The Ayreon Incident

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Aurangzeb Khan
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The Ayreon Incident

Post by Aurangzeb Khan »

MoMA SDI Facility Z009, due west of Port Illumination

"Sir, tracking four contacts moving north-westerly about 40 km due east of here."

"Estimated speed? Height?"

"2,204 ft. Air speed not exceeding 40 mph."

"Dragons then. No further action to be taken. No need to log contact. I'll be in the ready room if needed."

"Sir."

Some might be surprised at the subdued reaction of Colonel Jian, but the truth of the matter is that dragons while fantastical elsewhere, say in Antica or the like, are decidedly mundane in the County of Illumination which, for reasons never quite explained, exists in a sort of discontinuity which 'envisioning' of all manner of decidedly magical phenomena. As such where a report of unexplained flying dragons (UFD) might elsewhere have been enough to attract the undesirable attentions of the Directorate of Anomalous Phenomena, in Illumination a standing order exists that 'envisioned biologicals' were not to be monitored or reported, it being a waste of resources. Forms in triplicate etcetera.

The Colonel had barely finished preparing his cup of Chai in the comfort of his ready room when klaxon began to wail signalling a general alert. The sort of alarm siren that sounded a little like an air raid warning without the edge of definite danger and a slight blurring effect of befuddlement thrown in. Z Sites had been equipped with unusually expressive sirens.

Rather than leave his chai to stew, which would have been unpardonable, the Colonel brought it with him back to the Operations Room. The duty officer, a F.N.G. lieutenant assigned straight from Fort Foley, was looking suitably apologetic in anticipation of the fierce scowl from the Colonel which alighted upon him.

"Well?" Jian enquired irritably. If this was another dragon the Colonel was resolved to have the newbie up on a charge.

"Large contact, altitude 41,000 ft and descending from the north-east, on a bearing that brings it directly down on our position."

"Define large, lieutenant."

"'The Marianas Turkey's Revenge' large Sir."

"Sweet Sakat... prep the THAAD Launchers. Is anybody else tracking this?"

"Just Z010 & Z011 at this time, Sir."

"Get the Commcen to raise Novaya Sorensk, flash traffic. Has anyone heard from ISI?"

"Nothing Sir... wait... incoming signal."

"What? From ISI?"

"No Sir. From the contact."

"Well? What's it saying?"

"It's... it's identifying itself... as... Zurvan be merciful, its the Kaiser Ayreon!"

The Colonel drank his chai whilst making the sort of slurping noise consistent with that of a thoroughly distracted and worried man. Behemoth Class Gravship Carriers were not to be triflled with, and most certainly not nearly fired upon. To have done so would have been not so much a career ending mistake as a life ending one.

"Lieutenant, stand the launchers down. Never mind Novaya Sorensk, notify Fort Foley. Imperial Strategic Forces have broken their purdah, it'll be up to the MoMA to figure out why."

"Uh - Sir? The Ayreon is requesting permission to dock at our facility?"

"Dock? DOCK? Are they crazy? This is an SDI facility not a fucking space port. Tell them permission denied."

THIS IS COMMODORE KODOS COMMANDER OF THE IRS KAISER AYREON I. wE ARE MONITORING YOUR SITE COMMUNICATIONS - HELPED BY YOUR TALKING OVER AN OPEN CHANNEL

Colonel Jian glared viciously at the Lieutenant who had left the comms channel open during his choice outburst.

BE ADVISED WE ARE AWARE OF THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN AN SDI FACILITY AND A FUCK-ING SPACE PORT.

Colonel Jian coughed nervously before speaking. "My apologies of course, but it is just a question of practicalities, we only have a berthing station designed for a Panopticon Horus."

THIS IS IRRELEVANT. DOCKING MECHANISMS ARE IDENTICAL.

"Err..."

INTEROPERABLE MACHINE PARTS. VERY EFFICIENT SOLUTION. DO NOT QUESTION.

"No I wouldn't dream of it, wouldn't dream of it. The only problem is I cannot grant you permission to use that berthing station as our Horus is already docked."

BE ADVISED TO RECOLLECT WHICH OF US IS IN POSSESSION OF AN ON-BOARD ION CANNON AS PART OF INTEGRATED WEAPONS SYSTEM. ANSWER IT WOULD BE US. WE EXPECT THIS FACTOR TO INFLUENCE CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PERMISSION TO DOCK.

"Permission granted in that case... could we have fifteen minutes to move the blimp?"

YOU HAVE TEN. COMMUNICATION ENDS.

