Even with the various mathematical functions and processes flowing through her mind, it is the psyche of the Sjeti Sren that quietly hovered through the shrouds of information.
Where the physical body would continue its current task and where the mind would continue its endless servitude of deciphering infinite mysteries, it is the psyche of Pethera that remains untouched from the noise. Though witnessing time and actions passing by, she remains thoughtful, forging personal thoughts and content on an upcoming report to compile…
. The fifth letter in the kushan alphabet, but likewise well found in Galactic Common
, especially for scientific variables. Even so, it has a greater meaning in the forgotten kushan world, more than just the phonetic use… It is a symbol of the unknown
… be it the obscured, the shrouded mystery. Even our Sjeti cult has its roots tied to this term alone. But this is not about my cult.
My 'Nijs as well as other scientists discovered an unknown persona within the myriads of the heavily-ciphered history of the shattered Corsari Nation. It has been confirmed that there was one person amidst many that had uncovered something… frightening
. Since this was a blind discovery in these obnoxiously compressed quads of data, they insist to pursue a dedicated focus upon these specific entries.
We only know that this person was of the Corsari bloodline, however, we do neither know if this person was a Corsari fullblood or Suderan -- nor his or her gender.
We may not have any access to the Vjel-Amaj's research capabilities, but this does not mean I do not have resources of my own… Whatever. I will have to rely on my resources - and I will focus research on delving deeper into the history of this mysterious person classified as Epsilon
- or Dr. Epsilon. I do not care about the name, only about the scientific mystery that was discovered. It is unfortunate that that dreaded woman, Dr. Ebria Amaj, is currently not available - With the Darugis split from the rest of the flotilla, we have no choice but to wait until we reunited at the designated rally system. A setback… but I will not let this hinder me.
So far, we discovered some interesting features. It is clear that Epsilon
had become emotional… and later depressed -- almost devastated… There are audio records that are too cryptic even for my capabilities, but any fool can siphon the fear out of the records as one listens through each file.
I have discovered something new. I am not… certain… but there is something that Epsilon was following. There seems to be a series of loose yet existing
links between the cellular structures of the Corsari and the kushan blood - in the case, the Nebuli Somtaaw blood. It is no secret that various bloodlines of the known galaxy have similar traits as bipedal beings, but it is this finding that has led to the dismal fall of Epsilon's psyche alone. This link is strange however.
There are very faint relations between both specimens. We are almost considering that this person may truly be a geneticist, but further research is required. Focusing on the current facts though, one will immediately notice how the time frame proves how this finding has terrorized this person. This person found something… specific
about the link.
I do not believe in assumptions… but without any support, I am forced to develop theories on my own. Epsilon must have played a role in the downfall of the Corsari Nation. That would easily explain the sense of dismal… but I cannot confirm this fully. There is so much more about it.
Unfortunately, these reports are cryptic, making it impossible to verify the true psyche of this person - It has suffered, yes… but I am unable to confirm his or her true nature. There is indeed something about the psyche that awakens concerns. Even Ebria Amaj discovered this. That alone tells me that we agree that something devastating is waiting to be uncovered.
Whatever. I can see now that Epsilon's findings had unleashed cascades of events and further discoveries. One of these were many… many terrors
… There is something else though - true materials connected to the Somtaaw and Corsari DNA.
Amongst all, I can now confirm that the Somtaaw of the Kuun-Lan
- as was before their Nebuli
ventures - was tainted by the Beast
. This does not confirm their sadistic nature. No. But this confirms that the Somtaaw of the Kuun-Lan
had been loosely contaminated with Beast material without even knowing it. It is strange. After fighting and eluding the Beast for struggling years, they actually carried some of it afterwards in their blood.
Does this mean that they were unaware of their tainted blood? Or have they infused this into themselves beforehand?
The outbreak of the plague
had no tie with the Beast
. The Somtaaw were tainted with the plague as were the rest of the Hiigarans, the former kushans of Kharak, of that time. It was a genetic time bomb - that was luckily cured much later on. We would not exist if it were not for this cure - but this is where things become further obscure.
There is more to this. Of course… [/b]There is always more to it - Mysteries are like bottomless pits[/b]. But there are no doubts that the Nebuli Somtaaw had conducted hideous scientific experiments - all somehow initialized by Epsilon. There is a past, present and future
regarding Epsilon's life. It goes beyond deciphering the Corsari and Somtaaw blood. It does not end at simply assuming the Somtaaw may be simply craving for blood alone… no matter how plausible, how generic
such a vampiric
intention may seem.
