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The Nekoland Incidents [Closed: Valkia & Friends]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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The Ctan
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

The Nekoland Incidents [Closed: Valkia & Friends]

Postby The Ctan » Thu May 26, 2022 3:55 pm

Yulia Constantinovich Covalciuc ita Novokh was nobody’s inferior. She walked with a swagger that made sure that anyone who saw her knew that, if the various tokens of the Great Civilization’s citizenship didn’t make that abundantly clear, from a Menelmacari style Egalmoth shaska blade at her hip to the ablative projector hand cannon that sat on the other side of her uniform jacket, and the small ring inscribed with sine script on her left hand. Rakishly attired she wore the crimson of the Novokh as coloured flashes on military uniform, high boots and the Ankh of the Triarch at her breast declaiming who she was for anyone who didn’t get it from less subtle signs, along with the pins of an officer in the Astral Fleet.

She was not on that duty though, but the uniform helped reinforce her look, and optics were all important. It wasn’t just for show though, she’d spent years before the mast to wear it this well. But she had more than one role.

She was a trained iterator.

This was one of the strangest vocations of the Great Civilization, one that fell within the remit of the Recruitment Service, a name that itself made foreigners scratch their heads. Most nations had an immigration service, but the Great Civilization regarded itself not as a nation-state but as a flexible mesh of ideas and memetic principles that could be adapted to any land or environment.

It did not regard foreigners as fundamentally a people to be tolerated or integrated slowly, but as people to be actively sought out. To a large degree that meant dealing with the downtrodden, and the oppressed. The people of stable and prosperous lands certainly followed the path she had walked since she had escaped the South Lands as barely more than a kit, but outreach to the poor and destitute worked better.

The Great Civilization could provide all the education one might want to compete, and opportunities abounded. And even if one didn’t want to, spending time as a lotus-eater for a century or two was no shame either, when one had been downtrodden.

That hadn’t been the route that Yulia had taken though, she had been young and filled with boundless energy when she had last blown a raspberry at a scowling Turtleshroomer border guard at Gerry’s gates, while a towering necron had looked on. She had thrown herself into school, utterly different yet eerily similar, and she had begged her parents to travel to other worlds, she had spent her teenage years on a Great Ship, a miles-wide city-craft, the Remembrance of Rythek, and (to their disapproval, initially) she had studied magic and astronavigation.

She was not a spellcaster as such but she had stood on the silver decks of the Astral Fleet in the inner and outer planes, and fought with daemons and elementals, and explored the cities built upon the backs of dead gods, and she owned a small arsenal of magical artefacts.

Later in life she’d reflected that that was probably to get as far away from the land of her birth as possible, and so she had trained as an Iterator.

Iterators were volunteers and professionals who worked with the Recruitment service to physically go to people and explain what the Great Civilization could offer. For those who were volunteers, this was often those they’d relate to, or who they would look up to.

Uniformed services worked especially well. It was one thing to see an impervious towering necron, but seeing your own kind among them was a different matter. It instantly gave one a better conception of what one could be, and in some cases made people feel ashamed at their own state. That was a useful driver too; the shame people felt at an impoverished condition was a natural driver toward better, some people resented that, but for the majority the sudden realisation that came with seeing your own kind in uniform and a position of power was one that pushed more positive feelings.

She crossed the Reaper’s yard, where troops and personnel of every sort were gathered. There were Menelmacari and Barbonians, Hiluxians and North Landers. Mercenaries, liaisons, tourists, and more. There were most of all C’tani. The Treaty Compliance Navigator Corps was an organisation with precious few limits and a well-founded reputation for brutality.

The Turtleshroomers had, after their war against the Necrontyr Empire, ceded land, but insisted that no one in their country would enforce a law protecting sapient equines from murder, after the C'tani had prevented their attempted genocide. Their negotiators had suggested that the only way to prevent lynching was for the Great Civilization to send death squads into Turtleshroom. They had imagined that the starfarers would be too squeamish to do so. In this respect they had underestimated the 'ferocious altruism' of the C'tani. Ranisath, then the leader of the Great Civilization, had simply accepted this as an offer, and so the Treaty Compliance Navigators, also known as the Reapers, or the Death Squads, had been born.

Leaping to the back of an open-topped grav-car and holding the roll-bar, she looked over to the others travelling with her, held out her hands. A trio of rifles, sleek silver things that could assist their owner’s aim, were thrown up to her and she put them into sleeves down the centre of the small vehicle.

“Hop in,” she called.

Her group wasn’t going to the Zim Belt, but to a different part of Turtleshroom, and they were all Iterators. The Navigator vehicle was a cousin to the Land Speeder STC, one of the rugged and ubiquitous designs that served all across the galaxy in any kind of rough terrain where the Great Civilization wanted anyone to be able to handle a vehicle, without explaining too much of their own technology.

Four seats and a set of laser guns mounted above the rear seats on a periscope arrangement gave plenty of tactical options besides these weapons, and Yulia checked the controls again.

Shields and camo fields were ready, and once her comrades were strapped in she pulled up into the air, soaring toward the wall, and flying over it, taking a moment to swerve toward the guards on the Turtleshroom side of the border, buzzing them at low altitude and sticking her tongue out at them for old time's sake, then opening up the throttle. The vehicle growled, and she leaned into the wind as it shot through the sands, deflectors taking the worst of the grit out of the air as they hit two hundred kilometres per hour in a minute.

“Aaaargh.” One of her four fellows cried, as the ground shot by. “This was a terrible idea.”

“Speeders are speedy,” she said, “it’s in the name.”

“I mean the lunch,” he moaned. He was the one she hadn’t prepared a gun for, the tortoise next to her was called Jeramiah ita Oruscar, he was younger than her, one of the orphans of the Zim Belt war.

He wore the badge of a Treaty Navigator on the back of his shell, but he sat in a travel pod, with weapons on it. It might be strange to consider him as an enforcer of the rough justice of the Gerry treaty, but he had little compassion for his fellows. They were a broken people who kicked downward, and his parents had been prepared to leave him in a jungle log house while they threw themselves into lynch mobs against gauss flayers.

They would have to learn.

Yulia grinned, she was still sure that Jeramiah wasn’t comfortable with high speeds. It just wasn’t tortoise-like.

They shot across the landscape toward the train line that connected Jonesboro, the Turtleshroom capital, with Nekoland, the new internal deportation destination. Dericks and poor townships shot by beneath them, and she paid them no heed.

A towering construct sat near the tracks, while a siding had been constructed by scarabs, the ubiquitous metal weaving beetle constructs of the Great Civilization, to pull long deportation trains from their route.

She swerved the land speeder toward the monolith, where necrons stood watch.

The speeder came to rest and she jumped out, holding one of the rifles ass she looked at the train snaking its way toward the ambush site.

The tracks clicked ahead of them as the switches the scarabs had installed, isolated from Turtleshroomer control, redirected the train toward them. It wouldn’t crash, signals had been put up to instruct the driver to halt, but even if he did not, a scarab would flit down and decouple the locomotive from the carriages. They had installed a double-ended siding loop, if the locomotive continued on they would find themselves just hurtling down the track with no carriages.

Simultaneously yardmasters and train dispatchers up and down the line were informed by telephones or radio signals directly cutting into their station that the train had been pulled for inspection by the Treaty Compliance Navigators.

The moment the carriages rolled to a stop one way or the other the necrons would step into action. They were Necron Sentinels, upgraded from the last war, dedicated peacekeeping troops, with a host of new tricks, but the most primal had never changed. Their sheer size and the prospect of lethal firepower they possessed.

REAPER INSPECTION, STAND TO AND PREPARE TO BE BOARDED. ALL TURTLESHROOM GOVERNMENT FORCES WILL STAND DOWN OR BE FIRED UPON. TURTLESHROOM POLICE WILL ASSUME SURRENDER POSITIONS FOR INSPECTION. REFUSAL TO COMPLY IS OBSTRUCTION AND YOU WILL BE FIRED UPON.

The noise was earsplitting and Yulia winced. Her hearing was much sharper than a human’s, and even some way back from the line of the machine soldiers approaching the train. With her rifle held comfortably in the crook of her arm, dangling on its strap, she approached the train.

The interception was accompanied by a group of observer-support personnel from allied and Valkian nations, deputized as Treaty Compliance Navigators alongside her group.

“There may be some shooting,” Yulia said on the radio headset she wore, issued to the observer-support crew. “Remember folks, ponies are very flexible and sneaky, and pretty small, so a Turtleshroomer might have hidden them anywhere. Keep your eyes open,” she said with self-conscious irony.
Last edited by The Ctan on Thu May 26, 2022 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." ~ Abraham Lincoln
"The Necrons were amongst the first beings to come into existance, and have sworn that they will rule over the living." - Still surprisingly accurate!
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TURTLESHROOM II
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Right-wing Utopia

Postby TURTLESHROOM II » Fri May 27, 2022 10:04 pm

"They built an obelisk."

The massive red-eared slider turtle mumbled under his breath as the train tracks moved, and were approaching off from the straight rail to the side rail. This was routine in most parts of the country, with weighing stations and other whistle stops, repair centers, and for the steam engines still running, refilling their water and oil. However, the glowing lights, jarring right-angles that glowed, and giant obelisks immediately gave away what was happening.

Joachim Smart, the turtle in question, was a representative of the Bureau of Nomadic Data, which was originally a statistician's department in the Ministry of Domestic Affairs that underwent mission creep early in its inception. In modern times, its primary role was to escort nomadic caravans, protect otherwise unaccompanied cross-country trips by notable persons, and keep stability when both voluntary population exchanges and involuntary deportations were sending people across the country. Normally, it escorted the magical talking skeletons and mysterious anthropomorphic creatures of the Undead Gypsies through TurtleShroom and to the western border. Rather than actually providing security or conducting the operations themselves, they oversaw and supervised the activities on each train, while actual soldiers provided actual security.

