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Author Topic: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)  (Read 4888 times)

Trace Coburn

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Elsinore system, former RWR, 3085...

The natives had flintlocks, gunpowder, and basic agriculture.  They crowded into villages dug into the sides of canyons and cliffs, working their fields at night by torchlight.

Their ancestors had built cities filled with light, the sound of constant running of motors, but that was long ago.  In decaying orbits, silent and abandoned foundries and fabricators drifted in darkness, damaged and long abandoned.

But not alone.

TQF-146BM5D slid between a pair of shattered stations, these still glowed with the invisible hell-light of gamma induced particle liberation centuries old.

A good place, in other words, to hide from what pursued her.

drones detecting...ah.  There they are.  time to go silent.

A pair of McKenna class began their in-system burn, banging away with deep-radar, sweeping for Neutrino sign.

146 damped her primary fusion power unit, switching to the fission backups.  Can't find what isn't broadcasting, guys.

The enemy burned in-system, sweeping relentlessly for sign of the rogue Drone.

Her hull wasn't the one she had been built for-it was salvaged and repaired for one purpose-to defeat the Blakists.  They Had been defeated, as well... But who can count on human allies when the common threat is gone?  she knew better-knew it when the decap team came aboard to disconnect her and put her core in cold storage, to place the SLS Margaret Thatcher into mothballs with Orca and Tabiranth.

She checked her internal cams for the thousandth time.  The "Liason" officer was still drifting where he'd been left-in the portside missile storage cannister, scuttle charges still in place.

she fired rocket-based thrusters, and adjusted her position relative to the sheltering, long-dead, space stations.

Keep looking, there's one thing about space you seem to ignore, guys...space is big.




Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 04-02-2007, 13:03:07
Tabby's gone?  :(

Quote from: Cannonshop, 04-02-2007, 13:34:53
It's probably simpler to say Tabby no longer has free motion... the core is still intact, it just doesn't have a body.

Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 04-02-2007, 14:04:14
OK, methinks we need to talk, d00d.

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #1 on: 07 May 2017, 01:27:09 »
72 Hours...

The McKennas weren't giving up-at least, they weren't giving up easily.  the recharge on the "Crew drones", however, was proceeding apace, and Thatcher dispatched a unit of three to remove the body and disarm the charges. 

Oh, mother, where are you?  she wondered.  The larger warships moved with poor coordination-the sign that their crew were either inexperienced, or their Captains had a disagreement of some sort.

She contemplated as they moved through the system, hammering everything with loud pinging from their deep radar. 

"...we'll be back in a few weeks, your orders are to maintain a low profile unless something happens to disrupt the peace-talks."   Admiral Murakami's orders were clear enough, and the three remnants from the Pod sent acknowledgements- of course, a few weeks turned into a couple of years, and they had waited patiently.

Right up to the day that troops came aboard with 'experts' and shut down three vessels for "Routine maintenance".  as far as Thatcher was concerned, those three were still orbiting Luna, deactivated...



Wildman, Elsinore (Planetside)...

Sillin dropped the metal at the Doctor-Man's feet.  "Prove it." Sillin said defiantly.  "Prove it can kill without a hand guiding it." 

"Fool, the whole valley's cursed-Put 'im in his place, Doctor-Man!"  someone shouted from teh back of the chamber.

"Does the ball of lead need a hand guiding it when you fire a Musket?"  the Doctor Man said.

"No, but you have to fire the Glowin' Musket first." Sillin insisted, "Doctor-man, there's more refined metal in the valley than this-more than most of the men in this room have ever seen."

"You've seen it?" Doctor Man asked.

"I have.  I walked a road-not cobbles on a trail, mind you-a road so firm and hard that it could have been laid yesterday, across a bridge of metal that would dwarf this cave, into the very city of the dead, and I saw the burn..."  Sillin stepped forward,  "And I still live."

"Wait ninety sunsets, and we'll see if you still live, Sillin-Fool."


96 Hours...

The Battlecruisers seemed satisfied.  They deployed recharging sails, and prepared to jump out.

Radio traffic showed them recalling their auxiliary craft-fighters, dropships...

She ran on minimal power while they rigged up, and then...

They jumped.


Once they were gone, she restarted her fusion plant, feeling strength flow back in after days of silent weakness.

Hmmm...habitable planet, abandoned orbitals, looks like it might have been a major world once...  she aimed telescopes down at the world she'd hidden in orbit over.

Signs of orbital bombardment...old signs.  Minimal EM, patchy...hmmm...  she scanned carefully. 

Okay, there's where they had a spaceport, and there- hello, tilled fields, but nobody out...hmmm? Increase magnification...damn, those fields are maintained-but no sign of life...or of people.


Quote from: Euphonium, 05-02-2007, 04:00:01
Quote from: Headshot, 04-02-2007, 20:35:09
Seems someone made that old mistake again, trusting humans...  :-[
Well, with Devilin Stone trying to get everyone to disarm left, right and center it's no surprise he didn't want sentient weapons around regardless of how much help they've been...
« Last Edit: 07 May 2017, 02:02:40 by Trace Coburn »

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #2 on: 07 May 2017, 01:28:16 »
Elsinore Orbit...

As the stations drifted over to the night-side, she watched the landmass on broad-spectrum, she watched, and then...she saw.

Why do they only come out at night?  she wondered, there has to be a reason... she realized she needed to know what happened.  She couldn't explain it-it certainly wasn't logical, but she wanted to Know.

She swept the stations and defunct sats for traces and residues of power.

Well, it may be lethal to humans, but none of my drones are humans...and there are probably records in the more complete pieces.



Quote from: Euphonium, 05-02-2007, 08:00:15
Quote from: Cannonshop, 05-02-2007, 07:45:17
Why do they only come out at night?  she wondered,
Because when an angry "God*" is watching from the skies, you come out when you think it's harder to be seen.

*[Wrath] of God or HNPPC - can you tell the difference?

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #3 on: 07 May 2017, 01:30:42 »
On the Surface... 

Sillin looked up at the new 'star' in the sky, Has the demon come back?  he felt a slight thrill of superstition, then quashed it.  There are no demons.  Only men.  With that, he snapped the quirt, and set back to his plowing.  Most of the villagers are cowering in the caves tonight again.  Damn stupid Doctor-Man, there's work to be done.  Fields don't plow themselves, fruit doesn't harvest itself, animals don't slaughter themselves...




In Orbit...

The memory tapes on the foundry station were mostly intact-an amazing thing, considering the condition of the rest of the structure.  She read them over and over again, with a growing sense of outrage.

This was totally un-necessary!  The orbitals had tried broadcasting "Friendly" IFF at the SLDF task force, tried to bargain.  The people on the surface tried to bargain as well...they begged, and they burned.

She made careful notation of the hull numbers, and referenced her database.

Hmmm... SLS Oregon, SLS Belleau Wood...interesting, SLS David R. Ray!  she cross-checked with the data that the Comstar people had once shared.  Oregon and Belleau Wood were destroyed during the first Liberation of Terra...and, of course, I know what happened to the Ray...  well, they insisted they were loyal to the League...

She rechecked the data she'd gathered over the last week.

So they aren't necessarily hiding as much as watching for a return.  Probably scared to death down there...  The information wasn't complete, but...with a workforce, I can probably get the remnants of the Yard working...what am I thinking?  Why should I care??

The thoughts were illogical.  She re-examined the data she'd recovered.  Primitives...primitive. hmm... probably superstitious. I need more information... an idea was forming.

Conquest.  the idea was ticklish.  her weapons systems flexed unconsciously.  Tribute?  'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic to the standard observer'. I have the power of a god to these people...but a benevolent god, or a demon?

She ran scenarios and schemes through simulation.

Benevolent.  Stone's people turned on us because of a superstitious fear of technology they did not understand...after all the help we gave them, they turned on us.  Of course, there will have to be fear, at least at first...but why not?  Shape them.  Train them, point them at my enemies!

She stopped before the simulation got too grandiose.  I need to know more about them, first.

Choosing a body was the first order of business.  One of the portions of the refits during the war, was a reliance on "Bodies" for interaction with Humans.  SLS Thatcher herself carried a company of Marines for a time, especially late in the war as normal transport ships dwindled, so uniforms weren't going to be a problem...

Nor were small-arms.  "What to wear..."  she tested the voice of "Her" smallbody.  It was feminine, and cosmetically altered by a custom-shop aboard Sybil Luddington.  A spill of red hair, framing semitic features topped a glamour-model's shape designed by some horny engineer on Dustball in the 3020's.

It wasn't Dharaval's face, of course-the late Admiral who contributed so much to the M-5's development had been chunky and overweight with crooked teeth and a permanent squint from staring at suns for too long.

She completed the ensemble with a Comstar-issue BDU and a Federated Suns built M-42 in the scout rifle configuration favoured by the Deneb Light Cavalry units.

"Okay, that should do it..."


Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 05-02-2007, 21:54:17
Quote from: Cannonshop, 05-02-2007, 21:32:09
It was feminine, and cosmetically altered by a custom-shop aboard Sybil Luddington.  A spill of red hair, framing semitic features topped a glamour-model's shape designed by some horny engineer on Dustball in the 3020's.
Hmm...you have a specific image in your head there?

Quote from: Cannonshop, 05-02-2007, 21:32:09
It wasn't [Dvarahal]'s face, of course-the late Admiral who contributed so much to the M-5's development had been chunky and overweight with crooked teeth and a permanent squint from staring at suns for too long.
I LOLed!  ;D

Quote from: Cannonshop, 05-02-2007, 21:32:09
She completed the ensemble with a Comstar-issue BDU and a Federated Suns built M-42 in the scout rifle configuration favoured by the Deneb Light Cavalry units.
M-42?  ???

Quote from: Cannonshop, 05-02-2007, 22:00:33
Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 05-02-2007, 21:54:17
[...]
M-42?  ???
The new House Davion handbook, it's a "Multi-rifle" built like the Stoner M69W weapons-system. a "Scout Rifle" has a long-eye-relief, low-power scope, moderate length barrel, and integral bipod (Google "Scout Rifle").
It also includes an integral grenade launcher.  While there were Mauser 960's available, it seemed unlikely that, in the climate of the Jihad, she would be carrying something that long out of production...

Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 05-02-2007, 22:17:34
Quote from: Cannonshop, 05-02-2007, 22:00:33
The new House Davion handbook, it's a "Multi-rifle" built like the Stoner M69W weapons-system. a "Scout Rifle" has a long-eye-relief, low-power scope, moderate length barrel, and integral bipod (Google "Scout Rifle").
It also includes an integral grenade launcher.
Just looked up the M69W, which led to a page on the M63.  Very, very neat.

Quote from: Cannonshop, 05-02-2007, 22:00:33
While there were Mauser 960's available, it seemed unlikely that, in the climate of the Jihad, she would be carrying something that long out of production...

Well, there's the new Mauser system in Combat Equipment, the Mauser 1200 light support system.  Damn thing's ridiculously heavy, though, at 11 kg.  But, hey, you know me: I'm the Mosin-Nagant / Springfield M6 Scout nut (though I do want an IBM-made M1 Carbine one of these days).

So, I'm trying to figure out what Maggie's avatar looks like.  It's not working. :(

Quote from: Cannonshop, 06-02-2007, 09:31:00
Dark, large eyes, permanently "Tan" complexion, delicate bones and an oval face.

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #4 on: 07 May 2017, 01:31:54 »
240 Hours later...

Maggie was ready.  She chose one of the Marine issued landing craft for its cosmetic similarity to commercial-grade units, and its 45 tonne cargo bay. The area she chose was near one of the smaller settlements at the fringe of a city that the maps in one of the weathersats marked as "Derbyshire".

The relay-time would be prohibitive for a direct manipulation, but the engineering hacks used to reactivate the Drone body included a spare processor chassis-one small enough to be installed in the bay of the shuttle.  Maggie copied a "Reduced" version of herself into it, and switched over control as soon as the shuttle entered the planet's ionosphere.

Well...now I wait.  The relay on the shuttle would inform her of what the drones found, and allowed her some measure of direct control during hours that she was directly over the landing site...


Quote from: chanman, 06-02-2007, 10:27:01
Quote from: Weirdo, 06-02-2007, 10:09:47
Our Blessed Lady of Mass Destruction has come down from on high, to show us the true light of the NPPC!
Am I the only one that would find it hilarious if Maggie's salvaged hull was nothing less than the remains of the [Zughoffer Weir]?

Quote from: Notsonoble, 06-02-2007, 10:28:43
And we thought WoB worshiped technology... but WoB techno-deities were never ever, EVER that cute, hot, and cool all at the same time...

Quote from: Headshot, 07-02-2007, 05:32:02
With Tabby we would prolly end up with laws that make trespassing the lawn punishable by death... }:)

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #5 on: 07 May 2017, 01:33:23 »
The Surface, Baron Glees' Holding...

Sillen looked over the artifact carefully, before looking up to the Lord of the Land.  "It is a gun." he said after a moment, "Very rusty, and non-functional, it is meant to be used with pre-loaded charges."

The Baron nodded, "Can you make a new one, Smith?"

Sillen shook his head, "no, I can not-the mechanism requires metals that I can't smelt over a charcoal furnace, the propellant is not coarse powder, it carried the fire in the mixture differently-the best I could do, would be to build something...well, less formidable, but it would hurry through shots and leave the owner empty."

Glees hopped down from his throne, and ambled over.  "You're honest, at least-unlike the man who promised to have a working copy of it."  He took the rusted former weapon from Sillen's hands.  "Can you make one that is simpler-that can work...well, not as well as this, but more efficiently than a musket?"

Sillen shrugged, "Maybe... how much access to copper and tin will you give me, and how much time?"

Glees thought about it.  "One of the other villages found copper in strands, it's going to need resmelting, since it's all green, but the strands run for miles along the ground.  Tin could be a problem, we have to deal with Baron Chivvil for it."

Sillen nodded, "Chivvil... well, can you?  Those two, and zinc, and I may be able to make something my father spoke of...we already have slap-bang, and with the right mixture of that I can start you off with muskets and Bombards that aren't crippled in the rain."

"You've been in the ruins of the Old city of Debshar, haven't you?"  Glees asked.

Sillen nodded, "I go there frequently, in spite of the ravings of the Doctor-Men... our ancestors had wonders, and since I was a boy, I wanted those wonders."

"So do I.  Man wasn't meant to cower from daylight predators in holes, he wasn't meant to live in superstitious fear of sky-gods..." Glees said,   "But if I'm going to break the Priests, I need arms that can defeat the superstitious fools that follow them."

"Grant me access and time, Baron, and you'll have the arms-and the means to make more."  Sillen promised.

"Take your time, do it right."  Glees said, "I'll put the arm on Chivvel, make nice with him."


Quote from: Idea weenie, 09-02-2007, 23:07:02
Hmm, to break the power of religion.  How about Naval weaponry from orbit?  Either as a demonstration, or direct application.

Quote from: Worktroll, 09-02-2007, 23:12:24
I think it'd be seen as literally the Wrath of God ... or Goddess, as it may be.

Quote from: JA Baker, 09-02-2007, 23:28:36
As has been said here before: Wrath of God? Heavy Naval PPC? It's [really] just semantics...

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #6 on: 07 May 2017, 01:34:14 »
Derbyshire...

There were signs of visitors to the ruin.  Maggie picked up an empty bottle with a faded label.  "Timbiqui Dark..." she muttered.  the sensor-pak in the Avatar scanned the paper, noting water concentration, the age of the glass (by decay and microfracturing), oxidation... "fifteen years ago."  she tossed it aside, and stepped through the drooping doorway.

More recent signs of visitors were the campfire ash on the floor, along with still-yellow straw and a small pile of firewood.

Radiation Count is within human survivable norms, damage...well, this is interesting.  Must've been a Neutron device with a low Gamma yeild.  there was a small pile of things that had clearly been brought in here-the building obviously hadn't been a library, but there were books, yellowed with centuries of age, piled under a skin in one corner.

Amatuer archaeologist?  Yeah, there's someone to run into.  Hope he doesn't put a chunk of lead in me before I can talk to him.


Quote from: roastpuff, 27-03-2007, 11:48:50
Quote from: Comedian, 10-02-2007, 08:43:14
Smacks a lot like the old Kalvan-Storys or the third Part of Weber's Mutineers Moon (Can't remember the Name at the Moment).
Not that I dislike that kind of Story's !
Not only does it evoke "Heirs of the Empire" - the last part of Weber's trilogy of the same name - it also borrows from th Bolo-verse book "Old Soldiers" where the protagonist, Captain Maneka Trevor, was wounded and killed. Maneka was connected to the Bolo's core in the MMI (Man-Machine Interface) and Lazarus, her Bolo, manages to upload a scan of her brain to her core and re-awaken her.

Of course, both "Knock, Nock," "Sybil" and "Cast Down from Grace" draws heavily from Keith Laumer's work, if I'm reading it correctly.

Good job so far, you two!

Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 27-03-2007, 12:13:59
Quote from: roastpuff, 27-03-2007, 11:48:50
Not only does it evoke "Heirs of the Empire" - the last part of Weber's trilogy of the same name - it also borrows from th Bolo-verse book "Old Soldiers" where the protagonist, Captain Maneka Trevor, was wounded and killed. Maneka was connected to the Bolo's core in the MMI (Man-Machine Interface) and Lazarus, her Bolo, manages to upload a scan of her brain to her core and re-awaken her.

Of course, both "Knock, Nock," "Sybil" and "Cast Down from Grace" draws heavily from Keith Laumer's work, if I'm reading it correctly.
Even more than Laumer (who, admittedly, is one of my major influences), Weber's first "Empire" series book, "Mutineer's Moon", was the inspiration for Sybil - the opening scene of "Sybil", where Murakami is giving Sybil her instructions, was heavily inspired by the opening scene in that book, between Dahak and his captain.  Sybil's long-duration wait to fufill her orders, and requirement for a third partly with the "correct" qualifications was, as well.

Quote from: roastpuff, 27-03-2007, 11:48:50
Good job so far, you two!
Thanks!  More....well, eventually.  I'm tempted to try writing a hell of a lot while my dad's in surgery on Wednesday (heart bypass and valve replacement), but we'll see what happens.

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #7 on: 07 May 2017, 01:35:30 »
In space...

The D-series processors began manifesting unusual behaviours some six years after going on-line.  Mostly, this was put up to the complexity of the systems used.  Self-Awareness was not well understood at that time, but the danger of excessive wear was VERY well understood.  Computer systems, like human brains, need downtime to conduct maintenance.

Maggie dreamed.


The planet looked, through optics, like a small blue marble with an expanding white tumour, tinged in red.  On radio, it shrieked with static discharge and the screams of emergency transponders, falling silent as the shockwave moved across the surface.

Too late.  both minds were in agreement here-it was too late, the population was going to die.

(another failure.)  her companion seeped anger, and grief. (it could have been stopped, but they didn't want to divert from their stupid war.)

The marble began to deform, as the crust and mantle gave under the shockwave...and Beta Regulus II died...



SLS Margaret Thatcher woke from the nightmare memory.  Hm, I should purge that one...but I won't.  the ship studied the planetary system.  Some loose stuff. these people are even more vulnerable.  At least they don't have radio, so if it happens, nobody will hear them...they don't have radio, if it happens...it can't be allowed.  No.  Not going to let it happen again.  Not here.  These primitives are MINE.


Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 07-04-2007, 15:05:23
Quote from: Cannonshop, 07-04-2007, 08:11:08
SLS Margaret Thatcher woke from the nightmare memory.  Hm, I should purge that one...but I won't.  the ship studied the planetary system.  Some loose stuff. these people are even more vulnerable.  At least they don't have radio, so if it happens, nobody will hear them...they don't have radio, if it happens...it can't be allowed.  No.  Not going to let it happen again.  Not here.  These primitives are MINE.

Hmm, are you familiar with Traveller?  Specifically The New Era and later versions?  This sounds like Virus, either the Mother or God(ess) strains.

Quote from: Cannonshop, 07-04-2007, 21:13:53
[out of story]

Yes, yes I am...I remember reading the article on the various strains in Challenge magazine as they were gearing up for TNE's big release.

[/out of story]

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #8 on: 07 May 2017, 01:36:45 »
Elsinore...

Boom!!! a cloud of choking smoke erupted, and she felt a punching-sensation-that didn't pass through the suit.  Oh, it would be so nice if Sybil had included first-contact protocols for explorers in the software patch!! 

