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Ronin
9 July 2008, 06:55 AM
This is a little story I`ve written as background for the (eventual) Chronicles of Xim campaign I plan to run here on the Holonet.
I`ve written four parts so far, and will post the first three now, perhaps the rest one at a time...probably six or seven in total.

Ronin
9 July 2008, 07:17 AM
The Chronicles of Xim
Succession


Part One - Rebellion

Dakk stifled a sneeze as dust rained down and the building shook once more. He held his rifle tight to his chest and prayed the ceiling would hold. He moved to check the breech of his weapon, a nervous mannerism he had developed since the rebellion had begun, and Tarc slapped his hand away from it. It wasn't a particularly modern weapon, not like the beam tubes there were up against, and the last thing it needed was a breech full of crud.
The sound of immense servos drew near and both rebels looked upward at the ceiling. Tarc dove under the kitchen table while Dakk threw himself into the corner. This time more than dust came down: the whole ceiling, plasteel beams and roofing tiles as a foot a good two meters in diameter smashed down through the house.
Dakk's involuntary scream was swallowed by the sound of falling debris and the high whine of servos as the mammoth foot was retracted and set down half a dozen meters further on. He couldn't see the leg any higher than the knee, the dust being so thick in the air, but he knew what it was.
A Mark II Centurion battle droid, straight from the Technocracy's foundries no doubt. Forged from ore Dakk, Tarc and the majority of Meguro's population had mined.
But no more.
They had thrown down their tools and taken up arms in protest.
It had been less than a standard week before the Technocracy had responded. They were nothing if not efficient. A naval taskforce, Technocracy droid contingent and House Cordo troops in fact. The planet Meguro being, officially at least, House Cordo property leased by the Technocracy, the fops had to make a token effort to get their subjects back under control. No doubt the noble House's guardsmen had remained in orbit, polishing their sabers and watching the feed from the mechanical behemoths they were a party to the unleashing of.
There was a crash as the ten-meter tall war machine planted its other foot down in a house across the street, advancing onward to the city center and the seized factories. The dust cloud was slowly settling around Dakk, powdering him as white as an alabaster statue.
"Tarc? Tarc?" he whispered, trying desperately not to cough, nor alert the Phalanx that always followed up in the wake of a Centurion.
Looking around what had once been the kitchen of a miner's small house, it was now completely unrecognisable, much of the roof compacted flat with the floor, sandwiching a good deal of furniture...and the kitchen table. Only the pair of miner's boots protruding from under one edge of the table remained of the rebellious miner Tarc.



Part Two - Both The Privileges And Duties Of Blood And Rank

Six Hundred Kilometers Above
Brigadier Gauhton smiled with satisfaction as his rapier scored his opponent's breastplate. The young whelp captain DuPhra had been so damned keen to get down there, box some ears and put Meguro's dirty upstarts back in their place (the mines, and bloody deep ones at that, by jove!). Thus brigadier Gauhton had thought it best to teach the over-enthusiastic young officer a lesson.
House Cordo guardsmen don't fight.
House Cordo guardsmen officers certainly don't fight, not unless it's in a duel and there's something important like honour at stake.
Go down there to that dirty little world, slap some serfs about and tell them what's what? Not likely. Not when the Technocracy has legions of Phalanx and more Centurions than Gauhton could shake his rapier at.
Captain DuPhra looked down at the scratch in his polished chromium breastplate and chewed his lip.
"You see?" his superior said, flourishing his sword with one hand, smoothing his emaculate moustache with the other. "Combat's dangerous, my boy. Sooner you learn that the better. Imagine that had been one of those frightful miners with a rifle? Make a ghastly mess of that breastplate and all the meat behind it. And what would I tell your father then? He`d have me hung from the ramparts."
The young captain's protest was interrupted by a voice emanating from speakers mounted on the wall, the viewscreen between them coming alive a split-second later.
The voice sounded as if it were being transmitted across several lightyears rather than from the bridge, so tinny and mechanical it sounded. But the wetness of the voice differentiated it from that of a droid. It was a difficult quality to describe but wetness was the best way DuPhra could think of. An indication that its bearer hadn't quite yet given themself wholly to the machine form.
The face on the viewscreen attested to as much: the basic shape was still human, though much had been replaced. Enhanced, the Technocracy would say. The eyes were still white, but shot through with green veins, the chemicals supporting the optical enhancements within those fleshy orbs. One ear retained its flesh, the other sacrificing its position in favour of a cluster of wires and antenna similar to yet far smaller than those mounted above the bridge of the battleship they were all aboard. And the mouth, that metallic trap from whence the wet voice emanated. Its lines and articulation reminded the young officer of the ventriloquist's dummy his eccentric tutor had entertained him with in his youth.
"Brigadier Gauhton," the huge face regarded the two uniformed officers. "Our forces are pushing toward the city center and the objective-"
"What's taking so damned long, overseer?" Gauhton interrupted. "Lord Cordo won't stand for this, I tell you."
The artificial irises, copper in colour and each a meter wide on the viewscreen, rotated and narrowed to angry points though the voice remained carefully modulated.
"The miners have dug tunnels just beneath the streets it seems brigadier, leaving the road strong enough to support a human but not a droid. We must proceed with caution."
The stout senior officer nodded and waved his hand dismissively. "Very good, very good."
"There is a further problem."
Gauhton had just taken up an en-guarde position intending to resume his sparring with the young captain.
"And what might that be then, overseer? Surely you have enough droids to throw at any resistance. Or get the captain to bombard it from orbit, poor fellow must be getting frightfully bored."
"Ships flying Cronese colours just decanted on the far side of the planet, brigadier."
Cronese colours. That meant black with white skulls.

The Tion Hegemony was an amalgamation of widely varying nations, the majority controlled or owned by noble families such as House Cordo and Tion. Others fell under the purview of the Hegemony-spanning Navy and Technocracy. And then there was the Cronese Drift, a kingdom of pirates.
All was held together by the charismatic leadership of the lord Tion. And one of the constants in this at times uneasy balance was that neither the Navy nor the Technocracy involved themselves in the constant bickering, assassinations and border disputes of the Hegemony's member states.
Which left dealing with Cronese intruders to brigadier Gauhton, captain DuPhra and his small detachment of House Cordo guardsmen.
The brigadier sheathed his blade and gave DuPhra a stern scowl.
"Looks like you just might get your wish. Assemble the guard and have the Chivalrous prepped for launch."
DuPhra saluted, acknowledged and sprinted off with far too much zest in the brigadier's opinion.



