Tag Archives: Sivad

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-space: Awakening the Goddess

In transit, on the knife edge of time and space, breaking the light barrier with the Tilsworth-Cooke Drive, the Vanguard carrier Versailles leads a combined fleet of warships searching for the renegade Yaralu known as Kemetti. General Charles Avocet, the fleet commander, peruses images of wreckage from the destroyed cruise liner Avondale. Thousands of people looking forward to a relaxing getaway, snuffed out in moments by the whim of this great beast.

A fighter on patrol finds a trail similar to the one that led the fleet here. It is an FTL trace leading to the Fringe, possibly Ungstir.

“Nest, this is Fledgling Six,” reports the pilot aboard the Stinger fighter that’s running point for the Versailles. “My sensors show a polydenum burst residue trail aimed roughly toward Ungstir.” The general orders the navigator to plot a transit solution. In ten minutes, the drive should be powered up for another jump. Fledgling Six is ordered back to the Nest.

In the outer reaches of Ungstir’s system in far orbit of its sun, Kemetti keeps  his sensors active, looking for any stray vessels that might venture too far from the established shipping lanes.

Once Fledgling Six is back aboard Versailles, the combined battle group makes the jump toward Ungstir. Avocet orders a message broadcast on all subspace frequencies: “Denizens of Ungstir, this is General Charles Avocet of the Stellar Consortium. I have reason to believe the creature that destroyed the cruise liner Avondale may be in your region soon. Take all necessary precautions.”

Kemetti picks up the transmission and immediately begins to move further away from the system, watching as most traffic scatters to safe berths. He begins to consider his options before deciding upon a destination. Moments later, he wheels around and leaps into FTL. Towards the Line of Pain.

Some time later, the combined fleet drops to sublight in the Perseverance star system, where the remnants of Ungstir orbit. Immediately, fighters spill from the Versailles and start their picket routes in search of Kemetti. Nothing immediately shows on sensors. So the patrolling ships start scanning for polydenum bursts.

The patrols eventually come across Kemetti’s trail far away from Perseverance, and it seems to make a beeline for Parallax space.

“That’s interesting,” observes General Avocet as he reviews the latest trajectory projections for the creature. “Very interesting.” He prepares another message for transmission to Nalhom on an encrypted diplomatic channel: “This is General Charles Avocet of the Consortium starship Versailles. We are tracking a violent sentient starship that destroyed a cruise liner near Antimone. Our evidence suggests the creature is now en route to Parallax territory. I trust this may not meet with your approval. If you need our assistance, please advise. We have no intention of crossing the Line of Pain.”

Kemetti comes out of FTL at the Line of Pain and begins to race along it, moving as quickly as possible from his polydenum trail. A week is but a moment in the life of a Yaralu and he seems quite content from his last meal.

The Clawed Fist Fleet responds to the warning from the Consortium, dispatching a dozen warships – including a carrier – toward the Line of Pain.

Just outside Parallax space, on the edge of the border net, Kemetti continues his rapid, though sublight journey along the Line of Pain, heading in the general direction of the Ancient Expanse. He dodges through wrecked ships with surprising agility as he uses the line not unlike a fox might use a river to mask evidence of his passing.

Ur’soth Yok of Hatch Kavir, commander of the Clawed Fist Fleet carrier Slashing Strike, waits impatiently for the report from the sensors station.

The Huth reviewing the data hangs suspended in a chain-and-cushion seat, clawed feet dangling inches above the deck plate. His tail lashes back and forth as he swipes the sensor display to a great magnification, showing the nearest span of wreckage in the Line of Pain.

The faintest blip – a sensor ping from one of the Nalhom intelligence probes, reporting a vessel in motion, matching no known profile. Massive. He transmits the data to the Ur’soth, the weapons officer, and the flight deck.

