22 Dec 2016 21:39 22 Dec 2016 22:53
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Dragonruby Putting the Stranger in Stranger Danger

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The bridge of the TRNS Audeamus was dim, the red emergency lights overhead the only thing illuminating the room, save for the console screens of the crew at their various positions. As lead ship in the expedition fleet currently burrowing its way to a neighboring star, the Audeamus was tasked with operating their ripper drive, the other half-dozen ships following just a little ways behind. Each ship measured at roughly three-fourths of a kilometer and were crewed by hundreds, and each blazed a trail forth through the strange tides of rip space.

Rear Admiral Anthony Erling drummed his fingers quietly along the side of his pantsleg, right above his knee, as he stood overlooking the bridge. It wasn't like him to be so nervous. The man had always prided himself in his temperment and his ability to remain calm under fire, even when he was only a commander, tasked with captaincy of a single ship rather than a small fleet. He'd proven himself countless times in the Reunification Wars, and such achievements were why he'd found himself as the one-star Admiral he was now. But even his nerves had a breaking point, and he'd like to believe that the task that lied before him would break even the most stalwart and foolhardy of men.

It was undoubtedly true that Admiral Erling had plenty of reasons to be nervous, even before knowing the true intentions of the mission at hand. For one, the usual task of leading an expedition fleet would normally fall to an officer one, or perhaps even two grades lower than him if needs required, and with a task group half as large. In fact, every ship under Admiral Erling's command was a fair bit better armed than than the usual aging or stripped down expedition ships that would be tasked with the personal surveying of new star systems. The gathered seven vessels were instead ships pulled straight from a carrier fleet, and were all proper war vessels, with their home carrier sitting light years behind them now at the other end of the rip lane, waiting for any sign or signal of something going wrong and send word back to Terra Nova where the Admirality ruled from.

Officially, the larger task group was due to the fact that the star system they were jumping into had a quite a few more planetary bodies and usual, and additional ships were tasked to aid in survey and study, however every single crew member had been informed of their true purpose. In actuality, the neighboring colony had been picking up unusual thermal signatures for some time now from this star system, and while it had originally been ignored and even forgotten in the chaos of the civil war, ever since things had begun to stabalize, a great deal of attention is being paid to these unusual emissions as the potential of first contact with alien life was high based upon estimates and studies done by various research organizations. With such terrifying knowledge in mind, a great deal of deliberation went into the decision making process of how exactly to go forwards.

Eventually, it was decided that it was better to be the initiators of this possible first contact, rather than be stuck on the back foot, and every precaution was taken in order to assure the safety of Terran Remnant assets behind them.

"We'll be reaching the lagrange point in one minute and counting, Admiral." Petty Officer Burkhe's professional tone broke through Admiral Erling's private thoughts, and he turned his head ever so slightly to glance in the man's direction.

"Very well. Relay the message to the other ships, and the rest of the crew." He thought for a moment. Perhaps now would be the time for a few words, some speech or uplifting sayings to calm the nerves of those here with him. In the end, he decided against it. What words did he have for such a situation. He'd never been the kind of man to try and have the history books write about, and if it turned out that all the studies and research had been wrong, well... He'd look like a damn fool, wouldn't he? No, better not to say anything at all.

"Breaking real space in ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One..." There was a soft shudder as the ship broke out of the rip lane, their arrival foretold by a strange bending of the space around it, growing and expanding and stretching, before reality itself seemed to puncture, an angry red vortex tore itself open in the vaccum seeming almost like an enraged red scar upon the very face of reality.

"Bring all sensors online. Retrograde thrusters, fullstop." Admiral Erling commanded clearly, doing his best to hide his nerves under a loud and commanding voice.

"Brace for fullstop." Another one of the bridge crew called, making sure to call it over the ship intercomm system, and Admiral Erling gripped his hands tightly against the railing in front of him.

Terran Remnant escort vessels could be thought of as living spaces with engines strapped onto both the front and back, pairs of smaller maneuver thrusters strapped onto the sides in order to help with turning. This design was made to allow for quicker stops, and even full reversals of momentum much quicker than normal to aid in quick returns through temporary rip lanes in combat, meaning most Terran Remnant ships relied on broadside weapons as the fore and aft of the ship were taken up by the massive engines.

The fore engine was usually wrapped in armor plating that slid away, as it did now, in order to reveal the series of thrusters past the armored cacoon, all of which burned to life and slowed the ship down until it coasted gently into stillness. It wasn't quite as comfortable for the crew within, as the sudden change in g-forces made the entire hull shake and shudder, and those not properly braced found themselves stumbling.

The other six ships followed suit, all of them coming to a stop in a small cluster just in front of the rip lane as cameras came online and projected a three-sixty degree view of the system around them. What they saw was shocking, and quickly quiet murmuring filled the bridge, as Admiral Erling licked his dry lips and stood a little taller as he sucked in a deep breath to ready himself...

22 Dec 2016 22:28 22 Dec 2016 23:44
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The scar in real-space did not go unnoticed. Even before it could be picked up visually, sensors throughout the star system began to wail as the hole widened and unique patterns of radiation emerged. It was not the usual flare of neutrons and gamma radiation common in Ouroboros space. As the enraged reddish hue of the vortex grew larger, the first satellites to detect it were hailing the nearest warhost, relaying the data as quickly as it was gathered. The vortex stabilized at the L4 point of a moderately sized ice-covered world. The world itself was orbited by a small formation of warships, the personal escort of Lord Amenmesh.


"The observers could not recognize the engineering of the craft."

"Very well. Al-Saga, inform the heretic that he is to maintain his position. I do not want him interfering. Al-Ninsil, continue to search the hulk. The archive is not far."

The Lord made his way back to the landing craft on the ice world's surface, nearly a kilometer away from the wrecked Church spacecraft they were investigating. Within the hour, he was aboard his warship again, stepping aboard the bridge as the command crew began to hail the unknown craft that had just dropped into real-space.

"My Lord, we have made an attempt to hail the vessels. They are seven in number and appear to be armed. Our engineers were unable to identify their origin. Please forgive our initiative. I feared for your safety while you were planet-bound."

"All is forgiven. You have done well. Plot us a course to bring us in orbit of the L4 anomaly. Make all crews battle-ready."

"As you bid."

The Lord retreated from the command deck, floating down the corridors to his personal quarters before acceleration planted his feet to the floor. As the escort party began their maneuver to the anomaly, Amenmesh stripped himself of his environmental hardsuit and donned instead his battle armor.


It was a matter of hours before the party neared the unknown spacecraft, and the Ouroboros escorts-turned-battlegroup had received no signal that could be accurately pinned as Ophisian in origin.

Xenos, then, Amenmesh thought to himself. He and a few others aboard his personal craft had already donned their armor and were prepared to board the unknown vessels if necessary. Several of the escorts had boarding parties prepared as well, loaded into small armored shuttles with great sharp claws on the forward ends.

The warhost slowed, falling into a wide orbit around the L4 point and the vortex-like anomaly, their gunnery crews having already acquired firing solutions on the unknown vessels. Lord Amenmesh was the most reserved of his brother-lords, not keen to shed blood or sacrifice his people in what looked to be an uneven battle. The battlegroup was outnumbered, with only four warships to the unknown party's seven. Amenmesh could only hope his was the first shot fired.

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22 Dec 2016 23:36 22 Dec 2016 23:41
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Dragonruby Putting the Stranger in Stranger Danger

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It didn't take long for the ship's sensors to begin receiving, and almost immediately the bridge was abuzz with activity and excitement. Ships with nuclear torches burning across the dark sky, satellites orbiting nearby planetary systems, very soon afterwards radio signals old and degraded flooded their antennae. It was evident to everyone present onboard those seven ships that there was life here and it was reacting to them.

Radar came online, mapping the system around them, but even without it they could see a distant cluster of ships near orbit around the frozen world before them. The crew was already gathering firing solutions on these closest vessels, and parasited on the hulls of the various escorts, drone swarms and their accompanying fighters activated, hiding their emissions amog those of the larger escorts and waiting for the order to deploy. Nearly an hour passed as the bridge crew busied themselves with sorting through and decyphering the various sensor readings they'd picked up, or at least doing their best too, and splitting up the work between themselves and their fellow navy vessels.

"Admiral, the unidentified vessels are beginning to reorient and move towards us." One of the bridge crew called out.

"...Stay steady, we remain here. Let them come to us. We won't foul this up by appearing to be hostile." Admiral Erling could feel his veins tighten as he gave that order. Battle doctrine for the Terran Remnants involved shooting first, and then escaping before the enemy had time to orient and return significant fire, especially with their vessels' limited firing arcs. Sitting here and allowing these aliens to take the initiative went against all of his training. At the very least, their position so close to the rip lane meant they could make a hasty retreat back into the safety of an entire carrier fleet.

