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 Post subject: The Hidden War: Whispers from the Blue
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:25 pm 
Flight Master

Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 12:55 pm
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(Written by Kitteh, edited by Chesterfield Taft)

Luz

An early night settled on Luz as Hidden Fleet platforms loomed over the setting sun. Mudar, a young cat of the Dashte clan, dismally followed his fellow nomads and the other residents of Luz onto what looked like a Bismark that had been converted by the Fleet into some sort of personnel carrier. The long lines of despondent citizens were lead into each airship's cargo bay, thankful they were being left alive for now.

Oddly tall men in long, full robes stood at either side of the line of Skytopians, heartlessly herding them aboard. The Hidden Fleet guards were ghastly figures, not a centimeter of their skin was visible under their flowing robes, their hoods drawn low over their faces, nothing but a shadow visible beneath them. Mudar looked up at a nearby guard, hoping to catch a glimpse of his face. The guard quickly turned to him, noticing the nomad's interest. The guard's long arm quickly struck the cat flat to the ground, his arm as solid as an ancient tree. Mudar quickly picked himself up and hurried along, keeping his eyes low as pain throbbed in his side from the blow.

Looking briefly to the dark skies, Mudar wondered where they were to be taken, would help be sent? The cat quickly dismissed his thoughts and obediently boarded the Fleet airship, knowing he would have plenty of time to think while the Fleet held him and his people.

The Azure Horizon

Juhanah rushed through the busy halls of the Azure Horizon, carrying a large spool of magnetic tape. More than a hundred Kilometers of tape recordings had been made and scientists and volunteers were busy processing them reel by reel, but Juhanah had found an oddity amongst the recordings. Most of the work being done was decoding the recorded Hidden Fleet transmissions, but the young fox had found an unencrypted recording. It was a Skytopian transmission, overheard on the ultra high frequency band thought to be beyond all but the most experimental Skytopian transceivers.

Emir Dalhoum had been called to meet Haimo Cadell, who was leading the research onboard the Horizon, about important findings. Juhanah meant to help the professor present to the Emir, but she was now running late.

Haimo was fitting a tape onto a reel-to-reel player when the sound of running feet drew close. Looking to the door the professor saw Juhanah run in with her spool. Emir Dalhoum stood behind Haimo, looking slightly surprised to see the fox.

“I was about to start without you,” Haimo said with a glance at the spool in her hands, “What is that? I have the recording right here.”

Juhanah came to an embarrassed stop as she noticed Dalhoum. “It’s something else I think you both should hear,” the fox nodded toward the Emir, “Sir.”

“Another Fleet transmission?” Dalhoum asked, shaking his head, “Could you not have simply sent me copies of the transcripts? I can not fly in to hear every recording.”

“You’ll want to hear these, sir,” Juhanah replied. “This one’s not a Fleet recording,” the fox continued, holding up the spool, “Wasn’t encrypted but it was on the UHF band, we wouldn’t have caught it if we weren’t listening to the fleet. We didn’t think anyone else was transmitting in this frequency band.”

Haimo looked to the fox, puzzeled, “This is the first I’ve heard of this.”

“I just found it before I came, I was checking through the raw recordings to make sure we didn’t send any blank tapes to be processed.” Juhanah motioned to Haimo, “Start the tape. I’ll play this next.”

After a bemused glance at the fox Haimo turned back to the reel-to-reel, starting the recording.

The player slowly whirred to life, “Recording made 15th of Magnus, 232 A.U.,” a scientist began the recording, “Recorded off of Uurwerk. Begin decoded transmission.”

A scrambled blare of noise started the Hidden Fleet recording, seemingly random noise marking parts of the transmission the League had not been able to decrypt. A droning voice emerged from the noise, “…sschkk Pi Upsilon Rho Gamma Epsilon relaying: The Three decided. Catharsis Skytopia commencskzk. ChrrRRRrrrrtzousand units engage tertiary protocol Yotta k-kkz. Rest follow tertiary Omega. ” A brief but noticeable pause interrupted the transmission, before the speaker concluded; “The land will be returned to silence. Sigma Iota Nu”

A shiver shot down the Emir’s spine, leaving him at a loss for words. Juhanah watched the tape reels anxiously as they span past the recording.

Haimo stopped the player, “Fleet attacks have been decreasing lately, but Fleet movement and radio chatter are up significantly. We suspected it was related to the attack on Islo, but in light of this I believe they plan to make a massive assault on Skytopia.” The professor stopped for a moment with a grimace, turning towards Dalhoum, “I think they plan to eliminate Skytopia as we know it in one sweep.”

Dalhoum shook his head grimly. “Do we know from whence they plan to attack?” he asked, looking to Haimo.

