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Magister Militum
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Post by Magister Militum »

After a bit of work and planning, I now present to you the revamped (and new, I might add) prologue of the long-awaited reboot of Götterdämmerung. So, without further ado...

It all started five years ago, when years of political intrigue and skirmishing would result in the French Empire declaring war against its arch nemesis, the Grand Union of China. The catalyst for the new Great War ignited, the two blocs that had been formed in response to the crumbling of the old balance of power, the United Nations and the Germania Pact, would throw in their weight into the conflict, rapidly expanding it into one of pan-galactic proportions. Despite the initial advantages, the initial offensives in the Milky Way eventually slowed down and the conflict soon morphed into one of sieges and stalemate, as neither side could gain enough of an edge to defeat the other. As both blocs prepare once again for a new, bold offensive, one that could hopefully turn the tide of the war in their favor, a vast empire in Andromeda and her client states monitors the events that have been unfolding. Marshalling its forces in the outer rim of Andromeda and preparing for their revenge, it waits for the moment to strike, threatening to expand the scope of the conflict across the entire Local Group in a war like no other...



National Security Bureau Black Site
Grand Union of China

In a way, Captain Gabrielle Chevalier couldn't help but view the Chinese National Security Bureau as geniuses for putting such a sensitive intelligence facility in the heart of a continent-spanning megalopolis that, in turn, was on the encumopolis that is Sihnon. After all, putting such a black site in the heart of the business district not only prevented an opposing force from simply waltzing in, taking what they wanted, and reducing the city block to ash (at least not doing said actions and making it out alive, anyways), but the nature of the facility hiding in plain sight made it relatively unassuming. And if an opposing force was to make a full scale invasion of Sihnon, the NSB would have been able to evacuate/destroy anything of even remote value well before the invasion fleet even arrived.

Of course, in another way, the NSB were also crazy for putting such a base in such a public location. Lacking the more aggressive defenses the NSB's Security Directorate would typically add to their sensitive facilities, the Sihnon black site made a tempting target to anyone who was able to figure out the little game of deception the overlords of the NSB were playing. Of course, in the mind of the Chinese spymasters, that last assumption was a very generous one. “Surly no one would b5e mad enough to undertake such a raid!” they would say to themselves. Unfortunately for them, there happened to be an organization crazy enough to undertake such a raid: The Special Circumstances Division of the French Imperial Guard.

Of course, the eagerness of Special Circumstances to carry out such a bold raid begs the question of why? As it turned out, a high level officer of the NSB by the name of Jin Jinaguo, who happened to possess a not insignificant quantity of valuable knowledge, wanted to defect. His prestigious career ruined by the manipulative nature of Jin's superior, who successfully pinned a disastrous foray into the Imperial Commonwealth squarely on his shoulders, Jin lost much of his influence and benefits. Wanting nothing more than revenge for the destruction of his life, Jin decided that the French Empire, and by extension the United Nations, would be much more appreciative of his in-depth knowledge of the workings of the NSB. Unfortunately, there was only one problem: the NSB's paranoid nature coupled with Jin's thorough knowledge meant that his every move was being meticulously watched. Unable to get to French space on his own, Special Circumstances would instead come to him.

The plan had been a fairly simple one developed by Chevalier and reviewed by the chief strategic AI's at GHQ. Entering the system secretly via a raider corvette, one part of Chevalier's squad, Unit 8, would make their way down to the maintenance levels of the megalopolis and commandeer the only known supply train that traveled to the location of the facility, which was masked as a branch of the Central Bank of China. Once they had breached the facility and the defenses were deactivated, curiosity of their defector, they would rescue him and destroy anything of value. The raiding party would then link up with the rest of the squad, which would be standing by with a commandeered NSB transport. By the time the outpost's security systems came back on-line and alerted the rapid-response forces, Gabrielle and her squad would have already been on their way to one of Special Circumstances safehouses and, from there, to French space.

Generally speaking, the actual operation had so far gone well. True, there had been the unexpected encounter with the mutated life forms that could be occasionally found in the undercity, as well as a skirmish with a gang of roving thugs (which was quite possibly the greatest mismatch of the century), but, so far, things were going as planned. All that was needed now was to actually get into the outpost.

Running her gloved hand through her hair, Chevalier glanced over to the rest of her squad, Lieutenant Samuel Bergeron, Major Cyrano de Bergerac, and Chief Sergeant Sel Tiantant, as they rode the automated and, after they seized it, non-guarded, supply train to the sub-levels of the compound.

“Remember, this is supposed to be a simple smash and grab, so don't focus so much on the smash part as more on the grab part.”

“Yeah, yeah,” muttered Bergeron as he took a drag from a cigarette. “I'm telling you right now, though, that the details this guy is aware of better be worth it, 'cause I'm not particularly inclined to being vaporized for useless sacks of flesh.”

“Based on what the DGSE has been able to obtain from Jin, his extraction is most definitely worth it,” responded Cyrano in his deep and vaguely non-human voice. “Besides, if what he said is true, then he's managed to uncover something of such significance that we'd be fools not to pull off such a raid..”

“Which is why it is imperative that we extract him before the NSB gets wise to him and ties up any loose ends,” said Chevalier as she placed the helmet of her battlesuit back on her head. “We're coming up on the service bay in a few seconds. Everyone get into position and wait for my signal.”

Within moments, the supply grav-train slowly came to a halt at its destination, the service bays of the NSB base. Standing outside the grav-train was a clearly irritated NSB officer and a pair of technical staff.

“What the hell kept you so long?!” shouted the officer at the crew within the train. “We've got a schedule to keep, and we can't wait up for this delivery all day!”

No answer.

“Did you even hear me? I'm going to have your eyes and fingers if you don't answer right now!”

The doors to the grav train finally opened, but instead of finding utility driods unloading weapon crates and, quite possibly, a pair of drunken guards who were about to catch absolute hell, he found a quartet of armed commandos pointing all manner of deadly weaponry right at him and his aides.

Grabbing for his pistol, the NSB officer's unprotected body was pulverized by the proton bolts from Bergeron's energy submachine gun, while the technical staff were similarly dispatched by the fury of Tiantant's FN Herstal-3030 multipurpose automatic combat shotgun.

“People need to learn how keep their big mouths shut these days,” muttered Bergeron as he stepped over what remained of the unit's welcome wagon.

Chevalier glanced at the main door ahead. “Can you override the security system on the doors?

Tiantant shook his head. “The security system has countermeasures in place to prevent Cyrano or me from simply hacking the system to open the door, but I've got the breaching charges needed to brute force our way in.”

“Do it,” ordered Gabrielle as Tiantant placed the explosive charges on the door while the rest of the unit took cover.

The charges set, the insectoid-like Sel detonated them at Chevalier's command, punching through the thick armored door and leaving it in ruins. Alarms blaring, Chevalier gave the signal and her unit quickly moved in as they rushed in, gunning down a trio of NSB security troopers in the process.

“Countermeasures have been deactivated as planned,” said Cyrano through the unit's datalink as he quickly scanned the building.

Chevalier confirmed the scan with a nod as she and the rest of her unit leaped through multiple floors to Jin's location via their 'boo' phase fields and counter-grav generators. Reaching the floor where the command center was located, Chevalier killed her counter-grav generator and phase field before squeezing off several rounds at a nearby guard while still airborne. Traveling at ten and a half kilometers per second, the dense kinetic penetrators (the light defenses of the guards not warranting warhead-tipped rounds) slammed into the guard with the force of a comet, shattering the light armor, bones, and innards of the guard from the shockwave of the impact and boring straight through until exiting alongside a jet of liquefied innards from the man's back, leaving a set of impressive sized craters.

