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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hostile Activity (09/01/22)

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Messages - YeaokIlldoitlater

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1
Fan Media & Fiction / Re: Tide by turn
« on: January 19, 2022, 06:18:00 AM »
It was a strange request,  a single emitter photon lance to be repurposed as a long range teleporter. With this ridiculous idea we could kidnap anyone we wanted, but Illuminaire Deryvich only wanted one. "Keep the signal nice and tight, only fire within atmo range. A breach could have serious consequences to the magnetosphere and, these are still my people. No matter who now claims to own this world." Personal requests and the authority to make them don't come often.

I sighed to suppress a shiver, this was entirely illegal. Most of us had doubles living our lives to keep off the attention, it was that kind of deal. The frigate Isanora dipped further towards the atmosphere at speed, ready to deploy the lances' relay package beneath the atmo bubble. "Sweep undetected Captain" called my nav officer. I nodded, we increased dip. The package carried by the launch and matching the increase due to inertia reduction, still aligned. Success chance was low of course, but given the sudden and violent change of power at Arcadys central command on Belichatl, Deryvich was most concerned about what he couldn't replace or rebuild.

"Our firing array is on target" "Make sure the relay team are in sync, I want them calling back after every check"  "if we crap this up we could destroy the ecosystem here." The bridge was abuzz with communication, we've done operations like this, but they were offensive strikes. In some way it needs the same surgical care, but we're not your go to evac team. With a relay in deteriorating orbit, we don't have time to even be sure. "Be ready to fire in two minutes" said Usid, Phorus grade operations assistant AI. "Obstruction to target highly probable, consider frontloading lance shot on activation" croaked the almost realistic sounding voice, like an audio glitch that was engineered to speak words. "72%". "Your orders Captain?" said my NCO, almost softly. A frontloaded lance shot will certainly kill the first thing it hits and most probably cascade over a wide area if it hits the dirt, but if there is indeed something in the way our target is dead.

I regret not bringing that bottle of Eykyon vintage with me. "With faith in our divine objective and in service to those willing to reach it, we shall trust Usids' prediction and load the shot" I put my hand over my heart for good measure, mostly to stop the shaking. May the Ascendant forgive me if I am wrong.



-------


To hell with it, a tide by turn is the only way. Back to the blasted shores of Ixana, "let the farken dragin have it, we just need ta land" I grumbled. The las cut deep into my shoulder, my arm felt likes it was hanging off the bone. Couldn't feel a thing, that pilot had good shite. Whoever he was. I avoided plugging into the console in case some shitted admin was connected to the other end and switched to manual control. As clearly as I could manage, set the course map to the sea level, slowly dipping the axis til the wing tapped the water and bumped up again. "Time for the plunge girl" I slammed the axial controls to one side, the ship made one creak in protest before we were all launched 90o degrees into the wall. The screech of the wing in the water discernible to probably even the other helios'. It was rattling hard oh damn, the inertia pressing me to the pilot chair was the only thing keeping me from bein'o ragdoll. At least that should stop them shooters cutting up this airship any more. As if that made a difference now.

As I managed to get the dying bird around, off the side view Evac 4 exploded. Lascannon trail following in wake, the size of a siege mortar variant. We just missed the anti dragon kill zone, that means military encirclement. "I'm actually gonna die here eh?" I groaned. I pulled the wing slowly out 'o the water while we were turning, to avoid mishaps like it breaking off and us all plunging at 400 km/h into an unbroken water surface. Startin to pant now, like it was hard to breathe. Didn even wanna look at my shoulder. Tenderised barbecue meat. Still, the wing came out only a little worse for wear. And we was heading back to the jaws we ran from. Crack, fark I forgot to seal the cargo doors.


-------


Ihulandril is said to mummify users from the inside out, from what I can tell it's probably true. I'm down to crawling now, already reached the jungle but the dragon has given up on Garret. The next point of interest is... me. It's enough to make me hurry, dragging my now useless arm on weak limbs. Yet I would have collapsed a long time ago if not for the knowledge of where to place my knees and palm to efficiently use my energy and speed. By all means, I shouldn't have gotten this far. Still, this was agony. I dribbled another stream of blood welling in my mouth, from who knows where. There's nowhere to go, but I keep pushing deeper into the canopy. Hoping at least the frustration of having to knock all the trees down will deter the dragon, although they're nothing like the great trees of a deep Arcadiesian jungle. They're thin, forlorn hopes. Sometimes they're all you have.

In a detached way, I could tell my mental degradation by the amount of times I tried to lift my dead arm on instinct. To swat a bug or ease my other, less aching arm. The deep dark green of my light armour muddied into some kind of maroon, a visual reminder for reality in my increasing delirium. The thumps as the dragon adjusts its' priorities haunting me, drumming into my head more than I was hearing it now, it was real enough. Marching a colossal pace I could not match. I keep pushing ahead in my awkward, slouchy drag. Somehow without having tripped or misstepped. 'Yet', I think as again I try to hit a leed off my face while it moves to bury into my flesh, with the wrong arm. All I have are the moments with me now, may the Ascendant guide me in salvation.



------


"May the Ascendant guide us in salvation" Chanted in unison. A sort of ritual here on the Isonara, some of us aren't particularly devout, but faith brings comfort given the circumstance. "Begin firing sequence" I called. The quiet focus of the bridge could drill holes in asteroids of rare ore, I pity the trespasser who disturbs them now. And myself included, I watched on, giving quiet confirmation where my permission was needed. This was the most delicate thing we've ever done, more precious than a newborn. A crescendo of sorts welling in the atmosphere as each division confirmed their end of the proceedings, each step closer to the inevitable cliff of flight or fall. I knew better than to think my place was above the whole. "Captain, surface scans indicate leviathan class entity moving rapidly upon target, it is unclear if it will reach the destination before we fire" said the sensors chief. I nodded again, that 72% at least had a face to it now. "We proceed as planned then." I said rather uselessly, we can't recant the lance charging.

The sensor ops frowned, as if he just saw something else. "There may also be a smaller entity, could be part of the unit our target was in." Now I frowned, "do we know if the frontloading covers two targets?" I queried Usid. "Captain Refic, a photon lance must be tuned to the specific task for each firing sequence. It will not operate beyond our parameters" sounded off Usid, like distorted gravel.  Could the 72% chance be actually a near certainty with the dragon, and more variable with this factor? I shook my head. I wonder what even dictates these chances...


