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Found 23 results

  1. I'm planning a new Claremont character, based mostly off TT's Douglock build. The story is that an AEGIS scientist/officer has a kid with insert-traumatic-illness-here (I'm leaning towards MS) and he stages a villain attack during a military demo/parade/something that shows off the base. He uses the cover of this to grab the Communion nanites stashed at the base and 'infects' his son, which leads to Douglockness. I'm making this thread to crowd-source some of the details and flesh out the concept a little more. I'm flirting with the idea that the kid is 'out' about being super -- he has crazy Tron-lines all over his body, it's hard to hide those. So he won't have a secret identity, but I'm not sure how this works with keeping Claremont's secret. He's not going to go around blabbing about the Wreck Room, but at the same time anyone looking at him is going to know that he's not entirely human anymore. The second thing I need to work on is his name. I'm honestly leaning towards Douglas Locke as his birth name. I like the connection with John Locke's philosophy, but it feels like it's a bit too heavy-handed of a reference. At the same time I need a supername for him. A big part of the character is his joy at being able to get around and explore after a lifetime of being confined to a bed. A name that refers to adventure and physical movement would work as well as a name about being a computer-man.
  2. I am putting together a thread for Corona and a few other Praetorians. This is going to involve shady spaceship dealers, space battles, assimilation, and the Communion. Any takers?
  3. Gizmo

    Incursion

    Incursion Incursion: Prologue Praetorians: Awakening Incursion: Three If By Space Incursion: Holding the Fort Incursion: Phase One Incursion: Blood in the Water A Lor refugee cruiser has become separated from the evacuated fleet! Can our heroes defend it from Communion fighters long enough to make it to safety? Featuring: Paradigm, Kharag, Deep Freeze and Seika Incursion: Meaning in Destruction The world-killer has set course for another world. The clock is ticking as our heroes try to discover why and escape with their lives! Featuring: Dragonid, Moon-Moth, The Traveller and Solar Sentinel Incursion: The Conquered Flesh The Stellar Khanate has been silent since the Communion first arrived in known space. Cavalier recruits blockade runners to find out the terrifying reason! Featuring: Cavalier, Eclipse and Rock Incursion: Opportunists and Opposition The remaining Star Knights are spread thin and pirate attacks have surged! But are interstellar brigands the worst our heroes have to fear? Featuring: Corona, Mechanized, Memorial and Galvanic Incursion: Backwater They came for a bounty but our heroes much deal with a corrupt sheriff, overcrowded refugees and rising tensions if they plan to make it back to civilized space! Featuring: Bliss, Roulette and Ruby Voxx Incursion: Phase Two The silent night of December 25th is broken by the arrival of a threat from the stars! The worst has come to pass and the Communion has come for Earth! With attacks on every corner of the globe the heroes of Freedom City must leave the familiar rooftops of their home city behind to defend their planet from utter destruction! Incursion: Stop-Thrust The members of the Freedom League organizing the defense of Earth from aboard the Lighthouse find that something is trying to turn their own weapons against them! Featuring: Comrade Frost, Fleur de Joie, Gabriel, Gaian Knight and Velocity Incursion: Drop the Needle The Communion's arrival has awakened something buried deep beneath Seattle's Space Needle and it might take three Erin Whites to save the day! Featuring: Cannonade, Cobalt Templar, Edge, Midnight II and Wander Incursion: That's Amore Dragonfly and Miss Americana have a plan for a defensive weapon using the Farsider's moonstone as a focus. The Communion has a plan to blow the moon into itty bitty pieces! Featuring: Dragonfly, Geckoman, Harrier, Jack of all Blades, Miss Americana and Willow Incursion: Uploaded to the Cloud As news of the invasion spreads and threats reveal themselves, a charismatic cult leader in Rio de Janeiro is on the rise! Dark magic or cosmic charlatans?! Featuring: Equinox, Ghost Girl, Nick Cimitiere, Nightingale, Phantasmo and Wraith Incursion: Spirit of the Blitz Communion needleship drones focus on the UNISON HQ in Geneva, which houses may of Earth's space flight capable combat craft! The Vanguard and their allies stand in the way! Featuring: Coiled Lightning, Foreshadow II, Myrmidon, Synapse, Ulysses and Young Britannia Incursion: God Squad Typhon plans to usher in the apocalypse by turning nanotech drones near the Naqada necropolis into cyborg versions of mythical monsters! Who ya gonna call? Featuring: Arrowhawk, Meatheral, Miras, Set and Sun Walker Incursion: Mind Over Matter The Communion's broadcast is laying siege to the psychically receptive minds of Earth! Our heroes use the Arecibo Observatory to meet the threat head-on on the astral plane! Featuring: Blue Fox, Hologram, Miss Grue and Nano Angel Incursion: Matter Over Mind While the psychic heroes fight the broadcast, their bodies are vulnerable! A second team must defend them against waves of Communion drones! Featuring: Fast-Forward, Grimalkin, Net Fly, Queenie, Silver Magus and Triakosia Incursion: Science Team Go! A computronium bomb hits the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia, converting everything it touches! Our heroes race to stop a grey goo scenario! Featuring: Asad, Citizen, Hronos, Maxima