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 [004 - 0C] Europa System

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Alien



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PostSubject: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:55 pm


The Europa System would, at first, appear to be a place only the insane and condemned would visit: with four terran planets clearly hostile to human life and one barely capable of supporting it, plus three gas giants with several moons, the system's stellar bodies could not exactly be characterized as dream destinations. The most important landmark is the system's star, Europa, a magnetar-type pulsar primarily pulsing in the x-ray and gamma ray spectrum with a distinctly dark blue appearance. With a pulse period of 8.27 seconds, it has over the course of millions of years bathed the system in radiation, rendering RADAR guidance less and less useful the closer one's position is to the center. A massive asteroid belt between the fifth and sixth planets forms a gigantic ring around the star.

But on closer inspection, one would no doubt notice the activity: hundreds of ships and stations litter the asteroid belt, satellites and orbital stations surround the planets, and a complex network of statites, solar sail guided satellites, hovers above the system's star in a grid pattern. Each of these statites would seem to be powerless on its own, but the gargantuan network's radio emissions are off the scale, transmitting and receiving millions of exabytes of data every second over tachyon and quantum transmission systems.

Another impossible feature to miss is the titanic space station orbiting the fifth planet, a multi-kilometer superstructure armed to the brim with defense systems. An orbital elevator connects it from its geostationary orbit to an underground facility, transporting goods and materials to refuel and resupply the myriads of civilian and military ships docked with it.

Every now and then, unmistakable nuclear explosions mark the asteroid belt, each taking with it another asteroid; swarms of drone ships move in to harvest the pieces and move them to awaiting refinery ships, the very ships that launched the nuclear weapons, in a clear display of both recklessness, impatience and wasteful mining methods. Similarly, nuclear weapon tests continuously scar several of the moons around the gas giants.
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:49 pm

Low Europa Orbit - Ronald Reagan Fleet Yards
PCU Enterprise, CVN-91, Saratoga Class Supercarrier
Construction Phase: Electronic Countermeasure Suite Installation
Combat Operation Center


Another quiet day on the USS Enterprise... Or at least, the Pre-Commissioning Unit Enterprise, as the United Systems identified its ships prior to their commissioning. For years the massive supercarrier had been under construction, with the most critical part of the work, carving the superstructure, having taken over nine months of 24/7 shifts and Nasari slave labour. The Enterprise was being built to be the latest in the Saratoga class, and for that purpose, the United Systems Military had poured a significant fraction of the nation's GDP into making sure that no corners were cut and that everything was built with the utmost precision.

The ship's construction was in its last phases: the electronic countermeasure systems were being installed, and after that and some more minor additions the ship would embark on a shakedown cruise to test its performance. She was expected to be commissioned within one year, if the bureaucracy didn't delay things further that is. Of course, Lieutenant Colonel Dianna Nelson would have liked nothing better. Being stationed on a ship that hadn't been commissioned yet was like a class trip, since the engineering department of the ship made most of the decisions. Her sole task was to act in a ceremonial role until an Admiral could be chosen to lead the 3rd Carrier Strike Group.

Except things weren't always quiet. The RADAR console beeped, and several new contacts appeared at the edge of the low-power sensor range; hundreds of them, in fact. The operator at the console, who had been reading a book at the time, was quick to push the piece of literature away and focus on the screen.

"Colonel, a full squadron of Chetco and Huey craft are approaching from starboard... Make that a squadron of Chetcos and Hueys, plus half a dozen cargo frigates, plus... What the hell... A whole air group of Raptors, bombers and a Compass?"

"Radiological alarm! There are nukes on one of those transports!"

"We are being hailed by one of the Hueys, Colonel."


The Colonel instantly approached the command table, having spent most of her shift chatting with the officers in CIC, and pointed at the communications officer to make her point. "On speaker! Contact fleet command, let them know we have unidentified ships approaching without authorization!"

But she stopped talking as soon as the message came through, frozen. "Enterprise, this is Huey 1178. General Crawford of Special Operations Command is requesting permission to come aboard. Request urgent." There was some delay, and several seconds passed before she spoke again. The communications officer confirmed the authenticity of the transmission, having checked with both the fleet's databanks and with the IFF database, and finally, the Colonel grabbed the phone.

"Huey 1178, Enterprise Actual. Permission granted. May I inquire on the nature of the General's visit?"

"Copy that Actual, commencing docking maneuvers. The General's mission is classified, he will brief you and your senior staff as soon as he is onboard. Prepare your munitions handling teams to receive nuclear armaments."
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:57 pm

Low Europa Orbit - Ronald Reagan Fleet Yards
PCU Enterprise, CVN-91, Saratoga Class Supercarrier
Construction Phase: Electronic Countermeasure Suite Installation
Combat Information Center


"Attention on deck!"

All of the operators in the supercarrier's skeleton crew stood up at once and saluted the new arrival, a man that looked more like a stereotypical movie villain than a military officer. Anyone who thought that his short posture made him any less scary would be insane: the man seemed to be at least in his mid-fifties, with graying black hair and a matching beard, complemented with a drab black officer's uniform and a black beret.

The strangest part about him, however, was the eyepatch: in the age of cybernetics and cloned organs, only the poorest of the poor couldn't afford replacement surgery for a lost limb or eye. The man was clearly not poor though, and anyone who thought otherwise would probably quickly correct himself after taking a look at his bodyguards. They had the same strange power armor used by the Special Operations Command, and their rifles probably cost more than a luxury airliner.

