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Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront
 
Old 25 Jul 2007, 17:16   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront

This is the first fluff piece I've ever written, so I would absolutely love any comments and criticisms. Honestly, I often rewrite whole sections, so say anything you want. This multipart story focuses on Shas'el Fal'shia Lyi'ot, the commanding officer of Ka'vaal Es’cea’va’cha, and his personal cadre.

+++

The lofty viewports of the Morning Light afforded an excellent view of the amassing fleet, a fact completely lost on Shas’el Fal'shia Lyi’ot until that very moment. The majestic beauty of the armada had come as a completely surprise, hitting with the force of a physical strike. He stood rooted in place, staring in rapt awe at the stars above, completely oblivious to the traffic around him.

The Empire prided itself on its spirit of inclusion and acceptance, but El'lyi'ot had never seen that diversity so expressed as now. The long, blocky shapes of the Tau vessels – the bulbous spheres of the Kroot, no two alike – the towering superstructures of the Demiurg guild ships – even the occasional Gue’la rogue trader was present. El’lyi’ot smiled as his eyes lighted upon his cadre's Il’fannor-class vessel, just one speck among the millions filling the sky.

His reverie was broken by the lithe voice of a Kor-caste aide, her mellifluous words a perfect match for her thin frame. “Shas’el, the last of the cadres are assuming their final jump positions. The Morning Light will be activating its skipdrive within the dec.”

Lyi’ot absently nodded an affirmation, never taking his eyes off of the viewport. But try as he might, the moment was gone, and El’lyi’ot unhappily felt his mind come back into focus.

“Kor’vre!” El’lyi’ot shouted after the retreating aide. “Please inform the deck crew that after the next successful jump, I must take a shuttle to the Vash’ya – I have unfinished business to attend to.”
Unfinished business. The words hung in Lyi’ot’s mind long after the Kor had departed, refusing to let him find peace among the stars. I’ve put off this assignment long enough, he thought. Time to face the inevitable.

+++

M’yen. What a pleasant surprise.

El'lyi’ot smiled seeing his second pacing the launch bay, waiting for his arrival. This was completely like her – m’yen translates to “unforeseen” in the human tongue, and Lyi’ot believed her name perfect. As the most skilled Broadside pilot in the cadre, her devastating fusillades were the stuff of legend. But m’yen described her actions off the battlefield even more accurately – decisive, unexpected, and above all, brutally honest. El'lyi’ot loved her.

“To the belly of the Beast?” she began, without even a hint of the deference normally reserved for the cadre commander.

“Indeed, Shas’vre. The Vash'ya contacted me again today, this time stating it was 'urgent.' I guess it's time I took them up on their invitation.”

“It’s something that’s been long over due, commander. You should have…”

M’yen trailed off. She knew her words were unnecessary: he had always known the correct course of action, but had purposefully hesitated. “I’m sorry, I spoke out of… ”

Lyi’ot rested his hand on her shoulder, an edge of sadness in his voice. “Don’t apologize, M’yen. You speak the truth. It’s just… we each have different ways of dealing with grief. It helped me to ignore the Vash’ya, to shut it out of my mind.”

M’yen looked away. “I know. Why else do you think I pushed for you to go?”

+++

Technically, the vessel’s name was Bor’kan Gal’leath Vash’ya Lar’shi, but the Gue’la’s tendency to condense names into little crystals of meaning was growing on El'lyi’ot. Thanks to the inherently descriptive nature of Tau names, the process was surprisingly honest: “Vash’ya” and “Lar’shi” spoke of skilled commanders on the edge of the Second Sphere, bravely scouting new systems. The exterior of the Vash’ya certainly looked the part, its exterior bulkheads scarred and crumpled from dozens of tau’cyr fighting the ork.

But that’s all a lie now, isn’t it? El'lyi’ot thought ruefully, his shuttle lining up for a final approach. The vessel might still be between spheres, but there’s no heroism left here. Only the cold indifference of “necessity.”

+++

Completely innocuous, the Vash’ya blended perfectly into the flurry warships and support vessels assembled around the Morning Light. A careful eye might perceive that the Vash’ya, though ostensibly a battle-hardened warship, was stripped of any armament. Only the truly perceptive would discern the flight of Kass'l gunships that kept constant vigilance over the converted vessel.

