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Annalen der Epochen ⟨⟨Lore Maintenance Thread | PRIVATE⟩⟩

Where nations come together and discuss matters of varying degrees of importance. [In character]
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Menschlicher Sternenstaat
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Founded: Apr 16, 2019
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Annalen der Epochen ⟨⟨Lore Maintenance Thread | PRIVATE⟩⟩

Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:22 pm

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“Everyone has stories to tell - kings and serfs alike.”


Welcome to the thread for the Annalen der Epochen ― or the “Annals of Epochs”. This is a lore maintenance thread, and that simply means that this thread will be used to give contextual basis to events in the history of the Menschlicher Sternenstaat (lit. “Human Star State”) and to give important characters a well-fleshed background and preceding biography. It also allows for facets of society, culture, technology and works of industry a chance to be expressed beyond that of most roleplays.

It is important to note that this will not only be restricted to traditional third-person storytelling, and that the contexts and emotional weight of features may vary greatly depending on the topic addressed and the way that it is approached. A mixture of traditional third person, first person, distant/archival, and academically-styled articles may all be posted in order to offer more avenues of bringing depth and diversity to the ideas and people of the nation.

Some topics that may arise within the annals could possibly sensitive and graphic to certain audiences. Because of this, such articles will be affixed with a warning label - but there will be nothing hosted here to the point of infringing upon the rules on such content.


Annals of Epochs
    Blue Hearth — Calm, Few Characters, Military-Oriented, Third Person Traditional
    Surly Bonds — Calm, Dreamy, Short, Third Person Traditional
    Narcosis of War — Abstract, Military, Third Person Traditional, War
    Fraternizing — Calm, Military, Third Person Traditional
    Time to Spare — Abstract, Calm, Few Characters, Third Person Traditional
    Brothers Unto Heaven — Mature, Military, Multi-Part, Third Person Traditional, Many Characters, War [Autonomous Thread]
    Memento Mori I — Cyberpunk, Multi-Part, Third Person Traditional
    Unto Gunfire I — Mature, Military, Multi-Part, Third Person Traditional, War
    Torihiki I — Cyberpunk, Multi-Part, Third Person Traditional
    Club Ramblings — Cyberpunk, Third Person Traditional

  • If you ever want to write with me, TG for details. It won't be for here, though.
  • Any art used for banners are NOT owned by me, unless otherwise specifically stated.
  • This thread is best viewed with a dark theme, as that is what I write and read using. Apologies for any unwanted contrasts or color differences in other themes.
Last edited by Menschlicher Sternenstaat on Fri Jul 23, 2021 12:59 pm, edited 13 times in total.

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Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:23 pm

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“There is value in family, in hearth, and in home. Yet... never forget service to one's country! How else are you preserve these three?”

Staatskanzler Michael Widmann, during the Gesegneter Christus rally, 779 S.A
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Landgut des Weiden, Planet of Stührath, Silbernesonne Reich
General Tillmann Schoeder, Menschlicher Sternenstaat [Gamma Quadrant]
April 19th, 790 S.A (Staat Ära) — 4:30 p.m. Stührath 10th Continental Time


Sunshine.

A commodity that, in itself, has been seen little in the terms of comfort by trillions upon trillions across the galaxy - its true self was one that was not too faint to darkness to ebb in and out at will, nor too bright to cause pain to any who dared to emerge from their homes. Those who dwelled in the cavernous underbellies of megacities were rarely ever to enjoy the shine of a home star, and those who made their homes in space itself could only enjoy such a shine from the starkness of the inky, black void.

Here, however, on the young, gleaming world of Stührath, sunshine was at its true form. A golden brilliance that could spread its rays across the breadth of billowing fields below, green grasses and golden grains swaying in the winds like dancers to such a solar show. Their arcs across the towering, snow-crested mountainscapes allowed great shadows to form across the breathing and shifting land, giving brief respite to the gleaming of the yellow-tinted light. It was truly a blessing to have, especially given the world’s history - born into the minds of the Staatsvölk as nothing more than a mere planemo to manipulate for its resources and leave behind, the push for greater opportunity by the old explorer Martin Stühbacher led to its consideration for experimental mass-scale terraforming, and such a dream was finally completed a few hundred years after its conception by the toiling of millions of men, xenoi, and synthetics alike.

The soft, silky strands of cloud that were strewn throughout the blue and yawning sky gave confirmation to the ideas of building a new Earth for next generations to cherish, love, and keep pure. This was the spirit of the Staat - to bring forth new purity unto the world and unto Man, and to preserve or promulgate the traditions the Forefathers of generations had enjoyed for the next. Such a belief was rare to find in such a shifting and changing galaxy, for the constantly evolving ideas of social and technological progressivism has caused many worlds to buckle under the weight of cultural degeneration and environmental exploitation.

Not in the Staat. Never in the Staat.



Drawing a smooth, warming breath of calm from his cigarette, Schoeder sat underneath the shade of a tall, sturdy willow tree. Its slithering wisps seemed to mimic the trail of smoke as it followed the wind into the journey of the sky, with each passing wave of cooling air sending these leaves into trails of green. Schoeder’s uniform, although well-fit to his form, was slightly aloof in looks due to being unbuttoned and sagging along with his weight in the lounging hammock. His undershirt was adorned with patterns of golden leaves of maple and oak suspended in air, in humorous similarity to that of the willow wisps laying above his head. Nestled atop of this was his Medaille des Herrlichen Sieges, a beautiful war medal given to him for his contribution as a Sturmheer General to the victory over the Akzar barbarian kingdom that once existed in the Staat’s northern periphery. This particular “Glorious Victories Medal” was in the shape of a golden, squat cross similar to the tilted one that existed on the official flag of the State Army, with a brilliant tanzanite gemstone nestled into its center, with intricate geometric patterns etched into its edges and contours.

Of course, it did not seem that Schoeder was in the mood to keep his formal attire in proper order, as his feldgrau overcoat was on the verge of slipping off of his body entirely. The environment around him did little to shake him from this daze either, as the tweeting of frolicking birds and rolling passages of wind around his hammock sent Schoeder deeper and deeper into the comforting embrace of sleep. He did not need the overtly complex sleeping aides found in other planets who suffered from either total absence of noise or too much background ambiance, for he was already nestled in a perfect medium of soothing nature.

This didn’t last for long.

The pitter-patter of feet upon dirt slowly roused Schoeder from the hug of fatigue, having him unconsciously fix his clothing back into somewhat proper order as he positioned himself upright on the swinging hammock. His hat was being held by a spindly branch of another willow near his head, and so Schoeder clawed at such with a haze of laziness as he tried to get his bearings.

“Wh... Saskia?”

“Papa is awake! See, I told you, Nlyze. He just gets sleepy sometimes, you don’t need to be scared!”


Saskia, a joyful little girl dressed in a dark and yet bold blue skirt, hopped and skipped over winding roots and rocks as she went to tug at Schoeder’s hammock. Although he tried playfully bopping her in the head to get her away for just one second, it was inevitably fruitless, as Saskia was able to haul herself up just enough to prompt Schoeder to pull her up all the way and set her aside him on the now ever-drooping canvas hammock.

“I thought Madame Magdalena was watching you...”

“She was! But the galaxy news is just soooo boring...”

“...And she decided to just come to her male-bearer instead!”


Coming next upon the dirt trail was a tall reptilian, dressed in a black and white attire mandated for all servants of an estate on a planet such as Stührath. More specifically, it was a Banzar - a race originally folded into the demesne of the Sternenstaat following its submission of authority to them in a greater war against a human pirate confederation in the region.

Due to their peaceful transfer of power and influence, the previous Banzar Republic became a part of the ever-expanding Human Star State without any shedding of blood, which made them much more honorable in the eyes of the Staat. As a result of this, their people were considered to be of higher moral and civil caliber than other sophonts in the nation, which allowed many to quickly get careers such as estate service. Nlyze, a male Banzar, was one such individual, with his family having all legally transferred to Stührath from his homeworld of Kilago to become servants in Schoeder’s estate.

“Male-bearer, huh?” Schoeder teased, ruffling Saskia’s hair as she tossed herself around in the hammock’s dip.

“I can say ‘father’ fine, but it just doesn’t have that Banzar ring to it. The thing is... I have something else to tell you about, sir.”

“Fair enough.”

Nlyze walked up to Schoeder and his daughter with a visi-tablet in hand, extending it with his hand tilted so that his master could clearly see the screen. It showed a few blocks of text affixed underneath a spanning logo of the Staat government, with a quizzical lack of any boldfacing, italicizing, or underlining.

“Your affiliate from the State Army High Command had told the post-lady to forward this to you at the earliest possible convenience... however, you did say you were taking a break in the willow grove. I just decided to bring it to you.”

“How fair of you! Which affiliate?”

“I believe it was Generaloberstabsarzt Lutz.”

“...Lutz, huh? Give it here.”


After giving it to Schoeder, Nlyze scooped up Saskia into his arms and set her upon his shoulders, acting like her own “regal horse” as he began to prance around the grove with her. This left his master to study the document given to him without distraction...

It was a message of attention directed to Gen. Schoeder from the aforementioned medical officer, and its contents being organized in a rather
lackadaisical manner intrigued him greatly.

Code: Select all
To General Tillmann Schoeder, Commander of the CCXII Army Corps and Subordinate of Generaloberst Raul Möhring of the 52nd Army:

   It is always a pleasure to write to you, my friend. As you may know, Möhring’s meeting with Generalfeldmarschall Grossmann and Staatskanzler
Widmann is still underway on Vera. Due to the length of time that their discussions are having - which may or may not pertain to the plans of coordinations
with the Sinicans in the near future for security ventures  - I feel obliged to notify you that we may both come to jointly control the 52nd Army temporarily
until the meeting has been finalized.

   It sounded as strange to me as it now does to you. After all, I was scheduled to review the medical diagnostics of the 212th Army Corps for
spaceborne travel again, but it seems that such a job now has to fall to my assistant. A pity, since he’s so fresh and green to these things.

   Because of this, you and I may have to travel to Tongten in the near future in order to be temporarily officiated as Co-Generalobersts. A ridiculous
thing to hear, right? Alas, the command board feels that we are in enough of a peace to do such a dumb and dastardly thing. That’s their job...

   Also, do tell me of how dear Saskia and Lady Catrine are doing. My own children miss your wife and daughter verily so, and it would be a shame if
they would have to go another year apart. Perhaps a trip to Augustale is in order?

   Your friend and fellow patriot,
         Generaloberstabsarzt Fredrik Lutz.


Schoeder finished the letter with a harsh chuckle, testing to see if any more pages were available to see by flicking the screen to-and-fro. There were none, as so the General was left to ponder about the newfound position that he found himself in. A temporary one, sure, but nevertheless one that put quite the weight upon his normal conduct.

Foregoing thoughts of such any longer, Schoeder flicked his cap from off of the tree to his right and fixed it tightly upon his head. Nlyze, upon seeing his master finally rise from the hammock, promptly set Saskia down as she pouted at the play’s end and walked over in expectancy of an order.

“Is there anything that you need now, master?”

“Take this tablet and set it on my nightstand - I need to set some things up in accordance to what’s been said there. Also, make sure that the cooks make a Sunday recipe early... my wife will be less spastic about what I need to tell her if she is doting over a dinner like that.”

“It will be done at once, master. Do you require anything else?”

“Nope, apart from taming Saskia.”

“Hah! A task that I may have to refuse...”


With that being said, Nlyze sprung to action in quick steps as he ran over the rather short checklist of things to do, with Schoeder taking his daughter by the hand as he followed in tow.

Being a co-commander was something so juvenile in thought... and yet, it sounded like an interesting experience nonetheless. A good one as well, if he ever planned to climb the ranks higher than where he was now.
Last edited by Menschlicher Sternenstaat on Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:18 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:41 pm

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“We live in a world where no one thinks of yesterday.”
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Palast der Sterne, Planet of Vera, Zentrale Herzlandprovinz
Image Sternenkaiser Jürgen III of House Kaulitz, Menschlicher Sternenstaat [Gamma Quadrant]
April 21st, 790 S.A (Staat Ära) — 11:57 p.m. Vera 1st Continental Time


The “Library of the Cosmos” as many had come to call it was, in itself, an anomaly among the stars that man calls its own.

Standing tall at the very heart of the Sternenstaat was a grand repository dedicated to the documentation and storage of almost every piece of human literature in existence - and due to that very reason, it was in itself a cognitive time machine back to even the most antediluvian chronologies of humanity. This harkening back to the literal earth-bound days of old was something cherished by billions across the cosmos, and lying at the epicenter of such a powerful nation was this very power. However, as many had also realized over countless centuries, the past of humanity was not always and truthfully emblazoned with the glories of social progress, technological revolution, and cultural entente.

Nay, the truth of man’s march into the unknown of time was pocketed and marked with transgressions of historicity and truth, with the warping of events by victors of battles and the subversions of facts being brought on by the shadows of humanity itself. In the face of this behavioral reality, the very core of the Staat found itself at a mind-bound precipice - to advance itself with this same methodology and keep the masses complacent towards a future better for them, or to bring itself to actualization through the deliberation of truth over all else.

