Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

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Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

Postby Cralis on Wed 28 Jul 2010 15:56

27 AUG 2086 ~1250 (SUN Pendleton Local Time), Throne Room of Muuran’si

As Captain Harding, Gunny Morris, and Sergeant Grellawan turned the corner they could see the double-door entrance to the throne room. Standing at guard on either side of the door were two pairs of guards in heavy body armor and massive slug rifles. As they approached the Soffran officer turned to Captain Harding.

“Captain Harding, we cannot allow armed soldiers to enter the throne room.”

I don’t think I will need an armed escort, and it would make me nervous to have potential enemies who are armed in the same room as our President, Captain Harding thought. “May my men stand guard on the other side of the hallway, to protect me?” he asked.

“Yes,” came the officer’s reply, “but only as long as they do not draw their weapons.”

“Gunny, Sergeant, stay here until I come back for you. You know the drill.”

“Aye aye sir!” responded both Marines.

“Lead the way,” said Captain Harding, as he stepped aside to let the Soffran officer go first.

The Soffran officer stepped up to the door and made a gesture. The guards opened the door and whispered to someone inside. Harding could hear voices from the inside, sometimes punctuated by shouting. After a moment Harding heard the voice from the inside and his earphone translated “He is to enter now.” As the guard was opening the door for him, he nodded understanding and walked in.

Captain Harding stepped through into the throne room and realized several things:

First, the throne room was absolutely massive. It was at least four or five stories from the floor to the ceiling, and there were stone columns lining the entire outside of the room except the five meters of wall to either side of the door. It was roughly rectangular shaped, with about 50 meters to the right and left of the door and about 20-25 meters length from the door to the far wall. The columns were about 2 meters from the wall. A brown-purple rug was laid out over the stone floor from the door to the actual throne, which was between two pillars directly opposite from the entrance. To either side of the rug were slightly depressed floors with massive round stone tables.

The second thing he noticed was that the new Lercana was sitting at his throne and was flanked by a guard while his father was in front of the throne. There, at a small stone table placed in front of the throne was where Ambassador Kusari was seated. His back was to the door and he in the middle of some discourse that sounded like economic obligations under the treaty.

But that lead to the third thing he noticed. Muura had an angry look on his face. And he was staring right at Captain Harding as he entered the room. Captain Harding took a half dozen steps into the room before he started listening to what Ambassador Kusari was saying in a raised voice.

“Lercana, Adon, you have no choice. Our government is being generous by allowing you to remain semi-autonomous. Your people are a threat if left unchecked. Either you submit your government to ours and commit your economic and social development to the direction of our regional director, or we will be forced to pacify your planet to guarantee the safety of ours!”

Captain Harding could only stare. What is he thinking? The Solar Union is not an imperialist government.

Muura grunted before responding. “Ambassador. You made no mention of these requirements while we negotiated on board Captain Harding’s ship. Captain Harding made no such requirements.”

“Captain Harding serves only to bring me here. I am the voice of my people. You will comply or you will be conquered.” Ambassador Kusari pounded his hand on the table as a punctuation to the last word.

The Lercana was sitting silently, visibly upset. He said something and Muura looked back, but before he could respond Ambassador Kusari jumped to his feet and yelled “I don’t care what Captain Harding thinks! You will submit to the new regional director or risk losing your sovereignty!”

Muura smiled. Ambassador Kusari threw his hands into the air and screamed “Fine! Our troops will be here within the week and then you will submit.” Upon ending his sentence he stood, gathered his papers, and turned as if to leave the room. That is when he saw Captain Harding standing there, and he froze.

Muura said, “I think Captain Harding might have his own opinion. Before I started negotiating with you he outlined what your people were interested in, and what they wanted. Captain Harding?”

His question shook Harding out of his daze. “Um, yes Muura?”

“Do your people intend to enslave my people?” Muura said.

Ambassador Kusari’s face filled with rage. “Slavery? What kind of a lie are you perpetrating here? You dare impeach the integrity of an Ambassador of the Solar Union in order to hide your violence and corruption?”

Muura stepped backwards towards the Lercana, about to say something when the Lercana rose in anger. “You are a liar and vetalk. You speak of negotiations and treaties and then come here to demand surrender not just to your people, but to you personally. And you call us corrupt!”

