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Flight of the Polunochnaya [IC; Closed]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Imperium Sidhicum
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Founded: May 28, 2013
Ex-Nation

Flight of the Polunochnaya [IC; Closed]

Postby Imperium Sidhicum » Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:32 am

EVENING NEWS

Solare Memorial Progenitory Opened

Citizens of Tael III rejoice as the sub-sector's newest and largest progenitory was opened with much celebration today. Named in honour of the legendary stratega-martyr Trysta Solare, the progenitory has been completed after three years of diligent work. Featuring six hundred and twenty production lines and fifty socialization blocks, the Solare Progenitory is the largest in the entire Kalmian sub-sector and will be able to produce up to 20 thousand new Sidhae every day once fully operational eight years from now.

Feeling Lonely? Not On MilNet!

The tech department of the Imperium's most popular social network announces the launch of the newest generation of matchmaking software today. According to MilNet press liaison Claudia Dorn, the new software utilizes revolutionary semi-sapient quantum algorithms that will be able to match interested singles with 96.8% accuracy.

Legal Battle with Liberty Station at an Impasse

The Imperial justicars of the Aquila Reach announced reaching an impasse in the ongoing legal dispute between the sector's Space Administration and the Freelance squatters aboard Liberty Station. Despite the authorities attempts to evict the Freelancer population, citing increased criminality and incidents of piracy since their arrival, currently no law exists that would enable them to do so legally. Liberty Station was originally constructed and deployed by Aquila Reach State Mining Company in 2588 as a deep-space mining station to exploit the purported riches of the Hellebore system's asteroid belts. When the actual mineral yields turned out considerably below the expected, the operation was declared a bust and the unprofitable station decomissioned in 2593 after just five years in operation. ARSMC filed for bankruptcy before Liberty Station could be scrapped, leaving the station legally ownerless. This was exploited by the Freelancers under Right of Settlement and Right of Salvage clauses that authorizes freelancing Imperial citizens to claim uncontested properties for Imperial settlement or salvage. While reviving commerce in this remote region, the resettled station also attracted a criminal element, earning Liberty Station an unsavoury reputation and the ire of the local authorities. However, with the majority of residents being law-abiding Imperial citizens, their expulsion from the station has thus far not been legally possible, being the subject of a number of lawsuits and counter-lawsuits over the recent years. Archon Dalarius, ruler of the Aquila Reach sector, could not be reached for comment but has thus far not retracted his earlier statement regarding the settlers' right to stay. Many speculate that the lenience exercised towards Freelancers by Archon is a political move, a military operation to evict them would no doubt alienate the sector's Freelance citizens shortly before the archonal election upcoming later this year.

Berkshire Liberated

The Imperium's faithful allies in the Commonwealth of Altoris rejoice today as the industrial world of Berkshire was officially declared free of Skargh invaders. The planet was liberated after a three-month joint operation between Altorisian 1st Armored, 5th Line Infantry and 22nd Whitmore Fusilliers, Altmark 58th "Howling Banshees" Airborne, and Imperial Alpha Legion. The return of Archistrategos Arcadius Drax after over a month of unexplained absence is believed to have contributed to this victory considerably, leading some to speculate about a possible combat injury to the legendary commander. In keeping with principles of discretion, Alpha Legion press liaison would not comment on Drax's absence, only explaining that the strategos was "in sound health" and his absence was "duty-related". Whatever the reason for his month-long hiatus from action, his strategic genius is no doubt behind the string of victories secured in the Altoris Expanse in the past year, Berkshire being the third world to be reclaimed within a month. Altorisian Prime Minister Richard Blackwater visited the Imperial HQ on Berkshire personally to thank our troops for leading the liberation of the Commonwealth.

Tired of Life in the Ghetto? Enlist Now!

Ever thought what it would be like to travel around and see the galaxy but couldn't because of travel restrictions on humans? Not anymore! If you are at least 18 years of age*, able-bodied and in good health, then you are exactly what we are looking for! Join the Human Auxiliary Legion and experience the thrill of danger and adventure around the galaxy! Be the hero you have always dreamed to be and help your fellow humans against the alien menace! Report to your local Human Affairs Office and ask for an enlistment form today! Remember - service guarantees citizenship!**

*Able-bodied recruits aged 14 and above are accepted for non-combat roles.
** DISCLAIMER: Unconverted humans only eligible for limited citizenship without political rights.


AVE IMPERATOR, AND HAVE A GOOD EVENING!

---

The Cauldron
Bayit Gadol human district
Scatach Prime, Imperium of Sidhae

Marco Webley watched the news broadcast with minimal interest, the only part catching his attention being the reports of Arcadius Drax going missing for a month. Being in the business of knowing things, Webley knew that roughly a month ago, the legendary strategos had been sighted in this very town. He was last seen travelling to that new Mecharussian embassy just inside the Sidh quarters, most probably going on some classified assignment in the other universe.

Webley knew about the other universes and travel between them as one of those personally involved in the events that broke out following that fateful battle in Scatach's orbit. Those who did generally didn't make much of it, accepting it as just another wonder of living in an age of miraculous technology. Still, the Imperial authorities apparently deemed that the political implications of disclosing the exact nature of these Mecharussians would not yet be desirable - the news never made any mention of them besides a brief announcement that the Imperium has contacted another independent human power when the embassy was established. Webley and others who had been more deeply involved with the incident had been visited by a Judicatrix going by the name of Serena shortly afterwards, being asked to remain discreet about the exact nature of the "mercenaries" they had been fighting alongside with. Webley had thus far not uttered a single word pertaining to the matter, knowing enough to heed a Judicator's word when asked nicely.

The past few months had been rather intense. After the Empress's visit to Scatach and the following reforms, Webley had made the decision to apply for conversion. Admittedly, it was one that he still felt to be by far the worst experience of his life. He was still having nightmares from time to time, waking up screaming with lingering pain all over the body. Nonetheless, it had been worthwhile. Eventually the pain went away like they had promised, and he truly felt like born anew, as something better than before. Every sight, every sound, every smell felt so much more intense and intricate, Webley feeling astounded about the degree of detail that his original human senses seemed to have missed before. Then again, so did every emotion. He was still taking the prescribed prozium pills that new converts were recommended to take until they would get accustomed to their new heightened sensations and mood swings. Minki who had sponsored his conversion had likewise been of great help, guiding him through the hardest parts of the new life as a convert, introducing him to proper Sidh ways of living and thinking. Webley had joined the ranks of her disciples, studying the Word and the Way under her tutelage, and eagerly embracing their new identity.

Minki was different from the typical Word Bearers in that she did not demand her converted students to renounce their human roots entirely, arguing that the Emperor himself had never renounced his humanity either, so it was only fitting that Sidhae born as humans should not too. Still, Webley did feel a certain bit of arrogant pride over having endured the conversion and proven himself worthy to rise above the humble lot in life that his birth had accorded him. Some of his old friends and acquaintances derided him as a sellout because of this, but what did they really knew - he was still here, where many others hoping for the vaunted Sidh status were not, reduced to mindless husks by the tormenting conversion process and recycled or shipped off in stasis to serve as construction material for cybs or lobo-serfs.

Although Webley's life had clearly improved since the conversion, a small but by ghetto standards luxurious apartment in the Sidh quarters not being the least perk that it had awarded, there was still much to be desired. Oftentimes, the reactionary elements of the ghetto would still resist the sweeping reforms, and ordinary street crime was still very much a problem. While Urban and Domestic Securities dealt with the most of it, sometimes they simply didn't have the knowledge necessary to get the job done. This is where he and his outfit, composed mainly of former Greencoats and Sicarii, came in. Sometimes the jobs were as simple as asking the right people what the authorities wanted to know. On other occasions, it involved getting down and dirty, personally bashing in some skulls - just like the old days, except now it was done to uphold the law rather than break it.

Today had been no different. A debtor hiding from a man owed a considerable sum, a couple kids spraying anti-government graffiti much to the chagrin of Domestic Security, and a spiker cyber-vandalizing the freshly installed surveillance cameras on the former Eightball turf. The first two had been an easy job, straightening up and promising to mend their ways after a serious conversation and a stern warning. The spiker, however, had proven considerably more resistant, only having a change of heart after eating the motherboard of his computer. Three cases of illicit weapons contraband were also pending more investigation for tomorrow, most probably coming in from the Salvage Town that had sprawled around the wreck of the crashed dreadnought on the other side of Tel Adom after Imperial salvage crews had stripped it clean of any technological artifacts of interest. Webley had hence decided to come over to blow off some steam in the evening in preparation for the next day's work.

The Cauldron wasn't like he remembered it to be, having been completely rebuilt from rubble after being levelled by a Sidh artillery strike, but the new place still had much of the same rough charm. The same cheap booze and air filled with cigarette smoke, the same drunks looking for a brawl being thrown in the same wire cage to duke it out for patrons' amusement, the same gambling addicts pulling the levers of slot machines and the same hookers and shady characters offering their services to paying clients. Even the bartenders were mostly the same ones employed here before. Admittedly, now everything was somehow more civilized than before, an Urban Security patrol never being longer than 10 minutes away, and at least there were no more kids snorting coke or drunks lying unconscious in the toilets. What was missing here was probably the presence of Greencoats, the memories making Webley feel nostalgic every time he came here after a long day's work.

---

"Hey, handsome!" a woman's voice purred as a slender, lithe frame hopped on the stoll next to Webley, "You look like you could use some company. Mind if I join in?"

"Uh... no, not at all!" Webley responded, distracted from his thoughts, but not really interested. He wasn't really into paying for female companionship, though then again, this lass somehow didn't strike him as a hooker.

"You got a name?" the woman asked. Webley ran his gaze over her to examine. She was tall and slender, with olive-brown skin and black hair, wearing a short white dress that revealed and complimented her fine legs in white high-heels. A pair of brown eyes underlined liberally with an eyeliner gazed back at Webley with a look that seemed to express a mix of sadness and longing.

"Marco," Webley briefly stated, his years of experience in a ghetto gang having taught him to exercise certain caution even around attractive women.

"Nice to meet you, Marco," the woman smiled, "What is it you do for a living?"

"Stuff," he replied elusively.

"Like "super-secret-spy-stuff-I-can't-tell-anyone-about" stuff?"

"Not quite. I take care of problems."

"Are you a gangster?"

"No. As I said..."

"Come on, there's no shame in admitting it! Practically anyone who matters here in the ghetto is or at least used to be a gangster. Judging by your fresh augmentation scars, I'd say you were a gangster before. Let me guess - you are one of Minki's boys?"

"You are very perceptive. Is there a reason why you picked me out of all the folks here to pester?"

"Not very sociable, are you? To tell you the truth, that's because you are the only man around who didn't immediately start to drool like a dog when I came in this bar."

"Forgive me my tone, I'm just not accustomed to being approached by anyone who doesn't want to either ask a favour or sell me something. You must be from out of town, because I haven't seen you around here before."

"Magen David, actually. I work for the Freelancers, Varro's outfit, to be specific. They pay me to find customers for their stuff."

"Really? Because I really haven't seen you in these parts before."

"That's because I've never been to these parts before, silly! I only picked up the job six months ago. It's hard work, but also good money."

"I see. If you're one of Varro's folks, that's a comforting word. I didn't know Varro hired humans, though."

"Everybody these days does. Crazy, isn't it?"

"Yeah... I guess we could drink to our meeting then. Barmaid, a drink for the lady!"

---

The beautiful stranger mentioning freelancer Varro put Webley's mind at ease. Varro was a man of good repute, as much as that could be applied to a smuggler, and more importantly, had no grudge with any of the former Greencoats like quite a few in the ghetto did. The woman's Hispanic accent also betrayed her as from out of town rather than a native, and Webley knew there to be a number of Mexicalian and Nuevocolombian residents in the Magen David ghetto.

She turned out to be a skilled conversationist as well. While Webley wasn't the man to fall short of words often, he found his conversational talents eclipsed by her, listening with avid interest even as she didn't speak anything of particular value. Perhaps it was the way she spun words that seemed to flow like poetry from her mouth, or simply her voice that spoke in that adorable Spanish accent, with the soft seductive purr of a cougar in every syllable. Webley grinned at the thought of likening the woman to a cougar, seeing how she didn't seem to be much older than 30. She seemed quite interested in him and made little effort to conceal that.

Marco had always been partial to Hispanic women. Not only the lot of them were damn good-looking, but also had that fiery passion about them absent in women of other races. A couple drinks later, he was almost feeling like he could marry this woman whose name he didn't even know right here and now.

His new friend seemed to get a bit tipsy as well. As she leaned forwards to Webley, laughing about the crude joke he had made in an effort to amuse her, she dropped her purse to the floor.

"I'll get that!" he said, immediately leaning down to retrieve it.

"You are such a gentleman!" she spoke as Marco returned her purse to her arms, "What say you if we went somewhere else after this one last drink? Have a breath of fresh air, maybe?"

"Agreed," Webley nodded and finished his whiskey in a gulp. The woman chuckled and did the same, only to end up almost falling from the stool in the end, Webley quickly catching her by the waist. She threw her arms around him, leaning close to his face, mesmerizing him with the sweet scent of her black hair.

"You are quite a catch, Marco. I'd be eating dirt from the floor without you!" she said playfully and leaned closer to his ear, "I can think of a few better games than catching falling girls that we could play tonight..."

Any lingering suspicions or distrust collapsed under the deluge of base desire when she leaned forwards and bit his earlobe playfully. Barely able to restrain himself, Marco hurried outside with the girl on his arm, immediately pulling her into his embrace and a passionate kiss as soon as they left the bar. Her scent was simply maddening, Webley wanting to throw her down to the ground and take her here and now. The girl, however, gently pushed him away.

"Not here," she smiled, "Let's go over to my place! It's not far."

Marco mutely nodded, following her mindlessly like a pet on the leash. He had seen the ghetto's many stray dogs do this many times, mindlessly chasing after a bitch in heat in hopes of being the first to mate with her, so mesmerized with the prospect of mating as to be oblivious to any dangers. His head was beginning to feel strangely dizzy, as if he had drank one drink too many, something that he found strange, being a man who could hold his drink. Writing it down to the stress of work, Marco would muster his will to compose himself, not wanting to embarass himself in front of the lady as a drunk.

As they walked on, however, the dizziness only got stronger and stronger, and before long, Marco needed his new friend's assistance to maintain an upright stature. He was feeling a mix of shame about his weakness and lust roused by the sweet perfume emanating from her hair almost like a saintly aura that made her seem like a luminant angel lighting up the dark streets and alleys of the ghetto.
At one point, Marco realized that he had all but lost track of where they were going.

"Where... are we going?" he gasped, fighting against the urge to relieve his stomach.

"To my place, sweetie! We're almost there," his friend tweeted jovially like a canary bird, when Webley could no longer hold himself, leaning against the nearest wall and vomiting explosively much to his embarassment.

"Oh, poor Marco, had too much whiskey for tonight? That's a shame..." the woman patted him on the back with an embarassingly mocking tone, her voice now sounding eerily-flanged and distant.

"I'm... sorry..." Webley gasped before another portion of puke explosively escaping his mouth silenced him. An instant later, he slipped, landing face-first in his own puke, and couldn't even feel the pain as his face struck the pavement. Vaguely he saw the lights of a car roll up nearby, the door opening and two men stepping out.

"Put some plastic sheets in the trunk before you put that piece of shit in there!" was the last thing he could vaguely hear, spoken by the woman in Sidh, "Don't want him to piss and puke all over the place!"

---

location unknown

"Wakie-wakie!" a loud twack accompanied by a sharp sting of pain on the lower spine awakened Webley. His mouth felt like a bucket of sand with a sickening after-taste of stale liquor and puke mixed in for good measure, and his head was pounding with an overwhelming, dull pain. The revelation that he was hanging upside down stark naked with hands bound tightly behind his back around two feet above the floor as he opened his eyes didn't help improve his mood one bit.

"Where am I?! Who the fuck are you?!" he exclaimed angrily, struggling in vain to get a view of whoever had just indignantly struck him on the backside.

"Having a hard morning, I presume?" the voice of a man spoke from behind.

"Listen, I don't know who the fuck do you people think you are," Webley growled, "But I don't think you have ANY FUCKING IDEA of who you're messing with!"

Admittedly, his newly acquired Sidh status with the corresponding privileges had gone to Webley's head, as had his status as Minki's chief enforcer. Being accustomed to the notion of might making right in the ghetto, Webley had lately come to the habit of throwing his weight around perhaps more than was appropriate at times now that he had the might.

"Oh, I think we do," the man interrupted him, "I think it is YOU who doesn't have the slightest fucking clue about the abyssal depth of shit you have gotten yourself into! Inessa?"

The familiar sound of high heels walking across a concrete floor. Webley tried to look behind him, only catching glimpse of the familiar pair of smooth olive-brown legs, this time clad in black silken high-heels. A moment later someone turned him around, and he recognized his yesterday's companion. This time, she was clad in a short skirt and revealing blouse of black silk, her raven hair tightly combed back and tied in a braid. Her eyes now glared a shining steel-gray, indicating she apparently had disguised them with contact lenses yesterday.

"You spiked my drink, you fucking bitch!" Webley snarled, at the same time unwittingly trying to catch a glimpse beneath her skirt as she knelt before him. She probably had slipped a mickey in his glass when he had reached down to retrieve her purse, no doubt dropped purposely.

"You have a talent for noticing the obvious, Mr. Webley," the Sidh said patronizingly, caressing his cheek with feigned gentleness, "And by the way, "bitch" and other dog-related terms are no way to address a lady, much less one of equal standing, something that you as a Sidh should have learned by now."

"What do you want with me?!" Webley angrily demanded to know.

"Names and addresses," Inessa spoke, "More specifically, those who were involved in a certain incident of gang warfare 9 months ago pertaining to a group of Russian "mercenaries"."

"I don't know what you're..." Webley began to deny everything, when Inessa squeezed his mouth shut.

"Hush, hush there, honey..." she spoke, retrieving a cigarette from her purse and lighting it up, "You know very well what I'm talking about. Now, since you seemed like a rather nice guy yesterday, I'll tell you, no grox-shit, that I am on your side and only want things to end the best way they can for you. A few of your friends have already told me you are the man to talk to. So, for your own sake, be so kind and start talking."

"Look, lady, I don't know who the fuck you are, but if I'm not back in my office within the next hour, there will be a whole century of Urban Security on your doorstep, and.... AAAAAAUGH.... FUUUUUCK!" Webley tried to use intimidation, when Inessa took a hefty smoke from her cigarette, suddenly stood up and extinguished it on his exposed scrotum. As she stepped aside, she revealed three chairs with bloodied bodies tied to them in front of him. Despite the severe bruising, swelling and blood, Webley immediately recognized the trio as his buddies from the Greencoats, ones of the bunch with whom he had brought down Flannery.

"Stevie! Grissom! Kumar! YOU FUCKING BITCH, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THEM!!?" he roared furiously. The one going by the name of Stevie, a slim wiry red-haired lad with a freckled face and a huge nose, now broken and almost flattened from the beatings, appeared to be already dead. Grissom, a stocky bald man with a thick braided beard and rich Viking tattoos on his head and arms, barely seemed to draw breath, every inch of his body being beaten to a pulp and his fingers missing their nails. Kumar, a swarthy Indian lad who had worked as a fence for the Greencoats, was still moaning and movign slightly. A table apparently holding various torture instruments was placed next to the three, one of Inessa's male companions clad in a long black leather trenchcoat approaching it and selecting a power drill.

"The lads weren't very cooperative at first either," Inessa explained, "But we do have ways of loosening even the tightest tongues. So, please - names and addresses, Mr. Webley!"

"Fuck you!" he snarled, trying in vain to spit at her. Inessa shrugged and gestured to the man. With a move of practiced ease, he applied the drill just above Kumar's left knee and started drilling.

"YOU FUCKING WHORE! I'll kill you! I'll fucking kill you!" Webley raged, struggling in vain against his bonds as poor Kumar's shrieks echoed in the concrete room that was apparently somewhere underground, in the Undercity. The torturer looked up towards him sinisterly, withdrew the drill and then applied it to the back of his victim's head. After a few shrieks, Kumar began to twitch in agony, bloody foam dribbling from his mouth.

"This was just a demonstration, Mr. Webley," Inessa explained, "To avoid this and worse, I strongly suggest you cooperate."

"WHOOORE! I'LL KILL YOU! YOU'RE DEAD, YOU'RE FUCKING DEAD! WHEN I GET OUT, I'LL..." Webley raged on, when Inessa stepped closer and squeezed his mouth shut again.

"Hold on, Marco, I didn't quite hear that right? When you get out?" she chuckled, looking up to her companions.

"I like his optimism," the man with the drill remarked with a chuckle, other Webley's captors laughing as well and indicating there was apparently another man in the room, making it three of them.

"You see, Marco," Inessa explained to Webley, "Treachery has a way of biting you in the ass long after you thought the deed done and over, and your treachery is about to bite yours really hard. There's someone, an old friend, who's been very eager to see you and your buddies for all these months."

"I'm a Sidh, an Imperial citizen... You can't do this...!" Webley argued weakly, realizing that these three evidently had powerful backing, meaning that his status would likely not save him from whatever was coming.

"Watch me!" Inessa grinned, "But I hear him coming. We'll leave you to have a heartfelt chat. For your own sake, I suggest you don't try his patience as much as mine!"

Moments later, the door to the room opened, and Webley's heart dropped as he recognized Judicator Alain march in the room in all his dark glory. Of all the people out there who would likely hold a grudge against him, he had to be kidnapped by the very worst possible one of them.

"Hello there, Mr. Webley," the Judicator's voice radiated the cold of outer space in it's feigned friendliness, only matched by the cruel grin on his face, "It's been a while since we last met."

"Whatever it is that you want, Judicator, I ain't telling you shit!" Marco spitefully spat out, not really believing his words fully, his own eyes beginning to widen in horror as he began to realize why the Judicator was here.

"Oh, that's where you are mistaken, Mr. Webley," Alain looked at him with a bizarre, almost fatherly smile that made his skin creep, "You are going to tell me many, many things today. Leave us!"

His disciples obediently exited the room as Alain began removed his Judicatorial surcoat and put on a pair of rubber gloves.

"Now, Mr. Webley, we are going to have a little chat about the whereabouts of every single one of your friends that turned coat on a certain Miss Mildred Boughton on the day she died. Take your time to remember, I have all the time in the world..." was the last thing Inessa heard Alain say before the steel door behind her slammed shut. Moments later, muffled screams of agony and horror erupted from the room.

Inessa cringed and hurried upstairs. Although she was no stranger to torture, the things that Alain would inflict upon his captives lately were way too twisted for even her tastes.
Freedom doesn't mean being able to do as one please, but rather not to do as one doesn't please.

A fool sees religion as the truth. A smart man sees religion as a lie. A ruler sees religion as a useful tool.

The more God in one's mouth, the less in one's heart.

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Blakullar
Senator
 
Posts: 4506
Founded: Sep 07, 2012
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Blakullar » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:28 am



SINCE THE EVENTS OF THE SIXTEENTH OF JULY, just under two months back, everything had changed. In spite of the infamous reassurance by the Red Tigress herself at this year's Kursk Celebratory Parade, the connection between the terrorist attack, a contingency not thought plausible since the dark days of the Salvagings, and this new 'Imperium of Sidhae' that had all of a sudden irrupted onto the geopolitical scene was an easy one to make for a populace ignorant of the exact details. Subsequently, awareness of the Imperium's existence and explosive entry began to grow all over not just Mechanocratic Russia, but soon Europe, Asia, the Frenkish Empire and eventually South America and the Commonwealth. It was the foremost where public anxiety spread the fastest, however. This moment would go down in history as the beginning of the Black Scare – in reference to the black powered armour with which the Imperium would become associated.

The hysteria reached its peak when hacktivists from the altogether-notorious Narodnaya Volya, an extreme-classicalist Mechanocratic militant organisation, managed to obtain and publish classified data pertaining to the torture of a Mecharussian marine captain, Zinoviya Marilova, by an Imperial elite operative during the Lenin Affair, and that another such operative had almost brutally murdered Trotskaya herself. This development blew the enormous propaganda campaign launched by the government, intended to present the benefits of befriending such an enormously-powerful empire as the Sidhae, straight out of the water in all of the worst possible ways. Not only did this provide empirical evidence of the Imperium's nature as a threat, and one bent on visiting a horrible fate upon the Russian people without provocation at that, but that the government – having lost data to hacktivists of all organisations – would stand no chance of stopping a similar attack by the Sidhae. It was a truly-monumental embarrassment to the State, and a hammer-blow to their credibility.

It was at this point in time where the beleaguered State would receive a mixed blessing. A populist, going by the name of Varfolomei Kaffarov, began to make headlines with the foundation of a 'Remember Zina Movement' in early August. Kaffarov was known for being a rabidly-nationalist firebrand, and had already been banned from travelling to three countries because of his brazen charisma and extraordinarily-outspoken manner. Had Marilova's fate not been unravelled by the hack, he would likely have remained an obscure extremist. It was the adoption of the girl as a martyr for the Popular Front that changed not just his status, but also the wider public perception of the Imperium as a whole.

The ex-marine captain suddenly became something for patriots to rally behind, a banner conveying the signal to exchange the Black Scare for an even darker, growing anger directed towards an alien menace. At every biweekly rally, Kaffarov would propagate the same message, buttressed by an immense, authentic fury against her rapist and the galactic empire that she called home – it was time to stop being scared and stand up. A message, with Marilova's memory behind it, that would reverberate throughout the country and stir millions to the populist's side. Most embarrassingly of all, the State had little choice but to lend the populist all the resources he needed to spread his message to content the people, all while going to considerable lengths to hide his tirades from the Imperial government, whose embassy had been keeping a lazy eye fused to goings-on in their new extradimensional neighbours.

It is amidst this period of nationwide tension and hysteria, one month and nineteen days after the Imperium of Sidhae was revealed to the nations of the Home Dimension for the first time, that our story begins...





Image PRIVATE FIRST CLASS LEONID ARSHAVIN
SUNIKAGRAD UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, KOLPINO DISTRICT, VELIKIY SUNIKAGRAD, THE MECHANOCRACY OF RUSSIA.
DATE 04-09-2152


A crisp, scintillating autumn sun commenced its ascent over the skyline of Velikiy Sunikagrad, painting the cloudless dawn above a resonant orange. At the opalescent urban surface, in Kolpino District, a vast crowd had congregated outside of the wrought-iron fencing of Sunikagrad University. Segregating them from entry to the prestigious school grounds was a heavily-armed checkpoint at the gates, a fireteam of soldiers in hard-black powered armour standing watch over the thick clouds of civilians waiting outside, plasma rifles at their side as they surveyed the gathering. The purpose of their watch was to serve as the first line of defence; nobody got through these gates without a thorough search, and those who managed to slide past had a wall of defences to face that would humiliate a fortress in a contest. Sentry gun posts dotted every corner of the university, snipers covered the campus exterior from the tops of the spires of Stalinist architecture, combat-ready infantry squads patrolled the grounds in large numbers, and surface-to-air missile batteries lurked in the numerous bushes. These were only the measures that the gate-guards were aware of: there were likely countless additional defences that they did not, and – as the popular idiom went – only the Supreme Leader knew what dreadful fate awaited an attacker inside of the hospital where the most popular figure in the entire Mechanocracy, General Elena Trotskaya, was about to give birth to her twins.

This was the moment of reckoning. Where a month and two weeks' worth of meticulous preparation by the Eighth VDV Regiment, the Secretariat of Internal Security, the Final Thirteen and the Committee of State Security would finally bear its fruit. As Private First Class Leonid Arshavin, a recent initiate into the legendary 'Chernydrakony', stood by the prefabricated gatehouse, his eyes darted back and forth across the packed exterior of the hospital behind his visor and a bead of sweat rolled down his forehead. Among that crowd, having come to wait for his beloved commander to emerge from within, could have been hiding an attacker, brandishing heavens knew what terrible implement of destruction to assault the heavily-fortified university.

Arshavin's excuse to be as tense as he presently was revolved not around the fear of impending death. Black Dragons could stare Death square in the eye, spit at his feet and brazenly demand that he lick it up. The private had been entrusted with a capsule days before his deployment, among a randomly-selected cadre, that was only to be opened and deployed following an explicit order to do so. The hapless private had no idea what exact circumstances it would be deployed under, nor did he know who else had received the same package. What he did know, however, was that whatever was currently tucked into his sleeve out of sight, it would mean the difference between life and death. It was the mere thought of his exalted commander meeting her end at this event that sent a mild shiver rolling down his spine.

"You look edgy, Private," the warming, hushed voice of Corporal Platonov, the second-in-command of Arshavin's squad, spoke from behind him.

"To be brutally honest, that's the understatement of the month, sir," the young soldier replied.
"Well, our job ain't about to get any easier," the corporal stated. "There's Ostrova's bunch now. Let's get moving."

Every six hours, the gatehouse guards would be rotated to another post on the campus to ensure maximum alertness at the first line of defence. Corporal Ostrova's fireteam, from the battalion's third squad, was about to take the positions currently occupied by Platonov's. Rotations would proceed with guard postings being exchanged immediately, leaving no post unoccupied at any time. Soon, Platonov's team was on the march, striding in mechanical synchrony up the gravel path to the university foyer. Arshavin spotted more than one lustrous glitter from a myriad of posts on the campus' buildings: the glint of sniper scopes, affirming to the presence of the Dragons' elite marksmen.

The interior of the hospital possessed no lighter defences than the outside, the fireteam having already passed a sentry gun hidden behind the foyer desk. Many more such machine guns, some in the ceiling, others housed in the walls, and even a handful hidden in the floor, were watching over the interior along with additional patrols. Apart from the overbearing presence of security forces, the hospital was bare, the normal patients being redirected to a field hospital established at the aerodrome. The only civilians to be allowed in the hospital without being subjected to an invasive strip-search were the midwife and two assistant nurses; other than that, the rest of the campus was free to walk upon, provided nobody obstructed the patrols. This was just the first line of defence in the interior of the hospital, and Arshavin had heard rumours amongst the guard detail that the last was a nasty surprise that even the hardiest attacker would not think to expect.

Eventually, after a lengthy walk past multiple checkpoints, Platonov's team reached their destination – the heavily-guarded maternity ward. After navigating the line of prefabricated barricades, manned by a whole squad of soldiers and a static GSh-40 grenade machinegun, they made their way to the room where the Tigress herself was situated. Outside stood three Dragons – the other two were in the room itself.

"You guys the maternity detail?" one of them turned and queried.
"Yep, that's us," Platonov answered.

"Right, let's move," a different soldier, the team's NCO, stated to his group on current detail. As they walked past, one of the troops who had been on the internal post gave Platonov a tap on the shoulder.

"You guys are in for a real treat..."

Platonov and Arshavin were assigned to inside of the room, while the other three stood watch outside. Upon entry, they saw their commander laying supine, with one of the nurses at the end of the bed, the midwife and the father, Colonel Victor Golovkin, at the flanks. Trotskaya's left hand was held in Golovkin's, the tight grip providing her company at this moment of reckoning.

"Just another push, General..." the midwife enunciated to her.
The Tigress, already visibly tired from the Herculean labour of childbirth, audibly groaned as she gritted her teeth and impressed further force as the midwife commanded. All the time, Golovkin was by her side.

"Remember..." the Colonel's soft whisper flowed into her ear. "Resilience, and determination..."

Having birthed Alexei while unconscious and undergoing augmentation back during the heyday of Project Chthonia, Trotskaya knew only of this calibre of pain from peers who had experienced it before. Indeed, the only scenario that she could think of that could even compare was wounds sustained during the worst days of the Second Russo-European War. Now, a decade on from those days, she fought a different battle.

She had to do this. Trotskaya had pinned herself beneath her own oath that she would be a better mother to her next children than she was to Alexei. Fate had given her a second chance – and she was duty-bound to fulfil that promise.

"Push!" the midwife commanded once again.
Trotskaya's face creased as she seethed with the pain, Golovkin wincing himself as he felt the crushing grip of her tensed hand. She would not scream. She was better than that! She was the Red Tigress! The First and mightiest Chthonian, who had survived the Rape, twice defeated the dreaded Pandemonium, overcome the raider clans, spearheaded the legendary Charge over the Grosser Priel and brought Europe to its knees, all of it of her own accord! The comparatively-quotidian task of childbirth would not break her now!

Before she knew it, the ordeal was over. Hot, heavy air vented from Trotskaya's lungs, chest pulsating with exhaustion as her eyes had slipped shut. They were presently opened again at the infantine sound of wailing, a sound that, as it graced her ears, enveloped her in a powerful, overwhelming bliss. Today marked another grand conquest in the long, winding path of Lifetime. Before her, her two children, held up by one of the nurses – a magnificent, healthy boy and girl. Today, Elena Trotskaya had brought two new lives into the world.

"What do you think, Colonel?" the nurse addressed Golovkin.
"They ... they're beautiful..." Trotskaya saw tears of joy welling up in his eyes. Today marked a monolithic milestone in his life as well. Today was the last step towards forsaking his hard past as a skinhead, making amends for all the horror he had wrought.

"Have you thought of names yet?" she asked him with a smile.
"I have," Golovkin turned to her with a sniffle. "Evgeniy, and Yulia."

"I like that," Trotskaya acknowledged. "And I am sure they appreciate it too. Look..."
The Colonel turned his head to see Evgeniy's tiny hands reaching towards him, reaching out to his father for the first time.

"Would you like to hold him?" the nurse enquired, popping a grin of her own.
"...yes," Golovkin spoke through another rising tide of lachrymation, gently taking the baby in his hands.

Arshavin and Platonov had seen everything. The birth, the hitherto-unfathomable joy of the Colonel, the sight of Evgeniy's first outreach, all of it under the golden light of a heavenly solar gaze through the window. The former just stood motionless, stunned by the momentum of the creation of a family.

"And now you know how it happens..." Platonov muttered to the private, him swearing that a smirk had crept up the Corporal's cheeks behind his black helmet.
- - - MECHANOCRATIC RUSSIA - - -
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Ex-Nation

Postby New Frenco Empire » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:48 am


Image JONATHON ROLLINS

SUNIKAGRAD UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, SUNIKAGRAD, MECHANOCRACY OF RUSSIA, EARTH
September 4th, 2152


My name? Jonathon Rollins.

Smyth had already tipped him off; he was to get to Trotskaya's room. Immediately. His Tiran was unholstered and ready to tear into Alain the second he saw him. He just prayed to whatever forces out there that he wasn't too late...

You can call me Jon, though. None of that "Agent Rollins" crap.

For two months, Jon had stayed in Mekrus, acting as a sort-of unofficial liaison to the local government. Hadrian and Darcy had returned to the Empire, likely to enjoy some much-deserved downtime. He, on the other hand, spent this time working. With the blessing of General Elena Trotskaya herself, he spent most of it in Sunikagrad University Hospital, surveying it completely. Side-to-side, top-to-bottom...every little crack, crevice, and entry was accounted for and personally given some "extra love" from Rollins (be it from his own supply of surveillance cams or in notes for the Chernydrakony patrols that now haunted the halls). If Alain was going to ghost his way in, he wouldn't (in theory) stay that way for very long...

But why do all this for a Class-A hostile to the Empire, such as Ol' Trots? Why go above and beyond to ensure a safe, healthy stay in her incapacitated state? It was simple; the Sidhae Imperium.

Two months ago, Rollins and his trusted Lieutenants helped Trotskaya and the local force in eradicating a terrorist movement - The Sixteen July Pact, led by the legendary raider overboss Pandemonium and consisting of all manner of scoundrels and miscreants. Mafiosos, raiders, interdimensional rebels...it was a shitstorm the Imperial government was happy to avoid. But that all changed with Alain...

I musta' looked a sight, charging into the maternity ward, pistol out and ready for combat. Hell, if the General and all her troops didn't grow to trust me pretty well, I probably would have been shot dead, then and there...

Alain, for one reason or another, had it out for Trotskaya. It wasn't anything new; lots of people across the Solar System wanted her dead. But Alain...he was different sort of beast. A "Judicator" from the Sidhae Empire, who had gone rogue for the sole reason of settling whatever debts needed to be paid.

Most shockingly, though, with Alain and the Sixteen July Pact came public knowledge of the Sidh. The world was scared shitless at the discovery of an interdimensional empire, easily hundreds of years ahead of our civilizations and hundreds of times bigger. Emperor Zane's address to the Frenkish people following the Sidhae discovery was easily the most viewed viral video of all time, and with that, the New Frenco Empire underwent a drastic shift in public opinion. The timid wanted the government to build protective measures that they realistically couldn't build, and the bold wanted the military to invade the Sidh dimension, ignorant of what lies on the other side. Fear caused riots to break out, and the mystique opened the door to a number of strange cults dedicated to the Sidh and their "mystery religion". The Frenks were an easygoing people who cared only for sex, media, and profits - they would never in a million years get so worked up about politics. It was almost surreal.

Luckily, the Sidh didn't seem too keen on subjugating anyone just yet. If the intel was right, they preferred observation, calculation...

However, if the experts were to be believed, if Alain were to get his hands on Trotskaya...that could have all changed. The civilizations of this universe would just be another notch on the Sidhae's belt. It was Jon's job to ensure that didn't happen.

He didn't even notice the casual Chernydrakony bodyguards standing outside of the open room, situation seemingly normal. Jon instead charged in, expecting to see the Judicator about to administer some final blow on the bedridden General.

What he saw instead was a newborn infant being cradled by his father. Of course, his sudden intrusion drew plenty of stares from the Spetsnaz, medical staff, and new parents alike...

"Is...everything alright, Agent Rollins?" Trotskaya asked, confused.
"I...suppose it is. Situation normal."
"Hah!" Smyth chuckled through his Datapal. "I made you jump! Good stuff indeed! I just wanted to see the babies!"
"That could have been really bad!" Jon chastised. "Raptor ain't even here yet!"
"You think I'm unaware of that? Let me out of this thing. I want a closer look!"
Jon blew, but complied, letting a steady stream of light escape his Datapal. This light eventually formed the slender frame of Jane Smyth; a near-perfect hologram.
"Awww, how precious!" She said, noticing Evgeniy in Golovkin's arms before approaching.

She knelt down, looking the baby directly in his closed eyes as she played with his exposed hand.
"Who's an adorable little bugger who I'm going to have to eventually stop from bringing the Western world to it's knees? You are! You are!"
In an almost unreal show, the newborn seemed to chuckle lightly at Smyth's presence.
"I'm great with kids, you see." Smyth casually nodded at Golovkin and Trotskaya. "Well...at least when I'm not holding them for ransom, that is!"

Keeping his Datapal pointed in the general direction so Smyth could continue with Yulia, Rollins moved closer to the back, where Platonov and Arshavin were watching.
"You know, you never see this sorta thing in the Empire. Sure, you pull the newborns out of the vats, slap 'em around a bit to make sure they're alive, but...it just doesn't compare."
"You've never witnessed anything like this?" Arshavin asked curiously.
"Nah, I've actually delivered a baby a time or two in my life. Strange, but that comes with the life. I tell ya, they're a lot cuter this way. At least, cuter when you don't have to cut them out of a Kurdish woman's stomach in the scorching Iraqi heat. Still a miracle, I reckon."
At about that time, his Datapal buzzed, indicating he was being paged.

"RAPTOR HAS ARRIVED FROM IMPERIAL EMBASSY. REPEAT; RAPTOR ON-STATION."

Raptor...a fitting name if there ever was one.

"Excuse me." Jon politely said to the Dragons as he walked off, nodding at Trotskaya before leaving his Datapal so Smyth could continue with her visit.
This journey back down from where he came was much more casual this time around. It was an old waiting room, converted into a makeshift comms/surveillance room so Jon could survey the entire hospital. A nearby radio, jury-rigged to pick up the World City Central broadcast, was playing on his desk; the suave, casual New Vegas-accented announcer switching songs.
"And as the month of September comes in, the YDCs are beginning to transition from the 'recreational season' to the 'education season'. I know to any kiddos listenin' out there, you hate it, but take heed from my old pal Bing. Do well...and you can swing on a star."
As the song began, the doors opened.

And there he was. The man himself...Raptor. Colonel Fred Harrigan. The Despoiler, Green Death, and whatever other intimidating nickname you could think of. And he was here to protect his chief rival. It would have been touching if it weren't so damn sketchy.

