General Storyline

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General Storyline

Post by Mobius 1 »

From here, in terms of OOC articles, I shall chronicle the plot of the Total Extinction, from our present day to the current story arc. In terms of time divisions, don't expect the articles to be chronological. I'll write out what's currently established, so we have an article form that easily surmises prose monsters like Apoc. From established plot, I'll work forward and backwards, working in a patchwork manner. I'll try to make it easy on readers by noting the dates covered, in-verse, by the article and their position on the overall TE timeline. But don't expect article one to be "the first hundred years".

My first article posted should be a summary of the two years spanning from the First Siege of New California to the Second Siege of New Cal, some of the most pivotal battles of TE. This time period would be most important time in all of TE, as it contains the time when humans finally decide "Yo, it's my turn". In terms of posted TE 1.0 stories covered, the article will also summarize Liquid Phalanx, the TE RPG (Which will be eventually written in story form as "The Fifth Battle"), and Phoenix Rising, the first string of major human victories in the war and the plotline that leads directly into Apoc.

From there, I hope to throw an entire article on just the plot of Apoc, one more on the post-war reconstruction and rebellions, and finally on Overheat and Inferno. The latter of the list is what concerns me, as I would really like to write out the plots for these stories- but I can't, since it won't happen until both are done- which will take quite some time. I'd rather post story first and article after so as not to ruin the narrative. Other articles will examine general war strategy, the opening slaughter at Artemis (a head-nod planet), and the Battle of Five Suns at Havoc, which can be considered "classic TE".

So, I've got my work cut out for me. Expect the first article soon.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Peregrin »

Gee, having stopped following TE a looooong time ago I probably have a shitload to catch up on. :| Really my fault, though - "snooze and loose" as they say. :ugeek:
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Destructionator »

Peregrin wrote:"snooze and loose"
You mean "snooze and lose". Ain't English swell?
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Peregrin »

Whatever.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Mobius 1 »

Generally, if you're going to be nitpicky enough to post a correction on someone's comment in a forum you don't normally visit, at least have the decency to comment.

Anyway, to the first installment:

The First Siege of New California
Lead-up and Aftershocks: Late 2589-Mid 2590

There was certainly a lull in the fighting in preceding the all-out brawl of the First Siege of New California (hereby abbreviated to “FSNC”); though nothing compared to the one-year respite following the FSNC, it was indeed noticeable. The ISA had been struck a hammerblow when Locklear X fell. The most populous human center beyond in the inner core planets in Sol, New Wales, and New California, the tenth moon the gas giant Locklear had been a major mining facility in the early twenty-third century and had ballooned into a residence count that flirted with the trillion mark. The battle had been a slaughter, with Grand Admiral Hark being lured to the neighboring system for a diversionary battle. Thinking he was heading to the true battlefield near a slipstream juncture, Hark left only a small picket behind for the defense of the planet. Far superior Ark numbers fell upon the planet, slaughtering the populace. Hark realized his final mistake far too late and fell back into the system after encountering only sporadic Ark resistance.

By then, the Ark war fleet- an entire fleet, under the command Warmaster Glask- had slaughtered the entirety of the moon as it attempted to flee on quick-launch, quick-FTL-jump surface-to-orbit lifeboats. By encircling the planet in low orbit, they were able to place themselves in between the lifeboats and the small edge-of-system routes (which fed into larger trans-system streams) conduct a quite lethal killing ground on which several hundred billion died. Behind this encirclement appeared GA Hark’s 8th Defense Fleet. Seeing his home planet in ruins and knowing the next step was New Cal, Hark capped off his long spiral into insanity by madly rushing the Ark war fleet, controlling his own vessels through system slaving. With the majority of his command speeding towards New Cal in FTL lifeboats, Hark wrote off Locklear X and unleashed every single nuke in his fleet on the opponent war fleet. The ensuing slaughter left few survivors in Glask’s fleet, and mutual deaths of Hark and Glask.

Here marks the step-up of two of the most important individuals in the end-game of the war: Grand Admiral Katherine Mccorl and Supreme Commander Trego. Both were famous for their individual campaigns; but even more remarkable was the quiet war the two waged across the western flank of ISA space. While Glask was a student in Agnar’s sociopathic brutality, Trego was remarkable for the relatively “straight” way he waged his war: with consideration for not only his own men, but the allowance for complete evacuation of civilians before he met his enemy. This kept the war strictly martial and casualties low along both sides: the game Mccorl and Trego played was one of chess, not raze and burn. And now with their individual superiors dead, they both stepped up to fill the respective slots above them in command chain, Grand Admiral and Supreme Commander.

The resulting lull in between Locklear X and the FSNC is therefore explained as a consolidation of forces under the opposing commanders, with the mutual understanding clearly implying an end-all, be-all battle around New California. There is a myth of Trego powering up with a massive fleet and sneakily attacking New Cal; this is simply not true. The long nemesisial bond between Trego and Mccorl had long since deem New Cal to be the battleground, Mccorl would not be surprised at all if Trego beamed up.

War preparations were in full tilt at this point; understanding of the perilous nature of the war had finally penetrated in the minds of the industrial inner core of ISA territory five years earlier with the Battle of Five Suns at Havoc and the terrible costs of the singular victory there. With a draft instituted a year later, skilled manpower was never short for humanity save for the final hours of the New Wales battles two years later, and manufacturing capacity was full. Construction was focused in the incredible planetary defense super autolasers, whose orbital track and unparalleled range allowed humanity to hold off the invaders long enough to evacuate the planet. (Note: with a planet whose population flirted with the trillion mark, ‘evacuation’ was a relative word, millions could be left behind in larger cities or in frontier lands of any large world. Depending on the personality of the Warmaster associated with the conquest, those who remained –if the planet wasn’t simply burnt to a crisp or hit by a singularity torpedo- where either hunted on foot by massive clean-up forces or peddled into prison camps as hostages or workers.)

A general-order evacuation was engaged on July 9th, 2589, with some seven hundred billion people moved from New Cal within the thirteen weeks before Trego made his presence known on the edge of the system, sending massive amounts of rudimentary drones forward through the slipstream exits leading in, depleting the enormous stockpile of mines Mccorl has lain out in front of the stream mouths. By this time, roughly fifty billion civilians remained behind on New Cal, mostly near the metropolitan southern continent. Moreover, twenty-five orbital guns were in place, easily enough to hold off Trego’s assembled war fleet.

So, with the mines firmly out of the way, Trego dropped into subspace not at the cleared exits, but several light-years out, so as to avoid the automatic guns surrounding the minefield. From there, he unleashed a massive series of torpedo salvos, crippling the edge-of-system ISN defenses. Realizing he could not directly assault the gun network covering the system, Trego instead elected to beam in his second fleet behind him, one composed entirely of massive troop transport carriers. With millions of small, agile troopships incoming, Mccorl only managed to achieve a fifty percent kill rate on the onslaught, allowing a half billion Nahktar commandos and armored divisions onto the ground. What followed in that next five hours was critical: after engaging General Qui’s forces on the outskirts of Los Angeles, the New Cal capital, the Ark troops were able to establish a theatre shield over their position. Mccorl was been caught hard: she simply could not destroy the shield from orbit, lest she sacrifice the capital and the twenty billion people in the surrounding area.

It from this arrangement that the Siege arose: Mccorl trying to retake her ground prize while simultaneously fending off the waspish attacks of Trego along the edge of her defenses. For an entire month this situation dragged on, until early November when the Los Angeles collapsed when a Ark expedition detonated a series of nuclear bombs on the outskirts of Los Angeles, overrunning the orbital bunker and creating a thirty-minute hiccup in orbital gun operation, much more time that Trego needed to microjump right into the middle of the ISN fleet and disable nineteen of the twenty five guns. While Trego took heavy casualties from the assault, he continued to duke it out for ten more hours until the remaining guns were able to be used to full effect.

It was December 10th when Trego received the shocking reinforcements of an entire war fleet under the command of Warmaster Degio. Quick to capitalize on these reinforcements, Trego knew he had to force the battle to a head: Mccorl had brought four of the disabled platforms back online and was scheduled to receive a shipment of capacitors that would reactive six more; essentially reversing the gains Trego made in the previous months. Making skillful use of Degio’s famed slipstream missile squadrons, Trego was able to advance in a full-front assault that he would not have attempted two months previous with the guns online. Using the combined force of his two fleets, Trego used to great effect the hammer and anvil tactic he was known for: his highly mobile fleet would swiftly flank the ISN battle groups they encountered and harass them into Degio’s monstrous Valkyrie-class system control vessels. It was two days later he entered the final ISN gauntlet around New California and the battle descended into pure chaos.

Figures vary, but most sources says the planet changed hands four times in a vicious ground war as Trego let wild with the reinforcement troopship formations. In this all-out slugfest, casualties were vicious, but the ISN forces under Mccorl fought one of the most valiant battles in the entire war; though the phrase “not having gave an inch” is a misnomer, as the battle was so close-in and personal that neither was able to give up anything in the first place.

Exploits forged reputations in this battle. The climax of the battle came when Trego personally led a direct boarding action on the Brute Hope, Mccorl’s flagship. Caught flatfooted during a refueling swing-in, Colonel Easly’s renowned Raptor’s Rogues acted as a personal bodyguard for Mccorl, whose command center was the direct target of Trego’s raid. Easly and Trego met face-to-face close-quarters combat outside the bridge; Easly appealing to Trego’s pride in initiating an impromptu one-on-one duel on which the fate of the flagship, and therefore the fleet, and therefore the planet, rested. The two titans fought for a brutal half hour, wrecking two empty decks below the command center in their melee before they mutually incapacitated themselves: Easly was able to punch Trego into open space after the Supreme Commander pumped a point-range plasma rifle bolt in Easly’s face, almost blowing half of it off. Forced to withdraw, Trego fell back to his flagship, the Nightfall, right as a fourth war fleet entered the fray, led by Warmaster Wexly, forcing Mccorl to unwillingly order a full retreat lest her entire command be annihilated. The famed pullout happened over the two day period of December 23 and 24; on Christmas, Trego was able to establish control of the New California system.

The effects of this battle were far-reaching. Knowing the massive price he had paid to achieve capture the planet, Trego negotiated a one-year peace with Mccorl and the ISA government. Advancing would be foolish at this point, as for the three months of the First Siege, three months of time for the ISN to erect all their defenses around New Wales and Mars. Trego could ill-afford another price tag like that which he bought New Cal. That was not say New Cal was not a lustrous prize: he still had some forty billion people marooned on his prize planet. He was only able to round up half in half-hearted attempts to create prisoner camps; an effective resistance was formed under the command of several dozen experienced ONI field agents, one of whom was Seth Halcyon, one of the more powerful psions in the galaxy.

Was the battle a victory for Trego? Most historians disagree. Today, it is widely viewed as a strategic stalemate between Mccorl and Trego, with the gargantuan casualties suffered by Trego tarnishing the final capture of the system.

Another extremely important consequence of the battle os the final swing-through in the Frok’tar support for the human governments; aid had been minor and under-the-table at this point, and mostly through puppets of more machiavellian Ark leaders in attempts to infiltrate the enemy command structure. The technological and economic support that came flooding in was the final thread the saved humanity in the logistics war: Trego was wise in not pursuing his victory into New Wales, as the Frok'tar aid would hold the Warmaster at his position.

The real game in the tensely peaceful year of 2590 was diplomatic: under the table with two pivotal subjects: the Scorpia and Trego himself. During the spring of ’90, Admiral Greer led a ambassadorial expedition to the fledgling resurrected Scorpia Imperium, hoping to finally seal the scars of the war two centuries before. What he found was an Imperium more than happy to see him and finally join arms with the humans: the Tyrax program had been testing the strategic skills of the cyborgs on the Scorpians for a good ten years preceding Greer’s arrival. With Greer’s assistance, the Imperium was finally able to drive out the forces of the Tyrax and sign a alliance treaty in late May.

The Tyrax truly enters the picture at this point: built off human technology provided by ONI Director Deckard, the Tyrax was the ultimate soldier, undefeatable in the tactical shootout and impervious in the strategic aggressor role. During FSNC, he was secretly placed in command of the original troopship assault, and set off the nuclear bombs in a successful attempt to infiltrate and assassinate the ISMC leaders holed up in the surface command and control bunker. While the final impetuous to instigate the rebellion came from his virus smack when he hacked into the comp cent of the Brute Hope some two years later in early ’92, the Deckard had been grooming the Tyrax to bring about a rebellion that would realign the focus of the conflict and hopefully save the human species. While rumors exist that Deckard set himself up as the villain on the orders of his superiors, the fact exists that, on the Ark side, the Tyrax was being vetted to replace Trego, who fickle loyalties were about to emerge full swing in the Second Siege of New California.

Trego’s contact with humanity had begun as early as the Black Campaigns against the Seccarians with the Deckard/Agnar task force in the late 2580s, with Trego as a mere black ops naval captain. His loyalties seemed to focus only on himself as he triple and quadrupled-agented himself over the Carnage Marine raid on the Ark planetoid. Deckard initiated the assault to head-off Agnar in what he thought would wipe out his one-time partner before the Ark Warmaster could turn on Deckard himself. Switching his alliances as he saw fit over the next three months to the end of the opening slaughter at Artemis, where he linked back up with his command and earned himself a warfleet in ’83. Rumors exist that it was Trego who finally finished off Agnar during at Havoc, in the foresight of ushering in the incompetent Glask so that he may eventually receive the post of Supreme Commander.

