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The Ringing of a Forge of Stars [Warhammer 40k/ Celestial forge V3||OC...ish]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Slider Zero, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

    Sep 27, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Oh, I understand completely, and agree wholeheartedly. The problem is that, in 40k, you are NEVER going to be able to outpunch everyone, and at the end of the day the infantry scale is what's truly important, as no battle in the setting that wasn't explicitly in deep space has ever been won without boots on the ground. it is also, incidentally, the part about 40k that most needs help. if you can bolster the people, you bolster the Imperium as a whole.

    as god as the spaceships are, they mean NOTHING when you are being boarded by the warp horrors that got past the shield, or managed to get you off of it.

    besides, they realistically only have one proper ship right now, and even Satori would have trouble trying to build a new one from scratch straight off.
  2. InfiniteChaosRai

    InfiniteChaosRai World's only not-cringe Furry

    Jul 1, 2020
    Likes Received:
    I really fucking hope that Harry's workout routine is 100 situps, 100 pushups, 100 squats, and a 10 KM run every single day!! for the meme value
  3. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

    Sep 27, 2018
    Likes Received:
    I mean, he is already bald...
  4. ATP

    ATP Versed in the lewd.

    Jun 24, 2020
    Likes Received:
    RWBY,Naruto,D&D - very good,but why not add Evangelion ? AT field would be usefull,wings of fire too.Not mention turning people into goo.
    Slayer 10321 and Ame like this.
  5. prussian-granadier

    prussian-granadier I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Oct 23, 2018
    Likes Received:
    art of Mia:

  6. ATP

    ATP Versed in the lewd.

    Jun 24, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Nope.She had no horns and tail,and her boobs are too big.Mia is much cuter then that!!!
  7. Threadmarks: Chapter 16
    Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

    Sep 27, 2018
    Likes Received:
    It was nice to not have a hard deadline looming over you when you were working. Made things easier to work with and around, and it also gave me time to investigate certain things as well.

    For example, somewhere along the way during our effective vacation, a particular object had been delivered to the workshop floor, sitting in a position of prominence on a pedestal that had been created solely to house it.

    “You are acting like this is important, but I have no clue what it is. Mind filling me in?” Harry’s growing loss of patience was becoming evident in his tone. Unfortunately, I was all but vibrating in place at the miraculous treasure that had been delivered unto me.

    Because the small, tablet-like object Harry held in his hands was literally that damned powerful. As if having a goddamned Chozo power suit wasn’t cool enough.

    “That, Harry, is one of the most bullshit pieces of magitechnology that I have ever known. It is capable of so much that by all rights merely having it should be restricted. I present to you, for your consideration: the Shiekah Slate.”

    I made a grand gesture to the device in his hands. Harry looked nonplussed.

    “So, what does it do, anyway? Seems like a normal datapad to me.”

    I chuckled to myself at those words, but managed to keep the mirth out of my tone for the reply. “Why don’t you try that data recovery spell of yours, then? Maybe see what you can pull out of it?”

    The look Harry gave me was icy cold, but relented within short order. I know he remembered his first attempt to scan the Slate that way. It was not a pleasant experience, though it didn’t leave any permanent damage after it was all said and done.

    “I’ll pass, thank you.”

    I made sure to not chuckle at his predicament, though a smile still broke out on my face. “Alrighty then, let me give you the basic rundown of the power of the Shiekah Slate.

    “First off, it has a nice mapping feature!” I made a point of showing off the map and it’s zoom functions. “It keeps track of where you’ve been, and if you choose, where you’re going. Easy-to-use waypoints allow for some decent dead-reckoning navigation if you need it.”

    “Secondly!!” I was really having fun with the sales pitch, and it showed. “There is a wonderful camera function that allows you to not only take some splendid pics, but can record data on both flora and fauna for later perusal and data crunching. The camera even ties into the mapping system, allowing you to use the slate as a viewfinder and zoom-capable monocular to set navigation points for travel. This is something I know for a fact is useful, by the way;too many marches with a butterbar trying to do land nav, and you figure it out…”

    Harry’s chuckle at this only proved that even in the Grim Darkness of the 41st millennium, you still cannot trust a 2nd Lieutenant, especially not with a map and compass.

    “Third!! It has expandable functionality...which we do not…quite have access to yet. But it’s a work in progress! Don’t worry, we’ll get the good stuff out of it eventually. But it does bring us to our final and most important feature: the INVENTORY SYSTEM!!!i

    Which, when looking at it from an outside perspective, is the real prize of having a slate. It stores stuff. A LOT of stuff. If I didn’t have Thoth already running inventory for me, I would have stolen this outright. For now, though…

    “And this can all be yours, for the always low price of ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!

    Now Harry laughed his ass off. I was kind enough to wait until he got himself under control before continuing.

    “Besides, I’ve tried running one of my reverse engineering power over the stuff, and keep getting back errors on it, and even though I can read the language doesn’t mean I understand what’s happening inside. It looks, almost, like computer code, but the structure is nuts. Honestly, I just want someone putting it to good use, and you needed a storage space anyway.”

    I shrugged. “It’s just weird like that sometimes, y’know?”

    A mental nudge from Mio caused a stray thought to dislodge itself. “Oh yeah. That slate is rated to survive completely unscratched against the guardian lasers that we use on the guns. Meaning that the damned thing is pretty much indestructible. I suggest hanging on to it for that reason alone.”

    “Well, then. Glad to see that my personal safety is being taken with the utmost precedence.” And to think that Harry actually managed to say that with a straight face…

    “Anyway, now that you have been hooked up with your new favorite tool, let’s see about getting you some other gear. Looks about time for an upgrade anyway.” Besides, it would let me make sure he could avoid getting killed by stupid things, which is always a plus.

    “I believe I will decline for now. I feel that I am actually rather well equipped for most scenarios. After all” and here he extended the Photon Claw that he had yet to actually need to use, “I have more than one set of fangs, if needed, and my recent foray into magical studies is going rather well, I think. Let me get used to my gear before you replace it all over again.”

    Well, he had a point.

    “Fair enough. Just let me or Mio know when you think you need some sprucing up, though. Oh, and speaking of sprucing up, how are the prosthetics working? The integration going good?”

    Now Harry turned a semi-disbelieving eye towards me. “Wait, you knew that was going to happen? That these would start melding in with my body?”

    I nodded absently, already focusing back on my current project, repurposing the operations orbs as a psionic focus. “Yeah, I intentionally designed ‘em that way. The more they integrate, the less you’ll be hit with stuff like phantom limb and other silliness, and the more responsive the limbs themselves will become. I’m not sure of the upper limit, but eventually they will act just like a natural limb, but stronger, while reinforcing appropriate areas to make sure that your extremities don’t outscale the rest of your body.

    “Besides, would you have preferred the usual super-clunky mess that the Imperium usually throws out for their prosthetics?”

    “I-I...well…” Yeah. I figured he would have had problems arguing it from that perspective. I didn’t mean to be manipulative about it, but I did kind of need to drill home that in a society that was already very much pro-transhumanism, complaining about the prosthetics becoming just as good in all ways as the original limb is NOT a valid argument.

    I stopped my tinkering and turned towards Harry. “Look. I’m not trying to be a dick about it. I just made sure at the time that you got the best I had available, and nothing less. That it happens to do the same that the Imperial version would eventually require, and in a more holistic way, is no reason to panic.”

    Harry, surprisingly for him, huffed in annoyance. “It’s not panic, you damned madman. I just would like to be made aware of these things before they start happening. Call it paranoia on my part.”

    “Yeah, yeah. Next, you’ll say that you don’t want your eye to upgrade itself either, and we both know that’s a lie.”

    Harry snorted in amusement, again. “Sure, laugh it up. You aren’t the one turning into a damned machine, piece by piece.”

    I gave him the flattest look possible. “Harry, I am literally a hybrid cyborg nanomachine colony. I am more of a machine than you will ever be.”

    The moment barely held for two seconds before we both chuckled at each other.

    “Anyway, anything I should know about with the metal bits and what they’re changing?”

    I thought about it for a moment. “Well, the biggest thing they are likely to change is to reinforce all of the remaining bone structure surrounding the connection points, eventually spreading to the rest of the body as well. also, you can expect a general nervous system tune up sometime soon as well, as the extra functions start wiring themselves into the autonomic system. There’s a few of those that you haven’t used yet for anything. I suggest taking some familiarization time to get used to ‘em”

    Harry’s nod was enough of an answer for me, so I got back to my project as he waved and excused himself to his own devices. It really was nice to see that he was still taking things well, though, after all he had been through. Either that or he’s just rolling with the insanity over lack of any other option, and I’m not sure which is worse. Probably rib him about it later.

    Anyway, back to my project of DOOM!! (well, not doom, but it was still awesome.) The current experiment was an attempt to use a super-custom operations orb, or at least the technology behind it, to create a similar focus for psionic powers, or to at least integrate the same into the orbs proper. I had a hunch that this would be useful down the line for various reasons.

    So far, the process was...not going well. Admittedly, my still being a relative newcomer to the whole psionics thing was a big part of why it was not working well, but even then I thought that I would have been able to at least make some inroads into the desired result. So far, though, nothing too much happening, not that I was discouraged. My own psionic training was going shockingly well, to the point that I was legit breezing past a lot of things that supposedly should have taken years to bridge in a “standard” psionic practitioner.

    While a good deal of it was me taking the archaic teaching methods and applying more modernized thought processes and practices, I was shocked to find the overwhelming lion’s share of the credit to fall squarely on a combo of both my insanely expanded mind and the multitasking training that was a requirement for most forms of magic I had access to. Hell, it wasn’t even one of my strange abilities that was pushing it this time, just the sheer overwhelming power of my brain meats. Which, as my psionic abilities grew, compounded into even more powerful brain meats.

    While I would have placed myself on the “standard” D&D scale as at most level 7-8, considering that “high-level” play starts at lv10 and most settings have a severe deficit of beings at or above that level, it was actually saying a lot. Combine that with the fact that the psionic abilities acted as I had suspected and were very much free form in application instead of hewing to tabletop rules, and I was led to suspect that a *True* high-level practitioner of the psionic arts could and would wipe the floor with my ass if they so chose to.

    Fortunately, that wasn’t a concern for me at the moment, though I suspected that I would need to set this project aside for now and wait until I had a better understanding of my own powers. I did, after all, eventually want to teach this stuff to others one day.

    Mio casually walked in to the workshop as I continued banging my head against the wall of psionic foci. She, too, had taken to my training method for psionics and had already managed to match, and in fact exceed, my own advances. Her accomplishment only drove me to push harder to keep up with her advance, (which probably had something to do with how fast we were progressing, as well) and also gave me the idea for the psi focus in the first place.

    Too bad it didn’t want to work.

    “Still having trouble with it?” At least Mio was still her usual self, which was being a constant balm to my soul. Even if she was effectively babysitting me at the moment.

    “Yeah. I’ve been playing around with a few things to see what could I could make stick, but so far, nothing actually works. I don’t wanna give it up as a complete wash just yet, but…”

    “Beating your head against the brick wall doesn’t appeal. I get it.” Mio’s smile once again graced my life. “So how about this: work on some of the other stuff you wanted to try out. Or, since I’m here now, we can play around with photonics like we’ve been meaning to.”

    Of course, being Mio, she all but draped herself across my shoulders after speaking.

    “I’m tempted, woman, to just play with you instead, but I have a better idea for right now.” I pretended to not notice Mio becoming aroused at my words. “I wanna go take a look at those spacecraft we have sitting in dock. Make sure we have a go-to-hell plan, just in case things get super sticky around here.”

