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  1. Kesteven 79 system Coalition Victory Station Imperial Year 0, Day 0 One way or another, Sharl Tulink had all of 36 hours in Coalition space before he had to be transmitted back home to the body waiting for him back in Emerald City. He had friends, family, a city to protect - and an employer who had high expectations about his report on post-Incursion Lor technology and its adaptability for Terrestrial purposes. He had just one last thing to do - to act as bodyguard for the woman who he hoped would be the next Imperator of the Lor Republic. He knew the Imperator's duties well enough from his early education in Tronik, for all that the Republic he'd learned about had been just a few centuries removed from its imperial days: the Imperator on the one hand had little power "reigning, but not ruling" - but on the other hand as the voice of the people against the state, as the symbol of all the Lor revered about themselves, and as the person who actually selected the ministers of government from the ranks of the Senate and the people - well, it all came down to how you used your power. In the first election since the Incursion, filling a spot left vacant after the old Imperator and its family had gone with the rest of Lor-Van, the question of how the Imperator's power would be used wasn't as easy to answer as it once had been. Sharl wanted Grand Nauarchus Bucklin Frankan to be the one who found the new answers to that question; and not just because he hoped that her election would be a stepping-stone to Terran unification and joining the Republic. The Lor needed to be strong again after the horrific things they'd lost, and from all he'd seen, she was the best candidate for the job. He took the lead as Frankan's party walked into their station quarters, scanning the suite with his internal sensors as a supplement to the scanning already done by the station's security staff. "It's clean," he said after a moment. "No listening devices or bombs - and I think the station commander left a box of sweets in the refresher." "She must be angling for a promotion," commented Frankan with a wry smile as she entered the room just behind Citizen. "Thank you, Citizen Tulink. As always, your work here has been invaluable." As the two spoke, Frankan's staff, almost all of them uniformed officers either in the Star Navy or in one of its planetary militias, were filling the rooms, setting up gear and calls, getting ready for the media presence they were about to encounter. It was tradition in the Republic that on Election Night, the candidates for Imperator shared the same space at the same time as a way of promoting amity (and as a way of preventing assassination attempts). This year, this election, this day - it was Coalition Victory Station that would see the two candidates together. A quick glance out the window (with the help of tapping into the station's external sensors) showed Sharl a three-dimensional sphere buzzing with spaceships, a volume he hadn't seen since the end of the Incursion - military vessels armed to the teeth to prevent another attack, civilian ships, Grue Individuality vessels with their usual hodgepodge of designs, and countless others. Between the press, the spectators, and the parties of the two candidates, the interior of the station was packed to the gills even beyond its usual large population. It was going to be a busy day and a half.
  2. Nameless District ('Bugtown') Location: Coalition Victory Station, Kesteven 79 After the Nameless were exposed during the Incursion three Terran years ago, the enigmatic cyborgs had to face the reality that no one trusted them, even after several of them aided the fledgling Coalition during the fighting. But it soon became clear that, due to the insidious way they'd wormed their way into the very fabric of the Republic, it would be far easier to come to some sort of terms with them than try to root them out. One of the terms that was negotiated was that the Nameless had to turn over all the illegally obtained goods they'd acquired over the years, including any property held on any Lor worlds. Not every agent did this, of course, or they only turned over some and kept others hidden. But overall, the effect left nearly a thousand sentient creatures effectively homeless. When the Communion mothership was being converted into Coalition Victory Station, it was decided that an area should be set aside for their use, and so a large section was chosen near the waste treatment facilities. It was chosen for two reasons: one, the presence of so much decaying matter created large quantities of methane, the natural atmosphere of the Nameless pilots, and two, no one really liked or trusted the enigmatic creatures, so metaphorically sticking them in the ship's posterior seemed very appropriate. However, the Nameless don't really mind; as a hive species, they have no issues with cramped quarters, and being tucked out of sight and out of mind in a way gave them a lot of freedom. 