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The Rise of Coredia (FT Reintro; ATTN ND, Allanea, etc)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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CoreWorlds
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The Rise of Coredia (FT Reintro; ATTN ND, Allanea, etc)

Postby CoreWorlds » Wed May 27, 2020 9:52 am

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Theme of the Republic

The Rise of Coredia: A Tale of Two Coredias

Episode One: Pandora's Box

Chaos reigns in the universe. The Elemental Nations and the Imperial Republic has found themselves joined by a bridge made of stars, connecting two enormous galaxies. Two Coredias, bearing similarities and differences that are at once startling and familiar.

Space and time boils and twists, people and nations long dead has come back to life, and all that is old is new again.

The Jedi Knights and the Military Corps alike struggle to contain the chaos, but hope is on the horizon, for allies old and new, strange and familiar has come to restore order and bring peace to the universe...


Previously:

viewtopic.php?p=32002892#p32002892 - A Tale of Two Coredias Part One

viewtopic.php?p=32122202#p32122202 - A Tale of Two Coredias Part Two

viewtopic.php?p=32126833#p32126833 - Side story starring Coredia and Allanea

viewtopic.php?p=32133595#p32133595 - A Tale of Two Coredias Part Three

viewtopic.php?p=32188059#p32188059 - A Tale of Two Coredias Part Four

viewtopic.php?p=32188078#p32188078 - A Tale of Two Coredias Part Five

viewtopic.php?p=32248707#p32248707 - A Tale of Two Coredias Part Six

viewtopic.php?p=32360035#p32360035 - A Tale of Two Coredias Part Seven

*********

And now, the long-awaited continuation!

Part Eight: Attack of the Swarms II

Ise Sector, Eldritch Alliance, Elemental Nations, Gamma Quadrant, Milky Way Galaxy

The Ise Sector, where Avatar Joshua went to undergo training, came under assault faster and more brutal than the reports of previous Tyranid attacks would suggest. Either the Swarm really wanted the special catch of the day or there was an intelligence directing the Swarm to more cunningly brutal (or brutally cunning) ends. Reports from the front suggested that the latter was a distinct possibility.

The thought of a Swarmlord in the vicinity was at once terrifying and exhilarating to the Coredian military ranks, to say nothing of the usual crop of tyranid synapse creatures. The Elemental Nations' military forces, especially the Secret Corps, are specialized around killing such foes, but the problem, of course, is getting through the hordes of ravenous, acid-filled and scythe-limbed monsters to kill enough of the ruling creatures of the Hive Fleet to reduce them to simple animals that are more easily slain.

Right now, that wasn't the priority. Evacuating the Avatar is, for if he is devoured, the Tyranids can absorb his genetic profile and produce new and more terrifying monstrosities based on what it could learn from him. It's an old tactic used by Coredia itself and it knows well how using the enemy's own attributes can be used against it. Until the Avatar could be evacuated safely by the Sunflare and the evacuation ships are full and ready to depart, the planetary defense forces and whatever reinforcements the Military Corps could scrounge up at sudden notice would have to hold out. But it may not be enough...

*******

The Ise Sector is one of the 'borderlands' of the Elemental Nations, and something of a tripwire. It was a fiercely contested section of space during the Eldritch War until the Treaty of Nox Obscurus settled things to a peaceful if still dangerous present. Now it's under assault by a vicious and deadly Hive Fleet that cares not for things like peace and mercy, only that which tastes good. The brass of the Military Corps decided to designate this particular force as Hive Fleet Charybdis.

Though no longer a transgalactic threat, they are still fatal to any underdeveloped civilization that has yet to reach the stars and still dangerous enough to even a mature power. The Elemental Nations know this and have begun evacuating as many civilized planets as they could, which is not always easy with proud god-kings and haughty masters of castles ruling the underdeveloped planets in the sector.

Even so, the surprising speed of the Tyranid horde means that Vanguard itself is threatened. It's not a particularly civilized planet, as befitting a planet belonging to the Faerie Courts. The Faeries prefers a medieval charm to their lifestyle, but King Oberon is a valued ally to the Elemental Nations and his people have long been the defenders of the border worlds. Even if ancient treaties and pacts didn't bind Coredia to their defense, simple friendship between ancient peoples would be enough for the call to aid to be answered.

When it comes to the Tyranids, though, it matters little except if the fleet could put up enough of a wall of steel and flame to 'convince' them to seek easier prey elsewhere. And if that's not enough, how high the price will be paid before Vanguard's people and biodiversity are evacuated to safer locales.

Lt. Mortimer Deadman of the Secret Corps, the Ghost Master in charge of the defense, strode into the main command center for the planet at Vanguard Palace and took in the assembled dignitaries. King Oberon was seated at his chair, while his fellow Faeries took up seats around him. Avatar Joshua looked small in his own chair, kicking his feet nervously as he watched the news reports on the vidscreen up front. A number of military officials from the Elemental Nations, the ones who were fast enough to assemble here on such short notice, also took their places.

"All right. Let's get this started. At last count, our initial bombardments have taken off a good chunk of Hive Fleet Charybdis. But for all of our firepower, there's still more than enough Tyranids to make landfall at Glepia, Uruk, Delphi and us within the next five days. The problem is that we'd be in the middle of the evacuation when they come. There's simply not enough time to evacuate all three billion inhabitants of the sector, even with the Transport Corps' doing their best to get the ships and portals up and running. And that's not counting the biomass we're trying to account for."

The King and his commanders looked ashen at the news, even though the vidscreens showed the statistics all too clearly. He sighed and asked the question he dreaded to ask. "Can we hold this sector?"

"If you're willing to lose Vanguard and the minor civilizations, we may be able to hold, but even Coredia's forces and denying the Tyranids biomass may not be enough, because this is a sector that's yet to be completely surveyed and the Tyranids might eat a planet we haven't discovered. Regardless, if we don't stop them, the Chocobo Union is next. I believe we can hold there, but we all know the problem of that." Lt. Deadman said soberly.

Several men and women in the room cursed. The Chocobo Union is a magic-rich zone. Several of the commanders shuddered to think what the 'nids could do with magic. They're already powerful psykers! To make matters worse, the Emperor is still dealing with the Niflheim incursion against Lucis. With him out of contact, he doesn't know yet of the incoming swarm.

The King took a deep breath and expelled it. His long elven ears rose and drooped in thought as he tried to consider what to do. "Under the circumstances, we must do what we can. Get as many people out of this sector as we can, then..."

"We have to stop them if we can't hold." Avatar Joshua said firmly. "This is a beautiful place and it aches me to destroy it...but the Tyranids don't care. All they see is lunch."

"The boy is right, sire." Scarlet Pumpernickel, the Marshal Commander of Vanguard and King Oberon's most trusted military advisor said. "Our forces are brave, but these monsters will overwhelm even the bravest."

The King nodded firmly. "If we cannot hold, then we'll do what we must to deny the Tyranids food. Even...even if we must raze the planet to the ground."

There's no denying what it would mean. It would mean murdering millions of innocents and devastating entire planets to prevent them from getting nommed by the Tyranids and used to make more of them for their next conquests. If they aren't stopped here, somehow, then the galaxy at large could face incursions for a long, long time.

Coredians don't like having to face these sort of Catch-22s, but if they can't hold, then they know the grim truth of what they must do. Even if it meant condemning their souls to Hell.

"Then we'd do our very best to ensure that the swarm is squashed beneath our boots." Lt. Deadman nodded.

"When does the Sunflare arrive for the Avatar?" King Oberon asked.

Lt. Deadman frowned at his datapad. "The main fleet, to say nothing of the ship itself, will arrive in about seven days. It would have been twenty four hours at most, but the Event has the local spacetime acting up and our FTL systems aren't what they used to be."

Joshua grimaced at the news. "Two days to hold out. Can we do it?"

"Well, if we can't, we'll all be Tyranid dinner, so let's make sure we do our best, eh?" The King smiled thinly.

*********


City of Insomnia, Kingdom of Lucis, Eos, Chocobo Union

Jedi Padawan Travis Masaki


It took a while, even as the sounds of war raged outside, but we managed to get the gist of what's going. Basically, around the time we got sucked into that wormhole thingy, the Kingdom of Lucis came under sudden attack by their rivals on this world, the Empire of Niflheim and it's likely Coredia's going to raze it to the ground for such sheer gall. Or something. The Emperor's pretty mad, that's for sure. All in all, it was a pretty simple decision to make on what to do. My friends and I didn't even have to think too much about it. We see Coredians, even alternate universe Coredians, we lend a hand.

"Well, your majesties. In light of us having nothing else to do until the blockade gets broken, we Jedi and assorted riff raff are at your service." I said, bowing politely to the monarchs. "Where do you want us?"

"Well, three things." Emperor Onoki said, raising three aged fingers. "First, I want you to take the Prince out of the city and into the wilderness. This sudden invasion is far too fast to be a mere coincidence. It's clear that Emperor Aldercapt has been wanting revenge on us for years and he's gotten help. The line of Caelum must survive. You know this better than anyone what would it mean for a royal family to fall."

I nodded somberly. Keith and I were the only light side Masakis left when Janus returned and took over everything. If both of us had lost, that would have been it for Coredia as we knew it. "Yeah. I know."

"Second, is this." King Regis said, taking off his ring and giving it to me. "Give him this ring and tell him...I'm sorry."

"What?" I exclaimed. "Don't tell me you're about to do some stupid self-sacrifice crap! You tell him yourself!"

"Travis! Decorum!" Reika hissed at me, poking me to settle down.

Regis shook his head. "The Empire wants a target. I'm going to give them one they can't ignore. That should buy you some time to escape."

"What about you, then?" I exclaimed to Onoki.

He only chuckled mirthlessly. "You of all people should know that a shinobi's true strength is not in the light, but the shadows. I shall have words with Aldercapt for this betrayal. Words and a knife to the throat. I'm going to ferret out every dirty little secret from that damned fool of an empire and then decide how best to sanction it. They'll be lucky if I don't burn it all to the ground!"

Jeez. These Coredians are a bloodthirsty lot! They're like us, but they're also not like us, and they seem like they're too damned casual with bombing entire nations that tick them off. I'm not entirely sure we should be allies, but I guess that's something to talk about with Dad...if I see him again.

"And the final thing?" I asked the two monarchs.

"The ring will allow Noctis to awaken his bloodline powers and command the Astrals, powerful kaiju beings that lend aid to the line of Lucis. But he will need the Oracle if he is to awaken the Astrals and she is currently trapped in a mansion in Tenebrae with her brother. But he will need someone skilled enough to challenge the Astrals as he's not quite strong enough yet." King Regis said, giving me a picture of the Oracle and her brother. Okay, got it.

"Damn. Kurama would be so much ideal right now." I grumbled good-naturedly. "So, teach the kid the ropes of being a heroic prince, rescue a beautiful girl and her brother from the evil empire, awaken the giant not-Biju to stomp that empire flat, and save the day."

"And you thought life would be boring." David snarked.

"Shouldn't be a difficult task for a Jedi Shinobi of your caliber." Emperor Onoki smiled. "By the way, when we clear all this furor up, I'd like to offer you training in our elemental arts. If I'm not mistaken in what I sense in you, you have the power of all the elements coursing through your veins, much like our Avatar. Consider that your payments for services rendered here. That and a million ryo for each of the three A-rank missions to be successfully completed, convertible to your credits once we get around to establishing exchange rates."

"Well, when you put it that way...I guess that's an offer I can live with." I grinned, shaking the Emperor and King's hand to cement the deal. "Where's Noctis, anyway?"

"Hmm. Gladios and Ignis, the Prince's retainers, would have probably taken the Regalia when the invasion occured. Look for a sleek black convertible with license plate RHS-113. Also, I...may have installed a flight system in it." Regis said. Who knew a king could look so regal and sheepish at the same time? "And beware of daemons at night. We were going to initiate a project to eliminate the daemon problem, but this...Event may have derailed the investigation for some time."

"Daemons? As in Chaospawn?" I frowned.

"We aren't quite sure yet. We know Starscourge, the disease that creates daemons, is a problem here, but we still need more research on it. Perhaps we'll discover the source in time. Now, the first business is to escape the city and locate the Prince. The King will do his part, and so will I. May the spirits guide you on your journey, young heroes."

