Space

All journeys end
Space Campaign Finale

Space Campaign Finale (3-17-11)

A holoscreen flickers to life illuminating a dark room. A man’s hand is illuminated as he reaches forward from the dark and taps the small holocontrol display causing the display to shift to a live Stellar Com news broadcast. The man’s hand retracts from view as the broadcast audio swells up on the expensive holo-system.  A woman’s image is in the display in almost real life clarity while behind her can be seen a large viewport from a star ship’s bridge. Appearing on the view screen can be the destroyed hulks of various star craft floating in a vast field of debris.

“Greetings to all our viewers throughout the Alliance, this is Yera Allon reporting from Korris system. As you can see behind me salvage operations continue throughout the system, two standard weeks later, in the wake of a fleet sized battle the like of which has not been seen since the Kaa invasion. To update our viewers that may only now be getting Stellar Com network connection again after various relays were sabotaged; the Korris system was recently the battleground for Alliance, Kaa and Kronin mercenary forces.

It is now a matter of record that many of the ships involved, while of the same design and markings of regular Alliance naval vessel were in fact forces loyal to the former Alliance councilor from Tellamatrix, Baron Rolf von Toerbach. The CEO of the multistellar corporation, Tallamatrix Transportation, Baron Toerbach has been building ships and training forces at a secret installation on a moon in the Velpare system. Utilizing these forces in cooperation with what has now been revealed to be various pirate factions and harvested Verm, the Baron planned to stage emergencies to use for his own advantage as a way to take control of the Alliance. The total depth of this plot has yet to be completely revealed according to sources close to the Alliance special investigative committee. This recently formed investigative body has been tasked with determining the full extent of the Baron’s machinations. Alliance Patrol personnel have been put on detached service to be utilized by the committee to assist in its efforts.

Facts that ARE clear at this time mostly concern the attempted coup by military leaders on the first Unification Day. This has been proven to be an utter fabrication perpetrated by the Baron and as of yet unnamed accomplices within the Alliance ruling body. The announcements of this, first made one standard week ago, have shaken the Alliance to its very foundations. It has been through efforts of corporations, outspoken Alliance councilors and the public addresses of Donald Blagovich, former Grand Admiral of Alliance naval forces that have been credited with holding the governmental structure together.  Admiral Blagovich, a victim himself of the manufactured military coup conspiracy, made an impassioned speech on the steps of the Alliance Citadel on his homeworld of Caractacalla.”

<The image displayed in the corner of the holo swells to fill the entire display. It shows an older man in civilian clothing speaking to a massive crowd that has shifting holo signs and seems at times to have been quite ugly in disposition.>  

“Now that the truth has been revealed we can once again move forward. Yes, you were misled by those that you empowered to lead you. They have abused that trust and done things in our names that we do not condone nor can we stomach. Your outrage is understandable and frankly I am happy to see it. It lets me know that the spirit of the brave beings that first came together to form the Alliance out of separate battling factions is still alive and well! But, I ask you to think on this; if your anger and outrage is directed at this institution <he motions behind him at the citadel>, then those that did this to you win. You will give them EXACTLY what they were seeking accomplish. My vision for the Alliance has never wavered; it is a governing body that serves its MEMBERS not the reverse. The combination of our individual strength’s is for our security, not to be used or abused to become aggressors like the ones that first caused this Alliance to form. “

<The image shrinks as the gathered crowd cheers and Yera Allon’s image returns>

“Civil unrest has been at manageable levels across known space according to the Patrol as most citizens now understand the scope of the duplicity that was put upon them. In the fallout of these revelations it has become clear that the forces that did battle over Von Berg in the Korris system were there to eliminate the legitimate Alliance naval forces. It was only thru the actions of the Admiral’s independent forces, who were actively trying to dismantle the Baron’s plans that the Alliance forces were made aware of the threat and saved from a complete ambush. It appears that Kaa forces and what are now referred to as “Shadow Alliance” forces combined in effort to overwhelm the legitimate naval ships. Intervention by various Kronin mercenary forces on the side of the legitimate Alliance forces enabled them to counter and finally to the take the day. Reports of ‘stealth’ vessels used in this conflict continue to circulate as there appears to be evidence that cloaked mines were placed near Kaa and Shadow Alliance vessels causing untold destruction and confusion.

Included in the forces that fought on that day in the Korris system were the nephews of the admiral, former GHOST operatives Eli and Jano Blagovich. Both of the men had been be victims of the same conspiracy that befall their uncle and were sentenced to life terms on Al-Jebel at the maximum security prison. These two with their uncle’s help were liberated from that facility and apparently died in the attempt. Using manufactured identities they joined the admiral’s campaign to stop Baron Toerbach’s plans. In the wake of these revelations, both brothers have been pardoned and reinstated into the Alliance military. In a prepared statement the brothers gratefully declined the reinstatement citing they had retired to the private sector and now manage a mercenary company called Phoenix Rising. Also Rand Brightlighter, formerly of the Alliance Navy is seen appearing publically here with Admiral Blagovich, still suffering from injuries during the conflict evidently. <Image of Jand and Admiral appears at a press conference. Jand has a black eye and swollen lip> Former captain Brightlighter apparently helped the admiral’s efforts acting as a liaison with the various corporations that were involved. Captain Brighlighter had been out of the public eye as another victim of the military coup conspiracy. In a prepared statement he said only that he was grateful to have been where he could do the most good and that he had always believed that the admiral’s vision of the Alliance would be realized. Mr. Brightlighter has recently gone into the private sector announcing the creation of his own corporation which will specialize in defensive systems for starships. Rumors circulate that the Alliance defense council has already awarded contracts to the fledgling corporation.

The final elements to this story are as follows; it has been confirmed that 7 standard days ago at 23:58 Alliance Standard Time, Baron Rolf von Toerbach took his own life in the installation that was discovered orbiting Velpare III. There has been no release of any final statements or any further details on the death of the man that seemed to be responsible for so much tragedy. The Velpare III  installation is being dismantled by Alliance personnel. Tallamatrix Transportation, the corporation that the Baron controlled, has had its assists seized by the Patrol and is currently censored by the Interstellar Trade Commission unable to conduct any commercial transactions.

As for the planet of Von Berg, the Alliance navy has ordered a Quarantine of the system with only a newly established Survey team allowed to the journey to the service. No Alliance personnel will comment on what occurred on the surface of the Von Berg or the status of the enigmatic lifeforms discovered there 10 years ago in the form of sentient crystals. “

“End” the voice of the man speaks to the Holodisplay and it flickers obediently out of existence. “Lights half illumination” the voice says as the automated system responds immediately rising the light level in the room moderately. “Most recent updates on individuals of interest… “ the man says issuing a command to the monitoring computer system. A perfectly modulated voice responds with corresponding holo imagery when appropriate “Subject: Katina Parker. Status: Affiliated with Parker girl syndicate and officer in their operational cooperation. Location: Center. Subject: Jarvis Brightlighter. Status: In cooperation with Parker syndicate, depth of affiliation unknown.  Location: Center. Subject: Donald Blagovich. Status: Consultant to Alliance Council.  Location: Caractacalla. No further information available.”

The man peers at the images of the people before him floating in the holodisplay. Blue eyes, which are beautiful but hold nothing that resembles compassion or emotion of any kind, sweep over the various informational displays before him. Monitoring systems set up around the asteroid field that he is in currently, secure in the depths of a hollowed out floating mountain. No contact is shown throughout the area. He’d know well in advance if there was any because he had the best equipment credits could buy. He sighs slightly reaching over and picking up a thin wine glass raising it to his lips. The ambrosia was the best there was, of course, but he didn’t taste it. He let the glass hang from his finger tips as he stared at the displays and the opulent room surrounding him not really seeing any of it. The man was attractive, longish blonde hair spilled down to his shoulders. His facial features delicate with a hard quality. Not that many had ever gotten to see his face, he took great lengths to keep that hidden expect to those he trusted and had proven themselves as believers in the way he thought the way things should be. His jaw tightens, almost imperceptibly, he had been so close. So much so in fact that the he had seen the beginnings of nihilism he had imagined for years. But, then, once again, ‘He’ intervened.  He might as well change his name to ‘Order’, the man thought wryly, or at least ‘admiral Order’. The man drank the ambrosia again this time catching the tantalizing bouquet of it and his lips curled slowly in a smile. The admiral could have his day, be welcomed back into the fold that was all fine. When the plan that was in motion was finished, he would be found dead. Apparently from a self- inflicted wound with a rambling clumsy apology of a suicide note and enough intoxicants to prove that he had always been a propped up sham. The thought made him feel better. It might appear as a hollow victory after having lost so much, but it served to satisfy him for now. The man turned in his chair to see the floating holo display that showed the whole of the Alliance stellar cartography and spoke to the air “Tok, this is Lucifer, prep the ship for departure in 2 hours. There’s work to do… “.

Silence

“Tok..” he began again as the door cycled opened. The door that HE had the only codes for raced thru his mind as he turned in the chair and reached for the weapon on the console. There was an electric crack and then he was falling to the floor his hand never getting to the weapon.

Confusion.

Voices.

He feels something being placed on his neck.

His eyes flash open and he stares up into… HIS face.

