[April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

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

Post#71 » Apr 02 2017 10:19

Meanwhile, at the North Pillar, even with a weakened force, the Ar'cea were defending the structure with a tenacity that had so far rebuffed the initial Tau attacks.

Shas'ui Tash'shi had long abandoned the the Devilfish that had brought them here, its hull shattered by searing bright lances. He had gathered the four surviving fire warriors and continued the advance through forest terrain, as the Shas'vre in local command had made it in no uncertain terms that the pillar had to be destroyed at all costs. As he reached an outcrop of rock and watched the 'vre's crisis suit team hovering behind the treeline to his left, presumably waiting to launch another attack on the Ar'cea, there was a warning shout by a Sniper Drone Spotter located in the backstop position: "Enemy! From above!"

Tash'shi saw the crisis suits swivel around on their jets, their sensor packed heads angling upwards, scanning for this new threat. Lasblaster beams stabbed down on them, one of them connecting explosively, sending a crisis suit crashing downwards into the dirt. He saw the Shas'vre's battlesuit, the one with the large white antenna, skipping backwards on two gouts of flame, returning fire with missiles and ion blasts. If Tash'shi had been out of cover, without the canopy partially blocking his view, he would have seen a terrifyingly beautiful scene - a swarm of Ar'cea with outstretched wings descending down from the skies, weapons blazing.

The sniper drone teams attempted to track and engage the Ar'cea, but the acute elevation required and the swiftly moving targets made it impossible for them to get a solid lock. Several rail rifle shots whizzed by into empty space.

"Target priority Swooping Hawks," Tash'shi heard the Shas'vre's order, and he hurriedly repeated it to his squad, motioning for them to spread out.

"Every warrior to a firing position! Take down the flying Ar'cea!" he shouted, racing to the nearest opening and raising his pulse rifle upwards, triggering it on full automatic fire at the winged forms swarming through the skies.

Tash'shi noticed the crashed Shas'ui's suit pick itself up jerkily from the ground, its right arm gone, sheared from shoulder joint. But the plasma rifle on its left arm was upraised, pulsing rapidly, burning one of the swooping hawks into a crisp in mid-air as it tried to get a shot in at the damaged crisis suit.

Another took a direct hit from the Shas'vre's cyclic ion blaster, and the Ar'cea flyer spun out of control, its delicate flight systems fried by the weapon's energy pulse. It veered erratically and crashed at terminal velocity into the side of the rocky outcrop with a sickening crunch.

Between Tash'shi's squad and the crisis suits, the Tau put up an impressive show of anti-air firepower. Tash'shi managed to clip one on the wing with a lucky shot, sending it tumbling to the ground where the Shas'vre finished it off with a missile. A fourth was eviscerated by focused pulse rifle fire as it came a bit too close to their positions.

But it was not enough, there were too many of them, too many to take down. The remainder drew their power swords and primed their leg mounted grenade launchers for a devastating assault on the Tau below. Tash'shi watched transfixed, the wings a riot of blurred colours as they began their attack dive, avoiding the energy blasts from the fire warriors and crisis suits. Things seemed to move in slow motion for Tash'shi. Pulse rifle rounds floating lazily upwards at the Hawks, each and every one of them a near miss… A shouted command for the squad to prepare for close assault… The Ar'cea swooped down on them…

… and were promptly blotted out of the sky by a barrage of smart missiles that had intersected their dive path from an oblique angle.

"Broadside team here, who needs a little fire support?" a voice came over the cadre channel. Tash'shi recognized it as that of Shas'ui J'kaara, the veteran battlesuit pilot whose exploits included the single shot kill of a Necron Monolith. Tash'shi heard a cheer go up from his fire warriors, and he allowed himself a grim smile.

But the danger was far from over. The Swooping hawk exarch had seemingly survived the attack with little the worse for wear, and now sped towards the Shas'vre on wings of vibrating plates like an angel of retribution. It activated its slender, curved powered sword, all the while blasting away at the Shas'vre with the shuriken pistol in its other hand.

Fortunately the Shas'vre was no slouch in the dogfighting department, and the decorated war hero started jinking his crisis suit around erratically, evading most of the shots aimed at him, while those that hit did nothing more than just shatter harmlessly against its armour. The cyclic ion blaster attached to the left arm spat rapid fire death at the Exarch, but the Ar'cea avoided them with contemptuous ease, gracefully corkscrewing through the air as if it had lived among the air currents all its life.

