Odyssey into Hell

"It's them. They... are coming."

By on May 30, 2008 12:44:09 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Eidolon1032

Join Date 03/2007
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Chapter 1: Awakening

Varna Station, Tau Ceti system

Lieutenant jr. Jack Nicholson put his coffee cup on the steel desk near his radar screen. He chuffed, stirring the black liquid.

The same job eight hours a day, six days a week, four weeks a month. And it never happens anything exciting. I never thought I could miss the Drengin Wars. At least then I had something to do. The most interesting thing that happened in three months had been when Lieutenant Esher put a Torian lizard in Commodore Fitherly’s shower. Her cry made the security marines crazy. He chuckled at the thought. That had been a funny day. Not so funny for Esher, however…

But it seemed to have happened years ago. Now there was only a boring, unstoppable routine.

“Warning. Possible detection of an Unidentified Flying Object. Position 234-454-545.5. Elaborating data…”

Oh, great. Another comet. Hooray.

The SID – name that the crew had affectionately given to the interception control AI of the station, in honour from the old 1980’s - UFO TV show – slowly started grinding ciphers and spitting out analysis.

“Data elaborated. Detection confirmed. Position 234-457-546.1. Speed 95 m/s. Requesting IFF…”

Jack relaxed on his seat’s back.

“Friendly IFF. Object classified as Aenius-class starfighter, Terran Alliance.”

What the hell…?

The radio began crackling.

“Var… Station, do y…ecive m…”

“Aenius fighter…” He checked the screen “…989, here is Varna Station. Please switch on secure channel Alpha-Bravo-Six.”

“I can… acc…”

“Please repeat, Aenius 989.”

“I can’t accomplish… sustained… damage… requesting assis…”

Jack switched some switches, directing three microwave-comm. antennas on the unexpected visitor.

“Aenius 989, can you receive me better now?”

“Affirmative… Here is Cadet McJones of the 33rd Flying Daggers… reporting heavy damage… hull integrity is failing… requesting immediately rescue!”

“Copy that, Cadet, please stand by.”

He moved to another visor, looking for a ship near enough to the fighter to help it, but the pilot stopped him.

“I can’t! I need assistance NOW! They… they are here!”

“They? Who are they?”

“I need coverage! Oh, God, they’re here!”

“Cadet, keep quiet! WHO is there?”

“They… They’re firing! I need help! Anyone! I ne…AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!“

The communication was suddenly interrupted.

“Cadet?”

------

TAS Hammerhead, Tau Ceti system

TAS Hammerhead, here is Varna Station, please respond.”

Without raising his eyes from the magazine that he was reading, Dave opened the channel.

Varna, here Hammerhead, receiving.”

“We’ve lost contact with one of ours fighter, coordinates 234-458-599.4. It had… reported something strange before he cut the communication. You’re ordered to look for it.”

“Another disappearing ship? It would be the… sixth, this month?”

“Yes, but it would be the first in our system.”

“Ok. Further details?”

“No. I even don’t know what the hell was it doing out there. According to registries, Aenius 989 should had been detached to the 33rd fighter squadron in Procyon.”

“Two systems away from here?”

“Yes.”

“Well, it’s strange. We’ll report ASAP.”

“Good luck, lieutenant. Varna over.”

“What orders?” Harper asked.

“To investigate the disappearance of one of ours fighters.”

“Well, more interesting than comet catching.” Dimitri commented.

“Set a course. Par seven speed.”

“ETA twenty minutes.”

“Shouldn’t we use maximum speed, sir? It’s a rescue mission, after all…” Ensign Arcoxia Seeve, the new entry in the Hammerhead’s crew who had replaced Renee, objected respectfully.

“Relax, rookie. We’ve got all the time. It isn’t a life-or-death matter.” Dave responded.

“But sir, the fighter is in…”

“It’s probably only a problem with the radar response. Don’t worry.”

“And the Hammerhead just made it through refit. We shouldn’t push the new engines too hard without a regular test.” Qin definitely closed the discussion.

“Listen a fresh-graduated Xeno Engineer, Arxie.”

“If you think so, Commodore…”

------

“Let me guess, Arxie. Nothing on the radar?”

The young Ensign shook her head.

“No, but… well… not exactly…”

“What’s up?” Dimitri leaned over her shoulders to see the radar screen.

“Well, do you see these… spots?” She pointed them. “I can’t determine what they are… not ships, this is oblivious. They seems rather composed by organic matter, but it’s too big to be the corpse of the missing pilots. And if it was a Shivan ship, it would have a different signature and I’d still see not-organic materials. Instead… These are purely organic, sorry for the repetitions.”

“Maybe a cosmic flower bed?” Dave suggested ironically.

“No… they are moving.”

“They are WHAT?” Harper exclaimed.

“Moving, sir. Probably a problem with the new radar system, I guess.”

CRAP! FULL SPEED, EVASIVE MANOUVERS!

“But…”

MOOOOOOVE!” Harper personally switched to par 14 speed in Qin’s console.

A strip of pure energy passed where the Hammerhead was a few seconds before.

“What the heck… I can’t see anything on the radar! From where…”

KEEP MOVING!

COMMANDER, CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!?

“Modern youth!”, he sighed. “It’s big, it’s organic, it’s moving, it’s firing us! What do you think that it can be?”

“Uhm… an enemy, I guess?”

Qin suddenly turned the upgraded incursor to dodge another energy beam.

“Oh, shut up and open a channel with Varna Station!”

------

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

“Admiral, it’s for you. Red code.”

“Alighieri here.” Amanda curtly responded.

“Sir, here is Varna station. We’re getting an alarming report of an ongoing action here in Tau Ceti from one of our incursors…”

As the report proceeded, Amanda turned pale.

“Received, Varna. Switchboard, give me the President.

------

The Capitol House, Geneva, Switzerland

European Union, Earth, Sol system

Not again. It was the only Alan’s thought as five agents of the Secret Service jumped in his office, plasma guns ready to fire, and took him to the Space Force One.

“What’s up now, Seth?” he asked to his security chief.

“I don’t know, sir. I’ve been ordered to bring you away.”

As always.

The ship slowly took off, with Alan looking through the reinforced glass of the porthole.

------

“Mr. President.”

A voice made him turn. He recognized the Minister of Defence.

“Oh, Steven. What’s the problem?”

“We have… oh, shit, you won’t believe it. But come here.” He pointed the conference room “There’s an extraordinary session of the Security Council.”

The two men entered in the room, and sat in their seats. Only other five Counsellor were present, the others were there through holograms. Without too much ceremonies, he turned to Grand Fleet Admiral Alighieri blue shape.

“This is the third time in ten minutes that I ask this: what-is-going-on?”

Even if it was only an hologram, Alan saw that she was ill at ease.

“Well… to be brief, the Shivans were right. They were coming. And they are now here.”

“I don’t need prophetical answers any longer! WHO is here?!?”

“From my sources…”

WHO, Admiral! I want a name!”

She looked the Council before proceeding.