"Well, that was... odd..." said the Colonel as he slumped into a chair and starred vacantly at the ceiling wondering what else could possibly go wrong.

"Sir? I have the MoMA on the line for you. Do you want me to transfer his call to your desk?"

Fuck.

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Leo Fenrir
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Re: The Ayreon Incident

Post by Leo Fenrir »

ISI Leonardo Central Command, GoldenDown

The surveillance room was a hive of activity as scientists poured over screens and scampered between machines that where in different states of completion. Among the sounds were the electronic beeps that punctuated the chaos at regular intervals. One of these sounds though seemed more persistent then the others and caught the attention of one of the scientists. Locating the source of the noise as the long range recursive sweep radar it took a moment to assure himself that what he was seeing was indeed not a glitch.

"Sir you should take a look at this. Our sweep scans have detected an unidentified flying object of significant size traveling into orbit."

The Overseer of the section made a grunting noise of disbelief and made his way to the panels. "Are we sure that the system isn't malfunctioning? Don't forget that whole fiasco with alien contact yesterday."

The scientist looked slightly embarrassed. The high frequency reception had been slightly faulty and tapped into the Askenatzen radio feed. "I just finished working on this unit Sir there is no way this is a glitch."

"Well have EDEN identify it then."

"Right Sir." He tapped an adjacent screen and the command prompt appeared.

_ EDEN protocol activated...
_ Requesting Identification...
_ Confirmed. Level 6 clearance granted...

_ Tracking identified target...
_ Localized scans gathering visual contact...
_ Accessing visual database...
_ Information located...
_ Target Identified as the flagship Kaiser Ayreon...

_ Priority of scan has been increased to Level 2...
_ Insufficient clearance. Further access is denied...


At this point the screen went blank leaving a slightly confused scientist. The Overseer simply shook his head. "Ungrateful machine. Don't worry about it Harold. EDEN hasn't been programed to be user friendly quiet yet, the matter has been taken into more qualified hands. It would be better if you forget this though." As he walked back to his office the man was thoughtful. What in name of the heavenly wool is that monster doing back here? I wonder if we might get a chance too look at that ion cannon they are supposed to have.

_ Contacting Leo Dine...
_ Contact Established...
_ Connecting to MoMA...


"Ardy what the hell is going on! The EDEN protocol almost launched the HACs at what it thought was space debris. But it turns out to be one of the most powerful flagships ever built? And according to the communications we intercepted on the open channels its planning on landing in my back yard!?"

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Aurangzeb Khan
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Re: The Ayreon Incident

Post by Aurangzeb Khan »

MoMA Main Building, Shirekeep
(Nine Minutes until the Docking of the Kaiser Ayreon)


[…]
_ Connecting to MoMA...
_Incompatibility Detected…
_ VERITAS Protocol Enacted…
_Routing…


“MoMA Enquiries Desk, Cassandra speaking, how can I help?”

"Ardy what the hell is going on!”

“I’m sorry Director but all calls to the MoMA are currently being diverted to the Imperial Defence Administration for prioritisation.”

"The EDEN protocol almost launched the HACs at what it thought was space debris. But it turns out to be one of the most powerful flagships ever built? And according to the communications we intercepted on the open channels its planning on landing in my back yard!?"

“I’m sorry Director but ships landing in backyards aren’t on my responses list. Have you considered calling the Coast Guard?”

“Humph. No I don’t live near the sea… hang on, your list of what, sorry?”

“Responses List, Director. The Enquiries Desk is given a list of issues people might contact MoMA about and prompts for the appropriate responses to be given. It’s all been programmed by VERITAS to appear on a screen, I just type the query on the interface, the telex printer sends the message to the computational servitor in the basement, a sequence of punch cards are sent back via pneumonic tubes, the cards are then inserted into the interface and the ‘line to take’, which is the response, comes up. It’s all very clever.”

“Very. Clever. Hmm, if you say so.”

“So I’m very sorry we couldn’t help with your query Director. Goodbye…”

“No, no, wait this is important. Please, if you could just put me through to Ardashir, this *is* vitally important…”

“No, I’m sorry, Director; the MoMA’s red light is on.”

“Oh by the dripping dew of the Great Sheep’s fleece… I work for one of the foremost chief ministers of state, and I have been Steward of the Imperial Republic, wait… I still *AM* Steward of the Imperial Republic, second only to the blessed Kaiseress herself, and I will not be fobbed off or put on hold just because some bearded sociopath doesn’t feel like answering the Wolf-in-the-Folding phone!”

“I’m sorry Director; the time limit for clearing a call has been exceeded. I’ll have to cut you off unless you want to talk to the supervisor.”

