• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

crisrko

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7j4IO1M.png

After many attempts and promises, it is finally here. A tale that originally began in 2018, in the original "A Never Ending Struggle - A Human Stellaris AAR". Really, I'm only six months late on my previous estimate. For all I know, most people don't even remember that old thing!

Still, I'm happy to be back here, and I hope that you enjoy it and ride by my side. Unlike my previous attempts of shaping the story based on gameplay elements, this time it will be different. I have a story in my mind, and as it unfolds it will be augmented by events taking place in-game.


Table of Contents
(11/01/2020)
 
Last edited:
Prologue I

crisrko

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On the planet of New Virginia, the Naval Officer Class of 2408 was enjoying the fruit of their labor after months of training at the Rarillic Naval Academy. In honor of their accomplishments and graduation, the Naval Bureau had hosted a great party at one of the Lion Industries hotels.

Following the graduation festivities, the Officer’s Ball was now in full swing. Hundreds of aspiring Captains and Admirals of different social backgrounds were mingling. In attendance were also some of the Confederation’s Admirals, such as Fleet Admirals Barau Aderawa, Lana Oldham, Ranier Fulton as well as other prominent figures within the Naval and Intelligence Bureaus. As is tradition, they were scouting the most talented youth to join their command, and, really, a sorely needed reprise from the on-going conflict in the South Eastern Quadrant.

“You’ve only just graduated and you’re already stealing glances at the Confederation’s Admirals, Lyonel?”

A dark haired man slowly approached Lyonel, holding two glasses of champagne, smiling from ear to ear.

“Sakamoto. I would’ve expected to see you on the dance floor, courting Josephine.” Lyonel replied in jest at the sight of his friend, before extending his hand to take one of the glasses.

“Surely I still have time. There are several hours left until the celebrations end.” Sakamoto chuckled, allowing Lyonel to take the glass, before toasting with him. “So, what is next for the unambitious Lyonel Stanfield?”

“Unambitious? But Sakamoto, I intend to live the rest of my life in the service of the Confederation, in command of a Corvette, or perhaps a Destroyer. I’d dare say I am quite the ambitious man.”

Sakamoto shook his head lightly. “I can’t believe you’d say that with a straight face, Lyonel. You’ve had perhaps the greatest results in battle simulations. Every man and woman scouting today is surely aware of that.”

“And yet they cannot force me to take a role I do not want.”
Lyonel spewed out.

You can dismiss my words, Lyonel, but if the Confederation wishes, they can very well force you to. Do not forget, we are still at war with the Corsairs—“

“And what are these Corsairs? A criminal syndicate, a bunch of space pirates. Let’s be honest, Sakamoto. The Confederation had the resources to stomp them out years ago. They merely do not have the wish to.”


Lyonel and Sakamoto locked gazes, staring at each other with intensity. In the end, Lyonel shook his shoulders and sighed.

“My, such youthful vigor.”

The two froze at the sound of the woman’s voice, turning their heads to the sight of Rear-Admiral Okina, one of the instructors of the academy.

“I see you two are enjoying yourselves questioning the integrity of the state.”

Okina frowned, staring at the two.

“Pardon me, Rear-Admiral. I may have let my temper best me.” Lyonel apologized begrudgingly, “Thankfully, my friend Sakamoto was here to set me straight” motioning towards the other youth.

Sakamoto forced a smile.

“You’ve always been a smooth talker, Lyonel. It may have worked on some of the other academy instructors, but you ought to know better than to try this on me.” Okina chastised him promptly.

Lyonel shrugged his shoulders as if he’d given up. “Certainly.”

“Now that the two of you have calmed down, there are some people I wish to introduce you to.”
Okina turned to the side, motioning the two to follow her.

The two followed in tow, whispering to each other.

“Do you know what this is about?” Sakamoto asked.

“Me? If it weren’t for you Sakamoto, I wouldn’t have even attended the after party.”

Okina turned her head once again, glaring at the duo so coldly shiver ran down their spines.

As they made over to Okina’s group, the mood around the Ballroom slowly began to shift. As time passed, the dancing room became available to the attendees. Couples, as well as acquaintances looking to mingle slowly began occupying the area, giving into the occasion.

Above the dance floor, an immense chandelier made from turquoise crystals native to the Alpha Centaury System’s planet of Horizon. A luxury discovered by the early colonists in the 23rd century, a resource that could be obtained only from the coasts of the main continent and processed by the finest artisans of the Confederation. These ‘Metena’ crystals were a trademark of the Lion Industries.

The floor itself, marble native to the planet of Artica, in the far System of ‘Anis’, at the edges of Confederation space. It’s golden tint made it an exquisite item present in the residences of the richest families of Mars’s Nova City and Asgard’s City of Drakkar.

Together, all of the items created an amazing sight, something out of a fantasy.

