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  1. 13 points
    Calien

    Blue Dragons - Station Strike Force

    Station Strike Force “The Vanduul are everywhere we do not need that jump point it spills out into a bloody warzone!” yells Status. Methos shrinks back from the verbal onslaught. Always timid with direct confrontation and hours of arguing have not made this any better. Phoenix wing has an obligation to strike back at the Vanduul as per our charter to defend and if necessary avenge each other. Such is what binds us together the knowledge that we will help each other for the benefit and safety of all Not to mention the value of the preliminary mineral scans had Arkx grinning like an excited child. His position on the Industry council and membership of Phoenix wing has provided some lucrative leads for Tactical Advance over the years. The scans indicated a rich deposit of Trutonium in the asteroid belt just inside the jump point. The Vanduul seem to have a huge force present in the area. Status lost 3 ships in his scouting mission however his ghost’s managed to find a small space station and an armed host positioned on the far side of the belt. If we wish to gather this resource we will need to take the location and occupy the station. “Status phoenix wing cannot hold a station in that location you are right it would be suicide. However the resources are too much to be ignored.” Calien calmly states. His position as a Phoenix wing councillor and a Security officer is rare. He is a bounty hunter and seeks credits and action at all times. I believe this find needs to be followed up. “I say we call the Blue Dragons”, B00o states quietly. The whole room turns to B00o as the youngest member of the Phoenix wing Council he is not used to being the centre of attention. The Blue Dragons are an elite squadron within the Security Forces. They are able to mobilise and stage large scale offensive combat. Headed up by a rotating leader only Nutty Rob can identify at any point in time. They are not a permanent squadron. Only forming for specific and large scale missions. Then returning to their normal duties after the battles are won. As such they cannot be targeted or blockaded by enemy forces. The transient nature makes them an effective special force. A vote is cast and the data will be presented to Nutty Rob to secure the region for Tactical Advance. Phoenix wing will offer a fleet of support vessels for use in the operation. Status and Muffin send out communications calling for volunteers to provide support units for a yet to be confirmed military action. Arkx returns to his offices to plan the organisation occupation and mining operations based upon the intelligence gathered. This will be one of the biggest expansions for Tactical Advance for years to come. Methos fidgets as he nervously awaits the officer of the day. Phoenix wing has an uncertain relations with security at times. There is often fine line of when security can assist and when it is better to go it alone. Today there is no fine line the events leading to today were terrifying. Innocence returned from a jump point mapping event missing a wing on his 315p and venting atmosphere. He was near unconscious his pressure suit well below breathable atmosphere. The following two days phoenix wing reviewed his ship data and awaited him to be able to talk. Status Zero headed a scouting mission into the jump point he mapped. The debriefing from that mission led Methos here. Fanible sits calmly by his side a slight smirk upon his face. It has always amused him how the head of the Phoenix wing can seem so uncertain at times like this. He is not concerned he is here to present the Asteroid and Vanduul data to Nutty Rob. It requires his approval to mount a large scale invasion of the region. He has been working for a week solid to compile and sort the Data to allow Nutty to plan and sort the action to come. The data will mean the difference between an approved mission or a no fly zone. The next few hours will be the deciding point. The Office door opens and Nutty Rob standing straight and neat in his admirals dress uniform, marches into the anteroom. Methos and Fanible immediately stand Methos drops his nerves immediately, always the showman. A perfect politician as always he never displays his nerves when acting officially in public. Nutty Rob shakes both their hands and greets them formally inviting them into his office. A large office set out to act as a meeting room more like a business office than a military headquarters. Nutty engages them in small talk as the staff set out a simple meal and quality coffee. The amount of food placed upon the board room is ridiculous for three people. The smell of fresh coffee quickly fills the room. As soon as the staff depart Nutty tone immediately turns dark. “Before you two begin I need to invite the rest of the players to the table.” Nutty Rob states seriously. “What do you mean the rest?” Methos asks. “I have been following the reports from my staff with ties to Phoenix Wing in there off duty hours. This find is huge and of great importance to Tactical Advance” The interoffice door opens and the remaining members of the Council of Nine enter. The operation is a certainty now. The table is suddenly filled with the chatter only capable when an industry focussed group is singularly excited on a business opportunity. Nutty quiets the room by tapping his service revolver upon the table. “Now that everyone is assembled I will invite the officers charged with planning and executing the Blue Dragons operation. Vice Admiral Bodycount current leader of the Blue Dragons and Lieutenant General Calien of the Blue Dragons Marines.” Bodycount and Calien enter the room and take the remaining two seats. “Calien why did you not give me some warning this was happening?” asks Methos a defeated tone. “My friend I could not reveal the Military plans to you. Phoenix wing remains a civilian group and cannot be relied upon to control sensitive intelligence,” Calien replies honestly. Never one to soften any statement. He can be relied upon to act in the most logical and sometimes cold way if it follows his own moral ideals. “Moving along we have much to discuss gentlemen. Fanible if you would please…..” Nutty moves the meeting along. Two days later the Blue Dragons mobilised at the jump point coordinates. The fleet commanded by Bodycount has some 200 vessels including fighter escorts. Lefty on behalf of the Phoenix wing leads a mixed group of 50 ships. This includes two endeavours and some cutlass reds. The remaining vessels are fitted to protect each other or and resupply the combat fleet in space. Bodycount has placed the Phoenix wing support fleet under the command of the T.A.S.A.R officers to provide cover for their actions. A fleet this size needs a staging area to be established in order to enter the area enforce. The pilots that enter first potentially face the most costly and dangerous battle of the operation. One squadron volunteered for this extreme action today. Obsidian wing enters the jump point followed by a Herald as communication relay. Now the fleet awaits their fate……….. To be continued…….
  2. 10 points
    Calien

    Blue Dragons - Security is Adventure

    I have spent some time building lore for our members. A new combat story arc is coming. Watch the Lore and RP for tales of the Blue Dragons.
  3. 9 points
    BristolBoy

    Organisation Stream

    OK guys, Myself, @Calien @NatoRepublic @AirBorn4Life have been theory Crafting regarding a podcast style presentation, of current news and events happening within our community... 1.. We are looking for a name for the show.. 2.. We are looking for content and topics to discuss 3. We are looking for people to be apart of the show What we have come up with so far is that the show will be every other Saturday. We are looking to start 30th of July. 10am Central Time, 4pm BST, 11pm Australian(Perth) Were looking for the show to last roughly 2 hours. So far some things we have in mind are.. 1, Review of the Organisation/Community (whats recently happend in TA, new members, celebrating anniversarys of existing members, Maybe a section where we read a piece of TA lore, breakdowns of each division) so on and so forth 2, Review of content/news from CIG. ATV, Subscriber Town Hall(RTV), 10 from chairman, Loremakers, Bug smashers etc As this is a community based event. Your feedback and input is very much welcome. https://www.twitch.tv/bristolboy88 and https://www.youtube.com/user/TacAdvanceCommunity
  4. 9 points
    Calien

    Phoenix wing all you wanted to know

    Phoenix Wing What is Phoenix wing? Phoenix wing is a privately run Mutual support union. The idea that we can rise again from near disaster by supporting each other is a powerful one. In order to enjoy the benefits of this union we have selective membership of like minded individuals. We agree to support each other in times of peace and war alike. How to rise again. Any member of Tactical Advance may apply to be a member of the Phoenix wing. Membership is predicated upon a mutual agenda and game aspirations. As such not everyone will be accepted. The traditions of the membership are steeped in the traditions handed down from the earliest space explorers. Applications can be made verbally in Team speak to any full member of the Phoenix wing. If you can get two members to sponsor your application it can be raised with the Keepers of the Light for revue. The Keepers reserve the right to refuse membership. This can be for many reasons, mostly due to the early stage of the wing it comes down to the right combination of attitudes to set a foundation we need. Where does everyone fit? There are 4 ranks and the Council of Flames. They have been passed on from the secret societies that pioneered and funded some of the human races greatest intergalactic achievements. They are as follows. NomineeAs a new member you will be supported most directly by your sponsors. They will assist you to understand how we as Phoenix wing can support each other and those in Tactical Advance that need our aid. The transition to Apprentice is a natural progression. Apprentice The first membership level and the most common is the apprentice. As an apprentice you are an accepted member of the wing. You gain access to the group and its network of ships and tasks. In return you will be required to co operate with your fellow members to the mutual benefit of all. Journeyman The journeyman has a well established history of Phoenix wing involvement they have merged most of there in-game activities with the wing and act as a guide and mentor to those around them. They are appointed this level of responsibility by the Keepers of the Light and hold it so long as their actions reflect the wings best interests. Leading Hand The Leading Hand has a well established history of Phoenix wing involvement they have merged all of there in-game activities with the wing and act as a guide and mentor to those around them. Further to this they have shown an ability to organise things on a higher level. To be appointed to this position you will be chosen due to having demonstrated solid leadership and administrative skills. They are appointed this level of responsibility by the Keepers of the Light and hold it so long as their actions reflect the wings best interests. Master A Master is a member of the Keepers of the Light. They are members that have displayed an unusual and deep passion for the support and defence of their mates. It is this that has gotten them selected by the Council of Flame to represent the members at large. They are charged with building the policies and practices of the Phoenix Wing. Council of Flame The Council of Flame are the ruling and founders of the Phoenix wing. They have built the foundations of the Union and act as leaders and administrators’. All meetings of the Masters and the policy they make require at least one Council member present as Chair. Any decision the Masters fail to find a majority vote can be voted by the Council. The Ruling Council are as Follows: The Phoenix- Methos (Chairman and Founder) The Flame- Status Zero (Chief Advisor) The Ashes- Calien (Enforcer) How the idea began Throughout human history people have proven capable of amazing ingenuity and resolve when faced with insurmountable odds. In a verse occupied by the Vanduul, Pirates and Corporate rivals we definitely face huge opposition every time we venture into the black. It was when faced with the real problem of taking an 890 jump into a dangerous space that the first ideas for cooperation were born. Methos together with Status zero and Calien along with many others developed what is now known as Phoenix wing. What do we do in the verse? Although membership of the wing is voluntary and no job is mandatory we can and should take advantage of our numbers. By combining the UEE job boards and Phoenix wing members we can more readily organise to occupy crew stations and escorts for our industry and exploration tasks. These tasks are those very casual and very far from centre space. It is possible to not only to complete industry tasks together; we can come together to explore distant and risky locations due to the safety of numbers we can gather so easily. We will or course be ready to defend and if need be avenge a fallen member. As such the true power of the Phoenix becomes ours. The Cost of Combat Combat is a real and necessary function of a Mutual Defence union. Where possible we will utilise the UEE job boards for tasks that we conduct together. In order to fund the costs of defence actions that we will conduct it is asked that you offer 5% of your net profits. Funds will be collected by the Master of Coin a member of the Keepers of the Flame. These funds will be returned as insurance, armaments and repairs needed as a result of protecting each other. They can if a surplus is achieved be utilised to organise large scale industrial or exploration activities wholly organised as Phoenix Wing endeavours. Phoenix wing and Security Force We are not an organised military unit. We are a union of industry and exploration players. We have or are willing to crew on a combat ship not only in the defence of each other but also may be called upon to support the Security force as a Civil Defence. Whilst not formally trained we can offer ships and numbers if a conflict should require more ships than the formal military units can cover. Such action would be requested of Methos by Security force and would only be in an extreme need. As we would not be formalised or trained for large scale formation combat we will be used as the Security force directs. Summary If you wish to know more or be part of the best and most exclusive union in the verse come and speak to our members today. Together we can achieve the true aim of Phoenix for the benefit and profit of all of Tactical Advance.
  5. 9 points
    Akanoes

    Leaked Ships

    There was a big leak this weekend and someone got some pictures in. Put them in spoilers for less of them scrolling. ENJOY! =3 Pegasus Idris F8 Lightning F8 Lightning (Cockpit) Kingship Hunter Cleaver Blade - Vanduul Medium Fighter​ Blade - Vanduul Medium Fighter (Cockpit) Stinger - Vanduul Heavy Fighter Mauler - Vanduul Destroyer Void - Vanduul Bomber Group Shots
  6. 9 points
    Calien

    Phoenix WIng Story 5 Part One

    An Explorers Lot A rock ballad from ancient earth plays loudly through the ship. The Carrack drifts slowly through the system. Scanners passively scanning the astral bodies and calculating the orbits. Bodycount is on watch. He loves those ancient melodies. All violence and bravado but the fun is undeniable. He spends his entire watch in his turret. It is his turret. No one else on this crew would dare operate those guns whilst he is able. He is a rough looking bastard. Preferring to use the sites and an alarm programmed into the ships sensors to a tactical display for any warning. Not that we expect any real danger. We have been passively scanning for several weeks now. Hoping to find something worth the risk of active scanning. The ships duty alarm drills its tone the crew stirs from the bunks. DiOlll is first to rise. A strange man not entirely human. His accent think and his speech is broken. He will not speak of his mixed lineage. However the pale green skin and short tail are obviously not normal. He does not speak often it seems to be difficult for him to speak in Basic. Like he was raised speaking a different more melodic language. He always appears tidy. Just crawling from a bunk weeks aboard a ship and he still looks ready for a military parade. He is a talented pilot seeming to be able to sense things before the ships systems can. He skips morning mess and makes his way above keen as always to take his patrol in the Brute his personal custom scouting ship. Captain Alpine moves from his cabin to the bridge. A day never begins until he reviews the sensor logs from the night’s scans. He is relaxed as Captains go, never standing much on formality. Being a civilian and a Xeno-biologist it is the discovery he seeks. The scans look promising. The 3rd planet from the great blue sun has a temperate temperature range. A surface scan will need to be conducted to establish if the planet could be settled. Initial system scans hint at good mineral deposits in the systems asteroid belt located beyond the 5th planetoid. A promising start to a new system scan. Time is on our side so long as we remain isolated. We need only discover enough data to make either a profitable sale of information or better still discover new life. Time to take a closer look at that 3rd planet. Captain Alpine meets the crew in the mess. Well almost all, DiOlll of course makes his morning exit. His thrusters are shaking the ship as he leaves for a morning patrol. Must admit that pilot was a great addition to the crew despite his strange origins. The cheapest ace pilot in United space. Even if we cannot understand more than a few words he says. The crew is assembled to eat. Young Alpha makes an interesting meal. The term Cabin boy is even older term than Body counts taste in music however there is no better one to explain his duties. He has some talent with repairing the ship and seems to fit in where ever else he is needed. Mind you Kitchen duty is not one of his best duties. The smell of burnt bacon is filling the deck. I can hear Spydz telling him off. He puts a lot of pressure on the boy. He will either quit the crew next time in port or we will have a good young addition to the team. Spydz can seem gruff but he does it because he likes the boy. Alpine loads a plate with his overcooked breakfast and slides into the counter bench to eat his meal. Alpha pours coffee for everyone and begins clearing plates. Kitchen duty is swapped but as junior crewman he gets this one a lot. There is little to say after weeks together in the confines of a space ship. Even a ship as spacious as the Carrack can be cramped on a long trip. An exploration crew needs to be chosen carefully. If a personality clashes badly under pressure or boredom the crew can destroy itself in fear and rage. As such mess is often quiet, duties are completed efficiently and rec time is thoroughly enjoyed. The crew gathers and awaits Alpines orders for the day. The weeks have been ongoing passive scanning. Active scans make a lot of noise. If we are not the only people in this system an active system is sure to tell them we are here. “We have a decision to make today people. We can survey the 3rd planet a good candidate for Life and depending on atmospheric data possible terraforming or better immediate colonisation of the planet. Or we explore the asteroid belt first. Either could give us a nice find and make this trip profitable.” “Captain I know you like exploring planets finding alien life is your trade after all. However we need a big payday. Mineral rich deposits in the asteroids will bring us faster credits. We can return to survey the planet if we have the supplies for an extended trip.” Spydz reasons. “I agree and I like blasting asteroids for target practice.” Bodycount moves his hands like pulling on a trigger. He really loves to shoot. “I know I get minimum input as the newest crewman Alpine but I was hoping to try and get the Rovers weapons installed” “Alpha you have weaponised the Rover?” Alpine asks a little awe in his voice. Better than a basic repair might get an engineer out of this one yet. “It is decided then we will survey the asteroid belt. Full active scans with samples. Body count blast me some nice looking rocks get some samples for Spydz to examine in the lab. I will move us in the right direction till DiOlll returns. “Alpha nice work on the Rover get that weaponised and I might give you a full cut after all” “Yeah baby time to blast me some rocks!” Bodycount turns up the music as he races back to his favourite spot in his Turret. DiOlll powers down the active systems and returns the ship to passive mode. A full day of exploring the asteroid belt a several tons of samples to be scanned. A few more days of this and we can decide our next move. Bodycount moves to his bunk he is due a rest having taken last night’s watch. We will all sleep well tonight. Active scanning is risky business makes for a long tense days’ work. Mess is followed by a quick buck by all except Alpine. Captains watch tonight. Reviewing the science bays automated results logs keeps him awake for the nights watch. Not being a gunner he sits in the pilot seat and monitors the screens periodically. The lab is revealing some promising results. Several samples of high grade Titanium and some nice Gold deposits. A few more days like that and this belt will sell nicely to the UEE mineral register. Tactical advance is not seeking minerals having a large stockpile of them already. The scanners trigger an alarm. A jump point is opening the gravity well distortion is rising fast something big or several smaller things are about to emerge. Alpine lowers the energy signature further and focus passive scans on ship data only. Time to hide and see what has found this system. A scarred and beaten Caterpillar materialises from the jump point. It is immediately followed by two cutlass blacks. The signature is tiny on the Cutlass’s they are obviously pirate vessels. DiOlll races into the bridge. He has an inhuman ability to sense when he is needed. Lifting Alpine out of the Pilot seat like he weighs nothing he begins to cycle up the engines. He is planning to run better strap in fast. Alpine straps into the Captain’s chair and triggers a Red alert the ships lights alter and the bunks will wake the crew. AC DC blasts through the ships sound system Body count is manning his turret. Spydz jumps onto the weapon seat ready to manage power and shields. He will also manually select targets for the auto turret to improve its effectiveness. “Captain active sensor sweep detected” Spydz calls SLAM!! The ship jumps forward DiOlll is already moving, again he seems to pre-empt the external actions. His instincts are faster than the computers. What a pilot we found. We are twenty kilometres from the cutlass and they are closing. If they make it inside weapons range we will be in trouble. It is a race to quantum jump and a dogfight. It will be close. DiOlll is screaming in his native tongue no one understands a damned word. “DiOlll can you get us to the 3rd Planet perhaps we can lose them on the surface. They are blocking the jump point with the Caterpillar? Spydz launch two coms drones get word to Phoenix Wing we need support fast. Encrypt the jump data! Fast man, man!” Alpine orders. “Sir” both men drone automatically. Alpine may not stand on military precision but these men were all trained for it. Where is Alpha? DiOlll adjusts the trajectory and the Nav computer chirps as it attempts to lock onto a quantum burst. The cutlasses are in weapons range we are not getting out without a fight. Body count howls with glee as he begins to fire upon the enemy. The auto turret has not begun firing yet. Spydz is attempting to get a weapons lock. They need to be closer for the auto turrets. The Cutlasses are blasting against our shields glad they are substantial. We will need to get clear if we hope to jump and have time to hide in the planets embrace. The fight is a cycle of shots to and fro. The cutlass are not quite powerful enough to break the shields down and we are too under gunned to blast them down. “Damn we are in trouble Captain!” Spydz calls out. Suddenly a missile lock tone blasts over the speakers. “Yep, they took out the point defence laser. 4 Rattlers incoming brace for impact!” The blast rocks the ship, the rear shields are gone. Smoke blurs the bridge momentarily. Spydz was knocked to the floor. Alpine adjusts his console and begins diverting power back to the rear shields. Something is blocking the controls. Alpha he must be on the engineering deck. That little saboteur! Alpine races aft time to restore the balance. Before we are boarded by a couple for Cutlasses. Spydz is back in his seat bleeding from a nasty gash on his forehead. Alpine runs, hope it is not too late. The Cutlasses seize the opportunity and begin blasting with the suck punch cannons we are slowing fast. DiOlll is screaming profanities up front whilst Bodycount tries to get a clean angle to shoot the enemy. The Carrack is well armoured but horribly under gunned once movement is limited. The clang of ships attaching to the docking ports is unmistakable. We are in trouble Alpine turns back too late to stop Alpha we are being boarded time to repel pirates. Suddenly we have full power DiOlll is laughing he punches forward quantum drive is ready we blast forward. What the hell…… “Captain the cutlasses were only partially attached when power restored they were torn open by our escape velocity. Only the caterpillar remains. It is moving our way.” Alpha calls over the Com. So not a traitor after all. “Cabin Boy you just got yourself promoted to ships Engineer. Congratulation Alpha” Alpine slumps into the Captain’s chair. “Spydz get to the Med bay have the Auto table patch that gash and get back here. DiOlll find a good place planet side to hide before that caterpillar get here.” To be continued
  7. 8 points
    Calien

    Phoenix Wing Story 5 Part two

    The flare of visible light from the Jump point suddenly opening is blinding after days of drifting on silent patrol. We have been drifting through this system waiting for the recent Pirate activity to resume. They have hit several Star-liners travelling through this system. It has proven a fruitless endeavour. We have had time to gather a full store of fuel via the intakes. Refining the gases in ship is slow but it means never being stranded. I activate a brief sensor pulse and prepare the start-up sequence. The signal reports a coms drone. It is pulsing a faint code I have not seen for some time. It is an expired Phoenix wing signature. Time to send the coded response and see what it has to say. “Gavin wake up time to book it” I call into the survival pod. “What I am in the middle of making a batch of special brownies. Dude you suck. What are we doing there are no pirates just a little coms drone.” “Yeah from Alpine. They found our pirates the hard way.” We have to go. I fire up the engines on my beaten old Vanguard. Activating systems and conducting pre fight checks. The old computer takes a few minutes to completely boot. Gavin is cursing me as he checks the weapons and systems in the rear of the ship. He slams a few panels as he goes then stomps forward. Sulking as he eats a half cooked brownie. “I glare at him and he lowers the cake down to his lap.” “Not the time for a little bight?” He asks. “But I need you alert till we can plan our next move.” “Fine where did they find the pirates? Are they alright? We got some backup to organise?” I continue to prepare the flight systems. The navcom is booting up so slowly today. I need to input the jump data it was carrying and see where we are headed. “Optix! Answer me damn it!” “What oh sorry Gav I was miles away. I nearly have the jump data loaded they were in a new unexplored system 4 days from here. They were really out there two jumps outside known space. Talk about taking exploring to the limits.” I fire off a coded drone to Status Zero. Asking for support and a salvage crew. I doubt I will find Alpine and his crew alive. It will have been over a week since they encountered the drones before we arrive. But a pirates den is always profitable and they will not expect company so far out. Not so soon after taking out a lone carrack. I am on watch again. “Congratulations Alpha” my ass. I have been ships engineer for a week and all I have done to mind the fire and clean the camp. We have been hiding in a deep ravine on the surface. The Caterpillar ran a sensor sweep for a day looking for us. Then Bodycount had a great idea. Decoy. DiOlll took the scout ship with a modified sensor emission and set her to auto pilot into orbit. It was programmed to orbit and head towards the asteroids making a fast run for the jump point beyond. It never made it of course. The caterpillar shot it down in minutes. When they finish gathering the remains of the cutlass’ they will inspect the wreckage and realise we are still hiding down here. The plants ahead rustle. I grab my rifle and shoulder it. The predatory animals here resemble six limbed cats. Only the size of horses. The plantet is hot as hell by day and equally cold at night. The extremes combined with an oxygen rich atmosphere made for some very large fauna. I am shaking the last one took four rifles to bring it down. With the crew exploring I only have myself. Sweat rolls down my brow and stings my eye. I am too terrified to wipe it I close that eye and wait. “Do not shoot us boy” we have a surprise. Calls Alpine. Breathing out I realise I had been holding my breath in anticipation of the shot. The crew roll from the cover of the trees and sit around the fire. DiOlll is missing. I run inside the ship and fetch out the bowls. I have been cooking a stew over the fire whilst I waited. “Grab some drinks to Alpha we need to celebrate” Called Bodycount. Spydz takes the bottle and begins pouring it out for everyone. They seem happy and content. Considering we have been trapped here and still have no way to leave. Not with Pirates blockading the planet. “Where is DiOlll?” I ask “Let me please Alpine, let me” Blurts Spydz. He is normally so calm and mature. A childish outburst is a little off putting. “Fine you take the fun. Bodycount a little music will not hurt just not to loud we do not need more predators breaking into the camp.” Spydz spins an almost unbelievable tale of wild discovery. Turns out DiOlll is a native of this planet. Stolen as a child by the slavers and sold into UEE space. His people have taken him back. They share a hive mind. It explains so much. His uncanny reflexes and his finding this system. Not random at all but providence. The locals are so happy to have DiOlll back that they have revealed the location of the Pirates ground base. It seems they have been storing goods here and raiding for several decades. It also is only lightly guarded when the ships leave. The locals having no space flight of their own has led them to be dismissed as primitives. “What good does that do us? We are explorers not bounty hunters.” I ask. Alpha looks at Bodycount and Spydz. They nod and he grimaces slightly before he answers my question. “Today Alpha we must be. The locals have no space flight they are however very quick learners and have stolen enough tech from the pirates to monitor the systems. The Caterpillar is moving towards the wreckage of the Scout ship. We take their base today we gain a secure location to hole up and wait it out.” I nod stunned to silence. I am only 16 and now I am to fight in a ground fight for a pirate base. The stuff one dreams about as a child. But being here I just want to vomit. I run for the edge of camp and do just that. It takes us a few hours to march to the location of the pirate base. Alpine checks my gear. They fitted me out in heavy armour. I cannot see much but at least a powered suit is temperature controlled and I will not die from a single shot. He looks me in the eye and his eyes harden. “Alpha this is the real thing not a training sim. Keep your head down and plan your shots. You are wearing good body armour so find a good vantage point and cover us. You need to keep the pirates bottled up let us move in and take them out. They are pirates they take no chances and will hide if pressed. Do you understand?” I nod too afraid to speak for fear my voice will break. Alpine looks me in the eye a few more moments’ nods and leaves to check Spydz armour. I think on my part in the coming battle. We have only one avenue to approach the site from. It is a 15ft wide causeway from the forest edge to the bunker. It is littered with old freight items so it has plenty of cover from our side. The bunker has one door open and is dark inside. I am to position myself behind cover almost dead centre of the causeway and lay down covering fire. Letting the others get in close. We attack as the sun sets. Giving us the advantage as it is behind us and will prevent the pirates getting a clean shot. This place was not built with any defensive consideration. Spydz and Body count move up carefully. Alpine slightly behind them. I lay shots keeping the pirate’s heads down when Alpine signals. Enabling then to dash from cover to cover. They make good time and soon are inside the last container. My mobiglas begins to alarm. It was set to monitor for subspace transmissions. They have called in the Caterpillar we need to hurry. I toss a red smoke grenade towards the door. The signal to move fast as we have company incoming. Alpine signals and I run a series of shots keeping the pirates locked down for several seconds. It is all they need. Bodycount and Spydz run to the wall of the building. One either side of the door. Alpine throws a grenade inside and drops a portable shield outside the door. The fires illuminate the interior of the bunker. They enter and the fight is over in minutes. I breathe a sigh of relief as all three return unharmed. “Gav time to get ready. I need your hands steady to take the turret. We are about to enter the last system.” The jump point flashes as we return to normal space. Sensors are active and weapons hot. I scan the radar and long range sensors have detected a single ship. It is headed towards a planet at full speed. It has no UEE registration tags. That is our pirate. Sensors also detect the debris of 3 other vessels in the system. Reports are that the pirates run a 3 ship raid style. I guess Alpine did not make it. I punch the Quantum drive for a micro jump. Time to surprise the pirate scum. We lurch forward almost instantly dropping in only 1000m behind the caterpillar. It begins to turn attempting to bring its guns around. Gav is firing the turret I have the forward guns blazing the shields fail fast and I fire. 2 torpedoes to be sure. We then punch it. No point facing the guns of a Caterpillar, a standing fight is not our style. The Caterpillar was just entering the atmosphere as the Torpedoes hit. The blast ignites the sky as we turn around for another pass. The Caterpillar is wounded but 2 torpedos will only wound a ship that size. It is falling towards the surface backwards all guns are facing us. I push the shields to the front and fire every gun we have. In an entry like that the Pirates cannot manoeuvre they are trapped. The large front gun tear the Caterpillar open like a can of beans. The cockpit doors slam shut and the pressure loss alarm is blearing. I check the ships systems. I have lost the left wing and. The turret is destroyed. Blown off. The night sky flares bright burning gases blaze several kilometres wide. Only one weapon could do that a torpedo detonated in the upper atmosphere. The blast hits us several seconds later as a hot wind pressing down upon the surface of the bunker. Debris begins to fall lighting the night sky as falling stars. DiOlll and a crowd of his Kin have arrived and are cheering into the mobiglas on DiOlll’s wrist. “It is over that was Optix, we are saved.” Spydz runs madly into the trees cheering wildly. I sit upon the ground shaking. I had not realised how terrified I had been the tension of a week in battle state washed from me I am suddenly exhausted. Alpha strolls over and rests his hand upon my shoulder and watches as the huge Vanguard fighter limps down upon the landing pad. “Is it always like this out here?” I ask. Alpha takes a moment to answer and then looks at me and says, “Yes it is dangerous outside of patrolled space, however so long as we are clever we can survive. It also helps to be in good standing with Phoenix Wing” “Phoenix wing what is that. I did not see any Holo’s on their combat formations in school.” “They will never be famous Alpha but they are where ever Tactical Advance ventures. A web of allies ready to take action when the call arrives.”
  8. 7 points
      Enough with the makeup, I’m sure the lights are fine. Let’s get the camera rolling, shall we? This is long overdue and I want to get started!   Camera’s ready? Okay, good.   //Camera Recording Activated//       Good day, friends and fellow Star Citizens!   I am Imperium Sub-Commander and Director of Diplomacy Airen ‘Chimaera’ Sylaari, and I wish to formally present myself and my credentials to both the High Command and the fine members of Tactical Advance.  Some of you may have seen me walking and talking in hushed tones with some of the members of your High Command, or you may have seen one of my esteemed colleagues, Dragon-Knight, chatting with different members of your organization in one of your mess areas. While some of you may have also spoken with me in more informal settings, I would like to take this time to introduce myself and also give a brief description of the organization I represent.   As I stated before, my name is Airen ‘Chimaera’ Sylaari, but I most often go by my call-sign, so just “Chimaera” (pronounced “Kaimehra”) will do. I am an alumnus of the Imperial Diplomatic Academy on Earth, and I have served in Consular and Ambassadorial capacities for the UEE during a 20-year long career within the diplomatic services of the Empire. Since 2937, I have worked within Imperium, first as a diplomat assigned to the First Imperatorial Expeditionary Force, and then as the Director of Diplomacy once relations with the UEE developed to the extent that the First IEF was reformed into Imperium itself. If members would like to view some of our history, or see some basic information about Imperium, they are welcome to read our history located on the spectrum at the following location: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/orgs/IMPERIUM   Enough about me, though, let me tell you all about the organization I represent.    The first question many people ask me is, “What exactly are Imperium’s goals in the ‘verse?” Well, Imperium is, above all, a lawful organization. While we recognize the spirit and legitimacy of UEE law, we don’t consider ourselves to be true enforcers of the law because of our separation from the UEE. However, because of our close relationship with governments, we practice a lawful stance that runs in parallel with what the UEE enforces, along with more pro-active policies against piratical behaviors, while accounting for the realities that our specific position in the lawless regions of space requires us to sometimes need to circumvent governmental controls on certain kinds of goods.  As such, our goals are to maintain a lawful presence within lawless space, bring order and rule of law to lawless regions through anti-piracy operations, support on-going efforts against the Vanduul when possible, exploit resources and trade opportunities unique to being a lawful group within the lawless regions and, above all, take care of our own and our allies.     Yes, I have said “allies”. Imperium is actively engaged in diplomacy, much like Tactical Advance is as well. We have been at the forefront of diplomatic relations since the formation of Imperium, and have been signatories to the PACT initiative since its inception. We do, however, explore even more robust diplomatic relations with like-minded organizations, and we hope to see the relationship between Imperium and Tactical Advance grow closer as time goes on. To this end, Dragon-Knight has been assigned as a “Diplomat-in-Residence” for Tactical Advance, and I will also be prioritizing conversations with your leadership.  Additionally, you may begin noticing more Imperium people coming to visit your mess areas and possibly even begin doing training missions together, as we have found that Tactical Advance is one of the best organizations with whom we can engage in these activities.   Thank you very much for viewing this informational vid, and I look forward to getting to know you all even better as time goes on. For now, if you have any questions, feel free to address them in the comments section of this vid or forward them directly through to your diplomatic division. I cannot guarantee that I, personally, will answer each one, but Dragon-Knight will definitely be paying attention. Once again, thank you all, and salutations from Imperium.       \\Camera Recording Deactivated\\  
  9. 7 points
    Calien