Part Three - Enter The Spacedogs

On The Other Side Of Meguro

The figurehead of the Drunken Strumpet, a cast-admantium maiden in a particularly scandalous decollete gown, glowed ruby red as the pirate ship tore through the atmosphere, flanked by the Dirty Rascal and the Rapscalion. All three were heavily modified CEC Merchantmen, captured in raids into the Corellian Kingdom over the last decade.
Corellians corsairs (often mixed crews of humans, Drall and Selonians) too raided the Hegemony and a certain amount of piracy along that border was accepted as the norm. Piracy within the Hegemony was frowned upon moreso, but with the Navy and Technocracy remaining neutral in disputes between Houses many a pirate captain kept his crew happy doing dirty work for the aristocracy. Sure, you could pay one of those shadowy Genoharadan assassins if you could find one, but the same money would get you a tub full of cutthroat star pirates, and this was one such time.
Captain Flynn had been approached by a naval captain on Toluga, one of the many dives in the Cronese Drift, a hangout for pirates crews between raids, a place for spacedogs to find a new ship and a market for the lucky ones to sell their plunder.
The navy woman's deep blue uniform, brightly polished brass buttons, white cap, a pistol and a cutlass upon shapely hips had immediately attracted wolf-whistles and a gaggle of stalkers as she had made her way through the shadowport to the bar Flynn was known to patronise. The fact that she had came directly up to him in the dimly lit watering hole, unintimidated by his bawdy retinue and completely devoid of any bodyguard of her own spoke volumes to the pirate captain and, if he was honest with himself -which he rarely was- it worried him. She had proven a pawky negotiator, never revealing exactly upon whose orders she was acting, only that it wasn't official Naval business.
Of course not. The Navy always handled its own troubles. And they sure had the guns and the ships to do so.
Captain Flynn had never been one to turn down a pretty penny or a pretty face, and this Naval captain had come to him with both.
And so here he found himself, stood on the bridge of the Drunken Strumpet, watching the dusty, barren world beneath him lighten as they raced toward the terminator and daytime on Meguro.
"Still thinking about her, eh captain?"
Flynn turned to regard the speaker with mock scorn.
"Now now Colvis, you know there's no place in my heart for any woman but the Strumpet."
Colvis was the ship's navigator, an individual gifted with the ability to pilot a ship through hyperspace without the aid of a navigational computer. The ordure was always extremely tiring, though it didn't dull the young man's natural cheer. He had unstrapped himself from his station in the crow`s nest, leaving the atmospheric navigation to another of the crew. After several hours of intense trance-like concentration his legs were cramped and he stretched them as he joined the captain and first mate by the forward viewports.
"I can sense your thoughts cap'n," Colvis smiled. "Truely a fair lady she was. Almost tempts me to join the navy myself. Though she'd have to lose that cap, I prefer my women to let their hair down." He smiled wistfully.
The first mate, a Wookiee of a man, grunted dismissively from the other side of the captain as the landscape rushed past beneath them.
"Not your sort lad, that one. High born, mark my words."
"Oh?" both Colvis and the captain turned to look at the old sailor with raised brows. They were used to hearing his incessant tales of plying the old spaceways, not his opinion of the fairer sex.
"The way she spoke. Used to getting what she wants."
"She was a naval captain," Colvis pointed out.
"And the way she carried herself. My money says she wore a corset before she wore that uniform."
"Maybe she still does. That I'd like to know," Colvis grinned.
"You're supposed to be resting. Even if all goes to plan, I want us out of here quickly afterward," Flynn said, gently pushing the navigator aft toward the quarterdecks.
"And we'll have no more talk of womenfolk!" the first-mate warned, "'s bad luck talking about a lady while aboard the Strumpet. Don't want to make the old girl jealous now do we?" he said, stroking the railing before them soothingly.
"Indeed. We'll need her at her best as soon as we sight the Chivalrous." Flynn's right hand rested on the grip of one of the two pistols he kept holstered at the front of his wide belt, index finger nervously tapping out a ditty on the polished wood.

Ronin
10 July 2008, 06:36 AM
Part Four - The Bigger They Are

Ebina, Capital City Of Meguro
"Just like a hydropick. You can handle one of those right?"
"Damned right I can. One of the steadiest hands working that vein, I am."
"Then you've got nothing to worry about, have you?"
Well, Torc was now less than a centimeter thick and the late miner's advice on how to handle a rifle was proving to be less than ideal.
Not long after Dakk had finished vomiting and stumbled from the remains of the trodden-on house he had been discovered. The towering Centurion was further up the street, making good speed toward the city center and the rebel-held foundries, but in his shock at Torc's death Dakk had completely forgotten about the wave of Phalanx which always followed up behind their giant cousins. When the first scarlet beam lanced past him and detonated within the ruined house he had been reminded.
Spinning on his heel he found four of the Technocracy's more numerous war machines marching up the dusty street, beam tubes levelled. Each 'Phalanx' battle droid was two meters tall, a hulking humanoid machine the likes of which were churned out from Technocracy forgeworlds across the Hegemony.
Gripping the rifle as tightly as he could, Dakk pointed it toward the four droids and, as he used to with his hydropick hundreds of meters beneath Meguro's surface, he squeezed the trigger hard.
In a roar and a blaze of light the automatic rifle duly spat its entire magazine up the road, the droids momentarily eclipsed by a shower of sparks and dirt. The wildly inaccurate fire failed to find a single chink in their red-painted armour (the chosen colour of House Cordo), and a good portion of the burst chewed up the roadway and adjacent buildings.
Their monotonous pace uninterrupted, the four droids continued to advance, beam tubes spewing forth bolts of hot laser death.
Wailing and dropping the empty rifle Dakk fled, having the sense to rush down a narrow side alley rather than making an easy target of himself on the main boulevard.
Beams lanced out behind him and he thanked the gods that the alleyway, scraping his own shoulders as he sprinted down it, was far too narrow for the droids to enter.
Reaching the end where it opened out into a small plaza he couldn't resist looking back to see what his pursuers were doing. And he peeked back into the alleyway just in time to see one of the mechanoids sprint toward the mouth. It slammed into the walls dislodging bricks from the buildings on both sides.
Bloody idiot, Dakk thought to himself, It'll take you a week to smash your way through.
The droid extricated itself and charged again, messily amputating its own arms as it smashed into the mouth of the alleyway once more, stumbled and got stuck around half way.
He almost laughed at the comical scene, better to laugh than contemplate the sheer determination to extinguish his life that the droids possessed. Then he spotted one of the other droids levelling its beam tube.
But not at him.
At the stuck droid and its large generator backpack.
The explosion picked up the rebel miner before he had managed three desperate steps away, and cast him bodily across the small plaza to land in a garbage pile.


