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Operation Thunderstorm (IC|FT|Open)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Arafura
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Operation Thunderstorm (IC|FT|Open)

Postby Arafura » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:17 pm

OOC: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=232054
Operation Thunderstorm

5th June 53 A.C.

Ketarr looked over the reports in front of him. Things were not looking good. Another freighter had been raided and now the merchant unions were looking to the ACDF for answers as to why one of their frigates had been the ones to fire upon it. Admitting that several of their frigates had been captured was tantamount to political suicide. Their regime was supposed to be unshakeable, and that would instil no faith in Pofrom… unless the blame was placed on insurgents from another planet. The insurgency card always worked so well in stirring up the people in favour of the Confederacy. He selected Zebedon, since some of the identified individuals were certainly from there anyway. Perhaps the spin would be that their Gods had told them something about a coming apocalypse – that’d be vague enough to be considered an unfortunate mental illness by most of the people. It would work. Not well, but it would have to do. He had no time for anything better.

Ketarr spent some time fabricating the military reports and distributing them to the appropriate Confederacy-friendly media outlets, before moving on to other matters – the protesters in front of the Council chambers. It was very un-Pofromite to protest against the regime, and he had received orders from the Dictator himself in this particular situation. He had to read them twice. Surely he was mad? He shrugged. Orders were orders, but Ketarr had never liked the extreme heavy-handedness with which the Confederacy maintained order. Maybe he’d be allowed to retire soon.

6th June, 53 A.C.

Confederate News Network

“And we are back with the latest reports that the picket lines in front of the Council chambers on Pofrom have been FIRED upon by soldiers, after they allegedly utilised makeshift incendiary devices on the government building in an attempt to burn it down. These reports are sketchy at best, but indications are that a few dozen people have been killed in the clash against police authorities. More as we hear it.”

11th June, 53 A.C.

Confederate News Network

“Breaking news today as rumours surrounding the raids on merchant shipping continue to circulate. This coincides with talk that a number of military officers have defected with their ships, leading some to believe that the two events are linked. The Council has declared that Xainonic insurgents are to blame for the pirate raids, and that they are attempting to undermine the integrity of our great Confederacy. More as we hear it.”

27th October, 53 A.C.

Confederate News Network (transmission hijack)
Instead of the normal desk-and-anchor transmission, the camera is focused on a room of masked figures, all holding guns. A man starts to talk.

“For our forefathers and our children, we will topple this corrupt dictatorship and anyone who stands with it. You have already seen evidence of our victories. Know that we will not stop, we will not rest, until the Confederacy has been destroyed and the new, free order has been created, one where Pofrom does not dictate to us all! So sayeth the Hand of Syr!”

There are cheers in the background from the masked figures and the transmission cuts out.

19th December, 53 A.C.

Confederate News Network
Triumphant fanfare sounds, opening onto a screen of the Council chambers on Pofrom and fading into the CNN news desk.

“The ACDF reports victory today as a punitive campaign against the insurgency group that previously hijacked our broadcast has now been dealt a crippling blow. It is said that several key officials in the bureaucracies of Xainon, Taigtets and Zebedon were involved, as well as some military officers. The military is currently in the process of arresting and trying them, though the hearings and the names of those involved will likely not be made public. More as we hear it.”

1st January, 54 A.C.

Shit. Ketarr ran to his personal shuttle as fast as he could, wheezing as he went. He was not young anymore. Everything had gone to hell at the turn of the new year, and for some reason the Dictator had implicated him as a traitor with the rest of the Council, when ironically he was the only one who was still loyal. He was seventy-seven years old. He had fought in the previous war to UNIFY this sector, when he was but a young captain out of the academy. He had no interest in seeing everything torn apart again. Gunfire hammered the outside of his small but luxurious home, as confederate storm troopers half-heartedly tried to prevent him from escaping.

It was no secret that Ketarr was an extremely popular individual within the Confederacy. He had been noted for showing more restraint in military interventions and causing less damage and loss of life, even when dealing with Pofrom’s former enemies, such as Xainon and Zebedon. The soldiers that the Dictator had sent after him didn’t really have any interest in his capture. He in fact knew them all personally – they were his residential bodyguards, after all. On the other hand, however, failure was not looked upon kindly in the ACDF, and they didn’t want to make it too obvious. The walls of his home crumpled and splintered under the weight of automatic fire, but Ketarr was already entering the cockpit of his shuttle and powering it up.

The bulky but reliable ship slowly lifted itself from the landing pad outside his house and pushed its way into the atmosphere. Ketarr quickly checked over the sensors to ensure he wasn’t being followed or intercepted – nothing yet. He climbed as quickly as he safely could in the small shuttle, eventually breaking through the cloud cover and out of the atmosphere. He needed to run – anywhere but here. The ACDF always kept only the most loyal troops for defence – he’d find few friends here.

As he sat, charged his FTL drive and frantically thought of where he could go, the warning light on his sensor screen flashed and whined, highlighting two Mantis-class space superiority fighters, heading straight for him. He recalled their armaments and range, and decided it didn’t really matter where he went. He punched in a course for Perimeter Alpha and pulled the Flux Drive, disappearing in a brief flash of light. He sat back in the cockpit and waited. Perimeter Alpha was a station on the border of the Arafura sector, one that he had administrated for some time and thus he knew he’d be able to find old friends there. What was more, by the mildest stroke of luck the Harfur, his flagship, happened to be docked there for maintenance. The journey would take several hours, but he had nothing better to do in that time, so he sat and he thought. Arafura had finally broken to pieces once more and these seven pieces were the seven planets of Arafura.

5th January 54 A.C.

Broadcast from hijacked Confederate External Solar Communications System (CESCS)

This is The Hand of Syr, representing the people of the Arafuran Confederacy. War has come to our homes once again, and once again our own governments are the perpetrators of this crime. We ask for assistance in bringing a lasting peace to this troubled sector, the likes of which has not been seen before. We have not been able to last more than eighty years without bloody revolution. We need help. This is all we can say. Syr guide your steps.

The signal is relayed through a network of satellites, each bearing dozens of FTL-capable messenger drones, which quickly fan out and broadcast their message to each system bearing signs of intelligent life, before moving on.
Last edited by Arafura on Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Arafura » Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:37 pm

BUMP.
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Postby Xiscapia » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:27 pm

XIS Emperor's Fist, Bridge...

The first warning anyone in Arafuran territory got that they would be having visitors was when space itself twisted and tore open a gash like an old wound freshly bleeding, exposing an even blacker void rimmed by swirling, ethereal amaranthine as portals were savagely rent into the side of the universe. Spilling forth from the tears came a swarm of eye-shaped drones, some drifting away at an almost sedate pace while others spiraled out into faster-than-light jaunts once more, the rifts seeming to propagate a small army of dark metal children. They spread incredibly fast, stretching into the furthest reaches of the sector as the mechanoid servants of some unknown god, and clustering around major planets and stations with their baleful scans, quickly going dark and silent, seeing all and similarly mute, divulging none of their secrets. There was no hostile action, no weapons firing, no ultimatums issued, nothing so forceful yet. For now they sat.
Watching. Listening. Knowing.

The heralding of the probes was brief, for it was not long before they were followed as lesser but larger gates to the space-between-spaces yawned again and sent forth a greater alien presence. These were no angelic saviors, coming with harp songs of good tidings and cheer, not with ships like that. Black, bristling with weapons both obvious and esoteric in function and anything but works of art, these were tools of war, ugly machines with an ugly purpose. Fourteen of them formed up neatly, shields raised, sensors sweeping the infinite darkness, ranging from nearly a kilometer long to just a couple dozen meters, not even attempting to conceal their presence as they received feedback from the legion of automatons that had come before them. One thing clearly unified them apart from design: the vulpine-head insignia stretching across hulls, adorned with the dripping blood flourish that this unit had earned in trial by combat.
The Bloodletters had arrived.

On the bridge of her flagship Rear Admiral Shinya stood and quietly observed her unit setting itself up. Hands clasped behind her back just above her tail, stance wide, ears perked and not a single fur out of place, the vixen was the picture of Imperial discipline, sable uniform crisp and starched, heavy pistol on one hip clean if with a worn grip and her sword freshly polished and hanging proudly on her other side. Her apparent simple silence was deceptive, because a ceramic-shelled cable stretched from the back of her neck into her command chair, following her wherever she moved to keep her connected with every single piece of data that flowed through the network of the flotilla. Here the line between ship and crew was blurred, and even command could be said to break down at that fundamental level, because in some ways Shinya was not only the Emperor's Fist, but she was all fourteen ships embodied in a single form, their gravitic propulsion her legs, their sensors her eyes and ears, their weapons her fists and fangs. And right now, Shinya was a huntress gathering her coiled energy, every sense sharpened down to a finely honed edge, ready to pounce and destroy the enemy beneath her. If she had her way, the scum would be able to neither run nor hide, only die.

The force had come out near the planet intelligence reports identified as Klyron, a conventionally pretty waterworld said to be known for its tourism and trade. She was less interested in the sights of the former than the meaning of the latter. Law and order here had broken down in the bloody fracture of civil war, and where there was chaos but freighters, pirates could not be far behind. Raiders, unworthy of life, deserving only slaughter, the bane of Xiscapian existence, to be hunted, purged and destroyed with extreme prejudice no matter where they lurked, and the newest hotspot for their ilk was here, in the Arafuran sector. Fine; the Bloodletters would do what they did best.

Remember, she reminded her subordinate commanders, we are here for the pirates, not to get involved in the war with the natives. Do not fire unless fired upon. Save the ammunition for the real targets. We'll be upon them soon enough. And then...there will be blood.
Shinya smiled.

Rear Admiral Shinya Commanding

1x Annihilator Light Cruiser [F] (Emperor's Fist)
1x Ravikovi Modular Cruiser (Starquake)
2x Marchamp Frigates (Charnel Hound, Nighthaunt)
2x Storm Frigates (Superbia, Patientia)
6x Destructor Corvettes (Havoc, Force, Vertigo, Nocturnus, Defiler, Light's Doom)
1x Veil Interdiction Frigate (Soulcrusher)
1x Fuma Electronic Warfare Ship (Static Shock)

Number of fighter squadrons available: 14 (2 on Emperor's Fist, 10 on Starquake, 1 on Charnel Hound and Nighthaunt respectively)

Number of dropships available: 18 (8 on Emperor's Fist, 2 on Starquake, 2 on Charnel Hound, Nighthaunt, Superbia and Patientia respectively)

Number of shuttles available: 22 (6 on Emperor's Fist, 2 on Starquake, 2 on Charnel Hound, Nighthaunt, Superbia and Patientia respectively, 1 on Havoc, Force, Vertigo, Nocturnus, Defiler, Light's Doom respectively)

Number of troops available: 1,000 Xiscapian Imperial Marines (500 on Emperor's Fist, 100 on Starquake, 100 on Charnel Hound, Nighthaunt, Superbia and Patientia respectively)
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Postby Arafura » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:00 pm

Klyronian orbital space

CS Parkanis
A flash of bright light tore Des Tyran to back to regular space and he gunned his ship’s engines as fast as possible, engaging the afterburners as well in order to get him and his cargo to safety. He could already make out the faint shape of a ‘C3’ Confederate Commercial Centre against the deep blue surface of Klyron. These supplies were made all the more important by the fact that Klyron was now cut off from the lucrative trade that would usually be arriving from Zebedon and Pofrom. They needed every bit of equipment if they were going to win this war.

For a few moments Des thought that he hadn’t been followed after all, but before long a flash lit up the space behind him briefly and he checked the scanners. Raiders. A series of warning lights and buzzers started flashing all at once as the outlawed vessels opened up their weapons batteries on his freighter. Des snatched the comm and barked an order to his turret gunners to return fire.

Banks of solid projectiles tore through the vacuum to meet the pirate’s own salvoes. Des knew that he wouldn’t last long against them and he ducked and weaved to the best of his ability, but the shuddering that reverberated up the hull and the damage indicators across his panels seemed to spell his doom. He hammered his fist on the distress signal transmitter and gritted his teeth.

FCC Gallarant
Commodore Leonardo Jegta grinned as his Hades-class spat metallic death at the fleeing merchant vessel before him. The Parkanis had been scanned previously and he knew it was full of valuable high-tech electronic equipment. He didn’t care where they had come from, but he knew that they would soon be his. His flanking frigates charged forward eagerly, targeting the ship’s engines, whilst the rest of his small flotilla held back. They had all destroyed enough Ceres class freighters to know how to ensure the cargo would remain intact. The crew didn’t matter. Not to Leonardo. The defences on this class of merchant ship were pitiful – he wouldn’t even need to use the four stealth fighter-bombers his command ship had on board.

The Ceres-class was just a big nut – and required a fair amount of force to crack it. He relaxed back in his command chair and had just closed his eyes when he heard a warning klaxon sound. Everyone knew what that sound meant.

Contact.

“Status, sensors?” he snapped at his bridge crew. The officer at the spacedar panel shrugged and threw his hands up in the air. “I don’t know what’s happening. It’s nothing we’ve seen before, certainly nothing Arafuran. I read… 14 contacts. I don’t know what the hell they are though. They’ve got some kind of weird energy signatures…” He turned to Leonardo, looking as exasperated as he sounded.

Leonardo could see the spacedar screen himself clearly. There were fourteen… THINGS… on the edge of their detection range, looking like they were merely cruising into orbit. The planet itself had likely not detected them yet, and once again Leonardo cursed the inadequacy of ACDF sensors. The ships would were almost upon them and he resolved to finish matters quickly. If they became entangled with this new threat, the Klyron ships might show up and intervene. The Confederate sensors might be pitiful, but anyone could see an explosion if they were looking for it, and Leonardo knew from experience that they would have thermal imagers doing just that on the orbital stations. He grit his teeth and decided on what to do.

“Fire a couple of missiles at that damned ship in front of us. Let’s get the cargo and leave. Tell the other ships to form up and to keep their cannons spun and their engines hot. And hurry the hell up!” The Hades-class was one of the more advanced ship classes developed by the ACDF, equipped with some guided warheads. A lock would take a bit of time, but it’d be an almost guaranteed hit. Leonardo clasped his hands in front of him as he did when he was nervous.

1xHades-class cruiser (flagship)
5xShade-class destroyers
1xHornet-class frigate
2xViking-class raid frigates
14xTrinity-class gun corvettes
4xShadow-class fighter-bombers (based on Hades-class)
3xTap-class fuel tankers
1xFarrow-class armed hauler (military freighter)
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Postby Xiscapia » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:14 am

XIS Emperor's Fist, Bridge...

Contact-contact!

Shinya's ears perked. That was clearly evident to her even as the somewhat-redundant Instruments Officer drew everyone's attention to the scene playing out before the flotilla, a stream of fire going one way from the lumbering, fleeing shape of a freighter as a cruiser pursued with deliberate malice, backed by what looked like a small fleet of its own, a pair of frigates surging forward to close the distance. At first she thought that it had to be some kind of police action, so close to Klyron, before she realized that if it was then the size of the force and arrangement of the ships made no sense. Heart beating a little faster, the kitsune actually leaned forward, eyes fixed on the leading warship, tail curling over onto itself, keenly watching from more angles and in more spectra than her prey could possibly realize, fed by all her units to be like an omniscient goddess. Could it be?

Instruments, identify.

The freighter bears a Klyronian transponder, ma'am. The others are not broadcasting any codes.

Bad news for the merchant was good news for her. The vixen grinned. Pirates. Excellent. Our first catch of the day.

Orders? The Captain of the Emperor's Fist, a rust-hued tom, turned to her.

Focus on the leading raider, ion fire to disable and then grapple with tractor beams, missiles for her escorts. We're aiming to board that one to get a taste of what the enemy has to offer. Prepare one squadron of fighters for aggressive sorties and assault craft for the troops. Accelerate to surpass her speed. We at least might be able to get her to focus on us and not the trader.

Flotilla wide: Battlestations. Corvette squadron, standard screening formation, don't let any hostile craft or missiles through.
Starquake to launch all of her complement in waves of two squadrons for CAP. Marchamps form up on Soulcrusher, Storms on Static Shock. Soulcrusher to activate her inhibitor field, I don't want that cruiser getting away from us, Static Shock, focus on scrambling the rest of their communications and sensors.

It was said that Xiscapian fleets moved at the speed of thought, and that was certainly shown to be true today as all fourteen ships instantly responded to Shinya's commands. Jumping forward with a burst from its gravitic propulsion, the Emperor's Fist surged ahead with its sharp nose lining up with the Gallarant, moving far more quickly than its 650-meter bulk would have suggested. Within a minute's time it was in optimum range, and the light cruiser didn't hesitate, ion particle cannons lashing out with brilliant blue-white beams against the other craft, which if they connected would try to disable it by overloading its systems, forcing them to shut down. At the same time a volley of missiles was launched without the cruiser so much as slowing down, a dozen for each frigate that arced on just as many vectors, accelerating eagerly with antimatter payloads armed and ready to seek and destroy. Within the Emperor's Fist herself pilots slipped into their Procul berths, linking themselves up to their fighters, while the boots of Imperial Marines pounded on decks as they rushed for shuttles and dropships, all armored and ready for the closest and most brutal kind of space combat.

With the six pickets screening them completely, escorted by a quartet of frigates, the support ships leaped into action. Armored bay doors on the Starquake were yawning open, preparing to launch her fighters even as weapons tracked the more distant of the pirate craft, eight hundred meters of the cruiser-carrier spiked with armament that glared in the face of the mass of raiders. But it was the Soulcrusher and the Static Shock that had the most effect, the small, unassuming vessels, a mere ninety five and twenty five meters respectively, spreading their invisible fields over the battle zone, one stretching out with FTL-drive dampening that left ansible communications and targeting free while the other put all the sophistication of her electronic warfare suite to work, looking to disrupt the sensors of the brigand flotilla with false and anomalous readings generated by on-board emissions projectors and jam their communications, filling signal waves with the signal version of spam via her CommCrusher arrays. It was all done in coordination, swiftly and with an utter lack of explanation, one moment fourteen ships cruising peacefully, and the next viciously on the attack.
Because, in the Xiscapian line of thinking, one was nothing if not aggressive.
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
R.I.P. Shal - 1/17/10

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Postby Arafura » Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:07 pm

Klyronian orbital space

FCC Gallarant
Leonardo had barely blinked and one of the anomalous contacts was next to his ship, and then the sensor screens went berserk. Communications cut out and the radar screen registered static and everything from one fighter to ten million battleships. The missile lock on the fleeing freighter was lost before it could be attained. Before he could even think about what to do, a flurry of bright blue beams blasted the side of the ship, and sparks flew from numerous consoles as the circuitry sorted out. Several panels exploded, injuring crew and severely crippling the vessel. It only took him moments to realise that the ship was dead in the water, with no communications, sensors or power. Some of the point defence armaments ran on localised battery power, but the majority of the vessel’s power distribution was centralised and now out of order. When he saw what was heading for the Gallarant he knew it was too late. He’d never be able to get a message to that part of the ship in time, but simply screamed out across the din of the panicking crew.

