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 Post subject: Omega Gundam
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:42 pm 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
Posts: 27
Here's the intro, and please respond so I can know to post the rest!

In 2238 A.D. man landed on Primus, the first extra-solar planet to be colonized. Located only a little less than 4 light-years away in the Centauri system, 100 years of travel was rewarded by the colonization of Primus as well as its sister world, Secundus. These events led to the end of the A.D. calendar and the beginning of the new; the Interstellar Age, or I.A. For 75 years, the Centauri system was controlled loosely by the Federated States of the Earth Sphere, a group of unified colonies and states encompassing all of Earth's colonies, both the Interior (within Sol system) and Exterior (Centauris and other outposts at the edges of colonized space), but in I.A. 79 the Exterior Colonies seceded under the leadership of the rebel government FACET; the Free Alliance of Colonies and Exterior Territories. All communications with Earth were cut off and the colonists of FACET lived under the false salvation of the rebellion for one hundred and twenty more years. Even with the vast distance between the Centauris and Earth, the leaders of the FACET oligarchy began to make their plans to expand their power across all human civilization. Alongside the space colonies of Primus and Secundus the FACET Space Fleet built ever-increasingly powerful weapons and ships that could manage the distance between the colonies and humanity's ancient home. Nothing but time could prevent the plans of the FACET leadership from coming to fruition with the Earth Sphere racked by civil war and government corruption. It was too late to stop the inevitable by the time the people of the Federated States realized was that Earth's only chance was a long shot and fast slipping away.

Thanks!


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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:32 pm 
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Traitor Villain
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:20 pm
Posts: 757
Interstellar Gundam, huh? I've always wanted to see something like that, myself, but thought it a bit too difficult to play with in a strictly hard sci-fi manner. It'll be interesting to see how you handle it.

I'm curious as to whether FACET has complete control over both Primus and Secundus, or whether both worlds have their own individual governments (or multiple ones on each?), as well as the state of the old solar system. There's a lot of stuff you can potentially play with, so try not to... I guess... rush through it. Take your time, build up the details and release them in a manner that it creates a fascinating future world - that's what I'd like to see, at least.

Beyond that, I don't think anyone can say much 'til you post the story. :P

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 Post subject: Chapter One
 Post Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 11:35 pm 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
Posts: 27
Well, I hope this doesn't come off as rushed. Here's chapter 1 for reading enjoyment (hopefully) and I hope it expands on its potential nicely!


Chapter One

Today he felt confident. Overly confident, perhaps, but today was big. Otha needed the extra boost because today his best stuff was required. He finished toying with the dark brown hair that hung boyishly down his triangular face and looked down at his white, pressed ceremonial uniform. Here goes, he thought with an almost unnoticeable smile. The man walked down a darkened, wood-paneled hallway and stood behind a set of large, epen your anxiety, but to strengthen your resolve.
"This blatant attack on our sovereignty will not be tolerated in the least, especially from Earth forces. The Colonial Defense Fleet was exactly as its name stated; a militia of willing volunteers who lived and died defending our homeland against any enemy. However, the Earth Sphere’s treachery was the actuality we had not planned for; we could not imagine that our defenders would be subjected to this sort of cowardly assault, much less with nuclear weapons. This cannot and will not go unavenged! We must stand!
“However, you must understand that I will not lead this nation towards any course without a plan of action. I must first outline one thing: our enemy is and will be Earth and all her allies. Abstentions from the fighting will be accepted by any colony, Exterior or otherwise, but those who remain in any form of correspondence with Earth will be considered an enemy state. All I, your president, and the souls of our murdered defenders, require, is a state of war to be declared against Earth and her allies! Will you join me in avenging our compatriots and declaring war on the Earth Sphere and the enemies of our pure freedom and liberty? No cause more right, no fight more worthy, no people less proud! I assure you, I can never lead my people astray! Join with me, for a tomorrow safe from fear, and from the Earth’s tyranny!”

The applause was almost painful. Otha Derak had been with larger crowds and given his usually rousing speeches, but never had they clapped or cried with such vigor as the 200 people in that room. All over the chamber, seats were emptied as their owners stood and applauded as loudly as they could. Curtly, Otha turned with a final wave to the crowd and walked out, through the oak doors. He would only have to wait 12 hours for the FACET Colonial Congress to convene and unanimously approve a Declaration of War.

Otha was tired, even though his speech had been short. For some reason, he never found the presidential gardens as peaceful as he did during the first weeks of his term. It took him quite a while to figure out what that reason was. Oh yes, he thought, my worthless adviser. From a practical point of view, Otha figured that his obviously superior intellect and wit needed no hindrance like a presidential adviser. He felt born into his role. However, the Colonial Constitution required that he have an official adviser, and so he agreed, thinking he would just have his fun with the poor man, whoever he was, until he could be replaced or the Constitution amended. Anything to be rid of him, Otha thought. It wasn't that Bernard Black was necessarily annoying as a man, but that he interfered with his actions. He tried to move Otha’s decisions away from their intentions, using a supposed sense of morality to guide him. That, Otha determined, is Black’s only flaw, at least so far. He even had tried to convince Otha that a suggestion of war against Earth was wrong, or at least unjustified. Let him try, Derak thought.
Almost at that moment, Black knocked on President Derak's chamber door. He entered, carrying a sheaf of papers. “Mr. President,” he said calmly, “your proposal has been approved.”
The President did not smile. He had known already; not in his conscious mind, as declarations of war were discussed in meetings closed to all but Congressional representatives, but in his heart, he knew. “Have the shipyards in orbit been informed of their orders yet?”
“Yes they have, actually, Mr. President. In fact, they were notified immediately following the meeting in a private communique. I have a copy with me now.” Black pulled a piece of white paper from his bundle and handed it to Derak. “I took the liberty of going over it in comparison to your original order, and it matches. The on-planet factories, and some colonial factories as well, have already begun production on the new mobile suit models, as approved by the Defense Council. The shipyard contractors received the schematics for battleship upgrades this afternoon, around 2:30 Standard time.”
“Everything seems in order, Black. We will see, when our first shots are fired, how well this will play out. But in the meantime, I want all measures available used in speeding up ship production. Oh, and have you sent out my official apology to the CDF families yet?”
“Yes,” Black said. “I had them sealed and delivered this afternoon. The least you could have done was to sign a few of them, though. It doesn’t seem right to signature-stamp them all.” Derak sighed quite loudly.
“You think I would really sign 4000 of those letters anyways? In our time of crisis? I have a war to conduct. PR work is for PR people, not the Commander-in-Chief. The families should just be glad I sent them a letter. Even for my office, that paper was expensive.” The President turned away from Black, who was shuffling nervously on his feet. He waved a hand at the man, dismissing him; the door shut softly behind. Otha sighed deeply; he had better things to do than PR work, anyways. He shifted in his desk chair, finally pushed it back from the wooden desk and stood at his large window, looking out with his arms crossed behind his back, into the stunningly blue Centauri sky. His office was positioned above the expansive gardens of the presidential palace, but he did not notice them. In only one short year, the Earth Sphere would know of this rebellion and the first craft of the revolution would drop into Earth territory. His eyes pointed up, up through the thick atmosphere and imagined itself in the space beyond, where his fleet was being constructed, where his dreams were taking shape.