Agents of the Bureau were instantly recognizable by their solid white outfits. Humans wore matching white suits with white ties, boasting slick sunglasses and white dress shoes, with white sashes. Turtles, such as this one, had white ribbons draped over their shell like layers of a cake. The badge gave the employer away, too.

Joachim looked to the steam engine's engineer, also a turtle, and then to several other turtles on scaffolding, each manning the various pistons and levers of the boiler, or regulating the tubes and pipes feeding oil to it to be combusted. He had a few minutes before the engine would be diverted.

The conductor nodded to the engineer and spoke over the steam engine's intercom.

"Attention all Tom cats and Molly cats, kittens and litters. The train will be undergoing a mandatory inspection for horse-based contraband. As we pull into the inspection zone, you will exit onto the field opposite the platform and line up by family units while the train is searched."

A mushroom translator, who had entered for this purpose, then repeated the directive in Russian, which was the primary language spoken by Nekomimis. The conductor picked up his red hurricane lantern as the train diverged onto the slide rails and slowed to a stop. A loud hiss was released and the smokestack stopped its exhaust.

There was a pause and more speech. Someone probably left the microphone on.

"That ain't no obelisk." one of the boiler operators was speaking. "I thought obelisks were like the ones in Egypt?"

"Necrons build obelisks like that, but I think they have a ship class called obelisks." was the engineer's reply. "That's what my sister said when she was drafted. So at least it's not a permanent structure."

"Glob that thing's big."


On the opposite side of the station, TurtleShroomian soldiers opened the cars' doors and led the Nekomimis out into the cool desert night. Families congregated away from the platform as TurtleShroomian soldiers on camels, undrawn whips folded in their holsters and brandishing squirt bottles on their waist, provided crowd control and deterrence to runaways.

With the locomotive having halted, the conductor crawled down off his platform and onto the scaffolding connecting the steam engine to the oil tanker car that replaced what would be a coal-based steam train's tinder box.

Holding the red hurricane lantern in his mouth, the conductor waved it towards the station as a signal for a train stopping or starting. It represented "all clear". The Necrons, plenty familiar with the practices and safety rules of TurtleShroomian trains, reciprocated with a red beam of light instead of a lantern of their own. He placed his lantern down.

He crawled onto the platform, his adorable little bowtie and his Velcro-affixed pocket watch shining in the lights given off by the massive ship. Even at his highest extension of five feet, he was dwarfed by the parties confronting him.

He lowered his neck and his two front feet in a bowing posture before raising back up. Joachim now joined the conductor and bowed as well, as custom uniformly required.

"Long night, huh?" the conductor tried to lighten the mood.

The sidearm next to his neck and bowtie dwarfed the heat being packed by the death squad in front of him. Joachim's more powerful, standard rifle, mounted like a turret on his back with a harness for his jaw to manipulate and fire, was nothing. It was an assault rifle too, the switch set to semi-automatic.

"We already know why y'all are here." Joachim began. "Let's get this ovuh with."

Joachim gestured with his neck to the doors of each car, which by now had been emptied of chimeras, only the litter of the litany of foods and nutrients serving as flooring.

"There ain't no ponies on this train and the h-"

He took a double take at Yumia. Remembering the Necrons, he decided not to say "hand licker". Nonetheless, he mistook Yumia for a chimera aristocrat that was being deported.

"Hey! What are you doin'? I don't care how wealthy you are, you don't get no special treatment! Get with the rest of 'em! -and the guns go in the luggage! You get 'em back when we get there!"

A human soldier on a Bactrian camel walked in front of the locomotive and peaked over. The camel snorted and looked intensely at Yumia with distrust, almost reciprocating his master's veiled disgust. The camel's rider was putting on his best polite face, engaging in the usual sugar coating of his disdain of hand lickers with patronizing, but audibly respectful manners.

"Come on conductor, that ain't no way to act."

Joachim descended from the locomotive and looked at the conductor, who was crawling back on the train.

"Why is this h- this Nekomimi aristocrat on the platform and not with the rest of them?"

"I'm workin' on it. Just be nice."

The soldier, meanwhile, put on a smile, clearly one of awkwardness and discomfort, as he pushed up his glasses. He saw Yumia's guns, but retained a poker face.
Hand lickers don't EVER use their guns unless you shoot first.

"Young lady, Clyde and I heard you speakin'. You seem lost."

He paused as Yumia did not respond. Some hand lickers didn't know English very well, and she was also armed, so mistakes could not be made now. He reached for an index card and pushed up his glasses again, pronouncing the Russian phonetically from the car.

"Vy..... govorite.... po-Ang... lijski?"

He asked if she spoke English, but in Russian.

There was no reply*. Clyde snorted again, not growing any fonder of Yumia and her massive guns. The rider reached out his hand.

"Right this way, ma'am. We'll get you back to your fam'ly unit, sure as the sun shines."

"..."

Yumia wasn't moving. In fact, her cocky posture almost seemed if she was mocking him. He waited for a few minutes, arm still outstretched, waiting to see if she understood.

"Ma'am, please step away from the death squad and follow me. I ain't seen as your friend for a reason, but they ain't no better. You can't trust 'em, and I know you don't believe me, but if your ma's in the crowd, ask her. She'll reciprocate."

"..."

The soldier dismounted his camel and whispered to Joachim after approaching the turtle, turning his back to Yumia.

"Dude, you ain't supposed to put the deaf ones on the train with the others. They are too fragile to be tracked across the country like that. They need special transport. The Comfy Cars. Do you have any idea what Central** is gone do if they figure out we put a deaf one on the normal train by accident? He's gone tan our hides!"

Joachim whispered back.

"There ain't no deaf hand licker on this train, boy."

"Joachim, don't say that near the bots**! They heard you say it, you know that! 'Sides, there most certainly is! Miss 'Aristocat' there ain't hearin' nothin!"

It was evident to the Necron party that the two TurtleShroomers were under a lot of stress from this long trip. The two began to bicker as they forgot about Yumia, their voices increasing in decibels as they began to blame each other for not realizing they boarded a supposedly disabled chimera aristocrat. That bickering became screaming as they both yelled about what was going to happen to them because a deaf chimera wasn't on the comfortable transport for the sick and disabled.

"HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!"

Clyde was annoyed, and apparently, several chimera kittens on the other side had started to cry.

"OH, SO NOW IT'S MY FAULT THAT MISTER NOMADIC DATA DIDN'T GET HIS NOMADIC DATA RIGHT, HMM?"

"WELL MAYBE IF YOUR PIECE OF POOP SUPERIOR OFFICER HAD VERIFIED MY DATA ON TIME, WE WOULDN'T BE IN THIS MESS!"

"HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!! HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!"

"THIS WOULDN'T EVER'A HAPPENED IF Y'ALL HADN'T SPENT SO LONG IN THE BATHROOM BEFORE WE LEFT!"

"WELL EXCUSE ME FOR HAVING TO EAT DAILY, BOY! MISTER THIRTY DAYS WITHOUT WATER!"

"THAT'S THE TORTOISES, BOY! DID YO' MOMMA DROP Y'ALL ON YOUR HEAD? I'M GONE BE OUT'TA A JOB! YOU THINK MAH WIFE CAN SUPPORT ME AND TEN KIDS?"

"YOUR WAHF'S THE BREADWINNUH! SHE'S THREE TIMES YOUR SIZE!"

"YOU GET DOWN HERE AND SAY THAT TO MY FACE, BOY!"

"BOY!"

"BOY!"

"HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!! HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!"

"WILL YOU SHUT UP?!"

"DON'T YOU SPEAK LIKE THAT TO CLYDE!"

"WELL MAYBE IF YOU PAID ENOUGH ATTEN-"

"THAT AIN'T MY JOB! YOU OVERSAW THIS THING!"

"-BUT YOU WERE IN CHARGE OF CHECKING TO MAKE SURE THE DISABLED HAND LICKERS WERE IN THE COMFY CARS WHEN WE LEFT!"

"YEAH, AND? YOU THINK I KNEW THE NAMES AND DISABILITIES OF THESE CATS BY HAHT? ASK CENTRAL! I DID WHAT THEY SAID!"

"OH LOOK, IT'S THE NUREMBURG THING AGAIN, YOU [SLUR FOR A HOMOSEXUAL]! TAKE THE 'L' AND ADMIT Y'ALL SCREWED UP!"

"BUTT [SLUR FOR A HOMOSEXUAL]! YOUR MOTHER ONLY HAD ELEVEN SCUTES****!"

"YOU SAY THAT TO MY BEAK, [SLUR FOR A HOMOSEXUAL]! * NOM * "

"HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!! HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!"

When Joachim bit the soldier, it was over. He gripped Joachim's neck as Joachim hissed, with Joachim biting at his knuckles and making him let go. The soldier quickly disarmed Joachim by tearing off the guiding mechanisms for his rifle, while Joachim had bit onto his sidearm and tossed it onto the train tracks. Blood caked the soldier's hands from Joachim's biting.

The soldier and Joachim simultaneously drew their tasers, one in his good hand and one in his mouth, respectively. The fired at once, twitching violently before falling to the floor, finally quiet.

"HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!! HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!! HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!! HAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!"

Clyde continued screaming, distressed and upset that his master was hurt. That, plus screaming of grumpy Nekomimi kids and the low rumbling of the engine's machinations were a disconcordant cacophony that the Necrons beheld in bewilderment.

Finally, as things drew quiet, the conductor outstretched his neck and stared at Joachim and the soldier on the floor. He looked to Yumia, then to the Necrons, and slowly, awkwardly withdrew his neck back into the train, quietly closing the door and pretending he didn't see what he just observed.

The Necrons realized the TurtleShroomers weren't any happier than the chimeras in this massive political operation, and the mass deportation was rubbing their nerves raw. It was going to be a wild night.



