NATION

PASSWORD

They Know Too Much (CLOSED / PMT / Gholgoth Only)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Anagonia
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Founded: Dec 18, 2003
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

They Know Too Much (CLOSED / PMT / Gholgoth Only)

Postby Anagonia » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:04 am

They Know Too Much Out Here in the Black
A Gholgoth Story


As a general rule, the complexities of space travel necessitate that one nation cannot explore the cosmos alone. For the longest time the Confederate States of Anagonia attempted to circumvent this rule. Combining the resources gained from all of its sovereign-states, and pooling in the charitable resources of its outlying province-nations, Anagonia appeared to be close to breaking the magical barrier between international dependence and self-sufficiency. It was at the cusp of one of its most critical moments, and one of its most horrific national tragedies, that the Confederacy finally admitted that it could not undertake this greatest risk and venture alone. At the cost of three space shuttles, a catastrophically deorbited space station, countless dozen astronauts and cosmonauts lives, and the tears of a heartbroken nation, did Anagonia reached out to Gholgoth for help.

Gholgoth was quick to answer.

The Commonwealth of Milenka was the first nation to answer the call. While the Confederacy recovered from the catastrophic loss of the majority of its space corps, Milenkan space assets were quick to fill the void. The Skybound Republic of Havensky would become the second nation to respond, providing ample logistical and personnel resources. In a few months time, the three nations would form a “Space Cooperative” that would be open to nations within the Gothic Realm and, at least in the beginning, intent on furthering the scientific interests of each member-nation within the Cooperative. Yet it was not until the Cooperative was mid-way into constructing its Inter-Gothic Space Station that it saw further nations invest in the initiative.

With the inclusion of the Most Serene Republic of The Master M, the newly-dubbed Gothic Space Cooperative gained the immeasurable asset of extra-solar mining and resource extraction assets and technologies. Construction on the Inter-Gothic Space Station would continue to be a fluid process, as more nations would contribute modules, but with the addition of the four members of the GSC the space station took on more prominent logistical and tactical value. It would, slowly, become the orbital staging point from which Gothic influence would reach the stars. A lunar mining base was soon established, providing an essential refueling point that opened the way to Mars and the asteroid belt - should the technology be so refined to allow it.

As Anagonia fully rebounded from the tragedy that brought it into cooperation with its neighbors, so too did its technological prowess. Before the tragedy, the space station that would later meet its demise was home to some of the brightest minds in the Confederacy. There, in orbit, they had begun developing a fusion drive derived from Anagonian fuel-cell technology. It had been close to completion before it had all been lost in atmospheric reentry - until it wasn’t. By chance a fishermen had found the remains of a backup server that had almost completely survived reentry and impact. Within a few months of the discovery, Anagonia had completed the first fusion drive, enabling travel between the asteroid belt and Luna to take not years, but months, even weeks.

With the introduction of the fusion drive and its apparent benefit to the Gothic Space Cooperative, the Imperial Union of Jagada formally joined the ranks. Plans were formed and finalized utilizing the latest and most advanced Jagadian modular construction techniques and within a short time, the GSC set its eyes on the asteroid belt. As prospective targets for outposts were analyzed, six more nations added their resources to the fold; the Pudite Empire, the Stratocracy of Remus, the Zenyvind Outpost, the Eridani Imperium, the Ancient Empire of Kylarnatia, and a final mysterious financial benefactor. With resources spanning into practical endlessness, with scientific and technological capabilities practically pushing the boundaries of improbable, the newly combined nations of the Gothic Space Cooperative pushed for and completed the first outpost on Ceres originating from the Ghothic Realm.

As the GSC expanded in influence, so too did the Ghothic desire to reach farther.Under the guise of utmost secrecy, plans were drafted from a outer-system outpost in the Jupiter sphere of influence. Out of all the possible candidates listed, only one specific moon of Jupiter was ultimately selected as the best possible location for what was to come. The brightest military and scientific minds were selected and screened, missions were planned and organized under alternative names and motives, and soon enough efforts were fully underway to finish construction on the Cooperative Military Research Outpost on the surface of Ganymede.

Little did the Ghothic Lords realize that someone had been observing their every step, and was keenly interested in what was taking place on Ganymede.




PROLOGUE


Outpost Scoperta
0800 Hours Local GSC Time
Moon of Ganymede, orbiting Planet Jupiter


There was something majestic about being about to observe the gas giant from up close. As long as he could remember, Richard Jordan had fantasized this very moment; standing at the near-edge of the third floor to the living quarters in the commons room, sipping coffee, basked in the light reflected off Jupiter in its half-crescent arch in the empty skies of Ganymede. Not particular these sets of circumstances, he reflected as he finished a thought, but something very close. The angry clouds of Jupiter swirled clearly in the distance, a cesspool of chaos turned orderly in the perception of beauty.

Turning around, Richard took in the large commons area. There was around twenty other scientists here, all from various Cooperative nations, relaxing on the provided furniture or reading from a good book - or one of many other various recreational activities, the commons room had plenty of things to do from gaming consoles to computers linked to an inter-outpost web. It was two stories tall, with the top floor being almost entirely devoted to book reading and recreational study. Several scientists passed by his vision up there, having such a book in hand or busily dressing for a shift on duty after enjoying said book. The bottom floor was mostly couches, chairs, flat-panel televisions, gaming consoles, and a large kitchen and dining area. There were around two more of these common areas in the living quarters, this one being the largest.

The area Richard stood was the observation area, a wide-open space of the commons with a protective space-rated glass panels spanning up to the second story. It gave the illusion of vulnerability due to how clear one could view the outside, but that was simply an illusion. Like most of the entire building, it was of Jagadian design. Tiny cameras on the outside projected an image on the interior, giving the illusion of a vast and combined pane of glass that stretched to the ceiling. It provided normalcy for the crew stationed here, a way to feel something from home and to see their new home from a different perspective. It could, also, be turned off to reveal the solid wall itself. Such was the advance of preliminary holographic projection technology, it seemed.

Richard allowed himself a few more minutes to admire the outside world, the world that required a self-contained EVA suit to experience up close, a dangerous world of radiation and death. Ganymede was unforgiving in that respect, a vast space of lunar-like surface intermixed with mountainous uprisings and the occasional meteorite impact. All of this, though, could easily be forgotten as the visage of the inner-solar systems protector loomed beyond the horizon. Jupiter was an awe-inspiring planet, probably the very reason life was allowed to evolve in the first place. To Richard, this moment, and this ability to gaze upon it, meant everything to him and made the pains of this assignment worth it.

After his mandatory four-year military service term, Richard had used the military-provided education subsidies to enter college and continue his childhood fascination of astrophysics. Taking classes primarily exploring the mechanics of the cosmos, and garnering a PhD in quantum physics, Richard Jordan slowly became one of the most important minds in the modern history of Anagonia. He never saw it that way, of course, he was too humble for that, too shy and reclusive. His colleagues would always beg to differ.

The very reason they were able to be on Ganymede was due to his major contributions to space travel. Before the Gothic Space Cooperative, the Confederate Aeronautics and Space Administration had been limited to using standard rocket-propelled launchers and, primarily, space shuttles. They had been heavily invested in a project to redesign the standard propellant engines, make them more efficient with fuel and provide more thrust. That dream nearly died with the destruction of Space Station Apollo, the research focal point for the station. All involved in the research project had died when it reentered the atmosphere by a catastrophic accident. The information, however, had managed to be salvaged.

Richard had at the time been a research consultant for CASA. He had been called along with several other colleagues to decipher and recover the data from the salvage discovered, and to attempt through any means necessary to continue the project at all costs. It hadn’t been a “do or die” situation, more of a sense to make the lives lost matter somehow. The nation was in mourning and they needed some hope, the families did, their friends did, and Richard also. He had lost his father up there, his lifelong hero. As much as anyone else at the time, Richard had needed closure, and he was more than committed to continue his father's efforts.

It had taken a few months, during which time the Gothic Space Cooperative had been announced and established, but with the recovered data Richard and his team had successfully deduced how to apply it to a new drive. The old one, whatever data had been saved, had been a total loss. The mechanics on how to operate it, however, were partially recovered, along with the proof-of-concept science to back it. Utilizing the technology of the time - hydrogen fuel-cells - the team had designed a fusion-based fuel-cell engine that could theoretically propel a craft faster and more efficiently than conventionally propelled engines. Designs became test-beds, and test-beds were put into the first space shuttle engine prototype. Soon enough the announcement of the Jordan-Goston Fusion Drive was announced a success.

The design was eventually enlarged to fit on larger space ship designs, and eventually the GSC was able to bridge the gap between Luna and the asteroid belt. From that point on it was only a matter of commitment on the nations backing it. Once that was established, Ganymede had been the next logical step. But the reason Richard Jordan was here was not simply because of his contribution to the creation of the Jordan-Goston Drive. He hadn’t stopped there. In the years between Luna and Ganymede, Richard had been hypothesizing about the possibility of a faster-than-light drive. Communications between peers and himself had been commonplace, and eventually they all agreed that in some fashion it was probable. With the construction of Ganymede Station underway, the idea that the station could serve the purpose as the test-bed for this probable drive was established. CASA had concurred and had assigned Richard as Head of Operations for Anagonian Involvement, the “Hoi” as he was sometimes jokingly called.