They did both.
He sat watching the shimmer of the hologram in front of him contort and glow with an artificial meandering that almost gave it a life of its own. Each beam of light bent and dripped like cloth with water, meshing together to form pictures so iridescent and shifting that he could not tell the difference between reality and this very form before him.

The whites of his eyes became neon with the flux and flow of the spectacle before him, as his pupils dilated in its ever-black void to soak up the view of...

This.

This that was the past before him. Not a second, minute, hour, or day before. Not weeks, not months, not years nor decades - centuries. Millennia ago, on the planet that bore the progenitors whose lives still disembogued in his blood like shards of previous experiences, sweet and bitter. He saw the smiles and frowns of those whose entire histories were now nothing more than waves in the ink of space and in the pulses of his brain. He saw the pain and relief of children whose very spilled or saved blood went on to forge entire dynasties of life and influence, spite and affluence.

This was his history. Not as a leader, but as a follower. A follower of a dream before him; a follower of a faith vested unto God and a belief vested into him.

This.
“Your Majesty...?”

The concern behind the gruff tone was what shook awake Jürgen from his enveloping trance. The hologram that he was staring at for so long had now become paused on an image of primitive tanks advancing over grasslands and hills thousands of light years away, and yet he felt so close to them. Almost in reach, palpable and real. The metal of their form, the shaking of their advance.

Jürgen stirred from his chair that held him close, with its fine fabrics slowly rising from compression in response to his arms raising away. The stitch of pain that once webbed around his waist like a worm of stress was now gone, replaced with the numbness of absent attention. He could barely make out the approach of the servant behind him from the smooth tinnitus that racked his brain, beckoning him to come back to the soft and soothing embrace of escapist euphoria.

“It is quite late in the night... are you okay?”

His servant appeared before him dressed in a purple and stone gray uniform, with the silver buttons upon him refracting the hologram’s light and thus shimmering like gemstones in the dark. The fuzzy, ambient glow that emanated from them blurred Jürgen’s vision more, as his languid mind yearned to return back to the assuasive nature of the past laid before him.

“I... I am. It was just being with so many people this night... it brought me tiredness like I haven’t felt in so long.”

“You grew tired from the ceremonies?”

“Not that. The actual people themselves. Their droning... their distraction... it drove me to fatigue.”

“I see. Do you mind me leaving you to your own then, Your Majesty?”

“...No. I need to return to my bed proper... this place will not do.”


The hologram was slowly fading away, the landscapes within melting into a kaleidoscope of chroma and white light.

“If you say so. Do you need anyone else to accompany you?”

“My strength.”


He looked back at the hologram for one last time, as the face of a soldier in unease collapsed into the maw of blinding light before dissipating into thin air.

“Your... your strength?”

“...Nevermind.”


The past drifted away back into the quanta of reality, slipped beneath the fabric of space and time. The tanks rolled on in the abyss of the forgotten, crushing the stars beneath them as they drove unto paradise.
Last edited by Menschlicher Sternenstaat on Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Sat May 04, 2019 11:34 am

“War is a fever dream... everything that happens in it comes to you through pain, and is yet so memorable and unrepeatable.”

General Hanno Tylien
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Kriegstürm 77-3b, Planet of Sliessen, Östlicher Koloniale Staatsverwaltung
Oberschütze Abia Dehne, Menschlicher Sternenstaat [Gamma Quadrant]
April 3rd, 726 S.A (Staat Ära) — 6:00 p.m. Sliessen 3rd Continental Time


Metallic clangs and scratches pierced into the stale, cumbersome air as the waves of force dissipated from the hallway, sending loose grates and tiles flailing and screws whizzing about in a frenzy. The distant, muffled booms of Schienenkanonen planetary defense systems soon followed such riveting tremors, with the sheer power of their projectiles alone cleaving the unseen sky above into a mat of intersecting, supersonic shock waves. This clamor of explosions originated not only from the most proximal of the Kriegstürm, but a miscellany of other fellow war-towers pounding against the firmament of Heaven and the death that lingered above such a silver lining.

The hallway itself was not left unaffected from the violence that was spreading across the world, for it was slick with the blood of the fallen and dying that splattered against the walls, floor, and ceiling with every passing wave. What used to be inscriptions of manual directions and labels for locations in the facility were now covered by layers of soot and uplifted clay. Men and women, civilian and combatant, lied in these pools of gore together in a cantata of screams and anguish that shook even the most experienced of veterans to the white of their bones. Each of their injuries were apparent from the chiseled holes left in their armor and flesh, and this trauma seemed to have been exacted by what some officers were calling a coordinated, automated “swarm” attack that left a lineup of marred and mauled soldiers in its wake. The choir of pain was accompanied by the flurry of combat medics and civil doctors attempting to abate their suffering, vials of regenerative serums and medical-grade nanomachines crashing to the floor as they rushed into action. Once adorned with the iconic white garb that most medical personnel were accustomed to wearing, they were all now speckled with the browns and reds of blood and the darker hues of oil and soot that flew in from the outlying haze of battle.

The end of the hallway flew open in a fit of urgency as the furor of the overhead quakes blasted through once more, the steel teeth of the doors screeching in manual application as they grazed the rocky floor. Through the kicked-up clouds of ash and dust, the shadowy outline of several figures could be seen as they marched forward with an array of coil-guns and equipment in tow. As the group passed through the pallid haze, one of the medics checking serum inventory tossed a glance to them, trying to key in on their rushed and spry conversation amidst the howls of pain and thunder of war.

“...-77th Panzergrenadier Division were able to make a breakthrough! The war-tower’s shields are not going to hold for long - we need to carry this momentum and evacuate these civilians down to the emergency bunkers now!”

“What good is a breakthrough if we don’t have enough men to fill the fucking gaps in the line? The entirety of the defensive Corps is about to break, and you want me to spare men to exploit this? I can’t summon soldiers from thin fucking air!”

“The Volksmacht can patch it fo-”

“Don’t even finish that sentence. I don’t know how the hell you got your fucking rank, Miller - militias cannot do anything against powered armor! You expect them to hold against such a force for what, an hour? They’ll shatter in ten goddamn minutes!”

The irate Gruppenführer threw himself mentally into a state of despair as the gravity of the situation began to weigh true upon his mind. He stopped to lean on a wall crudely painted with the maroon cruor of a past patient, with its reddened overlaying ash sticking to the leather of his overcoat like a grotesque coat of fur. He did not seem to care about it all, as his gloved hand merely glazed past the bloodied dust upon him to enter one of his pockets and pull out an ebony autocig. Putting it to his mouth, its instantaneous flicker to life signaled a previously mute companion to speak up from the clouds of smoke encircling them. The medic instantly recognized such a man as the commander of this tower’s original garrison - Standartenführer Ungarn.

“Salzen, you really do need to listen to Oberführer Miller; what he is saying is true! This war tower can only support so many civilians and soldiers - we are nearing a million people already when totaling all levels, and with each passing moment there are thousands more trying to get in through the accessory entrances. The anti-bombardment shields are about to drop, and my regiment is already overburdened and understaffed - we need to get these people out to safety before the entire facility starts caving on them!”

“Are both of you fucking insane? My division has been decimated - I cannot support Felsten’s breakthrough if my men only number in the size of two goddamn regiments! We have no air or spatial support, either... advancing through the city like that is begging for suicide!”

“And yet Gruppenführer Felsten did exactly what you are saying you cannot do, Salzen! The man already lost half of his own division from their antimatter-grain bomblets, and yet he was able to punch a hole straight through their screens on the Grossvalanaplatz! This is no offense to you, but Miller is right - we have no other alternatives.”


Salzen stayed still and unwavering amongst the next roll of railgun thunder. The blood-ash upon his back sloughed off from the vibrations and clumped upon the floor, staining his pants and shoes with a light gloss of dried blood. Ignoring this, he drew in a deep breath with the autocig, exhaling the plume of smoke from his nose after a few seconds of silence passed... the medic almost couldn’t even see it at first from all of the particulates streaming forth in the air, but the size of the cloud showed that Salzen was neck-deep in anxiety.

“...Fuck it. Miller, since you want us to support Felsten so blithely, I’ll need you to convene with our forces at Accessory Point 22. I have to speak to the SitRep team and know exactly what the hell is happening up there before we head to the 877th... fuck if we’re advancing without intelligence support!”

Upon hearing the order, Miller snapped into a cold, focused attention, his eyes betraying his exterior posture with a burning fire of anticipation.

“Right away, sir. Hartzmann, Vitricht, with me!”

Two Staatsschutz soldiers dressed in full Splitterrüstung mimicked their commander in standing to attention, sending the dangling titanium shells of their armor clacking together and shaking off the dust upon them. With their onyx forms in tow, Oberführer Miller retreated back into the yawning gray void of the doorway, their footsteps fading away as they became replaced with the familiar sounds of agony and rolling thunder. This left Salzen and Ungarn alone with their own contingent of SS guardsmen, who had by then habitually formed a ring of defense around the two officers as they towered over the corpses and flailing bodies.

“I’ll show you the way to Point 22’s atrium, Gruppenführer Salzen, just come with me-”

“Wait.”


Salzen trudged forward through the ring of guardsmen that surrounded him, who shuffled along in response. It became clear to the spectator medic that his entrancement by the conversation had drawn his attention, as Salzen’s face began to grow clearer in features as the fog of dust obscured less and less of his body. He could now see the pale, pocketed face of the Gruppenführer, the white of his hair peeking ever so slightly below the rim of his cap. Blue as his irises were, they bored a hole straight into the brain of the combat medic, sending a wave of reciprocating sadness rather than authoritative fear or anxiety of an awaited order.

“You; what is your name?”

The medic choked on his own words for a moment, breaking into the reality of what was happening after being so immersed in the previous conversation. Nevertheless, he spoke, with a deep and defined voice that did not betray his built form and war-stricken appearance.

“Dehne - Oberschütze Abia Dehne.”

“Oberschütze? What was your baptism of fire?”

“The Liberation of Bictúr, Gruppenführer... Salzen. I served with the Gullen Division for six months...”

“...and I can see that.”


Salzen was motioning at the star that sat upon Dehne’s lone chevron, gleaming with a golden color that indicated exemplary service for those who were just Schütze. As he looked closer at the medic, Salzen noticed that his dark brown skin was webbed with white, collagenous scars reminiscent of past battle, ingraining into his mind further that those around him were already experienced with the tumult of such devastating warfare.

“Ungarn, I want you to note something.”

“Hm?”


The Standartenführer began to look upon Dehne as well, his attention being split between the demands of Salzen and the background noise of the injured lying only mere feet away.

“This trooper is a resemblance of what we strive to be.”

“That being...?”

“Headstrong and experienced. Am I wrong?”


Dehne realized from Salzen’s statement that he was staring back at them with no emotion, his hands twirling an empty auto-injector in subconscious distraction and emphasizing the webs of scars upon them.

“You’re not wrong... but even so, Gruppenführer Salzen, we should really start heading out. You should start planning right away, yes?”

“Yeah...”


Salzen was the first to disappear into the smoke, his face now morphed from past anger into that of abstract contemplation. Ungarn followed close behind with the platoon of SS guardsmen at his heel, his own face being slightly inquisitive in response to the weirdness shown by Salzen at that moment.

Dehne stayed sitting alone with the mess of medical equipment around him, still fidgeting with the auto-injector. Looking to his left, he saw his own platoon’s commanding officer staring back with a questioning expression, not really believing that the duo of Staatsschutz officers would waste such time conversing about a mere medic.

A mere medic was probably all that he was.

Still, this was all an interesting break in the monotony of misery that surrounded Dehne...

A clump of loose dirt that broke upon his helmet from the roof above sent Dehne back into visceral reality. He went to work loading the auto-injectors at his feet with regenerative serums, just as he was ordered to.

He would work on to live, just as he was ordered to, no matter how sickly this life was becoming. After all, this was just another assignment.
Last edited by Menschlicher Sternenstaat on Sat May 04, 2019 1:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Thu May 09, 2019 8:47 am

Use this noise generator for the most immersion!
“Abatements in the battle allow you to appreciate how much time you have left.”

anon.
Fraternizing...

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Forward Operating Base Stahlrohr, Planet of Gänsernberg, Östlicher Koloniale Staatsverwaltung
Hauptmann Handen Blocher, Menschlicher Sternenstaat [Gamma Quadrant]
February 21st, 787 S.A (Staat Ära) — 11:28 p.m. Gänsernberg 9th Continental Time


In contrast to the cold, whipping winds outside, the heat of the tent was quite the amenity.

