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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-07-10, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Default For the Greatest Good! A 40K/SG1 fanfiction crossover

For the Greatest Good


I'm afraid that I'm not quite sure where this goes, but I've been working for quite a while on it and I hope that you all enjoy "For the Greatest Good", the first of hopefully more parts soon. Please don't forget to comment and tell me your opinions on it. Editing is never out of the question :D
The story is based around the aftermath of Dawn of War, Soulstorm and what happens to Commander Or’es. The story assumes for the sake of the story that the Imperial Guard succeeded in defeating the Tau (as suggested by Games Workshop).


“Shas Or'es, you have been summoned to this council to receive the ruling on the charges of gross incompetence which directly led to the death of your Ethereal, Aun'Ro'Yr during the Kaurava* system campaign. We, the Council of Truth for the Greater Good have concluded that you are innocent. While we deplore the loss of Etheral Aun’Ro’Yr, we can only conclude that the combined problems of facing several enemies at any one time and the uncompleted status of the Nan-Yanoi moon base meant victory was always unlikely. We applaud you for the aggressive actions taken in the name of the Greater Good and offer you our condolences for the loss of your battlegroup. You are dismissed until you receive new orders.”

Shas Or'es stood before the assembled Council; all of them representatives of each Caste ranging from Earth to the Ethereal’s themselves. His eyes appeared dark and heavy before holding his arms before him and making his symbol. “For the Greater Good,” he said in a monotone voice before turning and left the council, their eyes on his back as the door slid to a close after him. Without warning, the representative from the Fire Caste stood up. Shas’O Vior'la Ko’rans looked at the other assembled representatives.
“Are we truly doing the correct thing in permitting him to retain his command?” Ko’rans was bulky, a symbolic Bonding Knife on his waist to indicate his humble beginnings as a Fire Warriors.

The Earth Caste representative shuffled his feet as he looked at the bulky warrior. “There was no reason to take away his command. Our reasons were sound; there was very little chance for victory in the Kaurava system.” His cloak was a muddy brown colour to indicate his Caste.

Shas’O Korans slammed his fist into the desk. “A true warrior would have stayed and died over the body of his Ethereal! The very fact that Aun’Ro’Yr died should have been reason enough for him to commit suicide, at the very least sentenced to death by this council!”

The Water Caste representative glanced at Shas Kor’ans in amusement. “Come now my brother, surely we are not barbarians such as the humans? Their obstinacy to stand and fight the Greater Good while facing total defeat is admirable but ultimately foolhardy. Whilst the deaths of Shas Or’es and his warriors in a last stand may be thought of as honourable and glorious by the Fire Caste, the loss of life would have been pointless. It is the decision of this council that Shas Or’es decision to retreat when Aun’Ro’Yr fell in battle was a correct one.”

“He should have died with Aun’Ro’Yr!” The Fire Warrior bellowed.

“Enough.” The calm clear voice seemed to vibrate through the room, and an instant calmness filled the inhabitants of the room. Sitting between the four Castes at the place of honour was a blue-greyed skinned Ethereal. He stood up, the other members of the Castes automatically doing the same, as he looked around them. “While the death of one of my brothers is unfortunate, he would not want to see some of the finest minds our Castes have to offer bickering amongst themselves as though we had returned to the Mont’au.” The assembled members shuddered unconsciously as though they were indeed back in that time. “No, Shas'O Or'es did the right thing. Unfortunately, I sense that his beliefs have become warped.”

The Water Caste member looked at the Ethereal in surprise. “Warped, Ethereal? What do you mean?”

“Has Shas Or’es turned against the whole ideal of the Greater Good?”

“Nothing so drastic, I believe. I believe however that his views on what the Greater Good exactly means have changed in his time at the Kaurava System. Many enemies were faced there, all of them horrific in their own way with no other thought that to destroy us entirely.” The Ethereal sighed and walked towards the door slowly, stopping to look at the representatives behind him. “I suspect that that his next mission will prove to be a decisive point for our empire. I only pray that the empire will prove strong enough to survive the actions of Shas Or’es.”

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Or’es stood up with his arms above his head as the red-laser from the hovering orange drone continued its measurement of his body, a hologram of armour appearing in front of him based on his height and weight. His body bulky, even for one of the Fire Caste, he couldn’t simply go for an ordinary suit of armour like many of his kin. He had to have his custom made. Nodding his approval to the small hovering drone, he walked out of the light causing the hologram of the armour to disappear and the robot to disengage itself. He sighed deeply as he entered his Spartan room and sat down in front of a table, pulling a bottle of the finest drink shipped out from Tau itself. Pouring himself a glassful, he had only just taken a sip of the sweet drink when the door suddenly pinged, signifying that someone was at the door.

“Enter”, his bass voice called out loudly. The door’s voice-recognition systems processed the key word and with a hiss opened the door. An armoured Tau warrior walked inside, slightly smaller than Or’es even wearing his armour. His turned towards Or’es who remained sitting. He grinned at the sight of the armoured Tau. “Come, Ja’kul, you have no need to remain under your helmet in my chambers. We have been through too many campaigns together for mere military protocol to stand between us.”

The Tau raised his gauntleted hands to his head and pulled his helmet off, shaking his head as he did so and scratched his scalp through his long white hair. He shook his head in slight amusement, “I swear no matter what rank or what race you are, helmets will always make you itchy after taking it off.”
Or’es agreed with a small grunt, sitting at a table and gesturing Ja’kul to sit across from him. Grabbing another glass near him, he poured another drink out for him. The two of them sat at the table in a comfortable silence, sipping at their drinks. Ja’kul smiled in satisfaction at the sweet alcoholic taste before putting his glass down and leaning forward. “So tell me, commander, what word from the Council?”

Or’es declined to answer until he finished the last of his drink, sighing deeply afterwards. “It is as I thought would happen on the rescue ships back here. The council weren’t – no, couldn’t blame me for the military disaster that was Kaurava. They gave me some reluctant praise and then sent me on my way.”
“Then it wasn’t as bad as we first feared”, Ja’kul said in obvious relief.
Or’es was shaking his head as soon as Ja’kul had opened his mouth. “No, unfortunately it is just as bad as we feared, if not more.”

“How so?”

“Korans was there.”

Ja’kul raised an eyebrow before sighing deeply “Ah...The same Koran that you once defeated heavily in a military exercise?”

“The man takes things too seriously,” Or’es smirked.

“It didn’t help that you managed to wipe out over 90% of his force before personally taking him prisoner.”

“Accidents happen. He needs to grow up and find where he went wrong before he messes his own career and the lives of his soldiers up.”

Ja’kul grinned widely, “Regardless of what he ought to do, he hates you beyond words can describe.” Draining the last of his glass, he wiped his mouth and leaned forward. “So what does this mean for us then?”

Or’es leaned back and placed his arms behind his head, sighing. “I fear that it means that the two of us will be sent off to some outpost keeping down local ork tribes or combating pirates for the rest of our careers.”

A hissing noise suddenly interrupted the two of them. “But such would be a inglorious and terrible end for two such mighty warriors such as yourselves!” A voice boomed from the now-open doorway. The two Fire Warriors turned to look at the person. Standing in the doorway was a smiling Water Caste member, the traditional sign of the Diplomat Class tattooed on his bare shoulder revealed by his blue-dyed robe. “Will you not hand me a glass and some of that drink friends?” The diplomat asked, his voice persuasive. Almost unwittingly without noticing it, Ja’kul found himself pouring more drink into his glass and holding it towards the diplomat who took it with one hand and drained it in one before smacking his lips in appreciation.

Or’es shook his head as though a fuzziness had descended upon him. “And who might you be, friend?”

“They call me El’Lavor and I was chosen to bring you news my friend of your new posting.”

“Ah...” Or’es said dully, gripping his glass with slightly more force. “I shouldn’t have been surprised that they haven’t waited to give me the choice. Out of sight out of mind, is that not so?”

El’Lavour grinned widely “On the contrary, Commander, the mission you have been assigned is of utmost importance to the Empire and to the Greater Good! You have been chosen to accompany a new experimental ship that offers great possibilities into long-range travels. Why, if we’re correct then we can reasonably expect the Empire and the Greater Good to expand into the very edge of the galaxy in a few thousand years!”

Or’es blinked in surprise, “What do you mean, El’Lavor; speak plainly if you would to us mere soldiers, for we do not have the knowledge that you currently hold.”

El’Lavour smiled broadly. “From what I know commander, the Earth and the Air Caste have been working together on a new experimental Engine Drive that would allow us to ‘hop’* from places in one part of the galaxy to another. It’s all very technical and above my head, but this could revolutionise space travel as we know it. It would certainly solve the problem we currently have of getting places!”

Or’es sat back in disbelief, his head spinning at what he would be commanding. Ja’kul leaned forward, his eyes transfixed upon the diplomat. “I assume that we will not be actually commanding the ship itself, seeing as we’re not part of the Air Caste, correct?”

El’Lavour smiled disarmingly. “You misunderstand me, naturally you wouldn’t be able to command the ship itself, however, you are to be place in command of the Fire Caste and other elements that will be accompanying the ship.”

Ja’kul frowned, “other elements? Surely you mean only the Fire and Air Caste, what need will there be for the Earth or Water caste, no disrespect intended of course for you.”

El’Lavour grinned, “None taken friend, we all have our specific purposes. No, from what I know you will be heading to a small colony that will be requiring additional resources from the Empire. Along with you will be a small battlefleet just in case things don’t turn out perfectly. Like I said, it is experimental and potentially a dangerous task, although the scientists involved in the making of this new technology assure me that it is perfectly safe; all the simulations have said so.”

“Sounds like a suicidal mission to me,” Ja’kul muttered.

The smile that had been on the face of El’Lavour suddenly disappeared, replaced by an angry scowl. “Regardless of whether or not it is suicidal, you will remember these are your orders and for the Greater Good, you will obey them, Knight Ja’kul*.”

Or’es waved his hand, looking at the two of them. “Forgive my friend, diplomat, he isn’t thinking correctly. He’s only a light weight, after all!”
El’Lavour looked unconvinced for a second before his smile returned to him. “In that case, commander, I will let the two of you continue your talks of glorious campaigns in the name of the Greater Good continue! Your formal orders will be waiting for you when you choose to go to the barracks, commander; you are expected to present yourself for formal duty by tomorrow. You had better perform any personal tasks you wished to do by then; I would not expect to see you for some time. The mission, I am told, will take some time before you return back to us.” Standing up, El’Lavour bowed slightly before leaving the room, the two warriors watched him leave.

As soon as the door hissed to a close, Ja’kor turned to Or’es. “You cannot seriously be thinking of accepting this mission? Surely you can see its intended to remove you permanently! An experimental ship? You heard the rumours of the last few ships to attempt new experimental engines! They either end up in dead space or in the middle of hostile alien territory!”
Or’es smirked, “Personally, the last one sounds a lot better than simply wasting our careers away in some backwater planet, does it not?”

Ja’kor sighed heavily, burying his head into his arm. “Commander, I would follow you the very depths of a Tyranid Hivefleet if I had to, but personally I would like to wait for that day for quite a while yet, possibly at the end of a long and distinguished career in which the entirety of the Empire will know my name for centuries to come. Imagine it, Commander Ja’kor, Hero of the Tau, spreader of the Greater Good, the scourge of tyranny! Would that not be a glorious sight?”

“Sounds about as realistic as seeing Korans drunk on duty.” The two of them smirked and raise their glasses to each other before pouring yet another one.
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“Mothership, this is Hope, requesting permission to land.”

There was a minute of static before the operator replied to the ship. “This is Mothership to Hope, permission granted. You are authorised to dock in Hangar 12. Any unauthorised acts of violence or bringing a weapon onboard will be met with full preventive measures.”

“Understood Mothership, this is Hope signing out.”

Or’res was sat next to the pilot, his eyes filled with the wonder that was the Mothership. Shaped like a crescent moon, the ship was at least the size of a small moon. Dozens of ships hovered around it, satellites and fighters zooming around in a carefully plotted patrol. Satellite after satellite scanned the Hope, forcing them to stop repeatedly before being authorised to continue. After several hours of being scanned, the Hope finally made it into Hangar Bay 12 where a delegation of Fire Caste members awaited Or’res.
The ramp lowered and Or’es, followed by Ja’kor and six Fire Warriors walked down the steps, most of them straining to not look around the hangar. Around them, the noise of whirring and clangs filled the air as mechanical crews worked on individual Barracuda Fighters.

“Commander Or’es, I am Knight Hel’mut and have been designated as your guide and escort for the duration of your command upon the Mothership. If you would like to follow me, I will escort you to the briefing room where you shall receive information upon the capabilities of the Mothership.”

As soon as they had arrived, Hel’mut immediately began speaking, holograms of the areas he talked about appearing in the centre of the round table which represented equality amongst species. “The Mothership is capable of constructing several classes of ships. Naturally, we cannot expect ships such as the Or'es El'leath* Class to be produced, but we can certainly construct ll’Porrui and Lar’shi* Class types.”

“The Mothership itself already carries 200 Barracuda Fighters and 100 Manta Bombers. In addition to these fighters, we have four Kass’l Gunships and another four Kir’qath Starships*. We also have two Lar’shi Cruisers and a Gal’leath Battleship. All of these have been equipped with the new Hyperdrive.”

“Tell me, Hel’mut, are we so confident of the stability of these new warpdrives that we are willing to stake all these ships upon them?” Or’es asked, scanning through his prepared briefing notes.

“All the simulations have indicated that the drives work without a hitch. The Air and Earth Castes have worked on this for over three years. Nothing should and can go wrong.”

Or’es sighed, “very well, if the simulations indicate it’ll work, then it’ll hopefully work. Now what am I commanding exactly?”

“You have been assigned under your command 12,000 Fire Warriors, 2,000 of which are special units. In addition, a tank force of 70 Hammerheads, 20 Droid Harbringers and 20 Sky Ray Gunships.”

“A formidable force for one mere planet.” Ja’kul commented.

“To protect those who serve the Greater Good, nothing can be too much.” Hel’mut replied.

“Fine words, Knight Hel’mut.” A frail voice said from the door. The assembled body stood up at once apart from Or’es who regarded the newcoming with a professional eye. Standing in the doorway was a frail humanoid figure. With flaps of skin where his armpits were, and slightly crooked facial expressions Admiral Sa’lain of the Air Caste regarded them all with black eyes.

