Author Topic: The Story of Mach Hunter  (Read 1989 times)

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Offline dndfreak

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The Story of Mach Hunter
« on: June 04, 2011, 02:53:15 pm »
I've gotten to do a lot of writing lately, but sadly, not a lot of fiction.  To commence my return, I figured I'd start up something, a sort of 'choose-your-own' adventure, only choose whatever the hell you people want.  I honestly have nothing prepared for this; every decision you make will affect the shape of the tale itself.  The more realistic RP suggestions are given, the more intricate and realistic the story becomes.  The more off the wall choices I'm forced to write in, the more crazy, offbeat, and hopelessly stupid it becomes (and probably the faster it'll die off).  I leave the choice in your hands.


Balbaro, 2180 AD

Silence echoed through the council chambers, and it seemed to oppress one's will to speak.  The air was heavy, but the silence was heavier.  The air could only barely be felt, but the silence was a looming presence, always filling your senses.  The silence meant business.

Most of the assembled masses had never heard this much silence in their lives.  For the past hundred years, humanity had stretched across the stars, always eager to expand like humans do, a never ending curiosity.  Their lives were filled with the roaring of engines and the humming of machines, the whirring of fans.  But this chamber was different.  The cooling was silent, the walls coated and thick to dampen as much outside noise as humanly possible.  There was no engines, no fans, none of the high-tech machinery that was necessary on spacecraft or biodomes.

This was Balbaro, unofficially known as the council planet, and for good reason.  Its atmosphere is nearly an exact match, with naught but an 0.01% increase in gravity from Earth itself.  If you didn't know where you were, it would be hard to look outside and tell the difference between the two.  Outside of humanity's home planet, Balbaro formed the center of government for the booming human colonies.  The symbol of that was the Council chamber, a large auditorium with seats for thousands of onlookers, and at its center sat a panel of diplomats, one for each of the colonies surrounding the planet.  Ordinarily, they gathered here once a year to discuss and vote on regulations, but mostly nothing ever really changed.  The colonists were competitors, and their governments were the worst.  Each was intensely loyal, each wanting their own homeworld to become the dominant center of culture and economy for the Council, and none willing to compromise unless it would be the bane of a common enemy.

However, this was not an ordinary meeting.  This was an emergency, and one that no one in the chamber had prepared for.  This was a council of war.

Where under ordinary circumstances the auditorium would be open to the public, instead thousands of pilots and soldiers sat, some sent as reinforcements from Earth, most from the various colonies represented on Balbaro, the rest from Balbaro itself.  They were gathered together, and none had been given a reason, but everyone knew why.  There was going to be an invasion.  And just as whatever menace that lurked around the corner invaded their hearts and minds, so did the silence, enveloping them like a fog, draining the last of their hope.  The diplomats were all emotionless, but their faces were still grim.  Most of the soldiers had already accepted their deaths, the others were just kidding themselves.  There was one exception, one man among the crowd that still had hope, still had confidence.  And this man was Captain Mach Hunter.

Officially, he wasn't part of the military assembled.  He and his group were known as the Mach IIIs, a mercenary outfit.  Captain Hunter was a former Marine, one of the best and brightest, but when Earth's government kept pushing farther into space, stretching themselves too thin and leaving colonies to fend for themselves, he got fed up and left.  Hunter formed his own crew and started aiding the colonies left behind, giving his aim to the highest bidder.  He had done work for half of the council in the past, taking down small-time smugglers here or career killers there.  Hunter knew that if they were hiring him, it was because Earth wasn't helping nearly as much as they should, yet again.  He also knew that they wouldn't fail.  If the council had gathered them, to speak with them all and see their reactions, they wouldn't be handing out death sentences.  Nine politicians versus a few thousand angry soldiers wouldn't go well, not well at all.

The lights in the room began to angle, moving off the crowd and focusing on the center podium.  It was time to begin.

"Gentlemen," began one of the diplomats, one Mach didn't recognize.  "You have been gathered here today to unite forces; to save the colonies of Balbaro.  You have been trained to defend us, and within a week's time, you shall.  For hostiles are coming."

Hunter smiled.  The new diplomat was straight and to the point.  He liked that.  Outside of the commander's head, the rest of those assembled grew even more somber, if that was possible at all.  It was as if the silence had won, and given way to a terrible truth.

The diplomat sighed, and turned toward the rest of the council, as if pleading to be relieved of what he had to say.  One look at the rest of the group and he soon lost all hope as well.

"It's the Ogres."

