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Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:47 am
by The Shadowscythe
One day after the events of Landfall . . .

The rain was harsh, and it fell not as a storm; but as a wall of water from the sky - harsh and unrelenting through the dark, moonless night sky - from the black clouds above, onto the darkened red bricks below.

The team moved slowly and stealthily through the side streets, their stealth camo systems ajusting perfectly against the black, gray and red brick walls and high windows, illuminated with red firelight within.

They passed underneath a bridge archway, one of hundreds in the ancient capitol city of Genoad - the epicentre of the entire Genoan peoples government. Long ago half of the city had been built on land, and the other half had been endless piers and docks reaching out from the crecent moon bay that used to encompass the city, but after thier industrial revolution three centuries ago - the city had expanded tenfold, and now more than half of the city had been built onto massive stone pillars that extended down into the sea of the bay and beyond, and the city had been built on top of that again, endless houses, manufactorums and forges that made up the outskirts of the canal ridden city.

"Team one, time to objective?" A distant voice asked through the Teamcom system - the voice was genderless and synthesized, to mask all forms of incrimination in case any empire other than the Genoans just happened to be listening.

The team leader stopped for a moment, bringing the rest of his four man team to a half in the rain-ridden alleyway - four shadows halted in motion and became invisible to the naked eye.

"Team one is five kilometers away from objective. We have maintained cover." He replied, short, sharp and terse.

In the distance, one of the Genoans mighty seaborne battleships could be seen - a massive Trident shaped battleship that used anti-magnetic repulsion to hover above any body of water on the entire planet, its form clad in blue and steel metals and covered in massive cannons, ancient by modern terms - but nonetheless powerful - like everything the Genoans built, it was a mishmash of technologies that would make the other races of the now apparently life-filled gravity turn thier heads.

The most powerful gravity drives and magnetic repulsers the galaxy had ever seen, backed up with molecularly strengthened armour - but powered by coal furnaces and armed with powder cannons that fired shaped charges that where massively outclassed by modern cannons, yet somehow still able to match them shot for shot and cause damage while they did it.

All of this, from a civilisation not yet capable of producing electricity on a mass scale, let alone space travel - an utter oxymoron in the midst of a galaxy at war.

Eventually the toned voice replied in its digital rasp "Move quickly, Team Two have reported thier targets nuetralised. Make the kill order before the Genoans move en-masse."

"Yes sir" he replied, and with a series of hand motions the team resumed thier infiltration of the city.

Time passed, buildings where traversed and gaurds avoided in the rain filled night where most Genoans, Gaurds included would rather play it dumb, and play it safe than go outside into the hyperthermic cold and wet outside. Before long, the team had found thier way to the ostentasious fortress-palace of the Genoan royal families.

The Genoans, like most of the galactic civilisations had a royal family, of sorts - every family ruled a duchie, and every duchie had a family of rulers that when combined - would run the entire empire as a defacto democracy, but most of the time was spent in the palace vieing for power over each of the other families, which slowed the levels of care and attention that would spread to the duchies they ruled - this combined with an imperialistic military, no central communications beyond Government vetted courriers and an only just above industrial revolution technology base had left the entire world on the edge of an inter-family cold war that meant the rest of the world was regressing, while the worlds beyond where caught in the fires of an actual war that had only just been avoided by Scythian intervention.

But who could not notice the red ships in thier upper atmosphere, firing blasts of blue and white light into vessels from the stars above, clad in armour as black as the night and filled to the brim with invaders?

The Scythians had saved them from almost certain invasion by the "Immortals" and opened thier eyes to worlds beyond thier own, so many wonders, so many new sights, sounds, and smells - technologies that could revolutionize thier people and bring in a new golden age . . .

And all the families could do was squabble and fight like vermin over scraps on the tablecloth.

Which was when the kill order was dispatched.

He never knew who pulled all the strings - more often than not, when kill teams where dispatched - S.O.N.I spit the instructions through cells and maintained no contact between any of them - all that mattered was the goal.

The death of every Genoan royal, before the night was out.

Man, Woman and child.

With a series of hand waves, orders where given - and snatch lines where fired up the ancient, ten meter thick stone walls of the fortress - the first of three walls, each 50 meters apart that contained the central palace. Each wall lined with Gaurds and cannons and designed to hold off naval sieges for over a year, each.

This didn't stop the kill team - who simply started to climb the wall, ropes in hand, feet against the ancient stone as they moves quickly and silently up to the top of the first wall - and past the unsuspecting, feeble and lazy Gaurds - and then through the walls inner tunnels.

The Genoans had always left the tunnels painted white and unmarked - relying on sence of direction and naturally learning the basic layout to make thier own way around, while bewhildering thier enemies, leading them into waiting firetraps and fortified and baricaded barrack rooms where they could cut down thier enemies with ease.

But they had never, in the entire design stage considered a kill team of four men, four invisible men with the highest levels of technology the galaxy could offer - using sonic mapping and advanced computers to map thier exact route through the base, they moved with disturbing ease through the supposed "impenetrable" fortress - passing Gaurds by without a sight or sound to thier presence.

Soon they moved out from the dimly lit tunnels and into the courtyard at the dead centre of the palace - inside laid a single castle, designed for its archetecture rather than its defences, it was built out of stone white blocks and built as a sculpture of beauty in a garden of small ponds and green trees.

And lit by extravegant, and no doubt expensive electric lighting, primitive by other standards, but no doubt impressive considering the Genoans.

The team weaved through trees and ponds, under and over decorative bridges and arches as they reached the castle edges.

More handwaves later and the team was ready.

One final pump of a fist and the slaughter had begun.

They burst into the fortress in four different directions, starting with well placed grenades that killed a dozen Gaurds and Servants - and followed by concentrated Flachette fire.

One of the best things about working as the wetware side of S.O.N.I - getting your hands on everyone elses tech . . . of course, only after the boys in R&D had pulled it apart and put it back together again.

The effects where devastating - they tore through room after room, leaving bloodied and shredded bodies in thier wake - the ceremonial blue uniforms of Genoan soldiers, and the manyfold dresses of Dignitaries and Dukes, and the simple clothes of the servents - liad all across the castle, shredded remains cooling within them as blood pooled on cold, aged stone.

Within four minutes, every single living being larger than a microbe or bacteria was dead.

