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 The Gorgon Syndrome

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Selathorn

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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Mon May 05, 2014 4:56 pm

Nodding towards the unusual xenosophont while giving him a cursory visual inspection, Dr. Paulus said as he followed T'lix, "It would be a pleasure for us to examine your work. Before we do so, could you possibly answer a question, if you would be willing to do so? I have not previously known of any of your kind amongst the Herakleans, so could you possibly enlighten me as to your origins?"
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Heraklea

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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Tue May 06, 2014 12:41 am

“Oh, of course, Doctor. Of course. As I said, I am Doctor,” the alien repeated the unpronounceable sounds. “I am a member of the,” another series of sounds a human tongue would be hard pressed to duplicate were emitted, “though the Herakleans have another, more colloquial name for us. What was it again, Commander.” Commander Cavenaugh looked extremely uncomfortable. He cleared his throat before speaking.

“Some have taken to calling your race 'Skinnies,'” he said reluctantly.

“Yes, yes. Skinnies. Do not worry, Commander. We do not take offense. We find the term somewhat endearing. Any ways, Doctor, my race are refugees, of sorts. Our world was die- no, it was dead. What remained of us were living in a habitat that was falling apart. We tried to cobble together something to get us off the planet, but everything we had ultimately would be cannibalized to keep the habitat running. Then, the Herakleans found us. A scout ship. It took on as many as it could, barely thirty of us. We thought that would be the end, and were glad for the few who escaped. A week later, though, a flotilla of merchantman arrived and lifted us and everything we could take from the habitat to their worlds. We are eternally grateful, and repay them with the service of our scientific acumen.”
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Sacae

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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Tue May 06, 2014 5:58 am

C-34: *sigh* well I suppose there would be no harm in it seeing as Livenstein is probably overrun as we speak. I am a Silesia Nova survivor. The Black Order kidnapped my mother when she was pregnant with me and purposefully exposed her to Element Zero. She eventually developed an Element Zero disease which began changing the chemistry of her blood. A month after she birthed me her blood turned to an acid substance that burned her from the inside out, not that the Black Order cared, they had their prize, me. Myself and several others were exposed to Element Zero in our mother's womb which granted us an immunity to the element as well as all the properties Element Zero has. Like the ships that use Element Zero cores we are able to reduce our mass the zero and manipulate our atoms. Our ships use Element Zero to reduce the ship's mass to zero which allows the ship to "slip" into another dimension hence "slipspace." Using the same formula I and my comrades can use this same technique to phase through walls and also manipulate the laws of physics. I can reduce the mass of objects to zero to give the illusion of lifting them. I can also manipulate gravity using element zero to create miniature black holes. One last trick is taken straight from our ships. I can accelerate into slipspace on a much smaller scale which allows me to "charge" into an enemy. I can hit someone with enough force to rival most meteor impacts. This abilities were forced on me by the Black Order and they planned to use me as an operative to assassinate rival alien empire leaders such as yours but then the Ordenreich found out and shut Silesia Nova down. The Ordenreich didn't really know what to do with me and my comrades so they offered us training and induction into the military where eventually we became the once secret but now public Biotika Korps. Before you ask, no I'm not Sacaen anymore. The Element Zero I was exposed to changed my DNA so much that I am no longer considered one of my species, scientifically. Though I look, act, and think Sacaen biologically I am not. I have to eat specially made food thats been exposed to Element Zero, same for water, and no I am biologically unable to mate with other Sacaens. The only people I am compatible to are my fellow biotics so in a sense, I'm an endangered species.

*As the Crusader finished, a damaged light was seen flicking, the words "bridge" could just barely be read on the overlay*
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Selathorn

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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Tue May 06, 2014 11:44 am

Nodding, Dr. Paulus replied, "I see. We have encountered societies such as your own, but largely they consist of humans like ourselves. Only recently have we had any substantial population of xenosophonts in our sphere. In any case, I suppose we should proceed to work, so we will gladly look at whatever it was that you had to show us."
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Sat May 10, 2014 1:41 am

“Stars be damned,” said 'Mechanic.' “I should have figured you for a Silesia Nova survivor. The crimes of the Black Order are well known. Please forgive my inconsideration.” The marines took positions around the door to the bridge. “Joan, what have we got?” The psyker leaned into the door.

“I don't detect anything, sir,” the woman responded.

“Alright everyone. You know the drill. Keep it cautious. Popping the cork.” 'Mechanic' triggered the door and stood out of the firing lines as the door opened and the bridge was revealed. Upon seeing the scene, one of the marines lowered his weapon.

“Looks just like the pictures Stheno.” The marines moved into the compartment and quickly swept it.

“Ancestors, it looks like this guy was cut into to make more holes to rape. This is fucking disgusting.”

'Mechanic' surveyed the scene. It was gruesome, to be sure. He wasn't sure if the rapes or cannibalism disturbed him more. Neither were pleasant, nor in this moment pertinent.

“That looks to be the console over there. Well, Crusader? Can we trigger the sequence from here?”

* * * * *

Doctor T'lix waved the Centauri over to his console and began explaining the discoveries they had made so far.

