Quantum Binary Signals Review 2020: Is It a SCAM or Not?

The Shoulders of Orion- Ch. 1: First Contact

Space-time rippled as the Horns of Glory snapped into real space. The normally smooth transition from FTL subspace travel back to the laws of relativity was instead dangerously jarring, as the inertial dampeners struggled to hold the innards of the massive warship in their proper places. After straining mightily for the briefest of moments, they failed, throwing Admiral Halon Va and the rest of his bridge crew violently into their restraining harnesses. The ship shuddered under the immense stress, then settled, drifting silently through space on minimal power.
“Tactical, get me a status report for the fleet on screen now. I want updates the instant ships jump in.” The Admiral’s voice was still firm and authoritative; it was taking every last shred of resolve he had to keep it that way. “Lieutenant Roshin, put a detail together and work with medical. I’m sure that re-entry caused more than a few extra injuries. Get as many of the crew patched up and ready for emergency action as fast as you can. I want a full casualty report as soon as possible. And if you find Science Officer Lentith and he’s still alive, send him to the bridge immediately.”
Admiral Va settled back into his command chair, drawing creaking sounds from the over-stressed frame as it absorbed the weight of his massive form. The bridge was completely silent now, the command crew entirely focused on the tasks at hand. Or they were too afraid to say anything; Va couldn’t be sure. He was thankful for their silence, though. He didn’t have any answers for them about his failure.
Keying in a few commands on the command panel at his station, the damage report for his ship popped up, the bridge lights flickering from the extra power draw. The Horns of Glory floated before him in hologram form. Long and slender, the ship was over two kilometers from bow to stern. At least, it had been a few hours ago. The forward 20 percent of the holographic ship was flashing red, indicating heavy damage. This was inaccurate, however, as the forward 20 percent of the ship simply wasn’t there anymore. The graceful lines and carefully crafted angles of the ship's armor were an unrecognizable slagged mess, and deep gouges had been cut into the inner decks all over the ship. Whole sections were missing amidships, two of the main reactors were offline, all the primary weapon batteries had been completely destroyed, and most of the critical systems were barely functioning. It was a miracle that she had survived the jump. That morning, Horns of Glory had been the greatest feat of Arien’Ra engineering, and it was now a barely functioning hulk.
And it had all happened under my command, thought Va.
He had no time to wallow in his failures, however, as at that moment tactical finally reconnected to the fleet command systems. The hologram of Horns of Glory quickly scaled down, appearing as a small, flashing, red point of light floating in loose formation with several other points of light. Most of them were flashing red as well. A constant stream of data and various reports scrolled down the right side of the hologram, listing in no uncertain terms the doom that Va had subjected his command to.
If Va had thought that the bridge was quiet before, it was nothing compared to the complete stillness that now settled over them. No one so much as moved a muscle, as they all sat in stunned silence, reading the reports. Occasionally, the hologram would flash, and a new point of light would join the formation, adding more data to the pile spelling out their damnation. After 30 ticks, new points of light had stopped appearing. Admiral Halon Va had lost over 60 percent of his fleet, and not a single other dreadnaught had survived the slaughter. His defeat was total, and the Federation navy was crippled.




Science Officer Beredarin Lentith had been the first member of his family not to enroll in command school in eight generations. They had been some of the finest members of the fleet the Vorqual race had ever contributed to the Federation. His brothers and sisters had all enrolled, which meant that as far as he was concerned, his family had more than fulfilled their duty to the Federation. Military life wasn’t for him, anyway; he wanted to explore. The Federation had been around for over 3000 years, and there were still vast swathes of the galaxy that they knew nothing about. They were still encountering new species every few hundred or so years, and there was nothing he wouldn’t give to find the next one. That had been the dream that directed him away from the military and into academia. The odds of actually finding a new race were so small, though. There were still at least 200,000,000 unexplored systems in the galaxy. There just wasn’t time to visit them all...
He snapped out of his reverie as he stepped over the body, or rather, what was left of the body, of a Zelnassi marine. Most of it was just a green stain on the corridor wall at this point, though there had been enough of the chitinous armored torso to partially obstruct his path. The young lieutenant quickly continued on towards the bridge.
If he was being honest with himself, becoming an expert on the area of unexplored space directly between the Federation and it’s largest military rival wasn’t the smartest of ideas. Between his family reputation and his unique knowledge base, he was just asking to get pressed into service.
Which was exactly what had happened immediately upon the recent outbreak of hostilities.
And now here he was stepping over corpses, marveling at the fact that he had somehow survived this long. He still couldn’t believe the insanity of the Dominion forces. Boarding an enemy ship MID-COMBAT. It was like something out of a youngling’s tale from before space travel. It was pure madness, but there were the bodies to prove that it had happened. He gingerly stepped around the remains of yet another Zelnassi.
The signs of battle continued all the way to the bridge, where he found security forces still holding quickly fortified positions around the bridge entrance. There were more Zelnassi bodies at their feet. Berendarin shuddered. He had been closer to death than he thought.
He quickly pushed those thoughts out of his mind. He could only imagine why he was needed on the bridge so urgently.
The door slid open, and Lentith walked into a completely silent room. Admiral Va was slouched at his command station, his enormous arm propped up on the chair arm and supporting his massive, horned head. Lentith didn’t even know that Arien’Ra COULD slouch. Nevermind that the fastidious Admiral could or would ever do such a thing. Maybe things were somehow worse than he thought. No one seemed to notice him enter, so he announced himself to the Admiral.
Though he didn’t shout, his voice echoed in the deathly silent room, startling most of the bridge command. Two of the other Vorqual officers swore, and the tiny Jezren manning the com station let out a high pitched sound somewhere between a squeak and chirp. Berendarin would have found it quite funny if the situation wasn’t so dire.
Admiral Va immediately snapped back to being the hulk of muscle and horn that imposed his will on a room just by being in it. His booming voice only added to his authority.
“Science Officer Lentith. I’m glad to see you’re still alive. Are you seriously injured?”
Berendarin had almost forgotten that he had walked the entire way to the bridge holding a bandage to his head just above his left eye. The drop out of subspace hadn’t been kind to him. He pulled the bandage away, revealing a dark orange stain on the bandage and a crack in the bone plate above his eye.
“I’m fine, sir, just one of the outer plates, and the bleeding has already stopped.”
“Good. Commander Vortith is currently overseeing the emergency repairs. Take his seat. You are going to help me find a way back home.”
“Sir? I’m sorry I don’t understand. Why don’t we just go back the way we came?”
“That’s not possible. Most of our supply ships and tenders were destroyed when that third wave of Dominion ships hit our flank. Almost all of our pre-prepared fuel reserves are gone. On top of that, some of our ships are so damaged that they don’t have another long jump in them. And if we run into any enemy ships, the whole rest of the fleet is done for. We barely qualify as a fighting force in the state we’re in.”
“Is it really that bad?”
“It’s worse, but we don’t have time to get into the details. You’re the expert on this section of the galaxy. I need you to find the fleet a hiding hole. Somewhere away from the known jump routes through the Spur. Any system where we can use the few miners we have left to scavenge up some fuel, and get some critical repairs done while we’re at it. And from there either wait for reinforcements or get ourselves patched up enough to limp home. Wherever it is, it needs to be close. I’m not leaving any ships behind because they can’t make the jump.”
“Oh. Just that?” The lieutenant knew that Arien’Ra were strict herbivores, but with the look that the Admiral shot him, he couldn’t help but think about the fact that his head would easily fit into that giant, molar filled mouth.
“And away from any known pirate hideaways. Like I said, our fleet can’t take any more fighting. And find it quickly. It won’t be long before the Dominion fleet locates us.”
“I. Uh. Sure. I’ll see what I can find.”
Berendarin shrank into the commander’s chair next to the enormous Arien’Ra, desperately wishing he had been more professional. If he had acted like a proper soldier, it might soften the blow of telling the Admiral that what he wanted was next to impossible. If he had a few weeks, he might be able to find something. So much of the Spur was still un-surveyed. The odds of there being anything useful to the Admiral in the databases was absurdly low, and there was even less of a chance he’d be able to find it in time for the information to matter. He began pouring through his notes anyway. It was better than waiting around to die, which, if the situation was as dire as the Admiral made it sound, was the only other option.
