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The Universiad, a Spacebattler story.

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by gideon020, Oct 17, 2012.

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  1. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    Chapter 4, Part 3: Training Day

    "Oh get up already, you didn't even have that much to eat, so stop puking." Gideon next to the wheezing Applejack and sighed as the cowgirl puked again, "OKay, fine, get some rest, we'll start again after lunch." He stood up and walked off as Applejack struggled to get her breath and stand back up, shaking his head, "Torq's gonna have a field day with her. Three fucking days and she still pukes after a nine-hour endurance run." He passed through the training room's door and walked over to a wall console, tapping the phone function and dialled a number. It rang twice and then the phone was picked up as the video function showed an attractive female face, "Hello?"

    "Lilith, its Gideon. I'm calling to confirm you're still available to provide some basic psychic training for my new protoge?" 'Lilith' nodded a touch eagerly at the mention of training and Gideon was very, very glad he had a Mind Shield implant, while there were more powerful psychics in The Fleet, Lilith was in the top two even though she was only a Captain in OSR. Gideon knew the reason for that, Lilith was flighty as hell and there was a long-running bet going as to when she would decide to quit the OSR for another service or just retire to private life. "She received an initial grade of S-3 on awakening, that put her about equal with you when your powers came in, and I need you to fit in some basic interrogation resistance techniques for her as well." Lilith's eyes flashed with something unidentifiable, Gideon never cared to figure out what. He had enough nightmares when he slept.

    "Psychic and physical?" Gideon nodded at Lilith's question.

    "Try not to break her. I want a still sane protoge when I come to pick her up. I'll drop her off later." Lilith giggled as she shook her head.

    "I'll come pick her up! I want to meet her!" With that she hung up before Gideon could say otherwise, prompting the OSR Colonel to hang his head and sigh, she probably traced the call back just so she could pull that on him. Gideon straightened and turned as the door opened to reveal a very disheveled Applejack, sweat soaking her training clothes, who stumbled over to a bench and flopped into it as Gideon walked over to her.

    "Different sort of exercise, isn't it?" Applejack nodded wordlessly as Gideon continued, "You've got a way to go yet, the guy in charge of the physical side of the training, Battlemaster Torq, will be far more tougher than I am." Applejack turned her head to stare at him as Gideon nodded, "It's true. Torq's been known to make his trainees do laps with the edges of the course lined with landmines to stop anyone trying to stop and rest. The course gets tighter and tighter, so before long its either keep running or lie down and get trampled. Or get blown up, which most of the trainees do just so they can stop running for a couple of days." Applejack let out a groan that sounded more like a harsh rattle as she slumped further.

    "But here's todays good news, you get a break from the physical side of training to work on your psychic powers." It had been long enough and Gideon had since run out of basic exercises to teach the cowgirl. Now it was time to see if she could handle being in the same room with Capt. Lilithium, the Pistol Witch of OSR. "I've arranged for you to be trained by OSR's top psychic operative. You've done well with the basic exercises I've given you and that should give you a decent start while under her tutelage. You'll be seeing her after the morning psychical session from now on, learning psychic techniques and how to resist interrogation, after that will be firearms training and more physical training." Applejack nodded as some colour returned to her grey complexion and she got back to her feet.

    "Okay then. I guess I better get changed before she arrives. Don't wanna meet mah new teacher smelling like the back of the Apple family barn."

    *SQUEAL!* Gideon shivered at the sound while Applejack barely had time to turn before a blur tackled her to the ground and resolved itself into a pale, brown-haired young woman busy holding Applejack's face to her impressive chest as Gideon closed his eyes for a moment.

    "Applejack, meet Capt. Lilithium. OSR's best psychic and our resident interrogation specialist." Lilithium for her part simply 'squeed' in delight and hugged the weakly flailing Applejack tighter as Gideon tapped her shoulder, "You should give her some air now."

    Applejack chose that moment to pass out.

    ------------

    Applejack woke up and blearily looked around to find herself lying down on a rather fancy bed and looked around the room. Whoever owned the place like their lace and frills, they were everywhere, and a glance to the side found that Applejack was sharing it with a very large collection of stuffed animals before she heard the sounds of conversation. Gently getting to her feet, Applejack gingerly made her way to the door and listened in.

    "So that's the trouble. The current set of beacons are all pointing towards a set of beacons in Fenspace again, and it gets worse. You know Mal-3's Fenspace/Battletech crossover? That's where they are. The Lone Wolves don't know about it, but I have to tell them at some point, the Seven Revelations were a major hit to their morale and frankly...frankly I want to see Mal-3 get his way for an Invisible Mask operation like what we did with Stargate and Farscape because if we treat this like normal...fuck, I know they're the best but apart from Kerrus, they all blame themselves Lilith. I'm scared they could call a Revelation prematurely and if that happens, its almost certain that Nightingale will follow." A sad sigh, "I don't know what to do."

    "The only thing you can do. Tell them you trust them to get the job done without making any mistakes and that when the time comes you know they'll be successful in finding the beacon. You chose them for a reason after all." That must be Lilithium and Applejack had to admit, she had a wonderful voice. Not to mention a soft...

    Applejack shook her head as Gideon sighed again, "I hope you're right. But they're not going to believe words, so the only way to convince them is to take control of the initial infiltration operations myself. I want you on board as well, the Boscoes are cagey fuckers, going to need some proper mind ripping done. Now then. Applejack!" Applejack jumped a little, "If you're done listening in to a private conversation, come in and sit down!"

    Applejack pushed the door all the way open and entered the main living room, noting the decor before spotting Gideon and Lilithium sitting at a small table. Lilithium had a teacup in front of her while Gideon had a mug as he casually chewed on some fancy-looking biscuit. Finding an open seat, Applejack sat down and smiled weakly, "Guess I shoulda been quieter eh?" Gideon shook his head.

    "Lilithium is a psychic, she knew the moment you woke up because you aren't trained in keeping your psychic powers suppressed." Gideon took a sip, "That's what she'll be working on along with some advanced concepts. In any case, its time I left to get Applejack registered for transfer over to the Ascendant Justice. Call me when your session is over." Lilithium nodded as Gideon set his mug down and stood up, "See ya later. I'll see you at the meeting later Lilith."

