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Posted by: Zorgn
« on: August 10, 2010, 06:55:17 PM »

Mail from 'Brigadier General Sara Parente'
Sky Marshal, you have my deepest thanks for the promotion. On to business...

We recently completed a Lynx class cargo ship. It's monstrously large, compared to the rest of the fleet, but it can carry one automated mine. Which is what I've set it to doing. The potential mining colony I mentioned on B-VII will start operations as soon as the Lynx gets to it. It will be a long while before we get it running at anything approaching acceptable levels, but we have to start somewhere. The shipyards will be pumping out Lynx for the next few years at least, until we have quality shipping.

In other news, we completed our third Tiger's Eye geosurvey ship. We're done on that front for a while. I estimate three of them will finish surveying all planets and moons within the year. The asteroids could take a while longer, but I'll make sure they move their fastest. Parente out.

Mail from 'Captain Damien Manahan'

Sky Marshal, I've got another tech update for you. The year's been slow, but we did get some interesting things. Poplaski completed initial designs for 'Alpha Shields'. They look weak as hell, so we're going to skip over them for now, maybe develop them more in the future. They have potential, but as is, I'll take armor, thank you very much.

Kevin Galey figured out how to make the Gauss Cannons shoot faster. We'll be making a new CIWS module later, but for now, our efforts are on a new kind of reactor. We'd like to make a new laser cruiser, and more power for the same space will make that much easier, we think.

Anyway, please forgive me for holding up Poplaski. I meant to send him down last year, but things got really hectic, research left and right... He should be there inside the hour, Sky Marshal. Manahan out.

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Sky Marshal Sharp looked up from his mail as a buzz sounded in his study. He reached across his desk, and flipped a switch. The heavy metal pressure door swung open and August Poplaski hurried inside, sealing the door behind him.

He was definitely odd. Every other person in the colony had the smooth faced look of health, Poplaski's face was host to veritable canyons of wrinkles and several odd spots. Almost as strange, he had white hair, and was balding. Not one other person on the planet had hair like that. Sharp blinked for a moment at the almost alien sight, and then motioned to one of the simple metal chairs in front of his desk.

"I've been waiting to see you for three years, Sky Marshal. I have information for you, though I doubt it will be of use. If I may?"

Sharp nodded, curious as to what the man would wait three years to say.

"Good. I am here today to tell you secrets, the likes of which I have never shared. It starts with a nap..."

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Science officer August Poplaski awoke as an explosion rocked his world. Tremors and a loud ringing noise shook him to the bone, threatening to unmake him, before finally subsiding. Sounds came to him, alarms, crashing doors, and moans.

His world was small, just a little higher than he was tall, wider than he was, and ending just in front of his face. Lit by a dim blue glow, he looked down to see he was tightly restrained, with wires poking into him at numerous points. And then a face coalesced in front of him.

"Welcome to the land of the living, Soldier."

It was not long before the screaming started.

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Eventually he collected himself. He was trapped in a cryo chamber, awakened by some catastrophic emergency outside, but not released. The trip was not done. Why should the doors open? As least he was not alone. People around him, trapped as he was, screamed, cried, sometimes calling words of comfort to each other, surely they would be released soon?

But no. They waited, and eventually lost hope. Their screams were an unending chorus of madness through the years, and he wished fervently that he could have peace and quiet, just for a moment, to beat back the madness in his own soul.

He waited, kept alive by the cryo systems through unknown ages as each and every voice eventually gave up and quieted. Finally, there was no noise anywhere. Perfect silence permeated the ship, and he knew without doubt that they had all died. The mind had stopped, madness had given up. And the body followed suit.

He had his quiet, but he wished now for a sound, anything not his own to break that deafening silence. And eventually he had it. After strange aeons of nothing but his thoughts, taking science to new levels in his head, he heard it. Bootsteps walking down a corridor, slowly rising in volume, as if coming towards him. They rose to an earth shattering level to his starved ears, before stopping completely.

Poplaski froze, suddenly horrified, for unexplainable reasons. He wondered if he had gone mad. Would he be the last one to scream out his mind on this ship of the damned? "No, I think not." Poplaski's eyes widened as the words sent his walls to vibrating, as if the speaker was inside with him. Before he could beg the voice to free him, the steps started off again, this time completely normal in volume. He was left alone, listening as the being whistled a tuneless melody while walking away.

Poplaski felt a sudden drowsiness, and for the first time in untold ages, he slept.

