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[WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only) 
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

Krulle wrote:
"Yes." Alexander said. There was no denying this anway. All this attention on him as a male... would've been very charming if not for these particular circumstances...

"And what are you?" Brightshield asked.

"I am a Human."

"And why are you here?"

"I am the sole survivor of a mission sent to contact the warfaring parties before the warfaring parties discover us, and force their choice on us. Our mission, and consequently my mission, is to make contact with either the Loroi Union or with the Umiak Hierarchy, so that we can have a view of both sides about this war, and make our own opinion on which side we shall choose. Since we've been told that the Loroi and the Umiak each have a 'no neutrality doctrine' in force, we wanted to make sure we would be able to select the side we want to fight on. Alas, in the Naam system our ship got shot at, and fatally crippled."

She continued to ask a few questions about his mission, which he answered as truthfully as possible. After those questions, Brightshield took a breath.

"Well, since Mizol Parat Sedel here accorded you ambassadorial status, this station has no command over you, but I am grateful for you answering my questions. Of course I have read the reports provided to me so far, but apparently these reports were incomplete." she concluded with a sideglance at Tempo. "But please understand that you have caused quite a commotion, especially after the working force returned from having brought this shuttle a decontamination unit. We are sorry you have been stranded in this system, without a way forward to complete your mission. Please tell me, was the personal access for the Listel here part of your mission?"

"Eh.." Alex stammered shortly, with a short glance at Beryl. "No. No, our mission was to make contact only, and arrange a meeting of your officials with some of our officials in a 'neutral' system, so that our politicians at home could make an informed decision of whom to pledge alliance without risking total destruction of Humanity."

"And, personally, since you had contact with both sides, even if with The Enemy only through listening in on a conversation, which side would you recommend your leaders to choose?"

"The Loroi Union!" Alexander said with conviction.

"And why?" Brightshield asked.

She turned her head to Tempo and with a glare added: "Yes, you've already reported me what he told you. But while aboard this station, I will confirm some elements for myself."

'Apparently Tempo sent a Sanzai message...' Alexander thought, and replied: "Because you are so similar to us. And because the Umiak remind us of a common nightmare, an instinctive fear, among all Humans. We have animals on our world, which we call insects. Some of them have a 'hive-mind', meaning they do not work for themselves, but only and exclusively for a common goal, at the expense of individuality. When I heard Kikitik-27 talk, the harsh sound made my skin crawl very uncomfortably. His looks, and what I've been told about the Umiak made me directly connect the Umiak to be a nightmare. We Humans value our individuality and individual freedom very much, and I cannot fathom that our society would survive being a 'client state' of the Umiak."

"Then why did you seek forbidden contact with Listel Tozet Eilis here?"

"I did not actively seek this intimate contact. It just happened. We Humans are different than you are. We have a male to female ratio of about 1:1, and intimacy with us usually comes with proximity and familiarity.
Furthermore, I cannot deny that all Loroi I have seen so far are visually among the ideals of how a female Human should look like, if you disregard the blue skin and your lengthy, pointed ears. And Beryl's character of being very inquisitive, her smartness and quick understanding are also considered to be wanted character traits for our partners.
And from what I've been told in the last hour or so, I seem to have a very similar effect on many Loroi females."

"It just happened?" an incredulous Brightshield asked. "Well, I have to take your word for it. Please be advised that you and all Loroi entering this shuttle will be on a closer monitoring from now on, to make sure our laws are observed. While these laws do not necessarily apply to you, they do apply to all Loroi. Does Humanity not have such laws?"

"Well, when being on duty such things are usually considered to be not done, and only in security relevant issues there are rules forbidding intimacy at the working place. But once off-duty, these matters are usually considered to be a private affair between persons involved, as long as they are not disruptive to the environment."

Here the station's Mizol smiled. "Tell me, are you as sole representative of Humanity known to the Loroi technically ever 'off-duty'?"

"Eh.. Technically not. No." Alexander answered. "But in circumstances like these, where there is no disruption of duty, the superiors and courts have recognised that a Human is a Human, and that certain amounts of rest and private matters are a necessity."

"A necessity? Like a health necessity?" Brightshield asked. With a glimmer in her eye.

"Not a physical health necessity. But being constantly on duty without the possibility to be something else that on duty, to be a human with all its flaws and errors and needs, has been proven to cause the human to be prone to errors and misjudgements." Alex tried to deflect.

"I see. This has to do with your need for individuality you previously mentioned?"

"Yes." Alex answered slightly relieved that she made this connection, and not directly questioning his mental health. "Yes. It is part of our brain seeking rewarding situations, which we often do not experience when on duty."

"Ah. You're a civilian, then?"

"No. I am part of the military." a perplexed Alexander replied. "Why?"

"Because our civilians often show these kind of flaws. But in the military, these kind of flaws are not permissible.
Anyway, thanks for answering my questions. Since you did come into contact with some crew of ours, I need our Doranzer to check you thoroughly. Can I count on your cooperation with that?"

"Yes, you can." Alexander said.

"Thank you." She turned her head, and said to Tempo: "I can see he is very cooperative. As he is in your charge, and you are the higher ranking Mizol, I will leave him in your charge. If you need help, please inform me. Also, I fear my report might incite Torrai Mazeit Cerulean to visit him too, once she finds a time where the crushables keep quiet." she finished with a longing side-glance at Alexander.

"Thank you, Mizol Losat Lomileilar. Your Doranzer will be forwarded with any data our Doranzer has collected during her scans when we rescued Captain Jardin, but of course she is free to countercheck the findings." Tempo said. "But without bringing Alexander to the station's infirmary, I fear her examinations will not find anything else than what our ship systems did."

Brightshield's eyes tightened slightly at that, but finally she turned around and left the shuttle, signalling the other Loroi of the station to follow her.

Alexander, Beryl, and Tempo were left behind. Tempo made a small keep quiet signal, and left for the Cockpit, where she once again used her codes. And yes, there it was. Some data stream leaving the shuttle. She backtracked it to one specific camera in the passenger cabin. She used one of the other monitors to check what the camera showed. 'Interesting. You dirty little...' she thought with a smile, as she watched the transparent front of the decontamination shower. A quick check confirmed, that the camera was active since only a short time. Likely shortly before that Mizol entered the shuttle.
She found no other signals, and left the cockpit.

Alexander and Beryl were talking to each other, about what happend. And a deep blue face told Tempo, that Beryl was very sorry for what happened, and all the trouble she caused for Alexander.

Making sure they indeed stood outside the shower cabin's camera, she walked over to them, and held out her hands out. Both accepted the unspoken invitation.

"First things first. Do not take a shower together. There's a camera active. Alexander, I am sorry for your privacy, but if I switch off that camera, I signal them that I've found it, and the next one will be harder to find. Let them have a look at your body, maybe it distracts them from being so far from our males. Also it may incite them to fight their best, to protect you.
Second, this is not solely your fault, Beryl. I incited him to get intimate with you. He was unable to hide his attraction to you, as well as your attraction to him was obvious. And since he trusts you most of all of us, I wanted to test his Lotai more.


"You wanted us to get intimate?" an incredulous Beryl asked.

"Girl, you are young. Curious. Desiring. Yes. You were the obvious choice."

"But I thought you wanted..."

"Hey" Alex interrupted. "I am here."

"So?" both Loroi questioned.

"Among Humans it is unusual to talk about someone in his presence like that." Alex explained.

"But we're not Humans." Tempo reminded him. She continued "Of course I wanted too. First of all because he is attractive. Second of all, he needs to learn that Loroi are not exclusive with another. And in the current situation I wanted it to be someone I can always trust. Talon's loyalities lie with Moonglow and Stillstorm, being her superiors, and Fireblade... Well, she's Fireblade.
But still, I wanted him to make the choice who goes first.
"

They heard the door open, and saw Fireblade coming in.

"Did I miss anything?" Fireblade asked, after the three had let go off each others hands and turned to Fireblade.

"Not much", Tempo answered. "I assume you've been told what happened here?"

"Hell, all the station knows. It was hard to not know." Fireblade answered. To Alex she said: "If you have time, I'd love to claim my wager winning."

Alex looked a bit stunned.

"Ah ah." Tempo interjected. "The wager's on hold right now. Beryl was too early in her triumph. Stillstorm cut her short and nothing happened. She still wore most of her uniform when I pulled them out."

"You! you! You've been betting on me?" an incredulous Alex asked.

"Sure. We're military on front line duty. It is all we have for ourselves." Tempo replied, and then looked curiously at Beryl, who was standing only half a step from Alexander, but not touching him.

"What?" Beryl asked.

"You're gone." Tempo remarked.

"Indeed. I can see you, but not feel you." Fireblade added.

Tempo looked at Alexander, and asked "Do you feel the need to protect her?"

Alexander looked perplexed, and after thinking about it, he replied: "Yes, and no. Not physically. But still, she's in a difficult situation because I couldn't keep my fingers to myself. Why?"

"Your Lotai has extended to Beryl." commented Fireblade.

Tempo looked at Beryl intently. After a short while she asked: "What about you? Can you sense me or Fireblade? Or hear my sending?"

Beryl looked at them both, and said "I cannot receive any sending, but I feel a vague presence of you. As if you both are very far away." She tried sending something.

"I can sense you sending" Tempo said. "But I cannot understand it."

"I didn't receive anything." Fireblade said.

Tempo touched Alexander's hand. "During that exchange with Stillstorm I already had an instable reception of Beryl. Let me test something."

"Now I can sense Beryl clearly again, but Fireblade is somewhat far away...." she said after a moment.
"The Human Lotai can actually extend to us Loroi, if we're very familiar to them. And apparently intimacy and desire to protect is the catalyst here, as trust was to lower the Lotai."


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:00 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

novius wrote:
In retrospect, Stillstorm's antics might have proven to be a boon. Not that Tempo would ever admit that to her.

On Alex's hint, she did go through lots and lots and lots of legalese to... yes, he was spot on. There is some emergency clause to ensure a male's survival, or to an extent, well-being if the issues arise that he's going for too long between encounters. Interesting though - it was a recent amendment, just about 400 tozons ago, where the original regulations exist since time immemorial.

The wording of this amendment was rather strong, so much that it would bypass all standing orders and regulations - whoever had written that up must have felt a dire need to do so, and afterwards no one else seemed to have thought about adding further limiting clauses.

Interesting. Add to that that he is an alien envoy and surely has different needs and preferences, I'm quite sure we can make that stick. But I definitely need to add a non-disclosure clause. Yes, leave that as a loophole for Stillstorm to save face...

Pulling one over Stillstorm might be something Tempo would do, but embarassing her in front of the rank and file might not be helpful.

'Were she some jumped up brass it might be fine to bring her down a peg or two, but one does not pee up a decorated war hero's leg in public.', Alex had sent once throughout their lessons, accompanied with a picture of a small furry quadruped animal lifting its right hind leg and taking a leak on Stillstorm's boot. That picture still brought a smile to Tempo's face, promising to herself to learn more about these ... colorful idioms. Perhaps she should ask Tozet Beryl...?

'Back to topic', she chided herself.

Yes, Stillstorm did do them a favor, and it would be beneficial to not to make it public that she would... will circumvent her orders and still completely stay above board.

'Because I am sure at least half of the station's crew would have signed up for mating encounters or even completely disregard rules and regulations once they had seen him topless and news had spread. Without Stillstorm, it would all have landed on my table and my inbox would be over quota by now.'

Though, since the shuttle was docked, it would have landed on the Station Commander's table - maybe it already did, and that was part of the reason she sent that Mizol Losat Lomileilar.

And given the looks she raked over Alex she surely would have been next in line to file for mating rights, too.

That brought something else to her mind.

When she discovered the camera she was sure it was Arrir Talon who installed it, but no. She indeed went to check on some abnormal readings - the energy drain of the running camera might have went unnoticed on a fully powered up shuttle, but with all systems in standby, it stood out. Given the pilot's basic knowledge of vehicle operations and maintenance she was sure Talon wouldn't have made such an error. So someone else had repurposed that camera.

As she asked Alex to 'put up a show for the troops', as he put it, she installed a little extra in the camera's software, one of the Mizol's finest - any downloaded and streamed video imagery would be tagged and could be traced back to the requester, and now she has a log on whoever had a video of Alex's last shower.

A long list. Someone surely didn't keep her thoughts closed about that video feed. Yes, her own name was on the list, too, same as Tozet Beryl's, but she was sure that Alex wouldn't mind. Especially not in the Listel's case. And... since Stillstorm did countersign their mating rights, she was entitled to have a closer look at the goods.

'Hmmm... Maybe the Maiad Loroi are on to something with their relaxed views on inter-gender relations...', she admitted, before sorting and browsing through the list.

Arrir Talon, that was to be expected, too. Pallan Fireblade, as well, given the ongoing wager and her eagerness to cash in on her perceived victory. And... there she was. Losat Brightshield, another avid subscriber to that video stream.

A dark feeling rose up in Tempo. One it took a while for recognizing as jealousy. She fought it down.

'Spiral? Reed? Flint? Well, that is mildly surprising.'

The next dozens of names were quite unfamiliar to her - the Relay's staff, she presumed, though maybe not all of them, she was sure she read some names on the crew manifests of Strike Group 51.

Then, she stopped short at one name, eyes widening.

'STILLSTORM?!'

That dark feeling returned tenfold, in an instant. 'That bitch', she used that English word.

Tempo wasn't sure if she should ever tell Alex that she wasn't above getting an eyeful even if she heaped lots of scorn on him. Maybe...

She reached outwards, towards Beryl's mind.

'Beryl', she sent, deliberately dropping her rank to denote that this is a personal matter, 'no need to deny it, I know you've hooked yourself into that video feed. I'd have been surprised if you haven't. And, I am honest, I did, too... As well as perhaps about the entire Relay's crew. But, I guess you noticed it, too?', Tempo sent a few pictures, pointing out several things. Like, him being tensed up a bit, and more often than not keeping the back to the glass pane and the camera on its other side.

'It seems to me that Humans do have a selan forbidding them to show themselves completely nude in front of unfamiliar females. He was much more carefree when he was unaware of the camera. Topless seemed to be completely permissible for him, but below the waistline seems to be met with restrictions as strong as one of our males showing any skin.'

'And, I have to admit, had he not pointed out this 'body language' to us, we would have missed it. And to know that we Loroi could be 'read' as easily, too, is ... a thought that is unsettling and endearing, both.'

'A male who can discern our state and moods without us resorting to sanzai? This really sounds much like a dream come true', Tempo felt Beryl's thoughts drifting off, but then snapping back into focus, '....right. I think that without sanzai, Humans had to resort to other ways of communication. Their 'idioms', for example, putting lots of concepts into few words, but requiring much cultural background to discern, or the ability to read this 'body language'.', Beryl elaborated.

'If not for the immediate war effort, I am more and more convinced that Humans do have much to offer to us, much more than they even might guess themselves.'

'Besides the Humans most certainly being our template species, I think it might weigh more that they could become our guilty pleasure.'

Tempo blinked in confusion. 'Guilty ... pleasure?', she sent, askance, 'Is that another of Alex's idioms?'

'Yes. It describes something that may be slightly past beyond legality, or morally slightly questionable, but not quite counting as a gross transgression, but too good to pass up on. Like the video feed. Everyone knows that is an invasion of privacy, but they couldn't stay away from it.'

Guilty pleasure, Tempo mulled in her mind, yes, that's a good way to describe it, and what Humans could come to mean to us.

'Tozet Beryl', Tempo framed her thoughts in a more formal manner, 'We absolutely need to make sure that the war does not reach the Humans until we can be sure, beyond any doubt, that they are ready for this. More and more I think that the future of the Union and that of Humanity is tied to each other. That neither of us can survive on its own any longer.'

Beryl was taken aback by the forcefulness of Tempo's sanzai. Her thoughts spoke of a conviction that rivaled the oaths they took on joining the warrior ranks.

'...Humans are really that important to us?', Beryl sent flabbergasted.

'More than you could imagine. Much more.'

---//---

Doranzer Mazil-Toza Pabetpeio - or 'Winterbloom', as she introduced her spoken name - was nothing if not thorough. If she was disallowed from bringing Alex to the sickbay, she did her best to bring the sickbay to Alex. The same technicians that installed the shower unit - a repurposed decon cell, he came to know - carted in a whole load of devices, last but not least one of the diagnostic beds much like the one he found himself in when he woke up aboard the Tempest.

Of course, whenever one of the technicians got a good look at him, she slowed down, at least until Winterbloom cast a sharp glance at the dawdler, most certainly coupled with a reprimand via sanzai.

Part of the shuttle's cargo bay started to look like an intensive care ward, just one level below of an isolation unit. It seemed that she was intent on repeating each and every test they may have performed on him on the Tempest, and then maybe some more.

"Given the scans, you were recovering from serious blood loss, something I presume to be a concussion, severe hypoxia and perhaps an equally severe psychic trauma. So these scans are far from a baseline for a healthy Human, which I wish to establish here."

Well, that makes sense. "True. I'm sure Tozet Beryl would be interested in a copy of this second set of scans, too."

"Certainly. I would have gone over the results with her in any case. Now, if you please, lie down and we start with the scans."

What followed was a series of scans where Alex heard and felt devices powering up and humming, and Winterbloom hunching over a console making, yes, the typical doctor's noises.

Though, not all scans were non-invasive.

Urine. Scrapes of his skin. Hair clippings. Tears. Blood. Semen. Alex blushed a moment when she handed him a cup and made clear what he was expected to do.

To her credit, she was all business-like. Perhaps as a medic, she did see a number of males in her career in a professional manner and wouldn't completely go gooey-eyes over one.

Well, when she took a swab of his skin, she did let her gloved hand linger for a bit longer than it was entirely necessary....

"Well, while I'm unfamiliar with your biology and cannot completely say what's normal for you and what not, there are some common grounds I could work with. You have blood cells to transport oxygen, for example, you metabolize glucose and fats for energy as well. Speaking of which... if I'm reading this right, you recently suffered from a period of malnutrition? It shows in the recently ossified sections of your fracture and your hair."

"Yes... yes, I did", Alex admitted, "It was an ordeal for them to find something to eat I could keep down. Most of their rations simply didn't agree with me."

"I see. Perhaps given these scans I might be able to come up with a dietary plan to meet your nutritional demands. You have a much faster metabolism than we have - please keep that in mind and remember that what would nourish one Loroi would not be enough to sustain you."

"I see. Was that all?"

Winterbloom smiled slightly. "For now. I need to upload the test results to the Relay's mainframe to run some simulations. If the results are satisfactory, I could give you a clean bill of health."

"I see. Thanks, doc."

"'Doc'?", Winterbloom asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Uh... Apologies. Force of habit. It's a short term for 'doctor', a specific honorific. Typically used, but not limited to physicians who went through a specific career track. No offense intended."

"None taken. And, would you agree to a follow-up examination, in a few cycles?"

"If circumstances permit, why not?"

"Then it's an appointment. Until then, I'll bid goodbye."

Winterbloom already turned to her console, probably busy with uploading the data, so Alex murmured a goodbye on his own and left quietly, heading towards the shuttle's cockpit.

Unbeknownst to Winterbloom, the data she uploaded triggered a hidden subroutine in the Relay's computers, and a notice popped up on Losat Brightshield's computer.

On seeing that notice, she typed in a few commands and a lengthy password. Seeing what appeared on her display, she smiled.

So, after all these tozons....



Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:01 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

dragoongfa wrote:
He didn't know how he managed to convince Beryl for some privacy after the quite uncomfortable medical check up he just went through; he just wanted some time alone to dwell on things and put everything that happened in some mental order. Thankfully Beryl understood and let him alone in the cockpit where he now sat in front of the console.

Alright Alex, lets go through everything once more now that the noise is away...

He thought as he replayed everything that had happened in his head.

I woke up after a nightmare and got marched to the shuttle that would take me off Tempest. On the shuttle I got the rough Loroi version of the war and greeted the two pilots that rescued me, learned the Loroi taboo for touching and then I learned the Loroi script which was easy enough since I mostly had to switch the Orgus characters with the Loroi ones in my head.

He involuntary sighed at the events that followed Beryl's lesson.

I couldn't have guessed that Beryl would catch on English so quick, she is smart, really smart... the kind of smart I like and...

He shook his head as if he tried to shake the very thought of Beryl away.

No, focus on what's important.

He emptied his head before continuing from where he left off.

Then the bugs showed up, a huge invasion force that the Loroi couldn't detect with their telepathy. They were able to hide so many ships from the Loroi so why the diversionary attacks and ambushes? Are the bugs so wary of the Loroi that they would be so cautious in their planning? A concentrated breakthrough should work if the bugs and the Loroi are roughly equal in warship to warship terms but the 51st did manage to inflict disproportionate casualties at the battle I witnessed so the bugs may be cautious because of an established disparity in effectiveness, the 51st may be an outlier as a veteran unit but the tactical doctrines should still be the same and result in similar outcomes when applied correctly. In such a case it would be prudent to not seek a decisive engagement but find a way to punch through a force big enough for a 'march to the sea' campaign like the one Sherman did in the US civil war centuries ago. No matter how capable the warships and the crews of the Loroi are they won't be able to fight without supplies and replenishment.

He wasn't fully satisfied with that line of thought and he made a mental note to ask Beryl and Tempo for some more information about the general strategic situation and whatever intel they could share with him.

Then there is the whole telepathy angle. So suddenly I am a telepath, I sensed Fireblade and I can send and receive mental messages provided I am very close and subconsciously 'trust' the one I converse with. Thankfully Tempo taught me some basic stuff about it...

His line of thought seized in place at that.

Tempo was in my head and I was in hers, I did see some very personal memories of hers and she was able to discern plenty of thoughts and memories of mine but was that all she did? Reading memories and thoughts is bad enough but what if she did something else? Like putting in a mental suggestion like that movie I saw back in the academy? How the hell do I discern if she did that or not? She will certainly deny that if I ask her and she can even reply in a way that hides the truth even with telepathy so who do I ask about...

His mind instantly brought Fireblade's face to the forefront at that.

Damn it...

He tried to think of someone else, anyone else, who could at the very least teach him some mental defense techniques but other than Tempo and Fireblade he couldn't think of anyone else who would be good for that.

The Mizol are the most capable telepaths, I got at least that much out of Tempo while she trained me. They are spies, diplomats and the internal military police so it makes sense that they are the best telepaths and that they have plenty of mental techniques for everything. The Teidar are the second best, if only from a brute force approach. I have only Fireblade to turn to for some help with my training.

He sighed at that and tried to picture himself actually asking Fireblade for some training without Tempo catching on them until after the fact.

I will figure something out.

He leaned back on the chair and stared blankly at the bulkhead for a couple of minutes without thinking of anything before Beryl flashed into his mind and how they almost had sex in the side cabin before Stillstorm showed up.

God damn it, don't think of that!

He chastised himself before catching on to that line of thought.

How did things move that fast again? Yes I kissed Beryl because I couldn't think of anything else to get her back to the here and now and then she kissed me but I am fairly certain that it was a spur of the moment thing for her as well. How the hell did we end up almost having a quickie in the side cabin?

He felt himself get aroused from that and did his best to counter it as he pursued that line of thought.

Yes Beryl is pretty, they all are but I should have better control of myself. Yes I fantasized about her but I am the only human they have met and I am recognized as a plenipotentiary ambassador with all that entails so why the hell did I let things go that way? Wait...

He remembered the part of Tempo's training when she asked about his 'fatigue' in a way that instantly brought a subconscious answer, he thought that something else also came through but he didn't think much about it at the moment.

God Damn It!

He stopped himself from yelling that out-loud and forced his mind to calm down again.

Well, I guess I have to thank Stillstorm for her little stunt then. I know that I am not the picture of professionalism but I have to act according to my status and... Was whatever Tempo sent something that lowered my inhibitions? I am under a lot of stress already and they are stunningly beautiful. I wanted it even before Tempo and I had our first lesson, I can't help but think of them like that. Hell, I am glad that they couldn't read my mind when I was in Tempest's brig; it would be uncomfortable if they ever learn of what I was thinking of them back then...

He let an undoubtedly lecherous looking smile form on his face before focusing his mind again.

So all I have to do is try to be as professional as possible from now on, I wonder how long that will last. I will also have to ask Fireblade for some lessons as well before asking Tempo about whatever she sent to me back then. Then I will have to thank Stillstorm for barging in and stopping me from doing something stupid, even if she didn't know she was doing me a favor at the moment.

For some reason Stillstorm's approval for a mating encounter for herself came to his mind and he pictured himself actually agreeing to it.

