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Author Topic: Who Goes There?  (Read 45963 times)

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #210 on: 05 June 2020, 15:48:46 »
So it's all good fun, until the wrong people hear you say: ''The Choir sings to us.''
I don't think Cannonshop's even gone in that direction: most I've seen is someone being reassigned to navigation school.
She almost sounds like the Pilgrims from Wing Commander.
Posable influence on a subconscious level: I am one of the few people who actually enjoyed the Wing Commander movie, and have it on DVD.
« Last Edit: 07 June 2020, 15:47:34 by JA Baker »
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


shadowdancer

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #211 on: 05 June 2020, 18:53:22 »
Dead Worlds.
Wishing the Worse on your Enemies
Contact the 13th Armored Calvary
Deliverers of "BAD LUCK"
Anytime
Anyplace
If the Price is Right

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #212 on: 05 June 2020, 18:55:51 »
Dead Worlds.
Don't worry: I have about half of that one done: just need to pull the rug out from under the PoV and the resulting fallout. Just trying to decide exactly how 'bad' to make it.
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #213 on: 20 June 2020, 18:24:59 »
Dead Worlds

Planets fall off the maps for all kinds of reasons. Terraforming fails, or doesn't take right. Maybe some Lostech equipment they were reliant on breaks and can't be replaced. Or some natural resource that made colonisation worthwhile in the first place dries up. Natural disasters like a super volcano or asteroid impact may just wipe one out overnight. Others are inhabited, but just not worth keeping on the bigger maps, and eventually are forgotten by all but the locals. Then, there are the worlds that got removed because some idiot back during the Age of War or the first couple of Succession Wars decided to play with something they shouldn't have. Plenty of plants out there that are too hot to visit, even today because of some bioweapon that got out of control.

Even the Cappie's, at their craziest, know that sometimes the juice just isn't worth the squeeze.

Still, there are a lot of forgotten worlds out there, colonies and outposts that were, for whatever reason, just abandoned. And, where there's abandoned equipment, there's salvage-hunters looking for their next big score. We go out, looking for the forgotten places, and pick over the bones of the long dead for anything worth taking. You're probably conjuring up some overly romantic image of some lone treasure hunter, testing their wits and resourcefulness against the elements. And yes, such people exist.

They're called idiots.

I don't think there's any possible treasure you could recover by hand that's worth the cost of mounting an expedition somewhere worth visiting. Despite what some people might call us, and trust me, I've heard them all, we're professionals. We go in with heavy equipment and take our time. Nobody wants to hack some pieces of equipment apart, only to discover when they get home that they've left an important part behind. I'll give you an example: we found a computer terminal, built into the bulkhead of a crashed DropShip once. And we cut the entire damn bulkhead out and shipped it back in one piece. Turned out to be worth twice as much because we didn't damage anything, and the buyer could see how it connected to other systems. Sure, independent collectors and museums might buy random, broken junk. But the real money to be made is selling functional, or at least, intact, equipment to NAIS or the big multiplanetary corporations. They're the ones with the deepest pockets at the end of the day.

How deep? Let's just say that Hanse Davion's little science project has made me a very wealthy man, and leave it at that.

Now, you never know exactly what you're going to find when you go off the map: besides the aforementioned reasons, the Star League had a habit of using backwater worlds to test some crazy ideas of tech. Ever see a fusion array designed to change the rotational velocity of an entire planet? I have. I've also seen the remains of orbital elevators, static tethers and solar shields that once turned hot-house worlds into paradises. Even visited an old fuel processing rig where the locals blow of steam by running jerry-rigged aerospace fighters around improvised race courses. Lot of places just aren't worth the map-makers ink, is what I'm saying.

Anyways, we get a tip: merchant Captain we know was doing a spot of cross-border trade, the kind of job where you have two transponder codes, two sets of registration documents, and the local authorities look the other way so long as you don't try and bring in anything too illegal. Lot of trade goes on like that, even during declared wars. The economy is just to interconnected to do otherwise. But, on one particular run, our contact decided to get a little lost in a way that just so happened to avoid a tole station, and spent a week recharging his drive in a supposedly uninhabited system. Only she picks up all kinds of noise over the long-wave. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a lot of repeating, automated signals that indicated that something had been going on in-system. She kept her head-down, not wanting to announce her unscheduled visit, and left as soon as she was able.

But she logged the system, and information like that can be worth a lot more than just running contraband.

We paid for exclusive rights to the data, and she knew well enough to keep up her end of the deal, less she get a reputation for double-dealing, something you can't shake off. But that's not so say we played it stupid: we left sealed files with a lawyer, only to be opened if we failed to return or make contact by a set date. That way, at least, they'd know where to look for us. We also went in leaded for bear, with two Mules, a Union and a Leopard CV. Now, that may sound like a lot of firepower to you, but I very much doubt you've even come face-to-pitchfork with a group of angry, inbred farmers who don't want you poking around their planet. I have, so trust me when I say that having even a half-dilapidated BattleMech to call on for support can be all kinds of reassuring.

The Leopard went first, fighters scouting ahead of our little fleet, as we headed towards the only planet in the habitable zone. Oddly, it was actually an Ice Giant, but it had a couple of moons big enough to have a decent gravity and atmosphere, and one of they seemed to be the source of the automated transmissions. It became stronger as we got closer, and we managed to identify it as an maintenance beacon for a Storm Inhibitor array.

Jack and Pot!

Talk about Lost Technology: those things are like finding an honest man on Atreus! Even in pieces, they'd probably pay for the mission on their own, even if the planet was bust. But, even back during the heyday of the Star League, nobody would invest that kind of infrastructure on a planet without good reason, so we soon got to work scanning the surface.

It was a fairly typical borderline Inhabitable world: lot more open water than most, which meant big storms, hence the need for the Storm Inhibitors in orbit. Much of the land was made up of long chains of volcanic islands, no doubt the result of tidal stress from the Ice Giant. But that was good news, as anyone willing to pay for Storm Inhibitors would likely splash out on Seismic Regulators as well, and they're even rarer. It was starting to look like a literal motherland of Lostech just sitting there. But we didn't just jump in both feet first. No, that's an easy way to get yourself dead. There had to be a reason why the planet was not only abandoned, but in such a way that nobody came back for the orbital infrastructure.

Doesn't matter how hot a planet might get, you always pick the orbitals clean on the way out.