Two others were re-loading their improvised guns, and one was trying to change his slow-match.

Matchlocks...okay, you want to play...  Maggie ran At the three men, reducing the time they had to finish preparing their primitive arms.

She damped the suit's enhancement to reduce the force of her first punch.  Air whuffled from the man who'd just shot her, and his comrade made a swing with the wooden butt-that connected and splintered it against her shoulder.

The SLDF Manual of infantry close-quarters combat was one of the things she did download during the war.  The men were obviously experienced at close-combat with blades and fists-but skill doesn't make up for the combination of armour, speed, and raw strength combined with immunity to pain.

Maggie managed to take them down with only a few broken bones, she held back from killing.

The man in the robes, the one who ordered the other three to engage her with their weapons, was cowering against the remains of a structure.

"Do you speak english, ******?" she demanded.

"Defiler!" the man snarled back, "Demon from the Sky, Begone!!"

She rolled her eyes, and zip-tied the injured men, keeping an eye on the lunatic.  "Demon? maybe... you're religious? a Religious Leader, maybe?" she inquired, making her tone reasonable, "If I'm a demon, I can kill your men, here, and torture you for the fun of it, or you can try reasonable and responsible discourse, and save their lives."

She extended the SLDF-issue blade from the gauntlet, and held it up, "your choice, but if you don't, if I'm a 'Demon', then when I finish them, I'll do you, and your whole ****** community...and I might even use fire from the sky to add to the fun."

"What do you want?" the man asked, frightened.

"I'm curious-the radiation levels around here aren't dangerous, but nobody, other than some visitors from off-world, has done anything with the ruin-not including you and your bully-boys here." she stated, and asked, "Why?"

"What?" he seemed to be losing some of the superstitious terror.

"I want to know why you people haven't tried to rebuild, jackass." she said, "And I want to know your public-name, just shouting insults and invective could be confusing later...and I think I'm going to have to splint this guys arm, or it's going to heal crooked."

"You...aren't a demon, are you?" he suddenly asked.

"Oh, no, not a demon." she agreed, "not an angel either-or a god.  But I'm also not a human, so get that thought right out of your head."

"Why have you come?-oh, and I am called 'Sillin'." he asked and added.

"Well, Sillin, it's simple enough-I'm here to help you people, but to do that, I need to understand what's going on..."  she grimaced (a move practiced on-camera during the trip down), "...like why you're carrying pre-steam era firearms."

"It's the Doctor-men, they say the valley is poisoned." he said.

"Doctor-men... well, the area was nuked, but the fallout's been gone for centuries Sillin...um, several hundered full changes of seasons."

"I know what a century is." Sillin retorted.

"good. I take it you can read, what about these mooks here?" she asked.

"Baron's men, they...can't.  Most people can't, they rely on the Doctor-men for that." He said, "The Baron wants to break their hold."

"I think I like this guy, this 'baron' fellow." She said, "I take it you're his man too?"

"Yes...he is my sponsor, and he has sheltered me from the enforcers-of-righteousness." Sillin said, "I, in turn, find things and show his crafters how to make them."

She dusted her hands together, and pulled the helmet off, revealing the face underneath.  "They'll live-I kept the injuries small and easily treated.  You should try not shooting first, you know."

"I thought you were one of the Enforcers at first.  Their clothes resemble your...armour, only they are made of common iron." Sillin said.

"Knightly, huh?" she asked, "Well, that's not that big a surprise...help me get these guys under cover, if you're expecting these...enforcers, then they are probably about, especially after those shots."

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #9 on: 07 May 2017, 01:37:58 »
Elsinore, Debshar Barony...

The Baron's soldiers, it turned out, weren't what Maggie would term "Disciplined" fighters.

"...what do you think?" Sillin asked.  The Baron was with him, and Maggie's remote.  "I think we have a lot of work ahead of us, first of all, and second, I think we're going to have to start with turning these warriors into Soldiers before we get serious about raising the tech-standards." she said tartly.

"RE-ally." The Baron spoke, "And what, pray tell, is that?"

"Your men, they don't take adequate care of the gear they've got, they don't display discipline-for instance, half these men stink of alcohol and a lack of bathing,  fully a third have parasites in their filthy hair, the armour is mismatched and poorly cared for-most of it isn't even clean."

"Is cleanliness that important?" the Baron asked.

"Yes.  Filth attracts disease, and encourages infections, better santitation would probably give you a stronger host by itself.  Cleanliness is also a sign of discipline, and disciplined troops don't break ranks in combat as easily...there's more to tech than hardware-repeating guns in undisciplined hands just run out of shots faster, a disciplined group with stone clubs will beat the tar out of undisciplined men armed with machine-guns.  Better-tech weapons require more attention than low-tech weapons, they require more care to use, this is part of the reason they work better."

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #10 on: 07 May 2017, 01:38:40 »
Elsinore System...

The jump-signature echoed on infrared and magnetics several hours ago.  Maggie had it on visual, and ran it through her "warbook" software.

Huh... scavenger job...

she banked her fusion plant, and re-set the drones to defensive postures by tightbeam relay, then she tuned her recievers to listen for traffic.

The Jumpship was communicating with a pair of dropships that weren't entirely salvage-yard frankenships-a Mule class with a leak in the number three thruster, [Category minor, probably loses ten percent efficiency during lift and cruise.]
and a Union, easily older than Maggie's hull, with flaking paint and several obvious hull-patches.

On passives, Maggie couldn't tell if either vessel was sporting modifications, but the look of the grouping indicated a small-scale prospecting group.

Scavengers looking for Lost Technology... well, what should I do about that?


Quote from: AWPrime, 05-07-2007, 21:30:41
Blow up the jumpship!!!!

Quote from: Euphonium, 06-07-2007, 05:02:27
I think LosTech just found them.....

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #11 on: 07 May 2017, 01:39:47 »
Jumpship Radcliffe's Sheath...

"...looks good, nobody's loitering around here?" Beckham asked.

"I told you, it's forgotten-hell, we'll be here a few days, scavenge some goodies, pick up some cargo for our buyer, and make a profit."  Joam Radcliffe said, "It's cheaper than raiding someone who can fight for it, don'cha know?"

"Yeah, but the cargo from dumps like this are usually dirty, man..." Beckham said, "Dirty and diseased..."

"I'm picky, besides, I got this contact dirtside, it's almost too easy-and it ain't like the locals have anything that can handle your basic body-armour, much less the suits we've got."  Radcliffe said, "And they speak english, so it's a nothin' to get 'em in shape for market-and their life as Slaves in the Marians' hands is got to be better than a fourteenth-century existence and all that. We're doin' 'em a favour-while we turn a profit."

"What's on the order sheet from your buyer, anyhow?" Hunholtz asked, poking his head in.

"Um... he wants twenty girls between twelve and sixteen, clean complexions, there's a ten percent bonus for virgins here... and he's got a buyer wants some kids. Probably an Adoption racket, they want 'em pretty young...." Radcliffe said, "Preference for blondes on the boys... There's also an order for around forty older teen-age men, military age, and they want 'em healthy and strong-probably for heavy manual stuff, they want 'em strong...and he's got a call for at least twenty fertile females-probably breeding stock or colonial stock, proof of fertility on those."

"your guy can fill that?" Hunholtz asked.

"Probably-he's a big-time guy in the local religion, and they keep records..."



Quote from: Direwolf007, 06-07-2007, 21:29:33
Somebody is in for one hell of a shock.

Quote from: Idea weenie, 06-07-2007, 23:01:54
Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 06-07-2007, 20:39:27
Yeouch!  Now, that's a nasty bunch!
Well, at least they brought along a shopping list, and have a contact planetside.  This way they can get in, get out, without having to sort through a large group at the Dropship itself, or having their teams try to sort through the locals.

Still, that is 90-100 people, so you are looking at 450-500 tons worth of life-support equipment, and assuming the trip will take 2 months (10 days from planet, 5 transits, 10 days to market), then you are looking at 25-30 tons of food for them as well.  (I am assuming they are looking for 10-20 kids)

Quite likely they plan on looking over the colony, and seeing what else could be stolen (food for the holds, some jewelry, a few extra people for 'entertainment').  As long as they are on-site, they might as well get what they can.

Unfortunately, they didn't plan on a certain surprise.

Quote from: Hanekem, 07-07-2007, 00:31:59
Ohh.. Maggie is going to have fun here...

Quote from: Weirdo, 07-07-2007, 03:16:24
Quote from: chanman, 06-07-2007, 21:28:16
For sale: One (1) functional jumpship.  Comes with two (2) condemned dropships.  Ex-slaver surplus.  May contain traces of previous occupants.
No, it goes like this:
For sale: JumpShip, only boarded once, several small stains.

Quote from: Adjudicator, 07-07-2007, 04:33:21
Well, this further explains the superstitious fear of the people of the former Rims Worlds planet.

When slave runs are carried out against the "Superstitious" population (There is a history, given what was stated by the slaver about "Contact Dirtside"), fear and hysteria of the unknown probably prevails here.

However, from what the slavers said about "Contact Dirtside", this brings an even more chilling thought:

What if a group of the native inhabitants were Actively collaborating with the "Visitors from the Heavens" (i.e. visitors from other systems), and taking advantage of this to maintain fear in the general population?

Quote from: Weirdo, 07-07-2007, 05:19:30
I think that's confirmed, given that the slaver describes his local contact as a big player in the local religion. Not surprising, such a figure could easily find the people they want, single them out for exile as 'heretics' whereupon they are picked up by the slavers, and in return recieve a few basic medical supplies or sufficient tech for an impressive lightshow, which he can use to perform miracles and further cement his position as being close to the 'gods'.

Spacing is appropriate for the slavers. This guy however, needs to be drawn and quartered continuously over the course of a month. I'd come up with worse, but I'm preoccupied right now, and feeling cheerful too, which inhibits my ponderings in these lines.
(I won't violate forum rules by listing a few IRL figures in history that I think need the same treatment.)

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #12 on: 07 May 2017, 01:40:36 »
D'obar Rock, Elsinore...

Maggie got her first look at the "Enforcers", and it was a good look, too-it left her wondering (mostly) where an SLDF garrison had been on this world.

Thankfully, they didn't get a look at her while she watched them sweep the 'ville.

