Posted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:54 am
Orion: a story of survivors. Vignettes from The Hunter's Bow and its crew as they travel through war-torn space.
How this is gonna work:
I'm going to try updating this as often as possible, to keep my brain creative on a frequent basis; the thread is not updated chapter-by-chapter. Some days you'll get paragraphs. Other days you might get a few short sentences. Chapters are only complete when I say they are.
The Hunter's Bow is a modded ship in a modded universe (CE enabled); as I play through the game, I'm going to screenshot things here and there, and write about them. CE Infinite addon is also enabled; this story isn't about a harried pursuit, as much as it is a continual journey through a lonely, crumbling galaxy.
Which brings me to another thing--this thread is going to be more like a collection of short stories, each story dedicated to an event or a small series thereof. More "episodic" than linear. Think of it like a TV show, like Star Trek! But in text form. A majority of "episodes" will be dedicated to the events I find; however, feel free to suggest some scenarios for the crew to face!
With that, let's begin.
Posted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:10 am
Prologue--Several years ago
The sound and fury of battle roared above, as mantis brood-ships sent their cluster bombs and humans fired their anti-ship batteries in return, the brilliant colors of laser-fire and explosions filling the sky with light; the sound of cruiser engines and missiles echoed through the atmosphere, before suddenly falling silent, as captains on both sides met their untimely end. Anti-air defense batteries shot down burning shrapnel, scraps of human and mantis-made metal alike. The war had finally reached them, one lonely lunar colony on the edge of known space. The rest of the galaxy, then...likely embroiled in the same war. No place was safe; no place was untouched by the human-mantis conflict.
As Virgil huddled in a steel room, far below the surface of the moon, he saw and heard all the sound and fury of war; its true spectacle was muffled and muted by the screen on which the battle was displayed, but it was fearsome nonetheless. His friends and coworkers watched the screen intently, all of them in a state of numb panic.
The mantis would be here soon, he thought. This moon of his was a lowly mining colony, and they only had so many cruiser-class ships to offer. But their enemy came in fleets thousands-strong, their ships tattered and pockmarked by many battles past--but victorious in all past engagements. Even with venting and mining-standard blast doors, the flight crew could only repel so many boarders before being overrun. Soon, the ground troops would arrive, sweeping through the streets of the colony, slicing his friends apart with their vicious scythes...
Their chances of winning were next to none. Virgil knew this. But as he took the controls of the drilling craft, he took a small comfort in that idea. True, they were going to die, and it didn't matter if they fought back or hid, because nothing was going to save their lives.
But that was the point. It didn't matter any more. Since their fate was certain...might as well go out with a fight, if hiding brought the same thing.
Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:11 pm
Virgil clasped the controls of the mining vehicle tightly. He stabbed his key into the ignition and felt the vehicle come to life, the industrial drill mounted on the front slowly spinning up. The noise of the motor cut through the somber silence, whirring over the reports of damage and the faint sounds of aerial fire. The other mining crew turned towards him, confused; none of them voiced the question, but he could tell what they were thinking: "what are you doing?"
And he answered. "It's now or never, gentlemen. The mantis are here, and they're going to find us. If you want to stay here, make peace with the universe; go ahead."
"But I'm making one last stand," he roared, his voice just barely audible above the drillcraft, and wavering with a hint of fear, but full of fury. "Because if there's even the slightest chance we can make it out of this alive, by god I'm going to take that chance and fight as hard as I can. I'm making one last stand. Now who stands with me?"
The rest of the mining team exchanged glances with one another, expressions of fear and resolve, panic and anger across their countenances. As expected. Virgil was never one for fancy words or heroic speeches, nor did he believe that his would actually work--but this entire blasted plan was built on desperate hopes and assured damnation, and hell, he had to try. And after a moment of silence, two of them did step forward hesitantly, clambering into the crew cabin of the drilling vehicle. They slammed the doors shut, and began the ascent. The drill chewed through the rock, as Virgil steered the craft uphill, treads bumping over rock and rubble.
As he drove, Virgil thought about his thirty-three years of life, and the fact that he was throwing it away in some godforsaken, unwinnable fight. He was scared; he didn't bother trying to hide it or push it away.
But...somehow, it was all going to be okay, in the end. Somehow.
Above ground, the mantis ground assault had begun, as swarms of mantis warriors rushed to the teleporter and beamed themselves down. The gathering horde screeched their war-cry as more and more mantis joined their ranks, charging forward and screaming their intent to kill, drops of acidic spittle flying from their mandibles. Their scythes tore through doors, their insectoid legs carrying them swiftly, filling the air with clicking and the clang of scythe on metal. Their army was not a band of warriors, but a massive tide of green, as the countless mantis warriors blurred into one another. The swarm of mantis began their assault, pouring into buildings and hacking apart anyone inside; the last stand had come.
The mantis could tear through metal, but metal could just as easily tear through them--and when Virgil and his ragtag team surfaced, his drilling craft did just that. With a loud boom, the vehicle breached the surface, tearing a massive hole in the road it broke through; the drilling craft flew into the air, launched by its sheer velocity, before landing treads-down, squashing some mantis warriors underneath. As Virgil plowed through the mantis army, he met the mantis's war cry with one of his own, venting all of his hope (and all of his panic) into one long shout. The drill tore through the mantis army, turning their soldiers into bloody piles of shreds, and the treads trampled anyone standing in their way. With a swarm this dense, it was impossible to miss. Virgil's two companions lobbed explosives into the crowd, repurposing their mining detonators for a far more deadly result; in between volleys of explosives, they laid suppressive fire on the horde, blindfiring laser rifles and mining beams at the mantis swarm. The horde of mantis was visibly thinning; their corpses began to pile up. Against all odds, their desperate charge was working--and was working brilliantly.
Swarm leaders hissed into their communicators as other mantis began to flee, teleporting back to their convoy-ships to nurse their wounds. The hissing and clicking of the mantis language was incomprehensible to Virgil--but the sound of cruiser-class weaponry firing on them was unmistakeable. A building near them exploded, blown apart by a Leto missile, sending out a blast wave of fire and shrapnel; several mantis spacecraft had left the dogfight above to focus their guns on Virgil's squad.