"We're recieving a hail!" The new, excited sounding, voice screeched shrilly, for an instant seeming to shatter all of the tension that'd been building up in the time spent waiting, before just as quickly seeming to make it twice as thick as the implication struck them. Admiral Erling blinked in response. His body was frozen. This was it. His reponse here would perhaps shape the entirety of Terran Remnant history.

"Nervous, sir?" The voice of Commander Ruthyard from besides him nearly had Erling jump in fright. He'd forgotten the man was there. Commander Ruthyard was his XO and right hand man, and while Admiral Erling was tall and commanding, Commander Ruthyard was easy-going and relaxed. A warm ember to Adiral Erling's cold focus. "You really shouldn't have any reason to be, you know? I mean... You think they'll understand us. You could call them all the worst things you could imagine, and it'd all be the same."

The Admiral simply stared back at the man for a moment before giving a gentle smile. His quiet words had been appreciated, and he nodded at the man before turning back towards the bridge. "Accept the hail. Broadcast my words to them."

He closed his eyes and took a breath, before speaking. Might as well have his first words be professional, no matter how much of a point his XO had made. "This is Rear Admiral Erling of the Terran Remnant Navy from onboard the TRNS Audeamus. Humanity greets you with open arms and open hearts. To whom am I communicating with?"

23 Dec 2016 0:16 23 Dec 2016 4:51
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There was little point in replying to the gibberish the xenos sent, but Amenmesh ordered his command crew to reply regardless.

"Xenos, you have entered Ouroboros space. Power down your weapons and prepare to be boarded. Do not attempt to flee. Any retreating vessels will be fired upon."

With the message sent, a boarding party was deployed. The shuttle contained only three Ophisians, two warriors and a priest. It made a careful, slow burn toward the nearest of the xeno escorts, slowing down and matching velocities with some hundreds of meters to spare. There, the shuttle lingered, awaiting orders from Lord Amenmesh and some indication that the xenos would accept the boarding party.

The shuttle itself is a simple affair, a skeleton with no pressure bulkheads. The propellant tanks are obvious, a pair of spherical tanks mounted just forward of the engines. The boarding party and shuttle crew appear as dull metallic statues, their hardsuits composed of angular plates and gently curving joints. The two warriors are the only ones obviously armed, carrying great metal shields and bulky firearms. The priest and shuttle crews appear totally unarmed, and are just under three-fourths the size of the warriors.

The claws on the forward end of the shuttle are stowed but still obvious, peeled back to be almost inline with the rest of the shuttle body. Deployed in their place are electromagnetic clamps, their magnetic pads black and matte, held forward on two stalks.

"Allow the shuttle party aboard or they will enter by force."

Amenmesh doubted they would get a reply, but hoped the shuttle itself would bring enough meaning to the message.

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23 Dec 2016 4:25 24 Dec 2016 20:23
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ClocktowerEchos Professionally Asian

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- ∞ • ∞ - ∞ • ∞ - ∞ • ∞ - ∞ • ∞ -

The world of Arceus had fallen silent, low murmuring and whispers filled the streets, just barely more audible than the empty vacuum of space around the Ivrah homeworld. They had been given greatness by their Mon'hali creators, who made them with brilliant minds and stout hearts. They had been guided by the Mon'hali Prophets, those few who had stayed to oversee the growth of their creations, facilitating the race in its infancy to help navigate the galaxy they were born unto. It was far different than the one which the Mon'hali had faced at their creation; unlike the Ivrah, they had fought tooth, nail, claw, blade and bullet just to survive, their galaxy was wrought with conflict as the void lit up with munitions and energy beams and entire worlds burned in the hell of war.

Once they were of many, even in the perilous era of near-constant warfare, but then, there were only a few dozen, and now there was but one, last one; the last line in a proud, martial race but saw what their wars had done. Some might have even considered a miracle on how the Mon'hali was even able to ever ascend like so many before them, but they brokered enough peace to allow them rite to the world beyond. The Prophets who stayed were like old, shell shock veterans but parents and guardians to the Ivrah none the less, and the Ivrah wouldn't have wanted anyone else to guide them.

But age had claimed them one by one like dominos, even their implants and treatments they may have enjoyed were no longer with the Reclamation they had preformed. And so, as the number of Mon'hali shrunk and fell, their reverence only increase. And now, there was only one and he was dying: Prophet Glura'ha, the Scholar of Old.

Outside the Palace Magnus, there was a mass congregation of of a somber mass, low chants and prayers would only be able to stall the inevitable even if they did work. On the inside however, the Magnus was in private with the last Prophet, concerned about how to go from here, "For generations, you and you companions had guided us, since the days of my great-grandfather. So long we fooled ourselves into thinking that you were immortal and that you could stay by ourside forever. Now I wish each second to be years just so you may stay with us o great Prophet Glura'ha."

"Vaeto... I have seen and heard many things in my life. War, peace, chaos, order, destruction, creation, death... and finally birth. All of these are inevitabilities... not even the Aztrovans could run from them forever." the dying beast of a person coughed up as he was hooked up to the finest medical machinery created by the Ivrah.

"It does not ease the pain of your passing; the ending of a life is a tragedy to all beings." Sighed the Magnus of the Ivrah, rolling his hands between each other as he looked at the poor, once-proud beastly figure of Glura'ah now confined to the bed with wires and needles and tubes all over his mantle.

"To you it does... to me... it does not.... funny how conflict does that to one... of the blood." The Prophet's voice was becoming increasingly muted as his breath and heart rate also slowed

"I only wish that your kind could guide us longer for we have much to learn, virgins in the void of unknown."

"Calm my child... you will do well. We Mon'hali failed to preserve much... of what we could have given you due to our endless wars... but you are not Mon'hali... you are Irvah, smart and talented... meant for better things than continuous cycles of conflict. We too... were... once in your spot as the stories are told... only never afford the luxury of a... proper... conversation. Still, we prayed and hoped that there... was something that would keep our own creators... alive just for an extra day... but they too eventually left us for higher realms."

"I suppose you are right great Prophet, I should not keep you waiting any longer, your brothers await."

"Indeed they do.... Please, make it quick and clean.... One right about... here should do it... It has been an honor... fair Magnus Vaeto IV, ruler of the Irvah... may you ascend to greater worlds... Dsang Khalhei... my child..." Glura'ha pointed to a location on his chiseled chest, still as impressive as it was so many years ago, and weakly saluted as Vaeto's cerimonial knife hovered above it.

"Its been an been a great honor, Prophet Glura'ah, the Scholar of Old, last of the Mon'hali. Dsang Khalhei, my father." With a simple, hard push, the blade pierced the last Mon'hali's flesh and hide and the blade's poison went to work; he wouldn't feel anything but a release from his mortal coil, now to finally join his brothers in death, "Farewell great Prophet, may you rejoin the Aztrovans and ascend the a world beyond."

The Mol'hali's body was quickly then wheeled away, no doubt in preparation for a Grand Entombment, an ornate and extravagant burial ritual reserved for the Prophets; Glura'ah had seen many of them but now he would join the rest of his kind in death. Vaeto on the other hand was busy, cleaning and washing as he donned a new robe, embroiled with the finest fabrics and delicate decorations, and golden fittings for Magnus, intricately carved and crafted with beauty but modern style. He was to give a cerimonial speech as was tradition as taught by the Prophets for when the last of them died. By now, the crowd outside had shifted from a somber tone to a more upbeat and proud note with chants and banners rising.

A guard opened the door as Magnus Vaeto IV, dressed and dolled up in his finest outfit, stepped out on to the balcony over looking a courtyard filled with his people and situated himself on the podium. Camera drones where on him as his face was spread across screens across many planets, moons and outposts, his voice transcending that of his simple vocal cords and with a confident smile, he began his speech titled, "the Birth of an Era Anew."
23 Dec 2016 4:46 23 Dec 2016 4:58
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Dragonruby Putting the Stranger in Stranger Danger

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"Well... At least they gave a response..." Admiral Erling muttered quietly under his breath as he stared out at the ships orbiting them.

"Do you think that was a happy gurgle? Or an angry one?" Erling's XO deadpanned from beside him.

"Sir, it looks like they're sending a shuttle of some sort!"

Instantly, all of Erling's attention returns to the situation at hand. "Is it armed?"

"It... Doesn't seem so, sir... If anything... It's barely a shuttle at all." The bridge crewman was right in that regard. As Erling gave the thing a closer look, especially as it neared their vessel, it seemed more like the skeletal superstructure of a small ship, open to the vaccum and equipped with nothing but engines and propellant tanks.

As it lingered, matching their velocity, they were able to get a good look at the figures within, particularly as the pilots reported in what they saw, and the drones still latched onto the hull of the ship oriented their cameras onto the vessel. Within were three solitary figures, standing stark against the vaccum of space. Each of them wore what looked to be enviroment suits, full body coverings of some sort of dark blue alloy. Two were armed, the third and shorter one was not. An envoy of some sort?