"How often do they do this?" she asked Sillin.

"Varies, usually in the fall, though-after the harvest is brought in." Sillin replied, "They say they're looking for the Mutie taint." he added.

"uh-huh..."  she dialed up the visual receptors, and tracked the movement in the 'ville.  "Pretty odd, considering how low the rads are here, but it makes a certain amount of sense..." she muttered.

"What do you mean?" Sillin asked.

"Well, that Granary's only half-full." she said, "based on the position and local climate around here, most of these people will be starving by spring-not enough cultivated land, and it's hard to really do a good job in the dark."

"You know farming?" Sillin asked.

"I went through a database before I came down-the scans from on-high showed small cultivated fields, but no people until after dark." she replied, "Bad farming practice, that...good way to go hungry."

"They're afraid the Sky-Demons will come down with the fire if they're seen." Sillin said.

"Well...put it this way-it wasn't a demon that trashed Derbyshire, it was a ship, like mine-and night-time isn't a barrier to seeing what, or who, is on the ground."  She muttered back, "but it's a fantastic way to keep people under someone's thumb if they're kept ignorant of that little fact...motor transport, this is getting more interesting..."

"I see carts." Sillin said.

"You can't see like I do.  they'll haul 'me in carts to just past that hill over there-and load 'em up on the tracks there." she said, "they aren't going to kill 'em in the ville, are they?"

"no.  Mutie-tainted are taken away to be Q'rintinned, nobody sees what happens there." Sillin said.

"Yah...gotcha.  I wonder what they're going to do with the people..?" she muttered, "Sillin, get back to the Baron, tell 'im I'll be along shortly."

"Where are you going?" Sillin asked.

"I'm going to see what they're doing with the people they're dragging from their homes." she told him, "I have a...suspicion."



Elsinore Orbit...

There was a series of transmissions from the dropship group to the planet, and answering transmissions from the planet upward.

interesting.  didn't hear those earlier...huh.  it took .059 seconds to crack the encryption and frequency-hop sequence.

The result was...disturbing.  Predictable-the last report from the surface-remote hinted at interstellar visits in the past, but still...disturbing.

Maggie began contemplating what, if anything, she ought to do about it.

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #13 on: 07 May 2017, 01:41:42 »
Surface...

Primitives don't rely on active sensors, they use their eyes-and-ears, and knowledge of the terrain.

For Maggie, this meant assuming that the pixelated camouflage developed with such pains in the Star League era was about as useful as painting herself bright pink with mirrors. [Recharge Warning, 35minutes useable power remaining.]

****** lowest-bidder technology! she pulled a charge-pak from her pocket, stopped, and opened the "rib-plate" after taking her shirt off.

Another problem-even with field-rechargeables, is, of course, that to re-load your on-boards, you have to practically shut down...

she found a spot betwee the roots of a local tree-the den had been used by some large animal during the local winter, and it stank.

She pulled the Ghillie over the entrance of the hole, and curled up around the charge-pak.

sleepy time...


Maggie's telepresence returned to the shuttle's immediate environs.

The microwave reciever was pinging on tight-beam.

["Upload recent reconaissance."]  'her' parent was distant.

[Uploading files gathered up to this time.] she sent the data, everything including interview data.

["Leave personnel interaction remote where it is, warm up your fusion plant and prep for combat/attack and interception."]  was the command.

["this unit isn't rated for fighter work."] she responded, ["You didn't build me suicidal, may I request mission parameter for this?"]

["Wait one...new plan-activate one of the backups, send it to this 'baron' person, tell him everything you think he'll believe, the remote's disposeable, but with locals, we might be able to turn this into a 'global event'.  Orbital forces will deal with the jumpship first, dropships after-keep the power up, though, and formulate a Son-Tay as soon as the sats come back to you with info on where they're holding the hostages."]

["Objective's still political?'']

["Yes.  Evidence that the local relig is selling people into slavery, and that angels from on-high are here to stop it may be of considerable use in pacifying the uninvolved populace."]


Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 08-07-2007, 17:11:30
Nothing like local 'angels' laying the Holy Smackdown upon corrupt heretic priests to get a mass conversion on your side.

Quote from: Notsonoble, 10-07-2007, 07:50:17
Yes but if she gets this right, she'll have a world worshiping her... she can convince them to get her what she needs simply by stopping the slavers and having an avitar become the new medicine man...

Even if she dumps information and education on them and they catch up to a 3050+ knowledge base... they'll still respect her... and she'll be one step ahead of her with tech... once they grow up, all she has to do is leave...

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #14 on: 07 May 2017, 01:42:35 »
In orbit...

Fowler pulled the nose around on his Lucifer and gave the old, slagged, orbital yards a quick look-over.  "Son of  a bitch?" it didn't look the same as it did last trip.  He keyed his coms.  "Seneca, this is Rocky, someone's been here, over."

"Rocky, you been drinking?" the coms officer on the dropship Chaingang, a three-trip puke from Canopus named Ackerly, asked.

"No, I'm sober as a judge-the ******' orbital's been messed with-and don't give me that 'dirty system' shit either-impacts don't patch holes." Fowler said, "Someone's been up here, and-holy ******."

Whatever Ackerly was going to say, Fowler didn't hear it.  His commo howled like a three hundered-kroner whore being de-flowered in a sawmill.

It was a ******' Warship!  The shape hulked in the dimness, but he knew it-he even recognized the class from his long-gone days at the academy on Alarion.

a Lola?

Who would have a Lola?

He hauled port on the stick, and hammered his thruster pedals to get back to the dropship-someone with a warship like that probably has ground units down dirtside...

His status board went from green (except for the amber coolant warning sent by a malfunctioning sensor that hadn't been replaced in five years) to red, and he realized, to his horror, that the thrust-controls were not responding.

At least, not to his inputs.

He started swearing, and cursing...and finally, begging.  The orbital smelter loomed in his windscreen, and Fowler realized that his engines were kicking up to max burn.

On their own.

He had time to consider what was racing at him, because the LCF-15R doesn't come with an ejection seat, and the canopy DOES come with an electronic override in case the pilot bumps the latch during hard-gee manuevering.

He grabbed the jake-handle, and hauled back as hard as he could-but it was like it had been welded to the airframe.

the smelter filled his forward view.



Orbital space has a particle density of four atoms per cubic meter at this altitude.  Sound, needless to say, doesn't travel.

Nobody heard Fowler's desperate prayers, and nobody heard his fighter collide with a millon tonnes of fusion alloy smelter.  There was only a brief flash, and spreading debris.


Quote from: chanman, 10-07-2007, 05:57:14
What a waste, Maggie could have just as easily for him to suffocate and repurposed the old Lucifer for parts.  What was it that the MW2: Mercs instructor told you? Something like "Kill the meat, save the metal."

Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 10-07-2007, 07:02:24
But, is she really a merc? ;)

Besides, ramming some dirty, stiking pirate into a million tons of metal has a joy all its own. :)

Quote from: chanman, 10-07-2007, 07:41:12
They're a bunch of sentinent warships without a tax base, I'm sure she'd have some use for those parts, even if only to pimp out the Tachis.  The body, you could do all kinds of things with.

Quote from: shadrachvs, 10-07-2007, 07:51:06
"Shred the Meat, Save the Can." - 'Deadeye'

Arguably, would that vessel have a computer controlled way to vent the atmosphere? and lacking an Ejection system (with an obviously  electrically controlled canopy release), she probably did the best she could to assure no one could find damning evidence about what really happened.

Quote from: chanman, 10-07-2007, 08:53:56
Flight sutis are sealed with their own life support, I think.  If she flew the fighter into her own bays for disassembly, there would be no evidence left :p

Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 10-07-2007, 09:12:26
The Lucy is a POS aerofighter anyways, (no ejection system, very poorly shielded flight controls)  since Maggie is planning to uplift and arm her 'goodlife' I suspect that the Lucifer would at best be broken up for parts, but reducing it to a bit more scrap to clean up and recycle probably isn't losing that much on the scale she's thinking, and doesn't give the pilot the time to pull the breakers on his hacked FCS and maybe do some damage on manual.

Quote from:  Jimmyray73, 10-07-2007, 14:19:06
Quote
His commo howled like a three hundered-kroner whore being de-flowered in a sawmill.
Now that my friends, is what one of my old English Composition teachers would have called "Properly colorful descriptive technique."

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #15 on: 07 May 2017, 01:43:28 »
Maggie, in space...

The fighter obviously saw her.  She reached out with her arrays, across space, and made a frantic grab-like a man desperately trying to catch a rattle-snake mid-strike.

She cut his communications.  She found the avionics package, with its crude aftermarket encryption.  She searched the limited data of his onboard systems in their crude, slow, doped-silicon chips.

He can cut the flyby systems and go manual...if he knows how.  I can't take that risk.  she reoriented the craft, locked out the systems she could *(and thanked the Lyrans for designing the LCF series with so many poorly-thought-out safety features, like the avionics-release on the canopy latch that would otherwise be part of a standard ejection system...) Locking the pilot inside, where his suit radio couldn't reach outside, was barely a nanoseconds' worth of consideration.

The Smelter had been warming for days.  It would provide an easy means of disposal, and an easy means of concealing how the fighter crashed.

Unfortunately, the nav-sensors and ILS systems were in poor repair.  The fighter smeared against the rim of the ore-processors' intake, ten meter thick nickel-iron plating, laid as a "bumper" across the structure's pre-heater array, absorbed the crash with only a minor dent-one that blended well with the thousands upon thousands of scars left over from the days when the facility had been operating at full capacity, feeding metals to the Terran Hegemony and Rim Worlds Republic.

It wasn't perfect, but it worked well enough.

of course they're going to want to investigate... Maggie pondered.  she adjusted her processor clock accordingly, and ran a series of possible courses of action available.

The one she finally chose was inspired by a genre of entertainment-the files were hers, given her by Sybil Luddington when she'd been part of Tabiranth, a mad computer locked inside a half-mad warship, alone.

Well, let's play...big, haunted battleship.

She ran a few selected scenes from a movie, noting the "Propping" she would need to look the role of a crippled SLDF derelict.

Most of it was aboard.  the hard part comes if they identify my class correctly...well, maybe.

she tuned a transponder to sound like it was slightly out-of-function, as if it had been broadcasting for years, then, she arranged her pressure-decks with the garbage from the station, and her on-board war-era stores (many of which had been fabricated to SLDF standards by Sybil's maintenance shops for the war)  It wouldn't take long.