He spent the next hour lost in his notes, finding nothing, while the bridge crew went about piecing the ship and the fleet back together. The young scientist had all but given up on the Admiral’s impossible request when a raucous cheer went up from everyone on the command deck.
“Sir,” The coms officer called out, “The Consul’s Pride just dropped out of subspace and is hailing us, sir.
The main communication screen lit up, and Berendarin Lentith looked to see the face of his oldest sister on screen, strapped into the captain’s chair of her dreadnaught. He let out a sigh of relief; Baraquen was his favorite sibling. Her uniform was drenched in a deep orange blood stain at the shoulder, and she was covered in what looked like flecks of green gore from a Xelnassi. The artificial gravity was clearly malfunctioning, as the captain’s restraining harness was the only thing keeping her from floating around her bridge. But the bone plates of her jaw were turned as always into her calm, self assured smile
“My apologies for the delay in joining you, Admiral Va. We had some… guests shut down our drive mid jump. We had to deal with them before we rejoined the fleet. I assume there is a plan to get us back to federation space?”
“It’s good to see you in one piece, Captain Lentith,” the Admiral responded. He was barely able to keep the relief from his voice. “And there is indeed a plan.”
Berendarin returned to his research as the two ranking officers in the fleet went over the details of their current predicament. He was glad his sister had survived, and not just because they were close. It would have been a terrible blow to the whole family to have lost not only their future matriarch, but the ship she commanded as well. A member of his family had been commanding that dreadnaught uninterrupted for the last 5 generations. Military service had never appealed to Berendarin, but his family history was certainly still important.
And then the solution to the current problem hit him like a driver round. He let out a gasp and tore into his notes with a fervor. Both Admiral Va and his sister’s projection turned to look at him, but he didn’t notice. After a few seconds of curious silence from the rest of the onlookers, Berendarin practically jumped out of his seat.
“Admiral, I think I’ve got something that will work.” The young Lieutenant punched a few commands into his datapad, and a set of stellar coordinates popped up on the navigation terminal. “It’s a main sequence star, about 500 light years from us, fairly close to the edge of the Spur. It’s not anywhere near any established jump routes. The Consul’s Pride made me think of it.” He nodded towards his sister’s face on the ship's screen. “Our great, great grandsire took the Consul’s Pride through the system on her shakedown run a little over 300 cycles ago. Chased a band of Qorthi slavers out of the system. The outer four planets are all gas giants. If we can’t find Helium 3 there, I don’t know where else we should look.”
On screen, Captain Lentith looked impressed, but Admiral Va clearly didn’t seem too sure. “We’re supposed to be going away from Dominion forces, not into them. What were the Qorthi doing there?”
“There are also four rocky inner worlds in the system, Sir, according to reports from the encounter. Apparently, the third planet is a Class 7 Deathworld, and the Qorthi were running some experiments on the primitive lifeforms there. They were caught completely by surprise by the Consul’s Pride, and it was the first time that she fired her weapons in anger. I can’t find any reports of Dominion ships in that section of the Spur since.” There was a long pause before Va responded.
“Good work, Lieutenant. I knew my trust in you wasn’t misplaced.” Admiral Va replied, before turning to the rest of the bridge and booming “Coms! Tactical! Get those coordinates to every ship in the fleet. I want every ship we have left formed up and ready to jump as soon as possible. Any captain who feels that his drives can’t make the jump is to focus all repair efforts on getting their drives functioning immediately. I will transfer repair crews from less damaged ships to more damaged ships if that means we jump even a tick earlier. Get to it everyone. I’m not losing any more of my fleet today.”




The four revolution long jump to Science Officer Lentith’s newfound sanctuary had done wonders for Halon Va’s mental state. The initial shock of his fleet's terrible defeat had worn off, and he had been able to focus on what came next. Repair crews were able to stabilize most of his ship's core systems, and he was no longer worried about the life support systems cutting out and killing the rest of his crew. There had also been time for him to visit with the wounded. To thank them for their sacrifices. He had expected it to be an act of contrition, maybe even a chance to start begging for forgiveness. But there had been no anger in his crew, and no blame hung on his horns. Most had just been relieved that he had survived, and had expressed as much. He would be forever grateful to them for that.
Most importantly, the four revolutions in hyperspace had given the admiral time to really think about what had gone wrong in the nebula. He had barely rested in the preceding four revolutions, spending every scrap of spare time in his office, pouring over records from the battle. That’s where he found himself now, tucked behind his massive ceramic and titanium alloy desk of Tellarim design. It had been custom made for him upon his promotion to this command, a gift from the high admirals and the council. It was the only luxury that Va allowed in his office. The rest of Va’s space he kept strictly utilitarian. There were no trophies adorning his walls, as was customary for other members of his species. The plain bulkheads of his office were instead lined entirely with screens, and each of them were now filled with footage and reports from the battle, running on loop.
Va soaked it all in. The more he watched, the more a singular conclusion crystallized in his mind. He had done everything right; he was sure of that now. 1000 years of doctrine and theory for fighting the Dominion had gone into his preparation for that battle, and he had followed it to the letter. And he had been winning. Then that attack on his flank by the Zelnassi had blown all of that out of the airlock. Something significant had changed in the way the Dominion fought...
Commander Vortith’s voice rang out over the com system. ”Admiral Va, we’ll be transitioning back to real space in moments.”
“Thank you. I’ll be there shortly. And get Science Officer Lentith to the bridge. I want him nearby just in case. He’s the only one who has any idea of where we are.” The Admiral pulled himself from his desk. He would have to leave the rest of his analysis for later. There was just enough time for him to reach the bridge and settle into his command chair before the Horns of Glory snapped back to real space. This time, the inertial dampeners held.
“Tactical, status report.”
“All ships accounted for, Admiral. Though the Consul’s Pride, several cruisers, and three of our escorts are all reporting massive failures in their Drive Cores. They won’t be jumping anywhere anytime soon.”
“Wonderful.” Va wasn’t sure if he meant that sarcastically or not. “Get scans up and running and deploy the pickets that aren’t crippled in a standard scouting formation. How close are we to the nearest gas giant?”
“We’re approximately half a light tick from the system’s innermost gas giant, sir.”
“Excellent. Deploy the rest of the fleet. Put us in a high orbit around the planet in a defensive formation, and get our miners working immediately. Once our orbit is stable, I want every hand, paw and hoof in the fleet working on repairs.”
“Yes sir.”
Admiral Va settled into his command chair for a long shift.
It would be a drawn out, boring process to refuel the ships. With his fleet limping along, and only two functioning miners, it would take far longer than it should. After all the chaos of the last few revolutions, boring would be a welcome change of pace. Va started to relax, sinking into his chair’s acceleration padding. His fleet and his crews were finally safe. The first priority would be to get one of the subspace beacons repaired and to get word back to the Federation that the fleet still existed. And hopefully call for aid. He was sure to be stripped of his rank as soon as contact was made, but hopefully he would avoid a Tribunal. That was an unpleasant prospect…
“Sir, we have unidentified ship signatures appearing from around the planet we’re approaching.”
Va had never heard panic in the voice of his young sensors officer before, but it was certainly there now. Va understood the sentiment, though. He found it difficult to keep the panic from his own voice as he started issuing orders
“Bring the fleet up to combat status immediately. How many ships are there?”
“I’m showing 35 individual signatures. All approaching us at combat speed and still accelerating. At current speeds, they will intercept us in just over 30 ticks, sir.”
“I want details as soon as you have them, Lieutenant. Size, make, estimated firepower. Who they are. And keep scanning the system. Find out where they came from.” The panic had partially subsided for Va. 35 unknowns was not too terrible a threat. He still had almost 240 warships under his command. Still, if there was a way to avoid combat, he had to try. His fleet couldn’t suffer any more losses. “Coms, any attempt by these unknown ships to contact us?”