Contrary to his expectations of seeing Harrigan alone, however, there were at least nine figures. All bore the signature grey power armor and red eyelamps of the Dragoons, Harrigan's unit. Six were human, and the other three were Ork - the tallest Ork easily recognizable as Harrigan.
The Orks stood at the Colonel's side, while the humans marched up front, rifles in hand. They marched off to the sides, three each, and took a disciplined attentive stance with their weapons to the air, making room for the Colonel and his two Ork proteges.
As Harrigan approached, Jon couldn't help but feel small. He wasn't tall by any measure of the word; on the shorter side, actually, just barely breaking the six foot mark. Harrigan, however, was about nine feet. Brawny, covered almost completely head-to-toe in his smoky armor, and possessing two crimson slits for eyes, Harrigan had an appearance to match his fearsome reputation. The skirt-cape situated around his waist even gave him an aura of legitimacy, almost as though Harrigan were deserving of some respect as a powerful figure within the Empire.
"Colonel" Jon acknowledged with a casual salute. "Forgive me, but...I don't remember authorizing all these boots on the ground."
"These are my troops, Agent Rollins..." The Ork responded with his signature ironclad voice, deep as the black seas. "And we're deep in...hostile territory. They'll serve us well if these pitiful rodents around us grow disgusted by my presence. Or if I decide to pay dearest Elena a visit while she's in such a temptingly weak state..."
"None of that." Jon responded. "You're here only to kick pretty boy's ass once he decides to show himself. Once he's dead or running away with a load in his pants, you will promptly, promptly return to the Empire. You can continue your little grudge match when you get back. For now, no...you defend Trots', so that the full power of the Sidh don't come knockin', alright? You do not touch her UNLESS you're throwing that thick hide of yours into her to stop a bullet. Clear?"
"Fine." Harrigan growled, obviously annoyed at not being able to take such an opportunity, but willing to cooperate. "And this arrogant xeno will die. I can assure you of that."
"Good to have your support." Rollins nodded. He had joked many times about Harrigan being his "brother". He had some evidence for it; they were born about the same time using the same DNA strand used to produce black males from that same nursery in the Hub. But...this was the first time he ever truly talked to him. Harrigan was notorious not only for his physical capability, but for his low cunning and tactical mind - a trait seen in very, very few Orks. And he could realize it fully.
"And, I should add..." Jon began. "Don't go knockin' down walls and blowin' things up if you don't absolutely have to. This is still a hospital."
"I'll do whatever I feel is necessary." Harrigan said as he turned away, ready to take his position near the maternity ward.
"Of course you will, of course you will..." Jon said as the Ork departed, his Dragoons in tow.

And so it began. The beginning of the end...

Rollins went back upstairs. He figured he owed Trotskaya his congratulations on top of needing to retrieve his Datapal. She'd also be pleased to know that Harrigan was in position...

With the Chthonia Hunter himself, we could have all rested a little easier. If Alain really did come knocking, we had the element of surprise. Smyth knew he was coming. Harrigan was sure to knock a bit of sense into him. He was surrounded by countless security systems and some of the finest Spetsnaz that Mecharussia could offer.

But if only it were that simple...
Last edited by New Frenco Empire on Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ardavia
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Ardavia » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:22 pm

04|09|2152
Ministry of the Exterior Central Complex, New London, Commonwealth of Antarctica


As Karen Rogers entered the grounds of the Ministry of the Exterior, she barely spared a glance for the pair of soldiers standing on either side of the open security gate. They were now wearing bulky power armour instead of conventional battledress, admittedly, but the pair of guards at the main gate (unseen, of course, were the multiple platoons of their colleagues that formed the rest of the complex's security) had been a fixture of the bunker complex since long before she started working there.

Accompanied by the sound of her shoes tapping on the concrete floor, she ventured deeper into the complex of tunnels, the path familiar after years of working here. Admittedly, the directions painted on the ceiling toward the section occupied by the Military Intelligence Services helped. Nodding her head in greeting as she passed through a workroom filled with her colleagues busily cataloging and processing data (they had been busy after the revelation of the Imperium's existence), she took a left in the next corridor, and soon arrived at her office.

It was an impersonal space: the walls were a clinical white, the desk was a simple construction of steel, rubber and plastics with a computer terminal on top, and the floor and ceiling were the omnipresent grey concrete that every Commonwealth citizen (at least those not born in the South American territories) was intimately familiar with. Not a single personal decoration was in evidence, bar the red beret hanging on the wall.

Karen was proud of having earned that one, she would freely admit. Even passing the reduced CSOCOM training course all Ministry field operators were expected to pass could not quite overshadow the pride she'd felt after managing to pass Airborne Selection. Of course, then she'd been poached from the 8th Airborne by the spooks, and since then the Airborne beret had been relegated to hanging on her wall.

But enough reminiscing: she had a guest due to arrive soon. Activating her computer terminal quickly, she pulled up the relevant files and started reading. It was still five minutes until the time that the junior agent was instructed to show up.

As Harper Brooks entered her office, she took stock of the woman quickly. Standard-issue battledress in Universal Temperate Pattern, synthskin over the arm augment (credit where credit's due, it was well-fitted and she likely wouldn't have spotted it without knowing of it beforehand: as it was, the skin tone was slightly off), and a neutral face that quite fit the expression "carved from stone" for all the emotion it displayed.

Brooks was, admittedly, a skilled agent, and her record spoke for itself: got into CMIS at an exceptionally young age (admittedly with sponsorship), fourteen successful assignments in four years, exemplary scores during standard CMIS training, and an exceptionally powerful and talented psyker to boot. But she was also something of a security risk, with the signs of depression that mandatory psych evals had noted, and Karen personally wasn't fully convinced the young woman was entirely cut out for the kind of work CMIS sometimes was called upon to do.

Perhaps it was for the best that she had so far been assigned to the more savory aspects of the CMIS' operations, and kept away from the aspects that were less so. Exposing her to the darkest aspects of the intelligence community was inadvisable, and carried the risk of turning a possible security risk into one that would almost certainly need... handling. And that would just be wasteful.

But no matter. She stood up, and extended her hand in greeting. Brooks took it, and gave it a firm shake. Sitting back down again, Karen gestured at the chair in front of the desk, and then rested her elbows on the desk with her chin on top of her hands.

"Right, Agent Brooks. You have almost certainly already guessed why I have called you here."

"Yes, Operations Director. I assume it relates to the events surrounding Trotskaya in July, and the contact made with the 'Imperium of Sidhae'?"

"You are, indeed, correct. If I might be so blunt, the CMIS is currently scrambling all over itself trying to make sense of the situation. The problem is that we do not have any reliable intelligence. What happened with the terrorist attack on July 16th is still completely opaque to us, and we have no idea why the Russians have turned the Sunikagrad University Hospital into a fortress, either. As for the Sidh? If anything, we are even more in the dark there. Are they hostile? Apathetic? Possibly friendly? We have not a bloody clue, but the lads in the intelligence department insist that they are probably not friendly, which leaves hostile or apathetic. I do not like either of those options, and I like not knowing for sure even less. We need more intel.

"Which is why we are sending you to go have a talk with Smyth, because you are quite literally our only agent who is both suited for the task and not tied up elsewhere. So, congratulations. You are expected on an express flight out from the airport in two hours, bound for New Rome."

Karen, while she maintained a neutral expression outwards, started laughing internally at the sudden gobsmacked look on Brooks' face. Of course, it didn't take long for the detached professional expression to reassert itself, and the junior agent quickly stood up, her posture picture-perfect, and stated her understanding.

Dismissing Brooks and watching her leave, Karen snorted as soon as the young woman was out of earshot and then went back to her computer. If Brooks turned up anything useful and wasn't simply sent back home empty-handed by Smyth, she'd be honestly surprised. But it was an avenue that couldn't be ignored, to try and ask their (sort of) allies about any intelligence they might be willing to share, even if it was unlikely to actually produce results.

After all, the possible threat of the Sidhae was far too great to ignore. As it was, the only thing that had kept the situation among the people of the Commonwealth from escalating into chaos and full-blown riots like it had in the Empire and Russia had been the lack of information available on the threat, and some very careful management and surveillance of the people's mood by the Ministry of the Interior, including the temporary detainment of several destabilizing elements. And while the thought of suppressing free speech (a founding tenet of the Commonwealth) left a bad taste in Karen's mouth, it was better than the alternative of utter societal disorder while a possible threat to the nation's sovereignty (indeed, even a threat to the sovereignty of the Earth itself) existed.
Last edited by Ardavia on Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ex-Nation

Postby Imperium Sidhicum » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:22 am

Mechanocratic Embassy
Bayit Gadol
Scatach Prime, Imperium of Sidhae

Security duty in this Imperium was really boring by any standard. Sure, the embassy did have it's own considerable security detail, complete with a Strider war-mech, but the natives seemed largely indifferent to the nation it represented, being too preoccupied with their own affairs to deem some, in their regards, insignificant extradimensional power worth their attention in any form. Pretty much the only native folk ever approaching or leaving the embassy where the usual customers - the Imperial embassy staff in Frakiyagrad, and maybe the odd official going to or from business in the Mechanocracy. Because of this, the Strider mech had recently been removed from the embassy security roster as an unnecessary expense. Sidhae themselves seemed to take care of security just fine, regular patrols of Urban Security maintaining a discreet perimeter around the facility, stopping and questioning any suspicious individuals long before they had any opportunity of approaching the embassy fence.

Konstantin Vavilov, one of the embassy's 24 security guards, felt even this truck bomb-resistant fence was an unnecessary expenditure. Firstly because nobody drew trucks around here - or at least Vavilov had never seen one here in the Sidh parts of town, or any other civilian motorized vehicle other than automated taxicabs or the odd luxury car of a prominent official. How the Sidhae made all the goods deliveries necessary in a decent-sized city like Bayit Gadol, eluded him, though the plentitude of automated drones and the abundance of mag-rail stations in the town made for a good guess. Secondly, because the natives simply weren't hostile, and if they suddenly did become so, they had more than enough means of wiping this embassy off the map at their disposal than truck bombs, and if the hulking power suits worn by pretty much everyone with a gun were anything to go by, a platoon of security guards with small arms, a couple sentry turrets, drones and Strider would do exactly zilch to stop them.

Although embassy staff was advised to exercise serious caution whenever leaving embassy grounds, being warned about the xenophobia of the Sidh residents, the compulsory armbands that identified them as sanctioned visitors seemed to work miracles. In the months that the embassy had existed thus far, not one of the employees had ever heard insults or hostile remarks directed their way, not even given dirty looks besides a passing glance of idle curiosity. They had always been welcome in every Sidh establishment, treated with the same courtesy and attention that Sidh citizens were, the authorities had likewise been courteous and helpful, not once making their sentiments towards outsiders known in any way.

For these reasons, security duty here was pretty much about sitting out one's eight-hour shift drinking coffee and trying not to fall asleep by reading a book or watching one of the rather boring local TV channels that featured mostly war propaganda. Konstantin in personal found the local news to be a decent gauge on the general threat level that remained at an all-time low. In these months since he took the assignment here, the Sidh news had mentioned the Mechanocracy of Russia exactly two times - once in a statement that such a nation exists and has established contact with the Imperium without going into any more details, and a second time a month ago when an archistrategos named Arcadius Drax who was apparently some big-shot military-political figure here had returned from a diplomatic mission to the Mechanocracy of Russia and was "optimistic about building friendly relationships". In other words, neither the authorities nor the natives cared in the least. Which was why guarding the Mecharussian embassy in the Imperium was much like guarding the embassy of Liechtenstein in the Frenkish Empire back home - few people even knew such a country existed in the first place, and even fewer of them actually cared.

Bored by the incessant military parades, propaganda speeches, one-sided talk shows with popular politicians and war heroes and documentaries about Imperium's glorious everything going on TV, Konstantin had decided to read a book instead for the duration of his watch at the main gate guard booth. Getting an actual book here, much less one that was written in Russian, was another major challenge in a society that had digitalized practically everything from currency to literature. The lot of Sidhae here hadn't even seen a printed book other than the "Word" in their lives and hadn't the slightest idea of where to find any, asides from the fact that they existed. After much struggle, Konstantin had managed to find a few books in an antiquity shop inside the local organic ghetto that was now being integrated with the city proper. Despite commanding an exorbitant price, the absence of any sensible literature from the home universe and the infrequency of shipments from home had convinced him to pay up, and so Konstantin Vavilov was now the proud owner of four antique printed books from a series called "Twilight".

Reading them wasn't as easy as Konstantin had imagined. The book seemed to deal with the rivalry between two mutant species of humanity called "vampires" and "werewolves" on what people here called "Old Terra", and a teenage girl's romantic affair with a blood-drinking mutant "vampire" named Edward. It took about two hours, several logic discrepancies and the description of mutant abilities that exceeded even those of high-tier Sidhae for Konstantin to finally realize that he was in fact reading a work of fiction. The fact that these books were printed in an old-fashioned shrift normally seen in Orthodox Church texts didn't help the reading either.

Konstantin was just about to finish his third cup of coffee and get to the part where Edward rejects the protagonist's advances, when a sudden bang on the gate almost made him spill the cup.

"HELP US! PLEASE! LET US THROUGH!" a blood-covered hysterical young woman with a screaming baby in her arms was banging desperately on the gate bars even as automated sentry turrets activated and immediately trained on her. A slightly-less frightened teenage boy with visible cyber-augmentations was banging on the gate next to her.

"Hold it right there, missy!" Konstantin rushed out of the guard booth, keeping one hand on his sidearm in case this was some dirty trick, "What's the problem?"

"He's gonna kill us! He's gonna kill us! Please, let us in!" the girl desperately cried.

"Base, this is Gate, we have a situation here!" Konstantin reported over the radio, "There's a hysterical woman with a baby and a young lad begging to be let through! She looks injured and says they will be killed otherwise!"

"You know the drill, Kostya!" came the response, "Nobody gets in without a valid pass!"

Distrust and compassion were fighting in the security guard as he looked at the terrified young woman and her companion, but most importantly, her baby.

"Look, I can't let you in just yet! Who's threatening to kill you?" he finally said.

"The Sidh... He killed my husband... He's after us... OH GOD, THERE HE COMES! GOD, PLEASE!!! LET US IN, I BEG YOU!!!" she spoke, looking over her back, and suddenly started to scream hysterically again.

And indeed there he was, a large Sidh clad in powered armor and blood-spattered white surcoat unlike any Konstantin had seen before, holding a huge curved combat knife, it's serrated edge dripping in blood and gore. The blade alone was reason enough to feel concerned, being big enough to pass for a short sword in the hands of an ordinary human. The Sidh approached with determination, but without haste, confident about his prey not escaping.

Although Konstantin knew he'd most probably be fired for breaking security protocol, he wasn't about to idly watch a defenseless young mother and a boy be butchered before his very eyes.

"Fuck this!" he cursed, rushing back into the guard booth and hitting the gate switch, opening the gate just enough for the young refugees to squeeze through and then closing it again quickly. Konstantin then drew his sidearm, both to guard against the Sidh if he made any effort to follow, and against any sly tricks that the two might be up to.

The Sidh, however, made no effort to approach further. He merely grinned, presumably in displeasure about having lost his prey, wiped his giant knife against his armored boot before sheathing it, then turned around and walked off without any further action.

Moments later, the rest of the security team rushed in the embassy courtyard with their weapons ready.

"Vavilov, we're going to have a serious conversation about your attitude towards security protocol!" the security officer grumbled at Konstantin, "Now tell me what the hell happened!"

"These two... uh, three were begging me to let them in, running from some armored Sidh brute with this huge knife, all dripping in blood. Now I know it's against the regs and all, but I'll be damned before I let a woman and children get slaughtered like pigs before my very eyes, not when I can do something about it!" Konstantin explained.

"Are you now an expert on Sidhae to know that these folks are safe to let through?!" the officer argued. Konstantin looked at him as if the man was a complete idiot.

"A Sidh baby, a Sidh lad barely 15, and a Sidh girl with a baby on her arms? Please..." he chuckled.

"The boy's got some augs on him. If not the rest, he might be a Sidh," the officer still wasn't convinced, "And even if they are all human, they might still be working for the Sidhae."

"Come on, Vassily," Konstantin objected, "Have you ever seen a Sidh that looked younger than 20? And we both know the real spies go back and forth through this gate every day in their shining suits of armor unimpeded, having but to flash the pass that our government has generously issued them."

"I knew we should have taken the colonel's offer... They would have never let us live in peace after having seen the things we saw..." the girl was sobbing in the meantime, trying to hush her baby.

"Alright, you two! Who exactly are you and what is your business being here," the security officer turned to the two and demanded to know commandingly.

"Hey, ease up!" Konstantin interrupted him, "Don't you see these two have just barely escaped with their lives! Maybe send for a medic, the girl looks injured!"

Vassily nodded, gesturing for one of the other men to fetch the medic. Konstantin leaned down to the girl in the meantime and asked more kindly.

"Don't worry, you are safe here. Now tell us, who are you and why did that Sidh try to kill you!"

"Probably just another dissident who got on the bad side of the authorities," other guards discussed in the meantime, "Happens all the time here."

The girl took a few deep breaths to calm down and looked up to the embassy guards firmly.

"My name is Riva Geller," she spoke, "My companion is named Igor Krauss, and we request asylum! We ask that you contact Colonel Victor Golovkin of the Spetznaz Alpha Group, who will confirm our identity!"
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Blakullar
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Founded: Sep 07, 2012
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Blakullar » Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:14 am


Image RIVA GELLER
THE MECHARUSSIAN EMBASSY, BAYIT GADOL, THE IMPERIUM OF SIDHAE.


Riva had been accompanied straight to the embassy's infirmary by the guards at the gate. It was there she waited for Golovkin, the wound that she had suffered in the scuffle with the armoured Sidh having already been bandaged. Her baby was held with a motherly gentleness in her arms, Igor nearby with a comforting hand on her back as she wept for her murdered husband. Oh, how things had gone so wrong so quickly ... first Marco Webley, a respected enforcer in the human quarter, disappeared the day before, and now this?! What worse lay in store for her now?

"...here with the boy and the baby, sir," a muffled voice on the other side of the infirmary door addressed someone, causing Riva to look up. Finally, Golovkin was here to put this insanity on hiatus, if not bring it to its conclusion!

The door turned inward, and in stepped – much to Riva's confusion – a man wearing a wide, floppy-brimmed fedora and trenchcoat, both crimson in coloration. The hat partially covered his long black shaggy hair, and his coat a dark grey double-breasted blazer and red cravat. Smart trousers, bearing the same smoggy colour as his blazer, covered his legs, and a pair of white gloves did the same with his hands. Over his eyes and youthful, pale-skinned face was a pair of circular, amber-tinted sunglasses that immediately reminded Riva of antique welding-glasses. The other feature about him that caught her eye was the small black military-style ribbon on his blazer, thirteen intimidating bright-red skulls along it.

"Colonel...?" she bemusedly guessed the identity of the flamboyant-looking, Victorian-esque figure before her.
"Technically yes, but not quite that Colonel..." she was greeted not with the voice of Victor Golovkin, but a slightly deeper and younger-sounding one than Golovkin's more grizzled, gravelly speech. He spoke crystalline English, rendered in an aristocratic-sounding north-western Russian accent.

"Before you speak, you claimed to the security guy you were chased by a power-armoured Sidh with a hilariously-oversized curved knife, yes?" he suddenly interrupted any chance for her to greet him.
"Yes, he did!" Riva quickly and crisply answered.

"And I don't suppose this 'Sidh' happened to be a bit of a big, burly type..."
"He was, yes..."

"Aaaand I don't suppose his armour was white and had a surcoat fastened to it, did it?"
"Yes. Why do you ask?"

The Mecharussian's left eyebrow peered over the rim of his glasses, in what could either have been an expression of suspicion or of an uncanny clairvoyance.

"Nothing personal..." his nonchalant voice answered Riva's query as he readjusted his glasses. "I just find it a little weird that two months after one Judicator goes apeshit in Mecharussia trying to kill off Mister Golovkin's girlfriend, another one decides to pick the day after she gives birth to murder what's already been an obvious security threat for a year or so. And now you're calling for Golovkin in particular, rather than Tokarev or Berdan or Lavochkin! So I thought if I come with him, maybe the already-morbidly-obese rat anyone with half a brain can smell from the next universe maybe won't eat my entire stash of snacks!"

"You've got Golovkin with you?!" Riva seemed ready to jump up with an air of great relief. "Where is he? I need to see him as soon as possible!"
"Indeed I do," the Russian affirmed. "Shall I go call for him?"

"Yes, please!" she spoke again. "What do I call you, by the way?"
"The name's Dzheyson the Word-Shark," he gave his answer, politely doffing his fedora a little as he introduced himself. "A Chthonic Hypersoldier – kinda like a Judicator, but less trying-too-hard-to-be-the-Waffen-SS and more singlehandedly-kicking-the-asses-of-entire-battalions. And I'll be right back!"

Dzheyson had indeed sensed that something was way off when he and Tesey, the Unlimited Memory, both saw Golovkin and one half of the Alfa Group – Dmitriyeva, Danovich, Mikhailov and Medveditsa – come running into the Gatchina Command Centre to demand a portal to the Scatach embassy as soon as possible. The Colonel, bearing all the distress of a knight racing to the rescue, was quick to head through, but the Shark had managed to grab him in the nick of time and insist that he and Tesey move through the portal first. In spite of the frantic protests of not just Golovkin but his squad as well, Dzheyson was able to deploy his skills in speechcraft to persuade him that, if there was something waiting to harm him on the other side, the something in question would be faced with a far deadlier opponent than a man whose nascent family needed him alive more than one alien couple that he knew for about a month. While Dzheyson was introducing himself to Riva, Tesey had been outside, surveying the area with his highly-advanced onboard RADAR and LIDAR detection systems to scan for suspicious activity.

Golovkin and his four squadmates, meanwhile, were in the lobby. The Colonel in particular gave off an altogether nervous appearance, deeply concerned as he was for wellbeing of the two youths he had safeguarded in the Lenin Affair. As Dzheyson walked through the doorway to the lobby, the Alfas turned their heads to face him.

"Hey, Colonel, your damsel in distress looks a-okay to me," the Shark addressed Golovkin in a reassuring tone.
"Oh, thank God..." the Ace of Spades breathed a heavy sigh of relief. "Where is she? Is Nathan alright?"

"Well, if either the sprog she's currently cradling in her arms, or the hunchbacked teen that came in with her, happens to go by the name of 'Nathan', then yes, he's alright," Dzheyson chose not to reveal Nathan's ugly fate for now – the colonel was tense enough as it is. He had to know for certain that Riva was alright, and the Chthonian's knowledge of this situation was sparing at best. Better to let her explain just what the hell this was all about.

Without another word, Golovkin and the Alfas hastily made their way into the wider embassy through the same door through which the Shark had entered, their destination the infirmary.

At the same time the Alfas disappeared, another man walked in through the front doors. This one kept a suit of lightweight powered armour on his person, a depowered fusion sword sheathed on his back and a RIP-25 in carbine configuration at his side. Physical appearance demarcated a short, cropped head of light brown hair and a goatee – his skin was the same pale and eyes shimmering the same machined red as Dzheyson's, and he had an identical ribbon on the left plate of his armour.

"Well, Tesey..." Dzheyson addressed his fellow-Chthonian. "I can't help but have this feeling our friend Victor here has just blundered into a trap..."
"What do you mean?" Tesey asked with concern.

"I mean some Judicator has set some kind of ambush for him, and I have a pretty good idea of who," the Shark answered.
"Who do you think's after him, then?" the Memory enquired.

"I suspect either Halko or an as-of-yet unknown accomplice of Alain is here. Given the circumstances, my money's on the latter. But until we go looking for this meathead and ask him a few questions, most probably at gunpoint, we're not going to know for sure..."

"Next move?"
"Go looking for either Count Vronsky's performing monkey, or Mister Pleased-To-Meet-Ya-Hope-You-Guessed-My-Name," the Shark answered, checking to see if his two long-bladed Kris vibroknives would not snag in their sheathes should he have to deploy them. "And then ask him a few questions. Most probably at gunpoint."

"I see..." said Tesey, with a demure look that suggested that he knew he was about to get stuck into another mad adventure. "I suppose you intend to have us look for this 'Nathan' fellow as well..."

"Oh, he's dead," Dzheyson spoke with ostensible indifference. "For now though, we should focus on springing this trap. We'll be here for at least three hours while the embassy staff get Miss Geller's asylum papers sorted, and our guy can't have gone far in this short space of time. Might as well put ourselves to some use, yeah?"

While the Shark and Tesey went to the reception to collect their orange visitor-armbands, the former's eyes shifted to a telephone conversation that was transpiring nearby. One among the embassy's half-platoon of security guards, smiling as though talking to a friend...

"...just got back from the local dive. ... The drink's alright, but to be brutally honest it's piss compared to a good glass of Praskoveysky. ... I hope you're prepared for the party later on. Did you get the fireworks? ... You did? Rostko and his lot's still coming, right? ... He's just entered Sunikagrad now? Great! I just hope Misha's boys don't screw this up, you know what they're like. ... Yeah, I just got temporary leave from the guard commander, so I'll be seeing you later. ... Yeah, bye..."


Image BRIGADIER ROSTISLAV NEMEROV
GATCHINA DISTRICT, VELIKIY SUNIKAGRAD, THE MECHANOCRACY OF RUSSIA.


As it happened, Trotskaya had not been the only officer making extensive preparations for this event. The commander of the 112th Orbital Shock Brigade of Tula, their fear-inspiring moniker being the infamous 'Black Coats', had held the same expectations as they who had made such headway into metamorphosing the Sunikagrad University into an impenetrable bastion. Alain would most certainly attempt to make a comeback: nobody here trusted the Imperium to make good on their promise to bring him to justice, and especially not the armed forces. Fortunately for the good General, there was one thing standing between those infernal Sidhae and this entire universe. The Zorya Matrix.

The ursine grumble of the Khanka's engine drew to a close as the armoured personnel carrier arrived at its destination at twenty past four in the morning. First to emerge from the truck's rear doors were soldiers, five in number. Every one of them bore the same uniform appearance: thick, bristly black warg-fur overcoats over dull, dark-grey powered armour, helmet eyelamps a simmering golden colour. They were followed on prompt by another, much bigger soldier, wearing a modified suit of three metre-tall grey Heavy Assault armour, a skirt-cape fashioned from the same fur as the coats worn by his peers. On his back was one of the huge stormhammers that Black Coat close-combat units would carry into battle alongside their arm-mounted flamethrowers and scattercannons. He wore no helmet, save for an armoured facemask with a distinctive, thin azure visor covering his eyes, just below the silvery-white fade haircut.

The two Red Guards stood by the door to this fortified bunker in Gatchina District on night watch observed this man approaching, flanked by a section of Black Coats. Recognising him at once, they promptly saluted his arrival with a metalloid bang.

"Brigadier Rostislav Nemerov," the Guardsman on the right addressed him with a crisp complaisance. "What can I do for you, sir?"
"I am here to inspect the integrity of the package kept within this bunker," the soldier was answered with a dense, iron croak from the Brigadier. "I trust you will be able to provide entry?"

"Of course, sir," the Guardsman informed him, producing a key-card from one of the pockets in his armour and swiping it into the slot, which yielded a light intone and glowed green.

The corridors down which Nemerov and his retinue walked were far more heavily-guarded than the light external security would suggest, an idea that was borrowed from Trotskaya's ostensibly lightly-protected home in Central. The entire bunker was radiation-hardened to stop an electromagnetic pulse from cracking its contents, and the alarms were wired to the lifesigns of both Guardsmen manning the doorway. If one of them were to die, they would immediately be set off and every door in the building would be slammed shut, including the nuclear bunker-grade blast doors that covered every corridor. Several sentry guns, also EMP-shielded and connected to their own separate servers to stop a single hack knocking them all out at once, kept watch over the corridors with their autocannon-calibre plasma cannons, waiting to shred apart any intruder. The reason for such a heavy security presence was simple – what Nemerov and his men were walking into was one of the most important installations to the national security of Russia. It was one of the ten generators that was powering the Zorya Matrix. Should even one go offline while the Matrix was active, it would leave a window, albeit an extremely-tight one while the power was autonomously rerouted from the two backup generators, for an invader to enter from another dimension.

It would be another ten minutes before Nemerov and his group would return to the front door, the Guardsmen would note. As they saluted him again, they observed him and his group make a hastier than usual return to the Khanka that had parked outside of the Zorya generator building. Why exactly he had come here was not entirely clear, save for the vague usage of the term 'inspect'. Perhaps Nemerov had been one of those trusted by Trotskaya to keep watch over the Matrix while she slept. Over the past few days, several such visitors had come and gone, many of them either Chernydrakony or Chthonians. As the Khanka disappeared into the distance, the Guardsmen resumed their posts, the nightly visitation from the General's trustee having come to another cl-

The entire neighbourhood was suddenly overwhelmed by a titanic, brilliant white light and an equally-monumental thunderclap, the pressure wave of the enormous explosion shattering every unarmoured window in the immediate area and most likely the whole district. Where the Zorya generator had once been stood a premature sun, flaming ejecta from the obliterated bunker blossoming upward and showering the immediate vicinity of the ruin with scorched metal rain.

Nemerov held the detonator for the miniature thermonuclear charge that he and his men had planted in the generator room, and beneath his mask his men could swear that a malefic smirk had crept up the Brigadier's cheeks.

"Next orders, sir?" one of the Black Coats enquired.
"Is the dragon ready to deploy?" Nemerov rumbled.

"Yes, sir."
"Good. Then we rendezvous with Captain Broga at the staging area. We still have a party to attend, remember?"

Truth be told, the reasoning for what Nemerov had done and was about to do on this night was one they all agreed with. It all revolved around a certain Operation Battering Ram that had transpired a year back, pertaining to having a squad of their own sent to their deaths to hide the tremendous gaffe that was the Lenin Affair made by Aerofleet Grand Marshal Abdulov and one certain Red Tigress. Like the other two Black units, the Black Dragons and the Black Reavers, the Black Coats held amongst themselves a comradery of concrete strength. No Black Coat who died in the field of battle would ever go unavenged, still less those who had been butchered like mindless animals just so Trotskaya could keep her ludicrously-expensive and ineffective dreadnoughts, and ergo her credibility, in one piece.

If what the recent intel from Nemerov's agent on Scatach had predicted indeed was going to happen, then now was the time for the Black Coats to even the score in a way that the Red Bitch was never going to forget.
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Imperium Sidhicum
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Founded: May 28, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby Imperium Sidhicum » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:28 pm

Bayit Gadol
Scatach Prime, Imperium of Sidhae
two hours earlier

The ghetto that Riva used to know was all but gone, and not even for the gang warfare and the Sidh reprisals that had levelled large portions of it, later being rebuilt according to Sidh specifications. Something had fundamentally changed in the spirit of this place. Sure, it was still a racially-segregated slum, but it was no longer the same kind of wretched lawless racially-segregated slum that it had been a year ago. At present, a young woman could safely walk the streets alone at night in relative safety from being mugged, raped, or worse. There were no more Sidh thugs turning streets into free-for-all shooting galleries on their drug-adled "zerk runs", no more rich perverts buying children for their twisted and depraved pleasures, no more drive-by shootings on fifteen-times-a-night basis. The streets didn't smell of piss, shit and smog anymore, and one could now expect at least basic medical care to be on 27th rather than 19th century level with a degree of certainty. Admittedly, the crime was still a problem compared to the Sidh quarters, as was the segregation, and humans were still forbidden from settling in the Sidh district, but at least now seeing a human within the Sidh quarters wasn't something to attract hostile stares anymore. While there was still much room for improvement, the ghetto was improving, merging with the city proper, and even the most stubbornly anti-human Sidhae would grudgingly acknowledge that integrating the humans was overall a more beneficial, if also a more costly ordeal. There was now hope, a hope for a better future for the humans of Bayit Gadol, and especially for her child.

Their old home had survived the gang war relatively intact asides from looters having stolen much of the valuables. The two had continued their accustomed salvage business until Riva became pregnant. Not wanting his young wife to partake in such a dangerous job in her condition, and needing a more stable source of income now that he was the sole breadwinner for the family, Nathan had sought employment in the construction business. After the gang war, much of the ghetto was in ruin, and with the new reforms, the Sidh authorities had agreed to supply the human residents with the necessary material and expertise to rebuild the ghetto according to Sidh standards on the condition that most of the works be done by the humans themselves. Consequently, there was finally a legitimate job available for anyone who wanted one, and it paid decently too by local standards. After demonstrating his mechanical skills picked up over years of dismantling salvaged wreckage and tinkering to make something useful of it, Nathan had been assigned to work in the machine shops of his construction brigade, impressing even the Sidh chief mechanic with his talent for improvised repair. By the time their daughter was born, the future looked about as bright and hopeful as it ever could for human Imperial subjects - maybe still second-class citizens, but citizens nonetheless.

Right now, the baby was left in the care of Nathan, Riva having gone off shopping. Asides from food and the usual household stuff, the baby needed diapers. Somewhat amusingly, the Freelancers had just recently struck gold with none else than baby diapers. Until recently, they had never really recognized the value of such a simple commodity - diapers were obviously of no use to the Sidh customers, and the smugglers were too focused on providing high-value illicit goods to notice the profitability of selling such basic goods to the humans. That would go on until one Freelancer's human sweetheart would give birth to his child and complain about having to wash it's linen all the time. At this moment, it dawned on the crafty chap that baby products which were not manufactured in the Imperium for a simple lack of demand among Sidhae could in fact make a neat profit with the human populace. More importantly, these products were completely legal, so even if stopped and searched by the authorities, the Freelancer risked nothing. The man's predictions had consequently proven a resounding success, his shipment of baby supplies being bought out in just two days by the many human mothers from the ghetto.

The market remained fairly unchanged. Ahmed the salvage merchant was no longer drooling at every young girl, having made the mistake of marrying and consequently falling under the heel of his domineering wife, an equally-corpulent and mean-spirited Black woman who would dissuade his misguided attempts of flirting with young female customers with a rolling pin. The Japanese fishmonger Tanaka was still in business, now having his small fish farm certified to Sidh sanitary standards and stocked with new species of fish. Gruber the mute butcher and his tiny wife were gone, word being that both had been killed by a stray mortar shell during the gang war, some Korean chap having now taken over the butcher shop and remade it into a Korean bistro. The slave market next to the former butcher shop had been closed down, nominally under the formal ban on slave trade in the Imperium. Those willing to procure slaves would now have to do it more discreetly, or resort to being approached by destitute humans willing to sell themselves in servitude. The freelance Arbiters still maintained their flamboyant booth at the center of the market, judging marketgoer disputes and still occasionally dispensing summary punishment by means of machete and chopping block, though the grim chain of mummified swindler and shoplifter hands adorning their pavillion was now lengthened considerably less often than before with the regular presence of Urban Security patrols and the human enforcers. Still, the Arbiters retained their respected role as undisputed masters of the marketplace since their way of judging disputes had been a time-honoured tradition even before the Sidh conquest of Scatach, when the markets were supervised by similar, if perhaps less rough, human overseers.

At the moment, Riva was done shopping and was headed home, the familiar voice of decurion Avitus distracted her. The decurion and his men were walking their usual paces near the marketplace.

"Hey there, my favourite ghetto girl! Need a hand with those goods?"

"Uh, no, thanks! I can manage..." Riva declined with a smile, "How's your day?"

"Alright, I suppose. It's been a lot more work lately, and I'm still getting used to asking questions first and applying the zapper later. Other than that, I recently hooked up with this beautiful lass from the spaceport administration. We're considering to apply for co-habitation already." the decurion spoke, "Anyway, how's the baby?"

"I'm still getting used to all the sleepless nights," Riva smiled weakly, "Takes quite some nerve being a mom and all. For the first week, I thought I'd kill the screaming little monster myself. Thankfully, Nathan's been a big help while he's not at work, and the neighbors help us out as well."

"How did you two name her again?" the decurion asked.

"Haya. After my mom," Riva said, "Anyway, I better get going. There are two very hungry mouths waiting at home."

"Those bags of yours look mighty heavy," Avitus said, "Tell you what - our shift's almost over anyway, so why don't you hop in our APC and we'll give you a lift before going back to the precinct?"

"Dec, you know that's against the regs!" one of his men protested.

"The brass told us to foster good relations with the human residents, did they not?" Avitus turned to him, "Giving a young mother with lots of things to carry a lift does, I think, qualify as fostering good relations!"

"You're the boss..." the man shrugged, although his tone betrayed that he too was more sympathetic with Riva than the regulations.

Riva had the feeling that there was something more to the decurion's generosity than mere helpfulness, but agreed nonetheless. The grocery bags were indeed heavy, and if there was something Avitus wanted to know from her, he would find out eventually one way or another in any case.

The decury's APC, a sturdy Warhound Mk.III, was waiting just around the corner. The patrolmen got in first, making room for Riva and her shopping bags by shifting some of their equipment. The girl felt tiny sitting among these power-armored colossi of men that each stood almost half again her height and probably whole three of her wide. The armored door slammed shut and the vehicle began to roll forth.

Riva examined her surroundings with interest, having never been inside an operational Sidh APC, observing the layout of the inventory, the many screens and holo-displays among which she recognized surveillance camera and drone feeds. Apparently here the patrol would receive their orders and dispatches and plot their patrols among other things.

"So, I've been curious to ask you," Avitus got down to business, "Have you met with Marco Webley lately?"

"No, not since the gang war," Riva shrugged, "Well, I've run into him a couple times, had a brief chat on one or two occasions, but other than that, no. Mr. Webley is a busy man, and I fail to see what use he would have for me now that there are no more gangs."

"Pity," Avitus stated seemingly indifferently, "Then I suppose you wouldn't know anything about him having gone missing along with a whole bunch of former Greencoats."

"Missing?" Riva was genuinely surprised, "I wouldn't know, really. Mr. Webley and his men were in a dangerous business that didn't win him many friends before, and his current job as an enforcer probably hasn't been winning them any now. I'd like to help, really, but I and Nathan have always tried our best to stay out of trouble, so I'm afraid I have nothing of use to say."

"Someone in Webley's line of work is bound to make quite a few enemies," Avitus agreed, "And I can think of quite a few, including some types I'd rather not cross paths with. Anyway, your stop is here. If you hear anything on the matter, let me know, agreed?"

"Sure thing," Riva said, getting up and retrieving her bags as the APC's door slid open, "And thanks for the ride! I'll be sure to tell my neighbors how nice you UrbSec folks are being so that they pass the word around."

"Better don't," Avitus chuckled, "Otherwise every other female in town will start asking us for a lift! Give my greetings to Nathan too!"

"I will. Bye!" Riva smiled and waved the UrbSec crew goodbye as the APC rolled on.

As she went to the door, the screaming of little Haya could be heard already 10 paces outside.

"Oh, Nathan..." Riva sighed with disappointment. Loving and caring as he was, Nathan too had yet to get a hang of all the finesses of childcare. Riva smiled, remembering Nathan's first time changing the baby's diapers - an effort that had involved plumber's gloves, a gas mask and the liberal application of duct tape. Admittedly, Riva herself had been hardly the wiser at first until a consultation with one of the midwives at Emperor's Mercy had shed much needed light on the subjects of childcare that the young scavenger had never had the chance to learn from her own mother. Though she couldn't guess what Nathan had attempted to improvise this time, it was most probably the reason why the baby was crying so hard.

"I'm home, dear," she announced herself, opening the door. Nobody answered, except for little Haya's screams getting even more louder and frantic. The baby was for some reason lying on the table in the living room rather than in her crib, and Nathan was nowhere to be seen.

"Nathan, why is Haya on the tab..." Riva was about to enter the kitchen, when she suddenly froze in shock and horror, her grocery bags crashing to the floor.

---

The kitchen floor, table and walls were all covered in blood. Next to it stood a towering Sidh in the unmistakable Judicatorial armor with a blood-spattered surcoat, a cruel-eyed mountain of a man with a clean-shaved head sporting elaborate Norse tattoos on the sides and a long reddish beard arranged in a thick stubby braid, his optics glaring a demonic green. The brute was propping up Nathan on a stool. His clothes, hair, everything was soaked in blood, his face bruised black and swollen, beaten to barely recognizable. Poor lad was clutching his belly in an evident agony, some kind of pink rope was wrapped around his neck and strung to the hook that held the kitchen's lampshade.

