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Chronicles of the Shipment War


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#1 Crispy

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 07:07 AM

This is a rather lengthy story I'm going to be writing for the next few weeks. It's based in Major Tom's Senfina Lactea universe and basically tells what Cullen's been doing for the years in between BoB and Phayboan Wilds. If you're not familiar with it, there's an encyclopedia on the Illikon Schola and there's a link to the wiki from there. Exan, Tommy and I have been expanding like nobody's business.

------
Aboard Frigate Arcanium
Kasamar System
Three Months AB

Aboard the Arcanium, the most prevalent emotion was tension. Not the bad kind of tension, mind you; the excited kind, the kind that you feel just before an important job that could change your life.

Cullen Archymm felt it just as vividly as the crew. His crew.

He was still amazed at what had happened; when he returned from Bazuur he was given a promotion to naval Captain and given command of his own frigate, the Arcanium. Arcanium was given charge of a task force of other naval forces and given an objective. To loosen the Vuldaks' grip on the Outer Expanses and Borderland Regions by striking their supply lines.

If he could pull this off, he'd be rewarded immensely. Beyond his or anyone's imagination.

As he stood on the bridge in his dress blues, he looked to the new comms officer, Reynolds. She nodded and tapped away at her console. In front of Cullen came up the other captains in hologram form. Quickly, he looked from left to right. Brandon Sloan of the frigate Glados, Rodney Shultz of the frigate Archbishop, Dirk Cruz of the frigate Superstition, Phil Falken of the frigate Charity, Jamal Welch of the frigate Mystique, Lucien Dalton of the frigate Annihilatior, Moses Sampson of the carrier Discord, Lane Web of the cruiser Telepathy, William Olsen of the frigate Providence, Jerry Mendoza of the cruiser Tyanny, Val Robinns of the cruiser Agreement, Ulysses Constantine of the cruiser Philosopher, Hal Knox of the cruiser Fury, and Delores Harris of the Carrier Tartarus; all present.

The man removed a cigar from his front pocket, lit it and inhaled, cleared his gravelly voice. All captains hit a button that keyed the shipwide comms' into the Captain's microphone. Cullen began to pace.

"Brave men and women of the Kasmari Rebellion." He began. "You all know what our mission is; to go forth into territory we've already fought and bled for and prevent the Vuldaks from taking it away. Shut down their supply routes and they fumble in the dark like headless chickens, easy pickings for our main force." He took a deep breath from the cigar. "The stakes are high on this; not only are each and every one of your lives on the line, but those of all our worlds in the Outer Expanses and Borderlands are in danger.

I'm sure some of you wonder why we're risking this for supplies; is it really worth your sacrifices? My answer is yes, this will win us the war in this part of the Galaxy if we succeed. Have faith in me as the leader of this task force, to guide you through this. I won't lie, not all of you will ever see Kasamar again. But I will ensure that some of you will. We will not fail today, gentlemen; we cannot fail." With that, he nodded and the mic was shut off by Reynolds.

Each captain performed a crisp salute, all in sync as they cut transmission.

Cullen moved away, cigar hanging out of his mouth, from the holoprojector and comms, returning to the main bridge. Every eye was on Cullen Archymm then as he breathed deeply and calmly from his newfound vice: he refused to give them any sign that he was jittery.

He went and sat in his captain's chair, giving the pilot the go-ahead. The Arcanium entered FTL and led the charge into what would begin the Shipment War.

---

Lemme know how it is; this is gonna go on for some time. I know it's probably only decent, but it's really just an intro.

Edited by Crispin F., 15 April 2012 - 05:48 AM.

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#2 Prattitude

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 08:52 AM

I definitely like it so far! You've got a good set up, though I feel like you should expand more on other characters besides Cullen, even though this is his story. Very good start up, and I like the fact that you don't portray the Kasmari as rough and unorganized like most rebels are in general. They were always in my mind more organized than the Vuldak (except for Naval aspects). Good show!

This warms my little old heart. :wub:

#3 Burger Warrior

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:49 AM

Somehow i feel we might get this universe somewhere near the size of the Rise fanbase. We've got a wiki, RPs, TvTropes, fan-made characters, fan-made stories, stories... all we need are more fans and maybe an Rp going along the lines of a main story, mayhaps?

