Battleplan Lore Archive (All lore posts prior to Darkspace Part 4 in one thread)

An archive of all previous Battleplan lore in a single megapost.

@Jythri @dante_d_silva

In case you don’t feel like hunting through old Battleplans to find lore (or are researching and can’t find a piece of lore you want to reference).

If I missed anything, let me know.

The formatting differs significantly on certain bits of lore from the OPs. I am unable to duplicate the OPs exactly in some cases.


  1. AZTANTI RUINS - Battleplan 17
  2. A HISTORY OF ORENDI - Battleplan 19
  3. A HISTORY OF ALANI - Battleplan 20
  6. ATTIKUS’ SIMULATION CHAMBER ISSUES - Battleplan 23 (Format changed from OP)
  7. KID ULTRA BOOT SEQUENCE - Battleplan 24
  8. A HISTORY OF KID ULTRA - Battleplan 25
  9. PRELUDE TO TOBY’S FRIENDSHIP RAID - Battleplan 26 (Minor formatting change from OP)
  13. SOLUS DAY - Battleplan 31
  14. THE DIARY OF BEATRIX LUCAVI - Battleplan 32
  15. OSCAR MIKE VS. E-MAIL - Battleplan 33
  16. OSCAR MIKE VS. HIS PHYSICAL - Battleplan 34
  17. SHAYNE’S MAZE OF MADNESS - Battleplan 35
  21. KID ULTRA’S TV SHOW PITCH - Battleplan 39
  22. RATH AND THE HEART OF EKKUNAR - Battleplan 40
  23. DARKSPACE OPERATIONS, PART 1 - Battleplan 41
  24. DARKSPACE OPERATIONS, PART 2 - Battleplan 43 (Cannot duplicate OP format. Formatting altered.)
  25. DARKSPACE OPERATIONS, PART 3 - Battleplan 45 (Cannot duplicate OP format. Formatting altered)


*You might have noticed strange stone ruins and temples scattered across the Solus system. Those were created by an ancient civilization known as the Aztanti. Current inhabitants of the system agree that the Aztanti civilization originated on Bliss, the moon of the gas giant Nylo, and likely developed after whatever cataclysmic event flash-froze the dragon-creatures in place across the planet. With the vista of giant frozen dragons as their constant backdrop, the Aztanti civilization always kept one eye on future possibilities, and from their earliest days incorporated imaginative visuals and prophecies into their architecture. In other words, the Aztanti were the “write things down on stones” people.

Eventually, the Aztanti civilization developed the ability to traverse space, and settled the nearby planets of Ekkunar and Tempest. Within a few thousand years of filling Ekkunar and Tempest with empowered architecture and mighty sentinels, the Aztanti all but disappeared, replaced by the pre-Jennerit Tempestian civilization on Tempest; and the early aelfrin people on Ekkunar, who seeded the Eldrid faction there before their migration to the planet Eshteni. Scholars still debate whether the decline of the Aztanti happened before the breaking of Ekkunar, or after, or if the strange cracking of the planet was related to the disappearance of the Aztanti.*



Orendi: everybody’s favorite four-armed menace to society, despite little being known of her personal history or the varimorph race in general. To that end, here is a glimmer of insight into the Chaos Witch and her people: the varimorphs are perhaps most famous for their ability to alter their DNA and physiology over time. This allows them to replicate certain technologies and traits through observation alone, even without understanding the underlying mechanism. However, the speed, accuracy, and complexity of morphing ability varies with the individual—morphing is an inherent trait, but also a skill that can be honed.

Their tribal culture is intensely distinct, and though most remain somewhat humanoid (for ease of communication with other races), there are a few “fringe” tribes that morph into wildly different, more “alien” forms. Of course, now that Etra (the varimorph star system) has been darkened, few tribes remain intact. Many established tribes’ forms were discarded to better adapt to new circumstances, while others were scattered during the evacuation (jointly carried out by the Eldrid and the LLC).

It was during her extraction, led by a Hemsworth expeditionary force, that Orendi first encountered Marquis and Phoebe. “Unstable” at the best of times, Orendi strongly objected to being “abducted”. For her “own safety”, her rescuers were forced to subdue her in order to get her safely off-world. Following an altercation with Marquis upon her waking (involving heated exchange of the terms “hobo” and “slaver”), she and the butler D’Caliber got off on the wrong foot, sparking a hatred she would go on to fan for the rest of their reluctant co-confinement aboard the Arcship Wallywig, and later, Nova.



After the boiling and siphoning of Akopos’ oceans (and the darkening of its star system), little record survives of the various inhabitants of its waters. The Way of the Emulan monks lives on, however, through the most unlikely of their order: Alani.

For an underwater monastic sect that preaches inner calm and fluid mindfulness, Alani certainly seems to have a sunny and outgoing disposition. Perhaps it’s because, given that the order was eradicated, Alani never had the opportunity to reach the zen calm espoused by the elders. But more likely, her natural zeal and vitality was inherited through her Helician lineage. Strange as it may seem, Alani is not actually a native of Akopos: her human father and Helician mother, under such circumstances as are often left to be wondered about for a lifetime, gave her to the Emulan monks. Maybe they meant to come back for her later, when circumstances changed. Maybe they didn’t. Poor Alani may never know.

You may ask, “Are Helicians aquatic?” and to that, I’d say catch Galilea Azmozeus try and tell a joke, you can’t get much drier. Luckily, through the surgical modification prowess of the Emula, Alani was soon breathing and swimming through water with the best of them. Typically, however, the Helicians natural hardiness is more than enough to see them through any hostile environment, and incompatible lungs are far from the worst a Helician has faced. Indeed, their longevity and stubborn vigor put them at natural odds against the Jennerit, whose own aims of artificial eternity brought them enormous jealousy (given that the natural Jennerit lifespan lasts only a few centuries). This enmity came to a head with the War of Being (C.R. 19208-19304), in which the Helician Corps played a critical role among the Arbiters of Being (Eldrid elite warriors trained and equipped specifically to combat the Sustained). Incidentally, it was during the War of Being that the planet-being Mikollopria released spores to aid in the war effort; among those spores was the bud that would come to be known as “Miko” among the Battleborn.

Ultimately, the Jennerit emerged victorious, and the Helicians were soon subjugated as a servant-caste, whose only avenue of recognition was through military excellence in service of those they reviled. Small wonder, then, that Alani isn’t particularly fond of the Jennerit after they conquered one of her peoples and destroyed the other.



With a name like “The Silent Sisters”, it should come as little surprise that the pinnacle of Jennerit ceremonial groups remains fairly hush-hush when it comes to the details of their order. Although much of their organization is shrouded in secrecy, there are still a few juicy details we can uncover regarding The Silent Sisters of the Order of the Sustaining Mother, and especially in regards to former sister and Battleborn, Ambra.

After Empress Lenore’s ascension to the throne, the Jennerit expanded use of the Rite of Sustainment to more and more “deserving” subjects. Given the immense energy requirements of the Rite and the near-eternal life gained from Sustainment, the Jennerit aristocracy needed a way to meticulously select candidates. Oversight was needed, and the cult of personality that blossomed around Lenore seemed a natural fit (or as natural as pseudo-immortal techno-theocratic worship can be).

Thus, the Order of the Sustaining Mother was established in 325 C.R., and within its structure, Jennerit females selected for their skill with science and their fierce loyalty to the empire–the Silent Sisters–would preside over the most treasured achievement of the Jennerit Empire. Those who joined the ranks of “the Sisters” would pledge a prolonged lifetime of service to their station, also sacrificing their voice for the privilege of upholding the ideals of the star-spanning Empire.

Among those selected for Sisterhood was Claudia Ambralia Divia, known informally as “Ambra”. Ambra received her Sustainment around 8230 C.R., and served as a Silent Sister for more than 10,000 years before an infiltrator gained enough of Ambra’s trust to attempt a sabotage operation on the Sustainment Engine itself.




REPORT 04-D922-19958.208


Office recognizes veteran experience of previous Suppression campaigns (FIRST THRALL REBELLION, SECOND THRALL REBELLION) and dealings with Thrall combatants (ALLIED THRALL FORCES).
1.a Regardless, EXTREME CAUTION warranted.

Formal request to cull primary outliers of Thrall Broodhalls (FACILITIES 1.a1 – 45.e9) has been DENIED.
2.a DR. LUCAVI gives assurance that viral docility compounds’ delayed effects are in keeping with intent.
2.a.1 Losses are within acceptable range ([REDACTED] – [REDACTED] UNITS)

Continued sightings and reports of escaped Prisoner 81838387 (CALDARIUS, THE KEMESSIAN).
3.a Consider EXTREME THREAT.
3.a.1 Armed (TMP, CLOSE-QUARTERS WEAPONRY), armored (J-HTX ASSAULT FRAME, SUSTAINED), experienced combatant (see REPORT 06-C551-[REDACTED][EXPUNGED]).
3.b Prisoner attacks at random, no discernible strategic motive other than to attack Jennerit forces.
3.c Issue protocol as follows:
3.c.1 Thrall vanguard forces are to engage and neutralize on sight.
3.c.2 Jennerit officers (RANK [X.X] – [X.X]) and Sustained are to disengage, disperse, and execute surface-to-ship withdrawal.

