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Author Topic: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove  (Read 3027 times)

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Offline Operative13

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2016, 05:28:14 AM »
Welp, I'm back for writing more excerpts! Though... it's not continuing the other excerpt I have going  :sure: I'll probably jump back in some other time I can, but for now there's this piece  ;)

This is one of the more graphic scenes I've written, so anyone who doesn't have a... stomach... for these kinds of things should probably keep away from reading it (Though I know curiosity can be a bitch sometimes...  8) )

Either way, this should give quite an insight on how military discipline is administered within the Union Paramilitary.  :hmm:

Spoiler
Five men lined the gray stone wall, beaten, bruised, and bloody. Their white shirts and blue trousers lied tattered and stained from mud, grime, and their own bodily fluids. Their faces were little more than inflated pulps of red and purple, and some had been so wrought with injury that their legs refused to support their frail bodies. One collapsed upon his knees, totally lacking in energy, before the commissar standing beside the five marched right over and beat the man with a wooden baton.

“Stand up, you Filth!” the commissar spat. He grabbed the man by the arm and dragged him back up to standing position. The commissar resumed his position to the side as another commissar went by and offered black bags for the bound men. All of them shook their heads, to which the commissar left with the bags tucked under his arms.

The men stared at what appeared to be a dozen well-dressed soldiers ahead of them, packed in a tight, straight line, their rifles held closely to their chests. The light gleamed off the edges of the soldiers’ helmets, their expression blank, emotionless, their eyes hidden behind the shadow of their visors. Their long dresses fluttered in the brisk breeze, their posture stern and motionless. The field officer to the line’s far left, with his blue beret, revolver in hand, gazed down the line, inspecting each of his troop before staring down to the commissars at the wall. The commissars nodded their peaked caps, and thus the field officer turned back to his squad.

“Load!” the field officer shouted.

All at once, the soldiers cocked the bolts of their rifles back and loaded a single round into the chamber.

“Set!”

The soldiers pushed the bolts forward. The field officer gives a long pause, eyeing down the line.

“Present!”

The soldiers took aim at the five men, a pair of rifles pointed to each one. One had begun to chant to himself, shaking uncontrollably as he did so. Another began to whimper and sniffle. One gritted his teeth and readied himself for the inevitable. One gave a smug grin. The last simply stared, emotionless as the people directing their guns at him. It mattered not what those men did. Death was coming, and it was time to collect their due.

“FIRE!”

Shots rang out, and the air crackled in an instant. The men’s bodies flopped to the ground, the wall behind them stained in deep-red blood. The field officer strolled over to the wall and cocked the hammer of his pistol. One was still twitching. The field officer pointed at the man’s head and fired, smashing the skull in as the bullet entered. The body stopped, and the field officer went down the line, repeating the same procedure to the other four bodies. One shot. Two shots. Three shots. The field officer looked briefly up to the commissars observing him as he stepped to the last body before aiming back down again. Four shots. The field officer pulled the safety on the pistol back and shoved the gun back into his holster.

“You may excuse the troops, Officer,” one of the commissars spoke.

The field officer gazed up and nodded to the commissar. He turned face and walked back to the soldiers standing by, their rifles already shouldered. The field officer took his position to the line’s left and shouted his next order.

“Unit! Left Face!”

The soldiers turned left, all in one swift motion.

“Forward... March!”

The troops marched out onto the dirt road, leaving the two commissars and a few others to deal with the bodies.

[] [] [] [] []

A company of Terran Legionnaires arrived in town the very next day. As they marched forth upon the soft, muddy road, they were met by a horrifying sight above the gateway. Murmurs and whispers ran through the ranks to the sight of five mangled bodies hanging aloft from the high trees, nooses tied around their necks. Nothing remained of the bodies’ faces. Only a large crater, with parts of the skull and innards clearly visible. Signs hung from the corpses’ bodies, a simple line written upon them:

No Mercy for Traitors

Some within the ranks couldn’t handle the grotesque scene and began to cough and vomit profusely alongside the road.

The officer-in-charge approached the gates manned by a trio of Unionist Watchmen and hailed.

