[0 BBT] Tunnel of Contest: The Tide of Dusk

OOC Warning & Notes

This thread consists of war stories from the Stoino-Venterran War and describes graphic instances which may not be suitable for all readers. If you’re squeamish about the depiction of heavy wounds, this thread may not be for you.
Additionally, this thread continues the final arcs from the previous thread on the old forums.


14:18 shiptime, 18/02/1620 PD
Admiral’s Command Room, HMS Dahu
Vaud’s orbit, Elysium Sector

High Admiral Mireille Le Sueur’s face looked pale as she watched the reports from the medbay. Now her red cheeks lacked any sort of colour as if her soul had left her. No one had forced her to look open up the reports, let alone watch the severe wounds or documented corpses. Though something in her had driven her to do so. A sort of debt she felt was owed as she thought that being a naval officer shouldn’t be an excuse to be isolated from the horrors of war that historically took place in ground combat. The Velutarian War, the First Mardakii Crusade, the War at Home… She had seen the vids of the horrors, but this new war was so much more striking to any Stoinian. For they were now facing against their own Terran brethren. Or so it was thought. Mireille was high-ranking enough to know of the investigations that had lead Stoinian High Command to believe the Venterrans were genetically modified Terrans. However, that didn’t help the fact that new reports of Venterran ripping out the spines of Stoinian soldiers had been found again during the Battle of Vaud. In a last ditch effort, the stranded Venterran troops threw away their lives in a last charge as the Venterran naval forces were finally forced to leave the system after a week of tense fighting. The War was turning, but Mireille feared the frenzy of both Stoinians & Venterrans would now only increase.
Suddenly a tune rang across the room. She dropped her datapad and looked at the call. It was Grand Admiral Winton! She straightened her uniform and took a proper military posture befit of her rank before answering the call.
“Grand Admiral Winton.” She replied sternly.
“High Admiral Le Sueur. I take it the Vaud System is back under the Crown’s full report?”
“Aye, Sir. The last remaining Venterrans groundside made a last attempt to earn glory. They ended rather shortly. As for the naval forces, they have been repelled in the last 13 hours.”
“Excellent. Casualties?” Winton asked caringly.
“Not enough halt our planned advances.” Mireille replied thinking Winton wanted to get to the point.
“How many?” He asked again, lowering his tone. Making it clear he wanted to know how many Stoinians had died.
Mireille swallowed her regret before taking a few heartbeats to respond. “458.235 civilians, 163.342 groundside forces and 23.852 naval personnel including 32 ships.”
“Venterran zealotry?”
“Heads, skulls & spines, Sir.” She replied with a hint of desperation.
“Almighty…” Winton stopped for a second before continuing. “How has morale been with such reports?”
“If anything it only strengthened resolve. The troops are eager to give them payback.”
“I see… And you?”
“It won’t affect my command, Sir.”
“Wrong, it already has.”
“Sir?”
“You forgot to close your datapad, Mireille.”
She glanced back at it and indeed the reports were still open.
“Sir, a small pass time during these times.”
“Mireille… This isn’t the first time I see an Officer with naval regret. I’ve seen it plenty of times in every war. You can’t control what happens down there nor should it affect you. Reading reports of horrors for fun won’t change anything.”
“I understand, but it seems unfair.”
“I know plenty of High Generals who would be scared to death serving on ships. Flying around in a box with walls only separating you from complete nothingness. If only the right rupture at the right time would come close near you, you’d be drawn into the eternal abyss.” Winton let the words sink in. “I’ve known for some time, Mireille. You needn’t concern yourself of actions outside your control. Nor should you compare yours with others. We’re all facing the same threat on different fronts. All are equal and all have their parts to fulfill.” Winton finished quoting a Stoinian saying from the founding of the Stoinian Kingdom.
The reminder had helped Mireille realize the fault she was making. She couldn’t help but smile and colour returned back on her face as she faced Winton.
“Thank you, Roger.”
“You’re welcome. Just remember it for the coming two weeks. We’ll need you at your best if operation Lion’s Thunder is to succeed.”
“Aye, Sir. I’ll be there until the bitter end.”
"Excellent. Now I’m afraid I’ll have to cut our friendly talk short as Commander Recklez’s trap needs some final touched. Take care, High Admiral.
“You too, Grand Admiral. Godspeed.”
The two Officers saluted each other one last time before Winton cut off the comms. Mireille took a deep breath again and closed the tab on her datapad. She then turned to her holographic table and began to run some more simulations for the coming offensive.