Upon the center of the tent sat a small power-stove, humming softly as it emanated a lingering warmth from its breadth coupled with a muffled, sizzling sound of meat slick with sauces. Sitting upon a mat of squashed grass and strewn rugs, this machine worked with its attached power supply of mini-fusion batteries to bring assuaging warmness to all who sat soundly around it. The black canvas that lingered above their heads bobbed up and down ever-so-softly as it swelled and rolled with the waves of rain pattering above... and, yet, not a single drop of water leaked into the tent from the top or from the periphery as it sat snugly into the earth through prefixed anchors. The hot air generated from the stove was filtered from the tent through slits in the roof that were covered with standing pieces of arching fabric, ensuring a cyclical balance between fresh, warm air and the arrival of cool, falling winds into the atmosphere of the tent itself.

Those who lied underneath the warm embrace of the canvas numbered at ten, sitting around the stove upon stools both prefabricated with plasteel and fashioned by hand from local timber. Their helmets lied at their feet and their armor behind them, with steaming cups of water, tea, and coffee sloshing to and fro as each hand bobbed up and down from conscious drinking or unconscious mannerisms. The men and women assembled wore nothing but basic apparel that replaced their dermal jumpsuits during times of peace and recreation, emblazoned with the iconic band of the Staat upon their chests. Having white undertones and gradients be flush upon the fabric, one could deduce that they were currently on duty upon the face of a cold, winter world, with the water falling from above being of rare sleet and slush.

Half of the group was enjoying their brews in the ambiance of the other half’s conversation, which bounced from personal quips to jokes and giddy ramblings at the flip of a coin. Their laughs ranged from boisterous and hearty to short and soft, and their stories from mighty and wondrous to mellow and lulling. Nevertheless, everyone was awake with peace settling upon their minds and warmth spreading across their minds. Two men of the group in particular conversed to one another in solid and unwavering tones, indicating their comfort with their present situation of relaxation.

“...oh, and exactly how was she?”

“You know how Kellemeti are... teasing you all just to disappoint in the end! I don’t miss her as much as one might think, but damn... you can’t just go on and forget a body like that.”

“That’s the thing, Chao. You focus so much on shit about their body that you forget all about the personality! Come on!”

“Are you expecting me to want to shag a dyke or something?”

“I mean, I’m not saying for you to get a girl you can’t wake up next to, y’know? But you know one that’s good-looking may just go to ditch you for a fucker with a bigger paycheck and-”

“Fuck you! You saying this because my family comes from Sinica, aren’t you?”

“You didn’t even let me finish my sentence! I was gonna say a better taste in shit like clothing, but if you want to talk about sizes...”

“...The hell are you two talking about?”


To the left of Chao piped up a tall, slender woman by the name of Johanna, as was evident by her steel-gradient name tag. Her thick accent and daunting physique meant that she hailed from Pruža, a human colony only recently folded into the Staat’s demesne. The billows of steam that rose from Chao’s coffee cup obscured her face for a few moments, confusing Thairu as he looked to address Johanna directly.

“We’re just talking about basic shit. Very basic shit...”

“The ‘personality versus appearance’ argument again!?”

“I mean, it’s a pretty controversial argument,”
Chao said. “Hell, it may be potent enough to gridlock the Staatsrat... if they ever convene again.”

“You’re lucky that Suzan doesn’t hear this right now...”
Johanna quipped, sipping her khoba tea a little too loudly as a way of punctuating her observation.

“She’s too busy chatting up Hartmann; why would she want to be distracted now?”

“I don’t know, but you’re not wrong; bitch was fawning over him even during the last firefight...”


Thairu smacked his cup on the floor after finishing the last of his own water, opting for that over coffee due to not being assigned a night watch shift later. Looking over the waves of heat shooting off from the stove’s surface, he saw Suzan’s blond hair bobbing left to right in joy as she - presumably - talked to Hartmann. He couldn’t really tell due to the stove’s fumigation pipe blocking the way, but... it was pretty obvious.

“Hey, Thairu,” Chao asked, setting his mug down near his helmet. “You never say much about your own mädchen. She’s Kellemeti too, right?”

“Yeah, but not an Islander one like yours. She’s Continental.”

“Aha! You like them whiter than the usual, huh?”

“I don’t care much for skin tone, but I guess. Islanders are a hit and miss.”

“So... what she look like? Long hair, short hair...?”

“Long hair. Near my height, but not really...”

“...I can already tell she don’t got that Islander touch for her tits!”

“Motherfucker; you really can’t stop thinking about that shit, can you!?”


As Thairu and Chao went back-and-forth and the group at large continued their conversation heartily, no one noticed the flaps of their tent’s entrance slowly buckle forward as a figure made its way inside. With the glow of the stove being the only meaningful source of light, its face was obscured by the shadows creeping along the top edges of the tent, but the iconic gray overcoat of a certain Hauptmann could not be cloaked as easily.

Blocher snapped his auto-cig off as he came to stand over the group of soldiers, the faint light at the cigarette’s end petering out and flashing only the last remnants of smoke rising up in complement to the steam below him. Approaching one of the soldiers slowly from behind, his hands gradually began to come into view, bound by leather gloves and holding what seemed to be a metallic scroll in their grasp.

The slinging of the holographic tablet’s harness surprised his target entirely, sending tea flying upwards as her arms flew away in fear. Fully extended, it was merely filled with text upon the crimson screen dancing in golden hues, and yet such a sudden burst of light and wind near Erica’s face had already sent her reeling away in shock and in pain from the spilled khoba tea upon her.

“Why are you so surprised, Gefreiter Lerner!? Have you never seen a letter of recommendation so close to you before? Huh!?”

The spectacle that was unfolding sent the rest of the squad into a frenzy of laughter, their guffaws only being amplified by the goofy facial expression that Blocher was putting on in humiliation of Erica. Of course, she didn’t share such jovial sentiments, with her silver hair now being locked in place through the tea’s broiling grip... and yet, she soon cracked a smile too, acknowledging the humor of Blocher as he pranced around the circle in a dramatized fashion.

“If you cannot stand a little burn like that, then I don’t think you deserve this promotion!”

“...Promotion!?”


Erica’s eyes shot open once she heard that word in full. In response, Blocher merely shrugged, the crinkling of his leather jacket only accentuating his dopey act.

“Sure is! It seems like now you snapped out of that little burn as well... I don’t know what the hell you did to deserve this yet, but I’m sure the colonel will tell me tomorrow... the heat of this tent is killing me though!”

With that statement in mind, Blocher tossed the tablet over to them and proceeded to trudge towards the exit, letting the raucous noise behind him dissipate into background static as he breached the tent’s entrance into the outside world.

The sleet once again took him by the overcoat, splashing against it in a chilling mix of slush and water. He looked back to find the orange lighting of the tent now only spilling out from its own entrance, having the rest of its form swallowed by the darkness of the icy night... just like all the ones next to it and thereafter.

It was rare that Blocher found his men in such a state of joy; the recent campaigns against the “liberation” rebels of this planet had brought many to the verge of breaking after seeing the atrocities committed by their enemy. Yet, happiness always seemed to rear its beautified horns even at the precipice of such destruction and terror...

Blocher slipped into the stygian depths of the night, the sleet only obscuring his figure further against the black of the sky. The only light coming his from was the re-activated auto-cig, still shedding ash and smoke in its wake.

It wasn’t so bad.
Last edited by Menschlicher Sternenstaat on Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Menschlicher Sternenstaat
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Founded: Apr 16, 2019
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Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:45 pm

“There are things that your mind latches on to for indescribable reasons. It is what makes the biological mind superior to that of the synthetic; we have an intimate connection to the inevitabilities of fate that no memory core can hope to replicate.”

anon.

Time to Spare

Image
Apartment 35M-11205, Planet of Marinau, Josten Reich
Phillip Duany, Menschlicher Sternenstaat [Gamma Quadrant]
February 13th, 791 S.A (Staat Ära) — 9:30 a.m. Marinau 1st Continental Time

“Good morning, Phillip. It is currently nine-thirty in the morning, and forecasts predict persistent, clear weather...”

The soft and soothing voice of Phillip's apartment AI roused him awake, with a brief change in the transparency of the ocean-facing windows bringing in enough of the twin stars' light to bathe his dark, pocketed face in a comforting warmth. The hypnopod that he was sleeping in was open as a result of his arranged waking time, exposing his body to the baseline temperature of the room and emphasizing the smoothness of his sheets against the meandering air conditioning currents of the room.

“Coffee, as usual?”

The voice of Diana, as he called the AI, spoke up once more. It served as a remembrance of his late wife, in a morbid and ironic way. Still, Phillip was both smart enough to acknowledge it as just a synthetic program, and was also not in the mood for any sort of companion at the moment. He was in the midst of settling into his new life on Marinau after five years of service in the Weltraummarine, and as such, wanted to relearn the civilian conventions and social cues for his owns sake.

“I'll take a, uh... yerba mate this time, if there's any left. Any labor notifications today and the next three days?”

“Brewing in progress... no notifications have been pushed to your inbox, Phillip.”

A free day! Finally, Phillip exclaimed within his mind. I can explore this damn place in full...

Phillip straightened himself on the edge of the hypnopod and swiftly slipped off, landing on the chestnut brown beams of the bedroom's wooden floor with a quiet thud. He gazed beyond the surface of the windows and took in the sights of the late morning outside.

The sky was berthed with the nigh-endless expanse of bright blue, with tufts of wispy white clouds lumbering past the combined sunshine of the twin stars of Aslingen and Kaiserringen. With his apartment situated on the absolute periphery of a coastal arcology, Phillip was able to take in this view with absolute sincerity and tranquility, with the only signs of civilization being the steep slope of uber-glass and astrocrete holding countless outdoor patios like his own. These patios were all furnished with weather-resistant lounge-chairs and shadow-casting umbrellas, with the rest of their spaces adorned with fixtures of hanging plants and potted trees.

Phillip manually slid the shifting window-doors to the patio open with almost no effort behind his push, sending them gliding silently along their fixtures and letting in a breeze punctuated with the faint aroma of jasmine flowers and sea salt. He breathed it all in with relief, replacing the odorless air from the bedroom with this newfound concoction of a budding spring's day. Such a smell prompted Phillip to step outside onto the patio and take the sights in without obstruction, tracing the ever-so-faint trails of plasma engines and following the glittering of distant space stations with his eyes.

“Your morning tea is ready, Phillip. Shall I ready the holo-screen for the daily news?” Diana said, the AI's voice gliding through the opening to the patio and taking Phillip's attention from the ocean.

“Huh? Yeah, sure. Can you ready my car as well?”

“Okay, Phillip; your vehicle will be flight-ready in five minutes.”

The window-doors automatically shut behind Phillip as he left the patio, leaving only a trace of the outdoor scents trapped within his bedroom. His bedroom door split itself in two and separated into the walls to let Phillip pass, and he entered the hallway of his apartment that lead to an auxiliary bathroom, a personal office, and the living room.

Ah, shit; the dental paste!

Forgetting to apply the paste, Phillip rushed into the auxiliary bathroom and had the plasteel door glide shut behind him. An overhead roof light gently lit itself into full illumination, bathing the room in a soft glow of white that complemented the sterile tiles. He rarely even used this bathroom in favor of the main one attached to his bedroom, but it nevertheless shared the same, familiar scent of lingering disinfectant that was applied every night by a currently hibernating module next to the light.

Motioning for Diana to aid in the dental paste's application against the bathroom mirror's sensor, a slim and flexible manipulating arm emerged from a slot within the granite counter top in front of him. Tipped with a nozzle, the arm raised itself from the slot in a serpentine fashion and reached for Phillip's mouth, sliding behind his lips and dispensing the quick-acting paste over his gums and teeth. He remembered how uncomfortable this procedure was at first, but Phillip quickly got used to it from how easy it always went.

The arm finished dispensing and soon afterward rinsed out his mouth with water, having Phillip spit it out soon afterwards into the stainless porcelain sink. He finished his time in the bathroom by splashing his face with water that he forced out of the arm himself, fully immersing Phillip into consciousness and briefly energizing him in the process. After this was done, he headed out of the bathroom and noticed the overhead light dim into a dark, orange ambiance.

Back in the hallway, Phillip noticed on the adjacent wall the photograph of his family - he and his late wife, Valerie, alongside their daughter, Jana, during the latter's secondary school graduation on Vilten. He was initially struck with a pang of grief, but quickly relaxed upon acknowledging Valerie's constant repetitions in the past of living a full life no matter one's past. Jana being alive and well was also, of course, another assurance to him, with her acceptance into a prestigious medical college on Vera confirming a bright future for the family.

Phillip was, however, stuck in this seemingly eternal vacation.

Shaking his head at the simultaneously comforting and depressive thought, Phillip exited the hallway and entered the open kitchen to retrieve his brewed tea from underneath its dispenser. Still steaming hot in a beige porcelain cup, he safely grabbed it through the temperature-form ring that surrounded the cup and carried it towards the living room to enjoy it with a side of interesting news tidbits.

He plopped into the middle of a humongous, expansive couch that covered the entirety of the left wall and most of the rear wall of the living room, only avoiding the entrance to the mini-hallway that lead to the kitchen and to the wide outdoors. The middle of the room held a holocasting module that spinned to life as Phillip placed his morning tea on a nearby glass and plasteel coffee table, with its booting holography casting small-but-noticeable illuminations over the table's glass central surface.