The yelling continued at such a frenzied pace that Captain Harding couldn’t keep up. Fortunately he was born with one gift, the ability to whistle loudly enough that it could be heard for a mile. He put both finger to his lips and made on long whistle. The Lercana and Muura both looked at him, while Ambassador Kusari silently stood facing away from him. Soffran guards busted in through the door while the guards in the room trained their weapons on Captain Harding and Ambassador Kusari.

Captain Harding took a deep breath and then spoke. “My apologies Lercana, please give me a moment.”

“Be quick, I am at the end of my patience. I no longer know what my father thought when he brought you here.” Then the Lercana sat and waited.

“Jun,” started Captain Harding, “am I hearing correctly that you are secretly negotiating some sort of surrender from the Soffran? And that they are to be subject to a new Solar Union regional command?”

“No Captain Harding,” he turned and glowered, “not exactly. There is more going on here then you have the privilege to know. My family has authored a bill allowing the Soffran to be part of the Solar Union Empire.”

Captain Harding shook his head. “I would stake my career that this is not what the Solar Union wants.”

Ambassador Kusari raised his head and smiled, then said, “You don’t know it yet, but you already have.”

The Lercana started to rise from the throne again, but Muura quickly stepped forward and spoke, “Captain Harding, we will not submit to be subjects in another empire.”

“Nor should you have to.” Harding looked around at the guards still with ready weapons, I wonder what the Marines are doing outside the door? “In fact, I consider this a breach of authority on the Ambassador’s part and am ready to take him into custody to be remanded for his actions here today. We can discuss the original treaty negotiations at a later date.”

“I would find that acceptable,” said the Lercana, now sitting down again in his throne. “Father, take them away.”

Ambassador Kusari threw his datapad and papers on the floor and rushed at Captain Harding, screaming, “I do not recognize your authority! You are the traitor, and you must pay!”

Captain Harding rocked back on his heels and waited to see if the Soffran guards would shoot. When they did not, he shifted his weight to receive the impact of Kusari’s headlong rush. Just before the collision, however, Harding stepped back and grabbed Kusari’s arm, twisting Kusari down and inward and using his elbow as a pivot point to re-direct his momentum into the floor. He landed with a sickening thud, and Captain Harding dragged Kusari’s arm behind his back so he could not get enough leverage to get up again.

“Muura,” called out Captain Harding, “may my Marines come in and arrest Ambassador Kusari?”

Muura looked up at the guards and made a couple hand signals with all four hands. First the guards lowered their rifles and then they let the Marines run into the throne room. As they approached they flanked Captain Harding.

“Sir? Are you ok Sir?” asked Gunny Morris.

“Yes Gunny. Arrest Ambassador Kusari for breach of authority and assaulting a Naval Officer of the Solar Union.”

“With pleasure sir!”

27 AUG 2086 ~1650 (SUN Pendleton Local Time), Great Halls of Muuran’si

Several hours after the arrest of Ambassador Kusari, Captain Harding was taken to a war room somewhere deep under the Great Halls. There he met Muura. The room was setup with maps and displays of the entire Soffran world. Soldiers were assigned to analyze data and then place miniatures across the world map that was in the center of the room. As he was waiting for Muura to talk to the officers, Captain Harding was studying the miniatures that represented the deployed Soffran units of Muuran and regional origin to the various old territories. There were other miniatures that looked like they were enemy soldiers scattered randomly over the world. As he was studying it, Muura walked up with an officer following.

“Captain Harding, this is my Pola Gran, or commanding officer over my military forces. I have asked him to come and brief you on the state of our occupation of the old nations,” said Muura.

Muura gestured for the officer to introduce himself, and after an awkward moment the officer offered his hand to Captain Harding.

“I am Garan, Pola Dar of this facility. Roughly equal to a general in your military.”

Captain Harding shook his hand, having to adjust his grip to be a regular handshake without seeming like he was disapproving or correcting.

“Good to meet you Pola Dar Garan, I am Captain Harding. I am here at Muura’s request, although I’m not sure why.”

“Well, Cap-tain Har-ding,” Garan enunciated every word of Harding’s name very slowly, “we have a situation that we’ve never had to deal with before and we were hoping your world history and experience might be able to assist us with a,” Garan looked up as he paused, “situation.”

Muura turned to the map table and pointed out towards some of the colored models. “The problem, Captain, is that these are not military opponents, but local ex-military or ex-political groups that are collecting small arms, munitions, and explosives, and making raids on civilian and military targets. While every citizen used to think of themselves as loyal to the royal family, we think that the war and indoctrination has either made them violent or disloyal. We believe that these groups intend to damage the on-going effort to re-unite our people.”