Mustering the last of his strength, Nathan rolled up his eyes and muttered one last word.

"Run..."

"Judicator Alain sends his regards!" the Sidh growled with a cruel delight to his voice and kicked over the stool on which Nathan stood. With a ghastly, gurgling shriek the poor lad dropped, his intestines unravelling as he did, Riva only now realizing to her horror that the brute had in fact hanged Nathan by his own innards.

"OH MY GOD!!! NATHAN!!!" Riva screamed hysterically, falling over her grocery bags as she tried to rush back. With Nathan shivering his last as he swung from his own gut, the Sidh stepped forwards menacingly, drawing a huge combat knife. Giving Riva a sinister look, he stepped past the terrified girl and instead approached the table where the screaming baby was lying.

"This is what you get for consorting with traitors and enemies of the Imperium," the man announced, raising his blade about to cleave the infant in two.

He had, however, underestimated the strength of maternal instincts, Riva dashing in his way with speed that would do credit even to a higher-tier Sidh. As the cruel blade fell, it touched her flesh instead, cutting a deep gash across her shoulder as Riva shielded her baby with her body. Paying no heed to the pain, she snatched the vase that stood on the table and smashed the Sidh on the face with it, sending the brute stumbling backwards for an instant.

"O-ho-ho, I'm going to enjoy this...!" the man growled. Without wasting an instant, Riva grabed her child and rushed to the door as if pursued by the Furies themselves, screaming hysterically for help. Moments later, the Sidh smashed literally through the wall, wasting no time to chase her through proper exit. The few people out on the street who looked at the scene did nothing to help, instead scattering and hiding - and who could blame them, when they all knew full-well that getting in the way of men in the white surcoats would mean death even for most Sidhae, let alone humans whom they regarded as little more than vermin.

Despite running like never before, Riva could only keep going so much, the augmented might of her pursuer quickly gaining what little distance she had managed to put between them at first. Just as she cut corner into the next alley, an armored hand seized her by the neck and lifted her off the ground effortlessly, slamming her face-first into the nearby wall. Despite clenching with all her strength to her child, the baby was torn from her arms, and the iron grip around her neck tightened, choking her.

Having slammed the girl into the wall again, the Sidh lifted the screaming baby before Riva's eyes demonstratively.

"Please... Not the baby..." she begged as she choked.

"First I am going to dash your brat's brains out against this here dumpster," the Sidh spoke with a grin of unbridled cruelty and malice, deliberately detailing his intentions to make his victim suffer more as he held the baby out in his arm, "Then I'm going to rape you on it while I figure out which parts of you to start cutting away first. And then..."

He never got to finish, when the child was nimbly snatched out of his arms and his body suddenly convulsed from an electric crack. With a confused, angry roar, the Sidh loosened his grip and fell face-first onto the garbage bags near the dumpster, Riva dropping to the ground next to him. The figure of a young lad with four mecha-limbs protruding from his back was revealed behind the brute, holding little Haya in his organic arms, two mecha-limbs wielding an UrbSec-issue stun stick. It was Igor.

"Come with me if you want to live!" he spoke in a grating electronic voice as he reached out for Riva.

The girl took his arm and followed the boy without question before the murderous Judicator regained his senses. Igor led her around the next corner, where a new hovercycle stood parked and already powered up, awaiting for riders.

"Where are you taking us!?" Riva asked, still struggling to catch her breath.

"Anywhere that is not here," Igor answered, assuming the driver's position, "They took the doctor and me too. They killed Gerda just to make an example for us."

"How did you escape?" Riva asked.

"They turned out to be rather sloppy guards," Igor explained, making a rather precarious hard turn around the corner to the main street, "When I overheard they were coming for you and Nathan next, I escaped and borrowed this hovercycle and zapper on my way."

"I didn't know you can drive hovercycles," Riva stated, trying her best to distract herself from the horrors just experienced, "I didn't even know you can speak."

"I can now," Igor explained, pointing at a recent surgical scar at his neck with one of his free mecha-limbs, "The doctor made some major upgrades for me recently. As for hovercycles, I've had some opportunity to practice on the sims during weekends. The doctor can actually be quite fun when he wants to."

"You and the doctor play video games?" Riva was surprised.

"Sometimes... Oh, no, the Judicator is back!" Igor exclaimed after a glimpse in the rear-view mirror. And indeed, the brute was there, gaining in fast on them on a hovercycle of his own, "They must have some sort of tracking device on their rides!"

"Go to the Mecharussian embassy!" an idea suddenly dawned in Riva's mind, "We should be safe there! I'll contact colonel Golovkin, he will protect us!"

The embassy wasn't far, but time to reach it was running short as a scorching blaster plasma bolt streaked past their ears, followed by another. Moments after they cut around the last turn, a bolt impacted square on the bike's rear gravplate, sending it crashing to the ground and sliding along the pavement amidst a torrent of sparks.

"Run like hell!" Igor exclaimed, the lack of expression in his synthesized voice making it sound almost funny.

The Judicator would not fire his blaster with the embassy directly ahead of the two refugees, apparently not wanting to provoke a diplomatic incident with a stray shot, so stopped next to the crashed hovercycle and took to foot, switching back to his huge bloody knife. While he didn't expect the panicked youths to be let in, the gate was opened for them after some hesitation.

He wiped his knife clean, sheathed it and turned back. The kids had served their purpose either way, and the boss was waiting for his newest trophy.

---

location unknown
two hours later

"Is it done, Malachai?" Alain asked when his brutish disciple entered the room with a black garbage bag in hand.

The man said nothing but grinned sinisterly, reaching in the bag and drawing out a battered, bloody human head. It was Nathan's.

"Good," Alain stated curtly after briefly gazing at it and reflecting on something, "Take it to Ignatius and help him finish the installation. Then get everything ready, we move out as soon as I'm back."

"Already?"

"Yes. Our Mecharussian friends in A-1 just called in, we're green to go in two hours from now. It shouldn't take more than an hour there, and another hour on the way back, so I expect everything packed up and ready by 1800."

"As you say, boss," Malachai shrugged.

As he went off, Alain reached inside his surcoat, in the pocket of his armor's tactical rigging right over his heart. Inside was a picture of Flannery and him, the only one with them together there was, a double selfie snapped by him on his tacticom at her insistence and later printed out.

"Soon, my love, soon..." Alain whispered with a dark smile creeping on his face, "Today the colonel is in for the mother of all bad days, the first in a very long line to come for what he did to you."
Freedom doesn't mean being able to do as one please, but rather not to do as one doesn't please.

A fool sees religion as the truth. A smart man sees religion as a lie. A ruler sees religion as a useful tool.

The more God in one's mouth, the less in one's heart.

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Blakullar
Senator
 
Posts: 4506
Founded: Sep 07, 2012
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Blakullar » Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:11 am


Image DZHEYSON
RIVA'S HOME (OR RATHER WHAT'S LEFT OF IT), BAYIT GADOL, THE IMPERIUM OF SIDHAE.


"Sweet Black Fucking Sabbath..." Dzheyson announced, aghast. He truly had no idea of how else to translate the carnage that lay before his eyes into words.

Hardly a stranger to death, whether as an inflictor or a spectator of it, the Shark adopted a view of it that made it a grudging reality of his work. He tried not to derive any enjoyment from it, unlike Atalanta who hunted Frenkish Rangers in the wastelands of Arizona for her own entertainment, or Ippolyta who was in a completely different league to what could reasonably be considered 'normal'. This ... what blemished his view of the utterly-demolished interior of Riva's home, Dzheyson and Tesey having gotten here thanks to ample direction from Golovkin, was definitely Ippolyta's shtick. There was nothing subtle about her, in regards to either her attack plans or her means of dealing with foes. If she were to kill a hundred people, around thirty of those would meet a completely hideous demise by her hand. Set her loose anywhere, and you would start seeing many more hapless wretches impaled alive on spikes than anyone needed to see in their lifetime...

As he and Tesey inspected the disembowelled, decapitated carcass of what was most likely Nathan amidst the ruins, Dzheyson tried his hardest to suppress memories of his past that he much rather wanted to forget. This experience made him all the more sympathetic to the sword-sibling who stood by his left side with an equal look of horrified surprise. The Shark, at the very least, lacked an eidetic memory, unlike Tesey. For all intents and purposes, Tesey was the perfect scout, detection systems able to spot any target and memory able to store all the information, but Dzheyson knew that the things he had seen in the wars they had both fought in had done his mind little justice. The Memory would often wake up with a cold sweat following a bad recollection of one of his battles, or screaming, in the throes of a night-terror.

"What we're dealing with here, Tesey..." Dzheyson enunciated, voice and expression bitter, "...is a grade-A dickwaffle. Someone like Halko, basically."
"The only way we're going to find out for sure is if we talk to someone who saw what happened here..." Tesey responded, eyes looking aside from the bloodbath for someone meeting that criterion.
"Agreed," the Shark curtly nodded.

Both of them stepped from inside of the home, Dzheyson onto the well-kept front lawn and Tesey into the distance in search of a witness. With a deep sigh of irritation, the Shark dipped into his pocket for a cigar and one of his Kris knives. Cutting off the end of the cigar with the monomolecular blade, the chain to which the hilt was attached gently clattering as he manipulated the knife, he lit it up after sheathing the weapon again and drawing a lighter. Smoking was a bad habit of the Shark's, but it was one of his coping methods for the worst days of his job – and this ranked amongst the top ten most grim things he had seen. For a warrior as experienced as he, that was a tall statement to make.

About two drags in, Dzheyson saw Tesey return.

"Well, after a conversation with one local who is now most likely scarred for life, I can safely say that your 'dickwaffle', as you so term it, isn't Halko," the Memory stated as he strode in the Shark's direction. "Unless Halko decided to shave himself bald and grow a red Viking-style beard, that is."
"So we're dealing with a Viking dickwaffle..." Dzheyson groaned. "Any mug at the embassy could have told me that!"

Suddenly, a lively soundtrack, some kind of early-21st century pop, invaded both of their ears. Dzheyson's smartphone was ringing.

"And speaking of the embassy..." the Shark enunciated as he pressed the 'accept call' button, silencing the music, and lifted the 'phone to his ear. "Y'ello?"
"DZHEYSONYOUHAVETOGETTHEFUCKBACKHEREREALLYREALLYQUICKLY!!!!" Dzheyson heard a frantic, barely perceptible Golovkin shout helplessly on the other side.

The Shark's eyebrow shot up at once. When he had seen the Colonel earlier in such a state, his voice was full of determination and concern. Now it was overloaded with unbridled terror.
"Calm down!" Dzheyson called into the smartphone to reassure immediately. "Speak slowly, Colonel. What's up?"


ABOUT TWO MINUTES PRIOR...

The Alfas listened to Riva's tearful recollection of her and Igor's plight with an expression of mounting concern. The worst of it was her having to bring back up the sight of Nathan's horrendous death like bubbling vomit. As a nascent father himself, the horror experienced by the child was almost too much for Golovkin to stomach. God forbid anything like that happen to his beloved Evgeniy and Yulia. Not that it would – any butcher seeking their death would find the tables turned by their cantankerous mother in a terrifyingly-short space of time.

"I never bought Kaffarov's drivel for a moment at first, but I'm starting to think maybe he's onto something..." Medveditsa growled, arm and intimidating power-claw folded over her chest in a clear expression of raw disgust. "What the fuck kind of monsters can send thugs to hound a happy family to death and still sneer at humans for being barbaric?"

"Kaffarov?" Riva enquired, knowing little of recent events in the Mechanocracy other than what Dzheyson had told her about Golovkin's girlfriend.
"Just some populist fruitcake back in our Home Dimension," Danovich answered her. "Things got a little bit nutty back home in the year since you and the Colonel last met, and now everybody's gradually losing their cool with the Imperium because of it. All this time, Kaffarov's been throwing gasoline onto the bonfire..."

"Can't your government do something?" Riva queried.
"Hah! If only it were that simple, kid..." Medveditsa blew. "The government couldn't organise a piss-up at a distillery, still less stop everybody from losing it after an attempt on the life of a prominent figurehead in our country by an Imperial Judicator. They badly screwed up a propaganda campaign intended to calm everyone down after some hack revealed that Miss Marilova got torture-raped by another one. Kaffarov steps in with some 'Remember Zina Movement' and manages to do what the government fucked up. Now he's bloody untouchable!"

"That Dzheyson guy told me something about a Judicator trying to kill your girlfriend, Colonel?" Riva turned to Golovkin.
"Oh yes," he spoke out with an air of bitterness. "And let's not talk about the absolute insanity revolving around Marilova. That could almost be called hilarious, if it wasn't so stu-"

All of a sudden Golovkin stopped speaking, with a blank look as if he had just remembered something. Something that Serena had told him at the hospital where Marilova was being treated for her air crash injuries.

"You alright there, Colonel?" Dmitriyeva noticed the look and immediately enquired.
"'You won't even realise you're being distracted'..." he mumbled, after a brief pause.

"Distracted?" the team's hacker looked confused, initially. Then, at the same time, both of their expressions turned cold. An epiphanic ice had just subsumed the pair of them as they looked at each other, both having come to exactly the same conclusion.

One of the embassy staff almost got knocked over as the infirmary door was subsequently thrown wide open and out came Golovkin, horrified expression and manic sprint toward the lobby almost as if a pack of vicious wargs was right at his heel. Next to follow was Dmitriyeva, who turned her head to the stunned envoy with a face of determination.

"What's all the ruckus?" he asked with an utterly-bemused look.
"Get that portal fired up within thirty seconds!" Dmitriyeva barked at him. "We are departing right the fuck now!"

"What? But Miss Geller needs to fill out the-"
"FORGET ABOUT THE DAMN PAPERS!!!" the Joker shrieked at the envoy. "GENERAL TROTSKAYA'S ABOUT TO BE KILLED!! NOW MOVE IT, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!!"

The three remaining Alfas, Riva with Haya in hand and Igor followed Dmitriyeva out of the door while Golovkin was on the phone to Dzheyson, explaining what he had just discovered to the Word Shark.

"Who's General Trotskaya, and why so urgent?" Riva enquired.
"Golovkin's girlfriend!" Mikhailov growled. "That fucker Alain's just come back with a literal vengeance!"

Outside of the embassy, Dzheyson's BRDM-28 Kosa hoverbike came to a curt halt, he and Tesey having rushed back to meet up with Golovkin the instant that they were made aware of the imminent threat to Trotskaya. As the Chthonians jumped off of the craft, the Colonel could be seen running out of the building, confused onlookers noting his look of terrified trepidation.

"Stay at your posts!" Tesey barked to the embassy security guards, who had begun to shift with nervousness.
"We have to get back to Russia, quickly!" Golovkin shouted to the Chthonians. "I won't see Elena die, not when my family needs me!"

"Calm down! Cool your jets!" Dzheyson grabbed the Colonel's shoulders and gently shook him out of his screed. "The shitstorm's only just gotten started, so there's still plenty of time! Tears only come after someone bites it, not before! Where are the others?"

"They're headed for the portal generator now as I speak," Golovkin answered.
"You better go with them, then!" the Shark commanded. "We'll be with you in a moment!"

As Golovkin dashed back into the embassy to rendezvous with his squad, Dzheyson produced his smartphone again, the implement coming with a communicator operating on a multiversal frequency, and dialled in a number. The instant that he saw 'connection established', his face dropped.
"That's not a good sign..." he grumbled.

"What isn't?"
"If Zorya was still up, I wouldn't be able to get a signal..." the Shark answered Tesey's query, raising the 'phone to his ear once more. "Central Command, this is Dzheyson, I need an immediate situation report for Greater Sunikagrad! What's going on down there?!"

A few seconds later, his expression became even more grim as he gritted his teeth together. He thumbed the 'end call' button and returned the smartphone to his pocket.

"Tesey, you know I said this was among the top ten worst situations I've ever been in?" the Shark turned to the Memory and asked.
"Yes?" Tesey answered and gave his own worried query.

"Welp..." Dzheyson responded as he proceeded to follow Golovkin into the embassy. "It's just cleared the top three."


Image RODRIGO MADEIRA
OUTSIDE OF EKATERINA'S APARTMENT, NIZHNIY NOVGOROD, THE MECHANOCRACY OF RUSSIA.


Rodrigo Madeira and Ling Enlai were two ex-elites of the now-defunct Singaporean Federative Republic of Vodorazdel and Primorsky, having been among the retinue assigned by Sophie Bu to the Judicator Alain on the day of the Sixteen July conspiracy. Having fully expected to die on that day like so many of their compatriots, they were among the first and foremost to desert after Alain gave them the explicit order to 'disperse and await to be contacted'. After ditching their easily-discernible armour, exchanging it for plain clothes, and escaping the colossal manhunt launched by the feared Final Thirteen, they had spent the last two months hiding in Moscow from the wrath of the Chthonians. Most of the action had been focused on the other side of the Urals: word had reached them that, during the reprisal campaign initiated by the army, entire swathes of land had been scorched to cinders and whole villages still sympathetic to the SFR-VP razed to the ground. The tabloid media had been calling it a 'second Salvagings', especially with news that the Chthonian Ippolyta had been leading the campaign alongside the Chernydrakony.

Now, the order had come through. Madeira and Ling dared not question where from, nor the circumstances of it: the text had read simply '17 PUGACHEVA STREET, FLOOR 10, ROOM 76, NIZHNIY NOVGOROD. MAKE HER SWING.'. All they knew was that if they failed to haul ass to the given coordinates, death or worse was almost guaranteed to happen. They still had no idea of how many of Alain's agents were still active, and they were afraid to find out.

The elevator bell gave a curt bong sound, and the doors parted. Here they were, floor ten. Now to look for room seventy-six. If Madeira recalled correctly, this was where the populist Ekaterina Golovkina lived. For one reason or another, Bu had wanted her in particular to die, specifically by hanging. Hence, Madeira had taken the liberty of hiding a length of rope in the bag on his back.

Shortly after they left the lift, the Singaporeans found the room they were looking for. Seventy-six. As Ling moulded a paperclip into a lockpick, he inserted it into the door's old lock – and promptly grew a look of in surprise.

"Hey, this door's awready unrocked..." the black-haired fellow whispered in a strong Chinese-accented English.
"Well then!" Madeira hissed back, the blond young man speaking with a lighter Filipino-sounding voice. "Either this place is really, really safe, or our mark literally has no idea what's about to happen!"

Noiselessly and ever-so-carefully, the front door to Ekaterina's apartment was pushed open by Ling. A total pitch-blackness had enveloped the living room, disturbed only by the moonlight resonating from outside of the residence. Both Ling and Madeira flicked on their hand-torches to survey the area, finding nothing too queer – save for the inordinate number of propaganda posters lying around, which was to be expected of a populist.

"Awright, ret's get to work..." Ling whispered. "You put up the rope, I go get her..."
And so the two Singaporeans set themselves to their grim task of making Ekaterina Golovkina die. Madeira, holding the torch in his teeth, threaded the rope around the ceiling-light, tying it so that it would be secure. Then came the job of making a suitable noose for it. The Filipino was trying to remember how to tie properly. Was it over or under?

"Ey, Rodrigo, you might wanna come see this!" Ling suddenly called out, at normal volume.

Promptly, Madeira spat out the torch and turned on the direction of the voice with a venomous hiss.
"WOULD YOU PIPE DOWN?!! You wanna wake her up and get ourselves shotgunned in the face?!"

"No need!" Ling spoke again, same voice level. "Somebody beat us to it!"
"What...?" Madeira jerked back his head in disbelief. He had to see this for himself.

And sure enough, the instant that the Filipino wandered into the lit bedroom where Ling was situated, there she was. The populist, sprawled out on the bed, the wall beside her painted a dull reddish pink with brain matter and the mattress with a deep haematic red. An entry wound where a bullet had blown clean through the left side of her head was present, along with the appropriate exit wound on the right. That her eyes were still shut, rather than agape with horror, attested that she had been killed in her sleep.

Madeira immediately exploded with rage.
"Well, WHAT THE FUCK DO WE DO NOW?!! The text message specifically stated that we string her up! How in Gabe Newell's name do we explain this to the Judica-"

The angry Filipino's tirade was interrupted by a racking sound that threw a shiver down his spine.
"One wrong move and you join her, gook..." a venomous, masculine Russian voice hissed at him. "Same goes for you as well!"

"Who are you?" Ling made a nervous enquiry as he slowly raised his hands. "Mafia? SFR? Arain's bunch?"

A glance in the window reflection revealed to Madeira that the two individuals who were currently prodding suppressed submachine guns to his and Ling's backs indicated that they were none of the above. They were both dressed in dark-grey commando fatigues, balaclavas masking their facial appearances. The bathroom's door being open gave a good indicator of where they had just come from.

"When you two idiots are finished with your very long chat with our commander, you'll be wishing we were Mafia!" the second accoster, a woman, enunciated.
- - - MECHANOCRATIC RUSSIA - - -
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Gigaverse
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12722
Founded: Mar 26, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Gigaverse » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:35 am

Latin
Japanese
Russian
Georgian
Sidh

"This is the renegade, nay, dare I say rebel, who has managed to cause the defection of many a reputable regional organizations to his side - Order of Saint Degà, Holy Order of Saint Lucius, Order of Ashura, Order of the Blue Forest, Hollow Ones, Order of the Phoenix; you name them. Are you sure we can trust him?"

Their faces mostly obscured by the lack of lighting within the chamber, two men dressed in elaborate priestly robes - resembling a mixture of Catholic and Shintoist priests of old - conversed with each in semi-hushed voices. Despite that, the smirk on one of their faces was apparent.

"I don't usually gamble," the smirking one spoke, "but when I do, I can be proud to admit that I place my bets on the right spots."



SS Omnicorp HQ, Tokyo
Japan | Earth
The 2nd of September, 2152 [local calendar]



SS Omnicorp had always been something of an urban legend in Japan. Sure, their services and advertisements were everywhere in Japan (with the exceptions being Sendai and the tips of Hokkaido, for obvious reasons), and everybody in Japan knew something or two about the basic history of the business conglomerate - it was no secret that a retired ace pilot of former Imperial Japan ventured into business and formed the Omnicorp's foundations. The modern-day SS Omnicorp was a different story: outside the location of their headquarters and the glaring fact that they were Japan's official authority, what they were doing, or even who was the de facto head the conglomerate - speculated to be anything ranging from a single individual, to a council, and even a super-intelligent coconut - remained out of the public's knowledge.

Unlike during the 21st century, however, people weren't as curious to stick their noses where unwanted in the name of democracy, transparency or human rights. Especially not the Japanese, who had been traditionally trusting in the authorities. Their current megacorp government was operating more efficiently than any Japanese government before, and bringing them safety and stability amidst the contemporary gloom of their surroundings. Thus, the Omnicorp's activities proceeded, unhindered by the common man's inquisitiveness.

"Ladies. Gentlemen. Reseminatio comes into fruition, and I would like to thank you for all of your hard work until this point."

As such, a meeting on the scale as the one unfolding in the largest room inside Omnicorp's headquarters would go unnoticed. Before a gathering of no less than a hundred individuals in various military uniforms (only a minority of which seemed to be standards from Frenkish armed forces), a tall man with long, blond ponytail raised a glass of fine red wine with one of his black-gloved hands, while the other held an opened bottle, inscribed with SS Omnicorp signs. After a few seconds pausing, he lowered his glass-holding hand and started moving slowly away from his position.

"But I would request that from this moment onward, we will all work ourselves more diligently, for the months to come will be even harsher towards us all. Success has not yet come, and even if Reseminatio happens to be much closer now than ever before, we are still short of the push towards our final goal. Therefore! Allow yourselves to relax today; for we continue tomorrow."

The man spoke while he walked towards the side of the room, in front of the soldiers, his purple right eye never leaving their sight. He left the bottle on a table at the corner, then turned to his subordinates, the light reflecting in the golden double-headed phoenix on his eye-patch. His superficially-youthful facial features did not clearly belong to any race, resembling at most a half-European, half-Asian man with his towering frame and slightly-tanned skin. There was no wind, yet his black long-coat gently fluttered regardless.

"Always remember; we, are Phantom Crusaders - our holy mission is defined, and nothing can stop us from accomplishing that.", he raised his glass once more, maintaining his calm demeanor throughout, "Vivat!"

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ஜ۩۞۩ஜ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

Even if it was past midnight, the night was still young over Tokyo. Most had, by then, fallen back to their quarters to mind their own businesses - including the blond-haired commander of the "Phantom Crusaders". His hair was allowed to flow free without a hair band holding it, the longest strands touching the floor as he sat on a chair in his office. Instead of the military uniform from earlier, all he wore was a simple vintage combination of white shirt and black trousers, added with a pair of rimless glasses and a cigarette in his mouth. Resting on his right hand was a compact notebook, while his left wrote on its pages. There was little more than moonlight to shine on the pages he wrote on.

The tranquil moment was interrupted by the wooden door being so slightly opened, revealing a blond-haired woman in an elaborate night-gown that, at first glance, one would guess she was in her early 20s.

"In this day and age when everything is digitized and the most fashionable people in the world wear tracksuits... You opt for a change of vintage clothing and writing in a paper notebook. And why are you doing so without lighting, no less?", the woman said, her fingers snapping to generate a small, gentle yellow light floating towards the man with whom she was talking.

"I consider it a healthy exercise for my senses.", he answered her questions without giving her a single look, his hands continuing what they had been doing.

"And you're smoking while doing that?", the woman's eyebrows were raised.

"Nicotine-free. Omnicorp brand. Want one?", the seated man invited.

"I... don't smoke."

"Watch while it lasts, Rheia. I don't usually smoke."

Rheia was still puzzled. She had stayed by the side of the man, Shinji Sakahara, by what would qualify in his standards to have been "a while" - and yet, there were such times as what she was beholding that had her wondering what kinds of cryptic activities did that enigma of a person engaged in. Quietly, she approached his side to check what he was doing with the notebook. The notebook itself was noticeably aged, all the pages yellow, but otherwise well-preserved. Each of the pages was relatively small in size. The two visible to her were lined up by full-body drawings of six girls of varying ages, sleeping side by side beneath a tree while sunshine caressed their hair. So lively was the artwork, using nothing but a single mechanical pencil and clever shading. At the bottom was Sakahara's signature, along with the line "a tribute to my sisters". Rheia couldn't help but to silently stare at the skillful hand of the man she otherwise knew as her commander.

"Your handwriting is... beautiful.", Rheia blurted out.

"Why, thank you.", Sakahara paid his gratitude for the comment.

"Can I... see more of it?"

Per Rheia's request, Sakahara laid the notebook on the desk for her to flip the pages herself. There was so much more about the old little notebook. From a simple sketch of a white camellia, a kitten, more artworks of Sakahara's sisters making all kinds of little expressions, a detailed drawing of what was doubtlessly Rheia herself making an unhappy expression... to the lush greenery near Mount Fuji, the crowded streets of Kyoto in Tanabata, an impression of the night-sky filled with lanterns... Every page, though varying in topics, was filled with life, biological or still. Those which captivated her the most, however, was a photo-like monochrome drawing of an enormous mushroom cloud. Larger than the two pages it took over, there were no caption going with the dreadfully-realistic piece of art, perhaps to mimic the melancholy-inducing silence that would follow. Another was one of a man she vaguely recalled having seen somewhere before, but could not quite tell.

"You're left-handed?", Rheia asked.

"Jokes on you, I don't need hands.", Sakahara responded with a hint of a smirk on his face, the cigarette having not left his mouth.

"So you were here drawing," Rheia changed to an upright stance, "No wonder, leaving a vulnerable lady all by herself in her bedchamber..."

"Surely you must have learned a better way to tell me to bed you than that, Valkyrie? You know well I have so many women in my life.", the man finally lifted his cigarette away from his mouth, "Regardless. Nice dress."

"Why, thank you.", Rheia mimicked her commander's tone from earlier.

"So much more enticing it would be, if you were wearing babydoll.", a sly smile crept on Sakahara's face, "I'll go to your room soon; take your time to change for me, will you?"

Nodding to acknowledge, Rheia immediately vacated the office, leaving Sakahara to once again be by himself. He would keep that promise moments earlier with her, but first things first. The blond turned to the pair of pages where he was drawing on, which Rheia had not seen. It was a massive spacecraft, floating lonely in the void of space, with only the stars to accompany it. Its caption:

ポルノチナヤ

Then, his hand reaching for the twinkle of light that Rheia had created, Sakahara held it inside his palm. As it disappeared and the office was once again overtaken by the darkness, the towering giant stood up and promptly exited.



Sunikagrad University Hospital, Velikiy Sunikagrad
Mechanocratic Russia | Earth
The 4th of September, 2152 [local calendar]



Sunikagrad, Russia, 2152. A city that had gone through hell and high water. Before it was known as (Velikiy) Sunikagrad, it had at least three other names: Saint Petersburg, Petrograd, and Leningrad. Many historical events were observed in the city alone - as large and horrifyingly well-recorded as the Siege of Leningrad, or as minor and mythical as the death of Grigory Rasputin.

A certain old man wasn't there to recollect memories of those events, however. Wearing a black mix of ushanka and a light fur coat, the grey-haired man joined the massive crowd just outside the gates of Sunikagrad University Hospital, who were eagerly anticipating their most widely-renowned public figure, "Humanity's Strongest Warrior", to give birth.

"Pardon. Allow me passage."

Speaking Russian with a smidgen of Georgian accent, the towering old man politely asked for others on the street to clear the way, so he could find himself a perfect position to "witness the moment". Although he had estimated down to the minute with frightening precision and chosen a relatively early time to arrive, the front of the hospital was still teeming. Regardless, it was a small convenience that did not matter. He thought to himself, his augmented left eye giving the location a good look.

Although he might not be witnessing the moment "directly", he could even sense the pain that the General, the Red Tigress, was going through to deliver her children. Part of the old man contemplated doing something to relieve that, but he refrained; it was a pain that the General ought to learn to endure, and above all else, he was feeling particularly sadistic.

Ultimately, she succeeded. Two beautiful children were born, one boy, one girl. As their father cried tears of joy at the sight of his newborn children and the mother, in spite of her exhaustion, was still trying her damnedest to smile for her happy little family, the old man outside noticed something: a cheeky little cloud was trying to block the sun. With a few gestures of his fingers, the cloud was pushed away, and the sun was once again shining, its light reaching into the hospital room where Trotskaya and her family were most certainly in.

"Congratulations, Stalin.", the old man clapped, his avuncular smile adding to his felicitations, "You have come a long way. A very, very long way."

At the end of that morning when the crowd dispersed to mind their own businesses like usual, so too did the old man walk away. His smile, however, had given to a grim expression.

I would also like to wish you good luck, Elena Trotskaya; for the days lying ahead of you will be harsh.

The morning of September 4th, 2152 passed like that; and the mysterious old man was once again nowhere to be found.



(What's left of) Riva Geller's house, Bayit Gadol
Scatach Prime | Imperium of Sidhae
The 2nd of May, 2631 [local calendar]



"And somehow, they insist that I have too heavy a workload."

A single, towering male figure sighed as his face and his right hand's palm made contact; his general appearance and Codex immediately identifying to outside observers that he was a Sidh. He was standing in the smoldering ruins of what used to be the home of several certain citizens of Bayit Gadol's human quarters; more specifically, the dwelling of Nathan Epstein, Riva Geller and their daughter Haya. Before him was the visceral sight of a headless body with exposed entrails that decidedly belonged to none other than Nathan Epstein.

His azure eyes analyzed his environs, while with a slow swing of his right hand, it was revealed to him that before he was there, several others had appeared. First, a couple of Judicators - the ones responsible for the bloody horror before him; and second, another pair of what could only have been "visitors" from Mechanocratic Russia, that one country foreign to the Sidhae that had an embassy nearby.

Not that he needed to figure that out by himself, for he already knew of the situation beforehand.

Well, at least I can do the people around here a favor and clean up this mess.

It took the Sidh no more than 4 minutes to "clean up"; that was, collecting certain things on the crime scene and removing the beheaded body of Nathan away from its position. As he held the latter in his hand, he quickly assessed that his work there was done for the moment, and there was nobody near enough to his location to see what he was about to do. He promptly retreated by allowing the forms of him and Nathan's body to visually melt into thin air, creating apparent ripples as they did so. Just as quickly and suddenly as he arrived, the supposed Sidh had also left without a trace.
Last edited by Gigaverse on Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Art-person. Japanophile. Cultural semi-liberal.
Student in linguistics. On-and-off writer.
MAKE CAKE NOT WAR.
token vietbong, born and raised in and emigrated from vietbongistan
Operating this polity based on preferences and narrative purposes
labeling others' works as "memes" feels dismissive fyi
capable of communication in (in order of fluency) oldspeak,
vietbongistani and bonjourois (learning weebspeak at uni)

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The Nexus of Man
Diplomat
 
Posts: 695
Founded: Oct 11, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby The Nexus of Man » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:38 pm


Image
Z E N I T H S P I R E, V I K Z O R I A, E A R T H
C A R I B B E A N N E X U S, N E X U S O F M A N S E P T E M B E R 5 T H, 2 1 5 2 A N N O D O M I N I
V O P H R H A Z I E N G R A E M E

Vermillion in a sweeping stroke along the edges of the skies, the eye-searing golden body of Helios slowly began to make his ascent upwards and onwards through the slipping white brushes of distant clouds, elephantine in their tapering trunks of steam and lazy meandering through the orange and red savanna of the overarching space. The purple remnants of the falling night had retreated due west into the comforting embrace of the lateral horizon, dividing the sable tumbling oceans and the spumes of the raging tides against the fading dots and clouds of twinkling stellar dust. The distant lights of space were being ravenously consumed at every inching of the coming solar hour. Of course, on the day's side of the temporal alliance, the gentle waves crashed against the shores with a more gentle touch of contact, while the golds and yellows of the coming day advanced and encroached against the dying night like legions of an interstellar empire into the dissipating black space.

The presence of the great Zenith Spire, however, changed much of this surrounding environment from its original and innate natural beauty into one of an abnormal and unique architecture-nature interactive phenomenon.

Towering hundreds of meters straight up into the cool high-altitude air, the Zenith Spire's jagged pitch-black form casted forth a sickly gray behind its own monolithic form, swamping the normally orange ambiance of the inherent surrounding Puerto Rican jungles with this new visual shade of darkness. The waves that dared to crash their fragile turquoise bodies into the midst of the Spire's water-submerged region were met with an instant and relentless annihilation of their aqueous forms, as their subsequent whitewater was obliterated into nothing more than just a meek oceanic spittle.

Although the Zenith Spire was not alone in its utter triumph of stabbing the soft and palatable cobalt flesh of the heavens with its own sharpened ebony body, it was — by most visual observations and subsequent bouts of spectating astonishment — the largest and attention-seeking of the twelve spires that were standing strong and tall against the fierce waves, battering their outer walls in opposition to the construction of the Vikzorian "Temporary Shelter Zone" (TSZ).

This particular "zone" was nothing more than political buzzwords for a possibly-permanent collection of shantytowns and megatowers, all of which were becoming amalgamated into one supreme (and quite impoverished) urban settlement zone for the exponential rate of the natives' assimilation and population growth into the Nexonic culture.

All of the various different spires served two main and primary functions for the burgeoning new state that arose from underneath the dust and dirt of this old, albeit foreign world: the defense against any and all seafaring menaces, no matter how severe the threat or if it was even of an environmental origin (rather, speaking of a possible and perilous martial invasion). The other more useful function of the spires were, judging by how the connections between the jutting walls could not compare to the plethora of stories that these spires encompassed, was to serve as the primary civil and administrative centers for the new Temporary Shelter Zone below them, expanding and rising in physical size and population at an ever-climbing rate.

The Zenith Spire was, as rightfully expected to be, the absolute Nexonic zenith of political demand and physical prominence within the entire San Juan region of this new land, only being outshined by the massive rocky stalagmites that were fashioned by the inhabitants of the underlying subterranean Nexonic megacity lying some several hundred feet below the very ground and sand that the eclipsing Spire was built upon. And, on this day, this titan of architecture was to birth forward the beginning age of a rallying revolution, building from small steps into the bright, albeit unknown, future.


“You all have arrived here below this voluminous Spire and before the superseding eyes of God — on this very day — all in order to seek answers as to how you will contribute to the rise of our new destiny for the resurgent Humanity... now, is that correct?”


The sterile-yet-appealing words that had rolled off of the man's silver-tongued charisma seemed to resonate effectively and sufficiently within the watchful minds of the tens of thousands below his formally-suited body, for they issued a massive bellow of approval and commendation hundreds of feet underneath his very own bleak and blackened podium. The winds, which were blowing beforehand at gusts warranting the coming of a ferocious and insatiable storm, had now died town to nothing more than a slight soothing breeze upon the bodies of all who assembled before his steel-eyed gaze.

“As it very well should be...”


The man's white hair accompanied his pale and pallid skin's lack of blemishing with a fine fibrous swoop down the midst of his forehead, ruffled only a smidgen by the soft rolling of winds throughout the spire's aft. His slate irises were surrounded by a waxen sclera without any noticeable dilated capillaries branching over its surface, increasing the visual and stark contrast of the white against the grey. His pupils were contracted only slightly from the normal deviation due to his intense concentration of the crowd below him, as the man's mind rapidly combed over all of his future annunciations with a harsh and unadulterating mental process.

These orbs of stone glanced left to right, not out of stage fright or fear, but out of a mere innate curiosity for his surroundings. The man's eyes caught sight of the mass of faces below him, ranging from shades of brown akin to the earth, all the way to the most now-reddened faces of the normally white and caucasian. Peoples of all statures and sizes were assembled in unison under the gargantuan fluttering banners of the State. The inky blackness of the Nexus of Man's civil flag was contrasted with the complementing and cubical letter N colored a pre-War dodger blue. The clouds in front of him, which were floating against the western horizon, almost bowed in their cessation of transit across the skies when the man's eyes conceptualized their existence into his brain.

He turned his gaze downward to the multitude of attentive and concentrated faces, all seemingly vesting every ounce of their soul and attention to him... and only him. With not even a single stutter nor cough, the man marched on in his verbal procession.

“It is the moral prerogative of the People to construct and embody the architectural spirit of the Nation. Without a proper, civilized, and structured set of beliefs, morals, traditions, and culture, how are we in any way different than the tabula rasa mindset of the primitive, disorganized, and discreet?”


The expressions of curiosity now turned into contemplation and questioning within the crowd, as they themselves combed over their own thoughts in search for an answer for that particular question... an answer that, to them, did not seem to come into mental manifestation. The man looked through the sea of faces, and had a slight smile slowly inch near his cheeks. This break of character quickly receded back into a neutral and pursed form, as his stoic demeanor gave way to a hushed and listening audience. As the sun rose behind the omnipresent spire's structure, an orange aura flanked both sides of the man's podium situated upon a branching and central outcrop.

It was as if God Himself was illuminating the world with the messages being delivered by this very individual.

“Our Nation shall constitute and birth forth from its womb a wholly united and unified culture... a culture that will embody the true future vision of the human race, for the social benefit and technological progress of all of mankind. Our culture shall stand tall in its glorious visage of renovated tradition and ethical triumph, holding steady higher positions of power, domination, and swooning accord within the minds and hands of every man, woman, and child ever more so than the sinful tirades of baseless and formless hedonism.”


The distant howls of wind ravaging the waves behind the spires careened over the seawalls, blowing forth scents of the sea with every enunciated syllable. As the sun clambered up on its stellar rungs into position over the spire, more golden light had begun to enshroud the man's originally darkened form. Bordered to his left and to his right by billowing banners of the Nexus, the combination of black, blue, and gold created an atmosphere of both apprehension and patriotic awe.

“Our unity is established through the People of the Nation, ruled and lead forth into the spanners of the future by a Government of unequivocal power through the might of the Military and the mandates of the Religion, shall gestate a grand country and culture of organic supremacy without the involvement of the defiling cybernetic edicts of our lesser fellow peoples.”


On the outcrop and to the sides of the ebony podium marched a large contingent of Nexonic Blackshadow troops - nicknamed the "Paladins of the State", for their service in maintaining the security and protection of the Commandant and other Nexonic politicians. In this case, they seemed to be flooding forth into view on the large and spacious outcrop, hoisting and holding a dazzling array of different flags according to the original Nexus that they originated from.