"And may the Force be with you."

***********


Chu'unthor, Near the Coredian Sector, Skyriver Galaxy

With the help of the Dornalians, the Yamato managed to limp to the Chu'unthor for much needed repairs. The engineers bemoaned how broken the ship looked ("It'll take months to repair this bucket!") and the passengers and crew were disembarked and debriefed on Coredia's future and many began to cry at finally being saved. What was uncovered was at first awesome (a reborn Galactic Republic, if you could believe it!) but then things grew disturbing, culminating in the Republic's fall at the hands of the terrible Giygas.

There were...rumors. Spacers' tales. Of beings with enormous powers in the Force. The ancient Celestials that created many of the galaxy's wonders, for example. Giygas and his Executioners appear to be such beings. This looming threat would have to be reported to the Jedi Council. For the time being, though, the Last Coredians will need recuperating and young Mark will need a mentor. Apparently, future-Travis saw something in the boy and if a Masaki saw something, then it's important. Somehow.

"I guess we'll need to figure out what to do with you. I'd talk to ol' Daniel, your master's father, but he's currently dealing with the Shivans. And then there's these other Coredians and all our old friends and enemies popping up. It's gonna be a mess for a while."

"I guess...I just wanna rest for now." Mark sighed. "We've been running for so long...but after...I want to see it all and find a way to stop Giygas for good!"

"That's understandable. Let's get you a room, then..."

*********


Jurai, Coredian Sector, Skyriver Galaxy

"The Eighth Fleet reports mission success and are on their way to the rendezvous point for Operation Bug Spray." A young soldier -Michael Haldson- reported to the Emperor.

"Good to hear. That should be the last of the forces assembling. Once we assemble the full fleet, we engage!" Daniel Masaki ordered.

"A few more hours of pai sho, then?" General Akihito Masaki smiled as the soldier saluted and returned to his duties.

"I prefer pazaak, but sure." Daniel Masaki shrugged. "Long enough to see if our old allies are still willing to have another crack at the Shivans. If not, then it's our show."

"Very well. Your move." The old Firebending Master grinned as he waved a hand to the game board.

*********


New Dornalia wrote:“Looks like that wasn’t the case,” Terry said with a smile. “If that’s the case, then things will be alright.” Terry then looked at Jesse and John and asked, unusually enthusiastic, “Can I come? Please?”

Kylie raised an eyebrow and turned to Jesse and John, declaring, “Up to you. Either way, the situation is risky but long story short, you will have plenty to work with to stop the threat.”

Jesse and John shared a look and shrugged. Jesse nodded. "Sure, I don't mind bringing you along. Should be helpful. Now I believe time is of the essence. Shall we get on with taking care of this Madhi?"

To that, Millicent sighed. Clearly, this kid was adapting well to the more paranoid strains of Dornalian life. Multiple defenses, sentry guns, so on. The whole thing reminded her of an old pre-Apocalypse legend involving a boy defeating two determined housebreakers with traps of all sorts. Still, she had to get in somehow.

Pausing, she stood there, and cursed Kiyoshi under her breath.

“What’s…..wrong?” came the reply from the truck.

“Nothing. Just trying to think of how to get his kid to let us in.”

“You...could….always….ask….what he wants.”

MIllicent paused, breathed in and out, and then walked back to the truck. Millicent gestured to her sister, asking, “ID. Please. Drivers’ license and Order card.” The woman complied and soon, after some rummaging in the truck, Millicent was back at the front door. Of course, Millicent knocked on the door again. With an exasperated but clearly forced patient tone, she then said, pulling out some papers from her pocket along with a copy of the IDs:

“Okay, kid. I don’t have time for shenanigans. But, because I like not having my leg caught in a bear trap, I’ll play along. I’m going to slide some ID under the door. Papers, IDs, the whole nine yards. You read those, you know we’re genuine.”

And so, everything went into the manila envelope which was slid under the door. Hopefully, the kid would ease up after all that.

The envelope disappeared and three long minutes passed. Presumably because he's checking out the credentials. Then something beeped and a light turned into a happy green color. "Okay, you can come in!"

The house was comfortably homely, fit for a pair of brothers who take care of themselves. So far, nothing seemed untowards, and the boy the two were assigned to take care of was sitting on the couch playing the latest games on the market.

"Hey there! Welcome to my home! I hope you don't stay too long!" Kiyoshi grinned.

*********

OOC: As the little girl from Poltergeist says:

I'm baaaaaaaack!

I'm using Charlie Foxtrot as my entry point, so it'd be a good idea to reread that thread, but don't worry, I've got a plot to carry forward from here!

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Allanea
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Allanea » Thu May 28, 2020 7:15 am

Offices of Cassiopeia Blaken-Kazansky, Empress of Greater Prussia, Queen of Allanea and Reichskamphen, et cetera.

"I desire to be further enlightened." – said the Queen, looking across the simple, light-grey surface of the desk. She looked incredibly tired, as if she was suffering from a pounding migraine. "Please tell me that this is some kind of mistake. I was told many many times that the Pandora Wars are over, that there are only small lingering skirmishes. We already have an ongoing emergency in the Co-Prosperity Sphere."

The Minister of War shook her head. "Cassie, I'm sorry to be the bearer of awful news but. Yes. It appears that the Tyranids which attacked Coredia, they're taking another… bite at the cake."

"Verdammte scheisse!" – the queen hissed. "How bad is it?"

"Full-scale hive fleet invasion. Designation Hive Fleet Charybdis."

"Hive Fleet." - the Queen's black eyes locked with the War Minister's brown. "Hive. Fleet. You mean like Hive Fleet Kraken, Hive Fleet Leviathan, Hive Fleet Dagon. This kind of Hive Fleet."

"The Coredians are absolutely sure."

"Un. Fucking. Believable. Just unfuckingbelievable. So the scale is…"

"Dozens of worlds are at immediate risk, overall threat is to the entire Gamma Quadrant."

"How many ships?"

"The Coredians estimate tens of thousands detected. I imagine there are at least that many undetected, advancing under the Galactic Plane."

Casisopeia Blaken-Kazansky raised her mug of coffee – cold by now, disgusting, bitter but strong – to her lips. When she put it down it was empty. "Well. This fucking sucks. This is yebany pizdetz s perlamutrovymi pugovichkami. Were are we even going to bury this many Tyranids?"

"That's not funny?"

"Well, I'm not joking. I request that you take this as absolutely seriously as I do." – Cassiopeia spoke in short sentences. "One: you are forbidden from leaving Earth. I prohibit you from engaging in any kind of adventure bullshit. Two: my husband is not to leave Earth. Three: we cannot declare a national emergency, because we have already put everything on emergency footing when Auman ended up earlobe-deep in daemons."

"Wait, why am I not allowed to leave?"

"Because you're the Minister of War, not a goddamn knight-errant. Your job is to process the five million tons of gods-damned paperwork, not to be dogfighting Gargoyles. And by the way, that's not really a fair way to boost your kill count."

"That was not my plan – "

"You are lying. Now. What are the warships we have available in Gamma Quadrant?"

The Minister of War froze for a moment, and then bright-green letters appeared on the inside of her eyeglasses. For an observer they were tiny, unbelievably tiny, making it possible to only know that she was reading something. Focused to appear directly in her dominant eye's focal point, the lettering was a list of available ships.

"There are fifty major warships we can scramble immediately. "

"Fifty? Fifty?!" – the Queen gasped – "I am calm. I am absolutely calm. Extremely calm. Excellent. Scramble the fifty warships. Begin preparing the second and third wave immediately. Also round up any transports you can to transport the refugees. And, if you can, get us several large-scale industrial incinerators somewhere."

"I'm sorry, what are the incinerators for?"

"Do I need to explain everything to you?" – Cassiopeia replied. "To burn all the Tyranids we kill, of course."

"Ah yes! Of course." – said Priscilla. "How could I not have thought of that."

"Exactly! Now, one final thing. Get me Serpenthelm. It's not like I plan to play fair with Charybdis, now do I?"


* * *


Fleet Station Snezhinka

The world below was a brilliant sapphire – endless spans of bright snow, forests of pine, light-blue oceans enclosed in layers of ice. Few lived on Snezhinka – but its sparseness was, at least for now, an advantage. It was at this seemingly unimportant world that the Free Kingdom Stellar Navy deployed one of its most heavily supplied fleet stations. The thought process was simple – an enemy fleet that would attack here would not be present to strike populated worlds, and an enemy fleet that won a fight against Snezhinka Fleet Station would have been maimed and bled enough to weaken any attack it would carry out after winning.

Now, however, the fleet would have to work to its primary purpose.

In the orbital's wide corridors, men in heavy work boots ran to their stations, heavy steel-shod soles slamming into the floor like hammer blows.

All crew, report to your ships, report to your ships immediately. This is not a drill, I repeat…

In the planet-side stations and military bases, the same repeated. Soldiers in winter overcoats ran across the open snow, their boots sinking into the white, dry surface. Some fell as they ran, and then scrambled back to their feet. Vehicle hangar doors slid open, war machines standing in long ranks within. For years, most of the vehicles had not seen the light of day – there was no need, as a given tank or vehicle could be used by different trainees on different days, leaving most of the war machines safe from the abuse of enlisted men. Now they were pristine and ready.

Alert. Alert. Alert. Alert. This is not a drill.

In the depth of Snezhinka's mountains, under hundreds of meters of frozen granite, vast tunnels were opened, full of ammunition, food, supplies. For years, ammunition factories have labored, and their products were simply deposed in vast tunnels such as these. Now the time had come.


* * *


FKS Defiance

Grand Admiral Maximilian Ebenezer Larkin stood on the bridge. Unlike the mug of bitter cold coffee on Cassiopeia's desk, his hand was wrapped around the handle of a steaming mug of sweet, strong tea – a [u]Stossel Te Argent[/i], which had come to him over light years from the Stossel tea farms.

The fleet Grand Admiral Larkin commanded was quite small – only fifty warships, far from enough for the task he was going to undertake. But, as he brought the sweet fluid to his lips, he knew that he was going to acquit himself with honor.

His own warship was less of a ship, more of a battle station fitted with drives. A "battleplate" in naval parlance, it was in many ways less potent and less advanced than its Menelmacari cousins. Yet it was fit enough for its main duties – to command the smaller ships of the fleet, and to house vast supplies of parts and weapons for their use. Housed in its holds were also a bevy of special weapons, which had lain in wait for years for just such an occasion.

He turned to his adjutant.

"Captain Ebert? Is everything ready?"

"Aye Aye Sir. Ready to get under way on your command."
Last edited by Allanea on Thu May 28, 2020 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Allanea
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Postby Allanea » Fri May 29, 2020 6:44 am

My name is Susan.

I am three thousand years old.

Am I?

I remember the ancient battles. I remember tracking the Aelosian warships in low orbit. I remember their tanks perishing in fire, guided missiles streaking through the reddish skies, their warriors' blood mixing with the red sands of Mars. I remember those things as a man may remember their mother or father holding them in their arms, or their true love's hair flowing in wind. I remember atomic fire scorching me, the blast wave lashing against the weeping innocents who took shelter with me. Even now, millennia later, I feel the rage boiling with in me, powerless, meaningless. I remember others cheering as I dragged them to safety.

Yet am I the same?

It is said that in a human, their entire body mass is replaced within seven years, so that in an adult not a single cell is the same that it was in a child. Yet humans believe themselves to be the same. Judging by that standard, I am the same Susan. Some wise men disagreed – wizened philosophers, existing in eras beyond my memory. Take a ship, they said – replace a single piece of its planking with a new one. It is the same ship. Two pieces. Three, until the whole ship is made out of different parts, not the ones that existed when the ship was new. Is it the same ship? What if one assembled a second ship from the discarded parts?

I cross-check my parts list. Treads – replaced hundreds of times. The tread is the part which is easiest lost, for it is made to be easily discarded and replaced. Guns – replaced, their replacements replaced, and the replacement's replacements upgraded beyond recognition. Armor plating – first replaced after the Vascilian Wars, then replaced, then upgraded. Only the personality core remains a continuity – as the mind of a human being who was born, grew, was ill and cured, injured and healed, learned sorrow and joy.

