[Story] Von Neumann's Children - updated to part 9

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Tenlar Scarflame
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[Story] Von Neumann's Children - updated to part 9

Post by Tenlar Scarflame » Sun, 14. Dec 08, 17:32

This story is a chronological sequel to the still unfinished X-Universe Factional RP co-written by myself, SOTS, Admiral Jeran Korak, and Fiksal. It does use characters from the X3FRP, but it is not necessary to be familiar with it to enjoy this story. :)

I do plan on using characters from the X3FRP belonging to other people- please just flame at me if you're not OK with it! And I do promise to do them justice.

While the attempt is to make this as canon as possible, this story has a very large scope, so I will probably scrape against either Helge's writing, the game's canon, or both. Sorry. ;)

And finally, I do appreciate feedback. Motivation!


January 6, 2082

Before today, Maria Christi couldn’t recall a day when the blast door to Dr. von Neumann’s laboratory had been locked.

Mostly, this was because nobody, including Dr. von Neumann, really felt professional about the work being done in the Cyberbiological Observatory. Professionalism was for the shipwrights, the jump gate engineers, starship captains, and the CAI Project programmers. Being sent to a bunker in the deepest jungle of Borneo with the most expensive technological toys the Tokyo IST could get its hands on did not breed professionalism. What it made was a family- a family of a hundred and fifty eight programmers, nano engineers, robotics engineers, and a handful of other professions. All of them loved what they did because they were all playing, not working- and none of them had any clue what they were doing.

Dr. von Neumann knew, of course, why the Cyberbiological Observatory was based in the middle of nowhere rather than in Tokyo with the rest of the Institute, why internet access was only available outside the facility, and why the facility itself was based in a nuclear-hardened bunker with four-inch-thick blast doors that could withstand a tungsten railgun shell. He also knew why a USC orbital defense station, armed with a mass driver cannon capable of penetrating nuclear-hardened fortification, was stationed almost directly above Borneo. A million-dollar kill switch, quite literally. Von Neumann wasn’t especially concerned- he was in sole command of the mass driver, the only one actually aimed at Earth. Of course, with one hundred and fifty seven other incredibly smart people working the observatory, questions were often raised, and as much as von Neumann was thankful of their help, he often felt he gained just as much work avoiding their questions.

Robotics engineer Maria Christi was about to raise yet another question. She rang the buzzer by the door, and fidgeted for a few moments before ringing it again, already cursing herself for ringing the buzzer again far too soon, because the good Doctor was probably quite busy, and there was most likely a very good reason why the door was shut…

On the other side of the door, Dr. von Neumann heard both buzzers perfectly, and normally would have answered any query. The door was shut and locked, however, for safety- not for his own, but for that of Maria and all the other bright minds in the Observatory. The Doctor stood statuesque over his laptop with his hands supporting his weight upon the desk. His chair had rolled a good three feet behind him, the single upset item in the entire room. The glow of his razor-thin monitor caught his fading but well-kept hair and moustache and made it angelic white, and accented the few creases in the doctor’s laboratory coat. Aged though he was, he was a strikingly solid man, deliberate and gentle and unworried. The laptop’s glow caught a nearly imperceptible glint in the Doctor’s eyes- a tiny pair of halos, stars of God.

Von Neumann’s laboratory was a square, hardened concrete room with two openings- the blast door and a single vent in the center of the ceiling. Facing the door was the Doctor’s laptop, its dual touchpad-screens barely a quarter of an inch thick together, the sole object resting on a glass and aluminum desk. Around the perimeter of the room were twelve more identical laptops on twelve aluminum and glass desks. Each computer was a complete clone of the others, and any data changed on one was reproduced perfectly within ten minutes on the next- this way, there were exactly two hours to salvage any information that was erased completely from the first computer. These thirteen computers were also the only machines directly connected to the Cosmos Core.

The Core occupied most of the middle of the room- encased in a jet black hemispherical case made of a thin carbon fabric that could stop a bullet. Its placement was, perhaps, like that of a cathedral’s altar. The only opening was for the holographic lens at the top, which projected the Cosmos into the middle of the room. Describing the Cosmos to a layman would be impossible, and even explaining it to the scientists in the Observatory was difficult. Von Neumann wasn’t even sure he completely understood it himself. It existed in a machine, yes, but the most precise forecasting algorithms could not predict what would occur within the Cosmos. It was itself a universe, a primordial ground of shifting shapes, of laws and logic still under formation. To see it was to see our own universe through God’s eyes. Or, at least, Dr. von Neumann saw this.

