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Author Topic: Who Goes There?  (Read 45948 times)

JA Baker

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Who Goes There?
« Reply #360 on: 06 September 2020, 19:57:02 »
To Reach The Unreachable Star

Spacers, and I mean the hardcore, born in vacuum and have a legitimate phobia of going planet-side, call it Perdition's Flames.

It's a binary system, far side of the Joradian Cluster, meaning that it is quite literally off the maps, so far anti-spinward you have to wonder exactly who found it, and what they were doing out there. Officially it's called some long alphanumeric code, but we're stick with Perdition's Flames, if it's all the same with you. And yeah, it's so far out, you'd have to be crazy to try and reach it.. and downright certifiable to try and reach the one habitable planet.

See, the reason for the colourful name is, well, it's a graveyard of lost ships. Some kind of almost unnavigable gravitational anomaly surrounds the system, reaching a good twenty light-years out. And sure, you're probably thinking "then just jump in from outside: KF drives have a thirty light-year range, after all." Well, congratulations: you've just added another wreck to the collection. No, according to those who claim to have been there, you need to follow The Path, a safe rout hidden in the ramblings of a long-dead pathfinder who was the first to reach the system and make it back alive. Journey apparently drove him mad as Maxie Liao, because he'd spend the remainder of his life in a padded cell, writing on the walls about the things he'd seen.

The Terran Hegemony thought he'd just gone space crazy: pathfinders tend to be a little bit on the loopy side, even by spacer standards, what with being willing to make jumps into the true unknown, on ships that tend to dance on the edge of what is and isn't possible, and to do so alone, with no crew to help if things went wrong. They don't make people like that anymore, or, if they do, nobody in their right mind would give them control of a potentially irreplaceable JumpShip. The pilot, Joachim was his name, died without ever giving a clear answer of just how he got there, and what he saw, and, well, people just love a good mystery.

So began the centuries long challenge to break Joachim's code and reach the heart of Pedetion's Flames.

And that's also how the graveyard started to form: from the twisted, broken wrecks of all those who tried to find a shortcut, or zigged when they should have zagged. Because everyone who could, sent expeditions to the system, to try and discover what secrets it held. The Terran Hegemony, the Star League, the Rim Worlds Republic, the Lyran Commonwealth, ComStar and the Word of Blake. In the six centuries since it was first mapped, no less than twenty-seven major expeditions have been sent to Pedetion's Flames, with countless smaller ones. Some of the more recent attempts have done little more than try and scavenge what they could from the previous missions, looking for valuable LosTech. But, all too often, they've done little but add to the drifting sea of wrecked starships.

Some people claim that there are... people, living on some of the wrecks, where gravity or intent has brought multiple ships together into drifting reefs of twisted metal. They talk of patchwork jump-sails and brightly burning lights, inviting in weary travellers looking for the chance to rest as they make their attempt to reach the centre of the labyrinth. None of them talk of these people ever leaving again, their ships becoming little more than the latest addition to the graveyard. There is some disagreement as to exactly what happened to those fools who rush in where angels fear to tread: some say they're eaten alive, their skin used to fashion clothes, while others say that they're used, willingly or otherwise, to add fresh blood to an otherwise shallow and stagnant gene pool.

Side tangent, but funny story: something similar happened with this guy I knew, Dug. He worked on a recharge station on the edge of the Combine, and met this JàrnFòlk girl. She was short, cute in an elfin kind of way, and the two of them spent several nights together, testing the structural integrity of Dug's bunk. Year later, her ship come back that way, and she's got this newborn kid; a daughter with her mother's nose, and Dug's jet black hair. Well, ship leave, and Dug's nowhere to be seen, leaving just a note explaining that the heart wants what the heart wants.

Anyway, you wanted to know about the supposed safe rout?

Well, Joachim was bug-shit crazy by the end, so everything was in code. First clue he left talked about the "The Black Goat with a Thousand Young", which is generally taken to relate to a dark nebula on the edge of the anomaly. Then he talks about a system of "Lapis & Gold", which seems to be another binary system, the one made up of an O-type giant and a far smaller G-type main sequence stars. Third jump is where most sane people stop, because you have to hit the sweet spot between two singularities, which is far easier said than done. After that, you have to plot and hit a shifting pirate point between an ice giant, Nibia, and it's moons, before jumping into the Joradian Cluster, to the edge of an area known as the Antares Maelstrom. Last, and by no means least, you have to get past the "Blinking Cyclops", a rapidly spinning Pulsar, without getting flash fried by a jet of electromagnetic radiation.

