View Full Version : News 3rd anniversary of XTended and news of XTended - Terran Conflict

26-05-2009, 11:00 AM
Welcome to The X Universe, welcome to the XTended - Terran Conflict forums.

Surprisingly, in all the work we, the XTended Team, have invested so far into this Mod, we haven't made any 'official' public announcement yet. And the 3rd birthday of the XTended Mod as we know and love it is a great occasion for this! :)

Three years ago, the first version of the M7 Mod was released. That was the mod out of which the XTended Mod 0.7: Revelations originated. The XTended Mod not only convinced with its massive size of over 700 MBs but also with its elaborated content, and of course, the feeling that everything the mod added fit into the vast X-Universe. The XTended Mod contains the lifeblood of its creators who invested huge amounts of their time in it.
Their efforts didn't go by unnoticed and as a result, EGOSOFT's new game - X3: Terran Conflict - was built upon the XTended Mod.

While the new XTended Team does not consist out of many of its original members, we still strive to surpass what the original XTended Mod was, while still containing the main idea of the XTended Mod: To produce a mod which fits seamlessly into the existing X-Universe, to expand on what is given by the game. And we believe that we have succeeded in that by creating our own setting, entirely based on informations provided by all existing X games and all existing books by Helge Kautz.

To familiarize the community to the mod's setting, we decided to do something special: We are going to release short stories over the coming weeks and months. Written by krm398, they will feature various persons, locations and themes to introduce you into the background and story in which the XTended - Terran Conflict Mod is going to take place.
Parts of these short stories will be released weekly here in this thread.

We hope you enjoy reading and feel free to discuss everything posted here in the following discussion thread:

XTended - Terran Conflict Teaser Discussion (http://www.thexuniverse.com/forum/showthread.php?p=158360#post158360)

The XTended Team

26-05-2009, 11:01 AM
Paranid Teaser
Part 1 of 3

The freighter jumped into Paranid Prime from the Terran sectors. It had been gone a long time and the pilot wanted this mission over. He started towards the trading station, and had to duck and dodge his way through the traffic - just his luck to return at a rush hour - but the Pontifex Maximus Paranidia was waiting, and onward he flew. It took a few minutes to get permission and get docked, but the second he did, the ship was rushed by intelligence officers who dragged him off the ship and into a small, dark room. He was questioned extensively about his trip - the ships he saw, the new construction, the very rumours he had heard and as they asked again and again, he repeated the same facts.

"It's true - the Terran's are completing the construction of a new gate in the orbit of the planet they call 'Neptune' to the Solara system, home to the planet Aldrin, the lost colony. It's being tested even now.", the captain said as his scans were read. "Everyone in the sector is on edge. This is a major move for them and the rumour is that they are sending intelligence in to see the AGI problem for themselves - of course the Terrans aren't saying, but that's the rumour.", he explained as the agents nodded, and he was finally released. "Say nothing of this!", he was warned as he nodded and waved, he ran back to his ship and started home, glad the ordeal was finally over.

The information was passed from person to person up the chain of command until it reached Manckilothap, Priest King of Military Affairs, and he walked briskly into a large room filled with other dignitaries. He talked and waited and watched the time. The Pontifex Maximus Paranidia was late - very odd indeed - and it just made the whole meeting seem more urgent. They stood talking, laughing and discussing matters unrelated as the time passed, everyone wondering what the wait was for. But just as they started muttering to themselves, they got the call to enter.

Finally the doors were opened and they all were led in. The Pontifex Maximus Paranidia was seated at the head of a large table with long drapes hanging behind him from the ceiling to the floor. The Priest Kings were led to their preapproved places to sit. The Ponitfex watched as everyone came in and were seated and demanded the door to be sealed during the meeting. Everyone but his personal guards and the Council of Priest Kings were ordered out of the room.

"Begin the report.", he said, waving towards the Priest King of Military Affairs. The Priest stood immediately and started explaining what was happening.

"Our intelligence was correct, Your Highness, the Terrans are indeed setting up a new gate for trade and security of the new system. If they succeed, they will have total control over access to and from what might well be a new area of space as large as our own.", he said as the Pontifex nodded, thinking seriously about it for a second, and waved for him to continue.

"The rumour around the system is, they aren't going in to start a new colony or overthrow this one. Instead they are more worried about the AGI that the Aldrians use. As usual, a very short sided view of a wonderful chance at colonization,among other things,by a barbaric, unholy species.", he complained, as everyone nodded.

"Humans are always squandering chances at greatness, the fools." The Pontifex said as everyone agreed.

"What do you suggest, Priest King of Colonization? Is this new area worth our notice or not?", he demanded as that Priest King stood and the military representative sat down.

"If this even leads to normal space, there could be dozens, even hundreds of new sectors there. Asteroid fields of great size - the little Aldrin colony never would have removed enough resources to hurt any area of such size - and planets that are suitable for us, might well not be for them, as weak and soft and humans are.", he said as everyone got a chuckle, except the Xaar himself. They quickly noticed and the room went quiet again.