“The Shivans call them the Dea…”

“And? What else?”

She took a deep breath.

“…but we refer to them as… the Dread Lords.”

Alan turned pale.

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June 16, 2009 6:54:19 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

SInce my last story post was a little bit maimed, I'm reposting it here, divided in two parts, in the hope that shorter posts won't get into any more problems, with the next chapter. Good reading

 

Chapter 12: Out of the darkness…

 

Crystal Palace, Alire, Ilya

Altarian Republic, Altaria, Altair system

 

You’re not in position to make demands, fleshling. We are disinclined to acquiesce to your request.

Eleys found really hard staying calm, but she managed to. The Yor ambassador was really annoying.

“Probably you’ve misunderstood me. I was –”

Not possible. My auditive system has clearly identified your intended vocal output.”

I swear on the name of my family, I’ll manage to have his chips all over this room someday…

“I hope you’ll pardon me, ambassador. Those are really difficult times…”

That’s irrelevant for the intended subject of this meeting.”

The Altarian whispered.

“What can we give you in exchange for that?”

I have previously replied to that. We’re not going to have a trade agreement.”

“Why?”

We’d have no interest in giving you the crystal you have designated as the Telenath.”

“The Dread Lords are advancing, and that’s our only hope to stop them!”

That’s something not in the Collective’s best interests. Your time has come, fleshlings. The strongest will prevail.

“Do you really think the Dread Lords will let you alone?”

For the moment, our objectives and theirs coincides. Your time has come, fleshlings.

Eleys stood up, hitting the negotiation table with her new bionic arm, bending the metal under her fist. Not that that impressed much the Yor.

“Listen to me, you useless pile of scrap metal! I’ll try to put it plain and simple, so that you’ll understand: you don’t give us the Telenath, the Dread Lords wipe us out, you’re the next on their list!”

That would be illogical. The Precursors would be too weakened to begin a war of aggression against our Collective. We’d annihilate them by sheer numbers.

“It’s something the Coalition hadn’t managed to do twelve years ago! Why should you be successful?”

We’re more efficient than you fleshlings. We will prevail.

“Why not fight together? It’d be more advantageous for both of us, and -”

No. We’ll follow our first course of action. Be aware that any attempt to obtain the Telenath by force will be doomed to fail. This is the end of this diplomatic meeting.

------

TAS Galatea, Earth, Sol System

 

“All units, focus your fire on Frigate 34!”

“Aye, sir! Transmitting orders!”

“Helm, 20 degrees port! Gunnery control, I want another torpedo volley before now!”

“Bridge, gunnery control here! We’re frying the cooling fans! They weren’t designed to sustain this rate of fire!”

“Do what you can, and something more, gunnery!”

“Sir, we – no, the weapon systems – need a break, or they’ll breakdown!”

“The Kaiser is down! The Kaiser is down!”

Amanda swore. Another ship out of service.

“Sir, we have a transmission incoming from Washington!”

“I have no time, now! Comm, order the Warspite and the Orion to try an outflanking manouver!”

“Aye!”

“Sir… the CED is transmitting encoded retreat orders!”

“What?”

She paralyzed in the middle of the bridge, feeling that everyone’s eyes were pointed on her.

“Orders are to break the engagement and reorganize for a better planned counterattack. If we stay here, they’ll crush us one by one, till we’ll have nothing more to fight with…”

“Nuts! I’ll die with my ship, rather than live with the remorse of having fled the most important battle of my career!”

“Sir, it’s a single planet against a whole race. If we loose the most of our fleet here, we won’t be able to effectively form new battle lines to fight elsewhere. The Dread Lords will have their happy rampage time anyway.”

Thoughtful silence.

“You’re right.”, she finally admitted. “Send the retreat order.”

The remnants of the Terran fleet much more than happily left the field of engagement. Only a handful of vessels were fully operative, most had been scratched, battered and ripped by enemy Doom Rays. Yet they still flew, somehow.

The Dread Lords had taken heavy losses, too. Barely forty ships were still alive, from the initial two hundreds. Wave after wave of human offensives had hit them much more than anyone would have thought at the beginning, yet they had won. With slow manoeuvres, they began their descent toward geostationary orbit and bombardment position.

 

“What are you doing, helm?”

“Uh… engaging hyperwarp, sir?”

She smiled.

“Did I told you we were going anywhere?”

“Retreat point?”

“Oh, no. The fleet is retreating. Not me.”

“Oh, shit.”, someone murmured.

------

CED Headquarters – The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

Defeat.

Such a bitter taste.

Ross stood up from his command chair. Around him, everyone looked stunned, as if they’d never thought this could happen. Oh, yes, fighting the Dread Lords would have been hard and difficult and bloody and whatsoever, but I the end they would have won… Or not?

Actually, the answer looked too much a loud, resounding “NO”.

Well, he and Amanda had tried. Tried and failed… Only a miracle could have saved Earth, now.

SIR!

“What’s going on, now?”

“Sir, I read multiple subspace anomalies near Venus! There’s something massive coming out!”

A little spark of hope.

The men in the control room furiously begun to tip on their computers, till someone yelled: “Friendly IFF! It’s the Shivans!”

“About time, damn! Open a channel!”

------

Arnor cruiser, the Moon, Sol System

 

“And you call this flying a ship?”

“What’s wrong with this, Colonel Jenna Casey?”

“That’s more… being flown… I don’t know if I give the idea… And it’s quite impossible to maintain a straight course! Don’t you have a cloche or something like that?”

“You’re experiencing the symbiosis. It’s something new for your race… but one day you’ll –”

“Okok… I trust you.”, she rudely interrupted the Arnor. He was too poetical for her… too likely to digress even in such a situation. And she was having her hand full with piloting the cruiser. As she had said before, it was a strange and unique experience. Though she was conscious to be a separate entity from the ship, at the same time she was the ship… more or less, that was the basilar concept. The full extent of that relationship was well beyond her imagination. It was something unique.

“Suggestions for a battle plan?”

“Follow your heart, Colonel Jenna Casey.”

She held back a long string of profanities. Never try to get an useful answer from an Arnor in a reasonably short time…

“Wait… what…”

Dark red vessels were emerging from transpace near Venus. She knew that… how she was sure of that was another question.

Nemamiah wrinkled his forehead.

“Shivans…”, he spitted out in disgust.

------

TAS Galatea, Earth, Sol System

 

“We’re here to help, Human. Looks like we’ve arrived just in time. Proceeding to engage enemy forces. Stand clear of the destroyer ships Qhiah and Yamis.”

“Received, Admiral. Breaking off our attack.”

A silent ‘thanks’ was murmured from everyone in the bridge, despite Amanda’s icy look. She sat down on her command chair, visibly annoyed. She hated being put apart during a decisive fight…

“Captain, keep us on this course… Gunnery, ready to fire a last combo at my or-.”

Suddenly, they hit her.

 

In her mind.