Just as Chevalier landed, another nearby guard raised his weapon before Cyrano opened fire from his graser. The great thunderclap of the weapon briefly drowned out all other noise as the pulse of concentrated gamma radiation obliterated the soldier in a blinding flash of sickeningly searing energy. Without missing a beat, Unit 06 moved down the main corridor in unison, covering all angles of attack and mowing down any and all resistance.

From the command center, the sound of the firefight being waged became all too clear, as the French raiders closed the distance at a brisk pace. The commander of the black site, whose control over the facilities defenses were now out of his control, began to panic, as the video and audio feeds of the carnage unfolding flooded the room.

“Jin!” shouted the commander to his subordinate, “Fry every computer in this room and evacuate the command center before they arrive!”

“All exits and lifts have been deactivated; the whole floor has been sealed off!” responded Jin.

“This isn't a case of a glitch in the system. Someone on the inside has sabotaged...” the commander glared at Jin. “You're the only other one that has full access to the security system!” shouted the commander as he unholstered his pistol.

“If you're planning to kill me, then it’s too late,” said Jin as he noticed the raider's location and stepped to the side. “Oh, and if I were you, I would move about now.”

Before the commander could pull the trigger, a fin-stabilized, armor piercing round punched through the reinforced duracrete wall and through the commander's head, scooping out his shattered skull's gray matter before continuing down its trajectory. Jin immediately ducked as the main doors opened and Unit 06 rushed in, opening fire and leaving all witnesses in various states of dismemberment.

“Nice timing,” said Jin.

“We would have gotten here three seconds earlier if it hadn't been for those mutant freaks in the undercity,” responded Bergeron as he helped Jin off his feet.

“Primary target secured,” said Chevalier through her internal hyperwave radio. “Proceeding to clear the LZ for extraction,”

“Copy that,” said Lieutenant Jean-Marc Benzekri, the voice on the other side of the connection. “We're standing by until further notice.”

Chevalier walked over to the viewscreens and acquired the visual feed of the main hangar. With the exception of the bewildered flight control personnel, the hangar was relatively quiet, which translated to a quick seizure and rapid extraction with a minimum loss of life. The latter, of course, depended on how determined the remaining NSB agents were to stop them from leaving alive.

“It's time to get out here,” declared Chevalier to her unit. “Jin, stay in the middle of our formation and do exactly what I say; I'm not taking any chances in getting you out of here alive.”

Sihnon Spaceport
Around that same time

“Prep the ship for launch,” said Sergeant Constantijn Ostrander as he glanced over to Benzekri. “It shouldn't take them long to secure the hangar, and we need to make the extraction as quick as possible before anyone gets the wiser.”

“Relax, big guy,” said Benzekri as he patted the shoulder of the impressively (even for his species) built gorilla after rising from his seat. “The ship's ready for immediate launch and aerospace traffic control has cleared us without so much of a hiccup.”

“I have to admit that things have gone remarkable smoothly,” remarked Ostrander from the pilot station of the freighter. “From the looks of it, we should be able to...” He paused mid sentence as he glanced over at the scanners. A party of seven individuals, commandos of the Chinese Union Army to be exact, were converging on the hanger. “We've been discovered,” said Ostrander with a nervous tone to his voice. “We need to take off now and extract the others before they trap us on this planet.”

“Naturally, but before we do that I have to apologize,” said Benzekri.

Ostrander looked over his shoulder. “For what?”

“This.” Benzekri pulled out his pistol and sent an antimatter-propelled slug right between the gorilla's eyes, shattering his skull and disgorging its contents. Benzekri pushed aside the limp body of his former comrade as he pressed a button on the console, lowering the entrance ramp to the ship.

Coming down the ramp, Benzekri was greeted by the squad of Chinese commandos. “The ship's secure and ready for launch.”

“And your comrade?” asked the commanding officer of the commando force through his featureless helmet.

“He won't be a problem anymore.”

“I trust you won't have any qualms about repeating the same action with your other comrades,” said the commando in a tone that was more of a statement than a question as he and his subordinates bordered the transport.

Benzekri glanced over at the commando with a gleam of hatred in his eyes. “They deserve much worse fates than a simple bullet in the head, and I'll personally make sure they receive it after their usefulness comes to an end.”

NSB Black Site
Primary Hangar

The firefight was a brief and pointless one. Entering the hangar, Unit 06 neutralized the hangar staff and what guards were stationed in the area before sealing the blast doors to the entrance, making the ability to retake the hangar for the NSB much more difficult. The doors to the hangar were opened by Cyrano, and now all that was needed to be done was wait.

“They should have been here by now,” muttered Chevalier as she glanced at the chronometer display in her helmet's HUD. “Benzekri, we're ready for extraction now,” barked out Chevalier through her hyperwave radio in an annoyed tone.

“We've already arrived, Captain. Stand by for landing,” responded Benzekri as the delta wing-shaped spacecraft swooped in toward the hangar. Touching down, the ship's boarding ramp shortly lowered itself as Benzekri, carrying his fusion cannon, walked toward his unit.

“What took you so long?” asked Chevalier in a slightly irritated tone as she and the rest of the unit walked toward the ship.

Benzekri raised his weapon and aimed it at the group. “I going to have to ask to stop right there and drop your weapons.”

“What in the hell are you...” Chevalier was interrupted by the sound of various weapons being primed. Various figures decloaked in front of them, brandishing all sorts of weapons at their general location.

Chevalier clenched her jaw hard enough to shatter a sheet of endurasteel as she let her weapon, a Coopération Industrielle de Québéc M4520 light repeater (a somewhat heavy carbine, essentially, in terms of scale), fall to the metal floor, as did the rest of the squad. “What did you do to Constantijn?”

“ Sorry, Captain, but he wasn't really inclined to seeing things my way, so I had to kill him. C'est la vie, huh?”

Chevalier's heart sank at hearing the news before a sense of rage overcame all other emotions. The man that Gabrielle had trusted so much had betrayed all of them, and, worst of all, he had the gall to enjoy it. “Why did you do it, Jean Marc? Why did you have to betray France and all of us?”

“Betray France? Me?” asked Benzekri as pointed to himself in mock surprise. “On the contrary, I'm saving France. Think about it, Gabrielle. A long time ago, the Empire used to be a beautiful thing. When our nation's prosperity and morale had plummeted to near oblivion and the fundamentalists threatened to destroy our nation, the people of France looked for a strong leader to save them. They found it in Napoleon IV, who restored the great glories of France and set the stage for his successors to conquer the universe. But now, now that time is over, as His Imperial Majesty Albert VI has become far too soft and weak.”

“You can't possibly believe that,” said Chevalier as she scanned the room for anything that could be used to distract their captors and grant them a more favorable position.

“And I can't believe you're blind enough to ignore the painfully obvious,” shot back Benzekri in a venomous tone. “A new leader is needed, one that will take back the Eagle Throne and lead the Empire into a new Golden Age that will never end.”

“With China's help?” asked Chevalier sardonically.

“Well, they were the ones who proved to be generous enough to help our dreams become a reality. Of course, for that to be possible, I can't allow your little friend there leave on account of the valuable information he has.” Benzkeri looked over to Bergeron's side and waved at Jin. “Did you think that your dealings with the DGSE were unnoticed? The only reason you weren't killed the instant you contacted the Empire was that they figured that they could find some use for you. Of course, that was before you decided to ruin everyone's fun and cut and run.”

