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 Talarin, 05J.

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Blitz
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Thu May 01, 2014 5:16 am

???

"Yes, take these two to be converted. They show promise for misguided youth. They have brought upon the Great Melding, at last, and they shall be rewarded."

"It will be done, Lord. And what of the Great Melder?"

"Have the Priests attend to the relic, and soothe its disturbed spirit. Prepare it for the rituals."

"Yes, Lord. For we act as One."

"For we act as One..."

Talarin Orbit, Zeleniyan Outpost Station Dvakok.

The attack squadrons, having given the civilian craft their show of force, pull off to a safe engagement range for anti ship missiles and hold there, waiting for further orders. A frustrated, aged Zelenu voice replies to the Commonwealth Admiral,"This is Rear Admiral Lovodnik, Commander of Talarin Orbital Defense Network. There is no way the Armistice would authorize this many people for a scientific expedition. From my point of view it looks as if you're trying to colonize this planet. You will transmit the proper authorizations or, civilian or not, anything that comes within a 1 million kilometer range will be treated as a hostile. And I can assure you the -lawful- representatives of the Armistice Council will agree with my actions if you further break conduct."

"Furthermore, why you would bring over 3,000 men, women, and -children- to Talarin, the closest thing to a Hell this galaxy has, is beyond me. Unless you'd like to live in the sewers with the scrap pirates, there's no facilities that can house you! All other countries have brought in expeditionary teams of no more than 100, and have been housed and provided security for by either the Zeleniyan or USC armies. Either you didn't do your research or you're up to something, Admiral. Now transmit the proper licenses, pull back your Fleet, and put your civilian craft on stand by for boarding and inspection."
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Thu May 01, 2014 7:47 am

"I understand that natural selection has taken your humanity from you but it's becoming increasingly clear that it seems to have taken your hearing as well." he smiled at his own remark.

"Three thousand is the total number of crew and personnel on board the collective ships whereas the number to be landed is quite low, common sense would dictate that obviously none of these children are part of the research teams. I will continue my previous offer to pull back my fleet, I will even allow limited civilian craft to perform their duties at one time and their licensed personnel will check in with your network but there will be no inspections." he cut the broadcast.

He looked around, his crew were eerily silent and no doubt understood the potentially dire situation and it's future consequences. At this point the Admiral could offer little more in the way of concessions without damaging his nations prestige and tarnishing his family honor, his crew also understood and naturally accepted their potential deaths for the nation and for their families. All except one it appeared as a man approached the command chair, it was the ships captain himself a man named Hector Cantabria.

"Admiral, I must relay to you the concern of myself and certain members of the crew." the man gave a salute which wasn't returned. "You've already exceeded your directives by advancing towards the planet without prior negotiation and now you've put yourself in a situation where civilian lives may be at stake and I've come to request that you be more mindful of their safety."

Stepan waved him off.

"I'll consider it, Captain, now return to your post and find your courage."

The group continued on it's slow pace towards the planet.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Thu May 01, 2014 12:07 pm

Seemingly allowed passage by the present authorities, the flying square continues on its course towards orbit-- perhaps there'd be good heart in informing them of surface housing -and security opportunities for the duration of their stay?
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Thu May 01, 2014 12:39 pm

Talarin Low Orbit
USS John Paul Jones (DDG-27)
Guided Missile Destroyer, Arleigh Burke Class
Mission: Orbital Patrol, 86 Days in Space



Like most of the Navy's remaining sub-capital ships, the USS John Paul Jones was a relic from a bygone era, an era where raw firepower wasn't the United Systems' focus; a more peaceful time. Originally designed to defend mining outposts in the Tefeull mining field and hunt down pirate fleets, the Arleigh Burke class was one of the Navy's smallest nuclear-capable craft. Spanning just three hundred and four meters in length and powered by a quad of General Atomics Mark 7 Hybrid Fission-Fusion Reactors, the John Paul Jones wasn't even fully stealth capable. All it could do was shut off its engines and store heat in an internal heatsink, all the while hoping the enemy wouldn't use active RADAR. Although its firepower was supreme for a ship of its size, as it housed several fighter and bomber squadrons along with a spinal tri-rail artillery cannon, its armor was somewhat lacking compared to that of its larger siblings.

All of those problems were solved, however, when the ships were limited to patrol duty. From low orbit they could perform regular scans of the area with their sophisticated sensors, detect enemy ships and pound them with a long-range barrage of missiles (the weapon most favoured by the ships' captains). The fighters were mostly used to intercept civilian craft or defend the destroyer itself from attack; and from nuclear missiles, of course. At their prime, almost a dozen of the destroyers patrolled the skies of Talarin, enforcing the USC-SRZ treaty with extreme prejudice. Now, only one of them was left as a token support force for the base on the planet below. If everything went south, the ship was supposed to provide cover for the escape craft from the surface to leave and then jump away while the fleet handled the situation.

Commander Edgar Angeli had been assigned to the craft in anticipation of his retirement. The 'seawolf' had served for many years on cruisers and 'sub hunters', and when these were phased out, the only three options were to re-train him to keep as a reserve captain for a battleship, give him a desk job or assign him to a relic. He picked the third option. The John Paul Jones was a quiet assignment, with most of the work being bureaucracy and hardly any action; perfect for a veteran waiting for retirement. Nowadays, the Commander spent most of his time painting in his quarters while the officers took care of day to day problems such as which movie to watch at movie night and surprise inspections in the galley.

At the moment, sixty-three year old Commander Angeli was finishing an oil painting of a destroyed landscape, a city devastated by war and buried in radioactive dust; ironic, perhaps, but there was plenty of inspiration on the planet below. He painted a thin layer of green over the picture to darken the mood of the painting, not that it was light to begin with, and had been about to add his signature to the bottom right corner when the klaxon sounded, causing him to ruin the painting as he flinched.

<"Action stations, action stations, set condition one throughout the ship. This is not a drill. Repeat: action stations, action stations. Set condition one throughout the ship. This is not a drill. Scramble all fighters, scramble all fighters. This is not a drill. Pass the word to Commander Angeli to contact CIC."> came the alarm through the klaxons and speakers, prompting the Commander to dress in a hurry; he didn't have time to change his pants, which had been covered in paint, but he took the moment to cover his equally as untidy undershirt with a BDU top. He really didn't know what the problem was again: last week it had been a shipping accident, perhaps this time the Zeleniyans had decided to just end it all. Yeah, right, fat chance.

The short jog to CIC found the Commander receiving several salutes from the crew, most of whom had barely ever seen him during the three months the ship had spent in patrol rotation: the USS George Washington was supposed to replace them in a few weeks while the Jones went into drydock for a three month Refueling and Overhaul. But with tensions mounting in Tefeull, it seemed more and more likely that their tour of duty would be extended.

Upon arriving at the cramped Combat Information Center, the Commander didn't even bother with formalities such as assuming command and 'acquiring the helm'; he simply looked at the executive officer expectantly, as if waiting for a status report. And he got it: several contacts were positioned around the blue sphere that represented the planet on the holographic display, and some of them seemed to have failed to register with both the SRZ and USC control centers on the surface and in orbit. Unusually, the Zeleniyan ships and stations were coloured in yellow, indicating neutral forces, whereas those that had just entered the system were orange. Unknowns.

The printed communications excerpt seemed to explain the presence of the large collection of ships approaching the planet, but none of it actually made sense. If they had licenses, they would have received precise instructions to notify the USC and SRZ regional command centers immediately on arrival and transmit their authentication codes; and why would they bring CHILDREN to a place like Tefeull?  The closest thing to children that the USC had on the planet were a few pregnant women whose husbands were stationed aboard the Jones, and they lived in orbit, far from the horrors of the surface.

But there was something else; another contact, one that had seemingly gone unnoticed by the Zeleniyans and was approaching from another direction. A small ship, slightly larger than the USC's dropships and gunships, transmitting a 'Familiar' ID. It had also made no attempt to contact them and seemed to be coming in for a landing. Not on his watch, at least not without the proper credentials.


"Alright, tell the CAG to intercept-"

"The CAG's not aboard." came the blunt reply from the XO, earning the younger officer a raised eyebrow from the Commander. "His wife is giving birth, they left on a medical transport to Talarin Outpost an hour ago."

...and the Commander didn't seem to like that reply either:
"What the hell are they going to Talarin for? We've got a fully equipped infirmary onboard, why would they go to that shithole?

"...because the OB/GYN is on the surface for contraception shots. With all due respect, Commander, did you not read the memo?"

There was always a memo; but there was no time to argue. Especially when the Colonel was right.
"Fine, tell the DCAG to send a Talon flight to intercept the lone contact, they are to NOT fire nor threaten it in any way. We just want to see their papers; see to it that we get them. As for the others, just... As much as I hate to say it, tell the Zeleniyans we have their back. We really don't need any more squatters down there."




A few moments after, a squadron of stealth fighters from the Destroyer's airwing rapidly changed its heading to intercept the Familiar craft while the rest of the spacecraft remained on a defensive formation to protect the destroyers; two separate messages were sent out, one to the Zeleniyan military base and one to the familiar craft.

<"Dvakok Station, Dvakok Station, this is the USS John Paul Jones. We have launched defence wings and are standing by to reinforce no-flight zone, but we'll let you take lead on this. One of our squadrons is moving to intercept unknown contact at bearing one one zero mark zero six seven, we will keep you appraised. John Paul Jones out.">

<"Unknown spacecraft, unknown spacecraft, this is the destroyer USS John Paul Jones, Talarin Defense Network, USM Regional Command. You are approaching a restricted flight zone, please transmit license, authentication and identification codes immediately. One of our fighter wings is en route, make no attempt to evade them.">





Surface of Talarin
Border of USC Defense Grid, Turret Station 82
Patrol Team 5


"What the fuck is going on here, Sarge?"

