NATION

PASSWORD

Princess Anna's Civil War (Closed, New Hyperion regional RP)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]

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Aragonn
Lobbyist
 
Posts: 16
Founded: Jan 14, 2014
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Aragonn » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:39 am

Traveling through the Warp is a harrowing journey for any who attempt. Daemons constantly threaten to claw their way into the minds of the very people who guide the vessels through. The laws of physics do not apply here. Every unprotected thing gets warped and twisted into something unrecognizable. Including the minds of all who enter. Many ships have been lost to the chaos of the Warp over the course of the galaxy's history.



Lieutenant Kommander Vorann
AFL Mjolnir IX
Chaos Space


The navigator at the helm remained silent. Keeping the ship steady on its course through the turbulence of the Warp while scanning for the presence of the Terran minds was bearing a toll on him. As the time went on, the light of the other navigators' minds slowly faded from his mind as the ships spread out in their cone to search. The whispers from the dark began growing strength, approaching unbearable levels. And then there it was.

"Terrans detected, sir."

"Exit the Warp."

Mjolnir IX, along with several hundred ships, suddenly appeared at the Terrans' rear, swooping in from gaping portals to the realm of Chaos. Word was spread by the navigators for all ships to come and engage.

"Enemy is using subluminal drives," reported the tactical officer. "Capital ships have slowed down to allow the transports to overtake them. They're turning to engage."

"Raise shields and prime weapons. Maintain long range engagement."

"Aye, sir."

Shields were raised across the fleet present, and the hum of power began emanating from the weapon capacitors. The first volley struck the Aesir ships, shields weakening on all and completely collapsing on some destroyers. Capacitors filled, and Lance batteries fired from all ships at the Terran capital ships.

"Target their engines. I want them floating."

"Aye, sir."

More Aesir ships dropped into combat from the Warp from either flank like a steady stream and provided additional fire upon the Terran capital ships.
The Aesir Empire
We are the Aesir. Under Odin, we thrive.

User avatar
Terra Novam
Envoy
 
Posts: 222
Founded: Jan 18, 2013
Mother Knows Best State

Postby Terra Novam » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:30 pm

OOC note: This story’s timeline has become somewhat… fluid. We’re simultaneously in the aftermath of the Battle of the Pentastar and in the beginning phase of the Third Terrasphere War several months later. So… Just don’t think too hard about it.

IC
Aura Hyperia
The Pentastar Planets
I.S.S. Umbral

“Major Koslov, I don’t know if you’ve realized yet, but you’re no longer in Via Lactea. On behalf of the IFS Terra Novam: welcome to New Belderous. This is Fort Sperlitz Air Traffic Control, I am transferring you to the Military Authority. Please stand by.” The Vox cut out.

“Terra Novam… We’ve ended up on the other side of Origin.” Makarov breathed, even as his instruments showed a salvage vessel breaking Tyros orbit and heading to rendezvous with Umbral.
“I was afraid of something like this. The moment our Gellar Fields failed anything could’ve happened… I’m just glad we ended up in friendly space.” Grisha told Igor

“I.S.S. Umbral, this is Imperial Marshal Otto Sperpaya, commander of the Belderian Iron Guard. I have been informed your vessel was attacked by Chaos. Could you elaborate, Major?”
“We are certain it was the Forces of Chaos. Most of the attackers were Daemons, seemed to be organized in squads led by power-armored humans. Didn’t seem to belong to the 4 major Chaos Gods or their minor allies though. They had smaller numbers but were individually much stronger. Their color palette was different as well – all black and white.” Koslov laid out.
“Did you see get any intel about their identity?” Sperpaya asked, thinking the culprits might have been the Children of Ruin and their infantile by Human timescale Chaos God Ruin, the embodiment of Entropy itself.
This time it was Lt-Cdr Makarov who answered: “Yes. We got a name. We have no idea just who or what it is, but these were forces loyal to a certain ‘Malal’. We have no record of a Malal.”
“Neither do we.” Otto admitted. “A new Chaos God? This is bad news. We will attempt to save your ship, see if we can bring him back to operational condition. I also request any telemetry data we can salvage. This may be a shock, but it appears you are no longer in your own time. We are currently in 3222 CC.”
“Welcome to the future, boss.” Igor dryly remarked. “Looks like things did happen.”
“Thanks for the info, Marshal. This is unfortunate but not unexpected.” Koslov replied, ignoring his XO. “Certainly, you are free to analyze whatever data you can salvage.”
“Much appreciated, Major.” Otto answered. “If you and your senior staff could meet me ASAP after we tow Umbral to Sperlitz? We have much to talk about – you’ve come out of the Warp and into the frying pan of civil war.”


I.S.S. Eclipse
Meeting Room

“…So to wrap things up, Commodore Johnston has convinced the Covacs survivors we took off their shipwrecks to join us. They will be redistributed among our crew and make good our casualties. We will be able to recover several dozen ships, and several hundred others are being salvaged for spare parts so we’ll have to send fewer ships to drydock. Captain Buianova has done the same for the Imperials. These Terrans were surprisingly receptive to the idea of defecting once they learned what was really going on. This expeditionary fleet belonged to Connor Grayson. They were Territorials, not Pretorius Starfleet. Their Vice Admiral Schwarzkopf truly believed we were terrorists and traitors… The survivors are… eager to take revenge. And Zachary Kruger has pledged us his and ONI’s full support. I suspect he has an ulterior motive, but as long as it doesn’t threaten our government Fleet Admiral Stoltz says we can let hm do whatever he does. In case things go south, he assures us he’ll take care of the ONI man himself.” Lord Admiral Laskaris summed up the day’s events to the Aesir and Dysonian commanders.
“We have been sitting at the Pentastar for far too long already.” Anna now spoke. “And while we’ve been repairing and preparing, the Pretorians have made their own moves. Orar has been reinforced and Utica is about to fall under attack. They think they can divide and conquer, they’re counting on us responding to all situations with separate forces or fight on their terms. We are going to surprise them. We will ignore Utica for now, and move to attack Orar. Then, Calix will be isolated and Utica’s attackers without support.” Anna crossed her arms and determinedly set her jaw. “It is time to begin the next phase. All units, prepare to move out!”


Chaos Space
Near New Hyperion Border

Halicarnassus’ bridge
Rear Admiral Sloan could hardly believe it - the Aesir had taken the engagement in full, meaning the troopships might just slip into New Hyperion borders, if only the Aesir could be held up for long enough…
Strike Force Atlantis had lost a few destroyers and corvettes, a few dozen Bombardiers, and a few hundred fighters in the assault. The only capital ship lost was due to a hyperluminal encounter with an unexpected rock. Even though Atlantis comprised about 80 capital ships plus escorts and was outnumbered more than 10:1 in that department, Sloan and his 39,000 smallcraft might just hold long enough to buy the transports enough time.

The Aesir forces were forming a semicrescent, outflanking the Terrans on both ends and trying to entrap them in what the IDF knew as the Cannae Maneuver.
The Starfleet force was being overwhelmed, arrayed only 2 ranks deep and not having the numbers to rotate out ships whose shields had failed, and the railgun and lancer fire was coming fast. Yet the Aesir seemed to focus on engine plants rather than reactors or command centers, whereas the Terrans were targeting just these and sent an unrelenting stream of MAC shells, ASM, and torpedoes the implacable Xenos’ way.

“They’re aiming to disable us?” Sloan asked the void. He set his jaw and grimaced, knowing what was in store if they were captured. “Engage Final Defense Protocol. Nobody gets taken alive.” The Rear Admiral commanded, before directing the fleet’s ordnance:
“Capital ships: forget killing vessels. Target their weapon mounts. Disable as many guns on as many ships as possible. Escort ships: you’rs on point defense. Don't let any fighters and tubulars past! Interceptors, keep enemy smallcraft at bay. All other craft - escort the Bombardiers and take out the largest Aesir warships! Supercarriers and Longboats!”

Final Defense in this context would have the ships rig their power plants into makeshift nuclear bombs, that would be detonated in case of boarding. If the ship was otherwise disabled, it would automatically try to get as close as possible to the nearest enemy capital ship and self-destruct in an attempts to take something down with him.

Sloan’s directions were taking effect as the opening volleys had depleted the shield on the Aesirs’ front and center elements. 1 Aesir heavy cruiser and 2 destroyers were killed against 1 Terran destroyer, the IDF vessel of that designation being significantly smaller and weaker than its Aesir nominal equivalent. The next round of volley exchanges saw the loss of 3 Terran destroyers and a light cruiser, taking with them 1 Aesir heavy cruiser, 2 light cruisers, and 3 destroyers. But where the Aesir’s losses were in the center, the Imperial losses were on the flanks, and the Aesir pressed ever inwards. The Xenos would soon be able to bypass the Terran flanks and attack the rear, potentially enveloping them, as the Terrans’ lateral thrusters could in no way keep up with the Aesirs’ main engines. When the next exchange of ordnance counted for 1 Aesir heavy cruiser, 1 light cruiser, and 1 destroyer killed against 4 of his heavy cruisers, Sloan knew the deteriorating situation could no longer be remedied and ordered his remaining ships to turn and run as fast as they could, relying on his gigantic cloud of smallcraft to sting the Aesir to death like so many bees smothering a hornet.


Via Lactea
Novi Soyuz
Curia of the State

Several days earlier…
The Senate’s meetings had become ever-more violent the past few weeks, but today everyone had been acting more civil. The ongoing invasion by the Terrasphere Alliance had not petered out, as was expected, and this was reason enough for the tumultuous 800 to look outward instead of at each other. Senator Grayson, however, had been conspicuously silent during the whole session, and Senator Smith simply hadn’t shown up.

“So you mean to say that this ‘Republic of Adrinian’ was once a power not unlike us? A Human Nationalist state that conquered xenos?” Chief of Staff Kondraki inquired with great interest, following Kiara Williams’ proposing an idea on how to strike back against the Aesir Empire, shooting down Pretorius’ request to use the New Hyperion Empire as a massive staging base to do just that.
“Correct. Adrinian was not much unlike us… Until certain elements of the population and even factions within its own government overthrew the State and installed a… democratic republic.” Senator Williams said, disgust evident by her emphasis on these last two words. The xenosociologist Senator had many contacts abroad, and the discovery of Adrinian as a clandestine trade partner of the Liberator Government could not have come at a better time – right when the IDF was mobilizing proper troops to invade Aura Hyperia and take the fight to the Aesir homelands. “They have incorporated other species into their society, given equal status even though they are clearly inferior to Humans. These are lizards, apes, and mice! According to Foreign Intelligence, said mice are called Ghers, and appropriately hail from Planet Gherian. It’s an important but inhospitable mining world in the heart of Adrinian, exporting mined goods for heavy equipment and foodstuffs. Supposedly most of Gherian society is subterranean, meaning a Tiberium Vapor Bomb would be even more devastating to them than it would to surface-dwellers.”
Thinking along this very line, Defense Minister Rostam voiced his support: “In that case, it is only prudent that we act to overthrow the Xenos-loving traitors that call themselves Adrinian’s government and restore its rightful rulers to the throne. And in doing so gain an ally in the other galaxy and a staging ground to launch our attacks at Aesir from. This means we wouldn’t have to carve out bases in the midst of Chaos space, saving us much in the way of materials and lives. Not to mention pacifying an industrious Xenos race. They might make excellent servants.”
“What is our justification? The Cultural Heritage Law?” National Defense Chief Drexler wanted to know.
“That, plus Article Six Section C and Article Thirteen of the Founding Charter. We shall lay claim to suzerainty over Adrinian, as is necessary for preserving our own security.” IDF Chief of Staff Gartan Kondraki answered.
“Somehow I doubt the locals are going to like that very much.” Kiara noted. “We should not annex them. It would cause more trouble than it’s worth. I recommend an autonomous local government under our protection instead.”
“This could work.” Said Premier Ventis. “What are their military capabilities?”
Kiara laid out: “Pitiful, almost pathetic. They have virtually nothing in terms of starships. They have a considerable amount of space-capable fighters, but most are ground-based and cannot operate at long range. It will be trivial to wipe out their void forces, even counting the several hundred auxiliary warships they possess. A single Expeditionary Fleet will be more than sufficient, but as you know, I don’t believe overkill is a bad thing.”
“What of their ground forces?” Inquired Director of Special Warfare Patil.
“Their ground forces are well-trained, well-equipped, and well-led. They are motivated and experienced. But their military technology is approximately 4 generations behind our own, and their numbers are small. 1,5 million regular Army, 300,000 Marines, plus 13,250 armored fighting vehicles and 25,600 artillery guns shared between them. They will be spread out across multiple planets, and even if they concentrated in the defense of their capital should not pose much of a threat as long as we don’t underestimate their artillery corps.”
“How many troops do you reckon are required to eliminate the Adrinian ground forces?”
“This might be complicated. In principle, two Expeditionary Armies should suffice, but given how many artillery guns the Adrinians possess such ground forces would have insufficient artillery and tanks of their own. The attached Air Force units should be able to silence the Adrinian guns, but their air defenses are quite strong. So in short, an Expeditionary Army doesn’t have the right mixture of equipment for this task. The Imperial Guard, however, does. I’d say a combined force of Shock Armies and 3 Assault Armies is best. We’d still be outnumbered in terms of human soldiers, but with all the attached OkUb units we will win with minimal losses to organic troops and have the Human troopers alive to serve as the “face” of our intervention. Killer robots tend to frighten civilians, you know.”
“We need a direct excuse to launch an intervention.” Superintendent Pretorius said.
“And I have just the way to do it.” Kiara replied. “The Novan separatists have a trade agreement with Adrinian. Novan cargo ships traverse their territory day and night. If the Black Hand has any operators available, I feel confident we can smuggle a Tiberium Vapor Bomb onboard one of them.”
“I have a Zealot team I can call upon. They will die, but it will be for the greater good. I’d send a Faith Squad or Kill Team, but we cannot risk being discovered as the source of the bomb.”
“Won't the Novan rebels cure the mice and clean up the 133?” Premier Ventis asked.
“Undoubtedly they will try. But the damage will have been done, and just maybe the Adrinians will lose their trust in the Novans. We will be using one of their trade ships, after all.”
“Mission is green-lit. Designate: Operation Marcus Antonius.” The President said. “Commence immediately.”
With this order, 800,000 Imperial Guard infantry troops, 150,000 pilots and vehicle operators, 4 million OkUb combat drones, and 10,000 capital ships of Imperial Starfleet were committed to the pacification of the Republic of Adrinian… Which, with Malcolm Reid’s death, the Liberators would have no way of finding out.