The exhaust from the Shas'vre's thrusters drew a dizzying pattern of contrails in the air as both combatants danced around each other in the air, scrabbling for every ounce and every bit of advantage they could find, looking for that one opportunity, that one weakness in the enemy that could win the battle for them.

In terms of agility, the more nimble Exarch had the advantage, cartwheeling in mid air like a gymnast, its powered weapon repeatedly coming close to landing a telling blow on the Shas'vre. But several times the iridium hardened gauntlet armour of the battlesuit parried the blazing sword, turning it away from the more vulnerable or critical parts.

What the suit lacked in speed and maneuverability, it made up for it with superior servo-assisted strength and general durability. While the battlesuit could well afford a few cuts and dents in its armoured shell, the same could not be said of the Exarch. A single solid hit by one of the suit's massive fists would be very much unforgiving, if not immediately fatal.

It was no surprise then that they started employing tactics that suited their strengths as the battle dragged on. The Shas'vre was deployed in a defensive stance, battlesuit arms and legs bent and covering the torso and head, always rotating the front torso towards the Exarch, biding his time and always waiting for the killer Mont'ka moment where it could strike with all the strength and power behind its mechanical muscles and heavy weaponry.

The Exarch on the other hand was constantly moving, never allowing the Shas'vre a chance to land a blow. Its wings whipped it around in a frenzy of attacks, chipping away continuously at the battlesuit's formidable defences, embodying the fighting style of "death by a thousand cuts" while its sleeve mounted forceshield projectors turned away any lucky shots from the crisis suit's weapons.

In the end the deciding factor was neither the skill nor cunning of either combatant. It was a minor battle damage sustained by the Exarch's wings in the earlier smart missile attack. In normal flight, this would have hardly been a cause for concern. But in a tight spiraling battle between two evenly matched opponents, the ever so slight slowdown in the speed of a turn, of a feint, or of a dodge was the difference between a successful or failed attack and evasion.

It happened when the Exarch stretched itself for a blinding sequence of slashes and cuts at the Shas'vre, hoping to smash through an exposed gap or weaker section of armour. To Tash'shi it seemed at that moment that the Shas'vre was enveloped by a solid shell of energy as the faster Ar'cea orbited the slower battlesuit several times, going for the kill.

Then the Shas'vre struck back. The Exarch pulled away a fraction too late, and the armoured fist smashed into its body with resounding force, too powerful for the forceshield to nullify, its generator collapsing on itself as it failed to dissipate the kinetic energy. The Exarch was hurled backwards, a split moment out of control, and the Shas'vre instantly rippled off a trio of missiles, the ensuing explosion rattling even the Shas'vre who was strapped in tightly in the cockpit of the crisis suit.

Even as the burning body parts of the Exarch clattered onto the ground, Tash'shi ordered his squad to advance. A single squad of Ar'cea jump infantry had held off their attack long enough, and they were running out of time. Up ahead the pillar was already starting to glow.
Ka'ash Sept

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

Post#72 » Apr 02 2017 11:04

Colony YK-7: Somewhere, maybe kinda sort of in the general area of the southern pillar?

‘Yep, yep they did it alright. We sure did. The south-west pillar is no more. Yep, they done it alright…’ thought Bob as he sang.


We dig up diamonds by the score,
A thousand rubies, sometimes more,
But we don't know what we dig 'em for,
We dig dig dig a-dig dig.
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho…



Presently Bob found himself upside down, or right side up, or ass backwards; but he just wasn’t sure which. Being without power inside his model 1936 Binford 40,000 Advanced Tactical Jump Dreadnought Terminator Battlesuit; he couldn’t see a damn thing of what was going on outside. Where were Bronco, Jim, Slim, Phred or the new guy Durango? Hell, Bob didn’t know where he was! Before they fired on the south pillar, all five of them had retracted the legs on their battlesuits. Deciding that the anti-grav motors would allow them the quickest get away. And the battlesuits being essentially round in shape, where like beach balls bobbing on the ocean, only they were bobbing when a tsunami hit.

The shock wave had sent all five of them flying who knows where.