The Ogres were just that, large, hulking humanoids with a guttural language and a passion for war.  They had made no attempts to match the English language, and the humans had likewise made no attempt to understand the Ogres, so much so that the true name of their species was still unknown.  Luckily, pop culture was there to save the day.

"We don't know why they finally got sick of looking at us, but a fleet is coming, and they're ignoring all our signals.  A couple hundred battle cruisers, no idea how many fighters docked on each.  All we know is that they plan on killing us, and we need to beat them to the punch.  Each of your captains has received our battle plans by mail, they are to read them and go over them with their respective crews.  Any questions should be directed back to us, we shall answer any of your concerns as best we can.  Dismissed."

Thousands of soldiers stood and began to file out of the chamber, but Mach sat still and his mercenaries stayed with him.  He was deep in thought, and would not have noticed even if they had left.

The place had a total of 8,000 seats, split into four sections, and one was left empty with a few empty seats here and there in the others as well.  That meant they had a little under 6,000 crew members.  Each of their cruisers would take 20 people to man, plus another ten on hand for fighter pilots, meaning 30 people per ship.  They'd be stuck with under 200 ships against an entire invasion fleet of Ogres.  Hell, what was it he said?  'A couple hundred battle cruisers, no idea how many fighters on each?'  That was no doubt a low estimate.  It's bad enough being outmanned, but outmanned by spacefaring warmongers twice your size that have been wiping out civilizations before humans made it as far as their own moon?  This was going to be a suicide mission, Hunter thought to himself.  They better have a damn good plan.

Hunter briefly considered if it would be wise to confront the council right then and there, without bothering to check his messages first.  He knew five of the nine already, had dealt with them before, and was sure that they wanted him for something a bit extra if they were to pull this off.  By the same token, it was possible that they had explained what they needed of him already in the correspondence, and he didn't want to risk jeopardizing his relationship with the council on the off chance that they survived all this.  His Mach IIIs were with him, too, and he might not want to let them in on his discussion.  The crew was good, but sometimes they need to be motivated, and for that, they needed to be kept in the dark on occasion.  He didn't want to have to waste his time in coming back, either.  His comm was left back on the ship, not that it would matter if he brought it.  There was no way you could get a signal going in the chamber.

What to do, what to do...



Offline Kaizer

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Re: The Story of Mach Hunter
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2011, 03:06:21 pm »
slaughter the council as a peace offering for the ogres

Offline Galactic-Warrior

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Re: The Story of Mach Hunter
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2011, 05:22:59 pm »
I say we head outside and see whats up out there.
In space, no one can hear you scream unless your transmitting it on the right radio frequency.

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Offline Yuu

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Re: The Story of Mach Hunter
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2011, 05:41:56 pm »
Befriend the Ogres with the power of song!

Or if you're feeling somewhat more aggressive, make them LISTEN TO YOUR SONG!TM instead.

Offline dndfreak

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Re: The Story of Mach Hunter
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2011, 10:12:00 am »
Wow... okay, you people are crazy.  I mean, wow...

*sigh*



Balbaro, 2180 AD

His mind made up, Captain Mach Hunter of the Mach III mercenary group left the council chamber, his entourage in tow.  All stood back, all knew their place.  Hunter was more than their captain, he was also their boss.  He also owned their name.  Without him, the Mach IIIs were nothing.

Still, there were a brave few who still challenged the captain on occasion.  Some Hunter trusted, and some he didn't.  Either way, they were there nonetheless to put their two cents in, and for that alone they were valuable parts of the group.

One such mercenary, a fighter pilot who left the military alongside Hunter to help found his own crew, accelerated his pace a bit until he was side by side with the man himself.  Among Mach's fighters, Johnathan Bates was their best and brightest, and also the man that the captain trusted most.

"Permission to speak freely, sir?"  He said flatly, his voice as gruff as his appearance, and his question sounding more like a statement.

"As always," came the reply.  Mach let out a slight smile, but didn't turn his head to show it.

"I don't trust the council.  The numbers don't add up.  If they hired us to join them even after receiving reinforcements from Earth itself, this has got to be serious.  If the one extra cruiser will really make a difference, then why wouldn't Earth spare it?"

"Because Earth thinks it's a lost cause.  Even if he wasn't padding the numbers, the Ogres clearly have the advantage.  There is an advantage to hiring us though, and one that is of the utmost importance."

"Oh?"  The reply came almost lazily, but there was a hint of interest in the pilot's voice.

