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Screenshot features

Tuesday Screenshot

Craig Handler, 30 October 2012




Sword of the Stars II

The HMS Ibi Victoria emerged from node space on the dark side of Signus IV, precisely 1.2 parsecs distant from the Frosted Circuit, a dense ring of frozen asteroids circling the alien planet. The Ibi Victoria was the third vessel belonging to the Templar Class of command ships, and had been proudly assigned to serve as the steward of the 3rd Terran Survey Flotilla. Vice Admiral Horatio Cochran, the commander of the modest human flotilla, bore the hopes of a dying empire on his shoulders. Under traditional circumstances, he never would have permitted his vessels to translate out of node space so close to an unknown world laying directly in the backyard of the great enemy, but these were no ordinary times. His people had been hounded through known space, pushed from their worlds and forced to flee into the great unknown of the deep void. And these; these were the lucky ones. Untold billions had been vaporized without warning, or without the opportunity to even consider escape by the cold and unremitting advance of an alien menace without apparent motivation for negotiation, quarter or mercy. This enemy was an enemy like no other, and spoke only a language of pure, unadulterated destruction.

As his vessels emerged from the warp, Vice Admiral Cochran gripped the arm rests of his command throne, nervously chewing on the end of his pipe while twirling the end of his horseshoe mustache. In moments, the Ibi Victoria's sensor suite would reboot and begin to gather data on the newly discovered system. Slowly, the powerful APY-9 strategic spaceborne early warning system began to rotate, powering up so that it could caste its signal and lift the blinding electronic fog. The cool mechanical voice of the ship's AI counted down the time remaining until the Ibi Victoria's systems would go on-line. The calm tone of the artificial female voice belied the apprehensive atmosphere pervasive on the command ship's bridge. When the countdown reached zero, the small flotilla would know instantly, whether they had succeeded in their mission, or whether they had jumped into the grip of yet another unstoppable enemy fleet. 5...4...3...2...1...


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