The entire Genoan monarchy had been brought to an end, with Team two also wiping out those who where not in the palace, the Genoan government no longer existed - and every sign pointed towards the Immortals as the perpetrators.

"Kill team to base - Kill order complete" He relaid back to his superiors, there was no reply - there wasn't a need for one.

The kill team sank away into darkness as soldiers moved in chaos - and the entire city seemed to spiral into madness . . .

Hours later, the Kill team had reached the waterfront - where a cloaked Diamondblack gunship was waiting for them, with a single S.O.N.I agent waited within.

The ship rose from the dock, and dissapeared into thin air, its flight never tracked - as it returned to its docking ship in orbit, also cloaked from all Scythian ships in orbit - and then the entire group dissapeared into FTL.

Back to thier master.


(Well, it didn't take me long to start again, let me know what ya'll think - I am taking a different, but hopefully just as awesome path with this one. :whoelse: )

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:53 pm
by The Shadowscythe
Lights flashed, flickered and faded before tired eyes; and pain flushed through aching, battered and broken bones.

Voices moved frantically around her, sometimes slow, sometimes fast - almost always punctuated by methodical beeps and tones.

White light, orange lines, distant figures and fatigue.

A figure always seemed to be at her left, distant enough for politeness's sake - but close enough to warrant some attention from them, the lone figure of comfort.

Her legs, why couldn't she feel her legs?

The darkness came again, medicated rest . . . so sweet and artificial, she sank back into the emptiness between the waking world and that filled with dreams.


"INBOUND IMMORTAL BATTLESHIP!" A voice to her left relaid from his station, one of a dozen ensigns whom relaid readings from holopanels and screens and then relaid bridge commands through centcom back through the ship.

She looked up and saw the beast ahead of her - the Immortals had cut off the ground forces that had made landfall on the barren iceworld below, and had then set about decimating the two fleets attempting to re-converge.

A voice high above her - that of Lord Shadowscythe himself issued another set of orders from the command deck above, he and the other Admirals above had the advantage of not needing to see through the frontal screens, detached from the battle by holograms and fleet tactics.

In front of her she saw the gaping maw of a massive black and gunmetal gray beast, covered in insignia and weapon hardpoints, dishing out purple plasma blasts and arcs of yellow Ionic lightning across the fleet.

She looked from one screen to another, voices around her that never stopped talking - taking information she had and relaying it into her own holotablet when another set of orders came down from the deck above.

"Target has been sighted" one voice relayed.

"Gunnery control request Anti-matter projectors weapons free" another asked.

She looked down to her tablet, and back up again. No point in holding back the biggest toys in a battle like this.

"Permission granted, all ships - Anti-matter grade weaponry is now weapons free" she replied.

More voices spoke up - and the Mantorok along with another Monarch class battleship opened fire with thier deadliest weapons, one of the few in the universe without any means of defence.

Anti-matter projectors opened fire without restraint - and the beastly Immortal ship was disected in 5 places - simply sliding apart in the void before violently exploding.

"Ma'am - casualty reports coming in from the fleet, main assault wings taking heavy damage!" Another voice yelled above the others.

"Anti-matter weapons are having an affect! But Immortal vessels have started using thier black hole missiles!"

"Main drop force is recieving a 45% casualty rate"

"Alpha-Kilo group has been drestroyed!"

"The Solaris has recieved heavy damage!"

"Battleship All Under Heaven has been destroyed"

A caciphony of voices continued - the battle had started a sucsess, and had then turned to a rapidly descending failure - but they only needed one good break and the battle could be theres again.

Then the last voice broke above the rest.

"Lord Shadowscythe! We are picking multiple Hyperspace exit jumps forming behind the fleet! Thier energy readings and formation suggests a Britannian Battlefleet with multiple Dreadnaught class vessels!" A younger bridge hand had managed to yell above the others, and not to her - but to the Admiralty staff themselves.

Her blood froze cold.

Hundreds of white blips formed at the egdes of her eyeline through the glass main screen - accompanied by directional and velocity lines - and then the hulking gray forms of Britannian ships followed them a split second later.

She turned, and looked up to the deck above one last time

"Holy shit . . . " Lord Shadowscythe said out loud, with fear across his face "Maidens of Scythia have mercy on our souls."

White light filled her vision, gravity failed and she was thrown like a rag doll across the deck - towards the stairwell, legs first between solid titanium struts.

Flesh peeled like tissue paper, bones shattered into dust - nerve endings screamed in agony as she saw one man impaled on his feet by a support railing that had been force upwards at blinding speed through the floor above, another screamed his way through a slow and agonising death as his console closed around his legs as another support beam faultered - he screamed as the console, floor and seat closed around him like an iron jaw, his rip cage shattered, his arms severed and held on by meer skin along - and his skull popped like a baloon.

The lights failed, gravity never came back online, the entire section plunged into the blood red depths of hell and suffering.

Darkness came, darkness went.

A voice, a lone - scared an distant voice called out "Is anyone alive in here?!"

"Stay calm, I'm on my way to you!"

She saw a shadow float down, black upon black upon red - a lone drip of kindness in a universe filled with hate and war.

"Its okay, I need you to focus on the sound of my voice" He started, his voice was rough and broken "I will get you out of here"

She tried to look through the haze, but couldn't make out any features - she knew the gesture he was trying to achieve - but surely even he, whoever he was - knew the ship was dead, she was dead, even he was dead.

But it never hurt to die with another, anything was better than dieing alone.

The darkness continued for a while longer, long enough to give into fate.

They where going to die, together - in a desolate sysetm on the edge of now-

The light was bright, white - and welcome.

Was this what death felt like?

If it was, why was everyone screaming, and why was the welcome voice demanding help.

Assyrian? Medical ship? Emperor?

Move aside, help is on the way?

Lord Shadowscythe?

Answers without questions, then the medication came.


Her eyes opened once again, clearer than they where before - the room was white, a medical bay with Assyrian insignia and orange lines across the borders of each wall, it was filled with medical devices and a paled glass door stood at the far end of the room.

She had been saved, by Assyrians? The upstarts certainly had the tech, teleporters and advanced medicines - two technologies the Scythians lagged behind in, but for what reason? they weren't even in the battle where they?

Then the door opened - a medical technition of Assyirian heritage . . . followed by, Lord Shadowscythe himself.

