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File 125197575445.jpg - (263.00KB, 1000x750, Epicenter.jpg) [iqdb]
17366 No. 17366
The site is back, more or less, so with that, I move back to the normally scheduled board. Previous votes still count, which means that there's still a tie; and having caught up with everything, I do believe I am a gigantic lazy asshole. Apologies wouldn't really cut it.

But with that said, message finally continues:

--

“It has, Your Majesty…” you breathe, and as Princess Kaguya starts to toy with your hair, you slip further into that sunlight bliss. Soft, curious teasing fingers… it feels good. Tingly, warm and slow washing all over.

The last time, you recall, was six years ago. She was sadder then, but she hid her feelings, burying them in some unfathomable place, so that only if you looked hard you might find a hint in her voice, in the way she would look at you, into you – and because she was like that, you could always be at ease at her side. At a time like then, when the sky echoed with the whispers and screams of the dead and dying and killed by your hands, when the things in your nightmares were you and your sisters, there was someone else like that. Kaguya. Kaguya, lord God over all, the Empress to who we all belong.

In the present, her skin is pale. Pale, creamy white, alien and familiar at once; and when her hand grazes yours, you shiver warm white hot. Her Majesty. Her Majesty, who you now loom over, whose careful, needy touch you know by instinct. Slipping into your lap.

Into your –

“P-princess…”

“Ssh.”

If her finger on your lips or the look in her eye wasn’t reason enough to be silent, then the ice feeling crawling down your spine would have; and like it or not, your voice dies completely. You can feel the Princess almost all over you – feel the heat of her body, of her presence, you can even smell the scent of her skin – and it’s too much. She’s so close. She’s so close. That you can’t think, what are you supposed to do? You’re afraid of what she’ll hurt you? With your heart pounding, just staring at her like an idiot.

“Are you uncomfortable, Reisen?” the woman in your lap asks, and you blink, swallow, breathe. What did she say? Uncomfortable? Yes, yes you are.

“I am,” you mumble dumbly.

“Because I’m close to you?”

“Yes…”

“Do you want me to stop?”

Stop?

“I… no.”

“Then, what do you want me to do?” she asks, just inches away. And giving up thought, you say:

“I don’t know.”

That, for some reason, makes Her Majesty pause. In surprise, interest, God knows what; but she’s not talking, not pressing you, and that’s good enough. With some effort, you can think and move, that ice sensation fading away, but everything else – everything in the nebulous cloud of emotions remains. You are confused, nervous, still a little afraid… and yet, it does still feel good. Not unlike the first time you spoke to her, really. With some more effort, you can speak; so, with the precious few seconds of thought, you ask the Princess the only thing you can.

“Your Majesty,” you say, with lips that don’t quite want to move. “Please forgive me. But why are you doing this to me?”

She doesn’t answer, not immediately. Just blinks, like something just occurred to her; and with a chuckle, a sigh, Princess Kaguya turns away from you, and relaxes as she looks out to the sky again.

She says because – “I’m very tired, Reisen.” So very tired.

“But… it looks like I might finally get some rest.”

You can’t see her face, which makes you uneasy. But the way the Princess can just sit and watch gives you something to work towards. She is warm – like…

Heiseimi?

Sister?

Eirin?

Her Majesty the Princess is simply a strange, soft warmness. And so, you focus on that, folding your hands over her lap. Is that okay, you wonder?

She rests one hand on top of yours.

~

“You’ve grown nicely,” she – She, Princess, Your Majesty – says, almost proudly. Distantly again, as her thumb rubs against the back of your hand over and over. She asks you, “are you as well as you look?”

“I am,” you say. You were not… “but I am by my liege now, and so I am.”

“And your fleet?”

At your disposal, my lady and Princess.

And she says, good, in that distant pleased voice. It makes you feel white hot again. Indeed, it is good; but for a moment she pauses. Another, and her thumb stops, to your pity.

“I suppose you already know that the Empire is in grave danger,” she continues somewhat darkly. “It seems that that is its natural state, from my experience; nevertheless, it is my duty to deliver it from that danger. I would like you to help me – if you so desire, of course.”

“Of course, Your Majesty.”

“Word has reached the Capital of the battle at the negotiation point; this, then, means that a declaration of war can’t be very far behind. If the rebels have any sense of strategy, they will try to fragment our manpower by aggravating the rabbit populace’s discontent – therefore, the first moves will have to be in bringing the rabbits firmly to our side, and firmly against theirs. You’ve heard about the meeting I had scheduled with House Houhei?”

You have.

“I would like you to escort me to it. To accompany me as attendant. And when I am done, to escort me back to the Capital. Can you do that?”

Absolutely, you can!

“Excellent,” Her Majesty says. “In that case, we leave in an hour. But for now… stay here. I haven’t had physical company like this for quite a while – and, I suppose, you haven’t had much time to relax. It’ll do us both some good.”

As if driving the point home, the door opens behind you, and a young rabbit boy comes in, immaculately setting tea for the Princess. Greenish tea; court tea, as Eirin once explained. Fragrant. Royal.

She looks at you. “Would you like some?”

You say yes, and the boy sets your tea just as perfectly, then is gone.

“Thank you, my liege... but…”

“Hmm?”

“I’m not sure what to talk about.”

The Princess takes a sip of tea, and looking aside at you, says:

“Talk?”

[]

--

Previously voted options:
[1x] Talk about perhaps things from a normal Moon rabbit's view as to perhaps enlighten her majesty of different perspectives, but while expressing gratitude of being able to serve so closely. This may indeed help on the task of winning over the rabbits as well.
[1x] Talk? What you say doesn't matter. It's enough to just be here. If you can't think of anything to say, you're sure that the Princess will lead.
Expand all images
>> No. 17371
[x] Talk about perhaps things from a normal Moon rabbit's view as to perhaps enlighten her majesty of different perspectives, but while expressing gratitude of being able to serve so closely. This may indeed help on the task of winning over the rabbits as well.

Sounds good.
>> No. 17385
[x] Talk about perhaps things from a normal Moon rabbit's view as to perhaps enlighten her majesty of different perspectives, but while expressing gratitude of being able to serve so closely. This may indeed help on the task of winning over the rabbits as well.
>> No. 17386
Writing for majority option now, but I'm still going to wait for more votes until tomorrow night.
>> No. 17387
Good to see this back on track, QWL.

[x] Talk about perhaps things from a normal Moon rabbit's view as to perhaps enlighten her majesty of different perspectives, but while expressing gratitude of being able to serve so closely. This may indeed help on the task of winning over the rabbits as well.
>> No. 17410
File 125213362583.jpg - (362.75KB, 1024x768, c17.jpg) [iqdb]
17410
For a second, you consider the reply, and with a slight chuckle, you bow your head.

“…You are right, there’s not really any need for words right now. But, hearing talk helps me relax, so – may I, my liege?”

The Princess is silent, and smiling, she nods, looking away.

“Thank you.”

You take a breath in; then out. To relax before you relax. And then you go on.

“I am – was – a Reisen,” you begin. “Because of that, I can’t say that I’m exactly normal, that I lived life like the other classes… but, I can say that before things changed, my life was hell. I didn’t know that then, of course, war and my brethren were all I knew, but what I did, what I had to do, were things adult nobles would never consider doing. Every day, we’d go out, and we would find someone that wasn’t us, and if we were invading, that meant they had to die, so we’d shoot them. If we weren’t invading, that meant we were occupying, so we would beat them until they collapsed, and take them back to headquarters for detainment. Sometimes, we did it differently; but for most of my childhood, that was more or less what I did. And for most Reisen, that is what they did for most of their lives before the end of the Reclamation. What they still train to do.”

It’s funny how you can remember it, but not quite remember it. Recall putting your gun to someone’s head, and the splatter, but not what they looked like, or why. Be able to recall it at all, really. That’s not supposed to happen so easily, but in the Princess’ presence, anything could be, couldn’t it?

“Like I said, that’s not what most rabbits have to deal with in life…” you continue, “but for most that don’t serve a house, living is hard. Very, very hard. I’m glad that I do serve, that I get to serve my liege like this – but I have to ask, how is Your Majesty going to keep them loyal? With all due respect, it seems almost impossible sometimes…”

“That’s because it is impossible sometimes,” Princess Kaguya replies. “But only sometimes. And to answer your question – yes, for now. Hopefully without much pain.”

“’Yes’?”

“’Yes’,” she says. Or maybe she was just saying yes…

“Well, the answer suits my liege,” you say, looking out to the Palace with the Princess.

“And the question suits my servant,” she follows lightly, still stroking the top of your hands. “Realistic, critical, and just a little blunt. Not unlike Eirin, really…”

Her Majesty laughs softly at the thought, while you stay silent. And after her laughter dies down, she curls up, into your lap, just a little, so that her head rests more against your shoulder. You can see her face again – brown eyes almost completely shut, an odd, weary smile – and as you get a better look, she gets a better look of you. Her smile widens at the sight, just a little.

“I suppose not entirely like Eirin, either,” she says. “That’s good. Variety is important.”

You feel that heat spread all over your body as she says that.

“Can you tell me something, Reisen?”

“Of course, my liege...”

“Why did you go to Tau Ceti?”

[ ] Write-in an explanation.
--
When I say “write an explanation”, I would like it to be more than “I don’t remember”. If it’s possible, come up with a premise for it. But I understand if it’s completely impossible. In that case, at least say more than “lol i dunno”.
That aside, I need to get more pictures of engineered soldiers being casual. Also, I think I'm going to be a little less strict on post length from now on. Posting is a bit more of a priority…

>>17387 Nice to be back on track, sort of.
>> No. 17416
[x] "Because I was ordered to. Or I think I was ordered to. The truth doesn't matter really, I was there before I even consciously realized it."
>> No. 17424
[x] "Because I was ordered to. Or I think I was ordered to. The truth doesn't matter really, I was there before I even consciously realized it."
>> No. 17432
[x] "Because I was ordered to. Or I think I was ordered to. The truth doesn't matter really, I was there before I even consciously realized it."

It was the princess who ordered it, probably. I can't imagine anyone other than Eirin who could have such influence, and there was that flashback where Reisen agreed to do something for her. Which is not to say this is untruthful; it seems everything in this story goes back to Tau Ceti eventually.
>> No. 17434
>>17432

It does, doesn't it? Although that wasn't a flashback.
>> No. 17454
File 125219899523.jpg - (71.20KB, 550x366, tumbleweed.jpg) [iqdb]
17454
Preliminary writing again, I guess. But I would have liked to see some dissent by now.

EDIT: It's been suggested that I recap the story. Would you all like that?
>> No. 17455
I would like a recap myself. I've started following this a bit, but since I started so late, I'm hopelessly lost really.

A recap might help refresh everyone's minds too.
>> No. 17456
>>17454
I don't see any problem with a recap, so why not?
>> No. 17462
File 125221439178.jpg - (111.78KB, 750x600, imp_guard.jpg) [iqdb]
17462
“Because I was ordered to,” you tell her, softly so as not to disturb. “Or I think I was ordered to, at least. The truth doesn’t matter, really; by the time I consciously realized it, I was already there.”

“So you don’t remember who told you to do that? Or anything before then?”

You shake your head. “I remember nothing, Your Majesty. I’m sorry…”

“No, don’t apologize, Reisen. It’s not your fault, anyway.” The Princess’ voice is weary, like much of the rest of her – but it sounds more content now, as she rests in your arms. “A certain someone will have some explaining to do, it sounds… but that won’t be for a while.”

Her touch slows, little by little, until they stop altogether, and she sighs, closing her eyes as the wind picks up, pushing the clouds out of the way. It’s a nice sound. So is the second of silence that comes after, broken by Her Majesty.

“Reisen?”

“Yes, my liege?”

“Can you stay like this for the next hour?”

“”I can,” you lie.

“It would please me if you did,” she says. And so you do.

~

For an hour, all you hear is the wind, and the slight, quiet sound of the Princess’ breathing. It’s quiet, so very naturally quiet; while this would normally be boring if not irritating, you don’t feel any of it this time. In an hour, the Princess has not moved one bit, changed her breathing pattern one bit, or for that matter, done anything discernibly different; but in that time, you have felt – everything, if it could be described. Absolute, all-consuming dread, regret so strong it nearly brings you to tears; and then, pleasure. Inexplicable joy. And in the end, an odd, happy alien feeling of satisfaction.

For about fifteen minutes, you have been staring mindlessly at Terra, smiling and enjoying the feel of Her Majesty breathing in and out. Feeling something alive. It’s… significant, somehow, blushingly, cryingly important that you feel this; and when you blink, you see for that second of eyes shut places you’ve never been. Fortresses rising from under vast deserts, billions making their way through a planetwide factory, Massive towers, each a city, stretching out into space. The last one. The last one, you understand, is Houhei Secundus.

The Princess finally stirs when you know Houhei Secundus, and as she does, you notice the low roar of a shuttle sound in the background. That, you figure, is the shuttle back, which means –

“It’s time for us to go, Reisen. And… thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” you answer, and reluctantly, the Princess gets off of you. “The landing pad?”

“The landing pad,” she says, and so you lead the way out. Past the guards, past the windows flooding with light, and out into the landing bay, where the shuttle awaits. The marines around it open up their formation; by the door, naturally, the Adjutant waits...

You stop there, and she salutes the Princess; you return it, rather stiffly, before boarding after the two of them, taking a seat beside Heiseimi. She seems… amused, for lack of a better word, while Kantai looks almost steaming, for some reason.

“Good to see you in one piece, sir,” Heiseimi says, saluting. “So how’d it go?”

“Oh, the usual, Lieutenant...” you reply, returning the salute. “The usual lunacy.”

[ ] “And yourself?”
[ ] “What’s up with our tour guide?”
[ ] Tell her what’s going on. What you know is going on, anyway.
>> No. 17463
[ ] “What’s up with our tour guide?”
>> No. 17464
File 125221472495.png - (1.32MB, 800x604, Taiidan_Dropship_by_Talros.png) [iqdb]
17464
And the recap follows.
-

In the indeterminate past, the Lunar Empire is yet again on the brink of war, just ten years after the bloody Reclamations that united its fragmented houses under the royal House Houraisan. Rebel factions grow in strength, while discontent grows within; and with no end to the trend in sight, it seems that civil war is certain, one way or another. You, RN-13B, a shady Imperial Guard commander with a shady past, wake up aboard your ship with no memory of the past several days, and a note from Adjutant Eirin Yagokoro, the effective military leader of the Empire, telling to come back to the Moon. Right now.

After being informed by your crew that you are about to attack a populated space station in orbit around Tau Ceti III for unknown reasons, you order them and the fleet following you to abort the mission; returning to the Moon, you dock with the station orbiting it, and are promptly arrested by order of the Adjutant. She chews you out, then tells you to sneak into a suspect carrier and determine whether or not they are rebel sympathizers; it turns out they are, so the Adjutant then tells you to sabotage the ship, to make the rebels look responsible for starting a civil war during a negotiation. You do so, going with the Adjutant to the negotiation, and kicking heroic rebel ass when the moment arises. Pleased by your cunning strategy, as well as by your strategic cunning, she tells you to go to the Lunar Capital, and see the Imperial Crown Princess, Kaguya Houraisan; you have a bit of a nervous breakdown on the way, and after interrogating your incompetent doctor, it turns out you can shoot lasers that dick around with people’s minds, somehow. After a scene of sisterly love (?) and a good night’s rest, you arrive at the gate to the Lunar Capital, taking a dimensional bullet train to the Palace where the Princess awaits. After publicly embarrassing a royal guard with your mind bullets, you see the Princess, and trip a few balls again.

This is where we are now. The year is 261, of the Fourth Era; and in the heavens, it seems there can be no peace.
>> No. 17465
[X] “What’s up with our tour guide?”
>> No. 17466
[x] “What’s up with our tour guide?”
[x] Once you've had your fill of tormenting the petty officer, tell Heiseimi what’s going on. What you know is going on, anyway.
[x] Status
[x] Inventory

>>17464

This, but in yellow text that slowly recedes into the starry horizon while the theme to Star Wars plays in the background.
>> No. 17470
>>17466

[Status.]
'Resonant With Vivid Tones'
Commander RN-13B 'Reisen'
Commanding: INS Night Unbroken (de facto)
Authority: Primary command over fleet
Health: 100%
Armor: 100%
Magic: 100%
Effects: ??? (+? to Lunacy)

[Inventory.]
*Your Guardsman Officer uniform, naturally. Resists magic well, but isn't much against kinetics.
*Your precious precious mass driver pistol your sister gave you a long time ago - your first and oldest friend, this one. The litany engraved on it is comforting.
*Two clips for your precious M.D. pistol.
*A data card, storing a intermittently kept journal, and other miscellaneous things.
*A badge sporting the Yagokoro house crest. Glows a tiny, tiny bit. Probably not best to wear it around rebels.

And god no, I hope the recap's never formatted like that. I'd like to avoid being like Star Wars as much as possible.
>> No. 17482
File 125226631161.jpg - (316.50KB, 816x1000, returning_to_mothership.jpg) [iqdb]
17482
[x] “What’s up with our tour guide?”
[x] Once you've had your fill of tormenting the petty officer, tell Heiseimi what’s going on. What you know is going on, anyway.

You glance at the petty officer up front. “So what’s up with our tour guide? I don’t remember her looking quite so angry…”

“She wasn’t,” Heiseimi explains. “But it turns out she has more than a few buttons to push.”

“Ah. She doesn’t like talking about herself?”

“Or a Heiseimi calling Her Majesty ‘the Empress’, it seems. A lot of little niggling things, but mostly she just hates having to be near me. So – just like the Reisen I’m used to meeting, really.”

You think to say something to her – she’s only a seat ahead – but Heiseimi shakes her head, a distant feeling of rage coming upon you for a moment.

“Oh…”

“I know. I don’t think she’s colony born.”

Not colony born would mean not receiving psychological conditioning… so here, then?

Heiseimi shrugs. Maybe. But the point is to not bother her right now. She’s had enough.

“Surprising to hear that from you, Heiseimi…” you say, sitting back as the shuttle leans to the left. “Well, I did want to fill you in, anyway. You know the Marquis of IL Aquarii?”

“No, not really.”

“Neither do I. But apparently, the Princess is going there to have a little chat with some important people to calm the rabbits; my orders are to accompany her to that little chat. Not sure if I can take anyone with me – but if I can, I probably will. Oh, and the Adjutant’s in trouble, I hear... but that’s neither here nor there.”

You literally hear it; after all, she and Princess Kaguya are only one row up. Although neither of them sound too perturbed, Eirin has just the slightest sliver of guilt in her voice, and you can sort of know the Princess’ disappointment the same way Heiseimi ‘speaks’ to you. Very odd – but then, everything about Her Majesty is just a little anomalous.

“So…” you ask, trying to pay it no mind, “how is the crew? Not too bored, I hope?”

“Actually, I’m not sure, Commander.” Heiseimi responds, lingering on the same thoughts. “After a while, their voices got too quiet to hear… they sounded fine last I heard, though.”

“Good enough,” you say. “Where we’re going, it sounds like we’ll need to be ready for a fight at any moment. The Pact’s been making regular runs on the area all this week, and it doesn’t seem that they’ll let up for long. And even if the rebels don’t make an outright attack, we’ll still have to watch for a would be assassination attempt. Really, when I think about it, there’s so many ways this could go wrong… but I guess we can’t worry about that, can we?”

“Nope. But, on the bright side – It’ll be interesting for sure, won’t it?”

