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Between A Rock And A Hard Place


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Like tear drops, they fell in the thousands, darkening what usually

was a healthy green sky and though the heavens usually seemed vast

and limitless, still the sky cried it's rivers of blood, metal and

fire as Lt Commander Paulette DeVries neared the Octagon, the

Imperial Home World Defense Center and the traditional gathering

place of the Vietarmis Alliance.


From afar it looked almost like some sort fireworks display gone

horribly wrong in its random chaos, until you looked closer both with your and

eyes and that inner knowledge of what had transpired in the coldness of

space above this world the Builders called home, that eye could

almost see the men and women of the Imperial Navy literally falling

from the sky in the broken, twisted cold pieces of what used to

be their ships and orbital bases.


Some teardrops wore names and she knew of them she personally, like the

strapping young and slightly wild XO on the Battle

Cruiser "Indisposable Attitude Adjuster", she knew him well and

called him brother, not only in the sense of brothers in the service,

but as siblings, children of the same woman who just twenty minutes

before, had from Paulette received the terrible news.

Watching her mothers usually so controlled eyes shatter into a million

pieces was just like again watching the freighters, the Combat Gunboats

of the 52nd Escort Squadron disintegrating, falling down from the heavens.


They were vidscreen images that had burned into her retina, and she

had seen her mothers soul shattered as her vision blurred with the

loss of her youngest son. A life of memories torn to tears in seconds

as Tckon hull gave way for the Graser and Plasma fire favored by the



As the armoured hovercar screeched to an alarming stop DeVries could

see the reason for it's rapid halt. Outside the Octagon, which now

was circled by a division of marines, were thousand of protesters.

Wielding placards, shouting slogans and generally doing what a mob

does best, being chaotic.


She could understand their anger, she could understand their fears

as darkness still prevailed around the Octagon as whole blocks of the

Imperial Capital were still blacked out from the loss of the Imperial

Solar Satellite Network that the raiders had so causally brushed

aside like a giant does an insignificant spiderweb.


"What is being done, are we safe? Will they come back? Why is my son

dead? Why are my daughters without a mother?" She could hear them

crying out the questions as she rushed through the cordon of marines,

as if she could answer them just because she wore the uniform of the Navy.

A Navy, now both

scorned for it's late arrival of it's Home Fleet just minutes after the attack,

minutes which allowed the raiders to strike at the orbital defences

and merchant fleet almost unhindered as the few and the proud

defenders spilled their blood and lives to ensure that no enemy ship

reached the home world. Though the anger prevailed over the timing of

the attack and the absence of the homefleet still, some looked upon

DeVries with a fervent hope that she brung salvation with the ships

now bristling in unspent anger in orbit.


The main doors, armoured with Imperial Tckon steel closed out the

world, both fears and tears and she entered another. One where men and women

in uniform move quickly, determinedly around the hallways, each and

everyone of them with that same look in their eyes. Fear, yes but also an anger

mixed with determination to do their job to the utmost, to go down with the

ship, fighting, glaring and spitting the enemy in the eye with a

defiant "You may kill me, but you will never conquer me".


Turbolift doors closed as DeVries entered her passcode for the main

command center. A short, brief lurch, a sideways twist and she was there.


She wasted no time as she walked up to the podium in front of the

assembled Alliance High Command, the representatives of all the nine species

constituting the Vietarmis Alliance. Seated in equality around an

eightshaped wooden table that rumor said had been brought from old

Imperial Earth itself.


Opening her holocube and projecting her estimates into the center of

the room she thus began:


-Sirs, We were taken by surprise, totally and utterly. That the

raiders attacked while the mainstay of our fleet was engaged in

Operation Troy shows of intelligence capabilities far beyond those

initially projected. That they seem to have intimate knowledge of our

space lanes is even more so an…


"It's those thrice cursed Hellenes and we all know it, it's like with

the Pride all over again, poking their noses everywhere and sharing

it to whomever pays the highest" interrupted the Roman observer from

one of the dark corners of the room.


With an annoyed smile she replied "With all due respect sir,that we

do not know. It is true that the Hellenic League ships are prevalent

in this area of space but up until this point they have shown no

hostile intent nor is there any pattern that connects them to the

raiders. It is true however that they are the one and only unknown

factor in this area, despite the protestations and promises of the

Gremloid Ambassador to their good intent and thus we should be wary

of them especially considering their checkered past. At this the

Gremloid Ambassador rose slowly to it's full length, slowly and

warily as the tolls of the latest rounds of species engineering were

still showing.


The Universal Translator worked it's technological magic as the

clicks and hisses of the Gremloid were translated for each of the

delegate "As each of you are well aware it has long been the position

of the Emperor that as the Hellenes have not shown any hostile intent

towards the GGT even after the unfortunate incident with the GGT ISS

Lost In The Arms Of Destiny over the Hellenic homeworld. We have been

set to police their borders which we have done for many galactic

cycles without provocation from the Hellenes nor any probes of any

kind to the picket forces. We are aware of their collusion with other

Empires of questionable nature but we would ask the council if this

is indeed enough to condemn them?" Finished the greenscaled Gremloid

sat wearily down in his life support chair.