    “Ah. it’s time, then?”

    I nodded my agreement. “It’s time. And when we’re done…”

    I pointedly ignored Mio shivering at the implication.

    Getting to the ships themselves was a non-issue for us, even with the mass of bodies in the way...which we would still need to clean up at some point. I instead chose to distract myself by using the opportunity to take a look at Mio’s Valkyrie Frame and the changes that had occurred when it was forcibly upgraded.

    Her Frame was very much similar to mine, oddly enough, even in having the nonstandard shoulder protection. The only difference was that her suit was clearly styled for a female occupant (even if the curves were very minor, they were still there) and that the color scheme was of red and gold...or rather, a yellow-gold, at any rate. I thought it suited her quite nicely.

    (I ignored the fact that she had both a Hypervelocity Cannon and her melee halberd installed, as well as the beam projectors we shared. I would be adding weapons to my frame in due time.)

    “So. we got any plans for this bad boy here?” Mio asked me as we searched for an airlock of some sort on the larger of the two spacecraft. “Because if we don’t, I have a few suggestions I’m willing to put forth…”

    I openly laughed over the comms channel, the amusement clear as day to both of us. “Let’s actually see what we’re working with before we try and change things, okay Hon? We might not have to do much in here.”

    Again, I forced myself to ignore the spike of lust coming from my Dragon. Patience, woman. You’ll get yours soon enough…

    I will admit that it wasn’t hard, though. The ship looked downright amazing up close, and unlike Mio I could see plain as day some of it’s more blatant influences. The overall shape seemed to pull a lot from an old shmup series I’d loved called Thunder Force, specifically the fifth iteration; the ship itself had a lot of influence from the RVR series of fighters baked in to the design, only scaled up and retooled for use as a frigate and/or capital ship. (I was leaning towards large frigate, though, maybe a small Destroyer if we were lucky.)

    Finally locating a hatch near the bow of the ship, I made a deliberate point of taking a good look over the fixture to make sure that everything would hold together if I adjusted anything, and then used a bit of creative magic to make a temporary air bubble so as to not decompress the ship if it was in fact still pressurized.

    Honestly, after all of the preparation, buildup, and tension surrounding this thing, actually getting inside was about the most mundane thing ever. There was a manual handle set on the side of the airlock door that I used to crack open the hatch proper, and the two of us piled into the lock chamber. Looking at the controls, there was only minimal power available, just enough to note that the ship’s atmosphere as dangerously toxic to human life due to low oxygen content. Nothing that we couldn’t fix later, but something about the way that was worded had me cautious.

    Apparently Mio shared my concern, as I felt her encouraging/agreeing to my suggestion to stay suited up before I had even thought to voice it.

    Cycling thought the airlock manually, we were met with equally manual emergency bulkheads. From the looks of the place, and the bits of general mapping that we’d managed from the outside, we were close to one of the control stations. If the ship followed one of its other inspirations, specifically that of the Normandy SR2, then moving forward on the ship would bring us to the main helm, and moving aft would (eventually) take us to the Combat Information Center or it’s equivalent...assuming we could get past the emergency bulkheads without breaking something.

    “So, we likely need to get to either engineering or whatever passes for the Bridge of this ship. I would prefer to not fuck up the ship in the process. Any suggestions? Oh, and a reminder that we do eventually need to get those retracted…”

    Mio was deep in thought. “Nothing really comes to mind. Standard doctrine for this kind of thing on an Imperial ship is to cut your way through...but most imperial ships are nowhere near this small. This ship is absolutely tiny by the standards I’m used to.

    “I would say the other option is to get a deep scan of the ship and use some teleports to get around, but that assumes that doing so is both safe and actually possible. Best guess is we do this the hard way and try to find the bypasses for the bulkheads, or at least the manual retracts. There has to be something nearby…”

    She brought up a good point. I was all for just teleporting to the necessary areas, but if the place wasn’t safe or something or another got missed on the scans we were in for a world of hurt, and teleporting would just drop us straight into the thick of it.

    As much as it would suck, we really were better off doing it the hard way.

    With that being the case, I might as well check and see if my suspicions panned out.

    “We’ll be headed forward first then. If my guess is correct, there will likely be a helm station of some sort here that we can use to maybe gain access to other things.”

    Of course, getting there was the hard part. Those emergency bulkheads seemed like you would need to cut through them to get past, by all accounts, but some pointed scanning (and a bit of actual mark one eyeball searching) later, we managed to find the emergency power coupling for the section and tie our suit reactors in. that was able to put just enough juice on the bulkhead controls to allow for the automatic retract, and this without a significant diminishment in power output for either of us.

    What lay beyond was not entirely what I was expecting.

    There was indeed a control station set at the fore, with a clear view forward out of the screens, as was proper. What was unexpected was that there were also stations to the left and right (port and starboard in naval terms, which I would have to remember for the future) of said main console, and that all three had power, if minimally.

    The surprise, on the other hand, came from the way the place was set up: the viewport encompassed not only the complete forward view, but sloped back along the edge all the way along the top and sides to provide an unprecedented view. Considering that from the outside this looked like a pure armor belt, it spoke of a marvel of engineering to have that level of view without compromising protection. I’d have to figure out how they did it later.

    I walked up to the center console, Mio right on my heels. There was a singular screen up, displayed as a dull orange construct of light, very similar to that of the omnitool. On a hunch, I accessed my own just to see if the interface would work, and was only slightly surprised to have limited functionality. Getting that much, I used Thoth as the primary access instead, and pushed the relevant data to Mio.

    “Hummm… this place is surprisingly well-kept for how messed up it is.”

    I had to agree with her assessment. The ship was actually fine, for all purposes, with the exception that nearly every emergency system had tripped all at once for reasons unknown, and then the bulkheads had locked down as the oxygen levels got lower. The only problems we’d have getting the ship back online from what I was seeing were to get life-support back online, retract the emergency bulkheads, and clear out the emergency system stops.

    The problem here was that without main power, the bulkheads had to be retracted manually, which was annoying as hell, and were likely to trigger again in important areas unless we managed to pump in more O2 or clear out the bad air. Second was that those emergency measures were both hardwired and hardware in many cases, and quite a few of them were rather blatant to my eye just by the labels as being one-time-use, which meant we’d have to inspect and clear every fault just to know which ones were important and which were not.

    The biggest problem was that there was a warning note from an engineering console that the main reactor had been hard-SCRAMmed due to the emergency. And considering that I was pretty sure that this ship ran on one of the novel fusion plants, that had to be done manually, from inside engineering. Whatever was the issue on this ship, it would be there.

    “So, I think I know how we need to do this, then. First, we need to get to engineering and reset the reactor, and pray to god that the damned thing hasn’t been cold for too long, or we will have issues. Secondly, we have to get the life support systems back online as soon as we have more than…” I checked the readouts again, “emergency power to work with. Hell, even aux power would be a blessing at this point, really; we could run the support systems off of that with ease.”

    “Says here that aux power is offline for reasons unknown. The emergency systems are enough to keep critical stations juiced up and life support for a certain amount of time, but one of the faults seems to be with the power distro network...crap. We might have to redo entire runs of conduit for this, depending on how bad this is.”

    “Let’s just hope we don’t have to rebuild the entire damned ship all at once. Everything else can be handled in due time.”

    And so we began our journey to the engineering spaces. Sure, we could have used one of the emergency accesses from outside, but that would have denied us the opportunity to inspect the rest of the ship spaces while things were still locked down, and also would have prevented us from clearing a few system faults as well.

    Progress was slow, as we moved along and generally inspected everything as we went by. I made a point of setting up a comms relay with the Kerbals outside the ship, just in case I needed to call in Rico for extra firepower. I had doubts that would be needed, however.

    What we would need was a lit of spare parts, from what we were seeing. The power runs were all but trashed by whatever had happened here, which explained a lot of why things were running on emergency power. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Aux power was actually up and running and entire sections of the ship just didn’t know it because the power conduits had blown.

    We were basically rebuilding the damned things on-site, using spare parts that the Kerbal work crews were ferrying in for us as we moved along. Power output wasn’t high enough to get around a fully operational Impeller field, and we were moving slow enough that the proper safety steps could be observed anyway, so it was not too horrible on us.

    I made a note that we were going to have to redo the data transmit cables though, or perhaps find a better system to work with. What was there was alright, but they were old, and the war was very evident during our maintenance overhaul. A little nanorepair worked wonders, but the point remained.

    “Ugh. I think we might just need to scrap the entire setup. This stuff is trash. TRASH, I say!!”

    I giggled. (yes, giggled. It actually happened.) “Did you need to be so dramatic?”

    Yes!” And Mio was getting aggravated. I could understand completely. This was taking forever and we had barely cleared out all of the forward section of the main decks.

    I wanted to push harder, keep going, but for once the task at hand was a bit much. I had to accept the inevitable. “We’re doing this the wrong way.”

    Mio’s retort was hot, as expected. “Oh? And what exactly do you suggest that we do differently? Drill through the bulkheads by force? This is the only way to actually fix the damned problem here, Satori. We have to do it by hand.”

    I nodded. “That does not mean that we have to be stupid about it...or, at least, continue being so.” I turned to look towards a far bulkhead, one facing towards the airlock back to the hangar proper. “Where are we, Mio?”

    “Onboard a stupid ship having stupid problems. Why?”

    Ah. I see now. She missed it just like I did. “No, Mio. Where are We?

    I could feel her blink, even if her visor was pointed the wrong way for me to see it. “I don’t get it. This some kind of trick question? We’re on the ship.”

    “And where is the ship?”

    “It’s in a space...dock…”

    I had the pleasure of watching Mio facepalm. Which was only a small mercy because, again, I had missed it too. “Exactly. So why are we fighting with the ship when we can fix the damned docks instead and use that as a support?”

    “So, we don’t speak of this to Harrisyn. Ever.”

    “It wasn’t that bad, Mio--”


    I was forced to accede to my wife-to-be’s wishes.

    “And no, that isn’t getting you off the hook, either. DO. NOT. TELL. HARRISYN.”

    I could only laugh, as we were currently in too dangerous an environment for me to properly placate her annoyance.

    “So, yeah. That’s about what we got going at the moment. Gonna need a complete rebuild for nearly everything out there, but once it’s done...you’re gonna have one hell of a Shipyard to play with.” Bill Kerman’s earnestness was always a sight to behold, especially as I had been shown by the rest of the Kerbonauts exactly how clumsy he was, despite being an Engineer. He was actually very good at his job, though, and took the teasing in good cheer.

    I, on the other hand, was not in as good a mood, not after being told that the docks would effectively need to be completely rebuilt in order to be used properly. It only meant more time and effort on our parts to deal with the silliness, but whatever. It needed to be done.

    We were currently outside of the spacedock--excuse me, shipyard proper, and discussing how best to move forward. And, as stated previously, Bill’s news was not the best in the universe.

    “Allrighty then. If it has to be done, it has to be done. That doesn’t mean that we have to be stupid about it. Mio, hon?”


    “I’m gonna need you to clean out those bodies in the fourth slip. I have some scanning to do. I’ll let you know when I’m done.”

    Mio had a slight grimace of distaste, but didn’t deny the request. “You’re gonna scan the whole thing, aren’t you?”

    I grimaced harder. If anything, I gave her the easy job. “Yeah. I have no clue how long it’s going to take, so keep an eye out for me, please?”

