Part 44: Auroran - Part 13 - February 7th, 1183 NC: Finally'February 7th, 1183 NC: Finally
We're settling in to our role as leader of 90% of the galaxy's population.
Initially the other houses stick the boot in to the remaining Moashi fleet. You only stop the other houses when it gets out of hand.
Before too long you are seated at the First House's position of the Great Auroran Council beside Kuron the Silver Arm (so named now in honor of his new cybernetic limb). The other four Houses quietly await the Thurokiirs Address.
"Brothers and Sisters of the Auroran Empire," you begin, "the days of fighting among ourselves must end. In disunity we will stay under the boot of the Federation. They take our lives, take our resources, treat us with disdain, and fail to see that we are their equals, if not their betters.
"We have been at war with them for generations, but the days of stalemate are over. Soon we will begin a campaign against the Federation, the likes of which has not been seen since the days of early contact.
"Look about you. Are our differences so great that the Auroran Nation cannot push forward? We go to win our right as the pre-eminent warriors in the universe. All I ask is that you are patient, and keep the fighting amongst ourselves limited. I have a much grander vision in mind. House Heraan believes in that vision. Do you?"
The Hall erupts to the cheers of the massed warriors. You take it that they agree.
It's a long trip, but we keep ourselves entertained.
Your first logical step is the signing of a treaty with the Polaris. You tell the Great Council that the Polaris have the most advanced technology of the known universe, and that while the Aurorans would win a war with them, the cost would be extremely high.
You outline a plan in which you will travel to Polaris space, and outline all that you have said to the Council. The Polaris, you feel, despite their fierce reputation, are not interested in large scale loss of life. If you explain that the Empire will soon be taking control of the Federation, and all Federation space, then they will have to come into contact with the Auroran Empire sometime.
If you are able to interact in peace then there will be no further need for bloodshed. The other Houses agree, so you head for Polaris space.
We reach Kel'ar Iy in short order. If you alt-tab after starting a jump, the jump completes instantly - it's a very useful trick.
You are met by a very graceful individual at the foot of your ships ramp. "Good day KarHallarn of House Heraan, I am Mu'Randa."
"How do you know my name?" you ask, surprised.
"We have followed your career for some time, but you're a girl." You gasp. No one has called you that in a long time.
"We have been pleased with the level of skill you have achieved. We even heard your Thurokiir's Address, and I must say, the Polaris found it very interesting indeed. Be pleased to come with me, for I am authorized to discuss matters of state with you."
Fuck the devs. Manchester is on the other side of the galaxy for no real reason.
You prepare to leave some hours later. Your time with Mu'Randa was strangely calming. It was good to discuss important matters without having to raise your voice but you are amazed by the outcome. The Polaris will form a treaty with the Auroran Empire on the condition they are allowed to become a sixth House. The Polaris are numerically few - fewer than one Auroran House.
They have also stipulated that the Rebellion against the Federation must be prepared to accept Auroran ascendancy. First peace, and only then war with the Federation.
You are now making your way to meet Frandall, who seems to be in charge of the Rebellion's intelligence operation, on Goliath in the South Manchester system. Mu'Randa has arranged the meeting. You begin to see why political solutions take so long to arrange...
It seems that the Feds have stepped up their efforts to kill us. We reach Goliath without much further hassle.
You meet with Frandall in a dimly lit bar on Goliath. He shakes your hand and offers you a seat. You wonder how many of the people in the bar are rebel operatives. You have a feeling that Frandall is pretty thorough, leaving nothing to chance. But then, like most non-Aurorans, he would be afraid of dying.
"Hello KarHallarn," he says.
For a master spy, Frandall does not exactly look the part, but then you guess that is the whole point.
"Mu'Randa has told me what you intend, and I have in turn spoken with the Rebel High Command. We have already reached an impasse. The Rebellion will not support the Auroran Empire if it conquers the Federation. I'm afraid that we feel your bad system of government is little better than the Federation's worse one."
"And what would it take for the Rebellion to come aboard?" you ask.
"Well, for starters, a judicial system would be good..."
Aurorans are Clanners and laws are Lostech. We return to Aurora.
By the time you have some idea what the rebels want, you see that they are not too different from the Aurorans. By appealing to the sense of Common Enemy, and promising that you will do your best to form a judicial system (whatever that is) it is clear that the rebels may not be all that hard a nut to crack.
It appears that they are tiring of their protracted war with the Federation, and if certain expectations were met by the Great Auroran Council, then the Rebellion would join the Empire as a seventh House. You tell them that the proposal must be put before the Council.
