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Chapter 3[]

Random Events (Nebula California) - Take 2[]

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Command Center
Fort Yoshida
Toreel, Nebula California
5th February, 3153
Local Evening

Daniel's perspective

According to the garbled report and what he'd learned this land was ruled by former IE Team leader Ivan. Daniel hoped to get some insight from another member of the IE team.

Compared to Kevin's castle this settlement was far more familiar to Daniel. All the hallmarks of being laid out to repel air attack and a series of fortifications that would make approaching by land a costly affair.

The same assortment of gene-edited people seemed to be on display here too. Gnomes, Halflings, Elves, Dwarves, and Half Elves. Regular humans were the most dominant though from what he'd seen.

"Apologies for making you come to me then being late." A Dwarf entered the command center.

"Wait. I don't understand. I thought I was meeting with Ivan." Daniel looked around to see if someone else was coming.

"I am Ivan. Turns out these people have a neat trick to save your life. There are side effects though as you can obviously see." Ivan responded.

"As much as I want to know more I think it's better if I don't even ask." Daniel sighed.

"After almost 50 years on this world I must admit I still can't explain a lot myself either. Some elements of the tech here break the laws of physics as we understand them and the best eggheads in our group that are still around can't figure out how it all works." Ivan answered.

"I have enough of a garbled IE report with mentions of your name but nothing with Kevin. How did he wind up in charge?" Daniel decided to pursue a different answer he was seeking.

"He was one of our Mechwarrior escorts. Add in he had a knack none of us ever realized for diplomacy with the locals and it just made sense." Ivan answered.

"I see." Daniel could sense there was more to it but decided to not press the matter further.

"Ah. A real breakfast for you. I understand from Elena that you're still on ship rations. Terrible stuff. This will be a welcome change I imagine." Ivan said as plates with eggs, potatoes, and steak were brought in.

"How can I decline." Daniel said as the smell nearly overwhelmed him in a good way.

Colonial Command Center
Several hours later

Daniel recognized the look on Gilly's face as she watched the same Battleroms he had on his way back.

"It seems clear the Star League must have setup one hell of a research operation out here. My money is that it started on Syberia then spread out from there. The cataclysm clearly causing some sort of shock induced amnesia." Daniel broke the silence.

"This is troubling. If the Wolves really have taken Terra as we suspect it seems likely it is only a matter of time before they come seeking these lost secrets of the Star League." Fezik added.

"I've gotten a hold of those still on our JumpShips. They can't find any trace of this exotic particle either, but we don't have even the level of gear for detecting something like that which IE would have had." Gilly chimed in.

"Ultimately the calculus hasn't changed. We're too exhausted to run anywhere else and until some crops come in I don't think we even have the supplies to get outside the nebula anyway." Daniel knew this news would cause some to want to re-evaluate if they really should stay or try again.

"I know my people are. Besides we've been here a few days already. Given how quickly they showed up at our last attempt, well I think we've got a little time to prepare at least." Gavin put down his noteputer.

"Agreed on both counts." Alice nodded.

"We'll have to establish relations with more people on this world. It is clear Kevin isn't telling us everything and you don't get a position of power like he has without making both friends and enemies with the locals." Daniel rubbed his chin.

"It seems clear he chose where to allow us to settle with that very much in mind. I'm not sure we can send out expeditions to find other local settlements without being noticed and I get the sense that if Kevin thinks we're trying something like that he will crush us." Fezik looked at the maps they had managed to generate so far.

"Does seem pretty obvious that he wants us to be an ablative shield without giving us too much ability to become properly self sufficient." Daniel looked at the maps as well.

The river delta and coastal range gave Ivan a very naturally defensible area of land. The forests and lakes on their other side would make a campaign through there slow and time consuming.

Their land had very gentle hills and even those were few in number. The ground was practically wide open and effectively flat. Anyone coming up from the south would naturally come right through the colony site.

"Our options are not great if the Wolves do show up." Fezik's worry was growing.

"We should worry about Kevin's enemies first. He obviously has some based on what we've found. They can't be all that well equipped though as what we found was mostly gene-edited or mutated people, and not like the ones we've already seen." Daniel thought back to the mass graves and the follow up reports.

"Agreed. If they had heavy artillery, vehicles, or mechs of their own the ground would show far more scars than it does. Some old fashioned bunkers, concertina wire, and maybe some trenches should give us a workable defense with our scant few weapons available to us." Fezik began making digital alteration to the map.

"If Alaric or his minions do show up we'll just have to hope it holds up well enough to give us a chance against them too. Soon as we can start sparing people from housing and crops get it done. We don't know how long it'll be before we get the wrong kind of visitor." Daniel felt like they were making a lot of bad assumptions but there was little else he felt they could do.

At least this way it'd keep people busy and working. During these early days that would be the most important thing, especially with the feeling of uncertainty still so strong throughout the colony.

"We really should come up with a name for our little colony. Seems about time." Gavin chimed in.

"In the mid twentieth century in one of old Terra's great conflicts there was a city on a river not too different than here. It became a great symbol for both sides of the conflict as a test of their resolve. The name of that place at the time was Stalingrad." Daniel left out some of the less savory details but something about the symbology still seemed right.

"You cheeky bastard. Still I like it." Gavin let on he knew some ancient Terran history too.

"Why do I have a bad feeling about this? But I don't have any better ideas." Gilly didn't.

The rest nodded. If any others knew they were not saying but it was clear none objected.

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