    I was promptly tackled into the fiercest hug ever, and was just as quickly drawn into a desperately needy kiss as well. It was with extreme reluctance that I broke the kiss and pushed my lover away.

    Later, Mio. we’ll have the time.”

    A hesitant nod was my only answer. “Just...be careful, alright?”

    “I will be.”

    Mio headed off to clean the place up after that, giving me backwards glances as she moved. I understood completely, as what I was going to be doing was at best potentially debilitating (if temporary) and at worst had the possibility of killing me outright, assuming something went SUPER wrong. My current estimate was that this was going to fall under ‘potentially moderately dangerous, but ultimately reasonable’.

    What I intended to do was to do a partial meld with the shipyard to get a full picture of the place using my nanites. With that, I could do the necessary redesign work in my head, and from there, use Thoth and the culmination of my skills to more or less speedrun the entire rebuild, doing in days what should have taken months. And that was if I was massively unlucky. Considering the powers I had at my disposal, if Mio and the Kerbals helped out, we could possibly be done with this by dawn tomorrow.

    That is, assuming the best.

    With not a small bit of trepidation and fear, I laid a hand on the airlock door separating the shipyard from the hangar area...and let the process begin.

    What I was doing was exercising a portion of the power that allowed me to subvert and understand technology, what it (and I) referred to as Enemy Tech Progression. This time, instead of just doing a quick analysis scan, though, I was going deep. And using my nanites to do it.

    It. Was. PAINFUL. Not physically so, but mentally, the ‘strain’ of, among other things, keeping myself from being lost in the sheer size of the structure as I mapped it out with my powers...it was unexpectedly very much taxing...but the process was being completed. A lot faster than I had expected, at that.

    But the strain was only getting worse. Even as I gained possibly the only complete look ever into this shipyard since it was built, the strain of doing so rose higher...and it was getting close to being too much to bear. Even now I had the distinct feeling that I might have had a nosebleed, which was bad...but I pushed forward nonetheless. An instance of myself that was working with Vitalist abilities dedicated itself to constant healing to prevent the strain from killing us. How that managed to work without exploding my skull I have no idea, but it did….and after an uncountable amount of time (which happened to be five minutes by Bill’s watch), it was complete.

    I quickly kicked the schematic at Mio and the main database before I collapsed.

    “So, he pushed himself too hard, and now is paying the price.” Harry’s scathing condemnation was, he felt, rather appropriate.

    Mio was doing the checkup on her lover. “More like realized that stopping the process once started solved nothing and powered through it. Even if he didn’t start the healing, which was both unnecessary and added to the strain on his mind, at most he would have had a minor disruption to his CNS, which would have been fixed almost immediately anyway...something similar to a seizure for an extremely brief moment. It was more bullheaded stubbornness than anything else, really.”

    “So basically it was unnecessary, but now that it’s happened, everything will be alright?”

    “More or less.”

    Harry didn’t like it, watching his friends hurt themselves for no real reason. That particular trait of his was only sharpened by his time as an Inquisitor, and he made a point of not wasting the lives of those who chose to be his retinue if at all possible. That they had died anyway was something unavoidable. That they died as hard as possible, and took their killers with them, was honorable in the extreme. He made a point of remembering their sacrifices, even now.

    Harry had lost enough friends. He had no intention of losing another.

    Mio wasn’t worried in the slightest. “I said he’ll be fine. All he needs is a bit of bed rest, and he’ll be fine. I intend to watch over him anyway, so all will be well.

    Harry slowly nodded. “See to it that you do, miss Granliss.” He knew it was rude as hell, and he didn’t care.


    He stopped and listened. Mio did not often use his chosen nickname, despite having permission to do so, and the tone was enough to warn him that it was serious.

    She continued after it was certain that she had his attention. “I am not going to let him die. Not without going with him. That I swear on the Omnissiah.”

    Harry didn’t bother turning around, just slowly, visibly nodded, before leaving. There were other things that he needed to do, and his friend was in good hands.

    Rico Intercepted him as beheaded back out the field that they used to practice. “Everything alright?”

    Harry nodded briefly.

    Rico scrutinized him just as briefly, then relaxed minutely, an unseen burden lifted off of his back. “Alright then, let’s pick this up where we left off. You were working on the intermediate barrier spells, right? Well, there is this particular one that has an interface slot with one of the regenerative healing spells--

    Mio sat back in her chair next to Satori’s bed.

    She didn’t like seeing him in bed (at least, not like this) any more than Harry did. And she understood his anger. It was always hard to see those closest to you hurt. The only difference between them right now was that she knew that her lover would be alright, whereas Harry was still in that state of hopeless panic.

    She also didn’t bother to correct his assumption that her lack of usage of his nickname was a personal affectation on her part. Really, she just often forgot to do so, and it was generally polite to use one’s proper name anyway, so she tended to default to it.

    So, downtime. Sure, she could directly work on the shipyard some more, but not only did she need to be here to assuage Harry’s fears, but she also didn’t have anywhere NEAR the manufacturing and assembly capacity that Thoth did, although she was working on changing that. Jumping into that mess without a dedicated fabber or two was really wasting effort.

    Besides, it let her monitor her other project. One that, if successful, would change all of humanity...again.

    So far, everything was looking alright, the processes going smooth as the experiment continued onwards. She had shielded as much of the process from Murphy as was strictly feasible, and then ran through it again just to be sure, but this should work.

    And if/when it did, they were going to have something beyond price to play with...and, yes, yet another reason for everyone and their grandma to be gunning for their heads. Which would be surrounded by so much firepower that even getting in would be next to impossible.

    Satisfied that her project was going well, she moved on to other pursuits that were possible while she was on watch duty (aside from doing a summary rundown of the shipyard schematics, of course). Practice her telekinesis some more? Maybe play around with some elemental magic for a bit?

    Satori stirred, and she immediately laid a hand on his head, circulating energy between them. Her lover calmed almost immediately.

    Or I could just put some more work into healing and similar bio-manipulation. It was once a topic of interest for me, after all...

    Waking up from that mess was a lot less painful and disorienting than I thought it would be. It was actually quite comfortable, all things said.

    Realizing that the reason was because of Mio was not detracting from the comfort value.

    “How long was I out?”

    The look she gave me would have been difficult to decipher if not for our link, which let me tell quite clearly she was torn between praising me and scolding me in equal measure, not the least of which because Harry had gotten involved and was concerned for my safety now.

    “Going on three hours now.”

    I nodded. “And I can see that I kind of left a mess in the process. I wasn’t expecting that much of a load coming back...felt like my mind was splitting in two for a bit.”

    Mio sighed. “I suspect that you running all of those multitask instances, experimenting with psionic power, did not help. I know that the last one you used to throw healing energy at yourself only added to the problem, even if it prevented a certain outcome.”

    I found myself curious at that part. “And what outcome was this?”

    Mio laughed softly for a moment. “Just a minor seizure. Nothing too bad to be worried about.”

    ...Somehow, the words minor seizure do not fill me with confidence in the slightest, but I was willing to take her word for it...and apparently didn’t have to?

    Thoth had thrown me a diagnostic reading of my mind during the process, where he had tried to help, but was unable to properly interface with things without reconfiguring for the new process. There was an apology thrown in there as well, for not being able to help share the load, along with an update process for further expanding and attuning our data processing abilities. Hell, he’d even started a redesign and update of the onboard scanners too.

    So at least this was a one-off. That much was good.

    “So, apparently even Thoth didn’t expect it to be that strenuous, and is even now running update and optimization processes to account for that from now on. I think this was a one-off, Besides, we now have a full, 100% complete down-to-the-micron scan of the station. So, tell me. What’s busted, and how do we fix it?”

    I got one of her smiles in response, the super cute soft ones that were so rare to see. “Well, for starters, the Kerbals had the right idea about the power runs. We’re going to have to redo damn near everything in there--”

    It took three days to get everything working right.

    Part of the problem was that the issues with the place were legion. Main structural supports weren’t where they were supposed to be, or were heavily damaged, outside of the slips themselves; the control room was an utter wreck, as was every corridor leading to it; hell, the main power core was just flat-out gone, as if someone had decided that ‘nope! You people do not get power anymore!!’ and outright yeeted the damned thing. The fact that this had been done without disturbing any of the other connections was only mildly terrifying in its implications.

    I, personally, suspected that there was some very, very nasty space-time juju going on here, but that was just me.

    In any case, the redesign and rebuild of the shipyard was complete, complete with upgrades to what we considered as “best-use” levels of technology for the various controls and such. The idea, when I pitched it to Mio, was to use this is a test bed for what we could build to the best possible standard that was still buildable by others as well, with the intention of adding the techniques and processes to the STC if they weren’t already in there in some form.

    Considering that the interfaces and displays were using the closest thing we had available to hard light as a medium, I’d say we did a good job.

    There was the issue of exactly where the bodies of the old crew came from, as well as the damned Typhon mimics who were their likely killers, but so far that remained unanswered, and were in all likelihood to remain that way, especially as I had no desire to actually look for the psychic impressions of the damned Typhon. It was bad enough that there had been a few left over in the place that the Kerbals had to bludgeon into non-existence. There was no way in hell I wanted Phantoms or worse floating their asses around here.

    That Wehrner, while setting up his new office inside the shipyard, had found an old and faded plaque with a circular T-shaped logo on it did not fill me with any form of confidence, especially as I felt that I should have recognized that logo from somewhere.

    I set the thought aside for now, with the intention of revisiting it later on, just in case it became relevant.

    The nest issue was the ships themselves. The smaller one, which I suspected to be either an overly-large shuttle or some kind of scout craft, was easily hooked up to the available apparatus and fed the appropriate utilities while the Kerbals explored inside its confines.

    The larger one was proving to be something of an issue in that, for a good while, we couldn’t even find where to hook up in the first damned place until I stumbled upon it by complete accident. And that was the good news.

    The bad news was that the power junctions were indeed blown and/or compromised in exacting detail, forcing us to still do exactly as we were doing and replacing them as we went along. The sole silver lining about this was that it was only the junctions that were borked, so our ongoing process of doing piece-by-piece replacement of the actual conduits themselves could be put on hold for the time being. We thanked the Omnissiah for small mercies as we worked.

    The other problems were that whatever had caused the pressurization issue was not wanting to get solved by any meaningful metric, as even with the external air coming in both through the hookup and via the newly-pressurized slip, it STILL did not want to actually let the fucking air become breathable. It was honestly pissing me off, and the only thing stopping me from tearing open a path to life support to figure out what the fuck was wrong was the obvious need of the rest of the ship for our attention.

    But eventually, after hours of utterly tedious work, we got to the life support section and tried to figure out what the fuck was going on.

    “You see anything, Mio?”

    “Nothing over here. And all of the scans are coming up normal. Maybe try a magic pulse?”

    I shrugged. As much as trying to find what the root cause of the issue was, by all accounts it looked solely like life support had just...turned off. Completely, and all at once, which is weird because one of the modified plants and moss used as carbon scrubbers are not only still here, but still healthy too. It was a mystery, and one that I didn’t like, but the answer was deliberately evading sight.

    Whatever. I just wanted to get the rest of the ship cleared and get this over with for today.

    Mio more than agreed with that sentiment. “Fine then. Let’s just turn things back on and get going to engineering already. I’m just about fucking done with this ship for today, and mama needs her stress relief.”

    I snorted in amusement at the notion, despite my own fatigue. “And what makes you think that I will be up to the task at hand?, woman? I’ve been here all day, too.”

    You will be.”