“Of course, I'm not the team leader. I've only been on the project since the beginning of the second outbreak. Besides, a more comprehensive view of the problem is needed than I can provide. I am, by training, a geneticist, and it is on that part my expertise come into play. This chromosome you see here,” T'lix highlighted a chromosome, “is the one that modifies itself during infection. This section changes to match this part of an infected persons genetic coding. This allows the fungus to fool the body into seeing the fungus not as an outside infection that must be destroyed but instead as part of normal systems. This keeps the immune system from targeting the fungus and makes it easier for it to take control of the nervous and endocrine systems. It's quite an ingenious mutation, and explains why it has been so effective. But that reliance on changing its own genetic coding is a weakness that I believe we can exploit. If we can find a way to prevent the fungus from being able to modify its genes, we could destroy the infection. That, unfortunately, has been difficult to figure out how to do.

“Others, of course, have their own ideas on how to end the infection. In the end, ideas are only ideas until we can find a way to make them work.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Sat May 10, 2014 9:03 am

"Interesting," Doctor Fedorov murmured, speaking up for the first time.

"This idea is not entirely alien to me. In the decades long past, before the Progenitors came to Chiron, my research team was assigned to work on a biological weapon meant for use against our enemies in desperate times. We designed rapidly mutating retroviral plagues that were nearly undetectable by the body's immune system given their retroviral nature, and, when detected, mutated in a way to make the body's immune response useless. Though we never came to use the weapons - and I am thankful for that, though I hardly regret my involvement in the project - we received the order to halt research on the plagues until we could design a cure for them ourselves. It is a standard University research policy meant to ensure that we do not inadvertently cause our own destruction. The threat of unleashing these plagues loomed for several years, until later advances in nanotechnology drastically decreased their effectiveness. Nanobots, unlike the body's immune response, are not so readily fooled nor deterred. I propose that we attempt to adapt our nanoimmune technology for the fungus. Normally, a nanoimmune system is administered to those in high-risk positions for long-term use, but it could be modified to aid in the immediate elimination of the fungus."
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Wed May 14, 2014 10:18 am

*The Crusader quietly kneeled in front of one of the mangled corpses and muttered...*

C-34:Vater unser im Himmel, geheiligt werde dein Name; dein Reich komme; dein Wille geschehe, wie im Himmel so auf Erden. Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute. Und vergib uns unsere Schuld, wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern; und führe uns nicht in Versuchung, sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen. Denn dein ist das Reich und die Kraft und die Herrlichkeit in Ewigkeit. Amen.

*The Crusader got up, made the sign of the cross, and then made the traditional Ordenreich salute.*

C-34: Rest in Peace, Paladin Komtur.

*After paying his respects the Crusader moved over to the least damaged console and begin fiddling with it. After while he began cursing*

C-34: Damnit. The nukes won't arm, something literally chewed through the wiring. Unless we manually got to each nuke and armed it they won't detonate... unless...

*C-34 rapidly typed up something on the console and a display for the damaged Eezo Core came up.*

C-34: The infected have already done our jobs for us. I can initiate a slipspace jump sequence from this console. Obviously under normal circumstances this would be insane trying to fire a slipspace jump with a fucked Eezo core but we can use this to destroy the ship and everything in it. The Eezo core is intact enough to initiate the jump but, in its damaged state, the core wouldn't be able to sustain it. The Ultra-Dreadnought would return to its normal mass inside the slipspace tunnel which will tear it apart at a molecular level. The ship will exit slipspace in tiny pieces of scrap metal. There is one issue to this plan, however, first is that we will have to run like hell because I won't be able to set a reliable timer for the core to fire its slipspace sequence so we will be racing to get off this ship before the slipspace drive fires and, second, is that doing this will set off every alarm on this ship and I doubt our infected friends will take too kindly to that

(OOC: Sorry, my school has its head up its ass and won't fix the internet. Had to post this at a McDonald's)
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Fri May 16, 2014 1:54 am

“Nanites were tried once,” said Commander Cavenaugh, somewhat tartly. “The damage from the nanites eliminating the fungus caused severe nervous damage that resulted in the death of the patients before any kind of regenerative or replacement therapies could be safely initiated. If you can improve on those attempts, it could certainly help produce a more effective cure than we have now. The records are available on the computer if you would like to pull them up.”

“Easy, Eli,” said Doctor T'lix. “Doctor Federov was not implying that your people overlooked anything. He has to be thorough.” T'lix turned back to the Centauri. “Many of the means normally used to combat such a plague are not effective against Gorgon for this reason or another. That is why so many of us have begun exploring alternate and much less conventional paths.”

* * * * *

“Fine, let's do it,” said 'Mechanic.' Nodding, Crusader turned to the console and began starting the sequence. “Headquarters, Third Platoon. Nuclear payloads unreliable. Initiating a faulted slip-space jump to destroy the El Dorado. Alarms will be triggered. Timer unreliable. Recommend keeping the engines on the boats hot for a quick getaway.”

“Very well, Third Platoon. Proceed.” 'Mechanic' looked at Crusader and nodded. Crusader finished initating the sequence as alarms began sounding.

“Headquarters, Third Platoon. Jump initiated, en route to evac.” When the return communication sounded, weapons fire could be heard in the background.

“Third Platoon, Headquarters. Under heavy infected attack. Stand by for alternate orders.”

* * * * *

“Where the hell did they come from?” No one responded as the marines continuously fired their weapons trying to stem the flood of attackers. The barrels of their weapons were slowly becoming brighter and brighter, threatening to start melting.

“Damn it all.” The company commander found the marine closest to the controls. “Shut that hatch, soldier!” The marine moved quickly, closing off the boat bay. A handful of infected pressed forward into the bay before the doors shut and were cut down for their efforts. “That'll relieve the pressure for a little bit.”