Yokkavir studies the pulsing signal as it is traced in real-time. “Prepare to intercept and launch fighters,” he hisses. “And notify the Vanguard: we are tracking the creature. They must not violate our territory. We will deal with it.”

Beginning to detect approaching vessels, Kemetti puts his trust in speed to keep ahead of all but the smaller vessels. Moving laterally across the border, he makes certain to keep the interdiction net between himself and the Parallax so as to keep retreat an option.

General Avocet lifts his eyebrows as he reads the communique from the Nall.

His adjutant asks: “Shall we break off pursuit, sir?”

The general shakes his head. “No. We maintain a parallel along the Line of Pain until we’re sure the Nall have engaged the enemy. Until then, we do our best to give that monster nowhere to run.” He studies the map on one of his HUDs. A wave of his hand zooms out. He moves “north” a bit, toward the less-explored territory. “Our prey is going sublight now. Tell the Sivadians to jump ahead to these coordinates.” He indicates a spot that remains outside the Line of Pain but might cut Kemetti off on his path to the Ancient Expanse.

Kemetti picks up on one of the Vanguard sensor nodes ahead of him, and a tendril reaches out and snatches it. With a sudden change in thrust, he converts his forward momentum into rotation and hurls the unmanned device in towards Parallax territory before setting off again.

Rear Admiral Plimpton St. John-Crowell waits with implacable calm as the five ships of his fleet make their transit at FTL to the coordinates ordered by General Avocet.

During the journey, he has time to enter a new log while sitting in his quarters.

“I am grateful for the opportunity thus provided by the Vanguard fleet commander,” the rear admiral states into the mic. “It is my solemn vow to avenge those lost aboard the Avondale. I consider it mandatory, particularly because I accept full responsibility for prompting the massacre when our fleet dropped to sublight near Antimone. The fact that I was acting on orders is no excuse. I must live with their blood on my hands. I can but hope to die well trying to balance the ledger.”

Picking up movement in FTL ahead of him, Kemetti continues on course, as the sensor probe behind him begins to approach the Line of Pain.

The sensor officer aboard the Slashing Strike reports the detection of a sublight object roundabout where the redirected sensor probe is moving. Nowhere near as massive, though. Still, he diligently reports it to Yokkavir. The Ur’soth huffs, flicking a forked tongue as he ponders.

“Debris from the Line of Pain, perhaps,” Yokkavir muses. “Displaced by the beast, possibly. But this entire episode could be a ruse of the Vanguard to find a way to get close to the Line of Pain and skirt our defenses.”

He orders a third of the fleet contingent to intercept the sensor probe. The rest remain on a course matching Kemetti.

Kemetti does not change his course, still awaiting whatever lies in store ahead of him.

What lies in store drops to sublight adjacent to the Line of Pain ahead of Kemetti – five Sivadian Navy vessels, including the carrier Lafayette, which immediately unleashes a dozen fighters while battleships Winston and Manchester lock their main guns on the Yaralu. The two destroyers, Corbin and Blackstone, move into flanking vectors as they prepare to engage Kemetti.

As the FTL signatures approach, Kemetti slows to be out of bombardment range upon their arrival. When they arrive, he cuts sharply to starboard, towards the Blackstone’s course and the interdiction net. No going back now.

Soon after, the Nall fleet drops to sublight on the other side of the interdiction net – with the Blackstone between them and Kemetti. Yokkavir is displeased by this turn of events, but orders fighters and accompanying Nall warships to engage the Yaralu. “If the softskin ship is damaged, so be it,” the Ur’soth growls.

As the Yaralu approaches the Blackstone, a pair of tendrils flash out towards the vessel,   but rather than attempting to ensare it, they seem to be engaged in a striking motion.

The Blackstone tries – unsuccessfully – to dodge the strike. But Kemetti now finds himself in range of the battleship guns, as well as plasma missile launches from the Nall fleet. All weapons in range are firing on the Yaralu, while the Blackstone is sundered in half in a burst of shrapnel and oxygen. As the assault begins, the Vanguard fleet arrives from behind Kemetti. The noose is tightening.