Passing by the far edge of the dancing floor, Rear-Admiral Okina and Lyonel and Sakamoto reached a small group of individuals. At the center of the group, a tall dark man wearing the Navy’s Fleet Admiral uniform.

“Rear-Admiral Okina! It is great to see you.”

The man stepped out of the group, spreading out his arms to greet her.

Okina smiled courteously, nodding to him and the rest of the group behind him. “Admiral Aderawa, I’m glad to see you here.”

“I would never miss such an occasion. Seeing the products of your academy first hand is tradition.”


Barau laughed whole-heartedly before peeking over her shoulder. “And those two must be the students you’ve told me about?”

“She told him about us?” Sakamoto whispered before receiving a discrete elbow from Lyonel. “Urgh.”

Lyonel then proceeded to salute the Admiral. The other youth quickly followed suit.

“At ease, you two. This is a party.” Barau waved his hands quickly. “Hmm.”

“What’s wrong, Barau? Are you already scrutinizing them?” Okina interjected playfully.

Barau shot a sideways glance to Okina before laughing himself. “Well. Perhaps.”

Turning his attention back to the duo, Barau stepped forward, shaking their hands. First it was Sakamoto, and then Lyonel.

As he shook Lyonel’s hand, Barau stopped, maintaining his grip while speaking. “Okina has told me many great things about you, Officer Stanfield.”

“Surely, Rear-Admiral Okina has exaggerated. I—”

Before Lyonel could finish his sentence, Barau leaned in closer to him, whispering:

“Tis a difference between modesty and your actions, Officer. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’d be spiting me.”

Leaning out, Barau patted the youngster on his shoulder and let go. Lyonel stood motionless, clueless to what just happened.

Okina cleared her throat loudly. “Well. I’m glad to have introduced you. I must attend to my responsibilities. I leave you all to enjoy the party.”

Barau and his posse smiled courteously, while the two youths nodded and saluted.

“Do not forget, you two. You will be notified of your assignments tomorrow. Until then, Officer Stanfield, please keep your friend out of trouble.”

She then offered another smile before departing.

Sighing audibly, Lyonel shot Sakamoto a glance and made his way to the refreshments table.


Meanwhile, on the outdoor terrace, Lockhart Weiss, graduate of the same Naval Officer Class, as well as heir to the Weiss family was entertaining the presence of one of the Confederation’s largest party’s members, Sonny Suharto, president of the Citizen’s Elite Coalition. In order to explain the situation, some context is needed.

During the mass exodus of Terra, the wealthiest families had established and firmly entrenched themselves in Martian society during the great colonization. Given the contribution of these so called elite, Mars was able to rapidly develop and increase habitability with the creation of the immense city domes, ultimately leading to it’s emergence as the new home world of the human race.

As Terra withered and Mars prospered, national identity quickly faded and the human civilization quickly became stratified, leading to the re-emergence of ‘royal houses.’ While they’re not royal in the feudalistic sense of Earth, these families possess great power and wealth, and are thus very important in the day-to-day ruling of the Confederation. Many facilities, stations and even colonies have received heavy investment from these families, and the Confederation is made aware of this fact.

With the rise of this movement so was a party birthed. The Citizen’s Elite Coalition, led by Sonny Suharto is currently the strongest party in the Confederation’s Parliament, controlling 36% of the seats. While far from a majority, Suharto’s political maneuvering allowed the C.E.C to establish alliances with several other factions in the parliament, establishing themselves as the ‘de-facto’ ruling party. As it’s name implies, the C.E.C runs an elitist platform, underlining the importance of one’s birth, as well as accomplishments.

Lockhart Weiss, heir of the Weiss family. One of the richest and strongest families in the Confederation, as well as sponsor of the Confederation’s Scientific Community, and owner of an entire network of mining facilities in the Core Sectors. Partnered with Lion Industries, they enjoy a monopoly with the higher strata of the Confederation, for the simple fact most of the lower strata largely cannot afford their lavish products.

Blessed with the power of his family, Lockhart Weiss also enjoys an astounding intellect, graduating the Academy with the highest honors. Perhaps the only person that could best Lyonel Stanfield in a combat simulation, although their record currently stands at a draw.

Standing on the outdoor terrace, the nature and landscape of New Virginia was laid bare before your eyes. Historically a fringe outpost, it was repurposed to become a colony world and host to a Naval Academy after the expansion of the Confederation. It’s many peaks and valleys were very similar to the country of Switzerland, back on Earth.

“President Suharto, I did not know you’re attending today.”

Lockhart smiled, courteously offering him a glass of wine.

“Alone? My, Mr. Weiss, I did not think you the loner type.” Suharto jested, accepting the glass offered by the young man.

“I thought about clearing my head a little bit.” Weiss sighed. “What brings you here, President?”