Novi Soyuz Palatial Gardens
A little while later

“What the fuck do you think you’re up to?” Elisabeth Pretorius shouted at Kiara Williams, accompanied by 3 Black Hand Elite Guard troopers in full power armor as she ran up to the UNC’s supreme leader.
“One day you’re threatening to break the Black Hand-UNC alliance and dissolve the government if I push using New Hyperion as a staging base against Aesir, and the next you’re presenting an idea on how to overthrow a local government and use it as a staging base? Sometimes I wonder whose side you’re on, Senator Williams.”
“Whose side am I on? I’m on the side of the citizens of Terra. All citizens of Terra. You cannot expect me to abide by whatever plan your warhawk Kondraki comes up with. Adrinian is better suited, don’t you see?”
“Please, do explain to me how annexing a foreign government is better than using our own territory? Or is it because you don’t want to risk your precious New Hyperian Empire, ‘Chancellor’?”
“Because Adrinian, though small, is an established nation with a full-fledged State apparatus, well-developed bureaucratic system, and permanent industrial basis. The New Hyperian Empire, on the other hand, is not yet worthy of its name. It controls a scant few systems spread across a fairly large territory. It has a small military that is mostly engaged in clearing out pockets of Chaos resistance in the Sectors and defending against Chaos incursions from outside my still very fluid borders. We have, however, reverse-engineered some laser and shielding technology from the original Hyperion Empire that is lightyears ahead of Terra’s own. But my population is too small to sustain a large-scale war, my industry too light to match the Aesir Empire. As you well know, its focus is on chemicals and pharmaceutics, not military production. New Hyperion is for the most part rural, we have few major cities and little in the way of staying power until our population significantly grows. Not to mention we are a sovereign member of the Terran Confederation, so my country does not fall under your control, Superintendent of State of the Terran Empire Pretorius. And neither does Terra herself, unless you plan to ‘disappear’ both the President and Premier?”
“Watch it, Kiara. Remember whose shoulders your power rests on.” Pretorius sneered, hand reaching for her pistol and her bodyguards starting to reach for their own guns.
“I think she remembers. And the answer would be, on mine.” Thalia Ryan said, appearing from the bushes with GRAL rifle drawn and 4 elite Airborne Heavy Troopers flanking her. “The same way I stand on hers. See, that’s the difference between us – you just use people. We reciprocate.” Senator Ryan chastised, as her Airborne disarmed the Elite Guard troopers and sent them on their way.
“What is this? A coup?” Elisabeth shouted, genuinely distraught at being caught off guard. “Black Hand, we have a problem!” She said into her Vox, angry and slightly frightened.
“They won’t answer. They can’t hear you.” Senator Ryan mocked. “Don’t worry, you’re not going to die today, if only because your disappearance would throw the whole nation into chaos. We just wanted to send a message. You do not own the UNC. Stay out of our business, and we’ll stay out of yours.”
“Oh, really? And what’s to keep you from murdering me after your war with the Alliance is won? Why shouldn’t I have to rely on Gartan rallying the troops and burning Alcazar to the ground, punish your dissidence by consigning the UNC to history like you would do to me?”
“We aren’t stupid, Esliabeth. You have the National Defense Grid. You have the Okhotnik-Ubiytsa Program. And we, true enough, have the full support of IDFSC. We aren’t about to tear the country in half for petty rivalries.” Thalia retorted. “You think I don’t know you are the only thing between the Aesir and Via Latea?”
“Then you will keep your word and turn your armies West once the Alliance is done for?”
“Indeed we will. I was serious about that. Don’t worry, we will tip the balance once the time comes.” Kiara answered, not saying that she would align with the President’s forces to tip the balance in favor of the Liberator Movement.


Present Day
Aura Hyperia

Planet Gherian
Republic of Adrinian, core territories[/b]
The Carthage-class Super Bulk Carrier Wyoming
“Alright, I just need your signature and we can start unloading.” The ship’s bursar told the Adrinian harbor master. “Everything should be in order: heavy mining and ore processing equipment, plus all the chemicals used in the processes. Shaped blasting charges, some tunnel bores, and gravity lifts. The cargo has been inspected by Novan customs before departure, and Adrinian customs upon entering, but feel free to take a count after unloading.”

Tiberium was difficult to detect. Even though it was its own element, on scanners not specifically tuned to detect the one molecule that made Tiberium into an element rather than a compound - though comprising only 1.5% of the total makeup - it would show up as a collection of certain metals, minerals, and gases, all of which were individually commonly used on Novan starships. To make things even more difficult, one would have to know the exact proportion of the element’s constituent particles - if the sensor-proof casing the Liquid Tiberium Bomb was held in could even be penetrated – to distinguish Tiberium from a conglomeration of other elements. For all the Adrinian inspectors would know, it was another chemical blasting charge.
Wyoming’s cargo handling crew had been subdued by the Black Hand Zealot team that had replaced some crewmen who had mysteriously fallen ill the day before departure, with the remaining crew none the wiser since the senior officers were rarely found away from their posts or Officers Country. It was easy enough to get 2 of the Zealots assigned to handling the blasting charge that contained the Liqiud Tiberium Bomb.
The initial idea had been to use the much less destructive Tiberium Vapor Bomb, or several of them; a weapon that would release a cloud of Tiberium particulates that would then ignite, infecting the atmosphere much like a Liquid Tiberium bomb would but only contaminate the air and not the soil but the immediate blast site, and contaminate the air far less severely at that, but a last-second swap had been made by more radical elements in the Black Hand who, acting without orders, decided that the Adrinians should be additionally punished for trading with traitors.

The cargo handlers went to work, unloading the goods and handing them over to the local port authority and preparing to take in the equivalent-value ore shipment when the Liquid Tiberium Bomb stowed away among the vessel’s cargo detonated, taking with it the lives of the Carthage-class cargo hauler’s crew, the Black Hand covert operators, and every Adrinian at the spaceport and a wide surrounding area as the Vapor Bomb blew a 100-meter deep crater the size of Tasmania into Gherian’s surface. Its yield was equivalent to that of a 2,000-megaton thermonuclear blast, but even worse was the nature of the detonation: it spread Tiberium particulates far and wide, shooting them up into the stratosphere where they would mix with the wind and fall across the planet’s surface, and spiking the ground where Tiberium crystals would soon take root and begin spreading.
The Adrinians, including the Ghers themselves, were immune to Tiberium Toxemia, as was common to all of Aura Hyperia’s native apex species, but the same could not be said for Gherian’s flora and fauna: those creatures and plants that did not die to Element 133 would be mutated and turn hostile against carbon-based life. Before long, creatures like Fiends, Floaters, Visceroids, Mantises, and perhaps Wights as well, would plague Gherian forever.


Via Lactea
The Terran Empire
Alcazar V

“Acquiring targets.” The VI droned, painting a machine gun nest with each of its mortars, a 40mm field gun with its own arm cannon, and a squad of AT troopers with the autocannon on its left arm. The Titan heavy walker designated “Mantis 1-1” was the tip of the speak for an Imperial strike team sent to clear out the shopping mall where the Alliance Military had set up its field headquarters for this sector.
Ineffectual fire pinged off Mantis 1-1’s void shields as its targeting computer fed instructions to fire control, a row of lights blinking green to indicate all targets were marked and firing solutions acquired.
“Take ‘em down.” The Titan Heavy Walker’s pilot ordered his troops, depressing a firing stub and hollering as all 4 Alliance positions were blown apart near-instantaneously, allowing the power-armored heavy infantry of Strike Force Mantis to move up and engage the Alliance troops dug in around the front entrance as Wolverine Light Walkers traced their heavy chainguns across the hang-over balustrade, mass-reactive bolts and GRAL pulses making short work of the Alliance sharpshooters stationed there.

An entryway cleared, Strike Force Mantis flooded into the reception hall, taking fire from barricades set up in a semicircle at ground level and from the balustrades and balconies on the levels above and returning fire with the Titan sending high-explosive shells and mortal grenades into strongpoints, Wolverines clanking forward and absorbing fire, their autocannons suppressing Alliance soldiers for armored infantry to take down.
An Alliance HMMWV equivalent with a 6-barrel rocket launcher mounted in lieu of a machinegun or autocannon rolled up from around a corner in the right-hand hallway and painted one of the Wolverines, the missile lock being detected by BATTLENET which alerted the strike force.
Mantis 1-1 jumped in front of the vehicle and took the rocket barrage right on the nose, void shields shimmering and giving away under pressure but protecting the vehicle itself, which retaliated with its arm cannon and sent a shell to detonate under the Humvee, flipping it over and exposing its crew to be finished off with HMG fire when the targeted Wolverine behind it keeled over and promptly exploded, felled by a direct hit from a 40mm field fun that had been hidden in one of the storefronts.
The Alliance Military’s ubiquitous 40mm fields guns boasted a quick rate of fire owing to their small caliber and multi-shell autoloader, making it a highly accurate weapon that was easy to move and moderately effective against many targets. Its main drawbacks were a relatively short effective range and its shells being virtually useless against true tanks, but the Alliance more than made up for this with its heavy artillery and MLRS.
But this particular field gun would not score a second kill, its crew being turned to past by the Titan’s 120mm cannon and the device itself broken into 5 parts by the Howitzer shell’s kinetic force.
Another 40mm cannon tried to avenge its fellow by striking the Titan’s lower back, making it lurch forward and damaging its leg joints as its shields were yet to recover. A Wolverine suppressed the gun’s position as an infantry team closed the distance and lobbed a pair of plasma grenades upwards, silencing the crew and melting the gun’s barrel, rendering it useless, but the Titan had to retreat to make repairs.
Nonetheless, the job was almost done. The perimeter cleared by snipers and Alliance strongpoints suppressed by Wolverines, Strike Force Mantis’ infantry flooded the building, clearing it out room by room as the Alliance troops that tried to flee out the back door were unceremoniously cut down by IDF snipers and anti-armor troopers. An hour after the first shot was fired, the mall had been cleared out by the IDF, who packed up and withdrew to their operating base after looting the Alliance corpses for anything of value, daring the invaders to reoccupy the structure.

The scene at the mall was one repeated hundreds of times in hundreds of places every day across Alcazar V. The Alliance Military landed ground troops in increments of 90 million like clockwork every 24 Earth Standard hours, and since the East Horn Battlefleet was tied up by the Alliance Navy’s stubborn holding action in the struggle around Alcazar III there was little outside support against the Alliance landing troops. Alcazar V’s saving grace was that its huge number of anti-orbital batteries had dissuaded the Alliance troop transports from coming too close, forcing them to land in assault boats that were much easier targets for AAA and SAM, and preventing the Navy from establishing a full blockade allowing limited numbers of materials and reinforcements to come to Alcazar V. Some elements of the East Horn Battlefleet patrolled around Alcazar V, escorting reinforcement- and supply convoys through Alliance lines and harassing the Navy just enough to keep them continuously on edge.
Large swathes of the critical Fortress World had fallen under Alliance control, but the efforts of Governor Tullio Alhambra and Marshal Niccolino Bonaventura had prevented them from consolidating their positions. The UNC IDF launched countless destabilizing raids into occupied territory while IDFSC units conducted tactical strikes along the frontlines, and OkUb units responded to Alliance maneuvers.
Even though the Terran Air Force could hardly operate due to the Alliance’s fearsome Searchlight SPAAG’s, the Alliance Air Force was equally impotent owing to the Terrans’ own extensive air defense grid, making the Battle of Alcazar V one of infantry, tanks, and artillery, with the latter two being less important due to the confused nature of the fighting and the city-planet’s heavy urbanization making it difficult to pinpoint enemy positions. The Teran defenders had traded space for time, and it had allowed them to stabilize their frontlines and dig in while the Alliance had to contend with harassment by armed civilians who fought tooth and nail to liberate their homeworld, yet the steady flow of supplies and reinforcements meant they could afford to fight a war of attrition.
The way things were going, this battle would not be over anytime soon.