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"I will never forget that melody. It was not... It should not have been." he shuddered, weathered hands fidgeting as if to keep from flying madly about. "That thing saved me. I don't know how or why, or where it went afterwards, but... I have to go. I hear that voice again."

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Mail from 'Captain Damien Manahan'
Sky Marshal, I have no idea what you did, but Poplaski is hiding under his bed whistling some creepy song. Damned if I'm sending him to you again. Manahan out.

End of Year Three.
Posted by: Zorgn
« on: August 09, 2010, 01:24:18 PM »

Mail from 'Captain Damien Manahan' 11-5-2
Sky Marshal, I'm pleased to report that over the last five months, we've discovered methods to drop our thermal emissions down 50%, thanks to lead scientist August Poplaski. I'll be sending him down to meet you later, but I must warn you, he's... Odd. He's a genius, far and away the best scientist we have, and his specialization in defensive systems will be highly useful in the future... But he's still odd. Manahan out.

Mail from 'Colonel Sara Parente' 8-1-2
The Tiger's Eye 001 has sent back word of a planet with significant Corundium deposits. While our planet is not in danger of running out any time soon, it's difficult to mine acceptable amounts here. Thus I'm nominating this planet as a potential mining colony once the first cargo ship has been completed.

Our second Tiger's eye has been completed just today. As the first has a good hold on surveying our star system, we are sending this second one through one of the recently discovered 'Lagrange Points' to survey our companion star.

Also of note, we really need to name this system. 'This planet' and 'That planet' can only go so far... Parente out.

General Announcement from Sky Marshal Sharp
My fellow soldiers, we have come to the point where a name for our system is needed. We set up housekeeping here more than a year and a half ago, and it doesn't look likely that the Empire will be here tomorrow. For the sake of keeping things straight, we are forced to take the glory of naming this system for ourselves.

To that end, I have studied the files that were sent with us on the Mothership. One word amid the millions spoke to me. We will call this system Protesiaos, and this world, Protesiaos Prime. May we make it a name worthy of the Empire.

Ever Vigilant, Sky Marshal Sharp.

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For a time, all was good. Protesiaos Prime struggled to build its economy to the point where they could build another Mothership. It would be many years, but the people knew it would one day be a reality. In the minds of some of the scientists, the Lagrange points stirred up new ideas. They had already proven that instantaneous travel across the third of a lightyear distance between Protesiaos' two stars was possible. Why not others? But the scientists advocating use of the research labs to confirm their new theory were soon overshadowed by the events of November the twentieth.

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Mail from 'Captain Antonia Vecchia, of Tiger's Eye 002' 11-20-02
Sky Marshal, I've addressed this directly to you with the highest security protocols available. I didn't expect to ever need to bother you, but if there is a time to do so, now is it. I have just completed my survey of Protesiaos-A II in the inner system. It is almost habitable. If it weren't so blasted cold, I'd advocate colonization immediately. But that is not the reason for this message, nothing so mundane. On the surface of this planet, I have discovered ruins of what appears to be an alien city. There is no sign of life, and I have yet to be fired upon, so I assume it is safe for exploration. Or as safe as a dead city can be. What would you have me do, Sky Marshal? Vecchia out.

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The news of alien ruins was released to the masses immediately, to mixed reactions. The scientists jumped at the opportunity to be part of a team dedicated to exploration of the city. The common men, however, were apprehensive. There were enough frightening things outside their walls without poking about in dead cities. They worried that whatever destroyed that city might not have moved on, and instead lay waiting for something to uncover it.

These fears were dealt with by declaring open season on the wildlife outside the colony. Small parties were allowed to wait on the landing platforms for a monster to rise to the surface, and then fired on it with small scale explosives. It was good for a boost in morale, until one party did not return. Investigators reported the landing pad had been utterly destroyed, but not by explosives. Blood was everywhere, along with an odd purple liquid The colony fell deeper into a fearful mood at this turn of events, and the hunting expeditions were canceled for good.

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Mail from 'Captain Damien Manahan'
Sky Marshal, the pictures rolling in from the ruins overshadow my reports a bit, but here goes. We've found ways to cut thermal emissions from our engines down to 35%. That's the best we're going to get for a while. We've also worked out some preliminary tech for a Gauss cannon. That might be of use in the future, but for now, it's not much. A few of the scientists and I are discussing the possibility of a 'Close In Weapon System' using the Gauss cannon, but I don't know if it will get anywhere. I'll keep you updated. Manahan out.