However, talks began immediately following the First Siege in relation to one of the most pivotal events of the war: Trego’s faked assassination and his defection to the ISA.
Last edited by Mobius 1 on Sat May 24, 2008 3:56 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: General Storyline

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I believe this conflict is as close as you can get to being the definition of "epic". These battles just don't want to end, do they? Seriously though, I think you could fill tens of books with the stories of just the First Siege...
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Magister Militum »

Just by glancing over it I can already see a very good and well detailed article, Mobius. It'll be nice to see a continuation of the series.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Ford Prefect »

The First Siege is indeed monstrously epic. I think the best additions are these new Warmasters. Though they're really just names at them oment, I think there's a character in Degio waiting to be brought out. Do you think he may have lived through to the Justice era, Moby, or even further to the Overheat era?
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Re: General Storyline

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Liquid Phalanx and the Second Siege of New California
The Long Road to Victory: Mid 2590-Early 2592

With Frok’tar aid now flowing in freely, humanity decided to seize what it had not thought of for the entirety of the war: the offensive. The decision raised widespread debate amongst the leaders of the ISA, for the simple fact that it had never been initiated before. The Avalonian Ring Campaign by Colonel Easly’s rogue force certainly didn’t count, as holding your ground and winning certainly wasn’t the same as straight-out attacking. Trego’s forces had numbers, firepower, and strategic placement, but Mccorl’s argument was obvious: they had an opportunity they’d never receive again in going on the offensive now. Trego had been put off-balance by the FSNC, and simply hunkering down with Frok’tar aid and enhancing the defenses was a losing premise, in that no amount of orbital autolasers or minefields would hold off the numbers Trego would eventually assemble.

The essential target was simple: New California. The shipyards, mining facilities, and supply depots stationed there were indispensable; the morale boost the successful capture of the symbol of human prosperity would provide was incalculable. However, a swift pre-campaign would be necessary to complete the goal. And so was launch the legendary defining moment of Grand Admiral Mccorl: Operation Liquid Phalanx.

Trego’s skilled intelligence network was continually informing him that Mccorl’s gathered forces were sitting over New Wales in anticipation of the eventual assault on the planet. However, what he did not know was the state of the planet’s orbital cannons: abysmal. Preceding Liquid Phalanx, there were only six platforms- though twenty-four more were on the way, the massive shipment would not arrive in time to save the planet from Trego’s eventual assault. Mccorl successfully bluffed the cannons as having been in place since two months previous when they actually wouldn’t be operational for another three months.

Cautious, Trego decided to send a war fleet under Warmaster Wexly as an advance fleet, clearing out the small auxiliary systems around New Wales much as Glask had done before New California. It was Wexly Mccorl had set her sights on; she hoped to successfully trap and annihilate his entire command. How would she accomplish such a mighty feat?

With bombs. Really big bombs.

Mccorl’s gamble was gargantuan; she led her entire command under complete secrecy to the far-off Spazzer asteroid belt while simultaneously upholding the bluff that she still sat at New Wales. Her second-in-command Admiral Gibson- commander of the prestigious Sol fleets- organized the quiet thousand light-year march to the belt, which was only a half-day from Wexly’s position. The massive fleet rendezvous with the dozens of ISN stealth ships that had been haunting the belt for weeks previous, setting up a comprehensive sensor net for the centrepiece AI of the battle, Virgil. Developed as the most cunning and capable AI in the measureless human corps of constructs, Virgil’s integral part in the operation involved the absolute fire-control authority over the battle.

It was May 30th, 2590 when Mccorl disabled stealth protocols and revealed herself to Wexly. Taken completely off-guard by the fact that his hated enemy was hours away, Wexly made a fatal mistake in disregarding a strategic pause to intake the situation. Instead of taking a moment to receive intelligence that New Wales was completely unguarded, Wexly bullrushed Mccorl and Gibson, running straight into their trap.

The first Ark destroyer entered the belt at noon, and was quickly met by a rather standard rush of fighter-bombers armed with nuclear missiles. This common tactic reassured Wexly, who then took his five Valkyrie-class dreadnaughts forward to cross the belt and meet Mccorl on the other side. At this point, Gibson, who now had tactical command as Mccorl fell back outsystem, handed over the reigns completely to Virgil, marking a historical point in command and control history: the first time a construct had total and unlimited control over an entire human fleet, allowing the fleet to act as one and coordinate as never before.

Virgil closed to just outside of point-blank range on the edge of the belt to further infuriate Wexly, who engaged the ISN fleet with guns blazing. However, at this point, Virgil had Wexly exactly where he wanted the Warmaster. While human vessels took preliminary casualties, Virgil set the trap into motion. Utilizing Frok’tar technology, humanity revealed their new Helios antimatter bombs in a spectacular manner, detonating them around the entire Ark fleet in the frozen asteroid belt. The result was the world’s biggest fragmentation charge, ripping the Ark fleet to shreds with kilometre-long chunks of ice and rock.

The victory, had Trego truly been focusing on victory, would have shocked him. Truly, this victory was unprecedented. And now, both he and Mccorl were facing off in a reversal of roles and shaky ground. Neither had played the opposing role; Trego was simply not skilled at hunkering down and defending a planet, and Mccorl had never run a direct assault on a planet with the intent of capture.

Was a straight capture of the planet possible? Certainly. The crucial actions of the 303rd Storm Commando squad and Trego’s faked assassination would not have changed if Trego’s death had been real. While the events that followed Second Siege would have almost certainly have unfolded differently, and not in humanity’s favour, the immediate incident of the battle would have been identical. The tactical oversight of the beginning (and ending) engagement above New California was instead carried out by Warmaster Degio, Trego’s noble right hand man.

Mccorl’s plan for the assault of New California depended on a fifth aspect of the battle, beyond the ground assault, orbital brawl, aerial dogfighting, and electronic subversions. It depended upon a small, five-man team of top-of-the-line commandos to infiltrate the center of Los Angeles and assassinate Trego himself before the Supreme Commander could ascend to orbit and take personal control of the defense of New Cal. Ignoring covert purposes, it was a sound plan, suitably suicidal and last-ditch, as all good commando missions are. Trego’s immense charisma was the glue that held together the mishmash of Ark war fleets over New Cal: Wexly’s rear guard, which had fled back to New Cal after Wexly was ambushed and annihilated; Degio’s siege engine fleet of heavies; and Trego’s own mobile fleet. All of the fleets had taken heavy losses and were now incorporated under a single, large war fleet under Trego’s command.

Was such an arrangement wise? Not truly, even if it was necessary. Ark war fleets (there were close to a hundred in total) were highly autonomous packs under the complete command of a greatly magnetic personality, that of a Warmaster. Under genius command of the Warmaster, the wide-ranging war fleet was decidedly the best military unit of the day. However, when pieces of various fleets were mixed and matched into a single hydra, it would assuredly be the brilliance of a single leader that held the group together at peak effectiveness. Without Trego, her enemy would fall apart, and Mccorl knew this when she dispatched the 303rd to assassinate Trego.

There remains the question of who in the group was actually aware of the true nature of the mission. Easly certainly was, being one of the central planners of the outing as well as Trego’s most trusted contacts in reeling in the Warmaster. However, the rest of the group believed fully in the direct nature of their mission, which was essential. To fully pull of Trego’s assassination, he’d actually have to die- which he did, in a sense.

It was October when Mccorl’s fleet entered into the New California system and directly engaged Trego’s fleet. Compared to the chaos of the FSNC, Mccorl’s fleet was equally matched with Trego’s force, and duelled the rematch with a seasoned hand. Deliberately seating himself on the ground in an appearance of leading an assault on the bothersome resistance under the command of Seth Halcyon, Trego made himself available for chase by the 303rd (as opposed to sitting himself in the center of his fleet on the Nightfall) as well as allowing him not to ruin the ruse by intentionally holding back on the ISN forces. Instead, trusty Degio was in tactical command when Mccorl beamed in, and fought gallantly.

Inserting through system-slaved starfighters, the 303rd made their way into the dense center of the capital, encountering an entire Ark armoured column. The quintet imparted heavy casualties upon the column before capturing a tank and escaping into the extensive underground tunnel network below LA and linking up with a resistance command center and its director, Seth Halcyon- Easly’s brother and ONI psion. The group was planning an assault on Trego’s surface command center before he could flee into orbit via a teleporter when Trego, keeping in with his role as sectarian-smasher, stormed the resistance stronghold.

Establishing control over the center, Trego had a brief moment of doubt in terms of his defection. Here he held the heroes of humanity in the palm of his hand, all he had to do squeeze and he would win the day. Later recounting the story of the day several years later, Trego told how he dismissed the idea when he viewed the grimness of the command center and it’s crushed civilians. It seemed Trego’s cold heart was actually touched and put him back on his course. Leaving behind an obligatory force of his personal guard to slaughter the compound, Trego fled back to his command center, knowing the 303rd would easily slaughter the enemy soldiers.

Which they did.

The 303rd quickly pursued Trego’s entourage to the surface and through the canyon-like streets of the city, arriving at the Supreme Commander’s ops center right as it was in the final moments of clearing out through the teleporter to the Nightfall. Engaging in a frenzied shoot-out with the rear guard in the base, the Storm Commandos trailed Trego through the portal onto the bridge of the Nightfall and into a hundred-gun trap. With the fate of the battle in the balance, the 303rd decided to initiate a final firefight as opposed to laying down their arms. The future Director of Tactical Intelligence, Leonardo Bateau- a major at the battle- engaged Trego in close-quarter combat, incapacitating Trego long enough for Ian Smith- a junior captain- to empty his sidearm into the face of the Supreme Commander.

From there, the 303rd was able to clear the vast bridge, seal it off, and open an electronic channel to Mccorl’s ECM squadron, who sent back codes provided by Trego. With command of the flagship of the Ark fleet over New California, the 303rd proceeded to sow incomprehensible confusion amongst the Ark ranks, replacing fire-control orders and overriding the desperate commands of Warmaster Degio.

Degio knew what was happening to his fleet, his worst fear come true. While Degio was certainly an experienced and capable leader, he possessed nowhere near the charisma of Trego, and made the decision to fall back two systems to the Septimus system with what remained of his command. Within thirty-six hours Mccorl had recaptured the New California system, an enormous victory. She now had supplies and ships and morale pumping into her command, as well as the amazing resource of Trego, who survived the physical trauma thanks to the last-minute injection of a stolen Ark “wonder-drug”, termed Aduro, that instilled a temporary healing factor. While underground use of the drug is common in the present day with many cheap knock-offs available to criminals, Trego's successful usage of the serum was the first in direct combat conditions.

However, the Second Siege was far from complete. With Degio’s rapid pullout, millions of Ark troops were left on the ground; troops who, with no leader, would fight to the end. While rank-and-file Ark soldiers, unfamiliar with a battle where they were the hunted, would quickly surrender, the soldiers Mccorl faced were the remnants of Trego’s original commando drop some two years previous. It was certain they would not go quietly, as the General tasked with the mop-up, Samuel Grissom, quipped while surveying the crater of a nuclear strike the Ark shock troopers directed upon an ISMC army. Grissom would wage a hard-fought five-month campaign to sterilize his enemy from the face of New California until V-NC day was declared on March 2nd, 2592 when Grissom engaged and defeated a last-ditch insurgence bomber strike on LA’s command bunker.

The state of the chaos following the Second Siege in the Ark command structure can not be defeated. With Trego gone, Degio was clearly in line for the title of Supreme Commander, but he knew he was in no way able to fill Trego’s massive boots, so Degio passed supreme command to the Tyrax in late December. With the reins of the Ark military entirely in his hands, the cyborg proceeded to send into overdrive Trego’s afterthought in the Septimus system: the construction of a battle planetoid.

While the Ark maintained a dozen smaller planetoids for inner system defense, the infamous command and capital planetoid- directly titled the ‘Ark’- was an incredibly dangerous force on the battlefield; its presence worth some ten war fleets. While its use in the war with humanity was sparing until the final hours of the conflict, when it did speak, it could shatter any force the ISN threw against it. Trego, knowing he would not be able request use of the Ark itself or divert a core control planetoid, decided to build his own in a auxiliary system of the greater New California sector, the Septimus system.

The Tyrax proceeded towards an intelligence fake-out on the level of Liquid Phalanx. Vastly increasing construction on the planetoid, in two months he was able to make it ‘appear’ as though it was seconds from combat capable- thereby forcing Mccorl’s hand. With new intelligence before her that a planetoid was on the doorstep of New California, the very real strategic threat was that the Tyrax had unearthed new slipstream, leading directly from Septimus to New Wales.

Standard strategic thinking held on both sides that the humans had closed off all major routes in the core of their territory except few straight streams that led outward from Mars to New Wales, and from New Wales to New California. To seize Sol, the Ark would have to advance unswervingly along this route, taking the planets one-by-one. Humanity had survived thusfar in the war by conducting a massive disinformation campaign so as to stamp out all Ark knowledge of any extraneous slipstream route to Sol, and, most importantly, where exactly the stream from New Wales to Sol ran. So imagine Mccorl’s shock when she learned a far more aggressive entity had been given command of the Ark fleets with increased support to finally destroy humanity once and for all; that he would be able to completely bypass your hard-bought defenses in New California and head directly to the next-door stop from Sol, New Wales. She simply had to strike at the planetoid before it could park itself in orbit above New Wales and unleash anarchy.

What the Tyrax did not expect was for Mccorl to react so quickly and throw everything she had at the planetoid. Degio’s war fleet having recently departed for resupply in Ark territory, the Tyrax’s reinforcements under his cat’s-paw Wamaster Lowry were still two days out when Mccorl slid in-system with guns blazing.

Mccorl’s plan to destroy such a colossal foe that, to her, was seconds from activation, involved a variation of Trego’s tactic during the FSNC: to spend in hundreds of boarding teams to infiltrate the planetoid and interrupt the power generation supporting the robust shields of the planetoid, thereby allowing the fleet to fire a singularity torpedo (acquired with the capture of the Nightfall) down the throat of the “dragon”, as it was termed by ISN sailors.