As Phillip nursed the tea and waited for the holocasting module to finish its booting sequence, he motioned for Diana to flip open vents that shafted air in from the outside. A now-familiar scent of salt and jasmine flew in, perfectly synchronizing in sensual stimulation with that of his tea and the ideal temperature of the room.

“Your vehicle is ready for launch at your convenience, Phillip.”

Diana's statement was met with the final whirs of the module as it bursted to life, with the windows of the living room automatically set themselves to a slight opaqueness and shade to allow the holography to contest less with that of the outdoor sunshine. He settled in deeper into the swallowing folds of the couch and watched as the daily announcements began to spew forth.

“Greetings, Phillip Duany. Your personalized newsfeed has finished compiling! Loading now...” the module chirped, with a voice more artificial than that of Diana's.

“...the Interstellar Compact of Collective Human Harmony has officially announced the chairpersons for several of its new advisory boards and topical committees, including the primary agencies for spearheading commercial and technological interaction between member states. Staatskanzler Widmann of the Sternenstaat and Celestial Premier Chen Zhiqing of the People's Republic of Sinica, who both personally oversaw the chairpersons' elections earlier this week, voice a mutual support for the accelerated growth and efficacy of the Compact.”

The holography of the module was in a constant state of particle-shift to convey the images and videos of such topics in a seamless, three-dimensional format. Since Phillip was the only spectator, the module was able to shift the entirety of the holography to best fit his view, showing Staatskanzler Widmann in his iconic white state outfit joining Celestial Premier Zhiqing of the Sinica in the backdrop of the Sinican capital of Zhuque and raising a toast to the new members of the Compact's various international committees.

Phillip wasn't one to care much for international politics, but even he knew of the significance of such an event. This consolidation of power in the alliance would bring not only Sinica and the Staat closer together, but would officiate the Gaian Trail and the soon-to-finish New Silk Road into legitimate, protected routes of trade that promoted the Compact as a commercial power.

Maybe I can get a Pikasistani armor-suit, or a new set of Olimpiadan shaving-tech all without donating my left fucking arm. God knows I'm in need of that!

“...in regional news, the holiday of Saint Valentine is only day away. King of the Josten Reich has issued a congratulations on the fruitful relationships between husbands and wives... ”

...And now it's boring shit.

Diana's voice cut over that of the holocasting module's news-rattling at the same time that Phillip was debating whether or not to turn off the chittering machine.

“Phillip, there are two individuals awaiting entry to the apartment.”

“I thought I wasn't getting any visitors...?”

“There were no scheduled visits.”

“Shit... ask who they are,” Phillip ordered, rubbing his face in mental exhaustion. “If they are associates from the dockyards, I'm going to-”

“Agent Fersen and Agent Auer have requested entry to your apartment again. Legal protocols will mandate entry from a third request, Phillip.”

What the fuck!?

“Hold on, hold on,” Phillip said, exasperated. “I'll open it myself.”

The man heaved himself up from the recesses of the couch, his mind being breached by pulses of anxiety with every step through the mini-hallway and towards the shining white front door.

Agents? From what, the police!? The hell did I do? I just got on this damn rock...

As these thoughts swirled in his head, Phillip manually unlocked and opened the door with an audible gust of wind slipping into the apartment. It was slightly cooler than the apartment's own air, indicative of the hallway outside, but was partially blocked in its flow by two dark figures that flanked the doorway.

His anxiety spiked thricefold.

“Hello? May I, ask... who are you two?”

The man to Phillip's left was the first to speak, flashing a grin in the process.

“I can hear the anxiety from your voice! Calm down, friend; I'm Agent Auer, and the gentleman to your right is Agent Fersen. We're with the Aufsichtspolizei,” he said, noting the widening eyes of Phillip. “You're not in any trouble, I can assure you. However, we will need to ask you some questions in private. Do you have time to spare?”

The two Aufpo agents standing before him were dressed in what seemed to be black synth-leather trench coats, which in turn sat upon even darker hyperweaved shirts. Phillip knew from his service in the Weltraummarine that those shirts were weaved in such a manner for maximum, non-overt ballistic and energy protection, but the agents' coats were totally barren of any insignias or symbols that connected them to any government organization. The caps that they wore also lacked any symbols except for a bone white Zentrumband sitting centerpiece at the cap's upper rim, and Phillip also noticed that even their hands were hidden by synth-leather gloves when Agent Fersen was fiddling with his own hat.

“Uh- yeah, sure. There's not a lot in here right now, since I haven't went out to shop...”

As Phillip stepped out of the way for the two agents to cross the threshold into the entrance mini-hallway, he noticed that they weren't paying his words much mind. It was as if they were looking around for something.

“Is there anything you want to eat or drink? I mean, I only have some old rations and-”

“Do you have natural coffee?” Agent Fersen asked, looking at the living room's window-doors and noting the patio's extension across the breadth of the apartment's oceanside perimeter.

“I... uh...” Phillip muttered aloud, dashing to the kitchen in order shift through the various tiers of products left in his fridge. “I do! Marinau beans... will that work, sir?”

“Sure,” Fersen said curtly as he took a seat at the patio-end of the couch.

“What about you, Agent Auer?”

“Not in the mood for anything. Your tea though... it's getting cold, isn't it?”

Phillip forced a laugh as he rushed to the morning tea he had left on the coffee table, letting Diana automatically brew the coffee in the kitchen as he sat down.

“I want to clarify to you, Phillip, that we do not consider you a suspect or a threat by any means,” Agent Auer said as he sat adjacent to Phillip on a spare, cuboid ottoman. “We are here, as I said before, to ask you about some things pertinent to our investigations. Some of the questions I may ask you will seem odd, but this is for confirmation of our data and ascertainment of any threats against the Sternenstaat. Do you understand this?”

“Yes, sir.”




“What is your experience with the military?”

“Well, sir, I enlisted just over five years ago in the Weltraummarine.... it was after my wife passed away. I did my combat exams and training in Saalberg, and was transferred to the garrisons on Herzach as a member of the Weltraummarinesoldaten contingent of the SWM Münchennau.”

“Where were you deployed alongside the Münchennau?”

“Um... we were tasked with commerce protection excursions beyond the Dornnow Gate and along the Gaian Trail. I don't remember the excursion length, but it had to be around a hundred light years. After that, I...”

“You were transferred from your unit to an unofficial one under direct OdS command... is this correct?”

“Y...Yes, sir. That unit was shipped to the Abujan Empire for peacekeeping purposes.”

“Did you see any action in your peacekeeping assignments?”

“A few months into the operation, yes. The unit was redirected from our normal operations and tasked with evacuating VIPs from an Abujan mining world... I forgot the damn name, fuck... after that, we were sent back to one of their northern border worlds and were told to train local contingents for defensive purposes. That's all the action that I personally saw.”

Auer flashed a look at Fersen, who was staring blankly beyond the windows and into the serene oceanscape.

“Were you informed of the identities of these VIPs at any point in time by your comrades or superiors?”

“No, sir. I didn't even see the VIPs themselves; they were being transported in a native dropship design. My squad was manning ground-based hovercraft as terrestrial cover.”

“Was there any indication throughout the operation in regards to the identities of the VIPs?”

“Not at all, sir.”

It seemed as if Auer was on the verge of grimacing, but his facial muscles relaxed almost instantaneously in Phillip's eyes.

“Your commanding officers, do you remember their names? Codenames?”

“Let me see... there was a Korvettenkapitän who was overseeing the operation, but I don't remember his surname... his designation was Argonaut, in Galactic Standard, or something like that. Astronaut, maybe?”

Upon hearing Phillip finish his sentence, Agent Auer did nothing but stare. His blue eyes were boring their way into Phillip's mind, hiding something behind their hue. He couldn't tell if it was something sinister or not, but he was nevertheless growing with anxiety oncemore.

“What's the problem, sir?”

“What codename did you just say?”

“...Astronaut?”

“No, the name before that.”

“Argonaut, I think. I don't even know what it means, but-”

In an instant, Phillip was cut off by the flurry of wind and the snapping of synth-leather as Agent Auer rose from the plush ottoman. The man was looking at Agent Fersen as if in mutual acknowledgement, holding it for only a second before returning to meet the eyes of an anxious Phillip.

“Thank you for your time and your service, Mr. Duany.”

“...Wait, sir! What does that word even mean?” Phillip asked, noticing the pair of Aufpo agents walk towards the front door with an increased vigor in each step.

“It's an old term for explorer,” Agent Fersen said. “That's all you really need to know about it. And, by the way, thanks for the coffee. It'll be handy.”

As the agent turned to him and raised his hand for quaint goodbye before fetching the cooling coffee beside him, Phillip noticed a large holster fixed to his pants. It laid in view inside one of the trench coat's frontal openings, but the holster itself didn't tell him much. The grip of the gun was another story, being nothing like what he had seen before. It was almost overtly ergonomic and porous.

Looking back down, he noticed his tea was still burning hot and steaming after five whole minutes. In addition to this, he could hear the brewing machine in his kitchen finishing what seemed to be only a few drops of coffee.

With the holocasting module sputtering back to life and an underlying clock kicking on, Phillip ascertained that only fifteen seconds had passed between Diana announcing that the agents were at his door and them leaving.

Being without a woman must have been driving him into schizophrenia.



Last edited by Menschlicher Sternenstaat on Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Menschlicher Sternenstaat
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Memento Mori I

Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:32 am

― c o m p l i m e n t a r y m u s i c :: the new black / retrogenesis ―

“Humanity never evolved to live cloistered together like rats in the abscesses of cities. We grew up with the comfort of endless expanses, of unknown lands, of future dreams... there are no dreams in a concrete jungle. There is nothing but misery.”

Unvater Dietrich Josten
Image

Image
239-F2 Residential Complex, Planet of Vallen, Eastern Administrative Zone
Operative Alexei Yudachyov, Jiang-Schönau Neutral Territory [Gamma Quadrant]
April 19th, 790 S.A (Staat Ära) — 2:14 a.m. Vallen 6th Continental Time


Sleep was a total impossibility.

Every single thrash of the rain and wind upon the apartment’s lacquered windows kept Alexei well and wide awake, their rhythmic pulses of wails and splashes subsuming themselves further and further into his already frayed mind. The allure of a night’s rest seemed to fade into the nothingness of natural cantata, as the anxiety that pervaded the background of his life now intruded in full with the openings upon his consciousness made by that damned storm. Fungal effluvia blossomed in the air from the abundance of moisture and the cold that gripped every surface, with mold sticking to the endless crevices and divots dotted on the floor, walls, and ceiling.

This was not what Alexei dreamed of when he first envisioned such an assignment.

A decade ago, in the midst of his blackened and bruised youth, Alexei and his family were rescued from the threat of an oncoming nuclear holocaust through the saving grace of foreign interventions staged by the Menschlicher Sternenstaat in what is now the Human Republic of Megaslava1. While billions of people in the other worlds of his homeland burned and succumbed to the wrath of orbital bombardments staged by the Aumanii, he and his own folk were spared - and even adopted - by the state machinery of this newfound administration. At such a dark time, the family possessed a degree of honor and spirit even after the traumas of war, vowing to pay back their harbingers of life and freedom through voluntary service, whether in the military or in civilian sectors.

Alexei, naturally gifted in his physical strength and heightened mental aptitude, was able to ascend through the ranks of the Staatsschutz upon application - and, in a stroke of luck, was chosen by the paramilitary’s own autonomous foreign intelligence division, the Zentrale Sicherheitsbüro, or ZSB, to serve his new mother country. He was still quite young when he dreamed of where he would be placed, the wonders of the galaxy he could possibly see, or the blithe adventures he could partake in akin fairy tales of old.

This... wasn’t an adventure of “jocundity”.

Alexei teetered at the edge of vomiting and tearing up from the concoctions that bubbled in his room, the blooming miasma of the airborne spores and dust gripping his nose and the non-stop weather outside strangling his thoughts. Hiding underneath the cheap blankets of his bed did little to stop the smells and sounds... as if it was also laden with the filth in the air.

In a fit of ever-growing frustration, Alexei throw off the ragged covers and stood up, cracking the bones of his back, shoulders, and neck in a few swift motions. If he was not able to be even spared the comforts of sleep from the torrents outside, Alexei thought that it would be best to find other methods of distraction as he waited...

Waited, that is, for a response of any kind.

An integral piece of his current anxiety lied in the silence of his contacts within the ZSB - most notably, his own operation’s supervisor, Johannes Wiecker. No one - not even Wiecker - had reached out to Alexei in weeks, leaving him in the dark as to what to do further within the urban hellhole that he inhabited. His assignments prior to the radio silence were to monitor a few local key figures in the corporate and criminal hierarchies, but after many disappeared from the public eye as if from thin air, he was left with nothing to recount or detail. Alexei assumed that the higher-ups knew this, as they would otherwise have reprimanded him for losing track of such targets.

If that is the case, why would they say nothing?