"Awake at last?" He began.

"Where am I?" She asked.

"The Assyrian medical ship Pharmakon, under care with most of our forces from the battle, don't worry - we're in good hands" He replied, somewhat befuddled himself.

She stuttered over her words a little, unsure of what to do or say next, as Lord Shadowscythe moved to a seat just beside her and sat down.

"I suggest you take things slowly Ensign, there are going to be a few shocks to your sysetem by the time this day is through"

(Yep, a flashback - go figure - I liked writing that battle! :P)

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:00 am
by The Shadowscythe
Markis moved slowly through the teeming crowds as the protests moved forward yet again; a few hundred meters ahead he could see the red and white shapes of riot officors in SIBAS power armour and police marked Tarantula tanks, and beyond that - the looming form of the Scythian Palace.

He grinned to himself behind his mask, white and faceless like so many hundreds of others in the newest wave of protests against the powers that be, hundreds of thousands gathered in front of the Palace itself to make a dent in the Emperors thus far short and bloody war against the so called "Immortals" and thier proxies in a galaxy that the Scythian people had spent five centuries either watching or avoiding from thier empire of stars in the Galatic core.

Most of them where protesting for similar reasons, why was the Emperor so willing to throw the entire empire into a bloody war when they could simply sit back and hold the galactic core? Why had the Emperor not been seen in public for over a year? What did he have to hide? Where the Immortals just an excuse to permit a wave of bloody expansionism, even though it almost destroyed the empire two centuries ago? Or was the war an excuse to use mandatory service as population control and as an excuse to turn the military bread-basket into a meat grinder?

The most potent and mentioned of topics, mandatory military service - it had been institued as a means of turning an economic disaster two centuries ago on its head, by forcing every man and woman above the age of 18 into ten years of military service to build and train a generation of experts in construction, logistics and defence - a measure that had proven so sucsessful that every generation since followed the same path, turning a disaster into a workforce and making an empire that focused inwards on itself to an unheard of degree - giving every world two centuries of peaceful development, massive populations and enough resources to go around almost tenfold.

But this had never been in a time of war - Scythian lives had been on the line against the Pirate factions before - but never a full blown war, with casualties, and loss.

Never before had thousands of protestors marched against the palace itself, now they did so daily - and the entire crowd had been under the age of 18.

A generation of children protesting against thier forced recruitment into the armed forces.

The elders looked down on the young for thier lack of discipline and resolve in the face of an uncaring and now outright hostile galaxy, the young looked down on the old for thier obviously brain-washed imperialism and dogma - neither side willing to look the other in the eye.

Markis still shoved his way through the crowd - getting closer and closer to the front, he knew what he had to do - just force enough to bring the protests to a new level . . . but he had to make his way through the bludgeoning masses of people.

Then the crowd broke, enough of a gap for him to work his way up to the front - meer metres away from him a SIBAS suited riot officor stood, faceless and encased in metal - armed with a beanbag cannon he had not yet used.

Markis grinned to himself, inside his mask the officor could not see the events about to take place, as he reached inside his jacket.

He was only 17, a teenager with no real past and no real future - no documented crimes or events in his life bar one.

A detonator emerged from inside his pocket, thumb set on a deadmans trigger.

The officor reacted the moment he saw the device rise - a planned, gut reaction . . . Markis grinned to himself, as he had been told so many times - his death would be the catalyst thier movement would need to bring down the Emperor and re-establish the Scythian people from under an ancient, Imperial jack-boot.

The beanbag cannon rose and fired - a sudden weight pounded through Markis chest and levelled him to the floor - his thumb released from the trigger.

A moment later, everything within 50 meters dissapeared into one of the most recognisable blasts in the galaxy.

A black orb suddenly appeared where Markis and dozens of others once existed - crushed by a gravity ball less than an atom wide a concrete was pulled upwards, flesh, metal, air and light pulled inwards on the singularity that destroyed all.

Less than a hundred meters from the Palace of the Scythian Empire itself - dozens of child citizens and Scythian Military Police had been killed by a Black Hole Grenade.

The Empire suddenly found itself with enemies within - that had access to the weapons of thier extra-galactic foes, and where willing to use them as martys to thier cause, for many the world stopped being the same any more, and for many more - a tradegy had become a beacon of hope to overthrow the oppressors who had been in power for far too long.

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:40 am
by Legofighter
IS THERE ANY F****** PICTURE (digital or irl)?????

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:48 am
by Colette
Legofighter wrote:IS THERE ANY F****** PICTURE (digital or irl)?????
If there were pictures, this would be a battle report.

Thing is, not all art has to be visualized for you. Sometimes, it's just best to leave an awesome description and let the reader fill in the details.

Also, like my AN story, some things are too awesome (read: big) for brikwars. Maybe if Assterios wasn't so much of an Assterious we could illustrate Scythe's stories but.

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:29 am
by The Shadowscythe
Legofighter wrote:
IS THERE ANY F****** PICTURE (digital or irl)?????
Dude, have you ever read a BOOK before?

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:45 pm
by mgb519
I'm pretty sure that English is his second language.

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:03 pm
by BFenix
You can't show more ignorance than by saying books are tl;dr...

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:33 pm
by Thesson
I propose a new rank for Legofighter:
Needs the definition of book

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:45 am
by The Shadowscythe
The Assyrian medic moved to one side of the gurney, checking between status monitors and bags of IV fluid and medication she had not noticed moments ago - her vision dropped from those to her arms, covered in half-healed scars, IV feeds fed into her skin, and out of again - a catheter bag to one side - and the area from her legs down simply felt numb-

"If I may?" The Assyrian medic interrupted her chain of thought "We need some extra itentification information from you - Lord Shadowscythe confirmed you as a member of crew for the Mantorok, but we have no form of solid database here to confirm I.D's - our extraction from the battle was a clusterfrak and the fleet only managed to datarip about half of the fleets files from the Scythian extranet . . . name and serial number please?"

"Kialya, Refrense - Serial number SNA-12031987"

"Thankyou Kialya . . . I will be back soon with more medication for you" The Assyrian medic turned promptly and left the room with a fastened pace.

"Well, you have a name at last" Lord Shadowscythe pointed out as he shifted in his seat "You haven't been out long, but a hell of a lot has happened"

"How long has it been?" she choked out with a half-cough.