    Well, looks like my night is booked for some extreme snu-snu then. Works for me.

    Getting back to the headache that was our still unnamed ship, we had gotten a much better idea of how things were set up in here now...and had the access to what I believe was the bridge, or at least the Combat Information Center. It was also locked down to all holy hell, and would likely remain that way until we got some power back on.

    Most of the other sections that we had found were empty, without so much as even a decoration present. No tables, chairs, nothing. The few rooms that did have them were usually those that had them built into the ship itself, or were one of the “important” rooms, like a centralized conference room or something. Nowhere in the ship did we find any indication that there was anyone who actually LIVED on the damned thing, let alone used it.

    But, eventually, after another four hours of annoyance and silence, we managed to make it to the Engineering spaces, where we actually found an access hatch that refused to open under any circumstances. That Thoth was throwing up radiation warnings was probably not a good sign either.

    I turned to my Dragon. “Any ideas, honey? I don’t wanna just cut the door open, not with the rad warnings hanging around. It makes me think that whatever is behind that door needs to stay there if we don’t wanna have to decon the ship.”

    Mio’s groan was unexpected. “We’re probably going to have to just flat-out rebuild the thing anyway. You saw how badly this was messed up. Aside from the helm section, most of the place was just...done for. The only other spot we haven’t checked that was actually on our path is that central block we think is the main bridge, but otherwise? This is it. I wanna see what the hell is up with engineering and go home already. I’m even thinking of letting you off the hook for tonight, no less.”

    Okay, that was not a good sign. Mio being unbearably horny for my D was practically a fact of life by now, and one that I enjoyed immensely. Anything that could get her to not want to ride it for hours on end was extremely concerning.

    Granted, I was actually doing a bit worse at the moment, the fatigue turning into exhaustion as we pushed further in. we really should have called a stop to this a while back, but we were both anxious about this ship and curious as to what we would find.

    “So, we cheat? Set up magical barriers here and then crack the door the hard way, make sure things are alright?”

    Mio gave me a weary nod. “After this, unless it’s a major emergency that we need to clean up, we’re done. Got it?”

    I nodded back. “Deal. at least that way, I get to rest a bit before getting attacked and milked dry.”

    “And if you didn’t love every second of it, I wouldn’t be doing it.” Mio’s smirk was audible in her words. I didn’t even have to look.

    To no surprise whatsoever, cracking the door to the main engineering space was easier than it looked. Sure, we had to manually crank the damned thing open, but getting inside was not the issue.

    No, the issue was that the entire space was flooded with radiation to the point I was surprised that we weren’t cooking in our suits. Which in and of itself was concerning, as even a quick glance showed that the main reactor was a Fission array, not Fusion as I’d originally thought...and all six reactors were not only scrammed, but sealed, the final emergency containment measure for an out-of-control reactor.

    There was no way possible for us to restart main power. Those reactors were done. We’d have to rip everything out and start from scratch.

    That was for another time, though.

    I noticed what looked like a sticky note attached to a workstation nearby.

    Engineering flooded with radiation due to unknown reaction with Hyperspace drive. Reactors scrammed for safety. To whomever finds this, access main engineering terminal to turn on secondary power. The ship is yours if you can repair her.

    Miles Moreau, Captain, Awakening Will

    I looked around, and sure enough, the body of what I assumed was the captain was tucked into a corner, probably having floated there in zero-g before we restored local gravity. The suit was intact...but the man inside was long dead. Almost unconsciously, I came to Attention, and rendered a slow, ceremonial salute in his honor.

    Mio had joined me as I stood there, each of us lost in our own world as we contemplated the fate of both this ship and its crew.

    This one tried to drag itself out, and actively avoided a few places where it could have gone as well. Writing int past a certain point was getting weird and tedious, especially since it didn’t wanna end. I managed, though.

    Not that they matter at the moment, but perks for this chapter:
    -Beniemiya (Fate/Legends Japan Land of the Rising Sun) (50CP)
    It might just be something in the water, both what you're drinking and what you serve to the guests that adore every meal you make. You're a savant when it comes to making meals, not just limited to Eastern dishes either. With a little experimentation, you can make almost anything into a mouth watering feast for both the taste buds and the eyes. The real problem isn't making a good meal but keeping all these greedy pigs from eating you out of house and home. Don't even try making hamburgers around any blonde ladies, it never ends well. Now, while cooking good food is a prize well worth it, you do also have a more useful aspect here. By channeling magical energy into your tools and ingredients as you work, you're able to 'enchant' the meal with a variety of useful effects. A hearty beef stew that lets a warrior heal their wounds much faster than normal, sugary sweets that give people the speed of the wind, a mighty hamburger that temporarily bulges the muscles to greater heights. Even negative effects are possible, if you want to taint your food that way. They only last for a temporary period and the effects tend to be fairly weak without a lot of mana put in but it makes your food all the more popular.

    -4-D Assembler (The Culture Minds) (100CP)
    The Involucra were the builders of the Shellworlds, and your civ has a similar affinity for their construction methods. In what most humans think of as reality, these structures appear entirely normal, but to those who can see into hyperspace, they extend out of the skein of the universe into infraspace and ultraspace. 4-D architecture has very unusual properties, as it can be gravitationally self-supporting they do not crumble under their own gravity, or that of the stellar body they are on and are also heavily resistant to damage. Another unusual feature is that they also cut off all hostile forms of communication, travel or transport that attempt to pass through their walls displacement, hyperspace signals, wormholes, even beings recalled or summoned from elsewhere are prevented from passing through the structures' walls.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2021
  8. Morkail

    Morkail Shado-Master

    Apr 21, 2020
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    Where is that ship from i feel like I should know it?
  9. Hadrian.Caeser

    Hadrian.Caeser Getting sticky.

    Oct 7, 2019
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    I truly like this story, but there seems to be a lack of plot progress (I might have missed it)
  10. ATP

    ATP Versed in the lewd.

    Jun 24, 2020
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    So,ship saved SI from Mio attack for entire 3 days.Such a good Samaritan!
  11. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

    Sep 27, 2018
    Likes Received:
    I posted the pics up earlier in the thread, but it's a custom build that is a combination of 3-4 different fictional ships. one of the bigger influences is the Normandy SR-2, so you may be getting flashes of that.

    I'm aware of it, but there's some oddball crunch that needs to happen actually "on-screen" before other events can happen. also, I didn't write it because finishing the above drained me, but you guys are due for an updare on Arikia and her squad soon.

    More like one day due to them both being exhausted, and her playing up her own to try and get him to fucking relax a little.

    Mio jumps him about 3-4 times a day, unless He preempts her. it's a combination of a game and mutual affection and lust between them. Besides, what Mio said is true: if he didn't love every second of it she wouldn't be doing it. If anything, she's jumping him so much to spur him to jump her more often...
  12. Rockinalice

    Rockinalice I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Apr 16, 2019
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    Since you started speaking so much about the slate i now was imagining henry geting attacked by some demon primarch or something at that level that has an unstoppable weapon and it goes

    Demon primarch uses : unstoppable slash

    Henry blocks with : shekia slate

    Shekia slate is super effective

    Demon primarch is stunned

    Henry looks at the slate and says "wow the Advertisements for this thing were right it is indestructible"
  13. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

    Sep 27, 2018
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    Satori going on about the slate like that was more selling the fact that the slate actually IS worth the price, as compared to a standard datapad or Omnitool.

    As for surviving an attack by a Demon Primarch...well, said Demon Primarch kind of has to get past Harry's shielding.
  14. clonezero

    clonezero Getting out there.

    Nov 27, 2020
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    I have to admit that this chapter felt like it was a drag. The sad thing is chapters like this are necessary to keep the story "alive" so to speak, showing the day to day lives of the characters and not just rushing along. The bit at the end with the dead captain was a nice touch though, I liked that part.

    The story seems to have been cooped up in one place for a while now so I do hope we get to see more of what's happening outside in the near future.

    I wonder if the MC can somehow convince the Sisters to side with him. He planted the seed during their last encounter but it'll still be almost impossible. Maybe he can sway them with his knowledge of the Emperor and the nasty secret of the origin of their religion. If that fails maybe he can entice them with pinups of Golden Boy.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  15. Mandabar

    Mandabar Can someone show me where the happy button is?

    Jul 28, 2015
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    I just have to wonder what our poor main character did to deserve a forge that gives him broken items. It all (slight exaggeration) be broken!
  16. Rockinalice

    Rockinalice I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Apr 16, 2019
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    I wonder how The SPARK from girl genius would affect the MC and the warp cancer and how something like that could protect the MC from the cognitive hazard that 40k has and how the warp cancer would like a look at True MADDNESS AND SCIENCE!
  17. Muroshi9

    Muroshi9 I'm so ronery So ronery So ronery and sadly arone

    Feb 7, 2015
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    Could you mark those pics as part of the Index please.
    ClassyCobra and Omni like this.
  18. ATP

    ATP Versed in the lewd.

    Jun 24, 2020
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    Good idea,but why not add Agatha as another waifu? the more,the merrier !she arleady have sisters,right? all he need/except Agatha/ are flat Eldar chicks.
  19. Rockinalice

    Rockinalice I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Apr 16, 2019
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    Chaos is screwed if you add a Heterodyne into the picture they managed to stay at the top of a planet of Doctor Doom's and extra-dimensional visitors and most of them being against them which just makes you want to see the Fireworks. If you did add her you would need the Castle Heterodyne
  20. Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

    Sep 27, 2018
    Likes Received:
    I was aware of the issue when I wrote it, but this chapter had a problem of being a windup for things to come. the slowdown on the action is a consequence of this. I appreciaate the feedback nontheless, and am working to get things back into the "proper scope" so to speak.

    All I will say on this is that this particular instance is plot relevant for something in the future. anything else is spoilers.

    I'll be blunt here. I have not even remotely THOUGHT about how inplementing Sparks of any kind will go here, only that it is indeed a strong possibility of it happening. I will note that stronger sparks are practically gods in nature when allowed (or, rather, motivated) to go all out.

    As for Agatha dropping by...undecided, leaning towards negative, not the least of which is because I fell off on my archive binge of Girl Genius over 10 years ago, and it's only gotten worse since.
    Pics are in a spoiler tag under a reply post I made. The threadmark title tells you where.

    speaking of updares: I am gunning for having a chapter out sometime today, if possible. you can watch for it, if you want.
  21. Rockinalice

    Rockinalice I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Apr 16, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Funny thing is it would probably make the Cancer think twice about driving him to MADDNESS because thats when a SPARK is most dangerous for them and and everyone else. though Malal might do it just to screw everyone over since that is definitely something he would do.
    ClassyCobra and Slayer 10321 like this.
  22. Threadmarks: Chapter 17
    Slider Zero

    Slider Zero Know what you're doing yet?

    Sep 27, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Sister Superior Arikia led her squad through the wastes of Necromunda on what she knew full well was a futile quest designed to slowly kill her and her Sisters by either starvation or poisoning. Currently, her squad was just recovering from getting ambushed--again--by the local wildlife of the planet, and it was getting tiring. Their power armor was holding up, but even then it wasn’t designed for this kind of extended wear and tear.

    The other major issue, besides the supplies getting close to a dangerous level, was that the area of the planet they had been tasked to search was...well, calling it barren was putting it mildly. So far, the only things that stood out over their search was the sludge sea, and a few small shelters and hamlets for the nomads that frequented the place. They were headed towards another one of them now, based on both pattern and the satellite scans, but getting there would take them around another three days at minimum.