-------


Those farken gun monkeys managed to crawl up to the staff hall, ain't brought the ship guns wit' em but they out number me 3-1. And they're right outside the cockpit.

-------


Update #4 Part 1
To be cont.


Auth note:
Apologies for the massive wait, had to draft up what I was going to be doing at the end here and how I was going to start incorporating greater lore elements to "make it make sense".
I knew what I wanted, but getting there was becoming a slog. And if it is for me, it will certainly be one for you.
So I took the time to make it a bit better.
There isn't much else to say other than I have a cohesive way to end this, but doing the busy work to get there that doesn't mean writing "and x did this and this and this, ok now y is doing this and said this and I feel this way, ok /scene change/" is probably the most important part. That takes focus, so it'll be getting that.


Expect the final part soontm. Thanks to all for reading this far. I'm grateful.

2
Fan Media & Fiction / Re: Tide by turn
« on: January 15, 2022, 04:40:19 AM »
Two men burst into the cockpit to find the pilot standing with a neural link plugged into the helio console, with a laspistol trained at the door obviously abandoning the notion of sealing it in time. The first shot felled the faster man, the second shot severed the arm of the one who caught on. The third opened his heart as he charged, there was a fourth coming from the other direction. Misfire from the cargo bay, it was enough for the first man to recover and detach the neural link as the wounded pilot tried to regain his footing. His seizure upon the command console tipping the helio around. With the damage judged severe and his life wearing thin, the survivor of the skirmish decided to perform a tide by turn to get to the nearest semblance of safety. Fly to water level, tip one wing to anchor and force a sharp turn. Hope the gods allow you to fix your course.



Update #4: (soon)






3
Fan Media & Fiction / Re: Tide by turn
« on: January 13, 2022, 07:08:52 AM »
Update #3 (Yes it keeps going):


To be perfectly clear, the horrifying sea dragons of Arcadys reach 1-3km across depending variant. In total since the collapse, there have been only 47 successful operations conducted in the presence of one. We came well recommended with some significant connections to the DeepStar Order, of which Arcadys is a key signatory. It was natural we'd do the job, understandable that we might fail, probable given the circumstances even. But somebody willed this, this was intentional. A convenient disaster for an inconvenient truth. Whatever that was. The one who could tell me was thankfully killed.

It leaves me no better off now though.



-------



The wreckage of the evac fleet could be seen by orbital scanners for at least 40 seconds until the scramblers kicked in, unefficient. I will need to review our operational logs later. Understandable as illumaire sponsored mercenaries they will be almost on par with the periphiares, but unacceptable.

My inbuilt subroutines checks our full operation spread, Bay side assassination 67% success. Evac dismantled 56%, we need some to get away. But at least two key elements evaded dispatch from asset "Occam" before termination. We lack other operational assets in the Ixana bay, possibility of encirclement method. But would need to eliminate third party assets conducting it afterwards. A click and whirr as hard drives sort new information from the server bank before it inevitably reaches my logic engine.

The cool blue of my coolant tank is disturbed and hisses as nutrients are deposited into my suspended logitator tank. Information fed directly to my vas aug array through a tangle of knotted cabling and power couples relentlessly updates with data and predictions to aid next-stage movements on an almost precognitive pace.

It is time to move the intercept for the evac fleet before they reach Belichatl, our carriers have been blockading the route the whole time. I chime the vocaliser for our operations centre...



-------



"Someone's started a bloody riot on bleedin Evac 4" Shouted ops com in disbelief, something about food distribution which didn't make sense. Most of the evacuees didn't even make it to a dropship before the evacuation zone was overrun by some kind of suicidal luddic militia. But the supplies were loaded first, I felt the knot drop in the pit of my stomach.

"None 'o this makes sense, we lost good men down there" I couldn't help but seethe, most of our command was killed on the ground. Our last ranking officer is on... Evac 4. I'm not superstitious but that lines up too good for bad luck. It smells downright rotten.

I tap ops com lightly "What if some o' them luddie killers went ahead with the refugees and snuck aboard?" I whispered, so my voice would not carry to the hold somehow where our human cargo was huddled. "We didn' have time to check em 'cos of all the gunfire"

I remind myself this is how those black ops teams operate, the uhh periphiares. But they only hunted rogue lumiares, not domestic humanitarian operations.

I shudder as the thought lingers with me, the ops chief seems to struggle with my revelation too. The Evac team had only a few heavy mechs and light assault weapons, we lost most of those. Our ship Evac 2 has none, no guns on board except the mounted ones in the cargo bay...

I follow the train of my thought with increasing dread, our pilot was a new transfer too... They all were. The intercom dings, 'support weapons release confirmed'.

No blastin' luddie op that's for sure, "the bridge" I snarled to ops com as the rising cries from the back is only drowned out by the shrieking gunfire.


-------


Apologies for the short one again, the next one will be a bonafide text wall to compensate.

Happy to answer any queries about background stuff relating to this or even about anything haha. Thanks for reading.

To be cont.

4
Fan Media & Fiction / Re: Tide by turn
« on: January 09, 2022, 06:48:52 AM »
Update #2 (and time for another disorienting perspective shift):

 
"Asset Occam has relayed intelligence on target, anomalous activity on Helios' 3/8/12." Chimed the intercom, op com.

"Confirmed elimination of 3, Occam signals intent to eliminate other vulnerabilities."

"Assistance mandatory, divert operational resources"


...

The job was a hit on some suspect individuals then, at the cost of everyone else on the ground?

"Operator 3 to command, please confirm if necessary to eliminate unrelated mission elements."

"Necessary, Ixana must be cleared" came the the monotone.

I get why they cross checked my psych report, and all the NDA's. And the paycheck.


-------



"Group A we are under heavy duress, these pathers are highly trained. They're better than our guys for farks' sake" No response.

"Lieutenant Haynes is gone with his unit, we need clearance from command to leave with what we still have. Group A will have to get the memo" Called our heavy, rattling off pulser rounds at the heavily armoured pather base. Twisting energies just harmlessly splashing against the walls. The return fire blasting apart the remaining shield drones, as if they were depleted uranium rounds. From pathers? I shake my head.