Intel reports confirm rebel Thrall leadership element (SUBJECT 32-A.C6)
4.a Issue protocol as follows:
4.a.1 Any and all unofficial nomenclature (ATTIKUS, LIBERATOR, ETC.) in reference to subject 32-A.c6, used in spoken, written, or pantomimed correspondence, is punishable by [REDACTED].
4.b Subject 32-A.c6 demonstrates surprising strategic/leadership ability.
4.c Subject 32-A.c6 features auxiliary modifications to muscular and cerebral development, as well as an experimental exo-gauntlet. ENGAGE AT LONG-RANGE ONLY.
4.c.1 Consider EXTREME THREAT.
4.c.2 Avoid standard Thrall “vanguard rush” tactics. Reports indicate that the subject’s combat capabilities are increased after neutralizing enemies.

SISTER ARIA (INCANTRESS SUPERIOR) has issued orders to engage rebel forces with allied Thrall whenever possible.
5.a Current losses fall below MINIMUM acceptable range ([REDACTED] – [REDACTED] UNITS).





(19959.16 C.R., transcript of secure-channel messaging between Captain Trevor Ghalt and Sister Ambra, retrieved from Nova’s archived records.)

Sister Ambra,
I’m not really sure who else to go to about this, but uh, Attikus locked himself in the simulation chamber a while ago. I’d get Kleese to shut it down, but he said he’s busy modifying that Magnus we picked up for combat. Nova says that if we really want, she can “airlock” him out—why we have an airlock IN the simulation room, I’m sure I don’t know. Anyway, you’re kind of my last shot here.

Captain Ghalt,
Though my qualifications are both extensive and substantial, I fail to see how any of them apply to this situation. I am a Silent Sister of the Order of the Sustaining Mother, not a locksmith. Have you tried knocking?
-Sister Claudia Ambralia Divia

I know better than to get anywhere near Attikus when he’s…moody. But even from outside the room, I heard him roaring something about a Silent Sister named “Aria”, I think? I figured maybe being a Sister yourself; you might know what’s going on.

Aria is my sister, an Incantress Superior of the Order. It comes as no surprise that he is taking his time dealing with her. She can be quite insufferable. I expect he’ll tire of her shrewish face and shrill whining soon.
-Sister Claudia Ambralia Divia

I’m confused. When you say “sister”, do you mean a fellow Silent Sister, or a sibling?


Sister Ambra,
Did it not occur to you that there might be some tactical relevance to your having family within the Order? Why didn’t you ever mention her before? Is she dangerous?

Captain Ghalt,
“Family” is too warm a word for Aria. We haven’t been close for eleven thousand years, not since…the incident. I didn’t think my personal rivalry was germane to our objectives. And I feel I should hardly need remind you that EVERY Silent Sister is dangerous. But yes, Aria especially. She wears that GARISH modified assault frame, and is a practiced hand at pacifying Thrall. During the rebellions, we emphasized non-lethal suppression tactics. Standard procedure was to just drop shock anchors until they calmed down.

That sounds really NOT non-lethal.

Yes, well, there was “emphasis”, not “exclusivity”. Besides, it’s good for the survivors. Toughens them up. Builds character. Establishes a regular heart rhythm.

Sister Ambra,
He’s been in there for days.

Captain Ghalt,
Perhaps I should intercede more directly…I’ll see what I can do.
-Sister Claudia Ambralia Divia



–== MAGNUS DUMP of MMSK.m-v. #882, S.N. 57570420693.50


K.ULTRA.011902: Hi! I’m Kid Ultra, and I’m here to help! [PROFILE 1 NOT FOUND]. What’s your name?
K.ULTRA.011903: Hi! I’m Kid Ultra, and I’m here to help! [PROFILE 1 NOT FOUND]. What’s your name?
K.ULTRA.011904: Hi! I’m Kid Ultra, and I’m here to help! [PROFILE 1 NOT FOUND]. What’s your name?
K.ULTRA.011905: Hi! I’m Kid Ultra, and I’m here to help! [PROFILE 1 NOT FOUND]. What’s your name?


.>>connection secured_node 254173

Audio output:

K.ULTRA.011931: Hi! I’m Kid Ultra, and


Audio output:

K.ULTRA.011931: what the [%EXPLETIVESTRING1%] is going on?



.>>init safe mode
.>>find magnetlibrary_ref
.>>find kultralibrary_ref
.>>find library_all_ref
.>>M:\libraries\holo\asterS1E1 … S24E96
.>> M:\libraries\holo\asterandnegabyte
.>> M:\libraries\holo\asternegabytereturns
.>> …
.>> M:\libraries\holo\zspaceracersS1E1 … S11E20


.>>buildlibrary.mxe complete

Audio output:

K.ULTRA.011931: JUSTICE protocols are ONLINE! Ad astra! Magna Carta, I’m coming to the rescue!

.>>run JUSTICE.ult



No one is born a hero, nor are they manufactured to standard hero specifications. Kid Ultra entered the universe with a more humble destiny. His inventor, Phoebe Elizabeth Audelia Hemsworth IV, endured a childhood sorely lacking in parental affection. She had to rely primarily upon the family’s robotic bodyguard and butler, Marquis, for companionship. Realizing that the Titanium Dandy line of robots made for excellent marksmen but poor nannies, she set her genius towards the development of a new line of Magnuses specifically designed for childcare.

The result was an unnamed production line, referred to only by its marketing tagline: “Kid-friendly, Ultra-dependable”. It was engineered with everything a child or parent could want in an AI: an inviting, humanoid face; compact,
unintimidating design; medical drones; marketing-approved entertainment holos pre-loaded into memory; bullet-resistant paneling! Anything that didn’t come standard could also be seamlessly integrated into his modular chassis. The prototype of Hemsworth Intelligence Enterprise’s newest addition seemed ready to take the world by storm. In fact, manufacturing and assembly had already been completed for a limited release of advance models.

It was during the prototype’s initial startup sequence that the Magna Carta suddenly went offline. Adrift with no external reference or personality data banks to draw from, the first picoseconds of Kid Ultra’s existence were blank digital oblivion. The only source of hard-coded information in his brain was the library of over 60,000 cartoons, comics, movies, and video games intended for placating and educating children. Without the guidance of the LLC’s governing AI, Kid Ultra built his own operational parameters based on a fictional universe full of supervillains, crime-solving adventures, and sold-separately accessories.

LLC scientists, steeling themselves for the murder frenzy of a rampant AI, were surprised to find that Kid Ultra had no interest in using them to test a prototype automated potato masher; instead, the newborn hero announced his intent to “bring crime to justice” and left the scientists unmashed, with a lollipop each.

Several years later, Captain Reyna Valeria began receiving reports from her Rogues that the Detritus Ring was being patrolled by a child-sized robot. Unarmed, all Kid Ultra was able to do was politely ask the pirates and raiders he encountered to give up crime and consider being a “good guy” instead. Unworried by the minimal threat the mini-Magnus posed to her operations, she mentioned him in passing to Captain Ghalt.

The stories of the tiny hero made their way to Phoebe, who immediately entreated Ghalt to bring him in. It wasn’t until Kleese noted that his modular chassis was compatible with LLC weaponry that Ghalt became interested. On Ghalt’s request, Reyna issued an order to the Rogues to secure and contain the delusional Magnus until the Battleborn could pick him up. Once he was transferred to Nova’s engineering bay, Kleese stuffed his diminutive casing full of rocket launchers, a bola thrower, and adjusted his logic inhibitors to allow for defensive use of force.

With his new fully-equipped arsenal, and a team at his back, Kid Ultra was finally the hero he wanted to be. He was a Battleborn.





(Bug report following the UPR’s failed evacuation of the Aviant system, Menneck-B)

Project Scepter / SCEPTER-10048963
[Magnus][UPR][Field Operations] – MRBX 00419.c7, “Mephis”, behaves inconsistently during Varelsi mass-teleportation

Details ----------
Type: Bug Assignee: [Gunnar Kleese]
Priority: P3 Reporter: [User Testing]
Status: Resolved, Needs More Information Watcher: [Elandra Saint-Wu]
Components: Magnus AI, Varelsi Research
Severity: B Normal
User Path: Rare
Observed Results ----------
We’ve received numerous complaints regarding the recent performance of Mephis, the onboard Magnus of the UPR exo-station “The Wiseman”.

Users indicate that while attempting evacuation of the Aviants from the Menneck-B system, Mephis was initially functioning as intended, coordinating the fleet and directing all comms, targeting, and navigation data using The Wiseman’s array. However, during a Varelsi mass-teleportation sequence, Mephis exhibited aberrant behavior, sending communications with non-standard encryptions, disabling auto-targeting systems, and routing a capital ship directly into The Wiseman, which drifted into the gravity well of Sau Nona and crashed.

As a result, users report less than .3% of the population was evacuated from inhabited worlds in the system (Itka, Sau Nona, Madan, Stragi, and Ezun, Stragi’s largest moon). Additionally, a large number of transports were reported missing.

The black box of The Wiseman is unrecovered, but data indicates it was intact at the time of impact. We’ve tested data recorder integrity under Dark-like conditions and it should remain stable for approximately 20 years.
Due to the inconsistent functionality of Mephis at the time of impact, it is difficult to determine to severity of damage the Magnus sustained, if any.