She was in an endless foggy, dark plain… with nothing but shadows moving menacingly around her. She felt completely alone… defenceless… vulnerable… she couldn’t move. And they were laughing at her! Why… I can’t… Why…

Voices booming in her head.

You failed.

We won.

You’re weak.

You’re useless.

You’re alone.

Die.

 

“Sir!”

Her second in command was knelt on her, slapping her face.

“Sir! Wake up, damn! Wake up!”

She stayed there, immobile.

“Medic! A medic!”

Two Altarians stormed in the room.

“Psychic attack!”

Captain Ford stared at them.

“What should we do?”

The newcomers quickly checked her, and then they shook their heads.

“Nothing. There’s absolutely nothing we can do… She has to win on her own. Otherwise…”

“Otherwise?”

“She’ll die.”

 

Crouched in that dead wasteland, Amanda was silently praying.

Not me… Not me… Why me? Please!

You’ll die. You can’t even imagine what you went against…

Please…

 

Around her, another battle was taking place. The Shivans spore ships had opened fire against the Dread vessels, forcing them to scramble to dodge the lethal biological weapons. The Galatea somehow managed to withdraw from the engagement area, with minimal damage. As the distance between the Galatea and the leading Dread frigate increased when the Terran ship engaged her warp drive, the psychic grasp on Amanda’s mind slowly diminished, till she felt that invading presence fade away.

 

I’ll be back, earthling. Next time you won’t be so lucky.

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Arnor cruiser, the Moon, Sol System

 

“Yeah! They’re retreating! And we didn’t even fired a single shot!”

“Follow them, Colonel Jenna Casey.”

“As you wish, Nemamiah… time to show them how does it feels being hunted down…”

------

TAS Galatea, Venus, Sol System

 

“Are you sure she’s ok?”

Alan Bradley’s hologram was menacingly looking Captain Ford.

“Quite, sir. That’s what the Altarians have said. She only looked a little bit.. shocked, but that’s understandable, I guess. Having someone else in your head shouldn’t feel too good.”

The President’s face brightened.

“Try to help her… do what you can. I need her back in command of our Navy as soon as possible.”

“Yes, sir. She’s now in her room, and-”

“Stay with her. Always. That’s an order, Captain.”

“Aye, sir!”, he saluted.

“Excellent. Bradley out.”

Wow. One day you’re the second in command of a battleship, the next you’re assigned to Admiral-sitting. Such is life. Muttering to himself something not too pleasant about the President, he walked towards her superior’s room.

 

“Ah! Mio ben solo in  terra… mi guarda, mi conosci…”

“O padre mio”!

“Oh qual mistero! Che fu? Sei tu ferita? Dimmi…”

“L’acciò… qui mi piagò…”

“Chi t’ha colpita?!?”

“V’ho ingannato… colpevole fui… l’amai troppo… ora muoio per lui…”

“Dio tremendo… ella stessa fu colta… dallo stral di mia giusta vendetta… angiol caro, mi guarda, m’ascolta… parla, parlami figlia diletta!”

“Oh! Ch’io taccia… a me… a lui perdonate… benedite alla figlia, o mio padre…”

 

[Rigoletto: Ah, my only joy on earth … look at me … say who I am … 
Gilda: Ah, my father!
Rigoletto: I'm mystified!… What happened?… Are you wounded? Tell me...
Gilda: The dagger… wounded me here...
Rigoletto: Who struck you?!?

Gilda: I deceived you… I was guilty… I loved him too much… now I die for him!

Rigoletto: Great God in heaven! She was struck by the bolt that I, in righteous vengeance, loosed! Beloved angel! Look at me, listen to me! Speak, speak to me, dearest child!

Gilda: Oh! Let me be silent! Forgive me, and him. Bless your daughter, my father…]

 

Opera. Ford chuffed. Only her CO could like something so old-fashioned. She was there, sunk in her armchair, looking that old theatrical representation. He knocked on the door jamb to announce his presence.

“What’s up, Captain?”, Amanda muttered without turning her eyes off from the holograms in front of her.

 “The President is worried for you, sir. He asked me to-”

“I don’t need help. Not now, at least… it’s too late. Many thanks.”

“Yes. Sure.”, he sighed. “Oh, and the CDA found Admiral Alvarez… or what’s left of him. He was a bloody mess in a lane near the Docks in Copernicus. Probably he’s been assassinated by a Dread agent just before the attack.”

“Another death. Will this ever end?”, she asked to no one in particular.

“Not that you are watching something much happier…” Ford sceptically looked a crying hunchback over a dying girl.

 

“Lassù in cielo, vicino alla madre, in eterno per voi pregherò…”

“Non morir! Mio tesoro, pietade… mia colomba, lasciarmi non dei… no, lasciarmi non dei…”

“Lassù in cielo, vicino alla madre…”

“Oh mia figlia!”

“…in eterno per voi pregherò!”

“Non lasciarmi non dei!”

“Per voi…”

“Non morir!”

“Per voi pregherò!”

 

[Gilda: Up in Heaven, near my mother, forever I’ll pray for you…

Rigoletto: Do not die! My treasure, have pity… my coulomb, you must not leave me… no, you must not leave me…

Gilda: Up in heaven, near my mother…

Rigoletto: Oh my daughter!

Gilda: Forever I’ll pray for you!

Rigoletto: You must not leave me, you must not!

Gilda: For you…

Rigoletto: Do not die!

Gilda: I’ll pray for you!]

 

“Italian, I guess.”

“Yes. Verdi’s Rigoletto… one of my favourites. The hunchback is Rigoletto, a court jester, and the girl is his daughter Gilda. She had been raped by the Duke of Mantua, and Rigoletto had hired a killer to avenge her honour, but she loved the Duke, after all, and when she discovered her father’s plan she decided to sacrifice herself to let her beloved live. The killer gave Rigoletto what he thought it was the Duke’s corpse, and the joker just discovered it’s his daughter’s…”

 

Se t’involi qui sol, qui sol rimarrò, non morir o qui teco morrò…”

“…non più…”

“O mia figlia!”

“Perdonate…”

“O mia Gilda…”

“Addio! Lassù… in ciel…”

“Non… morir…”

“Lassù… in ciel!”

“Non lasciarmi… non dei!”

“Pregherò… per voi… per voi… Ah!”

“Gilda! Mia Gilda! E’ morta! Ah! La maledizione!”

 

[Rigoletto: If you go away  I shall be alone here, do not die or I’ll die here with you…

Gilda: …no more…

Rigoletto: Oh my daughter!

Gilda: bless…

Rigoletto: Oh my Gilda!

Gilda: Farewell! Up in Heaven…

Rigoletto: you must not… die…

Gilda: Up in Heaven!

Rigoletto: You must not leave me! You must not!

Gilda: I’ll pray… for you… for you… ah!

Rigoletto: Gilda! My Gilda! She’s dead! Ah! The curse! ]

 

 “Bah. I can’t get the point.”, he commented as the orchestra reached its climax as Rigoletto fell on his daughter’s dead body. “The curse?”