    Bue Dragons Century Star - Episode 1

    Century Star Episode One Walking out the customs onto the promenade I find myself feeling very alone. I have been following orders serving aboard the Iustitia, a Javelin Class Vessel. Now here I am a Citizen of the Empire walking free into a new life. I check my new ID on my Holo again. The new details still feel very strange indeed. “Cassidy Alien Lieutenant Commander Ret. Citizen” I wonder toward the Shopping district need to figure out my next move. I have been given a ship voucher to be used or sold as I see fit and 10000 UEC severance pay. I need to figure out my next move. My older brother gained his citizenship with a science degree back on earth. I never liked the quiet life he craved. I should find out where he ended up in the verse. A search of the citizen register will take some time better start it now. I best move out wasting my first day as a citizen after all. I shift my pack on my shoulders and adjust my side arm. Wait civilian no side arm. Well guess that will be my first stop. Entering cubby blast is a dream come true. So many choices. The weapons are lined up in display racks. The electric shotgun is tempting but not very practical. I had best be careful until I gain some employment my credits will not go far. I choose a simple Arclight Pistol and a used holster. Familiar standard issue sidearm. I key in my purchase on the mobiglas and it immediately requests my address details. I have none luckily my barracks address is still okay in the system. I will be able to collect my purchase from the cashier in one standard hour. I figure a drink is in order whilst I contemplate my next move. I really should have considered life after my service was completed. But life on the Iustitia was short for a combat Pilot. Getting out alive is still a shock. “Hold it there Buddy” a large dirty bouncer stops me at the door. “Is there a problem?” I reach for my side arm……..really dislike being unarmed. “Marines are not welcome in here too many fights of late.” “Ah the uniform, I am retired as of 30 minutes ago so not a marine”, I smile at the bouncer hoping to change his mind. He checks my ID and steps aside. “Mind you behave like a model citizen would hate to have to bust a war heroes head in on his first day as a citizen” Was that a nod of respect? Life on the outside might be worthwhile after all. But what to do. The Bar is almost completely empty. Mind you it is only 9am. I find a booth and order a breakfast special. A little time to contemplate my next move might be in order. I can fight and have a few mates got out recently we occasionally joked about bounty hunting. Could be a joke was closer to the reality than I imagined. I look up Racoon he was a madman in a gun turret might be he has some ideas. He is listed and living here on Arccorp. I send him a message to meet me here if he can. Astro armada is an amazing place so many ships. All so very pretty. The sales staff seem to be ignoring me. Who can blame them a UEE ship voucher is not much of a sales commission for them. I cannot decide what I would like after all a ship is a home and an occupation. I have always wanted to try out a 300 series. The commercial makes them look fast as hell. I head over to the Origin counter and wait to be served. After several minutes a salesman wonders over. He has a cheesy grin on his well-groomed face. “Hello Lieutenant Alien, I am not sure if you are aware that the UEE ship grants are usually limited to the Consolidated and RSI limits.” He waves over to his left. “Be that as it may….” I glance at his name tag “Geoffrey, I would like to test fly a 325A if I could.” “I am sorry Lieutenant I am not authorised to allow a test flight in any single seat vessel without a sizable cash deposit” “Ah I should have known. Thankyou I will return later” Disappointed so far with the civilian life I turn to leave. Geoff places a hand upon my shoulder and stops me. I look at him puzzled. “Might I see your Ship voucher number please?” I hand him my ship chip he scans the number and smiles. Thankyou sir. I head towards the door the taste of bitter disappointment in my mouth. Civilian life seems to be less than optimal. It is raining when I get to the exit just another brilliant addition to an already difficult day. I stand in the doorway contemplating my next move when my mobi chimes a message. Lieutenant Alien, I could not tell you inside and if I had known when I got out of the service I would not still be on Arc corp. Due to your service record you have access to much more than a simple aurora or mustang. You can get any ship up to a base Constellation. However it is little known that you can also get a used ship at Dumper Depot increasing your options further. As the salesperson keeps any gap from your allowed limit and your choice as commission it would be best to take your credits. I ask only that you take me from here as your crew if you buy a bigger vessel. Geoff “Alpha” Brown. I stare across the promenade at the flickering neon sign for Dumpers Depot. I am a poor ships mechanic. A larger ship would require a crew and a used one an engineer. Not to mention what do I need a larger vessel for? I can softly see a figure huddling from the rain in the entryway to the depot. He looks a sorry sight. Dirty and homeless by the grime upon his face and hands. I then notice a second person is standing beside the first. They seem to waiting for someone. My Mobi chimes again. Get your too good for us officer but over here Dan Well that explains the filthy vagrant type skulking in the doorway. I hurry across to the Dumpers Depot doorway. “Alien you maddog get over here. What took you so long to get out of the UEE we have been waiting for you for nearly a year!” Dan exclaims. Dan is a slight man always managing to wipe the grime of a ships inside all over his face. He was always great for a drink and managed to patch together some pretty banged up Gladius’ in his service. Next to him is Racoon. He has gotten even chubbier since retiring last year. He still dresses in a neat military fashion. If you ignore the buttons straining on his shirt front. He suddenly grabs me and squeezes the life out of me with a tremendous hug. I manage to push him back and he mutters an apology. “What the hell are you doing here guys. What do you mean waiting for me?” “Hell mate do you not remember our last blinder in the Aero club on the Setti-Alpha Station before we got out?” My puzzled expression was all the answer he required. “Come on inside Cassidy we have been preparing for this……” Dan pushes open the door and heads into the dimly lit interior of the warehouse. He moves ahead and begins talking to the shop attendant who waves him into the rear of the place. We move through a cluttered back room filled with boxes of small parts from various damaged and salvaged tech. We stop before an airlock door such as is often fitted to the inside of a ship. It looks out of place in the wall of a building, but then again the whole place appears to be pieced together from scrap. “Now we planned to travel the system on our own terms making credits where we can. Turns out we needed a plan. We did a deal working here for a sizable discount when you arrived and we could pool our resources into buying our home and heading out into space.” Racoon states matter of factly. “Come Cassidy see the stock we have to find the perfect ship to take us outside the central systems.’ Dan is almost hopping with excitement as he describes the pros and cons of the various ships he has worked upon in the sales floor. “Racoon what am I forgetting did we plan something that night we were all so wasted?” “We planned only to live our own way in space doing and going where ever the mood takes us. I have been selling the junk here waiting for a chance to leave. I nearly left without you so trapped in the repetition of life here. “ “Well what is the plan? Do we have a ship or equipment work we can do?” “Show me your ship voucher what did another year of decorated combat buy you?” Raccoon whistles staring at the monitor. “Well ships sales monkey does the terminal say do we have a bright future?” “Dan! What are you doing with those Junkers? Show him the other hanger.” Dan stops his prattle. He almost runs to the door and across the warehouse. At the western windows he stops and stares at his pride and joy. There upon the landing bay sits a Series 4 Andromeda. It looks heavily modified and like it has seen a few scrapes. It does have an unusually large set of Main engines and seems to sit too high. It is hard to tell from the angle. “Dan what is that? It looks like an Andromeda but something is seriously off with it?” “That is the Century Star.” I built her for a Bounty hunter named Drexel He never came to collect her. The modifications make her a little unpredictable however the trade-off is a seriously dangerous beast. We sit later that night at the table in the crew quarter of the Century Star talking about the adventures awaiting us. Drinking some of the nastiest Rum I have ever encountered. I cannot believe the modification Dan managed to make to this ship. The Hold has been replaced with 3 Cells and shortened. The Docking collar for the Merlin was replaced with a huge modification holding my dream civilian fighter a 325A. It is in need of some serious repairs it will fly however and is possibly the only Constellation to be retrofitted as a serious bounty platform in this way. I am wondering where we should go and for what we can pursue. We are 4 a full crew thanks to our Collecting Alpha he is as it happens a retired combat marine. Handy for a Bounty hunting crew. The night is getting long and the drinks are having the expected effect. I find myself unable to relax and sit in the centre chair on the bridge looking out at the galaxy. Where does one go without orders? We have no bounties and no plans. I decide to look up my Brother see where he has gone and what that could mean for us. The console begins its multi system search it could take several hours. Surprisingly the ships data banks hold an old message intended for the Late Captain Drexel. It is not encoded and I am curious. The holo projector displays a large Blue Dragon. The message contains only a set of coordinates and a simple text message. Meet Calien here and see if you are worthy to join the Blue Dragons.
  10. 7 points
    Alpine

    Coffee with Alpine - #7 - Malogos

    Location: Near planet orbit – Brighton System Looking out my canopy at my escort on either side of my Vanguard I see Buzz Killer and Ghosthawk, old friends who have been given the task to make sure that I don’t do anything stupid while approaching the Security flagship UEES Resolute. They knew me, but rules are rules… To say that Admiral Malogos would be upset if I pickled off a missile or so much as triggered a laser in the vicinity of his Idris would be an understatement. I had switched off the "Bitchin Betty " warning sounds from the missile lock that Crazecross had maintained on me since arriving in the Idris’s area of operations. The sound may be off but the blinking of my HUD tells me not to move out of the defense cones landing pattern one unit in any direction. My flying skills are good but having a heat seeker aim up your posterior is nerve wracking to say the least. I don’t care much for the escort, but I do understand protocols and rules and have done my share of escorts for others arriving in secure areas as well. You never know who will try a false flag approach and try to take out a sizable chunk of a ship with a torpedo run or a suicide run into the bridge or worse. It’s an old trick that has been around for thousands of years and used to great effect no matter how secure people felt. The coms chimed a message. Comms:  "Resolute Control to Vanguard 55 Kilo - I have you in the landing pattern and ask that you dock at Port 16. You will be met by security there and escorted to your primary objective." Alpine: "Roger Wilco Resolute." I remember listening to my dad long ago on long trips across the cosmos, talking to other pilots or control towers at planetary check points. The com chatter always fascinated me and became a second language in time. On one such trip when I was very young, I asked my father who "Roger Wilco" was. He laughed and explained to me that Roger Wilco dated back to the early days of flight and meant the following: Roger – I understand. And Wilco – short for Will Comply. Clearing my head of memories I set the ships auto land features for docking collar 16 and commed the escort lead to state my intentions. 2 clicks in acknowledgement answered me and I began my approach. The Idris is classified as a Frigate. Nowhere near the size of a Bengal, or even a Javelin, but still massive in size and lethality. As I closed with the ship I began to consider the assignment given me by 22Actual back at Media Division HQ. Interview Malogos. The man in charge of Security for the Tactical Advance Organization across the entire universe. It staggered my mind on several levels. 1. He was a member of the Council of 9. The ruling cadre of Officers that oversaw the entire universal operations of Tactical Advance. Mal was the Security Director. 2. I worked in Security when I wasn’t reporting, so that makes him my bosses bosses Boss. 3. He was the best dogfighter in the verse. Even other Council members told me if the stuff hit the fan he’s the man they would call. He was feared by his enemies, loved by his troops and respected by all, making him a celebrity in the Military and Security circles in every known galaxy. I have met him twice. Once, when I joined the Security Division and once when I was aboard 22Actuals 890. The entire Council had been there, but that’s another story. The computer alerted me to final approach and I braced for the docking platforms grappling arms. Docking complete I checked my appearance and grabbed my MobiGlas and crawled up the ladder to the hatch which was opening. I stepped onto the platform of the airlock and waited for the pressurization sequence to complete. As the hatch opened I was greeted by a familiar face... and a furry one on a leash. Spydz and a beast of some sort were my escort to the Man. Alpine: "How are you old friend and what... is this?" I said, pointing at the beast. Spydz: Ha! I’m great Alpine, and this… is a dog. A K9 Security Unit bred special for us by the TA Science Division. Seems someone got some DNA from a 500 year old wreck and was able to bio-engineer the creature. He’s a good partner. Listens well, doesn’t talk back and works for scraps from the meal unit. He can’t shoot you but he will eat you if I tell him to." Alpine: "Can I touch it?" Spydz: "Sure. Just go slow and be gentle." I put my hand on its nose and it tried to eat my hand. I jerked back extremely fast and Spydz yelled something like HOLD and the dog just growled at me. Alpine: "Ok. Never mind. Let’s go see the Admiral." I counted my fingers closely as we walked down the corridor. Spydz chucked. Spydz: "I should have mentioned he doesn’t like to be touched but I figured you’d try to anyways so I thought it better if I was there when you did to call him off." Alpine: "Thank you." For that little stunt, I made a mental note to have Spydz featured in the next Senior Citizen undergarment commercial. Walking through the ship I was bombarded by the noise that seemed to come from everywhere. Ships departing and landing, people shouting orders and a few droids here and there beeping while doing menial maintenance tasks. Basically what it was, was controlled chaos. The closer we got to the bridge the less noisy it was but the more intense the action of the crew. We passed Engineering, Communications and Weapons Control, Flight Operations and a couple other departments I couldn’t quite figure out. At last we made it to the Bridge. Entering the room the first person I saw was the 1st Officer Muffin. I saluted. Alpine: "Permission to access the Bridge!" Muffin: "Permission granted Alpine. " She turned and looked at Spydz and gave the dog a rough rub on the head behind the ears. "I'll take him from here Spydz." Spydz: "Aye Aye Mam, come on Killer... See ya Alpine!" I waved and took in my surroundings. Alpine: " Lot of action going on Muffin. What's up?" Muffin: "Admiral Malogos is readying for a imminent attack by a Vanduul task force supposedly coming from the Laramie System. He intends to intercept and destroy the task force before they can make it this far." Alpine: "I just came here from the Laramie system. I would have seen a task force." Muffin: "Did you have your scanners on?" I looked at her and tried not to roll my eyes being the junior officer. Alpine: I always have 3 things on if nothing else. The life support, the scanners, and the coffee machine. Everything else is secondary. There was nothing but asteroids and stardust out there Muffin." Muffin: "Yeah well the Man will want to know... ADMIRIL! You'll want to hear what the news hack has to say!" I looked at her sideways. Alpine: "News hack?" She shrugged and smiled. Malogos turned to me and walked my way. An imposing figure at 6'4" 275 pounds he was still cutting a lean figure like he never left the Academy. He reached out and shook my hand. Mal: "What do ya got Alpine? Alpine: Captain Muffin Tells me you are expecting a Vanduul Task Force headed from the Laramie system in this direction." Mal: "Affirmative." Alpine: I just came from the Laramie system Sir doing a story, and there is no Task Force out there. In fact, I didnt see any ships till approaching your theatre of operations here." Mal: "Are you sure? You had your scanners on?" I looked at Muffin and back at Malogos. She looked concerned. Alpine: "I am sure Sir." Malogos swore under his breath and looked at the floor for a second, deep in thought. Mal: "Flight Ops, send recon flights in all directions. 1.5 parsecs out. Maintain comms at 15 minute intervals. Helm, maintain course at quarter speed." Helm: "Aye Aye Sir." Mal: "This complicates things, Alpine. We had reports they were headed to the Brighton System after seen near the planet Bosler. Where are they?" Alpine: I don't know Sir. Had I known they were reported to be along my path I surely wouldnt have come alone." Mal: " No point in blaming you. Lets take coffee in my quarters and you can do what you came for. Those scouting reports will be a bit in coming I think. First Officer Muffin has the Conn!" Alpine: "Yes Sir." Just off the Bridge is the Admrils quarters. Not overly spacious but better than anyone elses in the fleet save maybe 22Actuals on his Jump, but he IS a rich man.... Seated, Mal went to the sideboard and I saw he had a coffee service not unlike mine onboard my Vanguard. He poured me a cup as well as one for his self and sat down at the table. Star Charts on the MobiGlas overhead showed our position and those of all the ships in the armada within the theatre of operations. Dizzying to comprehend, but thats why he wears stars and I wear scars. Mal: "So last time I saw you, you were headed on vacation?" Alpine: "Never got there Sir. The News can't wait and I wasn't prepared to just pick up and go. So I asked 22 if i could postpone it for a bit till I got things caught up.. you know how it is." Mal: "I do. So, I know why your here. Fire away!" Alpine: "First of all Sir, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule. I can imagine it's hectic out there. I'll try to be breif. - Tell me about yourself please." Mal: "I'm 29 and live in Colorado. I used to work for the government as a network security researcher outside of DC, but now I work for private industry in a much better location. Basically, I find new ways to catch hackers. Outside of that, I hike, ski, and travel constantly. Colorado is amazing for outdoor activities." Alpine: I agree. I too used to live in the Colorado area. Denver, Greeley and Vail to be specicfic. I live in Virginia now and miss Colorado terribly, but back to you... How long have you been a member of Tactical Advance?" Mal: "Since July of 2014. I am an original backer (Oct 2012), but I didn't start paying much attention until Arena Commander was released. Tac was putting out the best content around that time, so I found myself watching every one of his videos covering all the time I missed." Alpine: "Why did you choose this particular Orginization to join when there are so many available to choose from?" Mal: "WoW was the last game where I was heavily involved. In that game, everything was about extremely hardcore but small groups of players (10-20 in WoW vs 1k in SC). That meant that we had raids scheduled at certain times. As much as I like gaming, it's hard to schedule your life around a game (especially with a job, gf, and all of the other stuff I do in the real world). Instead, I wanted to be in TA because it has a lot of players from around the world. At any time, there should be a lot of action and people that want to play together. Since I wanted to do mostly combat and trading, I figured there would be a lot of people that needed protection." A comm chime interrupts. Muffin: "Sorry to disturb Sir. 15 minutes. All sectors clear. Mal: "Very good. Keep me informed." Muffin: "Aye Sir!" Mal: "Sorry Alpine. Please continue." Alpine: "No problem Sir. What made you choose to become an Officer?" Mal: "I want to help shape the Org into its ideal form. When I first joined, I had zero intention of leading anything -- I wanted to just log in and play. But I saw a lot of mistakes from the previous leadership, and chimed up to try and help them with their decisions. After they left, I knew I could do, and had to do, a better job." Alpine: "What are you in charge of?" Mal: "I'm the Director of Security, meaning I design and run the Division. Basically, I need to protect the Org's players and assets from outside threats." Alpine: "What are your duties?" Mal: "The details are in the charter(http://www.tacticaladvance.co.uk/topic/1751-security-force-charter/), but that involves taking charge of everything combat-related: tactical fighters, bombers, marines, capital ships, search and rescue, engineering, electronic warfare, and scouting. So I am in the process of gathering players with those interests and turning them into a fighting force. Obviously, we really only have small parts of the game in play, so it's going to take time." Alpine: " How do you see your leadership benefiting the Org?" Mal: "A strong Security Force will be needed to allow TA to become the Org it wants to be -- there are a very large number of pirates and criminal Orgs out there that want what we will have. Hopefully, with my design and plans for Operations, Sec will allow TA to achieve its goals. On top of that, I come up with a lot of policies and write a lot of documentation for the Org. I kind of have my hands in a lot of pies". Alpine: "What do you like best about TA? Mal: "Our membership is pretty great -- we have a lot of mature players that really have a passion for Star Citizen, and I love the discussions and plans we have." Alpine: "What would you like to see change?" Mal: "If I could change one thing, it would be to increase our focus on security and combat. It would be great to have dozens of dogfighters playing AC every week. Until we have the PU, I want to get a competitive Squad together and face off against other Orgs." Alpine: "What ships do you own? What do you envision as being your favorite or most excited to fly?" Mal: " Idris-P, Super Hornet, Hornet Ghost, Gladius, and (soon) a Vanguard." Alpine: "What do you envision as being your favorite or most excited to fly?" Mal: "The Idris-P should be very fun to fly as part of a large fleet operation. But I think scouting with a Ghost deep in enemy territory has to be the most exciting." Alpine: "What are you looking forward to most about the PU or would like to see?" Mal: "Large-scale Operations and making our mark on the Universe." Alpine: "What do you see as being your main focus in SC?" Mal: "Combat. Hands down." Alpine: "Scenario: Your under attack. Weapons are out of commision. Whats your plan?  Please keep in mind, you can't call on yourself as the other Officers have done..." He laughs and shakes his head. Mal: " They have an over inflated veiw of my capabilities but it's nice to have that reputation. Personally, I would focus on coordinating the rest of the fleet to finish the mission. If I was desperate, I would buy time so we could retreat." Comm: "Sector 7 reports heavy radar activity .7 parcecs out!" Mal: "Those sneaky Vaduul bastards are trying to sneak up from behind the asteroid field in the Gunnison Nebula. Give me a second Alpine. Admrial to Bridge. Three quarter speed flank to Sector 7. Security forces on Yellow Alert. Make sure everyone is ready!" "Alpine wrap it up quick cause I'm going to need you and your Vanguard in about 2 hours". Alpine: "Aye Aye Sir! If you had a time machine and could go anywhere anytime - where would you go and why?" Mal: "To defend Orion from the Vanduul!" Alpine: "Sticking with the time machine idea, if you could go back in time 20 years and write yourself a letter what would it say? What advice would you give yourself? Mal: " In High School, I focused on studying sciences like Chemistry and Biology because I thought IT-related stuff would be swarmed with people. I should have just done programming/CS the whole time, because now I know that's it's an amazing field that's desperately short on good people. So I would tell myself to focus on the Computer field more." Alpine: "What Superpower would you most like to have?" Mal: "Flight" Alpine: What song best describes you? What Song would you like to perform? Mal: " I don't sing..." Alpine: "Of course not Sir. How about a favorite quote?" Mal: "A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why ships are built." Alpine: "That will do it Sir. Thankyou again for your time. I won't waste anymore of it. If you would be so kind as to get me an escort back to my ship and have Operations download the coordiates of where you need me to be, I'll be ready to go!" He shook my hand and activated his MobiGlas. Mal: "Spydz" MobiGlas: Spydz here Admiral." Mal: "Spydz to Bridge. Escort Lt. Alpine back to his ship." MobiGlas. "Aye Sir." He looked at me and gestured to the door. Mal: "Done. Make your way through that hatch and Spydz will take you. Good to see you again Alpine and good hunting out there!!!" I saluted. Alpine: "I'll try to make you proud Admiral!" I walked through the hatch and Spydz was waiting on me. The dog growled and I thought I might have better chances with the Vanduul than that creature. Spydz: "Let's go get you loaded Alpine." Alpine: "Lead on my friend."                  
  11. 7 points
    Calien

    Tactical Advice Newsletter

    This is the first edition of Tactical Advance a fortnightly (Biweekly for our NA reader) Newsletter.  It is a brief update and hopefully will encourage people to join in more often.  We also hope it will encourage our large inactive population to come back to us.  If you wish me to mention a particular item, video or research some lore just let me know I will try and accommodate your wishes    Thanks fellow TA mates. Tactical Advice Link  
  12. 7 points
    Muffin

    Amazing care-package arrived the other day!

