Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

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Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby dilanski » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:44 pm

Dilanski presents, for your reading pleasure, his new ongoing BrikFic chronicle, a little mixture of action and space opera I've concocted, set in the brikverse, the characters and factions are probably easily guessed for some of you. The prologue and chapter 1 are ready, with more to come as and when they're completed. A lot of it relies on some pretty hefty models I want to build in LDD, but these stories aren't just flavour text for them (It's quite the opposite actually). The whole thing will be pretty fast paced, I have a lot of ground I want to cover, so strap in and hopefully enjoy the ride.

I'm no H.G. Wells, but with this I think I've tried harder than anything I've posted here before, but do please forgive the usual quirks I normally do in my writing.


Prologue - Aftermath

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"Admiral Cromwell Sir, the enemy fleet sir! It's gone!"

At that moment a cheer resonated through the vessels multi-kilometre hull, it bounced off corridors and resonated in the vessels vast hangars. A sudden relief to the thousands of crew, and a sentiment that resounded across hundreds of other vessels. The planet was theirs.

The first men to hit the ground were United Systems marines, each in full assault livery, Thousands converging on the AN headquarters, the resistance sleeper cells, filled with AN peacekeepers, and United Systems tank battalions, long thought lost, crawled out of the crevices of the giant planet wrapping city, Taking out defense grids, as their Third Alliance oppressors found themselves without a cavalry to come to the rescue.

Resistance on the planet was small, not entirely negligible, but in the end achieving total control of the planet was simple. The U.S.A had their planet back, and the A.N now had a home.
For Cromwell though there was one last job to be done before he could rest.

"Conn, bring up the first battle debris field, put it on display"

He turned from his well paced spot on the bridge of the Inexorable, and reached for the railing behind him. A ten by fifteen metre section of the bridge was sectioned off by hand railings, protecting from a good three metre drop into various pieces of optical machinery, which projected a large hologram of the vessel, currently showing detailed reports of damage sustained during the battle. The hologram flickered then was replaced with an expansive overview of the debris fields from the first battle. Cromwell could make out at least three dozen Automata frigates easily, as well as a menagerie of other ships, U.S.A, RIN, Scythian, Bavarian, he could even recognise half the hull of an A.N Pattern Vendetta amongst a sea of frigates.

"Where is the spirit?"

He didn't understand, A ship that size doesn't get eaten by laser fire, and by hell if the reactor went critical, or it crashed on the planet, well he probably wouldn't be here now if that was the case. No one answered his question.

"Where is the spirit!"

His voice filled the bridge, reverberating off the walls.

"Sir, I'm running a scan of the debris field now, I'm getting no trace of the ship"

Cromwell exploded, he lunged at the poor officer, pinning him against his station.

"You run it again right now!"

the officer, a seasoned crewman and no stranger to angry senior officers, froze, then found himself a few feet away from his chair, head ringing with obscenities directed his way, as the Admiral himself checked and re-checked the debris, widening the range over the whole planet.

"It's... Not there... She... She's not out there..."

"Sir the ship?"

A junior officer questioned, then immediately reacted, realising the stupidity of the question.

"No lad, not the ship, It's not the ship I want."

In his quarters he sought respite. His head hit the pillow for but a brief moments pause, only a few minutes while it cleared. Beside him, out of the corner of his eye he glanced her portrait.
He rose slowly from his bunk. The anger insufferable.

“They robbed it from me! The one plan I had to save her... And they took it from me... I wanted her corpse was all, I could've made her again, a year of work, figuring out how to reanimate the dead, and the TA didn't even spare the burning hull of her ship, they destroyed everything out of spite... unless?”

The realisation of a second possibility only crossed his mind for a second before he began clinging to it.

“They, took the ship”

Cromwell was a mad man. One put in charge of a determined war machine. No one questioned him, as long as he got results, which for an Empire a Galaxy away, meant nothing more than trade routes and propaganda.

“I'll track them down, everyone here on that day, every single crewman and soldier, until I find what they did with that ship, and with Payton. I'll have her body, Or I'll have there blood billion fold”

His words were quiet, almost prayer like, with a burning determination behind them.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby dilanski » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:46 pm

Chapter 1 - Field Work

2 Months Later

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The bar was bustling, criminals and low lifes played cards and shared drinks with conscripted men and wandering traders, as was life on a Zupponn mining company colony, it wasn’t a complete mess, the glasses were clean, and the decor was fair, except for a tacky water boat that was suspended from the ceiling. Cromwell had discarded his normal command suit and ceremonial sabre, instead opting for something more low key, an outfit that’d have him confused as a miner, and a headscarf, as was common wear on an asteroid colony, he couldn't have people recognising him, here of all places. While once in league with the Allied Nations, the position of the ZMC had changed drastically in recent times, leading to a neutral position, and with the kind of reward any Third Alliance or Immortal group would offer for his head, staying disguised was a priority.

As a space opened at the bar, he took the place, "Double gin and tonic", the bartender gave cromwell a strong look back, "Triple gin and tonic then my good man", The tender smiled, "We'll get on grand if this lot don't get you first".

The drink was watered down, probably cheap gin, but Cromwells informant was late, and he'd have to pass the time some how. Had something happened to him, better check.

"Newton, anything coming through on channels that would affect my informant?"

As Cromwell thought the question, Newton appeared out of nowhere, standing behind the bar, no one noticed him, as he really wasn't there, this was just a projection onto the skin of Cromwells eyes, and a live data link, carried most likely by a cloaked Ministry of Intelligence ship somewhere nearby.

