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Author Topic: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)  (Read 25369 times)

DOC_Agren

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #300 on: 07 December 2022, 13:53:41 »
Heck, the Clanners are so dumb they probably still have the original Prefix Codes...


HAF-1A or 16309...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBk525wyUFk at the 6:30 mark.
I'm sure they updated the kill codes...  it not like Kowloonese were reading data directly already without issues   ;D ;D ;D ;D
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #301 on: 07 December 2022, 14:08:31 »
Time immemorial, one of the almost...

...universal rituals of hospitality, is the sharing of a meal.  Whether looking at Asian, Arabic, Meso American, or European traditions, sharing a meal is considered to be one of those fundamental rituals to establish, if not good will, then at least lack of immediate hostility and a willingness to, at least temporarily, coexist.

Elizabeth's cooking staff made the Breakfast to "Heinietown" standards, meaning the hottest was a local 'two star' spicing-almost bland by her people's standards, the sort of food you serve to foreigners or toddlers.

Her Grace ate at a separate table, between the Archon Prince's party, and the visiting Clanners, just past the free-throw line on the 'home' end of the basketball court she'd turned into a meeting room.

From there, she directed Stewards to provide milk and Red Tea for her guests, to cool the capsacin analogue that permeates so much of what is native to Kowloon, yet edible for humans.

Most of Victor's staff were...unprepared.  Poor dears.  The Clanners at least went at it with gusto, trying to keep up with their Khan, who managed to clean her first plate without touching the milk.

Once everyone was fed, Stewards cleared the used dishes and carafes of Coffee and Tea were provided, along with sweet pastries.

"now that everyone has eaten." Liz stood up, "As I said before, welcome to Kowloon, this Summit is convened, I am your host, to my right, is the ruler of the Federated Commonwealth, Victor Ian Steiner-Davion and his party, to my left, is Khan Marthe Pryde, leader of Clan Jade Falcon and HER party. I would under normal circumstances be seated with the Archon Prince's party, or in the bleachers with the observers...however, Kowloon was chosen as the site of this...activity, and as host, I have an obligation to all of my guests, not just the one I swore Obedience to.  Latrines are available and clearly marked, there are equally functional facilities on each side of this building, those facilities are fully stocked and well maintained, please feel free to tell me if there is a problem."

She smoothed her walk a bit, and paced down the now-open aisle between the tables.  "I have been informed that Clan Jade Falcon, wishes to establish an Embassy.  This makes sense-eventually there has to be an option of negotiation and establishing mutual rules of engagement, and the end of the Tukayyid true is coming.  I think Arc Royal, or maybe Coventry would be ideal, if not Tharkad itself and a spot on Embassy Row...Other people-" she shot a look to Victor, then Marthe, "Seem to think this world is a better choice-and that is not so great from my perspective."

she tapped her cane on the floor, "but we aren't even at that point yet, because while it's quite obvious to me that Diplomatic relations should be established now, before the shooting, killing, and dying of a renewed war for ...'Terra'...begins?  what I don't get, is why here, and why now, and Where on Kowloon, and why?"

She limped back to her temporary table, and semi-awkwardly hopped onto it, sitting with her legs hanging down, cane between her feet. "So, I want to know what each side intends and expects from establishing an embassy in the Kowloon system, rather than on one of the major worlds I mentioned, where it is the two sides expect to build that embassy, and why we're talking about this now and not ten years ago."

One of Marthe's aides, a man that was...well, Liz considered him to be handsome, stood, "Why did you say 'ten years ago'?" he asked.

"You're right, I should've said Thirteen years ago." Liz nodded, "good catch, STar Colonel...?"

"Nathan Roshak.  Why Thirteen years ago then?"

"because if the descendants of the Star League Defense Force showed up thirteen years ago, with proof they were the descendants of the people who followed Aleksandr Kerensky? and if they had done so by opening with who they were, instead of with naval gunfire? They would have been welcomed as lost Heroes returned."  Elizabeth enunciated, "I am utterly certain that if your forces had come, and declared, and had proof, and merely Asked, the way to Terra and the Sol system would have been opened without a shot being fired, and you would be standing on Old Earth-that world our ancestors fled, as liberators today...but that's not what you did, now is it? So, in the now, instead of negotiations with five House Lords to reassemble the Star League, you're here, Nathan Roshak, Star Colonel, establishing an embassy."

"You consider this...late?" he inquired.

"Yes." she stated.  "This is late, this is what-you-do-to-fix-a-mistake late.  Your ancestors racked up a Legendary status! There were people who turned your exodus into a religion...especially near the core.  Heroes of legend, right up there with 'the once and future king'....and then, when you showed up and started killing people, you ****** it all up."

"and your question of 'here'? Seems odd to me, please clarify." he added.

"Kowloon never benefitted from the Old Star League, Nathan Roshak." she said.  "We fought alongside Kerensky against Amaris, not because we loved Star League, but because we hated Amaris.  That is why none of our ancestors went with yours on Exodus-once Amaris was gone, we were done...until your ancestors left us, and we had to try to uphold the Elbar Declaration on our own.  Ask Star Captain Henry, the man to your left there, he grew up on the same stories I did, the same history I did-he even had more time with Grandfather and his friends than I did, just based on being almost three and a half years older.  We were forced to relinquish our independence when we lost Erik Ngo and the 171st trying to stop Jinjiro's massacre halfway across the Sphere.  We were left without an option but to negotiate the treaty that brought Kowloon into the Lyran Commonwealth."

"That is actually one of the reasons we chose Kowloon." Marthe Pryde stood as Nathan sat.  "Article 32, section four of your treaty of annexation."

"The Autonomy provision?" Liz looked a bit confused. 'theatrically' confused.  Victor had warned her the Falcons might've learned the details from henry.

or from some dusty law-books captured in their conquest.

"The very same, Kowloon is legally a semiautonomous protectorate, which means it is ideal ground for a Neutral installation." Marthe stated, "There are also, as you alluded to, standing orders and the documented agreement that brought your volunteers into the war against the Usurper-promises were made, and while they may have been somewhat neglected, we recognize this as an outstanding and incomplete obligation-even a justification for our return to the Inner Sphere and the restoration of the TRUE Star League."

"Do you even have copies of those standing orders?" Liz asked.

"We do." Marthe stated.  "While the original promise cannot be upheld-nobody has invented reliable time-travel into the past...we can begin to make up for that oversight."

"this is about Fifty-Eight, isn't it?" Liz mused.  "You still haven't figured out what we did, or how we did it."

"There is that." Marthe confessed. "How did you do that?"

"Ancient family secret." Liz commented, "If henry hasn't figured it out, I'm not going to say.  it keeps things...peaceful."

"always keep a hole card?" Marthe hazarded.

"Always. never show your hole card until the last bet. This isn't the last bet." Liz stated, "Victor doesn't know, so I'm not telling you."

"I suspect it is not your only 'hole card', quiaff?"

"AYeh, you're right, it isn't, but it's the one you're curious about-and you'd be a fool not to be."  Elizabeth agreed, "Which is why I'm not gonna tell you if it was a one-time thing, or we've got spares, and I'm not gonna tell you if we can deploy it outside the system or not, because as long as it remains unknown? we're talking and people aren't dying.  but you can check with my brother there, I don't do anything without a contingency plan."

"The nuclear ordnance?" Marthe asked.

"Bag of Hammers." Liz said, "Like a hammer, they can be used to kill, but mostly they're mining equipment."

"your...sub-corvettes, these 'cutters'?" Marthe asked.

"Peacetime policing and patrol vessels. Their wartime role is temporary, they're there to deal with accidents, crimes and piracy.  the Destroyers are more or less product for export to the AFFC, but they let me keep a handful for ongoing development and testing, their military role is secondary to their primary purpose as testbeds and research platforms.  Let me fill you in more, the conventional jumpships out of my yards have their wartime customers, and some go to the Coast Guard, but they're there to bulk up trade and commerce and they're also product sold to buyers for hard currency.  My initiatives with the government, including the Lighthouse class stations we laid all the way to your homeworlds, were originally intended to improve trade routes here in the Commonwealth, as part of a sustained effort to get everyone out of the damn dark ages."

"SO you want the Star League's benefit-the peace, the prosperity." Marthe challenged.

"Who doesn't want prosperity and progress?" Liz shot back, "really, who doesn't want that? or 'peace'-which is not, as is often mistaken, the absence of conflict.  It's the presence of justice for everyone.  I suspect you and I do not agree on what that looks like."

"What does 'peace' look like to Elizabeth Ngo?" Marthe asked.