“Sir, what about the Third and Seventh?” asked a marine.

“We'll have to grab them from another location.” The commander turned and entered one of the boats while triggering his comm. “Third Platoon, Headquarters. Had to abandon the boat bay. Will collect you from another. Will update you with new rally point.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Fri May 16, 2014 9:43 am

His voice piercing through the air, Dr. Paulus said, "Unconventional? If it's unconventional you want, I can do unconventional. Have you ever considered modifying the fungus, instead of trying to treat it? My work on xenofungus back on Chiron has shown me that it is often it is more effective to adapt than to eradicate. Perhaps the circumstances of my research may have been different, but the principles are largely the same and we already have a solid understanding of the procedure. If we can modify this fungus to be less virulent and contagious, and spread those modifications through retroviral means, perhaps we might have something to work with."

Dr. Nikhil spoke up for the first time. "Unconventional seems to be putting it lightly, but then again unconventional might be the way to go in these times. I don't have much to contribute on this front, but I certainly believe that if anyone can do so successfully, it would be Dr. Paulus."
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Sun May 18, 2014 1:21 am

“Of course, of course,” said Doctor T'lix.  “Attack the problem from the opposite direction.  I should have thought of that.  It would severely compromise the fungus's ability.  And using the retrovirus to spread the change would improve our successes.”

“An interesting solution, but I see a potential problem,” said Commander Cavenaugh.  “For that to work, the retrovirus would have to enter an active fungal population.  Which means a planet with infected.  What are the chances the retrovirus would be able to have any affect on those already inflected?  It may do something for whatever portion of the population hadn't already been infected, but they'll still be at the mercy of the infected.”  The tall alien seemed to somehow deflate.  “Then again, perhaps this is a good project for you to work on for a while doctor.  If it yields results, it may at least allow us to save some of the people of an infected world.  If you'll excuse me gentleman, I'm going to check on the progress in one of the other labs.”

* * * * *

(OOC: Mood Music)

“Damn it all,” cursed 'Mechanic.'  “We need another boat bay.  Crusader, where's the next closest?”  The Ordenreicher hit some buttons and pulled up a holographic schematic with a compartment highlighted.  “Hopefully we can make it.”  He triggered his comm.  “Headquarters, Third Platoon.  En route to another boat bay.  We'll secure it, just make sure to pick us up.”  He cut the line after receiving the return confirmation.  “Everyone, listen up.  We are headed for an alternate rally point.  We need to move it double time.  We're playing leap frog on this run.  Three Alpha is the first jump.  Waypoints are on your HUD.  And prep your stims.  If you feel like your legs are getting tired, don't hesitate.  We can detox you later.  Third Platoon, Seventh Platoon.  Roll out!”  The marines moved quickly, and even though they were running they quickly moved into formation.  Alpha Squad of Third Platoon ran ahead and secured an intersection of passageways.  As the formation reached the intersection, Bravo Squad took off for the next.  When the rest of the two platoons passed, Alpha Squad sprang from their positions and continued in the rear of the formation.  The marines continually cycled in this manner, maintaining security of the ad hoc formation and in particular the commanders and Crusader.

And then, when Seven Charlie rounded a corner, the cry went up.

“INFECTED!”  Immediately Seven Charlie began laying down fire as the rest of the formation moved up and began supporting.  The passageway wasn't wide enough for the many of them to fire their weapons simultaneously, but the marines took advantage of this by having those who needed to reload falling back for the short pause in fire required to reload their weapons, allowing fresher guns to have a chance to rip into the infected.  The tactic maintained a constant flood of deadly plasma to destroy the infected ahead of them.  They had pushed fifty meters down the passageway when the motion tracker caught something behind them.  “Rear guard!” someone called, and immediately several ranks from the rear of the formation turned and began laying down fire on the infected coming at the formation backs.  The formation slowed so they could maintain their cohesion, but they didn't have the time.

“Ready line, rev up,” ordered 'Mechanic.'  The next line of marines waiting to relieve the shooting lines restowed their plasma rifles and took out their chainsaws.  They brought the weapons up to speed and readied their assault.  “Bulldoze!”  On that signal, the shooting lines fell back behind the ready line.  The chainsaw wielders moved forward, turned their chainsaws 90° and triggered the plasma spitters.  Charging forward into the mass of infected, and followed quickly on their heels by the other marines, the chainsaw line began chewing through the infected even faster.  The approach was not without its risks, however.  Several marines were pulled down by infected hands, and not all of them were lifted back to their feet by their comrades.  Three were pulled off into ducts and disappeared before they could be saved.  The only remnant of them were the screams as their armors were torn from their bodies by inhumanly strong fingers.  Each comrade would be mourned later.

“There's the boat bay!”  The formation broke through the infected and scrambled into the boat bay.

“Seal the door!” shouted 'Mechanic.'  The marines continued to shoot until the doors shut.  “And now we wait.”

“Third Platoon, Headquarters.  We're ready to pick you up.  Open the doors and we'll grab you.”

“Open aye.  Everyone pressure tight?”  He got an affirmative from everyone.  “All right, get that door open.”  Several marines tried.

“Sir, it won't budge.”

“Dammit.  Headquarters the outer doors are stuck.”

“Sir!  The infected are forcing the inner door!”