Captain Harding tried not to frown. Thinking about the tour, he couldn’t recall any kind of revolution or uprising in the recorded history. He knew that he had not seen the complete history of the Soffran people, but still, what he saw covered thousands of years.

“Muura, on Earth we have called groups like this ‘insurgents.’ We have also called them ‘terrorists’ if they attack civilians for political gain. They are difficult to fight and harder to root out if they have the sympathies of the populace." Harding paused a moment for effect. Then he said, “Are you telling me that the people on your planet have never, in your entire history, been so divided against the authority that they have risen up and fought back?”

Muura thought about it for a moment and then responded. “No Captain Harding, I don’t believe our people have ever been so divided to ever consider such an action, at least until the Preco separated their territories and their people as if they were separate nations. But that resulted in open warfare, not this…”

He hesitated long enough that Garan answered for him.

“This uh, insurgents, have resulted in regular people joining those who were loyal to the Preco and fighting against the newly established local governments. They are joining just to be fighting the Murchan, the royal family.”

“Interesting,” Harding replied, “Insurgencies and guerilla-style warfare were common in Earth’s recent history. The cause and solution of every insurgency is different. Even though my people have not had a significant uprising in many decades, we have developed some common strategies to quell them when they inevitably do.”

“Ahhhh!” Muura exclaimed loudly, clapping two hands on Captain Harding’s shoulder. “I knew you could help us!”

Captain Harding shook his head as if to say ‘no’ and looked over the world map. “While I or my diplomatic personnel could give you some ideas on the psychological end of the battle, it is not something my officers have had any experience or training in. Major Nessur might have a better idea what to do.”

Muura ambled over to Captain Harding’s side and looked out over the world map, all four hands resting against the edge of the map table. He looked intently out over the board and tried to figure out what Captain Harding was thinking. Pola Dar Garan stood behind both of them as if watching for trouble.

“Muura, what kind of attacks have you been experiencing?” Harding asked.

“Captain, we have mostly had attacks on our supply vehicles, some on our personnel who are policing the cities, and occasional murders of civilian personnel who are there to assist in re-building the infrastructure damaged from decades of war.”

Captain Harding thought for a moment over his options to help the Soffran, and decided he wanted more information. To keep from broadcasting his intentions to those around him, he pulled his datapad out of the leg pocket on his uniform and typed out a quick message to Major Nessur explaining the situation he was being presented with and asking for some research into the options available. Then he responded to Muura‘s implied question.

“I can give you a little bit of history from Earth and the kinds of ideological mindsets we have had to deal with. Fighting ideology is more about changing the minds of the people who support the mindset, rather than open warfare. But I can have Major Nessur give you some advice on the warfare end of the deal.”

Garan moved up to the edge of the world map and held out his upper hand in another attempt at a handshake. Captain Harding immediately recognized what Garan was doing, and was curious who taught him the value of handshakes. But it was Garan’s words that impressed upon Captain Harding how quickly Garan had grasped a nuance of human psychology.

“Captain, we accept your help. The only way we know how to deal with it is through more open combat. Even I recognize that this will further divide our people, rather than bring them back together. We,” he paused, “need your help.”

Captain Harding knew that by shaking Garan’s hand he was committing himself to aiding Murchan. He looked at Garan’s hand, then at Garan, and shook his hand. Garan had an incredible grip.

“Thank you Captain,” Garan said.

As soon as the handshake was done, Muura moved away from the table and started walking towards one of the opened vertical doors, waving at Captain Harding to follow him. “Come with me Captain, I have one further request.”

Captain Harding followed without any further comment. The two of them walked along the halls outside the command center in near silence. After a few minutes of walking, Muura started talking again.

“Captain Harding, I have a question first. What about these armies that Ambassador Kusari said were coming?”

Captain Harding had Lt. Commander Andrey working on finding out the orders of the deployed Solar Union Army units being deployed to Soffran. He was holding his tablet in his right hand, and held it up long enough to turn the screen on and look for a message from his ship. Of course, there wasn’t a message. He thought about what to say. He knew full well that there was probably a higher ranking naval commander en-route to take charge and carry out the orders he was given. At that point Sierra-Two-Two would be relieved and their mission would be over. He stopped, causing Muura to stop and turn towards him to see why. Then he looked up and answered.