“BRACE FOR MULTIPLE IMPACTS!”

At a range of a few hundred metres Leonardo had no trouble seeing a swarm of missiles rapidly closing the gap between their unknown assailant and his ships. A flurry of enormous detonations rocked the ship, flinging unrestrained bodies limply on the inside. Several sections vented atmosphere, but without power emergency blast doors would not deploy, and thus over a hundred people were lost to violent decompression.

To say that the escorts of the Gallarant suffered worse is an understatement. The two Viking-class raid frigates were utterly torn to shreds by the ballistic hail, with some missiles simply impacting on an expanding cloud of debris.

The rest of the raider fleet stood immobilised for several moments at the crippling of the flagship and the destruction of its escorts, but soon enough the vessels started to slowly accelerate to the enemy, regardless of their lack of ship-to-ship communications. The Shade-class destroyers spat out a hail of dumb fire rockets at the largest of the unknown ships, hoping to score hits through sheer weight of fire, whilst the Trinity-class gun corvettes sped ahead, spinning up their rotary cannons and preparing to hit the enemy with all they had and the small Hornet-class frigate trailed, firing its single long-range heavy rail gun at the enemy’s lead ship, which had only moments ago obliterated two ships of larger size.

CS Parkanis
“Whoa, what the hell was THAT?” Des blinked at the static on his sensor screen from the rapidly expanding debris clouds of the two frigates that had been following him and the less-rapidly cooling hulk of the cruiser that now floated dead in space. He contacted his gunners, who denied that they had anything to do with it.
“One moment they looked like they were going to have us, but we’re seeing some really weird looking ships here. I don’t want to wait around to see what they’re going to do after they waste the rest of the pirate ships. Can we move, please?”

“Going as fast as we can. We need to tell Klyron about what we’ve seen and hope those wolves won’t still be hungry after they’ve finished eating those raiders.”

The ailing freighter limped away, with two of its four engines still operational and flashing it's hazard lights to the Klyronian orbitals. Wounded, but alive.
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Postby Xiscapia » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:15 pm

XIS Emperor's Fist, Bridge...

Hit, joy times twenty-four, multiple hits successful. First contact, designate Alfa, damaged and disabled. Contacts Foxtrot 1 and Foxtrot 2 eliminated. Multiple contacts inbound. Designate Delta 1-5, Foxtrot 3, Charlie 1-14. Strike craft launching.

Smiling coolly, the Rear Admiral found her eye drawn to the spectacular destruction of the two Viking frigates, their lack of shields serving as death warrants, which didn't so much crack like eggs as they did simply disintegrate in a gratuitous display of overkill. At least, some people would call a dozen antimatter missiles apiece overkill when three or four would have sufficed; she just called it making sure. With that done the freighter seemed able to limp away, hobbled by two blasted engines, but by all accounts she was still moving under her own power so she would probably make it to safety, a fact that Shinya could feel good about even if she hadn't done it for the sake of the crew or cargo. Expression dropping, she turned her attention back to the crippled cruiser, looking over the drifting vessel with a hungry predator's eye, tail twisting slowly. The Gallarant was helpless, and she fully intended on taking advantage of that.

Launch boarding teams, she ordered. No quarter and no mercy. Take her if they can and free any prisoners being held.

Aye!

When the first team was away, taking off in lumbering, heavily armored forty meter dropships, she hardly noticed on account of the rest of the enemy force deciding to charge in at the Bloodletters, perhaps desperate to recover their leader or simply assured that their superior numbers would win them the day. Excellent. That saves me the trouble of having to chase them down later. Observing the dumb-fired missiles, she tracked their courses through the scans, all the numbers fed right into her brain letting her -and all the antiproton point-defense cannons- know which ones would be bound to impact and which would be bound to miss. Only those that were a threat would be engaged, and the rest allowed to pass by and detonate in empty space. What really caught her attention was the slug impact against the shields of the Emperor's Fist, which flared an angry gold at the strike, obliterating the offending munition in a wave of heat.

Hmm. She had plenty of time to consider. Compared to the time it took for things to move through space, she had minutes to ponder and look over things from every angle. None of the individual destroyers, corvettes or even the lone remaining frigate seemed like they were threats on their own, but all together they could still give her flotilla a bloody nose, and that would not do at all. They needed to be put down before they could do any real damage. At last, she came to a conclusion, and issued her new commands.

Launch all fighters from all commands, she ordered, knowing that such could be done quickly since all ships were on alert with their pilots scrambled. Each squadron is to designate a corvette as their own and target to neutralize through disabling or destruction. Marchamps and Storms, engage the enemy Delta types with Quench Guns and macro cannons but continue escort duties. Corvettes, focus on Delta 5 with R.E.A.P.E.R. weapons. The Emperor's Fist will handle Foxtrot 3.

As the fighters began to streak out from their bays the Emperor's Fist turned, almost ponderously and with great deliberation, towards the Hornet frigate that had dared challenge it, gravitic waves obscuring its form until it finally ceased pivoting, facing the pirate vessel head-on from a great distance. The operators on the other ship would probably never see the weapons bound to end their lives, but they were there, half a dozen jagged, leering spinal cannons leering at the unfortunate target selected for destruction. Without any warning they fired, the concussive blast enough to move the entire six hundred fifty meter light cruiser marginally with enough force that the energy signature would be seen around the system before anything else from the battle, and six masses flung themselves out in explosions of light and fire. To call them shells would almost be a disservice, because these shaped daggers of metal, each five hundred tons apiece, made of depleted uranium, tipped with nuclear warheads and moving at c-frac speeds, were more like hammers of an angry cosmic god.
More overkill? Yes, but that was the idea, after all.

Not far away, the quartet of frigates turned their attentions to the closest four of the Shade destroyers, moving openly to give themselves the best firing options though still keeping close to their charges in the Soulcrusher and Static Shock, great hulls sliding to face the enemy with the menacing glare of dozens of turrets. The muzzle flashes of guns blasting away would be unmistakable as each selected a target, the Marchamp ships employing powerful 529mm superconducting coilguns that thrust masses of high-explosive slugs at the destroyers at fifty rounds per volley, pelting them with fusillades of bombs to land across their superstructures, seeking to breach them in multiple sections. Their Storm cousins unleashed a salvo of macro cannon fire, the bigger, solid RKV weapons pounding away at the rocket-blazing brigands, gunners specifically aiming for the missiles tubes and cells. If they couldn't destroy them outright, they could at least defang them. And if that didn't work, well, it wasn't as if they were lacking weaponry.

Moving together, carefully coordinated by crews who literally knew each other's thoughts, the six Destructor corvettes formed their usual screen, led by the Havoc, anti-proton cannons striking down missiles right and left with perfect accuracy. There was no real outward sign that they focusing on the fifth and furthest Shade, and indeed their attack was by no means as flashy as those of their larger brethren, but the crew of that unfortunate destroyer would be unlikely to ignore the effects. Each employing their single Randomized Efficient Amplified Particle Entropy Ray, their concentrated assault would cause the maximum achievable entropy between the basic molecules at an atomic level though exciting the atoms on the destroyer so any friction would cause an immediate degradation in the structure, meaning that the very existence of that vessel in reality would cause it to tear itself apart from the minuscule vibration of its atoms. It would be slow at first, likely manifesting as the sloughing off of armor and the breaking up of features on the hull, but unavoidable as long as the rays were focused. To operators who might not be able to perceive the rays through the jamming, it would seem as if their ship was simply beginning to fall apart around them.

Gambit Squadron...

Hurtling through space, Squadron Leader Konran grinned to herself as she noted the rest of the Shuriken fighters in her unit joining up with her, forming into their squadron as they bolted out of the hanger of the Emperor's Fist, bloodlust sharp in her nose. The pounding of her heart, the roar of adrenaline in her ears, even the uncomfortable twists in her belly all made her feel like she was actually there even though she knew she wasn't. No, that was the magic of the Procul system, some kind of amalgamation of faster-than-light ansibles and virtual reality technology that allowed her to remotely control her ship from its carrier vessel. She had no idea how it worked, she just knew that she flew the ship and got to be safe aboard the Emperor's Fist; even if her fighter was destroyed, she'd just wake up back aboard the cruiser in her Procul pod. But that still didn't take the fun out of things.

Gambits, this is Gambit Lead. Sound off.

The other nine confirmed they were present and ready, as in-touch with their starfighters as Shinya was with her flagship, as if they were the ones speeding through the void, propelled by gravitics and loaded with antiproton cannons and missile tubes. They all knew their target; a pirate corvette designated Charlie 2, one of fourteen that was rushing the flotilla, and it was their job to blow apart or turn back the whole ship before it could get within firing range and start making life difficult for the big ships. Of course all the other squadrons from the various ships had their own marks, but Charlie 2 belonged to Gambit and they would take it down or be destroyed trying, barring nothing except orders. Konran didn't think about that, she was supremely confident that her team of flyers could mess up some raider picket any day. And today, she was feeling lucky.

Target approaching.

There she was, the Trinity gun corvette appearing of scopes outlined by readouts and text blocks, providing visuals to go with all the data piped directly into their brains. Keep wide boys and girls, don't let her get more than one of us if she starts sweeping with those PDs, she reminded her squadron, which kept apart accordingly, wide enough to necessitate individual targeting of each fighter. Gambit wings, cover and fly interference. Rake her with your AP's and then see how she likes a Penetrator, yeah? We'll do a flyby on this run, get an idea of our damage and come around for another pass if necessary.

Copy Gambit Lead.

Blazing close to the sloop, knowing that her wingmates were flying closer to the ship to get the attention of its gun banks so she and her payload would have a better chance of striking home, the kitsune had a moment to reflect that as recently as a decade ago she wouldn't have been able to do this with this kind of style. She'd be stuck at speeds she could handle as a biological, but now, with her body removed and her mind streamlined and essentially upgraded to handle all the data, she could outfly any organic out there -and go as fast as she pleased. The enemy wouldn't even know what hit him. Waggling her wings as the corvette appeared, she engaged her targeting lock, pulling back slightly on the yoke as she readied her munition, watching the others pepper the enemy hull with antiproton blasts. Seeing them hit home, she released her Penetrator.

The Nuclear Lance Penetrator, or just the Penetrator, was a deceptively simple weapon. It consisted of nothing more than a large titanium missile with a small reaction mass of plutonium on either end. On impact the first head would detonate and destroy the armor on that section of the ship, driving the bulk of the weapon inside the target where the reaction would consume it and detonate the plutonium end, exploding with the force of a one-megaton bomb, enough to shatter a kilometer-long warship into a thousand pieces. Two of these had been launched, one from Konran's side and the other from the opposite hull of Charlie 2, both striking areas where antiproton fire should have weakened the armor. Aware that similar actions were taking place across the battlefield but only really caring about her target, the Squadron Leader broke off, taking the rest of her fighters with her, and wheeled around at range, checking for damage and fully prepared to go in for another run.

Dropship Hunter 1...

Feeling his dropship rumble as it connected with the crippled pirate cruiser, Major Goto swayed but remained firmly planted where he stood, carbine cradled in his arms, quiet before his platoon of Imperial Marines. They had just "docked" with the enemy, moving the transport over a section of hull that had been blasted away, exposing the internals to space and creating an ideal entry point for the boarding parties. Facing them now, all in ebony-navy power armor, most hefting their own weapons while a few tended to portable cannons, he gave a brief, professional nod. These toms and vixens and other species besides were all new, unlike their more experienced navy crew brethren, judged worthy of being a part of the Bloodletters but not yet proven through strength of arms. Today would be the day that they did, and they all knew it; no words were necessary. So he kept it short.

"Remember: No quarter, no mercy, no prisoners. Kill them all."

And with that the cabin depressurized, venting atmosphere, and the back hatch opened to space, showing the mangled insides of the Gallarant directly below. Using anti-gravity harnesses, the platoon made its jump squad by squad, floating down to land inside the enemy cruiser, collecting themselves quickly and without the disorientation and vertigo that less-trained people would have gotten simply from looking "up" and seeing the infinite starfield vanishing away. Actually walking on the side of the vessel, they began to move forward, looking for points of entry. If they didn't find any, or if they had to be forced, laser cutters and plasma torches would do the job of slicing a hatch for them to use. From there they had one objective: the bridge.
Last edited by Xiscapia on Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
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Ex-Nation

Postby Arafura » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:35 pm

Klyronian Orbital Space

FCC Stellar
Captain Wilhelm Toraand gulped at the deadly efficiency with which the enemy forces deployed themselves against him and his allies. He liked the odds on his side, but the ease with which they wiped out the vanguard had him concerned. Not being able to communicate with the other ships, however, and noting that their flux drive was jammed, he had no option but to fight for his life. It was obvious that the raider vessels could not outrun their unknown assailants with their sub light drives, nor could he attempt to surrender with his communications so jammed.

“Fire everything you have dead ahead. The other ships know what they’re doing. If we’re going down, we might as well empty the magazines first.”

His Shade-class destroyer, the Stellar, blasted away at the oncoming alien vessels, unleashing slugs at a fantastic rate from its six-barrelled rotary cannons and rapid-fire rail guns, emptying out all its missile pods as other destroyers down the line did the same. Two destroyers were quickly destroyed, detonating from the inside and breaking apart as their missile tubes were hit whilst they were in the process of firing. A third destroyer sloughed off some of its outer plating as it was struck by the weaponry of the enemy corvettes, but continued firing, whilst the Stellar and the fifth destroyer suffered several hits but continued firing.

The Hornet-class frigate was destroyed before it had fired more than three rounds. Wilhelm tried to ignore the angry flash from above his ship and his impending death. It wasn’t easy, and he was already shaking inwardly with fear.

The Trinity-class gun corvettes were each equipped with three eight-barrelled 50mm autocannons, capable of spewing forth scores of rounds a second. Usually they would only fire in suppression bursts at fighters, to avoid overheating their weaponry or chewing through their energy too fast. These were exceptional circumstances, however, as it was far more likely that they would be destroyed before either of those things could render them impotent. Each corvette opened up on the fighters as soon as they were in range, utilising a wide spread of fire in order to hopefully score a hit.

Ten were struck and obliterated into dust and debris by enemy warheads and one torn apart damaged, venting atmosphere, fuel and crew and broken into three pieces, with some sections still intact. The other three were able to hit each warhead with enough slugs to shred it before it could deploy its deadly explosive, but suffered under antiproton fire and the force of the nearby detonations.

The three raider tankers and the armed hauler had all turned and were beginning to quietly flee the area as quickly as they could. Previously believing their side could win, their crews now held no such illusions, deciding discretion was the better part of… pirating.

Klyron Confederate Command Centre, Klyronian Orbital Space

“Well, what are they”
“We don’t know, sir. These energy signatures are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. There are definite explosions, though.”
“Well send out a patrol cruiser and a few escort ships. I don’t want you running in blind. Report back as soon as you can.”
“Yes, sir.”

From the largest of the Klyronian orbital stations, a patrol cruiser and three corvettes detached with a wing of space superiority fighters, accelerating toward a potential combat zone whilst the rest of the Klyronian fleet prepared for mobilisation. The emblem of Klyron was emblazoned across the sides of each ship: a yellow triangle pointed up and crowned with blue waves.

"ETA twelve minutes to anomaly on full afterburn."

FCC Gallarant
Blood streamed from Leonardo’s forehead and he was sure a rib or two was cracked, but he was alive. Most of his crew was not so lucky, but he had a feeling that it would not be long before he’d follow them. The enemy had ceased firing on his ship, which meant a boarding crew was likely. He shouted hoarsely above the din of the crippled ship’s dull crumps and rumbles and alarms. A few tired and bloodied raiders were crawling out of the mess of a bridge before him, and they armed themselves as best as they could. The armoury was positioned close to the bridge for effective defence, and they sources as much armour and firepower as they could. The survivors donned flak armour and helmets for oxygen supply. The ship was well-stocked with automatic weapons, and Leonardo had a feeling they’d need it.

More survivors trickled in from other parts of the ship – standard protocol was to mass at the bridge in the case of potential boarding, but Leonardo feared they were too few – perhaps a dozen men and women were on the bridge when he heard further clanging on the outside of the ship. As the decompression died down and the ship floated dead through space, it was silent. The light tapping of metal told him they had company.

They were here.
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Xiscapia » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:49 pm

XIS Emperor's Fist, Bridge...

Foxtrot-3, eliminated. Delta 1 and 3 eliminated; Delta 2, 4 and 5 damaged. Charlie 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 eliminated; Charlie 4, 6 and 14 damaged. New contacts detected, one armed freighter analogue and three tanker analogues: Designate Hotel 1 and Tango 1-3. Marine teams One and Two have successfully boarded target Alfa.

Quietly pleased by the litany of her flotilla's good work passing through her head, Shinya gave a satisfied swish of her tail, though her visage remained as stone-faced as ever. Eleven of the corvettes, two of the destroyers and that last, impudent frigate were now nothing more than debris or rapidly expanding clouds of superheated gas, all obliterated by fighter strikes or her force's weaponry. Why, they're as fragile as glass, she observed, tilting her head to watch the oncoming remnants despite the fact that she wasn't using her eyes to see. Some habits die hard. The rest of them are brave, for raiders. Or fanatically stupid. Shields flashed again as more shells slammed home against the light cruiser, though outwardly she didn't even seem to feel it, an empress of battle lording imperiously over her subjects.

Orders, ma'am?

Redirect four of the
Shuriken squadrons to interdict the support craft on the fringes; they are to order them to stand down and prepare for boarding, and destroy them if they refuse. Instruct the Static Shock to deactivate her jamming, the battle is already ours.

And the rest?

Exterminate them.


