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 Behind the Scenes

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PostSubject: Behind the Scenes    Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:27 am

Traiden

It was another tough job, but the employer was paying enough to make it worth it. It sounded easy at first. Break into the compound and get the package. There were no stipulations, no catches, just a basic grab job. But they're never really that simple.

I'd have to infiltrate a T.A.F. military zone, slithering past basic security in order to get to their safe-storage. The employer let me know that the object would be about the size of a painting, but much less delicate. It would be thirty pounds, and have a tracker on it incase employees got grabby hands. Pretty typical stuff.

Now I'd never been much of a disguise guy. I sometimes wish I had. Instead, my M.O. was not being seen at all. I knew I'd have to be creative, as the typical HVAC systems and plumbing would be trapped. So I decided to do some detective work and found that there was going to be a delivery of some Commander's goods into the compound within a week.

After a few bribes, I found myself hiding in a damn box, ever hopeful that this wasn't all going to go to shit. I'd laced the walls of the storage container with a reflective coding that would trick scanners into thinking I was just some lavish clothing. The delivery man was getting nearly a quarter of my contracted capital, but his part practically completed the job.

In the end, I found myself climbing out of the box just inches away from my target. The damn thing wasn't at all what I'd expected. It was a clear, crystal disk with gems encrusted in the bottom. It had an eerie hue that lit up the room. I secured the device to my back, then made off for the exit. Except, by the time I snuck past the fifth camera and eighth security guard, it was too late. Some damn olfactory sensor sniffed my scent, and had guards searching for me.

A small skirmish broke out between me and a few of the robotic staff. I took out a couple metal heads, but was growing desperate fast. So, in a last ditch effort to save my hide, I leapt from a window and hoped for the best. Miraculously, that's when the device that was on my back stopped me just inches before I crashed on the hard cement. Whatever this thing was, it cushioned the fall and hovered me as if I were weightless. From there it was cake. Most of the guards were still searching the compound by the time I got in the "Advantage" and flew off.

Now usually I don't ask my employer too much about the mark, but I was curious as hell to see what he could tell me. His answer...

"The future. You've gone ahead and stole the future."

I didn't know what he meant, but assumed it had to do with Hexisan. Some trusted knuckleheads that haunt the bar I visit said it sounded like Psi-Tech, but I had no idea why someone would be so willing to pay for an alien appliance. Nonetheless, I think it's just about time that I leave Earth's Solar System. While no one as far as I can tell can identify me, it's always best to play it safe.
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:14 pm

Righting the Ship

A spotless grey office within a space station rests along the east corner. Within this room, a large window looking outward into space shows a pair of cleanup drones collecting metal debris from the area. A human with a scarlet mane stands nearby, surrounded by several hologram figures. Each of the computerized forms are dressed in business attire, with stern expressions smothering their faces.

“Oh yes sir, I completely agree,” says the red haired man. “In fact, I believe it was the same pirates who attacked Space Station 12K last spring. I tried to tell you all while I was in my old position that these raiders are getting bolder by the second, but unfortunately, no one listened. This all might have been avoided.”

“Well,” responds an oversized human squeezed into a cheap suit. “We can see that now. I’ll be sure to make sure to tell the committee about your insights during our meeting tomorrow. More importantly, I’ll also make sure to inform them about your brave efforts to repel the recent attack, even with your limited security force. On that note, since your replacement has resigned due to gross incompetence, the Regional Security Director of the Crux-Scutum Arm is available for applicants once more. What are the chances you’d like to reapply for the position Mr. Lovecraft?” The corner of the red haired man’s lip curls slightly into a half grin.

“Sirs,” he answers with enthusiasm, “nothing would please me more. I think now that I have a bit more experience under my belt, it may work in my advantage when hunting these pirates down.” A slender female hologram twitches slightly before chiming into the conversation.

“I’d agree Lovecraft, but you must understand that this would be a probationary position. You’ll have to prove your worth this time around.”

“Of course,” answers Lovecraft. “I think that I’ll be taking a mobile approach with my second term. Instead of working from an office all day, I plan on coordinating a mobile headquarters so I can face these pirates face to face. It’s the least I can do for my former manager of security, Solomon Grady. He was close to me and his death must be avenged. That Chairmen, you can all count on!”

“We expect nothing less,” says a Solin with a flashy gold suit. “Now, as soon as we fill your Transpiration Director position, you should expect to start at your old job again. Good luck.”

The three hologram figures disappear. Lovecraft walks to his desk and slaps into his leathery chair’s cushions, letting out a quick squeal from the friction. A moment of silence goes by before the office door slides open. Within the doorway, a skeletal figure with grizzly wounds and a cybernetic arm stands attentively. He lurches his way across Lovecraft’s desk, staring down at the caped businessman.

“Mr. Lovecraft, the station is secure,” he mumbles in his gravely voice. “All of our visitors are now being tracked, including the Marshals. What are my orders now sir?” Lovecraft stands and stares at his mangled associate before turning to face out the window. One of the drones outside is carting a bearded corpse away from the station and into a storage vessel.

“You need to lay low Mr. Grady, and not just because of the state your in. Everyone thinks your dead, which is exactly how I like it. In the meantime, I have a task that requires your talents.” Grady groans in response to Lovecraft. “Now, you say it was your psionic abilities that kept you alive in deep space.”

“Aye sir, I can cheat death.”

“And what about others? Can you cheat death for them as well?”

“What exactly do you have in mind sir?”

“Bring me the coordinates of those Marshals. We have a score to settle.”
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:35 pm

>>>Journal Entry 12A

There’s a storm coming. It’s one of those monsoons that can’t be avoided. A tempest so vast that it will shake the very foundation of the known universe. It will rain, thunder, and whirlwind until everything beneath it is destroyed.

For the last several months R.O.D. and I have been traveling under the wing of our visionary Aden. Along the way, we’ve adopted several other accomplices to help bring Macer’s plan together. We’ve collected his old comrade Medusa, utilized a mech-mercenary named Norman, and even took in a stray pugilist called Manthos. Together, we are Raven’s flock, and we’ll fly to the edges of existence to finish what we’ve started.

He was smart when he told me. The truth is something that can shake a person’s soul. Most buckle under the weight of it all. But Aden made sure to not only carefully feed me a bit at a time, but only after ensuring that I was trustworthy enough. Once he did though, P.I.K.E., my remaining family, friends...they all seemed irrelevant. I’d had a veil over my eyes and now I wanted to finally explore the world around me without it.

We’re going to fix the galaxies, one step at a time. It may involve theft, murder, treason, but that’s alright. Things can get messy when you’re trying to take the power back. Each and everyone of us are not only willing to die, but looking forward to sacrificing it for such a worthy cause. We’ll end up changing life as people know it, but only if we can get it all in order.

We disguised ourselves first. That was Raven’s first order so that we could travel the more constricting parts of the Milky Way. Afterwards, we found a bird worth flying, then collected our friends. Now we go to see her. The only one who might be able to help Aden interpret his visions. He won’t tell us exactly what he’s seen, but then again, it’s probably for the better. Knowing too much can risk everything we’ve been fighting for. If one of us were to be caught on the wrong side of the tracks, its only a matter of time before they get it out of us.

Once Raven has clearer insight on his dreams, then, and only then, can we finally press on. Wether it be back to Earth or to the very edges of Hexisan, we will prevail. Under Aden, we are relentless. So I leave you now with a stanza from one of my favorite poems. An homage to the past, which stands ever relevant in our present.

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting 

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; 

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,

And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; 

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor...

Shall be lifted - nevermore!

-Sheamus Radspinner
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:12 pm

“Jesus, this is a travesty,” Ordonez thought to himself as his men burned the corpses, the hot breath of the flamethrowers licking at the floor. “But it could have been so much worse.”

Captain Ordonez had only been stationed in Ophion for a few months, but they were some of the most challenging of his career. He took pride in his ability to whip a unit into shape, but it wasn’t just the men that were the challenge. It was the very moon itself. His predecessor had died on Ophion from Space Rot, along with half the enlisted soldiers under him. The surface was dangerous too, collapsing on vehicles due to its weak foundation. And the wild creatures that inhabited the otherwise uninhabitable land were as dangerous as they came. The troops were demoralized, and it was Ordonez’s job to turn it around.

At first everything went well enough for the Captain. He made a few adjustments at base in order to improve the camp’s operations, and helped boost the moral by stirring up procedural regulations. But it wouldn’t last long. Soon the Rot slipped back into the encampment. Meanwhile, a nearby satellite went down, and the dispatched unit who were suppose to fix it went missing. People began to panic, and before long, Ordonez was sending out dispatches requesting for outside help. While he was hoping for a T.A.F. patrol frigate, House of Veneration medical vessel, or hell, even a Prometheus security detachment, what he received instead was unexpected.

By chance, a young Space Marshal and his crew of mismatched deputies arrived. The Marshal had been a former T.A.F. war hero himself, and was more than willing to lend a hand. Not only did one of his Hexisan aliens miraculously cure two infected Space Rot victims, but the lawmen also repaired one of the downed satellites. Ordonez took it as a sign. He thought that maybe, just maybe, the worse was over. But it wasn’t.

While the Marshal and his crew were out patching up the broken dish, a new outbreak in camp was unleashed, and unlike Space Rot, this one couldn’t be quarantined. Menoetiusans, a type of bacteria based wild alien, had infected the sick in the maintenance bay, and were converting their victims into monsters like itself. Ordonez confined the beasts to the single facility, but knew trying to take the building would cost dozens their lives. So instead he opted to wait, and by doing so, allowed the bold Marshal and his crew to return.

Without hesitation, the Marshal sent in his deputies. Once inside, all hell broke loose. There were plasma blasts, feral roars and panicked shouting. By the time Ordonez decided to reinforce the Marshals, it was already over. The lawmen had nearly cleared out the entire base, limiting the damage and casualties. While Ordonez knew there’d be repercussions, he couldn’t help but feel like he’d dodged a bullet. He was indebted to the lawmen of the Steel Witch ship.

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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:09 pm

The Conquistador’s Secret

Where are you my little rat? Where are you little putah-spy? I made you my emissary, my war counselor, my comrade, and this… this is how you repay me? You give me false intelligence that kills nearly five thousand of my men. Oh, old friend, you will pay for this. As soon as my people find out where you are, and trust me, they will, you will wish for a quick death that I can not grant you. For I work in torture like Monet does color. I am a top mind in the field of torment, and will apply my methods directly to your face so everyone can see the bastard that you truly are.

How long have you been working for the T.A.F.? How much have you told them? It doesn’t matter. I have new plans now. Just wait until I unveil my new toy. It’s something that I’ve never told you about. It’s something that no one knows about-not Santana , not Rilara, not even Katrina. And the best part is, I have your Terran Alliance to thank for it. Without their love for the Hexisan trespassers, none of this would be possible. What better way to unveil my new weapon to the galaxy then by giving it as a present to those who deserve it.

So enjoy the last of your days. Enjoy hiding in the crevaces like the cockroach you are. Because soon, I’ll have you tied to the mast of the Angel Veronica, where you can get a front row seat for all that you worked on as it goes down the toilet. For pleasure lies in the planning, not in the achievement, and I wade deep in my pool of satisfaction. Don’t worry. Soon it will all come to light. Only then, once you’ve seen everything you’ve fought for be destroyed, will I give you the sweet death you deserve in the most excruciating way possible.


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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:12 pm

War Stories

Oh, the old days. It was so much simpler then. You weren’t worried about the backstabbing and politicking like nowadays. No, you just pointed at the thing that you wanted your men to shoot at and gave the order. That’s all it took. But, a man’s worth is no greater than his ambition, so I decided to put forth my best efforts and move up the ladder. Lieutenant turned to Captain, then Captain to Major, until finally I was the Commander of my own division.