I had not gone to war since the Vascilian Wars. Live-fire training, yes, but not war.

The country I protect has changed around me – once a Republic, now it is a proud Free Kingdom. I inloaded the new symbols. I am not surprised by them. They seem a logical extension of what once was, into what is, and what shall be.

For millennia, the humans have not needed my aid. There was no enemy worthy of my guns.

Why do they wake me now?

The data inloads flow into personality core.

Tyranids. Hive Fleet Charybdis. Tens of thousands of ships stretching out across the void. Millions of biological constructs deploying on dozens of words.

There is no logic to their existence as I know it. Gigatons of hungry biological constructs, driven by nothing by pure hunger – and a psychic sense, driving them towards worlds of sapient beings. The lives of my human charges, their love, their joy – this is what attracts the creatures. They have no science, no forges, no intellect as I would understand it. They desire only to eat, to gorge themselves on sapientkind.

Anger.

My reactor hums as it comes to life. Short-range sensors live, and momentarily I am made aware of the interior of my hangar. It is clean. Humans and techspiders work around me, loading ammunition, polishing my armor, lubricating my treads.

As they notice I am awake, the human soldiers snap to attention. I am, after all, an officer. Dozens of the humans raise their right hands to their heads in instinctive salute.

I cross-check my equipment list. My external communication systems come alive.

The sound of my anger is like a trumpet, an enormous brass trumpet, making the hangar walls shudder.

The biological reaction to such a sound is fear.

But the humans are unafraid.

They roar in return, their throats producing a sound much weaker than my clarion call – many decibels weaker – but alike it in nature.

They know who I am.

I am their protector.

The enemy brings targets aplenty for my guns.

It brings lubricant for my treads.

Of the divisions that Queen Cassiopeia and King Alexander will send forward to crush the foe, I am of the best soldiers.

I am thirty thousand tons of armor and reactors.

I am guns that can track and kill a starship in orbit.

I am infinite repeaters that turn entire armies into mulch.

I am missiles that reach across continents.

Past generations have given the aliens names that reflect their terror of the invader – ""Lictor", "Hormagaunt", "Rippers", "Hive Tyrants". My internal logic systems do not use those names. I have better names for them – 'ground target, class 454-C', 'aerial target, class G', 'orbital target, secondary priority'.

My kind has a name as well.

It is short.

It has not required a long one.

It has always needed a short one – military commands increase efficiency as sentences grow shorter.

It is the sort of name enemies scream out in terror and my friends shout out in cheer.

My name is Susan.

I know who I am.

Soon the enemy shall also know who I am.

I.

Am.

Bolo.
#HyperEarthBestEarth

Sometimes, there really is money on the sidewalk.

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New Dornalia
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Postby New Dornalia » Fri May 29, 2020 9:23 pm

The envelope disappeared and three long minutes passed. Presumably because he's checking out the credentials. Then something beeped and a light turned into a happy green color. "Okay, you can come in!"

The house was comfortably homely, fit for a pair of brothers who take care of themselves. So far, nothing seemed untowards, and the boy the two were assigned to take care of was sitting on the couch playing the latest games on the market.

"Hey there! Welcome to my home! I hope you don't stay too long!" Kiyoshi grinned.


The three minute long wait seemed quite uncomfortably tense. Millicent looked at her watch, and looked up, fidgeting quite quickly as she waited for what seemed like an interminable period of time. Tom Petty wasn’t kidding when he sang of waiting being the hardest part. Millie’s sister tried to say something, but Millie cut her off with a glare. The sister could only shrug from the truck, keeping an eye out for the gribblies which had been rampaging across the quiet Central Californian highways and then some.

Then, Kiyoshi spoke, bidding his visitor to come in and hoping the Herrera sisters didn’t overstay their welcome. With a gesture and a nod, Roberta parked the truck closer to the house, and then dismounted from the truck, killing the engine.

The two then came in to find a kid playing video games, with the credentials and dossiers off to the side. Millicent herself wondered if he wasn’t quaffing SolarSoda, as many gamer kids were stereotypically wont to do. But, there was no such soda in sight. The house itself also looked fairly civilized, and Millicent went, smiling and trying to adopt a more patient tone, “So, Kiyoshi….you know our names, but well, I’m Millicent Herrera, and…”

Gesturing to the other gata, Millicent added, “This is my sister Roberta." Coughing, Millicent began to speak to Kiyoshi, kneeling down to get to his level as she continued, "We’re here to provide protection for you, due to the current shenanigans going on outside with the unrest in Dornieland and elsewhere--especially the chaos unfolding with those Chupathingies out there. How are you doing at the moment?”

Roberta, for her part, closed the door with a paranoid look outside, and then asked, “What...are...you...playing?”
"New Dornalia, a living example of anomalous civilizations."-- Phoenix Conclave
"Your nation has always been ridiculous. But it's endearing."--Skaugra
"It's a magical place where chinese cowboys ply the star lanes to extract vast wealth from trade, where NORINCO isn't just an arms company, but an evil bond villain type conglomerate that hides in other nations. Where the apocalypse happened, and everyone went "huh, that's neat" and then got back to having catgirls and starships."-- Olimpiada
"...why am I space China, and I don't have actual magic animals, and you're space USA, and you do? This seems like a mistake." --Roania, during a discussion on wildlife.

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Thrashia
Minister
 
Posts: 2239
Founded: Aug 31, 2004
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Thrashia » Sat May 30, 2020 6:36 am

Within The Darkness Beyond Stars


It was but a sliver of a whole, yet no less potent in it's existential desire to find, consume, and further evolve into a stronger and more powerful being. It had gotten lost within the eddies between galaxies, separated from it's fellow selves. Hunger gnawed upon it in it's hibernation, and it was ultimately this hunger which guided it. There are always certain lights to which creatures are drawn, none more so than the predator who spots potential prey; prey that thought itself safe and secure from the horror that might be approaching. Thus it was that this tendril of a greater whole found the Ise Sector, ripe for devouring. A darkness fell upon the sector, and a malign intelligence stretched forth it's tendrils to test the potential that the worlds it beheld had.

It had no name, but soon it's prey would name it in their horror. For the brief time before they were consumed, the prey would give them many names.

Death was come and it's name was Charybdis.


Vanguard System | Ise Sector


A new prey cluster had been found. The governing intelligence of the hive mind made no distinctions between the component parts of it's body. To it's incomprehensibly large intellect Hive Fleet Charybdis was a limb, a foot or an arm. If it did make any distinctions, it was by categories too alien for Men to understand. It didn't care what it's prey called itself, but noticed the uniqueness of these prey clusters. It was all the more hungry, interested in the collation of newer genetic profiles of what it devoured. With every new creature eaten it's repertoire of genetic tricks grew. When it encountered a threat, it adapted.

Hundreds of outrider bio-ships, of all shapes and sizes, drew forward from the edge of the system on three different directions. They used outer, lifeless planets within the system to enact gravitational sling-shot maneuvers, approaching the heart of the system at even greater velocities. Dozens of bio-ships halted within the outer oort cloud, processing and making use of every molecule that could be had. Ice, carbon, and a myriad of elements that existed within such parts. All useful for the hive fleet.

The fleet approached the world of Vanguard like an ever growing tide of chitin. The local prey bio-types attempted to fight. A dozen frigate-sized Kraken bio-ships and larger Void Prowlers were killed. But in their deaths the greater movement of the hive fleet progressed forward. Corrosive-strangler ships managed to speedily engage and latch onto a few of the prey vessels before they withdrew. Their metal hulls were cracked open like mollusks, and smaller warrior bio-forms flooded within to hunt and kill whatever prey could be found.

Around the planet were three great orbital stations that bristled with weaponry. One was slightly further out of synchronization with it's sister stations, and it was toward this one that the hive mind decided to strike. The other two stations could not bring their full complement of weaponry into action to cover their fellow station. It was all the more shocking when a bio-ship stretching several kilometres across, came barreling forward; it's entire front an outward bowing convex shield of chitin and harder elements that had been processed and refined. If any of the station staff had had the chance or the inclination, they would have seen stalks of compressed carbon and metal sifted throughout, growing organically alongside the armored and void-hardened chitin of the beast.

The bio-ship endured the barrage of weaponry that was being thrown at it and slammed several million tons of weight against the station itself. Upon impact, hundreds and thousands of diamond-sharp and needle-thin harpoons were driven into the station, burrowing deep. Any survivor that had the misfortune to be in a passageway or room where one such harpoon drove down would see the chitin armor along the flanks split open and reveal pulsating sacks of vile looking green and yellow fluids. The fluids mixed and a bio-chemical explosion ripped through the orbital.

The explosion wasn't enough to vaporize the station, but it did serve to break it up into chunks and pieces. Tens of thousands of metal chunks fell upon Vanguard, along with biological bits of charred meat and chitin from the bio-ship that had rammed the station. The rear of the bio-ship followed in the wake of the explosive debris raining down.

From this rear piece of bio-ship sprang thousands of Tyrannocytes pulsed forth and out from the honeycomb-like pink holes that they had once nestled within. The Hive Mind had decided not to land directly upon the largest cluster of life. Instead it would infest the planet and aggressively surround the prize to be had at the planet's capitol.

The other two orbital stations were subjected to long-range attacks. Globules of horrifyingly potent acid and effluvia the size of starships were launched at them. Even when struck by missiles or lasers, some of the material would always continue forwards to land upon the surface -- eating through and dissolving armored plates, gun emplacements, or anything else it touched.


* * * * *



A trio of large bio-forms stepped out of individual spore sacks and reveled in the oxygen rich atmosphere of Vanguard. Each saw the other and through their connection of the hive mind, saw as the others saw. Each was different in it's newly formed bio-armor and weaponry, deadly in one form or another which the controlling hive mind had thought suitable for the battle upon the planet.

A screeching yell of hunger and animalistic joy split the air as a tide of thousands of warrior bio-forms spread out and began moving towards the location of the nearest prey forms. Several Tyrannocytes congealed together and mixed with the last of falling spores. Gestation pools and bio-mass reductors were already being formed.
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"D-Damn you all...! All of you dogs whose souls are still bound to the Earth! Long live Neo Zeon!" - MSG: Unicorn

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New Dornalia
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1778
Founded: Apr 27, 2005
Left-Leaning College State

Postby New Dornalia » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:13 pm

CoreWorlds wrote:
New Dornalia wrote:“Looks like that wasn’t the case,” Terry said with a smile. “If that’s the case, then things will be alright.” Terry then looked at Jesse and John and asked, unusually enthusiastic, “Can I come? Please?”

Kylie raised an eyebrow and turned to Jesse and John, declaring, “Up to you. Either way, the situation is risky but long story short, you will have plenty to work with to stop the threat.”

Jesse and John shared a look and shrugged. Jesse nodded. "Sure, I don't mind bringing you along. Should be helpful. Now I believe time is of the essence. Shall we get on with taking care of this Madhi?"


Terry of course, replied with an enthusiastic, “Whoo hoo! You won’t regret this.” Rubbing her hands together, she then went, maybe a bit too energetically, “This is gonna be fun! Or harrowing. Or both!”

Kylie for her part glared at Terry, and Terry then coughed. Blushing a bit, she then went to everyone in the room, “Sorry. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a big adventure like this with interesting, wonderful people. I mean, yeah, I did a bunch of stuff in the past, but lately things have been a bit too quiet. Luckily, I’ve got my things nearby. Anyway! Do-goodery ho!”

Terry then paused and then asked, “Did you guys have a ride? If not, I think I’ve got a ship we can use. Nothing too big, but well, one can never tell with these sort of big missions. Also, if you need any extra gear, lemme know. This is the CRE after all. Things can get…crazy.”

Kylie nodded, and went, “The lady’s got a point, but otherwise, I think we’re done here if there’s no other questions. Be careful out there, okay, folks?”

***

Somewhere in Nova Louisiana

“Another one bites the dust.”

Henrietta E. Collins stood over her latest Daedra kill, with a steaming blaster in hand which was quickly hissing as it cooled down. Henny normally preferred ballistics and gauss weaponry, but the Daedra were limiting her options at the present.

