Mass Kidnappings Reported Across Clokwerk-Occupied Space
The Clokwerk Horde
“This just in. A rash of mysterious kidnappings has been reported on seven of the newly occupied worlds in the outer Cygnus arm of the Milky Way galaxy. Information is scarce, but all of the victims appear to be young, female humans between the ages of 19 and 25. Many of the missing persons are described by friends and family members as attractive, although this may just be coincidence.
These crimes come at a hard time for residents of the seven worlds. Most of them are still reeling from the rapid takeover by the mechanical “men” who call themselves the Clokwerk. Strangely, the Clokwerk seem to be converting all structures and technology on the planets to that found on ancient Earth during the early 19th century. Citizens report the replacement of modern prefabricated buildings with those of stone and wood, the complete removal of any source of electricity, and the general restoration of the conquered worlds. All of the work appears to be done by the Clokwerk alone, and at no undue hindrance to the populaces. Because the conquered worlds were independent beforehand, it looks as if no one will deliver them from this strange new menace. More on this developing story as it arrives.”
Technoczar Vladistalk II mentally disconnected his mind from the news broadcast. It was interesting to see the foreign telecast networks pick up on his actions. Smiling to himself, he turned to the young women strapped down to the oaken table behind him. Her eyes were wide with fear, and sweat dripped from her body. She had no reason to be afraid, he knew. After all, anesthetic worked marvels these days.
“Don’t worry, popet,” he said while selecting a scalpel from a nearby table. “You won’t feel a thing. And afterwards, you will be so much… more.” Oh, if only she knew what he was doing for her! None of them appreciated his genius! The fusion of machine with man, or, in this case, woman, is something beautiful!
Holding up her forearm with his secondary left hand, Vladistalk clucked disapprovingly. “Look at this,” he said, “you still have bones in here! Why, you are very fragile! Well, we shall soon fix that.” He smiled again, thinking about his plans. Clokwerk made excellent servants, but something else was required. Something only achievable through the melding of flesh and iron.
“Nurse,” he mumbled, addressing another women standing on the other side of the table, “please anesthetize the specimen.” The women complied, and Vladistalk got to marvel at his creation. The nurse was already a cyborg. Outside she looked absolutely normal, except for the triangular stud placed in her brow. But inside, oh, inside she was so much more. Where once beat a fallible heart, there now only flowed water and oil. The crowning perfection, of course, was that stud. Through it, he could channel psychic power through his “Psi Witches,” directing and controlling the psionic constructs that replaced their souls.
As the restrained girl’s eyelids dropped, Vladistalk brushed her hair from her face, thinking of the grand future she had in store.
OOC: Just introducing my Psi Witches. Even though it’s not really an RP, if you see an angle, feel free to jump in.
Floating throught the void was the Farsight class intelligence/recon ship, Spider. Doing random mapping and exploratory work, the ungainly looking ship hurtled through space taking readings of various things. Two huge sensor pods were below and flanking the central crew section. Totally unarmed it was relying on its almost nonexistant sensor profile to escape detection. "Where are we at?" asked the captain.
"Sir, we appear to be on the edge of the Cygnus arm of the Milky Way."
"How do you know that? Ive never heard of that."
"We're intercepting an open transmission sir. Unable to confirm the source but it appears to be an open news broadcast." He hit a button, piping the broadcast to speakers on the bridge.
“-dents of the seven worlds. Most of them are still reeling from the rapid takeover by the mechanical “men” who call themselves the Clokwerk. Add to this the strange conversion of all structures and technology on the planets to that found on ancient Earth during the early 19th century. Citizens report the replacement of modern prefabricated buildings with those of stone and wood, the complete removal of any source of electricity, and the general restoration of the conquered worlds. All of the work appears to be done by the Clokwerk alone, and at no hindrance to the populaces. Because the conquered worlds were independent beforehand, it looks as if no one will deliver them. More on this developing story as it arrives.”
"Hmm. Continue to monitor the situation. I'll ready a report for command. I can't see us getting involved, but any information can be useful to someone."
OOC: How's that for an angle? If you want it gone I'll delete it. By the way, nice post.
The Clokwerk Horde
The cobblestone streets of the planet New Connohaugh’s largest city, Glisan, were lit only by flickering gas lamps, leaving a murky border of shadows on nearly every surface. Few people ventured outdoors since the Clokwerk takeover, and even fewer since the kidnappings had begun. Tonight, though, the streets were even more deserted. It was as if the populace could feel… something. Perhaps it was a charge in the air or a subtle sound on the breeze.
The click of high heels on stone announced the presence of one of the Technoczar’s new toys. She was tall and thin, and like all of her sisters, wore the standard black outfit and conical hat of her trade. The shining brass stud in her forehead betrayed her for what she was: witch.
The "woman" made her way down the main street, glancing in either direction only half-interestedly. The psychic construct within her knew that no mere mortal was fool enough to attack this form, even if she was mostly human. Suddenly, her spine stiffened. Through her connection to Vladistalk, the Psi Witch perceived a new item of interest, far beyond the atmosphere of the world. Hmm, she thought (or rather, Vladistalk thought for her). In a flash of artificial lightning she jumped towards orbit. Perhaps there she could see better.
* * *
Meanwhile, the Clokwerk Flyer in geosynchronous orbit around New Connohaugh, was bored. All of its windows were open to let the interstellar breeze help cool it from the sun’s rays. The Footmen that made up most of its crew were lazily walking through space, occasionally stopping to look at their reflection in the Flyer’s glass hull. The sudden appearance of a Psi Witch changed all that.
Her arrival was a shock to all of them. “Ignite the furnaces,” her singsong voice said, “we have a patrol to do.”
OOC: Nice stuff. We can certainly pull something out of this.
Valley of the Giant
OOC: We could collide later. I'll pop in once my current FT RP ends.
Back aboard the Spider, A tech suddenly swore. "What the hell was that?!"
The captain ambled over, "What is it?"
"I don't know, sir. Running only passive scans its impossible to say, but something left the surface of the nearest planet at a speed comparable to one of our Bladehawks, and then stopped just as abruptly. I think it's in orbit now. I think there's something else there as well, but I'm getting weird readings. It could be an orbiting object or just scatter from the atmosphere. I'd like to hit with active sensors."
The captain shook his head. "No. We aren't officially here. We don't want to be noticed and even a simple radio telescope would pick up an active sweep. Just keep an eye on it and let me know if it moves."
The Clokwerk Horde
Black smoke began to pump out of the seven giant smokestacks along the spine of the Flyer. The Footmen inside threw shovel after shovel of coal into the massive furnace, heating the boilers with their blazing fury. Slowly at first, but picking up speed, the paddlewheels on either side churned the ethereal void of space. Clokwerk crewman were everywhere; on the gun decks, in the engine room, and even on the ceiling. Most of them were scanning space with their spyglasses and arcane monocles, looking for anything unusual.
The original witch had been joined by another. The two femme fatales oozed dread like sweat, and the Clokwerk around them bent double to their work. "Nothing spotted so far, Mistresses" came the report from the lead Footman.
"Continue your scans," cooed the taller one. The bridge was rapidly filling up with soot from all of the furnaces in the room, but not one of the occupants seemed bothered by it. As the wheels spun faster, the ship gathered momentum, drawing it ever closer to the edge of the system.
OOC: Go ahead and post, VotG.
"Anomaly is confirmed as a ship of unknown design. It's moving slowly but picking up speed and headed in this direction."
"Alright, continue to monitor it." The captain shook his head. If that hing closed with them there would be trouble, as the Spider lacked weapons. What worried him most was it seemed that despite all the anti-detection equipement, they had still been discovered. "Engines, Reverse our thrust, we're backing out. ECM, prepare to give 'em the works if they get too close. Comms, get ready to fire off a message to command." Getting a chorus of affirmations, he sat down to wait.
The Clokwerk Horde
One of the Footmen on the bridge sighed in frustration. The glass walls were impacting his ability to see. Finally, he pulled a latch on the side of the nearest panel and lifted it clear. A slight breeze ruffled the shoulder-length black hair of the witches as the oxygen that had accidentally brought with them from the planet escaped.
Now that there was nothing in the way, the spyglass could see much further. Still, there was nothing out there… wait! A sudden glint in the distance caught his bronze eye. It was more a psychic glint than a physical one, and he sensed it rather than saw it. But he did know it was there. ‘Mistresses, foreign object to port.” He rattled off the distance and approximate size of the unidentified shape as the spyglass continued to gather information.
The first witch furrowed her brow and stamped her heel. Whatever it was, it had not done anything yet, so there was no reason to suspect danger. Still, it was better to be safe than sorry. “You,” she said, pointing to a random Footman, “go see what it is.” The Clokwerk bowed, and, stepping out into space, began to jog on over to the object as if he was treading on land. “The rest of you, light the furnaces under the steam cannons, just in case.”
The sensor tech just stared. "Captain...you're not going to believe this."
"What is it?"
"I'll put it on the screen, sir. Maximum magnification." With a few keystrokes, he did exactly that. Displayed on the screen was an impossibility: someone was running toward the ship. A person was running at the ship. In space!
"Engines, increase speed. Comms, send a burst transmission before they grow the brains to jam us."
Destination: Fifth Fleet Patrol Group Theta.
Origin: I/R Ship Spider
Body: At 200607272102 While on routine sweep of nearby systems discovered through unknown means by indeginous population. Indigs possess tech/abilities previousely unencountered. Recommend threat index raised immediately. If secondary message is not recieved in the standard time, request partial diversion of forces.
The Clokwerk Horde
The Footman was sprinting along at a pretty good pace, attempting to reach the object before it got too far away. With unwavering precision, he held the spyglass to his eye, drinking in details to be relayed to the Flyer. “Looks like a ship,” he yelled over his shoulder. Through the marvel of psionics, the sound wave managed to travel through nothing and reach the Witches.
Just as his call came in, the two women perceived a broadcast from what they now logged as a vessel of some kind. “Recommended actions?” one asked the other.
“Increase furnace output. Bring us up to flank speed. Charge the jump drive. I want to catch up to that ship and put a crew on her.” Thinking for a moment, she continued, “just to be safe, of course. We would not want to provoke them, now would we?” The shorter witch nodded somberly.
“I will go myself,” she said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Alone?” asked her sister. The witch again nodded.
“Yes, alone. But,” she said as her words trailed off, “maybe we should get some Reavers prepped. Like you say, just in case…” The other witch smiled and stalked deeper into the Flyer.
The odd man had stopped. But behind him... "Captain, the unknown vessel is accelerating!"
"I want us on an outbound vector! Engines, increase output and prepare to jump." The captain looked at a clock. Not much time before the next message is supposed to go out. "Raise the shields, they already know we're here. ECM, I want you ready to go at an moment's notice."
"Ready sir." The ship lurched a little as it increased its speed. As the shields and other systems came up or activated more and more lights lit up on the bridge, and more sounds appeared in the background. The ship came about and started to go back the way it had come.
The Clokwerk Horde
The Footman stopped dead. There was no way he could run as fast as that ship was going. So he turned around and began to stroll back to the approaching Flyer. He kicked at a passing micrometeorite and looked down at his feet. It wasn’t often that something this exciting happened. Usually he was just forced to help “reform” the conquered worlds.
As the Flyer neared, the silhouettes of its steam cannons could be made out. They were not in a firing position, but the gunners could be seen tracking the fleeing vessel through the transparent walls. Finally, the craft was close enough that the Footman could jump in through a hole in the hull.
The paddlewheels were now turning at an amazing pace, and a second furnace had been lit, trying to build the steam pressure required by the Will of Vladistalk. The other ship was gaining distance and constantly shifted in and out of the spyglass’s viewing range.
On the bridge the shorter witch growled. It was apparent that they would not be catching up. “I’m going to attempt a jump from here,” she said. Her compatriot nodded.
“You can’t make it on your own reserves. Let me help.” Bending down until her forehead was level with her shorter sister’s, they pressed studs together, sharing power between them.
“I think I will teleport to the bow of their ship. Outside, of course. I don’t want to startle them too bad,” she said with a wicked grin. Then, in a surge of psychic power, the witch was gone.