“So, you are the Admiral* who will be leading me and my soldiers on this mission?”

“You would be correct, commander. I am Admiral Sa’lain, and I hope that you’re suitably impressed with the Mothership.”

“It certainly sounds impressive,” Or’es admitted. “However, until it’s been in action and I’ve seen its capabilities, I don’t like to comment.”

“A wise policy commander, but I assure you this ship can and does everything you have been informed of. For example, have you been told that the Mothership has the capability to fight off at least three of the Fanatical humans battleships?”

Or’es stared in shock, “If that is true, then why have we not mass produced these ships?”

Sa’lain smiled softly, “have you seen the size of this ship, commander? We did not simply make it in a few years. We have been planning for a ship of this type for many years now; it is only recently that we have had the resources and the technology to construct them. In any case, building the ship alone took over fifteen years. It was only recently that the decision to place the new Warpdrive within the ship was taken. But mass producing these ships? It would take many years before such an operation could take place, and even then I believe that many would see it more prudent to expand the existing navy. I myself am amongst them, there is no need to build ships like this when we already have ships good enough to fight and defeat our enemies. Quality for the sake of quality has no purpose.”
“Perhaps,” Or’es conceded. “Even so, I have little doubt we could further spread the Greater Good with a few more of these ships. So when do we depart for our destination, Admiral?”

The smile of Sa’lain’s face grew wider. “Why, immediately, Commander.”
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The Immaterium is a wondrous, yet terrifying space. Constantly just a fraction away from real space, strange creatures lurk there in hopes of one day spilling over into real space and slaughtering all mortals. The Immaterium is both absolute and relative. Its power is great and terrible and its one desire is to gain more power. The Emperor was once close to destroying that great monster, and allowing mankind to one day escape its gaze. The Eldar attempt to hide away from the monster by disappearing through their Webways, always knowing that one day they will no longer be able to hide and will face their greatest enemy in one last mighty battle. But the Tau? The Tau are interlopers in a age-old game played between Chaos and its prey. They threaten the balance of power that is constantly in favour of Chaos and Chaos alone. The Tau are the greatest threat to the Immaterium, and they cannot be permitted to stand.

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Red lights....a red light filled the room and a smoky smell filled the nostrils of Or’es.

Blink... a red sky in the window...

Blink...the face of a member of the Earth Caste screaming for help as he grasped a metal pipe poking out of his stomach.

Blink...a bloody red colour that shimmered a the edges of his vision, figures running in and out of sight...

Blink...a loud siren that pierced the very heart of Or’es ears.

Bang...the corridor seemed to cave in and Or’es knew no more.

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Admiral Sa’lain and the two Knights, Ja’kul and Hel’mut stood solemnly in front of the body on the slab. The broken body of Commander Or’es lay there lifeless. Both Sa’lain and Hel’mut simply stood there, their faces broken with remorse while silent tears dripped down Ja’kul’s face, hidden only by his helmet.

“It was a...” Admiral Sa’lain said finally, “an unfitting end for such a glorious warrior.”

The three of them remained in an uncomfortable silence for several minutes before Ja’kul finally spoke. “It was more unfitting in ways you cannot even imagine. He should’ve to die protecting an Etheral from the vile grip of death. He should’ve died in a glorious last stand that would’ve saved the Empire and the Greater Good. He shouldn’t have...not like this...never like this...”

“What happened, Admiral?” Hel’mut suddenly said. “None of us here were on the bridge when the ship went into red alert. Were we attacked by some enemy unexpectedly?”

Sa’lain scoffed, “if only if had been something simple like that. No, everything worked perfectly. The engines were supremely effective. But...”

“But what?” Ja’kul brusquely demanded. His fist suddenly grabbed Sa’lain’s throat and his helmet was suddenly in his face. “What did you do, murderer?” His voice was a low, threatening murmur.

Sa’lain began to choke, causing Hel’mut to grab Ja’kul’s arm and disable it, hitting it in a nerve spot. Ja’kul’s arm fell to his side, unable to lift it. “Knight Ja’kul, I understand that you have just lost your commander, but remember where you are! You have just directly threatened the admiral of this ship and your superior officer!”

Ja’kul’s expression was impossible to read through his helmet, but after a tense few seconds he stepped away from the admiral, who was massaging his throat. Standing up straight, Sa’lain shook his head in irritation and stared at the two knights. “As I was saying, the engines worked perfectly but we hit a Warp Storm.”

“A what?” Hel’mut asked, his face looking puzzled.

“A Warp Storm, Knight, is when the Warp as the humans call it spills over into real space. We arrived right in the middle of it. As far as we know, we have been thrown off course and are currently in unknown space. For all we know, we could be in the direct centre of the Imperium or on the other side of the galaxy. Worst case scenario, we are still within the eye of the Warp Storm itself, surrounded by a mass of storm.”

“So find out where we are then.” Ja’kul demanded.

At those words, irritation appeared for the first time on Sa’lain’s face. “Commander, as much as I’d love to, our priorities are at the moment ensuring the safety of these vessels and the lives aboard them. Do you have any idea how much damage has been sustained?” The two Knights shuffled uneasily, realising that neither had bothered to ask. Sa’lain sighed heavily before beginning to speak. “The Mothership has been internally damaged in three levels, twelve lives have been lost and a further 57 have been wounded severely. We expect six more will die in the next day. Emergency repairs have begun on the hull. From what we can tell of the other ships, they have suffered similar damage. Worse of all, the Escort Glory has disappeared. We have found scraps of its hull through the surrounding space. We can assume that it has been destroyed with all hands.”

Suddenly, red lights filled the room again and an alarm sounded. The three of them all had a sudden simultaneous flashback to the Warpstorm. Quickly looking at each other, Sa’lain said with resolution “Knights, as Commander Or’es has passed away, I am obliged as senior officer to temporarily take command of your forces. Hel’mut, Ja’kul, take your action stations on the Mothership. I will alert the other Knights to do the same on their ships. Whether this be the Warpstorm or an enemy, we shall not be lacking.”

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Sa’lain stormed into the bridge, his officers all around him as the siren continued to scream through the air. He winced as a particularly loud one pierced right through him.

“Will someone please turn off that infernal racket?” A few seconds later and the sound ceased, leaving only the red light. “Now that we’ve got some peace and quiet, can someone tell me what in the hell we sounded the general alarm for?”

“Admiral,” one of his officers said. “We’ve got an incoming ship signal.”

“I thought our radar was knocked out by the storm.”

“We only just managed to get it back up, sir. Just in time as well, for we only just saw them incoming as we did so.”

“Just the one?” At the officer’s nod, Sa’lain began to walk slowly towards the command chair as his mind began to work as fast as lightning as he assessed the situation. Mid-step, he suddenly twirled around. “That means that they could’ve been watching us ever since we arrived here!” He ran to the tactical table, “where is their current position?” He frowned thoughtfully as he took in the tactical position of the enemy ship and began to mutter to himself. “This makes no sense...surely whoever they are they wouldn’t do anything with one ship alone. And their actions match nothing of the races we’ve encountered thus far. It would be logical therefore that they are a race that the Tau have no yet encountered. Therefore, we will initiate first contact protocols.” He turned to one of his officers, “which is the closest ship to the ship, captain?”

The officer glanced at the tactical screen before look back at Sa’lain. “Admiral, the cruiser Enlightened is the closest available ship.”

“What damage did it sustain?”

“Minimal damage, Admiral. One of its railguns went offline but it appears that they have returned it to full functionality.”

“Then it’ll be the perfect ship. Send a diplomat on board. But if they are human, then they are Imperial and we cannot allow our presence to be discovered. You will annihilate them with all force necessary. Is that understood captain?”

“Yes sir, I’ll have the orders sent out to the Enlightened with immediate effect.”

A few minutes later, the Enlightened began moving ponderously towards the ship. The opposing ship was a 3D triangular shape; completely grey and with a bending curve near its bottom*.

“Hail them,” Lat’ike, the Captain of the Enlightened. As the signal was sent out, Lat’ike stood up straight on the deck facing the viewing screen where he and his opposite number would hopefully face each other. A beep suddenly sounded and one of his officers indicated to say that they were on voice to each other.

“This is Captain Lat’ike of the Tau Empire. We send you greetings in the name of the Greater Good and hope that good relations can exist between our two powers. For the sake of diplomatic nicety, may I request that we open video communications?”

There was a minute of silence as static was the only thing that broke the voice contact between the two ships.

“Acceptable,” a voice suddenly said across the communications unit.
Another minute passed before the visual screen began to flicker. Lat’ike stood up straight facing it as the figure came into vision. He stiffened as he took into his opposite number’s appearance. Standing in metallic armour, a bronze-coloured human with a strange symbol on his forehead faced Lat’ike, arrogance written all over his face.

“We serve the God Ninurta. If you value your lives, you will shut down all your systems and await to be boarded. It is the only way in which your lives will be saved. Surrender yourselves to me now and you will be granted mercy by the hands of my God.”

Lat’ike gritted his teeth as he faced down the arrogant human. The humans dared to demand his surrender without a fight? Even if he hadn’t been given orders to destroy the human fanatics if he encountered them, he would’ve seriously considered doing so anyway to the Imperium’s vessel.
“In the name of the Greater Good, you are condemned to death, human scum. In accordance of the Declaration of the Greater Good, we reject you and your Emperor’s attempts to stifle the Greater Good and you will be punished for doing so with death. May your Emperor give you mercy in the next life, for we shall give you none in this one.” He turned to his officers, not caring that his counterpart was still on video to him. “Open fire!”

Last edited by kaeim; 06-08-10 at 12:00 AM.
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Inside the Enlightened’s hangers, dozens of Barracuda fighters sat immobile in their launch cradles, while repair drones hummed about them, inspecting and maintaining the Tau aircraft as needed. Once in a while, sparks flew from a drone's welding arm as it repaired a damaged or faulty fighter, injured in earlier combat. For the drones, this was everyday routine aboard a Tau vessel, always working for the benefit of the pilots. They had a vague artificial intelligence system built in, but not enough to actually become aware.

The pneumatic doors of the fighter bay hissed open as a group of over four dozen Tau pilots rushed inside the hangar, clad in flight suits and yelling amongst themselves. The drones ignored the new arrivals and continued their maintenance of the Barracudas, clicking and whirring to themselves. One of the Tau, bearing the colours of a flight commander, held up a hand to her comrades. Silence followed the gesture as the assembled Tau looked at the commander as she prepared to speak.

"We have received orders from Captain Lat’ike." she said. "We’re to go out in a defensive formation and provide cover for our bomber comrades while they unleash their bombs against the enemy ship.”

"What kind of resistance can we expect?" one of the pilots asked.

"Unknown. For all we know the enemy ship doesn’t carry any fighters, but in the likely circumstances that it does, just shoot them all down. Is that understood pilots?"

"Understood commander,” they all said in unison.”

“Very good. Good hunting, my brothers and sisters.”

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Almost as soon as the Cruiser had announced its intention to begin hostile action against the enemy ship, all present players began to move at once. The Mothership and her assembled escorts, who had been listening to the conversation via a satellite feed, immediately began to move in support of the cruiser. Even so, it would take at least 20 minutes for them to arrive. This left the Enlightened on her own against the enemy ship that possessed unknown weaponry and warriors. Even so, she wasted little time in allowing the enemy ship to get its shot in first. Her railgun batteries opened fire, small beads of light flashing between the distance between the two ships. Almost as soon as they impacted, however, they impacted against the shield of the enemy ship which flashed as soon as hit.

Wasting no time itself, the enemy ship returned fire. Two turrets on its sides opened up, its own lights flashing as the two ships began to duel furiously. However, to the general shock of the enemy ship, rather than hitting the shield of the Enlightened, they found their bullets hitting the hull instead.

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“This is Barracuda Red One, initiate evasive manoeuvres. Those turrets are spitting at each other and we sure as hell do not want to get in between them.”

Lights on the wings of the Barracuda fighters flashed in acknowledgement as the fighters moved a standard 12 metres from each other. The bombers inside of the Barracuda formation in contrast moved closer together, their combination of their shields giving them the benefit of being able to sustain heavier enemy fire. Their mission was to get up close to the enemy ship and unleash their firepower upon its hull, thereby bypassing the shield and allowing the Enlightened to get in that first vital blow. It came as a nasty surprise to all involved that the enemy ship unlike the Enlightened possessed a shield. It was a common fact that only battleships had the capacity to maintain shields, otherwise too much power was taken from other vital areas. That was why the Tau focused on maintaining the strongest hull possible for their ships. Hopefully, the bombers would put pay to the disadvantage the Tau had found themselves with.

“We are only 120 miles from the enemy ship, all Mantras prepare for bombing run.” The Mantra lights flashed in acknowledgement as they suddenly dropped back into a line of three strong. “Mantras, your targets are the enemy weapons. Take out those turrets.” The Mantra bombers quickly divided into two standard bombing run groups, each heading towards their target turret. The turrets didn’t seem to notice the threat approaching them.

“This makes no sense commander,” one of the Mantra pilots called in. “We have yet to receive any kind of anti-fighter fire from the ship. They don’t even have any fighters of their own in the air!”

The squadron leader remained silent for a few seconds before replying to his pilots. “You’ve just gotten your wish pilot. Warning to all fighters and bombers, we have incoming enemy fighters and are closing in fast.”

“Rodger that,” the Barracuda squad leader accompanying them replied to his Mantra counterpart. “Barracuda Blue to Second Squad, your orders are to protect the bombers at any cost. Make sure that not a single scratch hits them.”

The escorting Barracuda’s quickly broke off from the bombers, trusting in their comrades’ shields to protect them if anything got past them. All that mattered now was that the Mantras knocked out their turrets. Ignoring the potential threat of enemy fighters, the Mantras hunched together and continued their course.

The Barracuda’s were quick, once free of the constraints of the Mantras, to form their fighter formation. The two groups of fighters approached each other at astounding speeds, their weapons fully primed to fire. It was the Barracuda’s who fired first, their range seemingly further than that of the enemy. It gave them several seconds of punishing fire upon the enemy fighters before the Barracuda’s found themselves under fire. As both sides raked each other with fire as they got closer to each other, fighters on the flanks of both formations began to break off, engaging their counterparts in dogfights. One overconfident Barracuda quickly engaged the rear of one of the enemy fighters, only to find itself attacked from the rear by two enemy fighters. The resulting explosion lit up the surrounding space for a fraction of a second, the pilot’s life ending in a bang.