Pulling out a handkerchief, the woman wet her brow silently, as she took deep breaths and took stock of the terrain. In typical Dornalian fashion, the woman had left behind a trail of dead Daedra corpses, piled like some grotesque monument to the triumph of modern combat. Henrietta shrugged at the sight. She’d been around the block before when it came to combat, and the sight didn’t faze her as much as it used to. There were some regrets at having to even make such a scene floating in, but she pushed them out of her mind. It helped that she got a sudden feeling rushing into her head--and it wasn’t the adrenaline rush wearing off.

Pausing, she sensed a presence would be coming her way soon. A very familiar presence.

Looking around, the pause gave her time to realize she was getting rather exhausted. As the Orderwoman sat down on a disused park bench, she pulled out a small chocolate bar marked “Gregson’s Enhanced Chocolate”. It was the milk chocolate strawberry flavored version--everyone had their weaknesses, and well, her’s was chocolate-strawberry combinations--which made the bar go down easier.

As she became invigorated by the chocolate bar--it helped that Gregson’s bars tended to be loaded with nutritional supplements and a metric ton of caffeine and other beneficial stimulants, to where Ordermen in their day jobs as soldiers and Marines and sailors far afield carried variants into the field as supplemental rations--Henny felt strangely philosophical.

The strains of combat weren’t like they used to be. Henny had been to war many times--maybe even a bit too much--but fighting never exhausted her like this. Looking down, Henny wondered briefly if perhaps her age and hard living was catching up to her.

Then, the feeling came again--the presence. And Henny knew then and there that the question of age would have to be resolved at a later point. For if the presence she knew was coming was the one she thought it was….Henny would have quite an adventure waiting for her.

Closing her eyes, Henny sent a brief Forcemessage to Terry, leaping long distances across the stars with this single message.

”It’s good to see you, Terry. Now put down that damn sausage. We got shit to do.”
"New Dornalia, a living example of anomalous civilizations."-- Phoenix Conclave
"Your nation has always been ridiculous. But it's endearing."--Skaugra
"It's a magical place where chinese cowboys ply the star lanes to extract vast wealth from trade, where NORINCO isn't just an arms company, but an evil bond villain type conglomerate that hides in other nations. Where the apocalypse happened, and everyone went "huh, that's neat" and then got back to having catgirls and starships."-- Olimpiada
"...why am I space China, and I don't have actual magic animals, and you're space USA, and you do? This seems like a mistake." --Roania, during a discussion on wildlife.

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Menelmacar
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 1020
Founded: Dec 18, 2002
Ex-Nation

Postby Menelmacar » Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:37 am

Argus Array Node 29827650
Somewhere in the Gamma Quadrant
9 Lairë 31935


The node was much like any other. Few would have noticed it or given it the slightest glance. It was, to all appearances, a featureless black sphere a kilometer across. There were no apparent emissions from this object, for it existed only to watch, to see, to listen, to learn. From all directions, every particle, every wave, every photon was intercepted, catalogued, and analyzed. Node 29827650 drank deeply of the cosmos and gained enlightenment. It was - grossly simplifying - a telescope. Or more specifically, part of one, for many millions of nodes very much like this one lay scattered in the spaces between the stars, far from any shipping lane, in a vast halo larger than the galactic disk itself. Such a construct was a true megastructure, even if a noncontiguous one, and could simultaneously study any number of interesting phenomena, historical events, or possible threats, combining the efforts of many nodes to create multispectral images of staggering resolution. One such example of both the first and third categories was what would come to be known as Hive Fleet Charybdis.

For some time the node and its many sisters had been making note of the considerable shift in the gravitational fabric of spacetime that would accompany the oncoming mass of a Tyranid hive fleet. No individual bioship could be noticed this way, of course, but the agglomeration of them left a fairly distinctive track, that traced a tendril across the void, splitting into many smaller tendrils to approach suitably tasty target systems. There was one notable exception to this, however -- the 'narvhal' vessels used by the hive fleet to facilitate its faster-than-light transits. The narvhal, it was known, could leverage the gravity of a distant star to compress spacetime between itself and the target system, allowing the fleet around it to accelerate beyond the speed of light. This compression could be analyzed, and already interesting strategies and countermeasures suggested themselves to the analysts examining the telemetry.

Other spectra were of use here, as well. No living being could fail to produce heat, and the infrared was no less distinctive; and of course, the psychic howling of Tyranids in the void could not be mistaken for anything else.

Now that they had the array's attention, the many thousands of signatures were soon resolved individually. While, indeed, there would be lag to this information, light speed being what it was, c proved no obstacle to the array elements' communications with one another, or with their masters, and 29827650 lay nearest to the main body of the hive fleet, though would not attract its attention. It had no sapience, and no life, and to all appearances, even were its presence noted, would simply be a random rock floating between stars, not worth diverting for. The bioships were watched, analyzed, and tracked. Back home, skilled eyes and minds would pore over the data, gaining an increasingly comprehensive picture of the creatures' capabilities and numbers before they ever made landfall on some unsuspecting world.

Attracting their attention.... well. That would come soon enough.
Last edited by Menelmacar on Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
"The elves will do what is right, not what is on paper." ~Sunset
"We can't go around supporting The Good Of All Things. People might mistake us for Menelmacar." ~Education Minister Lobon of Kn-Yan
"Do you realize you're trying to sell resources to Menelmafuckingcar? Their resource base is larger than Melkor's ego." ~Advisor Julius Razak, Foot-to-Ass Section, Scolopendra
"I started on NS at a time when elf genocides were daily occurrences from week old nations wanting to get ortilleried by Menelmacar." ~Resurgent Dream
"Nothing here but rich-ass elves. Just...running the world. And shopping." ~Officer Daryl Ward, LAPD

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Allanea
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 24434
Founded: Antiquity
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Allanea » Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:28 pm

Tyranids are creatures from our darkest nightmares. But remember this: they can bleed, and they can die. ~ Inquisitor Kryptman

New Gundabad, Liberty Mountains

The Orcs are known for many things. They are known for their cruelty, and they are known for their ferocity in battle. Even their greatest enemies will give pause when considering fighting against an Uruk-Hai in close combat. But beyond their fierceness, there are other things to Orcs, things for which they have been much maligned by some, and praised by others. In ages past they have been cursed and condemned, for where the Elves had brought to the world lovely craftsmanship and art, and the Dwarves have been famous for their jewelry and blacksmithing, the Orcs had invented devices of heavy industry, machines and explosives, for engines wheels and explosions had always fascinated them.

The Orcs of New Gundabad took no offense to these tales, and in a way took pride in them. Their ancestors had, true, been captured and tormented by Morgoth himself to turn them to the darkness – but those far descendants of the captives that labored in the caves of New Gundabad viewed themselves as being as much champions of Light as any of their elf cousins. And here in the depths of New Gundabad they repeated the feats of industry that their ancestors had done. Even their enemies admitted they could tunnel as well as any but the most skilled dwarves, and the Orcs of New Gundabad would say that this was an underestimate.

Here, as in Old Gundabad, the forges clanked day and night, and night and day again. Down the production line, weapons and vehicles moved without pause, for the Great Devourer was coming, and all defense orders had been doubled and tripled for the fight. Warheads for kinetic-kill munitions, force-bayonet blades, tank hulls moved by.

Uruk-Hai foremen seven feet tall, clad in rebreathers and faceshields, watched as cranes hoisted vehicle hulls whole and lowered them into the tempering oils. Red-hot metal hissed and steam rose. Hulls forged and tempered as a single piece were the mark of quality of the New Gundabad tank plants.

"Excellent! Raise it!" – Vargad Gro-Murtur shouted. The crane's computers would pick up his voice command as surely as a man would. The hull rose softly, the crane moving with the same fluency as a dancer on a ballet stage. Down the line, under the supervision of Vargad's brothers and sisters (and indeed, his literal sister, Matuba Gra-murtur), machines and workers moved to assemble the tank, stage by stage – power system, gravitic emitters, life support systems, sensors and weapons. On the factory's exit, dozens of tanks were being loaded onto transport platforms.

The heart of the mountain beat with the rhythm of Orcish industry. With every beat, the lifeblood of wear poured down the mountain's veins – landmines, weapon power-packs, armor, and weapons of a far simpler nature – axes, hammers, and blades, for when the Great Devourer's creature would be so bold and so foolish to seek out close combat.

There were many throughout the galaxy that believed that the Great Devourer was unstoppable. They believed that the Great Devourer could birth billions of monsters, that sapient-kind could not survive them, and that the galaxy was doomed to a violent death.

Vargad Gro-Murtur worked in the heart of the mountain.

Vargad Gro-Murtur knew better.
#HyperEarthBestEarth

Sometimes, there really is money on the sidewalk.

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CoreWorlds
Diplomat
 
Posts: 615
Founded: Antiquity
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Part IX: Attack of the Swarms III

Postby CoreWorlds » Sat Sep 12, 2020 3:55 pm

Vanguard, Ise Sector, Elemental Nations of Coredia

War has come to the planet Vanguard, but it was a war unlike any other. A mass of biological monstrosities roared and slithered their way through villages and forests alike, slashing at everything in their path and devouring every man, woman, child and animal they could find. A mass of gnashing carpet and roaring rugs that could be seen from orbit as an ever-moving tide that demolished forests and meadows faster than many machines ever could.

The Coredians expected that they would assault the capital, but the enemy was clever, they could see. Spreading out across the planet, assaulting every little village and hamlet they could find, stretching the Vanguardian army to the limits and beyond...it's a strategy that could only be borne by an intelligent mind. A mind that has come for dinner.

The endless waves of chattering chitin and cries for help did not help matters, but the grim truth was, every knew that the world was lost. It would take years to gather the resources to rebuild it, even if they didn't detonate it with a planet-killer device of some sort, and what would be rebuilt would never be the same again. But the priority was clear. Evacuate as many people as possible to the capital and keep the capital, and the Avatar, safe from harm at all costs until the fleet arrives to evacuate the survivors.

There were victories. Entire neighborhoods cheered at being rescued by the Coredian Military Corps and the Vanguardian Royal Army and were ushered onto waiting trucks and driven as fast as they could to the capital. There were losses. Entire regiments were destroyed by the marauding beasts from the stars, slain to the last, even though they took many 'nids with them. But everyone knew that it might as well be clipping toenails for all the good it would do. Entire towns were devoured, eaten to the last bit of chicken.

And then...everything changed. A streak of white-hot energy rode the star-lines and detonated on the nearest Hiveship, wrecking the beast with plasma so hot that it reduced the biomass to glowing particles of quark soup. Then another streak struck another ship, with the same results. What started as a drizzle became an endless rain of fire from what appeared to be every direction at once, even a little bit in the past or future.

"It's the Million Missile Massacre!" Cheered a sergeant as he looked over the sensor screens. "The Navy! The Navy has arrived!"

At long last, the Coredian Navy has arrived in force, backed up by one of its most famous superweapons: The Mikado-class Dreadnought Kingslayer!

The Kingslayer was chosen for this specific task because of its particular talents. It spat out an endless wave of missiles, torpedos and blue-white death known famously as the Million Missile Massacre, because the warship belched out a literal million rounds of ordinance at the enemy. Expensive as hell, but well worth every fol spent on the superweapon.

And very useful in taking out large swarms of enemy forces to clear the way for the rest of the battleships, cruisers and transport ships to make their way to the planet itself. Among them was a tiny frigate called the Sunflare, but the most important one. The Avatar's ride has arrived!

*********

"That's a lot of bugs." Travis Masaki commented worriedly at the massive display of Hive Ships on the Sunflare's screens.

"Yeah. It's a good thing the Fleet is there to cover us." Claus frowned as he and his twin brother Lucas prepared the ship's sensors and shields for the fight ahead. "Wouldn't want to try flying through this otherwise. You guys on board, make yourselves useful and man the guns! We're goin' in!"

The Sunflare's engines burst to life as it broke away from the main fleet. Hundreds of similar frigates and larger cruisers dove for the surface, using themselves as ablative shields and firing all weapons at the Tyranid ships to protect the transports at all costs.

This was going to be a tough fight and everyone on board knew it.

