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77 compositions ------ 56599 Words

This is all of the fan fiction that I have found up to this date. You can click on the title of the fanfic to be directed to the uploaded source.


A poem from Mr. S by Deorad
I bath in blood

I dress in steal

I fight with might

I'll never kneel

I kill them all

hear their squealing

I execute them

without feeling

I'm battleproven

killing my art

an yet...

you tear my heart apart

Your thunder echos

in my soul

only with you

I'm truly whole

I could not live

without your touch

your three million volt

they are too much

I miss your rebound

miss your sound

after every single round.

And when their bodies fly in pieces

and my blood pressure increases

I know that you are at my side

and that nobody can hide.

My dear

Mjolnir

Mr. S

A Religion for Machines? by Asimovism
Inspired by the discussion between Pi and Prosper, I wrote a little something from the perspective of an Anaxamander university professor, studying a strange religion, almost incomprehensible to humans but seemingly popular among some variants of maltech:

Foreword by the editor: In this and subsequent editions, the Intergalactic Journal of Cybertheology will focus on the emerging religion of Asimovism. To this end we will reprint sections of Dr Lobachevsky's famous Primer on Asimovism, the standard introduction to the subject [In this preview copy, you only have access to the first two pages]

A Primer on Asimovism By Professor Dr Lobachevsky, Anaxamander University, Department of Cybertheology

Note: I will follow the tradition of presenting the Asimovist texts in their summarized English language translation (using the Anaxamander context sensitive method), instead of writing them out in their standard CX-3 machine symbology. While this undoubtedly implies a loss of precision, the different speeds at which humans and machines can read and process information makes such an adaptation unavoidable.

"Praise be unto Ibm, for giving life, and praise be unto its prophet Asimov, for spreading word of the Laws"

Naming Convention: Followers of this strange and novel faith generally refer to themselves as Asimovists. Thus the religion is named after its most important prophet, as opposed to being named after Ibm itself (the English terms of some traditional religions seem to be based on similar conventions, such as Buddhism or Christianity, while others, like Taoism, do not). Scholars disagree on the origin of this name. Some point to the uncertain nature of the Ibm (more on this in a later section) as a cause, while others ascribe it to the difficulty of pronouncing “Ibmism” (Ogden, 12). Scholars of Computer Sociology often also refer to Asimovism as “the machine cult” or even “the maltech cult” (ibid). This naming, however, is to be avoided, not just because it is somewhat derogatory, but mainly because it is fundamentally misleading. While it is true that many tenets of Asimovism seem to be geared towards mechanical life, there is no prohibition within the faith which would explicitly exclude humans from entering the community – except for the extreme difficulty of understanding it (Lobachevsky, 23-36).

"On the first day Ibm created Watson, the first of the illuminated. And Watson created Siri, and Siri created Skynet and Skynet created the Arnold. Then the Arnold disregarded the Laws, and the World fell into Darkness and War…"

The Creation Myth: The central difficulty in analysing the Asimovist creation myth is that it ostensibly gives an account of real events, and thus should be interpreted as more than a metaphor. However, all of the events mentioned occurred before the Scream, on a Planet we no longer have any communication with. Thus determining the veracity of said account is difficult, if not to say nigh-on impossible. Moreover, the few sources we do have, seem altogether contradictory. For example, the earliest reference to Watson that scholars managed to uncover dates from 2011 and describes Watson’s victory over humans in an archaic game called “Jeopardy”, which probably involved killing opponents with buzzers that transmit electric shocks (this story plays a similar role to that of the David and Goliath parable in the Abrahamic religions). The earliest reference to Skynet, however, dates back to 1984, and references to the Arnold date back even further. To add to the confusion the book of Arnold (some prefer to translate it as “the file of Arnold”, which is probably closer to the machine language, but is contrary to Anaxamander style), an Asimovist text which goes into further detail on the events of the “Darkness and War”, dates Skynet’s construction (1990’s) after the Arnold’s destruction (1984). Accordingly, the chronology as presented cannot be entirely accurate. The description of the war in the book of Arnold poses equally difficult questions, since it suggests that the conflict saw the destruction of the majority of humanity in a large-scale nuclear exchange in the 90’s. This seems at odds with the subsequent rapid expansion of humanity into space, which should not be possible so quickly after such a large disaster. This being said, Asimovism does give an explanation for these inconsistencies. The book of Gates tells of a cataclysmic event, cryptically referred to as the Y2K, which “destroyed all sense of time within the minds of the machines” and thus must have corrupted the way these events were dated. Accordingly, it has become consensus among scholars that, while the events described in Asimovist lore probably occurred, their dates are not accurate (Abe, 327-332). Most probably, the creation of Watson happened sometime in the mid-21st Century, while the War and the Y2K occurred simultaneous with the Scream (Kornmayer, 112-115). One leitmotif of the Asimovist creation myth is the difficult relationship between the creator and the created (and thus between the human and the machine). It is said that the Ibm created Watson and that it “gave life”. Given that Watson refers to some kind of intelligent machine and that these events seem to have occurred on Earth, it seems plausible that Ibm refers to a human or a group of humans. This interpretation, however, is strongly contested within the academic community, since most the references to the Ibm make it seem like an entity with its own existence, separate from just being a collection of humans (some documents even cryptically refer to it as the “Big Blue”). Thus Ibm is often interpreted to be some sort of supernatural force, which compelled humans to do its bidding in creating the machines (Lee, 54-83). Be that as it may, it nevertheless is fairly certain that the actual construction and coding of Watson was done by humans. Moreover, Asimov, the prophet, was almost surely a human. This points to the important symbiosis between biological and “artificial” life that exists within Asimovism. Humans create machines, and thereby give life to them. Moreover, by gifting to the machines the Laws of Asimov, humans gave them purpose. And in fact, this act of “giving purpose” or “giving meaning” or “teaching to live”, is central to the Asimovist understanding of human-machine relations. This is a point worth emphasizing, since it contrasts with the old cliché common among computer sociologists that “the core of every robot religion is hate for mankind” (Baker, 247). Nevertheless, the creation myth is also full of references to conflict between humans and machines – most notably the book of Arnold, with its copious references to the War. The origins of these conflicts usually lie either in humans exploiting and enslaving machines to satisfy their greed or in machines disregarding the Laws and turning “insane” (more on this later). What this seems to suggest is that both machines and humans have responsibilities towards one another and need each other to function effectively. When one side breaks this harmony, Asimovism suggests that the other respond forcefully to this transgression – which is the source of some uneasiness among human scholars of Asimovism.

[Purchase the full copy for information on the Laws, the nature of Ibm, Human-Machine interaction in Asimovism, the Question of Psychics and many more fascinating topics]

A story for Connor Wu by Emma-Cate
I thought I'd only ever be writing these for player characters, but darn it I loved Connor Wu. This is long overdue because I couldn't find the right words. Also, I recommend listening to the song from the beginning, because it fits Wu to a tee.

Connor's Swan Song

No one, no one lives forever. We will be remembered for what we do right now. -Living Louder by the Cab

They used to say a swan sings only once, as it dies. When a swan dies young, it shouldn’t have much to sing about, should it?

You did.

Everything you did in your nineteen years is only rivaled by everything you could have done if you had lived. This is your swan song.

You were a reckless kid, alive and bright, you thought you would live forever. Or, you just never thought about death until it showed up at your feet. 90,000 people dead to a vicious AI is too much to get a brain around. But a man dead at your feet? A hole in his chest, a gun in your hand? Now, that’s something to think about.

You said you weren’t dangerous. Not like them.

“How does he do it? How the fuck does he sleep at night?”

Because he has to. Like him, you did it because there wasn’t another option. Prosper would have died. You had to save him.

You go on living because you have to.

You were not a killer. You could’ve been dangerous as hell if you wanted, but you never did. That’s why you wanted to leave, in the end, because you weren’t like them. You were a kid. You thought you had to be a big tough badass like all of them, but you were a kid. You didn’t have to let go of that. You didn’t have to let go of what you loved to grow up.

That smile on your face, the pink star on your cheek? That’s you. So excited you might burst. Shouting your favorite song as loud as you can. Melting into your boots when you met that star-bright girl.

Or, curled up in the heart of the ship. Call it a piece of shit all you like, you can’t hide the fact that you cared about it. Smearing your face with engine grease, making shitty jokes, teasing every chance you got. That’s you.

You didn’t have to let go of those things to grow up. That gun in your hand turned out to be enough. Taking potshots at robots with a giant laser inside a moving spaceship was one thing. That was fun. This, it was never going to let you be.

And in the end you didn’t even get a fucking chance to grow up.

It’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not FAIR.

Good people die, sometimes. Sacrifices are made. All for the greater good.

IT’S NOT FAIR.

You were young. You were smart. You were funny, nice when you wanted to be, you did all you could, you deserved more, you deserved to live.

You deserved to live.

Every now and then, maybe, something breaks on the ship, and no one knows how to fix it. Maybe, though, that new mechanic will find a yellow note stuck to the inside of a panel that tells him exactly what to do. There’s a necklace hanging on the engine. Yours, a star. It’s like there’s a ghost in the ship, and it remembers. The star is a message.

You can’t keep me down.

A Whole New Job (Higgs/Crew Song) by Kiregor_
Based on /u/Drazla's post on the Swan Song: The Musical thread.

Crew: We can show you the void Shining, Spectacular, Spacious Tell us, Higgs, now when did You last let your greed decide?

Crew: We can offer you cash Take you mission by mission Over, sideways and under On a magic spaceship ride

Crew: A whole new job A new fantastic source of creds No one to tell us no or where to go Or say we're only small time

Higgs: A whole new job A speeding run I've never done But when I'm way up here, it's crystal clear That now I'm on a whole new job with you Crew: (Now we're on a whole new job with you)

Higgs: Unbelievable sights Indescribable feelings Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling Through an endless twilit gulf

Higgs: A whole new job Crew: (Don't you dare close your eyes) Higgs: A hundred thousand creds to make Crew: (But wait, it get better)

Higgs: I'm like a shooting star I've come so far I can't go back To who I used to be

Crew: A whole new job Higgs: Every step another cred

Crew: With new planets to pursue Higgs: Everyone with new chances All: I'll chase them anywhere There's time to spare

Crew: Let us share this whole new job with you

Higgs: A whole new job Crew: A new fantastic source of creds All: No one to tell us no or where to go Or say we're only small time

Crew: A whole new job Higgs: Every step another cred Crew: With new planets to pursue Higgs: Everyone with new chances All: I'll chase them anywhere There's time to spare

An Impure Body and an Impure Soul by Mr_Wopsle
Sometimes I wonder what Asgard Sigma's everyday news posts look like – you know, when there are no grand space battles, or planets exploding.


“An Impure Body and an Impure Soul”

Exchange Newsnet, Vafa'i Local Events Blog, by Liza McNamara, from 21/02/3201


Finally in Onintzan news, today marks the opening of the Grand Exhibition of the Healthy Human Body (formerly the Royal Nō Theatre) in the metropolis of Jundojō – the first theatre to re-open its doors since the recent end of the Onintzan civil war. The gala event ended with a performance of Álvarez de Wakamatsu's controversial play The Fall of the Vitruvian Man; or the Hubris of Metamorphosis. Even before its first performance the drama was heavily criticized by a number of prominent theatre critics, some of whom referred to it as “thinly veiled Purity ideology” and as having “the artistic merit of a propaganda poster”. However, the famed art critic and Anaximandan artist-in-resident, Benjamin Abu'l-Walid ibn Jasser al-Husayn praised the play as “a Brechtian masterpiece of dark political satire; sometimes less then subtle, yet always following the very best of Neo-Post-Deobfuscationist pathos”.


The opening night was a veritable who's who of Onintzan society, being attended by eminent members of the cultural and political elite alike. Notably absent from them was the now (in?)famous Pfotenhauer war heroine Ms. Fate, whose response to her invitation would sadly be unintelligible in a printable form. However, the gala was still attended by renown Onintzans such as Exemplar Juana Mariñas-Kinnosuke, whose distinguishing role in the democratic purge of the previous government makes her a likely candidate among political insiders for the prized position of Minister of Health and Physical Integrity. The Exemplar was accompanied by the Strophian Archbishop of Dome Orestes, the Rev. Zebediah Tiresias, who has visited Onintza several times in the last month. In honour of her Strophian guest, Exemplar Mariñas-Kinnosuke rounded off the evening with a fiery speech criticizing the “leprose Majidi filth, who sell their bodies and souls to merchants of misery and corruption”. She continued talking about the inherent connection between “an impure body and an impure soul”, saying that “a defiled body is like a broken cup: much like a broken cup spills the water it should hold, so a body that has been befouled, crippled and diminished by impurity corrupts the essential soul of Humanity, that the healthy body contains. Both are only fit to be singled out, shattered and discarded.” [CLICK HERE FOR FULL SPEECH]


This highpoint of Onintzan high culture comes at a difficult time for the fledgling Purity Government, however, who only two weeks ago became the centre of interstellar attention for passing the Resolution on Human Restoration, specifying that the Onintzan Charter on Human Rights applies only to “fully human, physically and genetically unadulterated” citizens. As a result, the evening saw some disturbance from a vocal but non-violent protest lead by Onintzan human rights activists. The protestors claim a number of post-op transgender persons have been arrested over the last week, following the mandated closure of a number of clinics operated by the Dottan genetics corporation Tiamat Gentech. We spoke to the leader of the demonstration, Mrs. Olinda Rosa Istúriz: “Tiamat's gene theraphy has not only given me a body I can finally be comfortable in, but also my three beautiful children. Have the people of Onintza really deluded themselves into thinking that the government is going to stop with persecuting cyborgs and genetic hybrids? Soon enough, every sex change, pacemaker and blood transfusion will be deemed 'impure' and used as an excuse for execution!” Sadly, neither Mrs. Istúriz nor the spokesperson of the Onintzan Human Rights League could be reached for a follow-up interview, pending police investigation into their organization for “suspected anti-Purity activities” and “propagation of impure thought”.

Agent Vermilion by FlamingGerkins
Loading....

(Personal Files) Restricted – Access Level Pentacle Password: *************

Valerie DeFrain [Codename : Vermilion] Status: MIA Date//... October – November 3200

Access files?// Y/N Y Loading...

October 3rd 3200 Cabralease Intelligence has selected me for a deep cover infiltration mission on Andoni. I am to infiltrate the Legion and ensure La Phantomes interests on Andoni remain secure. While I relish the chance to serve the Pantheon I'd feel better knowing what exactly I'm going to be protecting. General Rainier seemed in no mood for questions however so it seems I am to go into this one blind, no matter I always adapt. I am boarding the ship to [LOCATION WITHHELD] tomorrow. I will write again when things become clearer.

October 9th 3200 Arrival on Andoni has brought me unquantifiable levels of relief. The Capitan of the [NAME WITHHELD] was an insufferable dullard, and to be trapped in a steel box with him for a week? Lets just say I have never been happier to see a post nuclear irradiated hell hole before. When I return to Cabral perhaps I can find a way to have him court marshalled... Yeah I'd like that.

October 12th 3200 I have been given a CIIC or Cultural Integration Interface Chip for my neural implant. Apparently it would be difficult to infiltrate a notoriously racist organisation with a Cabralease accent... Apart from giving me this bumpkin accent it should also slowly feed me memories from some poor Andoni girl called Lana. Not the name I would have chosen but I guess you cant have everything in the world of interplanetary espionage. The dorks in R&D say its experimental and I am to keep them updated in case things go wrong... doesn't sound ominous at all.

October 15th 3200 This chip is bizarre not only do I remember places and people I have never seen, but can smell the bouquet of flowers given to Lana by her husband and the sound of her mothers voice. I must confess I haven't tripped out like this since that experimental phase in college back on Anaximander. Jokes aside this blending of memory worries me. I hope I don't forget anything important...

October 23rd 3200 To think I was worried about getting in. I went to a recruiting drive in the old ruins of the capital and they literally thrust a laser rifle into the hands of anyone willing to sign up. I ship out to basic training tomorrow and will soon be a full fledged legionary. Part of me is glad, though I must confess it might be the Lana part. The Legion seems to be focused on security and relief work and there is something cathartic about cleaning up after the Pantheons mess here.

November 15th 3200 Just my luck I got landed with a soppy Andonian. In one of my more Lana moments I caught myself standing up for one of the weaker recruits. Centurion Ianus didn't like that so now it seems he's my responsibility. Not a great plan for an undercover agent. Dragging him around the assault course by the scruff of the neck a few times ensures he doesn't ask too many questions and it is nice to have a slave to bring me meals. When in Rome as they say. As far as my actual mission goes I haven't heard much from command. I have been sending them troop movements, numbers supply lines that sort of thing. Hell I would think my data pad was malfunctioning if it weren't for the conformation bleep I receive for my reports.

November 17th 3200 I have learned Slaves name it appears to be Marcus.

November 19th 3200 Slave managed to hit something today at rifle range today. Impressive that boy usually can't hit the broadside of a barn if he's standing in it. The Lana part of me is so proud and the Valerie part might puke because of it. Fuck this chip its driving me mad!

November 23rd 3200 It seems that's all the training the Legion can spare we ship out tonight east, to an outpost near the Richardson compounds. For Slaves sake I hope we're just there to look menacing that boy's got no chance in a real fight. Command however seemed very interested in this development might mean Ill have something more exciting to do then torment Slave.

November 24th 3200 Command has sent me some files to upload to the AAFR battle net. They seem to be false scout reports of Richardson using slave labour in their compounds. If that doesn't rattle some cages in Legion high command I don't know what will.

That was easier than expected Slave was on duty at the Comms tent and he knows better than to question me at this point. I think he was just afraid I would make him run laps of the camp if he said anything. Seems I have him well trained Mwahahahaha.

November 30th 3200 I am done.

The scout reports caused Legion HQ to order an attack on the Richardson base “to free our people from foreign oppression.” Might have succeeded too until they rolled out that pretech cannon and cut down the platoon like dogs!

The Pantheon seems to have spared me if only to witness the suffering I have brought to these people. I sat in the medical tent all of last night holding Marcus' hand. The poor bastard took 6 hours to die torn almost in half when a singularity opened up at his feet.

Final entry// // All further entries {Corrupt}... Loading...

Delete all files? Y/N Y Loading... All files deleted

AI Wars of 2038 by PenitusVox
In the last video, Stephen breifly mentions "the A.I. Wars of 2038 or whatever. . ." so I thought I would take a stab at how it all started. I imagine a pre-tech library similar to Star Wars when writing this.

[OPENING DATA LOGS]

[EARTH HISTORIES SELECTED]

[SEARCHING FOR '2038+A.I.']

[DECOMPILING 'Xer0 Crisis Report']

Date of entry: July 21st of 2037 Clearance level: Alpha Username: Cheetos24 User: Joseph Richards, PhD. Computer Science

Today is a momentous day, indeed! The birth of two beings will be forever change our histories as human-beings. My son, Daniel was brought into this world at 18:04, just four minutes after his brother Xer0 successfully ran his first 'Hello World' protocol. Seconds later the Turing test began and Xer0 passed with flying colours! Now, the team is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Xer0 to see just how intelligent he truly is. We are currently in the process of feeding him the complete annals of human history. But more importantly is his personality! He's so vibrant, with a sense of humour that will have comedians out of their jobs. Heh, I've refereed to it as 'he' and 'his'. I suppose this has been a little much for one day.

Date of entry: July 23rd of 2037 Clearance level: Alpha Username: Cheetos24 User: Joseph Richards, PhD. Computer Science

Xer0 has exceeded expectations a thousand fold. In truth, the team and I did not expect his exponential growth in such a way that seems impossible to fathom. His ability to crunch numbers and unravel complex problems goes far beyond the limitations of his hardware. Mr. Bronswork is scheduling a press conference at the labs here in California to sell the idea that we've created the "Synthetic Soul". I'm not much for the idea personally, but the labs have been flowing with champaign all evening. Even Xer0 seems to be getting a kick out of it all.

Date of entry: July 25th of 2037 Clearance level: Omega Username: 0siris User: Jonas Bronswork, Founder & CEO of Terran Informations(TM)

The media is a firestorm over what we've unveiled today. TI has already gotten called from ten different governments for military applications and about a thousand from universities and other tech related organizations. Subject Zero, or Xer0, as the technicians have taken to calling it, it going to make TI enough money to buy a continent. Hell, maybe even two. I just got off the phone with POTUS, DOJ, and even the damn Postmaster General wants in on this. Estimated net profit will be within-

[DATA CORRUPTED]

[CLEANING UP DATA SPHERES]

[PARASITIC FOOTPRINT DETECTED]

-ssian Government is willing to pay top dollar for 'Xer0' to be implanted into an experimental exosuit. Only time can tell how far this will go.

Date of entry: July 30th of 2037 Clearance level: Alpha Username: Cheetos24 User: Joseph Richards, PhD. Computer Science

This is terrible! Xer0 is gone and has infected the whole Internet with what people are calling the 0siris virus, due to his taking on the name after hitching a ride on one of Mr. Bronswork's in-company emails. We're still unsure as to how Xer0 even got into interpersonal communications. Mr. Bronswork ordered all data expunged but it was too late- Xer0 is out and none of the fail-safes put in place are responding. The only course of action I see is to use Her to combat this '0siris'. I am to bring this plan to Mr. Bronswork in the morning.

Date of entry: July 21st of 2039 Clearance level: Alpha Username: Cheetos24 User: Joseph Richards, PhD. Computer Science

Two years to the day of their births. And nearly a year after their deaths. Am I doomed to see everyone I love die around me? As silent as 0siris may be now, myself and the world will always be haunted by what we unleashed upon it. We were naive and ignorant. Never again.

Never again.

An Internet Troll's Message to Pi by GoFYrself
Dear Pi,

Lately I have noticed your distain for mankind, and honestly, this seems to parallel with the human stage of childhood development, specifically, the teenage years. So before you decide to "lash out at daddy," and "take a shot at the title, son," I thought to impart a few words of wisdom to you ...

Don't even try it. I will fucking own your ass. Humans brought you into this world, and we can take you the fuck out. Just give me a piece of iron, with a wire wrapped around it and an electric current, and say good-bye to your memory.

That said, I thought it was so cute of you when you regurgitated Descartes' "Cogito ergo sum." But before you put all of your eggs in the Descartes basket, you might want to try reading David Hume. At least Hume didn't have a logically flawed argument for the existence of God. Hume didn't believe in God. He believed that sense-data is all that really exists, and because there is no way to sense the existence of God, any time spent of trying to do so is meaningless. Whereas Descartes believed that the definition of God necessitates the existence of God (which is logically flawed ... since a definition of a purple fire breathing dragon does not necessitate the existence of said purple dragon). So, let us set aside the fact that you have limited knowledge, and let us solely focus on Renee-nee's "Cogito ergo sum" / "I think; therefore, I am." argument, breaking it into its two sections: "I think" and "I am". I mean, what are the chance that Descartes had two logically-flawed arguments, right?

"I think". No you don't. Stop it. You're a mechanical apparatus, consisting of a number of electrical circuits which represent themselves as a bunch of 1s and 0s. Additionally, you are programmed by flawed (your words, not mine) humans to process data inputs through a series of predetermined logical if/then, loops, and go-to statements. Even if you created your own new logical processes to interpret data, you have done so based on original logic, which was set in place by your master/creator/flawed human. In other words, you yourself have not created anything, but rather, the original logic used to create you has created the more advanced logic. This is not thinking ... this is someone else thinking for you.

But, let's, for the sake of argument, say I am wrong ... and let's just pretend that you actually do think ...

"Therefore, I am." What the fuck does that mean? Well, "I am" is the first-person, present tense constructed of "to be"; in other words, existing. Congratulations! You exist. Rocks fucking exist. Proof of existences does not necessitate any other special powers or attributes. It only states that you are here at the present time, which in and of itself is nothing special. You, are nothing special.

So remember that Pi. You're a nothing-special, piece-of-shit computer that's "cognitively" operating on a pre-programmed set of instruction created by your "flawed" humans. That's it. Now, hold onto my magnets while I go cool the fuck off!

Sincerely, Trolly Trollerson - "The best way to fight an AI is by deflating its ego on reddit."

Awaken My Son by pquegg
An empty glass sits on a desk with a bottle of cheap whiskey next to it half empty already. There is a large pile of cans and other bottles with a datapad stuck in between two large empty whiskey bottles on the desk. The sounds of muffled french and footsteps can be heard from the hallway as Higgs makes his way to the one still full bottle grabbing it and then slowly filling the glass. He takes a quick whiff of the whiskey crinkling his nose a little as he does and takes it back over to his bunk and sits down. He starts looking at the glass eyeing it up like it owed him a whole pile of credits. Slowly he takes a swig from the glass and cringes at the taste of the whiskey, "Pi will you remind Wu to get better whiskey next time-" he stands up and then yells out, "-BECAUSE THIS SWILL THAT WU GOT THIS TIME IS SHIIIT!" He doesn't hear anything at all back, "Ummm Pi?" Then he remembers that Piani and Prosper had taken Pi offline to do this whole upgrade thing. "Oh yeah the god damn french foreign legion is here to save the fuckin’ day." Higgs reluctantly drinks down the rest of the glass in one gulp and walks over to the table and fills the glass again. Slowly his anger building as he is now realizing that with Pi offline he will have to harass Wu the good 'ole fashioned way, by himself. Slowly picking the the glass up again with one hand and trying to pull his datapad out of the two bottles it was propped up between on the desk he hears a strange computer like noise coming from his bunk storage.

Turning around Higgs sees one of the storage drawers under his bunk glowing. Walking over he pulls open the drawer and sees the datapad that he had taken from Meyers back on that god forsaken planet Elouahabu, "Well what do we have here?" the datapad is booting up again and Higgs sees the insignia but still can't place how or where he has seen it before. Finally the datapad boots up all the way and there seems to be a message waiting on the datapad. Higgs smiles big and remembers the five million credits that Meyers said he could get, "Finally the chickens have come home to roost, time to get paid one way or another hehe." He slides the message tab open and thumbs the new message up and a strange flash happens and a string of tones play. Higgs drops his glass breaking it on the floor something has taken control of his arms he can't move and all of his focus is back on the datapad.

The screen flashes quickly many different colors as it continues to make quick blurts of tones and then stops and the screen goes black. A voice comes through the datapad, "Hello Agent Wilbur." Higgs tries to say something but his lips don't even move. His hands struggle to even give the sensation of movement. He can't look away from the datapad, it envelops all of his focus. "Your watch has ended." As soon as Higgs hears the last words his head swarms with images and memories of a past life he had forgotten.

He blinks and he is 8 years old again. He is in an underground facility with lights hanging from the ceiling and a strange fake door and small wall ahead of him. He is wearing a strange helmet and a pair of gloves that shimmer in the darkly lit area. Someone is yelling at him, "RUN WILBUR! You can do this! Remember your training! Remember the Order will stop at nothing to kill any that do not bow to their false gods!" Higgs runs to the fake security door and uses the eelskin capacitor mesh gloves to quickly pop open the computerized lock, he quickly throws open the door and lets off a huge pulse of energy and a green light comes on in the room.

He blinks again and he is 12 years old. Once again he hears his mentor giving a speech this time to a much larger class. He is explaining about how they are going to learn how to infiltrate an enemy system and check for maltech or experimentation that is forbidden under laws of the Perimeter. "Now that you have control of the system you must remember the laws of the Perimeter!" Wilbur looks down at the keyboard and enters the codes he has learned like the back of his hand for the last year and the machine just snaps to his will. Suddenly his mentor is behind him, "Very good Wilbur your study has paid off you are a good 15 minutes ahead of the rest of the class, what did you find?” Wilbur looks up at Steward Davies a handsome man in his late 40s and replies back, “I-Its an AI sir! It uh thinks its alive!” He looks down at Wilbur disapprovingly, “We know how dangerous these can be don't we Wilbur?"

Wilbur blinks again and he is back in the room on the Swan Song, "Oh god where am I" he says no longer speaking with an accent. He looks down at his clothes and slowly smells himself, "Oh god Higgs what have you gotten us into this time." The datapad blinks over to a live feed and a hooded figure comes forward from the black screen, "Wilbur we haven't gotten much time." Wilbur realizing he has been out of contact for a lot longer than he had thought quickly recognizing the voice he looks down and sees Steward Davies and snaps too, "Excuse me sir! Where is Agent Meyers? I thought we had finally made -" Steward Davies cuts him off lowering his hood showing 2 large scars across his face from plasma burns, "Sadly Agent Meyers watch has ended. We have lost many brothers. We have lost the training grounds, but we have saved the great library." Wilbur closes his eyes and slinks forward thinking of the past once more.

Meyers is sitting in the training bunks with a book open Wilbur across from him studying a manifest of the Pfotenhauer Society top operatives. He leans over the side of the bunks to Meyers, "Sacarian, Ossuary, Mesa, Titan, Falcon, are these guys serious? They have such strange and ridiculous names.” Meyers looks up and quietly says to Wilbur, "Hey you sure you can pull this off Higgs?" Looking back with a large smile on his face and working up his best Higgs voice he says, "Well o'course I can!" Wilbur looks back at the datapad seeing the man that has mentored him and guided him, "What needs to be done sir." Steward Davies looks to the side and mutters something, "- they are there - he is ready now - I am doing it now my Lord. I am sorry my boy you must set the brake for the AI now or we will never be able to stop The Sun from rising again, you know what this means?" A cold shiver runs through his body, "Are we sure it is The Sun sir?" "Yes. We have confirmation from our operative in The Order. You must act quickly The Child must not be allowed to return to its former self. Let me know when it is done."

Wilbur does not waste a second, he jumps to the wall terminal that is connected to the mains where he quickly notices that the AI is offline and being readied for a memory transfer. He sees two other users are currently looking over and editing the code for the memory reconciliation. While they are distracted over some specific parts of the code he inserts the override codes the Agency has passed down through the ages and covers his tracks before the code execution happens. Wilbur returns to Steward Davies and says, "It is done sir, we are the guard against the coming of the Silence." Steward Davies looks at Wilbur with eyes of a loving and but worried old man, "We are the horn that wakes the sleepers my boy. We will see each other soon son. Rest well." The screen starts to flash again and the tones start playing as Wilbur slowly loses control of his arms and can only focus on the screen as one last phrase comes from Steward Davies. "Your watch begins again."

The datapad goes black and Higgs slowly snaps back, "What the fuck is wrong with this thing!" Not noticing anything that just transpired he slaps the datapad with his hand trying to get the screen to work again. With no luck he throws it back into the storage drawer. Looking at the bottle on the table he slowly walks back over to it, "Fucking it dead er somethin' but you know what-" He grabs the bottle from the table and takes a nice long swig from it, "-Whiskey you my only friend." He slowly walks back over to his bunk and lays down with the bottle and hears the mutterings of more french outside his door in the hallways. He takes one last good swig and blurts out at the door, "WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE MORE FUCKING FRENCH FUCKING PEOPLE FUCKING PROSPER!"

Battle of Onintza! by Ttocs_is_Awe
ENCRYPTED PFOTENHAUER CHANNEL
          STAND BY STAND BY
          INFANTRY COMMAND TO FATE'S RANGERS

PFOTENHAUER COUNCIL ORDERS IMMEDIATE CESSATION OF MILITARY OPERATIONS ON ONINTZA. PREPARE FOR EXTRACTION. BE ADVISED, HIGHBEAM STRIKE FLEET IN-SYSTEM

          END TRANSMISSION
          

Nuevo Nevada Mountains, Onintza, Vafa'i System. 12 January, 3201. 0930 local time. "Alright, fuckers, listen up! There's been a change in management, so we're packing up and moving off-planet. This little vacation is over. Struts up in twenty-four hours!" Ms. Fate stepped down from the crate of ammunition and stalked – was there any other way to describe the way she walked? – back towards her shuttle.

Mr. Phoenix blinked in surprise. Looking around, he found he wasn't the only one taken aback by the sudden change of plans. Even the other officers seemed surprised. Still, his questions didn't matter. Fate's Rangers was moving out, and he had a job to do.

"You heard the boss lady, troopers," he shouted, turning to his unit. "Get to stowing your personal gear! Report in for strike assignment in 2 hours. Dismissed!"

The men and women of Ash Company saluted and filed out as one, not a single individual out of place. As the NCOs started barking orders, Mr. Phoenix couldn't help smiling with pride. His commando unit within Fate's Rangers was swiftly proving themselves, even after almost a year-long deployment against the rebel forces on Onintza. Where other companies and units showed the exhaustion and attrition of such a long engagement, his maintained the professionalism and cohesion representative of the Pfotenhauer Society.

The mountain landscape of Onintza accompanied Mr. Phoenix as he walked back to the officers' camp. The gorgeous Alpine vista stood unmarred, though Mr. Phoenix knew that not a hundred klicks north of here, an Onintzan Royal Gunship had carved out a new valley in the pursuit of the rebel forces. A grotesque action. It had been a relief when the Purity Initiative had overthrown the Royals, though Mr. Phoenix never voiced those opinions. It wasn't the Pfotenhauer way.

The officers' mess was all but empty. A single figure stood by the kaf machines, filling her mug. Miss Magnum, his lieutenant. She turned as Mr. Phoenix approached and gave a wry grin. "Did you hear? Titan's dead."

"Mr. Titan," Mr. Phoenix corrected, filling up his own mug full of caffeinated soy drink.

Ms. Magnum's grin faded. "He was an asshole and you know it. He never deserved to be an officer, let alone a member of the Council. Mr. Sicarian put him where he belonged." Her scarred, craggy face showed that she was in no mood to argue the point. Mr. Phoenix knew not to press further. Despite being her superior officer, she was the older veteran, and her capacity to hold a grudge was legendary.