    Morale was low among her Sisters. They all considered this to be a punishment detail, something that was meant for them to atone for their “failure” to retrieve the STC from that cavern, and more importantly, it’s loss to the small daemonic creature that was there.

    Not that they could have done anything at all to stop it, but that was besides the point.

    Arikia walked up to her second in command. “Beatrice. How is our supply situation?”

    Sister Beatrice kept to her duties--currently maintenance of her weapon--even as she replied. “Supplies are good, ma’am. We still have enough to go before we are forced to return to the spire again. That is, assuming we are allowed to return…”

    Arikia was having none of that. “Cease your foolish mutterings and focus your self on the Emperor’s will, Sister. You will be needed for the trials to come.”

    This was the only response that she could give. Admitting to her own certainty that they had been left here to die was not conductive to keeping the already flagging morale from collapsing.

    Beatrice nodded. “Yes, Sister Superior. Is there anything else you wish of me?”

    “Not at this time. Please tend to our sisters before we depart.”

    “At once, Sister Superior.”

    They had been out here for weeks now, with minimal support at that. The Palatine had seen fit to deliver supplies to them at least once, but the way it had happened suggested that it had only occurred due to a creative interpretation of orders on the part of a pilot sympathetic to their plight, and even then it was nowhere near what would be needed to do a proper mission extension.

    She stopped herself from sighing at the thoughts once again going through her mind. She had to be strong, and present that image of strength to her subordinates so that they knew they could rely on her.

    Because even if her faith in the Emperor had not flagged, her faith in those who have been called to serve him most certainly had.

    “Onwards, into the breach, and to our noble deaths…”

    As time passed, we got into a very steady rhythm of things, as we got ourselves together and prepared for the next great adventure.

    Fixing the ship had been the most pressing priority, especially when, after they had gotten all of the damned bulkheads and hatches open, that the vessel was equipped with both a suite of multipurpose drones and a set of Fighter craft. Upgrades on those would come afterwards, as the relatively small hangar bay for the four fighters was enough room to work on the needed upgrades while underway if needed. The internal hangar was surprisingly spacious for what it housed, having enough room for another four fighters inside as well as a pair of shuttles, a space for what I believed would have been the ship’s runabout (or captain’s personal yacht, as it were), and the one-hundred drones carried aboard the ship proper.

    We fully intended that runabout slip to be used by the other spacecraft that was currently sitting in the shipyard, as well, but repairs and such came first.

    The Kerbals had long-since completed their examination and appraisal of the smaller craft, and unlike it’s larger cousin, it was in near perfect shape. The Star Seeker, as it was called, was intended to be a long-range scout ship and reconnaissance vessel, mapping out not only worlds but the various travel lanes between star systems as well. Unlike the ship that was once the Rising Phonenix, this craft was definitely equipped with a smaller version of the Infinity fusion reactors, and a rather neat life support system that made worries about air quality and oxygen levels a complete non-issue. Mio was working on upscaling it in her spare time.

    As for the Phoenix itself...well…

    It wasn’t a total wash, but the ship still needed a complete overhaul and partial rebuild to get anywhere near close to safe operational parameters. Specifically, the reactor spaces had to be redone in their entirety due to the radiation everywhere, and the now defunct fission reactors replaced with something a bit more robust.

    Combining that with general repairs on the (thankfully extendable) heat fins, the rest of the power and communications runs, and just a general overall upgrade to the ship in question, and it was almost, almost more time efficient to just build a new ship outright.

    What stayed our hands was that using the already built vessel as a base allowed us to pull some shenanigans with things that would otherwise not apply, and salvage a lot of actually good tech from the mess as well. We were still upgrading, but it was the thought that counted. Besides, the actual Frame of the ship itself was perfectly sound, even if the interior sections had suffered.

    The process was not as involved or painful as anyone had been expecting, really. Nearly every major modification that needed to happen had been accomplished well within the allotted time constraints, and reinforcing of several key areas of the superstructure were successfully undertaken as well. It seemed that now that we were not trying to explore the ship, things were moving much, MUCH faster, much to our relief.

    The problem was the engines themselves, and more specifically the powerplant. Mio and I had been having several arguments over the last few days about what exactly would be best to fit into the ship as a new power plant, as well as options for an upgraded drive system. They weren’t horrible arguments, but they still had driven a minor rift between us over the disagreement.

    Not that it stopped us from being horny as hell for each other, just that it meant that our normal pillow talk was now absorbed by continuing the debate. It was getting to the point where Mio was actively trying to fuck me into submission over her proposal.

    The thing is, it wasn’t a bad one, just it didn’t fit.

    What she wanted to do was to make a scaled-up version of the Hybrid Mana reactors--the ones that integrated photon reactor tech into them--and use that as a main power core, then alter the engines to handle a conversion feed as needed.

    My proposal, on the other hand, was to modify the ship to use a Mass Effect Drive, and then have the hybrid reactors as secondaries. The main advantage here was a higher subluminal speed as well as adding another option for FTL travel, aside from the potentially flawed hyperdrive and the other system that the logs called a “Jump Drive”, which was still experimental as hell.

    The headbutts came from the fact that Mio had argued that if I wanted to throw in a MED so badly, then I needed to design a new one that took advantage of our other tech as well, not just setting the stuff aside. My counterargument was that the systems would need to be repairable by people other than us, and that the mass effect drive had several benefits to it that were not immediately obvious.

    Nether of us commented on the fact that we would be reworking the principles and concepts of the infinity reactors to the new build stuff, as there wasn’t any reason to argue over it.

    Oddly enough, the situation ended up solving itself in the oddest manner…

    I was doing another walkaround of the Phoenix, and considering a new name as well. After all the work that we had done on the vessel, I felt it deserved it. In the meantime, I was futzing with yet another of the oddities that had been dropped onto my lap by the Forge.

    According to the logs, this odd little flattened Sphere in my hands was called a “Union Core”, a type of infinitely reprogrammable smartmatter core of some kind or another with the capacity for supporting a damned powerful AI system. My scans showed that the thing was fully quantum in both processing and communications, no less. Very interesting.

    Those same scans also showed me that there was a lot of untapped potential in this weird little device. It was something that I would have to take a closer look at eventually.

    A spike of joy from Mio caught my attention, and I felt her rapidly moving in my direction. I decided to meet her in the engineering decks, where I had set up all of the equipment needed for the newly designed ME drive core. (that Mio had parts and materials for the awaiting activation Hybrid reactors hanging around was not something I was worried about, as they were useful secondaries.)

    Mio hit me with a flying glomp tackle as soon as she saw me, wrapping her tail around my torso in the process.

    “I did it! I did it !!” the sheer joy radiating off of her was downright infectious, and I found myself grinning like a loon to match her own. “Did what, hon?”

    “This!” and with that, she presented to me a small white sphere.

    I admit that it took me a moment to figure out the implication, mostly because up until now I hadn’t actually given any thought to it actually being possible.

    “You mean…?”

    She nodded furiously.

    I could only stare in wonder at the outright fucking miracle that was staring me in the face. Mio...Mio had managed to…

    I had to focus. “Is this the only one?”

    A firm shake of her head. “No way. I have at least six others waiting, and they look like they will clear testing as well. This one was just the first.”

    I could see the unshed tears in her eyes, and I was fighting awfully hard to not follow suit. This...this changed everything. Everything.

    I hugged her tightly to my chest, wrapping my own tails around her form in reciprocation. “You are telling me how you pulled this off, and then we are going over the process with an ultra-fine toothed comb, you hear me?”

    “Of course--”

    An odd spark drew our attention. We both looked down between us, to the precious cargo that each of us had on our person. In the excitement, I had forgotten about the union core that I had been examining beforehand, and it had ended up wedged between us in our odd little cuddle session. This should not have been an issue.

    Mio, for her part, had used the hand holding the precious little sphere to play around with me a bit, basically using the little sphere as a sort of massager. Mio being herself aside, this also should not have been an issue.

    What was causing the sparking was that the two objects had come into contact with each other, and form the looks of it the two pieces of technology were trying to interface with each other.

    A particularly large jolt, which came complete with an arc flash, caused us to separate, and move away from the mess as we dropped it onto the floor.

    In retrospect, it was simultaneously the best and worst thing we could have done.

    The two objects--one, an odd unknown quantum supercomputing core, the other a newly born reality bending supercomputing device, somehow came to an agreement at the exact moment that the mass hit the floor...of the spaceship that we were currently standing in.

    The ship heaved as the mass sank into the floor, and I could see the ripples throughout the superstructure. Thoth immediately started flashing warnings at me, a mix of stability to power flux to spatial uncertainty warnings--as the process started.

    But the one warning that caught my attention--and I’m sure Mio’s too, as she was likely receiving the same--was a notice that we were entering the zone of control of another Impeller Field.

    We literally could do nothing but watch as the ship began to shift around us, the entire thing being integrated into the newly activated valkyrie core, even as the strange conversion process was altering the ship into something else entirely.

    The process, thankfully, only lasted about ten minutes, during which we were bombarded by all manner of exotic radiation, random particle emissions, and frankly weird interactions in spacetime that seemingly made no sense.

    But eventually, the process completed itself, and we were left standing in a space that was nothing like we had left it.

    For one, the leftover parts and pieces of our construction efforts were gone, as were the finished products. The standalone fabricators that we had brought along to build everything, and which were meant to eventually be installed into a separate hardware works space within engineering itself, was also gone. In its place was a screen of sorts, with a timer on it, counting down from sixty hours. A constantly modifying schematic of what looked like a reactor of some kind was displayed as well, and it looked to incorporate all of the myriad designs that we were working on to boot.

    I could only stare in confusion as I allowed my frame to retract itself. Mio didn’t look too much better as she released hers.

    “So...that just happened.” I was surprised I managed to even say that much.

    “Yeah.” Mio’s reply was about as verbose as I expected, though.

    I voiced the thought in my mind. “Right now, I am very glad you made more of those.”

    “So am I.”

    Wait. This meant that the argument was solved, as the ship itself had taken matters into its own hands. Which meant that I couldn’t outlast Mio to get my way.

    I turned towards my Dragon, the same realization showing on her face as she looked at me.

    And it was only now, after the situation had been solved without our input, that we realized that we had enjoyed that bit of shenanigans that our arguments had caused.

    Oh well. Not reason not to celebrate other things.

    “So. We are going to ignore the ship being suddenly silly, and managing to hijack a Valkyrie Core for itself, and we are going to go and celebrate other things.” I swept her up into a fierce hug, transferred it onto a very sensual carry, and started moving towards a space I knew was available. “Agreed?”
    Mio’s response was to silence me with a kiss, and it was all I could do to get us off the ship and into a secluded spot fast enough.

    The weeks of training had been kind to Harry. His mana now flowed almost as if a second limb when he reached for it, and his spells were surprisingly powerful and varied. To hear Rico say it, “Not only had he taken well to the offensive arts, but to the defensive too, along with a few weird twists I’m sure will get enjoyed by many.”

    Simply put, he was a true and full Mage, and was rather proud of that fact.

    Right now, he was waiting for the lovebirds to finish whatever it was they were doing to the ship that was their project of the last week or so, so that he could ask about getting himself set up with one of those operations orbs as a focus. Sure, he didn’t need one, but Rico had pointed out that having a proper focus after having trained the way he did would up his efficiency (and thus his overall spell power) exponentially. And that was for what Rico referred to as a ‘standard’ device.

    Now, it was unknown if the various operations orbs would have the same flexibility, but working around that was something that his friends were actually good at, for all that they kept tripping over their own feeling s for each other.