The alien's earlier message seemed mostly clear now. "Alert the marines. Have them get a squad, or more if they can manage, into shuttle bay two. Open up the doors, and pop the landing lights. We're going to be accepting some guests." As the bridge crew moved to relay his orders, Admiral Erling moved to step off the bridge, only stopped by Commander Ruthyard, who clasped him by his shoulder.

"Woah, hold up there. Where do you think you're going?"

"To meet our new guests. What else?" Erling replied back as he glanced over his shoulder.

"Are you sure that's a good idea?"

Erling gave a snort. "No, not particularly, but who else would go? You? I need you here to take command in case things go sideways. Besides, it's a safer option than bringing them up here to the bridge, don't you think?"

Ruthyard seemed to deliberate that thought slowly, before giving a nod. "I suppose so..."

"Good. Then you have the conn."


A set of bay doors slid open on the outside, near the forward bow, roughly centerline of the ship. Not quite large enough for the shuttle to land in, but the invitation was obvious nonetheless. Several sets of flashing lights lit up in order to bring attention to it, greens and reds lined around the bay.

Within, the boarding party would find a relatively spacious room, though the warriors may find themselves uncomfortably close to the ceiling. All around were metal crates and boxes, haphazardly set up in a semi-circular position as makeshift cover for the roughly dozen men that awaited them. All were dressed in vacuum proofed suits, plated with a combination of thick bullet-resistant padding and titanium alloys, colored a mixture of black and matte gray. In their hands were ballistic rifles, utterly puny compared to the bulk of the Ophisian warriors. The tension in the air seemed to rise as the gathered soldiers first set eyes on the boarders, beginning to doubt if their simple rifles would do much against the seemingly impenetrable armor of the aliens, and several quickly radio for heavier equipment to be prepared if necessary.
23 Dec 2016 5:20 23 Dec 2016 21:41
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The shuttle maneuvers toward the hull outside the bay slowly, extending the magnetic clamps further to connect to the hull. The Ophisian warriors are pleased to see a catwalk leading into the bay. The first warrior takes a tentative step, making sure his magnetic boots connect with the catwalk before moving any further. As the boarding party offloads from the shuttle, the catwalk shakes slightly. The sheer mass of the beings moving along it is barely within the structural limits it was designed for. Both warriors enter the bay first, shields and firearms raised cautiously as they position themselves near the center of the bay's outboard half. Finally, the priest enters the bay behind them, being careful to stay behind the cover the warriors are providing, as well as a decent distance back.

The priest notes the sensation of gravity pulling her toward the floor, but opts for keeping her magboots active for the time being. She made no greeting to the xenos, knowing the vacuum still surrounded them. Instead, she rumbled into her radio, instructing the warriors to lower their firearms for the time being. They did as she bid, though they still held a battle-ready posture, both because the situation could turn fatal quickly and because the ceiling was far too low to accommodate a relaxed upright posture.

She stepped forward, riskily placing herself between the two warriors. She towed behind her a large case, shielded from ambient radiation but giving off only faint thermal emissions itself. She slowly and deliberately positioned the case in front of her and off to the side, unlatching it and lifting the top open to reveal what appeared to be a large computer, about three feet tall and four feet wide. She left it dormant and waited.

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23 Dec 2016 21:38
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Dragonruby Putting the Stranger in Stranger Danger

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With the envoy securely within the bay, along with their escorts, the bay doors began to slide closed behind them. They shut with a bit of a rumble, though not an audible one in the vacuum of space, as the bay shakes slightly at their closing. Once the doors are closed however, a quiet hiss begins to fill the air as vents begin to pressurize the room, returning atmosphere to the previous void. The soldiers remain still, however, though some of them shift a little nervously behind their crates.

Several minutes tick by before a set of doors behind armed men slide open with a pneumatic hiss. From the doorway walks Admiral Erling, having since changed into an environment suit, its helmet attached to his side by a clip. Under one arm, he carried a thin looking pad, and behind him was a hurried looking ensign carrying with her a collapsible table. Admiral Erling stops for a second, blinking as he takes in the full size of the aliens in front of him, before he lets out a quiet huff and walks forward with all the confidence he can muster.

The pair of them stop two or three feet in front of the alien envoy, Admiral Erling nodding once in greeting. "Hello there, gentlemen..." The ensign hurriedly sets up the table, glancing towards the Admiral as soon as it's done. Admiral Erling dismisses her with a nod, and the woman quickly hurries out. Erling sets down the pad onto the table, opening it to reveal it as a miniature computer, magnitudes times smaller than the immense hulking box the aliens carried with them. "I see you came prepared as well." Erling said, more for his own benefit than anything else as he waited for the laptop to start up. "I hope that we can come to a peaceful accord here, and that there will be no need for the weapons we have pointed at each other."
23 Dec 2016 22:23 24 Dec 2016 19:31
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Al-Insun flips a few switches on her computer, and it begins to awaken. As it whirs to life, she reaches up and begins to remove some of the plating on her helmet. Large worms begin to wriggle, now clearly in view of the Admiral. What appeared to be thick muscle fibers or fleshy cords wriggles free of the top segment of the helmet, revealing many nightmarish eel faces, with all their eyes and mouths pointing towards the xeno. The worms begin to gurgle and quietly shriek, but only for a few moments before they go silent. The admiral might realize now that the black circles dotted around the priest's and warriors' armor were camera lenses, microphones, and speakers, rather than decorative items.

Al-Insun's heads split their attention, with several turning towards the computer she's now operating one-handed, and the rest making eye contact with the xeno. A few minutes pass, and then a rod extends upwards from the crate. On it, a roughly spheroid device with a lens pointed toward the table the xeno stood at. It swivels a moment, and a blurry image projects onto the xeno's table, coming into focus slowly as the projection lens whirs softly. It is writing, accompanied by a rough silhouette of the Ophisian priest holding her palms together and baring her neck. Al-Insun mimics the image, all heads pointing upwards as she makes a guttural vocalization. In that stance, she waits.

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24 Dec 2016 4:55
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Dragonruby Putting the Stranger in Stranger Danger

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Admiral Erling very nearly recoiled at the sight of the alien's "head", if it could really be called that. It was something out of a nightmare. A compilation of hundreds of writhing worms and eels, beady eyes and razor teeth. The gurgling and shrieking was slightly more expected due to their earlier, brief, communication between their ships, but it was still no less disconcerting. To his credit, though, it only takes a moment before Erling composed himself again, giving the alien a bit of a strained smile at their appearance.

The alien's ability to apparently both focus on him and work the device with a single... limb, was a bit on the unnerving side as well, but all that was driven from his mind, at least for a moment, as the machine began to emit an image. He studies it for a long moment, attempting to piece out exactly what the alien was trying to signal to him. In the end, Erling decides to match its stance, pressing palm against palm as he turns his head up towards the ceiling, his eyes glancing back down towards the creature in question of what exactly he was doing.
24 Dec 2016 20:06 25 Dec 2016 22:50
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Verbal communication would come in time. The wonders of digital computing accelerated the learning process for written dialog, but it was still slow going. In time, the Ophisians taught the xenos their script for greetings, basic directions, some objects, some pronouns, some proper nouns, and the basic procedure to follow if they receive particular transmissions in Ouroboros space. Likewise, the Ophisians learned some of the xenos own script. It was far from optimal communication, but the two parties learned enough from each other to avoid blowing each other up over slight miscommunication. In the hours after their first meeting, the Ophisians and the xenos laid the groundwork for understanding each other, and it would have to serve until proper linguists could be sat down across from each other.

At last, it came time for the two parties to bid farewell, at least for the moment. Al-Insun tapped quickly on her computer, the device translating her words into the known words of the xenos.

"We reverse-greetings. We go to Lord." After giving the admiral a moment to process her words, she continued.

"You go here. You here okay -- " the computer printed, as Al-Insun pointed at a basic map of the star system, marking the L4 anomaly, " -- All but here reverse-okay. Do not go. We speak again."

The image lingered as Al-Insun awaited the xeno's acceptance of the terms.

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25 Dec 2016 6:28 25 Dec 2016 22:58
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Dragonruby Putting the Stranger in Stranger Danger

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The process of dialogue is long and slow and grueling. Every single word must be taught and learned, and with barely any common ground to be found in even the body language of either parties, the only real true way of learning was the hard way of long hours of trial and error. It was really only through the help of the computers that both parties had brought, as well as the severity of the situation at hand, that Admiral Erling hadn't long since given up and tried to pass this task to another. By the end of their hours long session, of which annoyingly little progress had been made, they'd at least made solid headway into understanding enough basic concepts in order to discuss simple topics, which the alien envoy was trying to do now.

Erling took a moment to piece together the alien's fragmented speech, before nodding slowly in understanding. Its requests were fair enough, he supposed, and after a moment he returned a reply through the use of his computer. "We will not leave here," came the response. "We send vessel for home. Go to Lord."