I have no ****** idea what Joachim was on, but it must have been some good shit!

So, assuming you managed to get past all that, congratulations, because you're officially into the unknown. Seriously, nobody knows for sure what you'll find. Long-range observations, and the highly corrupted remains of Joachim's flight recorder, indicate that there's a planetary system orbiting the larger of the two stars that make up Pedetions Flames, with one world in the outer reaches of the habitable zone. So, you know, pack a coat and gloves.

And now the 64,000 C-Bill question: what's waiting for the down there?

I don't know. Joachim never made planet-fall: pathfinder ships were rarely, if ever, equipped with shuttles for planetary surveys. We know that he made a fly-by, probably scanned the surface, but the data was just gone. And I mean physically gone, like he removed the hard drives and threw them out of the airlock. We don't even ow for sure if it was the strain of finding the safer rout, what he found at the end, or getting back was what drove him crazy. And nobody who's made it that far since then has ever come back. Most we've gotten was a garbled light-speed transmission, with someone rambling in ancient Latin.

There are, of course, theories. There always are.

You can probably tell from the description of the "safe" rout that it reads like an A-to-Z of astronomical phenomenon you want to avoid while trying to chart a safe course. The odds of so many rare and poorly understood objects being in such close proximity is, well, astronomical. So much so that some have even gone so far as to suggest that it is far from a natural occurrence. And no, not even the Star League was capable of engineering something like that. And as such it becomes a question of exactly who or what could create such a perfect storm of navigational anomalies?

And, perhaps more importantly, why?

There is something inside Perdition's Flames, something that either needs to be kept hidden, or locked away. Something capable of driving someone with the ability to withstand being lightyears from the nearest human being for extended periods of time, someone capable of plotting jump-points through long-range observations, completely and irrevocably mad.

So, like I said, I don't know what's waiting for you there. But I wish you the best of luck, and I'll say something nice about you at the memorial ceremony.

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


Cannonshop

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #361 on: 06 September 2020, 20:33:51 »
do love me them Space stories.
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.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #362 on: 07 September 2020, 01:44:05 »
Why does humanity have this overriding need to poke Cthulu in his vacation resort, the ''Do not disturb'' signs are there because he doesn't want to be disturbed you know.
Shoot first, laugh later.

Artifex

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #363 on: 07 September 2020, 03:19:16 »
Well they do want to have the answer to the ages-old question "Why not?"  ;D

cklammer

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #364 on: 07 September 2020, 12:47:58 »
There is this by red button emergency put cut-off-button in computer centers, power rooms, manufacturing machinery having a sign similar to this:

DO NOT PUSH UNLESS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY!

 Guess what, happens ... takes about 12 minutes to 12 months depending on the type of person having access ....

 Anyway: you have a of writing which captivates after the first three words read ... very nice I am saying.

Sir Chaos

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #365 on: 07 September 2020, 12:51:43 »
There is this by red button emergency put cut-off-button in computer centers, power rooms, manufacturing machinery having a sign similar to this:

DO NOT PUSH UNLESS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY!

 Guess what, happens ... takes about 12 minutes to 12 months depending on the type of person having access ....

 Anyway: you have a of writing which captivates after the first three words read ... very nice I am saying.

Terry Pratchett put it best: "If you put a button somewhere, and hang a sign next to it that says ´do not push button - may cause end of the world´, the paint wouldn´t have time to dry before someone pushed the button."
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DOC_Agren

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #366 on: 07 September 2020, 17:07:54 »
Why does humanity have this overriding need to poke Cthulu in his vacation resort, the ''Do not disturb'' signs are there because he doesn't want to be disturbed you know.
Well in his defense, you know those signs were not completely clear that it was a place not to disturb...
"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!"

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #367 on: 08 September 2020, 05:49:12 »
For Cannonshop, who likes space stories

A Light In The Darkness

The Pathfinder Corps were a breed apart.

Ancient and long forgotten history to most of humanity, to those of us who've spent our entire lives plying the sea of stars, they're, well, part of our mythology.

See, back in the early days, hyperspace travel was still seen as dangerous and unpredictable. And in many ways it was, because they were still working out the bugs, developing many systems and processes that we take somewhat for granted these days. It wasn't unheard of for ships to vanish, explode or suffer catastrophic miss-jumps with those early, cobbled together drives. Even today, we're still learning from Kearny and Fuchida, still uncovering secrets.