*********


Coredian Sector, Imperial Republic of Coredia

Long ago, the Shivans have come, for seemingly no other reason than to slaughter and destroy, led by an Admiral so deluded as to believe that he could control them. Now, they bore down on the Coredian Sector, the portion of space in the Skyriver Galaxy that housed the majority of the Coredian population, in what seemed like a nightmarish repeat of Daniel Masaki's early days.

But this time, it was different. Forty years have passed since those days and Coredian technological capability have advanced by leaps and bounds since those days. Before, it took several Star Destroyers to bring a Santhanas down. Now, a single Phoenix-class Star Destroyer or Corusca-class Battlestar could level entire squadrons of Shivans. Turnabout, as they say, was fair play.

And the Semi-Nomadic Republic had dozens of them. Dozens!

What made it worse for the Shivans was that the Coredian Interstellar Defense Force have spent a long time analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. It turned out that for all their terror-inducement, they were rather weak on the sides and rear, putting their most powerful weapons on their bows. Great when on the offensive. Terrible when the shoe starts stamping on the other foot. The other big weakness was a familiar one and one that led many people to palm their foreheads in hindsight.

Coredian fighter doctrine is derived from long-dead New Republic doctrine, calling for heavily armed hyperspace-capable fighter-bombers attacking enmasse to bring down ships as large as Executors. The Jedi Order had many of their members trained in this type of combat. And the Shivans, for all their subspace wunderwaffen, had no defense against the Force save their psychic screaming, which can be repelled by Battle Meditation or Force shielding techniques.

In short, what used to be a terrifying foe that took a few months to take apart the Coredian Interstellar Defense Force was now nothing more than an annoying swarm to be swatted like so many others. What used to be a horrifying foe was nothing compared to the later menace of the Sith and Chaos. In short order, the Shivans were massacred to the last warship.

And then the Lucifer arrived. The flagship of Admiral Bosch, scourge of the capital planet Coredia itself. It came in force, far faster than in the old timeline, cutting off all escape and forcing little Daniel Masaki and his fellow classmates onboard their escape ship to hide in an asteroid field and hope to escape as the battle raged.

It would all be over soon as Lucifer's thick, massive subspace shredder beams tore through the fleet and carved down at the planetary defense shields. It'd only be a matter of time before they're overloaded and little Daniel worried about his mom and dad, fighting down there.

Suddenly, a mysterious force came out of hyperspace, flashed into existence and faded into reality in a flash of blue-white light, depending on the exact makeup of their FTL engines. The force immediately lit into the Shivans, and then the long battleship at the center unleashed a powerful superlaser at the Lucifer. The Lucifer's shields literally screamed in pain as they tried to dissipate the sudden influx of energy into oblivion, but were unable to do so completely and explosions rocketed across the Lucifer. A second, smaller battleship used the opportunity to unleash a massive yellow-orange burst of what could only be described as laser-ized spacetime at the Lucifer, causing even more damage.

Finally, a third massive battleship, or perhaps battlestation would be more appropriate, turned on its side and began to glow as strange runes resolved into a gigantic circle of some kind etched with runes and circles inside it. Then a massive angelic shape rose out of the circle and cupped its hands above its head, summoning a massive series of runes that appeared to 'lock on' to the Lucifer.

And what happened would stick in little Daniel's mind forever. It didn't seem to matter that the Lucifer's shields were still active. It didn't seem to matter what it was made of or how powerful it was. A strange, ethereal light lanced out at the Lucifer, flooding it with a strange energy that coursed through every inch of the warship, down to the last Shivan. A strange, haunting melody could be heard, as if the universe seemed to approve of a judgement from heaven, and then the Lucifer glowed brightly one last time and then vanished, replaced by a sea of glowing particles that soon dissipated.

Later, the children would discover the nature of the attack, a unique and powerful ship-based superweapon called Ethereal Blast. They would also discover that a much older version of Daniel Masaki somehow came back from the future with powerful weapons and there was apparently a whole other Coredia that the superweapon belonged to. Little Daniel and Big Daniel will meet and talk a lot, and the nation would undergo many discussions with their past, future and magical counterparts, but that's another story and shall be told another time.

But with the Shivans all but wiped out, the true battle can now begin. The war against the Tyranid horde!

********


Insomnia, Kingdom of Lucis, Eos, Elemental Nations of Coredia

The sun has set. For most worlds, that's a minor inconvenience as lights turn on and the nightlife becomes active. But for Eos, the twilight hours meant something more sinister: Daemons.

As many know, daemons are creatures born out of a strange, magical form of malaria called Starscourge that haunted the land under cover of darkness and consumed any human or animal caught out in the open. Even survivors aren't spared, for infected wounds could cause them to turn into more Daemons. Recently, Coredian astronomers have noticed a startling effect: though the world is still revolving, the time that the world receives sunlight is getting shorter and shorter every day. There's something wrong with the world, and the Science and Tech Corps and Kingdom of Lucis have begun the process of a joint effort to study the Starscourge in hopes of a cure to eliminate it.

But all those hopes were dashed by the Empire of Niflheim used the chaos of the Event to invade, knowing that they would have no other chance to secure the legendary Crystal that protected Lucis. Immediately, the Elemental Nations responded with great outrage, sending a punitive force led by the dreaded Captain Kyoto Amarashika, head of the Internal Security Corps, but they were deadlocked by a surprisingly strong showing by the Imperial Navy and a number of allies that joined their call to arms.

The whole situation threatened to widen and spiral out of control into a civil war, and yet Emperor Onoki no Kyudo, the Old Man of Coredia, was nowhere to be seen, feared lost in the chaos. And then it got worse as the Empire unleashed daemons upon the helpless city...

*****

The Regalia screamed down the streets, avoiding one Imperial patrol after another. It was only the fact that it was bulletproof that prevented its destruction, but the boys inside knew that it was only a matter of a well-placed missile and everything will be undone.

"Aaah! Watch out!" A chubby, bespectacled boy named Prompto screamed as the King's car narrowly avoided a falling chunk of concrete.

"I'd watch out more if you'd stop screaming!" Yelled the young man driving the car. Gladiolus is Prince Noctis' Shield, sworn protector for life. And now scrambling to try and get the aforementioned Prince out of danger. He didn't need any more distraction, like screaming boys who needed to shut up!

"Now, now! Let's all try and calm down while we--aah! Imperial mecha!" Another young man, this one a thin, bespectacled young retainer named Ignis shouted.

"I KNOW THAT!" Gladio yelled as he spun the car down another alley to avoid the Imperial walker-mechs and their lasers and missiles.

"Is there any way out of here?!" Young Prince Noctis yelled. Normally, he's a stoic, quiet boy of thirteen, but the day just didn't do him any favors. He was worried about Lucis. He was worried about himself and his friends. And most of all, he was worried about his father. Was King Regis still alive or was he...Noctis didn't think about it. His dad was strong! He'd find a way out, rally the world and kick the Imperials in the balls!

And now, he wished he paid more attention to Gladio when in training. He wasn't sure he was ready to take on the Imperials yet. As the car swerved to and fro, it looked like they were heading towards the Wall...and freedom!

And then two horrible things happen. The waning sun finally set beneath Lucis. And secondly, a large group of Imperials could be seen blocking the way to the main gate of Lucis.

"Shit!" Gladio yelled, then spun the car around, only to see more Imperials marching their way. They're trapped!

"PRINCE NOCTIS CAELUM LUCIS! WE KNOW YOU'RE IN THAT CAR! COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!" A voice on a loudspeaker yelled from one of the mecha the Imperials had.

"Whatever we do, we cannot let them get their hands on Noctis!" Ignis yelled. "How's your Warp-strike, Noct?"

"I aced it in training." It's about the only thing he aced, really. Teleporting's dead useful when he wants to be alone. He still needed work on jabbing his sword into somebody, but looks like he'd have no better time to practice than now.

"Good! Start with the mecha with the loud mouth. Gladio, with me. Prompto...go find somewhere to hide if you can." Ignis said, then sighed at the self-defeating look on Prompto's face. "Well, we'll have to do something about that weight of yours, but after we survive! Go low, pick up a gun and shoot them if you can!"

Prompto fearfully nodded and Noctis patted him, promising to protect him. They're best friends, even if they couldn't be more different in stature, social and otherwise. "Okay, how we're going to do this?"

"We'll need a distraction of some sort. The only thing I could think of is for Noct to start Warp-Striking all over them, then use the chaos to carve a path out." Ignis said, looking sternly at the enemy. "Faking a surrender isn't something I want to do lightly, it's perfidious conduct in a time of war, but Noctis' safety is our top priority."

"Well, so long as he's in one piece, I don't much care. The Imperials don't seem to be doing much obeying the laws of war anyway." Gladio shrugged. "Just as long as we get out of here alive."

"Very well. Noct, on the count of three..." Ignis said as Noctis and the others took deep breaths. "3...2...1..."

Slowly, the boys walked out of the Regalia, their hands high.

"THAT'S RIGHT! JUST KEEP WALKING RIGHT INTO OUR ARMS! NO FUNNY BUSINESS OR THAT SWEET RIDE IS GONNA GET IT! MAYBE I'LL EVEN KEEP IT FOR MYSELF!" Laughed the Imperial commander in charge of the small army of Magitek infantry.

The boys walked into the center of the mass of soldiers. It looked for all the world like this was it. They're going to get captured and rot in an Imperial dungeon for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, their gloomy fate would not happen. An unexpected surprise appeared!

"HEY IDIOTS!" Yelled a young voice, somewhere between Ignis' and Gladio's age from somewhere up above. That's when a glowing golden blade slammed into the nearest mecha, carving its legs up and sending it spiraling into the ground in pieces. The owner of the blade suddenly appeared with a flicker, a glowing ball of energy in his right hand that slammed into another Imperial, sending it smashing into the nearest wall, then caught the sword as it boomeranged back into his hand.

The Rasengan?! Ignis thought. Are they Coredian reinforcements?

Suddenly, more of the lightsabers appeared in the middle of the army ranks, carving them up like grilled chocobos, combined with what was obviously psychic and ninjutsu techniques from these unknown Coredians. They must be the reinforcements, then! That's when Noctis and the others acted. Noctis threw one of his knives and disappeared, reappearing at the leader mecha's face and began slashing with his family's patented Engine Sword. Gladio had a massive hammer-sword in his hands and used it to send enemies flying. Ignis threw a Blizzard Grenade, sending a massive burst of cold air into the arena, freezing some more of the soldiers solid.

"Gaah! Warn a guy, will ya?" The boy with the golden lightsaber yelled.

"Well, excuse me for saving our lives!" Ignis shot back, and a spear appeared in his hands and he started thrusting and stabbing.

And Prompto found out that he was somehow a pretty good shot when he picked up a fallen Imperial's magitek rifle and started shooting, every shot a hit. That one raised an eyebrow from one of the Coredians, who also sported a rifle, this one an assault rifle of some kind. But now wasn't the time yet.

And soon, it was all over.

"Whew! That was a close one!" The boy with the lightsaber grinned. Noctis looked him up and down. He seemed to favor clothes similar to himself. Dark blue short-sleeved jacket, tactical pants and a black T-shirt. And he looked about sixteen or so. "So you guys are Noctis and the crew we're looking for, right?"

"Yes, that would be me. Who are you and what are you doing here?" Noctis asked the boy and his companions.

"Well, we got lost on the road to life and wound up here. I'm Travis Masaki, Jedi Knight." The boy smiled, earning groans from his friends. "And we got hired by Old Man Onoki and your dad to escort you out of here. Oh, by the way, he wants you to have this and he says he's sorry."

Noctis stared at the ring in Travis' hand. "He's giving me that? Just like that?"

"Hey! I'm sure your dad is alive and kicking! He'd want you to be alive too, right? So let's get out of here and we'll talk more. And take the ring, will ya? I look silly trying to propose to another prince!"

That earned a chuckle from the Lucian boys. Noctis looked a bit skeptical at his claims, but his father's ring was no lie. He took it and put it on his finger, feeling the magic flow into his every vein.

And then suddenly, massive kaiju-sized Daemons appeared in the darkness of the night and began to blow up entrenched friendly positions and skyscrapers. That was shortly followed by gigantic statues of the Old Kings coming to life to battle the Daemons, beginning a massive brawl near the Palace itself. Noctis realized it was the King's greatest ability: to call the Old Kings of Lucis to the defense of Insomnia. His father's out there, fighting, buying time for him to escape, grow stronger and come back in triumph.

