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Old August 19th, 2008, 01:54 AM
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Post OT: All That You Can't Leave Behind

Preamble? We don't need no stinking preamble!

Brother Malaclypse the Elder sat at his large, sturdy wooden desk and contemplated the work before him. A small data terminal sat on the edge of his workspace, which in turn was dominated by a massive leather-bound tome. Its pages were covered in beautiful calligraphy, transcribed from the logs displayed on the data terminal which detailed the five thousand-year voyage of the Hopeship Atlantis on its journey from the Milky Way to the Muxen Galaxy, near the centre of the Virgo Cluster. The entirety of the Order of Messier had dedicated themselves to this task for the last two years in order to bring their records in line with The New Way of Things. The colony of Sivran`s Hope had been established during the break-up of the Atlantis, when the massive ship had split into a dozen slightly less massive colony ships. Eight of them had founded the Core Worlds, two were lost; one to sabotage, one to accident, and the remaining two, of which Admiral Sivran`s had been one, lost contact with the rest of the fleet. After nearly a year of wandering, they found a suitable planet, and after another year of waiting for the massive terraforming machines to ready it for them, the colonists founded Sivran`s Hope.

The colonists prospered for over a century, thanks to the advanced technologies they`d brought with them. One hundred and seven years after the Founding, the population celebrated the founding of the planet`s second city: Sivran`s Rest. Located near the planet`s only ocean, it became home to the late admiral`s tomb, honouring the old sailor`s request that he be buried near the sea. Another hundred years passed by uneventfully, and the distant Sivran`s Rest grew to rival, and then surpass Sivran`s Hope, thanks to its pleasant climate and proximity to Fyronium and Junkite deposits; two rare resources vital to even the most basic of the colonists technology. Inevitably, Sivran`s Rest`s fortune fostered tensions between the two colonies, and when a disastrous mine accident and the worst winter in two hundred years pushed Fyronium and Junkite prices to prohibitive levels, very few were surprised when hostilities broke out between the two cities.

The ensuing war all but obliterated both cities. Children of a shattered galaxy, the colonists had never thought of not building and maintaining the machinery of war, but none of them had ever thought it would be used against fellow humans. Enormous armoured divisions slammed into each other on the field of battle and hypersonic aircraft split open the skies while above, orbiting warships mutinied and tore into each other like wild dogs. The orbital defence network turned its massive guns inwards and turned the sky red with fire. The war only ended when a rebellion on both sides of the conflict rose up and took control of both Sivran`s Hope and Rest. That spring, the leadership of both cities were hung, and the new government proclaimed that the root of the war had been technology, and thus the colonists would be returning to a more `natural` way of living.

That government was hung the following winter when the majority realised that their technology had been providing them with such amenities as warmth, food, and proper shelter. For a time, it seemed as though another war was inevitable, until the Order of Messier had stepped in and negotiated a compromise between the two factions, resulting in The New Way of Things. They would live in stone houses and prepare their fields with horse and plough, but the stone would be infused with a Fyronium nanoweave that would keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter, while the plough would use advanced agricultural technology to both till, fertilise, and plant genetically modified seeds, simultaneously, and the horses would be andromorphs that never grew old or tired, and needed nothing but the most basic maintenance.
And so things had gone for close to twenty years, and when scout ships from the Bluestar Corporation discovered their world, they were producing so many surplus crops that they were allowed to maintain their rustic lifestyle in return for supplying food to the Corporation`s more industrialised worlds. It was this same contact with Bluestar that exposed that the Order was still using banned data terminals to store their archives. Malaclypse`s predecessor had managed to avoid a hanging due solely to the Bluestar Corporation`s prohibition on such things, and had escaped with mere exile. Malaclypse himself managed to convince the colonial government that the information in the archives was far too valuable to be destroyed, though they had insisted that only information that was of direct relevance to the colony, or not available elsewhere was to be kept. Thus, the Order had been tasked with transcribing approximately two hundred thousand pages of material onto nanoweave paper, that would, Malaclypse had to admit, last longer and be less succeptible to damage than the old data terminals.