"Extra security traffic is being picked up by a MoI ship, the Lady Godiva, and it's tracking a..."

A hand touched Cromwells shoulder, Cromwell froze, he was either about to be summarily executed, or....

"How are you doing?"

It was the latter fortunately.

The table was small, but partially secluded by a mosquito net, probably best to atleast try and be subtle with this meeting. Cromwell handed his informant a small brown package after they exchanged pleasantries.

"Just as asked, sample R7770, a programmable bio-robotic nanite virus, just enough for your needs, not a nanite more."

The package slipped into the informants coat.

"Keep it down, I have no intent of having my brains sifted out from my head by security, anyway, the information you wanted?"

"You served on the Belkarus, an Akkadian vessel during the first battle of New York, correct?"

"I did, what is it you don't already know?"

"The Spirit of Ragnablok, you were on the bridge of the Akkadian flagship, you must know something of what happened to her, how she went down?"

"That's the thing, she didn't, as heartless as it sounds, I was looking forward to seeing that ship cracked open, but no, halfway through the battle, the vessel disappeared entirely, but, that's not what the reports said, they said the ship went up in a massive fireball, not that reports have never lied before"

“Well that’s my suspicions confirmed now, would you have any reason to believe the vessel was taken by a certain group in particular?”

“If it was Akkadia, I would have know eventually, but apart from that no.”

“OK, well you’re the first informant to get me solid information, so thanks”

“First Informant?”

“Let’s just say it’s going to be a good month for freedom fighters, radicals and terrorists.”

“OK then, I’ll bid you…. 2 ‘o’ Clock”

Cromwell glanced around back to the bar, there were two men, both in dark gray uniforms, tinted black helmets, and combat boots that looked like they could crush bricks. Batons, a good inch in diameter, and 16 inches long hanging from their belts, and carbine rifles on over the shoulder straps. They were questioning the bartender, who as was certain, pointed their way.

He signalled his informant, who immediately pulled his hat down, and moved into the corner of the cubicle, putting on the best asleep bum act Cromwell had seen.

“Don’t move a fucking muscle”

Cromwell took a breath in, as a gloved hand reached over him, pulling the scarf off his head.

“Stand up, and hands in the air, turn around slowly!” The officer sounded young, maybe twenties, shame.

Cromwell complied, the officer shoving his baton in front of his head, and thin beam of light came from a slit in its side, the officer moving it down to scan his face, as part of some recognition system.

With that the enforcer nodded to his partner, who lifted his rifle. The shot came from behind Cromwell, striking the would be executioner in the jugular with a high caliber pistol round, practically decapitating him, the amateur officers not noticing the flash of a barrel, with that Cromwell struck the second officer, a clean punch to the jaw, dislocating it, then an uppercut for good measure, his baton sent spinning into the air, Cromwell grabbing it on its way down. With that came a loud whistle from outside, as riot officers began to pour into the bar.

The first two were met by glass bottles across the helmets as half the patrons sided with the law, and half with the madness. smoke grenades were lobbed hitting behind the bar, and quickly filling the room.

An enforcer lunged for Cromwell who gave back three sharp whacks with the baton, two deflected by his own, but the third striking across the visor cracking it, and knocking the man unconscious. the two who were hit on the entry were now up, and not in a good mood, spraying laser fire into the smoke, Cromwell took cover behind his chair, his informant kicking over a table, getting behind it. With the noises of hurried footsteps Cromwell could make out a guard running down the aisle towards them, Cromwell stuck out his baton and sure enough a lumbering guard tripped over it, Cromwell grabbed the knife on his boot, discarding the baton, and stabbed the officer between the vertebrae twice, before cutting the strap that held his carbine in place in the process. Now this was a fairer fight.

Cromwell Came up from behind the chair, placing two shots, that passed over the heads of brawling enforcers and patrons, and striking two chains holding up the boat, it fell a good three metres, crushing two guards and knocking a third off balance, giving Cromwell an easy shot. The helmets were strong, enough to save you from a falling mass of wood and metal, but not enough to save you from a laser blast, which as it connected, melted through the polymer visor, and making near unimpeded contact with the officers head. Now another anti-riot squad entered as the smoke started to dissipate, Cromwell grabbed the knife embedded in the tripped enforcers back, and threw it at the squad, who were trying to come in with riot shields, but not doing a good job of it, it hit a large glass lamp above the door, raining shards down, a quick distraction. Cromwell, and the patrons who took cover with some manner of arms, whether pilfered or of their own, fired into the mass of grey officers, but most of the shots just hit into their energized shields, dissipating into nothing.

”I have informed the Lady Godiva of your situation sir” Newton's figure an unwelcome appearance.

”Not now damnit!”

”They are ready to forcefully dock with the colony, and I have projected and escape route at the back, through the alleys.

“Hey, I have an out, follow me!” Cromwell shouted across as heavy laser bolts started to pierce their cover.

Both men ran for the back of the bar, coming through to a small stockroom, each placing one last goodbye shot into the mayhem. The only way out was a ladder, the hatch was stiff, and Cromwell knew every second that past would have officers closing in on them, as they reached the roof, and closed the hatch, they could hear laser fire pinging off it moments later.

Cromwell, lept from the roof to the floor below, his informant following, they turned left, but were immediately cut off by advancing enforcers. A display on his oculus re-adjusted, displaying a new route. Both ran for it, with the sound of laser fire to motivate them, Cromwell in the lead, they approached a small open service hatch in the street, Cromwell jumping into it without hesitation, only to find himself in a small dark tunnel.

