NATION

PASSWORD

Entropic Sunrise - [IC, Invite Only, FT/FanT, War, PG13]

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

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The Disorder
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 173
Founded: Nov 17, 2020
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby The Disorder » Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:37 pm

Cirazeth's conservative approach paid off - with very little warning, he ended up with six Unthian missiles bearing down on him. Fortunately, he had plenty of countermeasures remaining:

Tetrahedral smart chaff units streaked out of Cirazeth's payload bay - these possessed only minimal guidance, but their rocket engines also functioned well enough as plasma-torch flares. They dispensed clouds of silicate dust, iron flakes, and argon gas into the battlespace with tiny explosive charges - and the plasma torches illuminated the mess, offering an immensely obvious and false target to lock onto.

Cirazeth also used the other Disorder favorite, a rocket-propelled mine with shards of industrial-grade diamond and a shaped charge to propel them. Smart-mine flak had already proven itself invaluable in the battle, and Cirazeth still had a healthy reserve of those life-saving charges. He had rocket-propelled mines with other payloads as well - just none of those would have been very useful against incoming relativistic missiles.

Jamming drones worked pretty well too. Those were just high-intensity sensor-blinding jamming units, a few thrusters for propulsion, and a power source that would burn itself out after a few seconds.

The spray of countermeasures erupted from his payload bay like a shotgun blast. A fraction of a second later, the countermeasures activated, and the mess of smart chaff obscured even his own view of the missiles. Even from thousands of kilometers away, the chaff would be visible to the naked eye as a bright blue pinpoint of light.

Shield integrity was good, so if one missile made it through that sensor-blinding mess and reacquired him, he could absorb a hit.

Three of the cruisers' four incoming missiles smashed into diamond flak at three-quarters lightspeed, obliterating themselves with even brighter flares. The fusion inferno of the fourth missile blazed even brighter, evaporating most of the countermeasures into thin, white-hot vapor in the blink of an eye. But the Arustkaana was far enough away from that detonation, its shields only shimmered briefly from the slight radiation pressure.

The dreadnought's two missiles came in from a different vector, so the chaff wouldn't have worked very well against them anyway. He concentrated every jammer aboard the ship on one of the dreadnought's incoming missiles, to optimize his chances of blinding it. It immediately went unguided, failing to track even the slightest of his evasive maneuvers.

For the other missile? He gave his shields a blast of additional power from his auxiliary accumulators, pointed his nose directly at the missile to minimize the surface area exposed to the fusion flash, and waited for the intercept-countdown to reach zero...

A scream of nuclear hellfire erupted over his shield, flaying and boiling plasma off into space. But the shield held.

"I'm recharged!" Norev announced.

Norev returned, with an illuminating-green blast of hyperspace radiaton - positioned outside of laser range, beneath the fleeing cruiser that tracked her wingman with its rear turret. With two Arustkaanas back in the battlespace, things would look even bleaker for the Unthian forces.

Searing blasts of laser fire scraped away more of Cirazeth's shield, but pumping terawatts of surplus power to it from his auxiliary reserves helped immensely. He could absorb that fire. And Cirazeth prioritized shield integrity and preparedness over destructive effect. For the moment, he could spare the energy for only a single phase cannon blast, aimed at the cruiser that just tried to nuke him. The last one broke away and fled when its spherical front section came under attack, so he must have hit something important.

Norev, meanwhile, placed her targeting reticule on the fleeing cruiser and opened fire. And from her freshly-filled accumulators, she shunted additional energy to recharge the phase cannon! Over and over again, she fired a strobing barrage of green beams, six of them in rapid succession over just five seconds! It would cost her half of her reserve power, but she figured it might be worth it.

Interestingly, she is not aiming for the antimatter reactor for a quick kill - instead, she wanted to see what other essential systems might be present. She distributes her phase cannon beams all over the port side and underside of the Stunner-class cruiser, hunting for further structural vulnerabilities. She's aiming to find out where the armor is thickest and thinnest, and ascertain which regions of the ship might be the most vulnerable.
Last edited by The Disorder on Fri Dec 25, 2020 2:05 am, edited 3 times in total.
A secular destruction-cult, a rogue nation of space nomads, militarized mad scientists & anarchists.

NS Stats for The Disorder are not IC. These are.
A 4.333 civilization, according to this index.

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CBG Palisade
Secretary
 
Posts: 37
Founded: Nov 18, 2020
Ex-Nation

Postby CBG Palisade » Thu Dec 17, 2020 6:54 pm

A few seconds later, the Luxor's own receiver was struck by a laser packet, and automatically a plaintext file was displayed on a screen to Reese's right. "Alright, looks like we've got something." She spun in her seat and faced the message, scanning over it with only a bit of an eye for the details. "Looks like they're planning on paying in raw materials. Beforehand, too. I'd say they're legit, sir."

Langenhoven scoffed. "Legitimate? 'The Disorder'? They sound like terrorists." A pause, and an addendum. "Though we have worked with those types before. Not pleasant, but they payed, at least."

"Ugh. Insane bastards." Reese groaned, then turned back to the message, opening a text window on her input console to draft a response. "Well, uh... these guys look like they'll pay just as nicely. Got... Platinum, tungsten, helium, couple of varieties, uranium, plutonium, seems like there'll be a performance bonus attached, standard stuff, uh... odd, there's a typo there."

"Where?" Langenhoven leaned over Reese's shoulder, following her eyes to a line that began 'Element 0.' "Oh, there." His own, tired eyes scanned over the line, eventually settling on another portion of it- 'stable hyperdense 'neutronium' nonmetal'- and widening in shock. Beneath him Reese stiffened, noticing the same thing. Holy shit, she mouthed wordlessly.

Suddenly, Langenhoven pushed her aside, maneuvering his body around to the keyboard and setting his old fingers ablaze over it. "Move." A message began to take shape on the screen-

PCV Luxor to Arustkaana-0908:

Your terms are acceptable to us. We find your fourth proposal the most intriguing, as all others are readily available to us. We are willing to commence joint operations as soon as you choose.

Be advised we intend to conduct a brachistochrone transfer to this system's transit gate so as to group up with your requested force compliment. As such, please remain clear of our bow for the duration of our burn.

This channel will remain open for all further transmissions.

We thank you for your graciousness in this offer and anticipate working closely with you in the near future.


Before Reese could object, Langenhoven depressed the confirmation key, and the Luxor's transmitter fired off another packet to the waiting Arustkaana's dish. She simply leaned back in her seat, stunned by everything that had just happened, to understate things significantly, and looked at Langenhoven with confused eyes. "What..."

In a clipped, military fashion Langenhoven quickly ran down a rapid-fire series of thoughts. "You said that ship can turn far faster than reasonably expected, it doesn't seem to be designed along reasonable conventions, and it snuck up on us out of nowhere. I suspect that actual neutronium is the least of the surprises they have in store for us. You were right, by the way."

"About what?" Reese was beginning to regain some of her senses now, turning back to the console in anticipation of another reply.

"That would definitely convince the Admiral not to get too upset about the Third taking a little detour." Langenhoven picked up the intercom again and sent a second message through the Luxor's stirring halls. "Helm, get us a course back to the gate. One gee transfer, please. And make it quick." Setting it back in its place he turned back to his communications specialist and issued another order. "And make sure Keller knows we're coming in with another vessel in tow."

Within the Luxor, things were beginning to move, the beast rousing from its slumber. It was ready to rejoin its pack and begin the hunt. With a burst of gas it began to spin, pointing its blunt muzzle towards a distant, harsh star. Its engines warmed, its radiators stretched to their full length, and its fuel, its blood, began to beat through its veins once more. It had a mission to do, and it wouldn't do to leave its customers waiting.
The reason KG hasn't finished any of their other projects. Now two three twelve nations. Very WIP.
please help the scope of this project keeps expanding and i can't stop it
i simp for iambic pentameter
Other Horrid Projects of Mine: Kiu Ghesik | Miranda-22 | Outer Acharet

Hub Page | Fleet Overview | Factbook ETA: err::fileNotFound
collated_ticker_cor98: Committee for Stability and Security publishes industrial goals for Q3, begins enlisting private contractors to aid in meeting them | the bois confiscated the forbidden slush, how? | Heads of CFSS to host Gang of Twelve conference in Landing

Vaspelia wrote:this nation is wip and raw as fuck, pls don't look at it yet

User avatar
The Disorder
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 173
Founded: Nov 17, 2020
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby The Disorder » Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:13 pm

It only took a fraction of a second for the Disorder ship to reply - whoever was aboard, they were using something much faster than either a keyboard or text-to-speech software:

Confirmed, forward vector will be kept unobstructed. Arustkaana-class has maneuverability that should satisfy or exceed collision-avoidance requirements.

Weaponry safe. Where possible, all contacts in region will be assumed friendly/neutral. Suspected-hostile contacts may be target painted, but will only be prosecuted at your discretion.

Commencing EXTRADIMENSIONAL MANEUVER shortly, to close distance. This is a high-energy event, but it is quite routine. The Luxor is in no danger. We will then follow you on your burn.


After the Arustkaana sends the message, it begins that extradimensional maneuver, pointing itself slightly away from the Luxor and beginning an engine burn. A brilliant green flare of plasma erupts from its main engine, propelling it at an astounding twelve G's! The beam of brilliant green plasma coming from its main engine even even resembles a quasar's jet, narrow for thousands of kilometers before billowing out into a conical & expanding cloud. Space around the front end of the ship shimmers, smears, and boils angrily, and the Arustkaana implodes into a fissure of emerald-green lightning.

A microsecond later, the ship bursts back into normal space with an infinitely brighter and more emissive flare of green fire and lighting! The gleam of hyperspace radiation burns about as brightly as daytime on most human-habitable worlds, but it lasts only for a moment. Fortunately, it appears that almost none of that radiation was the harmful ionizing kind.

The Arustkaana came out engine-first and decelerating - a mere hundred kilometers away from the Luxor! That must have been something akin to a brachistochrone transfer, but with faster-than-light drives involved. Its radiators burn bright orange in the aftermath of the tactical jump, slowly dimming to faint red. As soon as it matches velocity, the searing green exhaust plume shuts down. If the Luxor has windows, the Disorder ship is so close that it's just barely visible to the naked eye - a dim, greyish-red speck.

Another transmission followed:

Extradimensional maneuver complete.

Compensation estimations:

Starships, 60 galactic year payoff-cycle - cost range mid to high.
Labor, <64 galactic day expected duration - cost range mid to high.
Fuel, cost range high - effect-on-target is more important than fuel conservation.
Munitions, cost range high - effect-on-target is more important than munition conservation.
Maintenance & logistics, cost range high - functionality is more important than economization.
Asset loss, cost range low - battlefield conditions are not expected to be adverse.
+10% margin of error
+38% profit margin

Offer: Element 0, 45906 metric tons
Will this compensation be sufficient?


"Someone enjoys showing off for our new hires," a Disorder pilot remarked, through their telepathic network.

"Why shouldn't we?" Serathikon quipped. "When we cure the galaxy of order, they will look back upon this moment with fond memory."

"You're assuming they will be loyal to our agenda over the long run," another pilot seemed skeptical.

"If not, that would be their problem."
Last edited by The Disorder on Fri Dec 18, 2020 1:02 pm, edited 9 times in total.
A secular destruction-cult, a rogue nation of space nomads, militarized mad scientists & anarchists.

NS Stats for The Disorder are not IC. These are.
A 4.333 civilization, according to this index.

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Unthidor
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 60
Founded: Nov 25, 2020
Father Knows Best State

Postby Unthidor » Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:05 pm

Attempting to maneuver away to stage another missile run, one of the cruisers started taking hits to its port and ventral sides, the port laser turret blasted to scrap metal. The shots along the bottom of the forward sphere-shaped hull tore into the plating, causing a hull breach that exposed the cargo bay to space. Escape pods, located just before and aft of the bay, were also either destroyed or blown away, leaving a trail of debris of pods and cargo modules leaking out from under the ship. Unable to go to warp with such a breach, and with only the rear laser turret left, the ship's captain made the decision fire the last of his missiles. The enemy's shots combined with the cargo bay's instant decompression, had changed the momentum of the ship, causing it to slowly spin. A little coaxing from the helmsman, and they soon found the missile ports once again facing the enemy. A succession of flashes saw the last four missiles fire out at the ship that had just fired at them. It would be the cruiser's last attempt, now out of anti-ship missiles and with both main laser turrets destroyed. Sure, it had the aft turret, but it was weaker and clearly no match for the intruder's shields.

At the same time, the second remaining cruiser was leaking plasma from it's broken strut again. It also had four missiles remaining, but with engines failing the crew found themselves facing the wrong way from either of the two targets. For the moment, they're biggest concern was stabilizing their anti-matter reserves.

The fighters that had been trying to harass the intruders had been dwindled down from a squadron of twelve to just three remaining. Realizing the situation, they broke off and headed for the dreadnought, hoping the bulk of the big ship would shield their retreat. One of the pilots, the squad's executive officer, decided to use the ship as cover for an attempted landing on the planet, since they couldn't catch up to the carrier that was making a break for space and would soon jump to warp speed.

User avatar
The Disorder
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 173
Founded: Nov 17, 2020
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby The Disorder » Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:01 pm

"Looks like I might have hit some kind of cargo bay," Norev concluded from her barrage of phase cannon fire. "Not the internals I was hoping for, although all the decompression appears to have sent them into a slow and unplanned spin."

"That's not a good thing. Get countermeasures out and warm up your jammers, they're about to sweep you with their launchers' firing arcs!" Cirazeth warned.

Norev deploys countermeasures at about the same time that the cruiser fires its payload. But because of speed-of-light lag, Norev doesn't observe the cruiser firing until after they're deployed. And the cruiser's crew wouldn't observe Norev's countermeasure launch until after their missiles are away.

One missile, successfully jammed, detonates early. Another streaks into diamond shrapnel and obliterates itself. A third erroneously locks onto a brightly burning cloud of chaff and gas, illuminated by plasma flares. The fourth detonates on-target, blowtorching plasma off of Norev's freshly-recharged shield. The hull around her resounds with a brilliant and short-lived 'CRACK', exactly the same sound that a ship would make if smashing into an asteroid. But it certainly isn't the first time her ship has weathered a thermonuclear firestorm. And it probably won't be the last.

"Fighters are making a break for the planet, and the second large warship is breaking off," Cirazeth informed. "You want to pursue them while your shield recharges?"

"Nah, let's resolve this fight, here and now. Concentrate fire?" Norev suggested.

"On which target?" Cirazeth inquired. "Both are pretty banged up."

"You got a good hit on something essential in the nose of your target. That one was in a great position to fire, then you shot it, and they broke off fucking quick. So I think we can consider that warship somewhat neutralized," Norev concluded. "Come point your gun at my target?"

"Neither of our shields are perfect, and we may need the reserve power in case more missiles come our way," Cirazeth cautioned. "I'm prioritizing shield recharging over phase cannon recharging."

"Doing the same," Norev replied.

A green beam lashed out at the targeted cruiser - the one that just had its cargo bay gutted and opened fire. Then the opposite Arustkaana turned, and let out another searing green beam of relativistic plasma. Every couple of seconds, they take turns discharging those hellish plasma beams. Norev, still in a largely head-to-head orientation, aims for the sensor-package weak point that Cirazeth discovered earlier. Cirazeth has a firing angle very friendly for targeting the ship's nacelles.

"Try and avoid shooting them right in the reactor? The science team loves it when we leave them debris to pick through," Norev suggests.
Last edited by The Disorder on Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
A secular destruction-cult, a rogue nation of space nomads, militarized mad scientists & anarchists.

NS Stats for The Disorder are not IC. These are.
A 4.333 civilization, according to this index.

User avatar
CBG Palisade
Secretary
 
Posts: 37
Founded: Nov 18, 2020
Ex-Nation

Postby CBG Palisade » Wed Dec 23, 2020 4:17 pm

One moment the Arustkaana was firmly fixed in the Luxor's sights, its bulk centered squarely in the vessel's various sensor arrays' receivers. The next it was lit by some massive flash of heat, a streak of plasma white on the thermal display strung out behind it like a great jet flaring out into a dissipating cloud as it reached its terminus, and faster than the Luxor's primary array could gimbal to match the insane velocities the secondaries were informing it its target was moving at the Arustkaana had completely disappeared.

But even before the light of that maneuver's end could reach Reese and Langenhoven's eyes the vessel had reappeared, making its presence known to the Luxor's myriad eyes by a burst of both visible light and (thankfully non-ionizing) radiation washing over its hull. If the crew compartment hadn't been buried in a sheath of frozen fuel, equipment, machinery, and armor, or indeed if the Luxor's hull had possessed any openings from the crew compartment to the outside save for its three airlocks, then the vessel's interior would have been lit like day by the flash of pallid green light scorching its hull. When the proximity alerts had silenced themselves and the array had at last reoriented to its target's new position all Reese could do was gasp in shock.

"H- how- what- that's not-" She struggled to comprehend what had just happened before finally giving up on the apparently futile effort and burying her head in her hands. "I swear, this is worse than that time with the tower..."

Firmly, Langenhoven cleared his throat. His voice remained staid despite his wide eyes. "Communications, please transmit an acknowledgement of the vessel's maneuver."

"I'm sorry, sir, but- you did see that, right?" Reese threw up her hands in exasperation. "I'm not insane? That ship just... I don't know what it was, but it shouldn't have been possible."

"No, you're not, and yes, it should have been. According to our new friend, in 64 days you're going to be a very rich woman. Give or take." In an odd show of sentiment for the man, he turned back to the incoming console still displaying the offer of payment and sighed wistfully. "This should be interesting."

"As opposed to what, reasonable? Sensible? Abiding by the laws of physics?"

Langenhoven let one hand fall on the back of Reese's chair, using the other to keep himself from floating off in the midst of his dramatic gesture. "An acknowledgement, please, and a message to Keller, communications officer." What he said next passed between them wordlessly, unspoken but nonetheless perfectly clear in meaning. We can't let this one get away from us. I can't let this one get away from me.

"Yessir." Curtly, Reese nodded, pulling down the brim of her cap in mock formality. "Right away, I guess."

Once more the Luxor's communications laser spun up, aligned with the now-much-closer Arustkaana, and transmitted a short pulse of light:

Compensation will be sufficient. Expect force assembly within 24 hours. Standby for burn.

Langenhoven returned the nod, checked his chronometer, picked up the intercom, and dispatched an equally-short message throughout the vessel and its crew hastily preparing for acceleration- "Five minutes is up. Commence transit, please. Cruising acceleration."

With that, a prepared program was set into motion, and the Luxor's twin fusion torches flared to life, a pair of engines that its crew in the know now thought rather inadequate compared to its new companion, and at a leisurely single gee the vessel began to fall back towards the lonely system's single gate. Reese felt her hair, previously curled in an odd coif around her head, drop down about her shoulders, and Langenhoven managed a grunt as the force of even this earthly acceleration bit at his elderly frame.

From somewhere in the operations room Reese could hear Carlos drift to the floor with a gentle thud. Thank god for gradual thrust, she thought. If they'd just ramped the engines up to cruising without any buildup that idiot would've broken something. Would've been interesting to watch, at least. But there were more important things to consider, and she turned back to her nest of sensor displays, both the Arustkaana and the far gate now displayed there- one a sharpened dagger of a vessel, the other a great, kilometers-wide ring nestled about a sphere of metal that just concealed a beating heart of distorted un-space.