"Why do you suppose they couldn't announce even the slightest hint of our battle plans to all of us at once.  They didn't even say where to plot a course."

"I dunno, Mach.  I reckon they just didn't want to waste their time saying things twice?"

"More than that.  They don't want to say things that contradict."

Interest quickly turned to confusion.  "Look Hunter, just say it.  I ain't gettin' any younger."

The captain smiled again.  "They're going to use us.  We're not military, and so we have no higher authority to answer to, and we're also small enough that no one will notice if we're not where everyone else is."

"So...", Johnathan hesitated, trying to piece things together.  "That means the entire rest of the fleet is a decoy?"

"Could be.  Could also be that we're the decoys.  Trust me, I do plan on confronting the Council.  But first, I want to read that mail."  And with that, the pilot nodded and backed away to rejoin the squad.

Mach finally reached the double doors at the far side of the atrium and stopped as they slid open, revealing the lush paradise beyond.  Earth still had places like this, but much of the planet was polluted and overcrowded.  This place looked pure and untouched by comparison.  The entire colony was barely over 60 years old, one of the first ever established but far older of course when compared to most settlements on Earth's home settlement.

The dome-like council chamber sat on a rise overlooking the colony, and it was truly a sight Hunter would never get used to.  The city was huge, a mass of buildings surrounded by a vast expanse of uncharted forestation.  And yet, somehow, it seemed to fit in.  The buildings were constructed in such a way that they seemed to be inviting the nature back in, and crops of trees still stood out amongst the myriad of man-made monstrosities.  It was like yin and yang, a constant balance being upheld simply by accepting a little of the opposition inside of yourself.

Rather than shipping everyone onto separate vehicles and paying the outrageous fares, the group took a rather uneventful stroll around the outskirts of the city to where the port where their ship was docked.  They ran into a few people on the way, but the Mach IIIs were in uniform, and the group was known in Balbaro for being not one for small talk.  No one interrupted them; no one dared.

Highwind, Balbaro Spaceport, 2180 AD

While the rest of his crew settled in, Hunter found his comm and started to read.

Quote
Alright Hunter, I'll be honest.  Your crew is off the record, because Earth hasn't approved of our plan.  We picked you specifically because we know you're not on the UN's good side.

We've had our researchers here on Balbaro studying Ogre anatomy, seeing if we could find a way to communicate with them, finally break the silence.  Instead, we found something interesting.  Their levels of hearing stretch way above our own; their ears are much more sensitive than that of a human.  All we need is one simple note for them to hear, and they'll go insane, and we can hit them where it hurts.  We don't have much testing, of course, which is why the UN's denying us, but we have no options left.  You're being paid to get into that comm network and blast the frequency.

You, Hunter, are the boarding party.  We will disable a ship as it charges into our ranks, but not destroy it.  You enter the damaged vessel, fight your way through the Ogre survivors, and get to their comm interface.  Play the attached audio on loop, and the enemy will be disoriented for a bit, hopefully to the point when nobody thinks to shut off their comm traffic.

Without you and the Mach IIIs, it's hopeless.  You need to act and you need to act fast.  We're going to intercept them a mere lightyear out from the colony, so if this defense fails, we're hosed.  Follow the given coordinates, and leave the planet in 48 hours.  Good luck, Captain Hunter.  You'll need it.

-Chancellor Raven Vorg, Balbaro Council

[2 attached files]

It was a good plan, thought Hunter, but would the defensive force be able to gain enough advantage before the Ogres recovered?  Maybe, maybe not.  He played the sound clip, and heard nothing.  It made sense, that was what the message had said.  It was out of human range of hearing.  Mach opened up an audio editor on his comm and played around with the pitch, finally lowering it a good 900% before it entered the audible range.

It was distorted by the conversion, but the captain immediately recognized Dream On, by Aerosmith.  They were going to kill the Ogres with the power of rock.

After his laughter died down, he closed the file and lay back in his chambers.  He would gather the crew tonight and explain the contents of the message.  Whether they would go with the plan or not, he would have to wait and see.  Hell, Hunter still wasn't sure if he would go with it or not.  This would be a huge risk, and it wouldn't even be guaranteed to work.  Still, the Ogres wiping out his territory would be bad for business.  He needed to do something.

The two days before liftoff would need to be spent doing that something.  He had 48 hours to decide on a course of action.  But how would he decide?

decisions, decisions...



Yuu is a winner!  ;D

Offline Yuu

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Re: The Story of Mach Hunter
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2011, 11:48:58 pm »
Hmm.