“Our Nation shall grow to consume all of the four corners of the world, piercing through the preceding skies above with our lances forged and dipped from the marble and gold of Heaven itself! We shall bore a tunnel through the writhing masses of corpses and cadavers of our past ancestors and progenitors to exhume the covenant of a prosperous future for the People of all nations under our own banner - no matter the location, setting, time, or cost!”


Accompanying the raising tone of the man's voice was the distant sounds of trumpets blaring coming into an audible fruition, reverberating within the atmosphere of the rally into a definitive tempo of demanding power and attention. Shouts and cheers began to rise in varying volumes across the assembled horde, not even being attempted to be suppressed to the slightest level by the presiding Commandant.

“The Government are the trumpets booming into the cerulean seas from above to below, bending the skies and seas unto our will when they anticipate our armadas of steel and inextinguishable fire sailing through their breadths! We have excavated our own very souls from the dark depressions of the static life of a subterranean Limbo, only to find ourselves emerging forth from the ground and crust as the Paladins of the Sovereign God against the fiery oceans of radioactive wrath and mettle!”


Shrill and vicious screams suddenly shrieked down unto the shifting earth from the welkin, as angled shadows zoomed past the spires' peaks. They left a steaming condensation trails within their midst, with these linear clouds slowly attenuating as time went on. As the sounds of the distant jets' wails died down into a hearty hum, the anthem of the Nexus was quickly rising into an intuitive prominence, ringing with a fervid gusto amongst the nigh-religious chanting of the assembled troupe.

“We shall soldier on against the armies of Satan and Hell, and proclaim to these false prophets and divisive devils that we will not and shall not ever submit to their treacherous lies of assimilation and socially deprecating repudiation!”


A spirituous and resounding hurrah erupted into the space from the assembled coal-colored storm troopers, who all had followed suit with an oblique salute that intrinsically resembled the ancient and feared ridged palms of old. The combined thundering voices of the agglomerated audience below and the organized contingents on the outcrop coalesced into one, united clamor of enrapturement. These calls floated upwards, being distorted by the sheer volume of the skies above them into one warble of a distant predator's roar.

Unbeknownst to the raving and euphoric swarm, three figures from behind the gratified man were coming into the light of the sun's gaping maw. It was another man wrapped in rough linens, bounded by his hands by nothing more than a spool of rough rope being intertwined around his abnormally lean and scabrous wrists. Both of his arms were being seized in the grips of two soldiers, clad in all white robes, as if mimicking some sort of primeval and esoteric ritual.

Behind the walking soldiers who were struggling to keep the quivering and convulsing prisoner in check came forth an utterly herculean and monumental form, with its appearance still being sunken into the void of black despite being exposed to the vivid sunshine that arose from the beaches behind them. Trailing only a few meters behind the trio, this colossus's armor clinked and pinged with every heaved march forward. The Blackshadow who were assembled near the opening to the spire could not help but view this behemoth from their peripheral visions - those who were lucky enough to have visors wrapped around their heads peeked at the vague outline of this exultant silhouette.

Dragging the weak and emaciated prisoner to the front of the Commandant's podium, the soldiers quickly stepped away and assembled to flank both sides of the reigning Commandant. A series of disapprobations and boos were slung to this prisoner from one end of the interminable crowd to the other, with a surfeit of voices hollering the most disapproving and graphic of jeers to this sickly and sallow form. Their verbal attacks were not visibly taking any toll on this particular bounded man, for all he did was rock back and forth in slight shakes before being violently kicked right into the peeking mountains of dorsal vertebrae by the soldier to the right.

A shout of pain and effervescence of spittle rained from the wounded captive, as his venous and cadaverous countenance came to fall on the apathetic silver eyes of his reaper.

“Elias, please... I'm so sorry-”

“Lend me your Ears, so that you can listen to the transitions of our species away from the age of copulative vices and wails of agonizing moral extinction, and into an age of the glorious crescendos of the orchestras of a biological and purified Man and Heaven, in infinite unison against the hordes of political and spiritual corruption!”


As if materializing from out of the thinnest of all air, the tremendous physique of the previously cloaked shadow came to light in front of the podium, having no weapons in its possession apart from the muscular bluffs that rolled like steep mountain ranges underneath its own chainmail and plated armor. One of its leather-shrouded paws seized the back of the captive's head in one swift motion, slamming him into the diamond-plated ground with almost no visible exertion of tiring force. Following the bang of calloused flesh against wrought metal, the two soldiers to the sides of the podium strode forward, with their gloved hands resting upon the scabbards of what seemed to be short swords.

Their rapid equipment of the gleaming blades was accompanied by their twirls upon the embroidered golden hilts, which peeked their tips in aim towards the prisoner's balding head. Unable to move his head, the captive caterwauled with faint muses of depressing realization, before two sharp thwacks sliced through the air.

The familiar crimson color of blood ran unto the metallic floor in slow drips at first, before the arteries and veins in the outer ears fully severed away from the captive's head. Instantaneously, the pitiful whining of the past was replaced with despondent cries of agony, with the sanguine and molten fluid sputtering in a morbid circular wound. His inner ear was intact, but severely impaired in audibility and hearing from the loss of such a precious organ.

“Lend me your eyes, so that you can observe the seiches and tsunamis of boiling blood and pulsating viscera be cleansed by the blinding enlightenment of Man into a boundless ocean of ever-expansive peace, knowledge, and freedom in the sacred and sacrosanct grace of an authoritative and ultimate revolutionary sacrifice of the blood!”


A black bandanna was hoisted around the crusted and tear-speckled eyelids of the prisoner, with a stark white skull peeking forth upon the fabric from above the ridge of his nose. With no outer ear to impede the wrapping, the bandanna fit perfectly and snugly, despite the pooling blood that still frothed from the wounds now being suffocated by the sable linen.

“Lend me your tongues, so that you may no longer be subjected to the taste of rotting and fermenting gore spilling forth from the tattered wounds and bandages of a nation that has betrayed and imprisoned you, but instead feast upon the ambrosia melting into your soul, with its sweet and serene messages of a social, political, economic, and spiritual salvation spreading forth as the final Judgement!”


One of the soldiers procured a human muzzle from his inventory, originally made before Zero Hour for patients interred within mental wards. Instead of serving a normally pacifying task, this muzzle was yanked on to the cheeks and mouth of the still-struggling captive, with periodic cessations of grips from the mighty beast above him in order to fully mount the muzzle upon his face. Now, only the blasts of hot air from his nostrils could be detected, as his screams and cries were encapsulated into this ivory mask.

“Lend me your noses, so that you shall never smell the acrid odors of a dying and bloated nation vomiting the false songs of an individualistic peace or collectivized freedom, but instead perceive the nigh-heavenly and ecstatic aromas of a culture giving forth from its spread petals the pollen's fertilization of a new people in arms and in root under the blossoming treetop of an explicitly mighty unification!”


The man's face was slammed again into the metal of the outcrop's floor, brutally cracking his nose against the diamond plated floor, the strong ceramics forged unto the mask, and the force exerted by the creature's massive hands. Streams of blood intermixed with mucous seeped forth from the breathing holes of the muzzle, albeit not rushing in such an aggressive torrent as the remnant hanging strings of his ears once were.

“Lend me your hands, so that they shall cease their salacious gropes and delves into the decadently caressing touches of a beguiling and nefarious necrotic oozing forth from its orifices the maggots of a failed politics and economic system, but instead the cold and wrought iron of a flag's metal staff being planted amongst the dancing embers of a fallen capital of rivalry that has capitulated into the robust strength of our technologically and exponentially dominating Military of divine conquest and crusade!”


The ropes that once held his bruised hands together were sawed off from his blemished and purpled wrists. Too weak to attempt a valiant display of resistance or escape, the captive merely let them raise his hands and body into the air, only wishing for the end to the brutal waxing and waning periods of agony.

A sudden and forced scream plunged forth from his hoarse throat, as his nerves screamed in white-hot terror in companionship with the sizzling of flesh from the backs of both of his whipped hands. As much as the remnants of his mind could deduce, the captive was being branded on both of his hands with some sort of iron... to which he was not exactly erroneous.

This sadistic torture only lasted for a couple of seconds, but seemed like several minutes to the prisoner's beleaguered and beaten mind. As the exiled and expelled steam slowly rose from the red, brown, and black burns upon his hands, the crowd could see the imprinted Greek letters of Alpha and Ωmega.

“Lend me all your pledges to uphold the fortitude and welfare of our new state arising from the irradiated ashes of a dead and ever-forgotten world, and let us ascend as royal phoenixes under God's sublime light as we cast the glamorous enlightenment of the coming age of unity against the raucous barbarians of sin and agony that have dared to ever question our wills of reciprocating expansion and territorial consolidation!”


Both of the giant's huge hands seized the prisoner's neck, as if choking him from behind. Instead, it was merely supporting the captive from collapsing, as his dead weight was clearly going to allow him to fall like a ragdoll without any ounce of support.

“We shall not ever tread quietly into this new world of ubiquitous pain and misery, but charge into this fog with an unquenchable vehement zeal and lust of patriotic servitude, so that our future progeny, families, and histories will not die deaths that shall not constitute being worthy enough of songs and legends stretching forth like the bow of a titan's ship into the unknown abyss of the upcoming obsidian future, for all of the glorious and golden eternities that our lives branch ever-longingly into!”


The crowd cheered with a rallying cry that zapped throughout the environment with several waves of deep and powerful booms, as the hidden orchestra of the rally marched into the light from the linear space lying at the bottom of the Spire. Several more flags were raised during the captive's barbarous torture, ranging from the banner of the Nexus Military Defense Protocol, to the nominal Martial Flag raised by the Nexus during any time of valorous and prosperous war.

Fresh blood still formed rivulets along the white skin of the captive, soaking the ear regions of the fastened bandanna and making it glisten with a dark red undertone against the glare of the rising sun. Now, the true appearance of the hulking monster could be seen: a white ivory mask of a mutant's cranium and facial skeletal features were attached to a hood of chainmail, with the ancient symbol of the equally-stretching cross peeking out like its own miniature spire from the top of his head. His eyes could not be seen from the shadows cast by the cranium's deep-boring orbits, and instead, only a lingering abyss of monotonous black lied to stare into the soul of another.

Forever, an Empire under the light of God's Sun!


“HAIL UNITY!”


The Commandant now issued a full-fledged smile, as his shining eyes looked upon the marred and flogged back of his prisoner. Feeling a small piece of lingering sympathy, his voice promptly silenced the demented and babbling crowd with an aura of authority and prestigious accord.

Do you wish to see the blood of this traitor spill unto the earth, and become vindicated of its crimes? Or, shall we seek a more civil alternative, and see to it that he shall watch the Empire that he could never make into fruition become the antithesis of all that he believes?


The crowd's heads briefly exchanged glances of scrutiny at the captive and shared pondering unto eachother, before coming to a consensus that almost seemed like as if it rose from an insectoid hivemind.

“MAKE HIM WATCH!”


A F T E R W A R D S, V O P H R H A Z I E N G R A E M E & J O S E P H A . M C H A E K Z E N I T H S P I R E, V I K Z O R I A, C A R R I B E A N N E X U S, N E X U S OF M A N



What shall we do with this sickly rat now, my Commandant?

The "rat" that Alexander spoke of was now being chauffeured away in the Spire's underground train system to some unknown abdication of society, in preparation for the Commandant's final and ultimate will upon his fate. Rhazien and Alexander were being escorted by an entourage of heavily armed Blackshadow troopers, passing underneath the brilliance of various golden chandeliers and the opalescent paintings detailing the endless stories of the Earth.

The People have spoken their will, Alexander... we shall see to it that he views our prosperity with every living minute. No matter if I share the same vengeful spirit as you for him, we must obey as to what the Pople have declared as his destiny. Good thing you didn't gouge out his eyes as you said you would...” Rhazien referenced, taking a seat on the barebones office chair that constituted the focal piece of his entire gargantuan office.

It would have wasted my time,” Alexander proclaimed, assuming his usual and continual stance to the right of Rhazien's desk. “Not all punishments should be the pinnacle of agony... alas, they should still be incorporated, as per rehabilitation.

The People have spoken their will, Alexander... we shall see to it that he views our prosperity with every living minute. No matter if I share the same vengeful spirit as you for him, we must obey as to what the People have declared as his destiny, ” Rhazien referenced, taking a seat on the bare-bones office chair that constituted the focal piece of his entire gargantuan office.

I-

Alexander's rather mute voice was swallowed up by the frantic shouts of a running Blackshadow, utterly ignorant to the conversation between the two most important figures of the entire Nexus.

THIS IS URGENT! SIR, YOU MUST COME AND SEE TH-

The panic-stricken young trooper was stopped halfway in his run by the point of Alexander's prodigious and curved-blade lance, who's apex was only levitating a mere inch away from the soft and palpable skin that was stretched over his larynx.

And what is so urgent that you must disrupt our conversation?

The soldier panted, “We... just detected... a temporal rip... near the Asian Nexus-

WHAT!?

It was Alexander's turn to exclaim, yelling in a formidable tone completely antithetical to his normal and muffled tone of speech.

Are you sure it is merely a temporal rip,” Rhazien muttered, not sharing the same ecstatic tones that the other two shared, “Or merely some UDAP tripe?

We... investigating with a diving team... you need to see this!
Last edited by The Nexus of Man on Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Imperium Sidhicum
Senator
 
Posts: 4324
Founded: May 28, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby Imperium Sidhicum » Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:03 pm

Sunikagrad University Hospital
A-1, Mechanocracy of Russia

The children were tightly asleep in their crib. Elena couldn't stop gazing at them. So beautiful and innocent, yet unacquainted to the untold suffering in this cold, unforgiving world. Was she really deserving to have someone like that in her care? She had done so many vile, monstrous things in her life that this question really eluded answer. Tears crept into her eyes as she realized that Evgeniy and Yulia were among the few good things in her life that she had done.

For a moment, Elena broke down in quiet tears. The doctors had informed her that post-partum depression was a normal thing for new mothers and would go away after a while in loving care of family members and friends. It had been different with Alexei, in no small part because she had already been profoundly depressed at the time of his birth, feeling no difference.

"I won't have these two become the monster that their mother is," she quietly vowed to herself, "They will have normal lives, unmarred by politics and intrigue, and they will get to choose their own path in life. They will have all the choices that were denied to me."

A knock on the door distracted her from the inner monologue.

"Miss Trotskaya, it's time for your medication." It was Nadia, one of the nurses tending to her for the duration of her stay in the maternity ward.

"Oh, hello, Nadia," Elena said, leaning back in her bed, "Any word on how long I am to stay here?"

"A couple more days," the nurse answered, preparing an injection needle, "I will give you some painkillers and regeneration accelerants to speed up the recovery, and some anti-depressants so that you feel better."

Elena couldn't help noticing that the girl's hands were shaking slightly as she rubbed her arm with an anti-septic swab, a standard medical procedure largely unnecessary, given Elena's augmented immune system.

"Feeling nervous today?" she asked.

"Yes," the girl replied elusively, "Problems at home."

"Mind sharing?"

"It's about my husband," the girl spoke, drawing some medication in the needle, "No reason for you to be worried. You must rest."

"If there's anything I can do..." Elena mentioned.

"No, thank you... It's just suspicions..."

Elena saw a drop of sweat roll down Nadia's cheek as the needle stung into her arm, the medicine flowing into her veins.

"You think your husband might be cheating on you?" she guessed.

"No... I mean, it's just suspicions..." the girl stepped back, looking like almost about to faint.

Something was off about this whole business. Elena knew that this nurse had a husband and two children, having personally reviewed the dossier of every person to have direct access to her during her stay in the hospital. The security services had checked and double-checked each and every one of them along with their extended family. Politically-reliable, no known associations with extremists or foreigners of any kind.

Then suddenly Elena felt a cold numbness in her arm, creeping rapidly upwards and spreading throughout her body. As her implanted contamination sensors kicked off an alarm, trying in vain to fight off what was now flowing in her veins, she realized with horror that she had just been poisoned.

"WHAT DID YOU JUST GIVE ME, YOU BITCH!?" she screamed at the top of her lungs, but her cry came out hardly louder than normally spoken words as the venom seized her throat in a numbing, paralyzing chokehold. Elena lunged forwards, seizing the terrified nurse's arm only to fall over awkwardly.

"I... I'm sorry...!" the girl whispered in horror, "They have my family! They said they would kill them unless I injected you with whatever that was!"

Elena dropped to the floor with a loud thud, having completely lost control of her body, only her mind still feeling crystal-clear. The noise was enough to awaken the babies who started crying.

"What have you done, Nadia..." Elena gasped, feeling her vocal cords also giving in to the poison.

An instant later, the door loudly slammed open, and the familiar figure of her new white-surcoated arch-nemesis marched in accompanied by two other men, whose ring tattoos on their fingers betrayed them as Bratva enforcers. Elena's sword and pistol laid in the wardrobe just another arm's reach away, and yet she was powerless to retrieve them and defend herself. The horror about this realizations was simply mind-numbing.

---

"I told you I would get to you one way or another," Alain spoke with a sardonic grin, being apparently in a jovial mood, "Don't worry, it will wear off in about a day or so. By the way, good job, Nadia."

"It is done, Judicator..." the girl spoke in a trembling voice, sobbing in terror, "Can I speak to my family now?"

"Oh, you'll find them together alright," the Judicator grinned, "They're floating down the Neva about half-way to Kronstadt from here!"

"But... But you said..." Nadia exclaimed in shock and horror, but never finished as the Judicator reached out with lightning quickness and snapped her neck.

"I lied," Alain coldly remarked as the nurse's lifeless body dropped to the ground, twitching in post-mortem spasms and soiling itself as the sudden stench indicated.

"YOU BASTARD!!!" Elena screamed, yet her scream came out as barely above a whisper again.

"Oh, spare me your hypocritic sermons," Alain remarked disdainfully, "Compared to what your security services would have done to her afterwards had I let her live, I probably did the poor girl and her fellows a favour!"

"I take that my security detail didn't just let you through," Elena snarled, mustering all her strength to be heard.

"Your security detail? Bah..." Alain scoffed, "You mean your so-called 'elite' Chernodrakony, the five idiots in the surveillance room, the four clowns patrolling the hallway, or the two standing guard just outside your room? Please... If that is the best you can do, I feel insulted. And surprised that someone with as many friends as yourself has managed to last this long with a protection detail like that!"

"I'm glad to disappoint you, Sidh..." Elena retorted, trying to creep closer to the wardrobe, but finding herself barely able to clench her fists.

"Anyway, since you already know why I'm here, I won't waste my breath telling you all over again and get to business," Alain continued, walking over to the crib, where the two babies still cried. His every step filled Elena with mounting horror of what was about to happen.

"Don't you dare touch them! Don't you dare..." she could barely speak, her emotional state revealed only by tears of rage and terror rolling down her cheeks profusely.

"Oh, I will dare, Elena, I will!" Alain mocked her, picking up Evgeniy in his arms, "And I have quite a few ideas of what to do with them!"

Pacing around the room in silence for a short while to revel in Trotskaya's horror and helplesness, the Judicator knelt down before her, holding the child out before her eyes.

"I could just dash the brat's brains out right here on the floor and rub your face in them," he said, sadistically rejoicing in every bit of fear and suffering in Elena's eyes before handing the baby over to one of his companions and going off to retrieve Yulia.

"Or I could sell them both to rich perverts for their... personal uses. I hear it's a thing in certain circles especially in Frenk Land. Ain't my proverbial cup of tea, but I bet the said folks would pay me a fortune for the twins of the Red Tigress herself!" he continued to gloat, handing Yulia to his other companion, "I could even cook a stew from them and serve it to your beloved Victor when he comes home from the little wild goose chase I set him on. Or..."

He knelt and picked Elena up from the floor, her cringe of terror and disgust being tangible even with her whole body being paralyzed and limp. Alain then laid her back in the bed, spread-eagling her limbs before stepping back to examine his work briefly.

"I could instead just cuck dear Victor and fuck you!" he finished his sentence, "I bet you haven't had a good fuck in quite a while with those two growing inside you and all, and frankly I could use a good fuck myself..."

With that, Alain tucked aside his surcoat and started undoing the front of his armor, grinning dirtily.

The threat of another rape in a condition more helpless than even the first was too much for Elena to bear, her cheeks becoming rivers of tears cried in terror.

"Please..." she whispered, "Please, don't... If you have any soul or decency left in you, please, don't..."

"Heh, never thought I would live to see the day when the Red Tigress herself begged for mercy," one of the gangsters remarked with a chuckle.

"Get ready, Lenka, here it comes..." Alain grinned, dramatically reaching inside his armor, only to suddenly burst in laughter.

"Relax, Elena, I'm just fucking around with you!" he laughed, "I am many things, but not a rapist. In fact, I despise rapists - they are not men enough to get women to lie with them willingly. Still, the fear the mere suggestion puts in your eyes is simply delicious!"

"You do realize... I am going to kill you... Sidh..." Elena whispered, only half-heartedly believing her own words since Alain still had every means of killing her, slaughtering her and her children like defenseless sheep.

Alain's face darkened in response and he suddenly hopped on top of her, prompting another bout of terrified tears erupting from her eyes.

"Take a good hard look into my eyes, Lena!" Alain leaned into her face so close their foreheads touched, "Do I look like somebody who fucking cares?!"

Elena gazed in the Judicator's burning azure eyes less than inch away from hers and only now realized how much she had underestimated the Sidh, how dangerously foolish her "Grand Unveiling" had been from the very beginning. She had always operated and planned under the assumption that Alain somehow intended to get away with his crimes. Now the truth was literally staring in her face - she had failed to account that the Judicator didn't care about his own survival, in fact quite the opposite, he was actively seeking death, hoping only to inflict maximum carnage and misery upon his enemies in the process. Behind all that cynical bravado and burning rage was a broken shell of a man, something not unlike herself after the Rape, craving only for a horrible bloody vengeance before finding peace in death. Such a man was far more dangerous than a scheming miscreant plotting a cruel revenge with plans to get one with his life after exacting his retribution. He was like a rabid wolf that would go on and on killing and maiming until either put down or finished off by the disease, except that in Alain's case, this rabid, single-minded pursuit of death was assisted by a towering machine-assisted intellect and technology centuries in advance. This underestimation was now likely to prove fatal.

Suddenly Alain kissed her, much to her disgust.

"Give this to Victor as my regards when he gets back!" he barked, hopping off the bed, "Don't forget you have only him to thank for everything that's happening right now, and know that when the time comes, I promise you will be the first and foremost to beg for my life! But now it's time to say goodbye! Say goodbye to mommy, kids! Bye-bye!"

Alain seized the tiny arms of Elena's children and moved them in immitation of waving goodbye. Even through all her pain and rage, Elena couldn't help but notice that the two vory didn't quite approve of Alain's gloating. She knew that scumbags as they were, vory had a strong taboo against harming children, and for all their hatred for her as the Red Tigress, these two did hold at least a little sympathy for her as a mother being robbed of her babes.

"Somebody's coming, boss!" one of the gangsters warned, heavy steps indeed sounding in the hallway and picking up pace as the walker apparently noticed the bodies of the guards outside.

"Well, what in the Emperor's name are you two still here for then?!" Alain barked, "Do what you are paid for! I'm going to have a word with this interloper!"

"Evgeniy... Yulia... No..." Elena whispered, helplessly watching as the two gangsters holding her children were engulfed in the swirling energy vortices of portals. An instant later, the room's door burst open, getting filled with the unmistakable armored bulk of the one being from her home universe that Elena truly had a reason to fear.

"Colonel Harrigan, I presume?" Alain addressed the brute.
Freedom doesn't mean being able to do as one please, but rather not to do as one doesn't please.

A fool sees religion as the truth. A smart man sees religion as a lie. A ruler sees religion as a useful tool.

The more God in one's mouth, the less in one's heart.

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New Frenco Empire
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 7787
Founded: Mar 14, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby New Frenco Empire » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:52 am


Image AGENT JONATHON ROLLINS

SUNIKAGRAD UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, SUNIKAGRAD, MECHANOCRACY OF RUSSIA, EARTH
September 5th, 2152


We didn't know it yet, but Alain had been busy...making distractions in his home universe. Cutting loose ends. All of it to lead up to a quiet, wonderful little kidnapping...

Rollins layed awake in his makeshift bedding (one of the waiting rooms couches, a sheet haphazardly thrown over), the reddened tip of the cigarette lazily hanging between his two fingers scorching softly.
The radio still hummed, the suave male New Vegas-type announcer being replaced by a much more formalistic British South African woman indicating it was around noon back home.
Her voice returned with the conclusion of the soft instrumental number.
"And that was 'Moonglow' by the Benny Goodman Quartet. Re-recorded 2133 by the Benny Goodman Synth Orchestra, androids manufactured by the Firth recording company. In news today, the Zealot-Legatus Sir Bryan Byrnes addressed a large crowd of Pantheon followers and press agents outside the Museum of Humanity in New Rome following concerns of the growing 'Cult of the Empress'. Legatus Byrnes assured the crowd that the Zealotry would 'take no hesitation in destroying these heretics wherever they may sprout', and that 'superstition of any form shall not be tolerated so long as the Zealotry stands as the Holy protector of the Goddesses' Pantheon and the human race'. The Zealot-Legatus could not be reached for further comment. In other news, Chairman Tandi enters her third week of an extensive anti-corruption campaign in Atlantica following reports of police enforcers and local officials extorting money from tourists; claiming said money to be an 'atmosphere tax'. Though no reliable reports have been issued, many top experts believe the culprits to be associates of alleged mafia leader Patrick Luciano. The IIA Organized Crime Division has not come forward with..."
As the woman droned on with the hourly news reports, Rollins put his expended cigarette out on the floor, figuring that if he wasn't going to bed anytime soon, at the very least he could check the feed...

Swapping through the cameras didn't reveal much. Nothing to be found in the various elevator shafts and rat tunnels, surprisingly.

You know, it seemed like a smart idea at the time. Alain could have popped up anywhere. He was a crafty cunt. But no...I was a damned fool. Watching over deserted sewers and waterways. Fretting over nothing while he made his move. Before I knew what was going on, it was far too late.

As the news reports and subsequent advertisements concluded, the regular programming resumed, starting with Jon's favorite song.
He hummed along as he flipped through the final few feeds.
"♪If I didn't caaaaare, would it be the saaaaame?♪" He quietly sung as he flipped the monitors off. Yep.

He figured he'd try sleep one more time. It was just, for whatever reason, he had a bad feeling. His years of black operations and spy work had given him a sixth sense for such things. Maybe, though, he was just growing paranoid. He was getting old, after all, and that was for damn sure.
As he plopped down on his couch, he had to readjust several times before he could get comfortable enough to even think about shutting his eyes.
And it almost seemed as though he would...

I think you and I both know...I didn't sleep much that night...

"Popov, where's our goddamn covering fire!?" The communication array he used to monitor the front checkpoint flared. Quite loudly, he would add. Enough to stir him back to the realm of the living.
He raised from his bedding, wiping his eyes as he approached the comm.
"Vanguard to Central, they're tearing us to pieces!"
It took Jon a moment to realize that...they were under attack.
He could hear the faint patter of distant automatic weapons echoing throughout, amplified by the occasional explosion of a grenade or rocket.
His first instinct was to draw his Tiran and rush outside to aid the Dragons against whatever foe they were up against. But he remembered...his mission, first and foremost, was to make sure Trotskaya stayed alive.
He quickly stepped to the other side of the room, where his communicator to Harrigan's station was. However, just as he reached for it, the double-doors on the other side slammed open, four armed men in unrecognizable black outfits dashing inside.
"Kill the Frenk! He's protecting her!" One of them yelled in Russian, prompting his comrades to raise their plasma repeaters against him.
This how you wanna play? Alright. I'm game...

As the plasma bolts poured from their rifles, Jon proved himself quick enough to avoid, quickly finding himself on top of the closest two. He disarmed one of his rifle, and straight-up killed the other with a well-placed strike to the throat. The other drew his Kulak pistol, pointing it at Jon's head. However, before he could pull the trigger, the Frenk attacked, quickly turning the tables as the pistol found itself in his hand, pointed directly at his opponent's head.
The other two hesitated to act, out of fear that they might harm their comrade, but at this point, they couldn't afford to think...
Jon finished his foe off with two bullets to the back of the head, turning the gun on the other two. Before they could fire again, Jon killed one with three taps to the chest and wounded the other with two to the leg.
As the surviving commando groaned in pain, he attempted to aim his rifle once more, but Jon was quicker in throwing the empty handgun, striking him cleanly in the jaw and forcing him to drop his weapon. Before he knew it, Jon was over him too, grabbing him in a chokehold.
Heh. Not bad for an old man. Still got it, I guess.

"Alright, you're gonna tell me who you are and why you're assaulting this hospital. Comprende, amigo?"
The commando didn't answer.
"Tell me everything!" He commanded once more, tightening his grip.
"If you don't kill me....HE will!" The commando spat out through gritted teeth.
"Who?" Rollins asked.
"I don't know. A...Sidh. We're just here to...distract. Give him an opening..."
A Sidh. An opening...
Rollins wasted no time. He snapped the commando's neck, killing him (better him than Alain, right?), and allowing the body to drop. He fished his Tiran from under his bed and set off, attempting to reach Harrigan as he climbed the stairs.

"Harrigan? Harrigan!"
No luck.
However, just as he reached the floor housing the maternity ward, he was greeted by the sight of Harrigan and his Dragoons, making their way down the hall towards Trotskaya's room.
"Colonel!" Jon yelled out, drawing the attention of the Ork's group. "What the hell's going on? Where's Alain?"
"I heard the sounds of battle and assumed it must be time." Harrigan responded, cold and deep as ever. "We had the pleasure of encountering a few of the attackers just down the hall. They seemed a bit more disciplined than the criminal degenerates Alain seems to favor..."
"Well, it's him." Rollins assured. "I know for sure. Come on! We have to go!"
"After you." Harrigan responded sardonically.

As they made their way to Trotskaya's room, they already noticed a number of dead Chernydrakony strown about the hall - a clear indicator that Alain had indeed made his appearance. Rollins just hoped he wasn't too late.
"Shit..." Rollins muttered. "Hope we're not too late. Trots, Golovkin..."
"Golovkin's gone." Harrigan responded. "Off on some fool's errand, no doubt."

Colonel Victor Golovkin was a good man. He would stand up for what was right, even when no one else would. It was to be expected that, when he heard some old friends of his were in trouble, he was right on it without a second thought. It didn't matter that his beloved had just given him a son and a daughter. He had to make sure Nathan Epstein and Riva Geller were safe and sound. Lookin' back, I guess it was a good thing he wasn't there. Wasn't there to see what went wrong.

The Dragoons covered both sides of the halls as Harrigan moved to breach himself, Rollins covering him. He shattered the door with one mighty kick, but calmly moving inside to assess the situation.
Peering over Harrigan's large frame, he saw him - Alain. Looking at Harrigan with a smile. Right behind him was Trotskaya, unresponsive but still seemingly alive.
"Colonel Harrigan, I presume?" Alain asked with a half-hearted politeness, eager to see just how much this dumb Ork would entertain him...
Harrigan, in response, simply continued his casual walk inside, approaching Alain directly. Within the span of a moment, the two were looking directly at one another, Alain's already-considerable height not quite matching Harrigan's.
"I am Alain." The Sidh nodded, extending a hand and an arrogant smirk. "And I should say, I'm quite charmed to meet you."
Harrigan merely glanced at Alain's extended hand, and then back to his face. Rollins wasn't sure if Alain had his hand coated in some sort of poison or if he truly was as arrogant as he let on, but if there was one thing about Harrigan, it's that he wasn't an idiot.
Wrong move, pretty boy. Jon thought, fighting back a smirk.
Instead of taking Alain's hand and giving it a polite shake, Harrigan instead curled his fist and drove it into the Sidh's stomach, sending Alain flying backwards with enough force to knock him cleanly through several walls until he was at least three rooms over.
"Fool." Harrigan muttered as one of his Ork Dragoons handed him his large plasma caster, which he accepted with both hands.
"Agent Rollins...get the Tigress out of my sight. Her weakness is too tempting for me, and it would be a shame if she caught a spare bullet..."
"You're such a charmer..." Jon responded, placing Trotskaya's arm over his shoulder and hauling her up. She was much, much heavier than she looked, obviously due to her extensive augmentations, but he managed alright.
"The rest of you spread out and cover the exits. I don't want the worm escaping."




By now, the poison that Alain had administered was taking it's toll. He generally preferred it for it's uses in rendering a body unresponsive but keeping the mind intact. However, the trauma that Trotskaya just witnessed presented an unfavorable element, in which her mind started to cloud with grief and confusion.

Jon hauled her as far from the killzone as he could. The Chernydrakony were still fighting the mysterious commandos throughout the building, judging by the sound, so he was sure to find a place far enough away where they wouldn't be disturbed. Once he settled, he let Trotskaya go, gently leaning her against a wall.
"Get...get away from me!"" Trotskaya kicked half-heartedly as Rollins set her down against a nearby wall. "You, you...took them! Bring them back! I-I'll kill you!"
"It's okay! Hey! Look at me! It's your good pal Rollins. I ain't gonna hurt ya. Promise!" He assured, gently slapping her a bit in an attempt to bring her back. "He filled your body with some kind of sedative. But you're Elena Trotskaya, ain't ya? You've taken down armies with nothing but a sharp stick! Surely you can fight off some college party drug!"
"Evgeniy...Yulia..." She muttered weakly, struggling to keep her eyes open. "You...you have to help! Help them! He...he can't get away..."
"Hey. Hey!" Rollins attempted to stir Trotskaya. "Settle down, okay? You're safe now! And he won't. Alain failed. Mean Mister Green showed up just in time, and he'll give that bastard a taste of his own medicine. He can't hurt you anymore."

At the time, I figured it was a close call, and we arrived just in the nick of time. We saved her. Regular Hollywoodland tension. The bad guy would look successful for a minute, but the good guy would always come out on top. And here I thought that was true. I was forty-nine years old, closer to fifty. I thought I couldn't be naive at that point. Boy was I wrong. Goddess be fucking damned was I wrong...to this day, I still wonder...what if we had been two minutes earlier...?
NEW FRENCO EMPIRE

Transferring information from disorganized notes into presentable factbooks is way too time consuming for a procrastinator. Just ask if you have questions.
Plutocratic Evil Empire™ situated in a post-apocalyptic Decopunk North America. Extreme PMT, yet socially stuck in the interwar/immediate post-war era, with Jazz music and flapper culture alongside nanotechnology and Martian colonies. Tier I power of the Frencoverse.


Las Palmeras wrote:Roaring 20s but in the future and with mutants

Alyakia wrote:you are a modern poet
Top Hits of 2132! (Imperial Public Radio)
Coming at you from Fort Orwell! (Imperial Forces Network)



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Blakullar
Senator
 
Posts: 4506
Founded: Sep 07, 2012
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Blakullar » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:21 am


Image BRIGADIER BOGDAN ANDROPOV
SUNIKAGRAD UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, KOLPINO DISTRICT, VELIKIY SUNIKAGRAD.


"WHERE THE FUCK ARE THOSE FIGHTER JETS?!!" Andropov's metallic grate thundered into the radio set in his left hand amidst the cacophony of battle. "THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE AGES AGO!!!"
"They're moving as fast as they can, Brigadier!" the frantic air-traffic controller on the other side responded. "They will be there as soon as possible!"

"WELL YOUR 'POSSIBLE' HAD BETTER TRANSLATE TO 'WITHIN THE NEXT THIRTY SECONDS', OR WE'RE GONNA GET OVERRUN!!!" Andropov roared again, sheathing his radio and raising his 6V24 Drakon Gatling laser over the prefab barricade to unleash another barrage of death beams at the invaders.

The attack had come upon them like the modern resurrection of the Blitzkrieg, striking with such massive force and celerity that the university's outermost defences had crumbled in less than a minute. The already-dire situation was rendered altogether worse upon the revelation that the attackers were most assuredly not vory, or SFR-VP troopers, nor wasteland raiders. They were far better-trained and better-armed as well, if the fusillade of crimson plasma bolts hammering the Chernydrakony's positions was any measure.

"SEVCHENKO, COME IN, THIS IS ANDROPOV!!" the Brigadier bellowed into his radio again, fusion core in his laser expended into five more attackers making a very rapid approach. "TELL ME YOU HAVE EYES ON THAT GUNSHIP!!!"

Before Captain Sevchenko could answer, the air was once again overwhelmed by the menacing, draconian roar of thermal jet engines. There it was, the massive metal dragon that had started all of this – a prototype Mi-82 Rarog superheavy gunship, circling the campus grounds in search of grounded prey. The aerial weapons platform, the Mecharussian answer to the dreaded Frenkish AC-620 Condor, was a four-winged behemoth brimming with a full arsenal of weaponry, not least of which were the two turreted rotary ion cannons and gimballed D-2142 plasma cannons, the latter normally found on T-100 main battle tanks, affixed to both sides of the war machine. It bore no missiles for the hardpoints on its wings, having unleashed them all – anti-RADAR missiles specially tailored for the SAMs once dotted around the campus.
Andropov's eyes flared up a deep red beneath his goggles as he saw the Rarog's port ion blaster spinning up, its deathly glare levelled at his position.

"MOVE, NOW NOW NOW!!!" came his crisp command to the three Chernydrakony at his side, grabbing his gun and jumping up to run himself as a tonitruous howl ripped into the atmosphere.

In a near instant the Brigadier's prior position had been completely disintegrated by a searing hail of plasma bolts, bearing the same consistency as 30-millimetre cannon rounds as they shredded the exterior of the science laboratory at six thousand rounds per minute. Two of his comrades could not escape in time and were torn to shreds by the barrage, but the other was able to escape death along with his commander as they both sprinted at full tilt across the open field to the gymnasium. Andropov did not even bother to make his way through the proper entrance, covering his head with his free left arm as he ploughed straight through the brick wall into the equipment storage room, crashing into several shelves as he irrupted into the gym with the remaining soldier.

The Brigadier attempted to peer through the huge, man-shaped hole he had made upon entry, seeing a trail of plasma-induced flames practically marking the path of his manic dash. His head, however, was quickly forced to duck back down again after a succession of red bolts from his former position battered the wall, dislodging a few more bricks.

"Fuck!" Andropov cursed in dismay, reaching for the radio again. "ENGALYCHEV, WHAT'S THE STATUS ON THE GENERAL?!!"

Not a breath of answer dared to infringe upon the noise of battle transpiring outside.
"ENGALYCHEV, WHAT IS TROTSKAYA'S CURRENT STATUS?!!!" the Brigadier roared into the radio a second time.

Again, nothing. That just about crowned the top of this exceptionally bad situation – Captain Engalychev was the officer coordinating security inside of the hospital. Radio silence from him indicated that he was dead.

"Arshavin, is that package still on you?!" Andropov turned and addressed the Chernydrakon that had followed him in.
"Uh, yessir!" the private shakily responded. The Brigadier recognised in a microsecond that he was on-edge as a result of the stress. "Should I deploy it now?"

"Not yet, I'll tell you when!" Andropov denied his request. "We're going into the hospital – the General's in grave danger!"
"I'm with you, sir!" Arshavin replied, still complaisant in the face of mortal danger. Like most other Chernydrakon grunts, Trotskaya had been there for him even when he was scared during the arduous training exercises, notoriously more brutal and harsh than regular boot camp to harden the troops against whatever they might face. In this moment of reckoning, he had to do the same for his General.

"Right!" the Brigadier turned his attention to the outside again, shoving another fusion core into his Gatling repeater. "On the count of three ... one, two, THREE!!"

The attacking six soldiers, clad in dark-grey commando gear and toting AVP plasma repeaters, had been converging on the gymnasium to finish off the cornered Chernydrakon brigadier. They had not, however, expected another gap in the wall to suddenly manifest before them with a stony explosion, nor did they see the armoured giant of a man burst from within, Gatling laser firing at full-auto, coming. In three seconds, they all lay dead, each concussive plasma burst on their torsos having turned their insides to burning mush.

The gunship had disappeared into the distance again, but was still likely to be coming around for another pass. That made the run through the hospital entrance more sedate, but still urgent in the extreme. Exactly as Andropov feared, every guard at the entrance had been shot to bits by a gun-run from that Rarog. Proceeding into the hospital, the two Chernydrakony found that every guard in the lobby had been killed with ludicrous ease. The list of suspects was running thin – either Harrigan had reneged on his orders and made his move against Trotskaya, or Alain really had come back.