39 minutes, we're leaving before we die in humiliation. "Use kinetic rounds only, we move back to the drop ships and push for Belichatl. There we signal command to get some ordinance to cleanse this nest and that farken lizard." I peek another look just befor-



-------

 


My legs gave in at some point, my combat vest arrested most of my fall out of the drop ship. Most of it. The world returning to some clarity, the gunner hit me with an injector. Whatever it was, I feel like I just dived headfirst into a centrifuge. Getting up is, hard.

Very hard. Holy shite, my organs feel like they're about to flood out in vomit. I vomited bile and my nutri packs, no organs.

"What the fark was that about" I hear the voice just above me, it's that pilot. The cyborg guy.

Vaguely I'm aware we are supposed to be holding back a sea dragon, I see my drop ship burning as it speeds towards the distant jungle floor. "We're farked aren't we?" I slurred a little, bile still dripping from my lip. I heard a tsk. A slight whirr, mag pistol.

I rolled before I even knew I was doing it, groaning from the effort. The heated magnetic round skimmed my head, my blood ran down my face quicker than my saliva. Funny how it's different, dodging the next round is easier as I rolled to stand. My cognitive ability from luciferim-lite still had a lot of sway, I can see the clicks in his head as the AI shunt adapts his movements too. AI shunt?

"isn't that *mag round whirs past my neck* illegal?" I had to keep his attention diverted so I can move freely, how did I know this? Next round skims my leg, he was quicker.

I hit the flash bomb on my kit and twist as the next round hits my elbow instead of my chest, I grit hard and toss it. Both of us closed our eyes before it even left my hand, except I measured the distance and flung my good leg towards his head with another twist. It connects with his arm, somehow he was able to read my body language before he shielded himself from the brain cooking visual explosive. The flash hits, I take two more hits to my arm as I dive backwards. I can't help but scream a little, the pain is so bad my body feels on fire and sick at the same time. The withdrawal catching up too as the world sways and twists.

"Your existence among others, was a mistake" Monotone? "You should know that not all within the illuminare approve of your creation, this is an effort to rectify you." I suppose he's telling me this because I gave him a little more trouble than he lets on, like the fact the flash bomb was thrown with a sulfide. That body is half paralysed already and the shunts are trying to override the nervous system. Even an AI should know this doesn't work. I can barely get up myself though.

Somewhat feebly, I reach around my back for my sidearm. I can see the body of Occam starting to sway as it already undergoes necrosis. The mag pistol limply drifting around as the AI using the brain shunt tries to manipulate the remaining muscles into some miracle position to finish the job. I grip the base, grope at it until it slides into my palm, trying to ignore the lightning pain running across my chest. Whip it around just to see Occam get decapitated, by a farkin dragon tail.