* * * * *

“Damn everything,” said the company commander.  “Get me a hard seal on those doors, and break out the cutters.

* * * * *

As the inner doors of the boat bay slowly reopened, the marines began blasting the infected.  No matter how many fell, there were always more.  Slowly, the marine ammo supplies were dwindling.  'Mechanic' could hear something happening behind him on the boat bay outer doors but couldn't afford to look back lest he be overwhelmed by the onslaught.  But as his own weapon went dry, he did turn his head back to see the glowing red outline of fresh cuts being made.

“Move!” he shouted, and the marines scattered as the cut chunk of metal fell.

(OOC: For best effect, picture motion picture slow motion magic along with this mood music.)

The company commander stepped out of the hole and began firing the twin heavy plasma guns.  Sweeping left to right, he cut down every one of the infected as the marines retreated through the hole he cut.

“Come!  Bring your faces to my cannons!”

Dozens of infected exploded every second under his brutal onslaught.  Melted bodies were trampled by the other behind them only for the tramplers to be cut down themselves.  A mound of dead infected had formed at the inner door before long.

“Commander!  Let's go,” shouted 'Mechanic.'  With that reminder, the company commander turned and rushed back to boat.  The door slammed shut on the back of the boat and it disconnected from the El Dorado.  The infected continued to try to get at the fleeing marines even as the air left their lungs and they fell to the floor gasping, their blood lust compelling them to continue crawling towards boat that was already beyond their reach.  And then, the El Dorado jumped into oblivion.
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Sun May 18, 2014 9:18 am

"That question can be best answered when it is time for delivery. In the meantime, could a lab be opened for me?"

Then, Dr. Fedorov spoke up. "While Dr. Paulus works on his modifications to the fungus, might it be best to pair the two of us to some of he other labs? I have little expertise with modifying fungal strains, and I do not believe that Dr. Nikhil does either. Our abilities might be best utilized working on improving whatever has already been tried: I could work on the nanites, and Dr. Nikhil could work on the conventional cure. It seems to me that sustaining all of the current routes of attack is best."
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Mon May 26, 2014 1:23 am

(OOC: Pass. On a trip with little internet. Don't wait up for me)
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Thu May 29, 2014 12:09 am

“Thanks for the save Commander,” said 'Mechanic.'

“You know I don't leave my people behind, 'Mechanic.'”

“Indeed.  Commander, this is Crusader 34.  He's the survivor.  He's positive for Gorgon.  Exposure was weeks ago.”

“Weeks?”  The Commander turned to look at Crusader.  “He's not symptomatic?”

“No sir.  I think he can help us end Gorgon forever.”

“An end to Gorgon.  Stars.  Can you really help with that, Crusader?”

* * * * *

“That shouldn't be a problem, Dr. Federov.  I'll set you up in the cure lab right away,”  Commander Cavenaugh said.  He led Dr. Federov and Dr. Nikhil off to another lab as Dr. T'lix and Dr. Paulus got to work.  Dr. T'lix began showing the analysis of the fungus genome, emphasizing the section that exchanges itself to match the infected persons genetics.  The gene by gene demonstration took the entire day eventually Commander Cavenaugh forced them from the lab.

“You almost missed lunch today and now you worked through dinner,” the commander siad.  “Go to the lounge, have some snacks, then go to bed.  If your cure works, fantastic, but it won't be finished in a single day.  And you most certainly are not allowed to kill yourselves in the process.”

“Very commanding, isn't he?” commented Doctor T'lix.  The two researchers left the labs and headed to the berthing compartment.  Once in the lounge, Doctor T'lix grabbed a large container full of liquid and sat down at one of the tables as Dr. Paulus took a look at what was available.  After making his selection he turned to find T'lix watching a small hologram as he sipped his liquid.  Coming closer, Paulus saw the hologram was of two young girls and a woman, presumably a family.  The two girls could be seen chasing after each other in a game of tag as the woman laughed.

“My god children,” said T'lix.  “Elena and Isolde.  They are quite dear too me.  I was close with their father.  He was a member of the crew that rescued my people.  I was amazed when I first met him.  This short creature coming to my lab to help me pack all my belongings.  I couldn't believe a non-android could lift so much.  All he said was 'This is a light work out for a marine.'  We became friends on the trip to Heraklea.  When we arrived, he invited me to stay with him and his wife for a time.  I was there for the birth of both of their daughters, and as I said, became their god parent.  I've helped raise them, as if they were my own spawn.  I know I have fixated on them as a replacement of sorts for my own family, but... it helps.  I do everything I can to make the universe safe for them.  Even more so since since Lionel died.”  Dr. T'lix sat back a little.

“He died in a Halbadin uprising in Ofper.  His unit had rotated through for occupation duty for a few months when the uprising occurred.  Halbadin militiamen who had crude but somewhat effective weapons attacked a security barrier between Halbadin and Shastanan territory.  What exactly triggered the uprising or what they wanted to achieve by attacking isn't really known.  It was believed that the Shastanan community and the outpost the Herakleans operated within was the ultimate target for the attack, but it never got further than the barrier.  Lionel was among the casualties.  An improvised explosive sent some shrapnel through his helmet.  He was killed instantly.  After we got word that Lionel had died, I guess we clung to each other for support.  I do anything for them now.”  The two girls came close to T'lix in the hologram and looked up at him.

“Come home soon, Unca T'lix!” they both said, than laughing turned and ran off again to play more tag.  Their mother watched them run off, then turned back to T'lix.

