City of Amnesia
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Author Topic: The Perseid Daggers  (Read 6189 times)
R. Daniel 01
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This machine has undergone numerous refinements.

« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2010, 02:04:09 PM »

Thankfully, this summary is nowhere near as long as the last one.

Episode 11

New Characters (3):

1. Cpt. Yale "Scopola" Slumerin
   An unabashed follower, Yale plies himself around the most dynamic will. If his biochemical troops receive no orders, he simply absorbs media and lives in decadant obscurity. The superiority offered by the Systemat is central to him, for otherwise, he has a low opinion of himself. Insidious and cruel tactics infatuate him.

2. Retro Note - Tech Note: Vector
        The vector is the Systematic equivalent of a fighter, but it is not called as such, due to its wider capabilities. The Systemat does put the minds of its best fighters in the vehicle, and it does possess the most powerful engines. However, due to its almost entirely shape-shifting body and its extensive armor, it is an all-around weapons platform. It is a vector of force. The vehicle is pure in concept, but not in structure, shape or role.
        In space combat, it contorts itself chaotically, to execute unpredictable maneuvers. It lacks the payload capacity and fuel capacity for long-range space combat. If pitted against a cruiser at the cruiser's optimal range, a vector will exhaust its tools of subterfuge and most of its fuel before it can effectively deploy its own weapons, whereupon the targeting systems of any standard emplacement will have no trouble acquiring and then obliterating this tiny craft.
        Though it carries a human brain alongside its electronics, the vector has the same level of maneuverability as unmanned craft. A sphere of gravity generators surround the braincase. These generators counteract extreme maneuvering forces as necessary.
        To produce the fibers that compose the vector's body requires an enormous investment of time and energy. Despite the disproportionate damage they typically cause, few vectors have paid for their own production cost in an objective sense.

3. Systematic Dulcinea Company 4 - Emerald Wasps
        The Terran emerald cockroach wasp gained notoriety for its brain-altering venom. Its victims lose all survival instincts, remaining docile as the predator wasp dismembers and lays eggs inside the victim. The Systematic company bearing this insignia specializes in chemical warfare, including compounds that have similar effects on humans. Yale commands them.