We could...

... make several duplicates of the song so that we have reserves.

... practice our boarding tactics.

... gather some intel on what the ship's interior might looks like, so that we don't get lost or accidentally hit a generator or life support system.

... formulate an efficient search strategy so that we don't waste time getting lost in the ship, in case we don't find any map of the ship that is of somewhat reliable quality.

... check our gear and stock up on things.

... formulate a fall-back plan, however bleak it may be.

... and most importantly, grab some booze while it's still early.   ;D

Offline Kaizer

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Re: The Story of Mach Hunter
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2011, 07:48:09 pm »
punch something in the face so hard you split reality in half and send them sailing into an alternate reality

Offline dndfreak

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Re: The Story of Mach Hunter
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2011, 10:08:09 pm »
Alright, now that I'm back from my vacation and fully settled in, it's time to get down to business.  And that means time to get back to Mach.  When we left off, he had two days to prepare himself and his mercs for an infiltration mission aboard a derelict Ogre vessel. Let the shenanigans ensue, and meet some more of Hunter's crew.


Highwind, Balbaro Spaceport, 2180 AD

Mach Hunter sat at the head of the debriefing room, a large, circular chamber with enough room for his full crew of 30.  However, now there were only three. Across from the captain sat Bates, the veteran fighter pilot and one of the few men Hunter could trust with his life.

To his left sat Arenne York, the Highwind's navigator and a relatively recent member of the Mach IIIs.  Their old navigator got a bit too drunk one night, got himself in a bit too much trouble, and then got himself a bit too much punched in the face so hard that his reality split a bit too much in half and he became a bit too much not of this universe.  Arenne was his replacement, and she proved to be a bit too much better than the man that once held her position, but also a bit too quiet when it comes to how she picked up that skill. Nevertheless, her value to the team was unmistakable.

To Bates's right sat Iris, a fellow fighter pilot.  Iris got his name for his strength as a sharpshooter on the ground, making him a natural pick for any ground missions.  If Iris was involved, the crew instantly knew they were going to have to do more than fly some ships around.

"Alright you three, listen up.", Mach addressed the trio.  "The rest of the fleet has been tasked to break down a single ship, get its weapons and thrusters offline without killing their power or comms.  Our job is to board it, infiltrate their comm network and blast them with some high frequency white noise, which will hopefully disorient the Ogres long enough that we can sustain an advantage.  Our firepower will still be needed on the front, so I want to take a small team down. Arenne, it'll be your job to get us close to the first dismantled ship out there.  Iris, Bates and myself will each dock with a fighter and find a way once inside to transmit our signal throughout the fleet.  When we get down there, take the Highwind up to join the colony fleet.  We can extract ourselves, and if we can't then we're already lost.  It's better if you keep them busy and distract the brutes. Bates, Iris, I've sent each of you a copy of the file we're to broadcast, in case we end up separated.  We have no way of knowing the layout of their ships. We may have to split up to cover enough ground in time. Questions?"

Arenne nodded.  It would be just like her to accept her orders without complaint. He had no doubt that her resolve would be firm.  Iris would be the same.  It was Bates that had a habit of questioning everything.

"Why us?  Why not send one of their best and brightest, some covert ops team?"

"Because we're off the record, John, you said so yourself." Hunter shook his head and sighed. "To tell you the truth, they have no idea if this will work. The colonists are dogs of the military, and Earth hasn't approved anything.  The UN doesn't want them doing this, but the UN's lack of support will doom them all. That's why it's us."

"So what you're saying is, this is all for nothing. We don't even know if this will work."

"It'll work, alright." The gruff tone, quiet as ever, emanated from the lips of none other than Iris, the silent killer. He earned that title for a reason as well, but on the few times when he did speak, he had a way of getting people to listen.

"I've fought 'em before. Ogres. They're tough. Got thick skulls. Can't aim for the brain, gotta go for the eyes. But those ears, they're sensitive, real sensitive. Can hear ya coming a mile away, so you gotta be real careful. If those basterds have one weak point, it's gotta be the ears." With that, Iris leaned back again, as if he was simply falling into slumber, silent once more.

"Any more complaints, Bates?", Mach asked, smiling.

"A few."

"Any you care to voice?"

"Just one. Why the hell do you keep wasting my time?"

Hunter laughed, and then Bates smiled. They were dismissed.


