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Author Topic: The Ancients. (Please Comment)  (Read 117 times)
Kaijugod
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« on: April 03, 2018, 08:03:46 AM »

A sharp keening echoed through the corridors of the Tetanyuru research laboratory, beginning the day. Before long, groans and mumbles could be heard as the staff slowly awoke. In room 02, Win Fulook reluctantly emerged from his warm bed, and stumbled off to the shower. He liked these new quarters. He had his very own private bathroom, complete with shower, and he got his own kitchen. The latter wasn’t used much, because he subsisted mainly on zaal nuts. The latest in bioengineered food products, they were designed to contain exactly one third of human nutritional requirements for a day. Some strains had even been modified to contain a small amount of caffeine. It was one of these that Fulook popped into his mouth now. As the caffeine slowly began to take effect, he donned his Second Researcher uniform.

Fulook was still occasionally amazed at where he was. He had been born to an average family, had had a normal childhood, and had fully expected to continue the family business. However, when he began school, it became apparent that he was different. By the time he was fifteen, the Eurasian Republican Army had spotted him, and, after some more education, had placed him at the forefront of new technology, at the Tetanyuru labs, the most sophisticated and esteemed technological supplier in the world.

Fulook had quickly risen through the ranks, and had just attained this new one, second in command of the research division. He popped a final nut into his mouth, and headed off to the morning meeting.

First Researcher Hector Aldis was already there, and he didn’t look happy. Fulook shot him an inquiring glance, but he just shook his head. By 0700, the research staff had arrived, and Aldis began the meeting.

“I have bad news people”, he began, and “The Western Hemispheric Union is canceling the Light Wing project. They’re to end funding immediately.

This woke everyone up. Wide-eyed glances were shot around the room. Fulook suddenly realized his mouth was hanging open, and shut it.

“Did they give any reason?” he asked.

“No, absolutely none,” replied Aldis.

“What? Why would the WestHems just cancel this project without a reason? They were pumping tons of funding into it. Now you’re saying they just stopped?” Fulook couldn’t believe it.

“Yes, that is precisely what I’m saying,” Aldis replied, his voice devoid of emotion, “Now, we will continue on with our other projects. Those of you who were assigned to the Light Wing project will need to report to a reorganization meeting at 0930. That is all. Oh yes, and Fulook, please come to my office.”

The senior researchers solemnly filed out of the meeting room, leaving Fulook alone. He then followed Aldis through a side door into his office. At the rear of the office was a large picture window opening on the main research dome of the facility. Aldis stood looking through the window for several minutes, then slowly turned to face Fulook.

“All right, son. What I’m about to tell you is classified, it doesn’t leave this room,” he began.

“But… Sir, I’m not…” Fulook wasn’t quite sure what to make of his superior’s behavior.

“Well, according to the higher-ups, you’re to be trusted, and we’re going to need you in on this.”

“Yes sir, I… I understand, sir.”

After a brief pause, Aldis began again, “First of all, the Light Wing project isn’t going to be cancelled.”

“But, sir, the WestHems!”

“Oh, don’t be so naive!” Aldis snapped, “You have to have seen things going on around here that aren’t officially sanctioned by the Union. You couldn’t miss it at your rank.”

“Yes, sir,” Fulook replied, admonished.

“This facility has been, is, and will be carrying on projects that are not approved. Are you aware of the reason this place was founded?”

“No, sir.”

“It was founded by the Eurasian Republic for the betterment of mankind, and it will continue to do that no matter what. But the WestHem Union is distorting our purpose. They’re using us to create weapons. Those biomechanical beasts of war we all know and love. However, we will continue our secret projects, and, when the time is right, we will stop the Union from accomplishing its goal.”

“Goal, sir?”

“Surely you’ve noticed the recent spike in production. The Union is preparing for a full scale war, and there’s only one possible target…”

“They’re going to attack the Republic.”

“Yes. They aren’t content to have us as just an ally any more. They’re going to use our own weapons against us…”

“And create a world-wide Union?”

Aldis sighed, “I wish it were that simple. No, their plans are far greater than that. They’ve commissioned a new project… They want us to create an entity which would have the capacity to control and process input from multiple complex computer systems and… and from biomechanical creatures.”

Fulook felt a sinking feeling in his stomach, “They’re creating an independent biomechanical army,” he whispered.

Aldis slowly nodded, then slumped down into his chair, his eyes glazing over.

“What is the name, sir?” asked Fulook.

“Hmm?” Aldis seemed to break out of his reverie.

“The name of the project?”

“Sestren.”