and Terrifica Praetorians: Ghost in the Machine Incursion: Phase Three While Earth has lay under siege the rest of the galaxy has burned with war. The Communion continues to sweep over world after world, converting most into horrific server tombs to fuels it insatiable hunger to expand its intellect and destroying others outright to create wormholes for some more diabolical purpose. It does not do so unopposed, however, as the Galactic Coalition fights back at every turn! Lor mentats soldier on shoulder to shoulder with Grue Arcane while Khanate pirates take up arms alongside newly awakened Praetorians in a battle for their very survival! They are outnumbered and overpowered but they have a plan. Legends are about to be born and one way or another the galaxy will never be the same. Incursion: Black Sheep For months Star Knight Kyle Steward has been a one man armored thorn in the Communion's paw. An ally arrives to help and catch him up on what he's missed in the meantime. Incursion: Red Five The Communion's machinations on Earth have been thwarted but the world-killer still looms near Pluto's orbit! Can our heroes destroy the superweapon before their home joins Lor-Van? Featuring: Argonaut, Cavalier, Geckoman, Hronos and Sun Walker Incursion: Merciless At the Coalition's secret base a final, desperate stratagem is being planned. It becomes much more desperate when the communed Star-Khan arrives to quash the resistance once and for all! Featuring: Galvanic, Paradigm and Rock Incursion: Troopers Behind enemy lines on a cyberformed server world our heroes must lead grudging allies from the Lor, Grue and more in an assault on a key communication relay before time runs out! Featuring: Corona, Eclipse, Roulette and Wander Incursion: Blockade Runners To get vital intelligence regarding the location of the Communion mothership back to the Coalition our heroes will have to fight their way off world and through an enemy blockade! Featuring: Bliss, Dragonid, Ghost Girl, Kharag and Wraith Incursion: Interstellar 66 With another world targeted for destruction to form another wormhole a risky deal must be struck. Are our heroes sure they're aligning themselves with the lesser of two evils? Featuring: Dragonfly, Deep Freeze, Ruby Voxx and The Traveller Incursion: Only Hope There's just one chance to infiltrate the Communion mothership and disable it from the inside, with the fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance! Featuring: Citizen, Mater Vyrdna, Moon Moth, Seika and Temperance Incursion: Aftershocks
  4. Outer edge of the Sol System The Communion's attack on Earth had been repulsed by many of the planet’s heroes, working alongside several military and extra-governmental forces. For the moment, the planet was safe. But the Communion's world killer weapon was still positioned at the outer edge of the solar system, barely held in check by the Freedom League and their allies. With reports reaching back to the Freedom League and Earth's heroes from the Star Knights about a fleet of Communion ships headed towards the Sol System, possibly to try to assist in getting the world killer free, it was decided that merely holding the world killer at bay was no longer a viable solution. So the remaining League members on Earth had begun gathering a number of volunteers to try to help destroy the world killer before the Communion relief fleet could arrive. The gathering of the various heroes coincided with the return of one of Earth's Star Knights, Kyle Steward, who had firsthand experience against the Communion's deadly weapon. Now, Geckoman was behind the controls of one of the League's Pegasus spaceplanes, flying a rather odd collection of heroes to help in the fight against the world killer….
  5. GM High Earth Orbit The Lighthouse December 25 th, 2014 9:40 PM Greenwich Mean Time (4:40 PM Freedom City) The last nearly two months had been busy ones aboard the orbital headquarters of the Freedom League. With so many of the senior league members off in space trying to help against the Communion, the work load for the remaining League members had increased, the team feeling rather stretched at times. The information sent back by the League members in space had done little to easy the stress of those remaining behind. As shocking as it had been to learn of the destruction of Lor-Van, what the Communion had done with the planets and peoples they did not just outright obliterate was perhaps even more horrific. But there had been little time to fully dwell on things, as there had been crises around the world and coordination with heroes across the world to try to be ready should the Communion turn towards the Earth. And then a few hours ago, the League members in space had sent a message back to the Lighthouse, stating that they had located the Communion’s world killer spacecraft, and it was heading towards Earth. The remaining League members on Earth had moved into action, contacting the various heroes they had spent the last two months connecting with and getting people moving to various parts of the world to prepare should the Communion make it past the League members in space. Freedom Hall had served as a launch point for many, teleporting them up to the Lighthouse, and then back down to Earth to the various League teleport locations that had been set up over the years. For a time, everyone had been so busy organizing things, there was little time for anything else. But once they had coordinated setting things in motion, there was little to do but wait for news from the League members in space, of for the Communion to just arrive if there was no one left to hear from.