Colonel Nelson assumed that the man was General Crowford, and quickly saluted; but she received only the faintest of salutes in return before the man got straight to business. He approached, passed her a dossier filled to the brim with documents, and spoke in a gruff, war-torn voice that carried more authority in it than the President of the United Systems could ever hope to have. "Colonel Nelson, you are relieved from command of this vessel. I am assuming command of the Enterprise under direct orders from the President. As my new XO, please arrange for a brief wartime commissioning ceremony to be held in CIC within the next half hour."

But there was more: leaving the Colonel in shock, the General turned to the chief of the watch and clicked his fingers to get his attention; not that he didn't already have it. "Chief of the Watch, set condition one throughout the ship. I want all munitions and fighters secured within the next thirty minutes. If your crew can't finish the ECM systems within that time, they are to abort and join the munitions handling teams. Inform the shipyard that they are to immediately finish up any urgent modifications to this warship and then prepare to undock us from the station."

Everyone stared in shock as the General personally took command without even an introduction, but they followed their orders regardless: the klaxon sounded, and the voice of the Chief of the Watch echoed throughout the ship's halls. "Action stations, action stations, set condition one throughout the ship. This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill. Action stations, action stations."

The Colonel, however, wanted to know more: "General, with all due respect, but what ARE your orders?"

The question annoyed the General, judging by the look on his face, but he responded in the same cold professionalism as he had spoken before. "We are at war. This ship is being commandeered by SpecCom and made ready for planetary defense while the Saratoga and her battlegroup reinforce our fleet in the Tefeull sector. The Avenger and her battlegroup will join us within the next few minutes."

He couldn't be serious, could he? The ship was a full year away from being commissioned, there was no way anyone could get her combat ready within half an hour... But then again, this was the Special Operations Command. They had enough money and resources to fund their own private war if they wanted to; they could certainly try. But what was this 'Avenger' ship she had just heard? There were only two Battlegroups, three with the Enterprise's nearly-finished one; what the hell was the General talking about?

"...the Avenger, sir? I know of no ship named the Avenger."

"Need to know information, you do not need to know yet. Dismissed."
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:48 pm

Unknown Ship, Unknown Facility
Heliosynchronous Orbit, 0.3 AU from the star of Europa


"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. Seal all bulkheads, all decks make readiness report to combat. Jump prep underway."

Shiny black combat boots banged against the metal floor of the ship in an almost mechanical manner, the noise dulled by the high ambient noise. Behind the boots followed a pair of power armored shock boots, the kind made out of titanium-carbon armor, walking in the same rhythmical pace with such force that the bangs sounded more like the screeches of a dying animal being crushed by a set of mechanical gears and a gun going off all at once.

The tight corridors of the ship were narrower and darker than those used aboard USC warships, narrow enough that the two power-armored figures had to enter a single file formation in certain areas. The walls were textured a dark gray in a hexagon pattern, unlike the pure metal of Naval ships, and the lights were strangely arranged to give the ship's interior a menacing atmosphere, bathing it in an almost alien blue hue. And the several men and women passing by wearing night camouflage uniforms weren't making the scene any warmer either: most, if not all of them, were armed with at least a pistol.

"General."

The two power armor clad troopers, a Staff Sergeant and a Corporal judging by the insignia on their black suits, presented the tall man in black with a crisp, almost too official salute. He didn't even bother to return it: he seemed to be into too much of a hurry to get to his destination. The soldiers checked him through the metal detector and then allowed the airlock to cycle; his armed guards followed behind him, entering the dimly lit room on the other end of the corridor.

"CO on deck!" called out the Sergeant of the Guard, a Sergeant Major in power armor, removing his hand from his rifle to salute the officer who had just entered. The rest of the two hundred or so people in the room followed suit, only to return to their work a moment later after the General returned the salute. He stepped forward to the massive command table in the middle of the room, exchanging a salute with the short woman on the other end.

"Colonel. I have the conn."

"General, sir. CO has the conn, Chief of the Watch, note the time in your log. Nothing new to report sir. All decks report condition one, the rest of the group has already undocked from the Pearl and have spooled up their FTL drives. We are ready to sever the umbilical."


Placing his mechanical left hand against the command table's edge, he leaned in, the dim blue light of the console illuminating his scarred face. He had a clean shave and a Marine styled buzzcut, but the most noticeable feature about him was the red glow in his eyes, an instant confirmation of his cybernetic implants. It was rare for officers to keep their implants if they advanced to such a high rank, such as that of a General; most took the opportunity to remove the 'useless' additions that had nothing to do with 'flying a desk' as they called it.

"Then by all means, proceed, Colonel. We have a war to end." he exclaimed with an almost arrogant certainty in his voice, nodding his head in encouragement.

"Aye sir. Major Gonzalez, please undock us from Pearl Station, set a course to join the group. Lieutenant Evans, contact Pearl Control, let them know that we have finished our prep and are about to commence our trip to Tefeull."

A dull 'aye' followed, and the communications officer tapped a few buttons on the keyboard before him; "Pearl Control, Pearl Control, this is the USS Avenger, we are severing our umbilical and commencing our jump to Tefeull." he exclaimed just as the ship's hull echoed with the sound of the massive propulsion system engaging.

"Avenger, this is Pearl Aerospace Control. Umbilical severed, move to safe jump distance and proceed with your mission. We are informing fleet command. Godspeed, Avenger; go squash some bugs."
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Thu May 01, 2014 7:38 pm

Europa V
Surface of Europa, North Pole
48km from New Warsaw



"We are almost there!"