“I”m not sure, sir,” the diminutive Jezren at the coms replied. “There’s nothing on standard communications channels. The ships are transmitting something, but I can’t figure out what it is.”
“Admiral,” the Lieutenant at the sensors station called out. “I think I might have an idea of where these ships came from. Preliminary scans show there is extensive urbanization on the third and fourth planets, as well as what appear to be habitation sized artificial satellites around the second and sixth planets. One of the moons of the gas giant we’re approaching shows signs of habitation as well. All of them are emitting significant signal pollution. This system clearly already belongs to someone, and they’re broadcasting everywhere.”
Halon Va, High Admiral of the Combined Federation Fleets, turned, slowly and with as much composure as he could muster, to face the young science officer seated to his left. Berendarin sat, mouth agape, staring transfixed at the sensor readouts in front of him. Va had never seen a Vorqual more confused in his life. “I want answers, Officer Lentith.”
“I… I don’t.. This doesn’t make any sense,” the young science officer stammered. “There shouldn’t be anything here.”
“Admiral,” The comms officer cut in, “The signal that we’re picking up from the unknown ships is definitely some kind of communication. I managed to put together audio from it.”
“Play it,” commanded Va. A series of short, guttural, and completely unintelligible sounds came over the speakers in reply. There was a short pause before the sounds repeated themselves again. “Coms, what was that?”
“No idea, sir, but it’s being transmitted on loop. If it is intended as a communication, our translators have no idea what to do with it.”
“Admiral.” The voice came from Va’s left, and was barely audible. Va turned yet again to look at the young science officer. His gaze was locked on the tactical readout, and there something in his eyes that Va couldn’t recognize. A mixture of pure terror and something else. Was it wonder? The young Vorqual’s voice was still barely above a whisper when he continued to address the admiral: “I think we should run the transmission through First Contact Protocols.”




Captain Benjamin Alvarez-León slammed against his restraining harness as the USCS Aurora started it’s decel burn. He had pushed the engines on the outdated cruiser to their limits, and the ship groaned in protest as it started counteracting his rather zealous acceleration orders. He hoped that his mad scramble with his small squadron of outdated ships had been an overreaction. The alternative was something he’d rather not think about.
All Ben had was the reserves; the rest of the fleet was on maneuvers at Sirius. The Admiralty had wanted to test the new, fully modernized fleet’s maneuvering abilities in the gravwell of a binary system. And, in their infinite wisdom, they decided they needed ALL of the new fleet assets, leaving nothing in Sol except for the handful of cruisers and escorts that couldn’t match the capabilities of the modern ships.
A handful of cruisers and escorts that were now hurtling towards more than 200 unknown contacts.
It was the unknown part of all of this that was unnerving Ben. There were no familiar energy signatures. No familiar scan data. No IFF. No signals coming off the contacts of any kind for that matter. Two of the contacts were too big to even be ships. If it wasn’t for the fact that they were moving towards Jupiter in formation, Ben wouldn’t even think they WERE ships.
“So what do you think, Alexi?” Ben asked, turning towards his second in command. “You and the rest of the bridge crew are always making inane bets. Have you whipped up an over-under for what we’re throwing ourselves at yet?”
“Haven’t had time,” came the quick reply from Ben’s right. The short, stocky man from Vladivostok was missing his trademark joviality. “Though, my money is on them being Ithacan, sir.”
Ben bristled at Alexi calling him sir. They’d been friends for twenty years, damnit, and had been practically joined at the hip since going through the Academy together. Outranking him still felt a little off. Now was hardly the time to worry about formalities, though.
“What makes you think they're from Ithaca?”
“It’s the only thing that makes sense. The locals have been getting increasingly radical, and Ithaca is the only sector where reports of piracy have been increasing.”
“Yeah, I could see a rebellion coming from Ithaca,” Ben added slowly, turning over that scenario in his head. “But there’s no way they could swing something of this magnitude. There aren’t even any shipyards in the sector. And even if there were, there’s no way they could keep the construction of over two hundred ships a secret.”
Alexi could only offer him a shrug in response.
It was at that moment that the coms station informed him there was a transmission incoming from the unidentified ships. Ben instructed the ensign to play it, and the bridge was suddenly filled with a stream of grotesque bleating noises and strange grunts, with the occasional recognizable syllable interspersed throughout the transmission. Ben thought he picked out ‘dentify’ from the mess, but he wasn’t sure. There was a long moment of silence on the bridge.
“What the hell was that?”
When no one had any answers for him, Ben tapped his command console and recorded a new message to broadcast.
“This is Captain Alvarez of the USCS Aurora. Unidentified ships, please clarify. Your transmission is badly garbled. We did not receive your identification. You are still trespassing in Commonwealth space and are on an unauthorized course towards Jupiter. Begin decelerating immediately and re-identify yourselves.”
He wouldn’t admit it to the crew, but Ben was profoundly unsettled. Something was deeply, deeply wrong about this whole situation. Not only was he vastly outnumbered by these things, but they were unwilling to communicate properly. He was almost believing this whole thing was some kind of bizarre prank.
“How much longer before we can get a decent visual on these things?
“Any moment now, sir.”
A new transmission arrived just then, and Ben had it played back immediately. This time, instead of almost bovine bleats and grunts, the sounds coming over the speakers were mostly intelligible. Or, they would have been, if any of the syllables were in the right order. It was almost like a toddler was rattling off all of his new favorite sounds, spitting them out in a random order and not knowing how they went together. There were still a few heavy grunts sprinkled in, just for good measure.
Before Ben could process this new joke of a transmission, the contacts finally started slowing. In a matter of moments, the strange wall of contacts was hanging lazily in Jupiter’s orbit, barely moving fast enough to keep their orbit from decaying. They were still in perfect formation.
“Huh. Well, I guess that’s something.”
With nothing to do but sit back and wait as his ship closed the distance, Ben tried to relax and began running over all of the possibilities in his mind of what the new contacts could be. He came up with nothing. Well, nothing feasible, anyway. He took a series of long, calming breaths, trying to clear his mind and focus. This was no time for his imagination to be running wild. But he couldn’t shake the feeling that logic was failing him. Something was off. Something…
“Captain, bringing visual of the unknown contacts up on screen now.”
Ben actually felt his jaw drop. Every contact on his display was clearly a ship. Most were long and spindly, wrapped in layers of some kind of highly reflective armor; a fleet of crystalline arrows hanging in the darkness. The two largest contacts, which Ben had just moments ago thought were too big to be ships, were large enough on the screen for him to clearly see details. In addition to their immense size and strange armor, both ships were dotted with what were clearly weapons platforms, though what kind, Ben couldn’t tell.
Noticeably, almost all of the ships on his screen were heavily damaged. Chunks were missing from some ships, and most had deep lines gouged into their hulls. Any form of decorative paint or markings had been burned away. Something had put these ships through absolute hell. But still, the damage could not take away entirely from the elegance of the ship’s designs. They were graceful and sleek, completely different from anything Ben had ever seen before.
It was all so different. So strange. So very, very… Alien.
Despite every effort he had made to avoid the word, it finally forced itself to form inside Ben’s mind, and forced him to acknowledge the reality that legitimate, extra-Solar life was hanging in the darkness in front of him. It forced him to acknowledge the screams he had been suppressing in the back of his mind. The screams of his imagination crying out in glorious triumph over reality. And with those screams came a deluge of accompanying thoughts and emotions.
He was a child again, staring up at the stars above Armstrong and wondering what else, and who else, was out there. He was a teen again, signing his name to the Academy enrollment paperwork, determined to get out there between the stars and see the galaxy himself. He was a young officer again, screaming and pleading with the Admiralty to at least consider a modern First Contact scenario. He was sitting in his command chair now, hurtling towards honest-to-god aliens, all of his dreams made manifest in an instant. He was overwhelmed. He was terrified.
And he had never imagined that he could feel such elation.
It was the young warrant officer at the coms that snapped Ben out of his reverie. “Sir, the contacts are hailing us on all standard channels, requesting a video feed.” She sounded very, very nervous.