Richard took another sip of his still-warm coffee. The cup felt almost surreal in his hands, his mind having drifted so far back into reflection. Pieces had fallen into place, inspiration for today. It had all summed up to today. The drive had been constructed, the science was sound, and from what his team had theorized it would revolutionize space-travel forever.

Turning around, Richard saw one of his old colleagues from the fusion drive experiments approach him. Both Richard and the colleague wore similar apparel; a traditional lab coat with professional buttoned shirts and smooth slacks with a modest belt. Also as per tradition, they both had pocket protectors with pens. The only distinction between the approaching colleague and Richard was name-tags, with Richards having his position engraved on it. The approaching colleagues read, simply, Megan Milly, Lead Theorist.

“Megan!” Richard announced as the woman approached closer, his posture relaxed as she stopped close to him. They both shared an embrace, friendly and professional from many years of acquaintanceship. “Are you as excited about today as I am?”

“Of course! Having another device named after our esteemed director, who wouldn’t be?”

It was a stated jest, though Richard did feel a pin of regret. It stabbed at him briefly, self-reflection evident on his features. Megan noted immediately and slapped Richards shoulder playfully.

“Don’t go getting all sob-story on us, Richy! I was just kidding.” After seeing his expression change for the better, Megan smiled. “Of course I’m excited. Of course. All of us are! We’re all here, together again, doing the miracle again. Remember how David said it was impossible? Hah!”

Renowned Anagonian Physicist David Sternum had been a vocal opponent to the development of the Jordan-Goston Drive. He had claimed that applying fuel-cell technology to a fusion system was not only dangerous, but would lead to a critical mass event likely destroying half of Anagonia. It had taken a few months to quiet down the fears he had ushered in from the public. Needless to say, he was never invited to Ganymede.

“Yep!” Richard replied, a gentle guffaw emitting from him. “Almost made half the population go crazy too, I remember. Dad was made proud though, we finished his work.”

The two shared a somber nod at that sentiment. Frank Jordan had been on Space Station Apollo when it was destroyed in the atmosphere. If it hadn’t of been for that fisherman, his prodigy wouldn’t have been able to finish his fathers work. Richard had made sure to provide all that fisherman would have ever needed, and more, after discovering his identity.

“Well I’m sure Patricia would be proud of you too,” Megan remarked concerning Richards deceased mother, which elicited a small smile from Richard.

“Yeah, Mom was something. Anyway, did Dean say we were ready?” Richard asked.

“Not yet,” Megan replied. “We’ve heard reports of an unscheduled shuttle coming in. Security wanted us to hold off for now, just in case. Dean wasn’t happy about it.”

Dean Goston was the second mind behind the Jordan-Goston Drive. He was in charge of scheduling tests for the team, and although Jordan technically outranked him, he enjoyed being bossed around every so often and never complained about it. It became tradition for the group to have Dean give the final yay or nay on things. Jordan wasn’t about to ruin that over silly ranks; their time in the military was long over - all of them.

Then again this news about an unscheduled shuttle…

“Ops said anything about it?” He asked after a momentary silence.
“Yes, actually,” Megan said. She turned serious. “That’s why I’m here. They want you in the HQ. Wanted to see if you recognized the shuttle design.”

Richard looked confused for a moment. “There’s only one, though. The Buran 2. It can only get here from an Explorer-class. And I know for a fact that out of the three in service by the GSC, none are scheduled here.”

Megan looked at him, silent for a moment. She tugged on his arm, “Then we best tell Ops then. Come on.”

Richard, being pulled along, asked, “How much time do we have?”

“A day, they said. But come on, hurry,” she replied, not stopping.

Faces turned to watch their Head of Operations being dragged along by one of his Lead Theorists. Some expressions turned humerous, entertained by thoughts best left unsaid. Others were concerned, knowing the dynamic between the two and understanding something serious must be afoot. Overall the atmosphere in the commons was momentarily disrupted by the incident, resuming only a few moments thereafter to normal. Those better concerned by the display decided to follow along for the sake of curiosity - at a distance, of course.
Last edited by Anagonia on Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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The Peninsular
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Founded: Apr 04, 2017
New York Times Democracy

Postby The Peninsular » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:36 am

Shuttle AS01
23 hours to target


Operator Claw 02 grumbled something about old technology as he pulled himself through the hatch leading to the ops room on the shuttle. They'd been launched from outside detection range of the outpost, behind the moon, even, from a half a century old ship, from the time when the Federation still struggled to break the barrier of light themselves. Compared to comparative Gholgothic vessels, the ship was somewhat larger, as it had to carry AS01, the also decades old shuttle that 02 and the 119 other hastily assembled operators found themselves on. The shuttle had been loaded with coma-pods to accomodate all of them, and was still quite large for a shuttle.

Shortly, 02 found his way into the ops room, where their commanding officer had already set up the briefing and Claw Squad was already assembled. They all knew each other by first name, though each one's past lives before joining the FID remained shrouded. However, standing orders decreed that 24 hours prior to a mission start, operators would have to start referring to each other by callsign.

As soon as Claw Squad was complete, the officer began the briefing. From time to time, some of his nine squadmates would ask questions concerning the plan, but in general most information they needed was already in the briefing. All of them knew what their primary objective was - a prototype FTL drive developed by the Anagonian department on the base. Claw Squad's task was to eliminate this primary objective, together with three other squads, while the rest fulfilled other objectives, such as knocking out the station's life support system, wiping the databanks of the station's computer network and executing actions to confuse any possible investigation - namely pretending to be out for stealing technology, not destroying it.

The teams had been equippped with different gear than usual for this as well. While fully black, armored EVA suits were the FID standard for such missions, their weapons and other gear had been switched out. Like the shuttle design, their guns - mostly submachine guns and rifles bought off the Gholgothic black market - had been modified to have a distinct look to them, reminiscent of that of Kravenite firearms.

The last order, the second objective to be completed for the mission to be deemed a success, was a standard one. Leave no survivors.
10000 Islands

The Constitutional Federation of the Peninsular is an FT nation.

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Auman
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Founded: Antiquity
Father Knows Best State

Postby Auman » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:36 pm

Greasy blues blared from the juke box in the corner. A cue ball cracked in a smoky room in the back. A beautiful blond was swaying and jiggling toward him with romance in her eye, but Frank was looking past her at a biker downing shots of rye whisky with his buddies in the corner. El Diablos, the toughest gang in Bosa Nova. He had enough evidence to put them away for life... Extortion mostly, but he didn't care about that. They killed his friend. The blond whispered something dirty in his ear, Frank shoved her to the ground, downed his glass of Maker's Mark and heaved himself off the bar towards the bikers. His glare had never left them and they noticed. A big bearded bastard squared off on Frank and opened his denim vest to reveal a snub nosed revolver tucked into his pants, just behind a truly massive belt buckle that said 'All pigs must roast.' The biker caught him looking.

"You staring at my dick, fatass?" Laughed the brawny Diablo. His friends had a chuckle too, their voices were thick and harsh from a life on the road and, no doubt, excessive methamphetamine use. Frank smiled up at him, he was a short man but that never damaged his confidence. He felt his height, and the bullying he received because of it, gave him a thicker skin than most.

Frank reached out, quicker than a cobra striking prey, stroked the trigger of the revolver and set it off. The big bad biker curled into a ball on the ground, crying like a little girl with both hands clutching the void where his balls used to be. The music stopped, someone yanked the cord from the wall. Frank smiled, his thick black mustache hardly moved as his lips parted to reveal a set of pearly white teeth. He held up his hands and staved off his impending murder for a moment, just long enough to fix them all with his baby blue eyes and ask a question.

"You the boys that killed Jack Kilroy?"

A slender Hispanic guy stood up out of the booth and pulled out a Bowie knife. The veins in his neck pressed against the skin like electrical wires and he smiled at him toothlessly.

"Oh yeah, baby. We killed the fuck out of him." He sliced at the air just in front of Frank's face. He just twisted his shoulders to the side, curled the knife free and shoved it deep into the Diablo's arm pit. Just when the blood began to flow freely down his immaculate shirtsleeves, the other three burst into action. Frank pulled the knife out, twisted the Diablo he'd just stabbed in front of his buddies and tripped him in the same motion, buying himself a little bit of distance. He threw the knife cleanly into the throat of a red head with a glassy shean in his green eyes, his gurgling ought to give Frank something to laugh about later... If there was going to be a later.

Frank stepped back a couple paces, an older fella launched over the writhing bodies of his friends and raised his fists, a pair of brass knuckles glittered in the harsh fluorescent lights of the bar.

"I'm gonna beat your brains in, mother fucker!" Said the veteran extortionist, taking a wide swing at Frank's face. He twisted his shoulders again, getting out of the way of the haymaker just in time for a jab to catch him in the chin. Frank Cannon had never been kicked by a mule before, but he imagined it was about the same feeling. Frank raised his hands, his fingers were pointed outwards like blades and he sliced the into the old biker's neck, right where it met the shoulder. That doubled him over and Frank drove a knee so hard into his face that he could hear the guy's nose crunch like concrete under a jackhammer. Blood exploded onto the floor from the grey hair's face. Frank looked down in disgust and spat on him.

"I hope you drown in it, pipsqueak." Frank muttered. When he looked up, he was staring down a 1911, the wide barrel and the rifling intrigued him for a moment, but Frank smirked and looked the last one straight in his beady black eyes. The biker was nervous and sweating, his hand was shaking.

