Your name is Samuel Armistead. You are a drafted soldier for the Vereinigte Commonwealth, a trans-continental government that holds territory on the East Coast of America, the most of Europe and Northern Africa. You are a support pilot of a Panzermagd multi-role walker, deployed in concert with the significantly larger Panzerknecht machines. You handle their logistics and screen for infantry. You’re the flexible, pragmatic and adaptable side of modern warfare. In recent experience however, you’ve realized that accurately describes a technical as well.Despite a serious numbers disadvantage, you and your team has held its ground, eliminating the heavier threats through unconventional means, and apparently beating back the IRH interloper. You say apparently, since they’ve dropped off radar, and despite Jennings’ losing his machine in the skirmish, the fact that he’s still active suggests that Oriel has withdrawn or laid low. You’ll accept either as long as it means you’re not getting shot at. Of course, that’s little consolation or defense for your downed pilot, so that’s your first priority.“I want to get Jennings back under cover as fast as we can.”“I had the same thought. His signal is fine, but his voice is weak. Take care of him.” Durga sighs, “Do what you can to hurry; The knight-class units are tracking North-West under the IRH air-defense umbrella. If we regroup quickly enough, I can tag them. Consider it low priority...”“Are you sure?” You aren’t convinced.“Of course not, but I cannot fire in this state, which is just enough to rationalize my dismal on-target performance. Get Jennings back safe.” Her tone has the surliness you expect when it comes to her cannonry but lacks the typical mania. It might simply be tied to Jennings’ status, but you’ll give her the credit for now.You pull your machine into stride clearing dozens of error messages, mostly blown sensors. “On the move.”Lis falls in beside you. Lis’ machine is almost amusingly pristine, only catching the occasional smudge where Shell spall hit it, or neat pinholes where subgun fire failed against the armor plate. With the thick coat of sludge and variety of heavy strikes across 01, you have the appearance of walking salvage. You’re not the kind for vanity, but it’s pretty obvious you’ll need to completely overhaul the machine, if not write it off. That stings a bit; 01 might not have been yours for long, and it might not be unique under any stretch of the imagination, but it IS yours.
>>3122977As you approach rendezvous, your mind drifts back towards the Erinyes and Durga. Under normal circumstances, you’re certain that two Magd losses would be painfully scrutinized, but it’s unlikely they will fault you under the circumstances: The damage to the Erinyes and Durga however will be harder to write off. [The story writes itself; Durga was ragdolled. You already have a malfunctioning interface to blame.] “The logging won’t bear that out. Then we’re both in trouble.” [Of course, it won’t. But then the logging is wrong because the interface malfunctioned. Q.E.D.] You shake your head, “I’d prefer an alibi that doesn’t need propped up constantly.”[You don’t have to. Write it in your report. There’re much more interesting things to your people to overreact to.]Looking up from the road, you see exactly what she’s talking about. Ahead of you, where the map places a bend in a local creek, there is a crater, deep and wide. The walls are smooth and perfectly curved, with a thin layer of dust on the surface. In the distance, you see the source of the missing creek filters through the edge of the crater into the bowl, revealing pale banding of greens and white. A decade ago, a place like this would be a tourist attraction; some anomaly of geography or industry. People would line up on the edge, taking pictures of the intricate play of the colored patterns or taking in the sparkling clean water that filters through the porous edge.You know better: It’s a wasteland. The product of the bleeding edge of IRH weaponry. A little piece of Sinai. You feel sick, “Lis. Raise Jennings.” Mia gives voice to your more rational side. [If your friend didn’t make it out, he wouldn’t have been able to call in the first place.]“Got him… Vector 056.” Lis’ reply pulls the weight out of the bottom of your stomach.You pivot the formation, following the rim of the bowl at a safe distance. You can see a hand flare at the edge of the crater at the line where the dust gives over to wilted grass and larger vegetation still remains. You hear him cough into his mic, choking out a sound that doesn’t sound much like “Taxi”, but the joke is so obvious and strained it couldn’t be anything else. As you approach, you can see where he’s been burned and battered. He’s cut away his flight suit from the knee down, and you can see a smoldering pile of junk a few meters into the border: Helmet, boots, clothes… No doubt hastily stripped. Despite it all, he smiles at your approach.
