Hidden 6 days ago Post by POOHEAD189
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Year: 4010 AD
Quadrant: Eastern
System: Achaemenid
Planet: Babylon 0412

Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back...

Xemaratus knew how to punch. His fist hit Brasidas' ribs hard, taking the wind out of him. But the Laconian was patient, knowing the Beotian was getting desperate. His jaw had been loosened, and Brasidas had weathered his worst hits. Now Xemeratus felt as Brasidas did, that the next few seconds would decide their fight. Brasidas feinted right, watching a split moment later when Xemeratus spun with a powerful kick. Had Brasidas caught it, he knew Xemeratus was good enough to use his other leg to kick whilst he caught himself on the ground. Instead, Brasidas did what all good Spartans did, and he simply stepped in and kicked Xemeratus's other foot the opposite direction, causing the spun to stall and fall short. Xemeratus landed just a glancing blow, and as he fell he took Brasidas' knee into his stomach, full force. The Hellenes around them beat their knees and pumped their fists, hooting and roaring. Xemeratus was thrown two strides by the blow to land outside the mat, stunned and likely with a broken rib or three.

Xyclophius tossed a towel to Brasidas, who caught it without skipping a beat and rubbed it on his sweat glistened face, feeling the dryness in his throat. The time to relax was soon at an end, when the alarm went off. It made the sound of a trumpet blaring, bringing brunt abruptness to ones ears that was hard to ignore. Not that anyone would ignore such a summons, as it announced the time when the generals were meeting with Artaxerxes II, the Overlord of the System they now found themselves in. As the men went to go into the great chamber, Brasidas went to clothe himself.

He passed into the 'locker room,' though it was merely an area of the barracks with their belongings placed in stasis boxes to keep everything undisturbed and without dust. He certainly wished he was in a more fortified building, the material of the base collapsible, made of a high tech nano-polymer of olympus steel. Very good for portability, with a semi-resistance to small arms fire and a stable structure. But not a true barracks or place to rest when not on campaign, even for a Spartan. They lived simply, but on Laconia, there were still walls and orbital defenses. Here they were packed together and exposed.

He slid his gear on, knowing that whenever the generals brooked the peace, they were going to be moving out. He preferred to be ready, and did all but grab his weapon or place his helm on, hustling to the great chamber where the meeting was to be broadcast on a live feet. Making his way down two corridors, he found himself amid the crowd that had just watched him defeat Xemeratus, all now muttering among one another and drinking watered down Ouzo.

Upon the center of the room was a dais, and a lectern that held a large receptor for what was a hologram, where any and all the soldiers would be able to see a clear audio and picture of what was occurring in that room from a 360 degree angle. Screens were used for singular tablets personally, but each column of the ten thousand Hellenes was gifted a lectern, originally to be used to receive their thanks and congratulation from their paymaster Cyrus, but he was slain not days ago. Now all they could hope for was a cordial agreement with an honorable king.
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Hidden 3 days ago Post by Penny
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Elektra sat with her back against the berm looking up at the pale white sky of Babylon 0412. Different scattering patterns meant that the sky wasn't blue the way it was on Samothrace and most of the other worlds she had visited. It was rather pretty. The Cataphract decarch was in armor, but it was open, the panels spread like the petals of polished steel flower. Though the sophisticated armor was air conditioned, it had to be to operate in hostile environments and in vacuum, most troopers preferred to breathe natural air when they could, even now, when she was technically on guard. Two of her ten man squad were buttoned up in their own armor, taking care of that chore by observing the Carisad host via emissionless optic fiber lenses that extended from their suits like tentacles. It didn't seem likely to her that Artaxerxes and his troops would try an attack, they were negotiating after all, but if they did Elektra could have her suit buttoned up in a second and be ready to fight the second after that. The Carisadan forces encamped on the other side of the shallow valley had learned the hard way what attacking a force of armored Hellens was like two days ago when the armies had clashed in shattering destruction. Artaxerexs II had been routed and his troops had fled in panic, but Cyrus had been killed at the pivotal moment and so the battle would go down as a tactical victory and a strategic defeat. Most of Cyrus' Carisadan troops had already gone over to Artaxeres or fled into the hills. That was fine for them, this was their corner of the universe afterall, but the Hellnes, mercenaries without an employer were hundreds of light years from the Agean and Hellace sectors, hundreds of very hostile lightyears if the negotiations didn't go well.

Politics in the vast and ancient Carisad Empire was a turbuletn affair, particularly when the Emperor died. There was, supposedly, a line of succession, but the reality was that, unless the Emperor was unusually strong, it was usually ignored in favor of a more direct method of choosing a successor. Cyrus had been in contact with the Hellenes during his time as overloard of the Agean Satrapies, as the systems bordering Hellenic space were known when his father, the aged Emperor Darius, had died unexpectedly. With the long war between the Delions and the Spartans finally coming to an end, he had quite understandably hired himself the finest heavy infantry force in the world to make himself Emperor. The problem was of course, that you couldn't be Emperor if you were dead. And god damn all glory hounds who think they are invincible just because they have a set of armor.

"Arty will hire us on right?" Menander asked sounding a little anxious. All of them felt that way of course, their armor was expensive to maintain and operate and a mercenary needed to say employed or risk losing it.

"Well he hasn't started shooting yet so its a fair bet," Leto responded in her thick Scythian accent.

"He's lucky we dont just start up where we left off the other day," Leto opined hopefully. She was always looking for some action. That was good in a cataphract who served as both the scouts and the close assault element of the force, but her grasp of tactics beyond her own specialty were lamentably weak. Elektra snorted in derision.

"You got something to say boss?" Leto asked acidly. Recruits from the so called barbarian worlds, like Leto and, for that matter, Elektra were difficult to keep under discipline.