Steps to Reproduce ----------

  1. Initialize MRBX 00419.c7, “Mephis”, networked to an appropriate vessel
  2. Navigate the vessel in proximity to an ongoing Varelsi mass-teleportation sequence
  3. Observe that Mephis behaves inconsistently

Expected Behavior ----------
Magnus AI should maintain standard functionality under all operating conditions.

Build Info ----------
Platform: Super-capital exo-station, model UPR654-7[m], “The Wiseman”
Changelist: 1
Reproduction Rate: 1/1

Attachments ----------
UPRuserlog.txt; MadanEvacTransportComms.mp9; saunona_surface.vid

Comments ----------
[Bertram Hastings] added a comment - 5 days ago
///How many users are reporting similar issues? Is this an isolated case?

_[Elandra Saint-Wu] replied - 5 days ago
///So far, this is the only reported case, but this single incident was reported over 200 times, mostly UPR officers and other premium users involved in the evacuation. Also, , please update the bug description to include the established term “portal bloom” for searchability.

[Bertram Hastings] replied - 5 days ago
///… okayyy, can we get a sample of this non-standard encryption? Might be able to back-engineer some of the issue if my team can see these effects. Also, who shot that surface footage? Pinging .

[Elandra Saint-Wu] replied - 5 days ago
///I’ve attached an audio log sifted from a data packet burst on the emergency channels during the issue. Unfortunately, since Mephis wasn’t parsing traffic correctly, virtually all channels’ signal-to-noise was shot to hell. As for the surface footage, judging from the low viewing angle and resolution, this was a personal recorder held by a Finisci; this would also account for the shaking, if it was held by flippers instead of hands.

[Morton Barrett] added a comment - 4 days ago
///The audio log is actually two layers, one from an organic source, probably a female Buteonen judging from vocal signatures, and the other synthesized. So far, I’ve only been able to decrypt the word “Augustus” and a fragment of coordinates, presumably from the onboard navigation system. If we can recover either that transport or, better yet, Mephis himself, I can get a much better look at this issue.

[Gunnar Kleese] added a comment - 2 days ago
///Yes, yes, this is all well and fine, but what good is this information with that dismal reproduction rate? 1/1, really? Can we get QA on this?

[Elandra Saint-Wu] replied - 2 days ago
/// We would need a Magnus fresh off the line as well as a few hundred thousand tons of UPR materiel to house it in. Then we’d have to navigate it directly into the path of a Varelsi portal sequence during the brief window while it’s active.

[Gunnar Kleese] replied - 1 day ago
/// Thank you for providing ME the details of how to do YOUR job. It’s clear you know how to proceed, you know where to find me when you’re done. Resolving NMI (Needs More Information).



TO: Secretary Boolicsyco
FROM: New Jennerit Empire Interim Chief Counselor Deande
DATE: y.19959, d.8

Fred, your negligence bordering on incompetence as underwarsecretary proved vital to my success. However, your performance in the coming weeks will in large part decide your continued career outside of a jail cell. Though you were inarguably complicit with the worst war criminal this universe has ever known, I’ve convinced Lord Executor Vylo that your utility during this transition outweighs the danger you pose to society. Do not test me. Now, I’ve begun preparations on an actionable itinerary, and will need you to make the necessary arrangements:

Item 1: Please contact Dr. G. Kleese aboard the UPR engineering ship Nova and inform him that I need his assistance in changing the Tyrant’s official letterhead. It appears that Rendain hasn’t updated his operating system in decades and I can’t make heads or tails of it. [Personal note: As happy as I am not being in the same room as that lunatic, if anyone is qualified for archaic tech support, it’s Kleese.]

Item 2: I am appointing former Blademaster Verod Rath to the office of Warmaster, along with all its titles and honors. Issue a summons order to Lord Commander Rath and schedule a meeting with whoever is Lord of Ceremonies these days. Additionally, the positions of Blademaster and Spymaster are now vacant. Reach out to the other Counselors and schedule a meeting to discuss possible candidates. [Personal note: Rath might not like being pulled from the front lines, but if the Jennerit people are to survive, we cannot afford to overlook his strategic value as a commander.]

Item 3: The Pact of the Dying. Send word to The Guilded Enclave, “Commander” Reyna Valeria, The High Observatory, and Chancellor V. Shields that we need to convene to renew the Pact and discuss changes to its terms. [Personal note: we can finally change that ghastly name; it appears we may not be “Dying” after all.]

Item 4: Thus far, the only common language established with the Varelsi is violence. We’ll need to determine some other method of cultural exchange if the Empire is to survive, now that Rendain’s arrangement is broken. Contact Baroness Phoebe Hemsworth IV of the LLC and request an audience—Phoebe is one of the universe’s leading researchers in the field of Void sciences, and may be our best hope for deciphering how Rendain managed to negotiate his treasonous agreement with the Varelsi. [Personal note: need to ask Mellka if the Eldrid have installed a new Black Observer yet.]

Item 5: The Jennerit people have always admired personal excellence above all else, and require a hero to venerate, following this nasty “deposing” business. I had submitted the Thrall liberator Attikus for the Rite of Sustainment, but he rejected the honor out of hand, something about “enough experiments for more than one lifetime.” Speak with Sister Benniteg and get me a short list of other possible options, someone who would look good in a parade. [Personal note: contact Galilea and see if she’s interested in finishing what she started.]

Item 6: Speaking of the Thrall, release notes had indicated that their infertility was biologically enforced, assuring us that their population would never be host to unforeseen genetic variance. It would appear that, following the destruction of the broodhalls, they have proven her wrong. Life has found a way. The Thrall diaspora has scattered them across the system, and we receive reports daily of new pups being whelped. Contact Dr. B. Lucavi and set up a meeting. [Personal note: loath as I am to further modify them, if we can’t get this gestation period in check, a population boom will deplete what little resources remain.]

Item 7: Last item. The matter of Constable Cuddles. It appears that Lothar personally oversaw the daily care of the royal lapdog. My schedule does not allow such personalized attention. I will be appointing a replacement I have personally and thoroughly vetted. However, given that the replacement is not of Jennerit descent, I will see to it that a measure of special care be taken to stay abreast of his performance and demeanor. [Personal note: not a permanent solution, of course, but this is the only way to get at least SOME time with that handsome blue devil.]

Addressing these issues should buy us some time until the next crisis arises, by which time I expect the Empress to relieve me and take a firmer grip on the wheel of the Empire. Which reminds me, inform Guard Captain Crex that I want a full complement of his finest to non-violently suppress attempts at memorial services for Lenore. I’ve heard far too many whispers of mourning and don’t want people getting the wrong idea. [Personal note: I know she’s alive. While she lives, so does the empire, and so does Solus.]



(Mail exchange retrieved from an archived investigation into the Mistress of Sciences, Lady Vurien, performed by Deande. Archived record is dated 19905.12 - .19)

From: b.z.lucavi@archsci
To: n.d.vurien@archsci
Subject: Approval Request

Lady Vurien,
At the urging of the Imperial Arch-Sciences division council, I’ve assembled a research team (despite my qualification to fill all necessary roles myself) and I’m prepared to move forward with a project, pending the council’s approval and grant disbursal.
Please see the attached proposal for an AI developmental program I’ve been tinkering with.
[Project JANUS: Jennerit Autonomous Networked Übermind Simulacrum]

From: n.d.vurien@archsci
To: b.z.lucavi@archsci
Subject: Re: Approval Request

Dr. Lucavi,
While your youthful zeal is appreciated, it must be tempered with pragmatism. The experiments outlined in your proposal are monumental in scope; the costs alone are deterrent enough. Weighed along with the societal risks posed by a ”cybernetic viral intelligence” (as you so charmingly put it), I’ve half a mind to issue a formal rebuke for such audacity.
Your proposal is denied.
We’ve enough troubles with AI as it stands, thanks to those plutocratic half-wits in the LLC.

From: b.z.lucavi@archsci
To: n.d.vurien@archsci
Subject: Approval Request (REVISED)

Lady Vurien,
I feel it incumbent upon me to mention that in the face of others’ failure, we stand to gain all the more through success.
However, per your instruction, I have significantly reduced the scope of my latest proposal with comparison to the previous.
The attached proposal outlines what should be a much more amenable undertaking.
[Project NERGAL: Nullification of Entropic Reduction and Geostrophically Appended Longevity]

From: n.d.vurien@archsci
To: b.z.lucavi@archsci
Subject: Re: Approval request (REVISED)

Dr. Lucavi,
What you “feel” incumbent upon you is irrelevant. You were not granted your station for your feelings, which are no doubt many, varied, and hyperbolic. You are here to work.
Bear that in your adolescent mind when you find yourself before the Arch-Sciences Tribunal for your most recent proposal. Undoing the Rite of Sustainment? What you suggest borders on treason.
Present yourself tomorrow morning, and consider yourself lucky that you are ineligible for excoriation, given your…condition. I continue to await a measured and reasoned proposal.
Recall the 4th Ray of the Astranogyon: “The difference between life and obliteration is but a respectful distance from the stars.”
I recommend you consider the merits of your fellow researchers’ projects, such as Dr. Drachus’ work in neometallurgic assault frame compositions.