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00:00 Ship time date unknown
Bridge, Himiko’s Revenge
Ignis Orbit

Fleet Commander Akira Kensei lay slumped in the captain’s chair tightly clutching a curved sword with his right hand. He had fought his way back to the bridge from his personal forge near the engines after a surprise assault led to the attempted boarding of his personal ship, the Himiko’s revenge. His breath ragged with exhaustion and his blade dripping with blood. Kensei looked down at the bloody sword and sighed. “Thank Ignis, her glass made fine blades” muttered Kensei as he recalled the events directly leading up to melee back to the bridge. The Terrans came in waves but he and his fleet beat them back, buying time for the troops to evacuate safely back to Cornucopia. As his fleet repelled the Stoinians, he began to spend more time in his personal forge crafting a sword of “glass”. He trusted his crew and SAI to do what was necessary, but Kensei failed to take into account growing fatigue of the men and women under his command. And so the more they won, so too did his complacency grow. Until the Terrans did the unthinkable, breaching his own ship in a boarding attempt of their own during the final hours of evacuation.

He had finished crafting the blade and was inspecting the blade and the sigil for vengeance when the alarm startled him. “A Boarding Party? Here, Impossible…” muttered Kensei as he cursed his own arrogance for becoming too complacent. He then respectfully sheathed the blade and opened a sword locker. Kensei then took his own sword and placed the other finished blade into the locker quietly saying, “You will not be tainted by Terran blood”. He closed the locker door and and walked out of the room unsheathing his own blade and barking commands. He made his return to the Bridge after cutting down all who stood in his way.

By the time Kensei returned to the Bridge, the Bridge crew did their best to salvage the situation directing ground forces to the breach to engage the enemy while they maneuvered the ship to counterattack the enemy. Their quick thinking and coordination with the other ships brought one last victory. Even now the bridge crew respectfully moved the bodies of the fallen to a single location for the others to recover and place in cold storage until they could be buried at space with full military honors after the battle. Kensei looked proud at his crew as grabbed a microphone and spoke, "To all surviving personnel of Himiko’s Revenge and the 501st Strikefleet, I want to thank you all for accomplishing the arduous task of evacuation 1.5 million Venterran ground troops and1 million auxiliary staff from the Ignis system. The Ignis Garrison owes you all a debt of gratitude and although some may seem ungrateful and grumble about being cheated of glory. Rest Assured you all did the right thing, and they will see glory at Cornucopia, but not here. Not in this grave… All of you will have a week of r&r when we return to Cornucopia to recover. Glory to the Federation… "

He then placed the mic down and looked down towards his bridge crew who looked up at him. They began to salute the Commander when their eyes widened with shock to see Kensei bow reverentially at them. “Sir?” one of them asked, “I owe you all an even greater debt of gratitude for allowing me to indulge in my personal project here in Ignis.” Said Kensei before continuing, "You may be aware that I believe Recklez chose dishonor when he expanded the scope of his vengeance to target non-combatants and irrelevant parties at Ignis. And that my excursion to Ignis served three objectives. 1. to evacuate all Venterran personnel from this grave yard. 2. To observe Ignis and determine whether my own conclusions on Recklez’s actions were within the scope of his right of vengeance and if they weren’t to forge the blades of the vengeance used for our rites. " “Sir, woul-” one of his bridge crew attempted to ask before another stopped him, “So you think the Terran Hakkinen deserves to partake in our right of vengeance” asked Himiko instead. “I do,” said the Commander nonchalantly, “He has fought tooth and nail for Cornucopia and even though he’s suffered major losses including the loss of his home, he still perseveres. A Venterran quality… And so if you disagree with me, report me to Federation intelligence. I owe you all the truth after sacrificing so much to evacuate troops willing to die to extinguish the Terrans.”

The bridge crew softly discussed their Commander’s words as he and Himiko watched in silence. Then one of them spoke, “Sir, we’ve been through a lot and we agree that Recklez acted beyond the scope of his duties. Under any other circumstances we would report you, but where would we go after that? Under Commander Yamraiha’s command? We’re all Venterrans who have been blacklisted by the rest of those Zealouts for having a different view of the way, and we wouldn’t want to burden Commander Yamraiha who has her own loyal crew. So sir, consider us on board with your schemes.” The men saluted once again and set about their business, leaving Kensei stunned. “Well?” asked his SAI. The Commander could only muster a smile and reply, “whenever you’re ready…”

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