You chuckle harshly at the thought.

“I suppose it will…”

-

When you reach the train station, everyone disembarks. Apparently, this is the only way to the docks – but on the way to the station, you saw several other routes, all leading out to the horizon. What they go to, you have no idea, and you’d rather not find out any time soon. Everyone boards the train back; this time, you notice there’s a good ten Guard officers in it, the other cars being similarly filled. One of them, a lunarian subcommander, salutes. When nobody returns it, you realize she’s saluting you.

Without a word, you salute her, sit down, and brace against getting knocked over as the train begins to move. Now that you’re prepared for it, it’s a little less jarring for you and Heiseimi… but, it still takes some getting used to. Everyone else, of course, hardly moves. The Adjutant and Princess Kaguya don’t even pause in their conversation – and ten minutes later, it stops just as suddenly with that ding, opening to an airlock door marked ‘G-12’, which opens with a hiss of air. Your stop, and here the two of you disembark, entering the Night.

The decon cycle runs, and as the hatch opens to the usual blue-tinted hall, you feel a sense of readiness as you enter the bridge, taking your seat in the familiar command room. The big screen reads off mostly ship status: all green, to your pleasure.

“At ease, people,” you say comfortably, connecting to the command systems, the crew assuming their stations. “Our new orders are to escort the Princess to and from IL Aquarii alongside the Adjutant – showtime as soon as we’re ready. How’s our status?”

“All ready to move out, sir,” Brahe answers confidently. “Engines ready for full output, sensors at max, weapons primed and ready for overcharge. And as for the crew… if you’re well, Commander, then so are we.”

“Then let’s get going.” You try not to grin at her eagerness. “Nav – er, Gengetsu, take us out of dock.”

“Yessir.”

“Ah, captain?” Patuxent sounds a little less flighty than normal. “The Adjutant’s requesting a private line with you. Shall I patch her in?”

You nod, and in that coming from everywhere feeling you’re used to, the Adjutant starts speaking.

[[Good morning, Commander,]] she says in her standard poker face voice. [[My apologies for not getting to speak with you in person. Are you well?]]

[[It’s no problem, my lord,]] you answer. [[And yes, I’ve recovered from the incident before…]]

[[Who said anything about an ‘incident’?]]

You fall silent. How silly of you to forget the way the Adjutant likes to talk…

[[Well,]] the Adjutant continues, [[I know what you mean, and I already know what it is. Expected it, actually, just not this soon… but that’s not really why I’m talking to you now. Do you understand your orders, Reisen?]]

[[Of course, sir.]] It doesn’t sound like it’s all that hard to understand. [[Escort the Princess, accompany her to a meeting, and escort her back. In concept, it’s easy.]]

[[Not quite that easy.]]

[[What do you mean, sir?]]

[[It is easy to protect a ship, but the accompany part means a bit more than guarding Her Majesty. She wants you to try and pay attention to what’s going on, as well as the people that are there. Everyone at this summit is crucial in one way or another to the direction of this war – the Princess wants you there because it’ll help you figure out the relationships between the major factions, so keep that in mind when you arrive, understood?]]

You sigh. [[Understood.]]

[[Good. As for why that officer saluted you…]]

She really might be reading your mind, you think.

[[Have you checked your fleet roster yet, Reisen?]]

[[I have,]] you answer.

[[That’s the new captain for one of the ships I’ve assigned to your task force. She’ll report to you from now on.]]

Wait, so that wasn’t an error?

[[And all the rest…]]

[[They’re the new crews for those vessels, yes. Since these ships don’t have names, the honor goes to you to name them – but you can leave it up to their captains, if you want.]]

[ ] Hey, why not. You’ll name the ships. (Come up with three names.)
[ ] Leave it up to their captains.

Conversation (max. 2):
[ ] “Who was that officer, anyway?”
[ ] “Where did you get these ships from?”
[ ] “Can you elaborate on the mission? Why’s this summit being held on Houhei Secundus, after all that’s happened in the past week?”
[ ] “How’d the interrogation go?” (+Loyalty to Eirin)

-

Hm. It’s longer than I expected. Much longer. I should clarify: although I’ll go with the best majority choice if there’s too little voting going on, I am trying for first to five.

And if anything, the recap should be narrated by that guy who narrated for Legend of the Galactic Heroes… but I digress.
>> No. 17483
[x] Leave it up to their captains. It'll help focus their performances and morale.

[X] “Can you elaborate on the mission? Why’s this summit being held on Houhei Secundus, after all that’s happened in the past week?”

It's best to learn more.

[X] “Who was that officer, anyway?” Learn about our new staff.
>> No. 17492
[x] Hey, why not. You’ll name the ships. (Come up with three names.)
- Aventhiem
- Fatalis
- Southern Cross
[x] “Can you elaborate on the mission? Why’s this summit being held on Houhei Secundus, after all that’s happened in the past week?”
[x] “How’d the interrogation go?” (+Loyalty to Eirin)
>> No. 17496
[x] Leave it up to their captains.

Naming ships is hard.

[x] “Who was that officer, anyway?”
Might be important.
[x] “Can you elaborate on the mission?
Also important.
>> No. 17500
I've set up a thread for the things that were normally explained in encyclopedia entries. If you want to ask about background information, ask it in this thread: >>/words/11
>> No. 17505
Eirin just got chewed out by the princess for mindwiping us. We want to solidify our relations with Eirin first, before we start asking her for information that we may need to rely on.

[x] Hey, why not. You’ll name the ships. (Come up with three names.)
-[x] Laurasia
-[x] Pangæa
-[x] Gondwana
[x] “How’d the interrogation go?” (+Loyalty to Eirin)
[x] “Where did you get these ships from?”

Three terrestrial supercontinents. Anyone moving against you with knowledge of Earth geology is going to notice the naming pattern, and will suspect these three ships are up to something. That will be, of course, a ruse to take focus off the ship that you'll be operating from, the plainly-named INS Night Unbroken.

Since our officer is of subcommander rank (which we were when we were handling multiple ship), I suggest we delegate the command of the three new ships to her, leaving us to focus entirely on protecting the Empress with the very ship we're on. Trial by fire is the only way we'll discover how much responsibility the subcommander can actually handle. Having the three under a single officer will also help maintain the illusion of autonomy. Finally, as Eirin mentioned, we need to be paying attention to the talking heads, not micromanaging our fleet positions.

I'm interested in where the ships came from in case they're repatriated rebel ships, or owned by a specific noble house or faction. After all, it wouldn't be the first time Eirin handed us a lemon, or a time bomb.
>> No. 17516
No more votes?
>> No. 17517
[x] Hey, why not. You’ll name the ships. (Come up with three names.)
- Aventhiem
- Fatalis
- Southern Cross
[x] “Can you elaborate on the mission? Why’s this summit being held on Houhei Secundus, after all that’s happened in the past week?”
[x] “How’d the interrogation go?” (+Loyalty to Eirin)
>> No. 17519
>>17505

And it would be the third time, if I remember correctly?
>> No. 17520
>>17516
I haven't read your story yet.
>> No. 17521
[x] Hey, why not. You’ll name the ships. (Come up with three names.)
-[x] Laurasia
-[x] Pangæa
-[x] Gondwana
[x] “How’d the interrogation go?” (+Loyalty to Eirin)
[x] “Where did you get these ships from?”

Even though I think that this guy is putting too much thought into the ship names Ill goo with this.
>> No. 17522
[x] Hey, why not. You’ll name the ships. (Come up with three names.)
- Aventhiem
- Fatalis
- Southern Cross
[x] “Can you elaborate on the mission? Why’s this summit being held on Houhei Secundus, after all that’s happened in the past week?”
[x] “How’d the interrogation go?” (+Loyalty to Eirin)
>> No. 17525
File 12524590912.png - (963.05KB, 748x1675, Selene_Command_Variations.png) [iqdb]
17525
I suppose I'll update now, then.

EDIT: I drew something a while ago for you. Probably not "you" specifically, since I'm reasonably sure many who read before left, but still, the point stands. Have a picture I drew.
>> No. 17527
>>17525

hooray!
>> No. 17696
File 12531531683.jpg - (63.01KB, 600x580, Nebula_patrol_by_Talros.jpg) [iqdb]
17696
[[No, I’ll name them,]] you answer. Aventhiem, Fatalis, Southern Cross… not remotely normal names by any standard, but they sound nice. [[Do you know her ship’s registry number, my lord?]]

[[FA-131, I believe. The other two are FA-108 and FD-27.]]

[[I’ll inform them all, then.]] It seems you’ve shut your eyes over the course of the conversation; opening one for a moment, you order their positions marked, and channels readied for contact, the additional links coming online in your mind – all leading to silence, of course. It’s a very strange effect, not unlike being inside three empty tunnels, but you try not to pay it any mind, returning your attention to the conversation at hand.

In as casual a thought you can, you ask the Adjutant: [[How was the interrogation session?]] And to your surprise, she purrs. Not very loud, very low, but it’s there.

[[That’s the first time you’ve ever asked me that, Reisen…]] she notes, her voice a restrained mix of surprise and delight. [[It was very relaxing, actually. Yoyakeya only held out for about half a minute before he submitted to me. His crew was much tougher – I think one of his subordinates actually lasted the entire session, which I’ve haven’t seen in years…]]

The Adjutant ‘laughs’, for lack of a better word, sending pleasant, amused thought-words that border on the physical. Even now, you’re not entirely sure how long her ‘interrogations’ last, and although you’ve seen clips of that brutality in motion, the sound of her genuine happiness almost begins to balance out the horrifying fates of the would-be defectors.

[[That was – unexpected, Reisen,]] she says, still ‘laughing’ in tiny fits. [[I never thought such things interested you…]]

[[They don’t,]] you say, swallowing the lump in your throat that was the last session you viewed, [[at least, not in the way it does you. But it’s good to know you are happy, Adjutant.]]

“You never seem happy now,” you recall telling Eirin years and years ago; and now it is her turn to be silent, remembering how it is you talk.

You cough, an odd expression considering neither of you are actually speaking.

[[I, um… I have another question, Adjutant…]]

[[Go ahead.]] She mumbles it, low, gentle, all so odd because it’s too vulnerable – but you’ll take what you can get.

[[Can you explain why this meeting’s being held at Houhei Secundus, after all the raids it’s been through this week?]]

[[...I can,]] Eirin says, returning to her normal unreadability. [[We’re meeting there because Her Majesty said so. Why, I don’t know for sure, but she probably wants to speak with the Marquis of that place, and he hasn’t spoken to her in centuries – so it seems if that’s the case, there’s something she vitally needs from him. Does that answer your question, Reisen?]]

[[I suppose, my lord.]]

[[Then leave me be for now, little one,]] she says, her voice softened with what she tries to hide. [[I need to rest; it seems I am more burdened than I thought. Her Majesty is onboard with me, and you have your orders, so…]]

[[I understand, sir. Luna guide you safe.]]

[[She always has,]] Eirin replies confidently. [[She will again. Keep that blessing for yourself, commander… Adjutant out.]]

And with that, her presence slips into the dark. Little one, she said. Did she even realize she said it?

You open your eyes, dismissing the thought. There’s more to do before you can relax. Namely, talking to this officer…

“Is the Eternity moving?” you ask.

“Slowly, but she’s moving, sir.”

“Good. Follow her and be ready to jump; Her Majesty is onboard. Patuxent?”

“Yes, ma’am?”

“Hail the three unnamed vessels.”

“Right away,” she says; and a few seconds later, the three captains come onscreen, the empty links in your head connecting in time with their appearances. There is the lunarian you saw before – from the looks of it, she could be as young as you – but you didn’t notice the severity of her expression or the slight hints of sleeplessness the first time around. The second, a male rabbit, possibly a Heiseimi from the skin; the third, another male rabbit, this one wearing a House Yagokoro pin… him, you’re fairly certain you know from somewhere, and from the slightly surprised look on his face, it seems the feeling is mutual. All of them, for whatever reason, seem to prefer their bridge lights dimmed, but you can make out enough to see that their crews are fairly diverse – save the lunarian, who has nothing but other lunarians in her crew. It seems like a bad choice, since nobles rarely have tactical experience… but it can’t be helped, now that the fleet is moving out.

Presently, the three of them salute you; returning it, you begin:

“Good morning to you all. I am Commander RN-13B, INS Night Unbroken… from now on, you’re under my command, but it seems some of you already know that. Can you introduce yourselves, name and rank?”

“Subcommander Vijhaya Hanei,” says the woman,

“Subcommander HI-71,” says the Heiseimi,

and “Subcommander An Yi,” says the Yagokoro.

Good,” you say with a smile. “First, I’ll name your ships, next I’ll overview the mission, and after that, I’ll leave you to your duties. Hanei?”

“Sir.”

“Your vessel is now INS Southern Cross. 71’s will report as INS Fatalis. And An Yi’s will report as INS Aventhiem. Our mission is to escort the Princess to IL Aquarii; follow my lead and scan for anything out of the ordinary. If you notice anything, notify me... aside from that, each of you will await further command at our destination, is that clear?”

‘Yessir,’ they all go.

“Then –“ you salute – “good luck. We’ll speak again in a few; Night Unbroken out.”

One by one, the officers vanish, and finally, you’re home again. The stellar map comes up on the screen, a long, meandering path between Sol and IL Aquarii: ETA, 00:00:00.

“The Eternity’s sent her warp signal, Captain,” Gengetsu says. “Matching speed with Eternity, and we are jumping…”

Now.

The ship shifts just slightly, just up to beyond light speed, and immediately, you are away. You can feel just faintly the Navigational Officer’s joy – an odd, basic thrill at the feel of feeling the Night move as he does, slipping through normal space. ETA… you look up. ETA, 24:00:00, and counting.

“Everything’s green, sir,” he says calmly. Lulled, it seems, by your presence.

“Good…”

[ ] Retire to your quarters. Something’s always coming up… a moment of general peace would be nice.
[ ] Stay here for now. It’s barely approaching noon, and after an hour of more mindfuck, it would be nice to have normal people to talk to… for a certain definition of ‘normal’, at least.
-[ ] Ask about them – “So, how are my favorite band of madmen?”
-[ ] Talk about that hour with the Princess. Or try to, anyway.
-[ ] Talk about something else… (writein)
-[ ] Talk about how you’re supposed to spell “Vijhaya”.

--
School is much more of a bitch than it was last year. Expect updates to take at least a day or two, occasionally more, since I haven’t had even time to breathe.
>> No. 17712
-[X] Ask about them – “So, how are my favorite band of madmen?”
>> No. 17715
[x] Stay here for now. It’s barely approaching noon, and after an hour of more mindfuck, it would be nice to have normal people to talk to… for a certain definition of ‘normal’, at least.
-[x] Ask about them – “So, how are my favorite band of madmen?”
>> No. 17728
[ ] Stay here for now. It’s barely approaching noon, and after an hour of more mindfuck, it would be nice to have normal people to talk to… for a certain definition of ‘normal’, at least.
-[ ] Ask about them – “So, how are my favorite band of madmen?”
>> No. 17731
[x] Stay here for now. It’s barely approaching noon, and after an hour of more mindfuck, it would be nice to have normal people to talk to… for a certain definition of ‘normal’, at least.
-[x] Ask about them – “So, how are my favorite band of madmen?”
>> No. 17734
[x] Stay here for now. It’s barely approaching noon, and after an hour of more mindfuck, it would be nice to have normal people to talk to… for a certain definition of ‘normal’, at least.
-[x] Start a betting pool on the likelihood you're walking into a trap.
-[x] Ask your bridge crew if any of them were familiar with the subcommanders.
[x] Ask Brahe to request individually the navigation & assignment logs of FA-131, FA-108, and FD-27, and to cross-reference them with records from central. You're looking for small discrepancies--year of manufacture, shipyard, combat history, prior assignments, that sort of thing.
>> No. 17735
[x] >>17731
>> No. 17737
Well then, writing. >>17734's styles do interest me so, so if it fits, that goes in, too.
>> No. 17745
File 125337907052.jpg - (87.95KB, 1019x979, again.jpg) [iqdb]
17745
Good, indeed. It was nice, seeing the Princess in the flesh… but damned if that hour didn’t feel like ten years. Seeing things, inexplicable things, transcendental religious experiences – it’s nice, granted, but being at peace is even better. Being with those you know, normal, psychically bound people. Which is normal enough at this point, really.

“So, how’ve my favorite band of lunatics been?” you ask, reacquainting yourself with the world you know. And you hear not sounds, mouths from minds. They were – we were – bored, sir. Bored out of our minds.

And you laugh, feeling at home.

~

Home.

It is 2:18 in the morning, and once again, you can’t sleep. The voices have faded, most slumbering, dreaming in cloudy mindless ways… and so, you are alone again, left only with your thoughts and foreign memories.

Promises. Sweet, loving moments from centuries past, looking to the night sky beside her. Kaguya, who you promised everything and more; Kaguya, Her Majesty, untouched and alone as the stars.

You left the viewers open this time, the room flush in blues and royal purples. One hand, reaching out to the silky warped night, the other by your side, grasping at air where you can feel her, still beside you – or rather, she. Whoever she is. Whoever she is, who wants to make Her Majesty no longer untouched, no longer alone, is echoing like whisps of fire in you; and as you look up at the silky blue night shrouding your hand, you wonder how many times this moment has come and gone. How many times a serene, moonlight voice would tell her “It’s alright.”

Sighing, you close that hand, imagining crushing a piece of the warp, and closing your eyes, you drift to sleep, arm rested over your head.

(It is not alright. You vowed it would be done, and by God you will fulfill it. No matter what it takes… No matter what it takes.)

You dream of…

[ ] The past, the blood shed and the lives ended. How you would do it again.
[ ] The present, of the innocent and the just who will die in vain. The old, valiant friends, who must die for a greater purpose.
[ ] The future, glittering with its alluring possibility. A future that you cannot have.
[ ] The dreamer.

--

Something shorter, part to get to the good part, part to do another dream - which is fun, even when I screw it up. Makes me wonder how many people have had this many flashback dreams in a row, though.
>> No. 17748
[x] The future, glittering with its alluring possibility. A future that you cannot have.
>> No. 17751
[x] The future, glittering with its alluring possibility. A future that you cannot have.
>> No. 17758
[x] The future, glittering with its alluring possibility. A future that you cannot have.
>> No. 17760
Update in either a day, or two weeks from now. I don't feel up to it anymore, but probably I just need some rest.
>> No. 17763
File 125357916613.jpg - (946.30KB, 1750x1164, in heaven.jpg) [iqdb]
17763
Silence, and void. It is dark once more, everywhere and nowhere; but soon you hear the sounds of gentle winds, and the rustling of leaves. Outside; you are inside, somewhere dark, lit only by moonlight, and beside you…

Beside you is she.

Somewhere dark, somewhere deep in the autumn night, you and Kaguya sleep, and it is heaven. It is heaven because it is impossible on earth, of course – but lying there, your fingers clasped with hers, her body atop yours, you can accept the fact. The air is still hot, slick with your combined heat, still smelling of the sweat on your bodies; and in the background, you are vaguely aware of her slow, spent breaths.

The wind blows again; laughing, whisper quiet, she tucks her face into the side of your throat, planting little, cool tickling kisses there and there.

You grin. What’s this for?

Because I love this, she says, all bliss and sultry.

This?

The smell of your skin. The sound of your voice. The way you hold onto me for dear life…

Everything, really. Everything, right now.