Shite.


````````

Shorter one today, because I need to make sure things actually slide into some coherent position. As much noise and nonsense you see here on the foreground there is an entire set of events happening simultaneously that culminates into this flashpoint. For it to move organically I have to write what is happening there before I post all this stuff. Anyway, thanks for reading.

-------

Edit: Was sick for two days eugh. Posting today.

To be cont.

5
Fan Media & Fiction / Re: Tide by turn
« on: January 08, 2022, 05:48:48 AM »
Update:

Standard operating time for a procedure like this one is estimated to be roughly 30-40 minutes in worst case scenarios, since beyond that is lovingly dubbed an "event horizon". Point of no return.

Time is 31 minutes... Helio 1, 4, 6 ,7 ,9 are down out of 12. 1 still has an active shooter, my implant whirrs in a higher resolution at the distance. It's Garret, pelting gauss rounds with his remaining arm on the downed bird. Looks like company 1 still has a survivor, most of one anyway. Hah. Our gunship is swinging around for another strafing run on the dragon, careful to wait for Helio 3 to hit first and disorient it with multiple firing angles. It's not stupid, but being the apex predator makes you weak in some ways, vain even. My artificials click around the situation at intense speeds as I pass over the rookies on 12 we gave ihulandril, or luciferim-lite. Stops them soiling themselves when it hits the fan, we told them we were doing it too snicker.

"Helio 5 we are on approach, prepare the storm boys because I do NOT want my ass bit." I nodded from the gunship display, the holoscreen projecting from 3's cockpit in turn. "Coordinates synchronised and on approach 3, you are clear to blast". My implants registered the data we got on the battle damage and in that instant we fired directly at the points to put that lizards' nerves on fire. The staccato of raging firebirds ripping through the air with the sound of a boiling kettle before subsonic blasts pound deep into the dragon's flesh keep me alive. A thrill of hurting a god, even if just a deep bruise. I too feel a dull ache from the response in my head, overuse. My implants are a shunt for operation coms' AI co-ordinator which is responding to my impulses with precognitive commands. I am operating beyond the human limit and my body can't handle it forever. 

3's cockpit display was blank. "Strike reported 3, I need your status"

...

"Gunner controls swing us around 3 is not resp- oh fark" 3 was caught by the tail and already gaining new wind as a projectile speeding right at our asses. The missiles had left the bay a fraction too late.

I hit the ejector.


------


It generally pays well to hedge your bets on the right pilot, Helio 5's Occam was a tech jockey. Dangerously outfitted with illegal mods we don't even know how he got the clearance for and he lacked the ability to think ahead. He just left the planning to op com and did all the quick button switching and target finding, a great killer. We can't kill this thing though. Now he's probably dead 'cos his brain bled from the stress, I wouldn't say stupid but perhaps a little too vain. scoffs Here I am on the gunner seat of the nursery boat where the damned ihulandril is wearing off. We've lost two rooks to small arm misfires and if it keeps up much longer we'll have to land before they go into psychosis, 34 farken minutes already. Ludd's hells why haven't the evac team responded?


------

"Group A this is Lieutenant Haynes from Evac, we stumbled on a pather nest and they've opened fire. Please advise your situation". Crouching behind the fallen heavy lifter I gripped my mag pistol tighter as a burst of bullet fire erupted from one of the reinforced huts. Smattering across the hull with a clang. We left all the heavy weapons with the catchment team over by the coast and now we have to fight armed farken militia.

No response either, probably someone switched off the com relay. I knew it was in a weird spot and it was because these guys had it.

Two of my guys got plugged already, the locals were hiding this bunch so we can't let the fighting get back to them or they may help the terrorists. I blind fire twice before being met with a withering shower of kinetic rounds, "fark me". I checked the sides of the small trench they dug between the building, just in time to see one of the pathers lean out to dive into the trench *crack*. They slide in with their spinal fluid leaking into the trench instead, score one for Mueller judging by the angle. A stupid tally given the situation, it was what? 35 minutes since mission start? A makeshift grenade rolls into view from my cover. Damn.


-------


Amongst the tides of fire and ruin before me in the great majesty of energies brought on by the glory of life, I felt a smaller explosion at my back. A tiny, insignificant pop in the face of this crescendo. I saw a gunship strike another at speed, felt the rush of the movement in my bones and body. The great end to their lives settling on my soul. I raise my Deldrac repeater and send another 40 rounds of heated anomalous energy rounds direct to the source of the inferno. My body alight with every round conjured from the depths of my channel to the stars and my challenge to this beast. We mankind have colonised the stars, masters of this galaxy. It stuck here on Arcadys will know no such glory, remnant battlestations vanquished at the cost of one hundred thousand souls above the skies of Eykyon. Oculain invaders on the frozen wastes of Phorus, annihilated by technology employed in our defence that which neither of us understand. This dragon, this natural disaster like the storms itself. Will too know temperance in the face of humanities' glory. I wash this beast in forgiveness, as it is trampled in our ascendance.

"Ludd fark this farkin' rook has washed out." Op chief Mandy was screaming again, can't keep anything together under pressure without yelling about it.

"If he goes schizo I'm killing him you understand? Get Evac team online or we'll have to start thinning the herd"

I felt sorry for coms, but I really wanted them to get this shite sorted too. Only 4 Helio units left. 37 minutes into the mission... The dragon screeches.

In triumph?


------

To be cont.

 

 

6
Fan Media & Fiction / Re: Tide by turn
« on: January 07, 2022, 08:34:32 PM »
Haha, sorry I meant to say it's based on an existing setting being currently written seperate to this ongoing post. Sorry for the confusion!

Glad you liked it, continuation is in a few hours  :)

7
Fan Media & Fiction / Tide by turn
« on: January 07, 2022, 07:06:03 AM »
Eyes forward, front-facing. Sea dragon approach to the coast of Ixana continent confirmed 19 minutes ago, and I got stuck with the evac team on watch duty. Our group were based on the shore itself where the dragon approach was calculated, our contractor assured us they set up a harmonics route with a seperate mercenary company to lure the dragon this way rather than have it enter the continent via an unmarked cove or something dramatic like that. If our contractor was reliable. The bulk of the second group was rounding up the locals here and getting them out before they were annihilated, it happens often around these parts but this time someone wanted someone else saved. It's how these things usually go, maybe they were the scion of some mining tycoon who found their faith in the wilderness. We don't ask, but it's worth thinking about while we scramble around under the threat of impending doom.

"Gnarly fuckers those things" huffed Garret, a salty veteran of these waters, as he hauled the nth crate of military-grade 'leviathan-class' stun mines off the mouth of the dropship. "If they get close enough to smell ya they'll never forget it," he takes a moment to huff a little for show "you'll be the first to go if they ever catch wind of you again". Wiping his nose and looking for a towel he slings his gauss longshot over his back again as if to emphasise that might be him this time.

Eyes forward, once you see it, you only have a few minutes to scramble the civvie fleet airborne with enough distance before it is close enough to snatch a ship, its' crew, all the people it needs to save. A few measly minutes from a distant sighting, I swallow hard, my watchmate surely notices the weakness, knows as well as I do blanching rookies get us all killed.

"Any word on the orbital support?" Yelled the ops chief from his makeshift watchtower, calling commands in his shitted aftermarket comms unit because it's the one the locals use.