Something was very, very wrong: the General Dynamics Land Systems AT-18 anti-tank defence turret was a several dozen ton beast of armour and machinery housing a compact deuterium fusion reactor that powered the two 188mm anti-tank railguns, its electric-reactive armour plating and the powerful motors that allowed it to rotate 360 degrees left and right and sixty degrees up to attack any ground target at any range. A sophisticated artificial intelligence controlled both the turret itself and its support equipment, including the RADAR dish on a nearby destroyed building, the defensive sentry turrets and the SAM launcher. Even tanks had trouble taking down one of the beastly machines; and yet something had torn a hole through the rear access port, messed up all the cables, and chewed through the computer control panel.

Everything was offline: the RADAR dish, the SAM launcher, the sentries... The reactor was probably intact, since there was no coolant leak that the suits could pick up, but all the cables connecting it to the grid had been severed. The patrol team didn't have the time nor the equipment to repair it, but without the turrets, the entire safezone would be overrun during the night. But the Sergeant had other concerns for the moment: he had followed some strange tracks around the turret, and heard several strange noises with his amplification suite. Nothing solid, but he couldn't deny that he was about to piss himself.

The tracks lead him to the entrance of a half collapsed building and the darkness that it contained in the most literal sense. His sonic imaging system couldn't pick up any movement on his field of vision, but there was so much inexplicable interference in his sonic imaging vision that he couldn't tell what was inside the dark tunnel. He could swear he had heard a growl of some kind, but before he could call out to the Corporal to take a look, he heard another noise, one that made him forget his fear.

Wheels.

An M51A2 'Superbadger' IFV with a Humvee escort strolled through the deserted streets while its cannon turret scanned the area, rapidly approaching the turret site; and with them came instant relief. The USC was so overstretched on Talarin that it couldn't afford to send APCs to support all of its patrol teams, but the destruction of a turret site was a serious threat to the whole expedition; hence why 'Rapid Reaction Repair Teams' had been established, vehicle groups with at least one combat engineer aboard that could perform rapid repairs on any damaged turrets while having the firepower necessary to defend them.

The IFV stopped next to the anti-tank gun while the Humvee made a quick patrol around the square to secure the area, but by the time it returned, the Superbadger's airlock was already cycling. The two patrolsmen approached the door to greet the relief party, and as soon as the door opened, several power-armoured soldiers stepped out and begun to establish a defensive perimeter; the combat engineer followed right behind them, but rushed to the turret with no regard for the patrol team.

He too seemed completely spooked, despite the fact that his helmet concealed his expression. "What the fuck happened here?" he asked as he inspected the damaged weapon, once a marvel of engineering. "Is this a practical joke? How the hell did anything do that?" he questioned, surveying the site; there were spent ferro-magnetic casings all around the sentry guns, indicating that they had fired quite a few shots, but there were no bodies. Still, mission priorities came first: the engineer quickly deployed his maintenance kit and begun patching up the power conduits.

The Captain in charge of the RRRT seemed more interested in what had happened though: he too had followed the tracks around the machine and to the tunnel, using his flashlight to illuminate the entrance. The tracks continued inside, unsurprisingly, but the tunnel was too dark and the weather too dusty to be able to tell anything apart from a distance. "Sergeant, I will have to agree with the Tech here; what happened?" he exclaimed over the radio, and the Sergeant approached him from behind.

"I don't know sir. Command told us to check out a disabled turret, that's what we found. I too followed the tracks up to his point, but then you arrived. Not a moment too soon either, I was getting paranoid." he replied on the same frequency, holding his rifle at the ready in front of the tunnel entrance. "I really don't want to go in there, sir. Dark, scary tunnels were never my expertise."

The Captain scoffed, shaking his armoured head in disappointment and acknowledgement at the same time. "I know that feel, Sergeant. Alright, get a sniper on that RADAR dish, I'll take two men and check out the tunnel. Lieutenant's in charge until we get back. If we are not back in an hour, contact HQ for backup and button up inside the Badger. Oh, and that gun better be online when I return." he stated before he signalled two of the new arrivals to follow him inside the tunnel.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Thu May 01, 2014 5:25 pm

The box complies, making no alteration to their flight pattern and, with small delay, transmitting the requested codes and authorizations-- albeit without vocal radio contact. The message seems slightly garbled, as if sent through an older version of technology than the United Systems Military. It does, however, contain all the necessary info.

Upon closer inspection by the stealth squadron, the box-like vessel appears to be lacking any sort of window, as well as the needed supports for orbital flight. Its landing will be a sight to see, for sure.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Fri May 02, 2014 8:32 pm

Planet Surface of Talarin; Catacombs beneath a city in the Eastern Hemisphere


Delta Squad continued through the room, towards the far wall of the compound. 014 stepped over the bodies of the monstrous robotic beings as they made their way towards a blast door. Delta took up defensive positions around the large ancient looking door as 014 approached it. The door was huge, almost 15 feet tall, and 20 feet wide. There was a key slot on the far right side of the door, and that is where Agent 014 had placed himself. Cairo had already begun analyzing the door, trying to figure out a way inside, and trying to see what would be on the other side. Once 014 was near the keypad, he heard Cairo speak into his ear.

"The door has not been opened in ages. The locking mechanism is extremely complex and is almost a foot thick of reinforced steel. Whatever was inside of this they really wanted to keep a secret. I think I can open it, but you'll need to give me a direct connection to the keypad so I can bypass the security protocols. Its old so I should be able to figure it out quickly, I just hope it will still open."

014 silently removed a rectangular shaped instrument from one of his pouches. On one end, a wire hooked to his suit, and the other was placed inside of the keypad. The security measures lit up, and after a few seconds the door lurched and opened. 014 removed the utensil and placed it back into the pouch. The sound of creaking metal followed the sight of the door slowly moving towards the wall, and hiding itself from the Imperial Delta Squad. Light began to shine into the abandoned cavern beneath the door and what was beneath was incredibly underwhelming compared to the complex catacombs they had been in the past hour.

As Delta squad, and agent 014, looked into the cavern they saw a huge expanse of a natural cave system. Naturally built into the planet itself, this cave system does not seem to be built by the Alarei, but by the nature of Talarin itself. Cairo to the entire squad this time.


"The cave goes on for sometime before reaching an elevator, I suggest you head that way,"
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Sat May 03, 2014 8:22 pm

Talarin Low Orbit
USS John Paul Jones (DDG-27)
Combat Information Center



Compared to the Combat Information Center aboard capital ships, the CIC of the John Paul Jones was a phone booth. Although every United Systems ship was cramped to a degree, Arleigh Burke class ships had broken the record of space conservation: everything was miniaturized, the seats barely fit the crew sitting on them, command officers had to squeeze through numerous consoles and crewmen to get to the operations table and the table itself looked more like a television screen mounted on a munitions box. The lack of space was so bad that several laptops had been placed on available surfaces, serving as interfaces for systems that had to be controlled from CIC but command had insisted were 'not mission critical'; these included a reactor control panel ('Engineering can keep track of that'), a secondary RADAR screen ('What would you need a second RADAR screen for, it's not like your sensors are that advanced'), and the crew's favourite thing to mock, an FTL communications interface ('You don't need FTL communications in CIC, nevermind that the Q-COMM control room is five decks below and we ALWAYS send our messages through FTL'). With the USC trying to force the capabilities of a dreadnought and a carrier on a tiny destroyer (and failing), it had done everything possible to save space for one more gun, one more nuke, one more fighter launch tube.

But even in that situation, and with the dark red light bathing the room's surfaces and controls, the Commander still felt right at home. After serving for decades aboard warships, the CIC had become second nature to him; if the reactor was the heart of a ship and the AI its subconscious, then CIC was the nerve center. Strangely, however, for the first time in several years, Commander Angeli felt creeped out. He had witnessed nuclear warheads descend upon warships, civilian transports had been blown to bits by terrorists before his very eyes, fighter pilots had screamed in agony as their vehicles disintegrated, but nothing had sent chills down his spine quite like the alien object did. Its perfect geometry, as measured by the computer, showed delicate and meticulous engineering, but at the same time nobody had bothered to put any landing gear on it. It had an engine, but the computer couldn't pinpoint just how that engine worked (yet). And most of all, it belonged to 'those creepy aliens'.

Of all the aliens the USC had encountered, the Familiar were arguably the strangest: diplomatic relations between the two parties had been mostly typical, with the USC's xenophobia and the Familiar's aura of secrecy preventing the two nations from ever becoming anything than two players in the galactic game. They weren't enemies, but they weren't allies; the USC officially regarded them as a non-threat due to both their isolationist policies and their small (at least, that was what intelligence suggested) standing military. Unofficially, the few people that had encountered them considered them scary. Not exactly the best aura to give off to people who already believe aliens are literally carrying on the work of Adolf Hitler.

Still, those specific aliens hadn't actually done anything bad, they hadn't wronged the USC, and all of the stories of evil that surrounded them were paranoid works of fiction, bogeyman stories to scare children into sleeping at night. So the Commander waited patiently as the credentials were checked with the databank; perhaps the aliens just didn't feel like talking, and they had actually procured permission from the USC or the SRZ.

