Author Topic: Chapter I: The Rise of the Terran Republic  (Read 7157 times)

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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #90 on: May 03, 2019, 01:39:22 PM »
Yeah that's a nice haul.
 
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Offline JustAnotherDude

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #91 on: May 03, 2019, 01:54:42 PM »
I really enjoy the little fight with the fighter killer, Aurora doesn't encourage independent action a lot and in AARs it usually gets glossed over. Your play be play was very entertaining, reminds me of the better parts of Honor Harrington.
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #92 on: May 04, 2019, 03:47:11 PM »
KNOWN SPACE:  2061


 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #93 on: May 07, 2019, 12:08:53 PM »
April 10, 2061

The atmosphere on Fresnillo in the Hussey 644 system has become breathable and pleasantly cool.  This prompts a colony rush that increases the world from 11,000 colonists to nearly ten million in the space of six months.  The terraforming fleet will make the long journey to Kar Komak in Wolf 636 next, to be tentatively followed by the site of the Stellar Anomaly in Mu Herculis.

Far out on the coreward frontier, a perfectly habitable planet has been detected in the newly discovered Gliese 745 system.  Unfortunately, Gliese 745-B II's position around the system's secondary star puts it nearly 140 billion kilometers from the inner system.  On the offhand chance that the planet might contain ruins or even a living civilization, the Pathfinder Henry Hudson is dispatched to investigate.  However, even the famously long-legged Pathfinder lacks the range to make a complete return trip.  A tanker will have to meet it on the way back.

Because this world is so far from the system's jumpgate most ships would run out of fuel before they got even halfway there.  As such, colonization does not seem strategically feasible.



The amount of relative distance moved after a 5-day increment:

 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #94 on: May 07, 2019, 01:08:29 PM »
June 25, 2061

The single Ancient Guardian Fighter-Killer that had entered Gliese 588 from WD 1142-645 turned out to be an anomaly.  In the weeks following that encounter, the Farsight quietly and carefully entered 1142-645 in order to perform a close-range scan of each of that system's bodies.  All that it found was a single small automated outpost on the system's second planet.  No further ships were detected.

Captain Masamura was then directed to take the Farsight to the Lacaille 8760 jumpgate in Luyten 347-14, to rendezvous with the 1st Fleet.  The Stargazer had detected some Ancient Guardian ships in Lacaille 8760 some months earlier, and had barely escaped through the jump point ahead of a swarm of missiles fired from a flotilla of Pegasus-class attack boats. 

As the 1st Fleet pulled into formation alongside his ship, they were close enough to be seen without magnification.  Captain Masamura could not help but stare at the cruiser dwarfing all the other ships in the formation.  "My god, that's a big girl," he whispered quietly to himself. 

On the flag bridge of the cruiser Mars, Admiral Conway felt a sense of long-delayed satisfaction.  Here, at last, was a ship that could take anything the universe could throw at it.  Nor could she deny that she had hated commanding from the Nakhimov, skulking in the back like a ghost.  Damn the practicality of it, it just didn't feel right.  Riding a 43,000 ton beast into battle?  Yes, this was much better.

For this operation the Fleet had brought along the Mars and three new Nautilus-class missile boats, but had left the Akizuki-class missile boats, the fighters, and the slower fleet support vessels back at home.

Lacaille 8760 was quickly cleared.  The Mars sustained about a dozen missile hits, but easily shrugged them off.





A few weeks later the Fleet was clearing the AD Leonis system.  A few more ships opposed the Fleet than at Lacaille 8760, but they were disposed of just the same.





WD 1142-645, AD Leonis, and Lacaille 8760 were now open for salvage and exploration.  Furthermore, the debut of the Mars-class cruiser had proven to be successful.  It had easily soaked up a light battering that would have destroyed a lesser vessel.  Its self-defense anti-missile missiles had proven to be fairly effective.  Furthermore its powerful secondary missile targeting systems had been very useful in allowing it to acquire small ships with size-5 missiles at a distance beyond what other ships were capable of.  In the words of Admiral Conway, it was a step in the right direction. 

