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End Game - Prelude [Fic]

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:24 pm
by Jstone
Author's Note

I feel that some explanation is necessary for this one. You see, I recently ran a story arc in Fort Mayhem, intended to take my character -- Fleet Admiral Redstone -- out of the picture. I personally call this arc my "End Game," basically my way of saying I'm writing myself out of the RP. (I chickened out and am just throwing him in either a prison or exile indefinitely, in case I should want to pick up again. But whatever.)

In this arc, there's a mention of some mysterious journey he took away from Mayhem, corresponding with my long hiatus. This fic is an attempt to explain that absence. I'm going to be posting it in short installments whenever possible.

But enough of my rambling. Let's get to the story.

Part I

This make the third system the Amon Star battlegroup has visited in the week – not that weeks are much more than a nice frame of reference in deep space. Ever since the coalition victory in the Forum Wars and the end of the time war, the Navy's been making an effort to establish bases of operations in other universes. You don't want all your eggs in one basket, especially when your enemies can cut you off from the multiverse. Or worse.

The star system in question has proved rather promising: A mid-sized yellow sun with two planets in the habitable zone create perfect conditions for humanoid inhabitants. It's in a sparsely populated universe which is near a confluence in the greater multiverse, a major improvement over many of the previous candidates. The system itself even shows no signs of habitation. It's perfect, except for one problem.

“Do we still have those tails?”

“Yes sir. They've been following us since we passed through the cometary cloud.” The response comes almost too quickly, no doubt some young ensign looking to impress his superior officer. Redstone isn't sure whether to be annoyed or amused.

“I think maybe we should inform them they've been spotted. Alys, you care to handle this?”

Alys Rennie, captain of the Amon Star, tries to hide her surprise; the Admiral tends to micromanage, so only rarely does she get to run the ship herself. “Aye. Gunnery, give our guests a nice welcome. Warning shots, please.”

Re: End Game - What Came Before [Fic]

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:02 pm
by Jstone
Part II

To be fair, the pursuers have a pretty foolproof system: Two small ships, covered in stealth polymers and venting waste heat through miles and miles of monofilament wire. It's an ingenious scheme, since the ships would give a tiny return on active sensors, and passive optical and infrared would have a tiny target. By following at an incredible distance, they'd be completely invisible – essentially slipping through the cracks. In theory, at least. The 'Star has better sensors than they counted on.

The 'Star's salvo arrives with pinpoint accuracy – the beams miss the pursuers by less than a meter, no mean feat given the multi-lightsecond ranges involved. It's enough to provoke a reaction. The pursuing vessels immediately launch into evasive maneuvers, accelerating hard under primary fusion thrust and dropping their monofilaments in the process. Stealth is useless at this point.

“Contacts confirmed! Two corvette-class ships, fusion drive by the looks of it. No gravitic or subspace presence to speak of.”

This piques the Admiral's interest. “So they're short range. And that acceleration is too much for biologicals, without some form of inertial damping. Unmanned?”

Captain Rennie replies. “Most likely. We're already running a trace for command signals, and scanning for a base of operations.”

“Don't bother with the signal trace; they'll be using a tightbeam, which means they'll be close. Concentrate your scans on these giants, the upper atmosphere is a good hiding place.”

Alys checks the display, noting which planets the Admiral has indicated. “Roger. Should I engage the threat?”

“No. Let the escorts handle them. Concentrate on finding the base or carrier they're operating from.”

The escorts make short work of the pursuers. Too short, to be honest; something else is going on.

“Very good, Admiral. I wasn't expecting that plan to work, but it was worth a shot. Fortunately, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve.”

The voice resonates through the entire ship, yet it isn't coming over the loudspeakers. That's never a good sign. As if on queue, the bridge erupts in an uproar of blaring alarms.

