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The enemy of my enemy dies next [closed, FT]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Allanea
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The enemy of my enemy dies next [closed, FT]

Postby Allanea » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:11 pm

OOC: Broadly speaking, this is a thread for me and Sub Sector Protractis, but Menelmacar may turn up at some juncture if they are interested and available.

IC:

Exitus Acta Probat:
The Outcome Justifies The Deed.

¬ Motto of the Vindicare Temple

The lies of our enemies are manifold. All of them designed for one, unremitting objective: to justify and legitimize their crimes. ¬ Alexander Blaken-Kazansky, Emperor of Greater Prussia and King of Allanea, Lecture at the Freemen's War College

Subsector Protractis, the Bastion

The ship was like an arrowhead. An enormous arrowhead by the standards of its builders, though perhaps sized modestly by the standards of the Imperium. Its surface was dark, polished metal when inert. Now, however, it was concealed from sight by a cloaking field – an arrowhead, or perhaps a dagger in the dark, wielded by an expert hand.

It did not approach the Bastion at all. It lurked, instead, in the system's outer asteroid field. Its arrival produced no warp distortion, since its owners did not make use of the Immaterium for travel. Their means were different – perhaps superior, perhaps heretical.

From the ship, a single smallcraft detached – somewhat like a Thunderhawk, and indeed it would appear like a Thunderhawk – unless it underwent close inspection. One interested in sniffing around the craft would discover it was not armed like a Thunderhawk, equipped with engines unlike a Thunderhawk, and indeed the angles between its armor-plates were subtly different, in a manner that would disturb a techpriest – just ever so slightly slicker and more rounded than a Thunderhawk's.

Aboard it were five men and a woman in black military uniforms awaited. In the rear compartment, a squad of infantry, lightly armed and armored, waited.

"So, run this by me again," – said one of the men – "Why are we doing this? These people would just as well kill us all as talk to us – and we, them, to be fair. Everything about their culture is loathsome in every aspect – and I do not doubt they think the same of us."

"There are two reasons. One minor, and the other major." – the woman spoke. "The small one is that the enemy of my enemy dies next – or at least this is how the people here are fond of putting it. These people are nasty. The people they fight? They are nastier. You have not been in the First Freemen's Crusade. I have."

The First Freemen's Crusade. Allanea's first confrontation with the forces that had been dubbed, sometimes, as Chaos. The Allaneans planned and executed a vast, simultaneous war on multiple fronts. The war began with a scam – defrauding the warlords of Chronosia of vast resources, which were used, then, to wage a war against the Chronosians themselves. The Allanean forces shot, killed, and fought across dozens of worlds, losing millions of troops and butchering heretics both in battle and with orbital strikes. Some of the population of the world had been purged, others put in stasis and only gradually let forth as it was possible to become assured they were redeemable to some extent.

"I needn't be reminded that Chaosites are bad people, Natalia." - the officer replied testily. "What is the larger reason?"

"The larger reason is that – as they say here, knowledge is power and should be well-guarded. We desire their knowledge. Do you know that the Imperium hides most of its history from its own subjects, even from its officials?"

"This sounds… oh I understand now."

"Exactly. If they hide it, we wish to know it."

"How would we know they are giving us the truth? It's possible that even the ones who we speak to do not know."

"We have our ways, and they have theirs." – Natalia smiled as she spoke those words. It was not a kind smile.


* * *


As the message arrived it would quite likely arouse some alarm that those who sent it had a knowledge of Imperial encryptions sufficient to know how to send it. On the other hand, it was clearly understood by the Allaneans that if it was sent in the clear the response almost certainly would be in the negative.

+++ To: Imperial Authorities on Bastion
Encryption status: Vermilion
Content: We are the representatives of a civilization vastly distinct from your own. We recognize that this may cause a degree of alarm. Do not open fire on our vessels. We offer a negotiation and a cooperation against your most dire enemies. We appreciate the need to negotiate such items in a confidential manner away from the public eye. It would be ideal if you allowed us to meet with an inquisitorial representative of sufficient authority, at the inquisitorial fortress on this world. We will send a group of 16 individuals, including our negotiator and her retinue, to discuss matters.

Our choice to meet at the most secure location on your planet is a gesture of respect towards you. We hope that you appreciate and understand our desire to work out a cooperation.

Yours, Colonel Natalia Strelkina
Last edited by Allanea on Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:27 pm

"Where were we prior to my ascension, rather, prior to the Emperor's will determine I ascend? This fragile ember we call the Imperium was at risk of being snuffed out. Then I rallied the houses, I instituted the reforms, and I led our armies to victory while those with less faith were content to hide in the dark and never see the God-Emperor's light returned to the cosmos. It is not my touch you should look for in the shadows and I burn with the light of faith. -Grand Pentarch Reynold Castamere to the Imperial Court petition for emergency authority.



The Bastion, Outer Orbit, Defense Station Lumos, communication relay terminal

The Bastion, considered by many to be the safest planet to exist since age of Terra, Cadia, and Mars spun its' orbit like any other day nearly four years of monotony. Imperial Armada ships, Defense Fleets, Traders and Commercial ships all waited in Queue to have their communications re-routed to the proper location. From time to time a mechanical emergency or collision would occur and liven up the otherwise procedural monotony.

For Voidsmen 1st Class Berkshear this was his station in life, literally and metaphorically. Having been able to secure himself an assignment so close to the Bastion he was safe from the wild and often dangerous frontier of the Sub-Sector. With out noble connections however he would never rise above communications operator. He would have to consign himself to a standard salary and birthing, and one week of leave a year at the approval of his command staff. Berkshear also had the privilege visit on Axios in the Bastion itself, if he was ever able to afford a round trip on a transport that could complete the journey in less than 6 days. Berkshear was saving for the occasion, in another three years he should have the money to spend an entire day on the Sub-Sector's Capital. until then however, he would continue in his duty, day in and day out. With only two hours left in his shift Berkshear was typing away to redirect the endless text transmissions.

'Vermilion'Berkshear thought as the encryption level flashed across his terminal, 'That is an Inquisitorial sub-designation, these terminals are not cleared of Inquisitorial communications'. Berkshear rechecked the encryption and ensured that the machine spirit found no malignant elements to the message before it was opened. It was clear and Berkshear signaled for assistance,

"Sir, Terminal 67 requested Cypher overseer, Vermilion class crypt, non-Imperial origin."

There was a silence, an endless silence or so it felt when in reality it was several seconds before several staff Officer's descended on the Terminal banks with Naval Armsmen in tow. "Get these operators isolated now!" barked an Ensign

The Operators in eye shot of Berkshear's terminal were dragged out by the Arms men and their terminal's were remotely locked. Moments later the Defense Station's Communications Commander a 1st Lieutenant arrived his uniform disheveled as if it was fitfully thrown on when still asleep. "Voidsmen of Terminal 67, Report"

Berkshear swallowed and forwarded the text directly to the command Queue which would be observed in the 1st Lieutenant's augmentic lens.


+++ To: Imperial Authorities on Bastion
Encryption status: Vermilion
Content: We are the representatives of a civilization vastly distinct from your own. We recognize that this may cause a degree of alarm. Do not open fire on our vessels. We offer a negotiation and a cooperation against your most dire enemies. We appreciate the need to negotiate such items in a confidential manner away from the public eye. It would be ideal if you allowed us to meet with an inquisitorial representative of sufficient authority, at the inquisitorial fortress on this world. We will send a group of 16 individuals, including our negotiator and her retinue, to discuss matters.

Our choice to meet at the most secure location on your planet is a gesture of respect towards you. We hope that you appreciate and understand our desire to work out a cooperation.

Yours, Colonel Natalia Strelkina[/align]


Berkshear spoke "Sir, permission to send quick text transmission to the Ordos Terminal and advise...."

"No need Voidsmen, the Ordo will already be on its way, direct a priority containment message level 4 to the nearest naval reaction team. Intercept vectors for the signals origination area, request all defense stations in containment range general quarters." Spoke the Lieutenant

Berkshear's message called 12 Destroyers, two frigates and one cruiser to the area with the Lumos and two other defense stations being brought to full defense readiness.

Berkshear was preparing to send an foreign request identifier transmission when his terminal failed to respond to his commands. A Sub text screen opened and a message with tasking orders was imposed:

++++++Ordo Terminal:M/X/H/M>M/X/H>M/H-----Ordo Override:M--- =][=---Duran++++++
+++++Tasking to Naval reaction: Outer Perimeter Containment+++++
++++Naval Defense Station: Auspex Full++++
+++Ordo Tasking: Order of the Griffon 4th Free Company/Intercept,Contain,Host+++
++Inquisitor Tsagos assigned:Possible Breach Crypt level->Alpha Extreamis|++
+Secondary: Sanatize+


Code: Select all
++++To:Colonel Natalia Strelkina++++
+++From:Lumos Defense station
++Encryption:Vermilion[Direct]++
+Responding Vessel, make an obvious approach to the pre-loaded Coordinates shields are to by down and weapons offline. Your ORBAT is requested for deconfliction purposes as any further or undeclared intrusion will be considered hostile in nature. You will be directed to board Order of the Griffon 4th Free Company Strike Cruiser [i]Obsidian Blade[/i] where you will be contacted by Inquisitorial staff.+
++++END++++


The re-tasking orders were being issued to the Imperial Navy as if they were coming from the Lumos, the Naval reaction force was being called off and a Astartes Free Company was being dispatched to make contact from what Berkshear could make of the transmission. It was now an Inquisitorial matter, but one last portion of the Directive caught his attention Sanitize.