Episode Summary:
        As Castor is re-integrated into the Systemat, Frederick makes a public announcement to Shyenne. He admits that piratical and Aristocratic influence had infiltrated the Systemat and turned Systematics against themselves and against the Federation. He likens it to the irony that in trying to please everyone with his strategies and officer picks, he has pleased no one. Yet he will not please the federation's enemies, either, and asserts that the Systemat will continue to adapt. Now that the conflict around Klennis has escalated, he will hammer it to resolution.
   After the announcement, Frederick faces a dilemma. He doesn't want to abandon the idea of taking Visha, but with the Aristocratic fleet on the other side of Shyenne, it would seem irresponsible to head elsewhere. Frederick decides to split the Dulcinea into its segments and divide them between Visha and the Aristocratic fleet. After some thinking, the projector shaft and fabrication unit will go to Visha with one cyborg company and a small vector compliment, and hopefully pick up reinforcements from the Federal fleet around Klennis. Though Frederick is more comfortable leading, Ariane will lead the expedition to Visha. Hannah and Bertrand will support her as she requires. Frederick will command the habitation sections and use them in conjunction with his Federal cruisers to confront Wolfe and corral the Aristocrats towards Klennis.
   The Dulcinea sheds its habitation segments. Its projector reconfigures to produce a weak superluminal bubble around the habitation segments and launches them towards the Aristocratic fleet. They engage the Aristocrats at zero range. The Federal cruisers make to chase the Aristocrats and leave their old positions empty. As hoped, the Aristocrats retreat to Klennis once they have circled the planet enough; Frederick's flotilla follows.
   Meanwhile the Dulcinea main shaft, which is the ship proper, generates a superluminal bubble around itself and its fabrication unit, and departs for Visha. Travel time to the outer planet will take approximately three hours. Castor has taken a post on this expedition in order to pursue Isobel and also to provide much-needed veteran experience to a novice crew. The aim of the expedition is to seize major segments of a gas-collection ring and transmute astroids into equipment, which will replenish Federal and Systematic forces when they rendezvous, at some point over the next few days.
   After a briefing, Castor thinks he sees Camellia waiting for Bertrand. Before he can pursue his curiosity, Castor's lieutenant introduces Castor, who is sergeant, to his squad. Castor greets them: four males and three females, all of which are riflemen. He asks them their motivations for joining the Systemat. Two of the women cite the desire to protect their greater reproductive freedom. The third is simply aggressive. Castor explains himself, as well. A few of his subordinates seem impressed.
   Castor transfers his brain to a rifleman body and loads into a gunship along with his squad and other platoon members. The Dulcinea proper picks up reinforcements from Klennis in the form of two carriers, one cruiser, and a cluster of defense pods.
   Space combat begins. As the carriers and cruisers deploy defense pods, masking-clouds and dispersion fields, it resembles a contest between massive unicellular organisms. Pirates have brought in a number of their cruisers and fighers, but the Federal-Systematic forces outmaneuver them. Hannah, Bertrand and the dropships must approach from long range. They use extensive smoke and mirrors to cross the no-man's land of empty space between dueling cruisers. Some dropships take hits; the gunships and tanks within disperse from the husks and traverse the vacuum unassisted.
   Isobel's Bullet Ants evacuate the moment the Dulcinea appears. They stayed long enough to gather energy from the planet, then jump towards Klennis, in order to reunite with Wolfe and use Klennis' interstellar-caliber gates, which will free them from Epfia entirely.
   The Dulcinea's dropships and infantry reach Visha's collection rings. The vehicles dance and gyrate in zero gravity, but many have exhausted their smoke and despite their maneuvers, cannot evade enemy targetting computers. Castor and his squad are lucky. Equipped no differently than during their operations on Shyenne or Klennis, they clamp onto the surface of one station.
        In the background, other Systematic squads land on other portions of the ring, each team at least a dozen miles apart. The personal phase of the Visha expedition has begun.
   Spiderswans and whirlydogs cut through the walls. They also attempt to disable the artificial gravity.  Castor and his squad separate into an engineering team and a fire team. Castor flexes his Systematic body inhumanly and does a confounding flip into the station. He pulls the trigger on a surprised Aristocrat, his first kill in a long time. Spiderswans ricochet over surfaces and enemies, and the engineering team rips apart the station's layers like an onion.
   Once Castor's squads secures one station, they evacuate and launch themselves towards the next one along the ring, following pipes and cables like ziplines. Explosives set along the ring detonate, sending Castor and his squadmates flying. Already in position, numerous tiny robots zoom out to catch them and redeposit them on the collection ring. A gunship collects the fire team and positions itself at the next station. Castor and his team launch themselves into holes created by the engineers and repeat the process of the first station.Blood and body parts float through the stations.
