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 East of Eden (Private)

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Selathorn

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PostSubject: East of Eden (Private)   Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:20 pm

Believing Missionary Post, Deep Space, MY 2288

Talent Youssef Ahmed murmured in silent prayer in his office, as he peered out of the porthole to the stars, illuminated only by the soft light of his decades-old holoconsole. He was one a few dozen brave men and women sent out to deep space, to search for those who would heed the call of the Lord and be turned to true Belief, away from secular materialism and anomaly worship alike. For the Believers, the essence of the Lord was the ineffable - no science could capture His magnitude, and neither could any anomaly manifest His glory. The Lord was the Lord, the essence of man's belief alone, not for men to know nor for men to understand. Indeed, the faith of the Believers had changed much from its first days on Chiron: with further understanding of the meme came further understanding of the Lord. The Believers had come to regard many of Old Earth's prophets and religions as sincere but mistaken: it was the memegeneers and Sister Miriam now who could carry on the Lord's blazing banner and bring true Belief to the dissolute masses of the galaxy.

Still, exalted truths could do only so much, as Talent Ahmed knew only too well, and there had to be a human touch behind it. He was an Empath, one born with the gift of psionic potential, and there could be no doubt that he was not shy in exercising its potential. His post received a steady trickle of visitors: word spread in the backwater region about these strange missionaries from the imperial powers who offered aid and counseling for those who beseech it from them. Some of the pilgrims were more sincere than others, but all of them took something away from the experience, quite literally - Talent Ahmed saw it fit to provide each and every one of them with a holodisk of the most recent version of the Conclave Bible, complete with built-in expert systems to ease comprehension. He had a fair number of virches with him, too, to help bring to the more visually minded pilgrims the truth of the light of God.

Admittedly, not all of his visitors were friendly: brigands, marauders, and pirates did ply the dark depths of the galaxy. It was perhaps every few months or so that a band of pirates would try to attack the post, to seize the supplies held within. Though the Believers had seen it fit to hire Heraklean contractors to protect their supply freighters, they could not do the same for the post itself. Still, amongst the Crusaders guarding the post were a handful of trained pilots, and with decommissioned Garland-Class Corvettes and a Chiron-Class Freighter they managed to drive them off time after time. There were a few who disguised themselves as pilgrims and attempted to take the base from inside, and perhaps take prisoners for ransom, but the surprise was on them - did they truly think that the Believers were remiss enough to not perform psych scans on their supplicants? They were practically wearing their intentions on their sleeves.

Looking outside the window, and then on the terminal, he could see that a new group had hailed him, asking for docking access. They did not seem to be run-of-the-mill pilgrims nor pirate vessels - no, it was something different. After a brief pause, he granted it, and came to the docking station flanked by a pair of Crusaders.
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Magna Aurelia

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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:14 pm

"Koen, is she alright?"

---

The D'tyzkin Corsair's evacuation berth contained Valdorin's unconscious form, covered with bloodstained linens retained from the comatose woman's original berth aboard the innocuous Aurelian transport vessel; while an exhausted, suited human gazed up to meet Gieffrei's bubble helm with a solemn head-shake.

"Not for long without proper care. Bastards gave her a deep stomach puncture, and matters will only worsen as the air in here keeps getting stale."

"We don't have even one can of impure air?"

"None."

Gieffrei sluggishly stood from his console, weary from exhaustion and depression; eighteen men and women arrived in Zilun just eight hours before. Only four men, a dying woman, and one captured Aurelian scientist commanding the helm at risk of painful death survived the escape.

"Do we have any confirmation that this Newta- Newton- ah, damn them all! Those red-fleshed devils are all the same- New'something has found something-"

"Bzzzzt! Bzz- Gieffrei, Samsir has spotted something on these- dammit, Samsir, I can't see what's in the cauldron- sorry; cauldrons. We've got heat signatures from a triangulated mass larger than a ship. It's not organic, either!"

Koen and Gieffrei raised an eyebrow when the former resumed his overbearing posture.

"I must watch her."

"I figured."

Gieffrei shuffled to the portal membrane and let his thick gloves sink into the airlock-like structure. The gelatinous structure rippled for a moment before the jello suctioned Gieffrei into the deoxygenated room, where dried Aurelian ichor left a grim reminder of just how dangerous those animals were. Samsir's voice echoed through Gieffrei's ears once more:

"Should we hail it?"

"Yes. Ask for docking clearance and let any escorts approach us: If what Red Devil said is true, this is no Aurelian station. If not, cut his artery and leave him to bleed out here so that we can have one final say."