"Negative" Replied the scratchy voice, "Governments' got no official presence here anymore, haven't fixed the targeting relay from the last monsoon" A pause. "And the locals are farken' luddies who don't know how it works." 

"Shiiiit" the ops chief growled with some embellishment, kicking off the top of his rinky dink ladder as if here were trying to kill it. "Then we've got no time, I don't care if you scream or whip them but get them airborne lieutenant, NOW"

So no military support, that dropped our chances dramatically. I suppress the urge to stim my mounting anxiety. Sea dragons are fast, 20 minutes now is an alarmingly long time in the face of one of their approaches and yet no sighting, it could be...

"Sir" yelled a hoarse 'Bacon', he's from the nav team and it looks like from the corner of my eye he ran all the way here from the head of our deployment convoy with a quake detector the size of a washing machine to our amicable ops chief. "We've.." he wheezes "we've got category 5 sir, at the sea bed, it digs sir". Fark, we've already missed the sighting point. Just as he said that too, we see the sea seemingly lift up a mere 10km away from the beach.

Tsunami. Watch is over.


-------



If the whirlwind of cortisol and adrenaline wasn't enough to make you feel alive, it also happens to be standard practice for mercenaries operating in rural Arcadys to shoot up on luciferim derivatives. An illegal combat drug from Rubicon and generally not advised if you want to return from a fight alive moreso than win it. Still, these versions are generally much safer, as safe as a neurological stick of dynamite can be. It better be, because I'm on that stuff right now.

As soon as that wave was visible, we all popped our emergency performance packs in near unison and armed our 'leviathan-class' mines in a visual blur of movement, at this point it is hard to tell if this crap makes you blind or we really are moving that fast. But it seemed quick enough, the op's chief putting away the abusive sergeant persona and organising with ruthless efficiency. Our moves measured and calculated as we hauled our equipment on our dropships, leaving the surprises we hoped would buy us precious seconds as the sand began to shift and roil as the quake and presumably, the dragon causing it, reached us.
 
As luciferim took us further, more intimately, we began to see the natural flow of the world. We were one with it all, each other, the deep rupture that threatened to swallow us under the sands. The ground under our feet seemed to merge with the sensation that indeed we were the ground being mistreated so, resonance drills set up with haste and ripping the earth as they attempted to arrest the quake before it compromised takeoff. I winced, even while knowing it was needed. Boarding the ships, a comforting womb, railcannons cases popped out of the ceilings as the pilots hit the release and unfolded themselves in a second. Gunners in practiced efficiency took post at the base of the dropships, gunships already circling like vultures, having been on standby.

Worst case scenario we were loaded with thermokinetic fortress cracker missiles. Which could easily devastate the side of Ixana, revoke our licence and land us a court martial.

A court martial is probably better than death though. As the thought passed over me so did a huge rock, the scaled head beginning to push up from the ground a mere few hundred metres away, erupting sand and dust and sea. In half obscured majesty reaching high enough to block the midday star, the divine beast we must now hold. The barrage of our weapons began their rhythm as we hoped hell or ludd take us from this disaster of an operation.


-------



First the comms went dark from Group A, now I hear the Fleet open fire. "We gotta move NOW or you will be left behind" my voice was beginning to fade from the yelling, it's tough rounding up luddies. Not unlike sheep they tend to wander off in their own little huts and farmsteads instead of being organised, like civilised people. "Come on get in line" I shoved one of the stragglers into the processing queue under the roar of airship engines taking off, not caring about his protests.

31 people unaccounted, 2556 evacs succeeded and 3021 remain. It was already here.

1,322 units of food, 697 units of supplies still need securing or they'll starve in flight. It was already here.

It's here on the shores. Right now.

I suppressed the urge to vomit, backwards or not these people are in my hands now. 

Two mercs from the armoured division trudged past with at least two people in each arm, obviously struggling against this martial law imposed on them to save their lives. I spat the leaf I was chewing and break into a jog with my retinue of five veteran infantry, two I knew personally, to finalise sweeps with the logistics officer and get the fark out of here. Explosions in the distance don't cause me to pause, but highlight my daunting task.
 


-------





Company 4 and 7 presumed KIA , The dragon pushed through the craft carrying those units to get to seemingly Garret's ship. I think he expected to die here. Most of us were airborne now, firing some real heavy ordinance. Railcannons are effective deterrents to the extent that the dragon is not used to pain, bruises usually. Hellfire ground missiles leave a mark though and I've personally gone though half our ordinance. I remember once when I asked how you go about killing one of these things, still a cadet in training at Kyphax, I'll never forget how humiliated I was when my superiors all laughed at me. I get it now. Buzzed by luciferim-lite increasing my neuroplasticity a hundred fold, I was taking in the situation at a speed I felt was dangerous. Because I was quickly learning how hopeless it was.


Our guns no matter how advanced, or by who made them. Could only replicate a fraction of this power.



------

Edit: Happy to answer questions about why or how things are a certain way, I'm writing from an already established world and am not explaining the context behind it. Hence why for example someone might starve to death on a "simple" transcontinental flight, the planet is enormous. Everything in it is just way bigger than us humans, land of giants and all that. Ect, ask away (or don't)


To be cont.

8
Fan Media & Fiction / A Strangled Star
« on: June 24, 2021, 06:47:12 AM »
A vast but broken world, burned to the ground and its’ ashes conquered by Volondhust invaders in cycle 50. Now the few remaining arcologies house the rest of the enslaved population, a mere fraction of its’ former scale. Pelitritan used to be the capital of a young republic, proud after shaking off the domain and starting fresh with aims of growth and diplomacy to form a glimmering stellar civilisation. The planet was gorgeous, golden and green from space and amicable to all forms of life, it was the closest thing to an ecological utopia in the sector and it was prized for the fact. Many worlds readily allied themselves with this living beacon of prosperity, the people there were fair and hopeful and although arrogant they always proved themselves moral and just in the end. Unfortunately, arrogance was a crucial downfall when they encountered Raphan. Unable to stomach the existence of such a civilisation, Pelitritan and its’ 9 great cosmopolis declared they would liberate the people of Volondhust from the shadowy grip that choked the life out of it. Unfamiliar with indoctrination tactics employed by a highly advanced dystopian nightmare, Pelitritan found war was not fought on fair or reasonable terms. The war broke the heart of the republic, it was so awful entire planets would leave the conflict, the republic and pray that the war had forgotten about them. Viral bombs blasted landscapes leaving tombs where millions once lived, naval warfare deployed scorched earth strategies to ensure no survivors were ever left and worlds that were invaded were not merely conquered, but slaughtered down to the last ready abled body.

Calls for ceasefire were simply ignored and diplomats sent to discuss terms were sent to camps where they never left. Pelitritan was facing a quandary, unrest had destabilised public order at home. Fear of their relentless foe had taken the fight out of most of their navy and the leaders of the republic feared their own personal safety from the angry mobs who wanted an end to the sea of bloodshed. But the tides were merely readying another tsunami and the republic consigned itself to a war of survival. It was hard for the people to accept it at first, the fact of it shook the nation with a deep rage, that Pelitritan needed to fight for it’s own survival spat in the face of the sacrifices made to get away from the domain and start something unhindered by the threat of destruction. The very identity of their star spanning republic was built on this, and this was the pyre that burned their worlds across the sector. What was originally known as the war enlightenment became merely known as the Thanan war, Thanan being the home system of Pelitritan. Sick of being forced forever backwards against the savage tactics employed by Raphan, the republic navy did something normally unthinkable for them. They loaded bombs, planet killer devices, AI weapons, anything normally forbidden was now acceptable so long as it removed this threat for good.