"I thought you El Diablos were supposed to be hot shit?"

"I'll show you hot shit, baldy!" Screeched the rat eyed biker, pulling the trigger.

Frank winced. Nothing happened. The biker pulled the trigger a few more times.

Click. Click. Click.

"What the fuck!"

The biker pointed the gun at his face and stared down the barrel. Suddenly, without warning, the .45 went off and pushed the biker's brains out the back of his head.

"Hangfire..." Frank kicked the dead biker in the nuts. "You never cheap out on ammo, you punk."

Frank stepped outside and lit a cigarette. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the desert glare. He swept a hand through the thin remnants of black hair that clung to the top of his head.

A little blond boy was staring at Frank's big belly. He tried not to notice as he walked around to the driver's side of his '29 Stormbird convertible.

"Hey mister!" Said the boy. Frank nodded at the kid, "What's new, son?"

"How did you get so fat?" The boy asked, genuinely curious. Frank smiled and slapped his gut with one thick hand.

"It wasn't easy."
Last edited by Auman on Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:48 am, edited 6 times in total.
IBNFTW local 8492

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Anagonia
Minister
 
Posts: 2522
Founded: Dec 18, 2003
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Anagonia » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:12 am

Sunday, April 14th, 121 Years After United Republic
1030 Hours Anagonian Central Standard Time


Thomas exhaled as the smoke from his cigarette seemed to waft upward into the ceiling tiles of the diner. The atmosphere was rather melancholy in the establishment, everyone seemingly moving slower than what typically defined a hard-working, motivated Anagonian citizen. It was as if the world around Thomas had acknowledged an unknown truth about the passive reality they existed in, one that was irreversible and irrefutable. A defeat so solid that the very soul of those who tried to resist it was beaten into submission, resulting in the downtrodden examples of human beings that Thomas' eyes gazed upon. The Military Policeman took in another draw of his cigarette, eyes downcast as the nearby hostess looked his way briefly. The corner of his sight registered her prolonged look upon him, before returning to her notepad as she took down the order of the customers at the table. The jukebox began to play a tune then.

The music permeated the diner with its soft saxophone tones, intertwined with a noir mixture of piano and what sounded like synthesized sounds. Thomas exhaled, risking a gaze upward again towards the hostess. She seemed to perk up a bit from the music, as did most of the folks in the diner that Thomas could see. Something about the music seemed to spur a new emotion in those present. He could feel it within himself. It wasn't an instantaneous event, just a slow progression, a gentle flooding of inspiration that flowed as if someone gently opened a faucet valve. The trickling effect of the water was the mood, the valve was the music, the drain was reality. Thomas could see it clearly then, and oddly, he found it reassuring. Downward gaze to his coffee cup, Thomas flicked the ashes of his cigarette into the ashtray, using his free hand to slide a finger through the cup and lift it to his lips. A lukewarm, seemingly refreshing taste met his lips and tongue, speaking all he needed to know about how long he had lingered in this diner. Too long, if he was to be truthful with himself. The cup was set down.

There was a newspaper before him on the table that he had been observing before his mind went on the ever-silent crisis of self-realization. A news clipping from a couple days ago, something about how a new age was dawning, some story about Ganymede. Absently Thomas heard the change in musical tone from the jukebox, a continuation of the noir music, oddly fitting to the scene. His mind pushed that to the limit of his conscious understanding, eyes focused now on the story. It reminded him why he had come to the diner in the first place. A glance at his wrist-watch told him he had been here for a little over an hour now, observing, watching, reading, trying to understand. For a brief moment there, he had forgotten what he was trying to understand, his natural instincts as a Detective taking in the scene for clues to anything relevant. Anything at all. Even the emotion of the downtrodden in how it played with their motivation to continue to exist. Those types of things. Clear yet hidden deep within the movements of everyday society, hidden so only the keenly aware could take note of them.

His eyes flickered upward to the hostess again. She was approaching him, holding the handle of a fresh batch of coffee, dark and foreboding. He greeting her politely and they exchanged a few words, but as last time, she seemed to maintain a professional distance. So, Thomas did too. A word of thanks for the refill of coffee in his mug, they parted, Thomas eyeing her posterior briefly before catching himself. Youthful arrogance, he concluded, but she did have a nice ass. Taking another puff of his cigarette, he looked back at the newspaper. The music seemed to change tempo, bringing a more excitable atmosphere. Thomas could hear the new beat in the footsteps around him. Things were looking up. His eyes scanned the words.

"Ganymede: Where Science Progresses!"

That was it, something about science. Thomas skimmed over the piece. It wasn't very detailed about what was going on our there in the dark recesses of space, but it did give a brief summary. Apparently there was an alliance of national aerospace agencies now, something that hadn't been readily stated before. While it wasn't any particular news of any note - nations allied together for various purposes all the time in Gholgoth and throughout the known world - it was interesting in the fact that this information was being stated now. Thomas made a mental note to check up if pieces of this "ganymede base" had made headlines in the past. Something about this signaled there was a trail of events at work here, probably from something with CASA. A slow exhale after another draw from his cigarette, the smoke wafting gently from the air that seemed stagnate and stale, yet somehow smelled fresh like pine. An odd combination of scents, Thomas concluded, as he folded the newspaper.

Just another interesting piece of news from the Liberty Times. Nothing important to note. He finished his cigarette, putting it out in the ashtray carefully. Taking the coffee cup in hand, he sipped the refreshed contents as its spiking warmth met his tongue. This diner had a very nice tasting coffee, which was why Thomas always found himself here. Wouldn't be long until he met with an old friend in downtown. Just a friendly get-together.

The music played on.
Last edited by Anagonia on Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jagada
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Posts: 181
Founded: Feb 15, 2005
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Jagada » Thu May 02, 2019 7:19 pm

Henrik stood uncomfortably in the radiating heat of the midday sun. His dark suit irritating an already bad situation as he waited outside Rayflik International Airport for his pick-up, which wasn’t scheduled to arrive for another fifteen minutes. His long black limousine took up more space than was polite in the drop-off/pick-up area. The security guards didn’t bother him though, he’d been making this same pick-up for years now and they knew his client. So he waited patiently hoping beyond hope that his client would get here earlier so he could get out of the oppressive heat wave. The sound of a car blaring its horn caught his attention, pulling his eyes towards the interchange that allow the steady flow of traffic off the main transportation network and into the pick-up area. A sports utility vehicle had exited far too quickly and had to slam on its breaks to avoid hitting a smaller car that was working its way to the exit lane of pick-up. It was a fair distance away but even from here he could hear the larger vehicle’s owner shouting profanities at the other guy; who to his credit gave just a good back. The driver gave a smile as three different security guards, dressed in their white and red uniforms, quickly descended on the area before the situation got out of hand.

One of the two-toned guards walked up next to Henrik, shaking his head.

“There’s always at least one,” said the tall, dark skinned man sardonically.

Henrik knew the man from his many visits to the airport -- Jordanis. Definitely not a native of Euphanton he’d immigrated from distant Manoria. Short and stout he looked the opposite of Henrik tall and lanky build.

“Yeah,” he replied with a laugh, “They got you working day shift again?”

Jordanis gave a big smile as a reply. Henrik knew he didn’t like the night shift.

“Called in a few favors. Made a few new friends,” he said, “Feels good to see the sun again. You here for him again?”

Henrik nodded, “Yeah, he shouldn’t be much longer. Flight should’ve already landed.”

Jordanis went to say something when his radio chirped, “Paulios.”

The security guard qued his radio, “Here.”

“We need you over at terminal four. We’ve got a 14-2 situation.”

“On my way,” said Jordanis and turned back to Henrik shaking his head, “Probably just some damned noble who refuses to show his ID.”

Jordanis rolled his eyes at the hypothetical scenario. The two men parted, the security guard going into the building at a brisk pace and Henrik still slowly cooking alive in the sun. He looked back out over the pick-up area to where the other security guards had the two road-raged drivers pulled off to the side.

“Is there a problem, Mr. Henrik,” asked a voice from behind. Henrik spun around to see a man of average height and broad shoulders wearing a dark blue waistcoat, embroidered with fine gold thread designs, a crushed white shirt underneath, with matching colored pants. A silver chain necklace under around his neck and a medallion shaped like an otter’s head hung at the end. This was, of coarse, his client -- a Mr. Desmond Filliri. A real estate tycoon that had made billions in the market over the past decade. Owning condos and investment properties from Austrinon to Jagasky.

“No sir, Mr. Filiri. I wasn’t expecting you right …” he trailed off.

“Now?”

He should’ve known. Someone like Desmond Filiri must’ve had contacts way up. Henrik then realized that he’d waited a heartbeat too long and his inaction was nearly disrespectful. Quickly he opened the door and ushered Mr. Filiri into the still running limousine before getting in himself and navigating out of pick-up and into the transportation lanes. Embarrassed by his inattention to his client he kept his eyes forward, only stealing a few glances into the backseat. Mr. Filiri sat quietly, scrolling through his cell phone and occasionally writing on a small paper notebook.