At any rate, on topic, this is looking interesting, though why would he be promoted to Captain of the navy for surviving at Bazuur? He certainly didn't show much of a quality for leadership, shooting at his own friends... :P

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#4 Prattitude

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:33 AM

Somehow i feel we might get this universe somewhere near the size of the Rise fanbase. We've got a wiki, RPs, TvTropes, fan-made characters, fan-made stories, stories... all we need are more fans and maybe an Rp going along the lines of a main story, mayhaps?


This RP that's currently going on actually will launch us into the main storyline. Also, I seriously doubt we'll ever get that big, but the thought is really cool :P


At any rate, on topic, this is looking interesting, though why would he be promoted to Captain of the navy for surviving at Bazuur? He certainly didn't show much of a quality for leadership, shooting at his own friends... :P


Oh hush yourself, he was a troubled child! :P Plus he was, unless i'm mistaken, the only Kasmari that returned to the Kasmari military. That and the fact that his father was an admiral himself, he has a ton of sway. ;)

#5 Crispy

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 06:03 PM

@Tr0jin: My explanation for his ranking-up is that they wanted to reward him, give him something that told him he did a good job survived ya' know? He had a choice between naval captain or marine captain, and at this point Cullen's sick of combat and just wants to rest. And he only shot at Turok 'cause he had to Tr0jin, it was Meline or Turok. He knew that Turok would make it out either way so... But enough trying to justify his actions.

I'm trying to help get this to Rise-level. With Exan, you and everyone else on board for that, it'll be that much easier.

@Thomas: I certainly plan on expanding the other characters; at the moment all those names were really just placeholders to display the numbers of the task force.

Next part today, one more viewer.

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#6 V.Metalic

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 06:11 PM

Hehe, I would like this to be of Rise-level, because somehow this one is somehow different than Rise. I have a feeling this is more opened. I really dont know :D

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#7 Crispy

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:51 PM

Alright, there's my one more viewer. This part's lengthy, so bear with me.

---
Kainoss System (FTL Travel)
Aboard Frigate Arcanium
Three Months AB


Cullen watched the stars bend around Arcanium, almost bored. He looked at the datapad resting in his lap, reading the list of targets.

“Lieutenant!” He called out.

The man in front of him, clad in much cleaner dress blues, turned around. He was very young for his position, with close-cropped blond hair and only a dusting of stubble. His eyes were orbs of ice, cold and calculating as he assessed the situation on his screen. Cullen could already tell this was the go-to man aboard the Arcanium.

“Yessir?”

“What’s the first target we’re hitting, mister…” Cullen hadn’t met the whole crew yet, much less knew their names.

“Montegue, sir. Lieutenant Blaine Montegue.” The man snapped off a salute. “The first planet is Wadleigh, sir, an ice giant in the Kainoss system.”

Cullen’s ears perked up at that. “Kainoss?"

"Affirmative, sir. The most notable planet is Kainoss III. A dustbowl world, controlled by feuding warlords. Numerous war crimes are committed by both sides; child soldiers are amongst the largest. You've been there before, sir?"

Cullen mused for another moment, stroking his beard before shaking his head. "No, no. I have a...comrade who was born there."

Montegue didn't question any further; he knew of the captain's time on Bazuur. He assumed the 'comrade' had died there. "In any case, we'll be arriving there shortly, sir. Your presence is requested in the comms chamber for strategizing."

Cullen nodded; not only was he the leader of the task force but his skills as a tactician were nothing to glance over. The DMU got up and made his way through the vessel to Reynolds' post. The comms officer shrugged helplessly, motioning to the projector.

The other captains were arguing over strategy; it was a rarity when they weren't at each other's throats. If there was one thing that he knew going into this position, it was that well-respected and impressive naval tacticians were few and far between for the Kasmari. Naval engagements were much more organized on the Vuldak side from the discipline they hammer in, and it wasn't uncommon for a Kasmari force to sit around arguing while the other side prepared. Cullen planned to change that.

"Listen up!" His commanding tone cut through the holograms, causing them to stop arguing. "We're about fifteen minutes out from the first target and you can't stop arguing. You all need to get over yourselves and work together for once." As the stir was quelled, Reynolds brought up a holographic battle-map, showing Wadleigh. "This is our first hit: Wadleigh. Reynolds, explain the situation."

"There are major mining platforms on the polar ice caps, digging deep into the planet's hidden mineral reserves. A planetary bombardment would be possible, but first there are AA cannons that could shoot us down as soon as we reach the atmosphere. All the cannons are controlled from one facility near the southern pole."