One such group was Easly’s Raptor Rogues, a group specifically founded to act a quick-insertion pilot-commando group that would swiftly disable or capture enemy vessels. Obviously at the forefront of the massive boarding parties, the Raptors sped into the belly of the Dragon, unaware that the Tyrax had planted a mole inside their squadron, a newly-transferred Nathaniel Garret. With Easly’s squad having fought its way to the antechamber of their target antimatter reactor, Garret lured the Tyrax in. The results were disastrous for the Raptors, who, scattered across the planetoid due to Garret’s interference with their rapid movement through the planetoid’s teleporter portal network, were quickly incapacitated by the Tyrax. Easly, however, chose to pursue Garret as the traitor tried to link up with Ark security forces aboard the ship. The chase led the pair into the interior of an antimatter reactor, where the two duelled with knives on a six-inch cable hundreds of kilometres over a field-contained a/mat reaction bubble. Nearly cast into the abyss, Easly bested Garret, stabbing him and letting the body fall into the reaction bubble as the Colonel fled into a nearby teleporter. Little did Easly know, but Garret carried a nuclear grenade in his weapons load, a ‘prevention’ to keep Garret from turning on him. The ensuing explosion of the grenade when it hit the reaction bubble destabilized the reactor, thereby accomplishing the mission objective of the Raptors.

The Tyrax was firmly challenged when the final third of the Raptors finally caught up to the antechamber. After a fast-paced shootout, Nickel, the Raptors’ combat robot, was able to shoot the Tyrax point-blank with a rocket launcher, temporarily knocking the cyborg offline. Gathering who was still alive, the Raptors moved to rendezvous with Easly, who had commandeered an Ark troopship to retrieve his comrades. After swinging by to retrieve Bateau, Halcyon, Major John Baylor, and a beleaguered platoon of Carnage Marines, Easly landed in the antechamber. It was when he was loading his Raptors that the Tyrax came back online and stowed away on the vessel’s landing strut assembly.

Mccorl, having lured out the security fleet from the coverage of the planetoid’s meager cannons and destroyed it, was burning through a small grace period for the boarders to escape before she fired the black hole missile. Easly needed every second of it as he encountered a final gauntlet of fighters in the interior shafts of the planetoid, weaving his way through their attacks and, with inches to spare, blazed through a closing hatch to open space right as Mccorl fired the torpedo, destroying the planetoid.

It was when Easly landed the troopship on the Brute Hope and the ISN strike force was en route to New Cal when the Tyrax burst out of the troopship. As the Raptors were debarking the troopship, the exoskeleton took the time to inform the commandos that it had hacked into the comp cent of the flagship and had discovered exactly what it needed: the slipstreams leading into New Wales and Sol. After enlightening them as to the bomb he had kindly left behind for them aboard the troopship, he moved his AI consciousness out of his exoskeleton on onto a computer of a trailing Ark warship.

Here marks the most critical part of the planetoid strike and the entrance into the final hours of the war. Virgil, residing in the Comp Cent of the Brute Hope, assaulted the Tyrax’s presence with an untold number of viruses, fundamentally corrupting the cyborg. Whether or not the consequences were intentional on Virgil’s part or not is one of the most hotly debated subjects of this day, but the result were clear: the Tyrax hastily moved forward his plans for a polity-splitting coup against the Ark leadership as manipulated by Deckard in the vain hope the Tyrax would spare humanity if Deckard allied with the cyborg’s forces. If not for the cyborg’s haste in seeking out the intelligence he sought, he wouldn’t have set his rebellion into motion as quickly and the ISA surely would have been overrun.

But one more final footnote exists at the end of the so-called ‘Phoenix Rising’ operation, the final epilogue to humanity’s failed attempt at an offensive: Colonel Easly decided to commandeer the troopship into open space in an attempt to save the flagship, his commanders, and his friends, jumping to FTL right the bomb detonated. His demise was unquestionable, and its effect on morale was noticeable in a war where trillions died.

It marked the second time Easly went underground and began a one-man war on the Ark, the first being the Avalonian Ring Campaign. Under the orders of Mccorl and Trego, Easly took the title of the ‘Operative of Avalon’ and made his way to all the way to the far corner of Ark territory in an eleventh-hour quest to assassinate the leaders of the Ark before the Tyrax could take his reformed forces and wipe humanity into extinction.
Last edited by Mobius 1 on Sun May 25, 2008 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Ford Prefect »

You're missing the end of this sentence: 'While underground use of the drug is common in the present day with many cheap knock-offs available to criminals,'.

You know, reading through this, I am struck by how utterly insane it was for me to engage in macho close combat posturing with Trego during the RPG. I mean, in Apoc he is established as being able to go hand-to-hand with the Tyrax and not instantly die. 'My patented knife-hand works on the Scorpia and actually incapitates people on Aduro better than cannon rounds' aside, that's, well, akshun.

The 303 are so awesome. I'm really glad there's all these months so that we can depict them doing stuff in their prime, as I have always wished.
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Re: General Storyline

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This is fascinating. Do continue because the sooner you put up a complete historical overview of TE up to now, the sooner the story I promised you can surface. :)
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Re: General Storyline

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As the subtitles notes, I'm splitting Apoc into two articles, one covering the entire arc save for final chapter, which will be covered along with the future of the rebellion in the next chapter.

Operation: Judgement Day and the Battle of New Wales
Apocalypse, Part One : Mid 2592

The seeming demise of Colonel Easly acted as a symbol for what the ascension of the Tyrax actually portended: the end of the ISA offensive. Outward from New California there was really no place for Mccorl to strike at that wouldn’t, in the end, overextend her and lead to her downfall. While she had achieved an incalculable victory at New Cal in scattering her opponent Warmasters, the Tyrax now wielded virtually unlimited power over the Ark military, and intended to use that blank check to crush the impertinent Mccorl.

It was from this that the intelligence chief, Robert Deckard, organized a truly suicidal two-part mission to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. With the Tyrax’s fleets bearing down on New Wales its newly uncovered slipstreams, Deckard’s plan was short- and long-term. The first team, Lambda, would advance beyond Mccorl’s forces at New Wales- who were in the middle of preliminary engagements on the edge of the New Wales system- and cripple a massive Ark reinforcement fleet under the command of Warmaster Lowry, before it could enter the fray and tip the balances of the battles towards the Ark before it had truly begun. The majority of the Raptors’ Rogues, an entire company of Carnage Marine exosuits, and a small black operations fleet comprised the team involved with immediate security.

The immortal Team Phi-Psi (comprised of the 303rd Storm Commandos and major members of the Raptors) would be tasked with the infiltration of Zrmahk, which, they were informed, was host to the Conclave- the leadership council of the Ark. If the team could sneak onto the planet in the far corner of Ark territory and seize the Conclave, they could potentially negotiate a cease-fire and fore peace talks to the table. To do guide them on their journey, Trego was enlisted to act as a guide through the treacherous Ark backwaters, much to the shock of the team.

Was there an ulterior motive in Deckard’s plan? Absolutely. His ally, the Tyrax, in his coup, sought to destroy the Conclave. The cyborg reasoned that it would be far easier to simply smash and grab the reins of total power than to work the disagreeable Conclave over to his side. Of course, it would be easiest if the Tyrax wasn’t actually involved in the slaughter, so he enlisted Deckard to supply the whipping boys: the ever-capable 303rd. However, Mccorl anticipated this move, and managed to place several Raptors on the team as inside men to link up with Easly when the arrived on Zrmahk.

The two teams departed from Mars days before Warmaster Ragnos dropped his hammer on New Wales, skipping past New California. Unlike the situation a year earlier, New Wales now sat behind thirty-four super autolasers and was ready for Ragnos’ attack. While Deckard’s two final-hour teams were traversing the galaxy, Mccorl managed to hunker behind the autolaser’s fearsome anthem for a week before Ragnos retreated to edge of the system and began launching incredible amounts of FTL missiles at the platforms. Unable to completely defend the platforms, Mccorl instead elected to pull Gibson’s fleet in from New California to slam the unprotected rear flank of Ragnos’ war fleet.

Unfortunately, at the last second, Ragnos pulled back even further in discovery of a more advantageous slipstream to drop torpedoes down, and Gibson dropped into subspace in the exact middle of the war fleet. The next hour was something of a slaughter on both sides, with millions dead. Mccorl, lest she see her right hand in Gibson annihilated, was forced to leap out from behind her cover and punch a hole in the Ark circle for Gibson to escape.

What followed was fateful. Warmasters Benau and Jarol dropped into subspace in between Mccorl and New Wales, hammering her flanks mercilessly. Wounded and with Ark on all sides, she was forced to jump out of the New Wales system entirely, leaving Gibson on his own. Seeing Mccorl’s opened corridor, the Admiral battered with way out with only half his command, microjumping behind the autolasers. The subsequent twenty-four hours proved to be back-breaking for Gibson’s valiant though futile defense. While Mccorl’s large 10th Defense Fleet could plug the gaps in between the autolasers, Gibson’s band of survivors couldn’t. When the Ark jumped in system, only a third of the civilians were off planet, and only a fifth out system.

A slaughter ensued.

Of the orbital autolasers, twenty one were destroyed in the carnage, with only one of eight civilian ships getting out of the gauntlet Ragnos set up in high orbit. It looked like all was lost as Gibson barely managed to make a stand over the major population center of New Wales. If Lowry’s fleet jumped in, all would have been lost.

Mccorl found no better at Sol, to which she jumped. Deckard, deciding against patience now that he was the custodian of the system (As Director of Military Intelligence he held the comparative rank of Admiral), launched into open coup on Mars, essentially seizing the planet through sheer charisma and a smattering of assassinations and really big bombs. With naval ranks above Sol thinned as it was, it only took a couple extremely high-level codes to seize command of the orbital cannons and negotiate control of the system. Those who didn’t surrender or join Deckard were forced to the edge of the system and further by Deckard’s cannon fusillade, and it was these respectable survivors Mccorl added to her ranks in her rather short round trip back to New Wales. But what had become of Team Lambda? It was their contribution to the battle that could save or doom New Wales.

The planned assault on Lowry’s fleet was simple; the culmination of the tactics the Raptors and Carnage Marines had separately pioneered over the course of the war. Using intimate research taken from the stolen Nightfall, Lambda arranged to infiltrate Lowry’s flagship through stolen Ark troopships, while Rear Admiral Cussler stood back a few microjumps out from the team. The team managed to trek their way to the bridge without firing a shot and were seconds from taking the bridge when their tap on the Ark battlenet informed them of the coup in Sol. At that point, everything went to hell.

The leader of the Raptor section of the assault force was one Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell, a longtime agent of Deckard- and upon seeing the news of the early rebellion, he took steps to stop the leak, lest word get back to Mccorl-loyal Cussler. To achieve this goal, he began slaughtering his Raptors, his comrades. While the Carnage Marines took the bridge, the Raptors fought a deadly cat-and-mouse game with an Aduro-powered Mitchell over the Comp Cent of the flagship, with Lowry and his personal guard hunting the entire group on Mitchell’s behest. It was only the last minute disabling of Comp Cent and the capture of the bridge by the Carnage Marines that allowing Cussler to beam in; capitalizing on the chaos of the downed Ark battlenet and reigning death upon the chaotic fleet. In the confusion and with the assistance of a group of minor ISMC battle psions, the Raptors were able to defeat Lowry, his guard, and Mitchell by catching them in the meltdown of Comp Cent.

Had Lowry’s fleet arrived when Mccorl had, the counterweight provided would have resulted in the final obliteration of New Wales But instead, Cussler’s black operation fleet dropped in behind Benau’s open flank, scattering the warmaster’s fleet over open space and Mccorl appeared a half our later, acting as the final hammer for Benau.

Ragnos and Jarol rapidly reoriented to face Mccorl’s combined force. Unlike the famed Ark war fleet, Mccorl could easily manage unit from multiple sources, and it showed as she worked with what few resources at her disposal to knock the enemy from their place in high orbit and send them to the edge of the system. Mccorl’s tactical genius shown through here as she was able to engage Ragnos’ command structure in point blank combat, her own flagship dueling three Valkyries, each three times the size of the Brute Hope.

She would have driven them outsystem if the Tyrax hadn’t unleashed his vast reserves at that point; no less than ten war fleets piled in-system in the span of five hours. The fight went from valiant to desperate in half the time, and Mccorl pulled out every stop to hold her position.

By this time, the 303rd, having suffered a minor crises of its own, pulled into orbit over Zrmahk. Their timing wad fortunate, as a Frok’tar fleet arrived only hours beforehand on the prospect of destroying the Conclave themselves. One member of the team was already dead, Mack Torus, who was Easly’s personal contact inside the team and an integral part of the Colonel’s plan to hack past the Ark battlenet and, in fact, save the Conclave.

Confused? Well, one should explain. Halcyon, who was on the mission as a representative of Deckard, and therefore, the interests of the Tyrax, discovered Torus’ ongoing ties to Easly (Whether or not Halcyon knew Easly was alive at this point or that he was facing simply an agent of Mccorl is questionable.). However, to stage a reasonable death for Torus and the insertion of a member of his clone family (Editor’s Note: The Les Quatre Cavaliers/Dius Donum projects will be the subject of a separate article), Halcyon had called in a Minuteman raiding party during the slipstream trip.

Nickel, the combat robot of the Raptors, who was stashed aboard under Easly’s orders, activated as the team’s ship came under attack, and with his aid, the raiders were repulsed. Torus took a serious head wound during the attack and was critically wounded, not killed, to Halcyon’s displeasure. In order to shift suspicion from himself (Not exactly a hard prospect seeing as Halcyon had been seriously injured during the attack himself, and relied upon the released clone, Kieran Drax, to psionically heal him), he took mental control over Bateau, the team commander, and steered the shell to shoot Torus.

It was in this state of chaos that the ship entered the Zrmahk system, with Smith and Grissom having discovered video evidence of Bateau shooting Torus, a mysterious clone look-alike of Jak Easly along for the ride, and Halcyon out of action. The ship swiftly came under attack by the Tyrax’s personal agent, the corrupt Carnage Marine Scott Adamson, who incapacitated Bateau, Grissom, and Smith and swiftly moved to the upper decks to deal with the rest of the crew, only to run into Easly, who, under the guise of the Operative, boarded the ship not long after Adamson.

Easly had been on Zrmahk for several weeks preceding Team Phi-Psi doing preparation work to ascertain the exact nature of the Tyrax’s plans in order to craft a plan to counteract them. It did not take long for the Tyrax to discover a human agent of Zrmahk, and dispatch a battalion of elite Nahktar soldiers, four tank squadrons, three gunships, a one-kilometer capital ship, and a remote Tyrax unit to kill the Operative. Unsurprisingly, this failed miserably.