Right now Bob’s battlesuit could be inside a 3,000 degree fireball, or on the bottom of a lake, or seven kilometers away and stuffed in between a rock cliff and a tree. Beside having no idea of determining where he was; worse yet Bob couldn’t get out. The interior capsule of the battlesuit floated on a maglev field, so as to allow ultra fast rotation of the exterior weapon bearing hull. And since the power had gone out, the hatch which should be above and in front of him, was somewhere else. Was it below and to the right? Or above and to the left? Again Bob had no way of telling.

Waiting for what seemed like hours, Bob had by now sung every song he learned as a young dwarf; and almost everyone he had learned as an adult. He even went through the Skasquats’ entire repertoire of songs.
But this wasn’t getting him anywhere, where ever that happened to be. So he started in singing again.


Yippie yi ooh,
Yippie yi yay,
Ghost riders in the sky.
Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat…


However Bob still wondered, ‘Where had it all gone wrong? Was it when the team agreed to join the Jhi’nanii cadre? Was it even before that even, when they agreed to go Shas'O'T'au'la's plan to send them down to the planet? Certainly joining the “Freaks and Geeks” Vior’los cadre had been a contributing factor. What with their unique blend of violence, perversion, insanity, and eccentricity. But then again, they weren’t bad folks, when you got to know them…’


As I walked out in the streets of Laredo,
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I saw a young cowboy, all dressed in white linen,
Dressed in white linen, as cold as the clay…



‘...And they really had been a fun bunch, once the team got planetside anyways! Blowing up webportals, surprising unsuspecting Guardians or Aspect Warriors, and then stomping the hell out of them. Bob personally had gun downed an entire Aspect shrine worth of Howling Banshees; and Bronco had vaporised a whole squadron of Shinning Spears. So no, that wasn’t it?

“Whoa there big fella!” Didn’t the salesman at the Binford dealership say something about not crossing the energy beams of the Binford 40,000 Micro Über Death Ray Cannon? Something about…causing…wait what was it again? A catastrophic collapse of the time space continuum…in combination with a thermonuclear denotation…and a shift in the transdimentional warp vortex…Ah, hell now Bob couldn’t remember what was the squat salesman had told him…Oh, well like the their ancestor The Tool Man had always said, “Real men don’t need instructions!”’


Bob started to sing again,
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho,
It's home from work we go,
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho…



***
Last edited by TauMan on Apr 04 2017 01:21, edited 4 times in total.
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Kakapo42
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#73 » Apr 02 2017 11:27

The shockwave from the cataclysm rushed over the rocky outcrop, sweeping Tyrioq's robes around him with the rage of a typhoon. Just west of where he stood was now blinding light and roaring fire. Trees bent back reeling from the onslaught, and dust chocked the skies. Then in an instant it was over, and the southern pillar was no more.

One pillar's loss was acceptable to the Farseer, but two most certainly were not. Now only one remained, and though it was all that was necessary to trap the orbital in Vaul's Torment, there would be no redundancy should it fail. Things were now growing dire. The webway network was patchy, and far too many of his warriors had died. The Eldar had always known how dangerous these Tau could be, and Tyrioq had thought he had gathered a mighty enough host to stop them. The force he had brought to the world would have been enough to bring an entire sector of the Mon-Keigh imperium to its knees or hurl back one of the Great Enemy's infernal crusades single-handedly, yet here he was, with his army in shambles.

With the paths to victory growing ever fewer, he decided to turn to his ultimate contingency. Even if the orbital could not be trapped he could at least end the existence of these Tau on the surface, which still held the greatest threat for the future. But first he would need to regroup his forces. The time had come to employ one of the more impressive feats his bonesingers had prepared. Tyrioq walked down from the outcrop to his hidden command camp, and approached a control terminal at its centre. His fingers danced over the runes of its holographic interface, then ushered a single command.

Relocation Matrix, initiate.

At once the towering pillar in the west, the last one standing, vanished in blast of multi-coloured brilliance. In an instant it had re-materialised hundreds of miles away, completely unscathed and still glowing with energy. It was joined by much of the other remaining Eldar infrastructure, including the entire second airbase, over the displaced ruins of where the first airbase once stood. The entire Eldar web of death they had weaved on the planet's surface was now concentrated in this shattered land of grim, charred craters and thick obsidian glass. Several small bands of Eldar were already here, scouring the area for any intact spirit stones that might have remained after the orbital attack. Now he called every last remaining Eldar warrior to this place, and they began to pour out of the relocated webway portals. Though only a fraction of their starting strength, there were still more than enough strike forces to eliminate the Tau... if they fought well. After all, Fate had decreed that the Eldar would stand victorious upon this day. Surely they must win.