She is a bitch but I wouldn't have said no if she had come up to me in a bar. I wonder how she will react if I actually insist on fulfilling her 'request' the next time we meet, of course she will try to find an excuse for 'delaying' it until the next time we would meet but still, it would be funny to see her expression if I somehow manage to convince her that I am serious about it...

He smiled at that and stood up from the chair.

Let's see if I can convince Beryl or Tempo to give me something productive to do with my time to get my mind off things.


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:02 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

Werra wrote:
Alex anciously got up. He had trouble remembering how long he had been made to stay put in this shuttle. That station commander had given that order and as Alex found himself pacing around in the passenger cabin, he felt the lacking features of the room.

There were no windows, no pictures to look at and even the equipment brought in for him was utilitarian. "There may actually be some health concerns coming up.", he thought. That could be an angle for Tempo to work as well. Now that he was alone, he felt it strange of himself to be this desperately comfortable with the thought of intrigueing just to get his hands on one -some- of the Loroi. When he had denied to Beryl health issues caused by prolonged lack of sex, he hadn't imagined being surrounded by very attractive and very willing women all day long.

His musings were cut short by the noise of the shuttle doors opening. In came several Loroi. A Soroin he did not recognize, Talon, Spiral and several Soroin that startrd moving equipment. The leading Soroin introduced herself.

"Greetins Captain Jardin. I am acting station commander Cerulean. We need to get the shuttle ready for takeoff. I'm sorry that this is so sudden, but the enemy is massing forces."

Alex supressed the urge for a handshake and instead settled on a hopefully polite nodge as the two Tenoin pushed past him to the cockpit.

"Greetings, commander Cerulean. What is the situation?" That Cerulean remained perfectly professional was a small relief to Alex.

"Moving Gora-Relay closer to the Tinzaa jump-point has given the 51th the chance to cover us with some aggressive posturing. The 51th used our fuel and supply reserves to extent their stay in system, threatening the vulnerable tankers and transports. The enemy is now massing for an assault on Gora-Relay."

"What are the numbers?"

"I won't lie. Not good. 51th is going to pull back and we need to take our chances reaching Tempest before it's too late."

"Do we even all fit on this shuttle."

"If we improvise some safety measures."

"Improvising for high g maneuvers, Commander?"

"If you have any more bright ideas, I am listening, Captain."



Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:03 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

novius wrote:
"I might have." Alex hedged, "It may or may not work, but what can you tell me of The Enemy's modes of engagement in space battle? How do they pick their targets, especially?"

"Of all the engagements we had so far with them, they followed a stict pattern of priority. They go for high-threat targets first - heavy ships that could cause serious damage to their own superheavies, orbital weapons platforms, generally everything that could slow down their advance. Light vessels are usually ignored at first... something we often enough exploited by sending in our frigates on hit-and-run strikes."

"I see", Alex prompted.

"Second on their list are targets they deem to be of high importance. Strategic assets and such. In case of the Gora Relay, they might even try to disable and board it, rather than outright destroying it. I think I don't need to reiterate the current state of the battle if the Enemy already came to the decision to spare forces for a serious attack on the Relay. One we cannot hope to withstand."

"You are saying that they might try to board the station. Wouldn't that give a chance for a counter attack and commandeer the boarding vessel?"

"We would have been able to, had the Relay still its full crew complement. But as it is we simply cannot hope to take control of a ship full of shells. And even if we manage to win against a full crew complement of The Enemy, first, I think no one here is able to operate said ship, and we might not even be efficient enough so that the other ships wouldn't know what is afoot. Any of their ships they deem to be lost to us is considered a high-threat target and even the remaining crew on said ship would be quick to initiate a self destruct."

"So boarding them in turn is out, too. What remains is to make sure we can get away from the Relay in time."

"Most assuredly. We are evacuating. The last of the Relay's fuel, save an emergency reserve, has been used to restock Strike Group 51, as well as most of the Tolot Blisters and a good part of the remaining ordnance. In addition, our battle doctrine disallows us to leave any strategic assets an a system we consider to be lost behind.

We are about to scuttle the Relay." She finished.

"Wait, what?! You don't even hope that you could recapture the Relay in time?"

"Captain Jardin, please be serious: Our technological advantage over The Enemy was the only thing that has given us an edge - without it the war would have been much worse for us from the start. We simply cannot allow for any piece of our technology to fall into enemy hands, in addition to possibly face our own Relay in enemy hands if we ever try to recapture Leido Crossroads."

She said 'if', not 'when', Alex noticed with trepidation.

"So, we have two objectives. First: Make sure the shuttle can slip away. Unnoticed would be best, but not being under pursuit would be something I could live with. Second: Make them taking Leido Crossroads as costly as it could be. Since the Relay is mobile, perhaps it could go for a kamikaze run.", Alex summed it up.

"Kamikaze run?", Cerulean queried.

"Right. It is a term used since one of the biggest conflicts fought on our world, one of the major powers had dominance over the seas, with large seafaring vessels, but its opponent, somewhat outmatched in terms of manpower and ordnance started to fly airplanes into the ships. Their doctrine was 'one plane for one ship'. The pilots of these single-seated planes were ready and willing to die as long as they sink a ship with hundreds, even thousands of naval crew and officers on board."

"I think I see what you mean. You're suggesting to send the Relay right at the bulk of the Enemy's forces and then...?"

"...to create a big enough explosion to at least send their forces into disarray, hopefully putting a dent into them, too. While we use the 'shadow' of the Relay to make our escape with the shuttle."

"A crazy idea, but right now, crazy ideas may be all that we have left. I'll ... ask for volunteers to stay behind on the Relay. Barring that... it had been a honor to get to know you."

Alex was shocked. "Wait, what? NO! I will not have any of you lay down your life for me!"

Cerulean was touched. This Mizol Parat Tempo already told her that this human has some strong convictions and a rather peculiar set of morale guidelines, but to see and hear them firsthand...?

"Can you remote control the Relay's operations?"

Cerulean blinked in surprise. "Not as efficiently as I could if I am to remain onboard, but ... I see now. For what you have in mind, we wouldn't need for sophisticated defense solutions, just ... keep them busy until we trigger the Relay's self-destruct as well as detonating the remaining ordnance on board? I think I'll have to talk to your Tenoin Arrir Nesin and Listel Tozet Eilis on how to establish a command link from the shuttle to the Relay."

Talon and Beryl, Alex translated in his mind. Makes sense. Talon would know best around the shuttle's systems, and Beryl would be the right Loroi for computers in general.

He didn't miss it that Cerulean referred to these two as "his".

Alex nodded, "just... make it work. I know this is war, and people die in war, but there is a saying we use: 'The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.' "

"Crude, but that makes sense. Perhaps I should go looking for your two officers immediately. I ... thank you for taking the time with me, you have given me much to think about." Saying that, she nodded and headed off to search for the aforementioned officers.

There it was again. Alex was now sure that it wasn't a fluke and she definitely referred to Beryl and Talon as 'his'. What is going on here?

There has to be some explanation. Perhaps he should have asked if she would have referred to Tempo as 'his Mizol Parat Sedel', too... No. Better not stir the pot.

Alex hoped that it was just because they all arrived together on the shuttle and not something else.

Maybe I should ask Tempo if there are already rumors running around the present Loroi. He mused.

But that can wait. He tacked on. At that moment, the technicians were busy with reconfiguring the shuttle to accomodate more passengers. He already learned that the Highland class shuttles can accomodate up to sixty passengers... but together with the remaining cargo and the installations already there, he guessed at about thirty to fourty, now.

Cerulean was right, that could be a tight fit. And, while privacy was a notion that one gets quickly disabused from when serving in the armed forces it is a wholly different matter when he's the only man in an otherwise all-female crew contingent.

Trying not to stay idle he asked around if he could pitch in - even just ferrying around the remaining cargo wouid give him something to do, or perhaps installing the additional seats... he even noticed Winterbloom directing the technicians to install a second diagnostic bed in her impromptu sickbay as well.

So far every offer to help out was met with a wide eyed Loroi hastily reassuring him that they have matters well in hand and there is no need for him to overexert himself.

Well..., Alex thought glumly, This is starting to get tiring. It might take some effort to teach the Loroi that human men are not made out of glass.



Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:06 am
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Posts: 326
Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

dragoongfa wrote:
"Beryl, can you help me out with this?" Alex asked after once again failing to have the console obey his commands.

"Of course Captain Jardin, what do you need?" Beryl asked excitedly as she leaned over him and the console.

"I want to see how the battle has unfolded so far, from the moment the first Shell ships jumped in till now." He caught himself describing the Umiak as Shells after the fact. Loroi mannerisms must be catching up to me, Shells, Bugs all the same to me at this point. He thought as Beryl inputted the necessary commands on the console, he wondered if he should try and communicate telepathically with her but elected otherwise as he wanted to fully focus on the battle and not sidetrack himself with everything that telepathy inevitably brought forth.

"Do you want it to go on fast forward?" Beryl asked as the system begun replaying the battle of the Leido crossroads, he thought that she seemed a little off about something but elected not to mention it.

"Sure. Can you start with 20 times normal speed?"

"That's easy enough. Just tell me if you want the recording to go faster." He just nodded at that as he focused his full attention on the replay, hoping to catch an in depth glimpse of how the Shells fought.

The beginning of the battle was just as he remembered it. Eight divisions of ships jumping in from Rallis vector, three of those eight division split off; each one of laid a course to secure the Gora, Sala and Enedd jump points. Gora and Sala had a battlestation on guard while Enedd was guarded by a citadel which was a heavier form of a battlestation. Soon afterwards six more Shell divisions deep jumped into the system, four of them immediately accelerated towards Enedd's jump point while each of the remaining two went for Gora and Sala.

Stillstorm had already sent a detachment comprised of the fully resupplied ships of the 51st towards Enedd under the command of Torrai Torret Ashrain who now had to contend with 5 full divisions that were rushing towards Enedd and the Tizaba Citadel that guarded it.

A few minutes afterwards things got even worse with the arrival of the Shell support contingent, five more divisions that contained fuel tankers and transports which explained why the five divisions from the initial force that jumped in kept a steady pace instead of rushing off to meet the enemy. It was soon after that that things got weird, he had missed most of it as it happened because of the shuttle landing on Gora but it looked like the Shells had a change of plans. At first there were two divisions that were aiming for the Sala jump point where the main contingent of the 51st stood guard but the Shells immediately had the two divisions that jumped first and were aiming for Gora and Enedd alter course and rush towards Sala while the deep jump division went on as they were.

"I have gathered that the Shells are heavily affected by jump sickness, are the course corrections of these two divisions corresponding with the time it takes for the Shells to recover from jump?" He immediately asked Beryl.

"Not really, the crew least susceptible to jump sickness would be able to function relatively well but the majority wouldn't and the ships would still rely on automatic systems for most functions." Beryl replied.

"Hmm... Would the command crew be lucid and able enough to obey orders to alter course and change their targets?" Alex asked after thinking about it.

"Yes."

"And I am guessing that with the added travel time the crew would be fully lucid and able when they would come in contact with the Sala station and the core of the 51st." Alex thought out loud.

"Yes indeed."

"So the Shell commander split the effort, instead of diverting two of the five divisions they kept in reserve as a screening force for the supply contingent they elected to shift forces from the other two jump points and have them attack Sala. I am assuming they weren't able to divert the deep jump divisions because the crew was unresponsive." He thought out loud as the replay went on.

The initial assault on the Gora relay went terribly due to this, the one division should have been able to easily overcome the lone battlestation and its contingent of fighters but the inefficiency of the crew showed as the engagement unfolded. The fighters darted forward and practically halved the barrage of torpedoes that the Shells launched, giving the station's PDLs ample time to nullify the rest as the Shell ships came in range. Several of their ships were cut to ribbons from the station's defensive batteries before they broke off their assault after losing 13 ships and doing only negligible damage to the station itself.

On Sala things went even worse for the Shells at first, the 51st darted forward shortly before the first division from Rallis came in range of the station. Stillstorm hit them with everything the 51st could throw at the Shells and managed to have them break the charge despite the fact that the 51st was horribly outnumbered, she then turned the 51st around and hit the deep jump division just as it entered the station's weapon envelopes. Caught in a crossfire the Shell division which was still operated mostly by automatic systems was simply shattered under the combined firepower of the 51st and the battlestation.

"This is even worse than Naam for the Shells, the difference in firepower between a fully supplied strike group and what I saw in Naam is astonishing." Alex commented. "The blisters are an amazing weapon."

"Indeed, the DX armored blister is a very effective delivery platform. Unfortunately it is always in limited supply due to its space requirements and its high production cost. The 51st was scheduled to be fully resupplied with them due to the squadron's high status." Beryl replied with pride.

With the first two division successfully repelled one would think that the Shell commander would re-evaluate their approach but they kept at it. The four deep jump division that they sent against Enedd and the Tizaba citadel that was guarding it didn't fair well as a result. Ashrain's detachment and the citadel managed to inflict significant loses on the attacking forces before they broke off the assault to maintain a respectful distance from the now heavily damaged citadel but this was where the good news ended for the Loroi. The Shell commander finally detached two divisions from their reserves and coalesced them with the other two divisions they had diverted from their initial assignments. The core of the 51st along with the Sala battlestation couldn't hope to successfully repel such a determined assault but they stood their ground against the approaching swarm as most of the remaining crew of the Sala battlestation was evacuated and boarded the ships of the 51st.

The 51st just dodged the assault and rushed towards the resupply contingent, leaving the Sala battlestation and its skeleton crew to their fate. The Shell commander had anticipated this move and the three remaining divisions successfully screened the resupply contingent. So far the 51st had suffered only minor damage in the battle and Stillstorm diverted the core of her Strikegroup towards Gora, slowing her formation down in an obvious attempt to have the Shells give chase and break formation but the Shell commander didn't fall for it. They kept their formation and reformed their divisions from the beating they had taken until then. Overall the Shells had lost about a division's worth of ships until that point but now their crews were fully lucid and the 51st had once again spent a lot of ordinance.

It was then that Stillstorm brought the core of the 51st to the Gora relay for a quick resupply run, Stillstorm somehow finding the time to take a shuttle for a quick visit to the station as well with everything that entailed. Back then he was surprised that she didn't ask for her shuttle back but now he realized that the 51st had taken on the surviving fighters from Sala Relay so there may not have been any room aboard Tempest at that point.

So the whole promotion thing for Cerulean was a trick to boost morale after the loss of Sala Relay and the battering Citadel Taziba took. She may be a bitch but she is good and of course she had to make sure that proper discipline would be maintained on the battlefield which brings in her stunt with approving her own 'mating' encounter. Loroi being telepaths and all that would make discipline dodgy at best when they would inevitably realize that I and Beryl just had a quickie in the shuttle after breaking regulations.
Alex thought and couldn't help but feel some grudging respect for Stillstorm at how she handled everything.

After the impromptu resupply run Stillstorm took the 51st and rushed to Enedd's jump point just as reinforcements from Azimol jumped in. It wasn't much, two strike groups worth of ships since the majority of the forces stationed at Azimol had gone to reinforce Sala-128. It was then that Stillstorm actually had to fight to maintain overall command of the battle as the reinforcing forces were in turn lead by a Torrai Lashret but Tempo of all people intervened to solve the issue and kept Stillstorm in overall command.

Good call. He thought as the next stage of the battle begun to play. The Shells attacked Citadel Taziba and the division sized Loroi fleet with 6 divisions in total. It was a brutal engagement and the Shells lost more than 80 ships but Citadel Taziba and several Loroi ships were destroyed. Stillstorm had to disengage towards Azimol's jump point as the Shell's main core and the support contingent begun jumping to Enedd, leaving about 3 divisions worth of ships as a rear guard while more Shell ships jumped from Sala 101, signaling the fact that the Shells now controlled that system.

Which brought them back to the here and now, it was a long battle and the 51st did manage to significantly delay the Shell advance while inflicting heavy loses to them but Leido and Sala-101 were effectively lost while the Shells were marshaling their forces for a final assault on Gora Relay itself.

Yeah, evacuating and scuttling the station is the only solution but Stillstorm's fleet is too far away to get to us in time for a pick up and the Shells will run down the shuttles even if we all leave right now. We need to buy some time and for that we need... bait. But what will cause the Shells to waste time before swamping the station and having a turkey shoot with the shuttles? They want to secure Leido in order to maintain some form of a resupply line with their gate-crusher divisions as they do a 'march to the sea', even with the tankers and the transports intact the Shells will need resupplying since they cannot rely on securing fuel and equipment from captured Loroi depots. This means that Gora Relay has to go, it is a stable Loroi presence right onto their resupply lines and I won't be surprised if the Shells rush to build some battlestations of their own here in order to keep the supplies going. Gora Relay is their objective and they won't let it be unless a better target shows up. They diverted a division from attacking the station because the 51st was guarding Sala Relay, it was a mistake since they split the effort but the 51st and Stillstorm have proven that they are a prime threat so I can understand why the Shell commander took the risk with diverting forces away from the assault on Gora and Enedd. The Shell commander knows that the 51st is still a potent threat in being but they now control the battlefield and have accomplished their objective of punching through to Enedd so they won't divert forces even if Stillstorm bent over and slapped her butt towards them. Damn, don't think of that! He chastised himself as he shook his head.

'"Is everything alright Captain Jardin?" Beryl asked at that.

"My mind doesn't feel like cooperating." Alex replied.

"There is no need to concern yourself with what is going on, the others will handle everything."

Like hell they will. He thought and thanked himself for not actually sending the thought to Beryl who was still too close for comfort.

Think Alex, the Shells want the station gone and they are not stupid enough to get hit by a kamikaze run. They will just dodge the slowly approaching station and pummel it from afar with missiles. Charging the station straight at them while the shuttles run in the opposite direction won't do a thing even if the Shells are morons. What is my objective? To get myself and the station's crew out of this alive. How will that happen? Only if the Shells don't shoot at us while we run away. They won't do that only if they want to capture us but I don't think that the Loroi would prefer captivity over death to propose a surrender... No, they also won't shoot at the shuttles if they have something else to shoot at instead but the station won't be enough for that, it will be swamped too quickly and it won't put much of a fight against four fully ready divisions even if it was fully manned and supplied. The only other worthy target in the system is Stillstorm's fleet but they won't get here in time before the Shells run us down. We could try to somehow slow the Shells but they won't slow down after destroying the station... Unless...

"Captain Jardin?" Beryl asked after a few moments. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah..." Alex replied as he played the plan in his head and tried to find holes in it. "I am fine, yes. Call Tempo, Cerulean and that Losat..."

"Brightshield?"

"Yes, her. Call them and tell all three of them to come here, I have an idea." Alex instructed.

"An idea? What kind of an idea?" Beryl asked while Talon and Spiral turned from their work to look at them.

"It will take too long to explain, just tell them to come here as quickly as possible." Beryl undoubtedly did as she was told as all three of them got in the cockpit in less the a minute.

"So you have an idea Captain Jardin?" Cerulean asked first.

"Yeah but first tell me, how good of an actor are you?"



* * *


Stillstorm wasn't in a good mood, despite everything she and everyone else did the Shells managed to break through to Enedd in force. They did inflict heavy casualties on the Shells but both the 51st and the reinforcements from Azimol took a beating in the fight for Enedd's jump point, they had expended most of their ordinance again and had to jump back to Azimol for replenishment before rushing to follow the Shell gate-crusher force in an attempt to somehow slow them down until reinforcements would come. She looked at the obviously doomed Gora Relay and felt a tinge of guilt and regret for not taking on its crew on the 51st's ship and scuttling the station after they replenished their ordinance there. They didn't have the time to do that and she had hoped that they would somehow turn the tide and push the Shells back but that didn't come to be. About 200 warriors would die with the station, as well as eight of her own crew. Three of them were by far the most annoying members of it but they did their duty amicably when they weren't busy infuriating her; they all were her crew and she didn't like to just let them die but she couldn't do anything. Her fleet couldn't reach the Gora Relay before the Shells would and she would just end up witnessing their deaths no matter what she did.

One more regret and a few hundred more deaths to remember


She thought, making sure to keep everything within the deepest recesses of her mind.

"My Lashret something is happening at Gora Relay Soroin Mallas Rune-Laurel, her XO, reported.

"Two standard shuttles just launched from the station and are rushing away under standard passenger acceleration but the station's PDL turrets are tracking them and..."

"What? What is going on?" Stillstorm shouted telepathically as two of the station's turrets fired and destroyed the two shuttles.

"Get me a link to Cerulean now!"

"Wait a Solon... You are on!"


"Attention, Gora Relay, report!" Stillstorm didn't know how she managed to keep her voice even if a little strained but all she could do was to wait for a reply after taking into account the delay due to lightspeed.

"Alert, Tempest, this is Gora Relay!" Cerulean's face appeared and... was she bleeding from the head? "Your Mizol and your Teidar have staged a mutiny to save the damn male of yours!" Cerulean practically yelled over the screams and the sounds of a heavy firefight in the background. "I will blow the station and every last of the cowards who follow them, they don't deserve to die in battle!" Stillstorm just stared at Cerulean in disbelief before a blaster shot hit Cerulean at the back and the link was cutoff.

Stillstorm just stared at the empty space where Cerulean's holographic window used to be before turning her gaze at Rune-Laurel who just stared back at her in disbelief.

"Attention, fleet, there is an ongoing mutiny aboard Gora Relay. Any and all personnel who are abandoning the station are to be considered traitors and are to be subjected to a summary execution if they somehow survive this day." Stillstorm broadcasted to her fleet and closed the channel as she felt her anger flare up.

I am a fool, I should have killed the alien the first moment a saw it, I knew it was a Shell trick and now at least three of my own crew have mutinied because I didn't act!


She thought angrily as she witnessed Gora Relay's six remaining shuttles leave the station as well as her own personal shuttle. She didn't need to sense everyone's eyes on her, they were all seeing the cowards fleeing with her own personal shuttle being used by the traitorous scum and that Shell agent all in order to prolong their miserable lives for a few more Solons. She wanted to kill every last one of them herself, to gut them and feed their entrails to their children while proclaiming them to be the offspring of traitors. She would like to do that even if it was the last thing she ever did.

"My Lashret..." Rune-Laurel sent to her.

"WHAT?"
Stillstorm shouted angrily.

"Gora Relay is broadcasting a message on all frequencies." Stillstorm took a deep breath and counted to four before replying, she knew that things would only get worse from that point on.

"Show me." The image of a battered and obviously wounded Mizol Losat appeared right in front of her.

"Alert, Tempest, this is Mizol Losat Brightshield, Gora Relay has been sabotaged and is now unable to defend itself or self destruct. I am the only one left aboard the station, everyone else left with your traitorous crew. If you have any honor left in yourself you are to do everything in your power to keep the station from falling into the hands of the Shells. This message will now repeat." Stillstorm stared blankly at the repeating message for several solons, unable to think of anything other than finding the damn alien and skinning him alive before feeding his manhood to the traitorous Mizol and Teidar who helped him before throwing them out of an airlock.

"Alert, fleet, lay a course for Gora Relay, we have a station to scuttle and traitors to kill." Stillstorm ordered with a forced steady voice, thankfully no one of her wing commanders had anything to say while Lashret Waterblade tried her best to keep herself from grinning at her for what had just happened. She could already imagine how Waterblade would publicly proclaim that it was all Stillstorm's fault and her traitorous crew, if she was smart enough she would say that while being as far away from Stillstorm as possible because she would rip her tongue out otherwise.

The tension, stress and fatigue from the prolonged battle finally got to her and she sat down at her console, resting her face between her palms as her fleet rushed rushed at the battle station which was abandoned save for a lone Mizol Losat who broadcasted the fact and her accusations for all to see and of course the Shells lost no time to rush ahead and cautiously encircle the battlestation. They had some time before her force got there after all. They would take their time boarding and securing the damn station, the only one there to stop them was a damn Mizol and a wounded one at that. They would take the station and then wait for her fleet to come and attack them, she had to do that and they knew it. They would just wait for her to come to their waiting guns and they would give their best shot to destroy Tempest.

It was as if someone had planned all this to make her life miserable before the Shells inevitably killed her and everyone on Tempest, that someone probably being that damn alien she should have ordered out of an airlock the moment she first laid her eyes on it.

"The enemy is launching torpedoes and cutting loose their gunboats." Arclight reported as usual but Stillstorm didn't say anything, she didn't have the mental strength to even stand up anymore.