He yanked open the dresser that lied at the foot of his bed and eyed the contents that lied within and around it. To its side laid a tinted piezo-umbrella that provided basic holographic information while walking, the microscopic circuitry lying upon its surfaces providing free power from the downward pressures of torrential rain. Within the top compartment of the dresser laid a misshapen pile of clothes, forcing Alexei to fish out a loose polyfabric2 shirt and pair of socks among the static, rolling sea of black, grey, and white clothing. The bottom of the dresser was much the same, except a pair of hydrophobic pants lied waiting to be put on.

Maybe it is because of the fact that I failed in my surveillance tasks? No, that couldn’t be...it isn’t my fault they disappear from thin air with no paper trail to follow.

Alexei had to escape the noxious stenches lingering in the apartment - if anything, this all was a sign that he was to venture into the beckoning rain. He wasn’t just going to retch himself to death out of a redundant lethargy, or succumb to further mind-numbing boredom.

Alexei snagged the malformed pants from the dresser and slid them on, staring at the familiar environment around him as he did so. Undulating waves of mold and stains brushed themselves over the porous white walls and ceiling, seemingly thriving in such perfect conditions lying within the residence. Apart from this disgusting guest of grime, there was nothing else to hold themselves close to the walls, as he had nothing to really decorate them with. Alexei was only here for a month or two, and yet it already seemed like such a prison... a voluntary one, perhaps, but a prison nevertheless.

Do they expect me to sulk on my failure as a means to repent?

Soon after sliding on a pair of large boots and a heavy black raincoat, Alexei returned to the side of the dresser to retrieve the umbrella. He stood there, hibernating umbrella in hand, racking his aching brain for any place nearby to go to of significant value. The superstructure that he lived in - this so-called “residential complex” - only harbored a sparse number of ratty, embedded diners and food bars... and, besides, he wasn’t really hungry. The horrible smells of his apartment made that much certain. Perhaps, after exploring enough of the area, he could pick something up; something not of measly value that was pumped out by the two-bit megacorps of the world to feed the masses.

Tough chance of that happening.

His boots, despite being dry, nevertheless squelched with the instability of its internal plastics with each step that he took as he drew closer to the lone window in the bedroom. The seemingly infinite waves of water that threw themselves onto its surface drowned any outside light from flowing in, creating a mute display of throbbing colors lingering far away from his eye’s grasp. Words from monolithic holograms and neon signs weren’t even apparent or coherent, with their forms melting together into blobs of light that pulsed in conjunction with every systemic wallop of incoming wind and rain.

This, for now, was to be the state of his life. One of constant wait, sheltering in what was effectively a modern cave against the unchanging concepts of storms...

Looking away from the window, Alexei felt around in his clothes for what he needed before he left his apartment. His phone, keycard, and wallet were tucked away within the recesses of his coat and pants pockets, and his umbrella was already firmly within his grasp. This summation left all but one thing to retrieve from the room.

Alexei walked to his pillow, still speckled with miniature stains of sweat and spittle from prior, sleepless woes. Sliding a free hand underneath, he dragged out the silhouette of a handgun and a pair of black, polyfibrous gloves. As he threw the umbrella onto the bed, he slid each glove snugly on before grasping the form of the gun that lied before him. He studied it thoroughly, flipping it to and fro within his hands as he made note of it being fully loaded. It was a Pi-62G, an eight-year old design of Staat origin that compartmentalized its electromagnetic operation into a sleek composite frame. A holster lied farther beneath the confines of the pillow, to which he fished out and fixed to the belt that lied deep beneath the tapering ends of his coat.

As Alexei slid and fitted the pistol into its respective holster, he took another gander at the window before him. He made note of each beating motion that the rain and wind performed upon it, sending upwards floods of rainwater that would fall from the might of gravity; just as easily as it had appeared. It was a constant barrage; one that made sure to all who spectated that its charades were to not end for quite some time.

Now, as he was getting ready to leave, Alexei noted how soothing it now had become. In a bout of depressing irony, it made him want to sleep, despite knowing the futility of such at that moment; especially with the current bouts of mycotoxins flooding into the stale air. Buying some carcinogenic spray for the pestilence on his walls was definitely something that would be going on the to-do list.

Running his fingers over the etched holster in a comforting tic, Alexei stepped through the gaping doorway of his barren bedroom and into the living room. It was similarly devoid of any meaningful personalization and population, only bearing a miniature kitchen near the exit and a beaten, used sofa adjacent to a silent holo-casting module. This particular device was something that he never personally used, instead usually electing to lurk in his bedroom or somewhere beyond the confines of his house.

Just like what he was planning to do right there and then.



The hallway that lead to his apartment was, utterly unsurprising to Alexei, in the same state of total disrepair as the residence itself. The tiles of the floor and the drywall that flanked them were all cracking and disintegrating in a miscellany of places, creating intricate webs of powdery residue and colonizing mold that crisscrossed across the grout and pores of the floors and walls.

As he attempted to slide the heavy metal door to his apartment shut, it didn’t seem to lock. Alexei, now becoming enraged from a burgeoning fit of frustration, began to bang on the handle-side of the door in an almost comical fashion. He ceased when he finally heard it, leaving his right hand in a pain that feigned being almost torn open from the inside.

Fucking “quality infrastructure”...

Heaving a frustrated sigh and shaking his hand to and fro in order to mentally rid himself of the pain, Alexei walked along the rising and falling patterns of cracks that decorated the hallway, following a certain path filled with the crusts of build-up until it terminated near the elevator lobby. The walk was permeated with the ambiance of flickering, sickly yellow lights and equally bilious walls, with the former’s droning masking somewhat of the raging storm that lingered outside.

He flipped up his hood out of sight once he noticed a few people crowding near the rotting lobby couches, and then continued to walk past them as he reached for the elevator console. They didn’t seem to give much attention to Alexei, however, as they were already heavily consumed in conversation.

“...Dat’s wha I don understan-abou-it, ry? Dey hav been promisin’ renavation ta a-fuckin’ complex, an yet you don see ani fuckin’ workas o even a shit-dron o droid!”

“Da real problem, m’bredren, i ya expec’ em ta do shit in da firs-place. Dey ain’t doin shit an ain’t ever doin jack-fuckin’ shit unless Stat tell em ta...”

“Rely on Stat fo any change isa recipe fo-disasta, a? Stat don care bout a-fuck-thing en dis place! Fuck dis fuckin’ shit-hol-o-a planet!”


The voices of the men were familiar and heavy with the drolling accents that many in this complex and elsewhere spoke with. Alexei’s rather unique Megaslavic accent made him stick out like a sore thumb in such a diverse place, though, especially with the fact that he learned Stadtverisch straight from the source itself versus others on the world speaking well within a bastardized patois. Still, living on the world for many months allowed Alexei to accommodate to its presence, being able to at least cogitate it whenever it was spoken.

“Wai... a-a-a, i’dat da foreigna I see!? Ya naw been walkin-awai wit no greetin t’us!”

Shit.


Alexei turned around, forcing himself to sport a dopey, faked smile to not stir further questions or possible anger from the group.

“You know I don’t speak Choeri3 well, Jorein...”

“A-don-give-a-shit, y’kno? Ya seem t’kno wha w’say half-a-da time. How y’doin’ n dis fine-day, ah m’bredren?”

“The best that I can...”

“That don seem like much t’me.”

“It... really isn’t. You were talking about the renovations the government was talking about yesterday, right?”


Alexei had, literally, nothing better to do - it wouldn’t be harmful to know the locals just a bit more. Jorein wasn’t a bad guy, either, from what he knew about him. A construction worker whose family originated from somewhere light years away, reaching the Staat as a part of a massive refugee swarm... this was probably why he was raised in the Neutral Zone, Alexei thought, remembering that many who couldn’t find placement in the nation directly where shipped to these worlds instead.

“Ya. I was a’da Royal-Crown bar, y’kno it? D’holo-projek talkin’ bout how dey talk wit d’Stat an askin’ everyone t’be ‘ol patient-an-shit ‘bout it. Wi all kno d’shit ain’ gonna fuckin’ happen when they grabbin’ us by d’nuts ‘n fuckin wit d’megacorp money! Megacorps, I swear-o-Ja...”

“What company’s blocking it now?”

“Ambigene Corp. Dey sayin’ renevations be fuckin wit dey own residential investmen’. Wi don’ even liv in-a Ambigene residen’, but it don fuckin matta t’dem when money all dat matter. Now w’gotta deal wit d’bullshit o livin in dis shithol, y’kno?”

“Yeah, it seems to only be getting worse...”


Alexei saw Jorein reach into his jacket pocket and pull out what seemed to be a natural cigarette, which was sheathed beforehand in a hidden dispenser. Motioning it to Alexei, the hooded man walked over and took the sign of gratitude appreciatively.

“Thanks, man... Lord knows I need one right about now.”

“Ja ‘ill tak care o-ya no matta d’cost. Dis i bredren helpin’ bredren, y’kno? Wi in d’shit togetha... say, where y’goin wit alladat rain outside, see?”

“I... don’t know, really. A bar, probably?”

“Hmm...y’best check ou-da Royal-Crown, m’guess. Ain’t too far t’fuck you ova wit d’rain n shit, unless y’thinkin about goin’ far-far.”

“I’ll check it out. Do you mind plugging in the location?”


Ah, ya,” Jorein responded, fishing out his own phone from deep within the neon red jacket that he was wearing. “M’give more shit den da Royal, cuz ain’t jack-shit ‘round here t’do anyway.”

“Thanks...”


As Jorein tapped to and fro along the phone’s screen, Alexei took out his own from the pockets of his pants and monitored the screen.

Beyond the normal broadcast of coordinates and information that Jorein was screening over to him, the software on it was also already embedding snooping programs. Alexei didn’t even mean to, but the Staat’s exponential surveillance connectivity promulgated its own manifestations into anything and everything in contact with its own agents.

“I’ll be going there now, I guess... thanks for the cigarette, Jorein.”

“Y’welcome ‘n welcome anytime for d’love, bredren... now, wat the fuck y’say about d’Sinics, Kieo?”


The voices of the raucous Choeri faded away as the doors of the elevators shut, jostling Alexei as it began to descend along primitive ropes and pulleys. He had a lighter somewhere in his pants already, but taking it out and smoking in the elevator, to Alexei, would be rather uncouth. Instead, out of boredom, he decided to use the spyware that had spread to Jorein’s own phone as a means to begin a rather benign search about the man’s history.

Jorein’s job had him laid off temporarily for quite some time now - most likely thanks to the stalling of construction contract issuance to smaller companies because of the domination of megacorporate filibusters within the various bureaucracies of the planet. With the mail and records confirming this, Alexei couldn’t feel anything but pity for the man, as it seemed that he now spent his days smoking, socializing, and yet never getting anywhere with a dwindling bank account.

Before he could look further, the doors opened at an intermediate stop, letting in a surge of teens and tweens into the elevator. Alexei grumbled to himself beneath the extended covers of the hood, the gaggle of adolescents constantly bumping into him as they fought and played with one another. He held onto his gun and wallet firmly with both hands, making sure they couldn’t be subject to pickpocketing by a particularly brave one of the bunch.

The group of kids seemed to not care much about Alexei, as they kept their roughhousing to themselves. Two stops later, and some of them disappeared into the recesses of the superstructure while older women and men began to filter in. This meant that, probably, these kids were from some night school. Nights on Vallen were twice that of what his own homeworld was, so this was no surprise.

He finally reached his destination - the one hundredth and seventy fourth floor, being an access floor to the lower skybridges and roads of the complex that germinated onward to other arcologies and superstructures. It was going to be quite a walk from what his phone’s map was indicating, but not owning a car also meant he wasn’t to be indebted further in such a poverty-stricken landscape. Alexei did desire a bike, especially since the ZSB wasn’t keen on giving him any vehicle themselves. The money was all there - his true account had around a million from agent financial protocols, and his faux-bank account even had tens of thousands of credits. Didn’t matter much if blowing all the money would expose him, though. He already built a miniature persona well without such a product.

The rain proved itself to be evermore powerful with the poundings that it lashed upon the exit port’s glass screens. The automatic doors seemed to be permanently held open with the constant flurry of traffic, letting in loose drops of rain from the gusts of wind outside and flooding the glossy tiled floor with the dripping water of countless bodies. With this in mind, Alexei shot open his umbrella, bringing the humming HUD within its cusp to life as he merged into the rightward advancing crowd.

As soon as he crossed the threshold, Alexei became knowledgeable of the true power of such a storm. His gloves and their polyfibrous composition were able to hold the umbrella firmly within his otherwise unsteady grasp as the wind sought to rip it out of his very hands. Others around him had varying degrees of success, or lack thereof, with some walking and wearing nothing but thickened raincoats and jackets, some being transparent and others blending their silhouettes deep into the dark and stormy night.