  6. Amazri IV, formally Lor Space March 1, 2015 (Terran Calendar) Amazri IV had long sat well inside the boarders of Lor space, many light years from the contested area with Khanate space. The planet had long been a colony for the Lor, established in the early years of their expansion from Lor-Van. It had developed into one of the Republic's primary centers of industry and manufacturing, with vast automated facilities that covered the northern and southern landscapes of several of its vast continents. Most of the large cities on Amazri IV had been located around its equator, where lush green forests spread out around the cities before giving way to high mountainous zones. Now more than half its surface had become silver colored metal, and even from space it appeared as if veins of the silver metal were continuing to spread towards the rest of the planet. Amazri IV was one of the most recent Lor planets to fall to the Communion, the cyberforming of the planet still underway. A group of the Coalition's top scientists had determined that the cyberforming process provided the most direct access to the Communion's central data centers, with the least protections in place to prevent unauthorized access. In short, if the Coalition was going to learn the whereabouts of the Communion's mothership, it would be by gaining access to one of the central relays on a world being cyberformed. So a small group of Coalition forces were aboard a Grue stealth ship, making their final approach to Amazri IV. "We will be at our target location within ten microcycles." Stated Gur'ul, the Grue Metamorph in command of the stealth ship, turning back to look at the odd collection of beings that he had been ordered to transport to Amarzi IV.
  7. Lor Timemark 1329.8 - March 1, 2015 Garron-9, Garron System Trooper Ekna Veiu sat strapped into the back of the transport ship between a Lor mentat clone with a lantern jaw and a member of a scale covered species he couldn't name and tried to steady his breathing. He'd never planned to be a soldier but then the Communion had ripped through the Khanate, leaving the precious few survivors to flee or be turned into monsters. The Lor loved to talk about never forgetting Lor-Van but they hadn't been the only people to lose a homeworld and they weren't the only ones who'd wanted to fight back. Ekna was seventeen stellar cycles old; that had seemed like so long sitting around on his family farm waiting for his life to start, old enough to enlist with the Coalition forces, certainly. As the ship shook from atmospheric turbulence and he clenched his grey-green hands all he think about was whether or not he'd see his eighteenth cycle celebration. There weren't any enemy ships in the skies above Garron-9, at least. There didn't need to be. What had once been a densely populated border world with almost a billion inhabitants was now a solid sphere of computronium, a planet-sized server to add to the Communion's processing power. A billion people converted into raw materials and 'antibodies', the mindless, shrieking foot soldiers of the enemy. This was only Ekna's second deployment but he'd already gotten to see those up close and personal. They'd lost that moon but he'd acquitted himself well, getting his wounded sergeant to safety. They'd given him a commendation for that. They didn't mention the rest of his squad when they shook his hand. He didn't mention the night terrors he'd had ever since. That was how he'd ended up as part of one of four squads deploying to Garron-9 with a simple mission: fight their way through and take down a communication relay, in theory briefly blinding the Communion in the adjacent sector long enough for something apparently above his pay grade. Troopers didn't need to know the big picture, he guessed. He looked up from his knees and immediately regretted it as he saw the Grue strapped in across from him scowling right at him. At least Ekna thought the Grue was scowling. It was hard to tell with no mouth. He immediately looked back down regardless. Most of the other troopers were more experienced soldiers and most of them had experience fighting against those who were suddenly their allies. Tensions were always high but the calm before the storm was always the worst. Then again, at least he knew what a Grue was. Each squad had been assigned a commander for the mission, though Ekna got the impression the rank wasn't exactly official. One of them was a stern Lor officer with no patience for excuses; he'd met a lot of those in the past months. The Zultasian told a lot of jokes and laughed loudly, all swagger and confidence. Ekna had never seen anything like the grey skinned woman with the cybernetic tail, though, and even though the forth commander didn't look all that much older than him he'd heard some of the other soldiers say she wasn't really Lor but Terran and everybody had a friend of a friend with a horror story about a Terran. Ekna risked glancing up again to the back of the transport where all four of them were standing, holding onto handing straps and conversing.