"Thank you, Reynolds." The comms officer nodded and returned to her duties. "A small strike team from the Arcanium will infiltrate using our drop shuttle and shut down the cannons. After the team returns, the bombardment begins. If we're lucky, this battle will last a few hours at most. Let's get to work, ladies and gents. Archymm out."

___

Cullen went down to the shuttle bay to speak with his troops. "Men, I'm sending in Staff Sergeant Flaherty to lead this crew. You set the demolition charges and then get the hell outta there. Any questions?" There was silence; whether it was nerves or they actually knew what they were doing Cullen didn't know. "Good. Make Stormblade proud, men." The marines grinned at the use of his nickname. "Make yourselves proud."

When the DMU returned to the bridge, they came out of FTL. A small assortment of Vuldak craft awaited them, and Cullen watched the shuttle leave and head for the planet's surface. He grinned as he spoke the words he'd always wanted to since he heard his father utter them.

"Full speed ahead, mister Montegue."

___

The shuttle ride down was silent. The team was not exactly unprepared, in fact they were the most experienced marines aboard the Arcanium if not the entire task force. Still, the sudden pressure was nerve-wracking.

Frank Flaherty had been raised on Lycanthia, but was one of the 'mongrels', as Vuldak command called them; he couldn't shapeshift. After he escaped the Vuldak grip on the world he was saved by a Huron family, giving him his surname, and joined the Rebellion with them. He was a veteran of many campaigns now; he had many scars adorning his face. Filthy blond hair had been cut back to a minimum, and his eyes were bloodshot.

Demolitions expert Virgo Barrat was born on Goba Prime. He was short and quiet, his eyes deep and brown. His gaze was calm; the kind of person you want behind heavy explosives. It was said he watched his family get cut down in front of him, and it caused him to join up with the Kasmari.

The support gunner of the team was Tharab Narudo, a Zrillac. Tall and spindly, the alien was the second most thoughtful in the squad, only behind Virgo. He often had insight on the Zrillac approach to a situation.

These three were the most notable of the team, but they all knew what they were doing; again, they were the most experienced special forces in a mostly-naval task force.

The shuttle lowered itself down onto the facility and the doors opened. The team stormed out, led by Flaherty, meeting the snow and Vuldak guards with gunfire.

Edited by Crispin F., 15 April 2012 - 05:48 AM.

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#8 Prattitude

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:02 PM

Ooooh conflict. This really is picking up quickly! I like the pace, and the fact that it seems like Cullen's crew isn't going to be able to "action-hero" their way around. :P I expect some hardships for them, and I can't wait to see how they come about.

Full speed ahead Mister Crispin. F

#9 Crispy

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:00 AM

Roger sir. :P I just really wanna keep this running, so here's part III. I also just noticed the anachronisms and edited the dates.

----
Wadleigh, Kainoss System
AA Facility
Three Months AB


The few guards in the immediate area were quick and easily neutralized. Flaherty's Raayl rifle tore through their plating and the shore party was able to advance at a rapid pace.

Several of the rookies complained about being unable to see due to the thick blanket of snow and they were quickly silenced with a smack to the back of the head from Tharab. A loud assortment of bangs sounded, and the group looked up. They could see the naval engagement, and watched as the Vuldaks began to get torn apart.

No one doubted Stormblade; those who did tended to be worrying when they should be fighting and get shot. In this case, listening to his scheme was the right choice, and it doubtlessly increased the soldier's morale.

Flaherty led the team across the catwalks, arriving at the control room. The Gobian began to set the charges, and an alarm went off, drawing everyone's attention away and pausing Virgo's progress.

Flaherty motioned for him to continue, and the Gobian did. The Wulven knew much of Vuldak tactics and protocol. After approximately fifteen seconds of ringing, the alarm would deactivate and all the guards will have been roused. After that, they would proceed in teams of two to clear the facility. When the strike team was found another alarm would be raised and the majority of the guards would move in to attack.

Flaherty posted two men at the rear entrance and sent another with Tharab to secure the extraction zone. He himself watched the front entrance, rifle propped against the windowframe.

Sure enough, the silhouette of a sleepy guard came around the corner, weapon cradled. With a deep inhalation, the Wulven Staff Sergeant fired. The Raayl rifle's rounds tore through the target's unarmored soft-spot: a small area in between the chestplate and hip armor.