Unfortunately, the impending completion of the second ship in the class, the Terra, would leave virtually no trained crewmen in the Republic's pool of available manpower.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 02:20:28 PM by Cavgunner »
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #95 on: May 12, 2019, 01:13:19 PM »
August 25, 2062

The number of systems known to the Republic has gradually expanded.  It is now a foregone conclusion that wherever exploration takes humanity, a certain percentage of new systems will be occupied by Ancient Guardian drones.  Over the course of the past several months the Fleet, bolstered by its two Mars-class cruisers, has cleared out four systems. 

The most significant of these engagements occurred in distant Groombridge 1618, where the frigate Discovery engaged and destroyed a single Ancient Guardian Custer-class ship that was loitering near the Gliese 445 jump point.  Notably, once the hostile had been crippled by missiles the Discovery finished it off with guns.  Per standard procedure, the Discovery exited the system pending the arrival of the Fleet.





After the Fleet arrived, it passed through a Lagrange Point linked to Groombridge 1618's inner system.  Unfortunately, that transit put it less than 20 million kilometers away from a major Ancient Guardian naval base.  Sensors immediately detected three destroyer-sized ships, a beam defense base, and a missile defense base.  The Fleet was already well within the hostile missile base's known firing envelope.  Most worryingly, in order to cover the most space as quickly as possible, the Fleet's support ships had been left behind.  No Starhawks were accompanying the Fleet on this mission.





Over the next several minutes the Ancient Guardian missile base and at least one other ship flung wave after wave of anti-missile volleys at the Fleet.  While a single Size 1 anti-missile warhead is no threat to any ship, several hundred of them can sandblast the toughest ship into oblivion.  As the enemy missile swarms entered detection range, the Fleet sent its own anti-missiles out to intercept them. 





Wave after wave of missiles crashed into the Fleet.  While most of these were shot down by anti-missiles or by the Fleet's own guns, significant numbers of them were getting through.  The Strength-40 shields of the Mars held up... for a time.





As the Fleet was getting pelted, its own missiles were homing in on the Ancient Guardian ships and bases.





The Ancient Guardian missile barrages finally petered out just before the Fleet's Moray-class frigates ran out of ammo.  The Flash anti-missile warheads had proven to be reasonably successful, with a 20% hit rate against the AG anti-missiles.


Without an anti-missile screen, the AG bases and ships were swiftly eliminated. 





Although the Fleet didn't lose any ships, it was a close run thing.  Both cruisers, all six destroyers, and two of the frigates had sustained significant damage.  The Terra and the Ariel were hit particularly hard, with the latter escaping destruction by an uncomfortably narrow margin. 







In the aftermath of this battle it becomes painfully clear that a dedicated carrier with the range and speed to keep up with the Fleet is needed.  In the meantime, the Fleet returned to Earth for repairs and another round of sensor and fire control upgrades.
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #96 on: May 12, 2019, 02:30:11 PM »
October 14, 2062

Twelve years after it was first discovered, the ruins on Corronis in 61-Cygni have finally been fully explored.  In addition to the recovery of several valuable technologies, these efforts put many dozens of mines, factories, and other installations back into service.  These included 11 Research Facilities, 3 genetic modification facilities, and enough maintenance facilities to accommodate ships up to 17,000 tons.  Also recovered were over 36 million liters of fuel, vast amounts of wealth, and tens of thousands of tons worth of minerals.  Corronis has taken its place as a major colony and the Republic's most important research center for Logistics/Ground Combat technologies, due to the ancient alien installation present there (100% bonus). 

The Pathfinder Henry Hudson has discovered an abandoned city on the distant, isolated earthlike world in the Gliese 745 system.  This world was home to a TL3 civilization calling itself the Federal Republic of Lampeter.  Despite the 60% power/production research facility located here, it is unlikely that the Republic will ever colonize this world.  It would take most civilian vessels over a year to travel from Gliese 745's inner system to its B star, where Lampeter is located.  Colonization of this world is simply unfeasible. 