A fourth buzzer finally moved the Doctor. “Yes, yes, one moment…”

Maria heard the blast door click, its several separate locks rapidly unbolting. The door swung inwards. She smiled, faintly. “Doctor.”

He smiled. “Yes, I called for you. Yes. Please, come in. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to close the blast door again.”

“Of course. Although, might I ask why?”

“That will become apparent soon enough. Do not be frightened, dear.” He walked to his laptop.

Maria fidgeted with one of her long curls for a moment before she scolded herself and clasped her hands in front of her, as if they might go flying off in every imaginable direction. The Doctor’s laboratory had always had a sort of sepulchral quality… no, that wasn’t right. It wasn’t an old feeling, it was a “not yet begun.” Not an impending end, but an approaching beginning. It was a similar feeling that Ash Wednesday gave her as a child- silly enough, she knew, but it was that knowledge that something very big was going to happen soon…

“I’m going to show you the Cosmos, Maria.” The doctor said simply as his right hand made deliberate, precise sweeps over his touch screen.

“I beg your pardon, Doctor?”

The Doctor turned and smiled gently. “This… hm. Might you promise me something?”

She smiled and attempted a joke. “Depends. What am I promising?”

“That what you see and hear doesn’t leave the room.”

Her smile faded a bit. Gravity seemed to triple all of a sudden, and the Doctor was mightiest and most terrible of angels. “Sure.”

“Good.” He turned his gaze upon the Core. “This, Maria, is the Cosmos Core. It’s the world’s fastest and most capable computer.”

“Isn’t that supposed to be in Mumbai, Doctor?”

He smiled. “Yes, theirs is the fastest that anyone knows about outside of this room.”

Her eyes widened for a moment. “…ah.”

“It has only a rudimentary operating system, and the only ways to access it are from my computers here. It is the central directive of the Observatory. All the research done in this facility for the past seven years have been bent around this single core.”

Maria was silent. She could already tell that this might be a real paradigm shift, and she was about to be proven right.

“Cyberbiology. What does it mean to you?”

“…The life of software. The production of life within software. Artificial Intelligence.”

“Yes, yes, and yes.” He grinned and chuckled. “We have a good front, then.”

“…we do, Doctor?”

“Cyberbiology is the wrong word for what I have observed within the Cosmos today.”


“…Cyberanthropology, perhaps? Cyberpsychology?” He shook his head. “Maria, I called you here to bear witness to what’s inside the Cosmos.”

“Doctor, what is the Cosmos?”

Maria was momentarily afraid. The Doctor seemed overwhelmed, by something. She was unable to fathom what could cause such emotion and confusion in such a powerful man as von Neumann.

“The Cosmos…” he replied slowly, “is… my creation. It is life. It is… this.” He gestured to his laptop.

The Cosmos Core hummed quietly as the holographic lens lit up. The room was suddenly aglow with stars, huge, wheeling constellations of them. Infinite motes of meaning, of information, of surging binary that overcomes its quantized nature through sheer volume, like the atoms that build a human being or the stars that build a galaxy.

Maria almost spoke, but stifled a gasp of surprise as the stars began to coalesce.

“What you see here, Maria… might frighten you.” He bowed his head. “It frightens me.” I can only imagine God’s fear of Mankind. “Know one thing… nothing has scripted what you see here. The Cosmos learns.”

“It learns?”

“Yes. You will see.” He turned to her and smiled. “Having fun yet?”

She attempted a smile. As she and the Doctor turned to the hologram before them, it completed its transformation. It was a figure of a human being, awash with the alien light of the projector.

“Father,” it spoke.

“Adam,” the Doctor replied solemnly.
Last edited by Tenlar Scarflame on Tue, 13. Oct 09, 05:55, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by gamer993 » Mon, 15. Dec 08, 09:57

good start! i want more now............... :P
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Post by SOTS » Tue, 16. Dec 08, 16:11

Hm. von Neumann as God, you say? Interesting. I like it.

Also, I see you have enough time for this, but not the RP? HEATHEN.