Rine had always deserved a better life, so her father had told her repeatedly as he sat shovelling gruel into his mouth after a long shift down the pits, his hair, skin and clothes black with dust. As she sped through the war-torn city, gunning the bike's engine to slide round a bend, she thought to herself she'd be lucky to live much longer in this life nevermind finding a new, better one. She'd always been the brightest of five siblings (a sixth had died in childbirth) but living on Meguro there were few possible futures: become a miner, become a miner's wife, become a dancer in one of the sleazy bars.
But Rine's intellect was being put to use in the rebellion.

The bike roared past a trench, the thin permacrete of the road having been dug under, now home to a squad of Phalanx droids half buried under rubble the rebels had rained down from the adjacent buildings. Rine's idea.
And in the bike's panniers were explosives. Nothing fancy, the same stuff the miners had used in the pits to open up new seams, now put to use fighting off the Technocracy's droids.
Off a few blocks to the east the young teen-come-booby trapper could see a Centurion making its way north toward the foundries. Few buildings in Ebina were more than two stories high, so the ten meter-tall droid was easy to track. Its height however also leant it a commanding view and excellent fields of fire for its beam tube, cannon and shoulder-mounted missiles. At the moment, approaching it at speed from behind and to the left, she was thankfully out of sight.
That was why she had the bike. On foot it was too risky, too many rebels had died trying to get close to Centurion legs with explosives. Those who hadn't been directly vapped, incinerated or blown up had been crushed as the war-machine brought nearby buildings down on them. No, the bike would give her the speed she needed. She had to stop the Centurion before it got to the factories at the center of the city. That was what the Technocracy sought to regain control of, and so those buildings were where the majority of the rebellion were. Fighters, true, but also their families, children, elders.

Concentrating on both the Centurion up ahead and riding her bike she didn't see Dakk dash out into the road until the last moment. And by then it was too late.
Quickly she tried to swerve but only succeeded in dropping the bike onto its side. The bike continued to slide along the road at speed, whipping the miner's feet from under him. He landed atop Rine, who had managed to fall off the saddle, and his added weight brought them both to a stop sprawled in the middle of the road. The same could not be said for the bike which continued to slide down the road another twenty meters before the rather sensitive mining explosives in the panniers protested their rough treatment with pyrotechnical effect.

"You imbicile!" Rine screamed over the explosion, pushing the miner off her as pieces of twisted bike rained down about them.
"Look where you're driving!" he retorted through gritted teeth, examining his bloodied nose, knees and sprained ankles.
The young woman, no more than sixteen Dakk noticed, was already gathering her scattered belongings and stuffing them back into her napsack. Wire, detonators, a pistol, a hand grenade, a portable radio and other odds and ends. Finished, she looked toward the Centurion, the same one that had killed Tarc, lumbering its way north, and darted off in that direction. Struggling to his feet and wincing with every movement, Dakk did his best to keep up. It was that or wait for those three Phalanxes to catch up.
The two rebels skirted the crater the bike had made in the roadway and ran through side-streets, working their way north and eastward.
"We're not going towards that thing, are we?" Dakk said breathlessly when he caught up with the girl at a corner.
"I am. I was going to bring it down with those explosives," she replied, looking back and momentarily surprised to find the garbage-smeared miner following. And then she had an idea. "And you're going to help me!" she grinned impishly.

The populace of Meguro was almost entirely House Cordo serfs, with a small garrison force of household guardsmen who, to a man, were all from planets elsewhere in Cordo territory. When the Meguroans had finally, after a century of oppression, decided to make a violent bid for freedom the garrison citadel had been sacked immediately, before the now-armed civilians moved on to the far more valuable target at the city center.
Though Ebina, like the other settlements scattered across the dustball planet, was primarily a mining installation, the crust riddled with tunnels, at the center of the city was the Technocracy compound. The planet itself had been given in tithe to the Technocracy by House Cordo in exchange for the machine-masters' boon. Thus there were refineries, foundries and factories at the heart of the city. Processing the ore the Meguroans mined, and then Technocracy barges took it to waiting freighters in orbit for transporting to larger facilities.
But the plants now stood motionless, no thick black smog belching from smokestacks. Seized and silenced by the rebels. And the ships within the compound were their escape route. If they could not hold the compound and negotiate with the their lords and the Technocracy then they would take their chances at running the blockade in the barges.
The droid forces, watched and directed with care by their Overseer commanders aboard the Navy vessels, were nearing the compound and soon would be the moment of truth.

Rine and Dakk skidded down the loose, gritty riverbank, panting for breath. That they had managed to thread their way through the empty backstreets and actually get ahead of the Centurion was a miracle, though Dakk was in such pain with his ankles that he felt like dying rather than congratulating himself.
Rine didn't even seem out of breath as she brushed her dusty, matted brown hair aside and started off toward the bridge, waving for Dakk to follow.
The Suumid river ran through Ebina, looping round the Technocracy compound almost all the way. It was a filthy waterway, polluted by waste from both the factories and the houses along the banks, but it formed a natural barrier that would make it difficult for the droids to get to the compound...if it weren't for the suspension bridge across it. The rebels had done what they could to fortify the far end with weapons captured from the garrison and compound but Rine could see that the plasteel bunkers and sandbag barricades were deserted, the cannons unmanned.
Probably ran off when they saw the Cent' coming, she thought to herself. At least the bank kept her and her hobbling tag-along concealed from the machine, though it was nearing: the ground shaking with every lumbering step.
She motioned frantically for the miner to join her where one of the bridge's two cables was anchored into a plascrete pillar. Panting and cursing under his breath Dakk leant against the stone and slumped to the ground as Rine retrieved the pistol from her bag. She slapped it into his hand.
"What do you expect me to do with this?" he asked her incredulously, staring at the weapon as if it might bite him.
Rine pointed to the cable with her fingers made into a 'pistol'.
Dakk winced, not with the agony of his beaten body but the memory of his last bit of marksmanship. "I'm not such a great shot."
The ground shook as the Centurion continued to approach. A green beam lanced overhead from its weapons and one of the empty makeshift bunkers on the far side of the bridge was vapourised.
"It's point-frikkin-blank," and Rine held up the grenade and a roll of mesh tape. "You'd prefer to run?"
Looking down at his swollen ankles and bloodied knees he let out a sigh of desperation.
"Good. Now, don't shoot until the Cent' is at least halfway across the bridge, got it?"
Not waiting for his answer she sprinted off in a crouch under the bridge, staying clear of the fetid water to the other cable. She proceeded to mummify the hand grenade to the cable, leaving only the pin exposed. She then crouched behind the pillar and waited as the shadow of the huge droid passed over her and it stepped onto the bridge. The beam tube mounted on its left arm continued to fire at the defenses on the other side of the bridge and occasionally a missile was launched into the buildings lest there be rebels there waiting in ambush. It didn't know that a sixteen year old girl and a scared-to-death miner had already set the trap which would see its demise.
The bridge began to sway slightly under the Centurion's weight and the cables began to sing.
One step, the bridge swang to the right. Another careful step and it swang left.
Dakk thought he'd die of old age before the droid made it half way.
And just as it did, it stopped advancing. And began to look upward to the sky.
"Do it! Now!" Rine screamed to him, pulling the pin and racing up the bank.
But he couldn't help following the Centurion's gaze. What could possibly distract such a colossal war machine from its mission?
And up in the sky above Ebina a pair of spaceships were locked together in a bizzare dance like mating dragonflies. It was almost hypnotic.
Then Rine's grenade detonated, snapping him out of his trance. Reflexively he winced with the blast, unconsciously snatching the pistol trigger and sending a big slug into the composite cable. A few strands were cut and peeled back with a comical-sounding twang, the rest following as he remembered what he was supposed to do and jerked the trigger again and again until all the weapon did was give an impotent click.
The cable on the other side had been cleanly severed and now whipped about like a headless Divto, the bridge yawing unstably to the right. But, by a few remaining strands the left cable, Dakk's cable, held.