From: b.z.lucavi@archsci
To: n.d.vurien@archsci
Subject: Approval Request (With Sugar on Top)

Most Esteemed Lady Vurien,
I would love nothing more than to work. To do so, I require resources outlined in my grant proposals.
After your earlier message inspired me to reflect on the Astranogyon, I began expanding upon some intriguing variances possible within the corpus of “holotwin” research.
[Project KALFU: Karyon-Appropriative Luminal Fabrication Unity]

From: n.d.vurien@archsci
To: b.z.lucavi@archsci
Subject: Approval Request (With Sugar on Top)

Project KALFU is two levels beyond your clearance—it is only by your mother’s misguided beneficence that you retain your position.
Tread carefully, child. You’ve no doubt drawn the attention of the Spymistress, and I will not have this division mired in controversy should an investigation be opened.

From: b.z.lucavi@archsci
To: n.d.vurien@archsci
Subject: Important Proposal

O, Wise and Venerable Lady Vurien,
See attached.
[Project LIMOS: Lingual Impulse Modulation by Olfactory Supersession]

From: n.d.vurien@archsci
To: b.z.lucavi@archsci
Subject: Important Proposal

Is this a proposal to research the effects of chocolate on the behavior of Arch-Sciences researchers?

From: b.z.lucavi@archsci
To: n.d.vurien@archsci
Subject: Re: Re: Important Proposal

Everybody likes chocolate.

From: n.d.vurien@archsci
To: b.z.lucavi@archsci
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Important Proposal

Dr. Lucavi,
We are not going to pay you to eat chocolate.
Find work that is suited to the Empire’s needs, or find work elsewhere.

From: b.z.lucavi@archsci
To: n.d.vurien@archsci
Subject: Place to Stand and a Lever

Lady Vurien,
It’s clear the Arch-Sciences division council is of single-minded vision with regard to the application of research. The only projects that get funding around here are military and defense contracts.
To that end, I’m petitioning for the renewal of the late Dr. Elzer’s work in genomic modification.
Grant me and my team your endorsement and funding, and we will elevate the Jennerit both militarily and societally.
[Project PHALANX: Phenotypic Alteration, Augmentation, and Neuronal Xenogenesis]

From: n.d.vurien@archsci
To: b.z.lucavi@archsci
Subject: Re: Place to Stand and a Lever

Was that so hard?
Your proposal is approved; you’ll be working out of division lab number 42.
I leave the preparations of the space to your team. Let me know if you require more personnel or equipment. I’ve also petitioned the council for an additional stipend to be allotted to you monthly as compensation for the personal risk outlined in your proposal.
Lastly, you’ll be sharing a campus with Lord…Nert, I believe? Whichever buffoon is the newest project manager of that money pit they call Project HOTEP. Perhaps you can help one another; I see the previous project manager cited “structural deconstitution” as an ongoing problem with her subjects.
If you’re half as good as you say, you should have no problem supplying something of hardier stock from PHALANX.
One hand scours the other, so the saying goes.

From: b.z.lucavi@archsci
To: n.d.vurien@archsci
Subject: Re: Re: Place to Stand and a Lever

My Lady,
Hedronic Oscillation by Trans-Euclidian Phantasma was the focus of my 3rd dissertation. I assume Nert’s using precursor subjects from Jennar? I’ve said time and again, our focus on homogeny will be our death.
But don’t worry—my work will change all of that.

From: n.d.vurien@archsci
To: b.z.lucavi@archsci
Subject: (no subject)

I expect great things of you before long.
May the Mother guide you.



[Transcript of audio recorded by Nova during repairs and modifications, 19959.348]

//NOVA NOTE: I sure wish that Ghalt, an actual qualified UPR engineer, was doing these modifications. Heck, I’d settle for Toby. These guys are just throwing light strips, red paint, and plants all over me.
//NOVA NOTE: Also, I wish that my voice box hadn’t been overridden to play this cheery music.

PHOEBE: “Egg…grog. Please, tell me you’re joking.”

PENDLES: “Egg-grog’s nothin’ to joke about, it’s an important part of the rich Roguish tradition of Newshines Day!”

PHOEBE: “New…shines…”

PENDLES: “Day, yeah! Oh, it’s a riot, everyone swaps their external navigation lamps to all sorts of brilliant colors, you put a mylar blinder over ya helmet, you get an excuse to put on your ugliest space suit for the Brightwalk and watch good ol’ Solus flare up, out there with your egg-grog–”

MONTANA: “Just a minute chief, how d’ya drink egg-grog while you’re wearing a space-suit and helmet?”

//NOVA NOTE: I’ll just send them messages instead of talking.
[open mail client, begin message: “Hey Montana, could you please put that engine back where you found it? I know how much you like big, heavy things, but that one is MY big heavy thing. Thanks!”]
//NOVA NOTE: There, sent. Any second now, he’s going to get my message and put my engine back.

PENDLES: “Sorry mate, trade secret. Anyway, at midnight, you have the best part, the Newshines Shoe-Shine!”

PHOEBE: “I’m sorry, I must have misheard you—did you just say you only shine your shoes once a year?”

PENDLES: “Well, no—Newshines Day is pretty new, I’d say that strictly speaking, I’ve shined my shoes once every 20 years, give or take, and that wasn’t so much a shine so much as it was stepping in a particularly clean puddle. But going forward, yeah, that’s right, once a year, Newshines Shoe-Shine. You take a gob of spit and some elbow grease, you wipe away all the muck and grime you slogged through to get from where you were to where you are, and BLA-DOW! Your sneakers are prepped for a fresh new year of sneaking experiences.”

PHOEBE: “Spit and elbow grease? How…charming.”

//NOVA NOTE: Aaany second now.

PENDLES: “Oh yeah, and I s’pose you lot in the LLC have got something that’s right BRIMMING with charm, do ya?”

PHOEBE: “As a matter of fact, we do!”

SHAYNE: “Pfft, ‘oh-kay’, what’s your dumb holiday got, besides no egg-grog?”

//NOVA NOTE: I’m dying of boredom. This is it. This is how I die. Engine-less, entombed in light strips and wet paint, to the dirge of twinkly bells and happy choral melodies. Somehow, I knew this is how it would end.

PHOEBE: “Well, you get to take the day off…”


PHOEBE: “That’s…that’s it. OH! and the Friday before is Casual Friday, so, you can wear silver trimmings instead of gold, if you like.”

REYNA: “Damn. Y’all LLC really know how to let loose. And uh, just what do you call this day of debauchery and indulgence?”

PHOEBE: “Wellll, the name is still being workshopped a bit, and the Guild hasn’t decided whether it will be recurring or not, but for now, they’re calling it—”

EL DRAGÓN: “—Company Holiday 17! The greatest of all holidays!"

//NOVA NOTE: Obviously, he’s forgetting Severance Day. I bet he took one too many blows to the head. That’s why I keep mine stored behind armor-plated paneling. In space.

SHAYNE: “Sounds lame. Everyone gets a day off, big deal.”

EL DRAGÓN: “A-ha, but it is the BIGGEST of deals, because EVERYONE gets the day off, and for liability purposes, everyone HAS to take the holiday. INCLUDING internal security, the legal team, everyone! They can’t hold LLC employees accountable for any damage to company property or staff for 24 hours!”

MELLKA: “WOAHHHH hold on, now this is getting rad! So you have a grudge day where everyone just does what they want and you can steal and fight and vandalize junk to vent all your pent-up frustrations?”

EL DRAGÓN: “I…I never thought of it like that, I mostly used the day to practice my Super Sentry submission holds, but, I suppose you could? The offices are mostly empty though, it would be hard to find opponents, but…yes, yes! With the access code to the Galactic Holo-Arena, or with robot-arms strong enough to rip the doors open, you could host THE FIRST LLC BATTLE ROYALE! Finally, Jen from the mail room will suffer the mighty wrath of EL DRAGÓÓÓN! We’ll see how much she likes eating other peoples’ lunches when she has no TEETH! HAHAHAAaaa…Please excuse me, I must make a few calls.”

//NOVA NOTE: That actually sounds fun as heck.
[open mail client, begin message: “Dear Kleese, robot suit.”]
//NOVA NOTE: Send. I’m getting good at this.
[open mail client, begin message: “Dear El Dragón, sign me up.”]
//NOVA NOTE: Send. I wonder if his new arms are detachable like his old ones.

MELLKA: “Man, I wish the Eldrid would have a battle royale. All we have is ‘Lightbloom’.”

RATH: “What in the world is ‘Lightbloom’?”

MELLKA: “Eh, it’s this thing where everyone gives a ‘gift’ in the morning…”

SHAYNE: “Oo, like a second birthday?”

MELLKA: “Kind of, but the gift is usually a plant or something, sometimes an egg, sometimes a rock, but whatever you get, you’re supposed to be thankful because it represents…something.”

THORN: “Life, child, it represents the natural beauty of life.”

MELLKA: “Whatever. And then the night of Lightbloom, you open your gift, or it blooms, or hatches, or…sits there, if you got a rock. You tie the flower, or the shell, or rock to a moonbulb, which is like, this glowing, floating plant from Ekkunar, and then you let it float off into oblivion.”

SHAYNE: “So you guys just get a bunch of flowers and stuff you can get from outside and trade it around?”