Berkshear attempted to look back to see what would befall him when was pulled out of his chair by Naval Armsmen and beaten to the floor. He was curled up in pain, looking up at the Armsmen who were covering him with their las-carbines.

"Leave us," stated the Lieutenant. The Armsmen shuffled out leaving only the Lieutenant and the Ensign in the terminal area. "Voidsmen, your name?"

"Berkshear Sir, ever loyal to he who gazes upon us." said Berkshear

"Do you know what you have seen Voidsmen....the truth, what do you make of it"

"Inquisitorial security code was sent by an unknown party of non-Imperial Origin, allowing it to bypass Queue directly to direction terminals. Possible compromise of Vermilion level Encryption, but I swear to you Lord, I will say nothing, on my very life I will say nothing of this to anyone. Unless of course a member of the Holy Ordos needs my assistance in their investigation." replied Berkshear

"You are a sharp one Voidmen, there will be an investigation and this matter will be uncovered. You preformed admirably and show conviction in your duties. There are not enough like you in the employ of the God Emperor." said the Lieutenant motioning to the Ensign

The Ensign then walked forward and helped Berkshear to his feet, who was visibly rattled.

"Your devotion is noted and will be documented in this matter Voidsmen" said the Lieutenant "Carry on"

The Voidsmen stood to attention and rendered a salute, as his finger tips touched his brow the Lieutenants Augmentic eye flashed and a micro laser struck the Voidsmen in the head killing him instantly. "Ensign, have this terminal area cleaned and wiped. See if any other operators saw any portion of the transaction"
A 6.1 civilization, according to this index.

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Postby Allanea » Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:34 am

Aboard the Thundercuckoo-class gunship, the Accelerator

Natalia Strelkina was a beautiful woman. Not pretty, no, beautiful. Her black eyes had a piercing quality to them, and her dark-brown hair, done up in a tail, had that slickness to it that betrayed it was well cared for. Her face – were one to take good note of such things – would suggest that Colonel Strelkina took care to look good. Yet there was a dangerous quality to her expression, one that did not welcome any familiarity. Here was a woman accustomed not just to a position of command, but to one of superiority.

Her apparent youth was a deceit, one of many deceits Strelkina was so used to practicing – three centuries of age lurked behind those piercing eyes.

The craft's pilot turned to ask: "Natasha, is this really the best idea? They asked to power down our shields?"

Among this tight circle of compatriots – five men and women, selected for their skill and experience for this mission – Natalia Strelkina was addressed by her first name. The squad of infantrymen waiting in the cargo compartment would, of course, speak to her differently.

"Are you daft, Tom?" – she replied – "Or perhaps the stellar radiation has fried your brain? I certainly am not daft, and neither are these Imperials. The strike cruiser can vaporize us with its plasma lances or whatever weapons it's got, shield or no shield. Conversely, they know full well that what keeps us alive has nothing to do with our personal skill, or our weapons, or our shields."

The team had been hand-picked for this mission based on a range of skills. All of them spoke at least one dialect of Gothic, and Strelkina spoke two. One was a skilled psionicist, and those who weren't had amulets with them to protect them from psychic incursion. And of course each of them was skilled in a variety of combat forms. That said, if the skilled killers aboard that Strike Cruisers wanted them dead, they would be dead. This was merely part of life.


*


Aboard the Obsidian Blade

The dark-green vessel, resemblant as it was to a Thunderhawk, settled in the hangar bay. After the pressure in the bay increased to a proper level, and the detectors confirmed the air outside was breathable, the vessel's rear ramp lowered.

Ten infantrymen, clad in dark-green uniforms and cameleoline cloaks, ran out to the hangar bay floor and stood firm, in five parade ranks, their weapons held at attention, chromed bayonets gleaming. The weapons they held were somewhat like lasguns – clearly in fact they were lasguns, but somewhat more elegant and less bulky than those in Imperial use. An astute observer might suspect that those were less advanced than the weapons the Allaneans would use in another situation – but it would not do to have those weapons captured if the Imperials had anything underhanded in mind.

Then, at last, Strelkina and her retinue appeared, walking between the two rows of her tiny honor guard.

Aside from the Colonel there were a woman and four men. All were dressed in black uniforms with only a few threads of silver or gold marking ranks (the shoulderboards, in particular, were gleaming gold thread). All were augmented in subtle ways, nothing like the forests of mechadendrites that would cover a high-caste techpriest. All walked in a determined military fashion, betraying years of training and parade drill alike.

Yet, to an Imperial eye, something would seem off. It might not be the fact the pilot's hair had been dyed gleaming green, or the fact one of the men walking behind him had an elaborate tattoo sprawling out on his right cheek – but there was something about those strangers that distinguished them from the good, Emperor-fearing Imperial citizen. There was something about them that made them resemble underhive gangers – well-dressed gangers, to be sure – or perhaps some kind of lower nobility. There was a hidden sense of defiance in them, one that could be read as something good and inspiring – or, perhaps, as something dangerous, sinful even.

What was certain that though they clearly were making an attempt to look as similar to the Imperials as they could, there was a chasm between them. It would remain to be seen if they would fall into the chasm.
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:34 pm

Obsidian Blade, Order of the Griffon 4th Free Company Strike Cruiser, Docking bay 36

The Dark Green transport landed in Docking bay 36, it's landing was tracked by Las-Cannon and Heavy Bolter Turrets. The transport's crew dismounted in a smart military fashion. A single infantry Squad dismounted and formed ranks for Strelkina and her retinue to take place in the landing bay. At the far end of the bay a bulk head opened and 10 Astartes clad in black war plate, except for the yellow and red heraldry on their shoulder pauldrons. One of these warriors stood out even more with white trim to his shoulder armor, a white helmet, and white trim on his pauldrons. This Astartes, Veteran-Sergeant-At-Arms Mabus of the 4th Free Company would begin the Imperial-Allanean interactions. The squad marched out calmly, with a bulky trudge and clamor of Ceramite on plas-steel before coming filing into a horizontal line 10 paces away from the Allanean delegation. There was a pause before Mabus spoke.....the company command staff to include a Liberian, Tech-Marine, and Chaplin viewed the foreigners from remote video feeds.

On the Squads internally Encrypted Vox the following was advised:

+++Sgt. Mabus, null items are in place with the Colonels retinue, except for one of there member whom is a psyker. I cannot tell who without a more direct probe through the Ether I do not wish to display that power as of yet.+++

---Yes Brother-Liberian---

+++Sgt. Mabus, they appear to be equipped similarly to our own troops but the model does not match. Their transport is the same as well, a more refined aesthetic seems shoe horned into existing Imperial Patterns capability unknown but do not assign the same lethality factors as you would to Imperial pattern weaponry. Initial threat assessment is deemed similar to a Ordo Xenos detachment based on what I can observe.+++

---Understood Brother---

+++Mabus from Captain Verricon enact diplomatic protocols until the Inquisition arrives, they will be landing in a different bay in 15 minutes. We will need to give them an accelerated briefing of our observations.+++

---Aye Lord---


Mabus removed his helmet as the docking blast doors began to close sealing the entrance/exit of the transport. In a loud voice Mabus spoke "Bridge defense posture, downgrade from Gamma to Epsilon containment." The auto turrets in the docking bay returned to an inert status and several mech-adepts came out of service doors to continue about their routine duties. Mabus then handed his helmet to a menial who had walked out as well.

"My Lady I, Sergeant-At-Arms Mabus welcome you to the Obsidian Blade, Strike Cruiser of the Order of the Griffon. This diversion is non-typical of diplomatic interactions but is in compliance with Inquisitorial directive. You will be joined shortly by a representative of His most Holy Orders, in the interlude however, it has been determined that you will be under my escort. I apologize if my diplomatic courtesy is lacking in any capacity as this is not the primary function in which I service the Imperium. Forgive my presumption but I take it you are Colonel Strelkina?" Mabus looked past the other of the retinue and into the Colonel's eyes, hoping to gain a measure of understanding of her demeanor.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Obsidian Blade, Order of the Griffon 4th Free Company Strike Cruiser, Docking bay 30

A lander bearing the Impresa of the Ordo Malleus touched down in docking bay 30. With no ceremony or delay the passengers disembarked, a wide range of skills and abilities were at the disposal of this inquisitor. This team under the Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Tsagos was selected to conduct not only a full forensic investigation of how a foreign nation obtained access to the Vermilion data Encryption. Possibly more concerning to the Inquisition was what enemy was so dire that a foreign nation would reveal that they had access to a locked Inquisitorial network.