    Besides, he also wanted to test himself against one of the two to see how well he held up as a proper magical combatant now. Sparring with Rico was all well and good, but Rico was his teacher, he knew full well that no matter what happened, there would be an ingrained sense that Rico was always his superior in that regard. Honestly, he thought that Miolala was a better challenge for him to face.

    Speaking of the woman, he saw her and her partner coming back into the Hangar proper, both of them flushed and disheveled, and with wide grins on their faces as they talked. Judging by the obvious, and the fact that they were still all but hanging off of each other, they hadn’t quite worked through their current bout of sudden affection just yet. He decided to give them something to focus on besides each other, for once.

    “Hello there lovebirds. Finally coming back to the rest of us?”

    To his surprise, Satori just looked at him, the same smile in his face “Yeah, the ship will be finished, or close enough to it, in about sixty-ish hours, give or take. Right now, there’s nothing more that we can do to it, so we’re over here to get back to our other projects.”

    Even Miolala didn’t so much as bat an eyelash at the insinuation! “Nah, we can’t do that yet. From the looks of him, Harrisyn wants to try something, and I think I know what it is.”

    Harry found himself quite amused that the two had grown close enough to (finally) admit their feelings for each other. Didn’t mean he was going to stop ribbing on them about it, though.

    Nor was it going to stop him from seeking out a test of his capability. “As a matter of fact, I did have something I wanted to ask you two about.”

    It was Satori who answered this time. “I take it you want to see what you can really do, now that you’re all trained up.” The man looked thoughtful for a moment. “Sure, why not. The practice would be good for all of us, anyway.”

    The three of them moved over to the open space that comprised the “runway” portion of the flight zone. Currently, the few Kerbals who weren’t messing around in the space dock area (‘No, they said it was a shipyard, right?’) were over here playing with various drone flyers, with what looked like a small case of drinks (likely intoxicating) and a mini-cooler off to the side. Guess even they have days off…

    “So.” Satori grabbed Harry’s attention as they got to a relatively clear area they could use. “Anything in particular you want to work on, or is this more of a general purpose spar?”

    Harry actually had to think about it for a moment before answering. “I think we should stick to the mage arts in this. It’s practice, after all…”

    There were nods shared all around as everyone agreed to the terms, and then the fun began.

    Because, unlike Miolala, who had focused on improving her physical offensive capabilities, or Satori, who preferred and practiced a more balanced style between physical and magical abilities, Harry had focused entirely on magic as a means of combat.

    This meant that he had far more tricks up his sleeve in the limited environment than the other two did, and used them to extreme effect.

    Barriers that absorbed and reflected attacks back at their source, with interest, floating mines that would deploy various binding methods, entire walls made of magical force to partition and control the battlefield, even on-the-fly traps that could relocate the poor sap caught in them to areas of maximum pain and suffering. This didn’t even get into the constant swarms of homing bullets that could and would be redirected manually at any time, or the supercharged orbs of energy that acted as mobile turrets and foci for other shenanigans.

    Harry didn’t even bother breaking out the heavy artillery, as the small stuff was enough to completely take over the battlefield in his favor without ever having to even enter melee range at all. That did mean that he never got to use some of the other tricks he’d learned, though…

    After the conclusion of the exercise, he decided to have a little fun, and brag about it, just a bit.

    “So, then. This is the limit of what you have accomplished? Seriously? Where was all the amazing feats, the overwhelming power? Was all it took to actually beat you at your own game, having someone who actually knew how to play?

    “I’m disappointed, my friends.”

    Harry was looking directly at the two of them as he delivered his (teasing) verbal smackdown. This was the only reason he was aware of the fact that Miolala had moved at all.

    His next sensation was that of something being pressed to his jugular. It didn’t feel sharp, but the message was very clear in its intent.

    Miolala removed the impromptu object (a small cylindrical rod of metal) and stepped away from Harry’s person as she spoke. “Just because we aren’t as good at magic as you doesn’t mean we haven’t been keeping up. We just have different priorities, Harrisyn.”

    Oddly enough for the normally rather competitive woman, she was smiling.

    “And good job. I expect to see further improvements as we go on. You will be tested later.”

    Ah. so that was it. Harry saw very clearly now. And recognized himself as a fool for daring to awaken the Dragon.

    The back-and-forth going on between Harry and Mio was great. Harry managing to push himself the way he had in creating and adapting to that magic style of his was quite the touch...but it had also awoken a side of Mio that I had only begun seeing recently, and it was about to bite poor Haay in the ass.

    Not that I had to worry much. It would just drive both of them to excel, one way or the other, and by extension make sure that they survive what this crazy galaxy will try to throw at us next.

    What I could do right now is get a proper focus working for Harry so that he had a bit more to work with. That, and the upgrades, would benefit us all in the process.

    Time to find Rico.

    “Alright, guys. As much as you two want to snipe at each other for a bit, I’m gonna need Harry for this next part. Now, you know where Rico ran off to? I’ll need his input.”

    Harry perked up at that. “That reminds me. I’d wanted to ask you about getting one of those operations orbs of yours to use as a focus, on Rico’s recommendation. Got anything I can use?”

    Well now. That solves a lot of problems. “I was about to ask you about the same. Come on, we’ll need the workshop for this.”

    I decided to explain the Idea I’d been working with for a bit with Harry while we walked. “So, the next iteration of the operations orbs is meant to act more in harmony with the user’s own mana patterns than the old ones. I was also working on relaxing the more restrictive elements of both the orbs and the magic system that evolved around their use, with the intent of fusing the style with Rico’s.

    “I’d ended up banging my head on a bit of a mental block before we started working on the ship, but I still used a bit of spare time to do workups on other stuff in the process. One of those was the synchronization system that I’d managed to port over from Rico. because it’s not trying to work out a synch rate for full unison, it’s a lot more relaxed in its tolerances, but you’ll probably still need a bit to get used to it...and the system itself is more likely than not to need adjustments and tweaks for optimization along the way.”

    Harry was nodding along as he listened. “So, these new ones are the same bit that you were trying to get the integrated omnitool functionality built in to them?”

    I see he’d made a point to keep up on my projects after the last incident. “Err...sorta. I’ve actually had the issue with those solved for a while now, but it required me to basically rebuild the entire omnitool from scratch to fit the purpose, and if I was doing that, I figured I might as well do it right. It’s one of the features going into the final build, at any rate.”

    We’d arrived at the workshops, and made our way inside, only to be semi-blindsided by the addition of some new gear and equipment hanging around the place. Quickly checking the paper log (we’d set one up to keep track of who was doing what where, as the Kerbals tended to have odd projects hanging around at the weirdest times) I realized that we’d had another ‘stealth’ drop from the forge...or rather, I was too busy dicking down Mio (much to her enthusiasm) to pay attention when they showed up.

    Of the additions, the weirder one was something that claimed to be able to build in four dimensions instead of three, which was interesting but equally outside of any knowledge base I had available to me, and thus ignored for my own sanity. The slightly more relevant one was a skill for crafting weapons of a...specific providence that had abilities that either were drawn from or mimicked the abilities of various devils and demons. There was a skill package attached to it as well, but I’d get to that later on.

    The relevance was because the weapons themselves could be attuned to the user just as well as the user attuned to the weapon, and they allowed for one to utilize a form of hidden power by wielding them, though it was draining. I would be making use of the first part for my build.

    The very build that I would have to possibly rework entirely at one point because I’d also just had the rest of the Shiekah tech knowledge dumped into my head...along with some things that I would need to handle later. Sneaking a glance at Mio, she had the same issues that I did.

    We were going to need a rather lengthy cuddle session to work through this one...

    Anyway, mind back in the game. I had a working build that could be used as a test type for a proper synchronization with its user, so we would be working with that. I had jokingly given it the codename of Agnes as a nod to some more of the Amiga banding.

    As usual, assembly of the physical product was a non-issue. The real test would be when Harry attempted to activate the orb properly. Would it sync? Would it explode? These were the questions I wanted answered...preferably without any more issues like the one that had happened to me previously.

    Harry seemed to be apprehensive about the test frame as well. “So, just to make sure...this is the version that is not going to explode just because I tried actually using it?”

    I was both amused and annoyed at his mistrust of the tech, but, again, examples had been made. “No, the chances of it exploding is near zero unless you intentionally push for it...which will be difficult due to the redundancies built in.”

    Harry still gave me a skeptical look, but eventually started the process to attune to and access the orb. For a moment, things were tense, the orb taking its sweet time to actually do a proper startup...but then I felt everything seem to *click*, and the whole mess came alive in ways that I’d never thought were possible to my senses.

    Note to self: work on a way to shield the emissions a bit more.

    Harry grunted a bit as the connections settled into place. From the feel of it, the orb seemed to do a kind of...pre-shaping? Or something like that. It was weird and unusual, at least to my senses.

    Wouldn't hurt to ask, anyway. “So, Harry. How’s it feel?”

    He took a moment to consider the question. “Actually, pretty good. I think I can make this work quite nicely, as long as it can hold up to the strain of me actually using it.”

    I chuckled at that. Ever the pragmatist, he was. “It’ll be fine, and it’s a modular build anyway, so swapping parts out should be easy. Now then, let's get to work on the real testing, shall we?”

    The journey to their destination had ended up taking over a week due to an unexpected storm swamping their progress, but they had made it to their destination, an old, worn out shelter that looked like it would put a decent roof over their heads for a night while the next move was considered. Arikia was grateful to the Emperor for such small mercies, anyway.

    Her team was losing itself to doubt and fear, now, lost in the constant struggle to keep moving even as their supplies grew more and more scarce, and it became ever more obvious that the grand task they had been set out to accomplish was actually to die.

    As Sister Superior, Arikia had fought tooth and nail to keep their spirits high as the obvious death march continued onwards into the wastes of their world. Unfortunately, it was becoming ever more apparent to her that her struggles would end in vain.

    Nonetheless, she persevered in His name, that they might, if nothing else, die with the honor of having maintained their faith and charge to the last, even if it was spent needlessly.

    ‘This much, at least, I can do.’

    The shelter looked, like all the others, to be run down and decrepit, though at least with the walls still intact. At least, that was the looks of it, until they tried to gain access, only to realize that the structure was actually a bit larger than it looked, and seemed to have a type of subtle airlock system as well to keep the toxic air out of the shelter.

    Sister Mariel, their resident technical expert, was (mostly) certain that the place was safe. “I do not see anything that would amount to a danger on this side, Sister Superior. I believe that we could pass through unimpeded.”

    Arikia nodded. The plan was as sound as it was going to get, then. “Very well. Rikah, Lisbeth, take point. I want no surprises.”

    The pair, who were her recon and close-range specialists respectively, moved to comply, managing to gain entry with little fanfare. They quickly waved the rest inside as the area proved all-clear.

    The problem is that the inside made no sense.

    Sure, there was a moderately largish room, with enough space for them to camp out in relative comfort. Sure, there was also the air purification unit that was running in the space, cleansing the toxins and smog that were endemic to the surface out of the area, meaning that they could doff helmets given enough time. Even the fact that the structure itself was very obviously partially buried into the earth as a means of both support and disguise were not that big of a deal.

    The problem was the door that clearly only existed to be a door, and that equally should not have led to anywhere that was important in the slightest...but that was currently opened into a space that was...confusing to them, from what little they could see.

    Arikia quickly made a judgement call, and activated her radio. “Vox only from here on until I say otherwise. Silent movement. Whatever is here, we will find out soon enough...and we will deal with it appropriately.”