"Let's get out of here while we still can!" Ignis yelled.

And so the group of teenage warriors fled Insomnia, with heavy hearts and great resolve to bring justice to the wicked Empire that dared to invade their peaceful kingdom! They had a long way to go before they can make good on that promise, but now they can find a place to rest and plan their next move!
Last edited by CoreWorlds on Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby CoreWorlds » Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:20 pm

Meanwhile, in New Dornalia...

New Dornalia wrote:
Terry of course, replied with an enthusiastic, “Whoo hoo! You won’t regret this.” Rubbing her hands together, she then went, maybe a bit too energetically, “This is gonna be fun! Or harrowing. Or both!”

Kylie for her part glared at Terry, and Terry then coughed. Blushing a bit, she then went to everyone in the room, “Sorry. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a big adventure like this with interesting, wonderful people. I mean, yeah, I did a bunch of stuff in the past, but lately things have been a bit too quiet. Luckily, I’ve got my things nearby. Anyway! Do-goodery ho!”

Terry then paused and then asked, “Did you guys have a ride? If not, I think I’ve got a ship we can use. Nothing too big, but well, one can never tell with these sort of big missions. Also, if you need any extra gear, lemme know. This is the CRE after all. Things can get…crazy.”

Kylie nodded, and went, “The lady’s got a point, but otherwise, I think we’re done here if there’s no other questions. Be careful out there, okay, folks?”

***

Somewhere in Nova Louisiana

“Another one bites the dust.”

Henrietta E. Collins stood over her latest Daedra kill, with a steaming blaster in hand which was quickly hissing as it cooled down. Henny normally preferred ballistics and gauss weaponry, but the Daedra were limiting her options at the present.

Pulling out a handkerchief, the woman wet her brow silently, as she took deep breaths and took stock of the terrain. In typical Dornalian fashion, the woman had left behind a trail of dead Daedra corpses, piled like some grotesque monument to the triumph of modern combat. Henrietta shrugged at the sight. She’d been around the block before when it came to combat, and the sight didn’t faze her as much as it used to. There were some regrets at having to even make such a scene floating in, but she pushed them out of her mind. It helped that she got a sudden feeling rushing into her head--and it wasn’t the adrenaline rush wearing off.

Pausing, she sensed a presence would be coming her way soon. A very familiar presence.

Looking around, the pause gave her time to realize she was getting rather exhausted. As the Orderwoman sat down on a disused park bench, she pulled out a small chocolate bar marked “Gregson’s Enhanced Chocolate”. It was the milk chocolate strawberry flavored version--everyone had their weaknesses, and well, her’s was chocolate-strawberry combinations--which made the bar go down easier.

As she became invigorated by the chocolate bar--it helped that Gregson’s bars tended to be loaded with nutritional supplements and a metric ton of caffeine and other beneficial stimulants, to where Ordermen in their day jobs as soldiers and Marines and sailors far afield carried variants into the field as supplemental rations--Henny felt strangely philosophical.

The strains of combat weren’t like they used to be. Henny had been to war many times--maybe even a bit too much--but fighting never exhausted her like this. Looking down, Henny wondered briefly if perhaps her age and hard living was catching up to her.

Then, the feeling came again--the presence. And Henny knew then and there that the question of age would have to be resolved at a later point. For if the presence she knew was coming was the one she thought it was….Henny would have quite an adventure waiting for her.

Closing her eyes, Henny sent a brief Forcemessage to Terry, leaping long distances across the stars with this single message.

”It’s good to see you, Terry. Now put down that damn sausage. We got shit to do.”


It was time to move out. While the Dornalians prepared their new ride and brought in Terry to help out with the Madhi business, Jesse and John poured over maps of the latest sighting of the Madhi. For John, it's places to enact his patented 'fade-and-strike' techniques, techniques so good that would make a Jedi Shadow fall to his knees and beg to be taught. And for Jesse, he was searching for nearby scrap yards, preferably with plenty of metal to use. If the Madhi is anything like the Sith he used to hobnob with, he'd probably be pretty easy to lure into one of those scrap yards and then, well, let's let Jesse's magnetokinesis do the talking for him. Failing that, he'd at least have a place away from civilians for him and the rest of the Order to pile on the Madhi safely and make sure he returns to the grave.

Now, all that remains was to encounter the Madhi and make something useful of Mother's Sith training...

New Dornalia wrote:The three minute long wait seemed quite uncomfortably tense. Millicent looked at her watch, and looked up, fidgeting quite quickly as she waited for what seemed like an interminable period of time. Tom Petty wasn’t kidding when he sang of waiting being the hardest part. Millie’s sister tried to say something, but Millie cut her off with a glare. The sister could only shrug from the truck, keeping an eye out for the gribblies which had been rampaging across the quiet Central Californian highways and then some.

Then, Kiyoshi spoke, bidding his visitor to come in and hoping the Herrera sisters didn’t overstay their welcome. With a gesture and a nod, Roberta parked the truck closer to the house, and then dismounted from the truck, killing the engine.

The two then came in to find a kid playing video games, with the credentials and dossiers off to the side. Millicent herself wondered if he wasn’t quaffing SolarSoda, as many gamer kids were stereotypically wont to do. But, there was no such soda in sight. The house itself also looked fairly civilized, and Millicent went, smiling and trying to adopt a more patient tone, “So, Kiyoshi….you know our names, but well, I’m Millicent Herrera, and…”

Gesturing to the other gata, Millicent added, “This is my sister Roberta." Coughing, Millicent began to speak to Kiyoshi, kneeling down to get to his level as she continued, "We’re here to provide protection for you, due to the current shenanigans going on outside with the unrest in Dornieland and elsewhere--especially the chaos unfolding with those Chupathingies out there. How are you doing at the moment?”

Roberta, for her part, closed the door with a paranoid look outside, and then asked, “What...are...you...playing?”

"I'm doing okay. My bro made me learn how to take care of myself." Kiyoshi said. "The game? It's one of those 'one man verse an army' things. It's a new Jedi Knight game set a long time ago during the Empire's reign. A former Padawan is your main character and you pick up a team and get to beat up Stormtroopers and stuff. I think it has up to four players. You can even play a Wookiee if you like! You guys wanna play?"

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Postby Allanea » Thu Oct 29, 2020 3:06 am

Image

Statue of the Protector

New Askalon, Allanea, Terra

The Emperor of Greater Prussia stood on the deck of his yacht. Even at this distance, the statue of the Protector seemed immense. A winged figure, kneeling, faced the sea, its wings seeming to cradle the suburban homes below protectively. Its body was muscled, strong, and yet there was something about its bearing to betray an injury – as though the Protector had stopped some hazard with his very wings, and any second now blood would begin to flow from its feathers where shrapnel had found its mark.

The statue had no face – whether in respect of some tradition, or as part of some complex artistic vision of the sculptor's – and yet, somehow, it was incredibly expressive. There was something bittersweet and sad about it.

Many years ago, at this spot, the defenders of New Askalon stood against a host of millions of invaders from the May Day alliance. Tactical blunders by the invaders, and the sheer ferocity of New Askalon's defenders have caused them to cut down a force vastly grander then their own number. Even today, the bones of the dead were sometimes being found on the beach, or washing up on the surf.

Alexander Blaken-Kazansky remembered this well. He approved, therefore, when Xanthos Ragamon has chosen this site to erect the statue he called the Protector, and he had funded its construction.

There was more to the Protector than its mere artistic quality. Weaved into the statue's pedestal was a weave of silver mesh, and arcane rituals had been performed over every part of the statue. Its assembling was the trigger that activated it. For those observing with the proper sight, a subtle glow seemed to settle over the city.

"What news of the Tyranids, Annsbach?" - the Emperor spoke.

Next to him, the Archduke Annsbach spoke. Ancestral pride seemed carved into the man's face, as if he had been chiseled out of stone, a statue of the old Annsbachs come to life.

"Sire, there are no good news. They are advancing rapidly. Entire worlds are being consumed by them. They will not be stopped."

"I asked for your news, Admiral, not for your predictions of the future."

"I have seen the projections, Your Imperial Majesty."

For the briefest moment, Alexander considered telling the man that he preferred not to be addressed in this way. But he decided against it. He knew the Annsbachs well.

"I do not require your judgement on the projections, Admiral." - he spoke. "I am Alexander Blaken-Kazansky. I ask only – where are the beasts coming from?"

"Sire," – the Reichskamphenite made a gesture, and a projection appeared over the yacht's deck. "As you can see, the Tyranids are attacking here, here, and here."

"What are those worlds? I do not remember the Coredians having possessions in this part."

"These are their dependencies. A range of vassals, which have not yet developed their own capabilities for void war, and the Coredians have seen it as amoral to share."

"Ah. Non-intervention then. They could have had a ring of fortresses here. Now they have a burden." – the King of Allanea paused. "Nevertheless, we must act. Admiral Annsbach, I request that you take three fleets."

"You ask that I defeat the Tyranids with only three fleets?"

"No." – said the King. "I ask you delay them as much as you can and protect the evacuation convoys."

In a brief moment, the two men locked eyes, and Annsbach understood what he was asked to do. He understood the risks – and he understood also the greatness.

"Sire… I am honored. Who will organize the convoys themselves?"

"I will appoint officers for each of the worlds. Ankh comes first. And I have just the perfect candidate."

"And that is?"

"General Karl von Steinfurt."

"I thought he was a Colonel?"

"Not any more, he is not."


* * *


Orbit of Ankh

This is a priority alert. This is a priority alert. You are not hallucinating, this is not a message from the Gods, this is a priority alert.

The gravship captains dispensed with the need for middlemen – descending into the atmosphere over the largest cities, they manipulated the atmosphere itself with their drive fields, making it seem as if a booming voice was coming from the skies themselves.

This is a priority alert. This planet is under threat of a galactic-scale emergency. We are now evacuating all civilians. Survival is only possible in the case of orderly extraction. Do not panic. Repeat, do not panic. Orderly extraction is the only way. This is a priority alert.

Enormous ships, some in the bright colors of civilian freighters, others in the drab gray of the Reichskamphenite Navy, yet others in the crimson red of Allanean warships, flocked to the big cities. Some of them touched down, massive hatches opening, the ships preparing to receive refugees directly. Others were far too grand, and waited in orbit as shuttles loaded full with the refugees ascended to meet them.

In the streets, armor-clad Reichskamphenite troopers oversaw intersections, sergeants shouted instructions through bullhorns. Sometimes, when fights broke out, when men or women tried to rush through the queues and to the awaiting ships, the Prussians and Allaneans had no problem using electric batons, whips, even their rifles to restore order. Minutes later, the blood still glistening on the cobblestones, the queues restored.

In orbit, aboard a command pinnace, General Karl von Steinfurt commanded the grand effort. Three screens on his desk allowed him to be abreast of the entire situation – two to work on, and one that simply displayed numbers - numbers evacuated, numbers at each of the ports, numbers, numbers. He had momentarily considered adding a countdown clock to the arrival of the aliens, but then decided it was a foolish thing – any unpredicted action by the Tyranids themselves, or by the men who were tasked with delaying them, would make such a clock worthless.

As such, he concentrated on the things that connected directly to his abilities.

The greatest logistics operation of his life.

Operation Elephant.
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Postby Allanea » Thu Jan 07, 2021 9:13 pm

Ankh System

The act is called 'dropping out of warp'. But the phrase cannot contain the horror of the event. There is nothing in the phrase that will tell the reader what it is look like – convenient reality being torn, desecrated, nightmarish purple light glowing as space and time are rearranged. But in this case, it is not even these wounds on the flesh of reality that are the most terrible. It is what comes out of them that is the true nightmare.

They come by their hundreds, by their thousands. They are ships, yes – but they are also beasts. The layman imagines that war fleets are controlled by some kind of logic – that if there are many of ships, then the individual ships must be small and unthreatening, and if the ships are to be enormous, then surely there must be few.