Steadily, the Luxor grew ever closer to the gate, still a distant speck of cold light floating in the void, a speck that belied the structure's bulk. Outracing the little vessel was a signal directed at the massive gate's equally-massive receivers, a signal then shot through the distorted spacetime at its heart and into a waiting dish both a hundred meters and six light-years away, then sent along its way to a waiting station resting on spindly, narrow, harpoon-like arms above a massive icy dirtball of a rock, dozens of smaller vessels moored in its many wetdocks- a signal that found its way into that station's computer, translated from a series of pulses of light into code, something understandable to a computer, and then text displayed on a small, innocuous screen before a small, innocuous-looking woman.

Captain Cheri Keller (CLN, ret.) ran her eyes ran over the displayed text, then fell back in her chair, floored, one arm reflexively darting out to grab another, far more artificial limb. She stared out at one thin metal wall, then at the faux-mahogany desk, then at nothing in particular, her eyes wide from shock. Within a moment she'd turned, stood, and donning a naval cap bearing the diamond-star of a state eight years in the grave exited her chambers in a frenzy, in her hurry failing to switch off the display.

On it read a brief, five-line message, the Arustkaana's last transmission displayed in an adjacent window:

PCV Luxor to Encarmine Drift B-

Contact made with interested party.

Terms of operation negotiated; see attached file for mission parameters and returns.

Entirety of Third requested for action; make ready with all speed.

Deployment requested in next 24 hours.

Understandably, it wasn't long before PMC 8912's Third Brigade's primary logistics and fueling hub was in the same frenzy as its commander. They had a mission now, a buyer, someone to fight for, and it wasn't the Valkyries' style to disappoint.
The reason KG hasn't finished any of their other projects. Now two three twelve nations. Very WIP.
please help the scope of this project keeps expanding and i can't stop it
i simp for iambic pentameter
Other Horrid Projects of Mine: Kiu Ghesik | Miranda-22 | Outer Acharet

Hub Page | Fleet Overview | Factbook ETA: err::fileNotFound
collated_ticker_cor98: Committee for Stability and Security publishes industrial goals for Q3, begins enlisting private contractors to aid in meeting them | the bois confiscated the forbidden slush, how? | Heads of CFSS to host Gang of Twelve conference in Landing

Vaspelia wrote:this nation is wip and raw as fuck, pls don't look at it yet

User avatar
The Disorder
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 173
Founded: Nov 17, 2020
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby The Disorder » Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:11 am

Although capable of accelerating much faster, the Arustkaana followed the Luxor, burning at a steady 1G. The Disorder ship's plasma exhaust still looked like a miniature quasar even at that reduced output, albeit a ghostly and semitransparent one, barely more than a thin wisp that extended out for several thousand kilometers.

The Luxor's communication officer would have their hands somewhat full. Serathikon has very little to do on the flight toward the gate, except converse with his new allies.

First and foremost, the Disorder is going to deliver the neutronium on some kind of huge 36-million metric ton space carrier, shortly after the Luxor transits the gate. Apparently, shipping that quantity of neutronium poses no real logistical challenge.

Serathikon also beams over a wide variety of combat-related software. They'll be able to use their existing sensors to listen in on encrypted faster-than-light communications, using Arustkaana hyperspace radiation emissions as a makeshift relay. Maneuvering and triangulation software promises to make helm control easier, when trying to pinpoint specific systems on an evasively maneuvering target. They receive some highly specialized upgrades to their antivirus software, so that Disorder e-war can be used broadly without risk of compromising friendly ships. And despite the sheer openness and emptiness of space, those massive Disorder space carriers will often shield allies from weapon fire by flying colinear and obstructing line-of-sight. They have software that automatically calculates maneuvers and engine burns for carriers and wingmen.

They also get some technical specs for some of the Disorder warships, and Serathikon familiarizes himself with laser-antenna encoding syntax and file sharing. It doesn't take long until they're sharing telescope images, cat pictures, and sensor data of enemy warships.

Most exotic of all, one of those Disorder carriers is going to rendezvous with the third brigade, hold position until they're ready for combat, and do some kind of faster-than-light fuckery that will permit the whole brigade to follow in the carrier's drive wake. They will travel a whopping 8% of the galactic radius in the span of a few minutes.
Last edited by The Disorder on Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
A secular destruction-cult, a rogue nation of space nomads, militarized mad scientists & anarchists.

NS Stats for The Disorder are not IC. These are.
A 4.333 civilization, according to this index.

User avatar
Unthidor
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 60
Founded: Nov 25, 2020
Father Knows Best State

Postby Unthidor » Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:18 am

The cruiser started taking hits, first to it's bow sensor dome which blinded it, then to each of it's warp nacelles. The port nacelle suffered a plasma explosion that chain-reacted back into the reactor and the ship detonated in a blinding flash, taking all hands with it.

This left just two ships in the battle, the cruiser already missing a turret and nacelle, and was drifting with impulse (sublight) power failing. A few escape pods started to eject from the bottom of the sphere. Two shuttlecraft left the bay on top of the sphere...

The other ship, the dreadnought, primed it's remaining missiles. Five flashed out, leaving the crews to start reloading. With only five launchers still operational, and just two full reloads remaining, this would be their last stand, and the crew knew it. All they could hope for was to cover the carrier.

Speaking of the carrier, its warp nacelles, which had been charging up, suddenly flashed. The ship seemed to stretch to infinity, before the tail end jumped to catch the bow. A white flash of light in the distance marked it jumping to warp speed, the whole process taking barley a second. They made it....

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Telros
Diplomat
 
Posts: 953
Founded: Apr 29, 2006
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Telros » Thu Dec 24, 2020 8:39 pm

Akarata, Homeworld of the Totality of Mankind, Alpha Quadrant,
Archpriestess' Reach, just above the asthenosphere
1345 hours


Heat.

She could feel it all around her as she moved; even with the heat resistant material of the metal plating in the walls and the constant cooling of the ventilation systems, she could feel the rooms and hallways of this place were just slightly too warm for her comfort. Sweat slowly built across her brow and a hand came with practiced ease and wiped it away before returning the handkerchief back to its private pocket in her uniform. It was a sign of vanity, to have the Archpriestess build her ruling palace, home and castle all in one on the very bottom layer of the lithosphere, with channels of the asthenosphere underneath revealed, long vents running from the surface or underground geothermal stations, taking the excess heat for power generation, or mining operations sifting material that had wafted up from the core of the planet. But even if it was, it was one of the few vanities she had chosen to indulge in; one could say the outfits, designed to inspire and impress, her personal guard and the festivals she attended were all vanities and excesses, but they all served a purpose or were required for the role She had undertaken. Besides, it was a wonderful intimidation tool, especially if one was called due to her anger; the long descent through the layers of the planet, passing through glittering cities into the belly of their races first steps into a new universe, going down the long canals that allowed for boat travel and fed the irrigation needs of the fungal forests and farms, and passing through the centrifugal trains to come to the long pathway, the fiery soul of the planet raging around you as you came to her home.

While an enemy come to parley may feel scared or angered by the power move on display here, she felt nothing but safety and familiarity. The center of the Totality, of Humanity's achievement, progress and might, and she was second to the one whom held all the cards. Her thoughts drifted back to the present as her implant flashed a warning in her eye, as they came to the door. Her two guards, members of the Kulcsar Family, walked on either side of her; the firm material of the dress shirts and pants, primarily gray with black accents, and the symbol of a great white key, the symbol of the Kulcsars, emblazoned across their chests and backs, with black leather gloves and shoes. Their eyes were hidden from sight by thick sunglasses, but if one could focused enough, they could see rolling data or an open screen on them, the guards checking data streams and information as part of their duties as personal protectors. As they approached the door, one paused, and held out a hand, generating the warning to her implant that roused her from her thoughts, while the other moved up to what appeared to be a wall with a thin slot in it, and nothing else. They produced a thing, transparent card of plastic, with a single circuit inside that had wire leading to the edge and running around the entire border before coming back that shined gold in the light. It was placed in and a dull bright tone sounded, and it was removed and placed back under their jacket. Lines appeared in the wall as segments of a door appeared, the camouflage fading away as the door separated from its bearings in the wall and slid into the floor, revealing access to the room within, as a voice gently spoke from a hidden intercom.

'Welcome. You are recognized, Csilla Kulcsar, Hand of the Archpriestess.'

The first who opened the door, moved in and did a quick scan, his eyes hidden but the jerks of his gaze and the way his head moved to inspect the room showed a trained speed and efficiency in checking for all available exits, confirming the members in the room and for any signs of danger or threat. After confirming there was none, he bowed to the room and moved aside, Csilla taking her steps into the room, followed quickly by the other guard. As soon as all three were in the room, hydraulics hissed and the door closed back up behind them, the door visible on their side, but the camouflage on the other side returning to being wall paneling. Gloves of gray silk reached up and lowered a hood of the same to reveal a flood of dark brown hair, the back half kept up in a jeweled clasp that had its brothers and sisters at equal distances down the long tail, blue eyes stared out of a tanned, angular face. As one, the two guards and Csilla placed their right hands over their hearts and bowed until at a 45 degree angle to the chair across from them. Before them with a circular table, blackwood from pre-Fall Africa, polished to a worked sheen that reflected the lights of the room. Nine others sat around this table, her brothers and sisters of the Ten Families, and at the head sat Her. Sachi Darányi, the Last Archpriestess, Speaker of the Lost Age, Holder of the Gateway, Master of the Totality and slayer of the Impossible Flame, Retainer of the Ten Seraphic Shards, alongside many other titles. A psychic tug at her mind prompted Csilla to stand up again, the other two following her lead and she took in the sight of her mentor once more.

Long, braided hair, long gone white with age and stress, cascaded from her head and down the throne she sat in; dark green eyes stared out from the face, crows lines around them revealing the centuries of life she has lived and the struggles she has come through, the face, while slightly worn by age and stress, remained as young as that of a forty-three year old woman. Her robes were glaring white, with High Seraphic script in gold embroidered letters starting at her neck and going down, with symbols at one of ten points around it; she knew from experience these were prayers to each of the Sons, with the hood containing the symbol for the Grand Mother and a final one to her. The eyes, while firm and cold, had a twinkle to them that warmed Csilla's heart yet caused it to squirm at the same time. She took a seat, the chair emblazoned with her family symbol and the guards took up point on either side of her; folding her hands together in front of her, she began to speak.

"Your Ascension. Brothers. Sisters. I thank you for your patience and coming to this meeting. I was gathering the last of the data from the *FIS Director and the Void Corps commander in the field. I know many of you are aware of this new development that has been tracked, but please bear with me as I get all of us caught up before we discuss the Totality's response."

A mental command to her implant sent a digital request to the server of the room; a quick security protocol and handshake was done and processed and approval saw a screen appear with a list of applications and commands. With the speed of thought, several commands were select and menus moved through before an application was brought up, and the words 'Cleansing Activity in Alpha Quadrant' flashed briefly as the file opened. As this was done, the center of the table folded open and a holographic emitter revealed itself, hummed on with blinking blue lights and a display of the galaxy appeared, before zooming into the Alpha Quadrant, and the Totality's areas of control were highlighted in white, divided by the three sectors. Other powers appeared slowly, both from records and recent discovery, along with the Fractal Ring appearing as its own zone within the Totality's borders.

Another section was highlighted green and Csilla began to speak again:

"The invasion by the CCP and the Voidreich's Incursion has forced the Totality to recognize certain realities and adapt to them. The Final Cataclysm has left more destruction, corruption and rot in the new universe than we had been expecting. Entire swaths of human populations have been corrupted down to the genetic level, lashed by the clutches of the reviled divinities of gods, or worse. Our outreaches, once met with silence and echoes, have been answered by fire and death. We were taken unaware, as for the past two centuries, we have believed that we were alone, that we were the Totality of all Mankind left in this new creation.

We have been proven wrong, and it is both a blessing and a curse. As such, our Archpriestess has shifted our strategy to more of a proactive one, in light of these events, as we move to rebuild and become stronger to meet the threats at our door. The *ACD and FIS have been mobilized to even more missions beyond our borders, supported by the Void Corp's assigned QRF's to scout and conduct reconnaissance beyond our borders, for we need to find what is beyond them, what threats or opportunities live out in the void so we can react to them and have time to do so. And already, this change in tactics has borne fruit.

This area you are viewing is the human polity of the Republic of Tarsas. Although this is not quite accurate anymore-",

As she paused, another command flickered across her eye and the hologram changed, the green turning to red, before continuing, another spot of green, wildly away from the first spot, appeared, flashed red, another spot, another one. Another one. More and more of them. The rest of the council began to stir, some turning to look at each other, murmurs and curses sounding as others convened with each other quickly before turning back to the speaker.

"-as it is no more. As you can see, they are not the only ones. Areshak Confederacy. The Ruushad Empire. The League of Sohkan. Many human, some alien, all obliterated by some wandering calamity. All that remains are dead, ruined worlds, the shards of civilization left strewn about like the remains of a shattered pot. There are signs of resistance, of struggle; entire war fleets shattered throughout the system and in orbit, floating bodies. Records recovered are spotty at best, and only have given an indication of the enemy. A cult of some kind, broadcasting a message of fervor and faith before commencing their assault, and a name: The Disorder. Most alarming, there are signs of corrupted Chaos, of the *Duat in these systems. All life has been cleansed, consumed by whatever force this cult is harnessing and the Duat thrashes against the weakened walls of reality in these systems, as its like calls to it."

At the mention of the Duat, the quiet whispers became a dull roar, concern and anger on many of their faces, which began to swelling into an arguing chorus:

"That is impossible! The Old Gods and their corruption have been cleansed-"

"We need to mobilize our forces at once; if this keeps spreading, the integrity of the galaxy could begin to come apart-"

"The ACD needs to confirm if the Duat is spilling over into our reality; if so, containment protocols need to be enacted immediately-"

The chorus came to an abrupt end as the hand of the Archpriestess raised, drawing attention and the heads bowed, voices falling silent, before it lowered again and She spoke for the first time since Csilla arrived.

"Continue, Hand."

With a nod, she spoke again.

"Yes, thank you, your Ascension. Brothers, sisters, my Family, you have right to be concerned, but as per the directives of the Archpriestess and her instruction after being informed of this threat, we have already begun to take actions. The ACD and multiple Foundations are studying the systems and ruins for signs of what happened, cataloging the civilizations and their remains for internment in the Grand Tomb Complex, and confirming the integrity of our reality. More importantly, many QRF's have been sent after this 'Disorder', trying to find signs and study the threat, which has proven...difficult. This foe appears at random places, no rhyme or reason beyond the tossing of a knife at a dartboard of names and locations it seems. Solar Command, the ACD and FIS have studied the information we have and are gaining every hour and have determined three possibilities for their ability to strike everywhere and leave us unable to track them.

One: The enemy have numbers far higher than anticipated, rivaling great galactic threats in the past like the Shivans; this is a possibility, but the sheer randomness and distance of locations would make logistics impossible to a nightmare, and we should have found such supply trains and followed them to their sources, so we believe this to be unlikely but possible.

Two: A new form of stealth technology that is able to confound light, every electromagnetic frequency and detection on the quantum level. With such technology, they can hide their supply lines and forces until they are ready to strike, and while the locations may appear to be random, they could be doing so intentionally to throw us off their stealth tactics or have a plan we do not yet know. While more likely, Solar Command feel this is unlikely as the forces required for these strikes would make such technology prohibitively expensive.

Third: Lastly, and this is the prevailing theory we are going with, is that we are dealing with a high end, superior Faster-Than-Light drive. There are drives, uncommon but not rare, that can cross the galaxy in mere moments, distance being hardly a factor to its wielders, and this enemy appears to have this capability. With this, they can, from whatever hidden rock, system, dark space inside or outside the galaxy, launch attacks, at random or at their strange pattern and logic, and devastate. Now the concern and confusing part of this is that, for many of these attacks, cries for help were rare, if not absent entirely. We have tracked light from the time frames of their destruction, and found few if any signals getting out; this leads us to believe two things. This force has highly capable electronic warfare abilities and is exercising them and two, that this force is so powerful, it is destroying the civilization or their ability to reach out to the galaxy, at incredibly quick speeds. This appears to be supported by the emissions we have gathered by extracting light from the systems until the time frame of the attacks. There is some idea of the enemy's FTL and other emissions, but the distance, time and electronic warfare being conducted has rendered most of it useless or incomplete."

A pause filled the room, as she reached down, one of her guards placing a from a container under the table and filling it with water; she quickly gulped it down, her dry throat easing with relief before continuing.

"Now that we are all aware of the situation, here is the final update we have received-"

The map changed, a new section glowed green, and stayed green.

"As the QRF's have moved, they have been laying probe-based *VLA's and *QEA's throughout each system and each system they have jumped to, trying to expand our net and catch any sign of this force as they strike their next target. This move, while time-consuming and expensive, have finally paid off; we have received transmissions, garbled and covered in the frequencies we found in the dead systems, of an attack by something in progress in what is the Dominion of Unthidor, a colony known as Everfree. The attack is in progress, as far as the early detection could tell, but every indicator we know of currently points to this being the Disorder. To confirm, the 32nd Void Corps QRF Omens of Karaz have been tasked to investigate, and have likely already made contact with the enemy or are about to. As news comes in, you will all be updated, but for now, we just have to wait and see what the QRF finds."

As she expected, a moment hardly passed before another of her Family spoke, an older gruff man with a lined and scarred face, constant stubble and the odd choice of a Solar Host general's uniform, instead of his House's colors and clothing. As to be expected, he was known as The General, due to this.

"Is the Totality in the habit of sending its military to their certain deaths, Hand?"

Csilla grinned, her teeth flashing in more of a snarl than a smile as she internalized the annoyance at her counterpart.

"The spending of any Human blood is a precious sacrifice to be weighed most carefully, but the fact is we have a force we cannot track or follow properly, that has the ability to wipe out civilizations in mere days and has been finally found. As you should be already aware, we have no assets in the region, and the Void Fleet, at its utmost best, needs time to properly gather and deploy its forces; more than that, we need data. Information. Intelligence. We may find the same slaughter as the Voidreich's first advance into our systems if we rush in to counter too quickly. The QRF's are there to delay an enemy advance and gather information; we must put our faith in our soldiers out in the void and pray to the Virtue of Victory that they will come home, successful and still alive, with the information we need for the attack. As, the Void Fleet, the Solar Host and the Void Corps are all mobilizing; ships are being refueled and rearmed, fleets being moved to rallying points in preparation for a follow-up strike."

The other man's eyes narrowed at the cutting tone but his face merely smiled and he spread his arms out, one moving attention to the map; the rest of the council eyeing the two, seeing which way this confrontation would end.

"And if they don't? If this enemy overcomes them and this...Dominion, how will we get our intelligence without spending more precious lives?"

Csilla crossed her arms, clucking her tongue like a schoolteacher scolding a child.

"Why, General, I thought you would be the one, of all of us, to know the tricks we have with QE technology."

The man flared, his huge body slamming up from his chair, his face a thundercloud, finger stabbing the air towards her.

"Now listen you, Family or not, I swear-"

"You will swear nothing, Tamás."

Both stopped and turned, the Hand schooling her face, with some regret, into a calm neutrality, while the General's thundercloud vanished into gulping restraint. The Archpriestess's face was stern and judging, her eyes fixed on Tamás, who met her gaze for a full ten seconds, before bending and sitting back down. Csilla's amusement ended when the gaze swept to her and she took her seat as well.

"Humanity, if nothing else, has gained much of its victory through sacrifice. While we fight for a day where this is no longer needed, when the Paradise that was Promised is finally ours, until then, if we must sacrifice to achieve victory for all Mankind, for the whole, for the Totality, then it will be done. I have given you all your instructions on how to assist this operation. See it carried out and this enemy will be felled, just like the rest. Now go."