And with that, things seemed to come to an end. The alien boarders gathered their belongings and returned to their shuttle outside, while the soldiers within the bay stood down, perhaps a little awkwardly as they began to move slowly from their cover, but with a collective sigh of relief. Admiral Erling returned to his position in the bridge, and after several minutes, a single ship peeled off from the fleet, heading back through the rip lane to bring word back home. Contact had been made, peacefully at that.
27 Dec 2016 0:37 28 Dec 2016 20:48
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Ua-Menlir sat in his quarters, listening as his advisor played audio from the latest rendezvous at the Terran embassy. As usual, half of it was spoken in the Ophisian tongue and the other half was spoken in the single-mouthed language of the xenos. The two civilizations found themselves struggling early on with verbal communication, as neither party could replicate the sounds of the other decently enough to be understood. Once written communication was more solidified, they agreed that it would be acceptable if they could at least understand each other's language, even if they could not speak it themselves. And so, the Terrans and the Ophisians met frequently at the embassy, and the conversations were recorded by each party.

He found it boring. Though he had yet to meet a human, he had already made up his mind about what sort of creatures they were. Weak, co-dependent, and uninteresting. Nonetheless, he insisted his advisor bring him the embassy recordings each month so he might understand their language. Cries for mercy are more savory when you can understand them.

The embassy was constructed shortly after Lord Amenmesh had made First Contact, built near the L4 anomaly that the xenos had come through. Amenmesh had taken the full economic burden of the project, which made it the Amenmesh-Terran embassy in Ua-Menlir's eyes. Still, the fool gave every Lord and Lord's advisor the opportunity to use the station, as if the Warlords of the Ouroboros were all on good, cooperative terms. Of the seven brother-lords, only two had bothered to take Amenmesh's offer.

Zisuthra the Steadfast held the most meetings at the embassy, more than Amenmesh himself. Megalu -- the Aberrant -- occasionally accompanied Amenmesh or Zisuthra, but never visited the aliens without another Lord. He was still young, trying to grasp the precepts of rulership. Ua-Menlir was certain his eccentric nature was not easing the learning process.

"Would you like me to replay it, my Lord?" Al-Abil, Heretic Menlir's advisor, stood at the side of the room by the computer controls.

"No. You are dismissed."

"I am not." Al-Abil made no motion to leave. "The Church has set a date for the Congregation."

"For what matter?"

"Have you forgotten?"

"I have not been informed," Ua-Menlir rumbled angrily. "You have told me nothing of a Congregation."

"I apologize, my Lord. Lord Ikishun has petitioned to invoke an ancient rite. His brothers have rallied behind him, and the Church has heard their request. The Congregation will be in approximately a megasecond."

"What rite? What lie has he fed the Church from his 'archive' this time?" Ua-Menlir stood hastily, fuming. A megasecond would be barely enough time for him to reach the Basilica.

"Lugal Gu'Enak. You should know this term well, heretic." Al-Abil allowed her disgust and contempt for Ua-Menlir to show for the first time.

King of the Assembly. Lord of Lords.

Ua-Menlir hastened to board his vessel.


A battle-scarred moon orbiting a long dead world. Lord Ugar stood in the observatory, looking out at the planet that dominated the Basilica's sky. Here and there, the clouds broke away and a glimpse of the surface could be seen. Many areas were still burning, a thousand years later. The surface would still be warm a thousand years after Ugar left this realm, maybe more.

The Basilica was the oldest religious site in Ouroboros space, and it showed. It was built sturdy, in an era where war dominated far more than it did in the present. Still, most of the Basilica had been destroyed in that war. None are alive who knew the site's true name or what it looked like before it was struck to the ground by nuclear wrath. So the priests named it after the remaining structure, repaired what they could, and declared it the site of Congregation. Ugar made his way back to the Basilica proper.

Rumor had it that Amenmesh had been granted approval to invite a Terran ambassador to the ceremony, but there was still no sign of the Lord or the xeno. All but Amenmesh and Ua-Menlir were accounted for. Lord Nosi the Last, who abused the trust of his brother-lords. Lord Zisuthra the Steadfast, who contained the Heretic's crusade. Lord Megalu the Aberrant, the exception to the Laws of Astrogation. Lord Ikishun the Poet, a preserver of knowledge and savior of his bloodline. And Ugar himself, noteworthy for only his age.

The priests gathered their Lords in the Basilica's main chamber, seating them in a semi-circle around the raised apse at the head of the room. The Lords sat in silence as their attendant priests disappeared into another chamber. Soon, the Congregation would begin, with or without the Heretic and the Pious.

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27 Dec 2016 5:07
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Keyguyperson The Weeaboo Communist

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Hoshijin Empire

Cathlea, Solward Strip

Fiel looked up from the fertile soil of Cathlea to rub her sunburned neck, something she had only actually seen on other slaves like her. Sunscreen, after all, was not exactly a recent invention. It was just that, just as one does not shield a plain chair or table from the sun, one does not do the same for a slave. Both are legally objects, and the legal status of a person-or non person in this case-often ended up directly influencing the actions of others as if writing on paper somehow dictated the natural laws of the universe.

On the road beside the plantation, she saw the strangest sight of her life. Up until that moment, at least. It was an Imperial main battle tank sitting on the curbside, just ahead of three military trucks from Cathlea's own colonial legion. For whatever reason, the Empire had taken interest in her master. For a moment the old rumors that spread throughout the plantations during the invasion popped into her head, the desperate cries of countless insisting at the Hoshijin would free the slaves. But that had all been before she was born, and was all just wishful thinking in the end. Although she certainly wouldn't object to hearing that the Empire gunned down her master.

"Fiel!" Screamed her master, dashing even the fantasy of his death. "Get over here!"

His voice was only heard on two occasions. One, when you weren't working hard enough for him and the other when he decided to punish you for it. There were a lot of punishments he had, most of which would make you wish for a different one even if it was the "gentlest" reprimand. To be fair, the "gentlest reprimand" wasn't at all as merciful as it might sound.

"Y-yes master?"

"I don't know why, but the Empire has decided to buy your worthless ass. Say your goodbyes, you'll be out of my sight in an hour."

"At most." Said a Hoshijin man in an Imperial officer's uniform whom was standing (rather tall) behind her master. "We're not exactly on the most lenient of timetables."

Fiel didn't have many goodbyes to say-her family had long since been sold off-but she sometimes spoke with the house slaves. She used that as a good excuse to walk right into the kitchen and steal a couple cornbread muffins. Perhaps "steal" was the wrong word, as they were given to her by the cook himself. That was a goodbye she really did have to make, the two had been friends for a good long time. He told stories of the invasion and how he escaped his last master and fought with the Imperials, eventually managing to earn his freedom when his former commanding officer was given the province in which he lived as a fief. The owner of the plantation obviously didn't like him as a person, but kept him around for a reason everyone knew well. He was a damn fine cook.

She didn't know what awaited her-after all, the Empire generally tried to pretend that slavery didn't exist on Cathlea-but whatever it was it would at least be different. Even if she was to find herself eating her last meal, at least it would be her friend's cornbread. Which she hadn't brought for fear of not being fed, but rather because she knew the Hoshijin didn't eat anything that could be found on Cathlea. And they definitely wouldn't have cornbread, she was pretty sure they didn't even have any plant like corn. If she did need to eat a last meal, she wanted cornbread to be a part of it for sure.

Not a word was spoken by her as she boarded one of the trucks, being seated next to the Hoshijin officer himself by one of the soldiers. Perhaps the Empire had a new trend of slave concubines from Cathlea. It wasn't all that unbelievable, slave concubines were common among humans and the Hoshijin were pretty much just humans with pointy ears. She couldn't have possibly imagined his true intentions at the time.

"You... you are an interfacing slave, right?" Said the officer, breaking the silence that didn't need to be broken in the first place. "One of the ones that drive combines and other machinery on plantation?"

"Yes, master. I can interface with the computer systems of our machines. The ones that are designed to allow me to do so, at least."

"Oh good, I thought I had been swindled for a moment there. It was the price-you seemed too cheap to be an interfacing slave. No offense, of course! I'm sure your former master just didn't understand your true value."

That was odd. Her owner was afraid of having offended her? The Hoshijin were famous for bowing for damn near anything short of a rock, but everyone knew that their respect never left that realm unless they judged someone worthy. Which they almost never did. And here was one, lying to a slave about the reason behind her low price of all things. She knew very well that her master had sold her at a lowball price because she was rebellious. She had the scars on her back to prove it. Not that she wanted to reveal that to her new owner.

"I-If you allow it, may I know just why you bought me, master? I assumed I would be a concubine or something similar, but then you wouldn't be looking specifically for an interfacing slave."

"You are right. My name is Kipposhi, I am the Daimyō of Uchinaa. For some time now I have been trying to advance Imperial space combat. Your ability to interface with computer networks presents a unique opportunity for the Empire."

"I am to serve the military?"

"Yes, I have had a space fighter designed using the same computers found in Cathlean equipment. You should be able to interface with them just fine. I hope to improve pilot reaction times."

"But the technology to engineer beings that are capable of direct computer interfacing was lost centuries ago, any fighter based off of that design would have to be piloted by an interfacing slave."