<"Familiar vessel, please stand by, we are currently confirming your authentication codes and exploration license. We will also need you to declare your cargo and any weaponry classified under the Nuclear-Primary, Nuclear-Secondary, Chemical-Primary, Biological Primary and Nanotech-Primary categories as defined by Armistice Regulation 118/2389. Reduce speed to one quarter and await further instructions.">





Talarin Surface
Marine Base Nemesis (Talarin Outpost), Headquarters, USM Regional Command Talarin
Airfield


<"Attention, all personnel. The time is currently nineteen hundred hours, zero minutes. Sundown Protocol preparations are now in effect. All surface expeditions must be inside the bunker proper by twenty hundred hours. Base lockdown will commence five minutes after twenty hundred. The base will remain in lockdown until six hundred hours tomorrow.">

A few hours ago, the surface surrounding Talarin Outpost had been as empty as a wasteland: just a handful of Marines, a pair of tanks and several dozen defence turrets guarded the base exterior during the day, using several guard towers to survey the destroyed city landscape outside the twenty feet high composite armour wall that surrounded the compound, and the ten feet tall electrified fence further out. Most expedition teams had gone outside for the day, scouring the ruins for anything that could grant them a fat paycheck (or at least that could help them repay their debt to the corporations, for some), leaving a few defenders to keep the base safe. Of course, that didn't account for the battalion strength unit ready to suit up and join them within a few minutes.

But an hour before lockdown, the base was full of commotion. Trucks, APCs, tanks and helicopters were returning from their daily activities to take refuge in the gigantic bunker beneath, blissfully hidden away from the horrors of the night. Spending the night outside was practically a form of suicide, at least for the USC staff: the base's position deep in the ruins of the mutant-occupied city made even daily exploration dangerous, and the grotesque creatures became more aggressive at night. Instead of fighting, the USC had taken the other way out: lock everyone inside and let the turrets deal with it until sunrise. It would take a direct nuclear strike to get through the gates of the bunker, and the people inside not only had supplies to survive a prolonged siege, but also had at their disposal several escape rockets with which to move to orbit and wait for rescue from the resident destroyer.

At the far end of the compound was the airfield: a pair of long runways ran the length of the northern wall, allowing spaceplanes to launch into an equatorial orbit without wasting fuel, along with several gargantuan cargo elevators to move the planes into the underground hangars immediately after landing. Similar facilities for VTOLs and helicopters had been constructed, although they were less ominous than the airport. Landing spaceplanes was a much more impressive sight anyway. The only strange thing about the airport was the complete lack of a control tower: all flight operations were managed from underground.

A supersonic boom echoed from above, gathering a curious look from the mercenaries and soldiers walking towards the bunker entrance, but they quickly found the source of the sound in the sky and dismissed it as routine: a Boeing 878 Military Shuttle covered in black and gray thermal tiles approaching for a landing, one of the many that landed on Talarin on a regular basis. The shuttle's landing gear was deployed and within a few seconds the wheels made contact with the asphalt; the machine came to a stop two kilometers ahead, and a few meters away from the elevator to which several robots begun to ferry it.

<"Nemesis Control, this is the USS Columbia, John Paul Jones Flight 717, requesting expedient processing and decontamination. Medical emergency: woman in labour.">

<"Columbia, this is Control. You have been granted priority processing, the OB/GYN has been notified and the surgical facilities are ready. Estimated time to decontamination, five minutes.">

<"Negative, Nemesis, we request emergency expedient decontamination, patient is experiencing complications. Flight surgeon reports abnormal erythrocyte count on patient.">

<"Stand by Columbia... Your request has been granted. All other decontamination procedures have been aborted, you will be cleared through in a minute.">





Deep Underground
Talarin Outpost, Operations Center


"Sir, Columbia is entering the decon chamber now, ETA one minute. Looks like another crisis has been averted, General."

General Benedetto Salvatici, Commander, United Systems Military Talarin Expeditionary Force was dealing with several dozen crisises at the same moment, so resolving one was not much of an accomplishment. Along with receiving a medical emergency from the John Paul Jones, the bunker's medical facilities were overflowing with mercenaries that had somehow managed to detonate an IED, tow trucks were pulling in a tank with a defective reactor core that had broke down in the middle of the team's patrol, long range RADAR was tracking an unauthorized fleet, weather control was trying to figure out which way the incoming storm would go, engineering teams still hadn't finished repairs to one of the turrets on the wall, regular maintenance of a crucial mechanism used to close the gate was taking longer than expected, and to top it all off, he had a Superbadger and eleven Marines outside trying to repair a crippled perimeter defense station. It was a nightmare.

Just another day on Talarin then.

The General was much more focused on the last problem though: the combat engineer had called in with an estimate on crude repairs, which was half an hour at best, and it was half an hour away with the Superbadger through the city streets at optimal conditions. They were really cutting it close; but they couldn't leave the turret offline, or they risked the entire safezone flooding with squatters and mutants. There had to be a third option; so he snapped his fingers together to get the attention of the air control officer, who was busy directing traffic to the other airway so that Columbia could finish decontaminating; deciding not to bother him, he asked the next in line. "Major, do we have any Chetcos in the air right now?"

"Yes sir."
came the reply after a momentary delay, and the officer quickly explained. "Chetco zero six one is returning from the Jones after delivering a shipment of Alarei artifacts, they have finished their re-entry burn and are expected to land within fourty minutes."

"Redirect them to defence station eighty two to pick up those Marines after they are done with repairs."
instructed the general, earning a nod from the flight controller; and then he returned to watching the camera feed from the three Marines that had entered the tunnel. Or rather, he returned to listening to their chatter, because it was almost impossible to get any video through the interference. The voice was so garbled that the AI had thoughtfully provided captions, even.

LCP BAUM, REBECCA: /"This place is so creepy Captain, who volunteered us for bughunt duty anyway?"/

PFC PETERS, JOHN: /"The Sarge, who else? Apparently searching dark, moist caves isn't part of his job description."/

LCP BAUM, R: /"What, is he questioning his sexuality again? Last time it was that he didn't want to work with large, phallic objects... Remember that artifact we found in the Art Gallery?"/

PFC PETERS, J: /"Who doesn't? That thing looked like something out of a fetish porn movie... Not like-"/

LCP BAUM, R: /"...not like you'd know, right, right. Sometimes you make me question your OWN sexuality."/

CPT BOSCH, WILLIAM: /"Knock it off you two. If I am destined to die in an alien's lair, at least I don't want the last words I hear to be how much you love suc...[unintelligible]...c[unintelligible]...ju...[unintelligible]...randev...[unintelligible]..."/

??? ????, ????: /"BUZ-[unintelligible]...R...[unintelligible]...RA..."/


SIGNAL LOST
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Sun May 04, 2014 1:08 am

"..."
"..."
"..."
"...?"
"..."
"..."





After a short delay, the Familiar vessel complied with the given instructions, slowing its speed down to the provided standard. And, without prior vocal notification, a rather simplistic cargo manifest was digitally delivered to the USC's presence:




  • BIO-TUBES x20
    -filled x13
    -empty x7
  • PAINTING x1
  • TYPE-12 HUMAN-INTENDED EDIBLES x???





Either the list was incomplete or the Familiar had no intentions for prolonged stay, with no written confirmation of any valuable tools, weaponry, or even basic elements of survival. Or, perhaps, they expected to be able to rely on USC accommodations. Regardless of which were the case, the cube elegantly wavered through the emptiness of space, the surface of its perfectly symmetric walls reflecting the barren planet below, and with it, the forgotten age of the Alarei race, an era now seeming almost as alien as the Familiar themselves. Bittersweet beauty engulfed in death and tragedy.

Another factor of mystery was the Familiar's purpose on the planet: were they here for the same reasons others were-- resources, technology,... --or was their presence a catalyst for matters of a more in-depth nature? One could only guess.

But perhaps, with heartfelt attempt, one could know instead-- that, and much more.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:30 pm

The Familiar vessel remained obedient to the fleet's given instructions, awaiting further action patiently.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:45 am

Talarin Low Orbit
USS John Paul Jones (DDG-27)
Combat Information Center


"Their papers check out, and according to this cargo manifest, there's no contraband aboard. Not sure I believe that, judging by the rather short list, but unless you want to send over a Marine unit to search..."

Technically, the Commander had the authority to order an inspection of the Familiar vessel, and it was standard procedure to do as such when alien ships requested access to Talarin. Despite the wars and the politics, the United Systems still gave humans a better treatment than any alien species, which included severely laxer regulation enforcement and even some assistance in times of great need. Normally, the Commander would have jumped at the chance to get an inspection party aboard the extraterrestrial craft, if only to get intelligence on the aliens that the United Systems knew nothing about.

But they really couldn't afford a diplomatic incident, not then, not there. The United Systems was already at war with one alien race, the last thing it needed was to have another group of aliens breathing down its neck with threats of taking matters to the council. No, they would have to pass on the opportunity: Congress had discussed the prospect of establishing proper diplomatic relations with the Familiar for some time, and he wasn't going to be the man who ruined those prospects.


"There's no probable cause, and the last thing we need is them hating us. Let them through and send them the tourist's guide, let ground control sort them out."

Several seconds later, the Familiar craft was sent a data-package of several gigabytes, including detailed maps of Talarin's surface, some maps of surveyed underground caverns, details on mutant species and criminal organisations that operated on the planet and details about 'Nemesis Outpost', the United Systems Coalition headquarters in the region. A vocal message confirmed that their access to Talarin had been granted and that they were free to resume their course, and it ended with the phrase 'Welcome to Hell.'
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:55 pm


"...?"
"..."
"...? ...?"
"..."
"...!"