“We all miss you T'lix.  Please hurry back.”  The recording ended a few moments later.  Dr. T'lix finished his drink then stood.

“And with that, I think I'll go rest.  See you in the morning, Doctor.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Fri May 30, 2014 3:05 pm

With a nod and a wave, Dr. Paulus then began to eat his meal - some Heraklea dish that he could not recognize, as his diet mostly consisted of processed nutrition bars that were made with little consideration for taste. As he often did, he took his meal with a tablet of soma - a mild hallucinogenic and tranquillizer - dissolved in a glass of water. As usual, a world of lurid shapes and colors unfolded before his semiconscious mind, but then what he saw surprised him. In his mind, the shapes took on the form of the fungus genome that T'lix had shown him, and saw another form move to the shape and change part of it. Then, a swarm of other forms began to surround the shape that he had first saw, and tear it apart. Quickly he snapped out of his high and wrote down his hallucinogen-induced idea: using the retrovirus to modify the fungus to make it stand out to the immune system. With that, he returned to his room, ready for the next morning.
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:31 pm

*C-34 had been quietly observing the two Heraklan soldiers when he was addressed*

C-34: The secrets of the Biotika Korps are a closely guarded secret in the Ordenreich. Only those in the Hierarchy, namely the Hochmeister, Ordenmarshall, and Paladin Komturs, have access to how exactly my abilities work. Unfortunately those people are now holing up on Livenstein. If you want the information about how this all works without wasting years researching what we already have. You are going to have to contact the hierarchy. Comms are down throughout the Ordenreich so we might have to travel there.
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:59 pm

“Then it is to the Ordenreich we shall go,” said the commander.  “Alert the flag at once.  We'll need the fastest ship in the fleet.”  The co-pilot nodded and sent the communication.  A few minutes later a response was received.

“Commander, Admiral Konstantinos is sending us with DesRon-32 to Livenstein.  The machinery for cure production is being loaded onto two of the destroyers, the Snow Fox which we are being directed to, and the squadron's flag ship.  He also wants a blood sample sent ahead with another destroyer to an SRS facility.  We should be underway within the hour.”

“Very well.  Let's get it going.”

* * * * *

“Ms. 'Chugi' to see you, Ma'am,” the marine said over the intercomm.

“Send her in,” replied Lieutenant Commander Kirrin.  The HIS officer walked in without even seeming to be aware she was in the CO's Stateroom, the one space on board a ship even more the Captain's domain than any other.  “Please, be seated Ms. 'Chugi.'”

“Thank you, Captain.  To what do I-”

“One second, Ms. 'Chugi.'  Commanding Officer's override: Echo Two Zulu Yogi Fife* X-Ray Echo Papa Six Two Niner Papa Quasar Zulu Mike Heike.  Lockdown, zero record.”  With that, Tamar's stateroom entered a lock down protocol and the recorders that were standardly running at all times were suddenly shut off.  Whatever happened in the stateroom from that point on would only be known to the two in it at the moment.  “Before you try to lie to me or simply refuse to answer my questions, I want make sure you are aware of a few things.

“First, I hold clearance for Top Secret SCI**, as do all commanding officers in Heraklea.  As such, I do have sufficient clearance level for whatever it is that we are going to do.  Second, as the Commanding Officer of the HNS Jackal, it is my job to faithfully execute my orders while also minimizing the danger to the personnel under my command.  Therefore, I have a very pressing need to know.  Third, the system we are going to is under the sovereignty of the Ordenreich, a nation our relations with have become extremely strained in recent months, and on board a ship not of the Diplomatic Service, or the Medical Corps or even, as your men are so prone to forgetting, of the Intelligence Service, but rather a warship of the Heraklean State Navy, which means I will probably need a very good explanation for why we are there.  Finally, I am a Kirrin.  As much as our country tries to provide an equality of opportunity to all, by virtue of my heritage I will likely rise higher and faster than any of my peers.  There is a very good chance that one day I will sit in the very seat of power my father does now.  A fact that many people are very aware of, Lieutenant Junior-Grade Kiana Nedved.”

Alarm bells began sounding in 'Chugi's' head.  No one should know her true name... no one.  Tamar and whoever her contacts in the HIS were had broken numerous laws.  Despite that, 'Chugi' felt fairly certain that Tamar would never be punished for such her indiscretion.

“What can I tell you, Captain?” asked the greatly deflated 'Chugi.'

“Why are we going into Ordenreich sovereignty and what are we doing there?”

“An artifact was found on Stheno that is believed to have contained the Gorgon fungus prior to release.  It was intentionally buried beneath the planets surface by an unknown race.  Intelligence missions are en route to every system Gorgon has appeared to see if a similar artifact is present in any of the others.  We're investigating the Ordenreich portion of the most recent outbreak.”

“Interesting.  Keep talking, we have a few hours yet before we arrive and I want to ensure I am fully briefed on the situation.”