    You're very welcome!
  13. 7 points
    Alpine

    Coffee with Alpine - NuttyRob - #1

    This is a re-post of an earlier broadcast. No information has been changed, just cleaned up n the interest of style and grace that you have come to know and expect from me. Thank you for understanding. ********************************** "Coffee with Alpine" is intended to be an in depth interview with those that we call Staff at Tactical Advance. In this series I will continuously update you, the member, with a profile of the people you have chosen to play Star Citizen with and lead you as you do so. While I will provide the narrative and format for such, it is up to the people I interview to make the show (or break it) I hope you will find it informative and entertaining. Let's tune in!! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Location: Terra Prime Spaceport. Between pads 34 and 35 a small, but prosperous pilots coffee shop called "Grounds Control". I'm sitting at my Field Office, corner booth, back to the wall and trying to block out the noise from ships as they come and go from the Spaceport. I'm drinking my 8th cup of coffee for the day, but hey, who's counting... My hands are a little jittery. Not so much from the coffee but from the fact I have a 0900 meeting with NuttyRob. He's the Human Resources Director of Tactical Advance and while he seems to be an OK guy, I am a realist. I mean, the guy is over HR - he controls my pay, my records and my livelihood. I serve at his (and a couple others) whim. So excuse me if I'm a little stressed. Perhaps I should go decaf... Too late. Jillian, the Barista, catches my eye (not hard to do) and nods at the door. He's here. I glass at my Mobiglass. 0855. He's early. He spots me and walks over. I stand up hand out stretched and put a smile on my face. I hope he doesn't notice the trembling. Alpine: I try firing the opening salvo, "Thank you for coming Sir. It's an honor to meet you!" NR: "My pleasure Alpine! But don't call me Sir. I work for a living." His handshake is firm but not crushing. (That's good because I have to fly to Nyx a little later for another interview and then back again, if I survive Nyx that is.) I attempt a little humor to ease the tension. Alpine:  "What do I call you? Nutty? Rob? Late for dinner?" He laughs and laughs and then stops on a dime and leans over and growls at me, NR: "Never - late for dinner!"  He looks at my terrified face and then leans back and laughs twice as loud and twice as long. I wave Jillian over to get his order and to get mine topped off. She saunters up and shows the whitest teeth (you can tell she doesn't drink the coffee here) NuttyRob places his order, Coffee black and a Sweet Roll for the record. NR:  "I have another appointment in Quasi later. Were doing an investigation into some graft from weapons in the security lockers so lets get this ball rolling. I start in on my disclaimer. He knows it. He helped write it. But I'm playing by the book. Alpine: You understand everything said here is being recorded and is on record unless you say otherwise. All transcripts can and will be used by The Tactical Advance Media Division for the Organization News. NR: Yeah I got it... You did that very well by the way. Alpine:"Thank you Sir. oops! Now then, how about we open with a little background information. Tell me about yourself." NR: I am a retired Marine. I earned the call sign "Nutty" as a young corporal from this sergeant I served with who was about 9 feet tall and from Texas. When Sgt Richardson gives you a nickname, that's your nickname. It stuck of course, and interestingly enough whenever people learned of my new designation, none of them were surprised. I got a lot of nods and "makes sense." I am a father of three (ages: 7,6 and 4, the youngest a girl) and husband to a woman at least three tiers out of my league. From an early age (no doubt the result of a strict and selfless mother) I have always been inclined to oppose those who would do harm to others. If I had one wish, I would wish for every human being to be granted common sense and decency. I feel confident that every other problem plaguing humanity would be solved soon after. I am fiercely loyal, careful about the people I call friends and a hopeless defender of right from wrong. When I see litter at my kids' park, I pick it up and curse the lowlife degenerate scumbag that didn't have the discipline to clean up after himself. Nor the capacity to understand the importance of each member of society to pull his/her own weight. I believe in liberty over security, and would give my life to defend the freedom of my family and fellow man. Even the littering scumbag who possesses not a single selfless bone in his body, can count on my sword against tyranny to come to his aid should the occasion ever arise. I honestly don't have an in game persona that is different from my real persona. I am a defender of light. Alpine: Amazing!  Thank you for the service to your country! How long have you been with TA? NR: Since July 2014 Alpine: Why Tactical Advance when there are so many other Orgs to choose from? NR: It was the anti-piracy that first caught my eye. I am sick of griefers and trolls that prey on the kindness of others. Especially pirates or griefers that take great pleasure in destroying what others have created for the sake of destroying it. Any idiot can break things. Being a destroyer is easy. But to build, that is a challenge. To have an idea and bring it to life with blood, sweat and tears- all the while fending off those who would destroy it, those who would seek to undermine it's completion or purpose. That is a challenge. For me, this also applies to gaming. So, being a long time fan of Tac's YouTube and having a sense of who he is and finding out what he's trying to build here, I was convinced. Alpine: Why choose to become an Officer? NR: I chose to become an officer because I believe it is a role of service. I want this community to be great. I want it to be the best. I believe you have to be the change you want to see. As an officer, not only can I effect change but I'm in position to protect those around with whatever sway or privilege I can muster. Duty and responsibility are the side of the coin of power that many people ignore, and that always ends in failure. I won't let that happen. Alpine: What exactly are your duties here at TA? NR: I am the Director of Human Resources. Right now it's the biggest division of Tactical Advance. It's the largest for the simple fact that, as opposed to the in game divisions that deal in virtual assets and mechanics, I deal with people and they already exist. Right now my duties are to grow our membership with quality members, take care of the members we have and oversee the officers in my division and ensure they have guidance support to carry out the management of the Tactical Advance community. TA will be a great community, but it takes time. My hope is that Tactical Advance will be a household name, in the space sim world at least. And that that name is synonymous with strength, decency and honor. Alpine: What do you like best about Tactical Advance? NR: What I like best about TA is the membership. The residents of this great community are diverse and hail from all corners of the globe. It's amazing to have a glimpse into the cultures, values and history of our members. We are so different, and yet so much in common. It's fascinating to me, and to a certain degree, restores a little faith in humanity for me. Alpine: and so what do you like least? what would you change if you could? NR: -What I like least about TA is the percentage of active players. We are a thousand strong, but less than a hundred regularly (loosely applied) participate. Forums, gaming events, meetings etc...This is what I would like to change. Alpine: What's your favorite ship currently? NR: I fell in love with the Aegis Avenger at first site. It reminds me a lot of the AV8B Harrier I used to work on in the Marines. There is a variant for it, the Warlock, that is coming for electronic warfare. That is what I have my eye on right now. I want to play an ewar role, maybe a tackler or a jammer and secondary fighter or even a scout fighter. Depends on what the ship ends up being capable of. If I were to get a second ship before launch, it would probably be something that hasn't been released yet. Alpine: What are you looking forward to most in the Persistent Universe? NR:  I am really banking on CR being able to make this dream a reality. What I am looking forward to most is for the (P)universe to fit together as promised. FPS, docking, crewing ships with your friends in "meaningful" ways, not just gimmicky garbage where the pilot actually does everything and the crew gets shiny buttons they can push. I want catastrophic player or npc attacks on supply chains to effect the inventory of the intended destination of those goods. I just want this game to be delivered as advertised with no bamboozling. I want to be able to make a difference. I for each player to be able to matter, to be a real contribution to the outcome of daily life in the verse. Alpine: What do you feel your focus will be once everything goes live? NR: My main area is focus will be on the protection of our org and its members. Escort missions, security details, scouting and jamming operations or any other job that needs done after that. I am also very interested in the engineering mechanics. I hope it's an actual fleshed out feature to reverse engineering technology, inventing new ways to employ equipment, jury rigging systems or components in a jam- that sounds cool. I want to come up with ways to improve weapons or defense and share that technology with the org so that we are all that much better. Alpine: Hypothetically. Your under attack. Out of ammo.. Weapons systems are down. What do you do? NR: Under attack and weapons down? If I am alone, evade and escape. If I'm protecting org or friendly assets, place myself between the threat and that which I am protecting. Use remaining countermeasures for us both to buy time for my charge to escape. Possibly find a way to close distance to threat and ram them out of commission. If that doesn't work, overload my own core within close enough proximity to eliminate the threat. Alpine: "Just a couple more questions for our readers please. Just to get a grasp on the kind of person you are." NR: Shoot. Alpine: If you had a time machine and could go backwards or forwards in time,  Where and why? NR: Time machine? Easy one, I would go a few thousand years into the future. I want to see if humans evolve, or destroy ourselves. I want to see what discoveries we've made I the universe by, say the year 3894. Not so much to answer the question, "Are we alone?" But to answer the question, "Who is out there?" Alpine: Sticking with the time machine idea... If you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self say 20 years... what would you say? NR: I would go back and tell myself not to listen to anyone else's bullshit. Decide for myself, use my own knowledge and experience...My heart and mind will guide me to the best decision. I wish I'd figured that out sooner, there are decisions I've made that I'll never stop regretting, but at least that reminder stays with me. Alpine: What Superpower would you most like to have? NR: My super power would be Wolverine's. Unbreakable, long (near limitless?) life, strong, fast and awesome built in weapons. I would have the ability to protect my family and hopefully live long into the future to see what humans do with our humanity. Alpine: Almost done. I know you need to go. What song would you sing on American Idol? NR: Shadows and regret by Yellowcard. Alpine:  Last question. What is your favorite quote? NR: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson I leaned back and smiled. I was confident after talking to NuttyRob that he was a man that I would follow. Honest, sincere and a true patriot. I walked him to the door of the coffee shop and shook his hand again. I thanked him for him for his time and wished him well on his investigation. I hope he succeeds because I am a member of the Security Division as well and don't like to think I have people stealing from us. I looked on as he walked down the concourse. "Semper Fidelis Sir. Semper Fidelis". I checked the Mobiglass for errors and submitted my story to my Editor, 22Actual. I thought to myself, I bet HE has a story to tell.....
  14. 6 points
    Ok so after @K1NGP1N made up a list for all the military members to put down their military ships i decided to work on my own spreadsheet for all ta members and all types of ships just so no one feels left out and also i have added an extra feature to the spreadsheet that adds up the total amount of ships and displays how many we have as an Org https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1eqqySoPDTdnhQcDKSKZV6l0FNunNPzg8GGqv0x_Boao/edit?usp=sharing Like K1NGP1N i'm trusting you guys with full access to edit everything so no messing around please as it does take time to do these lists so they work correctly. If anyone from industry or exploration want me to make them a list just ask and i'll do it for you Update- If you want to see the total value of your ships use this sum code thing, open it with notepad and replace (Ctrl+H) "A" with what ever your letter is (the letter above your name) and paste it under your total number of ships http://i.imgur.com/GYxeG8T.png total Ship value cal.txt
  15. 6 points
    UPDATE: Thank you everyone! We managed to reach our goal and get Zeus the money he needed for his sister! Hey everyone, i'm Sam. I am trying to help raise money for a member of TA named @zeus_anoxia (to help pay his sisters medical bills). Zeus has poured incredible amounts of his time into the organisation, be it on the forums or the wiki, and always tries to find engaging and new content. I would like to get the funds to him as soon as possible. If you can contribute anything, please do. Zeus has helped us grow as a community tremendously and I think its only right that we band together to help him in his time of need. Thank you everyone. Zeus will appreciate anything you can give. Fly safe o7, Sam Monahan aka Sam00197 HR Recruiter, Tactical Advance
  16. 6 points
    Patch 1.3 is now available on Live! This patch includes a large expansion to the ArcCorp’s Area 18. It adds the under-construction Galleria area, an overhaul of the social interface, new emotes and the addition of Greycat buggies around the zone that can be driven and crashed. We have also introduced some balance changes to both ship health and weapon damage, as well as a number of bug fixes to the game. Please fully restart your client and launcher to ensure your client is updated. It is strongly recommended that players delete their USER folder for the Public client after patching, particularly if they start encountering any odd character graphical issues or crash on loading. Please review our current list of 1.3 Known Issues, and take full advantage of our new Issue Council area of the Community site to report any bugs you encounter, as well as contribute to other players submissions. 1.3 Feedback is also now open for suggestions, feedback and non-bug reports. A few important call-outs: Allied players are sometimes showing up as enemies on Vanduul Swarm Coop. It is possible in some situations to load into matches with the incorrect ships. We are currently investigating these issues to have a fix as soon as possible. “CTRL+F” is the new keybinding for disembarking ships, not “F”. This is not a bug. Issues marked in the patch notes with a #hashtag were reported to CIG via Issue Council reports and contributions. Thank you all! Hangar Module Arena Commander Module Social Module Source
  17. 6 points
    Muffin

    Deathwish

    We walked past the flickering neon sign “Alpha's General Store” and walked up the narrow staircase. Combat boots stomping each step, creaking, fearing that it may collapse under our weight. Muffin follows closely behind Methos, placing my boots in the shoe prints made by Methos. Reaching the top of the stairs Methos pushes the door open and the bell jingled to announce our arrival. A human materialised behind the front desk and smiled gently. “Alpha, Alpha, Alpha...” Methos smiled back at him. “What can I do for you ladies?” He joked giving me a slight wink. His eyes skimmed over the bump that holsters Methos' ballistic pistol. He pulled out a tray of grey space dildos and placed it gently on the counter. “Fresh shipment, new design” He pushed one towards me. “No thanks Alpha, we're here for the mission.” Methos narrowed his eyes at him. Businessmen will always be businessmen. Alpha nodded and puts the tray away, turned around and pulled out an ornate box, wooden and carved, similar to ones found on our home planet. A wave of nostalgia hit me. I reached out and ran my finger gently over the carvings. Studying the details with my fingertips. I withdrew my hand quickly when Alpha reached for the box. He gently opens it to reveal what looked like a carved brass knuckle. Three holes to put your fingers through. Too big for human fingers though. “What is it?” I asked. Methos looked at me and gave me a warning glare. Asking questions was not a good trait in this profession. Asking questions at the wrong time and place had been my speciality. Alpha smiles and started writing down the co-ordinates “It's like a c**k ring for a Xi'an.” he replied. My mind raced briefly and it clicked....three appendages. Back in the hangar, the little minions were busy switching the weapons from my 350r to my Super Hornet. Each of the crew was making final touches to their ship and their gear. The special parcel was sitting in the storage cargo of Calien’s ship. There was no trouble to be expected, this was a practising experience for me. The set up for the mission was Methos and Flaming Cookie in their matching 350r's, Calien in his 325a, Muffin in her Super Hornet. Formation was to protect the 325A. Easy mission, easy UEC. I walked past the table where Flaming Cookie was drinking, empty bottle of whiskey sits in front of him. Calien walked up to him and pushes him with one finger; Flaming Cookie fell over sideways off his chair and rolled under the table. His hand appeared over the edge of the table briefly and disappeared again. “I have fallen under the table and can't seem to be able to get up” he slurred. Calien was now on the floor clutching his stomach and laughing uncontrollably. Methos approached us and frowned at what is left of the crumpled Cookie. Needless to say, we're going to be going on this mission with one short. We left the Phoenix wing hangar and proceeded with our mission. Should be back in time for dinner. We approach the dying star the most dangerous part of our journey, not because of the floating asteroids but also because of the hiding Vanduul. It was the quickest way to get to Hadur, where the client resides. We flew past the asteroid fields and we hear the system warning. “Enemy approaching” my ship announced in a slightly seductive voice. The Vanduul appeared from behind the asteroid field in front of us, and approached fast. An Alpha flew past starboard side and hit me with his Size 5 Plasma thrower. I turned back decoupled, shooting him with my Omniskies , all six of them. He may have first shot...but I have first blood. “Boys, we're about to have some fun” Calien announced. No such thing as a quiet day for Phoenix Wing. Slowly, we played around the asteroid fields, eliminating the Vanduul one by one but not without taking damage of our own. There was one ship, who we cannot seem to locate, it kept disappearing and reappearing on our radar, hiding behind asteroids. He identified on out targeting system as ‘Deathwish’. Methos rubbed his eyes, he could not believe how the day has turned out, an easy mission turned sour. Red flashed on his peripherals, checking his monitor his worse suspicions were confirmed. His weapons were destroyed most of his ship damaged, he was just a sitting duck. His little 350r was now just a cockpit with thrusters and an engine, his mind darted to the Omniskyies that he had put on for this mission, the ones that got obliterated by a Vanduul only minutes ago. Sweat beaded on his forehead, even the internal cooling system was down... just his luck. There was no way he could out manoeuvre Deathwish. “His flying is more dangerously than Flaming Cookies after he's had rum and tequila.” Calien announced over the communication system. “Guys, he's on my six, and closing fast. My thrusters are shot, I can't shake him” I pleaded with my team. This mission had taken a turn for the worse, but it was only Deathwish left. We had been picking off the Vanduul one by one. Methos made a turn and accelerated back towards my port side, He approached quickly and I expected him to start shooting, yet he made no attempt to pull up. He was trying to ram Deathwish head on. Before I could even say anything, he ejected and his 350r exploded on impact when it collided into Deathwish. Methos awoke to being slapped in the face, as he regained his focus he realised it was Muffin holding a fish in her hand. “Told you he'd wake up when he gets slapped in the face with a Kipper” Calien snickered. A smile formed on my face “Doing alright Methos?” He looked around at the brightness and realises he is in the hospital ward. “Muffin had to pick you up after you ejected, thank goodness the Super Hornet is two seated” Calien said. I dropped a sack of coins dropped on Methos' leg, his cut for the successful mission. “Deathwish is no more. His body was never recovered but his ship was blown to smithereens, as was yours. You are lucky to be alive, but it's sad what happened to your ship” I said. “Life time insurance! I'll get one with red stripes this time.” Responded Methos
  18. 6 points
    Tactical Advance

    New TA YouTube design

    All, As i am sure you all know we will soon have the new home page and forum going live. As well as the forum and home page this will also include my YouTube channel as well. Its going to take me 2 weeks to change all the thumbnails, i changed a few last night but have a way to go. A massive thanks for Delogic for doing this not only for my channel but also for the new images that are upcoming for the RSI site and the new flyer. I attached a image so you can see the changes. You can pop over to the channel and take a look as well. https://www.youtube.com/user/tacticaladvance
  19. 6 points
    Ryker