Unbeknown to Bezenkri or his men, Cyrano, through their datalink network, had discreetly highlighted to the rest of the squad a large catwalk dangling nearby Jean-Marc and his men. To drop it on Jean-Marc and his men (or at least as close to them as possible) wouldn’t kill them, but it would give Chevalier and the squad the distraction necessary to move out of Benzekri's line of fire and systematically kill his men.

“I have to commend you, Jean-Marc,” responded Chevalier in an upbeat tone as she received the data packet. “It's not that often that someone is able to successfully ambush and trap a Special Circumstances Unit.”

“What can I say, Gabrielle? I happen to take my work very seriously.”

“Too bad you forgot one thing,” said Chevalier. “Something that I've always told you to keep in mind since the beginning.”

Benzekri chuckled. “And what's that?”

“You forgot to mind your surroundings again.”

On cue, Cyrano used his miniature gravitic manipulator to rip the catwalk from its braces and send the object crashing down with considerable force. Benzekri and the commandos lurched back from the shock and sheer force of the impact, allowing the Unit to grab its weapons and put down a wall of suppressive fire as they moved to outflank the Chinese commandos among the various parked spacecraft and columns.

Grabbing Jin, Bergeron rushed him off to the secure hulk of a nearby shuttle, where he could pick off any commando that came too close and provide Jin with some sort of protection. Noticing them falling back, the commander of the commando squad used his phase field and counter-gravity engine to fly right through the parked spacecraft being used as cover before landing with a roll and pointing his rifle at Bergeron.

Bergeron immediately knocked the weapon out of the commander's hands and aimed his energy submachine gun right at his chest. Still on the ground, the Chinese black operator kicked the weapon out of Bergeron's hands before leaping up and swiping at him with a monomolecular knife. Bergeron dodged the first swipe before a left hook from the commando sent Bergeron toward the hull of the shuttle, pinning him. Bergeron grabbed the commander's forearm as he attempted to drive his knife into Bergeron's heart. Thinking fast, Bergeron head butted the commander to break his hold and lunged toward his submachine gun on the ground. Taking aim while still sprawled out on the floor, Bergeron fired off a long burst, the proton beams in their little pockets of frozen space-time riddling the commander with scores of charred craters.

Lifting himself off from the ground, the monstrous roar of an explosion caused Bergeron to immediately snap to attention.

“What the hell was that?” shouted Jin as he kept close to Bergeron.

“I know that sound,” he muttered as another explosion overpowered the roar of gunfire from the rest of Unit 06. Looking over the side of the parked shuttle, Bergeron confirmed what he thought he heard. A Chinese commando had brought along with him a 30mm grenade machine gun, and was now proceeding to use said weapon to push Chevalier and the rest of the unit toward the spacecraft opposite of the one Bergeron and Jin were located.

“A fucking grenade machine gun?!” shouted Bergeron though his comlink to Chevalier. “You don't bring squad support weapons into a packed hanger, let alone use the goddamn thing!”

“Tell that to the Chinese!” shouted back Chevalier as she thought up of something to break the stalemate. A direct attack was obviously suicide, but there was enough clutter and general confusion to outflank them if they could keep the Chinese grenadier (and the rest of commandos by extension) preoccupied. Chevalier looked over to her combat engineer at the other end of shuttle, who was the closest to any sort of nearby cover. “Sel, take out that grenadier! We'll cover you from here!”

Nodding in confirmation, Tiantant scrambled to a nearby column while the rest of the unit peppered the general area being used as a refuge with gunfire. Making his way through the wreckage utilizing his cloaking field, Sel spotted the grenadier and another commando taking cover behind the wreckage of another spacecraft. Taking aim, Tiantant's squeezed the trigger and saturated the grenadier's general position with a full burst of the shotgun shells. The nearby commando was near-instantly overwhelmed by the terrific lethality of the cloud of relativistic shrapnel, reducing him to a cloud of red mist. The grenadier immediately reacted and swung her massive weapon at Tiantant's location, but was put down in a similarly gory manner by another automatic burst of fire.

Spinning toward Tiantant after hearing the roar of the engineer's shotgun, Benzekri raised his fusion cannon and took aim. The hideously bright beam of nuclear fury tortured Tiantant's defenses while hurling him against a column from the sheer impact. The second shot finally tore through the weakened battlescreen, as a large portion of Tiantant's upper body, alongside the column he was using as support and the nearby wall, was disintegrated in a spectacular light show.

It was a Pyrrhic victory for Benzekri, though, as everything was coming apart and disintegrating (sometimes literally) before his eyes. Chevalier and the rest of the unit sprung from their positions the instant the fire support evaporated, and they made sure to show no mercy to the Chinese. Within a few seconds, only Benzekri, who was now proceeding to fill as much of the area around him with the fire of his fusion cannon, was left. A beam of exotic energy from Cyrano's powergun struck Benzekri in his left leg, causing it violently explode in a shower of gore and metal. Falling to the floor (the combat stims mercifully blocking out any sensation of pain), Benzekri tried to fire his fusion rifle, but was met with a burst from Bergeron's energy SMG, which tore his right arm from his torso.

Benzekri's groan morphed into a depraved chuckle as he mustered the strength to remove his featureless helmet and glare at Chevalier. “Do you really think killing me will solve anything? The entire planetary garrison has alerted to your presence and a rapid response unit is already on its way. This planet will be your grave.”

“How about we make it your grave first, you traitorous little insect.” Chevalier squeezed her light repeater's trigger and sent a burst of kinetic penetrators right through Benzekri and the floor, vaporizing his innards in the process.

“And Sel?” asked Chevalier.

Bergeron looked over at Tiantant's corpse, or what remained of it. “He's gone, Cap. There isn't even enough here to salvage or perform a mind transfer.”

Chevalier swore internally. What was supposed to be a simple extraction was rapidly spiraling out of control, what with half her unit dead and the Chinese now preparing to swam all over the building. “Carry what's left of him with us. It's time we pack up and leave before they trap up on this planet.”

Boarding their transport, a former NSB transport captured by Special Circumstances sometime ago, Unit 06 and Jin took their seats, as well as placing the bodies of Tiantant and Ostrander in a more dignified location. Bergeron was already in the pilot's seat and fiddling with the controls when Chevalier sat down at the comm-scan station next to him.

“You do know how to fly this thing, right?” asked Chevalier as she helped with the startup procedures.

“Uh, well, I don't really know that specifics of this particular model, but I'm pretty sure I can fly this... I think, anyways.”

“Well, not to put any pressure on you, but it would probably be prudent for you to figure out in the next half minute before their rapid-response unit blows a couple of holes in this thing.”

As if on cue, first-response elements from the local garrison forced their way into the building and toward the landing bay in order to prevent Unit 06's escape. “Sam, this would be a pretty good time to leave,” said Chevalier, as a force of infantry entered the landing bay and began to setup a heavy repeating plasma cannon.

“Well, there about to get a big surprise.” Bergeron pressed a button on his console, which lowered a repeating anti-infantry energy repeater that proceeded to shred the infantry squad to pieces. A few moments later, the ship's engines roared to life and sent the spacecraft out of the landing bay and away from harm as it made its way out to orbit.

Checking the scanners, Chevalier could make out a squad of space-superiority fighters quickly closing the distance, while system patrol warships began to move in. “What's the hold up, Lieutenant?” barked Gabrielle as flak shots from the patrol ship's mass drivers rocked the ship. It was never a good sign with Chevalier referred to Bergeron only by his rank.

“Something’s wrong with the hyperspace motivator. Cyrano, get to the engine room and see what's going on with this thing!”