Former grand admiral Donald Blagovich stared down at the man lying on his back on the floor before him. The electo-laser mark on his face blossomed in a bright angry mark and the blonde hair had small wisps of smoke rising from it. “Hi there… “ the admiral says to him “You can’t get up, the thing on your neck is a neural inhibitor. Keeps you from feeling pain from the neck down and from moving.” He informs him in a matter of fact tone. The man from the floor attempts to speak “Ho..w.d…” he garbles out the sounds barely intelligible “Oh yeah, and it makes it hard to talk.. because I REALLY don’t want to hear you talk anymore.. “ he says with a slight smile “How? Oh, how did I find you and get in undetected?… Well, you know when I found out that I had one in my midst I started to think that they might have infiltrated other organizations. In fact they’d have to keep up their success rate. So, after that it was pretty easy. You know it’s no bullshit, no man escapes the manhunters”. He hooks a thumb over his shoulder never looking away from the prone man “Tok, yeah… he was a manhunter” he says plainly as the other hand keeps the electro-laser leveled at his face.

The face of the admiral goes flat “You know it takes an encounter or two before you can gauge the tactics of your opponent. But once you can get into his head, see from his side of things, it starts to fall into place pretty clearly.” He shakes his head “I never believed for a second that after all your games and working behind the scenes that it was you on Von Berg. It didn’t fit with your tactics, not even a little. Since you’d had a clone of me made I figured you’d do one for yourself as well and after that well… I had to find the original. My friends in the other room have a telepathic talent for getting information including things like codes for doors and apparently now, they have cloaking technology for their ships.” He says with a touch of irritation in his tone. “So, there’s the recap Lucy. Not sorry that you were on this whole trip because of what I did to all the pirates. That’s a cop out anyway, every man is accountable for his own decisions.” The admiral’s thumb flips the setting of the electro-laser from stun to kill

“A fact I happen to know… very well.” He says quietly and pulls the trigger.

View
Everything is becoming Crystal clear…
Journey to Von Berg

Journey to Von Berg       (3-10-11)

The crew preps to follow up on a possible location for Lucifer on Von Berg. Since the crystalline life forms that are being studied seemed to be of interest to the pirate leader, the admiral decides to make a stop at the world of Zephyrus to seek the aid of the Erona. When the crew was among them they discovered the Erona used crystal based technology and were able to communicate with them. En route to Zephyrus Jand analyzes the implants in the GHOSTs that attacked the crew recently. Extracting the implant from the GHOST commander that Solomon killed he discovers it is a synthetic crystal but grown in a very specific pattern. Each of the two living GHOSTs also had similar implants, but were not removed for fear of causing irreparable harm to the brain as the these ‘crystal computers’ seem to be grafted to the cerebral cortex

Arriving at Zephyrus the crew goes to the surface and meets with the Erona council who readily agrees to send one of their number with him. After Dr. Fendra, the Erona emissary, is brought aboard and examines the GHOSTs with the implant crystal computers. She advises the admiral that the implants can be removed without harm to the patients. The admiral approves and it is done. She examines Jarvis and informs the admiral that the entity in Jarvis does not wish to be removed.

The admiral stops off on his way to the planet of the ancient and advanced Engai at a known Trader stop. The enigmatic Traders arrive from “elsewhere” in their onion shaped ships to transact business with sentient species throughout Known space. The crew awaits the Trader’s arrival with all the other hopeful merchants as suddenly, in a vacant docking bay at the remote space station they are docked at, the Trader’s vessel materializes. The free floating mass of globs that make up its body drifts among the people with some form of scanning device in one of its nebulous appendages. The odd being stops in front of Jarvis and asks to purchase the item in his brain. Jarvis declines, but Jand is able to engage the Trader to purchase one of the synthetic crystals removed from the GHOSTs. In exchange for this the admiral gets an Engai empathic sphere and Jand gets a complete readout on the crystal in the head of Jarvis.

The crew arrives at Engai under the cover of being the envoy with the Erona emissary to meet with the Engai at the reception station. All goes well as they easily slide past the Alliance Patrol station and their cursory examination. Once planet side the group is met by an Engai and two armored security personnel. The female Engai blithely informs the group that Jarvis is not permitted entrance to their world and must remain on the ship.  Still smiling in a placating manner she offers no reason for this and as Jarvis complies the rest of the group is shown in. The Ernoa is well received and she is taken on a tour with the brothers as Jand, Baby and the admiral sit down with the male Engai that supervises the reception center, known only as the “Arbiter”.

The meeting begins well enough as the Arbiter receives the gift VERY well that the admiral brought from the Trader. In the course of the conversation it is confirmed that a clone was made of the admiral and that it may be more than a pale copy but actually a being with some of his experiences or knowledge.   Outrage that they would do this with no consent he presses them for more asking if Lucifer had visited them. He is told that Lucifer did in fact visit their world and obtain technology needed to communicate with the crystal entities of Van Berg. The Engai goes on to say the decision to allow him to acquire this technology was perhaps not a decision that was “thought out as well as it could have been”. When it becomes clear that the Engai wish to have nothing to do with the crystal entities he asks what race would have engineered this obviously manufactured race. For the first time the placid facade of the Engai flickers as his eyes register the admiral’s words. In that instant that he knows he is addressing the race that created the crystals. The Arbiter tells them and information he would give them about the crystals would prove catastrophic for the terran species. That if Lucifer IS allowed to contact the crystals and teach them how to communicate with man that he will in the Arbiter’s words “Open a door that cannot be closed”.

With this realization that the race that spawned these seeming unfathomable menaces  was unwilling to act or even warn the galaxy at large of the threat they presented the admiral became furious. The Arbiter brought the meeting to a close and cautioned, when the admiral threatened to bring the crystals back to Engai, that he would be forced to inform the Alliance patrol station in their system a dangerous terrorist was present with the intent to do harm. With a look of utter contempt the admiral leaves the small child like alien’s presence and once his crew has returned they leave the planet.

On route to Von Berg the admiral plays a gambit by pretending to be the captain of the captured Corvette and sends a message to the frequency found in the pirate vessel’s computer. He is answered by an operative, presumably a pirate, in the Alliance Survey station there. The operative buys the ruse and gives them the coordinates to meet with Lucifer at one of the many abandoned mining facilities on the planet. The admiral contacts Summersun Mercenaries, who have a cold weather training camp on the planet, that pirates have infiltrated the Survey station and to put it under surveillance.

Leaving the Vengeance in deep orbit of the system they proceed down in the two captured corvettes. At the site they discover a Jo Lynn transport already on site. Immediately on landing Santino leads a team to take the transport ship, terminating its pirate crew to the man. The rest of the GHOSTs under command of Solomon fan out to secure the location for the admiral. In short order the mining structure is secured and prisoners taken. All the men here are obviously pirates and one is made to lead them to Lucifer. He brings Solomon to the office but although it is richly furnished Lucifer is not present. On the desk is a chess piece, the King, laying on its side.

Almost immediately following this the fighters left in orbit send a message of a Kronin Cruiser warping in… the rest of their transmission is jammed.

Outside in the upper floors of an abandoned structure Baby sits with her sniper rail gun. She sees two heavily armored forms appear as if from thin air at the boarding ramp of one the corvettes. In her comm she hears GHOSTs begin to shout “CONTACT!” as apparently other armored troops must be appearing in the area.

HUD displays flash on in her perception as a targeting indicator settles on the over two meter tall battlesuited trooper. “Two hostiles at the ramp….” She informs the corvette crew in a calm tone. In her hands the magnetic coils of the deadly weapon she has resting before her aimed down hum quietly to life.

 

To be continued…..

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“The time has come the Walrus said to speak of many things… “
Targeting the Pirates

Targeting the Pirates     (3-3-11)               

The crew now has many prisoners, not to mention two more corvettes, armor and weapons and four troop shuttles. Solomon and Santino supervise the transport of the nearly 120 personnel from the corvettes to a marginally habitable planet in a remote location where they will be uncomfortable but alive when help arrives for them. The prisoners, hard core believers in the Baron’s plan to unify the Alliance, stare stoically at Solomon as he makes a matter of fact pitch to them about their lot and the choices they have made and are making. These men, seemingly chosen for their fanaticism,  do not avail themselves the opportunity to come over to the side of the Admiral and his cause. Instead, they chose to be marooned and await pickup. Demonstrating a mercy he would only show fellow brothers in arms, Solomon leaves them weapons to defend themselves against any indigenous creatures as their ship departs. Santino only watches with a face barely concealing the contempt for these men, in seeming contrast to his brother. After all… they consorted with pirates.

The pirates in question are aboard the Vengeance at the moment having their meet and greet with the admiral all under the watchful emotionless eyes of Jarvis and Howell. They are kept separate after they are brought in one at a time for an interview. While they wait for their turn, Baby plies her skill at manipulation in an exceedingly effective manner.

The four pirates

Locrutus: The scarred and grizzled captain of the interceptor, a diehard longtime supporter of Lucifer, trusted and perhaps in his inner circle.

Gunner: The massively built arrogant true believer. When he speaks the dogma of Lucifer is all that is heard.

 The Tech: Young and only a year and a half with the organization. Talented with computers and subspace comm relays. He is also very talkative once he has some alone time with Baby.

The Engineer: Quiet and matter of fact. Seemingly the byproduct of poor genetic breeding he has an expensive implant in his throat that he uses as a voice box. He has tattoos that mark him as being descendant of royalty.

It doesn’t take long to get the pirates to show their true colors. The captain offers up information on two conditions; 1) He gets 10 million credits. 2) He gets to personally kill the other 3 pirates he is with.

Gunner spits in the face of any kind of deal and after his Lucifer’s Own tat is ‘removed’ he is executed.

The Tech enamored with Baby’s charms spills volumes about disrupted subspace relays, the Verm infestation of Salsam and ship operations.

The engineer also accepts the offer to trade information for his life. His price; he wants a job. He prefers to stay on the move and will give up all he knows about Lucifer if he can be brought into the fold.