There is a lot more to it
. But that be it for the research branch of Project: Epsilon
Another research branch has been conducted: Project: Xeno Linear Tech
Linear is a term that has its roots in Railgun
technology; the devastating backbone weaponry of just about any space vessel to date, capable of accelerating projectiles to hyper velocities by electromagnetic induction. There are various differences of such throughout any space-faring culture; one being more devastating than the other. Hiigaran Railgun technology - and even Taiidan, had always been situated around reverse engineering as well as technological breakthroughs. This has always been the case… until now
Ever since the confrontation with surviving Imperial Taiidans
, we discovered something unusual - so unusual that I have decided to apply a separate research branch to it… as it is somehow related
to our knowledge and yet so… different
This, however, is not about vessel weaponry. The mysteries circle around the personal weapon of the Imperial Taiidan officer, Delophane Vamaii. There is a lot about her and her assets that we do not know of. I first thought of her to be no more than an ordinary Imperial Taiidan… but no, there is more about her. I cannot believe I had not discovered this earlier. It is clear though that she and many others of her Turanic
clan are living history. These descendants are nothing like the remnants, the Imperial Taiidan renegade splitter groups
Nonetheless. My attention falls upon her symbolic pistol of command. I do not care about the military sense of it but more about its interior. We were only able to perform a rudimentary scan, and we already know that this was definitely not sufficient.
We discovered that this pistol is nothing
like anything found in the known galaxy. The elemental chemistry of this object's interior is widely inexistent
in this galaxy. One will immediately assume it is of Progenitor heritage… but no
. The Age of Sjet has brought us wide knowledge about Progenitor derelicts. Even with Hiigara rebuilding its empire, various expeditionary fleets had been dispatched. There is no doubt that there are myriads of derelicts, but it is a fact
that the chemical elements of this pistol have absolutely no relation to the Progenitor technology or any materials. We know the Progenitors alone may have come from a distant galaxy, but there are certain base elements
that allow us to understand the basic structures…
But no. This weapon truly came from beyond
our galaxy. It's interior is cryptic and mysterious. It is as alien as the people that have constructed it… One can easily assume that we are all of the same alien culture
that colonized this galaxy. That is, if one were to follow the theory of the Progenitors -and yet, this pistol proves the prime origin comes from elsewhere. Clearly, the very kushan structure and just about any other living person have undergone evolution - I could care less about scientific or religious reasoning.
And yet. This pistol proves us that it was sourced from a different galaxy throughout this universe. This unleashes new theories. Are there links that we do not know of? Are there links that actually before our eyes and we are just too blind
to see it?
We must perhaps assume that this pistol came from another alien
The pistol has extraordinary aspects. Its structure alone is so hardened it is virtually indestructible. It can be decomposed to parts, but that is about it. While it does require ammunition
, it only requires a base mass to harvest
from. Combined with unknown particles, the pistol unleashes a projectile of an indescribable velocity that will wreck havoc upon solid materials.
It combines features of an ion particle and a theoretically ultra high velocity projectile gun in one. This is alike the experimental handheld Linear series of Hiigara, but are rarely applied as these are very heavy pistols that do not have any real use on vessels, as a shot could easily punch a hole through one's ship.
These required a very long cooldown phase as the rails had to be recharged with each shot. The materials alone are highly expensive and rare - and there are rare cases alone that speak of the weapon merely exploding in one's hand.
But regardless of all that had been said, it is clear that Delophane's pistol is an astonishing piece. Once we have reunited with our Arbeta Hitol
flotilla and once she has recovered from her severe surgeries, I must confront her with the whereabouts of this weapon and more. I have also intercepted loose reports of her personal suit…
There is more to this woman… just as that dreaded… Delixa…
= Space, far beyond the Orange Star =
Crests of the Orange Fury whip into the eternity of space. Endless streams of searing energies spray from the raging majestic sphere. Black spots of irregular sizes barely move across its glowing skin - Spots so hot that not even one's eye could not bear its colors. Despite utter death searing from the Orange Fury, a seemingly microscopic and meaningless shell cuts through its realm as an invisible elliptical field protects the hulking vessel from deadly radiation.
""Course correction almost complete. Engaging negative yaw thrust. Zeroing… Nav-Com taking over minor corrections. Completed. On course, Captain.""
""Engineering reports magnetic field has been realigned. Stable. Outer armor shielding degaussing. All readings on green.""
""Attention, EVA team, this is Captain Gridori Somtaaw. Status is green. Begin the operation at will. EVA team - Be careful out there. Over.""
""EVA team responding. Affirmative. Dispatching TL Torbin and Desla Amaj. Over.""
""Desla, Torbin. On behalf of my ship and crew, you both already have my eternal gratitude for taking on this mission. Caution before arbitrariness. I will ensure that you will be appropriately rewarded. Over.""
I wonder how?
, Desla thought.
After a significant while, the two large suits left the safe zone, finding themselves upon the irregular hull. It was now when the two had realized that the hull was not as flat as perceived before. The massive plating cells were irregularly ridged… slumbering, faintly polarized at nominal levels for the suits to move about them without sustaining damage. It was clear that without these sophisticated heavy suits, the ordinary ones of the Somtaaw crew would not be able to withstand possible hazards as these panels were definitely still charged by the star's radiation.