“there right behind us!” The informant shooting back at them as he came down the ladder, there was only one way to go, ahead, both ducking for low hanging wires as they went. The tunnel exited them right next to the docking array. As they came out, they were spotted by two officers who immediately reported them in before drawing pistols. Cromwell let off two shots from the carbine to force them into nearby cover, and both began to move faster than before along the docking arm, until they reached the only cover of a few discarded crates all of 15 metres from the airlock.

”That stealth ship would be nice Newton”

”They’re decloaking now sir”

There was a loud echoing bang as the vessel, a Deathstalker Destroyer forcefully mated with the port.

”The Lady Godiva is reporting they can’t hack the airlock, they’re trying plan B sir”

”And that is! Cromwell wasn’t in the mood for getting shot today while someone blow-torched the door open.

”Plan B for ‘bomb’, I swear it isn’t my humour, and you may want to make yourselves a smaller target for debris right about now”

“There blowing the door get down!” Cromwell covered his head as best he could, hoping his Informant would do the same.

The door flew forward with the shaped charge, the impromptu projectile completely crushing an enforcer who was trying to be a hero, and rush their position, the bang popped Cromwells left eardrum. With this came a torrent of fire from a squad on the Lady Godiva’s side of the airlock, plasma-bolts cutting down men, and forcing them back behind cover.

As the smoke cleared Cromwell made out the figure of the well known Jane Bolet, the woman who brought news of New York to the galaxy.

“You two, get in the ship!” Jane didn’t waste time, firing another burst of plasma into the reforming enforcer squad, completely removing the head of one officer, and melting away the shield of another.

Both men once again ran for their life, crossing onto the ship as the bulkhead closed behind them. They both let out a sigh of relief and exhaustion as the characteristic sound of plasma engines firing up was heard, out the airlock window enforcers choked on void as an emergency bulkhead closed, severing one officer into two messy halves as it fell.

Cromwell for the first time looked properly at his informant since the bar brawl. looking to congratulate him on the escape, instead he found his attention drawn away from that.

“Your shoulder?! Come on medical bay is this way on this class of ship.


“Dunno, I guess it happened in the bar. I think. It’s only a bit of flesh.” Cromwell looked at it as the nurse applied disinfectant, a good half inch of flesh, taken off with a cauterized wound, the edges of his coat black and melted by a laser blast.

“Good thing those guards couldn’t aim, or it’d be more than a little flesh… hey we’ve been through all this, and I don’t even know your name?”

“Y’know, I was going to say you’d be safer not to know it, but after that I think that it’s the opposite. It’s Hanzer.”


The Godiva dropped Hanzer off a mere half hour later at a criminal hideaway, he said he’d get picked up from there. And now Cromwell turned his attention to the next person he needed to speak with.

The bridge on these destroyers were small, and thankfully poorly crewed, with both officers on break, it gave Cromwell a few moments alone to talk with Jane.

“Well, I never thought I’d meet you, let alone be rescued by you Ma'am.”

“Cut the crap Cromwell, I stuck my neck out for you, so what is important it has the second space lord out in the field doing the work I do for a living?”

“Well… I need you to tell me about the first Battle of New York, specifically about the Spirit of Ragnablok.”

“You’ve read the reports, it was taken out by a wall of fire, mostly Briktoid, why do you need to know about a dead ship?”

“We didn’t find the wreck, and it didn’t crash on the planet, that’s for sure. So I’ve been doing some digging, a lot of digging, and I’ve found out it was captured by an enemy force.”

“Never? But what does this mean, Lost or destroyed, it’s gone”

“It is property of the Empire, if it is out there, it will be retaken, and those responsible will pay.” Cromwell had hoped to get more out of her, but this was it for now. The trail had seemingly gone cold again.
Last edited by dilanski on Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby The Shadowscythe » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:04 pm

I sense the Scythian Emperor is going to have one hell of a headache when Cromwell finds out who stole his ship. :lol:
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-- WARNINK -- LINK BELOW IZ KNOWN TO CAUZE HEMMORAGE --
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I WARNED YOU, DIDN'T I WARN YOU?! BLAME RAYHAWK DAMNIT.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby Quantumsurfer » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:31 pm

Fucking well done, man! Huzzah for more BrikFic! I like the accompanying images. Like, a lot.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby Zupponn » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:29 pm

I like the depiction of the ZMC colony as well as knowing that people haven't forgotten that the ZMC was in the AN for a while. Basically I like thinking that as the money stopped flowing so did the troops.

One thing I was a little cpnfused about though was if the people after Cromwell were ZMC troops or other hired goons?
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby dilanski » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:37 pm

Zupponn wrote:I like the depiction of the ZMC colony as well as knowing that people haven't forgotten that the ZMC was in the AN for a while. Basically I like thinking that as the money stopped flowing so did the troops.

One thing I was a little cpnfused about though was if the people after Cromwell were ZMC troops or other hired goons?


Local security, more than likely under the order of a corrupt local official after whatever the TA would give him.

The Shadowscythe wrote:I sense the Scythian Emperor is going to have one hell of a headache when Cromwell finds out who stole his ship. :lol:


The chapter afterwards is named 'Eternity' on my plot road map. Can't think of a reason why.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby Silverdream » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:46 pm

Very well done. The images complement the story nicely.
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mgb519 wrote:Seriously, you are now the first ever forum superhero.


Colette wrote:I hereby acknowledge Silverdream as the one and only forum troll as agreed in the bet.


Quantumsurfer wrote:No, I have 2 silver.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby dilanski » Sun May 04, 2014 5:35 pm

The long belated chapter 2! This is a slow one. It's taken a while to get up as I wrote 2, 3 & 4 together. 3 & 4 are done, and just need polish, but as chapter 2 is so quick I'm putting it up immediately, with the other 2 coming up in the next few hours.