Aboard the Alt Vertraut, Easly and Adamson engaged in a rather brutal shootout, with Easly, despite the advantage Adamson possessed with an overdose of the healing factor-inducing Aduro formula, managing to drive Adamson off the ship on a escape pod with a belt of grenades as company.

Easly, still under the Operative disguise, took advantage of the ‘posthumous’ customary two-rank promotion to take control of Team Phi-Psi by flashing his IFF tag and accompanying rank of Major Marshal (O-8). Choosing not to reveal the true nature of the planned mission to the team- that of saving the Conclave instead of destroying it- Easly instead revived Halcyon using Drax (His decision not to free Bateau is evidence of his belief that Halcyon would not side with Deckard) and outlined his plan to the team.

Described later as ‘ridiculously complex’, Easly’s idea of assassinating the Conclave involved seizing an external security station and triggering an alarm at the downright impenetrable central bunker that would send the Conclave sprinting to underground trains that would surface at spaceports a good distance away from the city. Easly told the assembled group he planned to use Trego’s old SupCom codes to access the system (codes which were days from being removed from the Ark network in an automated sweep) and order the stealth shutters that covered the exits of the train tunnels to stay shut, thereby smashing the incoming escape pods on the hatches. In point of fact, Easly planned to keep the hatches open, playing a dangerous game for the upcoming rebellion of the Tyrax, by allowing the Conclave to live and wooing their political and military power to his side.

Descending to the planet under the cover of the orbital battle, Phi-Psi effortlessly slaughtered an underground battalion of the Tyrax’s personal guard, including a starfighter (which, for some reason, was a hundred feet under the surface), with Halcyon slipping away in the carnage unnoticed. The plan proceeded smoothly until the Conclave flew off untouched instead of smashed at a particularly lethal speed into a meter-thick hatch, which, one could guess, cast quite the pale on so-called ‘Operative of Avalon’.

Easly was saved from near rebellion when the Tyrax, who had bombers orbiting in case the humans failed to kill the Conclave, personally emerged from the elevator flanked by a restored Adamson and a triumphant Halcyon. After a rather irate explanation of the giant spiderweb Phi-Psi had been caught in, including the framing of Bateau and the hollow façade that was the mission itself, the trio prepared to smash their cat’s-paws, if not for the intervention of Leo Bateau, who had been released by Reitman above.

Fighting their way out of the bunker and past the opposing trio and aiming to seize an Ark troopship to escape (their own Gento dropship having been destroyed as the Tyrax entered from above), the team endured another startling casualty when the Tyrax caught Johnny D’Oro- Caesar- on the end of long electric whip, smashing him at a terrific speed into the cornerstone of a building. However, Easly, revealing himself as such to the remaining members of Phi-Psi, was able to pilot the troopship off Zrmahk, past waves of enemy starfighters, to the Alt Vertraut and seeming safety.

As they fled the system, the team noted the Ark reinforcements arriving- bringing the circle back to Mccorl. With the sudden attack on Zrmahk by the Frok’tar forces, the Tyrax had no choice politically (and, considering the impending nature of his coup, not it was not entirely required to destroy New Wales right at that moment) but to recall the fleets attacking New Wales to augment Zrmahk. Mccorl attempted to give chase, but a small Ark strike force split off from the fleeing fleet and diverted her by attacking the system where the ISA was keeping its casualties, calling down Deinonj wraiths to slaughter the hospital world. Sufficiently deflected, Mccorl was only able to bring her forces to the sector surrounding the supermassive Kaeleron black hole.

In the meanwhile, Easly quickly realized the Vertraut had been boarded by the Tyrax and sought rapidly to bring him out into the open in an unsuspecting position. To accomplish this feat, he guided the Tyrax, Halcyon, and the cyborg’s guard to the bridge under the guise of Easly handing over the ‘dead’ Operative. Taken in, the Tyrax swiftly placed Phi-Psi under guard as the Alt Vertraut redirected course to the staging area of the his combined fleets. Upon seeing the coordinates, Easly freed his captured comrades and stole after the Tyrax, who managed to escape after eviscerating Bateau. Smith, having acquired a vial of the Aduro formula, gave Bateau a dose, who then advanced to take on the Tyrax’s rear guard single handedly thanks to his newfound healing factor.

Halcyon, who had been restrained by an antipsi emitter carried on the person of the Tyrax as a safeguard, suddenly found himself free of the influence of the module when the Tyrax escaped to his troopship. Having already lost twice already in hand to hand combat against Easly he now began to use the menagerie of thousand-pound cargo boxes in the freight bay of the Vertraut to beat Easly to near death. This had the ill-timed effect of unlocking the latent psionic powers of his target, who stopped what would have been the final swing with a telekinetic wall of his own. Seeing this fatal turn of events- what luck for the failed experiment that was Easly to manifest his psi powers at the most inopportune moment- Halcyon seized Easly through a teleportation and swept him off the ship.

While the conflicts unfolded aboard the Alt Vertraut, the entire galaxy plunged into what could be generally surmised as a state of chaos as the Tyrax’s forces, positioned for years, abruptly moved to seize planets, systems, and sectors. Almost every single polity split right down the middle. The Interplanetary Space Alliance military fell under the opposing camps of Mccorl and Deckard; the Ark fell between the Tyrax and Kehksol; with the Frok’tar alliance splitting in between the Ark puppets, who allied with the Tyrax, and the ISA-leaning faction, who sided with Mccorl. The Scorpia Imperium, long plagued by the Tyrax, easily linked with the loyalists.

Why would Kehksol make the decision to ally himself with Mccorl when the Tyrax laid its chips on the table? Moreover, not only ally, but give over every technological advantage he held in hopes of integration? While Kehksol’s forward thinking in negotiating a position of post-war immunity is to be noted, the offer (which was keenly accepted by Mccorl) was more an act of short-term tactical desperation. Separated and fighting against a common enemy, the ISA and Ark loyalist factions could not hope to triumph, but together, their combined genius could put a stop to the threat the Tyrax faced. In the simplest terms, Kehksol had no choice.

Like the titantic accretion disk encompassing the Kaeleron singularity, the military forces of every polity in the Milky way- loyalist or revolutionist- gathered in the surrounding area for what all knew would not be the final battle of the ISA-Ark war, but the first battle in a long line of galactic turbulence, the opening salvos of the Galactic Civil War. As such, it represents an all-important link between the two eras, the beginning and the end.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Ford Prefect »

including a starfighter (which, for some reason, was a hundred feet under the surface)
It is a measure of the nature of Total Extinction that I never even began to question the presence of a space superiority fighter inside an underground security bunker. :D
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Re: General Storyline

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Additional info about the other apoc team is always good. I always wondered what happened to them.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Mobius 1 »

This chapter needs a better title - like 'how to summarize sixty pages of people beating the crap out of each other in a tenth of the space'.

The next installment should cover the political formation of the Union as well as the organization of the scatterd rebel forces under the banner of Admiral Alerton. I'm also hoping to put together the story of Warmaster Agnar - his team-up with Deckard in the black campaigns against SAFE to his betrayal by Deckard, from the beginning of his retaliatory war against the ISA to his death at the end of the Avalonian Campaign.

The Battle of the Kaeleron Singularity
Apocalypse, Part Two, Mid 2592 to the end of the century


The only battle in history that can possibly stand in relatable stature to the Battle of the Kaeleron Singularity is the climactic final clash in the Two Galaxy War, the 2614 Battle of Duox. However, nothing can come close in sheer, participatory mass. Every single polity in the Milky Way found itself represented, most in dual opposing factions. Billions, if not trillions of beings found themselves on the field during that single fateful day.

The galaxy, in the short amount of time preceding the showdown, had been plunged into a generalized state of anarchy and chaos as governments tore themselves apart. Violence between separating factions was cataclysmic, but the leaders of the assembled forces pressed hard to have their forces gravitate towards the system surrounding the supermassive Kaeleron black hole for a singular winner-take-all fight.

The Ark forces of the Tyrax were the first the set their metaphorical feet on the future field of battle, preceding the Alt Vertraut from Zrmahk and New Wales. Bolstered hours later by the Frok’tar separatists, the Tyrax stood aboard the bridge of his flagship, the Zero Hour, as Seth Halcyon teleported in and dropped the brain-dead body of Jak Easly on the deck before him. After a clipped chase across the width of the galaxy, Halcyon had easily overpowered Easly telepathically and wiped his mind (and, therefore, his brief psionic power). Preparing to blink out to above the black hole and dispose of Easly’s body over the galactic vidnet, Halcyon fell prey to a (patented) knifehand, and before he could react, was dumped by Easly into Kaeleron to his death.

Easly, who had reloaded his consciousness over from the cybernetic banks in the robot half of his brain (Easly being fairly unique in terms of man-machine wiring), was swept to safety by ISA psions as Mccorl’s fleet dropped out of slipspace on the edge of the system. As he recovered, the rest of the galaxy swept into the system, with the loyalists consisting of Mccorl’s ISA, Trego and Kehksol leading the Ark, King Il Samak’s Scorpian Empire, and the Frok’tar Houses of Kaldra, Empyrean, and Diablic. Across the figurative line in the sand ranked the Tyrax’s warmasters, several Deckard-aligned Admirals, and the Frok’tar Houses of Cocytus, Primum, and Antenora.

The Alt Vertraut rendezvoused with Mccorl’s fleet as Easly recovered from his trip into the vac, and prepared for war as the tensions between the two sides began to boil skyward. Attempts at negotiations were perfunctory at best, with terms expectably unreasonable. Diplomats departed dissatisfied, perhaps entirely from the battlefield. However, the loyalists – outnumbered on a scale of two to three – received welcome reinforcements from the Scorpia, led by the great king Il Samak. Announcing their presence on the galactic scene again, the Scorpian intended to avenge the dead mauled by the Tyrax during the lull of the two New California Sieges.

The tides of fate inexorably pushed the uneasy détente towards introductory strikes as the final fleets within range arrived on scene. The Host of the Tyrax – his twelve Valkyrie flagships maneuvered over the center of the arena, just above the singularity. Easly, now a Major Marshal, personally led a thousand-strong fighter armada down the treacherous firing lanes of the Ark fleet, slipping past the massive Ultimate Autolasers projected by the squid-like Host. His fighters acted a protective escort for Colonel Hideoshi and Rex Squadron, as well as the elite octopus-bombers of the Frok’tar House Kaldra.

In the centerpoint of the circular host sat a reality-shredding Annihilation Bomb, capable of deleting everything within a dozen lightyears. Forty thousand years old and a leftover of the formation of the Ark against the ancient Seccarian/Deinonj War, the eldritch weapon was the Tyrax’s ace in the hole. His ships could theoretically jump away on point before the loyalist forces could respond in kind. It was this bomb – its robotic tenders very near activating its electronic countdown – that Easly led the strategic bomber force to destroy. It was over this bomb his Raptor’s Rogues closed a climactic duel against a squadron of Switchblade razor fighters and Deckard’s personal Arrowhead escort, for the armor of the Annihilation Bomb was so thick that any weapon strong enough to overcome the alloy would activate the weapon outright. Engaging two Switchblades personally, Easly used the razor wings of the fighters against them, manipulating the fighter into using its wings to slice open the flank of the bomb. A pinpoint nuclear strike neutralized the bomb for the duration of the battle (but not permanently – see the Battle of Havelock with Admiral Alerton more than a decade latter).

Not ten minutes earlier the Ark – the polity’s massive mobile planetoid – dropped into battle from the nether reaches of the Ark empire. As much as any vessel the size of Mars could be, the Ark was in turmoil as crews raced to covet central systems. On the ship was a target of vital importance to both sides – the Conclave, held captive by the Tyrax. While the rebellion needed the heads of state of ensure legitimacy in, at least, the act of transferring over control of the various Ark systems’ defense to the Tyrax. The loyalists dispatched a taskforce of Carnage Marines led by Lieutenant Colonel Bateau to recover the Conclave with the hopes of convincing the Ark leaders to bring their home fleets to bear in the battle of the side of Mccorl and Trego.

Battling their way into the core of the planetoid one final time, Bateau faced a company of Carnage Marines loyal to Scott Adamson defending the antechamber of the Conclave’s chambers. A massive robotic melee ensued, with each leader seeking out their opposite on the field. It was only after a lengthy duel and the battle seemed lost that the loyalist subcommander – Baylor – managed to penetrate the Conclave’s halls and activate a translocation beacon to a loyalist-own section of the ship and then off the planetoid to the Nightfall.

At this point Deckard himself took to the field, finding himself in a cockpit for the first time in more than a decade. Piloting an experimental Cariburn – mounting a capital-grade Ultimate Autolaser system and costing more than an entire battle fleet – he entered with a blaze of lethal light, destroying an entire starship and putting Megan Rickson out of the fight. Here the man and his creation found themselves in a duel to the death. Massively outmatched in terms of hardware, Easly sought to find a place where his microfighter’s small size and sheer maneuverability would have the advantage. The answer came in the terms of the exfiltration of the Conclave. Now that the Ark leadership was off the Ark itself, Trego had made the fateful decision to destroy the Ark. All the loyalist vessels in the immediate vicinity descended on the Ark’s overloaded AA defenses and towards it cores. Easly led the charge, Deckard hot on his tails.

The two finally made their way to one of the hundred zero-point reactors powering the station, it was outside the containment field the pair dueled one last time. Managing to overload the Cariburn’s capital-grade shields while simultaneously shedding no less than a dozen missile locks, Easly dispatched Deckard with a nuclear missile launcher he had stowed away in his cockpit. The infantry-grade weapon punched through the cockpit of Deckard’s craft and impaled the ONI commander, leaving just enough time for Easly to escape before the missile exploded in Deckard’s face.