"About three days, maybe four - its hard too tell on a ship like this"

"Why are we on an Assyrian ship?" Kialya replied with almost a slur to her tone.

"They rescued us, under the Emperors orders"

"What?!" Kialya almost jumped upwards at the reply, and the non-chalant way the lord before her presented it.

"It would seem the Emperor has been kept a secret from most of us . . . even me" thoughts quickly flashed through his mind about how the hell something that large had not only slipped through his data nets, but most of the empire "He was never ill or bedridden - He fled the homeworld over a year ago with most of the first fleet - It would seem that members of S.O.N.I above myself have been playing a well hidden game while the Emperor was doing something . . . I don't know what yet."

Kialya sat in her gurney, shocked beyond words.

"He has been gathering a fleet at least - ships from almost every race that is part of the Alliance against the Immortals - and some who are part of the Immortal forces . . . I've seen Assyrian, Genoan, Tsoc, Felk, Britannian - hell even some Preatorian and Trattorian crews passing through this ship alone - from what little I have had my ear down to the ground pick up - at least 5000 vessels either in this fleet or elsewhere, all under the banner of our Emperor . . . on some kind of crusade that had something to do with that planet."

The dumb pain started to eat at her confused mind once more, as he hand shifted over the top of the blankets covering her legs.

"Does it hurt? do you need the medic?" Lord Shadowscythe shifted his weight forward, a look of compassion on his face.

"Does what hurt?" Kialya replied, paranoia seeping into the edges of her mind.

"You don't remember?"

"No . . . " she lied, almost - she remembered something, red lights and pain.

"In that case, it is best you see for yourself, I am sorry."

Horror took over as she lifted the covers from the lower half of her body - flesh, bruised, scarred and bandaged made up most of her lower torso and hips - her upper thighs a patchwork of heavy bruising and massive, stitched scars - covered by blood soaking bandages and Assyrian Medi-Gel.

Ending, in covered stumps above each knee she had been cleanly and professionally amputated from the thigh down on each side.

"Even the Assyrians couldn't do anything to save them" Lord Shadowscythe spoke softly - almost in the distance from her "The force from the stairwell had sheared most of the flesh and muscle mass off of the front of your shins, and turned the backs of the legs into swiss cheese - shattering every single bone beyond repair, somehow your major arteries survived but the legs where beyond saving - they either had to amputate or leave you even more crippled with the legs."

"I am sorry" He replied, apparently more for himself than for her benefit.

Tears welled up in her eyes - it didn't seem to matter what he or anyone else had to say, the horror, the loss - the stress and pain of the battle finally caught up to her, she was devastated, empty - beyond the rest of the world.

"Just . . . get out, get out!" She spat silently.

"GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!" she then screamed at him, not knowing what else to do she lashed out at him.

"I will be back when you are ready, you cannot deny yourself company" He replied, bowing slightly and leaving through the automated door.

Into the waiting gaze of two Scythian Marines.

"Lord Shadowscythe?" The larger of the two asked, his tone low and polite.

"Yes, thats me" He replied, meeting the gaze of the former.

"You have been requested for an audience with the Emperor, he would like to speak to you immediately. We are to escort you to the nearest teleporter for transit The Pride of Scythia" The marine replied.

Lord Shadowscythe let out a short sigh, he was waiting for this moment - the time when his questioned to be answered would also be his trial by fire - he pulled his back straight and put on his best game face.

"Very well marine, lead the way" He replied, as the trio set a marching pace down the corridor of the medical ship.

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:07 am
by The Shadowscythe
The trio still walked down the corridors of the almost labyrinthine medical craft - it seemed for almost an eternity. Between rooms, open medical theatres - gurneys filled with the broken, the bleeding and the dead - cries of pain and woe filled the air with a tension that Lord Shadowscythe could cut with a knife as Assyrian and Scythian medical staff worked together to stabilise the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of wounded.

"How many are there?" he said as he stopped in a junction, looking each way and seeing nothing but pain.

"About 10,000 on this ship, from the ground and fleet, its an Assyrian Med-cruiser - the largest they have . . . and there are three in the fleet" the Main marine said aloud.

"Maidens of Scythia . . . " Lord Shadowscythe said aloud, the hopelessness of those around him almost getting to the point where he could taste it in the air.

"Sir, if you don't mind - The Emperor called for you, and only you - personally, it would be best not to keep him waiting" The Marine pointed out.

"How much further" Lord Shadowscythe asked, keeping his tone flat and even.

"Not far, another five minutes or so to the teleport array"

"Then lets not waste more time"

They passed through more corridors and open bays, and finally a large bay that was being used as the ships temporary morgue - a large, open bay filled with open caskets, each lined with a black bag - each containing the remains of what used to be a life - hopes, dreams, loves, hates and everything in between. Each bag was topped with a single I.D marker with name, gender and race.

The trio passed silently through the sterile room, but Lord Shadowscythe could almost feel them staring upwards from dead eyes - staring through his soul. Blaming him.

Blaming him for his failures - He has saved one . . . or rather he had attempted to save one, and they had in turned been saved by co-incidence and timing.

So many more died. Their blood wasted on his hands.

He locked those thoughts away - he was needed here and now, and he would have the time to attempt to atone for his sins later.

Ahead of him a team of ten SIBAS suited Scythian Marines stood in the entrance to the teleportation array - their armour differed to most regular marines. Instead of red and steel coloration's, these SIBAS suits where painted purple and black in a horizontal slash - the personal coloration of the best marines in the entire Empire.

The Emperors hand chosen and loyal until death 1st Marine Battalion.

He passed between them, feeling more eyes on his soul as he motioned towards the centre of the teleportation array - behind a computer station at the far end of the room, a single Assyrian operator stood beside a Scythian Officer with the same purple sash over his uniform.

"Teleporter bio arrays confirmed, Lord Shadowscythe is ready for transport - no weapons or items upon his person" The Assyrian operator relayed to the room.

With this cue, the Scythian Officer opened a communication channel on an unseen console.

"Pride, this is retrieval team one, We have Lord Shadowscythe and are ready for transport" he spoke aloud.

"Achnoledged R-T-One, shields are down now - teleport when ready" an unseen voice returned.

The operator didn't wait - within a moment he watched as blue particles surrounded his body, his skin tingled for a moment.