They all stood up, making the same bow as before, along with their individual pairs of bodyguards, before turning to leave. The General gave her a glare, teeth grinding, and the intent was clear;

This isn't over.

A wink and a smirk was his answer.

Feel free to try again anytime.

As she turned to leave, Csilla was stopped by the Archpriestess speaking again.

"Hand. Stay. I still have further instructions for you."

*****************

Alpha Quadrant Deep Space, QRF Omens of Karaz, 1425 hours

"You know what, XO Gaal?"

The second-in-command turned away from a display he was reading on the bridge, facing his Captain, tired eyes glittering out from the heavy bags under them.

"And what would that be, oh Captain my Captain?"

Captain Katalin Rigo rolled her eyes at her XO but said nothing about his word choice, her eyes carrying their own plane's worth of baggage under themselves as she gazed at him, fourth cup of coffee in her hands.

"I really love my job."

The other man snorted and reached over to pick up a holoslate.

"Lying isn't becoming of a Captain of the Void Corps, ma'am."

"You're an ass, Attila."

"An ass you have to wake up to every morning."

Both of them chuckled darkly as the Captain filled another cup and handed it to the XO, who took it gladly with a murmured thanks and began drinking it while continuing his read. The Void Corps had thrown them out here amongst others to track down this "Disorder", but it had been months of chasing ghosts and whispers, and being subject to solemn tours of graveyard worlds, seeing the cold-encrusted, broken bodies peacefully drifting through the void, their horror the last expression on their face. Listening to the final transmissions, garbled and choppy but the screams, the despair as their forces fell and their worlds were silenced one by one.

Katalin tried only to sleep the minimum amount she needed to function with a healthy amount of drugs and coffee these days, ignoring the insistent alarms of the medical A.I. suite in her implant. Gaal had made a few tactical comments, but she had professionally chosen to ignore his suggestions and continued. Her eyes drifted over to the report the XO was reading; a catalog of important cultural sites, bits of technology recovered and placed into pods for carrying out by the forces to follow, and collections of the data and study on the communications they had recovered. A beep and a window in her eye informed her that the latest wave of probes had been launched and were moving into position.

Only two passes to go and we can leave the screams to rot here.

She was glad they would be able to go home after this; they desperately needed the R&R; she had recommendations for a couple of the crew to see a shrink after this. Gaal had managed to help hold the crew together but seeing death on this scale, on top of the shit they've had to go through in the past year as it is, some of them were hitting a breaking point and needed to be taken off the frontline a while. Which is when a beep indicated the QE unit was activated as an incoming transmission was detected, she spat her curse into her coffee and pressed a button on her console to accept. A holographic window opened and her eyes caught another military uniform, black with white trim, gold medals and badges, and the shoulder pips of Rear Admiral, Lower Half. Energy surged, as she brought her heels together and saluted, Gaal following suit as he turned around.

Rear Admiral Gazsi Pallo saw the tired expressions meeting his own and managed to keep his face schooled into its military scowl, but felt a pang of pity for the orders he was to give. All of the QRF's under his command were being run hard, and he had put in the orders for them to come back home, until this priority intercept arrived on his desk. With a nod, he spoke.

"At ease, Captain, XO Gaal. I am sorry to disturb at this time, but emergent orders have arrived."

Katalin and Attila glanced at each other; new orders was a bad sign, this close to an end of an operation. The Rear Admiral took their silence to continue.

"FIS agents and your hard work have finally paid off. We may have a sign of the bastards at work."

The crew stiffened at the words and the Captain had to restrain her grip once she heard cracks forming from the pressure. A voice hoarse from anticipation and relief came from her throat, unbidden.

"You mean we can finally ice the fuckers who did this, sir?"

The other man met her eyes for a moment, and then nodded slowly.

"Yes, in a manner of speaking. All we know is an attack by something is in progress and we need eyes on in the system to see what they are up to, and if possible, stop them."

Her gut churned as her mind worked through the implications and what was in-between the lines of what he was saying.

"...and we are the closest, aren't we?"

"I'm sorry, Captain, I know you and your crew have been pushed to the limit, but we need-"

She held up a hand, and the man stopped.

"Say no more, Rear Admiral. We know what we signed up for the Corps, and besides, it'll be good to finally hit these fucks for once. We'll set up the arrays at the proper locations to take in the data and transmit, so SOLCOM can get a more prepared response ready. Do we know if the victims are human?"

The holographic man shook his head.

"No, the transmissions are too garbled to confirm. You are given authorization to change directives on the fly, as long as you continue the primary mission objectives of gathering any and all data, pieces of technology or capturing one of their crew if feasible, and to help the local forces defend. If they can be driven off, we can get valuable information of their arrival, data on their FTL and other emissions and what this cult is about."

The man looked between the two officers, who stood firm, meeting his gaze. Even if the crew was not fully aware, they knew what he was asking them to do. Pallo couldn't be prouder of the men and women under his command, even as he cursed the universe for making him have to do this.

"Coordinates are on their way, Captain. The Corps will pray at the Shrine of Victory for you. Unity. Balance. Virtue."

He saluted, which they returned and then the image went blank, to be replaced by data from the incoming file over the entangled quantum connection. Katalin's eyes quickly scanned it, her XO coming up beside her and the man chewed the inside of a cheek.

"That is really close to us. We can make that within a half hour, an hour tops should the Duat be particularly rough to travel through today."

She downed the rest of her coffee, Gaal following suit before placing their cups back into their containers, which self-sealed.

"Even so, we have no time to lose. Conduct pre-battle checks, confirm all systems are green. Set us to Combat Stations, all personnel are to don their suits and prepare to vent atmosphere. Confirm we have enough probes stocked left to set up another VLA and that the QE Arrays are also ready for deployment. Once you're done and the crews are in place, we'll go."

A salute. "Aye, ma'am!"

And then he was gone, shouting orders to the bridge crew, who sprang into action; the lights reddened and klaxons sounded, jolting a half-asleep crew into action. They raced to lockers, pulling out contained suits and helmets, with oxygen packs and cables to connect to their stations to have it piped into their suits. The QRF sprang into action, readying for the action to come.

************

OOC:

*FIS-Foreign Intelligence Service
ACD-Anomalous Containment Division
Duat-A realm of chaotic potential that the Totality uses to travel faster than light.
VLA: Very Large Array
QEA: Quantum Entanglement Array

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The Disorder
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 173
Founded: Nov 17, 2020
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby The Disorder » Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:45 pm

"Hm, another catastrophic meltdown," Cirazeth noted as the cruiser boiled and evaporated from the chain-reaction. "I think their ships may be prone to it? Perhaps because of poor system redundancy? Or inadequate internal armor?"

"I'm no starship engineer, but I've seen this flaw in hostile ships quite a bit. It usually happens when an enemy's material science lags behind reactor technology," Norev replied. "Their internal structures are not sturdy enough to isolate the wrath of malfunctioning high-energy systems. Damaged compartments damage other compartments instead of safely venting into space."

Of course, the two Disorder pilots would quickly face larger issues. Not having wreckage to pick through would be a mild inconvenience for the science team - but five incoming relativistic missiles presented a substantial threat.

"More missiles, inbound on me!" Norev warned. "Target the big bastard and give them hell!"

Norev went evasive - although her shields were mostly recharged, she diverted some extra power from the reserves. She still had a full jump-charge. Briefly, she considered expending part of it to teleport out of the way of the barrage - but recharging the shield would cost less energy than recharging the drives. The enemy definitely saw the Disorder executing tactical jumps, but the Unthian fleet may not know for certain if Arustkaanas could use their drives for very aggressive tactical maneuvers inside the battlespace. She preferred to keep it that way.

Among the myriad of warnings, diagnostics, and readouts in her ship's neural interface, one particularly caught her attention: "FLAK COUNTERMEASURES LOW - 4 CHARGES REMAINING." Nevertheless, she selected two of those four. With the psychic pull of a trigger, a swarm of countermeasures erupted out of her internal bay, and she designated targets for her sensor jammers.

Two missiles lost guidance lock and went into ballistic freefall, while another deflected off-course, locking onto a jamming drone. One more flashed into a cloud of diamond flechettes and obliterated itself. Two apocalyptic strobes of thermonuclear fire followed - one utterly vaporizing a drone, and the other driving a white-hot mist of charge plasma from the surface of Norev's shield.

Meanwhile, Cirazeth turned to the dreadnought, powering his phase cannon. A bright green lance of relativistic plasma flashed across the battlespace, aimed precariously at the 'leading edge' of the hostile ship's spherical front. Much like ballistic weapons, whose projectiles would sometimes glance off of unfavorably sloped armor, energy weapons were subject to the same phenomenon. Cirazeth knew that his first shot wouldn't be an 'ideal' one, and that as much as half of the phase cannon's destructive power might glance off. But the shot was aimed toward one of the dreadnought's launch tubes, where he figured the loading mechanism might be located. Blowtorching some armor off there might have favorable results.

The next series of shots that Cirazeth aims are more distributed across the spherical front and cylindrical sides of the dreadnought.

Norev, in a face-to-face orientation, has a far clearer shot to the dreadnought's launchers - but both the shield and the phase cannon are immensely energy-hungry systems. She opts to split her reactor output between both, halving her effective rate of fire in exchange for some shield regeneration.

"You want to try and force them to surrender their ship?" Cirazeth asked.

"My hopes were set upon maximum physical destruction," Norev confessed. "Just look at the thing, it's a monument to order. It deserves to be ended, to be unmade."

"I mean, we'll still do exactly that, even if we convince them to surrender. It will just happen in a few days, after the science team is done cutting the ship apart," Cirazeth reassured. "And the enemy combatants are audacious enough to fusion-bomb us, even as they witness our cull. A clean and painless death is not the death they deserve."

"Suppose they refuse to surrender?" Norev inquired. "What then?"

"Then we burn it. Both enemy surrender and enemy destruction are beneficial to us." Cirazeth suggested.

"Agreed, let's do it," Norev answered.

Both Arustkaanas abruptly stopped firing - and one transmits a message:

Your position is untenable. Your fleet is broken.
Your comrades have been commuted to dust and vapor.
You are no match for our technology.
You face certain annihilation.

Deactivate your sensors. Match our velocity, power down your ships.
Your cooperation will spare you.


"Do you think they will figure out that you are almost out of countermeasures?" Cirazeth asked through the telepathic network.

"Not likely," Norev answered. "Absolute worst-case scenario? They refuse to surrender, run both of us out of countermeasures, and we have to wait until support arrives to restock."
Last edited by The Disorder on Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.
A secular destruction-cult, a rogue nation of space nomads, militarized mad scientists & anarchists.

NS Stats for The Disorder are not IC. These are.
A 4.333 civilization, according to this index.

User avatar
CBG Palisade
Secretary
 
Posts: 37
Founded: Nov 18, 2020
Ex-Nation

Postby CBG Palisade » Sat Dec 26, 2020 10:32 pm


cheri_KELLER | prs_ENCARMINE_B | t-03:38

"So you're serious, then?" Confused, the intern looked her stern superior over once, then twice, clutching a clipboard to her chest with a doubtful expression on her face.

"Yes." Keller nodded at her, then gripping a handrail turned herself to look out over Encarmine's second, fully-loaded drydock. Within it rested the hundred-meter bulk of a lander, the bulbous, podlike upper capsule detached from the lower fuel bus and rotated a full 30 degrees off-axis, its loading bays open and deployment ramps extended so as to permit the loading of its armored compliment into its bays. Her eyes came to rest on a small, fan-driven tug pushing an infantry fighting vehicle up a bay in the zero-g environment, the latter's treads, grey dazzle-paint camouflage, and stubby main gun a stark contrast with the smooth, white length of the tug and its spindly articulated arms. Without turning back to the intern Keller continued, letting a slight smirk show on her face at the absurdity of it all. "I would think the carrier the size of a superhauler floating alongside this station should attest to that fact, don't you?"

The intern unsteadily let out a word of approval. "I... huh, I suppose so."

"Anyways," Keller said, her military speech showing through once more. "You did come to tell me the deployment is proceeding as scheduled, didn't you?" She let her eyes follow the tug as it pushed its way into the lander's bay, the fans struggling with the IFV's multi-ton bulk. A dock worker below spotted their commander standing in the flagship window over the bay and gave a short wave. Formality wasn't something that fit the mercenary style, after all.

The intern started and nodded frantically. "Y- yes, ma'am. I actually- I came to- the first bay's loaded. A Company's boarded their vessel. The Anzio is, uh, it's ready for you to take helm. Should be wetdock five."

Ah, the Anzio. A good vessel, that was. If Keller was honest with herself she was lucky to have it- at least a third of its components were custom-made, its fore armor was fully new, a stark contrast with its beaten, scored midsection never fully repainted or restored, and its hull still bore the weld-marks from when they'd pulled off its nose to get at the ruined upper fuel tanks and extricate the remnants of shells from its frozen body. But the effort was worth it for the Fel-class that had bore her through so much pain during the Corridor War, even if it hadn't made it out wholly intact. And when Admiral Sacha Brittany, CLN (Ret.) had come calling in December '87, it had carried her and the rest of its crew out of Hell itself.

And now, judging by the looks of that vessel holding station off the Encarmine's port side, she was about to ride that cruiser right back into Hell. Hopefully it would hold together under the brunt of these... Unthidor... just as it had under the Network's guns eight years ago. Reflexively, Keller flexed her right hand, listened to the tick of the ring finger she'd never been able to properly lubricate as it spun in its socket, felt the dull buzz of electricity tingling the nerves in the stump of her forearm, and sighed.

The last time she'd faced down the devil it hadn't gone so well. She'd been left less than whole, her arm puckered and scarred by vacuum and marred beyond repair. But then she had been fighting for something intangible, ideals that themselves were less than whole, as events would show. Now she had a very tangible and very, very real stack of stuff that shouldn't have existed ready to transfer aboard her station from a carrier that ignored all conventions of starship design, and that was a motivator she found far more appealing than democracy, liberty, and honored institutions. And that was something that brought her thoughts back to the present very quickly indeed.

Bringing her short reverie to a close, the ex-captain turned back to her intern and nodded her acknowledgement. "Understood," Keller said curtly, dipping her naval cap ever-so-slightly. "Let Tsukanov know I'll be down shortly. I'd like to see the lander out first, though."

Clearing her throat, the intern nodded. "Yes, ma'am. I'll do that, um, now, I guess."

"Please do." Waving away her aide, Keller turned back to the lander in the dock, watching as the last vehicle, a missile truck, slid into its slot in the lower bays, the tugs and maintenance crews began making their way along guidelines to the airlocks in the bay's corners, the lander was spun back down to its attachment port flush with the propulsion bus, and through an umbilical the lander's crew made their way to their stations, along with the rest of 1st Battalion, Bravo Company, ready for what they'd told would be a prompt deployment into a hot LZ. Keller wasn't entirely clear on what precisely the Disorder wanted her people to do, but it had been a simple enough matter to instruct the maintenance crews, used to loading missiles shipside, to load the lander's compliment of vessels with similar, smaller ordnance.

It would likely be a far more complicated matter to negotiate the sort of battlespace the Disorder had asked them to navigate. But that was a matter for another time- about four hours, she'd estimated, for all her vessels to establish a holding pattern along the Disorder carrier assigned to their transport. And, she thought, that was why Brittany had spent those extra chits on the Casaba howitzers kept on-station. Effect-on-target is more important than munitions conservation, and functionality is more important to economization, they'd said. Well, shaped nuclear charges and clouds of hot plasma were certainly effective, and they were hardly economical by any measure except bang for one's buck. That was something the Valkyries could certainly deliver on.

Within the bay klaxons sounded, vaguely audible through the thick, reinforced glass of the flagship windows, and the two large loading airlocks on either side of the space slid shut, the gears holding them in place sliding into the lock orientation. An octet of massive pumps, one in each corner of the dock, spun into action, doing their best to remove as much atmosphere from the environment as possible. After a few minutes of operation, Keller standing watch all the while, they cut off, the bay finally brought down as close to a vacuum as the computers managing the pumps told them was possible. Though Keller couldn't see it, within an airlock window a marine waved at her before sliding his porthole shut.

Then, with a groan completely inaudible in the near-vacuum, the even more massive bay doors slowly opened their pressure-seals and slid open, struggling to move their bulk even on their well-lubricated hinges. What little air remained in the bay escaped into open space, taking an unsecured scrap of paper or two with them. And then-

-with a puff of its RCS jets, then another, the lander and its propulsion bus made their way out of the drydock. The flashing of the vessel's red-and-green orientation lights gave way first to the harsh light of the bay's LEDs, then once those had cut off to the dull red of Encarmine's sun, a red dwarf perfectly suited for the barren system. Steadily the lander made its way out of the dock, then swiveling along its y-axis turned to face the kilometers-away rally point, far enough off station for any radiation to be harmless by the time it hit the habitat's hull, then lighting its maneuvering engines gently began to accelerate towards that distant speck. Dock B had a perfect view of that rally point, Keller noted, the dim spark of a massive carrier and the littler stars of the Third Brigade surrounding it clearly visible from her spot at the flagship window.

Then the room went dark, the other carrier loaded with the payment passing in front of the dim sun, and the LEDs in their wall-mounts automatically flickered on once more. In a few moments the loading crews would be back out again, suited and ready to haul their new, exotic cargo aboard Encarmine. With a grunt Keller turned from the window, pulled the lead-lined shield back down into place, and pushed herself down the hall and towards a waiting lift. She had a fleet to command, and if all went well soon she'd be seeing that rally point from a much closer perspective. Checking her watch Keller noted she was slightly ahead of schedule:

Twenty-one hours since she'd heard the call for deployment. Five hours since she'd last slept. Three hours and twenty minutes until the operation was set to commence.


jessica_REESE | pcv_LUXOR | t-00:21

With a cheeky grin Reese removed her eye from the targeting reticule of the Luxor's docking sights and stretched, feeling every hour she'd been up in the aching of her eyes and her fingers. But there was still work to do, and shaking the sleep from her eyes she turned to the transmitter next to her and spoke into it to her waiting companion vessel. "Uh, Lawrence, you're perfectly on station, cut your acceleration, if you would. And mind the big guy, eh?"

Crackling through her speaker came a reply- "Ayup, I'm aware". Reese sighed, then looked back through her sights just in time to see the Lawrence's RCS fire, bringing it to a halt just below the Disorder carrier. It had said they were meant to get close, but it hadn't said just how close- judging by what she'd seen during the Arustkaana's burn, they had to get rather close, and the Disorder crews hadn't told the Valks off yet.

In fact besides for offering some much-needed technical assistance and intelligence now being shared about the fleet they hadn't done much but make small talk- perfectly kind folks, they seemed. Nice chaps. That Serathikon particularly seemed like a friend, despite his odd name. He was probably some variety of space slug, but hey- Reese would take a cheery space slug over her irritable ex any day of the week. Turning back to the radio she shot a response back to the Lawrence's capcom. "Ayup, understood. Luxor out, ya damn terrorist."

A moment's silence, and then a bemused yet irritated reply. 'You still makin' that joke?"

"And I will be until the universe freezes up, mate. That or until either of us finally bites it." Laughing, Reese set the transmitter back in its mount. Taking that terrestrial history elective back in secondaries hadn't really given her much, but at least she could crack jokes at the expense of anyone who had heritage in the Texan Republic now, and that had definitely paid off- all three of them she'd ever met had found the joke irritably accurate.

"Ugh. Very fair." The Lawrence's capcom's sigh was audible even through the staticky radio. "Lawrence out, Eyes."