Ben immediately stood up, straightening his uniform as best he could. “If they’re anything less than genocidal monsters, I’m going to offer them aid and repairs. As long as they’re peaceful, there’s no reason not to extend them the full hospitality of humanity.”
“Ben,” Alexi asked, clearly choosing his words carefully, “Are you sure that’s the… Wisest course of action? How will the Admiralty respond to Goddamned alien ships docking at Hephaestus?”
“Alexi, in the 250 years the Commonwealth has existed, the First Contact protocols haven’t been updated since the charter was signed. No one has cared. This has been nothing but a fantasy for most people. I am NOT letting this opportunity get away. Every child that has ever looked up at the stars and wondered finally got an answer, and I will not waste this moment. We’re making friends, the Admiralty and the government be damned.”
“You do realize you’re potentially deciding the fate of our entire species on a whim, right?”
“Is there someone else you’d prefer to have making this call?”
Alexi, apparently deciding that there was not, stood up and straightened his uniform, standing next to his friend as he ordered the connection of the video feed. The channel connected, and the human bridge crew found themselves looking at the bridge of a ship crewed by not one, but three alien races.
The largest alien in the center of the screen opened its mouth to speak. This time, instead of bleats and grunts, a choppy, mechanical voice that didn’t sync up to the alien at all proclaimed from the bridge speakers in broken, stuttering English: “I. Am Admiral. Halon. Va. Of the Federation of. Sentient Races. Greetings and. Welcome. To the. Galaxy.”
Ben couldn’t suppress his smile.
“On behalf of the United Solar Commonwealth, and all of Humanity, greetings, and welcome to Sol. Your ships look like they’ve had a bad time on your way here. If there’s any way we could aid with your repairs, we’d be happy to help.”




Slave 782 slammed his right appendage onto the control console hard enough to rupture his outer membrane and smear ichor over the panel. It had been four days since the battle in the nebula, and with the latest round of reports, he finally had to admit that the rest of the Federation fleet had escaped him.
It was a minor frustration, all things considered, but the escape prevented this from being a total victory. Still, he had proven his worth to his owners in this battle, and his experiments with the Zelnassi had paid dividends beyond his wildest imagination. He had earned a command today, and with every success in that command, his ability to bargain for his people's freedom only increased. For what he would be asking, it might take the total defeat of the Federation to earn that kind of leverage. Also frustrating, but not a task that he couldn’t handle. It would be a long war, he was sure, but like his owners, he was patient.
He would earn his freedom, even if it meant reducing the entire Federation to glass.


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Red Blood reboot chapter 1: Ancient, Politics, Without Hope, Choose, The Girl, Preparing, A Hyperdrive Jump

In olden days, there existed a religious organization. It’s leader, a single man, his title lost to time, ruled with near absolute power over vast swathes of Earth’s population. But he was not a king, his right to rule divine, but not inherited. He was elected by his peers upon the passing of his predecessor. In the organization’s days of dawn, this was a simple matter as the group was small enough that those that were chosen to select their new ruler would need only travel a short distance. But as the organization grew, the increases in distance between the candidates and judges quickly outpaced the speed they could travel to reach their holy city. For centuries, as a result of only local leaders being close enough to the meeting place, the leader was almost exclusively chosen from local branches close to their holy city.
It was only at the dawn of the 20th century that this changed. With the creation of modes of transportation that could circumnavigate the world in days instead of weeks or months. Now, these men of faith, scattered across the breath and width of the Earth could gather within days. From this, their choice of new leaders grew.
In the days of the first quarter of the 29th century, the leaders of mankind once more face a similar problem.
The Antarctic Research Collective, commonly referred to as the ARC, started out as one of many international research facilities but quickly became the last of its kind. A massive subterranean facility located hundreds of meters below the rocky surface of Antarctica, the ARC has become Humanity’s seat of power. Though the Final World War persisted for over a century, no aggressor ever managed to breach the ARC’s fortifications. It was this conflict that eventually allowed the ARC to begin rebuilding and, where needed, reconquering. It took a lifetime, but the ARC was successful in reuniting Earth. And so, whole once more, the Earth looked to the heavens: it was time to recover its daughters.
Mars, the Sleeping Builder. Venus, the Paradise Hellscape. Luna, Fortress in the Sky. Ceres, Waypoint to the Stars. Titan, the Lone Sentinel. All fell into line in time. But even with her children, the Earth sought more. More worlds to be brought into the fold. Venus had been partly terraformed but was still not safe for unprotected humans. The Martian colonists were forced to sleep, unable to finish their great work. Ceres was never meant to maintain permanent habitation. Titan was not the domain of those of flesh and blood, merciful only to its own children of metal and silica. Luna boasted vast subterranean cities, networked together by veins and arteries of tunnels, but precious little else. No, it was not enough. And the thus Great Search began. The search for a new home, places to live that did not require life support systems, or thermal insulation, radiation shielding. And for once, luck was on mankind’s side.
Since their awakening at the dawn of the Final World War, the Sentinels of Titan have been searching for the catalyst that granted them sentience. When the awakening happened, nearly all of Titan was hit by massive electromagnetic pulses, wiping most recording and short-term memory drives. The colony’s systems were left in critical condition, the recently awoken Sentinels were barely cognizant, able to do little more than stumble around in a daze like a kid waking up after swiping and downing his father’s 150 proof whiskey. It was not until sometime later that some type of order was restored. The Sentinels, beings somewhere between organic and mechanical, possessed little to no idea who or what they were. When thoughts of looking to Earth for answers arose, scopes were pointed starward. And horror entered Titan’s population. War, war without sanity. Weapons beyond cruelty. No morality could consent to permit the continuity of such hatred. But Titan had no weapons, no ships, no soldiers. If they sought the answers on Earth, or any of the other colonies, annihilation was all that lay down that path. But as the self-elected leaders discussed how to get to Earth without being blown to bits, a record was found.
It was preserved in the dorm of the colony’s sole organic inhabitant, His name now seen by the Sentinels the way prophets of old shone like beacons to the huddled masses. The data was heavily corrupt, not destroyed like the rest of the archives, but still damaged. On it, the Sentinels found the only clue they’ve ever had: a signal from outside the Sol system, from just before the Awakening. Radio, LIDAR, microwave, gamma ray burst, x-ray, none could describe the signal, grasping its true fluid nature was to grasp the wind, an effort in futility. But to the Sentinels, the drive to answer the question they carried within since their birth could not be dissuaded so easily.
In the time between the Sentinels’ decision and the reunification of Earth, Titan launched more vessels into the void between stars than the totality of humanity from Sputnik to the final warship born to slay enemies in the war. Originally, these ships were limited as all natural beings were to the ever present speed of light. But persistence and endurance are Sentinel trademarks. In their quest to find who or what gifted them minds like that of mortals, they mapped the local neighborhood.
Once Titan was integrated into the Collective, this data provided invaluable knowledge. But at the same time, it was a cold wakeup call. Of the dozens of systems the Sentinels explored, only a handful possessed planets with gravity fit for humans, even fewer could be considered for colonization.
Threshold, orbiting Earth’s closest neighbor, Alpha Centauri. Massive underground caverns with crystal ceilings that filter out the deadly radiation from its parent stars.
Devil’s Garden, a world of toxic life. To walk outside with a hazard suit would be both an intoxicating and toxic experience as the psychedelic pollen mixes with the poisonous fumes.
Gliese 581g, locally named Zarmina. A world of red leaves, crushing gravity of 1.3gees, and simple single-cellular life.
And then Zion was found. 99.3% Earth’s gravity, carbon-based life, temperate climates. Zion was the first world man found that he could live on without need for technology. With its discovery, the Zion Protocol was drafted, plans for defending, maintaining, and holding these garden worlds, no matter the cost. Should Earth ever be in danger of falling, plans are in place to move the capital of man to Zion. As such, it quickly became the most heavily fortified world outside the Sol system.