Given the necessary permissions at last, the pitch-black cube instantly altered its mannerisms; speeding up significantly, waving itself through the auburn skies leading to its atmosphere. Soon the unconventional vessel, its sterile surfaces reflecting the shapes and stars surrounding it, calmly entered the planet's premises. As to what extent the ship's passengers were grateful for (or even aware of) the lack of elaborate inspection remained, for now, unknown.

Swiftly, a virtual request to land was transmitted to Nemesis Air Control. Those who assumed the Familiar did not plan on providing for their own base of operations had been right to do so, presumably. But this intention was not necessarily all bleak for the USC presence, for this would only allow them more a chance to observe the enigmatic race and perhaps establish the contact their Congress had sought; although 'hell' was arguably not the best of places for diplomatic endeavors.

Remarkably, as the wingless form entered the planet's atmosphere it retained flight control- and stability, maneuvering itself through the broken sky effortlessly. How this construction was able to indulge itself in such mechanisms without standard technologies associated with such capabilities was an engineering mystery at the very least. But rest assured, it maintained its path; aiming for Nemesis Outpost while awaiting their confirmation.

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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:10 pm

Talarin Surface
Marine Base Nemesis (Talarin Outpost)
Headquarters, USM Regional Command Talarin


"Captain Bosch, Captain Bosch, repeat last, Captain Bosch, come in! Nemesis to Bosch, Nemesis to Bosch, priority message, report! Baum! Peters! Somebody!"

Ironically enough, most of the problems that Nemesis Outpost was dealing with had all but evaporated into nothingness: weather control had finally decided that the storm was heading towards the other direction, the medical emergency from both the Jones and the mercenary unit had been stabilized according to the chief surgeon, the gate was working perfectly and the turret crew was finishing diagnostics before buttoning up for the night. Hell, even the air conditioning in the barracks had been repaired, much to the almost orgasmic joy of the Marines stationed there.

But he was too focused on one specific issue: the three Marines he had just lost contact with. It had been a mistake to send them into the building, and even though he tried to come up with a reasonable explanation, there was none to be found. The communications systems were supposed to keep contact over extreme ranges, bouncing off of a complex satellite network surrounding the planet. That interference should not have been present. And there was not enough time to send in a rescue mission.

According to the defence turret report, the weapon had been almost fixed by the combat engineer present outside the tunnel the three soldiers had gone into, which meant that the mission had been accomplished. They all knew the rules: be back by nightfall or stay outside for the night (and be eaten by mutants as a result). But he refused to leave them behind, not if there was another choice: the Chetco would be there within a few minutes, but there was some time to wait.

"Bosch, if you can hear me, get your men out of there right fucking now! You have ten minutes until that Chetco is there and then five until it has to take off, and if you are not aboard by then, it CAN NOT, I repeat, it CAN NOT wait! If you are unable to return to the Chetco, then button up and wait for rescue as soon as the sun goes up! Bosch, do you copy?"

No response again; the General tossed the headset on the desk in anger, cold sweat flowing freely on his forehead. He considered the situation: had he just condemned three men to death? Had he signed their death sentence by ordering them to check out the tunnel? Was he going to leave them to die?

No. Benedetto Salvatici was many things: he was a slacker. Many of the things he did were not legal, and he accepted money from a variety of third parties in exchange for certain services and allowances. He was not Command's first choice to take care of matters at Talarin, and his assignment hadn't been a choice at all. But he was not a murderer. He was not a coward. He did not leave his men behind.

The Familiar's arrival at the moment seemed meaningless: he just waved at the operator that had mentioned the landing request, giving him his permission to grant it, and then with collected reservation begun walking towards his office.

"I need to make a phonecall."





A few moments after the Familiar craft sent its request to Nemesis Air Control, a message was broadcast at the same channel, sporting a deep male voice distorted through the radio transmission. <"Familiar Spacecraft, Familiar Spacecraft, this is Nemesis Air Control. Your request to land has been granted, we have cleared landing pad six if you need to make a VTOL landing and shuttle airway two if you require a landing corridor. Continue upon present course, reduce speed to one third and correct final approach. Flight computer eleven is being assigned to you now, it will provide detailed landing instructions and guidance. Be advised, your spacecraft has to be decontaminated and moved to the underground hangar before you will be allowed to open your doors."
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:22 pm

Without too much of a hassle (nor any reply or radio confirmation), the cube headed for its assigned landing pad. In a somewhat odd movement pattern, it landed itself on the pad-- remaining idle as instructed.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:20 am

Talarin Surface
Marine Base Nemesis (Talarin Outpost)
Landing Pad 06


The cube's sudden landing was followed by an equally as sudden descent inside the depths of the facility as the cargo elevator begun to move. A few meters into the elevator trip, the cube's exterior was bathed in ultraviolet radiation, killing any bacteria that managed to sneak onboard during its short stay in Talarin's atmosphere. A kilometer underneath the ground, the elevator stopped, and several blast doors inside the tunnel sealed to allow the contaminated air to be siphoned out and new, purified gas to flow inside the compartment. Several vaporizer sprays created a thick layer of mist inside the chamber, a mix of anti-bacterial, anti-viral and other purification solutions, which remained in place for at least a few minutes before being pumped away.

Finally, spray hoses above poured liquid hydrogen peroxide on the cube, washing the final bits of contamination away from its exterior before using hot pressurised air to dry it off. With the decontamination procedure complete, the last series of ultraviolet lamps deactivated and the blastdoor on the front of the chamber slid open with an almost torturous groan, the screech of metal grinding against metal filling the air. A gigantic tow truck attached itself to the cube via an electromagnet and begun sliding it across the smooth concrete floor towards one of the designated 'parking spots'.

At last the truck moved on to its next job, leaving the cube alone in the underground hangar bay. The bay itself was filled with craft, all of human origin, some of them space capable and some simple helicopters or even fighter jets from a bygone era. A squad of soldiers in, surprisingly, simple non-powered combat armour awaited outside, along with a man in an obviously expensive black suit.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:53 pm

The vessel, having gone through the extensive process of decontamination, sat idle. Over a minute or two passed, but eventually there was movement. From the ship's backside, a figure emerged through a vague gap. Calmly, and somewhat awkwardly -- as if unfamiliar with the movements it had to perform -- the being stepped alongside the cube, eventually appearing in front of the ship; hangar lights clearing up its physical traits.

The Familiar's appearance is a dreadful one; yet astoundingly beautiful and eerily exotic. A large part of its body is covered in dark, tattered robes, beneath which reside the being's metallic and mirror-esque mechanical suit, effectively reflecting the hangar with its panels. The particular metal (and once again mirror-like) 'mask' of the figure is almost tribal in nature, carrying various ceremonial shapes with no apparent function but to impress aesthetically -- unless intended for a humongous task. A weird, greenish stain resides on its cheek; its origins as unknown as the being's. The mask carries an odd aura to it -- something vague and arcane carried by its very form, a feeling of existential sorrow and despair painted over its silvery surface, yet nonetheless accompanied by aforementioned beauty. The 'expression' carried by the mask is that of hollow emptiness and departed existence; an impossible mixture of emotions, and yet, a lack of them altogether.

Interestingly, a certain dynamic 'twitch' is visible on the mask-- its variously shaped components mobilizing independently for what seems to be half a second each, to form differing 'expressions' of little productive meaning nor timely presence, almost as if uncontrolled by the being behind it. Collectively it can only be described as an uncomfortable and near-morbid sight of the aforementioned departed expression of the mask compulsively distorting into disfigured 'emotions' every few seconds, each for no more than half a second each. A technological feat, for sure, especially given the lack of sound emitting from the movements; but it gave the figure a sense of unpredictability, forming an intriguing contrast with its obvious calmth. But it also made the Familiar seem like an otherworldly being, protruding from cosmic corners unknown; almost as if its very existence broke the laws of nature.

The only thing that doesn't actively alter are the mask's 'eyes': endless gaping pits of divinely white voids, beaming brightly as if emitting the purest of energies; the welcoming party observing them possibly all but losing themselves in their confusing yet oddly consuming apparatus. If anything, they feel lifeless-- but they are evidently not.

The being's eyes shine brightly over the endless halls of ships, new and old. Idly, it stands in front of its ship; the figure's gaze directed to its front. Its mirror-esque shell effectively reflects the scene in front of it. And then it waits. What for becomes evident quite quickly, as more shades emerge from the back of the cube. First, five mechanized cargo-carrying platforms; idly hovering over the hangar floors as they move to position themselves behind the Familiar entity. Their cargo appears to consist of large, unmarked packages; perhaps containing the food mentioned in the vessel's manifest. But the cargo platforms were not the last things to emerge from the ship's backside.

Following the carriers come two cloaked figures, one slightly taller than the other; the shorter person carrying what appears to be the device controlling the cargo-transporters. Their robes are similar to the Familiar's in simplicity, albeit less damaged and thicker. Covering their faces are obscure, wooden masks. And while these masks are not comparable to the Familiar's, they are frightening nonetheless. For they are near-formless; consisting of nothing but smooth wooden texture, the only things interrupting their perfect design being small, darkened slits serving as 'eyes'. Beneath their robes lie not mirrors, but worn leather and cloth. They appear as unarmed as the creature they appear to be serving. And with very normal, humanoid steps, they step towards his flanks; slightly behind his figure. They were obviously not of the same cosmic nature the Familiar possessed. Instead they appeared to be subordinate to them. Perhaps a separate caste in their enigmatic society? Unarmed bodyguards to valiantly protect the frail entity they flanked? Whatever they were, they were a relatively unseen sight; but that said little coming from beings associated with the Familiar.