  8. GM UNISON Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland December 25, 2014 10:50 PM local time Just a few hours ago, UNISON headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland had been practically deserted, only a minimal security detail and a few technicians had been on duty, the rest home with their families for Christmas. That was until Colonel Ellis had been contacted by the Freedom League about an approaching threat from space. In the intervening time, scores of UNISON personnel had been called in, the headquarters now abuzz with activity as UNISON personnel were reaching out to contacts in governments and militaries around the world, as well as preparing itself for the possible arrival of a hostile alien force. Over a decade ago, UNISON had shocked many world leaders, when it had fielded a small fleet of space capable heavy fighters, the Uni-Storm, during the Grue invasion of 2003. Since that time, Colonel Ellis had managed to hold off efforts to decommission the Uni-Storm, which mean that UNISON had under its control a majority of Earth's space capable combat aircraft. The pilots for the fighters were still being brought it, and gearing up and receiving briefings for possible sorties. The mechanics that had been brought in were working as fast as they could to get all the fighters ready should they be needed, with more arriving all the time. Things were much further along than if there had been no warning, but they still needed a bit more time before they could get all the Uni-Storm into the air. During the past few hours, a number of even more unusual individuals had arrived at UNISON’s headquarters, as a group of superheroes from across Europe and the United States had arrived to offer what assistance they could. With Colonel Ellis' former connections with the Ministry of Powers in the UK, it was only natural that the current members of the Vanguard were present. Also present were two national heroes from countries in southern Europe, Professor Chiron from Greece, and Stella d'Argento (the Silver Star) from Italy. A pair of heroes had also transported to Geneva from the United States, sent by the Freedom League to assist as well. Currently the gathered heroes were with Colonel Ellis in a large command center in the center of the headquarters, where UNISON technicians were tracking activity all over the world as various militaries began the process of preparing themselves for the possibility of an attack, and keeping an eye on the telemetry coming in from numerous satellites and radio tracking stations on Earth that were scanning the heavens for signs of approaching ships. "So as of right now, we need about another half an hour to have all the planes ready to go into combat if needed." Ellis stated to the gathered heroes. "We can probably have half of them up in about twelve minutes, perhaps a bit sooner. As for the military units around the rest of the world…well, they are trying to mobilize as quick as they can, but this is probably about one of the worst times for such an attack in terms of the number of personnel away from base with friends and family."
  9. Criminal Carter Bay, Florida, Terra One week before the Battle of Kesteven 79; Lor Timemark 1329.7 "Whaddya mean what do I want you to do with 'em?! They came to my son's house!" Anna knew she was screaming, and she knew she sounded like an old woman when she screamed, but for once in her life she didn't care. She'd tried for weeks to reach Basil after the fighting in Freedom City during the Communion incursion; and only now, pacing back and forth so fast she was burning through yet another bedroom rug, had she finally gotten ahold of her old friend. "They tried to kill my grandson! They tried to put their filthy stinking hands on my little baby granddaughter! I want them dead! I want their whole goddamned organization dead and buried in a goddamned hole in the ground!" Basil let her rant, like a good friend should, knowing what Clock Queen was like in a righteous temper. When she was finished, Basil broke in gently. "I'll do whatever is in my power to help you, my dear Anna." His voice was warm and soothing, the perfect veteran musician's calm, even tones. "I am not soley responsible for composing their fate, but I think I can persuade even their backers to dance to my tune for a while. But the question remains, Anna, what will you do for me in return?" His tone was serious, but almost apologetic, the same way he might have asked for repayment on money she'd borrowed from him back in the day - which now that she thought about it had happened more than once. "Certain things have never been tolerated in our organization - but of course we're talking about a third party. If I'm to move against them, I need to be sure that you can move with me the next time I need a favor." Anna put her head against the wall, palm flat against the bright green wallpaper of her retirement bungalow, and thought about her old friend's words, even as not for the first time recently she felt a great wave of unaccustomed fatigue. "Listen, Basil, I...I promised my boy I wouldn't get back in the League, and I meant it. It's important to him - and you know nothing's more important to me than family." She opened her eyes and caught sight of herself in the mirror across the hall. Jeez - look at me! Eighty years old, and she looked like a healthy woman in her fifties - a woman who was going to spend a long, long life right here in this bungalow if she chased Basil away right now. He'd better be right about the white noise blocking the line here. "But a deal's a deal. If you need a favor, a real favor...gimmie a call. I'm yours."
  10. December 25, 2014 In Shropshire, Daniel Frewer turned his head to the sky, wondering suddenly what lay in the heavens. In Osaka, Homura Kato froze on the subway, feeling a sudden sense of calm and tranquility. In Alexandria, Amir al-Khudari locked himself in his apartment and spent hours writing page after page about some coming revelation, the dawning of a new prophet. Across the world, a whisper was falling into the minds of humanity. A thought launched like a needle, to grow and take hold for when the time was right. But for some people, the whisper was more like a shout. National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center Arecibo, Puerto Rico 9:12 PM The Scarab meditated above the structure hanging suspended over the gigantic radio telescope. She had felt the psychic broadcast raining down on humanity, and knew what it meant. If people were being guided towards a certain thought, it would likely come with a hard suggestion - and one of the best places for that to come through would be a site aimed towards receiving messages from the heavens. Something had come through early, however. When she arrived at the telescope, she had found the scientists in a mad bacchanal, offering praise and worship to whatever lay beyond. She had tranquilized them and managed to undo the damage, but they were still recovering. Now was the best time to turn this force's tricks against it. She just hoped the others would arrive to provide a full counter-offensive.