Ascending out of one of the many cooling crevices that laced the core of the Ark, Easly came upon – not really perceiving – Bateau and Adamson’s never-ending Aduro-laced mech duel. Seeing Easly approaching fast in his Arrowhead, Bateau dropped Adamson onto the microfighter’s shields and disintegrated the rogue Carnage Marine. Dropping back to pick up Bateau, Easly made his way to a hangar to find a Ark troopship for transport – as Bateau could not stand the vacuum of space and for the fact the Easly had been given a new assignment.

The Admirality of the Loyalist ISA forces had chosen the Brute Hope as their command center, but the massive super dreadnaught’s defense had been overwhelmed and the very bridge of the ship was threatened by rebel boarders. At the head of the enemy columns advanced two Tyrax endoskeletons. After a pitched battle in the underchamber of the Hope’s bridge, Captain Ian Smith managed to kill one Tyrax after the cyborg mortally wounded his compatriot, Captain Sarah Grissom McDonnell. Sensing the defensive position as finally untenable, Smith led the admirals out of the bridges the ISN’s once-proud flagship disintegrated about them. Pursued in a vehicle chase by the remaining Tyrax over some hundred miles of corridors in less than fifteen minutes, Virgil, the ISA’s super-AI finally deduced the way to defeat the indestructible cyborg.

The answer laid in the end of the Phoenix Rising Op a few months earlier, when the Tyrax had been attacked with several viruses by Virgil upon his last incursion on the Brute Hope. Virgil figured the Tyrax had disconnected himself from his Ark-based network to prevent the spread of the virus. Virgil would have to be close to the Tyrax to reconnect it to the network and, subsequently, the virus. Under great personal risk Captain Smith piloted his Nanta jeep close enough to the Tyrax for Virgil to accomplish the task, receiving a near-mortal wound for his troubles. As the second Tyrax fell away, seizing, the Nanta drove onward to its rendezvous with Easly’s troopship in a nearby hangar.

It was here the central Tyrax cyborg ambushed the two groups, downing Easly’s ship before systematically executing the ISA’s admirals. As proven later by the Two Galaxy War, Virgil managed to absorb most of their consciousnesses before they were slaughtered by the Tyrax. Under the imminent threat of death Ian Smith, choking on his own blood and seizing upon a distraction created by the still-immortal Bateau, took a discarded pistol and shot the Tyrax’s network blocker, reconnecting the final Tyrax skeleton to the Ark network and destroying it with the weight of the avalanche of viruses. Barely managing to collect the mortally wounded Easly and Ian in his arms, Bateau made to the troopship’s translocator seconds before the Brute Hope detonated around them.

With the rebel’s flagship – the Zero Hour – cast down by the Nightfall over the singularity an hour earlier and their two central leaders killed on the field of battle, the remaining rebel forces couldn’t hope to stand up to the newly arrived collective home fleets of the Conclave. Turning tail, the fleets fled into slipspace before a rout could ensue. The loyalist ships – those battered few that remained – had won the day. The price, however, had been steep. Easly’s physical body had expired upon translocating to the Nightfall – one of several billion to die in the void of battle that day.

The immediate political frenzy in the aftermath of the battle was nothing short of spectacular. With the ISA leadership structure decapitated – not that they were in any shape to negotiate with the still-superior Ark forces – Trego took up on humanity’s behalf, taking a guiding hand in the chaos of the conference that formed on the ISA dyson shell of Concordis. Numerous political figures stepped out of the woodworks, as they sped to finalize the first galactic Union. The initial document was more a statement of allegiances than an actual governing document, but the language has long been compared with the greats of history.

Most of the activity in the initial years following the Battle was martial – for the situation was bleak for the emerging Union. Beyond the organized rebel forces regrouping in the grey region on the edges of Ark territory, various warlords stepped forward in the chaos: Ark and ISA fleets that refused (some would say reasonably) to ally with their former blood allies, political factions that had taken the period of political instability to finally declare their independence (though separate from the Tyrax’s movement), as well as the simple megalomaniac who thought their vision was the best for the galaxy and had the loyal fleet to back it up.

Trego, having positioned himself as the Supreme Commander of the Union’s remaining forces, decided (perhaps correctly) he had not the forces to pacify each and all the hundred teeming factions. Instead, he tasked his new right hand man – the now General Bateau, who was forming the fledgling Cadre for Tactical Intelligence – with turning the various warlords against each other in their lust for power or xenophobia. Dispatching operatives with comparatively free reign – in the essence of Easly’s Operative of Avalon persona – to manipulate the warlords against each other left Bateau free to tackle the corruption in the ISA government as he returned home, system by system. Along this trail he began to collect individuals for his elite task force – the Meisters – who would later become so important in the Faust affair in Scorpia space, the struggle against Alerton, and the battles against the Seccarian Advance Fleet Expedition (SAFE) in the coming years.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Booted Vulture »

Decent Article, Mobius. Apoc's final chapter is made no less awesome from the compactification. Still Do I detect a certain amount of pumping for future article/stories? :P I take the battle of Duon will be the eventual climax of the Overheat/Inferno storyline.

Plus I love the phrase; "pinpoint nuclear strike" It is awesome.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Mobius 1 »

Booted Vulture wrote:Decent Article, Mobius. Apoc's final chapter is made no less awesome from the compactification. Still Do I detect a certain amount of pumping for future article/stories? :P I take the battle of Duon will be the eventual climax of the Overheat/Inferno storyline.

Plus I love the phrase; "pinpoint nuclear strike" It is awesome.
There is a ridiculous amount of future story pimping in that article, some not so obvious.
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Re: General Storyline

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The Formation of the Galactic Union
Turmoil and Rise of Alerton: 2592-2601

The separatist movement found itself leaderless and rudderless after the Battle of the Kaeleron Singularity. Formed as the armed forces of the Tyrax in his bid for power, the famed Thousand Fleets fell in upon itself in a chaotic mash, melding in with the various warlords on all sides that deigned to reject alliances with sworn enemies. Beyond the admittedly tremulous border the fledgling Union maintained, the Milky Way was a anarchic sludge of fiefdoms and wild space. Systems of humanity that had broken free during the war with the Ark viciously defended the territory of their newly founded nations, while rogue Admirals and Warmasters turned the eastern flank of the galaxy into an ever-changing morass of tribute states.

Supreme Commander Trego’s strategy for ‘pacifying’ these swathes of the galaxy didn’t help matters: with CTI agents combing the galaxy, inciting conflict between the plethora of factions outside the heightening walls of the Union border, the life expectancy of the average individual in the Wild Space dropped precipitously. Planets were raised daily in the firestorm conflicts, with superweapons being developed and harnessed a dime a dozen due to poor lockdown of abandoned Ark/ISA battlefields. There was no doubt that, in perhaps a couple of decades, the Union would be able to expand and reclaim the galaxy, but the situation at present would only devolve as the Union hunkered down and rebuilt its demolished fleets.

Resentment, in hindsight, was predictable. As weapons proliferated in Wild Space, the average citizen began to fight back and form bands of militia with other communities. Sympathetic Admirals began to position themselves, sharklike, as the “guardians” of certain systems, casting themselves as benevolent protectors rather than space-hungry khans. Raiding parties swarmed around the edges of Union territory, ransacking planets for supplies as the situation worsened and the years passed on.

The internal situation for the Union was no less dire. Varen, a Nahktar statesman who served was the first Chairman of the Union’s fifty-member Council, was assassinated in 2595 during a speech on the Atlantic megastructure when a nuclear bomb detonated at a nearby spaceport, effectively causing the space station to break apart. Ark leaders blamed human military commanders for deliberately sabotaging security for the event, and for six months the Union seemed to be on the verge of tearing itself apart at the seems. The already vivid and growing criminal underground doubled in size overnight as it preyed upon the impending chaos – the infamous assassin’s guilds of the modern era made their names during this initial turmoil.

Logistics, at the base, served as the core of the incompatibility. Different coding networks existed in the civilian bases of the ISA, Ark, and Frok’tar cores, making commerce and communications possible – indeed, the first task Trego devoted his time to was funnelling a major section of his – vast – budget into developing a new, standard network for the galaxy to run off of. The system, OSIRIS, launched in record time, but took four years to implement to a minimum spread.

Perhaps the largest threat to the internal stability of the Union came when the Frok’tar Houses based in the northwest fringe of the galaxy pulled their investments and support from the Union in one fell swoop on September 3rd, 2595. A major section of the Union’s defensive wall fell hours later, with resource-hungry raiders ravaging dozens of systems on the western flank of Union space. Millions died, and more still would have fallen the Scorpian Kingdom – a new economic power poised the dethrone the Frok’tar Alliance as the premier trading center of the galaxy – had not stepped in with emergencies influxes of cash and physical aid. The Treaty of Sahad was signed on October 11th of the same year, with several major trade routes springing up overnight between the galactic core and Scorpian space on the galaxy’s eastern slice. The channel, known as the Blacklight Express, later was home to some of the fiercest fighting of the Twin Galaxies war two decades later. But, for now, the Scorpian basked in the limelight of being the top dogs of the Milky Way.

Leonardo Bateau, as Director of CTI, stepped back into the action as Trego ordered the entire agency to focus on locking down the Andromeda slipspace routes the existed on the extreme edge of Scorpian space. Gathering up several Meisters who would later decide the fate of the galaxy during the Twin Galaxies War – Wall, a reconstituted Nahktar cyborg who had once served as a chief enforcer for a Separatist Warlord before being offered lifesaving reconstructive surgery at the cost of eternal loyalty; Atmos Karras, a Storm Commando on loan from Sam Grissom’s 10 Defence Fleet – Bateau departed for the Scorpian Capital. After a meeting with Scorpian Ambassador – the face of the Kingdom to the Union – King Il Samak, Bateau enlisted the aid of the King’s disgraced younger son, the Prince (as a reproduction of the full name would be nearly as large as alien himself).

The trail of the cross-galaxy slipstream routes (wider and vastly swifter than normal intra-galactic lanes) led Bateau across a vast private military company funded from the shadows by a Deinonj known as Faust. Faust was using his vast influence to gather data on the slipstreams while simultaneously buying out the entirety of the Scorpian criminal underground, encompassing some three OverSectors. Offering cheap knock-offs of highly advancing Deinonj technology Faust’s cartel easily had the technological edge over any opponent. Bateau’s task force, following the trail to its core, launched an assault of Faust’s headquarters in the Sulaco system, only to find a massive trap lying in wait for CTI. Numerous operatives were slaughtered in the chaos as Faust detonated a nearby star to destroy Bateau’s modest battle group, while still more – the squad headed by Atmos Karras – were captured personally by the Deinonj.

Faust’s motivations are shrouded in mystery to this day, but several theories exist. The dominant theory in mainstream intelligence casts the wraith as in cahoots with the Secarian Advance Fleet Expedition on the distant abyss residing just beyond the galactic edge. Faust, the theory states, was actively working to expedite the arrival of the main Secarian fleets so as to hasten the activation of the Duox array (as noted under the [upcoming] article detailed the Twin Galaxies War). While this idea stands within the motivations of the Deinonj overspecies as a whole during the late 26th century, it actively contradicts several statements attributed to Faust by Atmos Karras during his six-month captivity. Karras, during later debriefings in the aftermath of the Twin Galaxies War some ten years after his imprisonment, noted Faust to be in league with the dissident Seccarian Godhead SHOGAN and thus working at cross purposes to the greater Seccarian Imperium.

Bateau was recalled to Kerman, the Scorpian economic center, when agents of Faust detonated an EMP bomb in the city’s under-levels, essentially crippling the Union economy in the time being and plunging the city into chaos. As humanitarian forces descended upon Kerman, Faust prepared a deal with SHOGAN, exchanging the Andromeda slipstream routes for a prototype Ghost Cage – an experimental device some fifty thousand years old capable to completely absorbing a Deinonj or Psion and transferring their power into whomever wielded the Ghost Cage. With such a device, Faust would be able massacre his psionic mercenaries to make himself a demigod.

Suffering under months of torture, Karras soon found himself the only survivor of his platoon, much to Faust’s displeasure. Intending to divine a connection between his species and humanity, Faust amputated Karras’s right arm and replaced it with a Deinonj Construct. The graft proved more potent than Faust had expected, and Karras escaped from the Deinonj’s lair at World’s End, the fourth of twenty moons orbiting the Siberut gas giant in the void between Scorpian and Frok’tar space. Hijacking one of Faust’s personal starfighters, Karras fled to Kerman, where he managed to impress Faust’s plan upon Bateau before departing.

Having finally been informed of the location of Faust’s base, Bateau returned with a vengeance – that is, with Warmaster Degio’s entire battlefleet under his command. The group arrived in the Siberut system to have Faust flat-footed in a deal with a SAFE battlegroup. A shooting gallery devolved as the two fleets joined in a brutal close-quarters brawl, with Degio’s fleet taking heaving casualties to the comparatively smaller SAFE force. However, Bateau was not so much focused on defeating these new, unknown enemies as recovering the data slipstream on the slipstream routes from Faust. Personally leading a strike team onto World’s End, Bateau managed to purge Faust’s computer systems before retreating back into orbit. Safely aboard his flagship, Bateau had Degio’s fleet prepare for rapid egress – but not before having a team of combat psions drop a nearby moon onto World’s End, obliterating Faust, his command center, and the entirety of the Seccarian mini-fleet.

This marks the first major engagement with SAFE since the Agnar/Deckard Black Campaigns of the 2570s. Needless to say, the reveal of an unknown, hostile, and extremely advanced power came as a shock to only Bateau – Trego had indeed participated in the Campaigns. Upon returning to Concordis, Bateau learned most of the events that transpired were manoeuvred by Trego so as SAFE could step back into the limelight – the Supreme Commander had long held suspicions as to the continued existence of SAFE but, beyond a massive and expensive probe campaign, had no way of verifying his theory. The Ghost Cage, recovered in the Battle of Siberut IV, was squirreled away in a CTI void-warehouse in towards the galactic core, home of any ISA/Ark war-era superweapon Trego’s apparatus could recapture. The Ghost Cage would later resurface to play a pivotal role in the resolution of the Twin Galaxies War.