Kemetti seems almost surprised at how easily the Blackstone is destroyed and is forced to change his plan and direction. As he detects the missile launches, he cuts hard to port towards the main Sivadian fleet, drawing the missiles after him as his shields and body keeps the battleships’ fire off of them.

As Kemetti maneuvers, he also faces the onslaught of fighter swarms from three militaries as the Vanguard joins the fight along the Line of Pain.

It is a situation fraught with danger, as Nall ships, Sivadians, and Vanguard find themselves launching salvos at the Yaralu with little concern about the crossfire.  Missiles, rail guns, pulse cannons – the void is suddenly a chaotic miasma of destructive energy and projectiles.

The Yaralu leads those few missiles toward the main Sivadian force, but Kemetti himself is the hub of a wheel of destruction. And while most of those blasts are going to find their target, not just a few are catching allies and cold war enemies alike in the crossfire.

“Damn it,” Avocet mutters as he watches the threat board HUD swarming with bloody fireflies and blossoming spirals. “Even after that beast’s down, the Nall are going to have their blood up.”

Born in the vastness of space, Kemetti is in his element, with no need for cold metal between him and the space around him. His shields begin to fail as he leaves the edge of the interdiction net, however, and it seems that he may be unable to draw the fight into the midst of the Sivadian fleet in time. He has yet one more ploy open to him. With a strain of effort and thrust, he pulls up, taking a course parallel to the galactic axis where none of the fleets have moved. Once there are but a few fighters between him and open space, he engages his FTL propulsion. He might take a deal of damage on the way out, but the fleets below him might find themselves otherwise occupied.

“Oh, no, you don’t,” Rear Admiral Plimpton St. John-Crowell proclaims as he spies Kemetti’s escape maneuver. He stands at his command station and shouts: “Ramming trajectory, ahead full!” He aims to put the nose of the Sivadian carrier through the sentient starship’s belly.

Meanwhile, the Vanguard and Clawed Fist fighters continue to harry the Yaralu, peppering it with blasts – and occasionally slamming into each other.

“Jesus wept,” Avocet says as he sees the Sivadian commander’s maneuver. “Someone took the Avondale really personally.” He then orders all weapons to open fire. “Empty the magazines! Take that monster out!”

Spewing fluids from tears in his hull, the Yaralu has no time to await the arrival of the carrier from the rear line. He takes a fighter or two in the face, but it is better than a carrier in the chest. It isn’t pretty, and it isn’t fun, but the immense creature slips out of the universe, clawing for velocity.

The Sivadian rear admiral watches, powerless, as his wounded quarry slips away. To be fair, most of the bridge crew seem relieved that they haven’t succeeded in killing themselves with a kamikaze maneuver.

St. John-Crowell, on the other hand, looks gaunt and broken. Still, he smooths the front of his uniform jacket, tugs at the lower hem, and then transfers the conn to his second in command before retiring to his office adjacent to the bridge.

He sits in the chair at his desk, pulls a slugthrower from the drawer, puts the barrel to his temple, and pulls the trigger. Blood, brains, and hair splatter the rectangular porthole behind him.

“Break off,” Avocet yells, a command relayed to the fleet. “It’s over! Fledglings, back to the Nest!”

As the Consortium forces tear away from the battleground, leaving wreckage from two empires – and bits and pieces of Kemetti – Yokkavir observes from the bridge of the Slashing Strike. His jaw falls open, hissing in amusement. “The Goddess slumbers no longer,” he whispers. “Send word to the Vox: Consortium forces violated the Line of Pain and engaged our glorious warriors in their attempt to destroy that ridiculous creature. Let’s see how she feels about this violation of our sovereignty.”