The Terrasphere Alliance
Fallax, The World of Endless Plains

I.S.S. Nightrider, Talyn Jäger-von Schramberg’s Zvezda-class command Dreadnought, hung in medium orbit over the Alliance Fortress World of Fallax. At the head of Operation Black Flag, Talyn’s ad-hoc battlegroup was busy conducting raids deep into Alliance territory, attacking crucial supply stations behind the frontline the as Alliance Navy and East Horn Battlefleet trade shots over Alcazar III and V. Operation Black Flag consisted of the dozen surviving capital ships of the Territorial Battlegroup Alcazar III and escort groups, 100 Assault Cruisers, Light Cruisers, Assault Carriers, and Fast Battleships from IDFSC Starfleet East Horn Battlefleet commanded by Oberon-1-class Supercarrier I.S.S. Keeper of the Long Night, and 60 Escort Cruisers, Raider Fast Corvettes, and Privateer Heavy Frigates from the Jäger Security Force granted by Mallory Jäger commanded by Escort Cruiser A/C Sword of Retribution; backed up by 40 planetary assault ships from the UNC IDF carrying 1.5 million Terran Imperial Army, Airborne, and Marine soldiers, plus some 500,000 IDFSC Army and Marines. Talyn’s ace in the hole came in the form of the elite “Totenkopf Regiment” of Schturmovik Storm Commandos, disciplined killers without peer, all veterans of centuries of warfare handpicked by the highest IDF commanders to be part of this famous Regiment.

Jäger-von Schramberg had decided on using terror tactics to demoralize the Alliance, striking from the shadows, laying waste to all in her path, and vanishing back into the night before relief forces could arrive on site. She was going to hit hard and fast, attacking as many supply worlds as possible and hindering the siege of Alcazar V before the Alliance Military could put a response force together – and Fallax would be the first to fall to her piratical raids.

Talyn’s fleet had divided and conquered the Alliance defense fleet, expertly using micro-Warp jumps to dark around the battlespace and overwhelm small pockets of the Alliance Navy’s defense before jumping away to repeat the process elsewhere. Soon enough, the Alliance fleet was no more than burning hulks, and her ground forces made landfall, dropping directly onto military bases and major cities and swiftly killing everyone who offered resistance, capturing whomever they could alive.
When the fighting abated, Talyn would not wait for troops from elsewhere on Fallax to make their way to the stricken areas. She ordered soldiers and civilians alike crucified, disemboweled, maimed, and decapitated, the dead and dying Alliance citizens left behind for the survivors to find and the tale to spread.
And even as Fallax burned, Operation Black Flag was closing in on its next target.


The Terran Empire
Novi Soyuz
National Defense Center

Malcolm Reid, Executive Assistant to National Defense Chief Marianna Drexler and top-tier field agent of the Republican Intelligence Agency of the United Terran Republics, sat at his desk, buried in a mountain of paperwork even this late at night. The Terran Empire, despite its lax attitude towards rules and regulations, loved its paper records like a child loved is candy – there could never be enough of it.
A chime sounded – someone at the door. On his screen, Reid saw a man in a formal business suit, bearing the insignia of Raukov National Military Industries. He opened the door, and the man slunk in with an unnervingly fluid motion.
“You’ve been a busy little bee, haven’t you, Mr. Reid?” The man said in a tone that was somehow both utterly bored and full of contempt.
Malcolm instantly knew he was in serious trouble. “You must be mad if you think I’m going to come quietly.”
“Oh, but good sir, I’m not expecting you to come anywhere at all.” The man said, as 4 armored men appeared beside him, their Chameleon cloaks dropping with a shimmer.
“That’s how it is, then?” Reid deadpanned at the leader of the Black Hand Fate Squad, the Party’s clandestine assassins who were utterly loyal to Pretorius and Kondraki’s persons, starting to reach for his bolt pistol.
“Indeed, Mr. Reid. We are aware of your UTR connections and you are hereby sentenced to death.”
The Fate Squad troopers’ guns hadn’t cleared their holsters before Malcolm’s first bullet found its mark in the team leader’s forehead, the bolt penetrating his skull before detonating inside his brain, goring the assassin’s head. Malcolm shifted aim and fired again, hitting the assassin to the team leader’s left square in the face and blowing it apart into chunks of human salsa. The Fate man next to him was third to fall, a bolt going through his neck and into his cranium, leading to a fine red mist spraying out the top of his head. The squad leader hadn’t even fallen to the ground before Reid shifted his aim to the other side of the room and turned another Fate man’s head into a platter of blood sausages… But having had to sweep from the center to the right to the left of the room had cost precious moments, and this was enough for the last Fate Squad assassin standing to pull a silenced ballistic pistol and put 3 .22 hollow-point bullets into Malcolm’s chest. But even as Major Reid died, he made his killer pay by unloading the remaining 4 bolt shells into the Fate man’s chest, collapsing his chest cavity and gibbing his torso.
Reid knew his time was up. His knew gave way and he sank to the ground, unable to feel his legs and the rest of his body going cold. With tremendous effort, he made his way over to the intercom, pulled himself onto his chair, and sent a message to his handlers at Luna Superiora: “This is Reid. I’ve been found out. Inform Raven Rock to… Be prepared for… Terran invasion… Good luck.”
His final words having parted his lips, Malcolm Reid’s heart stopped beating.


Classified location
Somewhere in Nevada, Earth

The world had forgotten the bunker, but it had certainly not forgotten the world.
It had been constructed amidst the fear of nuclear war all the way back in the 1950’s and early 60’s, and had been continuously upgraded, modernized, and expanded until 2067, when the secretive group of secessionist scholars, politicians, and military officers known as the Enclave, the group that would later found the United Terran Republics, had acquired it from the neglectful watch of the Global Defense Initiative; where they had continued to use it as one of their handful of major bases until the Fall of Earth in 2499. The bunker and its denizens, direct descendants of the original Enclave membership, had been isolated and forgotten by the Old Enclave in the UTR and New Enclave in the Terran Empire and Terra Novam alike until recently, when Henderson Bunker, still flying the old flag of the long-defunct United States of America, had established contact with the New Enclave’s central base of operations at Navarro after automatically picking up a friendly frequency – less than 200 kilometers away. Henderson had immediately placed itself at Navarro’s disposal, and its commander, General Robert House, was elated to see his old friend Marcus Jäger had not only survived his supposedly fatal stand at Scarborough so many years ago, but had risen to become President of the New Enclave.

While neither Navarro nor Henderson was the New Enclave’s headquarters, the New Enclave Congress was meeting here at Henderson because in their rightful paranoia Navarro Joint Base contained too much sensitive information and as such had too many powerful eyes and ears present and Headquarters at Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center in Virginia, Earth simply lacked the necessary accommodations to facilitate such a secure top-level meeting, being a civilian center rather than a military base like Raven Rock (Earth) had once been. Mount Weather had survived the Scrin invasion undetected, but the Rock had fallen to the Xenos before Sol went supernova; and during and after Earth’s reconstruction Raven Rock had been rebuilt, but was now under IDF control.
Compared to the gargantuan Federal Armed Services and huge Imperial Defense Forces, and even the small number of Republican Grand Army forces controlled by the Old Enclave, the New Enclave’s military might was pathetic – consisting of 3 elite brigades (Sigma, Devil’s, and Hellfire Brigades) and a few regular divisions of power-armored ground troops, a few Air Force battalions, and a paltry handful of obscenely powerful starships. The New Enclave’s power lay in close cooperation with a select few powerful business entities, placing its own members in positions of power among the top layers of Novan, Terran, and Confederate government, military command, and intelligence apparatuses, and its ability to spy on absolutely everyone, everywhere, at any time, meaning blackmail was always on the table to deal with troublesome parties.
The New Enclave had split off from the original Enclave due to ideological differences: the original Enclave had formed to escape the expansionist Terran Empire and its repressive government in its early days, but a portion of its membership argued that the Enclave should instead take power in the Terran Empire and lead it to a batter future. The Enclave as a whole disagreed, stating this would make them no better than the government they sought to escape, with a schism being the result. As the Enclave departed Earth in 2077, some of its number stayed at Navarro and became the New Enclave; which was now trying to absorb the Old Enclave, that had over the centuries become corrupted, shed its original purpose, and now had the same ideas as the New Enclave. But there was no room for two Enclaves, and thus, the Old Enclave’s President James Fowler had been convinced by President Jäger to dispose of the Old Enclave’s dangerous elements and fold the remnants into the New Enclave, unifying the Enclave once more and working towards fulfilling the New Enclave’s original plan.

Overseer House, walking through the labyrinthine corridors of Henderson Bunker flanked by a squad of elite Hellfire Brigade troopers, caught many glances thrown his way by the distinctively grey-uniformed officers and power-armored troopers that roamed the complex, but ignored them as they were smart enough not to accost him. Entering the Congressional meeting chamber, he found he was the last person to arrive. Saluting the President, Robert presented the MCU (“Master Control Unit”) containing Epsilon to Marcus, who in turn entered the AI into a slot under the central conference table. Epsilon’s holographic avatar emerged in the center: a carbon copy of a much-younger President Marcus Jäger.
The 7 individuals that formed Congress were not all physically present: only House, Jäger, and Fowler were on-site, with the other 4 attending via QEC as they were both far away, buried in their non-Enclave duties, and their absence would be detected and raise awkward questions.

Whereas Novan meetings tended to be informal, relaxed, and usually mirthful, and Terran meetings formally polite but aggressive to where fistfights were the norm, there was no humor to be found in the Enclave Congress. Nothing but stony faces and an air of absolute professionalism, detached from emotion as if they were robots. There was no excessive formality, not an iota of levity to lighten the mood – just pure business. And this suited General House, the head of multiple well-performing technology concerns, just fine.
It was he who opened the meeting, not yet taking his seat but pacing back and forth with hands clasped behind his back, pain and guilt wrought on his face.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize. I made a mistake, and we are all paying for it. Due to my miscalculation, Epsilon was not in New York before the Scrin took Lewenhaupt Building, and everything went belly-up.
Under my supervision, Mr. Kruger failed, meaning Elisabeth Pretorius now rules the Terran Empire, the Office of Naval Intelligence has been placed under State curatorship and thus lost to us as an asset, and the Black Hand Party is quickly unraveling everything we have built towards for the past millennium. If it comes to the Cold Snap doomsday scenario, I will assume full responsibility.”
“The responsibility is not all yours. You were neither President nor Premier nor Superintendent. You weren’t the IDF Chief of Staff, Defense Minister, or National Security Chief. And more than that: it wasn’t just the Scrin. They weren’t the cause, rather, their victory was a symptom. The Senate had become hopelessly corrupt, and Congress complacent long before the Xenos showed up. I suspected it when the Bureau of Colonial Affairs did nothing to stop Governor Ashe’s crimes. I knew it was true when Robertson’s pirate armada invaded my Frontier and the government left us to rot. If anything, I should have acted sooner. The blame is mine, Robert. You just made a mistake, like any human does. Me, I was as complacent as the State, which makes me a hypocrite.”
Thus spoke Marcus Jäger, President of the New Enclave. “Please, be seated without shame, Congressman House.”
Visibly relieved, Robert took his seat, as Marcus turned towards the projected version of himself.
“It is good to see you again, Epsilon.” The President of the shadowy cabal behind the Terran and Novan governments known as the New Enclave spoke.
“It is good to see you too, Marcus.” His AI clone replied jovially.
“I’ve reviewed the report you’ve sent me. Are you certain your calculations are correct?”
“Of course they are. You would have made the same ones, only slower, of course. I am based on a copy of your own brain, after all.”
“Very funny, Epsilon. And not a copy of me, but a copy of a copy of my copy’s copy’s… copy. Which is why you’re Epsilon and not Alpha.”
“The other 4 died, if I recall correctly.” Epsilon deadpanned with a hint of pride. “In any case, my figures are spot-on.”
“Alright, we will come to the doomsday scenario shortly. But first…”
The President of the New Enclave turned to James Fowler. “I trust everything is in position in the United Republics, ’Delegate’ Fowler?”
“Indeed. The moment the IDF launches its invasion I will set in motion events that will see those within the Old Enclave unsympathetic to our cause find themselves at Raven Rock alongside the Republican High Directorate, and our political opponents will die in the planned attack on Congress. The Old Enclave’s remnants will pledge themselves to the New Enclave, and the Republics will begin the process of merging with the Tyros Splinter Government. It is then only a matter of time until we can make our final play.”
“Speaking of said final play – it’s a win or lose scenario. Either it goes spectacularly right, or catastrophically wrong.” Emily Jäger brought up. “Doomsday scenario. What are our options?”
General House had prepared the information Emily requested: “To yield the maximum effect without exterminating all humanity and eradicating the possibility of recovery we would require approximately 67,000 units per planet, assuming Earthlike size and land-ocean proportions. 66,767 to be exact. Although theoretically 100 would suffice, given the proper dispersion.”
“This is a major difference. Especially given that this concerns tens of thousands of individual planets. Why use sixty-seven thousand per planet when a hundred is sufficient?”
“Because of the long-term effects. Using a hundred would end all higher lifeforms in a matter of years, the larger package would also kill lower lifeforms and do it in a matter of days. The small package would also leave a large part of the infrastructure intact, though I concede that lacking proper maintenance most of it would burn down on its own accord. But this would still leave the affected world ripe for near-immediate colonization, whereas the large package would prevent such efforts for at least 200 years.”
“But either way there would be survivors on the surface, is that not correct?”
“Indeed. Although we are talking a difference of 10% of the planetary population against 0.5%. And while in both cases the survivors would suffer mutations, the small package would not deal much permanent genetic damage. The population is then expected to rebuild civilization in roughly 80 years, form nation-states in 160, and have re-attained the full range of technology and quality of life in 250. In the large package’s case, we expect permanent neurological damage that will render the population unable to rebuild due to mental degeneration.”
“In short, if it comes down to it, the small package will allow the survivors to rebuild, but given everything else will never accept our rule over them. This will lead to war, and we will not have the numbers to sustain such a conflict. Yet humanity will rebuild and rise to power again on its own accord. The large package will ensure that only our own people, pure humans, will remain, but we will likely never revive the Terran Empire. We would have to exterminate the mutants, and given that our manpower will be critically low we’ll have to rely on our scientific acumen and superior technology to do so. However, I do not foresee any serious problems in doing so.”
“The decision is yours, Mr. President.”
“Very well. I would like to wait until the last possible moment to decide whether or not to initiate the doomsday scenario, but if we must, then it is my order that we go all the way. It will be the large package.”
“Mr. Fowler, I entrust you with carrying Epsilon to his destination. I want him installed and ready to seize control over the Confederate defense network as necessary. Mr. House, please commence Phase One of the Continuation of Civilization program.”
Last edited by Terra Novam on Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Imperial Free State of Terra Novam; a mostly serious sci-fi, Messier-33-based transhuman state in 3220.