First thing we did was send out an EVA team to snag one of the satellites and pull it into the Union for a look over. It took the engineers a while to reboot the system, but even after centuries without maintenance, the computer memory was still active, which just goes to show that they really built to last back then. We were able to discern that they'd been put in place by the Kanemitsu Corporation, an old Hegemony interstellar based out of New Earth that had, according to the information we had to hand, been wiped out during the fall of the Star League. Which was good news for us, as it meant that there was nobody left around to try and contest our salvage claims.

With the Leopard and one of the Mules collecting as many of the Storm Inhibitors as they could find, the other two DropShips headed down to the surface, zeroing in on what looked to be the ground station for the array. Even from orbit, it was clear that someone had put some work into developing the local real-estate. Nature, after all, doesn't do straight lines, and it takes a little more than three centuries for a jungle to reclaim even a small spaceport.

That said, it had certainly been given a headstart.

I've seen enough battlefields, fresh and ancient, to know one when I see one. Bullet holes, laser scorching, missile creators, they're pretty much universal. And, if there's one thing the last... forever has show, it's that humanity is really good at trying to wipe itself out. But that's why a smart Lostech prospector has at least a passing knowledge of ATO training and procedures, less they get turned into pink mist by some centuries old munitions with a hair trigger. Also another good reason why we carried actual BattleMechs with us, as they're among the few things built to take that kind of punishment and keep going.

Took us the better part of a week just to make that spaceport safe: there were spent munitions and IED's everywhere. Someone had fought a pitched battle there, throwing everything up to and including the kitchen sink into the fight. And that's not hyperbole: someone had actually ripped a sink off of the wall in one building and smashed some poor bastards head in with it. I ain't never seen anything quite like it before or since. It was kind of, well, wired, as if they'd been performing a fighting retreat back through the spaceport towards one of the landing pads. It was empty now, but it had obviously once held a DropShip that had been their ticket off-world. The ground around it was littered with the broken, burnt-out remains of countless cars and other ground vehicles, like they'd grabbed everything they could and driven right up to the waiting ship, then taken off without bothering to clear the blast radius. And, given how much energy even the smallest of DropShip put out when boosting for orbit... not even an Atlas is built to withstand that.

It was also clear that not everyone had gotten off-world. There were bodies everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Hundreds of not thousands of them were laid out across the ferocreat of the spaceport and outside the buildings, their flesh long picked clean by local wildlife, allowing the sun to bleach their bones. Even after hundreds of years, it was clear that they had not died easy, with most showing signs of multiple injuries, from stab wounds to later burns and explosive dismemberment. Surviving clothing showed that some had been set on fire before they died, but stranger than that was the fact that, based upon the blood stains, it looked like they'd kept moving even after taking what should have been instantly fatal, certainly incapacitating wounds.

Others, inside or atop of the ruined buildings, showed clear signs of having taken their own lives, often by a self-inflicted shot to the head.

Lostech prospecting isn't a job for the fait hearted: you quite often see where people, entire families if not communities, died. I've see the mass graves and ruined worlds left by the first two Succession Wars. I've even been to places scorched clean of life, not even bacteria, by the madness of the Age of War. You either get used to it, or you find another line of work, but that world was something else.

We just didn't know at the time just how bad it truly was.

Once we had gone over the spaceport for anything worth salvaging, which wasn't a lot, given the hot, humid environment, we started looking for whatever the base was built to support. There were three roads leading out from the perimeter: one led to what was obviously intended to be a civilian settlement of some kind, with the remains of prefabricated buildings and the basic outline of a standard grid-pattern of streets laid out, a mostly faded sign informing us that it was the future sight of Delta City. Another road led to a geothermal power station that was actually still running, using water from a nearby river and an underground maga pocket to generate enough electricity to keep itself running. However, it was clear that someone had tried to disable if not outright destroy the place, with large sections of the building having been blow apart with explosives. It was only the durability of the equipment that had kept it intact and functional after centuries without even the most basic of maintenance. What they had done was cut the power leading back to the spaceport, the abandoned construction site and the third location.

Yes: the third location, at the far end of the road that the attackers had come down.

It was no surprise that we were somewhat hesitant to go that way. But, unfortunately, we weren't there for sightseeing, so we started to clear the overgrown road. It was shattered in places where even more explosives had been used to try and stop something or someone, including a couple of places where entire hillsides had been brought down, burying the road completely. That was when we had to call up our WorkerMechs to get it cleared enough to get through. All the time, we found more bodies, more evidence of a bitter, rearguard action being fought all the way back to the spaceport.

Eventually we reached the end of the road: a rusted metal fence laying at the entrance of what had probably once been a lava tube, but had long ago been converted into an underground bunker complex. And it was an impressive bit of work, to the point where we had to wonder if it had been the handy-work of the Star League Corps of Engineers rather than just some independent company. We found the wrecks of a couple of light BattleMechs, primitive Wasps, by the looks like, just outside the entrance, and tagged them for recovery later. In all honesty, we didn't hold much hope for them: God only knows how many years exposed to the elements had taken their tole, but I'd seen worse down at Discount Dan's on Solaris VII.

The real prize was the bunker itself.

Even without a connection to the main power grid, the controls on the big blast doors were active, indicating that it at the very least had an independent backup of some kind that was still functioning. We had no way of knowing what kind of access code it might want, or what kind of failsafes might have been in place, but the system was ancient, and one of the skills you tend to aquire as a Lostech hunter is hacking. Our crew was fortunate enough to have one of the best, a brilliant young woman who turned down a position teaching at NAIS because it wasn't exciting enough.

Took her an hour of careful, methodical work, but she eventually got the door open. There was a hiss as the pressure equalised, then a series of clicks as lights started to turn on for the first time since a Cameron sat on the First Lords throne. The tunnel led inwards for about a hundred metres, then gave way to a horizontal shaft that, at some point, had held an elevator. But it was gone, somewhere far below, so we had to make use of the emergency stairs built into the side of the shaft. It was a long, boring trek down: there were no landings, no access doors or signs of anything other than a shaft descending downwards. About a hundred metres down, the lights gave out, some showing signs of weapons fire, but that's hardly unexpected in our line of work.

Eventually, we reached the bottom of the shaft, finding the large, flat elevator platform sitting there, seemingly undamaged. The Boss Lady gave order for a couple of the engineers to check it out, to see if it could easily be made operational. The rest of us were put into small teams and told to go exploring, try and find something that would explain just what Kanemitsu had been up to. And the place was massive, the hallways and many of the doors easily big enough to accommodate a small BattleMech, or at least a UtilityMech of some kind. Easily big enough to get lost in, but we were increasingly hopeful, as nobody, not even the Star League, would go to all the effort of setting up private colony like that without good reason.