*' Fife' is a way of speaking 'five' for communications and voice recognition to prevent confusion with the word 'fire'
** SCI stands for 'Sensitive Compartmented Information.'  Top Secret SCI is the highest level of classification any piece of information can have, denoting that controls for that information require Top Secret clearance and very specific need to know.  Being cleared for TS/SCI does not necessarily mean access has been granted to all TS/SCI but rather that if a need to know exists, that person is trusted to view TS/SCI.
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:57 am

(OOC: I'm going to skip ahead to first arrival to Livenstein)

*The Crusader was very quiet during the length of the trip. He spent his time checking his weapons and ensuring his blades were sharpened and ready to go. To say it was unnerving was an understatement. While the Crusader was THE most hyper lethal weapon in the Ordenreich arsenal, he was also their greatest embarrassment. The Black Order took away everything from the Crusaders. First his family, then his childhood, then his life, and finally his Sacaenity. He was born a soldier and he would die a soldier. Those memories pained the Crusader the most but he also knew that this war would need soldiers like him. Those willing to do anything and everything to win even at the cost of everything that made him Sacaen. He was stirred from his self-reflection with the announcement that the Heraklean ship was arriving in system. The Crusader headed to the bridge just as it was existing FTL.*

C-34: The moment of truth...

*Just as he said those words the ship existed FTL and the comms immediately erupted in desperate, confused chatter from the Ordenreich*

"Ultra-Dreadnought Norreich is falling apart is anyone still alive?!"

"Infected ships have breached our perimeter, we're being boarded! Mayday!"

"Any word on our artillery fleets?! WHERES THE DAMN FLEET!"

"Reinforcements are gone! We're all thats left!"

"Order Admiral you can't let them maintain orbit!"

"I'm trying Paladin Komtur but we don't have the tonnage to force back ships of that size and firepower, requesting Ultra-Dreadnought support!"

"Negative, Norreich is dead and the Invictus is getting swarmed. You're on your own Order Admiral!"

"Sir! Additional contacts inbound! Infected signatures positive!"

"Damnit, theres no end to them!"

*As the Crusader listened. He was starting to realize what was going on. The last stand of the Ordenreich. The Crusader tapped his comms hoping to get through*

C-34: This is Crusader-three-four, Biotika Korps to the T.S.F. Invictus. Requesting permission for Heraklen ship to establish low orbit over Livenstein.

Paladin Komtur Heinrich: A Crusader? What the hell are you doing on a Heraklean ship?!

C-34: Sir, the Herakleans have fought this infection before and are skilled with it. We discovered that people with my condition might have the cure for it but we need the research. Requesting coordinates to Combat Eezo labs.

Heinrich: Sorry Crusader I was a Knight Commander recently until the damned infected took out almost the entire Hierarchy. Hochmeister Maya might still be alive. Last I heard she was holed up inside the High Citadel in New Kongsburg. You are cleared to look there but be advised the infected are kicking our ass here and on the ground. There is no guarantee of safety if you approach this planet.

C-34: Understood. What is the status of the fleet, reinforcements, and our window for deployment and exfill.

Heinreich: What fleet? The few remaining ships left in orbit here are all that remains of the Ordenreich fleet. You're witnessing the annihilation of the entire Ordenreich fleet! There are no reinforcements coming in, even if we had them our comms are gone so there is no way to get them here in time. Finally, there is no guarantee of a window. My fleet will hold as long as we can but if you are not gone by the time e kick the bucket, you're going to be in deep shit.

C-34: Understood, Paladin Komtur. Standby

*C-34 muttered to himself after muting the comms.

C-34: Goddamnit... One of the largest and most powerful navies in the galaxy and the infected are steamrolling it.

*C-34 turned to the Heraklean officer in charge*

C-34: Its your call sir. If we go we there is a very real possibility that we will not be able to leave, but we are going to need this data to find out how to cure this thing.*
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:08 am

Jenova, having monitored the situation for a time, decides to show up here.

A craftworld materializes within range of this engagement, and broadcasts in encrypted Burninite diplomatic frequencies that legitimate and rational thinking Ordenreich officers would recall the decrypt. Doing her best, then, to discriminate targets, she has her people do 2 things.

1) Try to get the "infected" to begin a lengthy attempt at busting through the Craftworld's shields, buying time for the Ordenreich people currently besieged, and
2) Trying various powerful EMP combos in an attempt to disable (but not destroy, obviously!) the boarding transports and attack ships of the aggressors.

In other words, she's strictly adhering to Burninite doctrine in that no violence is being committed, but she is doing her best -- under this restriction -- to buy time for the other operations the Ordenreich is attempting. (Maybe she just wants the nonviolent solution to win -- the one that requires just a bit more time to get that research!)

Anyway, the entire craftworld will pull out if the fire gets too heavy. It's going to try to draw the fire of the infected fleet. Which it can withstand for a time, but obviously, enough combined firepower, and they'll have to split.
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:17 pm

(OOC: Pass.)
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:42 pm

OOC: Bump
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:31 pm

OOC: Sorry, my computer died for a little bit and I was checking on the site with my phone (not ideal for writing an update). I'm back and will try to post tonight.
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:01 am

FLASH: KAFFA, LIVENSTEIN. GORGON FUNGUS INFECTED MULTIPLE ORDENREICH NAVAL UNITS. LIVENSTEIN UNDER HEAVY INFECTED ASSAULT. REQUEST IMMEDIATE SUPPORT.

* * * * *

“Damn it all,” said Commodore Nathaniel Fredericks, the Commanding Officer of DesRon-32. He turned to Crusader. “We're going in. Your people need this cure as much as we do. More so even.

“Listen up people, we have a narrow window here. Research vital to the cure effort is on the planet's surface. The infected ships are currently focusing on Ordenreich and Burninite forces, that leaves a hole on the far side of the planet. We're going to exploit that to get a team on the ground, possibly evac some of the people from the embassy and consulates.