“Evasive manoeuvres Barracudas!” The squadron leader screamed as he frantically dodged a hail of bullets from a flanking enemy fighter. His own hail of fire proved more successful as he ended the life of an enemy ship. Slowly but surely, the Barracudas were proving the match of the enemy ships, although not without loss. Already seven Barracudas had been destroyed compared to twelve of the enemy.

“For the Greater Good!” The leader howled as he engaged another fighter.

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“Beware Mantras,” the calm voice of the squadron leader voxed into the earpieces of the Tau pilots. “Watch out for anti-fighter turrets on the enemy vessel. Be ready to split at a moment’s notice, otherwise continue to maintain our current course.”

“Commander”, one of the pilots voxed back. “Two of the enemy fighters have broken through the fighter battle and are heading straight towards us.”
“Are you truly surprised, pilots? While our illustratious brothers get the glory, it’ll always come down to the bombers to do the bulk of the war! Divert power to shields until we are closer to the enemy vessel, then divert all power back to the weapons system. We are going to scar that enemy ship.”
The bombers began to rock slightly as the enemy fighter’s unleashed hail after hail of fire upon the grouped Mantras. Their combined shield easily absorbed the shots, and the Mantras soon found themselves a mere 40 miles from the enemy vessel.

“All Mantras enter bombing run.” The leader voxed to the other Mantras. His own ship at the lead of the formation quickly moved ahead of the others, flanked by his second while behind him the Mantras lined up in a two-by-two formation behind each other. The enemy fighters immediately capitalised upon this, firing indiscriminately into the formation. One of the Mantra shields buckled under relentless fire, quickly falling out of formation as its engines spurted fire and it span out of control.

“This is Mantra 7, I have lost control of my engines, Mayday, mayday, this is Mantra 7, requesti–“

The vox message cut off suddenly as a flash lit the skies. Although not seeing it directly, the Squad leader’s face saddened slightly as he realised that his pilot had met his end in the void. “He died for the Greater Good,” he murmured. “May he find peace at last in the next life, whatever it may be.”

“Thirty seconds from bombing run,” his second voxed.

“Pilots, divert your power to the weapons.” The leader called. Almost immediately, another Mantra fell out of formation, its engines also ablaze. Another dropped out a second later, citing engine problems which forced his return to the ship. The leader gritted his teeth, his Mantras were already three ships down and they hadn’t even reached the enemy ship yet.

“Ten seconds!” His second called out.

“Get ready to unleash hell upon the enemy!”

Too late, the enemy seemed to realise the threat of the Mantras as anti-fighter weaponry opened up, claiming the life of yet another Mantra. Yet nothing could stop the Mantras now as the remaining 16 fired their deadly bombs over the turrets, two at a time. It went without saying that not only the turret was completely obliterated, but the surrounding hull had been completely and utterly destroyed.

“Our objective is complete brothers!” The squadron leader howled in delight. “And our brothers have also completed their objective!” He glanced over to the opposite side of the enemy ship where a hole similar to their own now existed. “We have done a great thing today brothers, we have proven the might of the Mantras once again. Let none say that we earn no glory in battle, for today we Mantras have destroyed the equivalent of a cruiser!”
“Commander,” One of the pilots suddenly voxed. “The enemy ship is moving towards the Enlightened!”

To his credit, the Squadron leader did not panic. Picking up his vox, he established a link to the Enlightened. “This is Mantra Red squad leader to the Enlightened, request emergency link to the Bridge.”

For a few agonising seconds, the vox remained silent, even as the enemy ship began moving closer and closer. Finally, after what seemed like hours for the leader, he finally got through. “This is Captain Lat’ike of the Enlightened,” a drawling voice came through the vox. “My congratulations to you and your Mantras, Commander, but if you broke Battlefield rules deliberately in order to be congratulated by me personally, I shall see to it that you lose your position as leader, regardless of your actions today."

“I understand Captain, but believe me when I say that this is news of the greatest importance. The enemy ship is moving towards you. I fear she means to ram the Enlightened.”

The vox remained silent for a few seconds before Lat’ike replied, his voice seemingly quietened. “Yes, we see now. Thank you for the news you have sent us, and the victory you have achieved in destroying the enemies weapons.”

Just as the vox cut out, the light provided by the stars faded as only a few miles above them the mighty bulk of the enemy ship moved, its course headed straight for the Enlightened. Goosebumps appeared on the squad leader’s arms as he realised that if the enemy wanted to ram the Enlightened, then there would be nothing to stop her from doing so.

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The Mothership moved as fast as its sublight engines could permit it,, knowing that they would reach the Enlightened in a mere ten minutes. Even so, if the Mothership’s sensors were correct, and there were no reason for them not to be, then the Enlightened would be rammed by the enemy ship. Despite the efforts of the Enlightened, who was currently firing everything she had at the enemy ship and attempting to move out of range, the ship was getting closer and closer.

“Sir,” one of the junior officers on the deck approached Admiral Sa’lain. “Our sensors have just indicated that the enemy ship has shifted its course.”
Sa’lain sat upright immediately, his face in a shocked state. “Where is it heading?”

“Our calculations tell us that they’re moving directly above the Enlightened.”

“But that would place its underbelly directly in the firing range of the weapons...” He muttered to himself. “They must have a weapon there to risk presenting so vulterable a target. Raise the Enlightened, order it to get out of there as fast as possible. Also inform them to bring emergency warning 0.2 up. Have their crew ready to undergo evacuation procedures if the situation becomes bad enough.”

On the bridge of the Enlightened, the bridge was in a state of fanatical hurry. Orders and reports were being sent all over the ship as the fear of being rammed overwhelmed many of the crew. Sat on his Captain’s chair, Captain Lat’ike sat watching the viewing screen as his Barracudas and Mantras returned from their successful mission. Dots of light continued past the screen as the turrets continued to fire at the now apparently-weaponless ship that was moving towards the Enlightened.

“Sir!” One of his technicians yelled at him, decorum forgotten. “A transmission from the Mothership!”

“Send it to my personal vox, now!” Lat’ike barked as he stood and walked towards one of the doors near the end of the Control Room. In there lay his own personal quarters, ensuring that he was never more than a few seconds in the event of an emergency. As soon as he entered, he quickly punched in some numbers into a keypad, accessing all personal vox messages at the present time. “Admiral Sa’lain,” Lat’ike said. “I apologise for the rudeness sir, but this isn’t the time to be contacting me at the present moment. Is the Mothership or any other ship close enough?”

“I’m sorry Captain, but we’re still 10 minutes away. However, we have just found new evidence that is crucial. It appears that the enemy ship is not, I repeat, not moving on a collision course.”
“Then where...”

“The enemy is moving directly above the Enlightened, Captain. I can only conclude that they have some unknown weapon that they haven’t used there. Even if they haven’t, you must move out of their way as soon as possible.”

“I understand sir, but the sublight engines...we’re simply not fast enough admiral.”

“I understand that Captain, which is why I’m authorising Emergency level 0.2 In the event of the ship facing total destruction, you are to evacuate all crew immediately.”

“Understood Admiral, I will relay your orders immediately. Permission to leave?”

“Granted Captain. And good luck to you and the Enlightened.”

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The Enlightened was by now directly underneath the enemy ship, despite her best attempts to escape it. Despite the enemy turrets having been knocked out, the enemy still possessed their shields unlike the Enlightened. The only consolation was that the Tau weren’t being fired upon, and rather they could still bear their weaponry directly against the enemy underbelly. Weapons Master Hen’roy snarled as the crew continued their chain-gang work of removing the discarded ammo power-cells and replacing them anew in time for the turrets to continue a constant stream of fire. “Move faster!” He barked, his useless wings flapping in agitation. “If we don’t keep this up then the Enlightened and all of us are dead.”

The workers suddenly stopped, staring above their heads through the observation veil. “What are you doing?” Hen’roy screamed, his wings flapping faster than ever. “I told you to keep working!”

“By the Etherals...” one of the crew muttered, ignoring Hen’roy and continuing to stare. “What is it?”

Hen’roy turned to stare in the same direction as the others and froze suddenly as a blue light shone down on his gaping face. A huge hole had unveiled from the enemy ship’s bottom revealing a blue light. For a minute, the crew of the Enlightened simply stood and stared at the light in awe. The transfixion ended with a suddenly bang when massive explosions of energy were fired from the hole. The Enlightened immediately rocked, causing many of the crew to fall onto the floor as a further three explosions hit the Enlightened.

“Damage report!” Captain Lat’ike yelled, picking himself off of the floor.

“The turrets are knocked out Captain, and the hull has taken some 62% damage to our top. Emergency teams have been dispatched to the hit areas, although we can expect a casultry report of some 22% of the total crew members.”

“Captain!” One of the technicians yelled from his post. “The enemy has fired ships from its belly directly into the damaged areas! We’ve been boarded!”
Lat’ike’s eyes flashed in anger, “The human scum dare to enter this ship while I am still alive? Never! All Fire Warriors to their positions and slaughter the human trespassers!”

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Weapons Master Hen’roy coughed as he felt his broken bones grind against each other. The room around him was in ruins. His crew lay around him, all dead. He was only alive by virtue of the distance between him and the attack. The bombs luckily hadn’t destroyed the hull of their firing station, but he was still in a pretty bad way. Suddenly, Hen’roy heard footsteps in the distance. Coughing pathetically, he gasped a deep breath of air and began yelling, “Over here! Help me in the name of Tau! I beg of you!”

The footsteps began moving closer to him. There was definitely more than one of them, Hen’roy noted absently. They marched in unison over broken glass. He sighed a breath of relief as the footsteps stopped over him, just out of his sight. “Please, a doctor?” He asked plaintively. “My arm, its broken.”

Only a cracking noise answered him. Hen’roy looked up, straining his neck as he did so only to widen his eyes in terror as he saw a human stand over him, a weapon shaped like a staff pointed at his head with a glowing light at the end of it. The human snarled something at him before the staff flashed and ended the life of Weapons Master Hen’roy.

Two squads of Fire Warriors quickly ran to their positions, maintaining cover constantly as they drew near the affected areas where the enemy were most likely to land. The Fire Warriors suddenly received a message from their central command. “Shas’la, the enemy has been spotted in your sector. Our cameras indicate that they have anything from forty to sixty soldiers on board. A note of warning, the enemy we are facing appear to have different armour and weapons from the normal human soldiers we have faced before.”
“How far away are the enemy from us Command?” The Shas’ui in command asked.

“Two corridors away. Deploy and engage how you see fit.”

The Shas’ui looked around him and nodded in satisfaction. The blasts from the enemy ship had knocked the Enlightened sufficiently enough for parts of it to fall apart. In the five metre long corridor, this meant that a makeshift block of materials could be made if done fast enough. “Fire Warriors, barricade this area quickly! We will hold them back here in time for reinforcements to come and chase out the human scum.”

By the time one of the first enemy soldiers appeared around the corner, the professional training of the Fire Warriors had led them to create a makeshift barricade built of broken pieces of metal. The weapons of the Fire Warriors were pointed outwards ready to fire in an instant. As soon as one of the enemy appeared, three shots were fired at once utterly ending his life. A roar came from the enemy warriors as they appeared all at once, charging down the corridor in an apparent suicidal charge. The Shas’ui frowned curiously as the fire of their pulse rifles slaughtered the ranks of the charging enemy, and yet they continued to charge. If he was right, then the humans were deliberately attempting to take on their fire with what appeared to be primitive armour, not seen since the early years of the Tau civilisation. The Shas’ui blinked as an enemy shot hit him in the chest. Nor, he admitted to himself, were their weapons powerful either. The return fire from the enemy was inaccurate to say the least, even when taking into account that they weren’t aiming the weapon at a prone or kneeling angle. After several minutes of endless futile charges, the enemy seemed to finally get the picture and fell back. The Fire Warrior squads stared at each in shock. Not a single one of their own had been killed or even wounded while the piled bodies of the enemy humans lay on top of each other.

Suddenly a thumping noise came from behind him. The Shas’ui turned immediately, his weapon out in front of him only to lower it when he saw a Crisis Suit appear in front of him, its bulky exterior nearly taking up the entire corridor. “Shas’ui,” it said. “I apologise for any casualties taken while I was on my way here.”

“Your conscience will be light brother, for not one of us lies dead or wounded yet. Rather, the enemy ranks have been much thinned. You will find your hunting to be good sport if they are all like what we just faced.”

“Indeed it does”, the Crisis Suit replied, looking at the piled bodies of enemy dead. “Will you join me in the hunt brother?”

“If you don’t mind us taking the glory, then by all means let us proceed.”

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The Enlightened and the enemy ship, now known as an Al’kesh, were safe within the formation of the Tau fleet. After the enemy boarders had been repelled from the Enlightened, it had been simply work to simply board it back from the Enlightened and to make matters worse, commence their own boarding action from the opposite side of the Al’kesh, effectively trapping it within a pincer. It had only taken a matter of hours to overwhelm its defenders, and even now there were likely a few scattered enemy soldiers still evading capture. Even so, the boarding action had been a complete success.

“An excellent operation, Captain Lat’ike. You have proven yourself more than capable of commanding the Enlightened in the face of the enemy.” Admiral Sa’lain said, beaming at his Captain. “Because of your actions we were able to capture the enemy ship and some of its crew, hopefully because of you we will soon be back in Tau space where I will be recommending your promotion from a Cruiser to a Battleship.”

“Sir!” Captain Lat’ike saluted, an unbidden grin across his face.

“And Knight Ja’kor,” Sa’lain turned. “How goes the questioning of the enemy prisoners?”

Ja’kor slouched against the wall, his eyes staring at the floor sullenly. “I have chosen not to use force, yet. Instead I feel that the Water Caste should lead the way in garnering information from these humans without needing to resort to force...yet.”

“Have you assigned any one of them to the questioning Knight? I can readily assign a number of Diplomats to deal with them.”

Ja’kor shook his head. “I assigned Diplomat El’Lavour to deal with them an hour ago. In fact, I recently received a transmission from him that he was on his way back here. Speaking of which...” Ja’kor trailed off as the diplomat entered the room.