But the Pathfinders didn't have time for all that: the wider universe had finally been opened, and they wanted to get out there and explore, be the first humans to bask in the light of distant suns and see strange new worlds with their own eyes. And the then recently formed Terran Alliance needed people willing to strap themselves into untested, barely understood early JumpShips and venture into the far unknown. Thus the Pathfinder Corps was founded, to find and train those men and women willing to risk it all in the bid to be the first to chart the new frontier.

And let me tell you, it wasn't an easy life: those primitive JumpShips were little more than a small pressurised can strapped to the side of a jury-rigged KF drive. Lot of Pathfinders flew solo, to save on supplies so they could stay out longer, go further. They'd be assigned an area to explore, then given a list of dates and systems where, hopefully, a resupply ship would be waiting. There they'd hand off their survey data in exchange for food, fuel and any running repairs they needed, then head out again.

Many Pathfinders died, alone in the cold, unforgiving void. Pressure seals ruptured, reactors overloaded, jump-drives fractured, solar flairs fried systems. They all knew the risk going in, and not one of them balked at the thought of what might happen if things went wrong, if they found themselves stranded, alone, in an uninhabited, unmapped, system, with no way to call for help. To be a Pathfinder was to not only accept death, but to challenge him, to test themselves against the universe itself in the ultimate battle of wills. And, if a lost ship was discovered, tradition dictated that, once the logs were recovered, it was to be placed in a wide solar orbit, a lonely tomb for the brave explorer whoo had made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of knowledge.

Some say that Pathfinders were crazy, but I prefer to think of them as exactly what we needed at the time.

Well, times change. Jump-drives are safer, more reliable, and comparatively cheaper to build. Eventually, the Pathfinder Corps was disbanded, deemed no longer needed, and the stories of the brave men and women who first dared to stride the stars became just that, stories. Time passed, and those stories became legends, and legends eventually become myths. But the stories are still told.

We were two jumps out of... somewhere I'm never going to admit to being, trying to chart a safe rout round a Kurita blockades. We'd picked up three DropShips loaded with Nova Cat civilians fleeing the vengeful DCMS, trying to get to safety with their Spirit Cat kin in the Free World's League. Unfortunately, keeping one step ahead of the Dragon meant playing somewhat fast and loose with the safeties, and eventually Lady Luck went and ran out on us. A power surge from a capacitor that I'd told the owners needed replacing a dozen times fried our navigation computer, the backups too, leaving us dead in space with no way of plotting a jump. To add to our troubles, we'd been keeping to uninhabited systems, "off the map", as it where, so the odds of someone passing by before we ran out of food, water or air, were slim.

It was late into the night shift, and I was the only one on duty on the bridge when I picked up a faint signal on the very edge of sensor range. It was so far out, and so faint, I couldn't get more than a transponder number, so I had no way of knowing if it was friendly, neutral or the bastards we were running from, but I didn't have much to loose. Besides, there a certain unwritten rules that all true Spacers live by, and one is that you always respond to a ship in distress, regardless of the circumstances, mostly because you never know when you might find yourself on the wrong end of an SOS.

"Mayday. Mayday. Mayday. This is the merchant ship Antelope." I called out over every frequency the old radio could reach, "We've suffered a catastrophic failure of our navigational systems and require assistance reaching safe harbour."

Then I sat and waited: light-speed is a bitch like that.

Eventually, after what felt like a lifetime, I got a response. It was faint, transmitting on one of the lesser known secondary channels, and in Morse Code. Yes, it's been well over a thousand years, but any Spacer worth their displacement still knows Morse Code. It has become something of a back-channel, a way to talk to people who you technically shouldn't be without drawing the attention of, well, people who wouldn't understand that those of us born in the void have different opinion when it comes to things like nations or allegiances. We tend to look at another Spacer and see someone who, like us, spends their life battling the true enemy: the uncaring void itself. In comparison to that, something like a flag or a line on a map can seem... petty.

Spacers gossip: what stations have what spare parts in stock, what worlds to avoid if you don't want to have your ship commandeer by a House Unit looking to quickly relocate, ships than have gone missing, things like that. Through the rise and fall of the Star League, four Succession Wars, the Clan Invasion (and yes, even Clan Spacers like to chat), the Jihad and the current insanity, the old Bush Telegraph has remained in operation.