'Bugtown', as this enclave is often called, is divided between three decks, locally referred to as 'the Market', 'the Lower Berths' and 'the Hives'; each area serves a specific function, and feels very different from the others. The Market is a maze-like area set aside for the Nameless shells to both stretch their legs and interact with other races; it features small nightclubs, restaurants, several legitimate businesses, and tucked away in the darker corners, a few 'specialty shops' with no names that offer illegal services. The Republic officially denounces this 'warren of vice and crime', while its elected officials often come here in secret. The Lower Berths are where the Nameless shells go during their downtime; each agent is provided a small individual berth, not unlike the Japanese capsule hotels, typically 2m x 1.25m x 1m, though the larger Tac shells often require special accommodation. While row upon row of 'cells' might seem confining to most Lor or humans, the Nameless do not find them so, especially since they spend most of their time in their berths either recharging in rest cycle or connecting with each other via telepathy or ShellNet, a powerful, private wireless network. Storage space for changes of clothing is provided in each berth, while shell cleaning and maintenance are done in large public sanitary stations. The Hives are kept far from the sight of other races; it is here that the Nameless pilots may come out of their shells to mingle freely among their hivemates in large, deep chambers full of methane gas. There are three sets of chambers here, but one currently goes unused, because the Third Hive went into hiding after the Nameless were exposed during the Incursion, though it still awaits them if they ever chose to claim it. The Tertians and their queen are currently in parts unknown somewhere within the Republic, posing a constant threat. The Hives are also used for reproduction and the rearing of the young prior to them receiving their first shell. The two queens who are currently in residence are under constant monitoring and protection for their own safety. Note: Nameless shells are not produced anywhere on CoVic Station; they are assembled at a remote facility somewhere in Lor space, the location of which is one of the most tightly guarded secrets in the galaxy.
  3. Power Level: 10 (150/150PP) Tradeoffs: +0 Toughness/-2 Defense Unspent PP: 0 In Brief: Alien cyborg with telepathic and technopathic powers Alternate Identity: ditra055diplo Identity: Public Birthplace: Somewhere in Lor space Occupation: Diplomat and politician Affiliations: Second Hive, the Coalition, the Praetorians? Family: Hundreds of hive mates Description: Age: 10 Gender: Female shell Race: Nameless (Diplomatic model) Height: 170 cm Weight: 55 kg Eyes: Golden Hair: Green Skin: Green Ditra is a very pretty Nameless agent of the Diplo class, marked by green skin and green hair, which she currently wears short. Due to the nature of her robotic body, she has few physical needs, so she tends to dress in simple yet flattering jumpsuits in gray, white or black, which offer little protection from hostile environments or attacks. She does own an older EVA suit that she keeps in her luggage in case of emergency. History: Ditra is a Nameless agent, one of hundreds chosen to serve her race's long-term plan to infiltrate and overthrow the Republic from the inside. But the Fifty Year Plan, which had somehow not been completed in nearly two hundred years, quickly became obsolete once the first agents were exposed in the early stages of the Communion Incursion three Terran years ago. Like the rest of her race, Ditra had to adapt to a radical new situation, and she was as surprised as anyone else to find herself fighting alongside the 'marks' in what would come to be called the Coalition. But she has always liked the Lor, and never specifically wished them any ill will, so maybe it should have been less of a shock. She served with distinction throughout the conflict, even receiving the grudging respect of members of other races. With the fighting over, Ditra registered herself along with the other more or less law-abiding agents, and looked into finding some sort of gainful employment on CoVic Station; she