“Greetings comrades”, the diplomat said solemnly. “Before we begin my debriefing, I feel it prudent on behalf of myself and my fellow Caste comrades to pay our most deepest regrets to the loss of one of the most capable Fire Warriors that we have met. The Greater Good will be much lesser for his loss.”
“On behalf of the Fire Caste, we accept your respects. Now, if you wouldn’t mind...”

El’Lavour sighed deeply, rubbing his eyes with his hands. “My friends, the news I bring to you will be highly distressing to you and to the nature of this entire endeavour. We are no longer within the galaxy that we know well. In short, we are in a completely new galaxy.”

Silence hit the room as the assembled bodies took in exactly what had just been said. After a minute’s silence, Admiral Sa’lain coughed lightly. “Are you absolutely sure of what you are saying, Diplomat El’Lavour?”

“From my talks with the Jaffa prisoners, I have effectively ruled out the possibility of these people being part of the Imperium, an independent world or that of a foreign lifeform that happens to look like humanity. While you’d have to wait for the Earth Caste to finish their recordings in the Al’kesh, I would bet my very career upon being correct.”

“If that is the case, you will understand if I would wait for the results from the Earth Caste before I inform the assembled fleet. In the meantime, continue the debriefing.”

El’Lavour bowed his head before continuing. “Regardless of whether or not my theory is correct, these humans, or Jaffa as they call themselves, are the warriors of a “god” called Ninurta. They also regard themselves as carriers of these “gods”. I have here some reports from the biologists who examined the bodies of the dead Jaffa. Apparently each one of them carries a god inside of their stomach. The creature appears to be symbiotic and latches onto its host. If we are correct, then as they mature they displace the original consciousness of the host and take it over. These self-termed gods are apparently spread throughout the entire galaxy and are served by the Jaffa. They have no concept of the Greater Good and seek only to gain more power over planets. Their society is basically based around a feudal system that consists of the symbiotic, the warriors and then what I presume to be an underclass of workers.”

“Speaking of which,” Knight Hel’mut suddenly walked into the room. “I’ve just returned from the Al’kesh after examining the bodies of the enemy Jaffa.”

“Your observations of the enemy capability?” Ja’kul asked.

“In short and simple words, absolutely pathetic. The enemy possess from what I can see little body armour other than ancient metallic artefacts more suited to physical weapons than energy-based weaponry. Their own weapons are also similarly limited in both capability and variety. From what we can tell of the weapons so far they are intended for use against unarmoured enemies. However, it is incredibly inaccurate and slow-firing. What is interesting about the weapon though is its power source. We’ve had one of the prisoners use the weapon in an attempt to escape from his prison cell. He has been using the weapon now for something like two hours and there appears to be no end to ammunition. Upon dissecting the weapon, we’ve determined their power source to be a liquefied metal which amplifies energy usage which powers the weapon. Initial testing of the Al’kesh indicates that they use the same material to power their engines.”

“So we’ve basically facing an enemy whose capabilities are significantly lesser than that of our own?” At the cautious nod of Hel’mut, Ja’kul grinned with elation. “In that case, I would move for a proposed strike against this ‘Ninurta’ and either bring her into the fold of the Greater Good or bring the planet under Tau occupation. Either way, it would serve the Tau good to have a base this far out under the very nose of the Imperium, if in fact we are still in the same galaxy.”

“I would object to that proposal on the most strenuous grounds!” Hel’mut barked.

“On what grounds Knight?” Sa’lain requested calmly, regarding the two Knights.

“There is no real need to risk the lives of this crew and every other ship in this expedition. What we should do is wait for our sensors to determine where we are and then begin our flight back to Tau space, preferably to our objective. The incident involving the Enlightened in my opinion should never have happened. All we have achieved is another damaged ship which affects the security of this fleet. I also hesitate to say this, but I feel that Knight Ja’kul’s judgement has been affected by the mournful loss of Commander Or’es.”

Sa’lain’s head swung towards Ja’kul, antipating him to be overcome in anger. But while Ja’kul’s face showed irritation, he didn’t make a move towards Hel’mut. Instead, he replied calmly, his voice fixed at a permanent point, “Knight Hel’mut, while I mourn the loss of my Commander and friend I do not allow it to affect my judgement when the Greater Good is concerned. My concerns are rather for the safety of this expedition. Tell me, Admiral Sa’lain. What is the current supply of this fleet?”

“Unfortunately, our supply ship has not survived. However, as is normal standard procedure each ship carries around two months of supply.”
“If Diplomat El’Lavour is correct then those supplies will not last us long in a hostile universe. Nor do we have time to find an unpopulated planet if one exists around here to grow crops. Hell, I’d be surprised if we even carried crops! The point is that this fleet is not a colonisation one. We carry industrial materials only. And now that we’ve lost our supply ship...the point is that it would be best to find a planet with existing agricultural areas that can supply us with food. Another point is that I highly doubt we can send out exploration satellites without a central post for us to coordinate any travelling.”

Sa’lain sighed and stroked his chin in deep thought. “I almost certainly agree with every statement you have told us, Ja’kul, but the problem exists of finding the planet where this ship came from. While I have every faith in the Earth Caste in discovering the secrets of the Al’kesh...”

“Have faith in the Greater Good, Admiral. And although the Etheral’s are not here with us in body they will be with us in spirit. In the name of the Greater Good, when we find these coordinates will you and the fleet stand with me in preparation of a planetary invasion?”

“In the name of the Greater Good...” Sa’lain said slowly. “In the name of the Greater Good I will do everything necessary. You will have my support Knight.”
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-08-10, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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With a flash of light, the escort Peace through Light appeared within the system. Almost immediately, the sensors of the Peace picked up the presence of an enemy ship that had almost immediately began moving towards them.

Captain Iln’ov eyed the approaching ship with little concern. “Cloak the ship and begin evasive manoeuvres away from it. I don’t want it to know that we’re here.” He then turned to his second in command. “Are the Stealth battlesuits ready for takeoff?”

“Yes Captain, the Shuttle is ready to go as soon as we’re within optimum range of the planet.”

“Time till we reach our destination?”

“Estimation is five minutes.”

“Very well, keep an eye on that enemy ship. As soon as the shuttle is away, I want to spend at least thirty minutes spending our full attention on her, if I’m correct then that’s a lot larger than the enemy Al’kesh the fleet faced. I want a good report to give back to the Mothership once we get out of here.”

“Sir?” His second asked in confusion. “I was under the impression that we would be remaining in the system in order to pick up the Stealth battlesuits.”

“Apparently the Fire Caste wishes to keep them down there in order to gain intelligence on the enemy they’ll be facing. They’ll be spending roughly three days before the fleet is ready to move. The Ethereal’s alone that we need more time to perform emergency repairs, but that’s what we’ve got.”

Iln’ov waited impatiently as they drew closer to the planet. Their stealth held firm as they approached, leaving the enemy ship behind them still investigating the area where they had come out. Hopefully this would be a quick and easy mission without any fights. The Peace was the perfect ship in this case, being equipped with stealth and if necessary able to pack a punch. But once punched back, she would crumple easily. She was not a fighting ship.

“This is the Shuttle Del’ania to the Control Room, we’re ready to commence upon your order. Just say the word.”

Iln’ov glanced at his second in command who nodded in response. “This is Captain Iln’v to the Del’ania. You are clear to go. You’ve been briefed on your objectives so I won’t bother telling you anything else. Just make sure that you’ve hidden the shuttle well and everything should be fine. Good luck Stealth team, and may the Greater Good guide your actions well.”

Communication between the ship and the shuttle was abruptly cut off as the shuttle began to rise in the decompressed shuttle bay and fly out at a rapid speed, heading towards the planet. The shuttle was big enough to include a squad of twelve, but small enough to avoid general sensor scans. Unless the enemy knew exactly what they were looking for, the shuttle was generally safe. Any occupants on the planet looking at the stars right now would only see what they believed to be a shooting star. Unfortunately for them, this shooting star included six of the finest trained units that the Fire Caste could offer.

The shuttle landed twenty eight miles away from the enemy encampment, landing in a convenient growth of trees that provided cover from anything searching from the air. As soon as it landed, its rear opened up and twelve black suited Tau leapt out, their weapons in front of them as they scanned the area. The squadron leader nodded his satisfaction as the area was judged all clear. Maintaining radio silence, he began issuing orders to individual squad members. Without a sound, six of the twelve-man squad began moving off. Their task was to move and beginning preparation for detonation of the surrounding trees in order to create makeshift landing strips for the Fire Warriors. Nodding his satisfaction, he and the remaining six began their long trek through the forest. It would take at least two days to reach the enemy camp, and they had a lot to do before the main invasion force arrived.

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Sa’lain walked through the corridors of the Mothership, followed by two of his personal drones and an attendant. As he passed members of his crew, many of them stopped to salute him. Others, mostly those from other Castes nodded in acknowledgement of his rank. Even as he acknowledged them back, his attendant continued to read from a dataslab of the condition of the fleets.

“Sir, as you know we took a lot of damage from the Warpstorm. Two of our six escorts were destroyed in the clash. In addition, both our cruisers took heavy damage, the first from the storm and the second from the Al’kesh. The Peace has sent back word from the enemy planet which indicates that a larger and more powerful ship is guarding the planet. From what we got of the sensor reports from the Peace, it’s at least double the size of the Al’kesh and has considerably more weapons.”

Sa’lain pondered this for a few seconds. “Tell me, what is the status of the Gal’leath battleship?”

“The Glory? All reports from the Glory are that damage is minimal and mostly repaired. Its standing ready for your orders as soon as you give them.”

Sa’lain nodded, his mind already on another potential problem. “How soon till the fleet is ready to move?”

“Indications are that the cruisers will require another three more days of emergency repairs before its able to begin Warping through space.”

“We cannot interrupt the schedule of the Fire Caste,” Sa’lain murmured to himself. “I cannot see any alternative.” He turned to his adjacent. “Have the Glory and the Mothership prepare itself for jumping. Strip the Cruisers and Escorts of as many crew members as they can spare. It appears that they will have to remain behind while we commence the planetary invasion. Send a request to the Captain of the Glory to attend me in my office as soon as he is able. We need to organise this battle.”

Even as Admiral Sa’lain began his battleplan, Knights Hel’mut and Ja’kul sat together stonily as a hologram of the battlefield appeared in front of them. After the death of Or’es, both sides found themselves commanding two different halves of the Fire Caste and no overall Commander to direct those forces. Needless to say, both Hel’mut and Ja’kul were cautious about working with each other.

It was Hel’mut who finally spoke first. “I believe that a Mont’ka* battle plan is best for this situation. We know that the enemy are boosted by the presence of their ‘god’. We also have troops already present on the ground that can provide the killing stroke. Once we’ve dealt with their leader our troops can move in and disarm the enemy Jaffa.”

“The plan is dependent upon whether or not the Stealth team has identified their ‘god’. I agree that a Mont’ka plan is essential for this kind of battle, but I would rather handle the job personally. The tanks will lead the way covered by Fire Warriors and Crisis Suits. Once we get close, I and my personal guard under the cover of fire will jet over and cut off the head of the snake.”

“I disagree with your plan. You do not take into account any problems. What if the enemy weaponry or defences are heavier than previously experienced on the enemy Al’kesh? You assume that the enemy is equipped with more than staff weapons. A direct assault upon the enemy base is contrary to the aspects of Mont’ka. Mont’ka is meant to find and eliminate important targets. To attack an entire base is to equivalent all targets the same aspect. We don’t even know what the target looks like. All we have to go on are descriptions from the Jaffa prisoners, and we don’t even know if they’re accurate.”

“Tell me Hel’mut, have you been amongst the Fire Warriors under your command recently? Have you talked to them, or have you relied on second and third hand reports from your lieutenants? I don’t know if you know this, but morale is heavily low. We’re in a unknown region of space with a damaged fleet, we’ve no Ethereal amongst us to comfort us as we prepare for battle and worse of all, we just lost one of the greatest commanders the Tau ever had to a freak accident! I’m surprised that they haven’t simply thrown down their weapons! Only their duty to the Greater Good and the knowledge that we need a centralised area has kept them going. They need an example, Hel’mut. They need a symbol that the Greater Good, despite our recent setbacks, is still brightly shining upon us! They need to know that we, the commanders ordering them into battle, are by their side and fighting with them every single step of the way against the enemy!”

Hel’mut glared at him and got up to his feet, Ja’kul matching him. “By all means, you commit your battle group however you damned well please, but I will not sacrifice my men to your rashness because you feel it necessary to try and fight a fool’s war in order to satisfy your pettiness!” With that, Hel’mut stormed away, the door hissing shut after him.

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The stealth team remained completely still as they continued to observe the outskirts of the city from the same spot where they had arrived more than six hours ago. Their time had been spent watching the position o the guards and the place where most of them had been going and coming from. Already, three prime targets had been found. Their observations had been noted down many times on their system computers designed for such a purpose. It certainly did not escape their notice that the Jaffa were outnumbered by their human slaves. For slaves were what they were. Many of them had physical signs of malnutrition. Whip marks were present over their bodies, along with a variety of scars and burns.

One of the stealth suits suddenly made a flurry of hand signs to his team leader as his computer, personally attuned to sensor readings of ships outside of space, indicated that a new ship had just entered the system. The squad leader nodded and sent the rest of the team new orders. They began to split up individually, moving silently in full stealth mode into the city. When the time came, they would play their part in creating problems.

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With a flash of light, the battleship Glory burst into the system. Almost immediately after that, the enemy ship began moving towards the Glory. The Captain of the Glory, Captain R’Myr watched as it drew closer and nodded in satisfaction.

“Decrease shield strength from the port side and concentrate it on the shield strength starboard. As soon as it reaches optimal firing range, you may begin but ensure that our starboard side is always facing the enemy ship. Oh, and fire the satellite”

As the enemy ship grew closer, the Glory continued to prepare itself. Hundreds of Barracudas emerged and entered battle formations. Sensor indications picked up roughly the same number of enemy fighters approaching ahead of the enemy ship. First contact would not be between the magnificent giants but between the two sides of vicious gnats. It took less than a minute before the two fighter groups met in combat. Between the distance of the Glory and the enemy ship, little flashes appeared for an instant before disappearing, masking the deaths of pilots on both sides.
Just before the two ships reached firing distance, the Glory suddenly swung on its side, presenting its right side. Almost immediately, she opened up with her railguns against the enemy ship, the impact bouncing off her shields which appeared around the enemy ship. The two great ships began to circle each other like wild dogs testing each other for dominance, their shields flaring as they felt the hits of the other ship. For over five minutes, the battle continued this way with neither weapon breaking through the enemy ships. Torpedoes were fired from both ships, flaring pure white as they burnt their energy against the unbending shields. Stalemate had occurred, and only the pilots fighting around the ships in their fighters suffered losses.