* = This is technically me having your character speak by explicitly having her be quiet, but I think this wasn't a breach of god-mod actions. If you want me to change this, please let me know and I will edit it.

** = Military slang for the center of command of the soldier's superiors. Also applies to law enforcement.

*** = Military slang for Necrons and other mechanical creatures under the umbrella of the C'tan.

**** = One of the worst possible ways to insult a sapient turtle.
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Comrade Commisar
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Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Comrade Commisar » Sat May 28, 2022 4:15 am

"Hmph. It's always a pleasure to see a whelp on their first hunt, but must they really go about all the formalities?"

A white-haired Far Northerner let out a gravelly chuckle, idly watching the spectacle around the makeshift checkpoint with a certain amusement. Her accent was particularly harsh, difficult for even North Landers to decipher, and the gruffness of her voice lent no favors in this endeavor. However, it was because of this unique roughness, that there were few that were unable to recognize her, or at the very least, her title - Fiona the White Fang.

Though, admittedly, while the White Fang Company might have been renowned as the oldest mercenary band in the North Lands, their most recent endeavors in the South Lands had only begun a few years ago. It was understandable if the South Landers were not quite aware of White Fang, but in that time, she had become definitely aware of them. Employed by the Sky Landers, the so-called Great Civilization, she had lead a number of expeditions into the South Lands over the past few years. The majority of these were uneventful; the Sky Landers practically using her as their personal errand boy, but as long as the coin was good, she was willing to see whatever concerns they had through.

It was through these expeditions, that White Fang had become modestly acquainted with the animal-eared folk of the South Lands and their circumstances. Simply put, the South Landers treated all animal-eared folk as lower than the sands beneath them, justified by whatever fragile morality and religious texts that they could muster. This was not any particular revelation, as North Landers had been subjected to the same practices, with even somebody as prominent as High Priestess Lang being forced into a cage during a diplomatic mission. Of course, when it came between the fickle justifications of the South Landers, and the relative positions upon the food chain by the North Landers, it was also exceedingly clear that one belief was far more tangible than the other.

The animal-eared folk of the South Lands, however, did not quite establish this correlation. They were far too pacifistic, and much too keen on obliging the South Landers despite any mistreatment they received. Rarely would they retaliate if provoked, were far too easily dissuaded by the most mundane of deterrents, and when offered the choice between mutilation in exchange for fair treatment, there were only too many willing to accept the offer. The North Landers referred to them as 'Domesticated Cat-Ears', a derogatory term associating them with livestock, as it seemed that the South Landers had done quite a number in conditioning them into submissiveness and subservience. White Fang herself found it difficult to decide on what disgusted her more; the treatment of the animal-eared by the South Landers, or the willingness of those in the South Lands to simply accept it.

In the end, it did not matter what White Fang thought. The only decision that mercenaries like her needed to make were the contracts they accepted, everything after that was execution; and it just so happened that the Sky Landers were again fattening her purse.

The wolf-eared mercenary grasped the badge that she had fashioned into a necklace, bearing the title and device of 'Treaty Compliance Navigator'. Ironically, she could not read these words, stamped out in a drastically foreign tongue from her own, but when she was presented the badge in Gerry, her eyes glimmered with avarice. The North Landers knew them as 'Butcher Badges', 'Meal Medals', or 'Sky Lands Silver'; devices that rendered the bearer effectively immune in the South Lands, worth several times the bearer's weight in gold. There were only a few mercenaries who knew the exact terms of the Treaty of Gerry, but anything that could be even minutely inferred as an obstruction in treaty enforcement, while in possession of the badge, was subject to lethal and potentially disproportionate force. This was a particularly wide definition of the treaty, but the South Landers were known to bend legal definitions to their own whims within the boundaries of the letter, and the Sky Landers seemed keen to follow the example.

That said, if the Sky Landers merely wished to enforce their treaties with the South Landers, they did not require the assistance of White Fang or her company. The North Landers alone would have been superfluous, considering the martial prowess of the Iron Golems, but the Sky Landers had also taken it upon themselves to contract other mercenaries throughout Valkia, with the devices of the Barboneians and Hiluxians being particularly prominent. An international coalition of mercenaries, issued a badge dictating their authority, and united underneath the Sky Landers for the singular cause of treaty enforcement. Ostensibly, it was a show of force against the South Landers, but White Fang could not help but wonder if it also served the purpose of persuading the Domesticated Cat-Ears that the Sky Landers and Valkia were one in the same.

When the South Landers finally neared into the checkpoint with their train, there had been a momentary pause as the hulk of machinery continued to push forward with a decisive vigor. Being confined to the track, there were only two ways that any encounter could go, and some mercenaries displayed a certain disturbing giddiness to what seemed like a forgone conclusion. But as the train began to slow, and an audible hiss heard as the brakes engaged, any hope for immediate hostilities were swiftly dashed. This would be a routine inspection, and as the South Landers waved their red lamps to signal their acceptance, many grumbled in frustration for want of amusement.

"I'm glad that the South Landers could see reason for once." One of the wolf-eared North Landers smiled, letting out a sigh of relief, "Even if it required such an overwhelming presence."

"Don't relax yet. The South Landers are a shifty sort." Another cat-eared North Lander in Commonwealth Navy fatigues replied, "They'll wave the white flag one minute, before crashing the moon down on you the next."

The South Landers, for their part, disembarked the train with their best face. They had a surprisingly cordial demeanor, barely masking an evident disgust of the situation, as they began unloading the animal-eared passengers from the attached carriages. The North Landers maintained their own disgust, watching as the South Landers lined the Domesticated Cat-Ears together like cattle, clutching their rifles tightly as they waited for the Sky Landers to go through the formalities.

While the majority of North Landers had been focused upon the South Landers, White Fang had taken more of an interest with the leader of this entire operation, a Domesticated Cat-Ear named Yulia. She made no effort to hide that she hailed from the South Lands, but acted with a self-assured confidence that was unbecoming of them. She was young, spry, and filled with a boundless energy, compared to the sullen faces of her brethren before the South Landers. Her chest held out her accomplishments, a highly-decorated officer at such a young age, although it would take several decades before the white-haired mercenary would consider her anything more than an inexperienced whelp. Nonetheless, it was modestly impressive, not because of the various accolades, but for the fact that a Domesticated Cat-Ear had managed to break free from its chains to becoming something reminiscent of a North Lander.

White Fang smirked with a certain respect to the cat-eared leader.

Like many things, the South Landers did not share this similar respect. Instead, they attempted to corral Yulia with the other Domesticated Cat-Ears from the train. The initial demand was filled with vitriol, more becoming of the South Landers' distaste for the animal-eared folk, but swiftly changed tune in light of the Sky Landers. Further attempts at kindly words, promises to reunite her with family, and even attempting to sow distrust with the Sky Landers were tried, but with equally similar results. It was almost entertaining, perhaps even more so, as she held a rifle against them the entire time, while they continued in attempts to persuade her as if the woman was incapable of violence. White Fang was eager to see an escalation, but the South Landers began quarreling amongst one another, before exchanging blows and rendering themselves incapacitated at Yulia's feet. It was an embarrassing display.

"Well, the South Lands have never been much for amusement." The wolf-eared mercenary let out a gruff laugh, before looking over at the North Lander in military fatigues, "The South Landers have finished unloading the train. Yukon, you and your company can began 'inspection' at the discretion of the Sky Landers. Remember, 'Equines' and not Domesticated Cat-Ears."

"Yes, Captain." Yukon saluted, her black-hair and cat-ears prominently sticking out of her white field cap, before approaching the train with her compatriots.

"I'm not questioning your decisions, but why are you mainly sending in the White Battalion, rather than your own White Fang Company? They aren't regarded as the 'cleanest' mercenaries." Another North Lander asked, his light blue hair and wolf-ears displayed prominently on his head, watching the cat-eared girl proceed to shout at some South Landers with her rifle in hand, "That aside, why contract the Hound Dog Company either? If it were anyone else, I would understand, but you are already acquainted with the South Lands - you don't need a tracker."

White Fang brandished her usual wolfish grin.

There were many mercenary bands in the North Lands, and while the White Fang Company was the oldest amongst them, there were more notorious ones. The White Battalion was one of them, formed in the ashes of the wars brought about by the Commonwealth. Named for the surplus winter fatigues of the Commonwealth Navy, they were a relatively young company, but one that was well-trained, equipped, and experienced from their previous conflicts. However, it was not their background, as much as their acts, that attracted their infamy. Wherever the White Battalion was paid to march, they would only leave atrocity in their wake. The majority of North Landers viewed them as a bloodthirsty band of whores, coin secondary to an indulgence in violence; composed of every cutthroat, brigand, and criminal who just happened to serve in a military. However, for whatever reputation preceded them, they were viewed as a reliable sort; and during the Barboneian excursions into the North Lands, in the wider mercenary alliance, they were the ones who bore the brunt of direct fighting. Something that White Fang had come to recognize them for.

Of course, for somebody in Hound Dog Company to openly slander the White Battalion, it was cutting themselves on their own blade. They were hardly formed under better circumstances, established to assist the Sky Landers in their hunts against the South Landers. Terms like 'Meal Medals' initially came from them, as the Hound Dog Company went from escorting wealthy patrons in their hunts, to participating in some themselves. The North Landers generally overlooked their atrocities, holding South Landers as far lesser creatures on the food chain, but their hands were just as bloodied as any other mercenary company. Oftentimes, Hound Dog Company became synonymous with the Sky Landers, derogatorily referred to as 'hunting hounds', as they infrequently accepted contracts outside the lucrative South Lands border. Nevertheless, when they could be persuaded from the South Lands, they were professional trackers, able to follow even a single wounded person for weeks until they closed in for the kill.