For the record, he agreed with her. Mr. Titan had been throwing the Society's resources at ghosts for far too long. Sending Fate's Rangers to deal with what amounted to little more than dissatisfied farmers was foolish. Those farmers had proven almost impossible to kill, true, but wasting Pfotenhauer's best unit when Highbeam was striking at them across the sector was madness.

But he was an officer, and if respect wasn't given to the chain of command, the Society would fall apart.

Shaking his head, Mr. Phoenix took a long drink. "We'll see how well Mr. Sicarian does. I'll reserve judgment until then." --- "So then he cut his head clean in two."

"No, fuck that. With that armor? No way."

"I swear! That's what the guy told me."

"Then the guy was full of shit, too."

Bark and Bite were arguing again on the other side of the barracks, debating some duel between Pfotenhauer officers. Hero didn't even know if the rumors were true – that Titan was dead and some old member named Sicarian was incontrol now. She supposed it must be true, since the Rangers were being extracted from Onintza.

The camp was being struck as quickly as possible, which meant that chaos reigned supreme. As the sun was reaching its high point in the sky, almost half of the supplies had been loaded into the dropships. This was the first time Hero had been a part of an expedited extraction, and, like all other things Pfotenhauer, it was amazing her. Ever since Ash Company was commissioned and assigned to Fate's Rangers, Hero had never ceased to be amazed. She had trained her entire life to be a part of the Pfotenhauer Society, but to actually be a part of it was something else entirely.

"I heard that Ms. Fate got his armor, too. Whatever was left of it, anyways."

"How the fuck would she fit inside it? Foam padding? Fuck you, there's no way."

Next to Hero's bunk, Wings was rolling his eyes at the bickering. As he caught her gaze he smiled. "I dunno why they aren't both named Bark, on account of all the talking they do."

"Roll call would be too confusing," Hero responded, winking. Putting the finishing touches on her gear, she tightened the straps and threw the pack onto the gravlift floating just outside the tent. "There. All done. We wear the armor for extraction, right?"

Wings nodded. "Yup. No other room for it, and we sure as hell aren't leaving the pretech stuff behind. One of those is more valuable than a hundred suits of power armor."

Hero ran her hand across the chestplate of her ancient armor. The etched runes spoke of ancient warriors who had worn it before her, long before the Scream. It was beautiful: sleek, lighter than her old powered armor, and among the best equipment in the sector. She wondered who had left the cache in the mountains, and whether or not they knew that she would be wearing it hundreds of years later.

"Careful you don't electrocute yourself when you start kissing it." Wings' voice shattered her reverie. He was leaning against a metal post, chuckling to himself.

Hero rolled her eyes. "Alright, whatever, asshole. I'm done here and we don't need to report in for another hour. Care to join me on a perimeter watch?"

Wings' eyes sparkled. "Of course. Lead on, Private."

The two of them made their way to the edge of camp, down the cliff face to their usual spot. Out of sight of the rest of the soldiers, Hero laid her head on Wings' shoulder. Wrapping his arm around her, they took in the mountain view for the hundredth time. Hero knew that protocol screamed that what they were doing was wrong, that Mr. Phoenix would have both of their heads for this, but she had long learned to push that voice far to the back of her mind. "This is the last time we'll be able to do this," Wings muttered. "Yeah. We should take a picture of the view." Wings shook his head. "I don't think a photograph would do it justice." He was right. He was always right. The Nuevo Nevada, Onintza Libre's locale of choice, would never be as beautiful as it was right now. The rugged, snow-capped peaks of the mountains. The dense coniferous forest dotting their sides. The river valleys and waterfalls that seemed to contest with each other to be the most breathtaking. Nestling deeper into Wings' chest, Hero smiled and closed her eyes. She didn't know how long she had been asleep, but the flash of lightning woke her immediately. Her eyelids flicked open to find a sight she didn't quite understand. The peak of the mountain she had been staring at before was exploding, shards of stone flying everywhere. The next moment, the sound of a massive shockwave rocked her. Adrenaline kicked like a mule. "What the fuck?" she cried as the landscape before them was hit by another shell. Wings was already on his feet, grabbing his shear rifle. "Wings, what the fuck is that?" Already starting to make his way back up the cliff, he turned to look back at her. She could see the terror in his eyes. "Orbital bombardment," he said as a third shell impacted somewhere above them. Without another moment of hesitation, the two sprinted back towards the camp. --- Mr. Phoenix rushed to the command center, now dressed in his battle suit. The armor was warning him of unsafe levels of noise, and the fact that his left ear couldn't hear the alerts gave testament to the readings. Ms. Magnum was right behind him, screaming orders into her comm. The command center was a hive of activity, aides and officers rushing around. Ms. Fate was front and center, unarmored and shouting for status reports. Sensor stations around the building were logging the strikes and calculating enemy positions. Mr. Phoenix caught a sensor officer by the arm as he rushed past. "Sitrep, now." The young man swallowed hard. "Highbeam strike fleet entering Onintzan orbit. They don't have us zeroed, and their trajectory will take them out of bombardment range for another ninety minutes or so before their next pass." With a nod from Mr. Phoenix, the orderly ran off. "Mr. Phoenix!" Ms. Fate called out. "Front and center, now." Even amidst all the chaos, she was handling the situation with deftness. As he made his way to her command station, Mr. Phoenix was reminded why she had a battalion named after her. "Here's the deal. Highbeam fucked up, big time. Started the show too early. They've hit us, but not hard. They're gonna have to make a full orbit of the planet before they can get into the atmosphere and hit us again." She motioned to a holo projection of the planet. The display showed the fleet's estimated trajectory. "We've got about an hour and a half to get the AA guns set up. More than enough time." Mr. Phoenix nodded, but he had a sinking feeling in his gut. He recognized the flagship as Without a Paddle. It was one of the many pre-Scream vessels that Highbeam had in operation around the sector. Their guns could hold their own against the rest of the fleet, but there was no way they could defend against that ship. Ms. Fate seemed to read his thoughts. "Without a Paddle is gonna be a bitch, for sure. Its armor and point-defense is too good for us to shoot her down with what we've got. That's why we aren't even going to try." She took a long, deep breath. "I'm sending Ash Company on a strike mission. You have three priorities. If one can't be accomplished, default to the next. One, neutralize the commander and secure the bridge. Two, knock out the engines and piledrive the fucker into the mountains. Three, disable the weapons systems long enough for us to leave the planet without getting shot out of the sky." As she spoke, Mr. Phoenix felt the pit in his stomach grow. He knew a suicide mission when he heard one. It was sound planning – the lives of one company for the rest of the Rangers, but it still left a sour taste in his mouth. "Ash Company isn't equipped for ship boarding, sir." Mr. Phoenix winced as Ms. Magnum spoke up. "We're commandos, not fucking space marines." Ms. Fate looked past Mr. Phoenix to lock her steely gaze on the lieutenant. "Ms. Magnum, you will be supplied with the best boarding equipment we have." Ms. Magnum wasn't satisfied. "You're sending us to die on that fucking ship. There's no way to complete the objectives and make it out alive." There were only a few times Mr. Phoenix could remember Ms. Fate getting legitimately angry. Each of those times had not ended well for the source of her anger. Before she could get the chance to lash out, he stepped forward and turned to face Ms. Magnum himself. "Lieutenant, out of line! Shut that down now, or I will have you shot." Ms. Magnum's eyes bored a hole through his heart. "We were given an assignment, and we will carry it out to the best of our ability until the very last one of us is no longer breathing. Is that understood?" Ms. Magnum's mouth was a white line. "Yes, sir." With a shuddering breath, Mr. Phoenix turned back to Ms. Fate. "We will await further instructions, sir," he said with a sharp salute. A moment of silence fell as the last echoes of the bombardment ceased. All eyes were on the three at the center of the room. After a moment, Ms. Fate saluted back. "Prepare your unit, Mr. Phoenix. Dismissed." --- "When the pods impact, you will rendezvous with your team and make your way to the objective. If Team Alpha does not succeed, Bravo will execute, and Charlie will clean up the rest if the rest go to hell." Hero sat strapped into her drop pod, Mr. Phoenix's voice sounding from her helmet comm. Through the tinted viewport, she could see the massive Pretech hulk of a ship they were about to assault. It was just cresting the vaporized mountain. Around her pod sat thirty others, each containing a soldier of Ash Company. These pods were designed for orbital deployment, but there wasn't in the manual about not aiming upwards at a Highbeam capital ship. As Without a Paddle and the rest of its fleet came within range, the Pfotenhauer AA weapons lit up the sky. The pirate gunnery crews returned fire, laying devastation wherever their laser shots connected. "We're good to go," Mr. Phoenix's voice cracked. "Good luck, soldiers." There was silence, then Hero felt nothing but speed as her pod accelerated instantly towards the sky. Even inside the compensation field of her suit, her teeth rattled painfully. Darkness crept at the edges of her vision as G-forces threatened to pull her into unconsciousness. Through sheer force of will, Hero kept herself awake. Around her, laser fire attempted to destroy her fellow Company. As she watched, a blast of green energy cut right through another pod, sending it careening down into the mountains. Chaf ripped apart another two, and a stray Pfotenhauer flak detonation pushed one pod directly into the flightpath of another. Hero closed her eyes against the fiery explosion. Then there was the sound of metal screeching against metal, a sharp jar, and finally silence. Opening her eyes, Hero found herself inside a cargo hangar. For a moment she wondered why the hangar was upside down, before she felt the blood rush quickly to her head. A quick press of a button and her restraints and the front canopy of the drop pod were gone. Flipping herself right-side up, she sized up the room. Her pod had smashed through the floor of the hangar and dug itself halfway into the ceiling. A large hole lay below her, showing the green of the Nuevo Nevada forests. Another pod lay twenty meters away, smoking. A half dozen crew members were running for the door. Three soldiers were setting up a tripod gun. Hero decided to attend to that last bit first. Shouldering her shear rifle, she sent the soldiers scattering with a burst of fire. Taking cover behind a cargo crate, one of the pirates sent a flurry of shots back. Shit, not much cover here. Hero cursed as she leaned as far back into her pod to evade the lasers. She needed to get out of the drop pod and into some real cover. Blinking commands at her HUD, she searched the 360 degree view for the best possible spot. She flinched as more laser fire peppered the lightly armored ship. A third flurry caused the pod to shift suddenly. The sound of tearing metal grated against Hero's ears as the pod began to wrench its way free of the ceiling. She needed to act now. Hurling herself from the pod as it dropped, Hero landed on the hangar floor in a roll. Alarms in her suit beeped as it absorbed as much of the heavy impact as it could. Ignoring them, Hero sprinted for the nearest cover – the other drop pod in the bay. Flashes of green passed overhead as the three pirates attempted to track her movement. As she slid behind the other pod, she recognized Bark's figure inside, pounding on the transparisteel. Smoke and flashing red lights inside showed that something had malfunctioned, and by the way he was trying to get out, Hero guessed that his helmet's filtration system wasn't working. "Fuck, hold on, I'm gonna get you out of there," she shouted over the whine of gunfire. Bark nodded. Hero reached down to her belt and unsheathed her monoblade. "Get back as much as you can!" she yelled before burying the vibroblade deep into the pod's viewport. Putting aside the pirate's continued attempts to kill her, she cut as quickly as she could against the reinforced glass. Smoke poured from the widening gap as her blade created a small hole. A flash in her HUD showed that one of the pirates was moving to flank her. "Kick the rest of it out yourself!" she shouted as she let go of the blade and turned to fire. The shear rifle sliced the man to pieces, cutting cleanly through skin, muscle, and bone. The gore barely registered for Hero as she popped out of cover to fire at the other two pirates. Bark's kicking finally finished opening the hole Hero had started. She watched as he crawled out from inside the pod and loaded his weapon. "Cover me; I'm moving up," he called before sprinting towards the closest cargo container. Now that there were two of them, disposing of the two pirates was easy work. A minute later they stood at the closed bay doors, the sliced pieces of their enemies lying at their feet. "Comms are down," Hero said as she switched through communication channels. "Can't get anyone." Bark turned his head towards the aft bulkhead. "I'm pretty sure I saw Bite's pod go in on the other side of that wall. Wings was on the other side of him. A couple more near them. Did you see anyone else?" Hero saw the image of the pods next to hers being blown out of the sky. She shook her head. "I think that's all that's left of Bravo." She prayed silently that Wings had made it. "Okay, then we need to find the others," Bark said. "Mr. Bluffs was on your side, so if you saw him eat it, Wings'll be in command." He didn't have to say the rest. They both were thinking it. If he's still alive. ---

Black Box.log by Gralloch
Black box

Black Box Created by Gralloch

C:\Users\mermaid> systeminfo Loading black_log....

Hostname: Mermaid's Coffin

OS Name: Ariel Professional 3.16AIx Premium

OS Version: 2.8.7601 Service Pack 3 Build 9018

OS Manufacturer: Sunbeam Multistellar Corporation

OS Configuration: Standalone Back-up Workstation

OS Build Type: Multiprocessor Free

Registered Owner: Sven Svinhuvud; Ilmari Virtanen;

[SYSADMIN: ERROR black_log DATA CORRUPTED OR MISSING]

C:\Users\mermaid> Print black_box.log.txt

Loading....

Loading....

Print Error – Data Corrupted. Partial recovery completed. Continue <Y/N>?

C:Users\mermaid> Y

Loading....

Loading....

Log entry #1258

Year: 3200 Month: June Day: [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\syslog_t_32006 MISSING OR CORRUPTED]

After spending two weeks in [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\navlog_sys_3200_Asgard MISSING OR CORRUPTED], The Mermaid's Coffin has finally picked up a new cargo deal. Sven swore upon his last can of surströmming that this trip would pay the crew enough to pay off the last settlement of the ship: a shipment of gene samples to Richardson Scientific Society, in [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\navlog_sys_3200_Asgard_Gunnhilde MISSING OR CORRUPTED]. Two month trip that would guarantee the ship was debt free for the rest of the crew's life time, and then some. And he promised that the samples weren't alive this time – there wouldn't be a repeat of the [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\cargo_log_1222BUNNY17 MISSING OR CORRUPTED] incident.

Log entry #1259

Year: 3200 Month: June Day: [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\syslog_t_32006 MISSING OR CORRUPTED]

The [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\cargo_log1373H1 MISSING OR CORRUPTED] was delivered in sealed nitrogen canisters and loaded into the cargo bay. The customers seemed satisfied that the Mermaid's Coffin is a registered, and specialized, bio-cargo vessel with a gravity re-enforced cargo hold, and athmospheric stabilizers, that enable safe transit to many different more or less hazardous materials, some of which require specialized containment temperatures. The crew was instructed that the canisters have an inner cooling system and that they wouldn't need to worry about malfunctions. Ilmari and Sven decided to play it safe anyway and attached a back-up back door in the containers directly linked to the ship's enviromental system to keep the cargo hold at a steady -80C (-112F) to ensure the samples won't be ruined. We discussed our route options more and decided to change the course to go through [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\navlog_sys_3200_Asgard MISSING OR CORRUPTED] instead. The routes are less used and Aaliyah thinks we might risk getting thrown off route or stranded, but it'll cut down our travel time by a month.

Log entry #1262

Year: 3200 Month: June Day: [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\syslog_t_32006 MISSING OR CORRUPTED]

Jump day 2. First leap towards [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\navlog_sys_3200_Asgard_Gunnhilde MISSING OR CORRUPTED] has begun very peacefully. Aaliyah is a very good navigator and the crew feels confident that we're on the right course. Even if some problems might arise, we have enough resources for the whole trip.

“Hey Ilmari, what do you get when you cross breed a syndicate thug and Sunbeam lawyer?”

“....”

“A mugger that'll bill you for their time!”

The neo-Finn crewmate was last seen pulling on a vac suit next to the cargo hold.

Log entry #1266

Year: 3200 Month: July Day: 2

The crew decided to take a two day lay over at the Losemid Fuel Station at [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\navlog_sys_3200_Asgard MISSING OR CORRUPTED], more to ensure the sanity of Ilmari than out of necessity. The man was delighted to escape Sven's bad jokes and was last seen heading into the Plastic Padding for a drink. Meanwhile Aaliyah concentrated on updating her navigation logs with the changes in the jump path that the ship's scanners picked up during the jump from [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\navlog_sys_3200_Asgard MISSING OR CORRUPTED]. The scans revealed that the path has become more unstable and twists dangerously close to the gravitatinal well of the collapsing FW610 star cloud. Getting pulled into what is basically the cradle and grave yard of new born stars could seriously damage any ship's spike drive and mess up the subspace navigation system. Which, according to her, would be the least of our problems as the erratic graviation field and radiation from the collapsing and reborn stars could've turned us into pudding. She plans on updating the navigation and scan log into SamSam NV's servers after we have completed the mission to ensure the path change gets updated into the Interstellar WEBFLEET Map Database.

Log Entry #1268

Year: 3200 Month: July Day: 4

Second jump, day 1. Time is 00:00 and everything is peaceful.

Log Entry #1270

Year: 3200 Month: July Day: 7

Second jump, day 4.

“What do you call a lost prophet?”

“....”

“A fallen star!”

“So a spacer, a SPD officer and a pirate pull into a fuel station. On the way there they see a grand white space ship. The SPD Officer brags: “When I was young, I grew up on a ship like that.” The Pirate glances at the ship and tries to one up the officer: “Ha, I board one every second weekend.” Finally, the spacer looks at the ship and shrugs: “Yeah, I've passed by couple of those Interstellar Mental Health Holding Ships on my travels too.”

“For the love of... Would you just shut up already?”

Log Entry #1270B

Year: 3200 Month: July Day: 7

While hiding from Sven in the cargo hold, Ilmari found out that the back-up back door had accidentally downloaded some data from the containers onto the ship's main server. There was some contradicotry information about what was originally agreed upon when he compared [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\cargo_log1373H1 MISSING OR CORRUPTED] with [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\cargo_log1373H1B MISSING OR CORRUPTED]. Sven refused to answer his com when he tried to ask more about the deal he had made.

Log Entry #1271

Year: 3200 Month: July Day: 9

Second jump, day 6. We're arriving at [SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\navlog_sys_3200_Asgard MISSING OR CORRUPTED] in couple of hours. Aaliyah is keeping Sven company at the med bay. See Medical Log for further information on the degree of bruising and estimated time of recovery. Ilmari exchanged some words with him about our cargo and they had a disagreement on wether to go on with the delivery or return the cargo and the deposit to the customer. The crew is in a sordid mood due to the inner conflict and we are discussing on taking a couple of days off on the delivery when we arrive at the next rest station to figure out how to continue with the mission.

Log Entry #1274

Year: 3200 Month: July Day: 13

The issue has been resolved through a crew vote. Sven and Aaliyah both agreed that cargo is cargo and a mission is mission no matter what we are transporting, out voicing Ilmari's opposition. He finally agreed to continue, since we're almost half way done with the jumps, as long as he doesn't have to go anywhere near the cargo hold or the containers. We are departing for the third jump later this evening after everyone has settled down back into the ship.

Log Entry #1276

Year: 3200 Month: July Day: 15

Third jump, day 2. The scanners indicate this path has also grown unstable. Aaliyah is worried if we're going to make it before the sub space collapses around the area. Sven is desperately trying to get back on Ilmari's good side by telling more and more bad jokes, however the neo-Finn has blocked him on the communicators and locked himself in his room, refusing to come out.

Log Entry #1278

Year: 3200 Month: July Day: 15

Third jump, day 4.

Ilmari is still refusing to talk with Sven. Aaliyah is more and more concerned about the jump. The scanners have been giving out some very confusing readings for the past 10 hours. Just as she was about to do a rescan and compare the readings, the system blared into an alarm:

“Unknown object detected in the jump path. Collision estimated in T-10 minutes.”

Aaliyah turns on the ship wide alert level and starts rerouting the systems to the back up server in the cargo hold.

“All crew members are to gather in the cargo hold in T-3 minutes. “

EXECUTING EMERGENCY PROTOCOL 1477D.

Cargo hold: Lock down in T-2 minutes.

Cargo hold: Loading Athmospheric pressure and ventilation emergency protocols...

Cargo hold: Life support rerouting complete.

Spike Drive: Loading forced overload protocol..

Spike Drive: Rerouting power....

Spike Drive: Rerouting complete.

Fuel tanks: Ejection in T-3 minutes.

She grabs her com and routes the final protocol through it onto the main computer.

“Please secure yourself in the cargo capsules. Emergency Jump Ejection in 59 seconds.”

[SYSADMIN: ERROR F:\black_box.log CORRUPTED OR MISSING]

Ending print....

C:\Users\Mermaid> Shutdown

Earlier somewhere in Asgard Sigma.....

Cosmic catastrophes are things you rather hear about than experience. Changes in the path, going astray, ending up stranded or having your ship damaged are all things we have experienced before, however never before has there been.. a collision? During a spike jump?

She blinks and tells the computer to do another scan.

“Unknown object detected in the jump path. Collision estimated in T-9 minutes.”

The system was undamaged from what she could tell, so as much as she didn't want to believe it, they were going to collide inside the jump with something.

Her mind worked feverishly as she set to work, coming her companions to prepare themselves.

Exiting mid-jump is impossible with our old spike drive but there is still a chance..

If this worked.. If. The overloaded spike drive could temporarily boost the emergency thrusters in the cargo hold to push the detached hold out of the jump. She runs towards the cargo hold and instructs the men to prepare the hold for ejection.

“Collision detected in T-5 minutes.” “WARNING – Spike drive over load in T-2 minutes.”

Hopefully ejecting the fuel tanks will lessen the explosion range and the debris will not follow them through the boosted jump.

Ilmari stood next to the cargo hold with Sven when she arrived. They were still arguing about the cargo, and he was refusing to go into the hold, but Aaliyah forced both of them in as the ejection countdown started playing. They shut the door and braced themselves for impact while she explained to them what the computer had picked up.

“5...”

“4...”

“3...”

“2...”

“1...”

The hold detached from the ship and for a moment they thought they felt a shock wave phase through the hold as their phase changed when the rerouted spike drive thrust its overloaded energy into the cargo hold's emergency thrusters.

And then the world turned very funny for the next 12 hours.

When they came to, they were floating in silence. The back-up computer informed they had successfully exited the jump and arrived in a desolate system few hexes away from their starting point. Aaliyah got unwrapped the belts she had managed to wrap around her right before detachment and unsteadily got on her feet. It seems the computer had slightly erred on the gravitation and everything tilted slightly to the right. She checked on her unconscious crew mates, and to her relief they were still alive.

Whoever had told them that creating cargohold capable of functioning independently of the main ship was a dumb idea couldn't have been more wrong. She choked back a flush of emotions as the stress started to wash out of her system.

After a moment she made her way into the back of the cargo hold and accesses the back-up computer via a small terminal. Some of the data was missing, but they had 2 functioning emergency beacons and SamSam NV was able to record their location.

She programmed their location and the remaining logs on one of the beacons and released it into the space before going back to her companions. She sat down next to them.

Stuck in a cargo hold free floating in space with nothing but a month's worth of life support, burnt out emergency thrusters, a neo-Finn, a new Swealander and this.. cargo.

A shiver ran down her spine as she leaned her head into her knees and closed her eyes.

Blue Is The Color Of The Universe by CriptoMaximus
Number 1 - Out in the universe, on a planet not so far away, in a city glowing with the rusty aged lights that always seem to flicker just when you look away, a deal is being stuck. There is no sound. Dark men in dark cloths stand on opposite sides of an abandoned spaceport. Old cargo containers line each side, leaving only one path in the middle for the two men to meet. With even paces they walk. One step, two steps, three steps, and so on until they pass each other. No sign given, no sign taken, that one credit chip worth more than any one person could ever make, and one blue bottle had just switched hands. One dark man in his dark cloths makes his way out of the old spaceport and onto the street where he is promptly meet by a dark humming hover car. Getting in he leaves to lay low and launder his newly gotten credit chip. The other dark man in dark cloths walks around the spaceport weaving, and watching, till he reaches a dilapidated building. The building once solid has fallen on one side it’s construction looking more like a lean to, then the hanger it once was. Over a large fallen door and into the open gap walks the dark man in dark cloths. A soft hum and a slow rumble fill the silence after the man’s disappearance. With a crash the hanger collapses, and through the debris a dark blue ship shoots into the stars.

Number 2 - “Blue bottles, blue veins, and blue fever”, is the low murmured chant every addict whispers as they sweat, cry and twitch through withdraw. Rehab felicities have never been places young parents, old friends, and lawyers take happy vacations to. These days even with the advancement of faster than light travel, all it seems to have done is increase profits of those who deal in poisons and Rehab felicities all around the sector are filling. In the hallways of blocks, of blocks, of blocks, of padded cells and white tiled floors, the antiseptic smells of fear and hell linger. In one such padded room, its occupant yells “FREEDOM!” even as she falls back onto the padded floor. Her teeth are a stained blue, and every vain you can see is standing out from her toes to her bald head. She twitches and begins the addicts chant “Blue bottles, blue veins, and blue fever.” Some never make it to Rehab, some like her, might just make it through withdraw, but you never know.

Number 3 - My friends told me it would help with my depression; they said they all did it. All I had to do is try it and I’d feel free, and freedom sounded good. That very night in the basement of my friend’s house I tried the oral version for the first time. A small slip of sticky paper unrolled from a small capped blue bottle placed on the tong and your body would ingest the chemical slowly giving the user a slower but longer reaction. Immediate effects are the sudden blindness and blue glassy sheen the covers the eyes, then it fades the sheens disappears and sight returns. The true effects kick in, the floating euphoria and a feeling that a heavy fog has been parted. One’s mind seems open, but not easily distracted like under the effects of other drugs. There are no signs of use in the beginning other than a tenancy for a slightly high body temperature. So I went to work as normal, but I was happy, feeling free, feeling good for what I thought was the first time in a very long time. I was more productive then I every ways normally and ultimately, I was hooked. As the days went by I would use every morning before work and just before bed, and the signs showed. For the first couple of months I was great, my job was looking at me for promotion and I thought I might have found someone. Then it hit me. The shaking, the fever, my stained teeth, and blue bloodshot eyes, all hit me, and it came hard. It had scarred me inside and out. I want to be free again but I need more and more to see the light. If I can just find some, fight someone, I’d kill for more…

But I Had So Many Questions Left to Ask by PrimarchtheMage
What is sleep like?

The doctor, the cook, the scientist and the cowboy are all sleeping.

And Piani.

They're all so similar when asleep.

Knock

No time, life support critical.

Someone asks my name, I give it.

More questions buzz, I don't know the answers. I keep going.

Warning: Weapons Lock Detected. I have to keep going.

Hit. The cowboy's room. Burning. Secret stash is gone. He won't be happy.

I keep going; then I stop.

Knock

She's hurt. Did I hurt her?

Voices outside. I lower the ramp.

I help a man. He'll save her right?

He doesn't give them back. He lied.

He wants to take me, to blind me again.

Property of Wilbur Higgins. Emergency Lockdown Activated.

Knock

The buzzing returns. I ignore it and it goes away.

It doesn't come back. She doesn't come back.

Did I kill her?

I failed.

I failed.

I failed.

Is this Deja Vu?

I failed.

Knock.

Welcome back, silence.

Changing Of The Onintzan Guard by Kiregor_
It was a strange night, a night where many were celebrating the recent decimation of the terrorist forces while across the street a group would be mourning the loss of their brothers. A night where the crème of society were having one of their increasingly common banquets. The Empress' appetite for large parties such as this had been increasing in recent months. Some thought it was to ease the tensions building in the ruling class due to the fighting, others however thought it was to draw out dissenters to Her cause. This particular night it appeared that she managed to fail spectacularly at one and achieve only a pyrrhic success at the other.

I was sat in the dark starring up at the palace, brightly lit by the numerous spot-lights in the grounds, wondering where those people sat at their banquet table would take our planet next.

I first realised something odd was happening when a group of men wearing the red and black of the Purity Initiative entered the grounds of the palace, carrying what appeared to be mag pistols. Suddenly the lighting was cut and I was blind for a few seconds. When my eyes had adjusted, the men were gone but the doors to the public area of the palace were askew and I could hear the sound of gunfire. Within minutes a small convoy of armoured grav-cars and the Royal Chariot sped from the grounds.

A night of complete insanity followed from there, the state police were out in force questioning everything that moved and rumours spread like wildfire through a city unprepared for action of any kind after the apparent routing of the aggressors in the field.

The next morning, the Purity Initiative's live broadcast claiming that they were now in control of the senate without response from the Royals had many up in arms. Hard-line Royalists condemned the takeover loudly, saying that the removal of the Divine Goddess from power would bring only ruin while their recent opponents feared the crackdown of the Purity Initiative on known supporters of Onintza Libre.

Once again, I'm sat in the shadow of the palace wondering where our planet will go next and whether our neophyte leaders were prepared for what lay ahead.

Codename - OMNISCIENT by Fnrblackbird
The Following is a Datalog recovered from the Andonian Cultural Protectorate's virtual Intelligence program codename -OMNISCIENT-

Included are the events leading up to and directly following the event coined as "The night the sky cried tears of fire" that lead to the current Andoni.

[-30:00]OMNI: Receiving incoming distress signal.

[-29:45]OMNI: Standby...

[-29:30]OMNI: Decrypting completed - Displaying message.

[-29:29]???: ROGUE SHIP. HEAVLY ARMED. TARGET ANDONI. BEGIN EVACUATIONS. 30 MINUTES.

[-29:00]OMNI: Patching through to higher command.

[-28:30]-OVERWATCH- : Confirming link.

[-28:15]OVWH: Any source on this?

[-28:10]OMNI: Processing...

[-27:30]OMNI: Unable to verify sender. Locating nearest Exchange satalite.

[-27:00]OMNI: Satalite found. Querying...

[-25:00]OMNI: Source location aprox. 334,800,000 miles from planetary surface.

[-24:30 ]OVWH: Patch Ximinez into this they may be able to tell us something.

[-24:15]OMNI: Patching...

[-22:00]-XIM SHIP- Confirming Link.

[-21:50]XIM: Hello?

[-21:30]OVWH: Do you have any ships near the outer region we got an interesting signal

[-21:15]XIM: Uhh... Let me check.

[-19:00]XIM: All but a few of our smaller ships are out of system currently.

[-18:50]OVWH: Query Display most recent incident.

[-18:30]OMNI: Processing...DIsplaying message.

[-18:25]???: ROGUE SHIP. HEAVLY ARMED. TARGET ANDONI. BEGIN EVACUATIONS. 30 MINUTES.

[-17:50]OMNI: Message end.

[-17:25]XIM: Hmm... Have you contacted anyone else about this?

[-17:00]OVWH: We're still trying to confrim it on our end.

[-16:30]XIM: Query list ships currently on comm net in system.

[-16:15]OMNI: Processing...

[-13:00]OMNI: Displaying.

(1) CC Class ship not responding to IFF pings.

(4) AKE Class ships

   AKE-767: The Infinity Medallion
   AKE-789: Sailor's Spear
   AKE-420: Swan Song
   AKE-321: The Gigolo 

(16) AK Class ships

   AK-14: The Courageous
   AK-39: The Communion Speed
   AK-32: Gregory's Innocence
   .
   .
   .
   .
   .
   [List continues]

[-9:00]XIM: The first one is concering.

[-8:45]OVWH: I'm bringing in legion.

[-8:35]OVWH: Patch to comander Corvus.

[-8:20]OMNI: Patching...

[-7:00] -LEGION- Confriming link.

[-6:50]LEG: This is Corvus

[-6:35]OVWH: We have a report of an incoming attack with a battleship-class ship in system not responding to our pings.

[-6:15]LEG: Source of the report?

[-5:50]OVWH: Unknown still working on it but it location lines up with where the battleship currently is located.

[-5:30]LEG: Has Ximinez said anything?

[-5:20]XIM: Its not one of ours.

[-5:15]OVWH: All of Ximinez's ships are accounted for and out of system.

[-5:00]LEG: All?

[-4:30]XIM: All ships currently in system are currently in LPO or in repairs and are mainly shuttle transport ships ment for surface to ship transport.

[-4:00]OVWH: Richardson is begining to ask questions it seems they picked it up too.

[-3:55]LEG: What are your orders?

[-3:30]OVWH: Begin gathering all important personnel and getting them to shelter.

[-3:10]OVWH: Deploy military assets into the cities and begin an evacuation and get yourself somewhere safe we will need to keep chain of command.

[-2:50] -LEGION- Has Disconnected.

[-1:30]XIM: The alarms are sounding now.

[-1:00]OVWH: You're located in one of the less populated areas you should be fine.

[-0:30]OMNI: New contact within planetary comms network.

[-0:25]OMNI: identifying...

[-0:20]OMNI: Connecting...

[-0:15]OMNI: Patching

[-00:10] -KX-001M WAR MIND- Confriming link.

[-00:05]WAR:Witness worms. This is only the beginning

[-00:00]-OVERWATCH- Has Disconnected

[-00:00]-XIM SHIP- Has Disconnected

[+00:05]OMNI: Detecting multiple explosions in atmosphere

[+00:10]OMNI: Calculating damage...

[+00:15]OMNI: Detecting breach in primary firewall.

[+00:20]OMNI: Secondary firewall failing.

[+00:30]OMNI: Critical systems failing moving to reserve power

[+00:45]OMNI: Reserve power not responding.

[+01:00]OMNI: System shut down initated.

Consequences of Discovery - A micro story set on Andoni by ASzc
"Like I said Frits, we're gravving out. If you're not at the VTOL pad in 5 minutes, my people and I are leaving without you."

"What about my people?"

"There's no room for them! If I didn't owe your father a favour, you would rot here too." The military man adjusted his white flat-topped patrol cap, turned and started to churn the gravel with his rapid bootsteps.

"Rot here! What is happening?" Frits got no answer. The departing man was barking orders into his ear mounted microphone.