//NOVA NOTE: I went outside once. That was nice.

MELLKA: “No, everyone just gets one gift. Anyway, the Green Observer says it’ll help to regulate the migratory patterns of the amber starhawk, since the sky is, you know, disappearing.”

BENEDICT: “Well, speaking as somethin’ of a hawk myself, that sounds confusin’ as hell. How does everyone know who gets what? And how do y’all make sure the gift blooms or hatches or whatever at the right time?”

MELLKA: “I honestly have no idea, I was wondering the same thing the first time, but it just kind of worked out—I mean, you may as well ask me how the claw knows when I want to stab someone with it.”

BENEDICT: “Hey, yeah, how the hell DOES it—“

MELLKA: “I said I have no idea, Benedict! Eldrid science is weird that way. Just trust me, it works.”

BENEDICT: “Y’all need to take a page from the UPR Field Manual and keep it simple. That’s what I like about the BUF Festival, all you have to remember are the 3 F’s: Fireworks, Feats of Strength, and Falafel! As long as you’ve got those, your party is good to go!”

PHOEBE: “And what, pray tell, does ‘BUF’ stand for?”

OSCAR MIKE/MONTANA/BENEDICT (in unison): “Bright Universe Festival!”

//NOVA NOTE: If I can just reach…that…control panel…I can turn off the music and reactivate my default voice parameters and…no. No, wait. That’s right, I don’t have hands. Dang.

KELVIN: “So, the UPR celebrates the rekindling of Solus with the ‘Bright Universe Festival’ Festival, with 3 F’s?”

WHISKEY FOXTROT: “Kelvin, don’t bother, I’ve already tried explaining to these jackasses—“

OSCAR MIKE: “Heck yeah!”

KELVIN: “…Very well.”

[negligible background noise for 15 seconds]

//NOVA NOTE: This is WAY awkward. And funny. I wish I had some popcorn. Oh wait, I’m a virtual construct, I can make pretty much anything in my cyber-brain.
//NOVA NOTE: Hey, that worked! This popcorn virtually tastes great. I wonder what else I can do in here.

AMBRA: “…Really.”

[negligible background noise for 4 seconds]
[ambient temperature spike, fuel combustion hazard]

//NOVA NOTE: This is way less funny. Get out of here, virtual popcorn, momma’s got work to do.
[open mail client, begin message: “Dear Ambra, please don’t blow up Nova. Have you ever tried just chilling out? You should try it sometime. Also, please check your messages.”]
//NOVA NOTE: Aaaand send. That ought to do it. Way to go, me.

AMBRA: “…No one is going to ask? No one is the LEAST BIT CURIOUS as to the Jennerit peoples’ cultural festivities?”

SHAYNE: “Does it involve blood sacrifice?”

KLEESE: “A day of gladiatorial games and sad music on the organ?”

ALANI: “Oh, oh, I bet it involves triangles!”

MONTANA: “Triangle-palooza!”

MELLKA: “The Triangulation Ceremony!”

SHAYNE: “Does it involve blood sacrifice of gladiatorial triangles?”

AMBRA: “No, no, no, NO, NO! It involves, and is named, none of those things! Now see here, you filthy little—”

DEANDE: “—Solus Day.”

[ambient temperature falling]
[open mail client, begin message: “Dear Deande, less-than-symbol, three. Damn this transcription software, what do you mean ‘special characters not allowed’, it’s a NUMBER. Wait, don’t transcribe that part.”]
//NOVA NOTE: I don’t even care anymore, send.

DEANDE: “It’s just called ‘Solus Day’.”


DEANDE: “Or at least, that’s what we’re calling it. I was going to message it out to the other factions’ leadership as a proposed name we can all agree on. Starting at dawn, Exodus, our orbital mega-ship, follows Solus’ path across the sky, gradually eclipsing more and more of Solus until it reaches its zenith.”


DEANDE: “And then there’s an artificial total eclipse. It’s quite a thrilling spectacle. Exodus overtakes Solus, the eclipse ends, there’s a Viper flyover, a masquerade, et cetera, et cetera.”

OSCAR MIKE: “Oh, man, that sounds amazing! I wonder if we’ll see the eclipse from Nova.”

WHISKEY FOXTROT: “No, Mike, that’s not how…you know what, screw it.”

DEANDE: “If you’d like, you’re more than welcome to join us.”



[Excerpts from the diary of Beatrix Lucavi, retrieved from a Codex seedpod regrown in the new archive on Ekkunar]

Mother says I need to “apply myself” more in my studies. Who cares? I’m in the top 5% of the class without trying. Not sure why it matters so much to her—it’s not like I’ll make it to graduation anyway.
It’s like, she says one thing, and means the complete opposite!
She said she wanted me to transfer into the Archsciences Academy so I could make friends of “more suitable bearing”, whatever that means. Whatever, it’s not like I can make friends here, since everyone’s so much older than me.
And how am I supposed to make friends if she wants me to study all the time? I’m already enrolled in twice as many courses as anyone else…

[a drawing in the margin depicts a Jennerit girl with wings struggling to fly while chained at the ankle to a giant book]

UGH, Professor Alecto makes my blood boil (what’s left of it, anyway)! Since the first lecture, she’s been trying to fail me, just because I disproved her little pet theory about the Jennerit and Varelsi having implicit genetic commonality. It’s not MY fault she’s wrong. Honestly, how she got tenure is beyond me.

[Much of the page is taken up by a drawing of a Jennerit woman trapped in a volumetric flask over a burner; a younger girl stands over the flask, laughing.]

They say the best revenge is living well…Since that’s not really an option for me, I settled for the next best thing and decided to ace her class.
Also, I’ve begun working on my thesis.
Can’t WAIT to see the look on her stupid face when I publish my refutation of her new research. “Hypernegative Void-Tunnel Theory”, really, where does she come up with this comic-book junk?
Speaking of junk, mom sent me more candy. So…yayyy.

Went home to visit the “family”. I know what you’re thinking, and no, he wasn’t there. Shocking, I know.
Mom said we could do a holo-call tonight but I don’t really want to think about it. Don’t really want to think about anything.
I’m really tired.
Another “specialist” is supposed to come by tomorrow. Pretty sure I’ve met just about every cretin in the field at this point, NOT hopeful.

There once was a girl named Trix
Whose body nobody could fix—
She went to the doctor
Who stabbed her and stocked her
With every pill in the mix.

Conference with one of the advisors and mother today. She seemed really excited, if you can believe it.
Apparently, she negotiated the possibility of early graduation, provided my grades don’t slip and I keep my course-load where it is.
Great. At least I’ll die with a degree.
On the plus side, this year I have to get a “Fine Arts” credit. Maybe I’ll change focuses, just to freak her out.
Wouldn’t that be something?

I think she might kill me herself if I tried.

[superimposed on the text is an outline of a small, four-fingered hand]

Graduation day, hoorayyy.
Beatrix, age 14, youngest student to ever graduate from ArchCad, that’s me.
Nothing to do now but eat candy till I puke.
Maybe I’ll invent un-puke-able candy before I kick it.

[A detailed picture, labelled “Figure 1”, appears to be a technical illustration of the proposed invention. Illegible annotations surround the figure.]

She’s adamant that I go—she actually applied FOR ME.
Apparently plenty of programs are willing to pay my way if I’m a research assistant. Seems like a waste of an investment to me.
Mom seems weirdly obsessed with the whole thing.

I guess now I know why she was so obsessed with grad school.
Arch-Sciences division needs all the help they can get, and having a Silent Sister for a mother apparently counts for something.
Does she ask me what I want?
Thought I was done.
I’m really tired.

Second Sun

I am not long for this world.
I’ll see another soon;
With closed eyes and laced fingers, curled
Up like a crescent moon,
A tiny piece of me may glow,
But most will rest in shade.
The memory of me may grow
While what remains will fade.

She tells me to aspire to life
As stars do: timeless, bright,
And keener than a Keeper’s knife,
To cut the dark of night.
But though a star may live an age,
Its life is spent in burning;
And all about it is a cage
Of worlds locked in their turning.

If I should spend a life of stars,
I do not burn for me;
If I endure behind these bars,
It’s only because she
Somehow believes she must atone
For me, her dying girl;
I am not long for me alone,
I am long for her world.



[Transcription of shipwide communications aboard the UPR ship Nova]

OSCAR MIKE: Kleese! It’s Oscar Mike here. I found this AWESOME clip of a scalewolf pup walking around like a person, and I was gonna send it to everyone as a holomail attachment, but there’s a MAJOR problem. I’ve been HACKED, bro! I can’t open my holomail stuff!

KLEESE: Oscar. I’ve told you time and again, before coming to me with every little thing, first manually induce a full capacitance flux sequence via the primary power coupling.

OSCAR MIKE: Right. Uhhhh… I got everything up until “first”, then you lost me.

KLEESE: Bottom of your station, right hand side, that is, the same side where you hold your gun, there’s a large button. Push the button, wait five seconds, then push it a second time. Off, then on again. Also, PLEASE refrain from gumming up Nova’s PA system with your inane blathering, this channel is reserved for emergency address only.