"Then it is decided. We will see this new area. Begin gathering a team to send out. Get a large transporter ready and load it with materials for the trip. Also find someone to lead this team - someone not too important but still making the search look impressive.", he said smiling, as everyone nodded and the room emptied out. If this new place was anything like they thought, it was a chance for more property, more wealth and a new place to spread their race. If not, they wouldn't be out much. The Xaar sat back waiting for his advisers to find a proper candidate.

Aragon Speed
02-06-2009, 10:34 AM
Part 2 of 3

There were dozens of candidates of some note but the Pontifex himself said not to send anyone really important - obviously there was some risk. It was a bit of a puzzle but finally one Grand Duke replied that he thought he had found the perfect candidate.

The bloodline had been silent for many years but in the past they had made important discoveries and a name for themselves. They were a small bloodline now, but their ancestors had been great explorers. And after all these years a new, young one was growing with the fearlessness of his ancestors and strength of his Pontifex. His name was mentioned often and he was welcomed always. In his own limited way he had a chance to someday see some of the greatness they once had, and everyone around him was thrilled as he grew, and was tested and trained.

He had not won any great honours yet, but his skills and training were well above normal, and he was tutored by the best the paranid had. His training was at least two years beyond his age and everyone saw greatness in him. This might just be the kind of thing the Emperor was looking for: A grand, old name and a new, young person on the way up. They watched him for a while and things were put in place to test his abilities. If they put so much faith in him - or appeared to - he would need at least a small chance to succeed. It wouldn't do to have the Pontifex Maximus Paranidia looking foolish (like they would let that happen anyway) but if he succeeded, even in a small sense, the publicity and recognition would be great. In some way exactly what the Xaar had hoped for. The time was coming to see if he qualified, and his latest tests were seen.

"Your Holiness", the Pontifex heard as Ramancktessilon, the Priest King of Colonization, walked in gracefully and bowed.

"Continue, Priest.", he said, as the Priest King smiled and bowed humbly.

"The latest information on the Terran gate, Your Highness. They say that the vortex is holding steady and drones have successfully been sent through without damage. It looks well for them to open it to traffic soon. The rumours now say they are going to set up a station of their own, and then let in a limited number of colonists from around the universe. The plans are going forward and manned ships are expected to travel through within the week.", he reported as the Pontifex waved him away, and he bowed and left.

It was looking good. Another couple of weeks of testing and the new gate would be added to the Gate Network - right on time. Now he had the things gathered that would be needed but some were more or less an educated guess. Like: What would they find there? Was a manufacturing station better than a mine? And if a mine - what kind? It was difficult with such little intelligence but he had the best advisors available and he had confidence in them. Up to a point. The final decision was his and he had made up his mind. This young paranid wanted greatness so bad? Then let him have it. They kept watching over him and a few people stopped to talk to him at training sessions to judge his intelligence and intent. Was he a rebel or a friend of the Holy Three Dimensionality? Was he worthy of the honour, however small, or even his own name? Time would tell - and time was running out.

Loomanckstrat the Younger was getting sick and tired of people walking up and picking his brains. It was happening with growing regularity and being the best chance for greatness was getting harder by the minute. But he continued on. His skills improved and his vocal skills and preaching ability were second to none. His elders sat, talking to him about times past and his legacy from them. He had a fine name, and in the past the paranid had done great things, all the usual things elders told the young, but he took it especially to heart.

He felt he had a destiny. A place in the universe above the average. And that was what he strived for. The other civilizations were pagans, not worthy of his time, but his were the Chosen and he loved the very thought of being paranid. They were the evolution above all else, they were the best of the best and everyone knew it. Sure they laughed and acted tough, but in their hearts they knew. And he smiled: Poor, helpless creatures. In another thousand years there would be none but the Paranids - of this he was sure - and he worked harder thinking that than any day so far. And his tutors saw it and smiled.

"He has quite the attitude for one so young.", one tutor said to another, as he walked away for the day.

"Yes. We are very proud of him.", the other replied as the conversation switched to other things and Loomanckstrat went his way to listen to the elders until it was time for sleep and perhaps get a meal.

"Will he be ready in time?", the Pontifex Maximus Paranidia asked, as the Priest King of Religion nodded agreement.

"This is a great day for the Paranid - he is truly an outstanding young man. He reminds me a bit of you, Your Holiness, when you were younger.", he said and caught himself too late. The Pontifex was not to be compared with anyone else, ever. And a few days of work at hard labour made sure this Priest didn't make that mistake again.

"Bring the ship around and park it near the station. I want to see it from the conference room window.", the Xaar demanded, and it was done. The ship was ready and the man was too. It was said that now, when the gate was finally opened, it would all begin. The Pontifex sat back growling to himself. How dare anyone compare him to a simple Worker! And he smiled to think that the man responsible would be regretting his mistake very quickly.