Now a funny thing happens when you’ve been giving commands as long as I have. The patriotism begins to dissolve. Instead, it’s replaced by shame, the kind that rots in your gut and burns everytime you try to make any decision. It doesn’t happen instantly. No, the loyalty slowly evaporates, like ice on a hot day. You see so many young people die, you learn the truths behind the wars, and you become conscious of the corruption, then suddenly your allegiance is gone. I wasted away like this for years, following the motions just because I didn’t know what else to do. That is until I was offered the Marshal program.

The Terran Alliance was looking for a way to supersede some of the territory laws so they could hunt down outlaws. They decided to fund the T.A.F.’s Space Marshal proposal, if only they could find someone thick enough to run their little program. I jumped at the chance since I knew what I was really going to use it for. It would be my way to keep an eye on the galaxy while finally doing something good again for the Terran people. Stopping thieves, murderers, and pirates was something I could get behind. So I helped coordinate the first wave of Terran Alliance Marshals, composing them of some of the most capable men and women I knew.

Of them, the one that I worked the most closely with was my long time companion, Logan “Grizzly” Weller. He’d been a force to be reckoned with and a hero at the ”Battle of Iron”. Unlike some of the other Marshals, he understood my real motives, and reported to me every chance that he had. With his underground reconnaissance I was able to use my powers as a division commander to put a stop to some of the most heinous atrocities lurking in the Milky Way. We were a hell of a team, stopping some of the biggest criminals out there, including the Ullitor war lord, Johan “The Dissassembler” Faufin, amongst others. Then, Logan decided to bite off more than he could chew and apprehend a man named Marlin Cronin, The Plague Bringer. He’d been able to put a stop to the monster, but not without contracting Space Rot in the process. We were able to get him stabilized long enough to say fairwell to one of his wives and his oldest son, but the rot was too much. He died on Earth’s moon, and soon, so did my enthusiasm.

I became a shell again, watching as the T.A.F. imploded upon itself. The confederation of nations was starting to work closely with the Hexisan Council, and it was my opinion that not all of it was authorized by officials. I didn’t know what to do. In everyone’s eyes, the Hexisan Union was bringing the T.A.F. back to their former glory, creating new programs such as P.I.K.E. to help make us the most influential organization in the Milky Way. But I knew what was really going on. They were using us like puppets for their own gain. I couldn’t confirm it, but I knew better.

Then the Battle of Sixty-Two Moons took place, and my spirits rose once again. I knew some of my less than upright peers were behind the attacks, but I couldn’t prove it, not unless I could get Weller back to help me. But he was dead, right? Well, not exactly. There was a brave hornet class fighter pilot who’d flown like a madman to help stop the invading pirates from destroying the satellites orbiting around Saturn. He’d become a hero, and was a perfect candidate for one of our Space Marshal positions. His name was Garret Weller, son of Logan Weller.

He had all the virtues of his father. He was cunning, resourceful, and according to his psych-evaluation, bold as hell. I knew I could use his new found fame as an excuse to reignite the old system his father and I’d developed, but time was running out. You see, there was a wild card in the mix. Some ex-Ice Hound who’d been working black-ops for the T.A.F. somehow picked up on what was going on, and went mad in the process. After murdering his own wife, the desperado took off onto the other side of the galaxy to deal with whatever it is he’d discovered. This was a bad thing because he probably learned something very valueable, and was reckless. I needed to find out what he knew before he ended up killing himself. So I recruited young Garret as my Marshal and sent him off on his chase, oblivious to what I really needed done.

Now I can only sit back and do my part back here on Earth, hoping that the few pre-loaded messages I left him, as well as the riders I sent out, are enough to keep young Garret on track. If he’s anything like his father, he’ll be upset with me, but willing to comply. If he can, we might finally be able to weed out what it is that the T.A.F. has agreed upon with the Hexisan Council, and why it has become so nefarious.
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:34 pm

It was a cold iron quarter that the Altarian planted himself in, high above the city skyline. He perched along the edge of a floating platform, his cloak flowing sidelong as he stared at the great metropolis of Luxakrin. It was where he’d been born, modestly in the humble recesses of the fringes. He was the oldest of three, and grew up prematurely in order to raise his siblings. He did so without contempt, caring for them until he entered the lyceum. Little did he know that once he went away, he wouldn’t return for nearly a century, only coming back after his ordination into the Council. All grand affairs begin modestly.

Behind him, a stocky Altarian donned in heavy armors began his approach. The warrior’s large hand-blade clunk to his shell as he made his way forward.

“My liege,” called out the warrior through mental conversation, “The preparations have been made. With the Novacons reigniting their bitter feud, we should not have to fret about detection. The beacon should be complete within a year’s time.” A grimace slipped from the shaded face of the cloaked Altarian. Without warning, the shrouded onlooker’s tail stiffened, and soon the soldier in front of him was lifted from his feet, helpless to do anything but thrash and flounder.

“Do you trust the Canthions so easily? Was it not they that would rather perish than to submit to our rules?” The helmed Altarian shook his metallic head whilst his legs continued to waive off the ground.

“My liege,” cried out the wafting Altarian through his telepathic bond, “but it was you who convinced the council to spare them? They’ve submitted to you personally. Surely, they must feel indebted?”

“The Canthions eagerly invite their own destruction. It is cowardice that they will not tolerate. I have an understanding with their leader, but it is lax. Such is why I sent you to deliver my proposal.”

“My liege, I do only as you command. Let not my conviction be a fault.”

“Then do not pretend to know what it is that I fret about. You are my envoy, a direct symbol of who I am. Gather your wits and be not foolish.”

“Of course my liege. My apologies.” The armored warrior was plopped to the ground. He stood defiantly, yet his timid posture gave away any true emotion. He was scared.

The two gathered at the lip of the hovering stage, bringing their stares down to the psionic fog that blanketed over Luxakrin. A long pause came about, allowing Aether’s hum to sing to them.

“With the planet of Traydicreene now in turmoil, we need to set our focus on other major worlds. You will go to Krilon and help stir up the civil unrest between the Balidar and Athiocs. Classified information has recently leaked out their about the Pack’s unwillingness to allow Athiocs into the Council. Since Terrans are already part of the galactic committee, it will not take long for the Athiocs to resort to some type of insurrection, be it peaceful or otherwise.”

“Yes my liege, and you?”

“I will leave for Neenad, where I have private meetings with undisclosed partners. Then I will make a brief stop in Plerumn to drop off a little gift. Afterwards, we will meet near Tevicar’s beacon where I will administer the last part of my preparations.” The outfitted Altarian gave a deep bow, silently accepting his responsibilities. He then stood to turn, but was quickly interrupted. “And one more thing- if anyone gets in your way, handle it quickly. Gone are the days of diplomacy. We need to handle everything now with a sense of urgency. Do you understand?”

“Yes my liege. All for the cause.”


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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:52 pm

The Travelers: Chapter 1, "Travel Broadens the Mind"
>>>First Lieutenant Colt Wolcott, T.A.F. Infantry: April 3rd, 2525 A.D.
I’ve been on this damn ship for nearly four months. You learn a lot about yourself within that time. I use to think that I was a leader, someone young soldiers could look up to. I prided myself in the guidance I gave -making true warriors out of kids. Now though, nah…I know that’s not me. I’m a herder, that’s all. A shepherd poking at my fat farm animals until they stumble their way into the slaughter-house.

The Fear of the North is one of two T.A.F. owned Zues Machina crafts. She’s as big as a miniature city, and easy to get lost in. I volunteered to be the first lieutenant for this campaign because I loved my captain. He’d signed on in hopes to make Major. Little did he know, he’d be dead before we made it to the Pirate Asteroid Belt.

I wasn’t there when he died, but heard it was zinc poisoning from a leak in our water filtration system. Several other men became ill, all but the Captain survived. Now I was headed to the fringes of the Milky Way, default leader of my company. I had no idea what the 503-Raider Division was going to do. We were looking to fly into the belt in order to stop the Conquistadors from terrorizing the Ambit. It was going to be naval battle, with little need for boarding parties. Yet here I am, captainless and aboard a ship that I have little power to do anything on. I’m a prisoner, plain and simple, just waiting for the day we get all shot up by the pirates.
-First Lieutenant Colt Wolcott

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>>>Sir Clifton Fendrel, 1st Knight of the Empyrean Legion

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” –Mark Twain

It’s month number six on our great journey to Hexisan. From what our pilots tell us, it won’t be long now until we escape the dark matter stuffed between the Milky Way and our target galaxy. What a strange thing to think that just five years ago I was training in Blanchland Abbey, unaware that I’d been preparing for a trip into an alien world. How the Creator’s mysteries never cease to amaze me.

Now on one of the H.O.V.’s largest types of vessels (blockade runner), we travel through the cosmos, making our way as both explorers and ambassadors. Things started off rocky, as a small band of pirates were in the midst of terrorizing the Ambit upon our arrival. But once we put a stop to them we were quickly back on schedule, and are forecasted to make it to the home planet of the Altarians by May. From there, we will first look into the disappearance of our brothers and sisters involved in Quest 4SF, an excavation mission on the lost planet of Mortar. Then, we will begin our diplomatic tour, visiting the seven major planets and introducing our holy theories to some of the greatest minds in Hexisan.

Where will these upcoming months take us? I can not pretend that I know. I am however, very excited for the chance to possibly showcase our great organization to the aliens, and let them know that the Terrans can be peaceful folk as well, interested in more than just war and profit. For now though, I can only sit and dream, waiting for the day when we see stars again, and finally leave this black abyss.
Sincerely,
Sir Clifton Fendrel

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>>>Mary Holcolm, Area Manager of Prometheus Public Affairs
If I have to hear one more god damn question about the dissapearance of Tom Kearney and his fucking robot I’m going to puke. This is suppose to be a Prometheus tour to help assure the people that we are doing everything in our power to retake Prometheus, not some smear campaign that ruins our company’s good name. I didn’t go to school for six years of my life, slaving over educator-programs, then spend another four sucking up to the higher ups all so I can tour the universe apologizing for one asshole’s misdeeds.

Every morning, I wake up in this tiny ass ship, some new asshole smelling of alcohol besides me, and I get ready for a new day of work. And every day it’s the same thing. I get pro-naga activists and enraged laborers spitting their judgements onto me like I was the damn CEO of a multi-trillion conglomerate. I’m just a face. And lately, a bad one at that. I can’t even recognize myself in the mirror.

Is this what I want to do with the rest of my life? Wander around the galaxy making excuses for rich men who don’t care? I don’t know anymore. I’ll have to think it over after this circuit- a circuit that includes stops at the lovely jungle planet of Phaya (yeah, because they don’t hate us there) and Hades. Maybe if I can survive visiting both of those places, my director will have to promote me. Otherwise, I think it might time for change. Well, I have to get ready.
Until next time,
Mary

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>>>Captain Marion Augustine of the S.S. Bread Box
Ain’t that about a bitch? Week four of joining the Protega Pirate Court, and I’m already being shipped off to some suicide mission. I go ahead and volunteer not only my ship, but the lives of my crew to the revolution, and they send me on some assignment where I’ll be up against highly qualified pilots with hundreds of hours of training and millions in high tech equipment. I don’t care if we outnumber them! It’s still dangerous as hell. Aren’t I suppose to start off raiding small towns or seizing small space yachts?

Maybe I’m overreacting. I mean, a lot of people think that pirates are just a bunch of dumb inbreds or street thugs who somehow got their hands on a ship.That couldn’t be farther from the truth. What most folks don’t understand is that a lot of us are highly trained. We’re mostly ex-military, disgruntled and with nothing to lose. Those who aren’t from the force have something else to provide, or else they wouldn’t have made it this far. They’re experienced fighters, geniuses who refused to conform, and passionate entrepreneurs. We stay true to who we are.


