Low Life // High Tech [FT|Maintenance|Closed]

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]
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Rhukhor Havakhund
Posts: 12
Founded: Dec 26, 2015

Low Life // High Tech [FT|Maintenance|Closed]

Postby Rhukhor Havakhund » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:40 am

Maintenance Thread for the Rhukhor Havakhund

This is the Future Tech maintenance thread for the Rhukhor Havakhund, a nomadic ("starless") confederation comprised of three nations (vakhund'ra) and countless tribes (khund'ra) within the same. Like many others of the popular trend, it will be used to highlight certain aspects of Rhukhor society, governance, culture, faith, and other affairs best served either as an independent short story or vignette; it will also serve to, through narration, grant some degree of insight into the Havakhund's past as an astropolitical entity, the history of the Rhukhor as a people, and the history (and interdependence) of various other entities present in the Galaxy (and how such interacts with the aforementioned). No doubt some of you will recognize the names included, or may directly be involved in their construction, worldbuilding, or other pertinent matters.

This thread is, as mentioned, Future Tech; it is also, for all intents and purposes, closed. Unless you have been given explicit permission by myself, please do not post here; if you do, your post will be removed. For those not aware, this is a puppet account that has been under-construction for quite some time - sometimes arduously, given my general propensity for such things - and is under the control of Kyrusia. If you have any questions about the Rhukhor, would like to be involved with them in some way, or would simply like to contact the creator, I am more likely to respond promptly to a telegram sent to the aforementioned primary account or may readily be contacted via Discord (either NSFT Discord or the Mentor Program Discord) under the handle "Kyrusia#5940."

Lastly, I wish to thank some collaborators of mine: Voc, Furfus, Vahk, Santh, Aldar, Skroot, and, no doubt, countless others that have politely tolerated my incessant rambling. I also must thank Sunset for the creation of the overall "nation maintenance thread" concept.


"By all accounts presently relevant, life, nature, and all things within itself which the latter contains, are cyclical. Be it as simple as the ebb-and-flow of the oceanic tides, the political tides of the masses to which each politician presently empowered are trapped, or the complex tides of the market which may be both the contempt and success of every financier the Galaxy over - life is cyclical. So too, it is, that these cycles are complex, multi-faceted things prone to misunderstanding. Which came first: the present iteration, or the past before it to which the present is self-similar? Does the cycle begin where we judge it as "cyclical," or does the cycle begin in some distant place and time beyond our contemporaneous comprehension, whenever that "contemporary" period may be?

Now, with this in mind, we must reflect upon the state of our affairs in this world: when the core of the Galaxy cries out against the affront of the fringes and their callous invasion, are our perceptions true? Are we not, even then, failing to recognize that it is not the fringes, but our past; it is not an invasion, but a return."
— Bharon Corlow; Philosophical Observations on Astropolitics

"They're not going to help us. They're not going to send supplies, medical or otherwise. They're not going to send an evac team [sic] or any other shit. We're on our own. We're out here, all by ourselves, and they got us into this mess to begin with. They knew what was out here; they knew what we had to do to compete with them, and they were completely fine letting us do it because they knew, within the year, the competition would be gone because of it. [...] In short: we're absolutely and royally fucked."
— Anonymous Sigyrus Excavations Personnel; Lost Memorandum

"It had a lot of promise, it really did. The whole of the [Samada operation] brought in former competitors and made of them new partners: Jehei, Tydaal, Kruger. They all had a hand in it. We'd built the Anchorage and the elevator; we'd built a "resort city" on the coast of the most pristine sea we could artificially design. Terraforming operations were going well; we were turning that barren rock into a paradise.

Then the floor fell out from under us. The [Collapse] absolutely wrecked our operations. Nearly two decades worth of work, down the drain because a few politicians couldn't do their goddamn jobs. No, they had to meddle in things; they had to pretend to play chess, when they were playing checkers all along. A bit of mismanagement here, bit of corruption there - it never hurts, really, until it does. Until a few people decide to take too big a piece, or that their kickback isn't enough, or that "Y'know what, that fucker doesn't deserve that bitch of a trophy wife; I do." And what do you get in return? Close to eight trillion credits down the drain, a failed economy, and a bankrupt megaconglomerate - along with dozens of others - all circling the same hole in the floor.