After some debate the engineer is taken up on his offer. He tells the admiral Lucifer has a base on Von Berg. A remote planet under the protection of the Alliance Survey service and limited mining after it was discovered that the crystalline growths there, at least some, are sentient. He goes on to say Lucifer has purchased some equipment from the Engai, a highly advanced race with superior technology, to communicate with the crystals.

The admiral agrees to bring the engineer on IF his information checks out and makes plans to head to Von Berg. The Tech is offered a chance to change his ways and to demonstrate that, he is instructed to kill Locrutus. After a few moments of hesitation he does so.

The crew prepares now to journey to Von Berg and access the situation.

And possibly, to give the Devil his due.

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Baron: “We lost MORE ships to them! INCONCEIVABLE!”
Sneak Attack

Sneak Attack      (2-24-11)

 As the group gathers forces after their confrontation at Hega station the admiral has Jarvis interview the 42 former GHOST operatives that Solomon and Santino recruited. Out of them 2 seem to be a bit too “cool” to the point of not having correct emotional responses. After a conference with Solomon the two are placed under observation and a leader of the men is selected. Michael “Mack” Donahue a former captain in the service. He gets the men in order and for now, they remained unarmed aboard the carrier

Throughout the Alliance news reports run rampant. Tensions are at an all-time high between corporations and the Alliance authority. Thru negotiations, the admiral has arranged for Kronin mercenaries to safeguard shipments to their ports of call. Despite efforts made by the Alliance Patrol, who are under orders to threaten to fire on the escorting Kronin ships, the stoic Kronin never waver and the Patrol’s bluff is called.

The only activity reported in the area of space, which the admiral’s forces are holding in, are seemingly distant random warp signatures. No ships are ever detected.

At 03:00, ship time, Jarvis wakes to discover the Other reading code that it has just received. The code was sent to any open wireless port system with a very specific activation code for a subroutine. The specific subroutine was missing from the Other’s programming so it was not affected. Word is sent out to Santino by the admiral who goes to check the arsenal of missiles they have as this computer code could be setting off a remote detonator. On his way Santino comms his brother Sol to inform him and Sol verifies checking the missiles. Santino breaks off comm and hits the button for the turbo lift, then it occurs to him his brother who went to sleep hours ago responded in a clear voice that didn’t sound like he had been asleep at all. Changing his plan he heads for a weapons cache and picks up a gauss shotgun. As he is in the room getting the weapons he hears the door close behind and movement. Turning he is confronted by one of the new GHOST recruits Terry Taylor. Taylor is one that Jarvis had singled out as ‘odd’. Taylor has an imporvised blade and immediately attacks. Santino fights with the man in the closed quarters firing off the auto shotgun and decimating the environmental suits there but not hitting the attacker. Taylor head-butts Santino’s nose shattering it and stunning him. He wraps his arms around Santino’s neck and applies a sleeper hold. Jarvis arrives as the nearly unconscious Santino breaks free of his would be assassin. Jarvis shoots the attacker with an Electro-laser. Only Jarvis’ quick intervention by putting himself in front of the stunned Taylor prevents Santino ending the life of the man. Jarvis tell him the admiral has ordered be left alive for questioning.

At the same time Solomon awakes in his room to see his comm active and having difficulty breathing. With enormous painful pressure building behind his right eye and feeling nauseous he pulls the gun from under his pillow aiming at the figure standing next to the comm station. It is Michael “Mack” Donahue. Mack stands with no emotion on his face until Solomon pulls the gun. He deflects Sol’s aim and the gun discharges with 3 deafening shots in the cabin. Black spots explode around Sol’s vision as Mack attacks with a combat boot aimed at his head that impacts against the wall next to his head. Holding the heavy pistol in two hands Sol forces his arms steady as he squeezes the trigger 3 times while the other man is moving to grapple him again. Three armor piercing jacketed rounds punch thru the center mass of the former GHOST captain and he falls backward against the bulkhead and dies. During the entire encounter his face had never changed from its neutral blank appearance. Sol is reminded of watching Jarvis kill people and the same lack of expression as he punches the comm and activates an emergency medical call. It was found that Mack had used a hypo full of hyper coagulant, designed to aid in wound treatment, that would have caused a brain embolism in Sol if left to run its course.  

On the bridge the transmission origination point is discovered and one of the crew walks up to the admiral to show him his discovery. Captain Daniels seems confused by the man approaching him and the admiral, in light of recent events, spins and draws on him. The man appears surprised but proceeds to show the admiral what he has found. The Lakota Shadowchaser is dispatched to the area but again can find no ship. The AI running the ship operations ‘Shipmind’ informs the admiral that a medical scanner is in use on the bridge and then a burst transmission is sent. Stevens, the crewman that had discovered the source of the transmission and the warp signatures, seems to be the culprit. He, also after checking physically the crew, is found to not even be Stevens. He is Jesse Anderson the second “odd” GHOST Jarvis found and completely believes he is Stevens even after the admiral tricks him into using the comm system to signal the hiding ship and he is taken from the bridge.

After finding the area the evidently cloaked ship is in the admiral orders the Lakota to seed the area with nukes. This forms a large net that will be used to disrupt the cloak and expose the vessel. After the 3rd nuke is detonated the cloaked ship is revealed. The fighters of the Vengeance are launched and the Lakota gives chase. The ship revealed is a Valkryn Interceptor.  The interceptor has another surprise other than its cloaking field as it fires at the Lakota with missiles loaded with anti-matter. The first are destroyed by the Lakota as it fires on the smaller vessel gaining steadily with its greater speed and bringing it into the range for its formidable particle cannons. The interceptor flies like the pilot has made a deal with the Devil and he has come to collect. It dodges the Lakota’s fire and then suddenly turns firing another anti matter missile and destroying the Lakota when its point defense lasers fail to stop it.

The admiral now grim with determination that the ship be caught bears down on it with the fighters and the carrier. The interceptor sets up on a collision course with the Vengeance and arms another antimatter missile. Trace scans of a direct beam transmission come in from outside the system and the interceptor veers off. The fighters pursue it and eventually take out one engine. The Other assists by using the Shipmind to hack the Interceptor and opening is doors to space. Closing the hatches before fatal exposure but leaving the crew, as it turns out pirates of Lucifer’s own, alive.

The point of the Interceptor’s evasive maneuvers is clear now as 3 corvettes had warped into the system but were stopped by the tachyon field the nukes, previously detonated, had caused. The admiral orders the remaining nukes detonated since the forces are in the ‘net’ still. Afterwards one of the corvettes is no more. The other two are chased down and disabled and boarded. The captains are disgruntled marginal former naval officers. They are taken prisoner and all the materials of the corvettes, including two ships and four 16 man troop shuttles, are added to the growing arsenal of the admiral’s forces.  

As the crew secures its new armaments a Stellar com transmission is received from the news nets. A Kaa attack force was discovered on the edge of Gromelite space by the strike carrier Heracles. After refusing the order to withdraw from Alliance space the Heracles was fired on. The battle went on for an extended period but local jamming made it impossible for the Heracles to call for help until it cleared the area. Captain Arthur Simons of the Heracles managed to disable the three attacking cruisers and withdraw his forces until he could alert the nearest Alliance station.

The Alliance Security Council has been called into emergency session and the chairman of the Alliance council, Dr. Tensor Ingersoll issued this statement:

“As of 17:45 on 10-18-2425, Center Standard Time, all Alliance stations and personnel are operating at war level readiness. This violation of the Selbin armistice signed by both governments in good faith will not STAND! To insure the safety of all Alliance citizens this council hereby declares that a state of emergency exists. As per the Articles of the Alliance local forces of the Alliance military and patrol are now in control of all member worlds. I want to make it perfectly clear to all citizens of the Alliance, we are not the fragmented peoples of the past. We stand UNITED and the Kaa will find our resolve to be far greater than theirs to see this conflict through to complete and uncontested victory! We stand as ONE now and are the most capable beings that the Galaxy has ever seen. All of us, unified, terran or not, stand shoulder to shoulder against this threat and we will prevail!”

 

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“Just a simple job… we’ll be out before they know what hit ‘em….”
Visit to Hega

Visit to Hega Station       (2-17-11)

The admiral sends out this statement to the Alliance military command and then to civilian news agencies to light the fuse as it were:

“To all those Loyal Alliance Systems, Planets, Corporations and Citizens

It is with great sorrow that I must inform you that the vipers within our Alliance that seek power thru lies and corruption have made bed fellows with the under belly of society and is in allegiance with Lucifer’s Own.

You will find that Lucifer’s Own has already succeeded in creating a breeding ground in the Biarat system on Salsam. This once peaceful farming colony has become a Verm infested planet. This planet and anything leaving it need to be treated with extreme prejudice. Sadly Lucifer’s Own and the Shadow Alliance led by Baron Rolf have put all citizens on this planet at great risk.

The enemy known as Lucifer’s Own has also begun to put themselves within our trading routes in plan site as they masquerade in Alliance patrol craft. This statement will lead you to ask “where would Lucifer’ s Own get unmarked Alliance Patrol ships?”.

In the Velpare system on the dark side of the moon surface orbiting Velpare III you will find a ship yard. A ship yard that appears to have been manufacturing illegal unmarked Alliance ships for over the past 10 years. Carriers, Battle ships, small ships.. transport ships.. ships that zoom or make a ping noise can be found being manufactured on the surface. This means that the plan to take control of the Alliance has been in the making for far longer than I had expected and that the wedge placed between Loyalty to the Alliance and to this Shadow Alliance had been causing fractures to our security for too long and the time to press these Corrupt Corporations is now. I point my guns and finger at Baron Rolf Von Toerbach and the Telimatrix system. Ships have been tracked for this system to the Velpare system and it’s moon ship yards. There have been cargo containers located in this system with Verm queens being stored for use.