"Charge the Wave Loom device and aim for the station."
Stillstorm ordered and decided to wait for a few solons more before trying to stand up again. The Shells offered a nice concentrated target as they bunched up right in front of the station but her damn fleet was again out of heavy ordinance, unless Ashrain somehow managed to pull some blisters out of who knows where again. She was about to try to stand up again when the battle station disappeared in a massive explosion that engulfed the dozen Shell ships that were in the process of boarding it while damaging several more ships that were in the blast radius.

"That Mizol must have found a way to activate the self destruct after all."
Stillstorm broadcasted without thinking as she stood up.

"Attention, fleet, we will push through the torpedoes and gunboats and try to inflict as much damage as possible to the Shells before disengaging." She ordered before continuing. "If a lone Mizol managed to do this much with her final action then we won't be found lacking."

"My Lashret?"
Rune-Laurel sent to her again

"Yes?"

She knew that something was about to go horribly wrong since Rune-Laurel interrupted mere Solons before contact.

"We are receiving a tight beam link from Highland 7."

"I am not in the habit of conversing with traitors." Stillstorm snapped back at her XO.

"The request is from Mizol Losat Brightshield." Rune Laurel reported with obvious confusion.

"What?" Stillstorm asked in disbelief as the hologram of a still bruised but smiling Mizol appeared in front of her.

"Attention, Tempest, this is Mizol Losat Brightshield. I am happy to report that I and the rest of the crew of Gora Relay have successfully extracted ourselves while inflicting heavy casualties to the enemy. There was no mutiny aboard the station but the deception was necessary for the successful extraction of everyone aboard Gora Relay. We are awaiting orders and coordinates for pickup." The Mizol reported.

"What happened to Cerulean? She got shot while in contact with me!" Stillstorm demanded as her fleet begun engaging the Shell torpedoes and gunboats.

"She is unavailable but well. It was deemed necessary for her to be hit with an electrostun shot for maximum effect, she was also injected with stimulants because she couldn't present enough anxiety otherwise. The Doranzer has assured me that she will be fully lucid in about 10.000 solons." The Mizol replied with a straight face.

"So this was all a trick? Whose idea was it?" Stillstorm asked.

"I regret to inform you that no Loroi came up with this stratagem." The Mizol replied and Stillstorm just nodded in understanding

"My Lashret the Wave Loom device is almost fully charged."
Rune-Laurel sent to catch her attention.

"Tell the alien that I want to see him in my office the moment my shuttle lands on my ship!" Stillstorm said angrily before closing the channel.


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:06 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

Werra wrote:
They had broken free from Gora relay. No shell PD and no missiles were sent after them. The Umiak took the bait. At first Alex had been worried that he couldn't convince the Loroi to play along, but Brightshield was positively enthusiastic. Alex idea had played right into one of their main weaknesses, uncreativeness. Their commander had shown himself to be conservative in his use of tactics, which helped.

Even Cerulean accepted her part stoically. "If I have to explode in space, I prefer to sleep through it." was what she had said.

Surprisingly the most difficult part was improvising some acting abilities into the Loroi. Mizol Brightshield seemed to have a knack, but Cerulean needed work. So while hasty last minute preparations were done all around them, Brightshield, Cerulean, Tempo, Beryl, Winterbloom and Alex himself had found a room with video equipment and put on a little show.

Tempo pulled the trigger on Cerulean, Beryl had set up the equipment and timed the broadcasts and then they were off.

As a shockwave from the exploding Gora relay rocketed the Highland, Alex exhaled audibly. The explosion meant the Umiak had taken the bait. Just like when they first had departed from Tempest, Alex now sat again in the cockpit behind the two pilots. Only this time Talon and Spiral communicated with Sanzai. Both pilots working seamlessly together as he admired. Sanzai, useful stuff.

Well, and the Loroi in his lap was now Brightshield. Because things would get very cramped, Tempo had insisted that Alex be put into the cockpit. Brightshield had insisted, that she would make the crucial transmission to Tempest from this console. For security she said. Alex instincts of curiousity and self preservation battled within him that he remembered the fierce battle of looks and Sanzai he witnessed as both Loroi realised who Brightshield would share a seat with.
Only Alex reminding both that other Loroi would also need to doubleseat got things back on track.

Brightshield was working the console next to him and kept him appraised.

"The shells fell for the trick. Several of their ships got destroyed. Nice thinking, Captain Jardin."

"What about 51th?"
"They seem to be accelerating towards us. No attempt to hail us. Let me call them."

From his position under Brightshields lap Alex was able to see a map of the system. Several shell ships had indeed vanished from it with Gora relay. Now the shuttles were making their way towards the 51th. He urgently hoped that the show they had just put on didn't fool Stillstorm. Surely she wouldn't so easily believe that Loroi would turn traitor this easily?

"No answer. Shit boot amateurs!" Brightshield exclaimed while shaking her armored hips painfully in his lap.

Or not was the dry remark Alex received from his own wit. Aloud he tried something else.

"Excellent acting, Brightshield."

Just as she turned to retort a small window popped up on screen. A strained looking Stillstorm appeared. Alex moved backwards, praying that Stillstorm didn't just get a view of him having Brightshield on his lap.

Brightshield reported: "This is Mizol Losat Brightshield. I am happy to report that I and the rest of the crew of Gora Relay have successfully extracted ourselves while inflicting heavy casualties to the enemy. There was no mutiny aboard the station but the deception was necessary for the successful extraction of everyone aboard Gora Relay. We are awaiting orders and coordinates for pickup."

"What happened to Cerulean? She got shot while in contact with me!"

"She is unavailable but well. It was deemed necessary for her to be hit with an electrostun shot for maximum effect, she was also injected with stimulants because she couldn't present enough anxiety otherwise. The Doranzer has assured me that she will be fully lucid in about 10.000 solons."

"So this was all a trick? Whose idea was it?"

"I regret to inform you that no Loroi came up with this stratagem."

"Tell the alien that I want to see him in my office the moment my shuttle lands on my ship!"

That didn't sound good, thought Alex. At least Stillstorm hadn't called him an it.

Brightshield cut contact, turned to him and said: "Your ruse worked. All that's needed now is for us to land in the hangar of Tempest while the ship is in active combat."

Alex tried for a smile: "At least Stillstorm isn't shooting at us."

"For now."

The rest of the flight passed by in a blur. The map next to him showed orange dots appearing and disappearing and some of the bigger blotches vanishing. Torpedoes and combat losses Alex figured. Landing in combat was apparently very demanding. Alex was glad his last meal had been a while. Brightshield surely too. Before he passed out from high g maneuvers, Alex decided to ask Beryl about the data storages of human movies the Bellarmine carried. Talon would love one from 1986 in particular.

He woke up in what had to be a medical bay. Bewildered he rose a bit. He felt okay for what he had been through. A Doranzer appeared by his side. She had long green hair and wore yellow on her sleeves, which Alex figured meant a high rank.

"You're awake. Your readings look acceptable. No worse than the first time you woke up after passing out."

It took Alex a while to remember. She had been there after the Loroi fished him out of space.
"Yes, I remember now. We're on Tempest then?"

"Yes, you are. Can you walk and get up?"

Alex tried it and found himself able to. "How long have I been unconscious?"

The Doranzer entered something into a datapad and then looked up at him, using the human unit for his convenience. "Two and a half hours, Captain Jardin. If you are feeling well, please get dressed and follow me. The Commander wishes to speak with you."

With only a bit of reluctance, Alex picked his orange jumpsuit from a table and followed into a waiting room. Loroi medical technology was good, he almost felt well.

Shortly afterwards a paset lead Jardin away. That she was silent all the way suited Alex fine to order his thoughts a bit.

Since the recent battles of the 51th had died down, many Loroi took the chance to wind down in the corridors and recuperation areas they passed. At first the idea of being the only male on a spaceship crewed by attractive blue women had appealed to a certain part of him. Now he was glad for the quick pace the Paset struck.

Their walk didn't take long and Alex found himself in front of an ordinary cabin door. A small plaque on the side read: "Torrai Lashret Delasoni – Private Quarters" Without knocking, the Paset opend the door and let him enter. A telepathic species would have little use for knocking, Alex inferred.

The room was surprisingly spartanic for a senior officer. There was a large locker set into the opposite wall. At the rightern wall stood a bed perfect in its military tidiness. On a couple of shelves were few pictures of Loroi warrior women and several knifes and swords on display. A map of some archipelago hung on the left side wall. The only other piece of furniture was a slim looking desk in front of which Commander Stillstorm sat. She had her body half turned towards him, one leg over the other, a reluctant look on her face. She was also in full uniform. Those last two facts quieted Alex creeping fears that this was about that mating encounter standing between them..

"Captain Jardin." Stillstorm said in a distant tone. So far every meeting with the Commander had been unpleasant for Alex.

"Commander Stillstorm, to what do I owe this occasion?"

"I received a report on Gora relay. Apparently the station was succesfully evacuated with no casualties in part due to your tactical analysis of the situation."

Alex earnestly glad to hear that said: "I'm glad there were no casualties, Commander."

Stillstorm continued: "You do not look like a warrior. Yet you have proven your talent of escaping two times now already."

Even as he reminded himself of the Loroi habit of directness Alex could not help but feel the anger rise in him. He had expected a lukewarm thanks. That a Loroi could use a backhanded compliment this well surprised him.

"That is something that happened, Commander."

Stillstorm held his look, as annoyed at the situation as he was: "Captain, your actions have saved the lives of many warriors. If I were a diplomat, protocol would demand me to thank you on behalf of the Empress. But these warriors were under my command and I feel it necessary to thank you on their behalf."

The effort it took for Stillstorm to say that to an alien, a male and what she regarded as a civilian was apparent to Alex. So he said: "I thank you. That is very honourable of you."

As soon as he mentioned honour, Stillstorms eyes narrowed. Looking like he did when he had to try some of the Lorois food, she continued.

"There is also one other matter I feel necessary to bring up, Captain."

"What is that, Commander?"

"The limitations I have put in place on Parat Tempo and Tozet Beryl that require them to follow proper customs with their mating encounters."

"Is there a problem? We have kept strictly to loroi law."

At Alex retort Stillstorm raised an eyebrow. "I would have had them court martialed had I thought otherwise, Captain." she said in an icy tone.

"Then what.."

"Their behaviour has been undisciplined for warriors. Still Tempo made the tasteless request -officially- that I either redeem my encounter or relax reglementations."

Stillstorm let out a breath before continuing: "You may officially deny my encounter now. Then Beryl, Tempo and you can continue your rutting."

Rutting? Maybe it was her tone of voice, maybe her upturned nose, somehow Alex spontaneously decided to follow up on an idea he had all the way back on Gora relay. But what angle to work to make it believable?

"That is very considerate of you, Commander Stillstorm. But amongst humans it is very impolite to refute a price gift."

Stillstorm half rose in her chair in protest.
"A price gift? It can't believe that my claim was actually about itself?"

"Commander Stillstorm, knowing of loroi customs I took it as a straightforward and not entirely unwanted invitation."

Direct hit thought Alex, as Stillstorms face went through a range of expressions, all of which improper.

"Enzin Jardin, that move was politics, nothing else. I was helping its mission it seems to have forgotten with just two Loroi."

"I don't need any of your help with Tempo or Beryl, Commander. You introduced yourself into my diplomatic mission on your own initiative."

"My own initiative?" Stillstorm had now fully risen and faced Alex. Stillstorms face turned bluer and bluer: "What diplomat are you?. Do you have any idea how it looked? Cooped up in that shuttle, Tempo and Beryl taking turns going dark. Sometimes even together! I received dozens of requests for encounters."

Stillstorm badmouthing these two put some anger into Alex answer: "So you thought you could just force me to play along as a docile loroi male? I'm not a pet to be used in your dishonest intrigues."

Stillstorm glared at him in anger. The two of them now stood eye to eye. Alex resolved to hold her yellow stare.

"Dishonest? I give you one more chance to deny my encounter and solve this amicably. I get this paperwork from my table and you get to fornicate again."

"You would like that, wouldn't you? I have no intention of solving the legal and official mess you brought upon yourself. How inconvenient for you!"

Alex flinched for a moment as Stillstorm moved to raise her fist. The moment passed in stares, neither party willing to back down. He was too angry to back down and Stillstorm too proud to lose face. Instead the two stared at each other in mutual contempt.

It felt like an hour had passed. Stillstorm turned away and with a quick motion straightened a kink on her blanket. To him it looked as perfect as when he had entered.

"Very well, Captain Jardin, you made your position clear. You are not a Loroi and therefore I see no need for any warrior to go through the trouble of officiallly requesting a mating encounter with you."

She reached out and pulled his collar up in the loroi fashion before continuing.

"As per the Doranzer Mazil-Tozas recommendation, you can now freely move in the crew and recreational areas of Tempest. You will be given a proper cabin as well. Tell Parat Tempo that she has convinced me. There is no need for her and Tozet Beryl to worry about your health constantly. That's the Doranzers job and decision. I need my officers back on bridge duty. For now they can continue parley with you on their own time."

Alex nodded, unsure of what to say. This sounded very generous of her. She must be really stressed and wants to avoid more of Tempos paperwork, he thought.

"These concessions will be in place unless your diplomatic mission affects combat readiness negatively. And do take the time to keep yourself appraised of the tactical situation. I might have use of you again, Captain Jardin."

As he left her quarter he heard Stillstorm say: "You got what you asked for."

With that he was dismissed. A Soroin came up to him after a few minutes. It was Cloud as he recognized. She looked at him with curious eyes. Then towards Stillstorms cabin door. She didn't say anything verbally, but her face showed clear surprise. She motioned for him to follow.

Absent mindedly rubbing his neck Alex said: "Cloud was it? Can you tell Tempo that the talk with Stillstorm was a success and that she relented on reglementation?"

The trouble he saw on her face as she turned to him made Alex stop. Something wasn't right, but he couldn't see it.

As they made a corner and stepped through a large double door into what must be a recreational area, Alex understood. Thirty or more Loroi turned to look at him. He recognised Brightshield looking very amused, Doc Winterbloom as well. In a corner sat Spiral and Talon, shocked just like Cloud had been. Looks being passed between the Loroi. Silent bets being placed.

Then it hit him. Dozens of mating requests, no reason for reglementations, a cabin in the crew area, free leave of the recreational areas, Tempo busy most of the day. No help with two -two- Loroi. Alex understood then how hard Stillstorm had played him.


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:07 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

novius wrote:
Just a few solons. Couldn't have it been just a few measly solons later? Stillstorm groused.

Because, had The Enemy launched its attack only just a little later, that damnable alien would have been on board the Clearbrook and, more importantly out of her life.

But, no.

The shells arrived, in force, and the Clearbrook bailed out, leaving the shuttle in the lurch.

And they don't even have the decency to get shot out of the system!

Instead, said alien managed to ingratiate himself even to the Gora Relay skeleton crew and convinced them to go through with a harebrained plan that relies on lies and trickery to work.

Stillstorm wasn't sure what rankled her more: The underhandedness of his tactics, or that his crazy scheme actually worked and threw the shells quite in a loop, in addition to saving the whole Gora Relay crew.

Or, she added, that I referred to that alien as 'him' again. Stars save me if he ... it! ... picked that up on the transmission.

No, she tried to chase away that thought. That nagging feeling in the back of her mind that she might even could have been interested in following through with the mating encounter she signed for herself.

And now I even have to thank it for its rudeness, so that I would never have to entertain that thought again!

To make matters worse she felt the beginnings of a tension headache to form.

Dishonest, it had called her. She was solons away from challenging it to a honor duel, consequences be damned.

She thought that alien to be a shell trick, for sure. And now? If that alien is a shell trick, it is a very convoluted one that started to cost their own troops even more than the Loroi.

On top of it it managed to poach three or four of my officers and the whole skeleton crew of the Relay! Stillstorm scoffed. His damnable crazy plan saved their collective lives, and it didn't even take the time for it to wake up and be summoned to my quarters for my desk to be cluttered with even more applications for mating encounters.

Stillstorm smiled, despite the mounting headache. Of course she let it slip that she essentially waived the regulations, but only when it comes to Captain Jardin. That saved her the indignity or either countersigning or denying every single application and gives her an idea about the morale and steadfastness on her ship.

Well, listening in to the sanzai chatter and the signs of that Captain's current distress was something to be savored like the sight of a whole shell platoon going up in flames.

Then she remembered when she had last seen that particular sight and who was responsible for it.

This just isn't my cycle. Or tozon.

As an afterthought, she typed in a command to delete a video she recently downloaded. She had been cured of her curiosity in a very thorough manner, thank you very much.

---//---

Poor Cloud gave him a wide eyed, fearful look, one he didn't need sanzai for to recognize: 'Well, I tried to warn you', it seemed to say, just before stating to slowly back away, then walking off as fast as she could without breaking into a run.

Alex couldn't fault her one bit. Looking back into the rec area he quickly noticed that about every pair of Loroi eyes is focused on him.

He was sure, if he was to turn around and try to flee it would start a full-blown stampede.

With a sinking feeling he scanned the assembled Loroi for even just one familiar face - but no such luck. Even Fireblade would have been a welcome port in the brewing storm, but Alex realized that she may have to reintegrate herself into the Tempest's operations as well as Beryl and Tempo.

Talon and Spiral? Alex looked for their faces, but saw that they tried to make themselves as inconspicuous as possible. Alex gave them a slight reassuring smile before facing the inevitable and headed for a free seat next to Brightshield, who smiled openly when she saw him approaching.

A number of quiet groans and cheers accompanied his choice, telling Alex of bets lost and won.

"Get used to it", Brightshield said in a low voice, "You have become sort of a good luck charm to the warriors your human strategem rescued."

"Yeah...", Alex groaned, "and now they all want a piece of me, right? Which piece I don't even need to point out."

"I would be dishonest if I'd say that that thought never crossed my mind, too. For us warriors, contact to males is limited to a specific purpose and that purpose only... with one exception, now. We can actually talk to you now for an extended period without fearing to run afoul with that regulation."

"Wait. You mean that there'd be applications just because the women wanted to just ... chat?"

Brightshield smiled. "Some, maybe. But you are an attractive specimen of a male, all things considered. In any case, you are still free to deny mating encounters, even without having to give a reason. And, rest assured it would take a Loroi to be completely deviant to try to force you to something. She might suggest, she might cajole, and she might be disappointed if you set a hard limit, but she will - she has to - respect your wishes."

That brought Alex's mind back to the little extra Tempo might have left in his mind. Would she really be that unscrupulous and 'deviant' by Loroi standards to brainwash him into accepting?

He remembered that the lessons had been put on hold since they were steamrolled by the recent events. Alex was sure that Tempo would be anxious to resume them soon enough, her schedule permitting. Might be an opportunity to bring this up...

But Brightshield wasn't quite finished with her speech. "And, please keep this in mind: The Relay had been evacuated the moment the Enemy's deep jump divisions arrived. The skeleton crew... we... were ready to lay down our lives, but make sure that they will have to pay in blood as well. Your crazy and totally human idea saved the lives of thirty-five warriors while perhaps even doing more damage to The Enemy than we might have been able to with more orthodox tactics. Mine, Doranzer Mazil-Toza Winterbloom's and Torrai Mazeit Cerulean's included. We wouldn't be here if not for you.", she stressed, "While it may be ... disheartening if you would deny us mating encounters, know that by now you have earned the respect and loyalty of each and every one of these warriors, and it would take a gross transgression for you to ever lose it again."

Brightshield's impassioned speech touched Alex deeply. For him, it was a natural thing to do. Do everything to make sure you can return home and fight another day. And that may be a big thing... Listening to the comm chatter, back on the shuttle he noticed that the Loroi might be distressingly quick to turn to put their lives on the line on high-risk missions and sorties.

Not on my watch, he swore. Every. Single. One. of these fine warrior elf ladies matter. Beryl. Tempo. Fireblade. Talon. Spiral. Reed. Flint. Brightshield. Winterbloom. Cerulean. The other thirty-two Loroi he never learned their names.

Cloud, that young Loroi who always seemed to be shy, almost terrified around him.

And yes, even Stillstorm. She might be a pain in the butt, hell-bent on making his life miserable, but even she shall not meet her fate by those bugs.

"I promise you. If there is something you need and it's in my capability to give, just ask", Alex stated gravely.

Noticing that Brightshield's ears turned a deeper shade of blue, he added. "Yes, even this. But... for Stillstorm's calmness of mind, please do not overuse this privilege."

Brightshield chortled and broke into a full laugh, the slightly awkward moment had passed.

"Moio sagit! ... Thanks, I very much needed that.", she breathed out, catching her wind again.

"Uh... my pleasure."

Turning more serious again, she looked up again at Alex. "Captain? There's another matter I feel you should be aware of. It might be best if I show you rather than tell. Did the quartermaster already assign you your crew cabin?"

Alex blinked. "You do know that it sounds awfully like you wish to make good on my promise right now?"

Instantly he got aware that about every pair of Loroi eyes in hearing range was turned towards Brightshield and him.

Brightshield smiled. "While it sounds tempting, I just need access to a computer console and maybe a bit of privacy." In a lower voice she added. "This ... is a bit of a sensitive matter, I think."

Now Alex was very much intigued. On the way out of Stillstorm's quarters, Cloud did hand him a tablet device, much like the one he saw Tempo using and wordlessly showed him how to turn it on and navigate through some of its functions.

Navigating to the personal entries he noted that, yes, he must have been assigned a cabin in the meantime, on the lower decks.

---//---

Tempo was not having a good cycle.

News of Stillstorm's decision spread like wildfire via sanzai, putting the whole crew of the Tempest in a tizzy.

And she was stuck on the bridge, reacquainting with her position for the duration of her duty cycle instead of trying to somehow calm things down somewhat.

What by the stars have you said to her, Captain Jardin? She thought, exasperated. Tempo just aimed for relaxing the regulations a bit or at least achieve an exception if they'd cross a line governed by the regulations, but whatever Captain Jardin said... it made her decide to completely waive the regulations on the provisions that it is with him, and discipline is upheld. In addition, the quarters which had been allocated to him were quite near the recreational areas on the ship and way away from the command deck.

Tempo saw Stillstorm's hand in it. Captain Jardin did use the phrase "too much of a good thing" once, and Tempo slowly got the idea what he might have meant.

She set this up, just waiting for a disciplinary infraction to happen, Tempo concluded.

But, interestingly, quietly listening in to the sanzai chatter she noticed that the rest of the crew - and mainly the Loroi they rescued from the doomed Relay - were intent to not to let things slide. It might be the effect that when something has been freely offered it isn't as attactive as having to fight for, or that every warrior on this ship was intent on not to squander that unique opportunity.

Yes, the warriors were elated by this turn of events.

Tempo took a deep breath, her foul mood somewhat passing. Well, perhaps this is just the thing we all actually needed in these trying times.

---//---

Entering his new cabin with Brightshield in tow - thankfully the assembled Loroi had let them leave, though he thought he had seen grudging admiration in some of their eyes, directed at Brightshield - he saw that his new lodging might not be a VIP quarter, but still two steps above the brig.

A bed, as expected, a small but serviceable 'fresher cabin and, indeed, a computer console which could be pulled down and out from the wall so that one could sit on the bed and use it.

Saves space and no need for a chair - one less possible hazard when things go upside down. Interesting idea.

Of course, that would have Brightshield and Alex both sitting on the bed, and close together. A thought Alex didn't wish to follow through at the moment, since Brightshield herself said she was here for a different reason.

Judging from the slight smile playing around her lips she might have had the same thought but chased it away as well as she pulled out her own personal tablet and placed it in a receptacle on the console, typing in a few commands.

"Captain Jardin? What I wish to show you has been classified since ... let me translate ... yes, about four hundred of your years. It is still considered classified, except for specific circumstances, which I see had come to pass in the recent cycles."

"Brightshield, please don't...." Alex cut in, alarmed.

"Peace, Captain. Rest assured I am not about to commit an indiscretion here. Everything will be made clear, though it might be difficult to believe."

Now that sounds ominous, Alex thought.

"About four hundred years ago our people were just expanding - we made First Contact with the Golim and the Nibiren as well as several other species, but nothing could have prepared us for what we encountered on one of our very own Sister Worlds - Deinar.

It was a diral - a group of fourty-eight warrior initiates sent into the wilds for their trials", she supplied on Alex's questioning glance, "that was exploring a forested region on our planet, coming across an artificial clearing and a dwelling, housed by a singular alien. An alien of a species we never encountered so far; an alien that looked very similar to ourselves."

Alex blinked. Surely she doesn't mean...