“`Evening, Lieutenant,” one of the watchmen greeted as he saluted back.

“Good day, Watchman,” the officer replied.

“May I see your papers?” the watchman asked.

The officer went and wrestled about in his breast pockets before procuring a small yellow book. The watchman took hold of the book and began inspecting its contents.

“You lot looked like you were busy...” the officer spoke, gazing around at the bodies hanging just above them.

“Indeed we were,” the watchman replied, flipping through another page.

“...mind if I ask why there are bodies hanging above the entrance?”

The watchman gazed up as the officer put forth his question. He then shut the book and handed it back to the officer.

“Those men kidnapped some girls in the village and locked them in a cellar for who-knows-what. Killed a few people too while doing it. The Commissariat found out and well...” The watchman pointed up to the bodies. “...you can guess where that story ended.”

“Hopefully that’ll be the last one we see,” the officer said.

“Oh, there’s always going to be a few loose cannons here-and-there,” the watchman added. “That’s why we have the Commissariat. I don’t know how you Terrans discipline your people, but the Commissars we have here do a great job, in my opinion.”

“Penal Squads,” the officer answered. “That, or the Firing Squad.”

“Firing Squad,” the watchman repeated. “Anyways, everything looks good! Welcome to Tarvis, Lieutenant.” The watchman saluted again.

“Thank you, Watchman,” the officer saluted back. He turned face to his company and shouted. “Company! Forward... March!”

Picking themselves up, the soldiers marched forth past the watchmen, through the village gate, and under the hanging bodies of the Unionist traitors.
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline Operative13

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2016, 03:25:32 AM »
I totally forgot I had this little bit hanging around!  :ohmy: Been scrounging around my old docs, and now I get to share a rather humorous event involving Commander Christiana Bellacosa and her tank crew.  ;D

This little skit happens during a small break inside the tank. The lovely couple Selina and Veronica decide to spend their time exercising their... "creativity" by doodling some indecent sketches of the two brothers Gregory and Phillip. Christiana gets curious at what the girls are drawing, and decides to... "investigate" her subordinates.

Spoiler
Christiana: "Hey, what'cha got there!"

Selina & Veronica: *Hides sketchpad* "Nothing!" *Uneasy laughter*

Christiana: "Oh?" *wide grin* "Hiding something from your commanding officer? That's a punishable offense, ya know!" *Ticklish fingers reaching out*

Selina: "We promise you, we aren't!"

Christiana: "Lying too now, eh? Looks like you two need some discipline. Now... gimme that!" *Gropes Selina*

Selina: *Moans*

Veronica: "Oi! What do you think you're doing!?"

Christiana: *Grabs sketchpad* "Aha! Gotcha! Now let's see what you've been hiding..."

Veronica: "Are you okay, Selina!?"

Selina: "I'm sorry Veronica... it was just so surprising..."

Veronica: "How dare you touch my...!"

Christiana: "Bwahahaha! What is this!? Hey Greg!"

Gregory: *Groans* "What now, Commander?"

Christiana: "Check this badboy out!" *Shows indecent sketch of Gregory and Phillip*

Gregory: *Turns red* "What the Hell, Christy!"

Christiana: *Laughs haughtily*

Phillip: "What's going on?"

Gregory: "Don't look at it, Phil!"

Phillip: *Turns Head* "It's... not that bad, actually." *Impressed*

Gregory: *Outraged* "What!? You too!?"

Phillip: "The texture, the strokes, the exquisite depth of it all! Clearly a masterpiece to behold!"

Gregory: *Grows pale* "Why has it come to this..."

Christiana: *Cheerfully* "Hey Selina, Veronica, you think you can fetch me a copy?"

Gregory: "Don't Encourage Them!"
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline Fortis Scriptor

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2016, 01:26:10 PM »
"The white moon rises, Incest Yaoi has been drawn this night" XD if anyone gets what quote I just modified I will be very impressed.  :D

Offline Operative13

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2016, 02:28:27 PM »
"A red sun rises, blood has been spilled this night."

