[April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

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Kakapo42
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[April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#1 » Mar 31 2017 01:47

One Thousand lights, and yet each of them end in darkness. Save one...

As his garments of bone and ebony danced in the wild winds that roared and raced over this world, Tyrioq gazed up at the firmament. It was dusk, and the sun was in full retreat below the horizon as her radiance waned and the moon's night grew strong. Between them the heavens were at war with colours - golden yellows withdrew into burning oranges towards the sunset's epicentre, while before them the sky banded into a haze of creamy white and faded into pristine blue before the final ominous velvet of the encroaching twilight and the first glittering stars that swam in it.

It was an untamed world that the Farseer stood upon. Above it was an untamed sky that roiled with clouds one moment, and was clear as the centre of an eye the next. Somewhere in the distance rang the keening song of one of the untamed birds that called this planet home, white creatures with long slender crests that soared in the winds. They knew no fear of the alien, which was a sure sign that they saw little of invasive civilisation. Before him stretched out and endless expanse of flat grass-filled wilderness strewn with dust and broken only by the occasional crooked tree, though futher out could be seen clusters of darkly verdant woodland, blossoming from the horizon in long blisters of shaded moss green. One might almost be forgiven for thinking that the planet was deserted, but in the distance sparse clusters of twinkling lights, springing into life as darkness fell in a strange mirror to the stars above them, betrayed the presence of permanent settlement by outsiders. They were few and far between, and Tyrioq fathomed that there could be now more than a hundred or so souls at the largest, but they resided there nonetheless, islands of culture in a sea of land that knew no true master.

Of course, were the Farseer to look through the augmented vision of his ghosthelm, he would behold an ever-growing forest of identification runes denoting where the many webway portals, survival pods, traps and other such positions that now lay secreted across the face of the world, hidden from prying eyes by all the deceptive concealment known to the Eldar. Tyrioq's bonesingers had outdone themselves in the intricate trap now set for his prey that hung far above the planet. But his ghosthelm lay by his side, so his vision was marked only by the occasional lock of midnight hair that blew across his face.

However, Tyrioq did not need any aid in spying beyond what lay within mortal perception. As twilight continued to descend upon the world, the Farseer's second sight opened and in the deep dark window to the universe beyond that loomed over the surface, his mind could trace the shapes of pathways through time and fortune in the stars. These were dark times for the galaxy, and darker for none more so than the Eldar. The unveiling starscape was infinite, and yet of all the many thousands of those tiny pricks of light that he could name, Tyrioq could count on one hand the ones that did not witness warfare and bloodshed. Uncountable billions were dying in agony in that vast black space, and even worse were the thousands of Tyrioq's beloved Eldar kin. For a fraction of an instant the Farseer winced as his soul recoiled in pain at the suffering inflicted on his people. Then he shuddered as his inner self recoiled in horror at the distant searching presence of She Who Thirsts as the abomination quested for his psychic essence. The spirit stone which lay buried beneath his robes radiated a reassuring warmth in sympathetic comfort.

The Great Enemy was strong, and growing stronger by the day. Soon they would unleash a tide of destruction unprecedented in scale. Tyrioq had scryed innumerable different futures and outcomes, and all of them ended in darkness and death. All save one, a single shining golden path that stretched through the madness and turmoil. Eldrad, the greatest of his kind, had pointed the way. Tyrioq had followed it intently to its ultimate conclusion. The way ahead would be difficult. There would be many battles to fight, and much calamity. But in the end, through the fire and turbulent maelstroms, rising from the ashes like the Phoenix reborn, Tyrioq could see the Eldar forged anew in glory, returning the galaxy to the rightful rule of their noble empire. But first the way needed to be prepared. Tyrioq could already see across the medium of the sky that his kin were on the move - Taldeer's wisdom was guiding them to the Spear of Khaine on Archeron, and Eldrad himself was embarking on his crucial first steps at Coheria. All was falling itno place, but Tyrioq had uncovered a problem.

The world upon which Tyrioq now stood would be completely insignificant were it not for what was above it. The alien upstarts that were the Tau had long ago chosen it as the site for a space station of great honour and prestige, where the best of their warriors would gather to train and study. For years now the Eldar had known of it and secretly watched from below as the Tau who dwelt on it fought off horrific assaults, first from the minions of Chaos, then from the Mon-Keigh barbarians. Every time they had fought, they had triumphed. Tyrioq had forseen that these Tau warriors, though primitive weaklings, would pose a grave threat to his master's plans if left unchecked. Thus, they would have to be stopped, but Tyrioq had no doubt they would be on this day. Everything was going according to the edicts of fate.

So lost was the Farseer in his thoughts that he did not notice the figures approaching him in the gloom. Only when the faintest of shadows in the dying light fell upon him did he break his concentration and turn to his companions.