The M577 Extreme Environment Cargo Vehicle had been designed in the 2400s to replace the aging 'Goliath' cargo truck, and since its conception had become the primary cargo delivery and exploration vehicle for both civilian and military users alike. With enough gamma ray shielding to resist the deadly surface radiation of Europa and a self-contained fission reactor that could provide electrical energy for almost three decades without refueling, the machines had minimal upkeep and maintenance costs, had a high top speed, could transport several dozen tons of cargo and ferry other vehicles behind them, could be armoured to survive military conflicts and was modular enough to be modified for any purpose. M577s had found use as fuel tankers, prison transports, field hospitals and even APCs.

In this case, the specific M577 had been modified for a far more sinister purpose. Behind the two drivers and the vehicle commander, an airlock had been installed and clearly marked with several warning signs, including that of a biological threat, dangerous nanotechnology and radiation. The truck had been heavily armoured and painted in military digital snow camouflage, and a tank turret had been installed on the top of its hull. The windows had been replaced by armour plating, allowing the crew to see the outside world only through the artificial eyes of the cameras mounted on the hull.

Escorted by two main battle tanks, the truck had set off from the headquarters of the United Systems Army Medical Research Centre of Infectious Diseases a week earlier, carrying several tons of 'death sludge', as some referred to it: liquid cultures of biological weapons held in freezing temperatures of under eight degrees Celsius to preserve the organisms inside. Weaponized versions of the Ebola virus, failed Agent Gray iterations, Human Immunosuppressing Agent, a deadly experimental virus, Prion bioweapons... Every horrible disease that could be imagined was being sent to one of USAMRIID's 'cold storage' facilities, to be permafrosted until such a time came when they were needed. Five trucks had set out from USAMRIID HQ, four of them decoys, none of them knowing if they carried the real deal (or if the real weapons were being carried at all, for that matter: the USC frequently sent out empty trucks just to confuse terrorists and foreign intelligence agencies).

The crew were originally supposed to wear power armor, but even the onboard pathobiologist, a Dr. Dan Crozier, had instead chosen to wear the standard USC BDU. There had been no accident or attempted attack on a USAMRIID shipment for over twenty years, especially with the helicopter escorts and lingering threat of orbital bombardment in the event of the truck being compromised. What could go wrong anyway; they were an hour away from the cold storage facility, well within New Warsaw's RADAR grid.

They were wrong.

There was a sudden flash outside, and the entire vehicle shook; there was no sound due to the extreme insulation, but the image on the cameras and the warning from the computer was enough to let the crew know what was happening. The tank on their front had disappeared, replaced by a flaming wreck as its fusion reactor was breached and the hydrogen fuel mixed with the oxygen supplies intended for the crew. A power armoured National Guardsman jumped out of the top hatch, trying to get away, only to be gunned down by an unseen force.

The helicopter took notice immediately: flying overhead, it begun to return fire with its gatling guns at the attacker. But they had other problems: their other tank escort drove to their side, the side at which the helicopter overhead was shooting, and the speaker inside the truck activated with an almost panicking voice. "DRIVE! GET OFF THE ROAD!" yelled the tank commander before the other tank exploded.

By then, the truck crew was panicking: the commander was yelling at the radio, trying to get information on the situation, while the gunner scanned the area with the turret camera. And then he saw it: bright flashes on top of a hill, those of railgun fire, and... Were those RPGs? The answer came a moment after as a surface to air missile was fired from the hilltop, and despite the helicopter escort's best efforts, it took a direct hit to the starboard rotor and begun to descend wildly towards the ground.

There was no other thing left to do than drive, and drive they did. The gunner madly fired the anti-tank gun at the figures on the hilltop, but his hands were shaking too much, the truck was going too fast and the road was too bumpy for the computer to even attempt to compensate. That, and armour-piercing rounds didn't work that well against personnel. The commander then tried the radio, but found it to be jammed.

"I have to destroy the cargo..." muttered the crew pathobiologist as he entered his access code at the keypad leading to the cargo compartment, but as soon as he pressed enter, a loud bang echoed inside the cockpit... And then another. Both the doctor and the gunner collapsed to the ground, drowning in a pool of their own blood, leaving the truck commander to stare in shock at the driver.

"...WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?" he yelled, only to have the gun pointed at him next. But then it all made sense; how the truck had been intercepted, why the driver had been replaced at the last minute by someone nobody had seen before, why the driver had insisted that they take the long route around due to 'weather conditions'. "...you traitor..." he spit out, answering his own question in the process. Reaching down to his own sidearm, he instead found himself becoming the next victim of the attack as he received several railgun shots on his arms, legs and his stomach.

In his last conscious moments, the commander watched as the driver calmly put on an environmental suit and sealed up the suit's helmet. With that done, he shouted proudly before he walked through the door to the cargo compartment: "Liberation is near! Free the people!"

The commander faded away then, his mind betraying him: he fell unconscious due to a combination of shock and bloodloss.
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:44 am

Europa V
Surface of Europa, North Pole
48km from New Warsaw



Hiss... Whhhh... Hiss.... Whhhh... Hiss...