"That is true, and it is also true that the Empire doesn't permit subject species from operating spacecraft alone unless the individual being considered is an Honorary Hoshijin. Which is why I pulled some strings in the royal family and court, they've agreed to allow you that status as long as you serve in the military for five years. If you leave during those ten years for any reason, of course, you will be considered a defector and hunted down."

"And if I refuse?" Fiel had never had a choice like this. The closest thing to a choice she'd ever had was between following an order and getting beaten. Which, come to think of it, would probably make being in the military fairly familiar.

"I am not heartless." Said Kipposhi. "If you refuse you will be given freedom as a subject of the Empire and my own ships will take you to whichever planet you wish to reside on with the obvious exception of Uchinaa. You will not be an Honorary Hoshijin, and as such not have the right of free movement or the ownership of any non-farm property. Without any money or assets, you would quickly find yourself an indentured servant."

"That's better than how I had it at home."

"But not as good as things could be. I am offering you a chance to do something most humans don't even get to do, much less former slaves. Five years can go by very fast, and at the end you'll have all of your pay, military service, and assuming you didn't manage to get dishonorably discharged at the end of it all a small pension. That's enough to give you a life, maybe even one better than your old master. That's all something you can have. All you need to do is say yes."

"The way you put it there it's barely a choice. I can either go back to something more or less the same as what I know, or join the military and earn my freedom."

"You would have no drive or ambition if you declined."

"Well I have both. This is the sort of thing my kind fantasize about when we can't fall asleep at night. When we interface with computers, we can fairly quickly learn how to use the different programs and systems as long as the operating system is familiar. A space fighter can't be that hard to learn if I already figured out the fifteen completely different tractor models we still use. I think my answer is obvious."

"Well then congratulations. You're a free woman, Fiel."

Uchinaa, Clan Heishi Territory

Lasis rolled through the hallway of the Heishi clan's castle on Unchinaa. Well, it was given the name of a castle. In reality, it bore little resemblance to the ancient structures used as fortresses. It was little more than a large mansion surrounded by the central administrative buildings of the clan, plus what was essentially a small military base carved out of the cliff the entire complex sat atop. Aside from the usual Imperial Guard garrison found at castles, Daimyō Kipposhi's own air force unit was stationed within a hanger within the cliff. It wasn't large-a squadron of fighters and a couple battleships-but there were whispers of him ordering a carrier from the homeworld.

The castle was, for now at least, the seat of Imperial power on Uchinaa. Daimyō Kipposhi had been wise to wrestle the land as his own fief before any other Daimyō could take it or the colonization progressed too far. For now, it was just a developing planet that only had a city and a couple of villages on it. But as it grew, Kipposhi might be able to take more of it for himself with the support of the populace and eventually gain ownership over his own entire planet. The fact that he was more or less doting on the native population-going to the point of having the corps of engineers figure out how to construct modern dwellings for them underwater-would definitely help. An entire planet of natives with modern technology isn't something you want to anger, but it is something you want willing to fight and die for you.

"Ah, Lasis-gimi." Said a man in a white labcoat who had popped out of a door along the hallway as he bowed to her. Not that it at all put him under her as the symbolic intent was, given that she was sitting in a wheelchair. "I was told you would be coming here. It's right this way."

She turned-much easier in the modern electric wheelchair than it would have been in a manually powered one she would have received were it a couple hundred years in the past-and followed the man into the least ornate room in the "mansion" part of the castle. Whereas everything else was built in the traditional style of the homeworld culture which gave birth to the Heishi line, this room was constructed in a purely utilitarian fashion. It was essentially a panic shelter for the Daimyō's family (of which he was the only actual member), but also held the elevator down into the cliffside military base.

"I set off as soon as I got word that you had found a pilot." Said Lasis as the two entered the lift. "We ought to have the prototype all ready for them, now don't we?"

"That we do, my lady. It has been coming along smoothly, and things have gone great since you told us to bring in an Uchinaan adviser to help us design it. A functional prototype has been completed, and I have to say, it's a good fighter even without the advantage of being able to link with a pilot."

"Excellent, I trust you'll explain why?"

"Of course, it's right here."

The elevator's doors opened to reveal the cliffside hangar of the castle, which had in its center a fighter not unlike those used by the air force. Just like most Imperial space fighters, it had been designed to operate within an atmosphere if needed and as such had a similar profile to purely atmospheric fighters. The main different was its swept-forward wings, an interesting choice for a plane that was to be flown by a novice. The advantage, of course, was obvious: maneuverability. Even in space combat, the wings provided a nice spread for RCS thrusters.

"So, go ahead and give me the rundown." Said Lasis. "It's a shame I wasn't more involved in the project, I had to attend to my own matters. Turns out being appointed as ruler of a new colony village takes up more time than you might think."

"Well, the wings are obvious. Better flight in atmosphere. This is really a plane meant to fly equally well in any medium, we've gone to the trouble of giving it enough thrust to hover vertically to let it pull off some tricks in-atmosphere. For propulsion and power we have a NAPS reactor installed to drive the nuclear-thermal rockets. Atmospheric propulsion is provided by space capable air-breathing rockets."

"Where are those kept?"

"The entire engine block is interested into a slot in the back section of the plane. They can be switched out in a matter of minutes."

"Was that the Uchinaan's idea?"

"Sort of. He chastised us for trying to make it work just as well in space and air and said that it is "foolish to try to be the best at everything for you will be bad at all of it, but it is wise to be the best at one thing and bad at all else". One of us noted that we could design it to be modular like the Naharaim, and he concurred. He actually helped design the slot itself, which is why it's as smooth as it is. Most of us wanted a more complex hookup, but he suggested it be a single, smooth shape for easy replacement. So we managed to connect the systems hookups into the latches which keep the engines in place."

"I knew it was a good idea to get him in on it all. So, tell me about the weapons."

"We've designed it to take on a multitude of combat roles, but again, that all depends on the loadout. We just gave it the ability to have quite the variety of loadouts. The only constant is a central minigun that uses depleted uranium smart rounds, which gives it a hell of a strafing ability no matter what not to mention a big punch against any plane dumb enough to get into that thing's line of fire. There are six total hardpoints on the wings, which can all be used for bombs or heavier munitions if we are willing to sacrifice some mobility. They can easily carry tactical nuclear weapons, but while it can also carry strategic ones it can barely get off the ground with two of them. And even then, there's a lot less fuel life."

"What about those ports?" Said Lasis, pointing to one of many holes in the plane's body. "They're placed a bit oddly to be RCS thrusters."

"You're right there, those are laser defense systems."

"You're joking."

"No, I'm not. In simulations they've managed to flat-out save the plane and pilot numerous times. Of course, after one or two successful usages the plane's batteries are practically depleted. The reactor provides a lot of power, but these are high power lasers. Miniaturized naval CIWS really."

"That's incredible!"

"There's more. We used osmium shielding for the reactor, so it's a lot thinner than lead shielding. That gave us a hell of a lot more room, since it'd usually take up most of the space between the seat and reactor. We added a full modular block there instead. It could theoretically be plenty of things, though obviously it can't be replaced as quickly as the engine block. We've designed a cyberwarfare suite, a second cockpit to make it two-man, and even a warp drive."

"I can accept the lasers are possible, but there's no way you crammed a warp drive in a fighter. The amount of negative mass you'd need to get it up to FTL speeds-"

"It isn't an FTL drive, just a sublight one. It'll be useful for getting it from base to base within a system without needing to rely on a carrier or transport. We haven't constructed it yet either, only the cyberwarfare suite and second seat have been built. Right now it's got the cyberwarfare suite attached to it, but it could also fly without anything there. It looks kinda stubby, but the lost mass can help a bit in some situations."

"I'm impressed, but obviously I'll reserve final judgement until I see it in action. What have you decided to name it?"

"The Wildcat."

"You named it after a human animal?" Said Lasis in shock. "I knew that you were fairly progressive yourself, but I didn't expect anyone to think to name it after an animal nonnative to the homeworld."

"It fits, doubly so with the pilot."

"How so?"

"Have you not read her file yet? She's the Cathlean interfacing slave Daimyō Kipposhi picked up specifically for this whole thing."

"Of course I know who she is, the entire point of the project is to have inferacers fly the thing. But how is she related to wildcats?"

"She has cat ears. You know how odd the Cathleans are, thanks to the ancient humans screwing around with their genes. Some of them happen to just have oversized cat ears on the top of their head."

"Do they have normal ears too?"

"I don't know. This... 'Fiel' is the first one I've actually seen and in the picture she has her hair over where they would be."

"I guess I'll ask when she gets here. I just hope she can manage to fly the thing, you're awfully ambitious giving it forward-swept wings. Planes like that are hard to control."