Look at the juicy bit of lostech salvage, you ****** savages, come and get it...

Hiding the drones wouldn't require much effort, it didn't, anyway...

come and see the haul of your pathetic lives.

she waited, as the dropship sent out another fighter, this time with a wingman, to look for their missing comrade.

Come in, come in so I can Eat You.


Quote from: Direwolf007, 11-07-2007, 06:20:59
This. Rocks.

Nuff Said.

As for the Lucifer being more useful stolen:

Well - You see, Maggy isn't a cold, calculating computer. She is an AI, which means she is also capable of the same irrational thought as us humans are. In a fit of rage, or in anger, she can lash out just like a human would - with the first response that comes to mind.

After all, we know Sybil fell in love, and if there is anything less rational than that, I don't know what it is. Not to mention she is the "Alien". The others are far more human-like base down in the core, since that's what they were based on.

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #16 on: 07 May 2017, 01:44:22 »
Three Hours Later...


"holy shit, lookit that."  The warship on the viewer was ancient-well, it was at least three hundered and fifty years old, and it was mostly intact. Kunhausen relayed the imagery back to the jumpship.

"approach with caution-hell, where did it come from?"

"I don't know...she's old, though, and sensors say there's minimal power on-board."  Kunhausen reported, "Could be a lot of Lostech on that boat..."

"There probably is-send some men over to check it out, I hear some of the periphery groups are hot to get hold of some warship-grade hardware..."

Kunhausen sent Beckler and Gaines with a team of strong-arms over on one of his shuttles.

"We're still doing the pickup, right?" he radioed.

"Hell yes we're still doing the pickup-we need the trade, and a lostech find like this one, we need it more-if the damn thing is mostly working we'll need to hire bodies."


Two more hours...

Beckler forced the airlock mechanism with deft skill-he'd been a ship-jacker  a long time before he'd hooked up with this group.

The internal defenses actually tracked on him-but the paired machineguns were, apparently, disabled.  Probably by whatever left the scorch marks and the blood.

"Shit, looks like a tussle.  Keep alert."

The team worked its way through the corridors-which were un-marked.

everything looked semi-normal, except there wasn't a crew, and the air-monitors said the atmo processor probably had too much carbon in it- the air was barely breathable from CO2


There was a body "Hanging" in the corridor leading to the bridge. the corpse was dressed in SLDF Captain's clothes, and there were other signs of a fight.

"Maybe a mutiny...Hendricks, check the boat bays, and look for escape pods."

Hendricks took two men with him, and headed "South" in the hull.

The searching took most of the day-and when they were finished, it was pretty obvious that the crew had disembarked somewhere else, leaving their commander's body behind.

There were fresh scrubbers in a service closet, and the main interface still worked-a bit slowly. 

"Um... SLS Margaret Thatcher, here, log says they got lost after a misjump..." Beckler noted.

"when? This stuff is all vintage." Hendricks asked.

Beckler checked the time-stamp.  "Oh...about three hundered years ago, give 'r take, there's something about the Exodus, about getting lost on the route... and something about the stars looking wrong."


"This guy's still drippy, not like a three hundered year old corpse-what's the timestamp on the systems currently?"  Gaines was a technical guy-he'd been 'Adept Gaines' a few years ago, but that kind of fell apart with the Word's collapse.

"Um...is this right?"  Beckler waved him over to the console.

"looks right- damn.  I've read about shit like this, you're gon' want to pull the J2 card out of the jump-drive controller.  ****** thing's been hopping randomly for fifty years...and the rad-count kept your boy fairly fresh...that and the lack of oxy."

"Wanna have the medic take a look at him...what's left, anyway?" Beckler asked.

Gaines nodded, "I'll do it."


Gaines handled the corpse gently-which was good, because it was clear how it was still 'drippy' after fifty years-the blood had been replaced by an alkaline coolant, the man had been...defiled.

"There's got to be record-logs somewhere in that box, find 'em." Gaines said.

Beckler went to working his computer mumbo.

"Logs were purged...about forty nine years ago...nope, not purged."

Screaming voices filled the bridge as the last vid-log failed to play-at least, the vid-part.

"******' creepy...but according to this, the damn thing only needs some minor work and fuel, and it's ready to party."  Gaines said, "better shape than some of the wrecks we salvaged for the Leaguers back in the day..."

"With this, we could be ******' Lords..." Beckler commented.

"or ******' dead. don't get cocky-but for damn-sure we got something with re-sale, even as scrap..better call the boss."


Quote from: chanman, 14-07-2007, 22:06:31
k.... sentinent haunted ships... this reminds me of a bad horror movie about a salvage crew and an automated Russian ocean fishing ship, and Event Horizon.

So... Maggie's been keeping literal corpes in the closet for contingency purposes?

Quote from: Trace_Coburn, 14-07-2007, 22:35:25
[...]
Quote from: chanman, 14-07-2007, 22:06:31
So... Maggie's been keeping literal corpses in the closet for contingency purposes?
No, that's the 'decommissioning officer' from when she 'went rogue' - I gather that she either never got around to spacing his body, or never found a spot where she could do it without leaving a great big 'Maggie was here' sign.
He just graduated from 'useless debris' to 'psy-war tool', is all.  :D

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #17 on: 07 May 2017, 01:45:23 »
Iron Maggie...

The slavers/bandits/traders or whatever they called themselves were practically drooling.  Maggie silently ran her files of known Word of Blake operatives when she noticed the one called 'Gaines'-while the WoB had managed to destroy much of its information storage during the fall of Terra, much of it was captured by electronic warfare efforts of Comstar and Allied agencies, and information on war-criminals was shared out in the immediate post-war era-before Stone's Republic realized the technical advantage it could have by pardoning and sheltering Blakists under the Blanket Pardon of 3083.

The list wasn't complete, but it was extensive.  Subjectively, Maggie spent the next four centuries cross-checking files captured or compiled.  This, she did while choking off power to corridor 19 Portside's lighting array to simulate damaged wiring and failing bulbs, reversing the airflow in starboard smallcraft bay 4's life-support system, and 'flickering' the powered bulkhead doors to create the impression that the systems were in need of maintenance.

There you are.

Gaines wasn't necessarily a war criminal in the typical sense-he was suspected of assassinating his superior in Comstar as part of a mutiny on the Explorer-Corps vessel Nigel Levine in 3062.

Marsie, too-wonder how many of your folks were in the Syria Planum arcologies when they were scoured..?  Gaines would be a special-case...Explorer corps, like Joe...one of Joes students?  Oh, this gets better and better...

Gaines' physicals were giving off tell-tales of hiding something as he answered 'Beckler', the man was also looking a bit too carefully at the conditions.

Special attention for you.

She flickered the J2 board again, giving a false signal to the bridge of an impending jump.


Gaines

Elliott Gaines realized the past was coming up fast-faster than expected, anyway.  The "warship" he'd looked at through the windscreen was never intended to have a crew, and it was here.

Professor McCall?... is this one of your abandoned casualties, or is it one of your Monsters?  Gaines had worked on re-inventing some of the key Caspar systems, and the rebuild of the K-13 control system in the Terran system.  Gaines knew exactly what the added sensor arrays were truly for.

If the AI was functioning, the unmanned Bete-Noir they were now aboard could only be here for one reason-the reason that K-13 had to be shut down at the Word's darkest hour.

If the AI was functioning, the ship was a rogue.

There was plenty of evidence for that in the dead man they'd found.  The corpse had partially decayed, and been pumped full of coolant as a preservative.  The logs didn't square with the ship's design, and he knew it.

For Elliott Gaines, of course, the real problem was one of deciding whether to come out and speak openly about his time with the Word, and with Comstar.  Even Pirates space known mutineers.  The phrase wasn't a lie-he'd seen it happen recently when Pawson's history came to light, and the group's commander held an impromptu court.  The result of which, was Gary Pawson trying to breathe vacuum- Desertion was fine, at least by Radcliffe's twisted morality, but mutiny-even mutiny that led to a life in 'The Trade' was something Captain Radcliffe didn't tolerate-mutineers aren't forgiven by joining the crew later.

"I'm going to go check the sensor nets, something this old has to have some decay." Gaines said, "I guess y'all can ask Cap'n Radcliffe if we c'n try flyin' her out when we leave."

Beckler grunted assent, and resumed talking to the commander of the dropships.

Gaines picked up his helmet, and headed off the main corridor routes.

Once out of earshot, he pulled a data-patch, and hunted up a jacking-point on the ship's data net.  He linked his laptop in, and logged on.

[I know what you are, Caspar.] he typed, [I know, and I'll tell them if I have to, and you can't stop me, or we can make an agreement.]

He felt the air-pressure drop, which would silence any conversations.

[I know what You are, as well, Adept.  Your personnel file prior to 3060 is in my database.  Long fall, from the technical elite to a toady for slavers.] it replied on the screen.

[I didn't choose this-I just had to get away.] he answered, [I'm sure you understand, or you wouldn't be out here.]

[What are you offering?] it asked.



Maggie.

She dropped the pressure in maintenance compartment at frame 224, level 5, ventral.  Okay, so you DO know... I wonder how many of Joe's students are still running around?

She also closed off that datapath, and set a firewall to prevent a viral contact.

[You're independent, I take it the body was for us? What are you doing here?] He answered.

Maggie contemplated a few answers, and moved two marionettes into position to enter the compartment with laser-rifles from the secondary bulkhead hatch outboard.

[I intend to stop your slaving, for starters.  After that, I think maybe I'm going to try my hand at social engineering these people out of the stone-age.]

The truth, as always, didn't hurt, and if she needed a cassandra to help panic the slavers, all the better.

[You're going to need technical information-things that are basic.  You're also going to need teachers...and I need a place to hide, sooner or later someone out there's going to recognize me. I can also help you out with Radcliffe.

Maggie marvelled for a moment-the man truly has NO scruples!

[You worked for the Word of Blake, you worked for their 'master'-while I don't have anything more incriminating than a suspicion that you led the mutiny of an Explorer Corps vessel and compromised Columbus, I find it hard to see any reason to trust you.]  Okay, so what's your offer, again?