Its work done, the Henry Hudson turns around and starts the long journey back in-system. 
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #97 on: May 15, 2019, 10:36:29 PM »
August 28, 2063

The atmosphere on Kar Komak has become breathable, albeit just a hint on the cool side (20 infrastructure needed per million pop).  The Gaia terraforming fleet departs for The Anomaly in the Mu Herculis system.

The Salvage and Support task group has returned to Earth from Groombridge 1618.  Another large haul of data has been recovered, including further advancement toward Magnetic Confinement Fusion Drives, EM Sensor Sensitivity 18, and Thermal Sensor Sensitivity 18.

Meanwhile, the dutiful but utterly antiquated Pathfinder-class exploration ships are finally returning to Earth for the breaker's yard.  The crews of these ships include some of the most experienced starmen in the Fleet.  This experience is put to good use training a new generation of academy graduates.*  The Pathfinder class will be replaced by the new and highly advanced Kepler-class.  The Farsight-class frigates, having met with some moderate success, will continue to serve in parallel with the Kepler for now.  Once enough Keplers are in service, the remaining Farsights will gradually transition to long-range patrol and first response rather than exploration. 

In recognition of her historical significance, Pathfinder herself will not be scrapped.  Instead, she will remain in Earth orbit as a living museum, staffed by a rotating crew of academy trainees.

On Earth, in addition to the first two Kepler-class exploration ships, construction also begins on the first two Ark Royal-class light carriers.**



*In game terms, each Pathfinder has a crew of 181.  However, it seemed that I was getting considerably more than this added back into my pool of crewmen each time a Pathfinder was scrapped.   


**Please note that going forward, new designs will be posted in the corresponding ship thread instead of here.
 
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Offline ZimRathbone

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #98 on: May 15, 2019, 11:49:27 PM »
August 28, 2063

*In game terms, each Pathfinder has a crew of 181.  However, it seemed that I was getting considerably more than this added back into my pool of crewmen each time a Pathfinder was scrapped.   


If your crew grade for the ship being scrapped is above the racial crew grade then you get proportionally more equivalents back to the crew pool, if its less for some reason (eg. it was a conscript ship, or you ran out of trained crew when it was built, and it hasn't yet trained up to the racial average) then you get less.


SlĂ inte,

Mike
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #99 on: May 20, 2019, 02:14:33 PM »
May 15, 2064

Ancient Guardian bases are occasionally garrisoned by 1-3 battalions of surface combat drones.  These formations typically consist of a variety of armored vehicles using articulated legs for propulsion.  Like their ships, these Ancient Guardian combat drones are technologically advanced, but their limited programming hinders their effectiveness in combat.  Despite facing off against three such battalions, the four battalions of the 108th Assault Infantry Brigade are able to take the supply base at Groombridge 1618-A I with limited casualties.   

The aftermath of the ground battle reveals some spoils of war.   Firstly, the two ground tracking stations there will also be moved to Groombridge 1618-A II.  Secondly, within the supply base is found a cache of nearly 5,300 "Terrible" anti-missile missiles.  Because these weapons have proven to be superior to the Republic's own Dart and Flash systems, they are highly regarded.  A pair of Fleet Support Vessels are dispatched to deliver these weapons to Earth, increasing the number stockpiled there to 10,484. These weapons form a valuable part of the Republic's missile reserve, especially since most missile production is currently dedicated toward the Harpoon.  Incidentally, there are also 1,270 AG "Janse van Rensburg" anti-ship missiles stockpiled on Earth as well.  However, these weapons are all size 3, and the Republic does not use a launcher of that type.  Because these weapons are known to have a very powerful strength-12 warhead there is some talk of designing a fighter-bomber capable of delivering them, but for now these weapons remain a curiosity.

Meanwhile, the main AG colony on Groombridge 1618-A II has been surveyed by our Xenology team.  This world was home to the Kingdom of Pitkin, another primitive TL 1 client-state of the greater Ancient Guardian Empire.  Of greater note is the fact that this world was host to an Ancient Guardian Sensor/Fire Control research facility (90%).  The discovery of this facility makes renders the terraforming effort at The Anomaly in Mu Herculis rather meaningless, since both worlds provide the same research bonus. 