A 6.1 civilization, according to this index.

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Postby Allanea » Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:57 pm

"Sergeant Mabus,"- Colonel Strelkina said, her words carefully chosen, "You are doing the duty for which you have been selected, and you have done nothing to cause me offense today. I am in fact Colonel Strelkina. These men and women you see here are members of my team – something similar, if you will, to an Inquisitor's acolytes or a Tactical Squad. The soldiers of this honor guard are going to remain with the dropship if you do not object. I would prefer it if there were not any unnecessary difficulties." – it would not take the augmented senses of an Astartes to sense the woman's self-assured pride, but was it mere arrogance based on status, or was it something more than that? "

"Here you have my pilot, whose name is Xander Kyl, and who has pulled my chestnuts from the fire any number of times. Sabrina Tomes and Vyacheslav Kerensky are, roughly speaking, our culture's equivalent of your authorized psykers, and the others are skilled in a range of relevant scientific and military professions, each both soldier and analyst alike. Or in other words, both brains and brawn."

"They are going to consult me during the negotiations if nobody objects. Once again, we intend no acts of violence – it would be supremely stupid to attempt violence against a Strike Cruiser full of Space Marines by having a team of six people enter through the front door."

"Please, be so kind and introduce me to my counterparts in the Emperor's Most Holy Ordos."

If there was a tinge of sarcasm in her words, it was so slight that only a Space Marine could spot it.
Last edited by Allanea on Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:50 pm

Mabus listened to the Women intently, examining her every word, gesture and expression for insight. He found little, save what was allowed to surface.


'Pride, arrogance maybe....' he thought, 'she knows much more of our order than most we encounter, curious.' An ancient Imperial proverb came to mind 'Pride allows one to reach the highest zenith and for those on high the fall is the farthest'

Mabus extended a bow of the head, "My Lady, your guard is most welcomed to accompany you. I see you have studied my kind well, I have not heard the term Space Marine in some time. It is good to know that even now, eons later that the term commands respect for our martial prowess. You do my brothers and I a great flattery, but I am more then confident that you would not have come here unless you were under the assumption your retinue could protect you. Or unless you were in possession of something so valuable it would stay the hand of aggression. The Inquisitor will be here shortly to speak with you and the audience chamber is being prepared, your arrival after all was rather unexpected. If you would forgive me a small measure of curiosity, have you encountered members of our Order before?"

The conversation continued briefly until Mabus was informed the audience chamber was ready. "My Lady, if you and yours would follow me I would be most grateful" with that Mabus and his Squad escorted the delegation to meet Tsagos and his retainers.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Obsidian Blade, Chamber of Conference

The delegation was brought into the round chamber, seated at the far end was Tsagos his retainers standing behind him. Also seated by the Inquisitor was Captain Verricon, marked out by his Silver Inquisitorial purity designations and swept back blonde hair.

Tsagos looked intently the delegation, as they were offered seats at the opposing end of the table. The light was angled such that Tsagos Inquisitorial Rosette was in full gleam. A purple Adamintine Cloak trimmed with Gold lay flat, his stationary demeanor, and stoic expression taking in all that was presented too him. Just behind him his Psyker, Karin Linde bent over and whispered in his ear eliciting a slight nod in return.

"My Lady, present is Inquisitor Tsagos of the Ordo Malleus and Free-Captain Verricon commander of our company. Please Gentlemen, may I introduce you to Colonel Strelkina and her esteemed staff." said Mabus
A 6.1 civilization, according to this index.

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Postby Allanea » Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:13 pm

"I am most pleased to make the acquaintance," – Strelkina spoke, "As you may understand, in some respect I perform some of the same roles in my society as you do in yours – part spy, part investigator, part diplomat. These individuals here perform a similar function for me as your acolytes do for you." – she spoke calmly.

"We have a range of proposals to discuss, but first let me make a brief explanation of my presence." – she spoke – "It's not unusual, as you know, for people to believe in a fractal nature of the multiverse – of a variety of possible worlds, which interact and interlock in strange, magnificent, and frightening ways. There are universes where Natalia Strelkina has never made Colonel, or never been born at all. And there are several universes where the Emperor of Mankind had unified the Galaxy under his reign. We believe that your society originates from a variant of this continuity we call the Old Imperium. "

"Allanean society has wholly different origins that have meant that our society evolved in a wholly different way. Here let us just say that these differences have required the… somewhat clandestine approach to our negotiations."

"Just before I entered this room, the good Sergeant-at-Arms here asked me if I have encountered Astartes before. Sadly to say I personally have not – but Allanea in general has, though mostly not loyal ones." – this was a half-lie. The Imperials would understand a disloyal Astartes to be only one thing, one corrupted by the Fell Powers. But the truth was that – even in the Imperium's recorded history – there have been other causes of disloyalty. "We have seen some who had fallen deep indeed, and yet still remained mighty warriors even as they had gone far from the Emperor's Light."

"Which brings me to the subject of discussion here: as you doubtless know, Inquisitor, many of the threats that the Old Imperium faced are also faced by us."
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:10 pm

Captain Verricon spoke first "Colonel my regards to you, you stated Allanea has encountered traitors, from what Legion pray tell? Also you indicated 'mostly' non-loyal Astartes. What engagements have brought you into contact with a Loyal Astartes. My records from a brief overview have not returned with any results for your nation, begging the question was this an Inquisitorial operation that I cannot access or was this a conflict in which Astartes were bested. We have lost expeditionary forces before and would be well received to know their final disposition if they were killed at your hand, and if so under what circumstances. Understand that a you are in my ship under great superstition in my opinion. My Company has been re-tasked directly as the request of the Inquisition with no notice, a Free Company is not transferred lightly and is only done when a actual or potential incursion to the Emperors realm is apparent. Also understand I speak plainly as a Free-Captain and therefore not beheld to the Inquisitor who is only here as my guest due to his status. He has no authority over me and my Brothers, we are hosting this event in the spirit of mutual aid and cooperation. No conclave of greater importance will be had until my concerns have been addressed." Verricon finished and waited for Strelkina's response.

Tsagos' did not plan on the interaction starting as such, but unfortunately he was assigned to the investigation and directed to conduct it aboard Verricon's ship by his superiors.
A 6.1 civilization, according to this index.

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Postby Allanea » Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:51 pm

"It won't be a shock to you to know that the traitors are a curse upon all known space. We have in our history crossed swords – sometimes literally – with any number of awful warbands, and in particular the red-clad World Eaters and…" – she stumbled for a second, and the woman in her retinue cut in

"Iron Warriors. By far the most dangerous of the groups, in terms of our estimates."

"Thank you, Sabrina." – Strelkina said – "At one point an Imperial Fists successor chapter maintained a Fortress-Monastery in one reflection of the Sol system but to our knowledge they are now no longer extant. That is in terms of Marines which are loyal to the Emperor's Light."

"We have not not, to our knowledge encountered any element of your order." She paused – "but perhaps it might valuable for you to know that there are some societies out there who have had a fate much like your own, and perhaps you might wish to contact them. Of course I shall hand you the proper stellar coordinates later."

"We have spent quite some time studying Imperial society and technologies, partly from records, partly through clandestine means, and partly from what could be harvested from the wreckage of heretic warbands we have put to the sword.
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:24 am

"I see, I am assuming that the successors of the Fists have none of their equipment or Gene-Seed preserved. I would ask to see vid captures of the conflicts with the traitors to verify the intelligence you have provided and forward it to the Pentarchy. I promise you Colonel, the Order of the Griffon will find and rend empty husks the traitor Legions and their followers. " Captain Verricon replied grimly.

Tech-Priest Hernz spoke his automated monotone vox projector contrasting his human appearing features "How was it you have come to decode the Vermilion Cipher? Have you compromised other Imperial Cihpers? Do you understand the risk the Dark Powers pose to ongoing operations with Vermilion, albeit a lower code, compromised?" He finished looking on from the gallery to the Colonel on her staff.

In the meantime furious scribbling could be heard by Hauge who was documenting all of this for Tsagos.

"And how do we know you are telling the truth" Spoke Karin Linde, walking around to the other side of the table running her hand along its polished edge as she did so. "The Great Enemy is not unknown to lie and deceive even those who combat it. Plans within plans and motion within stillness, your psykers know of what terrors I speak. So you have encountered the Arch-Enemy and made contact with other embers of the Imperium. This does not mean you are truthful, this does not mean you are not tainted with the touch of Chaos. So I would ask, what proof do we have that you are not here at the behest of the damned and fallen?" By the time Linde finished she was standing behind Strelkina.
Last edited by Sub Sector Protractis on Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
A 6.1 civilization, according to this index.