Crossing the fork between the exit port and the nearest skybridge, Alexei had come to realize just how populated this world was - or, at least, this area of it. Countless children and teens accompanied by parents, each other, or advancing alone into the storm swarmed towards the port, coming from rounds of night schools held nearby. Other people were coming in from peripheral garages and skyports after parking or departing from hovercars and trams, hoisting seas of umbrellas and hooded heads in their wake. Being from a world of rolling plains and forests, this new jungle of damp concrete and neon lights was truly alien to Alexei. It disturbed him in the most animalistic of senses, being away from the notion of a true home, and yet interested him totally. Engrossing, almost.

But that was probably not what many who grew up here thought.

Jorein, in Alexei’s assumption, seemed to be masking the feelings of experiential stagnation with that of social connectivity and smoking. Alexei was not one to judge nor blame, but the observation still stood strong. He smoked too, but not from an established cycle of mental protection and salvage... just to circumstantially escape the hell that was being someone with no goals, direction, or guidance. He was never a religious man, but from the many Christians he worked with in the ZSB, they always told him to “pray for action, for event, for consequence”. Cryptic, true, but nevertheless assuring among the leviathan of godlessness that this place seemed to be.

The barrage of rain upon his body and umbrella seamlessly faded away into an idyll break in the storm as Alexei reached the covers provided by one of the many skybridges. Hundreds of men, women, and children were attempting to avoid the worst of the storm by hiding underneath its outstretched glass arches, with crowds stretching all throughout. Many of these people were homeless, but some others were using the skybridge as an intermediary meeting point for families or friends and as a respite. Graffiti was strewn about the glassy, curving roof of the skybridge, hosting everything from Staat Zentrumband symbols to obscene pictographs and language. The Staat symbols surprised Alexei for a moment, as he did not realize how the country manifested to the average denizen of this world. Many saw it as a nearly god-like entity, while others saw it as the bane of their existence for being the cause of it.

Before Alexei could think of it further, he felt himself being pushed forward by a surging crowd. Looking up, he saw various signs indicating arrivals of various trains and trams a few hundred meters away... and, according to the HUD that was once open, one of these trains were the direct link from where he was to the area that hosted the Royal Crown bar.

He went with the flow, both from its convenience of propelling him to his destination and the inability to resist such a surge otherwise.

F o o t n o t e s

  1. One of the only human Staatsherrschaften, or State Dominions, in existence underneath the Sternenstaat. Originally a large Staatskommissariat that was reformed to an authoritarian and autonomous republic following the Aumanii's mass-glassing campaigns within their own occupation zones of Megaslava during the Megaslavic Intervention War.

  2. A cheaper version of hyperweaved fabric that utilizes a varying amount of supertensile fibers for clothing vs. one uniform, chemically knit fiber.

  3. A patois that originates on the Choer continent of Vallen from various refugees taken during the Sternenstaat's Great Eastern Expedition wars.

Last edited by Menschlicher Sternenstaat on Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Founded: Apr 16, 2019
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:26 am

3/29 Update

⚠️There's a multi-part story being developed in relevance to worldbuilding the Sternenstaat already; read here for Brothers Unto Heaven.

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Founded: Apr 16, 2019
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Of Gunfires, I

Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Tue Jun 29, 2021 1:35 pm

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― c o m p l i m e n t a r y m u s i c :: saxon / crusader ―

“God help those who fight in the trenches; for we cannot.”

Oberstgeneralfeldmarschall Nickolas Breunig, loyalist commander during the Civil War of the State, c. 522 SA

The Battle of Béteaux was a bona fide example of the viability — and savagery — of trench warfare tactics even unto such a technologically advanced period. Béteaux was the lynchpin of the Allsoix star system and a perfect location for the CROS (Coalition for the Restoration of the Old State) to stage a large-scale systematic offensive into the heart of the loyalist Imperial Star State; thus, taking it permanently from the hands of the loyalist movement was essential for the Kasmanite rebels to end the war quickly. Despite this strategy, the war would still go on for another three years, but the land battles of Béteaux would nevertheless constitute one of the most decisive conflicts of the civil war, as the held lines of the SS allowed their puncturing into the core of the country in mid 523 SA and lead to the climactic showdown in the Battle of Morcote.

Around fifteen million assault troops of Staatsschutz landed on the world over a span of two months to seize it from a large, prepared garrison of approximately a hundred million loyalist soldiers and conscripts belonging to elements of the loyalist Staatswehr, Landwehr, and Volksmacht. The first battle for the orbit of Béteaux was won by the SS following the routing of the Staatswehr's Totenkopf Weltraummarine battlefleet, and initial ortillery support for the Kampf-Staatsschutz's assault formations allowed the Kasmanite rebels to seize a large portion of the planet's continental interiors and coasts prior to the second battle for the world's orbit. This second battle, which would last from the twentieth of February to the fourth of April of 523 SA, disallowed further use of ortillery for the SS and thus forced the commander of all SS forces on the world, Oberste-Gruppenführer Kilian Rottmayr, to enact defensive procedures for the bulk of his flanks. These defensive lines would gradually evolve to become grand scale trench complexes, such as the Lambert Trench Complex, all of which served to defend the remaining manpower left dedicated to conducting offensives against the Doss Space Elevator.

...The 19th Marchten SS Infanteriedivision would take the brunt of the assaults conducted against the Lambert Trenches from the 10th of March to the 24th of March; these two weeks consisted of constant offensives carried out by battle droid and sturmgrenadiere formations of the 209th Veran Panzergrenadiers, 112th Division d'infanterie bételais, and 901st Division cuirassée bételais under constant rocket and howitzer artillery support using high explosive and incendiary munitions. At the end of the two weeks, the 19th Marchten SS were effectively destroyed, with only 522 men surviving without wounds out of an original formation 25,000 strong, including headquarters and support formations. During this time of constant assault and artillery harassment, it was augmented in reinforcement by elements of the 201st Vilten SS Panzergrenadierdivision and 3199th Independent Sturmpioner Regiment.

Kaleb Mergenthaler; The Civil War of the State: An Official Compendium

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Lambert Trench Complex, Planet of Béteaux, Allsoix System
SS-Sturmmann Pirmin Rösch, Kasmanite Coalition / Imperial Star State [γ Quadrant]
March 13th, 523 SA (Staat Ära) — 2:45 Béteaux 3rd Continental Time
ARTILLERY FIREEEEE! GET DOOOOOWN!

Naught a moment after the cries of the SS officer did the thunder roll down unto the ground from the very heavens; the depth of the trenches and the hastily-cobbled metallic overhangs were all that protected platoon after platoon of frontline troops from the shockwaves and dust thrown forth by the landing of thermobaric missiles and lobbed artillery shells. Rösch could barely breathe through the slipshod respirator that he had forced into his mouth from his mask, as the bombs that rained down around him and his comrades sucked the very oxygen out of the air for fuel of their explosive force.

The moans and cries of dozens around him could be heard slipping through masks and respirators as the bombardment continued for minutes on end, the quakes from the very earth cracking the trench apart - a spare few shells and missiles landing near their position kicked entire platoons off of their feet and face-first into the muddy ground. Rösch was one of these men, finding his visor now covered by oily mud as he tried to wipe such grime off with his gloves.

Soon enough, however, did the bombardment end. To the uninformed, this respite would seem like a godsend and a sign of peace to come - to the experienced, it was the silence preceding death.

A low drone could be heard from beyond the barbed wire of the trench's lip. This was coupled with the frantic screams of his commander into his personal radio, which he could only hear - visibility at this point without a visor that allowed access to the rest of the electromagnetic spectra was essentially zero.

Forward sap ninety-four; do you hear me!? Forward sap ninety-four, do you hear me, god-damn-it!? Shit!

The officer punched the cracked polymer that constituted the sides of the trench in anger; it seemed that the loyalists were once more deploying signal jamming technology from all across the front line. This naturally messed with their own communications, but doing so essentially spelled the beginning of what the distant rumble entailed; an offensive.

Sturmmann Rösch!” his commanding officer shouted, running to him through the thick of the dust that still circulated within the already crowded front line trench. “Grab a man and check sap ninety-four before anything happens! I need to know what to expect, got it!?

Rösch rose from his previous crouching position in hesitance, his rifle having been pulled from deep within the muck that its stock had become well-acquainted with. “Yes, sir!

He grabbed the shoulder of one of the troopers near him; a friend from his homeworld of Marchten by the name of Löpfe. The two began their slow slog through the front trench with their rifles slung across their backs, their bayonets no longer glinting in the filtering sunlight from the amount of dirt and mud strewn across the blades. As the dust slowly dissipated over their line, Rösch noticed the flag of the Staatsschutz flying defiantly some ways away, marking an intersection in the trench and who controlled it. He had little opinion of the SS itself, as he was conscripted right out of his third year of secondary school to fight. A seventeen year old stuck deep within the trenches was not what Rösch expected himself to become even three years ago, but here he was.

The thwumps of mortars from the rear of the trenches indicated that the observation posts had clearly spotted the advance of something, but the lack of even basic short-range signal transmission now meant that everything had to be communicated by physical contact. As Rösch and his compatriot trudged onward, he nudged Löpfe and pointed at the man's chest. “You mind giving me one before we get our asses burnt alive?

Shit, if you're really being prophetic about it now... sure. One last smoke for old time's sake. Here,” Löpfe responded, fishing out a crumpled cigarette pack. He handed the last of the two to his partner before he lit his own as he walked, lighting Rösch's later on as they approached the fork that would lead them forward unto the ninety fourth sapper and recon trench of the line.

Rösch popped off his respirator and smoked as they headed up the claustrophobic corridor of the sapper trench, the walls now being nothing more than packed dirt and mud held away from collapsing by haphazard metal struts. Corpses of SS sappers littered the ground as they went forward, their equipment having been taken by new sappers as they took their place in the creation of the trench. There were even a few battle droids that were buried in the muck, their metal exteriors already corroding and oxidizing from the loss of waterproofing lacquer. The pair paid little mind to the dead and the fallen as they went forward, their backs now slouched as they walked with a bent to avoid any stray projectiles or fragments.

After a minute of trudging, and as the droning became now clearly apparent in the distance, the pair of SS troops entered the finality of the sap trench. Somewhat unsurprisingly - but still disgustingly - Rösch saw the last of the sappers that manned such a trench blown apart across the open-air dugout. It seemed that the bombardment had scored a lucky shot near such a trench, as bodies were torn apart with blood and organs littering the floor in crimson and pinkish freshness. Rösch took another smoke as he quickly made his way to the end of the dugout, where he unbuckled a binocular from his waist to peer forward towards no-man's land.

At first, he didn't see anything of note - fields of razorwire shrouded by flowing currents of dust and smoke, with the bodies of the dead and destroyed battle droids trapped on wires, blown apart by mines, or otherwise stuck and silent in craters. Remnants of breakthrough tanks were also seen through the binoculars, their massive forms shredded apart by lucky artillery fire or otherwise knocked out by incessant anti-tank fire.

However, beyond the vignette of death that he saw, Rösch spotted a moving blob of dark that occluded sight of the enemy front line. As they drew closer, the thumps of marching became apparent - and they were almost systematic in procession, as if...

Rösch buckled his binoculars and immediately pulled Löpfe backward, motioning for him to head to the exit immediately. Löpfe's face was contorted in a mixture of fear and concern, as if he spotted the very same thing that his friend had and thus came to the same conclusion. Their slodging through the bloodied water and mud of the sap trench was now overcome by the sound of robotic marching and clanking, with the booms of distant artillery signalling the beginning of a true assault - one spearheaded by the arrival of an entire formation of battle droids.

As the two headed down the sap trench, they pulled on ropes that blossomed forth from the metallic struts that held the walls together. This allowed them to collapse the walls as they ran, since what was to come would only augment their tactical ability if they were able to exploit the sap trench's cover.

Löpfe and Rösch threw their cigarettes underfoot as they neared the front line, the groans of collapsing walls behind them also indicating in their minds the burial of what were once their comrades in a meter or so of putrid, festering earth. They sprung into what was once the fork to the sap trench and sprinted towards their commanding officer's pillbox position, noticing the front line platoons readying for combat by their officers sounding off the fixation of bayonets and the readying of grenade boxes. Special squads armed with with MANPATs and anti-tank coilrifles took the ready at the parapets, their rocket launchers and rifles resting upon the razorwire and sandbags above.

SOLDIERS OF THE TRUE REICH, OF THE TRUE STAAT! READY YOURSELVES FOR COMBAT! MAKE YOUR PEACE AND STAND YOUR GROUND! WE MUSN'T FALL HERE!

Clear the communications trenches now! Medics, prepare your evacuation routes at once! AT and AA teams, take your positions at the front and the rear!

MACHINEGUNNERS AT THE READY! MOVE THE BATTLE DROIDS FORWARDS! MAN THE AMBUSH POSITIONS!

The bellowing of platoon officers slowly withered away by the shuffling of hundreds of boots and the clattering of loading machineguns, rifles, rocket launchers, underbarrel grenade launchers, and fixed bayonets. As Rösch and his companion neared their commanding officer's pillbox, they heard the finality of a religious ritual occurring in one of the frontline dugout positions.