Initially the Centurion tilted with the bridge until its internal equilibrators compensated, it bent its mighty legs and began to turn back, combat programming demanding it hunt down and smite its ambushers.
It had just completed its ponderous about-face when Rine got to Dakk, the miner still holding the empty pistol to the last threads, slide locked back and smoke curling from the muzzle. His eyes were on the great six-barrelled cannon on the Centurion's right arm as it began to spin up.
"Move!" Rine shouted, grabbing the shoulders of his dirty jumpsuit and trying to drag him up the bank to cover.
"Dakk," Dakk said, in a daze.
"What?!"
The Centurion began to pivot its arm to target them, and raised a foot to advance.
"Just move!" Rine screamed as the robot brought its foot down, the bridge quivered, the last alloy fibers of the cable gave way...
and entangled spaceships crashed down in the middle of the city.

IzVenjari
12 July 2008, 03:34 AM
Good stuff, mate! :)

Ronin
23 July 2008, 06:42 AM
Just a quick note that I made a minor edit to Part Three, moving the navigator Colvis` station from the Drunken Strumpet`s bridge to a location known as the crow`s nest...which we`ll see more of in Part Six. And edited a mistake in Part Four with the bridge swinging as the Cent` moved across it.
Anyway, here`s Part Five. I don`t want the story going on too long, but I wanted to get in a lot about the noble houses as background for the game...I hope it doesn`t sound too rambling.



Part Five - Chivalrous

Six Hundred Kilometers Above Ebina, Capital City Of Meguro

Five hundred meters in length with a narrow, pointed prow stretching back along angular planes to the drive section at the stern, Sword was one of the Hegemony Navy's largest battleships. From a distance it truely resembled its namesake, with a long thin hull like a blade stood on edge, two large turrets capping the cross bar of the hilt and a block of four massive engines making up the handle. As one drew closer the blade could be seen to have indentations and structure: hangar bays and dozens of turrets studded the sides of the blade, comprising deadly broadsides capable of smashing any lesser vessel, and raining considerable destruction down upon a planet it orbited.
At this particular time another vessel was docked flush with the port side of the Sword.
While the battleship wore the grey of the Navy, the destroyer alongside was painted in a particular shade of crimson instantly recognisable to any with an interest in heraldry, starships or Hegemony politics. House Cordo.


"Sword to Chivalrous, you are clear. Happy hunting, gentlemen."
As soon as the squawkbox was silent again brigadier Gauhton turned to the ship's captain, an old sailor who shared both the brigadier's girth and his penchant for facial hair, though in the case of patroon Nakan it exhibited itself in a bushy, unkempt beard. His mouth was only visible when it opened wide to bellow out orders across the destroyer's bridge.
"Patroon, take us down. Have all guns readied. We want to make a good and lasting first impression with these naves."
Gauhton didn't want to admit it, but he was beginning to feel the thrill of combat. It had been a long time.
Nakan nodded, never particularly comfortable taking orders on the bridge of his own ship, and strode across the deck to the pilot at the wheel, his prosthetic leg clanging on the deckplates. As he directed the helmsman he activated one of the commtubes on the wall and bellowed orders to the gundecks.
Captain Nakan - Patroon as was the common title in both the Hegemony Navy and the fleets of the noble Houses - was an ex-Navy man, his injures judged too severe and his years too advanced for continued service. And so ties of blood had returned him to House Cordo and obtained him captaincy of the Chivalrous. During his Navy years he had faced Corellian corsairs several times, finding them daring to the point of foolhardy. Would the Cronese prove to be the same?
The Chivalrous was a warship, a fancy, heraldry-emblazoned, tapestry and mosaic-festooned ship, but a ship of war nonetheless. Torpedoes, a keel beam-cannon and two decks worth of broadside.
The destroyer creaked as it traversed Meguro's stratosphere, exposed to atmosphere for the first time in several years. The vibration of the hull's anti-grav plates joined the sound of friction-heated metal in a melody that patroon Nakan found somewhat comforting, dispelling his concerns about the coming confrontation.



Decks below, the young captain DuPhra was assembling the household guard. Two full platoons of guardsmen in the house colours with polished breastplates and helms. The majority carried ornate rifles topped with bayonets, but two in each of the eight squads were designated heavy weapons experts. One was weighed down with a backpack generator while the other carried a beam tube, similar to those mounted on the droids of the Technocracy.
The squad sergeants were briefing the guardsmen, preparing them for either performing a boarding action or landing and engaging the pirates on the planet's surface. The household guard were a mixture of serfs who had managed to climb up the social ladder a few rungs, and the offspring of minor nobility allied to the Cordo. Pledging their allegiance with their flesh.
Flesh that would, in the future, be fully the captain's to command.

One for the guard, one for the Navy, one for the church... That was how much of the Hegemony nobility kept their offspring from murdering each other over their inheritance. By separating them as much as possible. In House Wissot (their bountiful fertility ever a subject of gossip in the parlours of the capital) there had been five born to the ruling baron, one of whom had been blessed with the Sight and inducted into the Navigator's Guild, one to the household guard, two to the Navy and one sent to the capital itself to learn the cloak-and-dagger ways of Hegemony politics and ready them for leadership. Few houses sent their children to the Technocracy lest the fruit of their loins be returned canned.
With only two offspring to the lord Cordo, one had been sent to the Navy and the other, the heir, to the household guard. To watch war waged but not to risk his neck and the noble bloodline. It was brigadier Gauhton's duty to ensure that, and for several years he had managed to keep captain DuPhra (he would take the historical Cordo name upon his rise to power) from ever seeing a shot fired in anger.
A situation which would soon change.