You have also decided that the Auroran Empire needs a system other than trial by Arms for the resolution of conflict. The smallest of matters cannot be too small for the leaders of Houses, and a Thurokiirs' Council may be worth creating. You will return to Aurora to lobby the council.
The requiring sponsorship part really removes any semblance of fairness here, doesn't it?
It took weeks. The Council finally decided to allow the Polaris to join the Empire as a sixth House, only if they were prepared to share their prodigious technology. The Polaris may balk at this, and you know that the matter will have to be discussed with Mu'Randa.
The matter of the Thurokiirs' Council was more contentious. The Thurokiirs' Council would solve matters in a fair and just method. Appeal to the Thurokiirs' Council, required sponsoring by a warrior or an elder of any House. The Thurokiirs will hear and debate the case. The arbiters will then vote on the matter and the decision is carried by the majority. If any House does not comply with the ruling, then the other Houses, and the Rimertans will wipe them out.
You had to call in your Debt of Honor to have the Thurokiirs' Council created, but your brother Thurokiirs finally agreed on your vision.
You discuss the possible entry points into Federation Space from the Auroran Border.
"It is most likely going to be through Roughneck Territory." Kuron waves a silver limb towards the ceiling. "The only problem is the poxing Roughnecks themselves. Every time I have considered attacking the Federation, I stumble on the Roughnecks. I have to admit that they would probably hold any advance long enough for the Federation to reinforce the area and push us back.
"So do the Roughnecks have anybody who would take them apart? I know that our warriors would be able to take them, but we don't have time. We have to skip through the system and push on into Federation space."
You think about the possibility, when Kuron suddenly slaps the table. "I know who to get," he beams at you "listen, by the time you get back from meeting the Polaris and the Rebels, I'll have someone else to meet you."
You finish your drink, and think over the upcoming meetings.
At least this one is slightly closer. It's the warrior caste homeworld, fittingly enough.
You have a sneaking suspicion that the Rebels will agree to your terms, if only because they don't want to be ground to a pulp between the Auroran Empire and the Federation. The Polaris may not agree to share their technology, but if you can bring them to the table, then the likelihood of victory over the Federation is good. If you can get the Polaris to agree...
You decide to meet with Mu'Randa again, and you send a signal into Polaris space asking her to meet you on Nil'ar Kemorya in the Nil'kemorya system.
Your meeting with Mu'Randa is remarkably brief. The Polaris consent to share their technology over the next century, as the immediate introduction to weapons of such power would tear the Auroran Empire apart. The Polaris are more than happy that the Council has consented to take them as a Sixth House. You tell them to wait for you to contact them with plans.
Another cross-map trek. This time there are Bureau ships attempting to intercept us above Goliath.
Your next stop is in Goliath. Frandall will be waiting for you, so you set off without delay. You secretly hope that the Rebels will take your offer. While you know that you would ultimately win any war with them, it makes you uncomfortable to think about a guerilla war. Aurorans do not think highly of that sort of fighting, which would give the rebels a huge advantage.
Even the Leviathan is a Bureau agent gunning for us! It's the most fun to kill.
And now back to Aurora.
Frandall listens intently to your proposal. The Auroran Empire feels that the Federation is without honor and a destructive and evil power base in the Universe. The Auroran Empire wishes for all peoples to be represented in the governing of the Universe, and as such would prefer if the Rebellion were allies.
The Thurokiirs' Council is sufficient for Frandall, but he tells you that he needs to speak to the Rebel High Command before agreeing. The Rebels would be known as the New Federation, and would only be allowed to hold twenty systems maximum. Frandall seems to think this is fair, so long as the Rebels get to pick which systems. You tell him that they would have to lobby the Great Auroran Council.
He suggests you return to Aurora and that he will contact you with the High Command's reply.
Tying up all the loose ends gets really tedious.
Kuron meets you in the bar and sits down. He is excited about something, but with all the to-ing and fro-ing lately, you are starting to wonder whether or not it is worth the hassle.
"It WOULD probably be easier to just kill everybody," you begin.
Kuron laughs. "I have set up another meeting for you, but this one is pretty easy," Kuron begins, taking a long draught of Ale, "I know the man very well. In fact he was a battle brother to Techerakh, in the early days. A great warrior, Archindar, otherwise know as Eamon Flannigan. He is the leader of the Wild Geese."
Your interest is aroused.
"I have informed him of the change of situation here, and how the Federation has been trying to set up the Wild Geese. Once he knew of their plans he was interested in our proposals. He wants to meet with you on New Ireland. The Wild Geese are perfect for holding the Roughnecks at bay while the main force of Auroran warriors push forward into Federation space. Plus I believe there have been recent developments on New Ireland that should be pleasing to you." Despite your wheedling, he refuses to say more.