***
One year later

Admiral Thomas Walter of the Earth Sphere Navy stood on the circular platform and beheld miles of terra-formed earth from his position 300 feet above the Ganymedan surface. His sight continued until it ran into the bottom of the hemispherical plasma shield that arced above his head and threw out a cool pink light only interrupted by the white shield frames, and even then, he saw past the haze to the lively patches of grass taking root in the Ganymedan dunes. Above the shield it was raining, though the droplets evaporated on contact with the sheets of plasma, and a cool wind slid through the ventilation system at the base, smelling of moist dirt.
Getting outside of the roughly 400-foot cylinder of the Earth Sphere Space Fleet base was, in his opinion, a necessity at the moment. Too much was happening to not take some time for himself. The Centauri Territories declared themselves independent, though they were too far away to matter immediately, for even with the fastest ships in the system FACET space would be nearly 75 years away. Secondly, the base had been buzzing for the last couple of days with news of a spy on the inside, but no proof had yet been found. For now, Admiral Walter was contented to let his troubles drift for an hour, at the most.
Behind him, a sliding door whooshed open, admitting Major Lieutenant Richards dragging another person, though Thomas could not make out who it was.
“What’s the matter, Lieutenant?” Richards threw whoever it was roughly to the floor, spilling red hair from under a circular cap.
“Who is she, and what’s she done?”
“She is the traitor we’ve been looking for all along, Admiral.” Walters could now see that her hands were cuffed behind her back and that she was wearing a janitor’s uniform complete with the logo of the Earth Sphere Navy. “We caught her trying to sabotage the shield generator with explosives, sir. As far as we know she was unsuccessful.” With that, the woman looked up to the pinkish sky and chuckled to herself. Reaching into the back pocket of her coveralls, she removed a tube of lipstick, flicked up the gold top, and pressed a small red button.
A ball of fire expanded from the shield generator at the top of the monolithic base with a tremendous noise as the shields evaporated into the thin Ganymedan air. A drizzle of rain fell through the empty shield frame and slicked the platform in a matter of seconds. Admiral Walters reached out to take the saboteur by the neck when she started laughing almost to the point of falling over on her side. As Walters and Richards turned, they noticed a sleek, white spaceship descend through the clouds escorted by close to 30 green, humanoid robots. Suddenly, three lance-like projections from the hull of the star cruiser fired bright beams of yellow, almost blinding light. The smoking frames fell away in shards and planks, plummeting to the ground nearly 600 feet below. As shouts from behind could be heard to man anti-aircraft stations, silver and blue fighter-bombers streamed from the cruiser through the gaps in the shield frame.
Walters decided quickly.
“You’ll at least get what you deserve, you traitor!” His hands shot out and closed around the janitor’s slim throat, but at that moment a spherical bomb from one of the fighter-bombers struck the connecting gangway between the platform and the rest of the base. Secondary explosions knocked the platform clear off its attachments as fuel cells detonated near the gangway. Walters plummeted long enough to see three more cruisers come in through the gray, drooping clouds before the ground came, sickeningly too soon, up to meet him.

***

Amira Bennett woke to a light beeping emanating from the computer screen near her bed. Rubbing sleep out of her eyes and pushing her head off her pillow, she strained her eyes, not yet used to the bright blue light of the letters on-screen. Though tired, her eyes sprang open at what she saw as she read all of the squared letters down to the blinking cursor at the end.




*CONFIDENTIAL*

*EARTH SPHERE SPACE FLEET PERSONNEL ONLY*

Expect deployment to L1 garrison within 12 hours.

ESSF High Fleet Command

She reread the message before hastily pulling on her dress uniform and making a beeline for the ships’ bridge. Even a small Loyal-class cruiser like her Terranova could be called into duty on less than a day’s notice, however inconvenient. Especially inconvenient because the trip from L2, where her ship was stationed now, to L1 was going to cut about a day out of her crew’s shore leave. Antsy crew members were just what she needed right now, what with the recent declaration of separation coming from some boon dock colonies in the Centauri system. Even though the Centauri system was 4.3 light years away, the colony's official separation after 25 years of threats came as a shock to the Federated States.
Arriving at the lift handles in the central corridor of the ship, she grabbed the nearest and pressed the trigger down hard, sending the handle flying forward in reduced gravity. The handles operated on tracks but speed was controlled, to a degree, by finger pressure on the red trigger facing down the hallway. Amira released the trigger and depressed the air brake control, slowing at the sliding door to the bridge. Though even Terran Standard Time was relative in space, she could tell it must be early, as the few officers at their posts had apparently just awoken too. She took a little comfort in knowing she wasn’t the only sleep-deprived officer in the Earth Sphere Space Fleet.
“You got it too, Captain?” said a tousle-haired young man working a comm station. His obvious fatigue added years to his age, only 26, but he still looked one of the best off. Amira didn’t even want to think what kind of shape she looked to be in.
“It woke me up, in fact. Now get back to your quarters and change into uniforms. When the soldiers get up I don’t want my officers looking like slackers.” Several staggered off to the lifts, going in turns so as to not leave the bridge unattended. “Pick up some stimulants in the mess while you’re at it. You could use them.” She laughed a little, trying to ease her bridge crew.
Several of the leaving officers muttered some form of gratitude, but most couldn’t even do that. They merely continued trudging on to the lift handles. One of the remaining commtech officers called Amira over to her station, pointing to the screen and a video display in the center.
“High Command posted the video feed from the attack! Watch the upper right-hand corner of the video.” Amira did so, and saw as the shields went down, fell apart in flames, and admitted one, two, then four white ships - a class she had never seen before - into the smoking gap flanked by small green dots. The commtech started again.
“Those ships are strange, Ma’am, but what’s got me even more puzzled is these green shapes. They almost look humanoid under magnification.” She dragged a cursor over a freeze-frame picture of the video and created a rectangle over one of the larger forms to zoom in on the picture. With enlargement, Amira thought she could almost make out arms on the machine; at least she assumed it was a machine.
“Whatever it is,” she said, “we’ll find out soon. Maybe the same people that attacked Ganymede are the reason we’re on deployment watch.” She personally hoped that she would never meet whatever it was that attacked the Jovian satellite with such destructive abandon, but whoever it was had to be stopped as soon as it could be managed. The lifts in the passage whined as they approached the bridge, stopped as the air brakes were activated. Several uniformed officers, looking noticeably rejuvenated, floated in and their feet settled to the floor.
“How long until the men get woken up, Ma’am?” asked one of the officers.
“Wake them now. We should be ready even if this proves to be a false alarm.” With that, a bell sounded throughout the ship’s speakers to call a Code Yellow alert. In a matter of minutes, every fighter pilot on board was assembled in the mess. Amira’s voice came over the loudspeaker and addressed the pilots calmly but sternly.
“Code Yellow has just been issued. I repeat Code Yellow has just been issued. Stand by with flight suits and wait for forthcoming orders.” The men had only been seated for a few seconds before they were up again, off to their quarters to change into flight suits and await orders to enter their craft. To some of them, this was the excitement they had been waiting for for almost two years now, ever since the Tranquillan Succession had been cleaned up, but Amira could only hope that such was not the case. She did not plan on inaugurating, or ending, her Naval career in war with an enemy that made the ESSF’s most sophisticated weapons seem like toys.