As the rapport from the rifle echoed, Flaherty heard armored boots impacting against the metal of the catwalks. He took another deep breath and readied his rifle...

____

"Status report!" Cullen yelled, gripping his seat. The battle seemed to be calming, and he was currently watching the final Vuldak frigate split in two through the viewscreen.

"Barriers are at half strength sir!" Montegue shouted. "The Glados is already destroyed, but we've routed the majority of them. Their fighters are all that's left."

The DMU lowered his head out of respect. "We'll have a burial service for Captain Sloan later. Have our interceptors chase down the fighters."

"Sir!" Reynolds' voice came through his earpiece. "The shore party has just returned. Flaherty is reporting full success and requests a debriefing with you in your quarters."

"Roger, Reynolds. Tell him to meet me there. Montegue, you have the bridge, let the bombing begin." The lieutenant nodded and began to dish out orders coolly.

____

The two looked out of place together; Flaherty aged, scarred and completely filthy and Cullen young and clean in his crisp dress blues. Still, anyone could see the two had known each other for some time now as they shared a bottle a gin, laughing hysterically.

"...and that's when Tharab took it upon himself to bash the Vuldak's head in with the butt of his autocannon, even though he posed little threat to the rook's life." The veteran marine said, grinning a bit as he regaled the 'mission report' to his commanding officer, who was choking on his drink. "He picked up the kid, slung him over his shoulder and charged right into the shuttle!" He laughed along, motioning with his hands for emphasis.

Once Cullen had calmed down sufficiently, he set the glass aside. "Well, we got it done, Frank. Chock up another medal; maybe you'll actually get promoted if you stop with all the insubordination."

Flaherty began to defend himself before the DMU stopped him. "I know, I know; he had it coming. Just don't try that with me, mate."

There was an audible click as the loudspeaker in the cabin came on and Montegue began to talk. "Sir, we've completed the bombing. The mining facilities are completely destroyed."

"Glad to hear it, lieutenant. Set us on course for the next target, I'll be on deck in a few minutes." The speaker turned off, and the DMU turned to his friend. "You should get back down to your troops, celebrate amongst your men." He grinned again before shaking hands and leaving the cabin, the staff sergeant behind him.

----

As I said, there were some chronological errors. The next update is going to be a few months ahead, just so I don't have to write every single battle over the course of nine months.

Edited by Crispin F., 15 April 2012 - 06:00 AM.

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#10 Prattitude

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:28 AM

This really does get more and more entertaining with each update. I especially enjoyed the character insight. It seems that Cullen is either extremely trusting or foolish to let another in charge of his cruiser. Keep it coming Crispin! :D

#11 V.Metalic

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:51 AM

Every captain has his XO, executive officer, who will take command of the ship when captain isnt on the bridge or is off the ship :D

If I may have one hint for you, Crispin. When someone is speaking through microphone, you could make it in italic to distinguish it :)

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#12 Tr0jin H0rse

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:12 PM

@Tr0jin: My explanation for his ranking-up is that they wanted to reward him, give him something that told him he did a good job survived ya' know? He had a choice between naval captain or marine captain, and at this point Cullen's sick of combat and just wants to rest. And he only shot at Turok 'cause he had to Tr0jin, it was Meline or Turok. He knew that Turok would make it out either way so... But enough trying to justify his actions.

I'm trying to help get this to Rise-level. With Exan, you and everyone else on board for that, it'll be that much easier.


Umm, I'm confused. You are quoting me, but I haven't posted on this story until today, and still haven't even read it fully. I just saw that you arked up about something I didn't even say. What gives?

#13 V.Metalic

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:44 PM

Umm, I'm confused. You are quoting me, but I haven't posted on this story until today, and still haven't even read it fully. I just saw that you arked up about something I didn't even say. What gives?

But you played with him in the RP, didnt you? :) Its related to what happened in the RP. From how I understand it.

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#14 Crispy

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 03:33 PM

Umm, I'm confused. You are quoting me, but I haven't posted on this story until today, and still haven't even read it fully. I just saw that you arked up about something I didn't even say. What gives?


Oh wow I really was tired. I read Burger's post about shooting comrades and just thought it was you. :P sorry about that mate.

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#15 Crispy

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:42 AM

Unidentified Space
Frigate Arcanium
Eight Months AB


The campaign had run on for a while now, Cullen mused. It was rough in the five months since the bombing of Wadleigh, but still they'd succeeded thus far.

