Sat, Apr. 28th, 2018, 01:45 am
From the completely off-the-record and unofficial notes of Sergeant Arius Numitor
Bastion Eos, 20th to 22nd of March 240
The Combat Information Center is coming online, and we are starting to plan. I have to get Denna up to speed as my second-in-command. My relatively simple Chief Shuttle Operations job has been assimilated into the CiC as a far bigger job, the equivalent of a Flight Captain or Wing Commander. It is a big responsibility, and I need the backup.
I like her immediately. She is one of the quiet Clannies, which made her pop on our radar. Her crew, the Red Brotherhood, has often stated it 'is under contract', and we suspect it is directly with Chen Che - who is the top of our shitlist - or Zalinsky Enterprises - who are not far below Che on said shitlist.
But she was vouched for by Sasha and Kat personally, and I trust them. Trust them. I grin. Things change. Ways change. Some for the best. Denna is attentive, asks questions, adapts ideas, communicates. We work out a shuttle schedule, inventory our assets and start making plans. I will enjoy working with her.
I see the Sergeant-Major from the corner of my eye. He is damn proud to be here. And he should. Against all odds we are still alive, and he is getting official command of what is basically our very own Legion tomorrow.
Decimus looks at me incredulously. "How many?" he asks again, slower this time as if that will change my answer. "A thousand Primitus Combat Shotguns. I'd prefer the Mark Five, if they are available." I state, in my calm flat Quartermaster voice. He is quiet for a moment, and I see his lateral thinking mind running through the same options I did, weighing the same numbers.
I understand it, mind you. Last week I had the same opinion - we should not be arming the locals, especially not those that were our enemies only a few months ago. I'd almost shot down the request as soon as I heard it. But that was before the new information caused me to re-evaluate our strategic picture. It has shown that the Kadu and Hasiru Tribes have only one of two futures with how this war is going. They are either refugees that we need to protect in order to prevent the alien enemy from harvesting their biomass. Or they are willing allies whose terrain knowledge and aggression can turn the fight.
At the very least something to stem the attrition rate of our own soldiers on Eos. The risks of an armed rebellion or tribal war are both very real, but arming them now is the surest way to deny the enemy a vital resource. It is as simple as that.
Rule 101 subsection 10: no means or method should be excluded if that exclusion leads to defeat.
Victus storms into the CiC, and surprises me. His anger is white hot unlike my usual slow simmer. Normally he is angry at people, but now he is angry at a place. It is the Strategium, the Combat Information Center. It is destroying the 991st. Three of its members are now active in running the offensive on the planet, and the unit is suffering. It has suffered since the beginning.
The problem is thus: Venatores excel at warfare, because Venatores are trained to excel at everything. And that makes us too damned useful. Trace back several vital colonial facilities and services, and you will find that a Venator set up this service or that system before handing it over to experts or civilian authorities. Sergeant-Major Quartus has used us as such during his time as Governor-Militant, as tools of government and coordination. He has continued that practice as Pan-Factional Commander, because it gets results.
But that means we get doled out in bits and pieces. Experts to lead strikes, patch holes, provide assistance. And that is not who we are. My brother's anger is white-hot, but it is just. He is right. There is a moment of crisis. I have to make a decision. We can't have three people in the CiC. We need to lead this unit.
I resign as Commander Shuttle Operations.
I throw my cap through the barracks, and slump briefly against my bunk. I am alone, Comms chirp, our shield generator recharge stations humms softly. I cared about the Chief Shuttle Operations job. I've worked hard to make it all happen. It hurts having to give it up. I care about it a lot, for reasons...
... I am briefly back on Merula, skimming the equatorial dunes in my Aurora LN. I am in the pilot's seat. Constanticus nuzzles my neck while Lena and Irene are making out in the back. We are heading for an anonymous oasis for an afternoon of private fun. I am enjoying the shoreleave with my friends. Rare time away from the 991st. How are my friends doing now, after the attacks? There has been no response to my letter...
No. Stop. Un-fuck yourself. Cap on, gear up, emotions off. Homesickness is a luxury for later.
Primary Imperative: the mission is all.
The parade files out on the Patio, looking pretty decent. People take their place. I glance at my squad, in full wargear. We've taken up close protection duties. I requested it, personally. The 991st is not really what you would call 'a parade unit'. Rapax is probably the best at parading on the planet, but even they look uncomfortable. Holding this transfer-of-command ceremony next to an active alien artefact is shit-stupid. But the ICC will not be denied its moneyshot. So close protection duties are necessary. It takes my mind off things.
