• 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

Nikolai

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Well done Berlin, victory to the worthy. :O
 

Vlad_Dracul1989

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War with the Horde

[Following images with narrative are not a historical records, only a high-level realistic simulation based on personal testimonies, logs and interrogations]

The hall leading to the ship's bridge was just slightly illuminated, due to Sirgogg ability to see extremely well in the dark, an inherited advantage from their oceanic ancestors, once hunting in the depths of their homeworld's seas. The warriors stood as metallic statues hidden in the shadows, seemingly looking through the nervous Korinth merchant.
"Move." said the Sirgogg guard in ancient armor.
The trade with these people on the other side of the galaxy was beyond risky: many Cartel's allies tried the same, and no one saw them ever again, once they entered Preussen Wormhole leading to their space - more savage and violent, than in their worst imaginations. But Sebakhira was no coward: in an effort to become one day an Oligarch of the Cartel, leading Families to profitable future, the bold moves are necessary. Once he secured Human permission for trade in Preussen system, now it was time to establish some kind of understanding, to allow possibility of intergalactic trade. Still, as soon as he will return back to his estate on Koros, the better will he shake the fear from these barbarians. As he walked towards creepily decorated gate, he couldn't help it, but wonder why half of the galaxy are more or less warlike fanatics, while other half prefers reasonable prices of goods.
Barely entering the bridge, he heard the first words of Skegg Foresail, who would be known to Humans as a 'Great Khan' of the 'Horde' - not very accurate, but closest translation possible.
"What do you know about race called 'Humans'?"
Sebakhira fell to the ground immediately, on his knees. Their species was not gifted in many facial or bodily expressions to notice emotional reactions, but greeting rituals such as this one seemed to be universal among the two-legged races. This also gave him a few seconds to think very, very cautiously what to answer. He prepared many of them, but not for this case.
"Your Excellency, I am just lowly merchantman, who hopes to serve you. I know nothing much of Humans."
Sirgogg's head tentacles squelched loudily, an equivalent of laughter.
"Don't worry, you will receive proper reward you seek." These words didn't make Sebakhira feel any better, with his face still on the floor.
"Your Excellency, the Humans are somewhat...reclusive. They rarely allow outsiders to visit their planets or orbital facilities. I was confined in tiny trading part of their space station beyond the wormhole for a days, before some of them even asked what do I want."
A deep blue color showed in Skegg Foresail's face. A dissapointment or frustration, which the Sebakhira could know see, as he dared to look at the Horde's leader. As a true Korinth merchant, with quickly thinking business mind, Sebakhira decided, that whatever will happen, will happen very soon to him, so he should give his 'host' exactly what he wants to hear.
"If Your Excellency is interested, though, I can offer data regarding Human forces in system beyond the wormhole."


The Sirgogg originated from particularly lawless corner of the galaxy, ruled for twenty millenia only by religious zealots, slavers or cutthroat companies.

First true threat to Human plans for the Galaxy came from the key Preussen system, which became the important trade hub. New shipyards were constructed here, with 2nd Fleet stationed here. The theoretical loss of hyperlanes connected with this system was unthinkable, since it would mean loss of half Human worlds at the time, hence the presence of Reichflotte's warships. The Kaiser Friedrich I. lived long enough to see first cruisers built here, to finally provide his Empire a firepower necessary for interstellar power projection and, most importantly, to finally counter the great threat of raiding nomadic races surrounding Human space. Provalguvors were seen as the foremost threat - the Sirgogg, with seat of power on the opposite side of the Galaxy, were noticed with no concern. They had many potential targets in their own Rim, militarily weak and owning many almost undefended system, especially despotic, but corrupted Tycans, so called 'Till'Lynesi Sacred Order' full of pacifists or small corporations (Kar-Du Consumer Products).



If they caused any debate in the Berlin's military circles, it was about possibility of other nomads closer to Human borders, to be inspired by the Sirgogg and start their own 'Horde'. In that case, the Empire would be very first target. This sped up the naval construction efforts, culminating in creation of 3rd Fleet - with plans laid for 4th Fleet, after which the Reichsflotte was determined to launch preemptive strike against raiders too close to their borders. Provalguvors - and Glost-Werhenis. From the first contact with the both, every military leader in the Empire knew, that one day, they must be dealt with, eventually.



