I live, will be able to reply soon, sorry for the massive delay.
Anyone else here have halo wars 2 or civ 5/6?
A dozen fighter craft circled by as 5 dark grey transports landed in pentagonal formation, depositing their contents of black and grey Sith troopers who fan out and secure the area, not necessarily preparing for hostilities, but nonetheless ensuring they could observe and respond to the actions of the local security forces. From one of the transports, a figure emerged, and it seemed an aura of power and authority surrounded him.
His expression was cold, his skin a slight dark beige pallor, and if looked at directly, his white eyes seemingly twinkling with a hint of crimson, as if his irises were merely cold hatches before a hidden blaze. Grey, thin head hair accompanied by a matching beard adorned his solemn lips. His armor, an intricate silver casemate around black and red robes emblazoned with runes and spiraling depictions of mythical beasts, seemed to radiate an authority on its own. Surveying the landing area with cold poise and clear purpose, Emperor Darth Sidam awaited the local delegation.
Feeling curious and whimsical, he follows its tracks at a leisurely stroll, his body relaxed as his mind predatorily searched around him with the Force, the Dark Staff humming ominously in his hand, seeming to drain the life from the air and foliage in his path.
Her head beginning to ache from trying in vain to understand her predicament in the Force, to lash out and in turn be lashed at, Julma grasped her head with one arm, with her other deactivating her lightsaber. A groan of pain is heard, muted by her helmet, and in a flash of frenzied movement Julma rises back to a standing position and lashes out her arm, a panicked tendril of literally electric blue Force Lightning erupting, grazing the pale, strange man in the shoulder.
"Cease this madness! I will not yield to your bizarre machinations! Cease and explain, in the name of Emperor Sidam!"
This outburst seemingly unbalanced her, as her intimate connection to the Force wavered and flickered as her very soul attempted to grasp hold of it in the maelstrom of alien power, and she stumbled onto one knee.
The cultist fell to the ground when the lightning hit him, he didn't make a sound and recovered quickly, standing again. And once Julma fell to her knee he joined the group in prayer.
The chants were an intelligible language, there was minor amounts of power in them but overall they were just words then it stopped... silence.
In the starry night the only sounds were waves hitting rocks and the sound of the wind.. there was nothing until it moved, an arm in the sky bigger than anything, then its face appeared, one that beared no eyes or mouth. It was terrible, it couldn't be real, it was.. it was too much. Its mere presence brought terror then around her there was screams, cult initiates either threw themselves over the cliff, cut out their eyes or even just used their hands to rip them out.
Then everything went black.. she wasn't unconscious, she could move.. it was almost like there was simply nothing in the world.
Vision came and she saw the great city of Helen. She then was on a street during the early morning, there was a young woman with brunette hair wearing semi-formal clothes and walked towards a news van as every other citizen went on their business.
She then stopped walking, everyone did.. time was frozen and then as almost as if it was a zoom in, she saw a necklace she was wearing, a crystal of sorts surrounded by gold. Then Julma went into it.
Like in the beginning everything was black but behind her there was a yellow light. It was an tall armoured masculine figure covered in flames, behind him was two wings of bone also in flame.. he saw her though, a mace in hand he began charging towards Julma but she couldn't move and almost as the mace was going to come down upon her it felt like Julma was pulled away, far from there.
After that all she got visions of an angelic figure, a man with androgynous features, he was the same man that Gervash saw, and he seemed to stare back at Julma, he was going to say something then after a blink she was back on the grass of the cliff though all the cultists were gone and the.. Eldritch entity in the skies was more visible now, it didnt stand as its lower half seemed more gas than solid and its body though had form wasnt comprised of flesh and at some points it seemed small portions of him even faded at points.
A voice boomed through the skies and with every word Julma's head ached.
"you're the first who could withstand my power", the voice spoke, sounding like a whisper though loud.