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Postby Allanea » Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:38 am

"Which is where we come to the unfortunate truth," - Strelkina said. - "The unfortunate truth is that we have certainly spent years studying Imperial technology, Imperial ciphers, and Imperial tradition, certainly with an eye that we would be ready if one day you made war on us, or we on you. The truth is that had Allanea and the Imperium been the two only civilizations in existence, doubtless we would be at war. In a range of ways our civilizations are not at all compatible with each other. However, priorities are a thing in this world of ours. In a range of ways, the Imperial way of life is anathema to ours - and vice versa. But to also be frank, my first priority is to ensure Allanean Freemen are not having their souls devoured by daemons or being horrifyingly tormented by creatures beyond the comprehension of sapientkind. Which brings me to how we ended up performing the little moment of drama that brought us here."

She paused. "Billions of imperial citizens spend their life in abject drudgery, and for some this drudgery is found to be combined with humiliation and terror. The teeming masses of the underhives, the mutant, the criminal, the menials of a dozen descriptions across so many worlds - these are creatures whose life can be described at best as a boot, stepping on a human face forever. Now please," - she raised her hands in a gesture of protection - "do not assume I am entering here into a debate on your policies. The fact is however that the inevitable fact of Imperial life is drudgery and suffering, largely believed to be justified as necessary to protect against the depredation of the xeno and the daemon."

"We judged, then, then to broadcast our diplomatic offer in the open would create difficulties for us. You would accuse of us fomenting sedition in your realm - no doubt untold millions would accuse you of being a heretic or a xenos-lover if you agreed to negotiate with us, or alternately would riot and demand the same liberties that Allaneans possess. In any event, an actual negotiation would then be impossible. "

"Of course there's no difficulty of sharing a few hundred hours of pict-feeds of Allaneans fighting Iron Warriors. Pict feeds of Freemen killing Chaos scum are not in short supply."
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:08 pm

"Well ma'am, at least you are frank enough to tell us you're prepared to kill us. Most other stellar nations talk of peace and prosperity, mutual understanding and the like." Clipped Ausjorn. "It stands to reason there is something missing, if you have fought the darkness before and survived then you would not need to negotiate for our help. Unless of course you know of some greater threat marshaling that we are uniquely equipped to handle. Since you know so much about our capabilities then tell us what is needed to combat the current threat."

Inquisitor Tsagos broke his silence

"I promise, whatever horrendous toll the Dark Powers have extracted from you, they are capable of far worse should their whispers reach the ears of your populace. Our existence while the antithesis of your ideals has allowed us dominion over the stars and freedom from corruption for over uncounted millennia. The annals of our history are written with the blood of those who believed their was another way to defeat the darkness shy of keeping it encapsulated from the population at large. In the interest of not letting your people stumble the way of the Aeldari understanding is the eventual path to damnation. One losses their life fighting the dark powers or loses their soul trying to understand them.

Your weaponry and craft appear to be similar in pattern to our own but they are different from what the Tech-Brother and Tech-Priest Hernz tell me. They say imitation is the truest form of flattery, however, given my charge I am predisposed to look skeptically at imitation. So please state your request and purpose here so we be cut to the meat of the situation at hand. You need not present yourself to me in a concealed manner, as an Inquisitor I do possess the ability to examine information for what it is without a friendly vainer.

Also I would caution you that our naval forces are looking for other vessels in the area due to the fact that your transport does not appear to be capable of interstellar operation independent of a staging point. If there are others of your nation in our space now would be the time to inform us, this chamber is zone of silence meaning any incoming or out going transmissions will not be passed without notice. We would rather continue our discourse in a civilized matter with all issues brought to the light.

So what would you ask of me?"

Tsagos finished, he would now begin his true investigation into the matter.

At this time Squad Hollows of the 4th Free-Company was prepared to storm the Allanean honor guard and capture their transport. His Astartes were stacked outside of the Bulk head and the ships Automated anti-infantry weapon systems were ready to be switched on in the hanger.

Two further squads were converging outside of the conference chamber waiting to take captive the delegation. Tsagos would have the information he needed, one way or the other.


_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Outside of the Obsidian Blade

A sleek Golden Gunship was screaming toward Docking bay 36, the Obsidian Blade's point defense systems began to track the Gunship. The Point Defense systems Machine Spirit prepared for combat, Las-Cannon Batteries charged with the unidentified vessel in their augars. Then like a Wolf grabbing the scruff of an infant hound the Las-Cannon batteries were attacked by a more venerable, refined Machine Spirit. System after system powered down and yielded to an authority of antiquity with the bay blast doors of Docking bay 36 opening sending alerts to the Obsidian Blade's command deck and crew.

The Allenean Infantry would view the entrance of this ancient war machine at the precise time Squad Hollows made entry. The anti-infantry turrets powered up to engage only to suffer the same subjugation as the outer weapons. The crews vid-feeds were blinded by something unable to be combated tech-savants of the Order.

The Golden craft with a single divergent gleam of purple maintained its hover in the bay, 10 Golden Warriors disembarked.

The Allanean's would witness five Custodes of the Aquilon Shield encircle them Guardian Spears at the ready, all the while Squad Hollows was headed off by 5 more Golden warriors with swords and shields. The Shield Captain barked (overriding even the Astartes dampening system)

"The Master of Eternity Commands all lay down their weapons!" the Proclamation of Shield-Captain Enkara boomed. Sgt. Hollows, off of 350 years of experience was in the process of leveling his plasma pistol before hearing the audible crack of a Misercordia millimetres from the neck joint buckle for his Armor. "Do not take obedience to a fault Astartes, a further move and you will die with your Squad." Enkara spoke in a matter-of-fact fashion.

The Allanean Infantry Squad was advised the same by one of the Custodes "Our Mandate is to protect your master and keep her alive for the time being, you all are simply accessories. In the interest of good faith you will lower your weapons or you will all die."

This sliver of the Ten-Thousand upon gaining compliance departed to the Conference Chamber to enact His will without question. Natalia Strelkina would not only live, but she would depart unharmed this day. For what reason none save the Custodes could fathom, they would assert their birthright as walking samples of the Emperor's power in this matter. Their arrival would indicate to all present a much deeper current below the water.
Last edited by Sub Sector Protractis on Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Allanea » Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:22 pm

Docking Bay 36

The infantry squad's commander let go of his weapon, letting it hang loosely in its sling. He showed the golden warriors his open hands, and then spoke. As he did it became apparenty that he was not as skilled in Gothic as Strelkina.

Sir. I don't- I don't speak your language good… well. We mean you no harm.

The other men followed his example. They had not seen a Custodes before, but the way in which the golden warriors presented themselves, their bearing and pose, and some less tangible element that none could express, all of these suggested that these were mighty warriors beyond comprehension. The squad had never been meant to truly fight the Astartes, much less this new, superior force.

Sir our orders are clear- I appreciate you are doing your duty. Our task is not to bear any of you- not to cause you- any hostility. We are here as an honor guard and a security detail for the grav- the craft, yes? Has the negotiation gone badly? – he imagined instantly that Strelkina had misjudged the Inquisitors, and that he and his men were all about to be killed.

In the negotiations chamber

Here Strelkina's attitude was much different from the soldiers that remained guarding the dropship – but then, to be fair to the soldiers, she was not surrounded by a squad of Custodes.
"Do you seek to frighten me, Inquisitor?" – she spoke – "Yes, obviously, we have not arrived here by means of this gunship. We have taken the effort to make use of weapons and gear that would resemble yours as much as possible, frankly to avoid being shot on approach. I am sure you are familiar with history enough to know why it is not wise to threaten a diplomatic party."

"Now, back to our subject… it's simple. What we require is knowledge. We desire to delve into the very depths of Imperial history, and to learn it – partly for the sake of knowledge itself, but partly for the secrets and warnings it holds. I am aware, of course, that many things have been lost, never to be regained. But there is a way to rediscover truths beyond our ken. What we require is to have access to items that are confirmed, fully proven, to be as old as possible. And second, though understandably I think less prioritized, it would be ideal if our… savants? I believe savants is the word in use here – could work in your libraries." – what kind of libraries she meant did not require elaboration.

"And in exchange we shall aid you in the way we know best. The Crown has at its disposal brave men and women whose exploits are the stuff of songs. We shall send these men and women in. And you will know them by the trail of dead and broken traitors they shall leave behind them."
Last edited by Allanea on Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:14 pm

"It merely begs the question, why the secrecy and imitation, there are plenty of official diplomatic channel to request contact. Not many involve a simultaneous entry into Capital world space and a breach of Inquisitorial Cipher. If you masters wanted our attention it has indeed been grabbed, as for lives of solider's we have manpower for that. I take a dim view of giving you access to our ancient records, especially given your predisposed belief that our populace would riot given the knowledge of how your nationals live. The only thing I imagine could be more damning is forbidden knowledge being brought to the fore. There are horrors in the history of Mankind that even the Arch-enemy pales too.

This is based on the fraction of information I have on the subject.

For the time you are party to diplomatic protections yes, but you are in Imperial space as party to an Inquisitorial investigation. As you well know the Inquisition's only binding authority is the Throne, not the nuance of diplomatic protocol. Also I have not even begun to install the art of fear, in fact based on other human nations as well as tactics and techniques that are employed by our gene-sages I would not be shocked to uncover that you have some kind of emotional regulator of a biological or mechanical nature. I think that I will soon come to know all that you comprehend of our people and our enemy." Tsagos finished as his retinue began to walk closer to the table. "For the sake of diplomatic appearances I ask you surrender your arms willingly so that way I can guarantee your safe return to your ship and see that you are escorted from Imperial Space."