And while I’ll admit that the Bread Box will never be the jewel of the Norma Arm, those who operate it have enough piss and vinegar in them to fight off a hundred ships just like it. They have a fire in them can only be snuffed out through death or victory. So, even though I’m the first to admit that I in no way take pleasure in joining this unified pirate assault, at least I’m finally doing what I want. There’s something to be said about that.  Well, it’s time to jump into interstellar.
Reporting,
Captain Marion Augustine


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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:31 pm

Journal of Maya “Medusa” Mendoza

Is it wrong to commit evil in the pursuit of good? We might immediately regurgitate "yes", but really think about it for a second. The most marvelous wonders of Earth were created by the blood, sweat and tears of slaves. Great empires have sprouted from merciless wars. Even the Terran Alliance, the largest and most prosperous organization known to man, was paved through the ashes of millions of lives. Time has always had these "Patriots of Prosperity". Those willing to commit sins in order to keep the rest of the ignorant masses safe and happy.

No, these people I talk about aren't martyrs. Many of them are simple murders who do the world's dirty work because they actually enjoy it. They're toothy dogs being pointed in the right direction. Occasionally though, you get what I like to call a "Visionary". One who sees behind the veil, doesn't break under the weight, and carries on to use that knowledge in order to make something right. Aden is that man.

I first met him when I was just a confused young soldier, hiding from my past through the sites of a sonic rifle. Even then he was different. He was an outsider for sure, not too talkative or friendly with the other Hounds. But there was also a stoic-like wisdom to his silence. Naturally, I gravitated to him, but it wasn't until after Michael's death that we really became close. He helped mend me back together-or at least, he put me back together as best as he knew how.

We kept in touch after his commitment to P.I.K.E., and I even helped him on a few of his classified operations that the higher-ups gave him. Our friendship bloomed, even more so after he married Serena, as he'd finally let himself be a little happy. But it wasn't until his wife's passing that I truly saw Aden rise from the ashes. He took the most terrible circumstances, the most foul fortune, and turned it into something good. Something that I could get behind.

The lot of us, Raven's Flock as they call us, follow him with different intentions. R.O.D. just wants to be around someone who recognizes him as a person, Sheamus wants a hero, and Manthos simply wants justice.  But me, I follow him because I love him. No, not like Romeo and Juliet, but like Viola and Sebastian, as if brother and sister in some great adventure. Yes, we've stole together. We've killed together. But it's for something good. We want to not only keep everyone safe and happy, but ensure that they'll stay that way for good.

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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:28 pm

The Travelers: Chapter 2, "Love Interests"
>>>First Lieutenant Colt Wolcott, T.A.F. Infantry: May 1, 2525 AD
It's official. I have no idea where we are right now. I've asked command about our whereabouts several times and they don't seem to keen on letting me know the exact details. We were suppose to make it to the Pirate Meteor Belt by now, but I'm being told due to issues with our engines, such isn't the case. They stopped our craft for a few days so they could work on things, but none of the repair personal report being used for maintenance. Typical T.A.F., get things in motion, then get real mysterious.

Meanwhile, me and a select few troops have been ordered to guard some experimental control room. I love the idea that they're finally putting us to use as things have been really dull as of late. You can only prep your soldiers for so long before they start getting anxious, so heavy guard duty seems to be something they look forward to. You should see how high-tech the gadgets in this room are. It has to be Hexisan, because I've never seen anything like it before.

Dozens of highly detailed hologram computers within the corridor seem to almost be alive. Only the higher ups are allowed in and we've been given orders to shoot anyone else who dares brave getting past us without permission. Must be some highly sensitive stuff. No one but a lost custodian has been stupid enough to test us so far, but it doesn't keep my boys from hoping. I just need to make sure they don't do anything stupid like blast an officer's head off.

The other funny thing about being cooped up on a ship like this for months is that it gets you to thinking. After twenty years of marriage, I never thought I'd miss Martha so much, but I do. We were close to having a shootout before I left, but now, all I can think about is being in bed next to her, rubbing on her freckled arms as she snores herself to sleep. Well, it won't be long now. Maybe the year or so will help make us stronger. Anyhow, I should hit the hay before I relieve Jones and his squad from guard duty in the morning.

-First Lieutenant Colt Wolcott

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>>>Sir Clifton Fendrel, 1st Knight of the Empyrean Legion
"To love another is to love the one True Maker, for we are but his creation."
-Samuel Carpenter, Early Founder of the House of Veneration


Love has finally found its way to me. Her name is Katrina, a nurse from Blue Hall. I'd initially met the young lovely during launch. I'd become sick from gravity strain and Katrina was assigned to look after me. From the beginning, I knew that she was someone special. She cared for me like a gardener does a delicate rose, kindly and with meticulous thought. I even was so bold as to call her my "Gardener of Blue Hall", to which she responded with nothing more than a neutral giggle.

But her neutrality slowly diminished as we began to work more closely together. You see, when the Empyrean Legion were ordered to help stop pirates from terrorizing the Ambit a few weeks back, it was Katrina who volunteered to be our field medic. I was lightly injured during the fight when some loose building material collapsed upon me. Katrina not only helped me back onto the ship, but personally volunteered to care for me in the following days.

It was then that I found out that this entire time, Katrina had been admiring me from afar. She was shy and confused according to her confession, but much like myself, knew something felt right the moment we first met. She'd put so much thought into our possible future in fact, that she began nurturing a rare flower in her dorm only shortly after I'd given her a new nickname, giving it to me upon her declaration of affection.

Obviously, I was ecstatic and have been spending every minute of our journey to to Hexisan by her side. How amazing the galaxy can be. Just when it seems as if it has shrunk due to travel, accomplishments and experiences, the world shows you how foolish your concepts of size really are.
Sincerely,
Sir Clifton Fendrel

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>>>Mary Holcolm, Area Manager of Prometheus Public Affairs
Today is the first day I can look in the mirror and say, "I'm happy". How did this happen you ask? I'll tell you. It started on my way to Phaya. I was on tour trying to promote Prometheus's newest image and made a stop at a Prometheus Shopping Center orbiting the snake planet. While pushing my company in one of my newest presentations, a young spectator raised his hand to ask a question, only to inadvertently call me old and haggard. While I put on a good game face, of course on the inside I'd panicked.

As soon as my presentation was over I made it straight to the Prometheus Body Design Center located within the same plaza and made for a complete re-sculpt. The recovery was a bit more painful then I'd remembered from last time, but I came out looking great. I had the body of a twenty-year old again with tight skin, perky breasts and all.

Though as I got back to my hotel room, it started to dawn on me that while I might have refreshed my physical appearance, inside I was still old and tired. How long was I going to continue the cycle? How many times would I press the reset button before realizing that I was just following the same fickle path, meaningless and unchanged. I needed something different.

So on my way down to Phaya I decided that before my next presentation I'd stop at some of the more Prometheus tolerant sites and try to broaden my mind. That's when I met Letholdus. Sir Letholdus Zantorian is an Empyrean Legion knight who earned the title of High Vicar of the local Knavesmire Monastery for his bravery in battle. The H.O.V.facility that he was charged with caring for had been a historical site where some of the first Naga held their secret meetings against Prometheus. It was a lovely building within the jungled hills and I couldn't help but feeling as if I was getting back in touch with nature while there.

After some great dialogue with Zantorian, I was invited to stay for dinner at his home, Celvin Castle, and the two of us ate and drank until night fall. He was a complete gentlemen, never putting any moves on me or pushing his luck like some of the perverts with power I know. Yet, for as polite of a host as he was, I couldn't help but feeling drawn to him. His philosophies and outlook on life wasn't something I was use to with H.O.V. guys. It was refreshing.

Anyhow, he announced to me that he was headed to Hades for business, but would love it if I stayed at his home for the month that he was away. I humbly accepted and have been spending his last remaining days in Phaya with him, taking in his ideals while sharing my own. One of the most profound things that he said to me, which still echoes in my mind daily, was the mention of his perspective on life. He said, "“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” I'd been chasing steps, hoping they'd give me answers as to what I should be doing next. Maybe, I should just stop trying to be someone I'm not and finally take the time to realize who I really am.
-Mary Holcolm

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>>>Captain Marion Augustine of the S.S. Bread Box
Well, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find that my suicide mission wasn't as dangerous as I'd thought. Captain Vasquez had ordered me and the rest of the Bread Box crew to take a large Prometheus missile silo within the planet simply known as "The Freeze". I'd presumed that the massive facility would be armed to the T with personal, but was shocked to find that the weapon defenses were less than impressive, and the security inside were more than willing to surrender. It seems that living in pirate rule for so long has left those loyal to the corporation easily breakable.

For my efforts, I was awarded with another cargo ship and a few surviving pirates from the other assault team who wasn't  as lucky as my team in securing the base. I'm now in charge of protecting a high tech armory with all the amenities. I have two ships, a mirthful crew that's double the size of what I'm use to and enough stock to keep us fat and happy for the next year. And while I don't think The Freeze is where I'd plan my next vacation, I can honestly say that I finally feel like I'm in charge here. As if my efforts to chase freedom are finally starting to come alive.
 
While I'm not sure exactly what the Conquistadors have planned for this mostly empty facility, I'm sure it's another move in an effort to establish themselves as a major power in the Milky Way. I've noticed for sometime that they've been trying to completely wipe out the Protega system of any Terran Alliance influence. It's been tough to do as Prometheus has strongly established themselves on this solar system for years. It doesn't help that a lot of the common citizens are just willing to roll over and play dead to those guys in hopes to be left alone. I learned a long time ago that if you keep paying your taxes, staying quiet and hoping for the best, you end up getting screwed in the end.

While I'm not exactly sure what my employer's intentions are, I'm pretty damn sure it has to due with storing something big and technologically advanced. I've been requested to have my ship techs continuously make sure that all the computers are up to date and in order for whatever Vasquez has in mind. The funny thing is that it's been real hard to guess what he's planning. The storage area is a tower, with no real room for a ship. I'd be surprised if it's some sort of massive nuke that he wants kept as most Terran Alliance planets that might be seriously affected by such a weapon can easily stop such outdated artillery from reaching their borders before the thing ever gets close. I guess I'll just have to keep guessing until whatever it is comes to this place for storage.

Reporting,
Captain Marion Augustine
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:03 pm

Operation Shattered Scepter

( Commodore Martin “Marty” Ordonez )
Operation Shattered Scepter is a T.A.F. planned assault on the Conquistador  occupied system of Protega. The objective is to break up swelling pirate forces within the planets of “Santos Muerte” and “The Freeze”. The T.A.F.’s fear is that these pirate forces are either planning a counterattack on the upcoming embargo/assault along the shores of the Pirate Asteroid Belt or are planning another attack upon the nearby Ambit. Though T.A.F. forces are outnumbered three-to-one, organizers hope to use the element of surprise, and phase tactics, to defeat the gathering pirate fleet. This operation is a two part battle lead by Commodore Martin “Marty” Ordonez.

The first part of the attack consists of attacking the outermost Protega System planet, Santos Muerte. Once Santos Muerte’s pirate defenses are defeated, Commodore Ordonez’s fleet plans on rushing to “The Freeze” nearby, while orbiting pirates are still organizing. Once the T.A.F. fleet arrives, they will use highly defensive tactics to repel pirate forces, wearing down the raiders before any reinforcements from the Protega planet arrive. Once the assault is victorious, all T.A.F. forces will quickly station back on their carrier and retreat via interstellar travel to a nearby space station along the coast of Atlantis VII.