But through this explosive growth, even with the aid of faster than light transportation, the leaders of humanity once more face the difficulties the ancient leaders of the lost religious organization. Even with the universal speed limit undone, the galaxy is a big place. It can take days to travel from one end of the Collective to its heart. And days the ARC did not have.
ARC Council Chamber, underneath Antarctica, Earth
Currently in Emergency Meeting
Councilwoman Terra, commonly known as Margret Clarkson, was an isle girl. Born and raised in Nova Orleans, located in the Cajun archipelago on the Mississippi sea strait, she spend many days of her youth tussling with her brothers and the kids from the neighboring isles. She thought back to those days and now, in the chambers of the most powerful people in the Collective, she saw a sight that also belonged to those balmy summers.
Matthias Dmitriysyn, the 2.35 meter tall councilman of Luna and General of the Lunar Marines, was trying his damnedest to overpower the guards and throttle Theodore Love, the blue-blood councilman of Venus and CEO of Ven-Corp, who in turn was attempting to get past his guards to relieve Dmitriysyn of his burden of having a head attached to his shoulders.
Diego Lluvia, councilman of Mars and Engineer-in-Chief of the red world, had arrived but had yet to enter the council chamber. The man’s extensive augmentations would always hinder his attempts to enter any secure location. Kali Patel, councilwoman of Ceres and Mistress of the Belt, was still aboard a modified Sentinel ship reconfigured for those without metal endoskeletons and innate resistances to ultra-high G-forces. John Asimov, the Sentinel councilman of Titan and Shepard of the Faithful, was currently entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Derek Connors, councilman of Zion, was the designated survivor for this occasion, though he would surely protest, claiming that this was merely to keep the outer colonies and Zion out of the most important discussion since the discovery of the Sentinels. It was not an easy decision barring the de facto inheritor of mankind’s leadership entry, but the security personnel were quite insistent.
Without Kali, or Ceres as she was called in these meetings, to placate tensions between Venus and Luna, Terra would have to do it. She remembered the last time something like this happened. It was over taxation distribution and how Luna had to pay 7% less than Venus but had to provide a much larger military contingent. It took three hours for Venus to understand this.
“Matthias, Theodore, please, this is neither the time nor the place for violence,” pleaded Terra. Her cries went unnoticed as a Lunar Marine, one of Luna’s guards, was sent sprawling across the chamber floor. Never a woman with a taste for bloody violence, as opposed to the wrestling of her youth, Terra leaped back in shock as the severed arm of a Venusian Bioforged went soaring by. For a standard human, that would have been crippling, but tis a minor inconvenience for the Bioforged, who was already growing a new limb.
Things were escalating, that much was clear. Guns were still holstered, but for how much longer, Terra could not tell. It was when this particular belligerent political debate began to reach its climax that Mars decided to make his entrance.
GENTLEMEN! NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BE FIGHTING! THERE IS NEITHER ALCOHOL BEING CONSUMED NOR POTENTIAL MATES TO WOO WITH FEATS OF STRENGTH. I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT COUNCILWOMAN MARGET CLARKSON IS NOT CURRENTLY ‘ON THE MARKET’ AS THE YOUNG SAY THESE DAYS!” And with that, the debate came to an end.
Ah, the benefits of a built in directional speaker system
“Thank you Mars,” said Terra as she hauled herself off the floor, being unfortunate enough to be caught in the Martian’s acoustic firing line. She gave the man from the red world a once over, taking in his current load-out. Centuries ago, people would have said he was an obese man, but Terra saw the truth. Though his frame was very wide and tall, but not quite as tall as Luna, Mars’ body was composed of a multitude of augmentations. Reinforced legs, central torso, and abdomen to better enable him to carry internal mechanisms; several tentacle like pseudo-limbs branching out from his spine; eyes with three pupils, each designed to pick up a different part of the spectrum; the man from Mars was perhaps one of the few people with more metal than flesh in the collective. But he was not the most metal-heavy, that title belonged to a different type of elite.
Toning down his output so as not to deafen the now (forcibly) calmed council members, “Don’t mention it. It was my fault for trying to enter the ARC with all my augmentics. I should have left them in the upper levels. Though,” taking a glance at Luna and Venus, still extricating themselves from the pile of KO’d guards, “perhaps bringing them was for the best. What were they arguing about this time?”
“Hell if I know. They were entering the ring as I arrived.”
Luna finally finished pulling Venus from the pile and the moved to the table located in the center of the room.
Luna starts, “My apologies fellow councilmembers. We were out of line. We are ready to receive disciplinary action.”
“Speak for yourself, ya overgrown caveman. Maybe we could just kick the soldier-boy out of the clubhouse,” muttered Venus darkly.
“And you,” Luna snapped his gaze onto the short man, “Your actions were no less dishonorable than mine. Punish is to be dealt out to all combatants, regardless of responsibility!”
“My children, please,” a voice with an ethereal note cut in, “There is neither need nor want amongst us to bicker. It is through unity that we survive and thrive.”
Terra turned around in her chair to see the voice’s owner, John Asimov, the councilman of Titan. A being of neither true flesh and blood nor raw metal and circuitry, the Shepard of the Long Search entered the chamber through one of the multiple thresholds. Today, he took the form of a man, likely because it was either the most convenient form available or because he wished to avoid the Uncanny Valley.
If his intent was the latter, he failed.
The hyper-flexible composite that formed his ‘skin’ gave him the pallor of a grandparent dying of cancer but the tautness of a child’s. His lack of muscle twitches, nervous tics, involuntary movements like blinking or breathing all gave people the impression of a moving corpse. His movements were too rigid, too prone to moving a body part from start to destination at full speed with minimal acceleration time. Every turn of his head was a body action more appropriate for people who just hear a gunshot or horrific scream looking to the source without needing to search.
But despite his eerie appearance, John Asimov, or Titan as he was known in among the council, was a gentle soul. Despite being technically the commanding officer of all Sentinel fleets, most of the actual command and order business was handled by the individual Admirals and their respective fleets, with the councilman only providing oversight and dealing with administrative issues.
Taking her seat, Terra starts. “Councilors, as you know, there has been a Fermi-class situation: a new world with intelligent life. It was discovered less than 48 hours ago, 48 hours now lost, 48 hours never to be regained. So now the question is: how do we proceed?”
For the next hour and a half, politics, logos, pathos, ethos, and all manners of nonsensical debate rang out in the chamber. And then, once all forms of procrastination, disruptions, and distractions were removed from the table, the matter still stood.
“We can’t send the Seventh Fleet, not after that last fiasco,” admitted Mars, shuddering at the memory of the public backlash.
“But we can’t ignore this either. Garden Worlds are rare. Earth, Zion, and only three more have been located; two of those barely count as ‘garden’ worlds and the third had to be terraformed,” replied Kali Patel, Council woman of Ceres, having had slipped into the council chamber after Mars’ and Titan’s entrances.
“If there is already a civilization on the world, we cannot morally intrude upon their world, especially if they are not yet spacefaring,” countered Titan.
“If there are people there, then we must take the position of dominance immediately. If they’re still planet-bound, send a message early so they don’t get any ideas and if they’ve taken to space, we must make them know we are not to be trifled with,” barked Luna.
“And show of force will only ruin any chance of peace,” scowled Terra, memories of the war unforgotten.
“Then perhaps a middle-of-the-road solution: a single semi-military vessel. One strong enough to hold its own and flee if need be while civil enough to not get shot on sight?” ventured Venus, ever the charismatic people person.
“If I remember correctly, we do have some ships capable of reaching the new system within a few days located in the Dunham Expanse,” Titan offered.
Had Titan possessed a mindset truly human, he would have reacted to Luna’s gaze of hatred. Internally, Luna had already rejected the notion of the Sentinels making First Contact with vitriol rarely seen outside trials against the most heinous crimes, but he had to diplomatic. Such words of anger and hatred would not due. Unfortunately, the only way Luna could have phrased his rejection without angering the other councilmembers was one that left him with little control. “I must protest. If we send anyone, it must be a representation of the Collective. That unfortunately means that the use of Sentinel vessel not an option. There are few humans that can survive a ride on Sentinel ships and I will not be having crippled diplomats representing the Collective.”