“Muura. I really don’t know what to think. When we first started negotiating with your world our ambassador felt that you had a style of government that we have found to be self-destructive and a horrible curse to our people. I believe his recommendation was to conquer your people rather than risk that someday you would reach the stars and bring destruction to our people.”

Muura drooped his head, obviously thinking. He was still looking down when he whispered, “As I understood it from my conversations with your people, my government is not the scary monster that Ambassador Kusari made us out to be. I do not understand why.”

“I don’t know for sure Muura,” Captain Harding said, “but now I suspect that Ambassador Kusari was trying to gain political leverage by creating a treaty that subjugated your people to ours. If it was more than that, well, I could only speculate.”

“Captain, do your people have a right of treaty?” Muura looked up as he asked.

Captain Harding blinked in surprise. “What is that?”

Muura smiled while he continued, obviously pleased to have thought of something first. “It is a Murchan tradition that once we sign a treaty, that the treaty confers a right to the treaty holders. This right is governed by the terms of the treaty but is permanently binding until revoked or superseded by a future treaty.”

Captain Harding suddenly smiled. Why didn’t I think of that? Oh yeah, I'm not a politician. “Excuse me a moment Muura, I need to make contact my people.”

--------------------

Captain Harding wanted to know the specifics of the Solar Union’s laws governing the handling of treaties. He didn’t have to go far to use the bone mic most senior and command personnel had implanted, and the bone mic allowed him to almost inaudibly communicate through the radio communicator on his uniform. Likewise, the input to the communicator went straight to his aural nerves and only he could hear it. Calling the ship and asking the Officer of the Day to look up some information was easy, and could be done with nearly complete privacy.
Five minutes later Captain Harding finished his contact with the OOD and was all smiles when he took the half dozen steps back to Muura. “I feel the need to compliment you Muura, your idea may have salvaged the situation.”

Muura kept himself reserved. He wanted to know what Captain Harding was inquiring about before he allowed himself to feel good about the situation. “What have you found Captain?”

Captain Harding was pleased and it showed. “With Ambassador Kusari relieved of his duties, I am the ranking negotiator and am duly authorized to continue negotiations with your people. Any treaty we sign is binding, within reason of course, and unless rejected by the Solar Union Congress it will stand. In the interim, our people would have to abide by the treaty.”

Muura was starting to look relieved. “Does that mean we can sign a treaty of peace and your people will recognize our people?”

“Yes,” Harding responded, “it should. At the very least, it will mean as much if Kusari’s mysterious armies arrive in orbit.”

Muura suddenly looked much more relaxed. This would save his people from the threat Ambassador Kusari tried to unleash upon them, but Harding knew that there was the issue of the insurgency to handle.

“Captain,” asked Muura in a very quiet tone, “could we sign an alliance and request direction and assistance from your people in rebuilding and maintaining order with our newly re-united nation?”

Captain Harding blinked. He was honestly surprised. Muura had to know that this would mean his government would have to accept some of the recommendations they rejected from Ambassador Kusari. He looked intently at Muura and decided that it may have been an honest question.

“Adon Muura, if we were to sign such a treaty we could have some anti-insurgency assistance from my personnel, and I’m sure the Solar Union can do better within a month or two.”

Muura almost purred in response, “That sounds like a much better deal than Ambassador Kusari offered my son.”

“But Muura, do you realize that some of the same requirements presented by the ambassador would still be required in such a treaty?” asked Harding.

Muura look straight at Captain Harding and seemed very sure in his response. “Yes Captain, I do. But in this case we would be writing an agreement to save my people, not enslave them to a mad man.”

9 SEP 2086 ~1500 (SUN Pendleton Local Time), Captain’s Ward

“It appears that the insurgency on your world is larger then you expected, Muura,” said Captain Harding.

“You are correct Captain, we have between six and ten attacks a day across Soffora.”

“I think your family’s hate and the decades of direct war may have left many of your people with a damaged sense of who they are,” Captain Harding took a drink from a water pouch sitting on his desk.

Muura was sitting cross-legged in a chair next to Captain Harding’s desk, looking at a globe of Soffra projected in the air. It was speckled with colored dots that indicated the type and severity of insurgent attacks. Most were focused in the regions corresponding to the previous nations of Josalan and Norovas, making the insurgency difficult to fight as it covered two continents. The larger the area, the more forces it required to cover potential targets and have forces available for quick responses.