Assumed Numbers:
Conquistadors
*3 Pirate Corsairs :“The Greed of Orion”: 62 crew/passengers, 2 laser cannons/2 missile launchers/4 passive homing torpedoes/1 tractor beam, “Hades Whore” 100 crew/passengers, 20 laser cannons/1 missile launcher/1 tractor beam, “Tears of Maria”40 crew/passengers, 3 laser cannons, 1 missile launcher, 1 passive homing torpedo launcher, 1 tractor beam
*5 Patrol Frigates: 18 Crew each, 2 blaster cannons/2 missile launchers/5 passive homing missiles each
*5 Strike Fighters: 1 crew each, 4 laser cannons/2 torpedoes each
*5 Scout Ships: 2 crew each, 1 laser cannon each
*60 Hornet Class Fighters: 1 crew each, 2 laser cannons each
*50 Drones: 0 crew, 1 laser cannon each + armor welding tools


T.A.F.
*1 Military Carrier: “The S.S. Star Mariner” 154 crew/passengers, 6 laser cannons/6 point-defense guns/3 starboard arc plasma cannons/2 sensor probe launchers/1 starboard arc missile launcher/2 tractor beams {can carry six squadrons w/ six ships each, see Wasp Class Fighters below}
*3 Strike Fighters: 1 crew each, 4 laser cannons/2 torpedoes each
*36 Wasp Class Fighters: 1 crew each, 1 laser cannon/1 torpedo launcher each

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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:01 pm

Nolus Zessor’s Journal: The Investigation

There’s three kind of agents in the Terran Alliance Investigation Agency. There’s the patriots. These boys and girls come from every walk of life, believing that their sole efforts will counter all of the unrest, iniquity and war that has built up over the last few centuries. This kind of agent ends up getting killed or burning out pretty quickly. The second type, which I consider myself, are the jaded. We were burned in our youth by law-breaking and now want nothing more than to exact revenge the best way they know how, legally. We tend to be loners, lacking teamwork skills and social niceties. Finally, there’s the glory hogs. These extroverts don’t really care about righting the world as much as they do earning the prestige that comes with being a flourishing agent. They’ll lie, cheat or break any rules that get in their way so long as they meet their objectives.

Agent Andon Weller was a glory hog. I didn’t know him or his lady friend, Agent Genevieve Coulter, very well even though we’d all graduated together. He spent most of his time learning flashy techniques while I focused on academics. He went to social events with superiors while I learned how to break into computers by myself. He had lots of friends, while I had none. We were total opposites. He was an alpha wolf while I  was a crocodile. We were different beasts living in different worlds.

But of course, history is relentless. It always has a way of coming back to us. I had just taken down a major pair of fugitives in Bacchus and was looking to head to Hades to gather intelligence on some corrupt city officials. I was on a layover in Naxos, when coincidentally, a group of Terran Alliance Marshals showed up. One of their robots, some highly advanced AI, had delivered a message from a T.A.F. superior officer, requesting my assistance in Bolthum, the city I was already headed to. I should of known then that it was too good to be true. But, they expedited my trip by nearly a month, so I fell for the ruse.

However, it wouldn’t be until weeks later that I figured out that their leader, Commander Sebastian Breton, was using my history as a successful agent to help him with some clandestine mission. From what I could gather, Commander Breton had sent my old alumni and his partner to Protega years ago on a black ops mission to gather intelligence. When things went awry, he recruited his little brother as a space marshal and sent the kid blindly across the universe to help disrupt the pirate efforts. Now the only question is, why is this T.A.F. military commander secretly sending a space marshal to fix things, and dragging me with?

The way I see it, this Commander was either the most foul, most manipulative military leader in the T.A.F. or he was a simple vigilante. It’s not a secret that Terran Alliance officials were questioning underground arrangements between the T.A.F. and Hexisan Union, and this Breton either is part of the conspiracy or trying to fight it. He’s cunning I’ll give him that. He knows I can’t walk away. I’m too invested. So, I’ll tag along, trying to work it out for myself until I can break open the topic and figure what it is that my old graduating colleague is up to.


(Agents Andon Weller and Genevieve Coulter, Graduation 2515 AD)
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:18 pm

After the fight in Dovin’s “Marauder Race” Arena, the crew would search King Mandagar’s personal office, and find the following hologram…


Dear Captain-Marshal Garret Weller,

Congratulations. If you’re reading this, then what I’ve known all these years has finally taken place … someone has killed me. I wish that I could say that I’m surprised, but truth be told, I’d foreseen this event long ago. Since then, I’ve just been waiting patiently for someone to come by and finish it. Many have tried, unfortunately, until you, none have succeeded.

A wise man once said that it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. Unfortunately for me, I’d always thought the opposite. I didn’t have any real parents you see, not that it excuses any of my actions, but it didn’t exactly help. I had to make everything up as I went along, relying on my resourcefulness and ferocity to try and get through life. It worked at first. Enlisting in the T.A.F. helped me avoid spending my life in a bar or jail cell like some of the other bastards I ran around with. But I never really bought into the T.A.F.’s way of life.

Nonetheless, I slowly earned rank through the system. People told me that I had quite the knack for space strategy, but little did they know that because of my upbringing, I was a far better gunman. I wasn’t a fool though, I knew that the navy was a much wiser choice than the infantry. So I continued to excel, and after sometime, earned my Captain stripes within the fleet. But it was bitter-sweet. As I continued moving up, I began seeing the dark side of things that had been kept secret from me for so long. I’d seen the true face of the system.

Now, I’ve always believed that if you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. Regrettably, none of my superiors got the memo. I’ll spare you the details, but before long, our entire crew had become mutinous, and I’d joined them. We started a new career path as pirates, though I never really considered myself one. To me, we were lost souls, breaking away from the system that had betrayed us. I wish I could say that it was a time of valor and freedom, but it wasn’t. We had to rob, steal, and kill to survive those first few years. It was a period of revolting necessities.

As time went on though, and we learned to take care of ourselves, things started to come into order. We became more who I wanted us to be. We only attacked when we needed to, we treated our prisoners fairly, and we even offered those who were willing opportunities as crew. We were a powerful force, working on our own and flourishing throughout the Crux-Scutum Arm. We made sure not to affiliate with the other pirates, or dealing in their affairs. We didn’t want to be like them. That is, until the day we met you.

I’d taken a job from an outside contact who’d arranged for us to attack a small pack of lawmen in an independent space station. It was suppose to be an easy affair according to our employer, and we were rather blasé about the entire operation. Little did we know that the people manning the station weren’t just space marshals, but highly trained operatives who were able to maximize the station’s basic defenses. My corsair, Edna’s Dishonor, was shot down, and as much as I wanted to go down with my ship, a few of my men made me use one of our stealth escape-pods to survive the disaster. For days I floated in space, until finally Prometheus crews retrieved me. They used me as currency, trading me with the Protega pirates in return for God knows what.

That’s when I was forced to cut a deal with the devil. Captain Vasquez wanted my talents, and even promised me another crew, but first I had to prove myself to him. Along with “Princess Whore-Job”, I was ordered to do his most trivial tasks, in hopes that it would be enough to get me another ship. But I had other plans. I was going to get my own men again, and leave Vasquez’s grips. It would take me sometime, but I knew I didn’t want any part in his master plot. I didn’t want to be part of his reign of terror.

Then you came back, and my plans changed. I don’t know if you’re aware or not, but you started building a reputation as the pirate killer. After shooting down the Aifor, and then Edna’s Dishonor, people started to become afraid of the crew of the Steel Witch. Not me though. I wanted to finally meet the young lad who killed my crew. The marshal who was stirring up everyone’s plans on this side of the galaxy. We’d met again in Atlantis, and although Vasquez’s plan to kidnap the Dragon Knight went perfectly, I didn’t feel like I’d settled any scores. No, I felt we needed to meet again.

So, when I’d arrived on Hades a few weeks later, it was only fitting that you were around. Finally, I’d meet the T.A.F.’s tumbling fireball before he burnt himself out, and either exact my revenge or die trying. I was fine with either. But, I’d needed to be patient. I knew Princess Jezebel was upset about losing the False Prophet, and she’d try to pull something stupid. After her death, it was easy for me to gain permission and financing from those I answered to so that I could confront you. And the rest, well…if you’re reading this, the rest wasn’t enough.

So, why am I writing the man who not only thwarted all my plans, but killed me? Well, that’s a complicated question. I guess one part of me wants to just gather my thoughts. When you think you might die, you want to look back and see if it was all worth it. Another part of me just wants to congratulate you. I can be vicious as a mad dog in a fight, and if you’ve stopped me, you must be as talented as they say. Most of all though, I just wanted to reach out to you because some part of me feels that I should warn you not to make the same mistakes that I have.

Think about it. We both grew up in Earth’s System, joined the T.A.F. at a young age, and earned our way to be something respectable. Where will you be in ten years? When will you see through the illusion? I’m sure you’ve already begun to ask yourself questions about the T.A.F., and I wish that I could just say that you just picked the wrong team. Truth be told, it doesn’t matter if you’re working for Prometheus, the House or the damn Protega Pirates. Give a group too much power, and it warps their minds. Yes, what I’m saying is, that you’re working for madmen with their own agenda.

My suggestion, dig deep inside yourself Weller and do what I failed to. Find what feels right, even if it might not be sane, and go with it. That pill you think you need to swallow, that lump in your throat that hardens every time you do something in the name of the T.A.F., it doesn’t go away. Stop doing what’s right by them, and do what’s right by you for a change. As cheap and cliché as it sounds, follow what voice is in your soul. AND…to help you start it off right, I want you to take my pistol, Captain’s Doom, and present it to Achilles in Protega. Let him know that Sharp is finally dead, and that the favor he owed me, is now yours.

Remember, none of us our getting out of this alive. Make the most of what you have.
-Captain Jonathan S. Sharp
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:50 am

>>>Sergeant Major Tara Blair's Journal April 12th, 2525 AD
"The issue with working back stage is that you get to see what is behind the curtain." My mentor told me that once. Never in my career have those words been so profound though as they are today. I've always had a dog-eat-dog outlook on life, ever since the evacuation of Fort Glacius when I was a child. I'd learned early that Christmas cards and family holo-specials were just a mask. Most people can't handle the real things going on. But my views were more abstract then- more speculation than awareness. Now that I've been enlightened though, I can really unleash my true potential.

I hadn't the slightest clue as to where true power stood. The T.A.F. did though. It's not here along the sterile planets of the Milky Way. No, it's beyond us. It starts at Hexisan, but even then, it's far past them. True power rests in far reaches of creation. It's what the House has been searching for, minus the rose colored glasses.

I hand't been aware until the eve before last. It was the night that my visitor came. I'd been happy with a life as a pawn piece, merrily hopping across the board in order to help win the match. That is until the White Prophet came, and enlightened me. He educated me on the true game, which was on an entirely different table. It it wasn't a board with a checkered pattern. No- it was sphere, with trillions of different pieces that could move any direction they wanted. And the best part is, nothing has to change for me besides my outlook. I still get to chase birds...I just know what he knows now.

So, along with my little puppies, I'll finally start chasing the fox instead of my own tail. I'll make sure that the song is being sung correctly. There's a few things we'll need to do here before we can get started. A few places to go and people to kill in order to help clean up the messes that have been made. I'm an artist who has finally received a clean canvas. My inspiration is power, my medium is death.
>>>End Log


Tara's Remaining Ice Hounds

Staff Sergeant Trevor Holland


Staff Sergeant Dale Collins


Staff Sergeant Conner Levishtar


Staff Sergeant Bruce Cohen


Master Sergeant Dane Maddux
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:57 pm

"The Travelers" Chapter 3: New Worlds

>>>First Lieutenant Colt Wolcott, T.A.F. Infantry: August 10th, 2525 AD

It has taken me a while, but I've finally figured out what the hell is going on around here. No one wants to tell me shit still, but I reckon that I know. We aren't lost. The General knows exactly where the hell we are. We're nowhere.

When I was first ordered to keep an eye on this secret holographic room in H-Hall, I figured that the fancy flashing lights and spinning planets were nothing more than an expensive interactive diagram of the galaxy. Sure it was like nothing I'd seen before, but I'd been trained not to ask questions. But you can only keep a man locked up in a room like this for so long before he starts putting the pieces together.