This is my call to all Loyal to the Alliance; Hunt down and remove this threat from within. It must be stopped and stopped now before it can press its move to power. It’s men are being trained as I speak in the very system that their ships are being manufactured in.

I will deal with Lucifer’s Own as I have dealt with their kind in the past…. He has failed to take my life and he will not be given that glory ever.

Be wary of those you don’t know and keep both eyes on those you do trust. This exercise in cleaning out the corruption must begin now.

The Clone they have of me will surely be used in the coming weeks to cause more confusion and produce more lies about me. If you have a doubt of who you’re dealing with feel free to shoot.

It’s my clone you’ll hit.

Those who wish to contact me will already know how best to do this.

This is Admiral Donald Blagovich, loyal citizen of the Alliance.”

::Transmission Ends::

The crew rendezvous with the Vengeance again and decide on a course of action to bolster the ranks of the loyal. Santino and Solomon devise a plan with Baby in order to find former GHOST operatives the have since left the service. In order to do this they will have to get a look inside classified files on the Alliance military network. The plan is as follows:

Santino, Solomon, Baby and Howell will return to Hega station, in a different vessel. Jand will have given Howell something to make it appear that he has a severe respiratory infection that will have to be analyzed to be identified. In order to do this a Doctor would have to access his file which will connect him thru the Military network since Howell is a legitimately discharged officer of the Alliance Navy.

The plan works brilliantly, the team docks and is met by dock control and seeing the obviously VERY ill man summons up a med team to transport him in a sealed chamber to the infirmary. In the meantime the brothers go off to procure supplies and tech gear for repairing various devices. Baby joins Howell as his distraught companion holding his hand while the doctor examines him.

Once the Doctor begins to access his files a diagnosis his condition Baby acts. Using her implant computer she hacks the workstation the doctor is on using the codes the man has already utilized to gain access. She penetrates further into the system, having to hack thru to classified material. She bypasses security programs, apparently, and finds the listings for all inactive GHOST operatives. Once she has the information downloaded she carefully leaves the system.

Meanwhile, as Baby is finishing her illicit computer use, further down the station promenade Sol and Santino are in an electronics supply store getting the parts needed. Santino see’ outside the store as 4 Alliance Patrol officers race in the direction of the infirmary. Calling out to his brother they make their way there. The officers arrive and are met by 4 more to move the people on the promenade back out of the way while the initial 4 have the computer override the doors and go into the Infirmary. They herd everyone there into the lobby of the infirmary and begin to investigate the workstations. In short order it is discovered who was in the examination room and they come to Baby and Howell. Howell pickpockets an Patrol officer’s stun club and Baby prepares a ruse by telling the men that come for them they were in another system not far from the Normale system. The Normale system’s one populated planet is Belvare and it has been under quarantine for years.

Escott Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge Data Entry: Belvera (Normale II) Quarantined

Belvera was once a jewel of the sector, lauded in every stockholders’ report. Its system primary resembles Sol (hence its name, meaning "normal"); planetary conditions approach terrestrial ideals in most respects; the world is rich in superheavy elements and unique organic compounds. At one time, the colony’s population topped one billion. Tourism flourished, and Belveran exports brought high prices.

Now, with the Belveran quarantine entering its third generation, the colony’s people are almost forgotten. Company histories talk of "unionist terrorists" (a redundancy in corporate states), the corporation’s unstinting refusal to give in to their demands, and the plague the terrorists engineered to destroy the colony. There is less discussion of the people of today’s Belvera, hard-working and ambitious, but trapped on the planet by the disease they carry.

The Plague and the Quarantine

No plague could be better calculated to damage a population: staggeringly contagious, a lengthy incubation period without symptoms, resistance to all known treatments, and a lingering, painful death. Artificial panimmunity gave no protection. Newscasters call it "Belvera’s Curse."

The symptoms resemble a severe allergic reaction; the face, in particular, swells so badly that the victim can neither see nor breathe without help. But by the time these symptoms show, the victim has been spreading the disease for weeks. The entire populace contracted the Curse, and by all rights should have died.

Mittelsohn wrote the entire world off, wrecking their balance sheets for 20 years. They cut off all trade and ringed the world with observation satellites. And, when survivors persisted in trying to escape, they used nuclear devices to wreck Belvera’s orbital elevator. Many thousands died in the fall of the skyhook, and most of the capital city was wrecked by the meteoric rubble. Much of the skyhook remained in orbit: a swarm of particles, a few hundred mile-long chunks, and a couple of slowly spinning cables of continental dimensions. The rubble occupies a wide band around the equator, making the prime near-planet and geosynchronous orbits useless. Ships passing through the belt risk hull punctures and collisions; make a Piloting roll for each landing or takeoff except over the polar regions, or for each 6 hours spent in orbit except at the stations.

The quarantine continues to this day. Three stations, each carrying 50 staffers and 10 interceptor spacecraft, try to prevent vessels from reaching or leaving the planet. They permit medical research ships to land and leave on a difficult polar course, by means of a spaceport on Belvera’s southern ice cap, where the Curse never spread.

On the rare occasions when researchers go elsewhere on the surface, they must use pressure suits and self-contained air supplies. Videos of Curse victims make them glad to comply. Personnel returning to ships must undergo a thorough decontamination, lasting an hour, at the airlock. Once back in orbit, ships must dock at a station for intensive inspection and beam-sterilization of the entire surface.

Except at the polar station, anyone whose suit is breached is denied re-entry to the ship. Ships who take contaminated personnel on board (it has happened) are not permitted to return to the station; they are destroyed if they do not land again on Belvera.

Even if a ship lands, its landing site is destroyed by a missile an hour after the crew leaves (this has happened four times in the past 60 years). The quarantine crew is taking no chance that the Belverans might get a working spaceship!

Banking on the fact that the mere MENTION of a system so close would spark concern of the plague and cause a reaction. Not able to replicate the advanced stages of the sickness, that almost no one has actually seen, she bites her tongue severely and goes into a very convincing coughing fit spewing blood from her mouth.  Her performance is an award worthy one as the people in the infirmary lose their MINDS in an effort to get clear of this perceived horror. They stampede the patrol officers allowing Baby and then Howell to get out. Baby gets away but Howell has to stun two guards and disables a third while making his escape. The patrol officers call for the section to go into lock down closing blast doors to seal the area. Solomon and Santino bypass the doors triggering their overrides to force the doors open. Howell is stunned while trying to escape and Solmon hurls a flashbang grenade taking out the attacking Patrol officer.

The group reaches its ship and Santino motivates the dock control to release the ship by faking their engine going into reactor breech. Local patrol ships respond and attempt to stop the Gryphon class vessel named The Jackal before it can go FTL. After some negotiations which baby brings the admiral into via subspace comms, the station commander Harrison orders his ships to fire on the fleeing group. The pilots, after getting the admiral’s message that they should not fire because these people were working to help the Alliance not harm it, hesitate in opening fire once inside of beam weapon range.

The situation becomes more complex when a strike carrier, the Heracles, arrives in system. Its Captain Arthur Simons broadcasts they are conducting fighter craft drills and will stay out of “normal traffic’s way”. They take up a posture at the FTL point for the system seemingly setting themselves up to cover the fleeing Jackal from pursuit.  One of the drones used for targeting in the drill exercise takes a course that is directly at the pursuing Valkryn interceptor which is right on the tail of the group’s ship. The admiral warns the Valkryn pilot of the threat as it is hidden in the Jackal’s sensor shadow and would have badly damaged the interceptor if it impacted. The pilot of the interceptor, one Lt. Adair, veers off and goes sublight allowing the group to make good its escape.

As the group departs the system an Invictus class command carrier arrives. The ship is the Abaddon, the commander is one Admiral Traynor. He orders the Heracles to cease drills and stand down. It complies immediately. Traynor contacts the admiral directly and tells him that his actions are leading the alliance to civil war.  He goes on to say that he will hunt him down along with everyone that joins him and see to it they will never threaten the Alliance again. Traynor and Blagovich trade barbs and ideological discourse each holding steadfast to the others complicity in the recent event’s that are taking place in the Alliance. Admiral Blagovich cites to Traynor the proof of the Verm infestation and the shipyards discovered in the Velpare system. While Traynor counters that Blagovich’s transmissions and actions to have caused the megacorporations, headed by an effort from Mittleshon corp., to meet and are expected to declare an embargo of all shipments to the Alliance military. Further, public outcry has forced the Alliance navy to go off to the coordinates of this alleged shipyard to locate it and blockade the area wasting time and tying up vessels from their primary concern which is defending Alliance worlds. Admiral Blagovich, seeing that this man who got his commission and career thru family connects, will not see reason ends the transmission with:

“You’re worthless” CLICK.

The admiral has also reached out to the Summersun mercenary company since they lost a cruiser on Salsam and 100 men to the Verm there. The meeting is set with General Zachariah Franklin who comes to the Vengeance to conduct the meeting. The upshot of it all is his group has collected a great deal of information on the Baron’s activities. The Baron apparently made deals with pirates, via Lucifer’s own, that gave them weapons and refueling in exchange for their assistance in destabilizing things in the Alliance. The general offers Summersun pilots and fighters, for use on the carrier. He advises that this assistance should remain covert until the admiral is ready to move because their company will be acted against as soon as they are shown for taking the Admiral’s side. This is agreed on and the admiral sets the plan in motion, upon receiving intelligence from Summersun, to move against the pirate support the Baron has gathered.