A message arrives just before you leave. Frandall reports that the Rebel High Command has agreed to the Auroran proposals. He advises that an attack on the head of the Bureau, a woman named Krane, would throw the entire Federation into confusion. The easiest time to kill her is when she travels from the Bureau headquarters in New England to Sol. Apparently in five weeks she will be dropping by.
You quickly dispatch to the Polaris, "The signal to attack will be the death of the head of the Bureau." The Polaris will then attack from their shared borders. This, combined with an all-out attack by the rebellion, and the push from Auroran space... you start to see how the plan might work.
You quickly check the chronology, and tell Kuron to mass the troops on the Federation border. His signal to attack will come from you. You quickly head for New Ireland to find out what the 'good news' is.
One thing first:
Dohohohoho. The Thunderforge is extremely powerful. Not because it's particularly fast, armoured, or spacious, because it doesn't perform very well in either category, but because of its Triphammers. What are Triphammers?
As you are landing you receive a message from one of the scientists that have been working on the Vell-os Data telling you that he has a surprise for you. You quickly go through your post-flight routine, your curiosity somewhat piqued, and when you leave your ship you are greeted by a vessel that makes all of the surrounding vessels look pitiful.
"We've called it the Thunderforge," says one of the scientists quietly, "and we have been working around the clock to finish it. It has two radar missile launchers with one hundred and fifty radar missiles, two storm chainguns, four fusion pulse turrets and four 150mm railguns. But what separates her from the rest are the four new weapons she has that are based on the tech from that Vell-os data-cube you gave us. We call them 'TripHammers', based on how they work and what they will do to your foes.
"This is the first we have ever built," he continues with quiet pride. "It will be months before we will complete another, but we thought we would offer this one to you, Arbiter. We would be honored if you would have her."
Triphammers ignore shielding entirely and go for armour instead. This means that all ships, especially Vell-os, die almost instantly. It's amazing. And it's black, too, so it goes faster. I think a real-world equivalent exists in the form of lightning attractors.
The Auroran Thunderforge is the pinnacle of current Auroran science. It combines many diverse elements with a distinctive Auroran flavour, and nothing typifies this more than the Triphammer. Thanks largely to Vell-os intervention, the Triphammer combines Vell-os energy principals with typical Auroran brutish technology. The cannon fires a cadmium telluride pellet which vaporizes during its flight. The particles left in its wake create a conduit for the real action to follow. The particle trail is a perfect channel to conduct an obscene amount of metaphasic energy, which arcs into the target with predictably devastating results. The Thunderforge itself was built as a suitable weapons platform for these mighty guns, and would be immeasurably weakened by their removal; they form an integral part of the ship's structure.
Welcome to New New Ireland!
New Ireland posted:
The people of New Ireland have been hard at work, desperately trying to make their world habitable once again. The sheer courage of these people as they toil away at a seemingly impossible task touches your heart and brings tears to your eyes. Most of the radioactive soil has been shipped off-planet by hand, and the colonists are spending most of their time out in their artificial forests trying to fend off the many bio-organisms that were introduced to kill off the planet's biosphere.
You feel proud to be able to associate yourself with these people. Whether they succeed or fail, none will be able to say that they gave up without fighting to the death.
We're greeted the same as always.
New Ireland's Bar posted:
After walking through the required bio-filters tears come unbidden to your eyes as you walk into a perfect replica of the old dimly-lit, smoke-filled, wood-panelled room. The same crowd as always notes your arrival and raises their glasses towards you as a note of their respect for you. You sit down, and with a lump in your throat, order your drink.
Another bevy of jumps later, we're sitting pretty on New England.
You are ushered into a small bar in New Ireland. You look into the gloom to see Eamon Flannigan. The two of you clasp hands like the warriors you are, and tears prick both your eyes.
Before you can speak he says, "Sit down, Thurokiir. It seems that when you left here you were naught but a cub, but now you have returned as the mighty KarHallarn, the woman who has single-handedly raised the Heraan from a position of weakness, and from the brink of destruction to the position of pre-eminent House of the Empire. And along the way, you found time to help us out. I and the Wild Geese are deep in your debt, but I have one question.
"Will you honor the agreement between myself and Techerakh, that no matter what happens, New Ireland will remain independent from any other government?"
Without hesitation you nod, and once again you clasp hands with the man who was once your mentor.
"I must admit," he reminisces quietly, "I miss fighting for House Heraan. But, I belong here. In truth, we are a very peaceful people, but we have such a knack for violence. I found Heron style interesting, but it lacks a simple brutality..." and Eamon continues.