Most historians agree that the greatest influence on modern mechanical warfare has been the antigrav engine. It has allowed construction of massive, bulky airships, which completely defy the laws of aerodynamics. They are well armed, and well defended. Of this new generation of fighting ships, the Union flagship Silnaya is by far the most advanced. - Western Hemisphere Imperial Airforce Recruitment Manual

Admiral Nyson gazed thoughtfully out his bridge view port at the smooth blue ocean rocketing by beneath him, as the Imperial flagship sped toward the annual World Summit. The messenger paused as he entered, noting the warning looks from the bridge crew. Apparently the Admiral was in one of his thoughtful moods, and his reputation for snapping at anyone who interrupted him was almost as legendary as his military genius. Unfortunately, the messenger didn’t have time to wait around for Nyson to finish thinking about whatever it was he was thinking about. He quietly cleared his throat.

Nyson heard the polite cough behind him, and quietly put down the urge to shout something. Instead, he waited a few seconds, just to make whoever it was sweat a little, and then turned around.

“Yes?”

“Um, sir, the Emperor wants to see you. H-he says it’s urgent.”

Nyson sighed. He had long since given up trying to convince the Emperor of the security of the ship’s comm system. He nodded to the messenger. “Tell him I’ll be up right away,” he muttered.

“Y-yes sir,” The messenger replied, and practically ran off of the bridge.

Nyson glanced back at the ocean for a few moments, and then followed him.

The Emperor’s quarters were not what one would expect. Nyson gazed around the bare walls, his eyes pausing for a second on the singe window in one of them, and then moving on to the small wooden desk in one corner, and the squat balding man sitting at it.

“You wanted to see me, sir?” Nyson said.

The Emperor glanced up, “Oh, yes please come over here, I have something that I think you’ll find very interesting.” He held up a small piece of paper.

Nyson took it from him, and scanned over it.

“It appears to be an intercepted message from that commando team we let get into G1.”

The Emperor nodded, “Precisely,” he said.

“Sir?”

“This is exactly what we needed. In fact, this little message is the entire reason we let that team in, in the first place.”

Nyson shook his head, “I’m afraid I don’t understand, sir.”

“This piece of paper,” the Emperor replied, “is the spark we needed. We’ll now be completely justified in our destruction of the Republic, and the neutrals will have no choice but to stay out of it or join us. The Sestren project is completed, so it’s time to make our move.” He smiled, “I’m sure this year’s Summit will be most interesting.”

The Centurion was one of the most powerful ships in the Eurasian Republic’s Air force, and her captain one of the most talented, though he’d be loath to admit it. Despite his years of success, Jeremiah Zoah had never quite come to grips with where he was. He’d never shown much leadership potential as a kid or young adult, in fact he’d been a bit of a loner. After college, he’d struggled to find a direction for his life, and had eventually wound up in the Air Force, where a superior had somehow seen his hidden potential. Before he knew it, Zoah landed in a Captain’s chair, and to his immense surprise, he was good at it. For the first time in his life, he felt as though he could actually do something, make an impact on the world, and after five years doing this job, that feeling hadn’t faded.

Right now, that job involved “deactivating” a rogue bioweapon, he checked his armrest-monitor, model N9b3 Nuse to be exact. They’d been tracking it for nearly a day now over this bleak-looking desert after it had escaped from its containment unit, and now the hunt was finally paying off. Nuses were usually fairly easy to take down as long as one understood their tactics, and there were no other critters in the vicinity to mix things up. The Nuse’s shield rendered Centurion’s main plasma beams useless, but that was why all Eurasian Republic ships carried a full squadron of air-superiority fighters armed with conventional weaponry. These nimble fighters were currently chipping away at Nuse’s armor, while Centurion kept a safe distance from its formidable anti-capital ship missiles and monitored the situation.

“Sir!” the radar operator nearly shouted from his station, “I have multiple bogeys moving in toward the fighter squadron and target, ETA 6 minutes.”

Zoah swiveled his command chair toward the operator, “How many?”

“It’s hard to say, sir, they’re swarming very close together… I’d say at least fifty.”

That was bad news.

“Do you have an ID?”

“One moment… they’re bioweapons, model… G34, Glide Dragons, sir.”

That was worse. “Recall the fighters!” Zoah barked, “Helm, I want us over there now!”

Aleria Zlahdoff was not pleased at all. She hated leaving a job undone, and the Nuse was just breaking, she could feel it. Oh well, they would have to leave this to another day. She activated her radio, “Squadron, this is Lead. We are bugging out. Repeat, we are bugging out. There’s a whole swarm o’ nasties headed this way, and we don’t want to be around when we get here. Break off in pairs and head back to base, out,” as she gave the order, she pulled away from the Nuse, her wingman following slightly behind and to the left. She thumbed over to the Centurion channel, “Command, this is squad lead, how much time do we have?”

“Squad Lead, this is Tactical Command, it looks like about a dozen of them have broken away and are accelerating toward your position. ETA one minute, four for the main group.”