    As Gideon left, Lilith turned her gaze to Applejack, who smiled weakly again, "So uh...ya ain't gonna hug me again are ya?" Lilith blinked in surprise before giggling.

    "Sorry about that. But it was just that when I saw I thought cutecutecutegonnahugherneedtohugherhugshugshugs and well I decided to hug you! Didn't you like my hugs?" LIlithium asked as her smile dipped a little.

    "No! Uh, yes! I mean I liked it but...Darn it!" Applejack flushed as Lilithium started giggling again. "Yer teasing me, ain't ya?"

    Lilithium nodded, "Its what I do, well its what I do when I'm not killing people or making them better with my scalpels and needles, and the pins, the hooks, all the saws..." She trailed off with a far-away look as Applejack blinked.

    "So uh, how exactly do you make them better?" Lilithium smiled and Applejack felt something, a pressure, starting to build up in the room and did it seem a little darker?

    "First I get told if they are bad people. You should take a walk outside some time, amongst all the people. The good people are the ones who live their life with a smile, but you see them, you stopped one, the ones who just want to hurt people. You can tell straight away that they're bad people. Why? Because they don't stop doing bad things." Applejack blinked, was Lilithium always sitting this close to her? Why did it feel so cold? It was a trick, it had to be a trick. "But sometimes the bad people are threatened into doing bad things, which makes the ones threatening them bad people as well, but the ones I really hate, the ones that really make me angry, are the ones who do it because they're bored, because they have nothing to do but do bad things to people. They are all bad people." It was getting a bit hard to breath, but that wasn't right. Applejack swallowed and took a deep breath. There, that was better, it was getting easier now.

    She blinked as suddenly she was eye to eye with Lilithium, the woman's eyes blazing with...something, something that made Applejack's blood run cold and her breathing hitch even though she couldn't identify it.

    "It used to be easy, when bad people did bad things, the bad people were killed, because they didn't come back at all before we arrived here. But we weren't bad people, even though we did bad things, we knew each other, we helped each other. But the other people..." Applejack felt sick, the pressure was everywhere and she couldn't move, it was getting harder to breath.

    "Before we came here, bad people were put in jail until they stopped being bad or died, but sometimes they lied about being good and went on to repeat their crimes, because they can't see any other way. But I think its because most of them are either bullies who think its fun to hurt people because they simply don't understand, or they're acting out because of the emotional or mental pain they're feeling." Why was it getting harder to breath? Why couldn't she look away from those eyes? "Really though, they can get past all that if they tried hard enough, but most of them don't want to learn and when they don't want to learn, then words become useless for teaching them. You have to use action to get across a very important point. Do you want to know what that point is?" Applejack could only nod, unable to do anything else.

    Lilithium leaned in close to her ear, "Don't ever hurt someone unless you are okay with being hurt back." Applejack's eyes widened as Lilithium giggled again, but it seemed wrong, off for some reason. Why could she hear music?

    "Did you know that I am very good at keeping people alive? Even when they don't want to be? There are ways you can hurt a person to make them wish they were dead, so many ways, but I only let them die only when they are good people again, or when I am told to." Lilithium pouted, "Gideon doesn't care if they become good people again, all he cares about is what they know, because if they don't tell me, it could endanger The Forum and he's right." Applejack was feeling short of breath, why couldn't she breath properly? Where was that music coming from? Why could she hear voices? Applebloom?

    "Endangering the safety of the The Forum, and the continued safety of the people living in it, is wrong. But words always fail to teach them, so I use pain." Cousin Braeburn? What're you doing here? It's freezing, why don't you have a coat on? "Pain can teach people. A child who burns her tongue on hot soup will know to wait until its cooled and the soldier who is careless with their weapon will learn to be more careful when it hurts him. Pain is amazing as a teacher, because no-one wants to have more than one lesson with it." I can't move, why can't I move? "Of course, therapy and drugs could help people get better, and before I did this that was my job, and sometimes its a real help. Do you know why? It's because of friendship."

    Why couldn't she breath? Why was it so dark? She needed to get out! Let her go!

    "My patients are my friends. And because they're my friends I need to know everything about them to learn how to make them better people." Let go! Let Go!

    "And to find out the reason they went bad, because everyone has a reason. And its important, even if another person thinks it silly or small, but they never are because everyone thinks differently." Let go! LET GO! "Some people think I just do things to play with them, but they're wrong, I don't because I am really trying to help them and I like to think that I do!" Please! Let me go! "They leave eventually, they all do, but when they leave I never seek them out, because I know that I hurt them, I have no illusions about the pain that I cause them, about the trauma I inflict that makes them break." Let me go! I said, LET ME GO! "But if they let me, I do everything I can to fix them, make them better than before!"

    I won't let you beat me! I wanna live! "I do bad things, I do them because there are people I care about living here and I want to protect them!" I still have to get home! I have to see my friends again! "I love people and even though Death is cheap now, it still hurts, and once upon a time, Death was the end, and one day it will be true again." I have to see them again!

    "Because we aren't all military, there are civilians here, people who joined to see a better life at the end of the journey. But ships get attacked and destroyed, and there are the children, children who haven't died, for whom Death is not cheap. But there are people who don't care about that." Why aren't you letting me go! Please! Let me go! Please! Ah'm begging ya!

    "I cause pain, I hurt people for the information in their heads, and I like what I do. And so, when I get a person who doesn't care, its my job to make them care."

    Please...

    "Do you care?"

    YES!

    ----------

    When Gideon returned to Lilithium's quarters, he could sense the raw psychic power in the air, and it was only getting stronger as he approached the door. Taking a deep breath, he steeled himself for a gibbering wreck in the middle of Lilithium's living room, and pressed the door intercom, "Lilith, its Gideon, I'm here to pick Applejack up." The door unlocked with a buzz and Gideon opened it.

    To be met with the sound of laughter as he walked in on Applejack and Lilithium chatting like life-long friends as Lilithium motioned him to a seat and he took it gratefully, he had been all over the place getting the registration documents processed since Applejack would be a late entry into the training program, "I take it her first lesson is complete?" Lilithium nodded with a smile.

    "She's strong and she's learned the Mindfray technique quite quickly, I'd be happy to keep teaching her until her classes begin." Gideon glanced at Applejack, who nodded, and smiled.