Most of the fleet didn’t make it, in fact, slave survivors from their captured territories were loaded up to pilot former republic navy suicide vessels which unbeknownst to them had unstable burn drives and antimatter bombs. Every small distance the fleet tried to take was met with bombardment and death, it was the worst they had ever seen it. Their own ships repurposed into a mockery of what they stood for and sent in the thousands to die. The meagre fleet that managed to enter airspace above Volondhust did indeed bombard a significant portion of the city, but that was all it managed to do. Most of the bombs missed, creating a jaggad landscape around the hellish city that further assisted in preventing its’ people escaping. The return volley snuffed what was left for good, the hope of a republic, damned in order to save itself, nothing more than the easy pickings of scavengers. The fleet it sent in return doomed Pelitritan and the republic worlds still in system, Sund lost millions and its industries ruined, the bombardment of Sund was so extensive the atmosphere was mostly blasted off and the desert planet became volcanic. Hyacion, an archipelago world of tens of millions murdered as chemical weapons evaporated the seas and turned the atmosphere into methane. Pelitritan saw its’ arcologies shattered, the landscape cracked into pieces and the subsequent invasion sacked every remaining city of the republic, leaving only one industrial polity and a quarter of its population.

Pelitritan these days exists as a centre of trade, it still has only one functioning city and most of the population is destined to live and die there, as the generations before them have. It sells valuables collected from the outer rim by scavengers, raiders and small polities who do not wish to be invaded. The vast ruins along the cracked and roiling landscape are left untouched, a clear message to those who would consider the mistakes of Pelitritans’ past. The planet itself is still somewhat yellow, but the skies are muddied and brown where the worst of the bombing took place and much of the native wildlife has perished in the firestorms that preceded it. It is also much hotter than it used to be, due to the megaton explosions trapping immense heat within the atmosphere, it is a miracle that plants still grow on the surface at all. The air is choked with acrid smoke and death comes early for those not under the protection of the hive city Malandi (formely Arandal), that is if they don’t get caught by hunter drones that regularly sweep the landscape for one escaped rebel or another. Unconfirmed reports of massive refugee populations in the huddled ruins of the great cosmopolis’s also circulate Malandi Hive, although never within earshot of a factory lord or compliance drone. It is said these savages are generations old and every now and then when manpower is short, subjugation squads will dispatch to collect them for hard labour. It is unknown who or where these people are after this, if you were to ask an Adraxian representative you will normally get some denial or another, mostly followed by the words “unsubstantiated” and “nonsense”. It is however confirmed that Pelitritan is a huge source of harvested organs of quite varying quality, it is also confirmed these are not collected and sold at the Dagon Resource Market from elsewhere in the south east of the sector. Official conclusions are not drawn except in intelligence divisions who are quite certain of a dark truth.

The refineries here are Pelitritan’s core (legal) industry. Many blocks long, the immense factories processing ore and isotopes gathered in the markets provide entire empires with the material needed to make warships and build cities. Currently, Pelitritan holds the largest market share of processed metals. Mostly due to the numerous, simultaneous wars that bog down Hegemony logistics which could be used for trade. Primarily however it is due to it being the main industrial output of the population, with little other native economic activity a monumental effort is placed in production of these goods. Lives and fortunes are decided on the crushing output of these refining factories, breaking the indentured population under its’ weight and replacing them with the next generation. Sometimes clones of good workers are used whenever there is a setback in manpower, clones do not last long and are mentally unstable but they bridge the gap when the population needs time to reconstitute. Pelitritan has not recovered from its devastation even 150 cycles later, the current population is leagues smaller than the largest planets in the sector, a far cry from its’ earlier glory. It is predicted that the razing of Pelitritan killed roughly 95% of the entire population, it has grown since then, but not quickly.

The current rulers of Pelitritan are not eager to see it prosper, the planet certainly makes an enormous income in trade especially with Tri-Tachyon getting involved in the riotous interstellar market. But its’ people must be kept small and beat down until the ashes of the republic are completely forgotten and only the fear remains. There are still incidents, people who would take small revenge for the crimes committed against their fore-bearers and there is an ever-present fear that the hordes of unclean beyond the city would band together in unchecked numbers and rally the people of Malandi to overthrow their masters.
A tension exists, hidden, that if Pelitritan was allowed to prosper it would fracture under Adraxia control.

9
Fan Media & Fiction / The New Eclipse
« on: June 24, 2021, 06:25:59 AM »
Habitable, but devoid of native life. The surface of Raphan is made up of soil and water with little else to break up the monotony of the landscape. From orbit it could easily be mistaken for a barren world, the only visible tones being grey-brown and blue or the brown-grey and black of the single hive city sprawled across the largest continent, Volondhust. Despite the natural lack of colour, Raphan is flush with resources, further complimented by domain era equipment brought to its surface by its overlords. In the limited plantations under strict government control, life blooms. Much of the workforce on Raphan is dedicated to tending these factory-farms, producing obscene amounts of foodstock and debt trapping other colonies on the outer rim who struggle to get enough food anywhere else. It also forces the entire population of Raphan within the confines of the enormous hive city, as nothing grows on the rest of the surface and hunter killer drones burn the forbidden settlements of anyone who tries. Not that they would, the natural temperatures of Raphan on the surface are like an oven and exiles usually die from heat exhaustion before long. This is attributed to the twin suns, Utopia and Valefar and the harsh conditions the radiation of two suns create, although Utopia is indeed several degrees smaller than Valefar and acts more like a moon. Raphan is much further away from the stars than the Terran standard, allowing some comfortable normalcy in the seasonal change which is mostly created when Valefar completely blocks Utopia, dropping temperatures to nearly freezing. Comfortable normalcy, of course, is relative to the sector standard.

The city of Volondhust however, is subject to almost none of these natural conditions, as it is large enough have its own weather systems that it’s considered to be another habitat altogether. It is a dark and moody city, clouds of ash and smog blot out the oppressive sun and beat down upon the even more oppressed peoples. The city spires of the black citadel at its centre collect most of the natural rain, although without access to the processing equipment to remove the contamination from the atmosphere the people below quench no thirst from the radioactive water. Instead, cured water and food is given to those who slave in the numerous factory arcologies, producing riches of goods on a scale that could stretch as far as the eye can see. Naturally the city’s pollution stems from the inevitable waste these huge factories create with no heed to the environment, chemical runoff being a major concern as the Thanan war saw cascading spillage from some of the larger chemical baths. After the Thanan war and the resulting environmental disaster whose effects are mostly still being covered up, many factory lords are undergone inspections from the Adraxia citadel without warning. If the produce is found contaminated, the lord and workers are expelled or enslaved and the factory torn apart and rebuilt. If the sector at large finds out about the conditions of Volondhust nobody would buy their food or goods again, they are already on thin ice with the treatment of the populace.