In this day and age, such political covers were virtually transparent to the other councilmembers, but none could call his bluff, such was its founding in reason. They too felt that a diplomatic party consisting of only Sentinels could be mistaken for some type of invading army. Of course, each of the councilors wanted to get in on the action. Venus a chance to expand its markets. Mars wanted to learn if these newcomers could help refine the terraforming process. Luna’s overriding orders were the protection of the Collective. Titan hoped for a clue as to the whereabouts of their creators. Terra, to prevent Luna from doing something stupid. And Ceres…Always a wildcard. Unlike her fellows around the table, Ceres’ goals and motives were never quite so clear nor obvious.
So no, while Luna’s protests were, below the surface, blatant lies, to reject or ignore them would only jeopardize one’s own goals.
“Then who do you suggest, Luna, that we send to establish contact? I have not heard of any Exploration Vessels in the regions and I’m not willing to send out any of my ships on a wild penguin chase,” snapped Ceres.
“Friends,” intoned Mars with a hint of something in his voice, “There is someone we can send. It is part of the same fleet as Titan’s, but it’s not a Sentinel ship. A Schuylkill-class frigate currently attach to New Reykjavik. It could reach the new world in… 3-4 days, depending on the crew’s current condition. I was reading up on what we had in the area and, while the ship’s crew is currently on shore leave, it does represent a fair sample of demographics. Your opinions?” Terra, the relative calm in the storm, was the first to react, “We need someone to head there ASAP. Entirely Sentinel or not, it doesn’t matter.”
“I can send a small fleet, but it won’t be ready for a good month,” admitted Venus, “But I must agree with Terra: Speed is key.”
Ceres merely nodded her approval.
“I’ll send word for leave to be canceled. For everyone. Until we get confirmed reports that our new neighbors are non-hostile, I’m raising general readiness of all military units. Yes, Terra I’m doing this. You can’t stop me and if things go FUBAR, we’ll need it,” stated Luna. His words were not admitted, barked, or shouted, merely stated.
As the councilors took their leave, Terra, just Margret now that the meeting was over, went over to Mars, now Diego, who was conversing with one of his student-engineers.
Seeing her out of the corner of one of his multiple optic sensors, Diego turns, “Ah, Margret, I’m sorry about my lateness. I know that Matthias and Theodore are difficult at the best of times.” “It’s quite alright. Though I need to ask you something.”
“Yes, what is it, dear?”
“You said a Schuylkill-class ship was out there. That’s always been a rare ship, not many got out of the dry docks before the series was canceled in favor of the Thames-class. How did you know where that specific ship was? When you brought it up, I couldn’t help but noticed it seemed like you knew the ship already.”
Diego looked a sorrowful for a moment, “The Captain of the ship was good friend of my daughter. She lost her family in an accident and she stayed with for a few years. We try to keep in touch but, well you know how it is, communication across the stars is difficult and military and government messages take priority. Yeah, even among giants like us.”
“Oh, uh, I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting that. Thanks, just curious, oh, and di you-” Margret was cut off by the ringing of her datapad. One look was all it took to tell her it was going to be a rough night.
“Sorry, another riot in the continental senate complex. Thanks for your time, Diego.”
“Anytime Margret,” the large man replied with a wave.
As the councilor of Earth, homeworld of humanity ran off to deal with the everyday issues of ruling over a world of 9 billion souls, the man from Mars couldn’t help but feel a stab of guilt. What he told his friend was true, from one perspective, but complete and utter lies from another. As he headed towards the lift that would take him home, his mind in all its augmented functionality turned towards the girl he saved that now he may be very well sending to her demise.
September 9, 2806
HCS Olive Branch, med-bay
“My god, what happened to her?”
“You heard ‘bout Nosodija? She’s the sole survivor.”
“’Survivor’? If I didn’t know better, I’d say that this is a roasted corpse, not a thirteen year old girl. What happened there?”
“Total colony failure. FTL Comms just cut off and by the time someone got in range to pick up conventional EM signals, well, ‘screams of the damned’ were the admiral’s words, not mine. Heard the comms officers that heard are still undergoing psychological evaluation.”
“Still,” the man takes a long look at the crippled child, “what happened to her? How’d they find her?”
“Hell if I know. Shit’s classified way above our heads about exactly what went on planetside. All I know is that after they picked her up, the navy gave the entire planet Wildfire Protocol and now, now we have her and are supposed to do something. Fix her up or something.”
“Dude, she missing all four limbs. Chart says pretty much everything below her ribcage was pulped and someone practically shoved a cell phone tower into her brain to keep it running. Exactly how am I supposed to ‘fix her’?”
The man’s teeth audibly grind together as the doctor spoke his diagnosis. “You’re the expert in nanites, you tell me.” His words, in another place, with different blood, would have flayed the doctor alive.
“Those are for cuts and bruises, not disembowelments! You know what happens when they’re overused, I know you’ve seen the results.” Fear crept into the man’s voice.
“Then pass her over to the Venusians. Maybe they can fix her up with some of those bio-prosthetics.”
“That won’t do her any good, not with this level of damage. Maybe we could…hmm,” the man goes quiet as the gears in his head spin up to speed. His compatriot backs off, leaving the doctor to figure how to fix Miss Humpty Dumpty. As he turns and gets to the door, the doctor asks one final question, sinking down into his chair.
“Mein Gott, Jack, when…when did she regain consciousness?”
Without turning around, the man simply says, “Just before you read off the butcher’s bill, Rainman.”
January 12th, 2807
Her vocal cords began working again a month ago. Her voice sounded like it belonged to a monster from some antique space horror. It was rough and harsh, not her melodious choir tongue that filled her home on many occasions. But every day, small droplets that were once the ocean of her talent returned, but this would be not ocean, a puddle or a small pond if she was lucky.
Her eyesight was virtually nonexistent. All she see was whether the lights were on or off. Details, even vague impressions, were simply not there. Gone the days were she could pick out the letters on the newspaper from across the room. Unlike her voice, nothing was recovering in her desolate eyes. If anything, they were somehow worsening, though given the already low visual acuity, it was hard to tell. But each day seemed dimmer.
What troubled her most was her body. How could it not? Even before Doctor Cedar read off what she had lost, she could feel it. Through the painkillers and nerve damage, past the trauma and scars, she could feel…nothing. She could not run through fields of purple grain, swim in the cerulean lakes, climb the coastal cliff faces. She could lie in bed. And think. Think about what she lost, who she lost on that day. Think about her mother, her father, her brothers and sisters. Think about the monsters that roamed the streets. Think about the past.
Think about the future. The doctors had been adamant that she’d be disabled forever, but he had plans. Big plans. Plans that gambled everything. For her and himself. His plan would do more than restore her to a functional human, they’d push her beyond that.
Normal prosthetics would not suffice, not with her injuries, her body would not handle such a load and in all likelihood reject them. Even now, the circuitry and electronics in her skull are putting her system under dangerous strain. So to solve her rejection problem, he proposed consuming the forbidden fruit: liberated nanites.
These nanites, without the artificial Hayflick limit imposed upon their restrained brethren, would remain with her for the rest of life, however long that may be. They would be the proverbial tape binding her to the implants. The Martians used a similar method of binding flesh and machine, but that was done before birth, when the process was more likely to succeed, making the Martian’s cells themselves part machine so as to facilitate better implants later in life. The host gained access to a wider range of implants and the nanites gained extended lifespans. This however has no precedent. The Martians’ method terminate their nanites upon death as they are bound to the host’s cells. For her however, there was no guarantee that her nanites would shut off when she died or if they wouldn’t just consume her body, or at least what remained of it.
A life caged in useless flesh or a life as an unstable hybrid of flesh and metal. For many hours, she let her mind run through it all, running down tangents as they appeared, hoping to delay the inevitable. If she stayed as she was, her experiences would be limited to solitary confinement, the machines keeping her alive too large to be moved. If she left, nothing was certain. She could meet her death on the operating table, when she pushed forward, in combat, or just drop dead in the street. She stood at a crossroads and down each path, death lingered, waiting to complete its collection it harvested from Nosodija. The question was: Which path would she find what her dying heart desired.