The limousine drove out of the complex network of roads that intertwined with Rayflik International Airport and deposited them out on the AC-35 Expressway, heading into the downtown region of the city. Henrik followed the bright blue traffic signs that guided him onto the right off-ramps and interchanges. The limousine bumped and whined occasionally while hitting a pothole or depression in the roadway. The paving itself being dark and stained from years of abuse by the millions of vehicles that circulated the human lifeblood of the old city. A solid twenty minutes had passed by the time the limousine pulled up to the main entrance of a large glass tower near the center of downtown. Henrik read the fake gold letters fixed to the top of the entrance: 3799-C Fallings Avenue, Hildercrest Enterprises.

Exiting the vehicle he promptly made his way to Mr. Filiri’s door and opened it, giving a hand flourish as always. A little cherry on the top as he called it. If Desmond Filiri noticed or cared he gave no sign. After stepping out he looked up, checking to see if it was the right address, and then took in the 57-story tower in front of him.

“I shall wait outside for you sir,” said Henrik as he closed the door.

“No, I don’t need you to,” said Mr. Filiri absentmindedly, “Return to the hotel. I’ll call you when I’m ready.”

Without another word Desmond Filiri strode toward 3799-C Fallings Avenue.

----

Nathaniel Avacos watched the video feed from the security cameras in the lobby of 3799-C Fallings Avenue. He watched as Desmond Filiri walked into the cold, artificially conditioned air from the smouldering heat outside. Desmond walked over to the security desk. It wasn’t but a moment before the guard pinged him for approval. He gave it, and Desmond made his way to the private elevator that would take him straight to Nathaniel.

So it’s finally going to happen, he thought. Years of back and forth over deals in Aquar and Caellorcia, and even distant Milograd had come to this point. He leaned back in his chair and his joints popped. His bones ached these days. Likely from years of abuse he’d put his body through and the long work hours he’d kept up for the better part of twenty years. Hell … it’d been worth it. He wasn’t even an old man by modern standards, barley over forty-five. Reaching out to grab a glass of water off his desk, he’d given up the sauce years ago, he took a sip and waited for the elevator to arrive.

When it did Desmond Filiri stepped out. His cold icy blue eyes immediately bored into Nathaniel’s dark eyes, and held them just like he’d always done. Nothing was spoken and Desmond didn’t move much past the elevator. Both men knew this was the conclusion to an amazing conflict that had seen billions of icons lost on both sides and many regrets.

“Welcome, my old friend,” said Nathaniel finally, “How is Chastity?”

“Fine,” replied Desmond coldly, “Silvi?”

“Fine,” he said with a sigh, “Please, take a seat.”

Obligatory courtesies over Desmond broke his rigid stance and took his seat. He noticed his ‘old friend’ wasn’t looking all to well himself. The bags under his eyes had become more pronounced, his bald hair sported a few new liver spots. Good, he thought, at least I’ve taken his youth from him.

“You received my final offer?” asked Desmond as he crossed his legs.

“I did,” replied Nathaniel wearily, “My people looked it over.”

“And … ?”

“It’s as ruinous as it is cruel,” said Nathaniel, “Your father would be ashamed.”

Desmond’s icy features cracked into a smile, “Don’t try to flatter your way out of this … old friend. If I remember correctly I didn’t start this war. That was you.”

“Yes and I don’t regret it, even now.”

Desmond gave a chuckle, “Putting the young pup in his place? Well who’s kicking who now Nathaniel?”

Nathaniel Avacos grimaced. Desmond was a ruthless businessman just like his father and Nathaniel but he lacked any sense of duty to family or honor. One goal, no soul was Desmond Filiri’s motto and more lives than Nathaniel could count had been snuffed out by him.

“Let’s just get this over with,” he said finally, “You have the final draft?”

Desmond reached into his waistcoat and pulled out a manila packet. Taking the contents out he placed the stack of papers on Nathaniel’s desk and slid them across. Nathaniel flicked through them quickly. Normally he’d have had a team of lawyers spend a week or more looking it over and weeding out all the screw-overs that were undoubtedly in there, but what was the point? The deal he’d been sent a week ago was already damning. It forced him to sell his assets in most of the Union, practically exiling him to Milograd. A better fate than being exiled to Abruzi for sure … but not by much.

No … no he was tired. Tired of the constant backstabbing. Tired of the constant spying and manipulation. The sheer amount of time he needed to dedicate to dealing with Desmond had already cost him two marriages and a relationship with most of his children .. and he was only forty fucking five.

Without flourish or care he pulled an ink pen from his desk and quickly scratched his signature across all the necessary lines, flipping through the documents as quickly as possible. Once done he slid the stack back to his now former rival.

“Good luck Desmond,” he said, reaching over and taking another sip of water, “I don’t believe we’ll ever meet again and thank the Gods.”

Desmond Filiri gave a toothy smile and took the stack of papers.

“I’ll make sure to leave you a copy.”

Nathaniel shook his head and declined, “No need. We both know what’s in there.”

“I must insist,” replied Desmond as he stood, “I do not want any misunderstandings between us after this.”

“You really are a sorry son of a bitch,” said Nathaniel, no longer caring about proper courtesy.

Desmond turned and walk to the private elevator. The doors opened immediately. As he stepped in Nathaniel kept his eyes on him. It was like watching a viper, you could never really take your eyes off it if you wanted to live.

“Nathaniel,” he said as the doors began to close, “I believe we’ll see each other sooner than you think.”

The doors closed and Nathaniel Avacos was left with his thoughts and Desmond’s last words.

---

Desmond Filiri was a bad man. He did bad things with other bad men. He made deals with these other bad men that saw a lot of good people die. He never did it maliciously and never intending to harm people but he did it anyway. One goal, no soul. He wanted to rule a financial empire that had no equal and play out his power fantasies. If that meant roughing up small businesses to sell out to him, or “convincing” property owners to sell so he could build his newest investment … then so be it. That kind of work however could only be done by certain people. People who lacked morales and could get the job done without attracting the authorities. Those kinds of people weren’t cheap.

Desmond had no idea that the good money he paid these bad men made its way, indirectly, into the hands of even worse men who did even worse things. He couldn’t know that his money went to buy guns for separatists or fueled the rampant child sex-trafficking rings that infested the poorer parts of the Union. No … he couldn’t have known. Even if he did though he likely wouldn’t have cared. A man like that can only be dealt with in one way.

Pythos Tarnic took care of bad men like Desmond Filiri. He was something of an expert at being other people. Getting Desmond held at Rayflik hadn’t be hard and getting the security to interrogate him had been even easier. Afterall, his connections were both long and deep. His disguise had been perfect just as his execution had been. Even the limousine driver, a man who’d seen Desmond Filiri a hundred times, couldn’t spot a fake. Years of practice in both theater and make-up artistry had perfected his already natural talents. He’d even fooled Nathaniel Avacos, another bad man to be sure, but not one that directly endangered the Union. He’d seen the seething hatred of Desmond in the other man’s eyes and couldn’t really blame him.

That leads to the final question: what is the one way to deal with a man like Desmond Filiri? That part is the easiest and takes the least amount of skill. The packet which Nathaniel Avacos had flippantly signed wasn’t the same one originally proposed. Pythos’ packet was very different, and Nathaniel or his staff would discover this immediately. He’d made sure to leave a copy directly with Nathaniel’s team of lawyers. It practically decimated Desmond Filiri and his real estate empire. It signed over considerable property, a low cost, to Hildercrest Enterprises and thus his arch-nemesis Nathaniel Avacos. The mega properties in Osynias would be gone, the high rises across Jarars and Romitica sold for practically spare change .. even Desmond’s investments in the energy sector. All of it gone.

Pythos Tarnic glanced down at his cell phone. Desmond Filiri would be fuming right now. His cell phone was conveniently ‘lost’ and his limousine driver was on the other side of town at the hotel waiting on a call that would be a long time in coming. Hard luck for the driver who’d undoubtedly be fired over this … but there is always some collateral damage with these things.

Pythos smiled. Today was a good day.
You must walk through the darkness to see the light ...

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Auman
Minister
 
Posts: 2044
Founded: Antiquity
Father Knows Best State

Postby Auman » Tue May 21, 2019 2:57 pm

Frank stepped out of the shower onto the soft shag carpeting of his bathroom floor. He stretched his back, raising his arms level with his shoulders and twirled them like a pair of propellers. He groaned as the burn built up in his arms and traps before giving up. His feet thumped loudly, viciously annoying his downstairs neighbors. He quickly toweled off and strode nude into the living room and stood triumphantly, hands on hips, before a massive picture window. The view was amazing from his penthouse. From here, he could take in the entire Jenovah Valley, all the way out to the snowcapped peaks of the Hysperia range, where dark storm clouds roiled furiously just beyond them.

"Oh misser Canyon, not again!"

"Oh, sorry Consuela, I thought you came on Monday!" Frank twirled on his heels, his bulbous gut sending a vase crashing to the ground.

Consuela covered her eyes with a feather duster. Frank looked down and put the pieces together in his head.

"I should probably get dressed." Said Frank, stomping off to his bedroom.

"Misser Canyon, you have the mail in so many pile so I go through." Said Consuela, a maid that he inherited from his father ten years ago. He never felt the need for hired help, but she wasn't about to accept being let go and he wasn't about to press the issue. Truth was, he was useless at domestic activities and she knew it. Consuela could actually make more money working with someone else, but she did it out of the kindness of her heart and, despite the difference in age, Frank being older than her by about twenty years, she knew deep in her heart that she was in love with him.

"Just throw it out, if someone needs to contact me then they won't be using the post!" Frank grunted, struggling to slide into a pair of tall white socks.