She sighs happily, saying the words that you long so much to hear; and lost like this, she falls silent again for a short while.

Hey…

Hm?

She looks at you drowsily. When I wake up, she asks… when I wake up, will you be there?

You blink, before you beam.

Of course I will, Princess.

Do you promise?

You kiss her as your answer, teasing her soft tongue just enough to reassure her.

I promise, you say. And satisfied, she curls up against you, letting sleep carry her away. Thank you, she whispers, shortly before she falls asleep. Shortly before you wake up.

It should be you that’s thanking her, you think, but there’s so much to do… so much to do to make a future like this. And so, though you wish you could stay –

You fall awake.
>> No. 17765
This impossible future, I will grasp it with mine own two hands!

But seriously, it seems we may finally be on a path to Eientei now.
>> No. 17768
>>17765

That's funny. You're a funny guy.

Transmission will continue when I have time to write, which should be in about 12-16 hours from now.
>> No. 17781
File 125367754872.jpg - (59.19KB, 640x512, flying metal space dongs.jpg) [iqdb]
17781
When you wake up the next day, it is dark, and you are alone. It’s hard to say why this is the first thought that comes to mind, but it is; a sense that you are without. There is somewhere you should be, something you should be with – but you aren’t and you can’t. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s so driving, so insistent. Why?

For about ten minutes, you stare at nothing, wondering about that. And when nothing comes to mind, you give up, looking at your empty hand. Parts of whatever you dreamed come back: moon, brown eyes, embrace. Somewhere, somewhere with a moon, you were together with someone important, and she loved you.

Not understanding the pieces, you close your hand gently, feeling the slight roughness of your palm. Love. It was important that she love, for some reason…

~

An hour later, you’ve taken your shower. Checked your pistol, eaten breakfast; for once, it tasteed absolutely horrible, but you don’t mind, because the tastes bring others’ memories to mind. Too much sugar makes you think of when Her Majesty first came to the moon, glowing with the lights of the Empire’s first warships welcoming her home; too little salt makes you think of the first Celestial Wars, how Princess Kaguya stood by and watched miserably as the houses slaughtered one another. And the way the dish is charred on the edges… that reminds you of when the Princess watched the Adjutant burn a planet from top to bottom for the first time, beginning the Reclamation in full. Aldebaran, it was. They begged and pleaded until the very last second, and when the screams of men, women, and children ended, she could only barely hold back the bile rising in her throat. Not all pleasant things; no, almost nothing pleasant about those things. But to know Her Majesty still has a sense of decency is reassuring, because it means there’s still hope. Maybe, one day, the world might actually be remotely sane...

The ship shudders under you, dropping out of warp. Blue melts into specks of light in the inky black; and almost instantly, an alert goes off in your head. Trouble. Enemies, Brahe says, and much too close – come quick. So you do.

Someday, the world might be sane, but that day isn’t today.

~

The bridge is pretty well held together considering the situation, you note; but of course, the situation is already teetering on disaster. The screen is plastered with a tactical map, indicating hostiles all around Houhei Secundus: all Pact frigates, from their designations. Some are already in lower orbit, possibly transporting people to the surface – however, the orbital defenses are still intact, and any Houhei patrol ships are nowhere to be found, indicating that the fleet was let in… no matter what the reason, it does not bode well for the mission.

You sit down, linking into the command systems. “Well, I can’t say this was unexpected. Rikuken, can you give me an overview of the situation?”

“Right away, ma’am,” she affirms. “We only became aware of the enemy presence after dropping out of warp, so the details are still unclear… but it seems that the Pact is definitely in contact with the nobles on Houhei Secundus, and, ah, they are not seeing eye to eye. The Pact ships have assumed bombardment formation around the planet, training turrets on the planet’s surface, and while the defense stations in orbit are aiming at ships, the Pact, ah, doesn’t seem to mind. Whether this is because the fight would be in their favor or because they know a fight isn’t going to happen is also unclear… but if one does break out, they will definitely have a chance to cause at least some metropolitan damage – estimate five thousand killed, best case, but there are also population centers mounted on several space elevators, so... could be up to hundreds of thousands, if they focus fire on one.”

The Tactical Officer highlights the space elevators; three of them, jutting out just enough to be targetable. She then highlights the Pact ships in range: sure enough, markers cluster about the three points, three or four to a point.

“As you can see,” she continues, “there are no Houhei military ships near the planet, but –“ she zooms the map out – “in the outer edges of the system, we are getting faint signals identifying as House Houhei, all military corvettes. They are smaller than the normal patrols, however, and more importantly, they are not moving… most likely, the Pact has threatened an attack if they come any closer.”

“Have they seen us yet?” you ask.

“No, ma’am. At least, it appears they haven’t yet…”

“For now, appearances are fine, too.” Gives you time to think. “Brahe, no change in status?”

“No change in status,” she says.

[ ] Write in. And make ‘em count, if you can – this is already being counted as a battle.

Available command ships, 2:
*INS To Eternity (Eirin, special operations vessel, long radar range, long range targeting)
*INS Victory II ([unknown], general carrier with two bomber wings and one recon wing, very long radar range)

Under your command, 6:
5x assault frigate (offensive, average radar range)
1x defense frigate (defensive, lower speed, above average radar range)

Enemy, unknown number:
?x assault frigate

Shields at normal. Weapons at overcharge. Radar at full, ACTIVE scanning; you are out of current enemy radar range, but not necessarily enemy's full radar range.

--

Took me long enough, didn't it?
>> No. 17792
File 125374756547.jpg - (25.80KB, 286x435, airchair general madine.jpg) [iqdb]
17792
>>17781
>Aldebaran

does this mean THAT'S NO MOON

This situation calls for the enemy to be defeated in a a single blow, all power will be routed to the weapons, our group will be split into three, to send at each cluster of enemy ships.

Group 1:
-To Eternity
-Victory II

Group 2:
2 Assault Frigates

Group 3:
1 Defense Frigate, 1 Assault frigate, Our ship (INS Night unbroken)
The recon flight will be sent out first in order to send a short-range encrypted message to the orbital defense stations, to ensure that they know we have arrived and will synchronize their firing with ours.

Shields dropped to minimal to increase our speed to optimal firing range, radar will be cut-off/passive in favor of ECM, it's doubtful we will need it as the enemy ships probably won't be going anywhere soon.

All of our ships and the orbital defense stations should be firing at the same time.

Inb4 massive failure
>> No. 17796
File 125375701115.jpg - (14.39KB, 350x194, 350px-Burning_kharak.jpg) [iqdb]
17796
>>17792

No, it means more like Kharak is burning. Have you ever seen someone burn food in a stove? Imagine that, only instead of food, it's a planet, and instead of being inedible, all life has been exterminated, because the atmosphere's been burned off.

Aside from the idea of sending a signal to an area populated with probably hostile units that don't know you're there in the first place, I wouldn't say anything's a bad idea till it happens. Hell, I think somebody considered going with a marine detachment and taking over a ship in the first battle. There have been and will be far worse ideas.
>> No. 17800
>>17792
I agree with some of the precautions here, namely:

>The recon flight will be sent out first in order to send a short-range encrypted message to the orbital defense stations, to ensure that they know we have arrived and will synchronize their firing with ours.

Coordinating with the defenses in place would be ideal. But not a guarantee. I think that right now, we have the upper hand. The element of surprise is important. This is why our attack should be swift and merciless.

Don't split our group if possible, but if the enemy is too spread out divide it into two groups and go for the larger formations. Strike almost simulaneously, hoping to destroy or cripple ships with the first strike. For this power will probably have to be diverted to weapons and engines. Shields should be maintained wherever possible though, in case a first strike fails to annihilate the foe. Speed and firepower are key.

If Houhei is cooperating with the enemy, we'll know soon enough. Ideally the vessels in the distance will join us once battle starts.

Yeah, I know, not very cautious. Normally I would be all for assessing the situation further, but disembarking on the planet means that there's something else at stake - likely something that's time-critical. They say that fortune favors the bold, let's hope that's true.
>> No. 17801
>>17800
If we don't split our forces the remaining groups will fire upon the space elevators
>> No. 17802
Also we could always use a single fighter, or maybe a simple small transport shuttle, and disguise it as a damaged vessel, in order to send a message to the orbital defense stations
>> No. 17804
>>17801
Splitting divides firepower, and thus risks not maximizing damage. What good is it if our forces get into a protracted exchange. Time is of the essence. Ideally with one target destroyed, we could deploy quickly and neutralize the rest as swiftly. It's a gamble.
>> No. 17811
On one hand, this might be a terrorist attack, and that the enemies are prepared to go down with all hands. That would mean you'd have to take them down before the know you're coming. On the other hand, that the defenses at Secundus have yet to move despite having been routinely attacked by Pact raiders either means is is a standard procedure extortion, or it's a set-up and those orbital platforms will fire on you as soon as you engage the Pact.

Now, we have 5 assault frigates and 1 defense frigate. However the Night Unbroken is unlisted, and if I remember correctly, it is an assault corvette. We know from their designator numbers that FA-131 and FA-108 (Hanei's Aventhiem and HI-71's Fatalis, respectively) are assault frigates, while FD-27 (An Yi's Southern Cross) is the defense frigate. Assuming that the Night Unbroken is a frigate for the purposes of this mission, that's two left unaccounted for.

[x] Lunatic Eyes: MORALE, Lv. 1
[x] They're at stand-off, and holding; if they were planning on attacking each other, or if this were a simple raid, they'd be firing at each other already. It's more likely they are working out an agreement of some sort at gunpoint.
-[x] All ships should hold their positions and disengage active sensors. You won't give up the element of surprise before you have a plan formulated.
-[x] Ask Patuxent if any distress signals have been broadcast by Secundus. You expect not.
[x] Hail the INS To Eternity and INS Victory II. You want to discuss this with the other commanders.
-[x] Your position is that this is a routine raid, rather than a terrorist attack on Secundus; otherwise, the frigates would have fired by now. The Pact is probably stealing, buying, or extorting weapons from Secundus and is unlikely to destroy the elevators if unprovoked--they would be cutting off their own supply chain.
-[x] If this is correct, you'd like to wait them out. Once the dealings are done, the Pact fleet will disengage from the space elevators, obviating the risk of collateral damage. Until they finish their deal, it'll be a waiting game.
[x] Assuming the other commanders approve of your analysis, you'd like to split into three groups:
-[x] Able group will consist of the To Eternity and two assault frigates and converge on one elevator. When the Pact ships turn away from the elevators after the dealings are done, the To Eternity will use its longer ranged sensors to feed firing telemetry to the two assault frigates. Four targets, two for the Eternity (which has 4 mass driver turrets), and one each for the assault frigates (which have 2 forward mounted mass drivers). This should be a total knockout.
-[x] Baker group will consist of the INS Victory II and the defensive frigate INS Southern Cross. Victory II will move into range and sortie its bomber wings against the frigates when they move away from the second elevator. The Southern Cross will protect the Victory II. Additionally, the Victory II should send out their recon fighters to locate the supply transports leaving the planet, as well as scan freighters & frigates for contraband; they should relay the data directly to Brahe on the INS Night Unbroken, and the Sensors Officers on the other two assault frigate attached to the Night Unbroken in Charlie.
-[x] Charlie group will consist of the INS Night Unbroken and the three other assault frigates and will station itself near the third elevator, outside of attack range. However, they will not seek to engage the frigates at the elevator, but the supply transport leaving the planet. To this effect, the INS Night Unbroken will use its weapons to destroy the transport's engines, with the other three frigates holding off any Pact vessels escorting it. Brahe should send positional data gained from the recon fighters to Rikuken to intercept the transports, and Heiseimi to track targets with the beam turrets, specifically the engines and weapons systems.
-[x] After succeeding at their primary objective, Able should seek out any capital ships, then link up with Baker; Baker should send its bombers to mop up any other targets that try to escape the atmosphere, as well as determine conditions on the surface with its recon fighters.
[x] When sufficient magic reserve has returned, while the battle is under way, have Patuxent relay an all-channel broadcast while using INTIMIDATE: "Attention Secundus garrison: This is Imperial Guard Commander Reisen of the INS Night Unbroken, acting under the direct authority of Her Grace Princess Houraisan Kaguya. Our Princess herself is in engaged in direct battle with rebels forces in this area, a band of pirates who call themselves the 'Dusklight Pact'. She is calling on all Imperial forces to her aid in repressing this outlaw group. Any soldier or officer found to be derelict in his duty at this time of necessity can and will be tried for treason. Never forget your duty to Luna."

That last bit to galvanize that corvette picket line and those orbital cannons into actually engaging the enemy. Recon fighters are most useful to the assault frigates, which have the most limited sensor range.

Oh and obligatory encyclopedia requests:
[x] ENCYCLOPEDIA: Defense frigate
[x] ENCYCLOPEDIA: Assault frigate
[x] ENCYCLOPEDIA: Corvette
[x] ENCYCLOPEDIA: House Houhei
[x] ENCYCLOPEDIA: Houhei Secundus
[x] ENCYCLOPEDIA: Aldebaran
>> No. 17813
>>17811
>On the other hand, that the defenses at Secundus have yet to move
>they are not moving… most likely, the Pact has threatened an attack if they come any closer
>> No. 17814
>>17811

Encyclopedia requests will be listed in the thread at /words/ in 12-16 hours.
>> No. 17823
And encyclopedia entires posted~.
>> No. 17827
>>17813

The question is, how could the ship have gotten through the picket line in the first place? Why were their defense forces so far from the planet when they'd been experiencing regular raids?

>and any Houhei patrol ships are nowhere to be found, indicating that the fleet was let in… no matter what the reason, it does not bode well for the mission.

Nobody in their right mind lets an entire fleet of capital ships park near their space elevators unescorted. No, the patrol ships have to all be at a safe distance away in order to make this 'stand-off' tableaux look at all believable.

It's like this, not only would the immediate presence of Secundus ships be even more suspicious, since they would then have an overwhelming advantage in firepower, but why would Houhei waste his own fleet resources when he can let the Pact and the Imperials wear each other out before he sweeps in with his own forces?

But it's no matter. This is another opportunity to display the overwhelming superiority of the Imperial Guard & Navy. If we do this right, with minimal losses, Houhei will be even less likely to betray Houraisan than before he was approached by the Pact.

The space elevators were never in any danger, since Houhei and the Pact are allies. At least until Houhei actively joins with the Imperial fleet, but that can only come after the Pact has taken already taken flight.
>> No. 17840
File 125394420970.jpg - (702.39KB, 3032x1986, pretty lights.jpg) [iqdb]
17840
I'll wait two more days for votes, and then begin writing; currently, >>17792's single strike has most support, with a proposal by >>17811 to wait the rebels out. Estimated worst case casualties are, either way, starting at 5000 and rise into the hundreds of thousands if any space elevator is downed.
>> No. 17843
[x] >>17827

But seriously some choices would make such major things easier... even in terms of making write ins.
>> No. 17845
>>17843

I guess the major thing it boils down to, after getting to hear it all, is this:

[ ] Attack before they can conclude their business;
or
[ ] Don't attack, and just wait them out.

These two options respond completely to the primary goal of preventing loss of life - your choice mostly depends on what you think the Pact fleet's goals are, and whether you have to balls to risk thousands of lives to get the job done decisively. If you think they're seriously a threat to the planet, and aren't sure if they won't just attack the planet if you wait, you'll probably want to strike hard, and fast. If you think they're not, or that they don't want to do it if they can help it, you'll probably hold off on an attack, and wait for a better opening - at which point, strategy opens up, and you have to think about what you expect can be accomplished aside from avoiding loss of life.

Although you won't fail if they get a few blows on the surface, you definitely will if they take down any of the space elevators, so a prolonged firefight must be avoided at all costs.
>> No. 17855
[x] Don't attack, and just wait them out.

I'll stick by my original vote. There's no way Houhei would have let those frigates get so close if there was any chance they were in danger. Unless that danger be planned--the result of an 'unforeseeable' intrusion on what they can claim were 'delicate' negotiations with the rebels. For all we know Houhei could be planning to have his own space elevators blown up, just to have the blame for it fall on us, weakening the Princess and the Adjutant politically.

By standing back until it's safe to engage, we make sure that if anyone dies, it will be clear for the public record that it will be the fault of Secundus security forces for allowing it to come to this, and not a stain on the Empress or the Adjutant, whose forces were not contacted for help as they perhaps should have been.
>> No. 17860
File 125408311542.png - (72.28KB, 332x461, Richterrr.png) [iqdb]
17860
>>17855
>Houhei could be planning to have his own space elevators blown up, just to have the blame for it fall on us, weakening the Princess and the Adjutant politically

That's absurd, they don't even know we are here yet, the rebels OBVIOUSLY aren't expecting us
>> No. 17861
[x] Don't attack, and just wait them out.

A hasty move might provoke them, and something seems fishy....
>> No. 17865
To writing, then. Again, encyclopedia entries are in the thread in /words/.
>> No. 17872
>>17865

Hooray!

We've neglected, of course, that the Adjutant may have a confederate among the Rebels or Houhei, and plans to start a fire-fight in order to destroy the Pact's presumed non-aggression agreement with Houhei, forcing Houhei over to our side and allowing her to blame the atrocity on the Pact.

But that would involve the loss of the elevators along with hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, and there's no way the Adjutant would allow something like that right?

After the shit goes down, and I'm 99% certain it will, we should have Patuxent look for any encrypted signals broadcast from the To Eternity to either the orbital defense platforms or the Pact vessels. She's pulled that sort of trick before, back during the Belligerence incident.
>> No. 17990
Its been a wile QWL.

You still alive?
>> No. 18014
QWL is probably busy breaking his balls with AP Chemistry. Don't worry, the guilt of leaving anon alone is still getting at him.

Also, y'know, writing lesbian porn takes a toll on ya.
>> No. 18095
>>18014

You should know by now I don't leave you guys alone. Just go into hiding for a while, tripping in the shadows... hell, I doubt I could leave if I wanted, this is that kind of place, and that kind of story.

I'm writing, but school definitely takes priority - and dear God, it just keeps coming. Best estimate would probably be next Sunday.

Hail Luna. Glory to the Empress that led her to the stars, and glory to the Empress that shall lead her to victory.
>> No. 18116
Somehow, seeing that reminds me of Pixie from Ace Combat Zero.

"Yo buddy. Still alive?"
>> No. 18170
>>18095

Hooray!
>> No. 18288
>>18095

updates?
>> No. 18386
updaaaaaaaate
>> No. 18671
I haven't forgotten about you, QWL
>> No. 19166
File 126326764741.jpg - (714.18KB, 800x600, well_shit.jpg) [iqdb]
19166
“Then have all ships disengage active sensors and hold position. The rebels have Secundus in the palm of their hand – if they wanted to cause some damage, they’d be firing by now. Probably would have even finished up while we were in warp…”

The order goes through, and soon your group stops in its tracks, seconds before the rest of the fleet follows. Yes, the rebels would have finished up by now normally, wouldn’t they? And Secundus would have said something, at least when they sighted them.

You look down to your screens as you open up the comm logs for the past three days. “Patuxent, did Secundus send any distress signals after we left the Capital?”

Empty. Emergency logs, empty… COMNET, the normal updates.

“No sir,” Patuxent answers. “Nothing that could be interpreted as any known coded messages, either.”

“Figures… in that case, we definitely keep our noses out of this. Open a line with the Adjutant and the Victory’s captain if you can, Adjutant first priority.“

“Yes, Captain,” she says, and you curse silently to yourself as the sensor pings fade with the reduced power. Damn nobles – they always have to stab each other in the back. Must be some kind of rule.