Aragon Speed
15-06-2009, 04:10 AM
Part 3 of 3

In two weeks, the time came for the final testing and the gate worked flawlessly. The Terrans made a big announcement that they had again mastered the gate technology and opened a new trade lane. But the Aldrin government was worried about too many coming too fast. So the gate would only allow a chosen few to start. Only the best of the best - or someone with the right connections, of course - would be allowed the first view of the new area. And requests started coming in immediately, from everywhere in civilized space.

The Pontifex Maximus Paranidia had his own ways and in a week the word was back: It was approved and he had a code for one large transporter to enter the gate. Now the time came for his own curiosity, and Loomanckstrat the Younger was whisked up and brought to the station for further 'testing'. What would it take to break his spirit? Would he denounce his name or the Holy Three Dimensionality in a time of pain? Now they would see. The room was set up and the Rites of Leadership commenced. If he survived the next two days, he would go and the Aldrians would have their first paranid Priest. If not, there were others. He watched hour by hour as the Rites went forward and even the Pontifex had to admit there was something about this young man, And he approved of him.

The first day went by quickly. The young paranid was led in and told of his test to come. He was both honoured and scared as his face showed. In his short life he never had thought to undergo the Rites so young, but something had changed, and he didn't know what. But he was ready, he told himself and his tormenters, for the first whole day. At the end they left him to contemplate his place in the universe with a single glass of water - and the retreating pain.

The next day was more of the same. More pain, more torment, more worry. They told him he wasn't worthy of even being here, and he started to think it true, but he demanded they continue. If he was to die trying, so be it, but he would not let them have the satisfaction of breaking him - at least not outwardly. He screamed in pain and answered all their questions. His training was very good, no doubt, but as he reached his limits, plain to see by a professional, he reached inside and found more. He truly was exceptional and the Pontifex nodded in approval. The testing stopped at the appointed time and he was taken to get cleaned up. It was finally time for his future to begin.

Loomanckstrat got a meal, clean clothes and bathed. Then he was led into a room, surrounded by men in the darkness. He felt that perhaps it had been his last meal, but he would fight, seen or not, and he growled softly as a door opened and a new group of guards walked in. He was slapped and ordered to bow and bow he did. He was told he was in the presence of the Pontifex Maximus Paranidia and his fear rose to new heights. Never had he thought such a thing possible, but here he was, and he was sure he'd die here, but in a minute a voice was heard.

"So this is the one. Loomanckstrat the Younger that our people have nurtured for so long with their love and tutoring. He doesn't look so fine to me, but perhaps, as he gets older...", he heard and he was afraid to look up. It would be a great insult to see the Pontifex's face for anyone but a full Priest and it would mean his immediate death.

"Do you know why you were brought here, child?", he heard, and he shook his head no.

"Your bloodline has done great things in the past and made the Paranid look good, even in the eyes of the barbarians.", Loomanckstrat heard as he forced himself not to smile.

"It is time for such greatness again. While I personally cannot see it, your tutors and elders have declared you the one for this task so here you are. After some consideration, I agree that you've past the Rites of Leadership as described in our holy scriptures.", he was told, and he suddenly felt like jumping of joy but instead he simply smiled weakly and held his position.

"There are new lands opening up. The Terrans have just finished a new gate to the Solara system. What lays beyond that, no one knows but we're willing to guess there will be other systems yet undiscovered, and other chances for wealth and greatness. Are you ready to take your name and ours and go to this new world to gain wealth and spread our races future into the unknown? Speak quickly lest I change my mind!", the Pontifex Maximus Paranidia asked and Loomanckstrat screamed, Yes, He would go.
"Then raise your eyes and see me for the first time, oh Grand Duke of Aldrin.", he heard as he slowly looked up at the big paranid before him.

"I am not worthy, oh Your Holiness," he said crying, as the Pontifex smiled back.

"No, you are not. But I have decided: It will happen. Behold...", he said pointing towards the window as Loomanckstrat the Younger looked out for the first time.

"You will take this ship, the large transporter Maximus II, and leave this very day. The codes are on board and the time is right. Stop to see no one, talk to no one. Your destiny is at hand - go and claim lands and wealth in the name of the Pontifex Maximus Paranidia and the Holy Three Dimensionality!", he said as Loomanckstrat the Younger was led away. The Xaar smiled and went back to his stateroom. It was all well and good. The spectacle was enough to keep him from ever thinking that something less had happened. And who knows - he might actually survive. It had happened before. The Xaar sat back to enjoy some quiet meditation as the first paranid Priest ran towards Solara.

Aragon Speed
22-06-2009, 02:06 PM
Terran Teaser
Part 1 of 2

United Space Command Admiralty Meeting Protocol 025478A-1
Encryption encoding: RED
Official key: N/A
Subject: Consultation and situation report on the Solara sector
Classification: TOP SECRET

/File extraction; Reconstruction complete/
/File beginning/

Admirals Hastings, Johnson and Ozawa were sitting in one of Terran Commands conference rooms talking seriously to each other. This meeting had been a while in coming, but each of them knew what had to be done whether they liked it or not.