The actual cells of the hull were much larger than the size of a man. There were various linked patches, easily forming a labyrinth. Luckily, the two were audibly guided by radio despite the major static. One immediately would discover bulky obsolete antennae units raging vertically from the hull; their time having come decades ago -- lightning bolts zapped between the large plating cells, instantly revealing that this path was definite no man's land.
Coincidentally, the young Amaji man looked to the side when he noticed the surroundings far beyond the rim of the vessel itself. Aside to the endless streams of solar energy, Torbin's eyes were practically captivated by the irregular colors of what seemed to be an aurora borealis. However, unlike the natural occurrence upon a planet's atmosphere, it was the composition of the magnetic field that caused this play of light and colors. Predominately, his eyes caught the illuminations of green and purple… followed by an intensive red.
It took a few seconds until Desla caught his attention, explaining him that that was loosely caused by a specific reaction with the field's magnetic aspects. It was like a mirror that was actually revealing certain chemical elements of the star.
Of course, one needed to know the actual color spectrums for this specific star, but she was certain. Nonetheless, she reminded the Amaji teamleader that they had a job to do - preferably without any delays…
- Enter Taisy -
= Darugis - Outer corvette hangar deck. Salvage section =
Just like the rest of the ship, this specific corvette hangar area was nocturnal, yet having several spotlights as well as specific color cones illuminating the primary areas. The hangar itself was not all too wide, yet certainly offered space for maintenance units to conduct tasks. Heavy chains carried special mechanical hulks as well as personnel as they examined and welded parts on or off subjects.
The area was quite industrious. Men and women of various technical fields focused on their specific tasks. Large parts were carried away as one could hear conversations, short laughter and shouts echoing through the hangar. Scaffolds and other platforms had been moved closer upon the large objects for examinations and other industrial means. Golden rain frequently fell from various areas.
Meanwhile, a young woman yawned while making her cautious path through the area. One of the operators had then stopped her, handing over basic protective goggles as well as a helmet and reminded her that this was a specially coded area that required protection. Although the man wondered how she managed to enter this region without receiving such, she simply nodded and continued.
Finally having found the specific corvettes and unusual pods, the supervisory operative slowed her pace as she began to recognize a few fellow SAT operatives in the lit areas. As she walked up, she noticed the annoying rise of her hair strands; apparently walking into a charged static field of some sort.
"Look who's here…", one female SAT operative said when they noticed her.
Several men and women stopped their actions when they spotted whom she meant.
"Hey, Oz -- You here?", another man noted from further away, "Thought you were back on VJ!"
Osna wove her hand, "Hey, gang", and subtly rubbed her eyes, "- Nope. I'm here."
"Quite a surprise. Many of us were wondering where you've been. You disappeared like other operatives. Thought you went AWOL or something."
"Nah, I'm good. Was taking care of… things
. What's going on here?"
The group paused for a moment before the first young woman responded, "Err… You're the supervisory operative. I thought this was your idea?"
"Huh? No. I was preoccupied with several tasks alone. I did not have time to dispatch anything or issue tasks."
"No, no, wasn't hers", a second male operative added, "Was a general order
by that Sjeti woman as well as the Sub-Lieutenant. They said to get started somehow with something
-- So, uh, we just did."
The confused supervisory looked around for a brief moment as the others chattered with each other. Osna found herself at a hangar with a grated floor sturdy enough to carry tons of heavy corvettes and vehicles alone. There were separate levels.
Sparks sprayed from specific areas; most likely operator crewmen cutting scraps for refinement. She then noticed Corsari servitors and Hive
mechanics focusing upon military hardware, examining what was useful and what not.
Looking back upon the SAT teams, she discovered several distinct areas they were working on.
There were three, if not four, separate subjects of interest. The smallest was a long pod with an unusual form. She could not quite recognize its color and detailed structures, but the frame indicated that was some sort of torpedo - yet with an awkward looking… long head?
. A short look corrected her count that there was another one; certainly damaged and yet apparently giving one the chance to dissect it as it was already broken.
Osna's attention then fell upon the significant crafts. There some three similarly looking ones; much smaller crafts than the actual true corvette
one they stood just below of.
The three crafts had unusual wings
. It was impossible to assume what these were for as these were far too thick and bulky to be atmospheric wings. They did not seem to be any sort of missile platforms either. Osna noticed some activity upon one of the crafts, obviously a SAT team or other colleagues examining the unknown craft.
She looked back upon them the crafts. The bulky wings
apparently had a different role. They seemed to be receivers of some sort. There were even antennas that sparked the thought of this being more of an AI-controlled craft, especially due to the amount of significant spikes that were indeed dedicated for such like a drone.
Nonetheless, when she was reminded of drones
, she immediately recognized the actual lengthy corvette they stood just below of. It was the same sort Torbin and other SAT astronauts retrieved the Nebuli Somtaaw survivors from. She luckily held her astonishment back. Her eyes nervously looked around, luckily noticing that there were apparent discoveries of survivors.
