From: Surana Irithyl-ith-Issarthyl, Office of Military Procurement
To: Isvieve Dalael, Terrible Aspect Station, Resplendent Exponential Vector
Subject: Re: Boson “laser”
Thank you most kindly for your offer, but considering the thus-far limited nature of the conflict, the Imperial Navy is not in the market for experimental superweapons at this time. Nonetheless, we wish you good fortune and progress in your ongoing researches, and would be very interested to hear of any further progress you make in this direction, as well as in any experimental field-testing you see fit to perform.
for and on behalf of
Office of Military Procurement
<nym1>: I had tea with my cousin today.
<nym1>: We had a most interesting discussion. He pointed out that while on the Republican fleet’s direct path coreward once they pass through the Qiraf Assembly is merely a collection of small ecumenical colonies and single-system polities, immediately spinward of that are our old friends, the People’s State of Bantral.
<nym3>: Thank you for the primer in galactography.
<nym1>: I have a point. And that point is that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain if the Vonnies, should, say, happen to take a more spinward route.
<nym2>: It’s not like I’d miss the Bants, but what exactly do we have to gain?
<nym1>: They’re one of the few polities that offends us as much as it offends them. If anyone in the galaxy deserves a turn or two of social rectification at the hands of our favorite backward-facing hierarchists, it’s the Bants. And –
<nym3>: And then we have another bunch of backward-facing hierarchists to deal with. No sale.
<nym2>: Well, we can’t let them keep it!
<nym1>: We won’t, and we don’t have to. What do you think’s going to happen when they’re driven off? They’re not going to have time to pick up after themselves. So the Republic will have righteously decimated the People’s State’s government for us, and leaving a pile of cornucopias – restricted crippleware cornucopias, true – and other hardware in the hands of the poor starving bastards underneath. You think maybe they can do something with that? You think maybe we can?
<nym4>: You devious sod.
<nym1>: And there’s a bloody pustule on the Worlds at least lanced, if not cleaned up. Something we can’t do for ourselves without breaking the Conclave consensus in ways we can’t get away with yet.
<nym2> Now this I like. Affirm.
<nym4> How do you suggest we divert them?
<nym2> We could deploy Field Fleet Coreward task forces out of Criath System to cover the rest of the Qiraf coreward border. We only need enough to make it a hard crust. Bantral’s got barely any fleet to speak of, and it’ll be easy to make sure they won’t invite us in, even if there was much chance of that anyway. They’ll take the bait.
<nym4> That would work. Although the Assembly will be very unhappy if they ever find out we’re not defending them.
<nym3> Damn all we can do to defend them anyway. The spinward forces aren’t going to catch up with anything but the trailing elements at best speed, once they wait for reinforcements. Keeping them from crossing back through Qiraf’s the best we can do.
<nym4>: Still. They mustn’t find out.
<nym1>: No-one should find out about this any time soon.
<nym2>: Agreed. Do we have consensus on the notion?
<nym3>: We’re all bloody mad… Affirm.
<nym4>: Affirm. Well, then. I’ll bring it up at the next meeting of the Privy Council. I shall trust you gentlesophs to bring your branch-support to the table.
– from a Shadow Ministries blacknet
“Ironblood, Ironblood, this is Shiny Hat. Sitrep. Over.”
“Shiny Hat, this is Iron –“
HIT THE DECK, BOYS! BREAKFAST’S COMING!
“kzzzzzztx Hat. Say again, Shiny Hat, that was loud. Over.”
“Sitrep, Ironblood. Did you find our lost boys? Over.”
“That’s affirmative, Shiny Hat. Egg was cracked, two yolks scrambled. Third one -“
Get me someone to kill! Get me everyone to kill!
“– we’ve got Hammer Six, Shiny Hat, but he’s been hitting the brain-juice pretty hard. Over.”
“Combat-ready, Ironblood? Over.”
“Hell, yes, Shiny Hat, almost as enthusiastic as me! Over.”
“Then take him along, proceed to hill 41, and clean out the opposition on the way. Shiny Hat, clear.”
– from the combat logs of coordinator SHINY HAT, at the assault on Vontok II