So we split up into smaller teams, each taking one of the main tunnels. Just as we moved out, we got word from topside that a massive storm was fast approaching the island, no doubt something that the Inhibitor Array had been intended to stop. It wasn't likely to interfere with our exploration of the bunker, but it could make getting anything we found worth saving back to the DropShips. With that in mind, the Boss sent word for them to send a Prime Mover on up the road to the entrance, so it would be on standby should we need it.

My team was assigned one of the side tunnels, and we made our way down the winding path cut by the old lava tube. Every so often, we'd find the reminders of past habitation: dropped files, discarded equipment, even what looked like the remains of an impromptu barricade, complete with the mummified remains of two security guards. Something had obviously overrun their position, something not afraid of combat shotguns and laser pistols, judging by the empty weapons, spent shell casings and drained power packs scattered around the ground. More bodies lay beyond, many showing signs of multiple gunshot wounds, two missing most of their heads.

"Some kind of riot?" one of the others half asked, half suggested.

"Some kind of something." I knelt down to examine one of the bodies: a faded name badge bore the name Dr Alex Isaacs.

"Door." One of the others pointed a flashlight further down the tunnel, "Big one."

Well, that was an understatement: I've seen bank vaults with smaller doors. It must have been a good five meters thick, held in place by massive bolts as thick as my torso. Something had torn it off of the tracks, though, leaving it open just enough for us to squeeze through one at a time.

The chamber beyond was, well, vast doesn't do it justice. If the top was opened up, we probably could have landed all of our DropShips inside with plenty of room to spare. It was shaped like a flattened sphere, the outer walls of which was covered in dull green glass panels, almost like mirrors, all pointed towards the centre. And, standing there, was a tower like structure, accessible by a number of walkways spread out around the chamber. The walkway directly in front of the door had been ripped apart by a massive explosion, leaving a twisted mass of bent and burned girders hanging over a drop several hundred metres deep. Fortunately, there was a circular walkway around the outer wall, so we split into two teams, one headed each way, in the hopes of locating a viable way towards the centre.

I was told to hang back at the door to act as a relay, as something about the way the chamber was constructed blocked all radio signals in and out, meaning that the only way to keep in contact with the rest of the expedition.

"Central to Team Three." by radio squawked, as if on command, "Sitrep?"

"This is Team Three: we've found a large chamber that's interfering with radio signals." I reported in, "Rest of team are inside."

"Team Three, hold location." the Boss sounded unusually tense, "Any markings around the outside of the chamber?"

"Some." I looked at the writing, "Hang on: my Japanese is a little rusty." I carefully and slowly read the katakanas, "Something about 'primary containment' and a string of numbers..."

"PULL BACK, NOW!" she shouted so loud, I probably could have heard her, even without the radio, "GET THEM OUT OF THERE! GET OUT!"

I quickly ducked into the vaulted chamber, just in time to see one of the teams reach the central column, and the glass chamber at its top. I grabbed my radio, and was about to pass on the order to retreat, when they looked inside.

Looking back, even all these years later, and I still find it hard to explain exactly what happened, in part due to the distance between where I stood and the centre of the chamber. I've been told by those who've gone over the footage recovered from my helmet-cam that they all seemed to stand perfectly still for a moment, as if they were transfixed by something...and then all hell broke lose

One, Dominique, let out a loud, mournful scream, turned and leaped over the railing, plunging to her death hundreds of meters below, screaming all the way. Two more tried to gouge their own eyes out, blood and I don't want to imagine what pouring down their faces. But the last three... they simply turned and started to slowly walk towards the second team. The second group had stopped maybe fifty meters from the centre of the room, only the team leader slowly advancing.

They grabbed her and started pulling her towards the glass sphere in the middle, ignoring her orders to stop and her struggling to get free. Two more of her team rushed forward, one drawing a wrench and brandishing it like a club. But the remaining member of the first team reacted with almost inhuman speed, turning round and grabbing him by the throat so quickly he dropped his weapon in surprise. He was probably even more surprised when he was flung bodily towards the centre of the room, landing just in front of the glass. He looked up, froze for a moment, then slowly stood and started walking back towards his team mates.

"Pull back, now!" I ordered over the radio, "Get out of there!"

But by then, it was too late: the two groups had met, and all hell was breaking lose. More members of the second team were grabbed and dragged to the glass chamber, then silently joined their attackers. One of the resisting members drew a stun-stick, something I've been on the unfortunate receiving end of more than once while on shore leave, and jabbed the lease of the first team centre mass. Through the sights of my rifle, I could see arks of electricity plover her chest, but she kept moving as if it was nothing. And by moving, I mean she grabbed the man's arm, snapped bent it back double with an crack that was audible even where I was standing, then grabbed his head and spun it round she he was looking back the way he'd came.

My finger pulled the trigger before I even realised they'd started to move, putting a burst of three rounds into her left shoulder. They may not have been the biggest rounds, and soft lead, but they still all but tore her shoulder off, but she didn't even seem to notice. Oh, shure, her body rocked with the impact and her arm hung limp at her side, but her face remained expressionless. One of the surviving member of the second team managed to get their side arm free, and put three rounds through the chest of one of the... I don't know what to call them, even to this day, but their former team mates. 3mm high-velocity explosive rounds, well, they can do a lot of damage to someone only wearing the lightest of body armour, and they tore the guys guts open real good, but they only seemed to stagger him. And, unfortunately, the gun was a TK Enforcer, a notoriously unreliable piece of crap, so it predictably jammed after the third round.

A pulsating glow started to build in the middle of the chamber, and I didn't even think before diving back through the open hatch. Even then, the pulse of light was so bright I saw blotches floating in my vision after. I tentatively looked back into the chamber, and everyone had stopped moving: they just stood there, still as statues, for what felt like a lifetime. Then, as one, they all turned to look at me.

Or maybe they were just looking at the chamber door. It's not like I hung around to find out.

That base was a maze of passages and chambers, and in my blind flight, I soon got turned around and lost. I eventually stopped in a junction, trying to make sense of the signs on the walls, but they were all in Japanese. Then the sound of gunfire echoed down the passageway to my left, and I tentatively made my way towards it. I came to a corner, and carefully peeking round it, I saw three members of another team fighting a staggered retreat, taking it in turns to move towards me whilst the other two covered them. Chasing them, if you could call the slow but relentless pace they set, was the rest of my team, and a few others I recognised from one of the other search parties. Most showed signs of injury, but seemed completely oblivious to all but the most catastrophic of damage.