"The records of this incident were quickly sealed for various reasons, but the upload of your medical records by Doranzer Mazil-Toza Pabetpeio triggered a subroutine in the Relay's systems to unseal the files. Feel free to look for yourself."

With a feeling of trepidation and shaking fingers, Alex typed in the command to browse through the files. Lots and lots of reports, but there were a number of pictures.

A picture of the clearing she mentioned, with what Alex surmised to be provisional shelters, surrounding ... a log cabin. One of a design that was a common for settlers and trappers, four hundred years ago. On Earth.

Another picture of a knife with a wooden handle and a straight blade.

And another picture. Alex remembered having been ribbed for his obscure hobby of ancient military weapons, but he never thought that this would come into play now.

A picture of a M1752 musket. A weapon made by spanish manufacturers. Some of them made their way to America and had been used by the american rebels in its war.

"Impossible....", Alex breathed.

Brightshield looked at him with an emphatic expression. "There is one more picture."

Alex hestitated for a long moment before tapping the button to leaf through the next picture.

Any doubts that this was just a fake, or a matter of parallel evolution in designs quickly evaporated.

For this picture showed a young man garbed in a leather-and-fur outfit, surrounded by a number of Loroi warriors. It looked much like these pictures a squad might make of itself, down to the proud poses they took.

And while the Loroi may think a male warrior to be an absurd concept, Alex's brain stopped on the fact that this man was undeniably human. Pink skinned, round eared Human amongst the blue skinned, pointy eared Loroi.

"The key to unseal the files was your genetic sequence, or parts of it. The files were intentionally encrypted and only to be opened if ... when ... we ever come across another human."

---//---

Beryl, deeply engrossed in her work, hestitated. Something felt wrong all of a sudden. Very wrong. Her shift was to be over in just a few solons, and damn whoever would stand between her and Alex!



Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:08 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

Werra wrote:
A hundred questions raced through Alex mind. Tearing his face from the picture on the screen he turned to the Mizol. Brightshield had moved a bit away and was watching him intensely now.

"You knew about humans all along?"

"No, Captain, no Listel was present and these files have been sealed for hundreds of years. Every member of that Diral is likely dead now. This is not common knowledge."

"Likely dead after 400 years. Their medical technology must be astonishing. I wonder how old these Loroi actually are.", thought Alex. But for now he had more pressing concerns on his mind.

"You found him on one of your worlds, you said? How did he get there?"

"I was hoping you could tell me, Captain."

Still bewildered Alex answered: "No, we've been spacefaring for barely 200 years. 400 years ago we were still industrialising."

Alex took another look at the picture, as if to convince himself what he saw was real before he continued: "His clothes and the style of building match a period and culture on our planet about 400 years ago. It looks genuine. What else do you know about him?"

Brightshield leaned over behind his back pressing him forward and switched something around on her datapad. It now showed a text file.

She read him the essentials: "His name was Nathanial Hutchins. He was found by a Diral and had lived in the wilderness for at least several months. He befriended the members of this Diral and helped them in their survival by teaching crafting, and survival techniques. With his help the Diral also managed to fend off several predators, netting them many trophies."

"That is not much." came Alex disappointed answer.

"Much of the data has been corrupted over time. This is a very old storage file. Gora had it because its electronics were from a decommisioned frigatte and it needed my Mizol system access to unlock."

"Mizol access, are you saying that Tempo has these files too?" Alex asked.

"She has the clearance, but maybe Tempest doesn't have the files." Brightshield looked hesitant for a moment, before speaking again: "Don't misunderstand me. She will have them when, not if, I make my report. It's part of my duty."

She sounded strangely apologethic to Alex. So he asked her: "You seem worried somehow. Is there more to these files that you haven't told me?"

Brightshield leaned forward, looking Alex straight into the eyes: "I told you this much because you saved my life.Take care that your impressive Lotai never wavers, Enzin."

Tempo had finally gotten on top of the work that had piled up on her desk during her absence. Her substitute had been dutifully diligent but some things required a Parats clearing. In an active warzone lots of things did.

It had taken her the better part of a cycle to clear all the immediately urgent issues. Yet far more work remained. The enemy had found a way to circumvent their Farseers and so the Imperial Fleet was scrambling a network of pickets and scouts to mitigate that. Those were longterm goals however. That business could wait until they resupplied the next time.

A fact Tempo was immensely thankful for as there was yet another important field to be worked. Alexander Jardin, that pink alien male they had running around aboard Tempest. The telepathic chatter that reached her was nothing short of amazing. The rang and file were talking about nothing else.

She hated and thanked Stillstorm both for waving reglementations. On one hand, no senior staff would be swamped under mating requests, on the other hand, having Alex run around ship posed an immense security risk. "Did that woman not even consider basic opsec?" thought Tempo angrily.

Tempo pushed her irritation aside for a moment. There were ways to solve the security concerns. She was sure that she could find some Mizol way for that. There were angles to work with, health concerns, diplomatic concerns, issues of secrecy and security...no, she wasn't worried. For a moment she paused, considering the workload she'd have if Alex remained this unsupervised. Virtually all his interactions would need to be recorded, he'd have to be under constant surveillance and she was the one it would all fall back on. No, she wasn't worried that she wouldn't find an angle.

The door to her office opened and Cloud entered. The girl brought her several new data slates and as she had come to rely on, a new batch of rumours and chatter to digest.

"Palat Tempo, here is the data you requested."

"Thank you, Cloud. The crew seems lively today."
"Yes, Parat. Everybody is talking about Jardin."

"Do tell, Cloud."

Tempo liked the girl. She didn't have the telekinetic aptitude for a Mizol, yet was a reliable source of all kinds of colloquial information. Fully aware of her low rank, Cloud had a nack for being in the right places at the right time. Nobody paid much attention to a Paset.

"A large part of the crew is scheming to get an intimade encounter with him. Most of the crew has several bets on who will be first or loudest. It's all in good spirits though. Jardin gained a lot of respect with his stunt at Gora Relay."

"That's reasuring, Cloud. Who is leading in the bets right now?"

"Doranzer Winterbloom and Mizol Brightshield, Parat. Beryl, Talon and you would be leading...." Cloud hesitated to continue.

"Don't worry, this is business, Cloud."

"The crew believes that all of you already had encounters on the shuttle."

Tempo had expected something like that. They had kept Alex on the shuttle for days. Rumours were only natural. Like any rumour, these ones hurt for their falseness.

Cloud waited on her to continue, aware of all that hadn't happened.

"Anything else, Cloud?"

"Yes, Parat, Lashret Stillstorm wants a full briefing on Gora Relay and the alien at the end of your shift."

"Thank you, Cloud. If you want you can take the rest of your shift off now. Enjoy yourself in the rec rooms."

"Will do, Parat. Thank you."

Tempo really liked that girl. She had understood exactly what else was in the rec rooms while Tempo was busy with Stillstorm.

A briefing suited Tempo fine. She had planned to speak with Stillstorm anyway and affect some changes vitally important to save her a lot of work. She was also eager to find out what exactly Alex had said to her.

As she stood up to leave, a tightly focused message was sanzaied to her. Her fellow Mizol Brightshield: "Need to brief you on Jardin. He's second contact."

Bewildered Tempo sent out a quick acknowledgement before leaving her office.

It was a short time after Brightshield had left Alex alone in his cabin. A good deal more confused than he ever was before. A human on a loroi world was monumental. It changed everything. Lieing on his bed he went through several scenarios how it could have played out. But apart from literal magic, all he came up with was some sort of ancient alien. That and these corny alien abduction theories from the 20th century.

Alex was ever glad that the Loroi hadn't done that to him. Their little stunt as he woke up was enough for his tastes. Luckily the freak Lotai of humans had saved him. As soon as he remembered that, an icy shiver went down his spine. Brightshields parting words had hit him quite hard.

His worries were quickly dispersed by the sound of his door opening. Beryl was here. Alex sat upright on his bed. She looked radiant. He hadn't seen her since before they had all boarded the shuttle to escape the relay. Alex opened his mouth to say something. But as Beryl turned around and locked his door, his words stopped somewhere in his throat.

Alex knew that look on her face. He had seen it once before. Then she dove at him.


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:10 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

novius wrote:
This wasn't the sweet, bubbly young Listel Tozet anymore.

His cabin wasn't large enough for her to go into a flying leap at him, but hell, she did try. Here he was sitting on his bed, trying to calm down his thoughts and wondering what by all that is holy did just happen, and then he heard the door opening, Beryl filling the doorframe.

She stepped in, her eyes fixed squarely on his face. Seeing the emotional turmoil he was in. He picked up on the change in her mien, the doleful look in her eyes replaced with one of a primal need to care, to comfort him in a way that has been encoded into her genes since the dawn of her species and beyond.

To Alex, the image of Beryl, even fully armored, framed by the backlight shining in through the doorframe, there was never a more beautiful sight.

Her hand snaked towards the door controls, closing the door, and the lights on the panel turning from blue to orange. She must have locked the door.

Then, with a long stride, she leapt at him, any mindfulness about private space and not touching completely gone. Raising his hands to steady her and usher her onto the free space on his cot - the place Brightshield sat on, but no way I'm going to tell her that, he thought - he found himself embraced by this one wonderful Listel Tozet Eilis. His Beryl.

Her kiss on his lips was much different than the two kisses they already had shared, back on the shuttle, when all this started to go haywire. There, it was just touching of each other's lips, a deliberate overstepping of limits set by propriety to shake the other out of stupor.

This was... something else. Beryl fully leaned into the kiss, a soft moan escaping her throat.

And... she was there. In his mind. He actually felt her desire, the burning need deep within her, as she pulled down his overall's zipper and snaked her hands onto his bare skin.

Weeks ago, Alex might have smiled at the phrase 'a beautiful mind' - his relationship with Ellen was a more physical one, a 'friends with benefits' style. Sure he relished her dry wit, but....

... but this was something else. He felt guilty of his passing thought about Ellen, but then there was Beryl, quick to reassure him that it is normal to compare past and present... and no need to feel ashamed over this.

Alex, in turn, felt her regrets over the treatment he suffered at the hands of the Loroi, when he was first brought aboard the Tempest. This was an injustice, how they stripped him of his dignity and subjected him to this mind-rape. Her biggest regret was... she was actually there and did nothing.

Now it was Alex's turn to soothe her troubled mind. He sent the scene from his vantage point - she remembered when it happened, right after him waking up with a scream. She saw herself and heard the subtext of his confused thoughts - that they must be a hallucination, or he sidestepped into a strange version of human mythology - until he heard her speaking to him.

She felt touched that he remembered that moment that vividly. The very first moment one Loroi - she herself - actually tried to talk to him rather than rifling through his mind.

'Loroi do things differently, but for now... I am yours. And you are mine.'

Neither Beryl nor Alex could say whose thought it was initially, while he released the interlocking plates on Beryl's armor - 'You learn quickly', she sent amusedly - exposing flawless blue skin and supple curves to his sight.

---//---

Brightshield adamantly refused to discuss matters via sanzai, Tempo quickly noticed. Whatever it is, it must be something requiring a clearance that high to forbid even being mentioned by thought.

Trying to distract herself until Brightshield arrived she gave the latest standing orders a once over.

Yes, Alex was assigned one standard crew cabin near the recreational area. Far away from the bridge.

His movements on the ship would still be highly restricted. Engines and bridge, for example, would be definitely out, without an armed escort. Computer core as well. The computer in his cabin had only limited access to the ship's databases, unless a proper authentication code by a ranking officer had been entered.

Tempo exhaled in relief. Standard procedure for an alien envoy on board, and then some more limitations. She might have given Stillstorm too little credit - she wouldn't flaunt security procedures just in a hissy fit. As for monitoring his movements, well, at the moment it seemed easy enough - whereever he goes, it just takes one warrior to see him and she'd broadcast his location, want it or not.

Come to think of this, Brightshield did follow him in his cabin, and then left shortly thereafter, and Beryl wasted no time to get to his cabin as well...

...true enough, a quick scan with her mind confirmed her suspicion, Beryl was nowhere to be found.

Well, nowhere to be found if one doesn't know Alex's peculiar Lotai. She concluded. Looks like you got your wish. And maybe he'll be more inclined to let me cash in on mine, too...

Tempo was close to indulge herself into a private fantasy of hers when she sensed Brightshield on the other side of the door, just before she entered.

'Come in. I think you wished to brief me on a specific matter?', Tempo sent, deliberately being vague.

"Best we continue this in spoken words", Brightshield answered, making Tempo blink. Switching modes of communication in such a manner was considered extremely rude. Especially from sanzai to vocal, given how ill-reputed spoken words are. Whatever it was, Brightshield must consider this matter extremely sensitive for her to not to trust any sending. That thought was ... unsettling.

"May I?", Brightshield asked, and on a nod, she inserted her tablet device into the console's receptacle and typed in a series of commands. "You may wish to see for yourself."

Tempo quickly scanned over the texts. An incident report, an incursion on Deinar, reported by a Soroin diral, of all things. Tempo got a sinking feeling on reading the descriptions. Then she went to the pictures taken.

The pictures told her little. Artifacts of unknown make. The picture of a location, most possibly Deinar, judging from the plantlife. But building a shelter out of trees...?

The last picture made her pause, same as it made Alex pause. There was a human. An unfamiliar human. More scruffy looking, with dark hair, but unmistakably a human. On a picture about four hundred tozons old. A human on Deinar of all things. Light-tozons away from Naam, even further away from the human's supposed homeworld.

"Captain Jardin told me that during that time period his people were barely industrializing, and they became spacefaring about two hundred tozons ago. Interstellar flight... even only in the recent decades." Brightshield supplied.

"You told him?! Why do I get to know it just now?" Tempo shot, her ire rising.

"I had to. First, even I didn't know beforehand. The medical scans we did on him on the Relay unlocked these files - before that, they were dormant. I suspect they weren't even there on the Tempest, so you never got alerted when you pulled him aboard. As for telling him... it was the honorable thing to do, and we needed to make sure that he - and that person on the picture - are the genuine articles."

"Mizol Losat Lomileilar, you came dangerously to overstepping your clearance, perhaps you even did so, but given the ... extenuating circumstances ... I'll let this one stand with just a reprimand, one I cannot even put on records because of the matter involved. You did it in the intention of building trust, which is sorely needed here, but you should have brought this matter to me first. In the future I expect to be made aware of such discoveries first thing. Am I clear?", Tempo ground out.

"Clear, Mizol Parat Sedel.", Brightshield acknowledged.

"Good. Then I consider this matter settled. I presume you told Captain Jardin to remain silent about this matter, too? Good", Tempo added on seeing Brightshield's stiff nod.

"Because the bigger question might not be who this human was... but how he managed to get from Earth to Deinar more than three hundred tozons before they got interstellar spaceflight and jump engines.

And if we could achieve that as well." Tempo added, after a dramatic pause.

---//---

Stillstorm scoffed. Not even one hundred solons since the end of her shift and she left her post. Less than five hundred and she went dark, again. That lack of restraint is unbecoming to a warrior, but she is just a Listel. An analyst, just barely fit for frontline duty.

She glanced at the chronometer, blinking. Five hundred bial?! Just for how much longer can it go?

She shook her head, quietly thankful of that Listel Tozet's peculiar abscence from the mindscape. Else she herself might have even been subjected to Tozet Eilis's screams in sanzai....



Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:11 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

dragoongfa wrote:
It was the first time Alex had seen a pleasant dream since Bellarmine left Terran space, he remembered how everyone complained of the nightmares after that point but his had progressively gotten worse after Bellarmine got destroyed; they all came to him in his sleep but Elen's appearances were the worst. She always accused him of not being able to save her and leaving her to die; he knew he did that, she was right next to him when...

He jumped up and looked around his tiny cabin, Beryl wasn't there anymore; what they did wasn't part of the pleasant dream that now slowly faded from his mind but she certainly helped with it.

So much for professionalism Alexander Jardin, good job in proving Stillstorm right. He chastised himself before standing up to stretch himself in the little room he had for himself. He didn't regret what happened, he would never allow himself to regret any single moment of the time he shared with Beryl but he knew that he crossed the point of no return at that point. He pushed that thought aside as he did some basic exercises in order for his body to fully wake up before realizing that he had nothing to occupy himself for the time being.

He sat down at the bed and pulled down the console, to fiddle with. He noticed for the first time that it was the beginning of the ship's morning cycle.

Does Beryl have the morning shift? He wondered as he tried to see if he could locate her but to his non surprise the console failed to deliver her location due to insufficient security clearance.

Figures

He thought if he should try to get some basic information about the Union itself, it's map, how many worlds it's comprised of, the political climate and all the basic information that a diplomat is supposed to have access to before remembering something important.

The sooner I get this over with the better... He thought as he tried to see if he could find Fireblade via the console but he still got the same result as with Beryl. He contemplated if he should just go out and try to find her the hard way but elected against that, instead he tried to see if he could somehow sense her.

Kung Fu meditative mode don't fail me now. There was nothing at first but he expected that so he kept at it and after a few long moments he detected her, it was faint and flickering at first but it was certainly Fireblade and... she was sleeping if he was to be a judge.

Better than nothing... He stood and dressed himself before venturing out his cabin. The corridors and passages were still filled with crew going about their business, he felt everyone's eyes on him as he tried to orient himself with the limited map his tablet allowed him to see.

We should be at the same deck but how do I get there... He would have certainly gotten lost if it wasn't for the map and he couldn't just ask where to find Fireblade's cabin if he wanted Tempo to be caught unawares of what he planned to do. He hoped that his constant and confused back and forth while pausing to sense Fireblade's location would confuse any would be observer as much as it confused him but in the end he stood in front of Fireblade's cabin if he was to judge by what he sensed inside and steeled himself before pressing the buzzer.

He heard a couple of yelps from the two Loroi who were present in the corridor. Both of them instantly turned to look at him, then at Fireblade's door and back at him before turning to leave the vicinity with obvious haste.

I never thought it would be easy... He thought and waited for a couple of minutes before pressing the buzzer again.

The door slid open and an obviously annoyed Fireblade stared at him for a few long moments of silence, she wore only her skin tight black body suit and it took everything he had not to stare at her like a fool.

"Good morning Fireblade..." He begun. "I need to ask you for a favor."

She just stared back at him, annoyance clearly visible in both her face and the way she carried herself before she stepped aside to let him inside. Her cabin was certainly bigger than his, big enough to actually live comfortably in but it wasn't as tidy or as decorated as Stillstorm's. It was just her unmade bed, a couple of lockers, a small desk with two accompanying chairs and a few personal possessions laying around.

"I want to..." He begun to say but she just shook her head and offered him her left hand. "Are you sure?" Alex asked drawing just a nod out of her. He hesitated for a bit but offered his left hand in return, he felt the current like sensation that he associated with Fireblade run through his body. He focused like Tempo had taught him and mentally formed his first sending to the fiery mess he now fully sensed in front of him.

"I need you to train me to block mental attacks."
He sensed the fiery annoyance turn into confusion before settling on mild amusement.

"Isn't your new Mizol up to the task?"
Fireblade replied while reminding him that Brightshield escorted him to his new cabin.

"I don't trust her."


"And you trust me? Are you an idiot or do human males actually enjoy abuse by their females?"
She asked while reminding him the interrogation she conducted under the orders of Stillstorm, the telepathic shove in the elevator and the other smaller incidents in the shuttle and on Gora Relay.

"I trust you more than her and... yes, I guess..." He sensed her becoming dumbfounded a mere second before she burst into uncontrolled laughter. It was the first time he saw her laugh as far as he remembered, she always seemed to be wound up and focused on maintaining a weird visage of angry professionalism but he couldn't help but be taken in by the almost pleasant warmth she let out towards him.

"Human males are weird. I was always denied access by the caretakers of the males I was scheduled to meet because they were terrified of letting me alone with them but now you come out and say this!" Fireblade managed to send as she controlled her laughter.

"Denied access? I thought the males themselves have the right to say no." He asked and he sensed Fireblades self centered apprehension.

"Yes and no, you got to understand that Loroi males are universally taken care of by their caretakers, they are wards of the state and the caretakers are the ones who schedule any and all encounters between their charges and females who have earned the right to meet with a male. If a caretaker considers someone to be a danger to their charge then they deny even the possibility of getting near him. In my case... their fears are warranted." Fireblade explained, the eerie sensation of the uncomfortable warmth making a comeback as she did so.

"Why? I don't think that you would harm someone."

"Are you, a male that I actually harmed to the point of knocking you unconscious, telling me that I wouldn't harm a male?" Fireblade asked, the flames of her being dancing wearily around his mind.

"You did what you did because you were ordered to and because it made sense at the time. I now realize why someone would think the worse about me considering the circumstances of my rescue." He replied and sensed a sentiment of confusion in her mind.

"So you believe that I hold no blame for the wrongs I committed against you because I was following orders that made sense at the time?" She asked him, her mind betraying the readiness to ridicule his naivety.

"Yes, I do believe so but this doesn't mean that I don't begrudge you for them." The flames of ridicule pulled back in confusion at that.

"What do you mean?"

"I have thought of myself being in your position and doing what you did to me to a Loroi. I felt like trash to the very idea of me committing such a crime even if I was under orders and thought that I had adequate grounds to do what would seem necessary. I cannot imagine myself not feeling guilty for committing such a transgression and not feeling the need to somehow redeem myself to the one I wronged." The flames engulfing her mind wavered and retracted themselves to the point of being barely noticeable as Fireblade absorbed that.

"So you begrudge me because I haven't shown remorse about everything that I did to you?" Fireblade asked.

"Yes." The flames flickered briefly at that but they fully reformed.

"I have committed many transgressions in my life, I have relished in torturing and killing Shell collaborators, I have abandoned warriors who trusted me to their deaths and I see all of them in my sleep. They all accuse me and blame me for everything I did to them and yet you don't blame me for what I did to you, you merely begrudge me for not being remorseful?" Fireblade's mind trembled at that, as if its very foundation suddenly found itself in murky water.

"I haven't been fighting in such a horrible war my whole life but they come to me too, the comrades from my ship. My closest friend and lover accuses me of abandoning her in my sleep, there hasn't passed a day where I don't try to think of way I could somehow save them. I know that what's done is done and cannot be undone but I won't rest until I avenge them and make sure that their deaths made a difference." Fireblade just nodded at that as a dawn of understanding filled her whole being.

"I understand now... Why Beryl has become so enamored with you." His mind filled with involuntary and intense flashbacks of Beryl's visit to his cabin at that.

"I finally won the bet!" Fireblade sent in triumph, the flames playfully engulfing her once more as he let out a groan of embarrassment.

"Find someone else to mate with before mating with Tempo so I can double my winnings!" Fireblade continued.

"Can you please not turn my love life into a betting pool?" Alex implored her. "Also I don't plan to mate with anyone else for the time being."

"Really? I can give you a piece of the action."

"No!"

"Damn...At least I won the bet against Tempo" Fireblade just shrugged at that. "Although I have to tell you that I also won the bet of you not mating with Stillstorm, some naive Passets actually bet that you would agree in her encounter request."

"I did agree..."

"What? Really?" Fireblade asked in disbelief.

"It was a spur of the moment thing because she belittled Beryl and Tempo." Alex replied as he recalled his meeting with Stillstorm.

"You actually called her dishonest? Are you suicidal?" Fireblade chastised him. "Stillstorm is a hardcore traditionalist, she would have challenged you to a duel if she considered you to be a warrior worthy of such."

"I was angry about her dissing Beryl and Tempo, Beryl has done right by me so far and I couldn't just accept that." Alex explained himself.

"They are both warriors, they can stand up for themselves and won't like it when they will learn about why things between Stillstorm and you turned sour." Fireblade commented and suddenly her mind filled with flames of amusement. "What would you do if she actually went along with the encounter?"

"Don't know, hadn't really thought that far; I would probably go along with it depending on how she went about it." He replied with embarrassment.

"Really?

"She isn't unattractive."

"You are indeed a glutton for punishment; although I think that a mating encounter would do her good" Fireblade commented with a playful mind. "What about me?" She asked while playfully picturing the two of them mating.

"Yes." He replied reflexively and for a moment he felt honest and shocked surprise filling her mind.

"I... appreciate your thinking of me like that." She replied as she recollected her thoughts, her mind betraying a sense of self centered satisfaction and jubilation born from his instinctive acceptance of her as a potential lover before she forcefully pushed everything aside and took on a professional visage.

"Now, why do you want to be trained in mental defense? Your Lotai is still impregnable unless you instinctively allow someone in and that's only when they either touch you or are very close to you." Fireblade asked and Alex remembered Tempo implanting something in his head during his training. "I see... It was subtle but you picked it up. This could be a deliberate Mizol trick or something she did subconsciously after your training, the mind often refuses to do what it is ordered to after all."