    "Well then, I'd say same time tomorrow?" At their nods, Gideon stood up, "Sorry I can't stay long, I'm just here to pick up Applejack and take her to her weapons training. Come on, let's go." The pair traded good-byes with the psychic and left.

    As they entered an elevator, Gideon turned his head slight towards Applejack, "Well?" Applejack shivered as she closed her eyes, opening them to look at him tearfully.

    "It was like she was crushing me, all I could do was just sit there, stuck in mah own head, screaming at her to let go. I...I nearly lost it there." She turned fully to him, "How can someone so sweet be so..."

    "Disturbed? Utterly insane? Completely and fully broken in mind and soul? I could go on all day with the descriptions surrounding her, but it would be an insult to her. The truth is..." Gideon sighed, "The truth is Lilithium is just one of those people who really are as sweet and kind as they look, appear and act, but should you ever raise their ire...imagine if you found out that Pinkie Pie would murder anyone who angered her and use them as cupcake ingredients." Applejack shuddered as Gideon nodded, "That's how disturbing it comes across as. She's really a nice girl, but when she's on the job its like watching some kind of demon at work."

    Applejack sighed as she slumped against the wall, "Did you every get her mad?" Gideon nodded.

    "Once. I lost an arm so I could calm her down long enough to apologize." He shook his head, "Look, Applejack, Lilithium likes you, she truly does. Don't hold her first lesson against her, okay?"

    Applejack smiled weakly, "Ah'll try, but its kinda hard when you know she could destroy you with a thought." Gideon shook his head.

    "No, its hard because you're being taught how to do the same to other people. It's hard because you can't reconcile that sweet girl with a person who would happily and gladly tear secrets out of a man's head as she removes pieces of bone and burns skin." Gideon glanced down at Applejack, "Give it time, and you'll eventually get used to it. And hey, she's a marvellous friend. Plus..." He smiled wistfully, "Her macarons and chai are legendary."

    Applejack snorted, "Ain't it just like a guy to think with his stomach." The two shared a laugh as the elevator continued on its journey before it stopped with a musical chime.

    "And here we are. Welcome to the OSR Gun Range, and welcome to your introduction to the wonderful world of guns, Applejack."

    Applejack stared at the walls lined with weapons of all kinds, and felt something stir in her, a fiery urge to wield them as Gideon led her towards a series of booths in front of a large, empty room and indicated the walls behind her.

    "We'll start you off with the pistols and here's something you might not know. Every person sometimes feels a calling to use a particular pistol, we can't explain it and neither can they, all they know is that the pistol they choose is the one they are most comfortable with. Some, like Lilithium, use only pistols but I want you to at least know how to operate other weaponry available. Just in case." Applejack nodded and approached the wall.

    Feeling that same sensation again, she looked at the wall, and at the array of pistols before her.

    She reached out and took down a pair, "I'll use these."

    Gideon raised an eyebrow, "Interesting choice."
     
  2. Hey Gideon, with the resurrection ability does it apply to clones of ourselves and if say these clones were plugged into a hive mind with the other clones and their progenitor, would the resurrection even take place because they share a mind and all they've lost is an easily replaceable body.
     
  3. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    No. It only kicks in when You die.
     

  4. So only if the original dies, thanks.
     
  5. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    What tech profile would you guys like to see next?
     
  6. Blackraptor

    Blackraptor That guy with the thing over there at the place.

    What about the Forum Mothership itself? Like how big it is, what kind of facilities it has, defenses, challenges on getting the dam thing to do what we wanted, how much stuff we do and don't understand about it by the time your story starts, that kind of stuff.
     
  7. Lilithium

    Lilithium Argh, why are some people so cute?

    This~

    Would does the internet work now? Or school... I am tempted to ask for kitchen stuffs for some odd reason. OOOOOHHHH! BATHTUBS OMFG BATHS ARE AWESOME. And Showers, Shower Tubs? Bath tubs that double as pools? With ocean themes/fish so I can pretend to be a mermaid?

    ....Guns. Totally guns! Nope nothing else, I didn't just ask those totally out there things that have nothing to do with much of anything.
     
  8. gideon020

    gideon020 CASEVAC Inbound

    Notable Ships of The Fleet:
    Home of the Wanderers - The Forum

    History:
    The massive flying mountain known as The Forum is a mystery even to those who have lived the longest on it, the members of the SpaceBattles forum who first found it and the massive facility known as The Dockyards. Many of the citizenry, who form a total population that is steadily climbing into the tens of millions, only inhabit a quarter of the ship, and work crews labor day and night to prepare areas for human operation. It is the seat of one of the most chaotic and stable governments to exist, its citizens spend bullets in place of coinage or electronic credits as currency, it is the heart of a fleet of thousands of vessels from as many universes and builds new ones by the hour. It is the Forum, home of a wandering society.

    The Forum is massive, its height is a colossal thirty kilometers and is eight kilometers long while its widest point is twelve kilometers, giving a vaguely tear-drop shape as it silently glides through the air of the Broken Lands or passes through space. Thousands of hangers dot its hull surface as dropships and cargo ships move from its gleaming white facades towards any one of the thousands of ships that make up The Fleet. The average time a person could take on foot from the bottom to the very top is close to nine weeks, if they use the elevators and transport gondolas, it takes far longer without them.

    Although it is controlled by the SpaceBattles Forum, many areas of the ship remain unexplored and are sealed off for the protection of the citizenry, but over time more new facilities have been made available for the citizenry to enjoy and for the Forum to utilize in their rule. By the Year 12,002 Post Arrival, The Forum is more comparable to a giant floating country than whatever original purpose its Forerunner builders might have intended, and has been modified to do far more as well.

    Powerplant and Engines:
    -Forerunner Reactionless Drives: A work of technological art, the Reactionless Drives of the Forum give the massive a great deal of speed and agility for its titanic size, and are constantly being studied even as engineers work to make sure the scientists don't accidentally damage or destroy them during operation. Priceless beyond measure, even a single minor technical fault is treated as possibly crippling to the vessel and the accessways are protected by heavily fortified positions. The crime of sabotaging the engine has one of the cruellest punishments in The Fleet; the guilty are tied to the drive apertures and simply left to suffer in the constantly changing energy fields for a full millennium, never dying as the immortality effect ensures that they heal just enough to survive.