OOC: Ok, I’m knocking off for the night. See you all in the morning. Oh, by the way, please restrict OOC comments to either the end or beginning of an IC post, not in their own post. Remember, only you can prevent dirty threads.
Alright, we're got away. Then all hell broke loose.
"Captain! Something's reverting inside the shield!" The captain jerked his head towards the main window just in time to see a woman appear as if by magic. Then, the ship hit her, and while it may or may not have damaged her it totally messed up the ship. Hitting a foreign object at any speed is as good as a death sentence for a spaceship. While she was plastered to the bow, the window had cracked and was making disturbing noises.
"Comms, distress signal now! ECM, Unleash everything you have as soon as our transmission gets off!" As soon as the SOS went out, every electronic countermeasure went off all at once. From basic jamming to EMPs and decoys. An electronic cacophany was let loose.
The Clokwerk Horde
The jump did not go as planned. The ship had apparently been trying to get up to a speed where they could enter hyperspace, and had moved too erratically for the witch to precisely aim. The result was less than spectacular, she thought as she lay flat against the bow of the vessel. Suddenly, although not unexpectedly, a massive electronic explosion surged through the surrounding space. It was so powerful that her neatly brushed hair stood up on end, nearly pushing her hat from her head. It was times like this that she was thankful the only electric thing in her was her neurons.
Suppressing a force-laden curse on the blasted pilot of the ship, the witch began to exert her psionic powers to keep the craft from flaking apart. The hull was vibrating rapidly, although she could not tell whether it was from the engines or the screaming crew. As her hold on its internal structure grew tighter, the ship slowed. It took all her might, but slowly and surely the vessel was grinding to a halt.
Sensing that the craft was at last slow enough to keep them from entering hyperspace with her on it, the witch closed her eyes and darted through the hull and into the ship.
* * *
Meanwhile, back on New Connohaugh, word was spreading about the disturbance in orbit. The streets slowly filled with people of all walks of life, bound in scarves and jackets more out of habit than necessity. All eyes were on the heavens, watching for something… anything. Some sign that someone had learned of their plight and come to free them.
But there was nothing.
The streets did not remain full for long. Clokwerk arrived and dispersed the crowd, sending them back to their cottages and inns. Soon there was naught but the call of the 12 o’clock watchman and the click-clack of a passing carriage.
Still, the people were restless. Gray smoke crawled from the chimneys of a dozen homes, and here and there people could be spotted on their roofs, gazing at the stars. It was a good night to be outside. The air was not too cold, there was not a cloud in the sky, and the fey swamp lights flitted and danced among the trees.
If it were not for the looming shapes of the Clokwerk overseers standing on every corner, perched in windowsills, standing on the rooftops, New Connohaugh would be just about perfect. Just about perfect…
The crew had just enough time to exchange glances, they knew their duty. Then while the captain hit a button on the underside of one of his armrests, the bridge crew drew their sidearms almost as one. They weren't sure how the woman had stopped the ship or entered, but they weren't going to stand for it. As they opened fire, the engines redlined themselves. The button was a very simple self destruct mechanism: once pressed it opened a circuit caused the engines to produce the maximum amount of power without actually applying thrust. As the crew fired at the woman, the captain opened up on the cracked window behind her. Running through a vacuum or not, explosive decompression would make her hate her day.
OOC: I don't know how she would take rounds, but she's not in much danger of being hit. As bridge crew, these men are pretty bad shots.
The Clokwerk Horde
Ironically, it was her attempt to hold the ship together that had been the witches undoing. Bound by bands of psionic force, the destruction of the vessel created a gigantic pressure cooker that superheated everything inside to plasma. The women’s death shriek frothed the space around the wreck and hurdled out into the void. On the nearby Flyer, her sister collapsed to the deck, panting and retching, and the Footmen held their heads in anguish. Belowdecks, a Reaver went berserk and smashed through a wall, running off into space, never to be seen again.
As the roiling cloud of molten materiel began to dissipate, all of the Clokwerk in the system felt an enormous pressure squeezing them. Technoczar Vladistalk II himself was focusing on the event, the death of the witch sending ripples through his consciousness.
Drawing deep, slow breaths, the remaining witch stood with great care. “Find out who that ship belonged to,” she hissed, tugging a strand of sweat-damp hair from her face. Even as the Footmen obeyed, glowing blue-silver bolts of lightning erupted all around New Connohaugh. Moments later the skies themselves were filled to brimming with the Clokwerk hulks of a dozen Flyers.
OOC: Apologies for not posting sooner! A glitch in either NS or Jolt (see: Technical) keeps me from logging on to the forums most of the time.
****In Dominion Space, Fifth Fleet Patrol Group Theta********
On the bridge of the battleship Kolmorn captain Kariudo Ookami was sitting in his command chair on pins and needles. He was awaiting the secondary message from the Spider indicating the threat was over. Somehow someone had detected a supposedly undetectable class of ship, and then had been able to move into a threatening range. It was impossible, and yet it had happened. He looked out at his patroll group, his battleship, the cruisers Odaren and Tolsar, the frigates Uther and Vacone, the destroyers Xander and Padan, and the corvettes Qupar, Hildar and Ciroc, and the Assault ship Sparticus.
If that message didn't come, he would leave the corvettes...and the destroyers. He would take the cruisers and frigates with him. No. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't strip the patrol of its muscle. He sighed, he would send the assault ship in first, followed by his battleship. The rest of the patrol group would continue their oiginal assignment.
"Captain, the appointed time has passed."
"Alright, send the assault ship now. We will folow in ten minutes."
The assault ship accelerated to supralight speeds, followed ten minutes later by the battleship.
Anárion was lounging in his suite aboard the necrontyr vessel Erisavenus when the word came down from the ship’s mind that it had found something interesting. Extricating himself from the delightfully pleasant attentions of his masseuses, he frowned a little, “So, what’ve you found?”
Eris was busy on a long term out-system mission it liked and most of its compatriots despised, that of seeding every star in the milky way with Cultural Survey Drones. Little autonomous, self-repairing devices that monitored for signs of intelligent life. It jumped into a system’s oort cloud every second or so, and let one loose. The view from the walls that impersonated windows and displayed the outside of the ship was interesting, to say the least. Constantly changing star-fields as the ship moved. It would jump, fire a CSD out of its aft deck, and then jump again, ad infinitium.
Of course, to an entity as immensely intelligent and mercurial as a necron starship, this was a boring task, but Eris had its motives. It allowed it to learn of all sorts of things that were otherwise unknown.
With a ringing pop, a sandy-blonde haired overweight man in a ridiculous costume appeared, accompanied by a ‘little green man.’ Anárion’s three elfin attendants started a little at this, and one, much to his amusement, even covered herself with a towel.
“It seems there’s been a spate of kidnappings on some planets out this way. I’m altering course to intercept, low cruise,” the man said. Anárion knew what low cruise meant, of course, it meant the ship was dawdling along at what would be, for a human, a pace equivalent to mooching with one’s hands in one’s pockets, kicking at small stones on the pavement, “so I can alter my hull to a stealth configuration.”
“Right,” Anárion said. He didn’t question the need to investigate. He was, like the ship, one of the ‘Venturers’ a paramilitary group dedicated to ‘To learn of and duly ennoble all peoples in the manner to which they aspire and to revere all that lives?’ though their informal motto was ‘military might is for us, not for yooou!’ with an optional ‘yoink’ after it.
“Human females, young, pretty, you know the deal,” the ship’s avatar said. Anárion nodded, apparently seeing no hypocrisy despite his own nearby nubile harem.
“Could be anything, I suppose,” the second avatar said, “You name it. Pirates, raiders, slaver-governance…”
“There’s no shortage of consumers of young women,” Anárion lamented.
“I’m looking up data and synthesising appropriate clothes for you now,” the human avatar, ‘Zapp’ added.
“Yes, apparently the affected systems have been annexed by some sort of, get this, steam powered luddite interstellar empire.”
“Now that is new,” Anárion said.
“You better believe it,” Zapp said, snapping his fingers, before stopping. “Something’s come up. A distress signal. Get dressed in something normal, it’s time to take the obvious approach. Increasing speed.”
The ship shot into existence, seeming simply to slow down from going too fast to observe, several thousand kilometres away from the wreck of the Spider. It shot a signal off, though whether this was detectable by the eccentric clokwerk technology would be unknown to it.
Hello! My name’s Erisavenus; I received a distress signal, how may I help?
The Clokwerk Horde
A council was being held amongst the Clokwerk in orbit around New Connohaugh. A representative of each Flyer was there, as was a Duplicate (or possibly Vladistalk himself; nobody in the room was quite sure) and his attendant Psi Witches. The topic of conversation was, first and foremost, the death of the witch. It had never happened before, and came as an unpleasant surprise to all present.
“She knew what she was getting in to,” sighed the Duplicate.
“You are not saying we let this go unpunished, are you?” demanded an obviously angry witch. The Duplicate smiled grimly.
“Watch yourself, witch. Do not take me for a fool. Of course this deed will be dealt with. However, we have little to no idea who is responsible.” The Clokwerk frowned and nodded. After some moments, a Warjack standing in the back of the Flyer’s conference room tentatively spoke.
“The vessel sent out a distress signal, correct?” he asked, more than aware of his limited thinking capacity. “Why don’t we just follow it?”
“Because,” waved a witch, “it has already gone. If we had followed it as soon as it was launched, maybe we could have gotten to the other end. But not now.”
“Could we just go in the same direction as the signal?” questioned the Duplicate.
“In theory,” answered his head witch.
“Well then, that’s settled.” The group was preparing to return to their respective craft when a Footman rushed in.
“Masters, Mistresses, a signal has arrived on the oscillator. Playback activated.” With that, the metal man twitched a little and entered into playback mode.
“Hello!,” said the Footman in a perfect copy of the sender’s voice. “My name’s Erisavenus; I received a distress signal, how may I help?” A hushed silence fell among the council. Perturbed, the Footman started to play his message again, but was silenced.
“Perhaps they are confused?” supplied the Warjack, hoping to make a good impression on one of the witches in particular.
“And why, pray tell, would they be confused?” she asked him disgustedly, watching as his hopes curled up and died.
“Because, um, because t-they asked us if w-we needed help, not the race who owned the ship,” he stuttered back. The idea donned on the Clokwerk that this machine might just be right.
“I have an idea,” said the Duplicate, a light shining in his (possibly) mechanical eyes. “Send a reply to the message. Tell them that we have lost one of our ships due to a raid by an hostile enemy force. Ask them to assist us in garnering the location of these “foes.””
“Immediately, Master,” bowed the witches.
The assault ship Sparticus reverted just beyond the Spider's debris cloud. Though called an assault ship, it was really just a small transport with a few weapons and beefed up shields. Attampting a sensor sweep, it was thwarted by interference from the mass of debris. It began to manuever around the debris field not yet noticing anything out of the ordinary. Aside from what remained of one of their ships, of course.
OOC: Short post, I know. I'm waiting to do anything else until after it's noticed and/or you do something about its arrival.
Erisavenus found this quite a convincing statement, and replied positively, still using the ‘simpleton’ phrasing it had used before, “Sure I’ll help you look? Is this debris field one of them?” The mighty cruiser of space turned a little, it didn’t need to, to face the debris field, and was pointed at it when the Sparticus showed up. Aboard the four kilometre ship, Anárion watched a holo-screen showing the new arrival.
“Look like a raider to you?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Zapp replied, “I am locking weapons on target now. Powering primary emitters.”
“Might I suggest talking to them?”
Zapp nodded, and two more holo screens appeared, “Hailing the newcomer,” he said.
“Put me up,” Anárion said.
“As you wish,” the ship relied.
Greetings from the Imperial Necrontyr Cruiser Erisavenus, we received a distress signal from this area. May we ask your interest in it?
What about that ship? Anything to do with the raiders?
Their was some confusion on the Sparticus' bridge. "Distress signal? What distress signal?" asked the captain. "They should only have sent out a burst transmission towards the patrol group."