"The time for us to act is now; We are readying Fuji Station for shipment. The Aldrians are sceptical about our intentions, but as that's normal I expect with a little diplomacy and careful planning we'll be fine.", Admiral Johnson, chairman of the meeting, said. The others nodded, but it was evident from the looks on their faces and the uncomfortable shuffling of bodies in their seats, that they were not as sure as the nods made them seem.

"I have a few people in mind for the job, but it'll be tough for whoever is chosen. Once we send them in, removing them again could make us look weak or worse.", Admiral Hastings said looking concerned, as the others looked his way, waiting for him to continue.

"If we establish a small working presence of core personnel, and then hire the additional personnel needed to make up the bulk of the workforce from outside of our solar system, we may pull it off. We can't bring in our own people in large numbers, it would almost surely incite a war with Solara - and none of the races need that right now.", he stated seriously. The other Admirals stayed silent.

"Then it's settled: The plan goes forward as it is, Admiral Hastings is in charge of recruiting the core personnel and placing the crews, Admiral Johnson will get the gate operational as soon as possible, and I'll see that Fuji Station is in the sector in time." Admiral Ozawa said as everyone quietly agreed with a nod.

"This will be the most important mission we've ever been assigned to. Make sure we have people worthy of it!", he said to Admiral Hastings, who again nodded in agreement.

"This is going to be a long term mission - perhaps single men only would be better suited?", Hastings mentioned, looking serious but the idea was shot down immediately.

"No, we can’t make it look like a suicide mission or the word will get out and we will see widespread panic in the ranks. You know as well as I do that choosing people that are only male and single will create that idea in peoples minds even if it isn't true. No one must know how important this mission is, or how important that base is and what it is we really need to do there! If this turns into a media frenzy we'll all be retired tomorrow one way or the other!", Admiral Johnson stated seriously.

Hastings looked up suddenly. He didn't feel it was fair to family men to be so far away for so long, but it had been decided and tactically it made sense. Thinking on this, his list changed in his mind as the meeting continued.

"The other races are willing to help as they would also like a foot hold in the Solara sector, so they're sending personnel we can use. This will reduce the number of military going into the system and lower the tension with Aldrin.", Admiral Hastings said as the others nodded, approvingly.

"If we do this patiently and carefully, step by step, they will never notice what we are doing and we'll be in better position for future relations. The Boron and Goners are sending some negotiators, so this should also help remove some tension among the corporations and we will have some people inside them working as well. Supplies and weapons shouldn't be a problem.", Johnson mentioned, thinking to himself as the others nodded.

"The main ship will be the Neil Armstrong, under Colonel Jackson's command.", Hastings said, the others smiled and nodded yet again.

"You've already recruited him? Getting a bit ahead of us aren't you, John?", Admiral Johnson asked smiling.

"No not yet, but he'll take it. He's a good man and with the proper encouragement he won’t refuse.", Hastings said laughing as the others joined in.

"I see getting a crew isn't going to be a problem.", Johnson commented as they laughed.

This mission was the second Terran military assignment this year. Just some months before, the 2nd Expedition Fleet of the USC in cooperation with the AGI Task Force wiped out the Xenon Sector which had been found one year before, after the successful activation of the first jump gate in the Solara sector. The only other military assignment before that was the final battle of the "Terran Conflict" taking place in the Orbit of the planetoid Collins in the Solara sector, where the AGI Task Force secured the stolen TF/CPU ship #deca.

The Aldrian people were more than sceptical about Earth's motives, and the admirals understood this. They had been separate from other races for a long time after the Great Xenon War, and apart from brief contact with the Argons which the Aldrians terminated themselves by deactivating the jump gate that linked the two races, they had been completely alone and seemed to to prefer it that way.

The Terrans showing up so suddenly with a serious attempt to reclaim old territories, was not good from the aldrian standpoint. Aldrin refused to be 'Taken back into the fold', saying that they were an independent world with laws of their own and no longer colony. The facts about the situation were plain and history had been written, but the arguments between the Solara government and the Terran government were still going on, and they would be for a long time to come.

The real problem was Aldrin's defence force. Although the Colony did not maintain a large military force, it does have a fleet of automated drones originating from the colony's very own TF/CPU ship, #deca. This was AGI from before the War, and the Terrans immediately contacted Aldrin to warn them of the danger AGI posed, but Aldrin laughed it off. They had seen the damage Terraformers could do just as well as the Terrans had, and they insisted they had learned from it. But the Terran people still held, even now, memorials and holidays commemorating the disaster. The military and the politicians for once agreed that they didn't want to see a repeat of the 'Great War' within their lifetimes; so something needed to be done.