"And don't you forget it," Reese muttered to no one in particular, then finally pulled herself out of her chair after several hours of managing the fleet's movements with the Luxor's limited sensors. The Anzio had pulled into station a few minutes ago, and with the Lawrence back into position all they had to wait for was the green light from the Disorder crew. Hopefully those people would get back to them quickly; the Valkyries were thirty minutes ahead of schedule last Reese had checked, and given the rapid nature of this deployment- the fastest Reese had ever seen 3B get itself combat-ready, at least- that in itself was an achievement. They were well on their way to that performance bonus, or so Reese hoped, and despite her lack of sleep she didn't intend to be the one to ruin their chances.

Pushing herself into the Luxor's control room, Reese waved first at Carlos sitting in front of his console with a sad look on his face and then at the remainder of her crewmates, the main-line pilots now up from their rest cycle, before pulling herself along the handrails on the low-slung ceiling over to where the tactical station rested besides one of three imitation-coffee machines positioned throughout the CIC. First fixing herself a steaming, teardrop-shaped vacuum cup, Reese in what her sleep-deprived brain interpreted was humor took off her garrison cap and slung it over the bowl, smiling at the impromptu recreation of her own visage as she sipped at the blessed caffeine.

Even if it was just heated water with some artificial flavoring and pick-me-up injected into it, imitation coffee was still a gift from God. Reese removed the cap from the bowl and sat it back on her head, stuffing as much of her errant hair back under its brim as she could, then turned to the TACCOM and hesitantly raised her voice.

"So, uh, Ilse, you, um, what's that?" she said, gesturing at the odd, bulbous, nacelled diagram of a craft displayed there. It seemed rather stupidly designed- if those nacelles were anything but offboard fuel tanks a well-placed railgun shell could likely sever something critical.

Sighing at the interruption, the tactical officer swiveled in her seat and pointed at the available documentation. "Says it's a Stunner-class. Cruiser, it says. Looks about cruiser-sized, but that's a pretty wide beam, I think." Ilse rubbed her temple as she turned back to the vessel on her screen with a tired eye. "Honestly, if this is what the people the Disorder want us to go after are fielding I'm more scared than anything. Like... I'm sorry, but that thing makes no fucking sense. The way it's built a single Casaba could core it with a hit to the nose. If they've got the materials science to make that design work I'm kind of concerned about their combat ability."

"Differences in doctrine, maybe? I mean, up-armoring civvie vessels or landers isn't impossible." Reese leaned in a little closer, examining the odd ship from bow to stern. "If you squint at it funny it looks kind of like a 30a." It was true- the ball at the top looked like a Type-30a lander's upper portion, if it was made far more aesthetically pleasing and rounded at the edges.

Ilse groaned and mimed slamming her head into her console. "Just- Jess, go get some sleep. We've got thirty minutes left or so, don't we? Comms room should be quiet if you shut the door, and you need it."

Reese began to laugh, a cackling, insane laugh, perhaps exaggerated for effect- not that she'd ever admit it. "Hah, sleep! Nah, I don't need it, I'm going to live forever-"

"Jess. Sleep. Now." Ilse reached up and shoved Reese away from her station, microgravity doing the work thereafter of ensuring she couldn't easily stop herself as the communications officer drifted into her own, isolated station. Making sure to catch herself before she finally struck the wall, Reese nestled herself up in a convenient cranny and tugged the cap over her face, set the teardrop cup down beside her- it probably wouldn't get too cold, after all- and closed her eyes. Thirty minutes, Ilse had said. Thirty minutes would be nice. And then- it was time to fight. And that was what the coffee was for.

A very professional outfit, the Valkyries were.


zhenya_PASTERNAK | pcv_LUCKY | t-00:04

Zhenya Pasternak, marine, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, gave his MK-8A bullpup rifle a once-over, flipped the safety first off and then back on, rubbed a smidge of grease off its casing with a space-suited, gloved hand, and bringing it to his face planted a mock kiss on its muzzle before slipping on his black-and-white Snoopy cap and coughing into the radio there.

"Ahem, test, test, radio check, I repeat, this is a test, how're you lovable bastards doing today?" He watched and grinned as those members of his platoon who'd already donned their own radios winced or started at the sudden buzz of noise in their ears. One grunted out a reply.

"Just fuckin' dandy, Zhenya, the packing peanuts are having a wonderful time." Ah, yeah, packing peanuts. What every marine who'd ever fought a vacuum war knew they ultimately were until their boots hit dirt and they got out to finally fight- very squishy, moderately expensive cargo that would likely do at least a little to cushion the impact of the more metallic bits of their vessel directly behind them in the event of a sudden deceleration caused by impact with an object sufficiently strong enough to stop a lander's descent.

And, if he was being honest, Zhenya rather enjoyed being a packing peanut. At least he got to look what he killed up close before it died; the poor souls in Fourth Battalion wouldn't ever get the courtesy of seeing their victims as anything more than specks on a screen before the shells wiped 'em out. Of course, the inverse was true, but Zhenya didn't mind that much- it was the price one payed for excitement in his line of work. And given the kit they handed out it was a price that more than payed its weight in gold in return.

But despite the rewards, this was certainly the oddest deployment he'd ever been party to- woken at the odd hours of the night, told without much in the way of warning to get his combat kit ready for an extended deployment, hastily packing some MREs stolen from the station's lunch counter a week ago along with a pack of powdered doughnuts he'd bought with his own cash on the last supply run, and finally rushing down to his assigned lander in Dock A with as much haste as his half-awake brain could muster. But the feeling of the skinsuit and then the protective anti-micrometeorite layer of his vacuum suit sliding over his taut, lean frame, of the cold interior of the Lady Luck's Disaffected Younger Sister- Lucky, for short- washing over his face, the sound of a gaggle of equally-disgrunted operators eyeing the acceleration couches they'd surely be soon strapping into with distaste and shit-talking each other at every turn, all of it had brought him into full alertness, and soon thereafter he was falling into the role of platoon 2iC with polished ease. If anything it couldn't be said that the Valks weren't willing to get down to business when the situation required it.

And now it most certainly did.

He leaned over in his seat and looked down at the vehicles visible through the lander's lower hatch, the quick-deployment airlock that forewent a vestibule in favor of permitting a rapid exit into the loading bay and out into the void. Zhenya could just barely see the side of one of the IFVs from where he sat, and he was one of the closest to the tiny porthole; one of the "privileges" of being 2iC was that he got to be the second out into the line of fire, right after the unlucky bugger who drew the short straw of first-in and right before his CO, just in case there was a sniper perched outside the LZ waiting to pick off the first few off the vessel. An assailant would surely get the first scout, the logic went, and if the second was particularly unaware they might score themselves a twofer, but they'd surely miss the third. Truly, being awarded the spot of second to die in the event the platoon had hit a hot landing zone was a great honor.

Said first-in scout, a moderately-promising new recruit with boots that had yet to be cut to shreds by harsh regolith called Baldy in reference to her insistence that keeping hair was just asking for it to get caught on one's helmet seal, was on her third once-over of her own gear, evidently completely unaware of the meaning of a once-over. Zhenya turned to her and quizzically pointed out as much. "Hey, Baldy, you are aware the gun's fine, right? Seven-As are harder to break than anything your thick skull's got in it."

"If Kami Atenas is going to die, then she's going to die kicking and screaming. Unlike you lazy assholes." Kami slid her gun's magazine into place in its rear, slammed down with one fist on its butt to make sure it was locked firmly in place, and with a rag coated in oily polish hanging from her suit's belt wiped its muzzle, bringing out a bit of shine in the dull, gunmetal-grey steel

Another squadmate leaned over with another retort at the ready. "Is Kami Atenas fond of speaking in third person?"

"Shut up, Mick." With the butt of her rifle Kami hit the offender's shin, a bitter grin on her face. "Gotta make sure you all know my name when I die, after all," she said, looking about at the platoon.

"Can't imagine it'll take long," Zhenya chuckled. "Ain't got anything to protect that head of yours. 'Sides, you're in the hot seat this drop."

"And you're on deck." Kami was likely about to shoot back at Zhenya once more, keep the platoon banter rolling, but before she could the cabin warning light flashed red, and the soldiers' combat disciplines took over. Hastily they as one bent over in their seats, picked up their helmets from the stowage spaces below the couches, donned those helmets and flipped on their seats' air-supplies, stowed their rifles, and filling the air with a chorus of clicks pulled the acceleration harnesses down over their heads.

Red light. Imminent burn. Prepare for action. Even if they weren't about to see direct combat, when a lander went somewhere it neither went there slow or went there subtly. Thus it was best to act as if they were about to be deployed outright- the lander had the amenities to support them for at least a while if that suspicion proved itself wrong, though with the way the Luxor had said that... Arustkaana had snuck up on it, in all likelihood these Disorder chaps were just as likely to launch them into the midst of a firefight as they were to make sure the Valkyries had an easy go at their targets.

All in all they seemed... chaotic figures, Zhenya thought. If only he knew how right he was.

But no matter what he thought, it didn't change the fact that outside the Lucky's hull, in the midst of the impromptu cluster of ships of the line, support vessels, and transports the mercenaries had managed to assemble, the carrier that dwarfed all of them, that even rivaled the Encarmine station itself in terms of size, was finally ready to move. It had transmitted the zero-hour signal, exactly twenty-four hours after the Luxor's message had reached Encarmine. The mission clocks switched over from countdown to log time. The order was given. Keller, aboard the Anzio, sent out a short word of encouragement; Reese started awake aboard the sensor-ship at the fringe of the formation; Zhenya and his platoon made ready for the unknown as best they could in the belly of their lander.

And the carrier began to move, taking the fleet with it.

And around them the cosmos

warped,

bent,

and broke.
Last edited by CBG Palisade on Sat Dec 26, 2020 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The reason KG hasn't finished any of their other projects. Now two three twelve nations. Very WIP.
please help the scope of this project keeps expanding and i can't stop it
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The Disorder
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Founded: Nov 17, 2020
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby The Disorder » Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:14 pm

Serathikon departed shortly after the Disorder's space carrier arrived. Atrenar, the carrier's pilot, appeared to take charge of the mercenary presence.

Atrenar would seem just as friendly as Serathikon, although a bit more patient and meticulous. In no hurry to jump, he ensures that the third brigade's stragglers are maximally-equipped, not simply launching just to avoid holding up the rest of the fleet. Time appears to be on their side.

Atrenar shares the Disorder's plan with Sacha's Valkyries:

First, Atrenar is going to deploy some kind of super-bomber, the Norothrex-class, to soften up hostile military strongholds & raze defensive fortifications. Planet-side landings will commence near targets of interest. Power generation, communication, transportation and emergency infrastructure will be captured where possible. Norothrex assets will remain in the theater to provide air support, and Arustkaana assets will be in orbit providing AWACS support and target-spotting.

The Disorder will then select a site to deploy some kind of enormous mega-lander/forward base. From that point onward, Sacha's mercenaries will become part of a temporary occupying force, alongside Disorder operators and converted Unthian military & police forces. Together, they will perform a sweep of the planet's population, and deport some percentage of it off-world.

Shortly before firing up the drive, Atrenar also reveals the details of their upcoming jump. Although no technology outside of the Disorder is currently known to be capable of vectoring or intercepting Disorder jumps, they're still going to conduct multiple randomized jumps, in rapid succession, to obscure their actual origin and destination - on the off chance that hostile hyperspace surveillance exists.

Atrenar reveals that a small skirmish is currently in-progress at Everfree, and that he will be jumping the fleet in on the opposite side of the planet, where no hostile spacecraft currently exist.

Once all ships confirm ready, he'd fire up the drive.

From outside the hyperspace field, a tiny and burning green pinpoint of light flickers to life in front of the carrier, and a conical spray of green lightning engulfs the fleet. A split-second later, the fleet and the space-time they occupy crunches inward, and the burning pinpoint that used to be in front of the carrier bursts into a narrower forward-facing cone of green hyperspace-lightning. If the bystanders had not been told that it was a faster-than-light maneuver, they might assume it to be some kind of weapon.

From inside the hyperspace field, the focal point of the entry singularity explodes, devouring and consuming all surrounding reality. The Disorder's hyperspace is a hellfire among hellfires, visually indiscernable from flying through the interior of a violently churning sun. If not for the shimmering white cone of energy around the fleet, they might be crushed and incinerated by the deadly & undeniably beautiful multicolored swirl of plasmas.

When they skewer back into standard space-time, the reaction is an infinitely more violent one. The hyperspace-cone changes shape suddenly, stretching forward toward infinity as it drills a hole thorugh reality. A sizable quantity of plasma erupts into normal space-time, thrown off into the surrounding space at a substantial percentage of lightspeed. Hyperspace plasma, unstable in normal space-time, decays to hyperspace radiation courtesy of E=MC^2. With a half-life of around two seconds, the decaying hyperspace plasma burns with the ferocity of antimatter falling through a thin atmosphere. Albeit with none of the ionizing radiation.

Atrenar transmits a brief message with his laser antennas, which would be relayed to all ships in the fleet:

Jump one of thee complete. Continue to hold relative positions while extradimensional maneuver two is in progress.

They would do this two more times, spending a grand total of 288 seconds inside hyperspace.
Last edited by The Disorder on Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A secular destruction-cult, a rogue nation of space nomads, militarized mad scientists & anarchists.

NS Stats for The Disorder are not IC. These are.
A 4.333 civilization, according to this index.

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Unthidor
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Founded: Nov 25, 2020
Father Knows Best State

Postby Unthidor » Thu Jan 07, 2021 6:34 pm

The captain of the dreadnought Phenom was helping medics load a wounded officer onto a stretcher, when a voice called out.

"Incoming transmission!" shouted the tactical officer. "From the enemy ships!"

Your position is untenable. Your fleet is broken.
Your comrades have been commuted to dust and vapor.
You are no match for our technology.
You face certain annihilation.

Deactivate your sensors. Match our velocity, power down your ships.
Your cooperation will spare you.


All the crew on the battered bridge looked to the captain. He stood up from the stretcher, and stepped over to his chair in the center. "They want us to surrender," he said to no one in particular. "Did the Glorious make it?"

"Affirmative," replied the tactical officer. "They just made the jump to warp."

"Then our mission is complete," the captain said, slowly sitting down in his chair. For the next few minutes, the only sounds on the bridge were the hum of machinery and the beeping of consoles. The Captain crossed his arms. "Sound general evacuation," he ordered, "all personal." He looked around at the stunned crew. "That's an order, people!" he shouted, and they all jumped up and cleared out of the bridge. Except for two, the tactical officer and helmsman. They stood at attention before the captain.
"Requesting permission to assist the captain," tactical said.
The captain grinned. "Permission granted. Take your stations and sound the alarm." They both saluted and returned to their stations. Moments later the evacuation alarm started to blare throughout the ship. The injured crew scrambled to escape pods and shuttles, launching them out and away from the ship.
The captain gave his final orders. "Begin a slow rotation to bring our ventral side to face the enemy. Arm the space-to-ground missiles, and fire as they bare...."


The wounded ship, with escape pods and shuttles scrambling away, slowly began to rotate to point its bottom-side at the two intruders. Large hatches slid open to reveal a battery of ten large missiles. These were intended for orbit-to-ground use, and were far slower than the anti-ship missiles. But they packed nearly 5 times the destructive force each. As they came into view, they started to launch. Also slower than the normal missiles, and fired out one at a time. The tactical officer programed them to spread out in an attempt to surround the two intruders, but they had no idea if the enemy could avoid the slower missiles. It was a last-ditch play.

After the last missile fired, the captain sent one final command to the ship's computers......to disengage the magnetic containment on the anti-matter reactor. The explosion would start in the center of the spherical hull between the nacelles, and engulf the ship within seconds. It was a last defiant stand.

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


To the Hounds of Tindalos,
This is Commodore Cross, commanding Combined Task Force 7/15.
We are waiting for your arrival at the agreed coordinates.


Nearly a dozen light-years away, the sixteen ships of Combined Task Force 7/15 cruised at sublight, in formation with the two dreadnoughts side by side first, the two carriers behind, and eight cruisers surrounding them. Four transports took up the rear of the fleet. They had just dropped out of warp at the rendezvous coordinates and were staging before making the final jump to Everfree Colony.

Onboard the carrier Enigma, Commodore Cross stood at the back of the combat information center. He was reviewing the combat data just received from the carrier Glorious, sent after it made it's escape from Everfree.
"Not much of a match, are we?" asked a figure standing just behind him.

Cross frowned. "One-on-one? No, we're clearly outmatched. But if we can keep our distance and lay down missile salvos, perhaps there's a chance."

"Hopefully the new S.A.M.'s will make a difference," the other said. "I assume you want to launch them as soon as we arrive in the battlespace?"

"Yes," Cross agreed, "and get them dispersed, keep them away from the fleet. Between their attacks and the missile barrages, perhaps we can prevail." He watched more data scroll by. "Their weapons are powerful, but might have limited range. Something to keep in mind."

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The Disorder
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Posts: 173
Founded: Nov 17, 2020
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby The Disorder » Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:04 am

"For fuck's sake, how long does it take them to make up their minds?" Norev let out a disgrunted snarl across the telepathic network.

"They're probably still reading our message. I doubt that their brains are plugged directly into their ships, so they're likely stuck with the mark-one eyeball," Cirazeth guessed.

"Freaking savages," Norev remarked condascendingly. "And it's going to take forever for them to make up their un-enhanced minds."

The two Disorder pilots conversed at the speed of hyperspace telepathy, exchanging thoughts in the blink of an eye as they waited. They played entire virtual-reality games inside their cockpits, in the time it took the Unthian captain to order his crew to evacuate.

"Activity on the hostile ship!" Cirazeth alerted. "Smaller substructures are separating from the hull. Probably space-vehicles of some sort."

"Evacuees, most likely," Norev suggested.

"That makes no sense. Where would they possibly go? The planet we're about to invade? Or are they going to lead us straight to a stealthed search-and-recovery craft?" Cirazeth asked quizzically.

"It doesn't have to make sense. I've seen this before from order-worshippers - escape pods. Their starship design simply yields to failure, and if something goes wrong, they abandon their vessel," Norev informed.

"Rotation on the large vessel, too."

As soon as the first missile leapt from the launch rack, Norev and Cirazeth locked onto it. They debated back and forth if it actually was a missile at all - but it did match the profile of a non-relativistic rocket, so often employed by hostile forces. Except bigger - a lot bigger. Because these missiles were accelerating so much slower, and with ample delays between launches, Norev and Cirazeth decided to shoot them down with their spinal guns.

The brilliant green beams of plasma that carved up warship hulls just minutes ago made excessively short work of the incoming missile barrage. Ultraviolet target painters illuminated the missiles with amazing clarity. And with two Arustkaanas close by, their already immense target-painting capabilities were effectively doubled.

The first missile bursts into vapor about a quarter of the way to the Arustkaanas. The next nine are slashed apart and vaporized just moments after the dreadnought launches them.

"Are they trying to shoot us with some kind of...planetary siege weapon?" Cirazeth asked in disbelief.

"Probably. Check out those hot vapor clouds generated by phase-cannon-on-missile impact. Our weapons are having to burn through a fair bit of thermal shielding. They're designed for atmospheric entry, I would guess."

A few moments later, an ionizing radiation spike from the dreadnought marked the beginning of its antimatter-assisted self-destruct. The brilliant gamma-radiation wildfire bloomed from its engineering section, through fuel lines and storage tanks - until the radiation pressure of the matter-antimatter annihilation blowtorched much of the hull to vapor. The biggest pieces of the dreadnought that Cirazeth or Norev detected in the aftermath were about a centimeter across.