There is no such succour with the Great Devourer. Hive ships, the size of islands, float through the void, their hull-bodies protected by armor plates of unimaginable size. Their escorts are smaller, but still larger than any battleship that has ever departed the docks in Liberty-City or hovered in the skies over Reichsburg. And then, around them, even smaller escorts – deployed not in squadrons, not in flotillas, but in clouds. The observer might be forgiven from thinking them to be like a buzzing swarm of flies – but then, the words freeze on one's lips when the realization comes – even the smallest ones are still the size of fightercraft.

The vast fleet moves on – inexorable, inexhaustible, invincible. Hours and hours pass by as it closes into the system. It moves on, closer and closer – through the outer belt, past the no-return point where it can no longer return to the Immaterium. It passes by the warning stations, past the outer gas giant. The main system has days to live. There, the sapients are scrambling pathetically to get more and more of their kin onto evacuation ships. The hive mind does not care. The biomass loss is negligible to it. All that matters is that in a few days it will be able to satisfy its hunger.

Then, something changes.

The atmosphere of the outer gas giant begins to shift. From among the clouds, rise dozens – hundreds of ships, small, metallic shapes.

And then there is fire.

A hive ship flexes its fronds as missiles impact, vaporizing the bone armor, the tyrannic ichor within boiling turning to noxious vapor as it is exposed to the void. Plasma lances stab into the exposed wound, follow-on explosions breaking the vessel apart.

Now the entire thing is different. Now there is no longer a simple movement of a beast, opening its jaws to grab prey. Now there is a struggle. Now there is a battle.

The first battle for Ankh.
.

* * *


SMS Lorelei

The command deck of the battleship is luxurious. It is a vast hall, its dome an enormous screen,with the movement of enemy fleets and the Prussians' own portrayed in simplified form – blue and red arrows and rectangles, and the Tyranid fleet as a single purple cloud, with only its largest ships marked off.

"Spinal guns, charging."

"Enemy contact, closing, destroyer-type."

"Spinal guns read-"

"FIRE!" – Admiral Annsbach hears his own voice, like a trap snapping shut, and then the entire ship seems to roar, the guns built through its entire hull discharging at once. It feels like standing inside a church bell. It probably feels worse on the other end.

"Kill confirmed!"

Definitely worse on the other end!

The vast enemy fleet, the enormous, unimaginable blob, is slowing down. It is turning its attention towards the Greater Prussian fleet, like a buffalo turning towards an annoying chicken.

That is exactly what Admiral Annsbach wants it to do.

On the right edge of his formation, there is an Allanean ship. It has a long name – You Shall Know Them By The Trail of Dead. Even now it is living up to its name. It is a Porcupine-class, a two-kilometer hull almost entirely filled with reactors and entirely festooned with weapons. Inside it there is only one crewman – a Porcupine Pilot, his brain and body reshaped to accommodate hundreds of interface plugs, to think in three dimensions, to contemplate the murderous firing of over as thousand guns.

It is said that Porcupine Pilots are chosen by dueling - that there are simply too many men and women desiring this honor that they fight to death to be inducted into the weapon-ships.

Archuke Kaleb Lennart Elia von Annsbach has no idea whether this is true. But it sound like something an Allanean would do.


* * *

FKS You Shall Know Them By The Trail of Dead

Captain Henry Ashton Dixon does not have a crew. He does not require a crew. He has never needed a crew. All he has is a ship. The ship is not like the other ships. It is not like a Menelmacari gravship, elegant and speedy, every inch imbued with the finest technology. It is not like any other Allanean ship either. It is a crude block of armor and steel, hundreds of gun turrets moving in the void. There are no crewmen, there are no corridors, no surgeons or scientists or commanders. There is Captain Henry Ashton Dixon, strapped into a command couch, rows of cables running to the back of his neck, plugs on his shoulders, ports on his spine. Captain Dixon, in a sense, is the ship.

He understands everything. He understand that millions of miles away, hundreds of thousands of people are being ushered onto cargo ships. Men and women whose homes are away from the main cities are sought out and evacuated by dropship. Every hour of delay means untold lives to be saved. And – he knows well – hours are made out of minutes, minutes of seconds. Even more – there will be a delaying action on the planet, too. He knows this. And therefore, every gunshot he makes will make it easier, just a bit easier, for the people on Ankh, too.

It is so well, then, that Henry Dixon had spent all his life training for this day. He had reshaped his flesh and mind for his day. It is well that Henry Ashton Dixon is not human. He is a Porcupine Pilot. More: he is the Porcupine.

He sees the void about him as no baseline human can. He sees a ship – larger than him, covered in grotesque fronds – above him. Under him, a cloud of gargoyle-like horrors is speeding towards him. And in front of him, the Splinter Fleet.

Everything is happening at once for Henry Dixon, in a way it can for no mortal. Perhaps only the splinter fleet itself can understand that he is hurting it in three places at once. His ventral weapons turrets come alive with fire. Gargoyles are torn to shreds like a moth hit with an electric swatter. Explosions boil up across the surface of the frondship, fronds the size of a skyscraper collapsing and burning. And in front, his spinal gun fires.

It is a sound that only Dixon can hear, inside his ship. It is nothing like the bell-ringing aboard the Lorelei. Running the length of Dixon's ship, like a spine through a human's body, are six long gun barrels, hinged together on a rotating mechanism, designed to allow the plasma inducers to cool down between shots. It is a truly Allanean contraption, born out of demented genius. It rotates, and it fires, again and again, before the roar of the first shot has even died away.

A regular human being would have perished, their eardrums burst, their sanity snapped by the sheer sound. Dixon is no such human. He opens his mouth and swears, adding the noise of his shouts of rage and hate to the cacophony of the ship.

Some believe that swear words have a magic in them, an old magic to drive off evil spirits. Perhaps. Dixon believes in the magic of his beam weapons and plasma cannon more – but it can't hurt.

Nahuy poshel, svinya yebanaya nahuy cherez sem grobov…

The plasma gatling gun hammers against a ship incomprehensibly larger than him. Through his sensor arrays, he can see it perish – its sphincters spewing flaming ichors, explosions that would level small towns shaking across its hull.

He continues to swear and to fight. He is in one place – in his command couch. He is everywhere – lashing through a swarm of gargoyle horrors with bright-red laser beams, breaking an escort apart with plasma impacts, cutting open the belly of a transport ship with the main gun, watching myriads of Tyranid horrors spew out helplessly into the void.

Dixon does not tire. He knows, as a matter of objective truth, that the aliens outmass him, that they outnumber him, that there is no outcome to this battle except death. Yet he knows that he does not need to live. He knows that he had already killed enough that his death matters. He knows also that he is alive still, and as long as he is alive, he continues to kill.

Bioplasma burns through his shields, turrets jam in place, armor melts. Ejection machinery catapults some of the damaged weapons out. Damager reports run across his field of vision in tiny green lettering, and he blinks it away. It does not matter. There are hundreds of guns left yet, and he can still kill. He laughs as he turns his attention to the ship that damaged him, and fires everything he has. His records identify this ship as a 'devourer'. It will no longer devour anything.

He continues firing. Guns overheat and jam. At the edge of his perception, he notices one of the Prussian Navy's ships break in half and explode. He catches another frondship in front of his spinal gun and fires a short burst.

Hull breaches at sector X5, X7, X9…. Hull breaches X20, Y6….

He knows, in a brilliant flash, what had happened. There were enough of the enemy that some of them have exploited gaps in his sensor coverage, gaps created by the damage of previous impacts. Now they are attached to the full. Now they are coming in.

Automated defenses within the ship come alive, flooding access routes with hardening foam, catching the alien creatures like so many mosquitos in amber. It is a delay, of course – a delay he uses to keep fighting.

He is still fighting – firing his guns, seeking out targets, firing the spinal gun, shouting obscenities, maneuvering the ship, shouting more obscenities. He dives into the enemy fleet, firing and firing, guns on every side of his ship, his hull-body, aimed at the enemy. Until the inevitable happens.

The armored hatch to his control room fails, torn apart as if it was tissue paper and not armor, and he enemy enters his sanctum.

It is just one enemy, and yet in a sense the entire hive mind is present. It is a monster so tall it needs to hunch over to be in the room – six limbs, claws and teeth, muscle and armor.

"Hello." – says Dixon. "Rest in peace."

The creature slices forward with a single, fluid movement, but it is already too late. The man the control cable in his brain had already thought the self-destruct codes.

Within the splinter fleet, a new sun is born.


* * *


SMS Lorelei

"Truly do we know them by their trail of dead." – says Annsbach. The purple blob on the screen now has a tear in it, like a wound.

The Prussian fleet, too, is injured. Hundreds of ships are burning in the void, and hundreds burn no longer. Of the advanced Allanean ships none remain.

"Your Highness, we have lost a third of our numbers. A further third are taking damage."

"I appreciate that we are taking damage, but – "

A flash, and one of the icons on the domescreen vanishes.

"Was this the Arminius]?"

"Yes, Your Excellency."

The Archduke is silent. He sees the enormous purple blob envelop his fleet. He knows that every minute he delays the inevitable is thousands of lives. He knows also that if he delays too long, the fleet he had been entrusted with will exist no longer.

"Status of the Thetis? " – he asks.

"Destroyed, Your Excellency."

"Pommerania?"

"Severe damage, Your Excellency"

"Very well. Message General von Steinfurt that we are no longer able to hold at this position. Prepare to enter hyperspace."

Thus ended the First Battle of Ankh – with 350 ships lost, and forty-seven thousand men, some in blue and some in black, dead.

But it was only the First Battle of Ankh.
Last edited by Allanea on Fri Jan 08, 2021 2:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Allanea » Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:33 pm

The Second Battle of the Ankh


Remember we must
How the Devourer's hordes
The tentacled ravening menace
First met their match on Coredian soil
And broke their talons against us

¬ Oren Ilyinsky, 'Battle of the Ankh'

INTRODUCTION
Greater Prussian Field Headquarters, Ankh


Ancient cultures treasured loyalty as an uttermost value. Even those who cast aside an enemy tribe to serve one's own would be despised. Legend holds that when Tarpeia betrayed Rome to the Sabines, the Sabine warriors then murdered her. The Romans themselves formed the phrase Roma proditoris non praemia – Rome does not reward traitors, though doubtless many a traitor had been rewarded by them throughout their long Empire.

Yet millennia have passed, and the language of treason and loyalty has been found inadequate. Often has occurred that those who shouted 'honor is loyalty' the loudest, had no honor, and deserved no loyalty. Therefore words were needed for when one wanted to praise treason and not condemn it, to treat those who had betrayed an evil cause and turned towards a good one with respect or at least decency. Those people were now called not traitors but defectors. One of these defectors was was now

The figure towered over all participants – taller than Archduke Kaleb von Annsbach, taller than General Karl von Steinfurt, taller than the Allanean officers, and of course taller than the Ankhite monarchs, none of whom was even as tall as their off-world allies. The figure paced the hall, its heavy armored boots clanking against the stone, the servomotors in its heavy green-and-white armor buzzing lightly. The Pharaohs of the Ankh edged back from him, as if the monster was an emblem of the horrors that would not merely cast aside their crowns, but in fact consume their entire world.

His title was not 'King', or 'Archduke', or 'General'. He was Sergeant Targulian Issaddas, and he was a Defector Marine. He despised the Pharaohs to the point that, had it not been for the invasion, he would not even paused long enough to speak to them before crushing their skulls with an armored glove – primitive slavemasters of a primitive culture, they did not merit his attention. Now, however, their culture was irrelevant. They were no longer slavers in any meaningful way – their society was disintegrating around them, former slaves and former masters boarding together onto dozens of evacuation craft or filing into portals erected hastily in the major cities. They were now merely impoverished, defenseless mortals, whom Sergeant Targulian Issaddass was tasked to aid in the last weeks and months of their civilization's existence.

His respect towards the others present in this room was slightly greater – but in the end of the day, they did not possess his knowledge, his skills, the inner strength with which he was imbued by years of training, centuries of study and combat, with the genesmithing that reforged him and remade him. In this dark hour, these men, brave though they were, honorable though they were, needed the wisdom of Targulian Issadass.

"This world is doomed." – he said, his voice carrying like a gong-strike in the empty world. "This we know. Yet we know also that the question is that of time. How many days, how many weeks, can we hold away the splinter fleet? The longer we hold, the more people we can save. Every day we delay, more can board the evacuation fleet, more can walk through the portals. Every day gives other worlds, other systems, more time to prepare their defenses."