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Post by Tenlar Scarflame » Tue, 16. Dec 08, 17:06

I know, I know, I'm a heathen... :P

I kinda figured, though, that with the release of Terran Conflict, a lot of our Xenon-oriented plot might have to be re-thought... :(

Glad you like, though. The next bit will be TC Era...


You know, come to think of it, not much really does need to be re-thought. I haven't played through the whole Terran plot yet (I'm not a plotter much) but there hasn't been anything yet that would BREAK what we've done in the RP...

Hm. Might not be completely dead after all... as long as some mention of the Terrans is tossed in at some point :D
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Post by SOTS » Thu, 18. Dec 08, 13:13

I'm still wondering where AJK went. fiksal is no doubt hanging around somewhere. Although I can't talk, I disappeared quite epically from here myself for a while.

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Post by Tenlar Scarflame » Thu, 18. Dec 08, 16:50

Mmmm, too bad. :( It was a valiant start though, must be said.
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Post by SOTS » Thu, 18. Dec 08, 17:10

What do you mean, 'was'? I'm still up for it!

What say we email the others, see if we can't get it up and running again?

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Post by repatomonor » Thu, 8. Jan 09, 20:37

Hmm, did you know that Von Neumann was Hungarian? :D

Well he was and now I feel respected that I heard a Hungarian name in my favorite game, and now he even became a God o.O (cos I m Hungarian...)

Well nice story tho

Also, if you wan't to find out more about Neumann János, here is a link to wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann

Respect to Egosoft for the neat intro and mentionning this name 8)

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Post by SOTS » Thu, 8. Jan 09, 20:41

Last I checked, Tenlar didn't work for Ego. But I'm sure he's glad you enjoyed the intro. :D

Go check out the Factional RP thread if you want the story this was an offshoot from :)

and @Tenlar: Write more! :P

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Post by Tenlar Scarflame » Fri, 12. Jun 09, 00:39

I know I keep saying this these days, but...


So yes, this story is not dead on arrival, I've just been, you know, not writing it. So here's part two- it may not seem to have anything to do with part one, but it does, I promise. ^^

As to Von Neumann of Hungary and Von Neumann of Borneo, I would like to clear up one thing- different person, though the Borneo Von Neumann is possibly one of Hungary's Von Neumann's descendants. :) Besides, Hangary's Von Neumann no longer lives, I believe... and it would be a bit strange even in the X-Universe to bring him back as "God." :P

Anyway, part 2. Enjoy...

November 4, 2942 Anno Domini / 772 Argon Era / 4 Reunion Era

“Positive, AM4-YX39. Please dock as soon as you get green position lights. Family Rhonkar Imperial Trading Port welcomes your business.” The control tower hailed back to the Buster as it aligned itself with the docking lane. The traffic controller gave a great Split yawn as he watched the little Argon vessel guiding itself in on the external camera and waited for its pilot to confirm.

The Argons from the nearby Aladna Hill Confederacy were flying up north more and more these days to do business. The same was true, also, for those other Argon-looking creatures, the Terrans, coming from way across the gates past the Lyraean Republic. The traffic controller already liked the Terrans more. From what he’d seen of them, they carried themselves with a military posture that would make any Split feel the need to start a fight. And they always brought military escorts- LOTS of military escorts- wherever they went, even for trivial exchanges of goods and words. The traffic controller scratched his chin and stifled another yawn- he supposed the Argon were just trying to out-do these new Terrans by keeping the Split in line with the Commonwealth. After all, from what he’d heard, as much as these tall pink creatures looked alike, the Terrans and Argons were not very happy with each other at all…

The audio link to AM4-YX39 clicked twice for confirmation as the Buster aligned itself with the docking lane and turned for the hangar. Looking out the armorglass to his right, the traffic controller had visual.

He never liked Argon ships, really. The damned things, for all their curves and bells and whistles, were far too slow for his taste. Which never bothered him, really, except when they were getting ready to dock at his station. Then it irritated him. This one, however, gave quite a thrust as it approached. He smiled- now here was a pilot who knew how to tune his ship.