The only major losses were the Glados, Archbishop and Fury, the latter a cruiser while the former were frigates. And none of those were due to risky tactics, only heroics on the captains' parts, so Cullen had no major guilt.

Although his was completely and utterly exhausted.

____

The war room was dark, cigar smoke wafted through. Two figures stood over the table, one taller and leaning on it with his head bowed.

"What's the deal, Reynolds?" The shadowy taller figure asked tiredly.

The shorter silhouette brought up a holographic planet. The landscape on the sphere was completely covered in man-made structures, only broken for the occasional cloud of smog that covered a massive factory. "Raayl. A corporate world owned by Rayvadeen Corporation, the famed Vuldak weapon supplier. Rayvadeen is a Vuldak-sponsored company; red blood through and through so we have no worries about backlash to the Kasmari. Recently, a contact on Okaer sent us intel on a alleged superweapon being built here."

The taller one's eyebrows raised up. "Superweapon? Explain."

"Specifics are shaky; they found our mole before he could go into detail. It's assumed to be some kind of explosive."

"NBC?"

"Likely. Which one, we don't know."

Silence. The larger figure stroked his newest beard; over the past months he'd shaved and regrown it twice. "Defenses?"

"The Vuldaks want this system down-pat. It's likely that there'll be some serious naval defense."

"Who's running the show?"

A hologram of an older man appeared, his skin well-worn and tanned. His features could best be described as fox-like: weasely and sharp. "Major Doyle Hadlee. A Wulven Old Breed who was a private around Drahgan's earliest years in office. He isn't well-known, but many reports state he's a maverick in his strategies. A 'ends justify the means' kind of guy. And he's got his sights set specifically on quelling Expanse rebellions." There was a pause. "Also commanded the operation at Wadleigh, sir. He set up the slave-labor deal with the Helion family on Kainoss III. Just an example of how he'll bend the law to get his way."

Again, silence overtook the dark war room, accompanied by smoke. Finally, the taller lifted his head. "Tell Montegue to bring us in, Reynolds. Get me Flaherty. Oh, and Reynolds?" The smaller figure paused on her way out. "Fetch Stormblade."

____

Two Hours Later

The task force was just about to come out of FTL, and they were loaded for bear.

Blaine Montegue was at the helm of the Arcanium. The Executive Officer was going to lead the naval assault this time around and planned on keeping Cullen in the loop throughout.

The task force had halted in empty space to have a Thunderskiff assault shuttle ferry Cullen and the marines from Wadleigh onto the carrier Discord. Moses Sampson had welcomed them personally, the tall dark-skinned Gobian nearly tearing Virgo's arm off with a handshake.

Cullen himself now stood in front of his ground troops, clad in a Biomesh suit and with Stormblade on his hip. For the first time since Bazuur he was going to fight on the ground, and he couldn't be more excited.

As he stood in front of the hundreds of troops aboard Discord with Flaherty at his side, he began to remember how to give a speech.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be the harshest raid we've had yet. There are seven facilites on the planet that might hold the weapon, which as of the latest intel is dubbed 'Project Sigma'. Each of your brigades are going to be moving in on a different facility; I personally will be leading Alpha Company on the northernmost facility. Whether the weapon is located or not, you set demolitions charges, proceed to the exfil point and leave via Thunderskiff. Clear?"

A loud oorah echoed throughout the bay, and the DMU missed the ground corps immensely.

___

Aboard their Thunderskiff, Flaherty's squad and Cullen were accompanied by some of their men. The flight was turbulent, and soon Montegue began to fill the DMU in via earpiece. Quickly he shut it off, deciding to have faith in his XO and leave him to handle the situation.

The rookies eyes were glued to the red light over the doorway, anxiously waiting for that infamous green glow. Flaherty chuffed at this, and got smacked lightly by Tharab.

Finally, with an electronic ring the light changed to a soft emerald. Almost instantaneously, the doors to the Thunderskiff flew open, revealing the silent shuttlebay to the battleground as they rushed out.

Shells flew everywhere, artillery strikes from the nearby factory keeping most of the deploying soldiers pinned in cover. Several marksmen were set up and attempting to neutralize their Vuldak counterparts. It was clear these were no mercenaries, but instead full-on Vuldaks.

Cullen and Flaherty got into cover, staying low as the two began to take potshots. In their earpieces, a pilot's voice could be heard but not understood. Soon, the DMU realized what was going on as a fighter flew overhead, raining fire and taking out the artillery.