    -Forerunner Reactors: Giant reactors, more powerful than anything the Fleet can manufacture or steal, power the Forum and have done so without any form of refuelling, a feat that SB Technologies scientists dream about. Theories and hypotheses about the nature of the powerplants abound but as long as they remain active, the scientists can only observe them from a distance and with every speck of new data they glean from them, improve their own limited understanding.

    Shields, Defences and Armour:
    -Forerunner Armour Material: Alien Alloys cannot match Forerunner materials for durability and strength. The few combat skins that have been reconfigured for human usage have withstood the deaths of stars, the twisting of realities, and weaponry more advanced than the Forum possesses and rebuilt and repaired themselves. Forerunner Armour Material is the holy grail of SB Technology research in material sciences and even as the scientists unlock new improvements, the material presents new puzzles and surprises. Some believe that when the Forum returns home, SpaceBattles will have cracked its secrets. Until that day, the result of that research can be seen in the MJOLNIR Generation 3 Power Armour for SPARTAN-IV battalions, the incredible TITAN Suit for the Titan companies, the Archangel and Seraphim Flying Power Armour, The Roughneck Suit, the OSR's incredibly rare 'Black Ace' War Suit and the terrifyingly dangerous Psi-Skin.

    -Forerunner Hardlight Shields: SB-made Hardlight Shields are amongst the best in shield technology; providing incredible protective qualities at extremely low power requirements. Forerunner Hardlight Shields, are infinitely superior. Where Hardlight Shields would need to be layered to provide increased protection, the shields of The Forum do not, a single shield comes up, and it never goes down. The Forum has been exposed to fire only once, when it was forced to defend itself against a Splurgoth Armada, and it was the only time when its weapons were fired. The results when the Fleet arrived, were visible across the system, as the Forum hang untouched in space surrounded by the hulks of dead Splurgoth ships. To this day, SB Technology has been finding new ways to improve their own newly-made Hardlight shields, simply by studying these ancient ones.

    Weapons:
    -Forerunner Hardlight Gun Turrets: There is no exact count of how many of these gun turrets are in operation across the Forum, some believe that they are made and replaced as required in battle. Their results speak for themselves regardless of these questions; a single Hardlight Gun Turret is capable of destroying corvette-sized targets with sustained fire and can bring down fighters with a single shot using charged particles in a hardlight sheath, giving the guns incredible armour and shield-punching ability and the guns have an incredible rate of fire.

    -Forerunner Particle Cannons: The largest weapon in operation by The Forum, the Particle Cannon is the main anti-ship punch of the vessel, but is not the most powerful. These guns, when focused on a target, can bring down battleships and larger ships, but Forum crews know that far larger guns exist on the vessel, and work tirelessly to bring them online. Even so, a single Particle Cannon shot is usually enough to dissuade any sort of enemy attack.

    -Forerunner Smart Missiles: Smart missiles are a recent discovery; small, highly agile, intelligent munitions that pack a unique warhead, the Annihilator Smart Warhead, a Hardlight pulse explosive that can actively change its detonation effect based on its target, from a focused beam to a wide beam spray to a simple energy blast, but the effects are the same. Anything hit by a detonating Smart Missile will cease to exist in any meaningful way. Smart Missile Technology has been successfully reverse-engineered for manufacture, not just as Smart Missiles, but Smart Torpedos and Smart Grenades for infantry use, which has creeped out MILCOMM because like all Smart Weapons, the grenades will hold conversations with their users. Further information available on the Smart Grenade profile.

    -Unknown Forerunner Super Weapon: Decoded files only list this weapon's name as 'The Composer' and give no other information regarding its usage and power. It has never been used.

    Facilities of Note:
    -Central Shipping: The largest of the OSR's numerous distribution and storage areas, Central Shipping is the heart of the behemoth organisation's logistics operations and is heavily defended and monitored, earning it the nickname of 'The Iron Heart' for its gleaming metallic facade and the relentless sounds of heavy machinery. Those who work here are mostly AI's and machines, any biological staff is either in charge of security, or the poor dope being sent by either Military or Civilian Resource Management to find a particular stored material as punishment. Central Shipping is also the largest dockyard in the entire Forum, not even the giant floating slipways of Wayland, and can berth anything from Pelican dropships to the monolithic Industrial Haulers that supply smaller Factory and Farmships.

    -The Molecular Forges: Ten massive molecular forges glow white day and night, their tremendous heat able to be felt even when clad in the specially made safety suits worn by the forge workers, who ensure that every second is spent producing raw materials for the Fleet, from the giant Elerium Crystals that are ground down to build reactors and plasma ammo packs, to the glowing sheets of Alien Alloys that are used to build armour and ships, no time is wasted. Perhaps the one thing the forges produce in quantity is the most simple. Bullets and shells, untold trillions of them, pour out of secondary resource ports by the second in order to make use of any wasted energy, and yet the demand is voracious; the Fleet expends and sells more bullets and shells than any other resource and demands even more. Below the conveyors and gravity lifts, below the hardlight bridges, a shifting ocean of munitions moves to its own metallic tide as giant sluices redirect them into great sorting devices and to fall in is to be swallowed whole in a wave of armour-piercing and high-explosive rounds. There is only one time when the forges are allowed to cool, and that is when the time for the required maintenance occurs every five hundred years. During this time, the citizenry are granted an amnesty to stockpile resources for business and personal usage, but during this time the OSR is out in force and when the greed of some gets to be too much, these 'stockpile days' are then punctuated by the sound of doors being smashed in and people being dragged off for questioning.

    -The Lake: The need for a recreational facility was not a new complaint; even during the early days before the Fleet even formed, there were demands for some kind of recreational facility. During the Incursion Years, this wish was finally granted with the creation of The Lake, a giant swimming complex with full weather simulation to give the impression of a tropical beach. While the non-human population have their own pursuits (trophy hunting is enjoyed by both Krogan and Sangheili), the human population is very grateful for The Lake. Rumors of OSR Captain Lilithium dressing up like a mermaid and swimming around with the hardlight holo-fish are just that, rumours.

    -The Shopping District: Heart of all civilian affairs and commerce, the Shopping District grew out of the original Forum dwellings and expanded into the most multi-cultural place in the fleet. Dominating this place is the OSR Headquarters, which can be seen from any part of the District. For the best clothes, visit Mrs. Carline and she'll set you up with a full wardrobe for only three-hundred bullets! Only by appointment though.