The small patch of ice that had become the scene of the earlier terrorist attack had suddenly become the center of attention for what seemed to be the entire United Systems Military. Several tanks, APCs and jeeps were parked around the secure perimeter that had been established at the scene, with helicopters buzzing overhead and a few fighter jets making a wide sweep over the area. Power-armoured National Guardsmen had surrounded the hazardous material transport like bees swarming near honey, but they made absolutely no attempt to approach it more than fifty meters. Several officers in identical armour lead the patrol teams, but as far as anyone was concerned, the real target was the truck itself.

As far as Colonel Elaine Soto was concerned, the truck represented the worst failure in operational security of her career, not to mention the last fifty years. Her and her team, a small squad of USAMRIID operatives, had arrived just ten minutes prior on a transport helicopter and had immediately begun implementing contamination protocol. A thermal scan of the truck returned only faint signs of life, while it had failed to find out what the status of the crew was. Nobody inside was responding to radio transmissions, and the engine had been shut down. It looked like nobody was home. The team had rapidly deployed an airtight, negative pressure tent around the truck itself to prevent contaminants from escaping into the air.

With everything in place, they went through the pre-fabricated decontamination chamber and then advanced inside the sealed structure, battle rifles and SMGs in hand. There was no room for error, no second chance. Exposure to any one of the bioweapons inside the truck was a death sentence, and while the team knew the risks, none of them had a death sentence. Tapping on her wrist computer, the team commander sent the door activation signal...

...and surprisingly it worked. The outer airlock hatch whirred and whined as the powerful hydraulics lowered it, exposing the small airlock and at the same time granting foot access to its interior. Three team members stepped through, including the support gunner, and they activated the inner door after the hatch sealed. Several seconds passed, and then, a scream echoed inside the helmet of Colonel Soto, with the radio as its source: "We need a medic in here ASAP! Truck commander's alive!"

That complicated things.
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:14 pm

Europa V
Fleming Bunker, 109km from Washington City
United Systems Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
Xenopathology Research Laboratory, BSL-5



The Xenopathology Research Laboratory was one of the most advanced research facilities in the entire Coalition: inside, dozens of scientists, mostly molecular biologists and medical pathobiologists, worked concurrently in sterile, one hundred percent secure conditions. Everything was built to perfection: the five meter thick walls were built out of solid titanium, and coated with a hydrophobic antibacterial agent that could kill almost any microorganism within minutes of contact. The floor was coated in the same substance and 'bended' inwards, allowing the chemicals from the decontamination sprays located all over the walls and ceiling to flood inwards and flow into the drains that connected to an isolated waste handling facility. A four-stage airlock connected the building to the outside world, and it was a secure bunker of its own: a one hundred meter long corridor suspended over a radioactive river was the only way in or out, and it was equipped with self-destruct explosives. Nothing had been left to chance.

Equipped with spacesuit-quality hazmat suits, the researchers conducted their studies far from the public eye: even satellites were forbidden from taking pictures of the facility, or otherwise flying above it, unless they were of military origin. Some of the projects included the reverse engineering of alien viruses in order to increase the effectiveness of biological weapons, studies on the effects of Agent Gray on Nasari subjects and even Alarei genome sequencing from the few samples of genetic material that had survived the war.

One particular pair of researchers, however, was working on something far more sinister. The youngest of them, a tall male Lieutenant, observed on a large screen while his companion, an older woman, cultivated the DNA sample that had been delivered to the facility a few hours prior by a shuttle craft from the USS Avenger. It was the first time Kal'bavakorian blood was to be placed under the microscope, and for that reason part of the sample had been been frozen for later safekeeping while the rest was cultivated with the assistance of nanobots and raw nutrients. The Lieutenant watched on the screen as the cells were forced to begin their mitotic division by the microscopic robots, while the Colonel managed the environmental conditions. Already she had proven that the creatures' cells were cryophile, meaning they developed in low temperatures. As soon as a sizeable sample was cultivated, she could begin the real science.

Her work was interrupted by the sudden entry of four figures, two of them armed and in power armour. The other two were wearing identical hazmat suits, and presented her with a pair of badges held in an airtight bag. "Doctor Helena Razinsky? National Security Agency, Bioterrorism Division. Could we speak with you for a moment?"

Wordlessly she handed her work over to her assistant and followed the men out of the room.
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:43 pm

Europa V
'Edwards' Air Force Base, 12km from Washington City
United Systems Aerospace Defense Command Headquarters / 3rd Aerospace Superiority Wing
Courtyard


♫ "Raptor pilots flying high..." ♫
"Raptor pilots flying high!"

♫ "Raptor pilots flying by..." ♫
"Raptor pilots flying by!"

♫ "Five little aliens in the barn..." ♫
"Five little aliens in the barn!"

♫ "Watch that Raptor shoot their bum..." ♫
"Watch that Raptor shoot their bum!"

♫ "Four little aliens in the tank..." ♫
"Four little aliens in the tank!"

♫ "Watch that Raptor blow them up..." ♫
"Watch that Raptor blow them up!"

♫ "Three little aliens in the air..." ♫
"Three little aliens in the air!"

♫ "Watch their skin burn and flare..." ♫
"Watch their skin burn and flare!"

♫ "Two little aliens in the grass..." ♫
"Two little aliens in the grass!"

♫ "Watch that Raptor kick their ass..." ♫
"Watch that Raptor kick their ass!"

♫ "And now there's only one alien left..." ♫
"And now there's only one alien left!"

♫ "Watch that Raptor make it pay..." ♫
"Watch that Raptor make it pay!"