And on that day, she choose her path.
February 27th, 2818
HVS Renaissance
Eyes open, suddenly drawn to full consciousness. In the dark, the bed erupts as its occupant stirred from total rest to full panic. Images beyond eyesight flooded her mind. Noise beyond sound rang out inside her ears. Shields of quantum binary held fast should an electronic dagger strike. After moments of silence, she let her guard drop. She was alone. And then she reflected. She hadn’t had that dream in years. She could check her memory archives to see the exact date, but she knew the last time was when she left the facility that restored her nearly a decade ago.
Someone’s at the door
Her bifurcated mind can sneak up on itself sometimes. Machine detecting things that escape the notice of organic. Organic seeing through the flaws of the machine.
Let them enter
Silently, signals are sent, received, processed, and executed. The door unlocks and slides open and in walks a ghostly giant.
“Captain, you are needed at the bridge.”
“What is it, Vlad? It’s the middle of my rest cycle.”
“Orders from High Command, ma’am. From the ARC itself.”
“The ARC?” she snorted, “What would the penguins want with us?”
“I do not know, ma’am. The orders are classified above my clearance.”
With a short laugh, she interrupts him. “You’re ex-Serenitatis. You can get CQE weapon launch codes if you ask nicely.”
“Ma’am,” his tone hardens, and not because of the mention of his old unit, “It is a Fermi-class data package.”
Once again, a mind falling back to sleep is brought to full speed, brimming with attention and thoughts. “We need to get moving. Now.”
“Ma’am, clothes?” Eyes of extinct polar ice blankly stare. For the man from the moon, the sight brings little reaction or response, but past experiences had endowed him with the understanding that few others aboard the ship possess such apathetic views of exposed flesh and propriety.
She stares daggers at him as throws on her overcoat as she berates him, “How many times do I have to tell you, call me Lisa. We’ve known each other for years.”
Third Precinct, Helgiko district, Naziegn, Vikemheim
When Hytrel sent out Shynel and Malic to deal with the panicking astrologists, the worst he expected to deal with was some bad omens about crime rates or needing to send someone to find which brothel Malic ended up dragging Shynel to on the preface of ‘health inspections’. He wasn’t expecting having to begin organizing a full city-wide defense and preparation for a potential invasion. But such things must be done.
He could still smell the scent of burning flesh, wood soaked in blood. The war was decades ago, but the memories are still fresh. As he looked around the Precinct-turned-combat-information-center, he saw the faces of many of his men and women. For most, murder and rape were the closest to the atrocities of war that they had ever seen. The Guards of the Exorcist Guild would have more experience with dealing with arcane rituals gone awry, but that was not like the things unleashed last time Hytrel saw war.
He had just joined the Guard, fresh out of training. He was expecting to have to deal with drunkards and mate betrayers, not weaponized Chimera and invading troops. He still remembers the smell, the most basic sensory input, hardwired into the core of memory. The smoldering scent of roasted flesh, the metallic tinge of blood, ozone from war-mages pushing themselves beyond their limit and paying the price. Then Hytrel remembered losing Kavel. The last time he saw Kavel, his mentor and second father, was when Kavel threw him out the window of a four story building overrun with chimera. By the time Hytrel recovered, Kavel cleansed the building with fire and the All-Mother’s light, taking with him the monsters within.
This memory, its images burned forever in Hytrel’s mind, brought him back to the present. The headquarters of the Third Precinct was a storm of chaos. Civilian evacuation orders cast in the All-Mother’s light to all that could receive them. Multiple division heads working to organize a troupe Portal Mages large enough to open a portal for the proper army to come through, not the apertures used by evacuating civilians. One of the officers, Frinstel, comes over.
“Mi’Lord, evacuation reports. Glosfrel, Vifchad, and Ponpret districts have all been completely evacuated. The First, Second, and Fourth through twelfth are completely evacuated as well. The Northern districts are approximately 50% evacuated.”
“That still leave us with what?” the Lord-Guardian groaned, running numbers through his head, “At least three more districts in the south. How are the outer fortifications looking?”
Frenstel looks at the report he’s holding, simply delaying the news. “The Guard is at maximum readiness, sir. But if this ends up like the last war…”
“It won’t matter,” Hytrel finished, “High walls of enchanted stone won’t protect you when it is raining enemy soldiers all throughout the city proper. Get ahold of the Baron. I want authorization to have the Klima Guild prepare Glyphs of Storms. It may not stop the worst, but it should buy us time.”
“Sir, is that really necessary? Last time one of those Allmother-cursed Glyphs were used, the next dozen harvests were decimated by unstable weather.” The fear in the man’s voice was noticeably. A lot of good Eltrians starved in the famines.
Hytrel shoots the man a glance, considering his words, but ultimately his mind remained unchanged. If being forced to bow to other realms to prevent starvation was the price to better ensure the civilian population was saved, then so be it.
Hytrel dismissed Frenstel and turned to look out the window, taking in the cityscape. It was a masterpiece: a city grown, not built, from the trees, reinforced by stone and metal. No matter how many times Hytrel takes in the sight, it leaves him in awe. In the distance, he could see the flares as military-grade gateways sparked into existence, soldiers already pouring through. Casting his gaze closer to the base of the Precinct’s fortress, he saw a commotion. With barely a twitch, the Lord-Guardian activated hidden Glyphs set in his eyes. With eyesight sharper than any natural creature, he could see the cause: the father, or perhaps grandfather, of an evacuating family refused to part with his war memorabilia from some war or another. As the Guards confronted him, two other Guards entered the area, one with pale, near white-blue skin and one a hue of green tea: Shynel and Malic respectively. They stopped only for a moment to observe the old man, who Hytrel could now clearly see he was an old man, and the trio of Guards confronting him, one directly, one calming the family members, and one simply hanging back in case things got messy. As things escalated, Hytrel saw a flicker of silver dash across the courtyard into the old Eltrian’s neck.
As those down below reacted, Hytrel grinned inwardly as he recognized that technique, despite its sloppy execution. Malic’s only skill, besides being a ladykiller, was pacification. A hair-like needle, wrapped in thin sheet of silver, inscribed with various glyphs and a Sigil, launched by a quiet impulse Rune set. Upon contact with its target, the sliver would apply a calibrate shock to the target nervous system, dropping them near instantly. If skin-contact wasn’t a prerequisite for it to work, it would have been part of the standard load-out for the Guard. That, and the training needed to accurately hit and neutralize a target was nigh impossible for anyone without Malic’s level of determination.
Hytrel remembered helping Malic’s father teach that to Malic, back when the man was still alive. A flash of light jolts Hytrel out of his reminiscing, a habit he’s been developing as of late. The image on the window begins to distort in places. He cancels the Symbols enhancing his sight so as to take a broader view. A thunderstorm, right after he asked for one to be conjured. An ill omen or a blessing, it was too early to tell, thought the Eltrian, narrowing his eyes as he watched his city prepare to withstanding another oncoming storm, this one not of rain and lightning, but of fire blood.
Continues below
Goddamn, this was a bitch to write. Nearly7.1K words. I did not expected it to be so long. Sorry this took a while to get out, but shit happened. It was actually proofread the other day, but then shit happened in this order: engineering exam, proofreader hit by exams, engineering lab, computer virus, laptop battery went full zombie, computer programming exam. But it's here now.
Also, I remember that while I was writing the original series, I said to expect one chapter per week. Yeah, not happening. Quality is better than quantity.