"Peace... The Peaceful have the Means of violence, but choose not to use it to enforce their will, instead reserving it only to address the Violent, and we will always have the violent, Khan Marthe Pryde.  There will always be someone who thinks 'hey, I have a weapon, let's use it to steal from our neighbors!' and when that happens, the Peaceful addresses the problem of the violent and makes them go away.  THAT is 'peace', it is a choice made, because the disarmed are helpless before the Violent, and have no choice to make-they are denied Peace, or justice.  In peace all exchanges are based on consent, not coercion."

"You feel coerced?"

"I do." Liz stated, "But only by my own consent. you mentioned Article 32, and it's been in the Annexation Treaty since 2796.  none of my ancestors have invoked it, but it's there, and that's been a check on most of the abuses we would otherwise have faced."

"How is it you are coerced by your consent?" Marthe prodded.

"I gave my word." Liz said, "That means something, it means instead of telling Victor to go pound sand up his ass until he's made steel, I agreed to this conference...because I gave my word. If you make a promise, nevermind an Oath you are staking your word.  any fool can make threats, and back them up, because that's easy-there's no value to it at all beyond your physical ability to do violence.  How you treat your promises, how strongly you uphold your oaths, even when you don't want to? That decides your character.  It is your truest face and the weight of your soul."  Liz then gave her a cold smile, "Which I have ample reason to be concerned about, seeing as I won't live to make restitution if I break my word."

"You mentioned Kerensky's ...'legend'...but you do not share that opinion, quiaff?"  Marthe asked.

"Correct." Liz said, "He broke his word and trillions died...now, please excuse me, I...must step out for a bit," she glanced over, "Victor, try not to lose the store for me while I'm away, please?"

she hopped down and hobbled away.


"She hides it well." Marthe observed.

Victor nodded.  "Liz has a little 'alert' display, her watch, you saw it right?"

"Aff." Marthe said, "warning of her next seizure?"

"Yeah." he licked his lips.  "Your man Pershaw suggested a few options in his contact with my people..."

"I brought Genetic surgeons and specialists." Marthe confirmed.

"You still want to do it?" Victor asked, "I mean, we can still establish your Embassy, and start talks on legitimizing your claim as a recognized polity..."

Marthe chuckled, "I prefer to crush enemies and rivals honestly, not wait for them to die an agonizing death based on random chance.  There is also the prestige for my Clan to consider-defeating an undefeated enemy is always good for the Clan...in every way...besides, tolerating Etienne's constant, unceasing whining was punishment enough, I would as soon leave the fat bastard here win-or-lose. It cuts him off from his collaborators and tht in turn means I do not have to line up and shoot a lot of scientists for sedition, thus saving ammunition and warrior time better spent on proper duties rather than the alternative."

Elizabeth's muffled screams barely reached the table from where she had retreated.
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #302 on: 07 December 2022, 16:36:04 »
Her Grace spent...

the next two days recovering from her most recent fit.  This left staff and support people handling the job of actually moderating the discussions and providing further polite hospitality, as the Duchess was...'unwell.'

On the morning of the Third day, she was in the gymnasium, haggard eyes and sunken cheeked, when the diplomatic parties entered.

There was a stack of paper on her table, with boxes standing next to it.

"What have you brought us?"  Victor asked.

"what you'll be fighting over." she said, "Survey data, maps, mineral and agricultural information, weather and climate reports."

"SO you weren't ignoring the goings-on." He approved.

"Nope.  It makes sense, in a way, she brought Henry because Grandfather willed him Hue County as his barony, though..." she sighed.  "I won't let them just take my people Victor.  The land doesn't matter nearly as much, we can rebuild anywhere, but I'm not going to let them turn my people into property. to be won or lost on a bet, and I'm not letting you do that to my people either, I'll fight this."

He spread his hands, "We're still negotiating, Liz...I'm sure something can be arranged."

"Your word?" she asked quietly.

Victor hesitated.

"I thought so." she finished for him.  "Never make a promise you can't deliver...I understand."

After three days, the Clan party had gotten used to the food...somewhat used to it. 

"I have conditions." Elizabeth spoke, "The Federated Comonwealth  has agreed that the region on the map marked 'Hue County' is appropriate for your Embassy and supporting grounds...however, I have conditions under Article 32, I invoke those rights."

"What Conditions?" Marthe asked.

Elizabeth motioned to an aide, who opened a document box, and began handing sheafs of paper to the Clan officers.  "Those, are immigration and tax forms." Liz said, "your zone will be under your government, but pirates, bandits, and natural disasters do not recognize property lines. Your personnel will be here as Temporary REsidents, as Hue County retains eleven seats on the Planetary Governmental Assembly, your Clan will be expected to send eleven representatives to sit in the government-these are voting seats."

"Participate in your Government??"

"Your people will be living here." Liz said, "It's reasonable that they will want a say in the government of the planet..Because they live here too."  she limped a path between the tables, "I do not WANT a civil war every time someone has an argument over water rights, or who's responsible for wildfire control in the region, or fishing issues."

she stopped, and faced the Clan leaders.  "SO, all that dirty, day-to-day government stuff? your guys are going to have to be considered, and involved...because I don't want the hassle.  I'm dying, not stupid.  There are exemptions from the Commonwealth's draft, given we exceed proportions on the tax-and-tithe without needing conscription, that's just a formality recognizing the nature of your tenancy.  Your laws reach the border.  That's it.  you call OUR law enforcement and present a case if you want to chase someone OUTSIDE your perimeter-that's going to be your jurisdiction, period."

"There is more here...evacuation orders?" Marthe asked.

"My people are not property, Khan Marthe Pryde.  If you win your trial, I want time to evacuate anyone who does not want to live in a Clan Enclave, and no grief from you about it...those who choose to stay, will have chosen to stay, but anyone who wants out is let out, no detentions, no threats, nor shooting in the back, nor Sterilizations.  Forty five day/night cycles, full cycles, to evacuate anyone who doesn't care to live under the rule of your Clan...I expect your Clan will import people to fill the needed roles-and look!" she tapped the document boxes, "Plenty of information for your economic planners to figure out who you want to send-this is the full resource and tax accounting for the Hue County area, everything from geological and biological data to ecological and climate, including structures, infrastructure that we literally can't move  Including crop yeilds on cultivated land and useful native wildlife-everything your urban planners need to get it going again after enough of my people leave."

Nathan spoke up, "You will allow us to...persuade them to stay?"

"I expect you to try." Liz said,  "it's not a choice if they don't hear both sides, you'll be allowed, during those 45 local days, to make the best impression you can to convince people that leaving is the lesser option."

"I am curious, Elizabeth...page fifteen."

"Yeah, what about it??"

"Access to your university??"

"Classes are free, certifications cost money." Liz told her, "as Jade Falcon personnel will be resident on Kowloon, presumably for long term, your people will have access to University of Kowloon Nha Tranh's campus and classes, and, provided you provide them with tuition in the form of hard currency, the degrees and certifications available, including library access...which is why I don't think you'll be sending a lot of your people over the iron hills and down Highway 2 to the university-by Charter nothing on the university is censored and there is no information going through it that is edited for 'security' reasons.  We DO edit for language grammar.  It's a courtesy, and I don't anticipate anyone from your side taking advantage of it."

"Classes are free, the tests cost money?" Nathan offered.

"Yes.  It's a public university, which means 'open to the public', and after what the scumbag Terrans did for two hundred years, trying to break us all down to the phekking stone age? I'm more interested spreading the knowledge, than I am in hiding it so some lunatic can blow it up out of fear."

"You do not think knowledge can be dangerous?"

Elizabeth snorted derisively, "KNOWLEDGE is not dangerous. What people DO without it? is catastrophe...okay, Lecture time!!" she waved a hand, and the Scoreboard lit up, becoming a display screen.  "This, is Culter's Ford on Arluna.  It's a tiny little city in the foothills of the Sangre De Dumont mountains, which were named by an idiot who thought it sounded latin.  About...this time last year, Rowe McClaren industries had a research outfit trying to reverse engineer some lostech munitions at Culter's ford.  We very narrowly missed having a level zero biohazardous weapon release there, and only because one of my Contractors was working with Rowe on identifying ordnance, and realized that this..."

The image changed to a White Shark missile with unusual markings

"...was not an antishipping missile at all, it was a chemical or biological weapons deployment platform.  We moved it to an isiolated lab on an airless rock, and men in space-suits opened it up.  What came out killed every test animal in the facility and could have infected the entire staff...but we were lucky, and we were informed-first that it wasn't an advanced guided missile, but second, that biohazardous weapons-grade nightmare fuel needs to be handled carefully.  My medical people compared it to some of hte nastier bugs that were unleashed in the First Succession war-a potential planetkiller virus, Level Zero, we used a thruster and tug, and dropped the rock where we did the testing into the sun."

she folded her arms, and regarded her guests, "THAT is why ignorance may be bliss, but it's also lethally dangerous. the sole and only defense against a hostile universe, is knowledge. so my university, by charter-and-law, does not suppress information, does not  classify what is discovered in our labs, or discovered by scholars.  we publish everything...including the stupid stuff, wrong theories, wrongheaded diatribes, everything.  We're publishing a copy of Nicholas Kerensky's 'The way of the Clans' and a copy of the Clan Wolf, and Clan Novacat, Remembrance poems.  More would be nice, we even put out an edition of the Smoke Jaguar one that was recovered on Huntress."