  11. Lor Timemark 1329.7 - February 28, 2015 Repiuk System Asteroid Belt When rich ore deposits had been discovered in the asteroid belt of a system with no habitable worlds nearly a hundred and fifty years prior it had drawn in a rush of prospectors, independent fortune seekers and small companies looking to stake a claim that would set them and their families up for generations. As the demands of the galactic economy shifted and the best veins had been tapped out, however, the cost of refinement had risen past the profitability of the belt and one by one facilities had been abandoned, subterranean ghost towns riddling the asteroids with tunnels and shafts. Decades later those abandoned mines would serve as a base of operations for a vicious pirate fleet, their leader cannily realizing that the remaining deposits of heavy metals would play havoc with snooping sensor sweeps. They'd been found out by the Star Knights nevertheless and soundly routed, leaving another layer of abandoned equipment in their wake. It was Sri A'Lan Koor who had remembered those raids and suggested the belt, a remote location of no military significance or appeal to the Communion, as a staging area for the Coalition forces. For the past three months the secret had remained kept, long enough for the leaders of the Coalition to feel secure gathering together in one room as they planned out their last, best chance to drive out the invading menace. Standing at the war table the veteran Star Knight had to wonder if they weren't going to do the Communion's job for it. "You need to pull your head out of whatever orifice you've shapeshifted for defecation purposes," Senator Diena Th'emme told the Grue Arcane across from her flatly, fingertips pressed firmly against the surface of the horizontal display between them. The tall, imperious woman managed to make even the utilitarian grey jumpsuit she was wearing come across as regalia, her honey blonde hair done up in a crisp bun. "We have a precise window of opportunity. What troops we can spare to assault the communication relay will have to be enough." The short, stocky being to her made a fluting growl, waving fur covered hands for emphasis as his translator box did its work in an incongruously light soprano. "You would send them to their deaths and for what?" Minister Ch'rrr had rallied a number of worlds to the Coalition's banner in his home sector but was by nature disinclined toward risk taking. "The slim hope of a possible advantage for a doomed plan? Your ancestors' pardon, Citizen Tulink, but I cannot place so much faith in a single simulacrum. Surely you agree, Praetorian Val-Ren?"
  12. December 25, 2014 Walking about the Dubai International Convention Centre and mingling, Amir al-Misri would have been well within his rights to congratulate himself on a very successfully hosted conference. The science and technology summit - his PR people had come up with a more pompous title but it had sounded a little too obviously designed by committee to stick in the billionaire philanthropist's mind - had drawn experts in civic engineering, clean energy initiatives, information networking and a few dozen other equally impressive fields from around the globe. The chance to compare notes and show off the latest prototypes had been incentive enough but the sizable grant money being offered by his firm to the most impressive projects hadn't hurt, either. He wasn't left to bask in satisfaction for long, however, as one of his aides rushed over, his colouring pallid with stress, and shoved a tablet into Amir's hands. "Sir! Sir, you have to see this," the uncharacteristically disheveled man insisted, running a hand through his neat beard. "Some sort of weapon just made groundfall in the Rub' al Khali! It looks like- the data suggests it was launched from orbit. The payload... we don't have any idea what we're looking at, sir." The thermal satellite image on the tablet showed an aerial view of the Empty Quarter with a small, strangely cool blotch at the site of the impact. A blotch that was slowly but noticeably spreading outward.
  13. December 25, 2014 A ripple of tension had traced through the world's hero community, even those with few direct connections or who actively avoided such interactions with their peers. Something big was coming, perhaps already there, and the Freedom League was calling in everyone, every able body, to meet it. Details were scares and answers were scarcer but the apprehension of a soldier the night before shipping out hung over them all the same. That silent tension was broken as Asli Sadik's phone vibrated with a message notification, marked urgent with an attached video file. The compression had sacrificed some of the image quality but the hood, cloak and mask of Seven, a relatively recent addition to the League reputed to be a witch of considerable power, was immediately recognizable. The background was an indistinct blur but the urgency in her voice came through clearly enough. "Greetings, hero. My apologies for the intrusion but the need is great..." * * * * * "...great-whatever owed my great-whatever a favour and I'm calling in the chip," the porcine young man who'd identified himself as a descendant of Zhu Bajie told Daniel Lee as the grainy video played on the engineer's laptop screen. He snorted absently in a manner that wrinkled the entirety of his flat nose and hitched up his belt with both hands. "I ain't really got time to explain everything but I figure if I tell you there's adventure and demons to punch involved, won't take much convincing anyway..." * * * * * "...obviously the west bank of the Nile is a little out of the way for you," admitted Elwyn Eldrich, hockey jersey wearing nephew of the Master Mage, waving about a rune covered staff for emphasis, "but we're stretched a little thin here, frankly. Believe me, if I could leave the dread dimensions myself right now-- well, you know how they get around the holidays, I'm sure." As the video played the shadows in the corner of Jeremiah Cornwell's dorm room deepened unnaturally. "Now, can't keep the shadow portal I'm making for you open long..." * * * * * "...realize this is-- It's not how I wanted to do this," the stern young woman with Asgardian armor and a bow strapped to her back frowned, crossing and uncrossing her arms uncomfortably as John Fraser watched on his aging laptop's monitor. "But my mother always said that in a real emergency, you were the one I should contract. I'm sure you have a lot of questions - I would, too - but right now the world needs Arrowhawk." The video file ended and the gently spinning whirlpool of pitch black and midnight purple that had appeared a few meters away beckoned.