"what a damn relief. Do you realize how long its been since I've been able to have a conversation with your kind without being called a demon or god? Too long. I have foreseen this meeting though, finally.. you will do my bidding.",
The local troops are surprised to say the least, after everything that's happened over the last few days they could barely expect to witness whatever they were witnessing now. An officer wearing a grey SS style uniform, without SS patches, marches out and is saluted by a junior" officer who's obviously quite nervous. The officer walks over, lighting a cigarette as he walks over.
"Well hello, as you can probably tell we're still quite surprised about whatever's been happening recently, excuse me, but what territory do you hail from?"
Gervash's pace had already erupted into a sprint when he heard the infected head toward his position, alerted by the scant few sounds he made in his short trek. Midstride, he disconnected the battery and gas packs from his blaster, holstered it, and clubbed the components together, which began a blaze in his gas pack. Pocketing the battery as he ran, he tossed the gas pack towards the largest pack of infected, as it began fizzling and shooting superheated streaks of ionized plasma into the surrounding area, a chaotic lightshow serving to distract and harm the horde as he returned to full speed, rushing into the midst of the riot gear-clad enforcers. A light pant in his voice, the ex-trooper turned to the old man, his hair a short, tangled mess reminiscent of a brush as he pointed towards the distracted horde.
"I don't know, huff, if you have a way to silence them quickly, but if you don't, you'll have alot worse than them to deal with. Who even are you guys?" he asked, brushing off his armor, which had collected dust from the ruins.
"Your media outlets and one of your initial contact persons used the term. It is far from a state secret." Brokowski remarked.
"Tell me, does the One provide... protection to your people, from outside threats? If so, it might be that the autonomous submarines are not a threat, in which case your lands might be useful as a staging area for an offensive against them. Do you have other entities like The One?"
"That remains to be seen." Julma retorted, pulling herself unsteadily onto her feet as she glared at the entity, even as doing so hurt her mind and head.
"Why would I serve you, when I don't know you? My emperor saved me from falling to weakness, and gives me power and authority over the greatest people of any world, even this bizarre crossroads of one. What is your cause, what are your demands, and what is your boon?" she asked, her fading defiance growing as she spoke.
"I will have my answers, or you will have nothing from me."
"You answered your own question woman.", he'd respond, leaning over with his head and upper body coming closer to the earth, his scale was massive... beyond anything.
"I am beyond time and space. Do what I order and I give you the greatest power anyone can have... history. The present, the past and the future can be yours for I have seen it all. Not just here mind you, but everywhere... including your minuscule native realm of existence.. I even know how you'll answer.", it'd answer.
"We never would keep god a secret..", Boucher responded with a smirk.
"You intend to convert?", he'd joke.
"I, none the less the Chancellor would intend on allowing anyone to conduct offensive actions on our lands. We will defend ourselves and wont attack anyone unless provoked. Even machines.", he'd say then pause, slightly smiling.
"If god wishes to protect us then he will, death itself can be a test of faith, a test of worthiness and of course a test of character. Even then, god hasn't revealed himself to anyone for decades, not since raising this land from the sea."
"Lets be clear on something... we haven't heard what they have to say? How do we know that you're telling us the truth? They have yet to come here with war.. yet you want us to harm them if they come at all..", Hegel said crossing his arms.
"If what I'm hearing is correct your two people are the same species.. perhaps you can be united."
Cybertronian commonwealth and BlackWatch Special Forces
As gervash entered the 'juggernauts' finished off a few more infected before rushing inside, the gates closing behind them.
The old man then took a ladder down from th wall. He wears a floppy hat and sports a grey beard, his clothes are a tank top under a blue hawaiian and of course some shorts. With his sniper on his shoulder he looked at Gervash then extended his hand.
"I'm Sam.. sorry for the rude welcome but uh.. we lost the outer wall some years back, flooded with them shamblers. But this place piece of paradise is Charlotte.", he'd say giving a welcoming smile.