At that instant, Cyrano left for the engine room while Bergeron began to take evasive maneuvers to avoid the torrent of firepower coming at their general location. The Chinese J-2014 space superiority fighters are top-of-the-line starfighters, capable of impressive acceleration and movement, along with maintaining a deadly assortment of weapons that could shred smaller ships to pieces. Closing into range, three of the starfighters fired off a salvo of light anti-fighter fusion missiles at the French transport. ECM threw many of the missiles wildly off course before they blossomed into brilliant explosion, while the transport's point-defense suite swatted the rest form the stars. In retaliation, the tail gun fired back, hurling blood red spears of energy and obliterating one starfighter that came too close.

From the comm-scan station, Chevalier could pick up an interdiction cruiser coming into their general area and powering up its hyperspace inhibitors. “An interdictor parked itself right between us and our escape route. You've got sixty seconds before its inhibitors are brought on line.”

“Well, wait until you see this!” Bergeron pulled the lever to activate the hyperspace motivator and was greeted with the distinctive sound of the motivator charging up before dying down.

“See what?!” snapped Chevalier.

“This is not good...” muttered Bergeron as he feverishly looked over the cockpit's monitors. “Tin Man, whatever you did to fix this thing didn't work!”

Cyrano rechecked the hyperspace motivator as he attempted to diagnose the problem. “Hold them off for a few seconds and I'll have this thing up and running.”

Bergeron let out his usual sarcastic laugh as he noted the absurdity of the situation. “This is just fucking typical. First that little miserable little cocksucker Jean-Marc turns Sel into a smoldering mass and blows Constantijn's fucking head off, and now I'm about to be reduced to my constituent atoms because this goddamn piece of fucking Chinese shit can't even manage a simple jump into hypers...” Before he could finish his rant, the hyperspace motivator sprung to life and propelled the shuttle into hyperspace and from the clutches of the Chinese patrol, yanking an unsuspecting Bergeron back into his seat.

“I was talking with the ship's computer...” Cyrano took his seat next to Jin “... and it turns out that all that was needed was a simple rewiring of the motivator. We should be able to make it to the safehouse without anymore interruptions.”

Bergeron scowled at him. “You think you could have warned me before I get splattered into the wall?!”

Cyrano merely shrugged his massive robotic shoulders. Bergeron muttered something about needing a drink, while Chevalier unbuckled her restraint and walked over to Jin.”

“Special Circumstances said you managed to stumble into something big a few weeks ago. What precisely do you know that caused the NSB to go to such lengths to kill you?”

Jin held up a datastick. “The plans for a major Germania Pact offensive. They hope that it will let them break the stalemate and end the war in their favor.”

“How did you get a hold of it?”

Jin smiled. “I have friends in all the right places. To tell you the truth, the DGSE was already aware of the fact that the NSB knew of our little plan, and they made sure that any info the NSB acquired would lead them on a wild goose chase. Through a little bit of creative work and luck, I managed to make them think that I took the plans for minor raid in the Large Magellanic Cloud. If they had found out of what I really stole, I would have already been dead.”

“The war hasn't been going too well for us, at least in the Home Galaxy,” said Chevalier. “With this, though, we might just be able to turn the tide in our favor, especially given the mass buildup that's surpassing that of even the largest members of GERPAC.”

“What about what your former compatriot said about his insurrectionists?” asked Jin.

“A plan that can end this war or a bunch of self-aggrandizing rebels? Jean-Marc and his cohorts can wait.”
Democratic Socialist | Atheist | Transhumanist | Bright Green Environmentalist | Worldbuilder | IT Professional |

Germania your game is through, now you're gonna answer to... The Freestates! Fuck Yeah! Now lick my balls and suck on my cock! Freestates, Fuck Yeah! Coming in to save the motherfuckin' day! Rock and roll, fuck yeah! Television, fuck yeah! DVDs, fuck yeah! Militums, fuck yeah! - Shroomy
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Booted Vulture
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Re: Götterdämmerung

Post by Booted Vulture »

To tell you the truth I don't remember the first version well enough to spot any major differences. :oops:

Still not a bad start, I look forward to more. One slight quibble:
Running her gloved hand through her hair, Chevalier glanced over to the rest of her squad, Lieutenant Samuel Bergeron, Major Cyrano de Bergerac, and Chief Sergeant Sel Tiantant, as they rode the automated and, after they seized it, non-guarded, supply train to the sub-levels of the compound.
Chevalier's a captain right? But she has a Major as a subordinate?
Ah Brother! It's been too long!
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Magister Militum
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Re: Götterdämmerung

Post by Magister Militum »

Booted Vulture wrote:To tell you the truth I don't remember the first version well enough to spot any major differences. :oops:

Still not a bad start, I look forward to more.
The gist of the prologue (raid on Chinese compound, Benzekri's treachery) remained the same; the main difference comes in the form of the details (here they were extracting a defector; in the old version, they were stealing an artifact that would have played a huge role later on) and a rewriting of the action sequences. It was really more of a clean up than anything, although the removal of the artifact did fundamentally alter a major plot line.

Running her gloved hand through her hair, Chevalier glanced over to the rest of her squad, Lieutenant Samuel Bergeron, Major Cyrano de Bergerac, and Chief Sergeant Sel Tiantant, as they rode the automated and, after they seized it, non-guarded, supply train to the sub-levels of the compound.
Chevalier's a captain right? But she has a Major as a subordinate?

I figured that someone would spot this sooner or later. In real life, the rank of Major in France is not the same as the rank of Major in the US or Commonwealth militaries. A Major in the French Army is the highest ranking sub-officer/NCO, rather than a commissioned officer. The French rank of Commandant would the the equivalent to a US or Commonwealth Major. The French Empire continues with this tradition, hence why a Captain has a major as a subordinate and not the other way around.
Democratic Socialist | Atheist | Transhumanist | Bright Green Environmentalist | Worldbuilder | IT Professional |

Germania your game is through, now you're gonna answer to... The Freestates! Fuck Yeah! Now lick my balls and suck on my cock! Freestates, Fuck Yeah! Coming in to save the motherfuckin' day! Rock and roll, fuck yeah! Television, fuck yeah! DVDs, fuck yeah! Militums, fuck yeah! - Shroomy
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Magister Militum
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Re: Götterdämmerung

Post by Magister Militum »

IT LIVES! Yeah, so I finally got hit with inspiration and pumped this out. A bit heavy on dialog and explanations, but I need to set the plot somehow. It should start to speed up with the next chapters.

Chapter 1 – The Winds of Change

Perry Naval Space Station
Port Vashrin, Corinac System, United States of Orion
One Month Later

Group Admiral Eli Harris, United States Star Navy, couldn't help but contemplate the heavily fortified nature of Port Vashrin and the system as he waited for his grav train to finish its transit to the station's amphitheater. The planet and its system was, for all intents and purposes, a fortress, a bastion that signified the importance of the planet to its state and the sector. Nestled in the edge of Orion space in the Perseus arm, Port Vashrin was the gateway to the great hyperspatial arteries that flowed through Orion space, one of the many guardians to the rich systems that lay farther out. Trade and commerce was its lifeblood, and those two had made the planet very wealthy. Commodore Vashrin must have sensed the purpose the Corinac system would play when his 75th Exploratory Flotilla charted the sector long ago and he named it after his people's mythological goddess of wealth and prosperity. Either that, or he thought a bit of divine intervention could help.

And then there was Perry Station to consider. A military-grade ring that spanned the equator of Port Vashrin, Perry was the heart of the inner system's defenses and the command center for Port Vashrin Fleet, the naval component of the much larger unified combatant command the protected the region. An uncountable array of weapons, ranging from missiles tubes capable of hurling out multi-hundred meter long ACSMs to naval powergun batteries that could devastate even the largest dreadnoughts with lances of hyperspatial energy, dotted the massive ring. Whole fleets could unleash the full fury of their guns and missiles and not even make a dent into the battlescreens and adamantium armor of the fortress. Not only that, but its relatively close proximity to the border made it a deterrent to those who would raid the Orion border colonies.