"But not ours?"

"I don't have a copy." Liz stated, spreading her hands, "You want it published, we'll print it, send it out. Not-a-problem to me.  It'll be in bookstores and in the university as soon as we can get it off the printer and into the distribution network, right along with the others I just mentioned, probably under a Humanities tag for the library's sorting system."

"A copy of the Clan's Remembrance will be made available." Marthe announced, "Win or lose?"

"Okay-once your people give me a copy to have printed, it'll be entered into the system and the master will be stored at an undisclosed location-so that nobody can just burn it, steal it, or blow it up, and we'll probably do a first printing of five thousand copies-unless there's demand for more."

"Just like that?"

Elizabeth nodded, "Ayeh, just like that.  This is something I am serious about Khan Marthe Pryde, no-joke serious. If you have other publications you want distributed far-and-wide? bring them to the University, we'll do it, because Everyone is in a damn dark age, and I might not live long enough to get us out, but dammit, someone has to be trying or we'll never get out."

"and your secret weapon??"

"If you haven't figured it out, then you should probably enroll for classes." Liz said, "Which will be easier once this trial thing is over.  Now, that we've digressed, Let's continue on our main point here..."
« Last Edit: 07 December 2022, 16:42:03 by Cannonshop »
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Dave Talley

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #303 on: 07 December 2022, 17:56:52 »
Dammit, didnt post when i hit send several hours ago

I can see it now
A whole star of elite elementals laid out in gastric distress,  most of the Fedcom staff aren't much better off, while a troop of girl scouts who helped cook and were hostesses (earning cooking and diplomacy badges) look on in pity
Resident Smartass since 1998
“Toe jam in training”

Because while the other Great Houses of the Star League thought they were playing chess, House Cameron was playing Paradox-Billiards-Vostroyan-Roulette-Fourth Dimensional-Hypercube-Chess-Strip Poker the entire time.
JA Baker

DOC_Agren

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #304 on: 07 December 2022, 19:13:46 »
No Arluna Flu  :thumbsup:
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Daryk

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #305 on: 07 December 2022, 21:10:42 »
I got home too late to comment earlier.. I like where this is going!  :thumbsup:

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #306 on: 07 December 2022, 21:51:21 »
"The titans left the playground...

...but they didn't pick up all their toys first." She said.

  Star Colonel Nathan Roshak took it on himself to personally hunt down Duchess Ngo during the afternoon recess while the Khan communicated with the Clan Council. "Seems a harsh sentiment." he said, "Nobody compelled anyone to use them."

She shrugged and skipped a stone off the surf.  "Nope, nobody made them do it...any more or less than someone made your ancestors break out in civil war twenty years after reaching the Pentagon worlds, right?"

"it was inevitable." Nathan commented.

"I disagree." she told him, "What bound them together is what tore them apart...in both cases.  YOUR ancestors just had the advantage of a small enough population they could find a strongman to pick up the pieces, and the disadvantage of a psychology that needs a strongman."

"Explain your position and I will show you how you're wrong." He commented.

"Okay...bear with me, did the seventy five percent of the SLDF leave because they hated the Star League, or because they Loved Kerensky?"

"HATED??" he scowled, "They did NOT hate the Star League."

"So, abandoning the only member state that didn't vote for dissolution was an act of what, love?" she asked.  "Let's put this into an historical perspective here- Over a decade at war, massive planet-hopping campaign,  Kowloon alone lost three million of our people fighting, something like less than one percent of total casualties on the SLDF side..." she searched the beach, finding an appropriately flat stone.  "WE didn't Love the Star League, we fought the war because we hated Amaris, and we went home when we were sure the fat bastard was dead."

"Correct so far..."

"Kerensky fully expected to get the Regent's job, and sit the throne until a replacement Cameron could be found-he even had a search, yes or no?"

"As far as I know, yes."

"okay...now, How thoroughly did he look?" she asked.

"What??"

she sighed.  "How Thorough was Kerensky's search.  Mind how thorough he could actually be with datanets down, the civil service in shambles, urban destruction and destruction of administration sites throughout the Hegemony, chaos of war, fog of war...how thorough do you suppose he was?"

"As thorough as...possible?"

"Let me tell you a story, I have this friend-a subordinate, not really a friend.  She's an expert investigator, caught a serial killer who hopped planets to avoid being detected.  Thing is, to hear Seether tell it, all she did, was put together what amounts to all the work of investigators over a decade, and then got lucky because he came here...and taunted police until he was caught...but for twenty years and around, near as we can tell from other worlds whose records jibed, two hundred women? he was a ****** ghost...and there were how many worlds in the Terran Hegemony alone?  Kerensky 'searched' for five  years, and was looking for what? and where did he look??"

"Why would that be relevant?"

"Because during that entire Coup period, Amaris never once was able to assert his dominance over the Beltawalla in the Sol system."  She explained, "He could run the SDS into the ground, but he couldn't even find most of the outer system residents..and that's one star system.  Hegemony had hundreds. It'd take more than five years unless your candidates are right there and looking to be found...and the old man knew it. so..."

she eyed another stone as the present one was zipping out into the surf.

"So?"

"So either the survivor didn't trust him, or he didn't look very hard-if one was available." she concluded.  "It's like hiring for the civil service-you have to have one to rebuild after something like that war...and people in those conditions are always looking for a job...yet he rebuilt none of it-and he had five years to do it, do you know what I did in four?"

"Tell me." Nathan said idly.

"I started at fourteen, and Kowloon was a mess-the Regent appointed to handle it in Dad's stead, because my father adored Aleks Kerensky and wanted to be a career officer..." she turned, "Negative income growth, corrupt officials, widespread unemployment, attempted to steal property under color of law, embezzlement of tax money, and selling military supplies to people like Hopper phekk'da Morrison.  He'd tried to disband the Coast Guard entirely, outlawed the Association of the 171st as seditious, and had half the civil government locked up and the rest of the assembly in hiding-things were a ruin.  Four years later and I'm giving the Archon a working Navy, we're economically the strongest world behind Inarcs in the region, I've put Hopper Morrison, the infamous 'King Hopper' who had everything for sixty lights from the Periphery border marker in terror on a gibbet...and I had less to start with both quantitatively, and in terms of quality, than what Kerensky had by the end of the war.  Difference?"  she flicked the stone. 

"What is the difference?"

"I actually tried." she scowled, "The man my father and his colleagues practically worshipped-and believe me, I've seen things that make me wonder about that shit too...he didn't.  He won his war, and then, what? It was too difficult to honor his oath to the Star League? his promises? the whole promises that were the underlayment of his legitimacy?  Nathan, I was born broken, Kerensky was healthy into his eighties, I'll be dead before I'm forty...and I knew it when I took a group of cheap mercenaries and angry farmers and overthrew a regency...but if I stopped at winning the battles, do you know what we'd have?"

He shook his head.

"We'd have it worse than when I started." she asserted.  "Everyone learns different things, Nathan Roshak.  My father admired the legend of Aleksandr Kerensky because of his battlefield successes, he learned to admire battlefield success.  I learned that after the fighting, if you don't do the job, your fight was worthless."

"wait...you mentioned something...your father saw?"

"Yeah. a little 'legacy' from the family's past, Ours, theirs." she commented.  "We didn't give the HPG back to the Ministry of Communications until 2810 or 2815, about the time the last of our people who could operate it had a...'tragic accident' and the central government on Tharkad put pressure on old Marjorie.  we kept a few recordings from an earlier time. kept them safe."

"they are...not at your 'university'." he observed.

"Nope.  THAT would bring a Comstar paid reprisal on all our heads." she stated, "or worse."

"may I see them?"

she closed her eyes and muttered something in viet.

"What was that?"

"I said, 'me and my big mouth'." she met his eyes.  "Yes. You can see them.  You won't like it.  given what we've had reports on around Clanner culture and having to square off with Morgan Kell over his son, I'm pretty sure you'll be in deep shit with your lady boss and Clan Council if you see them."

"That bad?"

"Maybe."  She shrugged, "maybe not.  Eventually every secret kept, surfaces, Nathan Roshak." she said, "I guess letting your people see it, is probably time...in fact, maybe we should let everyone see."