Tsagos would take this women and her entourage, he would interview them leaving no door unopened. It was merely the way of things, at least from his perspective.

The sound of loud voices exchanging resounded outside, the chamber doors opened and Captain Verricon stood. Sgt. Mabus and his squad moved to the door "Who dares interrupt the Captains council!" he exclaimed


"One who's only authority transcends this reality, now all will hear what is decreed." Enkara said as Astartes, menial, and throne agent alike stood in awe. Several of the individuals in attendance made the sign of the Aquila

The Shield Captain and four of his members walked into the room, "All will leave us except the Inquisitor,Colonel, and Captain Verricon. We shall treat in privacy as I explain extent at which this web of fate has tangled us all."

Tsagos looked to his retainers and nodded, as they began to file out Goffrey leaned over towards Strelkina's retainers "Being as I am just a brute take this for what its' worth, when them gold fellas tell you to do something you do it....else they make your insides your outsides...your call."

Even Verricon's command squad (albeit distasteful about the matter) departed. When it was just the Inquisitor, Captain, and Colonel Enkara spoke "What is said here will stay here.

Inquisitor, your master will be briefed by our contacts but you will divulge no further until more is revealed to you. Captain you are here as your men will be needed in the coming endeavor. Colonel, you may think you and your nation are in a position of superiority, look into my eyes when I tell you this. The portents tell of your death at the hands of the unfaithful, one that sees your soul consumed and twisted into a foul mockery. Your only redemption in this coming trial rests in the hands of My men, we will deliver you from this predetermined fate through the grace of He eternal. The matter of your belief in our portents is irrelevant as is your faith. The options I will present to you are simple, carry out your expedition to the Caldaris Prime system. I suspect that is why you have come, to seek knowledge to safely conduct your archaeology project but you know not what lays buried in history. You will have the knowledge of the Imperium at your hand in the form of the Inquisitor and his men. If not advise me and I will end your life now, as well as the lives of your fellow in our space. There are many paths that preserve the Emperors realm, this one is simply the most direct, your choice."

The room sat stunned, Caldaris Prime was in a forbidden star cluster at the order of the Pentarchy. The Ordo has long known the veil between the Ether and reality was as gentle as rice paper.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Allanea » Tue Sep 01, 2020 10:29 pm

Not even the Allaneans, cynical as they were about the Imperium and its works, could remain calm at the presence of one of the golden warriors of the Ten Thousands. None of them have seen a Custodes before, only artistic images and blurry degraded pict-captures. Even Strelkina, whose experience had exposed her to scenes that would break a lesser being's mind, caught her breath momentarily at the sight of Colonel Enkara.

There was something about the giant man's bearing – not even the armor, made of gleaming auramite, nor the sheer size and bulk of his body. Colonel Enkara was the very expression of not only mere physical strength, but the very embodiment of what the Imperials viewed as perfection. Even to those with a different view of perfection he was staggering – a veritable titan of moral strength, his dedication to his cause, his faith in the God-Emperor so strong it seemed like it could shatter steel and topple mountains.

And what could a mere soldier – augmented, strong, well-trained perhaps – put before strength like that?

It took Strelkina seconds to regain her composure. The man before her was an ideal made flesh. Not her ideal, certainly, but still an ideal. Concentrated in his figure was the epitome of the loyal warrior. His very presence, it seemed, could alter the flow of history around him – and in this case, it very literally had.

"Praise be to Him on Terra," – she said – "for He seems to have granted leave for this mission. In truth, Colonel Enkara, I have not the slightest notion of a Caldaris Prime, but it certainly seems, from your words, that this is exactly the sort of place we should be going. Inquisitor, I appreciate your desire to have me remain your guest – but it appears we may be working together in a slightly different capacity. I believe what remains is to have an honest discussion of the parameters of our mission."

"So. Caldaris Prime. What do we need to know?"
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Wed Sep 02, 2020 4:06 pm

"Had the Throne been held and had He maintained his corporeal form, alas Terra is a distant memory. (in reply to Strelkina) Inquisitor, a small overlay if you would" said Shield-Captain Enkara.

Tsagos had his reservations in disclosing controlled information about Caldaris Prime. Seeing this look of hesitation Enkara took it upon himself to explain, "Colonel, the Caldaris Prime system is currently under quarantine by the Pentarchy of the Sub-Sector as the barrier between reality and the Ether is as thin as the layer of water separating the air from the ocean. Any psykers brought into the area are at extreme risk of possession and safe travel and arrival are difficult. Caldaris Major, the primary main Planet in the system has traces of Ancient human energy signatures. Granted these are residual but they predate Imperial Technology, it is on Caldaris Major that the barrier of reality is the thinnest.

The Speculation of the Ordo Malleus concurs with the Portents my Kin, for this reason after several expeditions were lost a quarantine zone was established. There is one Defense station in distant orbit of the entire Caldaris system with a reaction force staged 5 Parsec's away. A Total of 17 Parsec's away is an Order of the Griffon Chapter House that is responsible for not only Caldaris but that entire frontier of the Protracian Space in that region.

For that reason, I would request Captain Verricon send the 4th Free Company with any additional assets that can be brought to the fore. Inquisitor, I am sure that you can bring your Retinue with a battalion of Storm Troopers if needed. However, the less questions to answer the better.

For you my good Colonel there are several issues, firstly, your intrusion and breach of the Vermilion Cipher has drawn attention from the capital. The rest of the Inquisition and the Pentarchy expects prisoners. Your honor guard would do should you agree, as would the ship you arrived in. I imagine such a ship could exchange fire with the Obsidian Blade and depart before the rest of the Navy could react. The bodies of the Honor Guard can be made to look as an official delegation, the 4th Free Company would take off in pursuit of your ship explaining the sudden departure.

Secondly, you must trust me blindly in this matter, I assure you I would not be placing in this information in your hands if it was not critical to the protection of His realm. As for soldiers prepared to fight the forces of the un-believers you would do well to marshal them. Your brush with the traitor legions has been disjointed and independent war-bands to this point. Do not think that given the chance to open a new Eye of Terror your Freeman Crusade will look as but a skirmish. The Arch-Enemy sees much and prepares for decisive action when their pray is at its weakest. As much as your nation has cataloged and modified doctrine to combat the un-faithful, do not think that they have not done the same....this I know.

As for me and mine, we are not really hear and no mention of our intervention is warranted at this point. Inquisitor, the tendril of treachery leads back to the Pentarchal chamber. We just do not know exactly where, but such an issue if brought to the fore would rattle this ember of the Imperium."
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tsagos spoke "Is that why the 4th Free Company's refit order was advanced six weeks ago in stead of the Host of Wardens 15th Free Company? You knew this would happen and did not inform the Ordos. You knew that the Cipher's were compromised as well did you not?"


Enkara replied "We know a great many things Inquisitor, about the Ordos, about the Pentarchy, and even *looking to the Colonel* about Allanea for only we possess the purity to deny the enemy a purchase in our souls. There are a multitude of stellar nations that could be a threat and there are a multitude of methods we have to observe these threats and act independent of the Ordos or the Pentarchy."
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Postby Allanea » Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:20 am

The Colonel nodded. "If you permit, I will make minor adjustments, because I hope you understand I'm not going to organize a murder of my own men. I shall have my capital ship – which, yes, thank you, we have one – send over items that can be used to organize evidence for a dastardly attack and a heroic defense. The wreckage of a few dozen combat robots, some cloned body parts, and the remains of some human-like androids can be rapidly prepared, and then we can create a crime scene. Dastardly treasonous pirates have made use of forbidden technology to attempt and board your ship in the guise of a diplomatic enterprise, but opened fire on you once they boarded. Happily, the glorious battle-brothers were on guard and stopped the attack through the application of massed, accurate bolter fire and blessed promethium." – she got up. "The issues which remain to resolve are bureaucratic and should be handled by the Inquisitor's retinue, or whoever is most skilled in such matters."

"I propose that we use the defense station you referenced as a joint headquarters for our temporary alliance. We will send workmen and equipment if you permit, to set up data links between our systems and all the items which are typically needful for such a cooperation."

"Aboard the ship – not abouard the Thundercuckoo, but aboard the actual ship which I travelled on – we have a force of five hundred elite troops, selected for their training and dedication to the cause and augmented as need be, fighter crews, as well as various professionals such as you may imagine may be needed for such a mission – including the ones you may call 'psykers' for simplicity's sake, as well as… tech adepts, if you will, magi biologi, historitors and investigators. We possess also production workshops and laboratories so we can to some degree improvise the needful equipment."

"I therefore propose a shared headquarters at the station so that we can proceed about this in a methodical manner and have a clear understanding of each other's tasks and goals at all times. Finally, I propose we time our ships' arrivals so that we arrive at the station more or less at the same time, and of course also alert the crew so we are not fried while arriving."