Weathering the fire from their target magnificently, the Destructor corvettes kept up the focus of their R.E.A.P.E.R. arrays on the single pirate destroyer, continuing to blow rockets out of space with quick, precise point-defense blasts. With her work done, the Static Shock shut down her jamming field and withdrew, the little ship sliding back into the protective radius of the Emperor's Fist and thus freeing up the Superbia and Patientia to glide slowly towards the other two Shade vessels, moving with inexorable deliberation like crushing metal walls. The heavily armored prows of the Setulanite frigates pointed directly at the raiders as they began to unleash a tirade of nuclear missiles, the tri-emplacements lighting up like signal flashes as the guided weapons bolted out, taking evasive action to avoid being struck down by point-defense fire so their eager warheads could sink themselves into hostile hulls. For their part the Charnel Hound and the Nighthaunt remained where they were, guns silencing as they contributed a few volleys of their own missiles at the destroyers, just to be sure. And above it all the Emperor's Fist reigned supreme, armored sides lit by starlight and oxygen fires from dying brigands, doing the good work of her titular Lord.

Gambit Squadron...

KA-BOOOM! Konran added her own "sound" effects as the corvette positively detonated, exploding from the inside as the Penetrator ripped the ship's guts out in a holocaust of nuclear fire, annihilating the fragments before they could even be properly called wreckage. Her squadron pelted away into the dreary blackness, the same as the thirteen others that had made their own runs, most leaving behind the remains of the pickets stopped on account of being utterly destroyed, now moving forward as only so much space dust. Whoops, whistles and yells of exultant, adrenaline-fueled glory echoed across the neural network as pilots celebrated their successful hits, drowning out the groans of a few as they saw that their bombs had been intercepted, merely damaging the targets. Still, it was the best attack sequence she had ever seen outside of a training sim, and so the vixen had a huge grin plastered to her face, even wider than the one she had been wearing going in. And she wasn't about to let it all slip away so fast.

Hit, strike successful, target neutralized, reported one of the pilots.

Come on, kits! Let's mop up the stragglers!

Just then the Flight Commander on the Emperor's Fist broke in, his cool voice a frigid deluge over their little party: Gambit Squadron, this is Big Shark. You are ordered to form up with Sabi, Rapture and Hakaze squadrons immediately. You are to interdict raider contact designate Hotel 1 before she can reach the edge of the inhibitor field. Order Hotel 1 to stand down and prepare to be boarded. If Hotel 1 does not comply, destroy her. Confirm.

Copy Big Shark, complying now.

With a grumble the Squadron Leader signaled to her flights, tumbling back around to bolt for the given coordinates, scanners active. In spite of it all she couldn't help but look back to the overwhelming force that was the other ten squadrons rounding on the three remaining corvettes, a hundred fighters all told coming at them from all directions, spitting fire and missiles in a breathtaking display of swift and lethal hunters closing on wounded and hopeless prey. She wished she could be a part of it; there was more honor in taking down damaged pickets than a hapless freighter or tanker, but orders were orders. Turning her attention back to the task at hand, she signaled her fellows. Remember toms and vixs, first we transmit, and then if they don't say what we want we blast 'em. Weapons hold unless I give the order or they start shooting first.

In no time at all they were blazing past the running freighter, one flight above and one below, doing a brief scanner sweep in the flyby. Peeling around, Konran hopped onto the open comms, maintaining a good distance from the vessel but acquiring a target lock nonetheless, the rest of her squadron doing the same as they flew interference. So far the performance of the enemy point-defenses had been unimpressive, but that wasn't any reason to get stupid about it. Shuriken didn't come cheap, after all. Ready to transmit, the Xiscapian started her broadcast at the same time similar messages were being sent to the tankers.

Attention pirate vessel. On behalf of the Kitsune Imperial Navy Bloodletters unit, you are hereby ordered to stand down and prepare to be boarded. Indicate your compliance by confirming, reversing course and maintaining present acceleration. Refusal, inaction or the jettisoning or fuel or cargo will be considered an act of resistance and result in your destruction. This is your only warning.


FCC Gallarant, Corridors...

Slowing as his feet met the anti-gravity field, if not pressurized oxygen, Goto stood by as the rest of his platoon went by into the uncovered hallway, eyes flicking from side to side as his sensors swept the area, suspicious. Through their trek into the cruiser itself they hadn't met a single soul, or indeed much more than floating scraps of flesh in places that must have once been crew members. Presumably they were all sucked out into hard vacuum and dead or inside the parts of the vessel that still had life support, but he still didn't like the fact that they hadn't meant any opposition or resistance yet. According to the operators on the Emperor's Fist they hadn't done that much damage to the pirate flagship, but then, it wouldn't be the first time the proper Navy officers had gotten something wrong, even if it was an underestimation of their own strength. He honestly would have felt better if he was actively engaged in killing the raiders -after all, you can't really get ambushed when you're already in the middle of a firefight in a linear corridor.

Seeing the last squad through, he proceeded along, listening to the neural chatter from the other team that had been dropped off on the opposite side of the ship and the communications from the dropship pilots winging about outside, ready to provide what support they could for the boarders. Apparently the other platoon hadn't encountered any trouble either, and neither had the pseudo-gunships. So far not a single shot had been fired, and they were fast approaching what the scans indicated was probably the bridge deck. That's where the life-signs were clustered, at least according to the sensors, about a dozen all told. Not too much of an obstacle, but Goto remained wary.

Having had a team check the last hatch for any traps or pressure-suited brigands lying in wait, he scythed a hand forward. Explosives on the doors, we'll blow them in and follow them up with smoke grenades and flash-bangs. Once the grenades blow we move in, fast and close, only take shots if you're sure you can hit without harming the electronics. We want this place intact, and bloodstains will swab out, bullet holes will not. Otherwise, hand-to-hand takedowns only, but don't take any unnecessary risks. Understood? Good. Move.

The squads fanned out appropriately, one at the flank watching the connecting corridors and the rest spread out along the passages until the bridge doors, where a couple of Imperial Marines were placing breaching charges. Autocannons had been set up at hallway junctions, and one sat facing the bridge hatch, just in case. Stacked up in the last compartment before the bridge, First Squad jostled and shifted nervously, waiting with neatly unbearable anxiety for the preparations to be laid down so they could go through. Quietly, Goto watched, remembering how antsy he had been his first time, and smiling knowingly and invisibly beneath his helmet. Finally, everything was ready, the charges set, kitsune backed away and grenades readied.

Three...two...one...go!

In a flash of light and a roar both heard and felt the hatch exploded inwards, spraying red-hot shrapnel in a cloud of smoke. Immediately the two Imperial Marines stacked up by the hatch tossed their grenades in, four canisters spiraling in to bounce and slide across the deck before activating, two hissing as they began to spill thick, heavy gray smoke into the bridge, creating a haze that served to obscure everything, while the other pair went off with eardrum-cracking thunders and brilliant lightening to accompany it, enough to blind, deafen and generally disorient anyone who happened to be nearby and unprepared. As soon as they heard the weapons go off the first two were through the gap, followed by the rest of their squad as they rushed in, Goto among them, picking out targets as best they could by hearing and sense of smell alone, unable to see much through their own smoke. Shotguns and carbines were up and ready to smash skulls and one or two blackened knives made their presence know in the hands of the Xiscapian soldiers as they spread out, seeking out the hostiles. The bridge would be theirs, one way or another.
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
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Ex-Nation

Postby Arafura » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:33 am

Klyronian Orbital Space

FCC Macharov

Callie Sten was not a fighter. Hell, she wasn’t even a raider until one week ago. She hadn’t asked to be a part of this fleet, but it was either that or have her ship stolen and its crew killed. She didn’t want to die, at least not for these guys. When the battle turned sour, she decided that enough was enough, and the ‘minders’ installed on the ship by Commodore Jegta hadn’t stopped her from turning her ship around and hightailing it out. The other tankers were doing the same, and Jegta was probably dead anyway.

“Can’t this damned thing go any faster?” she gritted her teeth in fear. She had no idea if there was a limit to the range of this FTL-jamming that their attackers were using, but running was all she could do. A petty officer burst onto the bridge and she jumped at the sudden intrusion, but he yelled out before she could properly react to his presence.

“Captain, the Stellar just bought it. They’re all dead out there!”
Callie swore quietly to herself as she wondered how many seconds they all had to leave. At least the fuel on board would make their deaths fairly quick and painless. She closed her eyes and waited as the bridge started to edge into panic.

“Captain, we have communications back!”
Callie’s eyes snapped open.
“What?”
“It’s like they flicked the switch back on, but…”
The colour drained from the communications operator’s face and she replayed the message on loudspeaker for Callie’s benefit. As if to further emphasise their point, the enemy strike craft circled past the bridge’s broad view port. Callie slumped back in her chair and waved away at the officer’s terrified expression, picking up the transmitter herself. Of course. Aliens.

This is Captain Callie Sten of the FCC Macharov. We acknowledge your terms and surrender unconditionally. We will not resist your boarding. I only request that the Kitsune Imperial Navy Bloodletters do not fire upon their entry. We have children and non-combatants aboard. Our compliance is underway.


The large tanker slowly reversed course, maintaining its acceleration just it had been instructed. Callie rubbed her temples, suddenly feeling extremely tired. At least it’ll all be over.

“Lieutenant,” she called.
“Yes, sir.”
“Get all the civilians into the rec room and make sure they’ve got no weapons.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Also, I want you to take ALL of the weapons we have, and seal them in cargo pod gamma. Then give me the key.”
“But –“
“Damn Brian, just do it, okay?”
Brian frowned and nodded.
“Then get the non-civilian crew together and bring everyone to the bridge. If they want to kill us, we can make sure that they get it over with.”
Callie noted the various expressions on the faces of those around her – mostly scowls or frowns, but she didn’t care. She wasn’t a fighter. She rubbed her temples again and waited.

The other two tankers and the armed freighter met the Bloodletter’s ultimatum with silence or taunts firing volleys of automatic fire from their point defence. The tankers had only four rotary cannons each, but the armed freighter had two rapid fire railguns and over a dozen rotary cannons, blasting away hundreds of rounds a second in wide arcs at the fighters.

FCC Gallarant
Leonardo inhaled sharply as he heard the doors being breached but it happened far sooner than anyone could have anticipated. The heavy steel doors crumpled like shredded paper and felled the some of the closest raiders. The rest fired blindly the moment the monstrous black forms charged through the breach and Leonardo fired with them. A munitions officer fired a high-calibre autocannon he’d managed to mount on a tripod only moments ago, filling the entrance with 15mm slugs that added to the storm of other small arms fire. Leonardo silently prayed as he proceeded to empty his entire clip, only vaguely remembering where the door was.
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Benevolent Dictatorship

Postby Vernii » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:00 pm

System F2-P9-N

The combat information center of Somebody’s Problem was bathed in the red illumination of the ship’s night cycle. Normally, it would be operating at minimal staffing levels, but tonight it was full. Lt. Colonel Aleida Maheux sat comfortably in the commanding officer’s seat, immersed as an invisible guest in a combat exercise virtuality that the primary bridge crew had found themselves plunged into. The tactical officer who currently had the watch had found himself suddenly in command as an ambush ripped into the battlecruiser, catching her with her battle screens down and delivering a penetrating hit into the officers’ berthing, thus claiming both Colonel Brinkley and herself as KIAs.

The section chief was doing well, going to full active sensors and evasive maneuvers, and was in the process of hurling simulated munitions into space as fast as her launchers could cycle. In reality, Somebody’s Problem continued its leisurely orbit over a cratered moon as its parent gas giant loomed bright overhead. Maheux’s communication chief interrupted her focus though with the announcement of new messages from headquarters. The messages were dumped onto her tablet, she quickly scanned through them, the highest priority being new orders to sortie.

“We’ll finish the exercise before jumping out. Navigation, start working out an efficient jump chain to this ‘Arafura Confederacy’. The brass have decided we have business there.” She barely paid attention to the confirmation of orders before immersing back into the virtuality.



One light-week from Keraston

Brinkley and Maheux stared down at the holoplot of the system, examining data from Keraston as it appeared a week ago. Maheux moved to the opposite side of the plot, manipulating the controls to display only items of interest to her. The light from the plot illuminated her aristocratic features and short, wavy blonde hair as she began a summary of their findings so far, “No significant system industry it appears. Spectra analysis of the planets confirmed three inhabited worlds, estimated at low-billion populations each. We’ve identified the innermost populated world as the capital, Pofrom, through analysis of radio traffic, it also appears to have the most population and industrial concentration. This is rather a surprise since the second world, Taigtets, appears to have much more pleasant surface conditions than Pofrom.”

“Sounds like Morning Star.”

“Yes, I thought so too. The third habitable world, Xainon, even bears a resemblance to Centris before the Hegemony destroyed it. Judging from radio traffic the government’s control over the system is slipping, and I’m sure once we jump in we’ll find that the situation has deteriorated further.”

“We’ll do a standard approach for a potential combat situation then. The local authorities might not react well to our presence, or might have competing jurisdictions to deal with. Initial caution is in order here. Vice Commissioner Landvik’s That Insignificant Speck is en route according to headquarters, but they did not provide any information on her ETA or specific destination.”

Maheux smirked, “Nice of OVA to provide support.”

Brinkley ignored her sarcastic tone, “Other than keeping an eye on us, an ICS is actually decent support. We can make use of its onboard manufacturing facilities if need be. We’re a long way from HQ, let alone actual civilization.”




Keraston

Somebody’s Problem blinked back into existence six light minutes ‘above’ the system’s star. The standard approach for uncertain situations called for measures to be taken to both minimize chances of detection and to allow for maximum threat awareness. The Imperial Navy and its sibling service, Frontier Stability, had long taken notice that space-going civilizations tended to concentrate most of their assets, including those for surveillance, along the system ecliptic, with less emphasis on monitoring the infinite volumes above and below. Her smartpaint hull went into maximum absorption and deep-sky mimicking mode, to present difficulty in even tracking via occlusion, and its cone shaped forward hull was pointed straight at Pofrom (where presumably the greatest amount of monitoring equipment would be placed), further minimizing what little sensor cross-section it had.

Simultaneously, a cluster of twelve reconnaissance & communication drones scattered themselves across the system’s mid-volume. While their sensors were limited to light-speed data gathering, their secure nu-space communications links were not, and so their mothership received data as they did.

Moments later, one of them purposely revealed itself to the authorities of Pofrom, as Somebody’s Problem transmitted a signal through it. The signal was directly aimed at the garrison fleet of the planet in order to limit the possibility of unauthorized eavesdroppers. Unlike the communication links with the mothership, this signal was via radio, and would therefore take several minutes to arrive for its intended audience. The first part of it was the relevant codecs for the message to follow, which was in both 2D video and holographic formats.

When viewed, it displayed a man who appeared to be in his mid 30s, with a serious but not stern face, brown eyes and short brown hair with a hint of silver. He appeared physically fit but not athletic, and what could be seen of his uniform was a khaki jacket with forest green piping on the collar and shoulder tabs, under which was a grey collared shirt and black tie. Collar tabs on the lapels of his jacket were the same forest green, with a shield pinned onto one, and a angular, stylized bird on the other.

“Greetings, I am Colonel Walter Brinkley, commanding officer of the warship Somebody’s Problem,” he said without a hint of humor being taken in its name, “belonging to the Ministry of Frontier Stability and representing the Imperium of Vernii.” He paused for a second longer than the normal pause between sentences. “My vessel and I come in peace, on a mission to investigate reports of political instability in this stellar cluster, to establish ties between our governments and cultures, and if deemed both necessary and officially requested, to provide humanitarian, economic and security aid. I request an audience with an appropriately senior representative of the government. Your reply may be directed to the drone that transmitted this message.”

At that, the message ended, though the signal continued repeating the codec and message several times in case any part of it had failed at being properly received.
Last edited by Vernii on Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ex-Nation

Postby Arafura » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:22 am

Secundus, Geostationary orbit around Pofrom

Fleet Admiral Roger Fosthrow groaned and leaned back in his chair. It was almost impossible to plan any Pofromite military actions in the face of the present crisis. The fleet was splintered between the planets that had once constituted the Confederacy, and The Dictator had taken exclusive control of what was left of the government and expelled every single one of the High Generals that had made up the Confederate Council. With the systematic purge of all non-Pofromites from the high echelons of the 1st Fleet, there were no high-ranking military officers left to take command, and thus the position had fallen to Roger, who was only thirty-four years of age. Once a rear admiral, he had now been promoted to the command of the 1st, for the simple virtue of being the highest-ranked Pofromite still loyal to the government.

He hated it.

It was difficult enough sorting through the day-to-day business of patrols, repairs, maintenance, officer reports and the like, but The Dictator wanted some kind of magical grand strategy that could guarantee him control of the Confederate worlds once more under the Pofromite rule. Roger had nothing. He had so far manage to stall by putting the fleet through combat exercises and training practices, whilst managing weapons development programs and pushing for the technological edge. The Dictator was not a patient man, however, and his time was running out. He’d either have to conquer a planet or waste the entire fleet on a suicide mission. Or do nothing and be replaced by someone even less qualified for the job.

Apart from the advantages of Pofrom’s natural resources and manufacturing industry, Roger had something that he was fairly certain the rest of the planets did not have – the Cornerstone. A Foundation-class fleetship, it was three kilometres long and easily the largest class of vessel ever fielded in the history of the sector. There were just two in service, but the Tespian was as-yet unaccounted for, since it had been deployed before the present conflict had developed.

As Roger sat there with his head in his hands, his attaché, a young lieutenant by the name of Hanar, knocked on the door and entered without bothering for permission. Roger didn’t really care, though, but he looked up at the young man before him.

“Yes, Hanar, what is it?”
“Admiral, command reports we’re getting some sort of unusual transmission. They’d like you to take a look.”

Roger sighed, but was inwardly grateful to be distracted from the paperwork.

“Arafuran?”
“Extraconfederate.”

His eyes widened at that, and he gestured for Hanar to lead the way. His office was not far from the command room, and he was there in about a minute, looking from the viewing port across the enormous array of capitol ship docking booms, assault craft hives and entire cities of spires and domes and modules and bases across the glorious wonder that was the ACDF’s primary shipyard and headquarters – Secundus.

“Admiral on deck!”
“At ease,” Roger said at once, almost dismissively. “Sitrep.”