A famed vessel, the Vash’ya was reborn in retirement as a cutting-edge research station, its old systems gutted and replaced with the best biological equipment possible. El'lyi’ot’s cadre had no special orders associated with protecting or escorting the Vash’ya; it was to simply accompany his cadre on their assignments into the fringe colonies, investigating “anomalous mating patterns of indigenous species.”

+++

From the beginning, El'lyi’ot had suspected that the reality wasn’t so quaint. Ever since the Vash’ya had joined them, the cadre had been repeatedly assigned to system after system, only to be rapidly reassigned within a fortnight. Rarely was there fighting; usually, the cadre did not even make planetfall. More often than not, the system was entirely barren. The cadre began to fret, then openly complain – the feeling of impotence, coupled with a lack of closure, got under everyone’s skin, be that skin was blue, pink, or leathery. But the Shas’ar’tol persisted in their inscrutable assignments, and El'lyi’ot grudgingly complied.

As the months wore on, no pattern emerged from their destinations. Sometimes the cadre stayed in orbit over a planet for weeks; usually, they stayed less than a full day. The only information El'lyi’ot received was a chilling communiqué from high command – if Y’he or Mont’au forces were engaged, any wounded, both civilian and military, were to be sent to the Vash’ya. In all other respects, the vessel was not to be treated as a hospital ship.

I guess “indigenous species” only taught them so much, El'lyi’ot thought, a flash of anger at the events of the last month. I should never have gone in with Sydney and her gue’vesa without…

But he had been angry for a long time, far too long, and now this burst of emotion left him drained, tired. Empty. Time had a funny way of making the most horrific events bearable. Is this, too, an inevitability I must face? Feeling nothing but hollow, El'lyi'ot pulled himself up, out into the cavernous hold of the Vash'ya.

+++

Continued.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Col.Angus
I picture the Ethereal looking out the window of the Devilfish from his seat: "Hey this isn't the way to Applebee's?! Where are you guys taking...Aw man, a battle?! Aw, you guys are total dicks, I swear! I'm still wearing my bathrobe! Can I at least have a gun? What do you mean you don't have any extra? What should I do, hit Khorne Berzerkers with my symbol of office? Man, you're gonna be sorry if I die... dicks."
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Old 25 Jul 2007, 20:11   #2 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default Re: Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront

V.nice, more please.
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Old 26 Jul 2007, 03:30   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront

Waiting at the gangplank was a lone Fio-caste scientist. Tall and heavily built, the Fio cut an imposing presence. Sunbaked flesh - piercing eyes - a strong and muscular frame. An engineer, a man who works with his hands. I can respect that.

“Shas’el Fal'shia Lyi’ot, welcome to the Vash’ya. I am Fio’o Gal’kai.” He held out a massive, rugged hand. “I can only imagine the ire you must feel towards this vessel and our work.” The Fio’o’s voice was frank, sincere. “I know how much your cadre sacrificed for us on the Vash’ya over the past six months. I’ve asked you to come so that I can make a full account of our actions…" An almost imperceptible flash in the eye - sadness? Remorse? "When I got no response, I was afraid I might never be given the chance to make amends. I am very glad to see you.”

O'Gal’kai's comments caught El'lyi’ot completely off-guard. He had spent the past month quietly hating the Vash’ya, trying to will it out of existence. He had refused any overtures, had in fact never set foot in the vessel. The Shas'el had expected the Fio’o to offer some defensive diatribe about how his men’s deaths had furthered the Tau’va; instead, here the tau was, almost asking for forgiveness. Part of El'lyi’ot felt the old anger – Great, now I get information! Tell that to my dead! – but an even greater part felt shame. Shame at his anger, shame at questioning the Shas'ar'tol's orders. When viewed in the passionless light of reason, his actions over the past month were text book examples of immaturity threatening ones' personal understanding of the Tau'va. Of course, it hadn't felt that way at the time, but... El'lyi'ot suppressed a small shudder.

“Please, commander. We must hurry. In time, all will be explained.”