Running about the enclosed courtyard several kilometers beneath the irradiated surface, an entire squadron of Raptor pilots were on their daily physical training regime: a five kilometer warm-up run around said courtyard was an event that took place every day, followed by two hours of intense High Intensity Interval Training, weight exercises and hand-to-hand combat training. Once every week, the pilots suited up in their uncomfortable Mark III Endo-Exo Vehicular Flight Suit, a specially designed Extravehicular Activity suit with an integrated exoskeleton, combat armor plating, one week's oxygen and emergency ration injections, with an inner padded shell and a shock-absorbent undersuit to allow for rapid maneuvers without risk of injury. Each suit weighted over two hundred kilograms, a fifth of a tonne, with the exoskeleton weighting twice that by itself, and the radiation shielding weighting a whole ton. The jetpack and RCS kit, complete with fuel, was another half ton. All in all, the pilot accounted for almost 5% of the aircraft's weight, an impressive number if one was to consider the machines themselves weighted twenty tonnes empty.

With these very uncomfortable suits on, they ran for twenty kilometers, carrying with them a combat rifle, munitions and an extra survival kit that included grenades, a faster-than-light homing beacon and a man-portable anti-air rocket launcher. The pilots ran, and ran, and ran until they could run no more, and then they ran another kilometer. There were three groups of people that got the hardest training in the Coalition: Special Operators, Naval Security and pilots of all branches, because technically they were the ones more likely to encounter life-or-death situations. Special Operators did it for a living, Naval Security had been upgraded thanks to the hard lessons learnt during the war with the Alarei, and pilots could be shot down at any moment over enemy territory without an easy path to rescue. They had to be trained to survive until such a rescue effort could be planned, and if worse came to worst, they had to be able to find some way off the planet on their own.


♫ "F-38 rolling down the strip..." ♫
"F-38 rolling down the strip!"

♫ "Raptor driver gonna make a little trip..." ♫
"Raptor driver gonna make a little trip!"

♫ "Rev it up, taxi up, count to four..." ♫
"Rev it up, taxi up, count to four!"

♫ "Push the throttle forward, hear the engines roar..." ♫
"Push the throttle forward, hear the engines roar!"

♫ "Ninety thousand feet up in space..." ♫
"Ninety thousand feet up in space!"

♫ "Flying this baby is like takin' a blaze..." ♫
"Flying this baby is like takin' a blaze!"

♫ "Took a look at six O'clock and what did I see..." ♫
"Took a look at six O'clock and what did I see!"

♫ "A ZMiG seven five was comin' after me..." ♫
"A ZMiG seven five was-"


The cadence was suddenly interrupted by the loud wailing of klaxons, accompanied by the flashing of red and orange alarm lights throughout the entire underground base. The pilots knew what they had to do before the speakers kicked in: they rushed towards the location of the flight prep room, where the flight suits and equipment were all held, which happened to be right next to the hangar bay.

<"Scramble aircraft, scramble aircraft, this is not a drill, scramble all aircraft, scramble all aircraft. Fighter pilots report to your fighters, scramble code zero zero zero in progress, repeat, scramble all aircraft, scramble all aircraft, this is not a drill.">
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:17 am

Europa V
Washington, DC
White House Press Room



"...as of nineteen hundred hours this evening, the President of the United Systems has declared a state of national emergency. As such, all reserve military forces have been reactivated pending deployment. The 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th National Guard Divisions and Air National Guard 162nd, 176th, 187th and 201st Fighter Wings have been activated to Federal service, with all remaining National Guard, Air National Guard and Naval National Guard assets remaining on stand-by status orange. The former Army Group Talarin has been reactivated, and the 18th, 19th and 21st Reserve Strategic Missile Squadrons are being redeployed to Talarin as we speak."

The blinding flashes of the cameras were enough to make any man lose their minds, but not White House Press Secretary Josh Brady. With over three decades of press work under his belt, the man's graying hair was a testimony of his aging body, but his spirit remained as strong as it was when he first graduated with his political science degree. He had served as the press secretary for both the current and several former administrations, and assigning him to that position had become a tradition in the White House, and for good reason. Over five separate Presidents had trusted him to be their link to the people, and he had performed that job without any error or mishaps. Although he had a short, lean frame, it was his powerful voice that earned him the respect of every journalist in the cramped underground bunker.

"In addition, following the discovery of hostile alien lifeforms in the Tefeull system, and as per the advise of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United Systems Military, Congress has authorized the immediate reactivation of all strategic nuclear assets and the elevation of the Defense Readiness Condition to DEFCON 2. After a Senate bipartisan supermajority vote of ninety six to four, the United Systems Coalition has officially withdrawn from the START V, INF III and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban nuclear disarmament treaties, and will redeploy all strategic assets the use of which had been suspended as per those treaties in positions critical for the defense of the nation. Furthermore, another Senate vote is now underway to withdraw the Coalition from the unilateral Comprehensive Chemical, Biological and Radiological Weapon Limitation Treaty in preparation for a reactivation of all CBR assets."

There was a pause, and several of the journalists started whispering: all of those treaties had originally been signed between the USC, UCFP and SRZ in order to limit the destructive potential of a war between them and protect the human race, but with two out of three signatories of the treaty gone from the galactic stage, the Coalition was trying to show its teeth again; it was a sad fact, but the cold war between the USC and the Zeleniyans at least guaranteed that neither side could be pushed around by smaller nations without threatening the dominance of the other, ensuring that the international political scene remained unchanged. With the Zeleniyans gone, there was nobody to ensure that countries that had been regarded as 'current non-threats' or 'potential threats', like New Terra, would not try to fight against the monolithic system that had guaranteed Coalition dominance for almost a full century.