The chief communications officer tapped a button and a transmission was displayed across the screen. When it had finished playing, Roger blinked and looked around. Everyone was looking at him.

“Can we confirm a source?”
“We know direction, but we can’t detect it with most of our equipment. Our long range optical sensors have identified a small probe located directly from where the source came.
“Ah hell…” he bit his lip. “Are you sure this isn’t some kind of Taigtetian joke? Who names a ship “Somebody’s Problem?”

There were a few scattered smiles around the room, but most of the officers maintained their expressions.

“We honestly don’t know, but what we do know is that the probe that it originates from looks like nothing Arafuran.”
“Hell. Give me a tablet then and I’ll see what the hell I can do. Everyone return to your duties.”

Roger tapped out a few notes on an electronic tablet, using the inbuilt keyboard. A few minutes later he nodded to the communications operator and took the transmitter. When it was aligned, the officer gave him the thumbs up and he took a deep breath, sending his voice out into space towards the distant probe.

This is Fleet Admiral Roger Fosthrow of the Arafuran Confederacy Defence Force. I am pleased that you come in peace. On behalf of The Dictator of Pofrom I am authorised to welcome you, Colonel, and your people to Pofrom, capitol world, primary headquarters of the ACDF and base of the Confederate Council chambers. Amicable relations between the Confederacy and the Imperium of Vernii would indeed be appreciated, as would humanitarian, economic and security aid. However, I must warn you that The Dictator has little to no control over anything beyond the orbit of Pofrom itself, and this sector is swiftly becoming very dangerous. I must caution your involvement in this conflict since it could well direct aggression from our enemies towards you and your people, should they arrive on our doorstep as they are likely to do so.

Additionally, in my dual role as a senior officer of the Confederate government, the audience that you request is yours. We are indeed interested in formalising relations with foreign powers and thus I am obliged to unconditionally offer you opportunity for the establishment of such relations in a medium more or less of your choosing, within reason. I trust that this is sufficient response as per your request.
FUTURE TECH NATION
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Postby Valinon » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:43 am

Keraston outer system


A spatial distortion less than ten light minutes above the sparser outer reaches under the influence of Keraston’s primary gave birth to a long, twisting pearlescent cylinder that stretched on for six kilometres. The outer shell of the cylinder was covered in a series of patterned blisters and smooth sections that drifted somewhere between random and orchestrated, although the strange pattern avoided an indefinite line that bisected the cylinder on either side. Several of the blisters toward the cylinder’s end radiated with energy signatures common to Valinor gravimetric propulsion. The interior of the cylinder was hollow, and either end provided a view of the miniature world that divided the cylinder in half. The lower half of the cylinder was a meandering river scape seemingly stolen from some planet by the ship. The upper half was a convoluted city with towers and turrets stabbing toward the riverscape below surrounded by larger, squatter section spiraling outward in concentric circles until eventually forced into more linear shapes by the cylindrical hull.

The final major observable component of the ship was a thin, by comparison, twisting collection of wires that hung in the empty centre between the two worlds. The wires were shaped like a tree, numerous branches flying outward at various angles. The wire and the ‘equatorial’ band of the ship began to produce regular sequences of activity minutes after the ICS That Insignificant Speck returned to N-space. Small craft raced between the cylinder’s sides and from the sides to the wire. A few also raced along the inside arch of the cylinder, creating patterns between the city and the river. The linear traffic patterns across the empty core were briefly interrupted as three ships drifted out of the cylinder and started to accelerate outward.

The grey, angular arrowheads were the three Arnoux-class frigates that provided Insignificant Speck with the bulk of its mobile defences, although the Valliente Corporation warships were supported by numerous drones, gunships, and the commerce ship’s localised defences. As the warships built acceleration to take up stations in their usual protective triangle, a few gunships and larger sensor platforms raced away from the bands along each side of the commerce ship. Unlike the recently arrived Verniian battlecruiser, the various scouts did not focus on the system beneath them. These eyes and ears had the luxury of knowing what and who they were looking for, and it allowed them to find the MFS warship quickly.




Vice Commissioner Mari Landvik swirled the sad dregs in her stemless wine glass in one hand while another toyed with Gael’s, her husbands hair, as he snored lightly. The river stretched away along a curve created by the rock outcrop the lodge was partially built into, but above the unbroken glass of the gallery showed the Wire and the glittering constellation of the city above making the lack of a true night sky less apparent in the riverlands below.

The two were an odd pair. Mari possessed the blonde hair, rich blue eyes, and high facial features predominate along the Volk half of Proxima III’s population, although her hair was cut short enough to almost appear a translucent white. Gael Landvik was the shorter, stockier frame of the Falas still common from their planet’s marginally higher-than-base gravity. Despite the centuries of genetic muddling across Falasmayon’s vast cities, Gael retained the vaguely Celtic traits held by the larger population that dominated the High Dominion Settlement Consortium that founded the colony in the Archangel system centuries ago.

Preparing to do something more than watch the city’s lights through the swirling wine, Mari smirked as Gael muttered something about music. What they were listening to after returning home ended almost an hour ago, and Mari wasn’t about to heed a request that wouldn’t even be remembered tomorrow morning. She sent a request to the house RI to clean the room after 15 minutes and started to plan how to wake Gael other than just standing up when a small chime sounded.

Mari glanced at the thin hoop of silver and glass around her left wrist. It was an added layer of contact between her and the ship’s command centre, some two kilometres farther down the ship’s hull and another two kilometres above her, if she was observing the city correctly. She sighed and activated her n-plants.

A circular screen appeared near her husband’s head, filled by a man in the deep tan duty uniform of Verge Security Fleet with a kapitan’s bar double star cluster on one side of his collar and the merged letter logo VSSS on the opposite side. The kapitan’s dark hair and thin mustache was traced with some grey and there were patterns of wrinkles around each grey-green eye. He appeared older than Mari, but the empire was long a society where visible age was a cosmetic--and relative--feature.

My apologies for the late hour, ma’am. We located the Somebody’s Problem four minutes ago, Kapitan Tanner Habit’s smooth baritone played through Mari’s head.

Is Colonel Brinkley in the usual MFS contact holding pattern?

Yes, ma’am. We picked up the first attempt to contact the Confederate central government, but there’s not been a response from Pofrom.

Proceed with contact. We’ll let the Verniians take care of setting the tone with the Confederates. The local political clime is complicated enough without us both crowding the airwaves, and the suzerainty made it clear that MFS wants to play the leading man in this operation. I will be available if you need me, Tanner, but try to screen the Verniians for the next hour. I’d rather not deal with an interruption when Cassel is here.

Yes, ma’am. Are there any additional traffic instructions?

Use your discretion, for the moment. Holding the Speck to local traffic is best, but you can issue statements that permissions will be issued for Pofrom, Geikdyr, and Taigtets within the next 24 hours. Blacklist Orthmyr, Zebedon, and Xainon. No announcements with respects to Klyron.

Habit nodded his agreement, Stationary security protocols...?

Mobile, but prepare to seed additional sensor platforms once we integrate Brinkley into the unisphere.

Yes, ma’am. I will send an update in an hour, at most.

Wait, bring the IVP contingent to full readiness.

What about Chief Kayre?

Security can continue with normal operations. I’m mostly concerned with needing manpower above and beyond whatever MFS can cram into those hulls on the ground.

Very well, Command Out.

Mari swallowed what was left of the wine and focused back on Gael. After a few moments, she grasped his nose between thumb and forefinger, provoking groggy splutters and a few groans in short order.

‘Go to bed. Some of us do something besides “broker” for a living.’




The slim profile of a black-body courier drone raced away from the Speck toward the dark bulk of Somebody’s Problem. OVA was no more a novice in these matters than the Verniian ministry, and this drove the drone to vector wildly above the battlecruiser’s present position. The drone sought not to approach the warship directly. It instead worked its way toward the fringes of the Verniian local network. Once within the thin fringes of that volume, the courier dumped its encrypted data package into the Verniian subnets.

The package was simple, little more than a notice of the commerce ship’s arrival, her coordinates, a brief from Commissioner Landvik, and a list from Kapitan Habit of assets that could be quickly dispatched from the Speck’s current reserves. The little more included the necessary ‘invitation’ to link the battlecruiser’s network with the commerce ship’s larger unisphere. It was devoid of a connection to the larger ansible network in this isolated system, but it was a more extensive network in terms of power and coverage than what the warship could produce on its own. After relaying the message three times, the drone veered farther upward where it would quietly detonate several light minutes away from either ship after a sustained cycle of randomised course corrections.

Somebody’s Problem and the courier drone could rely on stealth. The galaxy was volatile enough for even a battlecruiser to tread with care, but there was little that could be done for the Speck. A stealthed four-kilometre long behemoth did not say ‘private ship trying to not be noticed. A stealthed four-kilometre long behemoth said ‘battlewagon seeking to cleanse nearest planets with discrete nuclear fire’. Ludvik’s decision to temporarily withhold the usual transponder and identification signals was a measured risk. Although, in the commissioner’s experience, it was easier to excuse a sin of omission in most cultures.




While the drone was accelerating along its wandering death, a warm light was spilling from a smaller ovid dome toward the upper rim of the cliffside in the Speck’s riverlands. It was the largest of the smaller domes located along the cliff. The lodge was a product of Falas architecture. Mari still found the style too close to the more extreme modernism common to Vernii or New Ortaga for her tastes. It was why she imposed some small changes on Gael’s original design.

The smaller dome was bisected by a highly polished wood with dark and light variations imported from some distant ZMI outpost. The floor prevented the office’s occupants from easily viewing the lower domes of the living quarters, but it also provided a canvas for the wood-and-metal inlay at the centre of the room that formed the Office of Verge Affairs’ crest (a variant of the Alderman lion surrounded by quartet of circles each being the orbit of a single, gold planet with the Office’s name in Imperial German at the top and Imperial English at the bottom). The wood stretched away in a radial pattern from the polished rock wall, periodically interrupted with twisting bookcases that married the concepts of stairs and bookcases. Several other pieces of art--and something that look suspiciously like a War of the Lion-era counter missile--were held by a variety of wooden forms that looked grown more than sculpted. Similar tree forms also held lights of various intensities and angles.

Finally, a large, flat desk grew from an intricately woven series of branches tied to a cut flat from a massive near-Earth tree. The desk set in front of a low bookcase that arched along the central part of the dome out from the simple door set into the rock. Mari set behind the desk surrounded by series of holograms and vidwindows, idly taping a few sheets of smart paper against the desk’s edge. Gliese, the sentience intelligence currently aboard the Speck, stood behind the desk in his usual avatar--a slim man with unusually broad shoulders, an almost vulpine face, unnaturally red hair, and deep purple or blue three-piece suit. Mari could never tell quite what the colour of the suit was and she suspected Gliese altered it at random.

Gliese’s amber eyes studied the runabout in the clearing below, ‘I am skeptical about Cassel being the point-man to Geikdyr.’

‘Oh, good, I wondered if we were going to discuss this before he was shown in or if we’d just wait to argue it out like divorcees,’ Mari did not bother to look away from the streaming information. This was an argument where everyone was already party to the main points. ‘Do you care to make a better suggestion?’

‘Westad.’

‘Westad may be needed to be our liaison with MFS. Playing at our envoys to these people the way a cheap magicians plays with assistants is something I’m not inclined to favour. Anyone else?’

‘Kwan.’

‘Are you forgetting Lackland or just ignoring it for the sake of argument?’

‘Point taken.’

‘We need a mixture of compatible ideological purity and loyalty. The empire matches Geikdyran ideology at some foundational points, but we’ve recognised the necessity of ideological pragmatism in this universe and whatever other universes are to come. This isn’t the time to argue fine details of socio-governmental and economic philosophy. The mass can be given what it wants; we just need to make sure what they want is us.’

‘Cassel also allows for a certain latitude where deniability is concerned...’

‘...Yes, there’s that as well. I’m not keen on the option, but it’s there.’

‘There will be a time where keen is the smallest of all possible issues. He’s here.’

Mari heard the tell-tale click of the door’s latch and cursed the SI.

******


Commerce ships were increasingly common as the empire pushed its horizons well beyond the Raumreich and the more commonly traversed Pale maintained by OVA. However, That Insignificant Speck was not like the other roving islands of her class that allowed the Valinor to interact with the galaxy-at-large without needing to separate themselves from the comforts worn into the Raumreich’s background. Of the 200,000 souls in the City and the Riverlands, barely a quarter of them were Valinor of the Demesne. A smattering of Verniians, Ortagans, Vaku, and other Raumreich nationals failed to stretch that percentage to 30. The majority of the Speck’s population were the by-product of OVA’s activities.

Some of those aboard the speck were Verger profiteers and client states’ citizens that rotated on and off the ship as it continued its meandering course of assignments throughout the Verge. Some were Verge Security veterans, their terms of service lasting long enough to guarantee imperial citizenship, too tied to ever leave but too eager to claim what their service ultimately entitled. Some--perhaps a majority--were refugees and cast-offs. People sheltered by the Office for one reason or another. Sometimes those made refugees by OVA’s failure and sometimes those rescued from worse conditions but without the necessary resources to find a more traditional interpretation of celestial ground.

The milieu produced an eclectic group. While some aboard the ship were apathetic to the entity that ultimately ruled them, some were peculiar zealots that proved fertile recruiting ground for OVA. These were the people who believed in the Office’s mission possibly more than its parent government. In the volumes of space around the Pale, OVA was for them the closest option to a benefactor. Its message of stability sacrosanct.

Pierrick Mihkel Cassel was one of those who believed in OVA and Valinon with an intensity that only the converted could possess. He was from a backwater along the core-ward end of the Perseus Arm. An OVA intervention attempted to force a peace on a fanatical oligarchy that sought the conquest of its neighbors, some that enjoyed the Office’s protection. For the most part, OVA succeeded, but it wasn’t until a miscalculation resulted in a ‘demonstration’ strike on some of the Pale’s fringe worlds reduced Cassel’s homeworld to a wasteland. Ultimately, the oligarchs’ actions were repaid in kind, but the Office saw problems in relying on its clients to settle the refugee problem. When presented with another option, most of Cassel’s people jumped at the opportunity to settle even if it resulted in a permanent diaspora. Some were settled in worlds and habitats within the Pale, but a community came to the Speck.

As a child, Pierrick knew only the disgustingly cheap existence caught in fleeting glimpses of memory from the war and then the world of the Speck. When faced with a choice between this vulgarity and a society that abolished even modest needs, Pierrick made the obvious choice. He joined the IVP when he reached legal majority and easily served the 10 years required to obtain imperial citizenship. A brief time outside the service saw a deeply unsatisfied man return to OVA and become one of the few Vergers to ever become an agent for Special Affairs and Initiatives, the Office’s intelligence arm. His career with the SAI was intriguing. There were moments of glory but there were some stunning failures, although none ever questioned Pierrick’s loyalty.

Pierrick walked across the vice commissioner’s office behind one of the house’s service drones that did not reach his waist. Part of this was Pierrick’s more than two metre height, and it satisfied the operative that his long frame matched and surpass Gliese’s half-hearted imitation of what was still sometimes described in the Demesne as a ‘duelist’s build’. He watched as the SI avatar flickered away from behind Landvik to reappear seated in one of the chairs in front of her desk. Although not required, he was dressed in the hunter green SAI uniform but without ranks or other adornments. Pierrick stopped behind the empty chair with his hands clasped behind his back and nodded.

‘Commissioner Landvik.’

‘Mr. Cassel, please be seated. Did you have time to look through the initial briefing?’

‘Yes, Madam Commissioner. It was as thorough as one can expect under these circumstances, though I am hoping to clarify some reports prepared by Frontier Stability,’ Perrick slid effortlessly into the padded construct of metal and leather.

‘It’s an opportunity that you will have soon enough. I must stress that it is of importance we keep our overall mission coordination with Colonel Brinkley as tight as possible, but the nature of your mission means you will report directly to me.’

‘I was under the impression the Keraston effort was being funded by the Office.’

Landvik smiled, ‘There is a considerable amount of truth to that, and I’m certain Colonel Brinkley will rely on our unique facilities extensively. It was decided by Catharan Manor and Marsham Tower that there is no reason for MFS locals to be more aware of these details than is needed.’

‘Understood.’

‘I am granting you considerable latitude where the specifics of your operations are concerned, Cassel. Besides maintaining the diplomatic character, your priorities are to ensure the Geikdyrans are not overrun, to assist in the degradation or elimination of the Orthmyr as a military threat, and to orchestrates a means by which the locals may be again intertwined with the Confederate authorities--in that order. Questions?’

Pierrick was silent, brown eyes locked at some non-specific point in space, ‘There are two I think I need, ma’am. What guarantees am I allowed to the Geikdyrans when we speak of unification? What stipulations are we placing on the effort to remove Orthmyr from the civil war?’

‘There will not be a need to offer any immediate guarantees to Geikdyr. From our initial reports, there is no need to disagree with MFS assessments that their break with Pofrom is based upon a lack of voice within the central government. Despite the Imperium’s love of centralisation, Colonel Brinkley will be working toward a programme of reforms that can moderate the excesses formerly causing this rupture. I may make some recommendations as to how this could be accomplished, even if it means the pre-war political situation needs to be modified with respects to certain specific planets. There’s no evidence to suggest the Confederates are so stupid as to choose a return to the status quo at the expense of preserving a functional hegemony.’

Landvik leaned back in her chair, hands folded in her lap, ‘The nationalism of the two factions can even be co-opted, if necessary. We’ve handled such challenges before. There’s certainly no shortages of political and national others to be exploited in this system. All this will take some time, which brings me to the second answer. Other than being a useful foil, Orthmyr is representative of a overly abundant strain of interstellar garbage. You may stop short of genocide, but there is no reason to be outwardly worried about them. I will be working to join the survival of Geikdyr and Pofrom in the face of what I’m sure will be an abundance of predictable aggression and atrocity--in equal measures--from Orthmyr. If all goes as planned, there should be no problems in supplying your efforts directly from the Speck.’

‘Will I be using a Verge Affairs ship?’

‘The illusion of a true diplomatic mission needs to stop somewhere, even if the locals don’t know it. The Cakewalk King is being outfitted for your use. Gliese, what are the details of the inventory...’
Last edited by Valinon on Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:12 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Postby Xiscapia » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:28 pm

OOC: Sorry for how long this took.

XIS Emperor's Fist, Bridge...