(But this time I’ve caught you, haven’t I Dubal? This time, you had to be so predictable.)

Although the link to the Victory fails (as you expected, they were obscuring Secundus), the audio channel to the Eternity manages to go through, and soon Eirin’s silky curious voice sounds from everywhere. You salute, even though she can’t see it; you’re sure she has some other link she can sense it through.

“Good morning, Commander,” she says. “I hope you slept well?”

“I have, Adjutant,” you answer, “but I’m starting to wish I stayed in bed. The Pact shouldn’t be here. Not this close, and not without us getting some kind of distress signal – and yet here we are, and there’s the Secundus defense fleet all the way out on the rim. It doesn’t make sense…”

After all, nobody would be stupid enough to commune with the rebels the same day they expected Princess Kaguya, right? Unless, of course...

“Oh, I told him,” Eirin says. “Which means that either he didn’t expect them to visit –“

“— Or he has something he wants to tell everybody about,” you finish, a frown creasing your lips. She read your mind. And you read back. Was that supposed to happen? You briefly consider asking her about it, but the increasingly awkward silence seems an answer enough, and you drop the thought with a sigh.

“In any case,” you continue evenly, “we probably shouldn’t come closer, then. My ships are holding position and have disabled active sensors, but we can still get a firing solution with our cameras; all we await are your orders, sir.”

Eirin hums pleasantly at that last sentence; although you really shouldn’t, you feel a touch of warmth at her approval. “You’re ready to fight, with these stakes and near lack of sensors, Commander? When one mistake could cause irreparable political damage?”

You bite your lip. “Yes, sir. Because –”

Because you won’t make a mistake? Because you don’t have a choice?

“—because it’s my duty as a Guardsman,” you answer. “My primary objective is to protect Her Majesty however I can. Everything else comes second to that – so if it’s possible for me to pick some of them off before they get in range, I want you to know I can. And aside from that… if something happens, then there’s no reason to keep active sensors off anyway, right? In that case, when worst comes to worst I will sink them. You have my word on that.”

There is a long pause – from Eirin to the crew to the thoughts that were flowing into your head just seconds ago – and as that silence grows, you wonder just how wrong what you said was. You should’ve said something else, that nothing is going to happen, that a Houhei nobleman and some important government officials weren’t going to die here and that there wasn’t going to be another horror story in the news –

But then Eirin laughs, in her quiet as-I-expected way.
“I see…” she says with intrigue, “I see. Alright, if we end up in battle, then stay to my bow and sink as many of them as you can with your group’s mass drivers. The ones around the elevators are top priority; If you have mass driver rounds after dealing with the orbiting fleet, then use them to supplement your defense of the Eternity. But, if we aren’t spotted – which, given their obvious incompetence with sensors, seems much more likely – remain as you are, and await further orders after the rebels leave. Understood?”

“Understood, Adjutant,” you answer.

“Then I will see you planetside; I’m repeating these orders to the Victory’s commander by probe,” the Adjutant says. “I didn’t realize you could make such rousing speeches, Commander – but I digress. Luna bless…”

“…Yes, Luna bless.” The words are sincere, but you can’t help the wave of nausea coming over you. “Night out…”

And as always, the channel window winks into nothingness. You swallow, and the nausea fades away; but like so many other times, it doesn’t really help you get over what you just said. With a sigh, you flop back into your chair, energy draining from you like so much sand.

Well, you said it. You meant it (you’d do anything for princess kaguya kill yourself if she told you to burn up little kids if she told you to just to please her please her please). And you know that you meant it (because in the end you can’t truly resist and you know it from memories a thousand years past).

You can feel everyone’s thoughts returning, requests and orders swirling in your head, and taking another deep breath, you dispel the maelstrom of your thoughts. This is no time to doubt yourself... yes, no time to ruin things for everyone else involved.

“You heard the Adjutant’s orders,” you say, though the words are still a bit hollow. “Return to your posts, and be alert for anything out of the ordinary. Until the situation changes, that’s all.”

Aye, sir, you “hear” in one chorus, and every station focuses on the image of that one planet, targeting ships, running ballistics and tactical simulations again and again. We will sink them, you hear. Because it is your will, we will sink them...

“But it doesn’t make you feel any better, does it, sir?”

You blink, snapping out of the reverie. Brahe.

“No, no it doesn’t, Lieutenant,” you reply somewhat bitterly, “but this is war. Happiness isn’t exactly the point, you know?”

“...Yes, sir.” To your surprise, Brahe seems crestfallen at the remark, her ears visibly sinking just that little bit.

You try reaching out to her mind, voice softening. “Hey, I didn’t mean it like that... if you’re worried about me, I’m fine. I can handle a bit of pain, Lieutenant. Honest. And if I couldn’t – well, I have my crew, don’t I?”

You smile, and though you can’t see her face, you can tell Brahe already feels much better. A strange mix, your emotions, but again it seems only fitting. Angst has to take a second spot to the well-being of these people – that’s simply how it works.

“I’ll be fine as long as you are, Brahe. As long as the people who serve me are. Alright?”

“Yes...”

“Then let’s continue this operation, Lieutenant. Let us keep waiting for God knows how long.”

“At once, sir!” she answers with her subdued voice. You feel her relief, her renewed vigor, and admittedly, those feelings do make you feel a little better, pulling you that much more to reality.

Naturally, something goes horribly wrong the very next second. Too fast for Brahe to warn you except by thought. In fact, too fast for that thought to even matter. Through her eyes, you see the violet glow of countless beams, all coalescing on one Pact ship – and then, the shards of what was once a frigate slowly sliding away, numerous specks of supplies and officers pouring out like blood. You look to your map, hoping that didn’t just happen, no way that could have really happened – but lo and behold, there’s one less dot around one of the elevators.

“Brahe,” you ask in total calm, “Did the defense turrets just attack the rebel fleet?”

“Yes, it seems they did, sir.”

“I see.”

[ ] Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit
[ ] “We should attack, shouldn’t we?”
[ ] “What do you expect to happen next, Brahe?”

--

And I haven't forgotten about you all. Ya'lls? Whatever, the sentiment remains. SITREP follows, but don't expect this to be much of a fight.
>> No. 19167
File 126326796318.png - (49.51KB, 1024x768, Secundus Map.png) [iqdb]
19167
SITREP Summary: fleet composition remains the same. Pact fleet is under attack by Secundus defense stations in orbit; shit has probably hit fan.

Available command ships, 2:
*INS To Eternity (Eirin, special operations vessel, long radar range, long range targeting)
*INS Victory II ([unknown], general carrier with two bomber wings and one recon wing, very long radar range)

Under your command, 6:
5x assault frigate (offensive, average radar range)
1x defense frigate (defensive, lower speed, above average radar range)

Enemy, unknown number:
?x assault frigate

Shields at normal. Weapons at overcharge. Radar disengaged, PASSIVE scanning; you are out of current enemy radar range, but not necessarily enemy's full radar range. Other command ships have disengaged radar and are in PASSIVE scanning.

Besides screaming, there are no tactical suggestions available.
>> No. 19170
You mean my brilliant plan from months earlier would have worked?

[X] “We should attack, shouldn’t we?”
>> No. 19172
>>19170

Maybe. But knowing what I do about the situation, probably not at all well. It'd like that one part in Fallout 2, where you come across the Enclave just murdering those two people, only this time the Chosen One would be able to actually get a hit in, rather than just sit there. It's no perfect analogy, but I don't quite have anything better off the top of my head.
>> No. 19178
[x] “What do you expect to happen next, Brahe?”

Kind of assuming that this is a rhetorical question.

Eirin can go in first, since she has the longest firing range, and stay there until the enemy make a move towards us (Victory II can watch enemy ships) when they do so we place the rest of our fleet between the enemy and Eirin. This way Eirin is firing for the most optimal amount of time possible.
>> No. 19181
[x] “What do you expect to happen next, Brahe?”
>> No. 19182
HOLY KA-JANGLING SCRAPTACIOUS FUCK

AN UPDATE
>> No. 19183
>>19182

Hey, I said I would. Granted, it took me a third of eternity, but I always make good my word with this.
>> No. 19265
Alright, time to write more nonsense-.
>> No. 19298
As I assumed, Eirin probably has a confederate among Houhei, and now that fire fight has started expects us to engage in order to save lives.

The real clincher however is whether the pact vessels fire, or instead flee. If they fire, then we've a massacre on our hands, one began by Eirin, if we can discover the go-ahead communication. If they instead turn tail and leave, then there's the possibility of discovering the confederate without escalating things. Ultimately leading to less loss of life, as well as a moral victory over Eirin.

I think they'll flee, since almost everyone wants to live. Turning on active sensors or otherwise alerting them to our presence, at least before they start firing, may cause them to desire to go down 'all guns blazing' against who they assume are Royalists.

The Rebels seem to be collecting large amounts of supplies from Secundus. A single, rogue defense platform is probably not going to result in them bombarding the planet, now while they're still loading supplies. If Houhei follows with the other defense platforms, then yes, this will turn into a bloodbath. My prediction is that the defense platform will either be retaliated upon, or the ships surround it will move to a safe distance.

Until this becomes all-out Houhei vs. Pact firefight (which is doubtful considering the singular nature of the attack and since their commanders are in direct contact) staying silent may be the best choice in reducing collateral loss of life and limb.

[x] “What do you expect to happen next, Brahe?”
>> No. 19415
updates?
>> No. 19508
You said there would be updates.
>> No. 19510
File 126517438863.jpg - (167.42KB, 536x489, just a useless bunny.jpg) [iqdb]
19510
Meanwhile, in #eientei
>> No. 19514
File 126519014492.jpg - (318.31KB, 1500x800, The_Machine_Planet.jpg) [iqdb]
19514
The beams charge up for another round, and with them comes the sickening falling feeling in the pit of your stomach. Almost instinctively, you laugh quietly – but all it does is accentuate the feeling, adding a sharp twinge of nausea to it all. The rebels can’t attack. If they decide to fire...

No, if they decide to fire, the Pact’s doomed. The rabbits will never support them after they kill major officials of their governments – so they won’t fire, they’ll just sit there and die by the shipload. But for what? Why are they here?

You look away from the screen, repeating a litany to the Princess as the defenses tear through another rebel frigate. “Brahe, are the Pact responding?”

“No, sir,” she replies. “No energy buildup we can see, no return fire, no movement.”

“Damn it. Conspiracies, always a conspiracy...”
Brahe looks at you from the corner of her eye. “...Captain?”

“Nothing, just a thought.” Nothing on sensors coming from the Pact. “Is there any way for us to intercept the rebel fleet’s communications?”

“Not with sensors at this range, sir. We could try infiltrating their communications systems, but we would be spotted from the transmissions...”

“...And then we’re done, right.” You shake your head in frustration. “Well, nobody but the Pact’s in danger here, anyway, so that’s good. Brahe, save the camera footage from the time we entered the system to the time we dock with Secundus to backup; Patuxent, save any communications we may receive from the rebel fleet for voice and facial analysis. I want to know who’s leading that fleet, and where they came from.”

“Aye sir,” they simultaneously respond; and barely seconds later, Patuxent reports an all frequency broadcast from the fleet, putting the public channel on speakers. A few more seconds later, a young man’s voice flows throughout the bridge, tense but disciplined – and stained with the regal accent of the old Houhei.

“...Unknown vessels, respond. This is DCF Greenhair, frigate of the Dusklight Pact – we know you are there and ask you reply...”

The young speaking in extinct voices, a thousand years old and counting – just like you, taught to speak and write all over again by one of the few Yagokoro still alive. And, of course, the only person here that old besides Eirin is the Maquis...

“Secundus defenses appear to be aiming railgun turrets at hostile vessels, expect firing within ten seconds,” Brahe notes. “Sensors say we haven’t been spotted, sir.”

You nod, and five seconds later, six more frigates to the southern pole are shredded by dozens of composite rods. This time, the ships don’t even get the luxury of sustaining any of the fire – the bolts just rip right through, snapping the hulls like twigs where they strike, warping metal everywhere they don’t; and like the others before them, they ‘bleed’. Eight ships down... well over half the fleet, now drifting lifelessly over Secundus. To the rebel’s credit, he doesn’t panic like the others did, but at the rate they’re going down, all his resilience won’t make a bit of difference.

As the officer’s cries grow ever louder, you wonder if the Adjutant will even bother answering.

“...I repeat, this is DCF Greenhair to all unidentified ships in range, please respond. We cannot move and require your assistance!” Alarms sound in the background; nervous voices chatter of radar targeting and evacuation, and the man groans in frustration. “God damn it, we are being slaughtered! Help us!”

You close your eyes and sigh, trying very hard not to think of the screams that’ll come before the static. “Patuxent, any luck getting an ID on him?”

She shakes her head. “He’s definitely Houhei, almost certainly a descendant of Maquis Dubal – pitch narrows it to over one hundred possible IDs. No go unless I see his face, ma’am...”

“I understand,” you reply. “Reduce the volume – when he goes up, it’s going to be loud.”

“Aye, captain,” she says, and being unable to avoid thinking of their long, drawn-out deaths to vaccum exposure, you make a silent prayer for the Greenhair crew’s quick and painless death, reciting part of another litany. The Empress is queen, the Empress is mother, the Empress is God...

“So you still believe in God?”

You open your eyes again. Over the radio – that was Eirin. And instead of an explosive rush of air, there is the faint chatter of confused voices, the slight hiss of a microphone still intact and still in existence.

“...What?” the rebel asks.

“I said, so you still believe in God?”

“I believe in the pieces coming together, yes,” he answers in realization. “But I can’t believe in Empresses any longer. Just our luck... Adjutant Yagokoro, INS To Eternity?”

Eirin chuckles. “The very one.”

“Naturally it’s you, godmother. I suppose we should just kill ourselves now, then?”

“Ordinarily, I’d have already spared you the trouble,” she says casually. “But you’re practically family, and I’m busy, so I’ll make an exception this time. You have a line to Dubal, don’t you? Tell him I’ve arrived.”

Another pause, more back and forth of talking. Then – “They’ve stopped...”

“Defense stations powering down,” Brahe says, confirming it. “Remaining Pact ships are making way for our fleet, sir.”

You smile lightly. “For once, things worked out, sort of... Lieutenant, bring active sensors back online, and get us linked up with the fleet. Gengetsu, prep the ship for orbit with Houhei Secundus, and await further orders from the Adjutant. Patuxent, hail the Eternity once the Adjutant’s done speaking with the Greenhair. Everybody else – stay frosty. The situation can and probably somehow will change.”

The crew acknowledges, and the minimap glitters with the fleet and new orders, showing your task group following the Eternity into orbiting pattern over the planet. On screen, a window to the Eternity opens up, showing the Adjutant and Princess Kaguya looking out at several views of Secundus. Looking aside at the camera for a second, she whispers something to the Princess, before turning to face it, a distant smirk giving way to her usual open bearing.

As usual, you salute; she salutes back. “Adjutant.”

“Commander,“ she returns. “Good to see you’re in excellent condition. A pity that you didn’t get to show me your combat prowess, but there’ll be time enough for that. What do you need?”

[ ] Discuss the mission. In particular...
[ ] The officials Kaguya will be meeting.
[ ] The purpose of the meeting.
[ ] Possible threats to consider.

[ ] Discuss people:
[ ] Marquis Dubal Houhei
[ ] Eirin’s “godson” (?)

[ ] Ask her about what just happened:
[ ] Ask about her theories about the Pact’s business here... after all, she seems to know somebody on the Greenhair.
[ ] History of the Greenhair?
[ ] The hell kind of name is ‘Greenhair'? (+/- Loyalty to Eirin)

-----

And as always, I indeed promised updates. But please don't talk about #eientei's insane AI...
>> No. 19518
[X] Ask her about what just happened:
[X] Ask about her theories about the Pact’s business here... after all, she seems to know somebody on the Greenhair.

Most curious about this. Why were they stuck? What are they doing here?

[X] The hell kind of name is ‘Greenhair'? (+/- Loyalty to Eirin)

Plus or minus, change is always more interesting than stasis.

[x] Marquis Dubal Houhei

Or just get the encyclopedia entry up.

[X] Discuss the mission. In particular...
[X] The purpose of the meeting.
[X] Possible threats to consider.
[X] The officials Kaguya will be meeting.

In this order. If she can't tell us the purpose, we at least need to know about possible threats. If that information is insufficient, we can make our own judgements based on knowledge of who will be at the meeting.
>> No. 19539
>>19518

I'll draft this up, but I'm still waiting for votes.
>> No. 19560
File 126535827533.jpg - (108.84KB, 1212x899, Reinhart confesses his love.jpg) [iqdb]
19560
[X] Ask her about what just happened:
[x] Fire the main cannon anyway
[x] KIIIRCHEEEIIIIISSSSSSSSSS
>> No. 19564
It's pretty obvious what just happened. The pact were committing their regular 'raids' but a confederate of Eirin's with control of the defense stations started firing at the pact ships. Pact ships would face irreparable loss of credibility had they actually fired back, so they just sat and had the shit beat out of them, until their commander decided to surrender himself and his pirate fleet of frigates over to Eirin, knowing that someone else was directing the fire of the defense cannons, and that this was not orchestrated by Dubal of Houhei, whom he was in direct communication with, as the enemy commander admitted himself.

[x] Tell the Adjutant that your fighting prowess is not best displayed when aggression could mean massive casualties incurred on the part of incidentals, and prospective allies. You prefer to 'stand and fight'. Perhaps this is why you are not also a politician?
[x] Discuss the mission. In particular...
-[X] The purpose of the meeting.
-[X] Possible threats to consider.
-[X] The officials Kaguya will be meeting.
[x] Discuss people:
-[x] The hell kind of name is ‘Greenhair'? (+/- Loyalty to Eirin)

Accepting Eirin's compliment in a backhanded manner is more for the bridge crew's edification than Eirin's, while keeping them suitably mystified as to what went on here, so that Eirin won't rely on privileged communiques in the future. Maintaining a selfless air while portraying your superiors as a vicious nest of vipers is critical in maintaining complete loyalty of your crew and assuring that no one is hunting for your job. Remember when everyone on the bridge drew beads on the marines who were to 'escort' you to Eirin? That's the kind of personal loyalty I'm talking about here.

I've been playing too much Mass Effect 2, where you can have it both ways: Paragon and Renegade.
>> No. 19566
>>19564
>It's pretty obvious what just happened.
I'm not seeing the answer as to why they couldn't just move. They weren't even taking evasive action.
>> No. 19567
[x] Tell the Adjutant that your fighting prowess is not best displayed when aggression could mean massive casualties incurred on the part of incidentals, and prospective allies. You prefer to 'stand and fight'. Perhaps this is why you are not also a politician?
[x] Discuss the mission. In particular...
-[X] The purpose of the meeting.
-[X] Possible threats to consider.
-[X] The officials Kaguya will be meeting.
[x] Discuss people:
-[x] The hell kind of name is ‘Greenhair'? (+/- Loyalty to Eirin)
>> No. 19569
File 126547196237.jpg - (411.17KB, 845x716, The_Connection.jpg) [iqdb]
19569
>Maintaining a selfless air while portraying your superiors as a vicious nest of vipers is critical in maintaining complete loyalty of your crew and assuring that no one is hunting for your job.