"Finally, with a heavy heart, the President of the United Systems has moved all strategic assets to a 'Launch on Warning' policy. Regional strategic commanders have been given full authority to utilize the available nuclear arsenal upon receiving word that United Systems territories are under attack, or that another nation is threatening a strategic launch of its own. Updated missile encryption keys are in the process of being distributed to control facilities to guarantee that each missile unit is capable of launching with less than ten minutes of warning. Make no mistake gentlemen: a cease-fire might have just been signed, but if the Coalition's interests are threatened by any force, foreign or domestic, we will be compelled to act."


Last edited by Alien on Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:23 am

Europa V
Camp Patton, North Pole
4th Mechanized Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve
Gym


Fifty-six...

Fifty-seven...
Fifty-eight...
Fifty-

"SIR!"

The Colonel was interrupted in the midst of his exoskeleton pull-ups, but managed to finish his set of sixty before letting go of the bar and crushing his metal boots against the reinforced floor. Ever since exoskeletons had been introduced in a widespread fashion to the United Systems Military, the exercise routine of active duty staff had been changed to include them, giving them the opportunity to become accustomed to the advantages and disadvantages of wearing exoskeletons and at the same time training the exoskeleton itself to respond better to user input. Exoskeleton pull-ups were considered the hardest exo-clad exercise, because instead of using the machine's natural advantage to expertly distribute weight, the users fought against it by trying to lift a full ton of machine using nothing but its arm hydraulics.

Having recovered his balance after the sudden fall, the Colonel finally turned to face the new arrival: it was a young Lieutenant, one of the people working at the communications station, someone he had never paid much attention to. The contrast between the two men was immediately obvious: the Lieutenant bordered on scrawny, while the Colonel was a hulking mass of muscle and bone with cybernetic enhancements clearly visible in his eyes and his biceps. The Lieutenant was 'green', as they were called, a new addition to the military of the Coalition, while the dozens of pins and ribbons on the Colonel's exoskeleton indicated that he had been in the military for a long, long time. "What?" he asked in a gruff voice, showcasing another difference from the Lieutenant's quiet one. And in return, the Colonel was handed a piece of paper.

"Mobilization orders, sir."

The Colonel read the piece of paper, and then he read it again, as if struggling to come to terms with its contents. "Talarin?" he asked, his eyes finding the Lieutenant's again: this time, they were filled with rage instead of frustration at being interrupted. "TALARIN? Are they fucking shitting me? What the hell are they going to do with a full division on Talarin?" he questioned, but the Lieutenant's expression told him that the kid did not have the answers he wanted. After a few moments of indecisiveness, the Colonel finally passed the paper back. "Well, what are you waiting for? Assemble the men!"





Messhall 3

It was lunch time, and as such, the messhall was filled to the brim with Marines enjoying their meal: in total, the base serviced over five thousand Marines and their support staff, including three Mechanized Infantry battalions, four tank battalions and two All-Terrain Mechanized Battalions, also known as mech battalions because of the vehicles they used. Each day, almost twenty thousand meals were cooked, with each Marine having a choice between three main dishes and several side dishes which they listed in order of preference during the week's meal scheduling report. Alcohol was not allowed at lunchtime, but the Marines could pick their non-alcoholic beverage of choice, including carbonated drinks, fruit juices and protein shakes. The Marines were split in tables of fifty, and although they were free to pick whichever spot they wanted, they usually split according to their MOS and assignment: tank crews dined with tank crews, powered infantry with powered infantry and VTOL pilots with VTOL pilots.

The talk was also light, mostly discussion about base affairs, loved ones, or crazy and funny stories that happened in the base. One group of Marines, members of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Company ('powered infantry' in Marine slang) was discussing about one particular mishap in the toilets that had stirred rumors and brought two NCOs before the Colonel for fraternization charges. "So, the LT opens the door to the stall, thinking there's nobody behind, and what does he see? Merrick giving-" Before the Marine could finish his description of the incident though, she was interrupted by the wailing of the klaxon. And not any klaxon: the sound was recognized instantly by all the people in the room, but they stood still for a few seconds, confused. And then a high-ranking non-commissioned officer stood up, taking the initiative, and yelled one word:

"ALAAAAARM!"

Chaos ensued as five thousand people stood up from their seats and begun rushing towards the armory.
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:40 am

Europa V
Camp Patton, North Pole
4th Mechanized Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve


"MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!"

"GET THESE TANKS IN LINE!"


The massive staging grounds of the Camp had collapsed into a form of well-managed chaos: two thousand men had already assembled into formation, most of them clad in power armor or load-bearing exoskeletons over standard combat armor, with some flight crews and support personnel wearing their fatigues instead. Dozens of tanks paraded in front of these box formations to get to their spot, followed by APCs, jeeps, mechs, and even the dreaded TELAR vehicles, the Transport, Erector, Launcher and RADAR trucks that carried ISBMs or tactical nuclear missiles for use in either strategic attacks or in destroying enemy army formations. Some of the 'Longbow' mechs had been refitted for ISBM launches as well, with their massive missile pods having been replaced by 'rails' holding the smaller UGM-144 'Trident V' Medium Range Ballistic Missiles.