    -The Forum Hall: The membership of the Forum has remained largely stable, with New Membership becoming a privilege, and with good reason as Forum Membership allows one to have a say in all Forum political affairs. Here is where the spirit of SB is purest in the form of the Administrator and Moderators running herd over the arguing forum members over everything and anything.

    -The Observation Deck: Absolutely quiet and with a perfect view of the Broken Lands, the Observation Deck is perfect for those seeking quiet meditation.

    What next people?
     
  9. Chapter Two

    Gladiusone exchanged a quick salute with the marine sentry, and passed through the hatch to his office. Inside was somewhat cramped, with the available space used as efficiently as possible. Redemption wasn't a superdreadnought: even the Captain only had so much cubage available. Still, he had his way of making it comfortable, and meaningful.



    The carpet was thick and comfortable underfoot, dark green and completely fireproof. The desk was genuine mahogany, picked up from Earth-That-Was, after a through decontamination. On the wall behind it, facing the hatch, was a set of photographs, certificates and trophies. Walking over, he reached up and touched one framed image, smiling as he recalled the other Lunatics, and the terrible days they fought together. Still miss you, Sputnik, he mused, recalling the fiery mare who had been his leader and his friend.



    Next to the photo was a hefty, but still sharp steel dagger, framed and behind glass, a gift from a weasel-faced soldier with whom he had ridden whilst serving undercover in the armies of Belisarius of Rome, as they fought the Malwa hordes. Sometimes, he could still smell the gunpowder, and see the general's crooked grin as he thought of a new way to twist the enemy's tail ... again.



    I can almost forgive the ROBs for taking me away from my home and my world, he thought, for giving me the chance to have such friends across the multiverse.



    Almost.



    Settling down into his chair with a sigh, he entered his eighteen-digit pass code into the desk's keyboard, and a flatscreen image flickered into existence in front of him. He resisted the urge to flinch as the OSR emblem floated in front of his face.

    Crap. What the hell has Gideon got me into this time?

    *** *** ***

    "Alright, people. Looks like some little lost lambs have gotten themselves into a bit of a pickle, and need some help finding their way home."



    Sitting at the head of the conference table that doubled as the ships officer's dining table, Gladiusone looked around at his assembled officers. Yes, they were all female. Yes, they were all beautiful. And yes, he had slept with each and every one of them, over the centuries and millennia. But that's no reason for those bastards back at the Forum to call my Redemption a floating harem, is it?



    "A group of scientist were following up on a low-level lead, tracking down something that they think is either a beacon, or something created by the same species." Backs straightened and one set of cat's ears perked up at that sentence. "I repeat, 'think'. Personally, from what I've seen the evidence is damned thin, but OSR gave them the go ahead, and assigned them a ship and a protective detail.



    "Bad news is, they miss-judged the locals reaction to them digging around. Turns out, this particular universe matches Fading Suns, which for those of you who aren't familiar with it, is basically 40k-light. Technology, superstition and religion are bound up fairly tight, and the locals believe that any high-tech is evil unless under the control of the church. At least, that's what the church teaches, and our lost lambs are currently holed up in their camp, surrounded by a mob of angry peasants being geed-up up by a bunch of flame-thrower-wielding illiterates claiming to speak for God Herself. "



    Star Commander Lien, senior Elemental on board, raised one oversised hand. "Is this not normally an internal OSR matter, quiaff? They are usually quite possessive of their operations." Lien was the owner of the cat's ears ... a visit to Fenspace that she didn't like talking about had gifted her with the extras, which personally Gladiusone thought went quite well with her deceptively delicate Asian features. Any comments about the former Nova Cat becoming a catgirl were strongly discouraged for those who didn't want to see the inside of a Circle of Equals. Barely taller than her Captain, Lien was the smallest of his Elementals, but was fast and smart, and any of her troopers would kill or die for her.



    "Normally, you're right. But the OSR boss in charge of the expedition got roasted in the first few minutes of the standoff, and things back at the Forum are ... a little complicated right now. Suffice to say, we're the closest and most appropriate asset." He grew more serious. "I will say that Gideon contacted me personally about this one. He's trusting us to being his people home. I don't intend to let him down."



    Commander Nicola DuPont, his executive officer, spoke up, her voice carrying the crisp tones of a Havanite Legislaturist. "Any word regarding the capabilities of our opposition? From what you describe, I am not imagining ships of the wall ..."



    The Captain smiled. "Not hardly. Like I said, they're not the most tech-savvy bunch, running around in starships they barely know how to maintain, let alone repair. Typical weird mix of a fallen civilisation, everything from auto cannon to lasers to plasma weapons. Full list of known variables have been sent to your implants, but be on the alert for surprised: there's some fairly sophisticated super-science tech scattered around this 'Verse, and the priests here are hypocritical enough to use it for themselves."



    Then he turned to Major Christine Vaughn, a former X-Com trooper who was the senior commander of Redemption's marine force. "Ground force is likely to be similar: mostly low tech, with a smattering of advanced troops, and maybe a ringer or two. We take no chances: battle armour, and heavy weapons. Our civvies are our priority: coddling local zealots? Not so much."



    The tall blond marine nodded. "Read you five by, Captain," she responded in a soft South African accent.



    Gladiusone nodded back, and looked around the table. "Right. Enough dilly-dallying ... we've got damsels in distress to rescue."
     
  10. Wow, that was a very good chapter, gideon. And Lilith, I now fear and respect you deeply.
    Onto more important matters, I've decided I want to be either a fighter pilot and/or a ground trooper for the OSR, but I am very technically inclined. What's the ranking system of the OSR? Also, how do I PM someone? I have an idea I want to run by Gideon, but don't want to tell anyone else.
     
  11. Frostbyght

    Frostbyght Oh Yes...

    How about the other, two I think it was, ships that we picked up at the dockyards? Just so we could get an idea of what we started out with.
     