And what do I get? The blame."
— Octaros Bamani, Former Chief Financial Officer, Draeva-Ishaik Heavy Industries; Private Memoirs

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Rhukhor Havakhund
Posts: 12
Founded: Dec 26, 2015

Postby Rhukhor Havakhund » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:41 am

Republican Star Liner Allure of the Stars
Unknown Space, Beta Quadrant — Circa 05 20.0016 GSY

Thundering. An endless staccato of gunfire. The screaming wail of metal, twisted and contorted, shearing against itself in agony. All was drowned-out to the constant ringing inside her ears - a sort of muffled, twinging back-beat to the terror; Seiyo's heart was pounding like an angry beast in her chest, battering the inside of her rib cage in some seemingly futile attempt at escape. Nostrils burning, she smelled the acrid perfume of molten plastic and ozone - somewhere else was ablaze; by the sour, metallic taste on her lips, she assumed it had reached the capacitor bank two bulkhead doors down the main concourse from her current position. She had to move, and she knew as much; even so, her head was still spinning, and the smell did little in the way to alleviate her sudden vertigo. The searing pain in her thigh, however, jerked her free from her daze; a wound - gunshot - in her left, outer thigh. Her hostesses slacks were ruined, and briefly she wondered whether the company would reimburse her for the damage.

The nonsensical thought was obliterated from the front page of Seiyo's mind as the Allure of the Stars once more shuddered beneath her; despite the quaking, she managed to right herself on the tile of the kitchen she happened to have taken refuge within when the pain had become too much to bear. She clung desperately to a metal counter as the star liner once more released an agonized wail; she remembered the way a cow had once wailed like that, on her father's farm. She pushed the memory of what befell the beast from her mind the best she could, gripping the counter until her knuckles drained of color as the vessel quaked and lilted to the point her feet were removed from the floor. The artificial gravity system had not, as of yet, been disabled. Seiyo cursed that, for once; the failure of art-grav would make what she knew came next far easier. Silently, she prayed for the stars to align to aid her, if but once more in this ordeal.

Footwork was difficult, given the gush of blood from her thigh each time she put weight upon it. Desperately, Seiyo grabbed a nearby kitchen towel and, as quickly and adequately as possible, bound her thigh in the fabric of its breadth; it stained carnelian almost the moment it touched her torn, black slacks. It would have to suffice, despite the shrill torment the jagged wound sent up the length of her left side with each step. Pausing for a moment at the swinging door, Seiyo peered out through the fogged, plexiglass partition; no one was within view, but she knew that meant very little. What was within sight was an encroaching cloud of smoke, interspersed with electrical arcs and the licks of orange flame; the capacitor bank had, indeed, gone-up. Reaching to her right, fumbling, Seiyo grabbed a chef's knife from the cheap, bakelite block that held it; something was better than nothing, after all. She didn't have a gun; she didn't have a stun-stick or a baton. She had this, at least.

As expected, the corridor off from the main concourse had seen better days: several carts of plates and food had been overturned, a set of discarded shoes lay nearby, and the leviathan of smoke and electrical flame was approaching with great haste. The off-white paint had begun to peel from the walls. Gripping the handrail, Seiyo turned aft, putting her feet to work as quickly and painlessly as possible - not an easy task between the wound and the ringing in her ears brought about by the same. Gunshots somewhere above her, however, motivated her further. She had a destination to reach: the shuttle bay at the bottom of the ship, adjacent to engineering. Little more than an intrastellar jaunt boat, the shuttle was meant to ferry paying tourists on excursions to ports and fantastical sights on habitable worlds; she was hoping, now, that it would be an adequate lifeboat. At least, assuming it had survived.