Delta 2, 4 and 5 eliminated. Charlie 4, 6 and 14 eliminated. Contact Tango 1 has surrendered and complied with orders to submit to boarding; Tango 2 and 3 and Hotel 1 are firing upon our squadrons. Marine Team One reports breaching the bridge of target Alfa. No escape craft detected, though scans indicate that several of the pieces of debris are sealed and may contain surviving crew.

Almost nothing was left of the original twenty seven ships of the pirate fleet. One support ship had wisely turned back, while the other three sped onward at a dead run, and the raider cruiser was helpless and even now swarming with Imperial Marines. The rest were only so much wreckage and drifting corpses, not even fit for proper salvage operations, so complete was their destruction. At last, Shinya allowed herself another smile, not grim but full of warmth at the good work the Bloodletters were doing; this was what a purge looked like. The utter annihilation of traitors, scum and raiders, everything the Bloodletters were meant for.

Instruct the Superbia to dispatch a boarding team for Tango 1. She is to be taken as intact as possible, with all aboard transferred to the Superbia as her Captain sees fit; once she had been taken, the Superbia should guide her into the protective radius of the flotilla. Standing orders are for the squadrons to destroy Tango 2 and 3 and Hotel 1. Once they are finished they are to be withdrawn to CAP around the main force. We'll take the time to consolidate our gains before contacting the planetary authorities.

Admiral! Her second, Gina, took a step across the bridge, drawing her superior's attention to her. The black-furred Xiscapian's coat blended well with her uniform, highlighting silver gilt and golden eyes as she looked earnestly at the leader of the Bloodletters, tail curling. Shinya turned, regarding the other vixen steadily, her neural link winding behind her as it adjusted to the motion. I have a recommendation.

Speak.

I believe that we should attempt to capture Tango 2 and 3 and Hotel 1,
Gina explained. That trader may be transporting the collected spoils of the pirate group, and that quantity of fuel is valuable. I foresee them being useful both for examination and trade with the planetary governments should we need something to bargain with. If nothing else, an armed freighter could come in handy for more discrete operations. I think it's at least worth a try.

It took no real consideration; Gina's words made sense, and they had the tools to make it a reality. Good thinking, Commander. New orders as follows: squadrons are to shoot to disable. Prepare additional boarding teams. If they ran they're probably not going to give up any easier on the inside.

She was all set to enjoy the spectacle of the Bloodletters setting about finishing what they had started, but a signal from the Instruments Officer drew her attention. More contacts. Letting out the barest sigh, the Admiral stepped back over to her chair and settled in, plume winding around her and neural cable similarly settling like an organic part of herself. About these ones approaching in orbit; what are they? Do we have identification?

Yes, Admiral. The contacts appear to be three picket craft, similar to the pirate Charlie's we just engaged, as well as a patrol cruiser analogue and an escort of strike craft. Their transponders identify them as Klyronian. They are within striking distance, but about five minutes out of visual range. We have also picked up readings of energy spikes, increased communications traffic and gravitic shifts that seem to indicate a general mobilization, likely caused by this engagement.

Klyronians, hmm? I know exactly what I want from them. Open a channel for me to that patrol cruiser. Standard text-only format.

Aye, ma'am.


Attention Klyronian representatives. This is Rear Admiral Shinya of the XIS Emperor's Fist, Commanding Officer of the Bloodletters, Kitsune Imperial Navy, of the Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia. My task force is currently conducting operations against a fleet of raiders that was closing in on a Klyronian merchant vessel, as per our wider mission in this sector to purge illegal violent non-state actors, e.g. pirates; we currently mean you no harm. In order to further our goal of bringing some stability and order back to the region through the eradication of disruptive elements, I formally request a meeting with a representative of the Klyronian government, time and place as convenient. Thank you.


Gambit Squadron...

Shit! Those fuckers are shooting at us!

Hisashi! Konran's virtual representation snarled for her as the freighter's banks of cannons ripped apart one of her wingmates flying interference. Heavy rounds smashed through the shields of the Shuriken fighter, holing the ship several times over before ultimately ripping it apart, only so much burning metal spiraling away into the void. She could hear the pilot swearing viciously over the neural link, because he knew the consequences of fucking up like that; out here, with no capital ships to produce more Shuriken and being unlikely to receive replacements from any source, he'd be relegated to flying transports for the rest of the operation. Yet she couldn't focus on that now, she had new orders to cripple the bastard ship and she forgot about Hisashi as she peeled her squadron back, gunning for the engines as they spread out, evading the slugs more successfully than their comrade. Pulling back on the yoke, Konran depressed both triggers in her hands and scowled as the twin antiproton blasts sheared a section of armor away -not nearly enough for the size of the ship they were dealing with. Just how are we supposed to-

Before she could even finish the sentence a dazzling azure flare shot by "over" her ship and into the rear of the freighter, electric blue bolts like fingers spreading over the hull, making it positively dance with ionic energy. Just like that the guns fell silent, and while the vessel kept moving it was on inertia alone; none of the propulsion systems were operating. Letting the sensors expand her mind again, the kitsune couldn't help but roll her virtual eyes as the Nighthaunt drifted in from behind at a seemingly sedate pace, already disgorging a dropship from her hanger bay to glide out towards the disabled brigand. Similar events were playing out nearby with the other two tankers, fighters bombing their engines into crushed and twisted ruins before the big ships struck them with their ion cannons and assault transports zoomed in for the ultimate kill.
Damn entire rest of the Navy, stealing our glory!

FCC Gallarant, Bridge...

Plunging into the smoke so thick and dense it was like a solid mass, Goto quickly found himself engulfed, only able to see flashes of light and dim silhouettes of people even a scant meter away. Sensors were useless, the haze was engineered to disrupt them, so the scene he later watched on his helmet-cam was like a macabre shadow show, without any embellishment from scanners. A powerful, metallic howl sounded from ahead and he realized even as he ran towards the source of the noise that the pirates had set up an autocannon, but there was no going back now. Its shape appeared suddenly, a masked man hunched over the the turret, firing blind, and so the kitsune reacted fluidly without really thinking, lunging forward and twisting his carbine around to swing the butt of the weapon in a wide arc that connected with the pirate's head, eliciting a sharp crack as the man was slammed into the deck, dead before he fell. Someone must have been trying to watch out for him, because a shape charged out of the confusion and hit him head-on, sending him staggering back with the clink of a knife being savagely thrust against his armor again and again.

It was only after he'd been laid flat out with the woman on top of him, with her yet to realize that her blade was only scratching his thick power armor, that he in turned realized she was screaming wordlessly and manically at the top of her lung. Stunned, he raised his head, hand grasping for his lost gun only to be forced back down again when she slammed the dagger against his helmet, a blow that would have killed him otherwise just making the Xiscapian wince, growling. That was when it seemed to dawn on her that he wasn't even bloody, and she went to her belt, snatching at the handle of the stubby gun holstered there. Even in armor he was faster, and her fingers had only just wrapped around the pistol when his own was up and staring her in the face, the Auxiliary Xiscapian Emergency Sidearm steady and close, giving her a perfect image of every detail of the weapon about to end her life. There was just enough time for him to see her expression turn from fury to one of horrified shock through her helmet before the gun roared and her head transformed into a fine red mist, brain and shards of bone sticking to the ceiling.

Pushing her decapitated body off him, he let it sag to the deck, snatched his carbine and stood, aware that he could no longer hear the sounds of combat. Indeed, the smoke was clearing to show the bridge littered with bodies, sprawled in the open, slumped by consoles or thrown across terminals where they had fallen, victims of Xiscapian bullets, swords and raw cybernetic strength; many were in pieces. One attracted his attention in particular, and he stepped over to look at the man in the more ornate officer's uniform where he lay skewered to a chair by someone's wakazashi sword, run clean through the heart, leaving his head to loll as if fatigued, blood running down his chest to pool in his lap. He could just make out a name stitched into the coat: Leonardo. Grunting quietly, Goto turned back, surveying the damage done to his own unit.

Three of his own were down, one lying spread eagle right in the middle of the doorway, shot clean through the head with a lucky 15mm round, not even his shields and armor enough to save him at close range, the very sight enough to make the veteran sigh, knowing he would have to make that transmission home personally. Behind, in the corridor outside, another had two medics leaning over her, working feverishly as they stripped away her armor and slathered her with medi-gel, medical nanobot injections and other tools of medicine, trying to save her from the nasty gutshot she'd sustained; if they could stabilize her, she would almost definitely survive. Last and least critical, one of the Imperial Marines sat against a bulkhead, favoring his side opposite from the bloodied one where a round had pierced his suit, waiting with only small grunts and swears of pain as his indigenous medical systems laced between his body and armor operated to repair the injury, repairing the technology and healing the flesh. Goto nodded to the young soldier, and he just nodded back, a silent assurance passing between them. Tapping back into the neural network, the Major transmitted back to his command:

The bridge is ours.

FCC Macharov...

Jogging down the hall, Sergeant Arador Terek led his squad forward through the cramped corridors of the tanker, boots stamping on the deck as they hustled smartly. So far there hadn't been any trouble and things were going smoothly, sensors indicated that it seemed every life sign had confined themselves either to an interior compartment or the bridge, and he had to admit that while this was not exactly the kind of operation he lived for -he'd much rather be on one of the other ships, breaking through pirate defenses in a firefight- it was nice to have things go more-or-less right for once. If nothing else the lack of danger ensured he'd be that much likely to get back to his wife on Xiscapia. Just thinking about the vulpine's beauty in contrast to these dark, tight halls made him ache, and he forced himself to focus on the mission at hand. Getting distracted got you killed. Taking a hand off his shotgun, he signaled a halt to his troops just a couple passages away from the bridge.

Remember, we're not here to execute them. They surrendered, they get a chance, he told his fellow Imperial Marines, turning to them and giving them a sharp look he knew they could sense even through his helmet; they knew him well enough by now to tell. Same as the other team going for the ones in the compartment. They try to take you out, we can put them all down. Otherwise it's standard procedure. All copy?

They chorused affirmatives, and with a satisfied nod of his head Terek advanced his squad again.

When they arrived, able to sight into the bridge through the open hatch, it was with one Imperial Marine setting up her autocannon at the entrance, making a very pointed statement about just how quickly everyone in the room would die if they decided to get clever about anything. From there the others fanned out, keeping close to the entrance, massive carbines and rifles that looked more akin to heavy machine guns and the like held not pointed anywhere in particular but with the definite implication that they could be pointed at things and people very quickly indeed. Though the squad was a mix of species, including the vulpine Xiscapian kitsune and humans of various types, all the crew of the Macharov would be likely to notice was their heavy dark armor and the massive weapons they wielded as they took up positions to make what looked very much like a killing field out of the tanker's bridge. That was before Terek stepped right into the middle of it all, the Sergeant not a kitsune but a Setulanite, a towering man more than seven feet tall as big as any two of the Arafurans put together, a practical giant betraying his low-gravity world heritage in the sable-navy power armor of the Xiscapian Imperial Marines. Cradling his shotgun, he glanced across the assembly of people before looking down at Callie, expression and indeed tone impossible to make out behind a blank helmet and mechanically washed-out vox.

"Captain Callie Stern?" He nodded his great head when she confirmed. "I am Sergeant Arador Terek, Xiscapian Imperial Marines. As of this moment, my orders are to take you and your crew into custody to await a decision from the Rear Admiral. Before I do that, you need to tell me why some of your crew is here and the rest are in a separate compartment."
Last edited by Xiscapia on Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
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Postby Arafura » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:39 am

Klyronian Orbital Space

KSA Ranagan

Captain Stara Jenthew tapped her fingers restlessly on the arm of her chair, nervously awaiting what she would discover upon arrival. No one really knew what they would find, but their thermal sensors told them of plumes with signatures indicative of explosions. Stara knew that the most common things to explode in space were spaceships these days, so it was with caution that the new re-commissioned Ranagan neared the source of the anomalous readings. Their long-range optics couldn’t yet identify the nature of exactly what laid ahead, but the rotary cannons were spun up just in case, and her sensor array was at full capacity.

Marco-class patrol cruisers had possibly the greatest sensors capacity of any ship commissioned by either the ACP or the ACDF, but this was at a large cost to firepower, meaning they carried the weaponry of a mediocre destroyer. To protect this expensive equipment, however, they were better insulated against power surges and external interference that could be expected when monitoring little known areas.

The Marco-class was small for a cruiser, reaching just four hundred and eighty metres in length and having a crew complement of one hundred and ninety. If she got into a fight, Stara had no illusions about how much she’d have to rely on the Trinity-class corvettes and the wing of Mantis-class space superiority fighters for her ship’s survival. She hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

She jumped as the communications panel flickered to life and her communications operator turned to look at her. She nodded and he read the text-only message aloud for her and the rest of the bridge to hear. Stara groaned inwardly.

“Oh, bloody hell. As if the threat of a possible Zebedonese virus attack wasn’t enough. Now we’ve got these Xiscapian people waltzing in and blowing up raiders left and right. I’ll send the message myself.”

She had already immediately decided her response, and after a short pause to decide the wording, she typed out her reply to the Bloodleters and sent it without hesitation.

Greetings Rear Admiral Shinya. I am Captain Stara Jenthew of the Klyronian Space Armada. I commend your intentions in this region and recognise your request to peaceful embassy with our people, but as a matter of caution I’d rather see your Bloodletters and the evidence of your handiwork before I shall organise such a meeting through the appropriate channels. I cannot in good conscience risk leading an unknown and potentially dangerous force right to the most critical space stations of the KSA without some token of trust being given as to your stance towards our people. We will be within full visual range in approximately two minutes. I trust you will allow us to approach unhindered, that we may ascertain the situation in full before further consideration of your request.


Meanwhile the still-fleeing pirate support vessels had been 'halted' in their tracks. They continued on but no longer operated any of their primary ship systems. The Xiscapian marines closed in to board the vessels so swiftly that most of the crews had little time to arm themselves, primarily fighting back with improvised weapons - or fists if they had none. Some were luckier than others and were able to arm themselves with some weapons, but the tanker crews didn't stand a chance. The crew of the Farrow-class hauler would have, had the crew not been so spread out manning its defenses.

All were doomed to fall before the Xiscapian onslaught, with very few even attempting to surrender.

The only ones that made no move at all were chained to the walls of a makeshift cell block in one of the wings of the Armed Freighter. Clothed in dirty rags, the twelve female prisoners huddled in their cages as their captors were torn to pieces around them. They were all thin, malnourished and weak, showing various signs of abuse. Not even Leonardo had known of their existence, the captain of the ship had decided that he had to the right to make certain... exceptions.

FCC Macharov

Callie and the other fifty-four members of her crew waited nervously in the bridge for the Kitsune marines to board the ship and detain them all. She noticed some of the crew glower at her for giving up so easily – they’d become used to fighting hard and never giving up. Callie wasn’t interested in dying just yet, though. She wouldn’t mind getting married and settling down once this whole thing blew over. She’d had enough of space flight for the time being. There were too many random ships blowing everyone up at present for her taste.

Before long they heard a clanging reverberating throughout the still ship, getting closer. A multitude of enormous dark figures quickly approached the bridge, carrying dangerous-looking weaponry that easily dwarfed the laughable armaments she and her crew had possessed. She was glad she’d surrendered. As the armoured figures lined up just inside the entrance, Callie felt her heart sink a bit. It looked very much as though they might simply gun her and her entire crew down at a moment’s notice, which wouldn’t take very long nor be very difficult, from what she saw.

Thus Callie was quite surprised when one of the figures, its face obscured like the rest, stepped forward and talked to her, saying her name. She nodded slowly as it continued to talk, introducing itself as Sergeant Arador Terek.

She blinked at his Terek’s question, straightened herself and spoke slowly, trying to gauge the unreadable marine’s reaction through some subtle hint of body language, utterly unsure of how she should even speak to these ‘Xiscapians’.

“The people you see before you in this room are the actual crew of the FCC Macharov. I will not deny that all of us have indeed participated in or in support of acts of piracy and will accept whatever punishment your Rear Admiral. The rest of those aboard the ship have been relegated to the recreational room so as to do better to ensure their safety should you have seen fit to execute us here and now. The twenty-three in that room are civilians and are here against their own will. They have committed no crimes and there are children amidst them. I do not wish to see them come to harm. As an aside, should you ask about small arms weapons, I have deposited all on board in cargo pod gamma. They’re yours.” With that, she stepped forward slowly and held the key, which she had kept clutched in her hand, out to the Sergeant.

Callie tried to smile calmly but it ended up being more of a pained grimace. You could only surrender so many times and still expect to live.

I totally forgot to say what happened to the fleeing support ships. Chucked it in there, now I'm going to sleep.
Last edited by Arafura on Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Zernin » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:54 am

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Last edited by Zernin on Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby Zernin » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:19 pm

Ioraian Space
Admiral Taurus Urosia sighed as he looked around his ship, the sleek interior was almost as beautiful as the blade-like exterior. His ears perked up as someone walked up to the man, the young boy in front of him had a holopad in his hand, which meant report. "Sir, we have detected a new sector of space from our scans from the war planet, I recommend we send an exploration fleet immediatly."The 16 year old said, his black hair contrasting against his pale skin as he fiddled with the holopad in his hand, luckily the incessant noise making machine was muted for Admiral Taurus' sake.

The Urosia sighed as he held out his hand for the holopad, his fingers slid across its surface as he looked at each of the planets, new information appearing every few seconds. "Very well, you are in charge."He said, the boy looked up at him surprised, eyes wide until he got a grin, his perfect white teeth showing as he saluted the admiral. "Yes sir!"He said, marching off, a grin still plastered onto his face as he walked away. "Oh, and Erison...be careful."He older man said, the boy turned around an nodded dashing off to pick an exploration fleet, he didn't even have to pick a fleet, he just had to pick the flag ship!