I jotted down the response quickly, and it didn't take me long to realise that they were jump coordinates. I had no way of checking them, but it wasn't like we had much choice in the matter. So I quickly sent back a thank you by the same method, then roused the crew to make a jump as soon as possible. We jumped, and found ourselves in another uninhabited system. And, yet again, on the very edge of sensor range, was a faint transponder. We didn't even need to ask, as we started picking up a faint series of dots and dashes as soon as the emergence pulse faded away. Another set of jump coordinates, again from an unknown sender. Six times we did this, and six times we found a different transponder code hanging on the edge of detection range, and six times we were given a new set of jump coordinates. We could have been jumping in circles for all we knew, but it was enough to give us hope.

The seventh jump took us to the Nadia point of the Avellaneda system, where we found ourselves greeted by a very surprised Sea Fox picket. After convincing them who we were, and who we carried, they agreed to allow the DropShips to head in-system, and sent over a repair crew to get our navigational computer repaired. I chatted with the techs as we worked, and they asked about the strange ships that had helped us along our way. I handed their leader a copy of our logs, where we had made a note of every transponder code, hoping that one day we'd be in a position to thank them in person.

Her face when ghostly white, as she handed the log back to me: turned out she was something of a history buff, and recognised the transponder prefixs. They weren't JumpShips or DropShips, but rather navigational beacons, the kind put on derelicts to help avoid collision. More importantly, that specific prefix was one of the oldest ever used, and identified the resting place of a Pathfinder who had given their life in the line of duty.

The End
« Last Edit: 08 September 2020, 05:57:15 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


Artifex

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #368 on: 08 September 2020, 06:03:08 »
I loved this! :smitten:

PsihoKekec

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #369 on: 08 September 2020, 06:56:37 »
Still guiding from beyond the grave.
Shoot first, laugh later.

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #370 on: 08 September 2020, 07:40:38 »
Still guiding from beyond the grave.
"Viam Monstrate Ad Astra."
-motto of the Pathfinder Corps
"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


Cannonshop

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #371 on: 08 September 2020, 09:18:34 »
VERY beautiful.
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

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.

nerd

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #372 on: 08 September 2020, 21:59:26 »
Also good clues for Traveller Scouts.
M. T. Thompson
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mikecj

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #373 on: 08 September 2020, 22:12:29 »
Nice!!
There are no fish in my pond.
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JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #374 on: 12 September 2020, 12:56:54 »
Okay, so I yet again have multiple stories in the works, but can't decide which to finish next, so let's have another vote:

Hunting Party, Jihad era horror/suspense. 50% complete.

Red In Tooth And Claw, post-Jihad mystery. 50% complete. Arguably the one I have the best idea how to end it.

The Improbable Life And Possible Death Of Alexandra Stephanie Hayes, I'm not even going to pretend thia one fits into canon, but it's a mystery story. 10% complete.

What you guys think?
"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


Cannonshop

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #375 on: 12 September 2020, 12:59:18 »
Okay, so I yet again have multiple stories in the works, but can't decide which to finish next, so let's have another vote:

Hunting Party, Jihad era horror/suspense. 50% complete.

Red In Tooth And Claw, post-Jihad mystery. 50% complete. Arguably the one I have the best idea how to end it.

The Improbable Life And Possible Death Of Alexandra Stephanie Hayes, I'm not even going to pretend thia one fits into canon, but it's a mystery story. 10% complete.

What you guys think?

YES??

Okay, more seriously...

Red in tooth and claw sounds nice, you've got your best flow going with it too-you know how it ends.  After that, go with 'most complete' (not necessarily most words done, but the ones you know how to close.)
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

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.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #376 on: 12 September 2020, 14:04:50 »
Quote
Red In Tooth And Claw, post-Jihad mystery. 50% complete. Arguably the one I have the best idea how to end it.

Best to go with the muse.
Shoot first, laugh later.

cklammer

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #377 on: 12 September 2020, 14:07:22 »
Do what you feel is best and trust your own jedgement: I am waiting with bated breath!  :thumbsup:

georgiaboy

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #378 on: 12 September 2020, 14:46:41 »
Work on one.
Work on all.
Work on where your Muse leads.