It looked like they actually managed to retrieve all before the flotilla members could find them… luckily…
The Amaji with the short pale hair never had the chance to examine the corvette before as her expertise of controlling drones was seriously needed. Now having the chance, she made a brief examination.
There was an accessible small entrance that seemed to be the airlock right at the side of the belly. The corvette itself was elongated. She was not sure if it could actually fit into the Vjel-Amaj's corvette bay. Clearly, the chubby Hive
corvette was more compact and had the perfect size and framework for its dwelling industrial Bee
This significant corvette however seemed to have a special reason for its size. One of course was the apparent boosters. Noticing the faint static field, perhaps this corvette was capable of generating grav-fields… perhaps even for atmospheric flight after all. But she shook her head - She was drone operative and AI-programmer, not a pilot. And yet, it was clear that this specific corvette could transport specific things. Maybe --
Osna's thoughts were immediately interrupted the moment she recognized the voice of a significantly annoying young woman.
"What? Where!? -- HERE
", the woman's voice shouted from somewhere.
The operative located the source at the same moment a man pointed right towards herself below.
Osna spotted the distinct young woman with her iconic cap and curly hair. The fervent operative climbed down from the smaller bulky-winged
craft with such a hurry that she misplaced a step and fell. Her fall was luckily caught by the wedged base of the craft, rolling down to the floor as others rushed to see if she was alright. She nodded, wove them away, and then made a hasted approach right at the supervisory operative. Once in range, the slightly shorter woman looked Osna right into the eyes.
"Eh… Hello… Taisy
", Osna nervously greeted.
"We need to talk, Onion
"How about later? Okay?"
Taisy Amaj, SAT operative, Drone AI and Satellite expert… More or less the youngest to join the SAT initiative and likewise the nuttiest. The young Amaji was a technician who was zealously dedicated to drones and anything that had an artificial intelligence will
and had quite a temper for an Amaji. Her young age
She was a notable tad smaller than Osna, wore a cap over her curly blond, ponytailed hair, as well as typical assets any technical engineer, or so-called tengineers
would wear. It was common to see her with Ethernet cables wrapped around her shoulder with a duty laptop stuck on her back. The handheld pad with universal serial bus ports was well secured upon her thigh like for any other engineer working throughout the area.
There was a long pause between the two as the group stared at them. Buzzing saws, distant voices and other equipment echoed continuously through the area.
Finally, Osna decided to break the silence, "You're still angry about Esmeraud
"We already had a long talk about it."
"Yes. And it's HER - not it
"R-Right. Yes. Her. Look, you know best it was quite a difficult situation. I hate to say that we lost it-- her, her. With all those explosions and fighting in space, we must simply accept the fact that we lost her, Taisy."
"I don't care - you promised me that --
"Could you stop that?"
"*Sigh* All right… but you promised me you'd take care of her."
Osna yawned slightly, "*ugh -- sorry* You know that the situation was rough. Commander Nabaal had no choice. We were lucky to retrieve some of the people that we left behind. Taisy, you're just going to have to live with the reality. Look, I'm not happy about it either. I know you worked on that drone ever since the first character was implemented into its code. But Taisy… We have no choice. We're just SAT operatives. If you want, you can argue with the Commander but he'll just send you to me…"
Taisy grumbled, "I'd be shouting at him right now if VJ would be with us."
Just when the angry tengineer was about to turn away, Osna suddenly grabbed her arm, "Wait. What are you talking about? What do you mean with if the VJ were here
"Huh? What do you mean with what do you mean you with VJ
?!", the smaller woman repeated, "Didn't you hear, Onion?"
"No. Stop pulling my leg. I was… busy
"Whatever. We are split from the flotilla. Dunno what really happened. You know, split -- this carrier boat is alone."
"R-Really? The VJ and the other ships are gone?"
"Yup. I got that from hacking a chat between --"
"Didn't I tell you to stop that?!"
"Hey. I was bored. It isn't that hard -- it was some text message that one of my receivers caught. Since it was not cryptic, well... Anyways, they said in their chatter not to spread the news yet", Taisy noted, sure that nobody else heard what she had just said due to the noisy ambience, "But it looks like we're on our own for some three… or five weeks. Said something about a month of us to reach some rally-point-waypoint-star-system-place where we would reunite with the rest of the flotilla."
"Hmm… All right. I guess that's the situation. I'm guessing they want to avoid any concerns and panic. I'm sure they'll spread the news soon enough. But three weeks, if not longer? Hmm… That's a long time frame"
"Yeah, whatever", once again, Taisy turned away, but was grabbed by the arm again, "hey."
"Come on. You can't be that angry on me. I brought in most of these things! I bet you've been delving your nose into all of this while I was gone, right? Riiight?"