"Seriously...they blew up their own ship? Freaking cowards!" Cirazeth scorned.

"That's war for you," Norev replied. "Order-worshippers will burn literally anything and everything, if it means that they can resist chaotic subversion for just a fleeting moment more."

A third voice joined the telepathic channel:

"It's still an annihilation-flare all the same. If not for your action, they wouldn't have pulled the trigger on their own ship," Atrenar replied.

The Disorder carrier and the mercenary fleet surrounding it exploded into existence high above Everfree, illuminating the nighttime side of the planet. Although twenty percent as bright as the sun (as observed from the planet's surface) the brilliant emerald-green glare of hyperspace radiation lasted only a few seconds.

"I'm entering a polar orbit to begin scoping out planet-side targets," Norev informed. A roaring green plume of exhaust streaked from her ship's main thruster, launching it into a 30 G burn.

"I'm going to intercept that damaged cruiser," Cirazeth replied, streaking off toward the drifting and injured vessel.

Atrenar gave a psionic thumbs-up, then transmitted a message to his mercenary fleet:

A number of hostile satellites, shuttles, and escape pods currently persist in the orbital space around Everfree. Aborting their existence would be greatly appreciated. Fast-attack units, prosecute at will.

I am moving to engage the primary hostile space station in low orbit. ETA to line of sight: 4 minutes. Escort and artillery units, assist at will.

ETA to Norothrex launch: 7 minutes, plus or minus 2 minutes.

Surface & aerospace units, no change to action plan. Stand by for recommended targets. ETA to deorbit: 29 minutes, plus or minus 13 minutes.

For the good of all chaos!
Last edited by The Disorder on Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:13 am, edited 5 times in total.
A secular destruction-cult, a rogue nation of space nomads, militarized mad scientists & anarchists.

NS Stats for The Disorder are not IC. These are.
A 4.333 civilization, according to this index.

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Unthidor
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 60
Founded: Nov 25, 2020
Father Knows Best State

Postby Unthidor » Fri Jan 08, 2021 3:10 pm

Lieutenant Lydia Budanova, formerly of the carrier Glorious, stood outside the hanger and was staring at the night sky. Suddenly, a bright flash of green lit up the night, and using a hand to shield her eyes she scanned the sky above, but couldn't see anything. The flash faded, but she knew what it had to be, having seen it before during combat far above the planet.

"They're back," she spoke out into the darkness. After breaking off from the battle, she lead her two remaining wingmen down to the surface of Everfree, landing at this base. Her hope was to have her fighter repaired and rearmed for a possible planetary defense. However, the base commander had offered her an alternative.

A few minutes later, the sound of a vehicle approached. She turned to see a ground support car drive over, the base commander sitting in back. It pulled up and stopped next to her. "Ah, Lieutenant," he said, opening the rear door. "Please come with me, they're ready for you." With a shrug, she climbed into the open-air car and they drove off, leaving the fighter hanger behind and heading down the road. "Now, this new model is...different... from the Halcyon fighters you're used to," the commander said, handing her a padd. She thumbed it on and studied the schematics. "The Alpha Model 1 Standard Armored Mech, or S.A.M., is the latest technology from the ZABI company. Standing at 18.5 meters tall, it's operated by a single pilot." He kept going while she scanned through the schematics. "Four impulse thrusters, a 60mm rotary cannon, and plasma rifle are all standard."

"And this is replacing my Halcyon?" she asked.

He nodded. "You'll be far more maneuverable, though raw speed is lower. But the trade is enhanced flexibility and firepower." Their car finally came to a small garage-like building, stopping in front as the overhead door opened, then drove in. Stopping inside, the door closed, then the floor began to lower into the ground, revealing the room as a car-sized elevator. Minutes later, and they stopped in a large underground hanger. The car drove forward and across the hanger, where a dozen Mechs lined the walls surrounded by scaffolding. It stopped in front of one, and the commander and Budanova stepped out. "Ah, this one's yours," he said waving a hand up at it. She stepped forward and stood in front of the mech, looking up at it. This was going to be far different than her old fighter.....

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Qhevak
Envoy
 
Posts: 219
Founded: Jul 22, 2019
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Qhevak » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:33 pm

Combined Task Force 7/15 Rendevous Point

The Nimkasi dewarped fifty thousand kilometers from the Unthidor fleet, with a brief but noticeable flash as trapped photons were released from the warp bubble's wake. A moment later and a light second behind, the rest of the task force entered in standard formation, headlined by the Seraph strike cruiser Alecto with the Grizzly assault craft Tohu and Tikun flanking. In contrast to the Nimkasi's aerodynamic bird-of-prey form, the three heavy warships were built solely for the void, shaped like long, thin ridged pyramids covered in odd, fractal angles to minimize beam weapon incidence. The Seraph was a dedicated shipkiller, built around a nearly half kilometer long spinal electron cannon accelerating particles to within a hairs breadth of light and presently packing enough fusion warheads to wipe most of a planet clean - the Grizzlies, on the other hand, while still capable combatants, were mostly built to launch planetary blitzkriegs - with combat robotics removing the need for concessions to comfort over a hundred thousand tons of warfighting machinery was crammed into the two like sardines. Despite the desparity in form, all four shared common colors - elaborate blue, black and brown warpaint colors with shark mouths adorning the noses.

Two dozen more Rocs dotted the space around the Alecto shortly after, with the logistical craft following - these had no concessions to aesthetic, consisting of gigantic module filled frames with propulsion buses slapped on almost as an afterthought. All craft were in low power mode at present, flowing droplet radiator wings venturing mere hundreds of meters from their hosts.

“Scans?” asked Dalai, still crammed into the Nimkasi’s tight command hold.

16 craft visible. 2 5e6 tons, 2 4.3e6 tons, 8 1.4e6 tons. 4 5e6 tons, appear non-combat. Emissions presently low. Kito replied coldly, emotions suppressed as her brain sifted through broad spectrum scan data.

Damn. Dalai thought. Unthidor’s fleet didn’t outmass theirs by a great margin, and from what they know about their relative tech status the Tindalos Hound force was likely going to end up carrying a lot of the weight in space – not the best scenario, given their focus towards less direct operations. Nevertheless, they were good at working with they had, and if worse came to worst she had a two week old backup stored at Moria. She sighed, and opened up a tightbeam comm to the fleet.

Combined Task Force 7/15, this is Hounds of Tindalos Military Services Space/Ground Task Force 8. We thank you for your acceptance of our contract offer and are willing to provide any combat and support services needed for the duration of the present conflict. Openly available data on our warfighting equipment is available on request.
Last edited by Qhevak on Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Oortian Federation of Qhevak
Semi-Hard SF Anarchotranshumanist association of Oort cloud space habitats - basically all of these ideologies living together. A 6.7 civilization according to this index. Does not use NS stats.
Aerospace Engineering grad student. Libertarian market socialist short term, anarchotranshumanist long term.
Previously Gogol Transcendancy, Ibis Galaxy Alliance.
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CBG Palisade
Secretary
 
Posts: 37
Founded: Nov 18, 2020
Ex-Nation

Postby CBG Palisade » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:09 pm


zhenya_PASTERNAK | pcv_LUCKY | t+00:04

Four minutes. That was how long the mercenaries had been in transit. Four minutes, three... jumps, whatever they were, and a distance too great to comprehend traveled in the blink of an eye. At least that was how Zhenya understood it- the word from on high hadn't been entirely clear, and as usual gossip and supposition had muddied the waters a bit among the lower ranks of the third brigade, but if there was anything Zhenya understood it was that he was very rapidly about to be in a place that he did not understand, propelled there by means alien to his comprehension.

And if he was being honest, he was both terrified by and enamored with that fact. There was something about the unknown that Zhenya found to be incredibly exhilarating. It wasn't fear, precisely, the feeling in his gut, but it was certainly anxiety, and there was nothing more anxiety-inducing than performing an act that- to his knowledge- no human being ever had before. Save, of course, the destroyers ahead of Lucky in the formation. They were the really lucky ones- though if reports were to be believed perhaps not. These new buyers, too, seemed alien, despite their reported friendliness, and whatever they wanted of a group of soldiers so diminutive compared to the capabilities they'd already demonstrated was surely just as alien. As the acceleration behind him cut out, Zhenya unconsciously gripped the padded bars pressing him into his couch just a little tighter. He didn't know why, and he wasn't sure he wanted to. But there were more pressing things to concern himself with than existential matters.

The Lucky and its companions darted from the infernal void and into a far colder one, little flecks around the carrier silhouetted by green lightning, and immediately a light in the cabin flashed from red back to green. The bars pressing the marines into their couches clicked unlatched and swung upwards, signaling the lander's relative stillness, and immediately Zhenya took the opportunity to stretch, rubbing where a bar had been pressing into his shoulder for the good part of four and a half minutes now. Or, more accurately, where the bar had been pressing a corner of his composite armor into his shoulder, the skintight suit beneath that armor doing absolutely nothing to ease that pressure despite its theoretical "padded" "liner" that in practice was neither padded nor effective as a liner.

But then again, that was eight-year-old surplus for you- couldn't get much better commercially these days, even through backdoor channels. The Interim espies were working overtime the Reach over, cracking down on the arms trade as best they could, trying to starve the warlords and revolutionaries of supplies. They aimed to "civilize" the wild reaches. Establish more Authorities. They thought it was possible to do so. That it was their duty, somehow, to put back together the pieces of the civilization they'd broken. Well, they could go take a long walk out of a short airlock, Zhenya thought. The mercenaries were doing a fine enough job of keeping the peace as it was back home.

Back home- he realized then that in no uncertain terms he had come a very long way away from everything he'd ever known in a very short period of time, and that if the worst came to pass he would have absolutely no way in the cosmos of getting back. He sat for a moment, stunned by his little epiphany, then reached under his couch, pulled out his rifle, and clasped it in his hands, setting its stock in its place in the crook of his arm.

The worst would not come to pass. He was sure of that. He was a soldier, after all. As long as he had strength left to him, ammunition to expend, and something in front of him to kill, he would be fine. These Unthians couldn't be too much of a challenge, could they?


cheri_KELLER | pcv_ANZIO | t+00:06

Upon de-warping, or whatever it was called, from the carrier's wake, Keller was presented with a trio of dilemmas: Firstly, her communications officers had almost immediately received a flood of sensor and comms information, the majority of which she failed to make sense of. However, what was clear was that the carrier and that Atrenar had already gotten orders for her and her fleet, even before she could gain her bearings. Keller didn't like, that, not at all- Brittany had once said that what differentiated a good mercenary from a brutish one was the ability to avoid being treated as disposable flak by the buyer, and right now she felt rather like everything had already slipped out of her grasp. A phantom nerve impulse in her ruined arm fired, and the prosthetic twitched.

Secondly, there was already a significant furball in place around this planet, as upon her sensors clearing and the Luxor reporting in with its far more capable underslung sensor suite she was notified of both dozens of little exhaust plumes making themselves known on thermals and a number of far larger and far hotter ruined hulks of ships and things she assumed were once ships, some vaporized so thoroughly that all that remained of them was rapidly-expanding clouds of vapor. Well, that was certainly worrying- the level of firepower that that implied was far beyond what her own guns could hope to match.

And thirdly, this... planet... appeared to be a truly distinct oddity in the cosmos- an honest-to-God habitable world. The streaks of debris bursting into flame upon reentering a distinctly oxygenated atmosphere at high speed and the spectra of the light curling around from the daytime side they'd emerged opposite to made that fact highly apparent. For a moment she merely sat in her leather command chair, her breath catching in her throat at the sight of the blue marble thousands of kilometers beneath the Anzio. The lights of cities, real cities and not habitats dug into inhospitable regolith, floated by far below, and the wisps of pale white clouds drifted just out of sight in the dawn and dusk of the planet framed so beautifully in the corona of the star beyond. It was like Earth, or if not the Earth of today then the Earth of nine hundred years ago. In all those years man had never once found a world like this- and yet here one was, clear as day. If Atrenar's report was accurate this was an Unthian fringe world. Had these been just out of reach all along? Had her own people merely been handicapped by fate, placed so cruelly in an empty cosmos with others teeming with life just out of reach?

No. Even if they had been it didn't matter. Swiftly her mind turned back to the tactical situation and the message Atrenar had sent, and she began to turn over its implications in her mind. One cruiser. A satellite network. Remnant hostile elements in orbit. A hostile space station, four minutes behind the horizon line. Incoming support for bombardment purposes. Deorbit and disembarkation from the landers soon to commence. Details. Tactical information. Plans waiting to be made.

That was something she could manage far better than matters of philosophy. The Cordon pickets could handle the support units, with their missile pods alone. It would be slow for chemical motors to reach them but a satellite without the ability to divert could be taken care of and safely marked as terminated from light-seconds away with ease. She would have to send at least one of the Sparrows to engage the station, if only for intelligence purposes; the Lawrence would do nicely. The Luxor would need to stay at a more distant station, of course, and the other Sparrows would be needed to escort the Anzio and the 30as down into a lower orbit, were it to descend along with them. The remainder of the Cordons could likely be trusted with any bombardments that that Norothrex wouldn't handle, and with escorting the logi vessels. While the Disorder had promised escorts Keller wasn't yet comfortable with accepting them- and besides, there was a performance bonus to earn. Proving that they could operate independently of the buyers would go a long way towards earning that.

And lastly there was the matter of ground engagements- the landers would need to be dispatched to that planet below. While she was certain that they could make it, she wasn't entirely comfortable about the idea of them being forced to go through that thick an atmosphere- they had the fuel to make it back to orbit with their complement fully reloaded with ease, but that ablative armor on their underside was intended for protecting them from intercept lasers during their descent, not for just keeping the vessels from breaking apart in atmosphere. If they were intercepted it wouldn't go well- they'd have to be set down well outside of their potential targets' PD ranges, and she had... twenty-nine minutes, forty-two at best and only sixteen at worst, to determine those ranges. But surely the Norothrex would help with that. And in the meantime there was the simpler matter of the orbital engagement to attend to.

While assailing a planetary body was never a simple matter, and negotiating low orbitals in a hot environment was universally a headache, the engagement ahead was made significantly easier by the fact that there weren't apparently many vessels to contend with. Keller had gone to the trouble to have her fleet kitted out for a full transit, and as such they were currently in possession of incredibly lenient fuel reserves, even by the standards of a contractor who had especially stated a preference for action over conservation. And, Keller had to admit, even though she was hesitant to utilize foreign systems in her own vessels the buyers had most definitely given them a bit of a leg up. Hundreds of independent targets had been identified below already- satellites, debris, logistics structures, the works- and firing solutions on individual missiles had already been plotted across the fleet. All things considered this was promising to be little more than a mop-up job, at least in orbit.

Well, then. She'd already dawdled long enough. That thirteen minute deadline had shrunk to twelve. She picked up the intercom mounted beside her chair and adjusting her cap sent a short message throughout the ship, and another rendered into text and passed along to Atrenar in his carrier, bypassing her COMMO entirely- "We'll be engaging shortly. Be advised we intend to proceed into the lower orbitals at a more leisurely pace once we've begun clearing; Lawrence will follow your people down to engage with the station. I'll have mine send the relevant details to yours momentarily. Anzio out."

She nodded at her COMMO, who promptly signalled his acknowledgement and switched to a different channel entirely- on which Keller would broadcast an entirely different unencrypted transmission, beamed throughout the totality of Everfree's local vicinity:

To all relevant parties currently aligned with the Unthidor polity within this system:

This vessel and its escort formation represent the licensed mercenary company Sacha's Valkyries, number 8912 with the Board. We have been contracted to conduct combat operations alongside the forces currently engaged against your state. Be aware that we are as licensed auxiliary forces bound under the Conventions for the Protection of Spaceborne Combatants and are thus entitled to the protections offered to uniformed combatants of our contracted commanding party, disclosed as the- ahem- Order of the Disorder. Additionally we are bound as licensed auxiliary forces to operate along the rules of engagement set down by our commanding party. Grievances incurred during operations are to be directed to the commanding party.

All unaligned parties are henceforth informed of our intent to conduct combat operations in the local area, and advised to vacate our lines of fire with all due haste.

Keller ran down her lines with practiced ease. She'd made some variant of this speech at least twelve times before, and she knew it by heart- well enough to add a bit of a personal touch at the end.

And to you poor bastards hearing this, the name's Cheri Keller. I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of a fight you lot manage to put up, and I'd appreciate it if you took care not to disappoint.

Chuckling, Keller nodded at the officer beside her with a notepad hastily copying down orders with a grease pen. A moment later and the fleet began to move into action, the light in the cabins a dim red and the alert-klaxons blaring- all at her order. Keller never could resist taking the more interesting jobs on herself, she thought, and this one promised to be no different.


devin_LI |pcv_LAWRENCE | t+00:07

The Lawrence was, like most vessels in the Valkyries' fleet, outwardly incredibly dull-looking. It resembled nothing more than an oversized lance, its fore sharply sloping towards where the half-dozen or more barrels of its main guns lay concealed behind thin armored gratings and then towards the rear flaring out where an armored skirt wrapping round its midsection did its best to conceal the radiator arrays. Behind still was the thick, cylindrical bulk of the main propulsion bus, the greebling and gritty nature of the rear a sharp contrast to the smooth, angled armor of the predatory fore. On that fore, just ahead of the skirt, lay a pair of armored "towers", one jutting out from each side. Behind those towers, resting in their inactive positions, lay a pair of turreted drone launchers and their loading arrays; just before the assemblage for an external arm to grab hold of any returning drones and return them to their bays and the myriad blackened portholes of the missile arrays, stoppered with expendable armored plating. The entirety of the vessel was painted a blinding, heat-reflective white with the exception of a single meter-wide red stripe on the designated "port" of its armor-skirt, and a set of markings just outside the airlock positioned directly behind the skirt, the first the vessel's name and the second a cluster of scratches and stencils representing the vessel's kills- thirty-eight drones and two pickets. Perhaps today it would earn its first destroyer, or even something larger.

But, thought Devin Li, gunnery mate, buried in a station that was itself nestled in a heart of armor, semi-frozen fuel, radiation shielding, crumple zones, and structural bracing, it was unlikely. The Lawrence had never been a lucky ship- not quite a squadron dog, but never the best. Always middling. And now it was ordered to be the first vessel to engage with an unknown, hostile party alongside an even more alien friendly power with capabilities far exceeding its own. He'd seen that firsthand for himself- even working off the Lawrence's own comparatively meager sensor data, just activating the targeting software had id'd several hundred further smaller pieces of debris and satellites that the computers had missed. The new stuff's ability to pick through footage quickly was impressive. And he was about to put it to good use.

The Lawrence had just a few moments ago began to follow the big carrier down on its trajectory towards the station just now coming over the horizon line, its turrets turned out of their armored shells, its lasers active and its missiles primed to fire. The big guns, too, were only a trigger away from clicking into position and loading a salvo of tungsten shells mounted atop rugged, minimal propulsion buses into their breeches- the Lawrence was a vessel engineered totally for war, and the firepower it could bring to bear was impressive if needed. Devin was strapped into his station even now, laboring under even the barely 1.4-gee acceleration the Lawrence's engineering team had been ordered to put on- a leisurely pace, really, compared to what it could put on in the event it were engaged and needed to jink, but still uncomfortable. He didn't savor the thought of the battle to come.