   As the infantry secure the rings, the Duclinea establishes itself in orbit around Visha. It detaches its fabrication unit and sends it into the asteroid field. Crew in survival suits, equipped with slim booster packs, zoom onto asteroids and apply markers. Robots zoom to the asteroids and boost them into the waiting mouth of the fabrication unit.
   Castor and his squad have secured their five ring stations with one unit lost, all damaged. After sealing off the damaged portions of the collection ring, the ring begins extracting gas and energy from Visha. Castor helps a technician attach tubes and filaments from the fabrication unit to the ring. Ariane takes control of the fabrication unit and recalls most of the infantry to the Dulcinea, including Castor.
   Castor wonders about his glimpse of Camellia. He searches her out and finds her, strides up to her face and declares at point-blank that Ruthie is dead.
   It is not Camellia, but a gynoid that resembles her--or else a human body of hers. Castor asks Bertrand about it; it is a momento she left behind. They spent a night together. She was good, but nothing he hasn't seen before. She left the body behind as a good luck charm for the campaign--though, really, he's sure it's another attempt by her to network her reputation.
   Castor takes his leave. Of course, he reflects, the Systemat would not allow civilians to lodge onboard a military vessel during a campaign, except during rescue operations. Castor tries to meditate for a bit to cool his nerves and temper. Some of his squadmates approach and try to interface with him; he accepts. He finds some new friends in them, but warns that once the Systematic campaign in Epfia ends, he will once again leave the Systemat and even his squadmates without a second thought. Three of his squadmates say they would gladly follow him out.
   The resource extraction is complete. The Dulcinea and its support ships launch towards Klennis.
   Klennis is still disputed. A small but significant Aristocratic fleet hides on the far side of the planet, leaving the Federal-Systematic force free to bombard and occupy vast swaths of surface area. One interstellar-grade jump gate remains in Aristocratic possession. Wolfe and Isobel head towards it; they landed on a region of Klennis that fell and lost its gate much earlier. Rudolph's Tarantula Hawks and a detachment of Federal units pursue them.
   Ariane hails Frederick, who is sampling the seat of a throne, at the heart of a battered and abandoned Aristocratic headquarters. Dead Aristocrats lay scattered about the room. A rifleman gathers them into rows. As Frederick watches, Ariane reports that she will begin distributing provisions and blast the remaining Aristocratic fleet into abandoning Epfia or abandoning their lives, whichever comes first. Frederick consents.
   Castor also tries to call Frederick. Frederick answers the call, but before Castor can say anything, Frederick says no, Castor may not kill, may not even approach Isobel. Retaliation is necessary to establish consequences, but vengeance is something else entirely.
   Wolfe and Isobel reach an Aristocratic stronghold. A suspicious Aristocratic commander holds them up. Rudolph, who has pursued Wolfe and Isobel continually for the past two days, is ready to smash into Wolfe, but Frederick calls off the attack. The Federal-Systematic fleet has just eliminated the last Aristocratic space forces; he will wait for a Federal orbital bombardment.
   Isobel favors a frontal attack to smash through the Aristocrats, to sieze and use the last jump gate. Wolfe considers a frontal attack suicide. He insists that they must at least head underground first, since pirate-Aristocratic orbital control is waning. Adamant, Isobel insists that the Bullet Ants are doomed no matter what they do. The only immortality they can hope to achieve now is the notoriety of a blazing death. Wolfe shoots her dead; the remaining Bullet Ants fracture along leadership lines, and Wolfe loses most of his forces. One squad remains, soon obliterated by Federal orbital strikes.
   Meanwhile, Castor's job has been to push pirate-Aristocratic remnants into bombardment zones, away from high-value zones like infrastructure and cultural sites. Most of Castor's enemies prefer to stand and fight. The Aristocrats use cheap jumper-legs to try and match the Systematics for mobility, but the units lack maneuverability. The pirates bring man-portable railguns and other heavy weapons to the battlefield, but those lack mobility and accuracy. Systematics avoid many shots, and take the enemies from behind, below, or above.
   Henry senses defeat, but he does not betray any disappointment or despair. He retreats underground. As the rest of his forces follow suit, bombardment begins. Massive civilian casualties occur as Federal and Systematic forces disregard hostages. About one third of the original pirate-Systematic force survives in Klennis' subterranean layers.
   Frederick activates the Emerald Wasps. He positions the Dulcinea over Henry's location and orders a chemical attack. Despite protests from numerous Federal sources and from his own subordinates, Yale positions massive fans and thrusts hoses into the ruins. The fabrication unit begins pumping various chemical agents through the survivors' defensive positions. In response, the Aristocrats set Klennis' geothermal management systems to overload.
   Ariane and others relieve Frederick of his command.
   Castor receives new orders. The remnants of the Ladybees, the Emerald Wasps and the Tarantula Hawk must plunge into the depths of Klennis and halt the overload before it causes irreparable damage to the planet's entire structure. Additionally, the Systematics are to take as many prisoners as possible, with special emphasis on Henry and all other pirate-Aristocratic leaders.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2010, 06:50:18 PM by R. Daniel 01 » Logged