Tyrioq nodded in satisfaction as he surveyed the apocalyptic landscape. It was a fitting place for death.

Augmented by his seer council, the Farseer reached into the heavens and cast a mighty shield of psychic force above the area. The skies crackled with power and the firmament shimmered where the field ran through it. No amount of firepower would breach it while Tyrioq still drew breath. His enemies would have to come to him through the ground now.
A Shas and a Kor walk into a bar...
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#74 » Apr 02 2017 11:51

To all the comrades still in the field! It is almost midnight in the mid-western USA, and I have to go to bed! :sad:
Keep up the good fight, and anyone who wants to can take temporary command of the Shas'Vior'los'ar'tol
So until tomorrow.
Good night and good luck!

The TauMan
:fear:
Last edited by TauMan on Apr 03 2017 06:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#75 » Apr 02 2017 11:59

"All friendly units, this is Da'Anuk. We've just detected a massive energy spike in the south-east, over where the Ar'cea base used to be. I don't know how, but it looks like they've teleported the western pillar over there along with most of their remaining infrastructure. Concealment activity is now minimum, but the Kor are reporting that there's a massive energy field overhead, and they won't be able to get much in the way or orbital strikes through it. It seems to me like they're getting ready for a last stand. I say we stage a Mont'ka on it and push these aliens off our planet for good."

The cadre now raced south-east at top speed. they were already closing on the Ar'cea airbase's ruins when they noticed the teleport. It defied belief that they would be able to shift something like that in an instant, but Da'Anuk had seen stranger things in his lifetime. Regardless, it looked like Hunter Cadre Da'Anuk would be amongst the first there.

The signs of life began to grow sparser as they neared the site. Eventually not even lichens covered the bare tortured earth, and soon they were gliding across a dark grey and black wasteland of dust, glass and pulverised earth. At the epicentre of the devastation lay the Ar'cea, in a sprawling fortress that shined out with silver brilliance against the charred surroundings. The skies above were dark with crackling, malignant purple energy upon which clouds seemed to condense into hanging droplets of water and dirty smears of dust.

No other friendly support had arrived yet, but Hunter Cadre Da'Anuk would not need it. Now was the time to strike back.

Stopping a short distance away from the fortress perimeter, the Stingray heavy missile gunships attached to the cadre touched down behind broken fingers of seared rock, aimed their turrets towards the heavens, and let loose a full barrage. hunter missiles, submunition missiles, seeker and destroyer rockets rained down on the perimeter by the dozen. Thermobarric seeker missiles streaked into strong points, spilling out thick clouds that boiled into spectacular blasts that shattered wraithbone and alien alloy and crushed any Ar'cea unfortunate enough to be in the blast within their own armour. Closing the distance, the hammerheads began to pound the enemy with railgun fire and ion beams, and under this cover the devilfish powered into the breach to disgorge their cargo of Firewarriors onto the silver alien pavement, battlesuits landing with a series of crashes behind them.

The final battle had begun...
A Shas and a Kor walk into a bar...
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#76 » Apr 03 2017 01:04

The Northern pillar had gone down under a concentrated assault from Tigershark ax-1-0 heavy railguns.

After the protective screening from the Ar’cea warlocks had been eliminated and the shield generator disabled by pathfinders and their EMP grenades, the flyers from the famed Titan Hunter Cadre had formed up an attack using simultaneous approach vectors from all points of the compass. That diluted the remaining defences and while several went down to desperate attacks from crimson Ar’cea fighters, the majority punched through unscathed.

Hypervelocity rounds pounded the pillar like a sledgehammer demolishing a rock statue, dismantling it bit by bit, shearing, burning off chunks of exotic material with every hit until the structure could no longer hold the pent up energy inside, which it finally disgorged in a titanic explosion.

*****
No rest for the Greater Good, Tash’shi thought to himself as the remnants of the task force were now being picked up by landing Mantas, to be redeployed to the final assault on the remaining Pillar. The Southern one had been taken out by the Kor’vattra, according to the latest reports. Already the foremost cadre in the area was starting their attack…
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#77 » Apr 03 2017 01:55

Monomolecular shurikens and plasma pulse bursts zipped through the air in all directions as the Tau pushed deeper into the complex. The Eldar had produced what could almost be described as a small city, a vast collection of gleaming jewel-studded pyramids, perfectly rounded domes and slender elegant spires between which ran an intricate labyrinth of pathways on the silver alien pavement. Pristine structures freshly relocated stood amongst burnt-out skeletal ruins of the old bombarded facility. The ashen skies began to darken with the fading sun.