>portraying your superiors as a vicious nest of vipers

I'm not sure Eirin needs any help there, but you never know. Writing.
>> No. 19570
[x] Tell the Adjutant that your fighting prowess is not best displayed when aggression could mean massive casualties incurred on the part of incidentals, and prospective allies. You prefer to 'stand and fight'. Perhaps this is why you are not also a politician?
[x] Discuss the mission. In particular...
-[X] The purpose of the meeting.
-[X] Possible threats to consider.
-[X] The officials Kaguya will be meeting.
[x] Discuss people:
-[x] The hell kind of name is ‘Greenhair'? (+/- Loyalty to Eirin)
>> No. 19572
>>19566

First is that 'evasively maneuvering' a frigate at point-blank range is probably impossible.

Second is that they had to remain at stand-off with respect to the defenses, because the supply frigates they had escorted, the ones closer to the surface hadn't finished loading.

Breaking away from stand-off position and allowing the frigates closer to the surface to carry out their assigned roles would result in Houhei losing all plausible deniability regarding providing the rebels with supplies, leaving the rebels doubly fucked, because then (in order for Houhei to maintain appearances) not only would all defense stations come online, the picket fleet would be called in to interdict their escape.

It's just as Reisen's assessment:

>“Well, nobody but the Pact’s in danger here, anyway, so that’s good. Brahe, save the camera footage from the time we entered the system to the time we dock with Secundus to backup; Patuxent, save any communications we may receive from the rebel fleet for voice and facial analysis. I want to know who’s leading that fleet, and where they came from.”

They would sit there and die, in order to prevent staining the name of their of their cause and their leaders. If their commander hadn't surrendered, they would have been decimated completely.
>> No. 19573
>>19572
>First is that 'evasively maneuvering' a frigate at point-blank range is probably impossible.
"Getting away" is part of an evasive maneuver.

>Second is that they had to remain at stand-off with respect to the defenses, because the supply frigates they had escorted, the ones closer to the surface hadn't finished loading.
I don't know about you, but I wouldn't sit still and die for some blokes on a resupply ship who may or may not make it out alive anyway, and for whom I'm not actually doing a damn thing. There was no "stand-off" the moment they were fired on and failed to return fire.

>not only would all defense stations come online
Which is exactly what they saw happening.
>> No. 19576
>I don't know about you, but I wouldn't sit still and die for some blokes on a resupply ship who may or may not make it out alive anyway, and for whom I'm not actually doing a damn thing.

You haven't undergone strict military training to prevent you from breaking formation while under fire. And even if you did, you wouldn't have the liberty of breaking rank, either, due to your already close proximity to the defense platforms and the pursuit of the picket fleet.

>There was no "stand-off" the moment they were fired on and failed to return fire.

They were only ever interested in keeping up appearances. Before, an armada of frigates sacrificed themselves so that the Dusklight might escape, and only that reason. You shouldn't underestimate their loyalty to their cause; if there was any possibility of escape, they would not have surrendered, would they? They couldn't return fire, because while being rebels, they were still loyal to Houhei.

>Which is exactly what they saw happening.

The ships were eliminated piecemeal, despite surrounding multiple defense platforms. This was intended so that Eirin might force them to surrender, which did happen, after destroying half of their force as a lesson. If she had intended on destroying their force completely, she would have had her fleet engage as well. In fact, there was always the opportunity for that, if Reisen had chosen to engage,

It's a good thing we didn't, because all Eirin would need to put an end to Houhei was destruction of one of her ships to a Houhei defense installation.

Again, it's all politics:
>The rabbits will never support them after they kill major officials of their governments – so they won’t fire, they’ll just sit there and die by the shipload. But for what? Why are they here?

Reisen got her answer when the rebel commander turned out to be Houhei royalty.
>> No. 19580
File 126558367245.jpg - (943.83KB, 1600x1200, The_Machine_Planet_II.jpg) [iqdb]
19580
[x] Tell the Adjutant that your fighting prowess is not best displayed when aggression could mean massive casualties incurred on the part of incidentals, and prospective allies. You prefer to 'stand and fight'. Perhaps this is why you are not also a politician?
[x] Discuss the mission. In particular...
-[X] The purpose of the meeting.
-[X] Possible threats to consider.
-[X] The officials Kaguya will be meeting.
[x] Discuss people:
-[x] The hell kind of name is ‘Greenhair'? (+/- Loyalty to Eirin)

---

“Just a bit of information before we land, Adjutant,” you answer. “And as ready as I was, I do still have self control, my lord – it wouldn’t do to risk hundreds of thousands of noncoms just for a dozen or so ships, after all. But I digress.“ With the active sensors back online, you reconnect to COMNET, looking up whatever you can on a meeting at Houhei Secundus to no avail. “If you have it, I’d like some more facts about this meeting: its purpose, any threats I should look out for, the people Her Majesty is going to meet. And one more thing, although it probably doesn’t matter... ‘Greenhair’. What’s that supposed to be a reference to, my lord?”

Eirin frowns, an eyebrow raised curiously. “You don’t know, Commander? I was certain you were taught pre-Expansion history... it refers to the lone youkai that destroyed the INS Tsuuyumi a thousand years ago with a beam spell. The only consistent detail about him is that he – or she – had green hair, and the name stuck. As for the mission... officially, the meeting’s just about House Houhei’s distribution of patrol group contracts to the rabbit factions in Aquila, as well as who gets how much production time on the Houhei factory complexes; unofficially, Her Majesty says that she needs to meet Maquis Houhei in order to contact a few people in high places, and she wouldn’t even tell me exactly who they all were. The only possible threats I’m sure of are any Pact members planetside, but given who Princess Kaguya is meeting, you need to be ready for anything. She should be fine in her quarters with my marines, but while Her Majesty’s outside, keep her covered and your eyes open.”

“Alright,” you reply, looking through the marine roster for your group. 54 full fireteams – 216 marines, all told, although the teams stationed on the three new frigates are similarly green. It’s probably best to keep them close, if you take them at all. “And the people she’s meeting?”

“Six members of the Aquilan factions: two for the Reisen, two for the Heiseimi, and two for the Rabbit’s Trading Alliance. Each pair is composed of the faction’s representative and an assistant, who accompanies them to the meeting – so if one of them doesn’t show up, then there is definitely something wrong. As I said, I’m not sure who Her Majesty’s contacts are, but I’m fairly sure that one of them is a Korai noble. That’s all we have; I’ve sent bios of the faction pairs and the map of our operational area to your ship systems.”

You do a quick check to make sure you have the data; all there, of course, and you look back up at the Adjutant, nodding. “That’s all I needed, my lord. Thank you.”

“Then I’ll see you planetside, Commander.” The Adjutant turns around, continuing as she returns to the Princess’ side. “As I said, I’m not too worried about seeing you fight –“ she glances at you again from the corner of her eye – “just take care, and focus on the mission. Understood?”

“Of course, Adjutant.” And before she turns away, you catch a rare, priceless glimpse of the Adjutant smiling. Genuine happiness, in a public communique... Princess Kaguya must have the same kind of effect on her as she does on you.

The Adjutant says nothing, instead raising a hand in farewell. “Glory to our Princess, Commander.”

Glory to our Princess,” you repeat, impressed, and the channel closes as the Adjutant lowers her hand, immediately replaced by images of the map she sent. On the sides, images of the six VIPs come up, as well as ID strings for the rabbits. You look for any oddities – one that stands out to you in particular is that the Reisen rep has a Heiseimi assistant, and vice versa – but aside from that, you pay more attention to the area’s layout, looking for ways in and out of the two meeting areas, as well as to the Princess’ residence.

Everything appears to be inside of one massive, helical structure, and although there are landing ports every two floors or so, the main way into a floor appears to be by elevator or by railway along the tower’s edge. Her Majesty appears to be staying at the 79th floor of the ‘Upper Ring’, just two floors below the top; the rabbits will meet her seven floors down, while Maquis Dubal will meet the Princess at the top floor, which appears to be a penthouse suite. From the maps, each floor is something like a city district, capable of holding buildings up to a hundred feet high; it’s only in luxury residential districts like Princess Kaguya’s that normal buildings are constructed, however, while floors like the 72nd are setup more like a massive mall complex: lots of cover, lots of places to scout, hide, possibly snipe. It’ll be hell to keep every angle covered, but fortunately your marines aren’t going to be alone. The 81st floor, in contrast, is basically a park, with Houhei’s home the only major building in it – much easier to escort the Princess in. It looks like it would be best to keep the marines in spread out fireteams that can act as a scout/countersniper network, with a few squads by the Princess keeping close watch. You look to the Tactical Officer, about to ask her for advice; but she nods her approval. At the very least, Rikuken can’t think of anything better.

“We’re in orbit around Houhei Secundus, Commander,” Gengetsu reports. “We have clearance from Secundus Stratospheric Control to land shuttles on an ‘Aria Central Tower’, marking coordinates. Task group reports shuttles prepped on all ships and ready for your orders.”

“Good.” You switch over to the fleet display, looking over your ships...

---
Loyalty with Eirin increased slightly.
---
[Landing Assignments: Fleet]
7 ships available with marines:

5x Assault Frigate:
* INS Tripitaka, 8 fireteams
* INS Looming Horizon, 8 fireteams
* INS Pray Harder, 8 fireteams
* INS Southern Cross (low experience), 8 fireteams
* INS Fatalis (low experience), 8 fireteams

1x Defense Frigate, INS Aventhiem (low experience), 8 fireteams

1x Command Corvette, INS Night Unbroken, 6 fireteams.

[ ] Take all the marines from all the ships, let the captains decide what officers get to go.
[ ] Take all the marines from all the ships, no officers.
[ ] (Requisite micromanagement option, choose following number of fireteams from following ships, etc.)

[Landing Assignments: INS Night Unbroken, Bridge Crew]
[ ] You’ll let all the officers come down for some shore leave – first the day shift, then the night shift, alternating for as long as you’re staying.

[ ] You’ll let the following departments come along, first day shift, then night shift (choose as many as desired from the following departments):
-[ ] Weapons
-[ ] Sensors
-[ ] Communications
-[ ] Tactical
-[ ] System Administration

[ ] You’ll bring along a set crew (write in who’s coming with you):

[ ] “See you all in a few days...”

[Other (will be put in a separate post from the update)]
[ ] [INVENTORY].
[ ] [STATUS].
[ ] Read up on:

---

Since there’s a lot of choices, I’m going to go with best vote if there isn’t a consensus.
>> No. 19583
>You don’t know, Commander? I was certain you were taught pre-Expansion history... it refers to the lone youkai that destroyed the INS Tsuuyumi a thousand years ago with a beam spell. The only consistent detail about him is that he – or she – had green hair, and the name stuck.

Would that Youkai be named Yuuka?

Would it hurt to have "pre-planned" options as in set configurations of things?
>> No. 19584
File 126559688869.jpg - (697.44KB, 1929x1260, buttons.jpg) [iqdb]
19584
>>19583

Yes, that would have been a good idea, apologies for my brief bout of flight-sim mentality. Here's a [ ] Plan A:

[Landing Assignments: Fleet]
[X] Take all but one fireteam from all the ships, let the captains decide what officers get to go.

[Landing Assignments: INS Night Unbroken, Bridge Crew]
[X] You’ll let all the officers come down for some shore leave – first the day shift, then the night shift, alternating for as long as you’re staying.

And a more cautious [ ] Plan B:

[Landing Assignments: Fleet]
[X] Take all but two fireteams from all the ships, no officers.

[Landing Assignments: INS Night Unbroken, Bridge Crew]
[X]You’ll bring along a set crew: Heiseimi, Brahe, and Rikuken.
>> No. 19587
[X] Plan A
>> No. 19595
>>19576
>You haven't undergone strict military training to prevent you from breaking formation while under fire.
This doesn't apply when the actions under question are those of the commander(s).

>And even if you did, you wouldn't have the liberty of breaking rank, either, due to your already close proximity to the defense platforms
That is exactly like not shooting someone in a Mexican stand-off when they've already shot you.

>and the pursuit of the picket fleet.
Who seem to have arranged to be out of range of actually doing anything. Whether or not this is the case, it (being pursued) is still better than being slaughtered, which is what they believed was happening.

>if there was any possibility of escape, they would not have surrendered, would they?
I am interested in the reason they could not escape.
>> No. 19603
[x] Plan B
[x] Inquire as to the immediate disposition of all captured vessels.

Reasoning: 52 fire teams isn't much different from 53, and this isn't a pleasure cruise. Shit will go wrong. It's best no one gets left in port when that happens.
>> No. 19605
[x] Plan B
>> No. 19607
File 126577528774.jpg - (78.09KB, 900x300, PBF120-Moon_Bunny.jpg) [iqdb]
19607
Writing some more, and (Autosaving...).

SUGGEST:
* Watch where you shoot with a mass driver.
* Talking down to 1000-year old nobles that can stop ships in their tracks may be a bad idea.
>> No. 19684
>Writing some more

Hooray!

>and (Autosaving...).

Equivocal feelings!
>> No. 19686
[x] Update.
>> No. 19721
>>19686

Agreed. Updates are needed.
>> No. 20270
updaaaaaate
>> No. 20846
This story has died and risen so many times.

Let's hope it continues to do so in the inestimable future.
>> No. 22396
File 128614132947.jpg - (65.75KB, 800x313, Intrusion Exponential.jpg) [iqdb]
22396
“Alright, get our group’s docking pattern from the Eternity and ready marines; I want them all on the ground and in position before Her Majesty arrives. Outside of the Night’s dayshift, all officers are to stay aboard until further notice, acknowledged?”

“Affirmative, commander,” Patuxent says automatically. “Shuttles on all ships are standing by, all ready in two hours; Eternity reports the Princess’ departure in six.”

“Good, we should have some time to plan and arm up. Notify the night shift of our deployment schedule, and put the Dawnrise on auxiliary command; once we confirm her connection, all dayshift crew will pack Condition Two supplies for five days ashore. Kinetic weapons are restricted to ultralow power… but aside from that, all small arms are authorized for deployment on Secundus.” You switch on your pistol’s limiter; in a matter of seconds, it seals up like an insect, heatsinks slipping back inside the barrel before being hidden by the plates of the bipod. “Any questions about the situation before we go?”

A cluster of “no, ma’am”’s returns from the pit; satisfied with the response, you log off of the command system.

“Then we’ll depart in five and begin briefing when we’re ready to go,” you finish. “Until then, I’ll be in my quarters, open channel like usual. We’ve had very good luck so far– hopefully, it’ll hold into the mission. Luna protect us.”

--

Five hours later, you’re walking down the main corridor to the hangar bay in a dress uniform and cloak, toting a small suitcase and backpack with you. Inside the suitcase are your clothes, made slightly more elaborate to reflect your promotion – for the most part, it means another gold stripe running diagonally along the front of the dress jackets – and inside your backpack are the usual hygenics, along with a half-dozen clips of frangible slugs for your pistol. It’s a comforting weight, reminiscent of the Guard infiltration exercises you used to do day after day— and in a way, what you’re headed for isn’t really all that different from one of those sessions so long ago, save the shattered vessels up in orbit, and the important old men you have to watch on the surface. And the fact that the Princess and Eirin are going to be down there… and then the possibility that the rebel commander has some familial connection to Eirin, as well as whatever complication the trance had on the crew…

Aside from all that, it’s really not all that different from an exercise. Go down, watch people talk, escort the Princess back up. Going from seventy years of Intelligence reports, the biggest risk in the operational area was eavesdropping – now, it’s the rebel commander, too. Depending on who he really is, there could be some serious trouble if he gets away… and naturally, Eirin really didn’t want to talk about him while she was with the Princess. But it can wait. She was smiling, for the first time that you can recall.

Moon. Brown eyes. Embrace.

As you enter the cyan glow of the hangar, standing before the dayshift and the shuttle down, those thoughts keep repeating. Out in the dark beyond the bay, Secundus glitters with shattered vessels and salvage drones; out in the dark, a millennium old happiness is echoing so impossibly loud you can feel it ringing in your mind.

You look to your crew, exchanging salute. “We’re all ready?”

“Yes sir,” they respond, thoughts trained on your word alone.

“Alright, then I’ll get started. As of 1000 standard time, Her Majesty is proceeding with her meetings on Houhei Secundus, one with representatives from the Aquillian Reisen, Heiseimi, and RTA, another with Marquis Dubal Houhei and her own personal contacts. Operating area is the central tower of Aria Arcology near the planet’s north pole for about five standard days, mostly three floors on its upper subsection: 72, 79, and 81, the penthouse. The Aquillian meeting will take place on the 72nd floor on the second day, followed two days later by Marquis Houhei’s on the 81st; meanwhile, Her Majesty will have lodgings on the 79th floor in a diplomatic mansion. Schematics and local HUMINT going up now…”

The room is so quiet, you can almost hear them freeze up from the data.

“…That’s all there is, ma’am?” Heiseimi asks. “Where’s the infiltration team? The drones?”

“Gone. Either destroyed or reassigned, but according to the Adjutant, she had them removed immediately after the Reclamation.”

Her ears twitch as she comes to realize who could get the Adjutant to do that; but save an impressed huff, Heiseimi is as still as the rest.

“Lucky for us,” you continue, “our HUMINT in the Pact is still alive and well. We still don’t have any confirmation of their commander’s identity, but we do know enemy composition and possible objectives. According to sleeper cells, the fleet here is a detachment of a minor diplomacy wing: the command frigate DCS Greenhair, two supply frigates loaded with salvaged Korai probes and data crystals, and a wing of 11 frigates for cover; their mission, coincidentally, appears to match ours. Using the information in those probes, the Pact is trying to get Houhei’s backing – and since they were so loud with their attempt, a lot of rabbit interests are waking up in the area to find out what the Pact knows. Objectives are to protect Her Majesty, gather intel on the local factions and VIPs, and to secure the Pact commander for interception; these will be split into three missions, Red, Blue, and Green, respectively. I’m sending the operation overview up now, any questions?”

They say nothing.

“Then let’s get moving,” you reply, signaling ready to the shuttle pilot.

---

I'm not sure why this update's taking so long to write, but I ended up splitting it into the part you're reading now so that I have something to show, and so that I don't kill myself in frustration.

Operation summary coming up next - read that. After the summary comes the second part of this update.
>> No. 22397
File 128614154541.jpg - (323.70KB, 2975x900, the_approach.jpg) [iqdb]
22397
Operation Blacksmith

Operational Area (OA): IL Aquarii - Houhei Secundus - Aria Arcology, Central Tower; primarily floors 72, 79, and 81 in the tower's upper section. Five standard days.

Operation Began (OPBEGIN): 0000, March 03, E4 61.
Operation Ends (OPEND): 2359, March 08, E4 61.

Entry into OA (OAENTER) at: OPBEGIN + 1100.

Enemy Assets (OPFOR): Indeterminate. Pact fleet PACT1 in orbit, expected to have suffered 50% casualties from unrelated incident in OA. Possible foreign interests acting in OA, recon or covert cells.

PACT1 composition, before casualties:
3x Layla-class EWAR frigate
8x Ushas-class defense frigate
2x Peach-class supply frigate:
* Unknown number of unspecified Korai probes
* Unknown number of Korai data crystals, unknown data
1x Ran-class command frigate "DCS Greenhair".

Friendly Assets (ALLY):
Spaceborne: 7th Elite Fleet of the Imperial Guard, Task Forces:
* 8.1 (INS To Eternity + 8 frigates)
* 8.2 (INS Night Unbroken + 6 frigates)
* 9.1 (INS Victory II + 6 Corvettes, 2 frigates).