- A pointy-eared elfvish princeling

8)
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline Fortis Scriptor

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2016, 02:33:38 PM »
Hehehehe I knew you'd get it  :D

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2016, 10:07:18 PM »
By the way, I'm still working on the Battle of Vielleute. But I've gotten absolutely swamped in finishing Death by Ex-Girlfriend, writing about Anzu's childhood and life before her death, planning to finally get on with the Great Phoenix Demon War in 6 Cataclysms, and a host of other unbearably heavy problems for just one writer  :ninja:

Offline Operative13

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2016, 12:50:26 AM »
I've been busy myself  :sure: Haven't had the time to work on anything these past few weeks!  :ohmy: I might jump back to my writing mode when I get the chance, but until then, my writer brain is on standby...
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline Fortis Scriptor

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2016, 07:54:38 AM »
Add a third lad to the busy pile these past two weeks or hell it may have been longer at this point, I've been swamped dealing with some personal/family issues, and on top of that, I've been struck with a near-lethal case of writer's block!  >:( 

Not quite sure how I'm going to deal with the writer's block but the aforementioned personal/family crap is over so my time and soul are no longer being sucked into a black hole so that's a plus I guess  :-\     Anyways Op when you can go back to writer mode the two of can link up and brainstorm or something. And OGHM I look forward to the Battle of Vielleute as well as the continuation of your other badass projects  :thumbsup:

To conclude, have a great day fellas Fortis out.   :ninja:

Offline Operative13

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #38 on: December 08, 2016, 10:21:51 AM »
Ah, yes. It's about time I got back into writing! A little change this time around however, as I dive into a bit of world building! As I always like to do  8)

Who can ever forget their favorite villains, the Gallian Empire? For some of us who already know, the Gallian Empire has existed for roughly 20 years in the Chelderan Chronicles Universe. From a measly collection of exiles on a frozen wasteland of a continent, the Gallians built themselves up to a vast superpower, equipped with the most advanced and cutting-edge technology that far surpasses the best their rivals have to offer. So how does a nation of 20 years manage to come up with so many neat things that seemingly surpass the very timeline they exist in? Their high emphasis on education might be a reason for that...  ;)

Gallian Education System
Education in the Empire of Gallia is highly valued, as it remains one of the most fundamental building blocks to producing exemplary individuals capable of accomplishing the tasks necessary to maintain the Empire and ultimately contribute to its growth and advancement. As such, a huge portion of the government budget is dedicated purely towards education, as high as 20-percent of their GDP. This enormous investment into education is one of the main reasons Gallia has managed to produced a vast number of polymaths within their society and a wide range of technological innovation and advancement that has well surpassed the development of other powerful nations on Terra. From deep mining complexes that stretch down for miles beneath the surface, to an underground railroad system that spans an entire continent, to gigantic fortress cities and towering skyscrapers that pierces high into the stormy skies, the sheer engineering and scientific feat needed to accomplish such daunting tasks in the span of only two decades do not come without their merits.

Unlike most developed countries that implement a compulsory K-12 system, the Gallians restructured their education system according to five distinct tiers and require that all citizens fulfill their education up to Tier II before allowing individuals to choose their own path to higher education.

Tier I, or Basic Education, is by name, the most basic education all citizens of Gallia must complete in order to qualify for even the most simplest of jobs. Basic Education provides learning in fundamental mathematics, common science, and language studies. Extracurricular courses, such as Fitness or Entertainment, are made available to help spark early interests within the youth.

Tier II, or Standard Education, is the minimal requirement a typical Gallian citizen must fulfill in order to be deemed a capable individual, and therefore qualified to begin education into higher fields or seek work-studies. Standard Education expands on the topics presented in Basic Education and adds more required subjects, such as History, Economics, Lifestyle, and Government. Those who complete Standard Education are officially granted full citizenship status, and are free to pursue whatever course they choose. While some opt to find and specialize in a work of their choosing, most Gallians choose to pursue higher education, moving onto Tier III.