"Can you teach me how to defend myself from such intrusions?" He asked her.

"Yes, we Unsheathed are called so because we are always prepared for combat, mental or otherwise but our techniques generally lack the finesse and precision of the Mizol. Our training methods however may not be the best for you."

"How so?"

"We Unsheathed are instructed to communicate via Sanzai in all occasions, even when someone mentally attacks us. Our defense isn't as much down to technique as to the sheer determination to overcome all who attempt to invade our mind." The memory of his interrogation by Fireblade and the two other Teidar filled his mind at that.

"Yes we are trained to overcome such interrogation attempts and... Did you actually say 'get out of my mind' because you always wanted to say that? Because you saw it in a fictional story?" She instantly became amused at that. "All three of us thought that you were actively defending yourself at that point and we telekinetically cut off you breathing in order for you to drop your Lotai while we tried to press in."

"Yeah, I felt the current in my head when you touched me and I thought that you were in already."

"I guess that makes sense if you have never sensed telepathy..." Fireblade thought as she gathered her wits. "Now I want you to understand that the training you have requested of me to give you is brutal, mentally taxing and painful. I will batter your mind and keep at it until you are able to offer adequate resistance. The only way to offer such resistance is by stubbornly clinging to a strong sentiment and thought no matter what the aggressor wants to pull out. Your mind will have to think of one thing and one thing only when you are defending and you have to be flexible and able to change the thought that is the core your defense at will."

"What should I think?"

"Whatever you don't mind the aggressor to know. It doesn't matter what it is as long as you cling to it with all your mental strength and are able to shift the thought to an other one at will."

"I understand."

"Good..." Alex's mind was suddenly pressed by the whole essence of her mind, he sense her reaching down his psyche for anything embarrassing and grabbing hold of something interesting."Where you truly fantasizing about mating with all your guards at the same time while you were imprisoned?" Fireblade teased him.

"You didn't say that we were going to start!" He protested.

"We haven't even started yet..." Once again she reached into his mind as if a locomotive was running down a small animal, once again reaching down and pulling something embarrassing out. "Tempo in a form fitting leather outfit with a whip? The whole premise somehow tied with discipline?" Fireblade teased him. "This is actually fun..."

Damn it... Alex thought as Fireblade reached into his mind again but this time he brought up the first thought he could think of and mentally shoved it to her.

"Actual memories of you mating with Beryl? Don't give me stuff I am actually looking for!" Fireblade chastised him and made to dive in again.

How about this then? Alex thought as he thought of something else to bring forth.

"Revvin' up your engine
Listen to her howlin' roar
Metal under tension
Beggin' you to touch and go
Highway to the Danger Zone
Ride into the Danger Zone
Headin' into twilight
Spreadin' out her wings tonight
She got you jumpin' off the deck
And shovin' into overdrive
Highway to the Danger Zone
I'll take you Right into the Danger Zone"


"An alien song? An interesting choice..." Fireblade commented with obvious amusement before dragging him towards the two chairs in front of her small desk. "It's best if we don't stand up from now on, the basics are always easy to master but the next steps aren't"


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:13 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

Werra wrote:
When they sat, Fireblade continued: „As you have already dreaded, there are techniques to attack any defense. I will show you the most common ones; and find out what Beryl did there at the ernd.“

At least she is having fun, thought Alex. He mined his brain for the next song.

Instead of charging at him, Fireblade sent him the image of stubbing ones toe really hard. Instinctively Alex cringed. That lapse in concentration cost him as he received a triumphant: „Ha, she always had a quick tongue!“

Alex begged: „Please, can't you dig up embarrassing childhood memories instead?“

„Such as, Enzin?“

Desperate to keep her from ransacking his head for more details on Beryl, Alex threw out what came to his mind: „Like that one time I had a crush on Susan two years older than me.“

As Fireblade plunged into him again, Alex knew that he had made a mistake.

„Haha, two for the price of one! You need to work on your discipline, Enzin.“

„That's why I came to you, Fireblade. Once this is over I will feel thankful that you're teaching me Mizol tricks.“

Alex felt her pause at that. With some uncertainty she then sent: „These aren't Mizol tricks. I don't know them actually. What I do know is a state secret.“

Alex didn't like the implications: „Then this won't help me against them?“

„These are principles that all Sanzai shares. The Mizol have made an art out of them.“ With a good deal of amusement, Fireblade continued: „While it will help, you will be an open book for hundreds of cycles or even several tozons.“

She's going to know every inch of Beryl after this, realised Alex.

Sitting on her bed Tempo checked her data pad one last time for the day. Since SG51 had just met up with a supply convoy there was a wave of new minor messages and issues to deal with. None of them that couldn't wait on her next shift luckily.

After she had scrolled through the usual gut of more or less unusable information on enemy troop movements she had one more item for the day.

Tempo checked on Jardins file. Her Mizols had done a good job. His movements had been recorded , which was easier than expected, since most of today was spent in his cabin. That it was spent with Beryl made Tempo bite her lip. Skipping through a video feed fifteen thousand solon long made her regret losing that bet with Fireblade.

His current position made her rise. He was where? Impossible and so quickly after Beryl left.

Tempo quickly sent to Cloud. Conveniently quartered a few cabins over.

„Cloud, do you know where Jardin is now?“

„Of course I do, Tempo. The whole ship knows.“ Her reply came groggily as if half asleep. Tempo decided to ignore the dream fragments that seeped through. Ashrain, really?

„Did they go dark?“

„Unusually dark for Fireblade. Nobody knew she could do that. That's even bigger news than a male being a male.“

Tempo didn't know how to feel about those news. Getting Fireblade some much needed encounter cleared up a lot of problems for her and personally she was glad for her. Yet having Fireblade double her winnings herself didn't seem fair. That was cheating in Tempos mind.

Unless of course, they did something else. Without a video feed from her cabin to check, the matter would have to wait to tomorrow.

Sitting on her bed Stillstorm worked through the messages of the day. As always getting resupplied meant receiving more than just munitions. Most of these minor tasks could be handled by her stuff.

One message in particular required her personal attention. That alien was to be sent to Seren with the next supply run in friendly territory. In a few weeks the alien would be out of her hair. All it needed was a slight detour to friendly territory. Thanks to the surplus crew from Gora she didn't even need to send her crew. Brightshield would handle it during transit to Seren.

Stillstorm imagined the satisfaction the Mizol would show at being given that assignment and decided to send a few Soroin from Gora with Jardin as well. That stratagem gave it a lot of respect amongst the survivors. Maybe this way Jardin had a chance of reaching Seren without spilling all his nations secrets into the lap of the Mizol.

As a raid leader Stillstorm could keep well away from Seren politics. Judging from his past performance, Jardin would do well to do the same. As a diplomat it was laughable. Tempo played a cruel trick when she gave it diplomatic status.

That thought made her pause. Tempo had also given Jardin military status as attache. In that position the alien had proven to be more valuable and had managed to garner the respect of many warriors.

The Umiak pressed them hard because some of their ships were undetectable. An underdeveloped species of six worlds with a natural Lotai would be seen as a threat on Seren. Was Jardin good enough of a diplomat to deal with that?

Its only chance was to gather a lot of respect amongst the Loroi, showing the Emperor that humanity could be trusted. Stillstorm loathed the thought of waging a new -though short and one sided- war right after they had beaten the Shells.

Stillstorms reputation as a harsh, uncalculable commander suited her fine. Yet she was aware of her own shortcomings. Her temperament had often gotten the better of her in the past and had made her diskiked with the admiralty. She was also a traditionalist, honourbound , predictable. Now that the Stray had reveled that the Shells had extensive files on her, the enemy might use that against her.

That could not stand, she realised. No shell would get the better of her because she let her morals get in the way.

A new perspective was needed. Something or somebody to prod her thinking into new directions.

This was one of the times her own reputation came back to haunt her. None of her officers would dare give her such ill-tasting advice.

She needed an outsiders perspective was her grudging conclusion. Somebody who used underhanded tricks, a fresh take on things. Somebody that had the backbone to say no to her even if it meant staring her down.

Dislike it as she may, she had such a person on board. That alien could be very valuable to SG51. More valuable here than on Seren as a mockery of a diplomat in any case. More valuable to humanity as a tactician in her staff than as a dispenser of state secrets to the first pair of pretty ears that came its way.

But Stillstorm couldn't go against orders from the admiralty. Diplomacy fell on the Mizol anyway.

It was given a diplomatic function by Tempo, she thought, yet also a military one. If I can't refuse this order, the alien can. Stillstorm would need to make Jardin choose SG51 from its own volition.

The thought of having an alien run around her ship, working hand in hand with her hit her to her core. What had things come down to?

No matter, her own discomfort was secondary to winning the war. If that alien meant saved Loroi then she had to use it. If that later saved her from bombing population centers from orbit, so be it.

Yet Stillstorm saw no easy way to convince Jardin. Surely he would love to leave her hospitality behind for Seren. Directly calling him out as a coward fleeing the front could do it. The last time that had shown quite the reaction. A pity that alien would not accept a second invitation to her quarters.

No, the matter required more of a diplomatic approach. Parts of the formalities would fall on others anyway.

Tomorrow she would speak to her Parat.


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:15 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

novius wrote:
Waking up with a pounding headache had become a distressing normal thing since he had been brought in from drifting in space.

Fireblade didn't lie. Of course she didn't lie, save for Mizol, Alex was sure there isn't one dishonest bone in a Loroi's body, and even the Mizol may prefer to lie by omission rather than telling a deliberate falsehood.

'A Mizol never tells the whole story', he thought, purporting a saying he picked up somewhere.

'I've never heard the tenets of a Mizol summed up that succinctly. Where did you get the original saying from?', Fireblade's thoughts drifted in.

Huh, yes, right, Alex noticed, as he regained his senses. They were still joined, unsure about the picture they would present to an observer.

On Fireblade's suggestion he aimed for one of the chairs, but she obviously had a different idea in mind, as she directed him towards the bed, urging him to lie down.

While hot-bunking is common enough and had been a thing in his career - and hers, too, she acknowledged - he still felt a bit hestitant on lying down on a bed she obviously just slept in.

'And', that thought came unbidden to him, 'especially after we actually told each other that we both wouldn't be adverse to...'

Alex had felt Fireblade's smile in his mind, the warm glow that was her intensifying for a moment. A silent promise of 'Soon...', followed with a more well-formed of '...but not today'.

That's how he found himself again on waking up.

Stretched out on Fireblade's bed, and in the meantime, she must have lain down, too, right next to him, but thankfully they both were still clothed, the fingers of his left hand laced with hers of her right hand.

And that was needed. She didn't lie when she said that her idea of training would be brutal. Try as I might she wouldn't let my hand go.

He lifted his right hand up to his nose, touching a suspicious wetness. Bringing his fingertips to his eyes he noticed they were covered in blood - he must have gotten his nose bleeding over the course of the mental attack.

Fireblade picked up on his trepidation. 'This is quite normal, because fending off a mental attack puts the brain into overdrive, requiring more oxygen, and thus a stronger blood flow. The capillaries in the nose would be the first to burst. There is a saying amongst Teidar: "If your nose doesn't start bleeding, you're not doing it right." '

'Jeez, sounds like my old drill instructor.', he sent, together with a picture of an elderly man in uniform, built like a lighthouse and his favourite saying of "no pain, no gain".

'Sounds about right', Fireblade agreed, 'now, about that saying about Mizol?'

'Oh, right. I think it's from another piece of fiction, but reused many times over. It usually covers a society or a group of people shrouding themselves in secrecy and mostly operating on a 'need to know' base. As in, you're only entitled to the pieces of knowledge to do your job, and they are prone to keep interesting background information to themselves', Alex explained.

'I see. You need to refer to some cultural background to convey the full meaning of the saying, but the words alone do catch the gist of it. Much the same as with the song you tried at the very start.'

Some fleeting images told Alex that she picked up much more than the song itself.

'The first thing every Loroi child learns is that the brain works with associations, and they often enough bleed through sanzai, just because of their relation to the thought you intend to send. I'm sure Tempo already told you this as well, but this can't be stressed often enough. When you thought about that specific song, I got the idea that it came from a fictional works and early-days avionics was largely featured in it', she sent, accompanied with a picture of two ancient fighter jets locked in aerial combat.

Fireblade smiled, then a thought came to her. 'Are all human minds that ... cluttered'?

'Don't rightly know', Alex answered. 'I only had my own mind to myself and no comparison, remember?'

'Point.', she laughed. 'And even now you just have Loroi minds for comparison - not other humans.'

'That gives me an idea, though... Can you try once more?'

Fireblade blinked. 'You are a glutton for punishment. Don't make me protect you from your own self-destructive tendencies. Well, here goes...'

What she didn't expect was being flooded by a a whole stream of images, sounds, sensations, emotions, thoughts - his first kiss, burning his hand on a stove, a boring presentation in a stateroom, the vertigo of weightlessness while he was drifting through space, an image of a skull in a space suit like his... More and more thoughts rushed in, in an ever faster pace. None these images held steady for long enough to lock herself onto it and she felt her attack wavering as if she had stumbled into a cloud of stinging, biting insects.

'What... was that?', she asked, after pulling back.

'Your question gave me that idea. I've looked into Beryl's and Tempo's... and now your mind and see that they're highly organized. Perhaps because of your sanzai. You described mine as 'cluttered'. So I thought that maybe just pure, random thoughts, and lots of them could throw you into a loop.'

'It caught me unawares. Keep that in mind, but we should concentrate on more conventional forms of defense first before experimenting?'

'Makes sense', Alex agreed.

'But... not now. You might be willing to overexert herself, but I'm sure Beryl, Tempo, perhaps Talon and the whole Gora Relay crew would try to take it out of my hide if I would let you come to harm.'

Alex picked up a picture that that would end with lots of Loroi being severely hurt and Fireblade in the brig.

'Best not to let it come to that. Are you alright with me staying a while, until the nosebleed stops, then? Shouldn't take long.'

Alex felt her agreement, with a wordless question tacked on.

'What do you mean?', he prompted.

'You could do me ... a favour as well', her thoughts came haltingly, 'Beryl... told us that your Lotai shields her from outside thoughts, and that we 'go dark' to other Loroi, too, when in your presence?' On Alex's nod she continued. 'I'd very much like that. While sleeping, the thoughts of other Loroi tend to intrude upon mine, and mine on theirs, it's ... distressing.'

This was no easy thing for Fireblade to ask, far by not, Alex realized. But he imposed upon her for the additional lessons, so he would be a cad to not to repay her in kind.

'Just sleeping right now, right?', he asked.

Fireblade's glow intensified, in amusement. 'As much as I'd wish for more, the lessons tired me out as well, and I do need a bit more sleep. And you do, too. No arguments. You human males may be made of sterner stuff than ours, but even you have your limits!'

Alex felt the subtext of her sending. She was denied mating encounters because the caretakers feared her hurting the males. And she herself shared that fear, too. She was elated at the thought that maybe, just maybe, there could be a male out there where she wouldn't have to fear accidentally breaking him.

And, that male could be just right here, she thought to herself.

---//---

Tempo sighed. And checked again on the reports. They didn't change.

Another three thousand solons, and he's still in Fireblade's quarters. This is so wrong - mating encounters simply cannot last that long!

Well, perhaps with humans they may.

Tempo wasn't even sure anymore if she should look forward to the prospect of calling in 'her turn', or in trepidation.

Forcing her thoughts away from that human male's libido she focused on the tale of the other human male the Loroi encountered. So far Losat Brightshield stayed cooperative and provided Tempo with the remaining files on the incident.

And these files prove themselves to be ... interesting.

Officially, this diral was later regarded as "the lost diral". When it came to picking up the Soroin initiates, their drop-off location was found deserted with no Loroi in sight, and their provisions largely untouched. As the report goes, a search crew traced their steps to a Soia ruin where they must have engaged some ancient device, causing the demise of the whole diral, as well as much of the plant and animal life in the larger area.

So far the official story, made up for public consumption.

Inofficially, when it came to picking up the Soroin initiates, they found not only those, but said human and his artifacts, as well as the structures he built. Recognizing it as a true First Contact situation - one that almost went haywire - they called in for a Mizol delegation to facilitate a line of communication and an investigation on how the human ended up on Deinar.

Further records are inconclusive, but by the fragmentary report the diral was collectively foisted off to the Oran Hos’te Blec clan, as well as that human. For what reason, Tempo couldn't discern, but secrecy might be one, since that clan is well-known for its seclusive lifestyle.

How by the stars would they accept fourty-eight warrior initiates and one alien?, Tempo wondered.

Interestingly though, there were some Soia ruins present at the diral's landing site - Soia ruins are quite a common feature on Deinar, after all - but the reports lists the function of these ruins as 'inconclusive', and no artifacts of value were ever retrieved from it.

The discussion they had on the Highland-7 came back to her mind.

More and more, it looks much like Loroi and Humans do have some shared history.

And even if there are more pressing demands in the present, it would be wrong to ignore this.



Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:15 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

dragoongfa wrote:
The buzzer woke both of them up, Alex thought for a moment that someone wanted to get into the cabin but Fireblade reassured him instantly.

"My shift on the bridge is about to start." She sent before standing up and breaking the connection they had.

He wondered for how long they had slept as he sat up, catching himself ogling Fireblade as she put on her armor.

Damn, the bodysuits leave little to the imagination Alex thought before trying to push the thought away.

"What time is it?" He asked before remembering that Fireblade didn't like to talk.

"Noon." Fireblade replied immediately as she put on her breastplate.

"Thanks." His stomach growled at that, reminding him that he couldn't postpone eating for much longer. He had come to loathe eating since they had yet to find something agreeable with him but he wouldn't do much good if he starved.

It took barely a couple of minutes for Fireblade to fully don her armor and make for the door before gesturing at him to follow her.

"Yeah. It wouldn't look good if I lingered here after you left." He agreed before remembering to ask her not to tell Tempo about their training session. "I would appreciate it if you don't inform Tempo that I asked you to train me." She just smiled and nodded in understanding at that before she opened the door and walked outside with him in tow. They barely took a couple of steps before he saw her back tense as she turned and looked at a Soroin further up the corridor, the warrior stopping in her tracks for a moment before cutting a corner and getting out of sight.

"I am going to go grab something to eat and hopefully find someplace to have a shower." Alex told her and he saw her relax slightly before he took a turn towards the nearest mess hall.


* * *


The one thing Stillstorm hadn't expected was for the alien to actually mate with Fireblade, for all her numerous faults the steadfast Teidar was her final insurance in case it ended up betraying them but now even she fell victim to its wiles.

"You wanted to see me my Lashret?"
Fireblade announced respectfully as she waited outside her cabin.

"Yes, you may enter."
Stillstorm made sure to pay extra attention to the Teidar's mental state and demeanor as she entered her cabin. Fireblade was actually noticeably calmer than usual, her usually tumultuous mental signature restrained and even honed. Something that everyone around her noticed as the Teidar passed by them. Stillstorm just stared at the Teidar for several solons as she stood in attention in front of her desk before finally sending to her.

"I didn't expect you to lower yourself to such a degree that you would mate with it."
Fireblade's mind flared up in anger momentarily before resting in mild amusement which caught Stillstorm off guard.

"I haven't mated with Him yet."
Fireblade's response caught Stillstorm off balance, the Teidar had spent all of the morning with it and out of contact and she didn't mate with it? And she considered it a he that was a worthy mate?

"And what were you doing with it if not mating."
Stillstorm asked.

"He asked me to train him against mental incursion and in return I asked him for us to sleep next to each other so I could sleep without bothering or being bothered by anyone."
Fireblade replied truthfully.

"You trained an alien? Did you just admit betraying your caste and the Union?"
Stillstorm barked at her angrily.

"I agreed to train a declared ally who saved my life and the lives of hundreds of Loroi warriors and I haven't divulged any privileged Teidar techniques nor do I plan to do so without the express consent of my caste's elders. I consider both my honor and my duty to the Union to be unsullied."
Fireblade replied stubbornly enough for Stillstorm to relent.

"Very well, I cannot find fault with your honor although I do find your judgement to be dubious in regards to its allegiance."
Stillstorm replied before realizing something. "Why did it ask you and not Parat Tempo or Losat Brightshield?"

"He doesn't trust them because he knows of Mizol dubiousness." Of all things she expected to receive this one was not one of them.

"So it's smarter than it seems, although it is stupid enough to have mated with Parat Tempo."
Stillstorm commented drawing a sense of amusement out of the Teidar in front of her.

"I can reassure you my Lashret that Captain Jardin has only mated with Tozet Beryl and that was last night. I even have an ongoing wager with Parat Tempo about the issue."
The Teidar replied truthfully catching Stillstorm completely off balance.

"What?"


"He and Tozet Beryl were about to mate when you arrived at Gora Relay but they hadn't mated beforehand and I ensured that military regulations were upheld after your declaration about ensuring an encounter with him. Both Parat Tempo and Tozet Beryl disappeared at times from sanzai because they were testing his telepathic abilities and training him. The rumors about them actually mating are false."
Fireblade reassured her.

"So I was in the wrong of being judgemental of them. Although Beryl did exhibit ill discipline yesterday when she rushed to mate with him."
Stillstorm replied.

"I consider Tozet Beryl's honor to be intact. She broke no regulations and mated with Captain Jardin with his full consent as befit of a warrior."
Fireblade replied.

"Of course you would cover your friend."


"It is the truth and as a Teidar I will stand by it."
Fireblade replied with a forced steady tone, making Stillstorm regret letting her temper get the best of her.

"Fine, I find Tozet Beryl to not be at fault for anything and I praise you for defending the truth and the unsullied honor of a fellow warrior."
Stillstorm sent before turning the conversation to what was important. "In the training you offered him you undoubtedly learned a lot of things about him and his kind. Are you prepared to report them as is your duty to the Union?" The Teidar became momentarily conflicted at that before deciding on a course of action.

"I did learn a lot about him and his kind and I am prepared to divulge said information but I will not divulge personal and intimate thoughts and memories and I want your honorable promise that Parat Tempo is not to learn of the training I have provided and will be providing him until I am satisfied with his ability to defend himself."
Fireblade declared.

"I am impressed that it managed to get this degree of loyalty out of you. Fine I accept your condition and I swear that Parat Tempo will not be made aware of your agreement with the alien."
Stillstorm replied and Fireblade just nodded before rearranging everything she learned in her mind.

"I can confirm that, as far as he is aware, his kind has had no awareness or contact with either the Loroi Union or the Hierarchy. He was not aware of the Lotai his kind naturally possesses and neither was he aware of his kind's telepathic potential. All of the stories his kind has created over their history are pure fiction made for entertainment and he does believe that any and all similarities are mere coincidences until proven otherwise. He understands fully that his kind is not able to provide much in the war effort but he is fully convinced that the Loroi Union is the sole sensible choice as an ally and protector of his kind and is willing to do everything he is able to in order to ensure Union victory. I am ready to transfer the memories proving these facts to a Listel of your choice."
Fireblade reported.

"That's... good to confirm... Are you certain that he wasn't somehow deceiving you or having been mentally deceived himself?" Stillstorm asked just to make sure.

"His mind bore no evidence of mental manipulation nor did it exhibit the mental organization necessary for even the slightest deception. The only way for him to come to believe all he does is if it is the truth." Fireblade reassured her.

"So it all is as he has been claiming." Stillstorm thought.

"Yes my Lashret it is as He has been claiming." Fireblade pressed making Stillstorm realize that she had thought of it as a he, not just once but numerous times. "I assure you my Lashret that Captain Jardin is a He and that he considers all Loroi warriors he has met as attractive females and this includes you."

"Don't push me Teidar!" Stillstorm warned her.

"I strongly believe that both He and you have unnecessarily insulted and angered each other." Fireblade insisted.

"THE NATURALLY DECEIVING ALIEN CALLED ME DISHONEST!" Stillstorm exploded at that.

"And you called into question the honor of both Tozet Beryl and Parat Tempo in his presence without evidence. In his mind he had to return the insult laid against them by embarrassing and angering you." Fireblade replied with an heated tone.

"A male has no business trying to defend the honor of warriors unless he intends to dishonor them further!"


"He is a male but he is also a warrior. His primary drive is to avenge his murdered comrades and bring worth to their sacrifice. He understands honor. Failing to understand that because of his male attributes is a grave insult to both him and the weight he carries."
Fireblade insisted.

"You have become dangerously infatuated with him."
Stillstorm warned her.