My muse is still in the padded room cause of the different colored feel good candy that the VA gives me.
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JA Baker

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Who Goes There?
« Reply #379 on: 12 September 2020, 17:44:54 »
You ask, I write

Red In Tooth And Claw

You would have to have been blind, drunk, of blind drunk, not to see the emergence wave. A normal, controlled hyperspace jump is already an impressive event, on any part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but a catastrophic miss-jump is like that is several orders of magnitudes more impressive. And we were out there, actively looking for ships coming down the old Exodus Road, keeping an eye out for any word from the "Home Clans", still back in the Kerensky Cluster and Pentagon Worlds.

The ship was, well, it was a twisted, broken pile of scrap when we reached it. Hyperspace jumps require the careful manipulation of almost unimaginable energies, which, misdirected, can and will tear even the strongest of ships asunder. And, unfortunately for her crew, a Carrack class transport is only a warship by the loosest of definitions. IFF identified her as the Solar Blaze, last reported under the control of Clan Coyote, but an examination of the wreck indicated that she'd been carrying members of several Clans. All had been members of the scientist, merchant and technician casts; not a single warrior among them.

Unusually, the ships computers hadn't been encrypted, which after years of fighting the Blakists, did seem a little unusual. But it soon became clear that it had been a deliberate act on her crews part, as they wanted whoever they encountered full and unrestricted access to their records. Well, we set up a standalone system and started the deep dive into their records. While the main computer had been somewhat mangled in the miss-jump, they had several back-ups that were in better shape, and by piecing them together, we were able to get an idea of what had happened.

It seemed that someone within the Scientist cast had wanted to create the ultimate warriors, to go far beyond what their genetic manipulation and eugenics programs had created. They wanted stronger, faster and more resilient soldiers, ready for a second run on Terra, and they managed to get the approval of their Khan to explore possibilities. The records indicated that they found a hidden cache of genetic legacies that had belonged to Clan Smoke Jaguar before their annihilation. Using these as a template, they sort to enhance their genetic structure with DNA from various animals: Crocodile DNA to gain enhanced resistance to CO2, Ghost Bear DNA for added resistance to the cold, and Wolf DNA for improved visual acuity. This last addition seemed to have triggered something, something hidden in the junk DNA, the genetic leftovers of a million generations of adaptation and mutation.

Whatever it was, it seemed to unlock something unexpected within the test subjects, something long forgotten, and perhaps best left so.

But the scientists had no way of knowing that they were prising the lid off of Pandora's Box: they just saw a great leap forward, an unassailable edge for their Clan over all others. So they doubled-down, manipulating the DNA, creating a retrovirus in the hopes of being able to enhance their existing Touman. And according to the fractured records we recovered, they had every reason to believe that they were on the right track. The first sibko created from the altered genes seemed to be successful: the cadets were stronger, faster, more aggressive, but unusually for Clanners, seemed more inclined towards working as a team, with an obvious leader, a young woman named Selene, emerging. They passed the usual training with almost no drop-outs, the ones who did evidently choosing to join the Scientist cast, going to work on the same project that had created them.

A salvaged memo from the lead scientist indicated that they'd made several remarkable advances, and had opened up possible new avenues to explore.

The remaining cadets all passed their Trials, each one earning at least a Star Commanders rank, except Selene, who achieved Star Captain. Oddly, they intentionally allowed the trials to descend into melee, working together to bring down their opponent's, making sure that each was accredited at least two kills. It seems that the Khan was impressed with the results, and not only allowed the program to continue, but to be expanded, with multiple sibkos being created from the modified genes. While the basic bloodlines remained Smoke Jaguar, the warriors were assigned to various units within the Coyote Touman.

Problem was, these new warriors didn't exactly play by Clan rules: they worked as a unit, teaming up to take down bigger opponents. Other Warriors complained, and each was met in a Circle of Equals and handed their heads, once quite literally, if the photos provided were to be believed. But they got results, and ultimately, that's all that matters in the grand scheme of things, even in Clan space. And, as more and more of the new, "enhanced" sibkos graduated, the Coyotes found themselves with an undeniable edge over the others. They had warriors who didn't think and act like a bunch of honour obsessed egomaniacs, but rather like soldiers willing to put the mission and the Clan first.