"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Daryk

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #307 on: 07 December 2022, 22:21:16 »
And yet you keep US waiting...  ::)

I literally can't wait, even after over an hour past bed time...  8)

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #308 on: 08 December 2022, 12:35:00 »
The trip to...

Spider Moon hadn't been on Victor's planned itinerary.  It had not been (entirely) in the intentions of Marthe Pryde either.  The two of them sitting on the CIC deck of a Kowloonese Cutter with the shipyard plastic wrapping still on the seats, less so.  Their hostess sitting at the Navigation station only added to the uncomfortable closeness made worse, because Elizabeth had ordered the cadet-crew to Kowloon's Moon for vacuum-infantry training and the instructor pilots along with them as O/C to make room for two contingents of bodyguards kept even by agreement.

And wearing a catheterized space-suit didn't help anyone's mood but the Duchess.

"are you sure you can do this?" Victor asked.

Elizabeth grunted and pulled out a worn-looking paper logbook.  "Read 'em and weep." she said, "I'm still Guild Certified." as she plotted the departure and emergence points. using optical instruments and a paper pad.

"no computer." Marthe breathed. 

"Don't need it." Liz said, "I'm trained." her tone was flat, unemotional, more like the tone you hear from an autistic savant than the wrathful, angry, emotional girl-woman in the conference.  "My Grandmother traces to Eros Setayshun and the first Stahsheps, my line reaches back to the first class of Pathfindahs, I was born to walk with stellar winds at my back..."

Discontinuity

"...and the stars beneath my feet-HURRKK!!!!"  The duchess of kowloon managed to grab a facemask after they came out of jump, and the humming of the scavenger vac was as audible in the stunned silence of the CIC deck, as if it were the turbines of a construction machine rumbling an empty stretch in a mine on a planet.

"Confirm!!" Elizabeth managed to get out, barking the order at Selva Von Jankmon, whom had been sitting in the secondary Helm position.

"I...where are your displays??" The Clan Warship officer asked, wide eyed.

Elizabeth reached over and punched in a series of commands, flipping large, mechanical switches on the panel-board, while vomiting again into the scavenger mask.  "I ****** HATE this part." Liz managed to gasp, "Victor, water bottle, strapped to the seat, please..."

"Is that every time?" He asked.

"Six second transition." Elizabeth said, "ALWAYS rough when I'm at a station on the inside, not as rough when I'm topside using aux controls...but guests...and I don't think the instructors installed those yet...fuuuuu...whew...okay, better enough now. Not as bad as a seizure, heh." she managed a smile.  "We're in Spider Moon Orbit, if you want to hop on the RTO station and contact your warship, Khan Pryde, they can use telescopes to confirm our emergence here.  I expect they'll be really ****** glad I didn't assassinate everyone in a misjump."

"Showoff." Victor finally relaxed.

"Gotta show off to the rubes, Vic." Liz said, nodding to Nathan Roshak, "everyone was pitying me and you know I hate that...Okay, Von Jankmon, you're not certed on this hull, you watch me though, because you do know how to make an orbital insertion and it's stupid to run one without backup eyes on the instruments. Once we're in parking orbit, we'll go down to the surface in one of the pinnaces."

"Pinnaces?"

"Mark VII landing craft." liz amended.  "Cutters don't land because surface gravity does fukky things to jump cores...and I'm going to have to borrow hands to extend the sails, because otherwise we have to call for a Ferry-taxi back...******, we're going to be doing that anyway, but leaving a drive uncharged is bad manners."

"Six seconds?"  it filtered into the Clanner naval officer what Liz referred to.

"Yeah. Point was about a hundred meters wide, I used small masses to make the shortcut...what?"

"That is...incredible."

"No, that is properly trained." Liz said, "Doing it sixty times is incredible, which is why there's less than a thousand total Pathfinder qualified pilots in the Federated Commonwealth..I'm twelve jumps short, and none of you are qualified to stamp my logbook, so I'm still twelve jumps short."

She unbelted, and gently pushed Morgan Icaza's elemental bulk to the side to look at the engineering station.  "ALright, I need five strong hands with nullgee training to follow me out to the topside, because while the system WILL deploy the sails on its own once I start the cycle, rigging sometimes gets jammed after a tight jump so it's mag boots and crowbar work.  Star Captain Icaza, I need good eyes watching this board, this instrument here-" she indicated an analogue gauge, "the needle needs to sit between fifteen and thirty, in the green here, and you need to do a lot of talking, because every time it moves, it means somehting outside."

"Maybe...I would be better employed outside?" Morgan suggested.

"Oy, right, you're a biggun." Liz said, "Von Jankmon! can you manage this?"

"Aff."

"Okay, if it hits red, throw this breaker-that shuts off the power to the myomers before they can tear, then the deck gang finds the snag and frees it, we tell you, and you close the breaker again and keep reading."

The deck party ended up being fifteen instead of five, and the sails deployed without needing any interference at all.

"They are black..." Marthe observed.

"They absorb EM radiation and light, it's not as pure efficient as a reflector-collector system, but it works where visible spectra are scarce." Liz confirmed.

"it would also work as a stealth device!" Marthe announced, "You used this!"

"Half right.  The sail costs almost as much as the rest of the ship." Elizabeth told them.  "Thus, we try not to waste the stuff...but you brought a Fleet and I had a Squadron, only eight of mine were in the body-and-fender, so I only had an active patrol available against three battlecruisers and two destroyers, plus dropships...so we improvised."

"The Improvisation worked." Marthe told her.

"Now we can plan it." Elizabeth agreed.  "Star Commodore Von Jankmon, how is the power feed? is the gauge in green, Over??"

"Needle on the power-feed is in the middle of the green, no wobble, Over."

"alright then, let's take a pinnace to the base." Liz clapped her hands silently. in the vacuum of space.  she led them on a walk along the hull to another personnel door, this one adjoining the hangar-bay doors portside, as if she were walking a simple garden path, instead of spacewalking along the hull using magnetic boots.

"Wouldn't it be faster if you used an emu?" Victor asked over the common channel.

"Nah, faster sure, and more fun, but you're guests and you're Dehtevet Innahwallah and Clannawallah guests, leaving you to try and figure out the path on your own would be rude."

She opened the hatch using her crowbar as a lever on the hydraulic pump switch.

"Li didn't tell me how much training you had." Victor observed.

"Li's a Rokkajakkah. Highness, it wasn't relevant." Liz said, "It became relevant today, so now you see it...we use this lock for concourse docking at the yards, so there's plenty of room for everyone inside...means let's get indoors ayeh?"

with her guests, both AFFC bodyguards and Clanners back indoors, she closed the hatch, and pressed up the concourse lock, then demonstrated 'testing' by breaking seal, then opening and taking off her helmet.  "I need to talk to the yard about the mix." she noted.

"The 'mix'?"

Elizabeth sniffed, "it's in safety margin, but we can do better-see?" she pointed at a set of display gauges. "It's a little thin on the noble gasses, not quite perfect, but hey, our nitrogen and oxygen counts are within reg."

"Dry." Marthe said, "I think the term is 'dry'."

"Yeah, water count's a bit low, that screws with the other proportions, makes the air taste funny." Elizabeth agreed, "They'll probably fix it on the next replenishment before she goes active."

None of the shuttles in the bay had any scoring on their ceramikote paint.  "virgin??" victor asked.

"Yah, whole ship is." Liz agreed, "I'm not going to pull a ship off the line for a personal ride, Your Highness, this one's doing the Beta flights before she's signed off for issue, the trainees we left on the moon are probably gonna be assigned as replacements to active duty vessels, or one of the Landmarks at the yard...so taking her out wasn't a big deal, except that it's probably going to muck a bit with the crew certification cycle-they'll get extra training in gravity and a week or two added to their duration before graduation...which is good, most of those trainees are from planets."

"You reviewed them, then, quiaff?"

"ayeh." Liz nodded at Nathan's observation, "most of the class on this boat were Winterites or Arlunans doing militia qualification for their own starter Guard units.  a few delays to get them fully prepped for the job isn't necessarily a bad idea...especially since they're here on their homeworld's Phennig."

"i'm going to want DMI to do a review of your training operation again, Liz." Victor commented.

"Good." Elizabeth noted, "I was going to pressure you into letting me poach some of your academic instructors from Pandora for the Officer prep program and blue-to-Khaki initiatives.  I'm still intrigued by having a Naval Academy out here, instead of sending people through the shake-and-bake course at Pandora or Coventry."

The 'landing party' boarded one of hte shuttles and the bay depressurized as Elizabeth powered up the flight deck, with Selva Von Jankmon in the second-seat as co-pilot.