It was little wonder, then, that the United Nations would choose Port Vashrin as the location of the GHQ for the recently reformed forces of the Quentith Front of the Perseus-Orion Theater. The Quentith Front had effectively collapsed some time ago when Ultramilitant Indian forces broke through the Vestif Wall and captured the core states of the Quentith Star Republic. Completely overrun, the Quentithian government and military, alongside UN forces, retreated to the national redoubt that had been prepared around its remaining major holdings. With the Greater Empire of Japan and the United States supporting Quentith and India's military tied up against Free India, the Quentithian Armed Forces were able to hold their ground. Even then, though, both the Republic and the UNGHQ knew that the Indian Union would eventually, with aid by the 6th Imperium and its GERPAC allies, overrun them unless a decisive blow was delivered. Luckily, the United Nations had a trick up their sleeves.

Throughout the members of the United Nations, the great forge worlds, black hole manufactorums, and megayards were producing war matériel at an unprecedented rate. Outproducing even the most industrially powerful members of the Germania Pact, centers of industry such as Tau Ceti and Deneb were constructing and arming fleets and armies at breakneck speed, creating whole new formations or rebuilding and expanding weaker ones. Combined with the fresh formations redeployed to the front, Quentith Command (QUNTTHCOM), made up primarily of Orion, Brazilian, and Japanese forces, now had the strength necessary to drive the Indians and her GERPAC allies out of Quentith

Harris' command, the USSN 55th Fleet Group, was but one of the major units assigned to QUNTTHCOM. Battle scarred but still capable after grueling campaigns against the 6th Imperium in the inner galactic halo, the 55th was pulled back from the front lines, brought back to full strength, and redeployed for the impending counter-invasion alongside her siblings of the XI Armada. Tens of thousands of warships and countless more semi-combatants, support vessels, and parasites, spread out throughout Corinac, made up Fleet Group, an impressive display of Orion naval power that Harris was proud to command. True, it couldn't compare to the much larger naval commands taking part in the invasion and their were more prestigious commands, such as being commander-in-chief of Columbia Fleet or some other major regional naval command, but Eli was quite content with his command. After all, how many people can claim to control a formation large enough to capture a whole sector?

The grav train came to a slow stop as it arrived at its destination and Harris stepped out to the expansive loading bay. Walking through the heavy foot traffic in the corridors and the ample security in the zone, Harris set foot in the massive military amphitheater, now crowded with military officers of all rank from many of the nations of the UN. Off in the stadium seating, Eli spotted one of his closest confidants since the war, and the general collapse of the old balance of power for that matter, began, Lieutenant Field Marshal Lucas Cardoso of the Imperial Brazilian Army.

“You have any idea what this is all about, Lucas?” asked Harris as he shook the orc's hand and sat down next to him.

“No clue whatsoever, Eli. The rumor mill has it that GHQ is planning something big. Secret, but big nonetheless. Why else would they bother recalling every flag officer to somewhere as fortified as Port Vashrin?”

“Which has become even more fortified from the last time I was here,” muttered Harris as he adjusted the standing collar of his black service uniform. “Naval Board must be getting a bit nervous if they're devoting this much infrastructure to the system. Still, it'd be nice if we could get off our asses and make use of the few million ships that just happen to be around this sector.”

“You know how the GHQ can be at times, what with their cloak and dagger maneuvering,” said Cardoso, “Still, this delay is odd, even for them.”

“Well, where about to find out,” said Harris as the sergeant-at-arms entered the amphitheater.

“Attention on deck! Fleet Admiral Samantha Delacroix!” barked the sergeant-at-arms as everyone in the room stood at attention for the Commander-in-Chief of Bysar Command.

“You may all be seated,” said Delacroix as the officers present sat down and her staff in the front table shuffled through datafiles and other materials. “I realize that many of you are concerned regarding the strategic blackout GHQ has been enforcing these past weeks, as well as why all of you have been reassigned to this front in the first place. The truth of the matter is that this front has become the most important battlespace for the UN. You could say that our ultimate victory or total defeat will be decided here.”

Harris raised his eyebrows at the last remark as an audible chorus of murmurers flooded the amphitheater. The Quentith Front played a significant role in the theater they were all stationed in, true, but McGuire could think of at least two other combat zones that had more vital strategic worth.

The lights in the spacious amphitheater dimmed as the holoprojector built into the ceiling displayed a map of the front, its focus on the free Quentithian sectors and the surrounding space. “One month ago, French special forces raided a Chinese black site in order to extract one of their moles in the NSB. That mole carried with him plans for a major Germanian Pact offensive known as Operation Clausewitz. The offensive calls for two major strikes, one directed toward the remaining holdings of the Quentith Republic and the other toward Free India and Japan. If successful, two incursions would overrun our forces, giving the Indian-led invasion force the opportunity to strike not only at vital Japanese sectors, but also to gain the marshaling space they need for a general invasion of Orion and Brazilian territories. The ultimate goal, with support by the 6th Imperium in the Midway Front, is to capture and/or neutralize our industry and force the capitulation of the main powers of the UN.”

“Jesus Christ,” muttered Cardoso as the room erupted in a commotion as everyone contemplated the gravity of the situation.

“Unfortunately for GERPAC,” continued Delacroix, “our knowledge of their plan, coupled with the several strategic errors they've let slip by this year and our successive gains, give us the potential to inflict a crushing blow to their power in the theater. For that, though, I invite our head intelligence officer, Colonel Fukazawa Takara, to explain more.”

As Delacroix sat down at the head of the table, a petite woman in the unmistakable scalet uniform of the Kempeitai rose from her seat, datapad in hand. Related to the original Kempeitai in name only, the current iteration is infamously known for its counter-intelligence, intelligence, and black operations. Fukazawa, like all other officers of the Kempeitai, was well versed in the latter, having undertaken countless black operations before taking command of her own black ops network. Now she made use of her talents in the Intelligence Directorate, coordinating Kempeitai assets with other Japanese and Allied intelligence agencies and acting as an intel advisor for Quentith Command.

“As Admiral Delacroix has already described, Operation Clausewitz had the potential to severely cripple the UN's ability to prosecute this war had we not stumbled on to it. Indeed, the Germanian Pact has placed high hopes on the success of Operation Clausewitz in order to break the stalemate and the imminent shift in the balance of the war. Our knowledge of their plan, coupled with the intelligence coup that we've achieved in the Indian command structure has given us a massive advantage in dictating the nature of their invasion.

In addition to the information the Chinese mole provided us with, the CIA managed to penetrate the highest levels of the Indian command structure a few months ago, with their hard work just now starting to pay off. Through our agents, we've been feeding India and the rest of GERPAC false information regarding UN movements and strength levels, which we've confirmed through feigned movements. In actuality, they believe that the UN is gearing up for a simultaneous campaign against the 6th Imperium's fortress-enclaves in the Large Magellanic Cloud and Pact-held regions in Norma, which has resulted in GERPAC redeploying its forces to said regions. There's also the matter that the Indian High Command has been misled into thinking that we're on the verge of total collapse in this front.”

“Which means that they have no idea that they're walking into the largest slaughter in centuries,” added Delacroix.

