The Uraz Research Facility never slept. This was aided by its positioning at the temperate northern pole of the planet, where they experienced only two hours of semi-darkness in every thirty. The sun was at its highest in the sky when Nakato finally lost his temper.
'It's what we're made of! Please try to lift your mind out of religious complacency and comprehend what I'm telling you!'
'I'm sorry, Hari. I'm trying to understand what you're saying but it goes against everything we know about the universe and our place in it. You can't just dismiss centuries of knowledge with a few simple phrases.'
'I agree. But that's not what's going on here; firstly, it's not centuries of knowledge - it's centuries of willful ignorance. Secondly, I'm not dismissing it with a few simple phrases, I'm dismantling it with logic and reason.'
'But how do you know all those old texts are even real? They must have been out
TUC: RumourYou had to be careful who you talked to, around here.
Dirak knew that well enough, especially after the last few years stranded with nothing to do but observe and wait. He took another draught of his ale, hoping to block out a little of the misery which accompanied his fading memories of glory. Commander Dirak, admiral of the Seventh Fleet at the age of thirty five, scourge of the Alliance, architect of a thousand victories. Now overlooked by all but the bartender and the geishas plying their trade.
To think he had jumped at the chance of special assignment with the Predators. A smile, bitter and entirely devoid of mirth, twisted his face as he reflected on the irony of that name; the only thing he had hunted in the last seventeen years was conversation. Seventeen years! He felt like tearing up the bar when he thought of all the things he could have achieved in that time, all the battles he could have won, the glory and
TUC: TempleThe temple stealthily insinuated itself into his perception as he approached out of the thick woodland. First was the smell of incense, seeming to grow out of the resinous scent of the trees which had accompanied him every step of the way from the landing site. It was gradually joined by the music, which also seemed to rise from the gentle cadence of nature: the wind sashaying lazily through the trees; the creatures calling to each other in voices of every pitch; the streams providing a modest, rippling counterpoint. Without the barely-perceptible addition of human voices to this humble symphony, it would take someone with highly-attuned hearing or a lifetime of experiences in that temple to be able to distinguish the monks' instrumentation woven carefully between the natural melodies. He happened to have both.
Finally, he saw the temple itself standing on an outcrop from a cliff rising out of the surrounding forest. Most of it had
TUC: EncounterThe task force dropped out of hyperspace and all the pilots checked their instruments to ensure that the formation was steady. Soldiers who, only a few short weeks ago, would not have blinked before engaging each other in deadly dogfights now flew side by side in unison. It was too much to ask that they fully trust one another given the history of the corporate militias, but for the time being they had a common purpose.
Arbo shifted uncomfortably in his seat; he felt weak and powerless, despite sitting in the commander's seat of the most powerful ship in the fleet. He had been a fighter pilot for as long as he could remember, and he missed the feeling of being so closely connected with his craft that his slightest move would effect its own. It felt unnatural for him to be issuing orders to get things done rather than simply thinking them. He was not the only one who felt uncomfortable; the ship's erstwhile commander, Kerick, sat in
TUC: The Battle of Giants IIIThey say curiosity killed the cat. I've never let that stop me, because as adages go it's pretty discriminating: just because it killed the cat, doesn't mean it's going to kill me. After all, the cat wasn't flying an enormous chunk of metal under the protection of one of the most powerful corporations in the galaxy, was it? Not to the best of my knowledge.
It was in the later days of the ninety-eighth year of Unity; we'd just completed a fuel delivery to New Jørvik and my crew and I were preparing the ship for the jump to hyperspeed when the scanner steadily began to fill with contacts, all emerging from the atmosphere of New Jørvik. I began to worry that I'd forgotten to fill in the right forms before leaving the fuel depot, but the Unity ships ignored us and began to take up formation a short distance away. It must have been the entire New Jørvik fleet there: ten angels, the Unity heavy fighter of which you usually wouldn't s
TUC: The Battle of Giants IICommander Pelk strode through the corridors of the New Jørvik militia base, aware that, though there wasn't much time, things were progressing according to schedule. He was due to give an emergency briefing in two minutes, for which he had been preparing for the better part of two months. Everything had to be perfectly timed. Before talking to the rank and file, however, he had this one last errand to run; one last loose end to trim.
The office of his second-in-command, Lieutenant Farna, was only a few doors down from the briefing room, and he let himself in, closing the door behind him. Farna rose from his seat to greet his commander, but sat again abruptly as Pelk's bullets cut into his brain. The commander turned and left the room, stowing his pistol in the holster at his hip. He didn't allow himself to feel remorse at killing a good man. Today was not the day. Today was the day when everyth