Chapter 2 - Better Judgement

4 Weeks later

It was good to be breathing real air again, months aboard starships and stations can take a toll on a man's sanity, the primitive drive to have ground beneath the feet and sky above can only be ignored for so long. It felt odd to Cromwell to have an office without plasma engines and two million tonnes of TNT strapped to it, but he knew it wasn’t for long, with Bavaria causing trouble in Nehellenium, he’d requested transport back to the beachhead, and had transport scheduled for that night, to pick him up directly from the Ministry of Intelligence HQ, giving him just enough time to catch up with an old friend of his.

The tram left from directly inside Fleet command headquarters, and took him along the shore, he could see in the distance a wall of skyscrapers coming out of the water, each reaching off into the sky like sleeping titans, a steady stream of air traffic moving between them. The twin suns reflected off the towers, casting brilliant refractions across them.

By the time he reached the MoI bureau, he had barely an hour left. The clerk pointed him towards the main elevator, which, while the building was kilometres tall, took him a good 200 metres underground. As it came to a stop, doors opening, he stood out and straight into a large circular office, one man at the centre.

“Blaque? So this is where you've been hiding, we did always say you were allergic to the sun.”

“Cromwell!, I was starting to think you wouldn't make it, have a seat, I’ve scotches ready. It’s a shame, your first time back on New Praetoria in nearly a year, and you’re gone in under a week.”

The office was spartan but well equipped, with Monitors completely covering the walls, each swapping between various channels, news, internal broadcasts, and security feeds. At the centre was an elliptical desk with three chairs around it, and a selection of drinks, bottles strewn over it, as well as a single heavy rifle errantly discarded on the floor behind Blaque.

“I should have opted for your career Blaque, I think I’d get used to it.”

“Well if you get past not sleeping and having to know just about everything about everyone, I guess it does seem like a good position. But all four of us did pretty well for ourselves wouldn’t you say?”

“Aye, It’s just a shame all four of us couldn’t be here to share in each others successes.” Blaque dropped his upbeat attitude, this wasn't the first time he’d heard this, and it wouldn’t be the last.

“Is this what you wanted to talk about, yes, I've read your report, and some repatriation doesn’t need you to get killed over it. I’m the one trained to get in bar fights, and I certainly wouldn’t do so for your reasons.”

“You didn’t love her though, did you?”

“Lover her? She was a friend and a colleague, and by god I miss her, but she’s dead. and the virtue of the dead is that they feel no pain, only love from those who go on living.”

“You’ve read the preliminary on the eternity project though? You even signed to have it moved to the second stage development.” Well this is what Cromwell was up to.

“I didn’t connect the pieces then, but now I have, that project is a black mark against you, as head of MoI I should be blowing the whistle on you, but as a friend, It’s your choice. Now why did you come, no smoke and mirrors, just whatever request you have.”

“I need to retrieve the telemetry of a vessel that was directly engaged with the Spirit of Ragnablok, it’s my best chance to find out exactly what happened, and you’d be the best person to help me, old friend, and I think you may owe me.”

“You are a damnable man at times. But there is one easy way I can think of, the RIN, they are one of the few to store telemetry data permanently as part of their central archives. We have four operatives under cover at datacentres, two are due to come out anyway in a few weeks, I guess you could make a move on the archives, retrieve the data, then make an exit, it could go without a hitch, or you could be captured.” Cromwell smiled, against this man's better judgement, he’d gotten his way. A quick glance at the time on the news feed behind Blaque also reminded Cromwell of his transport, it’d be touching down on the roof any minute.

“Sounds like a plan, I’m guessing you’ll be able to forward me the details to the beachhead, I have to dash.” Cromwell stood, giving a quick handshake.

“Before you go, here, It’s a present from me, we’ve been issuing new operatives with these, I think you may find it useful, especially if you get into the same mess this time” Blaque produced a black box from the wreckage on his desk, and handed it to Cromwell, who made for the elevator ever more conscious of the time, but before he left, Blaque made one last quip.

“Remember, If this goes wrong, you’ll be meeting Payton again, and you’ll be doing so with your own gun.”

The wanker, Cromwell thought as the elevator doors closed. On the roof he was greeted by a storm of dust, A Bismuth fighter waiting on the pad, it’s engines even on idle enough to heat the pad under it to a red glow. As it pulled out of the clouds and made a break neck pace to space, cromwell looked back at the planet below, It had only been a week, but Cromwell was glad to be going back into the black.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby Colette » Sun May 04, 2014 5:50 pm

Hurray! New installment at last. Pretty good, too.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby dilanski » Sun May 04, 2014 5:59 pm

Chapter 3 - Advanced Field Work

5 Days later

Once again, the usual attire worn aboard Praetorian starships was gone, he’d traded synthetic leather and rubberised polymer for low key casual wear, his hair was dyed from it’s characteristic brown to a close natural black, His oculus implant was patched to project an altered iris, to mess with retinal scanners, changes good enough for him to travel to the RIN colony of Truvelon IV on a cargo ship without being hit up by any security check, even at the RIN border.