Then a man stood behind him, one he recognised from pictures from his youth and then almost every year of his life since.

He was stood in the operations deck of the Pride of Scythia, directly in front of the Emperor himself.

"Welcome, Shadowscythe - don't even think about starting with the pomp and circumstance, we have a lot to discuss" He paused, wrinkles forming around his cheeks and forehead "And only a little time to do so, so I hope you have your questions ready"

His eyes adjusted to the ready room, it was a dark, cavernous room, based on three floors around a central holosphere dias that would have filled a small house by itself - he could see the shadows of other personell moving around from station to station, but no one dared approach the Lord and Emperor themselves at the middle of the room.

"What happened down on that planet?" Lord Shadowscythe began.

The Emperor let out a half breath and began "Something that I had been preparing for ever since my departure - the fact that the Immortals arrived only served to speed up the events I barely had time to account for." He then motioned to the central holographic dias as images began to replay from the last of the space and ground battle.

Scythians and Genoans forces fell to the ground screaming as blood poured out of their skulls - and those that didn't fall where eviscerated by gunfire that seemed to be erupting from inside their own bodies. The images then moved onto mountains of insects, half living, half machine - bursting from the ground on uncountable limbs, and a massive spheroid ship - the KINGUNDERTHEMOUNTAIN artefact that had led to the Scythian colony being on the ill-fated ice world to begin with.

"The creatures you see emerged from that ship - and where left to die soon after the planet lost stability - each where controlled by a creature I have been trying my hardest to figure out how to kill - a being we know as "The Shraag""

Lord Shadowscythe stood silent as he absorbed the information in front of him before he finally spoke "Had the empire known this we could have taken more action against this Shraag - whatever it is."

"I am afraid, I could not" The Emperor replied.

"Why not, with the rest of the Empire behind you we could have avoi-" Lord Shadowscythe began, raising his voice steadily with each word.

"I could not, because for me to do so would risk more of reality falling apart around us." The Emperor stated - as if an old tale had finally been brought to the surface.

"What you are about to see and hear" he continued "Must never be repeated beyond this room"

The Emperor moved closer to the Dias and placed his hand upon a sensor plate - and with an unseen cue a forcefield rose around them and the dias, starting at first as an invisible layer - that intensified to become a solid blue sheet of energy through which Lord Shadowscythe could no longer see or hear the world beyond.

"A year and a half ago I received a message - sent to myself from 27 years in the future, it takes a lot to explain . . . so I am about to show you what we have."

With that cue, the central dias ignited into colour, replaying the gathered images and sounds of universes that now, no longer existed.


Scythian marines fighting in the Emperors palace, within the very walls of the most fortified building in the Empire as Immortal troops and Terrorkhan stormed the entrances, little could be seen beyond the camera view other than gunfire and explosions as Scythian soldiers started to retreat taking heavy losses.

The feed cut off with a scream as the camera fed flipped over itself - the helmet's owner taking a flachette round though his eyeball - killing him instantly. Static took control of the feed and it faded into nothingness.


Another view feed - one half displaying a satellite feed of Destra - the closest city to the Scythian palace city itself - the other half was a live camera feed of a battlefield command room - deep underground, veiled shadows planning the cities defence as dozens of blue markers moved against red markets in a game of lights - far above Scythians and Immortals clashed in horrific city fighting.

The camera jumped - the timecode now days ahead as the command room was filled with fire - only one of the shadows remained - a face Lord Shadowscythe recognised as his own - far older and far worse for ware as he hid behind his shattered holographic command table as a red blowtorch light chewed through the distant bunker door.

The satellite feed now only displayed one blinking blue light in the city of Destra - surrounded by a city of red sharks, swarming through the city streets.

The blowtorch light chewed through the door as it exploded outwards and hoards of Immortal infantry stormed the room.

Lord Shadowscythe watched as a version of himself, from 27 years from now fought them off with his laser pistol - taking out soldier after soldier until they finally returned fire.

He watched his shattered body absorb round after round of Immortal fire in bloody fountains of flesh as he fell to the ground - the last Scythian heart in the city stopped beating - and the Anti-matter bomb underneath the Bunker room detonated.

The camera changed over to the city of Destra via satellite feed as the entire city disappeared into an Anti-matter explosion over 30 miles across.

A scorched earth policy that destroyed all traces of the city, its defenders, its invades and the charred remains of all that used to inhabit it.


Another feed changed to Immortal ships and Scythian ships firing side by side as allies in what looked like intergalactic space, being followed by legions of the spheroid ships that where under the control of the Shraag. Every shot fired was futile as they disappeared before even hitting their target - as the Death-spheres opened fire with their unseen Meson-Bolt cannons, wiping out tens of ships with each volley.


Dozens more images flashed past the screen, clips and images without sound or context - each one focused on either the annihilation of Scythian forces or a devoured universe - driving home the message that the end of all things was coming, and it was coming soon.


The final image was the Scythian Emperor himself - a far older man than he was now, stood before a camera as the image and lights faded, explosions could be heard in the distance.

"Our world is dead, and we are destroying an entire universe just to send this message back to you. The Immortals are coming, and this cannot be allowed to repeat. You need to hide until the time is right. KINGUNDERTHEMOUNTAIN is the gateway, you must find the key. Lord Warhead must die. To sleep, Perchance to -"


The images cut to static and faded away as the Emperor then resumed, telling what little he knew of the story beyond what had been seen.

"27 years from now, the Immortals destroyed us - and we attempted to change our fate with a prototype machine - one that was designed to change one timeline for another by altering these patterns before they could begin." He stopped for a moment to take a breath.

"What happened instead destroyed that timeline instead of altering it - we still don't know how, but we cracked this reality on a fundamental level - this entire universe is on a knife-edge as this universe than those around it are now caught in a quantum storm we cannot perceive in this reality - but its affects are already being felt."

He opened another image - a quantum resolution image of the galaxy - with a fault line running directly through it that fed through this galaxy and every single other galaxy around it - forming a spiders web of lines between every galaxy recorded by Scythian science.