As the civilians sit down, the military units start filing out. First are the Clans - I am honestly surprised at the Clannies who consider themselves 'a military unit'. They clown around, as usual. They are not military. They are not even militia. They are a war-band, a hap-hazard arrangement of 'enthusiastic' semi- and demi-combatants. If they ever run into something they can't handle by blowing an several drum-mags of ammo into it at point-blank range we'll lose them all. I hope the CiC staff is taking notes.
The Imperials are scrupulously correct, filing in neatly. But between them and the Clannies taking up a lot of patio the Legionairs that file out last have little room to stand. The Lt. solves it promptly, as she always does, and the ceremony drags on. Pretty flag, tho. Will make a nice campaign badge, once compliance on Eos has been achieved. The alien sphere seems content to pulse menacingly.
R&R! Warrant Officer Diem of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department has mandated two hours of downtime for us all. The weather is great. They shipped out Freedom Burgers for the lot of us. We slip into our chill clothes, and hang out. Some of us grab a book or a hammock to chill, but most take a corner of the patio and talk a lot. We have ice-cream, and live seems pretty good. Morale hasn't been this high in months.
Then the alien sphere pulses. Juno collapses. Briefly I feel morale twitch, but we all know what to do. Juno is quickly given the help she needs. In an act of contemptuous defiance, twenty-four members of the proud Civitas, Classis et Legiones Aquila flip the bird to whoever of whatever is watching on the other side of the sphere.
Squad morale restored.
Word had some down from the CiC - we're going in with the entire 991st. The second node location has been found, and we are hoofing it at best speed. We find a patrol from one of the firebases who got ambushed by the node guard force. The soldiers are all down, and half of them are already dead. We save the rest and start working on the node while treating the wounded. The Governor and Taga are with us, and so it pretty much feels like the old Eos Castellum crew. I am comfortable with these people having our back.
They come at us a few times, but they are facing the full 991st. We cordon, contain, target and destroy. No holding lines or static defense for us. Venatores fight dynamically. One tries to flank, and I pin it behind a tree. I have no cover myself but that barely matters if I can force it to keep its head down. As it finally musters the courage to take a shot at me, it gets hit from the side.
Estella has flanked, prosecuting the target hard. Her first two hits collapse its shield, the third hits the torso and the fourth blows out something in its neck – arterial spray everywhere. It gurgles and dies. She flashes me her trademark half-grin before folding back into our formation to screen the wounded.
Gnaeus protects the other flank, and one tries to rush him. He kneels and calmly lets his experimental Scorpio-pattern weapon rip it apart even as it tries to impale him. He reloads, and quickly checks all our munitions tallies.
We get the job done, medevac the wounded patrol and return to base. Mission accomplished.
Our comms chirp. Octavia is heading back to the Bastion in the shuttle, and requests assistance. Their mission went tits up - something about snipers - and they had to medevac. They have wounded, and more people still in the field. I acknowledge and head to the shuttle bay. Cass comes over the comm a moment later, acknowledging she's on her way, too. Between the two of us, we can fly that shuttle in and out of hell if need be.
Three Clannies jump in with us. DZ-3 and Red Brotherhood. Their people are out there, I understand their worry. We nod and they strap in. I don't trust them to be able to hit any actual targets, but that is not what this mission requires. Their 'suppressive' fire will be enough to reel our people back in.
Octavia stays with us, despite the sniper-hit to her shoulder. As I inquire about her armor-status, she casually mentions that it is fine - the sniper was kind enough to score a direct hit to her shoulder, leaving the armor undamaged. I see in her eyes that her brain is swimming in adrenalin and endorphins. She is loving it. She lives for this. I am damn glad we got some veteran reinforcements like her.
We bring everyone back home safe, and conduct them to the med bay. Victus actually has to force Octavia to be treated. She wants to keep going. But we need her nominal for tomorrow - the alien sphere might have a command center that needs raidin' - and we do so love to drop in uninvited.
One of the new DZ-3 members stands next to me, the Intergalactic Cheerleader. "Uhm, could you come down? The party is getting out of hand..." she hesitatingly remarks. Now that gets my attention. When a Clanny sends for a Legionair, it is bad. I may not be security, but we are the keepers of the peace. I nod to her, and let her know we will be down momentarily. She looks relieved. I routinely check my shieldgen (full charge) and my sidearm (fully loaded). I move down.