"Sure maybe we could cut our way through them, mabye," she retorted added emphasis to the qualifier by wiggling her hand back and forth.

"But then what do we do, with Cyrus dead ever Carisad on the planet will be shooting at us, even if just so whoever ends up on the throne dosen't show them the hot end of a fusion torch for not defending the Empire right?" she explained.

"We can't go back, because Arty has all that artillery he can drop on us as we try to retreat, and we cant go forward because wed have to fight every inch of the way. We can't even go north unless we fancy fighting our way through the jungles with all the creatures and the natives and Athena only knows what."

Babylon 0412 was home to a race of natives who were intelligent but had never progressed beyond gunpowder technology before the world had been settled by the Camisads. There had been some attempts to civilize them but these had been violently resisted. When the Camisads responded with violence of their own the natives had bought guns from the Terrans and promptly taught the invaders the same lesson occupying armies had been learning for centuries. There was always someone who wanted it more than you.

"The peltasts could cover us from the artillery," Menander put it, guesturing to where one of the specialist troopers stood. His armor was lighter than the cataphracts and the line troopers, and mounted three light calibre plasma chain guns on seperate mounts, one on each shoulder and one from the small of his back. The configuration could put out a fearsome amount of fire but the calibre was two small to be really effective against shields and armor. Its design was to provide harassing fire against light troops and, more importantly, to shoot down incoming artillery fire with the aid of their sophisticated computer targeting systems.

"Fine lets say they could protect us," ELektra conceeded and then pointed to the pass at the southern end of the valley, large peaks capped with snow rose up all around the route.

"Nothing stopping him from dropping the mountains on us, and the peltasts would burn out their guns eventually, Carisad troops might be for shit but their artillery is no joke."

"Fine," Leto huffed crossing the arms of her gleaming suit, "what do you suggest?"

"I think," ELecktra replied calmly, "that we all better just shut our mouths and wait our betters to sort this mess out right?"
Hidden 3 days ago Post by POOHEAD189
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POOHEAD189 Warrior

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Brasidas saw troops filing in still, checking the clock every so often. He sat atop a horizontally laid power node for the armored hovercavalry driven by the Hippeis. A few of the special unit were in the midst of a drinking contest, two of them in an arm wrestling match that looked to be the best nine out of seventeen. They were useful in their capacity, though they weren't the bedrock of the contingent like the hoplites. He glanced at the wider crowd again, scanning it subtly. He didn't care if any of the unaffiliated men missed the meeting, but the officers had a duty to be within the dome during the broadcast, and Brasidas wanted to make sure all of the hoplites under his command were present. None had disappointed him, as of yet. The men were talking among themselves, and out of the crowd strode Brasidas' two subordinates and friends.

Ajax the Mycenaen was a huge bear of a man, though he lacked the winter fat of that ancient terran creature. He was so large, bits of his armor were simply pieced apart outer armor of the minotaur personnel mechs men could drive as powered combat suits. It made him a bigger target, but it was almost as if he wore a double layer of the hoplon shield across his shoulders and torso. Anything but a point blank explosion from a medusa-mine or an anti-vehicle streaker missile would hardly have him give notice.

The other was Kelomenes, a man from the planet Thessaly in the Aeolian system. He was slighter in build than the other two, but an expert scout sniper and melee combatant, and he was useful to have during downtime when they played cards for money. Brasidas (and Ajax when he wasn't on the receiving end) would always bet on Kelomenes and get their money's worth. Either Apollo had his eye on him, or he had some implant in his head that could detect lying and the barest glance of an eye. Brasidas expected it was likely both.

"How long will the commute be?" Kelomenes asked, scratching his scalp, just under his closely cropped black hair.

"A few weeks to a few months, depending on the transport available." Brasidas answered. "We don't know if we're getting the same ride back as we had here."

"Doesn't matter. We were paid enough to last us a good few years." Ajax grunted through his beard, smiling.

The light went out suddenly, but not unexpectedly. Merely a moment later their eyes adjusted to the dimness, and the image of the inside of a lavish pavillion displayed atop the lectern. The very lighting of the room illuminated the chamber the Hellenes had gathered in. The lectern holograms were so lifelike, some of the men from lesser civilized worlds swore it was a pocket dimension they could look within, for they claimed they could feel the very heat of a fire lit within the image.

Many people called the Spartans brutish and dimwitted folk, but even the lowest of them wouldn't have considered something so outlandish.

Within the feed, they saw their four generals standing amid their chosen guard, at the ready to greet the Great King, who seemed to be about to make his appearance. Clearchus wore his spartan lamilar cuirass, red cloak splayed behind him; the only aspect of his clothing showing his rank as an officer. The ambitious Proxenus of Boetia stood across the carpet from him, flanked by three of his hoplites. With them were two generals Brasidas knew very little about. Menon and Cleanor, the latter he knew hailed from Arcadia.

"Do you think they could squeeze a few more coins out of the King for being good sports?" Kelomenes asked. Brasidas couldn't tell if he was joking.

The men began to murmur again, and Brasidas turned back to the hologram to see Artaxerxes the II enter the room, flanked by royal 'applebearers' the Hellenes nicknamed them. Everyone else knew them as the Immortals. Their faces were masked by high tech and visored helms, whereas Artaxerxes II was unclad on his head. He had a long beard, carefully woven as if he were a pharaoh of old, and resplendent robes. Golden bands, some encrusted with jewels hung upon every limb and extremity one could see on his clothed form. He walked like one who expected all to serve him, and rather than bow to the generals presented, he passed them by as if he had yet to notice them and take a seat on his throne.

"Now," He said. "Let us begin."
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