Tier III, or Enhanced Education, is where Gallians begin to enhance the studies they have learned from the past few years and shape it into something fit for higher-skilled labour. Unlike Tier I and Tier II, Tier III does not have any General Studies that the individual must fulfill. Instead, they are only required to complete the courses necessary to enhance the work field of their choosing. Otherwise, students are free to choose whatever class they wish to study upon, provided there is space available. Small classroom sizes and an emphasis on collaboration and practical application helps engage students in their interests and expand their thinking onto their chosen field. As Enhanced Education is not a requirement in Gallia, all students must first pass a national Entrance Exam to qualify for entry within a Tier III institution. Furthermore, an additional Specialization Test may be given by Enhanced Education Schools when checking for a student’s competency needed for their chosen field of interest.

Tier IV, or Advanced Education, is considered the high echelon of Gallian education, and is where the vast majority of Gallians end their education before entering the workforce. While Tier III focused on providing the basics into a student’s chosen field, Tier IV is where students come to specialize within the field itself. Depending on certain Advanced Education Academies, General Education may or may not be required. However, a Common Education Test is required to permit entry within any Tier IV academies, much like the Tier III schools before them. Advanced Education Academies focuses on providing real-world experience into a student’s field of expertise, building the knowledge and skills required to pursue highly-advanced jobs within Gallia. A final Field Expertise Test is given to students at the end of their studies before they are granted certification of their pursued studies.

Tier V, or Refined Education, is the highest education a Gallian can pursue. Beyond Tier V is the realm of theoretical and hypothetical studies. Within Tier V universities, aspiring researchers and developers pursue intensive academic studies within their field, discovering new information and refining understanding itself. It is those that choose to pursue Refined Education that often provide the intelligence needed to develop technology that reach well beyond common understanding, such as the Bacta Chambers that not only heal fatal injuries and repair damaged genes, but also serve as a means of food production in the cold and frigid Gallian landscape. Passing of the Field Expertise Test is enough to qualify individuals to a Refined Education University, however a final Field Doctorate Exam is given to certify those who are academic experts in their field, often requiring original work the examinee has procured during their time at the university.

The Gallian Government standardizes education across all five tiers of the Education System and provides all the necessary funding needed to maintain a high standard among all educational institutions. Most institutions are public, though there does exist a few private institutions such as the Imperial Academy of Polareia, which are free to exercise their own versions of education, however they do have to meet the same high-level standards that the public institutions abide by.
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline Operative13

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #39 on: December 20, 2016, 11:00:12 PM »
Back to writing normal pieces of literature, this is an upcoming preview of a short excerpt I'm working on. It'll... probably be finished before New Year... probably. No promises.  :sure:

Ambush in the Snow Preview
High in the snowy hills of Beaumont Forest, where the trees had shed their last leaves, the rivers had frozen over, and any signs of life had all but vanished, a small convoy of white trucks and cars, emblazoned with the dragon of Hadia, rode along the winding winter roads.

Reverence Day lied just two days away, and the troops were eager to see their friends and family once more after a long year at encampment. Everyone huddled together in the back of the cramped steel trucks, a lone gas lamp hanging overhead as their thick, white coats and thin, deep-green blankets wrapped around their shaking bodies. Stuffed with whatever piece of cloth they could find, the soldiers endured the bitter cold, huffs of heavy perspiration exhaled from their lips as the trucks bumped and rocked across the rough, uneven roads. Yet the soldiers did not mind, as they knew their time would soon be over. Joyous chants and carols filled the air, with smiles on their faces and brilliant shines in their eyes, as the troops celebrated their return home.

“Another year, finally over...” Lieutenant Alfred Mand muttered. “...can’t wait to sit at home with the wife and enjoy the festivities.”

“You guys have any plans for the holidays?” Private Jeff Larson asked.

“Heading off to warmer lands is where I’m going,” Corporal Kirk Banner replied. “I can’t stand another day in freezing weather... Maybe out west or down south is more like it.”

“Really, Corporal?” Sergeant Taris Lockard interjected. “I’m actually quite fond of the cold!”

“That’s right! You’re from Albion, aren’t you?” Jeff mentioned.

“My parents are. There’s a big difference between one’s blood and one’s home.”

“Right, sorry... I must’ve gotten that mixed up.”

“Eh, don’t worry about it. Maybe it’s the accent that throws it off... but I assure ya, I’m just as Hadian as the rest of you!”