All cromwell had was half a bottle of scotch, and a piece of torn wallpaper for company, the building he was to rendezvous in was long abandoned, from the the cracked window, he could hear heavy machinery moving outside the city walls, cutting down the vast forests that covered the planet, the smell of burning wood faint in the air, between the beats of machinery the light rain could be heard, when he arrived a thunderstorm had just moved overhead turning into mere drizzle, suddenly there was a rumbling, Cromwell peering out the window, just in time to see the wall move outwards, armour plating filling the gaps as it occupies newly cleared forest, the giant domed force shield fizzling as it went, a rather novel way to expand a colony. This whole city had grown out of a giant central tower that was deposited from orbit, with automated construction and clearance drones doing most of the work.

Two loud knocks came from the door, and then nothing, this wasn’t as planned. Cromwell reached for his pistol, the safety going off with a click. He grasped the handle with his left hand, holding the pistol ready in his right, the rusty latch going with a little extra force. Cromwell flung the door open, grasping his pistol with both hands and pointing it at… a young boy, probably 7 at most, who promptly burst into tears.

“Come on now, calm down” Cromwell lowering his pistol onto the floor, and trying to comfort the child.

“YOU LITTLE SHIT”, was the reply as the child slammed his foot square into Cromwells crotch, grabbing his gun, and making off down the hallway, Cromwell picking himself up off the dust covered floor, trying to give chase, not that he needed to, as he turned the first corner he found the child stopped in his tracks by two men, one, the taller of the two, carrying a very large Railgun Sniper. The other had one of his hands holding the child's head, to which the boy fruitlessly protested, the other held the gun, still in the childs hand. Both were wearing light covert operations suits, sporting grey and black camouflage, with muted silver straps over the shoulders, holding into place a small amount of armour.

The sniper, crouched reaching into his right breast pocket, pulling out a shiny, foil clad bar, presenting it to the child. Cautiously he released the gun and grasped the ration bar tightly, with a look of disbelief, as his captor released him, the boy bit into the bar, still wrapped, as if to check if the contents were good.

“Th..Th..Thanks Mister” The child then hurried off down the hall, not looking back.

Cromwell couldn’t help but feel like he’d put on a bad first impression to the men who’d be risking there lives for him, for nothing more than his own gain.

“They don’t teach you that at the Ministry, even under advanced fieldwork 101, I hate to say it’s something I’ve picked up here, It’s a shame, all this technology, and even we’ve been going into our emergency rations, the local government is doing the best they can, but only have so much, and Trion doesn’t seem to really care. That is until it’s time to draft more men. Oh Sorry by the way, it’s Kieran, Kieran Armstize, and this is Jonathan, And this I believe is yours” Kieran held out the gun is his palm, Cromwell quickly holstering it.

“Alexander Cromwell, but you know who I am. So, I was told you had the details?”

“Well, we didn’t walk here like this. Down in the basement, there is a connection to a series of underground tunnels, that’s how the drones get outside the colony without passing through the shield, and most of the buildings are linked using these tunnels. Once the drones swap out at 22:00, the tunnels will be clear for a good two hours, enough time to get to the data-centre, hack into the system, retrieve your data, and make it back outside, Jonathan
will be covering us from a roof across from the centre, just in case. There’s a MoI carrier due to arrive in system any minute, they’ll be monitoring us, and will send a shuttle to pick us up from the outside when we’re done.”

Kieran paused a moment to let the plan sink in. Then Gestured down the corridor to the stairwell.

“Any questions?... No, good, let’s get a move on.”

In the basement was a small hatch built directly on the wall, it’s metal cover discarded on the floor, inside was pitch black.

“Drone change ended 5 minutes ago, so we’re good. It’s hands and knees all the way, you may want to go into night vision as well” Jonathan secured his weapon as he said this, before going in first.

Cromwell crawled in last, with Kieran shouting back “Don’t bother with the cover, we’ll be long gone before anyone notices”.

Night vision mode flicked on, all of a sudden cromwells vision showed a dark green tinge, it only took a thought for colour correction to kick in, showing nothing but the small concrete tunnel, it’s only feature being bundles of various wires neatly organised running along both sides.

“Hope you don’t get claustrophobic, otherwise you’re not going to enjoy the next 20 minutes of your life very much.”
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby dilanski » Sun May 04, 2014 6:01 pm

Chapter 4 - Connection

“OK, this left here, and… Finally!” A swift kick from Jonathans boot had the unsecured hatch off, He crawled out and up into another basement, making three exaggerated stretches.

“I’m covering you from the roof, if you follow this tunnel another 30 metres, then take a right, you’ll be right out in the datacentre, it’s retinal feed from now on, the centres security will pick up conversation, but should ignore background noise as long as you’re quiet.” Jonathan took a pause before his last words. “Good luck to all of us… And Admiral, it’s good to see someone at fleet command still knows how to get their hands dirty.”

With that, the cover was replaced, and the last bit of tunnel was covered in quick time, both Kieran and Cromwell emerging into the bowels of the datacentre.

“Short range Oculus communications established with Kieran sir, the connection with Jonathan will be minimised to reduce the chances of interception.”

“Heh, I thought you’d forgotten about me Newton?”

“I didn’t think it’d be proper sir, you were enjoying brooding and being bad with kids so much.”

“Several Trillion processing cores, and that’s all you can spare for your personality? Anyway put me all through to Kieran…. Kieran, you should lead the way.”

“Just up four levels, and the third right, we can’t miss it”.

The whole complex was set up over ten floors in a ring shape, the outer side lined with offices and terminals, with the inner wall a perspex lining, through which the multi layer core could be seen, it ran across 6 of the levels, with a multitude of oil filled pipes coming from the top of the core, and running up to a roof mounted radiator with a battery of fans pushing air out through vents on the roof.

“No message from Jonathan, we can assume it’s clear admiral, when up there, stick to the shadows, the third floor up doesn’t have cubicles between us and the outside, anyone can see in.”