Taisy frowned for a long while, but soon formed a gentle smile, "Mmh… Okay, you got me. It’s a draw... for now
. But you still owe me, Onion. Yes, you brought this stuff in… and… yes, the others and I actually began snooping around."
"Tell me what you found out so far?"
"Why should I?", the smaller woman asked.
" 'cause I'm your boss, or do you want me to remove you from duty. I'm sure you still did not do the twelve SAT reports I've been asking you for the last three days straight. I'm sure it is more fun to compose all those than being here telling me what happened so far."
"…--- All right, all right… sir
? *Sigh* Fine, fine, fine. Come on, then…", Taisy ultimately said, giving in on the situation.
Osna smiled lightheartedly.
A few operatives wove at Osna as the two slowly walked around. Guided by the nutty smaller woman, Osna was being brought up to date with the current findings:
"Oookey-- Previously on A Game of Drones
: We've been doing a lot of things over the last hours, Oz. Currently, we have several SAT teams examining the stuff the flotilla retrieved from the Nebuli Somtaaw carrier wreckage. The Darugis offered its last vacant storage bay to store tons of stuff in while the more intact crafts were brought here.
It was quite a hasty task as that carrier wreckage was disintegrating. You know best how chaotic it got. Right now, the industrial staff agreed that we need to sift through the mess. It will take ages to just figure what we have, but we have to start somewhere.
We've been working with servitors and operators for quite some time. We don't really have a decent schedule or shift plan up yet -- actually, while we know we have to start somewhere… we don't really know where
, so we just randomly poked around and worked with whatever we got in front of us. After all, we're SAT."
Osna lowered herself as they walked under a lower situated segment at the base corvette's belly and stopped when they stood in front of one of the smaller crafts and the unusual pods.
"So. What do we have here?", Osna asked.
"Mmh. All righty. You know that one Somtaaw agent guy? That bald dude?"
"Uh. Sort of."
"Doesn't matter. Anyways, he was the one who had identified these crafts as well as those pods over there before the flotilla -- *ahem* You know", Taisy immediately swung her hands around, "He said that he recognized these as specific Somtaaw units. It is of course obvious that these are Somtaaw, but he recognized time as special crafts.
What make them so special are the aspects. They are both AI-controlled
-- well, the larger ones can actually be flown by a pilot, but they have command algorithm receivers, too."
"Heh. No wonder you were all crazy about these specific ones
", Osna joked.
"Quiet, you!", the smaller operative replied, "As I was saying, these are special crafts. Actually, how about a demonstration, since nobody is around. Check out this craft with the big wings."
"I've been wondering what those wings are for. They look like weapon pylons… but that wouldn't be feasible as those small panels look like collectors."
"Wrong, wrong. Wait --", Taisy replied, then shortly activated her shoulder radio, "<Hey, Korby, could you put some power on Spraki
? Nobody is on it and we're safe to go, just for a few secs, please.>"
Osna widened her eyes, "You… You named
"I call all the new weird and mysterious stuff like that. Didn't you notice that?"
Taisy frowned and shook her head when she heard a reply from her radio, <Jacking up power. Here goes.>
As power was audibly infused, the short woman explained small details, "We were able to access some of the core. Most of it was accessible and in a programming language we could understand. Good thing the academy taught us basics on the archaic languages. Few of the guys placed a separate power generator cable to one of those pylons after figuring the appropriate grid setting. I managed to select an option and -- well, check it out."
"I don't get what's", Osna said after several seconds, but just as she noted something, she discovered something happening, "-- whoa…"
After several seconds of the pylons' glowing red panels, a flickering image appeared, with aspects to fool the eye as a three-dimensional image with fake depths. It was brown and grey, with an unusual texture. Unfortunately, the image remained a flickering mess until power was shut down.
"Oooh-key", Osna noted, "That was cool, but what was that?"
"That - was - holographic tech, right there, Onion", Taisy explained, "That bald Somtaaw agent guy identified this things as a Mimic-class
craft. Those pylons are holographic projectors, designed to literally mimic
any visible object.
It's projectors can generate fields to fool sensor readings with mass and whatsoever to make anybody think it is just some asteroid or whatever. The arrays also can intercept and transmit signatures to even mimic friendly - or enemy - ships. That's what he said…"
"That is amazing. Is it me or did we have this at the university sometime?"
"We did. But we only grazed the topic. Was all about drones and programming, not the shiny stuff. Even so, I think this was to be some sort of espionage sort-of-craft. Oh, and that's not all. There reason why we were able to hook power to it was also because two of these crafts can link to a makeshift corvette-class -- and project even greater holograms. It's just crazy. That's not all though."
"There were explosive charges on it. Quite the big bang types."
"No worries. The servitors removed it already. Man. It was like they knew how to do it. I guess they had to put up with this a long time ago."
"I suppose the projectors are broken?"
"Sort of. Another thing is that there are too many fields here that interfere with the projections. Then of course, we have no clue about aligning frequencies and such to project a steady image - but that's for those scientist types. And then there is of course the surge that may have caused some damage to the cells. Oh speaking of fields. You feel the static right?"