Just your average human being of the female variety. Name's Zoey Shae Autumn, from Lansing MI. Feel free to TG me anything; always looking to join RP's!

[spoiler=Info]Map of the IFS Terra Novam
http://ussmidway1978.deviantart.com/art/Map-of-Terra-Novam-620749826 (Props to my brother for making this!)
I am NationStates' resident existentialist dimensional physicist. Talk to me at your own risk!

Terra Novam represents my real-life beliefs.

Mail: GDI.InOps@gmail.com

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Adrinian
Political Columnist
 
Posts: 2
Founded: Feb 17, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Our Darkest hour

Postby Adrinian » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:24 pm

The Senate Building, Adrinian city, Adrinian
The senate was dead silent. All eyes were on the president as he stepped up to the podium. He placed his notes on the podium and began to speak: "As many of you already know, approximately ten hours ago the planet Gherian suffered an attack. The detonation of a weapon we now believe to be some sort of vapor bomb caused immense damage to the immediate blast area and launched large amounts of dangerous chemicals into the air." The senators began muttering to each other, but were silenced when the president raised his hand, signaling he was not done speaking.
"The culprit of this attack has not yet been identified, and I urge the people of Adrinian to remain calm and refrain from pointing fingers. We are launching a full investigation and I assure you that we will bring the group responsible to justice." More muttering, the president raised his hand again.
"In the meantime however, we must do everything in our power to make sure an attack like this doesn't happen again. I am ordering the military to mobilize and take a defensive stance, and I am asking this body to authorize a draft of fifteen million soldiers, so that when the culprit is identified, we will be ready to take vengeance for this cowardly attack." The senate applauded, and stopped so the president could finish his speech.
"I stand before you now in what is perhaps our darkest hour, but I assure you, we will be the light that shines over Adrinin, now and forever!" The senators stood and the thundering of applause told Zephyros Nightshade he would get everything he had asked for.

Adrinian Military command, undisclosed location
The screen switched off. The five Admirals and five Generals seated at the table sat in silence. Admiral Bramer was the first to talk.
"Well, I thought it was a lovely speech."
"Quite." The rotund General Miller responded, "How does he expect us to get it all done?"
General Ilsman was the next to speak: "in order to take in that many soldiers, we will have to establish fifteen-hundred new training camps, and we won't have enough transports or warships built for the next six months. Currently, we have enough divisions ready to maybe mount small offensive actions, but the fact that we don't know who the enemy is prevents us from taking action."
General Miller groaned, "Well we can't do nothing! The press would have a field day and we would look like fools before the whole galaxy!"Ilsman nodded,
"I realize that, but we can't just go charging into space. We must find a reasonable solution."
"How?!" Miller protested, "You've given us nothing to work with!"
"Calm down General" said Admiral Vossk, the lone Vogg officer at the table. He turned to Ilsman, "How fast can we organize the units we have?" Ilsman glanced at her handheld screen, "We can have ten divisions of twenty thousand regulars and three divisions of marines mobilized and deployed in a day, along with the majority of the fleet."
"And where will we send them exactly will we send this 'formidable' force?" General Miller huffed. The table sat in silence for a moment. Suddenly Admiral Bramer stood up and tapped his finger on the table. A map of the galaxy appeared, he zoomed in on a large orange blob.
"Gentlemen and ladies, I believe I have found our solution."
"What is it?" Ilsman asked, standing up to get a better look.
"The octopus nebula, for those of who who skipped astronomy, Adrinian lies on the end of a galactic 'arm' so to speak. This nebula lies directly on the only trade route between us and the rest of the galaxy, we can position our fleet within and set up airbases and ground forces on a planet inside, being able to monitor and halt any ship that comes through." The Generals and Admirals around at each other, Miller nodded, "This could work." Bramer smiled, then turned to the recorder droid.
"Let the record show that General Miller, with Ilsman as his second in command will lead the ground and air forces of the army being sent to the octopus nebula, and that I, with Admiral Vossk as my second in command will lead the naval and merchant forces. The remainder of the defense committee will remain here to organize our reinforcements." He smiled again and called the meeting to a close.

Drekiheimer, two hours later
The Yahr diplomat was tired of waiting. He had asked for a meeting with the Aesir ruler immediately after the attack on Gherian, with no response. He glanced at his watch. He had been waiting for twelve hours. No word from the Aesir, no word from Adrinian. He had received a message from his counterpart in Terra, (a Human of course) and he was having similar results. (The republic had sent envoys to both, in order to seem impartial.) He glanced at his watch again, another minute of waiting gone by. All he could do was wait.

General headquarters, planet 12B of the Octopus nebula, two days later
General Ilsman looked up. Above her, the massive warship the S.S. Adrinian City opened her hangar doors. Hundreds of fighters poured out, heading to their respective locations. Even further up, though she could not see them, she knew Admiral Bramer and Adrinian's fleet were taking up positions in the nebula's gas clouds, waiting for ships to approach. All over this small, rocky planet soldiers were taking positions with their artillery and preparing for... well they didn't really know what. their missiles could reach low orbit, and their fighters could reach even higher, but unless a real battle started they wouldn't be needed. She had heard that the shipyards had been grinding into overtime. From what she had heard their fleet would practically double in the next year, and the fifteen million soldiers the president had called up would be ready in seven months. for now, they would wait. Wait for... something.
Last edited by Adrinian on Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Terra Dysonia
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 6
Founded: Nov 21, 2016
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Woe among the Lines

Postby Terra Dysonia » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:07 pm

The Novan Frontier

For the hundreds of thousands of Novan and IDF navymen in the supply fleet, the day seemed rather uneventful. Comms checks were made, escorts scanned for potential threats, and the bored crews of the tankers and carriers went about their work.

However, today was not to remain uneventful, and for many aboard this particular supply fleet, it would be their last. For nearly 11 hours now, they had been tracked and covertly tailed by a 30-vessel speartip of Talos origin. They kept out of sensor distance of their prey, passively scanning the vessels whenever they could.

It was then that the Talos made an interesting discovery; the supply fleet was going to move through sublight past a rogue asteroid in the area. Normally it would be charted around during flight planning, but with the state of urgency these supplies were needed, the fleet had to risk it.Though it was no bigger than Ceres of the Sol system, it had an uncanny amount of naturally-occuring tekasite below its crust, highly explosive. This, combined with a few catalysts planted and sensor mimics erected by a forward vessel, made for the perfect trap. The escorts would likely expect an ambush from the other side of the asteroid, but they would not be expecting the asteroid becoming a weapon itself.

As the supply fleet entered the area, Talos vessels in slipspace sat in wait around the designated "kill zone." Once the supply fleet moved within the projected blast radius of the asteroid, the detonation was triggered. All of a sudden the asteroid erupted in an explosion of purple-blue plasma as the tekasite detonated, consuming the forward end of the fleet and leaving the rest in a maze of molten rock and stellar dust. With the enemy disoriented and separated, the fleet reconciled back into realspace, charging weapons and preparing to hunt down those that survived.

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Terra Novam
Envoy
 
Posts: 222
Founded: Jan 18, 2013
Mother Knows Best State

Postby Terra Novam » Fri Dec 21, 2018 6:28 am

Via Lactea
The Terran Empire
Alcazar V

Unlike the IDF doctrine of taking and holding critical locations and forcing enemy forces to abandon entire regions by way of driving spearheads to seize objectives and securing then by carving out fortified salients, the Alliance Military relied on Novan-like strategies of broad-front advances, sweeping maneuvers, and physically capturing and securing everything rather than central control points capable of projecting power, but unlike the Novans were built for long-lasting, low-intensity conflict, unable to sustain the intense firing-line combat IDF and FAS specialized in.
Favoring maneuver warfare, the IDF was geared towards major, decisive battles; but fighting said battles not with heavily weighted decisive assaults but rather by launching countless small-unit deep strikes, known as "thunder runs", that could reduce powerful armies to disorganized bands of desperate rabble using combined infantry, armor, artillery, and air power under an integrated command structure. If the IDF was fully successful in its battle strategy, there would be no need for a final, overwhelming attack of the kind the Novan FAS and its separate force commands was known for, since the enemy would either be forced to withdraw before such an assault or be too disorganized to put up a concentrated stand and their resistance pockets eliminated one by one in similar smaller strikes. As such, the IDF's battles tended to have no clear transition between the preliminary, major combat operations, and mop-up phases, whereas in the FAS and Alliance Military these were obviously distinct.

This operation was no different.
IDF troops fanned out along the major highways of Alcazar V, which the Alliance never had secured; picking apart Alliance front positions, capturing outposts and fire bases and fortifying the corridors between them, effectively cutting the Alliance Military's presence on Alcazar V into isolated segments. Terran snipers reigned supreme as they picked off Alliance officers and heavy weapons teams as fast attack vehicles darted around, lobbing mortar shells at the enemy front ranks and howitzer shells at the rear, pulling back to a safe distance when the Alliance sent up heavy armor to deal with them, which was dealt with by Imperial artillery, called in by hidden spotters with lethal precision. Plasma Rifle units had succeeded in silencing several Searchlight battalions, allowing for a Terran air strike prior to a massive assault. Not expecting and aerial attack, the Alliance frontlines and supply lines had been thrown into disarray, and as the Imperial Air Force had not tried to attack the rear areas the Alliance Air Force had been launched to protect their newly-established permanent bases only to be met with zero airborne opposition and instead be dashed to pieces by the Terran air defense grid.

Time and again, the Imperial Guard closed to contact, conducted a series of rapid deep strikes, and then backpedaled when the Alliance Military moved to counter, keeping a good distance while harrying the enemy all the way, until the Alliance concentrated its broad formations against the Guard, at which point Imperial Army units attacked the Alliance forces at oblique angles, shattering their formation and forcing them to fall back, where the Guard would give chase and attack again, starting the process anew.
By week’s end, many IDF bases that had fallen to Alliance occupation had been recaptured, and bases under siege that were holding out since the siege began were finally relieved.

All the while gang members and crime bosses' private militias made life a living hell for the Alliance occupiers in Alcazar's slums, having wrested control of multiple districts out of their hands, forming strong pockets of resistance and holding out against a never-ending siege. Reliant on raids and minimal helicopter drops for food and munitions, heavy rationing was in effect and the civilians trapped in these regions were left near starvation, many of them taking up arms and joining the organized criminals in their supply raids and even the Vigiles and their Enforcers allying with Alcazar V’s underworld, these more combat-capable paramilitary police being used to hold off the periodic Alliance incursions into the slums to allow the fleet-footed gangsters to do their thing..

In the meantime, Governor Alhambra had ordered the captured monofilament shields be reverse-engineered and the technicians to look into acquiring Searchlight technology from captured SPAAG hulks, in the hopes of both devising a counter against them and developing versions of the same compatible with IDF technology.
The Battle of Alcazar V had been a close shave for the IDF at first, but having stabilized and going back on the offensive had put the Alliance on the back foot. Even though they were still landing fresh troops like clockwork, and now significantly outnumbered the IDF, the Terran forces were superior in nearly every facet of arms, and the streets of Alcazar V were being choked up with Alliance Military forces, the reinforcements permitting them to stay in the fight but also stripping them of their high mobility as units kept getting in each other’s way.
The East Horn’s premier Fortress World, the locus of the Alliance invasion, was slowly beating back the incursion.


Novi Soyuz
Department of War Fortress

The National Defense Council, consisting of President Tani, Premier Ventis, Superintendent Pretorius, Chief of Staff Kondraki, Minister of War Rostam, and National Defense Chief Drexler, was seated around the Strategic Planning Room’s central conference table. Located deep underground, in a reinforced doomsday bunker, this section of the Departmental Fortress was cramped but as safe, and isolated, as could be on a planet as built-up at Novi Soyuz.
An impromptu private meeting was in session after the Defense Council’s members were briefed on the Adrinian situation, along with the knowledge that an Adrinian Ambassador was waiting at the Foreign Affairs headquarters right this moment that had them scrambling to formulate an official response.