Now known as Pitkin, this world orbits its dim red star at an incredibly close proximity of 32 million kilometers.  Despite having an oven-hot average temperature of 67C, this tidally locked world still boasts an earthlike liquid ocean and an atmosphere that could be rehabilitated with just a small amount of terraforming.  The terraforming fleet is therefore directed to leave Mu Herculis and make way to Tars Tarkas first (the biology research bonus there can help unlock further terraforming tech).  After Tars Tarkas has been terraformed, the terraformers will go to Pitkin.





Elsewhere in the Republic, all worlds with a population above 25 million now have some form of local system defense capability.  This typically consists either of a fighter base and one or two Starhawk squadrons, a pair of Mellor-class cutters, a Cheyenne Mountain-class missile base, or some combination of these three main elements.  Additional types of defensive units are also being evaluated, but for now the colonies are satisfied that they are adequately protected.
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #100 on: May 20, 2019, 04:42:59 PM »
June 24, 2064

Over many years of exploration it had become apparent that the majority of worlds with a habitable biosphere were guarded by some form of Ancient Guardian naval presence.  In an effort to avert unnecessary loss of life, and with the Kepler-class exploration ships not yet in common service, it was standard practice to withdraw upon finding such a system until the Fleet could arrive and certify that it was clear.

One such system was SFT 1321, the last system to be logged by the Pathfinder Thor Heyerdahl prior to is decommissioning.  This system was five jumps from Sol on the anti-spinward frontier, in an area of space where exploration had been delayed until after 2054 due to the Stalkers that had been preventing travel through Alpha Centauri.  This was a binary star system with one potentially habitable planet orbiting the primary orange star, and three more candidates orbiting the distant red dwarf secondary star, some 13 billion kilometers from the primary.  The candidate orbiting the primary star was particularly notable, for while it was relatively warm it also had oceans covering just over half of its surface, as well as an intact nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere.  Per procedure, upon noting the high number of potentially habitable worlds in this system the Thor Heyerdahl dropped a buoy at the jump point on the way out and proceeded on its final journey to Earth.  The Fleet arrived at the SFT 1321 jump point in WX Ursae Majoris a few weeks later, on June 24.

Onboard the cruiser Mars, newly promoted Vice-Admiral Sophia Conway stretched her back in her high-g command couch.  She grimaced as the effort yielded little relief.  She had always been a tall woman, and in a profession dominated by men it certainly hadn't hurt that she rarely had to look upwards at anyone.  It hurt now, though.  Thought she was still as fit and trim as any highly athletic woman half her age, after a lifetime of demanding military service her back had gotten into the bad habit of constantly reminding her that she was now 58 years old.

Getting old was exceedingly irritating, she thought to herself.

In the command pit of the flag bridge the holotank displayed a timer counting down for the jump to the SFT 1321 system.  Over the command net the cool voice of a male crewman accompanied the countdown.  After many, many years of tearing apart Ancient Guardian ships Conway was not worried.  Even so, as the timer counted down to zero there was a tiny bit of uncertainty that gave rise to a rush of adrenaline.  She relished it.  If the Aggies had any ships there, she'd dispose of them too, just like all the others before. 

"...Three.  Two.  One.  JUMP!" 

This feeling never became familiar.  Conway's vision warped as the bridge around her turned into a mush of unintelligible shapes.  Closing her eyes didn't help.  She felt her consciousness being stretched into infinity as Mars was unceremoniously removed from one point in the universe and forced back into existence in another.  This single moment seemed to go on forever; no, it HAD been going on forever, and always would be. 

And then, it wasn't.

Mars emerged with a flash of light into the SFT 1321 system.  Over two dozen more flashes followed as the rest of the task force arrived behind her. 

"...jump complete.  All ships accounted for," announced the same voice over the net.

A few minutes passed as the ships of the task force recovered and got their bearings.  Unexpectedly, one of the other ships hailed Mars.  "Command priority.  Fleet actual, this is Ark Royal actual.  Admiral, we're detecting an EM signature of unprecedented strength emanating from the second planet of this system's primary.  Are you seeing this as well?"