I saw one take two round to the chest, effectively shredding his heart and lungs, and he simply sank to the floor like a puppet with the strings cut.

The furthest of the three defenders waited a little too long before pulling back, and a young looking woman with a glazed expression on her face grabbed him. Taking hold of his head, she forced him to look directly into her eyes. He froze for a second, then his body went limp, and he turned to face one of his teammates, who was shouting at him to move. And move he did; he raised his gun and put two rounds through the other man's head before joining the slow advance towards us.

TBC
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #214 on: 20 June 2020, 18:27:47 »
I managed to get the attention of the third member of the team, and I realised that it was Stephanie, one of my room-mates, and we started running down the passageway together, the others following behind at a slow but inevitable pase.

"What. The. ******?" Stephanie asked, struggling to reload her gun as I searched for any clue as to where the exit was.

"I have no ****** idea!" I shock my head, "We found a chamber, the others went to investigate, and all hell broke lose inside. I'm the only one who got away."

"Yeah, well, shit has officially gone sideways, that's for sure!" Stephanie pointed to a marking on the wall, "Next left."

We rounded the corner, then hit the ground, a burst of gunfire going over our heads.

"****** it, Beck!" I heard the bosses voice call out over the ringing in my ears, "What have I told you about being sure of your target before firing?"

"Sorry." A respectful voice responded, then repeated louder, "Sorry!"

"****** arsehole!" Stephanie spat as she scrambled to her feat, all but dragging me behind her, "As if this day wasn't bad enough already..."

"Cut the bitching." the Boss orders, "Report."

"Somethings got the others acting all crazy." I ducked behind a impromptu barricade, "Whatever it was in that chamber, it affected the rest of my team: had them either killing each other, or... I don't know, doing something to them to make them act the same."

"Yeah, then they found my team." Stephanie added, "We're the only two left."

"That tallies with what we were able to recover from the main computer." the Boss nodded, glumly, "Whatever they were experimenting on here, they lost control and it... Infected, for want of a better word, more than half the base before they bugged out."

"What kind of bullshit makes people just flat out ignore getting shot?" I asked, panic starting to give way to anger.

"The kind that any army would pay a First Lords ransom for." Stephanie replied, deadpan, "Orders, boss?"

A loud klaxon sounded, cutting off any reply, and one of the techs looked up from what looked like some kind of Lostech portable terminal.

"Power grids going down." he typed a few commands, "Something about cryogenic pods..."

"We are leaving, now." the boss stood, rifle raised, and calmly head-shot the first of the 'infected' to round the corner, "We're not equipped or trained to deal with this kind of shit. Bug-out, people!"

I'd like to say that we staged an ordered retreat, calmly and efficiently making our way back to the entrance. I'd like to say that we made it out without taking any more casualties, that it was an uneventful drive back to the DropShips.

I'd like to say a lot of things, but you're paying for the truth, warts and all.

It was a rout, every man and woman for themselves. People tripped, and the person behind ran straight over them. I managed to keep to one wall, out of the way, at least to an extent, but even then, I had to shove back at a couple of people who grabbed at me to try and get past.

Do I know who?

No. No idea.

I don't know who it was or if they made it out. There are just some things you don't talk about. But it was them or me, and I'm still here, aren't I?

By the time I got back to the entrance shaft, the elevator was already starting to move, powered by a portable generator brought down from up-top. I managed to jump on just in time, then heard a cry for help. Turning, I saw two hands gripping the edge of the platform as it started to rise. Rushing to the edge, I saw Stephanie hanging on with everything she had, someone in some kind of bodysuit dangling from her left ankle. Stephanie was strong, for sure, but even she couldn't hold on indefinitely, so I grabbed her hands and tried to pull her up, even as the man holding onto her leg started to claw his way up her body.

"Not like this!" Stephanie looked at me, pure terror in her eyes, "Not like this..."

I didn't think: I just acted.

Back then, I always carried a small vibroblade on my belt; you'd be surprised just how often they prove useful when scouting abandoned buildings or crashed DropShips, and as luck would have it, it was still there. I thumbed the activation switch, then hit the override, so it would keep running, even without a hand on the hilt, then I dropped it.

I don't know if you've ever seen what a vibroblade can do to organic matter, like, say, the top of someone's head, but it sure as shit ain't pretty. Let's just say that it buried itself to the hilt in his skull, cooking what brains he had left like a pot-roast. His body went limp, and he fell to the side of the shaft, then slid down the angled floor until he vanished in the darkness below.

Pulling Stephanie up, I glanced down, and saw the infected making their way up the stairs on either side of the shaft, like a slowly rising tide.

Well, we made it to the top first, but it was push and go towards the end: either through damage or lack of maintenance, the lift was really struggling towards the end, actually giving out half a metre from the top. From there it was a mad scramble up into the tunnel, then a dash out into the open. We tried to close the door behind us, but with main power off-line, it wasn't moving, and we didn't have anything big enough to try and force it, not in the time we had. Instead we climbed into what vehicles looked the fastest, and started back along the road towards the spaceport, yelling over the radio for the ships to get ready to take-off immediately.

It was a nerve-racking drive, I can tell you: between the damage done during the last evacuation, and the jungles work towards reclaiming its lost territory, there was no end to the bumps, dips and general obstructions we had to go round, over, under or straight through. And that's before you take into consideration the fact that our vehicles had been chosen for their ruggedness and durability, not speed or comfort. Even with a full five-point harness, I felt like I was going to be thrown out of my seat almost constantly.

It wasn't a long drive, but if you weren't driving, it was too long. Situations like that, you start looking round, seeing which faces are missing, the ones you know aren't in the other vehicles. You start to wonder what happened to them: we're they dead, or... worse. I've been on expeditions that have lost people before and since, be it accidents, environmental hazards or hostile wildlife, but that planet... God forgive me, I never even once thought about going back for the ones we left behind.

None of us did.

We got back to the spaceport and drove directly onto the waiting DropShips, the Boss giving the order to boost for orbit immediately, declaring it an emergency situation.

And I can tell you, that was a very uncomfortable ride: pulling a full 2G's in a unpadded seat, sitting in a vehicle that hasn't been properly secured. We slid about that cargo deck, knocking over crates and boxes, never knowing if the next thing we hit would hit back. Then, soon as the drive is cut, the vehicle continues on on pure inertia, hitting the bulkhead with the sickening screach of deforming metal.