The oil lamp on his desk spat and flickered, and Malaclypse smiled softly. The lamp would never actually run dry, and was easily able to produce a flawlessly flickerless flame in even strong winds, but he had programmed it to spit and splutter at him when it was time for sleep. "All right," he said softly. "Keep your hat on, I`m going." He rose slowly from his chair and made his way to his room, offering blessings of good sleep to fellow monks he encountered on the way. He paused at one of the monastery's many balconies to gaze down at the lights of the settlements below. He was verging on a long, thoughtful, and frankly quite dull exposition on how the settlements had grown, but was saved the effort when suddenly the cloudless night split open with a flash of lightning and a peal of thunder. A split second later, a mighty shock wave crashed into the monastery, and sent Brother Malaclypse tumbling head over heels down the flight of stairs behind him.

Captain Alexis Morrison would have likely found the sight of a proper, dignified monk in a full robe tumbling backwards down a flight of stairs to be rather hilarious, but at the moment was slightly distracted by the four pirate raiders who seemed more than determined to blow her freighter out of the sky. All attempts to surrender had been met with silence, as had any attempts to communicate at all. Six raiders had dropped on them as they made transit into the Maxank system, one of the border systems between the Bluestar Corporation and Zedron Holdings' space. All six had gone straight for Morrison's ship, the impressively-named MF-31, which had allowed her escorts to frag two of them before the other raiders reconsidered and blew the escorts apart. Pleas for help from Zedron Holdings were useless; even if they weren't being jammed, the company had a known policy of permitting limited piracy within its borders, as long as the company received its share of the spoils.

Bluestar, on the other hand, was more than happy to blast any pirate ship it could find to pieces and publicly butcher the survivors in ways that decent people shouldn't think about. Unfortunately, the treaty between the two mega-corporations stated very clearly that any ship crossing into the other's space would become property of the trespassed corporation. Even firing across the border was prohibited, unless in defence of a ship registered with the corporation on the wrong side of the border. The MF-31 was a Bluestar-registered ship, but she was also well outside any Bluestar warships weapons range. Morrison glanced at her sensor display again. A dozen Bluestar cruisers sat with their noses right up against the corporate boundary, and a pair of Zedron destroyers hovered nearby, hoping the attack would goad the Bluestars into crossing the border.

Of course, what neither side knew was that the raiders attacking the MF-31 had no intention of looting her. Just after they'd lost their escorts, the freighter's external cameras had captured several images of the raiders that clearly showed the markings of the Ashclan, a particularly brutal organization of raving psychotics that had no interest in loot or plunder, or even rape and pillage. They wanted nothing more than death and destruction on the grandest scale possible. Their political arm would sometimes mumble something about a desire to upset the established order, or challenge the supremacy of the mega-corps, but their actions showed little sign of them wanting to do anything more than destroy whatever was unfortunate enough to fall into their sights.

The MF-31 shuddered violently, then became eerily silent. “Drive fields have collapsed, ma'am,” Morrison's engineer reported. The sub-light engines of modern spacecraft were ridiculously complex devices, and about all anyone without an astro-engineering degree knew about them was that they generated drive fields, and that when these fields collapsed, the ship would slow to a halt relative to the nearest star or, if shut down properly, the nearest large mass. The MF-31's drive field had not been shut down properly and she was now dead in space, at the mercy of the merciless. The main viewscreen on the bridge, which had been showing the space in front of them, now filled with the sight of the four raiders, swooping in formation to deliver the killing blow. Morrison closed her eyes and waited for the end to come. She waited a long time before she decided to open her eyes again. There, on the main viewscreen, and wreathed in the fiery debris of four destroyers was nothing short of a glowing angel of mercy. Morrison's eyes swept over it's sleek curves and graceful lines, neither of which did anything to disguise the lethality of her still glowing gun ports. It was several moments before she realised that the comm system was beeping with an incoming hail. Robotically, she flicked the channel open, and the bridge filled with the voice of the angel.