Behind Sam was barricades with spikes but beyond that was a small town, it was sort of cliche even.. clean streets, green grass.. hell it looked like it was ripped out of the 50's or 60's. A perfect american town.
Sam then looked the trooper up and down.
"Damn boy, we ought to get you a nice hot bath and some clothes.", he'd say with a concerned expression.
A middle aged man, with short balding hair rushed over, he wore black fatigues with a black kevlar vest. He had no gun though, only a baton on his belt and his voice was distinctly irish.
"You lot made damn bags out of this one yea! I told ya, keep the bloody gate shut unless its one of our trucks yea?", the man then looked to Sam.
"I know you're a chancer sammy boy but we cant let in every stray you see fella. Its wasting supplies, and dont give me that crap about charity..", he'd say then sigh, putting his hands on his hips and looking to the ground momentarily.
"Crack on then..", the man said before walking off without another word.
Sam looked to Gervash.
"That was Jeffrey, Deputy-Chief of police. Good guy but uh.. a bit unwelcoming. Either way lets get you some place so you can rest up.", he'd say giving Gervash a pat on the shoulder.
The infected on the other side of the wall were now silent and in the distance the cityscape of Helen lit up the night sky.
Julma felt the pressure of its encroaching presence, her every instinct telling her to flee, surrender to madness, or fall comotose in this nightmarish analogue to a job interview, but something within her being urged her otherwise. An old memory, before she even took the vow of the Sith...
Nar Shaddaa was the crown jewel of the crime empire of the Hutts, a moon orbiting their home planet of Nal Hutta. Julma and her father, Hendrice, had eked out a living as handymen and minor technicians within the heart of the criminal underworld. Before Julma could even remember her mother's face, Kresstha had perished, as one of her odd maintenance jobs had gotten her killed by an escaped exotic beast being hauled by passing smugglers. No compensation or justice was given, and Julma never could even see the faces of those who had left her and her father alone in the cruel moon. Nevertheless, they toiled and worked themselves to near-death, hoping against hope that their efforts would earn them a ticket off this accursed place. Others around them suffered similar tragedies, for second-class citizenry and near-slavery was far from the worst thing that Hutts could offer, and yet the loss of so many friends, either callously killed, sold, or abducted as fodder for crime wars or complete slavery left Hendrice and his daughter with a distrust of outsiders, and a fear of joining any of the so-called enterprises around them. They did what they could to stay out of the criminal underworld's politics, but their goal of paying for their escape never seemed to come closer.
A different blessing came to answer their unspoken prayers, or so it seemed. A Jedi Knight on an unrevealed mission had entered Nar Shaddaa, her apprentice in tow. Knight Kieta was a Duros, her personal background making her well-suited to the location of her mission, for Duros were often associated with travelling traders and mercenaries, meaning a simple change in clothing and a few days without bathing would make her fit right in, especially given her Force-augmented persuasive skills and knack for diverting suspicion onto others. Her apprentice, however, was anything else. Ulitar Bei-Fensk was a brash, impatient young male Torguta, who preferred to pursue his objective without discretion or care for the safety of others or what they thought, which were only magnified by the hormones in his blood thanks to his transitory age.
Hendrice had been hired by Kieta to refuel and maintain their ship discreetly, as well as buy groceries and provide housing for the duo, knowing that the handyman's status as an unaffiliated worker meant he had few friends to gossip to regarding his new guests. The act of him purchasing extra food for him and his child had been discreetly accepted and dismissed, and soon him and Julma began to view Kieta as akin to an undercover foreign noble, especially when Kieta had relented in a young Julma's requests for stories, her Duros culture demanding she weave a few fantastic tales from her Jedi adventures. In retrospect, Julma bitterly suspected Kieta had such attention to her because Julma was Force-sensitive, being the ideal age for an apprentice, with a useful familiarity and background in lawless areas like Nar Shaddaa.
