Author Topic: Children of the Stars - Prologue and Setup  (Read 3064 times)

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Offline Zorgn (OP)

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Children of the Stars - Prologue and Setup
« on: August 07, 2010, 07:12:00 AM »

Captain Sharp woke in a dark, cramped place unfamiliar to him. He had just a moment to consider just how he might have come to be there, before a light pierced the darkness and a head formed in front of him.

"Welcome to the land of the living, Sky Marshal. I am Sky Marshal Grimley, of the Grand Terran Army. At this moment, you and three billion of the finest soldiers Earth could produce are three days out from the Ulherr system. Preliminary scans indicate it is a system with a small red star, and an alien race of unknown capability. Your job is to command the invasion of any alien worlds, protect the assembly ships that are part of your fleet, and hold the world until the colonists arrive in three years. You're authorized to use any and all means at your disposal during your campaign, as long as you do not destroy the planet. Secondary objectives are capture of enemy materials, installations, and technology. Good luck, and make the Earth proud."

The Sky Marshall looked him in the eye, nodded, and disappeared, leaving Captain Sharp once again in the darkness. But not for long. The space around him began to steadily glow brighter, stopping at a gentle blue, revealing him to be in a pod of some sort.

"What the hell is going on..?"

Sharp did not have time to continue his line of thought. Floating lines of text condensed in the air, quickly forming data screens scanning through unknowable routines before stopping at an image of a ship. Presumably the one he was on. Large areas of the image were swathes of red, competing with a feeble smattering of green splotches. He didn't quite recognize what was going on, but it didn't stay in view for long.

Everything blanked for a moment, and then a single line of text appeared, accompanied by an omnidirectional voice over. "You have Eight Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty-Two messages. Beginning with number one..."

Sharp's jaw dropped as the messages slowly scrolled past. The first was a much needed explanation of just what the hell was going on.

"You are a genetically altered human soldier, Leader caste. You were grown onboard on the flight out, and put in cryo for the last leg of the journey. While growing, you were trained with all skills your duties required through subconscious measures, and kept from atrophy by Terran science. In three days time, the fleet will enter the Ulherr. You have until then to meet your subordinates and plan your offensive. Any questions can be addressed to the shipboard AI."

The next one explained the makeup of the fleet, and the general idea behind each of the ship. As he guessed, the ship shown earlier was the ship he was on, along with every other soldier. The rest of the fleet followed along beside the mothership, completely empty, guided by its beacon through the night. Apparently the smaller ships didn't have the facilities to house the three billion soldiers. Something he learned by looking at the combat ships, was that he intuitively knew their capabilities. Quite an odd sensation, but useful.

He skipped forward past the rest of the combat vessels, and stopped to read the message about the assembly ships. Pictures of massive blocky ships scrolled by, while the message explained that these very large ships housed the new colony's infrastructure. The ships were basically cargo carriers for factories, mines, and the untold tons of equipment needed to set up shop on a world. The ships would hover in orbit, and smaller robotic ships would shuttle the installations down and handle setting them up on the new world. Once emptied, the ships would be disassembled for raw materials and shuttled to the surface.

The next few were status updates on a many lightyear sublight journey from Earth to the Ulherr system. And then things got weird. Sharp scanned the subjects of the rest of the messages, and discovered he had nearly nine thousand garbled error messages, none of which made any sense. He signaled he was done reading, and his pod slid quietly open, allowing him his first steps out into the cold corridor.

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The officers' mess had turned into a meeting room as people gathered. The men started putting together what they knew, and eventually a man stood up to brief Sharp, along with everyone else in the room. Things quieted down, and the man started, "The situation's FUBAR, sir. The AI's dead, and only one in six capsules opened. I'm not really sure how you got promoted to Sky Marshal, but if there's another onboard, he hasn't shown up yet. I imagine he's in one of those shiny metal coffins we were all lucky enough to climb out of." Everyone avoided looking at the walls. Every few feet was a numbered plate above a colored light. Nearly all were red.

"The weirdest part is yet to come, though. Remember the taped mission briefing? We're attacking a planet around a red star, right? Take a look at this." The nameless officer poked at a datapad, and an image appeared against one wall. It showed a live feed from one of the ship's external cameras, of two yellow stars. "Yeah. We're in the wrong system."

A chorus of groans rang out in the crowd, but quickly piped down as the man raised his hand. "The good news is, we're also in orbit..." another few pokes at the datapad, and a view of a pristine blue planet replaced the stars. "of a waterworld. The cool part is, there's these little metal islands," he pointed at one that looked suspiciously like a landing pad before continuing, "and I've scanned a large number of underwater complexes. Completely uninhabited. There's also a few deserted shipyards in orbit. We're missing all assembly ships from the fleet, so I assume that's their work. We're also missing quite a number of the combat ships. No idea why."