* * *


A while later, at the Caldaris Defense Station

The ship appeared in a flash of white.

There was no terrifying tear of reality, no opening into the warp. Space itself folded and unfolded, and the ship was there.

In some ways the ship was clearly more advanced than Imperial vessels, but in other ways it was clearly less so. Its black hull sparkled sometimes with mysterious flashes of light, betraying a technology of strange and dubious provenance, but the ship itself was much smaller than most Imperial vessels – between a strike cruiser and a frigate in size, certainly much dwarfed by a full battle barge.

From the ship's body, fighter craft detached, moving towards the planet Caldaris Prime itself. Naturally, the Allaneans were not full, and the craft would not enter low orbit. Rather, they seeded the remote orbits of the planet with satellites, some small, the size of a hand grenade, some several tons in either. These would immediately commence their work, scanning the surface with sensors of all types, from passive pict-takers to radar and arcane devices, which would measure the aetheric energies fluxing about the planet.

The ship began to circle towards the deffense station in a broad arc, cautious of alarming its crew too much by their approach.

Vinyatirion

Meanwhile, a man dressed in Menelmacari robes departed the Allanean embassy in Menelmacar and drove over to the offices of the Prefecture of War. There, he delivered the most secure form of communications known to man – a sealed envelope.

Those who would unseal it would find an entirely innocuous message. However, were one to enlarge the image under a microscope – a technological feat the Menelmacari would find mundane – they would find that the period mark at the end of the first sentence was, in fact, a message, an elaborate and detailed text containing a summary of the mission to Subsector Protractis as it had so far occurred.

The Menelmacari were many things, but their state was a beacon of hope and kindness and its state officials had nothing but hatred towards the hosts of the Primordial Annihilator. Moreover the Allaneans knew the Menelmacari to be creatures of wisdom beyond their own, and were certainly interested in their insights.
Last edited by Allanea on Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:34 pm

Caldaris Defense Station, Approach

The Obsidian Blade broke free of the Warp slightly before the Allenean vessel to mask its' approach. The Obsidian Blade sent out a transmission to the station:

Code: Select all
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Incoming Imperial Message+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

+++++From: Order of the Griffon 4th Free Company
++++To: Station command
+++Subject: Rest and Refit rotation
++Encryption: Armada-Zeta
+To the servants of the Emperor aboard, This is Free-Captain Verricon, my crew is in need of rest and provision for the time being in relation to a deep space patrol to resolve an Incursion into Protractian Space. You will make all haste to establish docking umbilical procedures for my ship

Ever in His service,

Verricon

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++REPLY REPLY REPLY++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Good Captain, we are blessed to host a patrol of the Emperor's Astartes forgive us as we have been caught unaware of your arrival but will do our best to accommodate you and return your vessel and crew to service with all speed.

Bathed in Illumination,

Commander Horken


The Astartes vessel drifted toward the defense station lazily, from the command deck a peculiar observation was noted.

"The Cathedral is dark Captain, the weapons batteries are at minimal readiness and no interceptors were scrambled to escort" Stated Chaplin Bithos

"Maybe they are low on supplies, or have suffered a mechanical failure. This is a rather far flung outpost with nothing in the way of inhabited space outside of the system. I doubt House Inopsus has invested much in the way of major resources with a naval force and Chapter House so relatively close. I doubt these saps even know the nature of the space they patrol, they are most likely as Canaries in the Coal mine." Replied Verricon

"Then why is the Sigil of Castamere present on the outer plate of the defense structure?" Spoke Tsagos, "I have not been made aware of any concessions between the houses, and I doubt that such a station and its expense would be given over to another house out of good will."

"We will know shortly, docking will be complete in 6 hours if we maintain heading." stated Tech-Brother Corbin.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Allanean Ship

Enkara's Shield host has made station on the ship with their transport, in the meantime Enkara had reviewed and cataloged information from the Allanean campaign against the Dark Powers. He took note of the Arms and Armor of the troops aboard the vessel, and more over compared the current detachment's capabilities to assess how large of a potentially hostile force the Allanean and Protractian force could take alone.

Enkara had two of his Custodes assigned to Strelkina at all times, even in her private chambers. To the curiosity of the ship's staff no doubt, but none had challenged their presence thus far. He did not yet know if this was due to the imposing nature of the Custodes or if Strelkina had passed word to her crew, and truth be told he did not care. As long as he was able to accomplish his objectives he cared not.

Enkara entered Strelkina's room past his two Shield brothers standing inside the door. "I would speak to you about the coming expedition." Enkara stood waiting to be acknowledged.
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Postby Allanea » Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:00 pm

The Custodes who would be assigned to the Allanean ship would take note of some facts that might horrify or perplex them. They would not, of course, be able to access all areas of the ship – some would be classified, and some simply because the access corridors had never been sized to accommodate a warrior that tall.

Even still, there were obvious differences between Allanean society and that of the Imperium that would be evident even aboard this vessel. The ship was heavily automated. Though no AI as such were used, at least in the sense of a fully-sapient computer system, everywhere one could see the use of advanced cogitators, control systems that answered to voice and touch, and suchlike. As such, where an Imperial ship would be teeming with the masses of unwashed humanity, press-ganged crews serving as human fuel to its journeys, the Allanean ship's crew was merely in the hundreds, and carried hundreds more passengers – a small number for the ship's size.

The air, too, was different – where the air aboard an Imperial ship would be heavy with the smell of rust, oil, and unwashed humanity, here the air was almost suspiciously clean, perhaps the result of a smaller crew, better environmental scrubbers, or a more frequent cycling of the system. Automated systems overseen by a human cook produced food, and some special meals were available from the ship's stores that could not have been made here.

The soldiers the ship carried were somewhat different from those in the era of the Freemen's Crusade. They were clearly professional and augmented – though their augmentations were of a type different from the bulky, alien-looking upgrades of the Adeptus Mechanicum, they were clearly altered. The near-godlike eyes of the Custodes would be easily able to spot data plugs on exposed skin, electoos which seemed to have a function beyond the aesthetic, and suchlike. Some of the soldiers were clearly humanoid xenos, but seemed to perform the duties of the rest of the men equally.

The weapons, too, had improved somewhat over the years. The current Allanean soldiers were armed with a plasma rifle that seemed more compact than that of Imperial issue. At the onboard shooting range it became clear that the rifles could fire reliably and rapidly, with little danger of overheat. The soldiers were sometimes seen in powered armor – a type much less bulky than that the Custodes used themselves, but clearly also capable of much less strength.

Of course, the Golden warriors were admitted to observe also the drilling of the soldiers. The Allaneans were meticulous on this aspect. Both the soldiers and the ship's own prize team were trained regularly, both in close combat actions and marksmanship. Physical training was also a regular part of the regimen, with troops being made to run, climb, and perform various actions in armor and out of it until sweat ran down their faces and their muscles ached with exhaustion.

Yet the Allaneans had also secrets. This much was obvious. Some doors remained closed to passengers. Some passengers never spoke, and carried amulets that protected their minds. The laboratories, the drive rooms, and the enginarium in particular remained off-limits. This the Allaneans viewed only as reasonable – after all the Custodes would behave the same if the situation were reversed.

Strelkina remained unsurprised by the presence of two of the Emperor's Finest in her bedroom, hough of course the sheer size of the men made the issue somewhat uncomfortable. She had no intent on betraying them during the journey to the station, and expected them not to betray her.

Of course this was an immense risk, and also incredibly irritating. Life was full of immense risks. Not to mention irritations.


* * *


"Captain Enkara." – said Strelkina, somewhat coldly. "Let me guess. Things are worse than we have come to expect, and we need to be ready for some terrible treachery?"
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:19 pm

Strelkina's quarters

"Your Optimism is warming.... but no, I have come to ask you a very serious question. How much are you willing to sacrifice for the knowledge you so desire? I ask this because the portents show many possibilities for your life once we make planet fall. Most end with your death at the hands of others, a scant few at the hands of myself, in these visions most are mercy killings.

Your thirst for knowledge risks betraying the safety of your very soul.

I understand your view of our domain, it is far from the ideal and altruistic doctrine your nation fancies. You see our methods as brutish and primal, what you do not see however is the necessity. Much of this necessity is not permitted to be spoken of, but it is truly darker then anything you can imagine or conceive. You consort with the Xeno and allow many things, a great many things that have brought ruin to humanity in the past. It has made me curious, have your people been exceedingly lucking striding into the stars or was our journey riddled unavoidable conflict. But that is for another time.

I have come to you today to illuminate one truth to you, there will be casualties pain and sacrifice for everyone. Before the end of this your world will be rattled, I cannot tell you how as it has not been shown to me but I can tell you it will be painful. If you have any among your servants you are not willing to see meet their end leave them aboard the vessel. My men and I will not move to protect any other than you during this endeavor and I do not wish this complicated by attachment to any those in your charge.