With a cheer from his men, the two led the charge up to the factory, only stopped by smaller pockets of resistance. Cullen fired a round clean through a soldier's skull as they breached the factory gates.

"Alright maggots, fan out!" Flaherty growled as his men flooded in. "Captain, we'll stick with you and search the main building." Cullen didn't respond, instead he began to run towards the warehouse in question.

___

The sniper rifle's bolt was pulled back, and he looked down the barrel. As the warehouse doors opened, he grinned, pulling the black hood over his head further and replacing the mask.

This'd be easy pickings.

___

The building was dark, almost impossible to see. A single light shone down onto the center, almost perfect. A cloak of fabric shrouded a large machine, equally picturesque.

That's why, while the others had a mind to briefly glance around before moving in, Tharab took it upon himself to scan the warehouse. Catwalks crossed the ceiling, an easy place to defend from. However, no signs of enemies were visible.

Except for a small scope flash, barely larger than the size of a penny, which appeared when Cullen moved in.

Tharab didn't have time to warn his leader. He charged forward, throwing his weapons aside and moving into a tackle...


Cliffhanger! :P Sorry about the double-postage.

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#16 Prattitude

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:57 AM

Wow very good! I think we all know Cullen's not going to die though, so hah! :P The beginning took me a second to grasp, (there's just so many names!) but once I remembered everything I was good, and the battle scene was pretty well described, though I think you could put a little more into the casualties on deployment. Also it'd be cool to get some more insight into Cullen's personal feelings, as you mentioned his doubt. Really good story though, I can't wait to see how all of this goes for the 5th fleet! :D

#17 Crispy

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 04:58 AM

I hope I have more viewers than just Tommy, but either way I'm keeping the ball rolling. This one's going to bring in the foil for Cullen and the team.

Raayl, Raayl System
Frigate Arcanium
Eight Months AB


The frigate rocked as missiles and other projectiles sped by the bridge, causing Montegue to grip the headrest of the pilot's seat until his knuckles went white. "They're coming in too hot sir!" The pilot yelled.

"Evasive manuevers!" The ship rocked again and a fire sprung up at the rear of the bridge, licking at Reynolds' heels. "Fire all forward batteries at the portside tango. Somebody, get that fire out!"

It was a long fight ahead.

____

The target came into sight. Of course, he took the bait. He needed to.

Deft, gloved fingers clasped the handle, fondling the triggerguard. The target's head walked right into the scope, and the fingers snapped back against the trigger.

____

A shot rang out just as Tharab lunged. Blood flew up as the Zrillac grunted and Cullen's breath left him.

____

Dammit. The hands became fists, barraging the railing.

Another hand tapped the shoulder, this one's fingers revealed. The head shook, and the hands produced a cylinder before throwing it over and shielding it's own gaze, defeated.

____

Flaherty only had a second to notice the cylindrical object bounce off the floor: a flashbang. Before he could call out, the world became pure white.

When the smoke cleared, Cullen tried to sit up, his head resting in a pool of blood. Not his own.

Tharab lay beside him, more choking on his bile than breathing. He watched a rookie struggle, trapped beneath an obsidian boot with a black hammer printed on. The barrel of an SMG entered his vision, and the young recruit could do nothing as his life was ended quickly and efficiently.

Cullen tried harder to rouse himself before looking to see the two boots in front of him. A rifle barrel turned him over, and he saw his captor. He wore a high-tier armored vest and his long coattails whipped around him. Cigarette smoke drifted out from underneath the brim of the sleek black hat.

The rifle rested on his chest. "You know who we are? Actually, it's best you don't; you could track us over the rainbow." The man's voice was smoky and rich. "Rayvadeen doesn't want you getting your hands on their pot of gold, so to speak. Unfortunately, I can't finish the job here, we're outta time. To be quite honest I don't kill without reason. Either way, your men have been contacted to carpet-bomb the facility; you know how Kasmari bombers are. It's been good, sir." A hand, fingerless-gloves upon it, tipped the hat's brim in a salute before disappearing.

It was some time before the DMU finally dragged himself to his feet. He didn't bother checking on Tharab; it had been far too long and it was clear that the shot had gone clean through, probably pierced a lung. He gave a salute to the corpse before limping on to Flaherty, who he dragged to his feet.

"Spec-ops grade flashbang, mercs shouldn't have that." He commented, tousling his own hair before seeing Tharab. "Shit."