With the stability of the Union hanging precariously on a rapidly thinning thread, Trego simply did not have the resources to seek out SAFE and engage them in a fair fight, not without a massive over-fleet on par with those seen during the Battle of Kaeleron. However, with the knowledge of SAFE’s continuity, Trego set in motion a trap that would conclude during the violent Siege of Mars in 2612. Placed into the field was one of the two remaining psionic clones of Seth Halcyon from the Les Quartres Cavaliers Project, Aegir DuPont. Serving as a Storm Commando, DuPont was placed into the Wild Space beyond Union borders as a free agent, where he began his near-decade-long process of accumulating the contacts necessary to augment his desertion in 2605. Though DuPont played little to no role in the actual Siege of Mars, his set-up and subsequent betrayal of Bateau serves as one of the most pivotal and complex moments of the decade.

As the galaxy gradually tore itself apart, an unknown Admiral emerged from the eastern flank of the known space, uniting the “citizen’s brigades” of small protectorates under his banner. Known simply as Alerton, the Admiral was rarely seen in person – though his voice reverberated throughout the galaxy with weekly speeches berating the Union’s malevolent incompetence in protecting the galaxy. More to the point, Alerton’s charisma was magnetic, in just months he had united a dozen warlords, previously at heated odds with each other, into a massive private fleet to secure his own borders. By matching a cry for justice to the morass of factions, Alerton instantly provided legitimacy to a long neglected patch of space.

Painting himself as a modern-day Robin Hood, Alerton led massive raids on the barely eastern border of Union territory, netting himself industrial planets by the dozen. Seeing themselves staring down the gun barrels of Alerton’s rapidly standardized fleet, most systems surrendered without a shot being fired. The Union, rebuilding its lucrative contract with the Scorpia, wasn’t too eager to let several sectors slip through their fingers, but had no choice but to cede the space covertly to Alerton. The Admiral’s base grew unabated for three years while the Union bolstered itself at an equally impressive rate. The two juggernauts faced off across the diving line of the core as Alerton slowly but surely leeched off Union planets.

However, Alerton’s rhetoric grew more virulent as the century turned and the Union’s plan for dividing the numerous blocs outside their walls was made known to the general public. Alerton seized upon the lack of actual “conquering” happening after the endless stage of division, and successfully played up fears of the eventual galactic hegemony the Union would establish at cannon-point. Trego, alarmed at the increased rate of activity by freestate fleet squadrons outside Union space, dispatched a picket force to discourage action against any of the south-eastern sectors.

The encounter between Union and Alerton’s forces was nothing short of disastrous – the Union forces came across the freestate fleet as it was glassing a population center on Mopti for refusing to surrender. The last footage received from the picket showed it coming under the same wrath the colonists faced and being completely routed. Trego subsequently flooded the media networks with the footage to a degree that subversively parodied Alerton’s management of the black-ops division agent scandal, effectively splitting public opinion between the Union and Alerton. The truth, Trego learned, was far direr – over the past several years Alerton had assembled the largest military force currently in existence and intended to plow over the galaxy from side to side. Realizing he had been played by the power-hungry Admiral, Trego hastily arrayed his fleets in opposition to Alerton’s, bringing everyone one step closer to the resurgence of the Galactic Civil War.

As we pause before the Storm, allow the highlighting of several important figures during the section of history. Influential politicians should be noted foremost in the parade, as the management field fielded completely new faces during the rebuilding of the Milky Way. The Frok’tar Chimera Jaral, who would later become the Chairman during the Twin Galaxies War, served as the Frok’tar representative of the Union during the Galactic Civil War and gained his fame guiding the Union economy through the troubling times and presiding over unprecedented growth just before he took office. While Jaral was perhaps the shrewdest economic mind the universe had to offer, his political genius was widely attributed to his long-time advisor, Alton Nureno. A virtual unknown in the field before Jaral made his name, Nureno proved a cunning manipulator of opponents, easily strategizing his way past famed political operators. As one Sector Governor noted, “going against Nureno is like playing chess with a guy that gets four moves to your every three.”

Military minds in the background were unsung heroes in the integration of mortal enemies – General Sam Grissom, unexpectedly finding himself commander of human forces in the aftermath of the Kaeleron, teamed with Warmaster Degio to mastermind sweeping reforms in the Grand Unified Army. While Trego fell back into the great political game, Degio honed his skills defending the edges of Union space from pirates on the southern borders and came into his own as the right-hand-man of the Supreme Commander.

AIs, freed from the burden of direct combat after the war, turned their eyes towards creating the vast new computer systems – such as OSIRIS that underlie much of the galaxy’s day-to-day activities today. This, compared to calculating attack vectors and slipstream jumps, proved to be a small portion on an AI’s vast processing plate – such came the AI Bill of Rights in 2598 and the first major staking out of laws on individuality and citizenship since the Robotic Riots of the early 25th century. Other groundbreaking civil rights laws dealt with the complex thicket of laws dealing with the creation of clones and ‘multiple individuals,’ – the last decade of the 26th century served as the most fertile philosophical ground in history. Of the ring of governing AIs, the hyper-battle construct known as Virgil left Union service in 2604 after the so-called defeat of Alerton to form an AI collective for retiring intelligences. From his perch in the galactic core, Virgil devoted himself to amassing every tidbit of information he could get his electronic fingers on as he bided his time and observed the galaxy from afar.

Not all people can be described as having a positive influence upon the proceedings, however. While some of the most notorious warlords of the era – al-Sigjani, Rufus, Prexa, ICE – bit the dust in spectacular fashions leading up to the rise of Alerton, still worse commanders – Law, Khiva, Korani - joined the genuine saviors – Irefel, McLaughlin, Topet – under the Admiral’s banner. These Admirals all fell in turn during the Civil War, but only a few – notably Korani and Khiva – remained at liberty to oversee the organized Separatist movement during the Twin Galaxies conflict.

And what of the key players? Trego proved himself to be just as skilled, if not moreso, at geopolitical combat as strategic planning. The Supreme Commander easily carved out a reputation as the most competent and respected of the Union officials, and as such was one of the few to maintain his position into the war with the Seccarians. His machinations ran long and far, deeply involved and yet easily adapting to the inevitable complications Leo Bateau, in the meanwhile, just as easily managed his position as spook-in-chief, but it only wasn’t until the Faust crisis that he truly joined in Trego’s conspiracies. The cynicism and ruthlessness markedly increased accordingly.

Soldiers such as Fletcher, Wall, DuPoint, Blake, and Karras made their names during this era, trying their strength for when they would eventually inherit the galactic spotlight. Similarly, forces coalesced in the Union government dedicated to covertly assisting the upcoming invasion by SAFE. SHOGAN, a Seccarian who only inherited his status as a Godhead after his despised commander, Re-Sagani, was killed during the Black Campaigns, engaged in a private war of the wills with Trego as he finally set into motion his decades-long plan to undermine the Union government for his eventual attack.

Of all the mysteries left by this era, the only one that perplexes more assuredly than Faust is the identity of Alerton. While history remains undecided, a small minority of observers theorize Alerton to be the returned Admiral Henry Gibson, who had been MIA since the Battle of New Wales during the twilight of the Ark/ISA war. The exact source of this desired vengeance is a source of even wider debate, though most historians dismiss the entire theory as attempting to neatly tie up loose ends in a time period known for chaotic and abrupt stops to stories. Even more outlandish hypothesises paint Alerton as a fiction created by Trego to eventually unite the galaxy to a biological avatar of the reborn Tyrax, flexing its grasp once again in the Milky Way. Obviously, both ideas are completely insane.

Whatever the reason, Alerton served more as a symbol than the physical force. For those beyond the protection of the Union, he represented hope and an alternative to the bloated and sadistic Union. To the struggling Union, he signified a subversive element to future peace, using disenfranchised peoples as a tool to his rise to power. Whatever the viewpoint, the Galactic Civil War that spawned from this imbalance came inches from throwing everything that had arisen since Kaeleron into the abyss.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Siege »

Man, this galaxy just can't get a break, can it? And I see you've now got your own Thrawn, too. Neat!
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Booted Vulture »

Yeah, somehow I'd imagined the 20 years of 20 years later had been somewhat peaceful. Sure there was terrorism and so forth but I'd had the idea most of the akshun had been on the small scale, all personal like for those involved but in actual fact there was GALACTIC TURMOIL all the way through.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Mobius 1 »

This brings up an interesting issue of scale. Think of the twentieth century. Can you name a decade where peace reigned on the planet? War is always somewhere, it's practically human nature, the oldest of our traditions. On imagine this on the level of a galaxy, with hundreds of species and different culture, all integrating after decades of conflict and centuries of hatred. It's a miracle the Union coalesced at all.

But I should also note how large the Union territory was- the article didn't really give the impression the Union was anything other than a small keep in the center of the galaxy. No, the Union covered a good half of settled space, with 'spokes' extending from the core out to the old capitals of the member polities. The average life of the citizen was peaceful, with terrorism presenting noticeably much more of a threat as it would today (what if the European train bombings happened a couple times a year - but that again plays into the scale of territory being covered here). While the Wild Space was far from idyllic, should you have found your way to the Citizen's incorporated freespace, the various "Havens" (probably the name I'll use from now on) presented about as safe a life as you'd get on the edge of the Union. You'd be good, but there was always the chance some higher-level warlord would roll over one morning and crush you before you could get out.

And if there was anything people were good at after the war, it was evacuating. Very quickly.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Mobius 1 »

Hopefully now I can finally finish up my drafts for the summaries of Overheat and Inferno.

The Galactic Civil War
Duel and Fall, Conflict and Tranquility: 2601-2610

The main action of the Galactic Civil War lasted only four years, yet defined itself as a proving ground for the newly integrated Unified Army of the Union. Economic integration had proceded by leaps and bounds under the watchful hand of Chairman Jaral, while social integration was largely enabled by the development of the OSIRIS q-net and the guiding minds of Virgil’s AI council. But military integration was not truly tested on a wide scale. Small task forces had carried the concept – the counter-piracy fleets of Degio as well as the covert personal fleet of Bateau – but the central navy as a whole had not been entirely mobilized as a unified fighting force since the conclusion of the ISA-Ark war. Needless to say, leading minds were less than certain as to the potential performance of the Union military.

The decentralized nature of Alerton’s forces, taken from the Warmaster model of pre-Union Ark (which itself was ironically based off the Godhead warfleets of the Seccarian) proved to be both the greatest strength and weakness of Alerton’s forces. Divided into largely self-sufficient groups under the command of a single warlord, any one of Alerton’s fleets could easily attack and fade back along a slipstream. This attribute quickly caused chaos during the opening moves of the conflict, disrupting logistics and communication lines.

However, easily sensing the inherent weakness of this command structure, Trego countered the tables on Alerton – at least once the paralyzed NUA finally worked up enough inertia to go on the offensive. Due to the highly independent nature of the warfleets and the unique and often internally conflictive personalities of the warlords, cooperative actions were rare under Alerton’s banner. Warlords suddenly found themselves trapped and encircled by overwhelming forces when they snuck into a carefully arranged snare. While some turned tail and fled to slipspace, others were swarmed and scattered to the winds by firepower orders of magnitude more impressive. This stratagem allowed Trego to reverse the tempo on the war while carving out sections of Alerton’s command one fleet at a time. With the lines of supply now guarded, Alerton was forced into direct conflict – a mode infinitely more Trego’s strong point.

With warlords forced together by Alerton’s marshalling, major engagements were met across with long but thin swathe of space arcing south along the galactic core. Battles were rarely decisive – while the conflict was bloody and incredibly violent, fleets disengaged before losses became catastrophic. This tendency led to short, hectic clashes that existed as rapid hornet’s stings, flashing their way along either the fortified borders of Alerton’s territory or that of the Union. Trego and Alerton found each other in conflict at least four times, and each match found itself to be locked stalemate. While Trego could usually cracked the defined differences in a combined pair of warlords, the charismatic leadership of Alerton soon proved to be a concrete block against Trego’s divisive tactics.

But by far more bitter and acrimonious was the war of propaganda was launched after the conclusion of every battle. Alerton applied his consistently effective method of painting the Union was indifferent to the plight of the common man, broadcasting footage that highlighted the effect collateral damage had on freestate populace. Trego was equally swift in rebuffing the charges, building upon the previous slaughter of Hopti and revealing a majority of the atrocities to be the responsibility of Alerton’s loosely managed raiders. Inconclusive and virulent, the war of words at least drew the galactic eye to refugees produced the physical battles. Manipulating pangalactic charities through the economic allies of Jaral, Trego worked in close collusion with Alton Nureno to divert ludicrous amounts of aid and money towards the affected citizenry. This, more than anything, bought the hearts and minds of the those receiving the aid, who knew the aid by the Union stamp on every parcel. As much as Trego sawed away Alerton’s military base, he also pried away the once-neutral populace of the unincoporated territories. Trego, Jaral, and the leadership of the Union universally agreed that this was the most effective method of employing the Union’s economic boon while at the same time forcing Alerton to apply any monetary gains into salvaging his shrinking navy.

Alerton, reeling from the momentum of Trego’s counterstrikes, personally led a deep assault on the Errant system, the heavily guarded entryway to the slipstream that led to the Union capital of Concordis. Thousands of robotic drones, rigged to explosives, barraged the defences, not overcoming them, but causing enough metaphorical noise to draw several fleets into the system to defend the besieged checkpoint. It was during this chaos Alerton struck at the Frok’tar shipyard stationed near the northern border. A large robotically-managed fleet – typical of the Frok’tar style of mechanization – had sat unused since the outbreak of the war, since the AI processing power required to preform the final utility set-up had not been allotted due to focus on the war. In reality, a Frok’tar-based AI had covertly joined Alerton’s cause, as the Admiral had spent the past year and a half courting the construct to the side of the freeworlders. The AI had placed a hold on the fleet, and in the ensuing chaos the fleet had been neglected.