"I know, I know... But you say if Ms. Dana write you, to save... So I save." Consuela sighed. Frank burst from his bedroom wearing a pair of pink briefs and a tank top three sizes too small. He was storming towards Consuela like a man on fire, she was afraid but also fascinated. He stopped abruptly, his belly brushed her breasts gently and she gasped. Frank snatched the letter from her hands and tore it open on the spot, reading the contents with impassioned blue eyes. He turned and sauntered to the window and leaned heavily on a polished brass railing, bobbing back and forth on his toes.

"Help me with my things, Consuela. I'm going to Ganymede."
Last edited by Auman on Tue May 21, 2019 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
IBNFTW local 8492

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Kylarnatia
N&I RP Mentor
 
Posts: 8417
Founded: Jul 07, 2008
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Kylarnatia » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:58 pm

Outpost Scoperta
Moon of Ganymede, Jupiter


Lola Peregrina was having a nightmare, and she had become pretty good at telling. It was the same one that she had been having for years, and they had only continued to increase in their intensity since she had arrived at Ganymede. She was reliving a memory of her youth; one which she would never be allowed to forget. It started pleasantly enough: she and her sister are playing outside in the grounds of her family's country estate. The sun is high in the sky and she is chasing her sibling through their father's vineyard. That estate seemed to stretch on for eternity, and the whole thing made her feel so small. Yet she and her sister made the most of it, like they were adventurers in a vast unexplored space and would discover lost riches beyond imagining. That day, her sister was determined to see how far they could go, and started to blindly towards the sun. Lola tried to catch her.

For a moment everything was a blur as they ran through the fields, the sound of her sisters playful jeers and laughter ringing in her ears. But as she kept running, Lola would begin to notice things starting to grow darker and the sun even more intense. Yet she could not stop herself from running forwards, even as she tried to do so with all her strength, though none came to her as she had no control over her limbs. All she could do was watch as all of a sudden her sisters laughter changed dramatically into a panicked expression.

"Lola, no!" Was all that she heard before the ground beneath her quickly disappeared, and she began to fall rapidly. That moment never seemed to end: the rushing air in her ears as she fell, the feeling of panic and dread as her arms flailed, trying to grab onto anything yet failing to find it. All that she could see above her was the burning sun, but she could no longer feel its warmth. She had fallen into an endless void, and all she had for company was its cold embrace. She closed her eyes tightly, as all of a sudden she heard her sister's cries again.

"Lola...LOLA!"

***

"Lola. Ganymede to Lola. Wakey-wakey."

Lola jolted out of her armchair as she sat forward abruptly, capturing an expletive in her breath just before it escaped her mouth. A pair of strong hands caught her by her shoulders. She looked over; it was Astor Taurinus, a sprightly young man who was part of her Computing team at Ganymede. They had just been acquaintances at the Kylarnatian Space Agency, but their time together during transit and their shared feeling of homesickness since arriving - something shared equally amongst a lot of the Kylarnatian personnel living in the station - had built a solid friendship between the two, despite the difference in rank and age. Astor's dark complexion belied his warm and energetic personality, having quickly gained a reputation on the station for being the clever yet snarky class clown. His peers loved him for it, though some of the more senior rank and file felt it unbecoming of their mission, and would constantly remind Lola of that fact. She didn't care much for their dismay though; he still did his job, and he did it well. He was also fiercely loyal.

"Woah there sleeping beauty, steady on now." He joked as he caught her. "Having one of those nightmares again?"

Lola struggled to find words for a moment, her eyes still readjusting and taking in her environment. She had fallen asleep on the top floor of the commons area, curled up in one of the large armchairs that sat around a faux fireplace to give the impression of a nice warm log cabin somewhere in the woods. On the table next to her she had placed a well-worn copy of Isaac Asimov's The Complete Robot and a cup of cocoa which had by this point gone cold. Clearly it had been another late night of working, and she had come here to retreat for a little while, for however much good that did her. Her glasses rested lazily on-top of the book. Grabbing them, she placed them on the ridge of her nose as she tried to gain some composure.

"Ummm, yeah." Was all she could muster at first, somewhat half-deflated. Ever since arriving at Ganymede she had been trying multiple different remedies and techniques, yet for all her scientific knowledge and emotional intellect, she still hadn't managed to find a solution. She wasn't used to being in this situation often, and it irked her something fierce, almost more than running up against a wall in her research. At least in the latter there would be some reason for it that she could grasp, make logical sense of. In the former though she was powerless, at the whims of her inner sub-conscious, of which less was known about than the vast and terrifying cosmos they were exploring here.

"Thanks for waking me up, Astor. You're my knight in shining armour, as always."

The joke was a reflection on their differences in physical stature and shape. Lola was quite short for a Kylarnatian woman, standing at around six foot, whereas Astor was around the average for Kylarnatian men at seven foot and three inches. His build was athletic, with evenly toned muscles and a strong jawline, while Lola - despite having a strong jaw of her own, courtesy of her father - was much slimmer and diminutive in comparison. All of this was on account of the serious injury that she had sustained in her youth which had left her wearing braces on both knees and in her early adulthood saw multiple operations on the spine, which was cleverly concealed beneath her large green knitted sweater and brown cargo jeans. Her recovery had been a medical miracle, though there were still no shortage of difficulties. It came close to preventing her to coming to Ganymede, and indeed her parents had pleaded with her not to go on the grounds of her health, but she was determined not to let it hold her back.

"Always happy to oblige, m'lady." Astor gave a short bow full of flair, much to her amusement. Their flirting was merely playful; the young man, despite his roguish antics, was due to be married upon their return to Earth. Lola, on her part, was fully committed to herself and her research, and had flirted with the idea of defining as asexual for quite some time. She found plenty of intimacy and warmth in platonic relationships like the one she had with Astor.

"Anyway, I've been looking for you. I wish I'd checked up here sooner."

"Oh? What's up? You knocked the web offline again?" Lola teased. Astor visibly cringed in embarrassment, though continued.

"I overheard this sweet piece of gossip earlier I thought you'd like to here." Despite being quite laddish on his exterior, Lola had come to discover Astor was quite the gossip queen, something she could only help but indulge, only because she'd never had the chance to engage in it during her youth like her peers. It was a weakness of hers, to not want to miss out.

"Spill the tea." She responded in a hushed voice, imagining it was going to be the latest news on the relationship between that one Pudite scientist and Jagite engineer that had the whole station talking. They were an odd couple, and there was all sorts of quiet commotion about what they both got up-to. The maddest thing she had heard was that they had a harem of clones, which was just ludicrous to suggest but fun to envision all the same.

"Well, I overheard the Head of Operations earlier talking to one of his Lead Theorists and..." Before Astor could eagerly continue his story, Lola had grabbed him by the ear, like a rather stern and unimpressed mother.

"What have I told you about eavesdropping on senior personnel?!" She said in a low yet visibly angered tone.

"I know, Lo, but this sounds big. Like, really big."

He then proceeded to tell her what he'd heard. For a moment, she found it all a bit too fanciful to believe: an unscheduled space shuttle approaching the station? One which, according to Astor, the Head of Operations couldn't immediately identify?

"Have you shared this with anyone else?" Lola asked after a few moments of contemplation. Astor shook his head.

"Good. If I hear this floating around the station, even if only in part, I won't be stepping in when they come to take you to the brig." She joked, though the implication of not saying anything was clear. Astor looked visibly disappointed, but respected his friend's request.

She checked her watch. It was just coming up on quarter-to-nine. "I should get back to work at the computer lab. I'll see you back here for lunch, yeah?" The two embraced before Lola started to make her way, her strides clunky due to the stiffness of her knee braces. As she made her way down to the lower floor and past the observation deck, she managed to catch a glimpse of the storms on Jupiter, the Great Red Spot just passing in view. While their intensity rarely ever changed noticeably to the naked eye, she couldn't help but feel like they were stronger than usual. Foreboding, she could already tell that what Astor had told her was getting under her skin more than she felt comfortable with.

***

The Computer Lab was on the surface level floor of the Headquarters building at the centre of the station, a few minutes walk through the large corridors from the Living Quarters. After getting through several layers of security, from key-codes to a retinal scan, Lola entered the lab and made her way to the Administrator's workstation. The computing power on the station was some of the most powerful ever designed, with exabytes of information being stored and transmitted on a daily basis. From the Pudites Genetics experiments, Skyans robotics and the joint propulsion experiments of the Milenkans and Anagonians, all that data was processed and passed through this central mainframe, and backed up multiple times for good measure. This was on-top of the computing power necessary to help maintain the station's daily operations. Despite this seemingly herculean task, the computers operated at peak efficiency, having been constructed and programmed to work in concert so as to stave off any potential shortages in memory.

From her own workstation, Lola could not only observe this system working like clockwork, but could also keep an eye on her own research. She was an Astrophysicist - one of the best at the KSA - and she specialised in the theoretical observations and potential harnessing of dark matter. With all the combined computing power available to her in this one place, she was able to collect thousands of terrabytes of data - collected from instruments measuring cosmic background microwaves to observations of distant supernovae - and then run that through millions of computational algorithms. Despite all this potential for discovery, there were a whole host of problems that Lola had be forced to deal with, from fallacies in the recorded data to miscalculations. The last one had set her back weeks, but she was determined as ever to find the answers. If her and her colleagues theories were true, then dark matter was the real key to understanding not just the universe but the potential for other planes of existence beyond, something which was critical to the Kylarnatian worldview. If such a thing could be harnessed, even by just a small fraction, it could change the whole of history.