“Captain Harding, do you really think that Ambassador Kusari was telling the truth when he said that your soldiers were on the way to enforce our submission?”

Captain Harding sat back listening to the translation before responding. “It is hard to say. Yesterday we received a radio message from the Task Force that transited into this star system. We have been waiting for them to return our request for a communiqué. I’m expecting to hear from them any minute as they are in sensor range and slowly moving this way. If the task force does have Solar Union ground forces, and our treaty is accepted by the Solar Union, then we may be able to directly assist you with the insurgency.”

Captain Harding was being polite. The task force was obviously here for battle. Four light cruisers, ten freighters of equal size, and a half dozen smaller combat ships. The appearance of this task force is almost as mysterious as the relative lack of communications.

Muura seemed to be deep in thought about it. Captain Harding let him think for a minute or two before continuing. I’m pretty sure he is wondering if it would be wise to have our troops fight his battles. It might polarize his people against ours, thought Harding.

“Muura, our soldiers do not actually have to fight your people. We can train your soldiers, help you improve your weapons, and give you new ideas that your armies have never thought to use before. It should be enough for you to gain the upper hand long enough to restore order.”

Muura smiled. “Perhaps you are right…”

As he was speaking, Captain Harding’s console beeped an alert.

“Captain Harding.” He responded.

“Sir,” said the OOD on the SUN Pendleton’s bridge, “you have a radio message coded classified.”

“Thank you, I’ll take it here.”

Captain Harding pressed the symbol to close the link, then keyed in the commands to access the transmission and display it on his console. As he did so he motioned for Muura to move his seat out in front of the desk. Captain Harding held his fingers to his mouth and said “ssssh, don’t say anything.” Muura nodded his acknowledgement. He seemed to be getting used to the human language.

When the transmission came up it indicated about 17 seconds of signal delay, which indicated that the fleet was only twenty or so minutes from orbit at the speed they were traveling. Why did they wait so long to contact us? I should have paid more attention to their estimated arrival time. The signal finally came through and a Solar Union General from the Ground Forces appeared on the screen.

“Good day Sir, I am Captain Harding of the SUN Pendleton.” Captain Harding wanted to make sure he followed protocol as best as possible.

After 15 seconds the General responded. “Good morning Captain, I am General Alegrev of the 71st Detachment. I need to request from you the status of the Soffran, records of your observations of Soffra, and a dump of all your intelligence data. I am also taking command of this operation effective immediately.”

Captain Harding was both surprised, and unsurprised at the implied direction this conversation immediately took. “General, I need to ask what your mission is. I don’t know what information you have been given while enroute to Pollux, but we have negotiated a treaty with the Soffran people and have sent it back to Earth for recognition by Congress.”

The General’s face showed surprise when he heard the news. Captain Harding realized that the transmission delay was dropping as the task force neared Soffran orbit. The General indicated the he would be right back with a mumble and a wave, and the connection changed to a “hold” screen. Captain Harding also muted his side and then shrugged at Muura. Several minutes later the video returned and Captain Harding found himself talking to a new face.

“Captain Harding, I am Senator Kusari of the Solar Union Congress. What do you mean you have negotiated a treaty with the Soffran? Which nation?”

Captain Harding closed his eyes briefly and composed himself. Oh wow. No wonder the task force was so large. They are escorting a member of Congress. He sat up as straight as he could and then stared straight into the video pickup.

“Good day sir. Several weeks ago the Soffran nations were restored to a single government under their traditional monarchy. Since that time we have negotiated a treaty where they have agreed to allow us passage through their star system in return for a trade agreement. They desire a closer pact, but understand that until their economic and scientific knowledge improves to the point they can join us in space, it would be unlikely that the Solar Union would enter into such an agreement.”

Senator Kusari was very old. Standard nano-treatments can extend a human’s average life span to well over 150 years, and he was well enough connected to qualify for them. The treatments do not keep a person looking young, however, and the elder Kusari’s wrinkles and facial sags made him look irritable. But after hearing Harding speak, the Senator’s face became noticeably more angry and sour.

“Ambassador Kusari was the lead on this mission, and he had special orders on how to deal with the Soffran based upon the reports sent back to Earth. Put him on now.” Senator Kusari stared at him through the screen.

Captain Harding rarely felt uncomfortable, but he did now. “I apologize sir; Ambassador Kusari was arrested for breach of authority and assaulting a Naval Officer. We have testimony that he attempted secret negotiations for personal gain, and when I confronted him he physically attacked me and was arrested by Solar Union Marines.”