---

As the hijacked Aurelian vessel came into visible range, observers aboard Ahmed's station would be able to discern the organic vessel's bumps, protrusions and recesses atypical of spacefaring vessels. Once clearance was granted, the D'tyzkin Corsair would draw closer in a docking maneuver which would see the vessel's unusually metallic thrusters direct their exhaust against the force projected by surface-control vents near the vessel's fore. Finally, the vessel would land in the hangar and bump along the floor as the fleshy materiel shivered.
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:29 pm

"Damn," one of the attending Crusaders cursed. "What you you think that thing is, sir? Are these people even human?"

Appearing to be deep in thought, Talent Ahmed replied, "I suspect so - I sense human minds within the vessel, if you would call it that, although it is clearly not of human make. These are our pilgrims, brother, unusual as they may come. Attend me, we must welcome them."

Stepping to the fore of the hangar, he waited for the new arrivals to leave the vessel. Once they did so, he called out to them, in a powerful and yet smooth voice, "Greetings, pilgrims! You have come to a missionary post of the Lord's Believers, and I am Talent Youssef Ahmed, both a missionary as well as an Empath. Have you come here to learn about true Belief, and to seek the light of the Lord? Or, perhaps, do you seek succor and resupply? We shall provide you with what we can, provided you provide us your ear, for we ask of our pilgrims nothing else. Now, which system do you all hail from? I have never seen such an... unusual... vessel in my midst."
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:13 pm

The EVA-helmed gentleman seemed to pause for a moment, his eyes somewhat surprised with relief if one could see through the opaque tint. A speaker grille near the helm's hinge crackled for a moment before a crisp, firm voice resonated in response.

"Resupply services would... Be appreciated, actually. More urgently, however, we need a doctor or anyone with medical supplies."

As he spoke, Gieffrei's gloved fingers fumbled along the back of his EVA suit until he felt both safety latches with his thumbs. For several seconds, his fingers would strain to release the helm locks until- after one lucky pass- both locks disengaged to loosen the helm's grip. The bubble shield's pressurization mechanism hissed as the bulky dome lowered before a rugged, light tan face lined with a jagged scar emerged.

"We have a passenger who may die within the next fifteen minutes. That's how serious the situation is, Gieffrei said again, appearing to have ignored the question regarding the flotilla's origin. Nearby on the D'tyzkin Corsair's starboard, another membrane port seemed to quiver violently as the outline of a makeshift cot and an overseeing guardian became pronounced in the stretched membrane.
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:03 pm

Gesturing towards a hallway, Talent Ahmed replied, "But of course. I would not dare to keep a dying man away from urgent care, not even Shaitan given form himself. My brethren! Please help carry the injured pilgrim to the medbay. I shall occupy the others for the time being."

"Now, as for the rest of you, pilgrims, I again welcome you. If one of you would like to join the injured pilgrim in the medbay to observe the proceedings, I have no objection, though know that Brother Tafari has had decades of experience on the battlefield and in more normal circumstances. He will take excellent care of your injured fellow and restore him to vitality, I am sure. Would the rest of you care to join me in a consultation, perhaps, in my office? I would like to get acquainted with you, and see what I can do on your behalf."

With that, he led the group down a hallway, into a moderately sized room. Though dark before, he placed his hand on a panel and murmured a command to the lighting system, and sat in his desk, gesturing for the others to take the seats in front of him. In the background, a quiet instrumental track could be heard, with the sound of a cello looped over itself time and time again, a popular style of instrumental music on Chiron. At the side of Talent Ahmed's desk was a terminal, and sitting on the table in front of the seats were headsets, presumably for use along with virches.

Once the newcomers are seated, Talent Ahmed says to them, in the even voice of a counselor, "So, again, what is it that brings you to my humble missionary post? You seem not to be from any system I am familiar with, for your vessels seems quite... unique. What can I do for you, and have you come to learn the true way of Belief in the Lord?"
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:30 pm

"Koen, stay with Genevai. Samsir will come with me." Gieffrei could be heard speaking into his intercom. The stretcher, after a minute of hesitation behind the membrane, finally emerged before Koen as he pushed the unconscious woman's cart onto a scaly ramp: Once the hangar staff was available for further transport, Koen would join whatever orderlies were available as Valdorin's encased form became Brother Tafari's next patient.

Samsir stepped through the central portal Gieffrei had taken and joined his compatriot as the duo set out towards the station interior.
"We are alien to you by origin, yet our phenotypes- and perhaps genotypes- match yours. Hours ago, we departed from the Core regions in search of medical care," Samsir began as he followed Gieffrei and Talent Ahmed into the office, where both Tantalan men's eyes became startled at the spacious atmosphere. Gieffrei's composure returned in time for him to monitor Samsir's evocation.
"A planet named Tantalus is our homeworld, to be more specific; a world which, sadly, is under perpetual slavery, famine and further exploitations. It is because our people are oppressed that..."
Samsir looked to Gieffrei, who remained silent except in his "I-wouldn't-say-so" glare.
Don't. We won't know if the Aurelians have made contact with these men.
"... that we have dilapidated infrastructure: There are no hospitals to aid the ill, nor schools for our youth to possibly challenge the status quo which poisons, pillages and pilfers our world of dreams. We need supplies: Food, pharmaceuticals, perhaps some advice too."
That was close, thought Samsir as his mind kept racing through paranoid scenarios: The AMFT knew that the Aurelians had made contact with the greater galaxy just over a year or two ago. As to whether or not the vaguely-defined empires promised to counter Aurelian insurrections was the question.