So while the Reichsflotte grew, and many basic space stations on the borders were being rebuilt into heavily armed fortresses, beyond the Preussen system, though it's wormhole, other races faced a full onslaught of one such a raiding species. Exactly like in the case of Provalguvor and Glost-Werhenis, the Sirgogg were the remnants of once mighty interstellar empire, which was dissolved after generations of decay and destructive civil war, ending up as pirates and mercenaries, their culture falling into savagery, still killing each other more than killing others. Largely forgotten by the other species around, unfortunately to them.


The Horde bombing the civilian targets in Tycan space. If the planet didn't surrender immediately, bombardment continued. until all major settlements were wiped out.

They waged a total war against every star nation they encountered and couldn't stop them, which meant no one was able to stop them. Soon enough, the Humans received warning calls from refugees, coming in greater numbers from largely ignored wormhole, still waiting to be explored from their side. Most of them were accepted in limited numbers in some Human colonies or sent elsewhere - with their ships repaired and carrying Human-issued permissions to ask for refugee status elsewhere. Always accepted without any protest from their galactic neighbours.



Who knows how longer would the Sirgogg kept unleashing the terror upon others, if their leader didn't have the worst idea, how to show her greatness - to attack a militarist empire on the other side of the now captured wormhole. In their arrogance, Humans were considered a more worthy enemy than pathetic Till'Lynesi or Tycans.



By now, the Humans were warned of the coming attack by the last refugees, who managed to escape the Horde's patrol ships and enter the Human space damaged, but alive.


Refugees resourceful enough to escape the Horde and enter the wormhole leading to Human space were usually the ones with technical skills and knowledge. Or bitter soldiers.

The Skegg's Armada entered the Preussen system in full force, expecting the hard, but surely the victorious battle. The long range sensors detected the defending fleet outnumbered and outgunned, which meant that with acceptable losses, Human forces will be left in disarray, with enough time to conquer and hold the system. Reinforcements were already prepared for when the Galactic Empire will sent relief forces.



As is well known, no battle plan survives the first contact with enemy. For one thing, Admiral Engel stayed within range of Preussen main base, to use their support and to lure the Horde right to the middle of system, where radiation and gravity emanated from all three blue stars made targeting and manoeuvring trickier - the exact thing the 2nd Fleet trained endlessly, with their primary purpose to defend this system, with it's crews actually more elite than the ones of 1st Fleet, which relied more on numbers and firepower.



The consterned Sirgogg, not used for this kind of warfare, usually just demolishing everything in their way, now fought with unrelenting Humans, fighting to the last man. Translation software of Skegg's capital ship, for a perhaps hundred times, repeated fanatical shoutings from enemy pilots and commanders - 'Fur Kaiser, Gott und Vaterland!' was particularly popular - like in the case of one heavily damaged cruiser, which rammed into the Sirgogg warship with it's engines intact, still theoretically able to use emergency jump.



The Skegg's tactical abilities were truly shocked, when all of her other ships jumped away, back through wormhole, heavily damaged. Her adversary, Admiral Engel, basically kept sacrificing cruisers and destroyers to scatter the Sirgogg fleet, to conserve highly efficient squadrons of corvettes to allow direct attack of command ship - Skegg's ships.



It cost Engel two more cruisers and three destroyers sacrificed, until surviving swarm of corvettes overpowered Sirgogg galleon's weapon systems, hyperdrives and armor.



Furious Skegg, assembling a forces for a second attack, then sent supposed reinforcements to finish the Engel's fleet. Unfortunately to them, Admiral Schmid's 1st Fleet finally arrived from Brandenburg system, leaving only skeleton force defending the Berlin. A necessary risk, which was evaluated correctly. The 3rd Fleet were also on their way, prepared to defeat the enemy who dared to deceitfully invade sacred living space of Humans.



The Sirgogg reinforcements, led by in a coming hours very dead invidual known as Truss Carronade, considered a right hand of the Skegg Foresail.