  14. December 25, 2014 South Pole Basin  Lunar Farside    It is not true that Farsiders never leave their city, merely that such events are rare and usually for a purpose. The construction of the South Pole station by Farsiders had been one such purposeful occasion, one launched over a Terran century ago by a Farsider monarch concerned about a recent Terran visit to the Moon. (Some Terran visitors to Farside City have pointed out that the Apollo missions took place over six decades later, but the Farsiders have the records of earlier 'interlopers' to show skeptical visitors of today.) With its neutrino detectors and concealed telescopes, the South Pole station is well-placed to directly monitor doings on Earth. Or for that matter, as Lady Lunar proved in the early 1980s, to strike at it.    A collection of intellects vast and furious on Earth had realized the station's potential not long after the Communion crisis began - concealed as the station was, it was the perfect place to strike at an enemy in Earth orbit by surprise. What had been a location for observation could become a location for misdirection; a notion that appealed to the ruling government of Farside City, which liked the idea of saving the world they orbit without their true role ever being known. (Farsiders do love their secrets!)   And so, for much of the last two months, the greatest minds of Earth have come to its only natural satellite with a singular purpose. To build a machine to protect the planet from the Communion! Steve Murdock had offered what advice he could during its construction, but his experience with dimensional technology was all practical. It had come down to Dragonfly's specific genius and Miss Americana's vast storehouse of general knowledge to put the great work into practice. Caradoc, and the other non-scientists in the party of heroes guarding the weapon (as Steve was not allowed to call it around his employer) had rapidly found another role in the small lunar colony.    Lunar soil ashy beneath his feet, Caradoc raised his gleaming blade to the sky, the shining tip above the heads even of the tallest Farsiders in their environmental suits. A new group of Farsider militiamen had been deployed that week - and their usual trainers were busy with an Earth-Prime holiday, an important one, but one that he could miss while Gina Evans was safely ensconced in the tiny pre-fab quarters that she had occupied for the last month. There would be time enough for celebration when the work was done.    He spoke over the radio.    "Your enemy will target your environmental suits first! They are not pirates, or conquerors, or enslavers. Your dead flesh will feed their ever-growing armies." He lowered his blade as the group shifted uneasily, and for a moment there was dead silence on the lunar plain besides the domed Farsider military base even on the radio frequencies they used to speak with each other outside the dome.   
  15. Outer Edge of the Lor-Van System 17 Hours After Destruction of Lor-Van The previous solar cycle's worth of hours had been among the worst in the lives of either Seikahi’ino or Ana Plonsky. On shore leave from the Xeno, the human woman had chosen to spend it on the shining crown jewel of the Lor Republic with the more worldly Kahi'iru agreeing to tag along as a favour to their mutual acquaintance to make sure she didn't get herself into any trouble. There was no way either of them could have been prepared for the Communion's sudden, merciless attack on Lor-Van. There was no way anyone could have been prepared. They'd been among the lucky ones, making it to a spaceport and squeezing their way onto a mid-sized cruiser just as the bay doors closed and it made for orbit. They'd sat on makeshift benches formed from empty cargo containers while a panicked young man had asked over and over if anyone had seen his sister among the crowd and a frail grandmother had been unable to stop an infants plaintive wailing for even a moment. They'd been in the windowless hold when word had filtered down that the Star Knights had arrived in force, a moment of sudden hope and relief before learning that the armor clad champions had sacrificed themselves to give them and the other fleeing vessels time to break orbit. They'd been there when the air had begun to taste just slightly stale and those familiar with starships had begun muttering that the engines didn't sound quite right. There when a crewman had let slip that they'd fallen behind the rest of the extant fleet and wouldn't be able to jump to FTL until repairs had been effected. There when the panicked young man from before had to be restrained before he could hurt himself or anyone else. There when someone asked aloud what was stopping those terrible silver sliver ships from coming to finish them off. On the ship's bridge, Samran-86 ran a hand through her tightly shorn red hair and reminded herself to keep her breathing calm and steady. The Lor officer had assumed command of the vessel from it grateful owner, a cargo hauler with no experience with emergency situations. The clone mentat known to her fellows as Eject was beginning to think he'd had the right idea. "Any friendly vessels, this is the freighter Either Ore. We are venting plasma and require immediate assistance. Repeat: we require immediate assistance. Is anyone out there listening?"