Firewarrior teams swept through the fortress, pressing on towards the centre. Some were still mounted, travelling in their devilfish to a target before piling out to unleash a torrent of pulse fire at close range. For others, their transports lay burning on the pavement, and they advanced on foot, leapfrogging from cover to cover up the pathways. Behind them Cal'Ka'Eoro had formed up the cadre's static elements into a formidable firebase to secure their rear and keep the breach open. Every so often an infantry leader would pause to level his markerlight, bringing a seeker missile screaming down the pathways at a target of opportunity. Hammerheads fought a lethal game of cat-and-mouse with Falcons and Fire Prisms as the grav-tanks stalked each other amongst the buildings. Every so often a series of flashes from unseen burst cannons marked out where the stealth teams were clashing with lurking Striking Scorpions in the shadows. Ol'Ta led her squadron in chasing Vypers down the pathways, tearing them apart in iridescent fireballs with fusion blaster fire whenever they managed to get close. The cadre's riptide and crisis teams jumped from hot-spot to hot-spot, lending their firepower wherever needed.

At once a squad of Ar'cea in bulky suits of armour materialised behind Da'Anuk and his bodyguards in a corona of lightning. Ko'Ta'Kir swerved back to intercept as their leader levelled a sinister rifle at the Shas'O's back. A barely-visible line of mono-filament wire lanced out and struck the Shas'vre in her battlesuit's shoulder, dislocating it with a cascade of sparks as it unfurled into a twisted spiral. In response green team gunned the entire squad down in a hail of plasma bolts, fusion blasts and ion beams. The damage shoulder joint held firm, but could no longer move freely.

Da'Anuk was starting to worry. The Ar'cea they had encountered were fighting fanatically, but what was even more unsettling was that they seemed to only be the same black and bone marked troops as the ones they fought on the plains en route to the starport. From studying reports Da'Anuk was aware that there were likely at least two other Ar'cea formations on the planet's surface, but they currently seemed unaccounted for. He had a chilling feeling that the Ar'cea they were facing now were simply the lure in a Kau'yon.

More Tau forces were making their way to the Ar'cea fortress, and should start arriving soon. His cadre just needed to hold on until they did...

****


Clad in full dire ebony rune armour and a matching ghosthelm, with radiant singing spear in his hand, Tyrioq walked steadily towards the sounds of strife and battle with his seer council by his side. All about him Black Guardians and skimmers poured towards the breach like warp spiders around a foreign psychic presence. Support weapons were slid to the battle along their floating grav-repulsors, and war walkers prowled ahead like hungry predators. Above him, he could see the stars watching on with baited breath.

This was the moment, this was his destiny. Every fate and outcome brought him here, to this place, to this time.

"Why do you fight on?" he asked, as much to the Tau as anyone else, his words echoing through the psychic plane and the mind as much as they were carried across the air, "Surely you must know that this is where your path ends. Destiny is certain. The final verdict of Fate has been laid down. You cannot oppose it, any more than you can oppose the passage of time.

The ending has already been written, I have seen it. Your stars will burn, and your hero shall wither and die. My master Eldrad, greatest among our kind, shall awaken the last great hope of the Eldar and the worlds of the Mon-Keigh shall be drowned in darkness. From their ashes shall arise new lords, new heroes, new realms. All that you hold dear shall be swept aside and forgotten, while the glory of the Eldar is forged anew in the storm and the fire of the Rhana Dandra, and we shall rise into a shining age of kings. This is the way it must be, for this is the destiny that awaits us all. Fate cannot be denied.

Lay down your arms, and accept what is inevitable. What more do you fight for besides your own trivial survival? Hope? Duty? They are illusions foolish ones, as unreal as the holographic phantasms and concealment matrices that shield us from your gaze. Could it be for compassion for those you cherish? Their survival is no more relevant than your worthless existence. There is no way you can win. Even if you slaughter us all, you will be doomed by the future we will unleash.

So why then, do you fight us? Why do you persist?"
A Shas and a Kor walk into a bar...
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#78 » Apr 03 2017 03:32

"proceed to last pillar? will do. Drake out."