***

It was not Kama da Tsilvan's first time off-system, but what still startled him was the scenery below, a mottled mixture of the native orange dirt and green patches of introduced vegetation. This world wasn’t even terraformed yet, and then he wasn’t even sure if it was a world at all and not just a moon. The sphere of ruddy gas he presumed it orbited around was, after the Centauri’s own suns, the most purely massive thing he had ever seen. It showed up on the official charts as Jupiter, quite an obscure name for such a colossal body, but he didn’t give it much thought. He was not given orders to take it for the glory of FACET, and as far as anyone knew it wasn’t even inhabited much less a real worry. He looked again to the smaller world, moon, whatever it was, and watched as tendrils of smoke drifted higher into the thick, swollen rain clouds that covered half the world’s surface. His ship, the Liberdad, was positioned above the fighting at the Earth Sphere military base, awaiting descent orders from the commanding destroyer, the James McNarry. A door slid open behind him, alerting him to the presence of a Lieutenant.
“Captain da Tsilvan?” the Lieutenant said hesitantly.
“Yes?” da Tsilvan responded.
“The McNarry just gave descent orders. We’re to dispatch mobile suit squads 1, 2, 3 and 7 to assist in occupation of the base and 4, 5, 6 and 8 to act as an inhabitant suppression force.” Inhabitant suppression? da Tsilvan thought. What kind of situation are we getting into?
“Give the orders to the wings immediately. We mustn’t disappoint the Admiral.” "Captain" Kama da Tsilvan was new to him, having been merely Lieutenant just like so many other officers for so long, but most of those with several years of service under their belts were promoted to cruiser command at the outbreak of the war and he was no exception. Even many high-ranking mobile suit pilots like himself received orders to report to the Command Academy and captain new starships for the Colonial Navy. Though he completed command training with an enviable score, da Tsilvan preferred the small combat suits to cruisers. It was something about the way mobile suits felt like an extension of his body, not a sluggish beast like a cruiser.
Largely humanoid, mobile suits, or simply MS, stood about 7 meters in height and were entirely built for war, nowadays. They originally were intended for colony repair, but during FACET’s settling of a colony revolt only fifteen years previous, the repair machines had been converted by a group of colonists to fight government troops. Though the colonists were defeated, the concept of fighting mobile suits stayed behind as a part of FACET’s space force. The standard MS in production was known as the Wasp for its sharp defining lines and blinding maneuverability, and though most FACET citizens had never seen the actual insect (insect populations were highly regulated in the colonies), the name was accepted.
The half-terraformed world below him, registered as Ganymede on the official charts, was the first combat test of the Wasps, and from all he could tell they were performing beautifully. It was inhabitant suppression he was worried about, though. What would happen when the natives discovered they were fighting humans and the pilots were fighting their own species?


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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 9:04 am 
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Newtype Emo Guy

Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 9:21 am
Posts: 264
Location: PEI, Canada
this is nice. You have brought in a lot of characters right away but still it is nice.
Are you going to make the picture of the Wasps or not. It doen't make a difference but it would be nice

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 Post subject: Wasps
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 12:41 pm 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
Posts: 27
I have ideas for most of the mecha. The Wasps are like their name implies- lots of fast lines, really sleek and they're as agile as they look. As far as ships, Kama's -the Liberdad- and Amira's -the Terranova- I have pencil sketches of those, and am in the process of making lineart. I hope my character descriptions are good enough, but if not then I can make something for them too. Understand that it's neither perfect nor complete, but I hope you all like it anyway!


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 Post subject: Chapter Two
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:02 pm 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
Posts: 27
Chapter Two

Amira Bennett was well aware that, by the time deployment orders came ten days ago, conflict was imminent. Instead of within 12 hours, High Command ordered the Terranova and other ships at LaGrange Point to move to L2, located opposite the Moon, in only two. Such a trip would take little less than a day, but it had now been 14 such days since the attack on Ganymede. Their location put her ship directly in front of Mendeleev, the largest city on the Moon's dark side and its primary military base. However, her crew was just at the point of boredom when the Code Red alarm sounded over the Fleet Common Frequency.
Pilots dropped their plates, papers, whatever, to hastily pull on flight suits in their quarters before grabbing lift handles two or three at a time, all heading toward the main fighter hangar, depressing the triggers almost to breaking. Upon arrival, they didn’t run, they glided to their fighters hanging from racks on the ceiling of the launch bay. They weren’t fighters, precisely, as traditional fighters were made up mostly of components that only functioned in atmosphere, like ailerons or elevators. These were more like small but highly armored gunboats. They were nearly built out of thrusters, including three large posterior engines, which worked to provide excellent maneuverability in null gravity and almost unbelievable handling in atmosphere. Stabilizers and wings were still present, but in space they were only ornamental.
Five at a time, the Terranova’s 25-fighter complement was streaking into the void at full combat speed, bearing down on white ships that looked unnervingly similar to the craft in the Ganymede video. Amira could now tell by the way they displayed onscreen in the bridge that the bluish tint of the hull was a bright glow that shone from panels on the side and gave it the appearance of a strange fish from some forsaken depth. Remembering the projections on the sides and bottom of the vessels, she ordered the fore shields raised to full.