  16. Galandis Refinery Korivan The Khanate This seemed to be what he lived for, nowadays. He'd long since turned in his resignation at work. The guys at the aeronautics firm might have been willing to excuse his "long lunches" every now and again, but this was a different matter entirely. He had explained he was going to take a "sabbatical"; they acted like they understood, but he had a feeling that the position might be filled by the time he got back to Earth for any long stretch of time. If he got back to Earth. Sometimes, he wondered if he'd cracked. Here he was, alone, in the last place in the galaxy anyone wanted to be. He hadn't starting thinking about snails crawling along the edge of straight razors yet, so that was a point in favor of sanity. But there was still that urge, that drive. The need to do everything to the enemy that had been done to him and his people. He knew what lay down that road. But damn if it wasn't a tempting one to walk. Cavalier sighed. The personal reflection could wait. He had work to do. And so, he adjusted his visor to meet the swirling storm of dark silt, and trudged off towards his objective.
  17. Rio Branco Avenue Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 25th, 2014 5:25 PM local time Nick Cimitiere's jacket was tempered for heat and cold, meaning he didn't need to forgo protection - or mystique - based on the temperature. But the humidity of the Rio summer was still getting to him. The whole city was strung out for Christmas, but the tilt of the earth meant it felt more like the height of July back home. Speaking of back home... he'd told his family he'd be out of town for a few days, but would be back for Christmas. He always hated to lie to his family about these matters. Four years home from college, eight years as a superhero, and he still hadn't come clean about meddling in the affairs of life and death. But some matters of death were more important than matters of life. There had been a number of disappearances in Rio over the past few weeks. People from all walks of life had left messages for their family and friends, saying they were going to "a better place," and then had vanished entirely. Fortunatus, a local seer and fate manipulator who Nick had partnered with on a particularly tough job years ago, had given him a call about the matter. "The path is clouded to me," he had said. "I see that they are gone, but I cannot see where they have gone and who led them there. I fear this may be more your department than mine." "Anything else you can tell me?" "Just one thing. There are a number of 'great bumps' on the horizon." "Great bumps" was Fortunatus's term for a confluence of random factors that could spell either windfall or disaster. Nick had no idea where it came from. "I have one that I must handle myself, as it involves plucking the threads of chance like a harp. But I can see that these disappearances will not stop soon, and may breed a catastrophe of their own if unimpeded." And so, after spreading the word amongst the community and walking the back roads of reality, Nick had found himself walking a beat in paradise. Those who had gone seemed to be truly gone - after visiting their residences and the local cemeteries, he could find no trace of the vanished having left ghosts. Then again, he wasn't the only one on the beat. "How's it coming on your end?" he asked over the comms relics he'd handed out.
  18. Outer Reaches of Contested Space 38 Hours After Destruction of Lor-Van It was a truism that any seasoned spacer could have sworn upon: the heart of galactic civilization could be on fire, the proverbial wolf could be at the door and everything anyone knew could be turned upside down but there would still be someone willing to pay hard coin to make sure somebody else got what was coming to them. Since energy cells and starship parts hadn't suddenly become free, the crew of the Voidrunner had made their way out to the raggedy edge of known space, far enough out that nobody bothered to argue if it was technically Republic or Khanate territory, looking for a scumbag with a price on his head. Only this time the heart of galactic civilization really was on fire and the rush of reentry outside the airlock was starting to sound an awful lot like that proverbial wolf growling. Orbital traffic was ten times over denser than it should have been, packed with the ships of refugees who'd either thought they could avoid what was coming by running far enough away or who just didn't have anywhere more attractive to go than the dustball known as Ke'Pinree. Many of the vessels looked barely space-worthy; it was doubtful their passengers would be able to make it to the next closest habitable world if they were turned away. Once properly assured that they were there on business, a harried sounding woman with a thick provincial accent had cleared the bounty hunters for landing, directing them to was passed for a spaceport on her world.