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[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-space: A Very Large Spike

On board the Avondale, there is panic as the passengers realize the thing that has ensnared them is leaving Antimone. More than a few feel that the creature will no doubt consume them once it has reached its destination. One passenger, though, remains calm. He’s seen worse. James McCrane, formerly of the Vanguard’s top special forces units, begins to put a plan of his own into motion. Making his way to an airlock, he grabs a spacesuit. Starting to put it on, he grumbles to himself. “Thought I’d put this shit behind me when I retired, but nooo. Some friggin’ space whale has to put me on the menu. Fuck that noise.” he says, securing a rifle to his back and grabbing the helmet. “Yippe kai yay.” he says as he snaps it in place and heads for the outer airlock door, grabbing a set of tethers and climbing hooks on the way. “If that thing thinks it can have ME for lunch, it’s in for a huge case of indigestion.”

Once he feels safe in the vastness of the interstellar void, Kemetti drops out of FTL, beginning to squeeze the hull of the passenger liner in an attempt to break it into more manageable pieces for easier consumption.

James slaps the open button on the airlock as the ship begins to groan around him. “Damn it…” he mutters, hooking up a tether and climbing out of the airlock and onto the hull. He starts to make his way as fast as possible to one of the tendrils surrounding the ship, and then the purpose of the climbing hooks is revealed as he slams one into the tendril, hooking onto it as he looks towards their source. In that direction he begins to climb.

The Yaralu takes little to no notice of the climber as he rends the Avondale in two, heedless of the silent, vacuous screams of the passengers. He begins to shovel pieces of the vessel into his massive, gaping maw. While James may choose to go that route, he might also find a tremendous  crack in Kemetti ‘s shell along the back, an ancient, jagged scar, a testament to some titanic battle, long ago.

James watches as the liner is ripped in half, shaking his head inside his helmet. He then looks back towards Kemetti. “That tears it you son of a bitch. We’re on Eastern Pain Time, and it’s James O’ Clock.” With that, he increases his pace, noting the scar, and heading for it as best he can. “You think we’re insignificant, and below you. Time to find out just how significant we can be.” he says to himself, and the more he speaks, the more he builds to a white hot rage.

Kemetti pauses in his meal for just a moment as he picks up the transmission from the soldier’s suit, but only for a moment. “You are not the first to try and slay me, nor the greatest,” comes the reply in James’ ears. He resumes his feeding, not making any move to impede the humanoid’s progress.

Upon closer inspection, one can see that the scar was once closed off with a gargantuan metal door, which has now been damaged, jammed into a half-open position.

“Famous last words. Heard ’em plenty of times.” James grunts, reaching the door. Unslinging the rifle from his back, he readies it, and flips on a light mounted under the barrel. Shining it within, he looks for any immediate hazards before he attempts entry.

As James looks within, he sees a cavernous landing chamber. This massive chamber is supported by the grey-green bones of the Yaralu that houses it. It seems to be separated into sections, one a landing area for incoming vessels, the other a huge cargo warehouse with mobile units capable of retrieving the catalogued units of cargo in minutes. The cargo area now has little stored in it, and the mobile units do not seem to be active. The entrance from space has had an airlock built into it that seems eons old, and is rent from some ancient impact. The opening is narrow, a scar that runs across the rear, dorsal end of the creature, allowing ships to slip through. The floor is made of a hard, grey material, nerveless and useable for construction. It seems to have been flattened and polished by the long-gone residents of the tremendous creature over the centuries. At the far end from the lock is a wide aperture that opens up into the main habitable areas of the life form. Tangler cannons are spaced out at varying points within the body of the creature so that in the public areas, at least two can be trained on any individual at any time.

James takes note of the tangler cannons, but at this point, he doesn’t care much. He starts his climb down, and upon reaching the floor, starts to make his way across the floor, keeping a close eye on the tangler cannons. Seeing as his comm might give away whatever he plans, he switches it off, but even then, keeps silent as he heads for the doorway into the main area.