“I came to offer my sincere congratulations, my boy.” Suharto placed his hand on his shoulder, grasping and shaking it lightly. “I’m sure your family is very proud of you.”

“Not quite. My mother’s rabid at the thought of me leading vessels into combat.”

Well, any mother would fear losing the life of her son, surely that is no reason to be upset at her. I’m sure that she is truly proud of you.” Sonny tried to reassure the young boy.

“Perhaps.”

Lockhart finished the remainder of his glass while staring at the balcony’s scenery.

“May I ask you a question?”

He glanced over his shoulder, looking at Sonny.

“Hopefully I’m able to answer.”

“Why are you really here?’


Sonny placed both of his hands on the railing, bringing himself next to the young heir.

“Politics, mainly. I thought about offering you my congratulations before going to speak with some of the attendees here.”

“Admirals?”

“No, not really. Most of them aren’t interested in politics. Hell, besides Admiral Oldham, I don’t think any of them has any real political identity.”


“Please, Sonny. I may only be the ‘young heir’ of the Weiss family, but I know you better than that. It’s in regard to the war with the Corsairs, is it not?”

The young man turned around, leaning his back against the railings. Crossing his arms, he fixed his gaze upon the exit to the terrace.

“Am I wrong?”

Sonny pushed himself off the railings and shrugged his shoulders.

“I wouldn’t tell even if you were. These are not things that we should be discussing out here in the open.”

“I’m going to be assigned to a fleet, Sonny. It’s about the last time we’ll be together in private for a while. We both know we can’t speak over Fleet Comms.”


“Please, boy.” Sonny shook his head dismissively and sighed. “We both know your family will not allow you to be deployed to an active fleet. Frankly, I wouldn’t allow you either.”

Sonny moved forward towards the exit to the terrace. “It’s a ‘pirate’ war, not a real war. Those of your status are rightfully protected during such conflicts. Some of your less fortunate classmates will probably not receive the same treatment.”

“It’s not right!”


Sonny stopped in his tracks at the young boy’s exclamation. Glancing over his shoulder, he scoffed.

“Do not forget, my boy. It is your status and your abilities that grant you power. With that power, you have the ability to make things ‘right’, as you wish.” Sonny sighed. “I understand your grief, boy, I really do.”

Sonny turned to face him, grinning.

“You merely seek to affirm yourself, your abilities. You feel suffocated by your parents. Do not fear. You will have the opportunity to establish yourself. Sooner or later, it will come. But it’s not going to be fighting a few frigates at the edge of the Confederation.”

Finally, Sonny exited the terrace, exclaiming. “Please, enjoy your party!”
 

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It's back! Finally. :)
 

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subbed!
 

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It's back! Finally. :)

Aw snap! It's back! This is gonna be fun!

My favourite AAR of all time returns :-D


I'm glad to see each and every single one of you again.

Excellent, Stanfield returns! :D Glad to see you back in the cockpit
But much younger this time it seems.

Indeed so. For this reboot, I have chosen to shake things up, and mix some of my attempts over the past two years at writing a coherent story line. It felt that the Stellaris universe has much more to offer narratively from a more established landscape, or even galaxy if you will. I personally could not wrap my head around making an entertaining read out of the first few decades, as the gameplay fills them with exploration events and economy micromanagement.

By doing this, I can go through a more 'developed' galaxy, which would allow me to touch upon many more things, even some small stories inspired from my many playthroughs from the game. Ultimately, I personally feel that doing this fits the theme and universe of the game more. This reboot will host characters used in some of my previous attempts, as well as the seemingly fan favourite :D Stanfield, although with slightly different elements and incorporated events from many different gameplays.

I will most likely be posting a new update tomorrow evening, so stay tuned.
 

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Also note that I have awarded you the Character Writer of the Week awAARd. :)
 
Prologue II

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As the rays of light slowly dimmed, dark clouds began to form over the crystal dome of ‘Central’. The sky began to thicken, wind, dust and debris violently clashing against the structure encompassing the metropolis. After many attempts, the emergency power grid turned on, activating the lighting systems dispersed through the narrow roads.

It was well past curfew, and honest folk had all but deserted the streets. Occasionally, a red light flickered while passing through the different districts of the city, seeking vagrants or potential lawbreakers. Posters were widely spread through the area, people of many different trades listing advertisements, offering their services in exchange for work.

As the turn of the century approached, the state of the economy could not have been more dire ever since the departure of Earth over three centuries ago. Dozens of worlds were bled dry by the Confederation’s everlasting wars in the South Eastern Quadrant, suffocated as trade was constantly disrupted.

Inside one of the apartments, the youth Marlon Davis was attentively staring at the television.

“Join the Confederation today. The chance to defend the Confederation from the enemies of Humanity. Enlist today! Sign up at your local recruitment center.”