    The Warden: Part 7 - The Endgame

    Something I've always enjoyed is giving my persistent characters backgrounds and stories of how they got to where they are in life. This particular story is about my Star Citizen character, Warden Ryker. Over a series of parts, starting today, I will be introducing you to the Warden himself. Hope you enjoy. (Another note before we get started, if you've got any character origins and want this to be turned into an origins thread, give me a shout and I can edit it accordingly. Perhaps using Google Docs and providing links in this post so people can browse through one another's writing.) ==================================================================================== Space is lonely. There is no disputing that fact. Even as humanity took to the stars and spread far and wide across countless systems, space was barren. When we encountered new, extraterrestrial races and species, it only made us feel smaller, and more alone. What else lay in wait for us out in the deep, dark reaches between galaxies? It was something we had always wondered about - why did we decide to leave home? Sure, we would have never gained the knowledge and technologies we now cherish, but life on Earth was so simple, so... together. Part One: Reunited Floating silently through Sector 9-A of the Epsilon Eridani system, a single ship gracefully traversed the expanse. Appearing as nothing more than a bright dot in distance to anyone looking, the Constellation calmly slipped past debris from a nearby asteroid field. The field had been stripped bare of any valuable minerals many years ago, when humans were still expanding their reach. With its systems powered down and only the life support running, the ship was silent, save for an eerie hum from the rear compartment. Unless someone was really looking for it, the Constellation would never be found. Or so its captain had thought. A sudden, metallic clunk shuddered the ship, causing it to start a slow spin as it drifted. The jolt had awoken the captain, who nearly cracked his head open as he sat up in his bed. His heart pounding from the rude awakening, he released the straps which held him in place, and pushed himself towards the front of the ship. Grabbing one of the computer panels, he keyed in the startup key. He felt himself growing heavier as the ship's artificial gravity slowly kicked in, before planting his feet on the cold floor. Taking a seat by the computers, he scanned for any exterior damage. All signs indicated that the hull was still firmly intact, but the jolt had to have come from somewhere. It hadn't sounded like a boulder colliding with the ship, so he was cautious, scanning the immediate area around him. As he stared at the monitors, a look of bewilderment across his face, he heard the unmistakable sound of a ship's boarding collar locking. He cursed under his breath, leaping for a weapon. Loading the submachine gun and crouching behind cover in the form of empty food containers, he waited for the intruder to enter his ship. What seemed like hours passed, before the Constellation's top airlock swung open, and an unarmed male dropped into the room. "You really need to get that fixed, Warden," said a familiar voice. "For fu­ck's sake, Racoon," the captain responded. "I nearly shot you in the face. Whatever happened to knocking first?" "I figured that rough dock would be enough to wake you up," Racoon sniggered. The captain was not amused, but he was still glad to see a friendly face. It had been months since he last spoke to anyone. Propping his weapon against the wall, he stood and shook his friend's hand. "Long time no see," he smiled. "Long time," Racoon replied. "How did you find me?" the captain enquired. Racoon walked to the front of the Constellation and gazed out at Epsilon Eridani, a brilliant blue star twice the size of Sol. "To be honest mate," he started, "we've been tracking you for a few days now." "What?" "We picked up your signature near Kalos and have been tailing you ever since," Racoon continued. "Why?" asked the captain. "And wait, what do you mean 'we'?" Racoon turned back to face his old friend, then glanced up at the docking collar. "You can come down now." The captain stood silently as another figure emerged from the collar. This one landed with a much heavier thud, his armour weighing him down greatly. A blacked out private security visor hid the stranger's face, and the captain watched anxiously as the character surveyed the Constellation. "So this is what you call home now, 'ey Ryker?" came a deep, hearty voice. The captain racked through his brain for a moment, trying to place a name on this stranger. But no sooner than the puzzled look had swept his face, the stranger removed his helmet. "Sergeant Mitchell!" Captain Ryker exclaimed, amazed to see his old colleague again. "Five fu­cking years and you're still calling me Sergeant," Mitchell laughed, embracing the captain. "When will you remember that we don't work at that prison anymore?" Captain Ryker simply smiled. Had it really been five years? "It's good to see you again," said Ryker. "But now you two have made me even more curious. What brings you to Epsilon Eridani? Or more importantly," he said, his tone becoming deeper, "what brings you to me?" Part 2: The Warden and the Warrior Ever since he was a teenager, Ryker had possessed an overwhelming passion for justice. Growing up with his family's antique collection of early 21st century television shows and films, he had been a huge fan of masked superheroes, crime detectives, and vigilantes. It came as no surprise to his parents, nor his younger brother, when he left home at 19 to work alongside a private military corporation as a bounty hunter. While they always had their fears, his frequent messages home helped them with the knowledge that their eldest son was safe. Within just three years, Ryker had earned a name for himself in the world of bounty hunters, soon becoming known as one of the most successful in his home system. Several attempts were made on his life by pirates and criminal organisations, but none succeeded. On his 27th birthday, he received a bounty update on an infamous mass murderer, Navus Ganrah. Navus had laid waste to countless human and alien colonies, as he crossed the galaxy in his path of destruction. His intentions were never clear, but he often left sole survivors to pass on the story of how he singlehandedly levelled colonies, and reduced cities to dust with stolen weapons of mass destruction. A terrorist through and through, with no known roots aside from his brother, Drakil. He, too, was a wanted murderer, but fell far behind his brother's bounty. Upon opening the communiqué, Ryker decided that this was his moment - his calling. It was why he became a bounty hunter. After a quick refuel and rearm at a nearby orbital station, he was away. Pushing his vessel as hard as possible, he tore through jump points, desperate to reach the last known location of the master criminal. Arriving in a sector close to his destination, Ryker's Avenger chirped excitedly as it picked up an unusual reading on its sensors. Focusing on finding the signal source, the ship soon identified it as a Hull C transport ship. But something was amiss. Hull Cs usually travel with one or two escort ships in this quadrant, no thanks to the significant pirate activity. This Hull was travelling alone, and the strange signal made Ryker even more curious. Powering down some of the Avenger's systems in an attempt to reduce his signature, Ryker moved close to the Hull C, trying to get a clearer signal for his scanners to deconstruct. As he was nearing the mysterious hauler, his scanner lit up with a warning. A grim look shot across Ryker's face as he opened the alert message. The Hull C was carrying a nuclear payload, and was on a direct course for a mining colony stationed in the asteroid field ahead. "Oh s**t!" Ryker cursed, powering up the Avenger and boosting the throttle output. Frantically diverting power to the ship's thrusters, he tried desperately to catch up with the Hull, knowing full well who was commanding it. As he approached engagement range, he spotted a Cutlass latched to the opposite side of the Hull C. Clearly this was Navus' escape plan. As soon as he reached missile lock range, Ryker engaged his entire arsenal, and fired at the enemy ship. The smaller projectiles from the Avenger punched holes in the Hull's shields, which flickered just enough to let a few missiles breach. A large explosion on the port side of the Hull signified a direct hit, and the ship started to roll from the blast. But his efforts had been in vain, as the Hull continued on its path to the colony. The sight of its engines bursting into overdrive made Ryker's heart sink into his stomach, and he watched helplessly as the Cutlass detached and soared away from the asteroid field. Ryker could only watch as the Hull hurtled towards the colony. Shortly after, a blinding light shone from the asteroid field, throwing a shockwave of pure energy out in all directions. As the light dimmed, the extent of the attack was evident. Nothing remained but charred boulders of rock, and fragments of metal from the colony. Sat in shock of what had unfolded in front of him, Ryker had failed to notice the Cutlass approaching him from the side. A warning from his computer chimed as an array of missiles was locked onto his ship. The communications unit buzzed, and Ryker flipped a switch to accept the incoming transmission. The voice he heard was cold and harsh, but unmistakeable. "Enjoy the lightshow, kid?" taunted Navus. "You know, you almost had me there... Almost." "You're a monster," Ryker uttered under his breath. "A monster? Ha!" Navus laughed. "The only monster is the UEE," he snarled. "I'm merely a messenger." "You're sick," Ryker challenged. "And you're dead," replied Navus. He reached for the trigger that would destroy the Avenger, but before he could fire, eight ship signatures suddenly appeared as a small merchant convoy guarded by Vanguards appeared, having dropped out of the jump point. Navus growled. "It's your lucky day, kid." Turning his Cutlass away, he engaged his jump drive and disappeared from sight. Ryker exhaled deeply, his heart racing. As soon as he could, he hailed the convoy. Collecting himself, he detailed the events that had just happened, and, with the help of the convoy, set off to the nearest starport. Several days passed as Ryker though endlessly about his target, running over what he could have done differently to stop Navus. No matter what scenario he thought of, he concluded that nothing he could have done would have stopped the larger ship in time, and so shook the blame firmly where it belonged. Vowing to bring Navus to justice, Ryker set out to claim the bounty once more. He knew death would be a quick release for Navus, so his only option was to capture the terrorist and hand him to the UEE for punishment. For two years, Ryker travelled the galaxy in pursuit of his target. Other bounties arose on his travels, but he was focused solely on Navus, watching as the bounty grew as he left a trail of destruction in his wake. Finally, Ryker caught up to his enemy, who had holed up in an isolated and abandoned space station. Carefully planning his attack, Ryker saw that Navus was alone, and must have been searching the station for something. His first action was to disable Navus' Cutlass, preventing any escape. Moving quickly and quietly, Ryker flew up to the Cutlass, which sat in a depressurised docking bay. Emerging from his ship, he used his space suit to board the Cutlass, placing an explosive charge on both of the main engines. Retrieving his rifle from his back, he activated his magnetic boots, and started into the only open corridor leading out from the bay. The station was dark and cold, with debris floating around in the corridors. Opting not to use his flashlight for fear of being seen, Ryker moved swiftly through the station. Little time had passed before he heard movement in a room off the corridor. Raising his weapon, he swung through the opening, spotting a figure crouched in front of a container. "NAVUS!" he boomed. "Hands up, now! The figure in front of him paused, releasing a metallic object he held in his hand. "I said HANDS UP!" Ryker yelled, his rifle fixed on his target. "You got me," spoke the same cold voice Ryker had heard two years prior. Navus slowly stood, raising his hands above his head. He turned to Ryker, a sly grin on his face. "Nice job, ki-" Navus was cut off as Ryker struck him across the head with the butt of his rifle, knocking his nemesis out cold. Returning his rifle to its holster on his back, Ryker pulled a set of restraints from his suit. Shackling Navus' arms and legs together, he deactivated Navus' magnetic boots and lifted his weightless opponent onto his shoulder. A day later, Ryker arrived at a UEE military outpost, his billion credit bounty in tow. But hecared little for the reward money. Navus would be sent to Tenereth Prison, the maximum security facility hidden in the depths of the galaxy. Knowing that this criminal would be a threat even in prison, Ryker put his name forward as warden, offering that the reward fund be spent on upgrades for the prison, along with being used to support the surviving colonies affected by Navus' maniacal war path. After some deliberation, the UEE accepted his proposal. Following intensive training in the prison facilities, Ryker served at the prison for several years. During his time as Warden, he prevented multiple breakouts and rescue attempts, and befriended the head of security, Sergeant Gustav Mitchell. Eventually, satisfied with the prison's updated security protocols, he decided the time had come to leave his post. After stepping down as Warden, Ryker's younger brother, Gailen, took charge, eager to prove his ability. Thinking his brother would be safe and capable of maintaining the high security standards of the prison, Ryker dropped his title of Warden and opted to a life of exploration. Ten months later, here he was, greeting old friends in the depths of space. But something was clearly amiss. Part Three: Old Titles A moment of silence passed as neither Racoon nor Mitchell seemed able to answer, both knowing that the following news would be devastating to their old friend. Racoon cleared his throat, shifting his weight around uneasily. "Well, Warden-" he started. "I've not been warden for years, Racoon," Ryker interrupted. "Sorry War-... Kainen." Racoon corrected himself, but seemed unable to finish. "Well what is it?" Ryker pried, noticing a troubled look on Mitchell's face. "It's the prison, Ryker," Mitchell stepped in. "It's been destroyed." The news hit like a speeding train. Ryker was stunned, unable to think. His heart dropped into his stomach as a thousand thoughts raced through his mind. "Gailen?" Ryker stuttered. "Is he-" Racoon simply nodded, bowing his head. "We don't know for sure, but they couldn't find any trace of him." Mitchell stated. "The main tower was vaporised in the explo-" Racoon elbowed Mitchell sharply, cutting him off. A moment passed before Ryker spoke again. "When? How?!" he questioned, his mind suddenly filling with rage. "Who?" he snarled through his teeth. Mitchell stepped forward to answer. "Two weeks ago. A prisoner transport convoy was attacked and used to sabotage the main gate with a self destruct sequence. They must have rigged their ships with explosives to break through. It opened the way for a squadron of heavily modified Cutlasses which dropped mercenaries into the dock. They had Gladiators supporting with bombing runs, too. They killed everyone, prisoner and guard alike. All but one." "They were there for Navus Ganrah," Racoon finished. "So you know who was leading the attack." "Drakil? You're saying Drakil Ganrah managed to mount an offensive on the most secure prison in the galaxy, and succeed?" Ryker asked angrily. "All to break out his shitbag brother, yes." Mitchell replied. "Where was the UEE in all of this? Surely they would have sent the military as soon as the convoy was attacked?" Ryker queried. "They never knew the convoy was hit until it was too late. Drakil used some kind of singal jamming frequency to stop outgoing communications from the convoy, but was able to replicate their checkpoint messages so they wouldn't arouse suspicion." Ryker took a moment to compose himself, then pressed for more information. "As much as it pains me to say, you didn't come here to tell me about my brother's death. That news would have passed to me at the next starport." He paused. "So that means you know where Navus went," he concluded, staring at Racoon. "Yes," he responded. "The Security Council stressed that we bring you in to take these bastards down. You were the reason Navus was in that hellhole in the first place, so they figured you'd be the best person to put him back behind bars." Mitchell stepped forwards and placed his hand on Ryker's shoulder. "We're gonna find the son-of-a-b***h, Captain, and you're gonna be there when it happens." Ryker stood silently for a moment before speaking. "I think it's time to go back to my old title." Ryker looked up at his old security chief and spoke sternly. "When we find them, I'm not taking them to the UEE." He paused, a cold look in his eyes. "I'm going to do what I should have done ten years ago: I'm going to kill them." Mitchell grinned, firmly shaking Ryker's hand. "Let's get the bastards, Warden." Rushing to power up the Constellation, Ryker threw aside piles of paperwork and stacks of old music collections. Racoon and Mitchell returned to the Cutlass which had remained firmly attached to the Andromeda, and released the docking clamps. A muffled clunk signalled that the Cutlass was clear of Ryker's ship, and the smaller craft edged forwards, coming into view from the Constellation's cockpit. A strong humming started to ebb from the rear of the ship as the Andromeda's engines spooled up. "First port of call is Eradia," Racoon announced over the ship-to-ship comm. "There are some people there who are very keen to make your acquaintance." "Lead on," Ryker ushered. The Cutlass pointed its nose towards the large, Earth-like planet in the distance, and slowly started forwards. Following suit, Ryker engaged the engines and crept towards the Cutlass. "How are your jump systems, Warden?" Mitchell asked. "They've not been used in a while, but they'll do the trick," came the response. "Alright. Engaging jump drive in three... two..." The Cutlass began to vibrate as the drive charged. "One." A sudden burst of sound, followed by some smaller debris from the asteroid field sweeping past the Constellation, was all that suggested the Cutlass had been present. Only the Constellation's scanners showed any other evidence that a ship had occupied that space just moments before. "Guess it's time for a little extra human contact," Ryker said aloud, keying in the jump sequence. The much larger Constellation started to vibrate too, as its powerful jump drives kicked into action. A countdown appeared on the display in front of Ryker as he sat himself back in his chair. The timer hit zero, and the ship lurched forwards violently, its drives slightly tense from a lack of activity. The jump was anything but smooth, as the worn ship creaked and its chassis strained. Clearly the ship was in a worse state than Ryker had initially thought, but before he could make a mental note to get the drives repaired, the vessel violently slowed as it reached its destination. "Now entering Eradia territory. This is UEE chartered space, please abide by the laws of the local syst-" Ryker silenced the automated message from the navigation beacons dotted around the planet. Having spent the last few months hidden away in the furthest reaches of the Epsilon Eridani system, he had been able to see Eradia as a tiny white speck in the distance. Smaller than the distant stars, but still just large enough to be seen, he had often pondered visiting the planet. "Over here, Ryker," Racoon spoke, pinging his communications relay. "I have you," Ryker responded, adjusting his course to follow the smaller Cutlass. Locking onto the ship, he set his flight speed to match that of his allies. "Take us in." Part Four: The Help The bustling capital city of Eradia was always unnerving to Ryker. Having grown up on one of the smaller colonies in the sector, he found the crowds to be unsettling, almost unnatural. He had only visited the capital once before, to collect a bounty payment many years prior. Stepping out from his Constellation on one of the many landing pads, he was struck by the noise of the busy city. Space was eerily quiet, but having spent so long in solitude, Ryker had grown used to the silence. "Ryker!" called Racoon, waving him over. "How do you cope with the constant noise?" Ryker asked. "This? I suppose we're just used to it," Racoon replied. "Not everyone's a shut in like you," he said, a nervous smile on his face. Ryker smiled back, and looked over to Mitchell, who was stood talking to some official-looking figures. "These our contacts?" Racoon looked over his shoulder. "Yep, this guys mean serious business. UEE higher-ups. Young, clearly looking for a fight to lend their names to." "This might well be one for the history books," Ryker commented. "I hope they know what they're getting into." As the duo approached Mitchell and the uniforms, they stopped their conversation and focused on Ryker. "You must be Captain Ryker," one of the uniforms started. "It's Warden now," Mitchell corrected. "Ah, I see. Warden Ryker," he continued, his arm outstretched for a handshake. "Your friends speak rather highly of you." "They shouldn't," Ryker replied, shaking the UEE official's hand. "What do I call you then? I see you're not wearing any ranking insignia?" "I'm Jacobs, and this," he said, motioning to his colleague, "is Taylor. We're not your standard breed of UEE, hence the lack of labels." "Our operations are a little more... classified than the usual UEE ventures," Taylor finished. Ryker reached over to shake Taylor's hand. "So, you're the guys who thought they could use an old Warden to take down the Ganrahs?" The officials nodded. "Firstly, we're deeply sorry about your brother. He was a great man, and a good friend," Jacobs said, an honestly torn look on his face. "I wasn't aware Gailen had any friends," Ryker joked, trying to crack a smile. Jacobs looked up at Ryker and forced a smile. "Plenty. Which is why we're all the more sorry for your loss." "Well that's why I'm here. What do you know about the Ganrah brothers? What's the latest?" Ryker pressed. The group started walking towards a large hangar, which appeared to be abandoned. No staff, nor civilians, were anywhere near it. Barren of any markings signifying ownership, no-one would ever give it a second glance, especially not in the middle of a busy city. Approaching a small door at the front of the hangar, Jacobs swiped a key card against a panel, and the door slid open. Stepping inside, Ryker was stunned by what he saw before him. The hangar was incredibly modern, with multiple observation floors, work benches, and even a large armoury on the far wall. "What is this place?" Ryker question. "Welcome to High Guard," said Taylor. "The UEE's hidden agenda," joked Jacobs. "Is that what I think it is?" Ryker asked, pointing to the ship in the centre of the hangar. "Sure is. Brand new, just came out of prototype," Taylor answered. "What's a High Guard without a flagship?" Stood proudly amidst a collection of Hornets and Vanguards was a highly modified, and incredibly rare alien vessel. Standing at just over a hundred metres in length and around fifty metres tall, with sleek lines and an impressive profile, was a Banu Merchantman. The first Ryker had ever seen. "It's amazing," he complimented, taken aback by the awesome vessel. "Banu technology with UEE firepower. We took the best the Banu had to offer and made it better," Taylor explained. "We needed something that wouldn't draw too much attention in lawless space." "So you naturally picked one of the rarest clippers in the galaxy?" Ryker questioned. Taylor laughed. "Nothing says 'definitely not UEE' better than a rare alien ship." Ryker had to admit, it was a fair point. "So," Ryker started. "You've got the ships, you've got the firepower... what's stopping you from getting Navus?" Jacobs stepped forwards and handed Ryker a holo-display with the Ganrahs plastered all over it. He tapped the screen to open a new window, and pointed. "That," he said, "is what's stopping us." As the screen loaded the page, Ryker suddenly understood the severity of the situation. The screen showed a picture of the UEE's prized frigate, the Galahad. Only it was in a sorry state. "About a year ago, the Galahad was returning from a civilian relations tour with a small fleet of support fighters, when it was attacked by a gang of what at the time were thought to be pirates," Jacobs explained. "At the time, meaning now you think it was Drakil?" Racoon spoke up. "We don't think, we know," said Taylor. "It was the ship that led the assault on Tenereth Prison." "You seem to have left that part out," Ryker said to his friends. Mitchell grunted, and Racoon shifted his weight. "Yeah, sorry about that." "We didn't have the means necessary to take the frigate out, let alone take it back," Taylor continued. "Our resources were spread thin, but then, to make matters worse-" "It disappeared," interrupted Jacobs. "Poof. Bam. Gone. Not a trace." "How do you make an Idris disappear?" Mitchell questioned. "Apparently by being Navus Ganrah," Taylor replied. The group moved into the observation room overlooking the hangar, and were brought up to speed on the situation. The High Guard had planned to use the modified Merchantman to destroy the Galahad if needed, utilising the powerful rail gun they had fitted in the centre column of the ship. It seemed to be a solid plan, until the Idris went missing. "So that's where you come in," Taylor said, as the briefing came to a close. "You need me to hunt down the Ganrahs," Ryker deduced. "Pretty much." Ryker paused, mulling over the briefing. "Well, I've got their ship signatures still logged on my systems, so if we can get near enough I'll be able to scan for them." "How near is 'near enough'?" Jacobs enquired. "Short wave range," he replied. "f**k me that's going to be cutting it close," Mitchell blurted. "It's the best we can do. But we don't have any idea where they might be, so it's hopeless trying to find them," Ryker said. "Unless..." "Unless we came across some intel that suggests one of the brothers was last spotted by a trade convoy in lawless space," finished Taylor. "You've got a sector?" Ryker asked. "Better yet," Jacobs said, bringing up a map of the galaxy on the holo-table in front of them and pointing to a star. "We've got the system." Part Five: Down the Rabbit Hole Ryker stood beside his Andromeda, checking his flight suit then the ship's external systems. This was a hell of an undertaking, he thought to himself. UEE support and prototype technology? These guys were serious. As his thoughts ran through his mind, Racoon approached in his full flight gear. "You ready, Warden?" he asked. Slamming one of the exterior panels shut and slapping it to make sure it was locked shut, Ryker replied. "As ready as I'll ever be. You taking your Cutlass?" "Nah, they're lending me one of their Hornets for this. Could get pretty messy." "Makes sense. And Mitchell?" Ryker queried. Racoon motioned over his shoulder, where Ryker saw his old security chief prepped in full heavy combat gear, about to climb aboard a Redeemer gunship. "Same old Mitchell," Ryker laughed. "Let's get to it." Ryker boarded his Andromeda, watching Racoon walk to a fully outfitted Hornet as his access lift rose. Moving to the main bulkhead, he checked his weapons and ammunition counts. Content with the amount of firepower he had aboard, Ryker took his seat at the front of the vessel, and powered up the ship. "Comms check," he spoke. A brief pause followed. "High Guard check, all systems green," Jacobs responded. "Callsigns as follows. Ryker, Anvil One. Mitchell, Anvil Two. Racoon, Anvil Three. Taylor, Anvil Four. Jacobs, Anvil Five. Second squadron led by Anvil Six. Confirm." "Confirm," came several responses, each repeating their callsign. "Callsign check confirmed, moving out," Jacobs stated. Ryker powered up the Andromeda's thrusters and started to ease the ship off the ground. The more agile Hornets and Vanguards quickly took to the skies, racing ahead to a holding pattern just outside of the planet's orbital sector. The bulkier Constellation rose steadily, and once it was clear of the landing pad, Ryker gave the thrusters a quick boost of fuel, sending the ship rocketing forwards. Watching his radar eagerly, he waited for a large blip that indicated the Merchantman's presence. Sure enough, a few moments later the blip popped onto the screen, and started to close in on the Constellation. Easing off the throttle enough to let the Banu vessel catch up, Ryker heard its immense engine rattling the atmosphere as it grew closer. He continued forward at half throttle, watching intently as the clipper tore past, the engines increasing their output as the ship gained altitude. It was a grand sight, and looked even more majestic than Ryker could have imagined. Regrouping just beyond the orbital sector, the small fleet powered forward towards the jump point that would take them closer to their mark. "Remember, Anvils One through Three are the only ships going through the second jump. All other units will hold in the next sector until signalled," Taylor reminded them. As they reached the jump point, the smaller Vanguards and Hornets rushed ahead, diving into the astral phenomenon. The Redeemer swiftly followed, and Taylor pushed through with his modified Vanguard. "See you on the other side," he said, his ship entering the void. "After you," Jacobs said, allowing Ryker to traverse the jump without having to worry about the larger Merchantman closing in behind. "I'll signal when we're all clear," Ryker replied, throttling up and flying into the jump point. This jump had been traversed many times before, forming a simple two-jump route between the Epsilon Eridani system and the Humal system, which was fortunately where Drakil was last seen. The jump was smooth, and Ryker soon found himself dropping out into the UEE-owned Verdunn system. "Jump clear," he called out, moving over towards the rest of the fleet. Moments later, the Merchantman emerged, the alien hull making the apparition somewhat eerie. Joining the rest of the fleet, Jacobs scanned the sector with the powerful sensors on the modified Banu vessel. The fleet quickly crossed the sector, which was barren aside from a few small asteroids which had already been plucked of all valuable materials. A few citizens passed by in the distance, their Auroras almost impossible to spot in the vast expanse of space. Jacobs spotted an unusual reading, and called it out to the fleet. "I'm picking up some debris far afield. Looks like a turret, specs match a Vanguard." "What's that mean? Open conflict in UEE space?" Racoon asked. "Unsure," Jacobs replied. "But- wait... Jesus Christ," he cursed. "Someone's still in it..." "Alive?" Mitchell questioned. "Looks that way." "Anvil Two, can you move to secure?" Racoon asked. "We need to get them to a hospi-" "Negative," interrupted Taylor. "The mission is Drakil. We can't afford any distractions." Ryker knew he was right. The mission took priority. "Hang in there," Racoon sighed, moving on. Arriving at the jump point, the fleet arranged itself into a breaching formation, light fighters at the front with the Merchantman at the rear, its modified railgun ready to fire as soon as needed. "Alright Anvil, next jump point takes us to Humal. Radio silence from here on out," Taylor ordered. Ryker, Racoon and Mitchell moved their ships to the opening of the jump point, staying within visual range of one another. Ryker raised his hand, glancing over to his teammates, then closed his hand into a fist, signalling the jump. This jump was another smooth ordeal, the large clearance making manoeuvres a piece of cake, even in a larger ship. The three vessels navigated the jump without any issues, each emerging at separate times to avoid a large emergence signature. Similarly to the Verdunn system, Humal was charted as essentially barren. Ryker wondered to himself what Drakil could have been doing in this sector, as it only had two known entry points, and Drakil wouldn't have risked getting so close to UEE space for no reason. "Eyes on a swivel," he signalled to his teammates using their short-range communicators. "Nothing on scanners," Mitchell stated. "Chances are he's already gone." "We need to be sure. Let's do a quick sweep. Stay spread out, we'll cover the sector quickly then call the fleet through," Ryker ordered. "Just make sure you're within short-wave range." Splitting up, the trio started scaling the large, empty system. Surely finding a ship in this region would be easy, Racoon thought to himself as he eased his ship forwards. There was little ahead, a small field of debris was visible far ahead, and a single large asteroid floated weightlessly in the centre of the field. "Got something," Racoon said, moving towards the field. "Running scanners." Edging closer, Racoon's sensors failed to pick up anything other than some metallic fragments and leftover mineral deposits. Swinging the Hornet over the asteroid, it was clear the field was empty. "Never mind, I've got nothing," he said, slightly disappointed. "Keep looking, we'll cover this then move to the next jump point," Mitchell said. He continued forward in the Redeemer, trying to make visual contact with anything out of the ordinary. Scanning the space in front of him, he couldn't spot anything worth mentioning, and the on board scanners were reading nothing noteworthy. One more look, he thought to himself. Suddenly, something glistened in his peripheral vision. It was tiny, and he had almost missed it. It was likely just some sort of metallic debris in the distance, but he had to be sure. "It's clear, regroup at the asteroid and we'll radio through for the fleet," Ryker said. "Just a minute boss, there's something out here," Mitchell replied. Knowing that a ship would have shown on their scanners, Ryker allowed him to proceed. "Alright, we'll be at the field. Try to make it quick." Mitchell throttled up, increasing his speed towards the area he'd seen the glistening. Slowing the ship again as he neared the position, he noticed his sensors suddenly detecting a frequency. Whatever it was, it was active. "I've got something here guys," Mitchell said over his short-range communicator. "Guys?" he questioned, having not heard a reply. Damn, I must be out of range, he thought. Easing towards the source of the signal, he squinted in an attempt to see the object. Another flash shone clearly in front of him, this one much larger than the first. It was quickly followed by a reasonably bright light, which looked a lot like a booster flame. "Oh s**t!" he yelled, quickly trying to power up the ship's shields. But it was too little too late. The torpedo impacted the front quarter of the Redeemer, shearing the hull apart and separating the cockpit from the rest of the ship in the explosion. Ryker and Racoon watched in horror as their ally's ship exploded, seemingly out of nowhere. Stunned by the distant blast, neither could react. Mere seconds later, Ryker's sensors lit up as a small cluster of ships emerged from a jump point which seemed to materialise from nothing. The duo could only watch as the ships headed straight for Mitchell's crippled ship. It had been a trap - the ships were clearly waiting for unsuspecting prey to enter the system. Ryker composed himself as best he could, making note of the ships and the unknown jump point's location. Three Cutlasses, two heavily armed Black variants, and the third covered with an all too familiar marking. Ryker remembered the markings from the mission briefing: it was Drakil. "Ryker, this is our shot. We need to follow him," Racoon urged, his voice trembling somewhat from the events that had just transpired. "We have to wait for them to go back through to hold the jump point open for the fleet," Ryker replied. "We just have to wait for the bastard to leave." "But what about Mitchell?" Racoon pressed. Ryker sighed, his grip on the controls tightening in anger. "There's nothing we can do for him now, not without risking losing Drakil." The pair watched helplessly as the pirate ships scavenged what they could from the wreck, hoping that their ship signatures would remain hidden by the asteroid. Ryker watched as Drakil's Cutlass circled the others, and soon noticed that they were starting to move towards the jump point. "This is it, you'll need full throttle to catch them, but no boost. The heat sig will be too much and their sensors will pick it up," Ryker said to his teammate. "Let's move." Throttling up to full speed, the two quickly covered the distance, watching as the Cutlasses disappeared into the jump. Racoon started counting down, knowing roughly how long the jump point would be open for. "We should make it," he announced. Bearing down on the void, the two urged their ships forward, hoping that the point didn't collapse in front of them. "Five seconds," Racoon announced. "Use your boost!" Ryker barked. The Hornet suddenly surged ahead, its powerful thruster lighting up the ship's signature on their scanners. Drakil would be in the jump still, and wouldn't be able to detect them now. Four seconds. Three. Just two seconds remained as Racoon's Hornet grazed the entrance to the void, and the hole fluctuated as it quickly tried to hold itself open. Yes! Ryker pumped his fist. "This is Anvil One, target has been sighted and is moving through an uncharted jump point. We need to move now!" he called to the fleet. Shortly