"Has there been any word from Alaitoc yet?" Tyrioq asked.

"None," replied the figure closest to him, a tall imposing amazonian warrior in elegant vibrantly coloured armour with a brightly-crested helmet cradled in her hand, "Though surely with your foresight you would know what part they play in the coming battle."

"None of us can truly know for certain what will pass on this coming day Illyriel," replied Tyrioq, "Only Fate can see with that much clarity, I merely see possibilities and what must be done to reach them. It is no matter, I suspect that Alatioc will answer the call if Fate deems it necessary. Tell me Autarch, what do you see in the stars above us?"

"A hundred thousand worlds, each one yearning to be liberated of the alien filth that plagues them and host the glory of the Eldar once more!" Illyriel said, "And a hundred thousand battles to free them."

"Spoken like a true warlord!" Interjected one of the two figures beside them, a roguish Eldar bedecked in crimson and white, whose mane of copper hair waved freely in the wind, "I tell you what I see Farseer, I see legend. I see the skies in which the gods themselves fought across and a thousand victories of the greatest heroes."

"Aye Faoldir," added his companion, a wild defiant maiden who rested a large impeccably-crafted power axe beside her tresses of burning gold, "And I see a fitting backdrop for a mighty battle, all the better beneath which to test ourselves against the warriors of this so-called 'ATT'."

"The recklessness of your kind never ceases to astound Frayja." Said Tyrioq before turning to his other side where a towering, monstrous form stood, vaguely and menacingly humanoid and possessed of cold unliving stillness. "And what of you Ythirion, what do you see in the firmament above us?"

The Wraithlord tilted its head upwards. Through its hardened wraithbone shell, the spirit within the construct beheld a dark, turbulent sky with a whirlwind of stars dancing in it. He beheld the great adventures he once had across the stars as he led the armies of Iyanden to triumph after triumph. He saw tremendous victories and hellish battles, proud comrades and gruesome monsters. He saw the reflection of a face he once loved, with hair of sunlight and eyes of the open sky. And he beheld the same fateful cold clear night on a hellscape of icy mountains long forsaken by any gods, where he lay bleeding with the blade of one of his greatest champions running through him as the heavens wept in tragedy.

His answer resonated from the cold robotic shell in the hollow voice of dust and eternity. "The past," he said.

Tyrioq now turned and peered into the gloom behind him, where a barely visible shape stood shrouded in blackness, with only a grimacing skull-mask visible. "Might I ask what you see?" he asked.

The figure simply gave an ominous laugh, and faded back into the shadows.

"Well," Said Tyrioq, bringing his gaze back upwards, "I will tell you what I see. I see a myriad of futures and events yet to pass, and each one is as terrible and likely as the last. But I also see the path that will take us to victory." He pointed now at a tiny speck of light that was beginning to make its way across the twilight sky from the horizon, "And I see our quarry for the day, the orbital station which circles this world."

At once a warlock clad in bone and darkness emerged from behind the party and strode towards Tyrioq. "Farseer," he said, "I report that all of the preparations are in order, and the rangers have completed their observation of the settlements. The Tau suspect nothing."

As the Farseer listened a shooting star streaked across the path of the orbital above them. This was the sign, he knew. Fate had spoken, and their destiny was certain.

"Very well," said Tyrioq, "Prepare your warriors for battle, we will attack at sunrise. Let us begin."

****


"There it is again, how strange."

The Kor'la on watch peered closer at the luminous readout before him, a bright glowing strip of photographic map showing the area of the planet directly below the ATT orbital's path as it made its way around the world. Over the image was superimposed a patchwork of information graphics labelling a plethora of features ranging from Tau settlements and infrastructure to local weather phenomena. Above and below it on the holographic display like layers in a cake were identical depictions in other spectra, both visible and invisible, as observed by the orbital's numerous surface-following sensors. Just at that moment the multiple readout displays had all suddenly flickered for just the slightest instance of a second. It could have easily been the system refreshing itself, except that the next refresh wasn't meant to happen for another 5 decs. Even more disturbing was that this was not the first anomaly that the Kor'la had noticed. Ever since the last sunset he had counted a number of similar occurances - sometimes the readout would shift or blank out, at other times it would stutter like it just had - and while indistinguishable from glitches, there was something a little too regular about them for the Kor'la's liking. He had even started to predict when they would happen next after identifying an unmistakable pattern to them.

"And you're saying they only started a few decs ago?" Asked his compatriot, a fellow Kor'la monitoring the global condition readouts.

"Yes, that's right. Just as we started to approach Starport YK-7."