In the background, the sounds of an infant’s cries, muffled by the walls separating the studio-flats housing the majority of this city’s inhabitants.

Marlon remained silent, laying on the cold concrete floor he called ‘home’. He was alone inside, with none other along him. His father, a former Sergeant within the Confederation’s Navy died during the battle of Procyon, several years ago. His mother was a chemist working in one of the Gas Extraction facilities located near the Little Caspian sea, several dozen kilometers away from the city of Caspia. She died in an accident when one of the extraction machines malfunctioned, causing a massive explosion that ignited the entire gas well.

“It’s as good as it’s going to get, isn’t it?”

Sighing to himself, Marlon stood up and went to bed for the night.


With the break of dawn, Marlon departed for the nearest recruitment centers in the city. Despite it being pretty early in the morning, the local commute was already filled to the brim. Modern trams were large enough to carry a few hundred people, but on a planet such as Gobi it was a very expensive asset. In the Central Dome, only three such trams were operational, and they had to cover the surface equivalent of Manhattan.

Gobi was never a great choice for a colony, but it’s extensive mineral and gaseous resources made it an interesting prospect for the Confederation. Initially, the planet was extensively mined, with many facilities being built all over the surface. As the mining operation expanded, domed cities were built to host the miners and their families. Ultimately, as exotic gasses were discovered in the north eastern side of the planet, scientists were dispatched to study their capabilities, and later harvest them.

Arriving to the recruitment center, the building was in stark contrast to the rest of the city. While it seemed as if the dirt was ingrained in the very structure of the city, the recruitment office was a marvelous, imposing building, befitting the stature of the Confederation’s Navy.

With the local economy becoming stifled, the number of volunteers from Gobi steadily increased. Unemployed, as well as orphans flocked to the Navy in order to carve themselves a better future. Among the other applicants, Marlon was simply another number.

“Number #86812, please report to the front desk. Number #86812.”

As the panel flashed, the speaker shouted out Marlon’s number.

Quickly, the youngster appeared before the clerk at the desk.

“That would be me.” As he slid his card over the counter.

“Please provide your identification card, education record.”

“Ah, yes. Here.”


The clerk extended her hand out, taking the documents from him. Skimming quickly through them, her face turned sour, sighing.

“No education beyond highschool. Meagre GPA, no immediate relatives.” Placing the documents down, she continued. “And what do you wish to enlist into?”

“Something on the Fleet.”


The clerk frowned. “I’m sorry?”

“Look. I don’t want to be attached to a garrison on some freezing or blistering planet. I want something on the Fleet.”
Marlon pleaded earnestly.

“If you wish to be stationed on the fleet, then you ought to return with valid qualifications. Engineer, telecom, something.” She sighed. “Alas, you could join the infantry.”

“Infantry?”

“Yes. Infantry. They’re often attached to fleets to offer security, as well as provide quick response should something happen. I assume that'd fit your bill.”

“I don—”

“Mr. Davis, you’re holding the line.”


As the clerk motioned behind him, Marlon could notice the seemingly endless queue.

“So, infantry?”

Marlon sighed, resting his forehead against the counter.

“Yes.”

“Very well.”
She smiled. “You will be contacted within the next 24 hours.”

Marlon furrowed his eyebrows before forcing himself to smile.

Exiting the building, he could feel the planet’s scorching heat dance across his face. It’s been hours since he arrived at the recruitment facility and the time was approaching noon. Having been coerced into applying for the infantry, there was no doubt that he would be accepted for the training phase. After all, infantry were largely expendable, manpower from the colonies abundant, in comparison to the naval officers produced in Rarillic, Anis and Siplim.

For the size of the Confederation, spanning hundreds of Systems, there were only three qualified facilities to produce Naval Officers, each in the numbers of 400-600 yearly graduates. ‘Space Marines’, as Marlon called them, were actually a special operations division within the Infantry. For what it’s worth, the clerk did not lie. Infantry personnel are very often stationed on Confederation fleets to ensure rapid response.

Infantry were not only trained for planet-side combat but were also capable at infiltrating and boarding enemy combat vessels. Hypothetically, if a carrier would be able to get it’s transports close enough to the enemy ships, the Infantry could board it, causing enough confusion.

Otherwise, the infantry had the highest mortality rate among all branches of the Confederation’s Space Command due to the constant development in the weaponry field, as opposed to the stagnant armor research. A hit from a Confederation Plasma Rifle was capable of ripping through body armour as if it was paper.

Recently, a new shielding technology based on the Navy’s combat vessel hyper-shields began testing, hoping to significantly reduce casualties among combat personnel. In effect, these shields would allow assets to sustain several shots from plasma and projectile based weaponry.