"Actually, yes, all our hair is just standing up", the slightly taller woman noted.
"That's because this huge corvette ship here is still projecting a hyperdrive signature. It is idling… but sort of spooling at the same time."
"You mean, we're right in its generated field?"
"Yup. Right in its radiation --"
"Calm down. It's not hazardous", Taisy explained with utter confidence, "Looks like somebody left it on. It did not interfere with the flotilla's FTL since it was quite a small signature. However, the guys found dead bodies inside. Maybe those Nebuli guys were trying to survive in there, but still got surged. *Sigh* Oh well. Not our field. Not like we care about that."
Osna immediately froze.
"-- Anyhow, more about this thing in a bit. Here, check out Yorbi
here", Taisy continued, approaching the notable pod, "It's a microship -- just stuffed
with stuff. Every inch has a circuit board. It is going to take quite some time to understand the anatomy on this one".
"You gave this one a name, too? -- *Sigh* <Why am I asking>", Osna mumbled, but then gazed upon the pod.
The pod was elongated yet bulky. A short gaze upon it showed that there was a lot
of tech built into it, clearly noticeable by the mass of removed circuit boards alone.
"These pods were tagged upon the Darugis and VJ -- possibly on other ships as well. It is so small that sensory can't detect it. Well, VJ could, but people say the ship is not at its best - whateverthatmeans. Anyhow, this thing here is to conduct espionage and intercept communications -- it can also cause serious sabotage with some sort of acidic, uh, fluids-solutions-whatever. We just can confirm that that was one of the many causes for that Corsari destroyer to lose navigational control. That Horn-dahl ship. The one that HAS OUR DRONES NOW."
"All right, all right... and it's Hjorndal
. They need them, Taisy."
"*Sigh* I got to stop letting you take my drones. You lose them just as fast as boyfriends."
"Anyways. We got a lot of these ticks
on separate ships. There are likely a few still stuck on our hull… well hidden. Unless somebody is willing to check every corner of the ships, looks like it is up to us to find a decent signature so that we can find them easier.
We noticed that these pods went idle when they lost contact. They seem to be on standby until they receive contact again. It is obvious that we need to take these leeches off and reprogram them so they don't do us harm should we ever confront those Noobie-Somtaaw guys again.
I'm already able to hack some quarter of the base code… Well… Sensorial code, that is. Could really need the VJ right now."
"I know, but we'll get there. Tell me something about this corvette."
"Oh that? Just a Short Jump-capable corvette that can carry a smaller strikecrafts. Nothing special…"
"…What?!", the smaller Amaji woman asked.
"That's it?", Osna wondered.
"This is currently the biggest thing we're standing next to and you don't even have a page long essay full of words?"
"Not a drone ship. Who cares about it?", Taisy said and walked away.
"Hey…", Osna called and followed her.
"Speaking of drones, you could help me with the programming. You're the one with the drone navigation skills here."
"Hey - I'm the supervisor operative here --", the pale-haired Amaji said, when her tone suddenly changed to a charmed one, "Oow wait - Did you say drone navigation?"
Taisy smiled and handed one of the duty laptops over that had the program already active and ready, "You'll be surprised about the control. Got to admit, those Somtaaw drone engineers were quite clever for being ol' miners. Speaking of work, we're going to have to participate on that crew training stuff", the smaller woman explained.
"I know. Although, we're techies so we only have to just do the basic weapons training. We're not actually eligible as we have a greater importance as engineers. I heard they will be training combat engineers though -- but that seems more viable for the Support Operatives types who are not full tengineers yet."
"Right, Oz. But we still have to go learn one of the other crewmen professions. It will be essential sooner or later. We have to know how the others work. I'm sure we'll do just fine with the operators training
"… Actually…", the pale haired Amaji said and paused.
"What?", Taisy wondered.
"… I was going to go for the Servitor training
"WHAT? THEM? WHY
Taisy pinched her eyes together. Servitors, while slightly more militaristic by Corsari means; it was clearly a mysterious branch compared to the others. It was more than just a title of a basic crewman organization. Osna however was not insisting to explain her motive.
"Oh, I'll figure it out, Onion… Though I think I have a theory…"
- Training Day -
= Darugis - Industrial sector, Restricted Area. Main training grounds =
Rapid blazes flashed across the adjacent groups as each countless explosive flame thundered with ear-numbing rage. The blazes extended horizontally, each not equaling the previous form. Hollow chimes sung like faint bells as pieces met the floor. The rolling thunder continued until one could then only hear the cycling mechanical clicks and the faint echoes of last roars…
The smell burnt into the noses of many while smoke spewed from the barrel. Some were still shaken by the roars despite having been only mere bystanders. Groups rubbed their ears while others shook their heads as the flashes were indeed quite bright. After all, many had adapted to the lack of light throughout this nocturnal region.