Attempting to bury herself in her work, she couldn't help but continue to get distracted by what Astor had told her. She really wished he hadn't told her; he knew that she was the paranoid sort, particularly after her accident had left her so vulnerable. Then again, maybe that's why he told her, just so that if something bad were to come of it, she could feel in an alerted position and able to do something. But what? How? She couldn't do anything concrete without knowing exactly what was going on, and if there was something up, they probably weren't about to find out for sometime yet.

"I guess stress-testing the fail-safes again wouldn't hurt."
Last edited by Kylarnatia on Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The Ancient Empire of Kylarnatia // Imperium Antiquum Kylarnatiae
Lord of Gholgoth | Factbook (Work in Progress) | Embassy & Consulate Programme
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The Peninsular
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 130
Founded: Apr 04, 2017
New York Times Democracy

Postby The Peninsular » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:05 pm

Shuttle AS01
Within Deployment Zone


"Double check.", Claw 02 heard Claw 04 say as they ran through the diagnostics of their suits again. "Systems nominal, Two. You're good to go." Two locked his helmet in place and pushed himself towards the airlock entrance. The suit's HUD lit up as the suit switched to spacewalk mode. He took a moment to look at his reflection on a nearby panel. The suits were fully black, modeled after the technological standards of Gholgoth. They looked a little bulky, courtesy to the amount of armor they carried and inferior technology they were built with. Two and most other operators would've preferred their usual EVA armor, but their commanders had been clear that the Federation was not wanting to take any chances of being found out.

"Attention operator group #2.", the commander's voice sounded over the intercom. "Prepare for insertion. Green light in 30 seconds." They stepped into the airlock, and the blast doors behind them shut. A whizzing sound as well as their HUDs notified them of the air making place for the vacuum of space. At this point in time, the shuttle was still a fair amount of time away from the station - to avoid any detection, the operators would jump at different points and at different angles, to all end up in a designated crater in the vicinity of the station, though outside of visual range so they could not be identified. From there, the assault would begin. Meanwhile, the ship had already begun making sure that transmissions to Earth-3 would not make it, as by now the researchers would surely have taken note of the unscheduled shuttle.

Their comms crackled, and the airlock door opened. Claw squad grabbed onto the railings on the inside of the airlock. "Attention operator group #2. Insertion in 10. Proceed as planned." There was silence for the next seconds, and the operators positioned themselves in a good jump position, preparing their boost packs with which they would maneuver on the descent. "3... 2... 1... Green light." Claw squad pushed themselves off of the airlock walls, and out into the cold vacuum.

"Claw squad, vector check. Initiate turn to the following vector.", Claw 01 came in over comms. The squad adjusted their flight vector appropriately, and descended towards the surface, a few hundred kilometers below.

------

Two sat in the dust of Ganymede and was inspecting his weapon. This side of the moon was currently in a night cycle, and the operators, of which the last squad was just arriving after having landed nearby, had all switched to alternative modes of sensors and night vision to avoid detection. The weapon before Two was one of foreign design, and had been bought off the black market in Gholgoth. The guns had been modified to function in vacuum by replacing the regular powder in the cartridges with a special mixture. From a visual standpoint, they had all been painted pitch black, any and all insignia or signs of recognition removed and the imprints a normal weapon would leave on ejected casings did not occur with these.

Suddenly, his HUD lit up with a notification and a sound queue notified him that the force had been fully assembled. Two stood up, loading his weapon and joined the rest of his squad at the edge of the crater. In the distance, the lights of the research station were clearly visible. Soon enough, they would go out.

Moving through the various craters near the station, Claw squad got closer and closer to their entry point: An airlock near the Anagonian section. According to their intelligence, the test of the prototype drive would occur in half an hour, and they weren't going to let it happen. The entrance was a minor airlock near bottom of the section. The squad formed up, and Claw 04, the slicer of the squad, got to work. While they did have breaching charges, the operation hoped to gain entry without raising a general alarm at first, wanting to eliminate as many people as possible at once. The Anagonian section would be full, and present them a shooting gallery.

"Open.", Claw 04 said over comms, as the airlock door quietly opened to let them in. The squad quickly climbed inside, as time was of the essence now. While the teams released a virus into the station's network to hide the fact that they used the various airlocks for silent entry, this would not go unnoticed for longer than a few minutes at most. The airlock filled up with air, and Claw squad snuck out into the hallway.

At the end of the hallway, two members of the station's security force stood guard. According to surveillance and sources of information, this station security was more of a volunteer force and only lightly equipped. Claw 01 stopped, pulling out a suppressed sidearm. Two moved up as well, doing the same. A few seconds later, the men dropped against the wall behind them, and without much of a sound, slid to the ground.

The corridor directly bordered the Anagonian section. Claw squad spotted an access door nearby. "Stack up.", Claw 01 ordered, and the operators went into position. Now was the time. Two readied his weapon, and the squad did the same. Pulling a keycard from one of the dead guards, Claw 01 also assumed a position at the door. Approximately twenty seconds passed until the 'all clear' came in from the other teams, green markers showing them as ready to strike. Two took out one of his stun grenades. Showtime.
10000 Islands

The Constitutional Federation of the Peninsular is an FT nation.

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Anagonia
Minister
 
Posts: 2522
Founded: Dec 18, 2003
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Anagonia » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:23 am

Outpost Scoperta
1200 Hours Local GSC Time
Moon of Ganymede, orbiting Planet Jupiter


In the corridor that swam around the edges of the Headquarters centralized within the base, Richard and Megan both leaned against one another, gunshot wounds effectively dotting their bodies. By the time that the Director had become known of the unknown inbound shuttle, it had been too late; a day ago was too late. In the dwindling consciousness of the two esteemed scientific minds, they had seen the black suits, had seen the sheer, efficient brutality as the soldiers from the Kravenite regime undid untold decades of scientific progress. With their escape route to the shuttle pad long since blocked off, the two scientists had been herded along with dozens of others along the innermost corridors of the base until they were forced into the interior of the HQ section. Explosions had begun to ripple through the base as their numbers progressively dwindled, armed soldiers hidden behind their masks seeming to appear from each twist and turn to lessen their flock. After a particularly nasty encounter with the remaining eight, Megan and Richard had somehow survived, limping to the bench seats that faced the outer window-panels which shown the majestic planet of Jupiter just over and between two sections of the living quarters. It was here that, slowly, the two scientists began to die.

After a meaningful exchange and smile between the two scientists as they held their hands firmly together, Richard planted a firm kiss on top of Megan's head as she lay it down on his shoulder. Blood seeped from their bodies, staining their uniforms as it began to pool on the hard, metal surface below. Naturally their eyes trained on the most prominent object. Jupiter, in the distances that seemed impossibly close, seemed to display a brighter, more meaningful beauty in the complexity of its stormcloud movements. In this moment of both pain and sadness, it was a much needed respite from the struggle of holding onto life that both the scientists felt. It eased their transition, if only just. The silence that continued to hover over them turned from regretful and depression to a sort of tranquil and peaceful. Megan's handhold on Richards tightened softly.

"If things were different," she rasped, gently, somehow managing to utter words despite her weakness, "I would have loved to have a family with you."

Memories of how events played out streamed through his mind. Richard had known Megan for the majority of his young-adult and adult life. A few years of high school together had solidified a strong bond between the two, crafting and founding a friendship that would bolster both during their tenure at prestigious universities and during their mandatory service. As likely as it seemed that they'd become natural mates, it never seemed to transition well into that outcome. Megan had always seemed so adventurous, almost too unreachable to Richard. Even when they shared a few intimate moments when they were younger, it never felt right. Now, as their deaths ushered closer, the regret of not having done what seemed impossible clawed at his mind. Had he proposed to her just a quaint few years ago, maybe they wouldn't be here on this station, and maybe they'd have a family back in Anagonia.

"Richard?" The voice was softer, weaker, but the need was there. She needed to hear his response.

"I would have too," Richard replied, understanding that need.

The two heads of the fatally wounded scientists seemed to move so their eyes could gaze upon the other. Richard didn't know what Megan saw in his expression, he knew he had a gash on his forehead that seemed to prevent sight out of one eye, but his other gazed upon her clearly. She was, as always, a visage of true beauty. He brought his free hand up to gently stroke her cheek, ignoring the blood that seemed to be on it. She did too, leaning into it as she softly closed her eyes, the brightness of her cheeks returning from the pale white a moment before - just for a moment. They leaned in to another another then and, softly, kissed. All the years of regret, all the years of not doing, all the sadness of the present, all of it washed away then. Peace filled both their hearts.

"I love you," Richard finally said, after a long time.

"And I love you too," Megan confirmed, destroying the wall of doubt.

As their heads turned back to gaze upon Jupiter once more, to allow their last moments to be blessed by such magnificent beauty, Richard caught a glimpse of the dark corridor beyond. The power had gone out not too long ago after the base had shaken more violently than before. It was the reason the two had stumbled in the open when their colleagues were being gunned down, they themselves fatally shot but not knowing it then. Adrenaline and the will to survive drove them further, until here, until this bench in this unnamed and possibility unimportant corridor, at this unlikely juncture where the two gazed upon an impossible planetary visage. An almost improbable set of circumstances that allowed them to tear down the wall both had built over their careers, to find the peace they both deserved as they admitted the long-standing and hidden feelings for one another. The line of progression that seemed almost directed by something else.