Fukazawa nodded. “Correct. Why else would they risk splitting their main force between Quentith and Japan if they were confidant that we're on the verge of total collapse? We expect the first wave of GERPAC forces directed toward Quintith to include several tens of thousands of mainline combatants, with several times that number of lesser combatants. Compared to what they're throwing at us, we possess a critical advantage in numbers, firepower, and, most importantly, surprise.”

Colonel Fukazawa sat down as Delacroix rose from her seat, the holoprojector shifting to show the front lines and expected avenues of Indian attack. “Thank you, colonel. Their main objective in Quentith is to hit their critical territories and sectors first, taking out the main industrial, command/communication, and military nodes. With those areas secure, then the rest of the region will collapse from disarray, allowing them to pick up the pieces. Our objective, then, is to beat them to the punch. After discreetly establishing a forward base, we'll deploy a vanguard to immediately fortify the expected targets until we can bring the full weight of our expeditionary force to bear. We expect the brunt of their attack to be directed toward the states of Jercora and Maselmof and the sectors they encompass. While the Quentithian Armed Forces are well disciplined and have considerable skill in fortifications, we don't expect them to hold out against the sheer onslaught of GERPAC and Indian forces.

Blue lines materialized in the projection, highlighting UN movements and critical nodes. “The first battles will be the most crucial ones, but if we succeed there, we can deliver a crippling blow to Indian forces occupying Quentith. Alongside a similar campaign to be undertaken by the Japanese, we'll quickly cross the border while we still have the momentum and expel GERPAC from the Republic. Once that's a reality, we can then link up with Japan and Free India and begin a general invasion of the Indian Republic.”

The holoprojector shut off as Delacroix clasped his hands behind his back. “I don't need to remind all of you how much is riding on our success. If we can do our job, then we can launch a full-scale invasion of the 6th Imperium in its most vulnerable side. Coupled with the work of our boys and girls in the other fronts, we can end this war decisively in our favor. Any questions?”

The assembled officers shook their heads or said nothing, understanding their role in the campaign.

“Operation Liberator is scheduled for commencement in 72 hours. I suggest everyone go over their specific part in the operation and stay in close contact with your subordinates and superiors in case there is a change in plans. Dismissed.”

Harris and Cardoso got up from their seats alongside everyone else as they headed for the main door. “You know, I think that this might be crazy enough to work,” said Eli.

“Assuming the Indians haven't been pulling our leg the whole time and knew of our misinformation campaign,” said Cardoso as they walked toward the nearest grav-train station.

“You should try to work on not being so depressingly cynical. Besides, my fleet commanders will make sure the Indians don't slag your armies from orbit or hurl 100 kilometer asteroids at relativistic speeds toward you.”

“Oh, I feel so much better knowing that my troops will be safe under the watch of your protege, Admiral Spencer 'There's No Such Thing as Overkill' Tobolowsky. He'll see a field army land and the next thing you know the planet I'm fighting on will be missing a continent.”

“Look who's talking,” responded Harris as the grav-train pulled into the station. “Tobolowsky's a smart man who knows how to respond to the unexpected. He'll make sure the Indians don't even make it farther than a systems heliopause. In fact, I bet he's going over this instructions with his battlegroup commanders this very second.”

Somewhere in the Infosphere
USS Cascadia

“You will all show servitude to His Most Unholy Majesty, or YOU WILL DIE!!”

The great citadel of Ostmark was a gleaming metropolis, the pride of the Kingdom of Northphallia. Now, it was burning, at least its outer edges, as the armies of the Most Unholy and Damned Dominions of Vero overran the massive walls and thick defenses that encircled the megalopolis. Lord Kartack, the general of Vero's armies, could already taste victory as he personally led the breaching of city. Slowly but surely, the defenders of the citadel would be pushed farther and farther before ultimately being crushed into oblivion. Once that was complete, Ostmark, its treasure, and its inhabitants would be ripe for that taking. It was a glorious time for Kartack.

Kartack strode confidently through the blood-filled pavilion, slaughtering Northphallian knights and riflemen with his longsword and necrotic magic. A nearby mage, rallying nearby soldiers in the center of the pavilion, fired beams of raw mana from his fingertips at the sight of Kartack. The Dark Lord's insidious aura merely bent the beams to the side as he spotted the mage and disemboweled those who got in his way. Drawing his sword, the mage met Kartack's swipe, brining both of them within a few inches of one another.

“You and your master cannot win, evil one,” said the mage as he was slowly being pushed back to a statue. “There is a power here that you cannot possibly defeat.”

“You are a fool, mage, and not worthy of my time!” bellowed Kartack as he telekinetically hurled the mage clear across the pavilion and toward a wall. Using his telekinesis again, Kartack lifted the mage up to his face as he made his way over to the mage. “After I skin you alive and pull your body apart, I will have your family devoured alive by my horde and the rest of this city's inhabitants slaughtered in sacrifice to my Dark Lord."

“You will try, abomination.”

Kartack spat in the mage's face as he drew his weapon. “I will enjoy...” A blinding white light interrupted Kartack, as it enveloped the pavilion and delivered a wave of agonizing pain that radiated all throughout his body, breaking his hold of the mage. Around him, the demonic-looking soldiers of Kartack were painfully melted by the light while Kartack attempted to get back on his feet.

“Kartack! Your end has come!” With a look of venemous rage and hate, Kartack spun around and faced the man who had singlehandedly stopped his incursion in its tracks. In another place, he would be known as Admiral Spencer Tobolowsky of the USSN, but, for the moment, he was Grand Master Paladin Gorintius Pontate, supereme commander of the Royal Northphalian armies encamped around Ostmark.

“Pontate, you coward! My armies have overrun your precious fortress, and you can do nothing to stop them!”

“You always did lack an appreciation for long-term planning, Kartack,” responded Tobolowsky as he strode down the steps the lead to the pavilion, the blue and gold drapery over his brilliantly white, rune and incantation studded armor flowing in the breeze. “I wanted your armies to breach the city so that it would be easier to crush you. That's why I let your armies overtake the walls...” the distant sound of horns blaring in the background caught the attention of both men “... and that's why I held back my reinforcements until now. Take a look for yourself.”

Reaching out with his clairvoyance, Kartack's eyes bulged and his heart sank as a massive Northphallian army could be seen charging across the plains and toward the rear of his army. Reaching out with his remote vision, Kartack could also see a massive counterattack being undertaken by the cities defenders, pushing back the breachers and, in some cases, trapping them and slaughtering them wholesale. Tobolowsky had predicted Kartack's blunder and played him like a fiddle.

“If I die, then at least I will be content with taking you with me, Pontate,” spat out Kartack as he brandished his massive longsword.

“You'll try, Kartack, and you will fail.” Tobolowsky drew his sword as Kartack charged at him. Rushing toward him, sword drawn, Tobolowsky was about to meet Katack's blade with his when a beeping sound rang in her ears.

“For Christ's sakes! Pause!” shouted Tobolowsky as the entire simulation, alongside the millions of computer-controlled NPCs that inhabited that particular world, froze in their places. “Yes, Commander?” responded Tobolowsky as he accessed the comm line to the Officer of the Watch manning the communication station on the bridge.

“I'm sorry to disturb you, sir, but Admiral Harris requests that you speak with him immediately.”

“I'll take it here.” Tobolowsky sighed as he sheathed his sword and glanced at Kartack. “I'm never going to be able to kill you, will I?”

With a mental command, a large screen emerged from thin air, displaying the visage of Tobolowsky's superior. "What can I do for you, Admiral?"

“Spencer, I..." Harris raised an eyebrow as he took in the sight of Tobolowsky sporting a elaborate suit of armor and the warzone around him. "So, this is how you spend your free time, huh?"