Ronin
24 July 2008, 08:41 AM
Part Six - A Clash In The Clouds

Aboard The Drunken Strumpet

The crow's nest -a truely antiquated name for the location though it had persisted, particularly amongst the Cronese- commanded by far the best view available aboard the converted merchantman. Atop a high mast, squeezed in between humming sensor arrays which were probably not doing his chance of becoming a father any good, the young pirate Triana could see almost all around the ship. The panorama was intoxicating, and the transition from space to atmosphere had gone a long way toward removing the chill from his bones. A small glazed lookout post, it wasn't the warmest of confines. He didn't know how Colvis could stand being cooped up here for hours on end in hyperspace.
A voice from the brass commtube shook him from his reverie. The deep bass of the first mate. Most voices lost clarity over the ship's communications network. But not that man-mountain's.
"I see her," the lookout bellowed back into the tube's grill, his eyes on a red-hued warship a good distance above a dusty city. The city itself was spotted with fires and columns of smoke. It looked like a warzone down there.
He quickly took readings from the instruments around him and related them to the bridge.

"Cap'n. Looks like she's anchored above the city. High up too. Won't be easy for us to get up there without giving her the opening shots."
Flynn nodded to the firstmate, his finger still tapping on the grip of one of his pistols.
"Line astern. Strumpet will lead, Rascal at the tail. Take us over the city and begin circling. We'll lure her down to us."
After relaying the orders to the sister ships via laser-beacon (since there was a decent chance the House Cordo warship could intercept broadcast ship-to-ship comms) the firstmate leaned over the binnacle toward his captain and lowered his voice.
"And what if there are still Cordo troops in the city?"
Flynn laughed aloud and slapped the firstmate's meaty shoulder, responding as if to a joke rather than a concern: he couldn't have his entire bridge crew worrying, and spoke back in a whisper.
"That Navy lass said the rebels would take care of the garrison. All they're fighting now is droids. Trust me."
"Like last time?"
"This time it'll work," Flynn winked, though the other noticed the tapping finger had increased in tempo.


Cronese colours meant both an image broadcast from the three merchantmans' transponders and the black pannels of their flanks, decorated with white skulls (more often than not with cannon barrels protruding from eyesockets). Unlike the drab grey of the Hegemony Navy, all pirate vessels were unique, even moreso than those of the noble houses which showed at least some common themes. The Drunken Strumpet had her lascivious figurehead, the Rapscalion a likeness of her captain and the Dirty Rascal had a pirate king, complete with hook-hand and a patch-covered eye jeering from atop the revetment of the ship's forecastle.
Brigadier Gauhton looked at the gaudy yet ominous ships via telescope from the bridge of Chivalrous and sneered. Circling over the city like that, what in blazes did those braggards think they were doing? Were they taunting him, perhaps trying to tell House Cordo that they had assisted in inciting the Meguroan uprising? Who knew? The Cronese were after all he most fractious of the Hegemony's many elements.
He gripped the hilt of his rapier tightly and continued to study the pirate ships as patroon Nakan brought the warship lower.
With most of their armament in broadsides and little capacity to elevate their guns it was clear that either the pirates would have to climb to engage the destroyer, or the destroyer would have to descend. Gauhton's desire to see the Cronese quickly humbled had decided the matter. Thankfully the portly officer wasn't so hasty as to demand that patroon Nakan take the ship down into the middle of the circle formed by the pirate vessels. That would likely have prompted barratry by Nakan. And so the Chivalrous gently descended above the southern outskirts of the city, intending to come down to the level the pirates circled at, in good range to start the shooting. Gauhton would then take the destroyer through the center of the Cronese circle, broadsides blazing.
It came as some surprise when he, watching through the scope, saw the nearest of the Cronese merchantmen begin to bank steeply, the cannons on its port side rising.


Ships of such size were not intended for strenuous maneuvers in atmosphere. They launched, then spent most of their lives in the vacuum, leaving atmospheric combat to aerospace fighters and bombers. Thus the Strumpet's hull wailed awfully as Flynn had the helmsman tilt her over almost fourty-five degrees to starboard. The anti-grav plates on the ventral surfaces throbbed and sent vibrations through the hull as they fought to keep the unstable ship airborne, and crew struggled to stop themself sliding into the starboard wall.
"Steady! Steady!" Flynn called to the helmsman, whose brow was beaded with sweat, eyes fixed on the artificial horizon in the binnacle. The view out the portholes was too scary. To port naught but sky, to starboard a bird's eye view of the city.
"Gundecks!" the captain shouted down a commtube, "as soon as she's in your sights, let her have it!"

Holding tight to their cannons to stop themselves slipping away across the madly angled deck the port side gunners activated their targeting computers and prayed the energy drain of the retrofitted artillery wouldn't overstrain the already taxed reactor and short out the anti-grav plates.
As one the port cannons locked onto the descending House destroyer and opened fire. Red bolts of energy tore through the air to slam into the pristine crimson flank armour of the Chivalrous.
The thunderous blasts nearly deafened the gunnery crews and the recoil almost pushed the merchantman past her knife-edge balance.
And seconds after the Strumpet's course had taken the target out of their arc, the Rapscalion replaced them and fired...


Alarum blared throughout the House Cordo destroyer and the ship rocked with the impact of the pirates' surprise opening salvo. Glowlanterns hanging from the walls of the bridge swung and flickered. The commtubes were alive with voices calling out damage reports and patroon Nakan ordered the helmsman to drop them down to the pirates' level as quickly as possible. He wasn't going to risk his own ship in foolhardy maneuvers like the Cronese, not when he knew that on an even playing field Chivalrous was superior to the three pirate ships.
The ship rocked again as second and third broadsides struck it.
Gauhton had been knocked to the floor, his telescope smashed but as he clambered to his feet and staggered to the portholes he realised he wouldn't need it anymore. All three pirate merchantmen were circling, guns blazing, not more than a league distant, the cityscape of Ebina bisected by the dirty Suumid river only a few hundred meters below them. A bolt shot past, narrowly missing the bridge and causing the guardsman officer to flinch. Patroon Nakan, a steadier hand accustomed to incoming fire, stood firm in the middle of the bridge barking out orders.