As he walked around the sleekly designed space station he had a million thoughts running through his head, he hoped he didn't screw this up it would mean his promotion would be lost as would pretty much any chance of another career, dropouts from Admiral Taurus' armada didn't usually get good jobs. He bit his bottom lip, a trickle of sweat running down his forehead towards his eye, he quickly wiped it away and began breathing heavily to calm himself down. The teen soon enough arrived at the command center, he walked up to one of the cadets walking around and tapped them on the shoulder, the 15 year old boy he had tapped turned around swiftly, silver hair and purple eyes glinting in the light as he blinked--surprised at Erison's appearence--but quickly saluted the older boy, who saluted back. "What do you need sir?"He asked, obviously nervous about something. Erison snickered and just grinned at him. "Relax Ian, I just want you to get the U.S.S. Khaoes II ready."He said, nodding. "Full occupation?"He asked receiving a "Yes" as a reply. He nodded and tapped on his holopad. "Will you be accompanying them?"He asked, slightly worried for his "friend". Erison smirked at him and crossed his arms. "Is lil' Ian worried?"He asked, something glinting in his eyes. The other boy blushed, but just rolled his eyes and asked again. "Will you be accompanying them?"He questioned the other again and got a nod in reply, Ian sighed as he tapped on the holopad and nodded back. "All good." He said to the other, getting a grin in reply.

Klyorian Space
Erison grinned as the ship neared their target. "Exiting FTL-speeds, returning to impulse graviton engines."The Mailin A.I. said, female voice going throughout the bridge of the massive Chaos-class exploration-cruiser, that didn't look heavily armed or even looked like it had offensive capabilities, but it did, it was one of the heaviest armed ships in the Ioraian kingdoms, it looked like all the other ships[that the Iorian's had], it didn't have any visible weapons. He looked to the monitor of the U.S.S. Khaoes as they exited FTL-speeds, black graviton shielding appearing for a split second before turning invisible again, he grinned as it focused on the planet in front of him, it looked like there had been fighting, though he wasn't sure if there still was it simply looked like a bad place to be, luckily they were a far distance away, but he felt the need to see what was wrong. "Alright, increase speed, get with in orbital distance of that planet." He said, folding his hands together, a glint of curiosity in his eyes as chatter sounded through out the bridge as they told everyone what to do, what was completed, and some other stuff that he didn't know anything about. "Go to condition 2, prime all weapons, ready yourselves for a fight, and be ready to call for back up and launch fighters."He said, and he got his reply, a unanimous "Yes sir".

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Postby Xiscapia » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:22 pm

XIS Emperor's Fist, Bridge...

Greetings Rear Admiral Shinya. I am Captain Stara Jenthew of the Klyronian Space Armada. I commend your intentions in this region and recognise your request to peaceful embassy with our people, but as a matter of caution I’d rather see your Bloodletters and the evidence of your handiwork before I shall organise such a meeting through the appropriate channels. I cannot in good conscience risk leading an unknown and potentially dangerous force right to the most critical space stations of the KSA without some token of trust being given as to your stance towards our people. We will be within full visual range in approximately two minutes. I trust you will allow us to approach unhindered, that we may ascertain the situation in full before further consideration of your request.


After a disconcerting moment in which she realized that the Klyronian sensors probably couldn't reach the battle site, the Xiscapian had to smile at the return message. She could respect Captain Jenthew's caution, the Bloodletters currently being an unknown quantity as far as the Klyronians were concerned, but that some of the locals would come to actually see the "handiwork" of her flotilla worked exceptionally well in her advantage. In her mind, they would be impressed, and thus not delay in granting her audience, which would expedite her mission. She couldn't have done it better herself. Dictating her reply with a thought, she dispatched it back in a matter of seconds:

By all means, approach and observe all you like, Captain. My Bloodletters will not obstruct your passage in the slightest. If you desire, you or a representative may board my flagship, the Emperor's Fist, and meet with me personally. Please be advised that my forces have captured five enemy craft, including one cruiser, three tankers and an armed freighter; these vessels are under Bloodletters control and should not be regarded as hostile. Exact coordinates of all Bloodletters assets are being transmitted now, as well as to the Klyronian freighter we rescued, as it may require your assistance.


With that she focused her attention onto the stream of data flowing in from the various units spread out near Klyronian orbit. Like the cruiser, four of the pirate support ships had been taken in a matter of minutes; reportedly the Imperial Marines on the tankers had boarded so quickly that most of the opposition had only had time to arm themselves with pipes, tools and other makeshift weapons, most of which hadn't helped them in the slightest against the power armored Xiscapian soldiers that had torn right through them. Things had gone similarly quickly to the inevitable conclusion as teams fell upon small groups of raiders, massacring the crew before they could coordinate a defense and ending it on the bridge. A handful of them had tried to surrender, but their officers had squandered their chances when they ignored the original order. No prisoners were taken, and receiving assurances from the teams on the tankers Argo and Junkers that their operations had gone off without a hitch, the kitsune contacted the troops on the armed freighter Zhukov last.

Boarding Commander of the armed freighter Zhukov, report.

Admiral, Warrant Officer Makaria reporting. My teams have secured the whole of the vessel and exterminated its crew in its entirety. We have taken three casualties; they've been medievaced out, and are expected to recover. Also evacuated were twelve captives rescued by the cargo bay team, judging by the scans made by medical personnel they were being used as sex slaves by the pirates. All are due to be treated aboard the Nighthaunt.

Understood. She could practically taste the Commander's disdain for the pirates through the neural link. What of the cargo?

The ship was carrying a large stockpile of military-grade small arms, judging by the contents of the armory. It also has parts for rotary cannons, missile warheads, combat armor, weapons labeled "rocket rifles" that appear to be miniature missile launchers, an estimated two hundred metric tons of field rations, about a dozen crates of liquor labeled "Xainonen vodka" and several steel crates emblazoned with unknown insignia. Of the latter, scans have not been able to determine what they contain and they are sealed beyond the attempts of my troops to open them conventionally, and we have abstained from attempting to cut or blow them open to avoid damaging the contents. They are considerably scuffed, so my guess is that the pirates who acquired them received the containers in their present form and were no more able to crack them than we are. I've had them moved to the armory for the time being.

A puzzle, then. In any case, good work, Commander. Stand by to await further orders from your Captain, and instruct him to have these unknown crates transferred to the Emperor's Fist for analysis.

Understood, Admiral. Thank you.


Finally, she contacted the head of the unit that had taken the brigand cruiser. Boarding Commander of the cruiser Gallarant, report.

Aye, Admiral. Major Goto reporting. My team has fully secured the craft and purged it of its crew. We took three casualties on breaching the bridge, including one fatality, and all were medievaced back to command once the fighting ended. That was the only opposition we encountered. The ship appears to have been substantially damaged by the destruction of her escorts, given that she seems to have lost most of her defensive capabilities once the ion blasts hit. Most of the vessel has depressurized and lost its atmosphere, and preliminaries indicate that the circuitry seems to have experienced the usual damage from ion scouring. The lack of power means that most of the blast doors are stuck open, so the majority of the ship is open to space. According to our drop pilot, the missile tubes look like they've been shot to hell, probably from premature detonations caused by the ion strike.

Now for the good news. Apart from some electrical damage and minor dents the bridge is intact, so once we get the power back on we'll have full control over the ship. The engines and fuel tanks are all intact, so she's still mobile, and her main railguns and point-defenses are undamaged. Only other thing of note is that one of the teams discovered a hanger bay with four vessels inside they tentatively identified as some brand of stealth fighter-bomber, complete with munitions. I'm sure you can find a use for them. If you want any deeper detail you'll have to wait until the engineers and technicians get over here.


Interesting. Excellent work, Major. You should be receiving assistance shortly.

Yes ma'am.


So went the more mundane details of the operation: Towing the captured ships closer to the flotilla, transports bringing the wounded and particular valuables back and returning with cabins full of repair teams as fighters swirled around, maintaining a vigilant guard over it all just in case. Between them and the large field of wreckage, Shinya figured she would have quite the display indeed to put on for Jenthew and her crews. Nothing special was needed, no fancy maneuvers or intricate formations, just the Bloodletters being themselves: Lethal, efficient and a credit to the Kitsune Empire. A capital way to open their operations in the Arafuran sector.
So she leaned back and waited.

FCC Macharov, Bridge...

“The people you see before you in this room are the actual crew of the FCC Macharov. I will not deny that all of us have indeed participated in or in support of acts of piracy and will accept whatever punishment your Rear Admiral. The rest of those aboard the ship have been relegated to the recreational room so as to do better to ensure their safety should you have seen fit to execute us here and now. The twenty-three in that room are civilians and are here against their own will. They have committed no crimes and there are children amidst them. I do not wish to see them come to harm. As an aside, should you ask about small arms weapons, I have deposited all on board in cargo pod gamma. They’re yours.”

Nodding in return, Terek took one hand off his weapon and extended his hand, letting her drop the key into his palm, his hand closing around it as he slipped it into a compartment of his armor. "Thank you, Captain. We'll evacuate the civilians first, they'll be safe with us. Stand by." With that, he took a step back, accessing the internal neural communications to contact the other team headed for the recreation room.

White Lead, this is Blue Lead. Contacts in side compartment are civilians, contacts on bridge crew. Bridge crew has surrendered peaceably and indicates small arm storage in cargo pod gamma. Enter recreation room and get those civvies out of here, they're to be transferred to the Superbia. We'll follow them up with the crew afterwards.

Blue Lead, White Lead. Copy, wilco.

Some ten minutes later the transport was away with the twenty three and it was time for the crew proper to go. With the squad arrayed around them they were ordered to strip, folding uniforms neatly in one corner of the bridge, and a few of the troopers went down the lines, cuffing their hands and tying folds of cloths over their faces to act as blindfolds, rendering them even more helpless than before; it seemed Callie's gesture of goodwill didn't extend to the fifty four others under her command. Nudges to their backs with gun barrels prodded them forward, quickly losing all sense of direction as they were led through the corridors by their captors, onto a shuttle with hard, cold seats and then back out into the chilly, sterile air. Before long it would become evident to Callie that she'd been separated from the rest of her crew, because she could no longer hear them breathing or their soft footfalls on the deck, though she hadn't been able to hear any indication that new orders had been given. Someone had taken her arm and was guiding her along, cool and unyielding metal fingers holding her at arm's length gently but firmly, and she had no recourse but to follow.

For a long time there was nothing but the bite of the frigid deck into her bare feet, drafts of recycled oxygen passing over her, the tramp of her guide's boots and her own breathing. Occasionally she could hear someone else passing by, the heavy tread of what was probably another armored soldier or the lighter steps of someone who was probably another member of the crew, but they were otherwise silent. Wherever she was and whoever was walking by, they didn't seem inclined to speak to her or her captor. At long last the growl of a hatch opening came from ahead and the darkness that had been in front of her blindfold brightened appreciably, not enough for her to see anything but sufficient for the woman to tell she'd been brought into a different area. A hand landed on her shoulder and pressed down, forcing her to sit on a metal chair before her arms were brought around behind the back and her feet were chained to the legs by her ankles.

The footsteps retreated, growing distant, and that hatch whined again, clanging shut. After a few moments someone else came towards her, footfalls reverberating through the deck, and she felt the presence of fingers against her head as they removed the blindfold. Her eyes would adjust quickly even after so long in the dark, because the room beyond was dimly lit at best, positively dingy at worst, with shadowed corners nowhere near illuminated by the bright, cold crystals embedded in the bulkheads. She couldn't turn her head to see all the way behind her, but from what she could tell it was all naked metal deck and bulkheads without any features at all, save the light crystals and the hatch directly ahead of her. A guard in the same armor as the soldiers who had originally boarded her ship was retreating, taking up post with a second one by the door, but that was unlikely to be what drew her eye. Rather, it was the being in front of her.

She -because things with curves and a chest like that are typically female- stood at about five foot two, but from where Callie was sitting the armed, immaculate alien looking down her snout at her seemed much taller. There were unmistakable vulpine features, including the tapering muzzle, bright sun-colored eyes, triangular pointed ears that stuck out through her cap and of course a bushy brown tail tipped with white; a glance at her feet revealed to be distinctly non-human while still bipedal. The creature was dressed in a sable uniform complete with shining onyx boots and equally black gloves over cinched hands, the most obvious adornment an array of silver gilt around her collar and shoulders, and a weapon hung from each hip, a heavy pistol on the right and a long, wickedly curved sword on the left. Her expression as she looked down at the Arafuran was nonexistent, and indeed Callie could be forgiven for thinking that a visage like that was incapable of making many familiar looks. For a few seconds she just studied the Captain as the woman looked her over in turn, and with her hands moving around to clasp behind her back she started in.

"Good evening, Captain Stern. I am Commander Anzu; welcome aboard the Superbia." Her words, though in a language Callie could understand, had a choppy and yet lilting, almost sing-song accent to them. "Before we begin, I want you to understand one thing: It is extremely rare that we invite pirates to surrender. The fact that you and your crew accepted without resistance means that, by KIN procedure, we are obliged to treat you in good faith, which follows that we are not permitted to summarily execute you. That said," her voice, previously matter-of-fact, took on a hard edge, "if you make things difficult for me, I will have no trouble in making life very, very unpleasant for you. So it is in your best interest to cooperate."

Leaning back from where she had leaned over, the vixen straightened and composed herself. "So. If you would please, explain the circumstances surrounding the formation of this pirate fleet, and why there were civilians aboard your vessel when other captured ships had none."
Last edited by Xiscapia on Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Xis quote of the week: Altaria Almighty: how are you not just a race of sexual predators? Like who needs power armour and gauss rifles when you have leather and whips. –Karaig
The Kitsune Empire of Xiscapia's FT Factbook (V2.5)
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Ex-Nation

Postby Arafura » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:14 pm

Superbia, Klyronian Orbital Space

Callie blinked with wide eyes at the inhuman figure before her, but she quickly close her gaping mouth, reasoning that for someone in her position poor manners would not help her at all. She simply hoped that the rest of her crew were being compliant and weren’t already dead. Callie swallowed hard and worked her jaw a bit before she started to speak, thinking about how she’d start things out.

“About a few months, before Pofrom officially lost control and the Confederacy fell to pieces, I captained the CS Macharov[i/] as a regular civilian vessel. I’d been doing just that for the past few years, but this time when we went to buy some fuel at the Pofrom exchange, we were jumped by two destroyers who blew our escorts to smithereens. Needless to say, we surrendered without much of a fight, but instead of killing us they gave us the option of joining the fleet. Now like you know, there were twenty-three civilians on my ship and I was not going to execute all of them from some foolish act of defiance. I agreed and joined their fleet, carrying they fuel and tagging along in their various missions. The first few operations they kept a close eye and maintained some ‘minders’ to make sure we didn’t try to run, but we stayed. We didn’t have much choice in the matter, regardless.

“I didn’t want to keep supporting them, but Leonardo was talking about how they would all be rich and they’d make such an enormous fortune off the goods we were seizing. Considering how the whole sector was going to hell, I didn’t see a better option, and we were being watched closely enough that we couldn’t escape – they went as far as to install a tracking system on the ship.

“The [I]Macharov
never took direct action in acts of piracy, but we certainly reaped their benefits to an extent, and until we took the other two tankers we kept the whole flotilla fuelled by ourselves. The civilians on my ship did their best to keep themselves unnoticed, and we did our best to continue to protect them. I’m not saying some of my crew didn’t enjoy themselves as a part of the raider fleet, but we protected our own.”

“As for how the raider fleet, the ‘Free Company Corsairs’ came to be, I’m not entirely sure. I picked up snippets of information from the crew of other ships, and I get the impression that Leonardo, the commander of the Gallarat, was in charge of most of these ships to begin with. He commanded the loyalty of most of them exceptionally well, even if he was a bit harsh at times. He was one of the breakaway commanders of the ACDF – the Arafuran Confederacy Defence Force. There’s been dozens since all this started. Leonardo was one of the most powerful, from what I could hear, but thankfully you’ve put a stop to that.

“I don’t want to die just yet, but I don’t expect you to spare my life or that of my crew. If you’re going to kill us all, please make it quick. I’ve done what I’ve done, and my crew has followed me every step of the way. A more loyal crew I could not have asked for, though I’m sad I couldn’t have spared them all this in the first place. What will it be, then?”

KSA Ranagan

Stara looked over the combat zone before her. Chunks of floating wreckage and mangled debris were strewn around, overlooked by several utterly alien vessels, silently prowling through the night. Preliminary scans indicated that the vessels were indeed raiders, from the markings on the captured vessels. As much as she hated the idea of Arafuran vessels being controlled and operated by an alien force, she knew that her patrol cruiser and escorts were no match for the battle group deployed in front of her. She identified the skulking form of the Hades-class cruiser, the FCC Ranagan, which was known to be operating in the area with a sizeable escort flotilla. These Bloodletters were a force to reckoned with to have, with such apparent ease, managed to eliminate the Free Company Corsairs.

“Alright then, I suppose we have to open up some diplomatic channels here. We certainly don’t want the Xiscapians to start firing at us. We’ll take them back to the command centre and see what we can do from there.”

Confirmed, Rear Admiral Shinya. In light of the evidence of your achievements, we are authorised to lead you to the Klyron Confederate Command Centre, where I’m sure the First Minister will indeed be eager to meet with you. I would like to personally thank you for the defeat of the Free Company Corsairs, as well as the ensuring the survival of one of our valuable freighters.”


Stara nodded to her navigator and the patrol cruiser slowly turned about to head in the direction it had come, with its escorts staying close by. Just as she did, however, a sensor operator exclaimed loudly “Unknown contact, heading straight for us and the Xiscapians!”

Stara blinked, surprised, “What is it, another Xiscapian vessel?”
“Definitely not. This thing is huge, as in kilometres huge. It’s about the size of a Foundation-class fleetship. We only noticed it because of its enormous size.”

Stara swore. She would inform the Xiscapians, but somehow she was sure that they already knew, and she waited to see their response.

I've added in a response to the Xiscapian request for diplomacy and the appearance of Zernin.
Last edited by Arafura on Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Vernii
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Benevolent Dictatorship

Postby Vernii » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:16 am

“Recon platforms have detected an emergence, sir. CIC is pegging it as Valinor, probably an Imperial Commerce Ship.” The sensors chief proceeded to rattle off distance and bearing, but Brinkley ignored him and simply looked at the main plot where the light code of the ship had just been placed.

“Definitely the Speck, they made good time in getting out here.”

“New contacts, three parasite craft, estimated as frigates or destroyers based on returns.”

“And there’s her escort complement.”

Minutes later, the warship’s computers politely updated with the infodump by the Valinor drone as it reached the extent of the ship’s slowly growing communication’s network. Its self-destruction moments later was the first look that Brinkley's own systems got of it however. Valinor drones, particularly when blackbody hulled, were notoriously difficult to spot at range.