 “It’s quite a long story. Rigoletto has been cursed by Count Monterone, whose daughter has been raped by the Duke, too. The jester mocked the Count when he asked justice to the Duke, and so…” she noticed his emotionless face. “You don’t like opera, don’t you?”

“Well, no. And frankly-”

He was interrupted by the bleeping sound of his communicator.

“Excuse me, Admiral… Ford here. Yes. What?

She jumped out of her armchair as soon as she heard his worried voice.

“What’s the matter now?”

“The M.A.G.I. network. The supercomputers are tracking an anomalous energy reading in the uninhabited Gamma Centauri star system. And it’s definitely of Dread Lord origin. Looks like we’ve got more trouble on the way.”

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Chapter 13: …into the night.

 

Beta Tauri II

 

Harper quickly checked the dark corridor. Apart from the two stunned Kriath at his feet, the area looked secure.

Door 57, Samantha?

57, Commander.

Not this one… this one neither… this one. Ready, guys.

As in one of the old Terran movies, he broke down the poorly closed cell door with a good placed kick, and stormed in.

What he found left him speechless.

Undoubtedly the Drengin in front of him had once been a great warrior… his large shoulders and chest proved that. But now, he was only the shadow of his former self, a derelict chained to the prison wall. When the prisoner rose his head, Harper saw his empty eye sockets and the scarred face. Undoubtedly, someone did his –or her- worst on him.

“Humans?”, he muttered, almost imperceptibly.

“Sub-group Lord Dreghal?”, Harper inquired.

“I used to be called with that name. What do you want?”

“We’re here to free you from the Kriath. Offer you a new life.”

Dreghal sighed. “And what did I do to make the Coalition so interested for me?”

“You have… valuable information we’d like to know. You give us a few days, we give you a lifetime. That’s the deal.”

“Not that I have so much choice.”

“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’. Let’s go.”

------

CED Headquarters – The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“We did it, General. We survived another round with the Dread Lords.”

“Yes, but at what price? Our fleet is in shambles, and we nearly lost Grand Admiral Alighieri…”

“But we survived, sir. Nietzsche once said, that which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

“Mph.”

That was everything Ross managed to mutter as an answer. They hadn’t won… the Shivans did. Which made him feel quite uncomfortable.

“Sir, incoming transmission from the Shivan flagship.”

“I’ll take it from my office, Dan.”

 

“General Ross, my regards. May I ask why Admiral Alighieri is not to be found?”

“She’s… temporarily unavailable. This engagement has proven quite difficult, and she’s now resting. You’ll agree she deserved it.”

“There is no time to rest. Have you obtained the Telenath?”

“Mostly, and…”

“Mostly, son?”

Ross felt pierced by the five insectoid eyes staring at him.

“Mostly, yes. The Yor aren’t going to…”

“We’ll take care of that. There’s no time for hesitation, now.”

“Hey, wait a second! What are you going to do?”

“Rebuild the Telenath, and bring life once again.”

“Do what?”

“Prepare your fragments. We’ll bring the Iconian piece. He-hxash’d Dhsalya out.”

“Wait…”

Futile demand, as always.

------

TAS Galatea, Venus, Sol System

 

Deserved rest or not, ten minutes later Ross’ hologram was screaming in front of Amanda.

“You should really talk with them. I don’t understand why they consider you so special, but you have to take advantage of this!”

“Ross, calm down! What’s going on?”

“The Shivans are going to war with the Collective.”

“The Shivans are what?”

“They say it’s essential to rebuild the Telenath now, I don’t know if I give the idea…”

“But why now? We’ve repelled a Dread attack that has obliterated our forces, we’re not in condition to sustain a war!”

“That’s why you should talk with them.”

“Shivans! Cold-blooded killers…”

Presidential orders or whatever, she run to the bridge.

 

“I hope you rested well, Admiral.”, Dhsalya’s red hologram greeted her.

“I’d have had a better sleep if you weren’t going to start a war!”

“We have to rebuild the Telenath. It’s our best hope to defeat the Precursors. Their continuous actions are destabilizing our efforts.”

“Your efforts to do what?”

“To maintain life, human.”

Amanda silenced. A Shivan had just…

“Life?”

“Life.”

Screw diplomacy.

“You have exterminated countless billions of beings in this galaxy, and now you’re telling me that you want to save life? Are you joking?”

“We maintain disorder, Admiral.”

“Exactly. And you want to save life, too?”

“Can’t you understand? It’s so simple.”

“What is so simple? Explain me, Shivan –she charged the word with enough poison to kill the alien- because I can’t see any logic in what you’re saying.”

“Look at your planet. The cradle of your race. Life has developed on what you call Earth, and not on millions of other star bodies. It’s been the casual combination of imponderable factors that allowed your race to exist.”

She was puzzled… as always, when she tried to follow a Shivan argument.

“And so?”

“And so? And so, this is your answer. The casual combination of factors.”

“Could you be a little less… vague?”

“Entropy, Human. Entropy is life. Order… is death. We’re here to preserve.  Killing a species… let dozens of others to be born. Our actions increase entropy, and therefore increase the possibility of life to develop. You’ve seen us for long as the Destroyers. It’s only a part of our true being. We’re also the Preservers.”

Amanda was now truly shocked.

“So, this is what you’ve done for the last two decades… that’s why you offered to help us during the Drengin Wars. Why you sustained us against the Dread Lords. Why you have exterminated…”

“It had to be done. You’re right… that’s why we’re here. That’s why we help your race. You’ll be our heirs.”

“I hope you are kidding.”

“Why do you refuse your destiny, Admiral?”

“We still have a soul, Shivan. We won’t slaughter billion of living beings for a mathematic view of the universe! Do you think that people are just numbers, just a part of an equation?”

“That’s the way the universe goes on. One of your finest scientists, Galieo Galilei, once said: mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe. Every single action you did as a race can be transferred in a mathematic model. And the Great Equation of entropy has to be preserved.”

“You’re only a fool.”

“And you’re wrong, Admiral. Humanity is the best evidence of our rightness. Your illogical, chaotic moves have only saved yourself more than once, while the Iconians, always logical and rational, have been almost annihilated. Their light will soon be spent. Yours, instead, has only begun to shine.”

“This… is madness.”

“Madness… One day you’ll understand.”

------

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“Sir, we’ve got quite a situation…”

A four-stars general stormed in Alan’s room, interrupting his thoughts.

“Thirty-six minutes ago, the Shivan Star Empire begun an all-out assault against the Yor strongholds in the Tania Australis system. We have reports of over a hundred ships involved in this action, including twenty spore ships and twelve Juggernauts. They’re carving their way to Iconia through Fomalhaut, Luyten, Adhara and Zeta Aquilae.”

So, they did it. Without our approval.

“How are the Yor reacting, general?”