"Well, sir. According to some of the sensors the debris is carrying a charge. That would indicate a massive blast of our ECM gear. I suppose this could be mistaken for a distress signal. Also the method of self-destruction used by Farsight class vessels still hasn't been fully studied due to the cost. We still don't know what effects there are when it goes off.
The debris is the remains of one of our ships. Do you know who instigated this? The ship was unarmed and had a crew complement of less than twenty men, it would not have intentionally provoked anyone.
The elf frowned, "No, we don't know yet. Supposedly there has been pirate activity here recently. Perhaps this is the cause of the destruction of your vessel. The remaining ships in the system appear to be local, and have thus far been quite co-operative with us."
Well, then. If you don't mind, we will begin salvaging what's left of our craft. Also, we will soon be joined by a single battleship from back home. Just thought we'd warn you in case you're twitchy." The front of the assault ship slowly opened and several mobile suits equipped with thrusterpacks emerged and jetted towards the wreckage. Several small hangars on the side of the ship opened and became collection points for the debris. Other hangers, though, remained shut, hiding their contents from view.
The Clokwerk Horde
OOC: Guys, I am so sorry it took so long for me to post. This glitch is unbearable! Sorry again! Oh, and before I forget, if you want to land a force on New Connohaugh, go for it.
IC: The Clokwerk watched, silently, as the two foreign races conversed. They were suspicious of both, as either one of them could be responsible for the slaying of the Psi Witch. When the mobile suits were dispatched from the late arrival, however, it became clear who owned the wreckage.
“Battle stations!” roared the Duplicate General, whirling around on his feet to face the bridge crew. Levers and dials were manipulated, sending orders to the gun crews and engine room. The Flyer’s full compliment of cannon clanked into firing position, rolling along the iron rails beneath them. The furnaces coughed sooty smoke from their stacks as more power was demanded from them, and the paddlewheels began to turn once more.
All around the flagship Flyers were following suit, prepping for full combat. “Prepare a signal to be sent to the Necrontyr starship,” growled the Duplicate. Footmen obediently did as commanded, and the channel was opened.
“Attention foreign vessel. The ship that just dispatched the clean-up team has been identified as the raiders who so grievously molested our fleet. I demand that you assist in arresting the vile criminals immediately.” As the message was being broadcast, Clokwerk Scrammers rocketed towards the debris field on wings of steam, heading to intercept the mobile suit teams already at work collecting globs of now-cool plasma.
* * *
Down on New Connohaugh, the destruction of the spy ship had caused quite a stir, lighting up the skies with its fiery death blaze. Everyone, male and female, young and old, human and Clokwerk, ducked as if to avoid being struck.
The following minutes were tense as people were firmly herded back indoors. Extra Clokwerk patrols began to circulate, prepared to curtail any illegal activities, should they arise in the excitement of the event. Such things had happened on more than one occupied world, and much bloodshed had been required to once again pacify the planets.
Erisavenus mulled over its options as it watched mecha going about their business, idly letting a targeting algorithm single them out for fire, if it desired. The options were clear enough. Alienate the locals, and effectively end any peaceful investigation, or cooperate. It was an easy choice.
“Sparticus, you have been accused of being involved with piracy. Please stand down all weapons systems and cooperate with local authorities. I have my weapons locked on to you, and request that you do not provoke me to fire.”
With no warning whatsoever, a ship of the Ixian Confederation suddenly appeared in between the planetary body and the two foreign vessels. Everyone involved was quite surprised.
"Benson," sighed the Guild Navigator from his chamber on the bridge. "Do you see what a random exit gets you?"
Amadeus Benson flipped the insufferable Navigator the bird and twitchily swung back around to the sensor screens. "Just what in the hell did you propose doing Dicky? Sitting there and letting the planetary defenses chew us up? I wasn't expecting a gravity beam that damn close!"
The Navigator rolled his eyes. "It's Richard, as I have an annoyingly repeated habit of having to remind you. And my job is not to plan for those things- that's yours. I guide the ship upon the glorious light of the Golden Path, allowing humanity to transcend-"
"Can it Dicky. You're the one who should be anticipating these things!"
"Prescience is not infallible. So stuff it where the suns don't shine."
An intrepid Lieutenant took it upon himself to initiate the long-range scans and power up both Wassermann fileds and weaponry emplacements. He had to do so much, with the quibbling of his bridge crew! So much, at least in times where the ship wasn't in danger of being blown to pieces. The bridge had the habit of congealing a bit more in life or death situations. Which, from the scans, this was.
Benson furrowed his brow at the reports.
"What is it Benson, doing some of that dangerous thing called thinking?"
"Dicky, stuff it. We've got a situation. Group of humans with weapons ready, being targeted by Necrontyr vessel-"
"Do we ever get away from seeing those guys?"
"No, as it seems that they've got shit all over the place. Noinetheless, that's not it. Unidentified faction, using what appears to be.... steam power. In space. Dick?"
"I'm not psychic for the God's sakes! Prescient! There's a difference! But I would say some type of low-level psyking would tend to allow those sorts of things. That and a technological base built almost entirely on archaic symbols, judging from the scans. Odd thing is, in my mind, that none of the hostiles are fully human. THis may not bode well for the path. I'd recommend observation."
The Navigator's idea was met with skepticism from Benson. "We just appeared in the middle of their little fight, with no warning, raised weapons and defensive systems, and have sat here for multiple minutes saying nothing to anyone. Simple observation this is not, at least in my eyes if I'm over there. Get ready to bug out, but wait for an order. And yes, I'm listening to you. Nothing random. Prepare a definite ending location because I don't want to appear inside an asteroid like that one time near Verdagas Prime."
being targeted by Necrontyr vessel-"
"Do we ever get away from seeing those guys?"
OOC: Err... What? There's like... three or four players with the same source material, and only one (mayhap two) has any population of living necrontyr. None use the same ship designs as I. And a search of your posts appears to indicate no previous encounters with necrons of any stripe.
[OOC- Psssh. You think they care about that silly living/dead distinction? Fact is, when survey ships go out looking for places to send the bigger ships to, there are a lot of random artifacts floating around in the universe, many of them Necrontyr. Add in a longer tour of duty in Necron-heavy areas and.... well, crew gets bored. They don't care what kind of Necrontyr- it's like humans. They all get boring after over-exposure. My crews want aliens! With big squiggly eyes! Not the same old stuff that they see on sensors all the fragging time.
Just pin it as a conversational aid and don't try reading too much into it. That's my advice to following bridge crew conversations, especially with these two officers. :)]
"WHAT?! We're accused of piracy?! Need I remind you who's wreckage this is? Our ship was attacked! An unarmed vessel on a mapping mission. What possible piracy can be accomplished with no weapons this far from the nearest trading lanes? I refuse to comply with the demands of those who are most likely responsible for killing my comrades! What piracy occured? Do you even have proof there was an act of piracy? Where is the evidence to indicate such an event? Now, if you would be so kind as to allow us to continue our salvage effort, it is believed that we will find the ship's data core. It's black box, as it were." The mobile suits continued their salvage efforts, unabated. On the side of the ship, the other hangers opened revealing snubfighters sitting idle within. "We refuse to submit before knowing all the facts." The captain looked at a timer on his chair arm. Only a couple more minutes and the Kolmorn would arrive in system.
The Clokwerk Horde
“My, it’s getting rather crowded out there, isn’t it?” remarked one of the Duplicate’s witches. The general nodded ruefully.
“Open a channel to the new visitor,” he ordered. Addressing said ship, he began to dictate the message. “This is Clokwerk controlled space. Please state your reasons for the intrusion.” Behind him, the Witches were preparing to board the Arcadeos craft, their bullwhips unfurled and tiny fingers of psionic force playing about their chests.
At that moment, the Kolmorn reverted to realspace about where the Spartacus had originally appeared. Of the new Demonic class, it replaced the older Demon class battleships. It was bigger, more heavily armed and better protected. Kariudo looked at the scene before him. "Sir, we have word from the Spartacus. They're being told to comply with who they believe killed the Spider."
"Are they complying?"
"No, sir. They've said they will continue salvage efforts until they find the data core."
"Good for them. Who else is in system?"
"We have idigenous ships and two other outsiders. One Necron vessel confirmed and one vessel of unknown type."
Kariudo's gut went cold. The reputation of the
Necrons preceded them. Granted there were several races that cannabalized Necron ships, but if there were genuine Necrons on board..."Coded signal to the Spartacus: Speed up salvage efforts. We'll be leaving as soon as all sensitive equipment is aboard."
Kariudo really didn't want to tangle with the Necrons. Too many other civilazations had been wiped from the universe for doing just that.
OOC: Just so's you know. If you board my ship(s), Necron presence or no, the shit will hit the fan.
The Clokwerk Horde
OOC: I’m tired of the diplomatic stuff. I want combat, :p. BTW, I think the ships are Necrontyr, not Necron. The Star Gods turned the Necrontyr into the Necrons when they gave them metal bodies and whatnot. Necrontyr are infinitely less dangerous than their immortal brethren.
IC: Just as the witches were about to jump, an Arcadeos battleship warped insystem. The Duplicate cursed. “Attention Arcadeos warship. You are required to stand down weapons systems and submit to boarding, as is your fellow cruiser. If you do not comply, you will be fired upon.” Turning to the witches, he motioned for them to wait.
“The situation just became much more dangerous. Commandeer backup from among our compliment.” The witches bowed and motioned for a few Clokwerk at the back of the bridge to come forward. The deck shook as three massive Warjacks and a Reaver strode forward, attaching themselves to the Psi Witch’s sphere of psionic power.
“We are prepared to die for the Technoczar,” proclaimed the Reaver though his drug-induced stupor.
“As are we all,” soothed the Duplicate, bowing to the man machine.
OOC2: I think we should wait for the others to post before we actually exchange fire. Maybe stall for a post?
"They can't be serious. Patch me through."
"We will now stand down. I repeat, we will not stand down! We will continue to investigate the cause of this situation and will brook no interference from anyone. Should you attempt to board one of our ships, it will be construed as an irrevocable act of war. Do you understand? You have no authority to board our ships. Even if you did have authority, you have no grounds to do so."
OOC: This could be interesting. With your teleportaition abilities, their could actually be fighting within the ship. This could be very interesting.
The Clokwerk Horde
OOC: haha, yea, this should be good.
IC: “Master, the battleship has refused to submit,” droned the Footman who was operating the oscillator.
“Very well. Order the rest of the fleet to engage the battleship first. Strike teams should be teleported to the critical junctions. Estimate the position of the bridge, reactor room, barracks, hangers, and computer relay system. Prioritize those targets. I want no less than two teams per objective. Am I clear?” All around the room Clokwerk acknowledged the general’s command. Orders were relayed to the Clokwerk fleet, cannons were rolled out, and shot loaded.
A few of the Flyers lit up from within as Clokwerk began teleporting. On the gun decks, Footmen lined up the crosshairs of their cannon. “Fire!” yelled a dozen gunner captains.
OOC: Exactly what do you have deployed, here? How many ships and fighters are heading towards me and how large are the teams teleporting aboard? Also, How large are these mechanical monstrosities? I mean, the corridors on my ship are only so big.
The Clokwerk Horde
OOC: Hm. Roughly half a dozen Flyers in orbit, so it will take a few minutes for them to get to the battle. Probably 3 or so near your ships. The sizes differ considerably, so I can't really say. Scrammers are probably quite prevalent. Only a dozen or so are deployed right now, intercepting your suits. The teams are probably much like the one on the Duplicate's ship. 1-2 Psi Witches and 5 or so ground support, either Reavers, Warjacks, or Footmen. My factbook has their general dimensions, but I will post them here for the sake of expediency. Warjacks and Reavers are around 10-15 feet tall, Footmen between 4 and 11 ft, and Witches about 5 1/2 feet. And I know your ships are only so large, that's why I sent the big guys in ^^. What's more fun than smashing your way through a ship?
Also, please keep OOC comments to the top or bottom of IC posts. Keeps the thread cleaner.
"Sir, they're firing."
Kariudo snarled his orders. "All weapons, target that ship! I want that ship dead and I want it dead now!" The Kolmorn unleashed a vicious broadside, targetting the enemy's bow. "Deploy Bladehawks and Thumpers! Keep the Dragoons in until they get closer! Orders to the Spartacus: launch fighters and mobilesuits."