Deckhands had to cut us all, all the time the ships captain is demanding an explication. I don't know what the Boss told him, but I saw the colour drain from his face, and he hurriedly gave orders to set course for the waiting JumpShip, giving word for the other DropShips to follow.

We reported what had happened as soon as we reached an inhabited system. Not that they believed us at first, until we showed them the footage from our mission recorders. Then suddenly everyone from the local militia up to the planetary Lord and some nameless woman who just screamed ComStar wanted to go over every single detail of the mission and what we'd seen. They didn't tell us much, but a few words and phrases like "sterilisation protocol" and "day zero event" were exchanged just inside earshot.

We were paid handsomely for the recovered Storm Inhibitors and everything else we'd managed to recover, and I do mean everything, given the fact that they strip-searched us to make sure we weren't holding out on them. Then they purged the navigation banks from our ships, pulled the memory cores and replaced them with brand new ones, confiscated everything we hand on the system, physical and digital, then let us go... with a warning not to tell anyone about what we saw.

Well, that was then, and this is now, and you want me to tell you if I think that the Word of Blake got hold of whatever it was that the Kanemitsu Corporation had been working on? I honestly don't know, but I'd like to think that even they're not that crazy. Some things are just best left dead and buried.

The End

This was going to be a a standard zombie story, then I started reading up on some SCP files...
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


Daryk

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #215 on: 20 June 2020, 19:38:51 »
Another well done story!  :thumbsup:

ThePW

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #216 on: 20 June 2020, 22:47:08 »
what are SCP files? What I googled didn't seem like what you mean...

excellent romp, regardless.

Ajax_Wolf

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #217 on: 21 June 2020, 00:02:57 »
what are SCP files? What I googled didn't seem like what you mean...

excellent romp, regardless.

Standard Creepy Pasta?
Why does everyone "Fire at Will"? Is he really that bad of a person? And what did he do to make everyone want to shoot him?

If a group of necrophiliacs met a group of zombies, who would do the chasing?

Bacon is Life! Even vegaterians eat bacon.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #218 on: 21 June 2020, 03:31:33 »
Secure-Contain-Protect

It's collection of stories on fictional SCP Foundation, protecting humanity from various abnormalities, with thousands of files and stories.
Shoot first, laugh later.

SulliMike23

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #219 on: 22 June 2020, 10:18:15 »
So...Zombies?

jonen c

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #220 on: 22 June 2020, 11:59:50 »
Vorse. Vampires.

(Hypnotic gaze controlling horde of minions.)

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #221 on: 22 June 2020, 18:37:19 »
So...Zombies?
Vorse. Vampires.

(Hypnotic gaze controlling horde of minions.)

Zombies, vampires, cured teapot; take your pick
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


mikecj

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #222 on: 22 June 2020, 21:04:58 »
Nice!  As usual, a great setup, building tensions, and then boom!

Thanks
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

TigerTiger74

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #223 on: 23 June 2020, 08:59:03 »
Love the ROBOCOP references!!!

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #224 on: 23 June 2020, 19:58:40 »
Love the ROBOCOP references!!!
Finally someone gets them! Okay, so maybe using the third film for inspiration wasn't the best idea.

Still waiting for someone to spot the Resident Evil easter egg...
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


JA Baker

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Who Goes There?
« Reply #225 on: 30 June 2020, 19:39:04 »
With special thanks to Thors_Alumni, for the unintentional inspiration

The Honour Of The Regiment

The Fenshire Silver. I don't expect many of you have heard of it, so for the sake of those who haven't, allow me to educate you.

The Royal Fenshire Dragoons was a Terran Hegemony unit that could trace its lineage back to the British Isles of pre-diaspora Terra. Back then, they were simply the Fenshire Regiment, an infantry formation that served in the first two World Wars, and countless other smaller conflicts in the service of their homeland before being amalgamated with other units. This hardly sets them apart from countless other units, some of which are still in existence, in one form or another, to this day.

What makes them special is a possibly unique aspect of their regimental history: the long and complex path taken by their Regimental Silver.

For those of you not so versed in ancient military traditions, the regimental silver collection was considered by some to represent the honour of a unit, with special pieces being added to commemorate battle honours or other significant moments in their history. The Fenshire Regiment had the misfortune of having almost their entire collection stolen during a raid while stationed in a relatively lawless part of their empire, and it would pass through the hands of several nations, until a chance encounter during the Second World War saw a mission launched to recover the missing pieces, therefore restoring the regiments honour.

The decades that followed the end of the Second World War would see a downturn in the fortunes of the British Empire, and as their territory shrunk, so did their need for such a large army, and the Fenshire Regiment was eventually reduced to a single battalion, and eventually folded into another unit. The regimental silver, along with the regiments colours and other paraphernalia, was carefully packed away and placed in storage at a museum that found itself with a far larger collection then it could ever hope to put on public display.

Fast forward several centuries, and the ascendent Terran Alliance found itself in need of an expanded military in order to adequately garrison the myriad of world's it now controlled. In order to try an add some legitimacy to these new units, the Alliance gave many of them the names and legacies of a number of previous formations, one such example being the Fenshire Regiment, which was reborn as the Fenshire Dragoons, a mechanised infantry unit, in 2236, at the beginning of what would become known as the Outer Reaches Rebellion.

The Fenshire Dragoons would be one of the few units remaining outside of the 30-light year limit set by the Demarcation Decoration, and they found their base on Towne besieged by local forces seeking to take possession of the base and the equipment held there. The entrenched Dragoons would hold out for six months before eventually managing to find a JumpShip willing to take the survivors and their dependents across the boarder into Alliance space. They left countless spoiler charges behind, making sure that their enemies gained nothing of any military value.

And, it goes without saying, they took their regimental silver with them.

Embittered by their experiences, the Fenshire Dragoons would be one first units to throw their support behind Admiral James McKenna during his campaign to take control of the Alliance in the wake of the Zoli Affair. This loyalty to the new regime would later be rewarded by the regiment being awarded the 'Royal' designation, finally making them the Royal Fenshire Dragoons in 2351. The Dragoons would remain a mechanised infantry unit, even after the development of the BattleMech, maintaining a strong pride in their long 'history' of service. Equipped with light, mobile units, they would often be deployed as scouts, harassing the enemies flanks, earning them several additional battle honours during the Hidden Wars and the later Reunification Wars.

