Seeds--alternate Nova desc's

This, along with alternate versions of the other five strings in Nova, was going to become a plug. Problem is, I don't have the time, software, or reference materials (for example, a catalogue of mission bits) to make this plug anymore. Still, writing is a terrible thing to waste; If you think its plug-worthy, by all means help yourself.
Auroran offshoot:

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<Offer, Aurora, 100%, mission 16-ish: Call in Debt of Honor
Must have completed Temmin Shard string to activate>

Hune doesn't arrive.

The beautiful day lost on you, you pace endlessly around the landing pad, fighting the horrible truth. Thoughts laced with dread form and fade in your mind before you can pin them down with words and as the measely afternoon you spent an entire debt of honor for dwindles to a close, the last of your hope flickers away with the sunlight.

In disbelief, you head back to the council chamber, trying to fathom how the Moash fleet prowling above could have murdered a Detchtekar. Arriving, you rest your hand on the seam between the double doors; thousands of expectant murmurs inside resonate through the solid wood, waiting to see what the great hero KarHallarn has spent the day orchestrating. You shudder at what awaits you, and only when you notice the smirks from the imperial guards do you shove yourself inside the dim cavern. And then...

Silence.

Deadness. A stillness so absolute, there isn't even a word for it. Your footsteps clap against the floor as you stiffly march up to the center of the vast ampitheater under thousands of rapt stares. The Moash immediately read your stony expression and grin triumphantly. Not even daring to look at your own council, a sickening chill runs through you as you fumble for something to say. A few isolated chuckles ring out before you blurt,

"H-Heraan brothers...I'm sorry."

The chamber explodes with raucous laughter. You have never felt so alone in your entire life.

<Arrive, Heraan>
The following days are pure agony, and not one passes where you don't long for the end of your miserable existence. You don't know which moment hurts the most, but being forced to lead the Moash occupation fleet and ordering your own military to surrender definitely ranks up there. The last drink you have with Kuron before his execution along with the Heraan elders also haunts you. Through it all, you remain true to your debt of honor and oversee the distribution of family Heraan's entire assets down to the last fighter, and it could very well be when you are forced to conscript your Pack into the Moash military as honorless battleslaves that is the most painful.

The greed of the other Houses concludes the pillage inside of a month, leaving behind a depopulated and eerily quiet world. The remanents of the devoured Heraan fleet, now part of the planet's imperial garrison, watch you in quiet accusation as you go to your Moash supervisors to be released from this wretched debt.

"One thing is left to dispose of," you are told upon reporting. "...thurokiir."

You sigh in relief when you hear a blade whistle free of its sheath and someone comes up behind you, snaking a hand over your eyes. Ah, freedom...

Then sizzling pain shrieks down your lower leg and immdeiately you collapse, gripping your hands around the slice and feeling the severed ends of a major tendon. You gasp but forget the pain as soon as you look up: standing over you with the blade is { G: Sarvard , Jesura}.

"You weren't born an Auroran, so you shouldn't die one either." The person who you thought you knew says after a cold glare. "Crawl, you cur. Crawl home."

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<Availalable, Heraan in Heraan 100%>
True to Heraan fashion, the wound is deadly accurate yet hardly even bleeds. Your leg is completely dead and you are forced to drag yourself across the scalding tarmac, meter by meter, to the <PSN>. No one speaks to you. Once safely inside the cockpit of your last remaining friend, exhausted and heartbroken, you realize beyond question which moment has been the hardest to live through.

<Arrive, any Fed Spob>
Your return from the galactic South is comparitively uneventful, and although you hate to admit it, there are things you have sorely missed about life in gentler places than the empire. However, the Federation still considers you an enemy, and although you manage to visit a surgeon to regain your mobility, several close calls convince you that your new life will have to start somewhere else.

You take a few days to regroup and disguise the <PSN>, considering the various corners of the galaxy where one might be able to disappear but without having to constantly look over one's shoulder. In a grimey spaceport bathroom late one evening, a big man corners you.

...Temmin Shard.

"I thought you'd have gotten further since you left Heraan, KarHallarn." he grunts. Somehow, he still seems imposing as ever.

"Don't call me that." you say, wishing he had somehow been unaware of everything since you last met. But then you would have to break the news, wouldn't you? "I don't belong to that House anymore, and neither do you."

You don't recall ever seeing any of the alleged Shards during your tenure as thurokiir, nor did any of the other Houses lay claim to them when you divided up your own. But if they are servants of Heraan, then your debt of honor mandates that you to turn them over, and you tell Temmin so.

"Look." he sighs. "You weren't ready to know, but Techerakh chose you to succeed him. Your skills are admirable for a foreigner, but you have accomplished nothing on your own. Whatever honor you base your debt on never belonged to you, so you can drop the self righteous posturing."

You give him a confused stare, and he elaborates. "Your entire career was rigged for you."

When it finally hits you, a full minute passes before you can look Temmin in the eye again. Your story, possibly the most brilliant tale of courage and fortitude the galaxy has ever seen, has been an elaborate sham and you, nothing more than a decoration.

"Why?" You finally gasp. "Gods, why would anyone do that?"

"I'll give you two hours." he replies bluntly. "If you're still so bereft from losing your little trophy of heroism then you can go as you like, and I suggest the North where you can hide from anything except time. But if you're ready to put aside everything you think you know about being the Obsidian Heart and finally live up to it, then I'll see you in the bar.

"The galaxy does not stop for anyone, <PN>. Two hours." And then he disappears.