And he suddenly realized that something was very wrong. The Buster had gone to full burn. It was still headed for the hangar…

Desperately the traffic controller tried to re-engage the hangar shield section, but by then it was too late. The Buster was out of sight…

He fumbled for the Hangar’s audio system while initiating a localized high-alert. “The Hangar is under attack! Security teams to the Hangar immediately! Infiltrator has breached the shield and entered the Hangar!”

Twenty guards had the Buster encircled immediately. It lay about in the center of the small-ship refueling bay, having skidded well past its docking clamp and smashed itself against a maintenance scaffold. The torn, melted skid it had left in the bay floor still glowed a bit from its aggressive impact with the fighter’s shields. The fighter lay in two pieces, its right power bay separated from the fuselage during the crash, sparking and flaming wildly. It was most certainly beyond repair. At least, it seemed, the reactor remained stable.

All twenty guards wore the toughest Ghok-leather armor and helmets, and each had a mass rifle trained steadily on the Buster’s cockpit. It was quite possible that the pilot had survived.

The squad leader clicked on his comms. “Command. The crashed Argon vessel is secured. The pilot remains inside, his condition is unknown.”

The reply came back almost immediately. “Please indicate to our wayward pilot that the best way for him to avoid instant vaporization is for him to exit his vessel, completely unarmed, and place his hands over his head.”

“And if he does, command?”

“Please vaporize him.”

“Yes command.” He lowered his own weapon, though his squad mates remained trained on the target. “Pilot! We know you’re inside! Exit your ship and surrender to us and we will retain your honor.”

Either the pilot did not hear, or he chose not to.

Or, the squad leader thought with great annoyance, he died immediately from the impact. Nevertheless, he continued. “Pilot! You are running out of time. Your ship is surrounded. Twenty mass rifles are trained on your cockpit. You have until…”

Nobody immediately comprehended what happened next- partially, this was due to the mighty concussion that rendered all the guards’ hearing useless for a few moments. It was also partially because no sentient creature can immediately wrap their mind around a person simply vanishing completely. However, in a single instant, the number of guards dropped from twenty to nineteen, and this remainder was thrown to the floor by a tremendous force.

When they were all able to right themselves, they noticed two things- their squad leader had been replaced by a glowing, melted mark on the floor, and the Buster’s left fuselage particle accelerator cannon was beginning to cool.

All nineteen guards righted themselves, threw out diplomacy (as any good Split would), leveled their mass rifles on the cockpit and fired, draining 950 crystal-matrix rounds into the doomed vessel. The mass rounds were designed to be able to pass through light shielding unhindered by “grabbing” the shield and catapulting itself through in multiple pieces- by the time it struck whatever was behind the shield, it was little more than a tight collection of white-hot atoms, but this did its part well enough.

What little of the Buster’s shield was left in the left power bay was not enough to stop the rounds, and a multitude of flaming perforations sprang up across the vessel’s armorglass. By the time the guard’s clips were half empty, the armorglass failed and the cockpit’s interior was set ablaze by mass rounds.

That was Split diplomacy.

Their magazines empty, the guards lowered their weapons and waited for the fog of war to clear away from the cockpit. The pilot would most likely be sent to the bestiary for organic recycling, though the commander would probably want to try to identify the body first... except, they realized with a mighty dread, that there was no body. The cockpit was unoccupied.

Of course, the pilot wasn't stupid enough to have mangled himself beyond recognition in a high-speed crash- he'd ejected and propelled himself into the hangar with his space suit's attitude jets, and this whole time he'd been waiting somewhere out of sight...

The guards’ hands had just reached their belts for new magazines when the pilot leapt from an adjacent maintenance scaffold, brandishing an electron sword, his carmine red cloak swirling about him. His first strike left a guard dead, his throat slashed and burned- and then he turned to the others.

Half the remaining guards instantly drew their own close-combat weapons and charged for the pilot, whose hood and red cloak made absolute identification impossible. What was obvious, however, was the emblem on the back of his cloak- the Triple Eclipse, the crest of Family Chin.

The guards that had opted for close combat immediately realized their error, as the Chin assassin parried each soldiers’ attacks in turn, slashed one across his chest, ran another through the abdomen, and extracted the sword from another, severing his arm and immediately opening another’s throat- all of this in what seemed a single, uninterrupted motion. The rest of the guards halted their charge, and those who had stood back raised their rifles to fire.