+++

For a science vessel, the Vash’ya was exceptionally well guarded – Shas wearing the shipboard uniform of the Ke’lshan sept stood at every doorway and corridor section, the sensor eyes of their helmets completely impassive. It only slowly dawned on El'lyi’ot that the warriors were not all drawn from Ke’lshan – though many had the sept’s distinctive golden yellow markings, just as many had the orange of Sa’cea, or the turquoise of Bork’an.

Special operations, Lyi’ot thought with a start, drawn from all over the empire. The remaining soldiers of cadres depleted beyond combat readiness. El'lyi’ot had always suspected some important, secret work was under way on the Vash’ya, but this show of force hinted at something magnitudes greater that he had imagined.

Gal’kai turned into a dimmed conference room. El'lyi'ot followed, the hatchway behind closing with a definitive hiss.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Col.Angus
I picture the Ethereal looking out the window of the Devilfish from his seat: "Hey this isn't the way to Applebee's?! Where are you guys taking...Aw man, a battle?! Aw, you guys are total dicks, I swear! I'm still wearing my bathrobe! Can I at least have a gun? What do you mean you don't have any extra? What should I do, hit Khorne Berzerkers with my symbol of office? Man, you're gonna be sorry if I die... dicks."
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Old 29 Jul 2007, 00:57   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront

The center of the room was dominated by a massive holographic projection of the Empire. The location of the Morning Light and its supporting fleet was clearly marked, as were the varying systems El’lyi’ot’s cadre had visited in the past half year.

O’Gal’kai began speaking immediately. Not having had a chance to sit, El’lyi’ot remained standing. “We have no time to waste. In the coming days, I will explain all of our work here on the Vash’ya. As it is, I can at present provide only the shortest of introductions.”

The Fio’o motioned to the lit planetary systems. “Over the past six months, we’ve been exploring ways to detect the Y’he, and what the humans refer to as ‘Chaos.’ Both enemies are implacable, and have a worrying propensity to corrupt from within. The ethereals of T’au declared the best countermeasure was early detection of taint.”

“That explains the communiqué from the Shas’ar’tol…”

“Exactly. We needed as many subjects of study as possible. We needed to see what kind of contact caused contamination. But acquiring samples proved to be more difficult than anticipated – you saw yourself how many dead ends we jumped to!”

“I assume that the Special Forces stationed on the Vash’ya were what allowed you to collect your specimens so covertly, without requisitioning the direct aid of my cadre. But why was the engagement on Dedalas any different?”

“It was the first time we had encountered gue’la in such numbers. We thought that you and your gue’vesa would have better luck with the natives than would alien special operations. And…”

O’Gal’kai hesitated, as if struggling with a great burden. “And our research seems to suggest that gue’la populations are more vulnerable to corruption. I argued that it is their innate psychic abilities, or their lack of social structure and order… the Shas’ar’tol disagreed. They wanted to see if it was genetic, inherent to the species… if all gue’la, regardless of their station, were equally susceptible.” El’lyi’ot’s eyes narrowed, but he held his tongue. “The Shas’ar’tol decided that you and your gue’vesa were to not be informed… any accidental infection was an added bonus.”

El’lyi’ot cursed, tried to bite back his anger, only partially succeeded. “Why tell me now?” His words were sharp, bitter. The warm air had turned to frost. “What's changed?”

“Your gue’vesa lieutenant, Sydney Cain…” the Fio’o stammered, visibly shaken.

“Yes, what about her? She's dead now, thanks to your schemes, Fio.” El’lyi’ot noticed the ice in his voice, piercing and cold, but his blood was like fire. He was well and truly losing his calm. Cain had been his most beloved human helper – of all the losses on Dedalas, hers had hurt the most. He had carried her back to the dropship, had tried desperately to stem the bleeding as they fled toward orbit. And he had held her broken body as she died, blood running thick across the cabin floor. “You do her a disservice even speaking her name, Gal’kai.”

“No… no, she’s not,” the Fio’o suddenly said. The angered expression on El’lyi’ot’s face froze in surprise. “What’s that? What do you mean…”

Having found a purchase to cling to, the Fio’o continued with increasing confidence. “She’s not dead. At least, not yet. She needs your help.”

“If this is another one of your games, Fio, I will have your head. Take me to her. Now.”