However, it is a different war that would birth the legend of the Fenshire Silver.

Call it the Amaris Civil War, the Amaris Crisis, the Amaris-Kerensky Civil War, the Star League Civil War, or the Amaris Coup, one of the first act of the Usurper was to strike at all remaining THAF and SLDF garrisons remaining in the Hegemony at the time. The Royal Fenshire Dragoons had been relocated to New Florence, the First and Second battalions being sent to the Periphery in support of General Kerensky's campaigns, while the Third remained behind to help form and train a Fourth, reserve battalion intended to act as a ready reserve for losses. A regiment of Rim Worlds Republic backed mercenaries, McGregor's Marauders, had already arrived to take over regular garrison duties, and indeed had set up their base inside the Dragoons own base.

According to surviving contemporary reports, relations between the two units had been nothing but cordial, with the command staff of the Marauders being invited to the Dragoons Christmas Ball in 2766, where their commander, Colonel Marcus McGregor, was shown the by then extensive collection of regimental silver. McGregor commented that it would be nice if his own command was able to aquire such a collection, stating that it would be far easier to simply take the Dragoons once they left.

This was, apparently, seen as a joke at the time.

What followed became known locally as the Night of the Long Knives: having traded duty shifts with members of Dragoons, the Marauders managed to easily take control of the bases command centre, guard house, motor pool and armoury. Happy that they had the upper hand, McGregor acted upon the orders given to him by Amaris, and ordered his troops to slaughter the Dragoons on base, while teams sort out those elsewhere. Officers and enlisted alike were dragged from their beds and butchered, often in front of their families, many of whom suffered the same fate. In a little over six hours, 400 people lost their lives, less than a dozen members of the Dragoons on New Florence surviving by vanishing into the general population. One of McGregor's first acts after the massacre was to appropriate the regimental silver, only a single item, claimed by many to be the same ashtray that had alluded the raiders almost eight centuries prior, evading his grasp.

But more on
that later.

While the surviving battalions of the Royal Fenshire Dragoons would go on to fight during the rest of the conflict, it is the story of the stolen silver that we're interested in. The haul would remain with McGregor for less than a year, before a night of drunken gambling would see it lost to the commander of a Rim Worlds unit, only days before McGregor was killed in a training accident. The Rim Worlds Republic Regiment would take it with them to Towne, then Van Diemen. There the unit was completly destroyed by vengeful SLDF forces in September of 2772. The silver, however, was not recovered, as it had been stolen by an officer in the FWRA and used in a bid to buy protection from the local government. The silver was taken, then the officer was handed over to the SLDF and executed for crimes committed during the occupation.

The fate of the silver during the First Succession War is somewhat hazy, mainly due to the lack of surviving records from that time, but by 2838 it had come into the possession of the planetary Lord, only to be taken by the Capellan Confederation when they captured the world, destroying several League regiments in the process. It would spend several decades travelling around the Confederation, somehow always remain intact, until it was captured by the Federated Suns on Woodstock in 3030, crushing the Capellen garrison.

However, by this point, the legend of the Fenshire Silver had started to grow, and it was moved around between several units before eventually being "Gifted" to the 3rd Lyran Guards shortly before the start of the War of 3039. In a show of pure bravado, the 3rd would take the silver with them during the invasion of Vega, the commander stating that he wanted to be sure of "finding decent cutlery when we get there".

It is a historical fact that the Fenshire Silver had been on display in the briefing room where the commander of the 3rd was killed by a DEST planted bomb shortly before the world was retaken by the Draconis Combine. During the hurried evacuation, the silver was left behind by the 3rd,and was captured by the 14th Legion of Vega as spoils of war.

For the next ten years, it seemed that the supposed curse placed upon the Fenshire Silver had been broken... until March of 3050, when Clan Smoke Jaguar attacked the world of Turtle Bay and effectively destroyed the 14th Legion of Vega, the few survivors being folded into the 16th. Upon exploring the former DCMS headquarters, the Smoke Jaguars were surprised to discover a collection of silver bearing the crest of a SLDF unit, and took it as a sign that their invasion of the Inner Sphere was destined to succeed. Galaxy Commander Cordera Perez ordered ordered the silver to be sent to Khan Lincoln Osis, who would show it off to the assembled Council of Khan's shortly before the Battle of Tukayyid.

After the defeat at Tukayyid, the Fenshire Silver would be sent back to the Clan Homewolds, eventually ending up on Kirin. There it would remain until 3057, when Operation Bulldog and Taskforce Serpent would see the destruction of Clan Smoke Jaguar by the Second Star League. In the scrabble to take former Smoke Jaguar holdings, Clan Hell's Horses would retake complete control of Kirin, and possession of the Fenshire Silver.

Here, however, is where the missing ashtray comes back into the story.

According to the Hell's Horses Rememberance, the ashtray had been saved by a loyal member of the Royal Fenshire Dragoons named Leslie Murphy , who would go on to join an anti-Amaris resistance group on New Florence. This soldier would survive the war, and go on to join the Exodus, eventually becoming a founding member of Clan Hell's Horses. The ashtray, the only surviving relic of the Royal Fenshire Dragoons to survive as part of the Clans, had been in their possession ever since. Upon discovering that they had uncovered the rest of the regimental collection, the Horses immediately had it shipped to Niles, where it was reunited with the long absent ashtray.

It is perhaps interesting to note that, since that day, there have been no further reported defeats or disasters linked to the Fenshire Silver, and many now believe that the curse has finally been broken, how the collection is whole again.

Me? Let's just say that there are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy
.
-Starling

The End
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


ThePW

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #226 on: 02 July 2020, 00:43:51 »
*claps*  :)

Cannonshop

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #227 on: 02 July 2020, 06:52:30 »
applause!
The core rules for interacting with me:

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2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

TigerTiger74

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #228 on: 02 July 2020, 11:10:59 »
Is the first part of The Honour Of The Regiment based on a COMMANDO story? because i think i have read something similar.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #229 on: 02 July 2020, 12:54:28 »
It is, it's based on discussion on the SB.
Shoot first, laugh later.

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #230 on: 02 July 2020, 13:24:23 »
Is the first part of The Honour Of The Regiment based on a COMMANDO story? because i think i have read something similar.
It is, it's based on discussion on the SB.
Yes and yes

EDIT: allow me to explain for those who may be interested.