Everybody observed the Taiiranic woman raise her shaded spectacles as well as herself from the kneeled position. Though one at first found it highly ridiculous of wearing such shades in this everlasting darkness, many had changed their minds the moment banging flares fired across them. Despite being closest to the noise, anyone could easily agree that she took it without any trouble. After the calm, mixed reactions swept across the observing groups. Some shook their heads as others removed their hands from their ears.
The militaristic woman tilted her neck, exposing its stretched muscle. Apparently, she did not get away from an acute strain after all. Yet, it was clear that her stature and prowess could bear anything alike. Clearly, the mass of the recruited laymen were simply amazed but shocked as well.
Finally, she removed the conventional firearm from her shoulder by the strap, lastly handing it over to one of the Hiigaran mercs who removed the clip and secured it. The weapon itself was rather bulky for its term; let alone what had been shortly explained prior to the roaring thunders.
Areas of residual light allowed one easily to spot specific targets on the long and wide shooting range. Myriads of worthless junk offered perfect dummy targets just by anybody's creativity.
Most of these so-called shooting ranges
were well blockaded by simple obstacle exclusions as well as being well enough secured to ensure no round would wander off court. Even so, supervision had to be provided at all times. While there were various sections of shooting ranges, various groups were currently bunched up as an audience carefully watching the demonstrations. Stashes of weapons were just about everywhere.
The Colonel lowered the scope from his right eye, "Not bad… Impressive", he said without a single change in his face, "Roughly 120meters away with a conventional heavy SMG… Most of the rounds formidably struck the desired target. Well done, young lady."
Beii straightened her stance before crossing her arms. At the same time, the Hiigaran merc raised his hand, catching the secured heavy SMG from his fellow comrade. Even for the laymen in the world of firearms, one could easily distinguish that this abbreviated submachine gun was heavier than the common weapons.
The heavy SMG had a bulky handguard
and a barrel that was so long that one could easily confuse it for a carbine long arm… It also possessed a notable shoulder rest as well as an iconic vertical ammunition clip feed. One could also easily figure that it was once forged in an age of crude metal and forgotten, power-hungry industrial nations - long before today's modern space age...
"Thank you for the demonstration, Ms. Beii", the Colonel continued and raised the specific weapon, "This, ladies and gentlemen, is an old heavy SMG from Kharak. Despite its age, it still works, as this woman professionally demonstrated. I'm sure all of you noticed how loud these are compared to the modern hardware that actually assures you won't go vertigo when used.
The cartridge of this weapon is of course quite large for it to be SMG, yet it had performed well throughout the centuries. It has wrecked a lot of havoc from what I heard of. Despite it being a conventional weapon, it served and survived ages of war. Turned out this Somtaaw carrier had a large stash of these old weapons - probably even older than the old lady herself
, the man explained as he wove his hand around, obviously referring to the carrier,
"Enough of the historical crap. We're here for a reason
… And it is up to us to turn you into feasible units that can defend themselves -- and for the greater fraction, into real soldiers.
As all of you can see, Beii is a trained soldier. Regardless of her bloodline and physical attributes, it is the training that makes one a feasible soldier. As she demonstrated, she knew the technique to handle the excruciating recoil. But don't worry, you will get used to the noise - without becoming deaf - and the usage is only temporary.
Some of you may not know it, but ballistics have serious play on one's body due to what all call an artificial gravity environment
. As this changes with each region, should be a massive station or a vessel such as this one, force plays a serious role. Old weapons like these were made to be used on planets. If one is not careful, it will blast your feet - unless you have the experience.
Nonetheless. Aside to the stash of old weapons like these, it looks like we have enough training ammo - and even paintball… Which is quite weird… but I suppose we are to thank a special Amaji woman who is missing in action… All right, any last questions before we enter hell?"
A male Siidim raised his hand after a short while.
"What?", the mercenary asked straightforwardly.
"Mr… I have one. Just… why
… are we going to be using these unbelievably loud and crude weapons? I'm certain there is a deeper sense, but shouldn't we focus on the modern weapons? A-After all, we are just ordinary people. We're just here to learn how to defend ourselves."
"That is a good question", the Colonel noted, "I won't hold any secrets in that case. The enemy does not care about your stance whether you are defensive or not. It is clear that we must break you up from your peaceful calm.
Most of you are damn softies
… and these weapons were not made for such. We will be using modern weapons, but it is clear that in a raging battlefield like the incursion on the Bryggen'Turasr's Nexus was a loud, blinding and dirty mess…
Explosions, muzzle blasts -- These are features that can daze anybody unless one has experienced it before hand. You all know that us soldier types
have already gone through hell. We're battle-hardened… but it has been proven time and again that anybody can be forged by fire
Nonetheless, we have established several specific doctrinal organizations
to ensure a clean segregation between civilians and those who are eligible for… operations
- should that be in defense or not. We will train the entire population in terms of defense - I don't care if it resolves acts of conscription.