  19. 0.5 LY from Stellar Khanate Borders November 2014 (Terran Calendar) Even under the best of circumstances, this was probably the last place most people in galaxy wanted to be. And then, somehow, it had gotten worse. With the knowledge that the Star-Khan had been made the new mouthpiece of the Communion, that raised an obvious question - what had happened to the worlds of the Khanate, that great cluster of wild, despotic states held so tight by Kinan Khan? Nobody knew. All state-run media, which at times could have made the North Korean press corps look like The Daily Show, was down. Traffic in and out of the sector, already sporadic, seemed to be shut down entirely. With half the galaxy on defensive footing, nobody really wanted to spare the resources or manpower to figure out what had happened within the Khanate. But just because nobody wanted to didn't mean that nobody should. Cavalier was blazing through the empty sector, keeping his eye out for surveillance satellites and Khanate drones. Intelligence said that they would be lightly cloaked but still discernible, providing minimal challenge but serving to signal the guys with bigger guns. But as far as he could tell, there was nothing watching this part of space. Which just meant he'd have to deal with the inevitable when it came. After the push at Lor-Van, he'd had... well, he could be charitable and call it "a rough time." Once Seven had managed to drop him off somewhere near Citadel, he'd made it back to the planet for debriefing. The next twelve hours after that were... mixed. There had been screaming. There had been desperate attempts to sleep, the images of broken armor and blinding light seared behind his eyelids. There had been drinking to forget, and then glasses thrown against the wall because the drinking had done nothing. Somewhere after those twelve hours, he'd actually managed to pull himself out of the void and focus. He couldn't just curl into a ball while the galaxy bled. And that was when Mentor had come to him with orders - preceded by more bad news. "What do you mean the intelligence is gone?" "The attack that compromised my systems during the assault of Lor-Van left several prevalent agents within my system. They have been quarantined in order to prevent further damage. Until these agents can be purged, the affected data cannot be accessed - and, in what was likely planned, one of these subsets is all files pertaining to the Communion entity." Cavalier bit his tongue. The very fact that Mentor had been compromised was not a happy thought. He did not want to yell at the intelligence for trying to work around the cybernetic equivalent of an embolism. "So we need intelligence. Where do we gather it?" "What little we have unflagged makes tertiary references to machine gods and cybernetic archaeology - potential resources of note for down the line. As of right now, however, the best possible resource would be beyond Khanate borders. If the Star-Khan has been claimed, odds are several of his worlds have followed." Cavalier shook his head. "This really is the best idea, isn't it?" "I am examined several permutations, and this one yields the best results. Sri Steward. Your background has been extensively catalogued in my banks. I know you have some experience on border runs. With the Knights regrouping, we must make use of unorthodox talents, wherever they may lay." And the worst part was, he knew it was true. All of it. "I'm likely going to need backup. And not the kind trained to knock nicely before entering contested air space..." "We have already isolated potential assets. A meeting has been arranged..." And so, some time later, Cavalier was flying outside of the Horizon, maintaining vigil while the ship soared across the stars. He patched into the ship's comms. "All clear out here so far. How's it looking on your end?"
  20. November 10, 2014 A hyperlight signal crossed the vast interstellar network, ricocheting off Lor communications stations a moment before the stations were deluged by word of the apocalypse that had befallen the homeworld. Further and further out into the Orion Arm it went, passing by the populated worlds of the galaxy as it headed into a remote galactic backwater that held one insignificant yellow dwarf and a small system of eight planets. It hit the unmanned station the Lor had left in Pluto orbit decades earlier and headed in one last burst for Earth, passing by the Lighthouse and heading straight for its source - Archetech. In a darkened laboratory, Sharl Tulink arrived on his hands and knees, screaming. "NO!" Instinctively, he reached out mentally into the surrounding network, both the building's power grid and the computers all around him. The lights flared up at his command and the computers came to life, the primitive technology and raw naturalism of Terra a sharp contrast to the sterile, doomed world he'd left behind him. As the Terran computers booted up, Sharl fought the natural urge to dive directly into their systems and not stop running through that primitive wireless network until he reached the familiar confines of Tronik - but of course that wouldn't really solve anything, would it? Instead, he raised his head and got up off the floor - though of course being a holographic projection he'd only barely been on it in the first place. He reached out into the surrounding network of the city and called a familiar number. "Gina!" he called, remembering old distress signals easily enough. "Code 404!"
  21. Edges of Grue Unity Space Lor Timemark 1312.4 "Perimeter Vessel Theta-Theta-Gamma reporting all quiet," the Grue Metamorph named Dul'ce sighed, repeating the same message he'd been sending back to command twice a cycle for the entire duration of his posting. Cycle after cycle of staring at a field of stars, empty apart from a patch of asteroids or the occasional comet, lightyears away from anything to conquer or infiltrate or even just observe, just the arbitrary border of Unity controlled space past which there was simply nothing worth claiming. It was busy work of the highest order, that was the worst of it, Dul'ce reflected as he melted back in his chair, dejectedly allowing his form to become slightly liquid. The Meta-Mind could have easily focused on his thoughts, just like any of the Grue, if it truly wished to know what was happening on the frontier. The twice-cycle reports proved that it was simple bureaucracy, a tick in a ledger that no Grue would ever bother reviewing once it was logged. "Pull yourself together, Navigator!" a sharp voice barked, causing Dul'ce's outer layer to go spiky in surprise. The only other Metamorph on the vessel and his commanding officer strode onto the bridge, flanked by a pair of drones. Faa'et had taken to making his form a little taller and broader at the shoulder since his promotion and Dul'ce might have sworn his chin was even a little more square, though he couldn't imagine for whom Faa'et was making the effort. "I don't tolerate loose shifting on the Double-Theta Gee!" Dul'ce hid another sigh. The Unity didn't bother naming its vessels like lesser species and for good reason. Faa'et's attempts to give the scout ship a nickname were ridiculous, though the navigator never would have said so aloud. Just thinking that was about the captain would have been bad enough if Faa'et had ever bothered to read anyone's thoughts apart from his own. "Apologies, Captain. I was just finishi-- eh?" On the console in front of him a green dot blinked on, floating through nearby space before changing direction and heading toward them.
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