“As usual… they’re quickly gathering as many ships as they can to counterattack. I expect some big booming between the Yor motherships and the Shivan Juggernauts. The red bugs seems quite sure about their chances to get to Iconia. But what’s worrying is the fact that the Shivans are a formal ally of the Coalition, therefore the Yor may think that we are implicitly related with this attack. And considering their last meeting with the Altarians…”

Alan sighed. He felt as if everything he had relied on for all those years had suddenly vanquished, leaving him in an extremely precarious position. The Dread Lords were back. The Drengin were once again trying to break the chains the Coalition created after the Peace of Earth. The Senate was extremely uncooperative even in such a critical situation, with old grievances poisoning debates that should have decided for the best of the human race. And now the Shivans were beginning to act on their own…

“What’s the status of our fleet?”

“We don’t have a fleet anymore, sir. Make that clear. Yes, we still have the Behemoth and an handful of escorting units, plus the border garrisons, but…”

An uncomfortable silence filled the room.

Damn.

“Organize at your best defences against a possible Yor attack, then.”

“Sir, I need to require auxiliary units from the civilian fleet, and -”

“Do it.”

“With all the due respect, sir…”

“Yes?”

“Doesn’t it need a –cough– Senate approval?”

“General, I –we– don’t have any more time for this! Do it, now! Dismissed!”

“Yes, sir.”

I hate all this. One would think that after three wars I would deserve some rest, a peaceful presidency, but no! Not only the Dread Lords, this time even the Senate… But I’ll get rid of them both, they’ll see….

He turned on the holo projector.

“Mara? Give me General Ross. Absolute priority.”

I wish I didn’t have to do this…

------

TAS Hammerhead, Beta Tauri II

 

“Dammnit, Hammerhead!” Harper’s voice was quite nervous. “C’mon! Do you receive me, you lazy bas-”

“There’s no need to be so vulgar, Commander. What’s your status?” Dave asked, laziling opening the channel.

“You #@¡$%! We’re – FZZZT!”

Only static from then on.

Oh-oh. End of transmission.

“Sir? We’ve got a problem.”

Harper turned his command chair to face his crew, sighing.

“Ok guys, time to do something violent. Charge the Quantum Driver, ready with EM pulses, combat speed, prepare atmospheric flight. And someone get me a cup of coffee.”

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July 29, 2009 5:25:41 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Chapter 14: “I’m here to rescue you!”

 

Beta Tauri II

 

 “Damned greenskins!”, Samantha shouted over the noise of the Kriath weapons from behind a container, a plasma rifle in each of her hands. “We could be all safe home now, but no, that damned patrol really had to activate the alarm!”

“That was unfortunate, miss Colleton, indeed. An unexpected complication. Guess that’s what makes our job really interesting.”, Alfred shouted back some fifty meters on her right.

“Unfortunate?” Samantha added a long, detailed list of not too kind adjectives in addition to that. She couldn’t stand Alfred’s unflappability even in the most dangerous situations.

“Samantha! I beg you to mild your speech!”

“Less words, more action, you two!”, Hans reproached them, as he stunned another prison guard from the relative safeness of a large pipe. The team was in the staging area of the penal colony, where they had been trapped. That patrol had been an unexpected encounter… even the best men sometimes do something wrong.

Samantha replied to her superior by shooting down three guards in quick succession. “Can’t we just leave, forget everything and be friends as before?”, she shouted to the incoming enemies. The plasma bolt that missed her by nearly an inch sounded a little bit too much like “no”.

“Tell that to the Kriaths…”

“More guards are coming from that entrance!”, Kim warned them from… well… somewhere. He was so well hidden that they couldn’t see him.

“Clark! How’s the Drengin holding on?”

“Quite well… their resistance is exceptional.” Hans couldn’t see him, either. He had found an excellent place to babysit their guest. “But he needs a fully equipped first aid station ASAP, if we want him alive…”

“Understood. Bomber! What about that hangar door?”, Hans asked as he did a somersault to dodge an enemy shot.

“Closed… and this is reinforced duranthium, sir! I would be able to open it if I had half a dozen of those – he showed them an anti-matter cylinder -, but unfortunately I’ve got only one… No way to get out from here. We have to wait for the Hammerhead.”

“Let’s hope they’ll do it quickly…”

------

TAS Hammerhead, Beta Tauri II

 

“Targets acquired!”, Qin exclaimed, trying to ignore the bleeping sound of the ‘under fire’ alert.

“Fire three Avalanche!”

Flames erupted from three tubes under the wings of the incursor, and three rockets left their encasements to intercept the Kriath fighters. Two of the crafts exploded in a globe of fire, while the last one dodged the missile with a bold manoeuvre, nosediving and launching chaff to fool the homing warhead.

“Miss! And missiles incoming!”

“I’ve seen that, Qin! Countermeasures!”

The Hammerhead launched a cloud of electromagnetic interference devices, trying to hide its too evident heat signature from the infrared weapon. Unfortunately, it didn’t worked. Dave shouted a long list of profanities as the hit made him fly through the bridge, hitting the opposite wall. Arcoxia let out a cry when her console short-circuited. Only Harper seemed to remain calm.

“Damage report!”

“We’ve got quite a big hole near the engine compartment… we’ve lost auxiliary engines 2 and 3, and we’re venting plasma from somewhere… Diagnostics are still running… But surely we’ve lost our stealth capability!”

“Qin, can you still pilot this thing?”

“Aye, sir! This is nothing compared to the damage I saw when serving aboard the Psyche.”

“You’ll tell us another time… Shoot down that damned Kriath!”

Other two missiles were launched from the Hammerhead, and for good measure, Dimitri sprayed the area with quantum bullets. A ball of smoke announced that the last fighter had been hit and was going down.

“Scratch that one from the list!”, Qin exulted.

“Excellent. Now, son, open that duranthium door.”

------

Beta Tauri II

 

 The hangar door blazed away as a volley of mortar bombs hit it with millimetric precision. As its pieces darted through the warehouse, maiming the few platoons of prison guards, the Tir-Quan team left his positions and run for the now opened entrance. The Hammerhead was hovering a few meters above the surface, shooting volley after volley of small concussion missiles inside the base just to add more chaos to an already chaotic situation, and make sure that the Kriath wouldn’t show up their heads too soon. Clark jumped in the Hammerhead’s airlock half a second after it opened, carrying the wounded Drengin on his back, quickly followed by the rest of the team. The damaged incursor then disengaged and speed up to begin his long voyage towards home.

 

“We’ve got the SOCcers and the guest aboard, sir! Extraction successful.”

“Dimitri, launch the bomb!”

“The bomb?”, Dave and Arcoxia asked at the same time. “Sir, their communication array has already been put out of order. The EMP bomb is useless now…”

“Orders are orders, it’s a specific request from the Pentagon. Do it.”

“Aye.”, Dimitri said. And then, “Bomb launched. Impact in sixty-three seconds.”

“Bring us the hell outta here, Qin!”

“Aye! Par nine, it’s all we can get!”

“It will be enough… I hope.”

------

SSCVN Atlantis, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean

Earth, Sol system

 

Wow. I’m still alive.