The Aldrians were proud people and the Terrans knew where that trait came from. After all, they originated from the same genetic pool. Now it seemed that it was going to be a war of wills, and the Terrans saw no easy way out. The Aldrians would protest any effort to stop the AGI from doing its work, even if the Terrans offered to take the defence of the system under their 'wing' so to speak; possibly even more so.

Currently the Aldrians saw the terran military as a possible threat, the Terrans had still refused to reconcile with them, and they were after all military vessels. The latest planned gate link from the Terrans smacked of an attack on their very way of life, so the Aldrians sent messages and agents out to tell all outlying areas to be watchful. Hoping that if the Terrans started to build up a sizeable force that they could spot it and be prepared.

A pre-emptive Terran attack was not out of the question as far as the Adrians were concerned, and they waited to see the actual size of the terran fleet that would be sent through this new gate.

/File end/

Aragon Speed
30-06-2009, 09:15 AM
Part 2 of 2

USC Neil Armstrong Command Report 764201A-1
Encryption encoding: RED
Official key: N/A
Subject: Project "Solaran Friend"
Classification: TOP SECRET

/File extraction; Reconstruction complete/
/File beginning/

It was time to see what the new plan was worth and the admiral started out to do his 'recruiting' since the men and women of the Fleet had no idea what was coming - or why. He wasn't sure he approved of all the 'cloak and dagger' that he was helping to start. But it was necessary, as he was constantly told, he finally boarded his flagship and ordered her to jump. Everyone else was well into their plans and he had better get this done - or look indecisive - and that’s the one thing an USC Admiral could not look like in times of war.

Colonel Samuel Jackson sat the bridge of his Yokohama-class ship, the Neil Armstrong, as they patrolled their area around the moons of Jupiter. It was a good life and as a officer 'on the way up' in the Terran military, he was constantly told his skills were appreciated. The new ship he commanded was fresh off the line, in a time when war was most certainly a serious chance for the first time in decades. The old Terraformers had returned to some areas, and the military was worried they might be making a serious comeback. The fleet was getting ready but with decades of time without wars they were unsure. They had been trained and equipped but they still heavily lacked real battle experience. And not even years of training could compensate that entirely, thus creating tension among throughout the military ranks.

He drilled his crew day and night getting them ready. They had seen the enemy, these new Terraformers, but they had yet to be involved in a major battle, thank the gods. He decided that having them hate him just a little was better than having them all dead. His training schedule went on despite the grumbles he started hearing around him.

"Colonel", he heard and he looked up from the training schedule.

"Yes Captain, what is it?", he asked, knowing in advance what was about to be voiced.

"Sir, the doctor has received thirteen people this morning alone asking to be removed from duty because of sickness. While she admits that many are not ill, they all are on the verge of exhaustion. She asks that you relax training for a few days to let the crew recover.", he said standing very tall and rod straight.

"Is a little hard work too much to ask for a military vessel? These people joined for the fringe benefits they got but just happened to get caught in a war. That is not my fault. If they aren't ready when the Terraformers come screaming into our sector in mass, it will be my fault. And the doctor will be seeing more people than she is now. You tell her if there's one person down there that isn't actually ill or hurt, she'll be the one on report!", Jackson said as the Captain looked sad and nodded.

"Yes, sir!", he said and started out as Colonel Jackson stopped him looking upset for a moment.

"All right. 24 hours rest break then we start again. We'll stop at the shipyard tomorrow for resupply a little earlier and I'll give the crew 24 hours leave. Now get out.", he said as the captain saluted and left, smiling. He knew the Colonel wasn't trying to kill everyone but trying to save them from a worse death than being worked too hard. And he went and told the doctor, then made the official announcement.

The announcement was well received and the following day everyone went into the station knowing it wasn't going to be any easier tomorrow. But they did understand and even on their day off the stories of terraformer incursions were everywhere. They knew the Colonel was getting them ready for the fight of their lives. These new ships were nothing like the old vids and drawings, it was plain the technology had improved. That was something Command had tried to keep quiet, but the fleet news reports had some good pictures and videos of attacking and scouting ships. The differences were obvious. The rumours around the fleet from people that actually had fought them confirmed it and they saw their Colonel as maybe not being that harsh after a while. With the training they were doing, their skills were sharper than before. Even those most prone to grumbling saw it. If war was their fate then even the most angry among them wouldn’t want to be anywhere else - they at least had a Commander that cared enough to make them better, possibly better than they even realized they could be.