White Fang had subcontracted the two companies for this endeavor. While she would normally have entrusted such an endeavor to her own White Fang Company, she had assumed that the inspections would not require the full size of a mercenary company, equating to several hundred North Landers. Instead, she opted for a handful of her own officers, a few mercenaries from the Hound Dog Company, and filled the rest with a couple of squads from the White Battalion - no more than thirty-five people total. It was sufficient enough for something as rudimentary as 'treaty inspections', while letting her move swiftly with the rest of the Sky Landers and their associated mercenary contingent. Though, judging by the poor showing of the South Landers before Yulia, even such a small number of North Landers may have been too optimistic.

"You're right, Mle. I don't need a tracker." The white-haired mercenary hummed, "The truth is that I cannot understand the Sky Lander tongue, and that the Hound Dog Company accepts enough contracts with them to where they do. Cerys acted as the intermediary between me and the Sky Landers, but since I couldn't part her from her master, I needed a replacement to bridge communication between me and our cat-eared captain."

"You just needed a translator?" Mle said, mildly annoyed at the revelation, "The finest mercenaries in the South Lands, and you contracted us for a translator? The Sky Landers have tools for that, you know?"

"True, but then I would not have the opportunity to accost you." White Fang laughed, "It is the same reasoning that I contracted the White Battalion - to accost the South Landers."

She pointed to the black-haired, cat-eared girl, actively pointing a rifle at a group of South Landers, demanding them to move away from the Domesticated Cat-Ears and the train.

"Are you deaf? I said move!" Yukon shouted, violently shoving one of them away with her rifle, as some other North Landers immediately followed her example, "Away from the train! Fifty yards! Prone on the ground, face down!"

The South Landers grumbled, but otherwise maintained a stoic face throughout her prodding. They glanced at the other North Landers, wolf-eared and fox-eared, and while they held a certain distain, there was a slightly different expression than when they had stared at the animal-eared folk from the South Lands - calm, composed, but more concerned. The cat-eared North Lander was keen to take notice.

"Don't confuse me with one of your Domesticated Cat-Ears!" Yukon shouted in the North Lander tongue, hitting a South Lander with her rifle butt onto the ground, before switching back to English, "You might think of me as any other cat-eared folk, but I am a North Lander through and through. If you even look back at the train, I won't be afraid to regard it as obstructing treaty compliance, and reaffirm where you lie on the food chain!"

She held out her badge, smiling with a sadistic expression, before ordering one squad to restraint the South Landers with zip ties, while another was to tend to the other animal-eared folk.

"I like her. She's a lively sort." White Fang nodded in approval.

"Cat-eared folk are always a lively sort." Mle sighed, holding his rifle in the crook of one arm, "It's just she's the worst kind of lively sort."

"It is said that there are two kinds of hunters; the ones who take pride in the kill, and the ones who do not." The white-haired mercenary explained in her gravelly voice, "Most are the first kind; eager to track their prey, and deliver the kill with a single, clean blow - they take pride in perfection. The second kind take pleasure in the wails and cries of their prey, for them, the finishing blow is something that must only come when it is necessary - they take pride in the act."

"I know the adage." The wolf-eared boy said, blatantly shutting down her monologue, "I'm just saying that the ones like her are the worst."

"Are they?" White Fang pondered, glancing at the animal-eared folk watching her abuse of their tormentors.

Mle stood there in silence. He knew what the Far Northerner was implying. Every North Lander held roughly the same opinion.

"It is no secret that our cat-eared captain hails from the South Lands. I don't know her tale, but it is evident that she had escaped to the Sky Lands." She continued, smiling as she glanced at Yulia, "She could have lived the carefree life of a Sky Lander, filled her belly with every manner of morsel, and there would be none to criticize. Yet, she returned here, to the South Lands, in order to accost her former oppressors."

"She came here to rescue her animal-eared brethren." Mle stated, "Besides, it is foolish to assume that every Domesticated Cat-Ear is like that."

"But even if it is even one in ten, it would only be inevitable for the South Landers to concede?" White Fang asked, "If there were more cat-eared folk like Yukon or Yulia in their ranks, would the South Landers not have to find pause in their endeavors? Would the Domesticated Cat-Ears not have better leverage than merely accepting whatever the South Landers offer them?"

"I understand what you're saying, but what you are saying is far too optimistic."

"It is as you said, the cat-eared folk are a lively sort. It is just a matter of letting them want to live."
Last edited by Comrade Commisar on Sat May 28, 2022 5:34 am, edited 6 times in total.
A complete mess of a nation known in-character as the 'North Lands'; populated by pious priestesses, wandering mercenaries, violent bandits, and various internal power struggles. Be careful of who you deal with.

Basically, a decentralized feudalistic society ranging anywhere between medieval and interwar.

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The Ctan
Minister
 
Posts: 2855
Founded: Antiquity
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Ctan » Sat May 28, 2022 6:38 pm

Yulia watched as the Turtleshroomers approached with an amused smirk on her face. When they shouted racist abuse at her she simply continued to smile, she stayed silent waiting for them to look at the other C’tani next to her and twig what was going on, before they somehow failed to do that, and instead pulled out tasers. She tensed slightly, ready to spring on them, they would be dead in moments, she was wearing a full skin suit beneath her armour, which was proof against such things, and they wouldn’t be able to secure a headshot.

Then they stunned each other, and appeared to feint or pass out from the stress and pain of it.

“Okay, that’s going on the ‘tubes,” Jeramiah said from next to her, and hit one of the controls on his disc.

The nearest necron reached out and grabbed Clyde’s reins, pulling the rider down by the waist and handing him like a sack of potatoes to one of its comrades. They did not verbalize commands or coordination, but moved in eerie silence, as Clyde was led off toward the monolith, where a series of tables groaned under the weight of huge plastic bottles of water.

One of the Necron Sentinels addressed the assembled mercenaries.

“We will be doing some on the job training, that means that we will be sending several teams to search the train and then evaluating performance, so this stop will be longer than usual,” the machine said, a female voice speaking a Barboneian dialect to the Extra Territorial Group personnel, “Don’t forget to check under the train, too, and drain the oil tank, we are looking for dead ponies as well as living ones, so that will mean siphoning the fuel out and making the crew pump it back in after you have used the endoscopic camera. Make the crew do the work. Keep your distance in case they set themselves on fire doing this,” she added, after the last display.

Clyde wasn’t the only one who got water, though.

The Nekos were the point of the operation and this was when Yulia went into action.

She leaped over the rails with quiet grace as the mercenaries removed the Turtleshroomers, leaving only the Nekos.

The Turtleshroomers talked a good game about how domesticated their nekos were, and how good Nekoland would be, but only a few minutes ago they’d been acting as though they were worried that the prisoners would run heedlessly into the desert.

She spoke in their language, speaking aloud and calmly.

“Hello everyone, while we’re conducting our search and training we’ve prepared some additional refreshments over here,” she said, “there are also toilets and shelter from the sun.”

These refreshments were arranged by the group of Necrons, and Recruitment Service personnel, rather than the mercenaries, there were limits. As much as the Necrons had a fierce reputation, they were a lot less likely to do something random, when they enacted violence it was inevitably precise.

She wasn’t going to go straight in with the sales pitch, it was a conversational law that someone would ask her about how she had come to be wearing a C’tani officer’s uniform.
"If any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." ~ Abraham Lincoln
"The Necrons were amongst the first beings to come into existance, and have sworn that they will rule over the living." - Still surprisingly accurate!
"Be you anywhere from Progress Level 5 or 6 and barely space-competent, all the way up to the current record of PL-20 for beings like the C’Tan..." Lord General Superior Rai’a Sirisi, Xenohumanity
"Many races and faiths have considered themselves to be a threat to the Necrons, but their worlds and their cultures are now little more than interesting archaeology."

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Barboneia
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 10558
Founded: Sep 17, 2014
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Barboneia » Sat May 28, 2022 8:17 pm

While Yulia witnessed the general insanity of the TurtleShroomers and the North Lander mercenaries under White Fang tormented the train crew, two small clouds of dust appeared on the horizon, rapidly approaching the strange commotion. As they came closer and closer, it was clear to anyone who was observing them who they were; It was an ETG squad in two rusty pick-ups, acting as one of the many mercenary groups hired by the Great Civilization as Treaty Compliance Navigators.

As usual, they were late. Over the sounds of a loose exhaust, squealing brakes, an over-tightened belt, and shouts of Finnish profanity, an absolutely deranged music track played, blasted from a jury-rigged audio system bolted into the back of one of the pick-ups, barely leaving room for a mounted machine-gun. The trucks split from their route, flanking either side of the train, and their crews departed, though one man was left in each truck to man the guns.

The Barboneian mercenaries, ten in total counting the men on the guns, were a strange-looking sort. Shaved heads covered by ballcaps baring the logo of their organization, tan plate-carriers over red t-shirts or polos, an assortment of weapons in their hands, from Kalashnikovs to various model Valmets. A few had keffiyehs for the scorching heat, and some still wore the dog tags from their time in the Greater Barboneian Army. The leader of the group was probably the strangest-looking of all. Tall, clean shaven, a SCAR-H in his hands and a freakishly wide grin on his face. Over his plate carrier he wore a gákti, a traditional Cyrillic piece of apparel. This was none other than Ráidner Laaksonen, a veteran of the Northern War and surprisingly competent gun for hire, who had developed a bit of a reputation for eccentricity and his willingness to take the "shit jobs" among the ETG, which is likely why he was chosen to travel to TurtleShroom on their behalf for the contract.

No one else sane would have.

Ráidner maintained his grin as he approached the train with his men, especially upon seeing the collected group of North Landers who had already begun keeping the TurtleShroomers in check. Some of his men, however, who themselves had been in quite good mood, quickly soured upon seeing them. While it had been quite some time since any of them had seen conflict with North Lander mercenaries, either with the armed forces or when they had later joined the ETG, many of them still held animosity towards them in general. And oftentimes, it was not unwarranted. Ráidner, however, was much more open minded.