Brinkley and Maheux were still going through the contents of the infodump when Fosthrow’s message was picked up by the outer system platforms and transmitted back to Somebody’s Problem. Brinkley left Maheux to her work, quickly reading through it and typing up a message for immediate transmission.

TO: Fleet Admiral Roger Fosthrow, Arafuran Confederacy Defence Force
FROM: Colonel Walter Brinkley, CO Somebody’s Problem

I thank you for both the welcome and concern for our safety. I intend to relocate my vessel to the vicinity of Pofrom’s orbit. For safety purposes, I must recommend that other starships maintain a minimum 5,000 kilometer radius exclusion zone of Somebody’s Problem, as physical interaction with her drive field when active can be problematic for objects that are not properly shielded. My navigation department will remain in contact with your traffic controllers to establish a parking orbit that will present as few issues as possible.


The message was transmitted, text only, no audio or visual data attached, directly from Brinkley’s vessel rather than being bounced off a drone again.

“Tactical, reconfigure our hull for normal ops, Helm, set course for Pofrom, bring us up to 100 Gs. We may as well let them get a look at us on the way in, but I don’t want to show off full capability yet.”

Any sensors on Pofrom that would be trained in the direction of their star would get a glimpse of Somebody’s Problem as she dropped her camouflage and minimum emissions protocols. The deep, absorbent black of her hull swiftly shifted into the Ministry’s standard livery of antiflash white. This briefly revealed what appeared to be two truncated cones glued together at their base.

As her bow swung towards Pofrom, optical sensors would find their view of the ship increasingly malformed and shifting into blackness, with the sunlight reflecting off her hull and the pinpoint sources of the stars behind her turning into arc-like smears in a halo-like perimeter around the smudge of darkness, the effect of intense gravitational lensing. The field grew in apparent size as it moved towards Pofrom, the dark center of the field being replaced with a distorted view of Keraston as the star fell ‘behind’ the starship.

A smaller bubble burst forth from the field, racing ahead of its mothership towards Pofrom before collapsing and revealing another drone like the one that had originally established communication with the government. Through it, the battlecruiser’s crew and Fosthrow’s staff coordinated the ship’s arrival, along with going over the mundane details of a first contact that sometimes escaped other nations and could have potentially messy results; air pressure and composition requirements, temperature and gravity tolerances, and other factors. Between two civilizations of the human (or at least panhuman) variety, there was not much concern of incompatibility, but it never hurt to make sure.

More bubbles issued forth, racing towards the volume of space between the Valinor vessel and their mothership, while Pofrom’s sensors would detect the constellation of drones that had seeded the outer system were simultaneously lighting off their drives and repositioning themselves.

TO: Vice Commissioner Mari Landvik, AO That Insignificant Speck
FROM: Lieutenant Colonel Aleida Maheux, XO Somebody’s Problem

My apologies, Colonel Brinkley is currently occupied with the business of communicating with Pofrom’s authorities. We have received your infodump and accept your offer of linking our respective unisphere networks. Accordingly, I have begun seeding the local volume to expand my own capability and repositioning assets already in place. Attached is a summary of my vessels capabilities and all observed data and communications with Pofrom’s authorities to date.



The journey took a couple hours, with the bubble’s distortion rapidly shifting and her rate of approach slowing at the halfway point as the ship made her turnover and began braking maneuvers. Finally, the field cut out as she slid stern-first into the parking orbit that had been assigned to her, and provided Fosthrow’s technicians with their first good look.

Somebody’s Problem was a sleek and geometrically simple vessel. Her flat, circular bow measured 100 meters in diameter, studded with what appeared to be a dome-shaped weapon surrounded by hatches and sensor emplacements. The forward section stretched another 1200 meters, dotted with what appeared to be several dozen missile hatches and numerous batteries of small turrets, culminating in a 200 meter diameter cylindrical collar from which five large turrets were spaced evenly around. Beyond that was the stern section, another 400 meters of tapering cone, interrupted by two inset rings that radiated intensely along the electromagnetic spectrum. Finally, the stern ended in a flat cut-off much like the bow, but with the weapons replaced by two large rectangular hatches.

One of these hatches opened, spilling forth light and a sleek delta-shaped shuttle craft. It rapidly approached Secundus using conventional reaction drives, as the shuttle’s pilots were guided in by the shipyard’s traffic controllers.

Concerns with hangar compatibility had lead Brinkley’s staff to suggest docking via airlock umbilical. The shuttle extended its own, sealing itself to the station’s hull and pressurizing itself. Brinkley waited for the green light signally a connection, and then pushed himself down the zero-g umbilical before grasping the airlock bulkhead and gently swinging into the station.

The usual formal introductions were made with his reception, and Brinkley fell into line as his escort showed him the way to Fosthrow’s office.
Last edited by Vernii on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Ex-Nation

Postby New Roman Empire » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:12 pm

OOC: Sorry for the shot intro post in a rush.

Emperor Tedian
The Heriomi
About to drop out of FTL Contested Sector, Arafuran Confederacy


The Hand of Syr,

I am Emperor Tedian of The Terliran Empire and we are here to assist you. Please specify location here is our forces.

1 Decimator class Capital Ship- The Heriomi
4 Nova class battleships- The Pronto, Golem, Solar and Freedom
14 Gravity class Frigates
5 Imperial class cruisers
7 Destruction class Destroyers


Emperor Tedian was the type of person who wanted to be on the battlefield. He didnt care for the luxurious of being Emperor of the mighty Terliran Empire. He always wantedto be on the front line not in the throne room. Tedian was a Grand Admiral before he became Emperor. Tedian served in the Salcon war and joined the elite force known as the Imperium few. "Power weapons and raise all shield, check all plasma vents and check weapons." Said Emperor Tedian as he walked to the front of the bridge.
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Xiscapia
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Xiscapia » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:23 pm

XIS Emperor's Fist, Bridge...

They're complying, Admiral.

Good, Shinya smiled. They know what's best for them.

Ma'am? It was Gina.

They've seen a display of Bloodletter's power. Naturally they're going to want to try to leverage such an advantage against their enemies, or at the very least use it in their favor. Such are the ways of a close and bloody civil war. Not that I have any intention of pandering to one side or another beyond what we need to do to complete our mission, she explained. The Klyronians have things we want, and I believe we can do business with them. That is the extent of it.

With just a few thought-orders the flotilla was forming up, dragging the tankers Macharov, Argo and Junkers, the armed freighter Zhukov and the cruiser Gallarant behind them by tow cables and tractor beams. Transports continued to flow between the captured Arafuran craft and their Xiscapian counterparts, and the various Shuriken squadrons kept up their Combat Air Patrols, giving the force a busy look even when it was simply moving from one place to another, gliding through orbit around the curvature of Klyron, little more than a group of rapidly-moving stars from the ground. Sitting on the bridge, observing her command departing the debris field that had once been the Free Company Corsairs, now swelled to nineteen ships strong, the Rear Admiral felt a warm glow in the depths of her being at the success of herself and her subordinates. All that and for once she got thanked for her service by someone who wasn't a superior.
Indeed, life was grand.

Contact!

Directing scanner attentions to the oncoming Khaoes, she eyed it for a long moment. The design was not anything she recognized, and while the ship was enormous and by all indications ready for combat there was no sign that it was actually about to fight; no targeting locks, no warning hails, not so much as a jamming field. Maintain course, she decided at last, spreading her orders out to the others. If they're hostile they're prove it soon enough. Otherwise they might just be arriving to take a look around.

XIS Superbia, Interrogation Room...

Having started pacing when Callie began talking, Anzu crossed back and forth in front of the woman several times, ears raised to show that she was listening even when she wasn't looking at the woman. One way she went and then the other, boots tapping on the deck, hands behind her back as if in mockery of the position that her prisoner had been forced into, plume streaming behind her. At last she stopped, in front of the Captain again, and looked down at her in a way that initially seemed stern. But, after a moment and with some evident effort, the kitsune's face actually softened a bit, not quite a smile but neither a glare. When she spoke, at least, her tone was lighter.

"We're not going to execute you, or any member of your crew, as long as none of them try to escape," she told her, almost gently. "The worst case scenario here would have been that we process you one-by-one for information, to make sure we're getting the whole, real truth of the matter, and then turned you all over to the Klyronians to await whatever their brand of justice is. That said, the Kitsune Imperial Navy does recognize a difference between willingly becoming a raider and being impressed into the service of pirates. You are not being lumped in with the others of the Free Company Corsairs, as you would have been if we took any other prisoners. Our technicians and officers will do all they can to verify your story from as many sources as possible, but for the moment I believe you."

Plume rising, she made a motion with it and one of the guards stomped forward, heading around behind the captive. The soldier's hands brushed against hers, fiddling with her ties to ultimately undo them before kneeling and releasing her legs from their chains, though the shackles remained on her ankles. Stowing the restraints, the Xiscapian retreated back to their position, leaving her with full freedom of motion for the first time since she'd been taken from the Macharov. Before her Anzu watched, impassive again. Once more, her words revealed what her visage did not.

"Those were honorable sentiments, Captain Stern. You did the best you could with what you had. I don't believe anyone could hold that against you." She paused. "Would you like something to drink? Are you hungry? I can have something brought up, if you wish."

Regardless of her answer, the Commander pressed on. Taking a small, handheld device in the shape of a sphere from her belt, she glanced at it for a moment before casually dropping the machine, where it hovered in the air a meter off the deck before blinking and flashing a column of light into the air that quickly coalesced into a pair of holographic symbols, the first being the insignia of the ACDF military intelligence agency. The other transformed itself into a golden star atop a red sword pointing down towards a C-shaped semicircle of six white stars, with the gap of the C facing the golden star. Letting Callie look them both over for a few seconds, the vixen elaborated. "Both of these symbols were found emblazoned on crates aboard the vessel identified as the Zhukov, an armed freighter with the Free Company Corsairs. So far no one has been able to access their contents or tell what they contain. Do you know what those pieces of cargo are, or what these symbols on them represent?"
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Postby Valinon » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:44 am

Keraston outer system


The command centre, which also served as the Speck’s primary bridge, was shaped much like a baton and buried in one of the thicker parts of the ship’s hull underneath the riverlands. A long, wide corridor connected two circular chambers at each opposite end, one larger and one smaller. The corridor was bisected at the middle by paralleled blast doors that were the primary entry points. Twinned rows of crew stations lined each side of the corridor, crewmen and section chiefs seeing to the most essential functions of the ship with their faces and forms clouded by the ever-shifting images and lights data readouts and virtual visualisation programming code. Most of the smaller circular room was taken up by a double circle of workstations around a massive hologram of the Speck’s interior with images of the city and the riverlands stretched out above and below, respectively. Unlike the crew in the corridor, the men and women wore the dulled chrome-coloured uniforms of the Speck’s local security. Chief Kayre’s headquarters were located in Spiral, the formal name of Speck’s city, but a secondary emergency command post adjoined the centre for convenience.

The larger room at the opposite end of the corridor was more in keeping with what was expected aboard an OVA-run ship. Officers and crew in Verge Security tan dominated this room, moving freely between stations around the perimeter and the larger elliptical cluster that resembled two parentheses broken into quarters. The centre of the room was given over to a three dimensional projection of the most recent galactic map survey. Three other spherical projections orbited near the larger map: a detailed view of the Arafuran sector, the Keraston system, and Syr systems. Many of the officers in the room were clustered around one of the orbiting subsets, but Tanner Habit was sitting at his private work station at the top of one of the central station clusters. His panel displays and keyboards were occluded by a smaller, more detailed map of Kersaton. The slow rising steam from the teacup in his right hand adding a vague, fictional nebulae to its astrography.

Kapitän,” the head of a leutnant with the collar insignia of the comm section appeared above Tanner’s map, “we received a reply from Somebody’s Problem.”

“Forward it to me and notify the commissioner.”

“Yes, sir,” Tanner’s eyes darted through the brief message as it hovered at the edge of his eyes. He dumped Maheux’s attachments into his workspace to be looked at later.

“And begin unisphere integration.”

The duty chief nodded before disappearing again. Additional scrolls of data and highlighting spheres spawned across the map as the Speck digested the information being fed through the battlecruiser’s probes and relay platforms. The influx provoked a new intensity in the discussion around the Kersaton map behind Tanner’s station, including some unflattering remarks about what the locals were using for power sources. Tanner was starting to parse through the added layers when Landvik’s voice echoed in his head.

The good colonel is not wasting any time. Its good to know his command shares his punctual propensity with their responses.

Tanner clicked his tongue. Brinkley was better than some of the officers Gregor flung out to the back of beyond, It promises to make the initial phases of our operation easier. The ships security perimeter is established, although some adjustments will be made to account for the Verniian coverage. I will proceed to system saturation and detailed sector exploration immediately.

What about the initial exploratory operations?

Our Encre drones are en route. Syr was prioritised, as instructed. Cassel should receive their basic report when he enters the system.

Good, good. I will be turning in then, Kapitän. Forward reports as needed--your discretion will suffice. Should Brinkley encounter any unexpected problems, inform Gliese and raise me.

Yes, ma’am.


The connection broken, Tanner glanced at his wristwatch. The secondary circle for local time wasn’t adjusted yet, but the shipboard confirmed he was already halfway through his duty rotation. Many ships settled into a static watch routine he simply abhorred. He kept crew aware of the shifting nature of the ship’s needs by a complicated swing schedule that saw everyone rotate through the three watches every two months. It was true that he ended up with more middle watches than the other officers--captain’s prerogative was a wonderful thing. Tanner knew he functioned better at night and exploited this when he could.

That did mean Fregattenkapitän Han, his XO, should already be off watch though. Tanner stood and his map dissolved away as he walk toward the group around the Kersaton map. He walked with his teacup to where the XO was standing at the map, scrawling notes with a d-pen doubtlessly connected to his private lectern. Han also served as the Verge Security intelligence chief for the Speck’s complement, a dubious title given how many Special Affairs and Initiatives personnel were aboard the ship, but the XO had a knack for drone surveillance Tanner appreciated.

“If you stay here much longer, Haneul, you may as well simply stay for your watch.”

Han’s eyes flicked to his own watch, “My apologies, sir. I was hoping to see some of my suspicions about the locals’ capabilities were not founded. I’m afraid it looks even worse than I thought.”

“Doubtlessly Frontier Stability will try to rectify some of your concerns soon enough. I will need someone to coordinate with the Problem later today. See to it that our drone shell in Keraston will make it look we are as interested in the regime as Brinkley and his superiors and then I will see to the rest for now.”

“Aye, sir.”

******


To: Lt. Col. Aleida Maheux, XO-Somebody’s Problem

From: Kapitän Tanner Habit, CO-ICS That Insignificant Speck

Allow me to extend my own apologies, Colonel. While Commissioner Landvik is occupied with the initial formulation of the Office’s mission in Confederate space, I will be coordinating our efforts to synchronise our ships’ operations. I am initiating system surveillance saturation proceedings now that our communications are established. The Speck can devote its resources so that you are free to focus on Pofrom. We are also dispatching drones to Syr and the sector’s binary pair. Information from the other systems will be distributed to you as soon as it is available.

I appreciate the index you attached and am adding one of my own. This communique will be followed with a detailed copy of the Keraston surveillance operational plan, a list of resources aboard the Speck that can be easily transported to your ship or the Pofromites, the current details of our mobile defence perimeter, and a copy of our planned traffic control instructions for Confederate space. We are expecting to allow normal commerce and trade with those factions the Ministry is specifically interested in and are blacklisting several of the less desirable factions in the sector.


Syr


The commerce ship’s equatorial band was always a hub of activity, but the current traffic flow away from That Insignificant Speck was characterised by its official nature. The routine flood of drones and sensor platforms associated with the ship establishing itself in a new system were being swallowed by a larger outpouring of surveillance resources. Most of these were still assets designed for intra-system work. There were larger drive signatures that departed with the earliest waves when Habit was still waiting for a response from Somebody’s Problem.

Thirty-six Encre-class recon drones accelerated away from their parent ship before they disappeared in staggered patterns of jump signatures. The Encres were the best designs the imperial government could muster--short of the sophisticated Ferret-class military recon drones jealously guarded and hoarded by the Kriegsmarine. They were serrated arrowheads roughly 40 metres in length and black-bodied like the recently destroyed comm drone. Two micro-fusion batteries, three gravimetric drive bands, and a dedicated gamma-level RI (resident intelligence) were buried in the core of the barely 4.5-metres tall form. A slug-shaped limited range Verner drive hugged the drones’ underbellies. Three independent sensor suites were crammed into the serrations toward the arrowheads’ points. The ends of the arrowheads ended in a long, thin cooling tail surrounded by the hardware necessary for a variety of communications surveillance. Twenty-four of the arrowheads jumped away to various locations scattered around Syr’s primary at more than 20 light minutes above the ecliptic plane. The remaining units were destined for a similar sequence of locations stretching outward from the yellow primary star in the Morl/Korl binary pair.

The Encres were followed by six inter-system comm drones, larger versions cousins to the one used to contact the Verniian battlecruiser. A layer of redundancy was never a bad idea where OVA was concerned, particularly in the volatile sector described in Frontier Stability’s reports.

Hours after the Speck started casting its information trawlers throughout Confederate space, a group of larger, more powerful signature slipped away from the ebbing traffic along its equatorial band. The ships moved together so closely that it was hard to tell how many were present, but the returns suggested either three or four. They followed the drones earlier outbound course before again vanishing from Keraston.




The Cakewalk King was construction of grey and black that bordered on the insectoid in its appearance. Like commerce ships, SAI contact ships were a ‘class’ that included varying types of designs. The King’s main body was an arching ovid banded toward the bow with a collar that served as the anchor for four angular wings that draped along the ship’s main body. A gravimetric drive band split down the centre of each wing from the collar. The underside of each wing was a network of various ports and ECM projectors. Each wingtip ended in a collection of additional ovid shapes that were a selection of micro-probes and dot-drones.

Cassel’s ship was smaller than some contact ships. It was a single-person craft with its pilot held in a null-cockpit that consumed most of the bow stretching back from its forward sensor stack beyond the wings’ collar. The rest of the ship’s bulk was given over to essential systems and the inevitable package of weaponry and defences contact ships required to be effective throughout the Verge.