"Yes, sir!" Bladehawk fighters and Thumper fighter-bombers began pouring from the two ships, weaving in and around the repeated salvos aimed at the clokwerk flagship. The Spartacus deployed its mobile suit complement. And they entered combat with the Scrammers.
The Clokwerk Horde
Explosions rippled along the sides of the lead Flyer, its psionic shields holding well against the brutal fusillade. Blazing-hot shards of lead erupted from the barrels of the Flyers, carving a glowing trail through the void. Cannons rolled back and were shoved full of black powder and more shot, ready to be fired again.
Out in the debris field, Scrammer fought Mobile Suit. Awe-inspiring patterns of death traced their way amongst the stars, and ammunition found craft on both sides. Here a Scrammer detonated, sending shards of brass in every direction. There, a leg was blown off a suit, spiraling it off course, perhaps forever.
Onboard the Arcadeos battleship, the lead Flyer’s strike team thundered into existence. They appeared to be… somewhere. The Psi Witches immediately looked for cover, lightning playing about their arms and heads, while the Reaver and Warjacks split into two smaller groups, protecting the flanks of their Mistresses. “Blow us a hole,” one of the witches commanded. A Warjack obeyed immediately, slugging a massive rent in the wall.
"Sir, they appear to firing some sort of KE weapons."
"What? No energy weapons or missiles?" Kariudo asked incredulously.
"Not yet, sir." A light started flashing on the man's console. "Sir! We have reports of the enemy on board the ship!"
"What?!" There was a rumble and a slight shaking sensation. "What was that?"
"Sir, hallway sixty-four see just experienced a massive depressurisation. The emergency doors shut at every entrance to that hallway. No word yet onhow many were in that hallway."
Kariudo looked angry enough to have a stroke. "Deploy the marines! I want the ship rid of intruders as soon as humanly possible. If it isn't human and wearing one of our uniforms, I want it dead."
"Yes, sir!" Throughout the ship, alarms began to go off as armored troops formed uop and began to sweep the ship.
The Clokwerk Horde
As the second broadsides were fired, additional Scrammers from the Flyers on the other side of New Connohaugh joined the fray. Enhanced by psychic power, their shots ripped into the suits, attempting to keep them off of the Flyers long enough for the fleet to pull together.
Banking hard, the squadron leader brought a mobile suit into its sights. Loading a single ball into its main steam cannon, the Scrammer blasted forwards, intent on the kill. The ball screamed through space, narrowly avoiding the crown of the suits head. The humanoid construct ducked just in time, returning fire with a laser weapon of some kind.
A second ball was flung, this time impacting and exploding in the gut of the suit. Sparks flew and slag began to form a cloud around the stricken pilot. The Scrammer cheered in its own mechanical way and began to search for another target, just in time to be dissected by a huge chunk of shrapnel.
* * *
Meanwhile, the boarding parties on the battleship were trying to orient themselves. Not one team had hit their target, and so were desperately trying to find them before resistance showed up.
The two witches in assault group one lead the way, using the Warjacks to smash holes through which to climb. They had only been in the corridors a few minutes when the first marine rounded a corner. The unfortunate man was cleft in two by a single swing of the Reaver’s axe, but not before he could alert the rest of his squad mates.
“Trouble,” murmured a witch. Several more men had joined the fray, blasting away with their varied weapons, gouging deep into the Clokwerk armor. Blow after blow was delivered by the Reaver, too huge to allow the rest of his team to pass. Frustrated, one of the Warjacks threw his bulk against a wall, denting it enough to allow them to squeeze through.
Force lightning licked the bodies of the marines, melting flesh and popping bone as the witches advanced. Psionic energy swirled and eddied through the air as shields were raised and dropped as the fields of fire changed.
With a mighty bellow, bloodlust took over the Reaver, and he stampeded down the corridor, his massive shoulders gouging the walls and ceiling as he passed. Cursing, the rest of the team attempted to follow.
“Don’t let him get away!” cried a witch, throwing balls of death behind her, staving off the inevitable rear attack. Lasers and bullets whistled through the rapidly thinning air, and strange shadows played off the blades of the Clokwerk titans. Smoke and ash mingled with the escaping atmosphere, creating a toxic miasma that drifted silently through the echoing halls.
EDIT: Here are some nice pics of a few varieties of Warjacks. 1 (http://www.rpgshop.com/images/uploaded/berserker.jpg), 2 (http://paizo.com/image/product/catalog/PIP/PIP33023_500.jpeg), 3 (http://www.temp.sfbok.se/kat/img/57992.jpg), 4 (http://www.stephane.info/res/article/khador_warjacks/Destroyer_warjack.jpg)
Anárion shucked a crimson outer robe onto his shoulders, and tied a belt around his waist. “What’s going on now?” he asked.
“They’ve started attacking each other. Communications trace and sensor focus shows that a boarding operation has begun.”
“I see,” he said, and kissed one of the women with him, before striding out of the room, confident that the fifty meter thick layer of armour cladding over the Erisavenus’ interior sections would provide more than adequate protection. “Have you considered sensor-dusting the interior of the boarded vessel?”
“What for?” the battleship asked.
“It might provide an interesting look inside, as well as allow us to observe their,” he spoke of both sides, “combat capacities.”
“Very well, but I cannot manage sensor dust through this strength of activity. The smallest I can get are inch-moths. Displacing… fifty,” it said. A moment later, a circular screen divided into dozens of hexagonal screens appeared ahead of him. Anárion stepped onto the ‘bridge’ of the ship, and looked at it. “Hello…” he said, “Take a look at this one…” he added.
“I see nothing unusual. A crude cybernetic construct augmented by psionics.”
“Yes,” Anraion said, “and I’ll wager a thousand credits that she has something to do with those disappearances.”
“Right,” the ship replied. “I’ll prepare options,” it said, “converting a null-tank,” it added, meaning that it was preparing a chamber that could be isolated from all known outside psychic influences.
OOC: It is indeed a necrontyr ship, which is an adjective for necron-stuff anyway. And yes, I have necrons (all fully sapient, now) as well as living necrontyr (mark two don’cha know, sans unstable genes) there’s ‘many’ aboard the Erisavenus, in stasis.
The Clokwerk Horde
OOC: Go ahead and try to take a Psi Witch. It could be fun to see what happens when the force of a living demigod comes up against physical restraint, lol.
When the team caught up with the Reaver, it had run into an exceptionally large blast door. The layout of the corridors and increasing number of defenders served as clues to their position. Likely, this door led to engineering.
The ten-ton axe of the Reaver parted the metal of the ceiling as it swung around and imbedded itself in the bulkhead. The very tip of the ultra-dense iron blade managed to piece the door, bowing it inward. Yanking it out, the Reaver struck again. Black smoke and scalding-hot steam leaked out of various ruptures on the back of his suit. The man inside was lucky the breaks had not been inside; he would have been cooked to death.
Again and again the axe crashed down, but the bulkhead held firm. Finally, one of the Warjacks grabbed the shoulders of the suit and dragged him back. Taking his place, the steamwork creation slammed his fists into the metal, spiked knuckles punching holes in door. With one last mighty shove the door fell inward.
-just in time for a rain of munitions to impact the Warjack. The huge machine staggered backwards, pierced in a dozen places and quickly loosing pressure. Water and steam gushed out of a dozen weakened joints as the defending marines advanced, pushing the Warjack back with the weight of their fire.
“Back!” screamed the witch, exerting herself to keep the Warjack’s boiler from detonating. The team scrambled back into the hull as fast as they possibly could. Even the Reaver, in his drugged madness, knew that an injured Clokwerk meant a massive explosion.
With a final surge of strength, the dying Warjack threw back his pitted skull and roared, willing his psychic bonds to give him release. They complied.
The shockwave threw even the mighty Clokwerk off their feet. Shrapnel and severed limbs flew everywhere, perforating the heavily damaged walls with yet more holes. “I think it’s safe to say the way to engineering is clear now,” said one of the witches, brushing off her black garb.
OOC2: Arcadeos, I forgot to ask. Do you use laser weapons only?
OOC: It’s more than physical restraint planned, though.
The Erisavenus was, contrary to the clichés about necrons, quite aware of the psionic. One learns much when spending hundreds of millions of years at war with a psychic race, and even more when one’s society merges with a magical race. More than that, the Erisavenus had been around and had contacts of its own too.
The ship was massive, and it had many ‘multi-purpose’ decks. One of these had been configured into the facsimile of a normal set of guest quarters, but with several differences. No door, instead, for nine meters in every direction, there was nothing but solid living metal, layered this way and that with eldritch symbols designed to stifle magic, generate anti-magical fields. Here and there, the layers between the metal were laced with dust of null-material, and microscopic pores that formed complex whistling shapes of arcane reality stabilisation. Effector batteries lining every wall, while far from precise, were intended to suppress more ‘conventional’ telepathic powers.
Still the ship wasn’t ready yet. It watched, and waited, preparing…
The Clokwerk Horde
All but one of the Flyers in the New Connohaugh system had converged on the scene of the battle. They traded shots with the two Arcadeos starships, each side giving as good as it got. Onboard the lead Flyer, the Duplicate was mulling over his options.
“Open a channel to the Necrontyr vessel once more,” he said after a long pause. “Captain, I ask you again, please assist us in capturing these murderous pirates. In exchange, perhaps we-“ he was cut off as the Flyer shook. A klaxon began to blare in the distance.
“Minor breach in aft deck 7,” droned a Footman. “Repair crews dispatched.”
“As I was saying,” the Duplicate continued, “perhaps diplomatic rewards could be arranged for the successful capture of these inbred heathens.”
“Attention Sparticus and associated vessel. Please stand down and surrender to our custody in order that this situation might be resolved peaceably. I am prepared to evacuate personnel from your vessels if you so desire it.”
Meanwhile, in the Erisavenus’ storage bays, creatures began moving. Metallic, like the clockwerk, but of an entirely different nature, for the most part uniform, or at least ordered, they moved with a precision and grace that suggested directing intelligences of an ordered nature entirely different from those strange local automata.
“Clockwerk vessel. I think you misunderstand. Our interest here is purely humanitarian,” the ship’s mind contemplated the irony of its use of the word, “We are purely altruistic.”
The Clokwerk Horde
“Fine, fine,” nodded the Duplicate whilst clutching at a metal rail. “So long as these fiends are brought to justice you can call yourselves whatever you want.” The ship shook again.
“Gun decks one and two hit. No serious damage. Steam cannons 3-4 are inoperative. Reassigning gunners to cannons 5-8.” The bridge was filled with the clatter of bronze feet on glass and the continual clicking of skeletal fingers on buttons and keys. “One of our vessels has sustained engine damage, Master. Reports say they will be stationary for five to ten minutes.”
So far the battle was indecisive. If, however, the Necrontyr could be convinced to join the side of their metal “brothers,” the fight would easily be won. Only the very best fleet could best an enemy twice his number.
In the debris field of the Spider, mobile suit and Scrammer fought tooth and nail. Their combat was as fierce, if not fiercer than that of their host ships, flinging discharges at each other at breakneck speeds. The globs of floating, melted wreckage interfered heavily with the sensors of the Scrammers, and although there was no way for the Clokwerk to tell, they suspected the suits were also struggling to keep target locks.
"No Benson! We do not want to piss them off!" yelled the Guild Navigator, as the Captain of the vessel continued his careful movements of the ship to place it in what was deemed the best location for what was officially termed the 'Act of Causing the Shit to hit the Fan.' "An ACSF is NOT WHAT WE WANT TO ENGAGE IN!"
Benson slightly raised an eyebrow to the by-now brilliantly red Guild Navigator. "Dicky, you've turned a shade of maude. Now take some pep pills and shut up. Does this interfere with the Path?"
"Well, no, but-"
"Then it might help. I refuse to watch a human ship be ripped apart. Besides, they don't know who the hell we are and we can jump away if need be."
The Navigator rolled his eyes. "Fine. But no strategic-scale actions! I do not want to have to answer to Guild Headquarters like the time after you pulled that stunt on Coronis IV."