"Ark Royal actual, Fleet actual.  One moment."  Conway's heart soared as she reviewed the data coming in from Mars' own less powerful EM sensor.  Could it be?  As the Sensor team began to separate the massive amount of noise for her, clear patterns began to emerge.  Transmissions.  Broadcasts.  And was that... music?   These were not the long-dead echoes of some ancient race.  This was happening now

"My god,"  she said. 

In that sublime moment she didn't hear the crew cheering around her.





 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #101 on: June 09, 2019, 07:45:38 PM »
10th day of Khar, 1276 G.C.E.

Deep-Space Observatory
Ra Prime


Sub-altern Voq'ox was asleep.  This was a dereliction of duty, of course.  Dereliction of duty was the very reason that he had been assigned to this post in the first place.

And so, stretched in a comfortable reclining pose at his station, he slept.  No one cared, or noticed.  His bodysuit's augmitters, mounted just under his mandible, projected a slight burbling sound as he snored.

The long-range passive scanner display blinked.  A line of text was appended to the new contact.  Attention, unscheduled inbound jump at Gamma Gate.

Voq'ox continued to snore.

The computer cross-checked the incoming signatures against all known friendly and hostile profiles in its database.  No known match.  This prompted a very loud, insistent alarm to begin bleating.  Not even Voq'ox, regarded by his mates as being exceptionally difficult to rouse, could sleep through such a racket.  He woke with a start.

"Whu--what?  What is it, Sentinel?"  He focused his bodysuit's optics on the scanner display.  "What is going on?"

"Attention, Sub-altern.  I apologize for waking you again."  The calm, synthesized comment carried a hint of reproach.  "However, it appears that an unidentified fleet has just made transit at the Gamma jump gate." 

"What?!  Damn you, you infernal machine!  This is no time for more of your jokes!"

"I do not jest, Sub-altern.  The deep-space array is reporting thirty-nine drive contacts exiting Gamma gate at this very moment.  These contacts do not match any known profiles."

Voq'ox shot to his feet.  "By the Makers.  Sentinel... can... can you attempt to resolve these contacts?" 

"I already have, Sub-altern.  The contacts are consistent with military signatures, but are not, as I mentioned, consistent with any signatures previously known to the Union.  I estimate the largest units to displace over 40,000 kilomarks each.  I further estimate total displacement of all observed units to be over 700,000 kilomarks.  Do you wish to alert Altern Vaar'eil?"

Voq'ox felt himself gripped by icy vertigo. With trembling digits he reviewed the estimated profiles of the unknown ships.  They were powerful.  Far too powerful and too numerous to stand against.  His mind raced.  Aliens?  They must be.  Where had they come from?  There was only one answer.  They had come from beyond the system of Parallax, home of the Devourers.  Clearly, they had destroyed the Devourers and ventured forth, toward Ra.  Now they were here.  This was not a scouting force.  It was a warfleet designed to scour systems clean.  The handful of ships and defense bases orbiting Ra would not be enough.  The homeworld would die today. 

"Sub-altern?"

Voq'ox said nothing.  The room spun around him.

"Sub-altern?"

"Damn you, Sentinel.  Do you not perceive with your own processors?  Yes, summon Altern Vaar'eil.  But unless the Makers deliver us a miracle, this is the end of everything."

"But Sub-altern, the vessels have all come to a dead stop.  The largest one also appears to be hailing us."
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #102 on: June 09, 2019, 11:32:46 PM »
May 3, 2064

Terran Republic Cruiser Mars


Vice Admiral Conway felt more excited than she had in years as the shuttle bay beyond the airlock pressurized.  This was the Fleet's moment.  It was humanity's moment.  Soon, she and her team would meet face-to-face with the inhabitants of another civilization. 