Forgive me if this appears presumptuous but it comes from a place of sincere intent." Enkara finished

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Caldaris Prime

The were a shuffling among the menials, something was amiss. As eyes turned to the Stars a small light, the Obsidian Blade, was moving toward the defense station. The appearance was unexpected and set off a chain reaction to prepare for unwanted guests.
A 6.1 civilization, according to this index.

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Allanea
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Postby Allanea » Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:03 pm

Strelkina's quarters

"Captain, I have contemplated this very thing over the time of our journey here, contemplating the figures of your men here. You know, there is a theory in my nation's past – probably also in your society's past, although for you it is a past far more remote – that some individuals undergo a severe form of trauma, sometimes as children, and sometimes as adults, which is called a formative trauma, which determines their development as persons. A similar situation can sometimes occur with whole societies." – she looked at her dataslate for a moment. "For Imperial society, two massive traumatic events have formed its entire history. One is the Age of Strife, and the other is the Heresy, of which so little is known, and yet what is known is clear – the betrayal of a father by his sons, of brother by brother. The promise of a grand future, torn asunder violently by those who were most beloved, most trusted. The entire essence of the Imperium turns around preventing such a thing from ever happening again – the betrayal of those above, by those below."

"Allanea has known horrifying strife, foreign occupation, and civil war, and attacks by horrors unknown. Yet our traumas, our horrors, such as they were, were in some sense milder than yours, and more importantly in this discussion, Captain, they were primarily external in nature, or, in a rare few cases, directed at those below, from those above – foreign invasion, oppression and tyranny are the things Allaneans are most concerned about."

"But the liberties we enjoy are not only a luxury, Custode. They are a weapon too. The reason we try to maintain a society that is free is so we could be wealthier and stronger, so we could have people and species of disparate talents in our ranks."

"Thus we are where we are. You think of us as welcoming and kind because we have amongst us people of different species. But ours is not the soft-hearted kindness of the frog who welcomes a scorpion to rides on his back. Tell me, are you familiar with the wombat? It is an animal of Old Terra." – she touched the front of her dataslate, and then turned it towards the Custodes. It now displayed a pict-capture of a rotund, happy-looking mammal.

"The wombat is a sociable animal. It eats grass. Some have even adopted them as pets, and they are generally creatures of kindness – but if a man or a predator are foolish enough to invade the tunnels in which the wombat lives, then the wombat grows ferocious. He mauls the attacker with anger and determination, and soon enough the invader is given a choice – abandon the wombat's tunnel, or perish in it. The wombat would really prefer the former choice. Corpses are smelly, you see."

"You understand, the world is a place of danger. The comfort and liberties which Allaneans enjoy in Liberty-City are to be maintained with effort and hard work and self-sacrifice, lest the darkness fall again and swallow the light. This is why if you go to Liberty-City, under the green lawns of every Freeman's home there is an armory. This is why the sensoria are keeping watch of the skies. "

"I am not a scientist venturing out into the skies to seek a distant solution for a formula just because it will improve 'understanding' or 'knowledge'. I will perhaps not even understand the implication of the knowledge we find. I am a soldier, who is here to procure these bits of knowledge for the Crown, for regular people who are now sleeping in their wombats' dens back home."

"You may think that our way of life is dangerous, or amoral; that is certainly your right. But if you imagine that it has made us weak, Captain – then you are grievously mistaken."
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Sub Sector Protractis
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:43 pm

"Since you use the example of zoology Colonel so shall I. Are you familiar with a Carp. It is a type of fish long since extinct from Terra's antiquity. There were several species of Carp all of which benign in nature, except when out of their own habitat.

There was a ecological disaster in Merica in ancient antiquity where Carp from different water ways were inadvertently transported from one area of Terra to another. They began to eat all of the natural food normally consumed by the native carp. They also were adapted to be safe from the natural predator of the Merican carp. They caused a micro collapse of inland water way eco systems. These creatures are prey but were able to destabilize an entire ecology chain.

Why is that? Because of course that something at the bottom of the food chain in one sphere can very well be a menace or even an Apex predator outside of its own environment.

The knowledge you seek will import a very dangerous species. One whose home environment is raw emotion, the very living soul of your people. At first all seems well for centuries or millenia. Then once the rot, the species, takes hold in the hearts of your populace through tolerance then they will strike. The Traitors and Deamons you have faced thus far have been as tame as Carp in an ocean of sharks. The images of the neverborn alone are enough to drive people mad. The xenos you harbor they have no true vested interest in your existence. They flock to you and fight for you due to comfort.

You provide this comfort well, but in the face of the neverborn they will flee or succumb. They do not share the very same essence as you.

Imagine your worlds turned asunder by horrors that would leave you begging for death to avoid the chance of having your very life-force taken from you. Imagine your cove of wombats ripped apart from the inside of their very holes. They very fact that they possess the spark of life makes them prey to a predator that is primordial essence made manifest.

There are terrible horrible things that must stay unknown. It is only through the grace of He on the Throne and his touch within our very beings that my fellows and I can seep into the primordial terror without fear.


Also, Colonel, I never underestimate any being. I merely assess how to remove it from His all seeing gaze if needed. Rest assured however, under our protection you are nestled in the very hands of the Throne. Your life is at this moment more precious then the untold billions that have been sacrificed to maintain humanity. "
A 6.1 civilization, according to this index.

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Allanea
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Postby Allanea » Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:55 pm

"Captain, I cannot possibly make any promises about everyone of my countrymen," – said Strelkina, her eyes flashing momentarily with anger. "That is beyond my purview here. But here is what I do know. The men and women aboard this ship, and certainly the ones under command, are as true to their oath as any man or woman of the Imperial Guard. Some may be Men, and others Orcs, but they will hold the line as fine as any man. You may despise them as you will, but I vouch for every man and woman under arms on this ship. " – she omitted the obvious – that a soldier could be unmanned and corrupted by powers beyond the control of mortals. "As long as their wits are their own, they will stand and fight, and woe to anyone who gets in range of shot from them, whether man or beast. Will we perish? I cannot say. But let me guarantee you one thing, Captain. If we are attacked by an enemy that we can hurt with our weapons, there is going to be a fight before die. Now, before we end up in a two-hour-long argument about religious doctrine – what our current status? I am given to understand docking is being delayed."
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Sub Sector Protractis
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Postby Sub Sector Protractis » Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:16 pm

Enkara replied " Colonel, there will be no docking at this time the defense station is manned and a preliminary information file of Imperial structures have been submitted. Captain Verricon and Inquisitor Tsagos will be conducting an investigation of the conditions planet side. If you have recon elements that can operate independently you may wish to prepare them. There are wide tracks unoccupied by Imperial Forces and I would rather the Involvement of the Custodes with Allenea remain a secret. If you are discovered it will be hard to persuade the local imperial Garrison not to attack you since they are under the opinion that the 4th Company is here to hunt you.

It will be harder still to explain a garrison destroyed by the Free-Company as well.

If you have locations you would like to have checked do not let me hold you back. I just ask that you consult with me.

And for no reason take to the field without informing me first. Their is much to consider regarding your safety.
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Allanea
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Postby Allanea » Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:36 pm

OOC: Co-written with the player of Menelmacar

IC:

Skies over Vinyatírion, Arda, Eternal Ascendancy of Menelmacar
36 Yávië 31935


The gravcar - at least in outward appearance - lacked any of the spectacular opulence for which the Allanean upper class normally was known. It was a dark-violet shape, one that would identify its owner as a reasonably wealthy individual. Only a closer inspection would identify something was off about this perception. For those gifted with an arcane sight, the vessel had been secured against scrying incursion, appearing as a silent shadow, the thoughts and feelings of those on board entirely blank. And for the proper authorities - and them alone - it would be identified as a diplomatic transport, its arrival arranged in advance with a precise schedule.

As it made way towards one of Fëanor Palace’s many landing pads, it bore two individuals. One was a man, appearing to be in his late fifties - bald, serious looking, and dressed in a black uniform with General’s ranks. The other was a woman, appearing much younger than she actually was, her bearing reflecting a sense of self-assured dignity. She was dressed in an emerald-green dress after the Menelmacari fashion, and her black hair was clasped with an elegant, yet modest golden circlet. Vast black-feathered wings on her back were an obvious and clear sign of her being far from human.. For she was Cassiopeia Blaken-Kazansky, Empress of Greater Prussia and Queen of Allanea, and today she was here to meet with one of the few people in the world she well and truly admired - the only Greater Prussian official whose power was held equal to that of the Crown itself.

The vehicle was expected, of course; none could approach the palace in such a fashion and not be. Varda, the palace AI, remotely took control of the car, guiding it in on a specific course towards the appointed pad; this took place seamlessly, and the gravcar set down on the pad with the lightest touch, before the entire pad lowered into a hangar bay. From there, a Mornahossë honor guard was waiting to escort the Empress and the general to their audience with the Elentári of Menelmacar, Lady Sirithil nos Fëanor. Though the palace complex was expansive, the trip was short; a displacer accounting for most of the distance. Soon they arrived at the Elentári’s office, atop one of the highest spires of the palace.