The following day, Marlon Davis was notified of his successful application and ordered to report to the closest spaceport for transport to the Military Academy on Knoxville. Boarding his shuttle, Marlon took one long last stare at the endless deserts of Gobi. It’s been fifteen years since he’s moved on this planet with his family, and four since he lost both of his parents.

While relieved to have escaped this sandy hell, Marlon could not help but feel deep regret at how the events had panned out. His family moved here with the promise of a better life. His father’s success in the Navy, as well as his mother’s place in the Scientific Community all pointed out to great fortunes, the prospect of a respectable and decent life as servants of the Confederation.

"It just wasn’t meant to be, was it?"
 

Macavity116

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Whatever Marlon's heading toward can't be as bad as what he's leaving behind, right? I empathize with him though. When I enlisted, my experience with the recruiter was kinda similar to Marlon's.


Plus I absolutely love that picture! :D Is that the Sand Dunes in Stovepipe Wells? (Death Valley National Park)
 

Specialist290

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I have a feeling that young Marlon is on his way to his brush with destiny -- though what that destiny is, I couldn't say. Either way, it sounds like he's better off taking his chances in the Infantry than wasting his life away out in the Gobi sands.
 

crisrko

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Whatever Marlon's heading toward can't be as bad as what he's leaving behind, right? I empathize with him though. When I enlisted, my experience with the recruiter was kinda similar to Marlon's.


Plus I absolutely love that picture! :D Is that the Sand Dunes in Stovepipe Wells? (Death Valley National Park)
It's actually the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Fitting for the planet, isn't it? :D
I have a feeling that young Marlon is on his way to his brush with destiny -- though what that destiny is, I couldn't say. Either way, it sounds like he's better off taking his chances in the Infantry than wasting his life away out in the Gobi sands.
Slowly the cogs will move into position.
 

Nikolai

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I sure hope this cog is more lucky than his parents.
 
Prologue III

crisrko

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9RmbD3f.png

Nova City. Since the colonization of Mars and proclamation of the Human Confederation, Nova City has been the de facto capital of the state. What initially was the first landing site on the planet is now the largest domed city on the planet, spanning over six hundred squared miles.

Home to the greatest families and corporations in the Confederation, Nova City had become a symbol of the immense wealth disparity between the state’s strata. A city of dazzling lights and sheer opulence. A city comprised of endless chains of products and hotels, penthouses and mansions. The image for which Sonny Suharto’s Citizen Elite Coalition strives for, and the object of desire for many ambitious humans from all over the colonies. Mars’s forbidden fruit.

Within the very core of the city, the immense ‘Human Parliament’ towered over all nearby structures. Built over a hundred years ago, with a surface of 66.000 squared meters, it currently housed representatives from each planet under the control of the Confederation, human and alien alike.

Despite the current leadership running on a ‘humanity first’ platform, any other species found within the Human Confederation’s space was given the right to elect its own representatives, be it human or any other species. Of course, while granted this ability, human interests primed over any other, and should a conflict of interests stem from these issues there would be no doubt that human interests would be prioritized.

Atop the Secretary-General’s balcony, on the highest level of the Parliament, the current leader of the Confederation, Alphonse Macedo, was overlooking the city and people who he’s sworn over six years ago to protect.

Approaching his seventies, Alphonse Macedo has been a dutiful servant of the Confederation, having edged out current opponent Sonny Suharto during the Secretary-General Elections of 2402 by two percent. A native of Alpha Centauri’s Horizon, Alphonse Macedo had begun his political career as the parliamentary representative of his mother planet, before sponsoring several projects concerning the funding and development of the Confederation’s outer colonies, as well as the Alien Equality act in 2397.

Following all these events, Alphonse Macedo successfully defeated Sonny Suharto in the 2402 election, being elected as the new Secretary-General.

...

It was currently evening on Mars. Sitting from the height of the Parliament, Alphonse could see the bright lights shining through-out Nova City, from the casinos to the hotel suites owned by the richer members of the Confederation. By this time, the Parliament was largely closed, most of the representatives having departed for the day. Besides the Secretary-General who traditionally lived in his room inside the building, there were only security members as well as maintenance staff still roaming about.

Lost in his thoughts, Alphonse stood still on the balcony until footsteps could be heard in the distance, slowly approaching his room.

‘I’m not expecting anyone’ he thought to himself. Although it could have simply been a security agent patrolling, or maybe one of the maids.

The footsteps increased in intensity, growing ever closer to his suite. Alphonse begrudgingly pushed himself off the balcony rail, entering his room.

“Is anyone there?” he asked.

The footsteps stopped, his door slowly creaking open.

A cold chill ran down Alphonse’s spine, as he cautiously made his way to his desk, withdrawing a small pistol from one of the drawers.

“Hello?” he asked, as he approached the half-open door. “Is anyone there?”