"Yeah." Silence was becoming more and more common around Cullen. The others began to drag themselves to their feet. "He said something about bombers hitting this place, which is what we want. But not if we die. Let's get outta here, we can radio for transport once we're out of the facility." The DMU led a much-fewer shore party out of the building, encountering no resistance. They watched the factory go up in smoke from a few blocks away, continuing on until they reached salvation.

____

Three Hours Later

Back to the war room. The same figures were there. "Reynolds, what do you have on the mercs?"

"Latest intel. You say you saw a black hammer on their gear, sir? There's a merc crew currently licensed under Rayvadeen Corporation's umbrella with the same emblem. Hammerfist."

"Ooh, nice name. Sounds like a buncha wannabes."

"Not quite. There's six PMCs currently listed on the roster. None of them come from pleasant backgrounds.

"The one you described goes by the name 'Virgil Eyre. Might not be his birth name, but it's what he calls himself. 40. Born on Haron, he was recruited when the Vuldaks started to crack down on mages. He quit almost instantly after the bombing of a school on Kasamar, but he still has more experience than anyone else on the team. Everything else about his life he's covered pretty well; every other piece of data is blacked out.

"The resident DMU: Alton Vince. This guy's got a history; he fought alongside Sawyer Graham during Graham's War, being one of the Arch Mage's students. He joined up with the Kasmari and fought alongside us for a while before going private, being discharged honorably. Specializes in...Frost magic, it appears.

"Darian Church is one of the only members with no military experience, but he's still got a lot to be proud of. CQC. He's late-twenties, we believe. Served as a PMC for ten years before joining up with Vince and Eyre to start Hammerfist, bringing along his girlfriend, the resident heavy weapons expert.

"Her name's Ingrid May. Definitely sounds like a fake to me, but wouldn't surprise me. Massive criminal record. When Church discovered what shit she's done, they broke up. Still work together. Not quite sure if she's all there in the head, but she's strong enough to hold an autocannon on target.

"Archibald Leblanc, better known as the Gobian Devil. A well-renowned explosives expert, the group took him on for a mission to destory supply depots and never got rid of him.

"And finally Harlan Priest, the sniper. This guy is the quietest of all and everything is black ink. Wears a greatcoat over some full-body armor and some creepy mask to boot. He must've taken the shot at you."

The taller mulled over the flood of info. "Alright, you know where any of them are?"

"That's it, sir. We put a tracker on Vince after he left the Kasmari, just in case he ever went over. Currently, it appears he's heading to the planet Ronir, another Rayvadeen planet. That's about...twenty parsecs from here."

"Better get Montegue on it, then, Reynolds." His face broke into a grin. "We've gotta get the pot o' gold."

____

The shower in the captain's cabin hadn't been used for a while, and Cullen wasn't planning on using it now.

No reason when I'm going to lead his men into battle soon; might as well smell like their current leader, the DMU grinned, thinking of Flaherty. He was leaning on the table in his cabin, hands steepled nicely and his head resting in between them.

Dad never told me how much pressure there is, he realized. How everyone's relying on you. I can handle smaller-scale, but fighting a war without any backup... Cullen's will had proven to be his strongest aspect, saving his life multiple times. Now, he didn't know. Too many variables without a backup plan, I can't process this. We're not strong enough, and only I realize it.

A click occurred and his head raised up. "Yes, Montegue?"

"We've stopped so you can board the Discord, sir. The shuttle's arrived, and Staff Sergeant Flaherty is anxious."

He didn't move for a moment. "I'll be down." The mic turned off.

Something clicked in his head, and suddenly he got up so fast the chair flew back and hit the wall. Dammit, if he was going to let Hadlee get to him, he might as well be hanging himself. He was going to do his father proud, no the whole Kasmari fleet.

Stormblade hadn't had a solid campaign victory for a while; this'd be fun.

----

I realize I'm cutting through updates like nobody's business, but I really just wanna update the wikipage already. :P

Edited by Crispin F., 17 April 2012 - 05:54 AM.

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Sig es mucho gracias a Burngirl.


#18 Prattitude

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 05:32 AM

Ooooooh, excited! Keep cutting through em Crispin!

#19 V.Metalic

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 11:16 AM

Dont worry, I am reading it too, I just dont have to say anything other than keep up the good work :)

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#20 Tr0jin H0rse

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 11:50 AM

Great stories mate, you have more readers than you may realize.




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