Senator Kusari’s eyes opened wider then Harding though possible. “He… WHAT?”

The screen went black and Captain Harding found himself wondering if he should break the link. Muura looked as if he was going to say something, so Captain Harding shook his head no. Fortunately Muura took the hint and said nothing. The last thing he needed was for the Senator to reconnect and hear someone else in the Captain’s Ward with the Captain.

The screen came back to life thirty seconds later, and Senator Kusari was still there. His expression was more neutral, although his eyes still shined with anger.

“Captain, I want the prisoner transferred to the command of the General here so he can be returned to Earth. There better not be any discrepancies, however, impugning the integrity of the Kusari family will be dealt with severely. I have been informed that we have entered orbit and I want to personally come aboard and be briefed not only on the current situation on Soffra, but also on the treaty.”

Captain Harding was overjoyed at the turn of events. I was afraid that the elder Kusari would try and turn this around on me to protect the younger. Turning the ambassador over to the General’s custody will relieve me of any responsibility for him.

“Aye aye Senator, I will make immediate provision. We have the Soffran ambassador aboard and you can meet him and be briefed by him.”

Senator Kusari actually smiled. It was one of those wicked smiles that made a person wonder what self-serving thoughts came to the mind behind it. “Why yes Captain, I would love to meet the Soffran ambassador and discuss the terms of the treaty. As a congressional representative of the Solar Union I can temporarily ratify any agreement until it receives full approval. And with my personal stamp, it WILL gain approval. I will send another transmission with my arrival time.”

And with that, the link ended and the screen blanked. Captain Harding looked up at Muura and frowned.

“Is something wrong Captain?” asked Muura.

Captain Harding looked down in thought, and then back at Muura.

“No, not at all. Let us get ready to greet the Senator. He doesn’t seem to be the type to keep us waiting.”

Captain Harding gathered his data pad and walked Muura out. As he walked onto the bridge he gave the word and ordered a greeting party, Marine escort, and to have Colonel Eir prepare a brief for the Senator. After having Muura escorted to the boat bay, and getting on an elevator to dress into a more appropriate uniform, Captain Harding leaned against the bulkhead for a moment to think.

You can always tell when a politician is lying. His lips are moving. This is far too easy. A powerful and rich family like the Kusari’s will not forget what happened. I suspect that I and my ship will take the blame. It was too convenient that the Senator arrived with a task force full of ground forces after the younger Kusari had attempted to negotiate a subjugation of the Soffran in secret. Something simply isn’t right…

Epilogue

Senator Kusari not only ratified the treaty, but he hand-carried it back to the Senate and presented it himself. The Soffran were eager for change from the constant warfare. SUG troops were only needed to help train a new Soffran police force, and only a handful of advisors remained after six months. Muura took every opportunity to travel back to Earth to address corporations and organizations, attempting to convince them to come to Soffra bringing education, manufacturing, and technology. And the Solar Union Congress voted to dedicate funds to start inter-government programs to help Soffra improve their government, economy, and technology.

Jun Kusari was eventually tried and convicted for corruption. However, Senator Kusari surprised everyone by testifying against his own grandson. However, it was a closed trial and the results were hardly made as a mention on the Solar News Network. The ratification and success of the Soffran treaty by Senator Kusari overshadowed any black mark against the Kusari family from Jun’s conviction.

Sierra Two Two was relieved from First Contact after the ratification of the treaty, and Captain Harding was temporarily relieved of his command to testify against Jun Kusari. During the time he spent on Earth he followed up with family and contacted some old friends and had beer with an old college buddy in London. After testifying, Captain Harding reported to the military station at the L1 Earth-Moon Lagrange Point for his next assignment. There he received word he was to spend the next six months training officers to participate in survey, exploration, and first contact missions. After which he was to resume command of the SUN Pendleton and return to survey and first contact in deep space.

Unknown time after January 2087, unknown location

Captain Harding opened his eyes. The light was bright and practically unbearable. He heard voices, but his head was full of webs and he felt as if his entire body was floating. He shook his head and felt hands. As he tried to fight them, he finally could hear a voice.

“Whoa son, whoa. Nobody here is going to hurt you.”