after, the entire fleet blinked into appearance at the exit to the previous jump point, the smaller fighters bearing down on the duo as fast as possible. The surprisingly agile Merchantman soon followed. "Where's Mitchell?" Taylor asked. "Hit by a dormant," Racoon replied. "Tore his ship apart." "S**t. Did he...?" Jacobs trailed off, fearing the worst. "We don't know. But we're assuming the worst. The mission is Drakil," Ryker responded sternly. "Alright Anvil, this is it. We don't know anything about this jump, so the fighters will have to go through in small numbers," Jacobs started. "Once we know how big the jump is, we can follow in the Merchantman. Chances are they're guarding the jump exit, so have your shields powered up fully and your weapons ready. This is it." He paused for a moment. "Alright Anvil, let's move out," he ordered, the second squadron disappearing into the void. Part Six: Into the Fray The wait for a signal from the second fleet seemed to take an eternity. Ryker's heart raced in his chest, the adrenaline of the chase finally kicking in. Racoon stared at his communications array, tapping his foot nervously as he watched the readings fluctuate. Suddenly, the silence was broken as the second fleet made contact. "Anvil Five, this is Anvil Six. We've arrived in the enemy sector. Initial scans show significant enemy activity. We charted the jump for you, it'll be a tight squeeze but the asset will make it through," the fleet leader reported. "We've already engaged with two smaller scouts and destroyed them, we don't think they were able to make contact with the others." "Copy that, Anvil Six," Jacobs replied. "Ryker, Racoon - lead on. Same as last time, I'll follow once you're clear." Not needing to be told twice, Ryker throttled forward and quickly crossed the jump point's threshold. Knowing it would be large enough to take the much bigger Merchantman, he knew his Constellation would fit through without a hitch. Racoon soon followed, with Taylor bring up the rear. Ahead in the unknown sector, the large second fleet was struggling to remain unnoticed. Clearly this was Drakil's base of operations, as an armada of Auroras darted around a large, apparently damaged space station. Dotted amongst the mix were several Cutlasses, along with the captured Avengers and Hornets from the Tenereth prison. The station was a fortress, and it was going to take a huge assault to wipe out Drakil and his men. The leader of the second fleet was starting to feel nervous, worried that the large signature of the fleet would soon be picked up. It wasn't long before his fears were brought into reality, as a Hornet suddenly stopped in its tracks and turned towards the fleet's position. A few seconds passed, then the Hornet quickly turned away and boosted towards the station. "Oh s**t," Anvil Six cursed. "All units, we've been detected. Move to attack formation. We move as soon as Anvils One and Three are through." He paused to open comms to Jacobs. "Anvil Four, this is Anvil Six. We've been spotted. Proceed through the jump point with caution, we're engaging the enemy as soon as Ryker and Racoon are through." "Affirmative," Jacobs responded, easing the Merchantman forwards. "Just give the word." Seconds after Jacobs' message had reached Anvil Six, Ryker and Racoon emerged from the jump point, their weapons primed and ready. "You're clear!" Anvil Six relayed back. "Anvils One and Three, form up on me." The duo moved into formation with the rest of the fleet just as a sizeable attack force from the station started to bear down on their position. "I'm reading forty Auroras, six Cutlasses and a handful of Hornets. Should be a pretty even fight," Ryker announced to the fleet. Swiftly advancing on the enemy ships, the UEE ships locked onto their targets and started to open fire with their powerful weapons. In the first few moments of the conflict, several Auroras were quickly put down, along with one of the enemy Cutlasses. It looked like this battle would be over with quickly, but before anyone had time to feel optimistic, a second wave of fighters emerged from the station's docking bay. "f**k me, we've got incoming!" came a startled call over the radio. The Vanguards broke out of the formation and circled around to get a better look at the next wave, firing small bursts into the fray. "They're not dispersing, this next wave's going to pack a punch!" "I've got an additional ten Cutlasses moving in, along with twelve, wait, thirteen Hornets. Heavily armed," the report came in across the comms relay. "Oh man, they've got Freelancers coming in too! Break formation! Avoid their main cann-" The feed was cut off as a Vanguard exploded after taking a direct hit from the superior size five cannons on the Freelancer MIS variants which bore down on the fleet like a pack of hungry wolves. "We're taking casualties!" "I'm hit, someone get this bastard off my tail!" The radio chatter was all over the place, the enemy attack force having taken the second fleet entirely by surprise. "Where the hell is our asset?!" another boomed into his headset. As he finished his sentence, the agitated pilot watched helplessly as one of the Freelancers locked onto his ship. The onboard computer rang sirens to tell him several missiles were locked, but before he could react, the MIS erupted into a fireball, tearing into thousands of pieces. "What the-?" "Asset on the field," Jacobs announced, having fired off the large point defence cannon atop the Banu vessel. "Primary weapon is ready to fire. Ryker, I need a target." "Priority is stopping these bastards from getting reinforcements, fire on their main dock," Ryker suggested. "Wait, no! At the rear of the station, look!" one of the pilots interrupted. Sure enough, emerging from the rear of the station was a small squadron of Cutlasses, one of them bearing the telltale mark of the Ganrah brothers. "It's Drakil," Ryker snarled. "He's mine." Using all the power he could draw from his generator, Ryker tore through the battlefield in an attempt to close the gap between him and Drakil. Smaller Auroras fired pot shots at the well-shielded Constellation, which Ryker responded to with precise blasts from his larger turrets. "I'm firing on the Cutlasses," Jacobs announced to Ryker. "Watch your path." Ryker continued towards the small group, the first two of which were suddenly disintegrated by the Merchantman's rail gun. The projectile continued on its destructive path, colliding with the space station. A massive fireball erupted from the side of the structure, and several smaller ships were dragged out into space. Holed up inside the station's command centre, Navus sat and watched as the battle raged on. "Navus, we can't keep this up. They'll punch through in no time with that Merchantman," one of his followers commented. "Order the others through. We can afford to leave our prize undefended for a short while if it means taking out this UEE rabble," he ordered. He continued to watch as he spotted his brother moving through the debris of his wingmen, noticing an all too familiar ship closing in. "And who's this?" he questioned aloud. Curious as to the identity of the Constellation pilot who had broken through his defensive line, Navus took to his feet. "Prepare my ship," he barked to his commanders. "Time we showed our guests what we're capable of." Ryker eased off the power, slowing his ship to a manoeuvring velocity and diverting the remaining power to his shields. He knew that these were no ordinary Cutlasses, having been heavily modified with stolen military hardware. Although, his Constellation was packing a few surprises of its own, thanks to the High Guard modifications that had been applied back on Eradia. He opened a free comms channel, and spoke clearly into his headset. "Looks like I've finally caught up to you, Drakil," he started. Taking a moment, he waited for Drakil to respond. "Well, if it isn't big brother!" he taunted. "Tell me, did your UEE buddies let you know how your kid brother died? How he begged for his life?" "They told me all I needed to know - that you're the sick f**k who did it. I'm just here to repay the favour," Ryker replied, doing his best to ignore the taunt. "No matter," said Drakil. "I'll have you begging for yours in a moment." Ryker's Constellation was abruptly hit by a barrage of high-explosive rounds, designed to push his shields to their limits. Smaller laser fire peppered the shields, preventing them from having time to recharge. They were draining quickly, and Ryker had to respond. Taking control of his modified turrets, he aimed at one of the two remaining wingmen who accompanied Drakil. A few precise shots to his target's engines saw them spark and splutter as they failed, before exploding and shearing the ship apart. These disruptor rounds were doing the trick, completely ignoring the enemy shields. Locking onto the second wingman, Ryker released a further accurate burst of fire, the shots penetrating through the Cutlass's hull. A stray projectile burst through the cockpit, and a spatter of blood over the front viewing port showed that the shot had hit its mark. The Cutlass swung towards Drakil, who failed to notice the out-of-control ship, his mind too focused on taking out Ryker's shields. By the time he glimpsed his wingman's vessel closing in, it was too late. The ship collided with a powerful blow, ripping Drakil's Cutlass in half. Even the stolen armour plating couldn't protect the ship from that sort of impact. Having lost his power supply and thrusters, Drakil was left floating helplessly in his cockpit. "You think you're enough to stop our plans, Ryker?!" he yelled. "You can kill me, but you and your precious UEE still lose." "Explain," Ryker said sternly, locking one of his missiles onto the wreckage. "You're missing our ace in the hole," Drakil laughed. The Galahad, Ryker thought to himself. They must have it nearby. "Thanks for the warning," he said, pressing down on the missile release. Drakil cackled maniacally as the missile closed in, Ryker's radio suddenly going silent as the Cutlass was vaporised by the blast. One down, Ryker noted. Navus had watched from the station as his brother's ship was destroyed, slamming his fists against the viewing window in a fit of rage. "I'll kill him!" he promised. "Where the hell are our reinforcements?!" He turned to one of his subordinates. "What's taking them so long?" "I d-d-don't know," he stuttered, fearful of Navus' anger. "They s-should be here." Navus clenched his fists, about to throw a punch at his supporter, but was interrupted by the appearance of a number of Redeemers and Mustang Deltas, each fully equipped for combat. "At last," he growled, turning towards the main dock. "Make sure the prisoner is on my ship before I get there," he called out to his panicked supporter. "Or it'll be your head." The appearance of yet more fighters and gunships had a huge blow to the second fleet's morale, their losses still adding up as they cleared the space around the station. "Multiple hostiles inbound from an unknown jump point," Taylor reported. "Jacobs, take out those Redeemers!" "Firing!" Jacobs exclaimed, the point defence cannon aimed squarely at one of the gunships. A distant fireball signalled a good hit, and the reinforcements scattered to avoid further shots. "Vanguard squadron are going to need to take out the rest," he stated. "Yessir," came the response as the remaining Vanguards broke off to pursue the new contacts. "Ryker, what's the situation up there?" Taylor asked, unable to clearly see through the growing debris field. "Drakil is dead. I'm looking for Navus," came the reply. "Keep these guys off me. Racoon, can you get to my position?" "No can do Ryker, I'm trying to shake this Hornet. I'll be there as soon as I can, but I can't promise anything," his ally responded. "Help him out, Taylor," Ryker asked of the UEE operative. Taylor swung his Vanguard around and raced towards Racoon, who was desperately trying to shake his pursuer. "I can't get a lock if you're moving around like that, Racoon," Taylor said, aware of the short time he would have to gain a lock if his ally stopped trying to evade. "Bring him towards me and prepare to break away once I've got a lock." "Copy," Racoon acknowledged, levelling out and heading for Taylor's position. "Say the word." "... Now!" Taylor exclaimed, firing the massive chaingun mounted to the front of his ship. The bullets tore through the empty space, narrowly missing Racoon as he jerked the controls back to pull up. The bullets peppered the enemy's shields, distorting his visibility. Unable to see where Racoon went, the panicked pilot carried on forwards, giving Taylor a clean lock. "Goodnight," he said as he launched two of his missiles. "Good hit," Racoon stated as the Hornet was obliterated. "Thanks, let's head over and support the rest of the Vanguards." Ryker was still scanning the area to try and find any signs of Navus, but it was looking less likely that he was there by the second. They would have to scour the station for any new intel, which could take them days to build a new lead, he thought. Ready to give up hope of finding his nemesis, he suddenly saw a new communication request from an unknown source. Accepting the request, he waited quietly for a message. "Close call, Ryker," came a cold and familiar voice. "Hiding in your station all this time were we?" Ryker taunted his enemy. Navus laughed. "Not quite. I underestimated your little fleet," he admitted. "I have to say, I wasn't prepared for your secret weapon. Quite impressive, using Banu tech like that." "Give yourself up, Navus. That rail gun will tear this station apart in seconds. There's nowhere to run." "Oh, but there is," Navus snarled. "You see, you have your secret weapon, and I have mine." The connection dropped to static as Navus closed the line, emerging from the main dock in his Cutlass. A small squadron of Super Hornets accompanied him, and made a beeline for the jump point the reinforcements had arrived from just minutes prior. "Navus is escaping!" Ryker called to the Vanguard squadron, who were mopping up the stragglers. "We have visual," one of the pilots replied. "Bravo team, take out those Hornets." The Vanguards moved in, engaging with Navus' escort fighters. Navus carried on towards the jump point, doing his best to avoid the Vanguards. "I'm moving in to follow," Ryker announced, moving his ship towards the engagement. As he grew closer, two of the Hornets spotted his Constellation and moved in for the kill, knowing that their more nimble fighters would be able to make short work of the Andromeda. Ryker's computer lit up as three missiles were locked onto his signature. He prepared to launch countermeasures, but a sudden barrage of fire from the multiple gun points on the Hornets shook the ship, tearing through his shields. Several of the ship's displays sparked from the impacts, forcing Ryker to raise his arm to his face and protect himself. Then came the missile impacts. The entire ship trembled and rocked as the first two missiles hit, tearing apart his ship's engines and sending him into a spin. The third missile struck the side of the hull, ripping open a wide hole in the rear section. The Constellation was in a bad way, but Ryker fought with the controls and acquired one of the hornets in his sights. Opening fire with his turrets, the powerful projectiles destroyed one of his attackers in mere seconds. Then, disaster. The turrets failed, the cooling system leaking fluid into space. His weapons were all but useless. "I'm a sitting duck here," Ryker said in defeat, waiting for that fateful missile lock. But it never came. Taylor's Vanguard swept in from beneath the Constellation, opening fire on the remaining Hornet. "I've got this one, follow Navus. Don't let him slip by!" Taylor announced. Ryker did his best to divert power to his remaining thrusters, and was able to get the crippled ship moving towards the point where he had last seen Navus. But his target was nowhere to be seen. "He must have gone into the jump point," Racoon said over the radio. "I can follow!" "No, it's too dangerous. Regroup with the others," Ryker replied. "I can chart this jump for you to follow with the Merchantman." "You'll never make it through, have you seen the state of your ship?!" Racoon argued. Ryker didn't respond, instead activating his boosters and heading straight for the jump point. "Make sure they're ready," he ordered, disappearing into the void. Part Seven: The Endgame The Constellation trembled as it emerged from the jump point, its chassis having barely managed to stay in one piece. The shields sparked as the damaged emitter struggled to cover the hull, desperately trying to protect itself. Lurching as the left engine violently powered down into a low speed mode, the ship limped through the empty space. Ryker could barely see out of his helmet through the stream of blood pouring from his forehead, having cut himself as the ship jostled its way through the jump. Taking a deep breath, he removed his headpiece. Wiping the blood from his eyes, his face started to feel numb from the intense cold. Quickly, he reconnected his helmet, and exhaled. The ship was a wreck, and Ryker was amazed it was still operational. A moment passed as he struggled to piece together the events that had just occurred, before he suddenly remembered what he was here for. Navus' Cutlass was just visible in the distance, having left the jump point just a few moments before. Perhaps he had not expected anyone to follow, relying on his remaining reinforcements to hold the line. Ryker eased the throttle forward, trying to compensate for the lost engines. The ship creaked and sputtered as sparks burst from the circuit boards. Glancing up at the ship's status indicator, he could see the extent of the damage for the first time. The hull was breached - this he knew, but the hole was much larger than he had thought. Shields were fluctuating between 2 and 5% strength, and could only cover a small portion of the ship. Opting to protect his last remaining engine, Ryker redirected the shield power to the rear of the vessel. The Constellation crawled forward, the enemy Cutlass still firmly in Ryker's sights. Navus appeared to be heading towards a large asteroid, but Ryker could not tell why. Closing in on the asteroid, Navus directed his ship upwards, skimming over the top of the vast rock. A quick boost of throttle sent the Cutlass cleanly over the asteroid, and he slipped away from Ryker's view. Slowly approaching the rock, Ryker eased the ship upwards, trying to stay close enough to hide his signal. As he reached the top of the asteroid, Ryker cursed under his breath. He could not believe what lay in front of him. Hidden behind the asteroid, an Idris floated silently, its hull coated in gang markings, and clearly worse for wear. The UEE Galahad sat broken and defeated, its once majestic hull torn asunder and defiled by the criminal scourge who had captured it. The bridge leant to the side, having clearly sustained a significant impact, and the main guns appeared to be missing. Navus flew straight towards a sizeable hole in the left flank, landing his Cutlass in the damaged interior of the larger ship. Ryker had seen the manoeuvre, and followed shortly after. With less control over his ship, the movement was far from graceful. Barely clearing the asteroid, the underside of his Constellation scraped along the asteroid's surface. Ryker urged the damaged ship on, desperate to get Navus back in his sights. There was no way he would let his mark get away again. As Ryker slowed down to better see the frigate, his communications array lit up. It was Navus. "Well well well..." he started. "I must admit, I'm surprised you made it this far." "Your so-called plan ends here, Navus," Ryker snarled. "Oh, I think you may just be mistaken. Unless you're dumb enough to follow me in, there's not a whole lot you can do with that sorry excuse of a ship," Navus taunted. "If you think I need a ship to take you down, you're sadly mistaken," Ryker responded, powering the Constellation forwards. He knew that the ship was too badly damaged to attempt a docking, so he set the ship on a collision course, unbuckled himself from his chair, and pushed away from the console. Opening the rear bulkhead, Ryker slipped into the cargo bay, finally able to see the damage for himself. The entire right flank was ripped apart, the cargo lift warped beyond recognition. Closing the bulkhead behind him, he continued towards the back of his doomed ship. Grabbing onto one of the last remaining support columns, he activated his mag boots and held on tightly. The impact was violent and came without warning, the ship collapsing in on itself as it struck the much larger Idris. The wreckage shook violently before coming to a stop, the mangled metal having caught on the hull of the Galahad. Deactivating his mag boots, Ryker pulled himself towards the bulkhead. As it crept open, Ryker was able to see straight into the dark interior of the Galahad. "A bold move. But futile," Navus teased, Ryker's headset barely picking up the signal. Ignoring the taunt, Ryker floated his way into the Galahad, once again turning on his mag boots to move through the wounded ship. He soon reached a door system which appeared to show a pressurised environment. Unbelievably, the Galahad's atmospheric controls were still operational. Overriding the door console, Ryker forced the hatch open. A gust of air flushed through, as Ryker leant forward to enter the next room. A bulkhead on the opposite end of the room slammed shut to stop any more air loss, and the life support in the room closed itself off to prevent a leak. Sealing the hatch behind him, a dull alarm sounded to signal that the life support had reopened, the room quickly filling with air once again. Ryker's flight suit reported a breathable atmosphere. As he removed his helmet and inhaled sharply, the Galahad's intercom buzzed into life. "Welcome to my home, Warden," Navus said jovially. "Please, make yourself comfortable. Grab a drink from the bar, pull up a seat and get cosy." "Enough games!" Ryker yelled. "Now now, there'll be less of that. I've never known a guest be so rude," Navus responded. "Where are you? Come out and face me!" Navus laughed over the intercom. "And what would be the fun in that? No no no, I have a better idea. Why don't you come and find me? I'll even tell you where I am." His voice suddenly changed tone, once again becoming cold and harsh. "Main cargo deck. Make it quick." Being familiar with the Galahad's layout, Ryker swiftly moved through the ship, passing countless sealed bulkheads and walking through a number of graffitied corridors. He soon arrived outside the main cargo deck. Leaning against the door, he pulled his pistol from its holster, and checked his ammo. As Ryker pressed a button beside the door, the bulkhead swung open, and he moved through the opening. The door slammed shut behind him, appearing to bolt itself closed. The cargo deck was dark, except for a small light source in the centre. "Welcome to the endgame," Navus spoke, his voice echoing through the hold. "Show yourself," Ryker demanded. The light source moved slightly, then the hold's lights flashed on, almost blinding Ryker. As his vision cleared, he could see two figures in the middle of the room. They were stood next to a large, metallic device, but it was not clear what it was. Stepping towards to his nemesis, Ryker suddenly recognised the second figure. "Mitchell!" he exclaimed. His friend was in a bad way - beaten and cuffed, blood all over his face and arms. He sat on his knees, his body limp from the punishment it had been subjected to. "That's close enough," said Navus, raising his custom shotgun and pointing it at Ryker. "You mother fucker," Ryker snarled through his teeth. "Enough of the language, Warden," Navus teased. "Don't you want to hear what happens next?" "You die. That's all that happens." "Not quite," Navus responded. "Allow me to explain." He moved over to the device, his shotgun still pointing at Ryker. "This," he said, kicking it gently, "is the Tsar Bomba Mark Two. Twentieth Century. I had to do a lot of digging to get a hold of this bad boy. Most people didn't even know it existed." Ryker stared at the device, his heart sinking in his chest. "Looks a bit high tech for something that old," he said. "Keen eye you've got there," Navus replied. "It's been modified by my brother, who you killed, might I remind you." His grip on the shotgun tightened. "Not to worry, I suppose you've just repaid me the favour of killing yours. Before his untimely death, Drakil swapped out the radioactive components which had decayed over the centuries, and fitted it with a modified impulse generator. Much more devastating, in theory." "What's your point?" Ryker asked. "Well clearly I'm not about to blow myself up just to be rid of you. But, based on your question, I'm guessing you didn't notice which system we jumped to." Ryker's heart skipped a beat. "My... my systems were damaged." Navus smiled maniacally. "Oh, now this is where it gets interesting. Computer! Where are we?" he said loudly. The Galahad's AI network must have still been working too, as it shortly replied: "Epsilon Eridani system. Just outside short-wave range of Eradia." "Thank you." Navus said. "So now, you see, there's more to this than simple revenge." "What do you want?" Ryker snapped. "Chaos," came the reply. "It's time the UEE got the message." Navus raised the smaller device he had been holding, and pressed something on the screen. The nuclear device whirred as it powered up its arming sequence, and Navus threw the device to the ground, crushing it below his feet. "Oh, and I've had some fun with the Galahad's AI system while the UEE were busy searching for it," he added. "Computer! Activate Chaos protocol." "Chaos protocol activated," the AI announced. The Galahad jolted forwards as its powerful thrusters burst into life. The ship rapidly gaining speed and hurtling towards Eradia. "You've got eight minutes," said Navus, turning away from Ryker. "That's when this ship crashes into the surface of Eradia, and the device detonates. Drakil told me that the blast should be quite something. I doubt there'll be much left once the dust clears." Ryker tensed up and raised his pistol, prepared to take the shot. "So, my work is done," Navus beamed, turning back to Ryker and raising his shotgun. A single shot echoed through the hold, the blast reverberating off of the cold, metal walls. Navus stood silently as the sound faded. Suddenly, his knees started to tremble, and a look of despair washed across his face. As his legs failed, his body fell limp, slamming into the ground with the full weight of his exosuit. Ryker clutched his pistol firmly, a small stream of smoke rising from the end of the barrel. Finally, the Ganrah brothers were finished. Ryker took a moment to process the end of his life's mission, before running over to his comrade, tearing the tape away from his mouth. "He's rigged the ship, Warden. No way to cancel the command!" Mitchell coughed. "There has to be a way to stop it," Ryker argued. "Computer, how much time until we get into the planet's atmosphere?" "Estimated time until atmospheric entry: five minutes," the AI replied. "s**t!" Ryker cursed. Cutting the ties around Mitchell's wrists, Ryker helped him to his feet. "Can you walk?" "I'll be fine. What's the plan?" Mitchell asked. Frantically looking around the hold, Ryker spotted a cargo pallet amongst a pile of damaged cargo containers. Running over to the machinery, he pleaded that it still had power. Taking hold of the pallet, he pulled it towards the device. "We need to get this thing to an airlock," he said. "The blast should be harmless up here, as long as we get it out before the frigate gets too close to Eradia." "That could work," Mitchell agreed, moving around to help lift the device. Using the last of his strength, he was able to help load the device onto the pallet truck. "Please work," Ryker urged, turning on the machine. It beeped quietly as it adjusted to the weight of its load, before settling and lifting above the ground. "Thank f**k," Ryker breathed in relief. The duo pushed the pallet towards the starboard airlock, positioning the device at the hatch. Once again activating his mag boots, Ryker firmly grasped a railing on the wall, and motioned for Mitchell to do the same. "Ready?" he asked. Mitchell nodded, tightening his grip on the railing. Ryker smashed the glass housing covering the emergency release trigger, and pulled the unit with all of his might. But nothing happened. "Navus rigged the doors too. God damn it!" Ryker yelled. Refusing to admit defeat, Ryker thought carefully about other options. "Four minutes until atmospheric entry," the AI announced. Mitchell slumped against the wall, sighing. "We gave it our best shot," he said, staring at the nuke. He paused for a moment, when a thought suddenly crossed his mind. "What about Navus' Cutlass?" "It's probably rigged to blow," Ryker said. "I don't think it is, there was nothing inside it out of the ordinary when he brought me here," Mitchell countered. "Even so, how do we get out of the cargo hold? The hatch locked behind me." Looking around the cargo hold, the duo tried to spot anything that could help them get to the Cutlass. On the opposite wall, Mitchell spotted something which might just do the trick. "Over there - the valves," he said, pointing at the series of gas valves and pipes running along the wall. "Perfect," Ryker said, quickly sprinting across the hold. Climbing up to the maintenance catwalk, he started to open the valves, letting a mixture of highly pressurised gases flow freely. He stepped back before drawing his pistol, and fired several shots into the pipe network. The blast threw Ryker back into the catwalk railing, almost winding him. The explosion was just enough to blow a hole through the wall. "Come on up!" he gestured to Mitchell. Struggling to his feet, Mitchell leant up against the nuke to help gain his balance. As he stood, the frigate shook suddenly - not violently enough to knock him back down, but enough to make him lose his balance. Holding onto the nuke for support, he called over to his comrade. "What was that?!" Ryker stared at the hole in the wall, his eyes them following the pipes along the wall. "It's the engine coolant..." he mumbled. "What?" called Mitchell, unable to hear his comrade clearly. Ryker turned back to his friend and raised his voice. "I've blown the engine coolant!" he yelled across the hold. Almost as soon as he finished his sentence, one of the main engines reached a critical heat, and erupted into flames in a huge explosion. The Galahad rocked sharply, the force of the explosion altering its trajectory. As the ship shifted, Mitchell was knocked to the ground. A second violent shake as a smaller engine blew caused the cargo pallet to roll, the nuclear payload falling to the ground, crushing Mitchell's leg beneath it. Mitchell yelled out in pain. "Agh, s**t! The nuke fell over, Warden. I'm stuck!" "Hold on, I'll come and get you!" Ryker shouted. "Three minutes until atmospheric entry," the AI interrupted. "There's no time," Mitchell replied. "Get to the Cutlass and get this damn thing out of here." Ryker cursed at the top of his voice, then turned and threw himself through the hole. Sprinting as fast as his legs would carry him, he ran towards the hull breach where Navus had left the Cutlass. "I suppose this is one way to go," Mitchell said to himself, trying to take his mind off the pain. A brief gust of wind indicated that Ryker had opened the bulkhead leading to the Cutlass, and closed it behind him. Knowing he would soon be dragged out into the cold expanse of space, Mitchell tried to reattach his headpiece. He struggled to line up the lock, before finally securing the helmet to the rest of his flight suit. Resting his head on the ground, he exhaled sharply. "Low oxygen," warned his heads up display. "There's always something..." he joked to himself. Closing his eyes, Mitchell thought back to his time on Eradia, and smiled to himself. "Life well lived." The blast happened so quickly that it was over in the blink of an eye. One moment Mitchell was lying with his leg trapped under a modified nuclear device, and the next he was rushing through open space, the device slowly spinning beside him. He opened his eyes, looking back at the Frigate which was hurtling towards Eradia at a blistering pace, a trail of debris left in its wake as it tore itself apart. Glancing up at the nuke, he spotted a timer on the display. Not long now, he thought to himself. Having watched the device soar out of the airlock, Ryker closed his eyes for a moment. "Thanks, Mitch," he said aloud. The nuke was out of the equation, but there was still the issue of an out-of-control frigate racing towards the planet. Even without the payload, the death toll of an impact would be astronomical. Moving the Cutlass to the damaged bridge of the Galahad, Ryker flew close enough to jump into one of the gaps in the structure, matched the Cutlass to the speed of the frigate, then moved to the back of the cargo bay. Opening the ramp, he lined himself up with the bridge, and pushed himself out of the Cutlass. Floating into the bridge, Ryker reached for anything that would stop him. Grabbing hold of a fixed control panel, he was able to right himself and activate his boots. He moved over to the main control hub, crossing his fingers that the controls would still be responsive. Sitting behind the lead controls, he put his hands on the joystick and pulled back sharply. The engines did not respond, having either been rigged or too badly damaged by the engine failure. The ship did, however, respond. The in-atmosphere aerodynamic panels were reacting to the movements of the joystick. He would have to wait until the ship was far enough into the atmosphere to alter its direction. "Galahad, how are the shields?" Ryker asked, hoping the bridge was not completely offline. "Shields are functioning," came the response, much to Ryker's relief. "Great, divert some of their power to the bridge. I can't be burning up in here." "Shields diverted," the AI replied, a light shimmer flowing around the bridge as the shields grew stronger. "Here we go," Ryker thought to himself. As the frigate clipped through to the troposphere, the trail of debris started to burn up. The shields started to strain as the immense heat cause by atmospheric entry began to eat away at the power supply, and the ship trembled as it fell. Ryker watched as the indicated speed rapidly tumbled, waiting for the right moment to try and level the frigate out. The speed dropped along with the altitude, until the ship started to respond to the fine movements on the controls. Soon, Ryker was able to hear a muffled voice coming through his headset. "Route the short wave radio through my headset," he commanded the AI. "... Galahad... impact trajectory... divert!" The voice was breaking through the static caused by the entry heat. "Repeat, come in Galahad! You are on an impact trajectory, please divert!" Ryker responded. "This is Kainen Ryker, this frigate has been rigged to impact planetside, I am trying to regain control." "We hear you, Kainen. At this speed and angle of descent, you'll hit Taila City. You need to adjust your heading by-" The signal cut out as the shortwave radio receiver sheared away from the ship, smashing into the bridge a few meters below Ryker. "s**t." Wrestling with the controls, Ryker tried to turn the ship away from its path. The ship rattled as the course alteration strained the superstructure, and smaller parts of the vessel started to break away. Soon, the ship had slowed enough that the heat started to dissipate, and the Galahad suddenly burst through the cloud layer. Now Ryker could see Taila City, its massive urban expanse slightly offset to the left of the ship. If he could just hold the controls in a full right turn, he might just be able to clear the city. Desperately fighting the control feedback, Ryker urged the ship to turn. The altitude monitor was rushing through numbers: ten thousand feet, nine thousand feet, eight thousand... The ship started to tear itself apart as the stress of the turn proved too much for the already battered vessel. The remaining engines erupted into flames before shearing clean from their mounts. Six thousand feet. Ryker could see individual ships going about their business in the city, unaware of the potential disaster above. Five thousand feet, four thousand feet, three thousand feet. Ryker didn't bother bracing - he knew the impact would cause the ship to disintegrate, and that his chances were slim. Two thousand. The frigate soared over the industrial sector of the city, tearing through a small swarm of courier drones and raining debris down onto the city below. One thousand feet. High above the planet, the modified Tsar Bomba detonated, the blast creating a brilliant blue light in the sky above. The light was brighter than the system's star, drowning out Epsilon Eridani as the source expanded in the vacuum. The blast illuminated the ground below, shining through the clouds as though they weren't there. There was nothing else Ryker could do now, so he closed his eyes, and waited. The front end of the Galahad struck the ground at close to the speed of sound. Immediately giving way, the entire section crumpled in on itself as the weaknesses in the structure caused it to fail. The front half of the ship dug into the ground, the back of the Galahad violently rising into the air. The bridge started to collapse, the brunt of the impact having twisted the remaining support beams. Ryker felt himself falling as the ship was carried forwards by its momentum. The mangled wreck drove itself along the ground for several hundred meters, before coming to a rest just outside the city limits, a huge cloud of dust shrouding the crash site.
  20. 6 points
    22Actual