Serpent Group leader Charles Dubois signaled his squad to come up and through the attacking cruisers as he sped into void space with his men following in a tight wedge. Though he was not positive, he was pretty sure that anything the Earth Sphere had in its arsenal was superior enough to any rebel technology. With so many fighters operating in small groups, they would be hard to control or spot even on the most advanced tracking systems and coming through starships at high rates of speed, guns blazing, would inflict mortal damage on any enemy fleet in a matter of time. As Serpent Group neared the ships, bright bolts of particle energy spat from their targets, nearly missing the advance guard of fighters.
“Hold tight,” said Dubois firmly. “We’re almost within range.” Only a few more seconds...
“Lock missile pods… and fire!” Gray streaks of smoke expanded from the Peregrine fighters in his group and honed in on the nearest of the white battleships, and within seconds made contact with what Dubois assumed to be the bridge. He was satisfied to see the explosions rippling across the surface, but swore sharply when the hull remained unfazed except for a blue, static-like mist that spread over where the explosions had been just moments before.
“Pull up,” he shouted into his mouthpiece. “They have some sort of shield activated!” His group followed, but not before a spiral door swirled open in the center of the cruiser’s hull and a plasma shield deactivated inside. Green, tall machines flew out, some carrying what appeared to be rifles and others bazookas, and began to spread out and fire upon Serpent group. Serpent Three was first to be taken by the particle beams the humanoid robots fired at Charles’ men with their long black rifles, shortly followed by Serpent Four.
“What in the world are those things?” Charles asked over the CF. “They almost look human!” All else that Charles could get out on his frequency before his Peregrine dissolved in a ball of fire was one last, panicked order to fly back to the Terranova immediately, an order which only seven out of the Serpent and Phantom Group’s twenty-five fighters were able to live up to.

Only thirty-five minutes passed before the ESSF L2 Defensive was utterly lost. While the FACET ships sat and took potshots at the retreating craft, Earth Sphere survivors limped back to Mendeleev at all available speed.

***

Alarms echoed through Mendeleev Fleet Base’s hangars and barracks as pilots who had been on stand-by dashed to their machines, some to Peregrines and others to transport ships. Amid the clamor, a tallish man, who looked about twenty-five, walked calmly to a lift. Pressing the button labeled “B6” and placing his hand on green pad, he walked to the back wall of the lift and leaned against it. He closed his eyes as the lift descended, opened them as it stopped on the magnetic cushion provided by the rails in the lift shaft. As the doors slid open, he walked into a large bunker, lined with tall humanoid robots. They stood six meters tall and reflected the dim light off their new, burnished armor plating. The robot at the far end, however, was different. It was slightly shorter and colored in an alternating combination of red and black panels. The angular wings on its back hung straight down, but the whole machine looked poised even without its pilot.
As the man walked, other pilots began arriving in groups from the three lifts that came down to basement six. They pulled on round helmets and jogged towards the robots along the walls. Some passed the walking man as he continued straight ahead, going towards the red machine on the far wall. As the pilots all arrived to their machines, the cockpits opened and they jumped up to them in the low gravity of the Moon. Grabbing onto a handle on the opening in the robot’s chest, they pulled themselves inside the tight cockpit and buckled the latches on their seat restraints. As the pilots started them up, green polygonal eyes glowed in pairs on all the mecha around the room.
Two doors opened behind each machine as conveyor belts drew them into a shaft. Once closed, the room glowed furiously with strobing white light. Suddenly, giant magnetic rails pulled, then launched the robots up a twelve-story tube- in a matter of seconds the robots were more than fifty feet above the lunar surface. Engaging their thrusters, they gained altitude at a break-neck pace. Streaking through the Moon’s thin artificial air, the suits shook once, twice, three times as the different levels of the lunar atmosphere fell below them. As they passed into open space, tendrils of gas dissipated, heated wire frames on the camera eyes auto-defogged the lenses and the pearly Western Spiral Arm gleamed into focus. Still specks even under 25X magnification, two sets of ships pulled into view. A voice came in over CF:
“Increase to attack speed! Arm weapons and flank the cruisers out to the combat zone!” The MS did so, nearly doubling their already swift speed as they raised black rifles to point straight ahead of them. Soon enough all that could be seen of the MS were seventeen points of light steadily rising into the stars.
Startled fingers pointed up as first the blue and white robots shot space-ward followed by wings of Peregrine space fighters and gunships fully loaded with boarding crews. Far outpaced by the MS, the Peregrines and BAC-97’s pulled up still higher above the lunar surface as massive Earth Sphere battleships departed from close orbit, enroute to the combat zone.

Amira Bennett was frantic on the Terranova’s bridge. Every ounce of speed had already been wrung out of the engines, and yet the enemy ships still gained. The guiding landmark in the retreat was the lunar city of Mendeleev and as she watched, pinpoints of light could almost be distinguished moving against the dark side’s city lights. Suddenly, a group of those lights caught her attention. They moved much faster than the rest and in taut, quick formation, too much for fighters to pull off. She turned to one of the comm officers ahead of her.
“Magnify those lights in front of us to 175%.” In seconds, it was done, but the results made her breathing falter. Bearing down on her ship at an inconceivable rate of speed were more than fifteen humanoid robots. After analyzing the Identification Friend or Foe signals, she stopped again: they registered “ESSF”. Just what is going on here?

Kama da Tsilvan could see the same shapes on his view screen, just even grainier and distorted by the tremendous light of Sol gleaming between the Moon and Earth. He had spent enough years around MS, though, to know exactly what he was looking at. The first thought in his mind was fear that the oppressors had mobile suit technology as well, but then experience kicked in. Before his appointment to commander, he had a reputation of excellence almost to the point of perfection in MS combat, and what better way to let word of that reputation spread than to show the tyrants’ soldiers just what FACET was capable of? Not only was he a decorated officer in the FACET Navy, but he was also one of the best MS pilots in the system. Because of this, he led two distinct lives. As an officer, he was Commander Kama da Tsilvan of the FACET Colonial Navy. As a mobile suit pilot, he was Kama da Tsilvan, the Angel of Death.

Da Tsilvan was in his flight suit and in the MS launch bay walking to his personal Wasp Command-model in five minutes. His personal flanker MS stood on either side of the launch bay, both of their pilots snapping to attention as he donned and fastened his helmet. The flankers’ pilots rode the winch cables coming down from their suits’ cockpits and locked the hatches. Kama was inside his Wasp Command, strapping himself in when a dozen red blurs zipped past on the cockpit screen’s HUD motion tracker.
“They’re here, men,” he stated over his squad’s frequency. “Assume flank formation Delta!” Acknowledgement lights blinked on the view screen as the Liberdad’s spiral launch bay door swirled open, and the shield deactivated and the three MS leaped out into void space. Many FACET suits were already in the combat zone, but Kama did not plan to let his boys fight off the ES machines by themselves. He wasn’t cocky, he just understood that his experience was valuable, both as a commander and as a pilot. He was used to adapting his maneuvers to defeat his enemies as opposed to being a strict tactical conservative; too many good commanders had stuck too closely to old tactics only to receive their combat citations posthumously.
The pair of Wasps took up flank positions as Kama recalled five more of his men into attack position for a strafing run on the enemy MS. Just then, the red phalanx of dots on his motion tracker wheeled to the left and cut a squad of Wasps from the McNarry to pieces with particle beam fire. This was all it took for Kama to call in all the MS in the area on the CF to take up combat positions, but before they could group, the enemy squad split in six different directions, tearing through the FACET ship formations like shards of an exploding ball of glass. The shields on the cruisers held, but Wasps bloomed and detonated all around him, while only two of the nearly a dozen steely suits had been hit critically. In a passing glance, Kama caught sight of a red flash mottled with black, streaking through the combat zone. This must be some kind of command suit, he thought. As senior pilot in the fleet, he felt it was his responsibility to assist in neutralization of the enemy’s command, and with any luck, this would repel the relentless attackers. He raced after the red suit and drew his right beam saber from the holder on the Wasp’s calf.
Da Tsilvan wasn't sure what the red suit's top speed was, only that he stood almost no chance of catching it. He drew his beam rifle from the holster on the Wasp Command's back and let his targeting computer take care of the rest. A crimson reticule settled on the darker red of the enemy MS and the Wasp opened fire. Energy bolts launched out at the red suit and, thanks to the auto-aim, hit their target dead on in the chest. To Kama's amazement, they merely scorched its armor plate. The commander swore roughly, out of the intercom mike, and increased to maximum attack speed. He had to catch and destroy that command suit.