Corvette squadrons attacked the Carronade's ships directly, focusing on them, which opened possibility for more destructive flanking strike of 1st Fleet's cruisers, catching Sirgogg forces in the vicious crossfire. They lost roughly 2/3 of their forces, with rest heavily damaged, escaping to wormhole again.



For their leader, it was loss of face, even if they used different expression in case of such particularly humiliating defeats. Caught by her own cultural concepts of honor and dignity, even if she wanted to back out and return to previous targets, the Humans posed a clear deadly challenge, which must be answered. If they were ignored, the Horde's leadership could be questioned by other clans. A sober, rational corner of Skegg's mind also accepted the sudden realization, that Humans won't stop now until the Horde will be destroyed. The way of how they waged their battles was a proof enough.



The Skegg Foresail's evaluation of war was not very far from the truth. After the all three fleets were concentrated in the Preussen system, the efforts to built more cruisers were now replaced with idea of first battleship class: mightier warships than Sirgogg (or Provalguvor) 'galleons', seriously outgunning single cruisers.


A view from docked SMS Schwarzwald. Ships of the 3rd Fleet in the background. Deep Human understanding of logistics decided outcome of battle more than laser batteries did.

When the Skegg returned with her newly assembled armada, she faced 18 cruisers, 36 destroyers and 66 corvettes in total, almost the entirety of the Reichsflotte.



Like in previous cases, the Sirgogg encountered similarly aggressive strategies for which they weren't used to - aside from the fact, that in this battle, they were the ones actually outnumbered. Amassed cruisers started to destroy Skegg's larger warships one by one, while corvette squadrons kept rest of them occupied, now also using new missile launchers with energy warheads.



And like before, the galleon containing the Sirgogg military overlord was the last target. Human losses were minimal, with no cruiser lost this time. They learned very quickly how to avoid raider tricks, which basically meant only highly disciplined, unrelenting movement in space, as Sirgogg excelled in battles between individual ships, but not when enemy didn't allow any distraction or division of the forces, holding the firing lines.



It was the first time the Humans used their new, genetically enhanced Marines in battle armors, boarding the ship in attempt to eliminate the Skegg Foresail - watching security footage with resignation, sealed in her meditation chamber above the ship's bridge. No longer giving an orders, because there was no one left outside, unable to return after second disgrace, to be dragged through the hateful crowd and then beaten to death. Or the worse, replaced in actual command and then kept as figurehead.



The Humans now emerged as a saviors of one part of galaxy and greater threat to another one. Ships of neighbouring Cartel and Hierarchy were ordered to return or they will be destroyed. New fleet was being assembled, 2nd Fleet returned to it's prewar strength almost immediately and all fleets were now amassed on the borders. Living space for the Human race had to be expanded further, not only for their own good, and for the good of this savage, treacherous Galaxy.



This war, along with contemporary outrage following the findings on Earth, marked the new imperial era - that of ostensibly unending row of subjugation and conquest.
 

stnylan

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The Reich is now well and truly tempered
 

Nikolai

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•singing•

Nothing’s gonna stop us now....
 

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Subbed!
 

Vlad_Dracul1989

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Vlad_Dracul1989

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The Homeworld

[Scenes from imperial holovid 'Revelation' presumably showing realistic depiction how SMS Karlsruhe found the Earth]

Captain Stemmermann viewed data rush in front of him, seeing analyzed pieces of derelict probe from 21st century, still existing Great Red Spot on Jupiter or beeping of distress signals from various outposts within the system which had some remaining power sources, apparently. Then he asked, although knowing the answer:
"This can't be right. Did we took stellar drift into account? Any anomalies?"
"Yes, sir. Everything seems exactly according to our star charts. This is Solar system."
[Narrative] Crew had to be confused from lack of any communication or any newer artificial objects. In 2050s, Humans had both manned and automated outposts all around their home system. Some remains of long ago destroyed constructions, recorded in Chrysanthemum's data archive, were picked by the ship's scanning equipment. Technician on the bridge just received another distress call, now from the Moonbase: no life signs, like in previous cases, but now they picked repetitive record, giving them a hint what will they find in next moments:

"Detonations all around the globe, we see everything. Star ships try to get through the planetary shield, but they can't for whatever reason. We checked supplies of water, food and energy. Almost everything can be recycled, but..."