"Ah, our northern comrades!" he declared in a sing-songy way to his men as they walked. "White Fang, as I live and breathe! I haven't seen her in AGES! And she beat us here! A pity. But there'll still be plenty for us to do, I reckon." "Yeah, plenty of shit work for us to do," grumbled a younger man holding an RK 62. "Let me guess, we're gonna lead around the some poor sods to look for the horses, an' then watch the chimera-in-chief try and convince the freaks of nature to actually stop having terrible lives?" Ráidner smirked at him, and nodded. "Precisely! But think about it. We're getting paid to do basically nothing, Gabe. And you know how good this stuff makes our company look in the eyes of the C'tan? Besides, once we're done here, we can crack open another case of beer and enjoy ourselves!"

The Barboneians gathered near Yulia and the others, occasionally side-eyeing any North Lander who was too close for comfort. They stood at rapt attention as the Necron Sentinel addressed them, somewhat surprised to be spoken to in Finnish. Ráidner nodded. "Great, we've got orders. You heard her, boys. We've got horses to.... Uh... Look for."

Without a word, the mercenaries split up, some climbing into the carriages to look around, a few pulling out flashlights from their packs and looking underneath the frames and chassis for anything. Some even bothered to actually crawl underneath to get a better view. Gabriel, the one with the RK 62, and two others roughly forced a few TurtleShroomers from their collected assembly and began shouting at them in a mix of Finnish and English to begin draining the train's oil tank. "What is this, a retirement community? I know some of you are literally turtles, but come on, pick up the damn pace!" Gabriel shouted. "I've got a couple dozen rounds of 7.62 with your names on it if you don't hurry up!"

Ráidner, meanwhile, pulled out a pack of cigarettes, some foreign brand called Bridgeport, and lit one. There was shouting, moaning, crying, grumbling, whining... He sighed contently. It was all chaos, but chaos was music to his ears.

He loved his damned job sometimes.
Depressing Nordic semi-socialist commonwealth filled with Lovecraftian horrors, man-eating fox people, Finns, bizarre accents, and Volvos.
A collection of some of my NationStates artwork. Updated recently!
Barboneian Prime Ministers, now with pictures!


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Comrade Commisar
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1563
Founded: Jun 12, 2011
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Comrade Commisar » Mon May 30, 2022 6:56 am

"That wretched sound..."

Yukon grumbled, the cat-ears sticking out from her field cap twitching with a notable irritation, as she motioned the muzzle of her rifle away from a restrained South Lander who breathed a sigh of relief. The other North Landers all lifted their heads up at a similar time, much to the confusion of the South Landers, who meekly looked up at the armed guards who - harassing them minutes earlier - seemed to stop. There was a certain scowl across the faces of the White Battalion, looking into the distance, as White Fang smirked with amusement. Mle seemed confused, but otherwise glanced in the same direction, curious as to what the commotion was about.

When the source of the disturbance arrived, with its pomp, circumstance, and terrible music, many of the North Landers could barely hide their distain. It was a different emotion than the contempt that the South Landers held for the animal-eared folk, far closer to an intense hatred than a simple distaste. Many clutched their rifles, ready to turn them upon their newfound guests, but were dissuaded from a glance to their cat-eared lieutenant, who simply gritted her teeth in disgust.

"Lake Landers..."

It would be an understatement to say that the North Landers and Barboneians did not get along, and it would be a blatant lie to describe their incursions into the North Lands as a simple expedition. The White Battalion, in particular, held a considerable hostility, having torched and razed their way through Barboneian petroleum facilities as easily as the Extra Territorial Group did North Lander villages. If anything, they were far more similar than anyone would have liked to admit, but anyone saying such things aloud would only encourage a fight.

"Heh, if it isn't the Mad Dog." White Fang grinned as she watched the man disembark, not necessarily paying attention to the his appearance, as much as the carefree demeanor, "I'm surprised the little whelp survived this long to see the South Lands, but I guess if any Lake Lander would be here, it would have to be him."

"A friend?" Mle asked, unacquainted with the peculiar relationships of the North Lands.

"Oh no. If the circumstances had been different, I am sure we would not spare a second thought to carve out each other's throats. I would certainly would not have spared him in the North Lands." The white-haired mercenary laughed, looking over to the Sky Landers, who were continuing the inspection in spite of any disruption, "It just so happens that we are both coincidentally in a foreign land, and are not being paid to kill each other at the moment, so we can afford to be a little cordial. Yesterday's enemies are today's allies and so on, as the old saying goes."

An Iron Golem of the Sky Landers addressed the coalition of mercenaries, addressing the Barboneians in particular, as the rowdy group quieted down somewhat to fulfill their orders. White Fang looked to Mle expectedly, ignorant of anything the Sky Landers had been wishing to convey to the Far Northerner, forcing the wolf-eared boy to translate.

"They are evaluating the mercenaries, so the inspection will take longer than usual." Mle sighed, rubbing his face in embarrassment for being forced into such a role, "There were also orders issued to the Lake Landers in their tongue, so I guess the Sky Landers are sending them in first?"

"It sounds just about how the Sky Landers carry themselves about." White Fang shrugged, glancing over to Yulia as she made her way to the animal-eared South Landers while the Iron Golems managed logistical duties, "In the end, they are just trying to buy time to convince the Domesticated Cat-Ears of their benevolence. If some South Landers get accosted by either the Lake Landers or North Landers in the meantime, then so be it.""

An audible gunshot could be heard across the checkpoint.

"If you move from that spot, South Lander, I will kill you." Yukon growled, the cat-eared girl staring at one of the prisoners with a wide, unsettling gaze, "You will comply, or I will make your death slow."

"Pick up the pace! If you don't move right now, you won't be moving at all!" An opposing voice ordered, coming from a Barboneian, his rifle also trained near the man, "I don't have all day!"

The South Lander laid there, paralyzed as to the conflicting orders, holding his arms up in want of mercy. He slowly attempted to raise himself from the ground for the Barboneian; the audible crack of the North Lander's rifle immediately going off next to him, as sand lifted up from the discharge fell from the air. Returning to his initial position, there was another audible crack as the Barboneian did the same, this time for doing the opposite. This went back and forth for several sporadic gunshots, the South Lander threatened for moving, and threatened for not moving, as the two mercenaries stared each other down.

"We have orders to detain the South Landers during the inspection." Yukon said, firing another round without so much as even breaking eye contact.

"We have orders to have them search the train." The Barboneian replied, also firing another round.

"There were no such orders." She coldly replied, another crack ringing out from her rifle.

"They were in Finnish." He retorted, with a similar crack sounding from his rifle.

Bang. Bang. Several more shots rung out, as the gunfire became frequent enough to attract attention from onlookers, much to the blatant disregard of the two mercenaries. Many of these were joined with the panicked shouts of the South Lander, caught between the two, although they seemed to become less out of genuine fear, and more out of instinct after a certain point.

Eventually, there was an audible click instead of the usual crack; the South Lander letting out the beginning of a yelp, before training off from the realization that a gunshot had not actually occurred. There was a belated scream as the Barboneian fired, perhaps out of expectation, as he looked back at the cat-eared North Lander. Yukon maintained her stare at her counterpart for a brief moment, slowly shifting her gaze to the twenty-round magazine of her rifle, before looking at the longer thirty-round magazine of the Barboneian.

She grumbled, biting her lower lip, as she locked the bolt of her rifle back and grabbed a pair of fresh clips from her coat pocket.

"What are you waiting for? Get moving!" The Barboneian shouted at the South Lander, firing off the rest of the magazine into the ground, as a number of other South Landers got up and rushed to the train during the brief lull in gunfire.

Yukon stood there for several moments. Pushing a fresh set of cartridges into her rifle, flicking off the empty clip, and repeating the process a few more times. She continued to look at her weapon, ignoring the Barboneian as he simply took out a magazine, knocked off the previous one, and stuck it in with one clean motion. There was a pause as both of them racked their rifles into battery, as they returned to looking at each other with a certain animosity.

Then simultaneous laughter.

"That's such a shitty win." The cat-eared North Lander shook her head.

"I was wondering how long it would take you to notice." The Barboneian grinned.

"Did you see the South Lander's face when I dry-fired and then you immediately shot anyway?"

"Fucking hilarious!"

"Yukon, a lieutenant of the White Battalion." She introduced herself.

"Like the foreign tobacco?" He laughed.

"Something like that! Hey, want some war salt?"

"War salt? What is... isn't this Pervitin?"
Last edited by Comrade Commisar on Mon May 30, 2022 7:20 am, edited 3 times in total.
A complete mess of a nation known in-character as the 'North Lands'; populated by pious priestesses, wandering mercenaries, violent bandits, and various internal power struggles. Be careful of who you deal with.

Basically, a decentralized feudalistic society ranging anywhere between medieval and interwar.

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Hiluxia
Bureaucrat
 
Posts: 58
Founded: Aug 31, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Hiluxia » Tue May 31, 2022 12:30 am

“Hiluxians would be a serious threat to the world if they could ever stop fighting each other.”

- Unknown




Hiluxian interests in Turtleshroom were always haphazard. They were content to ignore their perpetual interest in enslaving other nekos, largely out of a perpetual disinterest in the plight of 'broken' nekos, to a lesser degree because of the sheer disparity in size between the two nations.

Nonetheless, their recent intervention in Niekas, and subsequent humiliation at the hands of Hiluxian and Allanean fighters, had convinced them once again of the benefits of rallying around the hatred of their strange neighbors, especially now that the younger, liberal urbanites of Kiamat began to see themselves as capable of, and interested in, influencing the world for the better within and without Hiluxia.

Asla would be lying if she claimed to have quite the same level of care in improving the so called Nekolanders' rights.

Level headed, calm under pressure, able to herd the men under her command with strict words and stricter punishment for the exceptionally disobedient. She was the quintessential Hiluxian woman, a tired gaze aimed at the horizon, and then the train itself, as her transport moved on.