+++

Continued.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Col.Angus
I picture the Ethereal looking out the window of the Devilfish from his seat: "Hey this isn't the way to Applebee's?! Where are you guys taking...Aw man, a battle?! Aw, you guys are total dicks, I swear! I'm still wearing my bathrobe! Can I at least have a gun? What do you mean you don't have any extra? What should I do, hit Khorne Berzerkers with my symbol of office? Man, you're gonna be sorry if I die... dicks."
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Old 29 Jul 2007, 12:36   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront

Nice. However could in future you separate out the paragraphs to easy with reading. I look forward to reading all...

Genmotty
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Old 31 Jul 2007, 21:58   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront

I'm not too sure that the Tau would complain, since their caste structure wouldn't allow such breaches, or at least the Tau would keep it to themselves . I'd just rephrase that bit to include who was doing the majority of the complaining, and maybe mention that the Tau Fire Warriors seized upon any "distraction" that happened. By distractions, I mean infighting between Kroot kindreds, tensions between different races etc.

Would Tau use the word "communiqué"? It seems so formal, at least in my eyes.

Just a few suggestions
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Old 01 Aug 2007, 03:23   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront

I understand where you're coming from with the first comment - had I thought about it more, that would have been a perfect response. But as it is - I do think that there are situations in which the Tau would start to fret and complain. Considering their situation: jumping to a location, doing nothing, immediately jumping away, sitting in orbit for two weeks, doing nothing... and to believe that this promotes the Greater Good. It would be a bit exasperating, especially after five months.

As for the vocabulary: "Communiqué" was the exact word I wanted, and I assume the tau have word similar enough that it translates to "communiqué" in English. I guess "dispatch" would work, too, but I wanted it to have a formal ring - it is an official communication from the Shas'ar'tol, detailing what to do and not do with the Vash'ya.

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Col.Angus
I picture the Ethereal looking out the window of the Devilfish from his seat: "Hey this isn't the way to Applebee's?! Where are you guys taking...Aw man, a battle?! Aw, you guys are total dicks, I swear! I'm still wearing my bathrobe! Can I at least have a gun? What do you mean you don't have any extra? What should I do, hit Khorne Berzerkers with my symbol of office? Man, you're gonna be sorry if I die... dicks."
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Old 01 Aug 2007, 17:49   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront

Quote:
Originally Posted by El'lyi'ot
I understand where you're coming from with the first comment - had I thought about it more, that would have been a perfect response. But as it is - I do think that there are situations in which the Tau would start to fret and complain. Considering their situation: jumping to a location, doing nothing, immediately jumping away, sitting in orbit for two weeks, doing nothing... and to believe that this promotes the Greater Good. It would be a bit exasperating, especially after five months.
Well, consider that Fire Warriors can spend months just standing around, guarding Aun'O's, patrolling Tau space and generally not really fighting but training. Jumping around every two weeks seems pretty good considering spending months just standing around guarding an Aun'o on a static posting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by El'lyi'ot
As for the vocabulary: "Communiqué" was the exact word I wanted, and I assume the tau have word similar enough that it translates to "communiqué" in English. I guess "dispatch" would work, too, but I wanted it to have a formal ring - it is an official communication from the Shas'ar'tol, detailing what to do and not do with the Vash'ya.
Seems fair enough . It was only a minor thing.
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Old 02 Aug 2007, 03:17   #9 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront

+++

Anger is just another weapon in your arsenal, use it against your enemies and never your family.
Anger is just another weapon in your arsenal, use it against your enemies and never your family.
Anger is...


Looking at the shrouded form of Gue'vesa Cain, it took ever ounce of El'lyi'ot's self control to not throttle the larger Fio'o right there and then. He continued to repeat the words of Shas’O Ka’tu’ok, focusing his anger on the meditation's clarity.

... against your enemies and never your family.
... and never your family.


Some analytical, detached part of his mind told the Shas that she was human, not even a bond mate, hardly deserving of such outrage. But El'lyi'ot had served with gue'vesa too long to regard them as "mere aliens." The planet Acknor, from which El'lyi'ot's gue'vesa were drawn, was completely committed to the Tau'va. Long separated from the Imperial fold, the harsh climate and poor resources of the desert world had forced the frontier society to endeavour in collective efforts; years before the arrival of the tau, the humans of Acknor were already practicing their own version of "the greater good."