End of Year Two.
Posted by: Zorgn
« on: August 08, 2010, 03:24:35 PM »

Announcement from Sky Marshal Sharp

Reviewing the facts of our situation, I have concluded that completion of our mission is impossible at this time. We will land on this planet and wait for the empire. When they find us, we must be prepared to pack up and fight for them. We owe them. To that end, we will do our best to raise a the strongest army we can. We, and our descendants, will conquer the galaxy one planet at a time to atone for our failure to the Ulherr colonists

Ever vigilant, Sky Marshal Sharp.

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The departure from the mothership to the planet went fairly well, if slowly. The ship was designed to disgorge most of its soldiers via armored capsules. On  a normal planet, this worked fairly well. On one with no land and delicate artificial landing platforms at a premium, it was suicide. Shuttles were the main way down, supplemented by a few trips from the cruisers. Once emptied, the mothership was left in orbit, with plans to refit it as a space station in the future.

Once underwater, the would-be army was split into task groups and assigned to working different areas of the colony's infrastructure. Military discipline held everything together, aided by a blooming sense that this was what should be. The empire was coming. Everything had better be perfect or they would not be forgiven.

These thoughts were encouraged. They would sustain the men, otherwise, why were they here? They were created to fight for the empire, and instead they were alone with no enemies and no masters but themselves. They had the knowledge to handle most any external threat, but not the experience to deal with the doubts in the night.

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The first few months on their new home were ordered chaos. The colony was built for far more people than now inhabited it, and nobody really knew where things were, especially if you had to go off the beaten path. The new colonists tended to stick together in small groups at all times, and did their best to work in places where there were no windows.

The planet, while devoid of intelligent life, was not lifeless. Outside in the endless ocean, things occasionally flitted past. Some were almost absurdly small, but others were large enough that their ends faded off into the dark and their sizes could only be guessed at. Nothing had yet attacked the colony, but everyone was certain one of the beasts would someday catch sight of them through the window and decide to tear the walls apart to get them.

Despite rampant fears, what work that got done, got done well. In short order, the mines hanging off the bottom of the colony were activated, and began producing minerals faster than expected. The techies in the R&D labs started researching the workings of the research labs, and pumped out a simple geosurvey vessel design one day.

The happiest and most productive people in the colony worked in the shipyards. Away from the things in the depths of the sea, with the stars to watch over them, they built the geosurvey ship. The planet below, while home to many of their brethren, could not supply them with minerals forever. They needed more, always more. So to the stars they would go.

And on the sixth of December, year one by the new calender, they went. The Tiger's Eye class geosurvey vessel was completed, crewed, and finally cast off into the night. With the blessing of Sky Marshal Sharp, the remnants of the invasion fleet also left to scout about their small corner of the system, and train for their coming conquests.

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Mail from 'Colonel Sara Parente'
Sky Marshal, I have twenty million embarrassed soldiers in the great meeting hall. I also have ten million or so screaming larval humans. I have no idea how to handle this, please save me. Sara Parente out.

Mail from 'Captain Damien Manahan'
That was hilarious, Sky Marshal. Your speech was well done, quite technical in all aspects. But the best part was seeing twenty million faces turn red at the same time. Oh, some of the odder reactions were great too, but you stole the show, sir. XD

*cough*official*cough* I have two pieces of news for you, Sky Marshal. The first and smaller of the two is that my techies have puzzled out a few ways to work the research labs better. Something about switches, I didn't really pay attention there, I was busy thinking about this next bit: I know what happened after we were hit. I think.

Anyway, I've been wading through corrupted files from the mothership's databanks for a year now, right? One turned out to be about emergency procedures. I didn't get all of it, but here's the gist of things: It seems that in cases of truly catastrophic failures, our kind, the ship scans nearby systems for habitable planets. When it comes across one, it moves in, sends the signals for the assembly ships to get to work, and then waits. Once they're done, it thaws whoever made it alive, and shuts down.

Unfortunately things were more screwed up for us. Normally, the ship would pick the nearest unexplored system, take a look around, and continue on if nothing presented itself. Looking at the engines and steering apparatus, the mothership can't steer. It can speed up and slow down, if given time to take things slowly and carefully, but steering is completely shot. So... We drifted in one direction for who knows how long, hoping for a planet. I'm shocked we woke up at all, to tell the truth.

Hell, having seen missiles that lost their sensors, I'm surprised we didn't self destruct in a blast of cynical fatalism at our bad luck.

End of Year One.