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“I don’t have to lie... the truth is stranger by FAR!”
Following the shipment part II

Following the shipment part II   (2-10-11)

As the admiral, Jarvis, Solomon, Santino and Jand scrambled for ships with the Verm swarming towards them the crew that had remained aboard the Lakota had sprung into action. At the first sign of trouble Baby and Howell fired up the engines and prepared to bring the Lakota in for close support. Sykes, had left the bridge to check out a faulty reading on the plasma vent just prior to the attack. When he did not respond Howell went after him as Baby continued the ship’s lift off. A short time after Howell leaves the bridge she hears laser weapon fire and then something in the access crawlspace above operations directly behind the cockpit. Baby slaps the button to close the door and goes back to programming the ship to lift off. She hears movement back there and the door malfunctions when trying to close so it only shuts 75% of the way.  She draws her knives and finishes the programming to lift the ship up just as she hears the door being forced.

Whirling in her chair she sees the monstrous form of a Verm warrior pushing the door out of its way. Without hesitation she throws one of her knives that have been treated to cut thru denser material with ease. The large knife impacts in the creature’s face. It issues a pained sound from its teeth filled maw and rushes forward on its crab like legs with its claws outstretched. On the back of the creature Baby sees 3 power cells wired together and taped in place with emergency tape. Dangling down from all this is a cable with an actuator on the end of it near the verm’s mouth.

The creature strikes moving quickly and snaps his claw on Baby’s leg just below the knee. It is clipped nearly off cutting thru the bone and tissue easily. Baby battles on taking her remaining knife an attempting to pull the cable leading to the powercells on its back and cut it. The Verm suddenly releases her and closes it’s mouth on the actuator. This detonates the power cells wired together which in turn generates an EMP blast causing the systems on the bridge to go dead. With the ship out of control the beast falls atop baby and begins to rend her armored jacket off as she stabs it again and again in the face. Finally the beast falls heavily on her as it dies.

In the meantime Solomon has made his jump to the Lakota and gets inside assisting Baby and then killing the final Verm in the engine room. Sykes has been moved to Sickbay , his throat ripped open by one of the monsters. Aboard the other vessels the crews battle the invaders as Jarvis stops one from igniting the hydrogen fuel tanks and Santino defeats two in the engine room after one of the Verm uses high voltage to overload his armor leaving him dragging around 150lbs of no longer powered armor.

All ships finally secured the crew heads up and transfers the wounded Sykes to the Vengeance  before heading off after two vessel that have left loaded with Verm prior to their arrival. Jand speaks to his contact at Mitteshon Corporation and lets him know the fate of the agriculture planet Salsam. Also, they determine that one of the ships is inbound to Dieri the Mittelshon corp. home world. Warning the officials there to not approach and shoot it down, they head after the other vessel which is headed for Hega station.

Jand gives the Mittelshon corp the complete run down on the Baron’s duplicity in the destruction of Salsam. By doing this, in exchange for support and materials later, Jand hopes to cement Mitteshon’s support in the upcoming revolt.

The last vessel is discovered as it enters the Hega system headed for the Argos class space station there.  When the Lakota starts to close on the Verm vessel it fires a nuclear missile and an emp missile. Both are stopped. As the Lakota closes to bring its particle guns to bear on it the Verm ship broadcasts a distress for Alliance Patrol craft in the system. Jarvis befuddles the patrol with mimicry acting as if he were the broadcasting ship and Solmon jams any further transmissions from the enemy ship. When push comes to shove the patrol informs the Lakota , now named the Shadowchaser, they cannot fire on the vessel. The admiral breaks silence telling the patrol leader that his actions if he orders that ship boarded will be the death of his men at the hands of Verm. After very tense moments and a desperate flight of life pods launched from the Verm ship, it is fired upon, as are the life pods, and destroyed.

The admiral declines the Patrol’s order to heave to and be boarded and races from the system easily outdistancing the pursuing Valkryn interceptors. Before leaving he tells the Patrol leader that Lucifer’s own are using ships identical to their own and to be VERY careful who they are dealing with. When the Patrol leader suggests that the person he is talking to might be an old war hero that has been in the news recently and asks how much of what is going on they should believe, the admiral responds;

"Believe that there are troubles growing deep inside the Alliance, and there are some looking to take power into their hands thru means that are criminal. And these men need to be stopped. Trust the men you know and watch the men you don’t with both eyes and a gun out"

Transmissions ends.

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“Game over man…. GAME OVER!”
Following the shipment

Following the shipment  (2-3-11)

The admiral decides to change course and follow the cargo vessel with its 4 heavy corvette escort. It isn’t long before, working with the Vengeance that is on a distant parallel course, they determine the destination of ships. Carcosa, in the Styx system.

Escott Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge Data Entry: Styx system

Carcosa (Styx I) Prohibited

Carcosa is a cold, dead world circling at the rim of what was once a solar system. Eons ago, the star went supernova, annihilating all its planets except Carcosa. Though it is now a barren rockball, there is evidence that Carcosa once was a terrestrial planet with an atmosphere and seas, all of which boiled away when the star exploded. Certainly there was life of some sort on Carcosa, as evidenced by the empty, cyclopean cities that still stand on its fused plains. These structures, mute testimony to a Carcosan civilization millions of years ago, are constructed of gigantic blocks of stone, leading some xenoarcheologists to suggest that their builders bad reached no higher than TL2 at the time they were destroyed. Others argue for a higher level; how, they contend, could a primitive culture have built the thousand-foot spires that crown many of the dead cities?

And some point to Carcosa’s huge elliptical orbit, 30 degrees off the star’s plane of rotation, as evidence that the world doesn’t belong to this system at all. Perhaps Carcosa had been dead and wandering through space for millions or billions of years before it was captured by the star which later seared it. Studies of Carcosa have been discouraged by the other dangers of the system (see below). Most of the sector’s researchers believe that whatever the truth about Carcosa might be, it was lost in the flare of the supernova and the dust of the eons that followed . . . and that there are better and safer things to study, closer to home.

Old Irregular

Carcosa’s sun, Styx (or Pulsar PSX113A, as it is listed on Survey charts) is unique in that it is the only irregular pulsar ever discovered. It is this characteristic that gives it its popular name, Old Irregular. It is not yet understood why or how this dim ember of a neutron star emits pulses at irregular intervals, when all other known pulsars are regular as clocks. The hazardous conditions within the nebula have thus far made scientific studies in the area unfeasible.

The Deerstalker Nebula that fills the space around Old Irregular was named because its appearance from certain angles roughly resembles the old Terran flapped cloth cap of that name that was worn by hunters in the 19th and 20th centuries. The nebula itself is a "dark" one, invisible at distances greater than a dozen parsecs except by sophisticated instruments. Within that range, it appears as a black shape against the void. The nebula itself is some 2,000 AU in diameter, extending an average of 400 AU past Carcosa’s orbit.

The nebula, and thus the entire system, has been declared a Prohibited zone. The ionized dust and gases within the nebula interfere with sensor readings, making navigation nearly impossible. Even Survey vessels equipped with the most sophisticated sensors have disappeared in the nebula. Some may have ventured too close to the neutron star at the center of the system. Others may have attempted FTL travel within the nebula; experience has proved this to be a mistake that can have fatal consequences. Carcosa, and, indeed, the entire Deerstalker nebula area, is a favorite rendezvous for smugglers and pirates, who can transfer goods and prisoners without interference in the areas along the fringes of the nebula. The presence of such space-scum makes the area even more dangerous.

Upon nearing the system Solomon picks up subspace communication on one of the frequencies that the Daniels, the admiral’s first officer, gave after changing sides. It refers to the convoy of vessels they are tracking as “Epsilon 4”  and the other ship signaling is “Light bearer”. They discuss their timetable of their rendezvous. Jarvis, upon having this information related to him, informs the crew “Light bearer “ in Latin is “Lucifer”. This seeming to signify, that it might be the leader of the pirate organization of Lucifer’s Own. Excited at the possibility to renew their violent negotiations with the pirates and avoid attacking the Alliance personnel aboard the corvettes, the crew follows them to the coordinates in the Styx system.

In deep orbit around the dead world of Carcosa the forces of the Shadow Alliance and the pirates meet. The ships waiting there are 2 Exeter class transports, heavily modified no doubt and armed, and 8 Valkyrn class Interceptors. The interceptor’s are painted in EXACT markings for the Alliance patrol, but piloted by pirates. The communications begin between the lead corvette and the Exeter class designated Light Bearer. In the communication the two commanders appear on vid, the corvette captain is identified as a former Alliance naval officer. The Light Bearer’s captain appears as a humanoid made of brilliant light an obvious cosmetic filter. The communications consist of the glowing form telling the corvette captain that the meet has been changed to another location and they will be accompanying another ship back. There is rough discourse as the captain of the corvette’s patience for dealing with this pirate is wearing thin. The light masked captain is implacably calm and informs the corvette that it is welcomed to verify with the “Authority”, this presumably is the Baron.  The new coordinates are given to a remote Botanical outpost on the planet Salsam in former corporate space.

Santino gives his assessment to the admiral and believes that since their vessel is all but invisible to the parties meeting here, more so now because of the effects of the nebula, that they should act on the tension and fire from beneath the belly of one of the Alliance ships or pirate’s ships in order to spark off a battle between them. The admiral declines this plan and is joined in the argument against that it when Solmon agrees.  He cites that these men aboard the corvettes have been duped to doing this believing they are working to save the Alliance. Santino argues bitterly that they KNOW they are dealing with pirates now and that this “trying to spare them” is a naive approach. But, in the end after saying his piece, he falls in line and carries out the admiral’s orders to leave the Styx system and beat the convoy the planet Salsam to take the material waiting there that is so important to the Baron.