“We have very little intelligence on Adrinian bar what we can steal from Novan sources. And even they don’t have as much as we’d like. But it’s enough to work off of in this case.” Drexler began.
“Their government’s response to the bombing?” The President wanted to know.
Garus Rostam answered: “The Adrinians have instituted a draft for fifteen million ground troops and have begun building several hundred warships. Projections say they will be ready for deployment in six months – plenty of time for our expeditionary force to take over their capital if they reject our pending… Offer.”
“I see.” President Tani spoke. “Present dispositions?”
“Currently, the Adrinian military has deployed to the Octopus Nebula. They're inspecting every ship wanting to enter their space. Apparently it’s the only star route in and out of the country, a natural chokepoint. A strategically sound move if backed with proper force and mobile reserves – both of which they seem to lack.” Rostam answered.
“Going by historical evidence, conscripts aren’t worth much.” Kondraki piped up. “They don’t want to be in the military. They will worry about their families, their livelihoods, their own lives… They are often undisciplined and ill-trained, though I doubt this will be the case for Adrinian conscripts. They are an isolationist people, who are likely happy to fight for the defense of their homelands. And given what we know of Adrinian’s industrial capacity, these conscripts will be as well-equipped as the standing army. Discipline will still be an issue, and most importantly they’ll lack experience. Our sources also tell us Adrinian is totally unused to waging war on the scale and intensity of what the public has dubbed “Princess Anna’s Civil War”. Our military doctrine will shatter their will to fight if we have to take over by force.”
“Yet it would seem they have no idea who the culprit is, if their President’s speech is true.” Premier Ventis said, though it came out more like a question.
“They have no reason to disbelieve the story we’ve cooked up.” Drexler replied, followed by Rostam: “Military Intelligence suggests Adrinian’s secret service and armed forces are well and truly clueless.”
“Alright then, let’s try this. Send green light to DoFA.” Pretorius ordered.

Department of Foreign Affairs Building
Minutes later

After long hours of nothingness, the door to the Consul’s office finally opened again and the same aide that had greeted the Adrinian Ambassador addressed them again: “The Terran State apologizes for the long delay. We were still trying to piece together this puzzle, but we are now ready to commence talks. Consul Silverman will see you now. If you’d please follow me?” The aide politely spoke, ushering the Adrinian envoy into an opulent, lavishly decorated oval room, an elderly, stoutly built Doranian man sat behind a handcrafted, deep golden-brown mahogany desk rising to meet the day’s appointment.
“You must be our representative from the Republic of Adrinian?” Silverman asked, knowing the answer. “Please, be seated.” He said, gesturing at the ornate redwood chair covered in royal blue velvet stood in front of his desk. “I am Consul Dives Silverman.” He introduced, carefully stressing his first name to indicate it was the Latin “Dee-ves” and nothing to do with having jumped into the water, as he offered his hand to shake.

OOC: Since this is likely to be a conversation in many small snippets, shall we move this part to the RMB?


Aura Hyperia
Terra Novam
The Liberator Combined Fleet, on route to Planet Orar
F.A.S. Eclipse

The Office of Naval Intelligence’s Prowler-class Stealth/Recon Corvette Pale Rider had appeared at the edge of Eclipse’s sensor range with all the subtlety of a nuclear bomb. That was probably because upon decelerating to below light speed, the vessel shot off a nuclear missile in the direction opposite the Liberator combined fleet before making its approach, a gesture that meant Pale Rider did not have any offensive ordnance in its tubes and was requesting safe approach.
A request for a digital handshake was sent to Eclipse and granted by Lord Admiral Laskaris. The transmission was audio only, since ONI protocol did not allow its ships to carry visual transmission devices, and since Terran and Novan QEC systems used completely different technologies they were incompatible.
Nevertheless, a comm line was established, and since ONI belonged to Zachary Kruger and Kruger was now allied with the Liberator Movement, Pale Rider made its approach unmolested.
It was thus with great interest that Anna heard the ship’s commander introduce herself as Elissa Drexler, Terran National Defense Chief Marianna Drexler’s daughter and ONI protégé.

"The day before the attack on Belya Zvezda, I received some files on my private comm link. They were marked 'CU', the highest level of secrecy in existence.
I didn't understand the relation between them, or why anyone would show me this. But after the Black Hand attack, the pieces fell into place...
They were sent by my mother. She was trying to tell me something. There is a covert but active shooting war taking place between the Black Hand and Black Guard. General Vaughn calls it “Operation Shadow Play”. The Hand is having moderate successes on the battlefronts, it seems, but the Guard is conducting successful covert operations behind the lines that are throwing the Hand into chaos. I’ll transfer the files to the screen." Elissa said after boarding the Liberator flagship, the girl having walked in with only her best friend Thomas Cole by her side, exuding an air of absolute confidence she didn’t feel, expecting to be shot or detained at any moment even though Kruger, Vaughn, and even Admiral Stoltz had vouched for her.

The files played on the large review screen on the head end of the briefing room one after the other.

The first file showed Planet Fularis, the world that had been subjected to the Cold Snap Protocol after it tried to go public with findings regarding illegal Black Hand biological experimentation, as reported to the Liberator leadership by Novan DSI man Major Dima Orenski some weeks ago.
This was helmet cam footage taken by a Corpsman medic as part of a covert investigative team. The scene was one of tranquil devastation, the air thick with ash clouds, and a pile of dead Terran Imperial Army soldiers held the front and center stage.
The medic moved to the one whose power armor seemed least-damaged, and after some handiwork removed the helmet. His surprised “Son of a bitch!” was echoed by exclamations of “Oh my God” and “Spirits above” by Anna and Laskaris, respectively. Sitting in via QEC from the comm center of I.S.S. Marathon and Mons Dei respectively, Kruger watched impassively while Brevet Admiral Buianova instantly vomited at the sight.
Little trace remained to indicate that this face had once belonged to a human being. Horrible mutations and disfigurements riddled the man’s visage, sores oozing black pus even in death, his skin green and leathery like a lizard’s. As the medic attempted to pry open what remained of the dead man’s mouth with a pair of pliers, his jaw simply fell off, and a gob of maggots projected onto the medic’s helmet – which instantly began boring through his visor. The Corpsman screamed in absolute agony as the footage began thrashing around, going diagonal and falling still after a few seconds. A soldier approached to investigate, and the camera righted itself again to lunge at the soldier. The Black Guard trooper gave a shout that was equal surprise and revulsion, pulling a handgun and emptying the entire magazine into the medic’s head, who still would not fall. The image only cut out after the crack of an anti-material rifle.
“This is the result of the Black Hand’s experimentation. The official story is Fularis had to be silenced because of a secessionist movement that had taken total control over the planet. In reality, its biosphere was contaminated by a leak that spread out of control and infected the entire biosphere. The Black Hand used Cold Snap to try and contain it, but it was too little, too late. The bastards were trying to fuse Tiberium with Nurgle Chaos energy and weaponize it. Needless to say, they failed, and 9 billion people are dead because of it.” Drexler said by way of explanation to the flabbergasted audience – except Kruger, who only lifted an eyebrow and huffed in disbelief.

The next file began playing, this one a wide-angle view taken from the nose camera of a starship under FTL. A few seconds after the playback began, the ship dropped to subluminal speed near Planet Lithore, an urban world not too far from Beldan and part of the Old Belderian Empire. Two more vessel dropped out of FTL on either flank, both ONI Prowlers. The camera zoomed in to bring into focus a squadron of nearly invisible starships, clearly Human in origin but not matching designs with anything in the Novan, Terran, or even Republican fleets, engaged in combat with a squadron of Imperial starships marked with a black fist gripping a lightning bolt imposed on a triangle rather than the Imperial Aquila.
“The Black Hand sent a battle squadron to Lithore to solidify their hold over the area, check any traffic between Tidewater and Scarborough. The former is the Northern comms hub to Earth, the latter is Mallory Jäger and Jäger Trade Company’s stronghold. ONI was dispatched to covertly monitor things. Imagine our surprise when we dropped in on a firefight between the Hand and the Black Guard.”
On-screen, a Black Hand cruiser was bisected by an orange-red particle beam before the footage cut.
“Our Prowlers moved in and shot a bunch of torps at the Hand, finishing off what remained. Might as well come clean: the Black Corps and ONI are, shall we say, working towards the same goal.”

As the third clip began, depicting a squad of power-armored Black Hand Elite Guard troopers advancing up a wide, low-rise street towards a squad of troopers whose insignias showed them as belonging to Strike Force Five of the Black Guard Paramilitary Corps' Ground Forces, both sides engaged in a brutal firefight, shouted orders and screams of pain drowned out by the din of explosions and machine gun fire as the Elite Guard systematically moved up, heedless of casualties as they picked off the Corpsmen one by one until none remained standing.
Elissa commented as the scene unfolded: “These images are from Planet Brigia. A colony world that was home to a joint ONI-Black Corps listening post. The post was located inside a hospital. We thought the Hand wouldn’t be callous enough to try storming the place, so our security detachment was aimed at rooting out infiltration teams. Were we wrong. They burnt it to the ground with four-thousand people inside. There were no survivors.” Her voice cracked on the last sentence, Thomas putting an arm around her shoulders at the sight. “They passed it off as a terrorist attack. Pretorius used it as an excuse to purge even more IDF officers.” She said, barely a whisper.

“The fourth file,” Cole said, taking over as Elissa choked back tears, “Concerns the largest action in our shadow war thus far. The government claims it was between the UNC and Alliance Navy, which isn’t hard to pass off considering it occurred in the Military Buffer Zone near Alcazar.”
The screen depicted a massive battle in medium orbit of what was unmistakably a Hive World, hundreds of starships of various size and design trading shots while thousands more hung back, waiting to take their place on the firing line. Defending the planet was a mix of Imperial Starfleet ships bearing the sigils of the Imperial Defense Forces Supreme Command and Ultranationalist Coalition, on the other was the Black Hand Navy. The Hand’s forces, though outnumbered, were winning the fight, the ONI stealth craft the recorder was mounted on dodging and weaving between volleys and several near-misses creating nauseating picture shifts.
“The Black Hand has its own army and void fleet.” Cole explained. “We had thought the Elite Guard and a few starships belonging to Kondraki personally were the extent of their directly controlled forces. But we were wrong. The Hand has been busy in the South. Novi Beograd is churning out fleets and armies that answer directly to the Party, totally indoctrinated. This is coordinated by General Adoni Hassan, who has been marked for termination. The Corps has a black ops team on Novi Beograd as we speak. As for this battle: the Hand was initially victorious and their ground troops were winning planetside until UNC reinforcements arrived and drove them away. The Hand made off with thousands of prisoners, including multiple high-ranking IDF officers and UNC politicians.”

“Final one.” Elissa spoke up again. “Mom took this one herself, just a week before Belya Zvezda.”
This clip took place inside the Department of War Fortress in Novi Soyuz, Chief of Staff Gartan Kondraki standing behind a lectern in front of a crowd of Pretorian leaders.
Kondraki spoke calmly, in a powerful yet measured voice, exuding an air of confidence. “Owing to the recent falling-out between the Black Hand and Ultranationalist Coalition, we now have insufficient manpower to effectively secure the entire country. Therefore, the Pretorius Regime may soon face itself having to dissolve the House of Representatives and take control by instating martial law. This will be an unpopular measure, yet with the looming threat of Aesir invasion and the current Alliance invasion I believe we can milk it for all it’s worth, and by the time the plebs realize what’s happening it will be too late to dislodge us.
We will redeploy what forces we have in preparation for our own, proper fleets and armies to be fully trained and equipped. We will concentrate large groupings of ships and troops in central locations, foregoing the IDF’s spread-out deep defense doctrine to be able to rapidly bring overwhelming force to bear within a unit’s zone of responsibility. To this end, we shall redraw the military districts in a manner that disregards civilian district borders, based on geography rather than administrative bounds.
Our forces shall be given authority to chase hostiles across the length and breadth of the Empire without interference from local Territorial forces claiming command authority over them. Black Hand troops shall supersede IDF troops, and Black Hand officers shall be able to give orders to IDF officers of equal rank. To illustrate, a Black Hand Private shall be considered equal to IDF Corporal, and a Black Hand Captain to IDF Captain. However, command of the new military districts shall be jointly assigned to a Black Hand and Pretorius IDF commander, who will make decisions as equals. They shall only answer to the Party and not the Military Authority or the civilian government, so fall outside the Department of War and National Defense Center’s jurisdiction – of course, all other IDF branches will still be controlled by these.”

“The next bit is interesting. The Hand lifted it directly from ONI’s playbook in case we’d ever have to overthrow the sitting government.” Cole mentioned, pausing the playback for a moment.