"IS ANYBODY STILL ALIVE IN THERE?!!" the Brigadier bellowed into the halls, his metallic voice reverberating through the corridors of the hospital.

"BOGDAAAAAAN!!!" a coarse, feminine voice screamed by way of response from within.
Andropov did not know if he should be relieved at the revelation that Trotskaya was still alive, evidencing that Harrigan had not attacked her. That she had used his first name to address him, only ever heard from her in the most personal conversations between the two, showed that she was indeed in great distress and in need of help.

Navigating through the corridors of the hospital, through several more dead bodies, they finally happened upon the maternity ward. The external wall had been bust straight through, and further sounds of mortal struggle in the interior of the hospital showed that Harrigan was engaged in combat with Trotskaya's attacker. The Brigadier's expression darkened when he saw his General on the floor, tears cascading from her eyes and legs spread. Rollins was at her side, trying to calm her down.

"Oh no, that alien bastard didn't actually do it..." Andropov seethed, trembling with burning rage as his eyes erupted into a visible red fire behind his goggles.
"The coward took Evgeniy and Yulia, Bogdan..." Trotskaya wheezed behind her veil of lachrymation, even breathing being a laborious task with the nanites' dreadful grip clamped around every synthetic muscle and organ in her body. "I'll fucking kill him ... then I'll come for the rest of his wretched kind..."

"Can you move your arms, General?!" the Brigadier spoke to her, fury being joined by mounting concern with every passing second.

When she failed to do so, Andropov turned back to Arshavin.
"The package, Private!" he commanded. "OPEN THE PACKAGE!!"

Not a yoctosecond went to waste as Arshavin followed through with his order, fishing the package out of the sleeve where it had been kept safe for all of this time. Upon unwrapping the paper and sellotape hiding it, the private unveiled an auto-injector, similar to the one that Alain had used but this time full of a green, sparking liquid. Andropov immediately took the injector from his grip and moved to the stricken General, looking for where he had jabbed her and pressing it into the bleeding stab-hole. Peley the Mechanomancer's study into the Sidh nanites that Drakolich had procured for him had paid off immensely, producing a nanotechnological 'antidote' that would release Trotskaya from their morbid grasp, along with many other technological advances for the Chthonians.

As the veins around the injection point visibly pulsed with a dark virescence, feeling, glorious feeling returned to her body. Her hands at once crushed into fists, almost as if about to assault the absent Alain as she shuddered with volcanic rage.

"I'll jam the Empress' head on a spike ... THEN I'LL CLEANSE THE MULTIVERSE OF THE REST OF THOSE TANK-BRED MONSTERS FOR THIS BETRAYAL!!!!"
"Breathe slowly, Elena..." Andropov interrupted Trotskaya's furious screed, enormous gauntlet gently caressing her head as the counternanites worked their healing magic, the General sobbing into his warg-fur coat as she wrapped her newly-liberated arms around his vast torso. Right now, she needed someone strong to stay by her side, and the Brigadier had to be there for the longest of his old friends in spite of his own great anger equalling if not superseding that of hers. Oh, how the Imperium would pay for this treachery, alright; already, Andropov knew that she was concocting the most awful, savage ways of offing the scores of Sidhae that were soon to die by the wrathful hand of the Chernydrakony.


Image COLONEL VICTOR GOLOVKIN
ELSEWHERE IN KOLPINO DISTRICT.


"Those aren't good sounds..." Dzheyson's voice and expression boded no good as the battle for the university continued to rage in the distance.

The impromptu squad, composed of the Shark, Tesey, Golovkin and the Alfas, Riva with her baby and Igor, were fast making their way to the hospital aboard a commandeered GAZ-2132 Balqash multirole armoured vehicle. It was a tight squeeze in the back, the APC only designed to carry eight people including the front-positioned driver and gunner, both roles currently occupied by Dzheyson and Mikhailov respectively. Poor Haya was wailing profusely, confused about everything that was going on as Riva gently rocked the child in her arms to soothe her. All the while, Golovkin's trepidation was growing like unwanted weeds in the garden.

Eventually they arrived at the first set of barricades at the university gates, the Shark and Mikhailov to their great dismay discovering that they had been utterly obliterated. Three empty Khanka armoured personnel carriers stood outside, while a manned variant of the BREM-41M superheavy engineering and logistics vehicle was parked on the lawn ahead.

"The people hitting this place must have used that to just smash their way through..." Dzheyson remarked as he and everyone else disembarked, eyeing the spiked armoured wheels up front normally used to clear away landmines. "Riva, you stay in the car with Haya, it isn't safe for you out here! Tesey, stay with them!"
"Got it!" the both of them responded with crispness as the side doors shut again.

Dzheyson was correct to presume that the attackers had used the BREM-41 to hammer their way past the first line of defences, and judging by the completely-demolished townhouse that the Shark spotted with a glance to his right from whence the BREM had erupted on its warpath, they had not even bothered to give their entrance the luxury of subtlety. The Chthonian was already guessing that Alain and the invading forces had coordinated their assault together, the Judicator and his thugs most likely having surreptitiously entered via portal while Zorya had been taken down.

"Igor, you any good with a gun?" Dzheyson turned to the boy and enquired.
"Not really," Igor vocalised in his machined monotone.

The Shark's eyes darted along the floor in search. There, on the mangled person of a Chernydrakon guard who had had the complete misfortune to have stood in the way of the BREM, was his remarkably-intact MP-500 Kulak pistol. Dzheyson was on it like a hawk at once, grabbing both it and three 12.7x32-millimetre magazines from the corpse and giving them a wipe-down before handing it to Igor, hand on the barrel.

"Crash course: safety's here, magazine catch release button is here, new magazine goes in here when you hear the click, shoot with both hands on the grip and not that stupid hold-it-to-the-side thing that gangsters like to do," the Shark rapidly explained the handgun's operation to Igor, who watched attentively before accepting the weapon and magazines from the Chthonian. "And of course, I don't think I have to explain which end you point at the bad guy..."

Igor nodded, a stolid look of determination on his face.
Just as they entered the university, the telltale roar of jets filled everyone's ears again. The Rarog had come around for another pass, and its starboard weapons were pointed right at the group.

"Oh, that's problematic..." Dzheyson mused, before turning back: "BEHIND THE BULLDOZER, NOW!!!"
The group retreated in good haste, managing to escape the sudden outburst of plasma tearing up the grass close by, accompanied by the tempestuous brrrrrrt racket. The BREM's dense durasteel hull provided ample armour from the incoming assault from the ion cannons, though the Shark had no way of being certain if that would be the case should that gunship's big-gun light up.

Suddenly, a huge fireball enveloped the sky where the Rarog had been, the gunship impacted by a bigger, more powerful plasma bolt to bring its rampage to a crashing halt. The guardian angel entered everyone's line of sight with a thunderous roar, two MiG-52 Baklan fighter jets scrambled from the aerodrome close by. Their tardiness could be explained by the simple fact that the defenders of the university had accounted for everything but a massive aerial assault, and so had failed to amply prepare for the Rarog's arrival. Still flying in a straight line, the goliath gunship slammed into a grassy knoll close by, another explosion marking its impact point and flaming trench dragged into the ground as the engines' air intakes drew the iron dragon's last breath on its behalf.

"Let's roll!" Golovkin enunciated once the Rarog was down, readying his RIP-25 for any hostiles that would dare to enter his sights as he and everyone else left cover.

The fighting had already begun to die down before the gunship was destroyed, the machine having gone down close by to the hospital. As the crackle of flames from the crash site reverberated throughout the air, punctuated by the occasional loud metallic crunch of an explosion, the seven warriors beheld scenes of utter carnage. The campus grounds were littered with many dead Chernydrakony and enemy commandos alike, but it was one hand in particular, reaching for a grip on the rim of the destroyed fountain, that made Golovkin's eyes go wide with horror.

"Oh dear God, ARISTARKH!!!" the Colonel howled in despair, ion blaster sliding out of his hands as he went to check on his squaddie.
And indeed there he was – Lieutenant Aristarkh Kramar, chest burned straight through with plasma blasts and vomiting blood as he lay on his deathbed. Golovkin at once knelt by his side, everyone else standing close behind him.

"Fuck..." the Little Blind cursed mid-retch, expelling another blast of blood as he lay in his commander's arms. "Lousy way ... to start the day, huh?"
"DANOVICH, GET MEDS!!!" Golovkin ordered at once, before turning back to Kramar. "Don't talk like that, you'll be fine!"

"I've failed you, Colonel..." the Blind wheezed as he struggled to keep his eyes open. "Forget about me...! Go find Elena..."
"No you haven't!! You're not going to die!! You'll all be alright, I promise!!"

"Heh, heh, heh..." Kramar mustered a grin to accompany his light chuckle. "Looks like ... you finally found the ... one thing even you can't promise, boss. It's too late for us..."
"STOP TALKING LIKE THAT!!!" Golovkin barked, locked in ferocious battle with welling tears in his eyes to stop himself from crying. "You're not going to die. See, here comes Artyom with those meds now!"

"It was ... an honour ... serving with you..." the Little Blind whispered. "Go get ... that alien scumbag ... sir..."
Kramar's final act in the mortal world as he slipped into the deep, dreamless slumber of death was to place his clenched fist over his destroyed chest, rendering one last salute to his commander.

Trotskaya, Rollins and Andropov, the former fully dressed for war to the hilt in her hooded cloak, powered armour, sword Deymos and hand-cannon Fobos at her side, observed everything from a distance, surrounded by the surviving Chernydrakony. Golovkin, knelt motionless and broken, the deceased Little Blind cradled in his arms as he wept in silence. Tears no longer of joy, but of a deep emotional agony. The General could truly not bring herself to be angry with him for being defeatist again.

"Brigadier," she turned to Andropov, granite determination in her eyes. "Our regiment can mobilise within six hours, correct?"
"The first brigade can mobilise within six hours, yes General," he replied in the affirmative. That was all she needed to know.

"IVANOVICH!" Trotskaya snapped her head to the left, gaze burrowed into one of the soldiers amongst the crowd by her side.
"Yes, General!" Captain Yuri Ivanovich immediately stood up stiff as a ruler.

"Inform Captain Vojislav Nikolayevich to have my command ship and a fleet of stealthers ready to depart as SOON as I get to its hangar! SEVCHENKO!"
"Yes, General!" Now her head was fused to the right, Captain Sevchenko responding with crystalline clarity.

"Get me a secure line to this address in Gorky-Spetsprom, NOW!" Trotskaya thrust a small piece of paper with an address written on it into Sevchenko's awaiting gauntlet, the Captain banging a salute before running off. "ANDROPOV!"

"Yes, General!" the Brigadier answered her call.
"Assemble the troops! I want a battalion ready to deploy and another two brigades on standby! Our incursion into the Imperium commences no later than forty-eight hours after this point!"

"Feels good to finally get to kick some proper ass again!" Andropov gleefully boomed, shaking his head side to side to pop his neck joints.
"Oh, indeed it does..." Trotskaya stated as she made her way to Golovkin, followed by the majority of her black-armoured troops, Rollins and the Brigadier as everyone else carried out her orders.

"Please ... tell me the kids are alright..." Golovkin whimpered, not raising his head for a moment as he shook with sorrow and rage.
How to break the dreadful news to him was just the very question Trotskaya and Andropov mentally asked themselves as they turned to each other. Shortly though, they nodded to each other, and the General walked forward to place a consoling hand on the Colonel's back.

"We will do so much more than liberate them, Victor..." she announced to him. "We will make the animals responsible for allowing Alain to come back suffer for this monstrous betrayal!"

And then she stood again, gaze fused to the fiery orange dawn sky as a simulacrum of the inferno raging before her eyes was reflected by the transparent aluminium cornea, brought under a crimson that burned with no lesser intensity.

"HEAR MY VOICE NOW, ENEMY OF MINE!!!" she called up high to the heavens, voice imbued with the terrible hellfire of fury. "YOU MAY HAVE WON THIS DAY, BUT KNOW NOW WHAT DREADFUL FATE I DAMN YOU TO AT THIS HOUR!!! YOU AND YOUR ILK WILL LEARN TO FALL INTO FEAR OF DARKNESS UPON THE MERE INVOCATION OF MY NAME!!! YOU WILL LEARN TO WEEP AT THE SIGHT OF MY ARMOUR!!! AND YOU WILL LEARN TO FLEE IN TERROR BEFORE MY THUNDEROUS MARCH AS I SCORCH EVERY WORLD UPON WHICH YOU SET FOOT TO ASH!!! FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, WE ARE AT WAR, AND I WILL NEVER, EVER STOP UNTIL EVERY LAST SIDH WHO STANDS IN MY WAY LIES DEAD BEFORE MY FEET!!!"

"UUURRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!!!"

A thunderous, tempestuous baying of the many black-armoured hellhounds waiting to be set loose, an emulation of the bloodcurdling battle-cry that condemned the Nazis to oblivion, that buttressed Trotskaya's impassioned annunciation as the Chernydrakony pumped their fists to the sky. Rollins had only heard the cry in video-footage both European and Russian of the legendary Charge over the Grosser Priel, and hearing it for the first time without a screen shielding him from its power cast a shiver down his spine. In a matter of hours, the Chernydrakony would once again be setting off to battle, incinerating everything caught before their General's godly wrath – and no Emperor would be there to save the hapless wretches from their inalienable doom.
Last edited by Blakullar on Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New Frenco Empire
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Founded: Mar 14, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby New Frenco Empire » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:01 pm

It was the kids. I…didn’t know he took the damn kids…
Because of that, I sat by and watched Trots declare war against the Sidhae. You get this…bit of a sinking feeling when you realize you failed your mission. It’s amplified by the fact that it might have just cost you the world as you knew it.
But, as we both know…it didn’t turn out quite that way at all…



Image COLONEL FRED HARRIGAN

SUNIKAGRAD UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, SUNIKAGRAD, MECHANOCRACY OF RUSSIA, EARTH
September 5th, 2152


Alain rose from the ruined bed he had been slammed into, the excruciating pain from his stomach causing him to stumble a bit as he did so.
My my…the brute moves much faster than I anticipated. I should have seen an attack like that coming, especially from a figure of his stature. And here I thought these Orks to be dumb, slow beasts…this will be an interesting experience.
After recovering, his eyes darted back to where he came from, spotting the hulking outline of his foe through the crumbling walls.

Within an instant, Alain activated his armor’s thrusters, quickly bursting through the destroyed walls back towards Harrigan.
Seeing Alain’s counterattack, the Ork aimed his plasma caster and unleashed a flurry of superheated bolts, lighting the darkened corridors with flashes of green. Alain dodged most of them, what few that did hit him dealing negligible burn damage to his armor. When he neared the Colonel, he dove into him with a flying kick, stumbling the Ork back a few steps. After landing gracefully several meters away, Alain drew his Enforcers and fired a volley of his own, striking him in multiple locations, one of which being the Ork’s heavy weapon, rendering it useless.
Disarmed, Harrigan pointed his fists toward his foe and let loose two blazing jets of jade plasma from the small nozzles on his gauntlets. Sensing the danger, Alain executed yet another graceful dodge, the fires singing only the bottoms of his coat.
“Sloppy.” The Ork grimaced, his ironclad voice reverberating throughout the cramped room. “And here I thought this would be a true test. Just another coward like the ‘legendary warriors’ of Chthonia. If all the Sidh are as pathetic, we should consider a war.”
“Now, now…” Alain smirked. “No need for all that. I have yet to get started…”
With that, Alain holstered his pistols and flicked out his holographic wristblades, illuminating the area around him.
“En garde, you dumb brute…” He taunted, readying a defensive stance.
Harrigan merely gave a dark chuckle.
“I’m not nearly as brutish as even my masters would have you believe. You’re what they call a ‘Judicator’. Out to avenge a back-alley whore you grew to love because she opened her legs for you. Avenging her because her ignorance cost her pathetic life. And now you hunt the Tigress, like a child who must punch back to feel equal. Unfortunately for you, I don’t share my quarry.”

Harrigan then readied his own melee weapons – like Alain, he fought with a pair of wristblades. However, while Alain’s were some of the most sophisticated works of Sidh engineering, Harrigan’s were much more crude, appearing to be dull and simplistic until ignited. As the drab metallic of his blades were drowned in the fiery green, the dark was illuminated with the sights of battle.

Alain was a much more disciplined fighter, that was for sure, but Harrigan…Alain couldn’t even begin to describe it. He was the under the impression that Orks were simple – they smashed. Harrigan did fight a bit in the style, sure (treating his blades more like an apparatus to lend more credence to his already formidable punches), but there was much more calculation to his strikes. He knew when to dodge, block, and recognize openings. Alain almost had trouble defending against such an onslaught.
What was certain, however, was that Harrigan was a much bigger target…
He parried one of the Ork’s power slashes and used the small opening to leap and perform a quick strike – right across the Ork’s throat.

As Harrigan dropped to a knee and grabbed at his neck, Alain landed and gave a condescending smile.
“Well, would you look at that. Even Trotskaya gave a bigger fight. I suppose you should be thankful; she would have torn you to shreds, Colonel!” He chuckled, sheathing his blades back into their power sources.
As he turned to leave Harrigan to his death, he heard the Ork release not his death throes, but a laugh, equally as condescending as he gave just seconds before.

He turned back to see the Colonel raise back up, the deep cut across his exposed throat seemingly healing itself shut. Harrigan looked down on Alain, the wasp-like features of his helmet glaring.
“Weak.” The Ork muttered shortly before delivering a mighty backhand across Alain’s well-sculpted face, his ignited blade cutting a deep scar from his right cheek to around his accompanying ear.
The impact sent the Judicator flying backwards once more, tumbling out of the window and impacting on a floating courtyard section below. Harrigan followed, leaping out after him and landing with a mighty thud.
Alain recovered, seething with anger at this point. Who does this beast think he really is?
“Insolent beast! I am a Judicator! Trained in every form of-“ Alain was silenced with Harrigan quickly grabbing him by one of his legs and slamming him multiple times into the ground before throwing him aside.
“Puny Judicator.” Harrigan muttered, approaching Alain’s wounded form, crouching down to look Alain in the eyes as he gave one last talk…

“Hmm. Believe this, I too had a love taken from me. But she was holding me back. She didn’t open her legs for me; I opened them by force because they commanded me. Then I slit her throat. All because of the brainwashing. When it happened, when I regained my thoughts…I thought the world taken from me. I wanted everything to burn. But then they turned me into…this.”
Harrigan said, showing his monstrous, green-skinned hand.
“But now I know true strength. We’re not so different, you and I. Maybe in time, you could have turned your pathetic weakness into true strength, like I. But make no mistake...right now, you are pathetic.”

Harrigan stood back up, kicking at Alain’s immobile body, cracking a few ribs in the process.

“Weak.”

He kicked once more, causing more damage.

“Foolish.”

With that, he grabbed hold of the disabled Sidh by the throat, examining him one last time.
“And I gave my word to end your existence. I deeply regret it must end this way. I might have enjoyed killing the Tigress with you as my faithful ally. Goodbye, Alain.”

Harrigan raised his free-handed gauntlet, intent on impaling the Judicator through the chest. However, he didn’t seem to spot Alain’s hand floating towards one of his holstered Enforcers…
Acting quickly, Alain raised it towards the Ork’s face, unleashing a burst of plasma straight into his helmet. Although doing nothing more than annoying and disorienting him, it gave the Sidh a big enough opening to slip out of his grasp and deliver a counterattack heavy enough to nearly knock Harrigan down. When Harrigan recovered, Alain was standing by the balcony’s edge, battered and bruised, but seemingly unphased by the Ork’s ferocious onslaught just a moment prior.
“Wow, I must say…this was most definitely the most interesting fight I’ve ever had! Well…in this dimension, at least, but I don’t say that lightly! But, it saddens me to say that all good things must come to an end! I'd gladly stay around to play some more, but I have a schedule to follow!”

With that, Harrigan sprinted full-force towards the Sidh in a vain attempt to prevent his escape, but as he got close, Alain carelessly dropped himself over the edge, plummeting towards the grounds below.
As Harrigan looked below at the falling Alain, the Judicator merely gave casual two-finger salute towards the Ork as he disappeared in a blinding flash of light, teleporting to Goddess knew where.
As Harrigan angrily punched some of the railing (knocking some of the reinforced steel off in the process), Trotskaya, Golovkin, Andropov, Rollins, and a small force of Chernydrakony scattered onto the balcony, eyes drawn to the Ork.
“Where is he, Harrigan!?” Trotskaya seethed, her expression eager for blood.
“Ran off,” The Ork responded, as he turned to depart. “Like the craven he is.”
“I should have figured as much.” She said. “Tell me, ‘Colonel’, did you let him slip through your grasp?”
“Do not accuse me of anything.” Harrigan growled. “I had almost given him the fate he deserved before he played his little disappearing act. He would be dead and you would still have your spawns if you didn’t prove so timid as to position me where I was.”

“You! You’re…absolutely right.” Trotskaya hesitantly admitted, gritting her teeth at the mere thought of admitting she might have been wrong when compared to her single greatest rival before Alain. And, as far as she could tell, it was true. Harrigan was positioned on the other side of the floor – much too far away to properly respond to any immediate situation. But she was much too worried he would go rogue and try something. She loathed Harrigan more than anyone (at least, she did before Alain made his move this night), but, by the sound of things…he just might have managed to hold Alain off, if not kill him outright. Before he took Evgeniy and Yulia. “Fine. Is that what you want to hear? You were right.”
“Of course I was.” Harrigan flatly stated as he walked past the group.
However, before he left, he stopped, and turned back towards Trotskaya.
“I do hope you’re not planning keeping the worm to yourself. We have…unfinished business…”

Trotskaya’s frown of humiliation then morphed, almost surreally, into a grin.

“You’ll have to get past me first, Despoiler.” She said, not with any real enmity…it was almost as though it were a friendly challenge.
“Hmm…noted.” The Ork grunted as he turned away.

Trots and Harrigan – nodding at each other in agreement. Where were the flyin’ pigs?


ImageALAIN
ABOARD THE AVENGER, SOMEWHERE IN SIDH SPACE



Alain rematerialized aboard the Avenger, thankful to get that business over with so he could move on to the real fun.

As he made his way to the central aft, Inessa was among the first to notice him.
“Oh, master, you’re back! And you’re hurt!” She noticed.
“Yes, thank you, Inessa, for letting me know!” Alain tutted. “I’m aware, and no, you need not worry about it. Nothing I can’t sleep off. Regardless…are the children in place?”
“Yes, master. Your associates dropped them off as requested.” She said, motioning towards the Bratva thugs behind her.
“Ah, excellent.” Alain smiled, rubbing his hands together. “And I expect you boys will be wanting your payment?
Yeah, sure…” One of the Bratva muttered, still feeling doubts about his actions.
Oh, don’t be that way, I have a feeling you’ll be quite pleased…” With that, Alain clapped his hands, summoning two crewmen from one of the nearby rooms, both struggling to push a heavy covered cart.

As they pushed it near Alain, he dismissed them and uncovered the contents of the cart, revealing at least five tons of glimmering gold bullion, pure as it could be.
The mobsters’ jaws dropped as Alain grinned. “I feel inclined to say that this was quite the drain on our meager resources, but well worth it. Let it be known that Alain always rewards fairly for a job well done.
By Lenin’s name…” One of them muttered, still in disbelief.
It’s all yours, boys. Do with it what you wish. A token of my appreciation!” He nodded. “Take care! You’ll be the first I call if I ever need a helping hand this side of the universe again!

As the Bratva hungrily eyed their treasure, the cart and it’s new owners disappeared in the familiar vortex.
“Why did you pay them so much?” One of the disciples growled in discontent. “Why not just kill them?”
“It was a great cost, no doubt.” Alain shrugged. “But there is a purpose for it. You will see. For now, you are all dismissed.”
They departed without a word, disgruntled at Alain’s choices, but trusting in his judgement. All…except Inessa.

“What?” Alain asked his disciple, who stood around in the same typical manner as she usually did when she wanted to say something. “If you’re to complain about the cost, I’ll have none of it.”
“No, not that. It’s just…oh, that new installation of yours is simply dreadful, master! Is it truly necessary?” Inessa whined.
“Inessa, what have I TOLD YOU about going in the cargo room!?” Alain seethed impatiently. “Ahh, no matter! You don’t concern yourself with the little ‘installation’! All will be revealed in due time, and for good purpose!”
“I…suppose.” She relented.
“Good. Now get everyone ready. We are to set course for the core worlds.”
“Aren’t you worried they’ll give chase, master?”
“Oh, don’t you worry about that…” Alain said with a mischievous snicker. “Like I said…the cost had a purpose…”


The Bratva enforcers arrived at an exact point in their safehouse, their tremendous payment following them.
Wow…I…I can’t believe it. How much you think is here?
The packaging said five tons. Five tons! Think of how powerful we can make the gang with all this!

"Fuck the gang! We’re about the only ones left, anyway, thanks to that crazy bitch with the shotguns! Just think of what we can do with all this money. After what we did at the hospital, we can't stay here. We'll have to relocate...I got it! We could move to Frenk Land! When you're this rich over there, you can be whatever the hell you want! Think about it. We can rebuild the mob there. Kick Patrick Luciano right in his zombie dick and take over his operations! A mansion in the Hollywoodland Hills as big as this entire district. We can attend all their nice, upscale orgy parties - the ones where all those pretty Western actresses go. Just picture it...Natalie Northwood, or, or...who's that blonde Australian one? Was in that one movie about that coroner...think she runs a 'culture office' for the government now?"
"Jane Smyth, I think?"
"That's the one! Imagine that piece of ass slobbering all over your cock! And all it will take is one little bribe and one ticket to The Hub."

His partner clearly showed a bit of hesitation, but what he was saying...he was right. They couldn't stay here. And if there was one place where five tons of gold could buy them complete safety and happiness, it was the New Frenco Empire.
"Alright, brother. You've convinced me. We'll ready the gold for transport. I can talk to some contacts at the port authority. We can leave tomorrow morning."
"Excellent! I have a feeling we won't regret it! And just think - we cozy up to some of what the Frenks call 'investment bankers', we can multiply this wealth by the hundreds! This is just the key! Our big break! And we owe it all to that scheming Sidh son-of-a-bitch!"
With that, he fetched two bottles of vodka from a nearby crate, tossing the other to his partner.
We toast! To a long life of comfortable decadence!
After crudely tapping the bottles and taking a swig, they both moved to investigate their loot closely.
Aha. Pure shit. Let’s get this stuff loaded a bit more discreet, yes?

As the mobsters began loading the bullion off the cart, they began to hear a strange buzzing of some sort.
Eh? What the hell is that?
Sounds like it’s coming from the gold…

With that discovery, the mobsters threw as much of the gold aside as they could to uncover the source of the strange noise. With a few bars tossed aside, they found it…a ticking nuclear bomb.
What the hell?” One asked, dumbfounded.
Oh shi-” The other, much more aware of what it was, began, only to be cut off with one final series of beeps…and then the detonation.
The thugs were consumed in the immediate radius, turning their bodies into vapor as the remaining parts of the Zaliv District were devastated.

The mushroom cloud was visible from the university, alright. Alain intended as a distraction, no doubt - a way to cover his escape and tie up those last loose ends.

Boy, if only I could have seen the look on his face when he realized that wouldn't be the case...
Last edited by New Frenco Empire on Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
NEW FRENCO EMPIRE

Transferring information from disorganized notes into presentable factbooks is way too time consuming for a procrastinator. Just ask if you have questions.
Plutocratic Evil Empire™ situated in a post-apocalyptic Decopunk North America. Extreme PMT, yet socially stuck in the interwar/immediate post-war era, with Jazz music and flapper culture alongside nanotechnology and Martian colonies. Tier I power of the Frencoverse.


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Imperium Sidhicum
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Posts: 4324
Founded: May 28, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby Imperium Sidhicum » Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:52 pm

Imperial Embassy
Frakiyagrad, Europa, A-1
next morning

Warning! Combat protocol is now in effect! All personnel report to battle stations! This is not a drill! Repeat - combat protocol is now in effect! All personnel report to battle stations! This is not a drill!

The ear-splitting blaring of alarm sirens and the automated announcement repeating itself on loudspeakers prompted Serena to pull the bedsheets off from her face, revealing a still sleepy, displeased face surrounded by ruffled hair.

"This better be serious..." she groaned.

The Judicatrix had spent the better part of the last night with Marylove. Despite their self-announced separation, Marylove had only been able to hold back for three weeks before seeking her out again now that she lived in Frakiyagrad not far from the embassy. Since D'Anna's departure, Serena had fared little better herself, a young embassy secretary of similar interests having been of some help on two occasions. However, the mutual allure had proven too difficult to resist when Marylove first came to visit her again, and consequently yesterday had been the third time this week when Serena had dismissed the other Judicators from their duties early, spending the better part of the night in hysteriat-adled lovemaking in the privacy of the Judicatorial section of the embassy that was off-limits to the rest of the staff.

Marylove had slipped away at night, only the guards of the night watch knowing of her presence, leaving Serena tightly asleep, dreaming of the warmth of her skin and moisture of her thighs. It was only after such nights that Serena truly slept at all - most of the time, she rested in her armor, never really asleep, and kept going like this for weeks. Proper sleep was a precious commodity in her line of work, and even harder to get with periodic nightmares so terrible they made one afraid to fall asleep. Now the sweet heavenly dream of Marylove moaning the nastiest Russian dirty talk in Serena's ear as they played with each other on Siri's desk, the confused (and admittedly rather attractive) girl standing right next to them, unsure whether to protest or join in, was rudely shattered by that Emperor-damned alarm.

Serena slipped out from under the sheets and got dressed in her full attire faster than it would take a match to burn, quickly checking her Enforcers and rushing towards the exit. As she left the Judicatorial section, she saw other embassy employees frantically rushing to the embassy's well-stocked armory, retrieving heavy weapons among other things.

"What's going on!?" she called out to the certain familiar secretary, who was currently running to assume her designated position with a huge RPG launcher over the shoulder, looking somewhat amusing in her business attire and high heels in combination with the weapon.

"The Russians have gone crazy!" the girl shouted, "They've parked a tank outside the embassy door and are threatening to blow the place up unless we hand "him" over! You wouldn't happen to know who "he" is?"

"I have a few educated guesses..." Serena responded, her face darkening, "I think I'll go have a word with those Russians..."

"What is going on, Judicatrix?!" ambassador Cassius, who had recently replaced envoy Mariyahu as a more permanent Imperial emissary, asked as he rushed from his quarters upstairs, being practically the only unarmed person in the embassy.

"You know as much as I do, Ambassador," Serena responded, walking towards the main entrance where Olhon and his disciples were covering in firing positions along with several Imperial Guardsmen.

"Morning, ma'am," her former apprentice greeted her, "One hell of a wake-up call, in'it?"

"What's the situation out there?" Serena went straight to business.

"The Russkies are blocking the hallway with a heavy tank, an IS-51 if the new recognition manuals are anything to go by, and at least a company's worth of infantry, VDV by the looks of them. Good thing we had the foresight to erect some automated barriers in the hallway and install blast-resistant main door. If shit hits the fan, however, I doubt the Guardsmen outside will be able to hold them off for long in such confined space.

"I see," Serena nodded, "I will go outside to talk to them, find out what this is all about. If the shooting starts and I don't come back, you are to lead the rest of the staff. Make every effort to break out and seize control of the portal room. If you can't, hold out for as long as you can, and if they are about to overrun the embassy, engage Omega Protocol. If we must go down, we will take this whole damn city with us!"

Serena was referring to demolition charges surreptitiously placed on the sub-glacial city's outer shell already at the time of embassy's construction. While a single breach or two could be contained, the dehermetization of an area as large as the Sidh embassy would likely prove catastrophic, entire Frakiyagrad bound to implode in an eyeblink under the colossal pressure of the icy abyss that surrounded it according to the embassy's engineering team's assessment.

"Understood," Olhon nodded, "Emperor be with you!"

As Serena proceeded to the door, Siri unwittingly grabbed onto Alaric's hand behind Olhon's back.

"I'm scared..." she whispered.

"As you should be," Alaric responded, somewhat surprised at the girl's reaction, "It is how you deal with that fear that matters."

---

Serena walked outside in the large hallway that separated the embassy from the rest of the city. A dozen or so Guardsmen were taking cover behind thick duralloy plates raised from the floor to serve as makeshift barricades, each of them shielded, their Longinus energy rifles trained at the enemy on the far end of the hallway.

"Is there a reason for this unprovoked act of hostility?!" she shouted, in no small part still irritated about her disturbed sleep.

"Surrender, Sidh!" someone bellowed from the other end, "We know you are hiding him! Surrender him to us, and the rest of you will be left unharmed! Refuse, and we will storm the embassy! No quarter will be given! Surrender now!"

"It ain't happening!" Serena shouted back, "I demand to speak to the officer in charge!"

A few tense moments later, the familiar grating voice of Brigadier Andropov that Serena remembered from the battle for the Senate Towers a month ago bellowed back to her.

"This is Brigadier Bogdan Andropov speaking! Who is in charge on your end?!"

"I am! Abbess Serena Romana, Order of Judicators! I am in charge of defending this embassy in the name of the glorious Emperor! I demand to know the reasons for this blatant breach of diplomatic immunity granted under Scatach Treaty!"

The two approached each other slowly, eyeing each other suspiciously, the soldiers on both sides aiming at them equally closely, ready to unleash hell at the first sign of treachery. Serena subtly touched the large Judicatorial emblem on her armor's chestplate. It housed a powerful prototype personal shield generator. She was confident it would let her survive the initial blast by the tank and the volley of gunfire from the troops, at least long enough for the Guardsmen to take out the tank and suppress them long enough for her to retreat back to embassy.

"We meet again, Brigadier," Serena spoke with a venom in her voice, "We can stand and play Mexican standoff here all day, we can get over it and just slaughter each other, or we can talk like mature civilized people! Which is it going to be?!"

"Depends on what you intend to do about that murdering child-stealing rat Alain! We know you're hiding him!" Andropov barked.

"Alain?! Here?! You should really consider picking your intelligence sources more carefully, Brigadier!" Serena was genuinely baffled, "What has he done this time to warrant such a response? And why do you call him a child-thief?"

"You don't know?" Andropov was the one to seem surprised now, unable to sense any deceit in Serena's reaction, "Twelve hours ago, he attacked General Trotskaya in hospital as she recovered from childbirth, abducted her twins and set off a tactical nuclear device in Sunikagrad. Right now we count over 50 thousand dead, thrice that number injured in just the immediate blast area, and the rescue operations haven't even began in earnest until the heaviest fallout areas are decontaminated! Fallout exposure included, we project a total of 500 thousand casualties! I had to physically restrain General Trotskaya to prevent her from immediately declaring war on the Imperium in the immediate aftermath, and that's just part of the problem, the Senate crying for blood as well."

Serena's face paled.

"And I was not informed of this WHY?!!" she exploded, prompting Andropov's men to take close aim at her again, "Oh, you bunch of mulish cunt-born IMBECILES...! Fuck, fuck, FUCK!!!"

"Stand down, men!" Andropov suddenly gestured to his soldiers, much to their surprise while Serena hid her face in apparent rage of despair, raving every conceivable blasphemy in Sidh, "It seems we have a major misunderstanding here..."

"Misunderstanding?!" Serena screeched, this being one of the rare occasions when she had completely lost her temper, "DO YOU EVEN FUCKING REALIZE THE ABYSMAL DEPTHS OF SHIT YOU HAVE THROWN US ALL INTO!!?"

"Calm down, Judicatrix," Andropov now sounded almost friendly, "There has been no formal declaration of war. Not yet, anyway. We needed to see the shock in your face to make sure you and the rest of your companions were not complicit."

"Apologies for my outburst," Serena took a few deep breaths and composed herself, "Could you kindly explain to me why was I kept out of the loop entirely? Nobody here even knew General Trotskaya had given birth until now! I would really like a serious word with the genius who came up with whatever hare-brained security scheme you people had implemented to protect her!"

"The security detail was planned by none other than General Trotskaya herself," Andropov explained, "With some aid from the Mechanocracy's leading security experts, of course. You must understand that we were most reluctant to include you in our plans, given your long-standing partnership with Alain and your past involvement in certain other subversive activities. Not to mention that the Frenkish government offered aid in the form of Colonel Harrigan himself, with your personal approval, mind it."

"The day when I gave my approval was the first and the last time I was contacted on the matter," Serena angrily remarked, "And let me guess - even the almighty Colonel Harrigan himself fucked up!?"

"He did engage Alain in single combat and manage to injure him, but failed to prevent his escape," Andropov explained.

Serena sighed, shaking her head in resignation, muttering some no doubt horrible profanities in Sidh.

"I need to speak with Elena in person, as soon as possible!" she suddenly announced.

"I would strongly suggest against that," Andropov objected, "I think I did mention the part about having to physically restrain her from immediately embarking on a campaign of genocide against the Sidh species the last time I saw her, which was a few hours ago. Not to mention that her order to prepare for an invasion still stands, and your kind aren't exactly the most welcome sight in Sunikagrad right now."

"A campaign of genocide, huh..." Serena chuckled bitterly, "I'd like to hear how she imagined THAT happening from herself... Take me to Terra, Brigadier, I will try to talk some sense into her. Or kill her if she won't listen."

"Kill her?! Abbess, you know I will never allow you to do that!" Andropov exclaimed.

"Well, if General Trotskaya won't find her sense, then it will not matter either way, because we all will be dead soon enough," Serena stated, "Hopefully, that will not be necessary, though."

"It's your funeral, Abbess," Andropov shrugged as he turned to his men, "I want a portal-capable shuttle to Earth prepared as soon as possible!"

"Don't worry about me, Brigadier," Serena sighed wearily, "I've talked down worse than her."

---

Trotsky Residence
Central Sunikagrad
five hours later

The massive pillar of smoke rising from the ruins of Zaliv District still loomed over the city. After a torrential downpour black with radioactive soot, grey flakes of fallout began to fall like the first snow of coming winter, tripping radiation alarms even well outside the contamination zone. Although the 50-kiloton tactical fusion bomb Alain had planted in the gold pile didn't by design produce much in a way of fallout, the gold that had surrounded it, however, had been irradiated and transmuted into a highly-radioactive form. Every single emergency response team in the city was now consequently occupied either with casualty recovery and treatment, decontamination or evacuation of citizens in the contaminated areas. Elena's mansion, still undergoing repairs after Alain's battle with Alexei a month ago, was outside the major contamination zones, only a few stray flakes of radioactive ash being blown here by the wind.

Right now, Elena was sitting in the kitchen, drowning her rage in vodka, not even her companions daring to disturb her. The tankie filth would pay for every bit of pain and humiliation she had suffered today a million-fold. In another day, the fleets would be ready, and then...

"Mistress, General Andropov has arrived to see you," her robot butler Stepan, now housed in the body of her former enemy Kommersant, informed, "Shall I open the gate for him?"

"He better have a bag of tankie heads from their Frakiyagrad den along with him," Elena sombrely said, downing a shot before standing up.

"I'm afraid he will have to disappoint you," the robot remarked, "He has only arrived in the company of one."

Elena's face grew darker than midnight as she stormed off towards the gate. Andropov and Serena already awaited inside, surrounded by the mansion's Chernodrakony guards, who directed looks of unbridled hostility towards Serena. The Judicatrix seemed entirely unfazed, carrying herself with the same arrogant nonchalance that was so characteristic to the Judicators, making it evident where Alain might have picked up the manner from.

"Brigadier," Trotskaya began with a venomous snarl, "Which part about my order to slaughter every single tank-bred scumbag in Frakiyagrad did you not understand?!!"

"Len, I believe you might want to hear her out first..." Andropov began, when Elena shoved him aside and grabbed Serena by the collar.

"THE ONLY REASON YOU STILL DRAW BREATH IS BECAUSE I HAVEN'T THOUGHT UP A DEATH TORTUROUS ENOUGH FOR YOU!" she shrieked into her face, "WHERE IS HE, YOU BITCH?!!"

"Save your threats for somebody who is actually afraid of them, Elena," Serena said calmly, but her steel-grey eyes suddenly glared up in a fearsome white as she seized Trotskaya's arms and pushed them off and aside slowly but with such force that it gave even Elena a pause, "Call me bitch or lay your hands on me again, however, and Alain will be the least of your worries!"