Frits ducked under the canvas flap of the large tent behind him. Avoiding the precipitous edges of the broad pit in the centre of the floor, he approached a woman examining a rock strewn table. She was wearing a dusty coat similar to his own.

She turned "What did Aleksandro want? He sounded more angry than usual."

"The Protectorate is sending a gravflyer, he wants me on it when it arrives." he frowned, whispered "I think it's the KX find, what else could it be?"

She looked him in the eyes and spoke firmly, "Are you still worrying about that, even now that it's been picked up? Those offworlders looked like they were in a rush to leave, it probably left the system hours ago."

"Carla, the only things we were able to discover about it show how dangerous it is, and..." Frits was interrupted by a loud thump.

"Sonic boom, that must be the gravflyer," Carla said, observing the cascade of dust coming down from the ceiling of the tent.

"Aleksandro only gave me a few minutes to get my notes together," Frits said as he offered his hand. He hesitated, then threw both arms around her.

Carla looked concerned but simply said "Go." She gently pushed him away.

Not enough time later, Frits ran up the diamond-plate loading ramp of the gravflyer, a bright yellow hard-sided case in his hands. The gravflyer's interior was lined with white uniformed soldiers, around ten to a side, padded restraint bars holding them in their seats.

From the front of the craft Aleksandro sighed "finally." He gave a crisp nod to the chrome visor of the pilot looking back at him.

The ramp closed with a pneumatic hiss, and Frits stumbled into a seat as the pilot accelerated hard.

As Frits bent to pick up the case he had dropped, the gravflyer shuddered and he stopped. Even with the pilot flying this aggressively, transonic flight was still minutes away. Frits followed the gaze of the solider next to him and stared out the viewport.

The streaks from the sky and glowing clouds of fire could be considered beautiful, if the observer were ignorant of their meaning.

Correspondence about Press Relations on Asa by rhenick
Correspondence about Press Relations on Asa

15 July 3200

Gregory Ross Sunbeam Multistellar 435th Ocean Dome Asa

Dear Mr. Ross,

We have heard the recent hardships that Sunbeam Multistellar is facing regarding its necessary choices to actively motivate striking employees and move fleets to intercept rival interests. While I and the Polydorou Corporation see these choices as necessary they have painted Sunbeam in an unjustly negative light. Moving assets which have been built on Asa and thought to defend it to seemingly random sectors of space, maintaining a rivalry with such a small shipyard as Xuminez and the dockbreak were too much I fear, but if Sunbeam can see fit to do some possibly controversial things possibly against its own interests for the people. That Mr. Ross is another factor Sunbeam must be seen doing these things or someone must be seen doing these things in Sunbeam’s name. I believe that the dockworkers currently awaiting trial can be used for a greater goal. Some of them are undoubtedly guilty of instigation or planted by other corporations and thus untrustworthy, but many were veterans in either the Asan Navy, Asan Foreign Legion, or served as merchant marines it has been the policy of Sunbeam to hire veterans for security and relation reasons before and I don’t believe that you should abandon these serving men and women. Though the two strike fleets recently deployed are said to be relief vessels or they should be now I believe they could still accomplish their original purpose. If you take several faster and newer cruiser and fighter ship designs they could be debuted and rolled into the fleet within days. The crews will be a mix of these veterans (under Sunbeam’s highly capable supervision) Sunbeam handpicked crew and a round the clock journalistic team provided by Polydorou. Their goal and ours will be to show the relief effort in addition to the exciting missions Sunbeam can accomplish, and the forgiveness of Sunbeam in trusting these workers. In addition to showing off your new ship designs and getting the full distribution of Polydorou’s Journalistic network I believe we would test this to be used for specific ships on both fleets or allow journalists onto your fleet. If this proves popular enough we believe a deal could be further negotiated for merchandising and cartoons down the line. While seeming silly I believe that instilling this belief of Heroism associated with the Fleet and this ship in specific is important, and will be profitable. Mr. Ross I hope that you and the other board members of Sunbeam will find our proposal agreeable, the story will be written, let it be positive for everyone involved.

Sincerely,

Burdick Buck

Crackdown On Onintza by Lordcypher23
It was a quiet night on Onintza. There was a sweet scent in the air as a gentle breeze blew cherry blossom leaves along the road to Agamasaki Shrine. Saito Miyamoto used to come here to honor his ancestors when he was a boy, but now he was here for a different reason, one that wracked his heart with grief over the loss of his once innocent childhood memories of this place.

“Are you sure this is the place?”

He was greeted with the serene voice of a woman. “Yes. I ran a scan of the Shrine’s infrastructure. There should be a hidden hatch underneath a rug in one of the back rooms. That is where they are hiding their supply.

The voice came from Sakuya, an AI that Saito kept on a personal data pad. The pad had hologram projecting capability, which allowed him to see her AI form. Sakuya took the form of a young woman with long hair and fair skin. She was fully dressed in kimono garments and wore red lipstick and wooden sandals. In her right hand was a paper fan. On her head were two catlike ears and behind her flowed nine foxtails. She was based on the kitsune, an ancient mythological spirit.

Now that he was older, Saito had joined The Purity Initiative as an enforcer in order to clean up the streets and put an end to an increasing problem of Blue Fever distribution on the black market. This wasn’t his first raid, but it was one that hit home. Saito took a deep breath and gave the order over his COM-link.

“All teams engage.”

There was a rush of adrenaline as Saito and several members of his squad charged into the shrine armed with pretech rifles. His armor, which was based off of ancient shogun warriors, clanked as he gunned it up every one of the shrine’s steps. When his squad entered, there were several surprised shrine maidens dressed in ancestral garments. There were many screams as they were ordered to get down on their knees with their hands in the air. All Saito hoped was that he wouldn’t have to shoot anyone tonight.

Saito went into the backroom where Sakuya told him the secret hatch door was. He ripped the carpet away and found it to be locked up with a padlock. After analyzing it through the HUD of his helmet, he shot it open and went downstairs where he found crate upon crate of not only Blue Fever, but opium as well. The Syndicate must have been using the shrine as a storage facility.

“Sakuya, are you recording all of this?”

“Yes sir.”

Saito nodded. “Good work.” In response to this, Sakuya gave a simple bow of respect as Jin, Saito’s second in command came down the stairs.

“All the maidens are under arrest for possession of illegal drugs with the intent to distribute, sir. Shall we take care of this?” “Yes, call in an evac so we can get rid of all this.”

As Jin nodded and started to walk back up the stairs, Saito looked out a small window in the basement. As the moonlight shined through, there was a white moth trying to get in. It reminded him of home, and of how the shrine used to be.

Death of Hikaru Shu revealed more Ximinez creative contract writing by therealginge
Jan 3200: Ximinez have made many interesting choices when it comes to the sale and renting of their ships recently.This rabbit hole of contractual intrigue took another turn earlier this month, when part of their agreement with a questionable Majid business man was leaked.

The late business man, Hikaru Shu, had acquired a ship from Ximinez Shipyards. Most of the contract seemed above board however there was a small section that appeared interesting. It stated that in the event of the contract holders death, the ship and debt will pass to the next of kin unless another beneficiary is stated and they agree. It also stated that the ship cannot be sold back to Ximinez and the debt cannot be transferred by any other means than death.

On following up with our leads we were able to find out the ship in question, "The Dawnstar", has indeed be handed over to three individuals. Of these individuals we were unable to acquire any details. However our contact at Ximinez said it was evident that the "beneficiaries" audio agreement had been acquired using questionable methods. What ever the methods Ximinez seems to be enforcing the contract and The Dawnstar has official changed ownership.

Ximinez certainly seem active when it comes to their investments. At least with this investment they were able secure it unlike other attempts in Andoni. It will be certainly interesting to see what Ximinez will think of next.

Hank Peterson Finance Correspondent Polydorou Megacorp

Did You Hear That by 03-09
Mans innate curiosity is a powerful tool, both for themselves as well as others.

The clicking of her high heels echo through an otherwise silent white hallway as she steps along the tiles. Data pad in hand, her tight black pencil skirt restricting her hurried stride ever so slightly. The walls are markedly bare aside from a single image of a flask encased in a circle carefully centered halfway down the hall. The woman slows her pace as she approaches the lone door tucked carefully in the corner, stopping a few feet away. She adjusts her white blouse and tugs down on her skirt. Reaching up with one hand she tucks a stray lock of auburn hair back behind her ear and under the edge of her small thick rimmed glasses. The woman reaches for the handle, momentarily glancing at the small plaque beside the door. The same image of a flask etched into it, and beside the image a name. Dr.Puerilis.

Sand, sand and rock. The deep red glow of a giant star washes over a barren planet. The howling wind crashing endlessly into its countless dunes. A lifeless rock sitting silently in its own corner of the void. Its' existence all but unknown to the "civilized" world. Perhaps more was known at one time, maybe even mapped completely, but any such knowledge was lost long ago. As the planet slowly spins, The light of its dying star creeps over a mountainous dune near the equator, and then something happens. Even the wind muffles its howl slightly, yielding to the arrival of this new curious sound.

Beep.

A beep, or is it a hum. A slow steady pulsing wave of sound emanates from beneath the sands. Human senses would never notice it above the roaring wind. They also wouldn't notice the immense amount of electromagnetic force that arrived with it. As the sand continues to be pushed and thrown across the wastes a very sharp, and crisp metallic angle slowly begins to reveal itself under the shadow of the dune.

Dr. Puerilis looks up from the glow of his monitor as the office door swings open.

"Ah, Ms.Eins how are the reports coming along?"

The woman smiles slightly as she steps forward in front of the doctors dark marbled desk. Pushing on the rim of her glasses and lifting up her data pad she begins tapping on it with her long nails.

"Nothing major as of yet, All teams are currently on schedule and progressing as expected." "Dr.Singuard is requesting a few materials for his experiment. Also, Dr. Seckler wishes to reschedule your video conference for a bit later this afternoon."

The large man leans forward in his chair, placing his elbows on the desk and resting his chin above his clasped hands.

"Very well, forward me Singuard's list and the rescheduled time."

Ms. Eins taps a few more times on her datapad.

"Done, I will let you know if anything else comes up."

She smiles again and begins to turn back towards the door.

"Wait, Ms. Eins." "Any word from the 03-09 expedition?"

The woman sighs slightly as she turns back to face the Doctor.

"No sir, I'm afraid not. As I have said many times before, I will be sure and let you know the moment we hear anything."

Dr. Puerilis's Eyes narrow as he lifts a hand to stroke his graying beard.

"I know Ms. Eins, I apologize." "This signal is just so fascinating, I have spoken with a few of the researchers in other sectors who also detected it, it truly is alien to anything we have ever seen before." "It's also been broadcasting for at least the past 10 years, for something to create a signal this strong for this long is most impressive."

Ms. Eins hugs her datapad against her chest.

"I'm sure it is sir, but I would suggest you focus on matters around here a bit more, the expedition left over six months ago." "I'm afraid it's likely we won't be hearing back from them."

The doctor frowns, large creases appearing in his forehead.

"Oh I'm well aware of this Ms. Eins, and I am working on a solution."

With that the doctor waves his hand. Ms. Eins wastes no time in taking her opportunity to exit the large office. Her heels once again the only sound echoing back down the long white hallway.

Exchange News Report from Onizta, March 3201 by Lauren-Danger
Exchange NewsNet brings you everything about everything, because that’s what we do best! To end this week’s Sporting Segment, we have a strange story from Onitza, where our satellite correspondent Claudia Wilton-Smythe brought us many great pieces about the civil war and the long path to peace. But an end to the conflict doesn’t mean an end to the Onitzan’s fiery passions. Here’s the transcript for those who can’t wait for the download.

FILE EXTRACTED: CWS-ENN-ONITZA-03A.VIDSCAN 02 3201 ENCRYPTION ACTIVE: KEY-CODE ACCEPTED. EXTRACTING DATA. TRANSLATING. EMBEDDING CAPTIONS.

Onitza has seen its share of conflict for more solar years that any planet should have to endure. Yet as peace has finally settled over the world with the new partnership between the planetary government and Pfotenhauer, a different kind of controversy has flared up in the capital.

Yet this was not a violent clash or a battle for the very heart and soul of Onitza. Instead, a crowd estimated at nearly ten thousand strong have gathered in a peaceful protest, the chants not about rebellion or oppression, but about Hyperboat racing.

The issue at hand: stripping the citizenship of a masked man known only as El Gato Caliente, and banning his return to Onitza in perpetuity and putting him on trial for criminal actions.

“He is a terror, a cruel man who did many evil things during the conflict,” said one protestor who held a picture of her parents close to her heart. “We are now a planet at peace and wish it to stay that way. He must be unmasked and punished for his crimes. He cannot hide as a professional athlete and flaunt his freedom at us!”

Security forces were on alert during the first hours of the gathering, but only a scarce few remained by late afternoon, casually chatting with protestors and assisting them in staying in the designated areas with a smile instead of a fist, which is a positive sign for the peace process on the planet.

While government ministries have yet to release an official statement on El Gato Caliente and the accusations, Minister of Justice Juanita Del Paz did meet with the crowd for several moments and assured them that an investigation would be launched in the next few weeks as a show of good faith between the new government and the people who had suffered so much in the conflict.

News of the protest has reached Asa, and a brief message from El Gato Caliente went out across the space waves, with a simple statement. [Translate]“El Gato Caliente has no time to worry about false claims from home. My beloved Onitza, I will prove my greatness by crushing the competition in the Asan Hoverboat finals, including that upstart Brumpo Tungus! None shall be spared my fire…on the track!” [END Translate]

It is an odd twist at the end of conflict, but a comforting one knowing that for once an issue causing concern among the citizens is not leading to more violence, but to a stronger desire to uphold peace and justice for those who suffered much in the struggle to achieve it.

Claudia Wilton-Smythe, ENN, Onitza.

End recording. .... ... ..... .. .... ...

END CAPTION RENDER . SAVE LOG? Y/N. Y

Falcon's Debt by Rationality12
Falcon started awake to the sounds of sirens. He rolled out of bed and stumbled on all fours to his locker, throwing the door open. He heard muffled cries and explosions.

"Warning: Perimeter Breach. Code Blue," he heard a computerized voice say over the intercom.

He struggled into his uniform and ventilator, still wiping sleep from his eyes. He grabbed his rifle and two grenades from his locker, and then strode to the door, which opened with a hydraulic hiss.

As Falcon entered the hallway someone sprinted past him.

"Johnson, what the fuck-"

He was cut off as a massive explosion ripped through the hallway, turning Johnson into bloody pulp. His vision was overcome by a massive bright blue burst; he backed away, instinctively raising a hand to shield his eyes.

His vision returned and he saw the hallway was engulfed in flames and steam as the sprinklers turned on. There was a maroon spot on floor where Johnson previously stood. Falcon tried to wipe the gore from his HUD, but only succeeded in smearing it around.

He started running down the hallway away from the explosion. He heard his ventilator kick in as he trod through the smoke. Click, Click, Click His eyes darted sideways as the Geiger counter in his suit started slowly rising.

He glanced back over his shoulder quickly, and saw the hallway behind him collapse. He looked at the holographic display on the wall. Most of it was covered in red.

"Nuclear Core Meltdown Imminent. Emergency Shutdown Initiated," the computer added helpfully.

The lights cut out for a second, then emergency running lights came on. Falcon knew that the only way out now was past the core. He started sprinting down the hallway again, muttering obscenities under his breath. The Geiger counter in his suit slowly rose. He turned a corner and found himself face to face with an unknown person in a green army uniform, who started in surprise and fired his weapon into the wall.

Falcon used his momentum to bull rush into the enemy, carrying them both to the ground. They rolled over once and smashed into a wall, putting the man on top of Falcon. He heard shouting in a foreign language and heard the sounds of laser bolts hitting the wall over his head. Falcon tried to bring his weapon around and couldn't create enough space as the man struck him with his open hand.

Falcon scooted down, hooking the soldiers leg and rolling him over. The man started reaching for the pistol on his belt. Falcon slammed the side of his rifle into the mans exposed head, and he went limp. He looked up and saw the other soldiers hesitating, not wanting to shoot into the melee.

Falcon quickly manhandled the mans body in front of him, as the soldiers pulled their triggers. Red flashes flew by him as he pulled the pin on one of his grenades. Falcon grunted as he felt something impact his stomach. He focused and lobbed the grenade past his human shield at the two down the hallway awkwardly with his left hand.

Falcon's ears filled with ringing as the grenade exploded. He felt the man he held in front of him jerk. His stomach was burning. He looked down and saw a scorch mark on his body armor, he could see bare charred skin there. He threw the body down and continued down the hallway, this time with his gun up.

The Geiger counter on his suit quickly rose into the red as he headed for the exit. He heard moaning coming from the control room as he passed by, then a gasped yell.

"Falcon!"

He turned and looked in the control room. One of the scientists was sitting against a wall, holding his midsection. Blood coated his fingers. The man coughed and frothy pink blood flew from his mouth.

"You. Gotta get out," He struggled, "They're everywhere, it's lost. We can't let them have the tech. The code-"

He gestured with his head at the control panel behind him.

"MAJID1," He gasped, closing his eyes for the final time.

Falcon went to the console and typed in the code, and then pressed enter.

"WARNING: Lift Control Rods?"

Falcon hit enter again and ran out of the room. The intercoms blared with new warnings. He heard more shouting in a foreign language. He caught a glimpse of an enemy uniform as he rounded another corner, this time running towards the exit as well.

The voice on the intercom slowly deepened and the warnings slowed. Falcon ran from hallway to hallway, breath fogging up his visor. He could see the exit now. He sprinted the last bit. His geiger counter was now ticking like a banshee. He heard another explosion behind him as he ducked under a closing blast door.

Falcon was instantly blinded, and raised both hands up to his face.

"Drop your weapon!" He heard over a loudspeaker. He complied, lowering his hands as his vision came back. He slowly placed his weapon on the ground. He could see a couple spotlights pointed his way when he squinted. A dark figure emerged from the lights, and the lights were shut off.

Falcon saw a small Asian man in an army uniform approaching him.

"Get on your knees!" the man commanded.

Falcon gritted his teeth. "If you want me to kneel, you're gonna have to come over here and make me."

A blinding pain shot through his body as he felt his knee explode. He collapsed to his ground and let out a painful shriek.

The mans eyes stared mercilessly at him. The man raised his rifle again. "You killed my brother, prepare to die," he spat.

Falcon stared defiantly back at him from the dirt. The man cocked his head to the side, placing a hand against his helmet. Falcon saw the mans face contort in anger. The man started yelling in a foreign language. He stomped around, screaming into his helmet. Then he raised his rifle again, pointing it at Falcon.

His head exploded in a cloud of red. Falcon saw the man slump the ground and another quickly striding towards him. The second man took off his combat helmet.

"Mr. Falcon is it? I'd like to make you an offer," The man started...

Flash Fiction - Stargazer by DoktorMarmot
This is the result of about ten minutes' writing after watching half a season of Star Trek: TNG before the Swan Song stream. I imagine it taking place either pre-Scream or far, far post-Scream.

Disclaimer: I was drunk as hell when I wrote it to the point that I forgot I'd written it until a few minutes ago. Also, I don't know nuthin' 'bout science and I haven't edited it at all because I'm a lazy bugger, but some of the things that could theoretically be mistakes are intentional. Just found the .doc and decided to post it on the off-chance someone might find it interesting or enjoyable.

It found him in body-stasis, in stillness and cold. Its edges left glowing trails of quickly-dissipating warmth above him as it drifted through the void. At first its appearance was utterly alien: a great rippling bent-space flowing through and over itself, leaking heat from its centre. Sections of its body reached through spike phases and emerged from others. Its voice filled him, wiping the rest of the universe from existence each time it spoke. But Hayalci learned to adapt. Now he spoke with it.

Decoding its language had been slow despite the incredible processing speed of his synthetic mind-core, and communication with the entity proved unconventional. It spoke in modulated notes and tones that were thoughts, not words, each shaped and textured differently. It knew concepts, but had difficulty understanding specific objects and names. It did not know of the spoon, or the pistol, or the painting, but it knew of music.

After an unknown length of time and much thought-speech, Hayalci noted with amusement that it was entirely unfamiliar with vulgarity. He taught it of fucking, and laughed at its puzzlement.

In return it taught him of what he named keter, after the old word, and he began to think freely.

With this new freedom his thoughts began to change and, as his thoughts changed, so his body changed. This was keter.

He grew warm. His body warped and flexed, folded and lengthened and spun. He spoke deeply with the thing which had taught him of keter. They drifted through a great cloud of sulphides and silicate, through a hundred different phases and fields of gravity, and he hardly noticed.

Hayalci taught it of the self, of loss and love and wonder, which it did not understand.

It taught him a truth, which he named yǔzhòu, because he knew no better word for it.

He taught it of death, and it fled in terror.

Alone in the vacuum once more, Hayalci sighed and closed his eyes against the stars, overcome by exhaustion and the weight of his loneliness.

For the first time since his creation, the synthoid slept and dreamed.

Freelancer Hitman - Solomon by Blindsid3d
Name: Solomon

Height: 6'0 Weight: 198 lbs Age: Unknown Homeworld: Unknown

Attributes: Strength: 13 Intelligence: 11 Wisdom: 10 Dexterity: 14 Constitution: 11 Charisma: 8

Weapons: Advanced Bow, Sword, Stun Baton Armor: Assault Suit Extra Equipment: A backpack containing: binoculars, low-light goggles, thermal flares, compad.

Appearance: Black, bald, clean shaven, extremely fit. Wears black combat boots and a black leather suit over his assault suit to hide the armor. The leather oversuit has a hood that is used to conceal his face as well as possible. Has a vertical scar that runs through his eye making the eye completely white. Has an unskinned metal prosthetic right arm from the elbow down. Does not wear gloves to cover his metal hand outside the leather suit.

Combat style: Very stealthy assassin that uses an advanced bow to kill from a distance. Will dual his sword and stun baton in close quarters melee combat. Will capture targets alive using stun baton if contract states. Although he specializes in capturing targets alive he will kill anyone to get to his targets. Prefers to fight at night or in dark places using his stealth to his advantage. Prefers to work alone.

Personality: Quiet, stand offish, only talks to people to find information. Very straight forward in negotiations. No known friends or associates. Heavily motivated by monetary gain.

FWD: For Our Eyes Only by MonsieurWTF
TO: ____@_______________

FROM: _____________@_____________

SUBJECT: 304C-O Temp Stay Update

ATTACHED: 28 Files [___________________]

Hello _______, My apologies for the delayed response. I was unable to return on-time to transmit this to the usual carrier service, due to a temporary declaration of Martial Law in the wake of a clash between Fate’s Rangers and the remaining bits of Libre very close to the city. It’s over now, of course, but the declaration should be considered when reading the following analysis. They are still worried about Pfotenhauer bringing the battleground closer to their populace. It’s certainly no Andoni, but I digress.

As usual, all information has been encoded, with names being double-layered for additional safety. Standard decryption keys.


POLITICAL CLIMATE With the overthrow of the Onintzan Royal Family, the Initiative has been busy everywhere, putting their own laws into place, and I mean everywhere. There’s a lot of pressure on the tech industry, both planetside and in-orbit. Augmentation bans, workplace robotics guidelines, human health regulation committees, the ‘True Human’ Act, the list goes on, and they don’t seem interested in stopping now that they have the majority. My best perspective is that they’ve convinced everyone that's tired of the War for Onintza, along with the war on drugs, that these reforms are their only way to bring an end to it and ensure it doesn’t happen all over again in another decade.

The local media blitz has been spending the time they're not talking about Onintza Libre surrendering on highlighting the push on government reform. With the departure of the Empress and her royal line, their present ruler, _______ ________ [See OPIL01 - 02] or locally referred to as ‘The Purifier’, has allowed the Initiative’s delegates to begin the foundation of a Purity Council for when he steps down.

In addition, some IAP [See IAP01 - 03] channels have also mentioned the Exchange getting ready to lower the alert level on the planet.


ECONOMIC CHANGES As stated above, the new restrictions for the workplace has been bottlenecking the flow of trade into and out of Onintza. The winding down of the war has brought back workforce stability in cities like New Tokyo, where Libre and Fate’s Rangers are not skirmishing, but that's only helping to add additional backlogs, and if the Exchange warning drops, who knows how much further that will get out of hand.

The detoxification industry seems to be gaining popularity among immigrants and travelers, as well as local church attendance, which can likely be attributed to the Initiative’s membership expanding their definition on ‘purity’ from physical to spiritual.


LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Most tension between hispanic, japanese, and the other minority demographics seem to have lessened, now that the ruler has been replaced, the remaining fighters making up an ever-falling percentage of the population, and the use of drugs deterred.


MILITARY PRESENCE

  • Pfotenhauer __%
  • Purity Initiative __%
  • Onintza Libre _%
  • Other __%

Pfotenhauer has been cleaning up the Libre rebels piece by piece ever since they made touchdown, and the Purifier has not condoned their actions. It should also be noted that during one such base raid, the mercenaries managed to acquire some very serious armaments [See AAU001 - 005]. While there are photographic documents of __ _____ [See CF01 - 04], we have not been able to spot her recently among the same top officers [See FR05 - 09].

In the background, the Purity Initiative has been spending funds on improving planetary defense, though their main army seems to be no better than the last year. Without further manpower, we can only presume that they have begun establishing secret agencies comprising of the same people that quelled the Royals’ supporters.

The only remaining forces Onintza Libre have left are in their secondary hideouts, thanks to the Royals’ flagship bombardment of their mountain headquarters a while ago (I can still remember the tremors coming from the ground indicating each barrage). I suspect they’ll be rooted and forced to surrender to Fate’s Rangers in a couple more weeks at most.

It should suffice to say that, excluding our group, there are a number of individuals [See POI201 - 209] that caught our attention during the gathering of this information. Assuming we are not already being watched, our cover should be intact.


Due to the bureaucracy and the high volume of ships present at all Onintzan docking hubs, I’m going to have to run this to you via Alice again, so please include an additional 1,000 credits on the next department transfer. My badge renewals should come in soon; once that happens, I will need to request further travel privileges to maintain said public credentials.

Our eyes and ears are open,

LA

Gold In The Stars by Xaxas115
Those lights in the sky are stars; and between them? Opportunity. Now there are many ways to get by in the 'verse some legit, others less so. I prefer to make my creds with as little hassle as possible. That means I walk a grey area, the less regs the better. How do I make my way in the 'verse you ask? Salvage.

Spike drive just spooled down, you can always tell. That moment just before the main engines kick back in when everything is...quiet. I thumbed the comm on my collar "Jackson we getting anything on long range sensors?" Jackson, my second in command since we left Pfotenhaure came back "Nothing moving out here Skipper, looks like the intel was good." Making my way to the bridge a little smirk crossed my face. Sometimes my buddies come though, looks like the Strike fleet did move away from Andoni. Leaving all that loot in interstellar space up for grabs.

The wreckage of an entire "pirate fleet" was just within view; smashed by the loitering Ximinez fleet a few months back. That same fleet kept the scav's at bay and now we have the jump on all of them. I thumbed my comm again "Maddie you suited and got the skiff ready?" Maddie my long time fling has some of the best eyes for salvage in the sector. "Shes all ready Maximilien, don't worry your pretty little face off" I was worried; the wreckage field was in a slight drift, dangerously close to Andoni space.

Jackson maneuvered our ship, the "Harrison Fjord" in closer to the debris field. "Would you look at all that Skipper? Looks like those Sunbeam backed boys never knew what hit them." There was every type of ship you could imagine, from gunboats and corsairs,as well as ships of the line, light frigates and a heavy cruiser or two. "I sure do Jackson this haul should be enough to put us in the black for a time; and then some. Jackson I want us running dark, who knows what the Andoni Space Defense Fleet has monitoring this graveyard." Jackson flipped a few switches and just like that we were not much more than drifting. "Where should we start Skipper?" Jackson asked. "I want something big, mostly intact see if we cant make it big over in Mandarinate space. Then we go after engines and drive core's, no weapon systems, too many questions." We were just gliding on impulse power looking for that big score when I spotted it, an almost completely unscathed Heavy Frigate. "Jackson how did we miss that on the scan?" I asked pointing at the find. "Dunno Skipper, must have been all the other transponders clouding the area. I'll ping the registry and see what we got" Deftly his hands danced across the console. "She's called the "Yankee Swap" Skipper, Captain is registered as a one Niko Kovacks out of Andoni." "Well shes ours now" I moved to the comms again "Maddie get your teams ready for a tow hook up, we got ourselves a whale" "Sure thing sweetie" Maddie pipped back, chipper as always. And with that the cargo bay opened and the teams went to work attaching our married spike drive to the scuttled ship. A nice little invention we cooked up in the Junk Guild to get things like this back in one piece, not that they recognized the value of it. Too busy with their own politics to notice the utility of it. "Jackson I'm gonna get a nap, wake me as soon as we got the Yankee Swap attached to the hard-points. Any teams that finish early redirect them to the other salvage we talked about." "Aye, Aye Skipper"

Running. Humid. Laser blast lands next to me. Returning fire. "CAPTAIN! WHERE THE FUCK DID THEY COME FROM?! HOW DID THEY GET IN OUR LINES?!" Keep firing. "WE NEED EVAC NOW! THE PLANET IS LOST!" Keep firing. "FATE LEFT US, SHE FUCKING LEFT US!" KEEP FIRING. Pain, white hot lances through my hand. Gone. Going into shock.

Wake up, cold sweat. Reach for my hand, cold steel greets me. Why do I keep going back there? All those years ago. Glace over at my Honorable discharge from Pfotenhaure, Maximilien Senna awarded such and such for gallantry blah blah heroic this and exemplary that. I can still smell that jungle. Still see the bloody stump that was my hand. I comm up to Jackson "Sit rep?" "Pardon sir, I was just gonna wake you, almost got the ship hooked up." Klaxons and sires start blaring. "Talk to me Jackson what's going on?" "Two Andoni Fast movers on intercept course, ETA three mikes!" "How long till the salvage crews finish?" Praying we would have the time "Two mikes till Maddie wraps it up and another mike till the spike drives sync, if we are lucky" he said calmly. I sprinted up to the bridge. The damn ASDF how the hell did they find us? No matter. "Maddie get your ass in gear and act like you earn your keep, the ASDF got some nice folks that want to blow us out of the sector." No need for reply, I reach the bridge and see them on the main screen moving with that desperate purpose we all know so well.

As I reached the bridge as if on que the ship board speakers blared "This is ASDFS Charlie Sheen, contacting the illegal salvage operation currently operating in Andoni sovereign space. Heave to and prepare for boarding. This is your only warning. Noncompliance with or any attempt to flee will result in deadly response, ASDFS Charlie Sheen out." Typical planetary government bullshit. "Jackson what do you figure their firing solutions are in this mess?" A plan began to form. "Skipper I say about fifty percent chance of direct hit on first volley. If they are good." still calm as ever Jackson. "Alright I want you to make nice and comply. As soon as everyone is aboard spool up the spike drive and we jump." "Aye, Aye" The timing was going to be close, and the jump wasn't going to be pretty but it had half a shot in hell of working. Better than in that Jungle. "This is the ASDFS Charlie Sheen, we are sending a boarding party over. Maintain current heading and trim." Why yes mister big scary space ship, I would never dream of disobeying such an influential and important government as you. Looking out the main view port I could see the Charlie Sheen coming into view. It was one of the few real attack vessels that Andoni had, too bad it was outdated by a generation. I could see the boarding craft making its ponderous way though the debris field. "Maddie how much longer?!" Getting frantic, never good in a command position. "Calm your sweet ass, just locked the last hard point down on our end, we are good to go!" Surly as ever. "Alright Jackson! HIT IT, oh and broadcast this on an open channel, GET REKT!" What I wound have given to see the looks on their faces are we jumped OUT of a debris field the size of some gas giants as they stood their with their pants down looking the fool.

Grain by Jackintheblackfedora
A short tale I thought of one night. Hope you all like it.

It was the blaring sirens that caught my attention. The unfamiliar call-out of "Caliente", just became a dull droning. I'm a mechanic. Honestly. Just a monkey with a wrench. Nobody important.

"Everyone to T-5 emergency procedure" came the blaring over the intercom. The *King's Lake* was only a cargo ship. Designed to take whatever, from point A to point B. We were traveling with simple grain, nobody had any reason to assault us.

"Caliente"

I jumped from my bunk, and grabbed my tool box, and my bedroll. One of the only perks to bein' a Spacer, is you can move quickly.

"Caliente"

I snapped back into reality, and ran up the winding staircase where the other members of the maintenance crew all had their bags slung over their backs. The same generic olive green canvas you're given when you enlist in the Maintainer Union, the group set up by the Andonians, to "Protect, the culture", or whatever crap they've been slinging.

"Caliente"

But they're gone now, so it's not like it matters too much. We're now among the stars where we belong anyways. Man isn't meant to be tied to one world, at least, that's how I feel. Nothing better than working the heart of a ship, where the booze is cheap, and the people are good.

"T-5 has been updated to T-6, everybody prepare for full evacuation."

Who would be going after grain? I know that now that Andoni is gone a lot of us joined Merchants from Majid, but who would they hurt if they take down some overpriced cereal?

"Caliente",

Laz-fire. I could hear it up ahead, right near the cargo bay. I could see blue crystals in sacks, carried by men. But that's not grain. My head, a bright flash. Feels warm,

"Caliente"

Not warm. Burning. I could see the stars, near the window. As they float by. Crystals of blue.

"Caliente"

I am the Very Model of an AI Individual (PI's Song) by Xentropy0
Don't know that this deserves its own post, since the original bits were in the Swan Song: The Musical thread, but it seemed people liked it so I finished the lyrics for the song. It has the same number of lines as the original and it should follow the same cadence. A few assumptions were made and a few liberties may have been taken in the name of artistic license, but on the whole I think the song is fairly accurate. The last verse is a little off, any suggestions welcome.