The Chin assassin dropped his extra sword and whirled his cloak around to cover his body, just as the first shots discharged. The stream of mass rounds converged on him at several times the speed of sound on Earth and should have thrown him on his back, but he hardly budged at all- more alarming still, no damage seemed to be done to his cloak, which seemed alight with fire as each guard emptied his weapon again.

It wasn’t long at all before the assassin heard only the tell-tale click of empty magazines, and the frantic shuffle of each guard to replace his. He threw back his cloak, flinging a bluish, crystalline dust into the air- presumably the remnants of the mass rounds- and then he sprang, cat-like, his electron sword held back-handed above his head. As the guards, completely demoralized and desperate, fumbled between their close combat weapons and replacement magazines, the assassin struck. Within about ten sezuras, the remainder were dead.

The assassin sheathed his weapon and looked up to the nearest security camera. With all the pride, grace, and defiance of a young Split noble, he threw back the hood of his cloak. His straight, jet-black hair, long enough to reach the small of his back, was tied into a pony tail. His young face was unblemished by the ritual and battle scars of the Family Rhonkar, and his eyes flashed a golden orange. He poured rebellion into his stare.

The commander, who had watched the battle through the security system, breathed in sharply. “Prince Thrk.” He turned to his subordinate. “Station-wide red alert. Send word to all vessels within communications range to raise the Family fleet.”

The commander’s subordinate hesitated for a moment. “The Family fleet? Are you…”

This, of course, earned him a violent, bruising strike on his cheek bone. The commander’s eyes brimmed with rage. “This is Prince Thrk of Chin, you incompetent creature! He is without peer, he is without reason! He will stop at nothing to topple the Family, shameless animal! Raise the fleet or I will tear the spine from you!”
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Post by Tenlar Scarflame » Fri, 12. Jun 09, 05:12

I was feeling prolific tonight and finished the next part. :) I present ye all part 3, starring more Thrk.

Thrk knew that the slave quarters would be as far into the trading port’s tower as it could be placed. After all, as the Split ambassadors to the Commonwealth Senate would repeatedly remind the other races’ dignitaries, the Split race had forever abolished slave labor.

Thrk detachedly took notice of exactly how poor relations had gotten between the Split under Family Rhonkar and the rest of the Commonwealth. He was in what should have been the busiest section of the trading port, the old Blade Traders’ Bazaar. Even thirty jazuras ago it was still a hub for merchants of all the Commonwealth races- especially those with a penchant for arms dealing, but also for the trade and development of technologies of all sorts. It had almost been a sort of small, capitalism-based public research institute in and of itself. Its high vaults were now locked from every side, and no lights save the pervasive red emergency lights illuminated the way. Merchant stalls that were once premium real estate throughout the eastern Old Commonwealth were covered only with dust. Thrk felt quite alone. Of course, this was quite a blessing for the moment. And locked doors, even those that could foil a high energy plasma thrower, were no match for his guardian angel.

He adjusted his hood slightly and spoke into the unfathomably thin microphone hidden beneath it. “Door, twelve meters, one o’clock.” He did not break stride as he approached.

The message penetrated the station shield and reached just between its highest aerials, where a lone Argon Nova hung between the windowless sides of two towers. The tower controller would have been dumbfounded to find this ship a mere hundred meters from where he sat- but he couldn’t be faulted for being forced unwittingly into the most futile cyber battle he’d ever dreamed of. The Nova’s pilot responded. “Right, right, right. Found it.” His uncannily dexterous saurian fingers punched away at a built-in workstation. “And opened it. Nothing living ahead of you, so far. After you.”

“Is there anything moving this way?” Replied Thrk as he proceeded through the doorway, which hissed shut behind him.

“One group, there it is. Five of them. Rifles and plasma pikes, it looks like. You’re ahead of them, though, by eighty meters. I think the commander thought you were coming for him.”

“Typical Rhonkar self-pity,” Thrk spat. “Distance to target?”

“Working on that, working, working. This isn’t easy, bonehead!”

Thrk smiled. “If it were easy I could have hired anyone else. Thank you, Faustos.”