But come it had to eventually. The chief gunnery officer grunted out a command from where he was belted down to his own respective station and after a curt nod Devin bent back down over his station, beginning the relatively short process of keying missiles to targets. The Cordons were meant to do the dirty work of picking off satellites and such, but the Lawrence had been ordered to fire on targets of opportunity, and that was what Devin intended to do. After a few moments longer he had twenty in his sights, and a press of a button sent the same number of missiles ripping from their pods, the kick-charges blowing off their caps and the vectoring thrusters positioned across their slim bodies directing the salvos towards their targets- six sent towards high-orbiting satellites that looked like GPS or communications, and the other sixteen locked onto what appeared to be communications satellites scattered throughout Everfree's synchronous orbits. It only took a moment longer for the missiles' main boosting stages to deplete or to align with the satellites they'd been keyed to and switch over to cruising mode. No duds, Devin noted- the number of white-hot engine bells now showing on thermal matched with how many he'd fired. Good. If those satellites lacked much in the way of maneuvering capabilities they were as good as dead, and that would be a good deal of the Unthian comms network knocked out along the Lawrence's path down. The Cordons in the fourth battalion not assigned to guarding the tankers could manage the rest.

He pressed a single key on his console, and the twenty-two satellites he'd targeted switched from a bright green to a dull yellow on the big screen sprawling across the fire-control pit, a set of tiny blue-white diamonds inching across that same screen towards their targets. A murmuring word of assent sounded from the two other gunnery officers there with him- nothing looked to be up for intercepting those, and if they weren't interfered with then those satellites would be the first kills of the mission. One of them gave him a hard clap on the back, and he grinned. But business was business, and soon he was back at the console looking for new kills for the Lawrence to snag.

Huh, that was odd- there were a set of engine flares down there, and they weren't missiles. They were bigger- vessels. Tiny ones. Burning for Everfree's surface, by the looks of their trajectories.

Confused, he waved over the chief- one Delia Hougaard, uniquely among the Valkyries' upper brass not a veteran of the Reach- to his station. "You got any clue what these are meant to be?"

"Hm." She wrinkled her face in matching confusion. "Maybe... the orders said something about 'escape pods', I think. Maybe that's what we're looking at?"

"Well, what the hell's an escape pod?" Devin threw up his hands in exasperation, then brought his attention back to the console. "Oh, well, I guess we could shoot them down just the same. That is, if they don't make atmo before our missiles can close."

Delia turned to the tactical display and back to Devin one eyeballed estimation later. "We could hit them. But I'd prefer to know what they are. If they're burning planetside they're probably... I don't know, there's no need to ship materiel back from a destroyed ship, and-"

"I..." Devin's eyes widened as he trailed off. "Dummy cabins, that's what they are. Like on drifts, they keep 'em as shelters if they need to ditch."

"Why would a combat vessel need dummy cabins? That's what the storm shelter is for. And besides, who would carve holes in a ship just to stick massive open spaces in them to breach?" Delia let slip a laugh that too trailed off as she came to yet another realization- "And... why are we being ordered to fire on dummy cabins? They're noncombatants, aren't they?"

"Well, these are propelled, so... not really. It's definitely dirty, though." Devin ponderously confirmed the targets and made certain another salvo of missiles were ready to fire- these would need lower fuel-expenditure tolerances. The targets could surely attempt to evade. "Hey, um... would you mind getting confirmation the, er, escape pods are valid? And... that they want us to knock 'em out now? I mean, they might land at bases, if you think about it."

"Aye, just make sure the targets stay locked in the meanwhile. And Knudsen-" Delia turned to the other gunner and pointed. "-Prep the guns for firing. I want two pancakes and a crowbar loaded for the big one." Two solid shell salvos, twelve shells all told, and another six sabot shells, intended to break into pieces small enough to slip through whatever PD the station had to offer. Then she turned to the intercom and shot a quick message to the Lawrence's COMMO. A moment later and the destroyer had transmitted another message to its larger companion:

PCV Lawrence to Korack:

Atrenar, please confirm that the propelled targets in low orbit are to be considered within our engagement parameters. Additionally please confirm that you would prefer immediate engagement rather than allow them to land at potential sites of interest.


In the meanwhile, though, it was more pressing for the destroyer to turn its attention to the station just coming over the horizon. Within the Lawrence great engines spun to life- the gun breeches slid open, the massive, fifty-meter coilguns slid into their braces, and shells were chambered. The little beast had bared its teeth, ready to bite at its master's call. No matter the transmission's reply, the escorts could always engage the other targets later- for now there was juicier prey to be had.
Last edited by CBG Palisade on Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
The reason KG hasn't finished any of their other projects. Now two three twelve nations. Very WIP.
please help the scope of this project keeps expanding and i can't stop it
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The Disorder
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 173
Founded: Nov 17, 2020
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby The Disorder » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:40 am

If Serathikon had known that the mercenary task force would have such fond feelings for a world with an oxygen atmosphere, oceans of H2O, and an active biosphere, he might have traded them passage to such a world. Earth-like planets weren't abundant at all, but during their sweeping interstellar travels, the Disorder still found one every few days.

Neutronium isn't rare at all, but it is a pain in the ass to harvest - getting any useful quantity of the stuff required an impact-event sufficient to blow neutron star ejecta off into space, then someone had to do a flyby close to a hellishly strong gravity well, then a velocity-mismatched precision hyperspace jump, then a deceleration burn from a substantial percentage of lightspeed. All of these were high-energy events, all requiring fuel expenditures that were not trivial.

If only they knew what a habitable world might mean to Sacha's Valkyries...

However, Atrenar did know that jumping a freshly-recruited mercenary force into a lukewarm combat zone would come with some confusion. He knew that they wouldn't adapt to this new situation flawlessly - so he kept his ship's communication system open. And with his brain plugged into the Korack's systems, he flashed out replies and sensor data via laser antenna to his mercenary companions within mere fractions of a second. The Korack quickly became a command and control nexus.

Atrenar to Cheri Keller:

Confirmed, Anzio action plan looks good. Route me any data that you deem necessary. Hail chaos.


Atrenar to PCV Lawrence:

Confirmed and confirmed.

If it is practical to do so, prosecute the targets with all wise & prudent haste. Hail chaos.


In the moments before the Unthian space station comes over the horizon, Atrenar powers up his shield. A boiling green sheath of semitransparent green hellfire sweeps over the surface of the massive starship. It's a second layer of conformal armor, made of superheated plasma.

The laser turret in the nose of the Korack is a disproportionately small and innocuous weapon, for such a huge and technologically advanced ship. That pulse laser's output is actually a bit weaker than an Arustkaana's phase cannon - but it's also capable of a higher rate of fire. The eight-meter-thick armored doors in the nose of the ship snap open, and the spherical turret rotates into a shooting solution. The mist of UV-opaque ozone from the upper-atmosphere means that Atrenar has to select a different frequency for target-painting - infrared will do.

A fraction of a second after coming over the horizon, a searing pulse of white light blowtorches through the upper atmosphere, as Atrenar opens fire on the station. An eight-gigajoule hot vapor explosion wouldn't be devastating, but it's enough to vaporize through a couple meters of armor with every shot.

More worryingly for the Unthians, Atrenar has energy to spare. Unburdened by the power demands of massive weaponry or shield regeneration, he can fire that pulse laser twice per second.

Since Atrenar's carrier is so lightly armed, the mercenary fleet might actually bring more destructive firepower to bear on the station. Koracks are the polar opposite of shock-assault fleet obliterators.

Atrenar sends another message, tagged for retransmission and dissemination to all Valkyrie ships & commanders:

Disorder reinforcements inbound, Arustkaana-class. ETA to arrival, 1 minute. IFF and fleet software should automatically flag this asset as friendly. Sensor operators need not be alarmed by the hyperspace radiation flash.


On the other side of the planet, Cirazeth completed the deceleration-phase of a 30-G brachistochrone transfer, matching velocity to the disabled Unthidor cruiser. Ordinarily, he would have flown within a centimeter of the ship, and used his cargo bay's force-field projectors to project a docking clamp tailored to the geometry of his target, instead of the typical flat force-field pane that kept bits of shrapnel out of the bay. But these Unthian vessels revealed themselves to be antimatter-powered. It would only take one disgruntled worshipper of order & safety to arrange a 'heroic' self-destruct, and then Cirazeth would find himself docked to an antimatter bomb, with a giant hole in his shield facing it.

So instead of engaging in that recklessness, he held his position a mere hundred kilometers away, kept his shields powered up, and began a sensor sweep. At this range, he'd be able to scan individual people, rats, fleas, maybe even analyze the chemical composition of the crew's food supply!

"Deep scan data of the disabled Unthian ship!" Cirazeth announced, this time reaching more than just the local fleet on the telepathic network - it's data intended for all of the Disorder's scientists and engineers.

"Atrenar, you have surplus personal shuttles on that giant carrier of yours?" a scientist on the other side of the galaxy asked. "I might borrow one."

"Of course." the carrier pilot answered.

"You might or might not get antimatter-bombed," Cirazeth warned the scientist. "Make sure your memory-clone is up to date."

"Will do. And I will bring a few drones along as well," the scientist replied.
Last edited by The Disorder on Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:30 am, edited 6 times in total.
A secular destruction-cult, a rogue nation of space nomads, militarized mad scientists & anarchists.

NS Stats for The Disorder are not IC. These are.
A 4.333 civilization, according to this index.

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Unthidor
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 60
Founded: Nov 25, 2020
Father Knows Best State

Postby Unthidor » Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:14 pm

"Task Force 8, from Commodore Cross. On behalf of my government, I thank you for your assistance. We are now transmitting the battle data sent to us about the unknown ships that attacked the colony world Everfree. At the moment, my fleet is making final preparations for our counter-attack. The battle plan is for out two dreadnoughts to hold at maximum range and fire missile barrages, while the cruisers split into two groups and attack from different angles. The carriers and transports will attempt to reach orbit to drop ground forces, any escort you can spare for them would be a benefit. I welcome any input you may have on this plan."


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


The controls were different, but not to difficult for her to adjust to. After a day in the simulator, and several hours of practice runs, Lieutenant Budanova was getting the hang of her new Mech. At the moment, she was guiding it along the taxiway up to a hanger, coming to a stop just outside and opening the chest hatch. "Still a big sluggish!" she called out to the techs waiting below, "something in the right leg seems to slow down!"

"We're on it!" a tech called back as they removed an armor panel. As she relaxed in the cockpit, the comm panel lit up.
"Lieutenant!" It was the base commander. "What's your status? Are you combat ready?"
"Afirmative, sir," she replied, "just as soon as they get the leg motors configur-"
"Prepare for deployment," he cut her off, "I'm activating all units!" Just as he spoke, a shrill alarm went off, startling both Budanova and the techs below.
"Sir, what's going on?"
"We're under attack! OrbitDock is taking fire, and some of the unknown ships look like they're maneuvering for either planetary attack or landing operations. Either way, I want all Mech teams online and ready for defense!"
"Understood sir!" Budanova replied. She glanced up just in time to see the underground mech hanger access doors opening. "Should my squad focus on any specific defense?"
"Negative, the other units will handle it. You and your team are former fighter pilots, with more skill in flight. The tech's will mount flight packs to your mechs so you can intercept any incoming ground assault."
"Understood, we'll be ready!" The comm line cut off, and she waved down to the tech crew. "Hey! I need that leg patched up now!"
"All done ma'am!" one called back just as the armor panel clanged into place. "They're bringing your flight pack over now! We'll have you ready to go in a few minutes!"
She nodded, and moved to strap back into the seat, noticing other mechs starting to emerge from the underground hanger. Most started off towards defensive locations, the city, spaceport, around the base. Five, however, stayed behind. She noticed that these had a different module attached to their backs. It looked similar to the rear section and engines of her old fighter, but with longer wings reaching out to each side. "Those must be the flight packs," she thought out loud, as her squad marched over. "Good, with those we can get airborne and take them head on!"

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Qhevak
Envoy
 
Posts: 219
Founded: Jul 22, 2019
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Qhevak » Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:21 am

Combined Task Force 7/15 Rendevous Point

The collective intelligence stored on the Alecto spent a few subjective centuries pouring over the data, it's mind continously fragmenting into subparts, running through diverse simulations of the predicted battlezone, before reforming to aggregate conclusions. What they had was enough to get reasonably high quality sim models of the warships of both Unithidor and the Disorder, though with only one engagement to go off the chance that OPFOR had unseen tricks and tactics up their sleeve was quite high. The engagements they'd run so far suggested the Arustkaanas phase cannons were biggest risk - the "wasted" yield wouldn't be much trouble against a star pyramid but against the segment that got through there was little defence other than than compartmentalization - it was lucky a Seraph's foreend was mostly water propellant. That suggested the optimal strategy was simply an extension of the usual - stay at long range and dazzle with phased arrays to clear the path for standoff drone munitions, while trying to poke holes with particle spinals.

The Alecto sent a brief comm flicker to the logistical craft, and hundreds of dull cylindrical launcher pods made their way from the logistical craft, cautiously making their ways to attach points on the hulls of Alecto, Tohu and Tikun with brief bursts of evaporated cold methane. Each one held launch tubes for four Super Genie standoff drone buses, half a thousand tons each, holding fifteen submunitions in turn plus decoys - a mix of SNAK nuclear shaped charges and laser directing mirror drones. Soon the launcher pods covered the surfaces of the craft in tight clumps, leaving the original forms of the vessels barely visible. Meanwhile, the Roc assault transports kicked in thrusters briefly, driving themselves up to twenty kilometers per second, on a vector that would send them straight towards Everfree upon dewarp - any faster and they wouldn't be able to safely aerobrake into atmosphere. Reactor output dropped to bare minimum, driving all waste heat into sinks, while metacloaks brought them into near total electromagnetic invisibility.

Initial preparations done, Illanah Dalai sent a tightbeam broadcast to the Unthidor vessels:
Task Force 8, we thank you for informational support and will act in support of your operation. Vessels Alecto, Tohu and Tikun will insert with your dreadnoughts and open with intial launch of 1,100 standoff cluster missiles at range - Tohu and Tikun will then exfiltrate by warp while Alecto provides ECM and long range particle support. Our Roc transports will then dewarp into transfer orbit and perform stealth insertion into Everfree atmosphere under ECM cover from Alecto. Confirm?
The Oortian Federation of Qhevak
Semi-Hard SF Anarchotranshumanist association of Oort cloud space habitats - basically all of these ideologies living together. A 6.7 civilization according to this index. Does not use NS stats.
Aerospace Engineering grad student. Libertarian market socialist short term, anarchotranshumanist long term.
Previously Gogol Transcendancy, Ibis Galaxy Alliance.
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CBG-Palisade
Secretary
 
Posts: 34
Founded: Jan 29, 2021
Left-wing Utopia

Postby CBG-Palisade » Mon Feb 01, 2021 5:03 pm


devin_LI | pcv_LAWRENCE | t+00:08

Oh.

For a moment Devin simply sat staring at those two words- confirmed, confirmed- burning out of his screen like they were chiseled into a grave. In a way, he mused, they were- the Lawrence was by his estimate and the computers' confirmation capable of firing on the escape pods and striking them. Sure, the margin was tiny- eight seconds of fuel remaining as compared to a several minute burn- but the ship could hit the pods even in the few minutes it had left before its orbit took it down to meet the station. And it was his duty to attempt the shot. He was being paid to do so, he had a tangible incentive to do so. It was his job.

But something about it felt... wrong. The single most formal informal rule of star sailors since the 2700s had been that crews were sacrosanct. You could kill the ship, sure, you could crack it open and split it in half, but the chance of someone in a suit hiding in their ship's storm shelter, of a crew buttoning up in a safe hold even after their ship's utmost devastation, of people being left alive, was never zero. Thus it was accepted that no matter what happened the victor would stand by to canvass their defeated foes for personnel, to render aid no matter what sort of foe they fought; it was merely civilized. Leaving someone to slowly choke to death, to have their mind strangled by hypoxia and carbon buildup, to starve and burn and freeze all at once even after surviving the battle when you had an honest, decent chance at preventing that was simply unacceptable. To fire on disabled vessels was hardly in line with that moral obligation, and though these were hardly disabled, something about the act didn't sit right with him.

Even warriors like to fancy themselves as having consciences, after all, and Devin was no exception. Codes were a way to keep what little honor a killer had left to them. And right now the codes were mandating that he both had to fire right now- take out any target under power, ensure your contractor can trust your judgement- and that he not. Frozen by indecision Devin's finger hovered over the trigger, the targets he'd designated in low orbit flashing a bright red on the tac-display. Flashing blood. Spurting blood. Throwing it into the void. The clock was ticking down. That margin was growing ever slimmer. Seven seconds. Six. Five-

Devin's finger fell on the trigger.

And out of their pods in the Lawrence's side burst six missiles.

But they were not the dull gleaming metal impactors of the last salvo. Rather their noses were a sleek, glossy black, coated in heavy silica-silica panels. Missiles designed to survive entry through a thick atmosphere, to guide themselves towards a target on the ground, and then to kill it. Missiles, though, that were still perfectly capable of striking targets in the vacuum.

Missiles that weighed a good few kilos more than their counterparts.

Kilograms that shrunk that already slim margin to below zero. Just below zero, mind- the missiles would, a later calculation show, run out of fuel to divert to their targets approximately oh-point-eight seconds before reaching their targets. But the Lawrence was dipping down into the upper atmosphere now, and the missiles would be traveling near-tangentially to their quarries' flight. Those 0.8 seconds meant several hundred meters' separation between predator and prey, and the missiles were, like every projectile in the Valkyries' arsenal save a few, kinetics. The escape pods would live to make it to the ground. And hopefully Devin's little act would escape the Disorder's attentions. It was certainly justifiable, and he wasn't even now entirely sure that the shots wouldn't land. And, he thought, the Lawrence had claimed a good twenty satellites on its way down into the station's orbit; hardly an unimpressive count.

But for the moment none of that mattered. Devin leaned back in his seat, panting ever so slightly under the stress of high-gee burn, and turned to look at Delia on the other side of the tactical pit. Her own eyes were fixed on a munitions readout displaying the Lawrence's stock of missiles. A rack of kinetics flashed yellow, signalling they were ready to fire; beneath them a row of silica-silica had gone red without warning. She turned to Devin, met his gaze for an instant, and then turned to look at the tactical board. Then her eyes slid back to Devin, and almost imperceptibly she nodded.

"So," Delia said, breaking the silence that had fallen on the pit. "You lads' suits are ready to go, right?"

A chorus of confirmations rang out from the pit's stations. Well, not quite a chorus; there were only three personnel there, after all. Warren, the other tactical staffer, was the only one to sound off besides Devin, who quickly slid on a missing left skintight pressure glove and nodded. "Yeah, good here."

"Good. Because we've got..." Finishing up sliding on a Snoopy cap over her own head, Delia turned to her station and then back to her mates. "...about twenty seconds until we're in the window."

With that the pit fell silent once more- the new, far larger object of their attentions, the orbital dock hanging like a gem in Everfree's upper atmosphere, was just now sliding over their horizon. And as Atrenar's Korack began to open up with its pulse laser so too did the Lawrence bring its own guns to bear.

Those six railguns, a trio of twin-linked cannons until now concealed beneath thick armored doors, slid out of their mounts ever so slightly, their guiding rails clicking into place just outside the Lawrence's own hull. Then the beasts began to thrum with power, current running through their coils and radiator-fluid flowing ever faster to the dull red panels now curling behind the ship's armor-skirt. A washer that had fallen to the bottom of a barrel in the wake of a poorly-trained maintenance worker's shift working the coils a week ago was whipped out of its tube and towards the station at a speed far in excess of ten thousand meters per second relative to the ship itself. The auto-loaders, so carefully designed not to interfere with the fields, began to hum silently in the vacuum of space, clicking as shells slid into their breeches. And then a command was given, a button depressed, a shot of electrons sent along a wire, and those loaders whirred.