YK-7 was a secondary starport, small and situated just north-west of a forested region that contained one of the planet's larger colonies. In truth none of the permament infrastructure on the surface was particularly noteworthy, and the world would hardly qualify as even a second phase colony, featuring for the most part only scattered outposts and a few starports needed to help service the orbital, some larger administrative centres and supply bases and a handful of temporary barracks to accommodate Fire Caste troops on planetside training exercises. The Kor'la could not think of any reason why this starport would be significant, especially with larger ones in other areas, but nonetheless the disturbances seemed localised to the area around it.

"Wait a minute," said the second watch Kor'la, "Did you say YK-7?"

"Yes, why?"

"I remember noticing a small spike in magnetic and electrostatic activity in the lower atmosphere near there at sundown. I didn't think much of it at the time, but there was another one just a few Rai'kor ago. I started to think it might be an incoming stormfront, but there's no clouds over the area at the moment."

"That doesn't sound right. Do you think we should alert the Kor'Ui?"

Most of the orbital's security watch was currently focused in other directions. For the last few Tau'cyr the ATT orbital had faced violent assaults and insidious takeover attempts almost constantly at around this time, and it was suspected by many that there would be another attack soon. The bulk of attention was outwards, with many monitors watching over information streaming in from the large comprehensive network of sensor probes and early-warning beacons that the Tau fleet had spread throughout the system, looking for any sign of an approaching threat from space. Yet more eyes and ears were pointed inwards, monitoring the various upgraded internal security systems installed as part of the station's new internal layout. Several of the more wary - some might almost say paranoid - Shas'Os and Shas'els had begun to send frequent vigorous patrols to scour the orbital for any inside threat that might have slipped through, and the orbital's security drone contingent was on maximum alert.

But almost no-one was looking downwards, on the planet below. It was assumed that any force would have to go through either space or the orbital itself in order to get there, so observing activity on the surface had been given a reduced priority. It made sense at the time.

"Well," said the second Kor'la, "We still don't really know what it is just yet. I say we just make a note of it for now, and if it happens again we notify the Kor'Ui. It will be morning soon."
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Re: [April, 2017] The Holographic Principle

Post#2 » Mar 31 2017 01:59

"ALRIGHT!" said Shas'O'T'au Kais'Ka'Eoro'Da'Anuk over the chaotic commotion of the cadre dormitory, "The pool is now CLOSED. A plate is coming around the room to collect all final wagers, please remember to place them in a calm and orderly fashion. All entries are now locked in and final."

The Tau commander stood on a raised floor at the front of the large roughly circular room. It was typically used for delivering briefings and important announcements, and from it he could see out across the main chamber of the dormitory. Suspended on the wall behind him was a large slate on which was drawn a rough table of enemy forces known to be operating in the region and the names of each Tau who had staked an ante on them. In front of him protruded a marble podium with a built-in dataslate, but beyond that he could see across the entire chamber.

It was early morning, and while normally immaculately ordered the room was currently in a state of chattering pandemonium as the constituents of Da'Anuk's hunter cadre finished the last of breakfast. The air was filled with the odours of fried batters, startch, fruits and pech'Caffe, and scattered over the various tables and benches throughout the chamber were the discarded packaging and plates of Tau'Shi'T'Koreth Galactic Dumplings early morning breakfast specials, fried rice dishes, crispy flatbreads, Kel'shani flatcakes, fresh fruit platters, cereal based nutri-biscuits and other morning delicacies. Firewarriors and Pathfinders sat together in irregularly shaped groups as they shared plates and discussions. A group of battlesuit pilots were clustered around one of the chamber's large main holographic ultra-high definition pict-displays following the Il'Por'ui morning news broadcasts and panel talks. Packs of gunship crews lay around the fringes browsing journal publications, either as hard copies procured on the orbital's commerce sector or in digital format downloaded to their personal computers. At the other main pict-display Shas'Ui'T'au Ol'Ta sat cross-legged on the floor amongst her squadron-mates with a bowl of sugar-enriched cereals as they watched the morning entertainment animations. Da'Anuk always admired that side of Ol'Ta, the inner 'sal who refused to be grinded into dust by the unrelenting horrors the galaxy threw at its denizens. A part of him wished he could join her there, with a bowl of something sugary and his old favourites playing, but the Shas'O had other responsibilities.

Away from the rest in a shaded corner, Shas'Vre'T'au Mont'yr'Nan'Cova leaned against the wall behind him, his twin cybernetic eyes glinting as they tracked the silver plate making its way around the room, stopping at the huddled clusters of Tau to receive any last-minute wagers still to be added to the pool at the front of the room. It had already amassed a collection of credit chips, Tau'Shi'T'Koreth Galactic Dumplings vouchers, pech'Caffe sachets, sweets, lucky trinkets and other minor valuables. Da'Anuk thought he could even spy the free toy from Ol'Ta's cereal nestled amongst the bounty. She must be feeling particularly confident if she was risking that prize, he thought. The platter made its travels under the watchful eyes of Shas'Vre'T'au Lar'Nan and Shas'nel'T'au Cal'Ka'Eoro - though everyone trusted each other to adhere fairly to the rules of the betting pool, it never hurt to have an extra set of eyes to make sure that everything was in order.