With the press of a button, he turned off the weapon’s safety, engaging the energy system. Much like the majority of the Confederation’s armament, small firearms were also energy based, and were capable of firing small energy beams. Irrespective of the blast’s width, the high temperature was enough to open a hole through any human target.

Approaching the door, Alphonse could see a shadow through the creak:

‘Someone’s there.’ He thought to himself. It wasn’t looking like he was willing to answer any of his calls either, so he most likely wasn’t part of the buildings staff.

‘An assassin?’ No. Unlikely they would attempt something so outrageous as an assassination within the Human Parliament itself.

As Alphonse steeled himself to reach and fully open the door, he saw the shadow slowly move away from the door. Rushing out, aiming down the sights of his pistol, Alphonse burst into the hall into the direction the shadow pulled into.

“What the hell?” He said out loud.

There was no one to be seen. Impossible, whoever it was would have no time to disappear that quickly. It made no sense.

Alphonse went followed the corridor, but to no avail. There was no one in sight. Shook, he began frantically searching around for the would-be assailant, but his attempt was futile. Whoever it was, or whatever it was, seemed to have disappeared.

Rushing downstairs, Alphonse burst open into the security room, visibly shocking the officers looking down the camera feeds.

“Sir? Are you okay? Has something happened?”

One of them quickly inquired.

“You—There was someone. Someone tried to open my door. I called out, but no response. As I went into the hall, he disappeared.”

“I’ll send men to inspect the area immediately.” Firmly replied the young security officer. “Sir, we had noticed a brief downtime on the camera feeds on your level, but we thought it’s merely a system glitch.”

“Jesus Christ. And you hadn’t thought about sending anyone?!” Alphonse cried out, banging on the table besides him.

Frantically, the young man tried to explain.

“We have. We were waiting on a response from our team when you burst into the room. Sir, all entries are sealed shut, there is no way anyone could have entered the Parliament.”

“And yet someone was there.” Alphonse sighed, setting himself down on the chair, his face resting inside his palms. His firearm was visible in his waistline.

“Please remain here sir until our team clears out the building.”

In spite of the events, he tried to reassure the Secretary-General. The young man knew that should something happen to him, not only will his career suffer, but he’d probably find himself on trial for jeopardizing the security of the leader of the Confederation. Hell, some of the more staunch nationalists might even seek retribution on him, should he allow the symbol of the Human Confederation be hurt.

Time slowly passed without any word from the team sent out.

‘It’s taking too long.’ The young man thought to himself. ‘Something’s wrong.’

Alphonse was across from him, sitting on a chair, beads of sweat visibly forming at the base of his forehead. He was visibly annoyed at the events and the officer knew it. If something bad were to happen due to his and the rest of his team’s incompetence, they might soon find themselves without a job.

Before any of the two could say something else, the radio started buzzing with an incoming transmission.

“Beta Detail reporting to Central, we’ve found Alpha.”

Scrambling forward, the officer grasped onto the radio laying on the table.

“Central here. What’s your report?”

“Sir—It’s. I don’t know to say this. Alpha Detail is dead. I repeat, Alpha Detail is dead.”

Immediately, he triggered the panic alarm, alerting the local Police Enforcement department, as well as the planetary defense garrison at Sutton.

A loud alarm began ringing through all of the Parliament’s halls, automatically locking all rooms and corridors. Window blinders activated, deterring any attempt at escaping through them. Essentially, the entire building was locked down. No one could get in, and no one could get out. Atleast until ‘reinforcements’ arrived.

“Central to Beta Detail. Building has been locked down. Can you describe what you see?”

“Wh—Do you mean the bodies, sir? It’s ghastly, really.”
Distress and disgust both recognizable in his voice. “No plasma wounds. They’ve been carved up.”

“What do you mean by carved up, Beta?”

“Several blade wounds. Two of them have their throats slit, the third one has several stab wounds. Wounds seems cauterized.”


“An energy blade?”

“Most likely, sir.”

Soon after, the planetary defense garrison arrived, immediately sweeping through the building.

...

Domestic Intelligence Department Headquarters, Sol Station

“I keep telling you, the surveillance systems did not report any movement, record nothing!”

As fate would have it, the security officer now finds himself on the Sol Station, in one of the Domestic Intelligence Department’s Interrogation Rooms.

In spite of his pleas, the two interrogators were not budging. Motionless, emotionless, they continued to ask the same question since the start of the questioning. Why has the officer failed to secure the Secretary-General’s safety?

“Look.” The man cried out. He was sweating profusely, his hands visibly wet, his cheeks and forehead turning red. “I’ve lost three fellow agents. We didn’t see anything we didn’t hear anything. I sent that detail out to find out what’s going on, and the next thing I know they’re all killed by an energy blade.”

Indeed. Further inspection of the systems recordings showed no conclusive evidence of the intrusion. During the latter part of the evening, as indicated by Secretary-General Macedo, the surveillance system seemed to malfunction, leading the Detail to investigate, and, subsequently, be killed.