As a scientist, Richard had never dived too deeply into the depths of Drekanity. He had learned at a young age about Melkos Unchanos, about his Dragons and the Angels of Death that lifted those from the pits into life. Like all Anagonian children, he had attended the sunday schools and visited the forests with the Drekamythian Dragons - proof, it was stated, of the existence of Melkos. As he grew older, however, his reality had settled onto the more visible and more understandable realm of existence. So it was with some amount of trepidation that as Richards eyes cross the darkness at the edges of the corridor, unlit by the light reflecting off of Jupiter through the line of window panes that separated them from the vacuum, that he saw the forms of Dragons.

Not only Dragons, but dark angels as well, winged champions of Melkos and ushers of those dying or dead. They littered the edges of the visible light, forms skewed by the absolute darkness as the dying mind fabricated evidence of the paranormal to ease a transition between life and death. His eyes slowly looked down, and he gently kisses the forehead of Megan. Her hand tightened only an infesmal amount. She was barely with him, struggling to enjoy this moment of forever for as long as they could. He tightened back, gently, as he let loose a gentle sigh and his head turned to the other end of the corridor. His breath caught.

Standing at the edge of darkness and light, a form hidden by what appeared to be an ethereal cloak stood. The cloak looked ragged, aged, with a pattering of broken fabric in places that seemed to reveal hidden details from within, but at this distance was all but invisible. He stood impossibly tall, taller than any Anagonian or Goth, and firmly held in his adjacent hand closest to the outermost bulkhead facing Jupiter was a scythe that seemed otherworldly in appearance. The cloak itself seemed to wave in a wind that didn't exist, perhaps flowing off the solar winds that bounced or were created by various forces from Jupiter. As a slice of the cloak seemed to waft just the right way, Richard saw clearly the skeletal face hidden beneath the darkness of the hood. Red eyes glared then, gentle, caring; Richard knew not how he knew they cared, in his heart he just did. Behind the form and spectre of Death, reptilian faces and humanoid figures with wings stood. All heralds of Melkos Unchanos, all here at this moment as two Anagonians slowly slid past the precipice of life and death. Richards tense form relaxed, as did his grip on Megans hand.

"He's here," he said, his tone weaker than before.

"I know," she confirmed, her head nuzzling into his head. "I'm ready, so long as I'm with you."

Richard nodded towards the figure of Melkos, however impossible it may be that such a figure existed was lost to his dying mind. In this moment of peace, nothing really made sense. He turned to lay his head on hers, eyes closing as their grips tightened once more. Richard felt his life draining, could feel hers draining as well. They were close.

"So long as I'm with you," Richard confirmed. Then, with a ragged breath, eyes closed and the darkness of the beyond at the edge of his perception, he uttered, "We're ready."

The dark suited invader that had killed so many of the scientists brought his gun up, placing it on the temple that belonged to the male scientist. His finger hesitated briefly, perhaps due to the display he and his fellow soldiers had witnessed. The moment of hesitation gone, he pulled the trigger. The shot echoed across the corridor as the muzzle flash revealed the darkness to hold not dragons or mystical angels, but other dark suited men responsible for killing everyone on the station. The bullet itself traveled through both the skulls of the dying scientists, the only two to cause any form of hesitation in the group. It lodged itself in the chest cavity of the woman as it bounced off her cranium and ejected itself down her body, causing her dead form to seemingly jump from its place due to the velocity and change of direction. Both bodies settled into one another, almost in the same exact place before the trigger had been pulled. It was serene, almost peaceful. A glance outside the window panels confirmed the last sight both of them gazed upon. He stared at it, at Jupiter, for what felt like longer than usual. For the briefest moment, the stone cold killer felt only a kindle of warmth. Then it was gone.

The enemy combatant lowered his gun, holstering it as he turned to gaze around at the remainder of his comrades. A slow nod was given to signal the mission had been complete, the last two scientists on the station, witnesses to the carnage, were dead. It was time to go.
Last edited by Anagonia on Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:36 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Auman
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Auman » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:53 am

Several weeks later...

Frank was glad to be off that damn ship. He knew that the turmoil in his guts wasn't about to end, from the steady diet of freeze dried beans and dehydrated steak that, no matter what the package said, was just beef jerky. He took a nip of Tang from a zero-gee drinking bulb and rasped, satisfied. Appreciating the juice container, he decided that this stuff was the only saving grace of space gastronomy. Though accustomed to the finer things in life, Frank Cannon was also well versed in the fine art of suffering... And though complaining within the confines of his inner monologue was constant, he never let it show.

He was here for Dana. The woman that he loved but, like the damn fool that he was, couldn't bring himself to admit. Not until she was gone, flown off to another world without him, heartbroken. Frank thought she would have moved on. Hell, he thought he'd moved on too, after all these years. Yet here he was, standing over the corpses of two scientists caught in their final embrace. The meaning of it socked him in the guy like a heavy weight boxer. He just hoped that they said what they needed to say before the end.

He turned to see what they could have been looking at when they died. A window, a picturesque view of the Ganymedean mountains and the looming sphere of Jupiter. The pictures never did it any justice. The gasses swirled and intermingled in real time, like water, paint and oil trapped under glass and shaken about. Getting your head blown off by a death squad is bad way to punch your ticket, but it could have come with a dumpier view.

"Sir," the voice of an Anagonian lieutenant snapped Frank's attention back to reality, "we've located Ms. Kenwood's room. If you would please follow me." The officer directed down the hallway, to his left.

They were following a thick blue line that traced down the wall. At intervals, 'Administration' was stenciled along the path. Just like Dana to take charge, Frank thought, and get herself into trouble.

The stormed down the hallways as best they could at a fraction the gravity of Earth, loping like kangaroos and pushing themselves along a stainless steel railing which ran the length of the hall. They passed into a less utilitarian sector of the base. The walls were painted soft, warm, colors and the roof was covered in panels that displayed blue skies, shifting clouds and an artificial sun that cast its light at shifting angles. This place was meant to be lived in and give the impression of home which Frank didn't think he missed until just this moment. Fibrous vines snaked up the walls and fruit, real fruit, grew on trees that lined the center of a widening concourse. The roof swelled upward and now they were, inexplicably, standing in the middle of a small urban neighborhood. All around them were mid-rise condominiums, paneled with brightly shaded red, blue and green hardiboard. The streets were cobbled with brick the hue of terracotta, at street level were essential services fashioned to look like trendy businesses and the thick blue line leading them to administration was replaced by tasteful street signs. They passed a bubbling fountain, on the other side was a team of soldiers with serious expressions, taping off the entrance to one of the buildings. Frank could feel his nerves sink into the pit of his stomach. This was an active crime scene now and that could only mean bodies.

"Is Dr. Kenwood..." Frank began, his voice was gravelly and stoic, yet still concerned.

"We don't know. We were hoping that you could help us identify..."

"That bad, huh?

The Anagonian didn't say anything. The men passed through the glass doors into the lobby and were confronted by corpses right off the line. Five or six people, shot dead and mutilated, were heaped in an elevator. Frank stood at the threshold and appraised them. Their heads were blown away. The thought of this happening to Dana was nearly enough to make him sick and he struggled with his instincts, and his rage, to get in there and start picking over the bodies for any clue that she might be in there. He couldn't, because despite everything he was a professional and if there was any hope of finding Dana and getting closure, he'd have to play this right... And it killed him.

"Whoever did this..." the Anagonian Lieutenant started to say.

"They're gonna pay, kid." Said Frank, through clenched teeth.
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Anagonia
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Founded: Dec 18, 2003
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Anagonia » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:31 pm

Wednesday, June 20th, 121 Years After United Republic
0920 Hours Local GSC Time
Outpost Scoperta
Moon of Ganymede, orbiting Planet Jupiter


The hunch that had originally struck Thomas like the gentle caress of that diner gal later that night had been proven true. Over two to three weeks ago, the diner and its melancholy of realism and sadism comparable the existence and perplexing multitude of senses required to register ones inability to tolerate lifes misgivings had been - unexpectedly - a source of inspiration for the wayward Military Policeman. After courting the diner gal and gazing at the luscious and almost tolerable physique of a proper Anagonian woman's body that progressed into a very intimate and extremely tolerable throw under the sheets, Thomas had aspired and ascertained the required inspiration to meander his way through the clippings of the local news sources to investigate his preliminary hunches on "that outpost on Ganymede". The following morning after a well nourished breakfast cooked by the same diner gal of which Thomas now a surprising fondness for, thereafter an exchange of numbers and solicitous wink of a possible continuation of the much needed adjustment to one's perspective on reality, the active service Military Policeman took his rank in a very serious direction as he exposed his Detective bars to the nearest Anagonian Military Police station and submitted a request for information. It was just a hunch, a hunch brought on by a night of new beginnings with the prospect of intertwining ones soul in a shared destiny of tolerating the horrible utterances of a pathetic existence in a life marked with stoic repetitiveness that constituted the everyday life of an average Anagonian citizen. A hunch that turned out to be something more.