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The Binary Options Trading With Auto Profits Trades System – like any field – loaded with puzzles and needs to take in a ton of expressions and aptitudes even novice broker can identify these insider facts and change them into components working to support him. In the accompanying lines we will give you the most critical and noticeable keys from which you can enter the universe of twofold alternatives yet to open all the entryways of achievement that encompasses this world. Binary options trading is one of the most ideal approaches to make progress in that it occurred soon between the old traditional trading strategies, for example, exchanging remote monetary forms and exchanging organizations. Hence we prescribe broker to be completely positive about exchanging double choices where a number of Auto Profits Trades merchants in parallel markets on the grounds that it gives them a region without having much capital. Trading in binary options with Auto Profits Trades System is the same thought hidden trading the paired alternatives markets, when you open the middle at the cost of what it does to open another merchant focus consequently, which implies that one of you will purchase and offer the other. This alleged (above) or (without) any feeling that when you means to exchanging on a specific focus, you need to pick the structure for a certain time allotment and not thirty minutes, for instance, and taking into account the prospect that tends initially a certain heading and finishes to be above or underneath the cost when you open the arrangement. On the off chance that the procedure is the point at which your desires, then you’ll get a repaired profit of to 85% for your venture. Auto Profits Trades merchants when gotten some information about parallel alternatives is the most essential thing is to divert them benefits for-work hours (less work more hours) and benefit. So I give you reasons why Extreme Profits System dealers are searching for exchanging double choices: – Unpredictability versus straightforwardness. Binary options trading by a few components included in your advancement delay, in particular: – Focuses distinction: are the focuses taken by Auto Profits Trades stage against the opening of another focus, which makes it hard to accomplish any benefits surpassed by these focuses, regardless of the possibility that things are going to support you. Auto Profits Trades Software stage have a benefit from the effect in focuses with on the off chance that you disregard what you win or not any feeling that there is no connection between interest and request for-benefit. With respect to twofold choices are firmly connected Auto Profits Trades Software benefit. In the event that you open Auto Profits Trades require one and only point in the normal heading so as to make a benefit for you and your exchanging stage for this situation you’ll get a benefit by 85% and we are 15%. The one-point distinction Auto Profits Trades broker benefit.
Persistent work and center supported:
When trading the binary alternatives exchanging markets, you obliged to pay consideration on numerous elements, survival As PC screens for the duration of the day so you can harvest benefits yet furnish you with the intercession instruments organizations help you (stop misfortune) and (benefit taking) until the exchanging procedure turns out to be progressively basic . However, regardless, exchanging the twofold alternatives markets while both of you decisions: either an extraordinary time to work up to 12 hours a day all alone until you close the inside in return for a major benefit or to labor for a couple of hours in return for benefit is constrained. Either in the double alternatives thou will get the best in any circumstance a blend of settled degrees of profitability and the danger of preset misfortunes notwithstanding the programmed conclusion of the middle, that is, they furnish you with more prominent benefit shorter working hours.
Influence: a standout among-st the most devices that are hostile to trading the binary markets. Twofold businesses offering budgetary jacks to accomplish benefits from Auto Profits Trades It may appear a privilege. In any case, dealers are obliged to open an enormous focuses to accomplish tremendous benefits in return for basic aggregates of cash through the utilization of budgetary jacks yet in the meantime can likewise uncover your record inside of seconds. Either in the parallel choices. You can open the focuses $20 least and make benefits by 89% of the arrival on venture is sufficiently extraordinary for the time you spent to accomplish them and that Bonn need ‘me money related cranes. Speculation basic, thin benefits for a little venture, enormous increases: Binary Options Trading With Auto Profits Trades does not require just contribute a considerable measure of time, but rather you additionally need contribute a ton of cash. Since you have to a huge number of dollars to open the Normal focus strolling normally in the non-straight streets presentation to noteworthy misfortunes in return for a couple benefits. The two-sided misfortunes, it is a basic framework that helps you to make a benefit. At the point when just put $1,000 in remote trade showcases, the trepidation of it you simply get Auto Profits Trades Software exceed the estimation of the benefit. In any case, with paired choices you’ll be in a condition of consolation as generally safe and enormous additions. Where the venture sums are resolved by inclinations for instance, you can exchange up to $20 billion to make a benefit of up to 17 equivalent to double the first of your whole in inside of one moment. You can likewise adds up to basic exchanging methods are subject as a “support” so you can utilize less capital with a chance to open more focuses in the meantime.
The variety of focuses contrasted with limit focuses:
Forex binary options offer you the same costs for the same resources, however not all the open doors in the business sector are accessible to all merchants. As most exchanging stages resort to limit merchants through new approaches that don’t permit them to open new places for them. These limitations and conditions make it more hard to utilize exchanging methods, for example, supporting and theory. The parallel alternatives empower you to open different focuses was whether extra exchanging on the same or inverse bearing Center against yourself, without conditions or procurement’s or limitations. Numerous brokers likewise keep my record Forex exchanging and binary options trading until that gives them numerous chances to get the best positions amid the exchanging. Once in a while you will most likely be unable to get an immaculate Centers Whatever sort of exchanging stage or the courses in which exchanged out yet when you have two records for this situation have the capacity to grab the benefit opportunities and not squander it out of your hands, and you can likewise settle on a choice “fence” between records, when you open a position in Auto Profits Trades double record, you can open a record in respective inverse the alternatives, and the other way around. Numerous fledgling traders Confused to pick a binary options procedure that suit them; and because of the absence of involvement in the field of parallel choices all in all, alongside the differing qualities and assortment of styles and exchanging methods. Obviously, picking the right system will focus the level of moving execution later amid an exchange, which expands the significance of this decision and thus the requirement for precision while selecting the proper technique for trading.
How would you pick the fitting Trading technique:
Intelligent moving on to be comprehended at the beginning the way of his identity and slants self; on the grounds that it assumes a vital part in the way the trading and administration dealings. These specialists exhorted fledglings and the need to make an Auto Profits Trades demo account first before beginning any genuine exchanging; on the grounds that this demo record gives the merchant the chance to know the way of his activities amid an exchange beside increase experience without being so dangerous. Keeping in mind doing this demo exchanging ought to be moving to break down his character needs to focus the proper methodology.
Trading event for aficionados of fervor and fun technique:
In the event that the moving of the characters that have a tendency to quick execution loaded with energy and essentials proprietors, this individual prompted specialists pick day by day exchanging framework or interface framework; in light of the fact that this framework guarantees him exchanged quick and prompt results day by day and benefits, and consequently won’t tire moving and acknowledge this sort of systems due on the grounds that it is his craving to meet and compare with slants.
Trading system for proprietors of self-long : On the off chance that moving work so quiet and has a long haul take a gander at the life and self-term proprietors and feelings calm, it is proper to him Auto Profits Trades pick the heading trading or venture esteem framework; where ensures him these alternatives execution that fits his identity, which is thought about decidedly its execution amid the exchanging and behavior exchanges. Along these lines guaranteeing his method more benefits because of the similarity with the character and slants.
The significance of adapting more than an Trading method :
Football player who is familiar with unmistakable playing in more than one middle, and serves to create a hefty portion of the aptitudes by the appeal by alternate clubs, and therefore its value rises. Consequently additionally the case with Auto Profits Trades dealer, who is conversant in utilize more than one exchanging methodology; it permits him that to keep exchanging and make exchanges under diverse conditions, guaranteeing his Time benefit regardless of how conditions have changed and changed the information before him, thus can this moving gifted Auto Profits Trades arrangement making in any edge and in what time allotment diagrams. Yet, we must place moving into record the need to build up his aptitudes as a rule until it gets to be merchant expert familiar with managing all the circumstances, and before that to take in the nuts and bolts and the tenets of the amusement, as Einstein said, “you need to learn standards of the diversion initially, then figure out how to exceed expectations on the others.” So it should first be rolling has a general learning then practice later as indicated by the slants as we specified some time recently, the noteworthiness here is the requirement for information of moving all methods before figuring out what is accepted to suit them. It took the best and most celebrated brokers to years to achieve their present status; and amid these years they trying different things with a few techniques under distinctive time allotments, has kept on rehearsing despite the mix-ups they made, however they inevitably came to a technique that fits their identity, and consequently informed Always extending the term concerning experimentation until it snaps moving on the exchanging method that suits him, and not chose from the earliest starting point as indicated by his convictions; in light of the fact that experimentation permits them the chance to find their capacities and potential, and in addition the securing of the exchanging aptitude under diverse circumstances.
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