"But I didn't want to cause genocide!"
"Oh just start the engagement already! I don't want to hear your excuses."
Space above New Connohaugh
The engagement screens on all vessels involved suddenly lit up like Christmas trees as a massive hail of weaponry lanced out towards the Clokwerk vessels. Nothing as large as the 400cm torpedos, but everything up to that scale was fired out of the Ixian ship, inmcluding some Wassermann-effect Torpedos. Those would provide enough surprise to hopefully distract the enemy, by winking into existence inside the enemy vessels.
Meanwhile, drones began billowing out of the storage pods that had been activated, beginning their assault runs on both larger vessels and the smaller fighter-type things that were already out in the area. Accompanying them was the first transmission from the Butler.
"Attention to what appears to be the British Navy, circa 1885, in space. We would strongly suggest that you stand down your forces, at which time we will do the same and I'm sure whoever the hell those guys are will also do. Negotiations can be ever so rewarding, don't you agree? Like figuring out what's going on here, which I and all involved would probably see as a very good idea.
"You'll notice that we've just attacked you, but that's not too big of a problem to work around- if you stand down. Toodles!"
[OOC- A link (http://forums.jolt.co.uk/showthread.php?t=494424) to my factbook. The important thing on there is the stats to te CA, which is the vessel in this area. Any questions will quickly be addressed by me.]
A damaged mobile suit, camping out in the shadow of a large piece of debris, noticed a small blinking blue light. Quickly radioing his comrades, he jetted forward and grabbed the device. Other mobile suits formed up to escort him back to the Spartacus, and as they were attacked, accepted hits for the damaged suit, their armored suits acting as an additional layer of protection.
Aboard the Kolmorn, things were becoming hectic. The involvement of the other vessel was in their favor, but boarding parties were wrecking things in the bowels of the ship. "Okay, " said Kariudo, "they seem to be pretty methodical about this. Here's what I want done: I want every essential system sealed off, maximum security. I want every door, hallway, and intersection leading to these systems to become a deathtrap for the boarders." Throughout the ship, marines and volunteers from the off-duty crew had complied. Manning makeshift barricades, the hallways quickly became a no-man's land. DFPs were constructed at intersections, providing superior positions for the soldiers. Even with all this, still more men were stationed inside the rooms hat housed these systems. In addition, during all that was occuring both inside the ship and out, a coded message was sent in a tight-beam burst pointed back at the Dominion.
The Clokwerk Horde
The transmission from the unidentified starship left a burning anger in the furnace of every Clokwerk who heard it. “We will not stand down, especially not for the likes of you and your barbarian associates! We will die for the Technoczar!” The Duplicate was mad now. The nerve of them telling him what to do.
Just then, visible through the glass walls, a Flyer suddenly expanded, its belly glowing strangely. Then, like an overripe melon, the ship detonated in a blinding flash of pure energy. The combined death shriek of the Flyer and its crew rocked the Clokwerk back on their heels, no doubt rendering all who heard it unconscious, even those stupid meatbags.
“Master! They destroyed one of our ships! Their weapons simply… appeared inside them!” Footman raced around the room, rapidly sighting for more of the death-dealing weapons.
The Duplicate grimaced. “Focus our energy. I want all remaining craft to become solid blocks of psionic force. Let’s see them jump inside of that! And return fire!” The Clokwerk went to obey, but they perceived something.
“An unknown screen surrounds the enemy vessel. Its effects are not known. Suggested course of action is the employment of psychic attack. Your orders?”
“No, you said we don’t know what it is. Fire a volley into them first.” The Footmen did as they were told, and the cannons thundered in response. Unsurprisingly, the rounds had no effect. Sighing, the Duplicate conceded that they were right. “Very well. You have permission to engage with psionic attacks.”
Motioning to be switch back to the Necrontyr channel, the general continued. “We have just been attacked, resulting in the slaughter of another of our ships. We request that you engage the target I am sending you… now.”
While he was speaking, the Will of Vladistalk focused on the enemy vessel, willing the crew to spontaneously combust, explode, or even implode.
* * *
It was indeed engineering that they had stumbled across. After dispatching another horde of soldiers, assault team one had been joined by another two teams, bringing with them five Footmen, another three Warjacks, and two more Reavers. Thus assembled under the Psi Witch’s commands, they set to work.
Catwalks fell in a shower of sparks as lightning scurried along the walls, scourging machinery while Warjacks beat in reactors with their fists. Techs and other various crewmen were slaughtered by the dozen, hewn into small bits by the unslakable thirst of the Reavers.
News had reached them about the destruction of one of their Flyers, and the rage they felt fueled the attacks. All comers were repulsed, weeping blood and gore from opened cavities. The team knew they could not hold out forever, as armored marines were massing on all sides. They struggled on, however, intent of doing as much harm as they could.
The chief engineer had thus far managed to avoid being slaughtered and quickly pulled aside one of the marine commanders. The engineers knew what these systems could and could not withstand, and he explained his idea to the commander. After barking some orders, the marines withdrew to further cover and the entrances and ceased firing. The silence that followed was broken only by the rhythmic pounding of the odd machines. Had their positions been reversed, the soldiers would have found the situation extremely unnerving. They wondered what the boarders would make of it, while they reaqdied themselves for what was to come.
Out in the void, the mobile suits had finally been able to get the computer core to the Spartacus. Then they turned on their enemies with a veangence. The suits were using a variety of weapons, from KE projectile weapons to laser rifles. There were artillery-like 'dober-guns' that fired on the enemy capital ships. There were also beam sabres for close in work. And the suits began to make use of the round sheild attached to their shoulder.
OOC:Just so's you know, the suits I deploy are early Leo models.
“The vessel in the lowest portion of the gravity well has opened fire.”
Starships didn’t screech, but Anárion was sure he could tell that Erisavenus’ voice betrayed an element of such. “Displacing weapons appear to be in use. Other kinetic weapons are also being fired. I am targeting the new ship.”
“You can drop the commentary,” Anárion said, after a moment. It was a small distraction for the ship, but still a distraction.
“Thank you,” the ship said.
It span with surprising grace for something so vast, coasting down the gravity well towards the ‘Ixian’ vessel. The displacement of weapons into other ships prompted the Erisavenus to snap up its various FTLi and jamming suites. A column of faux lightning shot out from one of the vanes on the underside of the vessel’s hull, vaporising some of the incoming ordnance as it moved around to put itself in the way of the lead flyer.
OOC: Which reminds me, how big are those flyers?
The Clokwerk Horde
Flames and glittering fountains of burning debris leapt and danced around engineering, freed from their mechanical enslavement by a well-placed axe or a heavy-handed spiked knuckle.
Through their psychic connection, the witches of the engineering team could sense that so far no other team had progressed so far towards their target. Most were still dealing with the defenders, and the bridge assault team had been completely destroyed. Thankfully, a second wave was preparing to teleport in, bringing with it more reinforcements. And best of all, a Flyer had moved close enough to the Arcadeos assault ship to begin boarder her as well.
A strange lull in marine activity was suddenly perceived. Momentarily fazed, the team quickly recovered and set back to their destructive work, taking advantage of any window of time they could.
* * *
“The Necrontyr have joined the battle,” triumphantly declared the oscillator operator. A great weight was lifted from the shoulders of the Duplicate.
Addressing the Necrontyr, he said, “You have made the right choice. Since you are now actively engaged, you will need to know the names of the comrades at your side. This is the Litany of Vladistalk, the three ships to your port side are the Dirge of Vladistalk, the Requiem of Vladistalk, and the Wisdom of Vladistalk. The ones to starboard are the Harmony of Vladistalk, the Triumph of Vladistalk, the Glory of Vladistalk, the Testament of Vladistalk, the Fury of Vladistalk, the Champion of Vladistalk, and the Exultation of Vladistalk. The destroyed Flyer was the Servant of Vladistalk.
OOC: Well, let’s see… Since these are really system patrol Flyers, I would say between 500 and 1,000 meters, differing from ship to ship. Nothing so big as a battleship.
Oh, and yes, they are all named the “__ of Vladistalk.”
The Clokwerk Horde
OOC: So what’s the deal, guys? Why is nobody posting? You have to pick up the proverbial torch and charge with it while I am incapacitated by this glitch. And the RP is just getting good; all four of us are now fully involved.
IC: “The Testament of Vladistalk has managed to repair their engines, Master,” informed a Footman. Out in the void, the wings of the Testament began to beat once more, driving the craft forward.
Fire and lead belched from cannon all along the Clokwerk lines, tracing intricate patterns in the swirling debris cloud. Spirit lightning and psi-balls whipped through space, consuming the enemy with every lash of energy.
“Sir- we’re taking casualties.”
Benson glanced at the bridge officer who had interrupted the monotonous sounds of the battle planning. “How is that now?”
“Well, sir,” stammered the relatively new officer, “it seems that many of the complement of redshirts have just.... exploded, sir. We’ve lost some other personnel, but no group has been as heavily hit as the redshirts.”
“Benson gave him a startled look. “But... they usually start exploding and combusting and what-not after we actually engage the enemy with them. right?”
“Yes, that’s the case. I have no idea as to how-”
“You would not,” rasped the ancient-looking woman who had appeared in the doorway to the bridge. “The mysteries of the aether are too much for you fool of a man. For all of you.” With a visible shudder, the crone slowly moved her way into the bridge. “You’re all playing your silly games and cannot even realize the potentials adrift in the very space we now sit in!”
The Guild Navigator snorted in disbelief. “What’s up granny? You usually don’t appear until after we’ve gotten back safe and snug to port, so you can go back to those crazies that you hang out with and-”
“You will NOT address a member of the Bene Gesserit in that manner!” shrieked the hag, whirling around to point a gnarled finger at the Navigator floating inside his amber-colored chamber. “You may forget, but I am aboard this ship to deal with the exact things you guild monkeys and the men on this ship cannot even fathom. I and I alone can stop the forces even now leaching off the lives of the men on this ship!”
Benson began slowly clapping. “Now that you two have finished, mind if you explain a few things to me Sister?”
“What is it?”
“What the hell is killing my men?”
A smile cracked the old woman’s gnarled face. “What was killing your men. It’s already neutralized enough to bring it down to mild discomfort spread across the entire crew. Slight headaches are far better than ruptured bodies, don’t you agree?”
“A psyking power of some sort. Extremely powerful, but the necessary changes have been made to interior Wassermann fields. I took the liberty. Your ship is secure as long as we fight and they remain up, though structural integrity is almost sure to be damaged in certain unforseen ways. Whatever this is is very powerful- I haven’t felt this much raw power in a long time. He’s on the ship being infringed upon by those dreadfully boring Necrontyr- I trust you can use this information.” And with that, she glided away.
“Damn theatrics,” cursed the Navigator. “Why, when I started flying the Guild would never tolerate-”
“Shut up Dicky. Micro-jump needs to be undertaken. Directly adjacent to the bridge of that ship indicated. I want whatever it is trying to fry us blown to hell and high water.”
It was undertaken in a heartbeat- the ship vanished an re-appeared directly next to the ‘command’ ship of the archaic fleet. Weapons were already primed and the opened up immediately, as a full broadside was delivered into the offending vessel. At this range, even the 400cm MACs began to open up, firing at both the nearby enemy vessel and some of its more far-off partners. A hail of weaponry, both kinetic and energy in nature, poured into the heart of the small battlefleet, as drones billowed across the battlefield actively engaging their own targets.
Unfortunately, that maneouver could only be used that one time- the Wassermann drives were so low on energy that only an exit move could be made. That was not quite in the cards yet, at least in Benson’s mind. It was to be seen, if the reply from the hostiles was to change his mind.
[OOC- Just so you know- the redshirts are pretty much like those same guys in Trek in that they are part of the crew and tend to die rather messily. So I’m not shrugging off your attack- it’s certainly killed people and probably a rather large amount of the crew. It’s just that that’s usually expected with these guys, so.... little reaction.
And I’ve basically appeared to the other side of your command ship, so in the middle of your formation and away from the Necrontyr ship. That’s the location now of the main ship.