Infantry: 7th Elite Fleet of the Imperial Guard, Task Force:
* 8.2/1-54 (216 marines total)

All assets are in good condition.


VIP's (VIP): Known are Princess Houraisan Kaguya, Adjutant Yagokoro Eirin, Marquis Dubal Houhei, the three Aquillan ambassadors, and PACT1's commander; see OPCODE for codenames, "BLACKSMITH: Background" for background. Expected are at least one contact of unknown identity, possibly affiliated with House Korai, refer as MOONLIGHT1 to MOONLIGHT(n).

OPCODE:

* Houraisan Kaguya - "PLUTO"
* Yagokoro Eirin - "CHARON"
* Dubal Houhei - "ANVIL"
* Unknown Pact Commander - "FIREFLY"

Contacts:
* Heiseimi Ambassador - "ARROW"
* Reisen Ambassador - "SWORD"
* RTA Ambassador - "PIKE"

Unspecified Contacts - "MOONLIGHT1" - "MOONLIGHT(n)".

SITREP: After entering IL Aquarii, PACT1 was spotted by all friendly assets in orbit around Houhei Secundus, weapons trained on population centers near and above atmosphere. Houhei Secundus launched satellite to space attack on PACT1, resulting in estimated 50% casualties of PACT1 and spread of debris around Secundus space. According to CHARON, the ground situation remains the same - Secundus has reported no casualties, and all VIPs are confirmed alive. PLUTO will meet with ARROW, SWORD, and PIKE at OAENTER + 1 day, then ANVIL and MOONLIGHT at OAENTER + 3 days. During all other times, PLUTO will reside on floor 79 of OA.

Human Intelligence (HUMINT): Minimal for OA. Intelligence efforts have been halted for 10 years due to unknown causes; what remains indicate operating intelligence cells from the Heiseimi Colonial Force, the Reisen Military Legion, and the Rabbit Trading Authority. ANVIL is likely aware of these cells, and may have compromised them since -10 years. PACT1 HUMINT indicates that PACT1's operation is high priority for the Dusklight Pact's agenda - PACT1 forces and FIREFLY will likely be active in OA indefinitely to achieve their objectives.

Objectives (OBJ):
* Red Mission: Protect PLUTO.
* Blue Mission: Obtain intelligence on:
* PACT1
* FIREFLY
* ANVIL
* MOONLIGHT.
* Green Mission: Secure FIREFLY for interception/capture.

Threat Assesment (THREAT): Moderate intelligence threat from OPFOR cells and PACT1, low political and low physical from PACT1. Outside of CHARON and ANVIL, there is no knowledge that PLUTO has left the Capital. PLUTO will also be keeping to private confrence floors and residences, to minimize detection.

Rules of Engagement (ROE): Weapons hold; no engagement is allowed unless approved by CHARON. Civilians are off limits.

END OPERATION SUMMARY

---
>> No. 22398
File 128614195969.jpg - (239.45KB, 1200x663, Goal-Oriented Jack.jpg) [iqdb]
22398
A couple of hours later, you’re just entering orbit over Houhei Secundus, the rumble of shuttle engines a distant sensation in your mind. Beside you are Brahe and Heiseimi, both chatting about today’s incident; behind you, Patuxent and the Tactical and Navigational Officers, the pair almost completely silent save for the unintelligible aura of their emotions. If it bothers Patuxent, you can’t tell – she’s fast asleep, leaning slightly toward her viewport – but the fact that she’s getting any rest at all is unusual. It’s too bad, she always did look like she needed it…

Shaking your head, you go back to gazing at Secundus through the cameras, feeling the shuttle begin its descent mission.

As the shuttle reorients itself, Secundus swings into view just under you, a vast silvery ball webbed with innumerable lights. It’s oddly beautiful, glittering with a highway of space traffic crossing to and from the petals of flowerlike orbital stations; despite the carnage hours ago, traffic didn’t seem to slow down one bit. Zooming in, you can see the wrecks from the battle being cut up by salvage drones, their pieces dissolving and rising to chunky salvage stations in upper orbit. It’s mildly appaling to see the dead so quickly recycled, but at the same time, the efficiency’s mesmerizing. Looking towards Secundus, you can see the rebel ships being towed to separate stations for unknown purposes, their orange and green stripes sickly in the atmosphere’s light…

(Look at them, wallowing in their little hell. They look up to the night sky full of stars, and they only see their jailor looking back…)

It hits you then that this is what the Princess made. Everything down there is hers – a monument to her sins, and you’re sinking into it.

“Commander?” someone asks.

“Hm?” You look around, stolen from the thought; that was Heiseimi. “Something wrong, Heiseimi?”

“No, ma’am, just didn’t think you felt that way about the Pact…”

“The Pact… ah. No, that wasn’t me talking,” you assure her. “Just something the Princess told me.”

(Down there are my children, Eirin…)

“Everything about this war… it hurts her. And she told me so much, it’s been hard keeping it in my head, that’s all. Just forget about it for now, Lieutenant.”

She seems worried for a second, but the look fades quickly. “Done, ma’am.”
Thanking her, you switch back to the shuttle interior, sinking into your seat for the landing. The pilot reports three minutes to docking; a good head start, with the Princess a little under an hour behind you. The shuttle slows to a hover… and with a slight bump from the landing gear, you’re on the ground. The reports start flowing into your head as the shuttle hatch opens:

[[TF 8.2/1-54: READY]]

[[TF 8.2.2 (AUXCOMMAND): have position of COMMAND, tracking.]]

[[AUXCOMMAND: PLUTO, CHARON entering OA in 30 min.]]

The light and the air cram in through the shuttle’s opening hatch, trying a too hard to seem natural; outside, guards and reception assemble.

[[TF 8.1: Linking civilian COMNET CIV1.]]

[[TF 8.1: connection from CIV 1 to PLUTO, expected sender is MOONLIGHT. Feeding tap to your private line, connect at will.]]

[[RN-13B: TF 8.2, COMMAND disembarking.]]

Patuxent opens her eyes like she was never asleep, and with the crew taking up rear guard, you disembark, coming into the light.

What you see is the greatest sprawl you’ve imagined. What were sleepy trails of orbital traffic are now great speeding streams of light slicing up the sky. The towers, filled with buildings and car traffic of their own, go up to the sky and straight into space in numbers almost beyond counting, endless lines of aircars zipping between all of them in almost recognizable order… and as you look up, massive frigate-sized spheres begin to float to the sky, tethered along their equators to pods on the towers.

You look back to the reception stationed before you, dozens of troops in green and yellow powered armor standing beside nobles and rabbits clad in blue and white suits. The suits are Houhei; the green… Korai. You’ve never seen so many of them in one place, and there’s almost no way that their Directory would approve of it, but there they are. An individual – what looks to be a female Korai and a male Houhei rabbit – splits from both groups, giving an Imperial diplomatic salute. You return it, still surprised.

“Greetings, Commander RN-13B,” the Houhei says, “and welcome to Houhei Secundus. I am JA-29, and my friend – “ he gestures to the Korai – “is KI-992. We are both soldiers of our respective houses, and our platoons will serve as bodyguards to your party; as per Lord Dubal’s orders, we will act as your concierge for Houhei Secundus and the local Korai embassy, respectively.”

“Nice to meet you,” KI-992 says, a light Cetan accent in her husky voice.

[ ] “Likewise.”
[ ] “’Friend’?”
[ ] “You do realize that we’re bodyguards ourselves, 29?”
[ ] Write-in
>> No. 22399
[X] “Likewise.”
[X] “You do realize that we’re bodyguards ourselves, 29?”
>> No. 22400
[X] “Likewise.”
[X] “You do realize that we’re bodyguards ourselves, 29?”

Yeeeeesss Rabbits in Space update, very exciting.
>> No. 22401
[X] “Likewise.”
[X] “You do realize that we’re bodyguards ourselves, 29?”
>> No. 22402
[c] “Likewise.”
[c] “You do realize that we’re bodyguards ourselves, 29?”

It has returned. Excellent.
>> No. 22426
My God, it's alive!

>[ ] “You do realize that we’re bodyguards ourselves, 29?”

Well no shit. It's an obvious attempt to limit your movements and intimidate your men into not doing anything that further implicates Dubal together with the Rebels. Unless you want to throw the plan out completely, Reisen's men need to operate in small groups with very low tolerances for information leaks. She might be able to KO one or two goons or send them on a wild goose chase when necessary, but not an entire legion of them. In the worst case, Reisen's group could just be assassinated wholesale once the critical period has passed and they're shuffled off somewhere private enough.

It's a good thing that Reisen's lunatic eyes are specially suited for situations like this.

[x] “Likewise.”
[x] "I think Lord Dubal has mistaken our group for a diplomatic retinue or a party on some official Guard business. I just wanted to take my fiends down here to sample the unique cultural offerings of Houhei Secundus. A concierge & a guide would be helpful, but a phalanx of armored escorts would spoil our enjoyment. Perhaps it would be best that your men serve as bodyguards to real dignitaries, while letting the rank and file move about unmolested. When the general crew is given clearance for shore leave, you're probably going to want a good many of them on hand anyway."
-[x] Message your landing team over COMNET: [[Laugh, complain, yawn, stretch your legs, take a picture; you're on a paid vacation.]]
[x] If they refuse to remove the 'platoons' of bodyguards assigned:
-[x] LUNATIC EYES: INTIMIDATE Lvl. 2
-[x] "Of course if security is really such a concern for you, you can tell Lord Dubal we have a 216-member marine contingent available to supplement you forces. But I imagine that would be rather poor for business, scaring the merchants & residents, maybe even appearing to the civilians as an occupation, especially after the violence just witnessed in space around the elevators. The alacrity at which your salvage drones are cleaning up the 'debris' that appearances are a matter of concern."

Yes, you're lying about your purpose there and the possibility of your entire crew landing. Sure the marines are already committed elsewhere, but they probably haven't departed yet.

Hopefully all that's necessary to convince them you're at the bottom end of their concerns is to act like a tourist. I don't know how it's going to going to play out if the ploy works: Reisen's shown herself very capable of infiltration before, and I suppose at the least we'll get to see a wider range of behavior from her crew than we would otherwise.

>[[TF 8.1: connection from CIV 1 to PLUTO, expected sender is MOONLIGHT. Feeding tap to your private line, connect at will.]]

I have a pretty good feeling by the above notification that either of these persons is MOONLIGHT and not adverse parties, but that's all the better if you're able to demonstrate an adverse relationship with these potential informants to both your team and the other security forces. Not that you can't trust your crew (early in the story your entire bridge drew on a detail of heavily armed marines attempting to detain you), but your contact can't know how trustworthy they are, so the fewer people that seem actively involved with this the better until you make the initial contact.
>> No. 22432
>>22426

That probably wouldn't work, considering that they have the Adjutant confirmed to be coming down to the surface at the same time as your "visit", but the rest is delicious dissenting opinion.

I'll wait a bit for a sixth vote.
>> No. 22474
>>22432

Alright, writing now.
>> No. 22476
>>22474

hooray!
>> No. 22477
>>22474
Cya in 8+ months.
>> No. 22488
>>22477

You're not helping.
>> No. 22490
>>22488

's cool. The only thing that I really mind is when people say "hooray", anyhow.
>> No. 22514
>>22490
Hooray!
>> No. 22516
Hooray!
...
[x]give all your crew pantyhose >3>
>> No. 22549
>>22516
>[x]give all your crew pantyhose >3>

ಠ_ಠ
>> No. 22560
>>22549
ಠ_ృ

good heavens
>> No. 22724
Updates, good sir?
>> No. 22727
Update, damn you.

You know who this is.
>> No. 22794
File 129039752615.png - (1.30MB, 1920x1080, obligatory illium image.png) [iqdb]
22794
“Likewise, 992,” you reply, shaking her hand. “I appreciate the support, especially on this op – just hoping you know we’re not the main objective. We’re just bodyguards today ourselves.”

[[RN-13B: TF 8.2, operation update. Mark JA-29 as SHIELD1, KI-992 as SHIELD2 and verify. Sending images.]]

The confirmation comes back quickly, as the fleet verifies their identities with Secundus; you look back to 29. “Alright, Fleet Intelligence has cleared the both of you. Our mission’s a bit critical, though, so until we’ve set up and run full checks you’ll have to stay away from our people. It’s standard protocol – apologies if it’s offended you.“

“Oh… no, not at all, Commander,” 29 says reassuringly. “My Lord understands Guard procedure, we’ll move out at once.” 992’s marines file into the tower; meanwhile, 29 gestures to his platoon to move, the two bowing before leaving. Seems the Houhei don’t use neurals.

“Thanks for the help.” You switch over to the operation channel. [[Rikuken, you’re on Red Mission. Have our marines cover exits and line of sight to the other landing pads.]]

[[Aye, ma’am.]]

[[AUXCOMMAND, SHIELD1 seemed unaware of the operation. Was ANVIL briefed?]]

[[Yes, Commander,]] a male Aquillan responds. [[Outside of goodwill, we’re not sure why SHIELD was sent.]]

[[Alright, keep on that and mark SHIELD and their support.]]

[[Acknowledged.]] On the OA map, the Korai and Houhei troops begin to show as packs of yellow diamonds, flocking to villas a few miles away from the landing pad. Your troops, in turn, fall in, massing at the exits and edges of the pad.

[[Strange, I figured that they’d be more resistant… Brahe, Patuxent, you’re on Blue Mission – first find out what ANVIL’s doing, then FIREFLY’s status.]] You begin walking to the pad’s observation tower, calling the crew over; soon, they are at your flanks, along with a squad of marines. [[Heiseimi, you’re on Red. Stay with me as spotter.]]

As they all acknowledge, you enter the tower’s elevator, leading to a circular viewing post lined with terminals. A quick inspection indicates that they’re terminals connected to local orbital traffic control, supposedly hardwired to only use OTC COMNET ports; with your order, Patuxent tears apart the security in seconds, tapping into planetary traffic monitoring and private Houhei channels. Brahe begins sifting through the channels and ground monitoring for troop positions, sending them to Rikuken, who uses them to plan out optimal troop positions throughout the tower. It’s a well oiled machine, and by the time you get anything, the tactical overlay blooms with strategy after strategy, different troop setups scattered through the tower like little constellations. Then the intel networks begin connecting, and you’re practically swimming in data.
FIREFLY possibly on floor 80. ANVIL withdrawing troops to floor 79 via lift tubes. Counting at least 3 members of MOONLIGHT. Picking up PACT1 and its crew, saving for Green Mission…

You smile and breathe out, reaching for a flock of red stars in the sunrise sky with your mind, for the tone echoing from it. Dimly, you can feel the warmth of their comm chatter, their sensor hits; and soon, the sun is hanging in the air beside them, the little stars growing to great slipping metal teardrops, riding on air and a wave of magic. They glow like jellyfish as their maneuver spells cast along the hull, Guard black and gold fading into Imperial white and blue – and then they retract their landing plates, coming to easy rests.

She’s down there now, a voice calls to you; it makes your heart thrum in excitement. You and Heiseimi leave for the elevator, confirmation of security bouncing across the network.

[[BLACKSMITH:RED: All clear on 79, 81, expect clear on 72. Sending scout teams to investigate.]]

[[BLACKSMITH:BLUE: Nothing on ANVIL found, but have possible leads on FIREFLY; sending now.]]

[[BLACKSMITH:RED: Landing pad clear. Royal guards are exiting shutles, maintaining full coverage…]]

The heavy tower doors slide out of the way, and the moment you enter, dozens of Her Majesty’s guards are already on the ground, all clad in the scrambled camouflage of the Imperial Marines rather than their ornate Capital patterns. They form a circle radiating out from the center shuttle, trios distancing themselves from the general perimeter for sentry duty; and the moment you come near that shuttle, they have their guns trained on you. Instinctively, the guards take aim, giving you a glimpse of the neural stunners on their rifles – but then they recognize your IFF and stand down, opening a hole in their ranks for you to enter. When you’ve passed them, an opening forms from a panel line encircling the craft, the metal cleaving along the line into an upper panel and a staircase to the ground. Inside is darkness, complete and total pitch darkness…but then two figures begin to slip out of it like it was water—a woman in red and blue, and a girl in black, the Imperial Moon emblazoned upon her dress.

As they descend, you make the sign of the Fourth Covenant, keeping your eyes ahead according to the old tradition. Behind you, Heiseimi salutes, and for a second the Princess looks upon you with something like disappointment; but then it’s gone, a friendly smile creasing her lips.

“There’s no need for that… come, look upon me, Commander.”

You obey, looking into her dark eyes, and the violent impulses of the memories she gave you vanish, silenced by a great sound resonating infinitely through you. It feels good… like you’re safe with her, no matter what comes to mind. Like you’re whole. And then it’s gone. The world around her melts and suffocates, and your flushed body shivers from the burst, but she keeps you standing, somehow. You feel like you can barely whisper, but when you speak your voice sounds perfect and alive.

“…Thank you, Your Majesty.” Another wave comes rolling through; the world regains color, grows coherent. “This world is to your pleasing?”

“No, but it will be soon. Is your deployment is going well?”

“Better than well, my men are already set up on your villa’s floor. Please follow me, Princess.”

You turn and start walking to the landing pad’s entrance, the Princess’ guard keeping pace in a diamond formation. Each step is an eternity ending in a great crash, but as you make progress everything grows clearer. You see thoughts, feel the intentions of your troops, even see ghosts of things, walls of bullets and shadowy things stalking past. Then you cross the threshold, and they all fade away. Heiseimi looks around alertly, her hand burning with focused energy.

[[Reisen,]] she asks attentively, [[what was that?]]

[[You see something, too?]]

[[Yeah, on our near sensors. There were unknowns everywhere…]]

[[It’s nothing, Lieutenant. Keep alert, we’re entering the tower.]]

The door turns out to lead to a polished metal decon corridor, medical fields making your hair lift slightly while the tower’s security detail authorizes your group’s weapons; finally, you reach the exit, walking by a squad of marines into a large terminal. The blue fluorescent spells on the inner wall seem to ward off the sunset, and through the glass of the outer wall you can see countless other landing pads, most occupied by you and the Adjutant’s shuttles. Between the corridor entrance you just left and the next, a tram to the secure departing traffic island arrives with another squad on patrol; after the squad leader’s all clear you take it, keeping watch for Korai and Houhei soldiers from its windows.

“Welcome to Central Aria,” the tram computer says courteously with a male Aquarian accent. “This train is now leaving for Departure Traffic Access…”

--

“This is the place, Your Majesty.”

About an hour later, you’re past the villa’s gates. The sun is finally off the horizon, and swarms of your marines and the Princess’ guards patrol the land and walls. Like much of the architecture you’ve seen here, the villa is somewhat circular, and mostly composed of a fairly polished light metal, with large tinted windows encircling the floors. The metal doesn’t seem to conduct heat too well, however, and according to the Adjutant’s dossiers, the windows are easily as strong as hull composite due to their enchantments.

[[BLACKSMITH: RED: Confirm no unknowns on floor 79.]]

As you walk up to the entrance, the guards open ranks, signaling the inner detachment to unlock the door; silently, it slides open, leading to an airy foyer, light shining through the other side of the windows. The garrison commanders genuflect to the Princess, rising at her word.

“Ah, this is beautiful…” Her Majesty beams. “And to think Dubal did all this in five centuries! It’s very generous of him to offer me so much.”