Da'Anuk's top bodyguard, Shas'Vre'T'au Ko'Ta'Kir walked up to him at the front of the room. "Seems like a quiet enough start to the day so far," she said, "Maybe we'll get the day off after all."

"I'd like that Ko'Ta'Kir," replied Da'Anuk, "But this still feels far too much like the calm before the storm to me, and I remember how the other attacks took a while to materialise too. I can't help but doubt this will be a quiet few Rotaa. Still, it's good that the Shas will get at least a few decs of peace."

"Indeed, besides there's not much we can do about it. The Council of The Highest still has us on censure for the use of unnecessary force last Tau'cyr. We're not going anywhere without proper authorisation."

"How those thinkers can rationalise letting us loose on Guel'la and B'gel past the gulf while tying us down with red-tape solely in this location at this time of year I will never understand. A battle is a battle and an enemy is an enemy. It does not matter where they appear."

"That may be Shas'O, but we have had a tendency to bring railguns to arrow duels in the recent incursions. Maybe a break to consolidate and re-evaluate will do us good."

"That's if we get a break at all."

"Well I'm sure we'll come out on top no matter what happens. We came out the end of the others after all."

"You're right Ko'Ta'Kir, but you can't plan for an eventuality if you don't anticipate it. Acknowledging a threat is the first step towards an effective contingency."

"Speaking of which Shas'O, do we... do we trust those, ahem, 'free agents' that have arrived on the orbital again? I have noticed that whenever they show up, trouble never seems to be too far behind. They even harboured a known fugitive last Tau'cyr."

"I'll tell you what I told Ui'Savon back then Ko'Ta'Kir, we've had help from the other side of the Gulf before, and they've done their best. We're all Tau, and a thousand fibres run through all of us, including them."

In the room's large viewing port Da'Anuk could see that the sun was now clear from the planet beneath them. The Tau commander checked his personal chronometer - it was now well into the morning and there was still no sign of danger.

"Well," he said as the collection plate containing the last few wagers was brought up to the front of the room, "So far so good."

****


Illyriel, Lion Huntess of Biel-Tan, shifted uncomfortably the cushioned reclining seat of the Wave Serpent's transport compartment. Serenaded by the soft whine of the Wave Serpent's engines, the transport bay was cool and pleasant enough, but nothing could abate Illyriel's restlessness. She had spent many long centuries exploring the Path of The Warrior in its many guises, and now felt the call to war roaring in her veins in anticipation of the bloodshed that was about to come. The world beyond the transport bay, if it could be seen, was little more than a smear of colour as the grav-tanks ferrying Illyriel's warriors hurtled across the plains at phenomenal speed. They would be upon their target within moments.

It seemed that several of the Dire Avengers also riding in the Wave Serpent shared her disquiet. It pleased her to know that they were as eager for glory as she. They would need to control themselves as she strove to do however, for discipline was key in any successful warrior, doubly so for those under her command. This was especially important for these ones, as they were her slayers - the chosen elite that she would personally lead into the heart of the battle, and surely destined for greatness. Across a hundred thousand worlds such chosen warriors were known, carved forever into eternity in legends where they marched into certain death yet triumphed alongside the Lion Huntress.

Though she knew it's importance, Illyriel could not help but feel as though her prowess was going to waste with this particular assignment. As part of their opening blows the Eldar were about to launch a concerted preemptive assault on what few Tau settlements there were in the region, to ensure they could move freely without impediment from the aliens on the ground and to deny the orbital's forces friendly sanctuary from the onslaught. Such mundane action could easily be handled by the many Black Guardian strike forces that had accompanied Tyrioq, and indeed they had been dispatched to exterminate the lesser settlements, but this location was different. This placed housed the main command post for the Tau garrison on the world's surface, and boasted a major communications array. It was crucial that it be silenced as swiftly and utterly as possible, and thus the Farseer had decreed that it warranted his most powerful formation.

It called for the Bahzhakhain.

Brushing aside a tress of her long chocolate-brown hair, the Autarch brought up an enlarged view of her tactical display, presenting a wide view of the settlement they were rapidly approaching. It was a lumpen, misshapen growth on the world's face, lacking much of the elegant grace of Eldar architecture, with a motley collection of geodesic habitats and hangers clustered around a towering antenna that pointed towards the heavens. The rangers had done well in observing it, and on the display each building was marked with an iridescent blood-red rune denoting its function. She knew from experience that the firepower the Tau could bring was considerable, but she had no doubt her warriors would be able to triumph. Even now she could see the green runes that marked where her Striking Scorpions had infiltrated the compound's perimeter, and they were almost at the communications relay. Somewhere high above the transport's roof the Swooping Hawks of her warhost circled and hovered, waiting for the moment to strike. The squadron of Shining Spears that accompanied them had now started to peel off and manoeuvre around the installation to cut off any escape its inhabitants might have, while the Aspect Warriors who filled the phalanx of Wave Serpents readied themselves for the crushing blow from which there could be no recovery or survival.