---

Y'linl's worn skin was well aware of a high-power rifle pressed against his back; for the past ten minutes or so, the solitary guard made certain to restrain the Aurelian Nou'tarki in his bloody seat by inspecting the tungsten-carbide cuffs for signs of struggling. At least for now, some dozen cuts in the natural philosopher's back had ensured his subservience, with another dozen reserved in case the red-fleshed devil considered escape.

Neither guard nor Y'linl spoke to one another, leaving only the steady breathing of muscle walls to dominate the vessel ambience.
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:43 pm

Talent Ahmed nodded, and said, "Now, I apologize for not having done so before, but it had seemed that we were in a bit of a hurry. My name is Talent Youssef Ahmed, Centauri by nationality, and Believer by allegiance. I am one of many sent to dark space to man our missionary posts and attest the glory of the Lord and of true belief. Now, let me see what I can do for you. I promise that you shall not leave this station without adequate supplies after all is said and done, so let us come to the last piece of your request, advice. I am an Empath by profession, sirs, and I assure you that if anything I live to give advice to those who would beseech it. In this case, it would be the two of you who are before me today. Now..."

Deliberating slightly, he continues, "I have heard before of this planet of Tantalus, from some of my past pilgrims, and of the occupation exacted by the Aurelians. I too have heard of their anthrocidal policies, and their policies of slavery, practiced on a great variety of sentient races, all besides their own. The stories are stark, and they do frighten me: the refugees from their sphere do speak of horrors incomprehensible. If you and your men are from Tantalus as well, let me say that I do pray for you as I have prayed for them. I have encountered all manner of refugees and given them what advice I could, but I cannot say the same for an occupation of your homeworld by a foreign race. I can only offer you the deep comfort that can be found in true Belief, and perhaps some counseling. Before we conclude any further business, would you care to join me in a brief prayer?"

He offers his hands, one to each of the men before him, and says, "Come, join your hands with mine, and let you feel the comfort of faith as much as I do."

Once they do so, Talent Ahmed bows his head, closing his eyes, and within the minds of the Tantalans they could feel the very thought of Talent Ahmed, almost forming a soothing wave. Softly, they can begin to make out the words of his prayer, heard within the space of their own consciousness:

Our Lord, He who resides above all, who is and yet is not, listen to this solemn prayer of your humble worshiper. Lord, deliver us strength in these times of trial, where sapients without Your light do commit most sacrilegious deeds. We shall lend You faith, and from our faith shall come our strength, to face the cruel ignorance of the world, to stand strong in the face of Your innumerable enemies. From glorious revelation and Your blessed light shall we find the true way, the path of Belief, and I solemnly hope that our pilgrims who have joined us on this day may join in the true way, and enter into your transcendent glory. May our memes be pure, and our faith unshakable. Amen!
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:57 pm

"The stories, however few there are, do tell the truth; those capable of scavenging abandoned Precursor Alcubierre drives before the Aurelians- Oh, how that pitiful species makes my tongue feel caustic..."

Samsir, now the supervisor, watched Gieffrei's movements with concern. The senior looked down at his gloved hands.

"As I said, those who have scavenged ship parts from ruins on our planet have barely survived to tell tales of maltreatment; a prayer, then, is a proper means of grieving over the fallen living."

Gieffrei's ashy, worn hands emerged as he disengaged the gloves and set them on the table. Like a beggar from an Arabian bazaar, or an Old Israelite pauper scavenging for survival, the man held out his palms facing up and... What was this feeling which had long eluded his senses since birth? Two-and-a-half decades' worth of suffering gently fluttered away as his skin tingled with peace: His eyes remained closed throughout the prayer.

Amen.

To his left, Samsir felt his loose, sinewy muscles ease for every second spent meditating on Ahmed's prayer.

"Not once have I felt comparable tranquility in life, though our indoctrinated teachers seemed to make it look like peace was a universal standard. Talent Ahmed, I must thank you for realizing my solidified heart: Locked by the vile vices of our Occupation, both of us will nonetheless press forward." Gieffrei finished as he opened his eyes. Both Gieffrei and Samsir experienced a bout of silence for several moments.
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:58 pm

Talent Ahmed nodded solemnly, and said, "As is your right."