The Adjutant shakes her head. “That’s just it, my liege, he didn’t do it alone. This is the power of the Korai at work – Dubal just had the courage to take it for his own.”

“And that’s so harsh of you, Eirin. Did I make you jealous?”

“A little, I admit.” The Princess giggles, a gentle sound warm with familiarity; it stays with you, the moment shining clear as the sun. “It’s a pity, too, since I must leave you with his architecture – my operatives have an early report for me. Will you be touring the palace, Princess?”

“No, just the courtyard for now.”

“Then I will send another squad to keep watch. And you, Commander?”

[ ] “I’ll go with the Princess.”
[ ] “I’ll stay with you, my lord.”

---

Hm. That seemed better, maybe I’m better at writing talking than combat. And I finally got to use that loyalty alignment for something!

Anyway, SITREP.

Mission status:
*Red: All floors clear; PLUTO currently has 1 of your squads covering her.
*Blue: There are at least three members of MOONLIGHT that PLUTO will be speaking with.
*Green: FIREFLY seems to be on floor 80, outside of the OA. Of PACT1's crew, only the Greenhair's crew seems to be on the same tower as the OA, and also seem to be on floor 80.
>> No. 22797
[c] “I’ll go with the Princess.”

It's back. Awesome.
>> No. 22798
Glorious. Just glorious.

[x] “I’ll stay with you, my lord.”

We can learn more about the big picture from staying with Eirin for now. Your squad whose mission is to protect her, Red Team, is already in position. The meeting between the Princess and the ambassadors won't take place until tomorrow, and the meeting between her and Hourai won't take place until day 4. Although it was mentioned that at the meeting with the ambassadors, the other parties will each be accompanied by a single assistant, it's not clear who will be present with Kaguya at the meeting. The SITREP did not mention PLUTO's (Eirin's) presence at the meetings, and in fact will be keeping to other floors to minimize her footprint. I'll go out on a limb and say that we'll probably be accompanying Kaguya on those days, and we'll get our Princess time then.

The Rebels should be in relative disarray because they just lost half their orbital fleet in a deal that presumably went sour. On the first day, the enemy's primary concern will probably be to avoid detection. Then once they've accounted for their own resources, they'll want to gauge the enemy's commitments and positions, and acquire intelligence on the reason for our presence. The immense allied presence and volume of chatter on both the ground and in orbit, as well as the apparent ease in which we were able to break into the Secundus communications network, leads me to think we should presume they will discern our aims quickly. I would expect an adequately prepared assassination plot from the Rebels on day 3, after the Princess meets the ambassadors and before she meets Lord Dubal Houhei. Frank betrayal from the ambassadors or Houhei is unlikely considering the risk and massive security presence, but a suicidal 'assistant' planted by the rebels is possible.

If there's anybody who we should fear assassination for, it's Marquis Dubal Houhei, once we leave. Less security, less fear of reprisal, and a green light to make off with as much cargo as possible. Not only would it change the regime from one that just finished reaffirming ties with the Empire, it would send a clear message to the Aquilan factions on dealing with the Empire.
>> No. 22799
[x] “I’ll stay with you, my lord.”
>> No. 22804
[x] “I’ll go with the Princess.”

If only because I love the interactions between her and Reisen.
>> No. 22806
[x] “I’ll stay with you, my lord.”
>>22798
Sounds good.
>> No. 22808
>>22798

See >>22397's OPCODE - Kaguya is PLUTO.
>> No. 22816
>>22808

My bad. I meant CHARON, not PLUTO.
>> No. 22818
File 129053335643.jpg - (68.48KB, 390x479, natch.jpg) [iqdb]
22818
Alright, time for writing about Eirin, then.
>> No. 22824
>>22818
>Alright, time for writing about Eirin, then.

Hooray!
>> No. 22840
>>22818
>Alright, time for writing about Eirin, then.

Boo!

Ah well, as long as you update!
>> No. 22851
File 129072134851.jpg - (63.38KB, 800x578, Natural_place_by_Talros.jpg) [iqdb]
22851
“With you, Adjutant,” you answer, “if I may.”

“Of course, Commander – I’ve wanted to speak with you in person, eventually.” The Adjutant’s eyes flicker to Heiseimi momentarily, with what you suspect to be a hostile look in her eyes. “Just you, however. We have plenty of eyes here, dismiss the Lieutenant.”

“At once, my lord.” You look to Heiseimi, signaling her to stand down. [[Sister, you’re on Blue Mission until I return; linking you with Brahe and Patuxent now. Search the compound for any surveillance or undocumented communication equipment, I’ll send you the Adjutant’s inventory of them as I catch it.]]

Heiseimi nods, albeit with a hint of a weary sigh. [[Aye, ma’am. Hate to see you go with the crone, but I’ll wish you luck. 42 out.]]

“Good,” the Adjutant says, directing the path with a slight flutter of her cloak. “We’ll take the long way around - I want to inspect the garrison myself.” She turns to the Princess, saying something in an unknown language, to which Her Majesty replies in a loving tone. Strangely, it almost sounds like Colonial Aquillian towards the end…

Good day, Eirin,” you can hear the Princess say. Perfect, down to the relaxed inflections of the intimate sentence form; then she leaves, her guards opening the door to the planetary court for her. Eirin walks up to the stairs to the southern corridor, and you follow.

“Cheerful as ever, like this week never happened,” Eirin says sadly; you can’t see her face, until you’re on the second floor. “Every time I figure she can’t hide herself, she surprises me…”

[ ] Talk about Eirin:
---[ ] Things not going as planned?
---[ ] What language was that?
---[ ] Write-in
[ ] Talk about the Princess:
---[ ] What did she do to you?
---[ ] Did something happen between Eirin and her?
---[ ] Write-in
[ ] Try to change the topic:
---[ ] The mission
---[ ] Dubal
---[ ] FIREFLY
---[ ] Write-in

---

I’m going to use shorter updates, since this conversation looks to be more complex than I thought. The rules for this are simple: each turn, you can continue a topic of conversation by specifying your opinion on a subject, or you can try to change it when Eirin seems open to it. Focus on either Eirin or Kaguya, and topics will show up that can increase your loyalty with the respective person; focus on mission based topics or other characters, and you can get intel on them. Pretty much everything will be helpful, if only because they all give you insight into Eirin’s thoughts.

In other news, I hate how THP doesn't render tabs. My options just can't seem to not look retarded :[
>> No. 22852
[x] Talk about the Princess:
---[x] What did she do to you?

We're just supposed to pick one, right?

>>22851
Does "shorter" imply "more frequent", too?
>> No. 22853
>>22852

Yeah, you are (or at least, only pick things within a topic), and yeah, it probably means it's more frequent.
>> No. 22854
[x] Talk about Eirin:
---[x] Things not going as planned?
getting cocky?
>> No. 22855
I don't really like the choices. They seem, to me, to be either a little too prying or just outright boorish. Trying to change the topic right now seems a bit inappropriate, wasteful even. I think the right way to go for now is to follow Eirin's comment and try to work with it.

[x] Talk about the Princess:
--[x] Would she prefer it if the Princess couldn't hide herself away?

At best this might shed some light about their relationship. Most likely we'll get an anecdote out of it. And at worst, she'll clam up. I don't know, I'm not entirely convinced this write-in is necessarily better than the given options.
>> No. 22857
[x] Talk about the Princess:
---[x] What did she do to you?

Relevant if we're going to be spending much of the next few days with her.
>> No. 22858
[x] Talk about the Princess:
---[x] What did she do to you?
>> No. 22951
x] Ask some more questions – after all, you're already in pretty deep.
---[x] Is this why Eirin picked you as apprentice?
>> No. 22952
File 129212905257.jpg - (118.94KB, 394x574, the gate the key and the keeper.jpg) [iqdb]
22952
“It’s Her Majesty’s way of life,” you sigh. “She’s spent a thousand years keeping up appearances, after all…”

Eirin says nothing, her left hand clenched lightly into a fist. The two of you pass a dining room, royal guards pausing in their work to exchange salute; you can’t help but notice her thumb playing over her palm and fingers. The two of you then continue on in silence.

“…Would you rather she couldn’t, my lord?” you finally ask, recalling your contact with the Princess.

Eirin chuckles distantly. “And let her be honest, little one? Let her break out of her shell and be happy? Of course. That mission is my life,” she says, words trailing through the hall like morning shadows. “But like I have said, I have everything I need… all in you. All I need to do is wait. I can do that for her.”

Her lips curl in anticipation, and you feel dizzy looking at her. Eirin… the Adjutant… whatever she is now, looks back at you.

“It’s nice of you to show me such concern, Reisen. But what did you really want from me?”

“What I want…” You try to get it out a couple of times, but nothing comes but a few breaths. “I don’t know how to describe it, Adjutant. But your knowledge will be enough. While I was with Her Majesty in Her Domain, you were watching me, weren’t you?”

“Of course not.”

You blink in surprise. “’Of course not?’”

“She wanted her privacy with you,” she says simply. “Go on.”

“Well… Her Majesty did something to me. Touched my mind, I suppose, I don’t think I can find the right words…”

“’Touched your mind’?” Eirin says, alert with recognition. “No, I know just what you mean. Describe what happened next – take your time, if you like.”

“…Thank you, my lord.” The two of you begin climbing a flight of stairs, room after room of sniper teams setting up scouting positions just outside the windows. “When I came to be before the Princess, she embraced me with her thoughts, filling my mind with beautiful thoughts. That I was good, that I was safe, that I was a righteous person… something of her kept whispering that to me.”

You don’t tell the Adjutant how you promised yourself you wouldn’t trust the Princess, or how your memories screamed for your obedience; instead, you gulp, searching for the right thoughts to string together. Calling, grief, gratitude…

“She called for me, drew me in. And when I was finally at her side, I returned her embrace. ‘Touched minds’. We shared our anxiety, our compassion, and when I was ready, she asked me if I could stay...and I said yes.”

Soon you reach the terrace; there you can see miles of green hills and valleys, a handful of complexes similar to the villa scattered across the great forests of the land. But it's the sky that catches your eye -just above the neon veins of space traffic lies Secundus’ primary moon, its dark half glowing faintly with defense installations.

“For as long as we could, we let the borders between us down, mixing together our memories and thoughts. We savored that contact, the release of what could only be secrets, bouncing between the memories and each other in a great cycle of guilt and fulfillment – but as much as I know Her Majesty wanted to stay there, she knew I had duties to attend to. When the time finally came, she pulled us apart, and it was over. “

The last thing the Princess told you was ‘thank you’, you recall, breathing in the gentle fragrance of the morning earth and almond blossoms.

“That’s all I know, Adjutant,” you finish, looking to her. “I don’t want to trouble Her Majesty, but I can’t stop wondering just what it was the Princess did to me. After this and the incident aboard the Night, I can't accept my mind being tampered without knowing something about the cause.”

“Nor can I,” Eirin says. “There is still much about your brain that I have yet to understand, but with the Princess, we share a common experience. You recall your briefing on Her Majesty's powers, yes?”

“Of course – that she has a power over eternity, and thus over the topography of space-time.“

“Yes. With that power, the Princess can distort the universe around her as long as she has the energy for it; more importantly, she can thus distort the matter and energy of the universe, given the right focus. In the normal universe, she only has fairly weak influence – however, Her Majesty does have enough control to make her own pocket universe, a bubble almost completely sealed off from the local space. There, her command is absolute.”

“The Palace...” you whisper in awe. “And there, she warped my mind to hear her thoughts?”

Eirin nods. “About right... but what she actually does is far too good for those words. With that, at least, we can both agree.”

[ ] Let the topic go, and get back to the mission.
---[ ] Write-in topic
[ ] Ask some more questions – after all, you're already in pretty deep.
---[ ] Write-in

------
Removed the concrete options - I think write-ins would work better in a scene like this.
>> No. 22953
>Her Majesty does have enough control to make her own pocket universe, a bubble almost completely sealed off from the local space. There, her command is absolute.
So, Kaguya is a Chaos God?
>> No. 22954
>>22953

Well, maybe not a Chaos God...
>> No. 22955
[x] Ask some more questions – after all, you're already in pretty deep.
--[x] If the Adjudant will indulge speculation, ask for her opinion as to why the Princess did that to you. After all, there is a manifold of loyal subjects she can ingratiate like that.
--[x] Perhaps mention that any unknown, as small as it may seem, makes you feel less able to serve to your capacity.

I am not entirely sure where to go with this now. Surely someone will come up with something better and I'll then change my vote. I went with something that Eirin will likely just laugh off and address in a patronizing way. The odd chance that she doesn't, I think that if Eirin is truthful with us there is a chance that we may learn just exactly how the two women diverge in opinions. If not, we at least know how we felt about the experience enough to know that Eirin has some potentionally big doubts. Then again maybe I'm reading too much into this.
>> No. 22957
[x] Ask some more questions – after all, you're already in pretty deep.
---[x] If the Adjudant will indulge speculation, ask for her opinion as to why the Princess did that to you. After all, there is a manifold of loyal subjects she can ingratiate like that.
---[x] Perhaps mention that any unknown, as small as it may seem, makes you feel less able to serve to your capacity.
---[x] Maximum distance of Her Majesty's zone of absolute control. Length of time she can sustain it. Any other specific limitations.
---[x] Is the enemy likely aware of the extent of her capabilities?
---[x] If Her Majesty's safety can be assured by her own power, would it be feasible to provoke an assassination attempt to draw out the enemy?

It's not prying to be asking specifics on what could theoretically be an impassable defense for the Princess, as it would free up resources to more aggressively hunt for the rebels or to protect the other members of these meetings.

Although somewhat impudent to suggest, a failed assassination, as opposed to nipping it in the bud, could be politically advantageous in and of itself, if it could be framed in a manner that made it look like it happened under Houhei, or the trade alliances', watch, and might be enough pretext for occupation, if that's Eirin's end goal. On the other hand, it might only serve to make the throne look weak and Guard incompetent. Eirin should be the judge of that.

God, I love this story.
>> No. 22958
> God, I love this story.

Okay I need to think more to vote, but just want to say I agree.
>> No. 22961
[x] Ask some more questions – after all, you're already in pretty deep.
---[x] About Kaguyas and Eirins past.
---[x] What she feels and thinks about Kaguya.
---[x] Kaguya's goals. Are they the same as hers?
---[x] Maximum distance of Her Majesty's zone of absolute control. Length of time she can sustain it. Any other specific limitations.
>> No. 22965
[x] Ask some more questions – after all, you're already in pretty deep.
---[x] About Kaguyas and Eirins past.
---[x] What she feels and thinks about Kaguya.
---[x] Kaguya's goals. Are they the same as hers?
>> No. 22967
File 129229056532.png - (138.16KB, 352x352, the logical conclusion.png) [iqdb]
22967
I'll wait for votes for ~2 more days; if there's no other votes, the action will likely be as follows:

[x] Ask some more questions – after all, you're already in pretty deep.
---[x] If the Adjutant will indulge speculation, ask for her opinion as to why the Princess did that to you. After all, there is a manifold of loyal subjects she can ingratiate like that.
---[x] Perhaps mention that any unknown, as small as it may seem, makes you feel less able to serve to your capacity.
---[x] About Kaguya's and Eirin's past.
---[x] What she feels and thinks about Kaguya.
---[x] Kaguya's goals. Are they the same as hers?
---[x] Maximum distance of Her Majesty's zone of absolute control? Length of time she can sustain it? Any other specific limitations?

Picture probably unrelated.
>> No. 22993
File 129268738532.gif - (6.70KB, 93x100, critical failure.gif) [iqdb]
22993
“Adjutant, would you indulge a vassal’s curiosity?”

“I think I would like to, Reisen.”

You bow your head in gratitude. “My lord, why do you think Her Majesty choose me?”

The Adjutant laughs gently. “You ask the wrong person, Reisen, but I will tell you my theory: as far as I can tell, the Princess selected you because she felt you were special. You are right, there are others she could have picked – but she longs for company that will speak back, and that excludes lunarians. Almost all that remains are Reisen, indoctrinated from childhood to worship and submit. And unlike them – “ she says the term almost pitifully – “you are free. Despite your past and my protest, you want to serve Her Majesty, and I suspect the Princess feels unworthy of that desire. Ever since you were found, she has felt personally responsible for you; so perhaps this encounter was her apology.”

“I see,” you reply quietly. “Thank you, my lord.”

“Quite welcome. But if I may ask, Commander… would you now indulge my curiosity?”

You look uneasily at the Adjutant’s steely eyes, her lips curving in a smirk.

“Of course, my lord.”

“Do you not trust your Princess enough to ask her this yourself?”

[ ] Write-in

---

To be fair, I didn't expect this either.
>> No. 22994
what
>> No. 22995
Her Highness likes a servant who will talk back, apparently. That doesn't mean you can scorn the apple of Eirin's eye.

[x] "Well, if it's between trusting and distrusting then I definitely don't distrust Her Highness."

But melting your brain is kind of a weird way to apologize for something no matter how you look at it.
>> No. 22996
File 129274017922.jpg - (69.88KB, 600x600, arrow.jpg) [iqdb]
22996
[x] "It's not an issue of trust. Sometimes an outside perspective can see things more clearly."

My wording here may be a bit too curt, but the general idea is to be as diplomatic about this as possible. Not upsetting Eirin further or daring to speak ill of our glorious Empress. Eirin, the genius that she is, would probably see through any flattery or lame attempt to quantify our trust in She Who Rules The Heavens. Better to make her feel amused at our boldness than mock us for it.
>> No. 22997
[x] "It's not an issue of trust. Sometimes an outside perspective can see things more clearly."

Avoid the issue and move the subject.
>> No. 22998
Ah, I've forgotten to mention - assuming you don't make Eirin angrier than she already is, the update will continue with the rest of the last vote.
>> No. 23001
[ ] "No. I worship her. She is an oasis in a harsh and bitting desert. She is enough reason to fight and die a thousand times. To send a thousand thousand to there deaths, but trust her. No. I am your student: I do not trust my own mind, my orders, my loves, or my hates.

Also, I didn't think of asking her, and she is not here now."

Okay I don't think this really works but I wanted to at least try being more confrontational.
>> No. 23002
"Adjutant, I trust her more then I trust my self. If I may be frank, more then I trust you, but she is overwhelming. I do not understand her. We are all her servants, if she wishes for me to not understand, then I shall not understand.

Adjutant, should I try and ask her?"
>> No. 23006
File 129297005869.jpg - (58.30KB, 512x384, reisen.jpg) [iqdb]
23006
Alright then, writing a four option mix.
>> No. 23007
>>23006

Hooray!
>> No. 23303
NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP
>> No. 23304
File 130047703045.jpg - (562.59KB, 716x1011, 90edbd9aa6b26962a36c882a484ea78c.jpg) [iqdb]
23304
>>23303
STAND YOUR GROUND SOLDIER
>> No. 23493
This is a kick in the butt QWL.
>> No. 23517
File 130564839791.jpg - (531.80KB, 1024x1664, where to now.jpg) [iqdb]
23517
“Trust? I was a Reisen once, my lord, I’d be worshipping her if not for you. It’s just that she’s so… overwhelming. She welcomes me, and makes ancient things in me scream for obedience; she speaks to me, and a millennium of thoughts whisper to me like stars in the night. To try and talk to something like Her Majesty… how are you supposed to do that without drowning in her?”

You shiver, blushing with the recollection of that first link. Maybe, just maybe, you should really try to explain it to the Adjutant… but words fail you, and the memory of Her Majesty’s touch is making you just a little too uncomfortably aware of your heartbeat. Resting your hands on the parapets, you sigh, returning your focus to the view below.

