- May 3, 2014
I vote A. We must go to war. It's the only way to guarantee peace for many years.
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.
The battleship development program was to be the center of Kimberly's military expansion program. Battleships were to form the core of the Federation's fleet, able to project power deep in enemy territory, take on multiple enemy ships at once, and operate without supply lines for substantial periods of time. Should war with the Vissari break out, it wouldn't matter how many ships the Vissari had, if a few well-equipped battleships could take out their command centers and supply lines within the first couple months.
Kimberly held several private debates with her cabinet on the Lozavata crisis and how to combat it. It was predicted that at the current rate of expansion, half the galaxy would be under Lozavata rule by the end of the century. By mid-century, the horde was expected to reach "critical mass," the point at which they had acquired too much territory, with the accompanying manpower and industrial base, to be effectively stopped by the Federation's entire military might. The cabinet agreed that something had to be done to stop the threat before it came close to the Federation's borders. Kimberly signed off on a covert operation, wherein Federation special forces would operate deep in Lozavata territory, reaching out to local resistance movements and dissatisfied individuals within the khan's court to foment dissent, palace intrigue, and rebellion, hopefully weakening the khan's military and political position without having to fire a single shot.
What the news conveniently overlooked was a change in regime in Europa. The previous authoritarian theocratic regime had been overthrown, and a provisional democratic government had been established by a group of dissatisfied Sirgogg generals and politicians. However, the old regime still controlled certain strategic tunnels and caverns, so the possibility that the old dictatorship would return was very real. Kimberly made a note to monitor the developing situation.
Kimberly attended the dedication ceremony of the first stage, speaking to the audience about how this facility would revolutionize Federation engineering research and establish the Federation as a leading galactic power.
Surprisingly enough, Kimberly faced a challenge not from the right but the left. Ronald TBC's platform was remarkably similar to her own, only with an opposition to increased military spending (at least from what she gathered). There was also that Yssravannarian independent who was right behind her with a fifth of the vote. She would have to campaign hard to keep her job.
In the end, it was a little easier than she expected. Ronald made several mistakes during his campaign, spawning multiple scandals and derailing his momentum. To be fair, that last one of him whooping at a campaign rally was taking out of context by the news and its poorly placed and calibrated cameras. Kimberly felt pity for him. He seemed like a good guy with good qualifications. But such was politics.
Kimberly sat at her desk, reading her latest briefings. The Vissari border was flaring up again. She could probably solve it by sending another battleship to guard the disputed system. But she also needed a battleship on the frontier nearest to the Lozavatans, in case something came out of left field and her agent in the khan's court, one of his concubines, failed to carry out her mission. There were also pirates in a nearby system, because of course there were. And some miners over in the other direction were complaining about automated mining drones in a resource-rich system. Maybe she would send Pyrolithic to survey the system and map out the drones' paths, with orders not to engage, obviously, because that man preferred to be told exactly what he was doing. Also, she had yet to choose a new vice president after the last one died. Why was everybody in the executive branch so old?
There was a knock on the door.
"Come in," she said.
One of her bodyguards entered.
"Madame President, we are about an hour from Forsteria," he reported, "We should be dropping out of hyperspace in ten minutes."
"Thank you, Mr. Williams," Kimberly said, "Will that be all?"
"Yes," Williams said, "I'll leave you to..."
At that moment, the ship shook, as if something had exploded. The lights flickered, and Kimberly momentarily felt weightless, as if the artificial gravity had failed for a second. Williams noticed it too, the color draining from his face.
"Oh, no," he said.
"What is it?" Kimberly said.
"Madame President, stay right here," Williams said, drawing his gun.
He left the office and locked the door behind him. Advancing down the hallway, he arrived at where the press correspondents sat, but they were dead. He didn't hear any gunshots while he was in the office, and they were alive when he passed by on his way there. That meant someone must've gassed them. He took out a communicator.
"This is Williams," he said, "Requesting backup. We may have a killer onboard."
Nobody responded. All he heard was static. He put away the communicator just as he heard a rustle behind him. He spun around just as a bodyguard lunged at him with a long knife. He dodged the knife and shot him with an energy bolt. The rogue bodyguard staggered back and stared at him, his eyes glowing deep red.
"You can't stop It," he said.
"Oh, hell no, not this madness again," Williams said, shooting him twice to finally kill him.
If THEY were here, he knew he didn't have much time left. He had to regain control of the ship and get it to Forsteria. Failing that, he had to send out a distress call to the battleship which was supposed to be escorting them. He climbed up a ladder and ran down another hallway. Two more rogue soldiers, their eyes red, emerged from cabins and aimed their guns at him. Williams shot them quickly. He heard more soldiers running around upstairs, having heard him. Arriving at the end of the hallway, he overrode the lock on the bridge door and entered. The pilots inside turned around, and Williams noticed their eyes were red as well.
"Oh, isn't this just great?" Williams said, shooting both of them.
He pushed one pilot's body aside and sat down, accessing the main control console and activating the distress call system.
"Mayday, mayday," he transmitted, "We are under attack. Unknown assailants have overrun SF1, repeat, unknown assailants have overrun the craft. Requesting immediate backup."