Last edited by Graham on Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:29 pm

Marine Base Nemesis (Talarin Outpost)
Commanding Officer's Office


There were a million reasons not to make the phonecall, and General Salvatici knew each and every one of them. The people he was about to contact never gave anything away for free, and they never went on good will missions unless they had something to gain. Making a deal with them was like signing a contract with the Devil himself. He knew that the price for what he was about to ask them to do would be high, extremely so, and that he risked his job by bringing in an outside contractor for this. Anyone sane enough to value their well being would have just let it go, attributed the loss of the three soldiers to mutant attacks and moved on.

It was the easy thing to do, and didn't General Salvatici love an easy solution?

But he also knew what it felt like to be on the receiving end of the flag. He knew loss.

After several moments of reflection, the man hesitantly sat down on his chair, removed a thick Cuban cigar from his pocket and lit it on fire using a vintage gas lighter, a relic from another era. The irony was not lost in the General. He inhaled the thick smoke deeply before he let it off, allowing the cloud to spread before his face before he picked up the handset from its slot on the table. Several taps on the touch screen later, and the familiar beeping sound of an outgoing call came through.

A feminine voice answered:

<"Defiant Security Solutions, how may we help you?">

Several seconds passed while the General poured himself a glass of 2400 whiskey, and he took a long sip from the piece of glassware before answering. "This is General Benedetto Salvatici, Commander of Nemesis Outpost. I need to speak to mister Rabinowitz."

<"Stand by sir, I will connect you now.">


Several moments later, another voice echoed through: this one was masculine, perhaps a little intimidating, but Benedetto recognized it. It was the voice of a ruthless businessman, the CEO of one of the largest private military contractors in the Coalition: Hubert Rabinowitz. "General! What can I do for you?"

Really, why was the man even pretending to be surprised? His men were so deeply involved with the Coalition's military that they probably already knew about the developing situation, hell, the mercenaries in Nemesis had most likely already begun gearing up. "Lets cut through the bullshit, Hubert. You know what I want. What's your price?"

<"Can a human life really be priced, Ben? Can three?">

"Just give me a number."

<"Please, my dear General. We will be glad to help the military on this one, consider it a freebie. Thank you for the call, we will take it from here.">


The call ended, and the General couldn't help but feel like he had just sold out a piece of his soul. He downed the rest of the glass, finished his cigar and then begun the walk to the command center.





Marine Base Nemesis (Talarin Outpost)
Operations Center


The hydraulic door to the General's office slid open once more, with a noticeably shaken Benedetto emerging from within. Before anyone could come up with an explanation or a theory about what had happened behind these doors, another gate opened: that of the command center itself, situated on the back of the room. Dozens of uniformed men and women stepped through, clad in battle dress uniforms in strange camouflage and wearing some kind of helmet similar to those worn by pilots. An officer followed them, his shoulder adorned by the Defiant Security Solutions logo, and exchanged a brief salute with the General.

"General. We will take it from here. Several units are already en-route to the location of your men, we will get them back safely." he stated, and Benedetto sighed in return. He made a hand gesture, prompting several of the station operators to stand up and clear the area for the PMC handlers to set up their equipment. Within minutes, the operation had been taken over by Defiant.





Surface of Talarin
Border of USC Defense Grid, Turret Station 82


"What the fuck is going on? Why isn't the Captain responding?"

"Calm down, Venner."

"With all due respect sir, I CAN'T CALM DOWN! WE JUST LOST CONTACT WITH THREE OF OUR MEN!


Corporal Venner was panicking, that much was obvious: it had been less than five minutes since the loss of contact, and the Lieutenant in charge had ordered the entire squad to stay away from the entrance to the tunnel and focus on repairing the turret array. If it had been early in the morning, everyone would be itching to head into the tunnel and find out what happened; sadly, when nightfall came, everyone was in it for themselves. Command had so far ordered them to get the turret online and evac, with no word about the Captain, Lance Corporal Baum or Private First Class Peters.

With the Sergeant left to calm down Venner and the Lieutenant busy screaming orders to organize a defense perimeter, it was up to Technical Sergeant White to fix the gargantuan machine before the creatures that lurked in the darkness started to emerge. The sun was a mere dot in the edge of the horizon after all that time wasted, ready to set for the night, and according to the timer they had about ten minutes before full nightfall. And they all knew what happened to those who stayed outside after dawn: most were never found again. The few that survived had to be locked in mental institutions, and wouldn't talk about what they had seen.

"White, what's happening with that turret?" screamed the Lieutenant just as the approaching Chetco craft appeared, using its front-facing thrusters to slow down from its descent from orbit before searching with the floodlights for a place to land. Several soldiers moved out of the apparent landing spot, and the flying machine deployed its landing gear: evac time. "WHITE!"

The Tech Sergeant was too busy though: he had already patched up the wires, ran a hardware diagnostic and even repaired the critical armor sections, but the final and most important task was still running: tactical systems update. The turrets had to be precisely calibrated before nightfall to cooperate with each other, lest they leave a massive hole in the defenses due to confusion, and without the update the entire grid was vulnerable. The device had already connected to the network and was downloading data, and it just needed a few more seconds...

A few more seconds...

A few more-

His thoughts were interrupted by the sudden crackle of the radio, and the identity of the sender was quickly displayed on the heads up display. It was one of the perimeter patrolmen, a Private. <"CONTACTS, MOVING FAST!"> Several calls of confusion came through the radio next from various sources, asking for numbers and location, but they were all silenced by the voice of the Chetco pilot.

<"...are those fucking tanks?">

Several APCs and tanks approached the established perimeter, catching the attention of the Marines working to restore the turret. They were Coalition alright, at least in origin, but not USM: they were private military contractors, and in that moment, the Lieutenant didn't know if he had to cheer or growl in anger. What was Defiant doing all the way out there? They were supposed to be protecting their private research facility with all of these tanks, not going out on rescue missions...

...not that he could complain about the extra firepower.

The tanks and APCs came to a stop in various spots inside the perimeter, and their doors opened in unison to reveal what appeared to be an entire platoon of mercenaries clad in power armor. Most of them were armed with flamethrowers, it seemed, along with an impressive arsenal of explosives, machineguns, a few miniguns and absolutely no sniper rifles. The Chetco touched down at about the same time, and as the Lieutenant moved to approach the new arrivals, a new voice came through the radio:

<"This is Commander Damien Forge, Defiant Security Solutions. We will take it from here Marines, your orders are to go home. We'll fix the turret and get your people back.">





Marine Base Nemesis (Talarin Outpost)
Hangar Bay


"Detail! Present... ARMS!"

In unison, the squad presented their G-12 railguns at the Familiar delegation with a well executed maneuver. Normally, the Coalition did not go to such great lengths to greet foreign ambassadors it had already made diplomatic contact with or had conversed with in the past, such as during the Council's meetings, but this time, the government was obviously trying to make an impression. The leader of the unit, an Army Captain by all indications, was wearing a far more formal dress uniform and had taken up a position next to the smartly dressed politician in the middle of the room.

With that taken care of, the two men approached the Familiar, making themselves more visible by getting closer. The politician, a somewhat overweight man that had been rendered almost bald by age, seemed to be excited about the meeting: he spent each second eagerly watching the approaching beings through his thick-rimmed glasses, which were supported by an equally as thick nose, and was obviously not at all concerned about just how weird the creatures looked. Perhaps his sense of dread had been dulled by age, or he had just been put up to the task precisely because of how insensitive he was.

The soldier, on the other hand, appeared to be overly stiff even for a soldier. It was his way of dealing with the situation, and while he had seen a lot of nasty things while on Talarin, he was still creeped out by the peculiar beings. Perhaps it was for this reason that he had ordered a pair of power armored soldiers to stand by the elevator without taking part in the brief ceremony: peace of mind.

Taking charge of the situation, the short politician extended his arm for a handshake and spoke enthusiastically: "Greetings, esteemed delegates of the Familiar, and welcome to Talarin. Unfortunately our President could not be present due to matters of strategic importance, but as Secretary of State of the United Systems Coalition, I would like to extend our people's most heartfelt regards."
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:34 pm

Talarin Low Orbit
USS John Paul Jones (DDG-27)
Combat Information Center


For the first time in almost two centuries, the radio waves in orbit of Talarin were silent: with the Zeleniyan military withdrawing from the region, and from international politics as a whole, their bases on Talarin had stopped broadcasting, their combat air patrols had left and their very impressive 'Dvakok Station' had went dark, its reactor deactivated. So far, the order had been to launch all fighters and establish patrols around the planet in order to maintain the cordon, pending the arrival of reinforcements, with Dvakok Station being a primary target for guarding: any ships daring enter the cordon zone were to be 'destroyed immediately'. Even Marine Base Nemesis had activated its ground-to-space batteries and missiles, ready to acquire a new target.

The John Paul Jones had been quiet since then. Most of the crisis situations had been dealt with, and according to the ground, the CAG's wife had given birth to a very healthy daughter without further complications, with the couple enjoying what little peace they could get inside the Nemesis Bunker. The Jones's commander had remained in CIC as a precaution, mostly to yell at command for the delay in getting reinforcements, but so far had seen no reason to worry: hell, the several PMC troop carriers that had approached were easy business. They were Coalition corporations, and so they were cleared through with little delay.