"Remember, a co-pilot is there if the pilot ****** up." Liz intoned, "So you watch and you keep hands close to the stick and feet ready for the pedals."

"obviously."  Selva looked over the controls one more time before commenting, "This would be more efficient with an all-glass display scheme."

"Yeah, but analog is reliable." Liz said, plugging a lead into her helmet before donning it, "Still, if you've got ASEK-VII architecture jacks on your suit helmet there? you can get the same as a full heads-up instrument display on your faceplate.  the analog gauges are just the backups to the backups."

"I confess, that is a bit primitive for our standards."

"Huh." the shuttle slid out of the bay without relying on the mangnetic catapult, just cold thrusters, elizabeth reoriented and lit her candles, pressing everyone aboard into their accel couches at two gees for sixteen seconds, before she began the landing approach.

****

"...didn't use the Catapults because the proving crew hadn't tested them yet." Elizabeth explained, "The ship's too new.  I chose not to add excess wear doing a series of tosses."

"Ah."

They were on the surface, and walking from the elevator into the base.

"Do you take out every new ship?"  Nathan Roshak asked.

Liz shook her head, "I'm not qualified to helm a Landmark, that seat's reserved for line officers or shipyard experts only." she paused, "I don't have the service hours for test piloting or the time to accumulate them, and what's killing me means I'm barred from active duty units. Nobody can really rely on a ship commander who may at any time do a screaming funky disko and land in the infirmary for twenty to forty hours or more. It wouldn't be fair to the crewmen, especially in a crisis.  Officers make decisions, being in the throes of a major seizure means I don't make those decisions rationally or even intelligibly-it's a bad scene."

Liz led them through an anteroom that most of the Clanners recognized.  "This is similar to a Brian Cache." Morgan observed.

"SLDF prefabricated bunker spec." Liz confirmed, "back in the day, this was SLN"s monitoring station in the Kowloon system, and the Rimjobs based two of their Pintos here at boojum before Annie Cu'ong made them past-tense with kinetic strikes in '69.  one of my ancestors led the landing party that depressurized the base and wiped out the survivors, it's been ours since."

"How??" Morgan asked.

"Spacers forced to fight get creative, the original spec on the bunker was designed by warriors who sometimes go into space." Liz said, "They exploited blind spots in the engineering, then exploited bad assumptions by the defenders.  The operation they ran would be amply described as a commando raid against hardened regulars that were out of their element.  It's one of the stories we pass down, you know? 'origin of the Marine corps' stuff...my Grandmother was from the Cu'ong co-ops out here in the Boojum belts.  I've got double-awesome on both fronts, almost makes up for a mom who was a total dirtyfeet from frikking Kirklin."

Marthe noted that the base was active as they walked through a security area, she also noted the lack of holotables, instead flat displays and whiteboards, and a plethora of paper pads.  "Why no holotable?"

"Nashan's our vendor for those, and priority goes to the Landmark program, that's one, two is that because of active operations, I can't afford to shut things down long enough to have them installed." Liz waved the crowd to another elevator.

"That breaks your rule, Liz." Victor observed, "I recall it being 'if you can't afford to lose it, you can't afford to use it'."

"Needs must when devils drive." Liz sighed, "I have to stay in budget, on schedule, and on mission out here, we've got patrols as far rimward as the damn Free worlds border, coordinating Unrep, personnel rotation, and active antipiracy ops? that takes precedence over doing things I would like to do, Highness...Star captain Icaza, the safety bar is less than two Centimeters from your head, watch it, the lift isn't gentle, you might wanna brace before I hit the blue button in this gravity."

"You are not running your commerce raiding from here, then?" Marthe asked.

"THAT belongs to Alicia Li, and she has a very nice command center with all the goodies I can't afford to install here." Elizabeth announced, "including holotanks and holotable displays and HPG links instead of messenger relays and blackbox comms...which the harbor pilot I loaned you tells me you have a monitoring rig for in your CIC."

"So 'Phoebe' is not merely a damaged spacer." Von Jankmon observed.

"She's that,she's also a basic instructor, but her main job, is analyst with our counter-organized-crime bureau." Elizabeth confirmed, "You didn't think I wouldn't send a spy over, did you?  I would've sent Seether, but she's running an antipiracy op sixty lights off mainstreet antispinward, a new bunch hassling the neighbors out there.  Rim Collection's not big, but they're honest about trade and they want to be peaceful."

This triggered a laugh from Nathan Roshak and a mild smirk from Marthe Pryde.

The elevator stopped after diverting at an angle of thirty degrees, the door opened, and Marthe stared.

The walls down here were polished and sealed stone, and every visible centimeter had a name inscribed in centimeter tall letters.

"What is this?"

"Welcome to the secondary archive." Liz announced, "Also a memorial.  Every name inscribed on the walls here died for Kowloon, we're on the 'current era' level.  the stairs thataway lead to the second succession war, we're still cutting galleries for your invasion-we remember our lost, Khan Pryde, so they are never forgotten."
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #309 on: 08 December 2022, 14:12:34 »
"Nathan, I never imagined...

...that I could want something like this."  Selva muttered to her colleague.

"what?"

"Envy.  I felt  pity for them, especially after your presentation defending the Great Crusade...but I never really envied the spheroids before." 

they were waiting as Elizabeth led their Khan and the Archon Prince, into a controlled-atmosphere depository.

"What do you mean?"

"I am a Warship officer, which i tested up to late in my career as an Aeropilot...but I paid attention in my retraining...and I envy them for things we do not have.  I envy her." she nodded to the closed door, emblazoned with three unit markings-the Black Tiger of the 90th Heavy Assault, the obscure-almost-dragon 'brush' image of the 171st Volunteers, and the leaping killer whale of the Coast guard.

"She has a lot." he admitted.

"She has the navy we should have had-not the equipment, the equipment is absolute shit." Selva said, "The organization.  Nathan Roshak, we could have this, only better."

"Clarify." he urged.

"She uses every asset." Selva said, "the cripple that she used to spy on my CIC and jump us into Kowloon's orbit, the way she makes maximum use of every asset she has, her economy of employment, Nathan, OUR culture preaches not to waste...But here, we have an example that exceeds anything any of our Clans, including ours, has achieved in resource-efficiency...and they have a surplus to spend.  I envy that...and I envy this.  Warship crew that actually have a mission beyond glorified transport operators and simulation troopers, doing real missions on a constant basis, with real, measurable results.  WE have the ability to do this, and we are not doing it."

"So frustration as well, quiaff?" he inquired.

"Aff...do think it will take them long in there?"

"i am curious what she is showing them. she alluded to it on the beach..." he sighed, "but...the Khan demanded first look, and the Archon can hardly let that happen without also getting first look...but I agree in part.  They have certainly done a remarkable job with limited resources, and I agree we could do better-if we simply chose to."

"but??"

"It is 'making the choice' that is the problem." he concluded,  "the Clan Council is dominated by my branch, which in part explains why yours is so...limited.  I think Lynn McKenna could probably detect the flaws in what we have seen here, far more efficiently than either you or I...and I think a Goliath Scorpion could interpret this hall of mourning and the artifacts in their displays far more effectively, and efficiently."

He gestured, "half the banners in this chamber are units I do not know, the dates on the displays declare them to be from the Liberation war against Amaris...but? we have gaps. as proud as we are of our own history, our ancestors and forebears chose to edit it. there must be a reason why."

He stood, and led his naval colleague to a display.

"They kept a stake from the Elbar operation." he noted, gesturing, "Images from the atrocity site, and look. do you recognize it?"

"Mauser 850." she said, "the predecessor rifle to the 960 we trained in sibko with."

"Aff." he nodded, "less powerful, less versatile, bulkier, a junk weapon that was given to angry colonials by the Great Father-what does that tell you?  Obsolete uniforms with insufficient protection-the older pattern uniforms that the SLDF stopped issuing in 2740, but here it is...and these images?  SHD-1A's, not even by Spheroid standards today a proper battlemech, but the SLDF army still had an excess of them, to give out to ralliers from the outies-and their ancestors used them until they had no one left who could."

He gestured to another hologram, "Last model Merkavas, not even proper tanks, Selva...and their forces still include Sabers as a primary fighter design-a design obsolete by the standards of the Amaris war...or the inner sphere of today.  I would not issue such junk to Solahma suicide troops!"

"She said 'three million...founder...how many would they have kept if..."

"If the Great Father gave them adequate equipment?" he shrugged, "I do not know.  I am sure, however, that Elizabeth Ngo could give us a projection.  I suspect that Sam Winters beefed up their issue for the later campaigns out of his own stocks, because SLDF quartermaster would not give them decent equipment when they were being thrown into the fire of the war...but it is only a suspicion."