By this point, Selene had achieved the rank of Star Colonel, and had been gifted with the Bloodname of Moon, from which her genetic template had been taken. As such, it was Star Colonel Selene Moon of the newly formed 182nd Striker Cluster who was called before the Grand Council to testify as to her origins. Even under oath, on her honour as a warrior, she said nothing about the altered DNA that had been used to create her and her sibkin, instead insisting that she was simply the result of recovered Smoke Jaguar genetic legacies. The other Clans protested: the Coyotes had accessed the repository without the knowledge nor the permission of the Council, and they demanded that the recovered legacies be shared amongst the rest of them.

If only they had known what was to follow...

Selene Moon refused, stating that they would not allow their "Pack" to be split up and treated as something to be shared around by outsiders. She challenged the entire Council to a Trial of Refusal against their ruling, and one by one killed every single warrior sent against her. Her tactics were viscous, even for someone born of Smoke Jaguar stock, and surprised even the Coyotes. But, by then, it was too late: an entire generation of new warriors were testing out, each one loyal to Selene Moon before all others. They violently attacked all who attempted to separate them, to send them to other units. Even battle hardened Elementals struggled to subdue them, as they fought as one, overcoming their opponents with strength of numbers.

Then... it got worse. Many of the warriors who had been attacked started to show unusual changes in character, becoming more and more aligned with those they had been sent to subdue. Soon, Selene Moon had an army, ready to fight, kill and die at her command. And that was when the wash-outs who had become scientists struck, releasing a modified retro virus that spread through bodily fluids, infecting all those it came across with the same genetic alterations as the new warriors. The virus spread like wildfire, and soon it was estimated that the entire population of Kirin had been...changed.

Selene Moon was declared Khan of Clan Coyote without even a superficial trial, something that was protested by the other Clans. More trials were fought, all won by Khan Selene Moon and her handpicked trinary of fellow 'enhanced' warriors.

As the ascendant Coyotes became stronger and stronger, the other Clans plotted and conspired against them in secret. Unfortunately for them, the... I don't know what you'd call it, but whatever it was that made people suddenly unquestionably loyal to Selene Moon above all others, had spread further than anyone thought possible. Delios, Priori and Tamaron were covertly attacked with the same retrovirus that had been used on Kirin, and soon they too were under the sway of Clan Coyote. Soon, it became clear that the Free Guilds were falling under the sway of Selene Moon, many already calling for her to be made ilKhan.

This was apparently the proverbial straw that broke the camels back: feeling increasingly threatened by the seemingly unstoppable Coyotes, the other Clans struck hard and fast, even going so far as to resort to the kind of indiscriminate orbital bombardment and use of weapons of mass destruction that had brought about the Ares Conventions in the first place. Unfortunately for them, the infiltration of their respective Toumans and Watches was so deep that not only did the Coyotes learn of the impending attack long before it happened, but was in many cases able to subvert missions, redirecting them against other opposition targets instead.

Thus began a Second Wars of Reaving, pitting Khan Selene Moon's Coyotes and their subverted agents against pretty much everyone else in Clan Space.

That war was apparently biblical in nature, with several worlds rendered permanently uninhabitable. While the other Clans continued with their strict adherence to the Old Wars, bidding before battle and only engaging in one-on-one combat, the Coyotes descended upon their foes like their namesakes. Their individual warriors, even their Khan, seemed to possess no fear of death, and would willingly and without hesitation, throw themselves at the enemy to ensure victory. The only thing that seemed to matter to them was the survival of the Clan, or Pack as they increasingly rendered to it as. Every prisoner they took, every lower cast member that fell under their control, was exposed to the retrovirus. Every victory only swelled their ranks, pushing the other Clans to even more desperate tactics.

It was then that a small group of scientists, merchants and technicians decided that the only hope for survival was to escape down the Exodus Road, and seek the aid of their Abjured brethren.

Taking control of the Solar Blaze from a shipyard where it had been undergoing refit and repair, they jumped out of the Kerensky Cluster, keeping off of the main shipping routs, hot-loading their jump-drive and generally playing as fast and loose with their safeties as was physically possible. They almost made it, to, getting within a single jump of our outer pickets when disaster struck.

See, in order to prove their story, they had brought with them a member of the Merchant Cast who had been infected with the retrovirus. He had been kept in strict isolation throughout the voyage, but somehow he managed to infect one of his guards, making them open his cell. They then started infecting more and more of the crew, until they were discovered, and a vicious battle started. The fighting crippled one of their two DropShips, the twisted remains of which had still been attached to its docking collar when we fond the Solar Blaze, but they evidently triggered an attempted super-jump, which resulted in the deaths of everyone on board, and the effective destruction of the ship.