They were a small detachment, huddled around a few vehicles. Three pickup trucks, a scout car, and the APC, each heavily modified from their original use to better fit the Mercenary work-load.

The BTR in particular almost gave the illusion of modernity, if one ignored their typical crampedness, once considered a non-issue for older Hiluxians, now more so for the properly fed Hiluxians of today.

The pickup trucks approached, the BTR keeping a slight distance from the rest of the crew. A 30mm gun didn't need to be up close and personal to be a threat, especially not with the functioning electronics within to help aim the foul autocannon.

"You think they're gonna kill anyone today?" The NCO spoke, cigarette in hand. Bashir, once Zara, spoke with the temper expected of an NCO. It was hard to believe he was a Kiamati, with how rough and tumble and crude he could get. His face was kept clean shaven, his black hair concealed beneath a helmet and his skin

"Probably, if they can get away with it."

"Shame. Maybe they'll learn to stop being cunts about everything this time."

"Can't stop a pig from wallowing in shit, I'm afraid."

Nonetheless, from a relative distance, she could see everything transpiring through binocs. The idiocy of two TSers tazing each other was especially notable.

"Can you believe someone willingly lets these people oppress them? If the ponies or the local Qutani had any fucking brains we wouldn't need to be here. They'd be doing all the killing for us."

"Just keep your eyes out for uh, signs of pony smuggling. We're going to be pretty busy today from the look of things."

"Yes ma'am." Was followed up by Bashir knocking the walls of the BTR, motioning to the infantry within to dismount.

"Alright you fucking dregs, let's move out!"

The Hiluxian mercenaries stood to the other mercenaries' perimeter, largely unfamiliar with their northern counterparts. Mostly deployed to foreign countries well outside of Valkia, those Mercenary units that had not taken permanent employ elsewhere, such as Kath's particularly abominable force in Catedonia, were only rarely seen operating close to home.

Largely, it was an effort to avoid a conflict of interest, as Hiluxia was unwilling to sour its relationships with Barboneian or North Lander polities. Turtleshroomers were given no such benefits. Indeed, Bashir had heard plenty of stories of that cursed 'Cuckoo' company of Shamshir operating in other areas of Turtleshroom, in reality nothing more than Hiluxian military veterans serving the state under a guise of deniability, notably unpleasant in conduct in Niekas and elsewhere.

In that regard, they likely would have fit in better in this situation, the North Landers and the Barboneians were already enjoying themselves at the Turtleshroomers expense. It did nothing for Bashir, though even he could not be willed to care for the suffering inflicted upon these glorified genocide guards.

Either way, they didn't come unprepared. Each member of the detachment wore a rather modern ballistic vest, the rest of their gear often placed within it on pouches or on a lightweight backpack for those more willing. Their helmets were unusual, rarely seen and not produced in Hiluxia, painted a flat tan color. They weren't pure steel, but they weren't crude plastic either, many of them customized and altered by their users with all sorts of mottos and crude slang. They mostly tried to stick to a simple three tone desert camouflage in their gear as well, though this seemed more akin to suggestion than hard fact. Most notably, they had enough room within their helmets to fit the ears of a Hiluxian neko within, giving them a slightly bulging appearance right where they should be.

Their rifles were typically Hiluxian, though most likely from the last batches of the M pattern rifles. Some had crude, metal stocks, some used a less foul wood. Their marksman used a similar, though longer rifle. They were effectively armed akin to the typical Hiluxian infantryman in that respect.

The guns of their transport were aimed largely at the Turtleshroomers', purposefully kept away from any nekos wherever possible. Their trucks and scout car by contrast merely aimed upwards for now, the former carrying a single heavy MG each, the latter carrying a twin barreled 23mm autocannon, notoriously beloved by Hiluxians in all but its actual intended use. Cages and thin plates of add-on armor adorned each vehicle, theoretically useful only for crude anti-tank weaponry, but nonetheless reassuring to the crews.

"Dunno why we don't just kill them or just send them running off already." One of the younger mercs spoke, clutching his rifle. "Fun as it is to play with your food, these guys aren't worth the effort."

"Let them play, the sooner they get off the sooner we can get out of here.” another merc spoke, clearly having seen a fair amount more.

“Shut it, focus on making sure no one tries anything stupid.” Bashir barked, quick to discipline his men into compliance.

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TURTLESHROOM II
Senator
 
Posts: 3856
Founded: Dec 08, 2014
Right-wing Utopia

Postby TURTLESHROOM II » Tue Jun 21, 2022 12:42 pm

{ OCC: Unconventional text coloring indicates a language spoken that is not English. }

Comrade Commisar wrote:"We have orders to detain the South Landers during the inspection." Yukon said, firing another round without so much as even breaking eye contact.

"We have orders to have them search the train." The Barboneian replied, also firing another round.

"There were no such orders." She coldly replied, another crack ringing out from her rifle.

"They were in Finnish." He retorted, with a similar crack sounding from his rifle.

Bang. Bang. Several more shots rung out, as the gunfire became frequent enough to attract attention from onlookers, much to the blatant disregard of the two mercenaries. Many of these were joined with the panicked shouts of the South Lander, caught between the two, although they seemed to become less out of genuine fear, and more out of instinct after a certain point.


Blocked by the steam engine and only able to see the tip of the Necrontyr spaceship, the Nekomimi families huddled in the field together, terrified of the supposed bloodbath brought on between undisciplined sell swords the Necrons relied on to oppress TurtleShroomers. While oppressing TurtleShroomers was certainly not cause for concern, everyone in TurtleShroom knew of the decadence, brutality, and human sacrifice that the Necrons performed. TurtleShroomers were no opponents of disproportionate retribution, but the well-established fact that the Necrons never oppressed anyone that was not committing some sort of war crime or enslavement didn't ease them when they decided that TurtleShroom was somehow those who deserved to be peeled off by the Flayed Ones and worn on horseback.

"They're killing the TurtleShroomers..."

Hushed exchanges of a heavy dialect of Russian were feverishly exchanged as the gunfire and shouting continued. One mother and her kitten began speaking something different than the others.

"Based!"

"Hush, mawlish*. Whatever solution they bring us will just bring us to a nightmare of a different order. The Necrons are going to take us to their land of abortion and post scarcity, and we'll be just as depraved as them. Don't listen to a thing they say.

"Yes momma. What's an abortion?"

The mother Nekomimi, named Varushka, chuckled nervously, realizing her mistake.

"Well, let's say a Tom cat and a Molly** cat have a kit, but their would-be Babuskha doesn't want a grandkid. So they, being evil, kill the kitten rather than stand up to her. They don't want the responsibility."

"Momma... why would they do that?"

"[color=#BF80F]When you put yourself above the clowder***, everything dies on the alter of individualism. The only person that matters is themselves. Not the clowder, not kittens, nothing. You'll understand as you get older. You see, the Necrons think the path to true happiness is whatever makes you feel good. Who cares about others? Sure, some may care, but their society puts the self over the clowder."[/color]

"The Necron fliars said that they have clowders and close ties too. The even take clowder names like we do. It's the elves that are that way, they are the real evil."

"[color=#BF80F]Who told you that? Trust me on this, their pretend bonds aren't like ours. People that join societies like that become rotten themselves.[/color]"

"Momma, I don't want to go there! At least the TurtleShroomers won't tear up our families!"

"Fear not. The TurtleShroomers are rotten, but they break the body. The elves and the Necrons rot the soul. NONE OF THEM will touch you. I have a plan, so listen to Momma now. While they pick up the bodies of the TurtleShroomers, you and I will make a dash that way..."

She gestured with her tail to a small field of cacti.

"...and hide in the dunes until they call the search off. When I give the secret word I told you when we got on the train, that's your signal. Your father will stay here and hold them off until it's safe.[/quote]"

"[color=#BF80FF]Will Father make it?
"

"Of course he will, Mawlish."

She rubbed her hand in her child's hair, ruffling it as well as pushing on his ears. The kitten purred softly as Varushka gave him a hug.

"Yes ma'am. I trust you."

An elderly chimera turned to face Varushka and her child.

"Are you crazy? The TurtleShroomers are inescapable. I don't trust the Nekoland Idea as far as I can throw it, but it's certainly better than covering ourselves up."

Varushka's ears slicked back, pressed tightly on the hair of her scalp.

"No one trusts the TurtleShroomers. Shouldn't we give the Necrons a chance? This can't be all we have to live for.[/color=#BF80FF]"

"[color=#BF80FF]You trust the Mecha-[PLURAL RUSSIAN TERM FOR A FEMALE DOG]?[color]"

"[color=#BF80FF]Shut up, hairball! Don't say that around Mikhail!
"

Several other chimeras began to lecture the mother about what being uppity gets them. A Molly cat should not speak that way, she should not usurp the Tom cats and act against the clowder. Others said she was the reason TurtleShroomers hated them, and that if she were to remain calm, things would be fine, and if she went through with whatever crap she was about to pull, her actions would damage the whole clowder. The anger began to flare as the mother started calling them all close-minded cowards.

That's when Mikhail pointed to the train, watching Yulia practically pole vault over it. The chimeras suddenly fell silent.

The Ctan wrote:These refreshments were arranged by the group of Necrons, and Recruitment Service personnel, rather than the mercenaries, there were limits. As much as the Necrons had a fierce reputation, they were a lot less likely to do something random, when they enacted violence it was inevitably precise.

She wasn’t going to go straight in with the sales pitch, it was a conversational law that someone would ask her about how she had come to be wearing a C’tani officer’s uniform.


The TS Nekomimis put their hands and arms around their offspring and stepped back. Ears slicked back, tails extended upright. This had to be a trick.

The Ctan wrote:“Hello everyone, while we’re conducting our search and training we’ve prepared some additional refreshments over here,” she said, “there are also toilets and shelter from the sun.”