"But they payoff if you can control them is huge. She'll need practice, but once she masters it she'll have the best performance in the Empire. Besides, I'll bet that if someone can interface with the computer of what they're flying then they can get a hang of things pretty fast. A part of her has to think like a computer to do that, and learning computers don't make any mistakes the second time around."
27 Dec 2016 15:23
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Dragonruby Putting the Stranger in Stranger Danger

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Considering the potential alternatives that could have happened, First Contact with the Ouroboros went astoundingly well. In the months that followed, an embassy had been built by the ophisians at the mouth of the rip lane and frequent contact between the two races was established. Admiral Erling and his fleet remained, helping to oversee not only the construction of the embassy, but also as a fairly important figure himself as one of the first humans to meet with an ophisian face to face.

As for the rest of humanity, well... They took the news just as any other new shocking headline. The scientific community was thrilled, while the common opinion of your average citizen was a bit more mixed. Some were excited to know that they were not alone in the galaxy, while others questioned the ability of aliens to empathize, socialize, and co-exist with humanity. Others saw this as hope that other human colonies could exist out in the dark expanse of the void, for the galaxy wasn't quite so lonely after all. Nearly the entirety of the Terran Remnant's media was filled with nothing but news and speculation of their new galactic neighbor until, slowly, it just became another fact of life. As time passed, the news shifted to other, more mundane things, and the Ophisians received less attention. They still made the news, but no longer were they the hottest topic. A mining accident in an asteroid belt costing the lives of twelve workers. A controversy over a singer's new song lyrics having been stolen from another popular work. The recent court martial of an influential admiral who'd been a prospective member of the Board of Admirals. Time ran its course, and people moved on with life.

With time, came understanding, however. Their languages were far too different for the other to learn to speak properly, and so it was decided that both parties would learn to understand each other instead of conversing in a single tongue. A fair decision, all things considered.

Over their course of interaction, the ophisians and the terrans learned much about each other, with the human diplomats explaining their history and their goal to find humanity's cradle, and in return they were taught the history of the ophisians.

One might assume that a race of colony-minds would learn cooperation a fair bit better than their more singular counterparts, and yet the ophisians had long been at war with each other, developing into a martial culture devoted to a dead god who had sacrificed itself long ago, and now led by seven Lords who are guided by their church. Cycles of destruction marked every incident in which they were brought low, only to claw their way back to the stars, and this history was where the terran's name for their governance as a whole was decided. The Ouroboros.

True understanding of each other's culture and language had yet to be fully reached, and so it came as a surprise when the terran diplomats received an invitation from Lord Amenmesh himself, patron of the embassy, to bring two human diplomats to one of their most holiest of places as witnesses to an ancient rite. It was less of a surprise when Admiral Erling, along with a more properly trained diplomat as an advisor, were selected to go, due Erling's prior experience with the aliens as well as his military history and rank.

The pair arrived to the Basilica onboard an unarmed diplomatic vessel, with Ouroboros escorts, and had only just set foot upon the barren moon.


Their shuttle had only just touched down, and stepping off, Admiral Erling could not help but turn up towards the sky to try and glimpse at the burning world above. It'd seemed almost eerie from the view of the vessel. The idea that the planet had once held life, and was now a burning hellscape. Admiral Erling's profession had been war for nearly all of his life, but the idea of an entire world's worth of lives -men, women, and children- all set aflame like that was a little much. Through the tinted visor of his environment suit, he could just make it out. Noah Belgrade stepped out beside him, letting out a bit of a relieved groan. The shuttle ride down into the atmosphere had not quite agreed with the man, and Erling wondered exactly how much diplomatic help the man would be in his current state. He patted his shoulder. “Easy there... Ride's over. Just take a second to get your stomach in order, yea?”

“I... Hurgh... I'll try...” Noah moaned pitifully, as he stumbled around slightly. Erling sighed and shook his head. How was it that this man was the one that'd been assigned to a mission like this.
28 Dec 2016 22:28 1 Jan 2017 22:47
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MissingAxis Sapient Cherenkov Radiation

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Amenmesh walked alongside the Terrans, leading them into the Basilica. His upright stance was nearly twice the height of theirs, and he weighed many times what they did, even combined. As they entered the pressurized environment of the Basilica, the difference was all the more noticeable. The corridors were massive compared to the Terrans, and large even for the Ophisian Lord. The trio's steps echoed up the corridor, the staccato notes of the Terrans' strides punctuated regularly by the heavy bass of Amenmesh's steps.

Around the corner, they could hear a large door open and then close. Another minute, and Amenmesh was opening the very same door. In the pathway beyond, he saw the Heretic Lord Menlir walking up to his seat, having arrived only moments before Amenmesh and the Terrans. After ushering the xenos inside and pointing out their seating, Amenmesh made his way to his own seat on Ua-Menlir's right.

The Terrans' seating was in a raised platform at the side of the chamber, just high enough to see over the Ophisian giants to the apse at the far end of the room. As the ceremony began, they could see eight Ophisian priests stepping out onto the apse from two doors on either end. Seven of them stood in front of the seven Lords, while the eighth stood behind the center one. They began to recite a hymn, and though much of the vocabulary was beyond the xenos' grasp, they could make out some of it. It was a prayer thanking God for killing itself. If they were looking closely, the Terrans would notice that only two Lords raised their heads in prayer along with the priests.

After the hymn was finished, the process of Lugal Gu'Enak immediately began. Amenmesh had explained the concept to the Terrans as they prepared to leave the embassy, but he had kept it vague. All they knew was that each Lord would nominate another to lead and represent the Congregation. Then, the two Lords with the most nominations would have to prove to the other five that they were the right choice of the two. Beyond that, Amenmesh had been silent.

The vote began on the leftmost seat from the perspective of the priests. Lord Amenmesh, then, would cast his vote first.

"In the eyes of God, I call for Brother Zisuthra to lead us."

The Heretic was next.

"In the eyes of my brothers, I call for Brother Amenmesh to lead us."

Amenmesh was shocked, turning some heads toward the Heretic, who wore an expression that could best be described as taunting. It had only taken the Heretic a moment to figure out Amenmesh's plans and shoot it full of holes. The Pious took a moment to come back to his senses, and brushed it off, turning forward again. If the other Lords behaved as expected -- in some cases, as promised -- there would be no issues.

Zisuthra, as expected, nominated himself. Nosi and Ugar cast their votes for Lord Ugar. Ikishun wasted his vote on himself. And finally, Megalu was to vote.

"In the eyes of God and my brothers," Megalu spoke slowly, "I call for Brother Amenmesh to lead us."

Megalu had fallen back on his promise to Amenmesh. His vote was to be for Zisuthra, guaranteeing at the least a tie against Ugar, who would no doubt have withdrawn his name in the face of trial-by-combat. Now, the vote stood at a three way tie between Ugar, Zisuthra, and Amenmesh.

The priests picked up on the tie without skipping a beat. Beginning with the priest in front of Amenmesh, who was to represent his interests in religious ceremonies and processes, they began to vote.

"In the eyes of God and the interests of Lord Amenmesh, I call for Lord Zisuthra to lead the Congregation." There was a chance to salvage the vote yet. Ikishun's religious representative couldn't, in good conscience, vote for him. It was one matter for a Lord to throw away his vote, and another for a fragment of God to do the same.

Ua-Menlir's priest, Al-Abil, cast her vote for Amenmesh. Zisuthra's priest cast for Zisuthra. Nosi's representative voted for Ugar. The election was back on track. If Amenmesh and Ugar tied for runner-up and Zisuthra won the vote because of the priests, it would come to trial-by-combat and Zisuthra would pick his opponent. They had already planned for this possibility, and Amenmesh had been promised Zisuthra would fight Ugar.

Al-Ninduk began to speak, representing Ugar's interests in the eyes of God. She voted for Amenmesh. Once again, Amenmesh was struck dumb, and glanced over to Ugar, who was clearly angry. Al-Ninduk had gone against Ugar's plans.

Ikishun's priest voted Zisuthra. Megalu's advisor called for Amenmesh. A tie. Amenmesh would engage in mortal combat with Zisuthra the next day.


Following the closing rites, the Lords were dismissed from the Basilica main hall. Amenmesh stood hurriedly and beckoned to the Terrans as he exited the room and made his way down the corridors.

"Do you understand what has happened here today?"

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28 Dec 2016 23:49
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Member Seen 31 Jan 2017 3:01

“It’s been WEEKS and still nothing.” Lord Danton Maelon shouted from his place in the command chair. The S.S New Dawn was entering the sixth week of its mission to explore the expanses of space, make contact with other possibly human civilizations and to establish report with said species. Yet, despite the fact that Lord Maelon's vessel was picking up various signals from the space before them, they had yet to make contact with little more than pebbles.

“Your Lordship, I’m sure if we stay headed on this course we will make contact.” Knight-Commander Kennick said from his position seated beside the anxious nobleman.

“You’d best hope we do Commander. Or I’ll make sure your next assignment is in as remote of a place as I can find, surrounded by the filthiest subhumans imaginable.”

“Yes my lord.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to retire to my chambers. Have a squire fetch me some Anduran brandy and perhaps some Kovian boar for dinner.”