did a number of odd jobs, including security, labor negotiations and working in the various markets throughout the station. One day she was approached by members of her hive about possibly serving on the Coalition council as a representative for the Nameless; they pointed out that she was a popular agent, and her distinguished war service meant that she was already known outside the hive. After much consideration, she agreed to having her designation placed on the ballot, and was shocked to find that she'd won the election by a significant number; she now suspects there was some sort of tampering that guaranteed her victory. Despite (or perhaps because) of the way she came to her position, she takes it very seriously, and she sincerely wants what's best for her people, even though no one can agree on what that truly is right now. Personality & Motivation: Ditra Fifty-Five was, like all Diplomatic units, designed, bred, cloned, assembled and programmed specifically to be likable, helpful and attractive to the Lor. Yet even if one knows this, it's hard not to like her; she's pretty, warm and charming, and genuinely wants to serve both her race and the Coalition as a whole. She's very much aware of how most races see her kind, and will freely acknowledge their concerns; she knows that will have to work very hard to earn anyone's trust, and that even then, a single careless word or action can bring it all crashing down. But all is not so serious for this young sentient; she is very curious and loves to learn things, and finds other races and peoples to be fascinating. She also loves playing the elaborate videogames her people design, and spends much of her free time in highly competitive gameplay Powers & Tactics: In terms of offense, Ditra really only has one weapon: the powerful blaster built into her right forearm. But to think this is all she brings to the table is to sell her short; her communication capabilities are considerable, and her databanks hold a tremendous amount of information, which make her an ideal investigator, interrogator or negotiator. Complications: The Nameless Peril: Ditra is a member of one of the least trusted races in the galaxy, and is frequently the subject of considerable prejudice. A Bit of a Snoop: Ditra is both naturally curious and a telepath; she may have a hard time resisting peeking into someone's mind, even if they're a friend. For Love of the Game: Like many Nameless agents, Ditra is a bit of a videogame addict, and may be distracted from time to time by gameplay in her head. Domo Arigato, Mistress Roboto: Though her body contains several biological components, it is still mostly robotic, and thus is susceptible to powers or devices that affect technology. Horrible, Horrible Freedom!: If her centipede-like pilot is ever pulled out of her shell, Ditra would be terribly exposed. A Sense of Duty: As an elected councillor of the Coalition, Ditra takes her duties very seriously, which may lead to moral conflicts over where her loyalties lie. Abilities: 0 + 6 + 0 + 10 + 4 + 8 = 28PP Strength: 10 (+0) Dexterity: 16 (+3) Constitution: 10 (+0) Intelligence: 20 (+5) Wisdom: 14 (+2) Charisma: 18 (+4) Combat: 16 + 12 = 28PP Initiative: +3 Attack: 6, Melee +6, Ranged +6, Unarmed +6, Blaster +10 Grapple: +16 (+10 Str, Attack 6) Defense: 8 (+8 Defense), 4 Flat-footed Knockback: Saving Throws: 0 + 8 + 5 + 8 = 21PP Toughness: +10 (+0 Con, +4 Defensive Roll, +6 Protection) Fortitude +8 (+2 Con, +8 Enhanced Con) Reflex +8 (+3 Dex, +5) Will +10 (+2 Wis, +8) Skills: 60R = 15PP (*Skill Mastery) Bluff 6 (+10)* Computers 5 (+10) Diplomacy 11 (+15)* Gather Information 6 (+10)* Knowledge (Behavioral Sciences) 5 (+10) Knowledge (Civics) 5 (+10) Knowledge (Galactic Lore) 5 (+10) Notice 3 (+5) Perform (Oratory) 6 (+10) Sense Motive 8 (+10)* Feats: 7PP Benefit: Diplomatic Status Defensive Roll 2 Eidetic Memory Jack of All Trades Skill Mastery (Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Sense Motive) Well-Informed Powers: 24 + 9 + 3 + 18 = 54PP Standard Diplomatic Shell [24PP] Comprehend 3 (Read, Speak and Understand any Sapient language) [6PP] Features 3 (Internal Compartment, Internal Computer, Iron Stomach) [3PP] Immunity 9 (Life Support) [9PP] Protection 6 [6PP] Communications Package (ComPac) [9PP] Base Power: Mental Communication 5 (Extra: Subtle) [6PP] AP: Datalink 5 (Radio-based, Extra: Subtle) [1PP] AP: Mind Reading 10 (Extra: Subtle, Flaw: Limited to Surface Thoughts Only) [1PP] AP: Radio Communication 5 (Extra: Subtle) [1PP] Sensory Package (SensPac) [3PP] Super-Senses 3 (Mental Awareness, Radio) [3PP] Tactical Package (TacPac) [18PP] Blast 8 (Extra: Accurate 2) [18PP] Drawbacks: (-3) = -3PP Weakness (Requires Radioactive Materials, Frequency: Common, Intensity: Moderate [cumulative -1 penalty on all checks, attack rolls and Defense]) [-3PP] DC Block ATTACK RANGE SAVE EFFECT Blaster Ranged DC 23 Tough Damage Mind Reading Perception DC 20 Will Read Surface Thoughts Abilities 28 + Combat 28 + Saving Throws 21 + Skills 15 + Feats 7 + Powers 54 - Drawbacks 3 = 150/150 Power Points