For a moment there, it seemed like the two women would pounce upon each other in the mother of all catfights.

"That being said, I haven't come here to fight you," Serena continued calmly as before, having conveyed her point that further efforts to get physical with her would not be without serious consequences, "I am not your enemy, something you should have realized a long time before now, or I would not be standing here talking with you."

"LIAR! All that ever comes from your tankie holes is filthy lies!" Elena still shrieked, albeit now keeping a slight distance from the Judicatrix, "And I have had enough of them after yesterday! I am going to hunt down that filthy, backstabbing degenerate scumbag even if I have to chase him across a thousand universes, and any of you who gets in my way will curse the day he crept out of his breeding tank!"

"You were right, Brigadier," Serena demonstratively turned to Andropov, "I am just wasting my breath. I came here to see a leader, someone who commands authority and respect, someone who always strives in the best interests of her people, but all I see is a drunk, incompetent self-important drama queen throwing a tantrum in front of her men like a spoiled five-year-old brat!"

"HOW DARE YOU..." Elena looked like about to pounce on Serena again, when the Judicatrix's eyes blazed ferocious white again, her voice now radiating a volcanic fury comparable to Elena's very worst.

"NO, HOW DARE YOU!!! THESE MEN PROTECT YOU WITH THEIR LIVES EVERY DAY, ONLY EMPEROR KNOWS HOW MANY OF THEM DIED FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY YESTERDAY, THEY ARE STILL READY TO LAY DOWN THEIR HEADS FOR YOU AT YOUR WHIM, AND THIS IS HOW YOU REPAY THEM?!!" Serena's very voice had transformed to a demonic growl not unlike that of Drax's bodyguard Darius, "They look upon you for inspiration, they fight and die for you because they believe in you, and yet here you are, drunk and throwing a hysterical tantrum like some spoiled self-entitled princess! You disgrace the memory of all those soldiers who died for you, all those soldiers who would still be alive if you had just swallowed your colossal ego and listened to what someone more competent than you had to say! But now they are dead because of you, and billions more of them are about to die because of you, simply because you can't get over your wounded pride, and this is the example that you are setting for them!?"

"Don't you lecture me on setting examples, Sidh!" Elena shouted back, albeit visibly dumbstruck by Serena's almost demonic outburst and not in the least part by recognizing the truth in her words, "I had a happy life before your ilk and especially that cowardly rat Alain entered it and destroyed everything I held sacred and dear! Should I just bend over and take it?! I bet you would love that, wouldn't you!?

"Oh, cry me a river!" Serena snapped back, "It's always about you, Miss Special fucking Snowflake, isn't it?! I... me... mine...! Listen to yourself, and if you aren't ashamed in front of me, at least have some decency before your soldiers! Oh my, the big bad tank-bred monster Alain ruined my cute little family! I think I'm going to destroy the known universe because I'm so fucking special and nobody else in the multiverse has suffered as terribly as I have! Yes, he did target your family and abduct your children - so fucking what!? Deal with it and work to solve it without making it personal!"

"That fuck abducted my children! How the fuck am I supposed to not make it personal?!" Elena barked, "Not that you tank-breds will ever understand the value of family!"

"Because you are a leader of your damn people, which means your life and problems no longer belong just to you, so either start acting like one or step aside for someone who will!" Serena responded in kind, "The moment a leader takes charge, he forgets the notions of "me", there being only "us"! Yes, your family has been aggrieved greatly, and yes, it sucks, but has it ever occured to you that all those subjects of yours you are about to condemn to certain death over a petty personal vendetta have families too? If you cannot put their interests above your own, however difficult it may be, then you are unworthy to lead them! If such is the case, then you are no better than Alain, who betrayed his nation and ideals over a quest of petty revenge! If you place your wounded ego and your misguided sense of personal honour above the well-being of your people, then you are truly in the same league as him."

Such argument did seem to strike a cord with Trotskaya, who continued to speak still in elevated and angry voice, but at least without shouting.

"You are such a hypocrite, Serena!" she barked, "A slight forgiven is a slight repeated, does it not say so in your Word?"

"Ave Imperator! The Word also says that pride comes before fall, and yours has already brought you very near that twice in the last month!"

"Were it not for dumb luck and a little unexpected inside help, I would have crushed that worm like he deserved on the first time!" Elena argued.

"But you didn't! You didn't even account for the possibility that he might actually get some inside help. Moreover, you were so obsessed with polishing your ego as the Red Tigress, idol of the Mechanocracy, that you wanted to take him out personally despite best advice against such a move. Your pride was what drew you to underestimate him back then, and your pride was what caused your miserable failure now. You chose to ignore so many basic principles of security and strategy just to indulge your over-inflated ego by making an example of Alain that even a man of much lesser caliber than him would have found his way. You chose to ignore the fact that Alain's skills and training are by by design meant to penetrate heavy security against impossible odds and take down people like yourself, or for that matter, Harrigan. Your pride still doesn't allow you to accept the idea that somebody can be objectively better fighter and schemer than you despite being repeatedly proven wrong, and worse still, you are about to make the same mistake on an inter-universal scale, all to please your wounded ego."

"It's not for my ego, it's for my family, something that's obviously too alien for you to comprehend!" Trotskaya argued angrily.

"Is it now?" Serena smirked, "For someone holding the rank of General, you sure do strike me with your habit of rushing in head-on without a clue of what to expect. Since you quite obviously aren't stupid in the regular sense of the word, that doesn't leave much other causes for such borderline-criminal recklesness. Let's entertain the thought of you going through with your grandiose invasion plans. You jump into Imperial space, lay waste to a couple worlds... And then what? What do you imagine happens then?"

The Sidh posed a good question, one that Elena hadn't considered thus far in all truth. While it did little to diminish her murderous rage and lust for revenge, the Judicatrix was in the very least not speaking nonsense.

"Let me put things into perspective for you," Serena continued, "A single Imperial forge world can produce more ships, weapons and equipment in a month than the combined economies of the Mechanocracy and Frenco Empire could in 5 years, and there are several hundred forge worlds in the Imperium. There are more people living in a single core world hive-city than in this entire solar system which houses the bulk of your population, and a single core world may easily have several hundred hive-cities on it. I don't think I have to go any further to give you an idea of how abruptly and painfully your invasion is going to end when the local sector mobilizes it's battlefleets."

"And I think it is now your own pride and arrogance that leads you to grossly underestimate our capabilities," Elena growled, still unwilling to concede.

"Like what? The psionic might of the Supreme Leader who can crush dreadnoughts with his mind?" Serena shrugged, "Sure, he might help you destroy the Imperium and maybe even succeed in the end - but by the time it would happen, there wouldn't be a Mechanocracy left for him or you to rule either. You would have failed your job as the leader of your people, and your victory would only bring you to ruin. Alain would be dead, but so would be your children, Victor, and pretty much everyone else you have ever known. And all that because your inability to rein in your misguided sense of honour and justice, your inability to think straight."

"I suppose you are right, Sidh," Elena finally budged for already the second time in the past 24 hours much to her own chagrin, "That what you came here to hear? Are you happy now?!"

"Let's not start this all over again," Serena said, "Now that repeated failures and a little persuasion from me have finally convinced you to listen, let's finally get to business that I came to discuss. As you have had the questionable privilege to experience on several occasions, Alain has proven himself impervious even to the heaviest security measures and tactics including the deployment of hypersoldiers, because those are the exact things he's been trained to do by none other than me. What do you do to hunt down a particular animal?"

"Think like that animal," Elena said, "Know it's ways, it's habits and preferences."

"Exactly. The animal that we are hunting is a cunning and elusive one, it can sense dogs on it's trail from a mile away. That means you don't set a pack of dogs upon it - they will only scare your prey away and into hiding. Instead, you follow it around, subtly and quietly like it does itself, await for an opportune moment, and ambush it, strike it down with one swift and fell stroke."

"Your point being...?"

"You can call off your fleets, certainly if you value your ships and the lives of your men, they will only provide eventual target practice for the Imperial Navy. If you want to catch Alain and get your twins back, all you are going to need is one single ship - the fastet and stealthiest that you have - and an experienced crew with a personal loyalty to your family cause," Serena explained, "And then there is, of course, the issue of trust. I have taught Alain everything that I know, and worked with him for over 15 years, so I can safely say I have a good idea of how he operates. I would like to help you with that knowledge, but I need to know that my advice will not fall on deaf ears, that I will be fighting alongside a noble leader worthy of her people's trust, not a petty and vindictive little princess seeking to exact personal revenge at others' expense."

Elena paused for a while that seemed to drag on for centuries.

"Oh, I have just the ship in mind," she finally said, "As for that other part, I will recall the fleet for now and take steps to prevent the Senate from reversing that order. I will contact you later when necessary. Just know this - if you screw me over, your ilk is going to feel my wrath, starting with you!"

"Fair enough," Serena nodded, "See, it wasn't that hard to resolve things in a civilized manner, was it?"

Elena didn't dignify that with a response beyond a moderately angry look. Hateful as it was to admit, the Judicatrix was speaking the truth.
Freedom doesn't mean being able to do as one please, but rather not to do as one doesn't please.

A fool sees religion as the truth. A smart man sees religion as a lie. A ruler sees religion as a useful tool.

The more God in one's mouth, the less in one's heart.

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Blakullar
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Posts: 4506
Founded: Sep 07, 2012
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Blakullar » Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:53 am


Image RIVA GELLER
ELENA TROTSKAYA'S RESIDENCE, TSENTRAL'NYY SUNIKAGRAD.


"So, uh – Stepan, is it?" Riva asked to the neatly-dressed robotic butler of Trotskaya's home as she sat in one of the living room armchairs. "Is Miss Trotskaya normally so ... like, angry?"

"Not normally; she hasn't been this upset for a very long time," Stepan responded, manipulating a duster to clean off Trotskaya's trophy-case. "Not since the Charge over the Grosser Priel. Any battle where a Chthonian met his end was hard for her, but that one was particularly bad because eight went down in the same fight, including one of her oldest friends Ajax. I remember Andropov and Golovkin having to physically wrestle a gun out of her hand in order to stop her from blowing her own brains out after the battle: she thought she'd led her own sword-siblings to their deaths on that day, until they convinced her of just what a glorious victory she'd won for her nation, and to fight on in the memory of those who died for her."

"You were at this great battle of yours?" Igor enquired to divert the subject away from Trotskaya's misery.
"I was," the butler answered him. "I was one of the Object Twenty-one Forty-one infantry droid prototypes assigned to the Eighth VDV's Blood Brigade. I was among those who got shot to pieces by the fecks, but fortunately my personality core survived and General Trotskaya retrieved it. Now I serve her as her faithful housekeeper in return for her kindness."

"Fecks?" Riva asked, having sprouted a look of confusion.
"European Federal Enforcer Corps," Stepan elaborated. "The nickname comes from their English acronym, Ee-Eff-Ee-See. It didn't take long for the lads to pick up on it after we figured out that the word 'feck' is an English curse-word."

"I see..." the curious Riva seemed content with that response.
"Do you ever miss the battlefields?" was Igor's next question.

"Admittedly I do get nostalgic every now and again..." the robot answered him. "It's going to get worse since the tenth anniversary of the Charge is coming up in just over a month. Trotskaya was hoping to host a feast with the troops to celebrate the victory, and had been planning for just that before she went into labour. She was even hoping to invite that strategos to it, to celebrate a successful partnership between Machine Race and Sidhae."

While Stepan lifted up one of the photographs to dust the mantelpiece, a grating warble that Riva and Igor could best equate to a sigh sounded from the butler.
"I really hope the General gets her head on straight again..." he mumbled. "I might be retired, but I'm still first and foremost a Black Dragon. We stick with each other through the hardest of times, including our commander, and I hate nothing more than to see her in such a wretched state as this."

"Hmm..." Riva paused to think for a second. "I'm not one to blow my own trumpet by any means, but I happen to know a thing or two about cooking. Perhaps I could help you guys get this feast ready on the day to help calm her nerves a bit."
"I know for a fact she'd greatly appreciate that, and if you're as good as you suggest, so would the troops," Stepan nodded. "A word of advice though: don't even bother trying to get into a chugging contest with Brigadier Andropov. His war wounds may necessitate a tube for him to eat, but that man could outdrink a blood-whale even with his injuries!"

Suddenly, the door swung open. Outside was General Trotskaya herself.
"Come, you two, it is time!" she announced as her gaze planted itself upon Riva and Igor.

Trotskaya took her guests and Andropov down to her basement – an innocuous-looking wine cellar, having belonged to the prior owner of the house before it fell into the ownership of the Red Tigress. The first destination for her was one of the many hundreds of shelved bottles of saperavi, having selected the aforementioned bottle ostensibly at random. Pushing in the cork, which turned out to be a button upon a click, she then turned to one of the walls.

"State identity and first command," a dull, grating robotic voice suddenly warbled through Trotskaya's wrist-communicator, startling Riva slightly.
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings," the General announced in English with crisp authority. "Look upon my works, Ye Mighty, and despair."

"Identity confirmed and command received," the monotonous, booming speech called back.

At once, the wall that Trotskaya was looking upon metamorphosed from its earlier cream-coloured brick to a sparking silvery-colour, revealing its construction to be some kind of livingmetal when it cascaded like a metallic waterfall into a newly-opened drain. Once the disguise was down, what was left was a huge blast door: as it slowly fell into the ground, it was found to be at least two metres thick, the first plates of durasteel sandwiching three additional plates twenty centimetres in thickness each, one of of heat-proof pseudostarlite and the other two of electro-reactive armour, for good measure against a potential break-in. Until now the General had been satisfied that this bunker was truly impenetrable, a perfect mimicry of her light Bashkir-accented voice and knowledge of her favourite poem being necessary even just to bring down the livingmetal disguise, but now she was not so sure of anything's safety anymore.

As soon as Riva and Igor saw what was inside, their jaws dropped. The chamber to which they were bearing witness was absolutely vast, everyone already guessing that it occupied a space greater than the ordinary-looking mansion above. Every wall possessed, mounted inside of labelled glass display cases, weapons of every imaginable shape, size and function. Bladed, blunt, bow, firearm and suits of armour all stood together in an armoury spanning the entirety of human history across all continents, from recreations of Palaeolithic spears to advanced prototype energy weapons. They were looking at the product of one of Trotskaya's favourite hobbies: weapon-collecting.

"Riva, Igor, you are both free to take from this collection of mine whatever you desire," Trotskaya announced as she entered the armoury. "You may not believe it necessary, but I insist that you bring with you at least one weapon with which to protect yourselves, and I will see you trained in its use if you desire. You never know when danger may come knocking, and you must be prepared for it."

"Alright then..." Riva acknowledged, still wowed by the sheer number of weapons that Trotskaya had spent God knew how many years collecting. "What are you bringing?"
"My sword, my plasma blaster, several substantial upgrades that I shall acquire upon our visit to Peley the Mechanomancer's workshop later on ... and this," Trotskaya had made her way over to a centrally-located, black pedestal. Jutting out of its top was a long handle, capped by an onyx-black skull similar in appearance to the pommel of the sword that hung from her belt-scabbard. Grabbing the handle in both hands, the General slowly drew up a sword even bigger than Deymos, the white smoke of liquid nitrogen billowing from the pedestal as it rose from its resting place.

The crossguard of the sword that emerged bore Trotskaya's personal emblem, a black triad superimposed over a blood-red triangle and bordered in white. The blade itself was at least the height of its wielder, a devilish-looking serrated curve commanding the lower fifth of it. The rest was flat, its centre marked with four hollow fullers, until it reached the front of the blade, where it curved ahead of itself in a point that was a simulacrum of the Grim Reaper's dreaded scythe.

"Enter Excidium," Trotskaya announced with a half-grin up her left cheek as the flat-side of the vicious-looking blade rested on her right shoulder. "I soulforged this from the remains of my oldest arch-nemesis, Pandemonium, along with his orkish cronies a month before, specifically in anticipation of Alain's return. This weapon is my masterpiece; by giving it the name that it shall forever bear, I bind it to its primary function – his destruction."

Manipulating the blade to point its murderous lance to her side with a dexterity that betrayed the blade's greater weight than Deymos, Trotskaya activated the dark-energy core housed in the crossguard. On the many occasions where he had seen Deymos light up, Andropov knew that it would do so with the red energy creeping up the barrel as the magnetic bottle slowly expanded around the blade, often weeping droplets of deadly plasma in the process. In an electric, crackling flash, Excidium did the same, cleanly and with a glow many times fiercer than anything that Deymos and even modern 6Kh52 fusion swords based around its design could ever achieve. It was immediately apparent that Trotskaya's new warblade was a much more advanced design than her old one of twenty years. Swinging the blade to her left to test its integrity and balance produced a deep vurommm sound, she promptly powered it down again, twirling the emasculated debonair fusion greatsword to point its blade downward and sheathing it in her armour's back blade-slot.

"Now," she announced. "Our next destination is the Gorky Special Industrial Zone. There, you shall become acquainted with Peley the Mechanomancer..."

Suddenly, Stepan could be heard calling from upstairs.
"General, there's somebody at the door calling for you!" his voice warbled into the armoury.

"What?" Trotskaya grumbled. "Tell them that this is hardly the best time!"
"He says it's urgent, Ma'am!" the butler intoned again. "He didn't specify any details, but he looks like someone of authority! Should I let him in?"

"Show him to the living-room, I am coming up now," the General commanded as she proceeded out of the armoury. "Whoever this is had better not be here to waste my time!"


Image VARFOLOMEI KAFFAROV
ZARECHNY BOULEVARD, NIZHNIY NOVGOROD.


"Fifty three thousand, and counting..."
The lugubrious voice, washing over the environs of Nizhniy Novgorod like a low thunder, resonated from the bald, stone-faced character positioned before a microphone on the town hall's balcony. He wore a huge, thick grey coat over his heavily-built frame, the gaze of his single red eye burrowed firmly into the vast crowd beneath him. His right eye was an artificial, almost insectoid construct, consisting of four small, circular optics arranged in a diamond pattern.

"Comrades, I am loath to tell you the significance of the number 'fifty three thousand', for I know it will inspire only horror within you!" the man continued to call to his viewership. "However, as a loyal servant of the Mechanocratic promise, I know that I must, so I ask that you brace yourselves. The number 'fifty three thousand' is the current death toll of last night's cowardly attack by the Imperium's sinister agents upon our capital!"

The speaker was none other than Varfolomei Kaffarov, a Populist who had spent the past two months waging a personal crusade to warn the Mecharussian people of a perceived genuine danger from the Imperium of Sidhae. Behind him hung up three portraits: one was of Vladimir Lenin, the father of the Original Revolution, and the second was the present Supreme Leader, the father of the Second Revolution. Such portraits were normal for Populists to hang before them during their powerful orations, a reminder of what it was that the populist stood for to the audience.

Where Kaffarov differed from the others was in his third portrait. It was of a youthful woman in military dress uniform, brunette hair tied back into a bun as she beamed a smile to her onlookers. Indeed, it was Zinoviya Marilova, martyr for the populist's cause and the subject of the so-called 'Remember Zina' Movement, named for the chant of support by Kaffarov's supporters: 'Remember Zina, Remember Alexei, Remember the Sixteenth of July!'.

"You may be wondering, comrades – shouldn't I be scared?" the populist proceeded. "Don't I fear reprisal from the terrorists responsible for this mass murder in our very own capital? Of course not, comrades! I have no reason to fear a group of self-righteous pigs who grow themselves in tanks like dirty Frenks! No, comrades, I WANT these laboratory-bred mongrels to hear our fury! I want them to know that should they dare to tread the hallowed grounds of our Motherland with murderous intent again, I will butcher them like the disgusting mockeries of the human shape they all are! But I, comrades, cannot protect you if I don't know how many of you will stand behind me! Who will join me on my crusade to purge the alien menace from our great society?!"

A brilliant, affirmative cheer at once erupted from the crowd.
"I can't hear you!" the impassioned Kaffarov beseeched. "There aren't enough of you! Who will stand with me against the xenos?!"

Another cheer, this time even louder than the last.
"LOUDER!!" the populist roared at the top of his own lungs.

The cheer that then ensued was so thunderous in volume that it rivalled even the powerful response to the Red Tigress' own orations.

"Even at your present apex, there are still not enough of you to back my campaign!" Kaffarov sadly announced, before proceeding with a determined fury. "We must never rest until ALL peoples who inhabit the socialist world will be free from fear of the deadly delusion that is the Emperor's message! It talks of salvation, but the only 'salvation' it promises is for those who will subjugate us and annihilate us if they are left unchecked! My words are attested not just by the atomic spit-in-the-face in our own capital, but also by the actions of a truly vile creature conducted in tandem. The same Judicator who dared to attack us at the Kursk Celebration Parade, to harm our nation's most decorated and beloved heroine!!!"

The populist was visibly shaking with rage as his good eye shed a tear at this point, so he took a two-second pause to calm himself down.

"You hear my voice correctly, comrades: I refer to none other than the Red Tigress!" he continued, no less forceful and damning than before his curt interlude. "Earlier this morning, the Sidh barbarians struck once again to rob from her her beloved newborn children for their own hideous purposes! Even now, their delegates will no doubt soon infest our nation to buy the scumbags responsible for this abominable crime the time they want to make their escape back to the loins of their whore Empress! They will trample on our soil and dare to demand our submission through diplomacy! They will no doubt try to reassure us and lie to our face as they tell us that they continue to seek good relations with us. But we who call ourselves Machine Race beseech our government to cease their appeasement of New Aedun and instead obstruct their malevolent agenda at every turn in the road! We who call ourselves Machine Race are now charged with protecting not just Mother Russia's greatest daughter, but all of Her many children, from those who would masquerade as our 'friends' and 'allies'! Never forget, comrades, how those lying snakes murdered Alexei Trotsky!! AND NEVER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEIR WANTON BUTCHERY!!!"

With that last, tremendous outpouring of furious grief, Kaffarov's right fist shot to the sky. With a thunderous chant of 'REMEMBER ZINA! REMEMBER ALEXEI! REMEMBER THE SIXTEENTH OF JULY!', the crowd that he was addressing below mimicked his saluting gesture, fired up by the populist's mesmerising charisma.


Image GRAND CURATOR PROKHOR STAHLRIM
HIS RESIDENCE, TSENTRAL'NYY SUNIKAGRAD.


And all Grand Curator Prokhor Stahlrim could do, lounging on his sofa as the newscast projected Kaffarov's speech from the seventy-inch HD telescreen before him, was watch. He had heard it all before: challenge the Imperium and make pariahs of them. It was hardly any better at the Senate, the news report stating that an emergency meeting had been called to discuss the crisis and that the prospects of war were almost certain. Stahlrim had sat by and remained passive while Trotskaya had nearly died at the top of the Senate Tower in July. He had sat by and remained passive while the populist on the telescreen spewed bile at the one Imperium everybody in Mecharussia had reason to fear.

"FUCK ALL KINDS OF DUCK!" Stahlrim could remain passive no longer, flicking off the telescreen with the remote and springing to his feet. "Once again, Old Uncle Stahlrim has to take matters into his own hands to save the world from its impending doom..."

And with that, he stormed off, his Bombay cat Gven trailing close behind as he drew forth his smartphone. Pressing the 'make call' button, he thumbed in a number, waited for the intone announcing that the connection had been made, and raised the 'phone to his auditory sensor.

"Whoever this is, this had better be good!" the drowsy-sounding voice of Secretary Danko grumbled on the other side. "It's six in the morning over here!"
"I want a guarantee from you, Secretary!" Stahlrim bellowed. "Tell me you can wangle a ship into Sidh space, right this instant!"

"What? Why?"
"Never mind why!" the Curator instantaneously responded to Danko's query. "Can you do it or not?!"

"I don't think I-"
"Wrong answer!" Stahlrim barked without even bothering to listen to Danko's excuse as he pushed open the door to his office. "If you don't get on that hotline to the Embassy within the next hour and arrange for immediate, top-level negotiations, I'm gonna come down there and I WILL make you regret not being intimate enough with your job! UNDERSTOOD?!!"

"Uh ... yes, sir!" the Secretary acknowledged the angry Curator. Without further ado, the connection was terminated and Stahlrim began to look through a file for something.

"A-ha..." the Curator located the template for which he was searching. Before he could write on it, however, he had another call to make as he took a seat in his chair. Swiping through his phonebook until he reached one particular individual whom he had on speed-dial, he pushed the number, and waited.

"'Ello?" enquired a gentle, Australasian accent, spoken in the English language.
"Lady Jane the First, House Smyth!" Stahlrim gleefully greeted the character on the other side as he leaned back on the chair, his whole behaviour as if he was talking to a good friend of his. "I hate to have to bother you at this hour, but since you're in the habit of asking me for favours, I'm in need of a favour of my own. And it may or may not have something to do with one certain Lenka you'll no doubt have heard so much about lately..."

"What can I do ya for, Proshka?" Smyth's jovial voice asked the Curator.
"How fast can you persuade old man Frank to have a delegate sent to the Nevskiy Prospekt Hotel?" Stahlrim gave Smyth his own question.


THIRTY MINUTES LATER...

In the National People's Senate, Grand Marshal Gordon Kravchenko remained seated in the box reserved for the members of the Military Council. What was being discussed had already been deliberated by the Council, the marshal – to everybody's surprise, given his normally-pacifist outlook – convincing them to go through with this. The vote in favour would without a doubt be overwhelming.

"All in favour of a war against the Imperium of Sidhae, raise your hands!" the speaker at the stage announced.

Before he could make a count, the attention of every apparatchik in the room was snapped towards the double-doors that were suddenly booted wide open by Stahlrim, optics flaming a narrow crimson in anger as he stood in the doorway.
"VETOED!!!" the Curator bellowed into the chamber at the top of his artificial lungs, eyes flaming a brilliant blood-red with anger. Gripped in his left hand was some kind of important-looking document.

The senators glared at him with a venom reserved for the stupid as he proceeded to the stage.

"How the Christ have you useless, living incarnations of autism still not figured it out yet..." Stahlrim shook his head as he took his place at the lectern, pushing aside the speaker. "IF THE IMPERIUM REALLY WANTED TO WAR, THEY WOULDN'T BOTHER WITH ALL THIS SMOKE AND MIRRORS!!! THEY WOULD JUST WALTZ RIGHT IN AND BURY US ALL UNDER LITERAL MOUNTAINS OF BLACK ARMOUR AND HILARIOUSLY-OVERSIZED FLYING CATHEDRALS!!!"

Some of the dirty looks fired at him died down as they began to realise the objective truth in this.
"Now, I think I have a solution to our little problem!" Stahlrim slammed the paper onto the desk and gestured for a nearby Caretaker drone to hover over. "And it just so happens to adopt the shape of this!"

And so, with the help of the hoverbot's holoprojector, the following document was broadcast to the whole room for all to see:

Image


"YOU SIGNED OFF A GENERAL MOBILISATION ORDER WITHOUT CONSULTING THE SENATE FIRST?!!" Kravchenko stood up and roared immediately after finishing reading the document, barely able to contain his rage. "Grand Curator, do you quite realise what a breach of the-"

"Does it look like I give a rat's ass about 'the great Mechanocratic Constitution' right now, Marshal?" Stahlrim barked back. "You were abiding by it and you would have dragged us into the motherfucker of all trans-galactic showstoppers had I not intervened merely SECONDS before you all approved the notion to ACTUALLY GO TO WAR WITH THE IMPERIUM OF BLOODY SIDHAE!! YOU!!! MISTER LET'S-NOT-DO-WAR-BECAUSE-IT'S-MEAN-AND-EVIL-AND-SCARY-AND-STUFF!! And that's not the only thing I've done without you idiots to hold me back – I've arranged for diplomatic talks to take place between Mekhrus and the Imperium as soon as possible, and I've flagged for the Frenks to send a diplomat at well!"

And with Kravchenko suitably castigated, the marshal sitting down again with a grunt, the Curator turned on the rest of the furious congregation.
"Now, LISTEN UP, YOU SLACK-JAWED, UTTERLY WORTHLESS BUNCH OF USED CONDOMS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAR TOILET!!!!" he bellowed at them. "Right now, this nation's greatest servant needs all the help she can get her grubby mitts on! And I don't know about YOU, but I don't intend any longer to sit idly by while some self-righteous alien bastard pisses off with the sprogs that she went through hell and back to bring into this world!! No more crying, no more excuses, NONE OF YOUR CRAP!!! We WILL initiate this mobilisation order, we WILL muster a response, and we are GOING to get Evgeniy and Yulia Trotskaya back in their mother's hands!! DO YOU ALL UNDERSTAND ME?!!!"

"What do you want us to do?" Kravchenko loudly asked.

"YOU are to get on the 'phone to General Trotskaya straight after this meeting, you're going to tell her to keep her knickers on and get her to call off those bloody stealthers!" the Curator addressed him, his optics having settled into a gentler optimistic gold. "And YOU, Fyodorov, are to head out to the Nevskiy Prospekt Hotel as soon as possible and keep my seat warm for when I arrive! Liamova! I want YOU to be ready to send the mobilisation order across every possible medium! Telescreens, radio broadcasts, news bulletins, billboards, posters nailed to electrical pylons - LITERALLY EVERYTHING!!! We have a hell of a lot of work to do, so hop to it!"
Last edited by Blakullar on Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ardavia
Senator
 
Posts: 4732
Founded: Jun 05, 2013
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Ardavia » Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:56 am

"So, anyone got the latest numbers on the death toll from that nuke in Sunikagrad? Also, hit me."

"Yeah, last I saw, the count was over fifty thousand. They were showing that agitator, Kaffarov or whatever, in the news. Man's seriously worked up over this."

The first speaker was a man, seated around a low table with two other men and one woman, all of them extraordinarily muscular by any standard. Were one to look past the t-shirts and loose pants they all wore, a number of scars identically placed on all their bodies would be laid bare, as would the three black plastic ports parting the skin over their spines.

Gene Frost quietly noted the names of the four soldiers playing poker, and then tapped his foot on the floor. The only indication to him of this was the sound of his armoured boot impacting the wooden floor, for he couldn't actually feel it do so.

The reason for this was that he didn't have fingers or toes. In fact, he didn't have hands or feet. Or forearms, shins, thighs, or two upper-arms. He had one upper-arm, which he rather jealously guarded from people who would take it from him.

In any case, it produced a very quick reaction, as all four of the soldiers burst to their feet and faced him. He didn't react. This went on for a few moments. Then one of them, the man who had spoken just as he entered the room, awkwardly queried "Sir?".

Behind the obscuring face mask that formed part of the insulated environment that preserved his (rather decrepit, it must be noted, but Gene liked to think he was quite spry for being 95) body, Gene smiled, and uttered three words. "You, follow me."

Then he turned on his heel, and marched out of the room. Behind him, the four soldiers scrambled to obey, grabbing their rifles from where they'd been carelessly placed and falling in behind him. There wasn't a trace of military bearing in them, but he didn't care: 80 years ago, as a fresh Marine, he might have, but these days, he didn't give two shits about proper military bearing as long as they were still effective soldiers.

Navigating the corridors with the ease of long experience, he led the small squad out of the bunker complex and out into the sun. The ground beneath their feet was asphalt, with bare dirt taking over just past the perimeter (an electrified chainlink fence reinforced with multiple layers of barbed wire and tanglefoot wire with gun towers every ten meters of fence). Fifty meters out, the dirt turned to low and tangled shrubbery covering the ground around naked trees: the distinctive mark of defoliated jungle. A hundred and fifty meters out, it transitioned into jungle.

Around the base, men and women were scrambling about: some in power armour, some wearing the same t-shirt and loose pants combo that the four behind him. It was like a disturbed beehive, and had been since the news arrived and readiness had been heightened. At the base landing pad, the distinctive boxy form of a common Asp long-distance dropship was parked. Its engines were already running, and it was clearly ready for taking off at any moment. In fact, two more a bit away were in the process of doing so.

Turning to face the soldiers behind him once again, Gene waved his augmetic arm at the transport and spoke. "Congratulations: you're going on vacation. Due to... recent events, we're reinforcing the security staff at every embassy we have. Pointless, if you ask me, but these orders come from way up. So, again, congratulations, soldiers. You're off to the embassy in Sunikagrad. Be sure to enjoy the radioactive dust and lack of anything to do. Your equipment's been sent ahead, now get the fuck aboard."




Harper was currently seated in the back of a taxi Darter, cruising through the streets of New Rome, with her augmetic arm in her lap. It had been responding a bit slower than she liked it to, so she was currently calibrating the servos The synthskin cover was peeled back, the titanium-aluminum alloy plating had been detached, and her fingers were currently poking at the internals with the ease of experience.

Her jacket had been undone and tossed to a side, and you could see the attachment point implanted in her shoulder and anchored by an extensive framework of metal and black polymer stretching over her torso. Of course, most of that framework was covered by the white tank top she wore, but a bit of it was visible where it went out from the attachment point itself.

Right. That should be that. With a nod to herself, she began the process of reassembly. It was reasonably simple: the cover plates screwed into place with the use of a standard magnetic screwdriver, and the synthskin was just a matter of pulling it up to cover the entire thing again. Lifting the cybernetic arm and feeling the cold metal through the plastic imitation of skin, she put the shoulder-end up to the attachment point and felt it automatically latch on. Its end unfolding like the petals of a flower, the arm closed around the attachment point and a few moments later, she felt it come online.

Experimentally bending her elbow, she gave a slight grin. It was performing perfectly, just like her old arm once had. Grabbing her jacket once more and buttoning it over the white tank top she wore, she glanced outside. Not far to her destination now, she recognized some of these landmarks from her previous trips here and had a reasonably good idea of where she was right now in relation to her destination.
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The Nexus of Man
Diplomat
 
Posts: 695
Founded: Oct 11, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby The Nexus of Man » Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:30 am

Always become the first one seize the opportunities for further discovery, success, and prosperity. Your future generations will revere your findings as if you uncovered the truth of Existence itself for it.

Rosemarie Proch



Image
U N E X P L O R E D A N O M A L Y, E A S T C H I N A S E A, E A R T H
A S I A N N E X U S, N E X U S O F M A N S E P T E M B E R 5 T H, 2 1 5 2 A N N O D O M I N I
L I E U T E N A N T R U A N Y O N G

English
German
Korean
Japanese
Mandarin


...They actually gave us approval to investigate the phenomena at hand, sir?

A youthful and eager sailor peeked downward from the second floor of the submarine's central atrium towards Lieutenant Ruan, all while some of the crew as a whole navigated towards the small and compact canteen for their daily rations. In response, Ruan looked upward, and issued a slight cracked smile.

Yes, Enlist Xu; total control over the situation, too! Primarily because we know more about this kind of shit than anyone else back home, but whatever...



The elongated and thin submarine, sleek and sharp along its edges yet utterly titanic in length and size, slowly but surely made its way through the ultramarine blue seas by cutting forth past the currents of the water with its affixed aft nuclear engines. Most global oceans already possessed higher degrees of radiation than other, more concealed regions of water flow... and the seas near the Americas and China were the most irradiated, thanks to the events during and after what was known as Zero Hour.

To those with a lackluster knowledge in foreign terminology and labels, this referred to the Great War that had broke out between a plethora of Sino-axis and American-axis nations due to the competition for quickly dwindling resources and viable territory. This radiation, which spilled unto the seas like the fermenting and rotting grey organs of dead cattle being siphoned into caskets of murky grey water, was indeed lethal and polluting. Normal baseline and unmutated humans who went to wade in these dangerous waters for long periods of time would soon come to express the symptoms synonymous with a weak onset of irradiation, with more exposure leading to an exponentially higher rate of devastating sickness and eventual death. However, if they did not come to die from such perils, they would soon arrive at death's hellish stone gate from the swimming serpents and foul creatures that had called the newly-wrecked and transformed oceans and seas their new abode.

Of course, this specific Nexonic submarine was keenly planned out to be impervious to these environmental risks and threats, employing a variety of life support systems and basic anti-radiation and anti-corrosive armor to battle the otherwise onsets of radiation sickness and poisoning from the environment. Furthermore, as noted by the variety of unique structures that seemed to taper off and jut out from the sides, bow, and aft of the vessel, it could be noted by someone with a limited knowledge of maritime experience that such constructs were most likely utilized to broadcast an array of differing topics of information, with emergency distress signals being a logical possibility.

The oceans themselves were dangerous most in their vastness and volume, with their secrets to this very day being veiled more in the shadow of doubt and ignorance than even some of the physical and quantum discoveries of space up above. As such, this only fueled the flames for scientific and technological innovation within the fields of Nexonic shipbuilding and naval activities, for they were employed to be one of the first explorers to reap the secrets of the ocean once again, as their elderly ancestors had once done with space so long ago within the dusty and decrepit halls of history.

As this new vehicular monstrosity roared with all of its aqueously-deafened and muted might through the darkened blue depths of the East China Sea, nothing could be sighted in any imminent direction to the crew, apart from the sunlight drifted down towards them, being swallowed almost whole by the amount of drifting and reflecting water that laid above. The mission of the crew was not to fret about being so far against the surface of the lapping waves, though. Their one true objective was to seek this rumored and referenced "temporal anomaly" that had suddenly appeared within the sandy and onyx depths, spewing forth perplexing and erratic signals from a gaping ovular crease in the fabric of space within the sea floor. This anomaly did not seem to affect the local oceanic environment much at all, except for the somewhat cleaner and less irradiated signatures that read off from the water flowing out from the anomaly, with the more irradiated and natural Earthen water switching the flows periodically in some sort of radiation-based convection cycle.

This had quickly piqued the interests of the burgeoning climatic, oceanographic, and meteorological surveyors within this region, which laid imminent in proximity to the booming and utterly colossal Asian Nexus. It was presumed that action to investigate this anomaly was activated by Regent-Governor Xun S. Zheng on the behalf of Commandant Voph Rhazien Graeme, with official approval coming from the Commandant himself merely a few hours later.

Good thing we started early... this is shaping out to be something else.




Lieutenant Ruan!

The sharp and exotic verbal twang of a Japanese accent floated throughout Lieutenant Ruan's on-helmet linguistic translator, being converted from the Captain's native tongue into Ruan's original speech of Mandarin Chinese rather effortlessly. Due to how the original voice of the Captain still rang, interpreting the translated message alongside the muffled (albeit present) original Japanese was a bit of an effort to undergo. Still better than nothing, so there was that one positive factor to reflect on.

Lieutenant Ruan snapped to attention as the white-appareled submarine captain marched along the rows of technical and monitoring equipment, ending his goosestepping strut only a few feet away from Ruan himself.

What seems to be the status of the anomaly as of this very moment?

Uh,” Ruan murmured, as his eyes strained to the sides while he picked the brain for whatever he was previously paying half-attention towards on his surveillance console. “Anomaly seems to be managing a constant radius of around one hundred-and-fifty meters. The pseudo-circular surface does not seem to be as reflective to light and energy as previously assumed, despite being able to intake direct matter. Probes have sensed light coming in from that portal-

The snap of the officer's rigid baton against the pale leather of his gloves sent Ruan into a wide-eyed period of silence. With a slight and voluntary crack of his neck's spine, the Japanese officer slightly nodded his head in approval.

That is all I needed to know for now. This very submarine is only around fifteen or so meters tall, so the margin of error for transit directly bow-to-epicenter should only be approximately ten percent... is that wrong, Private?

The gaze of the captain fell upon that of a young and short Korean, who's small eyes hid behind the large and bulky frames of a pair of black reading glasses. Upon noticing that the captain's attention fell upon him, the Korean quickly stood up from his seat, leaving his Hangul-inscribed technical book open in the process.

Not at all, Captain Yamashita!” the Korean managed to squeak out in exclamation, slightly fidgeting in his stance of attention. “Everything seems to be in order, and corresponding to the basics of temporal anomalous properties... as far as the data we've collected shows, of course...

Mhm... it should be. If we have one erroneous event fall upon us — even if it is one minor fluke, mind you — Rhazien and the Nexonic state as a whole will be most displeased. So, we must-

The captains short ramble of the threats that lingered for impeding the mission's success was cut off by the sound of a sub door being quickly yanked open; quite a feat to accomplish, considering the amount of kilograms in metal and plastic that went into one door alone. An expression of indignation and fury began to grow on Captain Yamashita's face, for he twirled around to cast disapprobation for whomever had spoiled such a morale-revving moment.