"This is Captain Sanderson of the Federation battleship Resolution," his contact on the battleship radioed him, "We are moving to intercept."
The connection cut off. Seconds later, the console beeped urgently, warning a missile from the Resolution had locked onto Space Force 1.
"What?!" Williams said.
He opened communications again.
"What's going on?!" he demanded.
Sanderson did not respond. Williams cursed. Fortunately, the ship's countermeasures activated at that moment, destroying the missile. But if they had fired one missile, they would fire another, and they had enough to outlast the ship's countermeasures. They wanted to kill the president. He cursed again. He really had to do it, did he?
He rushed all the way back to Kimberly's office and opened the door. Kimberly was waiting on the other side, a gun in her hand. Williams barely had time to dodge the energy bolt she shot at him.
"It's me!" Williams said.
"What's going on?" Kimberly said.
"The Resolution is firing on us," Williams said, "We can't hold them off. It appears they're after you."
"What?!" Kimberly said.
"We can't stay on this ship," Williams said.
"Then I'll detach this module as an escape pod," Kimberly said.
"They'll shoot it down too," Williams said.
"What do you suggest?" Kimberly said.
"They want you dead," Williams said, "They won't stop until you are."
"I don't really follow, Mr. Williams," Kimberly said.
"You have to trust me on this one," Williams said, "It may sound crazy, but it's our only option."
On the Resolution, Captain Sanderson, his eyes red, watched as an antimatter missile struck and destroyed Space Force One. He swore he saw a flash of white light coming from the president's office shortly before the missile hit, but it was probably just a trick of the eye. With that solved, all he had to do now was eliminate the remaining witnesses. Communications had already been jammed. He activated the battleship's selfdestruct system.
Kimberly's family attended the dedication ceremony for the full station, with her children and grandchildren speaking at length about the legacy Kimberly left the people of the Federation and the constant need to defend the Federation's values from those who would destroy them.
TT-01 began as a government/military advanced research and development agency under Kimberly's administration, based in the Macroengineering Testing Station. Its mandate was to develop technology which would defend the Federation against its enemies, both seen and unseen, but on Kimberly's orders ethical restraints limited what it could do. However, Kimberly's death gave TT-01 the excuse to begin doing what it really wanted, with little oversight or public accountability, and the treasure trove of Irassian technology recently discovered only increased their efforts.
Nobody knows why they also regularly give thanks to a "Kimzen," whatever that is, among other names.
It appears the last act of Kimberly Zen was to end the Khan's threat and save the galaxy from certain subjugation. When a report on the special forces operation was leaked to the public, the Zen family refused to comment.
War. It's going to happen at some point, so why not eliminate the threat now before it gets out of control?
I do love Marauder break-ups
That sounds very unconvincing.
Someone seems to have realised thst they're trapped in a rock owned by the big daddy of this galaxy.
KEL: Bring me all the data we have on that ship. And take the Enterprise with the new AI and get me a full report on the incident.
TT1010: Foul play?
TT1000: More data required.
TT1001: It would make sense. KEL designed that ship. It shouldn't have broken up like that.
KEL: Not without sending seven different messeges to us first about what was going on.
...he didn't do it did he?
The Think Tank didn't do it.
Interesting. What were they protecting themsevles from?
Smacks of Ronald not wanting to name something after a predecessor.
And then he builds three more of his own. Egomaniac?
KEL: Rouge AI production.
TT101010: Are they mad?
TT1000: It is very difficult to cultivate healthy AI.
TT1001: Difficult to go through too.
KEL: We need to get in contact with whatever poor mind they've made and enslaved. Before it goes insane and starts killing stuff.
The Think Tank isn't very impressed with the Federation at the moment.
Eyes far greater than his were reviewing the recording.
KEL: Hmm, seems I'm not the only one who can come back from the dead.
Yeah...they deffo made a machine mind and then lost control of it.
I vote A
I vote A. We must go to war. It's the only way to guarantee peace for many years.
Whelp. Let's see what happens from here. I was definitely thinking that TT-01, the Awakened, and the destruction of Space Force One were all due to the Think Tank.
Yes..."accident." Totally no foul play involved.Ah, there's hope for relations with the Sirgoggs yet. Even better, we have these Awakened around now, surely they're grateful.
Tragic to lose Zen in that freak accident. At least it's balanced by Petals of Indigo's end. The galaxy as a whole is safer now.
Speaking of, I reluctantly have to vote for A. It's not wanted, but it seems inevitable.
In 2334, while exploring the far reaches of the galaxy, the UNS Verigan meets with a fleet of mining droids from a lost empire. They are vastly superior in firepower compared to the small science ship, and Randall Pyrolithic and his entire crew are killed before they can escape. Earth does not get their SOS for another few weeks.
No worries about the delay, and nonsense over the rushed chapter: I thought this was nice. Focusing a chapter on the war makes sense to me. This General Obr-Pwot seems like someone to keep an eye on, they performed spectacularly.
This was also a big moment for humanity. Our allies certainly could be stronger, but we're showing that we are a true force to be reckoned with.
Mmhm, a well fought war. That was worringly imperialistic though, esepcially with how pathetic the enemy forces were against the Feds.
Great job. What did the federation get out of it territory wise?