“Are we in position,” Captain R’Myr asked, his eyes rooted on the tactical screen.

“Yes Captain, we are ready.”

“Then call the Mothership in.”

The adjacent nodded as he approached his station, his fingers clicking furiously against the screen. On the Glory, a communication pad suddenly began to beep as it sent out its message to an awaiting satellite that had been fired into space as soon as the Glory had arrived. With a message sent to it, its limited warp drive activated and it disappeared suddenly, its flash hidden amongst all the others within the dogfights.

“Any minute now,” R’Myr murmured as the ships continued to batter each other. He turned to another adjacent. “Shield strength and ammo check.”

“Shields holding at 87.4%. Our railguns are near half empty, but will recharge within a few hours provided we have the time. We’ve used 4/5 of our torpedoes currently Captain. We’re holding back as you have ordered.”

“And keep it that way. We don’t have an unlimited supply, mores the pity. Check with the Fire Caste that they’re ready for any event, including boarding and being boarded. We don’t want to end up like the Enlightened.” He shuddered mentally at the sight of the cruiser after being literally bombed. Gaping holes now appeared on her hull and it seemed as though she had been savaged by a wild animal. The Al’kesh was a dangerous foe, and the Enlightened had underestimated it to its cost. He would not do the same with this particular ship.

“Sir! Sensors indicate another ship is appearing. It’s the Enlightened Captain!”
R’Myr smiled coldly as he turned back to his tactical screen, the battle conditions changing accordingly as the Mothership appeared opposite the enemy ship, trapping her between them both. “And so the trap closes,” he said coldly as the weapons of the Mothership began to impact against the enemy ship.

As the enemy ship found itself being fired upon from both ends, clear signs of its shield’s imminent collapse became apparent as shots began to penetrate through and impact against its hull. It took less than three minutes for the shield to fall apart completely and another six minutes before the first sign of explosions emerged from the staggering ship. A chain reaction broke out as the enemy ship stopped moving all together, its weapons falling silent. Undeterred by the lack of activity, the Glory and the Mothership continued to fire their weapons into the defenceless ship, adding their own explosions. Suddenly, a massive explosion in the centre of the ship broke the enemy ship in half, both drifting away from each other.

“Sensor reports,” R’Myr said quietly, the bridge having suddenly become silent after seeing what was most likely the deaths of thousands of enemy crew members. Regardless of their alliance, every space-faring race shared the same dangers and fears of seeing their ship destroyed and their bodies cast to cold and lifeless space.

“There are small pockets of survivors,” his adjacent read out from his tactical screen. “Estimate that there are around 200 survivors, although judging from the rate of disintegration that number will decrease rapidly within the next few hours.

“Get me a channel with Admiral Sa’lain.” A minute’s wait later and the connection had been established.

“Captain R’Myr, congratulations on your successful part in the plan.”

“Thank you Admiral. Request permission to send teams aboard the enemy ship to try and salvage as much intel and potential technology from the enemy ship.”

“Would those teams include rescue teams, Captain?”

“Yes Admiral.”

“Then go with my blessing. Attempt to save as many of the enemy crew who still live. However, should they show any hostile action make sure that they are not brought abroad your ship. Understood?”

“Yes Admiral.”

“Send your teams and then make haste towards the enemy planet. Have your Mantras join the Mothership and prepare for bombing runs against the enemy settlements. Recall your Barracudas as well. Our own contingent of Barracudas will mop up any survivors.”

“Understood Admiral. The Glory will follow you within a timespan of five minutes.”

Within the Mothership, the assembled Fire Warriors watched from their assigned docks as the enemy ship blew itself up. A united roar of pleasure rose from their throats as Knight He’lmut and Ja’kul stood in front of them. Ja’kul stood ahead of Hel’mut suddenly and began stalking up and down, staring at the troops. Around him hovered several droids recording his every move and word that came from his mouth, broadcasting it live to other warriors awaiting the orders to commence planetary invasion.

“Warriors of the Fire Caste! You know who I am and what I am. I am a warrior who fights for the defence of the Greater Good, and to maintain its glory and expand it! Our brothers in the Air Caste have succeeded in destroying the enemy ship. Now it’s our turn to do something in this battle. We are amongst the best the Tau has to offer. You are all fully trained and equipped with the best equipment we could muster. The enemy stands no chance! We will move in and rip the heart out of the enemy. I promise you personally I will kill their leader personally!” Shouting above the growing crescendo of assenting roars, Ja’kul continued. “We are the Fire Caste! We are the defenders of the Greater Good! It is our duty and our privilege to undertake this action in its name! Although the Ethereal’s are not here in body, they are with you in spirit! My brothers, for the Greater Good!” He yelled the last word, slamming his fist against his heart.

“For the Greater Good!” The assembled warriors chanted back, “For the Greater Good!”

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Admiral Sa’lain watched the video recorders of the launch decks as the Tau warriors prepared for action. The speech made by Ja’kul had clearly boosted the morale of the Fire Warriors, as they were seemingly working faster than ever to prepare for launch. Even those not of the Fire Caste appeared inspired, as more and more Tau came up to offer their services in prepping for the planetary invasion. Even so, all the effort being put in could be in vain if the enemy chose to lay down their arms and embrace the Greater Good.

He nodded to his adjacent who began to hack into the enemy communications. While their communication device was of a different kind to what the Tau used, the ingenuity of the Earth Caste was more than capable of adapting their own systems to that of what the enemy used. Even their language was roughly translated by the ship’s systems, although a short delay between the picture and the words themselves was inevitable. Without warning, the face of a human appeared on the screen. Standing there topless, his chest was tanned and a odd metallic symbol had been inserted into his forehead.

“What is this?” The human roared. “How dare you hack into the personal communications of the Goddess Ninurta!”

“Jaffa,” Sa’lain said calmly. “You will summon your mistress for we have a message to give to her that may save her life.”

The man’s complexion grew red with anger. “You insolent worm!” He practically screeched. “You will not find the faith and fighting capability of her armies as weak as those maggots who commanded her ships!”

“I do not believe you are the one I wish to speak to. Therefore, go fetch your mistress. When commanders negotiate, one does not send a subordinate to negotiate.”

The Jaffa looked as though he was swallowing acid, but he nodded reluctantly and walked out of the screen, presumably to fetch his mistress. After waiting a few minutes, the Jaffa returned. “Our God has deigned to speak with you, though you do not deserve it.”

“Silence Jaffa!” A voice boomed. Distinctly that of a female voice, but at the same time seemingly interconnected with that of another voice, the speaker walked into view, the Jaffa bowing deeply. Sa’lain’s eyebrows rose as he saw the image of one of the most beautiful human women that he had ever seen. Her eyes the deepest shade of blue and her golden hair brushed to perfection, her’s was a face that could send ten thousand ships off to war.

“Ninurta,” he began. “This message is the first and only-”

“You will address me as the Holy One, heretic.” The double-edged voice said loudly over his words.

Sa’lain’s eyebrow rose in surprise before he returned to his speech. “As I was saying, this will be the first and only time that the Tau Empire addresses you with the intent to broker a peace that is beneficial to all. You and all those under your command will lay down their arms and join the Tau Empire as equals. Surrender is the only option for peaceful integration into the Empire. Any resistance will be taken as hostile actions by you and yours, and will be dealt with appropriately.”

Ninurta’s face showed nothing but pure anger. “You...you dare to speak as such to a God?” She roared. “If that is the offer that you’re supposed Empire dares to give to me, then let me give you one in return. Surrender your ships and weapons to me, worship me as your God and then, and only then will I spare your lives and allow you to make up for your previous transgressions by working for the rest of your lives.”

Sa’lain nodded in distasteful satisfaction and simply gave the symbol to cut the link between the Mothership and Ninurta before turning to one of his officers. “Give the order to launch. It appears that we go to war this day.

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Dozens of landing ships containing individual squads of Fire Warriors began to be fired out of the two Tau ships towards the planet. Some were sent towards the smaller settlements that dotted the planet, their job to find and eliminate any who chose their original Mistress over the Tau Empire. Others were sent to strategic planetary positions in order to establish small outposts essential for maintaining communication across the whole planet. By the time the planet would have finished its daily cycle of 32 hours, radar and communication posts would have been constructed.

The vast majority of drop ships, however, made their way towards one of the brightest specks on the planet. It had been verified by Stealth Suits that this was the apparent capital of Ninurta. Even if she was not present in the city, conventional warfare declared that the loss of the capital generally led to decreased morale amongst troops and a loss of prestige for the leader. In the case of Ninurta and her status as God of these Jaffa, her very death ought to see a general collapse of enemy activity.

As the drop ships approached the atmosphere of the planet, on the surface several explosions marked the demise of several kilometres of trees, creating makeshift landing spots. As soon as the ships landed, their doors opened and poured out their inhabitants.

Fire Warrior Hale’mn grumbled as he stumbled on the uneven ground marked by the broken trees and vegetation. “You would’ve thought that with all our technology at our disposal, we might’ve developed a way to flatten these things out properly.”

One of his comrades chuckled, “if they could develop something like that, then odds are that they’d have created something to replace us a long time ago. No brother, the reason they ahven’t bothered is because it gives us poor soldiers something to do before getting into combat. Nothing gets the body back in shape after having been launched hundreds of miles from space onto the planet like this.”

“It’s alright for some,” Hale’mn muttered as he saw a Hammerhead glide over the logs, its anti-gravitational device allowing it to avoid having to slog its way over.

“Quiet there!” Their Squadron leader snapped. “Don’t worry your pretty little heads about our landing zone. You’ll soon get to sit yourselves down once we find our designated Devilfish transport.”

“How far is it, Veteran?”

“Not far,” he replied, either unwilling or not knowing the answer. “In any case, spend the time we have remembering your battlefield lessons. I don’t want to see you dead because you forgot to lie down.”

Even as the landing ships had begun to deposit their cargoes, a separate transmission had made its way to the six-strong squad of Stealth Warriors who had successfully infiltrated and hidden around the settlement. As soon as the order had reached them, they sprung into action. The enemy Jaffa hadn’t spent their time idly. Many of the slaves had been forced into their holdings, a unlucky few being forced to construct barricades. What looked like a larger version of the weapons that the Jaffa carried were being set up all around the city, its image and construction similar to the rapid-firing guns that the Imperium of Mankind had used during times of war. All this had been noted and marked by the stealth suits who transmitted their information back to the Mothership.

As one, the Stealth units began their deadly mission.

One unit, roughly twenty-strong, had been busy patrolling up and down one of the slave encampments came under attack by one of the Stealth Suits. Armed with Burst Cannons, each fired small pellets that could easily penetrate armour. Some had even been known to take out entire Space Marine squadrons using burst cannons alone, although such stories were amongst the rarest of their kind. It came as no surprise to the Stealth Suit when in less than five seconds, the entire unit had been mown down by the fast firing Burst Cannon. Their armour, pathetic to say the least, had proven no obstacle at all.

Heads began to peep out of doors, and the braver souls amongst them even stepped outside, gaping in shock at the dead bodies. One of them began to yell in their language, grabbing one of the Jaffa’s weapons. Others followed suit, cheering as they began to run towards another slave district, carrying whatever weapons they had, be it staffs or even pieces of metal. The Stealth Suit’s inhabitant smirked; the plan was going exactly as predicted.
Far above them, the two Tau ships hovered above the planet’s surface. “Admiral,” an adjacent spoke; “We have incoming enemy fighters from the planet’s surface.”

“Launch the Barracuda’s. Make sure that not a single enemy ship returns intact.” Sa’lain turned his attention back to the hologram that showed the enemy capital. Although the main purpose of the Stealth Team was to cause havoc and attempt to provoke a slave insurrection within the city itself, their secondary objective was to mark positions of importance. Each of them would be subject to Mantra bombing raids, hopefully killing as much of the enemy as possible. The bombing raids would continue for over eight hours, which was the estimated time for the main Tau army to arrive in full force at the city itself.

Even as the red dots of enemy fighters began to disappear as the blue dots of the Barracudas moved amongst them, Sa’lain was issuing new orders. “Have the Mantras prepare for the bombing raids. Ensure that each of them are fully equipped and have at least two Barracudas to every Mantra escort them in case of enemy anti-bomber fire from the ground. Above all, ensure that they realise to avoid bombing what we believe to be the enemy palace directly. Ensure that the outskirts are concentrated upon.”

“I don’t understand, Admiral.” His adjacent said nervously. “Wouldn’t it be easier to simply destroy the palace and cut off the head as soon as possible?”

“You heard the speech made by Ja’kul as did I. You know of his oath to personally kill the enemy leader. If we took that honour away from him, it would needlessly antagonise the Fire Caste and make it seem as though we took away his honour. No, we will simply content ourselves with trapping her.”

“Admiral!” One of the officers called. “The Mantras are being launched now.”

“And so it begins,” Sa’lain said quietly, sitting down in the Captain’s chair.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-08-10, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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The full force had finally arrived on the city outskirts, a force of over 7,000 Fire Warriors, 90 Crisis Suits, 40 Hammerheads and dozens of Drones. The sight they saw before them was that of buildings burning, screams and battle cries within and the humming sound of various Mantras who delivered the last of their payload.

The Tau advanced slowly amongst all this, waiting to encounter some kind of opposition. Hundreds of bodies lay dead on the ground. While the majority of those were the bodies of slaves, the vast majority of Jaffa had the tiny holes caused by Burst Cannons indicating that the slaves had less of an impact than previously hoped.

The first contact came near a group of deserted hamlets. Without warning, a unit of Tau Warriors had walked into range of upwards of 50 Jaffa warriors who began to blast away. Despite the inaccuracy of the Staff weapons and the protection that Tau armour offered, four of the twelve Fire Warriors were instantly killed while the others quickly fell to the floor seeking whatever cover there was.

“This is Shas’ui Dant’e, request immediate support in vector A42, we are heavily pinned by enemy fire. Enemy numbers estimated to be forty and above. My squad has lost four Tau already, I repeat, send immediate support!”