"Maybe but I have yet to send anything that is not the truth as I have witnessed it."
Fireblade commented.

"I have yet to find any problem with your honor Teidar, make sure it stays that way."
Stillstorm sent and dismissed the Teidar who turned in the spot and left; leaving her alone to her thoughts.

I am impressed Captain Jardin, Fireblade was never an easy Teidar to handle and yet you have gained her recognition and loyalty. She thought as she picked the mental commotion reverberating from the lower decks of the ship. What did the alien do this time?


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:16 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

Werra wrote:
After some trial and error his datapad lead Alex to the main mess hall of Tempest. It was rather roomy for a mess hall. The room was filled with tables for four or six and chairs. Alex noticed that unlike the corridors, the mess hall was decorated. The chairs looked comfortable, there were several paintings of Tempest ,all martial, on the walls and there was an actual tree in the middle of the room. The Loroi seemed to value communal areas over private spaces such as cabins.

Since the shifts had just changed, a sizeable amount of Loroi filled the hall. As Alex entered the room, they all turned their heads towards him. Feeling his backside prickle Alex tried a: „Hello.“ That luckily made most of the Loroi turn to their food again.

One side of the mess was filled with a counter full of foodstuffs. Alex made his way there. Some of the dishes he recognized already and thus avoided them. As hungry as Alex was, he had no desire to sprint panicked through the mess hall.

Instead he stopped at a dish that seemed to be a casserole. Testing the smell Alex thought it smelled similar to seafood. His grumbling stomach decided for him.

Turning he recognized Brightshield in the mess hall. She gave him a big smile and cleared a space next to her as he approached.

„Enzin, how nice to see you here. Have you come for some Loroi delicacies?“

„I've found something that looks good, at least, Brightshield.“ his answers made her eyes sparkle.

„You are so good at words. It's a pleasure. Usually only Mizol are this fluent.“

As he had already taken a careful bite from his dish, Alex couldn't answer. It really did taste like seafood with a bit of mushroom, Alex figured.

„Mhm, this is good. What is it?“ Alex asked.

Brightshield mustered his dish for a moment and then leaned back a bit. „That is from Perrein. You have to ask Parat Tempo what it is exactly. Something like an octopus, probably.“

Alex continued eatinh slowly and carefully. He still didn't trust this food fully. But his empty stomach made him clean his plate quickly. While Brightshield curiously and a little unbelieving watched him eat, Alex remembered something.
„I've thought a bit about your last visit, about those pictures you showed me..“

Brightshield leaned into him and cut him off: „Enzin, I'd love to talk about that, but let's keep that intimade between us.“

The look he got from her was only partially flirting, the rest was professionalism. Understanding, yet still feeling corny, Alex played along.

„You know where my cabin is if you're in the mood.“ The early blushing made it only more believable.

It also got a real laugh out of Brightshield. „Have you already recuperated from exercise with Tozet Beryl and Pallan Fireblade this quickly?“

Full on blushing now Alex decided to abort. „Actually, I'd rather like a shower now.“

„Me too. Come, I'll show you the showers.“

„I should have seen this coming.“ despaired Alex.



„You want what?“ Tempo couldn't believe what she had just heard.

„I want Jardin to become my adjutant and make himself useful in Tempests staff.“ Stillstorms tone was perfectly level if a bit annoyed. Whether at Tempo or at herself, Tempo could not say.

„An alien in your staff?“ Tempo felt strained to maintain her usual composure.

„If I have to have an alien on my ship, it can at least make itself useful. It can assist with the menial tasks of planning.“

„You despise him, Lashret.“

„Its ideas can be useful.“

„There has got to be more to this.“ she let her suspicioun clearly seep through.

Stillstorm remained explicitly calm. She has thought about this was Tempos conclusion. This is one of those times she has an answer prepared for everything. With an inner sigh Tempo arranged herself with a lot of extra work already.

„With the last supply train came a message from High Command. The alien ambassador is to be sent to Seren next time SG51 is resupplied.“

That was alarming to Tempo. Stillstorm just announced that she planned to ignore direct orders. With narrow eyes she pressed her for more.

„Then why give him a position if he's being sent away? Unless you plan going against your orders, Lashret.“

„Don't be silly, Parat. Of course I am not going against orders. The alien is.“

Tempo was reeling. „What?“

„You declared him ambassador but also military attache, Parat. Those two positions are mutually exclusive given the circumstances. Should the ambassador choose to remain with us, SG51 would be honour bound to accept.“

„Why would he ever express such a wish, Stillstorm?“

„Because you will find a way to convince it of the benefits.“

„My duty is to follow the orders from High Command. Counteracting them on a technicality is hardly proper, Lashret.“

„I thought you liked technicalities, Parat Tempo.“

The Parat had to blink a few times at this. Stillstorm was known for crass decisions, but this was something new. „Jardins mission is to be a diplomat, Lashret.“

„Its mission is to curry favour for its species, Parat Tempo. A species with a natural Lotai. Can Alexander Jardin help their survival as a diplomat or as a strategist?“

„You care about humanity?“

„No, you do, Parat.“

Yes, this was one of those times indeed. Enzins diplomatic conduct so far had been catastrophic. The three Loroi he chose to lower his Lotai with were a data gathering specialist, a leaking Teidar and a Mizol operative. Between the three of them,Tempo figured they already knew everything worthwhile.

„Fine. But we will need to keep this strictly off-records and find a way to placate Seren.“



The Mizol would have physically dragged him to the showers if the Loroi were in the habit of touching. So she settled on disarming him by a face full of genuine joy.

„You will love it. Loroi bathing facilities are a great boost to morale, Enzin.“ informed him Brightshield on the way.

They passed a door into a room full of shelves with uniforms and clothes on. From behind another door the faint sound of running water could be heard.

„We'll come to a small washroom. It's customary to pre wash oneself before entering the baths proper.“

Alex turned away from Brightshield and grabbed his collar. „Are there, uh, less public facilities to undress and shower?“

„The only private shower is the Commanders. You could ask her.“ teased Brightshield.

„I'd rather not even think about it.“

„Are you sure, from what I heard you caused quite the excitement last time you met her.“

Alex turned, wanting to ask what she had heard and was stopped in his tracks. The Loroi was already naked and leaned against the wall behind Alex, watching him.

„Uh, I thhought there was a taboo on showing yourself naked?“ a dumbstruck Alex asked.

„Obviously not in the baths. Now hurry up.“ she said without looking him in the eyes once.

After a bit of awkwardness Alex decided to just go with it. It was only Brightshield and both had told each other already of their interest in his cabin, so he saw no harm. Besides, now that he had some time with Beryl, he was sure his body wouldn't make things even more awkward.

A conviction he found hard to keep as Brightshield washed her body opposite of him in the next room. Her long hair looked good wet. Desperately he fought down the memory of Beryl.

With both of them washed, Brightshield made it worse. She actually put an arm around his shoulders. „Humanity doesn't mind touching, right?“ It seemed to Alex that Loroi social norms were significantly softer in the baths than elsewhere.
As she lead him through the doors into the bathing room, this turned into a serious issue. He hadn't expected what he saw. Apparently Tempest was equipped with a full bath. Several pools and basins were arranged in a large room. Some of the pools steamed and the whole room was tastefully decorated with natural rocks and plants.

He took in the two dozen or so Loroi that -naturally- all stared at him. All in various states of wetness. Never before was he so happy humanity couldn't receive Sanzai. The collective squee would have been deafening.

Outside his datapad blinked. A message from Tempo appeared on the display.
„Enzin, please meet me in my quarters once you have the energy for it. Off duty. Sedel“


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:19 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

novius wrote:
In his conscious mind, Alex understood the practicalities of the setup. If there's no issue with mixed crew, since the ships are staffed all-female, why bother with separated showers?

The possibility that the Tempest would host a male - alien or not - had never crossed the minds of her designers, then, he added to his thought, keenly aware of the gazes of the assembled Loroi resting on him, with expression ranging from mild interest to barely restrained hunger.

Though the former type of looks was far less numerous on the Loroi faces than the latter one. He felt reminded of his first trip to the mess hall, it had been about the same, though on a much lesser scale.

And, incidentally, it was again Brightshield to the rescue, regardless whether she intended that or not. She still had her arm around his shoulders, and her giving the others some pointed glances wouldn't require any sanzai to convey the meaning. This was a clear 'hands off' signal.

Or rather like 'he's mine, for now', Alex added, remembering the tidbits about Loroi male/female interactions.

While it stopped them from doing any overt action, if they had some in mind - Alex didn't dare to ask - they were still unabashedly looking at him. And not just in the eyes, but lower, and much lower, too.

Trying to fight down the awkwardness that came back tenfold, he opted for a bit of nonchalance, hoping that his voice wouldn't waver.

"Please, it isn't as if you hadn't seen that beforehand."

Wrong choice. Had he expected them to turn away and mind their own business, he was sorely mistaken. If anything, the looks got even more intense.

"Of course we had. But I must say, that recording doesn't do you justice. So that's what they all mean with 'larger'..."

Not being able to pinpoint the speaker, he turned to Brightshield with an askance look. "I pegged Loroi as prim and proper, minding their sense of propriety - are you always that outspoken?"

Brightshield smiled, looking him directly in the eyes. "This is one of the rare times we allow ourselves to relax. And you are quite a novelty, of course. A male in the rec areas of a ship is unheard of - were the Tempest a diplomatic vessel, the VIP quarters would have anemities to give the envoys some privacy on their travels. But most non-Loroi ambassadors do rather use their own ships than rely on us ferrying them around. Come, let's look for a good spot.", she ushered him to a nook in a steaming pool, right next to a waterspout.

Alex wasn't sure whether it was by chance or her intentional choice, but he realized that the steam and the churning water might make taking a peek at him more difficult.

But, she still didn't remove her arm from his shoulders. He got reminded of the Highland-7... was it really just days ago, when Beryl fell in his lap and simply stayed there?

Brightshield's choice in location was met with a few sour glances in her direction, one she met with mild aplomb.

Huh. Seems it's the same with these blue elves - no one likes spoilsports., Alex thought amusedly.

Lowering himself into the pleasantly warm, almost hot water reminded Alex of something different.

"Uh... wouldn't the water be too hot for you? You're running on a much lower body temperature than a human does, I noticed..."

Not immediately answering, she herself stepped into the water with a smile, never having fully let go of him. "It is very hot for us, true, but that is the point of it? It relaxes our muscles and allows us to wind down."

True, Alex thought, I have to hand it to her, she looks indeed relaxed and positively radiant with letting her wet hair down and with that serene smile on her face...

He tried to jerk his thoughts back on track on noticing that they drifted into - ha-hah! - dangerous waters.

Mindful of his surroundings, Alex tried to look anywhere but the beautiful woman right next to him, but his furtive glances were always met with another set of Loroi eyes. Thankfully, for Alex, they mostly stayed submerged in the water, its surface blurring whatever else he could have looked at, otherwise.

Still, there was lots of blue skin all around.

Brightshield, seeing Alex's growing trepidation, turns to him with a concerned look. "Is something the matter. Did I overstep some selan?"

"No... yes... It's more difficult than that. It's not a simple 'human' thing, but it varies wildly between cultures. Some would see the display of more bare skin than your armor shows and your uncovered hair as shocking while on the other hand there are groups where people would have no qualms mingling."

Brightshield's eyes went wide. "Humans are that diverse? And, what about you? Not humans. You."

"You have no idea. Especially when it comes to relations between genders. As for me... If someone would have told me that I'd better pack my swimming trunks when I boarded the Bellarmine, I'd have called him completely bonkers."

"Swimming trunks?"

"Garment especially made for bathing. Partly to protect the ... more sensitive parts of the anatomy when bathing in natural bodies of water, part to protect them from sight. Most humans are very self-conscious about them. Thus, wearing something to cover these parts while bathing in a public setting is the most common thing to do for humans."

Brightshield smiled broadly. "It isn't as if you have anything to hide... No, wrong choice of words, there'd be quite a lot to hide, but nothing you'd need to be ashamed of."

Damnit, walked right into that one, Alex thought, chagrined.

"But what about you? I thought Loroi wouldn't touch unless it is for rather intimate situations?"

"This is... and it isn't", Brightshield admitted. "I see you, right here, and you're completely blank to me. For all intents and purposes you could be a statue or a Historian personality construct in an android body, designed to look close, but not identical to us. Given that, I had been anxious to touch you since a long time", she said, unknowingly echoing Beryl's sentiment on the Highland-7.

"And...", there she smiled again, "...had I not done that, I'm sure these ladies here would have seen it as a buffet with you as the main course."

That makes sense, if only for your hand below the surface not being that close to the waistline..., Alex thought. Though, to give her credit, she didn't let her hand creep even further down... And Alex had no idea if he'd stop her or let it happen, if she actually decides to continue her 'exploration'...

---//---

For the past three hundred solons, Tempo got almost flooded by sanzai.

By the stars, what did he do now? She thought exasperated, but that question quickly got answered as the images became clearer. And wished they hadn't.

Captain Jardin is entirely too trusting, she added, from what she discerned from the snippets, Losat Brightshield invited him to the showers, deliberately omitting that these are a communal affair. As if the installation of the facilities didn't tell her that this activity seems to be a private one for humans.

Of course him showing up in the baths sent the Loroi already present there into overdrive. Quite a vivid imagination on these women, judging from the more and more raunchy pictures leaking from their minds.

And of course there's Brighshield, valiantly saving him from these women who hadn't seen a male since .... Tempo's mind faltered. When was the last time SG51 got into friendly territory and they had the chance to get one male encounter approved? Even the Gora Relay staff may have had more luck.

You minx! I know what you're up to. I might have already lost to Beryl and Fireblade, but the tilted field I'd allow you to seduce him and reduce my chance of winning one of these bets to zero!

And, it was a disheartening feeling, that he would choose Brightshield over her. Beryl, she could understand. As a diplomat he was ... less than ideal, but he has a keen mind that would instantly find its like with hers. Fireblade... that might have been unexpected, but perhaps it was her unwavering code of honor as a Teidar that called out to him. And, I have to give it to him, they are good for each other. I've never seen Fireblade that ... at ease.

How would Brightshield fit into the picture? Was it because of her stunt with these files that brought her into his good graces? Maybe I'll get to ask him when he gets out of the bath... and her clutches, she hoped, remembering the call she had placed on his tablet.

And the reason of the call.

Convincing Captain Jardin to stay onboard of SG51 might be a hard sell, but perhaps he could come to see the benefits.

After all, Beryl is here. And Fireblade. As well the salvage of the Bellarmine wreck.

And, in addition, of all the task forces, SG51 is still in the best position to actually make a foray towards Earth, if things go from bad to worse.

---//---

Alex had no idea whether Brightshield picked up on his thoughts or not. After all, it could be possible that his Lotai comes to regard her as part of his 'inner circle' as well and allows her access to his mind.

Might be him tensing up a bit or a furtive look, but Brightshield gently nudged him and subtly drew his attention to a remote and equally secluded part of the pool.

Sure enough, he saw two unfamiliar Loroi, and surprisingly, they didn't have their full attention on him.

He noticed that they were very close to each other, both almost fully submerged in the roiling water, up to their shoulders. The one on the right half-turned towards the other, with a look of intent on her face, and the other... having her eyes closed in with an expression of pure bliss on her face.

Hot color slammed into Alex's face on putting two and two together on what he just witnessed - or not, his mind interjected, it could be a Loroi Sanzai thing..., but that voice was quickly drowned out - and turned to Brightshield with an expression of shock.

Only to see that smile on her face, the wet hair artfully framing it, her shoulders and the top of her curves not submerged in the water. "It wouldn't be too uncommon", she said in a soft voice.

She's coming on to me, strongly. She wouldn't take any liberties but hell, she does try... Alex realized as he felt his resolve waver.



Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:19 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

dragoongfa wrote:
You have really got yourself into it this time Alexander Jardin, get out of it BEFORE you give Stillstorm more stuff to hurl at you. And do this without looking like a bigger tool in the process. Alex thought as he tried to come up with something, anything to say to defuse the situation before things went truly to hell. An year ago he would yell at him to just jump at the opportunity even in such a setting but now?

"I am intrigued..." He whispered and Brightshield's face lit up at that and she came just an inch closer to him.

God damn it Alex!


"But I truly just wanted to bathe and relax before seeing to my duties." Her expression wavered momentarily as she leaned backwards in defeat before her smile returned to her face.

"I understand, one's duty must be fulfilled." Brightshield replied but her eyes and demeanor passed on a very clear message of seductive desire that he almost couldn't resist.

God damn it woman! Brightshield's face betrayed momentary confusion as he thought of that before she spoke again.

"Would you like for me to help you wash your back at least?" She asked with the same seductive smile on her face.

"That would be..." He begun to say, wanting to just deny her before noticing that he would much rather have her look at his back rather than realizing that certain parts of his body weren't cooperating with his mind. "...great." Her face beamed up at that and for a moment he wondered if he just erred.

"I am glad." Brightshield replied as he turned his back at her.

Think of something else, think of something else, think of anything else but the fact that you are in a female communal bath filled to the brim with naked hot amazons who each haven't had a man for... God damn it Alex! He thought as Brightshield took a sponge and enthusiastically begun washing his back.

Fat aunt Martha with her cats, Fat aunt Martha with her cats, Fat aunt Martha with her cats... He chanted in his mind as he pictured what he thought to be one of the most ugly, unhygienic and rude women imaginable. A woman he had to associate with in family reunions and just couldn't leave him well alone because he 'is so cute I would like to eat him all by myself'.

Fat aunt Martha with her cats, Fat aunt Martha with her cats, Fat aunt Martha with her cats...

"Captain Jardin?"

Fat aunt Martha with her cats, Fat aunt Martha with her cats...

"Captain Jardin?" This time Brightshield prodded him gently with her left hand to bring him back to the here and now.

"Uh... I am sorry I was thinking of something... important." He replied as he turned to face her again, happy in the thought that his previously disobedient body part had relented.

"...I understand." Brightshield replied as he offered him the sponge she had washed him with. "Would you like to wash my back in turn?"

"You did wash mine so..." He replied without thinking and she didn't lose a moment to turn her back at him, her body language betraying a deep sense of satisfaction as he caught most of the other Loroi present looking at her with scornful looks that would undoubtedly be enough to pierce through solid steel plates.

Just give her this victory and get out of this mess Alex, you can do it. He thought as he begun scrubbing her back in turn, he felt the disobedience return in parts of his body but this time he was ready for it.

Fat aunt Martha with her cats!


* * *

Tempo let out a long sigh of relief because the exciting mental commotion and chatter that had reverberated from the baths had died out for several solons now and she didn't pick up any chatter of Brightshield actually accomplishing her goal. She could sense the Losat's mind beam with satisfaction even from this distance but they hadn't mated, they just washed each other's backs before leaving the baths without causing any further incident.

So human males do have limits...
Tempo thought as she finally recollected herself in preparation for her meeting with him as he slowly approached her cabin.

I don't know what Stillstorm is thinking with wanting to keep him in her staff. It's true that he came up with the plan that saved the crew of Gora Relay while also destroying several more Shell ships but that was only one thing, he could have been just lucky and all the advise he could offer from here on out would prove disastrous... Is Stillstorm actually desperate enough to want to risk that? Tempo frowned in thought at that. The situation is indeed dire, this offensive was comprised by a total of 30 divisions, 6 divisions at Sala 128, 4 divisions led by the Stray at Sala 101 and 20 divisions in a gatecrusher force at Leido. It would be a difficult defense even if we could detect their approach with farsense but now our fleets are out of position and the gatecrusher force is heading for Nezel and the reserve fleet base there. Beyond that is the interior and we will lose the war if the Shells wreck havoc behind our lines. Yes Stillstorm is desperate, she is only a Lashret but she will be the rallying beacon for the defense because no one else commands such respect among the raider groups. I wouldn't be surprised if the sector commander actually promotes her to a Soshret on her own accord just to boost morale by having a front line commander in charge of the defense instead one of the reserve commanders who haven't seen enough action in their entire lives to match a single tozon of Stillstorm's experience. I wouldn't be surprised if she is actually expecting for exactly that to happen.

Tempo shook her head at that.

Stillstorm in command of the defense of Tinza sector and the interior. The Emperor won't like it but she will have to agree because Stillstorm is the only one who may actually pull this off. She actually cost the Shells more than 2 divisions of ships in the battle of Leido, even if she wasn't one so celebrated and looked up to she would still be a serious contender to be put in overall command of the defense should the sector commander cower from the weight or if she somehow ends up dead.

After thinking about it some more Tempo realized that Stillstorm needed all the help she could get and if she wanted Captain Jardin in an advisor's position then Tempo should do her best to convince him to accept being such an advisor in the Union's time of needs despite the orders for him to be sent to Seren where the Emperor and the Imperial cabinet were at the moment.

Parat Tempo, I have brought Captain Jardin as you requested. Cloud announced.

He may enter. Tempo replied and Cloud opened the door to let him inside.

"Thanks." He said to the Paset who beamed with happiness at that before the door closed behind him.

"Stay put for the time being Cloud." Tempo sent to her assistant as Captain Jardin took in her cabin. Tempo knew that she wasn't as neat as Stillstorm nor as unkempt as Fireblade but she hoped that he would be impressed by the decorations that reminded her of Perrein.

"You wanted to see me Tempo?" He asked as he sat at the chair in front of her desk.

"Indeed Enzin. How was your day?" Tempo replied as she subconsciously tried to telepathically connect with him but the distance was still too great, she had thought of being more informal in their 'informal' meeting but the discussion they were about to have related directly with his duties even if she hadn't alluded to that in her message to him.

"It was... enlightening." He replied with a smile despite the stiffness that his body excluded.

"I am glad that the first day free of the constraints previously placed on top of you went well. I hope you enjoyed your new found freedom to its full extent." His smile widened at that, undoubtedly after picking the hidden meaning of her words. "Your time of rest however may have to come to an end."

"What do you mean?" He asked with a concerned expression.

"My message was clear that this meeting would be a casual and off duty one but it is the exact opposite, although higher authorities will remain ignorant of the fact." Tempo begun, noticing his expression shift from concern to curiosity as she went on. "The Commander has informed me that she has received orders from Tinza Sector command for you to travel to Seren where you will meet with the proper diplomatic authorities aboard the Imperial flagship 'Cry of the Wind' currently there." He nodded at that.

"That's good isn't it?"

"It is, once at Seren you will be able to directly converse with the highest echelons of the Union diplomatic core, perhaps even meet Emperor Greywind herself. However the Commander does not agree with these orders." Tempo replied.

"What? Why? What more do I have to do for her to accept that I am not a Shell agent?" Captain Jardin said angrily as he stood up.

"You misunderstand Enzin, despite her open dislike of you Commander Stillstorm wants you to remain on Tempest as part of her staff, at least for the duration of this emergency. She believes that you will be most useful as a military attache here aboard Tempest rather than being an inexperienced and naturally distrusted ambassador aboard the Imperial flagship. She is prepared to give you certain concessions towards you in order to secure your agreement." It took a few solons for him to absorb that before he sat back down onto his chair.

"Stillstorm actually wants me here? Doesn't she hate me?" He managed to say after a few solons.

"Stillstorm is an odd Commander, she dislikes many of her officers and she is disliked by many of her colleagues and superiors but she is able to push her feelings aside when duty demands it of her. She does dislike you but she believes that you will be of greater use here as a member of her staff." Tempo explained as best as she could, leaving him to stare at her with a dumbfounded expression before he burst into an uncontrolled and nervous laughter that he couldn't control even after several solons. "Enzin are you okay?" She asked as she stood up to get to him.

"I..." Captain Jardin tried to say as he laughed but he just couldn't control his laughter. "I..."

"Please calm down, I know this may be surreal but the Commander really believes that..." Tempo tried to calm him as she stood in front of him but he grabbed her hand and pulled her to his lap with unexpected strength as their minds connected once more.

Tempo's mind was flooded with memories that he sent to her as fast as he could. Memories of meeting Captain Hamilton, a commander that Enzin held the greatest respect for, how he interviewed him as a candidate for the contact mission and how he informed Enzin that the highest echelons of TCA naval command were attempting to secure him as a naval officer instead of risking losing him in the very dangerous contact mission. The memory of Captain Hamilton asking Enzin of who he would choose with what little knowledge they held and Enzin replying 'The Loroi' with no hesitation because of how the Hierarchy treated its allies as slaves. The memory of Enzin telling Captain Hamilton that he would go wherever he was needed and if Captain Hamilton believed that Enzin would best serve at the contact mission then that would be where he needed to be. Enzin's mind begun cascading after that, memories of his mistakes and ill discipline while under the command of Captain Hamilton stabbing his very being inflicting unimaginable pain; the memory of him not being on bridge duty because of such a mistake and the regrets he held because he could have done something to save them all if he was there.