You begin to notice that he can talk a lot, and before long, begin to think that if he doesn't stop soon, you'll not make it to kill Krane! However, he does explain that the Wild Geese once saved the bacon of Raczak's Roughnecks, since when there has been a simmering feud between them. You somehow manage to escape before your brain gets pickled, and stagger to your ship. The signal for Flannigan to attack will be the death of Krane. You set out at once.
The final battle is here.
As you sit on the launch pad on New England awaiting your prey, suddenly you get a warning buzz from your sensor array, and immediately see a Federation fleet jumping into the system. Krane must have been tipped off! In the middle of the fleet is her ship. You know that you will be lucky to survive the battle, but with so much at stake, you must kill that woman, or your whole plan will fall apart.
With cold-resolve you launch your ship skyward, vowing to succeed and to find somewhere to land to send off the necessary long-distance signals to the waiting battle fleets.
In the centre, weighing in at a combined 6000 tons, KarHallarn's Auroran Battle-fleet!
To the south-west, the finest the Federation can offer, 6 RAGE Gunboats!
And tipping the scales at the north, the one and only Commander Krane! (Not pictured due to vapourization)
It can be a hard fight if you let the gunboats gang up on you. I burn for Krane, using the bulk of the escort fleet to absorb damage and using the afterburners to avoid their missiles. Krane goes down with barely a peep, and we turn and ram into the mass of now ammo-less and bunched up gunboats with all guns blazing.
They die quickly. We jump back for Heraan - pursued by gunboats at every jump - and land.
With Krane dead, you contact the Rebels, the Wild Geese and the Polaris to inform them to begin their campaigns before sitting back to ponder the events to come. You decide that it is probably a good time to head back to Heraan to see if there is anything else you need to do. If all goes even vaguely well, the Federation will cease to exist before much longer, and you can settle down for a few weeks at least...
You land in the midst of muted celebrations and receive a hero's welcome for your enormous victory, and within minutes you have been filled in on the events of the last few weeks, and all of it has been good.
With the death of Krane the hounds of war fell upon a largely unprepared Federation. Apparently everything has been going well, and the Federation sent out a signal of surrender only two days ago while you were in hyperspace. Before the end of a month the Rebellion has taken over their desired systems, renaming themselves the Federation House, and the rest are taken over by the Empire.
It appears as if all your plans have come to fruition. Techerakh would have been proud. You quietly accept the adulation of your fellow Heraani warriors, and, to their surprise, you walk away from the celebrations.
"What is wrong KarHallarn?" asks one intrepid warrior. "We have won the greatest of victories, and most of it can be laid at your feet? Why are you not celebrating?"
"So many have gone before," you whisper forcefully, tears in your eyes. "We have indeed won, but I am the First Thurokiir, charged with protecting the Auroran people, and how many have I used up in attaining my goal? A penance must be paid, and it must be paid by me."
With that, you walk away from the awestruck young warriors, and you take out your laser tattooer, and tattoo your eyelids black, so that for the rest of your life, you can see some of the darkness of death you have inflicted on those whom you were tasked to protect...
Ory'hara by proxy, not bad.
The first act of the new Greater Auroran Council is to free the Vell-os slaves. The Vell-os remain long enough to convey their thanks to the Council before passing into the void. As a parting gift, they give the Council the key to the Shard's Final Creed. They say it will make great sense in later days, and that the Creed will save Humanity at the Brink of destruction. Humanity enters a new golden age.
Over the next century the Auroran Empire evolves. The Polaris smooth the rough edges of the Auroran culture. The new Federation helps keep things practical, and the Aurorans bring strength and drive to the table. As but you're a girl lies waiting for Death to finally claim the gutsiest heroine of the age, the Vell-os appear. Crowded around her, they whisper their thanks and slowly fade from sight.
So Humanity enters a glorious new age full of beauty. They still fight, but only to keep their strength. In 10,000 years, all is forgotten as Humanity moves on beyond the physical world. The only thing left behind is a solitary spirit left to look after the Universe. Long after everything Humanity has built has turned to dust, millions of years later inquisitive younger races hear the name "KarHallarn" whispering around the worlds they have just discovered, and wonder what it means.
That's it for the Aurorans. As per the usual gender-flip, the next pilot will be male and following the Rebel path. What should our pilot and ship be named?
Unfortunately this LP will be going on a four-week hiatus as I fly out to do some bushwork. Sorry! I still intend to complete the two remaining storylines, but it may be some time in June before I get internet access once more.