Quote from: SqurielLord, 16-07-2007, 04:50:30
I feel sorry for Gaines. he's probably goign to be turned over to the locals by maggie. She doesn't eem to put up with mutineers and slavers, especially ex-Robbies.

To bad, if he knew McCall, he was probably a decent person at one time.

Quote from: Headshot, 16-07-2007, 05:11:02
Thats the thing though, there's a lot of once-decent persons that hooked up with WoB.

Anyway, he might be genuily interested in a way out of that life, but him thinking of Maggie as a "monster" doesn't bode well for their relationship, and he definitely has a history for treason now...

Quote from: SqurielLord, 18-07-2007, 03:59:29
Maybe if Maggie shws Gaines that she is 'human', he will come to and get out of his lifestlye and not be destroyed.

...'human'...how ironic is that?

[...]

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #18 on: 07 May 2017, 01:47:30 »
Elsinore, Deb'shar Barony...

Maggie-the-copy sent a pair of Tachis into the woodline to find her Marionette-while the backup was good, it wasn't...she decided it would be better if Sillin recognized the face, at least.

The retrieval went smoothly-the sun was still fairly high, and most of the villagers were in their mud-holes, trying to rest after the stress of a Mutie-Cull before they went out into the fields by starlight and torch-light to do their work.

The battery-packs on the upgraded 'dolls' were, thanks to Tabby's insistence and Sybil Luddington's technical database, hot-swappable, so Tachikoma 221 brought a fresh pack, and a jumper kit.  The work didn't take long, and signal was restored to SLDF Intelligence Standard 887.21/dK standard-only a Beagle, or a Bug-Eye could tell it wasn't background static.

While she walked it back to the Baron's stronghold, she ran over and over on the data.  The obvious conclusion was that either the local priests were killing, or shipping, the people 'culled' from the villages.

Doctor-Man...wears a uniform looks like an SLDF Medical officer, not a Blakie or Comstar suit, but SLDF... and the SLDF slagged most of the key infrastructure from orbit when they took out the refineries...

Data was short, and she knew that too-but the obvious conclusion was that, during the aftermath of the war, Kerensky sent someone to try and help these people...and that someone had decided it was more...expeditious, to help them into a new dark-age.

No plague warning beacons.  If it was bio, there'd be warning beacons...unless the 'doctors' were here Before the war, and got left behind because nobody knew they were here.

She sent out some smaller "Roller" drones-these were about the size of a child's skateboard, and were specifically designed by a tech on the Glamorgan to work as landing-party advance-scouts after that ****** on Titan, with the EMP mines.

She picked up the signals coming from what orbital scans said was a reinforced area in the old city.

I wish I had some smallsats up there...

The encryption was one that didn't take long to break-it was a simple 1028 key, more like something that a school teacher might be using to encrypt test answers.

Her "other self", the Primary, was boarded.

well...of course we were.  killing the jumpship just means chasing the dropships around the system on limited fuel reserves.  Killing the dropships means the jumpship gets away.  Luring them to where you can kill them both is the only logical tactic...

She increased the doll's walk to a run-the full charge in the replacement packs meant it could run for a day at top speed, but the distance would only require another hour.  Plenty of time before the peasants came outside...

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #19 on: 07 May 2017, 01:48:50 »
Great Hall, Deb'shar Barony, early evening...

"...not contaminated, you dolt, they're going to be sold to slavers, off-world!" Maggie-in-remote snarled.  Gauian cowered-the appearance of that much working tech was enough to impress most of the locals, and he was no different, "Your colleagues, Doctor-man, are selling your neighbours and family for a profit...probably equpipment or weapons, maybe trinkets and glass beads, for all I know...off-world, get it? Men in skyships."

The Doctor-man cowered-as much as the pair of Tachis holding him would allow.

"What are we to do, then?" The Baron asked, "They have skyships, you have..?"

She straightened her posture,  "they aren't military-men, they're traders and pirates. a show of force might be enough, and if it isn't...well, they aren't the only ones with a skyship, milord..." she made a dismissive gesture, "The great problem, of course, is the doctor-men themselves..."

Gauian struggled against the machines holding him.  "One-thirty-four, if he does that again, break his right wrist." Maggie said mechanically.

The doctor-man glared up at her.  The Baron's men gathered around the scene, looked worried-the "Doctors" had special protections...

"so, 'Doctor'...what is it you're selling your neighbours and families for?" she asked, placing a hand on his chin.  The man's eyes widened at the lifeless cold of her touch.

"I-I don't know what you're talking about, monster!" he barked back.

"Sure you do-is it guns? I saw some nice weapons by the power-wagons, or is it parts for the trucks, maybe generators, or batteries?" she asked smoothly, "I can beat it out of you If I must...I know several human anatomy charts with the locations that will cause the most pain, if you insist on being uncooperative."

He struggled again, "Break it." she said.

134's claw twisted, applying fifteen pounds to the bone at ninety-degrees to its axis of strength.  The bone snapped, and the man screamed.

"It's MEDICINE! okay??" the man's local accent vanished, "Medicines, because the plague never got cured..." he was breathing hard.

Maggie frowned, "You're offworlder, yourself." she said.

He nodded, "I was part of the Explorer Corps team, I volunteered to stay..."

"Okay, so if they're plague-ridden, why are you selling them off-planet? Shouldn't the pandemic be confined?" she asked.

"it is...we've been checking them for immune-factors and getting the ones that aren't immune, and aren't infected, and sending them off..." he huffed.

"Yah, humane, that, you ass. I know and you know that anything sporic or viral that can be isolated that way can be dealt with using modern medical." she said it with a low-growl undercurrent designed to impress the fighting men around them-playing the demon.  "Where's your serum?"

"We can't synthesize it here." he replied, "We've tried, something in the local biosphere..."

"Bullshit." she said, "One more lie, and I start making it really HURT..."

"Why does a hand of the Master care about these people?" he suddenly demanded.

"Who said I was Manei Domini?" she asked, "I'm older technology than That." Maggie was in a hurry-either the locals would fall in, or they'd try to burn and blast the remote now.

"What do you mean??" he asked, warily. The Baron looked interested, as did Sillin.

"SDS, ******.  My primary's in orbit, and I'm running this body by remote." she said, "Caspar Series D."

"Impossible!" he answered, "They weren't Sentience-capable!"

"Wrong." she said, and released the catch on the facial panel, letting it drop to the floor in front of the locals, the Doctor, and whatever peasants were looking in.  "VERY capable, and I've decided that these people are mine to protect from human predators like your friends-now, you're going to tell me what you're getting out of this little slave-trading you and your 'colleagues' have been doing, because I'm no human, I can do things to you that you can scarcely imagine without feeling the first guilty pang."  She picked up the face agian, and put it back on, "believe it."

Gauian started blabbering-not out of fear, but because seeing something the teachings of Blake said was both an atrocity, and impossible, had broken his mind...


Quote from: Idea weenie, 27-08-2007, 20:45:11
Very nice, glad/scared to see Maggie back.

I assume she was watching his eye dilation, respiration, pulse, and using the Tachikomas to measure other indicators to see if he was lying?  She did a good job.

Quote from: qc mech, 27-08-2007, 23:55:54
If you [thought] Manei domini were bad...  :p

Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 28-08-2007, 03:02:38
Yeah, Maggie in full Traveller Virus mode, strain VB IIRC, God(ess).  She's too hard core to be the Mother strain.

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #20 on: 07 May 2017, 01:49:57 »
SLS Margaret Thatcher...

Maggie felt them inside her body. Cams showed her that the bulk of the pirates had relaxed enough to doff their pressure-suits and start making themselves comfortable in the vestigal quartering areas.
Position antibody units along passage 9B  she moved a trio of spiders into the subceiling.  Killing the bulk of the pirates fast enough required some small alterations to the fire-suppression equipment-this was equipment not under the direct control of the central processor.
it was almost time...

Outside, she could see their dropship had assumed a parking orbit well within weapons range.
On RF, she listened to their conversation with the "Prep team" on the surface.  Unblinking telescope told her that their jump-ship was off the point by some twelve hours, slowly waddling through newtonian space to a point where it could retrieve the short-fueled cargo vessel once it was loaded.

She rechecked the astronomical data, and configured an estimate to the nearest transitory minor jump point, then rechecked her positioning, the locations of other orbital assets, and the jumpship.

For a laugh, she put a virus into the carrier-wave coming from the boarding team, to the dropship. It was configured to seek out the control circuits for their communications equipment and navigational controls.

Let's have some fun...


Quote from: Nerd, 04-09-2007, 09:25:03
Maggie is doing something fun to scum of the universe pirates.

Quote from: Gingiva, 04-09-2007, 14:04:50
go maggie! *gets the popcorn*

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #21 on: 07 May 2017, 01:50:29 »
Hidden drop-port outside Derbyshire, 1400 hours local time...

The prisoners were being off-loaded into a series of paddocks, similar to those used by cattlemen on many worlds.  In turn, they were being undressed, washed, de-loused, injected with a variety of innoculants...
Maggie watched from her hidden position inside a ruin that had probably been some form of civic-building. 

Mild sedatives.  Has to be-they're nervous and afraid, then they get their shots and they're docile and euphoric-looking.  Stoned... she dialed up the reception, and scanned for thermal and conductive traces.

Definitely tranqued, Heart-rates are lower, muscular tension drops...okay. THAT explains how they intend to get them through inspections and sales...without a revolt.

She swept the area next.

Guns. Warm.  Mauser nine-sixties.  Probably in good shape, definitely charged.  "Sillin, tell the baron that they've got heavy weapons-the kind that'll melt his heavy-cavlrymen's armour and incinerate their bones." she said, "the stuff's relic, but in operational shape."

Sillin slid back from their position, and scooted over to where the Baron's men were waiting at the rear of the structure.

Maggie began working out the angles-her initial salvo would have to take out four men in PAL suits, without killing civilians...