When Yulia spoke Russian, however, some of them bared their fangs, shocked to hear their own language coming out of a Necron stooge. Others, particularly younger ones, were more curious.

They were sizing her up. Was she a Valkian Nekomimi or a Land of Power Nekomimi? She had no breasts... whiskers under her nose, whiskers on her brow, with no eyebrows. Thin, catlike figure. She was definitely able to rotate her legs a hundred eighty degrees, the way her outfit was styled was clear, not to mention the acrobatics she did jumping over. -and then there were here eyes. Vertical slits that opened the opposite of the TurtleShroomers' eyes.

This was actually a Land of Power Nekomimi.

Yet she came with gunfire and Kitsune Devourers at her heels. This wasn't a good look for her.

The silence lasted for too long. One chimera stepped forward. This one was a Prince, that is, an elder of the village, as indicated by the Slavic ceremonial mace topped with a double-headed cat, and his brass circlet with pendilia hanging from it. This mace-scepter was as long as his forearm. His cat ears were pierced with multiple silver hoops and he sported a whispy beard. A square hat with a little feather had holes fitting for his ears. His distinct robe, reminiscent of the pre-1933 TS Streltsy road, was patterned in a pretty royal blue with little stylized cat heads adorning it.

So this was a Land of Power Nekomimi? The elder knew how to prove it. Only TS Nekomimis recognized the Prince's Presentation.

"Molly, behold the elder of the clowder."

He outstretched the Slavic mace. Yulia kept her posture upright, not even budging. The elder was shocked. In his surprise, he started flicking his tail left and right.

She was supposed to wrap her tail around her, bow, and touch his scepter. He would then say for her to speak, "for speaking to one is speaking to all". Instead, she did nothing, causing the village elder to respond harshly.

"RrrrrRRROWWW! You DARE dishonor your Prince?!"

The other Nekomimis were offended as well. Some quiet growling and glares that may well be shooting daggers responded in an otherwise silent standoff.
TurtleShroom's society embraced gender equality when it incorporated the turtles' Khanate in to the country in 1796 AD. Female soldiers, officers, and politicians (especially among turtles) were seen as commonplace. No such thing existed in TS Nekomimi society, which was rigidly patriarchal in both politics and the military, where females worked grueling farm labor at home or raised the offspring.

(Actual cats are always matriarchal, but the TS Nekomimis, which are not fully cat, retained an ancient male-leading structure. It was a political absolute, but not entirely wholesale, though. At home and territorially, only female TS Nekomimis were in charge of the house, the family, and the father.)

The Necrons corrupted this Molly cat into thinking she could be an officer when she should have been at a desk directing whatever magic vertical hydroponics plant with which the Necrons feed their people. Or tending to her kittens. Did she even have kittens, or did she abort them? Deplorable.

"So you represent the Necrons? If you are going to try and sell your baby killing, skin flaying masters to this gord***, know that we accept no tricks from a Molly cat who clearly does not know her place. Especially a Molly cat that DARES command a host and whose riders are Kitsune Devourers and Barboneians!"

Murmurs of approval echoed in the crowd as the other Nekomimis naturally fell under their leader's influence.

"You can put on a show, but we all know whatever it really was. Did they kidnap you? That happened to several turtles, I heard. That's the only way a Molly cat would get uppity like that. Unless you actually joined those goons? I pity you, but by all means, make your pitch, kit. A Molly cat that doesn't know her place isn't going to get far. The TurtleShroomers are just as savage as you, letting Mollies into their officers, but even they don't serve a society whose libertine, toxic individualism rots their clowder apart. I'm sure there's a story behind that uniform, and not a good one."





* = Phonetic pronunciation of Russian "malish", spoken with an AW drawl in both TS English and Nekomimi Russian. It literally translates to "baby", and is used as a term of endearment and affection from a parent or adult to a child.''

** = RL gender terms for cats, same as "bull" and "cow" for cattle. The male is the Tom cat and the female is the Molly cat.

*** = Slavic fortified village on a hill. Used mostly by Russian Cossacks. TS Nekomimis use it to describe their individual clans united under a given Prince.
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News ticker (updated 4/23/2022 AD):

Redheaded, female Nekomimi still at large after flashing Yue Shriners' Convention -|- Land of Power and Valkian nations diplomatic summit underway -|- TurtleShroom continues uncovering new Civil War casualties

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The Ctan
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Posts: 2855
Founded: Antiquity
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Ctan » Sat Jun 25, 2022 8:58 pm

Yulia, Gerry, Age 12

Yulia licked her hand and rubbed it along the side of her face as she listened to her mother and father talk. The clowder had been settled for a while, the city was strange, full of life and light. Aunt Kisa was talking.

“I want to go in.”

“It’s unholy,” Sacha said, the older Neko was the head of the family and Yulia’s grandfather.

“It might be,” the Aunt said. “But I want to go in, and I am going in.”

“It’s sinful to go in there,” Sacha said, “and I forbid it.”

Kisa’s stubbed ears flattened against her head and she bared her fangs. The watchmen on the corner of the street let their eyes fall on the pair, brawling in the street was not tolerated, the necrons were rare on the street compared to regular Lawkeepers, and she had never seen a horror in the weeks since they’d arrived, even though she was childishly curious about the term; like many children, she had listened to the adults when they hadn’t imagined they were being heard, and Sacha had claimed that the necrons wore the skins of criminals in the street.

It would be many years before she saw a flayed one, in the service of the Great Civilization.

“What am I going to do, father? Lose my soul at the Last Judgement?”

Sacha opened his mouth and closed it again. The churches of Turtleshroom taught that chimaeras had no souls, that only humans did.

“It’s not right,” he said.

“I’m going anyway,” Kisa said, her mutilated ears returning to their normal position a little, as she stepped from the road between an avenue of sphinxes that sat in formal repose, their paws toward the roadway.

It felt strange to see statues of chimaeras, not like her, but different, out on the street, where they could be seen. It was a challenge, she would understand later.

The grandiose temple facade was of alabaster, with images of cat-headed goddesses and leonine creatures in stark relief, with cornices at the top. She had been told by the old pastor’s wife before they had left that such places existed, unholy. One register held the figures of an elf, the Supreme Overlord Ranisath striking down the Turtleshroomian deceivers, men and turtles and mushrooms held in a bundle about to be struck dead with a mace, their hands up before them. Behind him his wife Sirithil stood, holding a staff. The image lacked blood but not violence, and its placement gave a clear message; the southerners were enemies to be broken and slain. An equine figure with wings and a horn in a lunar headdress flew overhead, while another, more thickly set drove a chariot pulled by ponies of muscled strength who trampled down hundreds of toppled Turtleshroomers rendered in miniature.

It did not feel unholy, weirdly she felt safe. Somewhere in her mind for the last few weeks had lurked the belief that the Turtleshroomers could come over the city walls somehow and get her. The faces of terror depicted on them were clear. The preachers and protestors on the streets of Gerry who demanded Turtleshroomian law and morals had frightened her. She was ten, of course, she knew that this was not a picture or depiction, but the C’tani were confident enough to outright carve their triumph in stone and put it on the streets for all to see, she saw them in a new light now.

She had expected the doorway in the great gate to lead to an indoor space, echoing and plain like the church, instead it led to a vast courtyard, with cedar trees reaching for the sky and memorial stones around a peristyle court.

Kisa had been pensive the last few days, she hadn’t wanted to come, and Yulia hadn’t understood why, until she approached a woman, a North Lands Neko, or so she thought at the time, with walnut-dark skin and a high staff of gold who had approached the group.

Kisa had uncertainly bowed while grandfather had stood with his hackles up. She didn’t know why he looked so angry, but she had later understood the degree to which his authority had been challenged. He had never wanted to come, but even the boldest paterfamlias relented sometimes, and he had found himself carried forth.

“Greetings, I am the Oracle Takhat, here to speak the words of Sekhmet, She Before Whom Evil Trembles, how can I aid you?”

Sacha crossed himself, and the outlands Neko gave a small smile, as Kisa formulated a question.

“I wanted to ask… my husband died, a few years back. He was killed… by Turtleshroomers.” Or perhaps she only blamed them, Yulia didn’t quite understand at that age. “And I want some answers. I was told you were teaching here and I wanted to see you while you were here.”

“About those responsible or about the dead?” Takhat asked.

“About the dead. But… I have a question.”

“Yes?” Takhat asked.

“I want to see something to prove you know. People have lied to us forever, in the awful South Lands.”

The deposed patriarch rolled his eyes.

Takhat smiled, “What would convince you?”

“They say that you do magic from your gods. In the South Lands they say that these things are the work of demons. I want to see the difference. I want to see your gods.”

“I cannot summon the great gods to stand before you and answer questions,” Takhat said. “But I can bring something lesser if that is your wish.”

“Show me.”

The Oracle smiled.

Image


Yulia, Great Ship Remembrance of Rythek, Age 13

School in the Great Civilization was very different to the old country. In the old country, schooling had been segregated, and the schoolhouse had been using books from thirty years ago, without enough funding to keep the glass in the windows. Here she went to a school with a dozen species. More strangely there were mixed-age groups, which was apparently the norm here. Back home and she understood in many places, education was inspired by military drills, but not so here.

The school was built with access to one of the miles-wide domes that studded the dorsal side of the Great Ship. At this age most children sought to become stronger and more worthy people, the mentors said. She had a lot to catch up with, but she wasn’t the only student with an impoverished background. Kaiya came from a place that called itself the Unitary Empire, she and Yulia spent a lot of time together. Neither of them had spoken a word of necrontyr a year ago, but happily, it was an easy language to learn, though writing it was proving difficult.

Weirdly though, or so she felt, a good part of schooling involved the outside, the Remembrance was a city-ship, a title it could claim without hyperbole. The school’s inner areas contained hydroponic rack-farms and aeroponic rows, while the students also managed one of the ship’s fisheries and a set of stables in the temperate midsection area. Sometimes they even helped out in the ship’s fabricatories.