“Little ship to big ship. Come in, big ship. This is little ship, hailing big ship...”
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Last edited by AgentZero; August 21st, 2008 at 10:02 PM.. Reason: less eye bleedage
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  #2  
Old August 21st, 2008, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: OT: All That You Can't Leave Behind

This looks like it could be something really nice, I always love good stories.

However, there's a slight problem: It makes my eyes bleed. I think the formatting would be much improved if each paragraph change had one full empty line before it, because while that would probably look very good on a word processor, the forum format is somewhat more limited.
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Old August 21st, 2008, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: OT: All That You Can't Leave Behind

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edi View Post
This looks like it could be something really nice, I always love good stories.

However, there's a slight problem: It makes my eyes bleed. I think the formatting would be much improved if each paragraph change had one full empty line before it, because while that would probably look very good on a word processor, the forum format is somewhat more limited.
Sorry about the eye-bleedage. I've fixed it up for you, so it's a bit easier to read. MS Word's auto-line breaks didn't copy paste too well, but thanks to it's wonky interpretations of quotation marks and apostrophes, I've switched over to OpenOffice, so future installments should be more readable.

If you like this story, you also might want to check out Hell is for Heroes, which was written by yours truly and may or may not be related to this one. Of course, the current version will probably make your eyes bleed even more since the formatting didn't take to the new forum very well, but I hope to have a better-looking version available shortly.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: OT: All That You Can't Leave Behind

wow, a new AZ story. Narf says I have to check in more to see things like this. Maybe I do.
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: OT: All That You Can't Leave Behind

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Originally Posted by Puke View Post
wow, a new AZ story. Narf says I have to check in more to see things like this. Maybe I do.
I agree with Narf. Then you'd post more, I'd feel validated by the realization that someone's actually reading my tripe, and thus be inspired to write more. Circle of life. Or fiction. Kumbaya and such. Or something.
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Old December 10th, 2008, 11:30 AM
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Default Re: OT: All That You Can't Leave Behind

Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentZero View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puke View Post
wow, a new AZ story. Narf says I have to check in more to see things like this. Maybe I do.
I agree with Narf. Then you'd post more, I'd feel validated by the realization that someone's actually reading my tripe, and thus be inspired to write more. Circle of life. Or fiction. Kumbaya and such. Or something.
You know I'm a big fan of your writing AZ. I had subscribed to HI4H so I wouldn't miss anything.... subscribing to this one too.

Weeeeeeeeeee!

Oh, and I did finish the edit on HI4H... where DID I save that .pdf?

TT
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Old December 14th, 2008, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: OT: All That You Can't Leave Behind

More please.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: OT: All That You Can't Leave Behind

There will be more, don't worry about that. I've just got to get some silly little midterms out of the way, then I'll be all over that like BBQ sauce and grilled beef patties on waffles. Which is awesome, by the way.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 11:01 PM
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Default Re: OT: All That You Can't Leave Behind

Mid-terms over yet?

C'mon! I read it again and I need more.

T
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'We, the weird, chasing the pointless, for no reason at all, have been finding out things that have no effect on anything important for at least a couple days and are now qualified to chase our tails to the merriment of all watching.'-Narf et al

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Old January 4th, 2009, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: OT: All That You Can't Leave Behind

Rightso, as promised. I've decided to start releasing smaller 'episodes' of the story, rather than trying to put together big epic releases, which should mean more updates, more often. And so, Episode II!

Marxus Griffdon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bluestar Corporation, was a very busy man. Every day for him was rigidly scheduled down to the second, to the point where something as fumbling while tying his shoes could ruin his whole day. Which was likely why his shoes tied themselves, he reflected as he slipped his feet into black business shoes whose looks belied their luxurious comfort. His shirt even buttoned itself, though it had been a long time since it had needed to do so. The nanoweave embedded in his clothing kept the clothing, and their wearer, impeccably clean at all times while also maintaining a just-ironed look through even the most rigorous of board meetings. Marxus had some time ago taken to sleeping in his clothes, having realised that all the time he spent getting dressed added up to hours over the course of a year, and given the length of time a man like him could be expected to live, this would add up to years more productive work over the course of his lifetime. After a cursory glance in the mirror, he strode out of his bedroom, where an attendant was waiting to hand him a compact breakfast bar and a cup of coffee worth more than the average factory worker's yearly salary. He crossed the wide hallway, his office door swishing open ahead of him, and took his seat at his desk.