Juhanah quickly replied, “They’ve made a few pot shot attacks, chatter is everywhere, it’s all random. We don’t know where or when anything is coming yet.” Haimo simply shook his head, looking down for a moment, then back up at the Emir.
“There must be something,” Dalhoum continued, a touch of frustration leaking into his voice, “We need more information to make a plan.”

“We don’t have anything better at the moment.” Haimo replied despondently, “We’re analyzing the pattern of Fleet activity and listening close, when we have more information we can formulate a plan. It’s likely they will gather a force and strike one or two skylands at a time, Skytopia’s geography and their apparent fuel independence means they could attack almost anywhere in any order. But there’s nothing to suggest where they might start.”

An awkward silence fell into the room for a long minute.

“Haimo…the second recording,” Juhanah motioned towards the tape reels. “You should hear this. I don’t know what it means, but…” the fox trailed off, glancing at her feet.

Haimo carefully removed the first reel and Juhanah excitedly fit the her reel on the player, starting the recording without wasting a second.

“To what are we listening?” Dalhoum asked curiously. Juhanah shushed him before she could think, quickly looking toward the spinning tape reels, feeling the heat of embarrassment across her cheeks.

The tape started with moderate static and the faint sound of an engine. “They should not suspect us,” A plain voice stated, “They could not suspect us.”
“The way tozzZshk is clear,” another voice stated matter-of-factly. “They will go there. ”
“TheShhhk inwards. That would zZzzk their goal.” Static filled a pause in the recording.
A third voice started, sounding older than the previous two, “The kshzof least resistance. Perhaps theyrzZchkble to take any othrchshhhh...” the transmission continued into ambient static.
“They must have flown out of range,” Juganah explained excitedly, “UHF band transmissions are pretty short range. We're lucky we caught what we did.”
The three sat quietly for a moment, Haimo and Dahloum deep in thought while Juhanah waited for a reaction. Haimo spoke first, “Are they discussing the...”
“I know!” Juhanah interrupted.
Dahloum sat quietly, contemplating something.
“Emir? Do you have any thoughts?” Juhanah asked carefully, looking to the bull, her posture suddenly straight and respectful.
The old bull looked down as if he had thought of something, then dismissively shook his head. Standing from his seat, Emir Dahloum quietly left the two alone, Juhanah too embarrassed to question his actions.


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 Post subject: Re: The Hidden War: Azure League, Whispers
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:26 pm 
Flight Master

Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 12:55 pm
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(Written by Prince Harris, edited by Chesterfield Taft)

Islo
Dashte Kavir stepped into the lift and began looking for his destination's button. With a sigh he finally located it amongst the mess of floors and sublevels indicated on the elevator's control panel. With a slight bump, the lift started its ascent, and Kavir turned to look out the glass panels behind him. The nomad smiled at the view into the Islo tower's inner atrium. Balconies, stairways, elevators, and the odd experiment lined the open area that stretched to the top of the skyland. Kavir closed his eyes and felt his skin warm as the lift passed through a beam of sunlight, reflected down into the skyland through a system of mirrors.

On most days, it would be almost impossible to find a solitary ride like this one. Crowds normally filled the halls and crowded into elevators. Today was different, many of the League's top minds were aboard the Azure Horizon, working tirelessly to decode Hidden Fleet transmissions. Other scientists had fanned out across skytopia, making sure that Alpha platforms remained stable and relay stations operated around the clock. Kavir suffered a slight pang of guilt at his current inaction. He was part of a caretaker team, making sure the Islo tower remained safe. Most of the people left on Islo were Desert Nomads like himself, a factor in Emir Dalhoum's asking of Kavir to stay and guide his people.

Slowly opening his eyes again, he spotted a short figure across the great atrium, waving frantically at his elevator car. Kavir squinted to identify the squirrel and recognized a nomad by the loose scarf around his shoulders. The squirrel stopped waving and moved for a flight of stairs as Kavir's lift passed his level. Sensing his urgency, Kavir turned to the control panel and searched for a way to stop the elevator. He finally managed to halt the lift a few stories short of his original destination. Hurrying down a flight of stairs and past a scattered few traders, he finally met up with the nomad who had gotten his attention.

“Dashte Kavir?” The squirrel panted. “I just came from radio room theta. We've gotten a message you need to see.”

Kavir looked down to the squirrel's hands, which were offering forward a strip of paper. Taking the transcript in his hands, Kavir noticed the paper was still warm from the radio room printer.

“It's from the Horizon, just came in a few minutes ago.” The squirrel looked nervously to Kavir as the boar read.

Finishing, Dashte Kavir looked up and set his jaw. “I'll call a meeting of the League...20 minutes.”


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