There's a thread over on the SpaceBattles forum we we've been collecting some of the more... colourful, stories certain members have shared about their time in the British Army. It's the same thread that helped birth the legend of Lt Crossbow, who's already made an appearance in a previous instalment. The discussion there reminded me of an old comic book series (actually still in production, IIRC) called Commando, which I used to collect as a kid.

Specifically, this story:

Although I think my copy was a later reprint. Probably still have it somewhere.

Anyway, I recounted the story, and it started a further discussion that spawned this latest instalment.
« Last Edit: 02 July 2020, 20:59:00 by JA Baker »
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


SulliMike23

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #231 on: 02 July 2020, 15:26:50 »
Now that was an interesting story. The fact that a regiment's silver collection had been cursed ever since it was stolen. Only to find it's way back to it's original owners within the Clans a few centuries later.

qc mech3

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #232 on: 02 July 2020, 15:36:28 »
A funny followup would be with the scorpions having a go at it.  xp xp

TigerTiger74

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #233 on: 03 July 2020, 10:18:02 »
I knew I'd read it.

mikecj

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #234 on: 03 July 2020, 17:54:51 »
That was fun, thanks.
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

cklammer

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #235 on: 05 July 2020, 06:59:22 »
"Phantom Mech" silverware ... 8) ... nicely done, Sir.

And, yes, some follow-up with Clan GS involved is more than likely ... I pity the unlucky Seeker ...

Artifex

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #236 on: 05 July 2020, 11:36:36 »
Well now, what a story assigned to regimental honors! :thumbsup:

JA Baker

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Who Goes There?
« Reply #237 on: 05 July 2020, 20:53:24 »
Beyond The Beyond

Benny's the name, JumpShips the Game!

Yep, I'm the owner and operator of the Persephone, the best ship this side of Taurus, and I can get you from Point A to Point B with the absolute minimum of fuss and interference. I know all the local warlords, major and minor pirate bands and every customs and enforcement agent within a thousand light-years. I don't care what your cargo is, where or how you got it, where you're taking it or what you intend to do with it once you get there. Hell, we never even have to talk for the entire journey! If you want to keep your airlock closed and forgo partaking the amenities offered by the Persephone, then that's all right by me.

You pay me to fly, not to care.

I've been out beyond Orion's Bow, out past the Perseus-Cepherus Cloud Complex and seen the far side of the Dark Expanse. Hell, I've even been... well, client confidentiality requires that I keep some of my exploits... less well know, shall we say?

So, Friend, where you looking to go?

Idrium? Sorry, Friend, but I only go to planets that actually exist...

No, it's not a matter of money... Okay, so that's a lot of money there... Look, like I said, I only go to planets that actually exist. I don't go chasing myths and legends.

Oh, yeah, sure I've heard the Legend of Idrium: some planet out so far even the Star League didn't know about it, right?

What exactly did I hear? Oh, so you want details? Well, my memory is somewhat hazy...

Okay, so suddenly my memory's better. Jesus, you don't have to pull a gun on a guy, okay?

Okay, so, you want story time? You get story time.

The Deep Periphery, a cover-all term for anywhere out beyond the so-called 'lesser states' like the Concordat, the Magistracy, places like that that could have a reasonable claim to being functioning nations with strong central governments. Past them, you get the lesser proto-states, the bandit Kingdoms and a scathing of independent worlds here and there. Star League had big plans to expand out into the Deep, especially the Terran Hegemony, which was completely surrounded by the other Great Houses, but history had other ideas. But that's not to say that people didn't go out there, perhaps further than most realise?

How far have I gone? I spent some time with the JàrnFòlk when I was young and foolish, went to some pretty deep places. Since then...

Look, like I said, there are some people I've worked for who'd look poorly upon me if I said anything, and no amount of putting a gun in my face will change that. They have a long reach, which is only matched by their long memories, and I don't want to be on their shit list if I can avoid it, understood?

Good. Okay. Now we're all friends again, let me continue our little fairy tail.

Nobody really knows just how far out humanity has spread. It's a big galaxy, after all, and even at its hight, we'd only mapped a fraction of its size. And that's only taking into account the people who wanted someone to know where to forward their mail. History is full of groups, big and small, who wanted to find somewhere new, somewhere they could be left alone, for one reason or another. Some were fleeing persecution of one kind or another, others just wanted to be left alone, without any government looking over their shoulder.

Some of these people were dumb enough to think that a few dozen light-years would do the job, and, well, the history books are full of what happened to them.

But some... some just picked a direction at random and kept going until they couldn't go any further. Lot of people died trying to find their own personal Promised Land. Stars are littered with countless failed colonies, wrecked ships and worlds where people have been reduced to little more than savages living a hunter-gatherer existence, with no idea that there's other worlds out there.

Further out you go, the fewer examples you find; space is, after all, a massive expense going out in three dimensions, around a thousand light years thick in our little corner of the Orion Arm, even if most people still think of it as a two dimensional plain. So it's only logical that the further you get from Terra, the more spread out humanity would become.

Think of it like a shotgun blast: all the pellets begin in roughly the same area, but the further you get from that point of origin, the more spread out they become.

Yeah, I thought you'd like that analogy.

So, space big, people go out far. We all following? Good.

Now, some of these groups that wanted to get off the grid, as it were, they were smart. They took their time, gathered their resources, and planned. They made sure they had everything they could possibly need when they go to wherever it is they ended up, because there'd be no turning back. So they built massive stores of equipment, knowledge, supplies and spare parts. Some of these expeditions had a couple of dozen JumpShips, with enough defensive armament that no pirate would even think of looking their way.

Couple even managed to snag old, decommissioned warships, if you believe the stories.

Do I? Can't say I've seen anything to prove it one way or another.

So, these people, they go out, and not necessarily in a straight line. They know the general idea of where they're going, based on astronomical surveys and the like, but they're really going off the edge of the map, into 'Here Be Dragons' territory. Some of them were probably the first humans to visit some systems, maybe even the last. They reach all those far-flung colonies and outposts, the far reaches of explored space, and then they keep going, out beyond where even the most diehard of prospectors dare travel. After all, you get too far out, and even a simple malfunction can be a death sentence, as you can't exactly call for a tow back to the shipyard.

And that's not counting all the things that can kill you once you arrive at your eventual destination: storms, heat, mud, disease carrying flies and mosquitoes, or whatever the local equivalent is, radiation, toxic chemicals in the air, land and water, volcanos, tsunamis, landslides, sinkholes, earthquakes...And we haven't even started on the things that want to eat you alive. Humanity evolved on Terra, and everything from our DNA to our immune system and digestive tracks evolved to handle that one world. Plenty of seemingly perfect plants, even here in the Inner Sphere, that have been left alone because something simple would kill any would be colonists.