Precisely two hundred and fifty seconds before the Lawrence and the orbiting dockyard were set to pass in their orbits, the ship 239 klicks out from its target, the Lawrence whipped six sabot-wrapped slugs into its railguns- and six shells tore free of its gun-barrels. Compared to the accidentally-fired washer they were downright sluggish, "only" traveling seven kilometers per second faster than the Lawrence by the time they left the barrels. But they were, their sabots removed, a half-ton of dense shaped tungsten penetrator and clustered computing center each, and as they drifted towards their target tiny flashes of igniting hypergolics drawn from a quartet of reservoirs hollowed out from their midsections punted them back onto their arrows' flight. Their dim, rugged brains thought of only one thing- to follow the laser-light from the Lawrence's target designators captured in their equally-rugged simple cameras, themselves wrapped under layers of translucent gels and mirroring to keep them from premature harm.

It was unlikely these first shells would hit their targets exactly; they were still too far out to ensure a precise hit. But the orbital dock was nearly half a kilometer in width at its midsection. And they were ripping towards it at eight kilometers per second. The engagement range here was ludicrously tiny; a mere thirty seconds' flight at that speed separated them from their prey. And barely three seconds after they'd left the barrel the Lawrence followed up with another salvo. And another. And another. And another.

Interspersed every so often in these rounds of solid penetrators were other, far more complex projectiles; bundles of crowbar-sized tungsten rods wrapped beneath the tiny cathedral-arches of fairings intended to blow apart and scatter damage across a ship's hull. These were for the size of the orbital dock little more than experimental probing salvos, intended simply to test how deep shallow-penetrating shells would go into the dock's armor. Its lasers, too, began to hesitantly scythe out towards the dock, trying to both blind any sensors in their path and see just how armored it was. The real damage dealers were already in flight- by the time the Lawrence ceased its volley thirty seconds after beginning firing, its radiators already glowing bright red, it had introduced almost a hundred rounds into the engagement space. The Korack may have been able to surpass its firing rate by a good margin, but fifty tons of ammunition was nothing to scoff at.

And, given that they had 220 seconds left to examine the damage their first volleys had caused and fire again before the Lawrence's orbit would carry it past the dock, those fifty tons would soon be joined by fifty more.

But not just yet. The butcher had to examine its handiwork before making another cut, after all.


jessica_REESE | pcv_LUXOR | t+00:10

A thud of the hull, a thunderclap of metal striking metal, startled Reese awake.

For a moment all she could feel was panic- What happened? Were we hit? Are we losing air? Oh, god, I'm asleep, aren't I- what if I- why wasn't I- She felt at her ankles, at her wrists, and breathed a sigh of relief to feel the cold metal of her pressure suit's glove and boot braces there, then from the crook in the communications room's corner she'd drifted to in the time she'd been asleep darted towards a pair of boots stuck firmly to a steel patch on the otherwise unmagnetized floor. They were likely in an active combat environment, she knew, and her oversleeping had probably already been the death of half the brigade. She had to get back into the action, and now. Or else it would be her life on the line.

And then she paused, looking out the doorframe to see Ilse standing over her, laughing, a pair of cast-iron sheets in hand. Through her laughter the tactical officer managed to compose herself and struggling for breath she pointed to the console. "Langen... Langenhoven told me to.. oh god, this... Langenhoven wants you back on console. Said we might be doing a drop soon, and Keller wants us to start ID'ing hotspots." Ilse threw a little sheet of paper across the room, one of Reese's hands darting out to catch it even through the fog in her mind.

It was a caffeine patch. "Huh. Thanks," Reese said, sliding up the metal cuff-link of her suit and smoothing it down over her wrist. Ever-so-slightly the grogginess of sleep began to fade away. "You did tell Keller that Luxor's sensor array is meant to be used to observe a battlespace, right? Not a... what are we over, anyways?"

"Habitable planetary body," Ilse said- remarkably emotionlessly, Reese thought, given the... impact... of such a thing- and then turned to leave. "Don't think about it too much, things... things are a bit confusing right now. You slept through the most interesting bits."

Reese wasn't sure if it was the patch still working to jolt her awake or the persistent dreariness of sleep that kept her from reacting with the appropriate shock to the news, but nonetheless she found herself starting less the the fact that she was currently in a vessel orbiting only the second habitable planet known to mankind and more at the fact she'd apparently fallen asleep at her post. "Oh, god, Langenhoven's going to kill me, isn't he?"

Ilse shook her head, throwing her words over her shoulder as she pushed off the doorframe back to her own station. "He's a bit too busy for that right now. You'll see when you check sensors." And then, in what to Reese seemed like an instant, she was gone.

What the..? Grunting, Reese pulled herself into her seat and tucked a few errant strands of hair back under her cap, then waking up her display turned to the communications and sensors station. Its screen flashed bright white, then faded into a dull starscape of cocoa and blue swirls. The Luxor, a stylized blue pyramid, floated in the center of the screen, and around it, other pyramids and boxes representing the task force's logistics ships and escorts sat motionless in the simulated void. A simple text interface lined one side of the screen, a control pip overseeing the rotation of the composite image surrounding the vessels on the other. The display's primitive graphics belied its complexity- the entirety of the Luxor's passive sensor array ran through its computers, displayed here and on secondary consoles throughout the CIC, and what it lacked in beauty it more than made up for in raw computing power. Reese typed a single console command and her screen blipped for a moment, then practically flashed red- the software in the fire-control pit now outputting its returns and identified targets on her own, each a tiny red dot on the black screen.

Reese may have been the communications officer, but necessity mandated a quick repetition of information taken from the entirety of the ship's systems at a glance- and her station was more than capable of filling that role.

For the moment, though, she was less concerned about the exact specifications of the device she was using and more about the absolute mass of targets sliding past beneath their formation. Everfree, currently little more than a stenciled circle, was wreathed in an arc of targets drifting in and out of the Luxor's sensor horizon. Reese, unfamiliar with the Disorder's proffered software updates, hadn't yet realized just how effective they were at picking through sensor returns and confirming targets' presences there, and that effectiveness was right now nothing short of overwhelming. Everfree had clearly had quite a lot of time to develop its infrastructure, and it showed- its geosynchronous satellites alone were a veritable ring about the planet. But it had also clearly suffered greatly in regards to that infrastructure rather recently. Clouds of dust and debris were beginning to sweep through the sky, destroyed satellites, ships, and station components whirling about the world they so recently serviced. Down in low orbit the carrier that had transported the fleet and one of the Valkyries' destroyers- the Lawrence, a quick glance at the information tags showed- were engaging something massive, and the debris from that mess was already beginning to circle the globe. Most of the Cordons and a few of the larger ships were taking the opportunity to lay waste to Everfree's mid-orbitals in preparation for deploying their own satellite network, at least a hundred missiles already en route to their targets even now. And the Luxor was right in the middle of it all.

Well, not exactly; all things considered this was a rather clean engagement in terms of the number of set-piece vessels in play. Reese was comfortable with calling the Disorder ships set-pieces, and so far there only seemed to be one or two big emplacements about the planet. It was just... it was a planet. Things got crowded quickly around planets, and the Luxor itself was- even floating with the logistics vessels at the absolute peak of the Valkyries' formation- less than a light-second above Everfree. That made communications easy, for sure, but given that it was less than half of what Reese would've preferred her distance from the fighting be it felt positively cramped. At least the people currently using relativistic munitions were their patrons and not the unlucky bastards on the other side.

Speaking of said unlucky bastards, someone had to go hunting for them, and according to Ilse that someone was her. Odd job for a communications officer, but then again, the Luxor's crew was hardly twenty. There were lots of hats to go around and only a few people to wear them. Reese switched her display over to thermals and watched as the planet beneath her slowly lit up, spots of brilliant hot and cold on its surface reflected back at the Luxor. The typical distributions were there- relatively hot equator, relatively cold poles, both of those positively balmy compared to the void they rested in- but across the planet were speckled spots of heat. Cities. Outposts. Not too hot, but hot enough to stand out. And one in particular just now cresting the horizon caught Reese's attention.

The Disorder's software, it seemed, was equally good at resolving imagery as it was at picking through it- that, or she was just close enough her sensor resolution was higher than she was working with- because when she turned her attention to it she saw something else entirely. It looked like a city, but cities sure as hell didn't have massive heat blooms in equally massive open-air warehouses spaced at even intervals. Or, for that matter, massive mile-long strips of tarmac heated to a steady bake by a sun they'd just crested out of the light of.

No, that wasn't a city. It was something different. Something entirely more relevant to their mission parameters.

The Luxor's transmissions laser spun to face the Anzio, and through it the Disorder's own coordinators. This was something they'd want to hear about for sure. And hopefully identifying it before even the Disorder would bring them one step closer to that performance bonus. Perhaps Langenhoven would be less eager to get on her for sleeping on the job if she was the one to secure it.


data_not_AVAILABLE | cordon_09 | t+00:10

Far above the Lawrence's line of fire, and far below the watching eyes of the Luxor, rested a satellite.

This satellite, though, was unlike any other satellite in Everfree's orbit; apart from the orbital dock it was the largest extant structure as of yet unengaged by the aggressing ships. This fact was... somewhat unsurprising, as the satellite was merely a single giant dish transmitting a stream of apparent nothing into the empty void. Beneath it lay a boxy cluster of generators and computing equipment powering its as-yet unknown mode of operation, a cluster dwarfed by the canvas and steel of the dish itself, a 150-meter bulk that even from the ground would have been a speck of white visible to the naked eye- something like a planet to an untrained observer. It was almost like a surreal work of art, at least to the Valkyries' eyes; a satellite designed to transmit, yet not transmitting anything in particular, at least not in frequencies they could detect. Even the Disorder's own networks had yet to pick up anything from it, apparently; that or the Valkyries simply hadn't bothered to check. A dish pointed at what by all accounts appeared to be nothing.

But a dish nonetheless. And the Valkyries' orders were to destroy.

Thus, a ship had come to float beside it; a sliver of a thing, a Cordon-class cutter. An escort slipped its leash. A predator stalking a particularly fat bit of prey. Its twin railguns were extended from their ports, its sights filled with the dish's white bulk. But for the moment it lay perfectly silent. At least outwardly.

Within, its skeleton crew of two- a pilot graciously termed a captain and a backseater equally graciously called a first mate- were locked in a heated debate about heat.

The Cordon had, in an attempt to make its crew's rather boring life just a little more interesting, spent the past several minutes matching velocities with the dish, and now it drifted eight kilometers away from its target, its guns trained on it and- more importantly- its radiator spars strained to their fullest intent, glowing a dull orange as it tried to shed the heat of both the Cordon's overly dramatic deceleration and its equally overly dramatic attempt to score the dish with its lasers, hopefully puncturing any pressurized sections on the service module and generating a rather fancy bang in the process. But those minutes of cutting at the thing with laser-light had hardly proved effective and had only served to burn off the armor on one side of the dish. Whatever it was made out of, it was built like a truck. And while the Cordon still had the heat margin to kill the thing with lasers- or a few railgun shots- alone, its first mate had posed the fact that despite their combat environment's relative calmness it could certainly get far hotter in the next few moments. Then Cordon-09 would both need the entirety of its heat reservoir to stand a chance of surviving and potentially not have time to cool its all the way to ambient levels were said engagement to occur shortly. Thus came the dilemma- kill the thing with guns as the captain had planned, or take other, far more drastic measures.

The first camp, populated solely by the captain, argued that to use the railguns would be to guarantee an efficient kill; sure, running the guns would generate a tad bit more heat than, say, using drones to take it out would, but it wasn't going anywhere and admittedly the current combat environment was incredibly calm. The only active engagement was the one raging in low orbit, and even now that was almost settled just as soon as it had begun. This was a mop-up job and doctrine dictated a calmer approach to going about such a thing.

The second camp, equally sparsely populated by the first mate, proposed another, far simpler solution: Just pull out one of Cordon-09's two Casaba howitzers and blow the fucking hunk of junk out of the sky. The first mate's reasoning was convincing- a Casaba would generate very little heat- on the part of the Cordon. Of course, the dish would in that case get far hotter. The launching mechanism's rails were far less power intensive compared to the main guns, working with far more delicate systems and far lower accelerations, and thus generated far less waste heat in their operation. The Disorder had, the first mate further pointed out, specifically requested destruction over ammo conservation; the Casaba would tick that box in incredibly thick ink. Ink that glowed in the dark, in fact. And furthermore, the Casaba would- to quote the first mate's very philosophical argument- "be fuckin' great to watch go off."

The captain was forced to concede to her logic, and thus the Cordon's port launcher as relative to the airlock slid its turret out from its stowage space, loaded a single cylindrical pod marked with a familiar three-fanned black and yellow symbol, and thumped once, shooting forth the howitzer. Traveling at a lazy speed it drifted ever closer to the dish, and then, aligning itself perfectly along an axis passing through what its computerized mind judged to be the dish's center of mass, it paused. A lens cover marked "Hello, nurse!" with a sheet of note paper taped to its interior flipped open and the probe shot a single message back to the Cordon. In response the vessel's sensors flicked themselves off.

And then, a sliver of a second later, space turned white.

When the Cordon's cameras came back online they became witness to a ghastly sight: The dish was... certainly inoperable. It had been sloppily cut in twain at its midsection, the metal of the generator section still glowing white-hot where the Casaba's beam had passed clean through it. The dish itself had fared far less gently; a gaping cut ran down a good half of its length, starting where it had met with the generator and terminating at its very edge. Bits of warped metal and canvas flopped lazily about the gash, the generator's severed connection still sparking as it drifted away from the dish. The probe itself was nowhere to be seen, having been sent speeding backwards by the force of its blast's recoil far faster than it had been launched from the Cordon's rail. And Cordon-09's heat margin remained blessedly low. The radiators had already worked off the slim bit of heat that particular action had worked up.

The vessel's two crew broke into cheers. Enthused expletives were bandied about, the first mate snapped a picture of the munitions panel and her camera's show of the howitzer's work as proof of the deed, and after regaining their composure a moment later a brief, clipped message was shot to the Anzio above informing Keller of the discharging of a single nuclear shaped charge.

Unbeknownst to Cordon-09's crew, they had struck a far greater blow than they knew- a link that had been silently flowing between Everfree and Unthidor's crownworld fell dead. The steady appraisal of the evolving situation around Everfree was shut off, not to be remade until another relay could be established. And Everfree became well and truly alone.

Lighting its chemical boosters Cordon-09 began to lazily make its way outward from the wreckage of the relay. There was other, more important prey about, after all, though hardly worth even the cutter's time in the grand scheme of things. Today was looking to be a lazy day, a simple job, and the crew was already eager to find something else's day to ruin. This modern art project was not going to be the only thing they added to their kill-count today, if they got their way.

And as of right now nothing seemed to be willing to interrupt them.

As of right now.
Last edited by CBG-Palisade on Thu Feb 04, 2021 9:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
A means for me to come up with symbols for fictional ideologies. Now two three twelve nations. Very WIP.
something big coming sometime maybe, spoopy
first two leader factbooks are done, more or less
Other Horrid Projects of Mine: Kiu Ghesik | Miranda-22 | Outer Acharet

Factbook ETA: err::fileNotFound
collated_ticker_cor98: Committee for Stability and Security publishes industrial goals for Q3, begins enlisting private contractors to aid in meeting them | the bois confiscated the forbidden slush, how? | Heads of CFSS to host Gang of Twelve conference in Landing
Vaspelia wrote:this nation is wip and raw as fuck, please don't look at it yet

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Unthidor
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 60
Founded: Nov 25, 2020
Father Knows Best State

Postby Unthidor » Tue Feb 02, 2021 6:31 am

"Task Force 8, from Commodore Cross. We will be jumping to warp speed shortly. Be advised, we have lost communications with the colony, so there won't be any more information updates. Upon arrival we will proceed with the proposed battle plan. The priority is distracting any enemy ships while our four transports move in to drop ground forces. Please proceed as you have proposed. Once your initial launch is complete, my dreadnoughts will follow with additional missiles while the cruisers attack from different vectors. Good luck to us all!"


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


Twenty four light years away, past a thick nebula and just beyond an asteroid belt, was the planet known to its inhabitants as Terra Nostra. It was a relatively hospitable world, with a variety of climates, each one hosting a different segment of the population. When first colonized a thousand years ago, the travelers had spread themselves around the planet, forming over three dozen different colony sites. A few haven't survived, but those that did prospered and grew, eventually coming together to form a unified government, Unthidor. It was ruled by the leaders of the different Houses, each tracing their lines back to those original colony groups. At the moment, those leaders had all gathered in the capital, Ferrum Flos City, summoned there by an emergency meeting called by the head of House Trix'tor. The city, named after a particular flower that grows in nearby hills, is a decent sized metropolis that is usually covered in the mists and fog that hang over the region. The city skyline is dominated by a large, ovid-shaped structure in the center. A mostly metal building, it serves as the official seat of government, meeting place for the High Council, and home of Unthidor's ruler, the Unseen Emperor.

At the moment deep inside the center of the building, the Heads of the various Houses were taking seats around a long, u-shaped table that faced a speaker's podium with a viewscreen built into the wall behind. In the center of the 'u' was a large throne, much more elaborate than the other seats. By tradition, this was left empty for the Unseen Emperor.

One man stepped up to the podium. He was wearing a deep-blue suit cut to a military style. This was Baron von Skott, Head of House Trix'tor.

"Friends," he began, "I regret having to summon you all here on such short notice, but we are facing a grave emergency." He paused while the others looked around at each other before continuing. "The colony of Everfree was attacked by an unknown force from beyond our borders." A hush ran around the table. "While the colony was under the protection of Task Force 21, I must report the sad news that, save for their carrier, the entire task force has been destroyed."

Silence. It was several moments before Sir David, co-head of House Far'ner, spoke up. "The whole fleet? What about survivors?"

"Unfortunately, we have no idea what happened to any survivors after the carrier Glorious escaped. Hopefully they managed to make it to the planet." He reached down to pull a data-card from a pocket and slid it into a slot on the podium, hitting a few controls. "Here is the tactical data sent to us by the carrier before it jumped to warp. Please pay attention to the movements of the enemy ships." He stepped to the side, and the viewscreen behind him came on, showing a moving tactical display of the battle. As the others watched, the Baron watched them. He studied each's reactions, knowing that their support was needed if he wanted to move to his next planned step.

Eventually, the display came to and end and the screen paused. The Baron took the podium again. "As you can see, our forces are fairly out-matched. While overwhelming missile strikes seem to cause them some degree of damage, our ships are out-classed in every other category."

"So what do you propose?" asked another House Head.

"Two options," the Baron replied. "First, the Guard has already been contacted by another foreign power with offers of assistance, which have been accepted to re-take Everfree."

That comment got a rise out of the assembled. "You had no right to negotiate without consulting the Council!" shouted Madam Quin of House Rotessa. "You are NOT Emperor!" Murmurs of agreement floated around the room.

Baron von Skott simply shrugged. "There was no time to contact the Council. A decision had to be made and sent to the Guard. Combined Task Force 7/15 is already preparing to strike back against the invaders, with the help of these new allies." He smiled. "As to our second option," he noticed Madam Quin holding back another outburst, "please observe the screen again." He pulled out a second datacard and slid it into the podium slot. The viewscreen came back on, this time with a set of blueprints. "This is the Alpha Mech, model 1 S.A.M. It has been under development by Z.A.B.I.," he nodded at the Head of House Alters, "for several years, and is now being deployed among the Guard. Task Force 7/15 has already had its Halcyon fighters replaced with Mechs, and its transports will deliver even more to the surface of Everfree. At this moment, we are starting production of the Model 3 T.R.A.M. right here on Terra Nostra. These will be more ground-oriented units meant for defense.