  4. THE NAMELESS (aka ‘Bugs’) The Nameless are a bioengineered race that was designed for infiltrating galactic empires and systems such as the Lor Republic; they were modified so long ago, they barely remember their homeworld, though they do tell the story of how they turned on the race that created them (known only in legends as ‘the Harvesters’) to win their freedom. The Nameless successfully lived within the Republic for almost two hundred years, slowly plotting and accumulating wealth and power before they were discovered, but by that time, though their numbers were small, they held powerful positions throughout all layers of society, and a purge might be catastrophic. So an uneasy peace was negotiated, with all known Nameless agents relinquishing their holdings and revealing themselves to the Republic. Though they will never be fully trusted, the Nameless have since proven themselves to be loyal and hardworking…at least as long as someone is watching. And of course, not every agent revealed their identity. A Nameless agent consists of two parts, a ‘pilot’ and a ‘shell’. The pilot is a dark chitinous creature like a centipede as thick and as long as a human arm, with a long venomous spike for a tail; they were originally a hive species come from a high gravity planet and breathe methane, as well as requiring trace amounts of various toxic elements to survive. The pilot coils it up in the belly of a robotic humanoid shell that is physically indistinguishable from a Lor or other humanoid race (depending on the model), with a head full of cloned brain matter to help translate its alien thoughts into understandable speech and behavior; the shell also boosts the pilot's natural telepathic abilities. In addition to allowing the bugs to survive in a terrestrial atmosphere, the shells often contain hidden weapons or communication devices useful for their work. Among humanoids, a Nameless agent will eat regular food, which is allowed to decompose in a special internal chamber, providing the methane they need to survive; however the shell is also used to intake a bewildering variety of substances for trace elements, so it's not uncommon for a bug to be seen eating eggshells, old batteries or lint. This bizarre diet has been the source of much interspecies humor, not all of it polite. It should also be noted that a pilot can abandon its shell for another by climbing up the throat and entering the mouth of another shell; few outside of the Nameless have seen this disturbing Cronenbergian phenomena, and it is not a sight soon forgotten. It is also therefore possible for a pilot to use another's shell, in essence hijacking it; since most elements of the created humanoid personality are housed in the shell's brain matter, it can theoretically be very hard to tell who's really who when addressing a shell. Predatory creatures before the development of the shell technology, the Nameless still show much of their biological legacy; though they've developed a great deal of affection for the humanoids they've lived amongst for all these years, they still enjoy toying with them like a cat with a mouse, or pulling the wool over a rube's eyes. These tendencies have not gone unnoticed, and prejudice against the ‘bugs’ is very common among intelligent species. WHY ARE THEY CALLED THE NAMELESS? In part, it's because as a race, they have a flair for the theatrical, but much of it comes from their being a telepathic hive species. The Nameless had no name for themselves and no spoken language prior to the genetic manipulation by the Harvesters, and little concept of individual identity; each 'pilot' is only identified by a memory, the earliest mental contact they had with another sentient being that is almost impossible to translate to non-telepaths. When dealing with humanoids, it's just easier to just use the designation given to the individual shells; each model has one of a handful of names (Ditra, Zandar, etc) followed by an individual serial number from 001 to 999. THE FOUR NAMELESS SHELL TEMPLATES The Astrogators (Blue-skinned, 'Astros', 'Blues') - Masters of astrogation, technology and mathematics, Astros are hard to get to know; some humanoids genuinely