The Great Displacement marked a change in the status quo of the Galaxy of a depth and profundity otherwise unheard of in the contemporary era - at least since the Great Betan Collapse the better part of forty standard years prior. Regardless upon whom one seeks to lay blame - be it warmongers, political and economic opportunists, or "predatory émigrés" - the simple fact remains that, by conservative estimates, some two billion displaced sophonts found themselves traversing not only a hostile and unforgiving cosmological landscape wrought with hazards and pitfalls, but an equally unforgiving - and, at times, far more hostile - socio-political geography that was largely devoid of even a modicum of compassion - or, in the least, compassion unconditional and without the pretense of quid pro quo.
— Asala Maisser; The Great Displacement: Refugees and Radicals

The quake was the worst she'd experienced yet. It came like a wave to shore: an odd stillness, followed by a chaotic foam of trembling, only to crest. In Seiyo's unfortunate case, the "crest" constituted some failure of the inertial inhibitors, sending her immediately vaulting to the ceiling and forward; she careened, seemingly held aloft by an unknown force, only to crash into an assortment of chairs and cushions nearly twenty meters down the corridor. Once the back-up systems engaged, she - along with her bed of discarded furniture - found itself shifting in reverse some three meters before, at last, coming to a standstill. Biting back a scream into a prolonged hiss as reality seemed to catch-up with her, Seiyo pushed herself against the broken chairs and discarded upholstery, trying to right herself once again. The sudden vaulting had sent new tendrils of torment radiating from her gunshot wound, complicating matters.

When screams broke her survivalist concentration, she froze; they were close, painfully so. They were, in fact, coming from down an adjacent hall. Shadows dances in the half-malfunctioning emergency lights: silhouettes of passengers or crew fleeing. It was then that she heard the guttural tongue she had quickly come to associate with whoever - or whatever - had attacked the Allure. Once fighting to free herself from the copse of broken chairs, Seiyo frantically dug through splintered oak and torn cotton, fighting to embed herself deeper within the tangled limbs. It wouldn't stop a bullet, she knew, but she hoped it might hide her presence entirely if she got low enough to the deck. Once more: something was better than nothing.

Just as she managed to find the floor and bury herself as best she could, a group of passengers fled out from an adjacent corridor into her own. Most were bloody, but not nearly as injured as herself, at least based upon her immediate inspection - and the fact they were able to sprint. A woman, perhaps half Seiyo's age, turned back; for a moment she nearly sent herself from the chair to call to her. Their eyes locked for a brief instant before the younger woman began to scream. Darting her eyes back to the hall, Seiyo clamped her hands over her lips: stepping out into the corridor, walking - deliberate and calm - stood a figure at least a head taller than herself and donned, head to toe, in a patchwork assemblage of armor and environmental suiting. One of the marauders. Clenching her fingers into her cheeks, she watched as the young woman continued screaming, causing the others to turn and release their own wails; the cries were silenced shortly by the heaven-knocking thunder of the attacker's firearm, its sound distorted by adrenaline and terror into a slow, rhythmic harmony.

Blood appears black under red lighting. Seiyo had never known that, but as the passengers fell, one by one, different portions of their corpus shattered and tangled into meat and viscera, she discovered the perceptive oddity. For the marauder's part, he did not linger, standing in the corridor only long enough to ascertain his quarry had been dispatched. Rather than break apart and shatter at the sight, Seiyo merely waited and considered. The branching hallway was no longer an option; turning back where she lay, Seiyo peered down behind herself. There was an access to the lower decks down the corridor, but it was a circuitous route. It would take longer, but might ensure better survival. The alternative did not bode well, and neither did sitting and debating with herself other options. Time was of the essence.

Though many analysts and so-called "experts" of the day took to the galactic airwaves decrying the Displacement as a largely "xenobiological phenomenon," present statistical surveys indicate approximately forty-six percent of the displaced were human (to include trans-human and abhuman populations). This fact has, largely, gone ignored in the face of an attention-seeking media the galaxy-over that, often complicit with their corporate and political benefactors, saw greater ratings and earnings in pushing the narrative that the Great Displacement was about an "alien menace." Unsurprisingly, this left much of the human refugee population to fend for themselves, or to otherwise be forced to suffer in less-than-benevolent conditions by benefit of their mere association with the crisis. It is then no surprise when, as the opportunities presented themselves, these populations turned to less-than-legal means to maintain survival.