The red suit's pilot noticed the Wasp Command not by previous knowledge of FACET technology but by the MS actually performed. It moved smoother, quicker, it was even more accurate, something he noticed as three yellow particle blasts splashed across the suit's chest armor. His suit, the Omega Gundam was the only MS in either FACET or the Earth Sphere with that kind of armor protection, to magnetically separate particle beams; normally this kind of protection could only be afforded for small military intelligence craft or small battleships. It was also the single-most expensively designed mobile suit in the Earth Sphere arsenal. The ease in which it operated was only matched by the efficiency with which it could complete its missions, as long as the pilot was competent and strong enough to actually survive flying it. Zeroing in on his attacker with his targeting computer, the pilot initiated an intercept course at full velocity.

It was coming towards him, faster than his suit was approaching it. Da Tsilvan felt his heart drop and knew he could not attribute this to gravity but would never rightfully attribute it to fear. In a frenzy he sent his suit into a twisting dive away from the other's line of fire and centered his targeting reticule on the red suit's torso. His right beam sword was drawn before the two suits even passed and the blade slashed out towards its target. The contained-plasma blade was a blur of red light as it cut through nothing but the space between it and the other suit's sword. In a jarring shock that rattled both MS to the cockpits, the two blades collided and magnetically repelled. Cutting off to the left for another pass, Kama got his first glance at his Tactical Computer Scanner's reading of the enemy suit and was shocked by the result- there were no stacked attack commands registered. This pilot was improvising and winning! It was nearly impossible for any pilot to move off a Tactical Computer, much less to succeed without one. Since MS were limited in their maneuvers due to the simple lack of adequate controls, TC's made up for all the minutiae of space combat, like thruster sequences for performing complex stunts or for counterattacks; either the red suit's system was too secure, or he really was just winging it.
Then again, this could play to Kama's strengths. The fact that this pilot had no TC might indicate that he did not have a scanner for one either, so Kama's attack commands would remain a mystery and grant him some comfort, if at least for the moment.

The command mech's pilot was good, the best he'd ever fought, but that didn't mean he would lose to him. He hadn't lost in combat before and saw no reason to do so now. Plus, his opponent probably still used a pre-OMNI system, that is joysticks and pedals; OMNI equipment in MS was fairly new on Earth, and the chances that FACET could have developed something this intricate were very slim. The Open Mechano-Neural Interface had taken too many years of research and driven too many test pilots insane to have appeared simultaneously in both the Earth Sphere and FACET by some dark coincidence. As its name implies, the OMNI system links a human mind to a central computer nearly as sentient as an AI. Initially designed to enhance individual and group intelligence for problem-solving or governance, it had been introduced with the prototype Omega Gundams during the Tranquillan Succession in anticipation of a much more bitter war. Due in part to poor support of the rebellion and to the OMNI system, the conflict only lasted three months.

The command suit dove hard to the right, nothing the Omega couldn't handle. Drawing the other beam sword from its backpack, it followed easily, almost parallel, and lashed out with both blades. One blade was blocked with no trouble and it slid down to the Omega's side while the other sliced unopposed through void and the command suit's right arm and a quarter of the torso. Pulling a tight somersault in front of the Wasp, the Omega ravaged the upper half of the mech's abdomen and head with fire from its head-mounted Vulcan cannons. As the Wasp Command floated aimlessly in an endless back flip, the red suit fired its main thrusters and was gone to another battle as quickly as it had come.

Kama's Wasp Command floated like a corpse through the ruin of the combat zone, bleeding puffs of gas and liquid coolant, now shimmering ice in the sunlight. He was told he was lucky by nearly every crew member on the ship he passed on his way to sick bay, but he wasn't sure they were right. After the beating he, Kama da Tsilvan, FACET's first MS ace pilot, had taken against that red command suit he was not entirely convinced that death was the worse alternative to life with that shame. By the time Kama was fully conscious, sporting a score of bandages and a mainline I.V., the FACET fleet had pulled back to neutral Mars in pieces.


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 Post subject: Throw me a bone, here!
 Post Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:06 pm 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
Posts: 27
Comments, please!


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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:01 pm 
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AEUG Slapping Boy

Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:46 pm
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Good job so far,though I do want to see some mech designs.

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 Post subject: Well...
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:55 pm 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
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I'm not too hot on mech designs, but the ships are a different matter. I'll find a way to get those posted here, eventually. In the meantime, episode three will keep chugging along!


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 Post subject: Chapter Three
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:31 pm 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
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Chapter Three

“Office of the president, please hold.”
“Office of the president, please hold.”
“Office of the president, please hol...”
“No. You take this message now. Tell President Ayonagi he will see me in five minutes. He’d better be ready.”
“Who is speaking?”
“Cardinal,” and with that he hung up.
Lisa Salero was only a secretary- this kind of thing was beyond her. Oh well, she thought. If this is a prank and I tell Kimbe, no harm done. But if this “Cardinal” is military… Lisa called directly to Ayonagi’s office.
“I apologize, sir, but a man just called and said he was to meet with you in five minutes and wanted you to be ready for him. He said his name was ‘Cardinal’.” Ayonagi sputtered into the receiver.
“You’re positive, Ms. Salero?”
“Absolutely, sir.”
“Thank you very much.”
“You’re welcome, sir.” As soon as the phone hung up, Ayonagi panicked. Why is Cardinal coming here? I’m not ready, I can’t let his identity be compromised… what am I supposed to do? He called Lisa back. “Did this ‘Cardinal’ leave a number in the system’s register?” She answered after a few seconds.
“It’s strange, sir. The computer acknowledges a number there, but when I request it, my security clearance is denied.” Now it was clear- this was serious, about as serious as it would ever get.
“Delete the entry. Remove any trace of that call.”
“Yes, sir.” Ayonagi hung up and exhaled hard.
Suddenly, he heard shouting in the corridor followed by complete silence. His office doors slid open with a hiss; a high-ranking Fleet officer, probably an admiral, stood beyond them flanked by a cadre of guards.
“Come with me, Mr. President. My shuttle can’t wait long.”
“Admiral Moleshenko?” Ayonagi asked, surprised. “Why aren’t you onboard the Midnight Run?”
“That’s where we’re going, but we haven’t much time, sir, so please hurry.” The President of the Federated States of the Earth Sphere followed Moleshenko out of the office, past the tranquilized staff members strewn throughout the building and onto the capital building’s main helipad; a Fleet troop ‘copter idled there, doors open and rotors thrumming at full power.
Ayonagi had to shout to be heard over the thumping of the rotor blades. "Where are we going in this, Admiral? My official shuttle is only five minutes away from here by car!" Moleshenko climbed into the 'copter after his guards.
"We're going to the Central American Southeastern Regional Spaceport at Costa Azul. I can't afford to let anyone here know my shuttle's approach or departure vectors!" The rest of the five hour flight from Keropathos in the South European Division to Costa Azul was virtually silent, except for the rhythmic pulsing of rotors slicing the calm sky.