At once Illyriel heard the lead Striking Scorpion Exarch over the communications matrix. "Autarch," he said in an oily, grim voice, "We are in position. The Tau know nothing of our presence. We await only your word."

"Excellent," replied Illyriel, "Wait for my mark."

Now it was only a matter of timing. To any onlookers the force of grav-tanks would have seemed nothing more than a brief blur of half-colours in the clear morning air, their holofields distorting their true forms as they shot towards the doomed settlement with the rising sun at their backs. As they neared their target, Illyriel sensed the signal to attack as somewhere far away Tyrioq, augmented by his council of seers, unleashed a massive psychic cloak of silence over the region. No signal or transmission would reach beyond the surface from under its shadow, to any watching above it would appear as if every settlement simply fell quiet. No warning would come of the death that awaited them below.

"Now Exarch," Illyriel said, "Begin your attack."

"Gladly Autarch," Came the reply, and no sooner had it been spoken than the Striking Scorpions pounced.

As she watched through the tactical display there was a brief pause, before the communications relay erupted in sparks and died, silenced by Haywire grenades. An instant later, a searing blast rang out like a thunderclap from the warhost's Fire Prism and struck the garrison command centre, tearing the structure apart in a kaleidoscope of lightning and fire. Confused Tau warriors began to spill out from their barracks, searching for their tormentors, but the Eldar were already on the move. As the alien infantry began to form a defence a series of concussive explosions ruptured through their number as the Swooping Hawks plunged into the fray, lashing out with bursts from their lasrifles. Those Tau that withdrew to cover behind the buildings were met with the re-positioned Striking Scorpions, who cut them down without mercy. As the main force drew closer still the hangers erupted into flames as they were riddled with stitching laser fire from Falcons. Now the Wave Serpents added to the slaughter, hitting other buildings with rockets and energy blasts or strafing the Tau fighters with shuriken cannon fire. Within the Wave Serpent, Illyriel closed the tactical display and adorned her vibrantly-crested helmet, feeling the burning fury and bloodlust wash over her as the war mask became complete. She checked her wrist-mounted shuriken catapult and melta-bombs one last time, brandished her spear, The Huntress' Talon and prepared to disembark.

As they closed the final short distance to the settlement, the Wave Serpents unleashed the force of their serpent shields, smashing aside any Tau defenders who dared to oppose them with an unstoppable wave of concussive force. At last they were upon their quarry. The door dropped open smoothly, Illyriel charged forth into the morning light.

And the storm broke in earnest.
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Re: [April, 2017] The Holographic Principle

Post#3 » Mar 31 2017 06:44

No sooner had the go-call gone out than Hunter Cadre Da'Anuk, the 42nd T'au Guards Cadre found themselves racing from the dormitories to the orbital's armouries and equipment hangers. Da'Anuk strode past Firewarriors double-checking each other's gear, technicians clambering over battlesuits to make final preparations and fuel cells and ammunition being loaded onto grav-tanks. They were far from alone, several other formations had also been mobilised and were preparing to embark on dropships for planetary descent. More still were on alert in case they were needed.

The colonies around YK-7 had gone dark. All of them. Every single outpost, settlement, depot and administrative centre in the surrounding area had ceased all contact and was not responding to the station's update requests. Outside in the merciless cold of space several Kor'vattra warships had broken off and begun moving into low orbit for a closer investigation, but the orbital command staff wanted a ground force to investigate and conclusively identify the cause of the problem. It seemed like they wouldn't be getting a quiet few Rotaa after all.

Da'Anuk reached the head of the equipment bay and signalled for quiet.

"Alright Shas listen up!' He said, "The area planetside around Starport YK-7 has gone silent. Not a word has come up from there for the last dec, and orbital command wants to know why. The Kor'vattra is preparing to conduct some high-altitude recon but they also want eyes on the ground, so we're being sent in as part of 6 cadres to reconnoitre the area in force. With any luck this will just be a false alarm and we can all go back for some quiet time after a scenic hike, but if there's something down there we're to engage and neutralise it. There will also be a further 8 cadres held back on the station as a reserve if things get too dicey, and we can call for support from the Kor at any time.