While many turned to simple criminal activity in whatever camp or assisted housing they happened to be forced into, others took up the offer presented by other opportunists, taking upon themselves the trappings of an "independent population" by benefit of arms. While the effects of these "charitable donations" of arms, munitions, and vessels of war are still being played out, it is known that a segment of these displaced persons turned to outright brigandage and piracy. The proponents of these pernicious "arms donations" would point out that the armed refugee population was now capable of defending itself against the xenophobic and those otherwise hostile to their presence. What they fail to recognize, however, or willfully choose to ignore, are the numbers of these now heavily-armed sophonts that were, despite their supply by state-actors, simply out-matched, out-maneuvered, and out-gunned by predatory societies already present in the niche these newly-minted, piratical entities were forced to occupy.
— Asala Maisser; The Great Displacement: Refugees and Radicals

A consequence of the Allure's "crown jewel" status with her employer was the necessity for considerable space to provide for the luxuries and amenities her clientele had come to expect; this, equally, included far less urbane spaces for the logistical support of the same. While it wasn't engineering, Seiyo cursed the complexity of the maintenance, janitorial, and overall logistics deck she now fumbled through. Laundries, seamstress shops, half-a-dozen capacitor banks and accompany secondary and tertiary generator back-ups; the space made for a labyrinth of tangled piping, appliances, cargo containers, and countless other accoutrements the Allure required for her services. Unfortunately, while not required, the maze of a deck now also included the bodies of her fallen crew; Seiyo stopped counting at thirty-seven corpses she had been forced to step, crawl, or climb across to get to the aft laundry and cleaning services annex she now hunched in, recuperating. She tried not to stare at the space where a housekeeper's face had once been, now sitting, slouched, before a washing machine to her immediate left. Her gunshot wound was bleeding anew; she felt the heat pooling along the top of her sock - her shoes having long-been discarded - and dissipating down to her ankle.

Whomever now had run of the ship had clearly previously passed through the deck. Seiyo hoped - prayed, even - that such meant she had a greater chance of making it to the shuttle. Of course, it also could mean the shuttle was no longer present or viable; she did her best to push the thought from her mind. There was no time for such thoughts. It was not her own will, however, that ultimately won the battle with defeatist nihilism, but the shuddering of the ship. In truth, it was not a shudder, but a broiling tumult that would have sent Seiyo toward the ceiling had she not been gripping so tightly to the machine upon which she had been leaning. The wrenching careened through the hull and Allure's superstructure around her; it sounded as if the vessel itself was being torn asunder.

Just as she began to prepare herself for the next leg of her journey, the lights finally surrendered to darkness. Still, Seiyo stood, clenching her fists against the washing machine until she felt the tell-tale pounding of her heart against the cool metal. Perked, she listened: nothing. It seemed as if the whole of the vessel had gone still, silent; their attackers had stopped, she entertained, if but for a moment.

The vaguely-azure haze began before her against the far wall of the laundry annex; at first, Seiyo assumed it was some trick of her eyes attempting to adjust for the darkness. As the dull, blue fog began to ripple forward, taking a shape reminiscent of faintly-disturbed water - the static of raindrops upon the surface of a lake - she stepped back, pressing herself away from the preternatural aura and against a table pressed against the wall farthest from the anomaly. Fear began to grip as she watched further, clenching her heart up into her throat vice-like. As she watched, her dread did not abate, but instead grew: as the ripple grew toward her, she watched it encompass and consume more of the room and its contents. A machine, once shattered, dimly stuttered to its previous state as the water-like wall consumed it; overturned canisters of cleaning supplies, emptied of their contents, were righted and filled once more - presently, as if some hegemonic deity beyond some veil had simply hit "rewind." She watched as the woman, once faceless, having fallen victim to the raiders of the Allure, suddenly stood upright, her face reconstituting itself from barely-perceptible viscera once scattered across tile and machine alike.

Tactile and audible reality came crashing back around her in an instant; the anomaly crashed back toward the distant edifice of the annex, taking with it the righted chaos it had briefly abated. Once it disappeared - perhaps a second in total - behind the far wall, the far wall itself whirled into itself. Seiyo was ripped from the table she braced herself against and flung, height-wise, across the machines before her; fighting desperately for purchase, she managed to grip its control console as the endless screaming of twisting metal and the cacophony of fractures reached a deafening crescendo around her. She suddenly felt as if her very body was being ripped apart, torn toward the epicenter of the whirlpool of twisted metal behind - beneath? - her. She screamed, voiceless, into the unrelenting noise around her; she could not even hear herself think as fixtures were ripped from their moorings and pulled toward the tangled meta-steel beyond her feet.