Then, pausing briefly, he continued gingerly, "Now, I do not meant to probe, but I have noticed from the two of your some apprehension. I will not request you to speak what you would refuse to, but I feel that there is something more to this than the two of you have let on. I am not your enemy nor your judge: I would merely wish to know the complete story of your sojourn, for you hardly seem the average group of pilgrims. I assure you that you will have my ready attention, and that none shall hear of this outside this door if you so choose. But I do have ears from my superiors, and, if you are who I suspect you might be, then you might find that desirous..."
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:16 pm

Samsir and Gieffrei's calm expressions faded into nervous scowls mid-way through Talent Ahmed's speech... And both raised eyebrows when the word "desirous" cropped up.

Hmmm...

"We might as well tell him, Gieffrei."

Turning his head to Samsir, who seemed to clear his throat, Gieffrei's eyes studied the wall behind Samsir as if he suspected bugs in the presence of the trio.

So as long as we do not tell him our next destination, Sam.

"You have my permission, Samsir," Gieffrei spoke as his struggling judgement finally concluded with the inevitable: Talent Ahmed probably had an inkling of the men's thoughts, or so the potential capacity could be. Gieffrei's bare fingers drummed the tabletop, feeling cornered into submission.

Samsir took one small gulp.

"We suppose it would be best to make our affiliations known. All of us belong to the 062nd Operations Detachment of the Abrahamic Movement for Free Tantalus, or the AMFT. Hours ago, we retreated from an Aurelian project our Detachment Senior Officer identified as a supply depot in the Zilun system: We heard that the Aurelians change shifts every eleven Terran hours or so and thus plotted to plant charges in the consumables room, figuring that we would be able to starve both their slaves and themselves for three months."

Samsir glanced at Gieffrei, whose dark gaze seemed to lock Samsir in a bind for two seconds.

Shit. Now look at what you've- Oh, how we will talk after leaving this station!

Gieffrei, however, restrained himself from reaching out and strangling Samsir by the Adam's apple: Security could be nearby, and so the man remained frozen- unable to anything more than listen to his subordinate speak.

"As it turned out, the Swarm-"

Referring to the Gol'Azkhorzin patrol

"Caught up with the woman we beseeched you to treat and forced her to turn down the transversal axle towards the center of the station. That was when an Aurelian came to his senses and scrambled their biotoxic weapons to open fire on our ship. We docked back just in time, but nine men lost their lives in the stricken areas- never piss off an Aurelian daggership, for those proboscises really do HURT! Anyways, we joined Genevai and two other men who survived with us. That was when our woman got stabbed by an Aurelian guard the moment we turned on her corridor."

Gieffrei remained dumbstruck as Samsir took a breath.

"I-"

"Enough, Samsir. Enough!"

The official now loomed over behind Samsir's seat as his toxic gaze leered down at Samsir.

"I thought-"

"Sir, he probably found out from our mi-"

"DAMMIT, SAMUEL!"
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:46 pm

Talent Ahmed waited and observed patiently as the commotion unfolded between the two men, his facial expression changing barely at all. Once the two settled down, he raised an eyebrow, as almost if to say, Might I speak?

"Gentlemen," he said evenly, "You need not make a commotion out of this. I am no conniving agent sent to apprehend you - I am exactly who I say I am, no more, no less. Perhaps some of your decisions may have been questionable if the ethical calculus is taken into consideration, but it is my job to understand my pilgrims and work with them. You need not fear me, for I am here to establish a comfortable environment for you. There are no recordings made here, nor guards prepared to arrest you, nor magistrates to sentence you - no, this is as confidential as I promised it would be. I had suspected that you might have been mujahedin - I would not find those grizzled appearances on the average refugee - and there is no shame in it, or at least, not in this room. You fight a blessed struggle in the light of the Lord, and were I able to lend you aid in your jihad, I would be pleased to do so."

"Now, gentlemen, do you trust me? If you do not, there is little more I can offer you, for I cannot help a pilgrim who declines to heed my words. If you do, perhaps we have something I can work with, now."
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:43 pm

"Gieffrei, this may be our only chance to secure outside help!" Samsir hissed in Gieffrei's face before, suddenly, Samsir's elbow jolted Gieffrei back a foot with a well-directed jab.

"If we-"

Talent Ahmed's interruption forced both men to direct their gaze- Samsir's eyes more willing to follow the source than Gieffrei's- at the man.

"You fight a blessed struggle in the light of the Lord, and were I able to lend you aid in your jihad, I would be pleased to do so."

Those words echoed in Samsir's mind, who was sitting still analyzing something while Gieffrei's tensed body collapsed in his chair:

"We trust you," interjected Samsir as he spoke once more. His eyes, reinvigorated with despair, gleamed under the lighting. "How may you help us now?"