    Five nods of assent answered her orders.

    “Annalise, cover our entry.” Sister Annalise was the team’s resident sharpshooter, and would have received honors for her skill if not for her involvement with Arikia, something which the Sister Superior pushed out of her mind. There would be time enough for doubts later.

    Especially as the inside of this structure proved to defy all common sense. It appeared to be a storage center of some type, or perhaps a hangar, complete with the requisite scattering of odds and ends and various large tools about. The theory cemented itself in her mind when she saw the various stands and equipment that were well-known to her.

    And then she was confused once again when the Hangar opened up into a bright blue sky, the ground beneath complete with Idyllic grass and a solid runway for use by aircraft. A quick visual search showed the craft in question, though she had never seen anything of their like.

    She noticed that Mariel was slightly vibrating in her armor, likely something related to the various histories that she studied as a hobby. Something to ask about, later.

    Voices could be heard coming from the other side of the hangar, and Arikia quickly ordered her sisters to conceal themselves as well as possible. The source of the voices soon became apparent.

    A group of small, green Xenos, most of them wearing something ain to white jumpsuits. Some new variant of Ork?

    There was one that stood out, though, and appeared to be the leader of the group, as well: a slightly taller xeno wearing an orange version of the jumpsuits that seemed to be the uniforms of these creatures.

    “Maintain your concealment and do not engage.”

    The xenos creatures seemed preoccupied in whatever it was that they were working on, and did not pay her team any mind. In fact, judging solely from a human perspective, they actually seemed as if they were somehow intoxicated. The group drifted off to another location, whereabouts uncertain.

    Their movements, however, did draw the team’s attention to something that was very familiar to them all, and which just so happened to be the item that they were looking for.

    Mariel was the first to comment. “That’s the STC...and it looks to be undamaged. What is going on?”

    Rikah chimed in next. “I don’t know, but it is obvious that we have not been told all of the pertinent information in this case. Most would have destroyed or corrupted the database, not sought to gain from it.”

    “Enough. We have other things to be concerned with at the moment.” Beatrice cut them off, reestablishing order over the group. She then turned to Arikia. “Orders, Sister Superior?”

    “We will investigate. If things look clear, then we will attempt to reclaim the STC and depart. If it becomes a struggle, we call the location in and await reinforcements.” Which she did not want to do; something about this situation did not sit right with her, and her gut was telling her that calling down the thunder on this place was the worst possible thing they could do.

    Listening to that gut feeling had saved her life on more than one occasion, those times when the Emperor’s hand was not present.

    “We investigate the side rooms for now, to see if we can locate something to make recovery and transport of the STC easier. From there, we improvise as needed. The Emperor will guide our hands in this matter. Weapons tight unless engaged; they don’t know we’re here, and I want it to stay that way.

    Creeping around in full power armor was, oddly enough, something that they managed to pull off quite well, mostly due to the lack of others to hear the noise of their movement. As they were closest to what looked like some kind of central workshop, Arikia decided to have her squad search there first.

    The insides were as expected. It was indeed some kind of machinery shop or repair station, with what looked to be scattered parts all over the place, and various loose odds and ends on the supply shelves. Of note was that one of the workbenches had a project sitting on it, complete with what looked like some form of timer floating above it. The actual contents of the workbench were even odder: a series of seven small spheres, with nothing truly notable to distinguish them in one way or another. For all intents and purposes, they looked ordinary.

    And yet, Arikia felt the strangest urge to take those spheres and guard them by any means necessary. It was completely at odds with her normal bearing and demeanor, and she shook herself as subtly as possible to clear her head before focusing on the Will of the Emperor, and his plan for them.

    In a strange twist, this simple prayer of centering only made the urge stronger.

    “Sisters, be on guard. There is a mental compulsion at work.”

    Her squad immediately braced itself for combat...all but Mariel, who seemed to be entranced by the spheres. “No, Sister Superior. This is no compulsion. It is, however, important. We need to take those spheres. And quickly...I don’t know how much time we have.”

    Arikia frowned under her helmet. Such inspiration from the Emperor was rare, and often misinterpreted by those who claimed to see what he desired of them. Far too many have been caught by the Ecclesiarchy attempting the heretical action of claiming to be a seer of the Emperor’s Will.

    This was Mariel, however. Her intuition on things technological was borderline miraculous in and on itself, and had saved them from many a danger in the past. If Mariel thought it was important and potentially tech-related, it usually was.

    “Very well. Do what needs to be done, and let us continue to our objective at once. We cannot afford to dally any longer.”

    Mariel nodded, and moved to collect the spheres from the table, one of them took on a soft golden glow as she did so, and she moved it to her other hand.

    Her helmet blocked the expressions of her face, but Arikia got the strangest feeling that she was seeing something, or focusing on another thing. Which of the two she was not certain, but she definitely noticed when Mariel called the squad to an immediate halt as they began to leave the workshop.

    Her subordinate’s voice over the comms was both harsh and somehow reverent.Wait. We must not leave just yet. Each of you, take one of these.” she handed her squadmates the other spheres. Arikia took the one offered to her with a bit of trepidation...and confusion as well, as for some reason the sphere felt almost like a rectangle in her hands, or some kind of softly spiky prism or another, despite looking to be completely round.

    “I know you can feel the oddness, right? Press on that. Don’t think about it, just press.

    Again, Arikia nodded her assent to this strange happenstance, and did as she was asked...and watched in awe as the sphere seemed to vanish. In its place, came a different feeling, of her senses expanding and a strange understanding of the world around her, even as something else seemed to snap as it was tugged too tightly. Overall, she wasn't sure exactly what had just happened, but there were no ill effects, so she shrugged it off.

    A sudden feeling of danger had her ordering her squad to withdraw out of the opposite exit, which they accomplished with due haste.

    Whatever it was that just happened, they would figure it out later. Right now, they had to recover that STC as quickly as possible.

    I blinked.

    I had no idea why I suddenly became aware of that fact, but I blinked.

    A finely honed sense of self-preservation immediately had me focusing on my surroundings, the tarmac of the runway, with open space all around. And yet I had blinked.

    The subconscious is more aware of your surroundings than it appears. Anytime it starts sending out waning signs, it was important to pay attention. And something had definitely twigged me as being very off.

    Harry noticed me being out of it as he practiced with his new orb. “Anything wrong, man?”

    I still couldn’t place what it was, though. My ears swiveled. “I...don’t know. I need to check something. Gimme a bit.”

    It was a quick jog to the hangar proper, especially when I boosted my speed, but I still could not find anything that was immediately amiss. Sure, the floor could use a little cleaning, and we needed to get some deodorizer for the aircons, but it was fi--



    OH FUCK.

    I glanced at the door leading to the exit, and the outside. The trail of mess came directly from that location, and fresh. The smell was exactly what I remembered of the polluted air outside smelling like, as well.

    Well, this was bound to happen sooner or later.

    [Mio; get to the main hangar, NOW. and suit up. We have Intruders.]

    The spike of rage was almost visible from where I was standing, even as I began sweeping the surrounding area.

    {Rico, Harry, Get to the main Hangar and be ready for a fight. We have Intruders.}

    Much like with Mio, I didn’t bother waiting for a response, I just moved on to the next task. My sweeps sent me to the center pillar and the workshops. A quick check of the outer area revealed nothing of import, and I was kicking up more active search abilities as I moved. So far, nothing yet, but it was only a matter of time.

    Mio arrived on the scene, frame fully expressed and HV Cannons at the ready. Still nothing, but with her here, we could seep the workshops without getting jumped.

    I switched to pure thought communication from here, not even hand signals. As one, we quickly moved to breach the main workshop, hoping to catch anyone off guard, but the maneuver showed nobody inside…

    Mio’s sudden shock caught my attention.

    {They’re gone. They’re gone!!]

    I didn’t have to ask what “they” were. Someone or something had jacked the other valkyrie cores. That was bad enough, but if it was some kind of chaotic faction, then them having an unbonded core meant that they could potentially corrupt the core itself and use it as a superweapon.

    This could not be allowed to happen, no matter the cost.

    I felt more than saw Harry and Rico arrive on scene. Again, I didn’t bother talking.

    {Harry, Take Rico and search the admin section. Be wary for ambushes and traps, and watch for unusual movement. We’ll be right behind you after we sweep the rest of the workshops and labs.} Even in telepathy, my tone left zero room for argument, even from Harry.

    I wasted no time in firing off a series of general-purpose search spells. Harry followed my lead, and soon we were doing active search on multiple fronts while physically moving.

    The search spells almost immediately came up with results, though: A team of...really?

    “Alright, everyone relax. I found them. Lemme see if I can talk to them before things get stupid.”

    There was visible confusion on everyone’s faces as I said this, Harry’s in particular because his search spells caught the same info mine did. Naturally, he was not amused.

    “You are asking me to relax, when there’s a fire team of Sororitas in our main base. Why?”

    I didn’t just chuckle, I outright laughed. “Because there isn’t jack shit they can do against us, and unlike normal members of the Sisters of Battle, they fully damn well know it.”

    I raised my voice for the next part. “So, if you ladies wouldn’t mind stepping out so we can talk, I’d appreciate it. Same truce as last time.”

    It took a moment, but eventually one of the Sisters stepped out of cover and approached our group. Her body language, as little as I could get from the full helmet and power armor, showed a bit of shock at seeing me. Probably the casual wear.

    “And hello again, Sister. Or is it Sister Superior now? I noticed the new rank flashes on your armor.”

    The voice that answered had the usual tinniness of a vox-caster. “You are the one who fought the Xenos construct in the cavern.” it was not a question.

    “I am. And I will say right now that you are welcome in my hall, provided that you start no trouble. That being said, mind if I ask what brings you out to the middle of nowhere?” I had a guess as to what the reason was, but I wanted to hear it from them if possible.

    A moment passed, and from the minor background noise increase I could hear, it was likely her communicating with her fellows. Shortly afterward, five other Sisters stepped out of their cover, all of them seeming to be both relieved and somehow dejected. The Sister Superior continued talking as they approached.

    “Before that...how did you recognize me? The armor is very anonymizing.”

    And it was, but up close, that was no barrier to me. “Auspex scans can be very good when you get this close. Besides, armors like yours tend to have personalities. Anyone with the eye for the craft can see and recognize that plain as day.”

    The Sister Superior nodded in response. “I...see. Very well, then, I suppose formalities are in order.” and with that, she reached up and removed her helmet, revealing an actually rather attractive brunette with a very striking pair of silver eyes. “I am Sister Superior Arikia Vanalyn, Order of the Ardent Shroud. My Sisters and I are assigned to the convent here on Necromunda. As for our mission…” She paused for a moment, debating on telling us or not, before coming to a decision. “We were sent to retrieve the STC that is currently in your possession.”

    I blinked. I felt Mio blink. Hell, I’m sure Harry blinked, as rare as that man emoting was.

    This was completely and totally unexpected. Not that they would be searching for the STC, that much I knew as gonna happen as soon as I ordered Rico to cover for me jacking the damned thing. What shocked me was that this Sister Vanalyn outright told us that this was her objective, without actually shooting at anyone. It was a goddamned miracle, really.

    And as much as I wanted to stall for time by turning to Mio for a question, the STC was one of my projects, and thus I was stuck. I decided to make a call. To keep things civil, though, I needed to explain a few things.