Jean was still shaking. Only now he was realizing the full extent of what he’s gone through. He had survived two attacks by Dread Lords, attacks that by any means seemed aimed to kill him and his Tir-Quan escort.

Yes, Leonard. He didn’t seem too upset… He had fought the Dread Lords as he would have fought Drengins or Yor. Just because he had to do.

He looked the titanium-reinforced suitcase that contained the samples of the virus created at SPEC.T.R.E-02 installation. They had tried to kill him just for that 50x20x10 cm thing. Yet, if they tried twice, they must really fear this virus. Russian Hug, Doctor Duschenko had nicknamed it. So, he was now in one of the cubicles of the newest submersible aircraft carrier, heading to the Alliance chemical industries in Nevada, still under the vigil eye of Leonard. The same vigil eye that was now showering in the near bathroom. He didn’t thought that something like a shower could exist on a submarine. How many things you learned during a war.

His guardian angel entered in the small room, still dipping water and with wet hair.

“You don’t happen to have an hairdryer, don’t you?”

Without a word, Jean took the tool from his rucksack and threw it at him.

“Thanks.”

“Only, I doubt you’ll find a socket.”

“That’s not a problem.”

He took a battery from his field equipment and powered the appliance with it. Tir-Quans, Jean smiled, always prepared for anything.

“You got any news about the war from the crew?”, he asked.

“Nah. Nothing interesting. The usual blabbing about how powerful the Dreadies are and how lucky we have been to survive two open engagements with them. Not that in the showers people talk much of these things, though. If you want anything more detailed, I suggest you to ask someone in the Officers mess hall. I’ll join you as soon as I’m presentable.”, he concluded smiling.

“See ya, then.”

Jean managed to get lost three times before finding the right room in that mess of corridors and hubs that was the Atlantis. When he entered in the mess hall, however, he immediately felt there was something wrong. All the officers were shockingly staring at the massive 3D screen which occupied a whole wall.

“What’s going…”

A lieutenant pressed his finger on his lips, telling him to stay silent, and just pointed out the screen. Jean recognized the Presidential Seal on it, and a tired-looking Alan Bradley making what seemed a very official speech.

“…and it’s with the deepest regret that I’ve been forced to take this decision. The flames of war are already burning in our nation, and we have to do what has to be done. Such a divided State is absolutely incapable of fighting with efficiency what is the greatest threat to our very survival since the Xendar Wars. This is why I have decided, in accordance with the highest members of the Senate and of the military, to momentarily suppress the Constitution and to proclaim a general State of Emergency through the whole Alliance. I have personally directed all measures to be taken for our defence. There can not be divisions or conflicts in this time of danger. All our efforts must be focused against the Dread Lords. This time we can beat them, maybe forever. Our forces have already halted their advance. The planetary shield is being deployed around Earth as you listen this speech. But we must be united. Together we will live. Alone we’ll die.”

Jean waited for the real message to come.

“This is why, with absolute consensus of the highest democratic institutions in the Alliance, I have order all the legislative and judiciary power to be immediately transferred to the military apparatus. I want to underline how this is only a momentarily measure; as soon as the Dread Lord situation is over, things will be back as they used to be before today. I encourage you to fully support the Army or Navy personnel in charge in your city or colony. Remember: together we will live. Alone we will die.”

“What does this means?”, someone asked.

“That he’s getting rid of the opposition. And Senator Callaghan is the first name in the list, if you want my two cents.”

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July 30, 2009 3:45:59 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Very good stuff!

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September 2, 2009 8:40:06 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I hoped to be a little bit more productive in summer... Seems that I failed. I've tried to make this post a little longer to compensate somewhat.

Chapter 15: What has to be done

 

SOCV Hades, Gamma Tauri system

 

The Hades was one of the few Aventine-class carriers in active duty and deployed to the frontlines. A superb warship under any point of view, these massive units were mobile fortresses, acting as the central hub of intelligence operations for their sector of competence. Dave looked in amazement at the sheer size of the SOC carrier as the Hammerhead entered its main fighterbay, dwarfed even by the weapon batteries that guarded the main entrance.

Damn, this thing is huge.

The small incursor finally landed on its assigned platform, and was immediately surrounded by a swarm of technicians, mechanics and weapon experts, who got to work as soon as the ship touched the steel floor, repairing the huge blow caused by the Kriath missile, refueling and rearming the attack craft. A little far off from the Hammerhead stood five figures, all dressed with the dark uniform of the Special Operations Command.

“Guess those guys are waiting for us, sir.”, he told Harper.

“More likely they are here for our special package”, the Commodore answered, looking through the cockpit at a small Red Cross team that was hurryingly bringing Dreghal to the sickbay. “Anyhow, let’s do the presentations.”

Those guys turned out to be some of the highest-ranking officers of the SOC. Harper and Hans exchanged the usual formalities with the CO of the Hades, Vice Admiral Maciej Czerwinski, the man who had directed the whole operation under the direct command of Admiral Ross.

“Congratulations for a well done job, Commodore. Though the situation was going out of control, your prompt reaction has averted what could have been one of the worst diplomatic disasters of our history. Commander, you did an excellent job in shutting down the main communication array before freeing the prisoner, as planned. Your action has avoided an unwanted bloodshed to happen. Should you have failed your task, the whole operation would have been put in jeopardy, with enormous consequences for the Alliance.”

They both thanked their superior, and went on with the chattering, until…

“Vice Admiral, may I ask a question?”

“Go on, Commodore.”

“At 03:38 hours we launched a smart bomb on the Penal Colony, as we were ordered to do. It was supposed to destroy the main communication grid with an EMP pulse. But you’ve just said that the SOC team did it, and was supposed to do so, with optimal chance of success.”

“Exactly.”

“May I ask, so, why we were ordered to bomb an already destroyed array?”

“Because” and Czerwinski looked straight in Harper’s eyes “it wasn’t an EMP bomb, but a Korath spore warhead.”

Harper froze.

“We have left no witnesses of this operation, except your small squad, which will be integrated on my ship. You have deleted any proof that this operation happened. Don’t loose too much sleep on this, Commodore -” he said as he noticed his shocked face “- there where only criminals and an handful of guards on Beta Tauri II. You did what had to be done.”, Czerwinski echoed Alan Bradley’s words.

But Harper wasn’t listening.

We spored a whole planet. We killed all its inhabitants. We slaughtered them without any idea of what we were doing. We killed… we killed…

------

Arnor cruiser, Gamma Centauri system

 

“What is that?”, Jenna asked. A large red sphere had suddenly materialized near the local star.

“Almada” Nemamiah whispered “The dark fortress of the Dread Lords.”

“Which means trouble, doesn’t it?”

“It means that the Telenath has finally entered this realm. The Shivans will soon get from the Yor their piece, so that your race will manage to rebuild the crystal.”

“There’s a fragment on Almada?”, she inquired.