Within the space of a minute, the support came in the presence of a Hammerhead. Immediately, its two attached Burst Cannons began to fire into the hamlets. Screams of pain immediately began to emit from the target areas, the walls of the hamlets unable to cover the Jaffa any better than their armour had done. The Hammerhead wasn’t finished however, aiming its primary weapon and blasting at one of the buildings. Once the blast had died away, only a few pieces of it remained to indicate that a building had once existed there. No longer pinned, the Fire Warriors, reduced now to seven of their previous twelve-strong squad began to open up fire. After a few seconds of further fire, the Jaffa’s morale broke and the remainder of their force began to flee. To the Fire Warriors surprise, the Hammerhead didn’t move to pursue and it wasn’t until they heard the sound of jetpacks that they realised what was happening.

Three XV8 Battlesuits propelled themselves into the middle of the fleeing Jaffa, quickly lashing out with their arms as soon as they landed. Once clearing enough space, they began to blast away with their own Burst Cannons, slaughtering the remaining Jaffa. Once the final Jaffa was dispatched, their jet packs activated again as their services were called for elsewhere on the battlefield.

Even as small skirmishes broke out between the Jaffa and Tau, over the heads of all this were Drones. Seven squads of eight Gun Drones quickly moved through the city, some of their functions active as they marked down particular areas of conflict that was raging throughout the city between the rebellious slaves and the Jaffa. One unfortunate Jaffa noticed the strange hovering creatures above the battlefield and began to fire away at them, all of the shots missing as the Drones’ internal systems noted the blasts and avoided them promptly. The return fire of the Drones’ Pulse Carbines literally obliterated the Jaffa where he stood. The Drones, however, were not there to simply attack the enemy, but to escort the Marker Drones within their midst. After identifying an enemy stronghold, they marked with a symbol before moving on. Near the rear of the Tau advancement, that symbol began to ping within the tanks of the Sky Ray Gunships as their targets were marked. Their firing arrays began to raise themselves, missiles attached to them. Once in correct position, they began to fire. Flying faster than anything on the battlefield, within the space of a minute they landed on their targets, destroying the strongholds.

The real trouble started when the Tau advancement reached the limit of the city outskirts and were poised to enter the city itself. It was an entirely different environment to the one they had been fighting in previously.
Hel’mut stood on his Hammerhead as he regarded the problem before him. Armoured in his XV84 Battlesuit, he made a proud image as he stood in front of the main city. Already, stray shots had been fired at the obvious target that Hel’mut made, although none had come anywhere near him. In retaliation, however, several Pathfinder Teams had deployed themselves around Hel’mut and began to pick off the Jaffa with their incredibly powerful Rail Rifles. Even as Helmut continued to stare at the problem facing him, a roar of jetpacks indicated the arrival of his rival, Ja’kul, who with two bodyguards, all three of them armoured with Battlesuits, landed directly next to Hel’mut.

“What is the problem here?” Ja’kul demanded. Blood was splattered over his amour. Clearly, he had been throwing himself into the action as though he were a Kroot, not a commander. Hel’mut was glad that his look of disdain remained hidden by his helmet, for he had no doubt that Ja’kul would take great offence, especially as he appeared to still be drugged by the thrill of combat.

“The problem, Knight Ja’kul, is that we need to reorganise our forces and tactics in order to fight at maximum efficiency in this new environment that we face.”

Ja’kul waved his hand impatiently. “There’s no time for that, Knight Hel’mut!” The longer we continue to delay, the more likely it is that the enemy commander will go to ground, and we’ll be forced to fight a guerrilla war against these Jaffa. We must move in immediately and take her down!”

“Do you have any idea how many casualties that would cause?” Hel’mut demanded. “Despite what you seem to think, we are still operating under the presumption that we are cut off from the Empire with no logistical support or reinforcement. If we go in there now, the Ethereal’s alone have any idea just how many of us will die! No, the best approach is to reorganise and advance in slowly. Despite your rash promise, which was made in bad judgement, I cannot and will not condone the use of our limited resources in pursuing your little sideshow! The only priority we have here is the conquest of this planet with as few casualties as possible. Besides, where do you think she can go? We command the skies; she can hardly escape by ship. Nor will there be any other refuge for her to flee to.”

Ja’kul’s helmet wasn’t able to show what he was truly thinking at that time, but all that he did was let out a frustrated growl as he began to storm away towards one of his own designated portion of soldiers. Hel’mut grinned in slight satisfaction; he had finally controlled the wild dog. Now all that was left was to begin.

“Hammerheads will take the lead; all Crisis suits act as escorts. All other units advance slowly behind them, mop up anything that’s left. New priority orders concerning humans are not to attack unless you yourselves are attacked. Attempt at all times to disarm and contain them. They will be essential in post-war construction.”

Acknowledgements of his order came through the vox as the hammerheads began to glide forward followed by the Crisis suits. Some took advantage of the new environment by jetpacking up unto the roofs of any buildings that still stood. Much of the city was now in ruins, the aftermath of the constant bombing by the Mantras. Reports began to reach Hel’mut of major conflict zones between masses of rebelling slaves and desperate Jaffa attempting to hold them back. The conflict between the two groups only grew the stronger as it got closer to the main palace where it was presumed that Ninurta was trapped.

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Tencious howled his rage against the oppressors as he fired his captured weapon repeatedly at the Jaffa in cover. He and several dozen of his brother slaves had already killed many Jaffa that day, although not without a heavy cost. They had overreached themselves this time, however, having believed their superior numbers were sufficient to overwhelm the Jaffa defences. They had already paid a high price, with over 14 of their brothers dead and only a few Jaffa killed in return to show for it. Even as Tencious ducked behind a large piece of rubble, he heard explosions not far off in the city. He could only hope that those explosions were the work of his brothers and not the devil flying machines that had killed many of his fellow slaves in the past few days. During that time before the rebellion began, he had heard many of the Jaffa mutter about a strange new enemy that had dared to defy the Goddess.

“For Ninurta!” He howled as he leapt over the rubble, firing his weapon once again as he attempted to run as close as possible to the enemy Jaffa and try to take out as many of them as he possibly could before his life was claimed in the service of his Godess, Ninurta. He fired as he ran, forcing several of the Jaffa facing him to duck back into cover. Screaming his hatred of the Jaffa oppressors, he yelled with happiness as one of his shots found a target, hitting one of the enemies right in the face. He further scored a hit on the stomach of another Jaffa, ensuring that he would have a painful death. Any further thoughts of vengeance against the Jaffa ended when a lucky shot fired from behind cover impacted against his leg, throwing him to the floor, his screams adding to the Jaffa whose stomach had literally been fried.

Tencious cowered as best he could in the open ground, praying to Ninurta that no staff blast would impact against his unprotected body. For the most part, however, all staff shots were aimed past him at the remaining slaves still fighting. One after the other, however, they began to fall to the massed shots by the Jaffa, who only grew more confident in their rate of fire as that of that of the slaves dropped with the fallen. Soon only four of his brothers remained alive, hiding behind cover as best they could, even as some brave Jaffa began to leave their own shelter, moving to better positions as to kill the final few. One of them saw Tencious, a middle aged Jaffa whose bared his yellowing teeth with malicious intent as his hands gripped his staff weapon. He deliberately began to approach Tencious slowly, aiming his staff weapon at him. Tencious closed his eyes, ignoring the pain in his leg and began to pray his final prayer to Ninurta, who he prayed would forgive him in the afterlife.

A sudden explosion interrupted Tencious’ prayers, who flinched as he imagined the staff weapon firing and impacting his fragile body. There was no pain however and cautiously he opened his eyes, only to recoil as he saw the blackened husk of the Jaffa lying directly in front of him, the eyes wide in shock and his facial expression one of terror. Blue energy blasts began to fire directly over his head, and a humming noise loudly filled the air. The Jaffa were quickly running back into cover, firing their own shots over Tencious’ head. He ducked as best he could as the very air around him turned into a shootout. The Jaffa began to fall one after the other, many of them not even having the chance to scream their last as the blue bolts simply smashed through their bodies, leaving fist-sized holes. Soon, only a mere six Jaffa as far as Tencious could see remained alive, and they were in no shape to stand and fight. It started with one of them breaking cover and fleeing through the blue bolts, somehow miraculously surviving. The others did the same, although only two Jaffa escaped to join the first.

The humming grew louder, and now Tencious who was still lying on the ground could feel vibrations through the earth. He could hear his brothers gasping in awe at something behind him. In turn, he stared in shock as an orange monster flew past his head, the vibrations even more pronounced than before.

As the monster flew out of sight around the next corner, the few remaining survivors quickly ran to him and dragged him into cover before they began to exclaim amongst themselves of the monster that caused such devastation amongst the Jaffa. Theories began to run wild amongst the five of them, ranging from that Ninurta’s wrath had manifested into a monster, that an alien race had dared invade them or even that the End Times were upon them.

“Over there brothers!” One of them suddenly called to the others, pointing towards other orange-clad figures. Unlike the monster from before, they did not fly but walked on the ground like they did. The shape of their bodies even looked like their own. Many of them carried long weapons similar to staff weapons, but more bulky and ferocious looking. Upon seeing them, the orange creatures halted and appeared to converse amongst themselves before they approached them slowly. “What do we do?” Tencious hissed to the others. “Do we shoot them down before they come closer or do we allow them here?”

“Brother,” one of them replied. “You saw what that beast did to the Jaffa.” He pointed to the dead bodies around them, many of them with facial expressions of shock and horror as they died. “If you want to bring that beast back to kill us all, then go and shoot them, but spare a thought for the rest of us with families to care for.” Any further discussion was stopped when the creatures entered. Seven of them stood facing the slaves. Upon seeing Tencious’ leg, one of them garbled some unintelligent language, turning to face the central figure whose own body differed from the others by virtue of some white markings on his shoulders. The creature who spoke suddenly approached the slaves, causing them to grip weapons tightly, which in response caused the creatures to level their weapons towards the slaves. The one who had approached them quickly held up his arms, waving at his brethren. Slowly, they lowered their weapons as the creature approached them. To their shock and amazement, the figure lifted his hands up and pulled off part of his head, revealing the face of a person that they would have accepted as human, had it not been for the slightly upturned nostrils and the pale blue colour of his face.

“How did he do that?” One of them breathed to the man beside him, staring at the creature. “How does he breathe in such a thing?”

“It must be like a helmet,” his neighbour said confidently. “Just a very big one that covers your entire head.”

“That can’t be very practical then,” the first man said with equal confidence. “How are you meant to see the enemy in something like that?”

Tencious ignored the ramblings of his brothers as he watched the alien kneel before him and open up a bag attached to the side of his armour. Reaching inside, he pulled out what seemed to be a small container and bandages. Shaking the container, the alien leaned over his wounded leg, aiming the container at it. Tencious flinched suddenly as spray blasted out of the container over his wound. It didn’t wound as such, but was extremely cold. The feeling quickly numbed, giving Tencious the feeling of a dead leg. The alien then began to bandage the wound, wrapping it all around him. He nodded in satisfaction as he stood up, regarding Tencious with his black eyes before placing what must have been his helmet over his head. Without warning, he suddenly began to move past the slaves along with the rest of the alien creatures, following the path of the orange beast where it had flown over the remains of a house.

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By nightfall, the Tau forces had largely swept through the city, disarming nearly every slave and Jaffa that they had found. Already, the main palace had been surrounded by the Tau where estimates of over 1,400 Jaffa had assembled. An estimated 7,000 Jaffa had been killed during the day’s battle, and a further 4,400 Jaffa had surrendered into the hands of the Tau. Many of the slaves had returned to their homes after no more Jaffa were to be found. Only a few curious souls braved the dark to watch the work of the Tau forces who prepared for the final strike against Ninurta. Casualties from the Tau force were minimal, the majority of casualties caused by Jaffa survivors who escaped detection by either the Drones or Hammerheads. Only around 120 Fire Warriors had died that day. The massive kill ratio of the Tau had been caused by the tactical inflexibility of the Jaffa whose favoured tactic was to charge the enemy directly. When faced with Hammerheads whose Burst Cannons could fire up to 20 bullets a second, charging was never a good decision. At the same time, the variety of the enemy force was limited to infantry only; there had been no support in the way of artillery or tank power. Robbed of air superiority, the Jaffa had never stood a chance.

Ja’kul watched the final enemy position through the advanced optic systems that the battlesuit offered him. His two bodyguards watched the area around him carefully. The suits of all three of the Tau were splattered in blood, the last signs of Jaffa resistance. Unlike many Tau, Ja’kul preferred to get close and personal in battle, and armed with the physical force of a battlesuit and the inability of the Jaffa to penetrate that armour, Ja’kul could simply fly into the midst of enemy resistance and crush the life out of them. His bodyguards had previously been ill at ease using their battlesuits for the very kind of action that Kroot would have enjoyed, but slowly they had grown used to it and even began to enjoy its feeling.

The humming of a Tau tank grew louder and stopped directly behind Ja’kul, who turned to see Hel’mut clambering out of the back of a Devilfish along with a group of escorting Tau warriors.

“Hel’mut,” he said cautiously, imagining a sudden pleasurable thought of simply crushing him right there.

“Ja’kul”, Hel’mut replied as he looked around. “Why are you so far from where we are preparing to launch the attack?” He gestured to the dark area surrounding him. The two of them were far ahead of where the attack was meant to take place; only a single jump of Ja’kul’s jets would see them directly within the enemy area itself.

“I came to scout the forward defences.” Ja’kul said, dismissing Hel’mut as he turned his back to him. “I find it foolish to over rely on our technology, seeing as that same technology presented to us by our scientists threw us off course. Rather than rely on the observations of our Drones and Stealth Teams, I prefer to see the enemy upfront and make my own judgements.”

“I see.” Hel’mut said. “Then I will leave you to your observations. The attack will begin in ten minutes.” He made as though he was about to enter the Devilfish when he halted suddenly, turning around slowly. “While I am here,” he said slowly, “Ninurta must survive the battle.”

Ja’kul turned back around in sudden anger, his burst cannon poised as though to suddenly point at Hel’mut. “Explain,” he said through gritted teeth.
“New evidence has come to light involving her position here. Apparently, the slaves didn’t all rise up in rebellion against Ninurta’s rule. They revolted against the Jaffa, seeing them as the cause for their unhappiness. They sought to liberate Ninurta of the Jaffa and cast them down. What they thought would happen next is beyond me, but those are the facts.”