    “Alright, I just wanna clarify that the STC is and remains undamaged and uncorrupted. Need to get that out of the way right now, before we go any further.” Sister Vanalyn’s face didn’t change much, but there was a sense of blatant relief from the group as a whole.

    “Anyway, I need to check on something. Give me a moment.”

    Sister Vanalyn looked at me in confusion as a window appeared in the air to the side of me, and Bill’s face appeared. I noted the lack of surprise at seeing a Kerbal for later inquiry.

    “Hey, Bill, you guys done with that project I asked you about?”

    Bill, for his part, seemed to get what was happening right off and stuck to the script, impromptu as it was. “Yeah. the first batch of the lot is out and ready to go. Any time you’re ready for ‘em, you can swing by the ‘shop and grab a set.”

    Excellent. I could probably salvage this. “Thanks Bill. I’ll be in touch after I get some things sorted out.”

    Bill nodded and the connection window closed. I turned to Sister Vanalyn with a light smile. “Well, the good news is that a particular project of mine is bearing fruit, and I just might be able to part with the damned thing, provided you are willing to answer a few questions. This agreeable to you?”

    Sister Vanalyn nodded. She was proving to be quite agreeable for being a member of by far the most zealous faction of the Imperium.

    Alright, then, let’s rip the band-aid off then. “First, do you know who sent you to retrieve this STC? And I don’t mean your Palatine or anyone else in your actual chain of command, but the people pushing for what was a blatant suicide assignment outside of the damned miracle that let you find us. Do you know who they are?”

    A silent shake of the head was my answer. My best guess is that she had suspicions, but nothing concrete and definitely nothing she wanted to voice. That alone narrowed the list of suspects down by a significant margin, as if there were major players like the Imperial Fists involved, there would be a bit of gloating. My best guess based on available info was currently the Inquisition, but that only raised more questions.

    Anyway, back to the topic. “Second: does anyone else know that you are here? Some kind of check-in process or another? I need to know, so I can make allowances for you ladies to not get declared dead or something.”

    Sister Vanalyn seemed to deflate slightly, though I doubt that her Sisters saw it. “There is a process, yes, and we will need to do the check-in in approximately two hours.”

    I carefully schooled my face and made sure to not show anything, especially at that blatant of a lie. I’ll give her props for trying to keep her Sisters alive, but that shit was horrible. That being said, I didn’t call her out on it, and moved on to the next question, which was kind of important.

    You see, Mio had been very, very anxious to rip some heads off over the theft of her grand successes in the valkyrie cores, and had only held off in “asking” about them because I was playing at being a face for the group. Had I let Harry take the lead, this would probably have already descended into a bloodbath as she educated the Sisters on not touching things that didn’t belong to them.

    “There were a series of items inside that building there” I pointed to the central pillar and the workshops therein. “That are currently missing. Specifically, six small white spheres. Do you happen to have them?”

    Before Sister Vanalyn could answer, I felt the change, as the environment around us flexed slightly to accommodate the newly forming impeller fields. I quickly turned to Mio, hoping to head off a confrontation, only to be surprised by the blatant shit-eating grin on her face.

    “Err...you alright Mio?”

    The megawatt grin turned to me and lost none of it’s intensity. “Oh, I’m fine. Just happy that the new cores work as intended, is all. Actually kind of shocked to see that all six of them were compatible, but I will chalk that up to the hand of the Omnissiah. Besides, those cores are in, if not ideal hands, then at least hands loyal to Humanity.”

    She raised a hand to my face in the universal sign for ‘stop’. “No, don’t bother trying to fight me on this. I made them, they are mine to distribute as I see fit, and I say that these Sisters of Battle are welcome to them as long as they serve Humanity and the Emperor.” She turned back towards Sister Vanalyn, a menacing glare in her eyes. “In. That. Order. Do you understand?”

    I stepped in before it got too awkward. “Calm down, Mio. I’m sure they will use them in the best manner possible. Anyway, one more question for you before I make my decision.” I pause deliberately, for dramatic effect. Mio rolls her eyes at me at the theatrics, but I ignore her for now. “I, alongside my friends here, have been working to track down and eliminate the Genestealer cults on this planet. Are you willing to help us in, if not wiping them out completely, than at least thinning the herd?”

    This was met with a frown. “Our mission is the recovery of the STC. the Xenos creatures can be dealt with by others who are more equipped for that task.”

    I felt Mio’s grin. “Even when it’s a chance for you to test out your new gear and doodads with the person who built them?” her grin somehow got larger as she laid down the carrot for this encounter. “It’s kind of really good, you know.”

    I checked on Harry. Apparently he was struggling not to laugh at our antics, nor at the reactions of the sisters. I paid him no mind, instead focusing on the now clearly flummoxed mission before us. Those poor women obviously did not know what to expect.

    Oddly, it was one of Sister Vanalyn’s subordinates who responded. “You mean those white spheres were some kind of xenos technology!?”

    Nope, cutting that off right now. “Not at all. Just something that Mio here whipped up in her spare time. I’m sure she wants to explain the details to you as soon as possible. Besides, those things tend to bond to their users. Trying to swap would just leave you without armor, judging from the feel right now...oh yeah, did I mention that those things like to assimilate technology?”

    It was really fun messing with the Sisters, and I was getting my fun out of it as we overwhelmed them with the various capabilities of the Valkyrie Core, and the newly integrated frames that were once their master-crafted power armor.

    Or at least I was, until an alert slammed into my vision. Judging from the look on Mio’s face, she had gotten the same alert. I felt more than saw Rico stiffen as well from his perch on Harry’s shoulder.

    I asked the question first. “The fuck was that, and why could I feel it even in here?”

    Rico had a look of worry on his face. “My long-range search probes are picking up a massive amount of energy coming from orbit. They are similar to the normal shipping traffic that we get, but instead of dozens, there are thousands. It doesn’t make sense.”

    Harry suddenly had a concerned look on his face. “Can you Identify anything about the signals?”

    Rico shook his head. “I don’t know what to look for, and there’s too many of them to begin with. I don’t know where to start.”

    “Don’t bother. I know what’s happening.”

    Mio had spoken, finally, and as I turned to her what I saw shook me to my core.

    Her face, normally so vibrant and full of life, was not only completely wooden but downright ashen.

    I did not like seeing her like this. “Mio?”

    Her response was even more flat. And, more importantly, it was tinged with something that I had not heard from her since we’d met.


    “The Mechanicus has come. And this world is forfeit.”

    Behold, the AdMech Play.

    EVERYONE is in a Jam now.

    An Editing note: I goofed in some earlier chapters and Misspelled Harry’s full name. It’s supposed to be Harrisyn, and I’ve been spelling it as Harrison. I apologise for this. The QQ version has been corrected to the best of my ability, but the FFN posts will remain unchanged due to the pain in the ass it is to edit chapters over there.

    Perks for this chapter:
    -Weapon crafting (Devil May Cry) (200CP)
    Alright, so you fancy yourself a weapons dealer, huh? Well now you know the ins and outs of every single tool made for killing that you get your crafty little hands on. Swords, handguns, axes, sniper rifles, spears, rocket launchers, it'll all come naturally to you, and you will be able to create these weapons or even improve them with your own custom designs. And to make it even a better deal, you know how to modify a weapon to have unlimited ammunition capability. So go nuts, buddy. You've earned it.

    -Gushimera Laboratory (God Catching Alchemy Meister) (600CP)
    This research facility used to belong to powerful mages before they were overrun by demons. Some of the knowledge was lost as the demons made their home there, but after a while they just went away and this precious fountain of knowledge came into your hands. The facility was geared towards the creation of golems, artificial Mana Spirits and even has notes about creating homunculus. It's still somewhat operational and full of information waiting to be discovered. It will become a warehouse attachment post-jump.

    -Sparking Innovation | it is Written (The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild - TG) (600CP)
    Sparking Innovation (200CP)
    The fruits of hard work and study. By studying the arts of the ancient Sheikah, You can now create basic Ancient technology. The chief use of this is that you have the knowledge of creating the blue flame that acts as the energy source for much Sheikah Tech. This Blue Flame can be used to fuel various magitech as Sheikah devices are known to be, and in turn you are capable of creating simple tools such as cameras and recording devices with this level of knowledge. Nothing ground shaking on its own, but it's the base of even greater innovation.
    It Is Written (400CP)
    The use of mystical runes for enchanted effects is well known by those with a passing interest in the magical arts, but...the Sheikah were unique. They were able to create a language from runes that had conditional statements and effects. In short - the Sheikah could program with runes, thus allowing for programs to become spells. You have knowledge of this art as well - You are able to use Runes to code programs such as those used by the Sheikah Slate to perform its functions. This combined with Sparking Innovation would give you the groundwork to create your own variant of the Sheikah Slate with your own round of Runes...though magic doesn't make something simple - you'll need to create the code for these Slates yourself.
  23. Trek

    Trek The Ascendant

    Oct 19, 2018
    Likes Received:
    This is the result of his own mistakes if he had not spread around and shown his tech to so many people this would not have happened.
  24. ryune

    ryune Versed in the lewd.

    May 16, 2013
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    Um, no. This is the result of the Mechanicus knowing there was an undamaged, uncorrupted and above all complete STC on planet. This was going to happen the moment they got a whiff of it.
  25. Xolsis

    Xolsis Getting out there.

    Sep 24, 2021
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    Like Ryune said, they came because of the STC, not because of what Satori did. Yes he has tech that they don't know about, but that is peanuts compared to the completed STC.

    The world of 40k is too vast and grand to just revolve around a Forger, at least all of the factions like people seem to think. Satori has barely started to make any waves to warrant notice. What people really want is the STC. Satori being himself isn't even enough for them.
  26. Morkail

    Morkail Shado-Master

    Apr 21, 2020
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    Ya this is kinda the problem with humanity’s. 40k in general it’s such a massive thing that showing new tech off like this gets a battle fleet from one of humanity factions on your ass let alone the aliens who would show up to mess with your day. Unless your the emperor or one of his sons he literal has no hope of hanging things with out being declared a heretic. So he has to start his own faction who uses magic and other tech to just no sell anything current mankind tech can do while handing out STCs every one like candy or the emperors own custodies show up and tell everyone to fuck off Big E ones this man on terra right fucking now.

    still nice chapter even if I think Big E might be directing these sisters how else would they find them.
  27. Cheetored20

    Cheetored20 I trust you know where the happy button is?

    May 31, 2020
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    That end was ominous.... He really needs better warehouse security.
  28. Acolyte

    Acolyte Know what you're doing yet?

    May 19, 2018
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    Dude may as well have given the cores to chaos on a platter.

    Remember that he need high grade ontological protection so that chaos doesn't instantly delete him.

    The sisters lack any such protection, they can and will most likely brute force posses them.

    It was nice knowing you sisters, have fun with chaos.
  29. LollipoPReapeR

    LollipoPReapeR Versed in the lewd.

    Sep 13, 2018
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    I honestly thought he would know better than to leave the entrance of his warehouse undefended. Especially after those bodies found in the hanger. This is 40k, everywhere is dangerous....
  30. omegasrevenge

    omegasrevenge The Epic of Alexander (Ultimate)

    Jun 4, 2020
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    He is going to upgrade his warehouse security next, now that it got infiltrated once.
    It will also be fun to see how he is going to deal with the Mechanicus, since he has absolutely nothing to fear from them. They can't find him in the wastes, or if they can they can't bombard it from orbit for fear of damaging the STC. Thus they are limited to sending assault squads after him at which point he can just teleport a continent away and open the door to the warehouse over there.
    There is literally nothing to fear here.