He let go of her at that, Tempo jumping off him and pulling away out of reflex as she tried to reorient her mind from the torrent of sorrowful memories that raced through his mind as his laughter quickly turned into tearful cries of sorrow.

Tempo reached out to him again, patting his head while trying to connect with him once again in order to soothe his mind as best as she could. She sensed his struggling mind as he tried to control himself once more; the stress of the recent events slowly being pushed back by seer force of will until it settled at the back of his mind with a tension that Tempo couldn't believe could be borne by a male.

"I am sorry." Enzin apologized after a few moments, pushing her away the moment his mind could focus itself once again. "Do I have to give you my answer now?"

"No, you are free to consider your options for the rest of today. We can discuss this tomorrow in private again if you want but Tinza sector command will expect an answer in the next couple of day." Tempo replied.

"I will think about it." Enzin reassured her before continuing. "But tomorrow I want to talk with both you and Stillstorm about my final decision."

"I will convey your wishes to her." Tempo reassured him as she took a handkerchief and made to clean the drying up tears from his face, he just took it from her and cleaned himself before giving it back.

"Thanks." She just nodded at his understandable desire for mental privacy.

"I will escort you to your cabin so you may think of everything in peace." She said to him as she opened the door and dismissed Cloud. Enzin just nodding an following her in silence.

I am a fool, I keep concentrating on the fact that he is a male and not on the fact that he is a lone warrior carrying the weight of his dead comrades and the fate of his race! Tempo thought as she let out a mental visage of mild annoyance to anyone who was ogling Captain Jardin who was walking next to her. He is a warrior with the same duties, desires and needs as us. To forget this and only focus on his male attributes and the potential of mating with him is unforgivable.


* * *


Tempo led him to his cabin in complete silence, seemingly in her own thoughts while all the Loroi they passed seemed cowered enough not to stare at him for too long before hastening their own pace.

Congratulations Alexander Jardin, you just made a complete fool of yourself. He chastised himself as they approached his cabin.

"Tozet Beryl is inside and she is sleeping, I will wake her up and tell her you need some time alone." Tempo said a few moments later.

"No it's fine. Let her be." He replied as he walked up to the door of his tiny cabin and opened it. "Thanks." Tempo just nodded at that and turned to leave as he stepped inside.

Beryl was indeed there, face down on the bed, hugging the pillow with a serene expression on her face that made him chuckle.

All of you are going to be the death of me. He thought as he gently sat down next to her, her sleeping mind seeping into his as he pulled the console down to try and get some work done without waking her up.

"It was a long hard shift wasn't it? And I didn't let you get much sleep yesterday didn't I?" He sent without thinking, her sleeping mind just purring in affection as if in response.

Now let's start with something easy... He thought as he tried to look up a basic historical rundown of the war, this time the console giving him the result he had requested.

Alright, lets see what I can learn before deciding how to make more of a fool of myself tomorrow.



* * *


"You inspire a lot of loyalty from the warriors who know you Captain Jardin." Stillstorm begun as the alien stood in front of her desk with Tempo by his side.

"Thank you Commander." It replied.

"I am aware Parat Tempo has already informed you about the orders I received regarding you."

"She has and I made my decision long before I first awoke aboard Tempest, I will go wherever I need to be." It replied without taking its eyes off of hers.

"And where may that be?" Stillstorm asked.

"If you believe that I am best suited here aboard Tempest aiding you against the Hierarchy then this is exactly where I am needed to be." It replied, the answer taking her by complete surprise. She stared first at him then at Tempo who was just far enough away from him for her mind to be clearly discernible but the Mizol didn't betray a single thought as she too stared back at her in turn.

"And how come you came to the decision to trust my judgement in such an important decision about you and the entirety of your race as well?" Stillstorm pressed, the Mizol had completely blindsided her when she informed her that the alien wanted to talk with her about him remaining on Tempest. She had told her that it was her job as a Mizol to convince the alien to remain but apparently it wanted to talk directly with her about this.

"I have extensively reviewed the Battle at Leido and read up the few after actions reports of your battles that were available to me. You are a respected and accomplished commander who requested for my assistance in the Union's time of need. I am honored and humbled by your faith in me despite the limited amount of time I have been aboard your ship." Stillstorm just frowned at that and looked at it intently before replying.

"Is this its version of a joke?" She asked angrily.

"I am not joking commander."

"Then why is it lying?" Stillstorm demanded.

"I am not lying commander." The alien replied with a steady voice.

"You want to stay here on Tempest because I consider you necessary and not because your Listel and the other infatuated fools are here as well?" Stillstorm asked, her anger flaming up once more.

"I would be lying if I said that I don't care about their well being but I am not lying when I say that your request at this point in time is my sole motivator for wanting to remain here." It replied with a strained steady voice.

"And you trust the spoken word of a dishonest warrior? You who perfectly presented the value of deception in war trust the one who you called dishonest barely two days ago?" Stillstorm pointed out without hiding her anger towards him.

"My words were in error, I let my passions move me and say things that weren't the truth. I retract my maliciously placed comment about your honesty. Especially now that I am fully aware of the value that Loroi put on their naturally inherent honesty." Stillstorm could easily see that the alien barely contained its own anger as it said that and couldn't help but smile, part of her wanted to savor that anger of his but an other part just wanted to yell at him for backing down; hard earned experience however had taught her that both parts were wrong.

"I accept the fact that you said those words in anger after I called into question the honor of two warriors you hold in high esteem without evidence. I now consider the issue settled." Stillstorm replied.

"What do you mean Stillstorm?" Tempo asked at that.

"I mean, Parat ,that it holds you and Tozet Beryl to such a high esteem that it would rather insult me than allow me to belittle you in front of it unanswered." Stillstorm said and Tempo just turned and stared angrily at it who just stood rigidly without taking its eyes off of Stillstorm's. "I was prepared to demand a duel with it but I didn't consider it a warrior worthy of dueling at the time. It should take care not to repeat such an insult towards me without just cause because my opinion of it just changed."

"Thank you Commander, I will make sure that I voice my opinions when you deserve them." The Alien replied with a crooked smile.

"That's a price I will gladly accept if it continues to aid the Union against the Shells." Stillstorm replied with a smile of her own. "I had authorized Parat Tempo to give you some concessions in order to convince you but it seems that there was no need of such bribery. Still I want to know about what you require in order for you to cooperate with me and my staff to the best of your abilities."

"I would like to have a bigger cabin if one is currently available." The alien replied.

"That can be arranged although it has come to my attention that it likes to spend its nights and days with members of my crew, perhaps they would like to accommodate it in their cabins." Stillstorm teased him, enjoying the flash of angry embarrassment that the alien presented.

"I would also appreciate it if you stopped calling me an 'it'." She let a smile form in her face at that before replying.

"Perhaps it needs to do more for it to fully convince me that a male can be a proper warrior. Until that time I shall keep addressing it as I see fit." Stillstorm replied, the alien smiling crookedly when she finished. "Is there anything else that is within my power to grant?"

"I would like to procure an other set of clothes. The uniform I am wearing is a duty uniform, not a dress uniform fit for the functions that are expected of me."

"Have Tozet Beryl show you how you can procure a new uniform through the ship's 3D printers; although I will not authorize it to wear a uniform or armor that has the color scheme of a Loroi warrior caste." The alien nodded in understanding at that.

"One final request, I will probably require access to sensitive information in order to be better informed of the war effort and advise you properly." It was Stillstorm's turn to nod at that.

"A necessity if you are to be of use to me, I entrust Parat Tempo to provide you with the information cleared for a member of my staff. Is there anything else?"

"One last thing, although I don't believe that it is something within your power to grant. I would like for a courier ship to be sent to the waiting relay ship, to deliver a report about the loss of Bellarmine, the events that followed and perhaps to pickup and transport a proper diplomatic team to Seren and the Emperor." Stillstorm frowned in thought at that. She needed to offer some form of excuse to the admiralty for 'accepting' the alien's request to remain aboard Tempest as an advisor. If it was on record that the alien requested for a proper diplomatic team to be picked up and sent instead then it would serve as the excuse necessary for that.

"That's correct, we cannot simply send a ship ten jumps from Naam, not without an escort and the necessary logistics preparation." Stillstorm replied . "But I will see what I can manage should the opportunity arise."

"That's all I can ask of you Commander."

"Good, we are currently at Azimol heading directly for the Enedd jump point. I plan to deep jump the fleet there once we reach the jump point tomorrow and proceed according the enemy's disposition. I will forward you the strategic and tactical data available for you to study. I expect you to voice your comments, objections and concerns the moment you have them." Stillstorm said.

"You are still the Fleet commander?" The alien asked

"Yes, the Torrai Soshret in command of the fleet stationed on Azimol took the bulk of her forces to Sala-128 the moment the alert came out. The Torrai Tezites in overall command of the sector is at Nezel with the reserve fleet and they undoubtedly went to Sala-128 as well. Until I link up with them I remain in command of the fleet." Stillstorm explained.

"I understand, I think that we would best go to work then." The alien exclaimed before walking up to her and offering his right hand.

"Is this the touching ritual I heard about?" Stillstorm asked at she stared first at the Alien and then at Tempo.

"Yes it is my Lashret." Tempo sent before the alien could speak.

"The way I see it Commander we either trust each other to do our duty or we don't." The alien replied while keeping his hand in front of her. Stillstorm stared at him for a few moments before she stood up to grasp the alien's warm hand.


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:20 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

Werra wrote:
Grasping the warm hand of the alien Stillstorm looked it straight into the eyes. She was unsure how long this hand grasping was supposed to last, but equally unwilling to show any uncertainty. So she answered its firm grasp with her own.

Stillstorm was happy, her gut instinct had been right to trust Tempo with neutralising orders from High Command. A boon was in order. It just needed to be something both would recognize as such and nobody else.

„Captain Jardin, for now you will work under Parat Tempo. She is in charge of intelligence and you will serve as a tactical analyst. Your analysis may be a viewpoint Loroi typically don't consider.“ The alien nodded at her, Stillstorm wondered if it had understood her intention. It didn't seem to mind being pawned off, maybe it even realised that this way, it would have access to nearly all tactical data. In any case and as an additional benefit, Tempo might decide to work more often from her quarters due to this.

„You will also be helping the staff officers in charge of supply and inventory stocks at a later date. I expect you to learn the basics as the most junior officer on my ship.“

Its answer came with only a split second of hesitation: „Yes, Commander. I did not expect anything else.“ No reason she couldn't make her staffs live easier by loading off menial tasks on the alien.

Its hand was getting really warm now. Still it showed no indication of stopping this ritual.

„And report to Teidar Razorthorn. Every warrior on a Loroi ship needs to be prepared for boarding actions and fire fighting. She will put you through the basic drills of soldiering.“

To its credit, the alien seemed to realise quickly what that meant. A lot of busy cycles with sore, aching muscles.

„Understood Commander, it helps being prepared for the eventuality.“

Finally the alien released her hand and Stillstorm was maybe too quick to follow. Just because she could and because she enjoyed seeing it squirm she added. „That will also help spend your stamina, so my crew can get some rest.“

Cutting off the expected reaction, she dismissed Tempo and Jardin both. Now that this matter was settled, she only needed to think of something to tell Seren. Stillstorm wasn't overly worried. Afterall, her chief Mizol was now complicit in evading that order. Jovially she pondered that Seren would perhabs be content with an extensive chronicle of that alien. She doubted that a simple written report would be enough however.


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:22 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

Werra wrote:
Two hours later Alex head was swimming. Tempo had given him the tour of the bridge and introduced him to the computer systems he'd need to be familiar with. „Just the basics for now.“ she had said.

Loroi systems were something. Alex recognized most of the sensor data and there were programs and file systems with similar purposes. But the way it was all structured threw him off. Like their minds, it was all very orderly and measured, yet it was also byzantine and alien to him. Their cast system seemed to extent to their operating system as well.

The worst of all was that the Loroi used base 8 for their numbers and they were missing a zero.The creeping dread on his face must have been clearly visible to Tempo who reassured him that he wasn't expected to work with this system until the supply officers had work for him. As SG51 had just been resupplied that would take at least till after the next battle.

Now he sat across from Tempo in her office. The Parat worked on her console with quick strokes. From time to time she handed him a data pad to sign. His medical records, his instruction into Loroi rank structure, his instruction into his new responsibilities, that he had received a copy of the mess halls menu, he even had to sign off on his own name. It was strangely reassuring to know that no matter the military, paperwork was the true frontline.

„One last thing and we're done. Enzin. Here is your new timetable.“ said Tempo as she leaned over and pushed a few buttons on his data pad. What looked like a calendar appeared on the display.
„We will be working together, so we have the same shifts and same off-hours.“ Tempo was positively glowing at this, noticed Alex. He wondered if Stillstorm and she had been entirely honest to him.
Alex took a look. Between his shifts and the extra training sessions there wasn't much time left.

„Stillstorm seems to run a tight ship. That's quite the workday, Tempo.“

„SG51 is an elite unit and the Lashret expects you to function on the same level. Just imagine how exhausting it would be if you hadn't denied her encounter, Enzin.“

As she caught his eye, her laughter stopped.

„Enzin...“

It was several hours later when Alex made his way to his new cabin. After Tempo was done with him, Cloud had lead him to his first training session with Ragan Razorthorn. Not until he had seen the Teidar, had Alex worried. There were standard procedures on any starship and it would be good for him to learn. And, he had admitted to himself, he was curious how Loroi infantry fought.

Razorthorn was one of the Teidar that had first probed him, the purple haired one. Nothing in her opinion of him seemed changed. As soon as he saw her, he had an incline on what to expect. Tempo had promised him a couple weeks of this training.

Now he was exhausted and aching all over. He never knew that fire drills could be so thorough. All he could think of was his bed. Beryl caught up to him from behind, reaching for his hand.

„Enzin, how was your first day? I already heard the great news.“

„My head is spinning, Beryl. There was so much to learn.“

As he took her hand, he received her Sanzai. Well, maybe he could think of more than his bed. The satisfaction at his conclusion was plain to see on Beryls face.

They reached his cabin and entered. Alex was first to enter, still holding Beryls hand. He froze. On his bed sat Brightshield in her off-duty uniform.

„Hello Enzin, I have decided to take you up on your invitation from the mess hall.“

There was the slightest bit of upset on her face as she saw Beryl.

„There are some things open between us two.“ With the last word she had fixed Beryl. Alex felt trouble coming down her arm. This would get ugly.


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:23 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

novius wrote:
"Enzin...? Could you explain me the meaning of this?", Beryl turned towards him, her tone of voice still carefully neutral, but reminding Alex of that single moment she caught him shaking hands with Talon.

Yup, she's definitely possessive, came Alex's thought.

Wordlessly, he sent a breakdown of what had transpired in the mess hall... and later in the baths. How she came on to him like a freight train... and how he tried to fend her off. 'Ew!', came Beryl's disgusted thought as she saw the picture of his specific sort of defense.

'I thought that you are serial monogamous?', Beryl inquired.

'Typically yes. There are exceptions, but I prided myself to not to have a woman on the side besides the one I'm currently with. Even if it was a on-and-off thing with Ellen I never cheated on her.'

It took a moment for Beryl to discern the meaning of 'cheating'. So having another woman on the side was regarded as a dishonorable thing amongst humans?

Alex nods, wondering why his morals had loosened up that much since....

'Wait. Can you look into my mind? I need something for you to see', guiding her towards that 'little extra' Tempo left in his brain.

Alex could feel her mental presence rifling through his mind. Stray thoughts popped up and were discarded as uninteresting, though one certain off duty time he spent together with Ellen caught her interest for a longer moment.

'Ah, there!', her jubilant thought came, 'this looks like Mizol handiwork, for sure. Let me trace the connections...'

Another series of thoughts popped up in his mind's eye, this time definitely with a rather lewd slant.

'I think I see it. Whatever she did, it lowered your inhibitions and your perception of your moral code. Especially when it comes to mating encounters. In essence, you'd be more prone to act against your convictions of staying 'faithful' to one woman.'

Alex paused for a moment. 'That ... explains much. That reminds me - Tempo did say that monogamy would be seen as poorest of taste, and even a male showing preference to a single female would face repercussions? Perhaps she saw our growing attraction and decided to ... do something to my brain to make me more palatable to Loroi sensibilities, and me being comfortable with it?'

Beryl blinked.... 'That ... makes sense, in a Mizol way of thinking. Perhaps... we should leave that in place, then?'

A wave of guilt washed over Beryl, coming from Alex. 'Only if you are comfortable with that. If you feel alright with me being intimate with other Loroi...?', he left this question unfinished.

'It is already fringe behavior that I returned to your quarters for several off duty shifts now. People already start to talk. And I see that every set of eyes rests upon you, and by extension the rest of us. A bit of ... unorthodox ... behavior might be expected now, but there are limits. It would be sharing you with others, or not seeing you at all', she sent with a soothing undertone, 'and given what we have, I do not want to miss it.'

'So best leave Tempo's 'present' here, then.', Alex concluded.

'Agreed. Especially since it may take another Mizol to remove it without risking your sanity. Speaking of which, this Mizol went a bit far...', Beryl added, 'and, she's already wondering what we're up to. Does she know about your sanzai?'

Alex stopped short. So far, she doesn't, but...

'I'm not sure. In the bath I got the feeling that she started to pick up on my thoughts. And so far she has been quite upfront with me, so I guess my Lotai might start to open up with her, too.'

A prickly thought came from Beryl. She liked it as it was, with Fireblade, Tempo, maybe Talon, but for some reason she'd like it less if Brightshield would include herself into their little circle. Not after what just happened.

Returning to the waking world, Beryl and Alex could see that Brightshield was regarding them with a measuring look, seemingly filing away that tidbit for a later date.

"...there are", Alex tried to deflect her suspicions, "But I just wasn't prepared to see either Beryl or you... or any other Loroi here, at the moment. Ragan Razorthorn really put me through the grinder.

Brightshield smiled. "Yet you still have enough stamina to invite Tozet Beryl to your quarters, again?"

Alex tried for a half smile. "Well, she is irresistible, after all."

'Enzin!', came Beryl's shocked thought, and the mental equivalent of her blushing, furiously.

"And I am not? I'm hurt.", Brightshield's voice dropped an octave, getting a decidedly seductive timbre again.

Alex tugged at his collar. "I'd... be lying if I'd say you wouldn't be... Each and every one of you warrior ladies are stunningly beautiful and alluring, every single one in her own uniqueness."

Brightshield blinked a moment, then the tips of her ears darkened several shades. Whatever she expected, it hadn't been this...

She turned towards Beryl, and with his hand still in hers, he was able to 'listen in' to the sanzai flowing back and forth, though it didn't help him much - the exchange of thoughts was too fast and too complex for his untrained mind to follow, especially from the proverbial backseat.

Then, as the exchange died down and a feeling of having an agreement settled in the mindscape, Alex returned to the waking world.

Only to face two pairs of Loroi eyes fixed on him.

Both sets glinting with the same look of unbridled desire.

"Uh... Ladies...?", Alex started, hestitantly, with a feeling of impending doom creeping up in him.

It was Brightshield who spoke. "I see now that I should have announced myself before barging in. Though we all could agree that it wouldn't look good for Beryl", here, Alex noted that Brightshield dropped her rank, "and you if she starts hogging you. But since you're already primed for an encounter with her, as I see it, it would be in poor taste of me if I'd tear you away from her."

Yep, that does sound ominous.

"So... perhaps to uphold her honor and to not to go overly against your sensibilities, would you agree to an encounter with these two irresistible ladies right here?"

Alex wasn't sure if it was Tempo's influence or this just being what is reputed to be the dream of every breathing straight male, but he was definitely leaning towards accepting... maybe as a one time thing and then making sure that Loroi might not into his cabin unannounced. Well, given some exceptions, he thought, glancing at the white-haired waifish Listel Tozet. His Beryl.



Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:23 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Originally posted here.

Werra wrote:
Beryl gave him a reassuring look and prodded him on. With stuttering gears in his brain Alex managed to say: „If it's okay with you, Beryl, then I agree to that, Brightshield.“

The Mizol was delighted to hear that. She stood up and came straight in for a close body hug. He felt her body press against his. He had seen her fully naked already, but that tight uniform of hers she wore left just enough to the imagination.

As her lips found his, his brain gave out totally. He couldn't believe this was happening. Back in the academy the students had watched an ancient series about space exploration. Guessing when the next alien woman would fall for the dashing captain had turned into a drinking game. Alex wondered how drunk future students would get thanks to him.

Brightshield let go off him and Beryl took over. Alex felt weak in the knees and so they ended up on the bed together. He proped himself up with his elbows, Beryl lying on his chest. Her smile genuine and wide. Until she fell asleep.

Confused Alex looked up. Brightshield stood behind Beryl, her hands on her neck. She pulled the woman from him and placed her softly on the floor. Beryl peacefully snored.

As his brain screamed: „Mizol trick!“ at him, Brightshield had already slid up onto him. Her arms behind his back, her chest on his.

She was amused and very happy. „How positively devious of you, Captain Jardin. You played along excellently. You gave us the perfect cover.“

„I...what?“ Alex said.

„Don't you remember? You invited me to your cabin in the mess hall to cover this matter of first contact. You said you had thought of something?“

Alex did remember. The matter had completely passed from his mind. The clinicalness with which Brightshield had switched gears was astounding. „She is a Mizol“, said a part of his brain. „You just learned that the other Mizol manipulated your thoughts.“

„Uh,yes, I remembered some things. What did you do to Beryl?“ Right now Alex didn't care about anything that happened 400 years ago.

Brightshield assuaged him: „Nevermind about Beryl. She is just sleeping. She will wake up completely fine. What did you think of?“

Alex wanted to get out under Brightshield, but the Loroi was on top of him and had her legs interlocked with his. So he kept playing along.

„I remembered some crackpot theories that went around pre-starflight. About aliens that had visited earth before, buildings that were theorized to have been built by aliens and such things. Maybe you can show me some of the Soia-Liron architecture?“

Brightshield nodded and withdrew from him, seemingly oblivious to his distress. While she got out her data pad, she asked: „What are crackpot theories?“

„Crazy theories“ Alex explained.

„What an imaginative metaphor, Enzin.“

Then she handed him her data pad and laid down besides him so she could see the screen too.Alexwas conscious of her still touching him this way even through both their clothes.

There were a number of pictures on the display. Of houses, halls and buildings. Alex presumed this was Soia architecture. He flipped through the pictures but saw nothing that jumped out at him. No pyramids, no greek collums, no egyptian statues.

„No, this doesn't look like anything we have on earth. I never thought I would say this, but I wish I had paid closer attention to these crazy ramblings.“

Brightshield looked a bit disappointed. „A shame, Soia ruins are quite common on many worlds.“
Alex told her: „I'm not feeling good about you putting Beryl to sleep like that.“

Apologizing Brightshield answered: „I'm sorry about that. You have me here primarily in my function as Mizol. The matter of first contact is top secret, so I had to take firm measures. I assure you that Tozet Beryl will wake up unharmed.“

„So this was all just to talk to me in secrecy?“

„Of course not, Enzin. I meant every word of what I told you – about our flight from Gora and otherwise.“ She looked deeply into Alex eyes. „A shame that Beryl visited you for the third night in a row.“

Alex had to ignore the sparkle in her blue eyes. „Yes, that surprisingly changed the mood.“

„Are we still friends, Enzin?“ came Brightshields worried reply.

He had to take a breath and consider, but finally Alex decided. „Yes, I suppose so. I believe you really didn't mean any harm.“

„I'm happy to hear that.“ She tightly hugged him. Then: „I didn't know you could lower your Lotai.“

The remark hit him like a whip, so unexpected was it. „I didn't know either and it took time and training. It was more a surprise discovery than anything else. How do you...“

„Know? Enzin, I'm not blind. You and Beryl clearly had a discussion over Sanzai when you entered. Who else knows?“

„Fireblade and Tempo.“

She froze at that. „Enzin, I hope you know what you are doing. I am your friend and consider that in my duties. Please be careful.“

Alex gave the Mizol an incredulous look. „I consider Tempo a friend too. She has done me a few big favours already. But thank you for the warning nonetheless.“

„I'm happy to hear that. It's reassuring. You'll be fine.“ Then she leaned over and gave his cheek a kiss. „Good luck tomorrow on your first day.“

After she was gone, Alex remained on his bed. The past few minutes had been sobering. He hoped most of the details of his mission would be kept out of the history books.