The admiral, not comfortable completely with this turn of events and very curious on what the Baron could want so badly, calls in to the aid that Temujin offered. He sends the 4 vessels to the planet to arrive prior to the admiral and scout out the site. In the meantime Jand contacts his sources in the Mittelsohn corporation since the company owns the world. His contact is very cagey, not wanting to give up any information. So paranoid he seems to think that Jand is shaking him down. Finally, after several assurances from jand he talks. He tells them the world has declared its independence from the corporation. That they seem to have captured or killed the arbitrator sent in. Then the corporation sent a cruiser with Summersun mercenaries and nothing has been heard from them since they entered system. This was 4 months ago. Jand agrees to contact the man should he find anything out about the state of the government of the world and report back.

Escott Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge Data Entry: Biaret System

Salsam (Biaret III)

When it was discovered, Salsam was barely habitable. But it was an excellent candidate for terraforming, so Mittelsohn’s Housing and World Development Division gave the go-ahead for development.

After 40 years of terraforming, Salsam was colonized by Mittelsohn farmers, miners and stockmen. These settlers were independent but loyal company types, willing to do whatever they were asked so long as they were allowed to do it their own way.

The planet prospered as an agricultural world. Most of the planet produces wheat, barley and various ranch animals, except for the bulk of the second-smallest continent, where rice and tropical fruits are grown.

As the crew nears the system, which experiences massive subspace issues limiting communications due to the solar storms of its sun, the admiral speaks to the captain of one of Temujin’s ships and is told of a major discovery. Citing that the government of the planet has indeed gone over to the revolution against the corporation, he says to come down and he will show them instead of saying it over comms. The other two ships recovered some of the material and have left to return to Temujin leaving the remaining 2 on the ground.

The admiral has the ship remained cloaked, visibly, as it sets down on the surface. Santino, Jarvis and Solmon don their armor and weapons and proceed out with Jand and the admiral. The admiral meets Clay Randall, the leader of Temujin’s men, and is escorted to the main building. The armored members of the party do a sweep of the exterior and it shows the area clear. Except for the two ships that brought Clay’s crew down. In conversation the admiral is about to tell Clay about a drone he left in orbit to use as a communication relay, when the man abruptly interrupts him and goes to walk into the building. The admiral fearing something is very wrong pulls his side arm and puts it to the craggy faced man’s head pressing it against it to let him know. The man stops and the admiral asks him to explain. The man’s head turns to look at the admiral and his mouth moves in a horrid silent motion as it is apparent his power of speech is being removed from him by an outside influence.

The admiral curses as the former GHOST ops and Jarvis pull explosives and hurl them into the building. The admiral grabs the affected man and hauls him out with him. The building ERUPTS in a cataclysmic explosion from the satchel charge Santino had used and double grenade tossing of Jarvis and Santino. The cry “GET TO THE SHIPS!” goes up and the admiral orders the Lakota to get airborne. The two vessels brought by Clay’s crew are an Exeter transport and sleek Gryphon  class transport. Out of their landing ramps begin to pour 2 dozen adult warrior Verm.

Like enraged ant’s the Verm stream towards the men. Santino acts by going to the robot mule that accompanied them with their gear and grabbing the ship breeching charge he brought with him, of course, and hammer throwing it into the oncoming horde. The Verm don’t seem to react to it as the swarm over it.. Santino detonates it blasting the creature’s shell and flesh in every direction. Still the remaining Verm bear down on them. Solomon, Jarvis, Jand and the admiral fire into the mass of shapes whittling their numbers down. The Kronin guard for Jand fires his weapon as well until the Verm close to close combat range when he draws his force sword and shield. The open fields to either side used for crops erupt as more Verm surge out of underground maintenance passages and come at the crew from both flanks. Solmon seeing the day is lost on this field shouts for the Lakota to strafe the ground as he prepares to engage his power assisted jump in the armor. Clay pulls himself free of the admiral and rips the remaining satchel charge free of Santino’s belt as he charges towards one side of the swarming Verm and detonates it killing himself and a great number of the horrors with him. The admiral jumps on the back of Solomon and shouts “GO!” with that the crew takes to the ships left by Clay’s people. Jand, Jarvis, the Kronin on the Gryphon and Santino, Solomon and the admiral on the Exeter. As the ships power up they see the Lakota become visible and spiral in place over the landing area until it smashes the nose of the ship thru the botanical building. No reply comes over the comms from Baby or the two GHOSTs , Skyes and Howell, left aboard. Solomon rushes to the upper hatch of the Exeter as the comm beeps on the bridge and the admiral answers it.

A glowing light in the shape of a man’s face appears to converse with him.

Lucifer, as he identifies himself, lets the admiral know that he has engineered this situation. Unlike others before he assures that he will never underestimate  the admiral him again. He notes the experiences on Zephyrus, against his men, taught him what the admiral and his crew are capable of and he knew then that should the admiral’s vision for the future of the Alliance come true, men like Lucifer will have no place in it. The changed meeting and leading them to Salsam with the coordinates was all part of the plan to leave him to the Verm.

The Baron, evidently, was informed of the Verm’s infestation here when the planet was still half free of the ravenous invaders. The system’s sun had caused comms to break down and the Verm had ensured, long before they let their presence be known, that no one would travel off world to warn others. It was only happenstance that a vessel serving the Baron saw the Verm attack and escaped. Since that time they have come to the remote botanical station and “harvested” Queens and Verm eggs for use as instruments of terror that they can then crush and show themselves for the heroes of the day. He informs the admiral that the Verm have already seen to the vessel they are in, no doubt, and that lifting off would prove fatal. Lucifer points out that he has generously left the admiral a very dignified “way out” before the Verm breech the ship again and destroy them. Citing that suicide would be a far better thing than being taken by the invaders and possibly being made into a slave. Survivors are all across the planet working in very efficient, albeit terrifying, slave camps under the watchful hungry eyes of their new inhuman masters.

He finishes with the regret they never had the chance to meet face to face, saying that he would have revealed his true face to him, but that this contest is at an end and the admiral and the crew would never be seen again. The admiral replies in one sentence:

“Don’t count on it.. “

Jarvis and Santino on their respective ships race to engine rooms to determine any tampering. Solomon continues to broadcast to the Lakota attempting to see if anyone there can get control of the spiraling  vessel. Getting no reply he braces on the hull of the Exeter and times the spiraling Lakota. Clearing his mind from the visual of a swarming HOARD of Verm below and quickly climbing the exterior of the ship, he engages his power armor and leaps towards the Lakota.

 

To be continued…

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It’s all in your head….
Recon of Velpare System

Recon of Velpare System             (1-27-11)

 The crew makes their way to the rendezvous with Mr. Crass to take ownership of the Lakota stealth vessel and shuttle. After an exchange on a planetoid in open space they head out on course for Velpare. Before leaving sensor range the admiral is alerted that Mr. Crass’ vessel has been intercepted. He orders the Vengeance to turn about and head to the scene.

Upon arriving the other vessel’s captain hails them advising the admiral that she is a Manhunter, one of a fanatical order of bounty hunters, by name of Nicole Trask. She goes onto say that she will be taking the vessel and Mr. Crass and turning them over to the Alliance authorities. Troubled by this announcement the admiral says that he refuses to let that happen. Trask informs the admiral that Mr. Crass aka Nathanial Landis, is wanted by the Alliance for war profiteering during the Kaa invasion.  Trask goes on to say that if her ship is fired on by the vastly superior Vengeance, they will insure that Landis’ ship is destroyed as well. Because, as she states, “No man.. escapes the Manhunters”.  

Curious how the Manhunters responded so quickly Jarvis searches for transmissions made from their vessel. He finds two sent covertly masked in the power systems that feed the subspace array. Investigation quickly finds the culprit. A female crew member recently recruited working in engineering.

The admiral has all parties join them on his ship for a conference. The Manhunter, Trask, sticks to her guns refusing to bargain or budge on releasing Landis. The admiral is none too fond of the war profiteer but if allowed to leave and be put into custody he can inform the Alliance about where they all are and what they are doing if questioned. So, naturally he is hesitant to let him leave. Trask tells the admiral that the Manhunters, as an order, have refused any bounty on him. As the conversation continues in its standoff, Solomon, Jarvis and Santino discover the crewman that is an undercover Manhunter and Solomon brings her to the conference room. Faced with this and the, dire consequences that Solomon assures Trask will be delivered on the woman if she doesn’t see reason, Trask capitulates.

Trasks accepts the admiral’s compromise to let Landis go for now and find him again after this. No one need speak of it and her perfect capture record remains intact. She accepts and all parties depart in staggered order from the site. Of course the admiral added a caveat to the arrangement charging Landis the price of 2 Vulture class heavy fighters in order to secure his release. They are given over and Landis is on his way.

Clear of all this trouble the crew leaves the Vengenance and boards the Lakota class armed courier with its specially treated hull that makes it very difficult to scan. Also, equipped with dynamic chameleon system on its exterior the ship can be made completely invisible to visual scans as well.  

The crew arrives at the Velpare system and using the previous scans given to them by the Parker girls, they proceed into the system. Being methodical the admiral checks both planets with moons.

Escott Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge Data Entry: Velpare system

Velpare is a rather unremarkable star with nine unremarkable planets. It was bypassed in the first wave of colonization of the Great Spiral; there were many other planets in the area which were more suited for colonization.

Since then, Velpare has been almost completely ignored. Confederate survey crews had mapped the planets surrounding it, but little is known about their makeup or native life. All appear to be barren, except for the third planet, which may contain lower plant life such as lichen and red moss.

The last known visit to any of Velpare’s planets was over 27 years ago.