"what are you considering?" she asked.

"I think someone intended to betray them from the moment they joined the war." Nathan stated.  "I can not be certain, it could be  an error, it could be misinterpretation, but I suspect at some level in the High Command of the time, there was an assumption that Kowloon would be put back into the Rim Worlds box...and it is because of the very things you envy would be a threat to the stability and leadership methods of the time."

she frowned.  "explain that."

"I read the materials, Selva, as the Loremaster's Watch officer and aide to the Khan? I see the reports.  Their whole militia is streamlined the way you envy-they run compatible parts, streamlined technical layouts, their ground units are uniform to a degree even the SLDF did not touch.  Their 'main battle tank' shares components with their personnel carrier, artillery carrier, command post vehicle, and at least two prime movers, and an engine pack and armor type used by the wheeled scout vehicles on their larger ships.  Ammunition, weapons types, all standardized to make maximum use of every square meter of storage and kilogram of transport...and their doctrine anticipates losses. it emphasizes recovering from loss and damage to counterattack on the ground."

it dawned on her.  "Their doctrine...against a foe like us, there is no single, decisive battle, is there?"

"Neg." He said, "The kind of battles we have won against the spheroids or other Clans, would be 'meeting engagements' or 'distractions', Selva, these are soldiers trained and equipped for sustained, bloody, grinding warfare, with a doctrine that treats individual battlefield losses as opportunities to employ contingencies.  Victor did not bid Kowloonese native forces for the trial, because they do not fight trials-they train for grinding slogging attritional WAR...like their ancestors fought against Amaris.  war that uses every resource to the maximum possible to achieve a strategic victory, even at the cost of tactical losses."

she felt ill.  "Sickening."

"The flip side of that spike of envy, Selva, it is why they are so damned good at making so much out of so little." he instructed.  "Elizabeth Ngo uses two percent of her system's GDP to finance a force the size of a medium sized Clan...more, because her total 'under arms' is projected into the potential millions.  We know from intelligence and field reports, she has built enough ships to equip ten or twelve Clan Snow Ravens-the equivalent of the entire Exodus Fleet has come out of those yards above us...and they are still building more...and those ships do not go to mothballs, they go to missions."

"The Khans are aware?"

"Why do you think Marthe Pryde wants Diplomacy? She and Kael Pershaw ran the numbers, examined what we know of their doctrine...if we ran every bloodline to maximum numbers, including reaved and inactive? we could not match the quantity coming from one system in the Lyran half of the Federated Commonwealth...and there are other systems that have begun adopting 'the Ngo method'.  This means that we have to adapt and change merely to survive."

His expression grim, He added, "We are fortunate, in that Victor Ian Steiner-Davion has other pressing concerns, and that he desires peace...at least for now, and is thus, receptive to diplomacy-the Spheroids can swamp us in numbers alone."

"and they can reach the homeworlds faster than we can warn them." Selva put it together.  "Do the other Clans on the Grand Council know?"

"The Novacats figured it out, so did the Ghost Bears, Vlad is still deluded enough to think he can win, and many of the Homeworlders are clingng to old truths that are no longer true, even in the face of the Great Refusal...and while WE pulled a draw, we did so because our Khans are not so...enamored of old truths that no longer apply."
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Euphonium

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #310 on: 08 December 2022, 15:35:16 »
Sounds like if they wanted to, and were prepared to pay the blood price, the 'Loonies could take out the Clans all on their own unless the Clans resorted to planetary annihilation tactics or the Lyrans stabbed them in the back.
>>>>[You're only jealous because the voices don't talk to you]<<<<

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #311 on: 08 December 2022, 15:42:04 »
"They're negotiating...

...this can be a problem for the long term plan." 

"We have them on the ropes, it was inevitable that some of them would prove...problematic in discovering sensible strategies."  The Master mused.  "Still, it may make achieving the Third Transfer less problematic than you think."

"What are your orders?"

"Encourage things for now on the surface...and below the surface, prime the sibling on New Avalon.  First, we legitimize the Word of Blake in the new Star League, then we break the strongest power-blocks, see what you can do to encourage her ambitions...but control it until it proves necessary.  First, the Star League, then the shattering, then the salvation."

Precentor Apollyon bowed and left his Master to pensive silence and solitude.

There will be salvation, because they will see that they NEED us...but not until Kerensky's descendants are disposed of.

He mused this, while an implant showed him progress on the final step.   

Kerensky failed to find a Cameron, but the Word doesn't have to seek, anymore.

Somewhere in Brazil, a child is being grown. 

Richard Cameron returned...and a restoration of Terran Power and Dominance among mankind.
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Artifex

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #312 on: 08 December 2022, 15:53:27 »
Wait ... kek, they went and cloned the worst Cameron of them all?

 ::) Lizzie's so going to wipe the floor with them. I'll bet that Marthe is going to sic Mr. Madbrain onto her asap...

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #313 on: 08 December 2022, 16:14:31 »
on the player, the man speaking looked too worn out to be in his early forties.  "Aleksandr, you bastard.  You're not saving anyone but your own skin.  You know and I know that you're not preventing a ****** thing by doing this, you're making it happen faster, you're pulling the only force that can make them worry enough to stop, and you damned well know it."

"Tranh, You're wrong, Come with us, I've got specialists, researchers..."

"stolen specialists, abducted researchers, Aleks."  Ngo snarled,  "I'll die here, but I'll die a man of my word, Kerensky, I promised we'd fight the fat man with your people, and we ate the cost in a generation of men and women to help you restore the peace, and  you're letting them chase you off to your tent, Achilleus. we did our part, and you're running away from yours because the mean ole High Lords told you you can't be the Regent or Protector anymore."

"it's not like that, you know what this force is capable of-"

"I know my people slaughtered children on your orders for peace, Kerensky. Children, we didn't even kill children when it was the children of the bastards and slavers occupying my world.  You know they will do what you demand, tht's the root of this whole operation of yours-sure, some of the latecomers broke ranks, but they might not have, if you hadn't been planning this from the moment you took a look in that throne room and saw the magnitude of your failure.  Tell me I'm wrong, because I remember your breakdown, General, I remember watching the first time you had that look on your face i've seen on men under my command since this started. it was all tactics and methodology and fine, fine speeches, hell, even I believed you at Elbar...and then, you saw it with your own eyes and it finally stopped being an intellectual exercise, didn't it? you had to do more than be a general, you had to actually do the job.  Aaron thought it was grief, but it was fear, wasn't it?"

"Fear of what? what do you think I was so afraid of?"

"You finally had to do the work, no more buffers, no more 'just obeying orders' or 'but this clearcut affair in the periphery is so pressing', nobody to hand it off to, nobody else to be responsible and you can't handle it.  You know all about tactics and strategy, but you couldn't even govern the kid you were appointed to raise, and all this horror, it's all your fault, you weren't a father to him when you should have been, and you were happy to let the damn High Lords do the lifting, all the while knowing they weren't going to do a good job, because you were having fun with clear, easy answers you can shoot to death or step on with your Orion.  It finally sank in, didn't it? you had to actually build something instead of being the attack dog."

the man shook a little, "I let you courtmartial two hundred of my men, because you made me believe you Earthie bastard, but I can see the chips, Kerensky.  This is what's going to happen with your 'operation:Exodus', you're going to be fine out there for about ten, maybe eleven years.  but then, you'll have to figure out how to feed them, how to keep them alive, and they'll start recognizing that you don't have all the answers.  so what will you do? you'll fall back on it, as if you were still leading an army instead of a gaggle of deserters and mutineers, and that might buy another five years, but eventually, rot sets in.  Discipline will fail, because your banner is a hologram and you can't answer their doubts.  it will end in blood and fire, and when it's over, someone will take over, because y ou can't have t-th-hat many p-p-people, huh...and nobody gets an idea to keep order, or restorrrre Ih-ih-it...so they'll fall on the oldest habits.  Rule of the strongest, and do you really think they'll forget the keys to the armory?"  Ngo shook his head.  "Of course they wont'."

visibly, the younger man was fighting against something internal.  "But they won't hae a nation, kerensky, they won't have a culture, they'll have what you left to them, and what will grow out of that is worse than your nightmares-an army without a nation is a plague of locusts for the rest of humanity. you fool..."

"Tranh, you're wrong, this is needed, god man..how far is it?"

"Stage two..late stage two. I'll be dead before you, Kerensky, so listen to me, you can't go. you have to stay, you have to stand up and do your damned duty-because if you do this? you'll take away everyone who can hold it together, you'll be damning trillions to horrible deaths, your advance guard into hell will the lives of worlds...and those worlds include worlds you were sworn to protect, not just mine, but hundreds of others."