The Defector Astartes looked upon the men around him before continuing. Their countenances were serious. The locals seemed frightened, but they were retaining at least the semblance of dignity. The Allaneans and Reichskamphenites appeared unfazed, as if they had already made themselves at home with the notion.

"We will need the assistance of as many of the Ankh's people as can be recruited," – Issaddass continued. "Some basic assessments I've made suggest we can hold the invasion at bay for about one hundred days, from initial landing to complete consumption of the planet's biosphere, assuming a competent defense. I believe that if we begin training the locals to fight today, we will have some men ready to fight, not as well as a Greater Prussian soldier, but to passable standard, within a few weeks."

One of the Pharaohs nodded slightly, the tall, bright-red crown swaying as he did so. "I will lead my warriors into battle. I shall no longer be king once this world falls. Let my dynasty end as a dynasty should end, in battle and fire."

Of the seven men, four nodded. Two more were elderly and frail, and could at best be borne into battle on stretcher. No doubt the seventh was a coward, Issaddass thought putting the mortal out of his mind.

"What weapons do we have to hand out?" – Issaddass turned towards General von Steinfurt, who was even then looking at something on a tablet.

"I have just looked this up, Sergeant Issaddass. There is a large supply of chemenergics on Earth we could have shunted here by one of the cargo ships. Not the most modern, but they would do." – it remained unspoken that most of those weapons would be lost with their bearers. "There are also some simple beam guns in His Imperial Majesty's private stockpiles that we could hand out."

"This will do. " – Targelion Issaddass turned to the Allanean officers. "Do you have the ability to organize training?"

"We sure do. We have some people who speak the local language. We'll teach the locals the few things they really need to know within three weeks. Vehicle drivers will take more but we can start getting men with rifles to the front within three weeks."

"Acceptable." – nodded the Defector. "I will be here with a squad of my Battle Brothers. We shall assist in the training as best we can. "

Archduke von Annsbach spoke – "I still have a fleet, and I still have men under my command. We will make sure that you have the time to enact these plans."


* * *


Tyranids are creatures from our darkest nightmares. But remember this: they can bleed, and they can die. ~ Inquisitor-Lord Kryptmann

CHAPTER 1


The hive ship began to burn even as it fell down towards the atmosphere, detonations causing the vast plates of its armor to burst from within, flaming alien ichor streaking behind it as it accelerated. As it fell, ever-faster, towards the planet's larger ocean, missiles sped up towards it, basking it in the radiant light of atomic fusion, and it began to fall apart. Its wreckage was still the size of islands, splashing into water and turning it to steam on impact, enormous clouds forming where pieces of the alien vessel had struck.

Vast waves, kicked up by the vessel's death throes, roared towards the shores. At the large cities, the gravitic fields of the evacuation ships parted the waves, deflecting the threat from the crowds of refugees. Elsewhere, the water simply washed over the shore, those few that had refused to leave their homes in the fishing villages or who had simply not gotten the news of the impending apocalypse being swept away instantly or perishing by drowning and exposure.

The fleets continued to fight, now in high orbit, deflecting the monstrous invaders away from the big cities and the evacuation sites. The Devourer, however, was far more intelligent than it had ever been credited for by the ignorant and the falsely optimistic. The enemy fleet moved, swarming towards the planet's poles, as far as possible from the fortified evacuation points, there to mass its force away from the Allaneans and the Prussians, with their sharp steel and their hot plasma. Thus the countdown for Sergeant Issaddass' plan began in earnest when the first of the bio-spores struck ground in the permafrost.

Calmly, the Prussians had waited. They waited for two days, as the creatures landed more and more forces. Then – as the numbers became vast, as the snow vanished under the teeming multitudes – on the command deck of the Lorelei, Admiral von Annsbach spoke:

Feuer!

Ship-to-ship torpedoes and planetary bombardment missiles arced out towards the poles by their thousands. Many were shot down, or intercepted by the hive creatures. It mattered not. For several seconds, the poles lit up with light that no aurora borealist could compete with – red and pink and white – as thousands of tons of polar ice and snow became radioactive mist, and untold numbers of alien monsters were torn to shreds, incinerated, destroyed in a dozen ways.

Still more came, clambering over the fallen corpses of their kind. Some flew, leathery wings flapping in the air, others crawled, or burrowed, yet others skittered, hopped, jumped.

They were delayed, again – aircraft and aerospace fighters, striking the vast formations with a hail of submunitions, strafing the teeming hordes, fighting the winged, dragon-like creatures in pitched aerial fights. Sometimes they perished, pilot and machine smashing down into the ground in a twisted mass of damaged metal. Still they would be remembered – some as ace pilots, with dozens of kills to their name, others simply as heroes who fought and perished bravely.

In the immense scale of the battle, engagements that would in any other war be glorious battles in and of themselves seemed mere skirmishes. Still, some names would be recorded. On the twenty-third day of the Battle, Colonel Otto von Kranz, dug in with his regiment across a mountain pass, lured a vast number of the Tyranid creatures to fight him. The more of them perished, the more were attracted to fight, and for a while it seemed that the 300th Armored Grenadiers would hold forever. Of course they did not. But they won precious days against the schedule.

On the 30th day, the 5th and 19th Chocobo Cavalry Regiments struck into the Hive Fleet's forces just as they had, at last, cut through the remainder of the Armored Grenadiers. The riding birds' seeming docility vanished as Brigade General Ecolph Nabak unsheathed his sabre. As their riders struck out against the Tyranids with sword, pike, and gun, the yellow birds pecked and kicked, cracking open chitinous armor, smashing down gaunts, crushing lesser creatures underfoot outright. Auta i lómë! Aurë entuluva! – the Allanean Riders shouted as they slew, and those among the Riders that were not Freemen shouted with them, and for a few hours they felt something like hope. But the Riders were few, and their foes were too many to slay by the sword, and at the end Nabak rode back, his arm in a sling, and of the six thousand riders he took in with him only seven hundred returned, and still it was considered by all a victory.

By now, the last refugees were filing into the cities. Perplexing to them, they saw their own kin, Ankhians all, some with the worn faces of farm laborers, others with the elegant bearing of noblemen, but all dressed alike in mossy-green uniforms, with foreign weapons on their shoulders, marching in the other direction – against the flow of the teeming thousands seeking escape, and towards the ravening Tyranid maws. Some marched on foot, others sat in the back of immense horseless carts, but they were going in the very direction of the danger most sought to escape.

At their destination they were put to work instantly – not fighting the Tyranids, not quite yet, but digging trenches, preparing positions, assembling fortifications. The soldiers from beyond the skies oversaw their effort, and their machinery aided in it, but there was enough work that each man had to wield a shovel – or perhaps it was that, having put all their machines to work, the Prussian commanders invented more tasks for what men they had at their disposal.

By that point, the sun had been hidden for days behind a grey curtain of clouds. Rain came down during evenings, turning the trenchworks to a sea of mud. The Prussians taught them to make a crude floor for their trenches out of wood, and this made their suffering more tolerable. Either way, it would not be a very long torment.



* * *

CHAPTER 2


Ouza quickly determined he loved his weapon. It was a heavy thing, to be sure, over half Ouza's weight, and it was hard to drag about on the march – heavier than any bow or spear, almost a tiny siege engine on its own right. It had to be controlled with a pair of grips on the back, and a pair of spring-loaded levers he had to push down with his thumbs. But oh, when it fired, it was a force to defy the gods themselves with! It rocked and barked, and shot and shot and shot, and on the other side, targets were ripped apart. After a few days' training, Ouza could cut down a small tree with the weapon.

Such a device had no name in Ouza's tongue, but he understood that in the language of the sky-warriors it was a 'ma-xeem'. Thereafter, when the alien war-beasts appeared, he aimed into their crowd and fired.

It was not possible to miss. There were so many of the monsters, all he had to do was to hold down the levers with his thumbs and move the gun from side to side. Clack-clack-clack, the gun went, and the bullets went somewhere into the alien crowd, and the creatures fell, ichorous blood spraying. Then the belt would run out, and the man next to Ouza would help him place a new belt in.

The gun's power was hypnotic. He held aim at a creature twice as tall as a man, at six khets away, and held down the triggers. At first, there seemed to be no effect, but then the creature shrieked, so loud it could even be heard over the gun's clatter, as armor-piercing bullets cut through its chitin and incendiaries set it ablaze, and then it toppled and died. Ouza thought of how the creature could have trampled him underfoot were it near, and Ouza laughed as he and his assistant gunner fed the ravenous weapon another belt.

Around them, the world was a cacophony of sound. Allanean soldiers, in long green cloaks over their body armor, aimed their guns over the trench lip and fired them, flashes of white flame erupting, detonating as they hit the war-beasts. (Ouza knew these were called plasma weapons). Overhead, flying machines passed low, and the earth shook with explosions. The war-beasts also had weapons, or rather they had appendages that worked like weapons, and they fired their own plasma at the positions around him, explosions showering the defenders in mud and shrapnel. Prussian soldiers fired beam weapons also, and Ankhites like Ouza fired chemergics. Ouza gathered that the gun he had was not as good as the skysoldiers' guns, but it was still very good. He liked how it shook in his hands, and how it made the alien war beasts shriek and topple and die.

For a while, the onslaught of the enemy creatures paused – but half an hour later, it began anew, with renewed vigor. Now there were bigger war-beasts, some taller than the tallest cypress trees. They pushed and pushed, and soon they were three khets away, then one khet. He could look into their strange, bottomless alien eyes. Next to him, the assistant gunner called out, and when Ouza turned to look, the man was lying on the rear wall of the trench, his chest a bloody ruin, pink forth coming up on his lips.

It took a conscious effort for Ouza not to cling to the precious gun as the creatures came in closer to the trench. He threw a grenade across the trench lip, and it detonated somewhere in the alien horde. Some of them were injured perhaps – did it matter? He grabbed a carbine, firing it into the horde, then ran.

Around him, he saw scenes of incredible violence. Prussians, Allaneans, Ankhites, fought together simply because to fight seemed to be better than to just allow oneself to be devoured without resistance. Officers drew their sabres, enlisted men stabbed forward with bayonets, plasma rifles and chemenergics fired at point-blanked, monsters biting men in half. He heard a man shout obscenities as he tied grenades to his body and literally threw himself into a biting monster's maw, and he saw intestines and ichor thrown up in a fountain. He saw an officer press a chemenergic pistol into his own mouth and pull the trigger. He saw Anhkites with sickle-swords and revolvers fight back to back on an overturned truck.

One thing that Ouza would afterwards never remember was the sequence of events that lead to him surviving. What was clear was that he, and some of the others, were bloodied, and dirty, and tired, and yet alive as they set up positions a few leagues south, and fought again. He remembered the next few weeks only in fragments – the flashes of ship-deaths in orbit, the incessant rain, wheat fields alight.

He remembered his eyes aching as he woke after a brief snap of fitful slip, and grabbed a weapon to fight. He remembered the sixtieth day, when he vomited his entire meal after seeing what happened to his battalion commander. He remembered being made Lieutenant, but not how he was made Sergeant. Probably for the same reason – someone had died, and there was no time to go about matters properly.

He did not remember being issued a beam weapon instead of a chemenergic – a plasma pistol. Maybe he was not issued it? Maybe he got it from someone's corpse? In any event, on the third month he had a pistol like the Allanean officers had, and he remembered firing it, and the ichor being still hot as it landed on his face.

He remembered, at last, retreating through a burning city, firing his pistol at something in the skies, and being ushered onto a ship.

It would be only later that he'd be told they'd beat the odds.

The Second – and last – Battle for Ankh lasted one hundred and twenty days, not one hundred.


* * *

EPILOGUE


After the planet was, at last, overrun, and the Splinter Fleet began digesting its biosphere, the Prussians unleashed their final surprise. Ultra-high-yield bombs, planted deep in the planet's crust, detonated in a sequence, the very bedrock boiling under the invaders. Within a few minutes of the Tyranids' final victory there would no longer be any biosphere for them to digest – merely thousands upon thousands of square kilometers of molten rock and steam.

Thus ended the Second Battle of the Ankh.
Last edited by Allanea on Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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