“Not exactly… there’s another crystal. It’s still part of the Telenath, but physically separated from it, and powers the whole planet, making Almada an independent-moving star body. A planet which has been used more than once to destroy whole civilizations by merely altering the gravitational field of a star system, throwing worlds in outer space, condemning entire species. But the Dark Fortress is also the last home of the Dread Lords. If we destroy the planet, they won’t have anywhere to go. We can defeat them once and for all. We must bring the Telenath here, and then make the star go supernova. The explosion will vaporize the crystal, and with the crystal, our nemesis.”

“And you.”

“And me. A necessary sacrifice, I already told you.”

“And I already told you I don’t like the idea, period. Anyway, what are we going to do now?”

“Wait.”

“Wait for wha…”

But Nemamiah had already disappeared.

“Oh, I hate him when he does these things!”

------

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“Sir, the protest in New York has been quelled. The police has arrested the leaders, which are now being transferred to the Fort Dix military base.”

“Excellent.”

“With all the due respect, sir… Do you think that this is really necessary?”

“Absolutely, Admiral Ross. There’s no time to be wasted with the opposition, now. If we want to survive, we have to work together, sure that we can trust each other. How can we fight a war if the Senate questions every single move we make?”

“I understand, sir, however…”

“However what, Admiral?”

“Just… be careful, sir. The temptation of absolute power is really appealing.”

“I’m NOT doing this for myself! I’m doing this to protect our own people! Will you ever understand that!?! I don’t want to rule as a dictator, I simply want to assure our children a future in this galaxy!”

“Yes… sir. Surely. But protests are going on all over our territory… are you sure it is the right thing to do?”

“Maybe it’s not the right thing, but it’s what has to be done.”

------

SOCV Hades, Gamma Tauri system

 

Intruder alert!

Horns and claxons let loose their deafening power over the crewmen’s ears. In less than six seconds, everyone in the hangar room had extracted his sidearm and was pointing it at the glowing blue figure standing a few meters off the Hammerhead’s landing pad.

“Stop there!”

"Hold it!"

“Don’t move!”

“Hands up!”

“Don’t make tricks, guy!”

The alien bent before speaking.

“Greetings, humans. I have peaceful intentions. I want to speak with Vice Admiral Maciej Czerwinski, the commander of this ship.”

“Good God”, the Admiral whispered, “He looks like… an Arnor?”

“Yes, Vice Admiral Maciej Czerwinski. You can call me Nemamiah. I’m here to help you with your task of reactivating the Drengin Terror Star.”

Czerwinski turned pale.

“That… is top secret! Less than fifty people know anything about it! How do you…”

“I know many things that you don’t, human. But there’s no time for such talking. Set a course for Epsilon Persei.”

“Epsilon Persei? Why?”

“Because, as Sub-group Lord Dreghal will confirm, the Terror Star is hidden there.”

------

Gaia, Epsilon Indi system

 

It begun in the simplest way.

People were peacefully demonstrating outside the local Parliament building, complaining for the recent restriction imposed by the Sol government. There were a few thousands of Terrans, massed in the large Independence Square, and controlled with some worry by a some hundreds of police agents. The local Governor was quite upset by the large crowd gathering just outside his office, even if the situation was under control for the moment, and so asked for help to the Army base. The Military Police begun the standard riot-preventing procedure, establishing checkpoints around the Square and generally reinforcing the police lines.

That was an error.

Some demonstrators, seeing the military vehicles closing in, thought that a charge was to be expected in short order: after all, Alan Bradley had just revoked the most basilar rights and turned the Alliance in a despotism, which meant that police forces could do almost everything they wanted to do. Add that to the general climate of tension... they attacked the police forces. Who retaliated. And the whole planetary government crumbled like an ill-built card castle.

------

AC4, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado

North American Federation, Earth, Sol system

 

“Mister President, we have a new situation!”

“Where, Admiral? Shangai?”

“No, sir. According to official sources, the government of Gaia has just been overthrown by the local population. They claims that the Alliance has betrayed them, and therefore they have declared their secession, founding what they call the Free Human Confederation. Data are still sketchy and coming in hiccups, but I fear that this is something quite serious.”

“Can you deal with this?”

“No way, sir. Most of our forces on the planet have defected as well, nullifying our response ability. We can’t declare war on them – they may be secessionist, but they are still humans. And with the destruction of our Navy here in Sol, I frankly doubt we can put together anything that can be considered a threat while we fight the Korath and the Dread Lords.”

“This is an… unfortunate development.”

“Unfortunate? With all the due respect, sir, you’ve triggered it. And if we don’t do something quickly, you can bet that Gaia won’t be the only planet revolting. What have you obtained by tearing up the very structure of the Alliance?”
“I have achieved focus. If you look at our planets, Admiral, you’ll find that opposition is almost non-existent in all our cities. What I want, is to concentrate our efforts to win this war, and then let things get back to normality. As for this Free Human Confederation, we’ll deal with it when the Dread Lords are defeated.”

“It looks quite a risky gambit, sir. You may have increased unity and strength here and there, but you are threatening the Alliance of dissolution.”

“That’s why we have to win quickly. Do your best, Ross.”

“Will do, sir. I’ll try to do.”

------

TAS Galatea, Venus, Sol System

 

“Grand Admiral Alighieri, greetings from Duke Canopo of the Arcean Empire. I have brought my fleet to help in the final confrontation with the evil Dread Lords.”

“I am most pleased to heard that, Regent, and I look forward to work with you in such a difficult time. We are now waiting for an Altarian expeditionary force to join us, then we’ll soon move against Almada. If you need to refuel your ships, Olympus Station will provide assistance.”

So, the power crisis in Arcea is over. At least our giant friends have found someone that can keep the Empire together for a while… I wish Bradley could do the same with the Alliance. Reports of the Free Human Confederation crisis were quite worrying.

“I will gladly take this chance to prepare for the upcoming battle, Grand Admiral. It is a pleasure to fight side to side with a warrior of your fame. May the ancestors protect you and your people.”

“May they protect you as well, Regent. Alighieri out.”

Good. We have the Arceans with us, and the Altarians too. Groups of Torian units are joining our fleet as well, though their lack of a solid provisional government is destabilizing for their actions. The Shivans and the Vardens are harassing Korath and Dread Lords ships thorough their space, while the Korx are using their (rented) freighters to evacuate civilians from planets impossible to defend. Iconians claim to have destroyed a Dread Fleet near their colony of New Petra, Drengin are keeping the Korath legions at bay, Yor are falling under the Shivan assault. The M.A.G.I. says that 50% of the odds about the outcome of this war are favourable to us. It could even seem that things are going well… if not for this damned Almada. Now all our hopes are with the Hades… their failure will be our death.

“Grand Admiral, an urgent transmission for you! Unknown source, Identification code Eta-Zero-Echo-Three-Lambda.”

“I’ll take it from my office. Transmit confirmation code Sigma-Five-Amber-Nine-Zulu.”

Jordan Locke. It has been a long time.

 

“Amanda Alighieri. It has been a long time.”