    T.A.S.A.R. Part One

    The docking clamps from Terra Prime's orbitable platform always make a low bassy hum as they release an Idris, it's a familiar sound, signalling that we're finally under way. The internal lights get a shade brighter too as power to the platform is lost, I guess that's the first hint that this ship is overpowered... I feel the ship turn and accelerate, normally the inertial dampeners mitigate this but they aren't perfect beyond 75% thrust. Cmdr Muffin voices breaks the quiet the bunk "All SAR members please report to the briefing room at 0700 SET". 15 minutes to get dressed and head over. I jump off my bunk and start getting ready. I can see 22Actual and Treello are already dressed. Who would have thought that I'd be sharing a bunk with an Exploration and Science Councilman and one of the Council of 9. We meet up with Trey_Erata, Casey, SirKarsh, and Fatie89 in the hallway on our way to the briefing room. As we enter the room all the displays are off, without them the room is rather dark. 22 walks over to Methos, they shake hands and start whispering about something, the rest of us take our seats. Methos nods over to Dirk and 22, Methos back, his tone changes, his postures changed too, no more Councilman Methos, Captain Methos is ready. 22 and Methos take their seats and Muffin switches on the displays and begins: "Scans from Fanible's mission last week indicated that the 10th planet had enough Trutonium to supply the entire UEE Navy for 20 years. Obviously wanting the mining rights we dispatched Moroseth and his carrak to take a closer look. Two days ago we lost contact with Moroseth's Carrak and his 2 escort pilots from Phoenix Wing. As you can tell we're en route to the Jump point. Red Squadron will meet us at the jump point. 22 you, Treello, Casey, and SirKarsh will depart prior to the jump and make the jump manually in your RED." 22 nods. "The rest of you will board the RED piloted by Knights Errant and make the jump with him. Once we arrive at the planet further directions will be provided. At this point we can't tell if this will be a ground based recovery over a full combat evac. Please take what you need from storage to ensure your ships is ready... questions?" Casey speaks up confidently "Do we know what ships the Phoenix Wing Pilots had?" "2 Hornet Ghosts". SIrKarsh asks "Do when know when Moroseth and his crew last received their Trutonium inoculations?" "Just before they left 3 days ago", If the deposits are as rich as they claim their inoculations would only be good for 5 more days... "Do we need to coordinate inoculations with Red Squad before we arrive?" I asked "No, as part of Security our pilots must be inoculated to be flight ready... anything else?.... Taser you are dismissed, 22 please remain for the 730 flight ops briefing." The rest of us get up and leave, SirKarsh starts to tease me about my question, I laugh it off. We walk out into the hall, as we pass I over hear a few of the on board Red Squard pilots, "is that 22? Shit than man is tall." "I heard he had his M50 custom made" "Was that Treello?! 2 Council members on the SAR team, whatever this is, it's serious". Casey stops to chat with a few of them, they must have worked together before. The rest of us head back to catch some shut eye. 700SET is the middle of the night for us. In my bunk I start going over the briefing in my head, this is serious. The financial ramifications of what Moroseth was surveying would have tripled the value of TA over night. I wonder why they only sent 2 Phoenix Wing pilots as an escort, I would have sent 20... ... "All SAR members please report to the hangar room at 1100 SET". Muffin's voice over the comm cut through my sleep like knife. 30 minutes to get ready. I see 22 and Treello chatting. I jump out of my bunk and into the shower. When I emerge I see 22 and Treello in our bright orange SAR gear. Standard gear for ground recovery. Our full combat gear is ready in RED. I get dressed as well and head out. Now in the Hangar 22 calls Trey_Erata, Fatie89, and myself over. "Knights Errant is a great pilot but he's green when it comes to SAR. Trey he asked for you to be his flight crew." Trey Nodded. I've only been flight crew twice, and it wasn't fun, best way I could some it up is a mix of Scotty, Bones, and McGyver... I'm glad Trey's reputation proceeded him. We continue to check our gear, load the medical supplies, and run the tests on the two auto docs on 22's RED. A loud thud breaks the silence of our work. Knights opens the air lock and calls out "Come on guys you're holding up the fleet." We board Knight's RED, I'm not sure what I expected. It was showing definite signs of wear on the paneling but the components we clean and brand new. Knight and Trey headed up front to the cockpit while Fatie and myself prepared for the jump. Knight undocks and with everything stowed I head up to the cockpit to watch the Jump. As I get there I see over 30 ships in the Radar, and we're only 300m behind the Idris. Cmdr Muffin signals the Jump, Knight does nothing, We watch Red Squad jump, I look over and I see Knight staring at a counter on his left most display, the counter hits 10 and the Idris jumps, Knight leans forward and as the counter hits 12 we jump. As we enter the Jump I see 22's RED pull ahead, His voice cracks over the comm's "Come on Knight Keep up". Knight Chuckles and holds his steady course through the jump. I can see the timer now counting down, 5 seconds.... at 3 seconds Knight Inverts the Ship in perfect unison with 22 and with a blast of light we emerge from the jump. Knight Slams the Brakes on and the Boosted Thrusters shake the ship. We're upside down 10 meters from the hull of the Idris with 22's RED 20 meters to port. We've come out of the Jump completely undetectable. The Radar is now full of ships, 36 ships now, Some how they've managed to stuff 6 Gladius Close Support Fighters in that idris, no wonder we had to make the jump on our own. The Ghosts break off into a quantum jump as the fleet moves away from the Jump point exit. 10 minutes later Cdmr Muffin calls for a quantum jump and we're on our way. I can see the radar alive with activity, everything seems safe but we are still holding 10m of the Idris. Knight Switches the Ships Comm to channel 1 so we can hear what's going one with the fleet while him, 22, and Muffin chat. Red Squad pilots are checking in. Sounds like there's remains of a Ghost in a decaying orbit... Pilot Ejected... One of them calls for a scan of the area. This must mean us. Cmdr Muffin denies the request, the Pilot has either been rescued by Moroseth or burned up in the atmosphere by now. True but cold. 5 minutes, nothing... 20 minutes now and still just chatter on the comm, when suddenly a pilot exclaims "I've got lifesigns on the surface... and a badly damaged Carrak!" Knight switches the Ships comm back to channel 6, Muffin is mid sentence with 22. "-attern theta, 22, have your team start the orbital scan as soon as they are over head." "Confirm" responds 22 and he breaks away at full speed. A minute later 22 breaks the silence, "Positive read, It's our people down there, but the Carrak is out of power. No sign of the second ghost." Lieutenant's Raccoon's voice breaks in attention pilots, "We need both redeemer's on the Ground at the following coordinates to assist with SAR, now." The two redeemers break for the crash site. Fatie mutters "Come on what are we waiting for here" Knight switch the ship's comm to channel 2, The Redeemers are now on the ground and the marines are about to breach Moroseth's Carrak. They're in. "Clear", "Clear", "Clear", Then I hear shouting, "This is sargent GhostType with the TASEC marine force please stand down", Then "sir the ship is secure, send in SAR.", i hear SirKarsh "We're right outside, heading in now" Fatie is starting to pace. 2 minutes goes by, Sargent GhostType calls up "field debrief completed Cmdr. Moroseth rescued Calien after his flight computer started messing up. When they rescued him from his Eva they too experienced problems. He believes that the Trutonium is so rich that it is affecting the flight computers. The other Ghost pilot, Ensign BOOo, pulled back before the problems affected his flight computer but his comms were out. Last they saw he was headed out to the moon. Knight sits up in his chair, after a few seconds he says "we heard it too cmdr we're on our way." We break from the bottom of the Idris and head towards the moon. Trey already has the scanner controls up, he kicks them into full power, the lights of the ship dim, and radar explodes with contacts. It's hard to find a ghost when it's running, it's going to take everything we've got to find it if it's dead in space. 2 Gladius Fighters whip past almost racing each other to the moon. -- End Part One --
  21. 6 points
    zeus_anoxia

    Elevator to ArcCorp - sneak peek

    If this is not NEWS worthy, feel free to move it wherevs... I just found it interesting.
  22. 6 points
    Alpine

    Coffee with Alpine - #6 - Venn

    Location: Terra Prime- Tactical Advance Command - Security Division. Prime. It's home but what I wouldn't give to live somewhere else. On the fringe of the city at least. Prime is the Capital City of Terra, a beautiful bayside megacity built on the foundations of two of the original colony ships. A stark contrast to Earth’s metropolises, everything in Prime was planned by the original settlers, leading to a much greater balance between nature and civilization than is found elsewhere in the Empire.  At least there is that. Unlike many cities, Prime’s primary landing zone is located away from the city to reduce pollution and air congestion. A monorail runs pilots to and from their hangars. Don’t let the relaxed atmosphere fool you, though: Prime has everything New York or Moscow does, from ship upgrade stores to black market opportunities. The city itself divides into two major regions: the sparkling Downtown and the lower class residential region known as "The Block". Opportunities for visitors are available in both portions of the city. Who am I kidding, I have 2 jobs. I'm rarely home. My main job is being a Reporter for the Tactical Advance Orginization. My other is being a Security Division Fighter Pilot for the same. More often that not, the 2 jobs keep me so busy I can't do either well enough to be the "best" and more often that not one keeps me away from the ability to do the other. Today is a anomoly. I get to knock out 2 jobs in one place. 22Actual has assisgned me to interview Commander Venn, leader of the Red Squadron, without a doubt the best privately owned Security Force in the verse. Also Venn has asked for me to meet for my quarerly evaluation. That one scares me. The Tactical Advance Complex sprawls out on waterfront property taking up a sizable chunk of real estate just a few units down from UEE Command. TA's proximety to the UEE is no coincidence. As one of the largest Orginazations in the verse, TA has many govenment contracts with the UEE providing everything from Trade to Security to assisting in Diplomacy, Science and Exploration. While a total sever from the UEE wouldn't destroy us, it would put a sizable dent in our coffers. That is why we are consistantly looking for other trade partners to expand our operations and grow our brand. One thing we won't do though is consort with the criminal element. Yes, it could be lucritive but we pride ourselves on doing the right thing the right way at the right time - everytime. A mantra that has been beaten into everyone here at TA since being hired. Our selection process is stringent and we don't take just anyone. Arriving at the lobby I am always a little in awe everytime I walk in, it's just a beautiful building. The Council of Nine spared no expense when they built this place, thats for sure. I pass through the requisite secuity chamber before entering into the lobby proper. They know me by sight but I still hand over my creds and go though the scans of my person and equipment. it wouldn't matter if it was Malogos himself, the man in charge of all Security for TA through the universe, - you get scanned.  I turn and greet the the receptionist on duty and continiue on down the corridor to the Org coffee shop. I wonder to myself if I could get Jillian a job working here. It would have to be a better working enviroment than the spaceport and I would get to see her more often but then I wouldn't have an excuse to use her little cafe as my second office and get more work done. Coffee aquired, I mosey over the lift and join Lem and Pancake, 2 of our newer pilots. Alpine: "Hi guys. Headed to the Cave?" Lem: "Yeah, got to get some simulator time or Venn will have our hides. You know how he is." Alpine: I do at that! The guy is a slave driver! PancakeHero:   "At least he isn't as bad as Malogos. That guy us a machine! He made me memorize the Arena Commander Manual word for word and repeat it back to him word for word.!!" The lift hatch opens and we enter. Lem places his hand on the biometric sensor and we decend into the bowels of the building. The Security Division is called "the Cave" by it's members. Buried underground beneath reinforced concrete, titanium and enclosed in a liquid Faraday cage it is shielded from even the the most earnest attacks that could be divised by those that would do us harm. (again no expense is spared for the Org) The hatch opens and we walk down the corridor. Alpine: "You guys have fun in the Sim. I got to meet Venn for an interveiw to submit for tonight news." Lem: "I'll take my chances with the Sim. At least I can fight back in there. You, my friend, are walking into the Dragons lair." Alpine: "Haha. Venn's not that bad." (most of the time...)   Commander Venn is something of a wunderkind. He aced prep school by the age of 11. Applied, and was accepted to the UEE Naval Academy directly after. Even though he had to sit on a booster chair to see over the cockpit and out the veiwscreen, he graduated top of his class by 14 and entered UEE service as a member of the Joint Tactical Commmand in Operation Pictchfolk downing 17 Vanduul in one sortie. Fighting to become the best fighter pilot was the only way to gain the respect of the older pilots in the unit and it worked. After completing his 4 years of UEE obligation he abruptly left the military and joined the private sector as a test pilot for Anvil Aerospace. He hold the patents on several miltary weaponry systems that still remain classified to this day.  In 2064 he was lured away from Anvil to join the Tactical Advance Org and given his own squardron to command. He not only commanded Red Squadron - He was in charge of training ALL the pilots for Tactical Advance. I thought he was too young to command a squadron. I had been piloting before he was born,  but if the Council trusted him, then I guess I would have to follow suit. I may have been over twice his age but he was a Commander and I was still a Lieutenant and that's that. Lem and Pancake peeled off intot the Training Room and I walked on down to Venn's Office. I checked my appearence, my MobiGlas and my coffee and knocked on the hatch of Venns Office. Venn: "Come!" He was finishing up some Operational details and I  took the position before his desk and waited for him to be done.. Alpine: "Lt. Alpine reporting as ordered Sir!" Venn: "Do you always stand at attention with a coffee cup in your hand Lieutenant?" Alpine: "Not always Sir. Sometimes I slouch." He was not amused. Venn: "At ease Alpine. Pull up a chair. Lets get this done and over with. Keep in mind if you make me look bad you will be sweeping the halls of this building... with your mustache!" I shuttered. I activated the recorder, did the disclaimer and started in. Alpine: "Yes Sir!  Please begine by telling me about yourself if you will." Venn: "I'm 21, currently studying mathematics at my college and hope to be a high school teacher someday. I'm not very sociable in real life, and prefer staying home and gaming rather than going out and getting drunk or whatever. I do play a lot of DnD with my friends though, so there's that.. I smoke and I drink unhealthy amounts of coffee and I'm a big fan of chocolate. Cookies are fine too. I'm usually very lazy and irresponsible when it comes to my obligations, unless they have to do with video games." Alpine: "you say "I drink unhealthy amounts of coffee" like it's a bad thing... but I digress....How long have you been a member of Tactical Advance?" Venn: "Not too sure, I can't figure out how to see how long I've been on the forums, but it would be around 8 months at this point. About a month longer than malogos and DirkMire." Alpine: "Why did you choose this particular Orginization to join when there are so many available to choose from?" Venn: "A couple of friends and I were going to establish our own but we didn't get the support we expected from our previous gaming acquaintances, so one of them (Commander Kyle) joined TA, followed by me shortly thereafter. We were both watching his videos, in fact I think I was the one who showed it to them." Alpine: "What made you choose to become an Officer?" Venn:  "I was initially asked to help out a bit with some mostly clerical duties by TAC during our period of very unstable leadership way back when, so I was a glorified secretary for a time. Then I helped out with some decision making along the way, until we found a new CEO, namely DirkMire. I'm currently an officer because I intend to lead a squadron in-game and am also lead flight instructor, which I guess constitutes as officer status." Alpine: "... and A darn good you are too Sir! what are you in charge of? What are your duties? Venn:  "I am the Commander of the Red Squadron, a highly dedicated, highly trained unit of Security dog fighters that take on the worst asignments and come back smiling!" Alpine: "How Do you see your leadership benefitting the Organization?" Venn: "I'm currently in charge of providing as much help, advice and practice to anyone that wants it, and also I'm always trying to get more people to start playing Arena Commander." Alpine: "What is your vision for TA?" Venn: "My short-term vision for TA is a bigger playerbase - I want to be able to reliably organize squad battles tournaments and such, and have a good, dedicated little group to do scrimms and such with other orgs (which is what Starbuck is trying to organize right now). My long-term vision is that of a well organized, single-minded group of players that work together to access content that's unavailable to smaller groups, or even bigger but less organized groups. I want people to think "ok, I'd rather fly my Hull C, but it looks like we're a bit thin on the security department so I'll bring my Hornet without anyone even asking" and "ok I just logged in, I wonder where the biggest TA group is right now so I can join them and help out". I want us to be an example for other orgs to look up to." Alpine: "What do you like best about TA?" Venn: "I like our activity compared to other orgs our size, we seem to have more presence on teamspeak, forums and the game (at least back during patch 1.0) than most of the other largest orgs." Alpine: "What do you like least?" Venn: " I don't like our activity, because it's still nowhere near enough, and I would have honestly expected more people out of a thousand to be playing at this point. I fear stagnation, and I fear becoming an uncohesive list of individuals who have little to nothing to do with each other." Alpine: "What Ships do you own?" Venn: "I own an F7C-M SuperHornet and a Xi'An Karthu-Al. We'll have to see how the Karthu behaves, but I'll almost certainly always be flying one of those two." Alpine: "What are you looking forward to most about the Persistannt Universe or would like to see?" Venn: "Epic space battles. I wanna be protecting Optix's Idris while Malogos leads a bomber wing on a run towards the enemy Javelin that's currently dismantling our Connies and Redeemers. I want a capable, strategic mind to lead us and order us around, I want the chaos and all the fireworks, and most of all I want to win. Sadly it seems that won't happen with the current assumptions towards instance size, but I'm fine with just taking my full squadron in to fight other ships as well." Alpine: What do you see as being your main focus in SC? Venn: "Ship to ship combat." Alpine: "Scenario: Your under attack. Weapons are out of commision. Whats your plan?" Venn: "Do I still have my squadron around me? If so, I evade and try to coordinate them as much as I can, but mostly it's up to them to win the fight and rescue me. I don't really mind dying though as I don't think it'll be that much of a big deal. If I'm alone or something, I try to evade through an asteroid field to get enough distance to jump away I guess." Alpine: "If you had a time machine and could go anywhere anytime - where would you go and why?" Venn: "I would go back to when I was 14 and tell myself, "dude, in the future they end up inventing time machines. Pretty dope no? Anyway, here's the schematics for one, enjoy being rich." Alpine: "Haha! Sticking with the time machine idea, if you could go back in time 20 years and write yourself a letter what would it say? What advaice would you give yourself?" Venn: "In all honestly, it wouldn't say anything at all. I like my life a lot and I wouldn't wanna change it at all." I nodded. The veiwers will like that. Alpine: What Superpower would you most like to have? Venn: "telepotation - because, why travel?" Alpine: "Why indeed? What song best desscribes you? What song would you like to perform (assuming you can sing)" Venn: I'm too unique and special to be described by a song. I also can't carry a tune in a bucket so you're out of luck there!" Alpine: "You want to leave the veiwers with a favorite quote or words of wisdom? Venn: "Yes. Excuses are for wimps! I think everyone is responsible for their life and actions and if they fail at anything, it's because they chose to. This goes for exams, jobs, skills, success, anything that they weren't born with like intelligence and appearance. Likewise, if they succeed at anything, it's not because they were fortunate or inherently skilled at something, it's because they chose to invest more effort than the next person. " Alpine: "Excellent Sir. Well we're finished here. I thankyou for your time and your story." I rose to leave. Venn: "Not so fast Alpine. Were not done. Let's you and I take a walk down to the Security Division Conference Room and it will be my turn to do a little interveiw. I have something I'd like to show you." To be honest, as a reporter, I like to be the one in charge. This makes me nervous for a myriad of reasons but he does outrank me so I follow like the good soldier I am. I have never been to the Confference room  for the Security Division and I  wasn't sure what to expect but it wasn't this! Weapons of all makes and models festooned the walls and the bigger ones were mounted on tripods in the corners. I was more than concerned. Especially when he closed the doors. Venn: This room is secure. I wanted a little privacy for what I want to say. (I wondered if he was going to pick up a weapon and shoot me.) He guided me to the edge of the table and brought out a small holo-projecter and switched it on. I recognized myself and and Lem and Pancakehero standing at the lift earlier. Oh no... I heard my voice: "I do at that! The guy is a slavedriver!" he switched it off. My hands shook a little and it wasn't from the coffee. Venn: "I am a slave driver, and do you know why I'm a slave driver?" I shook my head no. Venn: "Because I expect perfection from ALL my pilots. Not just Red Squadron but ALL. Let me explain something to you Old Timer. The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war!  Understand  Mister! There are no secrets in this building, and that's all I have to say about that! Now then..." He then opened his MobiGals and brought up my files. Venn: Your training is abysmal. You missed 3 out of 100 targets last quarter. You broke a skid on a carrier landing AND you mistook  Optix' Wifes  shuttle for a Xian scout ship and fired upon her. Lucky for her she was able to eject in an escape pod and get away before her shuttle exploded!! You are interested in applying to the Red Squadron. Well listen up Gramps. If you do not start putting in more Sim time, study your Ship Manuals and  getting more flight time in with your unit, not only will you fail to make the Red Squadron but you may be down to one job. Just a reporter. Think on that! I'm not saying you won't make the team Alpine, but think back to my interveiw. Pull up the recording on your MobiGlas and play it again and again. *Excuses are for wimps! I think everyone is responsible for their life and actions and if they fail at anything, it's because they chose to. This goes for exams, jobs, skills, success, anything that they weren't born with like intelligence and appearance. Likewise, if they succeed at anything, it's not because they were fortunate or inherently skilled at something, it's because they chose to invest more effort than the next person.* " Let's see how bad you want it... You have until next quarter." He then turned and left me sitting at the table considering my next move.  I heard him down the hall laughing. Venn: Haha! Dragon's Lair.. I love it!! I'll have to have that posted on my door! I didn't have to turn on the recording, the words repeated themselves in my head over and over. I stood and looked around the room. I then headed to the training area. Alpine: "Time to get to work."    
  23. 6 points
    Alpine

    Coffee with Alpine - 22Actual - #5

    Location: Unknown. Aboard "The Darkstar". A Customized 890 Jump owned by billionaire playboy, 22Actual. (We have traversed so many jump points I have lost track of where I am.)   23 hours earlier:   This assignment definitely wasn’t what I had envisioned when I was asked by the boss, 22Actual, to get my kit and be ready to fly at 0900. Gate 305. 22 Actual is somewhat of an enigma. What I knew of him is this: A. He was stinking rich. He made a fortune providing Search and Rescue gear to the UEE and assorted Organizations across the verse. Everything from snap links to full Hospital Ships if the Trades are correct. B. He sits on the Council of 9.ruling Authority for Tactical Advance, the premier Organization in the verse, and C: He's the Director of the TA Media Division. Alpine: "How long will I be gone Sir?" 22: "Plan for 2 weeks. Pack for warm weather and bring a Dinner Jacket." I thought to myself, a “dinner jacket”? I have a jacket but it's a UEE Environmental Coat, kind of a brown all weather long trench coat I use to protect myself from the elements and yes, I do eat dinner in it from time to time. I shrugged. I had planned on bringing it anyways. 22: "See Accounting and draw 500,000 UEC for this trip. Have them earmark it to Special Projects."  I raised my eyebrows and tried to keep my jaw from dropping. 500K is not small change. This job was definitely going to be a bruiser. I wondered who I was going to see or what kind of inhospitable conditions I would be facing. If only I had known… I have known 22Actual for a while now but the guy is still a mystery. I think that when I get back, (if I get back), I may have to sit down with him and do an interview. Hey! It worked out with Arkanoes! Several things about his assignment had me really nervous. 1.    Two weeks is a long time. Obviously I was going somewhere quite distant. 2.    I wasn’t flying my own ship. Wherever I was going, I would be at the mercy of someone else at the controls. 3.    I would be traveling with a lot of cash. That meant trouble, and lots of it. I stopped by Tech Support and checked out my Mobiglass, extra power supplies and a long range homing beacon, just in case. Luggage in tow, I made my way through the Spaceport. I had left early enough to stop by Grounds Control and let Jillian know I wouldn’t be around for a couple weeks. I could tell she was a little sad. I like to think it was because she liked my company but in reality it’s probably the fact that I was a dependable source of income. I ordered my usual 32oz black coffee and 1 cup of sugar. Coffee in hand I made my way to Gate 305. I have never ventured down to these gates before for the simple reason, it’s a restricted area. I noticed after passing the UEE security checkpoint that the theme of the spaceport became – more upscale. I noticed real paintings on the walls, leather couches and polished teak floors inlaid with gleaming silver. Either my UEE tax dollars were being severely misspent or I was in the rarified air of big money. I see huge ships and luxury cruisers and as I walk I’m thinking “I gotta get me a better job… “   I arrive at gate 305 and there is 22Actual waving at me. Alpine: “Come to see me off Sir?”  He chuckled. 22: “No. I’m going with you or rather you’re coming with me! Welcome aboard my ship. The Dark Star!” I look up and around. An 890 Jump. Barely recognizable it had been outfitted in black Velvet Glove Stealth Armor. To minimize radar returns and appear non-existent as it traversed the galaxies. Pretty smart though, probably cut down on pirate attacks and allowed one to go unobserved to the next system. I liked it.   He led me inside the hatch and wow. Just wow. The difference was night and day. The interior was fitted with customized everything! The word “extravagant” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I almost spilled my coffee just gawking. I say almost because 1. He might have ejected me into deep space, sans space suit for messing up his ship and 2. I never waste a drop of coffee. Alpine: “I am at a loss for words Sir.” 22: “You know that is a serious breach of job responsibilities for a Reporter don’t you?” I almost missed the smile on his face as he said it. He looked around the room with me admiring the chandeliers and bric-a-brac. 22: “Yeah it’s a little understated but I’m working on it” He showed me to my stateroom. The whole room was bigger than my condo on Terra. 22: "I’ll leave you to freshen up. We’ll be underway in 30 minutes. I have to check the manifest and see that all is ready for the journey." Still is shock, I manage to answer. Alpine: “Yes Sir!” I wasn’t sure how long I was to be on board so I didn’t unpack. My mind reeled that I was on the boss’ ship and he was taking me to my assignment. I could only guess he was headed the same direction and would drop me off a spaceport in a little bit for a connecting flight. The starting of engines and detachment from the umbilical’s that service the ship in port was so smooth I almost didn’t notice. I watched out a portside window as the Spaceport receded from view and then Terra. We were underway. Time to go pump the boss for some information. I had just opened the hatch to my stateroom and entered the hall when I almost ran into ran into Deathrises coming from his. Alpine: What a pleasure Sir!  Fancy seeing you here! What are you doing aboard?” DR: I am here, as is the whole Council of 9, to conduct Council business. The bigger question my friend is what are you doing here?” Alpine: I wish I could tell you Sir. It’s not classified; it’s just that I don’t really know. The Boss said “go” and so I went. “ DR: “Well 22 does like his little games. Try to hang in there. I am sure all will be revealed to you in time.” Alpine: “Thank you Sir.” DR: “Please excuse me, The Council is meeting in 15 minutes and I mustn’t be late!” Alpine: "Of course Sir." Just then a bell chimed 3 times and all of a sudden I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t even move. I hadn’t expected a warp jump because I’ve never experienced one without being sitting down, strapped to my seat. Although it seemed like forever, It only lasted less than 10 seconds. Deathrises slowly turned and looked at me. DR: "I’ll never get used to that. Point of information Alpine, It takes longer to recover from that as you get older." Alpine: “I’ll keep that in mind.” I continued down the hall and 22Actual was waiting for me in the spacious galley. 22: “Sorry to keep you waiting Alpine. Feel free to make yourself at home. I have to attend to the Council but I would like to have dinner with you this evening say about 6 o’clock? In the Formal Dining Room. I’m thinking maybe you wouldn’t mind doing an interview with me?” Alpine: “That would be splendid Sir and Sir,  if maybe over dinner you could explain some more about the assignment that would be most welcome as well.” 22: “Of course. Oh, you did bring a Dinner Jacket didn’t you? Again with the dinner jacket… Alpine: “I never go anywhere without it sir!” 22: “Very Good. 6 o’clock then.”     Later that evening. 6 o’clockish.     I’m thinking to myself, this is a state-of-the-art vessel and I really don’t see any reason to wear a jacket to dinner. But the boss is the boss and he really has been very gracious so far. Maybe he’s dropping me off during dinner and it won’t be so cozy. I step into the Dining Room. Tastefully decorated and room to seat about 40, I spy 22Actual sitting at a table alone, drinking some exotic drink, dressed in what appears to be a Tuxedo. He looks at me with a very curious look on his face. 22: “Are you ok? Are you coming down with something?” Alpine: “I feel fine. Why?” 22: “Why are you wearing your coat?” Alpine: “Mainly Sir, because you told me to wear my jacket to dinner. This is the only coat I have. I must tell you though I am really perplexed as to why you asked me to do so.” I wish I had thought to activate my  Mobiglass. It’s not everyday you get to see a billionaire laugh so hard exotic drinks come out of his nose. I’m sure I could have used the recording back in the office as blackmail to get more plumb assignments. After 22Actual had regained what little remained of his composure he explained to me between chuckles, what a Dinner Jacket was. I felt so stupid I kind of wish he would jettison me out into the cosmos. Now he had a story to tell on me around the office and there was nothing I could do about it. 22: “Dinner will be shortly.  Would you care to do the interview over a cup of coffee? Alpine: “You know me Sir. I would prefer to do anything over a cup of coffee.” A maid appeared unbidden, and laid out a coffee service in front of me with the works. (I really liked the little sugar cubes in the shape of stars). I served myself and 22 busied himself fixing another drink. I turned on my Mobiglass and did the disclaimer in full. Alpine: “What are you drinking?” 22: “It’s a “Xian Xiqt”  (He pronounced it “Execute”) Let’s get started then during dinner I will tell you why you’re here.” Alpine: “Alright. Please tell me about yourself.” 22: "When I'm not a billionaire playboy, I am a Systems Architect for the large Cable Company in western Canada.  I enjoying working on Vehicles.  I have a 1979 GS 850 that I have modified into a Cafe Racer style bike.  I am almost finished I just need to sort out the Seat/Rear of it.  I just sold my 1992 Toyota MR2 and bought Jeep TJ as a project vehicle.  My plan is to swap to a V8 and lift it 4". But i enjoy the life I have now much better." Alpine: “How long Have you been a member of Tactical Advance? 22: "Since August 2014" Alpine: “Why did you chose this particular Organization when there are so many to choose from?” 22: "I'd been watching tac's videos since December 2013 but didn't want to commit to an org when he announced it in February 2014. However with the launch of AC I decided to check out the Org and found many like minded individuals. Alpine: “What made you choose to become an Officer?” 22: "I had a lot of spare time and I wanted to help the community I was apart of. When I first start I wasn't part of the leadership, I was helping tac out. "I don't run this place, I help make this place run".  Now being part of the leadership, I believe that statement is still true.  I don't run this community, I help make sure this community continues to run." Alpine: “What are you in charge of? 22: "I run the Media Division. That entails the Forums and TS Development (Reporters/Content/Etc)".  Alpine: “What Is your Vision for TA?” 22: "My vision of TA is that of greatness.  I have no idea how the PU will look but if it allows I would love to see the TA org with 5000+ members, with at least a 25% daily activity rate across the 3 time zones, EU,NA,AUS.  It will take a lot of work to get there but I think it can be done".  Alpine: "Do you think you could effectivly manage Media for 5,000 members?" 22: "I do." Alpine: “What do you like best about TA?" 22: "The best is obviously the community." Alpine: “What do you like least?” 22: "The least would be that there's nothing really here to keep everyone coming back, activity rates are extremely low (Half a percent on TS) with 1-2% of members on the Forums." Alpine: “What would you like to see change?" 22: "What would I change?  Using 1 login between the forums and the voice system we use... That's a problem for future though." Alpine: "I too, would love to see that Sir. What ships do you own besides Black Beauty here? " 22: "Starfarer, Gladiator, Constellation (Phoenix), Herald, 350R, 315P, Mustang Delta, Mustang Omega, F7C-M, Cutlass RED and my favorite - the M50." Alpine: “What are you looking forward to most in the PU? 22; "The whole thing.  But if I have to pick one thing, The flight/fps game play of Search and Rescue." Alpine: “What do you see as being your main focus once the PU goes live? 22: Racing if I can, if not, Search and Rescue, if not that, then People Transportation (890/Starliner). Alpine: “Scenario. You’re under attack. Weapons are inoperable. What’s your plan? 22: "Full throttle then call Malogos (Better call Mal?)" Alpine: “If you had a Time Machine and could go anywhere and do anything. Where would you go? 22: "Good question, if there were unlimited uses I'd probably go back and talk with my grandpa.  He was a real Man's man but passed when I was 12 so I never really got to know him as a man.  Only the great stories." Alpine: “Sticking with the Time Machine idea: if you could go back 20 years and give yourself advice. What would it be? 22:  I can say I really don't have any regrets, so I wouldn't want to really change anything. Don't get me wrong I've done a ton of stuff that was stupid or costly orboth, but I think that going back to change it would cheat me out of the life I've had. So I'd say: "Little me: Hug your grandpa and don't open the bottom part of this note until March 18th 2015." In the bottom part of the note I'd the lotto numbers for this week with a little note on how to ensure I get myself back to a point where I can use the time machine. I've got no problems changing my future. Alpine: "You seem to be doing ok." 22: "One can always do better." Alpine: “What Superpower would you like to have? 22: " Being able to make me and my cloths invisible (As a Canadian this power would be usless 8-11 months of the year if I had to be naked everywhere..." Alpine: “What song best describes you? 22: I don't really have a song that describes me.  I like EDM, and like the worst types of pop songs.  They get stuck in my head and then I like em.  If I could sing I'd probably sing "It was always you" by Maroon 5.  It's the song that's stuck in my head this last week and yeah it's a fun song. Alpine: “What’s your favorite quote? 22: "To finish first, you must first finish.“ - Juan Manuel Fangio Alpine: "Well Sir that will do it for my standard interview. By the time I’m finished, I’m sure the readers will find you even more fascinating than you are!" 22: "Very good. Tell me, Are you hungry?" Alpine: "Yes Sir. I am. Would you like me to keep my "dinner jacket" on or may I be comfortable?" 22: "If you would indulge me just a little longer I would have you keep it on for a few more moments." What the heck, he's the Boss. He presses a button on his Mobiglass and a panel slides away and I am suprised to see the rest of the Council of 9 saunter into the Dining Room. Deathrises, Dirk Mire, Nutty Rob, Malogos, Methosangel and the newly appointed directors of Exploration and Industry of which I have not been introduced to yet, and of course the Big Man himself, Tactical Advance. All of them in clothing befitting thier stations of authority. I am awed by the display of sheer power in the room and about to say something when Malogos speaks up. Mal: "What's with the UEE Enviromental coat" I spin around and my eys are begging for 22 to not say anything but he is already warming up the story and I have no choice but to sit and endure the humiliation yet again. No wonder he didn't want me to take it off. I'm sure the laughter was heard in Vanduul space. I can only hope this doesnt make it back to Terra but I know 22 has probably recorded the whole thing for tonight's broadcast on INN. 22: Dinner is on the way! but before we dine I would like to dispense with one more item of business. Alpine and I have just finished up another one of his high quality interveiws. Dirkmire: "Hear hear!" 22Actual looks at me and procedes to fill me in on the assignment. 22: "The Council met earlier today and has allowed me to recognize you for your service to the Tactical Advance Community. We here at TA have watched you grow in a short time from lowly scrub reporter to a rising star. You have boosted the ratings of the TA media Division to new heights and we are grateful for your undying service to the Org." "You wanted to know what your assignment is - well tonight it is to relax and feel free to get to know the Council in an informal setting, all off the record of course." Starting tomarrow you are on a 2 week vacation. The Dark Star is at your disposal to take you wherever you like. Furthermore the monies you obtained from Accounting is yours as a token of the Councils gratitude to spend anyway you see fit." "Lastly. The Dinner Jacket was reqired for you to take a promotional picture with the Council, but Im sure our patrons will recognize you  better dressed as you are." Again I could not move or speak. This time it had nothing to do with a jump point. As I regained my senses I realized I could not stand either and started to sitdown only to find my chair had been moved. The laughter began anew. I picked myself up and shook 22's outstretched hand and then proceded to accept the well wishes of the other Council Members. Oh if Jillian could see me now. Which gave me an idea. To be continued...                 
  24. 6 points
    Alpine