“Aren’t we all?” Lieutenant Mand concurred. “By the way, have I ever told you guys I’m part Germanian?”

“I thought that was obvious by your last name, Lieutenant!” remarked Private Richard Munoz.

The whole truck bursted into laughter.

“I guess that was a dead giveaway, huh?” Alfred resigned.

“I’d like to know more though, if you don’t mind,” a meekly voice spoke. They all turned to the young lad with a pen and notepad in his hands.

“Don’t you already have enough material for your piece, Casper?” replied the Lieutenant.

With his leather case full of field notes, photographs, and film reels, a shirt-pocket stuffed with a assortment of pens and markers, and a black handheld camera dangling from his neck, Casper Grange worked as a journalist for the Piette Report. Tasked with the responsibility of writing an extensive piece regarding the Hadian Civil War and its ongoing insurgency, he spent three months at Fort Maybell learning about the lives of soldiers there and traveling alongside them during operations, hoping to catch a glimpse of the war on the frontlines.

“Well, you can never get enough first-hand material to work with, Lieutenant,” Casper replied. “Generally whenever you go out for a field report, you always want to gather more than you need, so that when it comes time to write, you have plenty of source material to work with. Although...”

Casper set aside the notepad and grasped the camera with his spare hand.

“...I never got to catch anything during these few months.”

“Be glad you didn’t,” Alfred stressed. “Fighting is a messy business. It’s not for everyone, and when it does happen, it always ends badly for someone. One way or another.”

“The Lefty’s right,” said Sergeant Lockhart. “Fighting’s the last thing you’d want to wish for. I’d consider it a blessing those rebels didn’t show up this time around. Normally the place is crawling with them.”

“That’s partly why I chose Maybell for my beat. I heard about the recent spike in insurgent activity in this area, so I thought perhaps there’d be something interesting going on.”

“Well, you sure missed out,” Taris slouched, his arms folded behind his head. “You know about the raid we did before you came?”

“Yeah, the weapon stockpile, right?” Casper recalled.

“A hundred rifles, hidden underneath a poor farmer’s barn! And enough munitions to kill us a thousand times over! And the man insists he had nothing to do with it!” Taris scoffed.

“Had they said anything about what happened to him afterwards? I wanted to follow up on that sometime.”

“Not a word,” Alfred replied. “The Intelligence Committee never says anything after we hand them over. They do their thing, we do ours. That’s just how it is between us and SIC.”

“Oh...” Casper uttered, a mellow tone in his voice. “I guess I won’t be writing much about that then... and I was hoping to write a big piece about the War too! I’ll probably have to revise my topic when I get back. Maybe something around the lines of... ‘Soldiering’, perhaps,” he wondered.

“Either way, it was a pleasure having you around, Casper,” smiled the Lieutenant. “I wish you luck on your piece.”

“Thanks, Lieutenant.” Casper smiled back.

“Hey, don’t forget to mention me in your newspaper!” Private Munoz hollered. “Talk about how charming and handsome I am, eh?”

“Advertising yourself on the newspapers won’t get you any closer to finding a date for the holidays, Rich...” Corporal Banner grunted.

“C’mon, it’s worth a try, at least! I’m gonna be all lonely for the New Year! You guys are way out from where I come! I could at least have a pretty lady to keep me company in those... cold... quiet hours. Heck, even Jeff’s got one waiting for him!”

“What?” Jeff blurted.

“Don’t ‘what’ me! I saw that fancy postcard you got a few weeks ago! You got a girl waiting for you and you never bothered to tell anyone!”

“That’s My Sister, You Jackass!”

“Oh... you mind introducing me?”

“Ugh...” Kirk placed his hand over his face and shook.

A silly grin ran across the others' faces, holding in their amusement.

“Well..." Casper began. "Since this is probably the last time we’ll meet, I’d like to...”

Suddenly, a large explosion erupted at the front of the column. The trucks grinded to a halt, shoving everyone off to the side.
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline Operative13

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #40 on: December 27, 2016, 09:25:13 AM »
Another preview to the short excerpt at work. Stay tuned...