"And what about in space?" asked Madam Quin again. "Are we supposed to just trust in your new friends-"

An alarm cut her off, as the door to the chamber slid open and a military officer entered, heading straight for the podium. While no normal officer could interrupt a meeting such as this, his rank of vice-admiral allowed it if needed. "Apologies for the interruption," he said, "But I have to end this meeting. As of now, we're on full military alert, and we can't risk you all being located in the same place."

"What's going on?" the Baron asked.

"We've lost all contact with Everfree Colony," the vice-admiral replied. "Not just interference, or system error. There is no subspace signals coming from their transmitter array at all. Not even ID source pings. That would mean either the array was shut down or-"

"It was destroyed," von Skott finished. The room went silent again. "Disrupting communications can mean only one thing.....invasion."

User avatar
Qhevak
Envoy
 
Posts: 219
Founded: Jul 22, 2019
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Qhevak » Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:51 pm

Combined Task Force 7/15, 7.1 Ls from Everfree

A bubble of curved spacetime untwisted into normalcy as the half-million ton Seraph class cruiser Alecto left warp seven light-seconds from Everfree, followed by the two Grizzlies milliseconds later – same distance, but half a light second to each side. Animalistic warpaint was traded for an uneven metallic gray as the smartmatter hull shifted to phased array mode, clusters of tiny nano-antennas arranged to find emissions across the electromagnetic spectrum. Passive sensors swept across the area around the planet, hunting for any trace of spacecraft emissions. Fortunately, at the current moment those were very easy to find.

Two warminds currently operated on the Seraph, both great amalgamations of many smaller ones. The first was a small fragment of the much greater Kokopelli the Dreamer of Ullr – sent to monitor the goings on and make sure the savage Hounds didn’t slip out of line. The second was the Hunter, the ships controlling warmind, made out of fast thinking but bestial Kumihos.

From their scans, the Disorder had three mainline ships around the planet. The largest was a carrier – bulky and well defended enough to be hard to kill, but from the data given it wasn’t a major threat with respect to firepower. Two Arustkaanas hung around in orbit as well, seemingly being deployed to engage mop up Unithidor remnant orbital assets as evidenced by the wreckage along their paths.

A number of smaller craft drifted close to the surface. Unlike the stylized, ultratech forms of the Disorder warcraft, these ships looked like something out of a museum – stubby curved alloy hulls with what looked like simple panel radiators, and thermal distributions on their hulls were consistent with a baseline or nearbaseline human crew. One hung close to the planet, apparently having destroyed a large space station alongside the Disorder carrier – a slightly smaller one hung further out, which had seemingly busted a comm relay with a Casaba mere minutes before their arrival, as well as a few others dotted around orbital space. Clearly not of the Disorder, or any other faction they’d seen – had the Disorder gone scouting in unexplored regions just to recruit a small group of midtechs to fight for them? The rationality was questionable.

Thoughts? asked the Kokopelli fragment. Suspect mercenaries, slaves/vassals should be better equipped even if they’re cost cutting.

The Hunter ran through data briefly and replied. Crew are clearly normal humans, Disorder don’t give their slavemeat that luxury. Mercenaries, agreed, but ship not in any records. Hope they were hired and poor meatmen don’t know who they work for.
The Kokopelli fragment glowed in agreement. Agreed. Ships are lightly armored and small – attempt to disable nonlethally?

Thinking we pulse their ships with 200 GeV widebeams at outset, replied the Hunter, metaphorically grinning. Few hundred gigajoules for each. Short out electronics, radiation dose will poison fatally but give few days of life where we can cure them if they come to us.

A hundredth of a second had passed – the light of their arrival was still sluggishly crawling it’s way towards the planet, and opposition fire would take longer still to return. The groupminds agreed to suppress their curiosity and simply deal with the threat for the time being. Time to get shooting.

The warships spread their radiator wings, great burning fountains of molten nickel that rippled out for kilometers before being drawn back in by electromagnetic nets. Missile pods cleared the craft’s hulls, hastily driven out by solid separation boosters before the main drives kicked in, raging atomic jets driving 1,100 cluster munition torpedoes towards the Disorder warships at over a hundred gees. Phased arrays went from passive to active, beaming out electromagnetic radiation across the spectrum to try and dazzle and jam opposing sensors as much as possible.. The Seraph’s three terawatt particle spinal opened up on pulsed widebeam, switching targets every second – starting with brief two hundred gigajoule dispersed incapacitation pulses on the unknown little merc ships but quickly switching to disruption fire on the Arustkaanas. 7 light seconds was much too far for precision shooting, but a terajoule wide-angle pulse could still seriously fuck with electronics and targeting sensors, and in conjunction with phased array dazzling would seriously reduce point defense efficacy as the missiles approached, and give any poorly shielded crew a nice incapacitating radiation dose in the tens of Sieverts. The Grizzlies added to the ECM bombardment of the craft around Everfree, but diverted some energy to area scanning as well in the event of unexpected threats – they didn’t want to be caught off guard by reinforcements.

Eleven seconds had now passed – at this point the gathered opposing forces should have realized they were there, and the initial shots should have begun making their way across the void. The onboard warminds did the equivalent of sitting back – it’d be twenty-five minutes until the missiles got close enough for submunition release. All they had to do now was keep doing what they already were – cover missile approach with massed ECM and try to avoid opposing fire as much as possible. Easy, they hoped.

Hounds of Tindalos Roc Insertion Craft Nimkasi, 0.4 Ls from Everfree

The Nimkasi and it’s companions left warp tracelessly two minutes after the Seraph, as close to undetectable as was possible in the empty void of space. The phased array smartmatter which fully coated the craft’s sleek, winged surface brought it to near total invisibility in most bands, tracking the EM radiation patterns that struck the craft on one end and beaming it out the other. All heat was pumped into heavy lithium sinks – while only a temporary solution it was more than enough for the hour before they reentered into Everfree. They hung in total comms silence, reduced to passive observers as they moved along their hyperbolic arc towards Everfree. Tiny white balls of fire drifted slowly in the distance as warships fired sun-hot torches, mixed with the occasional thin white lines of particle beams and small white streaks of missile thrusters.

As invisible as they seemed, there was always a risk somewhere. A glitch in the system, a random impact, mere luck with sensor sweeps, and their location would be known, leaving them helpless at the mercy of OPFORs firepower. That randomness was what Dalai hated most about space combat - do everything right, plan long and jink hard and there was still always a chance a stray beam would pierce your compartment, reducing you to fundamental physics before your mind had time to realize you were dead.

She peered out through the sensors, checking obsessively to ensure no guns were starting to point their way. Everfree hung in the center of her viewscreen, a jewel of a world with glimmering oceans and broad, flourishing continents. She scoffed. Planets. Illanah Dalai had never really liked them. Growing up in a dense arcology hab on the very rim of Qhevak, populated by largely conformist nearbaseline AstroHoxhaist socialists, had made her somewhat obsessive about avoiding wasted space. Rocky planets were the epitome of that, packing all that precious mass together just for a paper-thin layer of habitability.

Her older sister had strained against these rules, making the habs systems her bitch and mildly tormenting the other occupants for her pleasure. By the time the rest of the populace began to catch on, Tasha was gone – it was two weeks before anyone realized she’d hijacked an autoshuttle headed for Moria, at which point trying to find her was like searching for a needle in the Pacific.
Perhaps naturally for the second child, Ilanah – three years Tasha’s junior – was just about her polar opposite, working better with people than code and lacking anything resembling a rebellious streak. They were always friendly of course, but she’d never played along when Tasha snuck into maintenance regions or hacked audio systems to blast ear-destroying mixes of old cartoon openings – though she nonetheless loved her just enough to not say a word. She went into trade negotiations shortly after her sister left into the black, serving as an intermediary between transapient dealers and her hab, and found she had something of an aptitude for conveying the wishes of artificial demigods to mortals. The Tindalos Hounds scouted her two years ago, which is how she found herself here, twenty thousand light years home and a single systems error away from instant death.

She gave up on stressing over viewscreens – she was irrelevant in any space combat tactical scenario anyway, and floated down to the deployment bay to get ready for landing, sliding with practiced precision through tight corridors not meant for human use. The bay was little more spacious then the rest, combat synthmorphs, synthtanks, slaughterdrones and strike aerodynes crammed in with zero regard for comfort. She spotted Kito and Malik’s sleek black Rockhound synthmorphs crammed in towards the aft left corner, crammed in with the rest, and strapped herself into the nearest gee-harness. They were probably off hunting in some vir right now – as much as Kumihos despised virtuality it beat being crammed into a tiny rack. Ilanah sent a vir entrance request and found herself in a seemingly empty old growth forest, before a silver blur flashed past, ripping a massive bloody gash in her simulated face.

Mother Fuck. Sim didn’t have the slightest pain mitigation. Composing herself, she kneeled to a firing position and spawned in a hunting rifle and leather armor, dropping Malik with a well-placed .600 Nitro Express as he went in for another pass. She began to rack the bolt before Kito tackled her from behind, crushing her head with her jaws. Ilanah respawned against a nearby tree as the two Kumiho simulated bioforms trotted up, sitting down on six paws.

“Can’t give a guest any comfort, can you?” she laughed, before they shot in and killed her again. She respawned as a hefty Silorian Panzerbär, making up for lack of skill with sheer strength. “Not uninvited, sorry” barked Malik, as Kito, taking the distraction, jumped on her throat and tore it out. “Besides, flesh-ape, only two months subjective till we land. Don’t want to lose our edge in the meantime.” Ilanah respawned a hundred meters away, tried and failed to spawn a magrifle and opted for a FAL, managing to cut down Kito before Malik slashed her legs off.

“Just want you two to promise you’ll play nice with our guests at the Unithidor airbase. And no eatingyay orpsescay this time, right?” Ilanah tried to laugh through the pain as the wounds where her hips used to be painted the snow a deep red, before giving up and blowing her head off with a spawned in .45, respawning nearby yet again. “Oh, Ilanah, I can’t believe you’d think we wouldn’t behave civil.” said Kito as she loped up. “Honestly, I’m offended.” She pounced, knocking Ilanah to the ground before clambering onto her ground, razor-sharp claws digging in like knives.

“Besides, you’ve worked with us for long enough to know how far we are above mere superbright meatapes, right?” continued Kito, pushing her head up against Ilanah’s face with a devilish grin. “Just don’t want you getting any ideas that this is any more than a game.” Kito ate her face, and Ilanah was knocked back to the cargo hold, left with nothing but whirring cooling fans and the bodies of dreaming machines.

The Roc continued it’s slow arc down to Everfree. One hour left till reentry. Time passed, silently.
Last edited by Qhevak on Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Oortian Federation of Qhevak
Semi-Hard SF Anarchotranshumanist association of Oort cloud space habitats - basically all of these ideologies living together. A 6.7 civilization according to this index. Does not use NS stats.
Aerospace Engineering grad student. Libertarian market socialist short term, anarchotranshumanist long term.
Previously Gogol Transcendancy, Ibis Galaxy Alliance.
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N&I RP in a shellnut

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Unthidor
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 60
Founded: Nov 25, 2020
Father Knows Best State

Postby Unthidor » Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:03 pm

"5.....4.....3.....2.....1!"

With a lurch from the sluggish inertial dampers the carrier Enigma dropped from warp speed. At over 430,000 tons, it was amazing the dampers could keep up with the mass even sluggishly. Yet another reason, Cross knew, that the newest ships on the drawing boards would projected to be a fraction of that.

He hoped he'd get the chance to see them.

"Get me a sitrep!" he ordered. "And confirm our location!"

"Confirmed, far side of Everfree!" the navigator replied. "Just as you predicted, the enemy ships are concentrating on the opposite side of the planet."

"As they should," he muttered, studying the tactical display that had just been brought up on the main viewer. With the planet's only spacedock directly above the main city, and subspace relay beyond that, he guessed that they would all be located in that area of the battlespace, or close to it, leaving open a VERY small window on the far side of Everfree where they could reach orbit.

Provided the rest of Combined Task Force 7/15 kept the enemy distracted, of course.

"Sir, we're receiving IFF signals from the other groups," reported the comm officer. "All ships, including the Hounds of Tindalos ships, have arrived on their assigned vectors and are proceeding. The Hounds have already fired their first volley of missiles."

Cross nodded, as the tactical display updated. At the center was the planet, with indicators of the unknown ships all over the area, mostly on the side facing the main city. His two dreadnoughts were approaching directly opposite his own position, their Hound escorts firing away. Sixteen red markers appeared as the dreadnoughts opened up with a volley of 8 missiles each. Coming in at 45-degree angles from the dreadnoughts (will all approach vectors pointing at the colony) were the cruisers, two groups of four on each side of the dreadnoughts. The three groups of ships were spaced far enough apart that Cross was hoping the enemy would have to split up to engage any of them, giving the others the chance for a flank attack. But the data on the enemy ships was bothering him.

"This doesn't match the data from the Glorious," he said.

"Confirmed!" reported the science/sensor officer. "Several more unknown ships have arrived. Two separate types, one matching the original attackers, the other unknown."

"They obviously brought reinforcements," Cross muttered. "Fine, we'll deal with it as it goes. Start launching the Mech's! Signal the transports to get into orbital drop position ASAP! Have our Mech's take up screening formation!"


Underneath the two carriers, long doors that ran fore-to-aft slid open to reveal a large hanger bay, each ship filled with a dozen Mech's hanging from racks in what appeared to be laying-down positions. The large visors that covered what would have been a 'face' lit up with white light, and they started dropping out of the bay one at a time. Twin impulse thruster, one on the bottom of each foot, started to glow as they flew away from the ships. Another pair of thrusters on their backs also activated, giving them even more maneuverability. Under the control of a single pilot each, they all reached over their shoulders to grab their primary weapon, a plasma repeater rifle. Each also had a 60 mm rotary cannon on the right wrist, and a long lance weapon hanging off the back of their left shoulders. A shield on the right arm completed the loadout. They spread out in front of the two carriers ready to defend them......

User avatar
The Disorder
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 173
Founded: Nov 17, 2020
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby The Disorder » Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:40 am

Fortunately for Devin, missing the escape pods wouldn't incur Atrenar's wrath. Quite the opposite, actually! To Atrenar, it's a simple matter of destruction maximization: Any shot that isn't a guaranteed miss is a shot worth taking. Conserving ammo was never supposed to be a priority, and these crews know the depths of their ammunition magazines much better than Atrenar.

But their brains are not plugged into their ships - so Atrenar keeps the outgoing chatter brief & tactical. He will congratulate individual spacecraft and their crews at a more neurologically opportune time, when they're not trying to focus on the hazards of an active battlespace.

Then a flash of thermonuclear fire pierced the main communication satellite – an energy release that caught the attention of all three Disorder pilots.

"Nice! You bought mercenaries that like to pretend they are Sarvatheoz pilots!"

"I doubt they're actively following the Sarvatheoz' design," Cirazeth replied. "It is probably just a case of convergent technology. Fusion-pumped beam weapons just happen to be so effective, our most lethal starship class uses them too."

"Beautiful hit though, the beam skewered through some very important-looking internals and compartments. I think we can consider that satellite mission-killed."

As the Unthian space station began breaking up from the combined fire of the Disorder carrier and its surrounding fleet of mercenary vessels, Norev let out a fleet-wide warning, flagged to automatically relay to all mercenary ships as high-priority tactical data: An unknown extradimensional event was underway. That usually meant that someone was only seconds from entering the battlespace via faster-than-light drive. The mixed mess of signals seemed to indicate that the mass in transit wasn’t a single large vessel, but rather a whole fleet of smaller ones.

Worse still, without a lot more analysis, Norev couldn’t predict where the ships would arrive in the battlespace. And given the sheer enormity of space, it was very unlikely that a random fleet just happened to be passing through this particular star system, much less by this specific planet. While Disorder agents conversed about possible courses of action and looked for known pattern matches in the jumbled mess of drive emissions, the Valkyries got a much briefer warning:

INCOMING FLEET, LIKELY HOSTILE.

Norev would have gone into more detail, but the enemy was likely to arrive in about...a second. Their eyeballs and brains didn’t have a ton of time to interpret the data that he did send.

The two Arustkaanas took evasive action, but Atrenar’s Korack was too slow to do anything similar. His shields were already powered up, but he went ahead and quadruple-checked all the systems comprising the shield. The carrier was fresh from the Disorder’s shipyards, broken down and replicated anew just a day ago, to install the latest series of reactor and countermeasure upgrades. The largest defect he could find in the entire ship was a three-millimeter-deep gouge from a micrometeor strike. Literally every system on the ship reported ready for combat.

During that seven seconds, Norev began to wonder if it was a false alarm. But Cirazeth recorded the same sensor data. Seven seconds was an eternity to speculate about what might or might not have arrived.

“Acquired, seven light-seconds out!” Cirazeth announced.

“Turning to bring my main weapon on them,” Atrenar replied. “Although they are outside of my ideal beam collmination range. Firing upon them might not do a lot, except maybe overtax their thermal budget.”

“Staring at them through your sensors is even less likely to blow them up,” Cirazeth let out a chuckle.

Approximately seven seconds after the Hounds’ first shots began reaching their targets, Atrenar’s supercharged strobe of infrared laser light would reach the Alecto. The carrier’s laser pulse would have had enough destructive power to explosively boil metal, despite lasting for only a few microseconds – if it were better-focused. Nonetheless, it’s still an energy weapon comparable to a low-yield casaba howitzer. Although it probably won’t boil the hull, it still carries a substantial amount of heat. The glare of Atrenar’s weapon would outshine Everfree’s sun by orders of magnitude, for a few brief microseconds.

Atrenar intends to hunt for the thermodynamic limit of that Seraph-class cruiser, firing approximately two pulses per second. Disorder reinforcements are bound to arrive soon, and an overheated target is usually easy prey – unless they’re armed with missiles. Overheating an enemy is not the most glamorous or impressive way to score a kill - but the only thing it will cost him is time and reactor fuel. Atrenar has both.

While the Alecto’s spinal electron beam might be harmful to the sensors, electronics, and organic payloads of the mercenary ships, Disorder vessels are substantially hardier. He figures he may be able to buy the mercenaries a substantial amount of time, if he can get the Hounds’ warship to concentrate fire on him. And at this range, Atrenar figures that enemy beam collmination won’t be ideal either.

Fortunately for the Hounds of Tindalos, the Alecto’s electron-emissivity does outshine the missile barrage by more than enough orders of magnitude for it to go unnoticed.

"Look at these," Norev cautioned, showing Atrenar enhanced but still-pixelated images of ships surrounding the Hounds' warhip. "It's hard to be cerain through all the jamming, but their size, shape, reflectivity, and speed are roughly correct for Unthian vessels. The big ones."

"My shields are more than prepared to absorb a thermonuclear beating!" Atrenar proclaimed.

"How do you want to do this?" Cirazeth asked as the carrier maneuvered, beginning his own engine burn. "This isn't exactly a desirable force ratio."

"Maybe not ideal, but it is well within theoretical limits," Norev replied. "Atrenar's shields are way more powerful than ours. If he can overheat them, I'll gladly warp in and introduce them to a phase cannon."
Last edited by The Disorder on Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A secular destruction-cult, a rogue nation of space nomads, militarized mad scientists & anarchists.

NS Stats for The Disorder are not IC. These are.
A 4.333 civilization, according to this index.

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