God of power and mercy, maker and love of peace, to know you is to live, and to serve you is to reign. Through the intercession of St. Michael, the archangel, be our protection in battle against all evil.

Help us to overcome war and violence and to establish your law of love and justice. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen...


The duo passed a massive battledroid as they neared the metallic door to the pillbox, with the hulk hauling an autocannon upon its segmented arms as it lumbered into a pre-dug position. The cocking of the massive gun resounded into the air only for a few seconds, as the march of the incoming army was now audible to all in the front line.

Spotting the two incoming soldiers, the SS troops in guarding position at the door of the pillbox hauled it open with haste, letting them through only long enough to slam it behind them as if on their very heels.

Herr Hauptsturmführer!

Ah! What did you two see!? The enemy is detonating smoke and obfuscant shells over no-man's land now; I can't tell a fucking thing-

They are assaulting with a vanguard of battle droids, sir! Thousands strong, at best - we can't see shit else!

The Hauptsturmführer had to do a double take between his binoculars and his two subordinate soldiers. His binoculars, even with their broadband spectra capabilities, were unable to see anything through the chemical miasma of obfuscants that the loyalists had fired... if the assaulting army was really spearheaded by droids, it was practically too late to retreat.

He sighed deeply as he patted the shoulders of the machinegunners who manned the nests within the pillbox, before turning to the two before him.

...Those aristocratic bastards can't even meet us face-to-face. You two, report back to your platoon at once. God bless you.
Twenty five thousand soldiers of the 19th Marchten SS Infanteriedivision were about to face the onslaught of over two divisions' worth of battle droids, supporting enemy infantry, and a hailstorm of supporting artillery fire the likes of which many recruits had never seen nor imagined to be possible. This was an effort to break open the Lambert Trench Complex that guarded the flank of the advancing SS armies on Béteaux and create a continental-sized collapse of SS operational integrity.

The line was not to fall, because it couldn't - the lives and integrity of millions of soldiers were on the line, guarded by twenty five thousand.

Streams of missiles miles away from the enemy line found themselves streaking over no-man's land and impacting the rear of the line in attempts to counter-artillery SS support positions. In response, the rear managed to fire off several of its MLRS own batteries before facing obliteration by plasma rockets and thermobaric bombs, pounding the robotic advance that crept closer to the front line.

At once amidst the bombardments did gunfire begin to spread throughout the line en masse. Machineguns hidden within pillboxes and the lips of the trenches rang out in stark staccatos, controlled bursts of bullets and flechettes racing off to meet their marks in the exoskeletons and metal of the approaching droid army. The massive robotic horde, in response to the incoming fire, switched from their controlled march into full sprints as they began to fire their gyroscopically balanced guns and weapons back towards the SS trenches. A rain of bullets kicked up the dust and dirt in front of the front lines as streams of whizzing projectiles made their way over the heads and helmets of thousands in the trench vanguard.

The snaps of sonic booms exploded forth in the skies as squadrons of fighters were scrambled to intercept loyalist close air support aerocraft, with vehicles controlled by AI and man alike in battle as the constant machinegunning thwacks of anti-air guns thrusted hypervelocity rounds unto the grey skies from the remnants of the rear line. Sudden, precise explosions tore through the midst of the trench line as some close air support craft of the enemy hit their marks with guided missiles, collapsing communication trenches and medical evacuation routes in their wakes.

Finally, as the army of droids crossed a threshold marked with the corpses of the fallen, the Hauptsturmführer in charge of that very section of the front line stepped out of his pillbox and into the trenches with his fellow men. There did he pull out a flare gun from his side and aimed it straight above his head. Without a word, he fired the round high into the air, sending a ]flare skyward and crescendoing over the torn trenches in a brilliant verdant green.

The screams of hundreds of NCOs and officers roared through the front as their eyes fell upon such a sight, the words “OPEN FIRE!” being ordered unto each and every soldier present.

Rösch aimed his MiGw 49 rifle through its holographic scope, sighting in on one of the battle droids that were advancing towards them. He opened fire as its sensor-laden head found itself underneath the crimson diamond and dot of his scope, being joined by his comrades as the onslaught of bullets and shrapnel rained all around them. He kept his composure only by the thought of returning to his family back on his homeworld - in order to do such a thing, he must survive this decisive fight.

Another rocket barrage from the enemy pounded the SS trenches in an infernal wave of incendiary hellfire, the plasma of these explosions rippling through any trench and crater that the explosive waves washed over. One of these very waves surged through the frontline trenches that Rösch fought within; he was only able to breathe by the fact of the respirator being lodged in his mouth, and only able to see due to the visor that he wore. Towards the blast itself, and through the sizzling heat that overcame the air, he saw the burning figures of several soldiers as they haphazardly ran throughout the trenches in screaming pain. Some collapsed from the sheer heat of the flames upon their bodies; others were forced down by their comrades onto the mud, while others were shot dead by the flying bullets that ricocheted into the trenches proper. The frightened yells for medics was omnipresent - some of these very cries coming from the same people that Rösch called schoolmates naught a year ago - but he could not afford time to pay such thoughts heed. Instead, in a state of deliberate ignorance to all around him, Rösch continued his defense by emptying round after round onto the charging metallic hordes that drew ever closer.

He was able to down a few battle droids from shots that shattered their vulnerable hydraulics, their sensors, or their motors and power centers. However, even these artificial casualties took several shots to down, and the sheer durability of these battle droids meant that for every one that fell, several more would have already advanced a miscellany of steps further towards their target.

Instinctually, Rösch and several other men nearby switched to their underlying grenade launchers as complement to their depleting rifle ammunition. Thwumps of fired grenades were carried into the crackling atmosphere prior to their fall onto the droids that charged forward, rending them apart from concussive blasts. The massive SS battle droid that was positioned near to the forward command pillbox had already been opening fire with its massive autocannon, cutting down ranks of enemy droids with relative ease as its massive rounds tore open holes in their exoskeletal armor. Even so, this massive robot was itself taking heavy fire, with several of its auxiliary sensors already knocked out by stray shrapnel and bullets. The men ordered to aid in its rearmament were blown to and fro by the sheer force of landing artillery nearby, making its overall efficacy diminished.

Rösch dug his boots deeper into the muck to keep himself steady as he began to unleash an almost automatic stream of fire at the battle droids that were closing the gap faster than any automaton that he had seen before. These must have been new models deployed, he thought - ones meant to commit a lightning assault such as this very onslaught.

MEN, PREPARE FOR CLOSE QUARTERS COMBAT! READY YOUR GRENADES!” his platoon commander shouted from a nearby dugout, his voice barely traveling through the raging maelstrom of gunfire and explosions that resounded all around them. Rösch uncoupled a stick grenade from his pouch and laid it at his side on the trench lip as he continued to empty his magazines upon the enemy, forcing himself to down as many battle droids on no-man's land as he could before they found themselves bearing down on the front line.

And bear down, they did.

Explosions from robotically thrown grenades boomed across the front as the limbs of its guardians flew up in puffs of gore in effect. Men from the reserve trenches streamed in to reinforce the line and evacuate the wounded, their eyes stricken with fear of the close quarters combat that was to come. Rösch had no time to care about this nor identify who had perished and were injured in that moment, for he was preparing himself mentally for the seemingly impossible task of surviving.

He primed and threw his stick grenades alongside a plethora of fellow soldiers, their surfaces boring themselves into the dirt that was stamped underfoot by the seemingly endless legions of iron. Their detonations, a mixture of explosive pressures and plasma, did enough to fracture the ranks of the battledroids and bore holes into their charging lines - but it was not enough. Entire impromptu chains were formed of men passing grenades to those that would prime and throw, with grenade boxes running out in a manner of half-minues. Ammo and grenade boxes were being rushed along the front by young recruit ammo-bearers, with some taking rounds to the head and collapsing along with their cargo onto the blood-sprayed dirt. Grenades and rounds now decorated the red-stained floor in a slushy mess as the bleeding fallen were either left to die or were rushed by medics and droids to the rear; when Rösch ran out of grenades to throw, he opted to take a few sodden ones from the very ground.

The command pillbox exploded from Rösch's left field of view, its concrete and metal structure splattering over the trench and smacking into the helmets and bodies of those who still toiled nearby. What dealt the killing blow to the pillbox was unknown to Rösch, but as the battledroids now advanced meters away, his mind and sight blurred to a total narrow.

On his last two magazines, Rösch eyed his bayonet - even though it would do little to a battle droid - and ducked, burying himself beneath the trench's lip as the second line of defense now opened up in totality.

Erwin! Erwin, are you-” Rösch said, cutting himself off as he looked over to the side where his friend Löpfe once stood.

Replacing this presupposed thought was a shrapnel-ridden body, his face shredded apart to nothing but a stringy heap of hanging rubber, glass, skin, and flesh. It originated from one of the grenades that the battle droids threw back in response to their own barrage of stick-grenades; Löpfe was wholly unrecognizable, the bloodied nameplate upon his chest being the only proper identifier left. Rösch said nothing as he stared at the mangled remains of his friend's head, his own eyes glassing. However, as he looked more upon the bloodied pulp, he could see sprays of blood and saliva and the heaving of his friend's chest, indicating that he was alive - albeit barely.

This sight and realization snapped Rösch out of his combat-stupor, finding new purpose to survive within such a hell as he seized the collar of Löpfe. However, before he was able to drag him beyond a few meters towards the fork that lead to the reserve trenches, his own left hand began to feel numb. Looking down, he was puzzled, before he saw his own hand now palm-deep into the mud a few feet away. He rose his arm to look at the shattered ends of his radius and ulna bones, their marrow apparent beneath the streams of dirt and ash that now seeped into the flesh-ripped stump. Feeling no pain, he turned his right hand and his head down the trenchline, and spotted the origin of his attack - a battle droid who was at that moment slamming the head of an SS trooper into an unrecognizable heap of matter with its sabatons.

Rösch hipfired his rifle down the trenchline between him and the droid, bullets spraying mud upwards as his barrel rose while firing towards the body of his attacker. Several rifle rounds were able to blow open the droid before it turned its attention towards Rösch once more, its internal circuitry popping off in droves of smoke as its hydraulic fluids sprayed to the floor in oily clumps of black. It slumped over only moments before another droid dove into the trench and on top of Rösch, tossing his rifle into the muddy floor as the sheer weight of his body knocked the air out of his lungs.

In a panic, Rösch felt for his pistol with his left arm as his right arm shattered under the grip of the battle droid, only to later realize once again that his left hand was bisected seconds prior. With Löpfe only a meter away, it was up to Rösch for the both of them to survive; this thought brought Rösch's exoskeletal power armor to the brink as its own hydraulics popped and exploded from the combative force of the assailing droid.

In a split second, he changed the force of his push from his right hand to his left bloodied arm as he thrashed for his rifle. Feeling the bayonet in his gloved hand, he ripped it off and slammed it into the neck compartment of the battle droid repeatedly, chipping the bayonet into pieces with each strike. As he could feel his own left arm now fracturing down to his elbow, his bayonet finally parted a chink in the neck plates of the droid with the help of his exoskeleton's power, slicing several fluid tubes and wires in the process. The battle droid seized up just along enough for Rösch to use his body weight to spin around and grab the rifle in its entirety, averting his eyes as he fired point-blank into the droid's chassis.

He could feel shrapnel riddling his abdomen as the battle droid cleaved apart from the emptying of his magazine. With blood now spurting from his stomach, Rösch kicked off the battle droid's remaining weight and slung his rifle over his back in order to grab Löpfe with his right hand. In a daze, Rösch also picked up his dismembered hand from the filth - or, at least he had thought it was his own hand - and charged down the collapsing line on an extreme bout of endorphins.

Rösch approached the fork just in time to lose all remaining energy and collapse near its turn where a stream of Staatsschutz soldiers and militia alike flew out in order to stem the tide. Using his blown-apart arm, he crawled forward through the mud and motioned for a medic to help him and Löpfe before blacking out entirely in the arrival of an agonizing, all-consuming pain across his body.

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Menschlicher Sternenstaat
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Posts: 109
Founded: Apr 16, 2019
Iron Fist Consumerists

Torihiki, I

Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Mon Jul 05, 2021 11:53 am

― c o m p l i m e n t a r y m u s i c :: metropolis ―

“The Kue'sahn Ministrate does not wish to intervene in the conducted minutiae of its citizenry. We are a democracy founded upon the institutions of self-worth, productivity, and the capacity for wealth and freedom; not a belligerent surveillance state.”

Prime Minister Hikozaemon Kanda
Image

Galactic Standard
Stadtverisch
Yaranoese Superdialect [Japanese]
Image
Naragata Urban Undercomplex, Planet of Yarano, Northern Stellar Prefecture
Operative Reiner Montello, Kue'sahn Ministrate [Gamma Quadrant]
August 1st, 791 S.A (Staat Ära) — 2:14 a.m. local time

“Rain, again? This has to be a joke...”

“No, it is essentially a facet of life here. You are going to have to get use to it.”