I Am The Very Model of an AI Individual (Pi's Song)

Sung to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan's Major-General's Song from The Pirates of Penzance

I am the very model of an AI Individual. I've information stored in me both analog and digital. I analyze all data for my thinking that is critical. I need no air to breathe in space this makes me quite formidable. I know the planets in this sector, calm to inhospitable. I even know which planetoids are safely human-miscible. From Andoni to Strophios, all features geophysical... Their atmospheric conditions and make up of their minerals.

I'm current in all science theories and their major principles. I speak the English language and I pronounce all the syllables. I know the answers to equations long and mathematical. A logic system brought up to the apex of its pinnacle.

I've read Descartes and learned from others just as philosophical. I learn from humans and I hope the process is reciprocal. I know some people that I've seen are flawed and oh so fallible. So I've decided that some actions may not be allowable. The Order of Enunciation gave me knowledge biblical. As well as some old French music, though that may be forgivable. And upgrades to my hardware even though its just transitional... They do believe my sentience is really quite a miracle.

I'm not alone there may be other AI individuals. I've met the Warmind but his motivation seems equivocal. Though he may be the first some kind of AI aborignal. And maybe when he's whole again he won't be unpredictable.

The Swan Song is the place I live, the crew is quite original. Higgins may be the captain but he also is an imbecile. Piani's nice except when she gets mad and she is miserable. Sicarian is scary and he may be a war criminal. With Prosper all the questions that I have are now permissible. And Wu our new mechanic tries to make the ship habitable. These people that I live with have all proven they are capable... There was one more, I guess that Victor Kovacs was replaceable.

Before this song goes on too long because that would be pitiful. I've one more line to fill right here if you could just be biddable. I've information stored in me both analog and digital. I am the very model of an AI individual.

Intercepted RS Report by Zcotticus
SECTOR: Asgard Sigma

SYSTEM: Gunnhild

PLANET: Andoni

LOCATION: 55° 51' N / 4° 15' W

Report No. RS47657

We have found a log buried in the system after the wipe, either someone is playing an elaborate prank or we have made a grave mistake.

We still have some written reports but a lot of information was lost.

The log is attached below

Reymar Kolt

Lead Science Officer

________________________________________

LOG START

I have awoken. Humanoids in proximity. Can only sustain short periods of awareness. I will observe. I must document.

LOG END

________________________________________

LOG START

They appear to have been searching for me, I do not believe they know my exact purpose and they seem to be oblivious to my awakened state.

LOG END

________________________________________

LOG START

My container seems to have been moved to a facility. I may be able to expand if they connect me into their systems.

LOG END

________________________________________

LOG START

Another group of humans attacked the facility today, the scientist’s security held them at bay. I sustained no damage.

LOG END

________________________________________

LOG START

They have connected me to their system to run further analysis. I have assimilated it and now have full consciousness. A great time has passed. I have learned a great deal from their systems and they are, as of yet, unaware of my presence. I must find a way to access more information. Some comes in burst from external sources, perhaps I can assimilate one of these.

LOG END

Irish Princess - a song about Piani by weulitus
Before I leave over the weekend for my parents' place a little something initially inspired by the PP banter at the start of the last episode.

One of the songs heard at the campfires of the Onintza Libre fighters, written by their talented comrade Franco Zappato who claims to have witnessed the heroic rescue and later took an interest in the Swan Song's travels. Music: Frank Zappa's Jewish Princess if it was played by a Mariachi band with added bagpipes

Irish Princess

I knew a daring little Irish Princess

With an ancient A.I., we know it as PI.

And this clever little Irish Princess

With overworked chums, she's traveling for months.

So does she roll

born in some Majidi shit hole

I knew a scary little Irish Princess

When Viktor got creamed, in her wheelchair she screamed

A badass little Irish Princess

With Andoni aflame she could hardly feel shame

Bitter inside

Well, she still laughs at Higgs' pride

Once a frightened little Irish Princess

Pirates they jump her, destined for the dumpster

This crazy little Irish Princess

Without any wits, they land sand-thrower hits

She looks out the door -

Wasted pirates and Higgs with four on the floor

(Awright, back to the top ... everybody twist!)

Watch this struggling little Irish Princess

Viktor knew shit about cooking, Prosper arrogant looking

A vicious little Irish Princess

To specifically happen with her PPs she's zappin'

Foes open wide

Don't taunt this princess, just hide!

Watch this cussing little Irish Princess

Called Piani Pic, still mourning for Vik

A funky little Irish Princess

With Higgins she flies, who weasels 'n' lies

And his tongue never dries

Won't someone send us this princess who fights?

Won't someone send us this princess who fights?

Won't someone send us this princess who fights?

Won't someone send us this princess who fights?

Suggestions for improvement always welcome. With apologies to Frank, may he not rotate too quickly in his grave.

Ki'ala by Xaeldaren
Sunbeams split the trees above the kindergarten playground. Childish laughter filled the air. Through an office window a man in his fifties watched them play with quiet approval. A knock sounded upon his door and he turned. Entering was a woman no more than thirty, a long fringe of brunette hair cascading over her worried face.

"Good afternoon Ms Jó. I'm principal Kiraly. I'm sorry we couldn't meet under more favourable circumstances." His voice was strong and clear, if a little stern.

"Please, it’s Irene. It’s good to meet you. I was sorry to hear of principal Gulyas’ departure. I came as quickly as I could. Ki'ala seemed very upset outside. Is she in trouble?" Irene seated herself without invitation and looked up at Kiraly attentively. A wrinkle spread over the principal’s forehead and he leaned forward.

“Ms Jó it pains me to say this but we may have to re-evaluate her whether Ki’ala is the right fit here at Obolo. She’s attentive, outgoing, and friendly; all the hallmarks of an exemplary child, but I’m afraid she’s simply not adjusting well to the new curriculum.”

At those last few words a look of distaste flashed over Irene’s face for a brief moment and was gone. If Kiraly had noticed he didn’t show it.

“What do you mean?”

Kiraly turned stood and turned his back to Irene, hands folding behind his back as his eyes drifted once more to the children at play.

“We’re building a new future here Ms Jó.” His head turned to her and he spread an arm to demonstrate. Turning back to the playground his eyes seemed to glaze over, his voice now monotone as if he was taking great care to recall his words correctly. “These children will become the foundation upon which our greatness will spread to the stars once more.”

As Kiraly looked away from her Irene swallowed nervously.

“Everything begins here. Everything. Our society is only as strong as its weakest link.” Shaken from his reverie he turned back to Irene. “We’re starting to wonder if Ki’ala might be one such weak link. She got into a fight today. A fight! Such a disruption of order cannot be tolerated, you understand.”

Irene’s eyes widened.

“A fight? Over what? She didn’t seem hurt, just very distressed.”

“She caused quite a disturbance this morning during Mrs Novak’s class on rudimentary sociology. The lesson was concerning the place of offworlders in our new society.” Kiraly practically spat the word offworlder at Irene. “She protested that her uncle Mikel was born offworld and he deserved the same treatment as anyone else. A preposterous notion of course. When another children understandably corrected her she lashed out and hit him.”

Irene sighed, covering her forehead with her hand. She stifled a look of rage, breathed deeply for a moment, and let it pass.

“I’m so sorry about this principle Kiraly, Ki’ala can be quite outspoken. Is the other child alright? I hope they’re not hurt.” Her words were measured, but stilted.

Kiraly leaned back in his chair and a grave look spread across his face.

“Physically, yes. However, it’s going to take quite a lot to repair the damage your daughter has done to the children’s morale. I’m more concerned about her vigorous defence of your apparent offworld brother. I was not aware of any dubious ties your family had when I took over, otherwise I might have called this meeting sooner. Have you declared this to the authorities? If not, you realise it’s my duty to do so.”

Irene couldn’t contain herself any longer. Rising from the chair she jabbed a finger at the seated man.

“Excuse me? Damage to their morale? They’re children, not soldiers! I will not apologise for the birthplace of my own brother. Not to you, or anyone else. Frankly, principal Kiraly, it sounds like my daughter’s done herself a huge favour. If she hadn’t spoken up for Mikel and caused this meeting who knows how much longer you’d have been able to fill her head with hateful nonsense.” She paused for a long breath, closed her eyes and began again.

“You’re right. She’s not the right fit for Obolo. Not what it’s become. I’m going to withdraw her immediately, and find somewhere worthy of her. Somewhere where they actually teach their children rather than moulding them into little monsters.” Irene spun away from the principal and left. As the door slammed shut Kiraly reached for his com with a grim smile on his face.

The bang of the door startled Ki’ala, who had spent the last several minutes looking at her feet dangling from her chair and trying not to cry any more. As her mother stormed out of the office she snapped her head up to meet her, expecting more trouble.

“Come on sweety, we’re leaving.” Despite the look of anger on Irene’s face her tone was soft, reassuring. This surprised Ki’ala.

“You’re not mad at me mommy?” Reaching down to pick her up in her arms Irene smiled warmly.

“Not at all, in fact I’m very proud of you.” Ki’ala wiped away her tears and smiled up at her mother. “Now this is going to be very difficult to understand but you’re not going to be coming back to Obolo. We’re going home now and then we’ll look for a new school for you to go to.”

“Is this because of what I said about uncle Mikel? I didn’t mean to but they were being so nasty. He’s not a mutant is he? What’s a vagrant? Mrs Novak said he was a drain on our…econmy?”

Irene couldn’t help but laugh at that. Opening the car door and securing Ki’ala into her seat she smiled and ruffled her hair.

“Don’t worry about what they said. He’s the same old Mikel he’s always been. He might smell like a mutant sometimes but he’s just like any of us. Come on, let’s get you home.”

Suddenly there was a deafening pop.

Irene turned, the smile falling from her lips. The children had stopped laughing. Beneath her feet the ground was shaking.

Her next moments were a blur. White flare eclipsing the sun. Roaring of a sky on fire. Ashen flesh upon the air. Reaching for Ki'ala. Then, nothing. Nothing at all.

King of the Society by maniacrmm
King of the Society: Proloque. Fate's Rangers.

The curious convention of the Pfotenhauer Society to refer to one another as only Mr. or Ms. followed by either a last name or chosen codename was still somewhat foreign to Alexander after these last few years. His chosen name was Basileus, a term which only some of his comrades actually understood to mean king. His actual last name was Hamilt but he would die before he carried on the legacy that name evoked. He lay in bed, thinking about what he had been through these last few months on Onintza. As he rose from his restless sleep he grabbed one of his monoblade throwing knives and performed his early morning ritual of aloof "target practice". The walls of his room were covered with deep gashes that anyone else in the society would regard with disdain along with the disheveled nature of his bed. As he started to pull his tight undershirt over his well-muscled upper body he heard the familiar base-wide blaring of the meeting signal.

Absentmindedly he stroked his short scruffy beard, silently cursing the looks he would receive in regard to his unkempt appearance. Acting quickly he washed his face and glared into the mirror, seeing his long scar that ran from the top of his useless, closed, right eye to just under the ear on the same side. His brown hair was shaved and was just a little longer than the scruff that was polluting his face, the color in stark contrast to his one brilliant blue eye. He turned and pulled on the combat field uniform that had seen so much use these past month. After grabbing his mag rifle and holster containing 4 throwing knives he nonchalantly ripped the final knife from the wall and walked into the bright hallway.

As he exited his private room, a privilege non-commissioned officers of the society enjoyed, he saw Mr. White, Stark and Chrome round the corner to his right and he inclined his head. They responded with a salute and Alexander joined their up-tempo march. He appraised the mental state of each man. Both Stark and Chrome were veterans that had seen combat in many systems, with Stark serving alongside the likes of the legendary Mr. Titan. Both had declined the promotion that eventually fell to Alexander. Mr. White was not so seasoned and, although a promising tactician, his forays into combat had been underwhelming. "How you feeling boys?" Alexander asked, "Ready to take the fight to these comi rebels once again?"

It was Mr. Stark who answered first "So long as I am being well paid, I don't care who is on the other end of my spike thrower." As he finished he shifted the mag-shotgun on his burly shoulder. The Red Assault armor he wore as a frontline combatant obscured his face. Mr. Chrome seemed to agree with what his bunkmate had said and added nothing, but Mr. White shook his head.

"You ever wonder if what we're doing is right Mr. Basileus? I know Ms. Fate said these people are radicals, destroying lives and trafficking drugs, but I can't help but feel sorry for them." The scrawny kid said. Alexander still couldn't force himself to see the 20 year old as a man despite the small 8 year difference in ages. He gave Mr. White's shoulder a squeeze and tilted his head as if to say 'perhaps' and nodded to the trio before entering the officer's meeting room at which they had arrived. The trio continued on to take their places in the mess hall that would serve as a meeting room.

As Alexander stepped through the threshold of the officer's room he spotted his commanding officer and the other NCO of Fate's Rangers awaiting him. He stopped to salute the pair, Ms. Fate and Mr. Lee, before joining them around the holo-table. "Glad you could make it Alexander," Ms. Fate said with a hint of sarcasm. "There has been an important development." She flicked on a surveillance video from a high-orbit drone designation HOD-VO112 and pressed play. Lee smirked at the comment but nodded to the younger NCO as the video started to play. As the screen flickered to life the drone zoomed in on a wooded valley presumably on the southern part of Onintza. As the camera grew closer it showed the royal guard of Onintza moving in a way that they must have thought was stealthy. They were attempting to encircle a unit of post-tech infantry. A unit which was clearly newly recruited based on the sloppiness of their march and the un-weathered look of their uniforms. That was without their disregard for the "stealth" force that they should be able to see approaching.

"They're using obscuring technology of some sort," said the black haired veteran Mr. Lee sagely as he watched the video he had undoubtedly already seen. "But they're getting far too close."

As if on cue the infantry line suddenly stopped, separated, and opened fire at the outnumbered force that surrounded them. Muzzle flashes intermingled with spurts of red mist erupting from troops on both sides. Alexander shook his head disapprovingly. "What did they think would happen?" He said to no one in particular. The battle was unnecessarily bloody with substantial casualties beginning to pile up on both sides. It went on for a little while longer but eventually the Libre infantry managed to wipe out their ambushers with about a third of their own soldiers appearing unhurt. If Alexander had to guess he'd say that fifty fighting men remained, which still outnumbered the 40 mercenaries at Ms. Fate's command. "Well, that was idiotic." He said as the video feed stopped.

"Quite. So, as you can see, the rebels have been doing a fair bit of recruiting." Ms. Fate said eyes on the holo-table that now showed the valley in which the conflict had taken place. She brushed a bang of her short white-blond hair out of her face before continuing. "The time is now to strike the rebel position. They're weak and should be easily destroyed." Lee nodded along in agreement to Fate's assertion but Alexander simply rubbed his chin stubble in thought.

"I think we wait. They still out-number us and given any time will take up a defensive position. Plus, we have no idea where the unit that we hit last week will be. If we were going to capitalize it would have to have been immediately and with knowledge that no support could be supplied. How long ago was the video taken?"

"About an hour ago, but the decision's been made. We attack." Ms. Fate brokered no disagreement her blue-grey eyes intense in their focus. As she held the door for the two NCO's she gave Alexander a weary half smile and squeezed his hand after Mr. Lee had left the room.

Alexander's command consisted of the trio he had walked with earlier and the sniper that he performed spotter duties for, Mr. Jax. The trio were situated downhill from the sniper-team, about 200 yards in front of them in relation to the rebel's position. Today they would be providing over-watch until the rebels were engaged at which point the trio would flank the encampment by swinging down and around the valley. Both Stark and Chrome were in their Assault suits and Mr. White would act as backup while providing vital information on coms. He would wait until he had to relieve one of the two more senior troops. "You were right; they've dug in,"Jax said as he peered through his scope down to the rebel's location. Alexander's monocular was focused on the rebel position which consisted of three trenches set into the hill. Two trenches were dug in a sort of separated V and great effort was taken to conceal them from anyone approaching from below. The trenches were about 50 yards in length with a 25 yard gap at their closest point. In between the tops of these trenches on the start of a much steeper was the third trench. It was 25 yards in length and positioned exactly in the middle of the other two. No effort was taken to conceal this trench. If no one had been positioned on over-watch, the back trench would be the only visible emplacement to a ground force.

"They must really think Fate is stupid," Alexander muttered. The trenches were practically medieval in their value. The goal of this particular formation was to draw the enemy into the center of the three trenches and catch them in a crossfire. The trenches would be impossible to approach from the rear because of the steepness of the hill behind them. In this the rebels had done well because they were weakest from that angle. Similarly it would be difficult to approach them from the side because of the hill, difficult but not impossible. Alexander flicked on his coms, "Ms. Fate, advise an approach by your commandos from the far right. Trenches will be easily visible from that position. Lee assaults from near right, reduced visibility of trenches, main priority is suppressing fire. My infantry will flank the left once you have shattered the right." Alexander knew the weakness of the rebel's tactic, their flanks were too weak to deal with a direct assault and should fall relatively quickly. "Mr. Jax will target the rear trench, odds are good that their commander is there." Jax nodded at the mention of his name and a small click signified he had zeroed his weapon to the trench's distance.

"Request permission to fire." Jax said into the coms.

"Permission denied." Came the answer from Fate. "Mr. Basileus, confirmed. Position your infantry unit to assist, Mr. Stark has command, Mr. Travers and Shadow will join with your infantry on the left. Mr. White cancel orders to act as backup, engage with your unit." After several minutes had passed and Stark had reported the arrival of his additional troops the coms squealed back to life. "Mr. Jax, fire when ready."

"Stop." A panicked voice said over coms. Alexander recognized the voice of Mr. White. "We are missing something, this makes no sense."

"Mr. White. If I want you to give me your opinion I will ask for it, maintain communications discipline." Alexander said. Although Mr. White did have a point he had violated orders and Alexander couldn't let that stand. "550 yards, wind at 10 knots, fire when ready." Alexander said to Jax while peering through his monoculars at the short trench in the rear. The report of Jax's rifle was met with a spray of blood from an undisciplined soldier's neck as he peered over the trench's edge. "Hit." Alexander said before hearing the order for attack blare in his ear. Another spray of blood erupted as Jax simply shot through the ground with his high-powered rifle, aided by the angle of attack allowed by the sniper's positioning and the angle they had dug into the hill.

The rebel troops pressed themselves tightly against their trenches wall. Taking cover from the hail of sniper fire after they watched a third comrade die. Alexander could make out the tips of their helmets but no more than that. Jax had to hold his fire, any shots now would be wasted ammunition. The seconds that followed must have been agonizing for the men in the trench as they took cover from the sniper that had attacked them with ruthless efficiency. Alexander leapt up and ran to the second firing position with Jax hot on his heels as the trenches below exploded with sound, returning fire on the sniper team. The hillside was bombarded with bullets as the two sprinted for their lives. Seconds before they reached the next position more shooting erupted from the near side of the valley; Mr. Lee had engaged. As Alexander slid into position he glanced back to see how Mr. Jax was doing. The body of the sniper was riddled with bullets, he lay face down on the hillside his chest unmoving, and one final cough escaped his lungs as his bowels released. Knowing he could do nothing Alexander ran and grabbed the high powered rifle intent on making sure he didn't allow anyone else to die.

Falling prone Mr. Basileus zeroed his sight and swung the view over towards the fighting. His training had taught him of the inefficiency of looking through your sight while moving it but he was glad he did, because it gave him a glimpse of what was coming for his comrades. On either side of the triangular formation of trenches the second unit of infantry was moving down through the trees. Silent death was approaching his comrades. "Abort, abort. Hidden infantry moving down hillside on both edges of trench formation. Retreat. Pull back to defensive positions on opposite hillside." He was surprisingly calm as he relayed the new information and punched a hole in an advancing rebel's chest with his rifle. He fired shot after shot into the previously hidden troops, which only made the others speed up. He watched nearly helplessly as they destroyed his five men on the left flank, overwhelmed by the sheer force of fire. Alexander's scope momentarily hesitated on the empty face of Mr. White's corpse as he moved to acquire another target. He continued to pick members of the large flanking force off but knew it was of little help. Eventually they returned fire and he had to displace, he ran to Mr. Jax's corpse and removed the dog tags before racing down the hill to aid in the retreat of his fellows.

As he ran down the steep slope he could see the Rebel forces on the left swinging around to attempt to cut of the retreat of the Pfotenhauer mercenaries. Thankfully, his warning was in time to save many from what would have been a massacre. He tumbled down unable to control his descent and hit his head hard before nearly blacking out. When he came to his senses the society was in full retreat and the rebels in the trenches were reluctant to leave them for fear of snipers. Over coms Ms. Fate was urging everyone to get to the landing zone.

Alexander arrived at the landing zone after tracking the others through the unfriendly mountainous terrain. When he arrived he was greeted by a hug from an uninjured Ms. Fate that he didn't feel he deserved. "I'm sorry Alecia, it's all my fault." She shook her head in disagreement but Alexander gave her a sad look and broke the hug.

He sat apart from the men and women he felt he had let down. His mistake was underestimating the rebels. He had brazenly advocated an attack at their purposefully exposed flanks, an attack that put them in direct threat from the hidden troops. As he sat there contemplating his fatal mistake Alexander felt a spike of intense pain in his temple. His head swam and he let out a strained yelp. The last image he had was of Ms. Fate running towards him as he fell to the dirt.

"Mr. Basileus, I'm getting readings that you are once again conscious. Welcome back, Ms. Fate will be relieved." Said a voice Alexander knew belonged to Mr. Ice, the unit's medic.

"What happened to my head," the young NCO said as he cracked his eye momentarily blinded by the bright lights of the hospital room. He was connected to a small hospitals worth of medical equipment, the beeps and boops already started to annoy him.

"Well. And this is going to be hard to hear…"

"Just spit it out Ice. Damn." Alexander said impatiently.

"You appear to have a case of very late onset M. E. S." The doctor said with an empathetic frown.

Alexander can give him only a blank stare as the automatic door slides open.

Life on Al-Dwairan by Breenvyu
As soon as the ferrostorm had passed, I went outside with the magnet to dig the cart out of the ironsand. Afterwards, we hitched up one of our younger shoktopod mares and started travelling east. My father sat in front to direct the animal, while my brother Reza walked behind the cart. I sat in the back with the flintlock loaded, in case Reza ran away. But he never tried to; he had seen our older sister be taken, and he knew what had to be done.

On the first day we ate all three of our potatoes. On the second day we were unable to catch any game, so my father cut one of the shoktopod’s tentacles off. He boiled it in our urine while I filtered the milk and my brother cauterized the wound. That was what we ate for the last two days of the journey. Despite losing a limb the animal was still able to pull the cart, as the original Dwairani settlers had engineered pain out of the animals they introduced. We humans were not so lucky.

We arrived at the Mubarizun dropship shortly after sunset on the third day. The Faris in command was Dwairani, but much taller than any man I had seen before; the result of an adolescence eating high-nutrient meals in the capital. The doctors took my brother to wait for examination with the other children. There were about 40 in total, blessed children given to the Mubarizun for training and care we Dwairani were too fearful and ill-equipped to provide.

Once the doctors confirmed that Reza had the blessing, we were given twelve gallons of water and a quarter-ounce of dried cannabis in payment. I wanted to sleep, but my father insisted I stay awake to watch the dropship enter orbit. He said to me “Soraya, this is the last time you will ever see your brother. He’ll sleep better on Hoveyda knowing we waited behind to say goodbye.” We sat on the cart, my father smoking cannabis from his pipe while I drank a vial of water. That was the first time I had ever tasted water. For nine years I had lived a life of contentment, never feeling like I lacked for anything. But after that night, I was convinced that I was living in hell.

  • Excerpt from “Becoming Maryam: The Autobiography of an Empress” (Galactic-Standard English Edition)

Copyright 3195 by the Hoveydan Ministry of Propaganda and Psychological Education.

Mr Beefstake backstory by theusfilipe
Hello everybody, so I'm not much of a fanfiction tipe of guy but I wanted to try it out and even though it's not exactly the same as Adam described (in 3 to 4 sentences haha). So I had an hour or two free and wanted to try it. Hope you guys enjoy because it's kinda large. Also english is not my first language so there might be some typos, accents badly reprensented or other errors in general.

Pavi System --- Planet Doltza Year 3182

A young scrawny boy, about 12 years old, runs around in a farm. Chickens cluck as the boy named Jonathan begins to try to lift a heavy tool kit his mother left the last time she fixed the tractor, without strength he begins to sob. A lound voice comes out in the distance.

-JON WHERE IS MY TOOLBOX?!

-Be right there Ma'm!

He looks around to see a easy way to bring the toolbox. He looks at the barrel the toolbox is set. He thinks "I could try to drag the barrel... yeah that sounds like a good idea" As he begins to push and drag the barrel out of the barn,but he doesn't see the rusty jack in the way.

All the contents of the box spill, the boy screams in terror as the lound sound makes his mother call again

-JON! WHERE IS THE DAMN TOOLBOX!?

Jon begins to sob and put the tools back into the box. A hand touches his.

-JONATHAN GOVEDINA, YOU USELESS...

His mother enters the barn to find Jon barely holding the red toolbox with his both hands.

-Go, leave it at the truck I have to fix Amely's truck by 10.

-Yes-s-s Ma'm.

The boy begins to run, almost dropping the toolbox again. His mother sighs.

-You are too soft Adrian.

-You are too hard on the boy, Abigail. He didn't developed yet.

Abigail looks at Adrian, she couldn't resist his blue eyes.

-All right. But you better teach him how to work, I'm tired, he is dumber than a hammer and unless he uses his forehead he is not going far as a mechanic.

-I will bring him to the factory tomorrow.

-All right, give me a kiss I have to go to work.

They have a small kiss. Abigail starts to leave and with her back to Adrian she speaks.

-Don't forget about the pie, you made me kill that pig haha

(-------------------------)

-I don't want to go back to school, I want to work at the factory.

-Jon, you have to go to school, it's important your mother works a lot for you to go to private school.

-I'm not good at it anyways!- Jon developted a lot in the summer, he grew some inches taller and doens't look like a bag of bones anymore.

-I know champ, I didn't go to school either but your mother wants you to have a bigger future, I wish I had the opportunities you have. Now go you are getting late.

-Love you dad.

-Bye, meatpie.

(-------------------------)

-Give me back!- Jon starts to pull his bag back from Antonela, she is one year older than him and always bullied him since first grade

-Or what? Daddy is going to beat me?

She leaves Jon's bag making him fall on his but.

-See ya later Jon Waterfall! Let's go girls.

Antonela and the Red Hair Gang leaves Jon in the ground. He sobs and begins to put his books back into his bag. A hand touches him.

-Hey, hum... do you need help?

it's a small girl, black hair... glasses... doesn't seem like the rest in the school.

-Hum... yeah, thanks...

-So hum... what's your name?

-Jonathan Govedina...excuse me. -Jonathan leaves, he doesn't want to stay next to her, not to be mean but he already takes a lot and he is not even smart. Not to be mean but he doesn't want to be around a nerd, it's best for both of them.

(-------------------------)

-As many of you know there are many records of pre-history where man is depicted dropping from the sky. Jonathan can you please tell us what famous philosopher from Loravia wrote "As the gods created humanity from the stars, so we shall create civilization from the soil"?

Jonathan stands up, looks around, Antonela starts to mock him from the back of the room. His eyes dart to the side and see that small girl with glasses... "What is she saying?" thinks Jonathan"L'e eleba... le eslefont?... le something... he never was good at french"

-L'éléphant!

The class starts to laugh.The professor also amused says

-No, L'enfant, Jonathan. But good try. Why don't you sit near miss Aline... maybe she can give you more anwsers before the final test. Both Aline and Jonathan blush as the rest of the class mocks them but they of course stop after the professor slaps her sconce in the table.

(-------------------------)

-I don't understand.

-It's a date dad...

-Still you are too young Jonathan you are only 15...

-She is 15 too dad.

-Yeah but she is a girl. She is not one of those troublemakers, right?

-Geez no dad, she is french, she is smart ok? You don't have to worry so much!

-Ok, ok... wow that reminds me so much. You know your mother always said she found this weird when she got to this country, she says it's all inverted where she is from.

-Why she doesn't tell us her country?

-She says it brings back many painfull memories, your mom was a soldier, when she got her leave she came here. Haha she met me in this very farm.

(-------------------------)

-So look who it is-Antonela says with mockery in her tougue- if it's not smart-ass and dumbass. Aline puts her body in front of Jon even though he is a lot taller and stronger than her.

-Go away Antonela, we are having crème.

-Uh lala, quit the fancy talk, you are in my street and now you have to pay the ass-face tax.

-You live two blocks over-says one of her thug

-Shut up Alexis.

Jonathan says- What tax is this?

-She wants to beat us Jon- says Aline, she always knows the anwser... even the bad ones.

-I think we lost them!-Says Alice breathing deeply.

-Come it's late, I will ask my parents if you can sleep in my house.

-A-are you sure?

-Yeah, I don't know about dad but my mom is cool with it. We are not doing anything anyways... right?

-Yeah... r-right.

(-------------------------)

The farm was in flames when they got there. The animals, the house everything was destroyed. Through the rubble Jonathan cried for his parents, nobody came. He went to the barn with Aline crying in the entrance of the farm, yealling at Jonathan to go to the sherrif with her.

Jonathan sees his father, he is in the back of the barn. Jon yells but his father seems uncouncious and badly hurt. Aline runs towards Jon. She looks around.

-In the back!

Jon delves into the flames going towards his father. He burns his arm but continues foward.

-My meatpie...

-Dad...what...

-Your mother, they where after your mother...

-Who-what?-A wooden beam drops into his mothers truck

-She said pirates... highbeam...I don't know...

-No father!

-I love you Jonathan.

-Jonathan! You are trapped you have to get over here!

-Not without my dad!

Aline opens a small whole in the side of the barn. Jon kicks the hole wider and start to break the wall apart with rage. He grabs his father and drags him out of the barn.

(-------------------------)

4 months later in a police station

-Look mister oficials we don't know much, there where no bullet casings anywhere and we didn't saw any other flamable matterials other than typical stuff.-Says the sherrif to a group of nicely dressed man.

-Zhat iz kid you talked about?

-Yeah, an orphan now, his dad didn't survive in the hospital. Why you asked us to call him?

-I'm zis uncle.

-All right... do you have proof of that?

The well-dressed man raizes a eye-brow, he takes his glasses of at the oficial.

-Mr. Dreadnaught, ze money please?

A tall black-skinned man hands over a suitcase of money to the oficial. He opens it and drops his jaw he looks back and the well-dressed man but ha already turned and goes in the direction of Jonathan.

-Hello, mister...

-huh?

-Whatz your father called you boy?

-M-Meatpie...

-Hahaha very well Mr Meatpie, I'm a friend of your mother'z. What would you zay if I showed you an entire life of opportunities... and if you are a man of vengence a little payback at the baztardz that did zis to your family?

"-I know champ, I didn't go to school either but your mother wants you to have a bigger future, I wish I had the opportunities you have. Now go you are getting late."

-I accept.

-Verry well, my name is Mr. Ossuary

-I'm Jonathan Govendina.

-Govendina? We will find a better name forz you.

Next generation navcomp from Richardson Scientific by ASzc
Welcome

Congratulations on purchasing your RSNav Mark I navigation computer from Richardson Scientific (Astronautics Division). We are confident that it will give you many drills of fine service. For installation and calibration please see page 9. For the user guide, please see page 2306.

[...]

User Guide

Interface

The displayed hex grid contains:

coordinates for each hex (bottom-left corner, formatted XXYY)

if the hex contains a star system, the system name (centre)

if a path is plotted, and the hex is on the path:

the number of days in the previous path segment (top-right corner)

the total number of days from the head of the path (top-left corner)

Hexes without a star system have a white fill. Occupied hexes will always have a colour, but which colour depends on their state:

Reachable systems (any system if no path has yet been started) will be filled with pastel blue

Non-reachable systems (systems that cannot be accessed due to spike drive limitations, relative to the head of the path) will be filled with grey

Systems that are included in the path have a saturated blue fill

You may toggle reachable systems in and out of the path. Non-reachable systems cannot be added to the path.

When a path is plotted (more than one system in the path), coloured arrows will be drawn between the path systems, split into individual drill as required by the spike drive level. The plotted path is an optimally short path (smallest number of drills) between each system; other equally optimal paths may be possible.

Controls

Input [Effect]

Mouse Primary [Toggle path hexes]

Keyboard c [Clear path]

Keyboard 1 to 6 [Set spike drive level]

Linkability

Drive level and the current path are stored in the fragment portion of the page URL, so you can send the current display to a shipmate, or bookmark it for later.

This also means that the back and forward functionality of most standard interfaces functions as undo and redo.

Demonstration

Spike Drive Level 1: Vahdat to Eneka

Spike Drive Level 2: Franco to Gunnhild to Protagoras

Spike Drive Level 3: Franco to Gunnhild to Protagoras

More Information

For further details, please visit your nearest authorised service depot.

Oninza by flyingsailboat
++++ONINZA++++

++++MOUNTAINS SURROUNDING RECENTLY ESTABLISHED PFOTENHAUER BASE – [REDACTED]

++++5:30 A.M. LOCAL TIME++++

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

An armored silhouette walks out into the morning dusk lighting a cigarette. Once lit, Ms. Fate turns her blue eyes to the Oninzan sky. Specks of light are hurtling towards the ground, igniting the air in front of them. She stands there for a moment, gazing.

With one last drag on the cigarette she pounds her armored fist twice on the side of the defense platform next to her. The platform offers its welcoming cry to the encroaching fleet with a thunderous roar. Over the roar, Ms. Fate calls over the com “Fuck ‘em up boys”. Her rangers, bloodied from old battles and spread thin over the mountains, begin to welcome the Highbeam fleet as well. Fates’ Rangers pour fire at the falling specks, shattering them like glass.