“Yes, yes, that’ll do. Put me through to him.”

“Thank you Director, I’m transferring your call now. Have a nice day.”

[***Five Minutes Later***]

“Assistant Deputy Head Manager Iggin Khjac speaking, how can I help?”

“Quick, there is not a moment to lose. This is of the utmost importance. I absolutely, absolutely, must speak to Ardashir Khan right now on a matter of the utmost importance.”

“Certainly Sir, oh, his red light is on. I’m sorry Sir but I would need to break his conference call in order to put you in touch with him. Can I say what it is the matter relates to?”

“A rogue gravship is violating the airspace of my Barony!”

“I’m sorry Sir, you’ve been put through to Section A of the Third Directorate, and we don’t administer the complaints procedure for low flying incidents. You’ll need to speak to the civil aviation authority for your duchy. If you hold on I might be able to find the number for the Mattlore Devious International Airport, Stadium, Hospital, Copper Mine, and Ashram, they could be able to put you in touch with someone…”

“Argh!!!”

[***Engaged Tone***]

[***Musak***]

“ARRRGHHHH!!!!”


****

MoMA SDI Facility Z009, due west of Port Illumination
(Five Minutes until the Docking of the Kaiser Ayreon)


Colonel Jian could not quite place what it was that caused the distinct mismatch between the mild-mannered, even bland, voice of the Khan and the pronounced physical symptoms which resulted from hearing it down the line, even with the benefit of hundreds of miles of physical distance… could it be that it was because that very same distance would become a ‘mere detail’ should one ever manage to excite his displeasure.

Gingerly he placed the phone back in its cradle and turned to face the luckless duty officer.

“The MoMA doesn’t know what’s happening either. Wants me to find out what is happening. And he’s going to hold me responsible if anything does happen.”

“Were there any orders sir?”

“Yes. Congratulations are in order all round Lieutenant.”

“Sir?”

“You and I are going to be the reception committee for this ‘Commodore’ Kodos, whoever or whatever he may be.”

“Just us sir?”

“Yep. Just the two of us lad. Security is to withdraw to the base perimeter. It will be just us in the tower of the berthing station… oh and them of course.”

“But… why?”

“Oh that’s fairly straight forward I should imagine; if anything happens to us the Khan can at least claim that he did not fire the first shot when he proceeds to use government firepower to destroy government property.”

“And nothing happens to us?”

“Well… if we survive… probably a big if… we’ll both be promoted two ranks and given gold medals the size of an oversize chocolate chip cookie, being his exact words on the last part.”

“Even so sir, if you don’t mind me saying, it’s all a bit unfair isn’t it? Expecting us to do this I mean.”

“Yes quite. But then again, if you wanted fairness lad you should have been a social worker.”

There was a moment of awkward silence before the Colonel spoke again.

“Say, do you have the keys on you?”

“The keys? Sir, I’m the duty officer – yes I have the keys. Any key in particular?”

“The one for the Armoury, lad...”

Fort Foley, Imperial Counties, Shireroth
(MoMAD I, Directorate of Imperial Defence, Sector Chiefs Meeting)
(Four Minutes until the Docking of the Kaiser Ayreon)


The five Section Chiefs of MoMA’s Directorate of Imperial Defence were sat at the semi-circular table of Fort Foley’s War Room, each of them with a pile of papers and a VERITAS Portable Terminal (portable being a relative term, portable perhaps for a Babkhan pahlavānī wrestler, but a somewhat contestable assertion for the rest of humanity) set before them. They are, for reasons of Imperial Security, to be referred to hereafter by the identifying letter of their respective sections. (See here for the aversion of utter confusion). Our records of these proceedings derive mostly from a leaked SHINE transcript and attached photographs.
Image

Section Chief E: “What we see here is the Facility itself, base security in the process of pulling back to the outer perimeter fence.

The Z Site Commander, who is a Colonel Jian according to my notes here, will then attempt to initiate contact with the commanding officer of the Kaiser Ayreon, and establish the reasons for the unannounced and unauthorised return of these forces to the Benacian Mainland.”

Section Chief A: “We should have hit the damn thing with everything we’ve got. When that thing went up first time around our ancestors were ruled by a Babkhan, a Babkhan! Who knows what perfidiousness was put aboard? Who knows why they went up in the first place? Who knows now why they return and what horrors they bring?”

Section Chief E: “I would like to remind my colleague who our immediate employer is…”

Section Chief A: “Exactly! His ancestor was directly responsible for the mess we are in now.”