In orbit around Velpare VI they discover a group of cargo container’s strung together, 17 in all. The admiral maneuvers close to the containers and sends a drone out to attach and make a detailed scan of the interior. It quickly reports biological signs and identifies the species as Verm. The admiral decides to back the ship off slightly and continue to scan with the drone. Baby, riding shotgun in the bridge sees this differently, she watches the admiral turn the ship to face the containers with the belly of the Lakota moving to the side of the container. She tries to explain to him what she is seeing but the admiral thinks she is quite off as he can PLAINLY see that the controls are showing set at station keeping. This becomes alarming when the admiral says that she has something wrong with her evidently and should be removed. Jand scans the admiral with a medical sensor and finds nothing wrong with him. Solomon, believing Baby’s story that things are no longer all good, rushes to the lower cargo bay in time to see the doors start to open. He screams into the comm that this is occurring and becomes more alarmed when he attempts to close the door and is overridden by the bridge. He continues to shout warnings about their impending situation as he suits up in his commando armor. In the meantime on the bridge the situation is rapidly disintegrating. Santino is summoned to the bridge by Baby. As he arrives she makes an attempt to pull the admiral free from the controls of the ship. In Santino’s eyes, the admiral is attacking Baby who is at the controls and he grapples with the “admiral” (actually baby) pulling her free from the bridge as they wrestle out onto the deck. Jarvis calmly walks in as the pair of combatants tumble out as the Other begins to hack the ships computer. Jarvis dons his shock glove and energizes it as he tries to put it on the admiral. Suddenly Jarvis’ arm locks up, he is unable to move to make contact with the admiral and apply the shock glove to him. His behavior, due to the implant computer (The Other), makes him incapable of taking any action that could injure or kill the admiral. While all this takes place the scanners send out a proximity alert warning of an incoming vessel.

The Other succeeds in disengaging the command codes and gives the control of the vessel over to Jand. Jand backs the ship off slowly with maneuvering thrusters only. The exterior of the cargo container shows a breech but not large enough to allow anything thru. The incoming vessel, a corvette, does not seem to notice them and stops at a certain distance away from the cargo containers sending out robotic “Worker bees” to repair the container. When one of the 3 robots is pulled thru the breech of the container the other 2 bots disconnect the container and push it into Velpare VI’s atmosphere. Once clear of the Verm queen’s influence, the crew returns to normal, or what passes for that.  Jand maneuvers the Lakota under the corvette and uses the ship to mask its engine wake.

Secure beneath the corvette Jand pilots the ship along with it as it patrols the system. The admiral monitors from a console and records the various images they come across. In the system they see Alliance style ships engaged in drills and maneuvers. Kaa vessels of older early war models are also seen operating. When the corvette passes over the large moon of Velpare III the true depth of this intrigue is seen. On the dark side of the moon’s surface there is a mammoth facility for the construction of ships. The sheer scope of the operation shows that those that constructed it must have certainly had something like this in mind LONG before the first Unification Day.

Now, with the knowledge that the baron has planned for this coup for the span of MANY years, Jand pilots the Lakota beneath the Corvette until it reaches a remote part of the system. He stops the Lakota allowing the corvette to pull away and then proceeds out of the system. As the crew makes their way out of the Velpare system they detect a group of vessels leaving the system. The ships appear to be 4 Fenris Class heavy Corvettes, flying escort for an Ajax class transport. This massive vessel is loaded to capacity with cargo containers. 

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How do you like THEM apples?
Gathering forces

Gathering forces              (1-20-11)

 As crew rests and recuperates from the confrontation with the Parker Girls, recruitment continues by the admiral. Former military disgruntled with the new political agendas of the Alliance council have chosen to muster out of instead of reupping their stints. With the release of the admiral’s message to the people of the Alliance these personnel have found their way, through back channels, to make contact with the former Grand Admiral of the Alliance fleet.

Carefully vetted and screened these new recruits filter to the former Kaa carrier “Vengeance” and into the crewing the massive vessel. Once aboard the core crew that has been with the admiral since Zephyrus, made up of rescued terrans and 20 Truuls, begin the process of training them on the intricacies of this former enemy vessel.

Using the Parker girl supplied information on the Baron’s activities the admiral decides to investigate the report he read in their files describing a system not located on all star charts. The Parker girl report describes the activities of a ship they used to tail some of the Baron’s forces to find out exactly who it was they were getting into bed with. The ship followed one of the Baron’s personal ships to the Valpare system. Uninhabited and surveyed very long ago, the ship was unable to enter the system because of a sophisticated sensor net. It broke off pursuit and returned before any detail scans could be made.

The admiral makes an appointment to meet a contact to procure a ship that can be stealth cloaked choosing to kill two birds with one stone the meet is set to take place on the mining planet of Purgatory. The brothers have a lead on a former comrade of arms that might be viable for recruiting and his last known whereabouts have him on Purgatory.

 Escott Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge Data Entry:  Kerrone  System

Purgatory (Kerrone I)

When the Kerrone system was first explored, it seemed to have little to offer other than a corrosive sea and one small continent. For several hundred years prospectors and mining concerns passed it by as unusable.

Then, some 300 years ago, a group of miners and mineralogists made an in-depth geological survey of the planet. They discovered a combination of abundant minerals in test bores that refined down to a durable, stress-resistant alloy they named Purgatory Steel. A few samples of the new metal quickly convinced investors to back the project, and today Purgatory Steel and other metals are shipped throughout the Great Spiral.

Not Even A Nice Place to Visit

Other than a few acid-based lichens, there is no native life on Purgatory. Narbert, the sole continent, is surrounded by the planet’s corrosive acid sea. The atmosphere contains no oxygen. The planet, in short, is not a nice place to live. Few Purgatorians were born there, and one of the few distinctions the miners make among themselves is between "Purgatory Bums" (those born on the planet) and "Short-Timers" (those who immigrated to make their fortunes and plan to leave).

Obviously, living on the surface is impossible. Once a mining tunnel is played out, it is converted into living quarters. Elevators connect the two surface domes near the shuttleport with the main habitation areas. So far, the number of tunnels has kept pace with the increase in miner population, as more Purgatory Bums are born and more Short-Timers arrive to work the mines.

Even in the shafts, the acid sea is a potential danger. In tunnels near the sea bed, there is danger of collapse due to the extreme pressure of the sea acid, and channels of acid have even been struck in inland tunnels. When this happens, the only recourse is to seal off the tunnel — rescue is impossible because of the corrosive sea acid. Over 1,000 miners and 20 miles of tunnel have been lost in this way.

Government on Purgatory

The people of Purgatory generally tend to mind their own business, and expect others to do the same. This is reflected in their government, or more properly the coordination of services.

The closest thing to a ruling body on the planet is the Jump Council, so named because its primary duty is to arbitrate claim disputes (which usually involve one miner jumping another’s claim). The Council investigates everything from murder to reports of unauthorized pets. Compliance with Council directives is voluntary, but almost universal. The only enforcement power the Council has is in cases of murder, where the penalty is death by exposure to the surface.

Essential services, from life support to the education of Purgatory’s few children, are undertaken on a voluntary basis.

This includes the Constabulary, whose primary duty is stopping bar fights (and accepting free drinks for their services). Serious crimes are investigated by groups called Jump Patrols. The Patrols are created ad hoc, deputized by the Council and dissolved when their investigations are finished.

Purgatory is a full member of the Alliance but tends to stay neutral on most issues. The primary exception to this is when trade is concerned, as the planet is dependent on trade (both incoming and outgoing) for its livelihood.

The crew lands in a shuttle without incident. The crew splits up with the admiral going off to meet his contact backed with Jarvis and Baby, Jand heads to do some networking with his new master-at-arms D’Jenn the Kronin crewman he recently hired. This leaves Santino and Solomon head off to meet their former GHOST team member.

The meeting between the admiral and his contact, on “Mr. Crass”, goes well enough. The man brought a datapad to show the “apples” that the admiral was interesting in purchasing. The apples being the euphemism for the stealth vessels. The negotiations become slightly tense when Jarvis asks the Other to hack the files on the man’s datapad revealing sensitive information. The admiral makes use of this information bringing up Mr. Crass’ contacts names and the location of the vessels. Mr. Crass becomes very uncomfortable and quickly closes the deal with the admiral offering a very good deal for purchase and even accepting less for a deposit then is usual.  