The sky, like the ocean that also cradled Costa Azul, was a deep blue spotted with fluffy patches white. Everything else of Central America was green and alive, flourishing with the sea breeze and daily rain common to the entire peninsula; Costa Azul was located at the south-eastern-most tip of the landmass. Founded over 200 years after the ice caps refroze and the flood waters leveled off, it thrived as one of the richest cities in the WEstern Hemisphere, Central American Southern Division.
Kimbe Ayonagi observed the city and its surroundings from Admiral Moleshenko's shuttle, watching trees, people relaxing on the beaches, native buildings; it all fell away from him as the craft slipped through the atmosphere. Still gazing out the tiny circle of a porthole, Ayonagi asked, "Where is the Midnight Run docked?"
"At a Defense Net Substation- Beta Seven. The ship's IFF signals list it as another Phantom-class patrol ship, the ESS Specter, which is currently in the Asteroid Belt, operating under Martian jurisdiction. Ironically enough, this is exactly why we're going to the Midnight Run." Ayonagi was visibly confused.
"The Specter?"
"What? Oh, no. The Martian's jurisdiction." Moleshenko sighed and removed a crystal chip from a small ID-lockbox in his jacket pocket. "I may as well debrief you now, sir, so you will be prepared for the meeting with the other admirals once onboard." Inserting the crystal into the black, square projector console between himself and President Ayonagi, he played the chip's video.
The video, a series of holograms contained in a green frame, at first showed film of the FACET invasion that Ayongai had already seen at least twenty times, but within a short time everything was new. The enemy ships hanging over Mars and dispatching infantry transports. The Martian legislature declaring their neutrality. Then, the perspective switched to that of what seemed to be a helmet-mounted camera filming the removal of the Earth Sphere flag from Mars' largest Fleet base at Percival City. shouting was heard in the background and all went to static.
"You see, Mr. President, Mars recognizes neither our authority, nor the government''s authority as the supreme power in this system, and this is why we are going to the Midnight Run: damage control. What happens when other colonies, both planetary and satellites, find out that they can merely declare neutrality to sit back and watch Earth fight alone?"
"But what about the Ganymede attack, Admiral? Yes, the base was attacked first, but civilian outposts were contacted by enemy mobile suits as well."
"Contacted is the key word. All the civilians were given the chance to surrender. Those that didn't were treated as though they were our soldiers in every sense of the word. FACET took nearly 2700 prisoners of war from just civilian outposts; the rest are either still in hiding or are neutral. This isn't the way it happened on Mars, though. Those infantry transports that you saw? The troops inside were being brought to march through Percival City as part of the official declaration ceremony. A full eighty-five percent of the planet's population voted to become neutral and invite the FACET officers to accept that declaration in person and on paper."
"But what's to be done about it, Admiral?"
"That, we'll discuss later." The rest of the flight was silent.

***

Kama's eyes had trouble focusing on anything, much less his IV bag and monitor- blurs and spectral shapes coalesced around him as he tried to grasp why he was here. Suddenly, he remembered with a start and an accompanying wince of pain. The enemy suit. Tremors rippled up his arm and through his head, shocking companions of this memory. Kama wished he could say that he had blacked out, but he had been conscious the entire time, as his suit was ripped apart with automatic weapons fire and left for dead. That had never happened before, not even in training. Craning his neck as much as his drugged muscles would allow, he saw his left arm rested on his chest bandaged and splinted to his body, apparently shattered in his futile attempt to shield his face against the control console as his mech jerked forward. Perhaps his nose was broken too, for a white shape had resolved near the center of his face. It wasn't the point that Naval field medics were famous for their efficiency; what mattered is that they had to practice on him.
His monitor chirped, alerting a doctor nearby.
"Oh, good, Captain da Tsilvan. You're awake again." He called over another officer that had been standing down the hallway. Kama had to squint to see the bars marking the man's rank; definitely an admiral.
"Good afternoon, Captain. We are glad you're with us again, after the beating you took in orbit. The combat data you gathered was very valuable." So this man was Fleet-tel, thought Kama. Intelligence officers cared only for statistics, not how they were gathered. "I would also like to mention that once you have recovered sufficiently, you will be awarded the Proxima Medal for combat valor. If I am correct, this will be your third occasion receiving this decoration." Kama would not have responded even if he could; this man grated on every command instinct in his body, that he could be so unfeeling in a situation like this. How could he have been promoted admiral with such an attitude concerning men under his command? Perhaps it was only his position with Fleet Intelligence that allowed him to be this way.
The admiral saluted, then nodded at the doctor and left. An odd meeting, even with a Fleet-tel officer. Kama searched for a doctor, nurse, or anyone passing by; though he had been conscious during the battle, his memories of transport were hazy at best. The best he could guess, he was in his own craft's ICU, though the few items in the room that he could see did not look too familiar. Then again, he had rarely been there enough to tell the difference between it and any other sick bay. Worst of all though, he had no idea how long he had been in this bed, only that it was afternoon according to Proximal Space Standard Time, and his recovery would most likely be slow, too slow to even ask where he was within the next few days. His arm was strapped uselessly to his chest, his pride was broken, and he would likely be handicapped for at least three weeks; the only thing he was grateful for was that he was alive, and the only hope left for him to cling to was revenge.