Food production is largely genetically altered cellular material, made for quantity above all else. Domain era machinery has been purposed to that effect, none of the export grade food is made in a vat and as long as these ancient machines function it never will need to be. This however does mean the risk of contamination is ever-present in the factory farms, sometimes the food cultures mutate to be toxic, but also, sometimes it mutates to have hallucinogenic properties. Despite how harshly failure to decontaminate produce is treated, the risk is tolerated due to how successful it makes the produce on interstellar markets. Known as a process of being “sladed”, some lords weigh their odds of discovery in such a large city against how powerful sladed food growth will make them. Indeed, much of the chemical material produced on Volondhust are also ingredients in illicit substances sector-wide even if it’s not their primary purpose. This does not stop drug factories springing up all over the city, even as one is brutally crushed two more take their place. The working population that can afford it is hopelessly addicted and thus this cycle is likely never to stop in the near future. The chemical material itself is mostly used in medicine and heavy industries elsewhere in the sector, if it were not for the lack of options in this area, the oppression of Raphan or its rampant substance production would not be tolerated by the other powers at large.

Raphan’s military mostly consists of drones and the minor nobility in a sort of stylised knighthood, with conscription normally targeting those who fail to meet their targets on a regular enough basis. However it is the factory lords who nominate workers for conscription at the recommendation of the factory prefects. Obviously this power imbalance is unfairly used and often those who have slighted or fallen out of favour with the powers in their ecosystem are sent to war, this can be for reasons as little as being better looking or more intelligent. Raphan doctrine does not train conscripts, rather the knights who command them and thus most military operations result in utter bloodbaths. If the conscripts are not slaughtered, then they will slaughter their foes as the only way they know to make them submit. Those who survive their indentured service are known as Murdered Men (this includes women, it’s actually a gender neutral term), they normally stay on as special operations or defect to become mercenaries and pirates. Stories are told about Murdered Men as if they were servants of Moloch from Ludd’s own hell, their existence keeps children behaved and the people wary. For Murdered Men who return to Volondhust or indeed civilisation as we know it, return with their acquired propensity for bloodthirst, traumatised and ready to flip on whatever subliminal trigger tortured into them by their commander. Some eccentric lords like to employ successful Murdered Men as personal guard pets, brainwashing away their more savage impulses leaving behind their competence and history of service without question. 

Raphan also acts as the capital of what is colloquially known as the "Rad Rats" across the sector, it considers itself an empire and yet is seen as being little better than organised pirates by the free sector, more as an insult than truth of the matter. Although it is true that pirate gangs view them favourably as they ferry much of their goods that most traders would not, with many pirates ceding their colonies to them for stability and security in return for their relative autonomy and exploitation of resources the pirates themselves were plundering. The pirates still get to be pirates, but as they see it, they’re now part of a bigger gang. And as long as they pay their dues, Adraxia does not bother them much, knowing well that piracy was borne from mismanaged poverty and oppression. Other planets under Adraxian control have been conquered, devastated by the blood of Volondhust conscripts. Their industries seized and their people enslaved, oftentimes the underworld population will actually rise to the top in this bloody chaos and cut a deal with the Adraxia government. Ensuring cooperation of the surviving populace, criminals will claim the planet almost as their own, defacto leaders on behalf of Adraxia. Despite what seems to be an amicable relationship, Volondhust legions will be sent to ensure compliance at all times. This is preferable to the threat of Murdered Men, who if sent will probably cause another castigation like the example of the ruined Pelitritan.

Raphan represents a great fear of the sector, whereby if tyranny is not checked than the homes of the people living in the Persean sector could be overturned by a horrific entity hellbent on enslaving them as is the case in the south eastern outer rim. Nearly every large player is paranoid at the intentions of this mercurial and despicable entity, wondering if they too will see their colonies razed to the ground and the remains ransacked in exploitation. But war would be too costly, Volondhust is enormous, while people mostly can’t keep count of the population it is indeed considered a significant amount larger than Chicomoztoc. While Raphan would not win total war and indeed probably perish, it would certainly devastate much of the sector in the process. A tense cold war is settled on instead, convoys are raided by third parties, brave or suicidal agents attempt to subvert the economy and infrastructure on Volondhust, legislation is drawn up every week to find ways of imposing levies on Volondhust produce without explicitly targeting them and often Raphan traders and dignitaries are kidnapped by major factions and never seen again. Raphan responds well in kind, releasing chemical agents on strategically vital installations, accidentally introducing foul drugs in foodstock trade to unfriendly colonies and sponsoring pirates from within their realm of control to besiege large systems.

Raphan is indeed a miasma of darkness that has settled over the sector.

10
Fan Media & Fiction / Re: The Poverty of Sindria
« on: June 10, 2021, 02:34:48 AM »
Cont final.

It doesn't matter what else you do, never run afoul of Andrada. Described as an intelligent but grandiose narcissist, the dictator of Sindria believes all that is present on the planet is his and is deeply insecure about the necessary function of powerful individuals within his government. There is an... understanding among the upper members of the Diktat, each one in truth is a prisoner awaiting execution and none have been told their day. Often they seek to rotate to Voltrun where they merely have to deal with the cantankerous administrator threatening to report every minor act of discretion as an act of treason, upon a planet known as a hotbed of terrorists and traitors. Upper party members disappear with an alarming regularity, replaced by a fresh faced governor happy to have survived the pit of carnivores of their hive city. Rare acts of compassion are seen here, where there is nobody left above them to punish the moral failing, telling the new member the truth of their position and Diktat society as a whole. Every mission, every edict, every deal must be successful where the Diktat emerges victorious and their enemies plundered. Punishment henceforth is inevitable, and harsh. Sindria is not poor, it is Philip Andrada's, the richest man in the sector. The upper members of the Diktat must continue the delusional puppet play, never failing to please Andrada and never abandoning a task no matter how hopeless or costly. Sindria is a playground of the power fetishes of a would be emperor, every man, woman and child must play their part in the great act of endless victory and none bear the burden so great as the upper members of the Diktat ministries.