>>3122984You report back. “Durga, I’ve got eyes on Jennings. The enemy deployed a spite weapon that resembles the damage from Sinai. How should I proceed?” “Be cautious. Approach should not be dangerous but avoid long term exposure.”>Mount up: Jennings might not be in the best condition, but if he can manage it, it would be best to have him ride outside the sealed cockpit to avoid any contamination.>Taxi: Your machine’s already punctured and covered in nanite sludge. It’s not much, but Jennings deserves a jump seat.>[Dismount: Nothing’s jumping at us and we still have cover from your third. Why don’t we see what happened here and give you friend help aboard?]>Perimeter: Let Lis pick up Jennings. Until you’ve chalked up everything that popped up on radar, you’re still watching for targets.>Writein?
>>3122991Archives: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=panzermagdTwitter: https://twitter.com/FernglasQFor the holiday, I'm going to see about catching up on my writing some, so while I don't want to get your hopes up, I do want to spend additional time with Magd. I'll announce additional sessions whenever scheduling permits.
Just got back from dinner. Let me get settled and read up.
>>3122991>>Taxi: Your machine’s already punctured and covered in nanite sludge. It’s not much, but Jennings deserves a jump seat.Poor guy is in terrible shape, and our ride is going to need pretty serious work anyway. Might as well give him a lift.Welcome back!
>>3122991>>Mount up: Jennings might not be in the best condition, but if he can manage it, it would be best to have him ride outside the sealed cockpit to avoid any contamination.
>>Taxi: Your machine’s already punctured and covered in nanite sludge. It’s not much, but Jennings deserves a jump seat.
>>3122991>>Taxi: Your machine’s already punctured and covered in nanite sludge. It’s not much, but Jennings deserves a jump seat.
>>3123153>>3123189>>3123333>"I'm not going to screw Jennings over for covering our whole flank. It's not like we're sealed in here anymore in the first place."Writing.
>>3122991>Taxi: Your machine’s already punctured and covered in nanite sludge. It’s not much, but Jennings deserves a jump seat.
>>3123355“Tell him to come aboard my machine; Keep 03 buttoned up: No sense popping the seal until we get cleaned up.You step your machine forward, twisting to present the lift wire. Jennings struggles to his feet but doesn’t seem to have too much trouble approaching. He clips his belt into the lift line, probably to spare his bare feet. The motor sounds angry but still pulls up Jennings, albeit slowly. You pop the hatch for him, bringing in a metallic, chemical smelling breeze that reminds you of the industrial plant. Up lose, you can see where he was flecked with some form of corrosive, leaving blackened sores, predominantly across his hands and shins. His feet are conspicuously clean of burns. He staggers in, supporting himself on the wall.“That was a disaster.” He states emphatically as buckles in. “I lost the mech if you haven’t noticed.”“Durga mentioned. How are you holding up?”“Balance is shot. That IRH guy got me through the top of the cockpit and opened up my ear. I tried to pay him back and he tried to eat me.”“Did you skip something there?” You raise an eyebrow as you pull your machine back upright.“You know the blue stuff? Safety briefing every two months or so when someone loses a finger? The Hanguo’s stuff is green. It’s allergic to EMP and complete sentences.”[It talks?] Mia bounces through the system speaker. Jennings seems to take it in stride.“That’s what’s been going Russia strong on the radio all today as far as I can tell. I must have gotten lucky with my last rocket, because when I came to, one of the Locusts was in half, and he was doing his best impression of a microwaved marshmallow.”“Does that sound like anything to you Mia?” You cue Lis and you both start back towards the Erinyes.[It’s complicated, but strictly speaking yes, you can get that kind of catastrophic failure if you disrupt a large enough metaform. It’s called fragmentation.] She catches your unease. [It’s a design flaw relating to prototype designs that combined power, work and control into the same units. Any modern design would lock up instead. No one would ever be dumb enough to build them wholesale.]“Why's that?” Jennings asks[I just told you. If you’re disrupted, you get something just like the new lake up here, you lose the unit and anything nearby, It’s a massive waste of power and resources.] You nod towards Jennings “Or a really great deterrent. How much damage could you do with one the size of the Ogre’s cores?”[I told you this is all theory. There were never more than a few dozen thousands of these things put together in the same beaker. They’re a pain in the ass to make for one, and I’m not even supposed to think about them.] Distress rebounds across your mind; She means it literally.Before you have to smooth any ruffled feathers, Lis comes over the radio. “Sam, talk to me over here; You’ve guys have been really quiet and it’s a bit worrying.”