***

"We have called this meeting, President Derak, to discuss long-term strategy, not to listen to your clever diatribe. This is a committee and we shall act as such." Counselor Mala was frustrated and only Derak was oblivious; he insisted that all fleets should push forward with reckless abandon despite his complete ignorance of the mechanics of interstellar warfare.
"Serene," said Derak, straining under impatience. "This is our war, not the High Council's pet project to do with as it pleases! Fleet High Command reports directly to me for a reason, and that reason is not to allow arrogant counselors to impede. Now let me explain why I need this to happen."
With the press of a button on the table in front of him, the holo-projector in the center of the table came alive with tactical data, marking every fleet and battle group known to exist on both sides. It then zoomed in on the general area of Mars to show two of their own fleets coming towards the crimson world and one on intercept. "This," highlighting the inbound fleet, "is part of the main plan that was presented to me yesterday by Admiral Ramyn of Fleet-tel. It's called Operation POINT BLANK. You see, this new fleet is carrying several things besides MS." Centering on a large, roughly cylindrical carrier, he brought up the cargo registry on the projector. "Held inside this carrier, the Bellephoron, and its counterparts, the Pegasi and Virganus, are twenty-seven Shrike troop carriers, along with three thousand marines and these." A new image was rotating slowly on the projector; it appeared to be an MS, though it was stockier with thick, armored joints and bulky legs that looked built for actual walking rather than to be used as simply vernier thrusters. Also on screen were several weapons, including a heavy assault rifle and bazooka.
"This is Secundus Manufacturing's newest creation, the Modular Assault Suit, made specifically for an attack on Earth. The prototypes were completed nearly six months ago, but final testing was not completed until one month before our initial offensive at Ganymede, making it too late for their inclusion with the 1st Autonomous in any significant numbers. However, Secundus Manufacturing has managed to complete over one hundred twenty units recently, and... Yes, Counselor Jennar?"
The young counselor looked puzzled. "How will these new suits even get to Earth, Otha? Mendeleev is nearly impassable, which you may remember is a fact we discovered at heavy cost." Derak got a look in his eye suddenly, emitting total confidence, as if he were assuming that Jennar were oblivious to a blatant part of the total plan.
"Trust me," he said with a hint of patronization. "The position of the Moon has been figured into this since the beginning, and it poses no danger the operation's success." All we need is commanders reckless enough to participate without a promise of returning.

***

"It's good to meet you all," Amira Bennett said as she shook the hands of her newest crew members on the Terranova's flight deck. "I'm positive you'll adjust to life around here in no time. The food here isn't quite as good as back at base in Mendeleev, but the discipline is about the same and the quarters are probably bigger!" A few of the eight new pilots laughed, others just remained stoic. Typical of all the base pilots she had met, at least during visits with her father or during her Academy training. At least some of them knew humor when they heard it. "I would like to speak with your squad's commanding officer, Ensign... Hitomi?"
"Here, Commander." Hitomi raised his hand and stepped forward in stiff military fashion.
"Follow me, please." She motioned for Hitomi to come with her down a hall branching off the flight deck into one of the central corridors of the ship. "You have an impressive service record, Ensign. All from the Tranquillan Succession?"
"Yes, Commander. I believe my record also notes other things, particularly my status within the Fleet. Be sure to remember that." Amira's look became fierce.
"Remember this, Ensign. Your men were assigned to my ship, not given any special permission. I understand that your position as a test pilot for the Fleet gives you special status concerning general orders, but under my command my bridge crew has final say over everything. They authorize launches, combat placement, even general tactics for pilots under my command.
"Fleet Command may give you your own set of orders, but as a front-line commander it is my duty under Officer's Initiative to supersede Fleet orders if my view of the situation is better. Trust me, Ensign- in combat, it always will be."
"I understand, Commander. Perfectly." The fact that he did not visibly react during her little monologue was unsettling to Amira. Her temper got the best of her at times, especially when it appeared that someone was doubting her ability as an officer, whether because of her father's position in the government, or some apparently innate superiority. This case of the latter was not something she could put up with, most especially now.
FACET had retreated to Mars, that was certain, but which base they were using to regroup was still a mystery. Frankly, no one was really certain if they were still in Martian orbit, or if they were amassing ships elsewhere for some larger offensive. Their total fleet deployments were still unknown, even where they were coming from- the Centauri system was 75 years away, even with interplanetary engines that could make the trip from Earth to Jupiter in five hours. It was totally unfeasible for any military to build up troops and keep morale high for nearly a century, only to have the oldest ships arrive in-system first with no knowledge of what they were up against.
"I don't want to come off like a rebel, Ensign, it's just that we received orders at 0735 today to rendezvous with the Bosporus and the Aido outside of L2 to scout the Martian border for FACET ships. The last thing I want is some kind of power struggle between officers on my ship."
"Trust me, Commander. I will follow your orders, so long as my own are not contradicted. The likelihood of such an event would be rare, but possible." Amira conceded with a sigh.
"Agreed. Inform your men: we depart at 1100 hours." Hitomi turned on his heel with a terse salute and was back on the flight deck with his pilots. Amira could only wonder what kind of training produced or even required officers like Hitomi, so exact that they exuded arrogance and so seemingly distant that emotion was foreign. Perhaps that combination made a good soldier, but what happened to that perfect soldier when the war was over? Amira could only really keep herself alive- hypothesizing about someone else's fate was useless if your own was still unclear.


Last edited by <chronicler> on Thu Jan 24, 2008 6:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Art
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:17 pm 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
Posts: 27
I got a picture of the Avensia and Omega Gundam done on Paint.net, deepening my love for free-ware! I'll put 'em on my Deviantart. I can't believe I forgot about that account, but now that I've remembered no more slacking! http://reydian.deviantart.com


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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:24 am 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
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The wait between episodes won't always be this long... I'm working on a couple episodes at once and I have a job, but the important events in the story are mostly written by now. Either way, it's coming along and I hope you all like it! Tell your friends!


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 Post subject: Chapter Four
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:24 pm 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
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Captain da Tsilvan was still in the sick bay nursing a broken arm and some minor neck injuries, placing Commander Lovanna in charge of the Liberdad. Lovanna was relatively inexperienced when it came to combat, but he was an excellent leader under pressure, just the kind of man that Kama would select as his second-in-command. Fifteen years Kama's senior, he had fought in FACET's propaganda front during the colony revolt and still had friends deep inside Fleet-tel; he often speculated if that was another reason he had received his commission. Either way, da Tsilvan was a legend during the war, and good man besides, so Lovanna felt honored whether his captain's purpose was to use him or not. He was just glad to serve under someone he could previously only read about.
A ping echoing through the bridge indicated that movement orders had just been issued from the McNarry. Bringing up their new vector on the main viewscreen, Lovanna could see now how truly large this assault was going to be. In only a few hours the increasingly massive fleet would move out enroute to Earth and match speed with a second battle group that had departed FACET space the day before, comprised of three Constellation-class carriers and seven Proxima light cruisers, somehow still in service from the colony revolt. Then again, the fates of those old ships was already sealed: to be decommissioned in a final blaze of glory in the Earth's upper atmosphere. Lovanna only hoped this was not his fate as well, to die for his country and its independence, but in the end, whatever came, came.
Kama had been fully responsive for several days, if not a little anaestatized, but Lovanna would only contact him in sick bay if he completely ran out of options on the bridge. His commander was a last resort, but at least an easily accessible one- the holo projector connecting Kama to the bridge had been added the day before, when it was clear the commander would be in no position to leave sick bay for at least another two days.
The ETD counter sitting in the viewscreen's upper right-hand corner read only three hours left until departure of the largest fleet FACET had ever assembled; it was ironic, then, that such a large group of starships was merely a potentially costly diversion. If the Terran Detachments fulfilled their mission, though... There was all the more to gain.