Stepping into the central core, the ambient temperature soared, and a large convection current could be felt as the hot air shot upwards towards the mass of pipes. across a walkway was the main console, nothing more than a 20” monitor and a keyboard.

“The RIN have dozens of these centres around the galaxy, storing data is just a bonus, they’ve networked all these supercomputers together to process god knows what, anyway I’ve got access codes from the Ministry of Intelligence...and… we’re in, so it’s telemetry you’re after?”

“From all RIN ships at the first battle of New York, downloaded directly into my cortex drive.”

“I think that’s safe, actually, this whole thing uses the same real-time data transfer protocols we do, If you wanted, I could connect it all directly into your cortex processor? I mean, the transfer has to happen anyway, it may make finding the data faster.”

“Do it then”

“OK, a little script kiddie level magic, and real time link in 3, 2 …”

The data flooded Cromwells cortex processor, his head exploding in pain as all of its neurons fired to control the data flood, his legs ceased up, and he tumbled sideways onto a railing, Kieran helping him regain his balance as his brain began to cope, sweeping aside the noise, and focusing in on his real prize.

“I.. I .. i … I can see it all! there are wrecks, a whole ring of dead ships circling the planet, tumbling down towards the surface, and, there’s fire in the distance, by the first moon, I can see it more clearly now, as I’m actually there, this data is visualizing the whole battle for me, and… and there is the Spirit of Ragnablok, it’s surrounded by Bavarian vessels, the RIN ships are a good few hundred kilometres off of it, but those Bavarian ships are practically on top of her. Is this how it? Wait, I can see a tear, the vessels entering trans-space, it’s gone. I know now what is next… WAIT! No I need to leave that, things are happening here, someone is inside with me, Kieran, someone else is inside the building, they’re trying to brute force attack into the system, but they’re being… NO, an alarm has been triggered, I’m picking up communications relays going off across RIN space, there are patrol vessels not a half a system off heading this way.”

“Damnit man, disengage the link and let us get out of here…”

The outer wall shattered, as a hail of shot made contact. a deafening roar of rocket engines made the building shake as two searchlights combed the inside. the air was perforated with rapid sniper shots as Jonathan started to fire.

“This is Jonathan, They came in on a cloaked dropship, I’m putting down suppression fire to stop them storming the building, but that dropship will have me dead soon, you need to get out of there before it demolishes the building!”

A missile from the gunship struck the top of the building, the pipes full of boiling oil ruptured, sending a torrent of skin rending fluid down into the shaft. Keiran only just managing to pull Cromwell into the cover of the central core. As the oil hit the hot machinery it ignited, sending flames all the way up the core.

“Forget silence, we’re getting the fuck out. Cromwell, lose the link now, you have the data, now move!” Cromwell had shell shock, his ears ringing with the explosion, but as he tried to read what Kieran was saying, the realisation that flames were climbing up the core snapped his senses back into shape.

As both of them entered the basement, the building came down, a final missile strike removing any structure it had left, the basements roof started to crumble, and both men scrambled for the hatch as the heat of burning metal above started to melt through the concrete. As Cromwell entered the hatch, he could hear the ceiling give way, as tons of metal and oil collapsed into the space they once occupied. The tunnels were a blur, smoke had begun to fill them as the pair made their way along to meet up with Jonathan, smoke completely cutting off even night vision, both of them moving by touch alone. It was close, the turning had to be here somewhere… Cromwell put his hand on something wet, a small puddle of something foreign in the previously aseptic tunnel, he reached forward and felt… a small crawl forward revealed a horrific sight.

“What’s the hold up? Is something wrong?” Kieran saw cromwell unholster his pistol, safety still off from earlier, pointing it forward into the smoke. A small blue light appeared down the tunnel, Cromwells reaction was instant, letting off 3 shots into the smoke, which was suddenly perforated with laser fire back. RIN commandos had entered the tunnel from Jonathans position, and followed him down as he tried to escape.

Cromwell let the weapon go into automatic as he’d caught the commandos off-guard, letting the energy cell deplete as 2 dozen shots were let off in seconds, the pistol was discarded by Cromwell as he pulled his combat knife out and charged over bodies towards the commandos, the front man making a shot straight into Cromwells chest, which the protective inserts below his shirt barely stopped. He made a life or death stab, eyes watering with the smoke, and either by skill or miracle, made contact into one of the few unprotected part of the commandos armour. He gave a firm squeeze of the handle as instructed, hoping this little present worked. There was a blinding flash as the tunnel seemingly filled with pure energy, reactive filters going off within their oculus’s to keep them from being permanently blinded.

As vision was regained, Cromwell looked into the now empty tunnel, there were 5 dark patches along the floor, even the smoke had gone, closer inspection revealed pools of melted metal along the floor. The knifes blade had melted along the middle, and Cromwell dropped it upon realising it was uncomfortably hot to hold. It seems Blaques lack of faith in Cromwell had saved him.

“This is our chance, the exit is the second right, let’s get moving!” Kieran shouted forward, and they started moving again with haste, knowing they wouldn’t survive a second encounter.

The outside was dark as they came out straight into the forest, drones still buzzing around overhead apparently oblivious to the carnage. The tree line was seemingly endless in all directions, but with the sound of dropships overhead, both men ran out into trees, sliding in the rain saturated ground.

“Newton! Where’s our evacuation shuttle!?”