She turned to the cluster of officers nearby, resplendent in their red and silver dress uniforms.  Lieutenant Commander Ino Fuyuuji, her communications officer, appeared to be reciting a prayer to himself.  Her loyal and long-serving communications officer, Captain Christopher Butler, regarded her with a nod and a confident smile.  Her intelligence officer, young Bai Wing Wan, was developing beads of sweat on his face despite his stony expression.  Also present was stern-faced Commodore Ajibana Masamura, commander of the Mars.  Behind them were a pair of public relations techs, working a set of camera-drones.  Behind them were a half dozen fully armed and armored Marines.

In a glaring oversight, and despite Conway's objections, no Xenos officer had been assigned to the Fleet when it had departed Earth several weeks ago.  Therefore, the responsibility of first contact fell to the Admiral herself.

The airlock hissed.  A green light indicated pressurization.  "Ladies and gentlemen, words fail to capture the importance of these next few minutes.  Whatever happens, I trust that no one here will tarnish the Fleet's honor by fainting."  The group laughed, but they knew she meant it too.  "Now if you will all follow me and take your places." 

Conway led the group of humans into the cool air of the bay.  In front of them, the strangely designed alien shuttle pinged and clicked as its hull warmed to the atmosphere.  Her officers formed a loose row to the left and right of her.  The Marines took positions between the officers and the shuttle, three to a side, and came to perfect attention.

With a hiss the ramp of the shuttle lowered.  Four figures emerged.

They were tall, all of them, the shortest standing over six feet tall.  They were inscrutable in their armored suits.  Each suit contained similar overall design elements, but individually, they were as different from each other in their colors and strange tatoo-like patterns as any personalized heirloom.  Not a single piece of skin or flesh was visible, if the creatures possessed such things.  The group paused at the foot of the ramp.  One of them, the largest, took a few strides forward.

Conway didn't need need her years of experience to tell her that this was a warrior.  It was obvious.  The towering specimen was nearly seven feet tall, clad in gleaming interlocked armor of a light green hue.  Yet this was no musclebound freak; it was as lean and powerful as a hunting dog.  It wielded a vicious yet ornate bladed pike with confident ease. The warrior paused to regard the group for a moment, particularly the armed Marines standing nearby.  Seemingly satisfied, it stood aside, and stamped its pike to the deck twice.  It blurted a short stream of hard consonant and vowel sounds that, to Conway's ears, seemed completely unintelligible. 

The remaining three aliens did not move immediately.  They seemed to be having an animated discussion amongst themselves, but all Conway could hear was a series of intermittent clicks.  She surmised that they were using private channels to speak to each other directly.  The smallest, clad in red, seemed to be discussing, no, arguing, with the other two.  As the clicking sounds continued it shook its head.  The universal expression for "No."  It gestured toward the humans.  The alien in the most ornate armor, a suit of shining silver, made a sharp cutting gesture with its hand.  The clicking of its compatriots fell silent.  The entire exchange lasted less than four seconds. 

Conway took all this in, but kept her expression carefully neutral.  Assuming her expression mattered to them.

Order restored, the aliens approached, Red lagging behind with noticeable reluctance.  Silver stopped three paces away from Conway.

Conway took her cue and bowed.  "On behalf of the Terran Republic and the human race, I extend the warmest greetings to our new friends from the Union of Ra.  I am Admiral Sophia T. Conway.  To my right is Commodore Ajibana Masamura, commander of this vessel, the Terran Republic ship Mars.  Also present are members of my command staff and crew of this vessel.  We welcome you aboard in the spirit in peace and friendship."

Silver bowed.  Its voice was slurred, heavily accented and synthesized, as if through a speaker.  "Ad-mural.  I em Visarch Thra'vull.  We acceep your speerit.  I em forst deeplomat to Union uf Ra.  Also heere are they who fund your sheeps. One, is Altern Vaar'eil."  The alien in gold bowed at Thra'vull's gesture.  Two, is Sub-altern-"

A heavy thudding sound and crashing of metal interrupted Thra'vull.  Red was lying prone on its back on the floor.

Conway raised her eyebrow.  Good lord, had it just... fainted?  Nearby, the stoic green warrior clenched its pike even more tightly.  Thra'vull's shoulders seemed to slump in disappointment.