“Multiple subspace energy sources detected!” “Spatial disturbances detected! Four, no, twelve, no... many!” “We've lost contact with the Evans!” It seems like everybody on the bridge is spewing some sort of technobabble, talking about subspace signatures, branal cross-contamination... It doesn't matter. This is obviously some sort of massive subspace attack. He can leave the number-crunching to the AIs. Maybe it'll help develop some countermeasure in the future. But what the Admiral cares about right now is finding the immediate tactical solution to their problem.

“Sound general quarters. Switch displays to tactical.” Redstone does his best to remain calm, but it's difficult. The tactical display paints a terrifying picture: One by one the escorts are disappearing without a trace. They aren't being destroyed or disabled, they're simply gone.

“This is where things get fun. For me.”

A glowing portal opens in space, ready to swallow the 'Star. Evasive maneuvers prove pointless, as the portal follows the ship's every move. In a last-ditch effort, Captain Rennie activates the warp drive, attempting to anchor the ship in place. The mysterious voice just laughs.

“Your technology is so crude; you just twist space, and keep twisting till it breaks. Even a poor copy of DRACO is far superior, wouldn't you agree?”

The 'Star vanishes into the portal like a fish into a net.

Author's Note:

I have cleared this with the current author of EOU.

Re: End Game - What Came Before [Fic]

PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 6:09 pm
by Jstone
Part III

DRACO... If that's what it is, there's going to be trouble. The real was destroyed in the war, of course, but the fact that somebody has even a copy of that system running makes Redstone uneasy. If the Overlords are involved in some way...

And now he's trapped, in some pocket dimension if the sensor readings are correct. He has to get back to Mayhem. This isn't good. “Navigation, find out where we are and how to get back. Ops, reestablish contact with the rest of the fleet. We're withdrawing.” The officers in charge of the named stations acknowledge the Admiral's command, taking charge of the intricate process at hand – navigating the limitless web of universes.

Redstone, meanwhile, calls on a very peculiar aide. “Yuki. I need your services.”

The hologram of a young woman materializes next to the Admiral. “Universal Quantum Hyperheuristic Intelligence online. Serial number two sierra niner...”

“Skip all that.”

“Acknowledged. How may I be of assistance?”

“Analyze the sensor logs for the last minute. We were attacked using a portal system of unknown origin; tell me what it is and how to counteract it.”

“Acknowledged. Analysis shows possible match for DRACO. Method of operation is similar. Carrier wave and power modulation differ. Countermeasures will require additional processing time.”

“Thank you, Yuki. Inform me when processing is complete. You are dismissed.”

“Acknowledged.” The hologram fades away.

Redstone turns his attention back to the human crew. It'll likely take a while for Yuki to process this information – the 'Star's computing power is lacking compared to that of Naval Intelligence or Research – so time is better spent finding that way home.

“Ops, what's the status of the fleet?”

“Unknown, sir. We aren't picking up anything from outside, and I doubt our communications are getting out. We're either being jammed, or there's some kind of barrier.”

“Navigation, please tell me you've had more luck...”

“Sorry, sir. Can't get a good read on a way out, and we can't risk a jump without that.”

This honestly doesn't surprise the Admiral. Cross-universal communication is tricky at best, and near impossible at worst. Travel between universes is even more difficult. And that's in perfect conditions, not when you've been flung off to parts unknown and are facing interference from some unknown enemy.

“Welcome to my world. I trust you're enjoying your stay.” Speak of the devil, and he shall appear.

“While I truly applaud your efforts, you've been brought here to the seat of my, no, our power. You can't really think it's going to be that easy.”

Redstone, in fact, did not. But making contact with the enemy again is a good start. If he can pull some information out...

“Cut the bullshit. You netted us and trapped us – quite easily, might I add. I think you're in a perfect position to start making demands. So I'd like to hear them: What do you want?”

“Demands, Admiral? You think I want something from you?” The voice laughs, obviously finding the thought amusing. “No, Admiral. The only thing I want is to make you pay.”

“Pay for what?”

“Do you remember the crossover wars? No... Don't bother answering that. I'm going to refresh your memory anyway." The voice laughs again; a cold, dead laugh, full of malice and spite. "It's flashback time.”

The Admiral vanishes from the bridge.