  12. “So MILLI, how does the test gun look” Sciox asked his AI second in command and her avatar appeared next to him. She always wore the same face, a slightly Asiatic face mixed with what could be described as Germanic features but she’d taken to changing her hair and clothes a few centuries after she gained consciousness. Today she wore a short, white dress and her long hair was tied in a tight bun under a wide brimmed hat, she must have been running a summer beach simulation in the VR network earlier. Ghostly streams of code ran up her holographic body.

    “It’s passed all the stress tests and lieutenant E-A34 has given it your seal of approval. I am assuming direct control” MILLI replied and her previously normal eyes became a glowing green.

    “Okay then engage the tractors and standby to fire the gun’s thrusters once its clear of the docking bay” Sciox replied, as he grinned and leaned back in his chair, one of the first things he'd done when they updated the bridge was install a chair. To think a few thousand years ago this kind of situation was simply the product of his imagination, hell being able to remember something a few millennia after it happened was something he’d never thought he’d have to deal with. The buzz in the net indicated that the crew agreed with him.

    On the holo display the six hundred meter long tube slowly slid out of the Horizon’s starboard docking bay flanked by a pair of Eagles, pelican drop ships modified to replace the Horizon 's aging raptor complement about two thousand years ago.

    “Firing test gun thrusters” MILLI said “It will be in position in approximately one minute twenty eight seconds. Shall I move Horizon to a safe distance?”

    “Do it” Sciox ordered as he ran over the math in his head, several others agreed with his assessment “three thousand kilometres should suffice but keep those falcons close to monitor the test”

    “Of course” MILLI replied

    Sciox shifted slightly in his chair, two engineers were currently having a discussion over whether they should have another go at de-phasing D Lab once the current test was over, he said yes and most of the network agreed with him, a few thought no but most changed their minds after a few seconds of virtual discussion.

    “Sciox the gun is in position” MILLI, a hint of her excitement showing, said

    “Cool, are all the monitors in position” he asked

    “They are”
    “Then lets crack a planet” Sciox said as he brought up a real time camera feed from an Eagle near the target

    “Technically it’s not a planet, it’s a small moon” MILLI said

    “We’ll we’re going to crack it so be quiet or I’ll unplug you again”

    “Going off official records that’s the three thousand, four hundred and fifty sixth times you've made that threat and the only time you actually did unplug me was that time you upgraded my cooling systems” MILLI replied with the grin she always wore when she caught him with her machine memory and its ability to play recordings of all their conversations

    “Still one time I did it, which means that I may do it again. Standby for firing” Sciox ordered

    On the holo the gun’s power levels began to rise, the capacitors began to take on power, then the shell’s eezo core began to power up. So far so good, just like the small scale tests and well within parameters. Then all the appropriate lights changed from red to green and Sciox gave the order

    “Fire”

    And that’s when the camera view cut out because the gun, as had happened in the last full sized test, collapsed in on itself and exploded with a fair amount of force. The feed returned a moment later as the Eagle’s pilot managed to get his craft under control.

    It was always the same, they’d get the small scale prototypes working, at slower then light speeds the gun would manage to fire without incident but when they powered up the entire system and tried to make the fifteen kilogram shell fly at FTL speeds the whole thing fell apart.

    Sciox sighed and then ordered “MILLI dispatch the recovery teams and run up a requisition request for the resources to rebuild the gun”

    “Already on it, don’t worry we’ll get it working next time” the AI was trying to comfort him but she didn’t really need to, a far as he knew they had eternity to work on the problem if that was what he chose to do.

    Wanting to be alone, Sciox exercised the right that he alone among the hundreds of him in the neural network had and disconnected himself from the net, there we many advantages to the link he shared with his clones that crewed Horizon but even when all he had was himself he found himself trying to get away. He’d been banging his head against the wall to deal with the problems with the FTL bullet for the past five years but he still wasn’t any closer to solving it then he was three years ago when they started large scale testing but then again he had time to spare didn't he.

    Sciox leaned back in his command chair and closed his eyes as he felt Horizon accelerate towards the rapidly expanding cloud of debris.
     
  13. Frostbyght

    Frostbyght Oh Yes...

    Me likey, us building a planet-cracker just seems, right, somehow. Of course, other people won't like it.
    Also, about the main story, Applejack didn't go insane, I guess that means she's making good progress?
     
  14. Ginger Maniac

    Ginger Maniac Subject to Gravity

    Re: side stories, here's my very first snippet. Please R&R.


    June 3rd, 4415 S.A. (Since Arrival), SBFS Acheron (CCS-II-class), the Broken Lands
    __________
    Chapter 1.1:
    __________

    The MILCOMM Beacon Hunter platoon sat in the briefing room, listening to the Acheron’s operations officer, a thin, severe-looking blonde named Harmon, as she gestured at a map on a holo-display.

    “At 0800 yesterday morning, a scout drone detected a beacon pulse emanating from the continent ahead of us.” Positional icons flared to life. “The Glory Hound was the closest ship, and moved to investigate.” More icons appeared, with timestamps.

    “Since their last communication at 0919 the same day, they have been completely dark. Hence, Command has dispatched the Acheron to determine their condition and provide assistance or vengeance as necessary.” The icon representing the ship crawled across the display.

    “It is overwhelmingly likely that you will be dropping into hostile conditions, whether an enemy or environmental hazard, and as such the Acheron’s full support has been placed at your disposal. Over the next few hours, I hope that we can come up with a coherent joint operations plan.”
    __________

    Later that day, the Acheron approached the continental boundary, the landscape simply dropping away into depthless, inky blackness. A squadron of Longsword fighters on CAP held position a kilometre ahead of it, watching their sensors like hawks for anything out of the ordinary.

    Then they fell out of the sky, into the darkness.

    “Full reverse!” Yelled the Acheron’s captain. The ship shuddered as the engines brought it abruptly to rest, and then reversed its velocity. Alarms began to blare, before shutting off as abruptly as they started.

    “Captain, damage control reports that all systems in the bow just pinged as destroyed!”

    “What?”

    “Just for a few seconds, then they all came back online. Commander Jing says it’s a mystery, sir.”

    “He’s right. Tell him I want it solved.”

    Several hours later, Jing had his solution. Comparing the positions of the Longswords with that of the ship revealed that there was apparently a line beyond which advanced technology simply shut down. A number of recon drones had been expended in order to test that theory, and the results were clear.