However, there was no sign of the second DropShips, and the remains recovered did not account for all those supposedly on board.

Rechecking the ships navigation database, we were able to deduce that they had stopped in a system known to the visited by a number of small pirate bands who operate in the area, and possessed at least one habitable plant. And reports indicate that the local pirate bands seem to be unusually well organised of late...

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


Cannonshop

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #380 on: 12 September 2020, 18:31:31 »
heahahahahah.  NICE.
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.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #381 on: 13 September 2020, 03:32:03 »
All of the sudden Manei Domini don't seem so bad anymore.
Shoot first, laugh later.

ChaserGrey

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #382 on: 13 September 2020, 04:52:23 »
Really liked this one, and the last.  Honestly, I would have expected somebody in the Clans to have tried this stunt by now.  I liked the Coyote connection, implying this was one of Etienne%u2019s little science projects gone horribly wrong (right?).

Edit: Now that I think about it, wouldn%u2019t it be perfect karmic justice if he%u2019d accidentally created the ultimate Clan Warrior?
« Last Edit: 13 September 2020, 04:54:37 by ChaserGrey »

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #383 on: 13 September 2020, 05:40:45 »
Really liked this one, and the last.  Honestly, I would have expected somebody in the Clans to have tried this stunt by now.  I liked the Coyote connection, implying this was one of Etienne%u2019s little science projects gone horribly wrong (right?).

Edit: Now that I think about it, wouldn%u2019t it be perfect karmic justice if he%u2019d accidentally created the ultimate Clan Warrior?
I didn't intend it to be the work of any one specific person, more an... unfortunate accident, where they unintentionally activated dormant DNA strands. The references to crocodile and Ghost Bear DNA are based upon my somewhat hazy memory of the Mars Trilogy, where people had crocodile and polar bear DNA added to themselves to better survive on a mid-terraforming Mars.

The wolf DNA... you can blame Cannonshop for that. I read his "Werewolves in BattleTech" story, and decided to give it my own, slightly more grounded take. So the added DNA awoke something that had been dormant in the human genome for centuries, creating something akin to a not-quite werewolf, where they have the pack mentally and natural deference to an Alpha (Selene Moon), but none of the more... Lycanthropic aspects. Certainly none of the supernatural elements.
"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


Intermittent_Coherence

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #384 on: 13 September 2020, 07:04:37 »
Yeah... they just infect those they bite.

Cannonshop

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #385 on: 13 September 2020, 12:40:27 »
I didn't intend it to be the work of any one specific person, more an... unfortunate accident, where they unintentionally activated dormant DNA strands. The references to crocodile and Ghost Bear DNA are based upon my somewhat hazy memory of the Mars Trilogy, where people had crocodile and polar bear DNA added to themselves to better survive on a mid-terraforming Mars.

The wolf DNA... you can blame Cannonshop for that. I read his "Werewolves in BattleTech" story, and decided to give it my own, slightly more grounded take. So the added DNA awoke something that had been dormant in the human genome for centuries, creating something akin to a not-quite werewolf, where they have the pack mentally and natural deference to an Alpha (Selene Moon), but none of the more... Lycanthropic aspects. Certainly none of the supernatural elements.
DEFINITELY more grounded, but then, I was playing on two backyards with mine, while you went on ahead and used elements to make something original.
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

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.

Artifex

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #386 on: 13 September 2020, 13:14:08 »
Well, with this Selene Moon stuff ... dire tidings for the rest of the IS should they go about heading towards there ... although ... the did, didn't they?  ???

ChaserGrey

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #387 on: 13 September 2020, 14:44:36 »
Interesting, I was sure I'd found evidence of this being a Society plot gone off the rails! The story's so delightfully dark and twisty that way.

JA Baker

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #388 on: 13 September 2020, 14:49:05 »
Interesting, I was sure I'd found evidence of this being a Society plot gone off the rails! The story's so delightfully dark and twisty that way.
I considered it, and it very well could have started out as one, but I don't have access to the relevant source books to really write something definitively Society in nature. So I just left it vague enough for you the readers to fill in the blanks.
"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


Dave Talley

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Re: Who Goes There?
« Reply #389 on: 13 September 2020, 15:39:45 »
Yeah... they just infect those they bite.
[/quote

It's also via liquids, so unless the salvagers took extreme care,
they probably have been exposed also 😂
Resident Smartass since 1998
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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.
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