In three dimensional combat, particularly in a gravity well, the high 'ground' was prized. Traditionally from there one could lob ordnance down upon the foe with impunity or, as patroon Nakan was having the Chivalrous do, you could trade altitude for speed. Bringing its prow about to face the Cronese merchantmen it accelerated. The port flank had been raked with fire and debris fell away as the ship came about but the damage, while serious, wasn't crippling.
"Ready torpedoes and charge keel beam!" ordered Nakan as they drove toward the circling pirates. So like aquatic predators, but now House Cordo would give the Cronese a taste of their own might.


Captain Flynn watched as the crimson destroyer dropped to their level a league from the pirate ships, accelerating hard toward them.
Ahead the Rascal loosed another broadside, but with the destroyer now coming at them prow-first it was a smaller target and only one cannon bolt hit.
"Signal Rapscalion and Rascal to cease circling. Line of battle again," the Cronese captain ordered. As he turned back to the main window a green beam lanced out from the keel of the destroyer, catching Rascal's poop deck and burning through to punch out the other side. A pair of torpedoes followed, one hitting mid-ship, the other missing and continuing onward to detonate somewhere in the city below.

The pirate merchantmen formed a line just as the destroyer thrust between Strumpet and Rapscallion, cannons blazing.
The stern of the Drunken Strumpet and Rapscalion's prow disappeared in explosions.

Gripping the railing of the bridge tightly Flynn listened to the damage reports: hull breaches, damage to the main drive...and a stray round had taken the crow's nest. Poor young Triana.
Gritting his teeth he drew his cutlass with a snarl.
"Looks like we'll have to do this the old fashioned way. Prepare boarding clamps!"

Ronin
10 August 2008, 08:25 AM
Part Seven - A Perilous Duel

Aboard The Bridge Of The Chivalrous

The boarding action hadn't quite gone according to plan. Both the Strumpet and Rascal taking heavy fire as they closed with the aristocracy's destroyer and only Strumpet finally being able to latch on.
The Cronese buccaneers found themselves severly outnumbered but the determination to win their pay (and to bloody the noses of the Cordo) won out against indentured servitude and the cutthroats pushed into the destroyer. Patroon Nakan had ordered the helmsman to veer away, to break free from the Strumpet's embrace and the other two pirate ships had responded by intensifying their fire, specifically targeting the Chivalrous's drives to immobilize her.
Captain Flynn, his cutlass flashing, lead his retinue straight for the bridge judging that to be the most likely location of their target. And it was as they had burst onto the bridge, spacedogs going blade-to-blade and fist-to-fist with the destroyer's crew, that Flynn had confronted brigadier Gauhton and captain DuPhra. He had spotted their crimson uniforms, gleaming breastplates and gold frogging through the smoke and clutter of bodies, and immediately pushed toward them.
It was then that, with the helmsman of the destroyer fighting for his life rather than piloting the ship, the Rascal and Rapscalion managed to land numerous damaging shots. A full broadside took out the Chivalrous main starboard gundeck and a raking volley detonated her drives, sending the destroyer and the attached merchantman spiraling across the sky above the city.
Pirates, crew and guardsmen alike were thrown to the floor, the battle forgotten by all. All but their superiors.
Flynn, his legs spread bracing him against the centrifugal forces trying to throw him into the wall, narrowly avoided being skewered by the old, portly officer's rapier. A brigadier, he thought it was, though the man's rank badges were hard to find amongst all the medals, badges and buttons. Either way, he wasn't slowed down by his bulk, the rapier darting out once again. Flynn ducked behind the binnacle and wheel in the middle of the bridge, the latter spinning freely since the helmsman had been thrown aside.
"Keep behind me, captain," Gauhton said to DuPhra, not taking his eyes off Flynn.
"By all means," the pirate captain put in, "form an orderly queue."
As the world spun about them, glimpses of the city visible through the huge transparisteel windows, the pirate captain and the Household guard brigadier traded attacks. Their blades sparked as metal clashed on metal and they moved about the spinning bridge like drunken dancers.
"Care to tell us what you're here for?" Gauhton shouted over the squeal of stressed metal and the air whistling past outside.
Flynn parried and risked a shrug. "Not particularly, I-", but that momentary lapse was all the brigadier needed. His rapier darted out once more, and the pirate captain moved to put the spinning ship's wheel between them again, only for Gauhton to pull up his stab short and with a deft flick push his opponent's cutlass into the wheel.
Flynn let go immediately, barely avoiding having his wrist broken as the wheel's handles wrenched his sword away and snapped the blade. He staggered backward and fell as Gauhton, the younger captain shielded behind, advanced.

For years now he'd been watching. Observing. Learning. But never doing. This was Hue DuPhra's first real battle and he'd be damned if his overprotective uncle was going to deny him at least one kill! As Gauhton rounded the binacle toward the prone buccaneer, DuPhra pulled his engraved pistol from its holster and moved to step around his senior.
Gauhton's attention was divided between keeping his footing, and the pirate - who still had a pair of pistols wedged down the front of his belt. Thus the point of his rapier was pointed at the man's throat. And he would have driven it home.

Gunshots, a blade cut flesh and all went to hell as the tangled Chivalrous and Drunken Strumpet crashed down in the middle of the city.

Ronin
13 August 2008, 12:03 AM
Part Eight - Friends In Low Places

Ebina city center
A vast cloud of rubble had been thrown up by the impact of the two interlocked spaceships, demolishing a couple of city blocks as they came down.
Rine had managed to pull Dakk from the riverbank and dive into an abandoned house, sheltering them somewhat from the rain of wreckage and masonry though not from the cloud of dirt which blew the windows in and filled the room with gritty smoke. He couldn't fire a gun for drek, but Dakk knew enough about mine caveins to get his head covered as the glass and dirt blew in. He pulled up his smock over his head, looking like a Pytese mummy. Through the gauze and the dirt he could barely see a meter in front of his bloodied nose, but he could hear Rine's retching. Homing in on the wet, choking sound he found her, face painted grey with dust, eyes closed tight, thick cords of dirt, snot and saliva hanging from her grit-filled mouth and nose.
The canteen!
He remembered seeing a water canteen along with all the other odds and ends that had spilled out of her backpack when they had first met. His hands searched her back but the bag wasn't there.
By now she was wheezing, desperately trying not to breath in, knowing it would surely choke her to death, but feeling her lungs burn for air.
Panicked, Dakk searched the room, finding naught but a tri-D set and a threadbare sofa. He stumbled into a corridor and through the nearest door, finding a toilet.
Rine had her eyes screwed up, tight shut. Her mouth, nose and ears were filled with crud and her lungs were on fire. She started to feel dizzy, her already dark vision blackening, flecked with stars. Breath out? Get all that dirt out...and her lungs would force her to inhale.
Suddenly it was as if someone had plunged her head underwater. Cool, fresh, the thick layers of dirt flushed from her mouth and nose. And before she could reflexively breath in there was a cloth across her face and she took a ragged breath through it. For uncountable minutes she just lay sprawled on the floor, heaving in breaths through the musty cloth someone -the miner? Dakk, wasn't it? held over her face, her eyes still shut tight. When she eventually opened them she could see him sat over her, coated in dirt, his head wrapped in a mesh-like cloth, a large mug in one hand. The crud was settling over everything like the images of snow she'd seen on tri-D 'casts...or the aftermath of Technocracy atomic bombardment.
Sitting up and pulling the cloth away she made a face at the bitter taste on her lips, and it was only when she vented the crud from her nostrils that the stench of urine hit her fully and she gagged.