Due to the intricacies and complexities of the political landscape in the modern-day Confederate society, Thomas Shane's request for information had transformed itself into a preliminary and postliminary application for participation in something almost impossible and inconceivable at the exact moment of inspiration that led to the decision to submit the request; Thomas Shane was forcefully volunteered as Anagonia's response to a situation that had occured on Outpost Scoperta, on Ganymede. The Detective, both in rank and in professional application, didn't like to be played. His fiddle had been strung in such a way that not even the devil himself - or was it herself? - could string back together the tattered remains of the cords that echoed the screams of broken hearts and dreams. Thomas' prospects of a continuation of the beneficial encounter between the diner gal, whom he'd later come to know as a local resident and divorced mother of two named Angelia Morrison, were nearly destroyed in the ensuing aftermath as the politics literally shat on the enjoyable imaginings of "just one more night". To Thomas' benefit, Ms. Morrison was quite used to gentlemen of the active service persuasion and perfectly understood the implications and responsibilities of a civil servant of law and order, promising that upon the Detective's return that an I.O.U. could and should be redeemed at the gentleman's earliest convenience. The entire situation almost a shitstorm of heartbreak and destitute dreams of a land ushering in a new dawn, yet in it the silver lining turned itself into a mending glue that seemed to perfectly mesh with the shattered mirror of reality and gave Thomas the hope he so dreamed for something so far off and reclusive to his absolutely horrible existence as a single man. This gratifying perspective and et al was on his mind as he stepped into the corridor, the established inner monologue he had running coming to a grinding halt much like a taxi as it spotted its newest fare.

"Holy shit," the Detective from Anagonia mumbled. Reality was a helluva drug. Just before his mind had been in an entirely different dimension, relapsing and coalescing into the comforting thoughts that kept a man going; his mind was on his new woman, Angelia. The scene before him had brought him out of that: two bodies leaned against one another in a clear indication of a final moment of some sort, gunshot wounds evident as their last remainder in this morbid reality they were faced with. In front of him was his new colleague and, he would allow himself to believe, acquaintance.

Frank Cannon stood there, gazing at the bodies and out the window at the picturesque view of Jupiter that defied any logical man's ability to see something so damn beautiful - next to Angelia, she was damn beautiful. Focus Thomas, he reminded himself, his eyes drifting back to Frank. He was a tubby fellow, but not in such a fashion as to detract from ones ability to function normally in society. Portly would be a more apt description, capable a further extension of that, intelligence the icing on the cake. Frank had demonstrated his capabilities as a law enforcement officer rather well on the shuttle ride over, Thomas gaining some valuable insights into the configuration and mechanisms of foreign departments abroad and across the multitude of ponds that separates the nations within Gholgoth. The way he examined things and explained them reminded Thomas of his instructors at the Academy all those years ago, a confidence that excluded a persuasion of authority and capability. Like right now, as the man seemed to be able to investigate the situation, gaining the attention of the Anagonian soldiers who by all rights should of been reporting to Thomas, yet the Detective did not complain; Frank was a capable man, and Thomas had a hunch to trust him. While he didn't understand the inner and hidden motivations of Mr. Cannon, Thomas knew they both were here for one specific and rather important reason.

As he stepped forward and managed to almost slip, Thomas righted himself and easily avoided the crime scene of the two dead lovebirds. The low gravity made movement almost laughably easy, but also almost hilariously inept for those not suited to lower-g environments. The stations power systems had long-since dwindled to reserves so whatever mechanisms the base had used to provide any additional footing was long since dormant and offline. That and the very purpose for the existence of the base thereafter silenced and rendered inoperable, a vast multitude of red tape bracing at the point of snapping as its fragile structure that intertwined multiple nations was near its snapping point; the region was on the cusp of a rather gruesome war. Fingers pointed this way and that and finally the eggheads at the the individual space authorities got together and suggested, one day, "Hey! Let's send a team to investigate!", thus negating the outright usage of violent means to extremely violent ends and creating the very reason that Thomas and Frank would be present at this very moment and time. A short walk later and the visage of the base, the utilitarianism and simple construction provided not only by easy-to-understand color-coded wall guides but also the appearance and vibrant display of agriculture and architecture blended into a seamless inclusive chaotic mess spoke volumes of how much "cooperation" had gone on here - plenty, by Thomas' reckoning.

At the cusp of their adventure across the base, after the Anagonian soldier that had accompanied them as their "guard" - one of many - on this trip had led Frank and Thomas to their destination, did the reality of the situation hit Thomas. Bodies, a gruesome scene of murder and violation of basic human rights, that and mixed with the scene of the two lovebirds in their deathbed gazing at Jupiter's splendor told Thomas that something had gone on here - something more than some lunatic with a gun. He let the situation fall on Frank first, allowing the man time to gather his senses. Carefully moving around the two, Thomas entered the room that the soldier had led them to, careful and considerate of the corpses around them; a crime scene on another world, perhaps the first, definitely not the last.

There was the body of a man below Thomas now. As the Detective stood over the corpse, he ran a hand through his usually well-kept and combed brown hair. He traditionally kept it combed back, at a soft angle and appearance that dignified his station as a civil servant of the law. Now, after their long-hours trip and shitty food in compensation for more robust and, admittedly, less nutrient filled earthbound food his hair was rather unkempt and uneven at places as follicles and groupings seemed to rise and curl almost as if he had just woken from a comfortable pillow - which he had, truthfully, just woken up not an hour before. His eyes were bloodshot, but not because of the same experiences incurred during his travel here. Rather, it was something about the air here, something stingy and almost burning, like the filtration system itself wasn't working. Like gunpowder. Like blood and death. His eyes were bloodshot because of gunpowder, blood, and death; Thomas gazed upward at the utilitarian construction of the rooms ceiling and eyed the vent there, two if he were seriously looking, both included an attached string of paper mache that basically gave light to airflow; the paper mache was flat against the wall. He eyed the Anagonian soldier nearby briefly, rank pips also, gaining a brief summary of posture and poise in this situation which seemed to be among the calibre of professional and well kept, insignia on the shoulder indicating service within the Confederate States Army. The name badge on his chest read in capital letters, "SUMMAR".

"Lieutenant Summar," Thomas began as after glancing back up at the vent, "I see there's lights on here, some kind of power is on, but what about the....air?"

Thomas had trouble ascertaining the proper terminology for the filtration systems. Something fancy and scientific. He had seen a show with a space ship and crew wandering the stars, exploring strange new worlds and whatnot, and they had called their air system something fancy as well. His mind was blank on the answer. The Lieutenant provided.

"You mean the life support systems, Detective?" clarified the Lieutenant, paying respect to Thomas' rank and station as any proper Anagonian soldier would. "We've had trouble with it. There was a massive explosion around the Anagonian labs, the life support mainframe was damaged. We got air in this section just....not much of it being filtered."

The stence here proved Summar's words correct. It wasn't bad, which was odd all things considered. In similar situations, the stench would be unbearable, the scent of death and decay and someones last bowel movement as they either realized their death or upon that death their bodily muscles relaxed and released said aforementioned bowel movements. For some reason, things were different on Ganymede, either that or the type of weapon used did something far different to the human body to prevent the nature progression of post-mortem deterioration. He sniffed the air, probably not for the first time, but for the first time he remembered. It smelled.....filtered, sterile, different. Something was off about this situation, entirely off, almost like someone had used some sort of cleaner that prevented natural decay. That or...

"Things are different on Ganymede," Thomas uttered to himself, gazing down at the man's corpse beneath him as he finally knelt. His outfit was traditional Detective attire; BDU outfit, comfortable jacket with appropriately numbered pockets and a belt with pouches and his gun, topping it with his boots and anything else that came with the gig. He was a soldier, and even if he was a Detective, he was a soldier first - dress for success, they always said.

"What was that sir?" Summar asked, turning his head from gazing at Frank back to Thomas.

"Nothing, Lieutenant, just....musing," Thomas concluded. He grabbed a poker from his jacket pocket, opening a pouch lid there as he withdrew the metalic thing. He prodded the body, gently, with consideration.

This was a dead man after all, who had a life, who had hopes and dreams. Who told a story of how he died, Thomas thought, gazing at the wound to his neck. The blood around the body had long-since turned a darker tint of red, but the blood itself seemed to be different somehow. He'd check on that in a second, but right now something else had caught his eye. What you want to tell me, pal? thought Thomas to the dead man, his eyes drifting to the name-tag there. Prince, is it? Richard Prince? Sounds like a Lexington name, Thomas further mused, almost in mock conversation, head slightly tilted as his hand directed the poker to turn the head slightly and expose where there should be an exit wound to the entry on the corpses forehead. There wasn't one.

"Now that is damned odd," Thomas said, quieter, and this time the Lieutenant didn't ask. "No exit wound, but..."

Thomas withdrew a handkerchief from one pocket, wiped the poker off - though there was no apparent residue - and as he returned it to its appropriate storage he withdrew two latex gloves. Placing them on, he poked at the blood on the ground. He expected something around the lines of fluid. Instead, he got jelly. He eyed his fingers as he picked it up. The blood looked and acted like some sort of weird jello mixture. He crunched it in between his index and forefinger, watching the residue of the interaction fall to the floor. Dots started to connect, dots without any sort of intelligence to go on - hunches. He turned his head to Frank.

"Detective Cannon, you notice anything odd about the blood and bodies here?"
Last edited by Anagonia on Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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