Gieffrei, meanwhile, struggled against his breakdown to try to listen: Help or not, Samsir should've not said so much in so little time. Especially considering the possible traffic which passed through here. Once, he let his gaze wander to the door. Nothing seemed to make noise other than the station ambience.
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:57 pm

Faintly, Talent Ahmed smiled, and said, "I thought you'd never asked. The situation on Tantalus is not new to me - as I've mentioned, I have seen refugees from the general vicinity - and I rue my inability to aid them. But your presence here gives me a chance to do so - as you've mentioned, you are a member of the Abrahamic Movement for Free Tantalus, yes? It would greatly please my superiors to find that a group with such similar ideals to our own exists in this very galaxy, one that we can stand by in the face of continued encroachment by ideological enemies. If you were to take my offer, I could dispatch you to Alpha Centauri with the next resupply convoy in three days, and arrange a conference with Believing leadership. You stand a good chance at garnering Sister Miriam's support, and it would be a great shame if you did not try to take advantage of it. Maybe the Governate itself might deign to offer you some recognition, though the Governor is such a consummate politician that he almost seems unpredictable."
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:38 am

"Forgive me for my outburst, everyone, but I must take over from here."

Samsir jolted around in his seat: Gieffrei's frustration seemed to have subsided as his lips moved, though his ribs rose and fell at a noticeable pace.

"I am sorry, sir-"

"No." Gieffrei held his veinous fist up. "I will take responsibility from here... Paranoia, after years of constant exposure to genocide, is exceedingly difficult to overcome- but that is no excuse for my outburst. Anyways, we would appreciate contact with this Sister Miriam; Whoever she is, my contemporary is correct in that we must find backing for the AMFT. All proceeds, however, must reach our head whose name we will not divulge right now. A soundproofed room is in order here before we may discuss the finer points of our discussion, Talent Ahmed."
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:00 am

"I am not authorized to negotiate," Talent Ahmed said softly. "I can only provide you access to those who can. But if you so demand soundproofing, it will be so."

He goes to the door, and taps on a panel to the side, activating the controls for the room. He taps on one option, and soon sound in the room seems to vibrate much less as sound absorbers are fitted into place behind the walls.

"So," he continued, "you were saying?"
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:20 am

"The gentleman we guard is a former Tantalan Royal Army soldier, Andri Ayub-Stinley. Sister Miriam will need to speak with him to formalize any agreements, but we should be able to receive initial assistance."

Massaging his right jawline, Gieffrei retook his seat and gestured to Samsir, who responded with a nod and followed suit.

"Most immediately, we need small arms with nine months' worth of ammunition. Given that our homeworld was an ecumenopolis, there's too much wreckage for ground vehicles to negotiate, and no one has yet discovered an intact airfield," Gieffrei added. "To make matters worse, our forces are stretched thin across North Tantalus and struggle against gas attacks, crossbow barrages- Need I tell you how superb their craftsmanship is?"

"Gieffrei, it's probably not a good- Damn..."

Too late. Letting the collapsible sleeve of his EVA ride down his left arm, anyone in the room would be able to take notice of a jagged, discolored scar running from Gieffrei's armpit to his elbow.

"Try layering yourself in salvaged composite armor and getting shot at with diamond-tipped crossbow bolts: One sucker went in as I raised my arm to issue a command. By God's will, I was lucky not to die of an infection... Though our surgeon had to improvise stitches from unwound linen stockings."

Gieffrei's arm recovered some inkling of privacy as the EVA suit dropped with his arm.

"Moral of the story is this: We thought we could cast them off with metal-clad machinery, but it turns out that superacid spitters and dense arrows can do as much damage as sarin and WC-shelled rounds. In fact, the reason they are able to keep us subjugated is through contaminating our oxygen-scarce planet with their toxic wastes- killing countless Tantalan brethren in the process. We are victims of biochemical warfare."
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:21 pm

When Talent Ahmed saw the scar on Gieffrei's arm, it is very clear that the sight strikes a chord with him, and when the details of the threats the Tantalans faced were told to him, he could not help but feel more and more sympathetic to the Tanatalan's caused. "I will do what I can to arrange you a meeting with Sister Miriam, yes. Though I am not one of the highest members of our heirarchy, I feel the nature of the meeting will make it possible. As for arms, while we do not have a particularly large stock of weaponry at hand, we may be able to requisition a large number of used fusion laser rifles for your use. They are durable, reliable, and need nothing but battery charge, for which numerous charge-packs are readily available and easy to improvise. As for acid, perhaps some of our silksteel environment suits will do you well. Our planet is a harsh and hostile one, in which there are no shortages of environmental dangers. Perhaps our experiences in such may be of aid to you."
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:58 pm