Faustos grinned frighteningly as he typed away. “Hssssss, you don’t need to thank me! I haven’t had this much fun since the old tazuras, not at all, not at all!” The saurian was completely in his element- surrounded by at least thirty holographic monitors, detailing internal and external station communications, his own Nova’s bio and freight scanning readouts, and a complete command of the station’s pervasive security system. By his handiwork, the station’s security cameras were displaying a loop of the feeds they had received exactly one jazura ago. The trip alarms and internal bio scanners were also blind to Thrk’s presence, though Faustos had absolute command of them.

Though with as much information as he was getting at once, his comprehension of all of it was not perfect. He took a glance at one of the monitors of the station security grid. “Those five guards, yes? They’re closer than I thought. A lot closer.”


“You may want to hide.”

Thrk muttered a low curse that Faustos surely caught and quickly surveyed his surroundings. This was not a good place to be looking for hiding spots- it was the outermost of a series of concentric passageways that linked the docks with the mercantile quarter and the tower elevators. The lights were dim, at least, though Thrk wasn’t sure if his foes would be carrying personal targeting suites- he was fairly certain that Faustos, for all his wizardry, couldn’t crack into those. In any case, they’d give him away from a short distance, and through cover. He’d have to bet on them still believing the readouts from the station bio scanners. In two bounds, and exactly three sezuras before the guards came into view, he leapt into cover.

The guard captain had his rifle drawn and aimed as he flooded the passageway with an infrared light, which lit the area like daylight in his optical suite. His four privates hung behind him, two with rifles ready and two with plasma pikes and palm shields. The passage was empty, but he had been told to be on the lookout for absolutely anything out of the ordinary. Typically obscure orders, but generally Split preferred it that way- it meant less targeting discretion, which meant more fun.

The group advanced down the hallway, catching a ray of light emanating from a source at the far end, out of view. No lights were supposed to be on on this deck- infrared suites were blinded by it. Spurred on by confidence- surely their prey hadn’t been this negligent- they advanced towards the light. The captain switched off his infrared optics and returned to standard vision. His personal bio scanner still read no contacts besides his guards. The station bio scanners weren’t giving him anything either.

The group caught sight of the light source, which glared brightly in their optical suites. This was surely wrong. Someone had dropped a deep-space photonic fountain. Any astronaut carried a few of these for close-range signaling of nearby vessels in case of emergency. They had luminescence enough for human eyes to catch them at a hundred kilometers, and for ships’ systems to read them at several thousand. Needless to say, they were quite bright at a few dozen meters. The guards’ optical suites automatically dimmed the light to an acceptable level, but they were still whited out…

Suddenly, the fountain ceased, and the room was very, very dark. Too dark, the guard captain immediately realized as he reached for his communicator. The emergency lights had also gone out.

A single, pinpoint source of perfectly white light pierced the captain’s vision- the anode of an electron sword. It lit the contours of the assassin’s cloak for a bare moment before two of his guards’ throats were slashed. They fell to the floor, already quite dead, their limbs twitching and crackling from electrocution. The other two guards lit their plasma pikes and palm shields and charged him, screeching a Split war cry. Thrk ducked around the white-hot edge of the pike, acutely feeling its energy only inches from his face as he whirled his legs to the wall and, momentarily free of the floor, pushed himself off of a bulkhead and over his foes’ pikes. In flight he took hold one of the pikes with his free hand and wrenched it away from the guard as he brought himself back to the floor, bracing himself for just a moment before turning with a great flourish and running his enemy through the stomach with the electron sword.

The guard captain took a few steps back and raised his communicator. “Assassin on deck one, ring alpha, one hundred meters from the elevators! We need backup, commander, we need more warriors! Deck one, ring alpha! We need more warriors!”

Thrk had killed off the last of the captain’s privates and advanced on his remaining foe. The captain met his gaze, a snarl on his face. “Filthy… Chin… bastard!”

Thrk did not betray a single emotion. “Your men fought and died with great honor. I am glad to have brought them deaths such as this. You hid behind them and called for help. You will be shamed today- your death is for another day.” He sheathed his electron sword and gave the captain a mighty blow to the head. He immediately dropped to the floor, consciousness gone.

“Thrk,” said Faustos calmly.

“Yes, I know.” Thrk turned back to the hallway. “They’re coming. Find me the elevator.”
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Post by Tenlar Scarflame » Sun, 14. Jun 09, 03:03

The next part is ready, but I'd be happy to know what you all think about it so far. Directions I could go in and such.