>>3124039You welcome the change of subject. “We’re getting caught up. Jennings is a bit worn, but it’s mostly what you saw. A new pair of boots and a checkup will put him right as rain.”“Any idea what happened with the crater up there?” she queries.“A few. We’ll go over it on debrief. “You comfortable with handling Durga when we meet up with her? I don’t think we’re carrying anything, but I’d rather keep clean with clean until we’re sure.”“As long as the interface is standard, I shouldn’t have much difficulty.” Lis doesn’t sound particularly confident.Durga keys in. “The offending part is not unique. It is simply secured out of my reach.”They continue to work out the necessary tooling, leaving you with a hair more time with Jennings.[So that’s it? We just causally share the next awful thing in warfare?]Jennings nods. “Not so confident it’s the next thing by any measure. Theory or not, someone’s gotta have been smart enough to think about this before.” From his tone, you’re pretty sure he’s thinking along the same lines, but avoiding the three million casualty elephant in the room. “Someone has to be told; I hate to admit it, but it’s above our paygrade.”[If it was, I’d know it inside and out. What are you talking about? You keep thinking about Sinai… What happened there?]>Personal: It’s a sore spot, but it’s also one of the most influential atrocities in world history. How could you not know how the war started?>Technical: You don’t have to go into your personal history. Just give her the encyclopedia version. >[Deflect: You mean lie.] >Implore: You’re not sure it’s a good idea to elaborate: An omission that large must be intentional. >Writein?I'll do another update sometime tomorrow. Vote will be up at least until 5 EST. Next session Saturday 12/22
>>3124049Great to see you back. This is a tough one - I'm wanting to learn more about Sinai myself as a reader, but I also think the info hygiene angle is a reasonable one too.Will go with >Implore: You’re not sure it’s a good idea to elaborate: An omission that large must be intentional.
>>3124049>>Personal: It’s a sore spot, but it’s also one of the most influential atrocities in world history. How could you not know how the war started?
>>3124049>Personal: It’s a sore spot, but it’s also one of the most influential atrocities in world history. How could you not know how the war started?Will this satisfy my NEED 4 PLOT, I wonder? ;)
>>3124049>Writein?"You don't know how this war started? There might be a reason for that lack of information. I'll still tell you if you want, you've earned that much, but first can you think of a reason why this would be omitted from you? Maybe it's for the same reason you're 'not supposed to think about those designs?'"
>>3124049>>Technical: You don’t have to go into your personal history. Just give her the encyclopedia version.
>>3124329It should come as no surprise when the holiday spirit takes it upon itself to invade a man's study to curse him as a humbug and disrupt his schedule. As always, a "convenient" itinerary for celebration consumes any convenience it could generate and then some.Next session will be Tuesday, 12/25. Rest assured you will have all the time in the world to vote on that auspicious occasion. Merry Christmas. "Today's" update will be delivered as soon as feasible.
>>3126761Thanks for keeping us updated. Don't stress too much, just get the updates out when it works out.
Counting the write in as a conditional "Implore", we're tied. I'd prefer not to roll off during low traffic however, so I'll leave it open for a bit longer.
>>3124049>Personal: It’s a sore spot, but it’s also one of the most influential atrocities in world history. How could you not know how the war started?I hope you haven't started writing yet
>>3133011Never fear. If there's one thing I manage, it's delay. I'll close the vote at 6 in case of sudden interest./spoiler]
>>3124162>>3124179>>3133011>"Can you imagine falling off the edge of the world?"Writing
>>3133257“I thought you already knew. You brought up my sister before.” You glance back at the niche where Maya’s tags twist with the machine’s stride.[The circumstances were irrelevant. She is gone, and there is no utility in bearing her loss in the present. She presents an emotional attack surface as well. It is, frankly, better not to remember.]“Now hold it.” Jennings interjects. “I didn’t know her, but she was a soldier, same as us. She deserves better than that.”There is heat in your blood from the callous words, but you are not limited to taking Mia at its word. How strange to reach entirely different conclusions from the same memory: Bitter medicine, meet sour grapes.“You would have gotten along well. She was pragmatic. A fixer like you.” [I didn’t ask.] She lies… It lies.Jennings raises an eyebrow as he catches up on the undercurrent, you share a glance and he nods, leaning back in his seat.“She was a pilot. Ran an older Knight similar to the Tennhauser. Stationed in a city named Tel Aviv. Closest thing to neutral ground after the second World War. What would become the IRH was busy with things east and the VC was focused on their own thing… That whole region kind of fell through the cracks since it didn’t have any nuke fuel to dig up. By the time everyone put down borders, they just kind of chalked around the Middle East. When the States split, it became the one place you could talk across the lines.”