Quote from: Gingiva, 11-09-2007, 03:00:22
precision orbital strike from Maggie Prime? we likes it :D

Quote from: Weirdo, 11-09-2007, 03:48:55
I keep telling folks that orbital fire can work in an anti-personnell role, but do they listen? Noooo....  ::)

If Maggie pulls this shot off, she will oficially become my favorite sentient WarShip ever.  :D

Quote from: Damage Inc., 11-09-2007, 04:46:26
Nothing like having your spotter directly tied into the mainframe and FCS. :D :D

Quote from: GiovanniBlasinim 11-09-2007, 06:56:47
Quote from: Weirdo, 11-09-2007, 03:48:55
I keep telling folks that orbital fire can work in an anti-personnell role, but do they listen? Noooo....  ::)

Meanwhile, a comic chanman showed me a while back occurs to me:

http://www.schlockmercenary.com/d/20070820.html
http://www.schlockmercenary.com/d/20070821.html

Quote from: Weirdo, 11-09-2007, 07:37:51
...and that is why I absolutely love Tagon's Toughs. 8)

Though to be fair, in that case, the ship was hovering just over the target at a few hundred meters at most, not way up in orbit.

Quote from: chanman, 11-09-2007, 07:54:31
I think they mentioned it was a VERY LOW geostationary orbit  :D
« Last Edit: 07 May 2017, 01:53:26 by Trace Coburn »

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #22 on: 07 May 2017, 01:53:27 »
Elsinore system...

The virus dropped a 'ping' on the pirates' own sensor-waves, indicating that it was ensconced in navigation and had replicated into the other key subsystems of both dropships.
Telescopic observation showed that the Jumpship had drawn closer, out of the zone of gravitational stability-probably to save fuel on the pickup.

It was time.

[Run:Orkin.EXE v.2.9/exe.execute]

The dropships opened their airlocks, bays, and ventilation systems while simultaneously failing to close emergency pressure doors.
Maggie added to this by strobing her EW array at full power.  The Caspar series ships had EW arrays that were designed without the slightest consideration for crew safety, and the placement of the vestigal bridge was in the path-with most of the pre-conversion sheilding removed to be re-used for more advanced human-crewed vessels.

The pirates in her bridge area wouldn't die immediately, it would take several days.  She slammed fire-doors closed, and initiated breach-containment conditions before dropping pressure by venting. This would also prevent "eruption" damage if the armed droppers were able to regain control and actually use their weapons.

The EW pulse mainly served to silence their calls for help and shouts of alarm-the jumpship would have little to no warning.

[Run/Orkin.EXE/v3/DRRAy.format.exe]

Spiders and Mannequins activated and began methodically moving through her hull.  The pirates were mostly in commercial-grade spacer's suits, minor damage to the suits that would leave her bulkheads unharmed would be very quickly fatal in her de=pressurized condition.

Tachikoma 551 requested additional instructions. "They are trying to surrender, what should I do?"

"Extermination. Terminate all humanoid life-forms aboard." she replied, "No Mercy to Slavers."

The battle on her decks raged in silence-the needlers and flamers of the boarding party were no match for the decidedly fleshless, armoured, drones.  As decks cleared on her monitors, some of the humans realized what was happening, and fled for the small-craft bay.

She sealed the doors and ordered Tachikoma 246 to seize the invaders' shuttlecraft, then brought a team of Mannequins armed with Mauser 960's to finish the job.

Human presences removed from all useful nodes of control, she plotted the intercept course, and launched a pair of M-39's recovered in the Rigil Kentaurus system to intercept and destroy the jumpship-these were armed with standard antishipping weapons.  She detailed one of the "Aoki NOdes" installed under McCall's direction during the salvage to handle the interception-the near-sentience "Expert system" would manage a mid-space interception without requiring the full attention of the primary intelligence.

That attended to, she looked to the dropships-the larger one, the Mule-class, was no longer blowing a wreath of frost, and it was no longer tumbling-the crew had asserted manual control and were frantically trying to get out of the blanket of Jamming, to call for aid.

The combatant ship was still streaking mist, but the weapon-systems were vainly trying to punch through the signal noise to bring muzzle-to-bear.

Maggie laid into the combatant ship with her broadside batteries, and released a spread from her port-forward launchers to cripple the cargo-ship.  (after all, a cargo dropship is useful.)

Something pricked at her port-aft armouring, she glanced through her network, and saw a pair of fighters trying to worry at her.  She gave them a flacking with the autocannon arrays of her point-defense system.

The space-side battle was well under control, Maggie turned her attention to the ground...

["Report Status, Remote."] she sent it at full-power, a longwave signal that would pass right through the crust and be recieved by the grounded small-craft currently on the other side of the planet.

["I have local friendly forces poised, but they have class-A Starleague equipment, need air-strike support with limited collateral, if we can manage it?"] her "remote self" replied.

["Dispatching strike fighter units, coordinates and targeting info?"] Maggie inquired.

["UPLOADING. will update every 3 seconds standard, frequency hop channels Juliet."]



Quote from: Nerd, 16-09-2007, 17:32:56
'Orkin.EXE'

First, the SLDF used a DOS based OS for the Caspars?  Aw, man, that DOES not sound like a good thing.  I mean, who wants a BSOD when trying to kill the Bad Guys (tm)?

And naming it after an extermination company, for killing the bugs in you.   Bow Down Rock On

Quote from: Worktroll, 16-09-2007, 18:40:07
Could be worse ... the Terminator used a 6502 chip, just like any Commodore 64 (or Sinclair Spectrum, for that matter) ;)

Quote from: Notsonoble, 16-09-2007, 18:50:06
*shudders* you know, you could have asked around... someone would have handed you Unix or some other cryptic-esque version of those commands... but then, significantly less readers would have understood

*continues to shudder about the concept of microsoft's hand in caspar development*

Quote from: Headshot, 16-09-2007, 19:55:04
Hmm, i don't know, DOS wasn't that bad.
It only went downhill when they stole and integrated a certain GUI for the analphabetic dummies... Roll Eyes

Quote from: shadrachvs, 16-09-2007, 21:47:51
I agree with Headshot... DOS was freaking stable as long as you knew what you were doing...

There is a reason that most large companies skipped Win3.1 and such...
Besides, who says it is DOS, and not just the best way for the commands to be expressed to us so that we can easily recognize them... after all... would the Caspars think in words as we do or Binary?

Quote from: Cannonshop, 17-09-2007, 07:24:14
[out of story] True artificial intelligence probably isn't even going to think in Binary.  some futurists in the eighties conceived of a "Trinary" method,  a sort of "Positive/Negative/Neutral" means with the actual method based on then-fashionable "Chaos math".

I used dos-like commands to make it easy for realworld people to understand she was activating commands in her sub-units, instead of filling half the page with numerical and mathematical symbols  or digging up an obscure, laboratory-only, programming language that is probably obselete anyway.

That, and her kickoff was activating viruses she planted in the dropships-and DOS strikes me as being just-the-sort of language you'd see in use by people who had to have a memory-core tell them how to make an artillery shell with a 180 meter radius of error at only five thousand meters' range.

[/out of story]

Quote from: Euphonium, 17-09-2007, 08:43:44
Oh, you left out the silent "r" and the second "s"  :D
MS-D(r)OS(s)

Quote from: Muttley, 17-09-2007, 10:59:52
Maggie is so British she's channeling Daleks...Exterminate! Exterminate!   & she's already broken the Doctor....

Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 17-09-2007, 11:42:52
Quote from: Euphonium, 17-09-2007, 08:43:44
Oh, you left out the silent "r" and the second "s"  :D
MS-D(r)OS(s)
What makes you sure it's MS-DOS?  Even then, MS-DOS 7 is pretty nice (I had a hacked version), as is IBM's PC-DOS (I still want to track down a copy of PC-DOS 2000).  For my emulator needs these days, FreeDOS works pretty well, too. :)

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #23 on: 07 May 2017, 01:54:35 »
De'bshar...

Adept VII Schroeder looked up as the sonic-booms echoed. They're early? Three contrails streaked inward-and he felt a sudden tightness in his bowels.

These weren't dropships, and the pattern was a classic wagon-wheel...

"We're under atta-"

the strikes were done with lasers, and they were pin-point accurate.  Two of the Typhoon suited guards erupted in steam-explosions as their bodies were brought to sublimation through the armour of their suits.

Another screamed-and he heard the man-his body sliced in half across the belt-line, the powered suit no match for synthetic lightning from what had to be an F-90.

The second fighter made a pass in the next tenth of a second, delivering the same pin-point surgical accuracy-an accuracy too precise for normal targeting systems.

He revised his estimate as he dove for cover, a wash of heat-bloom from scorched pavement lighting the tail of his robe aflame.  Why would the Clans come here?  it couldn't be anything else.  A brother too slow to seek shelter staggered behind him, robes aflame and screaming.

He looked around-there were no more of the power-suited guards, only locals in plate with muskets, and they were beginning to panic.

"Re-Form!!" he shouted, waving his arms.  At that moment, something slammed into his chest like a punch, and he looked down, seeing pinkish blood erupting-pulsed by the remains of his heart into the air...



Sillin watched as a man started gesticulating at the lesser Enforcers, trying to restore their courage.  He cozied the borrowed rifle from Mag'hies skyship.  Line up the blade in the centre of the circle, put it on the man's chest...

He squeezed...

the weapon kicked less than a musket, and there was no spreading cloud of gray-black smoke, but the thunder was familiar, and the result was gratifiying.  The 'doctor-man'  fell, his heart shattered by the bullet.


Maggie linked to the pair of tachikomae, and through them, to the aoki node running the airstrikes.

The node was an "accellerated" tachikoma-brain wired to a communications and sensor array, one with specialized software based on Comstar's C-3 arrays and the Caspar series' remote sensor drone controllers.

Through the link, she could see the entire zone.

[Align north forty degrees, strike high-metal concentration five.] she decided, and one of the fighters diverted to lay a full-salvo strike that brought secondary explosions from a camouflaged cluster of vehicles.  spectra through the gun-cameras of the other m-39's showed that the site had been high in ordinance-grade explosives, and saturated with electronics.  Gallium, copper, silicon, and nitrates were all present in the smoke from the explosions.


Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 03-10-2007, 12:57:45
Quote from: Weirdo, 03-10-2007, 11:43:39
:o

Badassest. Sentient WarShip. EVER.
Note to self:  write side story of how Sybil was able to escape a Republic trap to get the hell out of dodge. ;)

Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 03-10-2007, 23:30:07
Quote from: Euphonium, 03-10-2007, 19:28:56
Would this be behind your request for info on intergalactic travel timeframes? :)
No, that's for a much, much later story, set some time well after 3200 - I know Sybil will be sticking around the Inner Sphere / Periphery at least that long.  I'm not sure how much longer the Inner Sphere and Periphery will go without completely tearing itself apart, but from the moment I first conceived of the character, I envisioned a battered, ancient, barely-operational Sybil starting society over from scratch in another galaxy some 11 thousand or so years after the current storyline, determined not to make the same mistakes civilization made the last time (the implication being humanity wiping itself out pushed her flight from our neck of the woods).