After a long period of time he could see that he was in some sort of medical ward. His thoughts were starting to clear, and he could see an elderly gentlemen sitting next to him. Where did the other hands come from earlier? In fact, where am I? The last thing I remember was finishing one last speech about military-ambassadorial relations on first contact missions, then ferrying up on a military shuttle to the L1 station. I remember that my orders were missing, but… that night I fell asleep in the officer quarters and… I can’t remember anything else. Captain Harding was able to focus more as he tried to remember. He just couldn’t remember anything after that night.

“Ah, you seem to be more awake now. Can you understand me?”

Captain Harding shook his head in a slow up and down nod.

“Good. Good. I am Senator Cale.”

Suddenly the world became very sharp, and very clear. He focused on the gentlemen’s face, and realized the he was in fact looking at the Senator. Senator Cale was a vocal opponent of the Senate’s proposed bills to expand corporate contracts to allow commercial exploitation of neighboring star systems. But…

Harding slurred a little as he spoke. “But… you are…”

“Dead I’m sure,” Cale said.

“Yes. Killed in an AirCar wreck I believe,” replied Harding.

“Ahhh well. That is a fine story I’m sure. Let me welcome you to Chiron.”

Harding knew that moon well. It was an Earth-like moon that orbited around a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri system. It was the first Earth-like body found after man’s discovery of the Hawking Points enabled him to move between the stars and explore. The moon was under quarantine and study, reportedly due to dozens of highly contagious microbiological life forms that were deadly to humans. He started looking around for medical equipment and scratching at his arms. Senator Cale grabbed Harding’s arms to calm him, and waited until Harding looked straight at him.

“No son, you are not dead or injured. Chiron is not hostile to human life as was originally reported. However, you and I, and everyone here are considered hostile to the Solar Union. We have been left here to live our lives in seclusion.”

Senator Cale let go of Harding’s arms and wrapped his arms across his own chest.

“I have made it a point to greet all newcomers that have been put in cryo and dropped off here. Since we have been left to fend for ourselves, we have established our own community, established our own economy and government, and have been able to freely exchange ideas that are disapproved by those who run the Solar Union.”

Senator Cale looked smug, like someone who believes he is being persecuted for his beliefs. But that doesn’t happen in the Solar Union, does it? Harding thought.

“So tell me son, who did you piss off?”
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Re: Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

Postby Cralis on Wed 28 Jul 2010 16:06

Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions for me, for the next part (which is already underway!)?
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Re: Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

Postby MWadwell on Mon 02 Aug 2010 09:32

Cralis wrote:Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions for me, for the next part (which is already underway!)?


Geez Cralis, the ending of this story arc isn't very complimentary to the TSU....

Later,
Matt
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Re: Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

Postby Cralis on Tue 03 Aug 2010 01:21

I had intended for this to be the second story, but the Cyrcurra story (the first alien race encountered) is ENTIRELY dialog. I'm going to tell it as part of the history page instead. There you'll see the "good side" at work in the TSU. This was to expose the bad side. Gotta have both :-)

Since you made me think about it, perhaps I will do that before releasing the first chapter of the next story. It shouldn't take long since I won't be doing all the dialog.
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Re: Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

Postby Club on Tue 03 Aug 2010 02:04

Orwellian.

Way back when you started posting about the TSU I looked at the history and said to myself "That can't be a stable society, long term." I think we just found the safety valve.

The question now is, what happens when Australia mark 2 starts to become a problem? Crowbars from orbit? Because IIRC the TSU has a policy of "Let no one become a problem," correct?
TAG: As I understand it, he sought to avoid turning one-point-six trillion Terran sophonts into undead, war-mongering super-soldiers.
Captain Tagon: It it wrong for me to think that would be pretty cool to watch?

http://www.schlockmercenary.com
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Re: Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

Postby Cralis on Tue 03 Aug 2010 11:45

Club wrote:Orwellian.

Way back when you started posting about the TSU I looked at the history and said to myself "That can't be a stable society, long term." I think we just found the safety valve.

The question now is, what happens when Australia mark 2 starts to become a problem? Crowbars from orbit? Because IIRC the TSU has a policy of "Let no one become a problem," correct?


Interesting question. :-)

As I was pointing out to Matt though, not everyone is like that. Since I didn't do the Cyrcurra story first, I'll say that there are certain political families that act this way, and other who do not. They believe in social democracy and the good it can do...but they are in denial about families like the Kusari family.

If I can get past all the appointments today I'm going to try and put up the summary for that part today or tomorrow (depending upon how long it takes me to write it).