There was some movement in CIC, some kind of disturbance in the enlisted ranks, before one of the petty officers monitoring communications raised his hand. "Sir!" he yelled, urging the commander (and his executive officer, and the communications officer, and half of the ship's department heads) to approach, concerned. When asked, the petty officer simply passed a handset at the commander. "Sir... It's for you." he stated in a mix of shock and surprise.

Without delay the Commander picked up the phone, throwing a quick glance at his XO to make sure he was still there before speaking. "Commander Angeli here. Who am I speaking to?"

<"Good evening, Commander. Do you recognize my voice?"> called out the man on the other end, a man older by the Commander by all indications: his voice was strangely calm and soothing, almost like that of a kind-hearted grandpa, but had an underlying tone of authority in it. Almost immediately the Commander straightened out his posture as by instinct, bringing himself to a stance of attention.

"Fleet Admiral, sir. I did not expect to hear from you." replied Angeli, his voice now giving the man he was speaking to the proper respect. "What can me and my crew do for you?"

<"Listen to me very carefully, Commander. Time is of the essence here. IMMEDIATELY launch all of your Marine strike teams. Do it. Do it now.">
instructed the Fleet Admiral, prompting the Commander to remove the headset from his cheek to speak to his officers.

"Scramble the Marine strike teams, NOW! Do it!" he ordered, and then allowed the Admiral to continue.

<"Your strike teams are to seize control of all Zeleniyan assets in ground and space. Dvakok station and all orbital defense installations, space-tracking RADARs and surveillance satellites are top priority. PMCs are seizing control of their main base as we speak. Expect reinforcements within the next few minutes, if not immediately-">

The conversation was interrupted by the sudden beeping of the RADAR console, and the yelling of the petty officer responsible for it: "NEW CONTACTS, BEARING ONE SIX SEVEN MARK TWO ONE FIVE! Wait, receiving IFF... It's the Saratoga group! They are wasting no time either, they have launched their fighters and several Marine dropships... Are those fucking bombers?"

<"...so your reinforcements are there. Good. By now, the Saratoga should be launching stealth bombers carrying stealth mines and satellites: these assets will be deployed in orbit around the planet. You are also informed that all restrictions in night-time operations on Talarin are now suspended. As we speak, several Army, Marine and National Guard divisions, along with Strategic Missile Command units, are in transit to Talarin for a full scale planetary invasion. We are also sending the Enterprise strike group to XE-52. If we can't have the fuel supply, we'll take all the tech we can get. Now, the rules are simple: with the Zeleniyans gone, we are the only authority that can issue passes for Talarin. That means that anyone trying to approach the planet without our permission is liable to getting destroyed. You will do exactly that: arm all of your weapons and move to condition 1SQ, prime all of your nukes for launch. The NEW cordon perimeter is five million kilometers. You will have another update within the hour. Pearson over and out.">

With the conversation complete, the Commander was left to stare at all the new contacts in the map: it was a dream and a nightmare all at once. The XO had listened in, thankfully, so he knew what to do and the Commander didn't have to explain. "Well, what are you waiting for? You heard the Admiral. Arm all weapons, bring nuclear torpedo launchers online again."





John Paul Jones CH-48 'Chetco' 018
Operator: SEAL Rapid Reaction Platoon 27


The situation in the Chetco was hectic: even though the ship had already launched, most of the SEAL platoon's members were clad in powered infantry armor, allowing them to move freely inside the ship through the use of their magnetic boots. Thus, they were able to get armed en-route without wasting time: each Chetco housed a portable armory, complete with enough ammunition to fight an extended battle and enough weaponry to arm double the number of troops. The commander of the team, a Lieutenant Commander, was still examining the layout of Dvakok station. The men had simulated attacking it thousands of times, to the extent where they had pretty much memorized the layout, but it was still a massive undertaking. It would take them hours to secure it on their own; thankfully, reinforcements were underway.

Finally, the officer (one of the few people without power armor) gathered the attention of his men with a whistle. "Alright, listen up! We are about to enter possibly THE most powerful battlestation outside of the core systems, so we can tolerate NO errors! You have trained for this, and you are prepared: the Zeleniyans have abandoned it, but we are taking no chances! We do this by the numbers, room by room! Strike Team One will head directly for the command center with the UCGV, they will secure it, and they will await instructions. Strike Team Two will secure the server farm and shut it off, allowing the AI on the John Paul Jones to take over the station. Team Three will restart the reactor, and Team Four will sweep the station's habitat levels. Team Five will sweep the maintenance corridors. Team Six will secure all hangars and install anti-aircraft defenses. The Saratoga is sending over a full company in the next ten minutes, but until then, we are on our own. So go in, do your job, and then we'll all have some Zeleniyan vodka from the Admiral's reserve. That's all!"

And with that, the troop carrier landed in the station, its hangar doors having been left open when the Zeleniyans took off in their hurry. Powerful floodlights engaged on the craft's exterior, and one by one, the strike teams begun to exit the vehicle through the airlock: showtime.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:37 am

The 3rd Fleet's Expeditionary Force had left the system long before the arrival of the USC forces having been given new orders in the wake of the New Terran strategic gains in Tefeull.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:52 pm

For moments, the trio remained silent-- the direction of their gazes unknown. Eventually, the Familiar being spoke, although ignoring the man's attempt at a handshake. Perhaps this symbol was a cultural anomaly to them, or perhaps even an insult. The being's voice voice, ironically, felt unfamiliar; not just its chords, but its origin. As if the voice, while obviously coming from the Familiar, did not originate from its bowels; the air forming its noises not from its own lungs. As if something within its body was disturbed or unconventional, its mask's components continuing its twitching pattern while the voice uttered its words and the rest of its body remained idle, contributing to the impression that it felt unaffected by its own words. Nonetheless, the voice spoke with reverberating elegance, gently and omnipresently echoing through the area; its echo to such a degree that it felt unnatural, as if strangely produced. Soft and quiet in vocalic demeanor, it felt light and respectable-- clean. But it also felt gender-less, emotionally derelict, and oddly hypnotizing. Something was off, something was wrong; but it was hard to assess what it was exactly that stroke the wrong chord, where the other vocal traits stroke just right.

"Gifts.", it said, as if ordering. Immediately, the shorter attendant adjusted his device, the five platforms moving to the side of the United Systems' delegation. If scanned, the packages would show to contain countless amounts of useful supplies. Human-branded food and drinks, and even a select amount of some expensive alien alcohol. Perhaps this was a sign of good will, given the USC's extensive presence on the planet. Or perhaps it was a but a bribe, a payment. Many explanations would fit the extraterrestrial present.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:14 pm

Marine Base Nemesis (Talarin Outpost)
Operations Center


"Voodoo Company Leader, this is Operations, please confirm that the Marine unit is safely aboard the transport, over."

<"Operations, Voodoo Lead here, all but the three missing Marines have been accounted for. Their Chetco is en-route to Nemesis, but they managed to restore the turret array. Think you can use it to get us a live track on the missing Marines' beacons, over?>

Searching through the detailed list of Coalition assets in the region, the operator behind the console finally managed to bring up the turret station's locator signal tracker software after a few moments. Most of the hardware was still rebooting, including the surface-to-air missile battery and the nuclear artillery system, but the tracker seemed to have finished all required start-up operations: three separate maps of the sector appeared on an equal number of the control center's myriad of screens, one for each axis, along with live imagery from satellites in orbit and the John Paul Jones.

"Copy Voodoo, signal track is online now, we are getting additional tracking data from two military satellites and the destroyer in orbit... Alright found them!" The reply was met with some cheering from the Coalition staff that had resigned to watching the mercenary operation unfold, and just as soon, three blue dots begun 'throbbing' on the screens. The Marines had been found with an accuracy of five meters. "The Marines are confirmed to be inside that tunnel, but they are three levels underground. I'll see if I can connect to their armor."

The mercenaries on site, however, didn't seem willing to wait for the armor uplink: the company commander made a gesture for one of the strike teams to follow, which included a dozen power armored troopers armed with flamethrowers and LMGs. <"Strike One, you are on me, the rest of you guard the turret. If we lose contact, Strike Two and Three are to move in with the big armaments."> he yelled, earning several 'ayes' from his subordinates. The strike team's headlamps and weapon torches activated and tiny flames appeared in the edge of the flamethrowers, illuminating the darkness of the rapidly approaching night.

"Voodoo Lead, we are having some technical problems over here, transmissions from the suits are garbled. Looks like the signal's not getting through, you will have to get closer so you can act as relays."

That was all the team needed: the mercenaries advanced towards the entrance of the tunnel, with the pointman firing her flamethrower to clear any unseen threats and somewhat illuminate the interior. Another power armored soldier, carrying a light machinegun, activated his weapon's underslung launcher and begun shooting 'flare darts' at the walls: the powerful titanium blades dug into the material before the built-in flare ignited, bathing the team in warm red light.

<"Ops, we are now entering the tunnel. The structure seems to have suffered major decay over the years, but there are no indications of a collapse. Echomapping is online and connected, we are commencing layout scan.">

In the dark operations center, another screen that had been idle came to life, displaying a black grid map: a moment later, an ultrasonic pulse revealed one of the grids' layout: a long tunnel, by the looks of it, connected to the entrance. No junctions, no turns, no nothing. "So far so good Voodoo, you are clear to continue forward for a few meters, no signs of movement."

The team advanced deeper into the structure, occasionally firing their flamethrowers at the walls and shadows.