Just to let you all know, this story is designed to have a gigantically big scope- so quite a few big names will be in it. And quite a lot more threads will be started besides these two, though they'll all converge at various points.
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Post by gsheriston » Sun, 14. Jun 09, 13:07

Tenlar Scarflame wrote:And quite a lot more threads will be started besides these two, though they'll all converge at various points.
That's great news, I love converging stories :) I'm just happy to see it unfold and watch wherever you want to take it. Looking forward to finding out what Thrk is trying to do and why...

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Post by Tenlar Scarflame » Sun, 14. Jun 09, 16:58

neeeeeext part. :)

(you'll have to wait for more Thrk. Sorry, I'm mean :wink:)

EDIT: Hah, just noticed something unintentional. Remember, remember, the fifth of november... :D

November 5, 2942 Anno Domini / 772 Argon Era / 4 Reunion Era

“I was briefed in this room, did you know that? All those years ago, two days before launch. Very different place back then.”

“I didn’t know that, Captain. Let’s focus on the questions at hand, shall we?”

“For the love of god, man, I’m tired. I’m entitled to a nap by now, like any other good law-abiding senior...”

“We’ll let you rest once you’ve finished answering our questions, Captain. Understand, this is all very important to interplanetary security.”

“Yes, yes, so you’ve told me for the past two woz... eh, weeks.”

“Shall we continue?”

“You’re asking me like I actually have options. You’re not nearly cunning enough for your rank, you know. I ought to demote you until you wise up.”

“Take that up with my superior if you wish.”

“I AM your superior, dammit.”

“Take that up with my superior with the appropriate USC RnM protocol form and he’ll…”

“Ask your goddam questions. I’m not as stupid as you seem to think I am.”

“…very well, Captain. Number ninety two- what is the location of the Argon pirate by the name of Julian Brennan?”

“Wrong question if you want my cooperation. That’s strike one.”

“…fine, Captain, we’ll come back to it. Ninety three- please describe to us, in detail, what you saw aboard the alleged planet-killer weapon ship during the battle of Omicron Lyrae.”

“A lot of purple.”

“In detail, Captain.”

“Good god, man, the beast had my mind enthralled! Look up that word if you’re so ill-educated that you can’t grasp the meaning, but I know it well, I swear to every god in heaven. I still get echoes of them. It had me suspended in this field, some kind of impulse field, and it took in my mind. It used my mind to find something, and it found it at Omicron Lyrae. Then it went there to kill it. When my idiot son went in for his daring rescue and tried to tightbeam me over to Argon One, the beast lost what it was looking for. Then they actually tightbeamed me out- I’m quite surprised that it was possible- but they left something behind. My mind. They got my body out, but the beast kept my mind in the ship. Do you understand?”

“I’m only asking the questions.”

“Of course. The thing had my mind and it did not lose what it was looking for- presumably because it needed whatever I ‘knew’ to find its target. Then they blew up the ship, and my mind escaped. That’s everything I know.”

“I have some supplemental questions, if you don’t mind.”

“I do mind, and what you mean is that the man speaking into your earpiece has supplemental questions. Ask away.”

“You continue to refer to the ‘beast.’ To what are you referring?”

“The thing that took my mind.”

“What does this thing look like?”

“It doesn’t look like anything. Can you name something that is both physical and has the capacity to steal minds? Oh yes, I forgot, the AGI Task Force.”

“How did it steal your mind?”

“I don’t know. I had a lot of encounters with them before, though, so I presume this ability was unique to the planet-killer ship. Whatever impulse field held me there was coupled with something else that interfered with my uniqueness. I started to become a part of the ship, you see. It caused chaos that blurred me with itself. I can describe it to you in any number of ways, would you like me to list more?”

“Another supplemental question. You say your mind escaped. How?”

“The ship was destroyed, so whatever it was doing to blur itself with me got stopped. I cobbled together what there was of me and returned to my body.”

“You… returned to your body?”



“I found my body and re-entered it. Crossed a few wires, did a jump start, and fired myself back up.”

“…I see. Was this difficult?”


“Right. Next question, then, number ninety four- how much did you see of species X-8b? And please describe, in greatest possible detail, their physiology, methods of communication, social tendencies, and anything else you can think of.”

“I saw quite a lot of them. They shot me out of my cockpit, took me hostage, and enslaved my mind.”