“I’ll have it sent as soon as possible, my lord.”

“Excellent, you have the bridge, Commander.” Lord Maelon quickly stood from the command chair and made his way off the bridge without another word. As he made his way through the elegant interior of the ship— one which appeared to be designed more as a mansion than a military vessel— only stopping for a moment in the mess-hall to take note of some junior enlisted men and A.I soldiers competing in an arm wrestling match. While the A.I tended to win, it was good fun for the men to try, and while Lord Maelon was by all accounts an asshole, he understood the ways in which morale affected his troops and was pleased to see that at least their spirits were still high.

He continue down the corridors of the ship and as he approached the door to his chambers, Cheris, his personal attendant began a barrage of information that would be for the most part dismissed.

“My lord, a few important messages have come back us via the long range satcom from Edyr. First and foremost, in your absence the council of Lords has elected Sir Thomas Rooth to sit in your place. Obviously you have final approval on the matter, but given he is your nephew, it is presumed that it will not be a problem. Secondly, the subhuman rebellion on Tycus was finally put down after last month’s debacle at the battle of Conis. And finally, it appears that the New Edyr colony plans have been finalized, so as soon as a suitable world is found, the council has voted that you initiate the establishment of the first outpost.”

Lord Maelon stopped in his tracks, just a few steps into his quarters. “What was that last part again, Cheris?

“The council has voted and they have decided that as an addition to your mission you will now be responsible for finding a suitable planet for the New Edyr colony. Your lordship.” Cheris said, his face a cold stone of features that displayed a complete lack of emotion that would be almost impossible without the use of genetic modification.

Not yet responding, Lord Maelon moved toward the bar and began to fix himself a drink. Strong liquor and a splash of water.

“So you mean to tell me I’m to be stuck on this infernal ship for even longer?” Lord Maelon inquired in between swigs.

“My Lord, the New Dawn is one of the most capable in the Sovereignty's Navy. It has been equipped with your comf…”

“It’s not about the damn ship, Cheris.”

“My lord?”

“They’re trying to keep me from home. The Lord Minister’s supporters know I will run against him in the next year’s election, and they know I’d win too. So they are keeping me away and using these ‘diplomatic missions’ as a guise for political exile. The other lords and ladies are blind to this facade, but I see right through it. I see it as it is.”

“Ah, I too now see, my Lord.”

“And best you do.” Lord Maelon responded, finishing his drink.


“Still picking up that signal on the long range scanners, lieutenant?” The knight-commander asked, as he stood in the center of the bridge, looking out the main viewer.

“Still picking up the same steady signal. It’s close, just over a parsec and a half away, Sir.”

“Continue course for it’s source. For the Sovereignty.”

And all of the deck officers responded, “For the Sovereignty.”
30 Dec 2016 21:47
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ClocktowerEchos Professionally Asian

Member Seen 25 May 2017 20:04

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High Captain Sabal Reteh
Halcyon-Class Frigate "Void Halation"
Mission: Survey and Scouting of Bal'Tarin
Captain's Log #10

News of the death of our final Prophet has struck some of the crew hard as to be expected, we're really now alone in the universe unless we meet some other lineage by some miracle; orgies seem to be doing a decent job at keeping up moral for now, hedonism will become commonplace for the next day or so as we greave. After that things will return to relative normality.

Such rituals will be no doubt a drain on our stockpiles, as one of my more eccentric concubines has shown me (I was never aware that a Xraha Root could still grow once harvest if placed in a tight, warm environment before today), but the clerks down in logistics say that we should still have enough supplies assuming that the mission goes smoothly. I'd prefer not to wrap so tightly around a corner like this but its not like we have much of a choice. There aren't any other ships that go out this way, at least from the core worlds, at best we might come across some random group of smugglers or a pleasure yacht from the frontier.

Jumping from Void Anchor DS2 "Demios", we've arrived in system designated XO-1b.4, the Koranthi System in common tongues, ahead of time, seems like that the currents of the void have been most favorable to us. Our current target is the small moon of Bal'Tarin. According to the words of our Prophets, they once used this moon as a staging point for an invasion of the planet the moon orbits. Mission objectives are to find and scout out any possible ruins and to survey the area for anything of valu–

Scanners just picked something up, its another ship entering real space, not one of ours it seems. Weapon batteries have been put on alert as has internal security. As captain of this ship I shall attempt to make contact and establish a formal welcome and meeting with the commander of the other vessel. Should our guests prove to be too aggressive and result in the lose of this ship, it has been an honor to serve. Tell me wives I love them and that I leave them in the hands of their own husbands as well. Dsaminah Sonjellewha.

This is High Captain Sabal Reteh signing off.
1 Jan 2017 0:06 1 Jan 2017 22:48
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MissingAxis Sapient Cherenkov Radiation

Member Seen 14 Apr 2017 6:06

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The Church of Ouroboros was founded at least ten thousand years ago, according to the records they diligently maintain. Ten thousand years of war, and the Lords of the Ouroboros have made little to show for it. Cyclically, they have destroyed themselves and their worlds, barely surviving each self-produced cataclysm. As the earth is blasted, more and more of it burns and turns to glass. As they run out of vaguely safe living space, they move on, finding new worlds to wage their wars from. Over ten thousand years, the Lords have burned and blasted the planets of perhaps a dozen star systems, leaving their burning surfaces to smolder in their wake. Each generation of Lords, with few individual exceptions, has taken the Church for granted. They use it to build casus bellis, justifying their destruction and borrowing blueprints that they can use to ensure the wars can continue after near total annihilation.

The Church, however, exists for a totally different reason. It exists to observe, to remember, and to save. It is God's will that the people of the Ouroboros survive each cataclysm, though they could easily have been left to die after the first. Without fail, the Lords of the Ouroboros have been genetically flawed, wired for jealousy and violence, spiteful to the core. God's creatures are flawed, for there is no part of them that is even vaguely part of It.

The Lords serve their purpose, however, as the archives show. Over the last ten thousand years, there have been threats to the Ouroboros that only the Lords could remove. Xenos, wretched and filled with more Godless hate than the Lords themselves, have been recorded in the Church's archives. Each time, the Lords band together just long enough to push the xenos back, only to return to their quarrels and destroy themselves. But it is only through the violence committed by the Lords that the Ouroboros has survived the genocide of the xenos.

The Mon'hali were one such xeno threat, driven by a malice and hatred that had never been seen before or since. The Church incited the first strike, urging the Lords to go on the offensive before the Mon'hali could. Though the initial assault was effective, it was hard won and was only to be the beginning of a long war. No Ophisian alive today can remember the Mon'hali. However, though the records of the war hold little detail, the archives of the Church have not forgotten the Mon'hali or their tongue. So when a chapter of the Church is sent to explore a region of space that the Ouroboros has left behind, and they encounter xenos bearing the traces of that wicked tongue, the cathedral itself is struck by fear.


Met-Um was kneeling, heads raised in prayer and reverence. Somewhere ahead of her in the darkness, ЯЅДЩ lurked. It knew what she came to know, but Met-Um hadn't yet asked the right question. So it waited patiently, satisfied to feed off the phylactery until Met-Um left in frustration or discovered what she was looking for.

"I beg your cooperation, ЯЅДЩ. Have you knowledge of these xenos?"

It remained silent. Nutrients and amphetamines steadily pumped into its form, its first feast in nearly a decade.

Met-Um tried again. "The archivists are working to translate the message of the xenos. They have found similarities to another tongue, but the matches are tenuous."

It could not be coaxed. She still had not asked the right question.

"Are they Mon'hali?"


"Should we make haste back to Ouroboros space?"

"No." The answer came among a cacophony of gurgling and shrieking. Perhaps a hundred worms had replied, though at least a thousand more were unintelligible. Met-Um was struck silent.

"Learn the fate of God's enemy. God will guide you from that point."

Met-Um uttered a prayer and left ЯЅДЩ's chamber. Some minutes after she left, the phylactery's power was lowered. Soon, it would leave its low-power state. Or never again.


Met-Um drifted into the command deck of the /𝑹𝑨𝑫𝑰𝑨𝑵𝑻 𝑺𝑻𝑶𝑹𝑴 𝑨𝑪𝑪𝑼𝑺𝑬𝑺 𝑻𝑯𝑬 𝑾𝑰𝑪𝑲𝑬𝑫/. Her crew was waiting for a command.

"Hail them. The archivists will tell you how."

The message was sent not long after, a computerized vocalization of the Mon'hali tongue.


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1 Jan 2017 5:04
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Dragonruby Putting the Stranger in Stranger Danger

Member Seen 13 Jan 2017 5:10


The pace of the two men was relatively hurried, not only trying to match the Ophisian Lord's longer strides, but also to try and make the ceremony on time. The pair of them were ushered to the side, up upon a raised platform where they could look down at the proceedings at hand. It seemed that with their arrival, all the seven Lords had finally been gathered.