***


The Den, Balbaro, 2180 AD

The colony of Balbaro didn't have much of a nightlife, but what it did have was The Den, a small bar deep in the heart of the city. Since Hunter made it a policy not to drink the night before a launch, the place was populated almost entirely with Mach III mercs. The owner of the place, one Derek Brownsworth, held the same fondness for the UN as Hunter's crew, and thus had no issue with them taking over the place every so often when their business took them to the council planet.

At one end of the bar, Mach and the owner were speaking in hushed tones, both of them sounding more sober than ever.

"So I heard the council has you on a special task, eh?", Derek asked, bringing the captain his drink.

"You always were good at hearing things, weren't you Browns." He took his mug and set it on the counter, but didn't take so much as a sip.

"You know me, mate. I like to keep an ear on everything so much, I keep ears on my ears on my ears." Derek smiled. Mach didn't.

"You hear like an Ogre then. And you smell as bad too." The barkeep's smile only widened.

"Had anyone else said that, I'd have thrown them out of this bar in a second."

"Had I been anyone else, I wouldn't have said that." Hunter reached for his drink.

"Alright, enough small talk then. I've heard something that I think you should know."

"Do I have to pay?" Hunter took another swig.

"Did you pay for that drink?"

"No."

"Then wouldn't you say I'm feeling generous tonight?"

"Yeah."

"Then wouldn't it be in your best interests to just go with it?"

Hunter said nothing. He tilted his head back, then slammed the empty mug on the table.

The barkeep smiled. "You'll still have to pay for another."

"Will I need it?"

"Yeah. No doubt about it."

"So there's the catch." The barkeep laughed again, and this time Hunter smiled.

"You got me there, Captain. Just hold on, I'll be right back."

Brownsworth headed to the other side of his bar to take some orders and fix another drink for Hunter, who had a call coming in from his comm. It was the Council. The Ogres were moving in, their ships had just accelerated. The Mach IIIs needed to move, and now. He headed to the door, and with a quick whistle and a wave of his hand, the mercs headed out after him one by one, without a word. They were going to have to launch with a few drunks. Oh well. Better than being a day late to the party. The captain just hoped that the story he was leaving behind at the Den would eventually reach his ears... or maybe he didn't. Either way, there was no use avoiding it now.


***


Highwind, Balbaro System, 2180 AD

Hunter sat at his desk, looking over s few blips on a screen that meant the invading force. His mind was racing. They were simply coming in too fast.

"You know, we can still just turn around.", came a voice of reason from over his shoulder.

"Not an option, Bates." The captain shook his head. "We do that and there's no hope for the colonies, the colonies I swore to protect."

"If we're late, then they're dead anyways. Even if there's no unforeseen problems and we get there just in the nick of time, they're probably still dead. The question is if we're alive. If we fail here, if we're wiped out, then who will warn the UN? If the Ogres succeed here, their next stop will be Earth, and we can't let that happen. We can turn around now and tell the UN what's going on, so they can call troops back in time to defend. The human race is far too spread out, Mach, and you know it. It could very well be that right now, we need a messenger, not a hero."

"And how will I convince the brass that I, a mercenary defect, chose to forfeit my job and backstab the colonies to tell them that the Ogres may or may not be coming for them?"

"If you don't try, all may be lost."

"All may be lost if I do."

"It's your decision, Captain. I just thought I'd give you my side."

Hunter sighed. "Yeah, thanks Bates. I guess I have a decision to make."

Decisions, decisions...



So what'll it be folks? Does Mach assist the colonists he swore to protect on the off chance that he even can? Or does he turn tail and run, saving his hide in an attempt to warn the UN but leaving the colonies to their certain doom? Find out next time, in The Story of Mach Hunter!

Also, confused already? I know I am. In the coming days I'll work on getting a lore thread set up to sort out all the characters and locales and open-ended side plots and such, for your viewing and Q&A pleasure as well as for my own reference. Expect the linky soon.

Offline Yuu

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Re: The Story of Mach Hunter
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2011, 10:36:16 pm »
Sweet!   :)

Let's be an hero! Wouldn't know if it'll work until we try!   8)


They were going to have to launch with a few drunks.

Please tell me those guys aren't in charge of any vital systems. -_-


Their old navigator got a bit too drunk one night, got himself in a bit too much trouble, and then got himself a bit too much punched in the face so hard that his reality split a bit too much in half and he became a bit too much not of this universe.  Arenne was his replacement, and she proved to be a bit too much better than the man that once held her position, but also a bit too quiet when it comes to how she picked up that skill. Nevertheless, her value to the team was a bit too unmistakable.

You forgot one.  ;)