    It wasn’t the first time the Forum had encountered so-called ‘techbane zones’, but all of the previous instances had been over solid ground. Some had been natural, others had been set up by minions of the Shadow Queen using magic, but none had extended over the void before.

    Neither had the Longsword crews respawned yet. There were mutterings among the crew on this subject, few of them optimistic.

    The Science Division was called in. Their ship, the Mother of Invention, was packed to the gills with sensors, from the mundane to the esoteric to the outright arcane. Three days later, I was deployed on the request of Professor Klein. He had an idea and a guinea pig in mind. Quite frankly, this terrified me.
     
  15. Retsof

    Retsof Pocky?

    You know, I had managed not to be utterly terrified of Lilithium, now I am, good job.
     
  16. Ok, I've finally decided on my character.

    Name: NotAlwaysFanfic

    Basic Description: 6’2”(1.87meters), brown hair and brown eyes. Seems to have to have a perpetual five o’clock shadow. Wears half rimmed glasses for both the aesthetic and a reminder of his life before the Arrival. Has a thin lanky build, since he was sixteen when his immortality kicked in.

    Notable Character Traits: A few personal quirks he’s had all his life, for one. Doesn’t really respect personal space, will sometimes stare intently at a person for no reason, and will make off color comments every now and then. Suffered from bouts of depression, often contemplating his mortality, until the Arrival. When he learned of his immortality, an unexpected amount of worries vanished.
    Likes to tinker with his and his squad’s fighters, and can usually be found in their hanger within The Forum when not on patrol.
    His personal motto is “To fear Murphy is to fear adventure.”

    Service: NACOMM fighter pilot

    Rank:Squadron Leader

    Ship type: Haloverse Longsword

    Task Force Name: Nike’s Heralds (named after the winged goddess of victory). They are a scout team, going ahead of the Fleet to see what there is, sometimes going on Incursion missions when the situation requires it.

    Now for a snippit

    ^^^^^^^^

    Families Old, and Families New
    Year 3334 PA, Month Six, Day Twelve
    Observation deck of The Forum

    Squadron Leader NotAlwaysFanfic, sat at the edge of the observation deck, the Broken Lands and the rest of the fleet passing in front of him. He wore ceremonial military garb, more on a whim then anything else.

    Brown eyes gazed down through half-rimmed glasses, focusing on a picture in his hands. Although the glasses were entirely unnecessary, he wore them out of remembrance for who he once was. The picture was also a token from that oh so short time. It was black and white, depicting a smiling family of four. The oldest was a black haired man, who was just beginning to show signs of age. Next to him was a slightly pudgy woman with graying hair. In front of them both, smiling and hugging, was a teenage girl and six year old boy. The boy’s smile was bright, innocent, and full of unadulterated joy. A smile like that hadn’t crossed the boy’s face in over fifty-seven-hundred years.

    He missed them, really. Although he would never give up The Forum, after everything that had happened, it didn't mean he stopped missing them. It was not unlike how one missed a childhood friend after moving away. They were important to you, and had help shape the foundations on which you would grow, but they were no longer as important as they once were, with others having filled the void.

    He sometimes wondered if getting home would be as simple as the others seemed to think. For one thing, their world had almost certainly changed in the near six thousand years since they had left. And even if they did manage to arrive home as soon as they had left, things would never even take on the illusion of normality. They had all had changed to much for that. Besides, they had duties now, to the Fleet and to themselves. Back in year zero, when they had sworn themselves to these new names, he had known that it was permanent. Sure they had said that they would take up their old ones eventually, but he they probably new would.

    That old name was like an old glove. It was soft, comfortable, and warm, but it didn’t fit him anymore. His given name, which had once been the class nerd who did nothing but read and internet surf, was no longer him. His family name, which connected him to his family and their descendants, now only gave him complete strangers who shared not even one millionth of his gene.

    No, now he was NotAlwaysFanfic, an officer of NAVCOMM, of The Forum. Any and everyone knew him as Naf, a cheerful, odd, somewhat philosophic man who couldn’t stop tinkering with his fighter to save his life. He had killed more people than he would have met had he stayed on earth, and he would kill twice as many if he had to.

    Although he treasured the infant he had been so long ago, he had already left the cradle, and could never return.

    A knock rang out behind him, and he turned to see a seemingly young woman standing behind him, her hand resting against one of the observation deck’s metal supports. She was beautiful, with raven locks tied in a low riding pony tail and near elven features. She wore a black shirt and grey trousers, something she never thought of wearing when she was kid. Her ears, which could just barely be seen, had rough, unpronounced tips to them.

    The woman smiled at him, concern flickering in her eyes, “You alright, Naf?” she asked.

    Naf blinked in confusion, until he noticed the twin streaks of wetness running down his cheeks. He rubbed at the tears, letting out a small, depreciating laugh, “I’m fine, Rehan, just reminiscing about the past,” he said. Rehan walked over to him, her brow knitted in concern. “You sure?”

    He smiled an easy smile, one that showed the truth in his words. “yeah,” he replied, placing his aged photo in his jacket’s inside pocket. “So why are you here?” he asked, “you don’t usually come up to the observation deck.”

    The half-elf shrugged nonchalantly, “I felt like taking a walk, and as I passed by I saw you sitting here. That’s all.”

    Naf chuckled, willing to except his crewmate’s explanation over the more likely truth. As the chief of his squad’s mechanics, she likely noticed that he hadn’t set foot in the hangar all day, and had gone searching for him. He knew of the feelings she had for him, and was contemplating having a relationship with her, but was willing to let her make the first move.

    They had found her people back in Year 2532, where a group of elves and humans a made something of a civilization in the Broken Lands. It had been far from perfect, with trolls, salamanders, and even a basilisk preying on them, but it had been their land.

    The Forum had offered them citizenship, and many jumped at the chance for a better life, although a good portion had stayed behind, unwilling to give up their homes. Rehan had only been ten at the time, and she had taken to life with the SpaceBattlers and their friends swimmingly. Her immortality had kicked in at around nineteen for her, and her growth had stopped there. She had become his team’s mechanic roughly a hundred years ago, and had gone with them on more than a few missions, specifically the ones where she might be needed. She, along with every SpaceBattler and most everyone else on The Forum were his family now, and that was never going to change.

    The two sat in companionable silence, watching the grey, unnatural skies and the craggy, shattered landscape of the Broken Lands roll past them.
     