A wide, long passage runs beneath the gargantuan spinal column of the Yaralu, with webbing stretching down from the ceiling to hold up the floor. The grey material of the floor that allowed vendors to build stalls and shops along the twisting, winding paths that stretch out from a wider street that runs straight from one end of the cavern to the other. The chamber’s floor dips in the middle, like a valley, allowing the beings traversing the main thoroughfare to see the sellers farther down the back alleys. Mobile units block the entrance to the control center at the fore end of the massive Yaralu, while tunnels wind down from the market to the chambers below. Hanging from the ceiling are huge baskets overflowing with plant life that droops down nearly to the roofs of the shops below. Lights are hung from these swaying tendrils to make up for the light blocked by the hanging gardens. Lotorians may have occasionally made their homes in the vines and branches that extend down from above. While this may once have been a bustling market, it now lies in ruins, apparently unused for centuries.

James drops down to one knee, rifle at the ready, as he takes the light and slowly surveys his surroundings. The heavily guarded area draws his attention, and he studies just what all is defending it, and in his mind, sizing up his chances.

The two mobile units are tall, humanoid figures, but faceless. They resemble Aukami in build, and have no obvious weapons. They stand perfectly still and inanimate at this time, as if awaiting the will of the mind which controls them. Above them, two tangler projectors protrude from the wall, as they do in many locations throughout the creature’s interior. Apparently, the gravity plating is still active, tied into the beast’s power generation systems.

James looks down to the floor, noting that gravity is still active. “Must be getting power from… somewhere…” he says, his eyes widening a bit. “Power…” he mutters, and begins to flash the light around the room, looking for anything that might carry power through the area.. especially to those tangler guns.

The cells that carry power likely run beneath the dead tissue that makes up much of the structure here.  There are gravity generators in corners of the chamber, tied into nodes which might appear to be enormous nerve endings. “Find what you seek?” the voice asks in James’ helmet.

“Your head on a spike?” James says, flipping his comm back on. “Nope, not yet.”

“That would be a large spike,” comes the reply. A joke?

James permits himself a smirk, but continues to study the area. Particularly, a spot where he may be able to shoot, and possibly short circuit, the power to this area.

There are glowing globes that float in the air above, giving light to the area, and the gravity generators appear to be tied into the nervous system. Other than that, there seems to be no other power systems here.

James continues to think, and finally, mutters to himself. “Never claimed to be the smart type, but even if I don’t make it out of this thing alive, at least I’ll have done something for the lives it took.” he says, his expression becoming stern. Opening a pocket on his space suit, he pulls out two grenades. Holding one in each hand, he flicks the pins, and tosses one each at the mobile units, hoping with luck to breach the door and take them out at the same time. As the grenades sail towards their targets, he regrips the rifle, and begins to fire at anything that looks important to him.

The floor shudders as the grenades obliterate the two mobile units, and rip into the “door” they had been guarding, leaving enough space for James to enter. Even so, tangler projecters begin to come to life, and several immediately begin to open fire on the irritation, the immune system attacking a foreign body. “That was unwise,” Kemetti’s voice says in James’ ears.

“Unwise perhaps, but accomplished what I hoped to do.” James says, springing to life, and hoping the Teflon in the space suit might provide some protection to get into the chamber beyond. The rage returns, and he runs with all his might.

Some of the tangler material does slide off and James does make it past the door, but there are tangler cannons within as well, so James winds up running into a faceful of webs that restrains him just within the doorway.

Six bony tiers funnel down to the control matrix of Kemetti, found near the massive creature’s brain. A mobile unit sits in the middle of the chamber, capable of controlling the functions of the vessel from the banks of control panels that surround it. Weapons, Engineering, and Navigation: they are all controlled from here. A viewscreen has been installed, as well as an aging holo-projector, to show what is outside the Yaralu to any of her residents who might have access to the control room.

All that can be seen outside besides the stars are a few pieces of wreckage from the Avondale.