Ngo fumbles with an injector, his palsied movements violently shaking the ampoule  "You swore an oath when you put on that uniform, remember it?" he raised his eyes, "Where is your honor now, Aleksandr Kerensky? where is the faithful service to the Star League when it is all but dissolved to the point the only state remaining is a shattered ruin, one you are not rebuilding out of Pride and Egotism?"  the injector almost reached the man's neck, before his hands fumbled it away.  "WE TRUSTED YOU!!"

the rest, was a gargled scream that just ran on, and on, and on for minutes.


"Those were the last words, that we know of, that anyone this side of Operation Exodus had with the great General, Aleksandr Kerensky." Elizabeth said, halting the playback.

Marthe was shaken, but she noted numbly, so was Victor.

"I see why your people sat on this." He said, "Christ."

"The last words?" Marthe inquired.

"Yeah.  He lasted six hours before his wife had to put him down.  Stage Three...same thing I have.  I'm hoping that when I go, it's not...going to end like that for everyone else-I want to make it worth the effort." she met Marthe's eyes, "ANd sometimes that means taking a risk."

"The medicines...he was almost fifty." Marthe observed.

"Yeah.  Star League tech, we can't copy it, because we lost the knowledge of what it was and what it does, which is why I've succesfully kept His Highness here, from bundling me off to the New Avalon Institute of Sciences for cure attempt one thousand fifty three."

Marthe straightened, "we did not lose that knowledge." she asserted.

"Trial is tomorrow." Liz noted, "Which means getting you back to Kowloon...so, how many copies do you want?"

"Prince Victor...this is perhaps the inconvenient time." Marthe said, "if you would witness?"

"Witness...what?"

"Elizabeth Ngo, I challenge you to a trial of possession.  If you lose, you will give the originals and all copies to the custody of Clan Jade Falcon, of this recording.  all of the copies...and you will submit to treatment, without resistance, of your disorder, at the hands of Clan Jade Falcon's medical team, for a period of no less than three months."

"and if I win?"

"you gain possession of Delta Galaxy, its commander, equipment, and personnel to your nascent Militia forces as training and technical assistance, and access to the Clan's Scientist Caste for your...'university'...as advisors and instructors."

"Why?"

"We are in a dark age, Duchess." Marthe said, "but my people, we have our pride, and our traditions."

"when?" Liz asked.

"Now is good, if you are."

"whoa, wait-"

"Shut up Victor, this is important." Liz snapped, and her fist snapped at the Khan.

There really shouldn't be a doubt what the outcome would be, but Liz at least landed a few blows before going down.
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #314 on: 08 December 2022, 16:22:01 »
Duchess Elizabeth Ngo...

...was escorted from Spider Moon by the Archon Prince of the Federated Commonwealth, and the Khan of Clan Jade Falcon, lashed to a backboard to immobilize her broken arms, legs, and ribs.

Khan Marthe Pryde only needed a cast on her left arm, and sported a shiner and a pained way of walking.

Transfer by Ferry from the Nghien-Li line brought her almost directly to CJF Turkina's Pride and Clan custody for medical treatment, to be initiated immediately.
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

idea weenie

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #315 on: 08 December 2022, 16:44:52 »
Sounds like if they wanted to, and were prepared to pay the blood price, the 'Loonies could take out the Clans all on their own unless the Clans resorted to planetary annihilation tactics or the Lyrans stabbed them in the back.

If they did that, then this would be the new Kowloon theme music


As to turning over all of the copies of the recording, that should go against all of Liz's desire to keep copies everywhere so it is never lost.

Blade4

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #316 on: 08 December 2022, 17:29:46 »
Sounds like if they wanted to, and were prepared to pay the blood price, the 'Loonies could take out the Clans all on their own unless the Clans resorted to planetary annihilation tactics or the Lyrans stabbed them in the back.
Said it before and will again. The biggest thing holding them back is being stuck under a great house. Given 20 years unmolested with the helm and new Dallas cores and they could probably kick the ass of just about anyone.

So the falcons have her and the recordings that most clanners would burn reflexively and Kowloon to be safe...  And the blakkists are up to shit but how far will they get when their pawns are already being watched?

glitterboy2098

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #317 on: 08 December 2022, 17:55:31 »
Wait ... kek, they went and cloned the worst Cameron of them all?

 ::) Lizzie's so going to wipe the floor with them. I'll bet that Marthe is going to sic Mr. Madbrain onto her asap...
i suspect that they don't have viable genetic samples of the others. not to mention, the original was easily swayed by advisors (Kerensky and later Amaris), which would be partly due to inheritable traits and partly the way he was raised.. and i don't think it is coincidence that cannonshop chose Brazil as the home of the cloning operation

Daryk

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #318 on: 08 December 2022, 20:01:44 »
Liz lost it there... she should have gone for the full trial...  :-\

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #319 on: 09 December 2022, 12:10:55 »
"What in the...

unholy ****** were you thinking??"  Elizabeth had few close associates or friends, fewer still that were her social equal instead of either superiors, or subordinates.

hence, the presence of a subordinate who talks back, is more likely than an equal expressing concern.  Evelynn Mosovich lost a would-be-husband and her face on tamar.  What replaced the would-be husband for the Baroness Golden Lake, was not for polite company, what replaced her face is part of that former.  A horrorshow of semi-competent reconstruction that would fit better as the central monster in a techno-horror featuring undead, poorly done under emergency conditions and so extensive that fixing it was more expensive than she was willing to spend.

Right now, the strawberry-blonde-and-horrorshow face was looming over a recovery bed at the Hue Medical Center, staring down at a Duchess whose poor judgment let the Archon force her into medical treatment.

"I wasn't." Liz groaned.

"Obviously."  Evelynn snapped, "is it working?"

"I have no idea.  I know that their doctors want to let me rest and recover before going into the next phase of treatment...and that the treatments hurt like hell...what did she do with the Final Record?"

the Maimed commander of Kowloon's native ground forces sat down on a visitor's chair.  "She didn't destroy it." Evelynn stated, "Which honestly shocked the hell out of me, but I managed to win the right to confirm it wasn't destroyed...they even let me take a copy for your University...but not for the national archive."

"What did it cost?"

"Two companies of infantry and most of our Battlemech battalion." Evvie stated, "that's a bit under a billion Kroner in equipment, Your brother was kind enough to insist to his warriors that they keep it to gear destruction and maiming instead of killing our guys outright."

"She bid Henry for that?"

"Henry Volunteered and beat the snot out of some guy named Roshak..then beat the everloving shit out of our 'mechwarriors and chewed up India Company.  That was last week, Your Clanner friends are now insisting on taking a hand in 'fixing our defects'."

"meaning?"

"Meaning that while you're out of action, His Majesty cut some kind of deal and I've got Jade Falcon warriors playing instructor and reviewer, Your Brother's basically hijacked our nascent 'mechwarrior program...with the damned Archon's blessing, we're damned near practically under Clanner command from just south of New Saigon to just north of VDL-at least, the militia is."

"What the ****** happened while I was in the tank??"

"Nothing much.  The Falcons won the Hue trial, we evacuated about sixty percent of the city and surrounding villages, they brought in a damned fleet of transports from the Homeworlds right down that hyperspace freeway you and Dave Knight cooked up for the war.  They're getting set up in the city-that's the last two months, last month, I got my ass beat by your Brother and his 'Redtail' Cluster in a series of training exercises where the only units that managed to do 'adequately' were our mechanized infantry and armored forces-minus Coast Guard because the Coasties were fighting wildfires up near Digginsberg and they needed the tac air units flying water-bombers...which the everloving falcons supplemented with modded aerofighters since it's on the edge of their reservation."

"Henry beat you in a tactical exercise??" Liz scoffed, "You used to beat him in those!"

"He's gotten better at it.  Nate Roshak's hinted they might 'take a hand' in 'solving my problem' fairly soon, something about my face...did you put him up to it?"

Liz shook her head and her vision swam for a second, "no...so how are they adapting?"

"Slowly." Evelynn's toneless vox hid any real emotion.  "We've had a few Homeworlders show up asking about immigration and work permits outside their enclave.  Nobody major, just low level types, their Khans have been meeting with the Novacats, Exiles, and a few others, closed door stuff.  BUT every time Marthe Pryde takes a trip out, we get more Clans showing up looking for real estate deals and trade agreements. Not all of them on Kowloon proper."

"Who else?" Liz asked.

"Clan Snow Raven's wanting to negotiate real estate in the outer system and trade with the Rockjack Co-ops, They're also asking about bringing in Clan Blood Spirit's people to try and help settle the Phuket continent."

"you don't have the authority."

"I don't." Evelynn agreed, "Victor's delaying it until you're on your feet, in the meantime Hue's gotten bigger than Nha Tranh and we might have a population problem spilling up highway Two to the Plateau soon."