“What do I care for what some bastard humans want?”

Hel’mut’s eyes glinted suddenly. “Remember, Ja’kul, they are not just humans but will soon be part of the Tau Empire if all goes well. If we simply kill Ninurta, the humans will turn against us and we will be forced to cull what could be a loyal and industrious workforce to assist us in establishing ourselves on this planet, should it turn out that we are no longer anywhere near home.”

Ja’kul snarled, “Then let them! We will show them what it means to turn against the Tau. We will teach them obedience through the power of our warriors!”

“Not only would that go against the ideals of the Greater Good, Ja’kul,” Hel’mut snarled back, just as angry as he was. “It would also lead to further resentment and possible rebellions in the future. Look around you! How long would it be if we followed your ideas before we became like those supposed Gods?”

Ja’kul growled in pure hatred, struggling to not raise the weapon. He turned away in pure disgust, activating his jetpack and flew away from Hel’mut, swiftly followed by his startled bodyguards. Hel’mut spat on the ground where Ja’kul had been standing before he turned back to walk inside of the Devilfish, followed by his shaken Fire Warriors.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-08-10, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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The attack began at the start of dawn, the Hammerheads leading the way. It was a shame; Hel’mut admitted to himself, that he was not simply able to use his Sky Rays to blow the place to pieces. But the capture of Ninurta took top priority. If she was killed then it would inevitably agitate the slaves, many of whom were watching as best they could from various positions. Almost as soon as the Hammerheads began their advance forward, they came under heavy fire from the only other weapon that the Jaffa boasted; Staff Cannons, which were only an upgraded version of the Staff Weapon with better range and blast discharges. Despite this, they were still extremely inaccurate and only fired at the same rate as Staff Weapons, i.e. two times a second. The armour of the Hammerheads easily absorbed the fire from the Staff Cannons, and the range of the Hammerheads was at least equal, if not further. The return fire of the Hammerheads was thus aimed at the Staff Cannons, with their primary weapons easily blowing them apart and the Burst Cannons blasting the Jaffa away from the makeshift barricades. Behind the hammerheads, dozens of Devilfish followed up carrying their squads of Fire Warriors. Many of them waited in anticipation of ending the fight at last. They listened to the sounds of the Hammerheads blasting through the ranks of the Jaffa, eagerly awaiting their turn. With little warning, the Devilfish followed the Hammerheads through the various holes made in the barricades. The Devilfish suddenly halted with a sudden jolt, the drivers of the Devilfish banging on the metal behind them to indicate that they had arrived.

“Fire Warriors!” A Shas’ui bawled, gripping his weapon hard. “For the Greater Good!”

“For the Greater Good!” They yelled back, kicking the back doors of the Devilfish open and leaping out. Following their training perfectly, they quickly fell into their squads and began laying fire down on those Jaffa still on the barricades. Dozens of Jaffa fell within the first few minutes, and slowly individual squads of Fire Warriors were sent to secure them completely, leaving the rest free to follow the Hammerheads who by this time had largely eliminated all resistance, leaving individual dazed Jaffa to throw down their weapons.

A roar of jets indicated the arrival of dozens of Crisis Suits, led by Ja’kul personally. They turned around attempting to find any targets that still resisted the Tau forces. “It’s over already?” Ja’kul asked in confusion. It had been expected of the Crisis Suits to enter the battlefield five minutes after the attack had begun in order to use their weapons to finish off any resistance. Yet in the first five minutes of entry, the battle had seemingly already been won.

“Commander,” one of the Fire Warriors approached the stocky armoured Crisis Suit. “Resistance has been eliminated outside, however, we have yet to penetrate the palace itself.”

“Is that so...” Ja’kul said thoughtfully before he turned to the other Crisis Suits. “Follow, my Warriors!” He yelled to them turning his guns against the outside walls of the palace and blowing a hole big enough for him to get through. “The glory is ours!” He yelled before storming through the hole, accompanied by the sound of gunfire as he encountered resistance. Eagerly following him, many of the Crisis Suits simply blew their own holes into the wall and charged through.

Hel’mut stared in shock as he saw Ja’kul leap through the hole. “By the Ethereals...” he muttered to himself before staring around wildly. “You!” He yelled at a Fire Warrior. “Find me a stealth team!”

“We are present already, Commander.” The smooth voice of a Shas’vre suddenly appeared in front of him, joined by another three of his Stealth Suits. “What are your commands?”

“Get inside the palace and find me Ninurta. I want her alive, you hear me? Make sure that Ja’kul does not get his hands upon her, the mission is of the ultimate priority.”

The Shas’vre nodded. “Understood, Commander. We will carry out your orders.” He nodded to his Stealth team as they began to run towards the palace.

Hoping against hope that they caught Ninurta first, Hel’mut accessed the vox network. “Fire Warriors, move inside the palace and finish off any resistance. If you happen to capture Ninurta, under no circumstances is she to be harmed. She is to become a prisoner.”

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The battle through the palace was reaching its bloody climax in the gardens of the palace. A last few diehard Jaffa were fighting several Crisis Suits, attempting to penetrate their armour to no avail. The gardens were previously of great beauty, with wildlife everywhere. Now, plants were being trodden underfoot, flowers blown apart and the clear waters stained with blood.

Ja’kul grinned inside of his suit as he leapt amongst the desperate Jaffa defenders, forgoing his weapons in favour of brute force, smashing them apart using his giant metal fists to crush their fragile bodies. His optic senses suddenly caught sight of a trace of golden hair whipping past a leaf. He leapt in the air, trusting in his jetpack to get him over the large exotic trees that helped to make up this once tranquil garden.

He howled in pleasure as he encountered the target. Ninurta, as beautiful as described by the rumours passed around the Mothership by Admiral Sal’ain’s command crew, stared up at the metal monster in horror. Ja’kul grinned as he raised his arm, ready to smash her body apart when without warning, his optic sight was obscured. Without him realising it, a fanatical Jaffa had leapt onto the Crisis suit upon seeing his Goddess’s life threatened. Smashing at the Crisis Suit’s head with his staff weapon, he screamed his dedication to Ninurta before his life was violently ended when Ja’kul grabbed the offended Jaffa and threw him against the wall, breaking nearly every bone. His vision now free, Ja’kul growled in anger as he saw that Ninurta was fleeing away from him. Realising that his jets weren’t fully charged up yet, he aimed his Burst Cannon at Ninurta and squeezed the trigger, dozens of blue bolts aiming at her back. To his shock, a personal shield appeared out of nowhere and practically stopped every single one.

Checking his jet power again, he grinned as he realised that it had just gone above minimum power required to activate it. Leaping into the air, he felt gravity disappear as he flew over the heads of the dying Jaffa and fell just short of where Ninurta was running towards a large open gate with symbols around it. Chasing after her, he continued to fire his Burst Cannon repeatedly, the bolts simply continuing to bounce off of her shield. Reaching a strange round object with a red button in the middle and odd symbols similar to those around the gate around it, Ninurta pressed several strange buttons at random. Despite himself, Ja’kul found himself gaping with shock as he saw the gate begin to hum and caused a blue substance that looked like liquid burst in and out of the gate before it began to shimmer in the gate.
It now became a race between God and machine. Ninurta began to run for the blue liquid, even as Ja’kul began to activate his jet packs. It was with a terrible scream that technology ultimately triumphed over gods. Ja’kul didn’t bother permitting her any last words, simply throwing her to the floor and crushing her body with his foot. As soon as the final frantic quiver of her body faded, Ja’kul began to laugh loudly, kicking her body idly against the wall where unknown to him, four Stealth Suits surrounded the body. At the sight of Ninurta’s death, many of the Jaffa gave out a great moan, slumping to the floor in despair. The fighting over, many of the Crisis Suits began to herd together the broken and weeping Jaffa, any remaining resistance brutally stomped out of them. A dozen Crisis Suits in the meantime surrounded the Gate, their weapons trained upon it. No chances could be taken.

The Stealth Team meanwhile guarded the broken body of Ninurta. Although they had failed in their orders to keep her alive, perhaps some good could be made out of the situation by examining her body. It was to their surprise, therefore, when they noticed her throat moving. Glancing at each other, the Shas’vre leaned forward, prying open her mouth with his gauntleted fist. Examining forward, he raised an eyebrow as he saw something squirming in the back of her throat. Reaching in, he grabbed something squirming and pulled it out. Trapped between two fingers was a snake like creature, wriggling frantically to get loose. Glancing around, he grabbed a pot and emptied it of its contents, throwing the snake inside. Whatever secrets it held, the Tau would soon find it out.

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News quickly spread of Ninurta’s death. From Fire Warrior to Fire Warrior, it inevitably spread to the human slaves, more of whom were gathering. Mutterings grew to talks, talks to demands and demands to outright anger. Thousands of humans, all of whom honestly believed that it was the Jaffa, not their beloved Goddess, who was the cause of all their misery, began to gather for a mass charge to annihilate the alien invaders. Calmer voices were ignored, shouted down in the crowd, captured Staff Weapons were handed out and even those few Jaffa who survived both the slaves and the Tau were welcomed as they vowed to avenge the murder of Ninurta. The first victims of the slave attack came from a patrolling twelve-man squad of Fire Warriors who first noticed dozens of slaves gathering at both ends of the street they were at.

“There they are, the murdering bastards!” One of the slaves yelled. “They killed Ninurta!”

Literally hundreds of slaves were beginning to cluster around the squad who had by now formed a circle, their guns facing outwards. All that it would take was one thing to set it off. Despite every one of the Fire Warriors being veterans of previous campaigns, the situation they were in was deeply dangerous; it was unsurprising that one and all were nervous. Many of the angry mob carried Staff Weapons, and at the range they were in it was almost impossible for them to miss.

One shot set it all off.

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“Commander!” A Fire Warrior staggered through the lines of Fire Warriors standing on the hastily reconstructed barricades. His armour was battered, and there were clear signs of blood all over his armour. Several times, he tripped and fell, before one of his fellow Fire Warriors quickly helped to him to his feet, supporting him as he made his way over to where Hel’mut was quickly organising a defence as best he could.

“What is it?” Hel’mut said bluntly, continuing to organise the defence even as the Fire Warrior spoke to him.

“I came from the southern section of the city. I was given a message by a Stealth Unit near death. He said that you had to get the news immediately.”
“Well go on then.” Hel’mut said, finally turning his full attention to the Fire Warrior.”

“Sir, Orit’h and his soldiers are all dead.”

Hel’mut visibly staggered, his face incredulous. “Are you sure that’s what he said?” As the Fire Warrior nodded, he turned away, his face completely shocked. “Very well then,” he said, still turned away from the Warrior. “Go find a medical Drone.”

“I can still fight, Commander.” The Fire Warrior said resolutely. “I may not be able to walk very well, but I can still fire a weapon.”

Hel’mut smiled bitterly, “you’ll doubtlessly find many spaces that need filling on the barricades, brave warrior. Go now and find a place.” As the Fire Warrior left, Hel’mut began to curse quietly to himself, clenching his fist tightly. Orit’h had over 800 Fire Warriors and four Hammerheads under his direct control. For them to have been lost was a catastrophe. He was relying on Orit’h’s soldiers to have fought their way to the barricade and assist in the defence.

A roar of jets marked the arrival of Ja’kul and his fellow Crisis Suits. Ja’kul pulled off his helmet, scratching his head as he grabbed a flask of water and drank deeply from it, breathing heavily as he began to report his own findings. “The entire city appears to be up in arms. I estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of them out there on the streets, moving this way. Many of our warriors are stranded and have formed small resistance points. Currently, I’d say that the vast majority of our warriors have done so and I have left several Crisis Suits to back them up. However...”

“How many are dead, Commander?” Hel’mut demanded icily. “How many have died due to your idiocy.”

Ja’kul met him stare for stare, neither of them backing down. “From what I can guess, I would say that we’ve lost around 1,500 warriors.”

Hel’mut sneered and made as though he would continue had it not been for a vox message from several Shas’ul reporting enemy contact. Around them, several hundred thousand angry armed humans were approaching the Tau force of some 3,000 Fire Warriors, 25 Hammerheads and 40 Crisis Suits. He felt sorry for the humans already. Hel’mut raised the vox message to the Mothership even as the slaves all began to charge, the first rank all but slaughtered in the first few seconds of Tau fire.

“Unleash the Mantras.”

The new day saw the planet’s cities in flames. Many tens of thousands of the planet’s population had been killed in one single night’s work. Even as the Mantras began to withdraw back to the Mothership and the Fire Warriors spread out through the city, helping those slaves who still survived and were wounded, Ja’kul and Hel’mut were both brought back to the Mothership on separate ships. Not only would the debriefing that awaited them on board the Mothership deal with the post-war situation they now found themselves in, but it would also deal with the conduct of the Fire Caste.

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Admiral Sa’lain slammed the papers in front of him down on his desk. His normally pleasant face was fixed with pure anger as he began to read off some of the statistics estimated by the Mothership’s computers in the aftermath of the battle.

“60% of the human population intended to assist us dead. Over 2638 Fire Warriors dead. Resentment and morale across the human population, extremely high and rebellious. The primary objective of capturing Ninurta, both accomplished and failed. How do you expect us to communicate with a species that has no speech outside of squeaks and pops?” Sa’lain stared at Ja’kul and Hel’mut in anger. “If the Ethereal’s were here, what would we have to say to them? If we were back in Tau, I have no doubt that all three of us would be removed for such gross incompetence of the handling of the planetary invasion. If Or’es himself was here, I’d have no doubt that he’d have you both demoted down to the status of a trainee!”

“In my defence,” Hel’mut began. “I followed the battleplan perfectly. I informed Commander Ja’kul that capture of Ninurta was of the utmost priority. He then went and ignored me and killed Ninurta. Prior to that, the humans were all relatively pleased with the new situation and were fit for incorporation into the Tau Empire. However, the death of Ninurta threw them into a frenzy and thus caused the majority of casualties.”

“And in my defence,” Ja’kul began. “I made an oath to the assembled fleet. I swore to them that I would kill Ninurta in the name of the Tau Empire. I inspired them to great deeds. You know as well as I do that the morale onboard this vessel is dropping and rapidly so. The speech brought their spirits up, and the death of Ninurta and the victory would have done even more so. And it has! Listen to them on the decks and the drinking messes, you won’t find them in mourning over the unfortunate deaths, you will find them celebrating a victory and the death of Ninurta.”