Captain- No, Sky Marshal Sharp now, sighed and rubbed his forehead. First day among the living, and all hell's broke loose. "Everybody, check everything. I want a full inventory of what we have, what we're missing, and what's damaged. I want a squad of techies looking into what went wrong with the AI, why we're in the wrong system, and how far off course we are." Orders finished, the assembled men saluted, and filed out, leaving Sharp alone to consider the situation. He was in charge of a decimated army far from home, with nobody to fight. Thankfully, the indoctrination they'd received along the way mad the men almost fanatic in following orders. He had a touch of it himself, but with nobody to outrank him, it meant little. Keeping order was not likely to be a problem, but boredom would be. On that point, he was stuck. He could not reassemble the assembly ships, did not yet know where he was in relation to where he was supposed to be, and most likely by the time he could get back to where he was supposed to be, it would be too late. It was entirely possible the colonists had arrived in the Ulherr system and been wiped out already. He couldn't know until the techie squad figured out what year it was, and when they were supposed to have arrived. All in all, he was screwed for the moment.

Offline Zorgn (OP)

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Re: Children of the Stars - Prologue and Setup
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2010, 11:15:57 AM »

Meet the Terran Expeditionary Force. It is a mixed sex force of genetically enhanced humans whose job is to clear out potential colonies, and protect them from future assaults. Of the original three billion, only half a billion survived the trip and failure of the AI. They're lost too. The good thing is, they made it to a habitable world with their robot assembly ships, and will soon setup camp and begin the long process of preparing to take over the galaxy.

The Empire

I like the idea of Terran Empires, and they've returned in this campaign. For this story, they are a Trans-Newtonian empire, but a very low tech one, mainly evidenced in their lack of jump drives. In reality, the Empire only controls the Sol system, and the Expeditionary Force is the first attempt at founding an extra-solar colony. Obviously, something has gone horribly wrong, and the TEF is lost in space.

The Aliens
The empire picked up transmissions from the Ulherr system, and decided they needed conquering.

The TEF is low tech, at the moment. They have some fairly nice weaponry, many examples of which they were able to make it to their new planet with.

Note: I love the idea of groups being cut off/lost in space, particularly because I get to do non-earth starts.

EDIT: The plot thickens. My chosen homeworld seems to be about .3 lightyears from the jump point survey locations... And I've sworn to do this with low engine tech at the start. XD

Offline Zorgn (OP)

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Re: Children of the Stars - Prologue and Setup
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2010, 07:12:08 PM »
More Prologue

Mail from 'Captain Damien Manahan'
Sky Marshal, I'm with the techies on the bridge, and things are worse than I thought. We have holes in the ship. Meteors, enemy fire, who knows, something hit us hard. Our armor is shot to hell, but the worst part is... Well, we have a man sized hole right through the central computer storage area. It looks like automated emergency protocols went into effect, rerouting everything through backup systems, but it doesn't seem to have been enough.

Whatever happened, it killed the AI in a big way, blew us off course, and royally screwed up the cryo system. We're extremely lucky to be alive, commander. Also, it killed the clock. I've tried getting the date a few times, it's Day One, Month One, Year One, every time. Add to the fact that the navigational database is gone, (Literally. It's floating around somewhere out there.)  and we could be anywhere, anywhen. We could be right next door (galactically speaking) to the Ulherr system, or we could be in a different galaxy. We could be a few years late waking up, or a billion.

I'll keep poking around up here for now. I have an idea what happened after we were hit, but I have a few things to check before I say it was even possible. Manahan out.

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Mail from 'Colonel Sara Parente'
Sky Marshal, I'm in command of the inventory mission. So far, most everything that is here is in good shape. It looks like there have been a few blowouts in the past, but we don't really know what was lost... Anyway, we have enough guns, ammo, and suits to turn a good sized continent into a crater, if we only had the men to use them. We'll have accurate counts in a few days. Food and supplies are in good shape too.

Where we're really hurting is the naval side. We have three Kaman class sensor ships, three Tapi class laser cruisers, and three Qatar class missile cruisers. That's not even a tenth of the fleet. No dreadnoughts for us, I guess. ;_;  The good news is that the ships we have seem to be in good working order. Mostly. They do have full magazines, at least.

Ps: I think we've been in route far longer than was planned. I'm not sure how long, but when we opened up some of the food lockers whose cryo systems had failed... It's just indescribable. I knew MREs were horrible, but that was... Oh hell, back to work before I get the shakes again. Parente out.