A soft snore from the floor reminded him of Beryl. He had no idea how to explain any of this to her. Considering the trouble his lowered inhibitions had brought him, a stern talk with Tempo was also in order.

He carefully lifted Beryl back into bed. Then he placed his blanket over them both and put an arm around her. On the plus side, he'd be getting a full night of sleep thanks to Brightshield.


Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:25 am
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Posted here: viewtopic.php?p=31324#p31324

Quote:

He didn't expect explaining to Beryl what happened to be easy but he also didn't expect her to snap the way she did the instant he begun doing so.

"The damn Mizol put me to sleep so she could mate with you alone?" Beryl sent angrily.

"No she just wanted to brief me about something important."

"And she couldn't just say so instead of barging into your cabin and wait for you on your bed unannounced? Beryl replied, her anger flaring even further.

"She also entertained the possibility of mating with me afterwards.

"Then why did she put me to sleep if she wanted to mate as well?

"Because what she wanted to brief me about is classified and she thought it best that you wouldn't be made aware of it. He tried to explain while keeping the thoughts of the discussion he had with Brightshield hidden, Beryl shifted her anger to him as she realized that.

"I am a Listel Tozet assigned to the 51st Strike Group, I have intelligence stored in my mind that a Losat can't even dream to get proper clearance for and you are hiding it from me?" Beryl exploded at him.

"I am sorry Beryl but I promised I would keep the information to myself after she divulged it to me in good faith. The only other who may know of this aboard this ship is Tempo and I have yet to talk with her about this. He explained as best as he could before sensing her anger subside slightly to be overtaken by an overwhelming sense of curiosity.

"I will to talk with Tempo about this and if she doesn't know I will make Brightshield tell me everything." Beryl sent as she stood up and went for the cabin's console.

"Beryl wait..."

"I will also have her remove whatever she put in your mind. It has caused enough trouble for us already! Beryl snapped back at him as she typed something in the console, her anger about Brightshield putting her to sleep overriding the decision they had come to earlier.

"What is it Enzin?... Beryl?" He heard Tempo's voice after she picked the call.

"Yes, You must come to Enzin's cabin; all three of us have something important to discuss!" Beryl said angrily before cutting off the connection. Alex heard the console blip a couple of times but Beryl typed something to it before it stopped.

"Tempo will be here in a few solons." Beryl sent after a couple of minutes of silence.

"Beryl..." Alex tried to calm her down but she was having none of it.

"No, I am a Listel Tozet, the only Listels with higher security clearances than me are the archivists and the senior archivists of my Caste and they are aware of intelligence that is beyond anything a Losat can dream of!" Beryl ranted.

"Wait a moment, are you angry at Brightshield just because she is aware of classified material that you aren't?" Alex asked.

"Yes and because she is taking advantage of whatever Tempo put to your head! I wouldn't be surprised if the two Mizol actually conspired about this! Beryl ranted again.

"You females are going to be the death of me for sure." Alex commented dryly and checked at the time with his datapad, he still had about an hour of free time left before the scheduled morning drills with Razorthorn would begin.

"Your drills are with Ragan Razorthorn? This was her cabin in case you didn't know about it." Beryl sent as he thought of that.

"Damn, so that's why she still hates me..."

"That's the way she is with everyone, her spoken name is a very apt descriptor for her. The rest of the crew often joked that Fireblade would probably calm down if she mated but Razorthorn wouldn't." For some reason he couldn't help but chuckle at that before the door opened to let an obviously annoyed Tempo inside.

"What is it so important for us three to speak about Tozet Beryl?" Tempo asked vocally.

"I want to be briefed about the classified materials that Enzin and Losat Brightshield have been talking about." Beryl replied.

"Did you inform someone unauthorized about classified intelligence Enzin?" Tempo asked angrily.

"I didn't explain anything to her, I just told her that it was classified and couldn't tell her anything." Alex replied defensively.

"I am a Listel Tozet of the 51st Strike Group, I want to know what is so important that Losat Brightshield, you and Enzin know about while I don't!" Beryl cut in with her usual stubbornness.

"The issue is technically beyond both of our classifications Tozet Beryl, Losat Brightshield fulfilled the criteria of learning about it by mere coincidence and has informed both me and Enzin out of professional courtesy and there is currently no reason to involve a Listel of any classification clearance on the matter." Tempo replied sternly enough to make Beryl relent. "I would appreciate that neither of you discuss this issue any further, even passing the knowledge of the issue existing at the first place is a breach of confidentiality."

"I understand." Alex replied while sensing how angry Beryl was with everything even before she spoke.

"We also have to talk about whatever you implanted in his mind during his training with you." Beryl said.

"That's is a personal matter between me and him Tozet Beryl." Tempo replied, letting a tinge of anger show in her voice.

"It is not personal if it is affecting his behavior towards us." Beryl pointed out, catching Tempo by surprise.

"Enzin, do you honestly believe that I implanted something in your mind that would in any way affect your behavior?" Tempo asked him in turn.

"I honestly don't know, it has been bothering me ever since I realized that you sent something back to me at Gora Relay." Alex replied and Tempo just sighed before walking up to him and Beryl so they could connect via Sanzai.

"What I sent to Enzin was a personal and intimate message from me to him, I didn't even realize that I had sent it until after I did so but it is not something that would affect his behavior." Tempo explained truthfully but Beryl couldn't just accept it.

"What did you send him Mizol?" Beryl insisted, drawing a mental sigh out of Tempo who just turned her attention to Alex at that.

"Enzin will you allow us to see and analyze what I sent you back then so I may truly convince both of you that it wasn't in any way harmful to you?" Tempo asked and he agreed instantly without thinking.

"The first clue that the message isn't harmful is the fact that his subconscious still trusts me despite me sending it to him but if that isn't enough lets see exactly how his mind handled it." Tempo begun as the two of them each took one of his hands in their own in order to fully connect with him.

"Whatever you did it lowered his inhibitions and his perception of his moral code." Beryl explained accusingly as he sensed both of them peeking into a particular portion of his mind.

"No Listel, this particular thought about the lessening of his inhibitions and the perception of his moral code that you point out isn't a result of mental manipulation but simple mental erosion due to stress and his subconscious mental adoption to his new social environment. It's natural due to the sudden traumatic changes he has gone through in so little time." Tempo explained but Beryl was still not convinced.

"But how about the mental connections that link this to your implanted message?"

"I will show you exactly what I implanted for you to realize your Listel foolishness but first I would like for Enzin to confirm if he thought that my message affected him after he realized it."

"I did think of it that way." Alex confirmed.

"Were you in any way alerted with an instinctual sense of panic at the realization or did you assume that it must have been something I did that must have affected you in this?" Tempo asked him again.

"I assumed that it was something that you did."

"Now Listel, what is the first sign of detecting mental manipulation and suggestions?" Tempo asked.

"The subconscious reacts with a sense of panic when the conscious mind realizes it." Beryl replied automatically.

"His subconscious mind didn't react like this but the conscious mind assumed it was affected and made the mental connections with his stress and mental adoption changes because he couldn't make sense of them otherwise." Tempo explained.

"Can you explain that to me please?" Alex asked. "What do you mean by mental erosion due to stress and mental adoption?"

"Both the mind and body don't like to feel stressful. Mental erosion due to stress is the natural damage the mind suffers when under constant stress without a positive outlet to counter it. Mental adoption is the natural acclimation process of each individual when thrown in a new environment. It's easy to see how this mental erosion has affected you, you are surrounded exclusively by females that you find extremely attractive, you are under near constant stress and you lack a positive social outlet for lack of a better description. This culmination of stress is why you had your mental breakdown the other night." Tempo sent.

"Mental breakdown?" Beryl asked.

"When I told him about Stillstorm's desire to keep him on Tempest his stress triggered a mental breakdown due to a very important memory that was brought to the surface."

"And where was I? Why wasn't I informed?" Beryl asked in agitation.

"You were soundly sleeping in his cabin, I wanted to wake you up so he could recuperate alone but he insisted otherwise. I accepted his wishes because you are a good companion to him." Tempo replied.

"Thanks... so what did you send him."

"Nothing that a male interested in us would object too..." Tempo moved her attention to an other part of his mind and suddenly a really... carnal memory of hers came to him, a promise of blissful relief with her body and really precise... descriptions about what she would do with him the moment he would accept her as his mate.

"That's..." Beryl begun to think with obvious embarrassment.

"A sex letter? Really?" Alex asked while trying to fight back his arousal after his mind went through the entirety of Tempo's message.

"Yes... that's the closest analogy you have to relate with such a private sending." Tempo confirmed.

"That's not something you send to someone you work professionally with! Alex chastised her.

"I didn't send it consciously and I have already regretted sending it after realizing that you are not just an outlet for carnal desires, you are a warrior suffering under the stress of your duties. We have to treat you with the appropriate respect while also accepting your desires on how best to fulfill the needs you have. At first I wanted to mate with you because I thought of you as a male who would make me feel good while I would relieve your bodily wants, I didn't even think that I would also have to relieve your mind from its suffering. Beryl has been doing this even if she hasn't realized it yet and I still hope that I will be able to help you as well before too long." Tempo's mind was filled with an uncharacteristic pleasant warmth as she explained her newfound feelings towards him, she actually reminded him of how Fireblade felt towards him when...

"I see that Fireblade feels the same way as well..." Tempo thought as he subtly pushed the thought of Fireblade away from her perception.

"I appreciate your honest feelings Tempo." Alex sent to her.

"And I am convinced that you didn't do anything harmful to his mind." Beryl relented, with a hint of appreciation towards Tempo for describing her as important to him.

"Although I am surprised that this message of mine hadn't come to you soon after I sent it to you. A male's subconscious should have triggered it instantly. Tempo exclaimed.

"I was thinking of... other things at the time. Alex replied while suppressing the myriad of fantasies he had come up with about every single one of the passengers of Highland 7 while he was essentially under house arrest in the shuttle. Bot Tempo and Beryl must have picked some of it up because both of their minds let out some very embarrassed blushes at that, accompanied by their ears turning into a deeper shade of blue.

"Perhaps me sending this message was unnecessary in trying to steer your desires towards me and perhaps other Loroi." Tempo teased him as she took her hand and broke the mental connection the three of them shared.

"It will be a long day today and Tempest will be jumping into Enedd in the afternoon, get yourselves ready for it." Tempo told them before leaving the cabin.

_________________
My fan fics:

Looking forward to the mirror (Delayed editing)
Reforged (Irregular updates)
The Pale Horse (Completed, could use some editing)


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Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:47 pm
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Quote:

Even without touching her, Alex could feel the turmoil in Beryl's mind.

'...are we still good...?', he sent softly, switching her mood swiftly to one of remorse, as she turned to him with a doleful look on her face.

'Of course we are... you silly, honorable male', she sent with a mock-chiding tone, 'I was angry that you withheld a piece of knowledge from me, not at you... but Brightshield said that you did so because it was classified information that normally would have been even above her and Tempo's 'pay grade'... that's the term, right?'

Alex chuckled. 'Spot on. Looks like you're good at picking up English colloqialisms', he tried with a subtext of lightheartedness.

'I'm a Listel, after all. It's what we're supposed to do.', she chimed in, with a sense of pride.

'I see. And about the other thing...', Alex trailed off.

'I see now what had happened. And, even if I have to share you with them I'd be elated if I could just keep a bit of you to myself. I promise you, I won't let you go, as long as you'll have me.', she sent with a tinge of conviction, and...

Loroi might have no word for it, and it might even be frowned upon in their culture, but no one could say that they cannot feel love., Alex thought to himself, not really minding if that thought would leak over to her or not.

Beryl seized that moment with closing in on Alex, her lips seeking his, placing soft, sweet kisses.

'Uh... Beryl... We have about less than three thousand solons before my shift starts...?', he sent hestitantly, but was quickly met with the soothing tones of her sanzai.

'Hush now. It might be not enough for a full mating - not for as long as you can go -', she allowed a lewd slant to creep into her thoughts, 'but let us just enjoy the time before you have to leave for duty.'

While Alex worldlessly met her kisses with his with renewed fervor, the more rational part of Beryl's mind made a note that she should talk to the others. Part to compare notes, part to make sure that they won't barge in onto each other... well if they didn't agree to, at least... but that part was quickly drowned out by the sensation of pure bliss that rose up in her.

She meant every word she had sent. She wouldn't mind sharing as it was dictated by everything she grew up with, as long as there is still part of Alex that was just for her.



Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:14 pm
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Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Quote:
Tempo left Alex cabin and made her way to her office. Her shift would start soon, getting a bit of a headstart would be nice. As the fleet would soon jump to Enedd, enemy contact was imminent. Therefore Tempo had to make sure the intel on the enemy was up to speed.

A part of her attention still lingered on Beryls signature and it came as no surprise to see her vanish before her mind just moments after Tempo left the two of them. That was the third night in a row and Beryl showed no sign of stopping. Tempo was worried, she liked the Listel yet even she started to begrudge the woman her time with Enzin. The mood of the crew had to be carefully monitored to gauge how the rest of Tempest thought about this.

She told as much to Cloud, who had just come out of the mess hall as Tempo passed it.
„I also need the report of the Listel from the night shift.. And send me Losat Brightshield please.“

Enzin would not know about Loroi customs. Tempo feared that even if he knew, he wouldn't care in this case. There was little Tempo could do about it for now. An official reprimand for Beryl would harm her own chances with Enzin.

That Enzin was so quick to trust the Loroi turned out to be more of a problem than a boon.
Did he really ask for a Listel to sift through his mind? That such a smart man could miss the implications of an eidetic memory shocked Tempo. Perhabs it was for the best that Enzin had invited Brightshield to his room. Two Mizol contending with Enzin would be good and it was unlikely Enzin would mind.

Sitting at her chair she quickly made a few notes about her thoughts before Brightshield entered.
The woman made a shapely figure in her uniform. Enzins tastes seemed to cover more than just slim Beryl.

„You wanted to see me Parat?“

„Yes, please take a seat, Lozat Brightshield. I have heard that you made progress in the Deinar matter?“

„Not a lot, Parat. Captain Jardin signalled that he had thought of something. Apparently humanity has a history of theories about ancient alien cultures.“

Tempo was intrigued: „They do? Any similarities to what we know of the precursors?“

„No, Parat. The way he described them, these theorists are very low quality sources. He did compare Soia architecture to earth ones, but found no similarities.“

„I will put that both into the file anyway. Did you have trouble maintaining secrecy on this?“

The Lozat perked up: „No, Parat. Captain Jardin played along with a cover and invited me to his room. I waited there then, but Tozet Beryl came too. I was able to pull a Mizol on her and put her to sleep.“

„Good job, Lozat.“ Tempo closed the file and deliberately stowed away the datapad before returning her focus to the Lozat.

„Brightshield, did you two have an encounter afterwards?“

Acknowledging the lack of formality with a soft nod, Brightshield answered: „I would have, but putting Beryl to sleep stopped the mood.“

„What did you think of Beryls behaviour?“

„She didn't take much convincing to share, Tempo.“ As diplomatic as that answer was, the mere fact that some convincing had been needed was understood by both Loroi.

„Your decision to reveal the Deinar matter to Enzin might cost us. Even though Enzin is our best source of intel.“

„How so, Tempo?“

„Are you aware that Enzin asked Beryl to sift his brain for Mizol tricks?“

The woman was obviously surprised to hear that. „He asked a Listel to do that? Did she find anything?“

„Just a little prank we have all played on each other during training, just more private.“

„I see. Does she know about Deinar?“

„Not that I know of. We will have to keep an eye out on Beryls files. As you are in charge of the Deinar matter, you should do it.“

Tempo copied a few passwords on Brightshields datapad. She would now be able to read everything Beryl typed.

„Brightshield, that issue with Enzin and Beryl might make it necessary that we work closely together.“

Tempo had deliberately left it vague what issue she meant. Even so as a trained Mizol, Brightshield had understood her anyway. A smile formed on her face.
„I'm looking forward to working together with you as closely as opportune.“

A nod and a few keystrokes send Enzins timetable and his tracker to Brightshield. If her new alliance meant Enzin would be too busy to spill state secrets to Beryl and if Beryl would find no opening to sink her reputation further, Tempo was willing to risk getting her fingers wet.

Alex had managed to get to Razorthorn solons before the appointed time. The Teidar was in as foul a mood as yesterday. Not deigning to notice his short breath, she had just informed him that today they would work on first aid procedures. Starting with techniques to transport unconscious warriors. The training object, as Razorthorn pointed out, was a doll lying on the floor, in full combat gear.

An hour later he barely had the strength to return Berlys smile as he passed her on the bridge. Tempo was already here as was Stillstorm, who gave him one of her disparaging looks for his low stamina.

Tempo seemed deeply engrossed in her work. Only after he had cleared his throat did she look up surprised.

„Enzin? I hadn't noticed you.“

„Must be that Lotai of mine or you would have sensed me approaching.“

„True. Follow me. I've got a task for you.“

He followed her into her office where she sat him down in front of a stack of data pads.
„This is the current intel we have on enemy movements in the sector. The Commander wants you to familiarise yourself with it all before we jump to Enedd.“

Alex picked up a data pad at random. There was a lot on it. Tempo put a hand on his shoulder, lightly squeezing.

„I would love to stay, Enzin. But there's lots to do. I'll talk to you over dinner after our shifts.“

Shortly after Tempo had left, Cloud appeared and dropped yet another stack of pads on his table. She just smirked and shrugged her shoulders. Turning his attention to the massive pile he had to work through, Alex quickly forgot his sore muscles and the sounds of the ship around him.
From a simple report to troop movements to evaluations of tactical capabilities of possible shell commanders, it was all before him. He was engrossed in the data stream.

Enedd would be a hot jump.


Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:16 am
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Location: Athens, Greece
Post Re: [WP] Beacons (Story Thread Only)
Quote:

Alex had spent hours shifting through the various reports until he could finally be able to form a somewhat clear picture about the current situation, he had to make several assumptions as he absorbed everything but he was confident that he didn't miss something egregious as he once more went through the notes he had written on his personal datapad.

Enemy commander of the Leido force uncharacteristically conservative. Doctrinal change? Orders? Other?

One of the first realizations that he made was that the Hierarchy commander of the battle of Leido was uncharacteristically conservative while deploying his forces. In all the reports he managed to read the Umiak had always shown a characteristic aggression in all of their battles no matter the casualties that were sustained in the process. They also rarely withdrew from battles, even if the situation was hopeless; formations could be shattered and individual ships could run away but rarely did one of their fleets actually withdraw from battle after it was joined. This was part of the reason as to why the Hierarchy suffered a disproportionately high amount of casualties throughout the war.

This is what made the Umiak commander of Leido uncharacteristic. All others would have attacked all out from the start and absorb the casualties as they went but they didn't do so on Leido. He had three theories as to why. Either their engagement doctrine changed, they were under orders to conserve forces or there were other unknown parameters involved. Such a radical doctrinal change was unlikely so he ruled that out, he couldn't think of any 'out of the box' reason either which left standing orders as the most likely reason of such an uncharacteristic battle deployment.

This doesn't make sense though, the deep jump at Leido was extremely dangerous and undoubtedly cost them a large portion, maybe even half, of their deep jump contingent if they were ready to risk losing so many ships then they would still be aggressive... Could that actually be it, that they lost far more ships with that stunt than they expected? In such a case and if the plans of their campaign demand a set amount of ships available then yes the enemy commander would be forced to be conservative with their forces since they had already lost far more ships than they expected. If they were using deep jumps to cut off all the various outposts before Leido then we could be looking at monstrous loses due to continuous deep jumping attrition.

He looked the star map from Rallis vector at that.

Yeah, at least one more white dwarf on the way to Leido... This could be it. I am putting the uncharacteristic battle as being the result of standing orders from the overall commander of the offensive.

He moved to the next note he had written down.

Possible enemy objectives: Strategic breakthrough? Decisive Battle? Both? Other? He had originally thought that goal of this offensive was a 'march to the sea' scenario but he wasn't really convinced about that. If it was that then the enemy forces would be far more aggressive in their pursuit of breaking through to Enedd and then at Nezel. He assumed that the Shells hadn't attacked Nezel as fast as they could because of their commander's behavior at Enedd. Taking into account his previous assumption that the enemy was conservative because of previous loses he further assumed that they took too many loses to immediately attack Nezel while also having enough forces to both guard their supply contingent and engage in a decisive battle.

So where is the decisive battle taking place? Sala-128, all of the sector's forces are there, the main contingent of Azimol and the bulk of the reserve fleet from Nezel. The Shells attacked Sala-128 first with six divisions which resulted in a 'Code four' response. The sector's entire fleet should be there right now in order to engage the initial assault. Then an attack by four more divisions at Sala-101, this one commanded by the 'Stray' and having a fleet that leaned heavily in favor of heavy vessels. Last came Leido with a total of 20 divisions in a gatecrusher force, about two of those divisions got lost at the fighting there. 15 divisions from the remaining 18 jumped to Enedd while one more jumped in from Sala-101 after that system was undoubtedly secured. Of the 4 that remained at Leido at least one got destroyed when the Relay exploded and in the ensuing fighting. If this is a decisive battle objective then the Stray would take his three remaining divisions and engage the Loroi at Sala-128 while the forces at Enedd would split up, a large contingent would jump into Sala-128 from Enedd and help envelop the Loroi while cutting off their retreat towards Nezel while the remaining forces will wait in Enedd to cover the supply contingent. After the battle and the bulk of the Loroi fleet is destroyed then the Hierarchy will crush Nezel and the citadels there. With the gates open and no one left to fight the Hierarchy gets a war winning advantage since there is almost nothing beyond Nezel that can put up a fight.

There were a lot of assumptions in this line of thought but that was all he could come up with the intelligence he had available.

This also explains the ambush at Naam now that I think about it, with the Raider groups still active the supply chain from their territory to their penetration forces would be in jeopardy. With the bulk of the raiders out of commission there is no harassment force in place to deny those supplies from the Umiak.

Alex thought and leaned back on his chair to think more about this.

Alright, how to get out of this? If the Loroi fleet gets decimated then it is already over, without the threat of the fleet looming over them the Shells will run amuck in the interior but if they have a fleet to worry about they will remain concentrated. The first priority should be for the fleet to remain a tangible threat. What's after this? Ideally stopping the enemy at Nezel but to do that we need the fleet intact and the Umiak fleet disorganized and bled some more so... Secondary priority should be to force the enemy to waste expendable weaponry and fuel as a priority. Their supply lines are already stretched thin but if we trick them into being wasteful then their combat capacity dwindles exponentially the longer we go at it.

Unable to think of anything more with what he had at his disposal Alex finally begun writing his analysis.

To: Fleet Commander, Torrai Lashret Stillstorm.

From the data available to me it is my assumption that the enemy pursues two primary objectives at this point in time:

First is the destruction of the Tinza Sector fleet at Sala-128 by surrounding the assets that responded to the Code Four alert there. The enemy will attack from Sala-101 and Enedd while simultaneously ensuring that the route to Nezel Fleet base will be cut off.

Second is the destruction of Nezel fleet base which when combined with the destruction of the Tinza Sector fleet assets will mean the full collapse of the Tinza sector and the subsequent collapse of the Union by directly attacking Minzan sector.

Proposed counters to these objectives:

The survival of as many Tinza sector fleet assets should be an absolute priority in order to maintain a fighting force able to at the very least hinder Hierarchy operations until reinforcement from Seren sector arrive.

It is my assumption that the Hierarchy will not attack Nezel fleet base until after the destruction of the main Tinza sector fleet assets. The uncharacteristic conservatism exhibited at the battle of Leido by the enemy commander can only be explained by disproportionate loses due to jump attrition which affected the pre planned order of battle for this offensive operation. However even with the destruction of Nezel fleet base the Tinza sector fleet assets are the only force capable of harassing and containing the enemy forces should they penetrate into Union interior.

Tactical suggestions:

Due to the Hierarchy's stretched supply lines I propose constant harassment of Hierarchy fleet assets with mock attacks in order to expedite the consumption of their expendable weaponry, their fuel reserves and destroy minor fleet assets that cannot be easily replaced so far away from Hierarchy territory (gunboats and medium class vessels).

Respectfully
Captain Jardin
TCA Military Attache

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My fan fics:

Looking forward to the mirror (Delayed editing)
Reforged (Irregular updates)
The Pale Horse (Completed, could use some editing)


Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:27 pm
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