“Still, armed resistance is inevitable.” Gartan spoke. “To effectively counter this, we will not rely on traditional counter-insurgency tactics. Rather, we will openly attack and exterminate rebel cells wherever they pop up, as soon as they are discovered. This will prevent disparate rebel elements from coalescing into a significant force – after all, it is easier to defeat thirty separate battalions than it is an integrated combat division. Still, I believe the fear of retaliation is more effective against dissenters than outright armed assault. But when assault becomes necessary, we will employ such overwhelming force that the remainder will be too cowed to fall out of line again.
We will thus be using lethal force against our civilian population. In order to prevent divided loyalties among the ranks, it is imperative that we station garrison troops far away from their home regions, so they have no connection to the people they will be fighting and thus less likely to disobey orders.
Of course, we must keep the plebs somewhat placated. To do this, we will institute a Bread and Games strategy similar to that used by the Roman Republic of Old Earth…”

The video abruptly ended. “The Hand was honing in on the signal. That’s all we could get. But the most important bits are there.” Thomas finished as the display went back to depicting a strategic map of the nation.
“One last thing.” The younger Drexler fished out a piece of paper and handed it to Anna, who saw it was a note that read: "Ellie, I hope this finds you in good health. I have some very bad news. My personal aide Malcolm Reid was found dead in his office yesterday. Three bullets to the chest and a sign saying 'foreign spy' hung around his neck. The Black Hand wants to send another message, but I'm not sure against whom. The United Terran Republics, or myself? Pretorius doesn't trust me, that much is clear from when she tried to kidnap you. I have to toe the party line from here on out or I will not be able to accomplish my mission. General Vaughn will understand. Show these files to Anna and her allies, and maybe they too will understand. I'm so sorry I can't see you in person. And that I couldn't prevent Belya Zvezda. Best of luck out there. Much love, Mom." Anna read out loud, promptly pulling the 24-year-old blonde into a bear hug. Elissa shirked at first, but soon returned the embrace with a somber smile.
What Anna didn't say was that the message "For the Enclave" was tacked onto the end…


Orar
Pretorian Stronghold in Terra Novam

Since the beginning of the Civil War, Imperial Marshal Jerlon Arletora and his men, loyal to the effectively imprisoned Emperor Autumn, had tenuously held the planet’s North; while the Pretorius Regime was unassailably entrenched in the South, ruling Praetoria Governorate on its gargantuan plateau, the rolling hills and craggy lands of Landas Governorate, and the expansive, parched plains of Tugela Governorate to their North. Arletora and his Federal Army and Guard forces, in opposition to the Orar Militia and Planetary Defense Forces that were loyal to their Governor Elisabeth Pretorius and thus the Black Hand by extension, had enjoyed some success and could prevent the fascists from capturing the North, but with the arrival of IDF General Antonio Quintana and his much heavier that the local forces Arletora had been slowly but steadily losing ground, the conjunction of IDF offensive power and Orarite elite skirmishers and commando actions being too much for the sluggish Federal Armed Services to handle. And now, even more IDF troops had arrived, and Black Hand Elite Guard with them, and Jerlon saw the end was approaching.
Part of the reason the Liberators under Arletora were able to hold on even when pressed by a superior enemy was that he outnumbered the Pretorians 5:1, and another reason was that the Liberators, encamped in the icy North, were better prepared for winter combat than the Pretorians that held the Mediterranean South. Arletora’s headquarters and fortress was the city of Magersfontein in the Northeastern Kimberley Governorate, a heavily forested and flat area. To its West lay Stormberg Governorate, a hilly, sparsely populated mining district with little vegetation bar the agricultural lands surrounding its capital city Rustenburg, separated from Kimberley by a steep mountain range, and even further West lay the small Elandsrivier Governorate, which was basically the City of Redwall on both banks of the Eland River and its surrounding cattle ranches, hemmed in on 3 sides by rivers and the polar sea to the North – with the Liberators having a stronger grip the further East one looked.

Operating from Port Cronjé Fleet Base in Tugela Governorate, General Quintana’s forces had slowly but surely wrested control of all areas West of Kimberley from Arletora’s control, leaving him only the largest cities, parts of the hinterlands, and some secondary roads in the other two Governorates under his control and reducing the Liberator forces to fight using hit-and-run and guerrilla tactics – which the native Orarite forces excelled at and thus brought the inner front to a stalemate in Stormberg and Elandsrivier.
But the past few days, while the Orarites were keeping up the pressure, Terran activity had been at an all-time low, indicating to the Marshal that the IDF was gearing up for a major assault – likely the final one that would push the Liberators off of Orar. Jerlon sent out a distress call to Tyros… Which, due to active jamming, never arrived.
Redeploying his forces in Stormberg to protect the highways and passes leading into Kimberley and the troops in Kimberley itself to conduct a deep defense around the Grey River that separated Kimberley from Tugela, anchored on the small city of Salisbury, Jerlon Arletora and his men prepared to face the music.



Via Lactea
The Terran Empire
Novi Beograd, Capital Planet of the Black Hand

River Running Dry was a Cherokee and an Immune, which made him the ideal tracker, or so he liked to tell himself.
His parents often joked they should have named him Lone Wolf instead. He spent his decades silently observing people, hardly ever interacting with them and only tersely so when he did have to.
Why, then, was he currently on his knees in the middle of a desert, five Black Hand Elite Guard pointing their rifles at him? How had they managed to sneak up on and subdue this man, who could read the land around him as instinctively as breathing? And most importantly: why was he making sarcastic comments to the Fate Squad about to execute him?

“You know this isn't what ‘fireteam’ means, right?” River Running Dry quipped at the Fate Squad’s leader, earning him a punch to the face that sent him sprawling on the ground.
“Ahh, that hurt in more ways than one.” The Cherokee grimaced. “Last guy like you? I really touched his heart.”
“Did you now?” The Fate Squad leader oozed with sarcasm.
“Yeah, sure did. Granted, I touched it with an 8-inch combat knife, but the sentiment’s still there.”
“Enough of this!” The Fate man yelled, training his barrel at the Corpsman’s head. “It’s about time I ended you. Say goodbye, kid!”
“Goodbye!” River Running Dry happily shouted.
“…What the…”

The SRS-107A sniper rifle was a serious piece of heavy-duty equipment. Firing 25.4mm bullets from a 20-round magazine, the newest roll-out in the SRS series of long rifles was fed either APFSDS tungsten shells with depleted uranium tip or a tandem high explosive and electrified pseudoplasma shaped charge, that made the 107 capable of hard-killing an unshielded medium tank with one good hit or send a heavy bomber into a death spiral mid-flight if an APFSDS bullet struck an engine, and pulpify entire infantry fireteams with the impact of the tandem bullet.
The SRS-107A was 100% accurate up to 8 kilometers, with a muzzle velocity of Mach 11.8, and fitted with internal computers accounting for Coriolis, bullet drop, wind speed and direction, and elevation difference to put bullets exactly on target. The massive .100 bullets themselves had ionic impulse motors to maintain muzzle velocity during traverse and could compensate for any sudden change in angle or direction. Of course, the Coriolis computer had been calibrated for Novi Beograd's size and gravitational field, and would be completely useless on any other world - and there was no accounting for sudden changes in target speed, direction, and the wind. This was where old-fashioned marksmanship was required, and Eric Graham, owner of this particular gun, was the best in the field at exactly that.
Its rapport would be ear-shattering were it not for it using a combined magnetic coil/gravitic rail that was already much quieter than gunpowder, and an array of integrated suppressors and mag-dispersers. Even despite this, the noise was still painful – were it not for the soundproof bubble around the barrel that the sniper had thrown up using a separate device. This way, the shot made no noise at all, and the traversing bullet struck home before its buzzing flyby could even be registered.
Sometimes, ballistics were just better, and this weapon was tangible proof of that. But the 107 came with its drawbacks, namely a carry weight of 17 kilograms unloaded and 23 kilos with full magazine, and recoil so heavy it would pulverize an unaugmented shooter's shoulder, meaning it was only fielded to Army Scout-Snipers and Airborne Recce snipers and in small numbers at that, only 20 years of sniping experience with the SRS-99SU granting the privilege of wielding the new 107. The SRS series long rifle, whether marksman or dedicated sniper variant, was notoriously difficult to master despite its relatively simple operation, but any sniper bearing a 107A or its more widespread 99SU 12.7mm All-Purpose Long Rifle was a force to be reckoned with.
It came as no surprise, then, that when the huge tandem-warhead bullet hit the ground, all 5 Fate men quite literally ceased to exist.

“Could you have possibly cut it any closer?” River Running Dry deadpanned.
“You’re welcome.” His overwatch sniper replied in equal deadpan as he seemingly materialized from out of the ground and walked up to join the tracker, working the bolt to chamber a new bullet. The standard 107 was semi-automatic, but Eric Graham had modified his piece, claiming bolt-action gave him better control.
“He was this close to shooting me in the face!”
“Your point?” Eric asked, pulling his knife to cut River Running Dry’s hands free.
“That would have resulted in mission failure?” The tracker replied, getting up and moving to retrieve his equipment from a pile off to the side.
“Hell, getting shot in the face didn't stop me.”
“Not everyone's as lucky as you are, Graham.”
“Luck had nothing to do with it.” Graham replied, producing a cloth from one of his innumerable pockets and starting to clean the negligible buildup of detritus from the SRS’s barrel. “Death is a choice that I rejected.”
Indeed, Graham had survived no less than 3 headshots, twice to the forehead and once straight through his right temple, and an explosive helicopter crash as well, giving him the status of legendary badass. Having an approximate kill count of 5,700, Eric Graham had justly earned his nickname: “The Walking Apocalypse”, and was the best sniper in the IDF bar none. His particular quirk was his weapon’s condition: his rifle had to be spotless and in perfect repair at all times, leading to Eric obsessively performing maintenance after each and every use. Not that one could blame him, after all, it had been the 107 jamming at the worst possible moment that was the cause of the shot to the temple he’d received, the one that came closest to permanently killing him and necessitating an emergency transfer to a fresh body, which still cost him a 4-month coma.
“Fair enough.” River Running Dry conceded. “You watch my back, now. This is the fourth Fate Squad already, they must be getting onto us by now. I’ll find some brain and see if I can pull something out.”
The work was messy, to say the least, but after days of failure and frustration, the tracker finally found what he was looking for in this squad leader’s grey matter: the prison bus transport schedules for Tibbetts Military Prison.
Last edited by Terra Novam on Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
The Imperial Free State of Terra Novam; a mostly serious sci-fi, Messier-33-based transhuman state in 3220.

Just your average human being of the female variety. Name's Zoey Shae Autumn, from Lansing MI. Feel free to TG me anything; always looking to join RP's!

[spoiler=Info]Map of the IFS Terra Novam
http://ussmidway1978.deviantart.com/art/Map-of-Terra-Novam-620749826 (Props to my brother for making this!)
I am NationStates' resident existentialist dimensional physicist. Talk to me at your own risk!

Terra Novam represents my real-life beliefs.

Mail: GDI.InOps@gmail.com

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Aragonn
Lobbyist
 
Posts: 16
Founded: Jan 14, 2014
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Aragonn » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:42 am

Lieutenant Kommander Vorann
AFL Mjolnir IX
Near New Hyperion Empire Border


Ship losses were turning heavier than the Lieutenant Kommander would have liked. Those ships being targeted down which weren't outright destroyed were losing weapon turrets. However these ships were but a few in the massive fleet he had at hand.

Enemy attack craft began their approaches to the Aesir fleet as the Terran fleet turned to run. It was a suicide mission, but one the Terrans would gladly carry out, it seems. As they began their approach, Véurr frigates opened up with missiles for the small craft and lances for the bombardiers. As they drew closer, point defense rail gun turrets opened up. Fafnir and Nidhogg squadrons were launched to intercept and destroy the fighter escort then Svartalf and Alf squadrons were deployed to target bombardiers. Needless to say, the Terran crafts were having a hard time reaching their targets.

"We are nearly at the edge of the New Hyperion Empire border," announced the navigator.

"Navigator, I want you to set our ship and all battleships to execute a micro Warp jump and place us in front of the troopships. Tactical, have all ships involved load rear torpedo tubes with nuclear torpedoes."

Both officers worked to carry out their orders.

"Jump is ready."

"Tubes are loaded."

"Execute the jump." The distinct sound of the Warp drive firing up played for a couple seconds, and in a purple flash, a hundred of the most powerful ships in the Aesir fleet suddenly appeared in front of the Terran troopship fleet, cutting them off. "Fire the torpedoes!" All rear facing torpedo tubes fired their nuclear payloads, sending them into the ranks of the troopships. "Hard to port! Show them our broadside!" Mjolnir IX and her battleships all utilized their power steering to quickly bring their port broadsides to bear on the troopship fleet. "Target reactors." With the nuclear torpedoes having done their job, broadside rail gun batteries and lance turrets fired into the troopship fleet, aiming for reactors to detonate as many as possible before shields and systems came back online.
The Aesir Empire
We are the Aesir. Under Odin, we thrive.

