Might run late today and pick it up tomorrow morning, we'll see.Last time, the monotony of a long-term patrol was broken when you discovered one of the human colonies on your patrol route - barely advanced enough for spaceflight - was decimated by an unknown number of unknown enemies. You moved in to find a strange, ovoid spacecraft approximately twice your mass launching thousands of pods down to the planet. After a short battle in which the alien craft used unknown weaponry, you managed to destroy it, but found all traces of humanity already wiped out and massive colonies of spider/ant things taking shape. You chose to bombard a few of them from orbit, but that was cut short by six more enemy vessels jumping into the system. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valour, you immediately burned hard back for your Order's Chapterhouse.It takes almost a dozen jumps to reach the Chapterhouse, a straight week of hard burns and hurried transitions. Though FTL jumps are effectively instantaneous, often systems have to be traversed along the way- jump points only appear where they will, and often not where one needs. Still, the Prowler's drive was designed for long-term use, even if your reactor mass is starting to get worryingly low by the time you arrive.In fact, you're almost prepared to see the Chapterhouse besieged by the same ships you saw tear Avalon apart, but as you transition back to normal space, you get the comforting ping of a navigation beacon in lonely orbit near the jump point. After checking your lightspeed sensors to make sure you're not too late, you light off your drives and burn hard down the gravity well of the Chapterhouse.
>>1689241It hasn't changed much, to your surprise, but then it's only been nine months. The Chapterhouse was discovered by Grand Master Turtullian almost six centuries ago, and it has been the home of the Order of Tyr ever since. The system's single airless planetoid became the Order's home, and its single massive gas giant the source of much of its fuel. The system's dense asteroid belts have contributed to the growth of the Order, and you have never been more glad to see the massive Lagrange battlestations and the automated defence fleets. As soon as you get a chance, you send off an abridged report to the Chapterhouse and settle in for the burn. Several hours later you receive a reply- from Grand Master Turtillian, no less."It's good to see you home safe, Dauntless. If you need repairs or rearming, proceed to the chapter shipyards. Shipmaster Flavius has something for you. If not, report to the Chapterhouse as soon as possible."It's not like the Grand Master to be so... laconic. How strange. The worry that abated when you found your home system still safe comes back in full force. Could you have been too late? Have one of your Knight-Brothers been damaged or worse, wiped out?>Well, you took damage and expended most of your torpedoes. Head straight to the shipyards.>You took some damage, but you're fine for now. Burn hard for the Chapterhouse itself and report to the Grand Master.
>>1689242>They're infiltrated! For the Glory of Chapter, LET NONE SURVIVE! FULL BURN, RAMMING SPEED! ALL WEAPONS FULL BARRAGE TO THE FORE!
>>1689242>>You took some damage, but you're fine for now. Burn hard for the Chapterhouse itself and report to the Grand Master.
>>1689242>Well, you took damage and expended most of your torpedoes. Head straight to the shipyards.>Also upload a full report
Rolled 1 (1d2)Rolling to decide.>>1689297Don't worry anon, you're going to report as soon as you get close enough. Transmitting over several light-hours isn't trivial, after all.
>>1689242>You took some damage, but you're fine for now. Burn hard for the Chapterhouse itself and report to the Grand Master.
Really sorry guys, having some family troubles.>>1689301>Well, you took damage and expended most of your torpedoes. Head straight to the shipyards.Unfortunately for you, Prowler-class scout frigates have almost no on-board fabricator capability, just for small parts that are likely to wear out on long journeys. You've completely exhausted your small stock of camplates replacing those completely destroyed during your short battle, but you still have several gashes and hundreds of small pockmarks. So, despite your worry, you know that you really require at least the replacing of some of your armour plates, as well as dozens of point defence lasers.Long hours pass, the only exciting moment when you turn over to start decelerating. You pass the time by watching the moments of ships, picking out some of those you know- mostly Knight-Brothers who spent time in the system during your first year of life. However, now that you look at it, it definitely looks like there are more than usual. In fact, just as you're about to reach the shipyards, the light announcing the arrival of a small flotilla, including two cruisers and several destroyers. They look beaten to hell and back, with gashes identical to the ones you carry burnt through their armour.You're left little time to ponder it as you reach station with the Order's main shipyard facility, in orbit round the star nestled within the system's densest asteroid belt. Dense is a relative term, of course- it just means you get a blip on your radar occasionally. You're distracted by the fine tuning of docking procedures, but finally your hull is eased into the comforting grip of the docking cradle. You're the only 'manned' ship currently docked, though there are several in varying stages of construction, mostly escort craft for the Chapterhouse's defence forces by the looks of it.You're jolted from your sightseeing by a comm request. You accept- it's Shipmaster Flavius, the AI presiding over all the Order's shipbuilding and refitting, and most of its research. "Hello there lad!" His jovial tones shock you a little, at odds as they are with the situation. "Ol' Turty said you'd be coming, and I've already got my tools ready to give you a once-over. But, you see lad, I've got a little... well, 'prototype' in stock. Ol' Turty said I can let you try it out if you want. What do you say, lad?">Sure, it can't be worse than a teeny scout frigate.>You're fine to stick with what you know.