“Section Chief E: “Careful.”

Section Chief A: “Right, right. I’ve nothing further to add.”

Section Chief B: “I wonder if Mr [Censored by SHINE] would care to shine some light on this matter as his section has been charged with oversight of Imperial Strategic Forces as per MoMA Order 3623/001.”

Section Chief C: “I may have been in post for six years but there is no possible way that I can be expected discover what forces that have been under purdah for three hundred and sixty-nine years have been up too, or what their intentions are.”

Section Chief B: “And yet researchers in my department have had a considerable success in locating a copy of the official report into Project Mortis…”

Section Chief C: “That is completely irrelevant. The report to which you are referring has been floating around in the basements of Fort Foley for centuries…”

Section Chief D: “Sometimes almost literally what with the dodgy plumbing this place has…”

Section Chief C: “The point is we know where they got the reverse-engineered technology from but not what that technology is. The complexities of the whole situation are almost stupefying.”

Section Chief B: “And yet my Section has recovered a basic schematic…”

Section Chief C: “Your Section?! What business has the Life-Guards Division got interfering in the affairs of strategic affairs?”

Section Chief B: “It became our business when if became apparent that your section had no control of its own brief…”

Section Chief C: “Why how dare you! Come here and say that you jumped up brass-button frock coated bastard…”

*A scuffle ensued.*

Section Chief A: “Gentlemen please. Fighting in the War-Room, is this really appropriate?”

*More scuffling*

Section Chief E: “Break it up chaps, something’s happening. I’m serious. Look. Look. Just look at the bloody telescreen will you?”

*Scuffling continued*

Section Chief E: “Bloody hell.”

*Gunshots of a report consistent with an OAH 9mm pistol are heard*

Section Chief E: “You’ll need to take your seats again gentlemen; another one has entered Low Micras Orbit.”

*General exclamations of disbelief and anger from all present.*

Section Chief E: “This is from a live ISI satellite feed. I’ll see if I can put it on the main screen.”

Image

Section Chief A: “Is it another Behemoth?”

Section Chief C: “No, it couldn’t be – the Behemoth Class is a carrier of atmospheric and shuttle craft. You see this one clearly has a gun turret mounted top side as well.”

Section Chief B: “That would be a Jayatar Class ship then. I’ll bring up on screen the diagram I was referencing earlier.”

*Audible swearing from Section Chief C*

Image

The screen flickered for an instant, the briefest of discontinuities and a new image filled up the centre panel of the telescreen, and it was the face of the Khan.

Image

MoMA: “Gentlemen I have been keeping abreast of these latest developments and your discussions. I may have shortly to brief the Imperial Defence Board and I shall require from you your utmost dedication to solving this situation without needless dissent or rancour.”

Section Chief C: “You will have seen then Excellency that another vessel is beginning to de-orbit?”

MoMA: “Indeed. You are to instruct it to cancel its descent and hold position whilst observing purdah, or else.”

Section Chief C: “Or else?”

MoMA: “Or else SDI shall engage as soon as the target is in range. Now I must go I appear to be receiving a call from Leonardo Central Command, which can only mean one thing… Khan out... oh one last thing, if you wouldn't mind [Section Chief A] I'd like to see you over at Main Building as soon as possible, we will need to review your performance assessment.”

*The Meeting dispersed at this point. Operatives are assigned to observe their movements*

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Leo Fenrir
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Re: The Ayreon Incident

Post by Leo Fenrir »

OCC : I quite like your V for Vendetta approach. Nothing like a giant projection of oneself to inspire fear.
Leo Fenrir

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Aurangzeb Khan
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Re: The Ayreon Incident

Post by Aurangzeb Khan »

OOC: Ta. :thumbsup

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Jacobus Loki
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Re: The Ayreon Incident

Post by Jacobus Loki »

The count was roused by a gentle telepathic rustle thet he had yet to become entirely used to. The dragon atop his summer house in Port Illumination had sensed something.

"Mmnmyargle?" Languague skills came slowly in the A.M.

"Will you wake up, or do I have to try to use the tiny little phone?"

"OK, I'm almost awake."

"There is a gigantic gravship dropping into your County."

"You sensed this in the aether?"

"No, INN and Shireroth Today have been screaming about nothing else for the last half hour." The dragon was as found of morning television as the count was of mango ice cream.

"A gravship? Must be old."

"It's supposed to be the Kaiser Ayreon."

"LORD LOKI'S NAVEL LINT!" the count awoke fullly, already reaching for the cell phone that wasn't really a cell phone.

"Jake to Improvise. Come in Improvise......."

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