Marine Base Nemesis (Talarin Outpost)
Hangar Bay


Even though the State Secretary was somewhat embarrassed by his obvious ignorance of the alien race's greeting customs, he nevertheless managed to bring his hand down from the offered shake position in a very reserved and respectful manner; an alien species couldn't be expected to know what 'shaking hands' meant, and even if they did, they did not have to return the gesture. He merely hoped it hadn't been an insult, although that nagging thought was resolved as soon as the alien figure spoke.

Even though he had been warned that the 'Familiar' could be described as strange, peculiar and 'unsettling' at best, the aging politician had not been prepared mentally for the sound the emerged from the being, spoken (or reproduced, perhaps) through no visible orifices or speakers. During his career, he had met with many different beings, but none of them were as strange and, well... Alien as the Familiar. Nevertheless, the man managed to maintain his composure and not show how disturbing the sound felt to him, or even his fear.

"Thank you, esteemed delegate." replied the man as the Familiar unloaded the packages, although no attempt was made to search or scan their contents. The Familiar craft had already been scanned for nuclear weapons, as part of the cordon regulations, and the Coalition obviously had no reason to be suspicious of the alien package: if they had wanted to destroy the base, there were far more tactically sound ways to do it. "My government has arranged for offerings to show our respect as well, but sadly, due to unforeseen withdrawal of Zeleniyan forces and the resulting stretch of resources, they will arrive in a few hours. I offer my sincerest apologies for that; nevertheless, we are grateful for these gifts, and hope to return the gesture as soon as possible."

Allowing for a few moments for the aliens to perhaps consult their translation software, or whatever system they used to understand him, the Secretary continued. "But please, if you would follow me, the conference room has been cleared to accept you. We have much to talk about. The base commander will join us as soon as the crisis situation outside has been resolved."





Low Talarin Orbit
Dvakok Station


<"Strike One, this is Mission Command, report.">

Loud footsteps filled the wide corridor as several power armored shock troopers advanced on the floor, using their magnetic boots to stay attached to the structure. With the power systems offline, the artificial gravity had also been disabled, which admittedly made moving around easier without a suit, but it was a nightmare with one. SEAL operators trained extensively in zero gravity environments and had thus become accustomed to them, but they didn't have to like it.

"Strike One to Command, we have reached the operations center entrance. We can't enter without the power systems." replied the team's leader, a lieutenant, as the four men behind him assumed breaching positions next to the door. Its deadbolts seemed to have dropped during the power outage, standard practice in most modern military installations, which meant that the team would have to rely on Strike Two and Three to do their jobs first. The team had encountered no resistance in securing the station, but if the AI was hostile, they had to kill it as soon as power went online.

<"All teams, this is Strike Two, server farm secured. We have removed the firewall hardware and are ready to commence uplink to the Jones as soon as power is back online.">

<"Strike Three to all teams, we are standing by for reactor activation.">


The men trained their weapons at the blastdoor, their breaths becoming heavier by the moment: it was show time. The operations center was by far the most defended space of any Zeleniyan installation, and if they were to encounter trouble, it would be inside.

<"Command to all teams. Code: takeover, repeat, takeover.">

<"Three copies, we are activating the fusion reactor now.">


There was silence for a few seconds, and then the loud whirring of machinery begun to echo in the cold corridors of the station: the coolant and life support systems were reactivating. Several fans mounted on the airducts begun spinning, slowly at first before they took on more speed, and the dull lights flickered into life. The station was being resurrected from its deep sleep.

<"Strike Two, commencing uplink. Zeleniyan AI will be active in sixty seconds.">

The Lieutenant knew what was happening: a battle of minds had commenced deep within the station's circuits as the Jones' artificial intelligence spread its digital tendrils into the station's server farm, gaining control of key systems such as the reactor, life support, weapons and the self destruct before the Zeleniyan equivalent could even finish its startup cycle.

<"Reactor is ours... Weapons, ours... Life support, ours... Self destruct, ours... Communications, ours... Electrical, ours... Bulkhead control is ours.">

That last comment was enough: the USC AI, having taken over the software controlling the station's doors, retracted the deadbolts and activated the powerful hydraulics controlling the gate: it slid open, revealing an empty operations center that seemed to have been abandoned in a hurry. There were papers on the desks, unfinished coffee cups and even a (by then) cold Zeleniyan meal on one of the consoles. The team advanced inside, scanning every section of the chamber before approaching the consoles.

"Strike One here, we have the command center." reported the Lieutenant, making a hand gesture towards the Technical Sergeant: the latter rushed to one of the consoles marked with "Искусственный интеллект", overlayed with a red "ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE" on the team's heads up displays, and connected the briefcase he was carrying to one of the I/O slots.

The lights shut off again a minute later, and when they reactivated, the team held their breaths. It was all or nothing.


<"Neurala Cybersystems Artificial Intelligence Unit M-109873-B, Military-Grade, is now online. Control of all station systems assumed. Safety locks released, target tracking RADAR online. Connection to defense grid established. Assuming control of all Zeleniyan military installations, satellites, weapons, missiles and miscellaneous assets in the Talarin system... Operation complete. Lieutenant Commander Jake Ackerly is senior ranking officer aboard: command of Dvakok Station transferred.">
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:49 pm

"Crisis--", the taller one mutters beneath his breath, possibly audible to the USC delegates, before cutting off-- as if realizing he spoke. The shorter attendant swivels his head around to face him out of what appears to be shock, but the Familiar himself remains still and silent.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:08 pm

Planet Surface of Talarin;
Catacombs beneath a city in the Eastern Hemisphere



"This isn't Alarei tech is it Cairo?"

"No, it isn't. In fact, the origins of this technologies is very similar to what we found in our own system, Agent."


Delta squad was far below the surface of the city, almost a kilometer towards the center of the planet. They had followed the cave system and taken an ancient looking elevator down all the way into a large, and completely abandoned complex. It looked as if the Alarei had set up a laboratory inside of the facility. It was long forgotten, but it had seemingly been untouched by the war above. The Praetorian soldiers began clearing the facility to make sure nothing remained inside, but Agent 014 began to examine the inside of the facility.

"Any guesses as to what this was Cairo?" Agent 014, or Agent Ebanks, plugged his suit into one of the old disabled computers and allowed the AI to scan the complex's datanet looking for an answer.

"It was a weapons lab. For biological weapons, but anything usable by us has been wiped clean. There are some systems I need you to access by hand." The AI linked up to the suit of Ebanks was capable of processing huge amounts of data within miliseconds, but several terminals held blocks that could only be accessed by direct contact with the machinery. Agent 014 made his way through the narrow corridors of the facility. The whole compound seemed to be coated in a thick layer of dirt and grime, however for the most part everything was left mostly where it was. Many of the Alarei's research tools still remained as if they left the facility in a hurry.

"This is Delta 5, we are at one of the terminals. Cairo is telling me we it is needed to activate the rest, like a power switch. Want me to turn it on?"

"Yes, do it."


For a second nothing happened. Suddenly, there was a loud boom and an orange light seemed to sweep through the system quickly. Then the ground shook violently for another second and another boom was heard and all went quiet. Suddenly every single monitor in the facility lit up, and holographic images of different systems quickly flashed before Agent 014's visor. He quickly moved towards the terminal and he began searching through it, with the assistance of Cairo.

"Cairo, tell me what is going on."

"When we activated the facility, it activated a beacon as well. I wasn't aware it was going to happen but the whole system is going to be alerted to our presence. I've hailed the Medusa and they should be here by the time we get to the surface."

"Agent, this is Delta lead, if Cairo is right, we are leaving now."
Ebanks knew that they had to leave, and he began to see the blue blips on his local radar move towards the entrance of the facility.

"I've got everything I could from here Agent, we should go."

That's all the intelligence officer needed to hear, and he was sprinting towards the entrance alongside the rest of Delta Squad.

The entire system was sure to know that someone was there due to the huge energy spike that was activated when the Imperials activated the facility. They were sprinting towards the surface of the planet now, and eventually the landing zone. When they got to the entrance of the cave network, leading into the catacombs, the Phantom's helmet lit up with audio from the stealth ship.


"This is the Medusa. We got your call, and are sending the dropship down now. You better hurry Delta, I don't know how long we have."

The frigate sat stealthed in orbit, with its Raven deployed ready to pick Delta Squad up.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:06 pm

Marine Base Nemesis (Talarin Outpost)
Hangar Bay


The State Secretary stared curiously at the interaction between the aliens, completely clueless about what was going on: why had the alien shut up without reason? Why was the other one staring in apparent surprise? What the hell was going on? All of these questions were excellent, and while he would have loved to resolve them, the man instead awkwardly cleared his throat and made a gesture for the aliens to follow: it was not his place to be involved with the aliens' own internal affairs.

"This way, please."





Low Talarin Orbit
USS John F. Kennedy, DDGN-97
Patrol Sector E-Charlie


"SIR! We've got a tachyon beacon on the surface, coordinates thirty seven degrees thirty minutes North, ninety seven degrees four minutes east... The transmission seems to be coming from underground!"

Like their older siblings, Farragut-class Destroyers were built to represent a different form of warfare: whereas the Coalition had always used massive fleets with gargantuan ships for force projection abroad, such fleet formations were logistical nightmares and almost monolithic in their tactics. Guided Missile Destroyers, the fancy word the Coalition used for the Farragut-class, were cruiser-sized warships with a unique combination of powerful jump drives and excellent electronic warfare systems, allowing them to perform recon operations, conduct EWAR and countermeasure support, and all with an excellent array of weapons to back up their word. Of course, due to the nature of the Coalition's needs, these ships had been reduced to mere escorts for the larger supercarriers and dreadnoughts.