"Any news, Davis?" he asked his attendant. Expecting the same negative response he'd gotten every day for the last twenty years, Marxus turned to his data terminal even before he'd finished asking the question, and so was perfectly positioned to whirl around dramatically when Davis responded with a hesitant, "Well actually..."

Davis cleared his throat nervously before continuing. “We received a report from one of our patrol units on the Bluestar-Zedron border. I'll save you the details, the noteworthy portion is in a segment from the lead cruisers sensor log.” Davis waved his hand at Marxus' data terminal; a point of etiquette more than anything else, since the terminal was controlled via cerebral implant. A holographic display sprang to life over the terminal, displaying the fuzzy yet still recognisable outline of a Bluestar cargo ship. And surrounding were four no less fuzzy but no less recognisable outlines of Ashclan destroyers. Marxus sighed. Somewhere in the last few years, Davis had gone and gotten himself a conscience, and would from time to time interject scenes of Ashclan brutality into morning briefings in an attempt to get Marxus to do something about a Zedron Holdings problem. Davis stifled his objection with a raised hand, adding, “Please, sir, just watch.” Marxus sighed again, more for dramatic effect this time and settled back in his chair to watch.

The Ashclan destroyers nipped and ducked around the cargo ship, streaks of light reaching out from them caused blooms of light all across the freighter's hull. Marxus was on the verge of inquiring as to exactly what he should be looking for when suddenly there was a bright flash, and the outline of another ship appeared in between the destroyers and the cargo ship. A split second later, streaks of light reached out from the new arrival and turned the four Ashclan ships into expanding clouds of light. Marxus looked up at his assistant, who nodded towards the screen, indicating there was more to see. The recording, sped up several times for watchability, showed the new arrival dock with the freighter, then after approximately an hour, undock and speed away from the cargo ship before disappearing in a flash of light.

“Ballsy,” Marxus muttered. “The other pirate clans are sensible enough to leave the Ashclan alone. Were there any survivors?”

Davis shook his head. “Sir, they weren't pirates,” he said.

“But they docked with the freighter, didn't they?” Marxus asked. “Why else would they-”

“To repair the drive field, sir,” Davis replied. “The drive assembly took several hits during the attack, and failed shortly before this ship arrived.”

Marxus snorted. “Repairing a drive assembly takes days, not hours, Davis.”

“Yes sir,” Davis replied. “That's what the freighter's engineer told their engineer as well.”

“And what did he say?” Marxus inquired.

“Um, she, sir,” was the reply. “And she said, erm-” Davis paused to clear his throat. “'And oranges take months to grow, but I can make apple pie in twenty minutes.' Sir.”

Marxus stared at his assistant for a long moment. “What does that even mean?” he asked, stressing the last word with frustration.

Davis shrugged. “I don't know sir. Our analysts think it might have been a figure of speech in their native language that just didn't translate well into ours. I've got a couple of them looking into expressions in other languages to see if anything comes up, but so far they've had no luck.”

Marxus' brow furrowed. “They were aliens?”

“No, sir,” Davis replied. “They were human, but the crew of the cargo ship said she had an accent they'd never heard before, and the crew on that ship was quite... diverse.”

“What about the rest of their team, did any of them have a recognisable accent?”

Davis shrugged again. “Unknown sir, they just sent the one girl.”

Marxus glared at Davis. “So you're telling me that some mysterious ship, which doesn't match anything we have on record by the way, shows up out of nowhere, blows three ships belonging to the most murderous band of psychopaths in the galaxy out of the sky, and then sends one single little girl in to repair a damaged drive assembly in under an hour? Anything else?” he asked, his voice holding a sharp edge of sarcasm.

“Um, well, by all the reports, she was unusually attractive for an engineer.”

Marxus slowly rested his forhead in the palm of his hand. “Davis?”

“Sir?”

“Get out.”

“At once, sir.”
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