Epistolary Experiment (6/30)

“Very well, gentlesophs. Since the main intrusion’s down coreward in the Reaches and the Expanse, the Warmain’s cleared us to go raise hell in the Vonnies’ 31st-sector backlot. We’re dividing the flight into talons by threes.”

“First Claw, under Flamefang, head rimward up through Kordal; your primary target is the fuel depot at Dantry. Blow it all t’hell. That should make sure their fleet operations stay quiet in this sector.”

“Second Claw, under Shadowstrike, straight spinward via Adesh; you’re going after the repair yards at Manar. Make it look like a raid. What you’re actually doing is planting replicant disorder in their systems. Any starship that refits there in the next year’s to have a raging case of ship-cancer, okay?”

“Third Claw, under Voidchill, down coreward, Adesh then Uinul. Commerce raiding for you, hitting up and down their main routes to the constellation. Bleed ’em white, and report to flag instantly by tangle if you observe – when you observe – military support coming up from coreward.”

“Meanwhile, Impertinence will be punching through to their colony at Vontok II. We’ll be securing local space and waiting for the Legions to arrive. Then we’ll see how they like ground fighting.”

– flight briefing, CS Impertinence, Quor (Csell Buffer) system

From: Phoebe Dracotarthius, Sheriff, Nightside Rock
To: Strategos Lucian Avaranaith, 73rd Imperial Legion (“the Apex Predators”)
Subject: Accomodations

Certainly we can accomodate you physically. This place is huge. We’ve got a fully-fitted class V star station here.

But you do realize that we have a physical staff of four – and five more-or-less helpful residents – to cover the whole of Uílel System? You’re going to have to bring your own tail, because while you’re welcome to our spare logistic capacity, we don’t have any in the first place.

Phoebe Dracotarthius

P.S. Any of your chaps in need of a warhorse?

Captain, I’ve occupied the Imperial enclave as you instructed, but I can’t hold it.

So far, I’ve lost two men to poisoned food, three to coolant leaks, eight to runaway transpods, five to runaway nanotech blooms, nine to basilisk hacks, and one has vanished entirely. We’ve had to blow out all the nanofabs to stop them from manufacturing some sort of attack spiderbots, everyone’s covered in bites from cyborg rats, and the whispering WON’T STOP.

And this is after we lobotomized the AI core.

Let’s just get clear and blow it. No way we can sterilize this.

– records of the occupation force on Ódeln (Vanguard Reaches)