>>3134038[You have always been at war; why would you need to converse with the enemy?]“We weren’t really into it after what happened in the States. We’d lose anything we gained in a couple of weeks when the Knights redeployed, and vice versa. Even the Hanguo lost the taste for blood after enough of it. It became a lot more about shouting and posturing than actually fighting. That’s the whole reason Maya was in the city: The IRH had five Knights in the city, so we needed six."You smirk a bit in spite of yourself, "A bit childish, but she had it like clockwork. Everyone knew that next month, they’d have seven, and then we’d send two more the month after. Just for show of course; first one to flinch would be out on their ass for making a mess for our host.” You sigh, “Miriam always asked Maya if anything happened between our calls and the answer was always “Thank God no!”Your eyes sting. “And then of course, something happened. We saw it on the news. They thought it was a sinkhole at first, then it kept growing. The IRH set off something a couple dozen kilometers south-east of the city. Like a perfectly clean scoop out of the ground, going under the roads and buildings. If anything fell in, it disappeared, like it fell off the edge of the planet. Cars, buildings… people… Sometimes it would slow down, but then it would come over the rim like a wave and keep going.”You swallow hard.“They think that’s what got her: Her retinue was loading civvies on her Knight, getting them out of buildings on the border where the stuff hadn’t finished working. They went back for another load and that’s the last time they saw them. It stopped a few minutes later, but five of six of the Knights were MIA, and basically the whole city had fallen into the crater...” You kind of peter out at the end of the statement.
>>3134040Jennings picks up the slack, “The finger pointing started immediately. They called us madmen hoping to resurrect super-critical bombs like they tried out on the West Coast during WWII. Of course, they didn’t have any explanation on why their Knights conveniently disappeared… Things went the natural way and they were shooting around the crater before the water finished filling it.”“Someone put the pieces together after a bit and realized it was some kind of nano-thing, so that became a four letter word, and the VC shut down any private research or construction… Like that was gonna keep anyone safe.” He scowls at the thought.We called it Sinai because when everything finished settling, it was all that was standing: A mountain with a curved face, smooth as glass and blue as a robin’s egg... sitting in a giant punch bowl. Needless to say, tourism ain’t exactly a thing, It’s a tombstone for an entire country and any chance of a truce in our lives besides.” >Agree: Sinai was when peace became unacceptable. So long as the Hanguo exist, there will be no justice for the dead.>Disagree: The whole thing is a monument to the absurdity of this war. We could have stopped it there, but we didn’t.>[Connection: There’s something here I can’t grasp… I shouldn’t grasp.]>Irrelevant: There’s no higher meaning to a rock in a sea. You’re here for Miriam and Maya, and the team as well.>Writein?
>>3134042It's 5 AM local. Next Session Thursday, 12/27, 5 PM EST.Despite a mess of revisions, I'm half satisfied how this update came out. I've frankly never considered how difficult it is to rectify an event in a setting through a subjective lens. At risk of sounding incredibly pretentious, it's satisfying to find weaknesses in my writing to (hopefully) shore up.
>>3134042>>Disagree: The whole thing is a monument to the absurdity of this war. We could have stopped it there, but we didn’t.
>>3134042>Writein?Emotional big picture:>Agree: Sinai was when peace became unacceptable. So long as the Hanguo exist, there will be no justice for the dead.But squad leader present time practicallty:>Irrelevant: There’s no higher meaning to a rock in a sea. You’re here for Miriam and Maya, and the team as well.That connection one is tempting but im hesitant to go further down the rabbit hole here in the field, when we're somewhere secure and comfortable we can dig that one up.
>>3134042>Agree: Sinai was when peace became unacceptable. So long as the Hanguo exist, there will be no justice for the dead.I mean our sister did die there. I know I'd be holding a grudge. Also that connection sounds like something we should definitely revisit.
>>3134042>>[Connection: There’s something here I can’t grasp… I shouldn’t grasp.]
>>3134042>>Agree: Sinai was when peace became unacceptable. So long as the Hanguo exist, there will be no justice for the dead.
>>3134042>Irrelevant: There’s no higher meaning to a rock in a sea. You’re here for Miriam and Maya, and the team as well.Well, I'm finally caught up on this quest. I should have a lot to talk about so expect a review sometime during next week.
>>3135587Thanks, I appreciate it and am in no way worried.
>>3135591No convenient excuse today. Will write when I can.
>>3137118Take your time, can't rush greatness
>>3137636More like you can't rush pseudoephedrine. How does one get a cold when he's functionally been nowhere in the past week?
>>3137782I'm in the same boat, except it's strep. I accept it if I'd been anywhere this past week, but I haven't.