An entire nation condensed into one man, yet still not large enough to encompass their ego. Philip Andrada has known for a long time he will die before the Diktat expands beyond the borders of Askonia, even the mere pirates within the system have remained steadfast in open rebellion. The very concept curdles his blood, a great life wasted in mediocrity. He was not feared by the sector, the Hegemony simply ignore him now. A doddering old man who lived his best life too late to realise his great ambition, the burden is now placed on his party. They would deliver him one victory, one great leap forward for Sindria. Or they would all burn in the antimatter fires Sindria was so famous for, every life on Sindria that failed him would burn. He never failed them, He is the hero of the Magec system and saviour of Askonia, they could not meet him a fraction of the way, pathetic. A great man wasted on fools undeserving of him. Sindria is rich, but the riches of the sector remain untouched. Andrada will be patient no longer.

11
Fan Media & Fiction / Re: The Poverty of Sindria
« on: June 10, 2021, 02:05:31 AM »
Cont.

Would begging be an industry? It brings great shame upon those who would try it, but to be in a position where it is needed leaves one with little choice anyway. To die of starvation is a greater sin, within whatever twisted moral compass has purveyed the public sense. Death and press ganged labour is a common response to such offences, the module governor strictly intolerant towards what would be a mark of failure within their management. Snakes are the common symbolism of Try-tachyon corporate relations, in Sindria it would be more akin to a den of jackals, humanitarianism is weak and those who display tolerance to such weakness is struck down with spite and eaten by their kin. Sindria is not poor, but the officials never get many tithes. Corruption is common in the minor municipalities of Sindria, tolerating shakedowns and bribes are necessary to ensure the normal functioning of basic services for the people of the clustered hives. Officials of the Diktat government are wary about asking for more resources, often opting to wrangle it from the public as a show of strength. To tolerate favouritism among districts and accept the needless lack of resources is the Diktat way on all levels of Sindrian society, nobody would dare try to change it. For officials in the dilemma of nepotistic behaviours and perhaps underhanded dealings of their superiors, costing them resources for their district, then a scheme is the only logical and acceptable solution. Of course it is a patriotic scheme, for they are burning the rot and treason within the Diktat. If they need to position a few crucial pieces of evidence to prove it, then the ends absolutely justify the means. Unless. It doesn't work.

Sindrian governors must be at the peak of their vigilance, their long and rocky career, no matter how many unpleasant turns it took, has been built upon this vigilance. Sleep is done lightly, conversations are carefully measured and redrafted, public image is done sparingly and to effect. And nobody will ever know the full extent of the governor's operations, never a loose end. Among these dealings, the petty ministers and public servants must be kept busy to keep their energy and activities off the governor. Strategically handing out resources in a way that is never easy for them consumes the time and energy of opportunistic predators at the bottom of the hierarchy. It also bottlenecks funding that could be considered wasteful to the Diktat and be harmful to the reputation of the governor, like hiring assassins or investigating gambling rings or drug labs serendipitously supported by unknown parties. A module governor never lasts more than 5 cycles, each one seeking to manipulate resources and power to ensure they do a better job at surviving. Of course with the amount of power at the fingertips of any one governor, it is no surprise they don't. Sindria is not poor, neither are it's governors. But they don't last long enough to be considered rich, it is good propaganda to depose a governor too comfortable with their post and replace them with a true patriot who proved invaluable to the cause. Again and again and again, a reminder not to trust anyone completely but a promise of reward for the loyal.

It is by design, all of it.

12
Fan Media & Fiction / Re: The Poverty of Sindria
« on: June 10, 2021, 01:23:58 AM »
Yes this sucks, I enjoyed making it though so now you have to deal with it.

13
Fan Media & Fiction / The Poverty of Sindria
« on: June 10, 2021, 01:19:10 AM »
Something I thought of

The poverty of Sindria,

Truly this rock offers little in the way of anything, the planet is hard to dig through and hydroponics cannot be grown as moisture never makes it below the surface unless shipped by the ruling Diktat government. To make the planet so dependant on trade and in such a potent position to facilitate heavy industries such as refining and fuel production has given Andrada’s regime an enjoyable monopoly on social mobility over the destitute populace, the Lion of Sindria and it’s ruling dictator. Unsurprisingly, Sindria despite being merely one planet fields a navy that nearly rivals the Persean league and their 20 worlds, posing a significant threat to those who would consider deposing the hostile and uncooperative government. Sindria is not a poor planet due to the technology and industry unique to its position essentially adjacent to it’s red giant, able to synthesise industrial components on a hellish scale without much regard for the wellbeing of the workers there. It is however resource poor, the only independent trade is the black market using goods smuggled in off world as nobody is capable of creating anything for themselves. It is also discouraged, strict living conditions forbid displays of wealth from those not in favour of the Lion himself or upper members of his party and money is tightly controlled where acceptable trade must be passed through the Diktat tithe ministry. To work is to work for the government and those hopeful to enter the few positions available due to the elimination of the previous tenants undergo zealous campaigns to uproot traitors and dissidents from the population at large, real or imagined. In some sense of irony, poverty is illegal too, it is seen to be unpatriotic for only the criminal and lazy are poor while under the protection of Andrada.

Even if someone wanted to leave, how could they? The only way to be elevated is to prove yourself in one of the most toxic militaries in the sector, many are killed to galvanise the remaining navy and to prove loyalty to the Lion if anyone is seen getting particularly close to each other. Many in Sindria understand a fundamental truth, like the antimatter fuel facilities, complex military base, extensive refining and orbital works, so too are people a resource to be exploited by the government. Sindria is not a poor planet, but it’s people are poor. Yet their numbers are rich, Sindria has one of the largest populations in the sector due to the utter destruction of the most densely habitable planet in the Askonia system, leading to a great exodus towards the surviving colonies. The people on Sindria now are several generations older from then, but no less trapped from when they were first refugees to the former industrial base. And yet there is a deluded hope, the people of Sindria are not merely downtrodden, none would allow themselves to feel the boot of the Diktat. Andrada is a hero, twice renowned, and saviour of the Askonia system. Knowing little better, many Sindrians take their service with genuine pride and are fanatical in their desire to spread the grip of the Diktat over the rest of the system.

And perhaps, the sector at large too.

14
T

Sounds like a stack overflow issue.  Same issue supposedly gave the original Civ game Nuclear Gandhi, but Sid Meier apparently only gets annoyed when this gets suggested/pointed out (there is a funny interview from some game magazine that basically details exactly this).

Although increasing memory availability for having more money would temporarily fix the issue, increasing the cap to like 1 trillion will only delay the inevitable issue.  Prolly gonna have to come up with some in-game reason why player can't have more than X number of credits... with X still being a crazy large number.

This is true but it is possible to run out of things to spend money on and slowly reach your demise, making it slower than an actually feasible amount would be nice

15
Yeah Alex the discord guided me on the right path in that regard, kinda cool how active you are here though. I like that the dev is so connected with the game still.

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