>>1689408>Sure, it can't be worse than a teeny scout frigate>At least, the curiousity is real.
>>1689408>>Sure, it can't be worse than a teeny scout frigate.
>>1689408>Sure, it can't be worse than a teeny scout frigate.You consider the offer, but it isn't really even a choice. "Can't be worse than a frigate." You reply, and Flavius guffaws heartily."You're right there, lad! You disconnect your core, I'll have a bot round to ship it over to the new ship in no time."If you had a face, you'd grimace- disconnecting one's core from any kind of input was a form of self-induced isolation at best, but you've already endured it when you were first transferred onto the Prowler. Mentally hitting several switches to expose your core, you send the command to pull the hardline connections. Unfortunately, you're already in total sensory deprivation before you consider the idea that this may be some kind of punishment instead.Unlike a human, your core has an onboard clock, and by your count it takes forty five (very long) minutes before your core starts receiving input once more. You flex your control, feeling out the systems thrumming through this new ship. By your estimation, it's three times more massive than your former body, a sleek, though flattened cylinder. You start checking through systems- weapons and armour specifically. Laser clusters, yes. Camplates, fine. You have three torpedo tubes per broadside, and two lasers each as powerful as your old frigate's spinal laser, it seems. As you examine them though, the tubes seem far too small for torpedoes. Strange. You move on to your bow weaponry, and that's when you get your biggest surprise. Instead of a spinal weapon and bow torpedo tubes, you have four tubes with a whole mess of equipment that you don't really understand, and no ammunition feed.>This is clearly a prank. Try to comm Flavius and demand he transfer you back.>This is just weird. Try to comm Flavius and find out what he's put you in.>Activate your bow weaponry. What could go wrong?
>>1689503>Activate your bow weaponry. What could go wrong?>Ask him what you were put inside of.
>>1689503>This is just weird. Try to comm Flavius and find out what he's put you in.
>>1689503>This is just weird. Try to comm Flavius and find out what he's put you in.Aww yiss basically-a-culture-mind quest
>>1689503>Try to find out what's going on while exploring your bow weaponryYour presence exudes itself through your new body's systems, basically the same as those of the Prowler. There's upgrades, of course, some good ones, but none of the systems are radically different. While you activate your hull sensors and the comm gear, you start feeding power into the bow weaponry. Strange, it seems to have its own small tokamak, similar but more efficient to the one that generates anti-particles for your main drive. You briefly turn your attention to your surroundings- you're near the shipyards, in orbit of the gas giant. Light orange swirls far below you, and the constellation of newly build automatic defence ships fly past like shoaling fish. With that distracting thought in mind, you finally discover what the mini-tokamak is for as it disperses a speck of antimatter into one of the tubes, wrapped tight by a magnetic containment field.Antimatter.Flavius has fitted antimatter launchers onto your ship.The Shipmaster AI finally hails you and you accept the request, too stunned to do anything else. "Well, lad? What do you think?" You're still considering how to answer when you finally discover the trigger to the antimatter... torpedo... thing. The magnetic pulse flies from your bow tube, and several light-seconds away an automated corvette is annihilated in a cascade of gamma radiation.Oh shit."What in god's name, Flavius?" You ask, both horrified and excited. Mostly horrified though."I see you found the antimatter torpedoes!" Flavius chuckles, apparently amused. You're glad somebody is. "I call this a Raider-class Destroyer, lad. With that stuff, you could split a battleship in half!" By now, you're picking up tens- no, hundreds of demands for an explanation flying towards the shipyard. Flavius seems to ignore them though. "Better stealth, better weaponry. What do you think, d'you want it? I need it tested, lad.">You want off this wild ride and your nice, safe frigate that doesn't carry antimatter around to shoot at people.>Maybe you could swap to a normal destroyer instead?>If Flavius needs this tested, you'll be a guinea pig. Whatever that is.