In retrospect I really should have put that part of the TSU story up first. Live and learn...
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Re: Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

Postby SCC on Sun 10 Mar 2013 00:53

Looking at the map I don't see the Soffran remaining independent from the TSU for very long unless 70 Ophiuchi, Eltanin and Luyten 674 are abutting the map edge for a reason
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Re: Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

Postby Cralis on Sun 10 Mar 2013 03:17

SCC wrote:Looking at the map I don't see the Soffran remaining independent from the TSU for very long unless 70 Ophiuchi, Eltanin and Luyten 674 are abutting the map edge for a reason


Soffran was rolled as an LEL NPR so it is likely to end up as a partner in the long run, that's just the nature of those races. The short story s mostly just a setup for future events, and telling some of the back story. I'm planning more soon...

As for the "map edge", that basically doesn't exist. The hindrance is going to be on whether or not they can find detectable WPs in the frontier systems. Although, keep in mind that in SSF, X will keep advancing and more will eventually be found in most systems.
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Re: Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

Postby SCC on Sat 23 Mar 2013 21:58

Cralis wrote:Soffran was rolled as an LEL NPR so it is likely to end up as a partner in the long run, that's just the nature of those races. The short story s mostly just a setup for future events, and telling some of the back story. I'm planning more soon...

Yes but that can be handled very differently. Are they simply left on their homeworld and not given a say in their own government (The TSU)? Or will they be allowed to colonize planets? As part of joint ventures with Humans or on their own?

On that note: What is their Habitability range and is it different to Humans? Opening a world to colonization by them would be a good way to get rid of those dissidents as well, a win for everybody.

(Personally, in the books, I always wondered what happened to the Thebans after Crusade. Terra was under threat after the Battle of Alpha Centari.)

Cralis wrote:As for the "map edge", that basically doesn't exist. The hindrance is going to be on whether or not they can find detectable WPs in the frontier systems. Although, keep in mind that in SSF, X will keep advancing and more will eventually be found in most systems.


I was talking about how with those systems placed the way they are in the image we can't see if there are second warp points in any of them.

Finally, it obvious that you're using decompression in the campaign to simulate the TSU but what rules are you using for it?
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Re: Sierra Two Two: Chapter 6 (Final Chapter)

Postby Cralis on Sun 24 Mar 2013 03:49

SCC wrote:
Cralis wrote:Soffran was rolled as an LEL NPR so it is likely to end up as a partner in the long run, that's just the nature of those races. The short story s mostly just a setup for future events, and telling some of the back story. I'm planning more soon...

Yes but that can be handled very differently. Are they simply left on their homeworld and not given a say in their own government (The TSU)? Or will they be allowed to colonize planets? As part of joint ventures with Humans or on their own?


That remains to be seen. They will be making another appearance later in the story line, so I don't want to give it away...

On that note: What is their Habitability range and is it different to Humans? Opening a world to colonization by them would be a good way to get rid of those dissidents as well, a win for everybody.


Earth is HI 3 and Soffran is HI 7. You can find that data in the star charts linked at the bottom of the history page at http://www.starfiredesign.com/starfire/ ... ra/tsu.php

(Personally, in the books, I always wondered what happened to the Thebans after Crusade. Terra was under threat after the Battle of Alpha Centari.)


I've heard several ideas, but I'm not sure what DW's original plans were (or if he even had any by the time he stopped writing STARFIRE novels).

Cralis wrote:As for the "map edge", that basically doesn't exist. The hindrance is going to be on whether or not they can find detectable WPs in the frontier systems. Although, keep in mind that in SSF, X will keep advancing and more will eventually be found in most systems.


I was talking about how with those systems placed the way they are in the image we can't see if there are second warp points in any of them.


The WPs noted on the chart are the known WPs. If there is a system with only one warp point, it means that at THAT point in the history they have not found additional WPs. On the edge systems that is quite often because they haven't finished (or started) surveying yet.

Finally, it obvious that you're using decompression in the campaign to simulate the TSU but what rules are you using for it?


I've actually been tweaking the decompression concepts and had been working with Krenshala (he's using decompression in his J'Rill campaign). We started with the idea that each year would be one year of units moving but only one month of production (that is the approximate compression Marvin put into GSF & Ultra). Then we altered the different rates and values depending upon how the game flowed.

All that to say we are still tweaking it... but I will probably write an entire article about it when I get it working the way I want it!
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