"Man-portable laser rifles?" Interjected Gieffrei... And, slowly, discomfort settled in his upset stomach: If we are that far behind- shit, shit, shit! If we are that far behind, we are screwed! I beg to know how long ago it was since our planet even came close to theorizing this... Madness. Gieffrei did everything he could to withhold a frown, however, as his pseudo-smile beamed to Samsir,  who received a glimpse of Gieffrei's supposed joy and articulated it into his own:

"Talent Ahmed, my partner and I cannot articulate just how thankful we are for your networking and hospitality. Do not harm yourself over limited supplies: Every bit counts in the effort against slavery, imperialism, and speciesism; Garbing just one soldier with inert armor will mean one less death due to infection."

"Aye, Samsir is correct in that regard," interrupted Gieffrei, who had his gloves reattached to the suit frame. "Poor morale, admittedly, is also costing us invaluable lives. Just knowing that we are receiving the sympathies of fellow human societies will reassure the isolated soldier. Loneliness is not an option."

---
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:20 pm

(OOC: I know you guys want to keep this private. But I would be willing to get involved via supplying, etc if you want another RPer. Just saying. Ok I'll leave now)
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Selathorn

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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:00 pm

"Well," Talent Ahmed said, "the question now remains of how our leaders will communicate. Would you prefer a teleconferencing system, would your leader like to meet ours in person? I'd imagine that would be... difficult, however, so the former seems preferable. Oh, and I've almost forgotten..."

Pulling from his desk a number of metallic disks, he continued, "I have some holodisks containing the Conclave Bible here, for you two to take. Reading it has helped my in dark times, and the expert systems embedded within ease comprehension. If your men are wanting for morale, perhaps it will be of great utility in the upcoming days."
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Magna Aurelia

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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:44 pm

"We will have to arrange for a teleconference. At the very least, our leader does have access to a derelict listening post in his basement which- if you do not mind the interstellar medium noise- should be legible. Before we leave, our navigator will write up some calculations giving a rough estimate of our region: Not precise enough for a warp journey, but sufficient for capturing and receiving our signals."

And so said Gieffrei before his curious eyes saw the glimmering objects. He took his stack as Samsir did the same, and put them in his front EVA-suit pocket.

"We thank you for spreading the Word. Regardless of denomination, the Lord's word is absolute across every self-respecting faith. Before we leave this room, might we enquire on the availability of berths?"

"Aye," Samsir butted in as his eyes glanced around the room. "If the station is completely occupied, then may we leave our ship in the hangar to sleep in?"
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Selathorn

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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:12 pm

Talent Ahmed nodded, and said, "The bunk room is open to you, as it is to all pilgrims. There are many refugees and others who need to spend a few days at the station, before more permanent resettlement. It is a bit, ah, Spartan, but it should be preferable to sleeping in that bioship.

***

Sister Miriam's Sanctum, New Jerusalem

"TRIANGULATION: 100% COMPLETE. ESTIMATED ACCURACY: 99.5%. ESTIMATED SIGNAL STRENGTH: 90.9%."

"Good. System, go offline."

Sister Miriam sighed with some relief as she prepared to initiate communication between herself and the leader of the Tantalan insurgency. She rarely enjoyed having the presence of an online expert system, even as they became more and more widespread. She could not arrest progress entirely, but she dented the cold, soulless things, with rudimentary sapience but no fear of God in their heart, with only their - admittedly very advanced - programming to guide them. Such was to be expected of the products of the secular materialists, but, nevertheless, they served a purpose, and the only evil in them was that which man could do with them. Still, this upcoming meeting was promise: were these the ideological allies that the Believers had been looking for?"

Giving them aid might prove difficult, knowing that Lal stubbornly resisted perceived insubordination, but nevertheless even he could be swayed if he was made to think of it as a gesture of humanitarianism to the occupied Tantalans. Even though the Peacekeepers were hypocritical in their desire for so-called 'democracy', even when they knew fully well that it was the memegineers in charge, they nevertheless did adhere quite closely to their principles of sapient rights. Lal was a very conscientious man, and Miriam planned to use it for what it was worth in the efforts to aid these Tantalans. A sizable quantity of supplies had already been requisitioned - enough weaponry to arm several thousand, for one - but she also planned for future deployment of fighters to the front.

One of the most elite units amongst the Crusaders, the Flagellants, was already preparing for a deployment in an urban combat situation. She hoped that the arrival of foreign fighters might turn the tide. Before long, though, it seemed that a connection had been made, and she turned to face the console, through which she said, in a commanding and yet nuanced voice,

"The Lord be with your spirit, and grace be with you. I am Sister Miriam Godwinson, leader of the Lord's Believers, and it is my great pleasure to be able to converse with you."
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Magna Aurelia

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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:06 pm

"What is spartan to you is luxurious to us," Samsir responded with a blush before he followed Gieffrei into the adjacent corridor. Both men would then proceed down the corridor into the direction of the bunkhouse.