The armoured spacesuit that contained the ambassador of the Consensus

Collective made a fizzling sound as the UT struggled with the complex

high pitched shrieks of venting gas that constituted language of the

gaseous forms known as the Collective. "We do not agree, We see

Hellenic ships thread where they are not welcome, We see the paths

they lay out among the stars given to the starwolves. We seek

clarification of purpose, We seek accountability. We seek a



Grand Admiral Adama, an aging veteran of the Colonial Wars spoke

up. "We must do something, the alliance is in uproar against our incapacity to

defend the shipping lanes and this latest strike shows that the enemy

has inside intelligence that we did not take into account, we must

take some action or the Alliance will face significant loss of face

and trust among the population of our worlds. I concur that the one

unknown factor in our space is the Hellenic League and pressure must

be put on them to play ball" At this most of the Alien Ambassadors

looked mystified as the UT struggled with explaining the concept to

among others a sentient tree species.


Adama continued. "I call for a vote of censure against the Hellenic

League and the closing of Nexii system that divide their space from

Alliance Territory."


"I second that" exclaimed the ambassador of the Federated Worlds Of

Orion while nervously scratching the sharp point of his ear.


Paulette watched as the ambassadors scrambled around the table to

enter their votes and noted how the Gremloid ambassador seemed sad as

it shook its head and leaned towards the data console in front of it.

What would come of this action? Closing the Nexii meant that no

Hellenic ships would be allowed any access to alliance territory

until they replied to the request of the council. But would the

Gremloids actually enforce the blockade or would this be a dividing

moment for the council at large. As the numbers tallied in the

holocube above the table she could sense that this would be a

deciding moment…

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  • 2 weeks later...

Find your universe compressed into a small box, with all your essence thrashed about and pressed toghether like a wet rag, a split second of pain that seems to stretch out into infinity. Imagine the unimaginable and you have barely grasped Stable Wormhole travel. Lieutenant Commander Paulette DeVries had never liked the artifical mode of travel that unlike natural warp point travel was filled with unnatural sensations and pain. No matter the immense benefit of the stable wormhole constructs that meant immediate jumps over enourmous distances, still the giant caldaran crystal lattices that powered the constructs filled her with dread and no amount of stims from the shiplocker medpak would help with the transit, this she knew from bitter experience. Travel aboard Gremloid ships was always uncomfortable with the cramped guest quarters that the greenscaled aliens called “spacious” and “luxurious” with no sense of irony whatsoever no matter how stooped or claustrophobic their guests seemed while residing in them.


But it was the fastest way to the border between Hellenic and Gremloid space and Paulette had been ordered by the council to personally attend what could become the most volatile conflict in the history of the Vietarmis region. Especially with the latest incident in mind it seemed an able and ranking officer would be needed to coordinate and keep the calm along the line. The Gremloids had never deemed it necessary to post a ranking officer with the picket forces as they had always maintained peaceful relations with the Hellenes and considered the duty as a mere police duty to keep the calm on the council floor and thus it had become the dumpingground for tired and passionless Gremloid captains and rejects of various branches. With that in mind perhaps the unfortunate incident in the Soha system could be explained, certainly there was no excuse but it gave some sort of sense to the chaos in the fields of wreckage now cluttering the entry warppoint of the system.


Everything had changed with the escalating tension of the council. Somehow it had transmitted itself over channels across the universe to all the Vietarmis forces wherever they were posted. Those captains without experience, without the calm of mind of having been under fire and surviving it, those captains exchanged the tension transmitted through the routine flimsheet orders into fear and fear became recklessness and a way of finding danger where no danger lay in reality. Thus the the commanders of the Dremut Picket Force had reacted out of fear, out of tension and out of ignorance when they transited into the Soha system.


Immediately the picket force had with it’s advanced scanners picked up the two ships sitting on the warp point as the Gremloid force exited. Fearing it to be an advance force or scouts thereof, it immediately fired upon the two ships, totally obliterating them within seconds of transit. Later, as the Gremloids went over the logs and sent the incident report to the homeworld, they understood their terrible mistake, and that what might be the first shots in a bloody war could have been fired by their ships. The Gremloid ambassador to the Hellenes offered both their sympathies and apologies for the loss of Hellene life. The Council reacted quickly and demanded that the Gremloids quickly send a competent commander to the picket forces and sent Paulette DeVries in the meantime as an observer to ensure no further “incidents” occur. The Gremloids assured some of their best commanders were en route as soon as they were freed from the current duties on the Mivtsat border conflict.


All this meant that Paulette would find herself jumping trough two more of these horrific Gremloid constructs which would take her more than twenty starsystems from her starting point in one cycle. As the IPS Starlight Express neared the next wormhole and the caldaran lattice started powering up, Paulette reached once more for the naval sickbag and as her gut started wretching felt that she almost looked forward to dressing down those Gremloid officers of the picketforce to get some payback for having to live through feeling like this for some kill-happy gremloids itchy trigger finger. The universe squeezed Paulette together, she tried to squeeze back, and as usually lost and embraced the blackness willingly...