"These lines are a resonance cascade - what happens when this reality snapped back on itself and it is spreading, The Shraag is a part of these events . . . these cracks snapped back to the dawn of reality itself - our universe was reborn with these cracks ingrained into its very being - The Shraag should not exist in this universe, let alone this time line - it is a psionic force from . . . somewhere else . . . we don't know how or why - but it is obsessed with entropy, the destruction of all life, all matter - everything being disolved back down to the perfect state of its 'Garden' - the universe being rendered down to a perfect, empty space with nothing in it other than itself - and it may soon unwittingly get its wish"

"Our AI's predict we have another year before the cascade hits this universe and dissolves everything - starting with the bonds between matter than then finishing with matter itself, what we have been doing so far is healing the wounds before they occur - attempting to buy the time until we can stop the cascade completely, and then kill the Shraag before it can destroy us all."

Lord Shadowscythe stood, dumbfounded at everything he had been presented with - a short time ago he had been focused on only what he could see before him, this - changed everything, his perspective altered into something new.

"To this end, we have been taking ships from other races and putting them in the right place at the right time - altering events buys us time from the cascade - be it minutes or days - be it having the right person in the right place to either change an event, or as required - die trying, everything we can do to keep the quantum foam stable enough to stop everything from being destroyed."

Another pause, another breath exhaled from the Emperor.

"And now, Shadowscythe - I need to move you into place. Don't worry - I am not sending you to die, thankfully the events in question need you alive to complete these goals and you have no idea how much that lifts my heart, I am beginning to deeply hate what I have been tasked to do - so I ask you this, how far are you willing to go to ensure the safety of all life within the Empire - and the rest of the Universe?"

Lord Shadowscythe swallowed his breath as he was about to begin his next sentence.

The Emperor cut him off "How far are you willing to go?"

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:33 pm
by The Shadowscythe
The Emperor let the words hang in the air for some kind of unknown dramatic effect, before he returned silently to the holographic dias, which resolved itself to the image of another planet twinkling alone in a sea of black - a green and verdant jewel in the nights sky.

A world Lord Shadowscythe recognised as a Scythian colony world - Haven, one of the last worlds to be colonised before the empire crumbled inwards on itself - at the time It had been little more than an outer sphere settlement of a few hundred. Today it housed a population of a little over two million on what was a tropical world with a heavily irrigated equatorial belt - a ring of farms breaking the continental lines between a dozen small Scythian cities.

"Haven was one of our last colony worlds before the depression hit our people, you most likely know this already - and given your status - you probably know part of what your mission here will entail" The Emperor began - the world enlarging and focusing onto a single, central city - and then onto the network of bunker tunnels beneath it.

"KINGUNDERTHEMOUNTAIN?" Lord Shadowscythe asked, half statement, half question.

"Indeed - but I doubt you know what you are looking for, or why that codename was created to begin with" The Emperor answered him, while bluntly creating another question. He paused for a moment, and then began entering a series of veiled commands into the keypad.

"What I told you a moment ago has been generations in the making - KINGUNDERTHEMOUNTAIN is our sword and our shield - somehow we have been left pieces, scattered and broken - to help in our cause today, an artifact here, a technology or weapon there - without pattern." The Emperor resumed.

"Until now" He finally finished - the screen resolved into what appeared to be an ancient stone tablet, covered in nigh untranslatable text "We have a partial translation - enough to figure out the writing engraved on the front of the tablet is only half the puzzle, the other half is a molecular message - embedded within the fabric of the tablet itself."

"Then why do you not simply access the KINGUNDERTHEMOUNTAIN files, surely we have a scan of this tablet?" Lord Shadowscythe asked tentatively.

"We did - All the files have been placed under lock and key to another source and then separated from the normal datanets by someone far above you, someone who was supposed to be beneath me." The Emperor changed the screen yet again - a galaxy map emerged with dozens of freighters being ordered to Scythian worlds, each collecting items regarded as mundane - and then moving them to central locations, at the same time - an artefact was removed from the database, and then a face emerged - that of a man in his late forties - a solid cut jaw and iron hard features betrayed no signs of intelligence or emotion, his eyes cold and blue - and his head topped with a short cut crop of steel gray hair.

"This - is Lord Haercer Kronus, the man who has managed to worm his way into being defacto Emperor and has turned S.O.N.I into his personal army" The Emperor followed.

Lord Shadowscythe stood dumbfounded by this man, he had never even heard of this so called "lord" let alone taken any form of orders from him - somehow his entire image of the empire had been flipped on its head.

"I need you to retrieve the tablet from Haven, it is essential to our cause - and if possible, data mine whatever servers and terminals you can find and scrape up any information you can about what Haercer is planning, it is essential - to everything." The Emperor stopped one last time "And before you ask - this does mean you are going to be turning weapons on your fellow Scythians, I am so sorry - but we must do what needs to be done, if any of us are to survive this."

Lord Shadowscythes back straightened a little - this was an operation that needed to be done, he had been given the orders from the Emperor himself - even if they had turned his world upside down, he would follow them to the letter.

"You have been assigned six Rigel Kentaurus class destroyers with all the fittings to this end, and free reign to do whatever you see fit - now leave me . . . one of my assistants will give you the details you need and lead you too your vessels" The Emperor finished.

Lord Shadowscythe saluted as the holodias faded and the shield dropped - he left into the darkened space beyond.

A moment later, the shield rose once more - and the Emperor turned to the dias once more.

"I assume you where watching all of that?" He asked aloud.

The dias erupted into a sea of rainbow colours, ever moving - ever shifting, never ceasing in motion - the holographic representation of the Goliath AI now known as Entity.

"You lied to him" it stated, clearly and bluntly "You did not tell him the whole truth"

The Emperor ducked his head, it had taken a great act not to tell Shadowscythe what really awaited him.

"It needed to be done, to make sure events moved as they should."

"This is correct, but you could have told him some of what to expect beyond this."

"I still don't understand half of this myself, you expect me to dump it on another unprepared?"

"And now you lie to me as well, as much as yourself" The AI stated - its tone rumbled slightly, annoyance creeping into its edges, the cascase of colours slowly turning a shade of red.

"Isn't all of this a lie in the end Entity? Isn't that the point?!"

The AI seemed to chew on this thought for a moment, as the tone disappeared.

"We must make our next move" The AI stated - as the dias moved onto the next series of targets.

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:37 am
by The Shadowscythe
(Ooc - the next section is a semi-tie in between myself and collette as our two plots ended up becoming mutually inclusive to one another, so here goes a partial crossover of the two tales.)