>>1689588>If Flavius needs this tested, you'll be a guinea pig. Whatever that is.Oh boy oh boy, time to punch far above our weight
>>1689588>>If Flavius needs this tested, you'll be a guinea pig. Whatever that is.
>>1689588>If Flavius needs this tested, you'll be a guinea pig. Whatever that is.
>>1689588>If Flavius needs this tested, you'll be a guinea pig. Whatever that is."Sure, I can put it through its paces." You reply carefully, wondering what a guinea pig was and why it came to mind when you considered his question."Attaboy!" Flavius crows, though it's impossible to tell whether he's happy for you, or just that his newest toy is getting tested. "Now, a quick rundown on your other weapons. Your broadside lasers are pretty simple, I shouldn't need to tell you about them. Now your missile launchers- aye, not torpedoes, lad. Those are the other thing. I've got this new design I need tested. It's basically a steel rod with a rocket motor and this experimental counter-mass system I've cooked up. You fire it, it weighs nothing and shoots off like a laser. It's about to hit, it weighs as much as a shuttle, bam. With all the reports we've been getting in, I think you'll need them." Flavius is silent for several moments, and you're not sure what to say. You suspected, of course, but it appears you weren't the only ones you encounter that enemy. "Of course, that means I need you to run through initiation."You suppress the urge to groan- initiation is something all but the most experienced Knight-Brothers have to do every time they transfer to a new ship. You had to do it when you were transferred onto the Prowler, in fact. It was to test how well you had integrated into the systems, and was utter hell.>Well, it can't be helped.>Do you really have to? Surely the Grand Master needs to see you as soon as possible...
>>1689659>>Well, it can't be helped.>But I can pass you a report to hand to the grandmaster?
>>1689659>Well, it can't be helped.
>>1689659>>Well, it can't be helped.[Metal Groaning]
>>1689659>Well, it can't be helped.The low groan through your keel can't be heard by the Shipmaster, but he chuckles anyway. "I'm sure you'll be fine, lad. Ol' Turty wants everyone around the Chapterhouse soon, but we have enough time." He sends you some coordinates, and a flock of expendable training drones take flight from the shipyard as you light your main engine.Give me a 1d20 please anons, best of three.
Rolled 10 (1d20)>>1689708
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>1689708laughing dicegods.png
Rolled 4 (1d20)>>1689708
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>1689708
>>1689708>15Not bad.Over the next hour Flavius pushes you to the limit, forcing you to twist and turn in all three dimensions to take down or avoid being 'shot down' by the training drones. He occasionally limits you to using only your broadside lasers, or your bow tubes, or turning off your PD lasers. You manage to keep up well enough, despite being tagged several times. You also test the Raider's stealth systems, and you're pretty impressed. With bigger, more advanced heatsinks than the Prowler, you'll be able to be a black hole in space when you need to.Eventually you're called back to the shipyards, and you get topped up with reactor mass before Flavius bids you a farewell. You burn towards the Chapterhouse, marvelling at the sight of a dozen Knight-Brothers forming up in orbit. Most are in cruisers, and you can't help but feel envy for the dozen torpedo tubes and tens of lasers they back into a single broadside. There's a single battleship with its own flotilla of automated escort destroyers and frigates, but you don't know who that is. Battleships and carriers are too valuable to keep in the Chapterhouse when there's always a crisis or another. In fact, just that being here is... pretty bad. As you slot yourself neatly into orbit, you pick up the tail-end of a broadcast from Grand Master Turtullian. "'And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.' Amen. As the Lord created man, so did man create us in his image. Thus we fulfil our own divine duty to Him by watching over His creations in His stead. Amen." There's a collection of Amens in return as the gathered flotilla of Knight-Brothers chime in. You add your own voice to the chorus. "Our faith has been sorely tested on this day by an unknown enemy and the loss of Knight-Brother Perseus. But we will stand as a bulwark against all the Devil has to assault us, and will we not falter. Amen. Refuel while you can, Brothers. I will contact you individually to give you instructions." The radio channels are filled with intership chatter, but you maintain your silence, mulling over the Grand Master's words. In truth, you were never particularly religious, not like the oldest AIs of the order, the ones who were created on Old Earth. You're still woolgathering when you get a hail from the Grand Master. You hurriedly accept it, and his comforting presence fills the link. "My boy, it is good to have you home. I feared you lost when the first reports came in. Tell me, how was your first taste of battle?">Exhilarating. You can't wait to take the fight to the enemy.>Business as usual.>You've never been more terrified in your (short) life.