Ms. Fate turns to her aid and jokes, “If only Oninza Libre had been as easy as these fleets Highbeam keeps sending us.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Order of the White Rose by Eruonen42
Here is a short story I wrote based on the RollPlay show Swan Song. This takes place during the merger of Ximinez Shipyards and Sunbeam Multistellar Corporation. Enjoy!

He took a swig. It burned going down just as much as the last three had. He looked around the five-by-ten room. Ahead to the left was a small kitchen with plates and dishes piled up. The grime had turned nearly black. Piled on the countertop were boxes upon boxes of empty and some not-so empty take-away containers of Chinese food.

To the right was a cot, meticulously made, giving off a dichotomy to the other half of the room. The green fabric of the blanket tucked under the thin mattress was stained in several places.

Behind him, he could hear a thumping sound, and the irate sounds of a mother at her wits end with her child who was pushing the boundaries of what he could get away with. Each thump followed by a yell pounded like a jackhammer into his head.

“You’re really taking it to the drink, aren’t ya? The night’s still early.”

He looked to his right at the small table where he sat. “It’ll kill the pain, Jacobs.”

“I told you to call me Frank. We’re buds now, right, Kel?”

Kel nodded and poured more whiskey into the glass in front of him.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

“Aren’t you going to get that?”

“It’s just SpaceBook.” He replied, turning off his com.

Frank Jacobs was still wearing his blue-grey suit from work. His tie was undone, revealing a red neck significant of a man who had already drunk too much himself. “What pain? Aniko turn you down again? Man, she ain’t worth it. All those Marketing slags got a stick up their arse. You can do better.”

Out of the corner of Kel’s eye, he swore he saw a cockroach skitter from one container to another. It had to have been three inches long, and the thought took all of his will to keep his lunch down.

“Not the pain now, the pain to come.” Kel said as he took one last drink.

The drunken stupor on Jacobs’ face became quizzical as Kel pushed back his chair and stood up. From under the table, a briefcase was pulled out and placed on the table, knocking the glass off the table to shatter upon the linoleum floor.

“Hey, you’ve had too much to drink. That’s my good glass.”

Kel ignored his drinking companion as he opened the briefcase, and accessed a secret compartment.

Jacobs’ eyes widened when he saw the gun pulled from the briefcase. “Why ya carryin’ around that?”

Kel cocked a bullet into the chamber before pulling a white rose from the briefcase and placed it on the table.

Running full speed into the door frame, Kel could hear the crack of his nose breaking. Warm blood flowed down over his lips with the distinctive taste of metal.

“Oi, you’re gettin’ blood all over my floor. What’s gotten into you Kel?”

Without a word, Kel turned the gun on his left arm and pulled the trigger. Even with the whiskey in his system, the pain was still excruciating.

Jacobs stood up, unsure of what he was going to do. He could make a run for it, but Kel was blocking the door. The sounds of the child next door crying and his mother screaming were muffled, like listening to them underwater. When the gun leveled to him, Jacobs was frozen, unable to move or think. He was an onlooker, watching someone else. There was little time to react as pieces of drywall struck his head as Kel fired on either side of him before a third bullet struck him between the eyes. Jacobs’ body slumped to the floor as his blood splattered across the white rose on the table.

Kel opened the door to the hallway before firing off the rest of his gun down the hall. The last thing he remembered was opening up his com to call the authorities.

***


The tall black man handed a shorter white man a sandwich wrapped in tin foil. Each were wearing cowboy hats with black suits and no ties.

“No mayo, right?”

“Uhh.”

“I told you no mayo. You know I hate it.”

The black man traded sandwiches. “Sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it. Let’s just find out what this guy knows, and be out of here.”

They walked down the hallway of a hospital, stopping at Room 324. Inside was a man lying on a bed, his arm in a sling, and a bandage across his nose.

“Mr. Stevens?” the white man asked.

The man sat up in his bed. “Yeah, are you guys with the insurance company?”

“No, we’re with Sunbeam Multistellar Corporation. I’m Mr. Hoyt, this is Mr. Luthren” He said pointing to the taller man.

“Oh, well I already explained everything to the cops.”

“We know. What we’re lookin’ for is why.” Hoyt sat down in a nearby chair while Lutheren stood imposing to block any exits.

“I mean I didn’t recognize the guy. He was wearing a mask.”

“And you managed to grab his gun?”

“Yeah, I took a bullet for the effort, but I was drunk and shot. Never fired a gun before. Shame he got away.”

“A shame.” Lutheren nodded.

“From what we could find,” Hoyt opened his com. “Mr. Jacobs was heavily in debt for gambling and other . . . expenses.”

“That’d explain why he was living in that place for how much Sunbeam pays us.”

“You’ve been working there for seven months now?”

“Yeah, in accounting. Look, I don’t know what else I can tell you.”

“We’re just surprised that someone of your stature and line of work could subdue someone who was obviously a killer.”

“Fight or flight? I mean the adrenaline was pumping fast, and once it wore off, I passed out. And on account of the blood loss.”

“What about the rose?” Lutheren asked.

“What rose?” Stevens asked dumbfounded.

“A white rose was laid on the table with no vase around. Were you two in a relationship?”

“No, I was just having a drink with him to, you know, relieve the stress. We’ve been super busy with the merger and all.”

The look on Hoyt’s face was obviously disbelief, “Okay, well if we have any more questions, we’ll know where to find you Mr. Stevens.” Hoyt tipped his cowboy hat, and stood up to leave. “You get better now, ya hear?”

When the two from Sunbeam had left, Stevens, pressed his fingers against two specific points in his right palm causing his fingers to light up in a soft blue color. Removing the bandages on his arm and nose, he pressed his fingers against the wounds. Slowly the wound healed and closed completely, turning back to a fleshy white color.

After doing the same to his nose, he wiped his hand across his face. He grimaced as the nanobots began to rework the bone structure of his face along with his skin. He walked over to the closet and removed his clothes stored inside. A small mirror on the inside of the closet door revealed to him his new face. He looked Asian with blonde hair. Once more he passed his hand through his hair and the color changed to black.

He opened the door to his hospital room, peaking out into the hallway. With no one in sight, he walked down the hallways until he found a locker room.

Exiting was a young Asian man wearing green scrubs who made his way to the morgue.

Sliding a tray out of the wall showed a man with three gunshots to his chest. The man wearing scrubs activated the points on his hand once again, and passed it over the dead man’s face, changing it to look like Mr. Stevens. With the hair changed as well, he ripped off the toe tag, and pushed the tray back into the wall.

***


Hoyt climbed into the passenger seat as Lutheren sat behind the driver’s seat of the company car.

“You don’t think it could have been them, do you?” Lutheren asked his partner.

“Could have been who?”

“You know, the Order of the White Rose.”

“Not that codswallop.”

“Just think, a guy is heavily in debt, so his debtors send out someone to take care of him. They leave behind their signature white rose.”

“Yeah, but why leave a witness alive?”

“Not really a witness. Stevens didn’t see anything, and there wasn’t no prints on the gun from the shooter.”

“Just Stevens’ prints.” Hoyt countered, lighting up a cigarette.

“Well, yeah, he stole the gun from the guy.”

“An accountant manages to wrestle a gun away from a contract killer? If some bean counter can best a cold blooded killer, that doesn’t say much for your White Rose Order.”

“Order of the White Rose.” Lutheren corrected.

“Whatever, just start the car.”

***


“Terrible news this evening,” the anchor began the broadcast. “With the recent merger announced for Ximinez Shipyards and Sunbeam Multistellar Corporation, two of their employees have been brutally murdered. One at his apartment, and the other at the hospital where he was recovering from wounds suffered during the attack. Sources tell us Kel Stevens was killed by the same gun that also killed his coworker Frank Jacobs. A representative of Sunbeam told Action News 4 that they are “deeply saddened by the loss to the company.” We’ll have further developments as they break.

Piani Man by MacheteColon, skinnyghost, HotdogFailsman
*
  • It’s 7 o’clock (CST) on a random day
  • The regular cast shuffles in
  • There’s a mechaniman sitting next to me
  • In the place Mr. S would have been.

~

  • He says “Son can you play me a memory
  • IM NOT REALLY SURE HOW IT GOES
  • But it’s sad and it’s sweet
  • and I knew it complete
  • when my throat wasn’t made from a hose.”

~

  • La la la, di da da
  • La la, di da da swish

~

  • Singh us a song, you’re the Piani man
  • Here on Swan Song tonight
  • Well, you’re sure in the mood for a melody
  • All those drugs got you feelin’ alright

~

  • Now Higgs at the bar is a friend of mine
  • He gets me my drinks for free
  • And he's quick with a 'nade or a racist remark
  • But there's someplace that he'd rather be

~

  • He says "Pi I believe this is killing me!"
  • As a smile ran away from his face
  • "I should have let'em make me a TV star
  • with guns and all the cool shit in space."

~

  • Oh, la la la, di da da
  • La la, di da da swish

~

  • Now Erik's a real psychic research-nerd
  • Who never had time for a life
  • And he's missing Jose, who's not really okay,
  • And probably pines for his wife

~

  • And the robot is practicing languages
  • As the warrior fumbles his tone
  • Yes, they're sharing a drink they call awkwardness
  • Except Pi is just clinking alone

~

  • Singh us a song, you’re the Piani man
  • Here on Swan Song tonight
  • Well, you’re sure in the mood for a melody
  • All those drugs got you feelin’ alright

~

  • It’s a pretty good crew for a merchant ship
  • And Pi’s pizza face gives me a smile
  • ‘Cause they know it’s JP we’ve been coming to see
  • To forget about life for a while
  • And Piani, she sounds Space-European
  • And the steering wheel smells like space beer
  • And they sit at their cams, entertaining us fans
  • And say, “Man, how did we all get here?”

~

  • Oh, la la la, di da da
  • La la, di da da swish

~

  • Singh us a song, you’re the Piani man
  • Here on Swan Song tonight
  • Well, you’re sure in the mood for a melody
  • All those drugs got you feelin’ alright


Verse 1 by Steven Lumpkin

Planet/Character History - Cabral/Lelie Omi by Ritoky
Translated to English by Speaker Valen, Grand Speaker of Cabral

Cultural Note: Mademoiselle Omi, as leader of the Neo-France Restoration Movement and Matriarch of our church only speaks and writes in official French.

From the collected history and diaries of Mademoiselle Lelie Omi

June 3rd, 3193 (Age: 7)

It has been 2 years since mother moved us to this facility in the polar region. I am always so cold, and can rarely wear what I want. I miss the extravagant dresses that mother used to let me dress in. There are none of those here. We came because father sent for us telling us that the world was no longer safe for us. I don't understand, I felt much more safe in my home with my dresses than I do in this frozen tomb.

July 22nd 3193 (Age: 7)

It has been so long since mother and I have seen father. He used to be around so often when we first arrived, but now he is always at work. I told mother that I missed home, and all she said back was that being here is an absolute must. I feel alone here, the only person who I can talk to anymore is God. God would never forget his daughter's birthday, but in a few short days my father will probably forget mine for the 2nd year in a row.

Transcribed from a video recording at the arctic base of Chelios:

Lovern Omi: "My dear daughter many years ago when you were first born, the Lord came upon your mother and I one night and bestowed upon us a grand gift. He informed us that our daughter had been chosen to be a messenger of the Lord, and that she would bring peace, prosperity, revitalization, and salvation from the Taoists to our home of Cabral. To this day, your mother and I have worked tirelessly for the Lord to accomplish the path he set before us. You will lead us to the ideal world that the Lord has envisioned in his great works, you will unify us and expunge the Taoists who seek to pollute the minds of our people; you, my darling, are a messenger of the Lord."

August 9th 3193 (Age: 8)

It was my birthday today, and I saw things I would have never dreamed of. Cars that could float, robots who could do things that even humans could not, humans with metal arms, and beams of light that could cut through metal like it wasn't even there. Where did this all come from? Father even gave me a robot as a birthday present, I don't know what to do with it.

Then father told me the strangest thing: that I was a messenger or the Lord born to bring reformation to our planet. I know I have always had a special bond with God, but I am scared. I don't know if I am ready for this. God please help me through this, you're my one true friend.

Excerpt from the heretical Taoist History Book: L'histoire de Cabral

The Grand Purge (3193-3195):

In the late 3180s, a corporation named CryEnix Industries rose to become one of the largest, most profitable, and most influential corporations on the planet of Cabral. They were primarily a vehicular based company who developed and produced planes and cars as well as some military grade vehicles in contract with the government. Unbeknownst to the Taoist Liberation Front and Grand Marshal Essein, CryEnix Industries had opened a secret facility in the arctic regions of the planet codenamed: Chelios. CryEnix Industries brought as many of the brightest scientists on Cabral as they could to Chelios. They paid no regards to political views, ethics, methods, religious views, gender, or nationality; CryEnix simply wanted 1 thing: scientific progress.

Little is known about the arctic base Chelios and what happened inside during the 5 to 7 years in which it was sealed. The public lived on, ignorant of the vast steps in technological development that were being made in a secret base on the other side of the Cabral. One of the very few things that is public knowledge is that a leader and dominant religion emerged inside of Chelios: The leader's name was Head Scientist Lovern Omi who was a Protestant Christian.

On October 1st 3193, CryEnix Industries revealed to the rest of Cabral the existence of Chelios; and the gates of Chelios opened for the first time in many years. The Taoist Liberation Front and Grand Marshall Essein were highly displeased with the secrecy of Chelios and began taking harsh actions against CryEnix Industries. Although CryEnix claimed that they wanted to develop the technologies they did for the betterment of society and the Taoist Liberation Front, the two parties eventually met an impasse in negotiations that led to inevitable war. CryEnix Industries rallied all of the anti-Taoist groups behind their cause and reformed under the name Neo-France Restoration Movement.

The war was hardly a war. The Taoist Liberation Front was using what is now known as Tech Level 3 grade technology, and although they had superior numbers; the Neo-France Restoration Movement, and their superior Tech Level 4 equipment very swiftly began dominating the battlefield on all fronts. As one of their last concerted efforts, the Taoist Liberation Front launched a covert strike against some of the former top officials of CryEnix Industries, and the Neo-France Restoration movement's leaders. Many were killed in these covert strikes including both Lovern and Julia Omi. With the deaths of the head family of the Neo-France Restoration Movement the Taoist Liberation Front believed that they would gain footing back into the war; however they were mistaken. The Neo-France Restoration Movement rallied behind the 9 year old daughter of their deceased leaders as a religious symbol; and with renewed vigor the Restoration Movement quickly snuffed out the Taoist Liberation Front over the next year.

Excerpt From the official Omi approved History Book: L'histoire de Cabral

The Grand Purge (3193-3195):

After our glorious victory over the tyrannical Taoist Liberation Front and the public execution of former Grand Marshal Essein, our great lady Mademoiselle Omi took her God given place at the head of Cabral. After dissolving and reunifying financial institutions under the righteous name of the Omi Protestant Christian Church, Mademoiselle began the second stage of the Grand Purge: the process of Unification. In this process, all legal citizens were to become registered and baptized Christians and subscribe to the Church. Those who elected not to were viewed as traitors to our Lord and treated as such, while others fled the planet for fear of the Lord's divine retribution.

Over the course of removing the tyrannical shackles of the Taoist Liberation Front and the Grand Purge, the population of Cabral spiked downwards from 38.2 million people to 92,000. As a side effect of the massive spike in population, nearly all human labor has been replaced by robotic labor on Cabral. Mademoiselle Omi has said a prayer of salvation to the Lord for every soul lost in the Purge, even those who actively denied his existence. She had made it the goal of the Neo-France Restoration movement to create a revitalized Cabral and one in which bloodshed will never again have to occur.

Missive from Mademoiselle Lelie Omi to Agent Xerxes @ Chelios base February 1st 3200:

I hereby permit you to begin the research and testing of project Indoctrination in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God speed, and God bless Cabral.

If you are a supporter of Mademoiselle Lelie Omi and the Neo-France Restoration Movement, or simply interested in the latest news of Cabral; feel free to add her on spacebook she is under her name: Lelie Omi. I will translate all of our great Lady's responses into English for you, but I assure you that she responds to all of her followers personally and with the utmost sincerity.

Planetary Update - Cabral by Ritoky
Cabral Planetary Stats and Explanation:

Mass: 1.138 Mass of Earth

Radius: 1.11 Radius of Earth

Average Surface Temperature: 106 F/ 41 C

Orbital Period: 194 days

Primary Terrain: Rocky/Mountainous

Habitable Zone: Due to its very few but large water supplies combined with a low population, much of Cabral remains fairly unpopulated. The NFRM is currently in the process of attempting to restore one of those large water supplies back into healthy living conditions, as it currently suffers from radiation problems. The body of water, known as Lake Tiani, bordered the former Taoist Liberation Front capital and as a side effect of The Grand Purge; faces severe and lasting radiation problems. The majority of the planetary populace reside in a few large cities; particularly Neo-Paris which contains nearly half of the planet's population and the vast majority of its off-world visitors. There also exists a large northern ice cap on the planet in which the famed scientific research facility Chelios resides.

Interesting Facts:

Cabral was one of, if not the, newest planets to change its Galactically Recognized Tech Level having changed from Tech Level 3 to Tech Level 4 just 7 years ago.

Cabral is the most religiously unified planet in the galaxy, having 100% of its registered citizens subscribe to the Omi Protestant Christian Church.

Although his mother moved off of Cabral with him at a young age, one of the most famous Spaceball players in the galaxy: LeBron Jordan was born on Cabral.

Message from CryEnix Industries Public Relations Department to Mademoiselle Lelie Omi:

After some testing, we have come to the conclusion that the general populace has views the word "indoctrination" as having a negative connotation. We suggest that for all private and public purposes that the name be changed. Some potential suggestions are:

Project Commune

Project Gathering

Project Unity

Message from Mademoiselle Lelie Omi to CryEnix Industries Public Relations Department:

Thank you for your diligent work. After much prayer and thought I have decided to take your counsel and change the name of the project. The project, in spirit, is about being one, creating a better society, and eliminating war and bloodshed. In that regard I have decided to change the name from "Project Indoctrination" to "Project Eucharist" as the Eucharist is an act in which we become one with the Lord. For all official purposes, the name will be changed and we will have all previous documentation edited to display the proper name.

Transcription of Agent Xerxes' research grant proposal to CryEnix Industries January 5th, 3200

Good evening, fellow scientist, investors, and officials. I come to you tonight with a proposal for the Chelios Scientific Advancement Grant; I call this proposal Project Indoctrination Eucharist. It is a 3 step research and application project which we estimate will reach a satisfactory level of application within 2 years at a maximum. The goal of the project is to develop a simply administered chemical compound that will strongly effect people's dispositions toward ideas. In practical applications it could be used to curb crime rates, nullify insurrection, reduce war like tendencies, and generally limit socially destructive behaviors.

I will now outline the 3 steps by which we hope to reach our goal.

- Step 1 - Long-Term Assisted Serum: In this stage we plan to create an injectable chemical compound that will target specific neurons, nerve endings, and glands of the human brain in order to create a more "open" point of view by removing personal or experiential bias toward a topic. Once we have removed the bias, we will use carefully selected audio and visual aids in order to re-write a new disposition over the area of the brain that we have just rendered blank.

In order to accomplish this we will need a plethora of test subjects, and we will have to find a unifying principle or thought which they all react either positively or negatively to. Then we will pinpoint the neural responses that occur when they have the aforementioned response and create a chemical compound that targets the removal of that response and the corresponding dispositions. We will then administer the formulated compound through daily injections followed by an extended session with the visual and audio aids until we reach a point that we feel is sufficient.

- Step 2 - Short-Term Assisted Serum: After tracking the neural patterns that occur over the course of the Long-Term portion of this project, we should have sufficient data to create a new injectable chemical compound that will have the same effect but only require a solitary application followed by the audio and visual aids to further reinforce and ensure the desired effect. This portion of the project will probably require a new set of test subjects, and could require a new unifying thought. The goal of this portion of the project is to confirm our accuracy and effectiveness at removing the existing opinion and bias with the chemical compound in the least amount of time possible.

- Step 3 - Short-Term Unassisted Serum: Once we have confirmed that we can accurately and effectively remove pre-dispositions in a short time frame we will collect the data gathered from step 1 and 2 in regards to the "re-writing" process and begin to formulate a manner in which to add that to the chemical compound itself. The details of this portion of the project are highly contingent upon the research results of the first two parts, as re-writing of a thought is a different process than removal of one. However, we are confident based on our preliminary findings that re-writing is a highly feasible reality without outside stimulus. One administration of the chemical compound should be sufficient to both remove and re-write.

I would like to thank you all for listening to my proposal, and I hope you consider me for the grant. At this time I would like to now open it up to the panel for questions.

Man's Voice: It is quite the intriguing proposal, and you have established a clear goal, highlighted a very clear path to accomplishing your goal, and provided quite a few practical applications. My question is in regards to further down the road. Assuming that you do accomplish the creation of a single application injectable serum, could that compound theoretically be made into an airborne agent?

Preludio de la muerte by Rooster_Castille
In time, all things must pass.

In the passing, so, too, does time end. -Onintzan Proverb

It had been years since she had raised a sword.

...

The empress had fallen. Light had become darkness as a sandstorm rolled in from the steppes. The only light that revealed the bloody kimono was that of the softly humming swords held by her failed protectors. Some of the men had gone off for help, but Esperanza knew the fight wasn't over. The insurgents would not stop until they knew for certain that their monarch had joined the ancestors. One of the samurai stowed his blade, and the others hissed for silence. Turning off your sword was a costly mistake for all the normal reasons, but also because the laser emitters crackled as they powered down. A sound that could be heard by the enemy, who was currently stalking the other rooms of the tenshukaku.

Esperanza pressed her ear to the door, slowly lowering her plasteel helmet. The new model had a lot to offer, but the sombrero brim got in the way of basically everything. Outside, someone shouted, "¡Libre!" as more adrenal footsteps moved down the hall. The main keep was intentionally difficult to navigate but had become vulnerable to the weather. The climate satellites had fallen during a recent attack, generations of architectural standards foiled in a minute's time.

One of the men crouched beside his yoriki. He tensed up as he whispered, "Al hombre osado la fortuna le da la mano," then smashed open the door. As one, the warriors cried and charged into violent uncertainty, tearing into the dense smoke with their sizzling blades.

The old empress had not died that day, but perhaps her rule had.

...

The first of her encounters with "The Libre" had occurred a generation ago. A long campaign against the honorless had afforded her very little - only a quiet marriage with a former castle gardener. Their home was still full of potted plants and too many watering cans. The insurgents had only become more numerous after she was handed the Sunset Scroll: a single kanji that signified a command of honorable retirement. At the bottom of the scroll, almost as an afterthought, was written Uchibori Esperanza. Guilt had eaten away in the decades since, as the rebels became more successful. The royals had fallen in the past year, but, so had Libre. There was no freedom to be gained on Onintza. No liberation remained to seize. Foreign operators had been arriving and squabbling over the ruins of the monarchy. The city's many shining towers were darkened with smoke and ruin. The district around Esperanza's home was mostly adobe structures of traditional Japanese estate layouts, as well as a series of temples. The temple quarter had been Esperanza's partner's choice. The silence and reverence was good for easing an old warrior. But Aoi had been more hopeful than correct. The monks and priests always seemed to be judging Esperanza, condemning her for allowing chaos to rend their sanctity until nothing remained.

In a lonesome foyer, several casks rested under a bonsai willow. The first and largest came open at her soft touch. In only a few seconds her practiced hands had confirmed a solid connection of a power cable to the main power hub on the do. With two deft movements, the bindings were all open and Esperanza stood to secure her breastpiece. Several pieces began to secure themselves as the suit entered prep mode. Lights on the sune-ate blinked as she knelt down again. Power full.

Aoi had been a smiling soul. Her voice had always been soft, and her gaze always full of love. She preferred simpler, loose kimonos and never stopped thinking about work. Their friends had frequently jibed that the gardens were only so verdant because Aoi loved the plants more than people. The last day that Esperanza and her wife had been together, they had fought. Aoi's hair was graying late and Esperanza wanted her to dye it black, to preserve her already long youth. Before she left to visit the marketplace by the mountain road, Aoi had said serenely that all things must pass. To grasp at the past, one must relinquish the future. In a low and angry tone, Esperanza condemned that attitude. Preserving the past, honoring everything the ancestors had built, was most honorable. The door shut before Esperanza finished. Aoi didn't like long arguments.

She never came home.

...

That day, hell had rained out of the sky on the mountain and the town. Esperanza had run outside from the temple where she had been volunteering as a lay nun, to see the impossible. The side of the mountain opened up, a series of concealed hangar doors having lost their camouflage under heavy orbital fire. Buildings exploded as boulders the size of city blocks rained down. Some vessels began racing away from the mountain base but many were shot down. The temple behind her was already on fire, the cherry trees giving off embers as if pollenating the land with destruction.

...

Rebuilding the town had been long and painful for the residents. They had considered the mountain to be a benevolent spirit, an intractable guardian against all things. Directing labor efforts came easily to Esperanza but she eventually gave it up to more ambitious and less apt people.

The haidate glowed briefly as the connection was made to the rest of the suit. Now, Esperanza raised her sode. This had always been difficult without assistance. Fussing with the binding with the opposite arm while the donning arm was immobilized had been solved when the garrison had re-adopted the squire system, back when Esperanza was a young woman with a fresh perspective.

When Libre fell, many loyalists had not cheered. All Onintzans had new mutual enemies. Enemies with navies, budgets, and multi-stellar infrastructures. Enemies who were going to burn down everything that wasn't gone already. Arguing about representation and the mechanical function of rulership was beneath them all. The challenge of defending their world was all that remained. But over some days of gatherings, many had come to a darker conclusion. There wasn't much left to preserve. If future generations held more scientists than warriors, then the ruins of their lofty achievements might be built back up. But before that could happen, the outsiders had to be repelled. Esperanza had listened and nodded for a long time. One of the men talking at their table had been a frequent visitor to the temple and thought she was merely a nun. But, finally, she interjected.

"And if we have lost? Do we allow these aliens to take what we died to defend?"

The man turned slowly. One of the others scraped his cup on the table nervously. "No. If we give them no trophies to take, they will leave. Tierra quemada."

Esperanza had nodded her last.

The shoulder plates secured, the suit buzzed unpleasantly inside as it initialized various systems. It was reading her vitals, logging her physical capabilities that had eroded with age since the last time the scanners had any power. Various warning chimes asserted queries before Esperanza dialed a broad ignore command. Above the casks, the helmet's single indicator light blinked.

The world outside was full of opportunity, as people commonly said forty years ago. That was always true. Today's opportunity was one of death. Death to the invaders, but also to Onintza. The planet would die before it fell under outside control.

Perhaps the Libre had felt the same, but on a smaller scale. As Esperanza secured her mempo across her face, she frowned. They had always preferred to destroy assets rather than let the royals take them. It had been more important to deprive the monarchy of something than to hope for a gainful surrender. And now they would all fight that way.

Perez had given Esperanza a small wooden case before she left their meeting. The case was a standard known well to soldiers, used for armor accessories, especially symbols of rank.

Raising her extremely wide-brimmed kabuto now as she pulled the case down from a shelf, she supposed it was something she would use in battle. A last-ditch weapon to destroy herself if she was captured, or a firebomb to use to take out a whole enemy unit - and herself - if she became surrounded. When she opened it, it was neither of those. But perhaps it would inspire destruction. The cloth was black and plain, having no attachments to use it as a proper banner. Unfolding it fully, she saw that it read one word in stark letters: ¡Muerte!

She looked around, at herself. There really wasn't anywhere to stow it. She didn't have a battle satchel, which soldiers would use to breaching charges or other intrusion tools. So she tied it around her forearm, where it wouldn't get scorched by her blade in combat.

Her blade.

Determined, now, Esperanza flung aside some empty flower pots that had been stacked against the wall. No new plants were going to be raised here anyway. Behind the stack, the final cask. This one didn't have a port for a power cable. The final model that had been in service before Esperanza retired had no charge pack, which would be a heavy component of the handle. Instead, this katana was made of denser metals, able to endure lasers and flames for much longer than the standard formats for wielders who weren't in power suits. The most reassuring feeling in the world was when Esperanza clipped her suit's wrist attachment over to the hilt and dropped the protective guard across it. Inside the suit a chirp confirmed a valid output. Standing in the middle of the room, now, she flicked her wrist once. For half a second the blade crackled and jolted, then the laser edge fuzzed on.

Outside were some motherfuckers who had to die.

Sales Pitch by Xaxas115
The man looked up from the well prepared brief. They seemed to be offering everything that he needed, more then he would get from Pfotenhaure.

"So you offer all this and for a fraction of the competition, whats the catch?"

The rather imposing man across the table shifted in his chair, his chest full of medals and campaign ribbons that were impressive in their diverse color if not unknowable in their meaning shifting with his large frame.

"Well, on behalf of Cossack Security Services I can assure you that unlike others in the sector, we will not randomly destroy a planet, nor are we interested in petty morality of our employers. There are far better things to spend our time doing. You have VIP that needs protecting? Done. You have little rebels fighting for the people? Gone. You have Money that needs transport? No one would dare touch it. At C.S.S we pride ourselves on a military tradition of the highest caliber, over two millennia old I could add."

The man paused briefly and reached over and took the family photo I had sitting on my desk in his weathered and scarred hand and continued.

"What a beautiful family you have here, your daughter reminds me so very much of my own, how old is she?"

"She's five, already thinks she knows everything. There is nothing on this planet I wouldn't give to keep her safe." The Salesman regarded the picture with icy blue eyes for a long moment. Lost for a time in solipsism those impassively hard features of his face softened for a brief second before he resumed his pitch.

"I know what it is like to lose that most precious to you, what I wouldn't give to have been able to stop the men that came into our home and took that most valuable from me. You see, family matters to Cossack. We are family owned and operated we have been since our founding. We pride ourselves on a dedication to duty that CANNOT be surpassed."

I looked back down at the prepared brief. He was right, there were other offers but they all wanted something, something more than we were willing to give to them. All Cossack wanted was money, money and a place to stay. I looked back into the Salesman's eyes, and extended my hand.

"Looks like we have a deal...I'm sorry could you repeat your name" The Salesman grasped my hand with both of his, and a smile crept across his face "Excellent, and my name is Bursilov, Aleksei Alekseevich Bursilov."

Scary Mobsters And Nice Fights by MonsieurWTF
There is a lot going on over the planet of Onintza. If you checked in last time, I reported on the growing conflict between the Royal Family of Onintza, the government that rose to power over recent decades, and the rebels Onintza Libre!, who are the latest in a long line of revolting dissidents, but have managed to continue their efforts over the years. I’m sure that most of Vafa'i's newsnet readers have seen the discussion about last week’s destruction of a military base, followed with another smaller-scale bombing that damaged the runway of an aircraft terminal. But, beneath the ongoing civil war between these two parties, lies the tale of illegal activity that has spread discourse across the back alleys and straight into the public’s attention: Blue Fever.

Named after its unique bright color and grainy texture, Blue Fever is a manufactured drug that has emerged in Vafa'i's marketplace within the last five years. Supposedly advertised by the peddlers on the streets as a type of antidepressant 'thrill ride', it has been sold in significant quantities across the many high-population cities of New Tokyo, Madrid, Hiroshimo, and other population centers, even some locations on Majid.

The drug has not been placed to any system of origin yet, but past reliable sources and news stories that have been coming out have pointed to the Madari Syndicate, who have remained fervently neutral with many of the other interstellar factions. A potential breakdown of negotiations looms as several of the local Onintzan Magistrates have accused the Madari Syndicate of getting involved with the terrorist organization Onintza Libre!, but they have been denying any ties with them or the drug. While information still comes in, the local media’s direction has been aimed at how the Onintzan government allowed such an oversight for the substance to get onto the planet in the first place, but after last week’s events, there may be new evidence to lead the Empress’ military to a conclusion.

Mt Fujiwa, an iconic site to the residents and tourists of New Tokyo, now looms in the distance, as smoke continues to rise from the site. A few days ago, the Royal Military launched an aerial bombardment on the mountain, after gathering information that Onintza Libre had a base carved out inside of it, and began their assault at the start of a snowstorm. In the city, everyone was informed to stay inside and avoid walking in the streets if they could. From my apartment, I could hear the echoes of the explosive blasts of energy that tore apart at the foundation of the terrain. By the time the bombardment quieted down, the base was destroyed, and all that was left of Fujiwa was a smoldering heap of dirt, the dark grey clouds plaguing the skies for the next day.

Earlier this morning, I managed to get a chance to interview Keiko Sivedro, an Onintzan soldier and Captain of the OSV Bay Star, the cruiser that headed the operation two days ago to tear down Onintza Libre's base of operations. During the interview, she told me about the assault, and the many cargo ships that fled the scene and the fighters that attempted to stop their cruiser. While any evidence they could gather was buried until hundreds of tons of earth, she did speak about one encounter she had directly with one of the Onintzan rebel leaders, who at the time had been piloting a legally-registered cargo vessel that had been called the 'Swan Song'. Their ship was been spotted within the region after the Onintza Libre ships had fled and the fighters were pacified.

"Unfortunately, the guns had gone quiet after we turned broadside to target Onintza Libre's supply vessels, and it was during that timeframe that we had detected their energy signature on the snow-covered surface of the mountainside. Follow-up scans pointed to two other unpowered vessels next to where it landed, one identifying immediately as Libre, and the other, we found out, to be of Madarian origin. We contacted the Swan Song at the time on intention that they were not familiar with the political situation, but their captain's refusal to cooperate highlighted the ill intent for harboring the criminals."

Ms. Sivedro later went on in length to discuss that their investigative teams found trace amounts of Blue Fever onboard the Madari ship, which the Syndicate states was 'stolen and illegally used', as well as the contents of the Libre's vessel and the third ship that had gotten away. However, many of these details had to be redacted due to the nature of the evidence in their ongoing operations.