Alerton swept into the shipyards with overwhelming force, capturing the structure and wiping away the skeleton defenses. With the war effort so focused on the southern half of the galaxy, the decision of Alerton to expand north took the Union by surprise. Events only compounded from there, as not one but two Ark-based Union fleets responded to the distress signals issued during Alerton’s blitzkrieg assault. The Ark force found itself surrounded by Alerton’s collection of six warlords, his personal guard, and a newly released Frok’tar robotic swarmfleet. Negotiating with the vastly outnumbered Nahktar commanders, managed to capture two more fleets for his cause without firing a shot.

The main Union force, now alerted to Alerton’s gambit, descending en masse onto the shipyards just when the freeworld group was in the process of manning the captured Ark vessels. A shooting gallery devolved into a mass of chaos as Alerton’s group slaughtered Union forces dropping out of slipstreams. Millions died in the first five minutes of the failed counterattack, and Alerton was able to retreat back into the galactic core with minimal losses.

The newly bolstered freeworld military essentially drove the war into a stalemate, with each group on equal footing and safely sequestered behind their own defences. The war rapidly shifted gears at this point: covert black operations became the norm as Trego and the High Council unleashed Bateau’s CTI and Meisters to carry out hundreds of missions behind enemy lines. Alerton too took advantage of the existing insurrectionist cell network existing in metropolitan Union space to carry out bombings on Union supply depots and bases.

After a year of cutthroat operations, each side had sufficiently recovered from its wounds to launch an assault on the other’s core systems once and for all. For Alerton, this meant raiding the graveyard of gutted starships over the Kaeleron singularity for rare and destructive singularity warheads – of which just a single warhead could swallow an entire planet. Stealthing into the lightly guarded memorial complex however, Alerton found a far larger prize – the disabled Annihilation Bomb that the Tyrax had attempted to detonate some thirteen years before. The bomb had been lost in the aftermath of the Ark planetoid’s arrival and destruction, with the Union intelligence service listing its recovery or destruction one of its top priorities. Alerton recovered the bomb, which had been stashed in a pocket dimension – by a cadre of four Deinonj, the lone survivors of the Tyrax’s initial shadowy retinue. Presenting themselves to Alerton for a reason unknown to history today, the Deinonj relinquished the device and enlisted themselves as personal advisors in the Admiral’s service.

At the same time, equally momentous opportunities were presenting themselves to CTI. McLaughlin, one of Alerton’s most-trusted warlords, had chosen to abandon Alerton’s alliance, and moreover, he had the means to completely annihilate the treacherous Frok’tar AI that oversaw the defensive lines of the freeworld borders. Offering a backdoor slipstream route straight into Alerton’s base of operations, McLaughlin promised the immediate downfall of the rogue Admiral into exchange for clemency for him, his men, and his worlds. An old breed who had broken free of the ISA military rather than ally with the Ark, McLaughlin cared more about looking after those under his shield of protection than participating in a violent guerrilla war.

A plan was drawn up with haste by the command staff of the NUA. The overfleets loyal to Alerton could not be allowed to leave spacedock – the Union would have to smash them before they entered slipstreams and could strike with the Annihilation bomb at any one of a dozen galactic targets. Swift and violent action was called for, as the longer any Union strike force was sent into Alerton’s stronghold – a strategically impregnable area situated in equilibrium between two co-orbiting gas giants – the more likely Alerton’s forces could reorganize themselves and stamp down on the intruders. Word of dissention in the ranks of Alerton’s assembled warlords had permeated through intelligence networks set up by CTI and was corroborated by McLaughlin. If the Union forces could take advantage of a large enough distraction long enough to slip in and assassinate Alerton, the menagerie of factions would dissolve upon themselves in the chaos. This, of course, assumed Alerton could be located – and if he was a physical person at all. On this point, McLaughlin was enigmatic; orders had only ever come in through holo, and the turncoat had never seen Alerton in person.

Confirmation came from an advance team sent in a stealth runner through the slipstream to scout Alerton’s base. Organized as temporary Meisters, Aegir DuPont and his team had, after weeks of slowly moving through the base, stowed upon Alerton’s flagship. DuPont managed to send out a video feed of Alerton meeting with his quartet of Deinonj until the CTI team was discovered and the video feed cut. With news of the capture of the advance team, Trego knew time had finally run out. The Union fleet, comprised of a phalanx of up-armoured Valkyrie-IV-class Super Dreadnoughts, had already been assembled and, upon visual validation of Alerton’s existence, the Union team jumped into the heart of Alerton’s domain.

Documentation of the first ten minutes of combat is… sketchy, even to this day. Varying casualty reports jockey for acceptance, but a general picture has arisen in the public’s eye, no doubt championed by the pair of films dedicated to the final hours of ‘Alerton’s war.’ Contrary to popular belief, the shield phalanx set up by the Union dreadnoughts did actually slot together upon dropping out of FTL. The initial slaughter and close to an extreme-close range brawl simply would not have happened right away, at least not with history turning out the way it did. Alerton’s forces were just in the barest stages of alert, already positioned in the final checks to jump out-sector. Had Trego arrived but a minute later, most agree, he probably would have missed Alerton’s fleet.

But Alerton’s flagship had yet to take its position in the fleet, having dropped out of formation, shields flickering off. An AI-assisted computer virus had been dumped in the free-worlder battlenet, and it is perhaps that crafted piece of software that secured Trego’s eventual victory. It is also one of the more controversial parts of the Galactic Civil War, as it took Alerton’s idea of unmanned suicide freighters and twisted it to a degree which many claim flagrantly violated several laws of warfare, not even mentioning long-established AI rights. In short, Bateau had ordered DuPont to unleash a half-dozen specially constructed constructs on suicide missions. The AIs spread throughout the battlenet like wildfire, literally tearing themselves apart to spread further, not unlike an increasingly frayed line of unspooling yarn. The effect hit hardest on Alerton’s flagship, as it had been specifically designed to: Trego needed Alerton unshielded and out of formation so he could launch a boarding action of the flagship.

Debates rage over this course of action as well, since many point out a nuke or well-placed singularity bomb could have taken out Alerton’s flagship far more efficiently than any costly Marine strike operation could have. However, Trego uncharacteristically defended his actions in a later review of the operation, stating that perhaps his number one personal rule, hard-learned in his line of work, was to physically assure himself of the death of his enemy. While the procurement of a physical body was tantamount, the deeper answer leaned towards assurance as to Alerton’s existence in the first place.

The boarding action was by far the bloodiest close-quarters battle of the war, and is often compared in academies to similar engagements during the Kaeleron battle. Team Alpha, containing Storm Commandos such as Karras, Fletcher, and Blake, stormed along the main power conduit of the flagship, finding cover from regular plasma surges as they advanced under the amassed fire of Alerton’s personal inner circle of soldiers. Team Iota, formed from the remnants of DuPont’s team, struggled along the dorsal bays of the ship, working to isolate reinforcements that could potentially spell doom for Alpha’s thrust.

The Deinonj that intercepted Iota provided just enough temporal jamming to obscure the verbal exchanged that followed, but it is generally agreed that DuPont managed to convince one of the Deinonj – usually seen as a monolithic block, without factions – to ally itself his team and withdraw protection from Alerton’s quarters long enough for Alpha to make its final push. Evidence surrounding Iota’s exit from the battle is circumstantial at best, but it was believed at the time that the squad had gone rogue – DuPont, psions Collette Mara and Domingo King, as well as one of the Deinonj, codenamed by CTI as Death.

Alerton, locked in a pitched naval battle that rapidly saw his forces being divided and slaughtered, decided to reveal his trump card to Trego – the annihilation bomb. Perhaps hoping to force a standoff that could forestall the battle from surpassing the Kaeleron showdown in sheer viciousness, Alerton’s feed was hijacked by Team Alpha’s last-ditched assault on Alerton’s bridge.

In a battle completely unique to current galactic history, the final skirmish of the Galactic Civil War was broadcasted in its near-entirety to not only the surrounding fleets, but the galaxy proper. In a conflict practically defined by its ambiguity, that the final moments of Alerton were seen by quadrillions of individuals proved to be just the PR coup Trego and Jaral needed to finally turn the tide of public opinion. At the very base, having Alerton on live vidfeeds with a real person at last verified his existence, which was a great relief to CTI, partially quashing the idea that the Admiral was an AI or a crowdsourced creation. But moreover, to see the calm, collected figure of the people unfiltered and on the edge – threatening to annihilate not just the enemy, but his own loyal forces – turned out be far more damaging to Alerton’s cause than any string of campaigns.

While Storm Commandos Blake and Karras fought Alerton’s personal guard and worked towards deactivating the Annihilation Bomb, Captain Fletcher engaged Alerton in both a battle of words and weapons, a brawl that gradually descended into a bare-knuckle beatdown. Dashing and quick-witted, Fletcher appeared to be a literal knight in shining armor, a champion of the Union and all the people whose Alerton’s war and affected and displaced. Alerton, who was simultaneously coordinating the battle through his command and control cybernetics while trying to defend himself from Fletcher’s attacks, redoubled his efforts on both fronts.

What followed was a final push that allowed dozen of battle groups loyal to Alerton to flee the increasingly clogged graveyard of shattered ships, disappearing into slipstreams unknown to lick their wounds and menace the NUA another day. While these fleets would prove to be a danger in the years following the Civil War – much like the groups in the aftermath of the Ark/ISA conflict – they would come into their own as a truly deadly threat during the Twin Galaxies War as the vanguard of the encroaching Seccarian overfleet. But in the more immediate timeframe, the organized dispersal solidified Alerton’s image in the minds of those who fled – not as a madman who had threatened their survival in the final moments of the engagement, but someone who nobly held off the NUA forces long enough for them to escape to carry on the fight another day.

Fletcher, however, cast into the light of the underdog, did wonders to shore up his image under the weight of Alerton’s frenzied barrage. Moreover, by keeping Alerton’s increased – and quite enraged – attention on him, he was preventing the cybered Admiral from focusing on the Storm Commandos working to disarm the Annihilation Bomb once and for all. .

Just when it looked like Fletcher would fall to Alerton’s hand, Trego’s personal flagship, the Nightfall led a push towards Alerton’s flagship with the intent of dividing Alerton’s attention to a fatal degree. But still Alerton did not slip up. Studying the enemy battlenet in the weeks following the clash, CTI operators specialized in computer forensics were unable to find evidence of an AI or a delegation program that would have allowed Alerton’s mind to handle the sheer volume of traffic that would have gone into coordinating the fleets while still duelling with Fletcher. The implications were chilling – that Alerton was somehow handling the load entirely on his own, and doing it quite successfully.

It was Bateau’s personal intervention onto the bridge that sealed the Admiral’s fate. The director of CTI had not personal taken to the field since the incident with Faust several years before, but Trego’s push had allowed additional boarding parties to launch incursion into the separatist flagship. Assisted by a bevy of personal AI codebreakers, Bateau’s team managed to assist Karras and Blake in disarming the Annihilation Bomb – though not quite once and for all.

The exact sequence of events that led to Alerton’s demise have been analysed to the ground, though the true significance of the Admiral’s actions were not truly divined until the finale of the Twin Galaxies war over a decade later. The facts are this – upon Bateau’s entry to the arena, Alerton lost his composure and any chance of defeating Fletcher and/or escaping. This is intriguing, considering that if Alerton had an overriding rivalry with anyone in the Union command structure, it would have been Trego. But upon the neutralization of the device, Alerton flung himself at Bateau in an absolute rage.

It was his last mistake, as Fletcher’s sword was there to meet him. Debriefing interviews were only recently unearthed in the aftermath of the Twin Galaxies War, but provided the most intriguing and mysterious factor in Alerton’s demise. Fletcher, face to face with the dying man, saw a look of ‘absolute confusion, as though all self-awareness had left him.’ That is to say, that Alerton had blanked upon receiving the mortal wound, looking around as though presented with a world completely alien to him, only just then realizing the wounds he had gained over the course of his fight with Fletcher.

The aftermath of the conflict held little consequence, in Trego and Bateau’s mind, compared to this fact. What separatist forces that did not flee in time were given chances to disarm and surrender, though few chose that route. Hordes of data were purged before CTI analysts could examine the flagship’s computer banks, but none of it mattered compared to Fletcher’s testimony. What had happened to Alerton? Who was he? Examination of the corpse proved inconclusive – it was zeroed, with no identification chip or record in any database in the galaxy. Alerton was not some disaffected Admiral who had covered his tracked. He was a cipher – and, in Trego and Bateau’s minds, a husk, a disposable tool.

What if, they theorized some weeks later, Alerton had been controlled – literally – by a third party? SAFE seemed a likely bet, considering they had crossed swords with the phantom fleet multiple times. Galactic chaos would greatly assist any incoming invasion in securing whatever their ultimate target they ultimately had in mind. Bateau had a different theory as to the man himself – that Alerton was the fourth and final clone of Seth Halcyon. Project notes recovered from abandoned ONI labs hinted towards some form of telepathy manifesting in the fourth clone – while Easly was the finalized product, the other three clones had been instilled with a single branch of Halcyon’s skills, to see if they could be isolated and refined towards greater power.

Neither were right. Well, not entirely. But by the end of the Twin Galaxies War they would have all the answers they wanted, and more.

Despite how climactically the Galactic Civil War ended, true closure was hard to find. What remained of the Separatist fleets went underground, carrying out sporadic terror attacks but never quite achieving the effectiveness they wielded during the war. CTI, its vast war budget intact, was free to not only focus on clearing up the Alerton’s remnants but covertly preparing for the eventual showdown with SAFE and SHOGAN on the galactic fringe.

Bateau maintained sporadic contact, completely off the books, with DuPont and his team during these years, covertly aiding them during their rise to power as the premiere information and power brokers in the galactic underground. Three years after the battle, tales of the Four Horsemen began to spread, first as whispers, and then as the dominant force in criminal circles. Declassified CTI documents a near half-century later reveal a disturbing trend employed by less savory factions in CTI – those not under Bateau’s iron fist.