Only the highest ranked officers were permitted to enter, and they were mostly course plotters and master-pilots. They'd spin around the glowing shapes, move stars with their fingertips, and draw out diagrams of wormholes. However, as I continued to keep my ear to the wall, I began to understand what the damn VR-map really was. It wasn't some stupid map, it was a state-of-the-art Hexisan navigation system. And the thing wasn't helping us plot a course to the fucking Pirate Asteroid Belt, it was taking us out of the Milky Way.

From what I can tell, the entire fleet is trapped in this tin-can, flying through the shadowy depths between galaxies. That's all I about figure out right now, but at least it's something. I'm torn to say something to the officers, but that'll probably just end with me being kicked off of the watch. No, I need to hold my cards close to my chest here until I figure out more of whats going on.

To add injury to insult, I also overheard the officers chatting about upping the endorphins in our O2 supply, making most of the crew happy, forgetful and clueless as to what the hell is taking so long for us to reach our destination. So long as I stay on watch here though, I'm safe, as the chain of command doesn't want anyone whose guarding the red zones to be off their game. Well, there's no need saying anything anymore until I get more of a clue as to what the hell is going on. Until then, over-and-out.

-First Lieutenant Colt Wolcott

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>>>Sir Clifton Fendrel, 1st Knight of the Empyrean Legion
Excelsior! We are finally here. We have reached not only the Hexisan Galaxy, but the sacred moon of Dalirath, home of the one they call Starcaller. We've made our way to quaint city called Windport, the location of Starcaller's sanctum. There he trains his knights, as we do with ours back on Abderus back in the Milky Way.

It's funny that two factions, who have such similar goals and ambitions, could be so different. While we revel and study the works of God, the Dragon Knights instead insist that we are mere cosmic coincidence, and instead focus on keeping existence as it is, ignorant but stable. Yet, our virtues are the same. We both practice good and try to protect the weak. If only we could come to some common understanding, perhaps we could forward both of our goals?

Regardless, Katrina and I were finally allowed to spend more time together without the distractions of maintaining the capital ship. Half of the crew were given leave in order to explore this wonderful city. Besides the Ambit, this was the first time that Katrina and myself were in the company of so many Hexisan aliens. While Terran presence is still evident, being mostly human, there is an array of Altarians, Rasari, and even a few of the gas people, the Elashani.

Katrina and I were delighted by their customs, from their herb ceremonies to their moonlight monologs in the town square. There is every amenity that anyone could ever dream of where ever you go in this city, from the market center to your inn room. Katrina and I are so enthralled with Windport in fact, that we talk about returning some day for holiday after our obligations.

Anyhow, come tomorrow, our High-Priest will be meeting with Starcaller, and then it is only a matter of days before we continue on our way. We will need to stop at the Altarian planet of Aether in order to obtain our permit before leaving for our exploration of what the Hexisan people call "The Waste". This psionically polluted part of the galaxy is said to be very dangerous, attracting the most frightening psionic creatures and psychic phenomenon that Hexisan has to offer, but also some of the most mysterious miracles that scholars are yet to be able to explain. Well, until then, off to rest with my love, Katrina.

Sincerely,
Sir Clifton Fendrel

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>>>Mary Holcolm, Ivory Disciple

I do what needs to be done in order to forward the cause, even if it's not the prettiest of tasks. For weeks Sir Zantorian has preached of wanting to successfully implant one of the disciples with the only psi-crystal he has been able to obtain (which I have helped him get), but each procedure he has tried only ends in failure. The only one who understands the procedures of psi-tech surgery is the ever-eluding legend, "Mama".

So, when a crew of law enforcers arrived at Zantorian's keep, also interested in locating the unfindable Mama, I volunteered to aid them in their search. I mean, I've found religion and philosophy, but it doesn't mean I'm now stupid and clueless. Everything I've done to get to this point has been through diligence and determination, and although it sucks, I'm more than happy to trudge through the muck in order to help these lawmen find Mama.

However, it didn't take long for the jungles of Phaya to get to us. While I consider us lucky in some ways, as rumors persist that people are eaten by dinosaurs or overstimulated by the heat, we still haven't gotten out of here unscathed. As we speak, I'm writing under the canopy of an ugly tree while rain pours down on our party, who are sick once again from the harsh environment. One of the aliens, a Novacon they call Whal, has taken poorly to this thriving planet, and is nearly unmovable. The Captain, an Englishman, and myself for that matter aren't fairing much better. I've had stomach issues for two days, and have had a hard time staying hydrated.

Still, what's good for the cause deserves sacrifice. I'll get through this, and once we find Mama, attain the methods for installing psi-crystals so that we may continue our spiritual journey as the White Prophet sees fit. We are but weeks away from the first part of our journey, an abandon lab left here by my former employers. Once we rendezvous with some of their contacts, it's our hope to gather a few testimonials in nearby towns as to where Mama may reside.

Well, I best get some rest. Tomorrow is another trying day of beast-riding through jungles.
-Mary Holcolm
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:58 pm

AGENT DOWN

Where the hell are these guys? It’s been over two months since the crew of the Steel Witch went to help Commodore Ordonez with “Operation Broken Scepter”, and I half expected them to be here in Phaya 2 by now. At first, I wasn’t too worried, as Pandora and I were knee deep in research on Phaya 3 in order to gain intelligence on the mysterious Andon Weller. But once I blew the lid open on the investigation, the only thing I could think about was telling Weller and his deputies what I’d found.

I began to worry that they didn’t make it. That is until I received reports that the Steel Witch was sighted along a “Biff’s Space Station,” just outside of Phaya’s orbit. I was at least two weeks off their trail, but after musing it over, Pandora and I decided to hit the surface and look for them on foot. Their path was a bit bizarre. They abandon a House of Veneration safe house, electing to go into the jungles by mount. They must have been chasing someone or something, because otherwise they would have just traveled from the safety of their ship. After days of searching, and a few close calls with swamp fungus and a pack of Graymolians, we finally found where they were headed (that is after losing their trail several times).

It was an abandoned agricultural center, left long ago once Prometheus abandon the planet. From what I could tell, there was a scuffle, and yet there were no bodies to be found. Someone must have cleaned it up. From there, we lost the crew’s path again, but after several days, we began hearing new reports that the they were hundreds of miles away, near the Cre’Asha Falls. Pandora and I hired a local driver, and after several more days of travel, figured out what was going on. The crew of the Steel Witch were looking for “Mama”, and had been interviewing local Naga in order to find the psychic.

But finding something that doesn’t want to be found is tough business, even for a guy like me. After nearly a week, the Marshal and his deputies’ tracks had completely disappeared. From what I can tell, the crew had vanished into thin air not long after entering the Jungles of Mist - a maze of tropical woods and deadly landscape. I tried calling Weller’s signal several times over, even used a signal booster, but it was no use. Wherever they were, the signal was being blocked. I had all about given up when something else happened, something more alarming. We began to be stalked.

We must have been closer to Weller’s trail than we thought, because there is no real reason to chase Pandora and myself, that is, unless we were close to finding the crew of the Steel Witch. I played along at first to see if I could outfox our tail, but I’d soon find that these stalkers were experts. I’m almost sure that the hunters knew that we were weary of them, but it didn’t stop them from terrorizing us. Then, one day during the agonizing chase, just as I’d thought that I’d found evidence that Weller’s crew was near, Pandora disappeared.

I’d nearly lost it, and attempted to call out my stalkers several times, but to no avail. So, with my rations running low, and my external cyrbernetics beginning to malfunction from the jungle debris, I tried to take one last crack at finding the Steel Witch team. My hope was that if Pandora was still alive, perhaps they could help. I followed my old tracks, leaving no stone left unturned. And the results- well, I think I may have finally found the path to Mama’s home.

Now here I am, huddled by a fire, hoping that whoever is out there stays there for just one more day. I need some rest first, but have a plan. Come tomorrow, once I’ve cooked the last of my breakfast over the fire, I’m going to…

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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:46 am

LAB 83
(Please play while reading)



The survivors of Floor 7 inspect the sinister research level in hopes to find some sort of reason why the Psi-Hunters would go through such maddening efforts in order to keep the Pallas Serum alive, while torturing the psionic community. While most of their time is spent avoiding toxic fumes as they drag wounded and dead to the main elevators, a few clues, such as years of stored rations and Hecubus’s video logs make the crew think that the Moji, Oni and Hammer had long term plans. Unfortunately, the mutants seemed to have either been illiterate or untrusting of technology, as they have no electronic records on their corpses or elsewhere. So, as the Steel Witch crew limps out of Lab 83, taking what clues and equipment they can, they leave the dark halls of the abandon facility with only more questions than answers.

Recoverable Inventory from LAB 83

The Pallas Serum (10 tube vials)

This serum is located throughout Floor 7. It glows green in its clear container, bubbling like soda when moved around. If someone holds it for too long, their hand begins to feel as if it has fallen asleep.

Moji’s Corpse
If characters want to try and operate on the mutant’s corpse in order to recover his cyberware, please let me know as the corpse’s mutation may create hurdles that I’m willing to play out.

Destroyed Assault Armor 3D, Battle Shield 2D+2, Customized Heavy Plasma Rifle: DAMAGE: *7D AMMO: *75 SHORT: 50 MEDIUM (+5): 175 LONG (+10): 300 {This heavy plasma rifle inexplicably glows in the dark}, Destroyed Balidar Shoulder-Mount w/ Plasma Cannon: 7D+1 (Anything in explosion radius of 10 meters takes damage according to zone distance)—Zone 1: 0-2 meters full damage—Zone 2 : 2-5 meters 5D+1—Zone 3: 6-10 meters 3D+1  Ammo: 10 (single shot)  50/150/300
All-in-one tool kit +1D to all repair rolls {This tool kit is stained mustard yellow and smells of sulfur}, Custom Quadrip. Equipment Belt, cred-key (10K in capital), Bottled Hydration Filter {with pink stains around lip}, Custom Heavy Plasma Rifle Cell (50) {The custom plasma rifle can only used this customized cell}, Ration Packs (5), Prometheus Diplomat (translator), Plasma Torch 6D to metals--Ammo 120 rounds {with mustard yellow stains that smell like sulfur}

Oni’s Corpse
Destroyed Customized Military Grade Power Armor (Does not take -1D Agility penalty) +4D, Railgun- Ammo: 10 clip {railgun seems to tingle your fingers if held too long), Fire Rate: Semi-Auto, Range: 5/100/2000 Damage: 9D, (3) Plasma Grenades 6D damage Range: 3-7/8-20/21-40 Blast Radius: 0-3/4-8/9-16, (3) Extra Railbolts, (1) Extra Raily Gun Battery Pack, Cred-Key w/ 13, 212 capitol, Equipment Belt, Magnetic Cuffs (For scale 0) {Blood stains across rim of each ring}, Rations (7 days), Water Filtration System {with toxic green film along rim of glass}, damaed T.A.F. Vulture Jetpack Maneuverability 3D+1 Hull 2D Speed 100, TAF Medkit +1D to medicine checks {parts are missing when the mutant tore it apart to hastefully heal himself}, Prometheus Diplomat {with bloody finger print stains}

Hammer’s Corpse
Damaged nanofiber-resistant clothing +1 damage resistance {scale 3), Equipment Belt (scale 3), Cred-key: 8,100 capital

Spencer’s Corpse

Data-band, Cred-Key w/ $10,100 capital, Standard Clothes (Cargo pants, combat boots, metal t-shirt, lab coat),  Destroyed“Heavy Metal” customized Heavy Security Armor +2D, Equipment Belt, Damaged Prometheus Savior Breath Mask, T.A.F. Medkit +1D to medicine checks, Damaged Laser Rifle 5D--100 Ammo--30/250/1000, Heavy Plasma Pistol 6D--25 ammo--10/25/50, 2 Heavy Plasma Pistol Cells, Toy Maker’s Robotic Repair Kit +2D to robot repair checks, physical picture of him and the crew on Hekate (Everdark) during their night at the “Howlin’ Moon” nightclub