Chivalrous had come to rest with her nose spanning the river, her wrecked drive sections scattered across the city blocks behind. She had finally dislodged the pirate ship, buried in a low arcology, only her nose and figurehead protruding from the facade.
Flynn looked at the battered, scorched figurehead, her arms that had seemed to be outstretched behind her embracing the merchantman...now it seemed they held onto the ship lest she slip and plummet. His gaze drifted up, to the Dirty Rascal and Rapscallion, circling the crashsite warily. And finally he settled on the gilt muzzle inches from his face.
Mixed with the sharp odour of burnt propellant he could smell the oil used to maintain the pistol. High quality stuff, wasted on such a showy weapon, really. His eyes tracked up the weapon, past the ornate fore and rear sights, the arm clad in a scuffed crimson uniform, captain's insignia, to a young face...early twenties perhaps...the look on it the very essence of smug victory.
In the background were the moans and cries of all those injured in the fighting and the crash, the sound occasionally swept away by the wind whipping through the bridge's shattered windows. And suddenly, momentarily eclipsed by the hard click of the pistol's hammer being drawn back.
His belly ached with the slug the officer had put in him, but he knew it wouldn't kill him.
"Now," the young captain and heir of house Cordo finally spoke. "Toss the other pistol."
Flynn had managed to plug the brigadier, the old man's rapier slicing his chin in the process, but he'd lost the pistol in the crash. His second was still in his belt, but he didn't feel like trying his luck with another quickdraw. Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement at the base of the building Strumpet had lodged herself in. Her crew, the survivors at least, were getting out and making their way toward the cruiser. But they were a good two hundred meters off.
Then there was movement in one of the houses beyond the ship's prow. Chivalrous's nose spanned the river, touching the other side at an amputated bridge. And from a small house, which had narrowly avoided being smashed, a pair of grey figures emerged. Whoever they were, they weren't Cordo people. But Flynn had a good idea who they might be.
"TOSS IT!" DuPhra shouted and Flynn hooked his thumb through the trigger guard and pulled it from his belt. He cocked his arm and sent the pistol tumbling past the Cordo heir to clatter and slide down the foredeck, coming to rest against the railings just above the ship's own figurehead, a couple of meters above the city street. To his credit, DuPhra only flinched a little as the pirate captain flung the pistol past him.
"Now, who sent you, and why kill Gauhton?"
"Gauhton?" Flynn said innocently, though the confusion in his voice was genuine.
"My uncle. The brigadier." The captain`s eyes never left Flynn`s. Damn.
"Oh, him. He wasn't the target-"
"Then who was, cur?" DuPhra asked through gritted teeth and pushed the pistol to the pirate's forehead.
Flynn didn't realise he had closed his eyes and he forced them open to meet DuPhra's.
"Our quarry was stood behind the good brigadier."
For the second and final time, captain Flynn was shot.


Dakk, a veteran miner with several less-than-reputable friends, had never heard language the likes of was flowing from the sixteen year-old's mouth. It didn't help that it was all directed at him.
"I didn't know!" he protested as they helped each other out of the building and onto the street.
Before them was the prow of a vast starship, like an ancient sailing ship...dropped into the middle of the city. The scorched and twisted figurehead declared it as a house Cordo vessel.
Rine's stream of invective continued but when she paused for breath Dakk heard a metallic clatter from atop the ship. Ignoring her he clambered up the figurehead to look along the tilted deck and found a pistol lying against the railings. Rine hauled herself up next to him. Dozens of meters beyond, up the hill the deck had become, they could see into the bridge. The huge windows were shattered, exposing the ship's command center to the air. The bridge was littered with bodies, some in the red of the Cordo, some not. Some moving, most not.
And in front were two figures, one knelt in dark pants and a dirty white shirt, toussled brown hair. The other stood before him in a crimson uniform, black hair cut short and a pistol to the kneeling man's head.
"Who are they?" Dakk whispered to Rine. "What the hell's going on?"
The girl's eyes were fixed on the man in red, half-closed like a hunter's. "Hand me that gun."
"What?!" Dakk asked incredulously. "They just dropped two starships in the middle of the city! This isn't our fight!"
Rine was already struggling to hang onto the lip of the deck, her legs not long enough to brace atop the figurehead as Dakk's were.
"Look, that guy's in house Cordo colours. That makes him our enemy. Give me the-" she slipped and nearly fell, "-the frikkin gun!"
Dakk hefted the pistol by its barrel and was about to hand it to the girl when he changed his mind. He took the worn wooden grip in hand and aimed it up the deck.
"What're you doing?" Rine squealed. "You can't shoot for s-" but her last word was drowned out by the report from the pistol as Dakk jerked the trigger again and again and both figures fell.


Colvis, the Strumpet's navigator, found Flynn being attended to by a pair of dust-covered Meguroans. One in his late thirties, a miner by the looks of him, the other a girl in her teens. About them were the bodies of the Chivalrous's bridge crew, a fair few pirates including the firstmate -who had died killing the cruiser's captain-, a Cordo brigadier...and captain DuPhra, heir to house Cordo. Their contract.
The pirates set to work helping their own wounded and looting what they could, while Colvis knelt by the captain. His once-white shirt was now bloodied and torn. He'd been shot in the belly and the chest, the latter being a nasty, sucking wound.
Colvis pushed the two Meguroans aside. What the hell were they doing there anyway?
"Don't worry cap'n, the Rascal's sending down a shuttle with a sawbones."
Flynn, looking deathly pale, nodded and spoke hoarsely. "Two- two things."
Colvis shook his head. "Cap'n, we have to move now!"
But Flynn grimaced and grabbed the other man's shirt with a bloody fist. "One. The Strumpet. She doesn't die here. Get the figurehead. Two," he pointed at the two sheepish-looking Meguroans. "They're coming with us."
The pirate navigator raised an eyebrow, even as he helped his captain to stand.
"They killed him," Flynn said, kicking DuPhra's body and wincing with pain. "Nearly me too, but they've earned their way off this rock."
"Leave?" Rine stood rock steady, brow creased. "This is our home!"
"And you just blew the owner's head off," the navigator pointed out.
"The uprising-"
"Is doomed," Flynn finished for her. "A ship full of Cordo are dead. And that's not just any captain. That's Hue DuPhra, the once-heir to the Cordo name. His father will have this planet wiped clean of life! I and my people have a hideaway prepared, we knew the heat we'd face. You want to stay? Then stay." And the captain slumped between Colvis and another pirate.