“The MoI carrier exited the system about 5 minutes ago sir”

“WHAT!” Cromwell nearly ran straight into a tree as he mentally launched obscenities at the AI

“They were detected by the approaching patrol fleet, it seems there cloaking device wasn’t properly calibrated… Sir I recommend using thermal vision”

A thought and night vision was replaced by a blur not even colour correction could help, but ahead he could just make out a tall sliver moving slowly between the trees, away from the colony.

Kieran and Cromwell approached, to see what appeared to be one of the colonists standing in an opening, looking up to track the RIN dropships in the sky. He looked down, and straight back at Kieran and Cromwell, both standing at the edge of the tree line, the unknown man gestured both of them to come towards him, his arm waving becoming all the more pronounced as the loud roar of engines could be heard getting closer. As Cromwell and Kieran exited the trees and made for the stranger, he held out wrist, revealing a silver bracelet like article under his sleeve, and and hit it with his other hand.

There was a flash. There’s always a flash thought Cromwell as once again the world outside went dark.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby The Shadowscythe » Mon May 05, 2014 1:36 am

Nice. A good couple of updates. I like. Colour me intrigued old chappe.
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-- WARNINK -- LINK BELOW IZ KNOWN TO CAUZE HEMMORAGE --
Spoiler: show
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I WARNED YOU, DIDN'T I WARN YOU?! BLAME RAYHAWK DAMNIT.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby dilanski » Wed May 21, 2014 4:51 pm

Chapter 5 - Dark Smoke Filled Rooms

4 Days later - Knolrhekk System (RARCom Capital)

The atmosphere was electric. Quite literally in fact, there was enough charge in the air to make what little hair Rade Banetour had stand on end. Rade herself seemed almost camouflaged for the library, her complexion, white enough to reflect the light with a halo around her.

The air had a hint of what seemed like battery acid, while at the same time, being as fresh as glacial water to breath. Rade took her time to enjoy the simple pleasure of filling her new lungs with it.

The library was truly the site she was promised, a marvel of science, engineering and art. The whole library was built around a data beam, a pulsing energy beam of knowledge that fired down from the roof, stretching nearly a full kilometre, giving off a strong blue aura, as the entire collected knowledge of RARCom flowed through it.

Built around would be the wrong term, the whole structure was grown from genetically modified organic material, originating from a simple octopus. This massive organism, spiralling around the data stream, forming a twirling lattice, of living, breathing, structure. Various fauna from across galaxies adorn it, seated in the suction cups not holding onto the glass wall which separated it from the void of space. Symbiotically they exchanged minerals.

Filling this structure were hundreds of floating platforms, hovering silently around the room, on each a visitor went about their business, artists painted, students studied, and researchers had all the latest information available to download from the data beam.

“Are you lost love?”

Rade snapped out of her daydream, as a young man, in work overalls approached her.

“Uh yes, it’s my first time here, do you know how I’d reach the council?”

“You have a meeting with the council? I didn’t know you could get one.” The man seemed genuinely intrigued at this prospect, although Rade cut his ideas short.

“No, I’m on it you see, It just happens to be my first time in the library.”

“Oh, well in that case, just stand by the platform edge, and step onto the first platform that comes for you, it’ll take you where you want to go.”

“Thanks, uh”

“It’s Frank, I’m working on the floor down, If you need any more help”

As Rade stood at the edge of the floor, a platform, consisting of crescent desk, with a chair, and two angled screens floated up from below. She stood onto the platform, the chair in front of the desk automatically adjusted upward for her, and the screens flicked on, displaying every category imaginable. Rade wasn’t sure how exactly it would just take her where she would want to go, but had an idea. Placing her right index finger on the screen, she felt a small shock, and her vision flickered as the unused oculus implant powered on for its first time. And with that, the platform immediately rose upwards with growing speed.

Other platforms and floors passed in a flash. Her platform long since rose above all overs, as the top grew near, slowing to pass into the final chamber. It was here she saw the librarians. The whole room had no lighting, other than the glow of the data stream, but that was able to illuminate the chamber enough to see them.

She was warned not to make them notice her, but couldn't help let out a stunned gasp. These were the three most alien creatures she’d ever laid eyes on like Bonn-o-Tron. All of them near indescribable in features. They ‘sat’ on mechanical thrones, filling the three story chamber, each creature seemingly wired into these machines. They were unmoved by her presence, and didn’t even look like they were alive.

A hatch, perfectly shaped for the platform opened on the ceiling, with it sliding in effortlessly.

So this was the council Rade mused. With her in a circle of about 7 other members, around a small, intense blue laser beam, coming down the centre, and hitting a perfectly cut crystal in the center of the transparent floor, which showed all the machinery. There was a noticeable downdraft of cool air, and it didn’t take long for Rade to realise the beam was a compression of the massive data stream.

“Are you daydreaming professor Rade?! You turn up 5 minutes for a meeting, then don’t have the decency to explain this.” Rade was jolted by the clawing voice, in front of her, on an elevated platform was the headmaster. A short, red haired man, with a scrawled up face.

“Apologies headmaster Scott, and fellow council members, I wasn’t aware of the responsibilities of my promotion, I…” At this point she was cut off by Scott, who wasted no time in expressing his dislike for her.

“... So, what is your designation?”

“Professor Rade…” Once again, cut off mid-sentence, by so far the only person in the room to say a word.

“Not your name, your experimental designation, what is it?!”

“I… I am experiment 1, experiment evolution 1.” Suddenly the room erupted into shouting, as the uneasy silence degraded into a shouting match. The members were throwing whatever they had at hand across the room. Rade took cover as best she could, with several projectiles aimed at her.

“ORDER! ORDER NOW!” None responded to the headmaster, the chaos continuing unadulterated, until he changed tack.