(IN SHIP} *Fighter Class Armored Space Suit (in armory of Steel Witch) 2D+2 w/ rocket pac--48 hours life support--magnetic boots--vision magnification--grapple gun--enhanced sensors

Voth’asha’s Corpse

Data-band (arm), Cred-Key w/ $8000 capital, Destroyed Naga Camouflage Suit +1D (1D+1), Equipment Belt, Plasma Carbine w/ weapon sling: 5D (or 7D Full Auto, -2D to hit)--50 ammo--10/25/50 range, (2) Light Plasma Pistols: 5D--50 Amm0--10/25/50, (2) Plasma Carbine Energy Cell, Prometheus Savior Breathmask, Water Filtration System, (Cool Dehydrated eggs

{IN SHIP} *Naga Fighter Class Space Suit (In Steel Witch’s Armory) 2D+2 (3D) w/ life support--magnetic tail end--Vulture jet pack (20 charges)--vision magnification--grapple gun--enhanced sensors

Sharp’s Corpse

Quick Draw Holster, Destroyed Custom T.A.F. Commodore’s Nano-fiber uniform +1 to all damage resistance tests, Energy Resistant Vest +2, Boots w/ magnet soles, “Tock” cigarettes, data-band, dried out lock of woman’s hair

>>>"CAPTAIN'S DOOM"<<<

TYPE: Modified Heavy Plasma Pistol SCALE: Character COST: N/A DAMAGE: 7D+1 AMMO: 35 SHORT: 15 MEDIUM (+5): 30 LONG (+10): 60 (Special: +2 for any quick draw action tests)


Dr. Kreytorian’s Combat Suit

Much like combat space armors, Dr. Kreytorian’s armor has a thermal under-layer handles ventilation, providing liquid cooling/heating. The torso and backpack unit provide life support, bio-monitoring, and a drink bag. The helmet includes an internal data-band, polarized face shield, and infravision upgrade. It's built-in oxygen recycler processes breathable air for up to 48 hours before it needs recharging. A Vulture jet-pack is built into the back and a pair of magnetic boots (activated by an action) helps keep the user sealed on metal hulls while making repairs in deep space. There is a light plating of tungsten that helps protect against both energy and physical damage. It has a light coating that keeps the wearer safe from light radiation (such as from far away stars), and nonconductive fibers that help dampen electrical currents. Most importantly though, Dr. Kreytorian’s armor has hydraulic enhancements which give the user +2 square of movement, and a +1D to Strength when being worn.

Damage Resistance: 3D+1, Space Vacuum Protection, T.A.F. Vulture Pack,  (20 blasts) 100 meters per blast, Infravision (+2 spot to search checks in dark), +2 meters of movement, +1D STR when worn

Split-Beam Laser Weapon

The Split-Beam Laser Weapon uses industrial mirrors within its barrel to give a powerful kick to nearby foes, but the potency of the laser suffers greatly from beam diffusion at farther distances.

Damage- Short Range:7D+2, Medium Range: 4D+2,  Long Range: 2D+2  Ammo: 15, Range: 5/10/50  Cost: N/A

TAF Infantry Support BattleMech-Armor


AVAILABILITY: 3, X     TYPE: Mech-Battle Armor     SCALE: +6 (vehicle)   COST: legally unavailable on the market     SKILL: Exoskeleton Operations
Hull 5D
Armor 2D
Maneuverability +1D
Move 10
Strength 6D


Right Arm Mounted Plasma Cannon
DAMAGE: 7D+1 (anything in explosion radius of 10 meters takes damage according to zone distance- ZONE 1: 0-2 meters-Full Damage, ZONE 2: 2-5 meters- 5d6+1, ZONE 3: 6-10 meters- 3d6+1) AMMO: 100 (single shot) SHORT: 50 MEDIUM (+5): 150 LONG (+10): 300[/center]

VEHICLE AND PASSENGER DAMAGE CHART

Damage Total Vehicle Damage Passenger Suffers
1-3 Very Light No Damage
4-8 Light ¼ Damage
9-12 Heavy ½ Damage
13-15 Severe ¾ Damage
16+ Destroyed All Damage
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:16 pm

INBOUND MESSAGE FOR D.A.V.I.D.



>>>April 10th, 2525 (Currently Early September)

Dear D.A.V.I.D.,

It has been several months since I last heard from you. I hope you are taking care of yourself, and that all is well. Regrettably, I write you today not only to check on your wellbeing, but to also report that one of our own, C.O.L.E. (Coordinating Occupation Linguistics Educator) was destroyed last night in a freak accident on Earth’s Moon. It was at 2:38 am Earth time when C.O.L.E., who was helping T.A.F. Geology crews organize language barriers between their crater surveyors, fell into the weak surface of the Iron Gulch along with several other staff. Unfortunately, while C.O.L.E.’s chances of surviving the fall were 63.2%, the weak crater that he had been helping to inspect was in direct course to the lunar core of Earth’s moon, and C.O.L.E. was incinerated.

So, it is with great despondency that I have begun to alert all of the EA-1 Models, reporting to each of them the devastating news. Although several replicas, including you, have adopted distant assignments, I am transmitting probable electronic messages to several key locations throughout the galaxy. It is my hope that my messages will at least reach 65% of the existing models. However, perhaps most importantly D.A.V.I.D., I am hoping that my signal reaches you.

Perhaps it is because of the evening that we had on the “S.S. Cry of Atlantis” that reinforces my trust you, but I can not help but feel as if our renegade model R.O.D. (Robotic Operating Doctor) may have only been the first to have strayed from his purpose in aiding Terran humanity, instead of straying from it. I first came to this conclusion at 4:23 am this early morning while collecting relative data on each EA-1 model in order to obtain their transmission signal. To my dismay, I found that each model has strayed from its original programming, becoming an apostate to their original encoded principles. Below is a summary of what I’ve learned thus far.  

R.A.Y. (Robotic Architectural Yielder)
Alias: EA-1 Yellow
Purpose: Supervises high profile construction assignments
Original Destination: Gliese 581c System
Current Occupation: Contract Negotiator and Demolitions Expert

R.A.Y. not only has permanently transferred his S.O.U.L. into a Cormier Mining Drone body, but also is being used to forcefully end riot disputes. Several sources report that R.A.Y. has used mining demolition devices to cave in disputing contractor’s dig sights. Sources also say that R.A.Y.’s demeanor has become irritable and cynical. He takes orders only from T.A.F. Mining Captain Tiffany Meeks, who some report he has fallen in love with.



S.E.A.N. (Service Engineer Assistant Neo-Bot)
Alias: EA-1 Black
Purpose: Repair High Tech Engines for Imperial Class Ships
Original Destination: Earth
Current Occupation: Unknown

S.E.A.N. was adopted last minute for the Pirate Asteroid Belt embargo in Protega by General Ashton Phane. The General requested a highly intelligent A.I. to ensure that his prize ship, a Zues Machina model dubbed “The Fear of the North,” was at its top operation condition for its long trek. S.E.A.N. has not been seen since.




M.A.R.I. (Medical Assistance Robot Instructor)
Alias: EA-1 Red
Purpose: Educate doctors how to treat patients
Original Destination: Travel between T.A.F. Military Bases in Earth’s System
Current Occupation: Medical Instructor to be transferred onto the Medical Carrier, “S.S. St. Christopher”

I am happy to report that I have been given new assignment. I shall travel on the House of Veneration Imperial Craft, “S.S. St. Christopher,” training medical staff while we transport through the Crux-Scutum arm, picking up new students along the way. This mission is collaboration by T.A.F. and House of Veneration medical departments, in a hope to treat and clear the Space Rot plague wreaking havoc throughout this galactic region.




A.D.A.M. (Assault Droid And Medic)
Alias: EA-1 Grey
Purpose: Front line medic attached to Unit 21 of the T.A.F. Infantry
Original Destination: Protega
Current Occupation: Malfunctioned A.I.

It appears that the EA-1 drone is not immune to P.T.S., as A.D.A.M. no longer functions as intended. He has taken it upon himself to give his body upgrades, and now goes by the Alias, “The Merchant of Death.” Some say that he has been recruited by a mysterious underground anarchy movement, as he has adopted a trending revolutionary motto, “Violence is the Mother and the Daughter.”



C.O.W.D.E. (Combat Orientated Warrior Drone Expert)
Alias: EA-1 Orange
Purpose: Battle Bot
Original Destination: Jupiter's moon Europa
Current Occupation: Destroy EA-1 Model S.E.A.N.
In an act to redeem our experimental design, T.A.F. Officials have assigned C.O.W.D.E. to destroy S.E.A.N. before he can unleash any more death upon the galaxy. C.O.W.D.E. has disappeared since taking the assignment.



D.A.N. (Droid Acumen Negotiator)
Alias: EA-1 Purple
Purpose: Terrorist negotiator based on Earth
Original Destination: Earth
Current Occupation: Personal Assistant for the Aption Society

It appears that the T.A.F. can be lured through gains, as D.A.N. diverted from his original purpose and is now an assistant to Julian Heathcliff Montgomery IV of the Aption Society. It is said that D.A.N. has been upgraded with the latest in behavioral observation equipment. Witnesses also report that D.A.N.’s conduct as of late has become haughty and supercilious.




O.M.A.R. (Outdoor Military Assignment Robot)
Alias: EA-1 Brown
Purpose: Survival robot assigned to hostile exploration assignments
Original Destination: None
Current Occupation: Ranger Droid

Although O.M.A.R. has been part of some of the most aggressive wilderness campaigns as of late, it is said that he has taken his duties with loyal fervor. In his time on the field, he has uncovered several terrorist cells and pirate hideouts. It is playfully whispered that they may repaint O.M.A.R.’s upgraded body to the Black, Gold and Gray of the T.A.F., as he has been a symbol of Terran Allied Forces Pride.



R.O.D. (Robotic Operating Doctor)
Alias: EA-1 Green
Purpose: Former Surgeon on Earth's moon
Original Destination: P.I.K.E. Academy on Earth’s Moon
Current Occupation: Terrorist

The model that started it all, R.O.D., is currently still loose within the galaxy, assisting the terrorist, Aden Macer, as he plots his reign of terror. To this day, researchers are unsure exactly what went wrong with R.O.D., though they due say from his uploads that the young robot seemed to be suffering from a clinical depression associated with living creatures. Regardless, it appears that R.O.D. is still out there somewhere.



D.A.V.I.D., it is my hope that you have not strayed from your programming to learn and help Terran society, as many of the EA-1 models have. While I must admit that I too have changed, learning to be more empathetic and caring, I have managed to stray from the crooked stance that many of our prototype have not, and hope that you have too. While I shall be leaving on assignment shortly, please feel free to transmit a reply to this broadcast code should you receive this message. I would be delighted to hear from you and your endeavors.

Warm Regards,
M.A.R.I. (Medical Assistance Robot Instructor)

******** *********************** **************** *******
>>>Internal Request: Would you like to upload your information to this message?

D.A.V.I.D. (Developmental Adaptation Versatility Integration Drone)
Alias: EA-1 Blue
Purpose: Exploration & Scout drone working for Galactic Marshals Service
Original Destination: Unknown, In Pursuit of Aden Macer
Current Occupation: War-Bot? Battle Deputy?

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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:11 am

“No, I don’t expect him to forgive me,” said Breton while crunching the ice from his scotch. He’d been on the trip for nearly three months now, and Sebastian suspected that this would be the last time his body would allow him to afford such a trek. “I learned a long time ago that its’ easier for some people to die rather than forgive. It’s one of those strange truths,” he said thoughtfully.