***

Defense Net Substation Beta Seven noted the departure of the ESS Specter with not a single officer bothering to wonder how a ship that had been in the vicinity of Mars only a day before had managed to not only make it back to Earth at blistering speed, but then head out on some other errand entirely without a word. Oh, well, they must have thought; top secret. L4 was the ship's destination now, to Demos Side's mass-housing colonies and Aegis Fleet Base. Phantom-class patrol craft were not uncommon around Aegis, but that did not mean their arrival went unnoticed.
Aegis, as well as Blackrock on the other side of the Moon, were the defensive bulwarks of the Earth Sphere Fleet. Aegis took its name from its similar appearance to the ancient shield of mythology, while Blackrock was just what its name indicated. Originally pulled into lunar orbit to be mined for resources to support the Civil War's colony boom, Asteroid Lambda-Anderson 1174 broke nearly every drill bit in the system during the core samples of its iron-nickel compound shell. It was the Fleet, nearly fifteen years later, that made Blackrock into the impenetrable fortress it was- by leaving it practically untouched. The hollow interior housing the base's control center and main docking bays had taken nearly two years to carve out with high explosives; it was a safe assumption that nothing short of those same explosives would ever get through Blackrock, and even then nothing short of two years' time would make a dent.
Blackrock was impenetrable, but Aegis was something altogether more impassable. A plasma shield arching across two point five kilometers of space acted as a barrier between the Fleet's largest defense construct and anything on the other side. The shields had been tested against missiles, particle cannons, even stray asteroids, and nothing made a dent. Plus, while an enemy was trying to take down the shield, five Kriegler particle batteries could be taking pot-shots from the center of the shield generator complex and any ships that attempted to escape the deadly barrage would be pinned between wire-guided missile batteries and even more heavy cannons. Neither had been tested in the kind of war the rebels intended, but both were rated by military AI to be capable of withstanding constant assault for at least two weeks, provided neither was resupplied or sent additional reinforcements.
Aegis represented some of the best defense the Fleet had to offer, but it was no place to hide; no secrets stayed secret for long, due to its position in Demos Side. Nearly ten percent of the people living in Demos' O'Neill colony cylinders worked in or around the base, either as workers in the dockyards, or fulfilling other civilian functions within the Fleet. However, just the presence of a patrol ship from the Fleet's Logistics and Intelligence Division gave no hints at its reasons for being there.
It had been nearly a day since Kimbe had left Keropathos, and the jet lag was horrible. The time was not a problem, though, it was the distance and the connections needed to keep his location a secret. At least now he knew the reason Admiral Moleshenko had taken him so far out from Earth and anyone who would recognize the admiral- not only was the Fleet in trouble tactically, but the Federation and its continued stability was threatened. The Martian government must have known what the implications of their neutrality would be; all anyone could hope was that at least part of it was a facade.
The President looked around the circular room situated in the Midnight Run's center. Some faces, he already knew, all of them admirals: Duriyev Moleshenko, Nicolas Hunter and Terrence Bennett. The other four, he had either never seen or had met a handful of times, and never for conversation. They were admirals as well, though their insignia marked them as specific to Logistics and Intelligence; it was not unusual for L and I officers to spend more time onboard than on the ground.
Moleshenko was first to speak: "Our times are desperate. I didn't call everyone here to merely talk about what we could've done to stop this, how we could've been more prepared had this been an eventuality. We need damage control. If the Martians can take up the rebels' offer of free neutrality and still make a large profit from it, other colonies will eventually attempt to do the same. If the rebels are true to their word, where will it end. They said their quarrel was with Earth alone. If this situation continues, all there will be is Earth alone.
"Ironic, isn't it, that the Centauris, our most ambitious venture in our history, could declare independence and the rest of us would have to wait 115 years to find out that they weren't bluffing."
"Yes," drawled one admiral President Ayonagi did not know, but had seen once or twice, always mingling with L and I command. He could only assume this man was a colony operative, though the possibilities for a Fleet admiral in L and I were practically endless. "Yes, it is. But I'd wager that it would've happened anyways; it only mattered about the time. Although, our big clue should've been that the warpgate was... shifted."
Ayonagi was stunned. "Why was I not informed of this? Why don't the people know? This would've been vital intelligence for our commanders, and yet this is the first I've heard of it!"
"Relax, Mr. President." The admiral with the drawling voice brought up a star map on the table's main holo-projector. "This information wouldn't have done them any good, unless they knew everything that we did and had the time and know-how to follow through. This point here, out past Eris and towards the Kuiper Belt, was the warpgate's former position. We suspect it was moved farther out from Eris, and it could even have been moved off the solar system's elliptical plane. Only thing is, no one's sure."
Another unknown admiral spoke up. "There's a lot of space out there, Mr. President, and too few ships for S and R to canvas the areas suspected with any degree of certainty." Ah, Ayonagi concluded. Survey and Reconaissance. Perhaps every Fleet branch is represented here. The only other way, we figure, is to find the relay stations to the warpgate and triangulate the gate's position by tracing the energy parcels the stations dispatch. We anticipate that a full search of the area highlighted above can be completed within one week." The search area was shown on the projector as a blinking, green sphere that encompassed the Sun and extended as far as half-way to Mercury. "When we find these relays, we'll need at least two full days to construct and send the piggy-back trace signal, but once that's done we'll have the gate's location and a way to cut off FACET reinforcements."
"That all sounds logical," Admiral Bennett added. "But how can these relays still target the gate if it's been moved?"
"In theory, the gates can be moved several hundredths of a degree every minute and the relay's laser designators can track these movements based on designator pings and compensate." A second L and I admiral spoke up.
"What about the gate's batteries?"
"What about them?" the S and R man mused.
"Those gates have been receiving consistent energy parcels for nearly a hundred years without being used. Technically, the rebels could use the gates ten, maybe twelve times before running out of power. We can only hope they don't know that the gate has limits, but there's no way to tell until we find both the relays and the gate itself."


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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:05 am 
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Cardboard Leo Ace

Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:39 pm
Posts: 27
Somehow, I managed to drop the ball on this story (not without a few efforts to pick it up again). Apparently, a lot of people either have or are reading this, but I realize that I totally need to finish episode 4 and force myself to write more beyond that. The process of imagining this story has, for me, been a long time in the making and as such, the plot and characters are constantly changing in my head. Trouble is, they have to be on paper. I'm even considering re-writing, to add more realism and prop up some elements of the plot and characters that I let fall down. Just don't count on it happening soon... Ah, me. If you could only kick yourself in the face every so often and get things going!


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