The pirates were already gathering round a shuttle as it came down, others racing back to the Strumpet with plasma cutting torches. Dakk sighed and tugged at Rine's sleeve, "come on, kid."
Perhaps not a better life as her father had wanted, but Rine got off her dustball homeworld. And that was a start.



Just one more chapter and it`s done! Honest!

Ronin
9 April 2009, 08:42 AM
Part Nine - Succession


The Dokodemonai system on the outskirts of the Tion Hegemony
One standard week later

Both ships had their running lights off and engines idling, visibly hiding in the shadow of the first planet's moon, electromagnetically hiding in the star's blazing sea of radiation. On only one of the vessels was activity externally visible...the flickers of plasma torches working on her prow.


Bridge of the newly christened Dirty Strumpet

Captain Flynn winced as he returned captain Chimida's bow, his injuries still far from healed. Chimida, the Dirty Rascal's captain, had once been Flynn's firstmate and now as he gave over command of his ship to his mentor he would be firstmate once more. Not that they'd be seeing much action what with Cordo ships hunting the depths for them. And rumour had it the lord Cordo had hired at least two (two!) Genoharradan to locate and capture his son's killers. The Cordo silver-tongues were harassing what few diplomats the Cronese had in the capital, but everyone knew that that line of action would fail. Dirty Strumpet and Rapscallion had to play the waiting game. Keep patient, and watchful.

"How are our two new recruits?" Flynn asked Chimida with a smile. He knew it would be hard on them, particularly the young lass, so he'd wanted them kept busy. Colvis, bored out of his mind since they weren't flying anywhere, reclined against the binnacle and rolled his eyes.
"Well, the man can't shoot for-"
"I know, I know," Flynn nodded and grimaced, putting a hand to the bandages over his chest.
Chimida chuckled and ran a hand through his greasy blonde hair, "but he'll learn. And the lass has taught the boys several new tricks that go boom. Very popular too, actually."
But Flynn wasn't paying attention anymore. He was staring past Chimida at the wall, or rather the viewscreen on the wall. They'd set it up so they could keep abreast of what was going on in the Hegemony...though with the solar wind the reception was awful.
On the screen was a sea of red which, as the flux of radiation waxed and waned, resolved itself into rank after rank of uniformed soldiers.
A particular shade of crimson the crew of the Strumpet and Rapscallion knew well.
House Cordo guardsmen, hundreds of them, lining a path leading up to a flight of stairs and a marble palace.
Chimida, Colvis and eventually more of the bridge crew followed Flynn's gaze to the screen.
Atop the stairs was a portico and large gilt doors leading into the palace, the adjacent walls mosaicked with images of past House Cordo deeds. Singing their part in the formation of the Hegemony, praising their loyalty to the Tion. And before that great golden portal stood an old man, his face lined with decades of steering his great house's destiny. Alliances forged and broken, his hands stained with blood and almost as many metaphorical daggers in his back as he had plunged into others'. But the lord Cordo, born DuPhra, had been known as a hard and unbreakable man...until the death of his son and heir. The last week had carved new lines of deep sorrow into the old patriarch's face.
Brief snatches of commentary managed to get through the interference
"...tragic loss to this great house..."
"...only son and heir..the heart of the baron..."
"..-maining sibling recalled...-y to ascend and take the ti-..."

Four-score guardsmen raised bronze lurs to their lips and sounded a static-cut fanfare as the huge golden doorway swung open.
Figures in shining plate over white robes, rifles across chests and voluminous hoods obscuring features, escorted the new heir of House Cordo out into their homeworld's light.
Lord Cordo turned a fraction to watch their approach, his stony features lightening almost imperceptibly at the sight of his heir, escorted by the hooded guards. He had lost his son, his intended heir, and now his remaining child was poised to take his mantle. How many more assassins were out there, aiming to rob him of his last child and the house of its future?

The image on the screen flickered and rolled as the camera zoomed in on the new heir. When the image steadied and the crew caught a glimpse of ample cleavage constrained by a ornate corset the bridge errupted in wolf whistles, almost drowning out Flynn's exclamation. But Colvis was close enough to hear his captain's shocked "HER?!"
The navigator studied the figure on the screen, dressed in a shimmering sky blue gown, panniers and hoops inflating the lower half of the dress to mammoth hemispherical proportions. Layer after layer of lace, woven by armies of toiling serfs for a garment that would be worn only once, but spoken of for a hundred years on a thousand worlds.
Colvis looked at the image with his jaw agape, unable to take his eyes from the golden curls flowing down, framing her beautiful but powerful features. Golden curls that had, when last he had seen them, been constricted by a Hegmony naval cap.

THE END

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
9 April 2009, 02:58 PM
Nice, I'll have to give it the full read now start to finish, as its a complete story.

Are you ever gonna get this game started and off the ground now?

A couple of fun loving wise cracking characters by the names of Raa & Oan are inquiring to know. :D

IzVenjari
14 April 2009, 02:12 AM
Awesome Ronin. Glad to see you're still putting out the good fan fic. :)

Ronin
14 April 2009, 04:58 AM
Wow, it even dragged Iz back! ;)

Thanks gents.
I do have more CoX stuff to write...as for the game, I`m not sure. There`s a lot I wanted to do (similar to the 22nd Clone Commandoes) and games here on the Holonet just don`t move fast enough or last long enough. I`m planning something along the lines of Arabian Nights (only a helluva lot shorter!), with a frame story and several shorter stories (Succession being one of them) told within. Well, that`s the idea.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
14 April 2009, 11:29 PM
I can certainly sympathize with you there Ronin ;)

IzVenjari
15 April 2009, 03:12 AM
Originally posted by Ronin
Wow, it even dragged Iz back! ;) It was a giant magnetic pull i couldn't resist. :D