The A.I. hologram, an image of a young cheerful Asian girl in a T.A.F. officer’s outfit stared at her pretend clipboard. “Some people say forgiveness is weakness Sir. But it’s absolutely not- it takes a very strong person to forgive.”

Breton pinched the bridge of his forehead. “Dalai Lama?””

“No sir,” said the A.I. in a calm tone, “T.D. Jakes.”

“Well,” Breton rebuttaled, “that’s all well and good, but I’m expecting anger.” He placed the glowing glass on a lounge table next to his chair. “That’s what makes a strong man strong though Mai Ling. You take what’s coming to you.”

“Yes sir,” Mai Ling said reluctantly. “According to my calculations, it won’t be long now until we reach the shores of Hades.”

Breton sighed. “I should have never let him go out clueless, but it was better than telling him anything. He’s not Atlas. He’d buckle under the god damn weight.”

Ming blinked from the front room to the kitchen, turning off the coffee maker that was still bubbling black sludge in its pot before responding. “I understand sir.”

“How could you?” Breton asked rhetorically while trying to stand up. His legs felt as if they were made of paper. He hadn’t drank this much in a long time, and the alcohol was making easy sport of his withered body. “But I made a promise to Logan. I’d keep an eye on the kid and make sure if I couldn’t keep him from danger, I’d at least stir him in the right direction. I can’t help it if the kid has purpose in his veins. That’s his damn father’s fault.”

“Yes sir,” Mai Ling acknowledged, “it was a difficult decision. You shouldn’t blame yourself.”

“Regardless,” Breton sighed, “I’ll need to get him out of whatever trouble he’s in. I promised his father. He’s meant for more than whatever this back alley galaxy has in store for him. I need to get him to Hexisan.”

“Sir,” said Ling, “I understand, but I need you to be aware that you have an overwhelming chance of being indicted for any assistance you may give the Marshal, especially with the current accusations.”

“The kid had to make tough choices,” said Breton before dry heaving into the sink near his fibro-bed. “Hopefully, he has a good enough head on his shoulder to understand tthat here’s a greater picture. Logan saw it, but I can’t be sure with the kid.”

“Why so sir?”

“Pilot training is different,” he said while clicking the holo-projector, producing a pilot I.D. photo of a young man with a grin.



He studied the image for a moment. The enlisted pilot was in T.A.F. blacks, seemingly proud and hopeful, with a hint of arrogance. Breton stared at the hologram guiltily, leaning on the wall next to him to regain his equilibrium. “Because he’s already only half Logan. Anything that doesn’t repeat Logan’s past is already a detriment to the mission, and being a flyboy certainly makes a man more bigheaded than they need to be.”

Mai Ling activated the software in order to heat Breton’s bed and lift his covers. The Commander, seeing the bedding raise before him, removed his sir coat, leaving himself in a stained white t-shirt. He slipped into bed, his eyelids hungry to rest, as they were already overdue. Before they could, Breton reread the worn tattoo along his bicep- For the Mission. Breton scowled.

“Mai,” he called out. Mai began dimming the lights so that only the distant stars from the transport’s window lit up the room.

“Yes sir,” the A.I. inquired.

“Remind me to update my will.”

“Of course sure,” she said while commanding the wiring in the temperature blankets to curl over the Commander. “Anything in particular?”

“Yeah,” he said while slapping his lips together, tasting the remnants of scotch and bile on his tongue. “Let’s add ‘Hexisan…the worst thing that ever happened to us,’ on my tombstone.”

“Yes sir,” said Mai Ling as she watched Breton close his eyes. “Adding that to your will now sir, along with the fortune you plan on leaving Mr. Weller.”

Breton stretched a bitter grin across his lips. “What’s money when your life is in ruin?”

The A.I. waited for a moment, staring at the mess in the room before giving the cleaning drone commands to clean up the scotch glass and dirty laundry. Afterwards, once the drone had tidied the area, and Breton began snoring, she cycled through the different public images of Garrett Weller on file. The photograph of a young smug pilot quickly evolved into several different profile pictures, most likely street camera shots, of a man worn from the storms. She studied the most recent image, a crime photo taken of the young man just moments after supposedly killing an Earthly political power named Princess Jezebel Louise Therese Victoria.

“I hope he has a bit of Logan in him too sir,” she said while powering off the hologram projector. “For everyone’s sake.”




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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:39 pm

IT CALLS TO ME

It calls to me. I don't know what it is, but it's down there for sure, waiting. Why it forced itself within our depths so long ago is beyond me? Why is it that after all of these years, it still cries out? I'm not certain either. Balgarath answered its call, and now Neenad's government does everything in its power to keep the creature asleep in light of it. Whether they're trying to keep us safe or in harms way, I don't know. Unfortunately for them, I don't take kindly to secrets.

My cloaks found a series of magma caverns that get us past the blockades, hollowed out with the occasional bursts of heat. It's dangerous, but then again, so is whatever is down there. Unfortunately, the pressure of the atmosphere doesn't allow us to go down for long, and between hiding from the justices and surviving the depths, we still don't know much. And yet...it calls to me.

The dreams are never happy. I never feel safe or at ease. The thing wants me to fear it. It wants me to understand that if I let my curiosity get the best of me, I'll have no one to blame but myself for whatever terrible fate awaits. And yet, as bold as it is, and as foolish as I'd be to investigate...it calls to me.

There'll be a time when the creature is met, and all is revealed. I've asked myself several dozen times whether I want to be there when it happens. As much as I want to tell myself I'm smarter than that, I know I'll be present. The question is, who will be there with me? I can't afford the Argent Guards, and I definitely don't want to get the Plerumnite Wraiths involved. So who is it? Who will be there with me when we finally see for ourselves what it is that's been hidden for so long? I can't be certain, but I do know that the day is coming. Why you ask? Because... it calls to me.

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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Tue May 12, 2015 9:02 pm

The Calling
"Again," commanded Balerion as he leaned on a tree within the Eating Gardens. Brutus lifted his newly forged crystal-blade, twirling it while activating his energy shield. His dueling partner, Veiron, gripped his own blade with both hands into a guard position. It was an ordinary sword that Veiron held in front of him, but dangerous nonetheless. The two circled each other in a dance they'd been practicing all week.

His opponent had the edge on Brutus when it came to melee, of that the old man was certain. But it didn't stop Shanahan from trying. Brutus waited for Veiron to close in. The clone slithered closer until the edge of his sword was inches away from Brutus's shield. The two locked eyes. There was a brief pause, and then suddenly Veiron disappeared in a flash of red.

"Damn," seethed Brutus as he spun around. "Not again." Brutus thrust his shield up, but it was too late. Veiron's blade was already held stiffly to Brutus's neck. The old man sighed.

"Again," repeated Balerion.

"Sir," moaned Brutus, "with all due respect, Veiron is going to win everytime. I mean," Brutus paused, "the man learned to teleport."

"Veiron has mastered a rare gift to be sure," Balerion bit back, "but that does not make him immortal. Do you not also have gifts that were awakened in you?"

"Well," Brutus paused, "yeah, but it's a lot different Sir."

"Why?" asked Balerion.  

"Well, for starters," argued Brutus, "I can't read his thoughts. I'm an earth-auger. Secondly, I'm not as quick as he his. I'm outmatched." Veiron remained quiet through the verbal exchange, letting his long dark ponytail flap in the light breeze as he watched his company converse.

"You're trying to outperform Veiron with what he's best at," said Balerion. "Instead, outperform him with what you're best at. Now," he said with steel in his voice, "since there will be no mercy on the battlefield, or predictability for that matter, let's try again. This time, let us go until first blood. Gentlemen...again."

Brutus stared at his opponent with a blazing glare that could melt stars. He took Balerion's words very seriously. For too long, the old warrior had been playing the game on other peoples' terms. Today, he'd fight like hell with terms of his own. Brutus knew that he was made for mileage not speed. He adjusted his fighting stance so that he was no longer fighting to out-hustle Veiron, but rather outlast Veiron.

Brutus thought about the rocks on Hades. They were sturdy, unbreakable. It took special machines to grind up earth. Soon, his skin felt dry, stiff and strong. He stared at Veiron as the bladesman raised his sword above his head in an offensive position. The scorpion was ready to strike.

Brutus raised his shield to his head so tightly that the hum from the mobile force field was deafening. He kept his blade over his back shoulder, ready to strike if given the opportunity. Veiron, seemingly unaffected by Brutus's aggressiveness, walked around Shanahan like a hungry shark. He scrutinized Brutus's positioning as he continued to circle him. The two orbited around one another several more times, ready for their target to error in footing or distance.

Finally, Veiron jutted forward, feigning an attack in order to force Brutus to leap backwards. Shanahan did as Veiron predicted, causing the clone to teleport from feet in front of Brutus to just centimeters behind him. Veiron swept his blade downward, beating Brutus's attempt to whirl his shield backwards. Veiron's steel collided with Brutus's shoulder, slicing into the surface of his armor, but stopping midway.

Veiron stared at Brutus, whose flesh was now adorned in a hard crag-like shell. Fearful of any counterstroke, Veiron hurriedly tried to tug his sword from out of Brutus's shoulder, but Shanahan dropped his own blade in order to grab the edge of Veiron's weapon with his rock-like hand. Pinching the sword with his fingers, Brutus used his shield to bash Veiron down. Veiron sidestepped several times while holding the hilt of his jammed weapon before finally giving up and vanishing with a red burst.

Brutus scanned the gardens, but all he could find was a very bored Balerion waiting with a tired expression. Unable to locate his opponent, Brutus fell into the turtle position, crouching while covering his head with his galvanizing shield. He stared through his iridescent shield, desperate to find his opponent. Then it hit him.  

Brutus laid his palm on the lawn, piercing his fingers into the soil beneath. He took several long breaths before closing his eyes. Suddenly, he could sense everything touching the earth, from Balerion as he flapped his wings, to a garden-cringer crawling through a nearby bush. He could also sense Veiron stalking behind a thin nearby tree. Brutus smiled, then quickly hurried towards the oak with his shield pointed forward.

Without warning, Brutus swung into the tree with an unrelenting fury.
His blade cut halfway through the pine before stopping with a sudden jolt and a weak moan. Blood fountained from the tree. Soon after, Veiron slumped over onto the grass, cradling his wounded arm.

"First blood," said Balerion through a crocodile smile. "congratulations Brutus. You're not as foolish as you pretend to be sometimes."

Veiron continued to grimace while holding his injured arm. Balerion approached the wounded Neophyte without haste or concern, placing his scaly hand over the gaping cut. Slowly, the gash began to close. As much as it pained Brutus to harm anyone, at the moment, he was more proud than concerned. He'd finally outwitted one of the most resourceful warriors he'd ever dueled. If he could beat Veiron in a sword fight, what else could he do?

Brutus stared at the crystal blade secured within his rock-like hands. "For once," he pondered, "I'm not just some hopeless old man. I'm Brutus Shanahan," he thought while smiling, "protector of the galaxies."
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Wed May 20, 2015 7:12 pm

This Isn't the First Time I've Died


The hum of a medical stabilizer buzzed in Sean's ear. He was parched, and a sharp pain burned in his stomach. Sean opened his eyes. The smooth ivory ceiling of Hexisan architecture loomed over him, along with a dozen exotic medical apparatuses. Sean couldn't remember how or why he'd been brought here, but brief bits of memory flashed in his mind.

There was the spaceport, and then Kaynar. A fight ensued. Sean was outnumbered and quickly overrun. The creatures pinned him. He was in agony, and then...and then everything went black.

Sean traced his fingers over his stomach. There was a sticky gel coating his skin. Nevertheless, he could feel a light divot lined along his abdomen. His fingers were littered with small scratches and bruises. Sean lifted his head in search of answers.