    My Resignation - Alpine

    I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an eight-year-old again. I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four-star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day. I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. All you knew was to be happy, because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset. I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again. I want to live simply again. I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive when there are more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness and loss of loved ones. I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, mankind and making angels in the snow. I want to play with my pets and my days of imagination to last forever So here are my checkbook and my car keys, my credit card bills and my 401(k) statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this further, you’ll have to catch me first because,“Tag! You’re it!” Happy April Fools Day!
  25. 5 points
    ichi

    3.0 Evocati

    Woot also, Soulcrusher posted that Concierge will be in wave 1 PTU I don't expect wave 1 before CitizenCon my guess is that subscribers will be also
  26. 5 points
    ichi

    Citizens and Members

    Recently we adopted a new Org rank system for the RSI site. Our current Org rank structure is: ExecutiveDirectorAssistant DirectorOfficerMember - Eligible to join divisionsCitizen - new to Org We recently promoted all existing citizens (over 1200 people) of the Org to Member. Congratulations! All new players who join Tactical Advance from this point forward will start at the Citizen rank. They'll be asked to review the Basic Training Handbook and certify that they are familiar with the content. Once they do that they're eligible to become a member and join a division. Please take the time to review the Basic Training Handbook. If you're familiar with playing Star Citizen you'll probably find a lot of content to be pretty basic, but ... everyone should read the first section, Introduction to Tactical Advance as well as the Introduction to Communication thanks to Roy, Bog, Groth, Snipd, Solar, Tac, and many others who helped develop this handbook. The next step will be to begin to develop advanced training and certifications for the divisions. if you have questions, comments, or suggestions for improvement, or if you'd like to help out as a part of the Academy, send me a PM or catch me on TS.
  27. 5 points
    SCCenter

    Route Planner

    Hello! I'm the author of the planner. I hope it will be used even after the MG.SKYLINE launches (navigation mobiglas ingame app), the plan is to have more features then the CIG apps, and already has a few (route preferences, custom template for strategic planning, custom tags for prospecting and Desktop apps).
  28. 5 points
    GrumpyCat

    Lets address the elephant in the room

    TA, Your organization is NOT falling apart. There is a re-balancing going on due to some longstanding issues created by people with deep-seated machinations of power. If you have been on the forums over the last couple weeks, you will have noticed we have parted ways with a rapid fire group of people. These individuals while amazing assets to the organization, in the end failed to understand one very simple concept, its not about you its about the org. I'd like to state that I was a fan of every one of the players who recently left, but I am completely disappointed for the REASONS they left. The underlining issue with every single one of these departures is power, and their idea that they should be in control of more of it. So lets go over that shall we? While your dedication to the organization SHOULD be recognized and appreciated, we should not be promoting and placing people in key positions of power because they had more time to create a shiny thing. Everyone here appreciates the hard work that these individuals put in, sacrificing their time and energy in making this organization better. That does not mean however that they are great leadership material. The leadership we have in place at this very moment are there because they have proven time and time again to hold the ability to BE leaders. This is not to say no one will ever be given more responsibility down the road, but we are so far off from the start of the game that its impossible to see who will best fit those roles. The players that left, did so because they wanted to play a different type of game, a politics game. They wanted to scheme and maneuver their way to the top, and so they left for somewhere they felt they could do just that. I don't fault them for that, its up to them to decide whats important to them and how they want to spend their time before the launch. On that however I have to say TA does not need those sort of members. Whats even more unfortunate is that many of them showed qualities and dedication that could have been useful in leadership roles down the line, but were unwilling to see this org to game launch. We are all here because we believe in the vision that is TA that we WILL bring to fruition come game launch. A vision of an organization who's steadfast determination and unity will create one of the greatest orgs this game will see. Now I do not speak for anyone else but myself, but I can tell you that I have been to MANY different organizations, and I trust the people in charge as well as the people under them here to bring about that vision. I hope you do as well. -Grumpycat
  29. 5 points
    Competition and Cooperation in Star Citizen I think that Star Citizen will be very competitive. In gaming the concept of competition is frequently discussed in terms of PvP. In a general MMO sense, PvP can mean anything from arena-style combat with defined victory conditions to open world ganking depending on who you're talking with. Some purists bristle when the term PvP is applied to resource competition, piracy, and griefing, but that doesn't change several important aspects of gaming competition. Its not necessary to agree to PvP in order to find oneself in the middle of a fight (think piracy or ganking), and there does not need to be any tangible reward for doing it, because when attacked, even if for no reason, you're engaged in PvP. In SC I think there will be competition for resources, space, recruits, almost anything that people want to fight over. And because of the complexity of the 'verse and stated design of 90% NPC we will be competing against the game – trying to explore, earn credits, and acquire loots – and against other players. In some cases I expect we might not be sure if we're engaged in PvP or PvE. I think we won't be able to avoid competition/conflict/challenges. Group Dynamics and Structure In small groups, a family for example, the group culture and norms have been developed over time and may not ever be formalized, or even spoken. Everyone sort of knows what to expect from each other, and there's likely to be a lot of overlap in expectations and beliefs. As small groups transition into tribes there's still a lot of unwritten social rules and a pecking order, but we also start to see formalized hierarchy, titles and badges that confer authority and responsibility. Tribes still have a fairly common set of beliefs and goals, but there is competition as well as cooperation. When we get to large group size, its common to come into contact with folks who are strangers, despite being members of the same group. Those common understandings, goals, and beliefs might not be so common. At any size, the success of groups depends on how the individual's pursuit of their self interest promotes or enables the success of the group as a whole. The Nature of Organizations Game organizations have a set of characteristics that are important to understand. Its a game, its a volunteer system, and the members are not physically together. A worldwide org has an additional aspect, a potentially wide range of background and cultures and values and perspectives. Because its a game, some folks struggle to take the hard work of creating and running an org seriously. Gaming might not be a high priority, or someone may not understand what goes on behind the scenes of a functional org, there's a variety of reasons not to take this too serious. Because its a volunteer system, Org leaders have to replace the money carrot with other types of rewards. Its a lot harder to run a volunteer operation than one where there's a paycheck involved. It requires finding self-motivated people of like mind and keeping them happy while they do heavy lifting. Burnout is a huge factor because everyone is already busy living a life, and who wouldn't want to play more and manage less. Because we're not physically co-located, communication is harder. Can't see the grin on Bob's face when he cracks a joke, so its harder to tell if he was trying to be funny or just poking someone for reals. In a village setting I may not know Bob or spend time with him, but I can see he keeps his house and family taken care of and that he always helps out others. In an Org, online that kind of stuff can be missed. And of course, everyone has their own backgrounds and opinions and perspective, which can lead to misunderstanding or even real conflict due to a clash of culture. As groups grow above a certain size, it becomes important to set rules and guidelines, explicit norms for folks to try to adhere to. Since each member of the group might interact with strangers at any time, its important for there to be a expressed code of behavior. In modern corporate/government culture, that is done through policy. Small groups have policies too, they just don't write them down, everyone just knows. Solo v Group Play I believe that it will be not only possible, but very enjoyable, to play this game solo or in small groups. There will be players who log on for an hour or two and bop around and have a blast. But there will be a lot of content, maybe the best content, that will require larger groups. So while someone might have a great time running loads through safe space with nothing but an NPC waifu by their side, larger groups will be able to experience the game in ways that will be difficult for solos and small groups. The largest groups will be able to do the most, full on fleet fights or invasions, operating stations, claiming areas (maybe?) Fun and Success Its a game right? This should be fun. Now there's a wide range of what folks think fun is. My favorite bit about this is that “its only work if you'd rather be doing something else”, so maybe “fun is when you don't want to stop”. But for most of us, having fun entails being successful. In SC that means successfully completing missions, earning credits, winning fights, defeating pirates, etc. Lumpy My favorite analogy for Orgs are asteroid fields. Moving through space the asteroids attract other objects and the begin to coalesce. Sometimes asteroids crash into other during this process! (that's the conflict and drama part) After a while some more objects are drawn in, and some drift away. Over time the asteroid field changes members, size, and shape. (Yes, I just compared us all to lumps of space rock) In our case the first asteroid is Tac himself, he attracted other bodies and in turn grew the Org to over a 1000 members with a functional support system. Except one huge difference between an Org and a clump of asteroids is that we have the ability to be self-organizing. The nature of the individual asteroids and the rules (guidelines? Culture?) go a long way in defining the character of the Org. So how our little asteroid field will look over time will be influenced by our individual actions and behaviors, our group culture and policies, and the state of the game. Currently, development has been taking a little while, so a lot of our space rock friends are just floating around on the edge of field, ready to return when the s**t finally gets real. But ... Soon™! Core Principles Inform Policy This Orgs stated core principles are pretty straightforward. If we wish to have fun, continue to build a community (many many props to the folks who's time and effort has brought us to where we are), and be successful in-game (and in the meta-games) then there has to be a structure, a set of rules/guidelines/policies, and some support systems to make that happen. Those systems need to account for the realities mentioned above (alpha game, volunteer, etc) and follow some basic principles: There needs to be leaders, individuals with titles who have the responsibility to make progress and the authority to make it happen. Those individuals have to have the Orgs interest at heart and not their own benefit. “Supreme power derives from a mandate from the masses ...”There needs to be a system of delegation and control to spread the workload, avoid burnout, get broader group participation, and ensure that whatever we try to do is done properly and efficiently.There needs to be a system of recruitment, retention, and internal coordination and feedback.There has to be policies, I prefer to think of them as 'expectations' that the Org has of the members (for example, don't unnecessarily aggravate one of our allied Orgs).There has to be working systems in place to do the day-to-day work, and people to power those processes. These include recruitment/induction, member services, internal security, support systems (websites, TS), and information sharing (about the game and the Org).Those systems have to be the minimum necessary to accomplish our goals, with an all-volunteer army and for the reasons discussed above, everything that we create has to be managed and maintained. If we make a rule, we better be willing and able to hold people accountable to it. If we create a system, it has to be workable under the conditions we face. Much of this is in place, and some more work ins underway, and some stuff needs to wait for the game to catch up. TL:DR we'll be competing, in order to be successful we'll need some structure and some systems in place; those systems need to be designed around the realities of gaming life, and keep as simple, friendly, and acceptable as possible while still be effective. Just some thoughts after reading through the forums and chatting on TS. I'm impressed with the state of TA, a very active and healthy Org for a game that's in alpha. I'm interested in hearing from others about the whole bit, and hope that no one takes umbrage at my ideas. Although I've only been here a short while, what I've seen so far has prompted me to put forth some ideas, hopefully get a good response that will help me learn and understand, and maybe give others some food for thought. Or shoot me with missiles, I can handle it!
  30. 5 points
    I'll be breif, blunt & concise. I don't care that people left. I care about the people who left. They were some great people. Friends, and people I held in high regard. With due respect, the reason I say I don't care about this, Is because what I do care about in it's stead is the damage control on filling holes left in the org with suitable candidates and seeing if we can continue on full steam, which we can. Which we will. I care about finding individuals capable of picking up where they left off, and bringing new ideas into the org, and making this place what it should be. A community, and a pleasant one at that. People leaving the org will -Never- be an issue so long as we know their reasoning, and can use that as a learning experience to fix what they found fault with so there is no repeat dissatisfaction with a particular process or thing. In doing so, following a path of self improvement and making this community more pleasant and fun an atmosphere as we want it to be. Just keep in mind this is an experience for us all. And i'll finish with simply this: Perhaps this video will be relevant, perhaps not. But I think it's something we can take from as an org. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBMkrXG8KMY Thats my two cents.
  31. 5 points
    Captian Bayne here! As the creator of SCLoreCast and a proud member of Tactical Advance and I am pleased to announce the first ever (patreon backed) Ship Give Away! The rules are simple: Subscribe to my YouTube ChannelLeave a Comment on any of our LoreCastsHere is the official Video: Once we reach 1500 subscribers a name will be drawn and the winner will be drawn. In addition to winning an LTI ship he or she will ALSO be able to provide a name that we will gift a starter package to. An LTI ship for the winner...and a starter package to give to someone they choose! ...and in case you haven't heard of SCLoreCast here is the official Blurb: SCLoreCast is dedicated to bringing the lore of Star Citizen to life by combining narration, voice acting, environmental audio and music. Sourcing both official (CIG produced) and unofficial (fan fiction) literary works, we aim to help immerse the fans of the future hit PC game into the lore found in the quickly expanding Star Citizen "verse"! SCloreCast is also available on the following platforms: - iTunes = https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sclorecasts-podcast/id1125578222 - Google Play = https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=1#/ps/I6vxlgf4godpwnrmxgxgbjs3bte - Stitcher = https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/sclorecast - blogspot = https://sclorecast.blogspot.com/ - SoundCloud = https://soundcloud.com/sclorecast - YouTube = https://www.youtube.com/c/sclorecast - iHeartRadio = https://www.iheart.com/show/263-sclorecasts-podcast
  32. 5 points
    While we were visiting the german Star Citizen-studio Foundry 42, Chris Roberts spent some time to talk with us in a video-interview about many details of his ambitious spacegame-project. If you want to know his personal thoughts about the overall project's size, why ship- and concept-sales are still necessary and many other aspects of developing such a big "beast" like Star Citizen, you'll enjoy the video. 0:17 Which space games have inspired you the most?? 1:06 How would you describe the Wing Commander "formula"?? 3:10 What are the most important gameplay elements for you in Star Citizen?? 5:39 How do you handle all the expectations from more than 1.4 million backers?? 9:21 Why are ship - and concept - sales still necessary for the project?? 13:32 How does the game growing as much as it has, influence further development?? 18:40 How would you describe the presure onto yourself, coming from the project size?? 23:27 What are the next content updates?? 28:54 How will players experience all the lore and history in the universe of Star Citizen?? 33:01 If you would do a remake of one of your classic games, would there be a favorite??
  33. 5 points
    I figured you should see who you are helping... This is Mihaela (or Michelle in english)
  34. 5 points
    Hey guys, just had a chat with some people on TS and we came up with the idea of setting up a second clock on your gaming computer so we can always check time there to avoid timezone blunders. All you have to do is click on the clock on the toolbar and select "Change date and time settings..." and go to the second tab labeled "Additional Clocks". Click on "Show this clock" and select "(UTC) Co-ordinated Universal Time" and call it something like "TA Time". Then we all have our time and TA time available! Problem solved!
  35. 5 points
    habuj58

    My New Render Factory

    My rig died last week and I just got done building a new one. I game in 4K and make lot of videos as well as other process intensive stuff so I built this to make life easier. Case: Obsidian 900d PSU: CORSAIR AX1200i Motherboard: Asus Rampage V CPU: i7-5960X Haswell-E 8-Core (4.25Ghz OC) RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 4 series 32GB Graphics card: 2x Nvidia Titan X SLI Sound card: Sound Blaster Z Hard Drive(s): 256 SSD, 512 SSD, 1TB HDD Monitor: Samsung U28D590D 4K Operating System: Windows 8.1 E Cooling: Custom water loop with dual radiators
  36. 5 points
    guys this is a free flight nice video that show landing at the industrial hangar hf    
  37. 5 points
    Akanoes

    Around the Verse Episode 35

    Sneak peek (Go here for the other images) Transcript (This is slightly shortened)NEWS FROM AROUND THE ‘VERSESanta Monica with Travis and Darian Drake Herald inforunner, being modeled by Paul Forgi chunky, blocky ship. Redesigned to be a little more symmetrical Retaliator It’s gotten some work. yes, it’s in 1.1 in the Hangar, but it’s also the test-bed for multi-crew ship functionality. hud displays to different seats also testing better ways to render large ships. 1.1.0 push tidying up the last bits. Intense patch so far, lots coming. Retaliator hangar ready shows off some of the technology one shot shows the hit impact and the emergency lights and such. This is the test bed for all kinds of conditional and reactive lighting Balancing Gladius new damage states cut down on load times. Looks better easier for the artists to make. New damage tech reduces the game size of the ships by almost 2/3rds, which is huge. the difference between caching 100mb and caching 14mb This will cut down on load times, once all ships are on the new damage tech. should be pretty quick. Cool interviews coming out of PAX – GamersNexus Chris talks about the new Zone system instancing, local physics grid, and how CIG are changing how that’s being done. Illfonic with Kedhrin Gonzalez and Chuck Bruegarde Back from PAX East event went really well, showed off the first preview of the Astro Arena and such Definitely some issues still, but it was a good reveal. Next looking at the Astro Arena looking at more. Lots of the movement was cut from the demo, because they weren’t quite working correctly yet. A few things with 0g movement they want to really detail and fine tune. working with Steve Bender, animation director, trying to tighten up animations and how the character reacts to gravity, and grabbing on to things. Getting the module ready is the next push, animations and a few little bugs. there’s going to be another mo-cap shoot to fill in more details. It’s fun already, there’s a game there, going to start having a lot more company playtests soon, and then it’ll come to the backers soon. Austin with Jake Ross and Patrick Thomas – lead artist Update on the Demo we’ll see at SXSW VFX work being done in house, setting up steam coming out of grates, playing some screens in the bar Bits and bobs bringing the arcorp level to life R&D being done on Mining gameplay starting to implement the mining design this week, setting it up now. Probably be able to start mining in the not-too distant future Patrick mobiGlas the model is beautiful and amazing and incredibly detailed they’re going through it bit by bit. Taking the model apart, dissecting it, building more detail in, dividing it into its materials (silver, plastic, etc…) Then they build meshes that they project into the game Effects get added Very exciting and important part of the game they’re working on.​ CIG UK with UK QA team new features being tested for 1.1 multiplayer free-flight a lot of fun to test new landing features are in, testing that to make sure it works getting out, sitting in different seats, stealing each others ships, backstabbing, etc… but fun. make sure you put bugs on the forums, keeps their job much easier. REC credits coming in in 1.1 be earning credits as you play in certain game modes rent weapons and ships and such with the credits. a cycle of epic win. More incentive to play, more interesting to play. Gladius is flight-ready lots of time looking at the new damage state squibbing is in. lots of making sure the damage states look natural and good. flies like a dream. Source: INN
  38. 5 points
    NuttyRob

    Rhyming With the Prose

    We'll be the best company, we'll build the best one In this, the best space sim, we'll be second to none We are looking for players, not pirates nor greifers Star caliber citizens, good players, great leaders Who'll bolster our ranks, and charge into the fray When friends are in need, we shall not shy away Our deeds will be legend, for our cause will be just With unyielding resolve, from fresh paint to rust To defend our freedom, to trade and explore We'll fly and we'll fight, we will thrive and endure To lay claim to a home, in this big wide expanse And reach for the stars.... Join Tactical Advance! Uhh...I don't know. Its been 46 hours since I've slept. I used to be good at this lol.
  39. 4 points
    ichi