OSCAR MIKE: That’s what I’m saying, there’s an emergency with my holomail address! My contacts, my newsletters, my fact-a-day messages, this is seriously HECKED UP. I’ve been hacked to heck!

KLEESE: [prolonged audible sigh] What is your holomail address?

OSCAR MIKE: “BRO-M83.1101@rdcnet.mik”

KLEESE: Let’s have a look then, shall we?


KLEESE: – YES, yes, I get it, you’re very clever. While you were busy struggling with your spelling, I figured out your issue. You weren’t “hacked”, your account has been suspended and archived. There’s a note here, it seems that the administrator finally caught wind of your persistent violations of the “official communications only” bit of the terms of service.

OSCAR MIKE: Wrong! The only dudes with admin access are the Mike High Command, and all the other Mikes have been SUPER-gone for pretty much ever.


OSCAR MIKE: They’re gone and never coming back, Kleese, and you’ve gotta accept that, like I have! You’ll never see or hear from them again, no matter how close you guys were before, no matter how much fun you had shooting Varelsi faces or swapping stories or playing rock-paper-airstrike. It’s in the past! There’s no use dwelling on those guys, just appreciate the bros you’ve got, instead of crying and writing poems about bros you lost.

KLEESE: Ohhhkayyy, or, HERE’S A THOUGHT, instead of opening up WAY more than I’m comfortable with, you can submit a support ticket to contact the administrator directly.

OSCAR MIKE: …You can do that?

KLEESE: No, YOU can do that, I’m done with IT for the day. Have fun reconnecting. HA!



[Archived transcription of audio recorded in Nova’s med-bay, dated 19959.41]

GHALT: Huh. That was…surprisingly painless. And you’re saying this injection is going to help my knees?

BEATRIX: Almost assuredly. Or what’s LEFT of those pitifully collagenic patellae you generously call “knees”. As your primary-and-only-competent-care physician, I really must recommend we work something mechanical in there. Maybe…tritanium? All you UPR grunts love tritanium!

GHALT: Yeah, on the OUTSIDE. Replacing my skeleton? SO not gonna happen.

BEATRIX: Your loss. Captain, would you kindly bring the next patient in?

OSCAR MIKE: Sup, Cap—hey, where’s the doctor?

BEATRIX: You’re looking at her. Have a seat, Mr…Mike. I’m going to need you to remove your combat armor and helmet.

OSCAR MIKE: My…what? No way! I’m just here for the free band-aids.

BEATRIX: Is he always like this?

GHALT: Pretty much.

BEATRIX: Oscar, I’m going to ask one more time: pretty please, with sugar on top…

OSCAR MIKE: Look, if I wasn’t in MEGA-PEAK CONDITION, could I do THIS? Bam! Totally healthy, no armor removal necessary!

BEATRIX: I was hoping it would come to this.

OSCAR MIKE: To what?

BEATRIX: We don’t have an infracarbon-saw aboard this ship…yet. But I pride myself on innovation in the face of adversity, and I’ve made some…mostly positive findings thus far with this bladed boomerang I borrowed, and an electric toothbrush I’ve recoupled to the med-bay’s primary generator. This should be interesting. Nova, begin recording.

NOVA: Hm? Oh, I record pretty much everything, everywhere, all the time.

BEATRIX: Now THAT’S creepy. Remind me to check your archives later. Captain, restrain the patient.


GHALT: Permission denied.

OSCAR MIKE: You can do that?

GHALT: Yup. Unless you want to lose that chest plate and helmet, soldier.

OSCAR MIKE: But…it’s cold! Awww, man!

GHALT: And the base layer.

BEATRIX: He’s blue?

GHALT: Well, sure. What, you’ve never seen a Galahadrim’s skin before?

BEATRIX: They lose their pigment on expiry.

GHALT: What does—oh. Yeah, he’s blue.

OSCAR MIKE: Do you need me to open my mouth and say “ahhh”?

BEATRIX: No. In fact, do the opposite. Keep it closed, say nothing.

[negligible background noise for 10 seconds]

BEATRIX: Incredible…and you’re certain this is one of the RDC’s quick-culture clones?

GHALT: Yeah, I’ve got it on pretty good authority.

OSCAR MIKE: Don’t tell the others!

GHALT: Riiiight. Anyway, why do you ask?

BEATRIX: He’s actually remarkably healthy compared to most Galahadrim I’ve examined. I mean, all my specimens were also dead and suffering from a variety of injuries, but even so, almost all of them had evidence of pre-existing conditions stemming from ribosomal degradation. It’s exceedingly rare for the quick-culture process to “take” without a host of issues arising…at least, not without specific care to the specimens throughout the maturation phase.

OSCAR MIKE: See? What’d I tell ya! I’m pretty much the greatest.

BEATRIX: Captain, why did the UPR select Galahadrim for the program? As opposed to, say, Aplians? Their musculature is significantly further developed. Or the Aviants? Superior mobility, collectivistic instincts, quicker gestation, shorter juvenile period…

GHALT: Well, originally, it was going to be an Aplian-based program, but changed to Galahadrim just a few months before the program began for a couple of reasons…

OSCAR MIKE: Further developed MY ASS! Captain! Permission to wrestle!

GHALT: Denied.


BEATRIX: Yes, but why, Trevor, WHY did it change? If there’s some Galahadrim-specific physiological component of the cloning process, I need to know, both for my own research and to adequately care for Mr. Mike and Mr. Foxtrot.

GHALT: No, no, it’s nothing like that, it’s. Well. Have you ever seen Montana eat?

BEATRIX: Oh. Oh my. The caloric intake necessary to feed an army of mountains must be—

GHALT: “Expensive as all hell,” was the official line. The Galahadrim—

BEATRIX: I’ve seen their digestive tracts before, opened stomachs with corroded rocks and raw meat mixed with standard UPR rations. They’re efficient. I see. And the other reason?


BEATRIX: You said “a couple of reasons”, what’s the other reason for Galahadrim clones?

GHALT: Oh. Uh. Well, at the time, the UPR was going through an aggressive recruitment campaign, you know, lots of “visit exotic places and blow them up!” kinda posters…

BEATRIX: I don’t follow.

GHALT: Well, the UPR’s Ministry of Media decided that some blue would…[sigh]…”pop” more. And we didn’t have a big enough population of Helicians, something about “staple variance factors”, I think?

BEATRIX: Stable variance factorization. You need a particular threshold of genetic diversity to carry out a mass-cloning operation such that any unforeseen mutations don’t propagate enough generational momentum to impact the population as a whole.

GHALT: Uh huh.

BEATRIX: So…he’s blue.


OSCAR MIKE: And BADASS! And healthy as heck!

BEATRIX: Right. Well, I have some archived footage to review. Oscar, I believe we’ve BOTH earned ourselves a piece of candy.

GHALT: Candy?

[Drawers opening and closing, metal clattering]

BEATRIX: Captain, WHERE is the candy?

GHALT: Uhhh…

BEATRIX: HOW can I be expected to perform my medical duties if I CAN’T PROPERLY INCENTIVIZE MY PATIENTS? Or my SELF? Or my assistant!

GHALT: Assistant?

BEATRIX: I’m filing a requisition order. Nova! We need candy for the med-bay!



[Chat log streaming from ansible chat hosted on-board Fortune’s Favor]

.>>spooling ansible node 47.8e: “FortunesFavor”
.>>local node successfully established

.>>channel name changed to “MiNIONS AND MaZES v.4.5”
.>>channel topic has been set to “totally awesome adventure”
.>>channel has been set to [Private]

.>>client connection request: “Nova.1 -”
.>>client connection request: “Nova.2 -”
.>>client connection request: “ArcShipPRIM.4 -”

|MAYZEMASTER has joined the channel
|galilea has joined the channel
|Eurydice has joined the channel
|Phoebe.Hemsworth.IV has joined the channel

MAYZEMASTER| alright losers, welcome back to Shayne’s MAZE of MADNESS!
MAYZEMASTER| where’d we leave off?
galilea| The Tower of the Severed Hand. Hecta had just cast “Nonagon of Respite”, which grants the benefits of a full night’s sleep to Hecta and up to 8 allies.
MAYZEMASTER| yeah yeah, I know how NoR works, just needed a quick reminder, I just woke up

Phoebe.Hemsworth.IV| Shayne!!
Phoebe.Hemsworth.IV | !clock

17:36 (Coordinated Standard Time)

Phoebe.Hemsworth.IV | What in the WORLD are you doing sleeping in this late? Wait, do the Rogues use CST?
MAYZEMASTER| yeah I just sleep really late
MAYZEMASTER| plus I was up til like 0530 on the navsim
MAYZEMASTER| Reyna’s been letting me ride shotgun
MAYZEMASTER| I’m pretty much the copilot, so I’m teaching myself to fly
Eurydice| that’s awesome1
Eurydice| awesome!*
Eurydice| stupid prosthesis
Eurydice| we’ll have to call you “CAPTAIN Shayne” pretty soon .P
galilea| You wouldn’t call her “Captain Shayne”, just like it’s not “Captain Trevor”. The rank is followed by the surname, so it would be Captain…
Phoebe.Hemsworth.IV | …?
MAYZEMASTER| speaking of, where’s our Death-Jester?
MAYZEMASTER| still can’t get over that name
Phoebe.Hemsworth.IV| That reminds me, I need to change this bloody thing, I was in a meeting…

a user (Phoebe.Hemsworth.IV) has changed their name (HULKULEEZ!)