Liz bit her lower lip, then, "Does this correspond to Khan Pryde's 'trips'?" she asked.

"as a matter of fact, it does." Evelynn stated.  "The Goliath Scorpions sent one of their guys to visit the Archive, he's also wanting to discuss a deal to help with the Dinh Diep excavation and decontamination."

"She's trying to flood us." Liz groaned.

"Seems like it, they're minding manners so far, decent enough guests, most of the refugees are trying to get work-visas outside the enclave."

"Chuck's handling it?"

"Our poor speaker of the Assembly has had to hire around four thousand people to process paperwork and he's asking the Assembly Budget Committee for a tenfold increase in the civil service budget, most of it in the Immigration department."

"They aren't trying to conquer us?"

"I think that's Pryde's meetings." Evvie said,  "Liz, you need to get healthy, you're good at this shit."

"tell my doctors." Liz groused.  "in the meantime, has any of it tapped off?"

"We've been referring some of the Clanners over to Arc Royal, and some of the ones that don't like our rules are moving to Sudeten, but they're digging in, and Victor's letting them, which is causing problems in the Estates."

Liz smiled weakly.  "China." she said, "He's using the China Strategy...did he mention anything to you about the next Whitting conference?"
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Blade4

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #320 on: 09 December 2022, 12:19:56 »
Record survives and it looks like many clans are moving in but who is going to get outbreed and assimilated?

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #321 on: 09 December 2022, 12:36:17 »
The Kowloon Protocol was signed in September of 3063...

...the provisions of the Protocol include a joint administration agreement highlighting that world's status as a semiautonomous protectorate of the Lyran Commonwealth and the Star League Defense Force in Exile.

AKA, the Clans.

Under the Protocol, Clan Territory was established on the main planet (Kowloon) by mutual agreement with that world's inhabitants...within certain tight restrictions, mostly confining it to the Jade Falcon Reservation previously known as Hue County.  Provisions to permit additional purchases were placed, but with a mutually agreed upon limitation that such transfers be approved by the local System Assembly and validated by the recognized Ducal Lord of Kowloon. 

Other attempts, such as Trials, would not be valid without that approval, and the Archon Prince of the Federated Commonwealth can veto such measures if deemed a threat to National integrity or security of the Federated Commonwealth.

So, what did the Federated Commonwealth gain from this??

Subsection 11, outlines what the FedCom gains.  Upon the resumption of Operation Revival, Jade Falcon and Jade Falcon allied forces would not attack Federated Commonwealth worlds between their current position as of 3063, and the Sol system, and would assist in blocking anyone else from attacking through that direction.

Effectively, Victor had achieved an agreement that removed a major threat upon the ending of the Tukayyid truce.

The FedCom also gained trade concessions with the Falcons and their allies, including protections for merchant vessels, and a negotiated immigration/emigration proviso that effectively terminates the Clans' ability to shanghai merchant traffic, while providing a 'safety valve'.

Subsection 12 involved the FedCom seeking, at the next Whitting Conference, SLDF recognition, and possible membership, in the Star League for the Jade Falcons and their allied Clans-an end run around the Grand Council and a potential diplomatic hot-potato, this bought the Jade Falcons, Exiled Wolves, and select Falcon-friendly Clans an alternative to the expanding radicalization of the Homeworlds, it also created a strange link of alliance between the Crusader Falcons, and the 'wardening' Ghost Bears and NovaCats.

Within two months, Clan Wolf joined the Falcon allies in signing the Kowloon Protocol.

By October of that year, Clan civilian traffic were coming down the "Serpent Road" in mass quantities, their intended destinations being Kowloon, followed by other points in the Inner Sphere.

This went over like a turd in a punchbowl in the Homeworlds, where Perigard Zalman had just been elected ilKhan on a platform of 'resisting spheroid taint'.

Incidents, could not begin to describe what was happening next, as his narrow majority in the Grand Council voted to Abjure the 'tainted' clans, and a campaign of brutality unleashed on several Clans that voted against this, as well as attacks on the Lighthouse Station garrisons along the Serpent Road.

On January 23rd, 3064, the War of Reaving began in the Clan Homeworlds...
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Ramblefire

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #322 on: 09 December 2022, 14:17:01 »
You know what's the weird thing about the China strategy? Sometimes it backfires and instead of subverting the other guy, your own guys start to Americanize. Then they start bring IDEAS (tm) back home.

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #323 on: 09 December 2022, 15:11:27 »
Katherine threw a five hundred...

...year old piece of chinaware at her older brother, "WHAT were you THINKING??" she demanded.

"I'm thinking we don't have to be the stand-in for someone else's war!" he barked back, "Kate, I've been at this for over a decade, and it just gets worse, and worse! What am I supposed to do? Genocide??  Try to conquer an enemy that is still more advanced than we are?"

"Victor, you're alienating Forty percent of our mother's nation, you've handed them a major asset!  You're telling me you intend to nominate the people who invaded us to the New Star League!!"

"I want peace, this will give us peace."

"Appeasement never gives 'peace' Victor!!" she shrilled, fists clenched, "and you want me...to back this?? Have you lost your mind or did you replace your Combine Slut with a Muscle-girl in that elemental bodyguard of yours?"  she advanced on him, "Which head exactly are you thinking with, Victor??  You had them on the ropes, It could be over with!"

Katherine Morgan Steiner-Davion's rage was not an act...this time.  "You were winning!!"

"but-"

"but nothing." her voice dropped almost to a whisper, "You chose to compromise when you could have won...get. Out." her eyes narrow, frosty, "get. out. of my realm, Victor.  I'm going to give you a head start.  start running, and hope you run far enough, fast enough, that by the time I catch you, I don't want to kill you anymore."  she advanced on him, and he noted that the Fox team weren't moving to protect him now.

"Victor, I will un-****** this mess you have created with your 'peace treaty'.  I will solve the problem, and I will do so without compromising the territory, honor, or dignity of the Federated Commonwealth...and you have one hour to get the ****** off of New Avalon, before I send the kill teams.  Use it wisely.  we are done here."

"That won't work." he said.

"watch me make it work.  You sold us all out, Victor!! Either I do it, or I deal with the civil war when Peter does, or Arthur, or god help us both Yvonne, your mistake has compromised the entire realm!!"

"Did you kill our mother, Katherine?" he snapped.

"What?"

"Did. you. kill. Mom?" he fired back, "Did you? she wanted peace, did you arrange her death?  Did you do it because she wanted to find an accord with the Wolves?"

"NO." she almost growled, "why in hell did you think I would?  MOM wouldn't do what you just did!!" she glanced at the bodyguard team, "Arrest him. No head-start, Victor Ian Steiner-Davion, you are charged with High Treason and actions contrary  to the strength, peace, and stability of the Federated Commonwealth!!"

Tiamat reacted to protect him, and was shot before she took two steps, as Victor was hit with stunners from three sides.

Katherine squatted over him, "I'm not going to let you destroy our realm, Victor." she said.  "Take him somewhere secure.  I need to get started ****** this disaster."
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

J-H

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #324 on: 09 December 2022, 15:39:00 »
Begun, the civil wars have.

Blade4

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #325 on: 09 December 2022, 16:08:34 »
Well the blakists get their war but how long it goes or how bloody? A lot of the fedcom will not follow her and and the clans will help them to secure themselves. That and the navy that matters will not either...

Cannonshop

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #326 on: 09 December 2022, 16:47:33 »
[out of story]
As someone pointed out to me, this is the most likely outcome for what I lined up.  Kate's grab for power has a real cause this time, and victor's good intentions WOULD blow up catastrophically.

kinda why he didn't do it in canon, and why Peter didn't do it in canon, settling for a detente and ongoing limited hostilities instead, even after Katie was overthrown.

I'm considering taking a break for a while from this.  I may put a pin in it for later.
"If you have to ask permission, then it's no longer a Right, it has been turned into a Privilege-something that can be and will be taken from you when convenient."

Ramblefire

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #327 on: 09 December 2022, 16:56:30 »
I'm considering taking a break for a while from this.  I may put a pin in it for later.

If writing this timeline is getting un-fun or uninteresting for whatever reason, that may be a good idea.

Artifex

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #328 on: 09 December 2022, 17:42:02 »
Yeah, I was thinking on the last story post before the latest, that it'd be great if you could keep on writing this story, because you've settled into a groove there.

The twist with Victor getting arrested for his naivety here is a good premise to keep on trucking though.

J-H

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Re: "Steal, buy, or Build?" (a Ngoverse piece.)
« Reply #329 on: 09 December 2022, 18:06:36 »
I'd rather see it continue to an end.

 

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