He stood, motionless still in the centre of the cramped and uncomfortable bridge of the Rigel Kentaurus class destroyer "Eyes and Ears" - captain Malachi Tenza, one of the many Scythian captains to join the Emperor in his grand exodus from the empire.

Over the year in exile he had learned a newfound respect for his leader whom used to be a figurehead of the ancient traditions within the empire - he squashed the train of thought from his mind as he re-focused on the main view screen - his sights set on the "Spirit of Ragnablok" in the distance - growing ever closer in view.

The "Eyes and Ears" had been one of many ships that had been brought into operations by the Emperor - its shields triple-enhanced and upgraded with technologies from every group that had joined the Emperors cause, AI systems and computer components from the Tsoc had massively improved their sensor arrays, combat algorithms , Ecm and Eccm capabilities and central processing speeds - Assyrian shield components had been merged with Scythian power distribution systems had massively improved their mitigation systems, dispersing energy blasts along the entire shield and then absorbing them rather than dispersing them and lowering shield integrity as a whole. A material known as "GT" to the Felc had been integrated into the ships Matter/Anti-matter annihilation drives - which had given the ship the power to integrate an Immortal Phase-cloaking device, which in turn had been improved with Trattorian components that no longer phased a ship out of sight and sensors, but now phased the entire ship out of its parent dimension - the Super Dreadnaught in the distance could unleash every single weapon onto the "Eyes and Ears" and hit nothing but empty space.

"Sir, we are now within data-warfare range of the Praetorian vessel - shall we begin?" the ships tactical officer relayed from his station.

"Begin spamming their long range sensors and attempt to jam up their cpu's with false readings and junk data - if we can, send in data worms and trojans - I want that ship deaf and blind to everything as soon as possible." captain Tenza replied, with a sly grin on his face.

The "Eyes and Ears" began its broadwave transmission, radio, subwave and masar transmissions aimed at every external system on the Ragnablok's hull - its sensor arrays suddenly found themselves assaulted by wavelengths on every radio, x-ray, ultraviolet and infrared spectrum in a dozen un-aligned pulses - junk light and sensor data that buffered into the Ragnabloks systems and began to re-assemble within the ships computer systems - systems that where normally used to sparse and analyse data became the breeding grounds for several hundreds of viruses designed to subvert, shut down or destroy every work station they where capable of moving to in any and every form until they hit the ships most vital of functions.

Life support and power distribution.

"Sir, Data warfare has begun" The tactical officer reported "The AN headquarters seems to have fallen, planet New York is in cause and a United Systems Alliance fleet has arrived with some Scythian Empire ships to boot - IFF has identified them as the 238th Marine Expeditionary fleet - they are not broadcasting any of our new IFF transponders in the fleet. What shall we do?"

The captain paused for a moment - he had not counted on any Scythian vessels arriving to aid the United Systems Alliance - the AN was a failed venture that had failed to properly identify or move against the threat the Immortals posed to the greater galaxy - the rest of the Empire had pulled out from the group alliance as quickly as possible - not seeking to waste the empires time on keeping an inadequate status quo between empires when they should be defending their efforts against the extra-galactic threat.

"Data-spam any of the main capitol ships that move against them, but make no effort to intervene - we need to keep Scythian casualties down - but do not forget our mission here." The captain replied.

Sensor screens began to fill in front of him with data-mined information from the Spirit of Ragnablok - half of its external sensors where blinded against the world beyond - internal power supplies across the outer most decks of the ship, spreading slowly inwards like the every peeling layers of an onion.

The captain moved to the comms systems and opened a channel to the half dozen Marine loaded Destroyers and FTL tugs waiting a single FTL jump away, once the Ragnablok's systems fell and the ship was blinded - the Trojan viruses within the ships systems would jar every door aboard the massive super-dreadnaught would jam open.

Wide open, and unable to be closed.

Followed by dropping the shields, and disabling life support - suffocating the entire crew by exposure to vacuum within less than 30 seconds.

At that point - the FTL tugs would jump in - less than a meter away form the unshielded super-dreadnaught on all sides - and hi-jack the entire ship within less than 10 seconds, returning to their previous location, and the waiting Marine loaded destroyers to board the ship, clear the bodies and any possible means of tracking the mighty warship and then returning to the Emperor himself.

And then putting the "Spirit of Ragnablok" to work for a greater cause than its builders could ever imagine . . .

(Note to collette - this is almost as we discussed via PM, I am leaving the other half of the Hi-jack to you good sire seeing as this is a tie in at the moment.)

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:34 pm
by The Shadowscythe
Harkins awoke, slowly from a sleep unlike anything he had ever encountered before, it clung to the edges of his mind - attempting to drag him back into an eternal abyss from which there would be no return.

No white lights awaited him, the world was pitch black and constricting, and there was precious little air.

He shot up, panicked and realised he was being contained - the sound of plastic against plastic as his hands shot upwards towards his head, his mouth - and fumbled against an unyielding hold - fingers stretched material thin as they found hold on a small piece of woven metal and cloth, worming their way upwards towards a hold - a single piece of metal upon the "top" of the line, a little above his head - he jammed his finger a little above that precious little hold, making the tiniest of holes between fabric and metal, as he then pulled downwards and fresh light and air assailed his lungs.

The zip gave way and the air was cold - he was in a dimly lit room, pulling down the zip around his body. Around his body bag.

He was sat bolt upright in a room full of tables, each with their own body bags - sterilised tools, sinks and seats. The morgue of an unknown ship.

His head pounded and his vision blurred as he pulled his feet upwards and outwards out of the bag - and manoeuvred his naked body around to sit upon the edge of the table.

There was little time - his brain scrambled thoughts from one place to another - seemingly racing between his temples as a rush of thought changed direction and his feet landed onto cold, metallic floor tiles.

Steadily he managed his balance and left his fortress of a table behind, aching muscles desperately remembered how to operate under the control of a starved body and distorted mind, he stumbled to one side and pain shot up from his hand as it landed clumsily on the side of another table which then slid sideways under his weight - pulling himself back up, he felt blood drip from his palm.

The sharpness of new pain kicked in the adrenal reflex, endorphines and receptors started flowing through his blood - at least the pain had given him the cue to be a little closer to being alive again.