---

Zeus, Tantalus: Northern Hemisphere (45˚ 32' 21'' N, 31˚ 26' 27'' W)
Z'jus, T'iantaloum: N'irith O'jkark[/b] (45˚ 32' 21'' N, 31˚ 26' 27'' W)

Levik-Ulbricht Intersection, Zelzibat: Resistance Camp A:NH10F2

---

Cracked graphite-grey tiles littered an unkempt hallway bursting with white plastic bags, sealed osmium-alloy boxes and astray electric cables which criss-crossed this dangerous corridor. Overhead, flickering incandescent bulbs which gave a harsh, ochre-white hue hung from within their suspended casings; Hints of corrosion among the edges would suggest that these lights were decades old when, in actuality, some of them had been installed as recently as four weeks ago.

This was no forgotten cache of materiel, either. Pressed against the sides of the entrance stood a rather youthful gentleman- garbed in black-and-grey khakis festooned with fine tungsten wiring- grasping a rifle whose barrel appeared rusty even from an appreciable distance. Looking down, the boy's footwear did not seem to fare any better either; two shoelace clips were missing entirely towards the toes.

"Zzzzzt."

"Mmm?"

His fingers caressed something in the left ear as the young man listened intently.

"This is Alpha-Fulton-Two Comms Officer Wyrdin Hayes to all personnel! We're receiving a transmission from an unknown assailant! I repeat: All men report to their battle stations! This is not a drill!"

May God protect us all, thought Cedrik Ceaser-Berdimuhamedow as he slung his rifle over his shoulder and scrambled down the arch opening towards a T-intersection, where more boxes and a vacant CRT monitor sat in the way.

"This is Pvt. Ceaser-Berdimuhamedow, codename Birdie."

"Dammit, Birdie! Get your ass down here and take the post! We suspect that the Aurelians are trying to draw us out- Shit, are you listening to the airwaves?"

Well, that is it, thought 'Birdie' as he pivoted around a narrow corner vertically lined with corroded plumbing- some of which had blown off years ago and was crunched beneath CB's boots. Ahead, an unarmed soldier looked up, surprised at the speed which Cedrik brushed past him.

"Watch it!"

Sorry, Cedrik wanted to call back, but couldn't as he had already rounded another corner junction towards the warehouse exit. Broken stained glass settled on the window sill- likely, this had once been a vibrant business's office section before the owners died off in the First Genocide- and Cedrik's passing would have disturbed the deadly shards with his draft had tape not secured the fragments long ago.

---

"Lord Ayub-Stinley, it looks as if we are being hailed. Some suspect that we are being flushed out by Aurelian forces, but intel does not indicate any movements across the Twilight Sectors; furthermore, the signals are distorted magnitudes beyond the degree expected of a planetary contact."

"Are you suggesting that what is contacting us is coming out from this system?"

Seated at the far end of a seven-seat table, beneath a facade surrounding two crossed rapiers, sat Lord A. R. Ayub-Stinley in his olive-green dress uniform. Nestled in front of the sixty-something gentleman was a worn wheelcap bearing a chipped brass cap badge: At a close glimpse, the badge depicted two crossed rifles superposed by the Holy Scroll.

"Very much so. It is nigh impossible to create a lossy transmitter without precision: Either the signal is crisp within solar range, or the thing will not produce the particles. Period-"

"Rerun the message after the others arrive. I want to hear this myself- oh, Hell! How would they know our frequencies?"

As he said this, Ayub-Stinley's eyes caught signs of movement in the feeder corridor before they met those of Colonel V.U. Brakkus-Yesimov.

"You're late-"

"Forgive me. It looks like we have a false alarm: The magnitude is not as strong as our sensors initially implied."

Silence prevailed. At least for a second when Ayub-Stinley's amber eyes lit up.

"Whatever happened to that detachment- oh, I forgot his name- No, Gieffrei was it?"

"No contact has been made, sir."

Lord Andri frowned.

"Run the message through the speakerphone."

"Got it," replied Colonel Brakkus-Yesimov as the man fumbled for his earbud. "This is Colonel Brakkus-Yesimov to Listening Post Four:Alpha-Twenty-three access code Gamma-Phi-Nona-Sigma-Null-Alpha-Theta-Phi. We request a transfer of Transmission Nil-Chi-Chi-Sigma-Epsilon-Nil-Nona to our messaging system, over."

"Copy that. Proceeding to relay Transmission 0XXEE09 to classified ID, over."