R. Daniel 01
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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2010, 11:46:52 PM »

This is two days in advance, but I might not post anything more 'til then, so:

Make it better than the last!

Note some small additions to the Episode 08 and 09 summaries, to make Isobel more interesting and more sympathetic.

I must create more characters after finishing Episode 13. Castor's new friends need identities, and some previously unnamed characters will enter the limelight.

Episode 12

Episode Summary:
   One month later, Frederick stands before Isobel's parents, who have arrived from the Federal capital. They remark on what an interesting daughter they have produced. Frederick reiterates that he cannot presume to know the parents' loss. Dismissing his concern, the parents state they can simply reconstitute Isobel, with or without any remains. In fact, if this sort of thing is to keep happening, it's better she doesn't remember anything of her past lives, lest she get the wrong ideas or learn from her mistakes.
   Frederick does not ask them for clarification. He step back with an almost wincing smile, bows slightly and bids them farewell. As they leave, he leans back and whispers to Ariane that these people warrant an investigation. Ariane retorts that it's Frederick who is under an investigation. They turn around to face a bank of journalists.
   Ariane retreats to an adjacent room. The journalists bombard the Systematic officer corps, which is absent except for Frederick, with questions. Returned to a human body, Castor watches from the sidelines.
   The first journalist asks Frederick for his thoughts about his Federal inquiry hearings; Frederick responds that the federation customarily conducts reviews of Systematic actions in their aftermath; he is not very concerned.
   The second question involves Frederick's conduct during the first phase of the Klennis invasion. During skirmishes in deep space and high orbit around the planet, Frederick opened fire and obliterated pirate junk-ships reported to have held refugees.
   Frederick replies that regardless of what post-conflict reports have found, he was approached by a fleet of enemy vessels in the midst of combat. Blame should flow towards the pirates for trying to paw off hostages in ships that they knew would be targeted.
   The journalists are not satisfied by this answer, and look incensed. A third asks about the irresponsible use and spread of chemical weapons, both during and after the Systematic mutiny-sabotage.
   Frederick retorts that if the enemy is concerned with gas attacks, they should switch to internal air supplies. Another journalist shouts, out of turn, that her concern is not for enemies but innocent civilians, which saw staggering loss of life and property.
   Now Frederick looks incensed. As Castor watches Frederick open his mouth, the moment slows to a crawl, and he imagines green gas coiling out of Frederick's mouth. The bank of journalists crowding the floor before him, huddled together, resemble a crowd of dead pirates pressed against a locked door in one of Klennis' subterranean layers, and all of a sudden, Castor is reliving his final mission of the invasion, one month prior.
   Several Systematic platoons filter down through the cuts and crevices in Klennis' structures. They find many corpses, most bloody. Some enraged gas victims still live, and have removed their masks to begin cannibalizing their former comrades. These are the result of an agent called NeoBellum-D. The platoons also make contact with pockets of elite Aristocrats, who have survived the gas attacks unaffected. Yale and the Emerald Wasps snipe them with chemical-injection shells. Affected Aristocrats relax and lower their weapons, allowing Emerald Wasps to run up in front of them and direct them towards their comrades, using them as cooperative human shields. Yale proudly explains to his fellow Systematics that this is the chemical Scopolamine Plus at work.
   The subterranean labyrinth gets darker, quieter, and hotter. Aside from some inoperative city systems and residue from initial chemical attack, the Systematics detect no signs of the inhabitants or of the struggle above. Everything is eerily pristine and completely empty.
   The lowest levels of the labyrinth receive no electricity. Every door, every shuttered window might as well be a solid wall. Penetrating these layers, the Systematics use a great deal of their energy and equipment. A thin line of cables and whirlydog pack-mules allow them to gnaw their way deeper into Klennis' bowels. The Systematics remain on guard for an ambush they expect to erupt any moment. Eventually, several dozen meters deep into darkness, they detect a source of light.