As his physical body hung in the cockpit’s womb-like embrace, Pierrick hung in strange reality the Kriegsmarine referred to as gunspace. It was a perceptional reality that blurred the existence of the ship with his own. Pierrick studied the ship as it completed the return to N-space from Keraston. The wings remain folded; their drive bands inert even for the little effort required for station-keeping. The contact ship drifted toward the system primary on a course that would intersect with the orbit of Geikdyr. The points of reality beyond the ship were originally limited by the capacity of its own localised sensors before streams started to crowd Pierrick’s reality with new visions and perspectives as the feeds from the Encres started to flow in.

Besides the expected activity near the inhabited planets, two drones were studying a collection of vessels that recently returned to N-space and were venting plasma. The 30 vessels were maintaining a formation as they continued toward the primary, suggesting an organised military force even before their in-the-clear message was intercepted. Pierrick couldn’t decide what was more obtuse: venting plasma like some child wandering through a dark cave or transmitting your intentions to support an indigenous terrorist group. The limited information MFS provided on the sector’s last war made it clear that the Confederates spawned radical groups deadset on inspiring the people’s hearts and minds by killing them through the most grotesquely blunt means possible. He diverted the two Encres from their generalised mission profile to specifically shadow and observe the new arrivals.

A series of chirps marked the moment Pierrick was really waiting for. The three drone freighters that left the Speck with him had arrived deep within the system, making their entrance to the system near the polar null zones of the primary’s corona. Valinon and Vernii both appreciated the wider galaxy’s disinterest in system astrography beyond the ecliptic, but using the equally disregarded zones around a system’s sun was a tactical element the Valinor frequently exploited. Well-armoured and shielded, the freighters could hide in the local star’s perpetual bath of heat and radiation with relative impunity so long as they continued to function. Their design and construction was something the Speck specialised in, particular with their remote cargo pods that could be summoned at will. It was an arrangement that would give Cassel some distribution without the need for regular ferry runs from the commerce ship. He reviewed the updates from the freighters before issuing them some pro forma instructions and putting them on simple station-keeping measures.

The expected and unexpected distractions addressed, Pierrick turned his attentions back to the more pressing matters needed before contact with the target could be established. He studied the image of his new face that floated above him. The jaw was more pronounced and square than what he was born with, and the prominent cheekbones and widow’s peak were something he had never put on before. The smaller parts of the visage were still being carried out by the cockpit’s systems that supported Pierrick’s own chimeric implants. In the end, he would look older, close enough to middle aged to imply veterancy but far enough away to still be an active field agent. There were wrinkling and age patterns still to build. He was also modding his height downward a bit and broadening his torso. It was not something Pierrick took to easily. Larger modifications inevitable required the n-plant and c-brain adjustments Pierrick still found bothersome and unsettling. It was also not something that could be undone once beyond the ship. The chimerics could allow for a range of faces and other smaller changes, but extensive modification would require investments Pierrick wasn’t quite willing to make, the contact ship’s intervention, or the facilities available on the Speck.

Deciding to alter the eye colour back to a vibrant green, Pierrick turned back to the comm infiltration. The local networks were a mess, as was to be expected during a fomenting civil war, but they weren’t the greatest of systems to begin with. The reliance on radio transmissions for intra-system traffic and the attendant horde of satellites meant infiltration at lower levels was easy enough, especially with the Encres available. Pierrick wormed his way into the lower level traffic of the Geikdyran local government. He kept clear of heavily encrypted transmissions and their sources. There was no need to sour a relationship by being mistaken for some mercenary effort to crack Geikdyr’s military security. The situation in the system was enough of a cold war cliche that such an effort would easily be misunderstood. After the initial intrusion, it was only necessary to start discern the separatist from those still loyal to the government. A list of targets was soon made available, both among Geikdyran civil and military officialdom.

It was an interesting problem as to how to proceed once that was completed. The Confederacy was a sort of stratocracy far from uncommon in the Verge. Normally, this meant military contacts were favoured, but the Geikdyran’s fate during the last sector-wide war and the philosophical positions that endeared them to the empire in the first place meant that the military may not be entirely trusted. In the end, Pierrick decided to choose neither and approach both. He started to craft a message, a narrative of a like-minded government willing to assist the Geikdyrans by providing them the means to defend themselves but needing to maintain a level of secrecy until greater resources could be brought to the front. Requests were sent for receipt of message by dumping a reply into a local comm satellite that would soon be parasited by a microprobe detached from the King, but the preference for a discreet meeting at a planetside location--well away from any major population centre--was stressed. Packaged in a series of self-replicating and adaptable programs that may, in a certain but necessary sense, be considered viral, Pierrick dumped the message into the networks he isolated and waited for a response while the probe approached a commsat.

Finally, he detached three Encres to start a similar infiltration effort in Orthmyr’s networks. The efforts would be modest for now. There was no need for the urgency required for communication. Only the need to glean and flense any information of value to preserving the Geikdyrans. In the eyes of the Office, Orthmyr was as disposable as a corpse at a crematorium.
Last edited by Valinon on Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:34 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Arafura
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Founded: Jan 05, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Arafura » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:13 am

Secundus, Geostationary orbit around Pofrom

Roger Fosthrow was a short man, but well-built. His hair was regulation length and his bright blue eyes betrayed his intelligence, despite his footballer’s build. He waited nervously and somewhat-impatiently as the commanding officer of ‘Somebody’s Problem’ was conveyed towards his office. He was grateful of the respite from his mountain of paperwork, but at the same time concerned of the off-chance that he may somehow grievously insult the Vernii into a state of aggression, and Pofrom needed no more enemies at this point in time. ACDF operations were laconic and gruff, as the idea was to get down to business and get things done rather than worrying about niceties. That’s what the ACP and the Diplomatic Service was for. Roger had no time for either. He needed to know what Brinkley could offer and what he wanted, though from the evidence of the Somebody’s Problem, he didn’t have much to bargain with.

Roger adjusted the medals of his grey uniform and continued to wait. It was only a short while, but the anticipation made it feel like much longer. Eventually Colonel Walter Brinkley was announced by Hanar, and Roger found himself face to face with the commanding Vernii officer. He stood up and smiled, trying to appear welcoming

“Greetings, Colonel Brinkley. I am Fleet Admiral Roger Fosthrow. Please, take a seat.”
He followed him in sitting down and clasped his hands in front of him on the desk. Hanar discreetly left the two to their business, closing the door behind him and cutting off the noise of the station, leaving the room dead silent. After a short pause, Roger broke the silence.

“You made quite an impressive entrance, Colonel. We’re a suspicious bunch out here but I’m damned happy to be receiving an offer of outside help. You’ve seen the quantity of vessels we have stationed here. There are dozens of capitol vessels and the Cornerstone is an impressive sight, but let me tell you each other planet of the Confederacy has just as much weaponry and naval power as we do. This is a war without warfare because if we overstep then we’ll risk being annihilated by our enemies. I’m not gonna lie to you – we need help. I’m hoping this is where you come in.”

Klyronian Orbital Space

XIS Superbia

Callie rubbed her wrists dumbly as the restraints were removed, and she nodded slightly at Anzu’s offer of food and drink, suddenly realising she was quite hungry. When the Xiscapian officer displayed the images before her, she immediately recognised them for what they were – any captain worth their salt would. She pointed to the first symbol, which was a white stylised ‘I’ with serifs, flanked by four red swords all pointing down with a golden star resting just above the flat top of the ‘I’. “That’s the symbol of ACDF military intelligence. It’s not used much, which means the contents of the containers is rare or of great strategic importance. The other symbol is the personal planetary symbol of Pofrom, which hasn’t been used since the last civil war, to my knowledge. That means the containers are very new, extremely old… or maybe even illegal. Both of these symbols together means they represent something that threatens or has a stake in the very existence of this sector itself, not just the now-defunct Confederacy.

“I know of the containers you’re specifically referring to, and I wish I could tell you what they contain, but apart from recognising those symbols, I know nothing. The FCC recognised the symbols too, and they did their best to open them, but those kinds of containers are sealed tight. You need the right key to open them, usually. I told Leonardo the same, but that only made him more frustrated. They went as far as locking them in a railgun tube and firing, but that only dented only ever so slightly. I’ve got no idea how they make them so strong, but they don’t make these without good reason – they’re darned expensive. Someone on Klyron might be able to give you a clue, since there were some high-value military bases there, but if that fails you’ll likely have to go straight to Pofrom. I don’t really know anything else about them, but I’m grateful that you won’t simply wipe out me or my crew.”

Dyras asteroid field, Keraston system space

GFF Malefactor

Fleet Admiral Shareen Keppler scowled at the Orthmyran onslaught. Hundreds of vessels had been fighting back and forth across the Geikdyr-controlled manufacturing and mining facilities of Dyras, in the outer fringes of the Keraston system. Shareen didn’t know how they were able to maintain such a fierce assault, or for so long, but she suspected they had control of the Tespian which had been operating with the Fifth before the outbreak of hostilities. Over a hundred vessels had been lost on each side, but the Geikdyr Foundation Fleet still held Dyras Central, the primary complex of the scattered facilities. She hated to admit it, but this engagement would mean both sides would be weakened to the point of vulnerability to extrasolar enemies. For the first time in her life, she didn’t want to destroy Orthmyr. At least, not just yet.

Her flagship, a Mastodon-class battleship bearing the name Malefactor, measured an impressive two thousand one hundred metres, and bristled with the most powerful weaponry the ACDF had ever mounted on a spaceship. The Malefactor was mostly unscathed thus far, as Shareen had positioned it to destroy kamikaze bombers, should they attack the Dyras Central. From her bridge, she was managing the entire endless battle, receiving reports from her officers on multiple fronts. The Dyras asteroid field was enormous, but it certainly seemed a lot smaller with the combined complements of two whole fleets locked inside in a life-or-death struggle for supremacy.

The Dyras facilities were not terribly more valuable than other shipyards around the former confederate systems, but their value lay in the fact that enormous mineral wealth lay adjacent to the manufacturing facilities, making it of incredible importance in the narrow context of Keraston. In the eyes of the Orthmyrans, Dyras represented the only advantage that Geikdyr could claim, and thus it was only logical to strike as fast as possible. They’d been tussling through the tumbling rock and debris ever since. The progress of the battle was slow, but it certainly shifted back and forward. Shareen had lost several vessels in their entirety to asteroid collisions already.

It was a matter of numbers and sheer tactical prowess, which she knew would be won by the individual skill of her soldiers pitted against that of the enemy, which were trained in the exact same way. And time, it was a matter of time. Shareen clasped her hands and waited.

Genar, Geikdyr

The capitol city of Geikdyr shimmered before Foundation Delegate Carl Jentini as he reclined in his office. Reinforced glass ran the length of the entire wall behind his desk, allowing him to turn around and face the city when he wished. It was designed in this way to give the impression that the city was watching him, and that the people were ‘behind him’ in his rule. Geikdyr advocated direct democracy, leading to elections that were known to take months to resolve, but ultimately led to the population being relatively content. Yes, the system was bureaucracy-choked, but that was life in Arafura.

There was little for Carl to do at present, other than fret over the battle raging at Dyras. Fretting caused lines, though, and he needed to have an appearance that would inspire confidence and capability in the people of Geikdyr. This was Carl’s second non-consecutive term as Foundation Delegate, and he had spent much of his time and energy since the collapse of the Confederacy working on ensuring the continued survival of Geikdyr, focusing on making the planet self-sufficient and self-reliant. He had already finished with what little business he had had for the day, so it was with some surprise that he received an S-5 level encrypted message. Carl’s eyes widened at the strange and sudden request. He spent a while thinking of exactly what he could do, before tapping out a text-only response to the mysterious government that had hijacked the Foundation’s communication satellite network. He decided to be brief and to the point, but he certainly couldn’t pass up this offer. Geikdyr needed all the help it could get right now.

The Foundation is interested in arranging a meeting. Provided you can as discretely infiltrate our defence network as you can our communications, you should have little trouble reaching the opposite side of Geikdyr, on a small island in the Southern Ocean. We will enclose the specific location with this message and make… arrangements to smooth your arrival.”


With that Carl prepared himself to meet an utter unknown. He knew he was making what many would say is a foolish risk, since it could easily be an Orthmyran ruse, but he knew that Orthmyr would not be able to infiltrate their defences so easily. Carl had to take that chance. His home was at stake.
Last edited by Arafura on Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Valinon
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Valinon » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:20 am

Syr


Pierrick continued to digest the growing pool of information filling his and the ship’s senses while waiting for a response to his messages. The Encres were building an increasingly thorough picture of the system, although there were still many gaps to be filled in. The two Encres watching the Terliran warships no longer held much of Pierrick’s attention, although he was still wary enough of them. He was instead focused on a higher than expected amount of traffic in the outer system. The industrial node was something of an anomaly in a state like the Confederacy. It was farther out than what OVA normally observed in systems developed by Verger states with parallel levels of technology, and Pierrick thought it likely the outer system development was driven equally by Confederates ability to call on multi-stellar resources and the divisive nature of intra-system politics.

Whatever advances into the outer system made under the Pofrom-dominated government may not last if current activities continued. Four Encres were studying the conflict rolling through Dyras, drawn by the sheer number of signatures that matched Verniian profiles for Confederate warship drives. There was some difficulty in providing an exact number of warships--as well as what loyalties they claimed. Some of that was due to the disparate factions using the same hardware, but most of the limitation came from the snarl of disorganised ECM and EW interference and the errant interruptions of dumb-rocket warheads exploding. Intercepted smallcraft chatter and lower encryption messages was allowing for some tentative estimates of what planet held what strongholds. The Geikdyrans weren't being rolled up throughout the space they were contesting. It was just closer a contest than Pierrick--or his superiors--would like.

The SAI operative was torn where it came to the fate of the industrial node. Its preservation would improve the position of whoever held it. However, the Confederate infrastructure was an albatross in more ways than one. It was diffused in a pattern that met sector-wide, rather than system-specific, defence strategies. Any of the larger nodes beyond Pofrom’s Secundus could easily become nothing more than a sink tying up mobile assets better used elsewhere. The battle was proof enough of this. Then there was the state of the Confederate infrastructure. While impressive in terms of its girth and capacity, the overall capabilities left much to be desired. The sector’s obscurity and insularity was more protection than its entire military in the face of some of the established expansionary powers that roamed the side of the galaxy opposite Alpha Centauri. The Viprans, the Sertians, and even the Huerdaens could eliminate current local resistance with little effort. Thankfully, that could be rectified. It still meant that there was some merit in just raising the insufficient bloat for facilities capable of defending the sector and the Syr system.

Entranced by his efforts to predict the battle’s dance and weigh possible intervention options, Pierrick was unaware of the reply until the King’s RI pressed it deeply into gunspace. The illusive pressure exerted on his mental space turned his attention back to the feeds from the pirated commsat.

Brevity was a good sign in these circumstances. It spoke to the Foundation’s appreciation of timeliness. Pierrick responded to the compliment with a receipt of the message and agreed to meet the Foundation’s envoy at the location specified. After sending the message through the commsat, Pierrick broke off his more obvious disruption of the local network, keeping only passive interception, and had the RI pull up the Geikdyr planetary system charts.

The contact ship started to accelerate, wings unfolding slightly from the body as its gravimetrics were brought to a subtle quarter of their operating power. The need for a low profile could not be completely superseded by concerns of time. Leaving the RI to handle the distance approach, Pierrick started to examine how to approach the rendezvous while continuing to watch Dyras.

******


The Cakewalk King was starting its nearly vertical descent through the atmosphere, having swung in a wide arc around the planet to assist the Foundation’s efforts in expediting its travel through the local defences. Pierrick’s gunspace vision was more focused, limited than it was during the approach. The wide swaths of the Southern Ocean were a cool dark in the infrared feed from the dot-drones he sent ahead before the ship entered the upper atmosphere. It was possible the Foundation may plan an ambush, but Pierrick was more concerned about avoiding as many prying eyes as possible. The contact ship was too distinctly foreign to not make an impression on anyone that saw it. Even idle gossip was something Pierrick would rather avoid at this point.

Preparing to level off and hug close to the water’s surface, Pierrick still was mixed in how to approach the rendezvous point. He started his journey with the idea of having the ship drop him off and proceed to it on foot while the RI took the ship onward. It would allow him to study the Geikdyrans before formally making contact and prepare for anything unexpected. But the situation called for some measure of trust to be demonstrated. The Foundation already made an effort there. He felt obligated to return that measure, which meant restraining some of his options.

Two dot-drones were sweeping toward the island on their tiny gravimetrics. Another trailed some distance behind the King. So far there was nothing unexpected. Pierrick built his acceleration and made his final decision. The contact ship raced toward the island, veering upward only within the last 50 kilometres of its approach to clear any coastal obstacles before starting to descend again toward the rendezvous. The ship stopped losing altitude at 30 metres above the ground and came to a stop less than a kilometre from the specified coordinates. One of the dot-drones accelerated back toward its parent ship.

An opening irised into existence along the underside of the contact ship’s spherical cockpit. Freed several minutes earlier from his cocoon, Pierrick dropped downward and landed in the ground in a deep crouch leaving a noticeable indentation. He was dressed in a grey all-weather jacket with an array of pockets and an impression of black mottling looking like urban or night camo, black jodhpurs, and metal-framed black boots commonly favoured by surveyors and planetologists in the Raumreich. The jacket was not long enough to completely conceal a olive-drab and black tactical belt nor did it do anything to hide tactical holster on his right leg. The holster contained a long-barreled gun that looked almost like a chemical slugthrower, until after the first glance. A thin-bladed monofilament knife with a black blade only partially concealed by a sheath was strapped to Pierrick’s left leg. They were the only obvious weapons.

Pierrick swept his surroundings while crouched while the King started to ascend again. Its form started to mottle with the sky, but not enough for true concealment as it hovered overhead. Satisfied of no immediate danger, he started toward the exact point at a slight jog. The King followed; the ship continuing to feed Pierrick with information.
"We do not care where you go, but you cannot stay here."
The Honorable Herr William H. Keith to all 'colonization/relocation/refugee' convoys/missions en route to Alpha Centauri
Her Imperial Majesty's Foreign Ministry, Special Office for Border Control & Forcible Deportation

Fact Book Project | The Lanthe Route & Lee | State of the Galaxy | Interstellar Trade Cooperative

Pantheon of Useful NSFT Links
FT Advice & Assistance Thread | Helpful FT Links| The Local Cluster | NS Future Tech (NSFT) Discord Server

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