Perhaps fuelled by some form of sentimentality or inspired by the mental imprinting of the Dius Donum project, flash-grown clones of former Storm Commandos made in the rounds in the dark shadows of the Civil War and beyond. Domingo King and Colette Mara were rumoured clones of Bateau and Sarah Grissom-McDonnell, respectively. While such experiments never saw assets devoted towards their missions, one such clone did fall under the purview of CTI. The Umbra-level operative involved in Lapse-Alpha and Sixty Seconds casefiles that saw action with the 607th SOS combat asset known as Maciej Wilder was long rumoured to be a direct clone continuation of Sarah Grissom-McDonnell. Codenamed BLACKQUEEN in the CTI database, the operative was never fully integrated into the CHECKMATE command structure Bateau built in the aftermath of the Civil War.

The CHECKMATE protocol served as Director Bateau’s personal line of operatives. At worst they could be described as Bateau’s personal army and old war buddies, at best they undeniably served as the most pivotal agents in both the beginning and the end of the Twin Galaxies War. Since the beginning of the Civil War, Bateau and Trego had theorized that a traitor existed in the highest ranks of the Union government, aiding Alerton in his rise to power. CHECKMATE would therefore consist of the agents Bateau believed most loyal to his covert investigation of the Union government.

Bishop and Rook squads operated as the investigative and surgical strike teams, respectively, of CHECKMATE. Agents such as Blake, Karras, Fletcher, and Wall were elevated to the status of Meister and given CTI’s most important or secretive cases. Ian Smith, drawn out of retirement by a rogue ONI agent, was recruited as Bateau’s BLACKNIGHT – in short, the chief assassin of the entire Union. No one would suspect that a grumpy public transport driver would have personally nipped several potential flashpoints in the bud before they could blossom into full-blown crises, but Smith would continue to begrudgingly works as an off-the-books assassin, well into the Siege of Mars and into the Twin Galaxies War.

With something approaching peace for maybe eight years, the Union built upon the foundational infrastructure constructed before the Civil War to strengthen the economic and social bonds of the galaxy to an unprecedented degree. Indeed, most historians agree that this period was, in some sense, a golden age for the Union, less a calm before the storm than full, unbridled progress. Enclaves that had suffered during the Civil War were welcomed with open arms into the thriving conduit of the Blacklight Express, with both Scorpian and Frok’tar interests funding thousands of reconstruction efforts across the inner rim. With a booming investment and stock market shepherded by Jaral and his small army of advisors, the Union saw the birth of dozens of new industries overnight, with technological integration between the four main galactic powers greased by the amalgamation of bureaucratic agencies and communication infrastructures before the war.

Teleportation networks saw their first use during this era, combining the range of Ark ansibles with the computerized routing matrices of ISA constructs. Frok’tar houses not only helped speed along public acceptance of such networks with massive advertisement campaigns, but oversaw the construction of the vast stations that would rival spaceports in the ability to move freight. While shipping interests cried foul what they saw as an existential threat to their industry, plenty of bulk and hazardous materials that could not be transported through the point-to-point slipstream technology of the teleporters proved any concerns to be largely unfounded.

These networks, more than anything, drew the galaxy together as a single, living civilization, more than just the sum of its parts. Cultural integration allowed the Union to finally live up to its name, with cross-sector sporting events and cross-species memes soothing the rivalries of the Ark with both the ISA and the Frok’tar Alliance. While no lack of hardball negotiation on the part of Jaral and Trego held the titans together behind the scenes, the newly emerging galactic cultural revolution was from the bottom up. Perhaps the redefining of the us-versus-them mentalities were accomplished by Alerton, uniting whomever survived the Civil War to be that much stronger when SAFE came knocking. Whatever the means, when the full brunt of the Seccarian Empire’s weight fell upon the Milky Way, the mighty Emperor and his thirteen Godheads would face a galaxy united in the face of complete and total extinction.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Invictus »

How far have you plotted all this out? :shock:
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Mobius 1 »

Like, a lot. I'd have three more updates if I wanted to get everything up to what I had planned out in the shortest manner possible, but both Overheat and Inferno would've ended up being several hundred pages long if I went balls out with them.

Reasonably speaking, I had an arc for both the beginning and end of the war, with the actual conflict being in a storyline article. That's a good six or eight more years, in universe.
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Re: General Storyline

Post by Mobius 1 »

OVERHEAT
The Siege of Mars, a Disaster in Two Parts – 2612

Two days before the Fall of Mars, Domingo King – War – launched a one-man raid on an underground CTI data repository. Granted, considering King was a telekinetic strong enough to crater in the face of a building, this wasn’t a particularly difficult task for the mercenary. Met in the depths of the gargantuan server rooms by Aegir DuPont, leader of the four-operative team, the pair ripped an index of all CTI black box sites in Neo York from the depository before fading into the night.

Bishop Squad of CTI, led by the hero of the Galactic Civil War, Captain Fletcher, had been on the tail of the Four Horsemen for close to a year ever since the rogue team of Meisters led a raid on a major Froktar House. The resulting scandal in the northern reaches of the galaxy caused the High Council of the Union to order the Director of CTI, Leonardo Bateau to place a high priority team on the tail of the Four Horsemen.

This proved to be something of a conflict on interests, considering Bateau had been in contact with DuPont for close to seven years, crafting the perfect double agent to draw the Seccarian Advance Fleet Expedition – SAFE – into the open to track and destroy them once and for all. Of all the secret projects Bateau and Trego had buried within the depths of the Union, this above all else was the crown jewel, the project that all others radiated from and were built around. Perhaps, in retrospect, that is what mandated it to go so spectacularly wrong.

At some point along the infiltration process, the theorized traitor in the ranks of the Union government – codenamed from here on as Cipher – managed to flip DuPont to his side. Since Bateau’s ultimate plan ran closely parallel to what Cipher had in mind for Mars up until the final moment, the treachery would go unnoticed until it was practically too late to affect the outcome. It was unknown how exactly Cipher managed to turn the Four Horsemen, but it can be theorized that it was through the Deinonj in the team – Death. Preying on the chip on the Meister’s shoulder the size of a small moon, it would only take a slight telepathic push to send DuPont on what he believed to be his ‘own’ path. The exact intricacies of DuPont’s mental state can be debated to this day, as the person who had the closest contact with the Meister, Atmos Karras, was in no position to be truly debriefed following the Siege of Mars.

Karras and his partner, Wall, had been on the trail of the underground separatist movement for close to three years now, a vendetta in part driven by a bombing on Mars than led to the death of his daughter and subsequent separation with his wife, Rachel Blake of the Storm Commandos. The trail of evidence has led the partners to a safehouse in Neo York central, and the raid that followed led to a sighting of a blinker – a teleporter that Director Bateau instantly knew to be DuPont. Having grown wary of the agent’s sporadic contact over the past year, Bateau ordered Karras and Wall to assist Fletcher in his investigation the Four Horsemen, pointing to the server raid the previous night as a starting point.

A borderline alcoholic, Karras spent night at a dive in the Ruby District, where he was confronted by DuPont and a pair of hired muscle. While the pair traded barbs, Karras covertly attached a tracer to DuPont before being left to deal with the goons. The ensuing brawl levelled the bar and left one mercenary dead and the other critically wounded.

Airlifted with the captured prisoner to Kiriyama Base – an old converted ONI stronghold on the edge of the city – Karras and Wall were briefed by Fletcher on his history of the Four Horsemen before organizing a raid on the separatist hideout DuPont’s tracer had been track to. A CTI/MetroCop task force was organized and dispatched to investigate the hideout, deep beneath the infrastructure of the Obsidian District on the southern edge of Neo York.

It was at this point that DuPont initiated his plan, blindsiding everyone in CTI from Bishop Squad up to the Director and Trego.

The body double for DuPont exploded – along with a mile-wide portion of the District. Thousands were killed in the detonation, but Kiriyama was in no place to react to the turn of events, as at that moment the captured muscle in the medbay escaped his bonds, murdered three orderlies, and activated the explosive device in his chest, levelling an entire floor of the base and triggering an electromagnetic pulse that knocked the defences of Kiriyama base entirely offline.

The assault from underneath the base – from the layers of infrastructure that Neo York had accumulated in stacks over the centuries – swiftly took the members of Bishop Squad off guard, and two of the team’s members were murdered by the Horseman Death before the Deinonj was driven off by Karras. While Wall and Fletcher held off an entire squad of Carnage suits from gaining access to the servers at the top of the base, Karras and the team’s marksman, a venerable Meister known as Acker, raced to the service room just in time to catch DuPont making off with whatever his ultimate target had been in the outdated archives housed in the base. Using himself as a decoy just long enough to transfer the stolen data to a dropship helmed by King, DuPont was forced to retreat when Acker impaled the rogue Meister on a three-foot long anti-psi spike.

Wall and Fletcher assumed chase of the fleeing shuttle while Karras took the air with acquired jet boots. Following a brief clash with War in the shuttle of the dropship that ended with Wall dropkicking King into a mile of open air, the group arrived at the central Martian spaceport, Colette Mara – Famine – fled with the data into the spaceport’s interior. DuPont threw the last of his guard at the trio of Meisters, waylaying Wall with a pair of Carnage Marines and forcing Fletcher to deal with Famine, leaving Karras alone to prevent the Meister from uploading the data to its unknown buyer.

The ensuing beatdown was legendarily savage, and the only thing that prevented Karras from being murdered by DuPont was the construct limb Faust had grafted in place of an arm nearly a decade and a half earlier. Designed to activate only in the most life threatening circumstances, the power locked in the arm enabled Karras to flip the getaway spaceship- a fullsized sector-skipper – over onto DuPont, disabling him and allowing Karras to cut the data upload short.

The theft partially foiled, Bateau and Trego descended onto the scene, desperately searching to discovered what exactly DuPont had taken an interest in the old Kiriyama archives. But considering their original plan to lure SAFE into an ironclad trap, the answer was obvious.

While the remnant of Bishop squad saw healers, licked their wounds, and linked up with Rachel Blake and her Rook squad, Trego assembled a holo-conference of the High Counci of the Galactic Union to brief the leaders on the incident that had taken place on Mars.

It was at this point that Sahad, the capital of the Scorpian Empire, and the surrounding sectors went offline. A fleet of destroyers and a Tyrano-class Super Dreadnought helmed by the Nahktar Admiral Sorek was immediately dispatched to investigated and found the once-majestic capital surrounded by empty spaceships and the planet completely devoid of life.

A fireteam of Storm Commandos, investigating a distress beacon on the planet’s surface were ambushed and killed by an seemingly dead alien that absorbed any and punished sent its way. The thirteenth Godhead, Null, had been attached to SAFE as a liaison between SHOGAN and the Seccarian Emperor, and had personally assassinated the Scorpian Emperor, Il Samak. The detachment of SAFE still in system, following the ambush, decloaked in orbit over Sahad and enveloped Sorek’s fleet, slaughtering it to a man.

Trego had begun calling every ship he could get his hands on to Sol, but by this point it was entirely too late. The main bulk of SAFE dropped out of slipstream in direct orbit over Mars and employed the data DuPont had stolen for them earlier than morning – the ONI-built backdoor codes that allowed executive access to the defense net encircling the inner planets of Sol – the most secure and unbreakable line in the entire galaxy. The home fleet of Mars, surrounded by the enormous numbers of SAFE – which was equal to any hundred fleets in the galaxy – was brushed aside like a weak gust of wind before the Seccarian forces fell upon the capital of all human territories.

Rapidly working to secure the entirety of Neo York, SAFE enlisted the help of the massive separatist ground forces that had slowly accumulated in the underground of the city’s infrastructure over the past seven years, managing to lock down the city with a minimum of civilian casualties. With any larger emplacement capable of repelling the Seccarian forces under the fleet’s control, any resistance was rapidly quashed by the fleet’s unique weaponry. In their clashes with Deckard and Agnar during the Black Campaigns before the Ark/ISA war and during the brief engagement over Faust’s compound over a decade previous to the Martian Siege, SAFE had easily taken the upper hand with shields that not only deflected but absorbed any and all weaponry aimed towards it. It was only with a massive degree of punishment that the shields fell, revealing the relatively fragile vessels underneath. In that time, the anti-biological emitters of the fleet’s cannons could bypass any Union defense and leave the targeting vessel bereft of any crew, floating dead in space (as had been observed over Sahad).

It was at this point SAFE launched two main objectives – first, the crater in the Obsidian District was enlarged to be nearly ten miles wide. Construction began on a portal that would ultimately allow the entirety of the Seccarian forces to bypass the titanic gulf that separated Andromeda from the Milky Way without tracking down the intergalactic slipstream routes that Bateau and Trego had worked tirelessly to destroy. This technology had not been observed before, and came as a slap in the face to the long-range sensors observing SAFE’s every move in their newly created haven. This put Trego on a time limit – he would have to bypass the Sol D-Net and destroy the half-constructed portal before SHOGAN could establish a permanent beachhead in Union space.

Secondly, a significant portion of the SAFE fleet parked itself over the south pole of the ravaged and abandoned birthplace of mankind – Earth. Excavation could be observed deep beneath the ice but unlike the portal, the Seccarians had taken measures to obfuscate the long-range sensors of the truly massive fleet Trego was building in the Oort Cloud, just outside the missile range of the D-Net’s batteries.

Trego had spent over two decades solidifying his position in the NUA and the Union government, organizing the structure to fall apart without his presence. Moreover, given the dirt he had on nearly every member of the galactic government from the system level up to the High Council through CTI, he was able to head off the near-inevitable challenge to his job before it could truly form. However, given that their own agent had practically handed the enemy the keys to Sol in a perverted form of their original plan, Bateau and Trego had to race to take back Mars before things spiralled truly out on control. While Chairman Jaral twisted arms and marshalled every power in the Union to organize in the Oort cloud, Atmos Karras awoke from wounds sustained in the initial Seccarian assault on Mars and, together with Rook and Bishop squads, set forth into the abandoned Neo York streets to drive the Seccarians from home turf.
SHADOW TEMPEST BLACK || STB2: MIDNIGHT PARADOX
The day our skys fe||, the heavens split to create new skies.
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