X4 Story: Jackals and Hound

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Song Of Obsidian
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X4 Story: Jackals and Hound

Post by Song Of Obsidian » Mon, 6. May 19, 02:17

With my luck they'll put out the next update within a few weeks, but I'm going to start this story anyway. We'll see how far I get and where it takes me.

This one is in X4, which honestly isn't as fun as X3 but I really liked this gamestart. So here we go.

Game start: The Untested Explorer
Character name: Selaia Connolly

Mods(nothing earth-shaking, but figured I'd call them out):
Dump Excessive Wares

Prologue - Acceptance

White stars. Blue stars. Even a couple leaf-green stars. They all shone through the distant wisps of cloud. On a normal night a moon might have lit the scene even more. But this was no normal night. For it was not night at all. It was barely noon.

‘Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.’ Selaia could not remember where the quote was from, but she almost certainly read it during her time at university. It was simultaneously very fitting and also not at all.

There was no moon to be seen, for she was not on a planet surrounded by atmosphere and orbiting chunks of dirt and metal. The glass between her and the distant stars was not broken, and might even be stronger than the metal bulkhead framing it. The clouds that failed to conceal the stars also did not move, at least not from her perspective.

After only a couple weeks in space, it all still felt surreal. She might have been in awe, were she not so numb.

She laid a gloved hand on the glass. Where she still expected to feel the cold of space leeching through, she felt nothing. A lifetime – albeit a short one in her case – planetside had given rise to a number of misconceptions she was still trying to unlearn. She knew the shipyard employed an entire department to manage the environmental systems that allowed beings of a number of races to live and work in space. Somehow they maintained the right balances, even on such a massive station.

Somewhere a few dozen decks below her, the small craft docking bay she had arrived at bustled with activity. The fast packet courier she came in on a few days earlier was likely already gone. An idle ship is a ship not earning credits. Selaia had little to worry about, however. She would not be stranded. She had been guaranteed a job after a few weeks of orientation, testing and evaluations. The nature of that job was the final question to be answered.

A hiss of air provided a split-second’s warning before the pneumatic doors behind her opened and Selaia spun about, her heart racing despite the certitude that no one on the station would do her harm. A few weeks earlier, that sound had consistently set her on the edge of panic. She still tensed every time, and some other loud noises could trigger the fight-or-flight response, but she was recovering from the incident that caused it. Or so her company-mandated therapist said before she left the hospital for good.

“Afternoon, Ms. Connolly,” the Paranid who entered said in greeting, his voice lacking any of the disdain most of his species normally inflicted on others. If there was a voice range below bass, the Paranid’s was it. Like all others of his race, he was tall, hairless, had vaguely insectoid arms and legs, yellow-ish skin, and three eyes in an even row. That third eye had given birth to their state religion, naming all things in threes holy. An Argon – human in their area of space, though cut off from their original homeworld for long enough to find their own identity – like Selaia was decidedly unholy from their perspective. All non-Paranid were. Yet this Paranid seemed not to mind.

For a moment, though, she was at a loss. The Paranid had a number of genders, so ‘sir’ never applied to them. Nor did this Paranid have any rank tabs to identify his place within their society. She sipped the coffee that had been provided for her before she came to the conference room to wait to cover her confusion, but the Paranid picked up on it anyway.

“My name is Elmanckardet. You may call me El.” It smiled at her, a sight most Argon found disturbing. Her time working at a major hospital, where beings of all races would receive some kind of care, made her unlike most Argon. She smiled back. “Most of your kind do.”

Selaia bowed her head, in genuine respect. Something about this Paranid set her at ease. It had been some time since anything had. “Elmanckardet,” she said only slightly slower than it had. “You may call me Selaia, if you prefer.”

Smile widening briefly, it gestured toward one of the two couches in the middle of the room. “Please, sit. We have much to discuss, Selaia.”

While she moved to take her seat, Elmanckardet pulled a tablet out of a hip holster and began tapping at it with a three-fingered hand. “Most test scores and performance evaluations at least above average. Some exemplary. You can fit anywhere.” The tapping stopped, and Elmanckardet looked up at her. “First. Why do you wish to join the Alliance of the Word?”

She paused with her cup near her mouth. She had answered that question a couple times since leaving Hatikvah’s Choice, but she had asked herself the same question dozens of times more. She set her coffee down on the table between them without drinking any more.

“You know why I left home, I assume.”

“Assume I know nothing,” Elmanckardet said more softly than she expected.

Selaia steeled herself for what was to come. Some things did not become easier with time. “There was an…incident, at the hospital where I worked,” she said slowly, mentally trying and failing to block out the sounds filling her head. “Afterward I tried to go back to work, but it was too much. I felt the need for a change. I’m used to dealing with members of all races, and this is the only non-pirate faction that isn’t homogeneous. I know computers and data collection, and finding things that are off the beaten paths.” Normally those ‘things’ were people who somehow thought they could dodge hospital billing even in an age where everyone had a universal ID tagged to their DNA and thumbprint, but the principle might still apply, she hoped. “And I’m hoping that I’m not so broken that I can’t find a light to shine on me without burning somewhere out there,” she said with a toss of her head toward the window.

Silence fell. After a few seconds she wondered if being so at ease with Elmanckardet had led her to be too open. She had never said that last part to any of the instructors, or her therapist. Then again, she had only remembered the quote in this room.

“You want a ship then,” Elmanckardet stated calmly.

She nodded, much more calmly than she felt, though her determination was a steady weight in her chest. “I do.”

The Paranid looked down again. “The shooters. All Argon. Human.”

Her eyes instantly filled with moisture and she closed them. The moment she saw the streaks of red flashing across her vision, her eyes snapped open again to find Elmanckardet staring at her. She could still smell it. Ozone and blood and burning metal and clothes and meat.

“I knew a man,” Elmanckardet said. “He was betrayed. Sought revenge. It became a crusade. Not for violence. To end violence. He changed and grew. Because of those who served him.” Elmanckardet looked down again, and began tapping on the tablet. “You know you may be shot at.”

Selaia was still trying to decipher the Paranid’s brief story when he changed the subject abruptly. There was a lesson there, she knew. And Elmanckardet did not seem the type for subtlety. “At least this time I’ll be able to shoot back,” she said, though she felt sick at the prospect.

Elmanckardet looked up again, hand hovering over the tablet. “So be it.”

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Re: X4 Story: Jackals and Hound

Post by Triaxx2 » Mon, 6. May 19, 22:19

Is this a Dead is Dead game? Or just a standard story? Either way good luck.
A Pirate's Revenge Completed Now in PDF by _Zap_
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The Tale of Ea't s'Quid Completed

Dovie'andi se tovya sagain

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