The initial landing force is going to be split into two waves. The first will land due north-west of the starport and will lead the initial patrols. The second wave's drop zones are further east of the starport, and will be a follow-up force to consolidate behind the first wave. We'll be part of the second drop, and landing closest to the starport. The Pathfinders and Stealth team will deploy a few Rai'kor earlier, and land just ahead of our initial route of march. The main group will consist of the mechanised and armoured elements, along with Green and Gold teams and the XV-104. The Fire-support teams and XV88s will remain airborne as an immediate reserve along with Blue, Red, Black, White and Orange teams. Other elements will deploy with the second line assets.

Remember, we still don't have much intelligence on the situation, so there's no telling what might be down there. Stay sharp, and good hunting!"

With that the assembled Tau began to file down to the orbital's launch bays, where a wave of Mantas and Orcas awaited to ferry them to this new threat...
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Re: [April, 2017] The Holographic Principle

Post#4 » Mar 31 2017 07:59

Tyrioq watched in contempt as the distant contrails made their way down to the horizon, leaving painful scars in the otherwise pale morning sky. Ever since the Eldar had razed the local Tau settlements the sky had become cris-crossed with high flying surveillance drones and the distant burning paths of warships in low orbit, and Tyrioq and his seers had waited patiently while they combed the region for this unseen enemy that had struck them. They had found nothing of course, for the seer council had only lifted their psychic cloak after the Tau in the air were forced to leave by the constant forces of gravity and velocity. It would be some time before they would be in a position to return.

And that would allow Tyrioq's forces to act without interruption.

The Tau landing craft appeared to be making their way towards the crude ungainly dimples that passed for a starport. The Farseer predicted that they would likely try to rally around this feature, as it could be used as an easy link to the orbital. He had of course planned for this eventuality, but it did put the Tau forces dangerously close to the north pillar.

The three Pillars of Vaul that Tyrioq's bonesingers had crafted were crucial to his plans. Each one of them was a miracle of psychic engineering, able to channel enough power to reach from the surface into orbit and trap a target in the unending space-time pocket of a stasis field - this was Vaul's Torment, for just as forge god had been chained at the mercy of Khaine, so too would these enemies of the Eldar be chained in time, never again to threaten the destiny of Isha's children.

Even one pillar could trap the Tau station until the end of time itself, but the destruction of any of them was a risk Tyrioq preferred not to take. The Tau were responding just as he had forseen, and now it was time to strike a blow at them before they could do any harm.

To do this he turned to his swiftest assets, the air wings. From their long study of the ATT orbital the Eldar knew just how dangerous the warriors aboard it could be, and among the myriad countermeasures that were part of their preparations was the marshalling of a mighty fleet of air power, supported by two surface facilities to minimise their time spent returning from attacks to rearm. The Eldar were masters of the sky, and thus this air-power would ensure the doom of the Tau.

Tyrioq reached out with his mind over the miles and miles of wilderness and sent a telepathic command straight to one of the airbases. "Twilight Eagles, you may begin your attack. Target the westernmost of the Tau formations."

****


The Phoenix bombers shot through the air low to the ground, barely an arm's length from the treetops. Seen from above, their holofields merged them seamlessly into the ground clutter, and from the surface they appeared only as shimmering blurs along the horizon. More Eldar aircraft were preparing for takeoff, but it fell to the Twilight Eagles to take advantage of the gap in Tau fleet formations and make the first decisive strike.

The Tau were surprisingly quick to identify them as they roared towards the landing sites. Inside their vehicles and battlesuits alarms flared as early warning sensors picked up multiple fast-moving contacts closing in formation. flame-tipped contrails speared from their anti-air defences as a swarm of missiles rushed to meet the Phoenixes, but this was just what the Twilight Eagles wanted from them.

At once the Eldar bombers dived towards the ground, vanishing into a concealed webway portal one after the other in a matter of seconds. No sooner had the Tau projectiles lost their targets than the Phoenixes reappeared from other gates surrounding their target, far too close for any defence to be retrained on them. As they swooped over the Tau column volleys of pulse laser fire struck the air defence vehicles and battlesuits, ripping apart their vulnerable rear areas in a series of explosions and sending the wreckage plowing into the ground. Before the Tau could react the Phoenixes formed up into a bombing formation and swept over their stunned quarry, scattering deadly clouds of monofilament death from their ventral doomweavers. Grav-tanks and transports collapsed in flames as the lethal mesh sliced clean through their top armour and infantry were shredded into gruesome tatters, the survivors now helplessly entangled.

The Phoenixes made one final pass at the Tau cadre, strafing with their shuriken cannons, before returning to base in triumph.

Tyrioq was pleased. The loss of only one host of warriors would do little to seriously damage their strength, but it would make them more cautious. And in their caution they would be slowed... and vulnerable.

The Farseer opened a channel through the communications matrix to the wild riders. "Faoldir, Frayja," he said, "Their advance has slowed and their organisation halted. Commence your attack, ride against their flanks."