Colonel Norolv Ostreng had found the time to dress in a Marine Green service dress uniform, complete with the peaked cap, and stood by idly as his men assembled in the middle of the staging grounds. Behind them, flight crews were preparing the hundreds of Chetco, Inuit and Huey craft that would take his men to the awaiting Marine Expeditionary Fleet, while several jump-capable military space shuttles were being loaded with other crucial cargo for transport to the fleet: ammunition, weapons, power armor, explosives, even 'mini-nukes' as the man-portable nuclear missile launchers were called by the grunts.

Ever since his unit had been ordered to perform 'stand-by action', the military term used to refer to the sum of of actions required to be undertaken before a unit could deploy, his men had done everything humanly possible to reduce the time it took to assemble to less than ten minutes; they had performed countless drills for that purpose, and the Colonel couldn't help but feel a sense of pride as Major Emily Oliveira, his executive officer, walked up to him in her own service dress uniform to report after a brief salute. "Sir, the men are ready for action."

"Our time?"

"Eight minutes fifty-seven seconds, sir."


The Colonel nodded, and the Major took her position next to him as they awaited further instructions. "What do you think this is all about?" he asked, earning a shrug from the younger officer.

"Could be another drill."

"I don't know, Major... We've had a drill this week, do you really think they would-"


The conversation was interrupted by the arrival of a man in a combat exoskeleton, who gave the pair a quick salute before passing an envelope to them. "Orders, sirs." stated the young Sergeant, and the Colonel wasted no time as he opened the envelope and snatched the paper from within. He muttered to himself for a few moments as he read before he passed the paper to his XO, who nodded briefly. She knew what she had to do.

"Battalion. Atten...HUT!" she ordered, and the entire cavern shifted with noise as thousands of metal boots crushed themselves sharply against the equally as metal floor. With the men at attention, it was time for the Colonel to take over.


"Our fleet in the Tefeull sector has failed to secure the necessary fuel deposits from our alien enemy, and has been forced to withdraw back to our borders, due to the untimely intervention of two human nations. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Commonwealth of New Terra and the Red Sun Imperium are attempting to seize power for themselves with no regard for their fellow humans. As such, the President has ordered the immediate mobilization of all reserve forces in our military. Our orders are simple: to ensure the protection of Coalition assets domestically and overseas. We, as a Battalion, had the misfortune to be ordered to deploy... on Talarin."

Several sighs and grunts were heard from the crowd, but they were quickly silenced once the Marines saw the look the Major was giving them, thus allowing the Colonel to continue. "We are going over there, and we are going to begin the largest ground operation undertaken by the Coalition. We have been given several primary and secondary objectives, in which we will be supported by several National Guard divisions, an Army Group and two other Marine divisions. The Saratoga carrier strike group will be providing aerospace control and close support duties. But you know what? We don't need all that! We are going to go down there, kick some mutant ass and return to our homes with truck-loads of Alarei loot! Because what is our motto?"

"READY TO FIGHT!" screamed the Marines in unison, to which the Colonel saluted.

"Now get on those shuttles!"






Europa V
USAF Strategic Missile Command Reserve Bunker 7
Location: CLASSIFIED
Deep Underground






"Blue five two seven."

The Lieutenant Colonel holding the code book flipped through the pages again, much to the annoyance of the several power-armored airmen, but he still managed to find the challenge response soon enough: "Alpha hotel zulu." he stated, prompting the airman to enter the response to the hardened computer terminal next to the gigantic blastdoors. Behind them, a tall figure in a blue Air Force dress uniform waited in the relative darkness of the bunker entrance, allowing the smoke from the Marlboro cigarette he was smoking to flow from within his lips. They had been at it for what seemed like hours, typing pre-determined responses taken from the gigantic book into the computer, trying to get through all the layers of security.

The Strategic Missile Command Reserve Bunkers were no joke: having been carved into the rock beneath the ice and with the size of small cities, the enormous structures housed almost 95% of the Coalition's total nuclear armaments. With fifty meter thick reinforced concrete walls and automated defenses, even the location of the twenty bunkers was unknown to all but a handful of officers within the Air Force. Not even the President knew how to find them: the locations were kept in the Pentagon servers under lock and key, in a fashion similar to how Hydra Station's position was kept classified.

"Violet one one six." exclaimed the airman, having read the challenge from the computer, and the Lieutenant Colonel was quick to find the code in another page: he remembered having seen it when looking for 'Ultraviolet 278', and instead finding 'Violet 278' only to be corrected by the General himself. "Lima X-ray Tango." he replied, earning a nod from the airman.

"Insert authorization key... Sir?"

That was the General's cue. He approached the terminal, taking his peaked cap off in order to allow him to remove the thick cylindrical device that was hanging from his neck. The cylinder fit tightly into one of the slots on the side of the machine, and the General pressed his finger on it for the biometric scan before turning it exactly seventy-five degrees clockwise, then fifty degrees counter-clockwise, followed by a full one-eighty degree rotation clockwise. At last, the computer presented a final challenge: RED 0-0-0

"X-ray zero seven." replied the General, prompting the Colonel to enter the code into the keyboard.


UNITED SYSTEMS AIR FORCE
STRATEGIC MISSILE COMMAND
STRATEGIC ASSET RESERVE STORAGE BUNKER 07
...
STAND BY
...
...
...