Sure, the Star League could fix a few things, but not everything, and nobody wants to spend their lives in a hazmat suite.

So, let's assume that you reach an inhabitable planet without something breaking and leaving you to die a slow, lingering death in the cold emptiness of Space. And let's also assume that there's nothing on this new world, this other Eden, that will kill you simply because it can. Well, you're still not out of the woods, not by a long-shot. Because setting up a viable colony is hard work, far harder than most people realise.

Back in the early days of the diaspora, you'd get these little groups, sometimes just a couple of families, who'd charter a ship to drop them off on some recently charted planet. These idiots thought that they were going to go tame the New Frontier, armed with just their own two hands and a few basic tools. Well, tool is certainly the word I'd use, but not for their equipment. You need a viable population base to last more than a generation or two, especially if you want to maintain at least a basic level of technology and knowledge, because tools break or wear out, and you need other tools and resources to fix them.

Do you know how to smelt iron to get steel? I sure as hell don't! Wouldn't even know where to begin.

Then you've got specialist skills like medicine, weaving, pottery, real basic stuff that people living on your average Inner Sphere world wouldn't even think of. You want to build a colony out in the deepest of the deep, you got to make sure you have people who know how to build the most basic infrastructure from the ground up, because, eventually, you'll run out of whatever supplies you brought with you, and you'll need to be self sufficient by then. And that means more than knowing how to hunt and fish: it means knowing how to weave a net and carve a bow.

And that's before we get into ensuring that you have a deep enough gene-pool to avoid it becoming a stagnant pound.

No, colonisation that far away from any support structure is hard work. Why else do you think that the biggest Periphery realms are so close to the Inner Sphere? Only the best equipped, best prepared and luckiest expeditions even had a chance of making it all the way out there, so it's no wonder that so few succeeded.

So, Idrium. The subject of our story.

Legend has it that they're one of the the lucky ones: they found a world that wasn't actively trying to kill them, with plentiful and readily available natural resources. They set up shop, start building their new home away from home. Even send the occasional ship back to more well travelled space for anything new or difficult to produce. They also, again, according to the stories, pick up a scattering of extra colonists, often those whose ships have broken down or failed to find a world that met their needs. Years pass; decades, even, and Idrium goes from a city-state with scattered farms to an actually functioning world with limited orbital infrastructure.

Turns out that JumpShips make for decent space stations, so long as you don't mind them never going anywhere ever again.

And then, well, there's the bit that makes Idrium stand out from all the other stories of lost colonies out in the black.

I'm a qualified navigator, on top of being a Merchant Guild certified captain, so I know a little more than most about hyperspace theory, but I doubt even Kearny and Fuchida themselves could explain exactly what's supposedly going on out there. Hyperspace is, well, weird, and you get the occasional oddity that just defies our understanding. Best way I can put it is imagine a sprinkler: one point of origin, but dozens of outlets.

Now, run that in reverse, and you have hyperspace around Idrium.

We've all heard stories about jumps that go wrong: ships turning up in the wrong place, even the wrong time, often with the cargo and crew, well, it's best not to imagine what they can end up looking like. Whatever it is that Idrium is at the epicentre of is a little gentler than that, but it reaches out across nobody knows how far, pulling in ships like a whirlpool. More than one ship has set out to go from point A to point B, only to find themselves somewhere in the vicinity of Idrium. Some have tried to make it home, but most look at just how far they have to travel, alone, and decided to stay.

So, Idrium survives. Thrives, even. A second planet in the system is borderline habitable, certainly within their capabilities, so a second colony is founded. More ships arrive, population grows, and they start to look at other nearby systems, finding a scattering of new worlds worth settling. Idrium becomes an economic and political hub for a small but booming corner of the galaxy.

Success like that is bound to get someone's attention, and it isn't long before people start thinking that maybe Idrium should submit to their dominion. Especially incase someone figures out how to successfully navigate the hyperspace anomaly it sits at the heart of. The ability to rapidly redeploy troops across the entire Inner Sphere? Well, wars have started for far less.

But fate intercedes, and a war does start...a war that would bring the entire Star League crashing down upon itself. Suddenly, all thoughts of marching off into the far unknown in search of a system that may or may not be strategically important at some indeterminate point in the future fall by the wayside. Idrium, realising that they've dodged the proverbial bullet, turn turtle: from now on, anyone who arrives unannounced has to stay. On top of that, stories are spread that the colony has fallen victim to some unforseen calamity: everyone's dead, no point in coming out to look for yourself.

But then they get word that the Star League has fallen, Kerensky and his followers pissing-off in pretty much the opposite direction, and everyone who's left is gearing up to throw down over whatever is left.

Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.

The distant light of civilisation flickers and falters, the way-stations between the Inner Sphere and the truly deepest of the Deep Periphery fall silent one by one. Eventually, Idrium itself, never exactly widely known, falls from common knowledge, reduced to a footnote in a few dusty old texts about hyperspace anomalies. But they're still out there, and every so often, another ship falls down the rabbit hole, and finds itself there.

Davion ships, Steiner ships, Kuritan ships... who knows, maybe even a few ships from Kerensky's fleet. Idrium is the junk-draw of the galaxy, the grate at the end of the universes storm-drain that collects all the cosmic flotsam and jetsam that comes their way. And if one world is going to be sitting on a pile of Lostech, it's Idrium. Who knows just what they might have.

I'd sit back down if I was you, friend: you look a little lightheaded.

No, the drinks aren't that strong here. Least, not until you have them put a little extra in one.

Oh,don't get all upset, nobody's going to hurt you. We just want to have a talk about what you think you know about Idrium.

Am I from Idrium? Why would you think something foolish like that?

No, you go to sleep, and we'll talk later, okay?

Yes, may the Peace of Blake be with you.

The End
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


PsihoKekec

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #238 on: 06 July 2020, 01:47:30 »
So Iridium counterinteligence service making sure WoBies don't turn them into one of their boltholes?

You know at first I imagined Benny as that ****** from the Mummy, turned car salesman, but then I imagined him as certain battery sergeant major, weird how mental picture changes.
Shoot first, laugh later.

Artifex

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #239 on: 06 July 2020, 04:12:02 »
Well, that was sure well handled by Benny to keep that WoBBie in check. :-)

 

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