He wasn’t getting through to any of the interrogators. Resigning himself, he leaned against the chair, silent.

‘This is it’ he thought to himself.

Yes, the Domestic Intelligence Department had no intention of letting him go. To them, he was the only, necessary, culprit.

In the year of 2408, one year before the Secretary-General elections, an attempt was carried out on the life of Alphonse Macedo, 27th Secretary-General of the Human Confederation.
 

Specialist290

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Very strange. Either the assassin has found a way to spoof the Confederation's most advanced security sensors, or they aren't playing by the usual laws of physics -- though the use of an energy blade would seem to indicate the former. Either way, the implications are disturbing.

I get a feeling, though, that this incident was meant more to send a message than as a "proper" assassination attempt, since it seems like they could have taken Macedo's life at any time they wished with that much of an advantage -- unless, of course, something spooked them in turn.
 

stnylan

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Very strange. Either the assassin has found a way to spoof the Confederation's most advanced security sensors, or they aren't playing by the usual laws of physics -- though the use of an energy blade would seem to indicate the former. Either way, the implications are disturbing.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" as someone once said.

Just read through. As for Marlon, well, someone has to be part of the PBI.
 

Nikolai

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Curious, most curious. Whoever this is, they are advanced.
 
Prologue IV

crisrko

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“I, Rear-Admiral Okina, am proud to call each and every single one of you my students. These have been three long years. You’ve known hardships, but you’ve also enjoyed great successes. You’ve studied and you’ve fought to affirm yourselves at this prestigious academy. I can, with all my heart, say that you have succeeded.”


It was the final day at the Rarillic Naval Academy for the Officer Class of 2408. With their graduation, the students would formally be appointed Officers of the Navy and assigned positions through-out the Confederation. In spite of the rampant favoritism and discrepancies within the Confederation, you could say that the treatment of Naval Officers, irrespective of their origins, was by far the ‘fairest’ of them all. A capable Officer, no matter his background, will undeniably succeed within the Navy.

Today, Rear-Admiral Okina’s speech was the last encouragement these youths would receive before departing to different corners of the Confederation.

“Historically, our Academy has produced the finest minds within the Human Confederation’s Naval Bureau. As I am sure some of you know, I myself am a product of this academy.”

Okina flashed a faint grin, supported by the audience’s laughter.

“Admirals Barau Aderawa, Lana Oldham, Frederik Bradford, if I were to name a few, are all products of this prestigious Academy. Never forget this pedigree, because out there—” as she pointed to the sky. “they sure won’t. You will compete day and night. You do not have the privilege to relax. Some will covet your position, others will seek to overtake you. It is in human nature to compete, and you must compete. So, my children, it is now up to you. Go, and spread your wings!”

With her final words, the audience erupted into applause. Today, at the start of a new journey, there was a tangible atmosphere, sheer vibrancy running amok the public. As the applause slowly died down, the assignment ceremony began. One by one, the graduates walked onto the podium to receive their assignments.

Naturally, some appointments were better than other. The assignment process was largely dependent on the skills showcased during the three years at the academy. Intelligence, combat simulations, fleet management, engineering. Several areas were assessed and tested to the utmost limit.

Of course, an important factor was also one’s upbringing; more specifically, the status and power of one’s family. Even in such an institution, some could receive better assignments than others at the sheer behest of one’s family.

And now, it is time for our two prodigies. I welcome to the stage, Officers Lockhart Weiss and Lyonel Stanfield.”

Okina smiled, as she placed the paper back onto the stand. Pushing both hands forward, she motioned the two youths onto the stage.

Lockhart Weiss and Lyonel Stanfield, two prodigies from vastly different backgrounds. Lockhart, heir to the strong Weiss family and Lyonel, the son of an elementary school teacher. Lockhart, who had it all and wished for it all and Lyonel, who had nothing and wished for little. Now, they were equals within the limelight.

As the audience applauded, the two made their way onto the stage. Some of the instructors and alumni called the two, the two ‘Diamonds’ of the Rarillac Academy.

Okina stepped towards them, shaking their hands briefly before the audience.

“I will now read your assignments.”

She smiled faintly at the duo, and, taking a deep breath, began to speak.

“Officer Lockhart Weiss, you are hereby assigned under the command of Admiral Lana Oldham and will be immediately joining the Landsknecht Fleet in the Core Sector.”

Lockhart respectfully bowed.

“For the Confederation!”

Okina then turned to Lyonel, slowly approaching him. Lyonel remained still, staring forward. He was stiff, and his body seemingly screamed: ‘I don’t want to be here.’ Okina could see that, but she could only frown.