As suddenly as catastrophe hit, it abated, and Seiyo found herself hugging the half-freed machine, her body sprawled against the floor in an unceremonious heap. Artificial gravity remained, but the lighting was increasingly undependable, flickering on-and-off again in cascading waves emanating from the direction of the bow. The screams, now fresh and closer, began anew around her. For the first time since the event began, Seiyo cried, pouring out her stress, terror, pain, and dread into the tile beneath her, her fingers still clenching the metal husk of the machine that had saved her life from an end she could not - would not - imagine.

As now armed refugees - "independent" or otherwise - were forced to turn to smuggling, piracy, and illegal salvage operations to simply make due, many were increasingly forced out from the socio-economic core of galactic society. Rather than being able to make a stand to some productive end against the prejudice some used to justify their weaponization, entrenched political and commercial institutions treated them as they had treated any previous piratical body: shoot first, shoot second, and keep shooting until the threat is neutralized, then questions need not be asked, only autopsies performed. These armed populations were now forced to retreat ever deeper, first into low-security and infrequently utilized shipping lanes, then into unused systems, and lastly into wildspace outright. It is there that the true malice of this scheme presented itself.

Lacking a political, commercial, and martial history to support prolonged and sustained interstellar warfare and defense, and often either lacking the resources or technical expertise to maintain permanent, free settlements, refugees became the prey of polities that did possess such histories and resources. These so-called "starless states," often nomadic or piratical outright - in the least being willing to prey on those whom traipsed into their domain - set the newly-arrived refugees to the sword. While the malicious negligence of such an act equivalent to giving a child a gun and telling them to "go play in the neighborhood" - and the resulting loss of life caused by such - cannot, and should not, be overlooked, the consequences of that negligence had far greater impact. Unable to defend themselves against such marauders, many armed groups of the Displaced found themselves murdered, enslaved, and otherwise subject to the whims of their niche competitors. With their loss of that competition, so, too, did they lose the arms, vessels, and machines of war their "benefactors" had supplied.
— Asala Maisser; The Great Displacement: Refugees and Radicals

Seiyo slammed her fist into the side of the diagnostics console, beating the edifice in an enraged and frightened attempt to resuscitate it, despite the failing electrical systems of the ship. Luckily, it managed to work. Quickly booting, she cycled through the prompts until it displayed an overall assessment of the Allure of the Stars. No readings were detected beyond the aft-beginning of the A Deck internal promenade; nothing. The screen merely displayed a grey outline of the vessel's interior and structure beyond the point, the boundary between them occasionally flickering into a red-orange static haze - an artifact that permeated other portions of the vessel, as well. Notably, the far aft-ward portion of engineering, where she knew the jump-drive was located. Seiyo was not an engineer, but between all of the quaking, shaking, and screaming of the ship around her, she could take a guess as to what it meant; regardless, she found herself locked in the aft of the ship, just within engineering.

Cycling through the console once more, she searched the communications branch. Had a mayday signal been sent? The prompt stated the negative: communications, entirely, were down - or, at least, inaccessible from the portion of the ship within which she currently stood. Environmental diagnostics only spelled-out the situation in an equally grim fashion: most decks were venting atmosphere at an accelerated pace, and perforations seemed to mar virtually every square meter of the Allure's hull. Seiyo was surprised she had not been unfortunate enough to come across any such damage in her journey - a journey that, by the clock on the terminal, had taken her a little over an hour to reach engineering from her chair-heap. Nearly two hours had passed since they were first attacked. Two hours, and nearly everyone was unaccounted for or deceased, as far as Seiyo knew. A brief mental image of potential news headlines flashed across her mind's eye; the resurgent pain in her thigh dismissed them without further contemplation.

The shuttle hangar would be behind two more bulkheads, by Seiyo's calculations. That meant, roughly, sixty meters by her count until she could discern her fate. Her long walk was slow and arduous; with each step, Seiyo took care not to damage the injury in her leg further. The make-shift tourniquet had long-ago stopped functioning as such, now more of a sponge to wick some portion of her bleeding wound away from her leg. The sounds of the attack, however, had faded and dimmed; gunshots still echoed, albeit only occasionally. Pausing once to catch her breath, Seiyo listened as high above, one "clack" of gunfire was followed by another, six times over, each in approximately three seconds breadth: an execution, either of her fellow crew members, passengers, or some combination. It didn't matter; she couldn't save them. All she could do now was potentially save herself. Even that possibility was up in the air.