Bei-Fensk, in contrast, was impatient, saying little to his hosts, insisting that he accompany Hendrice for protection and to further the investigation, often against Kieta's orders. In several cases, Julma witnessed the pair returning home only for the door to be kicked or hacked open by cartel members and other locals who Fensk had earned the suspicion or ire of. Her father would struggle to send them off, being forced to resort to paying them for their troubles, unless Kieta managed to return early.
One morning, Kieta announced that she and her apprentice had found what they were looking for, and would set off for the evening together, returning to collect Julma and her father to provide them passage to the Core Worlds and a better life, revealing to Julma that the little girl was, in fact, Force-sensitive. With the promise of a swift return, the Jedi Knight and her apprentice set off into the shadows of the moon's underworld. Hendrice and Julma packed themselves, ran diagnostics on the Jedi duo's ship, and waited with anticipation at what the morning would bring.
The dawn brought a cacophony of screams, blaster fire, and the scents and screeches of lightsaber on flesh and leather. Bei-Fensk stumpled into their abode one last time with a pack on his back, several blaster marks on his robes, and an ultimatum: go with him now, and travel light, or else he would leave them here. Behind him, the remains of several personal security droids, bounty hunters, and attack beasts had been carved through with the elegant tool of the Jedi. Kieta lay in a corner, barely breathing, her midriff scorched with several blaster wounds, the deep, charcoal-like texture suggesting they had scorched the layers of blood vessels, organs, and muscles below the skin, but she still held consciousness.
Julma remembered the horror of that night. Doing her best to help her father carry Kieta, the team hid and scrambled through the corridors and small s hops between them and the hangar, dodging heavily-armed patrols of mercenaries and local security. By a twist of luck, they managed to reach the hangar unharmed, and it was there that luck abandoned them. An open space, a watched ship, a running firefight, the ingredients for certain disaster lay before them. Kieta and her apprentice did their best to block and reflect the blaster fire that headed their way, but an opportunity presented itself when the Jedi Knight stumbled and her defense wavered at the ramp of their ship. Hendrice, who had been giving covering fire for the Jedi behind them, was hit in the throat, the thin skin providing little resistance as the blaster bolt robbed his body of its life. Julma was too shocked to understand what had happened amid the torrent of blaster fire, being unceremoniously pulled into the ship as the Jedi made their escape.
To bend fate, however vaguely, to possess knowledge, and thus power, to right wrongs, enact retribution, to carve a bloody swathe through the scum of the universe and any who would have done what had been done to her... it was magnitudes beyond what she had hoped to achieve as a Sith. To deny such power, to fear its cost or limitations and believe herself unable to overcome them, was to deny herself as a Sith.
"I... I will... for those I've lost, I accept." she said, gaining confidence.
"I will do as you ask, in return for this power. I will serve, but not praise. I work toward my own gain, and this foray into your service will be a step towards my true potential." she stated, her very mind shivering at the forces at play.
"So long as I do not destroy those I covet, I will do your bidding. Slay any foe, raise any army, perform any ritual. Peer into me, and know that if you seek to deceive and discard me as a simple tool, my master will protect me. I serve invaluably."
"Find his weakness....Find the girl", it'd say before a flash of the woman that was walking to the news van appeared before Julma
there was darkness... then there was a voice, it was a child.
Oh no! get out of the dark! get out of the dark!, the voice pleaded. If she opened her eyes she'd be layind in grass, her old clothes replaced by rags... and her lightsaber was missing. Minus the voice and temporary nausea though she was fine, beyond a nearby bush she saw some light, they were on a wall and beyond it was towers lighting up the night sky. At a large gate at the wall was about 4 men in dark orangish-red uniforms with helmets, in their hands were SMG's, they didn't seem like soldiers though, more like civilian officers if anything if their stance and light gear says anything.