Plus, I have posted. So there. *Sticks out tongue* :)]
Deep in engineering, the marine commander shouted "FIRE!" Several rockets streaked in at the boarders, followed by a hail of grenades. After the subsequent explosions the area was filled with streams of hot death as crew served guns they had set up opened up on ground zero. After another wave of grenades, there was a great roar as the massed contigent of seriousely pissed marines charged, firing as they went. They were ready this time: they had affixed bayonets, something they were normally forbidden to do on the ship because of the potential for disaster. The bayonets were essentially long thin knives with the blade laboratory-sharpened until the edge was exactly one molecule wide. Having created the ultimate close combat weapon, it was plagued by early problems such as cutting out of its sheath. Eventually a magnetic cradel was created for it. During this assault, the Spartacus (http://www.axeman3d.com/thumbnails/spartacus.jpg) deployed more Thumper (http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Workshop/2778/images/thumper4.jpg)s, which tore off after the Flyers.
The Clokwerk Horde
“Unknown vessel has shifted position. A match on the design was reached with an example in our database. Vessel belongs to the Ixian Confederation.” The Duplicate mulled over the Footman’s words.
‘We have not yet encountered them, If I am correct,” he said.
“As always, Liege Lord.” After a slight pause, pandemonium broke out. “Ixian craft has appeared to our port! They have fired! Impact in 5, 4, 3, 2, -“ A gargantuan shudder ran from the aft of the ship to the fore as the psionic shielding warped and twisted, struggling to contain the massive damage. Beads of sweat broke out on the foreheads of the witches as they strained to keep up the fields.
“Damage reported on all port decks. Steam leaks on floors 15 through 17. Reserve weapons furnace inoperative.” The general cursed.
“Assign priority to the Ixian ship. I want it blown out of the sky!”
The attention of all 11 remaining Flyers swung around, peering intently at the hulking shape assaulting their flagship. The grinding of gears and subtle pinging of many springs heralded the acquisition of the target by the fleet. In the silence of space, puff after puff of black smoke and pure-white steam marked the firing of cannon all along the line.
The battle in the debris field wound down suddenly as Scrammers turned on their mobile suit foes and burned towards their hosts, intent on intercepting what they could, and doling out vengeance for what they couldn’t.
“Ascendant,” urgently spoke a witch to the general, “something is interfering with our concentration. We cannot continue our operation.” Scratching his chin, the Duplicate nodded.
“Very well. Focus on imbuing our shells with more power. I want whatever is shielding that ship from us to be gone.”
* * *
Time seemed to slow as the marines returned. One of the Reavers began to turn to face them, just in time for a rocket to meet him. The explosion tore a rent in the suit large enough to expose the shredded flesh beneath. As the still-living convict crumpled to the ground, a second rocket impacted his helmet, resulting in a grisly spray of carnage.
Rocket after rocket was launched in, augmented by heavy grenades. Shrapnel cut and clawed at the suits of steamwork, severing steam pipes and arteries. Two more Clokwerk fell, smoking craters protruding from their ruined chest. One of the two witches simply disintegrated, a grenade rolling directly under her feet. With her dying shriek she placed an eternal curse on her murderers, for which her sister smiled briefly. Even in the marines killed them all, that curse would ensure they lived short, depressing, painful lives.
Gunfire swept through the air, puncturing machinery and doing as much or more damage to engineering than the Clokwerk themselves. “Back!” roared a Footman, just as his head was vivisected by a marine bayonet.
The defenders charged in, lacerating and goring at every step. Three of them cornered a wounded Warjack. They thrust and tore at him as he growled in anger. The scene was reminiscent of nothing so much as big-game hunting, as the Warjack was at least twice the size of the armored defenders.
Assault team one was thrown out of the room, back into the hallway. Fountains of spirit lightning arced from the remaining witch’s fingers, roasting some men alive and simply disintegrating others. But it was not enough.
OOC: Hey, nice pictures. I can’t help but notice that the “Thumpers” are listed as atmospheric jump fighter-bombers. How do they work in space?
"Sir! They've been firing KE weapons of an unkown type. Shields are currently holding, but they are having difficulty stopping them."
"Transfer all power allocated for the shields to the side that faces them."
Deep in engineering, the marines sought to end this now. They resorted to a rocket spam from the doorways. The collateral damage would make it harder to run the ship, but it was better than no reactors.
The Spartacus manuevered so it was more or less below the Kolmorn and opened up with its weapons on the flyers.
OOC: It says atmospheric jump. And it uses an ion engine. So I made it an aerospace craft.
OOC: Arg. This took forever, and still sucks.
Aboard the titanic Venturers headquarters ship, half the galaxy away, a small group of people were gathered around a table that appeared to be made of a single immense ruby, cleaved into a perfect surface. “I take it we’re done then?” one of those present said, “Right. Equip yourselves, then get down to portal room four.”
Minutes later, the portal chamber aboard Erisavenus flashed as a rippling curtain of green energy appeared. From it, a group of persons stepped. First of all was ‘Lt Colonel’ Thomas Vult. He was a tall, gaunt looking man with the white hair that was commonly sported amongst older humans ‘designer aging’ they called it.
He wore a jacket that seemed to have the look of a conventional flak jacket, and carried a surprisingly archaic looking gun, a ‘G36’ with one small but significant difference, it didn’t fire simple projectiles, but rather fired sophisticated micro-missiles, grav-bolts, as they were known, capable of target recognition and their own independent flight at hypersonic speeds, as well as being able to create a gravity-inversion explosion either within in or in proximity to a target, having the effects of a sizeable grenade (larger, milspec grav-bolts were even more capable). Other versions, carried by this group in particular, were simply programmed to deliver an unfortunately painful disabling charge until deactivated, and then find somewhere quiet to self-destruct. Plausible deniability was the name of the game, they’d chosen a weapon manufactured far below their own level of sophistication – a real, Menelmacari standard grav-bolter would be vastly more lethal, able to deliver its bolts to any point on a planet’s surface by bracing itself with fields against the air around it and shooting them into orbit like miniature ballistic missiles. Their sensor systems didn’t quite match up to that enough to make that a practical course of action except with the aid of detailed maps (which were trivially easy to get when operating as part of a combined force).
Such weapons were eschewed because, if captured, the weapon would expend its hybrid ammunition (adjusted to be tamper proof, of course) and simply become a normal weapon, of no possible use to a spacefaring society, except as a curio.
Thomas Vult was from the same era as the guns, dating as he did to a time and nation when such things were high-technology. Vult had once been a marine in the armies of the now-dissolved Confederacy, who had fought in the two (successful, of course!) wars of note. Now, he was a soldier-missionary of the Venturers, as well as being a member of several related organisations that gave him a chance to lead men, he couldn’t become a necron after all, and didn’t particularly wish to.
Adjusting an equally anachronistic beret on his head, he saluted briefly – though the formality wasn’t part of Venturers protocol, he just liked doing it. “Captain, Ship,” he said. Technically, Anárion might well be the captain of a navy ship, but it was an almost comedic honour. Still, he was the only naval-captain in the Necrontyr fleet. That in and of itself came with bragging rights.
The next out of the portal was a woman of moderate height, dressed in the same way, Jessar Mildane Veba was far more physically remarkable than Vult, not least because she was an alien. A Silave, to be precise, a near-human species that existed on an out-of-the-way planet under an ‘excessive’ measure of C’tan protection (and some limited technological interference, notably in medicine) – such that it warranted a warship continuously in orbit except in the most extreme of emergencies elsewhere. From the elite warrior group of that society, the Surala, she was one of a small number of an introverted race who had ever been (or cared to go) offworld, and had adjusted marvellously to it. Physically, Jessar was notable even among her own species for a rare crimson coloration, which was mirrored in her outer iris – the inner, concentric ring was a placid green. Her long hair wasn’t red naturally, but dyed. She was armed with much the same weapons, and a pair of rather stylish ‘sunglasses’ that covered her eyes. Very much a people-person, she nodded amiably and openly and stepped out of the way.
The next one through the portal was another human, this one younger and sandy haired, his uniform like the others, more for show than anything else, a dappled pattern of brown (dark and sandy) black and green camouflage broken by a patch on the right shoulder that showed a diagonal red arrow against a white circle. His background was rather similar to Jessar’s though he was far less unusual, being from a human colonial culture. He grinned, and introduced himself as Jesan Ejar.
The next guest was more elfin still than Jessar, short and pointy eared, but obscenely beautiful. Even more so than the elves with them, Althansarielle was a supernatural creature that made the eyes tear up with the sheer, unnatural (which wasn’t to say that she wasn’t physically attractive too, far from it) heart-tugging beauty of her form.
The next was taller, an elf with glowing eyes, of a species Erisavenus had been the prime motivator in recently saving from extermination. He wore something of an irate sneer most of the time, but patted the ship’s wall affectionately. Coral (no, pronounced differently) Dathremar was his name.
Brenail, another human, this one female, with dark hair and brown eyes followed, she looked around and shrugged. Another elf followed, with a drone buzzing at his shoulder next to an impressive looking sniper rifle. Far from a piece of equipment, this was the last member of the ‘squad’ a drone the size of a cigarette packet that carried about half their firepower, as well as being in itself a formidable weapon. It exchanged electronic greetings with the ship as the portal snapped off. Most importantly, the class E drone, which went by Delman Kor – it happened to like the sounds – was capable of projecting advanced camouflaging holographic (soligraphic, to a degree, too) fields around its compatriots. That was probably its most important function.
“I’m trying to get the target out of the boarded vessel by displacer now…” the ship murmured, “Eh, no… no… Too much movement, hang on…”
The ship decelerated relative to the Spartacus, and, studying its spy-flies again, made another attempt, this time with far more precision, to extract the remaining witch and deposit her in the prepared chambers.
On the surface of the planet, a rippling curtain of green appeared in the yard of a residential house outside the main settlement. The necron ship could displace things onto a planet with much greater ease: They generally didn’t jam it, and moved on steady vectors. Colonel Vult and two others stepped out, weapons at the ready, and then, two by two, the remainder of the ‘interview’ group joined him. Letting the rifle hang on its shoulder strap, but still keeping hold of its handle, the officer took out a sizable looking box-device, and examined it briefly. “Right,” he said, as the portal snapped off again, “Delman,” he said, “Investigate outside.” The drone bobbed a little, and seemed to disappear, moving at speed with its camouflage systems focussed on making itself almost invisible to the naked eye. It shot up over the rear, and over the rather antique looking house, and out into the streets beyond. Meanwhile, the rest of the group snuck out of the way of the house’s windows, and tried their level best to look innocuous.
As innocuous as a bunch of heavily armed battledressed ‘soldiers’ from half a dozen different species (there were more races still not represented in this group as well, from purple elves to necrontyr to humanoid canine creatures, and more besides) lurking in one’s garden could be, which is to say, not very.
The Clokwerk Horde
The Litany rocked hard to starboard, pounded first one way and then the other by the two alien fleets. In the sweaty, red-lit hell of the engine room, pipes burst and boilers blew, scattering shrapnel the size of automobiles around the cramped space. “We can’t take much more!” screamed the chief engineer into a vocal tube that lead directly to the bridge. The pressure gauge on a nearby machine plummeted as more cracks appeared.
He spat ash and grease from his toothless, tongueless, metal mouth. Covering his visual sensors with his arm, the mechanic weaved his way through the crawlspaces that serviced the core. Dismembered Clokwerk engineers were everywhere, some having thrown themselves onto leaking pipes to halt the pressure loss, others having been simply bisected by a shard of metal. Fire belched from a furnace, its door rent asunder by the last hit. “Bridge to engineering,” came the reply down the tube, “we can and will take more. Need I remind you that this ship is an extension of the Technocz-“ another series of impacts obscured the last part of his message. Swearing, the mechanic turned to try and bolt the door back in place.
* * *
The blast could be felt on every deck by every single Clokwerk onboard. Glass walls blew outward, sending shards into the black void of the Eternal Night, and the bronze structure of the Flyer warped and melted from the tremendous blast. It was even felt on the bridge. There was only one source on the Flyer that could cause such massive destruction: a complete failure of the main boiler. And that meant no power to anything but weapons.