"At long last!" came the reply, "We are there already."
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Re: [April, 2017] The Holographic Principle

Post#5 » Mar 31 2017 08:23

Shas’ui Tash’shi cursed his luck.

For the past several Tau’cyr, on the same Rotaa (give or take one), he had been invariably caught in one preposterous crisis after another on the orbital. These had resulted in situations that he would rather not repeat, from being trapped in the cold void in a Devilfish, to hiding from metal monstrosities among the debris of gutted corridors, and even to driving pesky unauthorized peddlers hawking dangerous (explosive) goods from the hanger bays.

This Tau’cyr, he thought he had seen the pattern and had prepared well enough to avoid it. Over the previous six kai’rotaa he had slowly influenced, cajoled, bartered his way – all in a totally lawful manner! – to a quiet and unassuming post away from the orbital with a duration that covered that specific Rotaa.

A post in the security detail at Starport YK-7.

* * * * *
"No no no no no no!!!" gibbered Tash'shi to no one in particular, face paling under his Fire Caste helmet as the thunderous roar of multiple explosions buffeting the starport structures made it clear that fate wasn't ready to let go of him just yet.
Ka'ash Sept

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Kakapo42
Shas'Vre
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#6 » Mar 31 2017 08:40

+++XV8-5 battlesuit status: active+++

+++ident passcode accepted. welcome back, Shas'O Ka'ka'po+++

+++fusion reactor: online+++

+++auxilliary systems: online+++

+++sensors: online+++

+++communications: online+++

+++jetpack and manoeuvring jets: online+++

+++command and control systems: online. Syncing with main command data network+++

+++command and control node: online. Signal optimum+++

+++weapon - airbursting fragmentation projector input received. Status: online+++

+++weapon - cyclic ion blaster input received. Status: online+++

+++weapon - command issue cold-plasma rifle input received. Status: online+++

+++running final systems check. All systems online and at optimum. Tau'va+++

Da'Anuk strode across the tussock-strewn wilderness as his cadre disembarked from the carvernous holds of the Mantas. So far the landing had been proceeding smoothly - the first wave made their drop at high altitude and formed up on the ground to begin the operation, while his forces and the rest of the second wave had touched down on the surface further away. Directly landing was slower and risked the Mantas more if there were any enemies about, but it also meant that the entire force could unload as a cohesive whole rather than arriving scattered across the drop-zone. Thus, with no confirmed hostile presence it was decided to land the second wave conventionally.

It made sense at the time.

Da'Anuk's suspicions were first raised almost immediately upon stepping out in his XV-8-5 command suit, when he noticed ominous black smoke rising from several outpost locations. This shocked him, as the entire surface had appeared fine from altitude, with nothing seemingly out of the ordinary. The Fire Caste Commander could only conclude that whatever had caused the disturbance must be hiding the damage somehow. What worried him even more was the thought that there could be anything hidden down there with him.

The empty landscape suddenly became much more horrifying to him.

It was only as the Mantas were dusting off after disembarking the last of their cargo that the attack happened. Da'Anuk spotted the fast-movers on the shared operational data-network display, but before he could give any warning it seemed like the westernmost hunter cadre had engaged them.Then they vanished from all sensors and reappeared right on top of the doomed cadre, and it was too late for him to do anything but watch in horror as the aircraft pounded the cadre's position. The screams and casualty reports that came over the comm-net only disturbed him further.

Almost immediately afterwards he picked up a distress call from the starport. It seems that, for now at least, they had escaped destruction. That was good news at least.

"Well," said Da'Anuk, "At least we know what happened to the colony now."

The Tau patched through to the ATT command channel.

ATT command this is Kakapo. Enemy presence confirmed on planetary surface, looks like they're Ar'cea. Significant hostile force likely, damage visible at all outlying settlements. The Starport is intact but coming under enemy assault. One cadre has been hit by an enemy airstrike, repeat one cadre is down. Request immediate reinforcement with all available reserve forces.

Now he addressed his own troops, "All cadre elements this is Green Leader, main force form up and prepare to move out. The Pathfinders will scout our approach. Good hunting, Tau'va."
A Shas and a Kor walk into a bar...
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Calmsword
Shas'Ui
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#7 » Mar 31 2017 08:43

This is fantastic!

I especially like the Eldar perspective while the battlesuit integration of narrative/use of technology is probably the best I've read to date.
~Good Hunting

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Kakapo42
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#8 » Mar 31 2017 09:10

Kor'O'T'au Kais'Y'eldi'Aloh stood amongst the pristine white and cool glows of his flagship's bridge and watched down on the titanic expanse of the planet below. With the bridge optics set to high magnification he could clearly pick out the tiny outlines of the eight vessels in low orbit, scouring the surface below for information with an arsenal of sensors, probes and surveillance drones. The Gal'leath was the largest common class of starship the Tau had yet constructed, but even the one that was leading the search seemed like a toy before the all-encompassing face of the planet.