“How long ‘till you guys get over here?”

“Three minutes, at best.”

Damn, there were fifteen fighters in her squadron, but Glide Dragons were very advanced. This was going to be close. “All right, thank you command, squad out,” Aleria switched back to the squadron channel, “Looks like the cavalry’s not gonna get here in time, folks, so let’s get ready. We got one small group coming in fast, with another one a few minutes behind. No heroics now, we’ve just got to hold out until Centurion can get here to pick us up, understood?” There was a chorus of replies. No heroics, Aleria thought to herself, you’re one to talk. Being responsible for a whole squadron had made things quite a bit different; it had been much simpler when she was just a lowly -

“There they are, 9 o’clock high, coming in fast!” came a harsh cry over the squadron channel. Aleria rolled her head in the cockpit, until she could just barely make out several rapidly growing specks in the distance. Someone had sharp eyes.

“All right, I see them. Ladies and Gentlemen, here we go. Break formation and engage!” She switched to a private channel with her wingman, “Let’s do it, Freddy, try to keep up.”

There was a noise on the other end of the line that may or may not have been an abrupt laugh, “Don’t I always boss?” Aleria pulled back and to the left on her flight stick, angling toward the swarm of Glide Dragons.

“How’s it going?” Zoah asked his second in command, Tactical Officer Kergow.

“Fairly well so far, sir,” Kergow replied, “those new anti-bio missiles are very effective. They’ve destroyed nearly half the first wave, with no casualties as of yet. But… they only have so many missiles.”

“ETA on the second group?”

“3 minutes.”

Zoah turned his attention to the helm, “How long ‘til we get there?”

“2 minutes, thirty seconds at this speed, sir,” came the swift reply.

That wouldn’t give them enough time. The fighter docking systems on the Centurion were advanced, but not that advanced. Each ship had its own docking berth, and could be guided in fairly quickly, but it would take at least a minute to get all of them locked in. Zoah’s mind suddenly caught on something the helmsman had said, “What do you mean by ‘at this speed’?”

“Well, sir, by the book I’m at top speed, but… I think I can push it a bit faster. It’ll be hard on the engines, though.”

“Do it!” Zoah ordered. He did not take kindly to the idea of losing a whole squadron, or even one pilot, for that matter, and he’d be damned if it was going to happen on his watch.

This critter really wanted her off its tail. It was swinging around like mad, spraying those damn blue orb weapons all over the place, constantly trying to make her break off so it could circle around and hit her. But Aleria was not one to give up easily. She caught a twitch in its movements, and was ready as it veered to the right. It was only in her crosshairs for a split second, but that was all she needed. Her gauss machine gun tracers tore through its left wing, sending it into a spiraling dive to the desert below. She checked her radar display. That was the last one… for now. She began looking around, suddenly worried, “Freddy, where are you?” she called over the radio.

There was no response.

“2, come in!”

Still nothing. Aleria felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. In all her years of flying, she’d never lost anyone, and Freddy was her friend, dammit. He couldn’t just be -

There was a loud roar, and a black shape shot up past her cockpit, “Miss me?”

She exhaled into her mask, “You son of a… Don’t ever do that again!”

“Yessir, sorry sir, won’t happen again, sir,” she could hear him laughing on the other end, “Uh oh, don’t look now, but we got more buddies coming in.”

“Squad, check in,” Aleria ordered over the radio channel. She kept tabs on the status reports of her squadron, simultaneously scanning the sky for the swarm of Glide Dragons she knew to be only seconds away. Things were not looking good. They’d expended all of the new bio missiles on the first wave, and even with that advantage, nearly half the squadron had taken damage. They would not be able to hold out for very long against a swarm almost four times as large as the one they’d just fought. She glanced up… there they were. There were so many of them that they looked a cloud. A giant, rapidly approaching, tooth-filled cloud, anyway. Dammit, Centurion, where are you?

And then there she was. A shadow fell over the squadron, and Centurion’s massive form roared overhead, homing plasma batteries blazing. The blasts of pure light energy arced across the distance, and struck deep into the swarm of glide dragons. Their carapaces were specifically designed to dissipate as much heat as possible, unfortunately, and although a few were sent tumbling to the desert, most kept coming.

“Attention squadron, prepare for emergency docking. We will guide you in, over.” Aleria didn’t relax until the docking bay doors had shut securely behind her. Her fate was in other hands now.

Zoah grimaced. They’d gotten the fighters to safety in time, but now the glide dragons were swarming all around the ship. In addition, radar had just picked up three more Nuses moving in quickly. A solitary Nuse was one thing, four of them with support was quite another.

“Helm, get us out of here, now!”


Just a quick experimental one-shot.
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