Erling was familiar with three of them, at least. Or, as familiar as one could get with a colony of eels anyways. It was still a little hard for Admiral Erling to discern between Ophisians he'd only just met, but with the three he'd begun to pick up little cues and tells that differentiated one from the other. Stance and posture, the way they spoke, and differences in their size. The ornamentation of their armor was also one way to tell, though that quickly fell flat if they ever decided to wear something other than what he recognized.

The Terran's familiarity with Amenmesh was self-explanatory as the primary diplomat between the two species, and they'd met fairly often within the embassy. Zisuthra was the second most familiar 'face', known to Erling as some sort of famous general in a civil war not too long ago. Megalu was the third, supposedly the youngest Lord, and apparently a bit of an eccentric, though Erling had never been able to understand what exactly made him so strange. It was enough to earn him the title of the Abberant, however. Megalu had always visited under escort by one of the other two Lords, and they'd spoken the least.

Of course, Erling was at least familiar by name in regards to the other members of the Assembly. Ugar the Old, Ikishun the Poet, Nosi the Last, and finally the most hated Lord of them all, Ua-Menlir the Heretic. Nosi had apparently abused the power of the Assembly once, long ago, and as such was banned from ever reproducing, hence his name, by for such a religious species, for someone to be given the title of Heretic was surely a most terrible and hated member. As far as it'd been explained to him, Ua-Menlir had been the one to wage civil war against his brothers, though Lords warring against each other was a fairly common occurrence, what had made the Heretic's own effort so blasphemous was his attempt to kill his brother Lords, and unite the Ouroboros under his rule by abusing the holy texts of his people.

The ceremony began with a prayer, as most Ophisian ceremonies did from Admiral Erling's experience. A song of some sort, most of it beyond his understanding using much more difficult and archaic vocabulary, though Noah besides him was a bit better educated in such things and whispered to him what he could piece together through a private channel between them. The man had settled down a fair amount compared to only a few minutes earlier, and he quickly settled into his role as a diplomatic observer as he studied the proceedings with great interest.

Once the prayer was done, however, things quickly jumped into business. Every Lord was to cast a nomination, and the one with the most would become king, or Lord of Lords in more ceremonial vernacular. First was a vote for Lord Zisuthra, from Amenmesh himself. Next was a vote for Amenmesh, which seemed to stun Amenmesh for a moment.

Erling narrowed his eyes, using the zoom function within his environment suit's helmet to take a closer look at the Lord's many faces. Ophisians were never the most emotive of species, and the Lords often seemed to have a responsibility to carry themselves with bearing, but even with Erling's limited experience in dealing with the aliens, Lord Amenmesh's surprise was relatively apparent.

“Does he not want to be elected as king...?” Noah muttered quietly. Evidently, the man had noticed it as well. “Or maybe he's just surprised that particular Lord voted for him?” Erling himself stayed quiet, continuing to watch silently.

Another vote for Zisuthra, cast by the Lord himself. Two for Lord Ugar. One for Ikishun. Finally, Megalu voted for Amenmesh. A three way tie. Before either of the Terrans could ask the other what they thought was going to happen next, the priests stepped up without hesitation, casting nominations themselves.

Amenmesh's priest voted for Zisuthra. Another for Amenmesh. Zisuthra's own voted for him as well. Another vote for Ugar. It seemed as if Lord Amenmesh's apparent wish for Zisuthra to lead the Assembly was back on track, mostly. The Lord led by a single vote, but there was one final one yet to be cast. Lord Ugar's priest would likely either vote for Ugar himself, or simply cement Zisuthra's victory, or so it seemed in Erling's eyes. Of course, instead, she voted for Amenmesh instead. A brief study showed that Amenmesh was just as stunned, if not more so than he had seemed earlier. Things had obviously not gone to plan, and a brief look over towards Ugar showed that the Ophisian was obviously upset over something. The Terrans were left to speculate between themselves as to what exactly had happened as the ceremony came to a close, before the Lords were dismissed, and Amenmesh came to gather the humans.

They'd traveled a little ways down the corridors before Amenmesh stopped to ask them a question.

“An election, right?” Noah answered first. “Lugal Gu'Enak is a rite to determine who shall become Lord of Lords. But... You tied with Lord Zisuthra.”

Admiral Erling crosses his arms and tilts his head slightly. “What does that mean now then? One of you has to prove you're the better nomination. How do you prove yourselves?”



The carrier fleets of the Terran Remnants were the pride and joy of their military. They are the biggest and strongest collection of military firepower in the Terran arsenal, carrying dozens of ships and entire invading armies, as well as signifying the most powerful form of power projection that the Admirality had at their disposal. It was where nearly all the generals and admirals aboard the Board of Admirals had served in some way or form as part of one of those fleets. To serve with a carrier fleet was the star posting of any young officer seeking to climb the ranks. Commander Sarah Heyes was perhaps stationed in the furthest post she could have gotten from an illustrious position within those fleets.

The colony of New Victoria was one of the Terran Remnant's newer acquisitions. An arid and barren planet that supported no known life at the time of discovery. What it did have, however, were rich mineral deposits, a gravity with similar conditions to Terran Nova, and an atmosphere that could be feasibly terraformed into something much more habitable within the next five or so decades. The colony itself consisted of a number of mining and terraforming outposts surrounding a single population center of perhaps 400,000 or so. And as with all colonies under the Terran Remnants, New Victoria was provided a basic defensive fleet, largely to deter things such as piracy or smuggling.

Every system had a number of 'police vessels', ships equipped with only sub-light engines and without the usual dual-engine design of most Terran military vessels. Slightly less well armed as well, the only advantage they really boasted over proper ships of the line were their tougher armor, but when considering their role in simply policing the system, as their name implies, they didn't tend to need much more than what they were equipped with. These ships were usually supplied and manned by the local planetary or system administration; the civilian governments left intact during the civil war; but New Victoria's developing state meant that what few they had were on-loan from a neighboring system.

When things proved too much for the system police to handle, however, there were small picket fleets of more proper Terran Remnant ships stationed at every colony. Numbering usually at four to six vessels, their role was to provide a bit of a more heavy handed deterrent against pirates, or any secessionist movements that may develop, or if things developed beyond their control, they were tasked with fleeing and sending word to the Admirality in order for them to send a more proper task force to handle things. These picket fleets were the furthest flung from the glory and fame of the carriers, and were often staffed by officers who'd fallen out of favor, and enlisted men who were unruly and troublesome, or perhaps just unlucky. It was where careers went to stagnate and die, and Commander Heyes was the frustrated and tired woman in charge of the local picket.



In the wake of First Contact, there was much abuzz through the scientific communities as they asked what else could be out there. Records from Basilica Station made mention of numerous alien civilizations, but many had wondered if the galaxy harbored life aside from themselves anymore. The Ophisians proved that possibility wrong, and almost immediately xenology became the biggest and fastest growing field of science.

While the men and women in white lab coats looked to the alien, many military minds from the Praetorian Admirality looked out for things more... recognizable. If alien life could survive and thrive out in the great beyond, then perhaps what remained of humanity could as well. Were the Terran Remnants the only trace of mankind left in the galaxy? Or could there be other, scattered survivors?

In the span of months, the Admirality had gathered a number of expedition ships, and using what little information they could scrounge from the archives from Basilica Station, they sent these ships out, pointed towards the last known locations of humanity in the stars, blazing rip lanes out in a wild fashion that was before unheard of. The creation of civilian rip lanes was tightly regulated by the Praetorian Admirality, but in the face of potential fellow human life... A few precautions were thrown to the wind.

Lieutenant Commander Lyle Vales was the captain of one such exploratory vessel. Supplied for a mission that could potentially last weeks or months, particularly if something was to go awry the TRNS Celer was crewed by a staff of only several dozen. In all honesty, that was all they really needed, seeing as the majority of the voyage was simply travel, passing through empty systems as they searched and scanned for any signs of inhabitance, either current or prior. It was perhaps lucky for the crew of the Celer that their estimated final destination was a fair bit closer than those of a number of other similar vessels sent out, and the crew made ready for what could perhaps be the final jump to their destination.

Activity was minimal across the bridge, despite the potential end of their already several weeks long journey. Perhaps they'd find something, and perhaps they wouldn't. There never were really high chances of discovering much in the first place, and the crew had known that from the beginning.

“Rip drive is on standby to receive power, and radiation is within safe levels.” One of the bridge crew called out as they readied themselves at the edge of an empty system behind them.

“All non-essential systems have been shut off. Power being rerouted to the rip drive now.” Another says, as the lights in the bridge shut off, and red emergency lights come on.

“Course plotted, we're ready to go on your command, sir.”

Lt. Commander Vales nodded once. “Very well, initiate jump. Let's see if we'll have anything to bring home with us at the end of all this.”

And with that, the TRNS Celer jumped, the space in front of it seeming to morph and bulge until space itself tore open into an angry red wound in reality into which the ship drifted into as it began to pick up speed.
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