“Officer Lyonel Stanfield...”
Okina uttered, staring down at him. “You are hereby assigned under the command of Admiral Barau Aderawa and will be immediately joining the Lancer Fleet in the South Eastern Quadrant.”

Lyonel bit his lower lip, as he respectfully bowed.

“With this, the ceremony draws to a close. I once again wish you the best of luck.”

Now, this chapter closes, and another one opens. Lyonel and Lockhart, these two vastly different individuals will go on to carry the reputation of Rear-Admiral Okina and the Rarillac Academy at the highest levels of the Confederation; Admirals Lana Oldham and Barau Aderawa.

As the attendees slowly began to leave, Sakamoto was patiently waiting by the edge of the podium for Lyonel to come down. Once he did, he quickly pounced onto his back to surprise his friend.

“I knew this day would come, you know?”

Sakamoto’s earlier enthusiasm seemed to have quickly died down. His voice gave out a hint of melancholy.

“I just didn’t think it’d come so soon.”

Lyonel displayed a faint smile, grabbing his old friend’s shoulder.

“I’ll miss you too, Sakamoto.”

“You’re lucky, you know, Lyonel? Unlike most of us, you’re going off on an adventure. Admiral Aderawa has been assigned to put down the Corsair threat. And here I’ll be pushing papers for some fat sergeant at the Procyon Starbase.”

The two burst into laughter.

‘This is nice.’ Lyonel thought.

“Don’t worry, Sakamoto. I’ll come visit you some time. No need to be all doom and gloom.”

“Really?”
Sakamoto furrowed his eyebrows. “You promise me?”

Lyonel heartedly laughed. “Yeah, sure.”

Nodding, the two grabbed each other’s hand, shaking it firmly. It’s been three long years together.

Moving forward, Sakamoto placed his arm over Lyonel’s shoulder as they headed towards the shuttles.

“You know, I’m going to miss the old hag.”

“God damn it, Sakamoto. We’re not in the clear yet.”

“Ah!”
Sakamoto waved his hand dismissively. “What’s she going to do now? We’ve graduated, remember!” He grinned ear to ear.

“You’re aware she’s still a Rear-Admiral, right?”

With those words, he immediately stopped. “She’s what?!”

Lyonel grimaced, sighing and placing his palm over his face. “You’re hopeless, you know that?”

“Haha!”


Rear-Admiral Okina, standing atop her balcony, looked down at the scene and sighed. Behind her, the alumni were celebrating the successful end to this generation. Turning around, Okina leaned her back against the rail and looked up at the sky, lost in her thoughts.

‘How will they fare, I wonder?’

...

Lancer Fleet, Navi System

Preparations were fully underway for the continuation of the SE Quadrant conflict between the Confederation and the pirates active in the region. Assembling a larger number of ships than before, the Confederation tasked Admiral Barau Aderawa to end the menace plaguing their trade routes once and for all.

At the core of the fleet, Admiral Aderawa’s flagship, the Battleship Archangel had been recently fitted with the Confederation’s new MKIV Plasma Cannons, replacing the now obsolete laser weapon systems.

As this task was faithfully entrusted to him, Admiral Aderawa personally oversaw the preparations from start to finish, from resupplies to system maintenance. His scrutinous eyes did not miss anything out of the ordinary.

“Admiral!”

Admiral Aderawa glanced to his side, greeting the young boy carrying a datapad.

“Commodore Webster.”

Smiling earnestly, Webster raised his hand to salute the Admiral, before standing at attention.

“At ease, Commodore. You have something for me?”

Reaching forward, Aderawa extended his hand for the datapad.

“Indeed. It’s a list with the new Officer recruits, including their personnel files.”

“Hmm.”
Aderawa groaned. “Anything particular about this list, Commodore?”

As he scrolled down through the list, the Admiral came across a name that would stop him in his tracks.

“Ah, I see. It would seem that Officer Lyonel Stanfield has been assigned to my fleet, hasn’t he?”

Webster nodded silently, carefully retrieving the datapad from the Admiral.

“I’m very pleased with these news Commodore. I want Stanfield to be assigned on the main deck of my Battleship. Please spare some time to ensure he is aware of the task at hand and what his duties towards my Fleet are.”

Slowly pacing forward, Admiral Aderawa approached the end of the platform he was standing on, his gaze fixated at the distant stars visible through the facility’s windows.

“Sir, one more thing. Are you aware of the recent developments on Mars?”

Aderawa looked over his shoulder at the Commodore, nodding.

“If you’re referring to the attempt on the Secretary-General, I am aware.” Aderawa turned to face the empty void once again. “Since you’ve reminded me after all, please write a letter to him and express our regret over these events.”

“Very well. Would that be all, Admiral?
” Webster inquired, tapping the datapad’s screen a few times.

“Schedule me a meeting with Admiral Oldham.”

“At once.”


Webster slowly departed, disappearing into the crowd.
 
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