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<Available, any Fed Spob @ Bar, 100%>
For two hours, you sit in that chilly bathroom stall, cataloging all the dirty words carved into the panels around you. You have been called every one of them at some recent time and you can't help but grin at your sudden clarity when you realize that you truly deserve it; the Moash can't be blamed for killing Hune, only you for putting him in harm's way and foolishly gambling so much on his arrival--the consequences should have been limited to yourself. And then to actually go through with that absurd oath, even after the obvious foul play that brought it on, only adds to your guilt. You could have slaughtered a well-chosen handful of Moash in that hall and parylized their command structure, but you were so focused on your own impeccability that you agreed to let the injustice stand, destroying the lives of your comrades and loved ones. Bastard.

Traitor.

However, the winds of fortune blow in mysterious ways, and tonight they have brought you an opportunity. To accomplish what, you're not sure, but the only way you could sink any lower is to ignore it. You go to the bar.

"You're late." Temmin rumbles, ushering you out of the building. "We'll be lucky if the Feds haven't already locked our ships down."

"Where do we meet?" You ask, refusing to be concerned. Feds, psh.

"Even those without Houses have a home, KarHallarn."

<Arrive, Houseless in Kipa>
The last place you ever expected to call home is actually quite comfortable and not as crowded as you imagined. Although quite a number of warriors are banished from the empire for breaches of honor, not many survive the Rochak long enough to find Houseless, and even fewer earn a place here. Upon docking, you noticed a few Heraani vessels.

"You won't be as alone as you might think, here" Temmin says, confirming your suspiscions.

"Other Heraani, great. Won't they be glad to see me." You remark drearily and Temmin stops you.

And then hurls his fist directly into your face. No weave, no telegraphing flinch, just blinding pain shooting through your head. While over a dozen Houseless warriors watch, you collide with the floor in disbelief: the full scope of your Heron techniques provides no way to counter that kind of spontanaeous precision.

"There. Now it won't be such a shock when they do it." He smiles and walks off to the bar.

Elsewhere in the empire, you would be literally forced to kill him for insulting you like that, and you see a bare executioner's knife conveniently "dropped" nearby. Each and every one of the former warriors around you knows what is expected of you, and they watch appraisingly as you stand up and scornfully kick the blade aside.

You see a hint of approval in their looks as you head off after Temmin.

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<Available, Houseless bar 100%>
You sit down in a large corner booth across from Temmin, who raises an eyebrow upon seeing you empty-handed. Out of nowhere, his shot-blaster abandons its hiding place, only to disappear again under his coat.

"Rules like that are a waste of life, whether it be mine or yours." he muses. "They have nothing to do with honor and I'm glad you're smart enough to look past them."

"Interesting lesson." You grumble.

"Life is full of th--Ah, here they are." Temmin points over your shoulder. Forgetting your tender jaw, you look and immediately frown; instead of towering warriors, you see six scrawny, bewildered adolescents.

"Well, KarHallarn," Temmin pats you on the shoulder as he excuses himself. "If you don't like my teaching style, now is your chance to implement your own." Your jaw almost falls open, but before you can say anything, your booth is overrun by soon-to-be students.

Despite the surprise, you gamely make your way through the introductions as if this had been your idea, knowing that the first impression you create today is going to set the tone for months to come. Feigning an air of authority, you simply call yourself their 'instructor' ; whatever it was that they went through since the utter collapse of their lives, it was KarHallarn's fault and they don't need to have that against you right now.

The only certified warrior among them is the caretaker for their journey, a young man in his twenties. The rest are no older than fourteen, and clearly without even the training to take confidence in. They managed to brave the merciless void of space alone, and now you think you have something to show them?

Traitor. Liar. Fraud.

The pleading trust in their looks is killing you, and you're quite relieved when you spot the flickering wakes of missiles through the main windows of the bar. You announce a demonstration sortie and go charge off to your ship...

((Insert absurdly lopsided victory here))

<Arrive, Houseless bar>

You didn't even bother to ask questions. For the battle's brief duration, amidst the explosions of wreckage and hot plasmatic death shrieking by your ship again and again, you were free from everything that has plagued you for the past few weeks.

You stride back to where your students are waiting and begin outlining, one by one, how the fundamentals of combat were illustrated during the skirmish.

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<Available, Houseless bar 100%>

Temmin becomes very scarce in the following weeks, which is unfortunate because certain questions come up from your students that, you, as a foreigner by origin, can't answer. This is where the young warrior who arrived with them, Gelta, becomes an invaluable assistant; everything from his alternate perspective on your teachings to just having a second set of eyes to watch for mistakes convinces you that you couldn't have done this alone. Furthermore, his sheer devotion to them helps you remain inspired through the many frustrations that come with raising adolescents.

The rickety gunboat they arrived in is adequate for their basic flight and navigation training, but you worry; the teamwork they're learning is strictly within the vessel, which is only part of space combat. Vastly more important to a warrior is how to operate meaningfully within a fleet, and exercises of that scope are impossible with just your two ships.

You need more hardware. Gelta suggests working mercantile escort duty for the funds, and despite your reluctance to put your pupils in harm's way at this point, you realize that it would provide them something closer to the combat experience you've been looking for. Finally, you contact your old friend Eiric, who is more than happy to have the extra protection on his shipments, and offers a handsome price per mission.

He wants to meet you and your students personally at his headquarters on Viking.

These missions have plenty of latitude to spice up with battles, and such, but that's all I have. I vaguely remember planning on ending the story with a mission where you steal a Polaris ship, and somehow this resulted in galactic peace, but I got nothing now.

This post has been edited by fishloaf : 19 October 2007 - 09:01 PM

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You give him a confused stare, and he elaborates. "Your entire career was rigged for you."

Whoever writes this is going to have to be careful to keep it from being an "and then I woke up" story, which that line above being the waking up.

If you can write an ending without making it cliche, and at the same time following LNSU's advice, I'd be willing to code it for you, fishloaf.

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