It was month five of his assignment when something odd finally happened. A second capital ship jumped in through the nearest trans-orbital accelerator gate and called them. In a few minutes he was standing on its deck, confronted by the ranking Fleet Admiral for his area. Admiral Hastings took him into a conference room and had him sit down for what turned into a long and very serious talk about the future of the galaxy and Jacksons part in it. As a well respected military man with good relations and connections in both military and civilian circles, he was "Uniquely Qualified" for a job of utmost importance. He was told that the Terran Secret Service was forming a new unit with the permission of the old Aldrian government and that the construction of a permanent base in the Solara system had been agreed upon. If possible it would give the intelligence community the chance to oversee the use of the Solara system and their "unique" weapons, the terraformer drones, and report on any and all problems involved. It all sounded a little like a 'cloak and dagger'-operation to Sam but if that was what was required, he could do it. He didn't have that much experience in secret service matters, but Admiral Hastings said he understood that. It wasn't the only thing he'd be doing but Sam wasn't so sure.

"We need a man who can get along with anyone, and still get the job done. It means smiling a lot while knowing inside that they're wrong and you're right. And then acting accordingly.", the Admiral said as Sam nodded and swallowed hard. It still sounded a little like 'cloak and dagger'-operation to him no matter what he said.

Sam blinked to think of it. A new sector, possibly more, and a new job: Base Commander. Watching the growth of the colonies and reporting on possible 'problems' as ordered. It was a daunting task but he agreed. Right away he was introduced to his second-in-command, Captain Jeff Carter. And the meeting went on. It was plain by now that this was not a purely military mission as ordered but more of an Intelligence matter. The plans were thorough - and complex. Their jobs overlapped the military, intelligence and civilian sectors and they alone had jurisdiction over the base. It was going to be a 'sealed system', one way or the other, and the base the only military on the solaran side of the Terran Gate. Sam swallowed hard when he saw how small the force was that had been assigned there - barely large enough for what he'd consider an incursion of this nature - and the huge job they wanted done. There would be much buying of outside help, if it was available at all, and the plans went forth.

The exact time and day of their "entry" into Aldrian space was mentioned and Sam noticed that they had little time to get ready. But they both agreed and the admiral smiled. They were good men and he left them to get their affairs in order. Hastings went back to report the success to the others: It was finally happening and he was happy his part was over.

While Sam was single and would be ready sooner, Jeff was married and given as much time at home as possible before the move. It wasn't much but he had a good 'military wife' and she would understand that she might not see him for a long time to come. He took her out and spent 'quality time' with his son, tried to have them ready if the mission went bad. But that’s what the military life is all about and they had accepted it long ago. There were plans just in case and things had been put in order. With Jeff always living on ships or military bases, his pay was sent straight to his family and they did well from it. There were investments and savings and he was fairly sure they would be taken care of in an emergency. He kissed his wife and gave his son a big hug, then smiled as he left, and his wife knew she may never see him again. But that was the military life and Jeff was on his way back to the ship where he waited patiently for the call.

Now if the new system was worth it all they would go down in history as the first link to the new systems behind the gates of Solara and Jeff looked sceptical thinking about it even now. Sam stood watch over his ship and waited. The time was ticking away quickly and he was sure that even he hadn't been given the complete truth about their mission. He dropped his head to think of the task ahead; the long hours, the hostile space, the implications for them all and his worry started to grow. What were they thinking? The report mentioned their purpose, but was that really it? Would Command be there when they were needed or was he on his own? He was a little worried about the answers but that was his life. He would do his best as was expected, watching over his ship, crew and the Terrans interest there. And just this once he found himself wishing he wasn't the 'best man for the job' as he walked up silently to sit in the command seat and wait. It wouldn’t be long now.

/File end/

Aragon Speed
06-07-2009, 01:24 PM
Argon Teaser
Part 1 of 2

Commander Harris was working at his desk, looking over reports and scanning files when the receptionist, Lt. Gardna, called.

"Sir, that man is here again and he demands to see you!", he heard as he sat back and rolled his eyes. This person was stubborn he'd say that this man had been here for days but Harris had no time for games.

"Send him away and tell him, if he comes back again, he'll be arrested.", Harris commanded but in a minute Lt. Gardna walked in with an info chip in his hand.

"He said he'd leave but he demanded I give you this first.", he stated and walked away after sitting the chip on the commanderís desk.

Probably some kind of threat or formal complaint, Commander Harris thought but instinctively he plugged it in to see. The screen showed a map, a sector map actually, but it wasn't named and Harris didn't recognize it either.

"Computer, identify the sector showing on my screen.", he asked but nothing happened. "Computer, is there a problem?", he asked as the voice came on.

"Unable to identify sector. This sector does not exist in our database.", it said as Harris sat back to consider. Who was this man and what was all this about?

"Check all known sector maps for a match. Include enemy sectors.", he asked and a minute later the results were back.

"This map is of no known sector, either in our out of argon space.", it stated as he was now getting very curious.

"Add all intelligence information and the secret database to search.", he commanded and in a second it came up.

"Sector identified as Solara system. Recently rediscovered by a Terran task force after hundreds of years . Main colony Aldrin, no known exports...", it went on.

Hm. I'd rather not have the Argons have any report about that yet. Terrans could have kept this secret and the man could be the first to bring the information out.

"Stop. Thank you computer.", Harris said and hit the intercom's button. "Is that man still there?"