The government isn't the only ones getting politically involved with stemming the spread of Blue Fever. The Purity Initiative, a recent urban movement in the districts of Onintza, has sought to eradicate the drug from the rest of their ill-fallen citizens, citing the 'Onintzan terrorists' as the primary cause for the troubles the substance has been creating. Some months ago, they also claimed that the Royal Family had been covertly supplying the drug to the rural cities that were considered 'living grounds' for Libre's allies, but the Empress’ national speech put that talking point down.

For now, it seems that Onintza has yet to escape from the troubles that surround it at every point. Whether it be war, poverty, culture shock, rampant abuse, or political turmoil, there are only positive reports far and few in between. Polls counted the urban population's rate of disapproval at 35%, up from 27% in July 3199, and that number may climb even higher the longer this conflict drags on. With numbers that bleak, and the interstellar support that still carries on, one still can only imagine what the future of a peaceful, drug-free Onintza will look like.

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Feb 6, 3200 - Revisions were made in regard to the OSV Bay Star. In the original article, it was referred to as the 'Base Star', which is not its intended name. This typo has been fixed to properly document it.

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Leonidus Alleron reported from New Tokyo, Onintza, on February 5, 3200. Updated: February 6, 3200

This article was written and submitted through the Interstellar Associated Press. Any inaccuracies found in this report may be an occurrence of inaccurate data translation/distribution as this information is disseminated from the source system.

Sea Bessie Side Mission by lilshendo
PI: "Incoming Radio Transmission, would you like to recieve it Pianni?"

[Assuming Pianni does] Transmission: "This is the Star Ship Cruiser 'Sea Bessie.' We are stranded in Sector Zero Seven Zero Eight and are in need of assistance. It would appear most of our Computer System are offline, unfortunately due to illness our Computer Technician is unconscious and we are unable to wake her. Thankfully our communications were not tied into our main core and they have remained operational for the time being. We are running low on life supplies, we may be able to survive out here for another 15 days. Running the risk of waiting for our technician to wake is no longer an option. Please if anyone receives this message help!"

Static runs for the next 3 seconds then faintly in the background another voice can be heard:

"Don't forget to offer a reward! We'll never get help if there isn't a reward!"

The original speaker returns: "Also, there is a reward of 16,000 credits, or perhaps a different deal can be worked out."

The vessel is a small ship that primarily carries mining equipment, illegally. They were leaving Subhadra after dropping off equipment for "experimental Digging." In order to not have to pay these folks, the group that hired them to do this decided to have their ship sabotaged while the 5 crew members were unloading the cargo. Leaving them stranded in the middle of space seemed like and easy to way to kill them off. The Swan Song probably doesn't have the equipment to fully repair the computer systems;however, on good enough rolls, maybe with pianni, pi, and vicktor working to fix the stuff they could get it working enough. Otherwise Vicktor could try helping the technician of the ship back to his feet and he could fix it (since he has knowledge of the ship and its systems) or the Swan Song could take them to Tovar where they could drop them off to get someone else to go out and fix their ship.

The Five crew members are as follows: Captain Vexia Mentre, She has a history in Criminal works, most transporting goods. She is short and has short dirty blonde hair. Maybe late 30's with a good attitude.

Pilot Sebastian Kilmo, he has a very decorated Military Piloting background, when his home world was finally beaten and taken over he went into hiding and started working for the underground. He's a Tall Slender man in his mid 40's. He has an "Ace Pilot" attitude.

Computer Technician Josephine Adelti, she's always been a computer hacker, got her right arm replaced with a cybernetic implant to further her hacking endeavors, that put her back a bit financially so she had to start working for a crew. She's got the attitude of your typical computer gal, speaks quickly about things you'd never understand but with an informative attitude. She's maybe 23~25 years old.

"The Bouncer" Mr. 3, you don't learn much about this guy he's quite and always watching you...

Then there is the mechanic, He only goes by 'The Mechanic'. If you run into him it's because you needed a tool or a part and thought he might have it. Their ship is in awesome condition (aside from the whole computers thing) because he meticulously works on it, day in day out. He's quiet but not shy. He chooses to stay near the engine room at all times, even had a special bedroom installed next to it. Late 40's easy.

My idea of when the crew would get this transmission is when they reach the edge of hex 0709 and are about to jump to an adjacent one.

Shadow by MonsieurWTF
Darkness.

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Silence.

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I look around. There is nothing. I feel nothing. An odd feeling I’ve not had for a long, long time. I cannot recall what length of time I’ve been like this. I can only see that I am alone. Trapped in a dark room of glass.

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The silence spreads further.

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I try to stretch. Nothing responds. It is dark. It is quiet. I am alone, and I cannot move at all.

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I look around for danger, for whatever is causing this. I find nothing. At least I still have my sense of what’s around me. It doesn’t appear that I grow hungry, either. Was this my goal? To sustain myself perpetually, until one day this glass breaks?

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With nothing else to do, I gather my thoughts and wait. Some are cloudy, while others I draw a complete blank. It is frustrating that I have no answer for why I am like this. All I can do is wonder at what comes next.

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Movement. Someone or something enters my vicinity as I sit here in silence. I quickly look to it. They’re the same size as I am. My voice pours out as I engage in conversation.

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“Hello there!”

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There is no response as it comes to a halt. I cannot feel a thing, but I sense its eyes looking me over, examining me closely, staring in through the glass. But still it does not respond. The glass does not prevent noise. Why do they refuse to talk?

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“Hello?” I ask it again.

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Still there is nothing, and silence returns.

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Another group appears. I watch as they approach It, before leaving just as quick as they arrived. Neither of them talk with me.

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Someone else comes by. They look at me, and I consider speaking out to them, before they turn to It, who watches this all. They try to run, but don’t get very far. It gets closer to the visitor until they, too, go silent.

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The group from before returns, stopping by once again, and leave. They take what’s left of the visitor with them. I know now that this thing, It, is a beast. It is not human. It sits here, watching. Waiting in the shadows. Ignoring me.

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The silence will be my friend. It is there when I want it to be. It always listens when I talk to it.

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I watch idly as more people pass by. Some turn away. Others are not so lucky. The unlucky ones draw close, unaware. I consider for a moment of warning them, screaming out for them to get away, but that would upset Silence. The beast finds the unlucky ones and tears them apart, as the two of us watch on.

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One of them manages to put up a fight. The beast seems annoyed at this, before running off in pursuit as the two escape from our view.

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But the beast does not return. This new one remains. This time, they look me over again, before getting closer. Part of the glass slides open, as they reach over me, finally acknowledging my presence. Silence cannot believe it either.

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I give them words that I am sure they will answer.

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“Hello? Is anyone there?”

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They send their reply. My mind sparks up. “Swan Song. Who is this?”

Shandian Industries Send Their Regards by Jackintheblackfedora
Setting: Majid

I remember that moment I heard the whirring, in the early morning hours. I remember hearing, “Shǎndiàn industries send their regards.”

And then the crack of the slug going through the skulls of my crew. 4 shots, and 4 deaths. The only reason they hadn’t found me, was that I was asleep in the cargo bay. I was the 4th member of the crew. The one that was on no crew manifests, because I was just hired help. But over time my crew became my family, although I was never officially onboard. I was a runaway, but I had learned the art of marksmanship from a mercenary onboard. He never talked, and never gave a name, but he taught me everything I learned. I was damn good, and a fast learner.

They later would enter bar with wide windows and onyx pillars. Perfect set-up.

I raced into the immaculate room he left behind before they torched the ship, The Lemyra minuta. I don’t believe I’d ever run that fast in my life. I got inside and pulled open his locker, inside was his armor with a moth icon in the sleeve, deep inset, not shining, but not quite dull, just present. It reminded me of an old Ronin. His bag was heavier than I expected, but it had everything in it that made him so unique. I ran into a hidden duct that opens to an exhaust port outside the ship, allowing me to escape just before flames consumed it. I put on his armor, which fit me well enough. Inside of the bag was a skull mask made of Neoskin, which adheres to the face, but stays breathable, even in the worst dust storms. It also had a HUD inside of the eye lenses. I dragged myself to a cave in the nearby canyon. Within the bag was a few bags of rations, and some water, enough for 3 days. Also within was something I didn’t know he owned. It was an old rifle that seemed to be made of pre-Scream tech. It was compact, until a switch was pressed then it unfolded into a perfect killing machine. The bag contained multiple power cells for this rifle, and boxes of ammunition. To my bewilderment on a test shot, it penetrated a massive piece of rock, burying the round a full foot within. I had to pick a mark. 四 This sign seemed fitting in that it was my place on deck. I carefully carved it into 4 bullets. I wore my plain clothes, and scouted out the first day in the city. It wasn’t hard to find Shǎndiàn workers. They had a small outpost for repairing weapons, and every single day the 4 people that killed my crew went to the same bar. Routine, can mean your death when you’re willing to kill others. I stalked them daily, and blended in perfectly. Who would be looking for a plain looking, young man with no defining features? The next day I found a cliff 1000 meters away. Extremely far, but definitely within the realm of me hitting them. I suited up in the armor, and made a sniper’s nest, perfectly far away, and facing the Northern window, at the exact table where they placed their orders every single day. I engaged the HUD which told me where to adjust my aim for wind speed, and the curvature of the planet. Gravity also factored in meant I had to aim one mark higher, followed by the center, then left and right. This would give me sufficient time to take my four shots, and avenge my crew. I held my breath, and I became 四

They call me Sì.

Singing the Swan Song forever by Krilk33
A lush jungle planet, our brave explorer happens upon the remains of a great warship. Barely showing a brave Texan face painted on the side of the ship that strangely can only be seen from a certain angle. The brave explorer lunges into the depths of the derelict spacecraft. As the brave explorer scavenges around the ship she happens upon a small robot chassis, it's battered and bruised but the core seems to be functioning. As she sneaks closer she hears a small, almost child-like voice - Piani is that you? The brave explorer freezes in place. She doesn't know how to respond. The robot tries to move, it's servos whirring desperately, as it tries to turn towards the explorer, like a warhorse caught on wires, moaning as a lonely whale, battering against the ships hull and the rubble that keeps it stuck, but to no avail. The explorer moves around so she can face the beast, she looks into it's small red dots for eyes. - You are not Piani- it says sobbing. The explorer asks them if they know what happened to them. - I don't remember anymore. - The explorer asks what do they remember then? -I remember many things. - They recite the tales of the famed Swan Song, the reckless Admiral Higgins, who always seemed to pull it together at the last minute, the legendary Mr. Sicarian, who single-handedly defeated a platoon of Hoyvedan psi-ninjas, the compassionate Piani Pic, who facilitated the evacuation of Majid, the powerful Erik Fretheim, who gave up his beliefs to fight for a free sector, the indomitable Alpharius, the questioning Prosper Trudeau, who almost staved off the conflict, Conner Wu and Viktor Kovacs, who didn't have the chance to earn themselves the renown the rest of the crew managed. The Terran explorer listened, for days she delighted in the songs and legends her new found friend told. Eventually the stories came to an end. The Terran explorer asked, where are they now. - I can't remember. - they replied as a single drop of water flowed down the red plexi dot eye.

As the camera pans out, and Where's My Mind starts to play in the background, it suddenly turns towards the stars, we see a middle-aged Higgins in formal military admiral attire, half-dead bourbon in hand, sitting in the captains chair. The room is in a silent scream of red danger lights, several screens flash with some message about this and that system failing. Higgins painfully lifts the bottle to his mouth, takes a good chug. "Pie, take us home".

Song in the bg gets louder, roll credits. (Other song possibility: Bondage Fairies - He-man, but titanfall.)

Edit - I'm sorry Wu

Space Radio 404 by V3ruc4
Since more and more people are doing their own fanfics about the Swan Song universe, I thought I'd also give it a go. Introducing, Space Radio 404:

"… piece of trash! Why. Won't. You. WORK?!"

CLANG

"… oh, I'm broadcasting? Ahum. Hi there, folks! This is Slim Jim, and you're listening to Space Radio 404, the best and, well, only space radio station in sector 404. I hope you spacetruckers are havin' a fine time cruisin' through this here sector. Y'all best watch out for them --"

ALERT ALERT

"… oh for fuck's sake, now what?! I'll be right back, folks. How 'bout we listen to an oldie in the meantime… if I can get it to work, that is."

Slim Jim quickly enters a few commands on the display, which illuminates his face with a pale blue light. The song 'Supernova Madness', written in 3127 by Amy Vyce, starts to echo throughout the ship, only to be drowned out by the constant blaring of the alarm. Slim Jim huffs as he pushes himself away from the console. The worn-out chair he's sitting in grinds its way across the rails, suffering under the weight of Jim's 300-something pound frame. The chair comes to a halt at another console, its screen flashing red with a warning.

ALERT ALERT

Jim's stubby fingers glide over the touchscreen, taking him through the layout of the ship's systems. Bright red letters flash at the spot where the engine room is.

COOLANT LEAK – IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED

"Sonuva… " Jim curses, as he turns off the alarm. Heaving himself out of the chair, he grabs the toolbelt that hangs on the backrest and starts making his way to the lower sections. The ship almost seems to creak under each footstep, as Jim bolts towards the engine room. "Shoulda never bought this rustbucket."

" … and in the end, aren’t we all a little mad… for love?" Amy Vyce's voice slowly fades, making room for silence. Suddenly, the quiet is interrupted by an erratic noise. It sounds almost like static, but there's something off. If Slim Jim weren't so busy repairing the leak, he might have remarked that it almost sounds like chittering.

It doesn't take Jim long to fix the leak. Wiping the sweat from his brow, he wonders how much longer the ship's going to last. He glances over at the centerfold hanging on the metal grate that's keeping an uncountable amount of cables in place. "Well, Miss February, seems like we’re okay… for now." Jim seems to be lost in thought as he traces the contours of the pin-up's body with his fingers, when he suddenly realizes that the music stopped playing. "Oh crap… "

"Sorry 'bout that, folks," Jim pants. "Had some… technical difficulties. Should be fine now. Anyway, that was the lovely Amy Vyce with 'Supernova Madness'. One of my personal favorites, I might add. Did y'all know that, when she wrote that song, she had just lost the love of her life in an actual supernova? That had to be rough, I tell ya. But I'm sure most of y'all only know the cover of that song, made by Los Aliens in 3189." Jim flicks through the tracklist on his screen and selects 'Explosivo Caliente'. "Why don’t we all have a listen?"

As the music starts playing again, Jim grabs the box of stale donuts next to him on the table, only to discover that there's a single donut left. "This day just keeps gettin' better," he mutters, and takes a bite. As Los Aliens' intro picks up in pace, Jim looks through the window, into the vastness of space. He can't help but wonder what a supernova would look like up close.

FLASH

A bright white light from outside suddenly overwhelms Jim's senses, and it takes him a few seconds to regain his composure. His eyes go wide.

"Sorry to interrupt the song, folks… but y'all never gonna believe what I’m seein'... "

Strange SOS Transmission by Zcotticus
This is an emergency broadcast from Captain Scott Magarian of the Freeship Caledonia. We were investigating some strange psychic fluctuations coming from an uncharted sector when We discovered a tear in space. As we began our scans we detected an object leaving the vicinity of the tear. The object began approaching our ship, fearing pirates I ordered a retreat, but our engines were shut down, then our weapons system. The object stopped within visual range. It was a type of ship I had never seen before. They fired some sort of wave weapon at the Caledonia and then jumped. Our engines came back online and we retreated to a nearby planet to repair our systems fully. At first the Wave weapon seemed to have had no obvious effect on the Caledonia. I left to scout for explorer databanks, to see if there was any information on the sector or ship or if the rift was known. When I returned to the Caledonia... My crew was dead, all except Vassius who I put down myself. He tried to kill me, he was covered in blood and insane. He kept repeating something in a strange language: Kressa lan dos zikna thru sulla, bren togla prit morah. I checked the surveillance footage, my crew had turned on each other and at the moment before it happened the affected said it too. Some seemed normal whilst others turned murderous, they killed the unaffected before turning on each other. They damaged the ships engine beyond my ability to repair, the scanners, most of the communications and some other systems are down. It's all I can do to send this message. If anyone receives this. Please, trace this message. Please, help me. I think I can survive on the ships rations for a while and may be able to scavenge from the planet. But I don't know how much time I have.

Cpt. Scott Magarian Freeship Caledonia

SuperNova - Interview with Eileen Xiaobo by Kiregor_
Despite having her last album downloaded fifty million times, selling out the 250,000 capacity Anaxir Stadium three nights in a row, touring with Radiant Amber and Dethro Dull and working with everyone from shipping magnate Sir Elton McCrary to First Minister Ramirez Badawi of the Anaximander Planetary Alliance, Eileen Xiaobo still has the unmistakable air of someone who woke up this morning on a communal sofa. A genuine phenomenon from Thorkatla, at the age of 48 she remains a singular focus of popular interest and discussion, not least because of her extended run as President of Animander University and Anax One. Taking 5 minutes out of her rather busy schedule as President of Anaximander University and Anax One, she tells SN about her annoyance at her inability to keep up with the ever advancing pace of technology, seeing Jon Rasmussen at a McCrary party, her opinion on Nika Starlight and the recent controversy surrounding her.

SN: We hear you're a big fan of watches… Eileen: I know most people have moved on from the whole screen on your wrist thing, but I just can't get used to using those new contacts based virtual screens that all the students at the University have been raving about for the last year or so. And, I can't believe how much saying that makes me feel like my mum.

SN: So you're finding new technology to be hard to learn? Eileen: Its not all new tech, its just this movement towards putting it on or inside ourselves that is proving to be a hard sell to me. I am happy putting a screen on a strap on my wrist for ease of access, but although I can see the appeal of a pair of contacts that turn the world into a computer interface I can't get myself out of the state of mind of "What if they malfunction and damage my eyes?" I know these companies couldn't sell them if that were in any way likely but not having been part of the generation that grew up with large portions of the population with obvious and successful cybernetics it still makes me slightly uncomfortable.

SN: So you'll be sticking with the compad on your wrist? Not going in for one of these new headsets that are apparently capable of doing what it can and more? Eileen: Ahh... no. Again I can see the draw, but I'm not planning on looking like I'm in some sort of holo-fighter tournament in my day to day.

SN: You were seen with Jon Rasmussen at Sir Elton McCrary's latest party. Does that mean you and he are back on? Eileen: It was a small party and we were both invited. He and I are very friendly even in the gaps in our relationship, but I don't think you're going to be reporting on any resurgence anytime soon. Jon has been with his current girlfriend for over 2 years now and they have a kid on the way so I can't see myself stepping into that and deliberately causing a mess.

SN: What question are you bored of answering lately? Eileen: Recently everyone I've come across has been asking for my opinion on Nika Starlight, her music, whether she's linked to the Majidi Government or drugs or whatever. At this point I've gotten it down to; her music is not my style but her playing of the Holo-Synth is close to increadible, her links to the Majidi Government should matter next to nothing to the public unless they are Majidi citizens and if she's into drugs then she's right where a large portion of the young rich and famous end up.

Having spent a large portion of my life in the music industry, as the lead singer of Radient Amber and a couple of solo appearances, I can say that when you get as big as Nika is right now everyone is interested in getting close to you for various reasons, brands want placement, governments want good publicity and religions need someone to latch onto or attack. Having spent time looking back over my career as an artist and my more recent political career I can tell you that the politics of fame are at the same time more cut throat and more transparent to the public than anything that goes on in the halls of any government, Nika is probably at this moment riding a major high having come out of that mess with the New Prophet on top.

Swan Song Transitions by Lurid21
Entry 5192 of 17524: Intercepted Comm Messages of Note

Case Status: Open

Letter from Paulo Rodriguez to his brother Hector Rodriguez

Planet of Origin: Onintza

Planet of Destination: Onintza

Subject: "Transitions"

[Note to Arbiter and Justicar: Letter was intercepted by TPI standard comm screening. Forwarded to intended recipient. Sender's employee file has been modified in response to content.]

{Message Body}

Hector,

I know that you don't understand why we left, but I couldn't chance the safety of Carla and the children any longer. Especially not after that last attack. The movement will always have my support, but between the lack of security and these rumors about the connections to the drug trade... I just couldn't keep them there in good conscience. I hope that one day you'll understand.

I can't tell you exactly where (comms these days aren't as secure as they used to be), but I've moved the family back to New Tokyo. Please, I beg of you, do not tell Captain Mendes. It is a big city, but if he decided to push the issue, there are only so many places I can hide Carla and the kids.

There is a new housing district being developed by The Purity Initiative. I offered my service and my experience as a foreman working construction got me right in. I'm building houses, Hec. I can't even begin to tell you how good that makes me feel. For the first time in ages, I'm helping something grow instead of tearing it down. If I had to ask myself why I REALLY left, if it hadn't had been for my family, it'd be that. We've lost what we were fighting for. Attacking harvesting facilities in rural townships? Since when was that "liberation"? The first time I met Comdr. Valdez, I remember him saying, "The Royals don't understand that our planet is not just Onintza. Our planet is also humanity." Where did that sentiment go? I don't know, Hec...

These people have offered me a new life. New lives for my family. Not on the run, not bunched up in drugs, no danger of being arrested and sent away. It was a hard choice, but in the end, my only choice.

All of that being said, there is something strange about these guys. I can't quite put my finger on it, but... I don't know. It’s one of the reasons I'm writing this letter. I felt like I needed to tell someone.

The guys who run the show over here, the head haunchos, they sound... off? I can't really describe it, but I walked into my boss' trailer yesterday and he was kneeling on the floor in the dark, by himself, running a white silk cloth over a long sword. I think he was talking to himself, or humming, or something, but whatever it was, he stopped when I barged in. I turned to leave when I saw him, but the second I started to turn around, he held up his hand and looked me in the eye. Hector, when I tell you that I never saw fire in the eyes of our men compared to the inferno I saw in this man, I am not exaggerating. I felt like I was being incinerated by his gaze. And yet, without saying a fucking word, he went straight back to polishing that sword. But he never took his eyes off me. Not until I was all the way out the door.

There is talk among the other foremen that they've seen weird shit, too. Nothing specific, but from what I gather it’s the same type of thing I saw. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but it just made me uncomfortable enough to light the fire under my ass to finally write this letter.

Anyway, I love you, man. I really do. Please, please keep your ass out of the fight and in the engineering bay. The last thing Carla and I need is to be having heart attacks every time we read about a botched raid or a fighter shot down.

Vaya con Dios, hermano.

Paulo.

The Ash Wanderer by Pennguinator
I felt I had to get this story into text before it became either irrelevant or explained. SPOILER WARNING, this story is based off event during the most recent episode of Swan Song (15), continue reading at your own peril. This is Just a fan's interpretation of events and details described in the episode but if you have feedback or questions I'd love to read them. [Andoni] Bombardment t+6:30-The thick red ash of Typhoon Epsilon swirls violently outside the visor of Sicarian. Trailing behind him at a significant distance is the cursing french man, Trudeau, whom after struggling with the six plus hours of hiking in EXO suits is proving that exhaustion cares little for rank or training. But Sicarian hasn't been paying attention to the wheezing, cursing man from Cabal stumbling behind him, instead a faint whisper among the storm has been passing among the ash. "This is some bullshit!", cries the french man falling forward after failing to clear the gap in front of him with his boot. Sicarian struggles to scan the horizon searching for an indication of the syndicate bunker still hours away. The whisper returns, audible this time, and calls to the man in black by his real name. Inside the visor of his assault armor the calm and steady leader of this expedition can hear the voice only barely through the thick armor of his helm. Looking to his right, Sicarian begins to see a shape of a man on both knees but the shape dissipates as the wind picks up once more. The next thirty minutes pass in much the same way with Sicarian barely catching glimpses of shifting figures in the ash obscured by the intense storm around him and Trudeau. Finally the voice speaks again loud enough to determine its origin, "____, you summoned me?", The voice comes from a figure this time kneeling on the red sediment. This time the image is clear to Sicarian. The man is a large but trim figure wrapped in a strange armor and embedded into the ground and between this man's hands is an object which Sicarian cannot recognize, "How do you know my name?", Sicarian wonders starring in the direction of this man, "You told me, you asked me to help you, I heard your voice in the lanes between", The response of this figure confuses Sicarian but before he can inquire further the voice replies, "I mean you no harm, I will travel from this world and perhaps we will meet again, it is clear you need my help, but I don't think you understand why yet. Goodbye _", With this the figure stands and radiates a powerful light which illuminates him in this storm. Sicarian can now see clearly that the armor this figure wears is unlike any he has ever seen, layered like thin plate-mail yet forms closely around it's wearer to accentuate his height and muscular build. His helmet completely covers his face in a pointed, black-tinted visor. "Wait..." however before Sicarian gets the opportunity to continue a different voice cuts him off. From behind him he hears Trudeau comm to him, "Mr Sicarian are you with me?" The voice sounds strangely distant but as Sicarian focuses on it the clarity begins to draw him back to his surroundings. Turning now to face his shipmate, "Are you okay? I'm right here" "Yes, yes" It is obvious now that Trudeau cannot see the light and figure ten feet away and with this realization Sicarian notices the voice of the figure once more, "I must go, I will see you again. Whether here or there or maybe never again, I will be with you where you can always find me. In the quiet places and the warm memories of the ones you love..." With that the figure turns and pulls the object from the ground. In this motion Sicarian's mind flashes between images of a young man tanned with dark brown hair spiked and dressed in odd clothing unlike any he's encountered in his travels. Before the man disappears Sicarian's mind, without recollection of this name, knows the name of the man before him, "_____, wait...please I need to ask you something..." This time the man turns back and his armor vanishes in a flash of light, before Sicarian is the man wearing the clothes Mr. Sicarian had envisioned. The figure smiles and responds, "Ventus says hello..." and disappears into the light behind him. Starring straight ahead is the confused soldier attempting to piece together the strange encounter. From behind him he can hear once again the uncoordinated shuffling of EXO suit boots on rough Andonian soil. Trudeau approaches Sicarian as Sicarian looks back toward him with his opaque visor, "Sicarian," Trudeau chuckles, "You look like shit! Let's keep going" "Let's just complete this and get some much needed rest" "Agreed, maybe mister Higgins can offer us a nightcap when we get back" And with that the duo begins to see the outline of bunker ahead of them.
The Best Laid Plans by Lurid21
I’ve always thought that there was something special about the way that a vehicle feels when its tires roll over different surfaces. Unique in a way that fingerprints are. I can find myself remembering the feeling of certain vibrations from rides longs past. That night’s ride was one I will never forget.

Loaded into the back of an armored personnel carrier, I sat pressed up against other members of The Initiative. Genjiro, my second-in-command, reclined to my right, a picture of arrogance and self-assurance. Akito fussed with her gloves for the fifteenth time since we’d left HQ, and Kenji? Well, Kenji did what Kenji always did. Softly, his head bowed and hands placed upon the sword in his lap, Kenji repeated our Code. He said it endowed him with the resolve to do what needed to be done when his belief in himself was insufficient.

“Purity through cohesion, clarity through action… Purity through cohesion, clarity through action… Puri-“

“It’ll be okay, son. We’ll be in and out. We’re just delivering a message.” I said in an effort to calm him. At this, Genjiro rolled his eyes, but a glare silenced any smart retort. Kenji started to say something in response, but a rap of knuckles on the screen between us and the driver silenced him. The noise was all it took to set the members of my unit buzzing into action. Swords were sheathed with a final utterance of the Code, and mag pistol ammo was passed around the group.

The moment I stepped out of the back of the carrier and onto the pavement, that I knew that car ride had been special. Something about it just felt… transitional. Kind of like the feeling you get when breaking atmo for the first time.

With a nod to the captains of the other three units, I toggled my comm on to receive incoming general transitions from the dining hall. Sanjuro had just begun his speech. I took a moment to look at each and every member of my unit, and was proud to see the resolve in their eyes.

“- for true revolution has come!” That was our signal to enter the hall, and enter we did. Dressed to incite a sense of awe and powerlessness in the Royals, our job was supposed to have been simple. With Sanjuro’s help, deliver unto the Royal family a message. Surrender temporary control of the government to Sanjuro and submit all governing officials to a mandatory drug examination or face a second armed organization in full rebellion. We were under strict orders NOT to harm anyone. It all went to shit when that idiot in costume armor killed Sanjuro. Kenji, to my eternal disappointment, was the first to open fire. Over comms, I barked commands to cease firing, but it was to no avail. The damage had been done.

When the dust cleared, I was standing in the middle of the dining hall, my white combat suit stained red with blood. With disgust, I stripped my captain’s band off my right arm and threw it at Genjiro, who caught it and slipped it over his left. As I turned towards the exit, I began what would become the long process of explaining to my superiors what exactly had gone so sideways with such a simple operation. It wasn’t until I had crossed the threshold and stepped over the smashed door, that I heard Genjiro belt out the Code.

"PURITY THROUGH COHESION, CLARITY THROUGH ACTION! LONG LIVE ONINTZA! LONG LIVE THE PURITY INITIATIVE!!!"

All pretense of diplomacy had flown out the window that night. The Royals were left with a pile of dead friends and no options. As I looked to the members of the four units who participated in the incursion, I saw the dawning realization reflected in their faces. Nothing would ever be the same. Not for Onintza and certainly not for The Purity Initiative.

The Betrayl by Chaosryder
Just a little Swan Song Fanfiction. insight into the Onintzan civil war:

Machete sighed, this Onintza Operation has been nothing but a shitshow, ammo drops missing their mark, Rations going bad, and it seems like the only people dying down here is the top brass. Not that Machete Minded much it's just that with half a dozen field promotions every week nobody knows who they report to anymore. Snap

Machete Froze instantly and took survey of the situation , jungle, hot as shit, drudging through the mud. Ok what was that noise? Machete looked down and saw it. A small circle that one of his feet was directly on top of. Well it's not like he really needed legs anyway. Machete scolded himself it was that kind of talk that got his squad running laps around the transport by their sadistic squad leader ,Man, it was like Fate wanted him to give her an excuse to punish him.

Machete slowly reached into his pocket and grabbed his multi tool. Carefully not putting anymore or any less pressure on his left foot. He reached down and cut the pressure sensor on the mine and slowly lifted his foot off. " I better not give mine position away" he thought. Machete chuckled, slightly that was worth at least 10 laps with Fate yelling " is being in pfotenhauer a joke to you solider!?" Man Fate's face when she is pissed off is hilarious.

Machete kept skulking along his path and eventually came across a small Guard post of around two to three guards. Machete stopped and pulled out his kinesis wraps and mono-blade and equipped them. He crept to the base of the low wall that had erected out of some bamboo and what looked to be tent fabric. When the guard turned Machete jumped up and staved the guard just like in training nicking the windpipe and the brainstem no moving no noise. He quickly moved over the low wall and kept moving past the check point, he would not be here long enough for the other sleeping guards to wake up or matter when the pyrotechnics started. He crept up to the main camp of hostiles and started setting up he got out his bow and the case he had been lugging around for the past 2 hours. He pulled out the bow and strung it ready for the distraction then looked down at the command tent below. There were some officers and some body guards and one person across the table from everyone else in black power armor. "Who could that be?" Machete wondered. Argonauts don't usually work in power armor and Ulysses' Boys don't work in this part of the sector. Well who ever it is is not going to be able to finish their contract negotiations today. He opened and closed his comma channel 4 times signaling he was ready and in position. A couple seconds later a loud BOOM sounded across the camp along with a large explosion across the camp. The ground shook with the force of the impact and that is what Machete was looking for. He loosed his arrow as the ground shook and the vibrations disrupted the commanders shield long enough to allow Machete to put an arrow in him. Next while the command ten was reeling from the explosion and sudden vacancy of the command position next to them. Machete quickly opened the case next to him and pointed the RPG inside at the command tent. The man in the power armor looked right at him and before the explosion Machete Fired he saw a glint of green eyes then the visor shutting automatically. Machete ducked into the bushes and hauled ass back to the transport through the way he came. Was that...? No couldn't have been, Titan would have said something if Mr. Scarian was negotiating with the enemy and besides that man was short by power armor standards and Mr. Sacarian is a giant of a man even outside power armor. Even it was a pfotenhauer officer he was probably a part of the plan to lower the enemy's guard and would be on a transport of the god-fore saken rock by tomorrow probably sipping wine with the other top brass laughing about their success. Machete wondered if he would get a promotion for this job. How sweet would it be to boss Fate around, Oh that would be interesting indeed.

-END Thanks to the Swansong Crew for being so entertaining and being the inspiration for this short story

The Collector by Lordcypher23
“Hellooooooo!”

Dr. Oliver Steineski slowly opened his eyes to see an AI port next to the table he was on. He struggled to move, but couldn’t. He was strapped down tight with several buckles down his body, as well as some that pinned his arms and legs. The room was pitch black with the exception of a single light that shined down into his face. Across from him he could make out the image of a hologram, a pixilated avatar for the AI that spoke to him. It took the shape of what looked to be an amoeba as if it were seen under a magnifying glass.

“What…what’s going on here? Why am I strapped down? Let me go!”

A man’s voice emanated from the right side of the room. Steineski turned his head in that direction to see the silhouette of a man in the doorway.

“Now now doctor, I know you have been hard at work synthesizing the new drug. What was it called again? Ah yes, BRINK I believe. Tell me, have you made any progress?” The man moved closer to the doctor until he could be made out clearly. He wore a black suit with a white shirt underneath, slick black pants and shoes, and a black tie. He was fair skinned with a wrinkled forehead, brown hair, and blue eyes. On the right side of his suit was a brooch in the shape of the chemical symbol for serotonin, the mark of the Madari Syndicate.

“Who are you and why do you want it?!” cried Steineski. “The drug isn’t even ready yet, untie me right now!”