“My staff's on shore leave, and I figure I could use some free time myself. Besides, its not like this is the most outrageous use of the infosphere out there."

“Well, regardless, your going to have to cut shore leave early. Front HQ has just informed me that the 55th Fleet Group will be leading the vanguard into Quentith space earlier than expected. We think that the Indian's may be accelerating their invasion plans, and we can't risk letting them get a head start.”

“What do you need my fleet to do, sir?”

“The same thing our plans spelled out, only faster. You'll escort the army and marine detachments to the designated systems and pull back until the Indian Starfleet snags the bait. If all goes well, they won't know the full extent of the ambush until its far too late. We're setting off in 24 hours, Tobolowsky. I suggest you get your affairs in order. Harris out.”

Tobolowsky nodded as the screen dissipated. "Cascadia, contact all task force commanders and let them now of the current developments. I want them at their posts and sending me a sitrep within three hours."

"Of course, Admiral," responded the shipbrain of the massive heavy battleship. "Is there anything else I can do for the immediate moment?"

"Yeah, I want you and Wall Captain Mars to start getting the ship ready for deployment. Oh, and can you have one of the droids prep some of that special coffee for me once I get to the flag bridge? I have a feeling I'm gonna need it for the next few days.

Versailles Station
Third French Empire

For the average citizen that lived on Versailles, the planet could be considered quite idyllic. The world was rated by the Exploration and Colonization Bureau as a paradise world, and it showed. The scenic landscape was pristine, while the planet's great population centers were beautifully crafted works of art that seemed to blend into their respective landscape, be it the ocean, the great plains, or the Massif mountain chain. Much of that had to do with the ruling Imperial family, who kept Versailles as a \possession of the Throne and used it as a retreat from the bustle of the infinitely more crowded Paris. The House of Bonaparte-Bourbon had many other retreats that were magnificent, such as Imperial Center and its splendid Unity Citadel, but none were as fondly cherished as Versailles and its great palace.

Most people, however, never noticed the military compound some forty kilometers from the capital of the colony, not that they would get the chance to. Access to the military complex was tightly restricted, with only a precious handful of heavily guarded pathways leading to the massive, sprawling complex. Those who managed a glimpse at the base could see the siege mentality that dominated the minds of its developers, what with its own power and utilities grid, multi-layered defense belt, and independent theater screen safeguarding the complex. Home to the Imperial Guards Special Activities Directorate, the Versailles Station, or simply Command, was the heart of the Imperial Guards black ops network. From the fortified bowls of the complex, the Commander of the SAD, Admiral Gautier-Louis El Brazi, Duc de Lutetia, commands millions of the so-called 'supercommandos' (SAD loves the aura of superstition its generates), Independent Operators, and other military and, occasionally, government agents, not to mention the Guards military assets that have been re-appropriated to SAD. At a whim, El Brazi could have a top dignitary of a major power killed, plunge planets into insanity, and change the course of events of entire star clusters.

It was this man that Chevalier and the rest of her newly restructured unit were in route to meet, with no explanation as to why. The whole cloak and dagger nature of the order irked Chevalier the most, as it either meant they were being transferred to a most likely suicidal mission, being called back for 'consultation' (read: 'you people fucked up big time'), or who knows what else. Frankly, Chevalier had a hard time trying to make sense of anything this past month. First Benzekri goes traitorous and kills two other members of Unit 06 and now this. The whole galaxy seemed to be going stir crazy lately.

“You all right, Cap?” said Bergeron as the unit, in their black dress uniforms, entered the main building of the complex.

“I've been better, but I guess I'm alright at the moment,” responded Chevalier

“Doesn't seem like it, sir. You're giving off an aura of apprehension so clear that I could sniff you out about a couple of klicks away,” said Lieutenant Alexandre Rousseau, Unit 06's psionic warfare specialist. A psychic trained by the Grande Armee's Psychic Warfare Corps, Rousseau, alongside Chief Sargeant Blanche Girard and Corporal Piver Gargaris, formed the new operators dispatched to fill Unit 06's depleted roster.

“I wish you wouldn't do that,” said Chevalier in a condescending tone.

“It's hard not to when it's so encompassing like yours.”

“Look,” said Chevalier as they entered the elevator that would take them to the commander's office “the fact that Command has recalled us either means we're getting reassigned to a more urgent zone, or we're going to get our asses steamrolled for some reason. The fact of the matter is that all this secrecy is starting to unnerve me.”

“Special Activities has always been big on secrecy, perhaps even more so than the DGSE,” said Cyrano. “However, the fact that I spent eight seconds searching the entire Imperial Guard, DGSE, and what parts of the Throne's mainframes I could access and couldn't find anything is bizarre, even for them.”

“We'll find out soon enough,” said Chevalier as the elevator plummeted deep below ground before arriving at its destination, the main office of the Commander of Special Activities. While the building itself was one of the most secure and fortified on the continent, like all important military installations, the reception area/working space was deceptively defenseless looking. The doors of the elevators opened to reveal what was essentially an interior garden, complete with exotic plants from throughout the galaxy, lighting that simulated that of the outside (a nice touch considering how far below ground they were), and, of to a corner, a miniature waterfall. The occasional chirp of a bird could even be heard at times. The Admiral always had an eye for the unconventional.

“Captain Chevalier?” said a secretarial mechanoid sitting at the front desk, “You're cleared for entry. The Admiral's been expecting you.”

“Thank you,” replied Chevalier as the deeply colored Brazaville Redwood doors slid open and retreated into the walls, revealing several more layers of endurasteel doors. At the heart of the doors were the massive and thick adamantium doors, material found more often than not in warships and heavy armor, which similarly yielded to Unit 06 alongside the series of lesser doors behind it.

The office itself was quite spacious, decorated with all manner of trophies and relics, most of them from the commanding officer's escapades throughout the centuries. Seated behind the massive desk, reclined fully in his chair, was the Commander, Imperial Guard Special Activities Directorate. At his side was Unit 06's superior, Commandant Flasgof Vilv, commander of the 5th Group of Special Activities Team 1. Who Cheavlier wasn't planning on seeing, however, was Captain Jose Maria Janssen, commander of 5th Group's Unit 03.

“Admiral, Commandant,” noted Chevalier as she saluted to her superiors. “Janssen? I guess we weren't the only ones to mess up.”

“Speak for yourself, Chevalier,” said Janssen with a smile as he rose to shake Chevalier's hand.

“Gabrielle, please have a seat,” said the Admiral as he motioned toward the seats in front of his desk. “You aren't here because of any wrongdoing.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Chevalier, as she and the rest of the unit obliged. “I have to admit that this is somewhat unusual. Normally, we just report to Commandant Vilv at Triumphe Station.”

“Yes, I know, but in this case, I felt that it was more prudent to see you directly alongside Commandant Vilv. Tell me, what do you two remember about Count Sicard?”

“Only that he was a delusional psychopath who we killed a few years back. Why?”

“The Count was a part of a reactionary insurrectionist group, the Committee for the Establishment of a New Empire. Among its many demands, the CENE calls for the liquidation of the Senate and Assembly and the current holder of the Throne, with the ultimate goal of establishing an absolute monarchy under their leader, Prince Pham Tan Chien. Of course, Sicard was too extreme even for their tastes, and they realized that if they didn't cut them loose, his over-the-top antics would jeopardize their agenda.”

“Which they were right,” replied Jassen. “We took out much of the top leadership of the CENE and drove them underground once we connected the dots.”

“Unfortunately, the CENE was much more resilient than we imagined,” continued El Brazi. “They found new backers in the form of the Chinese, as well as the resources necessary to pull off a whole new wave of insurrectionist campaigns and assassinations.”