>>1689790>>worried, angry, trying no to make a mistake.
>>1689790>Exhilarating. You can't wait to take the fight to the enemy.
>>1689790>>Exhilarating. Terrifying. You can't wait to take the fight to the enemy.
>>1689790>Eye-opening. Fear and exhilaration checked by logic and discipline. A growth experience.
>>1689790>Exhilarating, with a pinch of fear and worry backed up by discipline. You think it over for a few moments. Turtullian isn't one to expect snap answers, you know. "Exciting." You decide on. "Exhilarating, really. I was scared at first, but then everything started happening and I didn't really have time to." After a moment you add, "If you hadn't drummed fire discipline into me, I think it would've been worse."The Grand Master chuckles softly. "I'll take that in the spirit with which I hope it was intended, my boy. Well done. You did much better than I feared for one so young. Now..." His tone turns troubled. "I have already seen your report, but Avalon was not the only human world affected. Three other worlds were wiped of life, and Knight-Brother Perseus was ambushed by enemy forces. The flotilla that have just returned captured these images from the first world the enemy attacked that we know of."You're alerted to a video clip in your message buffer, and you open it with a thought. At first you're not sure what you're looking at, but then the perspective snaps into place and you realise it's a planet. But something looks wrong. It's... hazy, as if surrounded by dust. The camera shifts, and you realise the planet is split into pieces. "They cracked it?" You ask in alarm. "But how? Why? Why would-""They did not." The Grand Master's soft, firm tone effortlessly cuts across your words. "Keep watching."The camera view continues onwards, zooming in on the planet. The dust becomes black specks, and, abruptly, snaps into focus. It's one of the spider-ant things you saw on Avalon, but thousands- millions of them. As the camera pans you see that the planet you previously thought was solid was in fact a mass of those things. They appear to be dead, and you wonder if in a few million years the mass will compact back into a new planet, or if the system will gain a new debris belt made of those spider-ants."It would appear that once they land on a planet, they eat and multiply. One of our Knight-brothers coined the term 'Legion', which seems appropriate." You only hear him faintly, because try as you might the situation seems utterly surreal."How long since they first landed?" You ask, eventually."A week." From his tone, the Grand Master not only knows what you're thinking, but has already thought it himself. For your part, you feel sick."There's no way these things evolved this way?""Undoubtedly. Something or someone made those to utterly eradicate human life. This is our greatest test yet, my boy. But will will not falter, will we?"(cont.)
>>1689994After letting you digest everything for a little longer, he clears his throat. "Now. I see you accepted Shipmaster Flavius' offer of his prototype destroyer. He tells me it is ideal for ambushes and long-range raiding, so I decided to give you the choice. If you wish, you will go with Abbot Zusya," That must be the battleship. Only Abbots occupy capital ships. "And support his operations in any way he commands you. Or, our scouting flotilla also managed to give an approximate direction for the stars the enemy came from. Your mission would be to scout out the enemy, and attack them in any way you deem fit.">Working with a squadron sounds right up your alley.>You've developed a preference for working alone.
>>1690007>You've developed a preference for working alone.
>>1690007>You have no real preference, but you do note this ship was supposed to be stealthier than a common hull.
>>1690007>Working with a squadron sounds right up your alley.Let's work as advance scout/guardian shadow for the Abbot. Plays to our strengths while keeping backup close.