Sa’lain sighed, covering his face with both his hands. “We will discuss this later. For now, we will talk about the post-construction period that will take place. Planner Ye’vth, if you could please enter.” The door hissed open and a brown cloaked Tau entered the room, his face weary and old. Without introducing himself, he sat down at the table and immediately launched into his analysis.

“The industry of this planet is extremely primitive. The majority of it is agricultural, with only around 10% of the landmass being occupied by settlements. The population is currently estimated to be around 800,000 strong, the majority of them now located outside of the Capital city due to the...ah...unfortunate events of last night.”

“I have already taken measures to ensure that repeats of last night will not happen again in the other cities,” Ja’kul spoke up. “I have ordered for all Staff Weapons to be confiscated and any resistance to be put down with full brute force before it gets out of hand.”

“Let us hope that that does the trick,” Ye’vth said solemnly. “Now, I believe that any construction of industry in order to produce what exists in our current armoury and fleet parts will take upwards of 50 years. At the same time, we have to balance the construction of industry with that of consumerism, i.e. ensuring that schools, new homes and jobs are created for the current human population in order to create successful conditions for the inclusion of them into the Greater Good.”

“Why?” Ja’kul suddenly asked. “Why is it so essential that we pander to these humans who only just last night turned against us?”

“For the Greater Good,” Hel’mut gritted his teeth. “That is why we fight, for the Greater Good. We fight to create a galaxy kind to all its inhabitants; that ensures people can live without fear, starvation or genocide. That is why we must ‘pander’ to the humans.”

“It is a waste of resources and time. We still have no idea where we are in the known galaxy, or if we even are in the same galaxy as the Tau Empire is!”
“And what would you suggest then?” Hel’mut snapped. “What ideas of genius do you have that the Ethereal’s haven’t?”

“Fine! We maintain the current status quo on the planet; that being that the humans remain in their station. We devote all our time towards the building of industry and the eventual training of the humans to assist us.”

Hel’mut scoffed, “and how do you expect roughly 9,000 Fire Warriors to hold and maintain law and order of over 800,000 humans?”

Ja’kul looked at him directly in the eyes. “The Jaffa prisoners.”

Hel’mut was immediately on his feet, appealing to the other council members. “You would have us make us of the Jaffa as oppressors of the humans? Those same people who the Greater Good demands that we introduce into the Empire? You would have us become the Goa’uld!”

“He is correct, Ja’kul.” Sa’lain intervened before things could get out of hand. “The use of the Jaffa in their original positions cannot and should not reoccur. I will not support this motion.” The murmurs of the other representatives appeared to concur with this. Ja’kul nodded once before he stood and stormed out of the room.

“Now,” Sa’lain continued. “Let us continue onto other business at hand. I propose that the new government be re-established at the original capital of this planet.”

Hel’mut allowed his mind to drift as the representatives began to debate about how the new government and what the shape of the planet would take. All this talk would be for nothing, Hel’mut knew, if Ja’kul was not immediately removed from the picture. He was correct in that he had too much popularity, just like his previous master, Or’es. The vast majority of the fleet, not just the Fire Caste, saw Ja’kul as a hero and an inspiration in these uncertain times. Luckily, however, he had his own soldiers loyal to him and the Greater Good alone, not some mere Fire Warrior. There was no other way as far as Hel’mut was concerned. Ja’kul had to be removed for the Greater Good.

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An entire squad of Stealth Suits crept along the corridors of the Mothership. Their stealth suits were fully active, hiding them from all view, including that of the corridors cameras. At this time, many Tau usually opted to retire to the drinking messes or to their quarters, the Mothership officially going into stand-down at this point to permit its crew some off time.

Knight Ja’kul had spent the last three hours in the drinking messes with his Fire Warriors, drinking heavily and celebrating his victory. Nearly everyone on board the Mothership and even groups from the Glory had arrived to simply be around Ja’kul, many of them looking upon him with awe. Word of his deeds had spread around the ship like wildfire, many of them constantly exaggerated until even some stories stated that he had infiltrated the city before any other Fire Warrior had entered and personally slaughtered the bodyguards and Ninurta herself. Now, the brave Commander had finally left the drinking mess and was stumbling back to his quarters.

The four soldiers in the Stealth Unit were loyal to a man. They had been authorised personally before the mess had started to find some way of removing Commander Or’es permanently. Briefed by Shas’O Ko’rans, their orders were to kill him. Now, with the belief that they were trapped far from home and no way to communicate with Ko’rans, they did the next thing and now took orders from Ko’rans direct subordinate, Knight Hel’mut. Now, their new orders were to preserve the Greater Good by eliminating the rogue Commander Ja’kul. Obviously, they couldn’t shoot or stab him outright, but if he tripped down the stairs and suffered a broken neck, then who could cry foul play, especially when he was drink sodden.

One of the Stealth Units approached him carefully from behind just as Ja’kul began to walk down the stairs, exaggerating each and every step. Just as the hands of the Stealth Unit were about to push him, to their shock Ja’kul spun around with a small pistol in his hand. A grin of delight was on his face as he pressed the trigger repeatedly into the body of the unfortunate Stealth unit. The other three quickly leapt out of the way, firing their burst cannons directly at Ja’kul. His grin only grew wider as the bullets impacted off of a personal shield that quickly flashed into existence around him. Several shots later, and the final body of the Stealth Team collapsed to the ground. A few seconds later, a group of armed Fire Warriors ran around the corner, halting in front of him as they regarded the carnage around them.
“Commander,” the Shas’ul said respectfully, “what happened here?”

“An attempted assassination attempt.” Ja’kul replied. “Luckily, they underestimated me and I managed to get them before they get me.”
“Who sent them?” A Fire Warrior asked angrily, gripping his weapon tightly.”
“The coward Knight Hel’mut!” Ja’kul roared. “And no doubt our brave Council Leaders who call themselves our Representatives authorised him to do so!” The gathering crowd, attracted by the sound of gunfire and shouting began to mutter in agreement, angry voices rising. Many began to cry for Ja’kul to lead them, dozens of Fire Warriors swearing their fealty to Ja’kul in the name of the Greater Good.

“Forward my warriors!” Ja’kul bellowed. “Let us apprehend the criminals before they try and escape our wrath!” With a howl of agreement, dozens of crew members from every Caste began to run towards their Representative’s quarters, the majority of them still drunk. Ja’kul only smiled, he was the true heir to Or’es and he was the one who would lead the Tau forward. He was the Master.

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Hel’mut grunted as he found himself dragged before a post in the middle of the desert. The newly named planet Talise, designated as such honour of Admiral Sa’lain’s, who had died an unfortunate death by way of heart attack in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution after Commander Ja’kul took control of the Tau fleet during this time of emergency, removing such traitorous elements as the former Commander Hel’mut. The other ships from the fleet had been brought to Talise where they acknowledged the temporary leadership of Ja’kul over the Tau until contact could be re-established with the Tau Empire.

Dozens of Drones hovered around Hel’mut as a squad of Fire Warriors approached him, halting in a single line facing him. The Shas’ul stopped in front of him, silently offering him a blindfold and a last drink of water. It was the last act of kindness to a condemned ex-soldier. As Hel’mut opened his mouth and allowed the Shas’ul to pour water down his throat, he noted the sweat beads dripping down his forehead. It was a boiling day. Having drunk the last of the water, he shook his head in reply to the offer of a blindfold and watched as the Shas’ul returned to the squad of Fire Warriors, full armoured despite the terrible heat. Symbolically, the Shas’ul turned and saluted the fallen Commander once before filling his lungs with sweet, pure air. Even as the sounds to make ready filled the air, Hel'mut closed his eyes, breathing deeply one last time before the final sound he ever heard was the crack of plasma pulses as they impacted into his body.
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“My warriors!” Ja’kul bellowed, the Drones recording his every movement as he began to stalk up and down the stage. No voice amplifier was needed for Ja’kul, who had trained his voice capable of carrying across entire battlefields. “This day is a great one, for this is the day that the Tau Empire moves forward! We are lost to our home, to our galaxy, and may never return. But is that any reason to simply stop continuing to advance ourselves? To cease the creation of an Empire in the name of Tau? I tell you here and now that I will never stop the fight for the Tau and all her subject races!”

He looked slightly to his left, where several dozen representatives of the newly formed Jaffa and human regiments stood to attention, hostility obvious between the two groups. It hadn’t taken much persuasion by the Water Caste amongst the Jaffa who wanted to return to the old days and humans who simply wanted to rise above their previous station for them to join up in the ranks. Nearly every one of the Jaffa (numbering around 15,000) had joined the newly organised regiments other than a few holdouts of Jaffa fanatics. The first orders for the Jaffa regiments had been to execute these dissenters. Twenty thousand humans had already joined the ranks of the Tau army, and would soon play a large role in the Tau army.

“No, the Tau Empire will not and will never fall while brave Tau and aliens fight in its defence. We fight for the Greatest Good! We are the Empire of the Tau and we will spread enlightenment throughout the galaxy! We will one day find a way home and we will be the liberators of that galaxy as well! As long as a single soldier right here still draws breath, he will fight for the Greatest Good!”

He drew a mighty breath and bellowed, “For the Greatest Good!”

The ranks chanted back, “For the Greatest Good!”

Throughout the watching fleet, the cry took up “For the Greatest Good!”

For the Greatest Good...

End of Part One

For all those wondering just what the heck the title means when it says the Greatest Good, imagine the differences that can occur between the change of a few mere letters that can change an entire civilisation. The Greater Good obviously refers to the classical Tau philosophy. The Greatest Good on the other hand...now that is when things get really exciting :D

Its taken me a hell of a long time to write all of this. Currently, the entire story stands at 43 pages on Microsoft word and over 23,000 words. I hope to anyone who’s read this story that they’ve found it enjoyable and easy to read. I hope that I’ll soon get another part out and that you’ll see how this new Tau Empire deals with the galaxy and all its challenges that come its way. As ever, For the Greatest Good!

The Kaurava System = Soulstorm campaign
I also admit I’m probably butchering Tau names, but let’s face it, you try typing his name (and reading it over and over come to it) and you’ll soon find yourself intensely bored.
Tau Castes are:
Earth = workers, Water = merchants, diplomats, etc, Air = space navy, Fire = warriors/army, Ethereal = rulers
The idea of Space ‘hopping’ is derived from Battlestar Galactica
The rankings of the Fire Caste go as follow – Cadet, Warrior, Veteran, Hero, Knight, Commander
The rankings of the Air Caste go as follows – deliverer, messenger, carrier, pilot, captain, admiral
Or’es El’leath Class is the strongest battleship the Tau currently boasts.
Ll’Porrui and Lar’shi ships are Cruiser class. Kass’l and Kir’qath are escort ships.
In case you’re wondering, the Tau have had very little experience of the hell that their galaxy is and have not yet come face to face with the horrors of Chaos, not least because they don’t have the psychic capacity like the other races do to be noticed by Chaos.
Mont’ka – known as the “killing blow”. One of the two main philosophies of the Fire Caste in battles, this is intended to find and destroy targets of opportunity.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-09-10, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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can people actually start commenting on this or I'm taking it off the site. The reason I put it on here was so that people could tell me what they think.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-09-10, 02:29 PM
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I seriously apologise for this hastily written note.

Your story is great so far. I really am loving your style.

Unfortunately I'm about to leave the house so i cant give you the in depth critique i'd love too but seriously do not take this off the site. It is great and gripping writing and most definitely worthy of acclaim and critique

I do however know why you are not getting comments. your chunks of story are MASSIVE. Hence great reems of text tend to put people off a little bit

Try and post smaller maybe 1000 1500 word chunks infuture. Other than that it is fantastic when I get back i promise ill finish and comment on it

kudos to lillian thorne for the awesome sig
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-10, 06:41 PM
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Ok sorry to double post but as a story, its a gripping tale.

The characterization is excellent however needs a little more work on appearances, i know they are tall or short but there is still nothing about the hue of there skin, the colour of there eyes. The state and colours of their armour, one can assume but i prefer not to, plus it would be nice to know a little more of there septs rather than merely there casts.


Also something as awe inspiring as the mothership should have had more description devoted to its size shape, the graceful contours whatever, the foreign nature of its engines.

For me your far two literal, you need a bit more description, a bit more vivid imagery throughout to make this a truly epic piece.

Dont get me wrong, the story itself is great an engaging plot, great interplay and charactors but what it lacked was that additional vivid description. those little sections which make the scene come alive in your head instead of being words on a page.

Without these your story was monatone, scene after scene of action without being truly vivid emotionally or physically.

For example i don't feel any of jukal's emotions when he is called into question, the rage at the loss of his men, the hatred for those that question him. This story is excellent first level, as in plot story charactors. however it lacks emotional depth. That can only be gained by adding descriptions, vivid pictures of how the charactor is feeling.

Plus please smaller chunks, i had to stop for oxygen half way through as there was just so much to read.

Rep for the effort, the plot and the charactors plus you have my indepth critique, look back at your work, you may not agree with my comments.

Also occassionally you put mantra insteads of manta. that was something i noticed

kudos to lillian thorne for the awesome sig
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-10, 01:40 PM
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Personally i find your descriptions of weapons and armour capabilities to be somewhat biased towards the tau.

For example early on you show an al'kesh being an even (if not greater) match for one of your cruisers, but then show the Jaffa staff cannons unable to penetrate the Hammerheads armour. You may not know this but the Jaffa Staff cannon is the same weapon used by the Al'kesh so it would of been able to easily penetrate the hammerheads armour.

Also the normal Jaffa staff weapon can blast hole into the blast shielding used at the SGC, but is unable to punch through your firewarriors armour. Even if it was unable to penetrate the force should of still knocked him over.

It seems as if your falling into the "Mah arm-eh iz teh bestest" syndrome, which is a shame as you do have an interesting story, if had been a book i would call it a page turner.

So please double check weapons capabilities (as best you can), try checking Codexes and Lexicanum for the Tau info and www.stargate.wikia.com for the Stargate info, yes the wiki pages may not be 100% accurate, but they'll give you a firm starting point to work on.

Also try and bring in more Jaffa weapons and culture too balance out the Tau side.

Quisnam praesumo, successio
lawrence96 is offline  
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