“So, my ex-operator was telling the truth, then,” concluded Chevalier.

“Yes. How the CENE could make one of our own defect and keep it a secret right until the end is beyond even me. In fact, the only probable reason for this is that someone was covering his tracks from within.”

Chevalier raised her eyebrows at the last sentence as the realization of what was said sank in. “Sir, are you inferring that we might be dealing with rogue elements in our own government?"

“That is the conclusion I have come to. And it isn't limited to the Guard. Alongside the DGSE, we have identified several prominent government and military officials who are showing signs of bizarre behavior. Take the High Governor of the Gaul Province, for example. Constantino Morreti and his family are quite powerful, with their near-hereditarial holding of the Gaul Province being highly influential and a powerhouse among French politics A few months ago, he disappeared for a week, no explanation given. When he returned, he was changed; his behavior and activities have become erratic and unlike him. Internal Security hasn't been able to link him to CENE, but I don't like this sudden shift of character. All of this is pointing to something far greater than mere terrorism on the part of CENE. With Chinese aid, we have to accept that possibility that they're planning some sort of coup once their allies overrun the Empire.”

“So, where do we come in?” asked Jassen.

“The war may be shifting in our favor, but the antics of CENE could be disastrous for us, especially if they gain more support and aid. We need to stamp down on them now, before they have a chance to destabilize the Throne itself. I want Chien's head on a platter to be presented to the Emperor, and the elements of the Chinese NSB who collaborated with the pretender to the Throne disemboweled and dumped on the steps of the NSB headquarters. I personally chose your units because of the fact that you're highly skilled and happen to not on assignment at the moment. Besides, I know for a fact that both of you are free of Chien's influence, which makes you invaluable.”

“Even with Benzekri double crossing us?” asked Chevalier.

“Gabrielle,” said the Admiral with a smile, “if there was even a smidgen of evidence linking you to Chien, your brain's content would have been mine and you and the rest of your unit would have been dead by now. Satisfied?”


“Well, good. I'm splitting you up for this operation in order to cover more ground. Chevalier, I want you and your unit to first investigate the activities of a suspected NSB agent, Sheng Daiyu. Among other things, we believe she may be acting as a link between CENE sycophants and whatever element of the NSB that's aiding them. Her last known location was at Oranje-Nassau. Find her, find out everything you can about the connection between the NSB and CENE, and kill her.

Jassen, I want you and Unit 05 to move against a Chinse safehouse we've discovered thanks to our mole. It's being used as a waystation for CENO operatives, and I don't appreciate roach motels in sovereign French space. Both of you are to report to the spaceport immediately to await deployment. The details of your missions will be waiting for you, and Vilv will oversee the operation remotely to ensure things go according to plan. Good luck and dismissed."

Rising from her seat and saluting, Chevalier and her unit were already making their way to the elevator when Jassen walked up beside her. “Hunting down potentially traitorous nobles and dignitaries during wartime. Not exactly what I expected to be doing when China declared war on us.”

“This war has been full of surprises,” noted Chevalier as she entered one of the elevators. “Let just make sure they don't get the chance to pull off whatever they're planning.”

“And not die many nasty, multiple deaths in the process?”

“That too.”

Versailles Station Spaceport

“So, how are we going to be moving around the galaxy while not being blown to bits or detected?” asked Rousseau as Unit 06 arrived at one of the many hangers in the cosmodome used by the Versailles Station. While it couldn't handle actual warships above destroyer tonnage – that was the job of the star fortress in orbit – it could handle virtually any other type of ship or boat needed by Special Activities, which never tended to be that big, anyways.

“Good question,” responded Chevalier. “I think he might be able to help us out.” She nodded over to a man in a flight suit who was visibly arguing with technicians near a starship.

“No shit, Sherlock!” barked out the pilot. “I'm telling you that it works like a charm, and I don't need some snot nosed little punk telling me otherwise, especially since I've been taking the goddamn thing out for dozens of missions! Who the fuck let you graduate from engineering school, anyways?!”

Chevalier coughed to grab the man's attention. “Sorry if I'm interrupting anything, but I believe you have a ship ready to transport us.”

“Huh? Oh, yes, of course,” replied the pilot as he wiped his hands with a rag and saluted. “I'm Lieutenant Gunther Prideaux, commanding officer and pilot of this baby. You must be Captain Chevalier. Commandant Vilv told me you'd be arriving.”

“What was with the theatrics?”

Prideaux grumbled something. “I make a habit of tinkering with my boat, you know, trying to improve its performance. I managed to find a way to improve the output of the ship's impellers and make them accelerate faster, but the technicians in this place don't take kindly to excessive modification. Personally, though, they have no idea what they're talking about. I bet they're just jealous that they didn't come up with the idea first.”

“This is what's going to be hauling us around?” asked Bergeron as he took in the dart-shaped spacecraft.

“She's a beauty, isn't she?” said Prideaux with a wide grin. “Officially the ship's referred to by is serial number, but I christened her the Kicker of Smug Assholes after I blew up a Rimmer armored column pinning down some commandos.”

“How appropriate,” mused Chevalier.

“Anyways,” continued Prideaux, “she's a Beta-class pinnance. At 300 meters longs and about 15,000 tonnes, it's nothing special when you look at it. We've modified her, though, to allow for full transgalactic travel, as well as equipping her with the best distortion engines, cloaking field, and EW package available. We can fly right under the noses of even the most advanced sensors and outrun those ships that spot us. And if we can't outrun 'em, we can give them a nasty surprise with our twenty powergun batteries, four missile pods, and nose-mounted gravity gun."

“How fast can you get the boat ready for launch?"

“It's ready now, Captain. We're fully loaded with fuel, supplies, and ordnance and I have the coordinates to Oranje-Nassau. Just give the word, sir.”

“Then let's get moving, Lieutenant. I don't want to keep our host waiting.”
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Germania your game is through, now you're gonna answer to... The Freestates! Fuck Yeah! Now lick my balls and suck on my cock! Freestates, Fuck Yeah! Coming in to save the motherfuckin' day! Rock and roll, fuck yeah! Television, fuck yeah! DVDs, fuck yeah! Militums, fuck yeah! - Shroomy
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Booted Vulture
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Re: Götterdämmerung

Post by Booted Vulture »

Heya MM, I'm ashamed it took this long to get around to reading your update. PRetty good stuff, rather talky and expositiony as you said but such things are kinda necessary. The infosphere section was a nice change of pace at least. It would have been nice to hear more about Chevaliar's new recruits and what she thinks about bringing them on after so long with her old team? (Or maybe she used to frequent replacements, whatever, could be used to explore her character a bit more)
Ah Brother! It's been too long!
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Magister Militum
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Re: Götterdämmerung

Post by Magister Militum »

Booted Vulture wrote:It would have been nice to hear more about Chevaliar's new recruits and what she thinks about bringing them on after so long with her old team? (Or maybe she used to frequent replacements, whatever, could be used to explore her character a bit more)
I considered this - it was a part of the rough draft - but I cut parts of it out after I thought it was getting too wordy. I'm going to explore it in later chapters, though, especially in regards to Rousseau, who's going to play a major role in this saga.
Democratic Socialist | Atheist | Transhumanist | Bright Green Environmentalist | Worldbuilder | IT Professional |

Germania your game is through, now you're gonna answer to... The Freestates! Fuck Yeah! Now lick my balls and suck on my cock! Freestates, Fuck Yeah! Coming in to save the motherfuckin' day! Rock and roll, fuck yeah! Television, fuck yeah! DVDs, fuck yeah! Militums, fuck yeah! - Shroomy
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