His eyes darted from one place to another as he spotted what he needed, a weapon - a nearby laser scalpel sat on a desktop nearby, he stumbled towards it with a purpose until he reached the tables edge - and fingers grasped once more at metal before him.

Now armed and at least moving - the Marine put the pieces together, he was alive, in an unknown ship - and he needed to ascertain wether or not he was onboard a friendly vessel, or wether he would need to use his newly acquired weapon, judging his way around the room with sharpened eyes he saw only one door out of the room, and moved towards it with a silent, loping gait.

Eventually he reached the doorway to the room, a simply powered slide door with a button mechanism - he gave the button a quick tap and moved away from the entrance as the door opened before him and brighter lights flooded the doorway.

He waited for just a moment as no sound came his way, no footsteps or inquiring questions - and then took a moment to look beyond the doorframe.

White corridors awaited him, lined with an orange stripe at the floor and ceiling levels - standard internal patterns for an Assyrian ship - his mind bounced between thoughts of the Assyrians being nowhere near the battle-

Pain, pain hit his temples like a nuclear charge - memory flooded with a burning sensation unlike nothing he had ever known before as the images of hundreds dead, massive war machines and orbital bombardments, Orpheus supertanks in the snow and flood of half insect-half machine monsters streaming from the very ice itself, Harkins dropped to the floor screaming as the back of his neck felt as if it was burning itself to pieces.

He dropped his improvised weapons as his hands reached up to his eyeballs, screaming as much as his lungs could contain as blood started to seep from his eyes and ears, down his face and onto his hands.

He never heard the Assyrian meditech running towards him calling medical codings, nor did he see the emergency teams running towards the morgue to scrape the screaming mass of the Marine up from the deck floor, unconsciousness claimed him this time, and an unresting sleep awaited.

Re: Betrayals (A Scythian Short)

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:29 pm
by The Shadowscythe
His fist slammed down onto the ancient wooden table, hard - the force of the blow knocking over dozens of the over-stylised miniature soldiers and floating ship stands in its wake - a small flood of fallen troops fell too one side on the massive map of the Genoan lands and seas.

"And I am telling you this was no coincidence you bigoted fool! At the single moment the Scythians promise us the most, the entire Royal family and ever eire is wiped off the seas of Genoad! This is not family struggle - there aren't any families left to fight for power! You don't get it do you?!" Lord Admiral Asharen burst across the table - his chest pushed outwards and his face in an agitated snarl, ever since the assassination of every single Genoan within the duchy bloodlines less than three days ago, the entire Empire had fallen over itself and ground into chaos as every armed unit that had once made up the loose coalition of the "Genoan armed forces" suddenly had a bloodline to the decapitated thrones, and those that did not - suddenly advocated turning the empire over to the military leadership, forming over a dozen warbands out of what used to be a planetwide coldwar.

With this, the civilian government without the duchies to run it claimed conspiracy, claiming the Genoan military had finally had enough of the ruling families and had killed their own leaders in the greatest coup de-tat in military history, or that the Scythians themselves had launched the attack - or another empire under the stead of the Immortals.

Or worst of all - the Immortals themselves had completely bypassed the Scythian defence network and had killed the families as a show of force as to how useless the Scythians really where - to destroy the alliance forming around them and turn more worlds to the Immortal cause.

"There is nothing here to get! This was a purely Genoan affair and we have to keep control of the empire until an assassin is found - no doubt some backwater family off of the eastern fringes decided they had bided their time for long enough - this is a power grab, not the end of the Empire!" General Juggern repeated again, he was an aged fool - entrenched in the background politics of the families - organising weddings on their behalf and hidden assassinations in others, fat, crusty fingers in every pie and a filthy eye for the next blaggard to rise to power, keeping them under his wing just long enough to raise them into a position where they could help him in return and then always calling his favours when they hurt the most. There was no surprise that out of the entire table he was the one still clinging to the old ways like a Kraken to the wharf. No imagination for situations beyond the norm - in his eyes the arrival of the Scythians presented nothing more than another opportunity to garner power, one that they had thankfully brushed off in favour of the younger and more dynamically minded of the duchy's and navy.

"So you would ignore this crisis - not inform the Scythians and continue as if the leadership of the Empire, the ENTIRE LEADERSHIP OF THE EMPIRE, IS SUFFERING FROM THE SEABOARD FLU?!"

Now Asharens fists where shaking, the idiotic fool refused to even admit that the Empire was in chaos - still stuck in the roots that another bloodline would find its way into his guidance, for him to twist and manipulate.

"And what would you have? martial law?! The outer garrisons have already formed into Warbands! They are less than two days away from going on a rampage through the coastal towns, and what of the pioneer units?" Juggern twisted his words so that every end of a sentence, every stop stung like a sword to the back of Asharens neck.

Lady Dirias finally interjected into the argument with a simple statement "Not martial law Jeggern, we re-organise the central navy into a peacekeeping force, we police our own forces - not the civilian government, and we inform the Scythians"

"You stupid old bitch, what you are saying IS martial law - no matter how you re-word it, and informing the Scythians will bring chaos to all - we all know they only want us for our gravity drives, what is to stop them from just plain stealing them from under our noses?!" Juggern retorted.

"How about the fact we have more to gain from them than they do from us? And in all this time they have been nothing but honest and open with us?" Dirias returned in a cool and open tone - Asharen expected nothing more or less from the had of the Genoan special services.

"Gentlemen, we have reached a time where we in this room are to decide the fate of our people - will we forge forward into a new future - a Genoan empire amongst the stars - or a broken, shattered nation on one wet little rock in the backwater of the universe, under the care of greater empires who look down on us as lessers rather than equals?" she continued "I say we contact the Scythians right now, and tell them of the events that occurred and offer them a straight trade - our grav drives for their FTL systems on the grounds that we clean up our own mess - or we fight this out to blood in this room right here and now"

Asharens fists relaxed a little on this notion, Juggern would stick to his guns - but with two against one so far he would fall into line.

In the corner of the room, the last of the Genoan military leaders - the recently seated head of the Genoan air and star forces sat silent, as the others turned to him, he simply nodded to Dirias and then returned to his musing as Juggern continued to snap as Asharen, and Dirias relegated the pair in line - none of them knew of the Scythian listening bug hidden directly beneath his ceremonial sash, and the intelligence team listening in high orbit to every word spoken that night.