White and blue. The door to the hangar had arrived far sooner than she expected. Then again, casting her eyes down to her wound, Seiyo suspected why: she was dying. Already her hands had lost their pallor and complexion, having faded to a dull, chalky white. The pain, luckily, was draining away with her life; as she slowly exsanguinated and ever greater amounts of her bodily functions began to grind to a halt, at some point, it had taken the ability to feel acute pain, as well. Casting her eyes back up to the door - a white and blue monolith standing in a dark, pipe-and-tube riddled, cramped corridor in engineering. All she had to do was crank the auxiliary to force the door open, powered or not. That was the difference between collapsing to the floor and dying aboard the vessel she had once served as a lounge hostess aboard, or dying aboard a shuttle a few thousand meters away, having bled to death in its cockpit: one crank of a handle - a choice between two options.

On July 16, 20.0016 [Galactic Standard Year], the better part of two standard months overdue for port in the Solarian Reaches, the RSL Allure of the Stars was uncovered, adrift, in uncharted space of the Beta Quadrant, approximately 50 parsecs from the Sol Meridian. Flying the banner of the Free State Republic, the Allure was a Clipper-class star liner operated by Scenic Star Luxury Tours of the Digonda System. When found, following an extensive, international search effort (largely by benefit of her international clientele), the Allure was discovered in three separate derelicts, her keel having been shattered twice, her dual hulls perforated rapaciously, and with many of her systems either outright destroyed or entirely ripped from her bulk - to include her Nydalso superluminal powertrain (a fact which frustrated recovery efforts due to gravitational bleeding from what was left behind).

When recovery efforts were, at last, completed, of the nearly sixteen thousand passengers and crew aboard the Allure, twelve persons remained alive, having sealed themselves in a steerage janitorial compartment in the interior of the vessel, largely shielded both from gravitational bleeding and the sundering of her keel. Of the original manifest, at least four thousand were confirmed dead; the remaining have, as of yet, never been found. Through the recovery of in-flight recordings and what telemetric records remained aboard the Allure, the Free State Republic - and international onlookers - were initially mystified by what was discovered: analysis of recovered data indicated multiple potential actors, to include battle analysis pointing specifically to several states that had previously armed refugees impacted by the Great Displacement. Though political talking-heads took the presented opportunity to lambast those star-states for their potential involvement, Republican investigators continued to dive the data; eventually, through cooperation with the Imperial Star Republic, they were able to uncover a noteworthy discrepancy.
— Asala Maisser; The Great Displacement: Refugees and Radicals

The shuttle was gone.

A crank of a handle - option two - had ended with option one. Seiyo leaned back against a cargo container - no doubt filled with luggage or other detritus - and allowed her legs to, at last, give out beneath her. Leaning her head back, she didn't bother to watch the blood begin to pool around her legs; she felt the rapidly-cooling pool through her slacks, and almost found it comforting. No doubt some cargo-jockey or engineer had gotten to the hangar first, opened the bay doors, and fled. Perhaps more than one. It honestly didn't matter anymore; what mattered was that option one was the only option left. She was going to die, and knew it all too well. Seiyo Kurova, hostess aboard the RSL Allure of the Stars; deceased at the age of forty-six. Her father would be forced to mourn her alone, no doubt with her name emblazoned upon some marble edifice in the Republic. That was, of course, if her remains were ever recovered; without a mayday, there was no guarantee the star liner would ever be found at all. They were off course; had been forced off course soon after the attack attempting to flee. The jump-drive had been disabled; how, she did not know, but that, too, didn't matter.

The sound of a door opening brought Seiyo back to semi-aware consciousness. Across the hangar, three of their attackers had just entered the hangar, clearly desiring to provide a third option - an option they'd forced upon, she suspected, many of her fellow captives aboard the foundering Allure. Squinting, she managed to make-out in greater detail their attire: they wore some manner of exo-atmospheric suits, apparently all of the same make, but across them was a patchwork assembly of various bits of armor, accoutrements, tools, bandoliers, and - invariably - at least one weapon. Each had a helm clearly equipped with a breather, no doubt in the event their own strikes resulted in the venting of their target's atmosphere. They were speaking, and approaching; the guttural, vaguely-rhythmic speech patterns of their alien tongue hurt her head as she tried to grasp at some contextual meaning.