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Official Battle Report On The Dremut Incident

As reported by Least Claw StarRipper


** Imperial Navy Report: Fleet Order of Battle **

The Genesian Gremloid Technocracy # 2060 [black Phoenix Rising From Golden Egg On Red Trimmed With Purple]


Dremut Picket Line [ROE: S] *Void Striker* (Fleet Tonnage: 5,498,000) Fighter Bays: ... 150 ...

3,486 Bomber ... 1,500 Combat Gunboat


Deploy Location 1] 378 ML IML Belladonna (Minelayer - 4,000 tons [each])

Fire Control: Minimal .. Maneuverability: Fleet .. Sensors: Blind .. Shields: Glowing .. Structural Integrity: Mighty


6,426 Burst Mine Rack (Mines) .... 4,536 Mk IX Force Shield .... 37,800 Tckon 68


[Deploy Location 1] 23 ML IML Thorn Of The Rose (Minelayer - 4,000 tons [each])

Fire Control: Minimal .. Maneuverability: Fleet .. Sensors: Blind .. Shields: None .. Structural Integrity: Nearly



391 Burst Mine Rack (Mines) .... 29,900 Tckon 68


[Deploy Location 1] 145 ML IML Burning Fields (Minelayer - 4,000 tons [each])

Fire Control: Minimal .. Maneuverability: Fleet .. Sensors: Blind .. Shields: None .. Structural Integrity: Nearly



2,465 Space Mine Rack (Mines) .... 188,500 Tckon 68


[Deploy Location 1] 50 ML IML Sinkhole (Minelayer - 1,000 tons [each])

Fire Control: Minimal .. Maneuverability: Nimble .. Sensors: Blind .. Shields: Stable .. Structural Integrity: Mighty


10,000 Cordellium Composite .... 50 Mk III Force Shield .... 200 Space Mine Rack (Mines)


[Deploy Location 5] 3 DD INS Tactical Grace (Destroyer - 64,000 tons [each])

Fire Control: Phenomenal .. Maneuverability: Nimble .. Sensors: Aware .. Shields: Glowing .. Structural Integrity: Fortified


19,200 Energy Dispersion Armor Coating .... 288 Mk III Interceptor Missile (Missile) .... 192 Mk IX Force Shield .... 960

Pulse Laser CIDS .... 9,600 Tckon 68


[Deploy Location 12] 1 CVL IAC Fallen Angels Cry (Light Carrier - 1,024,000 tons [each])

Fire Control: Phenomenal .. Maneuverability: Nimble .. Sensors: Blind .. Shields: Glowing .. Structural Integrity: Mighty


50,000 Energy Dispersion Armor Coating .... 50 Fighter Bay .... 10,000 Laser CIDS .... 100 Mk II Long Lance Torpedo

(Missile) .... 800 Mk IX Force Shield .... 12,000 Tckon 68 .... 5 Type A Black Sphere Generator


[Deploy Location 12] 2 CVL ICS Shattered Kisses (Light Carrier - 1,024,000 tons [each])

Fire Control: Phenomenal .. Maneuverability: Nimble .. Sensors: Blind .. Shields: Glowing .. Structural Integrity: Mighty


200,000 Energy Dispersion Armor Coating .... 100 Fighter Bay .... 20,000 Laser CIDS .... 20 Mk II Long Lance Torpedo

(Missile) .... 1,500 Mk IX Force Shield .... 22,000 Tckon 68 .... 10 Type A Black Sphere Generator


** Imperial Navy Report: Fleet Order of Battle **


Hellenic League # 4991 [sailing Ship On A Blue Sea With A Shining Star Above]

Fleet 1017 [ROE: R] *Column Attack* (Fleet Tonnage: 118,800)

Cargo Bays: ... 25,000 Col Berthings: ... 6 ...

1,000 Coal ... 6 Colonists ... 5 Colony Beacon ... 13,000 Construction Materials

3,280 Fuel


[Deploy Location 7] 1 COLM WB 1 (Medium Colonial Transport - 107,100 tons [each])


Fire Control: Fair .. Maneuverability: Lumbering .. Sensors: Oblivious .. Shields: None .. Structural Integrity: Average

2 Heavy Stun Beam (Sonic) .... 4 Light Pressor Beam (Gravitonic) .... 2 Mk I Deflector .... 2 Mk I Flux Capacitor .... 1 Mk

I Meson Screen .... 2 Mk II Standard Torpedo (Missile) .... 1 Phased Energy Grip .... 3,000 Standard Hull Plate


[Deploy Location 7] 1 FS Pathfinder II (Fleet Scout - 11,700 tons [each])


Fire Control: Superior .. Maneuverability: Lumbering .. Sensors: Blind .. Shields: None .. Structural Integrity: Sturdy

1 Light Pressor Beam (Gravitonic) .... 2,000 Standard Hull Plate

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