The chamber itself was multi-leveled, with Sirithil’s desk upon a higher tier lofted amidst the trees of an indoor garden, beyond which high windows overlooked the towers of the sprawling Menelmacari capital and the heavily-forested mountain peaks beyond.

“Good day, Aunt.” - Cassiopeia said politely, and the General saluted crisply. “I shall be brief, because it does appear that my men have uncovered a situation that may evolve in... unexpected ways. General Kalugin is best poised to explain what happened.”

Sirithil smiled to see Cassie, and nodded, “Of course,” she answered, “It’s a pleasure to see you, although from your message it seems the matter is rather urgent for the usual pleasantries.” Nonetheless a group of small hovering robots brought and served tea, as the Elentári turned her attention to the general.

Kalugin spoke in a measured, calm tone, which in no way concealed neither his respect for the Elentári, nor his concern for the seriousness of the information that was in his possession.

“For quite a while, we have been aware of the existence of the Subsector Protractis. It is a fractally displaced segment of the Old Imperium of Man, operating in our Galaxy. After some discussion, the analysts who are responsible for such things proposed an action that would improve our levels of knowledge of Imperial society, while on the other hand reducing the ethical challenges that any cooperation with Imperials brings with it.”

“In other words, Imperials are worthless shitbags of inhuman proportions and if it were possible to avoid working with them, we would.” - said Cassiopeia, her tone calm despite the profanities.

“Just to be clear,” Sirithil noted, raising a hand to stop him here, “the multiverse being infinite, would this be a fractally displaced portion of the Imperium native to the same universe to which….” She pondered for a moment for an appropriate phrasing, “the people of Ky-Telstein are native, or another, or are we not sure?”

“That’s broadly correct,” - said Kalugin, “we cannot be absolutely certain, but it seems that they share a fractal timeline or at least a very similar one. And of course their society is as unpleasant as Her Imperial Majesty just described. However, our intelligence suggests that the Sub Sector is continuously struggling against the forces of the Primordial Annihilator, which I believe we all agree are a greater evil.”

This - an explanation that the Allaneans had agreed on a military cooperation, even on a small scale, with a society whose values were anathema to those of the Greater Prussians, both Menelmacari and Allaneans, on a deep level, was the stickiest point of the entire report.

“A classified operation was attempted to offer an exchange - help against the Chaosites in return for objects that could be subjected to analysis for psychic imprints - “

“A matter in which frankly we were considering just turning the items over to Menelmacar for analysis,” - said Cassiopeia. You know how our diviners actually are.”

“Well, that would be wise,” Sirithil commented.

“Which is where everything took a completely surprising turn.” - the General continued - “And as nearly often in covert actions, ‘surprising’ is an awfully bad thing. Specifically, our party was met with a detachment of Custodes. They agreed to our proposal - but revealed to us some information that caused us to elevate the threat level assessments quite substantially.”

He paused.

“One, they informed us that they have cause to believe that their own society is infiltrated by traitors to its highest levels.”

“Two, our advance team were invited to assist with a Custodial investigation of a world named Caldaris Prime, where the influence of the Immaterium is felt extremely sharply and the boundaries between it and our reality are unusually frail.”

“And three, they invoked prophesy that suggests that Caldaris Prime will soon be at the heart of a terrible event that may bring their entire society, and perhaps the entire region of space, to terrible peril. Our own DIVINT assets are not quite as extensive and well-developed as those of the Eternal Ascendancy or the Old Imperium, but they have also issued warnings that appear to confirm this in broad terms. Moreover we have in our possession imaging and aetheric scans our advance party carried out of Caldaris Prime, and they look to confirm some of the claims, certainly regarding the large-scale warp influence. Naturally these are already being routed to the proper authorities in your nation by secure channels.”

Cassiopeia nodded. “Or in other words, there is going to be warp fuckery of immense proportions. Good news: we have advance warning. Bad news: everything fucking else.

“I now have additional questions,” Sirithil noted. “One, if the Protractans are thoroughly infiltrated, then wouldn’t everything you make them privy to be compromised?”

Kalugin nodded. “We are proceeding with extreme caution so far. We’ve been told that the Custodes believe their own chain of command to be secure, but beyond the obvious fact that they may have lied, frankly it’s totally possible they may be mistaken. So we are minimizing what we share with them, which is the wiser policy to start with. Currently our plan is to make use of an Imperial defense station near Caldaris to set up a command center for the expedition, so as not to end up pasting each other with weapons fire unintentionally.”- he stressed that last word. “We are taking a range of steps to compartmentalize the operation from our other actions. Or in other words, we trust these people about as far as we can throw them - and we assume the feeling is mutual.”

“The other question is what you’re going to do with them when the immediate Chaos threat is contained,” added the Elentári. “Presumably even a thorough counterintelligence operation will not unearth all the moles within their ranks if it’s as bad as they’re suggesting, even if they give us the full access required to conduct one.”

Cassiopeia looked briefly uncertain, but then Kalugin began to speak, his tone assured.

“The general state of the Old Imperium, and its splinter societies, is of a constant threat of Chaos infiltration. It’s how they live their pathetic lives. It’s likely we are not able to take drastic action in the short term, if only due to the sheer scale of the problem - a full demographic survey of the Subsector is not available even to its own authorities, much less to us. That said that’s not a reason to just wait until this Caldaris Prime situation erupts. In the long term we’re going to work out a plan to work with those who we can work with, and rescue those who can be rescued. Not every day is a day for grand, world-saving plans, I’m sad to say.”

“This doesn’t, strictly speaking, answer the question,” Sirithil pressed. “We know what sort of government this Imperium is. For the moment you are allied with them against Chaos. When Chaos is dealt with, what are your intentions?”

“Our intention is to work carefully to monitor their actions, as they constitute a threat to us. If it is possible for us to in some way influence them for the better,” - said Kalugin, “then we will do that. If there is a way for us to help their victims, then we will do that. What we won’t do is scream and leap. But we’re not going to become their friends, no. We have not yet lost our minds.”

Sirithil nodded at this. “This seems sensible,” she answered. “Tell me everything you know about Caldaris Prime.”

“Here are the facts: it’s an abandoned system, with only a few observation stations and mines - though some old relics may be found there, based on rumor. More importantly, it’s a place where the fabric of reality is, in the words of our temporary allies, frayed. The world is under Imperial interdiction, and they prohibit access to the system itself without Inquisitorial authorization. An armed station is poised at the edge of the system, however we surmise that is principally to serve as a tripwire defense - if the system is genuinely attacked in force, or if something happens within, the crew die as men die for their Emperor and send out alerts. The assessment of the Subsector Authorities is that should there be a true tear in the fabric of realspace there, it would be horrifying and massive in scale. Think of a permanent warp storm. An Eye of Terror, but smaller.”

“I’m aware of the concept, certainly,” Sirithil noted with a frown. “It should be noted that… peoples you have forgotten. Have aided us in devising a weapon most suitable to this situation.”

“There have certainly been such devices,” - said Kalugin. “Whether the Imperials will let us use them I’m not sure. My idea so far is as follows, assuming Your Imperial Supremacy approves: if the prophesy is correct that there might be an event that will cause Caldaris Prime to breach, then it’s probable that there’s some kind of idiot Chaos worshippers-”

“A tautology. Anyone who worships Chaos is a moron.” - Cassiopeia interrupted.

“Right, some kind of plot to accelerate the breach. We deploy alongside the Imperials to shoot the cultists, shoot anything they summon, collect anything of value and all the while we negotiate with Imperial authorities to allow us to erect your devices on their planet. Failing that, however, I propose the backup plan should be to do what the Imperials are best at.”

“Burn the planet?” Sirithil asked. “Yes, well. I should note that the devices in question -- a refined form of the pylons the Protractans will know from a world called Cadia -- can, deployed in sufficient numbers, normalize even a daemon world. But of course, I doubt they would cede the planet to us, which would be required; I will not have them studying our technology. So simply burning the planet may be best.”

“The Imperials maintain a bewildering array of technologies specifically designed for genocide on a wide scale.” - spoke Kalugin - “and of course they’ve invented the very term exterminatus. So I’m sure if that has to be done, they’ll know how to do it. If there’s anything in the multiverse that is a sad constant it’s a slaver’s capacity for cruelty.”

“In the short term, while we are still in the investigation stage,” - said Cassiopeia, “do you think it would be good for the MIDF to assist in some capacity? Perhaps you would like it if your people had a front seat to the festivities, so to speak.”

“Mmm. The concept is not unknown to us,” Sirithil answered. “We use the term iluqualmë to describe a similar protocol. But, yes, I suspect we would be willing to assist. Certainly in the evaluation of the artifacts you will uncover but also in a military capacity.”

“Excellent. I am going to have General Kalugin transfer all the necessary coordinates to his counterparts at the Prefecture of War, as well as the personality profiles for all the Imperial officials we have knowledge of, and particularly the Custodes and Inquisitorial officials,” - said Cassiopeia. “We can all then meet at Caldaris Prime.” And hopefully your Elven wisdom sees us through.
Last edited by Allanea on Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Sometimes, there really is money on the sidewalk.

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