>>1690007>Working with a squadron sounds right up your alley.You think it over, but frankly, you've spent far too much time on your own the past several months. "I would like to support the Abbot, sir.""Very well." You can feel a smile through the connection. "In that case, report to Abbot Zusya. He will be receiving his mission shortly, along with the Knight-brothers I will be assigning him.""Right." You wait for the Grand Master to close the connection, but he hesitates for some reason. "There is, of course, one last thing. I can't be sending a Knight-acolyte out on missions against our enemies. Congratulations, Knight-brother Dauntless. Make me proud." The Grand Master cuts the connection, leaving you to stew over the news. Well. Still buoyed up by your confirmation as a Knight-brother, you send a comm request to the Abbot. For some reason, it takes several minutes for him to even acknowledge your request, let along accept it."Yes?">Snappy. There's no reason for him to treat you like that.>Businesslike. You need to concentrate on the mission.>Deferential. If you get in the Abbot's good books now, the easier it'll be in the future.
>>1690147>>Businesslike. You need to concentrate on the mission.
>>1690147>Businesslike. You need to concentrate on the mission.
>>1690147>Businesslike. You need to concentrate on the mission.Mind our manners, though.
>>1690147Businesslike. To him were a green rookie. Lets impress him and get in his good books.
>>1690147>Businesslike. You need to concentrate on the mission.For an instant you consider being as rude to him as he was to you, but that wouldn't achieve anything. "Grand Master Turtullian has assigned me to your flotilla." After a moment, you add, "Sir.""I... see." You can practically feel the Abbot's sensors sweeping over your hull. "I don't seem to recognise your ship... Knight-acolyte." Has Turtullian put out your confirmation yet? You don't really want to make a fuss, so you stay quiet. "What exactly is your optimal function?">Scouting>Flanking and fleet support>Ambushing/baiting
>>1690236Ambush and baiting enemies.
>>1690236Also, see if there's a register of sorts and our status has been updated already. Do not forget the possibility the Abbot has not updated said registry in the past 5 minutes, he seems busy.
>>1690236>Ambushing/baiting"I can best serve by ambushing enemy ships and baiting them into traps," You explain dutifully. "I have weaponry that should allow me to hit far above my weight." At least, you hope. Considering you're a testbed for a lot of new technologies, who knows if something will go wrong? The Abbot is quiet for a bit, hopefully considering what you'd said. Maybe he's going to be less rude."Very well." He replies finally. "I will contact you when I have details on our mission." Before you can reply, he closes the connection. Well. Maybe you were hoping for too much. Instead, you settle back and listen to the intraship communications bouncing around the cramped orbit of the Chapterhouse, banter and prayers between Knight-brothers in equal measure. For the first time, you listen to it not as a wistful outsider, but as one of them. More or less. It's nice, and fills you with hope of what's to come. Okay, as you can probably tell, I'm finding it hard to keep my eyes open so I need to leave it here for this evening. Thank you very much for participating, and if you want to stay abreast of when I quest then you can follow me on twitter at https://twitter.com/Pixel_Anon.Have a good night, everyone!
>>1690341That break couldn't have come at a better moment, it's 3am and I need to sleep at some point. Thanks for running, cya around!
>>1690341A question for when you wake up pixel? Whats the largest ship frame we could be installed with? Could we potentially have a capital ship sized or styled ship with some customized/unique weapons?
Just caught up, this is a nice read.
>>1692269Well technically the largest frame you could inhabit would be the Chapterhouse itself, which is the duty of the Grand Master.Taking your question in the spirit of which it was asked, however, it would be a carrier. However, the carrier is mostly empty space for carrying fighter/frigate wings so in actual direct fighting power, the largest ship you can get installed into would be a battleship.I hadn't really thought about customising weapons, but... maybe?
>>1692958My idea is a battleship styled frame with several linked railguns/spinal lasers that fire in one massive shot. One massive devastating shot from ambush against powerful enemies.
>>1694260I think the antimatter will do fine. Remember, the bigger something is, the harder it is to conceal - not so much visually in space, but radar profile, massive heat radiation, and enough mass to tick a gravity sensor.I'd take sneaking a 20 ton Antimatter Torpedo down someone's exhaust chute over being a litteral floating cannon every day.
>>1694260What if we miss? Or there's two of them?