Continuing nuclear winter did left most of the surface covered by still radioactive clouds, but occasionally, lifeless surface was visible enough

When the Holy Earth was found as a graveyard of Mankind, there wasn't a single crewman who would keep his concentration. Some had eyes full of tears from various mixture of shock, sadness or anger. The ship's captain, simply clenched his fist for a second, before he started to shout orders to gather enough people for surface expedition. The results were unsatisfying and limited at first, with captain and chief scientist, Dr. Wenzel:
"Are you telling me this is the result of world war after all? But the records from Moonbase...." asked the captain, reviewing the findings, then stopping in the middle of sentence, with Wenzel pointing out on holographic planetary model with many glowing points.
"The strikes clearly targeted all major cities with only exception being the Australia - there, only detonation happpened in the middle of nowhere, not the coastlines. Fusion and cobalt bombs, no energy weapons were used." Wenzel then nods to his assistent who
"We found, however, many references to some 'Travellers'. It's repeated in many pieces of data. Newspapers, leaflets, billboards..."
Suddenly, the captain Stemmermann realized that he sees very last newspapers. From 2201.
"This can't be right. So it all happened in 2201! The year we visited first systems beyond Brandenburg star!"
In the end, they did put all details into place. The story was just as tragic as it was sad.

[Followed by flashbacks with Stemmermann's narrative]



After Chrysanthemum and other ships left the Solar system through rift in time and space, considered by that time to be genuine wormhole, the Earth fell into absolute dissaray. The ark ships left in 2052 and from that year, the colonists had no idea what happened next. But the amount of growing violence was incredible. In one nuclear strike, the German imperial family itself was literally obliterated, 2nd September, 2058, which was followed by few other strikes, especially against old colonial centers Wilhelmstadt or Herbertshöhe. The imperial forces then took control of the remnants of civilian government and started brutal campaign to retake control using fusion bombs and orbital strikes against every target deemed to be in rebellion. International trade was dying and banking system collapsing with each growing crisis. Then it all ended, in one day, when long and wide shadows appeared above the population centers. Orbital weapons didn't respond anymore. In the battles, soldiers on both sides threw their weapons away, without realizing why. War drones fell down and communication lines were taken over by something beyond understanding of Human science, some kind of powerful psychic interface manipulating with all kinds of machinery.


High levels of radiation on the surface allowed only limited time of exposure even within the buildings or underground.

The alien species arrived in seemingly ancient ships. They called themselves 'Travellers' and without revealing themselves, they claimed to be protectors of Human race from self-destruction. Before the world's leadership and militaries could agree on anything, the changes they made were staggering: their advanced technology reshaped entire biosphere of the planet without any visible harm to it's inhabitants. Soil was made fertile again, harmful particles literally dissapeared in the atmosphere, same as in the oceans. Fields and fruit trees regrew literally overnight. After initial distrust, the Earth governments, especially the Reich's coalition of various allies and puppet states, agreed to stop hostilities and ordered general worldwide armistice, as it was definitely obvious, that mysterious aliens will insist on that anyway. Pleased by this compliance, Humans received advanced medical technology and source of cheap unlimited energy from the 'Travellers', followed by reassurance of best Human interests on their minds.



There were many in the German Empire and elsewhere, of course, who didn't believe in aliens bearing gifts and tried hard to find proof of their sinister goals. Not only they refused to reveal themselves, claiming that Humans are not prepared for that yet, they insisted, that knowledge about possible threats outside are of no consequence and there's nothing to worry about. Generation passed, and majority of population fell into blissful consumery complancency: with truly minimal oversight (with exceptions, like protection of remaining endangered animals, for instance), Humanity on Earth entered new age of prosperity and peace. Three generations passed, and the questions from naturally curious and stubborn Humans started to pile: why they doesn't deserve to see their saviors, very at least? The Earth's leaders then had unique opportunity to speak with their strange benefactors directly, aboard their space ship. Some were astonished, some of them horrified. According to their testimonies, they did not look pleasantly to Human eyes and general sense of esthetics.