Who just slammed that damn door like a raucous little f-!?...

The captain, after pivoting around informally and in a short fit of anger, immediately halted his built-up tirade and jerkiness of movement. Instead, he shot his right arm straight and rigidly into the air, with the palm of his glove-clothed hand facing ever so forward. In normal views of this pose, it would be something akin to signalling another to stop; alas, with the certain angles and awe-grabbing attention that this pose demanded, in combination with the apparel of those who executed alongside such a posture and form, this was not the case.

The other crew, upon tracing with their eyes towards where the captain's face had suddenly frozen unto, shot straight back up from their momentary rests upon their seats. After this quick move of formal urgency, their arms began to incline in straightness and in angled format for the iconic Nexonic salute, mimicking that of the captain's own direct salute to this newfound figure.

As all of their white-stained orbs meandered to stare forward, only a few of the crew could strain their mind to interpret their peripheral vision and see who had come so interruptedly. Nonetheless, if this figure demanded the stoic and silent attention of Captain Yamashita himself, then it would have been foolish to not copy their commanding officer's same actions, in order to avoid the wrath of breaking tradition and esprit de corps. Even so, the captain saw who had come in within full sight and full mind.

General Walsh!

Finally, the figure who had lingered within the room's bow-ward corridor finally came into the full glaring limelight, accompanied by an entourage of black-clad government storm troopers, aptly known simply as the "Blackshadow". These troopers were arranged in an arrowhead formation, with the General taking position as the tip of this quite lethal and formidable arrow.

Unlike the surrounding Blackshadow soldiers, who visibly flaunted their weaponry and equipment with a morbid invigoration of otherworldly thoughts for exacting calculated violence and terror, Gen. Walsh did nothing but stand with his black gloves clasped firmly behind his back, which laid underneath a trench coat left to linger limply in the stagnant currents of the room. Mostly everything about this General was black, from the cap that sat upon his shaved head all the way down to the finely-shined and glittering shoes. On his arm laid a similarly obsidian armband, with a finely print Nexonic "N Cube" insignia laying witness upon its breadth.

Of course, barreling one's sight past all of these monochromatic shades of the abyss, the captain saw Gen. Walsh's true unique variable to his appearance: he was what they called an "African Nexonic", one of the rare few who were lucky and able to leave the otherwise landlocked and hardly-accessible African Nexus. His head, which was peeking forth from the stout and sharp collar holding firmly around the perimeter of his neck, sported a face that showed only a scintilla of interest in the situation. Apart from this, he was otherwise neutral and crumpled in expression.

“At ease,” General Walsh muttered, hints of utter boredom being sprinkled throughout his otherwise deep and reverberating voice. “I need to confer at once with a Captain ‘Jomei Yamashita’, as per orders from the Supreme Commander.”

I... I am Captain Y-

“Great, because if I boarded one more ship without it being you, I would have shot the next fucking captain to cross me with some witty response. And yes, that did happen. Moron's already decaying in a sea bed somewhere...”

While General Walsh went on nonchalantly about the details of the other captain's rather brutal demise, beads of sweat began to accumulate underneath Captain Yamashita's collar. He tried to mimic the General's apathy for the situation by slipping in a glove to readjust his neck's position, but that didn't seem to come out so well.

“...and then I decided to-... what the hell are you doing with your neck, Captain?”

Uhrm... m-my collar seemed to be a bit-

“Oh? So, did you just come up and become a fidgeting pussy out of the blue, or is it merely because I'm here?”

W-well, with all due respect, General W-

“ ‘All due respect’ what, Captain Yamashita? Frankly, I don't have any time to hear some snarky bullshit coming from your mouth, especially with the pretense of the underlying situation. Just fucking let it out, already!”

...Your arrival was sudden and unanticipated, and we are closing in on the anomaly at just five more kilometers-

“Are all you Japs fucking stupid?”

The sudden spout from General Walsh's otherwise unemotional face sent the once similarly-stolid captain into a face of shock. This surprised response stirred forth a sneer of circumstantial enjoyment from the General's cold expression soon afterwards.

W-...what?

“Why the hell would I be here, looking for the Temporal Expeditionary Team, if it wasn't to spectate this?”

I-

“Christ, you can't speak clearly for one second! Didn't you know that I would be arriving soon?”

...Yes...

“Then why are you surprised as if Alexander himself is here?”

We were supposed to scout first - to make sure it is safe for your transit, of course.

“Well, you're shit out of luck, because I'm going to be supervising for any scouting fuck ups as well! You should've known that Nexonic officers should be punctual.”

The captain did nothing but keep his head bowed ceremonially, as the General began to walk and size up the sailors still standing uniformly and frozen at attention. He seemed to mull over their lines with the same maintenance of boredom mixed in with a hint of serious pondering and reflection upon the crew's state - which, in turn, reflected the welfare of the captain himself.

“So, Captain... where is the team leader for this soon-to-be temporal expedition? Because, if I remember correctly, wasn't it a Lieutenant ‘Ruan Yong’,” the General stated, stopping to stare directly into the eyes of a sailor parallel to Ruan, “instead of a Lieutenant ‘Qí Chaoxiang’?”

Colonel Jeo said for Lieutenant Ruan to stay here.

“Colonel Jeo is a fucking dumbass, Captain. He can't tell the difference between burst action and full auto, and yet you allowed him to push you around and follow faulty orders?”

It was either him, General, or Major Zhao...

General Walsh came to stare at the captain with his brown irises and yellow-stained sclerae, while the white-uniformed officer had come to snap back into a straight attentive pose. The rumbling ambiance of the submarine's travel was followed by the usual intermittent coughs and stifled sneezes of the crew, with the general verbal silence hanging for a few long moments of time.

“You are not to worry about Major Zhao at all, for that little Chinese shit is bound to get reprimand from the highest echelons due to his treasonous actions. Do you not remember his contact with the United Dominion of Asian Peoples?”

...No, sir.

“That's strange; it was all in the news around two to three days ago. Even so, you should worry more about me, and what I plan for you... now, where the hell is Lieutenant Ruan Yong!? I want to see this transit live!

Captain Yamashita pivoted on his heel opposite to where he was previously facing in attention, and proceeded to automatically point on the slightly-hiding lieutenant with his right hand.

I assume that he is the one that you want to speak with...

...Fuck.
Last edited by The Nexus of Man on Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gigaverse
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Posts: 12722
Founded: Mar 26, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Gigaverse » Sun Nov 27, 2016 1:53 am

Latin
Dastani
Irish
Russian

Meanwhile, in another place at around the same time
(As Harrigan's battle against Alain)


Neva Bay - Kronstadt side
Mechanocratic Russia | Earth
The 5th of September, 2152 [local calendar]


《Track: Vetulus Piscatur


For people in a superpower so industrialized and mechanized as the Mechanocracy of Russia, surely the sight of an old man with a fishing rod would have been rare and quite strange. But there he was. Senile old geezer German Rybakov paid little thought to the fact that the waters of the contemporary world was irradiated (the radiation amount depending on location).

Augmented like the rest of the Machine Race, yet having chosen for himself so simple a lifestyle away from the prying eyes of outsiders, Rybakov's existence had grown so simplistic. He needed nothing more than a small cottage by the Neva Bay with the barest of necessities to sustain an enjoyable life. So he thought, as he took his chair outside, arranged himself a seat by the waters, and sat down to cast his fishing rod. His everyday habit began.

Rybakov could sit for hours on end. Of course, at the end of everyday, nothing would take his bait. But like Mother Russia, Rybakov's will lasted. He would fish to the end of his last breath, and on that day, he would catch that gigantic tunny only heard of in the rumors.

Only, what he caught, while heavy, wasn't a tunny. And not by fishing rod either.

After an hour or so sitting on the same spot, Rybakov began to notice a couple of bubbles on the water's surface, a distance away from the shoreline. A fish? A tunny?! He went to check, but instead of any kind of seafood whatsoever...

A HAND SUDDENLY EMERGED.

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ஜ۩۞۩ஜ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

And soon, instead of fishing, Rybakov had invited the man who had emerged from the waters where he was fishing to his house. A very tall, white-haired young man in his early 30s, with a particularly muscular frame, who was probably diving with plain clothes in the Neva Bay in the middle of September. The younger man accepted the old man's offer to dry and warm himself up in his cottage nearby, but declined another offer to change his clothes. As he sat and waited for the senior gentleman, the latter walked towards the sole table present, bringing with him a tray with a pot of tea and two cups, his shiny bald head lit up by the room's lighting.

"Thought I'd catch a big, big fish. Never once imagined I'd catch, instead, a big, big man!", Rybakov said, as his shaking hands seemed as if they would accidentally drop the tray at any time.

"Never once thought to myself that I'd be involved in a scenario like this either.", the white-haired man shrugged as he stood up, "Here. Let me help."

"Thank you son!"

"No problem."

As they sat down again and Rybakov poured tea into their cups, Rybakov enquired.

"May I ask now, young man... what were you doing in the waters?"

"Just some training exercises, sir.", the 'young man' said, before taking a sip from his teacup. "This tea is just what I needed, thank you."

"I'm glad I can return favors!", old man Rybakov chuckled, "You honestly wasn't drowning?"

"No.", a smile appeared on the younger man's face. "What about you? What are you, an old man, doing here all alone by yourself?"

"Bah, it's nothing. I just thought that me staying another day in my house in the city would cause trouble for my children, is all! Now that my wife is gone and my kids are all grown up and can take care of themselves decently, there's no room for me beside the occasional visits I can pay to them."

"I'm sorry to hear about your loss..."

"What; who, my wife? No, don't be; she left this world peacefully, with a pretty content smile.", the old man smiled warmly as he reminisced of memories between him and his wife.

"Your family circumstances... No family issues?", the white-haired man's eyebrow was raised.

"Oh no! None whatsoever! My leaving was of my own volition. I would guess this may seem to be so small for you, but let me say I only ever needed this to enjoy my old age! Not like I don't return either; every once in a while, I pay a visit to my children in the city!"

"If you have a bunch of children, that's gonna be hard, I'd imagine - especially when you've effectively cut yourself off from most means of effective communication like you're doing now."

"Not that many even, all I have are 3. My eldest, Daria; my second, Andrei; and my third, Nadia. If there's any real family problem among us, it was that their mother, who had a thing against hospitals, initially objected fiercely against Nadia's dream to become a nurse in Sunikagrad; eventually, everything sorted themselves out, Nadia gets to be the nurse she always wanted to be, my wife passed away, and it won't be that long until I eventually am allowed to join her in who-knows-where."

The two man continued to converse for a while, with the occasional tea-sipping. Once the pot was empty, the younger and larger of the two stood up and respectfully saluted his host, his clothes long since dried by the little room's warmth.

"I almost forgot; we have talked plenty, but we haven't even known the name of each other!", the little, jolly old man clapped three times, "I am German Rybakov, and my address... is here!"

"Well, yes, obviously.", the white-haired man entertained the senior citizen with a loud chuckle, "I am Savva Sokolov. And certainly, I'd hope we have a chance to meet again."

Sokolov walked outside the door while Rybakov prepared to clean up the pot of tea and cups. But the old man noticed something: for some reason, the tray, the pot and the cups had already been cleaned when Sokolov and him were bidding each other goodbyes; and there was a new fishing rod, which did not belong to him, that had appeared in the room. Presuming that it belonged to his guest just moments before, Rybakov held the fishing rod and came to the door.

Much to his surprise, Sokolov was already gone, mere moments after walking outside. Presumably, he walked very quickly.

Nevertheless, Rybakov appreciated what just happened.



(What used to be the) Palace of the Holy Office
European Federation | Earth
The 5th of September, 2152 [local calendar]



"De feck dae yer mean, dis is de Palace of de 'Oly Office - in Vatican City?!"

Under the cover of the European night, two men could be seen exploring the ruins of Vatican City. While by normal standards, both would be on the taller side, the man with ash-blond hair was especially tall - well more than a head taller - compared to the man with neatly combed-back grey hair and mustache. The former was lean but larger-than-life, his black clerical clothes behind his dark-colored trench-coat and his cross-shaped necklace indicating his status as a holy man; the latter was also wearing similar articles of clothing underneath his white coat.

"You should have guessed from the looks of the building and the layout of the city.", the man with grey hair glanced at the blond one.

"Ach keep hwieet, Inquisitor Ragnall O'Brian-O'Carrol-O'Connel-O'Malley-O'Reilly-O'Sullivan, who jist so 'appens ter be Italian! Neede oi tell yer ter grab a flyin' disc back ter dat Pizza Planet av yers?", the gigantic man glared back, his teeth gritting.

"My part of that world did not specialize in pizza.", O'Brian-O'Carrol-O'Connel-O'Malley-O'Reilly-O'Sullivan defended himself, "And, for your information, Knight Commander Alastair Argeas; within the ranks of the Inquisition, I am your immediate superior."

"Shoite.", said Argeas.

"And, please... Refer to me as, 'Ragnall O'Sullivan', for the sake of brevity."

"Oi give no shoite, O'Brian-O'Carrol-O'Connel-O'Malley-O'Reilly-O'Sullivan, oi say yer name whenever oi feckin want!", exclaimed Argeas as he brandished and swung his three bayonets around, "An', beside, when de violence starts, oi don't even neede ter care about dis!"

O'Sullivan sighed. "At least, pay attention that these are holy grounds, and not quite the average battlefield."

"Fer all oi know, nobody even come ter dis place!", Argeas grinned, "So... let's git de feck outta 'ere!!"

"If this was more productive, we would have located that person's whereabouts by now..."

Just as quickly as they had previously arrived upon the ruins of the Vatican, they instantaneously disappeared, leaving behind no trace whatsoever that they were there.



Elena Trotskaya's Residence, Tsentral'nyy Sunikagrad
Mechanocratic Russia | Earth
The 6th of September, 2152 [local calendar]



"Hmm... nice living room."

The visitor whose sight Trotskaya was greeted by was not anybody she knew; not even some any random, generic person with authority in Mechanocratic Russia. No, he was decidedly somebody else. Taller than her, and decidedly not of purely Russian descent or part of the Machine Race. The gentleman had his flamboyant blond hair tied into a long pony-tail and dressed in some type of black military trench-coat - which, from a quick glance, was neither a Mechanocratic nor Frenkish uniform. Most curiously, however, would be the eye-patch covering his left eye, across which ran a scar - signaling that he at least knew how to fight, if nothing else. But his facial expression was sufficiently amicable that him fighting Trotskaya then and there was out of the question; given the events of the last 2 days, however, Trotskaya couldn't have been "too" careful.

"Make it quick, I do not have all day!", Trotskaya curtly stated, in no mood to have a lengthy conversation - especially with a stranger.

"Alright, you're here, let's go then.", the stranger responded while he readjusted his black gloves. Short on time as she was, Trotskaya could still notice that the gloves had metal pads on each of their dorsal sides.

"Go? Go where?"

"Why, where else but the Gorky Special Industrial Zone?"

His answer mildly surprised Trotskaya. How would he be knowing where she wanted to head towards if he hadn't been in the armoury? Could he be cooperating with that tankie Alai-

"And before you get funny ideas; no, I don't work for any enemy of yours, and I'd like to be of assistance. Given that there was a gigantic explosion with a massive death toll in the middle of Sunikagrad, I figured even 'Humanity's Greatest Warrior' needs assistance. After all, your babies have been kidnapped, are they not?"

"Who are you?", Trotskaya warily asked, "And how did you know all this despite..."

"No publicizing?", the man casually shrugged, "You probably have read some dossiers about Japan that mention 'Shinji Sakahara', yes? I happen to bear that name."



Secret laboratory, "East Dastan Sea"
Dastan's home dimension
The 5th of December, 20XX [local calendar]




"What the hell on Earth are we even doing...?"

Ngua Munzleng was particularly doubting the success of Dastani experimentation with opening portals. Sure, there was always that factor of fame and privilege once the portal was opened, but what even guaranteed that their objectives would be achieved? How high were the chances of such a portal imploding or exploding, and thereby destroying everyone and everything in the lab? And, if the whole thing would indeed be a gigantic success, what was on the other side? The void of space, which would essentially have nearly the same effect on the lab as a failure would? An equivalent to Antarctica, or Sahara, or the inside of a volcano, in the middle of the sky, nowhere... What if the things on the other side weren't especially friendly? And, if they were being especially optimistic, what does interaction with the other side even do to help the ongoing war against Satan's legions?

Nevertheless, he digressed. He was still one of the most important elements in the team of mathematicians that contributed to this project... he could only hope that it went well; because if it didn't, then Satan's legions would be the least of problems for the pious Dastanis. Staring into the screen, Ngua was somehow still intent to watch until the end, from behind the camera inserted in the isolated test chamber, what would become of the biggest experiment ever conceived by Dastani scientists.

It was some genius' idea from the physics team that ended up getting accepted. The chamber was filled to the brim with sea water, then occupied by a "team" of four - two trained professionals and two hapless pagans freshly grabbed from the complex's dungeon - the "warehouse" where their "lab rats" were stocked. Some waterproof lights were inserted to illuminate the way towards "the other side". Whatever would happen to the quartet after that, was to anybody's guess...

"The experiment would commence in T minus 10 seconds. 10... 9... 8..."

He awaited.

"7... 6... 5... 4..."

He waited.

"3... 2... 1..."

And prayed to God. He half-expected death, but he was not yet ready.

"0."

...

Nothing happened upon zero.

Or, there was always this. Ngua thought.

But then, it happened.

A "portal" slowly opened on the wall's surface. While the two volunteers of the four test subjects were excited, the pagans weren't especially amused - in no small part due to them being in straitjackets and totally lacking in means of self-protection, the only things given to them being oxygen tanks, mostly to keep them alive while underwater, and some very trivial objects. Only moments later, the "portal" was already a gigantic gaping hole upon the wall. For initial steps, it was a success. A portal was opened. There was the small problem of what being on the other side, however. Therefore, the volunteer divers grabbed the struggling pagans, and began moving... towards "the other side".

It was a breakthrough for the world's science... their world's science. Dastan only had to explore the possibilities of what were on the other side.

And Ngua, ever the pessimist, was fearing the worst.
Art-person. Japanophile. Cultural semi-liberal.
Student in linguistics. On-and-off writer.
MAKE CAKE NOT WAR.
token vietbong, born and raised in and emigrated from vietbongistan
Operating this polity based on preferences and narrative purposes
labeling others' works as "memes" feels dismissive fyi
capable of communication in (in order of fluency) oldspeak,
vietbongistani and bonjourois (learning weebspeak at uni)

User avatar
New Frenco Empire
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 7787
Founded: Mar 14, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby New Frenco Empire » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:41 am

We were all getting organized - Trots was building an army to hunt Alain with. Little did I know, I would be among that Army. At the very least, I was joined by a number of faithful friends. Including one unfamiliar face...Harper...


Image WHIP/CHIEF COORDINATOR JANE SMYTH

IMPERIAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY - CENTRAL COMPOUND, NEW ROME, NEW FRENCO EMPIRE, EARTH
September 5th, 2152


"She wants to do what now?" Smyth asked, smiling in wonder.
"You heard me right." The deep voice on the other line responded. "They're piling aboard a ship and chasing the bastard down. On his home turf."
"Oooooh! Sounds like great fun! Any seats open for me?"
"I, uh...are you serious?"
"Only half-so, regrettably. I have a lot of work over here before I can think about nipping off on a holiday. The Grand Curator wants to start a diplomatic mission with the Sidhae and wants me to arrange for Frenkish representation. At least, I would if Francis wasn't busy squeezing half a bottle of gel in his admittedly fabulous beard! Oh, but think of the amount of wonderful intelligence to be had!" She sighed, obviously contemplating.
"May not be fun. Besides, they need fightin' hands - not spooks." The other replied.
"Oh, hop off that train right now, Rollins! I can handle myself fine! I may have never earned the title of 'Dame', but my time in the Zealotry did indeed show me what end to point the boom-boom stick! Besides...they'll need personnel with plenty of experience in intelligence gathering! And Len, I love her to death, but the KGB is so sloppy these days! More Mecharussian funding to the big scary death machines, less funding to the shaken martinis, it seems. She'll need proper Imperial suits to get anything done! And I think I know just the people..."
"Oh boy..." Rollins stated, knowing full well what she wanted...
"By the Goddess, Rollins! Show a bit more dedication!" Smyth retorted. "You've stayed with the woman this long. What's another indefinite amount of time, stuck aboard a cramped ship and drifting through the immeasurable Sidh dimension on a suicide mission?"
"Great."

"Look at it this way! If you come back, you'll be hailed as hero! If you don't, well...you'll probably be considered missing-in-action and any and all events leading up to your existence erased from the records, your legacy never receiving the justice it deserved! Ignoring that last part, a, uh...win-win, if I do say so myself!"
"I'm already a 'hero'. Can't you just let this old man rest?" Jon sarcastically remarked.
"Oh, RE-LAX! Look, I'm sending over all your dearest pals, and I'm sure you'll have a marvelous time together! I even convinced our favorite red-headed introvert to join in! You may very well need the extra gun, and she can do things with clankers that might prove handy on the ship!"
"You're dragging Rachel into this?" Jon asked. "What did she ever do to you? I thought you liked her?"
"Make no mistake, she's my girl! But Hadrian's too much of a do-gooder, Darcy doesn't know how to hit the broadside of a spacescraper, and you, Jon, have a terrible attitude! I have to make sure someone's with you who won't muck it all up!"
"Way I see it, this shit's been mucked from the start." Rollins replied. "But Rachel's always off on some secret priority mission you got her on. It'll be good to see her again."
"Of course it will! Anyway, be sure to let Elena know that I'll be sending your lot! A sign of Frenkish solidarity from a friend, or some such nonsense. Toodaloo, Rollins!"

As Smyth hung up her datapal, she spun the chair around, facing towards her desk and the faces of Hadrian Kelly and Darcy Lawrence - whom she had already before she had begun talking to Rollins. She already knew about Mobilization Order 47, and was planning this long before her seasoned field coordinator informed her.
"I assume you heard that?" She asked, casually propping her legs up on the desk.
"Yeah." Hadrian replied. "I guess this means we're off?"
"Oh, don't be so glum about it, Kelly! Worthless cynicism is Jon's thing. But yes. Get your guns and nanosuits." She turned her attention to Lawrence. "And you, sweet little Darcy, be sure to mindfuck anyone who says you're not fit to board the ship!"
"Uh...sure." She replied.
"And Rachel...who, if my calculations are correct, should be entering right now."

Surely enough, the door to Smyth's office opened, and the recognizable figure of Rachel Enns stepped in. She was lean and tall, coming in at over six feet, and sported a frame that indicated physical fitness. Her hair, a flamboyant, yet natural shade of red, was tied in a messy ponytail. Though most of her body was covered by her clothing, one could spot several detailed tattoos along her exposed arms. All in all, Rachel was fairly attractive, but visibly hardened from years of war and black operations (given the consideration that she was only in her late twenties). The right side of her face, near the eye, rested a unique "J"-shaped scar, caused by shrapnel from a PLA mortar shell. Part of this scar, along with her eyes (each adorned with dark circles attributed to a distinct lack of sleep) were hidden by a pair of stylish aviator sunglasses, which she preferred to wear to hide her awkward difficulties of not looking people in the eye.
Rachel was an odd sort at first glance - she was very shy and socially-awkward, preferring to keep to herself as much as possible and saying as little as she could when necessary. Though she had always been on the quieter side, even as a child, most familiar with her history knew she had suffered from a subtle form of post-traumatic stress disorder from her experiences on the front-lines of the Ten Years' War, and made only worse by further years as a vigilante and spook. She had garnered quite a reputation for brutality and cold efficiency through the years', and many feared her. However, deep down, she always sought to do good, and only extended this cruelty to those "who deserved it". Her few friends included Rollins, Kelly, and Smyth herself - the former two often tried to dissuade her her from her overly-violent methods (Kelly especially), while the latter did nothing but encourage it, leading to a slight schism within her mentality.

"And there she is!" Smyth smiled. "We've been waiting for you."
"How have you been, Rachel?" Kelly asked.
"Um, good. Just good..." Rachel meekly said with a bit of an accent, indicating her Canadian background.
"I've briefed her separately, so you're all good to go! Help get those precious little babies back, but most importantly, have fun! Enjoy yourself! It's not everyday a handful of lucky wankers like yourself get to explore the home of these odd new arrivals."
"I'll certainly try, Mistress." Hadrian remarked.
"What did I say!?" Smyth growled a bit in playful anger. "Have. Fun. That's an order! And bring me back a souvenir! Something nice. None of those 'I chased a sociopath through a hostile dimension and all I got was this lousy t-shirt'-type things! How about a lovely little-"
She was interrupted by her pager, ringed by one of the Black Guardsmen she was currently using for the humiliating task as her secretary - something they were evidently not too great at, but she did so regardless ("for the laughs, you see" she would always say).
"Yes, Chauncey?"
"One 'Agent Harper Brooks' is here to meet you, Mistress. A representative of the Commonwealth. She claims you are expecting her." The Guardsmen said in the recognizable monotone.
"Yes I am expecting her...tomorrow!" She groaned. "Oh, whatever! Send her in!"
"Of course, Mistress."
"You're all dismissed." Smyth waved the trio away. "I'll be waiting for your postcards!"

As the Frenks turned to leave, Harper entered, sparing a quick glance toward one another.
A blonde and a redhead? Seems I missed a party... The Commonwealther thought to herself as she took a seat.
"You're...early, it seems." Smyth said, with a slight grin.
"Ah, my apologies." Harper nodded. "The director was quite eager to gobble up as much intel as she could."
"Rogers, Rogers, Rogers..." Smyth tutted. "What an awful time you picked. And to think you used to be so punctual! Anyway...Agent..."
"Brooks."
"Right-o..." Smyth noted while she studied the Commonwealth woman. She was young, mid-twenties estimated. Physically attractive, which made sense - good looks in the field were a bigger advantage than one would normally think. From what little bit of her left arm was visible seemed to be a half-shade darker than the rest of her pale flesh (a very trivial detail that anyone who didn't have Smyth's extreme perception would miss), indicating that this arm was an augmentation hidden below synthskin. Her face didn't show too many emotional hints, indicating she was trained quite well for what it was she was doing...
"Pardon, Mistress?" Harper interrupted her study, at least having the decency to remember the Frenkish cultural custom for addressing women of power.
Why you sniveling little-
"If you would excuse me, I need to pay a brief visit the little girls' room..." Smyth politely smiled.
"Of course..."

As Smyth entered the bathroom of the private quarters' behind her office, her eyes and hands shifted to the drawer underneath the sink, pulling out a loaded, sound-suppressed Sig Sauer 12.7mm pistol.
"PARDON MISTRESS?" Smyth, to no one but herself, mocked Brooks with her best "posh British wanker" accent as she pulled back the slide on the gun.
However, after not even five seconds of considering of offing the thorn in her side, she dropped the pistol to the floor, taking a deep breath.
No, no, Jane - you remember what happened last time you offed a foreign diplomat from a friendly nation? McKenzy wasn't very happy at all! Just...get back out there and do your best to tolerate!
With that, she departed from the bathroom and returned to her office, where Brooks was still waiting.
As she thought about it, a new idea came over her head...

"Oh, would you look at that! I didn't have to tinkle at all! Silly bladder, making fools of us all!" Smyth chirped, returning to the desk and propping her elbows up on it, lazily resting her head in her hands. "But, you know, my very brief trip to the W.C. did indeed jog my memory! Do you recall the three agents I just dispatched?"
"Yes?"
"Right! If you want to know more about the Sidhae, I want you to follow them. Tell them I sent you."
"Are they...perhaps, going to a briefing?" Harper asked, a bit confused. She knew from all the intelligence reports (never getting the chance to meet the woman herself) that Smyth was an eccentric character, with a penchant for unusual methods, motives, and general behavior. But she also knew from those same reports that Smyth was perhaps the best spymaster that ever lived, so she was sure to listen carefully.
"Mmm, no. They're actually going to the Mechanocracy to join their agents aboard a ship...bound for the Sidh dimension, you see."
"So...just a casual little trip, then?" Harper stated with her signature brand of understatement, straight-faced.
"Ah, you get it! I like you already!" Smyth said with glee. "Yes, yes, yes! And I want to extend to you the offer of an all-expenses-paid vacation for one to...whatever lovely places spawned these warmongering alien cyborgs!"
"I'd love to, but..."
"Agent...Brooks, is it?" Smyth cut her off. "I suppose I should be straight with you - I cannot exactly tell you an awful lot. There isn't much that anyone knows about these wonderful new arrivals. And believe me, I've certainly tried! They have an embassy with the Russians on Europa, and I've had several contacts snooping around there day and night ever since it was built. I can tell you that the so-called 'Judicatrix' meets with a, uh...let's call her a 'local woman', every couple of nights or so and enjoys a night of drug-addled passion of a caliber to make any Frenk jealous. I can tell you everyone in there, even the bloody secretary...who I feel I should mention said-Judicatrix has also spent a few nights with, but that's beside the point...knows how to use advanced weaponry. I can tell you most of them never leave their blasted armor when not sleeping. All very interesting, but does any of it help, dear?"
"So...Sidh embassies might have a penchant for overbearing security and sexual flings. I could find a place for it in my report." Harper nonchalantly replied, sarcasm dripping.

Smyth's grin grew wider than usual at the remark.
"How old are you, Brooks?" Smyth asked, seemingly drifting away from the question.
"Twenty-five, last I checked." She answered.
"See the thing is, I'm kinda sure I may have...courted a handsome thing in the Commonwealth five years ago who somewhat looks like you. Are you sure people in the Commonwealth don't age like dogs? You know...five Commonwealther years for every one regular year? Also, are men the ones that get pregnant down there? And can they break Frenkish sterility?"
"Well, my...memory is a little shaky on the subject. Why?" The Commonwealther sarcastically replied.
"Because, Brooks, I'm fairly sure you're my daughter, because you're the first person I think I've ever met who understands me!" Smyth clapped with joy. "Oh, how I'm glad I didn't shoot you because you were getting on my nerves!"
"Pardon that last part?"
"Oh, how I'm glad I didn't really need to pee when I went to the water closet those few minutes ago!"
"Right..." Brooks said, skeptical, but glad that the Frenkish spymistress was opening up to her.
"But...there is the teeny problem that this doesn't really change much. The Sidh are as much a mystery to me as they are to you. I had the, well...we'll call it the 'pleasure' of talking directly to one once. A boring, 'get-to-the-point-or-you're-wasting-my-time' sort, who only seemed to care for matters of war and whatnot. They don't seem to be a very fun bunch at all! Well, all, except for one..."
"And who might that be?"
"His name is Alain. If you heed my advice, you just might meet the choffer! Simply put - he's an edgy cunt who's miffed because Trotskaya or Golovkin or someone killed his lover and now he's out for blood. You may or may not be pleased to know that he has succeeded, to a degree; he's kidnapped our favorite General's infants. That is why the Russians are going into the Sidh dimension - to chase him down and recover said children. I've sent my own agents for a myriad of reasons, but for you...the best thing I can recommend is joining them. Don't worry about them - they're all very pleasant! Rollins will tell you bawdy jokes, Lawrence will predict your future, Kelly will shoot things with you, and Rachel? Well...Rachel will likely stay in her room. She's a bit of a lone wolf, you see. You don't even need to interact with the Russians - leave all that to Rollins. What do you say?"

It didn't take long for Harper to contemplate - it was a gamble, to be sure, but it was either this or return empty-handed. She cared not for ambition, but she was tired of easy assignments. She wanted to prove herself capable and complete a job well-done. The choice was obvious.
"I'll do it."




She finished the handwritten note that would explain her disappearance. Addressed for Director Rogers, she sent it through the Frenkish Post (which consisted of nothing but miles and miles of secure pneumo-tubes that took physical mail from one corner of the globe to the other), destined for it to reach a safehouse back home that wouldn't be suspected of receiving secretive messages (although she didn't worry much - the note was well-encrypted, and it would take a skilled professional to crack said code).
She hoped that she wouldn't be reprimanded, but what other choice did she have? The MSS Polunochnaya would be launching soon - too soon for any Commonwealth task force to be organized. It would be either her or no one. She made as much clear in the note, but also promised that she wasn't straying from the original mission and certainly wouldn't disappoint.
"You coming, Agent...?" The Frenkish agent she was introduced to as one "Hadrian Kelly" said, holding the passenger compartment hatch of the hyper-sonic aircraft they would be taking to Russia open for her.
"Uh, Brooks. Harper Brooks." She replied. "And yes, just one moment..."
She dumped the note into the tube as she set off, eyes forward to an unpredictable journey...
Last edited by New Frenco Empire on Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
NEW FRENCO EMPIRE

Transferring information from disorganized notes into presentable factbooks is way too time consuming for a procrastinator. Just ask if you have questions.
Plutocratic Evil Empire™ situated in a post-apocalyptic Decopunk North America. Extreme PMT, yet socially stuck in the interwar/immediate post-war era, with Jazz music and flapper culture alongside nanotechnology and Martian colonies. Tier I power of the Frencoverse.


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Imperium Sidhicum
Senator
 
Posts: 4324
Founded: May 28, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby Imperium Sidhicum » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:10 pm

Imperial space
location unknown

"So, the renegade has finally made his move?"

"It would seem so, Grand Master."

"Is the report about a pending diplomatic transaction between our ambassador, the Frenks and the Russians still valid?"

"It comes directly from one of our operatives on site, Omega-level clearance. There is no reason to doubt it."

"The last time I invested no doubt in someone with Omega-level clearance is the very reason we are faced with the current situation. Patch me through to the ambassador via quantum link!"

---

Imperial embassy
Europa, A-1

---incoming transmission---

Ave Imperator, ambassador!

Ave! I trust that there is a very serious reason for the Grand Master himself to personally honour me with his call on a secure commlink.

Indeed there is. It pertains to a certain diplomatic exchange bound to take place within the next few hours. The current situation in Sunikagrad is unacceptable, as I gather from reports.

It is indeed. I fail to see, however, how I could be of assistence.

Oh, you can be of great service yet, ambassador! You see, my sources say that the request for diplomatic exchange specifically demanded top-level negotiations, implying the very top level. In the light of current circumstances, "top level" might not exactly be desirable for Imperial interests.

Grand Master, are you suggesting that I deceive Her Majesty herself by failing to inform her of this request?

Oh, no, not at all! I would never suggest such a heretical idea... What I am suggesting is that you exercise the very authority She has entrusted in you as a diplomat - to pursue negotiations on Imperium's behalf within your own authority and power.

Grand Master, you do understand that your request falls afoul of a number of explicit Imperial laws!

Ambassador, sometimes it takes a few broken eggs to make an omelet. I do not ask you to ignore your obligations as Her Majesty's ambassador, merely to be... discreet about the information you disclose. The current situation with a Judicator going rogue and damaging international relations is not acceptable for a number of reasons, not the least of it being that it would make Her Majesty look weak and unable to control her subjects to foreign eyes. I ask that you refrain from informing her on the current situation until it has been resolved by our agents, and report directly to me instead on the negotiation process. Rest assured, the Order does not forget favours done by loyal citizens.

Do I have the option to refuse, Grand Master?

You do, ambassador, you are a free citizen of the Imperium, after all. However, for the sake of your career advancement, I would strongly suggest against it. The Order's endorsement can be very advantageous to those seeking a political office. I suppose we could find a world or two in need of a governor when your term here expires... Do as I ask, ambassador, and consider that world yours.

Your terms are agreeable. What is it that you want me do?

Nothing overly difficult or illegal, ambassador. As I understand, they are demanding military access to our space. You are to grant them this access, provided their task force does not exceed one ship. That ship is, for their own safety, to be under formal command of one of my Judicators as a contracted mercenary vessel, and limited to operate within the Outer Systems. If they succeed, we will have our relations repaired and one less traitor on our hands to deal with. If not, we will have plausible deniability of them entering a contract at their own risk. As I mentioned before, the glorious Empress is not to learn about any of these efforts before the situation has been resolved. Oh, and be so kind, make no mention of my name in this whole affair unless approached by my operatives personally, in which case you are free to inform them that their mandate comes from me personally.

I shall see it done then, Grand Master. And I express hope that your Order's generosity is comparable to it's ferocity against enemies of the Imperium.

You will find soon enough that it is indeed. Fail, however, and you will find that the Order is indeed also every bit as intolerant of failure as the rumors would have it. Ave Imperator, and good luck with your new assignment, ambassador!

Ave Imperator!

---transmission terminated---
Last edited by Imperium Sidhicum on Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Blakullar
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Founded: Sep 07, 2012
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Blakullar » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:29 pm


Image RIVA GELLER
PELEY'S WORKSHOP, GORKY SPECIAL INDUSTRIAL ZONE.


Riva's eyes were wide with wonder as she stepped through this absolutely-vast warehouse, all manner of strange machines and contraptions, many whose function she could only guess, scattered all around. Trotskaya's armoury may have been impressive to see, but it was a sideshow compared to this spectacle, especially given her proclivity towards the mechanical and the industrial from her years as a Bayit Gadol scavenger. The halls down which she walked comprised the workshop of Peley the Mechanomancer, who it seemed was some associate of Trotskaya. She had been this madly curious ever since she had arrived in the Gorky Special Industrial Zone, which served the Mecharussians as one huge manufactory-city. The entire city was located inside of a mountain, shielded from the wrath of all but the most powerful orbital and aerial attacks. Every avenue bore a utilitarian architecture falling in line with what Riva had heard of Imperial forge-worlds, observed from the window of the dropship conveying everybody to the city.

A thunderous crash, something metallic hitting the floor hard, sounded from behind her. Riva turned her head behind her, and was at once greeted with the sight of a huge, tan-coloured robotic predatory cat, the single optic in its head flaring vermillion as it loosed a mechanoid growl.
"AIIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!" Riva could not help but scream and fall to the ground as the machine prepared to pounce, daggerlike razor-teeth bared in preparation to tear its prey apart...

"XANTHOS!!!" a crisp, angry-sounding voice barked from somewhere out of Riva's sight. "DOWN!! NOW!!"

The cat at once paused, eye changing to amber as its head flashed a glance in the direction of the instruction. Riva herself directed her sight to the source of her saviour, and found a towering cyborg approaching with a rhythm of mechanised thuds for each step. The clawed, dull-grey feet of the master of this place, attached to triple-jointed equine legs, stopped right beside her. A tug pulled at her coat, the force hoisting her into the air as she realised that this cyborg was picking her up off the ground with some kind of mechanised limb attached to his back – one of two in addition to his heavy cybernetic arms, so it would turn out.

Riva could finally get a good look at the cyborg that was seemingly delivering her to safety – he was at least three and a half metres tall, closing in on almost double her own height, had a heavily-armoured chest with pouches and hooks for tools dotted all around his torso, and a stone, seemingly perpetually-bitter expression on his heavily-scarred face. Two cold, red eyes gazed back at her own from a buzz-cut head, only an anchor-shaped dark brown chinstrap having been spared the clippers.
"As you have most likely guessed, they're not too friendly with strangers," the character spoke as his narrowed, inquisitive eyes inspected the strange girl caught in his tight grip. "And when said strangers forget to knock before entering, neither am I!"

"'They'?!" Riva quaked. "You mean to say there's ANOTHER ONE of those things?!!"
By way of an answer, another, almost-identical feline, this one with black spots painted onto its bronze armour plates, jumped to investigate the commotion from a nearby crate.

"Give them ten seconds to determine you're not a threat and they'll warm up to you," spoke the cyborg in a futile attempt to reassure her.
The two terrifying robotic creatures circled Riva and their master, gazes fused to the former. She trembled as the dappled one pushed its snout against her leg, a holographic red beam apparently searching her. After the given ten seconds, their optics turned to green and they backed off.

"See?" the cyborg smirked, letting her drop to the ground on her feet. "No harm done."
"No harm done? NO HARM DONE?!!" Riva hollered at him, still shaken to the core by having been accosted by the intimidating-looking droids. "Those ... things, they scared me shitless!"

"If it's any consolation, look at it this way," her addressee grumbled. "If you'd moved even a step closer, you'd have been ripped to pieces. Be thankful that you have not! Now, why have you interrupted me from my work, girl?"