“I guess he wasn’t kidding when he said they couldn’t take more,” reflected the Duplicate, clutching rabidly to a control column to retain his balance.
* * *
The psionic shields formed by the Psi Witch’s mind (or, rather, Vladistalk’s) were all that was between the remnants of the main assault team and the swarm of deadly missiles. Beads of sweat ran down her sooty face, maring what would have been an extraordinary beauty with their disgusting trails. A single Psi Ball was assisting its conjuror, setting up fields of its own and occaisionally snapping off a quick bolt of spirit lightning. Then all hell broke loose.
In a blinding flash, the witch disappeared. Not killed, not disintegrated, just disappeared.
* * *
The wagon driver flicked his whip once, half-heartedly telling his single, black horse to pick up the pace. Cobblestones rang under the hooves of the beast, and a constant click clack, click clack echoed around the streets. Rounding a corner, the driver reached up and pulled the piece of hay he had been chewing from his mouth. There was a group of, well, people hunched in the widow Leary’s garden. Quickly, the driver turned his horse and started in the other direction. When it came to strange happenings like this, it was best not to get involved.
OOC: Oh, so Jump as in the Harrier? C’tan, since the witches are just cyborgized corpses, once this one lands in the isolation chamber, it will probably just slump over and fall apart. And I like your post, btw.
Apologies for the quality of this one. Was late when I wrote most of it.
The drone returned presently, bobbing next to them, and it passed out amulets like little pieces of stainless steel, badges, perhaps, from its underside. “You’ll need these,” it said, “if you want to split up, it’ll let me project onto you within two miles or so, though the further away you get, the less effective it gets. Vult dropped the first into his breast pocket, and his appearance changed, beret becoming a flat cap, camouflaged uniform becoming a jacket and trousers that he’d call distinctly sub-standard.
He still held the gun. And frowned at the drone. “You’ve got to drop it in order for it to disappear,” it explained, and he did so, the gun rippling and disappearing. “Sweet. Pass them out,” he said.
They lifted the latch of the chamber they were in, and walked out onto the back-street, looking for all the world like a suspicious bunch of locals (the aliens now seeming human) walking out of a widow’s garden. They even tried not to tread on the plants.
“What’s it doing?” Anárion asked, as he watched the inert witch.
“It seems to be animated by an outside force, which has now been disabled.”
“Curious,” he mused, “how about a carbon-”
“Already on it. A detailed scan of the planet to make an estimate will take time, though.”
The ship banked, continued in devoting all of its efforts to shooting down the projectiles of the ‘Ixian’ ship, going so far as to use its displacers to snap some of them down into low orbits where they’d burn up.
“Drones are encountering relatively low resistance, yet damage inflicted is still quite low.”
“Reports of drone squadron AZ-2 destroyed by unknown entity!”
“Wassermann unit has been drained- we’re down to only 15% charge.”
“Confirmed vaporization of target decks 3-7 of hostile UK-7! Drone expenditure in that sector now at 35%.”
“Fields are failing!” shouted a female officer watching her station apprehensively. “Repeat, fields are failing! I’ve got red in 65 sectors, approaching 85% mark!”
“Damn it!” swore Benson as that latest report came in. “Status on other combatants?”
A tense looking ensign began to read off designations and status reports. “Enemy ships UK-2 through UK-11 engaging vessel. Minor damage to all. Command vessel UK-1 experiencing major damage through sustained bombardment, with stress marks visible across entirety of hull and interior atmosphere venting. NCR-1 continuing to intercept kinetic weaponry. HU-1 retrieving units, HU-2 engaging UK-1. Apparent boarding action taking place within.”
Benson scrunched himself into his command chair, hand massaging his temple. At this point in the battle the smallest advantage could swing everything and with that damned Necrontyr vessel intercepting so much of the payload being sent at the commanding hostile enough wasn’t getting through.
“Wassermann fields at 87% and climbing! We’re being engaged by their entire fleet!”
“This is not good,” murmured Benson, as he punched up main drive status. “I want all Particle Beam Cannons fired at my mark. Targets divided between engineering and bridge of UK-1.”
“But sir!” gasped the engineering officer stationed at the bridge. “Claudia units are already in the red, and engaging with all at once will elevate pressure to the breaking point!”
“Fields are at 96% sir! We’re in imminent danger of total meltdown!” Even as the woman officer yelled this, red warning lights began flashing across the entire ship. Down in Engineering Section 2 (Claudia Drives), the massive reactors that powered the ship began to shudder, cracks appearing along the floor as pressure shot through the danger zones on most units, shattering gauges and actually rupturing some pipes in its intensity.
“Sir- Wassermann Units experiencing resonance blow-back! Claudia Units are going into rapid vibration!”
“98% fields sir! For the God’s sakes-“
“Drop exterior fields now. Re-route excess power into PBCs and engage now."
At the same instant the exterior fields went offline, (not that anyone would see that- the fields were fields after all and therefore invisible) the main firing arrays on the ship erupted into a brilliant blaze of energy as the massive beams lanced out at the enemy command ship. Fields of energy began playing off the psychic shields as gouts of particles smashed into the weakening hold on the vessel, joining the weapons already being employed against the vessel.
The rest of the battlefield was not so much in the Ixian’s favor. Even as the fields dropped, enemy fire began impacting directly against the ship. The vessel shuddered for the first time in the battle, as incoming ordnance gouged out massive rents in the hull’s outer layers. The armor was thick, but against the massed fire it could not hope to hold for too long. Benson was praying that it would hold long enough for the other humans to get the hell out of the system so both he and his crew could leave. He was growing quite sick of this miserable planet and its robotic inhabitants.
The Clokwerk Horde
The sun was sinking over the horizon of Glisan, and the lamp-lighting crews were out. Usually it was just a handful of Footmen, but due to the disturbance in orbit, a Tankman accompanied this particular group. Unscrewing the top of the closest lantern, an 11-foot tall Footman reached for his torch. As the golden light began to glow in the cup, he screwed the cap back on, and the group moved to the next lamp.
All seemed quiet. The Tankman was scanning all of the approaches in a relaxed, no-cares-in-the-world way. Only a single group of ordinary-looking humans was out tonight, and they seemed to be keeping their distance.
Suddenly a shape broke out of the forest. Dashing across the neatly manicured lawn that stood between the moors and bogs of the Western Woods and the wrought-iron wall of Glisan, the man (for that is what the Tankman perceived him as) was bearing down on the small group. Unperturbed, they went on with their solemn ritual.
In one easy motion the man flung himself over the railing, ran up to the group, and opened fire. Bullets thundered from the barrel of the submachine gun, a weapon that was supposed to have been confiscated during the occupation. Sighing, the big Clokwerk turned and, heaving his foot back, planted a fairly weak kick in the gut of the resistance fighter.
The man flew backwards, smashing through a white picket fence and utterly destroying a nice patch of roses. Satisfied the threat was over, the octopedal construct trundled over to the rest of the crew, smoke lazily floating into the night sky.
* * *
The first few seconds of the particle attack was deflected by the psionic shields, sweeping off into space to cause collateral damage wherever it alighted. But even the best shields cannot hold forever, and in a brilliant display of light and, curiously, sound, the shield failed catastrophically.
The overcharged shafts of energy from the Ixian vessel easily pierced the sides of the Litany, vaporizing pretty much the entire structure of the ship. Lacking anything but a heavily damaged weapons boiler, there was no explosion to speak off. Only a deathly silence. The Litany of Vladistalk was no more.
* * *
A surge of light announced the arrival of the Duplicate to the next-nearest ship, the Testament of Vladistalk. “Liege Lord, you live!” hailed the lead Footman. The general sniffed and nodded.
“Of course I do. Gods do not die.” The bridge crew looked around, now even more confused as to whether this was a Duplicate or Vladistalk himself. “Anyway, the Litany has been destroyed. So, this is now my flagship. Gunners, target that alien ship!”
OOC: Haha, good post Sam. I liked the use of the “UK-X” and whatnot. Oh, btw, Clokwerk ships have no atmosphere. The fires and stuff are fed by psychic energy alone.
Check your TGs, guys.
Certain ship captans had taken initiative and the remaining nine ships of the Kolmorn's patrol group reverted just beyond the debris field. Seeing who was firing on who, they quickly moved into firing positions, throwing more snubfighters into the mix. On the bridge of the Kolmorn, Kariudo was ecstatic. "Tag that other ship as friendly and transmit its IFF to the group. Now that we're on better terms send a message to command asking for a code three reinforcement."
They manuvered so as to fire down upon the Clokwerk ships from above. "Butler, please be advised we are opening a path for you to join our formation."
OOC: I can't honestly tell you what the jump is for, I just stumbled across the picture one day and liked it. Also, sorry about the relative crappyness of the post. No sleep for me, I'm moving from mids to swings.
The Clokwerk Horde
“Enemy ships have jumped insystem! I’m counting seven, no… nine vessels! Your orders?” The bridge crew turned to look at the Duplicate.
“Alert the Flyers in the neighboring systems,” he snarled. “Tell them we are facing a battle, not a skirmish. In the mean time, Move the Dirge, the Requiem, the Triumph, and the Glory to intercept. I want all Scrammers in space. The rest of the fleet should keep up the attack on the previous three enemy vessels. I want them cut off from their armada!”
* * *
Unknown to any but the Clokwerk, the ruined hulks of the Servant of Vladistalk and the Litany of Vladistalk were creeping towards each other, subtly moving damaged pipes into position. The Will of Vladistalk urged them on, whispering ideas into their psychic minds.
Colonel Vult watched a large machine that looked like it should be rolling along tracks in a park somewhere with a half naked man shovelling coal into it from a truck on the back lazily kick a man across the road. His reaction, especially when he noticed the gun, was to go for his own without hesitation, but he checked the impulse before breaking the camouflage field. “Jessar,” he said quietly, almost a whisper, “See if you can stabilise him…”
Fat chance of that, really. The Erisavenus had extensive hospital facilities, but for now, it wouldn’t do to provide the group of footmen with ‘evidence’ of their origins. Rather defeated the point of the camoflage, that. Vult could see the rest of his group spreading out, taking up positions, some of them, near the lampposts.
‘All good fun,’ he thought to himself, as he mentally assessed how likely grav-bolts were to deal with the tank man. In the short term, they’d likely be ineffective. But they could learn from the actions of other grav-bolts. If the first few didn’t penetrate the thing’s bulky armour, others would seek out weak points. Eyepieces, tailpipes… that sort of thing.
The Clokwerk Horde
The wounded man flitted between consciousness and darkness, shards of rib jammed into his stomach. The entire front end of his chest was caved in, giving an image to the suffering he was in. The bright side was that the pain of his multiple broken bones and internal bleeding meant he couldn’t feel the innumerable thorns lacerating his flesh.
Out of the gloom swam a face, then two. Strangers, wearing the clothes of laymen. The clothes of the oppressed. In his dazed stupor, the man tried to reach out and comfort them, telling them that soon the resistance would liberate them. The only words that came from his blood-rimmed mouth was a feeble, “David.” Whether it was his name or something else was not made clear.
* * *
In orbit, the Servant and the Litany had almost reached each other. Metal strained towards each other in anticipation of the first touch, Vladistalk egging them on. As the lights and shadows of combat swirled around them, they embraced and connections were made. Slowly at first, but faster as they drew closer to merging.
Pipes sealed, armor slapped together, and the shape of what was to be began to take form. Flyers, like all Clokwerk, could reconstruct themselves, given enough materiel. So much had been lost of both ships in their initial destruction that neither could fully repair, and so the decision was made to meld. Even then, there wasn’t enough for a full Flyer, the beams of the Ixian ship having melted far too much. But something else arose from the proverbial ashes. Something… else.
OOC: Bwahaha, I have been planning this for days! This is gonna be great!
Aboard the Erisavenus, a large mechanical spider was disassembling the psi-witch. It was a grizzly business, akin to an examination of a machine and an autopsy at once. Surgical cutting blades and talons designed for re-shaping machines probed in here and there, removing the remnants of the organic brain, and taking samples from teeth and examining boilers and pumps and nails and hair.