"Visarch Thra'vull," Conway said, "Is your comrade ill?  I earnestly hope our appearance does not offend you."

"Is not bad," intoned Thra'vull with a hint of disappointment as he gestured toward the unconscious form on the shuttle bay floor.  "Is Sub-altern Vo'qox."
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #103 on: June 14, 2019, 09:08:31 PM »
Dossier:  The Union of Ra

Over the last several months the Terran Republic and the Union of Ra have continued to engage in polite, cautious diplomacy.  Many within the Republic were overjoyed to learn that humanity wasn't alone amidst a cosmic graveyard of extinct civilizations.  Officially, the Union is seen as being far enough away from Republic space that it isn't a serious threat, and yet close enough that it could become a valuable ally and trading partner.  Most negotiations have focused on the latter issue. 

Unofficially, the Republic Intelligence Service would like to get their hands on any unique technologies known to the Union.  Rah'tok personal armor and small arms, in particular, seem far in advance of anything that the Republic has even considered.  However, the Union fleet appears to be small and somewhat primitive compared to the Republic Navy.  For their part the Rah'tok immediately recognized this disparity from the moment of first contact, and they were greatly alarmed by the appearance of such a large and powerful battlefleet in their space.  This caution has colored their interactions every since.  As a consequence nothing at all is known about the power and extent of the Union's empire, or even if Ra itself is their only territory.  So far, the Rah'tok are tight-lipped about their capabilities. 

No Rah'tok has been seen without its armor.  Far more than just being protection from Ra's hostile, radiation-baked environment, a Rah'tok's armor appears to have deep personal and spiritual significance.  However, the Rah'tok have politely evaded all specific questions about their armor or their actual appearance.  Compared to humans the shortest Rah'tok is six feet tall and lean.  It has often been remarked that at first glance, a Rah'tok could pass for a human in armor.  The Rah'tok have not commented on the similarity in body structure other than to say that the two races are very different.  Individually the Rah'tok are intelligent, insightful, and intuitive, yet as different from each other in particular traits as any two humans might be.

The Rah'tok do not appear to have an open-access information network in the same way that the Republic does.  While some information and entertainment-related transmissions do occur freely and in the open, any data of importance is secure and encrypted; in other words, almost everything.  Therefore, not only are Rah'tok a mystery in their appearance, almost nothing is known of their deeper culture or history, aside from their music. 

Rah'tok music has been a sensation on Earth.  It has been described by Citizen Jan Nowicky, conductor of the famed Polish National Symphony and Orchestra as, "...haunting and mysterious.  Their works call to mind the grandeur and vastness of an unknown universe experienced through adventure, loss, and hope.  Is this what Bruckner or Wagner might have composed, had they been born under a harsh, distant sun?  The notes, structures, and melodies are unlike anything ever written on Earth, yet recognizable just the same.  In past decades human entertainers sang about shallow emotion, about possessions, about fleeting gratification, and even baser things.  The Rah'tok sing about the stars."   

On March 1, 2065, the Union of Ra formally signed a trade treaty with the Terran Republic.  A few weeks later human freighters stuffed to the gills with cargo began cycling through Ra's orbital trade-docks.  All cargo transfer was performed remotely; no humans were allowed to leave their ships.  These cargo ships then returned with vast amounts of rare, high-quality precious metals. 

And as to the cargo that the human freighters arrived with?  Ground vehicles.  Thousands upon thousands of ground vehicles, along with smaller amounts of specialized machinery.  These vehicle exports have consisted of everything from pickup trucks and dune-quads to luxury vehicles and performance cars, and even the latest gyro-stabilized unibikes.  Evidently, most indigenous Rah'tok ground vehicles are rather dour and utilitarian.  Much like the way their music has affected the Republic, the Rah'tok looked upon the endless variety of personal vehicles available in the Republic and realized an obsession that they had not previously been aware of.

Contact with the Rah'tok has, to this point, been limited exclusively to their diplomatic teams.  No humans have been allowed to interact with the general Rah'tok civilian populace. 

 
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