Ambush in the Snow Preview 2
“Corporal!” Lieutenant Mand yelled. “Take Munoz, Larson, and Acot with you and get that ridge cleared! Lockhart and Riggs, you’re with me!”

“Yes Sir...” Corporal Banner grumbled.

Casper, meanwhile, was in the middle of loading another film cartridge.

“Follow me, Mr. Grange,” said Lieutenant Mand.

“O-Oh, yeah! Right!” Casper uttered as he jumbled with the film cartridges in his palm.

“Where are we headed, Sir?” Lockhart asked.

“To get Captain Roche. He’ll keep the reporter safe while we deal with the insurgents.”

Casper raised his hand.

 “Uh, I could just come with you guys and...”

“No. The last thing we need is a dead reporter,’ Mand bluntly replied. He turned back to Sergeant Lockhart. “When we cross through...”

Just then, Casper took off dashing. Mand tried to grab hold of the reporter’s collar, but missed.

“Casper! What the Hell are you...!?”

Before Mand could go out to grab him, a hail of bullets whizzed his way, forcing back behind the truck. By the time he peeked back, Casper had already trudged his way into the deep snow and up behind a dead tree.

“You Idiot! Get Back Here!” The Lieutenant screamed.

“What’s that moron reporter thinking!? Running out in the open like that...” cried Munoz.

“Shouldn’t we go save him!?” Larson pleaded.

“Don’t bother. The boy’s got a deathwish. He’s been asking for it since the day he got here...” Corporal Banner scoffed.

“Orders, Lieutenant!?” Sergeant Lockhart hollered, cycling another round in his rifle.

Although his men called for answers, Lieutenant Mand only kept shouting at the careless reporter.

“Casper! You get your damn self back here before I kill you myself!”

“Don’t worry about me, Lieutenant!” Casper called back. “You just do what you have to! I’ll be fine on my own!”

“This is no joke, Casper! You’re gonna get yourself killed!”

Casper adjusted the focus on the camera and looked up toward the machine-gun blasting overhead, its bright blaze shining through the dark woods.

“You can do this...” he uttered, and with a deep breath, charged straight up.

“CASPER!” Alfred screamed. But it was no use. The boy had already gone past the defense line.

“Orders, Lieutenant!” Sergeant Lockhart hollered.

Mand turned to see his troops staring at him, waiting for their next command as the savage fighting raged on around them. Alfred could only stare back, hesitance in his face, for he knew well his next order might send them home in caskets. With a staunch look to each one of the men’s eyes, Lieutenant Mand gripped his fist and stood firm.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 09:28:43 AM by Operative13 »
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #41 on: December 27, 2016, 08:37:06 PM »
Juuuust making sure you noticed MusicFreak's amazing drawing of your character  :sure:


Offline Operative13

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #42 on: December 27, 2016, 09:07:15 PM »
Already did ;) I was sent a PM regarding that  8) MusicFreak did a fine job getting that piece done  :thumbsup:
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline Operative13

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #43 on: January 01, 2017, 12:07:30 AM »
Welp, it's the New Year!  :biggrin: And what a way to start the year off with a bad flu... :sick:

Yes, that means I'll have to delay the excerpt until I get back on my feet to put the final touches on. Until then, sit tight, and I'll throw something in to make up for it  :thumbsup:
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline Operative13

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Re: Excerpts from Op's Writing Trove
« Reply #44 on: January 02, 2017, 07:39:39 AM »
Well, I said I'd make up for the delay, so here's a little quip I've prepared ;) Still a bit unwell at the moment, but I'll be back full steam when I get better  ;D

A Small Project
The wheels squeaked to a stop, before the doors opened and men in green coats and peaked caps stepped upon the clear, open ground in the forest with their heavy black boots. One of the men stroked his long mustache and stared skeptically at the sight before him.

A large two-legged contraption with an open compartment lied squatted in the center of the field. Beside it were two pilots dressed in heavy brown jackets and gray trousers.

“I’m glad you all could come today, gentlemen,” a whimsical old man with a white goatee and groomed-back hair spoke.

“Dr. Kranner. I hope our investments have been well spent,” the man with the moustache spoke.