And if the ideological commitment of Acknor did not make them the equal of any tau, than the prowess of the planet's militias certainly did. The planet's few population centers were nestled at the base of rugged mountain ranges, ingeniously utilizing networks of aqueducts to gather and store what little water trickled from the mountain tops. Tilling the land was a constant struggle, and the greater strength of the human males was necessary for the farming to succeed. Unfettered by any gender bias, it was the women who were organized into defensive militias, patrolling the land in order to keep the dangerous creatures of Acknor at bay. In such difficult conditions, each life was singularly important - rather than brute force, the militias relied on tactical brilliance and disciplined small squads to carry the day.

... your family.

In all, El'lyi'ot could not have asked for an auxiliary force that so well meshed with the tenants of the tau art of war. Each member of his "Ackor Valkyries" was an amazing fighter, and their leaders - like the wounded Sydney Cain - were tactical geniuses. In his mind - in his cadre - there was no distinction between Shas and Gue'vesa: they were all defenders of the Tau'va.

So it was even more difficult for El'lyi'ot to watch the comtose form of his gue'vesa'vre, knowing that most other tau would not understand his feelings, would wonder why he felt such strong feelings for an auxiliary force.

Anger is just another...

"Alright Fio'o, she lives. For that, I thank you. It is an undeserved blessing, one I had no hope of receiving. But why does she yet draw breath? What purpose do you have for her?"
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Col.Angus
I picture the Ethereal looking out the window of the Devilfish from his seat: "Hey this isn't the way to Applebee's?! Where are you guys taking...Aw man, a battle?! Aw, you guys are total dicks, I swear! I'm still wearing my bathrobe! Can I at least have a gun? What do you mean you don't have any extra? What should I do, hit Khorne Berzerkers with my symbol of office? Man, you're gonna be sorry if I die... dicks."
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Old 03 Aug 2007, 04:17   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Golgothan Insurgency: Stormfront

"As I said, the Vash'ya has been tasked with discovering the source of Y'he and Mont'au taint, and finding a way to detect - and hopefully prevent - corruption." Gal'kai moved to a computer terminal and began to call up a file. "The Mont'au... it seems to be a cultural thing. Not so much genetic corruption or pathogenic vector as a break down in social order..."

"The Y'he, on the other hand - their corruption is entirely different, and much more... scientific. It seems as if the Y'he organism coined the 'genestealer' is instrumental in its spread. A vanguard organism, the genestealer is frighteningly intelligent. This beast stows away aboard unsuspecting freighters, or travels through the depths of space under its own propulsion. Upon making planetfall, it locates well-positioned prey in its target society, then injects them with some sort of... we don't know. Retrovirus, perhaps? Whatever happens, it establishes a modicum of telepathic control over the victim, and rewrites the victim's genetic code so that its offspring will be corrupted, as well."

"Regular genetic screening, along with increased security at our childrens' creches, should prevent widespread outbreaks. But the Shas'ar'tol wants something more effective and less time consuming. This shows a great deal of foresight on behalf of the Shas'ar'tol, as the psychic abilities of the corrupted call out to their kindred in the depths of space, and more of these organisms make planetfall. Fortunately, we've only had to deal with small outposts and research stations, but were we to ever have to make a full-scale planetary evacuation, the screening tests would simply take too long."

El'lyi'ot nodded. "I can see why this is so important now, with the engagement on Golgotha looming. If large-scale evacuations are necessary, there needs to be some sort of quick screening in place. But Cain... ?"

The Fio smiled. "We think she may be our solution. Come look at this battle footage."
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Col.Angus
I picture the Ethereal looking out the window of the Devilfish from his seat: "Hey this isn't the way to Applebee's?! Where are you guys taking...Aw man, a battle?! Aw, you guys are total dicks, I swear! I'm still wearing my bathrobe! Can I at least have a gun? What do you mean you don't have any extra? What should I do, hit Khorne Berzerkers with my symbol of office? Man, you're gonna be sorry if I die... dicks."
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