In a blink of what was, she suspected upon momentary recovery, a slip into unconsciousness, the three marauders were standing over her. One was more lithe and slightly shorter than the two that flanked them - the two that now had a rifle and some manner of sub-machine gun aimed toward her, one to each eye. The more slender of the three lightly tapped Seiyo's foot with their own, kicking her wounded limb; she didn't flinch. In truth, had she not seen it, she wouldn't have felt it. The middle-stood attacker spoke once more in their guttural, rhythmic tongue, apparently commenting on her wound, or so Seiyo surmised, before kneeling into a squat before her. The being reached out to her bosom, gripping her name-tag. It spoke her name with a heady accent that made Seiyo's head spin, along with some multi-syllabic word that followed - presumably meaning "hostess."

As color began to drain from the corners of Seiyo's field of vision, the masked being got closer; they were adorned, as she thought, with some manner of breather - a hose trailing from each cheek-facade around to a small canister on their back. The eyes of the helm were narrow slits, blocking-over an aperture - possibly circular - of some shape; the device, too, made her head spin as she briefly thought the slits shifted and rotated, as if inspecting - as if judging - her. Had she the strength, Seiyo felt the compulsion to demand the beings let her die in peace; she was no threat to them, and suspected they knew as much.

The center marauder stood upright once again, raising their hand to its mask. An audible "click" echoed in the largely vacant hangar, followed by a quick cascade of others following suit. Her eyes - no doubt as glassy as her vision was monochrome - slanted upward; Seiyo watched as the being dropped their breather around their neck, allowing it to dangle to their chest. Full lips and soft features. Quickly, the helm that had been attached receded back across the being's brow. Their - her - face was marked by a large, asymmetric tattoo stretching from her jawline up to her hairline, nearly completely encircling her right eye. As the multi-facet helmet curved back into itself, folding down to both a collar attached to her suit and an extension upward around her throat, Seiyo saw the woman free her high-held ponytail above her collar. Her hair was white, almost platinum, and dull in tone. They were not alien; they were human.

Wiping her lips with the back of her glove, the woman - still flanked by bellicose marauders - grinned, then spat to the floor, uttering what Seiyo presumed was a slur in their strange tongue. She didn't understand, but knew within minutes, even contemplating what was happening would be a lost cause. Her vision had already drained of color entirely, and Seiyo became increasingly aware of her heart's slowly decelerating pumping beneath her rib cage.

It was then that the shock hit her, and the woman before Seiyo spoke; her words were in Galstan, the proverbial lingua franca of the Galaxy, and albeit heavily-accented, clear to Seiyo's ears and mind: "You have two options."

While the utilization of weaponry previously allocated to refugees had long been confirmed, it took nearly a year before a final, unidentified blast signature was distinguished. Thanks to cooperative efforts between the Free State Republic and the Imperial Star Republic, these hitherto unknown scoring trails were identified as belonging to a class of deuterium-based lance weaponry prototypical to a "starless state" known as the "Rhukhor." While largely unknown to the galaxy-at-large, the Rhukhor - operating as a tribal confederation of nomadic peoples prone to marauding and piratical pursuits - had harassed shipping in the rimward sectors of the Beta Quadrant, particularly in proximity to the Beta-Delta Meridian, for decades. Not unknown to the Imperial Star Republic, it was only a matter of time until the truth was made public.

The destruction of the Republican Star Liner Allure of the Stars, the mass murder of many of her passengers, and the probable kidnapping of the remainder marked a low water mark for the phenomena surrounding the Great Displacement. The loss of over fifteen thousand lives catalyzed, in part, by an armed population of refugees pushing to compete against an interstellar civilization with a home-field advantage, to many, served as an example of not merely the utilitarian failure of such a mission, but also the morally bankrupt nature of the same in the face of such potential outcomes. With a nomadic entity having seemingly been drawn-out from their isolationism due to such competition - not to mention the chaos of the Displacement itself - to plunder shores upon which they had previously been unseen, it is no surprise that in some sectors of the Galaxy, brigandage is on the rise, and with it, a death toll to mirror its climb.
— Asala Maisser; The Great Displacement: Refugees and Radicals


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