“It has, General Jorhan. Our top scientists and engineers have been working around the clock to construct this spectacular prototype for this demonstration.” Dr. Kranner gestured to the officers, to which they all approached the strange contraption.

“The tank. The aeroplane. The submarine. For decades, we have been devising vehicles for almost every conceivable field of war. This day is no exception. Gentlemen, I give you... the Automaton!” Dr. Kranner announced.

The pilots hopped inside the casket and with a flick of a switch, the contraption stood upon its legs and rose to a height that overshadowed the officers below. They gazed in awe at the bewildering sight of the beast.

“For years, our troops have lacked the firepower needed to combat the insurgents hiding in the high mountains and dense forests of the East. Tanks and armoured vehicles lack the mobility and versatility needed to traverse the harsh, uneven terrain in such areas, forcing much of our forces into dangerous situations. This is our grand solution to that problem.”

With a nod, the pilots pushed forward some levers and the Automaton began lumbering forward, step-by-step.

“The Automaton is capable of traveling up to 25 kilometers on most terrain and comes equipped with two .50 caliber heavy machine-guns mounted on the underside of the compartment. At its maximum height, the Automaton measures eight meters high, enough to give the pilot a good view of the battlefield while providing fire support. The leg height can be adjusted to one’s needs, of course. Armour is capped at 30 millimeters, enough to withstand anti-tank rifle fire, and weighs in at around ten tons. Now for our demonstration... we’ve set up targets downrange at a hundred meters. Mister Kimly, if you please...”

The pilot saluted and muttered off to the copilot. Then came a whirring sound and the Automaton rotated to the targets laid out ahead of them. Kimly pressed the red buttons atop the levers and the machine-guns battered the painted targets with ease, reducing the wooden boards to nothing but splinters.

The officers muttered to one another, awed by the prospective piece.

“This seems well, Dr. Kranner,” General Jorhan nodded. “I’m pleased to see our investments have indeed been put to good use.”

“I thank you for your words, General,” Dr. Kranner bowed.

“However, I do have some questions regarding your... Automaton.”

“Of course, Sir. Do ask away.”

“First and foremost, I’ve noticed one glaring thing with the design of this vehicle... the compartment. Why is it an open top?”

“We’ve... figured that, given the height of the vehicle and the complexity of the design that attempting to build a fully enclosed vehicle would be more trouble than it was worth, and so in our best judgement, our team had decided to forgo a fully-enclosed compartment and go with an open top instead. It saves on needing to install a ventilation system and badly limits the pilot’s view. Something that is critical when operating in close quarters.”

“I see...” General Jorhan said, stroking his mustache. “Then, the next concern I have is the weapons. Is it possible to outfit it with anything else?”

“Unfortunately, no,” Dr. Kranner replied. “All ammunition is stored just underneath the compartment floor, which directly feeds to the machine-guns via belt. This limits the crew size and reduces the design complexity of the automaton. We do have plans for automatons with heavier weapons, but this automaton is specifically meant for infantry support.”

“So this is the only one that’s fully operational then?”

“At the moment, yes.”

General Jorhan stared at the Automaton with shrewd eyes.

“One last question, Doctor... why legs?”

Dr. Kranner glared with befuddlement.

“The vehicle looks good, but I doubt it will be combat effective. The only things holding that contraption up is a pair of legs. Just one wrong hit and the whole thing comes crashing down. With a tank at least, you can afford to take a few hits. But this... It’s too fragile.”

“There is a simple reason why we chose legs, General Jorhan, I assure you...” Dr. Kranner explained. “...you simply cannot achieve the level of flexibility using any other propulsion system. I understand you may have doubts now, but once you take the Automaton into action, I guarantee you will come to like it.”

“That is up to us to decide, Doctor,” General Jorhan said, his hands behind his back. “We’ll consider your project for now and discuss whether the Automaton should be put into production. I expect you to send your next report in the meantime.”

“Of course, General,” Kranner nodded.

“Let’s go, men,” Jorhan gestured to his officer. “We’ve other business to attend to.”

The officers took their places inside the open-topped jeeps, before driving off into the distance.
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”