"Yes, sir. He said he'd wait until you called back before leaving.", the Lieutenant answered through the intercom as Commander Harris nodded and commanded for him to send the man in. He was sure of himself, he'd give him that.

The man was led in and he stood across the desk from the Argon Commander, smiling, as Harris waved the Lt. away. When he was safely gone, Harris pointed to the chair opposite his and the man sat down.

"All right. You have my attention. What do you want? Make it quick.", Harris asked, sitting back and looking very serious indeed. "It is unnecessary for me to tell you my name. You'd never know it anyway or have a record of me before this.", he said as Harris smiled weakly.

"You might be surprised.", he replied softly as the man chuckled.

"Yes I would.", he said standing up and started to pace the room as Harris checked quietly for the hidden gun under his desktop.

"I have come here from that sector. Lets just say we both know where it is and let it go at that. Your monitoring equipment is quite good I'm sure.", he stated. Harris nodded.

"It has come to our attention. We have a similar problem or shall I say, our current problem, your future problem." he said but Harris admitted nothing.

"After several hundred years, the Terrans have finally decided to come for a visit. I hear they've been here as well?", he asked but Harris gave no facial expression and the man chuckled.

"My people have been on our own for centuries, Commander, and we were doing quite well. But suddenly this one ship appears and then a while later, a whole task force. It is very upsetting for a quiet little colony to suddenly be assaulted by long lost brothers and sisters, as I'm sure you could agree.", he claimed but Harris still agreed to nothing and the man got serious.

"We have had a quiet existence. Of course the occasional pirate raid but nothing our world couldn't handle. We had a small trading community and even did a little exploring but there weren't that many of us that were worried about it and we stuck pretty close to home. But now the Terrans have sent emissaries to Brooks, our capital, and asked for renewed rights as our original founders. We disagreed, saying that we have been separated for centuries. They have no rights but they insisted and have been forcing the issue. We gave them a chance, to see if we could live together in harmony, and they abused that agreement.", he revealed, getting angry, then caught himself.

"They now have more ships in our system than we do. We protested but to no avail. Commander, we believe the Terrans are setting up to overrun the Solara system and retake the colony in their name.", the man said seriously as Harris finally spoke.

"That would mean war.", he stated as the man smiled shaking his head.

"Not if they are shrewd. If they claim areas around us and extract all the minerals we need before we can get to them, we will have no recourse but to deal with them. If they control all the entrances to our system we canít ask for or get allies nor assistance; they can choke us off until we either surrender or starve. Either is a terrible way for a noble and proud colony to be destroyed.", he argued as Harris finally agreed. "We have no right to ask for military intervention. Indeed if the Terrans follow their old paths all colonies in their sight will be under their control eventually.", the man claimed, looking directly at him as Harris gritted his teeth. Not in his lifetime they wouldn't.

"They are and have always been colonists and conquerors. Their political machine is immense and we alone cannot stand long against it. But with friends... Even for someone who only comes to open trade with us, this could be a long and expensive process. They might well decide it isn't worth the little gain they'd feel for just adding one additional colony.", he said hopefully as Harris nodded again.

"So what ARE you asking?" Harris asked as the man cleared his threat and looked seriously at him."We have here," he said sitting a chip on the desk," codes for one hundred ships to enter the secure gate the Terrans are opening, the codes will be accepted without question. They can be traders, mercenaries, even miners, and no one will stop them. Getting so many allies into the system will give us people to trade with and for, in the future, if Argon will do this, then we will see to it things you need will be coming your way." he said as Harris stopped to think, there were some mineral shortages but that sector was still a long ways off.

"How can we be sure this isn't a trap to get us involved, whatís in it for us right now?" he asked as the man sat a third chip on the desk.

"This one has the map to an asteroid sector not far from Solara; it has many, many good asteroids. All the minerals you are short on now, we give you this map just to show we are serious, and we're willing to pay for any help we can get." he said as Harris took it and opened it and looked the field was impressive and he nodded agreement.

"No promises but we'll see." he said as the man nodded and walked out quickly. Commander Harris sat looking at the map and opened the codes to see them, it was all as the man had said and he stopped to think. If the Terrans really were on the prowl for new colonies, they had done the right thing expelling their ambassador from Argon, he was obviously a spy, but thatís how the game is played, and he took a little time to decide if he wanted to risk it or not, but that field was there, and free for the taking, and so he sent a message to the Miners Guild that some new info was coming from the frontier, and they were coming in for a meeting, that would add a little something to the pot, and he decided that maybe a few good mercenaries might be needed by Argon businesses , if things got too hot there.

Aragon Speed
14-07-2009, 06:44 AM
Part 2 of 2

Commander Harris was setting up appointments well into the next week when he got a call; he answered it to see the Terran ambassador on the link.

"Ambassador, back so soon?" Harris asked seriously as the man refused to smile.