“Tac, lay in courses for close orbit. Keep Dingo wide so they can monitor the Burninites and Ordenreichers. If they start getting overrun, we'll move to support. Comms, let the Burninites know we will do our best to cover their retreat if they need the help, then open a line with Paladin Komtur Heinrich.”

“You heard the man, make it so!” Not long after, the comm link to Heinrich was established.

“Paladin Komtur Heinrich, this is Commodore Fredericks, DesRon-32, Heraklean State Navy. Our FTL communications suite is still functional and a distress signal has been sent to our forces galaxy wide. A relief force is surely being mustered as we speak. Ships of your navy remain scattered and of an unknown status. We request you prepare an order we can transmit to forces of yours we encounter away from this system. We need a free hand to examine all of your ships for signs of infection, after which we want to send them to a rally point to join up with the relief forces we'll be assembling. Can you arrange that?”

* * * * *

“Alright, listen up people,” said the Commanding Officer of HSRS Thoth over the main announcing circuit. “We have received a report of Gorgon in Livenstein. We don't have too many details at the moment, but this will be the single most populous planet infected yet by the plague in either outbreaks. This will be trying time, but we will not give up or fail in our endeavor. Not this time. We do our work. We find our cure. We end this plague. That is all. Carry on.”

Doctor T'lix looked over at Doctor Paulus. “I guess it's back to work for us, huh?”

* * * * *

HNS Jackal came out of hyper just outside the limit and immediately began sailing towards Augusta Terevorum.

“Activate our transponder, hail the first Ordenreich vessel we see and announce ourselves. Tell them exactly why we are here. I don't want to tread on anyone's toes we don't have to, understand me?” asked Lieutenant Commander Kirrin. The communications officer looked back at his CO, then at the carefully neutral face of Ms. 'Chugi.'

“Understood ma'am, making it so,” said the officer.
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:31 am

Heinrich: Paladin Komtur Heinrich to Commodore Fredericks I'm afraid I don't have the authority to issue that order. I was only given a verbal promotion by the Hochmeister who has not been able to input the update in our system. The only Ordenreich forces who know of my Paladin Komtur status are the ones that, as you can see, are being obliterated over Livenstein. Also be aware that many Ordenreich forces are rumored to have gone AWOL. Many colonies, fleets, and core worlds that were known to be cleared of the infection's path have stopped reporting in and are most likely operating independently of the Ordenreich. Even an order from our Hochmeister will not bring them into line. Any Ordenreich forces your people encounter beyond Livenstein are to be presumed as deserters. You need to... stand by, incoming transmission from Livenstein's surface. Priority one.

Maya: Commodore Frederick, I understand you need some highly sensitive research from us. Unfortunately, I have to tell you its not here. The data is at the source, Silesia Nova. There are some security codes you will need to access the abandoned Black Order facilities there. I cannot risk them getting lost in a network transfer so you must come get them yourself. I am currently at the High Citadel at New Konigsburg but I suggest you hurry. Infected overran the city days ago and the High Citadel is about to be breached. I do have a few things I can transfer to you. First is an executive order signed personally by me granting your request to have surviving loyal Ordenreich forces integrate themselves with the Heraklean reinforcements though as the Paladin Komtur said I am not sure how much use it will be. Secondly, the Ordenreich has been working on a very big secret since the days of the Hildenburen War. We have a secret war asset that is just waiting to be unleashed but I need someone to personally go there and activate them. I will have an order signed by me waiting when you get here to transfer to them when you arrive but I ask that you go to the coordinates for this secret asset first before heading to Silesia Nova when you are done here.

--------------------

*At Augusta Terevorum there wasn't much left to show an Ordenreich presence at the destroyed colony. After the Ordenreich bombarded it with FOABs the fleet left a small holding force of frigates before abandoning the colony. Strangely enough though many of the frigates were nowhere to be seen and one Ordenreich frigate showed signs of heavy battle damage. There was another fleet in the area that bared similar resemblance to an Ordenreich fleet but had different markings then typical Ordenreich fleet forces. The Heraklean ship received a response from their hail from the damaged frigate.*

Frigate: Heraklean ship! This is T.S.F Novus! Mayday! Mayday! We are... *static*

*The static was a result of the unknown fleet coldly destroying the damaged, defenseless frigate after which the unknown fleet contacted the Heraklean ship*

Unknown Fleet Flagship: Attention Heraklean vessel, you have intruded on territory claimed by the Black Order, true inheritors of the Ordenreich legacy. Prepared to be destroyed.
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:31 am

The Burninite Craftworld will remain to distract as many infected ships as it can as long as its shields hold out. It will retreat as soon as its shields drop below a reasonable level of safety.

(OOC: OP can say that the Burninites fled the scene whenever it is convenient for you to do so, or you may choose to leave them in play the entire time. Totally up to you.)
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PostSubject: Re: The Gorgon Syndrome   Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:33 am

”There is a biological contaminant in the atmosphere.  All personnel are required to carry emergency breathers.  Facility exit is restricted to official duty only and requires forced air breathing protection and decontamination prior to re-entry.  There is a biological contaminant in the atmosphere.”