But they had retained their amazing signals intelligence systems. A Farragut destroyer's optical telescopes could read the contents of a newspaper on Kutzengrad's surface from high lunar orbit, the x-ray and infrared sensors could track ships in the thickest of nebulas and individual soldiers in the most intimidating of thunderstorms, their tachyon trackers could pinpoint the location of a distress beacon down to the centimeter     within a few seconds. The Kennedy's close location to the origin of the transmission only made it easier to pin it down, and soon dozens of optical telescopes had achieved locks on the tunnel surface, scanned out possible approach routes and identified potential landing zones.

The ship's commander, recognizing the importance of maintaining the cordon zone while securing Talarin's surface at the same time, was quick to spring to action. "Officer of the Watch, set condition one throughout the ship, now! Prep a close support salvo on those coordinates... Who do we have nearby?"

"I've got... We've got a tank company a few clicks from that location, but they've been redirected to attack a nearby Blackshark facility. There's a few fighter flights in the air conducting CAS operations, a mechanized infantry unit twenty minutes out and a... Wait, we've got a pair of unmanned Guardians on patrol just four minutes away from the beacon area. Obviously they can't go inside, but they can secure the entrance until our troops get there."

"Get them on it!"


Before the commanding officer could even finish his orders, one of the petty officers manning the tracking stations raised his hand. "Sir! I've got an ultra low frequency radio link between the beacon location and a sector in orbit near our patrol path. Could be a ship or satellite, but I can't get a fix on its location, either jamming or other signal interruption technology."

"Very well, helm, alter your heading to bring us to that sector. As soon as we are close enough, scramble fighters."


With that, the Coalition destroyer on patrol near the Medusa seemed to suddenly alter its heading, bring it in an intercept course with the sector the ship was located in. Several antenna systems were deployed from inside its hull, and the vessel begun banging away with active RADAR: it was scanning for contacts.





Surface of Talarin
Distance from Catabomb Entrance: ~500m
GUARDIAN Unmanned Area Denial Patrol 187


<"YOU ARE CURRENTLY TRESPASSING IN COALITION TERRITORY. SURRENDER IMMEDIATELY.">

Instead of receiving a confirmation of surrender, as the twelve foot tall robot expected, instead it received a barrage of machinegun fire, sniper rifle shots and other forms of gunfire from the barricaded building the Blacksharks were using as an outpost. In the short time since the Zeleniyan withdrawal, the Coalition had begun an aggressive campaign of assaulting Blackshark facilities, capturing their occupants, or just nuking them to oblivion. Even though the mercenaries-gone-insane had plenty of amazing technologies to share (or have stolen from them), securing Talarin's surface had become top priority, even if it meant sacrificing some potential scientific gains.

<"DROP YOUR WEAPONS. YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO COMPLY. TEN. NINE. EIGHT. YOU ARE IN DIRECT VIOLATION OF MILITARY PENAL CODE 1.13 SECTION 9. SEVEN.">

Ignoring the hail of gunfire the two machines were receiving, one of them begun to count down in its deep mechanical voice, while at the same time they readied their weapons to engage. One of them spotted something with one of its hull-mounted infrared cameras, a flash that was quickly identified as an anti-tank gun firing, and immediately rotated its torso section nine point six degrees to the right to force the shell to deflect instead of hitting the armor with full force. And so it did: the ballistic simulation never lied, and the shackled artificial intelligence inside the robot really didn't want to die.

<"SIX. FIVE. FOUR. THREE. I AM NOW AUTHORIZED TO USE PHYSICAL FORCE.">

There was another infrared flash, but this time different: within 0.017 microseconds, the SM-04 'Guardian' mech identified the heat emission as a Zeleniyan Metis Mk. 3 thermal-guided anti-tank rocket launcher firing, which could lock on to the mech's fusion exhaust vents, and deployed countermeasures: several powerful red flares illuminated the darkening sky as they were fired from one of the robot's many ports, confusing the missile and forcing it to impact against the skyscraper behind the machines.

<"TWO. ONE. NON-COMPLIANCE REGISTERED. SUMMARY COURT MARTIAL CONVENED IN ABSENCE OF COALITION MILITARY PENAL OFFICER.  THE SENTENCE IS DEATH. THERE WILL BE NO FURTHER VOCAL ALERTS.">

With that, the machines finally shut up, only to open fire in unison: their arm-mounted 20mm gatlings opened fire with a rate of fire of six thousand rounds per minute, shredding metal, flesh and bone with one quick sweep on the building's surface and thus decimating an entire floor's worth of fighters. But that wasn't enough: the machines were too slow, and that was an error they intended to fix. With the gatlings firing at full power, a second weapon activated: the rocket launcher. Several tiny rockets were fired from each drone, navigating through the obstacles and sticking themselves all around the inside of the building...

...only to detonate in one large nuclear explosion, annihilating the structural supports and bringing the entire skyscraper down in one well orchestrated collapse that civil engineers would have been proud of. Screams of pain and cries of agony and despair were muffled by the overwhelming sound of a gargantuan building collapsing inwards, with the drones already searching for their next targets: several fleeing combatants. A quick burst with the gatling took care of them as well.


TARGETS: 0
AREA CLEAR


<"SENTENCE DELIVERED.">

Before they could continue along their patrol path, however, a message was received from orbit. The two machines, always mirroring each-other's movements, made a complete u-turn and begun heading to their new coordinates.

<:: CRITICAL MISSION OVERRIDE ::>

NEW TARGET COORDINATES RECEIVED
NORTH: 30°37'11"
EAST: 97°04'28"
DISTANCE: 487m

MISSION: SECURE CAVERN ENTRANCE
ARRIVAL ETA: 3 MINUTES 48 SECONDS (FULL SPEED)

USE OF LETHAL WEAPONS AUTHORIZED


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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:54 pm

Slowly and stiffly the Familiar followed, his two attendants continuing to flank him. But they did more than that. Apart from the usual sneak peek at the USC military architecture and organization they kept their guards up an awful lot; gaze focused on the Familiar. For its safety, probably. But perhaps not in the way one would immediately assume; perhaps not from outside threats but from its own lapses.
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PostSubject: Re: Talarin, 05J.   Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:05 pm

Planet Surface of Talarin;
Catacombs beneath a city in the Eastern Hemisphere


"Two large contacts are coming towards you, Delta Team," The AI's voice rang through Delta One's ears. In the corner of his eye he got a brief glimpse of how large the contacts were. Too big to be mutants. Must be military hardware, and with withdrawal of Zeleniy forces, it was likely USC. The team exited the catacombs and carefully made their way towards a nearby skyscraper. The team moved fluidly with very little verbal communication.

The Ares armor worn by the Praetorian squad was the best the Imperium had to offer. With top of the line stealth modifications added, they would likely not be spotted easily by the two large Coalition walkers. Chameleon camouflage would make them almost completely naked to the human eye, and infrared sensors would have no chance of detecting the Praetorians. This was because the power armor worn by the Praetorians was equipped with heat changing plates that allowed the suit to match the environment around it. The armor also had automated radio wave blockers, in order to distort any sort of RADAR from detecting it. Hell, it was even equipped with insulated sound plates to prevent SONAR from picking up the suit too easily. All this had to be managed by the on-board virtual intelligence installed on every Ares suit of armor. This VI constantly processed and made automated decisions regarding many of the suit's features.


"ETA on dropship, 30 Seconds"Cairo was plugged into every suit in Delta Squad, so Delta One, or Captain Gulej, didn't have to worry about informing the rest of the team. The Raven Dropship was also one of the Imperium's most expensive pieces of hardware they had to offer. It was equipped similarly to the Ares suits in terms of stealth equipment. The dropship, attempting to stay out of sight, kept all of its stealth systems online. It positioned itself out of sight on the opposite end of the skyscraper, almost ten floors up.

Delta Squad quickly piled onto the dropship and it would attempt to pull away from the skyscraper while avoiding combat with the two USC walkers.


Low Orbit Over Talarin;
Imperium Hermes-Class Stealth Frigate, Medusa, Command Bridge



The ship was completely dark. Even the bridge was completely silent as they sat waiting above the planet's surface. This ship was completely cloaked, and it was one of the most expensive ships the RSI had commissioned, filled with incredibly complex stealth technology. The cost of making one was more expensive than commissioning a fully armed and fully crewed dreadnought. The ship had one small hangar, which contained two unmanned SWORD Interceptors. The ship had a very small crew, consisting of only about three to five men at most. The other crew members were either AI techs, engineers, or the executive officer. Most of the ship was maintained and piloted by the massive Artificial Intelligence on board the ship. It was the most complex ship the Imperium had to offer.

And yet, the slightest detection by the Kennedy could warrant a larger investigation by a fighter wing, which would surely give them away. Even the best stealth technology could be detected, and it was hard to make a frigate, albiet a small one completely disappear. For now they were hoping their technology held up against the USC's for the time being.

Captain Argan bit his knuckles in a stressed anxiousness waiting for the green light that the stealth dropship had boarded the Medusa and the frigate could warp out of this god-forsaken system. The captain wore the standard Imperial Navy Officer Uniform with a pistol strapped to his leg. He had been specifically selected by the Office of Military intelligence to command this frigate for both Delta Team, and the Phantom Agent that was apart of it. He wasn't allowed to know why he was selected over the wide variety of other candidates, but it was not the Captain's place to question his orders.

The ship was at a complete halt and with the stealth fields up, and continued in low orbit above the planet, waiting, and praying to not get detected.
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