“ORDER, Or all of your departments will lose funding!” Immediately this halted the ruckus, the room quieting to murmurs.

“SO! Arch. Professor. Harrison. Kloch, would you like to explain yourself?” All eyes fell onto the man directly beside Rade, who she had not yet noticed.

“Certainly. My colleagues, me, you, Rade here, and Admiral Alexander Cromwell. We are the only people who know that project evolution has been completed.” With this the murmurs rose, but Kloch continued over it.

“I know how you feel, but we are not god, it’s not our place to decide what is morally correct and incorrect, only to do whatever we must to survive. Whether we are damned for it is irrelevant.”

“And what of the Admiral, he’s been missing for a full week, how does he know of this… unless, you’ve been keeping this from us? That would not bode well for you.” The eyes of all those present homed in more on Harrison, like vultures on a wounded animal, but he continued unphased.

“Certainly not, but as the head of fleet command, I deemed him privy to the timeline. And to reiterate, our official stance on his disappearance is that we don’t know anything, that is until we can get MoI to budge there lips on why he happened to visit them before leaving New Praetoria.”

Rade couldn’t stand this any longer. Mustering up the anger she’d held over these last few hours.

“Am I here to be a tool? A political pawn for this council?!” Eyes now affixed with the same bloodthirsty stare to her. Only Kloch had the answer.

“No Rade, you are here as your research, and dedication has earned it… This matter is now dropped from the agenda, we have other business. Headmaster, if you would.”

The council talked over the finer points of some art and philosophy. They agreed some funding for several experiments, and ordered requisition of some items. Rade was completely oblivious to most of this, barely raising her voice unless necessary. ‘dedication has earned it’, it was bullshit, Rade knew it, and Harrison knew it.

This wasn’t her place, she was an explorer, she wanted to see the universe, and discover its secrets, not deliberate whether a sculpture was valuable enough to steal. The end couldn’t come quickly enough.
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby dilanski » Wed May 21, 2014 5:32 pm

Chapter 6 - Math

“So, what about you 3?”

Rade was still in her old quarters, a soapbox of a room, which was uncomfortably cramped with the six of them. It held only the bare essentials, Bed, desk, cupboards, and a door to a small ensuite. Over the rooms comms, Rade had music on a repeat loop, just loud enough to obscure the conversation to anyone listening outside.

“Me?” 3 looked up at Rade from there dead stare at the floor, his eyes showing an odd discolouration, with a black iris on the left, and raw flesh like pink on the right. “They told me it would be painless…”

The group let out a collective tensed sigh, all shuffling about a little bit as they ached at the thought.

“They said, it was something new, a new procedure being trialled. I asked questions, but they just said it’d be the best thing I could do for my career.” His face turning red, it could be seen he was holding back tears.

“You were right 6, I hate to say it, but you are right.” Rade looked directly across at 6, a slightly shorter black woman, with long dark braided hair.

“This stays between us in this room, got it?” With everyone nodding in agreement, Rade continued. “We’ve been lied to and coerced into becoming nothing more than samples in this experiment. We trusted our professors, trusted they wouldn’t put is in the way of harm they wouldn’t stand beside us in. I don’t think we can trust them anymore.”

“So wh-wh-what d-do you w-want us to do.” 6’s stammer sounded unnatural, caused by a deformity in her voice box. It pained her to even speak.

“We wait, and have each others backs. As long as we all know the score, we can get through this.”

“An-And the Neu-Neu-Neuravac?”

“We’ll deal with that when we come to it.”
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Re: Virtue of the living [A BrikFic Chronicle]

Postby dilanski » Wed May 21, 2014 6:41 pm

Chapter 7 - Doomed To Repeat

“What possessed you Harrison?”

The council chamber had been cleared three hours ago, although Harrison and Scott remained, it was a quiet secluded place, excellent for them both to work without being interrupted.

“Well, spit it out?” Scott raising his voice, with Kloch not even lifting his head from his work.

Harrison quietly responded “Why did I appoint you again?” he continued working, not even lifting his head.

“Why?! As I have fibre, I stand up for my principles, and I don’t go repeating mistakes. That’s why you appointed me headmaster!”

Kloch waited a few seconds, and then raised his head. “I’m glad you remember it, and I’m glad you stick by that. I meant what I said. Do what you must, and be damned for it later. That is something I stand by.”

“Genuinely, who knows, outside us, the subjects, the council, the researchers, and Cromwell, heaven knows why you told him, who knows of this?”

“No one.”

“Oh you have to be kidding. You have no backing in the Ministries of Order or Intelligence? They’d have you disappear for that kind of treason. The Terminate Accords… no forget them actually, the body count from last time we tried something like this, it isn’t enough to make you see sense? Some things you don’t do behind closed doors.”

“This won’t be like Terminate, it won’t turn out like that, I’m sure of it.”

“Typical arrogance. Hell, you even completed this project while your only backing outside RARCom, if not at all, is missing. If anyone finds out about this, they’ll have your merry band of illegal superweapons disposed of. You do have a plan, right?”

“Of course. I didn't get here by being stupid…”

“No, you got here as your predecessor killed half a million people in one night.”

“... As I was saying, I have a plan. We’re shipping out to Nehellenium in 72 hours, I’m not even briefing anyone bar the construction crews until the last minute. We’ll slip away for a few weeks, you’ll work here to get us support, and we’ll come back to a warm response. And if it all does go to shit, well anything past the halfway mark is Cromwells jurisdiction, so we’re fine.”

“That's a terrible plan, but for all our sakes, yours especially, I hope it works.”
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