“What did they look like, then?”

“Purple, triangular.”

“You mean… the crews also look purple and triangular?”

“What are you playing at? I’m already giving you a free pass, I know you’ve seen the pictures and models graciously supplied to us by the Commonwealth, so why do you want me to tell you?”

“I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood. What do the crews of these ships look like?”

“I don’t know. I never saw any crew.”

“None at all?”

“I just said that, dammit. No crews. Not where I was.”

“Interesting… supplemental question. Were there signs of crews?”

“What, like tracks and droppings?”

“Were there doors, walkways, controls… that sort of thing?”

“Not really, no. Lots of purple, lots of tessellations of hexagons and triangles. That’s it.”

“Okay… ninety five, then. What is your knowledge of the Family Chin of species X-4?”

“They were the Patriarch Family of All Split, until shortly after the end of the Xenon Conflict when the Family Rhonkar seized power, deposed the Patriarch and abolished the title.”

“Do you know what happened to those aliens belonging to the Family Chin?”

“I presume they’re in hiding. I don’t know.”

“Have you had any contact with the Family Chin?”

“More likely than not.”

“…You mean you don’t know?”

“Well, they look rather the same as most other Split, to my eyes. Quite human looking, wiry, narrow eyes, generally a bit of scar tissue. You’ve seen the pictures. And the Split don’t include the name of their Family when introducing themselves.”

“Why is that?”

“Because traditionally rival families will duel each other quite brutally if they find each other out. Obviously this once caused their society a lot of developmental problems. So eventually they accepted that if you just tell your given name and your lineage name, you don’t mean to cause harm. Naming your Family name or displaying your Family crest in the presence of another Family is akin to throwing down the glove.”

“Have you ever interbred with a female of species X-4?”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m sorry, have you ever interbred with a female of…”

“No, no, I heard what you said. I’m just making sure you really mean to ask that.”

“Yes, I do.”

“That’s strike two, you goddam shameless bureaucrat. And yes, I have. Would you like to know how it was?”

“Actually, yes.”

“Better than your mother or your sister. Are we done insulting each other?”

“Was it successful?”


“Did it result in conception?”

“Jesus, man, I wasn’t married to her, and I didn’t jump around the Gates making love-children. Now I suppose you’ll ask about my bathroom habits and how many Teladi I’ve seduced and if I find the Boron Lar an attractive prospect for a gender change. How close am I?”

“Question ninety-six. Do you know Cain?”



“Any supplemental questions?”

“’No’ is your answer, then?”

“That’s strike three for calling me a liar. We’re done.”

“There’s only four more questions after this one and we will be finished for today. We’ll treat you to dinner in Ta705’s famous…”

“I don’t think you heard me properly. We’re done. Now, I want to ask you a few questions.”

“…we’d be more than happy to answer, Captain, once we’re…”

“Now, god dammit.”

“…Yes, you may ask us whatever you’d like.”

“Why the hell am I a prisoner here? I’d understand it if you took me in right as I sailed through the Gate four years ago. I could wrap my head around that- I’m still pretty flexible these days. But why are you doing this now? Whose goddam brilliant idea was it to make it legal to do this? For Christ’s sake, I’m no threat at all to interplanetary security. I’ve done my part for more than fifty years to protect Earth and every territory of the United Space Command from both the Terraformers and all other threats to its peaceful continuation. So why do you have me locked up here, asking me all these goddam questions?”

“…Please understand, Captain, that you’re kept here for your own security. We know your record well and we do commend your service and bravery in defending Earth and her colonies. This information is a matter of grave interplanetary security…”

“What, do you think I’m going to go tell every rock-humper I meet in the colonies what I’ve seen? Of course I know it’s a matter of interplanetary security, and I know you're trying to hand me a smoking hot freighter-load of...”

“That’s quite enough, Captain. I think it’s time we ended for today.”

“Yes, I think so.”
My music - Von Neumann's Children - Lasers and Tactics

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The Zig
Posts: 458
Joined: Mon, 1. Mar 04, 22:59

Post by The Zig » Tue, 16. Jun 09, 02:36

It's a bit too late at night for me to carry on reading now, but I just read the opening post, and it looks good. Interesting start.

I'll say more when I'm up-to-date!

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