    Here we are, and its good

    According to SCStats we are the ninth largest Org (by actual member) in Star Citizen. Top Orgs by Actual Members RankSpectrum IDNameMembersAffiliatesTotalAMMAS1TESTTest Squadron - Best Squardon!68766440133164362XPLORXplor! - One small step for a man5127816713294-30403ADIAtlas Defense Industries4329108443742214IMPERIUMImperium410813412140955CORPThe Corporation364151318772-14906UOLTTLTT Conglomerate2362629299117337KRTDas Kartell22220222222228DRACULOrder Of The Dragon13532135513519TADVANCETactical Advance1291131304127810LAMPL.A.M.P.12503231573927 We are the sixth largest by AMMAS (AMMAS stands for Actual Members Minus Affiliates Score). The AMMAS rank is really the important one, IMO, because our members are going to be here, not spread over three or four other Orgs, because we're Exclusive Top Orgs by AMMAS RankSpectrum IDNameMembersAffiliatesTotalAMMAS1ADIAtlas Defense Industries4329108443742212IMPERIUMImperium410813412140953KRTDas Kartell22220222222224UOLTTLTT Conglomerate2362629299117335DRACULOrder Of The Dragon13532135513516TADVANCETactical Advance129113130412787MONGOOSEMongoose Nest Starfleet119326121911678TBSIBlack Star Initiative11586116411529LAMPL.A.M.P.1250323157392710SIBYLLASibylla89214906878 Think about it, we are the sixth largest Org in an game that, while still in alpha, has maybe a million backers. When SQ42 drops, I expect interest in SC to continue to grow, along with the number of citizens. With each new patch there will be more hype and more people joining. Over time, some of the Orgs on that list will grow, others will shrink, some will blow up. We're building an Org that will last, one that people will want to join, a fun, successful, strong Org. Yeah, its corny I know, a fun friendly guild with our own tabard! I get it. I also know that we have the potential to be the best Org in the game, but that's not going to happen automatically, not without a little effort. The Officers have been working during the last few months to update our systems and our policies. We're in a very good position to be able to handle the numbers of people we think we'll have. We still have some work to do, and if you're interested in helping out let us know. You're going to see a change in the activity level around here very soon. Drop in to TS, post on the forums or Spectrum, attend the meetings every other Saturday, hop on and play a game. The lack of content the last few months has more than a few members taking a break, and maybe after we've played 3.0 for a month or two activity will drop off, we don't know. But it might be time to dust off that joystick and free up some hard drive space, schedule a little play time.
  40. 4 points
    AMD Launches Ryzen: 52% More IPC, Eight Cores for Under $330, Pre-order Today, On Sale March 2nd The biggest x86 launch for AMD in five years is today: Ryzen is here. As always before a major launch, AMD gives a ‘Tech Day’ for relevant press and analysts, and through this event AMD’s CEO, Dr. Lisa Su lifted the lid on one of the most anticipated products in the semiconductor industry. AMD knows how to control the level of enthusiasm for its fans, and today is the end result, with processors going on pre-order from major retailers today at 1pm EST, ready for a general hard launch on March 2nd. All the information today is from AMD, and AMD’s internal testing, and pre-orders also start from today for users ready to put down their money for a launch day part. Reviews of the CPUs, as well as when the CPUs will ship to customers, is on March 2nd. This also happens to be right in the middle of two annual shows, Game Developer Conference (GDC) and Mobile World Congress (MWC), making the time between receiving pre-launch samples and being able to provide independent verification of AMD’s performance claims relatively frantic. We’ll do our best! The Ryzen FamilyWith a new processor launch, naming the parts and positioning them within the market is critical. So with Ryzen, the processor stack will be split into three based on performance and price: Ryzen 7 at the high end, Ryzen 5 in the middle, and Ryzen 3 for more price-conscious consumers. Both Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 are set to be launched later, and Ryzen 7 is the first portion of the family to be released. Ryzen 7 will have three CPUs to start, all having eight cores and supporting simultaneous multi-threading: Ryzen 7 1800X will be the high-end part, featuring a base clock of 3.6 GHz and a turbo of 4.0 GHz, within a TDP of 95W, and for $499. Next to this is Ryzen 7 1700X, launching at $399, with a base/turbo of 3.4/3.8 GHz. The final part for the launch is the Ryzen 7 1700, providing eight cores and sixteen threads for $329 at 3.0/3.7 GHz frequencies. Processors will initially be available for pre-order from 185 retailers and OEMs worldwide, either as individual parts or pre-built systems. What, not 40% IPC? 52% IPC??Enthusiasts and analysts use the term IPC, or ‘Instructions Per Clock’, as a measure of how much the underlying microarchitecture improves from generation to generation. Two decades ago, a good design on a smaller node could net a healthy double-digit gain, whereas in recent years 5-10% gain has become the norm. When AMD initially announced that the new Zen microarchitecture they were developing was aiming for a 40% IPC gain, despite the low IPC they were starting from, users remained skeptical. AMD rehired Jim Keller to work alongside long-term AMD architect Mike Clark and produce a team with several goals in mind: high-performance x86, simultaneous multithreading, and a product to be relevant in the computing, PC, server and mobile space again. So despite this, 40% IPC always seemed a somewhat lofty goal, because Bulldozer was so underwhelming, and despite this low starting point. For the Ryzen launch today, AMD is stating that the final result of that goal is a 52% gain in IPC. This is something we will need to test in due course! The Ryzen Silicon, and the FutureAMD pointed out that the new 8-core silicon design runs 4.8 billion transistors and features 200m of wiring. Through previous announcements we’ve examined parts of the microarchitecture including cache sizes, threading, front-end/back-end design, and so on. AMD Zen Microarchiture Part 2: Extracting Instruction-Level Parallelism AMD Gives More Zen Details: Ryzen, 3.4 GHz+, NVMe, Neural Net Prediction, & 25 MHz Boost Steps AMD’s CEO was keen to point out that this is a from-scratch design for AMD, using the knowledge gained from features developed for previous products but ultimately under the hood it looks like ‘a typical x86 high-performance core’, with AMD-specific features and tweaks. We were told that AMD’s roadmap extends into the multi-year range, so while the focus for 2017 will be on this family of products, back at HQ the next two generations are in various stages of development. BENCHMARKS PLEASESo despite the 82+ motherboards going to be available, 19 initial PC system builders moving into 200+ through the first half of 2017, the big question on everyone’s lips is how exactly does it perform? Well, AMD gave us the following numbers: AMD's benchmarks showed that the top Ryzen 7 1800X, compared to the 8-core Intel Core i7-6900K, both at out-of-the-box frequencies, gives an identical score on the single threaded test and a +9% in the multi-threaded test. AMD put this down to the way their multi-threading works over the Intel design. Also, the fact that the 1800X is half of the price of the i7-6900K. In a similar vein, again with the Cinebench 15 multi-threaded test, the Ryzen 7 1700X scores over and above the Core i7-6800K (its price competition) and higher than the Core i7-6900K which costs 2.5 times as much. We’ll tell you what our benchmarks say, with official retail processors. But you will have to wait until March 2nd. Sorry. The Ryzen Revolution – i7 6900K Class Performance For 1/3rd The Price & Less Than Half The PowerAs if these figures aren’t mind boggling enough, the mainstream Ryzen 1700 is listed at $320. Which comes in at one fourth the cost of its Intel rival, which regularly retails for over $1100. To put the enormity of this into perspective, you would practically be able build an entire high-end gaming machine around the R 1700 for the same money that would cost you just to get an i7 6900K chip on its own. You'll notice that Ryzen chips with the -X suffix are rated at 95W whilst their equivalents without the X at the end are simply more energy efficient variants with a lower 65W TDP. The -X stands for Extended Frequency Range, enabling the user to reach an even higher boost, provided there is sufficient cooling. However, all Ryzen CPUs without exception feature fully unlocked frequency multipliers. *Rest of the Ryzen Family not confirmed. CPUCores/ThreadsL3TDPBaseTurboXFROverclocking UnlockedPriceAMD Ryzen 7 1800X8/1616MB95W3.6GHz4.0GHz4.1GHzYes$499AMD Ryzen 7 1700X8/1616MB95W3.4GHz3.8GHz3.9GHzYes$399AMD Ryzen 7 17008/1616MB65W3.0GHz3.7GHzN/AYes$329AMD Ryzen 5 1600X6/1216MB95W3.6GHz4.0GHz4.1GHzYes$259AMD Ryzen 5 16006/1216MB65W3.2GHz3.6GHzN/AYes$219AMD Ryzen 5 1500X4/88MB65W3.5GHz3.7GHz3.9GHzYes$189AMD Ryzen 5 14004/88MB65W3.2GHz3.4GHzN/AYes$169AMD Ryzen 3 1300X4/48MB65W3.4GHz3.8GHz3.8GHz+Yes$139AMD Ryzen 3 12004/48MB65W3.2GHz3.5GHzN/AYes$119 More Benchmarks located at: http://wccftech.com/amd-ryzen-1600x-cinebench-r15-performance-confirmed/ Sources: http://www.anandtech.com/show/11143/amd-launch-ryzen-52-more-ipc-eight-cores-for-under-330-preorder-today-on-sale-march-2nd http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/amd-ryzen-pricing/ http://wccftech.com/amd-ryzen-7-1800x-8-core-benchmarks/
  41. 4 points
  42. 4 points
    SleeppingWolf

    more images

    album with some new images
  43. 4 points
  44. 4 points
    Silas

    Love this

    Hi all, not sure if everyone seen this but I feel this PIC should be posted. Edit for Awesomeness by Akanoes: Totally fixed it because I'm amazing =3
  45. 4 points
    I began my day as anyone else would. I woke up, grabbed some coffee, and started reading the various News reports from nearby systems, including our own. Then all communications started to get interrupted. The mercenary types were the first to run, any sign of trouble and that lot is after em. I asked one of them what was going on, only to get a face-full of food as he spat his partially chewed noodles on me. Another seemed apologetic in appearance, and mentioned something about Pirates raiding Comm stations. Great. Another thing I need to deal with. Which reminds me. Where is that replacement sensor array I ordered for the Landeleitan, my Pride and Joy. Shes not much different from other people's Carrack. But she is mine. Covalex Shipping was the last place I saw the tracking report state it was. I guess I could pay it a visit in a Consolidated Outland Mustang I have on the flight deck of the Landeleitan. I arrived at the station not long after finishing my coffee. Early hailing attempts failed, I figured maybe the comms got busted on the Mustang after that botched wormhole jump, aside from the missing left wing, everything checked green across the board. It was when I noticed the Shipping Hub was dark and still that I knew something went awry. Based upon the little facts I had, I could assume one or two things, either she had a malfunction, or the damned Pirates hit her. I saw no damage upon arrival, but the fleeing Aurora I spotted left me with no fuzzy feelings. I wasnt going to try to dock, no use there, full systems blackout. So I tucked my ship away, and came out to find the Emergency lights on the blast shield blinking. Something happened, and it wasnt pretty. Looks like something came out of the control room, and with some righteous authority. I approached the rupture with extreme caution. Almost there, What happened?! Dear God.... It appears the cooling pipes ruptured, sending debris flying, causing this breech. But were are the bodies? Well, some of the emergency lighting is still on, still no bodies... Almost to residential, were they all up here? Nothing, not even a drop of blood... what is going on....? Down we go. Further into the Rabbit Hole.... A terminal is still powered! Maybe I can find out what happened, AND find my sensor array.... Well, theres what happened. Power systems overheated, causing a hull rupture. Still doesnt explain the bo......... what the hell was that noise?! I swear I heard a damn door open! To Be Continued.....
  46. 4 points
    Akanoes

    Cargo Interaction

    Greetings Citizens, To date, Star Citizen’s Arena Commander module has put much of the focus on pure action: the thrill of deep space dogfighting. While space battles are a core element of the Star Citizen experience, they are the beginning and not the end of creating a vast, interactive world. And one of the next, most important steps is developing a cargo system that allows players to more fully interact with their environment than any previous space game. On first consideration, making cargo sexy might seem like a difficult challenge. The excitement of combat is self-explanatory, while shipping goods from star to star is a different kind of challenge, potentially more of a slow burn. The average pilot would be forgiven for having more interest in a dogfighting module than a cargo demo… but the reality is, cargo is deeply important to expanding Star Citizen’s gameplay. Whether you’re using it to customize your environment, to build a shipping empire or to run black market goods from Advocacy patrols, a comprehensive cargo system is going to enable Star Citizen to build a real world full of varied gameplay opportunities. How do we do it? In the past, space games have solved this problem by separating the player from what was being transported. Shipping a load of tungsten in Privateer or hydrocarbons in Freelancer meant selecting an icon in a menu and being told your ship had been loaded with that particular good. For Star Citizen, we wanted to do more than just give you a cargo manifest; it stood to reason that in our First Person Universe, you would need to be able to fully interact with whatever you happen to be shipping! With this in mind, we’ve set out to create a system that allows for maximum interaction directly with in-game objects.   HOW INTERACTION WORKS The Star Citizen design team has determined that there are five essential ‘use cases’ for cargo objects in the game environment. Each of these cases must be developed in the game to give you full control over your cargo and items. Uses cases are as follows: Player to Item: The player must be able to physically manipulate objects in the game world. Whether it’s a frag grenade, a Chairman Roberts bobblehead or a Xi’an space plant, your character must be able to grab objects with one or two hands and then place them where desired. Player to Massive Item: In development terminology, a massive item is any one that is too large for a player to reasonably interact with themselves. Think a ton of steel, a replacement Hornet wing or a multi-meter torpedo. Massive items differ from standard items because they will require in-game tools for handling: anything from cargo drones to loader suits. Player to Container: Current Star Citizen pilots are likely most familiar with the Stor-All container found on some models of Aurorae. Under the hood, there are two types of containers: crates and tanks. Crates are containers that can hold the loose items used in the previous use cases. You might fill a container (like the Stor-All) with anything: weapons, electronics, artifacts, personal effects… even live animals! Tanks are an alternative form of container that hold anything the player wouldn’t naturally interact with: fuel, ore, scrap, nitrogen and the like. To simplify the loading process, every container in Star Citizen will include a port for a cargo jack allowing it to be manipulated directly using an array of anti-grav pulsers. Players will load their containers (or acquire them pre-loaded) and then position them aboard or attached to their spacecraft. Player to Pallet: Especially important for larger ships (like the Hull C, D and E) which would otherwise take ages to load, the player to pallet use case is how you will be able to stack alike containers. This allows containers to move as a group, as long as the stack is entirely within the locking plate on the top of the lower container. This holds true for grav pallets, which are giant mobile locking plates, and allows for cargo to be moved in bulk. Player to Cargo Bay: This final state is how players interact with their entire collection of cargo on any given ship. This is where we develop formal mobiGlas and environment tie-ins to give pilots control over their entire cargo manifest. From the manifest view, they can view and track all containers and items on a particular ship.   GRABBY HANDS All of the above use cases are built atop one requirement: the ability for the player to manipulate individual component items at will. To enable this biggest technical hurdle, we have created a system called Grabby Hands. We’ve put together four demos to show you exactly how Grabby Hands works and what it lets you do! Looking at an item and then pressing F will pick it up. The appropriate animation will play and the item will be attached to the players’ hand. The item is now held! Looking down at the item again and press F will put it down. A raycast at shoulder height will determine where the item will be put, and the appropriate animation will play to put it there. While holding an item, look down at it and press and hold F will enter precision placement mode. In this mode, an AR indicator allows the player to choose the location where the item will be put. While in precision placement mode, clicking and dragging will allow the player to rotate the object around pitch and yaw. Make no mistake, this is more than just a system for picking up and putting down objects. With this process in place, we don’t need to create a unique animation for every single object in the universe; the game adapts to interact with what you’re doing, the way you want! TWO-HANDED OBJECTS     Two-handed objects are reoriented automatically when picked up to simplify the attachment points needed for these animations. Beyond this exception, two-handed objects work exactly like one-handed ones do.    COIN FLIPHere’s where Star Citizen’s physics engine really shines! By interacting with items, you can manipulate them in a realistic manner that takes into account your environment (and its respective gravity and other conditions.) What that means in this case is that you can use Grabby Hands to manually flip a coin! Moving up while releasing the coin will cause it to flip, at which point it can be caught again. Holding still or moving down while releasing will simply drop the coin. Multiple coins can be picked up and flipped simultaneously, causing it to rain coins and make a mess. Groups of coins set down together tend to be much more organized. But this isn’t just about coins: it’s about creating a system that gives players more control over their universe. It will create new ways for players to express themselves through their interactions in the ‘verse!   USABLE ITEMS When holding a useable item, look down at it and double tap [F] to use the item. While an item is in use, double tap [F] to unused the item and return it to the cargo state. This means that any personal item you might use (such as a gun, or a flashlight) can also be stored as cargo.   ITEMS AND CONTAINERS Every container has two key statistics: Standard Cargo Units (SCU) and Number of Ports. These define everything the game needs to know about loading a container onto a pallet or attaching it to a ship. SCU defines the exterior dimensions of the container in cubic meter increments, while the number of ports defines how many discrete slots into which items can be placed are available. Ports are 0.25m spaces. In this example, the container is a 2SCU, 63Port container (a 2.5m x 1.25m x 1.25m container with a 2.25m x 1.0m x 1.0m available interior space.) Items are also rated in the number of Ports they occupy when placed into a crate: a pistol is 1p, a rifle is 2p, a missile is 6p and so on. When an item is released inside the containment field of a crate, the item latches onto the nearest port and animates into place.   CONTAINERS AND PALLETS As noted above, pallets are used to move more cargo in fewer trips. Loading fifty individual containers of ore would be no fun (and ultimately wouldn’t be realistic) and so a system must be put into place to allow bulk loading of same cargo. The player will interact with very large containers and pallets, often so large that they will obscure visibility. To counter this issue, the cargo jack includes a UI interface depicting the local area to the player, much like the landing assist UI recently premiered in Arena Commander. This ultimately allows for precise and intentional manipulation of cargo.   CARGO BAY The SCU value introduced earlier defines the exterior dimensions of containers, which is important to note because it allows the number of SCU a ship is rated for to actually correlate with the SCU value of all containers which can be placed inside that particular cargo bay. Containers are placed in a locking grid of sorts, which marks out (floor to ceiling) where cargo can be stored onboard a ship. The technology that drives these locking plates only require power to change state, and will secure even unboxed cargo as long as it is fully within the locking area. This means that only cargo containers can stack while disallowing infinite bridges, and that turning off the power plant won’t shred the ship with instant cargo shrapnel. Active locking plates are lit gold, although the light will change to red if there is something wrong: the cargo bay is too damaged to maintain lock, any of the items atop the plate cannot be secured and so on. SHIP/CARGO INTERACTION Finally, as included in the final use case players must be able to interact with their cargo from the ship’s onboard manifest. Using the manifest, you can activate and deactivate locking plates (to jettison cargo), set orders for arranging cargo and see the effect that all of your items are having on your center of mass (unlike previous games, your ships’ performance will be tied to the mass and volume of what you decide to load aboard her!) We are in the process of developing the UI for this system today, and are proud to present a mockup of the current version.   SHIP/CARGO INTERACTION Finally, as included in the final use case players must be able to interact with their cargo from the ship’s onboard manifest. Using the manifest, you can activate and deactivate locking plates (to jettison cargo), set orders for arranging cargo and see the effect that all of your items are having on your center of mass (unlike previous games, your ships’ performance will be tied to the mass and volume of what you decide to load aboard her!) We are in the process of developing the UI for this system today, and are proud to present a mockup of the current version. This gallery of images were created internally to pitch the cargo concept to the team.
  47. 4 points
    So I got a package through the mail from Muffin the other day, the picture below shows all the awesome stuff she got me! She also made me a Magikarp hat for my 21st birthday! This was the most awesome thing that has ever arrived in the mail so I just wanted to share this with everyone! Thanks again Muffin!
  48. 4 points
    Alpine

    Coffee with Alpine - Akanoes - #4

    Location: Tactical Advance Media Division Offices   I'm sitting in my office at TAMD (Tactical Advance Media Division).  I don't like it here. It's too distracting. There are people running everywhere and screens filled with feeds from all over the verse. You never know where news will break and by keeping a watch on items of interest we can stay on top of things. Thank God for interns. I would rather be sitting in my designated corner at "Grounds Control" A small intimate coffee shop at the Terra space port. The coffee is better. The view is better. The view being Jillian, the Barista that runs the joint. That, and it's quieter. Even with all the Space Ships coming and going, it's quieter. The Office is where I have to make appearences now and then to handle the meanial stuff that comes with the job - handing reciepts to accounting, seeing Tech Support for the latest updates for my Mobiglass and the most menial task of all, facing 22Actual while he reads me the riot act for some violation with the UEE. Boring. Sitting at my desk I am trying to brainstorm my next story. As the TAMD Reporter-at-Large I have the luxury of being able to pick and choose what I write. The luxury that comes with seniority and a long string of awards for journalistic professionalism. I'm stuck. Brain lock. A dry hole. I look up at the feed on my wall. Akanoes is reporting from the field. The guy never sleeps. He scoops all the other reporters in the office more often than not, including yours truly. Hmmmm. An idea starts to take efffect. I grab some coffee from my personal coffee bar (perks of the job) fill my 30oz. RSI cup, gather my Mobiglass and dicate a few notes and change my status to "On Assignment" meaning no one will bother me until I file. I head out the door and head to... ... the office next door. I hesitate. The guy is Legend. His office is dark with the exception of the old school computer he prefers to work on instead of the company issued Mobiglass. I wonder how he keeps it running.  His office is always dark. Around the office we call it "The Cave" but hey, to each their own. I know he's in there. I can smell his cigerette smoke. I knock out of politeness. Akanoes: "Hey Alpine. Come on in." I move slow, I dont want to trip over anything. There is stuff everywhere. I spy a Vanduul head under glass sitting on his desk, a Behring 200-P leans in the corner, some sort of crate bearing scorch marks with an old flightsuit stretched over it is in another corner. I find a chair and remove what appears to be a dried Thorshu Grey and deposit it on the floor. Alpine: "How's things going Akanoes?" Akanoes: "Pretty good.  Hey, nice job on that Calien story!" Alpine: "Thanks! I'll never be in your league, I'm just a small fish in a big pond. Someday maybe..."  Listen, I just got an idea for a story that is a little outside the box but I'll need your help. You game?" He looks skeptical. Akanoes: "Perhalps. I'm very busy though." Alpine: As you know I've been doing this PSA thing "Coffee with Alpine" you know, kinda introduce the staff to the masses, that kind of thing. Akanoes: "Yeah." I take a deep breath. Alpine: "I want to interview you!" He steeps his fingers under his chin. Ash from his cigerette fall on his vest. Akanoes: Interesting idea. A reporter reporting on a reporter. Think 22 will go with that?" Alpine: "I'll handle 22Actual. He's a pushover. What do you say?" Akanoes: "I guess it'll be ok. The exposure might get me a couple more stories myself."  (and might get me another award in the process!) Alpine: "Awesome. I don't have to go over the disclaimer do I? You know it better than I do I'm sure." Akanoes: "Nah. Ask away." I stay with my standard format and see how things develop. Alpine: "Tell me a little about yourself please." Akanoes: "My real life is rather boring. I have a degree in web development, but don't have a job since I'm 100% disabled. I've been diagnosed with long-term depression and autism. I might be able to work someday, but its difficult to find the right company and environment. The negative aside though. I do get some money because of that so I can live on my own and I have a lot of free time which I mostly spend gaming or watching anime/movies/series. I drive a motorcycle, which I love, though I am always afraid of falling of and dying. I wanna try and be more on teamspeak but social anxiety often get the best of me and sadly I end up not coming on TS. I'm trying though, getting to know more people and the times that I do come on, I really enjoy myself! So hopefully you'll be seeing more of me on there!! I'm really a nice guy though if I do say so myself. I'm willing to help anyone anytime. If Im not working a story I'll be glad to crew a ship, be a hired gun, or haul frieght. I'll try not to disappoint!" Alpine: "I can relate to your social anxiety. I have been there as well. How long have you been with Tactical Advance?" Akanoes: "Since January so about 3.5 months give or take." Alpine: "Why Tactical Advance when you could have gone anywhere?" Akanoes: "I saw a video Tac did on Youtube and read in the description he was recruiting. It seemed like a good idea to join an organisation so I'd have people to share the hype with and that could teach me the ropes. So I applied and here I am. I am really happy to be here!" Alpine: "What made you decide to become a Reporter?" Akanoes: "Well, I was putting up AtV and RtV on the forum whenever it came up and really enjoyed messing around with the transcripts, making sure it was easy for people to read and find. Then suddenly 22Actual asked me if I wanted to be a reporter. It would mean getting a title for something I already did and loved, so of course I accepted." Alpine: "And the rest is history. Your the best Reporter in the division and rack up stories like no ones business. I'm sure I'll be working for you soon! What are you in charge of now?" Akanoes: "As of now, I'm not really in charge of anything or have particular duties. We are a rather new division, so we are still setting up, we basically try to find fun and efficient ways to deliver the news. I do however consider AtV and RtV to be my baby, since I try to put them as complete as possible, with the sneak peak and the (slightly edited transcripts). I will be the one that makes transcripts from the org meetings as well, so I might end up being the transcript man, RULER OF TRANSCRIPTS. *imagines being a super hero* Alpine: "I wouldn't rule it out! What do you like best about TA? Akanoes: "I love the people! Everyone is so nice and helpful, and of course Tac's accent." Alpine: "He does have the voice doesn't he?  What ships do you have?" Akanoes: "Currently I have "Harry" the Herald, "The Ban Hammer" Merchantman, the Super Hornet "Stinger" (not sure about the name yet) and "Lassie" the Cutlass Blue I'm not sure of that one, it might become a Redeemer before release. I wasn't planning on naming my ships, but it kinda happened and here we are." He laughs. Alpine: "I understand. I just called my agent and had him trade my Freelancer MIS and Super Hornet for a Vanguard. What are you looking forward to most in the Persistant Universe? Akanoes: "I guess that would the organisation itself. I'm curious about these big operations and how we'll all work together. Because there will be a lot of people and a lot of things to do. It's gonna be so big and awesome." I can see the gleem in his eyes. No doubt about it, the guy is hyped! Alpine: "What do you see as your main focus in Star Citizen? Akanoes: "I'm not quite sure about this yet, since this is my first real space sim. I have played quite some FPS though, so Marine is looking good, but not sure how often I would find such jobs. At the moment my plans or hauling for the org with my MM, a nice and easy job, but still quite important and might end up trading in my free time (when I get more money). I will probably do some inforunning because I really love what I've read about it so far. And when I want some action I'll go bounty hunting for a bit with my Super Hornet or Cutlass Blue." Alpine: "So you'll have your hand in everything." Akanoes: "I guess I will at that!" Alpine: "Scenario: Your under attack. Weapons are out of commission. What's your plan?" Akanoes: "Thats easy. Ram it, no doubt about it. Go for as much damage as possible. I was probably dead already anyway, might as well try to take them with me. Maybe try and time my self destruct right for maximum damage. Go out in a blaze of glory you know." Alpine: "Well I hope it doesn't come to that. If you had a time machine and could go anywhere anytime - where would you go and why?" Akanoes: "I'm not that ambitious a man, so probably to when Star citizen is released. Just to see how awesome it will be, only to come back with an even bigger hype and that long wait. Alpine: "Sticking with the time machine idea, if you could go back in time 20 years and write yourself a letter what would it say? What advice would you give yourself?" Akanoes: "I'm proof that you're still alive, so be less paranoid, live a little, go crazy, it might hurt, but at least it won't kill you!" Alpine: "Well said! What Superpower would you want to have? yes just one." Akanoes: "I'ts cheesy, but immortality. It would open me up to do some crazy stuff, really be alive you know. And sure, it might get lonely, since you'll see everyone around you die, but in the end, life will always be lonely even with people around you. Wow, that got dark fast." Alpine: Well to lighten things up, What song best describes you? What Song would you like to perform on American Idol (assuming you can sing). Akanoes: "I never really listen to lyrics, I sorta see them as just an instrument and it gets hard for me to filter out the words so I wouldn't really know a song. But if I had to sing on American Idol, it would probably be a Spice Girls song, if you're gonna make a fool of yourself, might as well go full retard!" Alpine: "True that. but they seem to have done ok fame and money wise..." I smile. "Last question. Do have a favorite quote?" Akanoes: " "SUCK IT BLUE!" - D**k Simmons from Red vs Blue, its the way he says it that always puts a smile on my face." I laugh. He laughs. I rise to leave and shake his hand. I turn to leave and promptly trip over a case of starcharts in the floor. Coffee is splatered all over the wall and me. I manage to get up with most of pride intact. Alpine: "You really ought to invest in some lighting for this room". Akanoes: "Well then it would be "The Cave" would it?  He laughs. Alpine:  "The interview wasnt too bad was it? Hope it didn't push any deadlines for you." Akanoes: "No. It was kind of fun actually. Feel free to stop by anytime. Maybe sometime we can collaborate on a real story!" Alpine: "I'd like that!!" As I walk out the door I think about his parting comment. *Real Story* indeed. I'll show him, just as soon as I change out of this stained outfit. You know - I really hate to waste coffee like that.
  49. 4 points
    malogos

    Low Pass

      Bad ass.
  50. 4 points
    methosangel

    Phoenix Wing Fiction

    Hi All Thanks for you help Cal, I will be sending out more information as star citizen is being developed. The wing will have its own steam group so that i can organize events but this is a while off yet. If you are interested in joining come and speak to me i am regularly on ts. Thanks guys Here is are badge   Phoenix wing
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