The harsh voice of the hooked figure sent shivers through the Admiral’s back. Yes, it has been so long… Confused images of them during their Academy years fleshed before her eyes, so real that she would have swore that she could have touched them. But that was the past, she repeated once again, as she had done for more than twenty-five years. There’s nothing between us. Nothing. But she knew it wasn’t true. That deep in her heart she still felt something for the phantom agent of the Alliance… The same thing she had felt 25 years earlier. It was the simple certainty that she had never met someone so able to catch her mind like him.

We were young, and inexperienced. Life got between us, and we split up, not knowing what we were loosing. He seems to have found his way without me.

After the Academy, he had become more than a simple spy… he had become an Agent. Agents were the shadow hands of the Alliance, her eyes and her ears, the bringers of her will. They often disappeared for whole years while doing their job, and then they would materialize where their action was needed. Locke had did so during the Drengin Wars, building a network of saboteurs that crippled the Empire’s war efforts for a long time before being dismantled by the Dark Avatar himself. But Locke had survived, and had continued his mission without any hesitation, leaving everything behind him, to focus exclusively on his mission, as any Agent did. He had forgot her.

Nevertheless…

Nevertheless he was the only man for whom she’s felt something more that just friendship. It wasn’t properly love… it was more and less than love. It was an unique mixture of feelings that tied them up during their Academy years. It was the absolute trust in each other, the conscience that they were complementary, the… Oh, it was impossible to tell. It was, and that was it.

“A long time indeed, Agent Locke. Excuse me if I am a little harsh, but at the moment I have a whole set of crisis to handle. Why are you contacting directly me and not one of my informers?”

“It is too important. I’m here to warn you… beware of the Order.”

“The Order?”

“I’m sending you all the data you need to understand this. I’ll try to discover more about this new threat to the Coalition while you end the menace of the Dread Lords once and for all.”

“If I only need to have the data… why have you requested a meeting?”

He stayed silent a few seconds. “To… check your condition. I’ve heard of your little psychic battle.”

She smiled. “You are worried for me.”

“It’s a purely academic interest. You know, there’s nothing between us... There’s never been. Locke out.”

Despite having been so abruptly interrupted, Amanda’s smile was enlarging on his face.

He still cares about me!

With renewed energy, she went back to her task of exterminating the Dread Lords. This mysterious “Order” could wait.

------

SOCV Hades, Epsilon Persei system

 

The Hades silently shifted from hyperspace to standard space, without leaving a single trace of her passage. The Drengin installations in the system didn’t notice anything… they were too busy.

“Admiral! We confirm the presence of Korath ships! There’s a battle going on 500 clicks on our board side!”

“This complicate things. Suggestions, my glowing friend?”

“Can your ship avoid interception, Vice Admiral Maciej Czerwinski?”

“Optical deceiver activated, radar cloaking operative.”, someone confirmed from the bridge.

“For the moment, Nemamiah. Sensors, do you confirm the absence of Dread Lords?”

“Affirmative, sir. No organic ships in a three parsec radius.”

“Excellent. Gentlemen, let’s leave the Drengin and the Korath solve their little diatribe alone. I still want firing solutions for everything that’s moving right now. We can’t know what’s awaiting for us. Sensors, can you locate the Terror Star?”

“Negative, sir. There are dozens of gravimetric generators scattered through the area. We can’t locate it in the standard way. It will take some time for a full scan.”

“Understood. Tactical, prepare the shuttlecrafts and the boarding parties. I’ll brief them in flight once we’ll know where to send them.”

“I think I can be of some help here.”, Nemamiah intervened. “The Terror Star is located in that massive rocky body near the eighth planet of the system. I can bring your warriors inside by teleporting them… just tell me where you need your forces.”

The bridge fell silent for a few seconds.

“Can he really do that?”

“Man, that’s magic!”

“It would be fantastic! Just image the tactical advantage of something like that!”

“But how can he do something similar?”

Czerwinski quit the chattering by raising his hand. Even if his crew was one of the best trained in the whole galaxy, teleport was something that shook the very basis of their concept of reality.

“You can do that?”

“Absolutely, Vice Admiral Maciej Czerwinski. The same thing I did when I came aboard this ship.”

“That solves a lot off problems. I want all the marines in Briefing Room 4 in ten minutes. I’ll show them the plan there. Then, you’ll teleport my soldiers from the main hangar bay. Is that ok?”

“I will comply, Human.”

And he disappeared once again, leaving a really confused crew behind him.

_____________________________________________________________

P.S.: I hope General Etrius won't be offended if I made Locke do a small appearance on my story. He's the last canon character I add here

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September 2, 2009 6:16:35 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

P.S.: I hope General Etrius won't be offended if I made Locke do a small appearance on my story. He's the last canon character I add here

Very good!  Will there be more of him? Just curious.

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September 3, 2009 7:06:41 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Quoting GeneralEtrius,

Will there be more of him? Just curious.

He's not a major character, sorry . Probably he'll appear again every now and then... mostly in Amanda's thoughts.

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September 3, 2009 8:01:21 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

He's not a major character, sorry . Probably he'll appear again every now and then... mostly in Amanda's thoughts.

That's fine.

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September 23, 2009 12:25:03 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

What about a new chapter? This stuff is great!

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September 27, 2009 12:19:29 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Thanks for your continuous support, General. Unfortunately, I'm quite busy with school as this is my final year (which means a big scary exam in June and a lot of tests during the usual terms ) and I'm afraid that I won't be able to post for another month... I'm sorry, my affectionate seven readers.

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September 27, 2009 1:47:53 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Quoting Eidolon1032,
Thanks for your continuous support, General. Unfortunately, I'm quite busy with school as this is my final year (which means a big scary exam in June and a lot of tests during the usual terms ) and I'm afraid that I won't be able to post for another month... I'm sorry, my affectionate seven readers.

Don't worry this is your story. Update is whenever you like.

Also, I am creating a large compilation of GCII fan fiction, and I was wondering if you would like this and Counterstrike to be included?

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September 27, 2009 2:18:30 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Sure! And I would suggest you to add Diary of a Terran Soldier and Goodbye to an Old Friend by Themocaw as well; they are two of the best stories I've ever read...

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September 27, 2009 2:56:21 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Quoting Eidolon1032,
Sure! And I would suggest you to add Diary of a Terran Soldier and Goodbye to an Old Friend by Themocaw as well; they are two of the best stories I've ever read...

Will do.

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February 1, 2010 3:10:58 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Jesus, when will a new chapter surface? This story is incredible.

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April 15, 2010 7:05:55 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Hmmmm. It seems Eidolon has left us. It's a bummer to see this story fall flat.

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April 16, 2010 5:19:31 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Agreed-like so many good ones-this one was a cracker

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March 17, 2011 4:49:35 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Apologies for the necropost, but it was a real shame this one died off - it was probably my favorite of the stories based off of the campaign. Bonus points for integrating the Shivans so well - I normally hate crossover-y gimmicks like that.

Ah, well.

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