   It is Henry and his elite guard, arrayed around one of Klennis' geothermal control rods, a tremendous magnet that plunges to the core of the otherwise inert planetoid, which is Klennis. The rod has begun to glow. Henry and his guards have already destroyed the control systems. For the moment, it is still dim.  There are eighteen rods in total, all under contention; the Systematics including Castor have found the rod held by Henry.
   Before the Systematics get anywhere close to sighting the Aristocrats, Henry addresses them over a radio channel. He knows where they are and how they approach. He details, with complete accuracy, various aspects of the Systematic platoons. One of the Systematic lieutenants appeals to Henry to surrender in exchange for clemency.
   Henry laughs at great length. The Systemat disrespects life as it disrespects death; they would alter his mind until he was an undead version of his former self, a puppet. He has every intention of crushing as many Systematic brains as possible before they obliterate him and his men. He advises his soldiers to kill themselves if they notice injectors attached to their armor, lest they become a tool for the enemy. Henry reminds his men: the goal of their final defense is to allow the geothermal overload to cause as much damage to Klennis as possible. They will render Klennis barren before the Systematics can have their way with her. Retreat so long as the Systematics will pursue and never relent in fire.
   The combat starts slowly, with individual snipings and small skirmishes. The Systematics' smallest robots cannot function, so near the overloading rod. Various camouflage and protective coatings also malfunction as they melt. Many of the Emerald Wasps' chemicals denature. They switch to standard ordinance.
   Fierce as they try to be, the Aristocrats also have problems. Many move sluggishly and cannot maneuver. Despite these problems, their stockpiled firepower and their exacting determination cause Systematics to fall in uncommon numbers.
   Eventually, Henry takes a hit. Covered in blood and sweat, he denies any regrets and detonates nuclear bombs hidden throughout Klennis. Many of the sites cleared of pirates and Aristocrats over the past few days disappear in eruptions of pure energy. At Castor's location, civil thermal shielding protects the area against some of the nearest nuclear blast. Castor and the Systematics collapse to the floor as their shells melt and harden. Most survive. The Aristocrats are not so well prepared, and burn away until only shadows remain.
   Cut to two days later. A rescue-hound whirlydog finds Castor's body and a spiderswan recovers it. Cut to Castor in a new rifleman body, back on duty the following day. He receives a Systemat-wide notification of rank transfer: due to performance noted during the operation to sieze Henry's geothermal station, the Systemat demotes Yale to lieutenant and promotes one of his lieutenants to captain. Frederick resumes command of the Epfian Systemat.
   Castor contacts a Systematic operator. He requests an immediate discharge. The operator grants his discharge, but postpones it until the expiration of the Systemat's Epfian Federal mandate, which will occur in three weeks. As Castor makes this communication, he watches Frederick and Ariane's scramble to stabilize the geothermal crisis. Orbiting Federal cruisers blast holes into points on Klennis and the Dulcinea fires magnets into the holes. Gunships position enormous gravity plates, haulers move materials, and sections city crumble under unexplained earthquakes.
   After the operator denies Castor immediate discharge, Castor requests twelve hours of leave-time, effective immediately, which he receives. Grimly pleased, Castor grabs a whirlydog-cycle and begins traversing the ruins of Klennis.
   Castor remembers one of the dangers of joining the Systemat: alienation from your old life. The Systemat never rests because its conditioning largely removes the need for it. Its personnel have little time for letters to home, supposing that they identify their origins as home.
   Considering the week since Castor left Shyenne, Castor wonders about Ruthie's funeral. She never did get a chance or desire to back up her mind. He messages Bernard and Camellia, telling them he is alright, but requests that they do not return his messages, as he would like to focus on remaining alive and finishing the tasks at hand, so he can be completely available in mind and body to accept what has happened all at once.
   Castor heads towards an access point of the Federal refugee camps on Klennis. Castor asks an operator about the whereabouts of Ruthie's parents. The operator is surprised to find a Systematic querying about the relatives of a loved one. Apparently, the Aristocrats conducted much of their business by word-of-mouth and also destroyed many administrative records before the Federals even set foot on Klennis. He points Castor towards a compound that handles the region where Ruthie's parents were last known to live.