“She is a god, Adjutant. A real god… not some imperial king fueled by infidel’s blood, but a force. And maybe you’re right, and I could understand her, but not now. Not as I am. So, please – forgive me if I sound faithless, but I need you for this, my lord. Need you to remind me why I’m here stalking after some rebellious boy and his damned grandpa, rather than losing myself in Her Majesty’s rapture.”

The air is silent for a long time, save for the spring breeze; then, almost as quietly, the Adjutant chuckles, resting her arms beside you.

“Hah… I wonder that sometimes myself, Commander,” she admits, looking down at the almond trees before shifting her gaze back to you. “Alright, I owe you an apology... and some answers, correct? Where would you have me start?”

You think for a moment. “From Her, my lord: her past, what she wants, what she is to you. You gave me so many memories, but nothing about the Princess …”

“I’d hoped that I wouldn’t have to use them,” she says with a nod. “But yes, it’s a good place to start.”

Messages trace across the comm networks, and Eirin winces as an instant full of mission details and status reports flood her mind. When she regains control, you can briefly see the blankness in her eyes; a second, though, and it’s gone, a light smile hiding all. She gestures to the stairs, revealing little hints of the probes and sensors on the suit under her cloak.

“It’ll take most of the morning, and I know you have more you want to know – but we seem to have free time, and I want your questions answered. Come.”

---

[[The first thing you should know about Her Majesty is that she is human.]]

As you descend the central staircase, the sky quickly darkens from its hazy green to a quieter purple. It remains like that for a few brief seconds, auroras trailing lazily in its deep – but then it brightens back to its proper hues.

[[She was always human. Born from the Empress Consort’s womb, from the Emperor’s seed…]]

Royal security drones rise past like balloons. Scouts slip by like ghosts, a flicker of their stealth suits the only sight you catch of them. And on all of them, a white disc encircled by a white ring. When you close your eyes, you can see that mark everywhere, millions of it staring at you ceaselessly – Her eyes, dark brown god’s eyes pretending to be human – but strangely, you don’t feel much of anything from the image. Just a slight desire to be near the Princess again.

[[That she has power doesn’t change that.]]

Soon, the two of you reach the third floor’s main hallway. A half-circle according to the floor plans, the empty corridor is awash with the ruddy morning light, the beams flooding from the ceiling, glinting where the composite glass tiles meet… and in that light, Eirin almost looks vulnerable. Her skin is soft and pale like the Princess’ – but where Her skin is milky, your lord’s is a stark white, barely warmed by her blood. Her short silver hair frays where she cut off her last braid; dull blues and dark blood-reds each cover half of her skin-tight encounter suit, fitted layers of reactive composites hinting at the thick bulk of augmented muscles and lean flesh underneath. Plateless deflector boots cover her feet, and nanosyringe gloves cover her hands. She is one step away from being a purpose-built machine, but even so…

[[Understood?]]

Her smile is warm; and despite yourself, you nod obediently. [[Yes, my lord.]]

[[Good,]] she replies, moving out of a wire runner’s way. [[That’s really the answer to all your questions. She wants her Empire to unite – but she is human, so she loves it too much to discipline it with force. I love her, so I stand by her side – but she is human, so she hates what we do, no matter how she rationalizes it. The past is the same.]]

Eirin stops by a set of double doors, opening it to reveal a wide conference room stretching out to both ends of the villa. She closes her eyes, searching for enchantments in the room; the walls light up with rows of image sigils connected to a control mark on the table’s center. One by one, they link up to the hundreds of feeds in and around the building, the room filling with videos...

Just in front of her is one from the courtyard, a large olive tree taking up much of the view. Under its white blooms lies the Princess, resting while her assistant keeps guard. The two of you sit down in the chairs before you.

[[A thousand years ago, we were regular people – wealthy, but of no particular importance. She grew up as a Terran noblewoman, and I was a Yagokoro, spending my days in labs and war rooms. That was our lives for a long time… but finally, the youkai gave in, and she was taken from the world she knew. The old Emperor was dead, and while his body cooled, his subjects fought over who would keep the newfound power we had witnessed. The Yagokoro were the only ones who truly stayed loyal to his house, and so when Her Majesty was brought to the throne, they took up the search that belonged to His Highness: find an Adjutant for his orphaned daughter. I do not know how many others they considered – but I do know I was not the first. I could see it on Her Majesty’s face.]]

The image changes, this time to the courtyard wall. Two trios of Guardsmen walk the circle like machines, the two groups crossing paths every few minutes.

[[The day we met was probably the worst day of the Princess’ life. The people she loved were gone, on Earth and in the heavens. No home on Earth, thanks to the planet’s endless wars; nothing to greet her on Luna, only courtiers and ministers who she had met only days before. So she was quiet when I met her.]]

You look to Eirin. [[If that was the case,]] you ask, [[why were you accepted? Because you are a Yagokoro?]]

[[No – it was because I was the only one who would approach her. Until then, no candidate could enter her presence without immediately fleeing in panic. And nobody else could approach her and still speak… only me.]]

Eirin’s channel remains open, but after a moment she quickly closes it, her nostalgic smile the only thing she manages.

[[I can’t tell you exactly what I said,]] she says, [[only that I managed to get her to look from the ground to me. She asked me what I could possibly do for her, and I promised her one thing: if I were her Adjutant, I would make sure she would never feel afraid or lonely again. And when I said that… she cried. No sobbing, no wailing, just a few silent tears. She may not have believed my promise, but at that point she accepted me; after that, there was no question. I was her Adjutant.]]

[[And after that?]] you ask quickly.

[[After that, we ruled. Guided by the Yagokoro council for a century, then fended on our own when the Yagokoro were nearly wiped out. One coup, five would-be invasions – then the Reclaimations. In between, we’d plot out the course we would set for humankind together. That was our lives for a far longer time… Best centuries of my life, aside from the wars.]]

As Eirin relaxes, something strange begins to happen on the feed: a dot of the courtyard wall darkens. Then another, and another. Soon, they’re uncountable, droplets collecting and dripping from the villa walls.

[[She’s right,]] Eirin mutters in jest. [[I am jealous of that man. Anything else you’d like to know, Commander?]]

You pause, thinking about your last question; finally, you speak. [[Yes, my lord, but it can wait.]]

[[Then let’s go,]] she says pleasantly, the feeds closing simultaneously. [[We still have a building to inspect…]]

---

The rest of the day is fairly uneventful. Unlike the big mansions in the comedies you saw as a child, the villa turns out not to have trap doors, bookcase escapes, or a secret basement… just a roof access, a regular study, and a regular basement (stocked with some very good Lunar wines, to be fair). The grassy hills have no snipers waiting behind their summits, and the trees have no strange men lurking in their branches. The other residences have people… but a cross-check with Aria Sec shows them to be little more than property guards.

So you have lunch. Nice lunch, a planetbound sandwich with real cheese and lettuce and tomatoes. The leads on the Houhei boy turn out to be false starts; on Dubal himself, there’s still nothing. Nothing but hours and hours of false trails, and useless data. But you continue. You have dinner in the intel room with your crew, once it gets set up. While you eat fresh-made curry, you track down FIREFLY. When the sun dips below its horizon, you dig up what you can on the rabbits. When Her Majesty pops in, returning something…

…When Her Majesty pops in, you take the hat you apparently forgot, and thank her as gratefully as she’ll allow. But then you keep searching, till there’s no time left to trawl the net. You all only manage to find one definite piece of information, but it’s a big one: FIREFLY’s status. Alive and well, and interned aboard a low-orbit station just a few hundred kilometers from Aria. According to reports, he’s to be taken from the station to an interrogation center on the 80th floor three days from now.

“Alright,” you declare, “Our time’s up. Let’s get some rest; tomorrow we case that floor.”

And so you all leave for your beds, abuzz with the prospect of catching the rebel. You enter your room, neat and untouched save for the packs of supplies lying by the work desk, take your uniform off, and slip under the equally neat covers, your pistol just under the other pillow.

You lie there.

Lie there some more.

You can’t sleep, it seems. You try focusing on something…

[ ] A tension binding your wrists.
[ ] Old people, running the world.
[ ] The olive tree.

~~~
>>23493

Yeah, you're right. It's also too much trouble, so screw it. If I have to delay, I'll just say it.
>> No. 23518
[X] The olive tree.

There's a legend that when the Persians sacked Athens, an olive tree in the Acropolis was burnt down, and less than a day later it regrew back to a height of two cubits.
>> No. 23519
[x] The olive tree.
>> No. 23520
Awesome, as usual.

[x] The olive tree.
>> No. 23522
[x] The olive tree.

This story needs more readers and updates equally much.
I have nothing to say at the moment, may the writer forgive me.
>> No. 23526
File 130581445728.jpg - (816.29KB, 800x990, shadowlands.jpg) [iqdb]
23526
And you open your eyes to the sight of green leaves and white petals. All along the ground are the petals of the great tree, and all in the sky and out to the horizon stretch the tree’s branches. Over the branches are grey clouds, as far as the eye can see… all except for here, this little hole of light.

Rain falls, and the world sighs in peace. The seedlings of the fields open themselves to the sustenance. The streams of the ocean swell, filling the marshes with life again. The once-charred trees of the grove sway in tempered celebration, their blooms falling with the gentle showers.

Here you rest, savoring the dusk of spring. Beneath you slumber ancient powers, lords of space and time itself. In your veins their blood courses, their power made into your own.

All your own.

The rain falls, everywhere but in this little hole of light. The tree’s branches dance in the mist. Your heart beats, a single rhythm echoing alone in the land.

Princess?

You open your eyes, looking but not moving. She speaks again:

Princess?

You look up, into gentle eyes. Their color is indescribable; you let her sit beside you under the tree.

The rain falls. You try to answer her.

I wanted to apologize, you try to say, but nothing comes out.

I wanted to let you relax, you try to say, but your mouth closes shut.

I wanted to be with you, you try to say, but your words crumple in your throat. Finally, you speak.

I missed you. I’m wrong, but… thank you.

For what?

For this, you answer, sweeping your hand across the horizon. For everything, really. Maybe they’ll have a chance this time.

The rain falls; but beside her, it rings of music. Before you know it, the world grows still as you drift into consciousness.

Hey…

Hm?

Promise me something. Promise me that you won’t let me give this up again…

And she is silent for a second, but when she speaks it is love:

Of course, Princess.

Of course, you repeat…

The light begins to consume you, and you feel fear, remembering what the land used to look like. But you laugh, letting the flourishing plants and her heartbeat silence those thoughts.

You are their lord, and you will not abandon them again.
>> No. 23528
File 130581458399.jpg - (684.57KB, 1600x1250, not expensive at all.jpg) [iqdb]
23528
When you wake up, the room is bright. Morning light fills the room, instead of the fluorescent marks you’ve grown used to; reluctantly, you climb out of the comfy bed. That was easily the best night of sleep you’ve had since you left Alnasl…

A quick check on your neurals says it’s 5 AM – enough extra time to actually enjoy your breakfast. Getting your pistol from your bed and a uniform from the closet, you take a quick shower. Unlike the fleet, the water here smells only of treatment, rather than recycling; it helps you take your mind off the thoughts of today’s planning.

Infiltration. Capture. Interrogation. Hideous deaths and a diplomatic incident, if your plan goes really bad. But it won’t.

The warm droplets trail down your skin. This time, they don’t bring you the usual sweet thoughtlessness – instead, they call your nerves to thrum in unison and your mind to a lucid calm. It feels good… makes you just feel so powerful.

Power. Is this how Her Majesty feels?

---

An hour later, you’re all ready. The Capital breakfast was a little strange for your tastes at first, but the rich flavors of grilled fish and fermented soup are really starting to grow on you. The wet beans… not so much, but you need the nutrients.

Taking a sip of Korai coffee, you switch on the COMNET display and request a channel with Eirin. The channel ‘chimes’ with her acceptance; you close your eyes as the decryption systems scramble to work. [[Good morning, Adjutant.]]

[[The same to you, Commander,]] the Adjutant says pleasantly. [[You’ve rested well, I take it?]]

[[Yes, ma’am. Very well… but I won’t waste your time. Do you recall our update on FIREFLY, ma’am?]]

[[Oh, yes. Proof of his location, and his transfer. So you plan on taking him?]]

[[Not quite,]] you answer. [[We can order FIREFLY released, but then that might warn anybody else that wants him that things have changed – and until I can get some more information, I have to consider the chance that there might be agents in the Houhei willing to intervene now or in later operations if we act rashly.]]

[ ] Can we get the other factions here on our side?
[ ] How quickly can we find any sleeper cells in the Houhei?
[ ] Am I worrying too much about the risks?

~~~

The moral of the story is that olive trees are totally awesome, but I did not know that legend.

>>23522

Ain't nothing but a thing.
>> No. 23532
[x] How quickly can we find any sleeper cells in the Houhei?
Is of most importance. I would say
>> No. 23537
[x] How quickly can we find any sleeper cells in the Houhei?

Asking whether or not we're worrying to much is a vain desire to be reassured at best and would not befit a professional's conduct anyways. Worrying about others and seeking their collaboration just adds more variables to the equation - variables that I'd say cannot be fully relied to behave in a certain way. So as far as on-the-spot questions go, I think this is the best choice.
>> No. 23539
File 130589523610.jpg - (268.90KB, 540x690, 63f466d8715bf56a1a8f649f9c3a45f4.jpg) [iqdb]
23539
[c] How quickly can we find any sleeper cells in the Houhei?
>> No. 23540
>>23537

Huh, I guess I put that the wrong way; it's supposed to be the more aggressive option, like she's asking if she should just focus on retrieving FIREFLY rather than working covertly. It does sound pretty wishy-washy in retrospect, though.
>> No. 23542
[ ] Can we get the other factions here on our side?
>> No. 23543
[x] How quickly can we find any sleeper cells in the Houhei?

I love me some cloak & dagger.
>> No. 23544
File 130609763724.jpg - (151.34KB, 771x640, Upper_Advisory.jpg) [iqdb]
23544
You clasp your hands, resting your face against them. [[After the Reclaimations, I don’t expect the other groups here to trust us enough to help. And given PACT1’s cargo, we can’t be too aggressive with this retrieval. Can we find any sleepers within this operation’s timetable?]]

[[Within five days, Commander? And with no prior intel?]] The Adjutant chuckles. [[We might be able to find most of the major agents if we had intelligence support from the Heiseimi and the nobles, but alone we’ll have wasted our time.]]

[[So we work together, or we go with a severe intel disadvantage.]] You sigh. [[In that case, do you think we can get those groups to support us?]]

[[Yes – but we’d have to monitor them as well. Several of these groups are opposed to each other, and everybody involved would likely take the chance to demand intel on other subjects from us; we could use loyal factions such as the Reisen and Korai to push for our support, but it would also weaken the alliances we form. In any case, it’s not your concern: the choice won’t be yours, but the Princess’.]] She pauses for a moment; then she continues, her “voice” mellow. [[You are right to be cautious, Commander… just remember that you’re a tactical advisor here. Anything else?]]

[[Just one: the 80th floor. Right now might be a bad time to scout it, but if we can’t confirm FIREFLY’s presence via SIGINT, we will have to enter it to determine the situation. If I have to do so to continue the mission…]]

[[You’ll have to let him go,]] the Adjutant answers. [[That floor is restricted to members of the Houhei intelligence committees; he’s not worth damaging our relations with the Houhei.]]

[[Understood. My thanks, Adjutant...]]

[[It’s nothing, Commander – I know you’ll do fine. Luna bless; Yagokoro out.]]

As her presence fades from your mind, you leave for the intel room, the room’s display shutting off with your departure.

---

“Good morning, ma’am.”

The sun begins to rise again, but its light is artificial, the product of a viewing spell rather than a window. What warms the note-strewn room instead are the computers – wall after wall of computers. The supercluster has been working for a little over fifteen hours now, but in that time it’s already broken into Secundus’ intelligence network, giving your team at least one priceless secret. Hopefully, it’ll find more…

“Thank you, Lieutenant.” You return Heiseimi’s greeting and the crew’s salute, smiling as you take a seat by a camera feed. “Status?”

“All missions and assets green,” Heiseimi says with a nod. “No new SIGINT verified, though.”

“No problem; we’ll be pretty busy, anyway. Today, Red and Green Mission are taking priority. Her Majesty and the Adjutant are going to meet ARROW, SWORD and PIKE on floor 72 tomorrow, so we have to sweep the floor of any possible threats; the day after that, FIREFLY should be getting moved from orbit to floor 80, so we have to prepare a plan to capture him and figure out the intel we have on him. Two problems for Green Mission: one, we can’t set foot on floor 80 by the Adjutant’s orders, and two, the maps we have for the floor seem to be missing a lot of buildings if the floor’s net traffic is any indicator. Today, we’re going to split up again – Red Mission will link with the marines on floor 72 to patrol the floor for potential threats to VIPs, while Green Mission will work with Blue here to obtain accurate maps from Houhei networks.”

- You’ll go with…
[ ] Red Mission; Heiseimi and Brahe will come with you.
[ ] Green Mission; Patuxent and Brahe will come with you.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 23545
[x] Green Mission; Patuxent and Brahe will come with you.

Honestly either choice seems fine. I find no real reason to strongly support one over the other. I slightly favor intelligence-gathering however.
>> No. 23546
[x] Red Mission; Heiseimi and Brahe will come with you.
Heiseimi~
>> No. 23547
[X] Green Mission; Patuxent and Brahe will come with you.
Both missions are important but this one feels more active.
>> No. 23548
[x] Red Mission; Heiseimi and Brahe will come with you.
>> No. 23549
[x] Green Mission; Patuxent and Brahe will come with you.
>> No. 23550
[X] Red Mission; Heiseimi and Brahe will come with you.

>>23547
>this one feels more active
Define "active". Green's gonna be sitting around computers hoping to grab the floorplan for an interrogation center, then plan how to extract FIREFLY. I think we're going to be involved in that second part regardless of which mission we choose, and that's for something in two days. Red mission is for an event happening tomorrow.
>> No. 23552
Huh, we're tied? Good omen.

I'll wait 24 hours for a tiebreaker, else it's up to a coin flip.
>> No. 23553
X] Red Mission; Heiseimi and Brahe will come with you.
Tie broken~ now get to it!
>> No. 23554
[X] Red Mission; Heiseimi and Brahe will come with you.

And this'll keep it broken.
>> No. 23573
Alright, updating. Going to be a little late - I've got to get ready for a big presentation tonight.
>> No. 23574
>>23573

Hooray!
>> No. 23618
How did your presentation go?
>> No. 23619
>>23618

Really dumb, but I'm out of school now, so that's nice.

Updates coming on Thursday, assuming I'm not busy all the damn time again.
>> No. 23646
>>23619
>Updates coming on Thursday, assuming I'm not busy all the damn time again.

Maybe this Thursday will prove more amenable?
>> No. 23737
Updaaaaaate
>> No. 23877
I will wait forever.
>> No. 23982
Tactical to fleet command please respond.
Fleet Command, come in please!
Reisen, please respond!
>> No. 23983
Tactical to fleet command please respond.
Fleet Command, come in please!
Reisen, please respond!
>> No. 24167
This wouldn't be the longest I've waited for an update on this, but has someone at least seen QWL on IRC?
>> No. 24169
>>24167
He is from time to time. Currently should be on.
>> No. 24634
I have not given up on this story.
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