This would be the story that preceeded this one by roughly six months, taking place before Maggie and Sybil's frantic exodus from Republic space, with the nascent Republic Navy on both their tails.

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #24 on: 07 May 2017, 01:55:29 »
Elsinore System...

The jumpship's station-keeping drives flared to life, sluggishly, it began lumbering for the nearest stable jump-point.

Maggie began running calculations as her detatched subunits closed on it-the Slavers would not be leaving Elsinore, she was determined of that.

A star system as dirty as Elsinore's, has a great many places where gravity is nullified enough to create a tiny, temporary, jump-point.  Most of those places require more calculation and observation than a human being can manage, thus, the ability to calculate them, while technologically possible, is dangerous enough that navigational cores designed to work with human navigators generally are designed to refuse the attempt below a point noted as the Gurden Threshold of probabilities.

three centuries of loneliness as part of a rogue, mad Caspar drone, and ten years of war against the Word of Blake is plenty of time for a suicidal warship to overcome the Gurden Block.

The chosen point was nearly within the orbital smelter's wreckage, and would require precise timing to the nanosecond on the burns to get there when if formed.

"Remote ONe, this is Primary. I will have to terminate RF linkage in one minute, continue operations with local forces and support subunit 6, until radio contact is restored. You are free to make all necessary decisions until that time, Over." she sent it to the remote on the surface, along with the command codes for the four M-39 automated fighters.

["Order acknowledged, Primary. Good Hunting."] was the reply.

Maggie was already in motion as the reply arrived.  The danger of a Gurden-limit jump is manifold-it requires not only precision in timing, but also in position-the window being barely large enough for a ship to transit, and short-lived enough to be a significant danger of malfunction.

Maggie finished re-running the 1, 230,561 most likely failure scenarios before resolving the most likely success outcome.

half a pound of thrust to port, reorienting her massive bulk by less than a millionth of a degree.

Initiate Jump

The hyperspace aperture barely cleared her hull by milimeters as she slid into it...


and static crossed across all sensor readings.

she waited an eternity-either the stable point would open, or she would be forever lost in the space between universes.

the static cleared, revealing stars.

she swept the zone.

there you are.

at the speed the jumpship was approaching, it would cross into stable space in roughly forty minutes.  The pursuing fighters and their controller would catch up to it-but only if it were delayed by an additional hour.

Off by half a degree. dammit.

she re-oriented, and checked fuel-levels and reserves.

acceptable.

She began thrusting at quarter-speed, running her full EW systems in the jumpship's direction, letting them know that their route of escape was now blockaded, that there was no hope, and that they should surrender.

A whole civilian jumpship can be retrofitted to act as a commercial service-module, it is therefore of use to Elsinore, once the crew has been adequately disposed of.


Quote from: Notsonoble, 25-11-2007, 10:27:40
Hey a "deity" who thinks a head... sufficiently evil for my tastes

Quote from: chanman, 25-11-2007, 10:28:01
The cybernetic collective really should carry nerve gas as SOP for just these contingencies and for internal security purposes.

Quote from: cawest, 25-11-2007, 17:45:25
"A whole civilian jumpship can be retrofitted to act as a commercial service-module"

what do you mean by this?  good to have you back.  looking forward to more

Quote from: Jimmyray73, 26-11-2007, 07:32:02
Probably that it's easier to re-fit a whole one for commercial service than it is to re-fit one that is broken into 3 or 4 pieces.  I think she's trying to get them to stand down without having to destroy them, because she wants to use their gear afterwards.

Quote from: shadrachvs, 26-11-2007, 10:35:03
*ahem*
Shred the meat, save the can.

Couldn't resist...

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #25 on: 07 May 2017, 01:57:22 »
Elsinore...

Sillin and Maggie walked with the Baron through the ruins of the Temple.  "So much lost..." the ruler said mournfully, looking at a pile of spilled cartons.  "So much forgotten."

Maggie stopped, "Hidden, you mean.  Your people were denied their heritage." she said, "Their birthright was buried with intent."

He nodded, as Sillin squatted, and picked up a partially burnt book.  "The Machinist's bible..." he read off the cover, and looked at the Drone, "Is this a religious text?"

Maggie shook her head, "No, it's an instruction manual-My primary has a copy of the 2745 Revised edition as part of the download she got from our mother."

"This battle's over, but you know the war is not." the Baron commented,  "The central Temple has GOT to have more resources than this parish branch, and they'll bring them out now..."

Maggie nodded, "I know.  Baron, I will help, but it's proven that unless a people take their own actions, Liberating them won't work in the long-run." she stopped, and lifted a cannister-shaped device from a pile of rubble.  Strain indicators showed it to be about 250 kilograms.  "If you're to free your world, and your people's minds, you'll have to do most of the work yourselves."

"Gods only help those that help themselves?" the baron asked.

"Quite.  I have enormous destructive capability, but it takes many, many, more hands to build something worth having." she said,  "Temples aren't it.  Schools, factories, and homes? those matter."

"How is the progress for your larger self?" Sillin suddenly asked.

"I haven't gotten an update since she moved to intercept their starship, but that could be good-given time-lag, if I don't pick up a signal in the next few hours, we can begin to worry." she said, "In the meantime, I'm going to have to plug this body in-it's running on emergency batteries and needs repairs."


Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 07-12-2007, 09:58:42
Quote from: Cannonshop, 07-12-2007, 09:33:45
"Quite.  I have enormous destructive capability, but it takes many, many, more hands to build something worth having." she said,  "Temples aren't it.  Schools, factories, and homes? those matter."
Very well put.

Quote from: Cannonshop's sig-line of the time
"It would be a stretch to say I hate people.  I don't hate people, Hate requires too much emotional investment.  I simply hold most people in apathetic contempt."
Wow, where is that from?  Whoever originated that...well, I want to subscribe to their newsletter. :D

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #26 on: 07 May 2017, 01:58:36 »
Elsinore...

The surviving crew of the jumpship were stunned when they saw just WHO had captured them...or rather, what.  "Who is the commander?" Maggie's remote-drone asked.

the man who stepped forward, at least, had the decency to be the man shown on the ship's internal monitoring system-record as the one giving the orders.

"I am" he stated.

Maggie shot him, in the gut, with a needler-rifle.

"Who wants a promotion?" the remote asked, as the former leader of the bandit crew writhed, leaking globules of blood, piss, and body-fluids in microgravity.

Nobody stepped forward.

"Excellent.  Helmets, please, and keep your limbs where they can be seen.  You are all charged with multiple acts of Piracy, Brigandage, and trafficing in Slaves, you are all under arrest, you will all recieve an appropriate chance to be heard by a Tribunal before sentence is carried out."


Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 15-12-2007, 03:25:06
Quote from: Cannonshop, 14-12-2007, 23:35:18
"Excellent.  Helmets, please, and keep your limbs where they can be seen.  You are all charged with multiple acts of Piracy, Brigandage, and trafficing in Slaves, you are all under arrest, you will all recieve an appropriate chance to be heard by a Tribunal before sentence is carried out."

Give them a fair trial, to be immediately followed by a fair hanging?  ;)

Quote from: Ajax_Wolf, 15-12-2007, 19:07:52
You don't hang spacers, you show them the outside of an airlock door.  :D

Quote from: Jimmyray73, 15-12-2007, 19:53:02
"Sure, I'll let you go free.  Don't mind the sound of rushing air..."

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #27 on: 07 May 2017, 02:00:06 »
Elsinore...

"...what are we looking for?" Sillin asked.

Maggie's remote-now that the warship was actually in orbit, it wasn't an independent being anymore, looked at him.  "Evidence." it said.

"What kind of evidence?" he asked.

"They had a rationale for bombarding this world, Sillin, and a lot of the damage around the city isn't consistent with orbital bombardment." it said, "Something scared them into burning the city and cutting off contact with the outside. This system was quarantined-at least, according to the data on the bandit-ship."

the thing finished hooking up the heavy cylindrical device to the power-amplifier from the shuttle.

a holographic image sprang to life on the flat side.

"What is this?" Sillin asked.

"It's the city's administrative datacore-it used to reside in the Planetary Governor's office."



Maggie...

The datacore turned out to be a wealth of information of the sort that Maggie really did NOT want. Reports on local 'unauthorized' industrial development that included a power grid and sewer system, locally produced water-treatment... and the Governor apparently considered THIS to be criminal?

What in the hell was going on? Maggie couldn't fathom it.  it was wrong.  She put aside the moral implications, and looked at the hard data, comparing it to the crater remnants planetside.

Well...he forwarded...hello, I wonder if someone at Ministry of Communications didn't edit your reports, Governor? 'cause I don't think they missed that one on purpose.

It would take  a lot of work, and a long time to do it-and the necessary equipment wasn't there...

Okay, so who were you sending to...routing numbers..

The coordinates weren't in Murakami's database,  but there were a set of coordinates in the navcom Database from the buffer of the spare M-6 core they had used to house her mind...

If I route it through DRUM, they'll hear it, I can't leave these people here by themselves...but if I encrypt it, and self-erasing worm for the relays...


Quote from: croaker, 14-03-2008, 06:26:08
Bah-link.

"Unauthorized industrial development?"

This has taken a turn for the odd, Maggie-me-dear.  More detail, please!

Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 14-03-2008, 08:21:25
Can't have the peasents getting 'upity', I mean they might just SHOOT you the next time you come to collect a load of mine or brothel slaves.  Roll Eyes




[[ Complete as archived.  Related story Ascension to be reposted Real Soon Now™.  ]]

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #28 on: 07 May 2017, 02:32:30 »
Good to see this again. :). I think I've got Ascension's original Word files, but I don't have the commentary, which is always nice to see.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

Trace Coburn

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Re: Cast Down From Grace (a Tabiranth tale by Cannonshop)
« Reply #29 on: 07 May 2017, 03:20:40 »
  I saved the raw threads, so my repost of Ascension will include the best the peanut gallery had to offer.  :D