She would later come to understand the whole curriculum was structured to ensure that the individual was rounded, to boost self-esteem and participation in society, for now, she thought it was no different from the mix of labour and schooling that the Turtleshroomers often employed on company towns.

Today it was the stables though.

The stables smelt of crisp straw and sweet hay, with an undertone of clean horses, they had been brushing down some of the horses as they’d come in from pasture, and the Yulia was working with half a dozen of her fellow students and one of the mentors.

“What do you think we’ll be doing for the play Yuli?” asked Ferieth.

Yulia admired Ferieth, though it was strange to realize that not only was Ferieth older than she was, she had been in school before Yulia had been born. Elves took a long time to raise to adulthood, and the schooling system was designed to move students at their own paces, for humans, one level of instruction took three years, for elves, well, it was longer for sure, Yulia hadn’t actually asked.

“I’ve no idea, the theme is supposed to be pioneers or journeys,” she said. She spoke in necrontyr, the language was designed to do a few things, but one of the ones she liked is that the vocabulary did precisely what you wanted. Every word had one meaning, her common was parochial, her Russian was a strange dialect and not spoken widely, her necrontyr… it took twelve weeks to become fluent and she already spoke it as well as Kethresh.

“I was thinking something about stasis journeys,” Kethresh suggested. She was a necrontyr, she was the other end of the scale. Kethresh was seven, but she was as old and mature as they were. The Necrontyr had always been a fast-breeding people, and their minds were sponge-like, Kethresh had joined the class more recently than Yulia, but she wasn’t sure she envied the other girl, who would be an adult in four more years.

Yulia nodded, “The science or the stories?”

Kethresh grinned, “Both,” she said. “What about you,” she asked Ferieth.

“I was thinking of the Great Journey.”

“Great Journey?” Yulia asked.

“Oh this is a good one,” Kethresh said, swapping the soft brush for a metal curry comb to work further on her mount.

“The Great Journey is the tale of how the Powers brought the Quendi from under the Shadow after Oromë the Great Rider found them. This was in the Days of the Trees, many long ages ago and things were all done on foot, for the most part,” she continued combing down the mare’s mane beside her. “The Quendi were preyed on by the earliest Orcs, and the intention of the Abhorred and his Master was that all should be subdued, so the Powers sent several counsellors, led by Curumo, to teach them the ways of arms, and of journeying. Many of the Quendi did not trust the Great Rider and his emissaries at first, and so Oromë asked for them to elect some to go to the West with him and learn what the Powers intended for them…”

Image


Great Ship Remembrance of Rythek, Age 15

“Is that what I think it is, Auntie Kisa?”

The older Neko had asked her niece to watch, she had wanted to show someone, it seemed. The long table held an ornate samovar and with it a slim box. Three inches and a little more in length, a little wider, with ornate temple glyphs for life, health and strength on the top, and prescription details laser-inlaid on the side in three languages including Russian.

“I asked the ship to make it up this morning,” she said.

“Oh, wow,” she said, “can I pick it up?”

“Go ahead mawlish.”

She reached out to pick up the metal box, examining it from every end, reading the disclaimers within it.

The older Neko had her ears back and looked sleeker and stronger than she had, but this was something else. “I think your grandfather will disapprove,” Kisa laughed, “but I thought you might like to see.”

“Yes please,” she said, tail swishing.

“Can you pour me a tea?”

The young Neko took the samovar’s upper pot and poured out two cups of a tea that smelt of smoke, pinecones and wood-ash, a black brew that the older woman diluted with hot water from a spigot further down it, bringing it to taste, as Yulia sat down and did the same, paying attention to the exotic seeming box.

There were places where entire nations would mount wars to possess such a thing.

Kisa opened the box, and glimmering sand flowed from it as she tipped it into the tea, green grains catching the light like finely ground gunpowder.

In a single sharp gesture, she necked the tea.

Juvenats did not function by nanotechnology, at least not as outsiders understood it, they were something stranger, biological compounds that could unwind the complex damage caused by age. Within three weeks Kisa would be biologically twenty years younger, and stronger too, bones and muscles restored.

The young woman watched fascinated, feeling slightly foolish for expecting it to have been interesting beyond that moment. She raised her own cup, “To your health!” she toasted.

Image


Yulia, Rememberance of Rythek, Age 18

Yulia wore silver robes. The ship’s forward decks showed the view of the original Rythek, once every year it came here, to the band of dust and asteroids that had given its name, a world that had once held a population in the trillions, lost during the Wars of Secession. Destroyed in a single atrocity by the Triarch forces.

The ancient civil war was one of the many things to learn from, Rythek was slowly re-coalescing, it had been sundered and scattered to rubble but most of its mass had not escaped its star’s gravity well. Another five million years would cause the planet to coalesce with a fraction of its original mass. A lively debate existed over whether that process should be hastened and altered to make the world inhabitable again, though the dense ecumenopolii that it represented were something the Great Civilization habitually avoided.

The observation deck was crowded with friends and family of those who were taking the oath today, administered by Kachal, Speaker of the Ship’s Council, the mayor of this interstellar city. Kachal was a Muneen, a species of huge avian scavengers that looked something like Terran corvids, if they came ten feet fall with gemlike eyes studding both their chests and heads. Kachal wore silver adornments on his wings and a constellation of stones drifted lazily around his head like the classic educational depiction of the electron shells of an atom.

+Yulia Covalciuc+ the birdlike being called, and she stepped forward, a notary holding out a Rod of Covenant, a weapon a little like a spear or a staff of office, horizontally, for her to place her hand on. She gripped it momentarily tightly, while the other hand was lifted and open.

“Ready,” she said.

+You may begin+ Kachal said.

Yulia’s ears stood up straight and her posture was sharp, her tail swishing through her robe, “I hereby renounce all claims on my loyalty held by any noble or nation, I reject all allegiance to any but the Great Civilization,” Yulia spoke loud and clear, she had chosen the more stringent wording, for she had no fondness for the nation from which she had come and certainly did not consider herself a dual citizen of any sort.

“I swear that such children or dependents as are in my care shall be protected and raised to their full potential in love and joy, and educated to the best of my ability to prepare them for this responsibility.

“I swear to uphold the memory of those who lived before me as members of the Great Civilization and its antecedents.

“I swear to pursue civic virtues in public life and to commit myself to the welfare of my society, its citizens and people.

“I swear to preserve the secrets of the Great Civilization, its technologies, deeds and lore, from all outsiders as specified in law and to add all pertinent lore and knowledge which I encounter to the same, for the preservation and advancement of knowledge and the sciences.

“I swear to oppose the Primordial Annihilator, its works, and its followers in thought and deed.

“I swear to discharge with all responsibility each authority and trust placed in me in public life, and to maintain financial probity and legitimate commerce.

“I swear to guard and keep the law, defend all of our people by my own hand and bear arms on behalf of the Great Civilization at need.

“I testify that I enter this covenant freely and without any reservation or deception; may the Good Gods Witness my Oath,” some people used ‘affirm’ rather than swear, and specific religious additions varied, but Yulia had chosen the one that would impress her Aunt.

+Then be so recognized,+ he said, +Yulia Constantinovich Covalciuc, Citizen of the Great Civilization, and take up your duties.+

Image


Yulia, Here and Now

“I greet you with rightful honour prince, and though you are not my prince, for I am no stray, I am here to do you honour and give you a true gord for your seat, one where you can sit with pride,” Yulia said; she had a whole extended family of course, though she might have called them a glaring for certainly she was doing so. If she had actually been asked to suggest who her knyaz was, it would surely have been Kachal, who had been returned as Speaker twice more since she had taken the oath. She had no interest in considering her family as a political unit, she had been taught how to care by the legends of a dozen cultures.

She didn’t look remotely intimidated, standing as proud as a statue of Oromë might have.

She looked at the Nekos before her, and at the occasional glances that darted in the direction of the gunfire, and she spoke in necrontyr for a moment, some six words or less, almost whispered, a request to the Necrons.

She looked at the group around her, and then she spoke clearly and stridently, “You have heard a lot about how bad we are. How we are degenerate. How honest labour makes honest men and women, toms and mollies, and how such things are forgotten in a land of orgies and decadence. How plenty makes one arch and cruel.

“You have heard this from people who took your homes and herd you with whips. Who sent you on this trip with a ration of two bottles of water and potato chips for a child on a journey where most children will weep through the night. The same people who call mothers ‘breeders’ and who call children ‘spawn’ and call all of us ‘mutants.’

“I say to you now the reason the Turtleshroomers know the C’tani a brutal people is because we are a just people. They say the same of their prisons, they are brutal to criminals they say. Do you not feel like a crime has been committed against you?

“You have heard much-exaggerated tales of foreign lands. I will tell you some answers. No, I was not kidnapped, and I have a whole family, and yes, they have land and jobs, and wealth too. And none of them is forced to take jobs where they are insulted daily by people who take are taking comfort in the idea that no matter how much their life is miserable, they can still spit on them.

“But I am not here to sell you on one nation alone, I am here to offer to take you anywhere you wish. I love the nation that raised me from a kitten to the woman I am now, a nation that renders aid as best it can to those who are in pain, here and across the stars, but it is not the only righteous nation. There are many lands and places where you won’t be called ‘hand-lickers’ and sprayed in the face as harassment. You have just had your homes stolen, why allow the thieves to tell you where to live next?”
"If any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." ~ Abraham Lincoln
"The Necrons were amongst the first beings to come into existance, and have sworn that they will rule over the living." - Still surprisingly accurate!
"Be you anywhere from Progress Level 5 or 6 and barely space-competent, all the way up to the current record of PL-20 for beings like the C’Tan..." Lord General Superior Rai’a Sirisi, Xenohumanity
"Many races and faiths have considered themselves to be a threat to the Necrons, but their worlds and their cultures are now little more than interesting archaeology."


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