"I ... was just looking around..." Riva answered, voice still fearful of whatever depredations those two droids, still lurking nearby, could unleash.
"Oh, you were just looking around, eh?" the cyborg's voice at once darkened with rising anger. "It's not like I haven't got ENOUGH to deal with at the moment without this sort of thing happening!! First, the governments of both Mecharussia and the Imperium have proven themselves to be officially too retarded to stop one Judicator, THE SAME BLOODY JUDICATOR WHO COORDINATED THE ATTACK ON THE SENATE TOWER IN JULY, from harming my battle-sister and stealing her flesh and blood!!! One Judi-HOWDOESTHATEVENHAPPEN?!!! You'd think the bunch of idiots on both sides of the portal would've been ready for something like this, but apparently, the wellbeing of your nation's most popular figure is insignificant compared to the latest debate about the productivity quota of SOCKS!!!! Not to mention, all those ludicrously-paid quote-unquote 'badasses' of the Order of Judicators are too busy jerking off to portraits of a dead old fart to be paying attention to the fact that A TRAITOR TO THE IMPERIUM HAS JUST NEARLY STARTED AN INTERDIMENSIONAL WAR!!! And then, just as if it couldn't get any more entertaining, the ONE TIME I get to make some headway with my work after this delicious shitstorm, I have to white-knight after some nosy brat about to get eviscerated by my guard droids BECAUSE SHE WAS 'JUST LOOKING AROUND'!!!!"

If there were any veins in his forehead, they would likely be looking ready to burst as he gnashed his teeth together and raised his massive fist. For a second, Riva thought that the towering cyborg was about to deck her in the mouth, and shied back appropriately. He soon, however, relented and took a breath to calm himself, uncurling his hand and lowering it.

"I'm sorry for that," he stated, his tone more sympathetic. "If you're who I think you are, you're dealing with enough crap as it is without me taking my anger out on you as well. I suppose the very least I owe you is a coffee and an introduction. I am Peley the Mechanomancer – but just call me Peley, I've no use for flowery suffixes!"

"I'm Riva, Riva Geller, but I'll pass on the coffee, thanks," the girl introduced herself in turn. "From all the machinery lying around here, Mister Peley, I gather you're an engineer of sorts."
"I am a student of the great Dedal and his son Ikar, girl!" the Mechanomancer announced with a prideful tone in his voice. "The finest engineers to have ever graced the Chthonic brotherhood, and possibly Russia as well, were it not for Pavel 'Sunika' Suvorov – the man who rebuilt our nation after the Sundering. After their deaths, I have taken on their projects for the betterment of the Final Thirteen Chthonians. My sword-siblings might have all of the good stuff, but I and Trotskaya are the ones who keep it all in working order. I could brag all day, but that'd only bore you to death. Now, I gather that the others are waiting elsewhere in the workshop for me?"

"Yes, sir," Riva acknowledged.
"Goddamn it, Geller!" Peley immediately sprouted a frown, arms thrown upward and fists clenched in a gesture of irritation. "I am no sir – the only 'sirs' here are knights. I do honest work for its own sake, not to go out chasing princesses with my fancy-pants sword and shining armour like some bumbling fool! Just call me Peley."

Minutes later, Riva would emerge from the sliding-door to the workshop, the engineer going by the name of Peley close behind her. In the old warehouse's loading-area, was the congregation headed by General Trotskaya, consisting of the Tigress, Brigadier Andropov, Igor who was currently holding Haya, Dzheyson, Tesey, this flamboyant Shinji Sakahara character and the five remaining Alfas. Perhaps far from surprisingly for someone who had lost five of his best friends, his newborn children and – as he had just recently learned – his mother in a single day, Colonel Golovkin stood with the dour, blank expression of someone considering suicide. He had refused to eat or speak to anyone all day, silent even to Trotskaya. Even after treatment for shock at the field hospital established at the Kolpino aerodrome to cater to the ordinary patients during the university's lockdown, the prospects for his mental health were looking grim.

"General?" Riva spoke to Trotskaya. "Mister Peley is-"
"You!" the Mechanomancer interrupted her the instant he stepped through the doorway, gaze narrowed at Trotskaya like gunsights. "Would you QUITE CARE TO EXPLAIN WHAT IN THE GREAT GRAND DUCHESS ANASTASIA THAT WAS ALL ABOUT?!!"

"Oh no..." the General saw the incoming rant about to barrel into her like a freight train from a mile away, and sprouted the appropriate trepid expression.
"And I'm not even talking about the masterpiece of a fuckup that was your 'Grand Unveiling' two months back!" Peley continued without granting Trotskaya even the liberty of deliberation. "Of all the laughably-stupid things you could conceivably do given current circumstances, WHY did you ONCE AGAIN fail to inform anybody other than the Chernydrakony of your plans?! WHY EXACTLY WAS DZHEYSON, THE RESIDENT INTELLIGENCE EXPERT, SENT AFTER MISTER LET'S-ABANDON-MY-BELOVED-TO-GO-ON-A-WHITE-KNIGHT-MISSION GOLOVKIN HERE TO GO CHASING A BLOODY CORPSE?!! Jesus FUCK, Elena, I thought you were better than this ... OH, BUT THAT'S NOT EVEN THE BEST PART!! WHAT THE SHIT MADE YOU DECIDE IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO THEN TRY TO NUKE THE BEJESUS OUT OF THE IMPERIUM, AN IMPERIUM CONSISTING OF AN INORDINATE NUMBER OF WORLDS, TO TRY AND GET BACK AT ONE GUY!!! ONE GUY!!! HELL, YOUR HAREBRAINED SCHEME MIGHT MAKE SENSE IF IT WAS THE BLOODY COMMONWEALTH AND IT WAS GENE BLOODY FROST WHO FUCKED OFF WITH YOUR KIDS, BUT YOU ACTUALLY TRIED TO ATTACK A GIANT, INTERGALACTIC SUPER-EMPIRE, ARMED TO THE TEETH WITH LUDICROUSLY-HUGE, PLANET-KILLING, CITY-SIZED MEGASHIPS, WITH A COUPLE OF STEALTHERS!!!! Yeah, that's a FANTASTIC way of getting your kids back, isn't it?! Have them come home to LITERALLY NOTHING, IF THEY COME BACK AT ALL!!!"

"I..." Trotskaya was a stern woman, known for being harder than titanium, but even she was visibly shaken by Peley's thunderous, fury-infused ramble, yielded like the most ferocious artillery barrage without even a pause for breath. "I received more or less the same conversation from Abbess Romana."

"I sincerely hope so, and I'm glad the finest pillow-queen the Order of Judicators has to offer is actually doing her bloody job instead of getting it on with every other woman in Frakiyagrad!" the Mechanomancer stated, his voice but a fraction of its prior might. "Before I kit you and your team out with these upgrades though, I want a sincere promise from you!"

"What might that be, brother?" the Tigress enquired.
"You will keep your head on straight, and you won't do anything as gloriously-stupid as your little stealther-bombing invasion plan again!" Peley's demand was thus.

"I can do only my best, Peley," Trotskaya answered him. "But know that I cannot issue a guarantee to keep my fury under complete control. I ask of you only that you be ready to stop me if I cannot stop myself."
"A fair bargain indeed, General!" Peley, for the first time since Riva had encountered him, smiled. "Now, without further ado, allow me to give you all a proper introduction to my handiwork!"

The Mechanomancer was to be the last one in through the doorway to his workshop – or so it seemed until he heard a voice call out to him from behind.
"Mister Peley..." The voice belonged to a distraught-looking Riva. "Why ... why were you so harsh to General Trotskaya then?"

The Chthonian grew a look on his face that betrayed his knowledge that such a question was inbound.
"Take it from a father-of-two, Geller, especially considering you yourself are a parent now," he explained himself thus. "Sometimes to stop the ones you love the most from being harmed, you've got to apply force to get the message across. And the thicker the skull, the more force you'll need."


Image BRIGADIER ROSTISLAV NEMEROV
ABOARD THE MECHARUSSIAN SPACE SHIP BABA YAGA, SOMEWHERE OVER SUNIKAGRAD.


"You couldn't have been more bloody subtle, Brigadier?"
"I don't do 'subtle', General: I do what works. You should have known that when you signed up for this."

"You still don't realise the gravity of what you have DONE!!! DO YOU NOT REALISE THAT KAFFAROV IS GOING TO HAVE A FUCKING FIELD DAY?!!"

The door to the bridge of the MSS Baba Yaga, the Black Coats' main command ship, peeled open, and into the room strode the fully-armoured Brigadier Nemerov with a furious-looking, wiry grey-haired man in military uniform hot on his heels. Two Black Coats were standing guard by the door, watching this altercation between their commander and his companion proceed.

"Have you never guessed, in your small mind, that that might just be the point, General Yudashkin?" Nemerov queried the raging general, rapidly losing his patience with him. "If you wish to learn more about it, I suggest you go and talk to the marshal. However, for the sake of your own health I advise you don't try and dig deeper than what you would be allowed to know."

"Are ... are you THREATENING me, Brigadier?!!" Yudashkin was about to explode again, when suddenly Nemerov stopped, turned and loomed over the small man, turning his rage into fright.

"No, General, I am merely offering you a helpful bit of advice," Nemerov answered, voice bearing a chill that came close to matching the icy blue gaze that was projected from his visor. "Now, I understand that Trotskaya is to depart from the staging-point in Gatchina District once General Sokolova gives her the all-clear to head out and the Grand Curator's delegation have arrived at Frakiyagrad?"
"That she is," Yudashkin confirmed.

"Good: that means she'll be out of our hair," the Brigadier stated. "It is indeed an unfortunate circumstance that the xeno managed to destroy a part of Zaliv District to throw his weight around, but it's nothing that can't be fixed in short order. And it plays well into the endgame of our plan. Now, kindly leave my ship, General. And ensure that Colonel Ramius is kept informed. He will be useful shortly."

Knowing that the Wolf of Warsaw was never a man to ask politely twice, and especially given that he had the ear of the Grand Marshal himself, Yudashkin complied with Nemerov's command in spite of outranking him.

The hulking Brigadier came to settle into his Vladivostok-class fleet carrier's command chair. The Baba Yaga was an old war machine, but one that would strike terror into the hapless foes of those Black Coats disgorged from its depths. Nemerov had not been aboard it when it led the attack on Banyuwangi during the Singaporean Civil War, conducted alongside the Third Aerofleet. At that time he had been conducting an extended joint-exercise back on home soil with the Ninth Armoured Brigade of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, known better as the Black Reavers. Where the Coats commanded the stars and the Dragons the skies, the Reavers were the masters of the earth. Few could stand in the way of their Stalin tank phalanxes – what survived the onslaught would be torn to shreds by packs of Deya buggies, modified by their legendary engineers to carry battering-rams and flamethrowers in addition to the GShGm chainguns on their frames. Nemerov knew that the Black Reavers once composed one of the great raider clans, native to the Khabarovsk Krai at the time of the Salvagings and known for their mechanical acumen: after they were subdued by the Mecharussian Armed Forces, they allowed themselves to be absorbed into it, seeking to make amends for the meaningless carnage wrought as part of Pandemonium's empire. They were honourable warriors who sought the best for their community, rather than mindlessly destroying everything in sight.

Unlike the wretched Black Dragons under that infernal, arrogant whore of a Red Tigress. Even the mere invocation of her name made Nemerov's synthblood boil after what she did to that seventeen. Boys and girls who he had loved like children of his own. But Nemerov, unlike her and the disgusting, pretentious alien within whom she had engendered an inhuman kind of hate for her, was a man of honour. As far as he was concerned, the score was settled – now she knew the pain of loss that he did. There was no need to go further than that, and sixty-thousand people most certainly did not need to die to satisfy that lust for vengeance.

Not that either Alain or Trotskaya would matter soon. If Kravchenko's gamble paid off, Nemerov and the country he served would never have to worry about disgusting, pretentious aliens, ever again...
- - - MECHANOCRATIC RUSSIA - - -
From the dilettante who brought you Worlds Asunder!

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Imperium Sidhicum
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Posts: 4324
Founded: May 28, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby Imperium Sidhicum » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:04 pm

Zina?

Yes?

I was wondering something...

Like what?

Well, we both live in the same body, so that technically makes us the same person, right?

I guess so, yes.

And whatever one of us does with that body also affects the other, right?

Why, yes. What are you getting at?

So does that mean when I'm playing with myself, I'm actually having sex with you?

ZEN! GROSS! Is sex really all you ever think about?!

That's me, and you know it... You know I'm still getting used to seeing a lass other than myself every time I look in the mirror. A lass I would gladly bang if she just weren't myself.

I'll take that as a compliment, Zen...

---

Imperial Embassy
Frakiyagrad, Europa, A-1


"So how was your business on Terra... I mean, Earth today?" Marylove asked, deliberately avoiding to call this universe's version of the Homeworld by the sacred name reserved solely to the birthplace of the Emperor.

"You did watch the news, did you not?" Serena looked outside the main door of the Judicatorial section for one last time to make sure no embassy staff members remained after the end of the work-day, "By the way, you have become somewhat of a celebrity lately, courtesy of a certain Mr. Kaffarov. Charming man, reminds me of a few Word Bearers I've met."

"Don't mention... I can barely go outside without being accosted by some Popular Front lads asking for my autographs and my opinions on the "Sidh barbarians". It takes me proclaiming that I'm fucking one of those Sidh barbarians to convince them to bugger off. Worse still, these very same lads don't shy from throwing insults at papa whenever they see him in the streets and painting insulting graffiti on our door".

"I sense this Popular Front is going to be a real pain, in more than just one way," Serena agreed, "How is your father doing, by the way?"

"Badly, I'm afraid. He still can't get over us being... you know...," Marylove sighed, "It's been a month since his pardon, and papa's been spending most of it drinking either at home or in one of the town's many dives. I try not to be at home when he is, and he tries his best not to be at home when I am, so we don't talk much at all anymore, and the few efforts at conversation we've attempted have invariably ended in a heated argument and one of us storming off."

"That bad, huh?" Serena tried her best to be of some help, dealing with upset family members being a problem entirely alien for her, "Maybe I should go talk to him."

"Please, don't, you will only make things worse!" Marylove begged, "Papa... Let's just say he doesn't hold you in a very high esteem, "alien whore" being among the most polite descriptions he uses. If you appear in his presence, I fear it will end with you having to kill him!"

"Don't worry, Zina, I promise I won't hurt him even if he tries to attack me," Serena spoke, specficially addressing Marilova, "In the very worst, he will just tell me to bugger off. I will not stand, however, for anyone treating my love like that - not even her own father."

Admittedly, the situation of Marilova/Marylove was very confusing for everyone, not just the two of them. While Serena had relatively little problem with accepting Marylove in her new appearance, the fact that another personality co-inhabited body did prove somewhat confusing and frustrating. Marilova was talking of her family problems now, Serena always thinking of her as Marylove and consequently feeling confused at the thought of a Sidh having issues with her father. The fact that her lover's human side came along with a whole bunch of human problems was what made their relationship challenging and confusing at times.

For Marilova, the single biggest problem about her relationship with Serena was her father, and also her own not unanimous feelings. General Marilov had never really gotten his head around the idea of two minds sharing the body of his daughter. While he did seem to understand the concept theoretically, what he failed to realize was that the two personalities shared their experiences as one. Anton always distinguished between Zina, his beloved daughter, and "that thing" inside her, sparing no unflattering term for Zenobia without realizing that the offense and suffering these words caused in her were equally experienced by his own daughter. Same went for his attitude towards Serena. While Zina herself felt divided about the Judicatrix for understandable reasons, Zen loved her deeply and sincerely, the experience of her feelings also being shared between the two minds. The hurt and offense produced by the expressions with which Anton described Serena were shared likewise. Marilova had tried to talk to her father and explain that his words and actions aimed at Zenobia and Serena were also hurtful to his own daughter, but the old general had angrily dismissed these efforts as "that thing controlling her again".

"Let's not speak about my father," Marilova said aloud, "We are here for each other's company this eve."

The two sat down on a couch in the Judicatorial section's small lounge after Serena had locked the door. This particular couch brought up lots of exciting memories of the things they had been doing on it lately. But it wasn't yet time for that, the two being in habit of relaxing over a drink and a pleasant chat before eventually getting on to their favourite part of their nights together.

"You look gorgeous today," Marilova complimented the Judicatrix, "I'm saying this as Zina, who isn't nearly quite as into girls as Zen."

Indeed, Serena had gone to considerable lengths to look good today, putting on high heels and a revealing black satin dress along with most of her modest jewelry stash, liberally applying her favourite pheromone-laced perfume scented like rose oil and frankincense that would drive men and women alike mad with lust. Marilova almost felt embarassed by her relatively casual attire of short denim skirt and jacket.

"Thank you," Serena smiled, leaning back into the couch and reaching for the bottle of amasec on the coffee table.

"What treats have you brought this time?" Marilova asked, examining the bottle and trying to read the Sidh writing on it without enlisting the aid of Zenobia, whose current thoughts were, somewhat typically for her, of a much more primordial nature.

"Callixian amasec, aged 15 years," Serena answered, leaning forward to fill two glasses with the amber liquor that resembled brandy in scent and taste, "Will delight liquor gourmets and those of simple tastes alike. The taste is quite inimitable..."

Marilova took a swig, shuddering as the strong drink sent a wave of warmth through her body.

"Do I taste cloudberries?" she asked after reflecting briefly on the taste.

"No idea. I don't buy amasec for it's content," Serena replied with a smile, "Probably cloudberries or synthetic flavouring in there."

"So what do we do tonight?" her lover asked, leaning closer to the Judicatrix, "Besides the obvious, of course."

"I've been thinking," Serena spoke, "The last few times, we've really been doing only the things that I like. I know you don't mind watching antique romantic films, going over to the range for some marksmanship competition or to the gym for some fighting practice, but I do realize that it's just not what you'd really want to do on a date."

"Why, I quite liked the sparring practice! I wish all my fights ended like that one did..." Marilova exclaimed, her tone, expression style and subject making it obvious that the current speaker was Zenobia.

"As do I, for that matter," Serena smiled at her quip, "Anyway, I wanted to do something that you like for a change. Both of you!"

"Why... it's... very kind of you, Serena!" Marilova was pleasantly shocked. For all she knew, Serena never cared much for her original personality, always treating her only as Zenobia rather than Zenobia and Zina. Being acknowledged by the woman for whom only half of her felt emotional attachement indeed felt nice.

"I know for a fact that you enjoy flight sims, and there just happen to be some in the sim room," Serena continued, "Let's have a few more drinks to bolster our spirits and then go take those Furies and Thunderhawks out for a spin, what do you say?"

"You bet I'm in!" this time the voice clearly betrayed Marilova as the speaker.

---

some hours later

"It's not on a lot of occasions that I get to say that, but you truly owned me today. Remind me to hire you as a pilot when I'll need someone crazy to fly me in and out of a really tight spot. I have a few particular spots in mind that will require your manual flying skills..."

"For someone who doesn't do a lot of flyign at all, you weren't so bad yourself!"

The two women exchanged a long mischievous look in silence before both giggling and diving back under the sheets. Their contest of skill in flight simulators had predictably ended here in Serena's quarters, in the spacious bed that was one of the few luxuries the Abbess would allow herself, making a stop in pretty much every place between here and the sim room as they went, as a trail of scattered women's garments indicated. A large empty bottle of amasec and two expended vials of hysteriat on the table spoke volumes about the two having one hell of a good time.

---

Marilova ran her hand along Serena's body, exploring it for the first time with interest as herself rather than Marylove. Sure, from the experiences of Marylove, she already knew Serena and her every curve, scar and goosebump, but to experience it all directly as herself had an interesting, thereto unknown feel to it.

After lingering to touch the scar on her left cheek that split the Judicatrix's lips as it passed all the way down to chin, Marilova's hand continued slowly down her neck, then to her shoulder and to the huge scar that began on her back and ran along her side all the way down to her hip. Serena never elaborated where she had gotten this scar, and Marylove was none the wiser, merely remembering that it had still been fresh when they began their affair with her still in her original form.

"Did it hurt much?" Marilova asked compassionately.

"More than you could ever imagine," Serena responded, "Someday I might tell you how I got it. But not today, not ever while we are enjoying time together."

Marilova pulled Serena closer and pressed a kiss on her lips, for the first time as herself and not Zen, who even seemed to feel surprised as she did.

"Right, not while we enjoy our time!" she said. Serena turned around, about to pull Marilova in an embrace of rising lust, when the annoying buzz of her tacticom by the bedside rudely interrupted the moment of passion about to transpire.

"Please, don't pick it up...!" Marilova whispered in her ear, passionately kissing Serena's neck in lust.

"I have to," Serena gently pushed her away with palpable unwillingness.

"Look, whoever this is, now is not the appropriate time..." Serena grumbled, taking the call.

"Oh, I believe it is, Lady Abbess, or have you forgotten that the Order never sleeps?" a familiar voice responded, causing Serena's face to freeze in an awkward expression.

"My apologies, Grand Master," she said, "How can I be of service?"

"Well, Lady Romana," the Grand Master's voice was venomous, "you can start by kicking Miss Marilova, Marylove or however she prefers to be styled out of your bed in which she's no doubt currently lying next to you and begging you not to pick up this call! You can then take a shot of Toxout to sober up and get all that hysteriat out of your system so you aren't distracted from your pending duties by hangover or libidinous desires, recall all your staff from their leave under instructions to do the same, and get ready to do your job! Stahlrim himself is coming in after a few hours along with some Frenkish delegate to negotiate terms for a joint operation against Alain in Imperial space, and I expect you as the resident Abbess to represent the Order."

"Keeping tabs on your staff as usual, I see..." Serena grumbled, "I'm on it!"

"Good. Von Manteuffel out!"

"I'm sorry, love," Serena turned back to Marilova with regret, "It looks like I have work to do. I really hope this didn't ruin the evening for you!"

"Don't worry about it," she said, sitting up to get dressed and pecking a quick kiss on Serena's scarred cheek, "It's not like you are going anywhere anytime soon."

"I hope not. If all goes well, let's meet tomorrow!" the Judicatrix said, "After all, it's just another negotiation, what could possibly go wrong."
Freedom doesn't mean being able to do as one please, but rather not to do as one doesn't please.

A fool sees religion as the truth. A smart man sees religion as a lie. A ruler sees religion as a useful tool.

The more God in one's mouth, the less in one's heart.

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Gigaverse
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12722
Founded: Mar 26, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Gigaverse » Wed Nov 30, 2016 4:45 pm

Latin
English
Japanese
Russian



Peley's Workshop, Gorky Special Industrial Zone
Mechanocratic Russia | Earth
The 6th of September, 2152 [local calendar]



Peley's thunderous voice did little to shake Sakahara, who only stood silently to observe his surroundings. He had earlier paid attention to the fact that there was a baby among those in the room, however; and a combination of Peley the Mechanomancer's stature and booming voice had done little to calm the infant down. Once the Mechanomancer was done, she was very nearly crying again, but the blond interrupted just in time, whereas Igor was frantically trying to find a way to relax her.

"Please, allow me.", the apparently-flamboyant blond stepped towards the baby and signaled to her holder, perfectly calm and evidently accustomed to the situation at hand. He spoke in English to the male with the mechanical limbs before him, with what could be perceived as a hint of Sunikagrad accent.

Y... Yes?》, the young man holding the baby in his arm was confused, but decided to comply nonetheless.

Sakahara very lightly bent down to face the little girl in the young man's arms - just near enough so she could take a look, but far enough away to not further frighten her and risk her actually crying. Leaving the others to their own businesses, the man in black commenced to comfort the small child.

"Oooiiii. Miss Baby.", he talked with with a near-whisper, his default expressionless gave way for a tender smile - one befitting a father or big brother. "There's nothing to be scared about. Uncle there might have raised his voice too much, but he's a nice guy.", Sakahara very briefly turned to glance at Peley with a raised eyebrow, perhaps as a wordless reminder to him of the baby's presence. "Is that not right, baby's mommy?", he turned to Riva, who he was clearly calling.

"Ye- Yes!", Riva's attention was finally on her daughter again. Though the baby had certainly been calmer, she was still tearing up. The youthful mother quickly came to her child's side, picked her from Igor's arms and held her close to the bosom. "It's alright, it's alright; mommy's here, Haya, mommy's here."

"Her name is Haya?", Sakahara raised his eyebrow as he eyed the daughter.

"Yes.", Riva nodded, "She's named after my mom."

"Now, Haya...", Sakahara waved to little Haya, "Your mommy and your uncle Sakahara are going to show you. Uncle Peley is a nice man at heart.", still calm as ever, the blond-haired gentleman approached Peley and very lightly nudged the giant. As directed, Riva - holding Haya in her hands - also closed in and poked the man. "It just slipped his mind at that moment, is all."

"Straightforward as you are, be careful not to scare this little one next time; alright, Peley?", was the lightly-voiced constructive criticism that Sakahara delivered towards the Mechanomancer. Little Haya, small as she was, curiously eyed Peley and Sakahara, having long since stopped her crying.

"T- Thank you, Sir...", Riva expressed her gratitude towards the flamboyant blond before her.

"Don't be so tense.", Sakahara shrugged, his little smile maintained throughout, "If what I've heard from Igor is correct, then you're already going through so much shit as it is; 'tis the least we can do to help. Oh," he shook Riva's hand, being very careful not to disturb little Haya, "I forgot to introduce myself. Shinji Sakahara. As you'd probably guess, I'm not exactly from 'round these corners."

"Shinji Sakahara"... A name that reminded her of the fishmonger Tanegawa back in Bayit Gadol. Perhaps Sakahara was of Japanese ancestry, thought Riva; but there was nothing much about him that resembled the fishmonger she knew: blond hair, violet eyes, tall - very tall, and at first glance at least athletic. There was a lot about this alternate world that she would have to learn...

Meanwhile, at another corner, a different person - a man, none other than Colonel Golovkin - was none too happy to be witnessing the baby daughter of another family. Just two days ago, he had two beautiful children like that; and in a flash, they both were taken away from him along with so many others. His gaze conveyed nothing short of immense sadness.

"We'll be talking later.", the smile disappeared from Sakahara's face, "There's a certain matter that I must attend to."

With that stated, the blond walked over to Golovkin, while the others were still in the middle of their upgrades.

"Colonel. How long do you intend to stand there?"

The Colonel did not answer. Indeed, he was in no mood to talk to anyone, let alone a stranger he had only heard about no more than once.

"Look at you.", Sakahara sighed, "You're allowing yourself to become so miserable, and for what?", he stood and allowed himself to rest against a wall close to Golovkin, "Remember not a full two months ago, when you promised the love of your life that you'd fight by her side?"

"How did you know that?", Golovkin was awakened by the knowledge that a stranger was aware of an event that only very few circles of the Mechanocratic state and military would have been aware of.

"Wake up, and take a good look.", the blond ignored the question and continued, "You're allowing your heart to be weakened by the circumstances. Your behavior right now is exactly the defeatist bullshit that Trotskaya was so furious about. Wake. Up."

Golovkin was finally brought out of his mourning silence and back to reality by the light but very serious tone of Sakahara.

"Cast aside all that's painful - for now, at the very least. Focus on what must be done: Your troops need you. Your children need you. The love of your accursed life need you - more than ever. And if you're going to stand here pretending to be a log then who the hell is going to help them?"

Golovkin only stared at the blond, not saying a word. He was contemplating.

"You must not let anything get to you at this crucial moment. Not sadness, fear, anger, hatred or despair. It is your duty as a commanding officer, a father and a husband. You haven't lost everything, and you can still regain. What's happened has already happened; focus on making what's about to happen as best as possible, or you will very deeply regret it."

The stranger made sense. Golovkin looked towards his red-hooded love. Indeed, strong she may be, but as a family, she needed him more than ever; and so did he.

"So, before the Tigress storms her way here, how about you be a good man and step forward to your comrades?", Sakahara suggested.

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ஜ۩۞۩ஜ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

It did not take long for Golovkin to follow Sakahara's suggestion. Very quickly after Golovkin moved away, however, Sakahara received mail through his Life-wave. He allowed the display to turn on; him and him alone being the only one who could see the message on the transparent tab in front of him:

"Found you! Shouldn't be too long before I and Inquisitor
Ragnall O'Brian-O'Carrol-O'Connel-O'Malley-O'Reilly-O'Sullivan here get to
meet you in the flesh - my bayonets are getting quite DULL! lel
"

Alastair Argeas

P.S. Fecking 'eathen.

There was no reaction on Sakahara's part to the message. Expressionless as always, he only uttered one word:

"Catholics."
Last edited by Gigaverse on Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Art-person. Japanophile. Cultural semi-liberal.
Student in linguistics. On-and-off writer.
MAKE CAKE NOT WAR.
token vietbong, born and raised in and emigrated from vietbongistan
Operating this polity based on preferences and narrative purposes
labeling others' works as "memes" feels dismissive fyi
capable of communication in (in order of fluency) oldspeak,
vietbongistani and bonjourois (learning weebspeak at uni)

User avatar
New Frenco Empire
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 7787
Founded: Mar 14, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby New Frenco Empire » Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:35 am

It's a concept I can't even wrap my head around even today. The man, the legend...still alive and well after all these years. The reason we managed to hold off the Supreme Leader's psychic powers since the Empire's conception. Judging from the history, I never really quite nailed him as humble enough to hold the secret that long - he seemed to be more the type to expose himself to the planet and bathe in the praise.

Regardless, it ain't important. But...the Sidhae were a very big deal, after all. If he were ever going to take the reigns, it'd be now. And take the reigns he did. He's probably the reason I'm still breathing today. Saved by fucking Hightower of all people...it's like those propo videos back in school...




Image CHANCELLOR MCKENZY TANDI

DEEP WITHIN THE BOWELS OF THE IMPERIAL TOWER, NEW ROME, NEW FRENCO EMPIRE, EARTH
September 5th, 2152


The Black Guardsmen protecting the massive vault door acknowledged the Chancellor with a curt "Mistress" as she strolled past them. She looked upon the formidable vault door, thinking to herself just what could break through it. Father often said that the door was of his own design, and could withstand even a direct nuclear blast. He rarely lied about his own creations in such a manner.
She approached the small panel on the side, placing her bare palm on the scanner. After the machines had scanned and determined that it was indeed Tandi trying to enter, several of the alarm panels began blaring, indicating that the door was sliding open.
As the door slid into the hidden compartment in the wall, her eyes were directed to the towers upon towers of glimmering lights and switchboards, at least three stories tall at this section of the vault and thousands of feet deep.
And to think - this was only a small section of the Hightower Mainframe.
She took the same route she did many a time, past row three, into the small room the man had designated for visitors. As was to be expected, the radio was playing, as he had enjoyed the soft music while he spent his days tinkering and experimenting.
As she entered, she stood in front of the large monitor, crossing her arms as she waited for him...

It was another minute or two until the lights flickered on, and the screen lit with the recognizable, mustachioed visage of Joseph Hightower, 21st century genius, polymath, trillionaire business mogul, Emperor of a sprawling superstate after all that, and, as only very few were aware, the second psyker god to watch over this planet. A man whose great intellect was matched only by his ambition, and kept in check by a decent-enough heart.
Another secret to this man, though, was his daughter...current Chancellor McKenzy Tandi, artificially bred, partially for the man's vanity, partially to ensure he could keep his creation under closer scrutiny.
"Father." Tandi acknowledged.
"McKenzy." The screen's speakers' echoed back. "Where have you been? I have not spoken with you in weeks."
"I've been busy running your country for you." Tandi responded with a condescending smile.
"You seem to be getting a bit more caustic." Hightower noted. "Excellent."
"I learned from the best." Tandi smiled.
"That you did..." Hightower acknowledged. "Anyway...do you know why I have summoned you?"
"I assume it pertains to the Sidh business?" Tandi asked.
"Correct." Hightower answered flatly. "As I understand it, Miss Trotskaya wants to take a ship into the Sidhae dimension to recover her lost children?"

"That's the gist of it." Tandi confirmed. "She's gathering a small army..."
"And making preparations as we speak." Hightower finished for her. "I may be reclusive, but I am still well aware of the world around me."
"Of course, father."
"McKenzy, do you think letting that walking emotional catastrophe loose on a dimension containing an Empire five-hundred years our senior and thousands, if not millions, of times more bloated a logical idea?" Hightower asked.
"Why...of course not." Tandi said, shaking her head. "Why do you ask?"
"Because, for the first time in a long time, I have an order for you." The archaelect said. "I propose we launch a ship of our own to tail her. Prevent her from doing anything she might...regret."
"I can make it work." Tandi said. "Sounds like a solid enough plan, really. Admiral Rockwell is my most trusted commander, and the Asimov our finest ship. Though, I do believe the Sidhae will need to..."
"I will be getting to all that soon enough. But for now, I have several new designs that may be of interest. The first is just a simple refitting of the Asimov's engine structure to accommodate the same model warp-drive on most compatible Mecharussian vessels. Nothing too revolutionary there." Hightower brushed off. "However, the other is a design that I have been...perfecting over the years. A beam of directed energy, capable of transporting matter considerable distances. A 'tractor beam' if you will. I intended for this prototype to be of an industrial grade, but, with a few mere calibrations, I should be able to modify it for use on the Asimov. In theory, it should be capable of capturing two to three ships of the Asimov's size. This will be necessary if we want to approach this from a more...civilized angle."
"Right, right. Very impressive. I will depart immediately, and inform-" Tandi said, eager to get back in the action.

"Be patient, McKenzy. I am not done yet. Now...I am quite sure we are capable of handling this ourselves." Hightower acknowledged. "But I assume our neighbors are just as intrigued and, dare I say, even afraid of the Sidhae as we are. We may be the finest Empire humanity has laid its eyes on since Britain, but it never truly hurts to have a few allies to depend on. The Commonwealth of Antarctica are a decent sort, and would prove invaluable friends if we gave them opportunity such as this. Same goes for those odd fellows on our moon, the Selenic Meritocracy. They grow weary of the Mechanocratic threat, but look at us with suspicion. Prove to them we are of no harm, and want only the best for our like-minded acquaintances. I want you to offer places on the ship for them. Send them a warm welcome."
"It will be done." Tandi nodded.
"But that is not all, McKenzy..." Hightower pressed on. "I happen to know that Elena Trotskaya intends to go rogue once her ship launches. She will pursue Alain to no end, and do whatever she feels necessary to recover her lost children. And her father, it seems, was not invited aboard..."
"What are you saying?" Tandi asked.
"I'm saying that we open our doors to the Russians as well."

"Absolutely not! We cannot trust her to go about this matter tastefully and without recklessness! I have to disagree, and say that having them aboard our ship will just put whatever she does on us! Try explaining that away to the Sidhae! They'll think we're in league with them, and punish us just as so!"
"I am well aware of this. Which is why I have already arranged for our aforementioned response. And it is rather unlikely she will pull something with both the Supreme Leader and I hounding her..."
"You don't understand, father." Tandi scowled. "You spend your time cooped up, away from the outside world! She IS DANGEROUS!"
"Is she, now? I am the greatest mind of the twenty-first AND twenty-second centuries, and even I could not figure that one out." Hightower sarcastically remarked. "She is dangerous, indeed. Hence why I have decided what to do. In the meantime, we do not sabotage Trotskaya's ship. And we will grant them access aboard ours should they so desire. And do not presume me naive to such matters again. You should know better..."
"I apologize, father, but we cannot trust them! They brought them here in the first place! We must undertake this by ourselves, and-"
"No," Hightower bluntly responded. "Sorry to deny you a moment of primate partisanship, but you will have to look elsewhere to sound your self-assured yawp."
"Father..."
"I harbor no more love for the Mechanocracy than you do, McKenzy. But this scenario is not a matter of an uncivilized 'us versus them' outlook. The Sidhae are a threat capable of making us throw aside our petty differences and work together for a greater solution. This I am certain of."
"But-"
"I have expressed what I wish, McKenzy." The stolid visage echoed. "I will be monitoring the chase. You, however, have a different task. You will meet these 'Sidhae' and measure their worth. Find out how much of a threat they really are in the short-term. You are to determine whether they are a people who can be reasoned with. Then you will report to me. Only then will I determine if my full involvement is necessary."
"...of course, father." Tandi said, a bit of disappointment apparent on her tone.
"Take Zane with you; the man has the talents for pleasantries that you do not seem to possess. Sending the two most significant figures in the Empire for talks will also send the right message, surely." Hightower said, content on the new subject.
"Brilliant as always, father." Tandi assured.
"Were you expecting anything less?" Hightower responded with a bit of smugness in his tone. "Now, if I am not mistaken, you have a plane to catch."
"Of course, father. I'll talk to you soon."
"Yes, dear. In the meantime, it seems I have preparations to make. If I may be gone by the time you get back, consider this farewell." Hightower said as the screen bearing his visage flickered off.




Before setting off for Sunikagrad, Tandi had closed several envelopes with her personal seal, enclosing the freshly-typed communique within. Her office came equipped with it's own pneumotube system, capable of mailing physical parcels to the world's leaders in mere seconds. In a world where hackers could learn all of a nation's deepest, darkest secrets with little effort, it helped to fall back on the more dated forms of communications from time to time...
She dropped an envelope into each of the pneumos, destined for the respective cities of New London, Caracas, and Geneva. The final pneumo would "fax" the envelope to the Moon, destined for Lunarian hands.
Content with the message, she set off while many of the world's major leaders received this letter...

Image


Image CHANCELLOR MCKENZY TANDI

NEVISKIY PROSPEKT HOTEL, SUNIKAGRAD, MECHANOCRACY OF RUSSIA, EARTH
September 5th, 2152


Twelve figures strolled through the luxurious halls of the hotel, towards the grand conference hall where the delegation was to meet. The majority of said figures, eight in total, were armed and wearing a sleek yet intimidating suit of black armor, dictating their status as Black Guardsmen - the elite protectors of the Empire's VIPs. Six of them marched in a disciplined formation behind the rest of the figures, while two marched in front. The rest of the figures were much more varied - the one at the front, a pale-skinned woman in formal attire and wearing the badge of the Mecharussian Foreign Affairs Ministry, was a diplomatic aide, showing the rest where to go. Beside her was the deceptively young-looking Francis Levine, Diplomacy Whip of the Empire, easy to make out with his finely-tailored red-and-black suit, gelled jet-black hair, and matching short-trimmed beard fashioned into wave-like patterns.
Behind them and the Black Guards was a middle-aged man, sporting silvery hair and a well-crafted tan overcoat, denoting a military background - Frenkish Emperor Derrick Zane. At his side was an attractive young woman with curly brown hair and a simplistic grey jumpsuit adorned with gold ornamentations - Chancellor McKenzy Tandi.
As they proceeded, Zane and Tandi began to converse.
"Brought quite a few Blacks with us, didn't we?" Zane said with his pleasant New Roman/Southern accent, referencing the thick line of Black Guardsmen trailing after them.
"We are talking about a race that kidnaps infants for slights, Derrick." Tandi cooly responded. "If Stahlrim opens his mouth with something unpleasant and one of the Sidh takes offense, we'll need them if the bullets start flying. I don't trust this lot to provide proper security..." She concluded, eyeing some of the Red Guard lining a nearby wall.
"I suppose." Zane replied, somewhat content. "Seems a little strange. All this fuss, and it's just now that I get to meet some of them..."
"Our...mutual associate..." She said, referencing Hightower without making it apparent to any prying ears. "Said as much for past several months. When the time was right. And it seems now is that time..."
"Indeed it seems..." The Emperor responded with a stoic expression as they neared the door to the chamber.

"And here we are." The diplomatic aide said, opening the door for her escort. While she did this, four of the Black Guardsmen splintered off from the rest of the group, taking attentive stances on either side of the door to guard the entrance while the negotiations went on.
As the aide took off, the remaining seven entered, the remaining four Black Guardsmen taking stance beside the door and along the nearby wall in an almost ceremonial fashion as the Frenkish delegates moved to greet whoever might be here...
NEW FRENCO EMPIRE

Transferring information from disorganized notes into presentable factbooks is way too time consuming for a procrastinator. Just ask if you have questions.
Plutocratic Evil Empire™ situated in a post-apocalyptic Decopunk North America. Extreme PMT, yet socially stuck in the interwar/immediate post-war era, with Jazz music and flapper culture alongside nanotechnology and Martian colonies. Tier I power of the Frencoverse.


Las Palmeras wrote:Roaring 20s but in the future and with mutants

Alyakia wrote:you are a modern poet
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