"No, Commander but as the Terran representative for Argon it is my duty to call and inform you that the man you had a meeting with was an impostor. He in no way represents the Solara system or it’s many parts." he said seriously and with some attitude as Harris looked even more serious than before."Which man was that?" he asked as the Ambassador looked positively ready to scream.

"We tracked him from Terran space to Argon, and we demand his return to Terran space to stand trial for treason!" he screamed as Harris sat back smiling, this man was a real threat or they wouldn't have bothered.

"I have had NO meetings with any Terrans for weeks, not since I asked you, politely, to leave." he said as the man’s face grew redder and redder.

"And Ambassador, this is ARGON space, and not subject to you or your rules, and don't you forget it." he said and closed the link on the screaming politician and he smiled, well...that settled that, he not only was telling the truth, but Harris had a security problem of his own, and he started an investigation into how the Terrans knew who or what he was doing in Argon Prime.

Harris checked the links origin, it was from Terran space so the Ambassador hadn't returned but he knew an awful lot about what Harris was doing in Argon Prime, and the investigation went on for days, and things were found out that made his skin crawl. The Terrans were a strong and stubborn people and they had some real nerve, but he found their mole very quickly and his professional business returned to more normal.

Harris was so sure now that the story the man told him was true he sent someone of his own to watch the new gate. He wanted to know how many outsiders were allowed in and if the Terrans often sent in military ships. Since Solara had a small military they shouldn't need to, unless they were asked for assistance and he was very sure they weren't getting asked, and a week later he got the news, fully 60% of all ships coming or going were Terran, and they were demanding a station of their own in the sector and a military escort for it. It was obvious they didn't trust the locals, and the locals absolutely didn't trust them. It was times like this that wars got started and the small system was being overrun with Terran people, and Commander Harris saw the threat. Under the same circumstances it would very easily be possible to take control without the official government’s approval, and that’s what he was wondering.

He sat holding meetings with good men who liked a challenge and gave them some codes. They were law men, mercenaries and just friends that liked a good fight, and they knew the risks, and they accepted it. His little force went in a day or two apart and the miners started gathering the good minerals there for sale. It seemed everything was going according to plan, and Commander Harris hoped it was HIS plan. With some serious help the Aldrians and their brothers and sisters might yet survive to be a sovereign colony, but things were tight and it wasn't going to get any better and he was sure of that. If they were really, really lucky it would all blow over and he added a few of his best men to the list to watch over the process. He knew what could happen and what might, he just hoped he was wrong, for after Terra made a colony out of Solara, they might just be in the mood for another, and he made some plans for that chance too.

Commander Harris used up all the codes he was given and put the word out that the system was open for mining and business, to the absolute dislike of the Terran government. They were being very careful who got in and not, and getting that kind of advertisement caused them no end in pain and embarrassment. The gate was almost being assaulted by people demanding entrance and the Terrans were under pressure to let them in. It was the furthest thing from what they wanted and everyone knew it, and the Argon Congress talked about the Terrans and they even asked to have the Ambassador return, if he could keep his mind on official business and for now he refused. It was all just the way politics are played and Harris was sure the Terrans had been stopped for the time being, and he waited to see what happened next. If they let these plans run, for now, the frontier would be a good and safe place to work and live. Argon had some people there now and the minerals were trickling out, and it helped the shortages a little.

The universe now had an eye on Solara and the Terrans sat back, grinding their teeth and trying to behave while the universe watched. When the publicity was over and the rush stopped or slacked off, then they would see what was happening, and Commander Harris had his ways to keep track, as he was sure even now, the Terrans were in Argon watching him too. Politics is so predictable, if not boring, but getting millions killed for some antiquated sense of ownership was asking too much, and he heard mention around Argon that even they were once a Terran colony and some seemed to like the thought, and he didn't smile as much after that. If they came from outside with ships and guns, he was ready, but if they came from inside, that was different and he started planning for a different kind of war, and he prayed to the Maker he could stop it before it was too late.

After a month things were moving along well, the Terrans were letting more minerals out than before and Argon was reaping some benefit from its people there. The Aldrians were holding their own according to reports and that seemed good. Commander Harris decided he did the right thing at the right time, in political terms he rolled a hard 12, but he was happy with it when a call came in.

"Sir, we're getting a coded message from Solara," he was told and he nodded and opened it and there sat the man he had spoken to all those weeks ago.

"You're a good man, Commander," he said as Harris smiled and bowed.

"The Miners Guild has made deals with many of our stations, and new ones are opening up all around. They will make a good living, we can guarantee that, and the Terrans are being held back from anything outrageous at the moment. Solara thanks you, Sir for your assistance and we'll remember this in the future." he said as the link died as quickly as it started and Commander Harris smiled. If things kept going like this things would be OK and he hoped so, but he saw the first report of a station loss, the report said...maintenance failure...and that was as rare as a lack of sunlight in space, and he started to see that things were not as simple as he had hoped.