The technological parts didn’t match anything in the vast tomes of knowledge that were fully integrated into the ship’s mechanical mind. That wasn’t to be considered a complete surprise. These clockwerk were obviously something new. However, the teeth and other sampled parts were of more interest. It was possible to examine bones and teeth and other parts of the body to reveal where a person came from. Though maps of planets like Earth existed, but in this case, Erisavenus had to wait until its sensors could perform a complete mineralogy scan of the planet below. It had its suspicions.
Jessar frowned. Stabilising was certainly the wrong word for what she was required to do. Drugs, and even ‘magical’ methods were available, but ultimately, she wasn’t liable to be able to repair such a catastrophic wound for long. Reaching into a pocket on the jacket that had originally been designed to hold drum magazines, she pulled a small case out and took out an item that looked somewhat like a syringe, though it was stockier, and rather than having a plunger, it appeared automated. A two inch needle attached to it seemed particularly stout and worrying, and there was no clue what was inside it.
“I hate this bit,” she muttered, and stabbed it into his head. Designed with nanotechnology (ooh shiny!) to oxygenate brain tissues for several minutes after the cessation of blood flow, it was a fairly basic treatment to prolong life. Though stabbing a needle through a man’s skull wasn’t something that really felt like it should get away with calling itself medicine. Then there was another treatment to try and stave off blood loss – for what that was worth!
“We really should get him out of here if you want him to live,” she said.
“Yeah, as soon as that lot move off, I’ll have Kor contact the ship…” Colonel Vult said, frowning.
The Clokwerk Horde
The ship was done. Parts met perfectly (or as perfectly as any Clokwerk can, which isn’t very) and for all intents and purposes, this large, rectangular block of bronze looked all the world like it had been churned out of some twisted starport somewhere. As the furnaces crackled to life, a bare-bones crew was assembled from the leftover pieces.
Slowly the block moved forward, gathering speed by the second. Several of the Arcadeos ships had by now noticed its movement and were firing, but the block ignored them. No, it had a more important mission. Onwards it sped, aimed squarely at the hull of the Ixian warship.
As it neared, that began to fire upon them as well. Shots arced across space, blasting chunks from the rectangle. But it still kept coming. When it was only a few miles from the vessel, the engines cut out and the sides began to warp.
Out of the “body of the beast” extended four limbs, each massive in length and tipped by a wickedly curved talon. The arms opened very, very wide, skeletal “bones” stretching to their limits, attempting to embrace the whole of the Ixian’s hull. The armor-tipped claws, along with countless smaller hooks and graspers built into the arms, would grapple onto the ship, holding the rectangle just long enough for it to build up enough pressure. And then…
* * *
Knives and blades picked and sawed at the corpse of the Psi Witch, but they wouldn’t learn anything of great importance. Even the hallowed Psion node was little more than a fancy cast of brass. But as the deconstructive surgery went on, the boundaries of the isolation chamber were minutely tested by the ever-prying Will of the Technoczar.
* * *
The resistance fighter breathed in suddenly. “Wow,” he said, his eyes wide with shock, “that’s potent. How did you manage to…” Breaking off, he tried to look around to see if there were any Clokwerk about. By now the lamp-lighting crew was several hundred yards away and growing ever farther. Satisfied, he continued.
“How did you manage to save that from the Great Confiscation?”
Jessar frowned at the obscene sucking sound that came with his breathing in, and did her best to smile, "By not being here," she said, as though it were obvious, "Any time you like now..." she said over her shoulder. The soligram that concealed the drone nodded a little, and both she and the resistance fighter disappared with the resounding 'pop' of inrushing air making a minute thunderclap where the air pressure collapsed the vacuum left behind by the displacer.
The medical facilities of the Erisavenus left little to be desired, clean, sterile and occupied by a dozen robots of varying types, pastel hued carapaces, which quickly moved to sedate their guest...
The Clokwerk Horde
As the retreating assault team fled, they slapped the activation runes on the steam bombs they had placed in the corridors behind them. Each would build pressure for about thrity seconds, and then violently explode. Hopefully, as they neared the outer hull, the blasts would rupture the skin of the ship and prevent them from sealing off engineering.
* * *
On the Testament, the cannons were being prepared to enter the battle surrounding the nine new Arcadeos ships. On the fore-port gun deck, Footmen rammed bags of powder and large, bronze cannon balls down the barrels of the big guns. After attaching chains to the front of the cannon and feeding them through a pully, teams of Clokwerk heaved the weapons forward so that their muzzles poked out of the portholes.
“Gunners, take aim!” ordered the supervising officer. Winches were activated, turning gears that aligned two small, brass devices on top of each gun. When they clicked, the team assigned to that gun cried out. When all guns were ready, a tense silence permeated the airless vacuum whilst the Testament drew into weapons range. Finally, the vocal tubes that lead from the bridge spoke. “Fire!”
Smoke and ash vomited from the ends of the black cannons, the heavy shots throwing the guns back along their tracks. Grunting and straining, Footmen quickly reloaded and heaved the cannon back into position for another round. Again came the order to fire, and then once more. Shots streaked into space, slamming into the shields and hulls of the Clokwerk’s foes. “All cannon, fire at will!”
Everyone was strangely calm as the ship was attached to by what looked like a giant box with tentacles flaining about. The Navigator was, in fact, laughing about it.
"That thing reminds me of the time-"
"Yes!" chortled Benson, almost falling out of his chair. "It was Upaxia, wasn't it?"
"Indeed sir!" choked out the Navigator, tring to get ahold of himself but failing miserably. "AHAHAHA! THat stung for weeks!"
Wiping away a tear of mirth from his eye, Benson nodded. "That it did. Can I get a status report from someone who's been paying attention?"
A bit more somber-looking officer immediately replied. "Sir- the boarding party has just exited HU-1."
"how do you know that?"
"A section of hull just vaporized."
"Oh. Carry on."
"They've retrieved whatever it was they were trying to and the battle is still going on as their suits try to get back in to the relevant hangers. WE are still hooked onto by that thing and it appears to try to be drawing itself closer."
"Wel, if I don't try anything stupid and dangerous about this then my name's not Amadeus! Engineering, prepare to jump. Set destination as Ix."
The Navigator frowned at this order. "Amadeus- you do remember the fact that since it's attached it has a very large chance of coming with us? And, need I remind you trying to navigate with something that's bloody huge attached to me will make it damn difficult?"
Benson just smiled, a chilling sign that meant something ludicrously dangerous was about to happen. "I know. And that's why we're firing two-dozen nukes off at the same time at the very edge of our hull."
"You're insane. You know that, right? You're totally loony."
He smiled even wider. "I know."
Even as the ugy and ungainly vessel tried to attach more firmly to the ship, a massive series of explosions suddenly split the space between the two warships. These weren't small nukes and they were going off almost directly next to the hull of the Butler. As the hull began rapidly disintegrating, ablative armor vanishing like sand in a firm wind and other layers fusing together and then also vaporizing, the tethering claws followed suit. Two were melted almost halfway up, as another was blown clear off the body of the enemy ship. The final one was in remarkably good condition, but it had the problem that the portion of hull it had been slowly burrowing into was now entirely removed from the side of the ship.
The brief glance anyone would get of that side of the ship would be of a smashed and burning hull, with small-scale pressure leaks appearing along seams in the ship. Turrets were on fire the length of that side, and many were simply so twisted out of shape that they were made useless. Not that any of that mattered- the Butler vanished a heartbeat after the explosions went off. It had had enough for the time being.
That left the problem of drones, which the battlefield was still littered with. The drones themselves solved that problem, mostly by ramming into enemy vessels as fast and as hard as they could, detonating fusion reactors as they hit. They detonated if drifting, they detonated if horrendously damaged- the battlefield began to look like a sports arena, with flashbulbs going off all over at an almsot constant rate. Of course, these flashbulbs were nuclear reactors going up and so produced rather more force (and flash) than a flashbulb, but any visitor to an archaic sporting event in the 20th century would esily see the similarities.
The Clokwerk Horde
“Suicide attack failed.” The Duplicate cursed. “However,” continued the speaker, “the Ixian vessel sustained large amounts of self-inflicted damage and were forced to jump system. Their remaining forces appear to be self-destructing.”
“Very well. Refocus on the Arcadeos armada. The day is not yet ours!”
* * *
Lights shone through the man’s eyelids as he lay in the medical bay. Groaning, he tried to open them, but he was so very tired. The lights shifted and moved, and rough shapes could be made out. Were they people? He didn’t know. The effort had exhausted him, and he went back to sleep.
"Captain! The Butler has left the engagement!"
"What!? We nearly overextended ourselves to cut a path for them to join our fleet. Some gratitude." Kariudo quickly took stock of the situation. "Have the fleet regroup, we will show these mechanical monstrosities the might of Arcadeos! Launch the reserve craft and suits! We will eradicate this plague before us! Watch the Erasiv-whatever it is. If it joins the fight, we might have to cut a way out of here."
OOC: Do you still have boarding teams on board, or have I eliminated them?
The Clokwerk Horde
OOC: As I understand it, the team attacking engineering of your first battleship (do you have more than one?) was beaten back, but assaults are still going on all over the ship (the bridge, computer control systems, etc). Boarding has just begun on your scout, um, thingy.
IC: The battle was joined. Miniature explosions lit up the void as suit met Scrammer in a dazzling display of weapons technology. Like gigantic whales, Flyers circled with the Arcadeos fleet, exchanging concentrated pulses of malice.
“This isn’t working,” growled the Duplicate. “Order all Flyers to target one single ship. Footman,” he pointed to a bridge crewman, “which enemy vessel is closest to the majority of the fleet?”
The Footman depressed a pedal and twisted a few knobs. Frowning, he called down a vocal tube to the main sensor gallery some decks below. “The closest ship appears to be enemy ship 009, which arrived with the Arcadeos reinforcements. Visual and limited psychic scans show minor damage to the aft-ventral sections.”
“Very good,” waved the general. “Attack that one. Focus fire on the aft-ventral shields.”
Erisavenus, Medical Area Two, Bay Seventeen, ward twenty four
Anárion watched the comatose subject of the attentions of several dozen medical drones. They ranged from hand-sized spindly things of manipulators, to massive machines akin to ‘tomb-spyder’ battlefield manipulators. Small, milli-machines buzzed around too like clouds of midges, as layer after layer of red flesh was coated into wounds over repaired meshlike bones. Undifferentiated flesh as yet, the life-functions of the subject were sustained by machines preserving the operation of the intact organs. More machines, nano and macro, would then form new tissues and organs from this material, which would be genetically indistinguishable from the host’s own. Already, he could see a film of skin forming, which seemed new, compared with the other skin, new and pale. The claw of a larger construct twirled over the wound showily, and the legs fluttered dangerously. “Shazam!” was the ship’s voice through it, “All done, basically,” the pastel coloured creature said as it dropped to the floor and ambled over to Anárion.
“I’m recalling our team and heading out-system at sublight. Turns out that I have a good idea who our culprit is after all,” Erisavenus said, “nothing we can do about it right now, but I shall see about a longer term solution. I suspect our friend here is liable to prove a useful source of information during his recuperation.”
"Sir! The Ciroc is taking the brunt of the enemy attack! They won't be able to take that for long."
Kariudo stood from his command chair, "Move the Kolmorn to block those shots! We've got what we wanted from the wreckage, if it shows what we think it does we can come back in force. Orders to the group! Retrieve snubfighters and mobilesuits, we're leaving. Pull us back on our entry vector and jump to the rally point. Let's see if they're willing to follow us there."
"What if they do follow us, sir?"
"They wouldn't regret their decision for very long. Strange technology or not, I don't think they could beat two or three full fleets at the same time."
OOC: This is TCH's alternate account. Actually, considering when I made the two, TCH is the alternate. Whatever. The point is that the forum glitch will not let me log into TCH, so I will be posting with this one. *sigh*
"Blast," growled the general, watching the enemy fleet pull away, "They're running. Navigation, set us up on a course following them. Don't engage jump engines yet. If they warp out, attempt to map their trajectory and inform me of the results."