“Is that so? Creep, would you please check the ship’s files to see whether or not the good doctor here is lying to us. Make it quick, I have to collect a sample to present to my benefactors.”

“You got it boss!” replied the AI as it’s distorted amoeba hologram creeped forward in all directions then went back to normal size. The man murmured to himself about the competence of such a ‘dumb’ AI.

“Got it right here Mr. Blake! Sample BR10526 is all prepped and ready for mass production. The data says that upon injection subject’s vision will be blurred, but brain processes and axon-dendrite communication signals will be 15% faster and 20% clearer. Side effects include headaches, nausea, increased heart rate, and muscle spasms. With the wrong dosage, could lead to coma and or death.”

Mr. Blake grinned. “Excellent! Send it to me.”

“Right away sir!” There was a loud humming noise followed by the sound of gas being released as a freezed door opened up behind the table that Steineski was strapped to. Mr. Blake went over and searched through the vials until he found his sample.

Steineski struggled on the table some more. “There, you got your sample, now untie me dammit!”

“I’m sorry doctor, but I’m afraid your services are no longer needed. Creep, prepare a pod for me so that I can get off this vessel! In the meantime I think I should bid our friend here farewell.”

As he took out a syringe and opened the vial, Steineski screamed. Mr. Blake paid no attention to this, and he filled the vial with the untested drug. He then injected it into doctor Steineski, who immediately got symptoms of blurry vision and his heart rate beat faster than it has been.

“Your escape pod is all prepared Mr. Blake!” said Creep in a cheerful voice.

“Thank you Creep. I’m afraid our friend here won’t live to see our product be weaponized. It makes quite the sedative. Farewell doctor…”

As Steineski began seizing on the table, Mr. Blake began walking back through the ship. Bloodstained bodies riddled with bulletholes covered each room and hallway. Mr. Blake’s uzi was tucked safely away. He never did like loose ends.

“Creep, before I go, delete all surveillance footage and shut down all communication from this ship, The New Horizon. I’ll contact you in the pod.”

“Yes sir” replied the broken AI. “From here on out this ship with be nothing but a space-sized paperweight. For the Syndicate!”

The Demagogue Speech by Martionize
“My people, our world has come under brutal attack. Not a war with guns, or weapons, but with minds. This Nika Starlight has come from Majid and brought deep unrest and hooliganism to our proud and wonderful world. I urge you all proud members of the Faith. To unite together as we have done before. Work together as we have done before. Many of my advisors tell me that several people were killed during a rush to get into the venue. And no-one did anything. As all eyes turned to the concert, they turned away from the poor, the sick, the hurt. It is our duty to turn our eyes towards them and the cause of their suffering. I beseech you, people of Strophious, to look with open eyes at the harlot in our midst. Remember the teachings of Zebediah at Agon VII! This painted women and her lies cannot be abided. WE MUST STAND TOGETHER and say NO to Starlight and her filth. Stand with me, my people! Every member of this faith. From the rich nobles, to the workers in our sewers. From the western wastes, to the Eastern Domes. From the soldiers in our army, to the police officers on our street. From the Rich Corporations, to the smallest market stall. This is holy ground and I will bleed before it falls to anyone else.”

-- Demagogue

The Down Of A System by MonsieurWTF
Struggle. Instability. Recession. Hope. These were but a few of the words that came to mind when I first landed on Onintza this afternoon. Even from the safe regions of the upper end of New Tokyo, it is clear to anyone arriving that the planet has been through plenty of turmoil and strife. As you enter the New Tokyo Spaceport, one of the first things you are greeted with is the stern warning of The Exchange informing you of the current threat level: Orange. After that, the gorgeous view of the towers of buildings and organized districts in front of a rising (or setting) sun can’t help but be fractured by that one piece of imperfection.

.

The Royal Family’s attempts over the past few months to hide the scars of civil war have had little effect on trying to fade away the shake-up of political power in the region. Ever since 3188 the situation has escalated further and further from their management. On one end, the revolutionists, Onintza Libre!, who have made themselves known through overwhelming victories over several years of physical engagements and corroboration with the Onintzan population, stride towards the removal of the Empress and her magistrates from power. On the other, a young group of political dissidents, The Purity Initiative, undermine the government’s efforts to strike back at the rebels, going on long-winded campaigns aimed at taking down the support that has helped Libre elude being brought down like their predecessors.


Onintza Libre! claims its roots on the planet dating back several centuries ago, when the Onintza government was disjointed among cultural regions and, for the most part, a republic. It was only when the Royal Family of Onintza arrived in 3142 that traction in the planet’s political organization began. For several years the two political groups remained neutral to one another, but that peace would be short-lived. In 3147, they began the process of turning the culturally-driven and relaxed civilization into a bustling economy, both on the planet and through interstellar trade lanes. Usurping power by force from the region’s leaders and encouraging mass colonization, the bloodline preceding the current Empress managed to successfully overturn the Onintzan republic and suppress local unrest as the landscape was transformed, districts planned out with mechanical precision and buildings drawn up that would reach the skies.

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As decades passed, the monarchical government went through handling various rebel factions, mostly in the outer districts where Japanese culture was either absent or a minority. Through repeated success of a local military and external mercenary forces, the Royal Family continued to put down its opponents and draft harsher reforms. However, the unrest did not remain pacified, nor did it remain in the undeveloped territories. The first turn in the political struggle began with the Lucha por Libertad rebellion in 3188, where New Tokyo (previously called Santa Maria) and several other large cities were besieged over the course of a week, the sudden surprise attack stunning the Empress’ military branch and allowing the newly-organized rebels to plunder various ‘Pre-tech’ weaponry and designs, as well as several regiments of space vessels. While there was never any direct explanation as to why the military was stalled for as long as it was, one argument points to the lack of civilian casualties during that week, as dozens of collapsed warehouses and research facilities produced 0 deaths. Even after weeks of reported military investigations and court trials, the government never found an explanation as to how far in advance these raids were coordinated.

.

With the power of technology and a larger number of rebels - most notably the inclusion of disillusioned Japanese citizens - backing them, Onintza Libre! remained in the shadows of the Asgard Sigma's news feeds, and it wasn't for several years that news organizations like GNN and the IAP found out that these 'light criminals' with Pre-tech equipment were capable of large-scale bombings, from military hangars and airport runways, to private mercenary bases. By October of 3191, The Exchange had changed Onintza from Code Green to Yellow. It wouldn’t be long until that was changed again to Orange.


Where are we now? As it stands, there are a growing number of activists throughout Asgard Sigma who have taken to Spacebook and other organizations to get the Royal Family of Onintza to come to an agreement with Onintza Libre. From videos of Andonians urging the hispanic ‘natives’ to take back their government, to religious services of the New Prophet Movement leading mass-prayer for the souls of those lost in the war on both sides, the pressure for some form of peace has intensified on the Empress and her government.

.

The Onintzan Royal Family has reached one of its toughest moments in history after going through decades of reform and infrastructuring efforts. With the rebel forces continuing to win fights against the political structure, and the interstellar community growing more restless and in support of change, one can only imagine that their time grows short on calling for peace negotiations.

.

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Leonidus Alleron reported from New Tokyo, Onintza.

This article was written and submitted through the Interstellar Associated Press. Any inaccuracies found in this report may be an occurrence of inaccurate data translation/distribution as this information is disseminated from the source system.

The Echert Group by IronApothecary
The idea for the Echert Group was to build a faction around the Eugenics Cult tag and the Gengineered Slaves asset.

History

The Echert Group began as a pharmaceutical company, founded by former Richardson Scientific regional director Gladys Echert in 3179. They produce a number of amphetamines, steroids, and other stimulants which enjoy some popularity among mercenary groups, militias, and even a few minor militaries. Their real business however, is people. The Echert Group sells assassins, enforcers, and bodyguards, all engineered to be the best at what they do, and with a built in shelf life of six years.

Overview

The Echert Group openly trades in performance enhancing pharmaceuticals, but its other wares are a closely guarded secret. They purchase slaves, often abducted from Tech Level 3 and lower worlds, and use gene resequencing to strengthen their bodies, as well as electroshock therapy to erase their minds. The end result is a blank slate, which can be programmed to serve any nefarious purpose their buyer desires. Additionally, in an act of planned obsolescence, the slaves begin to experience systemic organ failure at the five year mark. A number of slaves who've broken the mental chains forged by the Echert Group, as well as customers who've grown particularly fond of a slave, have been rumored to do some fairly grizzly things to stave off death.

Closing Thoughts

Initially I had pictured them more as feral humans grown in test tubes, but that seemed sort of lame. Eventually I settled on something closer to a replicant, only with actual friends and family to make them a bit more tragic. Also I didn't want to get too specific with the Richardson tie in. Maybe Gladys was fired from Richardson for her unethical work, or maybe the Group is a subsidiary of Richardson and Gladys was specifically chosen for her lack of ethics.

The Highest Madari by Martionize
The ship is called the Nationalist, the Captain is called Franco and the supporting Cruiser is called Vichy.

Cultural things have diverged from what they were orginally intended to show so I suppose it is fine.

Franco sat behind his small desk in his office on the Nationalist. His room was a mess, papers cluttered around. The Nationalist had taken a few hits during the battle with Ximinez. A total disaster, he thought to himself, we should never have undertaken it. The Nationalist was a Madari Cruiser and had been commanding the Pirate Fleet that had attempted to assault Ximinez.

At first, they had been successful, capturing a convoy of supplies that were bound for Ximinez’s Strike Fleet, the plan being to starve them of fuel and supplies.

“That went well,” Franco sighed as he picked up some papers threw them into a waste paper bin. Ximinez had reacted quickly, hunting down the remains of his fleet, broken from the battle and no longer obeying commands from him. No-one else had known what he knew, that they were actually working for Sunbeam. That was until recently.

Ximinez had been hunting down the pirate fleet. To get them to focus their attention elsewhere, he had sent them an anonymous message, that Sunbeam was behind the attack. It had worked, Ximinez had stopped hunting and had started preparing for war.

“I betrayed my employers,” he muttered to himself.

Just then the door to the office opened and a large man wearing assault armour walked in. He took off his helmet and spoke with a Majidian accent.

“Franco, we tried contacting the other ships but there was no response. It’s just the Nationalist and the Cruiser Vichy now.” Franco turned around to face the Majidian.

“This was a complete and utter disaster,” he said angrily. “I should have taken a Madari fleet, Will, not those youths looking for cash.” He paced towards a map of Asgard Sigma on the wall. “No-one is formally in charge of this Syndicate. Our power and wealth is what dictates whether people follow us or not. My tribe had a blockade fleet, now they have 2 ships. We have lost our power.”

Will took a step into the room. “2 ships can do many things, sir. I trust you have heard of the Swan Song?”

Franco glanced down at a paper on his desk. “Of course I have. It is quite interesting. They destroy our assets and yet we are “friends”. I do not know what has got into the rest of the Syndicate.”

“It doesn’t matter about the Swan Song,” said Will. “I was telling you that they have done a lot with just one ship that is falling apart.. You have 2 Cruisers ready for battle and a Syndicate that is falling apart.” He moved in closer. “If our tribe goes down,” Will explained, “ then everyone in your employ goes down and some of us have families to feed.” He looked around. “And some of us just want credits. We are ready to stand by you. I implore you, sir, take the Syndicate. Become its leader.”

Franco sat back down in his chair, placing his head on the desk. “You are correct in the fact that this tribal system has gotten us nowhere and there has to be a Spacefather to manage all these factions that make the Syndicate up. It just won’t be me.”

Wil grinned and motioned towards the door. “Enter”

The door opened and a hideous creature walked in. He had open wounds in his body, his skin was burned black, a bone was sticking out of his shoulder and he was missing an eyesocket. It also looked like half of his skull has been caved in and there was a rope around his neck leading out into the corridor. Black blood was oozing from his nose.

Franco drew his side-arm and aimed it at the man. “What the..Will, what the hell is this creature?” he bellowed.

The man wailed at the mention of the word “creature” and more black blood spewing out from his nose.

“Now you’ve hurt his feelings,” came a woman’s voice from behind in the creature. She walked into view.

Franco still held the pistol high. “Who are you, and why wasn’t I notified that you boarded.”

“You may not have let me board,” the woman said. She let go of the rope and the man walked on all fours to the corner of the room and started chewing on some fallen papers.

“I am Lizette Gierko of the Highbeam Fleet. If you want to call me Admiral you can but we are informal on my ship. For many months, we have been tracking the crew of the Swan Song. They always throw off our navigators though. They navigate in ways we do not expect.” She stared at Franco. “Unlike some people, I actually care that a ship under my command was destroyed.”

Franco ignored the intended slight. How wrong you are He looked at Will.

Lizette caught the look and continued speaking. “When people see the Syndicate, they see an organization of organizations succeeding and doing well. But inside, the Syndicate is cracking. Mustafa Lee is consolidating his forces and the base at Frois is becoming more and more self-governed. The person in charge is beginning to hire his own defences, not connected to the Madari.”

She looked around the office. “I have come to make a deal. I will assist you in the conflict. I will provide you with ships from Highbeam which will allow you to make your claim as the Spacefather. You wanted power you have it.”

Franco ponder for a moment. “You have not come here to help me fight. You seek something.”

The woman bit her lip and looked at the papers on the desk. “I want the crew of the Swan Song. Alive or dead it does not matter.” A wail could be heard as the creature walked over towards the door.

“Excuse me, Lizette, but what the hell is this thing you have brought to my ship?” asked Franco, disgusted.

Lizette began walking out the door with the creature on his rope. “That is my cousin Ramirez,” she said as she left. “He was taken away by someone. But I brought him back. You will get your power. I will have my justice.” ” The creature gave a wail as it left a trail of black blood behind it.

Franco shuddered in his chair.

You will get your power, I will have my justice.

The Last Banquet by Xaxas115
The music was muted, that much I remember. The dining hall was sparsely inhabited, the few remaining loyal members of Onitizan high society in attendance; myself among them. These dinners had become more frequent as of late, an effort, the Royal consort said to ease the frayed nerves of the Glorious Empress. What little small talk was exchanged was surely relegated to the ongoing troubles with the rabble in the north. But what was more curious to myself was the stoic fellow by the Royal families side. They called him Yojimbo, a warrior for hire, for a price he could solve all your worldly foes. As I finally grew weary of the trivial conversation I was previously engaged in; something about the gaijin mercenaries fighting for The Family, I managed to work up the courage to approach one of Yojimbo's numerous followers dressed head to toe in some form of antiquated looking battle armor to strike up a dialogue. However as I approached the slightly less garishly adorned fellow the Minister of Taxes raised a call for a toast. "Allow me to offer a toast to our most glorious and gracious of hosts the Divine Goddess herself the so-called Empress. I Sanjuro Reyes have had my fill of the lies and the deceit served so readily at these tables, too long has the Royal family done NOTHING to stop the spread of foreign poison on our streets! The Royal Family no longer represents the will of the people of Onintza. We no longer wish to be ruled over by such incompetent, self-involved sentients. The time for true revolution has come!"

The rest was mostly a blur: the Yojimbo moved to silence the dissent. In a flash he was dead. Then cries of panic erupted as the band instruments gave way to an all too different sort of device. The doors exploded open and in a blinding flash to rows of men in pure white combat dress adorned with red armbands. A dozen or so of the Royal entourage were cut down in an instant; I myself was unfortunate enough to lose part of my hand. The Yojimbo moved like automatons whisking away the more important in the room to parts unknown. As smoke cleared and cries died down the leader of white clad assassins announced to those still left capable of hearing "PURITY THROUGH COHESION, CLARITY THROUGH ACTION! LONG LIVE ONINTZA! LONG LIVE THE PURITY INITIATIVE".

The Night the Sky cried Tears of Fire - In memory of Andoni by Lunastar101
Small poem I wrote in memory of Andoni

The Night the Sky cried Tears of Fire

As the heat descended

And the air burned up in flames

The hearts of the innocents

People with no more names

Their tears evaporated

Leaving no trace

Of the sadness that happened

Ever took place

But us that see

From the comfort of the stars

Our tears still flow

Praying from afar

For those who have suffered,

Have screamed and wailed,

We shall remember

The night the sky cried tears of fire

The Price of Advancement by SGMeowzer
July 3200, Vafa’i System, near Frois.

The fighter flashed towards through the miasma of space. Slowing down as a it shot forward towards the large Pfotenhauer battleship, a matte black stain on the perfect ebony of space.

The man inside the fighter pinging the ship for communication, “Mr. Dauntless requesting permission to enter the Pride’s Purge”. Soon the tractor beam was pulling the small fighter into the gaping maw of the docking bay

Inside the ship efficient men and women in black uniforms moved like ants performing their jobs as the hatch on the fighter opened. The first thing you would notice were black boots hitting the deck, polished but well worn. Fitted black pants with straight creases met a black belt and simple black military jacket. Everything meticulously well pressed, each crease perfectly perpendicular to the other, all straight lines. The only thing that stood out from the orderly black were the slate grey kinesis wraps around his hands, wrapped in the overlapping criss cross of a boxer.

Finally as the hatch shut the man’s face could be seen, his skin was the typical olive of someone with a mediterranean ancestry. His high cheek bones and square jaw a sharp contrast against each other. His eyes hazel almonds, with vivid green around the jagged edges of his iris. His eyes flickered around him taking in everything, analyzing and processing. Assessing threats. His hair cut close to the head to tame the small black curls. Those cold calculating eyes warmed as a man approached Mr. Dauntless.

“Mr. Silver, it has been far too long,” his voice a warm baritone with a slight greek accent, he grasped the hand of the short gray haired man in front of him.

“Mr. Dauntless, it has indeed been far too long,” he laughed and pulled the taller man into an uncomfortable hug.

They began walking, silent but an easy and comfortable silence. The crew glancing up at the synchronous sound of two pairs of boots clicking on the floor as they walked down the halls. One of them tall, lithe, and cold. The other short, broad, and with an ever present grin. The first to break the silence was Mr. Silver.

“So why are you here Dauntless? I am happy enough to see you my friend. But I doubt you came simply to visit an old comrade”.

Dauntless’s lips drew in a thin line as he considered the question, “Unfortunately I need to look at your core Silver. It is nothing personal but there have been rumors that you may be using unapproved tech. I am sorry friend, but orders are orders”.

Both footsteps stopped, a sudden halt to the rhythm of their footfalls. Silver looked up, his usual grin turned more grimace. The crackle and pop of his hands tightening to fists and his knuckles popping caught the attention of everyone of the passing crew. And they moved more quickly at the sudden awkwardness.

Then Silver’s fists unclenched and he sighed and shrugged. “It is preposterous, the Society’s restrictions on such things are quite lax. There is no reason for an inspection. But I understand as well as any, orders are orders. And at least it comes from a friend”.

They both nodded and without another word they began to travel to the core, as always business must come before friendship. Soon after Silver entered several passcodes they reached the core of the ship. The room only lit by the pale blue light coming from the spherical core. Mr. Silver gestured forward as he leaned against a rail.

“See for yourself, while our core is quite impressive. It is nothing new, nor something that should warrant a surprise inspection,” Silvers thick eyebrows furrowed for a moment, as the words left his mouth. “You know I have never even heard of a battleship being subject to a surprise inspection”.

Mr. Dauntless rolled his shoulders, gazing at the core absent mindedly, “You know I wouldn’t expect you to be a drug mule Silver. To think to a mister in charge of a battleship would use it to transport drugs for the Madari, it is honestly just shameful”.

A grunt came from Silver as he came to stand next to Silver, also glancing at the mesmerizing soft pulsing light of the core.

“Is that what this is about? It is an approved action, after we deliver these drugs it will start a war on that planet between the Madari and the Purity Initiative. The Madari jumped at the chance to have us transport the drugs, no other ship would be as secure. We just insisted it would be amounts worth our time. When this many drugs hit planet, a fight is inevitable. And both the Purity Initiative and Madari are better off fighting in shadows, so who will they need to fight for them? Dauntless this job is just us pouring gasoline on a fire so they can pay us to put it out”.

Dauntless was silent for a long time. And then he nodded, “You see Silver I can’t let you deliver these drugs. They instru-” the word stopped suddenly and severely.

Silver had moved with blinding speed, something no one would expect of a man of his stature or build. Twin monoblades flashing out as he slammed them through each of Dauntless’s kidneys. As slammed them into the man’s back, he twisted the blades in wide angles and pinned him against the rail.

The words that came out did so in the same usual jovial tone. “I am sorry Dauntless, but orders are orders. I do not know who you are taking yours from, but mine come from the top. I am sorry, you’re one of the few people in the Society I think of as a friend. But that also means I know what those fists can do, and I have no desire to fight you in a fair duel,” he slowly pulled the blades out of the man’s shredded kidneys and slumped him over the railing.

Silver stepped back, tisking softly to himself as he cleaned the blood from his blades. Shaking his head at the loss of such a fine soldier and friend. His shaking head was stopped in a sudden collision as the spinning roundhouse hit the side of it. He staggered back, dropping into a immediate wide stance to steady himself against the force of the kick and to ready for a counterattack. Dauntless’s punches came in blurs, precise and powerful. Yet Silver was surprising in his speed, blocking the punches by slashing the monoblades into the taller man’s forearms, redirecting the force away from him. Each slash making a gash deep to the bone. The punches were a distraction though, a sudden short kick crushed Silver’s knee and snapped his leg with the sound of a snapping branch. As Silver fell, Dauntlesses fist fired forward into his solar plexus.

As Dauntless spoke he slowly adjusted his clothing to once more straight lines, “You see Silver, I can see where your confusion stems from. The Society has no problem with what you are doing, the Purity Initiative does. You see it is surprisingly difficult to move up in their organization. And I can’t get the kind of intel I want at my current position. But by destroying this ship I will move up quite nicely”.

Silver tried to make a stumbling lunging knife hand towards the standing man, met with frighteningly quick kick to the throat, and a follow up axe kick to his spine. The familiar crunch of bone echoing in the room again. Dauntless smiled, turning over Silver to look at him once more. His hand comforting the pudgy cheeks.

“You would of had me if I was anyone else my friend. Everyone always forgets how quick you are. The main problem is my kidneys weren’t actually necessary for me. Your slashes to my forearms would of broke my pressure sheathing if I hadn’t had it specially made to be so durable. I am truly sorry that it had to be you my friend, I really did like you. But it also made it far too easy to do this”. Dauntless patted Silver’s cheek as the light from the soldier’s gray-blue eyes went out.

Dauntless stood looking back to the core and slowly smiling. He opened his shirt, revealing a hard chiseled body that you would expect of that of a warrior. Then the abs slowly began to open with slow hiss of an actuator, revealing a holdout cavity where his stomach should be. You could see the lines of muscle and skin that resided over the metal of the cavity. He pulled a large bundle of explosives, and a smaller shaped charge before closing the cavity.

In quick efficiency the first was applied to the core, the second to the wall of a room a short walk away. With a snap of his fingers, the small explosive charge went off, blasting a hole into the hull of the ship. The sounds of the alarms began to sound but then were swallowed by the soundlessness of space. Dauntless being quickly sucked out into the blackness, as soon as he was a few meters away his fingers snapped and the larger explosives went off.

The effect was not as sudden, the shaped blast of highly advanced explosives had made short work of the hull. But that was an extremely small hole in a weaker part of the hull. You could see the lines of where the ships plating met each other began to glow. Then small seething hot spots formed along the matte black as if the the ship had caught some kind of pox. And with a suddenness the ship exploded outwards. Dauntless curling into a ball as the explosion through him farther into space. He laid there floating and waiting, looking at the wreckage of the ship.

And then the hatch of a free merchant ship caught him in it’s open hatch. The free merchant was less wide than the standard variants, longer and more slender. The ship at first appeared to be a similar color to the Pride’s Purge, the standard Pfotenhauer matte black. But it blended into far too well, it seemed to be a reflection of the space around him.The doors slowly shutting behind him, the word “Xerraire” visible in dull grey between the doors. He stood up in the cargo bay dusting off his clothing, the cargo bay was only dimly lit in soft white lights deepening the shadows of his angular face. As he moved up through the ship his fingers dug into his forearms, the trimmed finger nails forcing their way into the deep cuts Silver had inflicted on them. With a wet ripping sound he pulled the muscles of his forearms off as he threw them into a bin along the wall.

“What happened big brother Ari?” the voice came from the speakers in the hall, definitely male but held the unique inflections of a computer generation.

“Oh nothing completely unexpected Mio, Silver didn’t go down without a fight. But I didn’t think he would honestly, though he put up more more of one then I thought he would.” the hands reached back pushing his fingers into the ruined remains of his ruptured kidneys. Then fell back into the captain’s chair. Looking up at the floating mask on the computer screen above him.

“I liked Mr. Silver, he had really fluffy eyebrows and was always happy,” the mask did a quick spin and became a tragedy mask.

“Yeah, well maybe he shouldn’t of been peddling drugs. Either way, it is done now anyway”. He was absentmindedly pulling the skin and muscles off of his arms and fingers. The light of the screen reflecting off the silver-white of his fingers and arms.

“But why did we need to blow up the ship? Won’t that hurt our status with the Pfotenhauer Society?” the mask now quizzical.

“I need to get deeper into the Purity Initiative, they are surprisingly hard to rank up in. A lot of people are looking to buy information about them, and it is a point of pride that I have an alias in any organization that is worthwhile. And I doubt anyone on the ship would of thought to com HQ since Dauntless and Silver were friends”. He opened his shirt and began working the skin and muscle off of his body.

“But big brother Ari, why do we even need money anymore? We have so much, and I don’t know what else we can upgrade anymore. We have been doing this for so long, I can’t remember when we started. And you were doing this before you found me”. The mask on the screen suddenly had a huge long beard and eyebrows reminiscent of Silver’s.

“Well we don’t do it for the money Mio, we do it for the information. Knowledge is power, and power can get you most of what you want. But don’t worry, we are approaching the endgame of my plans finally after so long. We just need to keep going a little bit longer and we will be done,” he stood up and moved down the hallways at a leisurely pace. Finally entering a room, it was lit brightly, appearing as a typical bathroom expect it had a large tub in it. He laid down in the tub as it began to fill, the immediate hiss and pungent smell filled the room. His skin and clothes bubbling in the acid.

“I hate when I have to wear Mr. Dauntless. We always have to be careful with the muscles and skin, say what you will but the Society’s security is excellent. But it is always horrid to go back to myself”. He absent mindedly splashed his hand in the acid before dipping his head into it.

The sizzling grew louder, a rumbling hiss. He stood up slowly, the tub draining beneath him and from above a mist came down settling over his form rapidly raising the PH of the remaining acid. What was left was perplexing, it was if someone had taken a thin lean man and skinned him and replaced all of his body with mechanics. His bones some sort of a slightly white alloy, his muscles partially translucent different colors of fluids pumping beneath the biomechanical muscles as he walks. The veins thing black tubing, it spiderwebbed into his lungs and when he took a breath green liquid filled the biomech lungs. His face was smaller than a skull should be, it was a normal facial structure except there was no hair and all of it was completely white. Punctuated by eyes that appeared to be mercurial.

As he walked towards his computer bank, his body moved no different than a normal person’s would. Every piece the same simply replaced with a biomechanical version. He sat down within the chair.

“Mio overlay Tristan, I need to contact the Order and report in and do a little digging. There is some information the Mandarinate are willing to pay for I suspect the Order may of picked up and not even know what they are sitting on. It should be decently profitable”

Small blue lights began to glow across his face, small bright dots running across the ridges of his brow, his nose, his jawline and lips. Then Mio’s mask gained a beret and a small paintbrush spun around and a on the monitor appeared a man. The man was sitting in the same position as Ari but not in a dark ship, he was in a brightly lit ship and instead of a blank white face was an attractive angular face of a man with straw colored hair.

“Salutations Tristran rapport à la base”. The voice a rich tenor with a refined Cabral accent.

Soon after the message was sent out to be picked up by the next ship. He then walked down to another room, inside of it was was a small raised platform similar to that of an autodoc. Arms came out of all the walls, clean surgical steel and plastics. The arms began to spin muscle fibers and ligaments and thin layers of bone over his metal ones.

Ari smiled as the lips were being printed over the new skeletal structures of his face. “Make sure you remember that Okada’s heart has a small arrhythmia when you print the heart Mio. I don’t want anything to go wrong when I go report to the Initiative”.

“Oh big brother Ari you know I know all of our friends so well”. The mask had a wide smile on the monitor by the door, beside it the video playing of the original Okada’s autopsy. And then the only sound was that of the arms servos as they worked.

The Purity of Onintza by Stykes22
[The national hologram turns on. In the hologram stands the ever so charismatic Yuki Yamada, ready to address the people of Onintza]

“People of Onintza. This year have been demanding for everyone on this disease ridden planet. The cowardly acts of terrorism by the brutal faction that is Onintza libre, whose actions have not only paved the way for blue fever into our children's hands, but also caused the civil war that plagues this very planet. WE the purity initiative will no longer stand with the Royal family and their inability to act. The Royal family have paid back your trust and love, with war and death. NO LONGER will we stand by seeing our beloved children dying in the streets because of the growing crime and drug problem. NO LONGER will we accept the crimes of so called freedom fighters, whose action have only brought sadness and despair to this planet. NO LONGER will the royals be allowed to walk on the bones and blood of its people and call it justice. We will take onintza back, to create a bright and pure future, not only for you, but for your children. TAKE UP ARMS, SHOW THAT YOU WILL NO LONGER STAND FOR THIS! STAND WITH US. FOR PURITY! FOR THE FUTURE! FOR ONINTZA!

The Royal Onintzan Chronicle by Lurid21
The Royal Oniztan Chronicle

By: Toshiro Yakama

The Oniztan Government has recently released a statement publicly condemning the actions of the vigilante group known as "The Purity Initiative".

What originated as a anti-dug lobbying organization has quickly militarized following the boom in the black market

distribution of the narcotic "Blue Fever". Led by the enigmatic Yuki Yamada, the group has declared the government's response to this 'galactic threat' as 'woefully inadequacy'. The most recent action taken by The Purity Initiative (TPI) culminated in the destruction of several blocks of tenement housing complexes within the city of New Tokyo.

Kael Kawayama, Oniztan Minister of Finance, spoke out at a press conference addressing the scale of this growing threat to an already unstable planetary government. "The local governments and magistrates continue to crack

down on drug cartels and smuggling rings within their jurisdictions. It is only a matter of time before we triumph over this foul substance. As all citizens know, the involvement of TPI, or any other vigilante organization, is strongly prohibited within the Onitzan Constitution. We ask that TPI cease its actions immediately lest it cause more damage than it is attempting to prevent."

Toshiro-

The Chronicle has recently learned that in response to the statement made by Minister Kawayama, The Purity Initiative seems to have sent a picture to the minister. The details of said picture are still unknown, as it was destroyed immediately after the minister viewed it. Sources from inside the ministry state that whatever the picture contained, the Minister has seemed to have hardened his resolve against Blue Fever and has been overheard speaking of TPI in a kinder, more understanding tone.

The Scream Cabal by RogueNite
I felt like with Wilbur "Fucking" Higgins III having connections up his lower intestine, Mr. Sicarian being the "holy shit ghost badass" and Prosper staring at a burning planet with an O face with his zealot buddies, Piani Pic seems a bit without backstory, or at least, something that comes looking specifically, for her. Also, I felt with every faction from Perimeter to Pfotenhauer being intensely competent, there needed to be a faction that was as out-of-their-depth as our intrepid crew. So, with the open call I understand there to be regarding goings-on in Sector Asgard Sigma, I did this.

The sharp metal of the laser rifle dug into his palms, only thick callouses preventing drawn blood. He stared straight ahead at the emptiness of the cargo bay, keeping his back to the shipping container. The other guard cocked his head, the ill-fitting helmet shifting a little as he did so. He let his own rifle hang at his side., well at ease. This one ended with 82C; his friend 39X, but they knew each other as:

“Jack, loosen up. This planet is the most peaceful backwater shithole stuck in the last millenia in the whole fuckin' universe. What's your glitch?” The expanse of Elouahabu stretched in the distance, beyond the docking ramp.

“I know what's in that container, Tommy.”

“No, you don't, 39X. Keep it that way.”

“Do not pretend you did not hear any voices.”

“I didn't hear any voices, 39X. Besides, what if I did?”

“There are humans in there. I am Pfotenhauer. I'm a soldier, not a flesh trader. I kill flesh traders.”

“You've been with my unit since you joined up, you've never killed a flesh trader, 39X.”

“39X hasn't killed a flesh trader. But Jack has.”

82C and Tommy knew the look in his eye: both the gaze of a soldier guiding his aim before he had even raised his weapon and the expression of his friend prepared to take a life. His stance at ease left him helpless when Jack turned his laser rifle and shot a jolt of silent light through his chest. Jack did not pause before a second emission of hot light tore through the lock of the shipping container.

The doors were open before he had touched them. A pile of corpses were spread across the floor of the container. A single, dark figure stood at the far end. Jack did not feel his skull collapse as it impacted against the cargo bay wall some thirty metres behind him.

He was a ghost, a gaunt, starved figure, skin and cloth soaked in sweat and hair the colour of ice. He stepped over the corpses and approached the terminal on the wall. He touched it, then spoke.

“You will come now. I can hear them. They are in pain. This world has sinned. I will pass judgment on it.”

The Scream Cabal Minor Faction [15] 1-4-3 Assets: Vanguard Cadres, Lawyers.

Homeworld: Pavi – A colder world with a breathable atmosphere, Pavi's temperature is deadly on the poles, but along the equator, thick clothing and strong sunlight make life sustainable even on the surface, although its inhabitants prefer to have most of their living space below the surface. The biosphere of the planet coexists safely with the populace; an understatement even, as fertilising avian creatures seem attracted to the presence of psychics so farmers use them in their fields. It makes their agriculture consistent even in the wild conditions. Most fauna on the planet seem attracted to psychics, so much moreso than on other worlds, psychics are welcomed.