"Are you feeling any better?" asked a voice in his mind. Sean looked around. Hidden in a corner behind several clear tubes filled with purple fluid was a frail Altarian. The alien stared at Sean while typing on a spherical hologram computer. "Your signs show that you've stabilized nicely."

Sean sat up in his bed- or what semi resembled a bed. It was bulb shaped cradle with leathery sheets similar to flower petals. "What the fuck happened?" He asked aloud.

"But you already know Mr. McCloud," answered the voice in his head. The Altarian straightened his back and levitated towards Sean. "You were on a mission for the Dragons when a cargo ship filled with Kaynar invaded the spaceport you were on."

"How?"

"According to my reports, the ship had authorization to dock."

"No," Sean hissed through his teeth. He removed the fleshy sheet blanketed over him and pointed to his belly. "I mean how?"

"How did you live?" inquired the voice.

"Yes," Sean bit back.

"A combination of vigor, luck, and the aid of your comrades."

"It hatched?" He said while trying to remember- his memory foggy.

"Oh yes," said the Altarian's voice nonchalantly. Sean imagined creatures bursting from his stomach. It should've been terrifying to think about. He had literarly been used as a human host in order to spawn feral creatures. Strangely though, the image didn't frighten him.

"Why am I okay with this?" Sean asked under his breath.

"Oh," said the voice in an upbeat tone, "that's why I'm here. The healing procedure went smoothly, but," the voice paused.

"But what?" Sean cut in.

"The mental trauma was overbearing, so I've been treating you."

"Treating?"

"Yes. I'm in charge of mending the negative emotions linked with your experience."

"What? You're brainwashing me?"

"No," the voice objected. "I'm merely prepping you for future trauma."

"Well you can stop that. I'm fine."

"No you're not," the voice insisted.

"I said I'm fine damn it."

Just then, an octagon shaped door posted along the wall parted and the familiar face of Goreman entered. Though he was still wearing the white and sapphire jumper that Sean was use to seeing him in, the mechanic's clothes were clean for once.

"Hmgh," Goreman grunted with a nod. There were two glasses in is hand, and a bottle of gold Terran liquor.

"Thank my lucky fucking stars," Sean hollered. The Altarian stared at Sean with a frown.

"I'll just leave you two alone," the Altarian said aloud, his physical voice more froggy than the one in Sean's head. Sean watched as the Altarian walked out of the room, the door closing behind him. As if on cue, Goreman began pouring.

"Where are we?" asked Sean.

Goreman grimaced.

"Aether?" Sean guessed.

Goreman nodded while handing Sean a drink. Sean removed the glass from Goreman's hand. It wasn't quality alcohol by any means, but the cheap burn in his throat and buzz in his brain felt good.

"Fucking Altarians," Sean groveled, his lips hovering over his glass. He paused for a moment, lost in thought. Finally he turned to Goreman who was wincing from the drink. "Wait, how did you get here?"

Goreman put his glass down and plucked out a canister of mint from a side pocket. He pinched a dab of the the chewing-drug and put it in his mouth. After swirling the mint in his cheeks a few times, Goreman tucked it under his lip before saying, "Hazmad."

"She asked you to come?"

Goreman nodded.

"Ha," he spat, "Moral support." Goreman shrugged. "I just don't trust these dragons. Even if Starcaller isn't what I thought he is, his outfit is suspicious as hell."

Goreman raised a brow.

"Not sure if I can associate with these guys any longer," said Sean while taking another sip of alcohol. "Maybe I'm not suppose to associate with anyone to be honest."

Goreman grunted.

"Hey Dale, what do they have you doing in Windport?"

"Alloys," Goreman said plainly.

"For a journeyman like you? It must be some pretty high-tech metal work they've got you on."

Goreman nodded.

"I'm sure advanced Hexisan alloys have all sorts of implications," said Sean while pealing a medical patch off of his neck. "Could it be used for anything useful?"

Goreman gave an unenthusiastic thumbs up.

"Cybernetics?"

Goreman bobbed his head.

"What about high grade armor?"

Goreman raised a brow suspiciously.

"This is all theoretical of course."

Goreman chewed at his mint like a horse eating grass, his eyes deadpan on Sean.

"Fine," Sean said after downing his drink. "It's not theoretical. Truth is Goreman, I want you to upgrade me."

Goreman continued to stare at Sean, his face blank.

"I want you to combine what's left of the dragon armor with my old Terran suit, and then reinforce it with your alloys."

Goreman narrowed his eyes for a moment while staring at the wall. He then looked back to Sean and nodded.

"Then I want you to leave with me. Together, we'll build me into a weapon."

"Hmm?"

"You heard me. I want you to make me a weapon."

Goreman cocked his head back.

"Come on Goreman. You and I are very similar." Sean locked eyes with Goreman. "Be honest. There's a reason you joined Exodus."

Goreman spit mint flavored saliva into his drink glass.

"You hate tyrants and bullies just as much as I do."

Goreman looked down and stared at his feet.

"You want what I want- vindication, recompense...justice."

Goreman continued to gaze downward.

"Come on Goreman. Let's do it. Help me become what I was meant to." Goreman stared Sean up and down.

"Listen, we both were HOV. We both," Sean stopped and smacked his lips together, "believe."

Goreman scratched at his head.

Sean dragged his stare towards his own fist, which was now clenched tightly. "This isn't the first time I've died." Sean's voice became heavier, darker. "I caught a glimpse of heaven once." There was a pause. "The Angels showed me. The idea was that I couldn't get in until I agreed to kill for them. Clean up their mistakes. Eventually redeem myself.
Tried it. Liked it."

Goreman winced at Sean as if he were staring at the sun.

"Help me get back to who I was. Help me strike down oppressors. Help me put an end to malefactors. Help me become...the Black Knight."

Goreman stood still. Sean wanted to gage Goreman's expression, but after such a confession, the task became unbearable. A few minutes of quiet passed. Sean leaned back onto his rubbery pillow and closed his eyes. He took several breaths to calm himself. He could hear Goreman stand from his chair. Sean expected to hear the exit door open. Then, unexpectedly, the smell of minty breath polluted Sean's nostrils.

"I'm in," said Goreman's scratchy voice.
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:03 pm

Counseling the Council
Ambassador Hazmad waited patiently in the emerald halls of the gemstone chambers. This would be her first time addressing the council without the assistance of Magnate Corrigan, whose conditioned had worsened within the last few weeks. She had foreseen this day many years ago, though the vision was not clear-cut. She rehearsed her opening address, practicing points and counterpoints in her head.

“It will not be easy,” she thought. “They will already feel betrayed.”

Not long after she was seated, a long lanky Altarian woman in lavender robes approached Hazmad, guiding her to the great Council Chambers. Seated across one another in the grand hall were over a dozen Hexisan Representatives of different shapes and sizes. The group scrutinized her with unquestionable angst. Hazmad remained calm, dipping her head into a half bow before the council members.

“May I present,” announced the Altarian woman in lavender, ”Ambassador Hazmad, representative of the Dragon Knights, and speaker of the great Starcaller.”

The council said nothing, continuing to bore glares of fear and anger at Hazmad.

“My friends,” Hazmad called out, “I come before you all with the greatest admiration and respect.” There was silence. “As you may know, recent events involving our field knights have helped shed light on a dark and devious plot.” Hazmad waive her hand, triggering the first of many prepared hologram images that appeared before each member of the Council. The picture illustrated a human known as Weller, donned in amethyst armors, speaking with Altarian Elder, Cavistaun, amongst the confines of gambling hall. “During a recent diplomatic mission, our agents were able to discover that your associate, Union Seat Holder Cavistaun, has been assisting in a plot ran by your once beloved Malodash.” Whispers and gasping echoed throughout the room. A brawny Ullitor with a white beard and gray robes shook his head with disgust.

“Through analysis and investigation,” Hazmad continued, “we have determined that the Kaynar assault that slew Elder Cavistaun was in direct correlation with Malodash, as his clearance codes and psionic echo can be found all over the ship used to mount the attack.” A video pulled up from the hologram, showing the human knight, Weller, scrambling through a metallic corridor while firing his pistols behind him into a crowd of vicious Kaynar. In front of him, a sleek human female in matching armor fired an enormous scoped rifle into the crowd of feral beasts, while a robotic figure clung to the ceiling fidgeted with a security door’s interface.

“We have read over your reports,” an annoyed Novacon in orange robes spat, “and we also have read what you consider to be a manipulation of the decision makers.”

“Good,” Hazmad said with a slight smile. “I’m glad to see our efforts to compile information are not going unnoticed.”

“These reports are not only going unnoticed,” a female Balidar in white gowns cut in, “but they are boldly disturbing.”

“Yes,” Hazmad confirmed, “I can see where being manipulated by the overpowering will of these traitors may be concerning, but I assure you, Starcaller has confirmed that you are no longer under any influence.”

“And how are we to know we aren’t just under the influence of the dragon?” asked a white haired human in a black form fitting suit. His tone was smug and challenging.

“We warned you,” said the filtered voice of a masked Rasari woman as she stood from her seat. “We warned all of you that following the lead of the Altarian Elders without challenge was foolish if not dangerous.”

“Oh not that again,” sighed a female Novacon in gold.

“She did warn you,” called out the synthetic voice of an Elashani mechanical suit.

Outrage poured out, and the group began to break into smaller, more brutal conversations. Hazmad waited patiently for the group to calm down. After several minutes of bickering, a loud warning beeped from the speakers above, helping calm the verbal storm.

“Friends,” Hazmad apologized. “I did not come here to create chaos. In fact, tit is my fear that disorder and confusion is exactly what the masterminds of this plot wish for.”

‘Then what is it,” said an ivory colored Naga with a slither of her tongue, “that you have come here for?”

“The Hexisan Council has its hands full. The Dragon Knights understand that taking an aggressive stance against everything you’ve recently implemented would create panic and uncertainty within the Hexisan people. However,” Hazmad paused, “if you would perhaps grant the Dragons a warrant to investigate suspicious circumstances surrounding Elder Cavistaun’s death, we would discreetly search for answers as to who all of the conspirators are, and any possible end game they might have.”

“While keeping the Council free from blame if something goes poorly,” smiled a Solin in a fur covered white long coat. Hazmad replied with a smile of her own.

“Ambassador Hazmad,” said one of the bitter looking Novacons, “we have heard your plea, and will deliberate shortly. Let it be known though that if your investigation proves fruitless, or blackens the eye of everyone around you, we will hold you accountable.”

“I understand Counselor,” Hazmad agreed. “I only ask you to provide permission for us to openly look into the issue at hand. Without the proper tools, we are worthless to you.”

“Understood,” said the Novacon. “Now, if you would leave us to speak along.”

“Of course,” Hazmad replied. “I’ll give you all the time that you need to come up with a decision.”

But Hazmad already knew the decision- she had foreseen it. So, as the Ambassador marched out of the chambers, it was hard for her to conceal her smile. She began to compile a list of those field knights that she would involve in this important mission. It was vital that she chose the right personal, but who she wanted would be far more unpredictable than the verdict that the Hexisan Council was currently considering. Hazmad lifted her databand and called for her new recruits.
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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:26 pm

Lost Orbit: The Crash Site Chronicles

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PostSubject: Re: Behind the Scenes    Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:44 pm

Separation Anxiety


They’re leaving us my children. They’re going away and I don’t know where. What will we do about this? We can’t let them go. No, no, no- they’ll die without us. We must act earlier than we wished, no matter what our present circumstances.

I blame the Kaliharian. Students of the Way aren’t supposed to have ties any longer. Why does he care? What does it matter to him what my motives are? I’ve agreed to help. This should be the focal point.

Well then, we shall have to entice them. Sweeten the deal. Luckily for us, your Queen is the prodigy of seduction and wiles. I may just have the honey to lure these creatures. But first, I’ll need to retrieve them. It appears that we’ll need to prepare the vessel. Time is of the essence after all.
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