The flotilla as a whole requires each one of us to provide duty - I don't care if it just resolves in you picking flowers or standing there with a lousy rifle. We have ways and there will be enough space for everybody to participate. As said long before, the decision is on your side, but we will still insist to recruit you personally for special… mandatory occasions
One last thing. You all will still apply modern weaponry of course - but there is no way around this old piece of history."
Among all, there was an Amaji woman with faint purple hair who could sense that she and a separate few others were meant… Those who had been terrorized… But the words echoed once more in her mind.
It was clear now that the military minds of the flotilla had brought concepts into reality. It was the sense of small organizations… However, her mind was simply too naïve and young to understand all this.
"Now, let's get down to business…", the mercenary leader called out, "Great to see that all of you are still here after the initial drills. It is important to conduct these first physical trainings before the real job. Routine is everyth--"
The Colonel was suddenly interrupted by the voice of a male Somtaaw operator, "-- As a reminder, I wish to re-inform all of you that none of you are forced to serve. You are always capable of leaving, as this is only basic training. This may not count well enough for those who will be joining the true soldier-forces b-beyond…", he suddenly stammered when several of the mercs were staring at him.
"Don't soften my 'cruits…", the Colonel mildly threatened, "I will not accept any leavers."
"-- but --"
"No. There will be blood some day. And we soldiers are not invincible. We bleed as much as you do. We have confronted an enemy that can infiltrate a ship, by the very means of the word, infiltrate
. I will not tolerate any absence until I am certain that all of you have at least learned the essential hells of war.
As long as that is not done yet, you're staying right here, and you're mine. After all, that is what all your official leaders said and demanded to you… It will be rough, but you will see that it is the only way. Corporal
. I think it is time for your idea
The Amaji marine stepped forward and mumbled something into his radio… but then went quiet. He raised his chin at the Hiigaran mercenary, confirming something.
Velle wondered, Was he waiting for something?
The Colonel took a deep breath before continuing, "We must establish several semi-organizations, everybody. Should it be specialists, rangers… agents… or just mere riflemen… civilians with guns, I don't care. I'm tearing you through this… and if I must establish Inner Hell
and Outer Heaven
You will participate
A cold shiver ran down her spine.
<Freaks…>, Hesken, otherwise known as Hiira, mumbled, <Maybe this was a bad idea after all… But I'm not afraid of any of you punks.>
The disguised Hiigaran looked over at the Kadeshi who apparently had been standing next to her with big frightened eyes all this time through. Hesken noticed that it was as if she was holding her breath, as if she had seen something terrifying ever since. Though Aira's face was mostly covered by the raggedy scarf, it was clear that she was terrified. Her eyes did not even blink.
Just as the adolescent Hiigaran was about to say something, she felt something heavy tap on her head. Wondering what it was, she placed her palm on her head but felt nothing until another one had coincidentally struck the backside of her hand.
Within a matter of seconds, the entire mass of people began to notice droplets coming from above… more and more until one could assumed sprinkling
… light rain
… heavy rain
… It did not take long until people figured they were going to be soaking wet after all this.
Hesken shortly noticed that the rain
immediately distracted the Kadeshi, who raised her head at the ceiling and closed her eyes - as if she had been longing for it all this time through. But in the end, the young Hiigaran lady did not care.
"Corporal Salico came with a creative idea… See it as an introduction of environmental authenticity
. This is only a first demonstration that will applied for this day. Corporal."
"Just for those who are wondering", Aaron shortly explained, "This is a harmless aqueous solution. It is not water, but it is like water. It is actually used for extinguishing flames, but one could say that it should feel like water.
Don't worry if you swallow it. Just don't assume it will help at all. If you are in need of water, then use the duty canisters or opt out - but just remember, we are evaluating you. If you can handle it, you will prove that you can stand your ground against the enemy.
The Darugis has an impressive fluid control system, virtually having an unlimited supply of this -- well enough for our means. Whatever, its purpose is solely for discomfort and disorientation… A perfect situation to get fond with.
Personally, I had a training operation down on Amaji Prime with the Hiigaran marines. As you know, Amaji Prime is quite a wet and stormy planet. I'm sure this will help your adaptation to stress."
"Exactly. I am surprised to see that even just an Amaji Corporal is crafty…"
"… All of you. As we split up to separate groups, we must maintain a level of difficulty. This is important for the first day - if not, for the next ones just as well. The psyche will adapt to the stress and difficulties, honing specific skills to cope with the obstacles of any sort. Basic training is everything. Then - we'll see where you actually fit in. But you will see that this will aid your will of survival. You'll see… You'll see…
Now then, let's get started. Everybody, go back to your respective group instructor. We will evaluate your physical attributes and instruct you with individual weapon handling classes after you've undertaking another drill segment. Get over to the obstacle course area. Move out!"
The mass of people were commanded by several mercs as well as a small number of Ordet Somtaaw marines who supported them.