ACCESS GRANTED
WELCOME, GENERAL P. KEYES

"This is it." exclaimed the General, crushing his cigarette under his steel boot as a loud klaxon begun to echo inside the room, followed by a lightshow of red alarm lights as the locking mechanisms behind the gargantuan blast door begun to unsafe themselves. The whirring and clanking of machinery became obvious, much to the satisfaction of the officers present, and the gateway slowly elevated itself to reveal the darkness behind it; that darkness did not last for long, however. Powerful floodlights activated within the bunker, illuminating the hundreds, if not thousands of warheads and missile casings within. "Get the trucks. It's time."
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PostSubject: Re: [004 - 0C] Europa System   Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:07 am

Europa V
City of New Warsaw, NW


Finally, after days of open riots that the police forces could not deal with, the first military APCs and jeeps begun to stroll through the tunnel connecting New Warsaw to the underground cavern network that linked the Coalition's cities, bunkers and facilities. Led by an M77A1 'Mammoth' main battle tank, the column of trucks, Humvees, Badgers, Superbadgers and Limas were allowed in by the SWAT and Riot Control teams securing the blast doors to the city, only for their commanders to witness scenes of chaos: a mob had assembled near the gate demanding to leave the city, with the civilians fearing for their safety at the hands of both the protesters and the liberated Nasari slaves, while a secondary line of police had been assembled to suppress the protesters demanding that all Nasari workers be freed and that the involved corporations be dissolved.

<"A military curfew is now in effect. Return to your homes immediately. Anyone found on the streets after eighteen hundred hours, or six pm, will be arrested and confined. Return to your homes immediately.">

The column begun to split at the first intersection of the underground city, while several of the APCs and trucks in the middle of the formation parked near the city exit. Hundreds of National Guardsmen, most in plain combat armor with load-bearing exoskeletons mounted over it, rushed out of the vehicles to reinforce the police roadblock. It was only a few minutes later that the distant sounds of gunfire filled the streets, coupled with calm, reserved radio transmissions from several tank and infantry units.

<"Mammoth 7 here, we have engaged Nasari terrorists at block six one, the Nasari fired an RPG at us with no effect.">

<"Command, Harrier Platoon Leader, the Nasari have us pinned down at the Ariana and Stoconga intersection with some kind of anti-materiel weapon, we have a man down! Requesting vehicle support!">

<"We need more reinforcements at the government quarter, several protesters had to be tased and we've had molotovs thrown at us, over.">

<"Dispatch to all available riot police units, reinforcements required at the West Gate, please respond immediately.">


From one of the tallest buildings in the underground cavern, one built directly into the rock, the Governor of the State of New Warsaw watched with sadness as the city before him gave in to the chaos. New Warsaw had originally started as a hub of industry, one that had become one of the largest industrial machine producers in the galaxy before the unrest begun. The economic peril of many of the city's largest corporations and the brutal, even for Coalition standards, exploitation of Nasari slave labor had lead to political instability and civil unrest, culminating in a Nasari uprising a few weeks prior. Several hundred slaves had escaped from the nearby Lockheed Martin fighter assembly factory, using the tunnel network to hide.

And now they were back.

"Mister Governor?" echoed a voice behind him, a gentle female voice with some kind of unsettling, synthetic buzz hiding in the lower tones: it had been years since the Coalition's Artificial Intelligence program had crossed into the uncanny valley, creating machines that could sound like humans, and even though efforts had been taken to make them indistinguishable from human to the naked ear, many people still felt creeped out by the machines. "Mister Governor. General Stephanidis of the 3rd National Guard Division is here." restated the machine through the speakers, and at that, the Governor dropped his cigarette in the tray and nodded.

"Let her in."

The hydraulic doors at the back of the Governor's office slid open with a loud whir, and the sound of steel boots crushing against the floor echoed inside the chamber; the Governor continued to observe the streets below as tank columns engaged the Nasari and riot police struggled to contain the protests. Once in a while, a grenade or Molotov cocktail would go off, creating rivers of fire and shrapnel on the asphalt streets.

The man barely noticed the aging officer that had stepped next to him, her gloved hands kept behind her back. General Stephanidis was, perhaps, one of the most notorious flag officers in the Coalition military for one simple reason: she was former USSOCCOM. The General was the only officer to ever transfer out of the Special Operations Command after almost two decades of leading infantry formations, and for that reason had been placed at the helm of the 3rd National Guard Division: the very division that was formed to combat critical domestic threats to Coalition security.

She was not particularly short nor tall, standing at a comfortable five foot seven inches, but her athletic frame only confirmed the fact that she was a long serving officer who refused to let go of her hard-gained physical strength. Dressed in URBCAM combat fatigues with a matching patrol cap and a black combat vest, the General looked more like a wannabe warlord than a Coalition officer, and a very intimidating one at that. "Governor." she merely stated, her watchful eye locking on to a Nasari position being overrun by a tank unit.

"General." responded the Governor, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "It is sad, isn't it? All of this destruction, the chaos, the deaths... The fact that we had to call in the National Guard should hint at how bad the situation is."

"We'll rebuild. We always have." A little known fact about the General was that she had been born and raised in New Warsaw, which was why she had insisted on her unit taking the mission: the slums had never felt like home, but they were what had driven her to join the military. "I have given my men orders to secure all industrial facilities first, Lockheed wants its factories back in action, and so does the DoD. SPECCOM is sending over combat drones and mechs to reinforce the police."

"I am surprised that Congress was so quick to repeal the UCV Act." The UCV Act, of course, referred to an almost ancient law that prohibited the Federal Government from deploying unmanned combat vehicles and drones in the Coalition's cities, perhaps as a means to keep a human face in the police forces.

"Who says they did? It was an executive order."
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