James struggles as the webs finally adhere. “Damn it..” he says, trying to break their grip. Seeing the parts of the Avondale outside is enough to give him strength to keep fighting. Into his microphone, though, he speaks a command. “Plan B… voice code McCrane Alpha 5 4 2. Arm.” He then addresses Kemetti. “Must make you feel pretty big, doesn’t it? The lives of those people meant nothing to you. They had families. Loved ones. People who cared for them.” he says with a snarl. “Though I figure it’s like talking to a brick wall with you, isn’t it?”

“Their lives would have ended soon enough without my intervention,” Kemetti replies noncomittally as space opens up before him and he leaps free of it into FTL. “As will yours,” he continues, “Though I have no particular need to take it, unless you create one. Do you intend to continue to do so?” Mobile units begin to appear nearby the doorway in which the soldier is trapped.

“A weak justification for murder.” James says. “I haven’t quite decided. Though you’ll be the first to know if I do.” he replies in a similar non-committal fashion. Though it seems he’s willing to maybe talk some sense into this living ship first. “A whale eating fish in the ocean, that’s nature taking its course. The whale doesn’t know any better and the fish don’t either. But these are /people/. They reason, they think, they are aware of themselves and their surroundings, as are you! You can’t use the excuse that it’s nature because you have a choice.”

“I make no excuses,” Kemetti replies as he eats up the lightyears ahead of him, “And by whom should I seek to be excused?”

The mobile units silently come to a halt. One of them begins to work on the webbing that has trapped James’ rifle, trying to remove the weapon.

“Let me put this to you.” James says, figuring at this point, the rifle won’t do him any good, so he doesn’t attempt to stop its removal. “It’s obvious at some point you had folks on board here. So what made you so damned callous to intelligent life?”

“They died,” comes the reply as the rifle is confiscated.

“Doesn’t offer much of an explanation there, bucko.” James replies.

“No explanation is owed,” Kemetti replies evenly. There is silence for a moment or two. “Your lives are short,” he says, finally.

“Short or not, it doesn’t justify your taking them.” James says. “I’m sure the people of that world would have gladly given you something to eat if you hadn’t come up all high and mighty saying ‘Feed me or die’.”

“From whom would I require justification?” Kemetti asks, “Your civilization will soon be gone, replaced by others who will select values of their choice, as yours has. “

“Like I said, talking to a brick wall.” James says. “Well, let’s just cut to the chase. You don’t give a damn about us, and after that display, we sure as hell don’t give a damn about you. Chances are, every navy between here and Earth will be looking to hunt you down, something else I doubt you give a damn about. That rifle you just took wasn’t the only thing I had in here.” he says. “In this utility backpack is a self destruct device, which I have armed with a voice command. One word, and it goes off. I’m pretty sure that we’re close to at least one major important part in here. I may not destroy you, but I’d very easily give those hunting navies a better chance of finishing the job.” James says. He then adds evenly, “Therefore, *I*  am the one from whom you need justification.”

“Your survival instinct seems faulty,” Kemetti replies. Suddenly, the room is alive with long, bony spikes, protruding from the walls, floors, and ceilings of the room to a length of six feet, a last-ditch counter-measure from the days when beings might have lived within Kemetti’s body. It is possible this is not the first time this has been attempted in 22 million years. “Mine is not,” he says, simply.

“Good show.” James says. “Not bad. Though it won’t dissuade me. Those might stop it…. or they might not. Hell, the radiation alone might give you the indigestion I set out to give.” he says. “As for survival instinct? I’m pretty sure that’s one thing you and I have in common at least. We’ve lived long enough, seen enough, we just don’t give a damn about anything. But if giving my life at least brings justice on some level for the innocents of the Avondale, then I’ve died a good death.”

With that, in an instant, one more spike erupts from the floor on which James stands with enough force to impale him from the bottom up. “Justice is a construct,” Kemtti says. To no one.

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