---

"The Lord be with your spirit, and grace be with you. I am Sister Miriam Godwinson, leader of the Lord's Believers, and it is my great pleasure to be able to converse with you."

---

Those words crackled through the speakers minutes after three more women and another gentleman were seated. Lord Ayub-Stinley sat, stunned, just like everyone else in the room: Nobody, to his knowledge, even heard of the Lord's Believers. Was this some sort of Tantalan resistance group in Zilun or, perhaps, even Aurelia proper?

"Sir? Your orders?"

A. A.-S. kept his emotionless bearing as he spoke, yet hints of terror were evident in his voice: "Reply with a standard hail. Do not give away any indication, even if we speak with fellow brethren, of our struggle."

---

After what could seem to be a long latency, a fainter response would finally arrive in Sister Miriam's Sanctum as sub-neutrino tachyons beamed their message in a series of digital pulses. It would read as follows:

---

"This is Colonel Brakkus-Yesimov on behalf of the Tantalan-Zeusian System. If your vessel is within solar range, please proceed to issue standard approach data pertaining to vectors, logistics and ETA."

---
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Selathorn

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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:15 pm

"Colonel Brakkus-Yesimov, I believe you misunderstand the nature of this transmission. This does not come from any vessel in your area, but rather is a long-distance communication from the system Alpha Centauri located at [COORDINATES]. We are a group of your fellows in the faith who have become aware of your struggle via a group of your fellows who stumbled upon a Believer missionary post in deep space, and are willing to provide you with armaments and supplies, as well as deploy some of our own Crusaders, in order to assist you in your struggle. Do the names Gieffrei and Samsir strike some recollection, perhaps? It is they who came to us, and spoke with one of our missionaries, as well as who instructed me to contact a certain Andri Ayub-Stinley for further details. Could I, perhaps, be provided with the pleasure of conversing with said man? There is much I would like to discuss regarding your struggle."
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PostSubject: Re: East of Eden (Private)   Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:37 pm

---

"Colonel Brakkus-Yesimov, I believe you misunderstand the nature of this transmission. This does not come from any vessel in your area, but rather is a long-distance communication from the system Alpha Centauri located at [COORDINATES]. We are a group of your fellows in the faith who have become aware of your struggle via a group of your fellows who stumbled upon a Believer missionary post in deep space, and are willing to provide you with armaments and supplies, as well as deploy some of our own Crusaders, in order to assist you in your struggle. Do the names Gieffrei and Samsir strike some recollection, perhaps? It is they who came to us, and spoke with one of our missionaries, as well as who instructed me to contact a certain Andri Ayub-Stinley for further details. Could I, perhaps, be provided with the pleasure of conversing with said man? There is much I would like to discuss regarding your struggle."

---

"Dammit, B.Y., give me the handset."

"Yes, sir."

Set on a rolling board, a tethered landline transceiver slid across the table to Ayub-Stinley, who in turn held the bulky receiver to his ear.

"This is Lord Ayub-Stinley to Listening Post Four:Alpha-Twenty-Three access code Gamma-Phi-Nona-Sigma-Null-Alpha-Theta-Phi and all personnel within my district. We are making contact with what our unknowns claim to be the Lord's Believers. Relative to the Sol-Core chord, the coordinates given by these contacts seem to match that of extrapolated vectors our Signals Corps have provided: Furthermore, at least two of our own have made contact with these unknowns and seemed to have secured relations between ourselves and the outer galaxy. That being said, all personnel are still ordered to be on high alert until the meeting concludes."

"Roger that, A.S.. Rerouting your connection to transmitter."

Everyone seated before Ayub-Stinley conceded a moment of silence as their hope held the handset.

Ping!

"Sir?"

Andri Ayub-Stinley shot up from his trance, only to watch one of his junior officers stand from her seat.

"Yes?"

"Suppose these contacts are not who they claim they are. Suppose, then, if our detachment was captured and held-"

"Even if these are Aurelian agents, Hira-Johnston, it is nigh impossible to track an exact planet- let alone a building- from well over several hundred lightyears. I-"

"Sir, you are on the line."

Well... Alright.

"Give me a moment," Andri began when he activated the speaker button.

---

"This is Commodore Andri Ayub-Stinley of the AMFT and associated branches speaking... We apologize for the long delay, what with security measures and all keeping us on edge, but protocols are protocols and must be adhered to. Now, we hear that two of our boys made contact with your people: Presumably, if our latest sting operation was successful, they managed to get ahold of some sort of experimental Aurelian vessel after detonating one segment of our nemeses' station in a neighboring system of ours. However, we sent eighteen men and women to accomplish this long-term mission and haven't heard from them in well over a day by now: Only two people are accounted for by your count. Are there any other comrades with them?"

---
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