The ships had just passed over Starport YK-7 and were beginning the return part of their circuit. The second Gal'leath was closing behind them, having just passed through the upper atmosphere with its payload of hunter cadres ready to investigate more closely. So far the orbital and high-altitude scans had revealed nothing of importance, but it still seemed far too quiet down there for the Kor'O's liking.

Time passed. Now the second Gal'leath was ascending back into space, its cargo delivered, while the low-orbit flotilla was once again on approach to the eerily calm region. It was then that they detected them - a wave of sensor contacts, heavily distorted but unmistakable nonetheless moving towards the westernmost landing zone at unprecedented speeds. The attack was over before the first alarm signals reached the flagship.

This was the sign they were looking for. Something was down there, and it did not have friendly intentions.

"Kor'O to all ships," said Kais as he opened a channel to the fleet, "Enemy presence confirmed. Resume full scans of of the region, I want a comprehensive sweep. Sulaco, Nostromo, Delain squadron, move to low orbit and reinforce the flotilla on station. They need our help down there Kor'faan!"

It was a tense few minutes as the ships moved into position, and at first nothing new appeared on the sensor readouts. But then one of the Skether'qans, its tracking systems set to lock onto etheric signiatures and aimed at the surface, made the breakthrough, and there they appeared on the bridge surface map - a series of radiant energy signatures spread out over the area. Looking at the display on his bridge command drone, Kais counted at least five class 8 ground-based signiatures, and a further three that could not be identified.

He spared no time in relaying the information.

Attention all friendly forces, this is Kor'vattra fleet K-42. We have identified multiple high-output energy signatures. At least 5 are class-8 power readings, and three are unknown. Transmitting co-ordinates now.

Image

So begins the battle for ATT, and YOU can decide it's outcome. Eldar have taken over the planet beneath the orbital, seeking to destroy the station from below. Several hunter cadres have been deployed on the surface, and more are on the way. The Tau fleet hangs in orbit, poised to lend its support. But the Eldar are cunning, and have many tricks planned for the ATT defenders. Already they have attacked the Tau settlements on the surface, and are now assaulting Starport YK-7.

Marshal your forces, gather your weapons, and join in the fun! But beware Shas'la, for within this Hologram nothing is as it seems...



Calmsword wrote:This is fantastic!

I especially like the Eldar perspective while the battlesuit integration of narrative/use of technology is probably the best I've read to date.


Then why not join in the fun? The more posters the better! :)
A Shas and a Kor walk into a bar...
Naked Metal

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SniperTau
Shas'La
Posts: 84

Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#9 » Mar 31 2017 09:43

Drake and Gray sprinted through the corridors, crimson jumpsuits signifying their alleigance with the Enclaves.
They turned into their La'rua's barracks, their arrival causing several tau to jump to their feet.
"We have word of unknown intruders on the planet surface," gasped drake, more than a little puffed from the long run from Shas'ar'tol "suit up!."
The eight tau in the barracks raced for the suit rack, hastily donning the mobility suits as Drake and Gray did the same.

Pulse carbines and rail rifles were pulled off racks and the sound of grenade belts fastening accompanied the two humans as they slid imperial power weapons through their belts and grabbed their own advanced pulse weapons. Drake's old grav-chute, still miraculously fuctioning after years away from the tech-priests, went over the mobility rig, clasps fastened tight as he went through the old, familiar routine.

The eight shas lined up, helmets on their belts, waiting.
"Squad, move to the shuttle."
Drake did not waste any more time talking.
'Snipers, ready, ready.....'

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CmdrCASh
Shas'Ui
Posts: 116

Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#10 » Mar 31 2017 10:32

If there was one consolation, assistance wasn’t far away.

Shas’ui Tash’shi stole a quick glance up into the sky at the swiftly approaching forms of the mantas and orcas that were now spilling out earnestly from the fleet above as well as from the barely visible orbital.

The Ar’cea were striking hard, the elusive attackers moving like a will-o-the-wisp, appearing only for the briefest of moments on the Tau scanners as they sent devastating beams and explosive projectiles into critical targets despite the best electronic jamming the Earth Caste could throw up.

Hunkered down behind the comforting blue glow of a tidewall shieldline’s protective shielding, Tash’shi saw a hammerhead gunship to the right of the rampart take a direct hit, engine pod bursting into flame. Slewing to one side as it fought to compensate for the sudden imbalance in its forward motive power, it plowed into the dirt, throwing up a dirty cloud of smoke and dust.

There was nothing he could do but to continue tagging whatever ghostly targets he could make out with his markerlight, and hope that the reinforcements would arrive quickly enough.
Ka'ash Sept

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