Since first indication of a spread of the infection to Livinstein, the same message had been heard every fifteen minutes over the main announcing circuit of the embassy that was built as much to be a fortress as it was a diplomatic mission.  Virtually every Heraklean in the city and quite a few refugees besides were now living inside the halls of the Heraklean diplomatic mission.  Quarters were cramped, and the food stores were slowly dwindling but for the time being there was food.  Occasionally the marines attached to the embassy would fire some weapon or another to clear out collections of approaching infected, but for most part the infected were getting their kicks torturing those they find away from the diplomatic quarter.

Commodore Simona stared angrily at the bottle of grog he had been using to dull his memories.  Just as  the embassy had gone into a lock-down after Gorgon reared its head in Livenstein, he had been keeping himself sober, despite how much he wanted to just drown himself all over again.  He considered opening it and drinking again, but his comm chirping put paid to that notion.

“Commodore Simona.”

“Commodore, Comm Watch.  Priority communication for you from a destroyer squadron that just showed up in system.”

“Patch it through.”

“Aye aye sir.”

“Ordenreich Diplomatic Command, DesRon-32.  Request how you read.”

“DesRon-32, OrdDipCom.  Read you clear.”

“Glad to hear it.  I'm sending a team to the surface on a retrieval mission.  In the meantime, I have eight ships with some spare room.  I'd like to get out some refugees if I can.  I can fit about six hundred and fourty without breaking our atmosphere control.”

“Six-fourty.  That's not many, but it's better than nothing.  I've got about three-hundred children down here.  I'm going to prioritize them and a guardian for each with your concurrence.”

“You have it, Commodore.”

* * * * *

“Mr. and Mrs. Baumann, will you come with me please?”  The two Ordenreich civilian looked up at the Heraklean marine.

“Is there some sort of problem?”

“No sir.  No problem, there's just a matter that we need an answer on from you two.”  The two Ordenreichers stood and followed the marine into the hallway and down to an office where a young officer was running over some data tables.

“Mr. and Mrs. Baumann.  Please have a seat.”

“Thank you, Ensign,” said Leopold Baumann.  “If I may, what is this about?”

“Mr. Baumann, there is a destroyer squadron in system.  We're evacuating as many people as we can, but space is limited.  We are prioritizing children and guardians.  That means we have slots designated for Dieter and one of you.”

“One of us?” said Dana Baumann.  “You mean one of us has to stay here?”

“I'm sorry.  We're getting as many as we can out of here, but like I said space is limited.  We can only guarantee a spot for one guardian per child.  If we have any left over spots, we'll see what to do with them, but for now we need you two to make a choice of who goes.”

“Dana will go with Dieter,” Leopold said immediately.

“Leo, no!  What about you?”

“I'll be fine Dana.  Ensign, I'm correct in assuming another evacuation will be organized?”

“Yes sir.  As soon as possible.”

“Then I will see you both on the other side.  I'll be fine.  You just worry about Dieter, okay?  You stay strong for me.  You stay strong for him.”

“I will, Leo.  I will.”

* * * * *

“Listen up, marines.  We've got a hot LZ waiting for us on the ground and more hostiles than we have ammo, so this retrieval has to be run in hyper.  We'll be heading in on cutters.  The cutters will descend to 50 meters above the ground and begin clearing the infected out of drop point.  When the LZ has been cleared, the cutters will touch down, disgorge and take off again to begin circling.  If the Citadel is still hard, we get inside and help them hold while they get the package to us for retrieval.  If the Citadel is breached, we fight our way in until we reach a friendly hard point, then the plan is the same.  Once we have the package, we signal the cutters to reclear the LZ.  If we have to fight our way back out of the Citadel, we signal when we reach the front door.  We have zero room for Richie refugees unless someone goes down on the way in, so don't even offer.  Any questions?  No, questions this concludes the drop brief.  Mount up!”

The marines rushed onto the cutters and the boats were disgorged from the ships.  The cutters swept through the atmosphere down to skies above New Konigsberg.

“Commander, LZ sighted, heavy infect presence.  Clearing them out.”  The cutters fired into the mass of infected, flinging body parts far and wide as the space in front of the doors of the High Citadel was depopulated of infected.  Ionized plasma fired from the cannons as the cutters touched down.  The marines charged out of the cutters, firing into the infected to keep them at bay while their fellows followed.  Once the cutters were empty, they lifted back off leaving the marines behind.  The marines simply moved back to the doors of the High Citadel

[OOC@Sacae: if the Citadel was breached, state that in your next post please.]

* * * * *

“Break for the hyper limit!  Maximum military power!  Prep all tubes for fire!”  Lieutenant Commander Kirrin snapped her orders without pause or hesitation.  The sudden whipping motion of the destroyer exceeded the capacity of the inertial dampeners and decks shook in protest.  The crew ignored the vibrations as they brought the ship into a full combat status.   Tamar looked over to the intelligence officer that had invaded her ship.  “Any light you want to shed on this, Ms. 'Chugi?'”

“I'm sorry ma'am.  I've got nothing.  We didn't think the Black Order was equipped for anything like this still.”

“I see intelligence is still an oxymoron.  Comms, open a channel to this bastard.”

“Channel is open, ma'am.”

“Attention Black Order vessels, this is Lieutenant Commander Tamar Kirrin, Commanding Officer of the Heraklean Naval Ship Jackal.  You are advised to stand clear while we exit the system.  If you attack this vessel I guarantee you will bring down on your a head a level of pain you cannot even begin to imagine.  I will inform the Chief of State of your dubious claim of sovereignty in this system, and I am sure you will receive a message detailing our response.  Jackal, out.”
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