but that all takes a warrant. Can you find me a Judge?"
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Scolopendra » Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:46 pm

Executive Apartments, Stonozka

That the Supreme Emperor frowned at this latest development should come as no surprise to the attentive. This one held even more evidence of control than usual, however; it was neither a mask nor an expression: it was a mold. With a glance over at the couch in her office, she flicked the document from the embedded console in her desk over to her permanent guest, who had as of late taken on the form of a blonde secretary. This particular gestural command copy and tight-transmitted the relevant data. Said blonde paused for a moment, pretended to read something off a spot on the floor, and nodded. "Hm," she said aloud.

"I need more than 'hm' right now, Shoddy." Mballa sounded neither impatient nor particularly angrier than usual, merely more carefully measured.

"Then I shall expand: Naiya and I are currently addressing the situation." S.H.O.D.A.N.'s secretarial form smiled broadly from behind closed lips.

"Expand further."

"How far?"

"Details, even if you think I wouldn't be able to do anything with them."

"The missive tells the truth; they have done everything they can medically. They have done everything they can physically. However, the physical attack was merely a vector for a metanormal infection by some sort of serpent or snake-god with fractal elements that are particularly hostile to conventional perceptual standards."

Ipolla carefully parsed that statement. "Something squiddy."

"Yes. So far, all we know is that a 'hierophant' is involved, and jungles."

"Cultists." Mballa's face finally took on an edge as her eyes narrowed. "And let me guess, Thanh-Tonh has more than its fair share of jungles?"

"Yes, but the connection is circumstantial at best."

"It fits."

"Any line fits through a single point of data."

"Can you kill it?"

"I'm operating on a slight lag because my active avatar 'on the case'. as it were, is acting as an isolated alpha fork to prevent the creature from subverting Me," the secretary said, with a slight emphasis applied to the capitalization. "I could, but not without harming AiQien."

"At which point, billions die."

"Probably. Intelligence--some of it from our friends in the Incorporated State--puts Damalin's psychological state at... precarious, at best."

"What I'm hearing is that more and better doctors practicing real medicine won't help. What I'm thinking is that this is red meat for every mercenary sawbones, every knight-errant, every snake-oil-peddler and street-mage medicine man to attempt to take advantage of. All of whom will at best only get in the way and at worst make the problem worse."

"Especially the latter. If those 'medicine men,' as you put it, make contact, they will most certainly act as a vector for this thing."

Mballa turned her head to the other woman and looked her in the eye. "Do you have a handle on this?"

The blonde returned the gaze. "I have a plan."

"That wasn't the question, Shoddy."

S.H.O.D.A.N. sighed. "Quite honestly, I don't know whether or not it will work. If I had more resources, there are contingency plans of dubious morality that could serve as fail-safes."

"Such as?"

"Since I know you hate euphemisms, meat puppetry would be a distinct possibility. It is a possibility," she reiterated with more certainty the second time. "I can do it with in situ resources."

The Supreme Emperor set her elbows on her desk, folded her hands, and settled her lips against them, looking over her fingers at the message. She thought on everything that had been said for a moment. Finally, she raised herself up and started typing in commands. "'Wider distribution.'"

The blonde canted one eyebrow. "Hm?"

"Damalin sent this to me so I could distribute it more widely. That wider distribution will be Damalin's own allies, since they seem to be maintaining measured responses to all this. I'm sure you've already informed the alliance of Damalin's status, so there's no need to reiterate things on this level."

"You're not going to send it to the rest of the Council?"

"There's enough cooks as is, Shoddy. We really don't need anyone on our side turning suddenly opportunist over this. We really don't need even the risk. He sent it to me. I'm acting on my personal initiative."

"And if anyone in the Concordat turns opportunist?"

"Then that's on them." Mballa answered with a frown as she sent the message away to a very limited wider distribution.

"You're turning into quite the Machiavellian, Polly," S.H.O.D.A.N. teased gently.

"I was elected to prevent and fight wars, Shoddy," Ipolla answered with the same measured seriousness she'd maintained throughout, "not sacrifice the good for the ideal. Hopefully the Concordat knows their ally better than we do."
Idealism at All Costs! . . . Welcome to the Segments, the happiest libertarian socialist nationalists you'll ever meet.
People is people, whether they be the guy down the street, a scary and/or sexy space alien, a giant doom robot, or a candy-colored pony.
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