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Terra Novam
Envoy
 
Posts: 222
Founded: Jan 18, 2013
Mother Knows Best State

Postby Terra Novam » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:41 am

Terra Novam
Covacs-controlled space

The supply convoy, consisting of 400 Carthage-class Super Bulk Carriers and 1,600 of the modular transporters simply called “Cargo Vessel”, would normally bypass the odd comet at full speed, but since Tekasite was valuable, being used in countless chemical processes, and this large piece of space rock was chock-full of the crystalline element, a slight detour was in order to plant a series of sensor probes to map out the asteroid for later mining operations. Perhaps the asteroid had emerged from the Warp somewhere, this being a semi-common occurrence. Or perhaps it had simply drifted in from deep space, pulled by the galaxy’s gravity.
No matter the case, the 60 Viper-class Destroyers assigned to escort the supply fleet bound for the Northern frontlines continued on in their semicrescent shield ahead of the transporters, scouting ahead for any outlaws who might attempt to claim the resource.
The meteor’s detonating took out half the transport fleet instantly, hundreds of ships consumed by flames falling towards the gravity well left behind, their crews counting sown the last seconds of their lives. As 30 Talos warships emerged around the transports and began firing away, even more chaos was sown among the Covacs sailors, who were unable to even return fire as the order had not been given – and firing without orders carried the death penalty. It took almost 5 minutes for the fleet’s civilian commander to give the order to return fire, and by that time dozens more ships had been disabled or destroyed. The Carthage SBC’s were most effective, carrying firepower equivalent to a Light Cruiser, but having neither the armor nor shields to live up to this name, while the Cargo Vessels simply floundered about, sturdy hulls tanking damage but almost unarmed and unable to do much.
The 60 Vipers announced their return with a volley of fast anti-ship missiles followed by a barrage of heavy torpedoes. The Vipers, lightning-fast but lightly protected, began darting around the attacking Talos, trying to dodge fire while sending as many tubulars as possible their attackers’ way, made more difficult by these weapons being fixed forward-facing and the Viper having no broadside guns at all… Attacking ships through and through, the Viper-class frigates were now forced into the kind of fight they were specifically meant to avoid.


Chaos Space
Approaching New Hyperion Border

This was bad. Seriously bad. A dirty dozen capital ships had seen their engines disabled and were left behind to die. The Imperial smallcraft wave, though relatively large, was having difficulty dealing with their Aesir counterparts as they could bring an even greater number of craft to bear owing to their much larger fleet. The Terrans were being slowly but surely whittled away even as hundreds of pilots on both sides went down every minute, and although the Imperials were taking down some Aesir ships it was an uneven trade, and the Xenos could afford losses the Imperials could not.
Time had run out for Strike Force Atlantis.

Deciding to go out with a bang, the way an IDF Admiral traditionally should, Rear Admiral Sloan addressed the remnants of his fleet:
“We’ll break them up so you'll get a few more shots in. Buy the transports as much time as you can.” He announced, turning his bow around and firing his spinal MAC gun at the closest Aesir battleship, the slug gutting it stem to stern, ripping right through before detonating upon striking a trailing Light Cruiser whose front half war sheared off by brute force. I.S.S. Halicarnassus charged forward all guns blazing to meet its fate.

As one, the Aesir center force focused on Halicarnassus, and he was doomed before firing his next volley.
But fire his next volley he did, to great effect as a trio of heavy-bore MAC shells struck the same piece of an Aesir Battlecruiser within moments of each other behind the bow near the amidships, the first blowing a hole through the armor, the second burrowing a path through the interior, and the third exploding deep within the battlecruiser’s bowels, disabling gunnery control, setting fire to her engineering compartment and compromising the bulkheads between it and the aft munitions storage. This vessel was put out of commission immediately as she was burning up fast.
The Aesir quickly retaliated, and Halicarnassus took a full lancer volley from 3 cruisers, resulting in her starboard spooling chamber being shredded (meaning there was no chance of him going to FTL now) and short-circuiting the shield capacitors.
Halicarnassus now fired a full ASM spread at the nearest battleship, most missiles being shot down but two lucky units going through, tearing off the Aesir heavy’s bow and disabling this vessel too. But in the meantime, a force of 100 Svartalf fighter-bombers had zeroed in on the Terran Dreadnought and launched a missile attack, landing 16 hits and seriously damaging the deck at the cost of 22 fliers being shot down.
Halicarnassus kept up his fire, battering a light cruiser prior to being hit by 7 torpedoes out of a large volley that had penetrated the MUSIER and CIWS and put main engineering out of commission.

10 minutes after being struck, the fire on the crippled battlecruiser reached the aft munitions storage and detonated the ordnance kept therein, ripping the vessel in half and killing all but 3 of its crew as a firestorm swept through the corridors, consuming the interior as the partitions could no longer be closed.

As his ship fell apart around him, Sloan began singing the chorus to the Confederate anthem, foregoing English for his native Novorossiyan. With each line, more of the bridge crew joined in, and by the end a lone shaky voice has become 30, bellowing out the lyrics with gusto, every man and woman believing these words.
“My nie pavinny adskočyć u bitvie za našu Sviatuju Tery
Naša radzima i darahi stalicaj svietu
Jak niaspynna scienka, faĺšbort z stali i plyt
My zmiatajučy ŭsio vorah, što ŭjaŭliaje u našych varot
Našy hienieraly kamandy z frontu
Zzadu nas naš darahi baćkaŭščynu
Nie adzin krok nazad u našym viečnym pryvadzie da slavy…”


Halicarnassus did not let up, even as a swarm of 700 Aesir fighters descend upon him like a pack of vultures come to execute a nearly-dead prey, destroying 3 Aesir destroyers and frigates each as missiles and torpedoes lashed at him, blowing apart armor and hull alike even as Halicarnassus’ anti-air batteries kept shooting right until the end, even after the data nodes burned out and the AI could no longer control the guns, forcing human crew to take over, even after power failed and the targeting computers gave away, requiring manual aim, even after the automatic mechanisms were destroyed by incoming bullets and crewmen had to manually load the barrels and traverse pieces with hand cranks; and by the time the last shot was fired, 123 disintegrated Aesir fighters drifted as testimony to Strike Force Atlantis’ flagship’s furious last stand.

And even then it was all in vain. The surviving capital ships had not obeyed Sloan’s command, having received telemetry showing the troopships being ambushed and decimated, half the giant vessels destroyed or hulkified by Aesir nuclear torpedoes followed by concentrated conventional weapons fire. Without any escort ships or smallcraft to screen, the slow vessels were easy pickings, their guns and defenses no match for purpose-built warships.
The remaining troopships, under Final Defense Protocol, took the only action conceivable to their suicidally fanatic crews: point their bow at the closest Xeno, and snap-jump to FTL, turning their own mass into nuclear fusion materials. Faced with certain death, the Pretorians needed no urging to kamikaze – after all, better to die and take some enemies with you than be killed, or even worse, captured.

The very last of the Terran capital warships and their escorts disobeyed orders by using the flagship’s distraction to come about and close the distance, bringing PAC guns to bear and adding to their available firepower as escort ships tried to ram Aesir vessels and the capships did the same, with the former committing suicide rams and the latter trying to grapple their targets for boarding action – the IDF cosmonauts and naval soldiers would have considerably more success against the Aesir crews than the Covacs had been at the Pentastar Planets, but the outcome was never in any doubt…

A small, sleek vessel, painted black with white highlights and the designation “NHCGC-104” printed in thick Gothic script on its bow emerged from the depths of the Warp, soon joined by 8 identical ships on its flanks.
“Attention inbound vessels! This is the New Hyperion Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal! You are approaching sovereign territory and violence will not be tolerated! Cease fire immediately or you will be engaged!”

NHCGC-22, NHCGC-25, NHCGC-27, NHCGC-120, NHCGC-715, NHCGC-717, NHCGC-750, and NHCGC-751 charged shields and readied weapons.

The Taurus-class (”Bull”) Coast Guard Cutter was not meant for ship-to-ship combat; but armed with a handful of weapons: 2 light torpedo tubes and ASM launchers each, 5 medium-caliber single-barrel and 8 small-caliber twin-barrel MAC cannons, 3 SAM batteries, 6 CIWS/MUSIER system for point-defense, and most importantly: 9 of the brand-new Prism Cannons, a photonic weapon reverse-engineered from Hyperion Empire Lascannons and improved in terms of reduced power consumption and size for greater energy output with longer effective range, the Bull could punch far above its weight class. The Prism Cannon, unlike the Lascannon, did not rely on heat to do its damage, but rather the physical impact of charged agitated photons, since it was a directly light-based weapons instead of laser and thus its shots carried no temperature. With a high rate of fire and pinpoint precision, the Prism Cannon was being developed by the New Hyperion Empire to be its mainline weapon, meant to replace the MAC Cannon just as the Terran Empire was looking into replacing them with GRAL cannons.
Though lightly armored and its shields of mediocre strength, the Cutters could run circles around most purpose-built warships and dodge most return fire. Meant for interdiction and active policing in single sorties, the Bull was short-ranged and could not operate without frequent resupply, but could give a good account for itself if forced to fight proper warships… And these tattered Terran Empire warships did not fit that bill anymore.
The Aesir fleet was, however, quite a different story. Not only were the 9 Taurus Cutters horribly outnumbered by hundreds of Aesir ships, every one of them carried greater firepower and boasted much heavier armor.

The nascent New Hyperion Navy, fitted with Conversion Fields and Refractor Fields in lieu of the aging Storm Shields (though still equipping the ubiquitous and unrivaled Void Shield) and using Prism Cannons as mainline weapons unlike the Coast Guard Cutters that still relied on their MAC turrets for damage-dealing, would be able to mincemeat Aesir warships of equivalent rating in any one-on-one match, but was both largely engaged with the Ruinous Powers whose followers plagued New Hyperion’s borders and only possessed 2,500 capital ships and 1,500 Frigates. Even with these vessels’ Destroyer- and Corvette escorts, and some 12,000 sub-capital ships the Imperial Navy of New Hyperion had in combination with its capital ships, an Aesir invasion fleet would have little trouble smashing the young nation’s void forces aside, though losses would likely be punitive.
This was what New Hyperion was counting on – staying out of the Aesir-Terran conflict and hopefully providing enough of a deterrent to convince the Aesir Empire an invasion would not be worth the effort.

“General Quarters. General Quarters. All hands, man your battle stations.”



Via Lactea
The Terrasphere Alliance
Role’jeril

Role’jeril was another example in the ways the Terran Empire and Terrasphere Alliance differed.
Where every Terran world, from the largest Hive World to the smallest colony, was able to meet its own needs, and thus almost all trade consisted of nonessentials like luxury goods the Empire grew wealthy off, the Terrasphere’s planets were largely dedicated to a single purpose – a dozen agri-worlds dedicated to feeding one hive world, or in Role’jeril’s case, the refinement of fuel sources for Alliance frontline armies. This planet’s entire output had been directed to go to the siege of Alcazar V, and as such, after its supply station Fallax was burned down, Role’jeril was next in line – another supply station would be found before long, but taking out the source of said supplies would deal a heavier blow to the Alliance war effort.

The operation was quite simple. Role’jeril was packed chock-full of flammable materials and buildings that used explosive chemicals. Aerial bombardment was the obvious solution, but the countless arrays of anti-air guns would not be worth the cost of silencing. Yet this planet lacked the advanced shield grids possessed by Terran worlds, and as such, I.S.S. []Nightrider[/i] overcame the air defense problem by shooting several Nova Cannon shells at the world below, vaporizing its orbital defense grid, killing all aboard the Alliance Navy defense fleet with intense Gamma radiation, and physically crushing its infrastructure. Fires and explosions tore Role’Jeril apart even as Operation Black Flag’s void component added to the devastation by moving into firing range and subjecting the world to a torrent of MAC shells and missiles as Bombardier atmospheric corvettes added graviton weaponry to the mix, protected from the tattered remnants of Role’Jeril Air Defense Force by a swarm of airborne OkUbs.
This was not a fight, but a total massacre, and did not last an hour before Black Flag departed the system, gone long before the Alliance Navy arrived and heading for its next target.


Earth, Sol System
Mount Weather, Virginia

“We gave Prism Cannon technology to New Hyperion. We gave Hephaestus Plasma Rifles to the UNC forces on Alcazar V. Our own military technology, the tech that gives us an edge when we have to fight military forces. Alright, we didn’t give them the plans for the Hephaestus, but for the Prism we did. And even then, they’re going to pick them apart, reverse-engineer them, and start their own production lines. The only advantage we didn’t give away was our own type of power armor.” Emily Jäger, Head of Department of the Army, Enclave Congresswoman, and First Lady of the New Enclave, accosted Overseer Robert House, New Enclave Chief of Operations.
“There is truth in your words, but you are, perhaps, somewhat misinformed. The Prism and Hephaestus we planted are previous-generation models. Our current versions are considerably better in every measurable way, anf an equivalent to our current midels cannot be created by improving what we gave them. And just so you know: there's no way in hell I’d give Stryker Armor to anyone outside the Enclave.” House laid out, trying to soothe Emily’s nerves.
“That may be true, but any weapons engineer with a basic grasp of physics can tell you there is simply no way prism weapons can be derived from lasguns. The only similarly is they both use massed-photons. But the principles and functions are totally unrelated. Also, Hephaestus plasma rifles are similarly different from the pseudoplasma IDF, FAS, and even our cousins in the Old Enclave developed. Hephaestus isn't the next step in development but a different field altogether. The story doesn't add up.”
“Ah, yes. But as far as the public knows, they are improved Hyperian tech and an RNMI invention. The latter is even technically correct. The public will believe what the media says, and me tell the media what to say. It really is that simple. Plus, the newly adopted Refractor and Conversion Fields really are Hyperion Empire tech. Not even reverse-engineered but lifted wholesale. Gives us plausible deniability. Although I am surprised at how much more advanced the Hyperion Empire was in certain aspects, but much more primitive in others.”
“They would say the same about the Terran Empire, no doubt.” House replied. “And yet, there is much we can learn from them. And the Aesir alike. We will look to these two great powers to model the future of our civilization.”
Last edited by Terra Novam on Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
The Imperial Free State of Terra Novam; a mostly serious sci-fi, Messier-33-based transhuman state in 3220.