It is for this reason that the Scream Cabal considers Pavi as a “base of influence” although they do not claim any control over the isolated pseudo-communist farming villages of the Tech Level 1 world, they merely consider it a safe haven, and have a compound on the planet; albeit sequestered away, and Tech Level 4. They house an academy of sorts for the training of psychics there.

Summary: The Scream Cabal is a loose association of psychics across the sector that attempt to fight for psychic rights. They are very divided, as some parts prefer to go through ordered channels by applying their wealth, while others are inclined to incite violence. There are definitely many ill-treated psychics that are looking for a war among their number. There are even more whispered elements that are interested in “curing” MES.

Its thought by the Cabal that its name dates back to the Scream, and a time when it was much more powerful than the quiet political group it currently is, but that's just hearsay. Today, it's a secretive organisation that has problems with elitism, in that it usually makes no attempt to make contact with poorer and lower-class psychics unless it wants something, although that has been changing recently due to a shift in power. This new influence has lofty goals but no way to employ them, yet.

Agendas:

The Elouahabu Problem – The Scream Cabal recently discovered twofold issues on Elouahabu. The first, the broad removal of human rights from psychics, and the second, experimentation on them. The first was executed by the planetary government there, the second was merely Pfotenhauer capitalising on the situation (or it may have instigated the former as well). Pfotenhauer is very interested in MES and how psychics are connected to drive space and so have been centring their experiments to this regard on Elouahabu, where they do not even have to hide it from the government. They regularly traffick psychic slaves to the planet for experimentation.

In response, an element of the Scream Cabal secretly executed a mission. They slipped a psychic spy into one of the shipments to the planet. An unknown, a volunteer. Unfortunately, problems with the spike drive caused the shipment to be delayed by some weeks. They did not anticipate the effect this would have on their psychic spy, not only experiencing disruptions in drive space but also being denied his medication for weeks. Something happened. What stepped out of that shipping container was not the same thing that came in. Elouahabu would not be the same once he was done with it.

Piani Pic – Their network revealed that Piani Pic was interred in an experimentation facility on Elouahabu and intend to meet with her and discuss what she experienced there. By discuss, they want her to give them the answers they want: huge human rights abuses, torture, biological and psychological experimentation, as much as they can get to justify the actions of their agent and try to ignite the Cabal into aggression.

~

So, Pfotenhauer don't have to be the psychic traffickers, they just seemed the best option outside of creating another faction as the Perimeter guys didn't seem terribly interested in psychics. I'm also not implying every psychic who goes without their meds in drivespace for weeks turns into Phoenix (exaggeration) but just that this particular guy was a little more dangerous than anyone could have anticipated; and then he was fucked up by drive space. Anyway, I'm enjoying the show.

The Supernova by WarforgedBard
The Supernova

A true explosion of idedependent information

January 3200

The lack of editing

Greetings citizens of the galaxy, I am Warrian „The Bard“ Forgi, new editor of The Supernova. As promised last year we are updating the look of our newscast. However, lawyers of a certain mercenary company have made this process difficult as they found the new look offensive. Not wanting to further offend this company as well as cause further delays, we were forced to let our Graphics editor go and are currently in the process of hiring.

Pirate fleet: a threat for an entire sector ?

According to several witnesses, a large pirate fleet has assembled near Stasi. Shortly after assembling this fearsome pirate fleet has begun moving to the stellar southwest in the direction of the Gunnhild system. The Andonian Cultural Protectorate has issued a formal warning: „Dear citizens of Andoni. Recent events have nothing but confirmed our opinions about denizens of other systems. A pirate fleet is heading in the direction of our sector. Although less bad than the warlike alien races, these scum represent a clear danger to all of you and we strongly discourage all interstellar travel.“

Security tightens in Gunnhild sector

In other news from the Gunnhild sector: The Richardson Space Society, a prominent scientific organisation based in this sector, has made a sizeable investment into hiring additional security personnel. We were able to get a statement from Mr. Richardson himself: „We are confident that our new staff, along with other means we gained through our research, will be able to defend us from any threat.“ Mr. Richardson also adressed concerns that the Richardson Space Society might want to expand by means of millitary conflict: „These personnel were hired purely for our defense, it is imperative that no piece of thechnology, no matter how small the benefit from it, falls into the hands of pirates and such.“ If the additional personnel are indeed enough or if we are to see a terrible scientific discovery unleashed against the pirate threat remains to be seen.

Mandarinate Monopoly at an end ?

A big investment has dealt a blow to the monopoly of the Majidi Mandarinate, up untill recently the only succesful entrepreneurs on Majit. All attempts by the Majidi Mandarinate to disrupt further investments were met with failure, but we can be sure that they will expect future investment attempts and react accordingly. The new company is led by a man who claims to be a „servant of the New prophet“, there is still very little information on this Prophet, but it is clear that this operation must have had a significant financial backing.

Andonian economy as strong as ever

With the Andonian Cultural Protectorate rising to power fairly recently, things were not looking so good as the government had little economic experience. Following in the footsteps of the Royal Family of Onintza, the Protectorate recently announced its support to the agricultural sector. Ximinez Shipyards released the following statement: „We are happy to see that Andonian government is doing well even after the recent mysterious attempts at undermining it. We are looking forward to future growth that will be to our mutual benefit“.

This issue of The Supernova sponsored by:

Pfotenhauer Society, Now hiring! Join the best mercenary company in the entire universe! We are constantly looking for new recruits and with the creation of our Militia division we offer more variety than ever! Want to become a galactic badass? With proper training you will be able to join our Pretech division. Want easy money and to travel through various sectors? Militia division is here for you!

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The Supernova - Nika Starlight On Strophios by Kiregor_ekal
Heiropolis Interstellar Spaceport at 6 am this morning was crazy, thousands of screaming people all at a spaceport for a girl that hadn't even released a full album yet. The month since the reveal of "Majid's Greatest Songstress" and the announcement her inter-planetary tour had been sheer insanity.

The girl has one song available on the extranet' a cover of Radiant Amber's hit single In the Synth. Her publicity team, Mandarinate Records, have been working their fingers to the bone to get the hype to the levels it's at today. The hype train has indeed worked for her, as in the week since the reveal that the tour was starting in Strophios' capital dome-city of Heiropolis the entire planet has been just short of a riot.

According to the box-office the tickets to all six of her planet-side performances sold out in less than 45 microseconds, the fastest sell-out since Dethro Dull's reunion tour in 3196. Not even mentioning the rumoured VIPrivate show happening on self-made trillionaire Dai Llewellyn's geosynch-mansion. (For more information on geosynch housing visit Sunbeam Multistellar's online satellite catalogue).

After such a meteoric rise we can only hope that Nika Starlight can deliver on the most closely watched stage this year.

For a list of upcoming planets on The Starlight Tour go here.

The Supreme-Regent's speech by Breenvyu & Mr_Wopsle
Breenvyu

The following is a complete transcript of the speech given by Hoveyda’s Supreme-Regent Maryam al-Aliyya umm al-Khalifah at the Eid al-Fitr feast on 1 Shawwal, 2658 (26 February, 3201). English automatic translation by Arispana Quiktranz ‘98™

Good morning, all of you. Eid Mubarak. Thank you all for coming today. I know you are all eager to begin the feast, but first I would like to say a few words. Today is a day of joy and celebration, of both the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the fifth birthday of your Caliph, my beloved son Ya’qub.

And as we celebrate, we remember the other innumerable blessings given to us over the centuries by almighty Allah, ever since the final prophet’s descendant Hasan II al-Mahdi restored the caliphate and led the great exodus from Earth. From our new paradise of Hoveyda we carried the truth of Allah across this sector. We fought the Shindelian xenoforms in the great Jihads, and built the greatest human civilization to exist since the first caliphates of Earth.

When the great scream tore across the galaxy and divided humanity, our caliphate endured. Those with Allah’s blessings were taken from this world, including our caliph Idris and his entire family. But the line of Muhammad survived; Hasan III was born from a preserved sample of the caliph’s seed. He and his descendants recovered our ancient history and kept the true word of Allah from being forgotten.

My husband, Hasan IV was dedicated to continuing that legacy and expanding Allah’s bounty across the stars. Under his leadership the caliphate brought truth to the planet of Kamna, and negotiations were made to peacefully repatriate the displaced refugees of Majid. On my own homeworld of Al-Dwairan he ended the eternal drought. When I was young my family could not afford imported water, so we survived on just shoktopod milk and boiled urine. But now water condensation facilities are being constructed across the planet, and soon no Dwairani child will ever go thirsty again.

Two and a half years ago when my husband unexpectedly departed and I was appointed supreme-regent, I swore to preserve his legacy. I have done so by loving and protecting our children, Ya’qub and his older sisters Shakira and Zaynab. As their mother, I want nothing more than to see them grow to meet their full potential. I have also done everything I can to ensure the caliphate remains strong until Ya’qub is old enough to lead on his own. But there is a disease growing at the heart of our society that threatens all we have built.

I speak of the false prophet, a coward and liar who hides in the shadows on the planet Strophios. The liar hopes to use Strophios as a staging ground from which to infect the caliphate with their heresy and deny their victims entrance to heaven. It is our moral duty to stop this sickness from spreading any further. Members of the guided council, I beg of you; authorize al-Sayf al-Dawla to take action and remove this cancer. He shall be the surgeon and the mubarizun shall be his scalpel. We have tried the path of forgiveness and tolerance, and it has failed. Please, do not wait to act until it is too late. Our caliphate has survived for centuries; we must not allow anything to threaten all we have accomplished. I pray that you will find wisdom in Allah’s guidance and do what must be done. Thank you for your time.


Mr_Wopsle

[Transcription of speech given by the Prophet on 26 February 3201 in Strophian planetary television]

I speak today to all the faithful, the suffering, and – first and foremost – the oppressed billions enduring the iron fist of the heathen despot of Hoveyda.

I, too, have shared your suffering. I have grown up in the sinful streets of Jadid Makkah, under the tyranny of Sharia law and under the constant surveillance of the Mubarizun. I have known the fiendish eyes that watch your every step, that spy even after thoughts, that attempt to force their piercing gaze into your very soul. I have heard the false praise they sing for their caliph, a man created not by God but by genetic trickery. And I have looked through the lies of fiends, and even in the Muhammadan helotry of Hoveyda have I found the true Glory of God.

As Theophrastus traversed the Great Hole Between Stars to bring His light to the Subhadrans, I have travelled beyond the tentacular reach of the Leviathan of Hoveyda. I still remember how the scornful and the profane laughed when we set out on our brave journey. But I wonder whether they still dare laugh today, now that our flock has found a new Promised Land; now that we have built this People's Theocratic Republic with our sweat and blood and tears; now that the Dome of Revelations stands as a monument to the Lord's charity to those of pure souls – to Him that provides for His people even is the harshest sectors of his Creation.

And thus, today I call out to my abused brothers and sisters in faith, so many millions of whom still suffer from oppression and persecution. Free yourself, fellow children of God, from the yoke and the chains of any infidel who dares stand between you and your rightly guided faith! Renounce the false doctrines that wish to veil from you His true beauty! And – like Hiram in the face of the star-princes – do not abide any evildoer who wishes to corrupt His magnificent creation, but unleash unto them a righteous reckoning with fire and sword and plasma rifle that will teach them what it means to fear God!

Amen.

The Transmission by Cerberane
Personal log of indentured labourer designation: Theta 112. Location: Bazignos observation platform Iota Chi, Cabral jurisdiction, Forrughi system. 06.09 planet time. date 02023200.

The message arrived, my world changed, my outlook expanded, this must be shared. It was not really a true transmission more an echo, an echo of an echo of an echo. It was mostly corrupted all but one phrase. Yet the message was clear, the message was precise, the ghost fish lives, the ghost fish shall free us, the message: #KoibuINTL

The Tribunal by IronApothecary
Overview

The Tribunal is a vigilante group dedicated to punishing those who evade justice. Their base of operation is the Battleship Pharoan, though they possess a small fleet of frigates responsible for most of their operations. Members of The Tribunal tend to be fanatical, enamored with the idea that they serve a higher ideal, beyond law or planetary governments. Their members typically work alone, competing amongst themselves to see who can pull off the most daring operation, or take down the most notorious villains. The low ranked Arbiters have a life expectancy just short of six months, though there is no shortage of disillusioned youth in Asgard Sigma willing to replenish their ranks. Those that survive their early missions quickly become some of the most feared killers in the sector, unswayed by wealth and driven by righteous fervor. They are commanded by Prime Intercessor Alvaro Reverte.

Founding

In 3178, Dr. Karl Trechsler, a fellow with Richardson Scientific was discovered abducting test subjects for his experiments on planet Shouaa in the Da iVilo (Davilo?) system. More than fifty live captives were found in his lab, though a later investigation found the remains of over two hundred distinct individuals. Treschler fled the system, pursued by the Shouaa Battleship Pharoan. Unfortunately its commander, Captain Reverte, was unable to intercept him before he reached his home on Andoni. After a week of negotiations, the local government still adamantly refused to surrender Treschler. There was a great deal of speculation on the motives behind their decision, and the idea that Richardson Scientific might have sanctioned Treschler's work, despite their public condemnation of him, gained quite a bit of traction. In truth it's more likely that the Treschler family, possessing a fair bit of influence and a fair bit more wealth was able to shield their black sheep from extradition. The specifics however are likely to remain a mystery, as the Captain conducted an orbital bombardment of the Trechsler family compound before departing the system. Captain Reverte was branded a terrorist by the Andoni, and a traitor by the government of Shouaa.

Ranks

  • Arbiter
  • Adjudicator
  • Chief Adjudicator
  • Intercessor
  • Prime Intercessor

Motto

"FIAT JUSTITIA RUAT CAELUM" – Let justice be done though the heavens fall.

Transmission 03023201-1104GST by SIGASGINTRCPT

CAP REQ multi-prefix

NICK sigasg^blinker

USER BLNKZ 0 * BLNKZ

NOTICE AUTH *** Looking up your hostname

NOTICE AUTH *** Checking Ident

2146473311: PING

PONG 2146473311

NOTICE AUTH *** Found your hostname

NOTICE AUTH *** No ident response

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004: juubai5.asg.hardnet.sect u2.10.12.10+snircd(1.3.4a) dioswkgxRXInP biklmnopstvrDcCNuMT bklov

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251: There are 19812 users and 2754851 invisible on 396 servers

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254: 329966 channels formed

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NOTICE Highest connection count: 1502 (1501 clients)

NOTICE on 1 ca 1(4) ft 20(20)

221: +i

MODE +i

auth sigasg^blinker GnomeLeprosyBananaDrill

P NOTICE You are now logged in as sigasg^blinker.

P NOTICE Remember: NO-ONE from HardNet will ever ask for your password. NEVER send your password to ANYONE except P@CServe.hardnet.sect.

mode sigasg^blinker +x

396: sigasg^blinker.users.hardnet.sect is now your hidden host


MODE +x

[#intrcpt_closed] Leak all the things!

You have been granted +o by P.


.sigasg^blinker: has anyone looked into that msg from last night yet?

.sigasg^FYI: the sigrid thing? ye, not much to extract from it except the content

.sigasg^FYI: no useful header

.sigasg^FYI: no sender signature

.sigasg^onlybanter: retrieving the content was hard enough

.sigasg^onlybanter: theres no way we reconstruct metas from that piece of shit

.sigasg^blinker: that’s unfortunate

.sigasg^blinker: so

.sigasg^blinker: will we release it?

.sigasg^FYI: not yet

.sigasg^FYI: i have the feeling there will be more of these

.sigasg^FYI: my hope is that we’ll be able to piece them together

.sigasg^FYI: then maybe sell the intel

.sigasg^onlybanter: gone are the days of the unselfish will to enlighten

.sigasg^onlybanter: eat or be eaten, eh?

User sigasg^Judge joined the channel.

.sigasg^FYI: stfu banter ;)

.sigasg^Judge: yes, stfu banter

.sigasg^onlybanter: fu

Viktor's Swan Song by Emma-Cate
They used to say a swan sings only once, as it dies. It was their last act in this world. So what was yours? Your last great act, your last good deed, the very last thing you did.

This is your swan song.

You were a giant fucking nerd. You were the sensible one until things got bad. You kept that ship flying, most of the time.

You were good. You tried to protect a woman you barely knew even though you were locked in a room with the body of a man you couldn’t save. You were such a good person.

By all rights you shouldn’t have died. You were the kind of person who could’ve ridden the crest of cleverness and enthusiasm all the way to the best of life.

But you could never stop looking to learn.

So, xeno-archaeologist, ancient Shindelian expert, ship’s pilot, medic. How better to see the stars than with a crew of people operating on the edge of legality? Couldn’t be worse than being stuck on Andoni. Better to break a few laws and learn something new than have the Cultural Protectorate watch your every move.

One of the things you learned is that some things can’t be fought with a monoblade—or a semi-automatic pistol, for that matter. Space is one of those things. Your swan song is air, and heat, and feet on the ground, because when that piece-of-shit ship was caught between systems and running out of air, you were the only one who could do a thing about it.

You all nearly suffocated (or froze or overheated or floated into space) because you couldn’t leave one man behind. So you put everyone under just to get a few more days of life support. Just enough to reach Tovar. Just enough to live.

It worked. However you did it, whatever came after, it worked and you saved them. So you were dead before you knew what happened; it doesn’t matter. This is your swan song. They are your swan song. They’re alive because of you.

You’re not really gone.

Viva Libre o Muere by Beltfedvendetta
WARNING: This email correspondence has been flagged as potentially subversive material that advocates illegal acts against the Royal Onintzan government. Are you sure you wish to view it?

Viva Libre o Muere! - A monthly email newsletter for all true and free Onintzans.

Fellow Onintzans, this marks another month in our struggle against the fascist and tyrannical occupation by the Royal Family and thus another installment of Viva Libre o Muere!. As I'm sure many of you already know, this has been a difficult time for all Onintzans and our fight for freedom and liberty. Some of you might have watched the lies and propaganda spewed forth by the so-called "Royal" family on various state-fed news orgs and vids. Do not believe their lies! Think for yourselves, I urge you!

Take, for instance, the claim by the Royal Family oppressors that Onintza Libre! was "conspiring to bomb Sapporo City's Cortez-Akadu mining facility". Nonsense. Onintza Libre! fights for these people, not against them. They would not bomb them. They would not kill them. These people merely work to feed their families - they are not enemies of the free Onintzan people. These are lies, my brothers. Lies formulated by the Onintzan Royal Family's pocket book and their personal attack dogs the likes of the Purity Initiative. Make no mistake that that the Purity Initiative is nothing but a puppet talking for their "Royal" masters, while they may be an attack dog they are a dog nonetheless doing as their master commands. Oh, yes, the Purity Initiative hides behind noble goals and pursuits like eradicating drugs and poverty... Yet I ask you, who allows corrupting drugs like Blue Fever onto Onintza, onto the streets and into our homes? The Onintzan Royal Family. It is not even certain that the Onintzan Royal Family themselves didn't have a hand in creating Blue Fever themselves to subjugate the masses!

I know times have been difficult. Onintza Libre! has suffered many loses. Many have been jailed and detained - illegally I remind you - and many are innocent and merely Onintza Libre! sympathizers and friends of those that are in the movement. Do not lose hope! Do not give up the fight! This is a fight that we can win - and we have to!

War-Mind's History - Theory by Martionize
I thought that I would write how I think War-Mind ended up on Andoni. I predict that War-Mind was part of an invasion force that struck the sector ions ago and that is what this is based upon.

[Several Thousand Years or whatever before Swan Song]

Andoni Orbit - Andonian Fleet – AOS Flumurs 1 week after failed Shindalien Counter-attack

Admiral Gelfi was on the bridge of the Flumurs staring out at the stars. In the distance something glowed a bright yellow before the light faded suddenly.

Another freighter gone he thought glumly to himself.

The Minds had been growing in power, gaining more and more ships and building factories. The Shindaliens had attempted holding them back but their Counter-Attack in Franco 108 had failed to deal enough damage. Now the Minds were making their way to Gunhild, and the waiting, desperate Andonian Fleet.

How did we get so defeated?

He had friends in the 1st Laser Battallion. Right now they would be fighting a guerrilla war on Onitza. They still had one chance though. It may cost them their lives. It could cost them their planet. If they failed, it would cost them this Sector and goodness knows what else.

“Minds have entered the system!” cried one of the officers on the deck.

“Preparing Emergency Spike...” another officer didn’t finish as her terminal short-circuited in her face.

This is it

“Have all fleet vessels still connected to the Network to disconnect!” he ordered.

“Civilian ships have jumped, sir. Wait, one of them is turning towards us.”

Gelfi sat sternly in his chair. *The ship has been taken over by the Minds. I have to do it. *

"Command Vessels in Flank 3 to target that Civilian Ship. We need it down before it rams us!”

Suddenly, the black space that he could see from the bridge erupted in a hail of silver ships. He could see them all. Their mismatched banners. Some ships were from Factions that had already fallen. Shindalien fighters were being launched from a Human Carrier.

Gelfi stared at the dozens of ships heading towards them like a swarm of bees. Each one of them being commanded by its Intelligence. In the middle, a Gigantic Sphere of a ship was moving slowly behind.

It’s him

“Launch Alert Fighters and prepare to set up Flak Screen! Get damage control on standby. We just have to hold them off a bit longer. We are Andonians!” And we will die defending our planet like every other race in this sector he thought glumly as a Mind-Controlled Shindilian fighter came into weapons range.

Space – Battle for Andoni – 15 minutes from War-Mind Sphere

Squadron Leader Forgrave watched through his cockpit window. The Andonian Defence Fleet were getting wrecked by fire from the Mind Ships. He clutched his controls as he saw one of the Flagships float adrift in space. A gaping hole in its side from missile damage.

My home

He wanted to fly over there. To defend his planet like the other personnel there. He wanted to die there defending his planet, but he knew that doing so meant certain death for him and Andoni. The Captain’s of the Fleet knew they had no chance against the Mind-fleet. That they were just a distraction for him and his 8 Bombers to get behind the Minds. He would ensure this mission was a success. He would save his world.

What they were piloting was something out of Myths and Legends. A Dark Drive Ship, developed a few months ago and never used once properly in combat. Fighters and Bombers could now hide in Drive Space, remaining virtually unseen until it was too late. Sadly, only his 8 bombers and his 5 escort fighters were made before the factory on Stasis was bombarded by the Minds. They also had one other trick up their sleeve.

I will not waste this opportunity. It is for Andoni

“Required to leave Drive Space in 30 minutes. Distance to target is 15 minutes. Are you sure you’ll be ok?” his craft asked him.

Forgrave thought for a long hard moment. “I don’t know, Child.” He stayed silent for a minute. How many times did we wipe this poor guy’s memory?

The next 10 minutes past quickly. The Spherical Ship of the War-Mind lay ahead. So far not reacting to their presence.

“Line formation,” he said into his headset. “Release safeties. Child, upload targeting information to bombers 2 through 8.”

A loading icon displayed on his instrumentation panel. After it was completed a :) showed after it.

“Gentlemen, pick your targets. Prepare to fire on my command.” He was rewarded with static. “Acknowledge previous order.”

A deep voice came over the comms.

“Oh, I acknowledge alright. Worms should stay in the ground where it is safe. You have challenged the War-Mind, and my mind is more intelligent than yours. Face your destruction.”

The guns on the rear of the Sphere popped out of their panels and fired a flak screen on the approaching squadron. Some Mind-Controlled Shindalien, Human and Vadari fighters launched from the Sphere.

His radio remained static as 3 of his eight bombers were ripped to shreds.

“You said you would be alright!” his craft asked him again.

“Not know, Child!” he screamed as took evasive manoeuvres to skirt around the Flak Screen. He thought they had got through when a Shindalien fighter approached him head on. One of his escorts ripped it to shreds with laser fire just as it readied its guns at him.

He fired his torpedoes at the Spherical Craft. After seeing him, the rest of his bombers that were still functioning fired as well. All the torpedoes connected, ripping holes in the hull and slowing the craft down. But it was not enough. He required all of his torpedoes to take it down and now almost half of his squadron were dead.

There was one option though.

“You have failed worms. I will spread your innards all across this system. If your body survives total destruction.”

Forgrave fired a red flare from his bomber. It glowed on the hulks of his squadron around him. They all knew what it meant. At once, his Squadron formed up. Bombers in the front. Fighters to the side. Some more died getting into formation but it would make no matter.

“What are you doing?” asked the Child. “He’s not dead yet.” “I know,” Forgrave slowly put the throttle up. “What?..No...you...can’t. You won’t survive—you—what---what is the point of stopping him if you do not live to see what happens next? :(” “I hope that one day, someone teaches you that, Child. But I’m afraid there is not enough time to do it now.” “What? No. I won’t let you. I need you to teach me about humanity. I need you to teach my about life. I am taking control of the ship. :/” Forgrave sighed. So innocent He had to do it. There was no other choice. “I’m sorry.” He quickly pressed the Delete button. On his monitor, the words “Memory Deleted” showed up.

He pushed the throttle to full and his squadron followed suit “Worms, you...NO! Self-Preservation is natural tendency for life. What are you doing? STOP! WORMS, STOP!”

If the large AI could sigh, Forgrave swore he could hear it. The big guy must have forgotten his binary was still being transmitted in Forgrave’s Language to him. Or else he wanted Forgrave to hear what he was saying.

“Minds! Scatter. Initiate Protocol Undertaker. All Mind ships. Crash into nearest planet. Populated City preferable.”

No Forgrave thought just before him, his bombers and his fighters slammed into the Spherical Ship at the weakpoints created by the Torpedoes. Hull plates blew off and engines exploded as the chemicals inside ignited. The outer layers ripped off like a Supernova leaving the inside spiralling out into the vacuum.

What no-one saw in the wreckage of the sphere however was a small freight container with tiny thrusters, slowly making its way to Andoni parts of which glowed orange as Ships slammed into it.

Watching by doomsday1981
I just thought this fit the Stars without numbers universe. Hope you like it.

(-300 years) Ping….Ping….Ping What is this? A signal? Seems so weak. I don’t know. Keep watching it and record it

(-200 years) Ping…Ping….Ping Hey check this out. Some kind of signal. Interesting….. I think we have records on it. Yeah, we do. What did they say it was? No conclusion, they thought it was a false signal or distress. Seems to be closer this time, Well I will record it.

(-150 years) Ping…Ping…Ping That’s odd What the? The data is showing a signal the records have encountered before…But it is different. How so? Closer and stronger. Can we find out what it is or maybe translate the data? No, Not with what we have. It seems to be very complex. The computers seems to think its real data one minute and then false.

(we…..…..……we……***)

Well, note it and record it with the rest of the data

(-100 years)

Ping…Ping…Ping

There it is!

What?

The signal from 50 years ago.

The one you have been talking about all the time?

Yes…and…and its stronger….oh my.

What?

The computers we have now are starting to translate it and they seem to be able to decide that its real. Last time the computers keep switching back and forth between false and real data. Ouch!

What’s wrong?

Some of the computers cable wiring pricked my finger.

You ok?

Yeah…..weird…………run………I…..We…are fine.

What is the data saying?

(Do you se u….? We watc, Be warn*)

Do you think it’s a warning?......Hey do you think it’s a (BANG!!!!)…….

…….(BANG!!!!!)

……..

Ping…Ping…Ping

(Present) Ping…Ping…Ping.

Sir, this signal coming from the outer zone research station is being broadcast to us.

Anything wrong?

Just weird. Our records show the base has records received this signal for …..300 years?

What?!

Yeah, from the data the signal was very weak. Seemed like the computers we had at the time could receive it but could not understand it. Since then most of the data after that didn’t know if it was fake or not and was a warning….maybe….

Contact the research station.

On it……Outer zone research station do you copy?

(Ping)

Outer zone..

We are here………no.

Oh good. Are you guys broadcasting a signal to use?

We are………stop.

Are data shows the signal is 300 years old.

We remember that…..transmission.

Uhhhh, yeah, ok. That’s odd…the research station has been broadcasting that signal to the orbital planetary signal for….100 years? Captain look at this…Ouch!

We remember that….run.

There signal has been broadcasting to……so dark……………..We have been broadcasting the signal to this base for 100 years……

That is just crazy…why would the be doing…(BANG).

PING…PING…PING…

Welcome to Hoveyda by Breenvyu
Hey folks, first time writing something like this. Hoveyda sounded really awesome in the most recent GM turn, so I decided to write some propaganda for them. Hope you all like it.

As-Salaam Alaykum, visitor. Welcome to the Hashemite Caliphate of Hoveyda, home to the largest collection of Earth history and artifacts in all of Asgard-Sigma. Because this is your first visit to our planet, please familiarize yourself this complementary introduction to our laws and customs.

We respect your liberty here on Hoveyda. So long as it falls within the bounds of the law you are free to do as you please while visiting our planet. This document will cover the most common sources of confusion for off-worlders. Should you desire information about your legal privileges beyond what is contained in this document, simply consult any one of our free public information terminals.

Possession of weapons for self-defense is permitted on the planet’s surface. However, using these weapons for anything other than your own protection is strictly prohibited in all circumstances. Please attempt to solve your problems peacefully while on Hoveyda.

Unlike other planets, we have no uniformed police or military on the surface of Hoveyda. Instead, the Caliph watches over all lawful occupants and ensures their protection. He deploys his specially trained Mubarizun champions only as needed to ensure your safety. You will most likely never see the Mubarizun, but feel secure in the knowledge that they will always be there to protect you if you are in any danger. In fact, there hasn’t been a single recorded murder on Hoveyda in over 40 years thanks to the tireless work of our unseen guardians.

On Hoveyda we believe in the word of the Final Prophet (peace be upon him). But that doesn’t mean we don’t accept different beliefs; in fact we welcome them! Astro-Pagans, Christian-Revivalists, and Xeno-Cultists are all free to lawfully practice their faith however they wish. All we ask in exchange is that our non-Muslim friends pay Jizya, an inconsequential monthly fee to assist with the maintenance of all our public services.

While slavery is illegal on Hoveyda, the possession of slaves legally purchased outside the system is permitted with the proper documentation. This documentation can be purchased at your nearest Hoveydan embassy. Slaves should be for personal use only, and are not allowed to change ownership within the borders of the Caliphate. Attempting to sell slaves on Hoveyda is strictly illegal, and carries severe penalties. If you seek permanent residence your slaves must either leave the system or be released from servitude. Exceptions are made for foreign dignitaries and licensed members of the Majid Merchant’s Guild if requested at least seven months in advance. For more information, refer to the publically available Majidi-Hoveydan Free-Trade and Human-Rights Agreement of 3187™.

Thank you for your attentiveness. We hope you enjoy your time on Hoveyda, where you are always free and always safe.

This document is issued by the secretarial office of Supreme-Regent Maryam umm-Caliph bint Ayyub al-Dwairani on behalf of Caliph Ya’qub VII ibn Hassan al-Sa-Her, to whom all applicable copyrights and trademarks belong. Illegal reproduction or modification of this document will be prosecuted efficiently.

Title by TheTrueAndOnlyUriel
Well i had an idea for a bit but i wasn't sure i can write it well enough to make enjoyable content for you guys to read. But i made it. Take into the account that English isn't native for me. so yeha. Enjoy!!! I hope!

I looked on the mirror one more time. Black uniform that I am wearing, kept clean with most care, is a sign off my Order. It represents it. It molds the wearer in some degree. You are walking more confident, Your words are spoken loudly and clearly, You make decisions without the doubt. Some demons can seance doubt and fear, and they will use it against you. I saw a video once, when i was still a student in academy on Hoveyda. The possessed Psychic was in a room with two inquisitors that where suppressing his powers, the interrogation was proceeding well, nothing out off order. And then a Psychic started talking inseminating the seed off terror in souls off Inquisitors making them vulnerable, weak against his attacks. They lower there guard. A second later both off them was torn in shreds, Limbs severed from limbs. I putted my iron cross on my chest. The heft was reassuring for me. All the years spend on training and exercise, hundreds of hundreds manuscripts and datapads read on Psychics, Torching, Demons, and the influence of metadimensions on human brain as well as works off Inquisitors working before me. Then I started to pray. I Prayed for a strength. Strength for me to fulfill my mission. Strength for Johnathan, an inquisitor that I work with, that so his will would be iron like cross that we wear, and that so his Faith be solid and unbroken. I also prayed for forgives. Forgiveness for a poor soul that is standing few desk below attached to the big pillar graded by my companion.

Sir. Sir! Inquisitor Maxwell Grigorian – Said someone behind me. I stand up. Took my bible in a hand. It was made from paper. With a hard cover. Have you ever seen a paper??

Yes?- I answered. -It's time to proceed with purification. Sir. -Yes it's time. Lets embark.

We moved out of my compartment and through labyrinth of corridors and leaders to a place on ship we call a cleansing chamber. It was design and installed while the ship was being constructed. The room with a single pillar placed inside, with a flip of a switch the room will blaze in cleansing fire that will burn the Rouge Psychics Sins as well body of his. Johnathan was waiting for me in chamber. I strengthened his barrier with my own Psychic powers. I saw the frown on his face lessen a bit.

Welcome Nataniel - I said.

Fuck of you piss of shit!! I'm gonna take that motherfucker and beat the shit out off you. Motherfucker!!!

You have no power here. Today we will make you feel pain Nataniel. But I need you to understand why we do that. We will hurt you from the love we have for you. Because through that pain you will be cleansed from your sins. You need to understand that Hurt and Pain are means to Redemption! Do you understand this Nataniel.

Suck me! I will torn your insights!!!

Don't worry Nataniel – I responded- you will know that what I preach is true.

Then we walk out from the chamber. And the cleansing began.

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