   At the compound, Castor finds some well connected patrons. They direct him towards a Systemat-administered prison camp, which handles staunch Aristocrats and anyone who was sweet on them. The Federals provide information on a former administrator that would know about Aristocratic refugee movements.
   The camp is distant, so Castor rides a gunship. He sees from above a single massive pen, as well as various processing areas deployed out of haulers, all leading to a single prefabricated medical center. Castor approaches the main pen and asks for the former administrator. Everyone avoids contact with Castor, except for one very craven man who offers information in exchange for freedom. The other prisoners, a wide range of men, women and families, are universally outraged by him, for offering help to the enemy. They threaten him with death. The craven prisoner argues that the Systematics won't allow that kind of violence, which the angry mob takes as a challenge. A brawl ensues, with Systematics firing non-lethal weapons to subdue the prisoners and dropping in from gunships to separate them.
   Castor looks down at his hands. They are not human hands. He finds a cracked mirror in the bathroom of a nearby bombed-out building. He had forgotten that in his rifleman body, he looks only vaguely human. He finds the nearest human body and tries approaching the main pen in that. Momentarily beaten down in spirit by the riot suppression and no longer threatened by Castor's appearance, the prisoners direct Castor to a man who helped direct the relocation of residents under the Aristocrats.
   The former administrator looks hungry. He knows where Ruthie's parents were before the federation caught up to them, but in return, he wants insurance that he will not undergo psychological manipulation. The Federals are moving to take control of the camps from the Systemat, which has accelerated the rate of manipulation procedures.
   Castor says the surest way for the former administrator to avoid manipulation is to generally cooperate and not draw attention to himself. Then the Systematics will have no need for it. This is, of course, a lie, as the Systemat has already decided the alterations it will apply. Castor lies further and says he is in no rush. He offers to get the man perhaps a meal if it will get him the information sooner. The man says getting a meal is easy, it's getting food that's troublesome. All the Systematics want to feed him is some kind of paste. Castor holds back a reflex to explain the merits of Systematic rations, and instead works on finding a traditional meal. At a nearby Federal camp, he spends a relative fortune to buy a plate of roast beef off the table of a cafeteria guest. He rushes it to the Aristocrat. The Aristocrat tries to hide his visceral hunger for the food but fails utterly. Castor provides half as a down payment, gets the information he needs, then provides the rest.
   Castor heads towards yet another camp, hopefully the last one. He does indeed find Ruthie's parents. They support the Aristocrats, and are scheduled for psychological manipulation in one hour. Castor has three hours left in his leave time. He could simply wait two hours until after the manipulation, but he decides to tell them everything before they change. He steels himself for a moment, then after introducing himself, inform them that Ruthie is dead. Ruthie's parents are at first incredulous, then enraged after he provides evidence to support his claims. They ask if Castor killed her. He says no, she died because an Aristocrat fooled another Systematic into attacking her. Ruthie's father gets up and stands in front of Castor, and asks Castor to leave after he tells them how Ruthie died. Castor avoids the question and says Ruthie worked admirably to promote moderation and tolerance. The father demands to know. Castor says the cause of death was the chemical Fontis. Ruthie's father is enraged as he imagines the death. He grabs Castor's shirt and pulls him up, then haltingly pushes out some words of thanks between his bared teeth. Ruthie's mother rises and walks up behind the father, not to hold him back but ready to jump in and attack. The father bids Castor farewell and releases him, and takes a step back. Castor turns around and leaves, not stopping to fix his shirt until he is out of their sight.
   As Castor wanders back to his post in the last hours of his leave-time, he considers who is to blame for Ruthie's death. Should he blame Rudolph, the former Aristocrat, for giving Isobel the means and motive for killing Ruthie? Should the blame lie with Isobel for succumbing to rage and perpetrating the killing? Or should blame lie with Ruthie for getting herself into in a dangerous game? Castor consoles himself by asserting that Ruthie showed courage in taking a stand, that Isobel showed a weakness common to all people, and that the real fault lies with Rudolph and the Tarantula Hawks for enabling the crime to occur.