Please! Get us out of the dark!, the voice pleaded once more fearing the dark and cold wooded area they found themselves in beyond the wall
The officers themselves didn't seem like the civilian killing type either, just men doing their job.. if anything the easiest thing would be to approach them to get in the city.
Brokowski took a moment to consider the implications of this, before giving a light shrug.
"Many before you made the same decision to refuse to proactively engage this enemy. I sincerely hope it works better for you than them. In any case, we can still passively exchange information for the sake of culture, or trade between one another. You may even find yourselves in need of some technical updates, if only to improve your medical services and quality of life."
Emperor Sidam's lips curl into a light smile, warm in structure and yet unconvincing in the presence of his entourage and cold, harsh gaze.
"A territory we carved out ourselves, quite literally. Something more esoteric than the... quaint lands of crude matter you reside on. Sotapangaea, a reminder that human will can leave a mark on even the fundamental forces of reality, quite literally. You will likely not find us in your databases, for you are not amongst your regular geographic peers. Your leaders must be told of this, so we may establish newfound relations, as is only proper."
"Our medical industry was a wonder of the world even back on Earth. We've mastered the art of bacta tanks, our doctors are masters at their craft and every year death from disease is lowered dramatically.", Boucher stated.
"Though we are not against your people sharing their culture or visiting as tourists or even as potential immigrants.. .though trade, I'm not too sure how the parliament would react..", he'd then say
(Trade Reluctance 1)
Gervash nodded in affirmation, too tired to argue.
"I'd like that, and in the morning I can explain myself, preferably to someone in charge. You all have a right to know what's coming after you..." he trailed off, in a queer mix of exhaustion and foreboding. His armor had a few dents and scrapes from holding off the infected and a few chance collisions with trees and rocks, but was mostly intact, if a bit dusty. His undersuit was slick, and caked with the ever-present dust of his surroundings, and despite his healthy pallor, the fear in his eyes was still present, like a stifled flame biding its time behind lumber, waiting to rise up in force.
As they headed onwards, Gervash took a look at his new guide with some curiosity, or at least an excuse to take his mind off his former employers.
"Sam, I'm sorry to say this, but I don't have any local currency to pay you. I've got my gear, but not much. I could work, but I'm not sure there'll be time for that before they come."
Hmmm soon blackwatch will rise lol
A sense of disbelief at the surreal near-dream Julma experienced was met with revulsion at the voice in her head and its pathetic pleas, as well as confusion and a sense of nakedness from being without her armor and lightsaber. Attempting to salvage the situation before making sense of the nonsense of it all, Julma got on her feet and put a hand on her side, faking an internal injury as she steadily headed towards the guards. She needed a plan, and she needed it now. Julma took a moment to perform a cursory scan of her surroundings with the Force, finding no signs of the voice's speaker, and finally addressed the voice in her head, the confusion of her mind flooding with disgust as she thought out loud to the unseen presence.
"I don't know who, or what, you are, but you are a weak and wretched thing. Explain yourself, or I will find a way to force you out, and hurt you."
Returning her focus to the pressing concerns of the material world Julma gave a slight wave with her free right hand at the guards, before croaking out a greeting. Her mind raced with possibilities, picking one she decided to be fitting for the pathetic situation she found herself in. An oft-practiced and seldom revealed technique of the Sith was, as is natural, a refined and superior descendent to the Jedi mind trick. Instead of familiarity and generosity being felt towards her, Julma used her extended hand to attempt to send the guards a mental "preconception" of her, using minor suggestion and exhaustion to make her hairs seem more grey, her skin more ragged and filthy, in essence an illusion of patheticness. She hadn't come this far without being able to put aside her pride, and if all went well she would replace her lost belongings soon enough.
Several shuttles and fighter craft approach Transylvania, their heading seeming to be towards the Autobot bases outside of the Yuri and Dreazen-controlled urban zones. They broadcast a basic IFF tag, and a simple request for landing coordinates, but no audio or video information.
Cybertronian commonwealth and BlackWatch Special Forces