  17. Variel

    Variel Cheeky Fox

    This is a really intriguing concept, one I'm really interested in seeing develop.

    Questions:
    a.) How does the bullet economy work, both on the marco scale and for everyday commerce?
    b.) What types of mecha, if any, are used by the Fleet for close infantry support?
    c.) How does the fleet chain of command work?
     
  18. fallenblades643

    fallenblades643 Return to Orange

    A note to readers, I was bored.

    A Day in the Life.

    Begin video Log.
    *Recording start.*
    A Video log screen displays a respectably tall man standing at 6 foot and change with dark hair and brown eyes. His uniform is that of a Rear Admiral and he is seated at his desk. The most notable point of his appearance is a scar marring the left side of his face, running from above his left eye down to the corner of his lips. Within a few seconds he starts to speak.

    "Current star date is... April 19 10528 PA. This is the Captains Log of one Rear Admiral Fallen B-643. I am currently aboard my flagship The Testament, It should be noted that this vessels full name is The Second Testament.(n1) I am currently in orbit of Star Omega-9*(n2), The center of my assigned patrol area. Production and resource harvesting has gone according to scheduled and this sector is expected to become fully autonomous in another year or so. The current fleet is at full logistical capacity and on stand-by to jump to any of the surrounding stars in the Omega sector*(n3)."

    The man takes a breath and sighs exasperatedly. Then reviews some data-sheets on his desk before he resumes speaking. "Recently some of the new captains assigned to my fleet have been getting restless, and are feeling the need to need to prove themselves. I will need to request a transfer for them to a more combat active force should nothing arise within the next few months. The new Captains know their ships well enough by now, time we take off their training wheels and I get the next batch."

    The man shuffles the Data-sheets again before beginning upon a new topic. "Ship Production has carried apace with supply demands. I have also received a report that a Black-ops operative was due to arrive soon. Thus ends my official weekly report."

    The screen flickers off at the mans words.

    *Official recording end*
    *Private log detected*
    *Continue viewing?*
    *Yes*
    *Private video log start*

    The screen flickers back on showing the man again. He seems pissed of and about to rant.

    "GOD DAMNED ASS HOLES!" The mans fist slams upon his desk, knocking over a number of nick-knacks upon it. "Taking 70% of my fleet, calling my job easy, and saying I don't deserve my bars!*(n4) The fucking nerve! I've fought and died more times then they have years on a ship. Every time I move to a new sector I have to secure dozens of world and asteroids from the Vasari, hold them, and then protect them from the fuck on top of defending against any incursions. Now I'm down to 2 capital ships, a handful of cruisers and carriers, and about a dozen and a half frigates. FUCK!. This day can't get much worse."

    As the man finished his small rant a Klaxon went off as a speaker system came on.
    "All hand battle-stations! All hands battle-stations! Incursion detected in sector Omega. Chaos fleet inbound on Omega-4. I repeat Chaos fleet inbound on Omega-4. Admiral, Please report to the bridge. Hostile fleet detected. 1 battle ship, 3 grand cruisers and 3 strike cruisers plus escorts have entered sector. Immediate action is needed.*(n5)"

    "Fucking shit!" The man was running out the door buttoning up his uniform as he ran. The recording shut off soon after.

    *Recording end*

    Logs taken from the black box of The Second Testament later that year. *(n6)
    *See notes?*
    *Y*
    *Opening notes*

    Note 1: The first Testament was lost during a last stand against the Reapers in the first incursion into Mass Effect while holding the defensive line allowing thousands of civilians to flee to The Forum.

    Note 2: Omega-9 was the center of sector Omega, and it's most powerful system. Its defenses are legendary for holding at bay a Chaos incursion for several months while The Fleet marshaled a response.

    Note 3: The Rear admiral operated 4 task forces out of the sector who were regularly patrolling and enforcing the law. when not on duty, these ships docked at 1 of 6 massive battle-stations in orbit around Omega-9's star.

    Note 4: In one of the worst cases of corruption seen in a long time, a newly promoted NAVCOMM Black-ops Commander abused his power and took command of 3 of Rear-Admiral Fallen B-643's 4 task-forces. The Commander would later be dragged in by the Rear Admiral personally and handed off to the OSR's top interrogation officer. He was found to be a Chaos supporter upon interrogation. The exact contents of the original interaction have unfortunately been lost.

    Note 5: In one of the largest offenses ever conducted by Chaos against The Forum, Sector Omega was the first hit. In fact, the brunt of the first few waves were met and stalled in sector long enough by the 22nd that only minor damage to logistics occurred. The sector was set back an additional year due to the assault.

    Note 6: The Second Testament was lost with all hands later that day when she rammed into the Chaos Battleship and overloaded her Anti-matter reactors to buy time for the rest of the 22nd to fall back to the Omega-9 star system.
     
  19. Frostbyght

    Frostbyght Oh Yes...

    Cool, we fought the Vasari, and Chaos? Nice.

    Wait, so, did Chaos follow us into the SoaSE verse? Because, if so, shit man, what did we do to piss them off so much?

    And wait, how did they follow us? Unless you're implying that the thing the Vasari are running from is Chaos?

    Which, actually kinda makes sense if you think about it.
     
  20. fallenblades643

    fallenblades643 Return to Orange

    Read note 4. A single traitor is all it takes.
     
  21. Frostbyght

    Frostbyght Oh Yes...

    So, the agent gets rid of 70% of the fleet, and then Chaos attacks. Got that part now, thanks.

    Still wondering how they got into the SoaSE verse?
     
  22. Ginger Maniac

    Ginger Maniac Subject to Gravity

    Via Beacon, I'm thinking.
     
  23. fallenblades643

    fallenblades643 Return to Orange

    Via they just stole 70% of my fleet, which has jump drives of forum variety.
     
  24. Frostbyght

    Frostbyght Oh Yes...

    Well, that means that, theoretically... anyone could travel to any universe if they managed to capture a beacon.
    ...

    Edit: Nevermind
     
  25. Ginger Maniac

    Ginger Maniac Subject to Gravity

    Well, I don't see any reason that other people can't use them as well as the Forum. Gideon?

    Also, if only the Forum can use beacons, I'm gonna have to rewrite some plot ideas...
     
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