   Castor's overall feeling at the moment is a desire to be back on Shyenne, to pay Ruthie her respects and find some closure in the conflict. His leave-time ends.
   Cut to yet another week later. The Systemat is holding another party on the Dulcinea. It is preparing to pack up its operations, as the geothermal crisis has stabilized. Castor is present in the main party room, which is the visitor's chamber with the windowed walls and floor. It is a much smaller affair than the gala, as it involves only Systematic officers and a select few Federal sympathizers.
   Frederick gathers the attention of the party and congratulates all those present. He cheerfully notes that the Systemat managed to reclaim Epfia System for the federation in two months. The federation projected a window of five months to a year, hoping not just for a softer transition, but to claim credit for reintegrating Epfia System long after the Systemat had evacuated. Frederick projects that though the federation will not re-hire them in the near future, the Systemat's potential recruits have seen a powerful demonstration. Despite numerous setbacks, the Systemat has acheived sixty-seven percent efficiency in this operation. The party responds with some light applause, which Frederick finds sufficient.
   Castor eavesdrops on a conversation between Frederick and Rudolph. Frederick congratulates Rudolph. As Rudolph's dying wife requested, Rudolph has helped the Systemat. Yet as Rudolph's personal beliefs demand, he has also hurt the Systemat dearly. Frederick asserts that, truly, Rudolph is Frederick's nemesis. Frederick will honor his word as Rudolph has honored his own, and will give him an honorable discharge the following day. Rudolph will be free to enslave himself to some other fool's ideals. Rudolph is amused, but says nothing. After the two take a sip of some champagne-like drink, Frederick recounts that he could have killed Rudolph, back when the Federal bombardment obliterated Wolfe. Rudolph states that it's Frederick's loss.
        Despite this conversation, the two officers continue to stand at relative ease around one another until they finish their drinks, then walk to separate parts of the room. Castor tries to wrap his head around what he just witnessed. Drearily, he notes that he still has one more week until he can return to Shyenne. He does not bother finishing his drink and leaves the gathering and seeks out his squadmates, who remain on duty.
   As Castor's watch once displayed one week until freedom, it now displays one minute. Castor looks up, and the narrative has finally caught back up with the present. Frederick is still answering questions from the journalists, though he folds up his two note-sheets as he does.
   One of the reporters asks Frederick about the death of Colonel Zabat--a man who fought off the most fearsome conventional military in known space, yet died in one of the first major battles against Pirates and their allies, who used mothballed equipment. Frederick asks the journalist to see the pattern and logic behind Jeffrey's death. Just as the Systemat suffered losses against inferior equipment, as wielded by a Federal military genius in Zabat, so did Zabat, accustomed to fighting the Systemat, succumb to the inferior equipment of another military genius, who just happened to be a lowly pirate. It was just another example of how choosing the leader of an expedition should not be a political choice, as Frederick reckons it was with Zabat.
   Some of the journalists rouse, unsettled by Frederick's accusation. Others are unconvinced and bombard Frederick with new questions. Frederick acts surprised and directs the journalists' attention to a document he projects onto every wall: an official Federal notification of contract termination. The note thanks the Systemat for its service and provides it twelve hours to leave Epfia System.
   Frederick announces that he is legally obliged to leave Epfia and not obliged to answer any questions. As he leaves the room with the journalists trailing and surrounding, he advises them to forward all questions to a Systematic operator, but invites them to follow him into deep-space pirate territory, if they are so inclined. Finally, he reaches a final airlock door, beyond which a gunship awaits and, several dozen miles behind that, the Dulcinea. Though the journalists are welcome to follow beyond this point, Frederick warns that the Systemat is not likely to extend its protection. The airlock opens, two rifleman advance from behind the door, and Frederick squeezes in between them as they block the rest. The riflemen withdraw, the airlock closes, and Castor immediately receives a notification of his honorable discharge from the Systemat.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 03:00:12 AM by R. Daniel 01 » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2011, 12:56:42 PM »