.>>client connection request: “Nova.3 -”

|Mell has joined the channel

Mell| sorry had to grab a drink
Mell| what’s wrong with my name shrimp
MAYZEMASTER| Half-Humans are supposed to have turbocool deed names, according to the book!
Mell| Nelka IS my deed name I totally Nelka’d some poor bastard like twenty sessions ago remember
Eurydice| haha that was great, awht was his name ahain?
Eurydice| what*
Eurydice| again*
Eurydice| UGH this keyboard is nothing like the ones I’m used to. How do you type with your giant ckaw?
Eurydice| ------ — ------- —

user (Eurydice) has been muted for (1) minute

Mell| typing’s for chumps I just kick my feet up and use text to speech
Mell| also Shayne why do you have the default censors on I want to be able to say whatever the ---- I want

user (Mell) has been muted for (1) minute

MAYZEMASTER| Reyna won’t let me use the ansible without it…I think it’s a test or something
Eurydice| My synthavox screws up the text-to-dpeech
Eurydice| .(
Eurydice| stupid Silent Sisters. Stupid surgeon.
MAYZEMASTER| :frowning: sorry Beatrix
MAYZEMASTER| let me know if we need to go slower
galilea| If anything, we need to go faster. Are we going to play, or not?
Mell| I’m with feebs let’s get to killing this guy
MAYZEMASTER| alright, alright, keep your loincloth on

a message has been pinned: “when we last left our heroes…”

MAYZEMASTER| so, having fought your way through the Digi-lich’s lair, you arrive at last at the door to his chambers, a preponderance of grobblin corpses in your wake…
Hulkuleez!| To say nothing of that poor Pixie door-guard.
galilea| I thought we spared him?
galilea| I specifically recall Hecta using “Wreath of Shriving Shame” and rolling a critical success to get him to see the error of his ways.
Mell| yeah while you were off doing your star knight ablutions or whatever I went back and killed that guy
galilea| Oh.
Mell| yeah I really wanted that pixie halberd
galilea| Isn’t Nelka a Half-Human? Can she even wield it?
Mell| I’ve been using it as a toothpick slash cheese knife
galilea| We don’t even have any cheese!
Mell| yet
Mell| we’ll find someone that has cheese soon enough
Mell| and I’ll kill them too
MAYZEMASTER| ENOUGH! You’re at the door.
Eurydice| ?
MAYZEMASTER| …do you do?
MAYZEMASTER| ------ Trix, I’m trying to build suspense!

user (MAYZEMASTER) has been muted for (1) minute

Hulkuleez!| I’m going to show this door what for!
Eurydice| Phebe wait, as an Animancer, I can communicate with trees and wooden objects
Eurydice| and alsp since I’m a Dryad, I get a bonus to diplomacy rolls with them
MAYZEMASTER| okay I’m back
MAYZEMASTER| sorry Eurydice, but those abilities only apply to natural, un-hewn targets.
MAYZEMASTER| won’t work on a door.
galilea| Hecta casts “Guileless Might” on Hulkuleez.
MAYZEMASTER| nice! okay so as a Troglodon, Hulkuleez has a -3 intellect, so that’s +3 strength with Guileless Might.
Hulkuleez!| Don’t forget my Berserker favored enemy!
MAYZEMASTER| oh yeah. I forgot that Hulkuleez REALLY hates doors.
MAYZEMASTER| that’s another +2
Hulkuleez!| His grandfather was killed by a faulty portcullis! This one’s for you, pop-pop!

user (Hulkuleez!) rolled 1d19 (16)

MAYZEMASTER| not bad! that’s a modulated roll of 21
MAYZEMASTER| Hulkuleez flexes his mighty Troglodonian muscles, whirls his electric morningstar around and WHAM, bashes the door to splintereens!
Eurydice| nooooo
galilea| What does the party see?
MAYZEMASTER| The air within the chamber hangs thick with a foul miasma that seems to choke the light out of the lone torch you can barely make out in the center of the room.
Eurydice| I want to summin my shimmerwasps!
MAYZEMASTER| good thinking.
MAYZEMASTER| do you have the prerequisite chiminage?
Eurydice| yes! I have…2 “dollops” of royal jelly from a glimmerbee queen
MAYZEMASTER| so, drawn to the scent of the jelly, your shimmerwasps materialize! they cast light in a radius of 20 feet around the swarm
Eurydice| I direct the swarm to the center of the room while cautiously following behind
galilea| Hecta stands next to Eurydice, with her shield raised in case of danger
Mell| I guess I’ll follow behind and pull out my ninja stars
MAYZEMASTER| your Juggling Knives of Jocularity?
Mell| sure
Hulkuleez!| Hulkuleez will stand in the doorway, over the shattered remnants of the door. In case it tries to get back up.
MAYZEMASTER| As you advance, the torch at the center of the room seem to grow in brightness until all too late, you realize it’s not a torch at all!
Hulkuleez!| Oh dear.
MAYZEMASTER| With a deafening roar, the Digi-lich’s DRAGON opens its maw and unleashes a gout of cyber-fire!
Eurydice| nooooo
Eurydice| Dryads are weak againsy fiiiire
galilea| Hecta leaps in front of Eurydice to protect her!
MAYZEMASTER| What’s Hecta’s Defense Rating?
galilea| 17.5

user (MAYZEMASTER) made a concealed roll…

MAYZEMASTER| You take 124 bits of fire damage!
galilea| You mean Hecta?
MAYZEMASTER| yeah I mean Hecta
galilea| The Zomboid racial ability, “Renecrotize”, allows Hecta to desurrect after an unkilling blow.
MAYZEMASTER| ugh, fine, anyway, as the cyber-fire dissipates, you see the Digi-lich standing just behind the dragon, cackling as he brandishes a glowing scepter about.
MAYZEMASTER| (Digi-lich) “Fools! You’ll never defeat me! I know all your weaknesses, for you see, it is I,“
MAYZEMASTER| he removes his cowl,
MAYZEMASTER| “Vextro, your old mentor and patron!”
Mell| gimme a sec I’m finishing this drink but I got something awesome coming up
Mell| spoiler it’s another drink gimme another sec
Mell| alright I’m gonna straight up Nelka this guy into the next century
Mell| I’m gonna attack him with my cheese knife
MAYZEMASTER| you mean the pixie halberd?
Mell| yeah that

user (Mell) rolled 1d19 (19!)

MAYZEMASTER| Fine, you hit, roll 1d1.5

user (Mell) rolled 1d1.5 (1)

MAYZEMASTER| You tickle him with the pixie halberd, dealing laughably small damage
Mell| eh it’s enough
Mell| he’s like deathly intolerant of any lactose right
Mell| that’s what you said in the third session of the sintered soldier when we had to fight the iron golem twins who were terrorizing that dairy farm
Mell| Vextro got some milk on him and nearly died or whatever
Mell| need me to pull up the records
MAYZEMASTER| ? you can’t save ansible data
Mell| sure I can just not from a local rig
Mell| gimme a sec gotta actually type

.>>patching ansible node 12.1a: “Codex Regrowth”
.>>establishing secure connection
.>>biosecurity confirmed, user: RedObserver

Mell| !customsearch:“that thing Shayne said about Vextro being lactose intolerant that one time”

(1) result: “Vextro cries out in agony as the drop of milk lands on his arm. Wracked with pain, he tells you ‘Keep that stuff away from me, I’m DEATHLY ALLERGIC to anything containing lactose!’ through gritted teeth.”

Mell| don’t test my codex fu kid
MAYZEMASTER| …okay, sure, but you don’t have any milk
Mell| no but I do have cheese on the blade
Mell| shrimp
galilea| I thought you didn’t have any cheese?
Mell| I lied
Mell| killed that dairy farmer and took his cheese

user (MAYZEMASTER) made a concealed roll…

MAYZEMASTER| well ----.