dislike these seemingly cold individuals, who display behavior similar to humans at the far end of the autism scale. Not all use their skills for piloting, however; many are researchers, technicians and designers without peer. Astros rarely interact with the general public. The Diplomats (Green-skinned, 'Diplos', 'Greens') - Outgoing, friendly and universally attractive, just about everyone likes hanging out with Diplos; skilled in a wide variety of social sciences and experts at reading body language, these agents always seem to know the right thing to say. They can also change their hair, skin and eye colors to better fit in with other humanoid races. While they make excellent spokespersons and negotiators, many Diplos are wonderful doctors, therapists and writers. The Infiltrators (Pink-skinned, 'Infils', 'Pinks') - Shapeshifters and true masters of telepathy, Infils are what most people think of when they hear the term 'Nameless'; manipulative spies with changeable bodies moving effortlessly through the Lor population. Though their skills would seem tailor made for security and espionage, many Infils can also be found in the visual and performing arts, though rarely openly. The Tacticals (Gold-skinned, 'Tacs', 'Golds') - Huge and menacing, Tacs are the front-line warriors of the Nameless; built for strength and durability, most Tacs incorporate extensive internal weapon systems, and can frequently fly, shoot death rays from their hands and genuinely kick serious ass. However few of these giants are actually as fierce as they first appear, and their humble demeanor is a source of calm on the battlefield, though they also patiently toil in low-g factories and on hydroponic farms. NAMELESS HIVES To the Nameless, your hive is your family, a source of strength through belonging. As a telepathic species, they can connect in ways many other races can't, forming mental networks when in close proximity; these networks allow for the rapid sharing of information, ideas and feelings, and a powerful sense of connection. Hive mates look out for one another, to the point that refusing to aid one in need is a crime punishable by the mandatory destruction of a pilot's shell. However rivalries between hives are common, and they tend to methodical, Byzantine and very nasty. At one time, membership in a Nameless hive was purely a matter of biology; a pilot remained in the hive of its birth. But with the loss of most of two hives during the Incursion, including the deaths of both queens, there was a great deal of disorganization and realignment, with the remaining three hives absorbing the orphaned pilots. In time, the three hives began to take on a more symbolic and ideological function, with each associated with a particular moral and political philosophy, primarily based on how they chose to interact with outsiders. This led to a great numbers of members switching hives, until now they are more or less uniform in outlook, though of course every family has its black sheep. THE THREE HIVES The First Hive is the most conservative, and its members were the first to reveal their identities, turn over their possessions and swear allegence to the Republic; most of its members are currently Astro and Tac models, with a few Diplos and only a handful of Infils. They are very loyal and hardworking, and see members of the Second Hive to be either lazy or naive, and the Third to be dangerous radicals who thoughtlessly jeopardize the life they fought for in the Republic. The Second Hive is more moderate, typically looking to follow the 'middle path'; they appreciate the Republic, but see the Coalition as offering a very appealing alternative. They include a fairly even distribution of models, but somewhat fewer Tacs and Infils. While they politely disagree with the First Hive, they can still treat them respectfully, but they consider the Tertians to be a major threat to the all sentient life, and actively oppose them. The Third Hive is by far the most radical, convinced that the Lor will never fully trust them, so they'd best prepare for war or make themselves rich, depending on how idealistic or cynical they are in their philosophy. Thankfully the smallest hive, it has almost no Diplos, a handful of unbalanced Astros, a solid corps of Tacs and a lot of Infils. They see First Hivers as pathetic 'Uncle Toms', and members of the Second as cowards too scared to fight for their own race. Members of this hive are sometimes refered to as 'Tertians', or more dramatically 'the Tertian threat'.
  5. 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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