The all-pervasive snaps of plastic chopsticks and the muffled patter of incoming rain had intermixed with the strangely formal conversation between two men that sat near the wide, yawning windows of a ramen shop. Even with its placed height, which was hundreds of meters above surface level, the measly shop was nothing more than one small establishment nestled with the winding nooks and cavernous crannies of stratascraper monoliths. The rain that fell from above had managed to avoid the concrete jungle above the store, and splashed with victorious force against the outside walkways and hovercar parking anchors.

One of the men, tan in complexion, poked haphazardly at his ramen with a lone chopstick, analyzing the bubbles of oil within the stock and the coiling of noodles within. His face was quizzical and yet disinterested, put off by the synthetic umami of the stock and faked sweetness of the mass-produced ramen lying within.

You just can't eat any-fucking-thing synthetic, huh? Figures,” the man with the dark brown complexion whispered, elbowing his companion to the right with a giggle upon seeing his plight with the steaming food, and forgoing the formal speech he had been keeping up beforehand.

“Why the hell are you speaking in our—?”

Relax, Reiner. We aren't in the middle of a cold war with the Kue'sahns anymore; for Christ's sakes, they're observers in the Compact now! Besides, what commoner here knows Stadtverisch or Terran German enough, or at all, to understand us? Do these people look like they carry translators?

Reiner rolled his eyes, putting the chopsticks he had been attempted to correctly hold down onto a nearby napkin.

Fucking seniority makes you blurt out therapy talk, doesn't it...

I guess it does! But what can I say? It comes with the job; living here long enough can make you lose your mind without having directions to head in.

You're speaking from experience, Reiner commented, pushing the still-hot bowl of ramen away from himself. After a moment of silence from Paul, Reiner turned to only see the man's grey-bearded face staring at that very same bowl, still billowing steam from its fresh heat.

Yeah, so, uh... are you going to finish that, or not?

I don't feel like eating hyper-processed shit right now, so go right ahead.

Upon Paul's request being granted, he reached forth and snatched the bowl with tremendous speed, sending the broth shooting over the edge and splattering over the scratched metal surface of the table that they sat in front of. Reiner did nothing but sigh in mild disgust, and afterwards looked through the window to spectate the downpour that now dominated the scenery outside. His fingers, hidden within the confines of a black pleather glove, drummed against the steel tabletop in a minor fit of impatience. Paul, instead of soaking in the melancholic atmosphere beyond the window, happily slurped down his partner's food in acquainted delight.

The holography and neon of advertisements outside became disfigured and obfuscated by the rain as it fell, casting forth clouds of amorphous chroma that were further diluted by the billows of steam from countless vents and open air ports. From what Reiner could make out, bits and pieces of kanji and katakana illuminated the signs or holocasters that they were hoisted upon, with none of it making any sense to him. He only had an auditory external implant for translating what was said, and the optical translator lied within the confines of the sunglasses that he had neglected to wear.

Feeling the anxiety creep up his back with every passing moment, Reiner's eyes periodically flicked to and fro from his silent wristpad. Waiting this long was something that Paul had already informed him would happen, but to pass time in a ramen shop as the responsibility of their assignment weighed upon his head made Reiner all the more nervous.

Paul, Reiner said, snapping his fingers to draw his partner's attention away from the two bowls he now dined upon.

Mm?

How much longer are we supposed to wait? It's been five hours since I landed on this shithole, and still nothing.

The man likes to take his time with other bullshit; what can I say? If you're worried about being outed or something, this is the wrong place to worry about such a thing.

I'm not scared about that while being in a fucking noodle shop, Paul!

Beats me as to why you have a stick up your ass now, then.

...Did Lukas not tell you about how valuable that information is?

Nope, Paul responded, twirling a chunk of noodles with his sauce-stained chopsticks. Opsec, that kind of shit. You know what's on it, eh?

Enough to realize that waiting for more than another fucking hour means something's wrong!

Pssh, you really ought to calm down, Paul chided. Doing work isn't always ‘checking your six for a cyborg hunter-killer’ or some shit, you know! They did most of the work muscling the info here and keeping it secret, no? Nothing to worry about.

Reiner said nothing in return, returning his gaze to the rains outside. The occasional flutter of a hovercar, or the daring bird darting in the midst of the urban bustle, kept his attention at a standstill.

Before the serenade of rainfall and ambient chatter could fully overtake him, Reiner heard the distinct clicking of heels against the dirty linoleum floor. He turned his head to the left, and saw over the shoulder of Paul that one of the waitresses was approaching them. Her face seemed ever so slightly shaken, with a forced smile of ease being placed upon her mouth and cheeks.

My apologies, Wechsler-sama, but it seems that someone is waiting for you at the... other entrance, the waitress whispered, her soft voice subsuming into the indistinct conversations that flowed all around them. Would you like me to lead you there?

Paul, who had just been in a jovial mood moments before as he feasted, dropped his expression to that of immediate focus.

Sure, let me pay first, he replied, retrieving a yen-key from his pocket. The waitress took the key and slid it into one of the miscellany of slots upon her now-apparent synthetic arm, and hummed slightly as the transaction completed.

Thank you for eating with us, Wechsler-sama, and... um...

Kalb-san, Paul said, pointing to Reiner with his thumb. He's a tourist from the Peninsular.

As the waitress nodded in acknowledgement of Reiner's faux-last name, she gave Paul back his yen-key. Reiner's brow furrowed immensely in offense to the comment that Paul had made up.

Did you just call me a fucking Peninsular!?

What's wrong with them? They speak German almost like how we do, right?

Oh, yeah, sure — so your whole spiel about our country now being buddy-buddy with Kue'sah, what the fuck was that?

Forget about it. You still didn't get a notification from your pad?

In response to Paul's question, Reiner looked to his wrist as the three walked behind the counter of the shop and into the steamy, humid kitchen. There was still no notification from what was supposed to be their contact, which had been irking him incessantly ever since he landed.

Still nothing. Why the fuck did they have to get a girl to go fetch us?

He's never done this before... keep your guard up.

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Menschlicher Sternenstaat
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Posts: 109
Founded: Apr 16, 2019
Iron Fist Consumerists

Club Ramblings

Postby Menschlicher Sternenstaat » Fri Jul 23, 2021 12:57 pm



Menschlicher Sternenstaat, Gamma Quadrant (γ)
January 4th, 792 SA (Staat Ära)
8:00 p.m. Vallen 4th Continental Time
Helica Nightclub, Planet of Vallen, Staatskommissariat Schoenau
SSD-Standartenführer Christopher Mayenburg, Staatssicherheitsdienst
CONTEXT :: The Occupation of the Schoenau Territory; the SSD

The central atrium of the venue was lit ablaze by the pulses and throbs of an array of arcing lights and scintillations, ranging from vibrant pinks and purples to muted blues and reds. The grand, arching roof above reflected these lights into stellar shimmers that danced as if animated nebulae; this was combined with the rising steam and smoke from combinations of stage effects and the cigars, cigarettes, and cigarillos of many who inhabited the upper viewing levels of the atrium. Below this spectacle lied the true centerpieces of the venue: a massive circular dance floor encompassed the circumference of a central rise-in stage, which was populated by one of the most critically acclaimed neo-pop bands on the city of Vallen after the occupation started. The all-female Valkyries, with their wild, iconic neon-colored hair and similarly exotic get-ups, had attracted tens of thousands of people to the indoor venue ― and the sheer population was apparent from the undulating waves of raised hands and cheers emanating from the dancing masses below.

The song that was blasting through hidden speakers all throughout the nightclub was deeply seeped in the rousing synths and drums of what many considered a by-gone age. Yet, for those in attendance, it was nothing but gone; the sheer rumbles in the very infrastructure of the building from the power of the music and the waves of crowds attested to such.

On one of the highest alcoves that overlooked the grand atrium of the Helica nightclub laid a compact but ultimately luxurious dining table, with two individuals seated partly away from each other on the same side of the table that allowed an overlook on the event in action. Two other individuals stood behind them, their slim and sleek exo-armor and the silhouettes of PDWs undertow indicating their roles as guards. The men at the table, however, neglected the use of such armor, and instead were dressed in what seemed to be formal military uniforms. Their caps were off and at opposite ends of the table, with an assortment of liquors and beverages assembled upon the table's center and surrounded by ashtrays already brimmed with discarded ash and dust.

I never took you for a 'synth-and-pop' sort of guy, Christopher!

It's partly for the women and partly for the atmosphere; makes for a good contrast to work.

Christopher took the fat cigar that he had alight and hoisted it back upon his lips, stroking his saltpepper beard as he observed the evolving rave below the two men. His blue eyes constantly darted between the band on stage and the lightshow all around, with assisting holograms and projectors making it seem as the very venue itself was steeped within the bejeweled cosmos itself.

Which one there tickles your fancy? asked Christopher's compatriot officer in a joking tone, bearing the same rank as him upon shadowed collar tabs. The man was angling his own lit cigarette towards the central stage, where the various female members of the Valkyries were assembled upon drumsets and near guitar stands, their hair swinging to and fro and almost creating a haze of rainbow-addled trails in one's vision.

I have a wife, Harri; you don't. I should be asking that question to you more than anyone else, sans the fact that they're twenty and you're fifty goddamn years old, Christopher responded as he leaned back in the adaptive fibers of his chair. Anyways, did I bring you here to select your future rocker-maiden, or did I bring you here to talk business?

Ah, that's right, Harri replied, his face seemingly turning forlorn at the thought of abandoning the previous topic. He plucked his cigarette back into his mouth as he reached to his side and placed a briefcase onto the table, pushing away empty shot glasses and the ashtray that lied nearby.

I never could understand your insistence of physical shit over data-forms, but that's not my problem, the man commented as he went through the process of unlocking and decoupling the hoists that held the briefcase closed. After manually inputting a final code, the briefcase popped open with a sudden hiss, revealing a dark interior. Harri pushed open the briefcase almost like opening a lap-top in order to reveal what lied within ― a miscellany of superthin papers that had assortments of words and emblems printed or stamped onto them. Below the scintillating lights of the nightclub and its general dark ambience, it was almost impossible to read such printed font; nevertheless, Harri plucked various papers of interest and placed them under the table's sole lamp for his compatriot.

Christopher leaned over and rested his arms upon the blackened lacquer of the table's surface, taking out his scigar to speak once more through a plume of exhaled smoke.

Are you sure you don't want a digital copy of any of this? It's easier to keep secure, for one-

Stop the nagging for just this once and let me read, Harri.

Christopher's eyes scanned over the first paper in his hands, which was stamped as CONFIDENTIAL all throughout and marked with the simplistic symbology of the Staatssicherheitsdienst. The paper itself spoke of something that both men had high interests in; one that they didn't mind to speak about in the midst of the raging decibels of song and dance that flowed around them.

Almost a trillion metric tons has made it past the Gamma Quadrant's far reaches, huh...?

Those dumbfucks and their 'open trade' bullshit allows us to use commercial ventures as a vector of disseminating what we need to disseminate. I mean, shit, the papers say it all. Go through them if you want to see the metrics.

Christopher took in another breath of his cigar as he overlooked the papers with Harri, the raving nightclub's dance below them now reaching a crescendo as the Valkyries reached the apex of their song.

Many of these countries are practically suffering from bureaucratic paralysis or just... shit, ineffectiveness. The Compact just keeps winning and winning as time goes by, with these slow fucks not rousing up to do anything.

What have other sectors of command reported about their military readiness?

Piss-poor. Some of them in a newly revitalized and re-affirmed alliance ― that uh... Yut-thing, yeah ― they went and buggered off northward in order to assist in humanitarian missions towards Arkesia. Unless you count that bullshit as readiness, they are ultimately sitting ducks. Or sitting on dildoes, as the guys up above usually say.

The real question is why the Chancellery hasn't responded to this, Christopher remarked as he downed a shot of whiskey that seemed to be infused with golden flecks suspended within. If the Staat doesn't take this as a chance to do something, it is an utter waste.

About that, Christopher... you saw the order from the chief, right?

Yeah, I saw Eisenmenger's internal gag-order for anything relating to the New Silk Road. Man's planning something, but exactly what is up for debate. We aren't allocated to any sector near the New Silk Road sans the part that runs through this shithole, so I guess we aren't yet privy to that information.

In my opinion- Harri said as he shot down a glass of vodka, ...fuck, that shit stings. Anyway, what I think's happening is that the SSD might make a move somewhere. Fuck, the Sternenstaat itself might be making a move. And that's a problem for this shit right here, he continued, jabbing his finger on the pile of documents before them.

Why do you think it'll cause a problem for us?

Christopher, don't bust my fucking balls here. You know any war isn't good for what we're doing. How the fuck're we going to ship guns across the galaxy if half of star-space is torn apart?

Stop speaking in hyperbole. The higher-ups aren't total dolts, they know not to start a massive war yet; even with these paralyzed xenos and other traitorous human nations. Even if this is to happen, we don't get immediately affected. Shit, if anything, this allows our organization deeper hooks into the black market. Now, Harri, try to shut up; this is the best part of the song.


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