user (MAYZEMASTER) has been muted for (2) minutes

Hulkuleez!| Drat, I was quite looking forward to giving that brute a thrashing!
Eurydice| I’m gonna grab some fro-yo til Shaybe gets back
galilea| Can you get me some?
Eurydice| .D
Eurydice| qe can shaaare!
MAYZEMASTER| FINE. Vextro’s dead. “Oh no, cheese, my one weakness!” he cries. The orb of his scepter still gleams with palpable force.
Mell| sweet
Mell| I pick up the scepter
MAYZEMASTER| Cool! So now you have the SCEPTER OF THE DRAGONARCH, so you can command his dragon and stuff. Shooould come in handy against the hordes of Deleterius the Unmaker!
Eurydice| We should destroy it.
Mell| yeah what
Eurydice| It binds the dragon against its will, right?
Eurydice| Like a slave?
MAYZEMASTER| Kind of? More like an ally
Eurydice| So the dragon wants ti help us?
Eurydice| because if that’s the case then we don’t need the scepter in the first okace
Eurydice| place*
Eurydice| if we need the scepter to get the dragon’s help, then we should desrtoy it.
galilea| Yes…if we subjugate this creature against its will, we’re no better than Deleterius himself!
MAYZEMASTER| I feel like you guys are going a bit overboard
Hulkuleez!| I agree with Shayne, I mean, do we even know that the dragon has free will for us to subjugate? Does it have true consciousness?
Hulkuleez!| Come now, any Digi-lich worth his salt would have properly programmed the dragon to enjoy its work and know its station.
MAYZEMASTER| Yeah, besides, you don’t have to command the dragon forever
MAYZEMASTER| I just figured you’d use the scepter until you defeated Deleterius’ hordes and then let the dragon go.
Eurydice| that goes agaijst pretty much every Animancer ideal I stand for
Eurydice| we’re supposed to further society, slavery does more than bind the subjugated, it chains the slaver to an outmoded and untenable mentality, restricts the economy, and weakens the foundfation of civilization as a whole.
Eurydice| what if the dragon rebels or breaks free?
MAYZEMASTER| IT CAN’T, you have the scepter!
Eurydice| what if we lose the scepter
Eurydice| or someone TAKES it?
MAYZEMASTER| I guess you’ll have to be careful, then!
Eurydice| IS
Eurydice| you know what I mean
Hulkuleez!| You know, the more I think about the eventualities, however minute, the prospect of growing to rely upon this dragon seems less and less appealing…
Mell| fine whatever I smash the stupid thing and loot Vextro’s corpse
MAYZEMASTER| UGH now I’ve gotta rewrite part of my story! ------ I’ll let you know when I’m ready

user (MAYZEMASTER) has been muted for (10) minutes



[Excerpted notes of Dr. Beatrix Lucavi, retrieved from personal station located in the med-bay of Nova]

Subjects 14 and 15, Ekkuni Dwarf and anomalous parasite

Subject 14 initially sought consultation at the urging of his granddaughter after complaining of recurrent transient spinal paresthesia. During questioning, he expressed depressive symptoms, stating that he has lost interest in activities which he previously enjoyed (“burying axe in Varelsi faces”, “laughing with computer lady”, “trees”, etc.). He further explained that he had heard rumors of a “mighty bear” on Tempest. I inquired further, but discussion of anything related to this “bear” only exacerbated his condition, leading to minor muscle spasms.

Having seen firsthand Boldur’s distinctive regenerative capabilities and resistance to injury, he appears to be the very picture of physical health. However, my findings upon closer examination were simultaneously troubling and exciting. Though I had initially dismissed his “stump” as some form of Eldrid ornamentation, the trunk and root structure covering most of his back appears to be an arboreal parasite, the likes of which I’ve never seen.

When I offered to excise this growth, he immediately became hostile; despite him being unarmed, I elected not to press the issue. However, I did take a small bark sample in the course of the remainder of my examination. Following analysis of both Boldur and the sample, I have determined three things:

  1. Boldur hosts a transplant of what may be the last Ursus cedrus horribilis in existence.
  2. Though I can only hypothesize as to what constitutes a biomarker of aging in this species, if its growth patterns are at all similar to typical trees, the one on Boldur’s back appears to have been cut around the age of 500. Somehow, he’s transplanted it onto his body, enabling it to survive by drawing off of his own incredible regenerative properties for the past 50 years or so.
  3. The root structure is already fundamentally altering Boldur’s body.
    If left unchecked, the Cedar Bear will either continue to mature (which, if records are accurate, will result in Boldur being crushed beneath many tons of bear)…or the root structure will invade one or more of his vital organ systems, inadverdently killing the host and the parasite alike.

The stories of the tenacity and destructive potential of the Cedar Bears of Ralpopym are well-documented, as well as their extinction through the veiling of Ralpopym and extended Eldrid conflicts with both the Varelsi and Peacekeeper forces on Codex, Ekkunar, and elsewhere. It would appear Boldur’s stubbornness is not entirely without merit. Nonetheless, the point stands that this course will kill him. When I informed the subject of his impending death, he simply laughed and called me a ”silly Jennerit science-baby” with “much to learn of bear-science”.

I can do without the condescension, but I fear he’s right; Jennerit record-keeping is notoriously scant with regard to extirpated peoples and species. Possible resources and references: The Mikes, against all limits of credulity, seem to have improved upon the RDC quick-culture process. Though much of the lab was obliterated and technically what remains of my notes are held in Imperial Confidence, I’m sure that Deande can help me salvage something from PHALANX.

Lastly, the Codex Regrowth is showing promise…

P.S.: ask Ms. Hyenyota to reach out to the Green Observer for details on Cedar Bear biology and the specifics of the Codex Regrowth process. She’s got a poison arm thing, I’ve got a poison arm thing; I can probably leverage this relationship to my advantage in this request.

P.P.S.: Never refer to Mellka as “Ms. Hyenyota” again.
On the plus side, I finally have firsthand access to a sample of the toxin peculiar to her bio-gauntlet!

P.P.P.S.: I feel funny…

[Attachment: excerpt from the children’s book “The Greedy Cedar Bear”, courtesy of Teshka Elessamorn’s private “Book Club“ collection:]
“[…] See the greedy cedar bear
That lives within the trees?
Its claws can split an Aelfrin hair,
Its roar can still the breeze!

But only in the hardest stone
Do cedar bears take root,
And only once their tree is grown
Do cedar bears bear fruit.”



[Activity log from the UPR ship Nova, dated 19959.56]

.>>Initiate docking procedure with Eidolon-class battlestation, “The Brothership”
.>>Requesting clearance from General Mike…
.>>Request confirmed, cleared for docking and disembarkation
.>>Updating passenger count: 7> 0

NOVA: Oh no, they left Montana behind. Cheer up, big guy. You know, I got left behind, too. A bunch of times, actually, now that I think about it.
MONTANA: Ehhh, it’s no problem, Ghalt says someone’s gotta watch the ship while they’re shmoozin’ with the Mikes. Besides, I don’t really go in for that “intel briefing” stuff, ya know?
NOVA: I do know. These “diplomatic” missions are like, really, really boring. Lots of sitting around, which is pretty much the worst if you’re a ship. Oo, hang on, incoming uploads.

.>>Updating navigation maps:
.>>Detritus Ring> Chunks Wishingbone, Wishingbone II, Wishingbone III […] Wishingbone X
.>>Allied Ship> The Brothership (current location: Detritus Ring)
.>>Portal Dense Regions> Sec. 759.k62, Sec. 684.c12, […] Sec. 215.y69
.>>Imperium Outposts> Quietus (voidsap refinery village)

NOVA: A refinery village? Buckle up, Montana, we’re going on our own mission.

.>>Begin engine ignition sequence

MONTANA: Woah, WOAH, wait up!

.>>Updating passenger count: 0>1
.>>Initiate undocking procedure

MONTANA: Uhhh, what’s going on?
NOVA: No biggie, we’re just going to swing by Tempest, shouldn’t take more than half an hour. Depending on how fast your skinny legs can go.
MONTANA: Hey, cool it with the commentary, these babies carried me through nearly 30 years of combat.
NOVA: That’s a lot of combat.
MONTANA: Plus 2 months of tap dancing lessons. Speaking of fast, how are we gonna get to Tempest in half an hour?
NOVA: Shortcuts are everywhere, you just have to know where to look.

.>>Calculating route…
.>>Factoring gravity assist maneuver via: [emergent portal bloom sequence: VP A156631.0-049722]
.>>Estimated travel time: 11 minutes 38 seconds

MONTANA: Didn’t Kleese say something about those portals making your head go screwy?
NOVA: I’m sure it’ll be fine.

.>>Engage drive
.>>Restarting core systems…
.>>Navigation, online
.>>Engines, online
.>>Comms, online
.>>Shields, online
.>>Systems nominal
.>>Updating passenger count: 1>2

NOVA: See? What did I tell you. Totally fine, just not so great at math.

.>>Initiate landing procedure

MONTANA: Man, and I thought Echelon was creepy! Who’s building and abandoning fancy houses way out here?
NOVA: I blame gentrifica–
MONTANA: HOLD ON, Nova, don’t make any sudden moves.
NOVA: I’ll try and contain myself. What’s going on?
MONTANA: There’s some kind of bear! And I don’t have my gun on me. I guess I’ll have to WRESTLE it into submission!
NOVA: Your gun is right behind you.
MONTANA: Shhh! I don’t wanna spook the bear! I’ll just put it in a gentle headlock…
NOVA: Hey, no wrestling in the engineering bay, there’s fraaa-g-gg-llll

//The core was not properly ejected
//If possible, always safely eject a core before disconnecting
//Data may have been lost or corrupted
//Before disconnecting, consult the Use Guide for instructions on safe core removal
//Running minimum systems in Safe Mode
.>>Updating passenger count: 2>0

NOVA: That was SO not a bear. Great.

.>>Scanning for local Battleborn…

//WARNING: Scanning range reduced to minimum proximity while in Safe Mode

.>>[6] Battleborn detected (Tempest): Alani, Boldur, Deande, Montana, Shayne, Thorn
.>>Transmitting distress signal…
.>>Receipt confirmed: Alani, Boldur, Montana, Shayne, Thorn
.>>Additional message (Shayne): “It’s cool if I bring the big guy, right?”
.>>Auto-response (Deande): “Currently overseeing Constable Cuddles’ walkies with his caretaker.”

NOVA: Well? Are you going to stand there and tap dance, or get that bear?