The orca pilot had obviously gotten the message too, and now Drake felt the orca tilting forwards and the hum of the reactor increasing in volume.
"T'ahhh... Drake?"
"Yes?" It was one of the medic staff.
"Gray has woken up and insisted on getting to the fight.
"Oh... Goddamit!" Blasted woman! She should be resting!
"Sorry sir, there was nothing we could do to stop her."
A new voice patched in.
"She was summoned to settlement four. There I equipped her with the same suit you have, along with a new set of fun toys." It was O'vesa.
"Shas'ui?" Drake adressed the medic.
"Yes?"
"Thanks for informing me."

The orca dropped, and the hatch slid open. Drake made sure he had his weapons ready, and then flung himself towards the alien fortress. He dropped from on high, stealth field activating as he fell. He activated the jump-pack. His downward motion was arrested, and he swept through the breach made for the original assault.
"Drake of Covert Ops team 24-c here. Need a hand?"
He grinned.
'Snipers, ready, ready.....'

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

Post#79 » Apr 03 2017 03:48

An ivory dome exploded from multiple impacts, sending shards of debris hurtling through the air. The Tau were making progress, but the fight had clearly not gone out of the Ar'cea, and they pressed at every angle, probing for weaknesses in the Tau positions and then fading back out of harm's way before too much firepower could be focused on them. Lines became tangled as buildings switched hands multiple times, one side rushing to occupy them as another left to attack elsewhere, or being forced to return and face new occupants after clearing them the first time.

But the Tau were unmistakably advancing.

An orca passing overhead brought the first of the Tau reinforcements, two Gue'vessa in bedecked in advanced prototype technology. It wasn't much of a follow-up wave, and it perhaps wasn't quite what Da'Anuck was looking for to bolster his advance, but he would take what he could get. The Tau opened a channel over the comm-net.

"Covert Ops team 24-c, this is Shas'O'T'au Kais'Ka'Eoro'Da'Anuk. It's great to see you here, we could use all the help we can get. The Ar'cea are still charging up that pillar in the centre of the compound, and we need it taken down before it can reach full power. If you can infiltrate your way towards it and knock it down it'd be a great help."
A Shas and a Kor walk into a bar...
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Re: [April, 2017 - MAIN THREAD] The Holographic Principle

Post#80 » Apr 03 2017 04:02

I rolled, my armoured form revealing itself to the tau attackers as I ran to the forefront of the fighting.
Skimmers swooped through the air, and twisting, curving catwalks rose above the fighting. A strike team was bunkered down behind a wrecked devilfish, pulse fire rending the air as the cyan flashes lit the pathway. Up ahead I saw several squads of Ar'cea nestled behind a corner, and I sent a fusillade of rail-rifle sabbots their way as I ran to cover the pinned team.

I decided to reactivate my stealth field, and I was again invisible. I crawled forwards, wary of low-flying projectiles from both sides. Several forms shifted in the darkness to one side, and I fired my rail-weapon, sabbots again shooting forth with their distinctive whip-crack to send Ar'cea to their death.

I had grabbed another lance when I stopped at settlement four, and now I deactivated my stealth and jumped, high above to land crashing on the squad round the corner. Helmets shattered and alien died as I swept my weapon back and forth, causing the few Ar'cea left to run in terror. A stealth flicker caught my attention, and a wave of pulse fire swept over the survivors. An advanced set of body armour uncloaked, revealing Gray.

Why did she have to come, Why? She should be resting


We sprinted for the archway, but only got to a crater in the silver pathway before stumbling and falling, a booming voice filling both our heads and ears. "why do you fight on? Surely you...." The voice continued, weaving an image of desolation and death. Why am I still fighting?
Gray must have seen something in my face. "Drake?" That familiar voice asked in my ear.

"Drake, snap out of it. Think, what are you fighting for? What do you want to save, to protect? What do you fight for?"
I wanted to answer, but in the middle of a battlefield was not the time. You. For you, for the enclaves, for squad 24-c, for Teren, for Kant... For you.

I snapped out of my reverie.
"Recloak, Gray. we have to infiltrate towards the pillar."
"Ok."

We moved, our stealth fields protecting us as we moved towards the pillars. I still had that one extra-powerful charge left, and Gray had a whole belt-full of fusion charges. Slowly, quietly, we moved towards the pillar.
'Snipers, ready, ready.....'

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