Episode 13

Episode Summary:
        Castor and three of his squadmates take a space elevator down to Shyenne. They touch down in the planetary capital, and find a mixed welcoming commitee. Many more people boo them than cheer them. One squadmate, one of the men, loses heart and decides to go into hiding, peeling off from the group.
   Amidst the crowd, Castor catches sight of Ariane, hurrying away without making eye contact with anyone. Intrigued, Castor catches up with her.
   Ariane reacts rather bashfully to the spirited greetings of Castor and his friends. They stop by an open-air cafeteria by a park, and Ariane only orders ice cream. As in Ruthie's old neighborhood, some clusters of people are fooling around with ornithopters, but Ariane has an aversion to them. She and one of Castor's friends discuss the legacy that the Systemat has left behind in Epfia, if it has changed how people think or how they frame human behavior. Ariane replies that it all seems mostly the same. She looks at a photo she has kept of Frederick, and reflects that it has deepened relations, either way.
   Ariane recounts the story of how she ended up serving in the Systemat. She was not motivated by hatred or the hunt.  This surprises Castor. He didn't know Frederick's iron-sided second-in-command had this squishy side to her. She is not interested in the military, and not particularly swayed by ideas of duty like Hannah is, but when someone like the Aristocrats tries taking over her home, she'll gladly get rough, and the Systematics are the most effective, even if they're crazy.
   After taking in the scenery for a minute, Castor reflects that he is finally free. He invites Ariane to come along with him and his friends, and she follows.
   Before anything else, Castor pays his respects to Ruthie. Bernard meets up with him. The cemetery is actually more like a sombre registry with virtual-reality capabilities. They visit a gravestone, but it and the landscape around it exist only in his mind. Castor is surprised to find that Ruthie's memorial is in a military section with military honors. This makes Bernard suspicious; upon her death, Ruthie received a civilian ceremony. Bernard smells politics.
   Castor does a search on Ruthie and discovers she has occurred quite frequently in recent discussion. Even now, one of the names most associated with discussing Ruthie is participating in some rowdy debate at the central continental capital. It is loud and bombastic, but attended by many important names in the reunified Epfia. Castor does not recognize the name of the most vocal speaker, but it is the lieutenant she hired in episode 08.
   Though the debate in the capital is vague, Castor and Bernard's instincts tell Castor to investigate in person. He bids farewell to Bernard, who will remain sedentary and maintain his neck of the woods, and Ariane, who has no interest in politics. Castor's two remaining friends, one male and one female, continue to follow him.
   Along the way, Castor is continually turned aside by new properties under construction. Tourists from throughout the federation stream in and mill about. In Ruthie's absence, a new company has bought up most of Ruthie's old neighborhood. Posters appear everwhere, claiming Klennis to be closed for renovations. They provide explanation for why Shyenne is seeing an upsurge in development--it must adapt to cope for part of the lodging denied by Klennis being off-limits.
   Castor runs into Camellia, and separates from his friends for a moment. In private, Camellia gives him a hug, then a kiss, and attempts to comfort him with further intimacy, but Castor pushes her aside and explains he needs someone more reliable than she. Still, she wants to tag along with him, which he allows. She wants to know of his experiences during his time in the Systemat and also what Bertrand said about her.
   At the capital, he finds the lieutenant endorsing a belligent policy. He styles himself a fearless freedom fighter, a partisan for justice. Lording over the Federal victory in Epfia, he argues for penalties and reparations on former Aristocrats, former Systematics, and markings similar to those worn by androids for people who underwent Systematic psychological manipulation. Most offensive to Castor, however, is how the lieutenant claims a deep knowledge and friendship with Ruthie, who he lauds as a shining example, and the true inspiration behind Dulcey, who was merely a tool and a false idol of the Systemat.
   This prompts Castor to remember his action in Episode 01, where he went out of his way to stop an argument in a public square, in order to impress the onlookers. Castor considers the female squadmate that is with him, sees her glaring at the lieutenant. She catches his stare and returns it, then asks Castor if something is wrong.
   Castor rips into the lieutenant, verbally and rhetorically. Castor first attacks the lieutenant's claim of knowledge of Ruthie by explaining he was her lover, and recounting a few experiences they had together, and providing some grisly details, and admitting before the lieutenant can use it against him that yes, he was in the Systemat. The lieutenant asks Castor if he  is against the federation. Castor claims that the lieutenant does not know what a federation is. His reliance on force is a tyrrany, is just like the Aristocrats. He also holds up a credit and throws it at the lieutenant, saying if he's so interested in reparations, there it is from Castor, one donation to cover it all.
   People get considerably drawn into the debate and some major politicians have begun watching. A brawl breaks out, perpetuated by the lieutenant, who feels extremely threatened. The politicians dispatch the police to break up the brawl; the police largely end up siding with Castor, signalling that he has won over more minds. Castor recalls that the most potent weapon is not guns or taxes, but attitude.
   After the lieutenant's party disbands, mostly disenchanted, the politicians offer Castor a position. He takes it, and offers his squadmates and Camellia roles as his assistants. Castor is romantically interested in his female squadmate. May personal conflicts lie ahead, but Castor believes he has found stability. He will honor Ruthie's true legacy, and remain as long as he can the right man in the right spot, to ensure that Epfia never again has a dark and turbulent chapter.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 03:05:53 PM by R. Daniel 01 » Logged

R. Daniel 01
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This machine has undergone numerous refinements.

« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2011, 05:28:01 PM »

Summaries finished! Please bring holes or unanswered questions to my attention. If you sensed an underlying message, how would you describe it?

*     *     *

This project feels more gratifying than any project has in years.

Now with the summaries written, I will make edits and illustrations. Among the first things to do, I will identify five characters and add more angles to the Federal Forces portrait. I may also change Castor's name, since a character with a similar name appeared in Tron: Legacy. The last thing I want is someone passing me off as unimaginative.

Expect at least two illustrations per episode, as well as some miscellaneous supplementary images. Immediately, here are a few miscellaneous guides I made six months ago:

« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 04:34:59 PM by R. Daniel 01 » Logged

R. Daniel 01
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This machine has undergone numerous refinements.

« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2011, 05:56:30 PM »

I have made substantial changes and to Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9.

I have also added six quick illustrations for Episode 1. I have no inherent motivation to make any more, but if you would like to see a particular scene or design illustrated, I can deliver.

Thanks for reading, and also... stop confounding me with this lack of input!

At some point between March-May, I will gut this thread and move its content to my own site.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2011, 08:17:31 PM by R. Daniel 01 » Logged

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