Meanwhile in the same club where the admiral is squeezing the stealth merchant, Jand has met some locales anxious to buy transport off the planet. Sensing they had some local trouble they were fleeing, he turns the screws getting them to agree to a high mark up. During all this business being conducted a group of Gromelites, hired by a prospector as muscle to protect his claim no doubt, come in looking for intoxicants and females. After chasing off several of the paid dancers and a few female clientele, two of the five Gromelites come over to Jarvis’ and Baby’s booth. Seeing Jarvis as the manager for Baby’s affections, the Gromelite enters into price negotiation for access to the lady. Countering the Gromelite’s request for price with the phrase “The same as what your nest mother charges” in perfect Gromelite causes the situation to explode into violence. The two at the booth react with one grabbing Jarvis and hauling him up and into a head butt, which misses, and the other drawing an axe. The one with axe is fired on and missed by the admiral attempting to divert the brute’s attention. Baby follows up by administering a ballistic vasectomy to the Gromelite’s reproductive organs with three rounds from her silenced heavy pistol. Jarvis dodges the headbutt and jams down the butt of the holstered PDW at his side causing the barrel to point up out of the end of the holster as he holds the trigger down. Armor piercing 5.7mm rounds chug out in a steady stream of the machine pistol stitching the shaggy from gut to chest. Both combatants drop as the other Gromelites rush to the aid of their fellows. Jand fires from the balcony a sonic nauseator pistol rattling the two nearest the door. The remaining Gromelite grabs his heavy SMG and turns it on the captain shooting from the balcony. The rounds are deflected by the force shield that springs to life from his Kronin master-at-arms as he interposes it between Jand and the hail of gun fire. In the next heartbeat the Shaggy at the bar turns the SMG to the booth with Baby and Jarvis, they fire simultaneous striking him several times. The massive attacker slumps to the ground wounded and unconscious. The remaining two Shaggies suddenly remember an appointment elsewhere and leave rapidly. After leaving a moderate tip, the crew departs with the club owner growling curses and calling them “tourists”.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city that has been built in the caverns and tunnels of this played out mine, Santino and Solomon find the apartment of Steven Howell and knock on the door. A voice calls out and asks who they are and what they want. They answer and it tells them to wait a moment. After a minute or so another knock elicits the same string of conversation. Deciding to change up tactics, since there was obviously an automated system answering them, Santino formed a shape charge on the wall of the apartment and blew a hole into the dwelling. Entering thru the new portal they brothers find a barely used apartment and a heavy plasma gun rigged to shoot anyone coming in the front door. They find a fiberwire cam and send a message to whomever is watching to meet them at a nearby bar after listing several references to things only guys in their former GHOST unit would know.

Shortly after the brothers are in the local dive, only four hardcore drinkers are in there and no one is talking to anyone. The bartender suddenly closes up kicking out the other four drinkers as he locks the bar and then Steve Howell appears from a back room as the bartender leaves. He has been working on Purgatory as a volunteer constable.  After some tense conversation they reveal that they are indeed the two former teammates of his and their deaths were staged and their appearances altered. He did not like what had been done to the brothers and signs on when offered as a way to payback not raising any objection at the time of their trial and incarceration.

That settled they meet the rest of the crew at the shuttle. The volunteer constable Steven Howell and the 5 men trying to get off the world buying passage with Jand see each other and things get very tense. Accusing them of masterminding a bombing the men immediately deny it saying they will find another way off planet. When there is an objection, one pulls his rucksack up and threatens to blow it if anyone tries to stop them. Solomon draws and fires his heavy pistol into the man’s face 3 times. After that two surrender while the other two flee and are cut down by the remaining members of the crew.

The crew departs Purgatory on their way to acquire the stealth vessels and explore the mystery of the Velpare system.

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King takes Queen
The assassination of Darcy Parker continued

The assassination of Darcy Parker continued       (1-13-11)

In the thick of it already the crew continues the fight with the forces of the Parker Girls. Solomon leaps into the air and delivers a brutally strong kick to Bambi’s chest. The impact stops her forward momentum, but the hulking female killer remains on her feet and draws a monowire stiletto.  Blows are traded and then Bambi brings the weapon up cleanly cutting thru the force blade pommel and the hand of Solomon.

Meanwhile Baby engages her implant computer and begins to hack on of the combat robots as she proceeds towards the dock and Darcy Parker. Jarvis and the Other preform the same task on the remaining robot. The security robots blast Jarvis and Santino in the van with sonic nauseator carbines on their arms. The other limbs of the robots fire tangeler rounds and they unload on Baby causing her to fall to the ground pasted in place by the sticky strands. Santino weathers out the sonic attack and tears the console of the van part pulling the detonator to the crash system that propels the air cushions out. He sets to work putting it on the power supply in the van to detonate it. The robots continue their attack firing until their programming is compromised by the Other and Baby. Baby disengages the bot she has hacked and Jarvis attacks Bambi using the weapons against her simultaneously.

The fight between Solomon and Bambi is fast going badly for the former GHOST operative. The Paker girl wraps up his arm in a grapple and with a savage wrenching pull, she dislocates the arm. They are face to face when the tangler rounds strike them causing them to fall to the ground bound tightly together. As Bambi attempts to get free Solomon grimly battles on driving knee strike after knee strike into his opponents’ body.  The killer rears her head back since they are face to face and drives her forehead into Solomon’s. The blow cracks his skull and he goes unconscious.

Darcy moves shoving the two remaining guard s out of her path to reach Baby even as Jarvis sprints to her and using a polymer knife begins to cut the strands free. The deadly leader of the Parker girls slides a diamond edged katana from the cane she was carrying intent on taking the head of the young man freeing Baby… but she never gets the chance.  One of the two remaining armored and helmeted guards that had been in the van steps up behind Darcy after being shoved aside. A large knife is drawn from a cargo pocket on his thigh and he brings it forward into her back as he grips Darcy’s shoulder. The large blade is thrust with such force it erupts from her chest. With a well-practiced wrenching twist of the blade, the attack severs the vital arteries to the heart of Darcy Parker. Pulling herself free and spinning to face her attacker as she staggers down the short flight of steps to the floor of the loading dock, she looks up as the man pulls his helmet off. The man beneath the helmet has a medical patch bonded over his eye and half of his face is hideously scarred with short buzzed cut hair. It is Temujin. He looks down at the woman, dying on her feet as her life’s blood empties into her chest cavity, and says in his cold quiet voice “I would have let you live.. if you hadn’t come after me”.

Darcy falls to her knees and turns to Baby, crawling towards her. Dimly in the background Bambi screams in rage as she begins to rend the tangler strands off her trying to get to help her dying leader. Tambi remains perfectly still her face a mask of seemingly no emotion. Baby watches her former lover move towards her. Her expression cold, did she have grief or regret? Or was it the cold vengeance of someone abused facing their abuser at the moment of their comeuppance. The answer is given in the next moment as Baby moves like a striking snake and drives the outstretched hand of Darcy to the floor with her knife blade impaling the manicured smooth skinned hand of the woman on the cold ferrocrete floor. She says nothing as Darcy murmurs out her last words to her before falling forward and exhaling one long last breath. Jarvis steps past Baby with an equally neutral expression and drives his knife into the prone body of the fallen Queen of the Parker’s.  

Tambi begins to walk to the stairs and calmly dons sunglasses as Bambi reaches her feet and Jarvis moves to intercept her. The roll up door at the entrance of the dock suddenly explodes at its connections to the wall and it falls free. Blinding strobing light erupts into the area as the security forces of Center come in. Tambi steps forward as the security forces begin to collect people up informing them that it was indeed she who had called about her sister and Darcy Parker’s smuggling using the corporate resources to cover the enterprise. She explains that the crew here are merely maintenance workers that were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. She continues and tells Center forces that Darcy had decided that She and her sister Bambi were a liability had decided to kill them forcing Bambi, in self- defense, to kill Darcy. The security forces were with Tambi, the robots controlled by Darcy.

In the end the crew is set free and the new leader of the Parker’s covers Solmon’s medical expenses. Bambi is blamed for the smuggling plot and is charged with illegal transport of 300 liters of Kill Krazy drug hidden in the van. Tambi is anxious for them to leave the planet as she meets with the admiral to hold up her end of the bargain. She reiterates that she will not work for him in the future. She speaks to Baby in private imploring her to remain and help her to steer the new course of the Parkers. Baby declines.

Information given from Tambi to the admiral shows the imposter admiral, seen on the news, overseeing the transport of the Verm. This was to be released by the Parker’s to further discredit the admiral. Now that this latest smear campaign is derailed the admiral goes public for the first time broadcasting this holovid speech across known space:

Transmission begins

I would dare to say most of you know my face and have heard stories of me. I am Donald Blagojevich former Fleet Admiral of the Alliance Navy. Over the past 30 years of my life I have put my heart and every fiber of my being into the construction of an Alliance of planetary systems that would support each other and combine its strength to protect itself from outside threat. While I was occupied with this work I had not considered the lack of character and strength of the men within this new Alliance. Their desire for power and control, this this…greed… would cause a new threat to be started to destroy my dream and dare I say OUR Dream from the inside. Men who would use fear, intimidation and when that failed assassination to silence those they perceived as obstacles in their bid to control the beings of the Alliance.

Are there forces outside of our space that would like to see our systems collapse? Of course there are.. There are sectors of space we have yet to see with races we know nothing of.. However at this time the threat we face is not from outside our system it is an enemy within that that strikes from within.…..

A Group of Corporations headed by greedy power hungry men…. Seeking to corrupt what we have spent our life time creating… men with resources to build unmarked ships manned by men afraid to show their allegiance and wear unmarked uniforms. Men who would go so far and stoop so low as to use the VERM to further their campaign of FEAR.

These very men have also created a villain of me to point their corrupt finger at.

They chose the wrong man.

I have not spent my life building and strengthening our Alliance for these foul men to weaken it from within.

Five years ago I made a choice…. The choice was to save the lives of family and friends and to walk away as the new "power to be" had taken the throne within the Alliance and was pushing an old battle worn man a side. At the time I thought this was the only option I had. I had used such strategies, as they were using now, in battle and during the Kaa invasion to overcome old prejudices and help us stand as one against the invaders. Now, it seems, since I had done it to many of my opponents in the past, it was now being done to me. The choice I made saved many lives and those people saved may never know it. However, the effect of my actions reverberated throughout the Alliance and for that I must apologize.

They may be able to create a clone of me to broadcast their lies but those who know me know my blood and very being are spread throughout all of Alliance space and that I could never allow OUR dream of Unification to fail or fall.

I’m giving the system and the men I speak of some time to come back to the table and man up. Shortly your names and deeds will spread and the corruption will be laid bare for all to see…

I have used many tactics in the past to save lives…. And I suppose some of them where lies… but it was always to save lives and never for power.

Let your judgments begin and good hunting.”

Transmission ends

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