Just your average human being of the female variety. Name's Zoey Shae Autumn, from Lansing MI. Feel free to TG me anything; always looking to join RP's!

[spoiler=Info]Map of the IFS Terra Novam
http://ussmidway1978.deviantart.com/art/Map-of-Terra-Novam-620749826 (Props to my brother for making this!)
I am NationStates' resident existentialist dimensional physicist. Talk to me at your own risk!

Terra Novam represents my real-life beliefs.

Mail: GDI.InOps@gmail.com

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Terra Dysonia
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 6
Founded: Nov 21, 2016
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Terra Dysonia » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:51 pm

Covacs-controlled Space
Dysonian vessels began their assault on the battered and bewildered escort ships, their omni-directional phasers and frustrating evasiveness made them more than a match for their quarry. Each of the heavier cruisers kept their attackers at bay, the smaller frigates and destroyers darted around and harassed the Vipers from afar. The tubulars launched by the Vipers were certainly enough to blow out a Dysonian vessel's shields with a few hits, the targeting systems and pin-point accuracy of their phaser arrays kept many vessels alive for some time. Those vessels further in the debris field didn't have such a luxury, their onboard AI calculating a safe yet evasive course through the maze. Two destroyers, Scarlatina and Darklighter, were unable to shoot down enough incoming tubulars and were destroyed.

Titan System, Terra Novam
Captain Gamaar Rors gazed at the viewscreen from his command chair, idly rolling a data stylus in his hand. His vessel, the Stellarborne, was the command vessel of Speartip 19, sent to engage in torch and burn operations within Eastern border area of Terra Novam. The 50-vessel force, accompanied by a pair of gunboats holding a company of the Commonwealth's deadliest soldiers, the Vanguard Void Rangers, moved in a wide formation towards their target, the Titan System. Intelligence referred to the colony there as an industrial hub, making it a prime target for the Speartip. "We've entered the system, Captain." came the tinny voice of Stellarborne's helm officer. "Very good. Signal the fleet to arm weapons and get the Rangers ready for insertion." Within seconds, the fleet reported combat ready status, and Captain Rors nodded to the helm. "All vessels, drop out of Slipspace and accelerate to combat speed." With a flurry of bright flashes, Speartip 19 exited their jump and made haste for their objective

The plan was simple. Enter the system and target any haulers, tankers, or freighters headed towards engagement zones. Fortunately for Captain Rors, a small supply fleet with a moderate escort was midway to a jump point and would be within weapons range in seconds. "All vessels, interception pattern Iota-5. Gunboats, get into position and deploy fireteams onto those supply runners." The fleet broke into a wide net-like formation, Dysonian craft using their superior speed and weapons range to cut off the supply fleet from all directions. Phasers erupted from charged arrays, whittling down the shields of the escort before a followup volley of disruptor cannons could finish them off. The escort returned fire, clipping the shields of a frigate and the starboard nacelle of a light cruiser. However, they were overwhelmed and disabled once the Stellarborne and two destroyers opened up with a spread of photonic and transphasic torpedoes. With the escort out of the way, the fleet descended upon the supply ships. Smaller vessels were outright destroyed with coordinated phaser and disruptor fire, while the largest were boarded by the Rangers and their crews pacified. Valuable cargo was tagged and beamed out while the rest was left behind to be destroyed along with the ships themselves. Within 15 minutes, the operation was completed and the remaining 47 vessels of Speartip 19 retreated into Slipspace.

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Adrinian
Political Columnist
 
Posts: 2
Founded: Feb 17, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Adrinian » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:04 pm

The office of the President, Adrinian City, Adrinian

The president sat with his advisers, one by one they had been listening to the reports from the diplomats one by one. As the report from the diplomat in the Terran Empire finished playing, the room sat in silence. The speaker of the senate, a vogg named Hilker Tilvy, spoke first.
"How does this help us? They both did exactly what they expected and blamed each other."
"The Aesir offered proof, if you were listening," The secretary of war responded,
"The Terran's have used these weapons before, their diplomat lied to us!"
The two began to bicker and others joined in until the president called for silence.
"It is very apparent that the Terran's are responsible for this attack and attempted to frame the separatists. While we still have no idea why this attack occurred we can assume it had something to do with the trade deal we have with the separatists."
The room sat in silence for a moment, then erupted.
"I knew we shouldn't have signed that deal!" The senate minority leader shouted,
"And how does that help us now?" The Majority leader retorted.
"It'll make the midterms a lot easier when we tell the voters that YOUR signature was on the deal that brought us to war with a psychopathic empire!"
"Your one to talk about psychopaths."
"Why you-
"ENOUGH!" the president shouted. "We can bicker about this later, but we cannot tell the public, or anyone outside this room for that matter. The Terran's don't know we know they are responsible, I think this 'expeditionary force' they requested to send is meant to take us over covertly. We cannot tell the public and risk word getting back to the Terran Empire, or the takeover will be less subtle.”
The roomt again sat in silence, but this time there was no outbursts. No one spoke until the minority leader looked up at the president.
“What would you have us do then?”
The president took a deep breath. “We will have to close the borders completely. No one in or out of the country until further notice or without government approval. We tell the public there’s a pending investigation and tell the rest of the galaxy nothing. Once all of the draftees are trained and the warships built we can release the finds of the investigation and await the Terran’s response. This will also give the forces in the octopus nebula more time to dig in and prepare, and give us more time to utilize the information the Terran’s gave us. The room was still quiet. No one moved. They all knew the situation they were in now. A hostile empire was breathing down their necks. Their lives were changed forever, and they had no idea what would happen next.

Adrinian city square, one hour later

Fountains gurgled and civilians milled around the square as the loudspeakers crackled to life. The same thing happened in every home, street, office and military base throughout the republic. Everyone looked up and waited for the broadcast to start. The president's voice said:
“Attention people of Adrinian. Due to complications in the ongoing investigation of the explosion on Gherian, the senate has elected to close the borders and restrict any and all travel in and out of the republic. Only those with government approved passes will be able to travel in and out of the republic, and all citizens outside of Adrinian will be able to safely return, and all travel within the Republic is still permitted. Please do not be alarmed this issue will be resolved soon.” The loudspeakers switched off, and a nation sat stunned.


Containment task force 3, planet Gherian

The landing craft shuddered. The lieutenant looked around at his men,
“Listen up marines,” He started, “Our mission is to rescue civilians trapped in a mining facility, several mutations have been reported in the area and we have no idea what we’re up against. Get in, get the civilians, get out. No wasting time. Understood?” a chorus of “Yes sir.” replied as the craft shuddered again. The door creaked open,
“Let’s go! Move, move, move!” The heavy boots of the marines clanged as they ran down the ramp, which closed behind them. The marines ran through the abandoned mining equipment as they made their way towards the massive door of the facility, built into rock on the side of a ridge. As they reached the door, the marines fanned out in a semicircle around the lieutenant pounded on the metal door. Nothing happened for a minute or two, the lieutenant pounded again. This time the huge door shook and began to rise, and the sound of shuffling feet and the sound of hushed voices. As the sounds grew louder the marines could see eyes gleaming in the darkness, staring back at them. There were hundreds of them. The Marines stood in shock.
“Uh, Lieutenant? How many civilians did you say would be here?” One of the marines asked.The lieutenant just stood there in awe. The civilians continued to shuffle forward. Suddenly they began to cheer, the crowd, mostly Ghers with some humans, Yahrs and Voggs sprinkled here and there, surged forward and embraced the marines. A marine sergeant pushed his way through the crowd towards the lieutenant.
“Sir, there’s no way we can take them all.”
“We have to try, it might be a tight fit but-“
A sudden shriek pierced the air, civilians and soldiers alike looked around in fear. At the top of the ridge, deformed and mutated ghers glared down at them. The civilians began to shuffle back into the mine in fear. The lieutenant fired his weapon into the air to get their attention.
“Everyone follow me!” The lieutenant turned and ran towards the waiting landing craft, his soldiers and the mob of civilians right behind him. Some marines turned to fire at the pursuing mutants and were quickly overtaken. As marines guarding the rear fell, so did civilians. By the time the lieutenant and his remaining men reached the landing craft, only 1.5 kilometers away, the mob had been cut down to a small crowd. The lieutenant stood on the ramp firing his weapon as the last civilians scrambled aboard. The door shut and the ships passengers breathed a collective sigh of relief. They had survived.


Planet 121b of the Octopus nebula


“Uh, general? You might want to take a look at this.” General Miller turned away from the map to face his aide, “What is it Martin?” The General responded. The aide opened his mouth, shut it again, and pointed down towards the bottom of the hill. The General rolled his eyes in exasperation and started down the hill. He glanced around at the landscape as he descended the hill. The sky, orange, green and blue from the nebula above, was strangely beautiful. The planet was the opposite. The cold, waterless landscape extended in all directions, pockmarked by canyons and mountain ranges. The geologists that had been sent with the army, (Why, the General didn’t know.) claimed the planet’s crust was nearly pure salt. Great, the General thought, if I need something extra to put on my food I’ll just bend over and pick some up. As he reached the bottom of the hill he found several soldiers and General Ilsman standing in a nervous semi-circle around some strangely shaped rocks.
“General, what is going on here?” Miller asked Ilsman. Before she could respond, a sound like shattering glass emitted from one of the rocks and it raised its hand in greeting. Miller looked at the rock that had...spoken, looked at Ilsman, then back at the rock-being.
“Ilsman, what is this?” the other General blinked and looked at Miller.
“Natives sir, subterranean dwellers. The one who spoke we believe is their leader.”
“Can we understand them?”
“Our translator droids can make out the general idea using the AT3 equation. (see factbook) but their language structure is so complex that we can’t get more than that.”
“And what are they saying?”
“They seem to be asking us who we are and why we’re here, which is understandable. But they seem friendly enough. They claim to be a planetary nation.”
Miller paused to think. “Let me speak to them directly.” Ilsman nodded and beckoned a droid forward. The droid set down a case and pulled a microphone and headsets out of it. General Miller and Ilsman put on the headsets and plugged it and the microphone into the droid, allowing him to speak through the droid in the native’s tongue and hear their translated response.
“Hello, my name is General Miller of the Republic of Adrinian. I am the commander of all military forces on this planet. Who are you?”
One of the natives stepped forward to speak.
"Hello General, I prince (unintelligible) of planet celestal. My people live under the surface, but we heard you arrival and came up to see."
“Prince?” Miller responded, “then who is your king? How many of your people live here? What kind of weapons do you have?”
"No king, prince is name for mortal ruler. The great creator is only king, he above all. My people number is 200 million. Now you tell me why are you here?"
“I am here because my nation was attacked. A world in our republic was bombed by an enemy that has refused to reveal themself. We set up our defences here so our nation would not come to more harm.” For a while the prince was silent.
'You are great warriors and space travelers if you truly have many worlds in your nation. But by coming, you make harm on my world."
“Yes, but in our defence we didn’t know you existed. The planet appeared uninhabited from space. How do you know of space travel?”
"Sometimes ship will crash, we hear and come up to see. People in ship tell us stories we like stories. Do you like stories?"
“Yes, I suppose. Would you like to hear some of ours?”
"Yes. Never before has this many people landed on celestal. There will be many stories to hear. But you must save story for later. Bring shiny person with you so you can tell council your story." The prince turned and walked away, his companions followed him as well as the two generals, droid and the soldiers that were with them. The prince lead the party into a nearby ravine, then to a cave.
“Sir, are you sure this is a good idea?” Ilsman asked Miller.
"This way general"
“I believe we can trust them.” Miller responded.
"Come quickly."
Down, down, down the cave went. Eventually, natural light was replaced by a soft glowing from the cave’s walls. As the party came to the end of the cave, the prince touched his hand to the wall and it crumbled away. On the other side was a massive chamber, brightly lit by glowing that emitted from yellow crystals mounted on the walls.
Welcome General, to council now tell us your story.
Miller smiled, “Where to begin?”


Meanwhile, above ground

Starfighters raced across the sky as Private Nelson patrolled the ground. The rest of his platoon walked with him as he the marched around the perimeter of the airfield. Suddenly, the ground began to shake. A crack opened up in the ground just ahead of the soldiers, and out of it came a grinning General Miller, a bedraggled General Ilsman, and several men made of crystal. The Generals looked around and started to make their way towards the platoon. Miller, grinning ear to ear, said something to the lieutenant at the head of the platoon. The lieutenant pointed in the direction of the airfield. The General nodded and started off towards the airfield, followed by a continuous stream of the crystal men. Nelson nudged his friend next to him,
“What did he say?” His friend shrugged,
“Something about a story?” As the crystal men poured out of the crack carrying various crystal spears and swords.
“Must’ve been some story.”


The bridge of the starship Adrinian City

Admiral Bramer put away the communique from the president. If this got out there would be a mutiny. They had no way to fight a Terran assault head on. He would have to outsmart them. But how…..
Last edited by Adrinian on Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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