Strangely enough, major military bases were left almost intact, compared to once heavily populated areas, turned into dust - or glass.

Most importainly, not long afterwards, some changes did occured at last: within people themselves. What looked like deliberately accelerated evolution of Human DNA, people were evolving with some abilities never seen before: precognition or inhumanly high intelligence were occuring all over the world, with one universal, and very slow fertility regression, happening over another three decades.



Then it did struck hard amidst another serious of questions and worldwide demonstrations, when Travellers finally revealed the Humanity their true forms and more importantly, what's going on. Calling it 'a wonderful transformation to a new realm of existence', basically a transcendence of entire species into new form of existence, they declared to be now more guides and less protectors, to prepare Human race for the inevitable.


Nuclear shelters and government vaults showed signs of heavy infighting, both inside and outside corridors.

Sufficient to say, reaction was far from tranquil demise: mass suicides started to occur and dead cults did spread like a forest fire. The aliens started to gather and relocate the 'Chosen Ones', as they called persons no longer mentally, and sometimes even physically, recognizable as Humans. It was at that moment exactly, when the last meeting of German imperial government in castle Ort was called, in the middle of Lake Traunsee. Due to personal charisma, resources or military honor, some officers and officials managed to keep control and adherence to law in various areas, although even this level of stability was dwindling every hour. Orders to meet came from the Kaiser Ferdinand III. himself, given verbally to many couriers, without use of any other way of communication due to uncertainty of alien surveillance. Many hoped that some plan of resistance against alien schemes will be revealed.



Nothing of the sort they expected. For the first time since the last World War, the Kaiser arrived in military uniform and first revealed discoveries made by research facilities: their findings horrified the attented people. No more Humans will be born and they will be truly the last generation of Humans. Not even sure about precise methods used by Travellers, few geneticists and biologists present claimed, that every possibility known to them was already investigated, going even beyond ethics: cloning, bone marrow transplants, gene therapy, nanotechnology, everything failed.



Then, Kaiser revealed that after suicides of his cousins - and his own wife - he's the last living member of House Hohenzollern. This all gave grim determination to the revealed Fall Endsieg, the plan how to defeat aliens.


Not all the details of Earth's tragic end were public knowledge, but the cause was clear: alien schemes forced upon clueless Human brethren

[Images of meeting replaced by Kaiser Ferdinand III. speaking in audio log found in Svalbard base ]

"...so it was the only decision possible. The God abandoned us [sounds of static] my people were dying. And I could do nothing to prevent it. I understand, that I couldn't [sounds of static] played us. Played us like a puppets and we allowed that. There was just one way to defeat them. So I did it. Whoever, if and when someone will be listening this, don't mourn us. Learn from our mistake. In the end, they were not so smart, when we took over the facility they built to imprison us. When I gave order to detonate the bombs, their mighty battleships could only watch turning their little pets into glass. Neutrons and gamma radiation should finish what explosions didn't. They will have nothing. May God have mercy on all the obliterated souls."


 
Last edited:

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very strong story... how far is old Earth from the center of the galactic Reich?
 

stnylan

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When in doubt blame the alien
 

Nikolai

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...but were the aliens sinister? Or merely bad at communicating their benevolence? :p
 

Vlad_Dracul1989

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very strong story... how far is old Earth from the center of the galactic Reich?
very far. It's almost in the second half of the galaxy, quite close to the core.

When in doubt blame the alien
...but were the aliens sinister? Or merely bad at communicating their benevolence? :p
of course some unimportant details couldn't be revealed to the public, like pre-sentient bugs or few aliens actually still maintaining research outpost. existence of both was ended, therefore it would be meaningless to mention them :)

benevolence meaning destroying entire sentient race in the process...that's surely hard to explain as a good thing to anyone.
 

guillec87

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Vlad_Dracul1989

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so innacurate...
i dont care for that much, outer rim or core...sometimes game spawns it even incredibly close :) if that was the case, story would be slightly different.