Vitus is there, I can see the pain in his eyes. "Did you hear, Anna..." but I stop him there. I need to focus him on something actionable. He explains these five visiting Clannies may have something to do with Anna's overdose. Baron is trying to fix stuff, but if they try to make for the gate we will have to stop them. I pull my sidearm. "Sanction Five it is". Vitus looks better, he knows he's got my support. He removes his patches, and I follow suit. This is personal.
The Sergeant-Major comes out of the CiC and notices our lack of patches. He inquires. Vitus looks pained again. I play my card. "Personal Matters, sir". He nods, and moves off, knowing better then to stick around. Vitus' eyes meet mine, understanding. We turn back to the clusterfuck. Luckily it is fixed soon after, and the party continues. There are days I do not get Clannies. At all. But Vitus is doing better, and no blood was spilt. The Intergalactic Cheerleader is called Hannah. We shake hands, exchange introductions and she thanks me. Optimal outcome.
Primary Imperative - I am my Brother's Keeper.
I run Mila through the basics. I sense her need to be useful. She is a fighter pilot, and while she can fly the shuttles she is at her best flying something nimble. We both grin widely as we feel the twin engines throttle up to full. We bond over both being pilots. The AM-50 Razor cuts through the sky like a blade, and we get the scouting run down in record time.
Perhaps I should ask Denna to be a flight instructor. I can continue doing some good here
Secondary Imperative - Maintain optimal readiness at all times.
Quintus needed the shuttles to bleed off excess reactor power from the Bastion after a huge fuckup. The clusterfuck will be addressed later, but for now he needs Lira, myself and the newly arrived Imperial engineer Hayato to do what he says, exactly how he says we should do it.
I sigh, close up the box of EMP grenades and head up. Soon after, we have both shuttles running at max idle thrust while still attached to the umbilical to the Bastion. I flick on my comm, and radio Quintus: "So Legionairs in shuttles make for good capacitors?"
I hear the grin in his answer as the comms crackle. "Of course. Don't hover too far above the Bastion, you are about to drop."
I am glad I trust my brother. It would have gotten awkward otherwise.
The debriefing is fairly routine, but I am impressed they sent three agents to debrief us in person. This is being taken seriously, and now we are being given a follow-up mission.
"In short", Agent Flavius says "We need you to go back, and salvage the Anubis. We can provide a ship, but the mission needs to be launched soon."
Lt. Sevso's eyes meet mine. We both have the same twinkle. This is what we were hoping for.
"I'd prefer the ARNX Mayhem, if she is available." I know I am aiming high. The ship is a modular prototype, part of a project the 991st consulted on. It was also named after one of their own, a brother fallen during the Skalatrax Landings. Sometimes you can combine the personal with the practical...
"We will see what we can do. We recommend a multifactional team." Agent Flavius concludes, closing her notepad and getting up to leave. The debriefing is over, and we escort the agents back to the gate.
Our own ship, a challenging problem and a tight deadline. Now this is more like it...
Sun, Dec. 31st, 2017, 06:27 pm
2017, it barely feels like you started, for a very good reason. In spring the news came that we were expecting, and that pretty much structured my year. A lot changed and at the same time it feels perfectly natural. Like Rory slotted nicely into a well-prepared niche in our family. She may only be a month old, but it strangely feels far longer. Yay for genetic programming.
The main project at the moment is helping Lies recover and get her body autonomy back. She's taken a few expeditions with me doing overwatch on Rory, and that has worked out great. I hope to enable many more adventures for both of my ladies in 2018.
Still, there was plenty of gaming to be had. Generally stuck closer to home with less events, but there were notable exceptions such as Wards of Czocha that was definitively a highlight of my year. Halfway through the year my CMXCI team had a wonderful day after which we had fresh momentum and new teammates - preparing us all for the fall event was absolutely delightful ( accessories, wheeeeeeee ). Vampire was excellent even with going abroad less and World of Darkness Berlin was a dream come true. Cirque Noir feels ages ago, but I feel very very good about supporting that team in making the event. Sitting out Awakening ( as it was only a few days before Rory's birth ) was very tough, but I am happy that the team included me with as much as possible including working through the feedback and the workshops for the consent mechanics. All in all, it has been a solid gaming year.
Still, a few larps were a bit of a struggle for me for personal reasons - as my priorities change I am definitively feeling that I have a lessened capacity for 'mucking about' ( whether mistake, malice or misadventure ) and am quicker to react to what I perceive are issues during events. In part I will solve this by choosing more stringently, and for the rest I will try to communicate more clearly when stuff bothers me. Diplomacy has always served me well, but it has also led to a bit of a softened approach that did not always produce the most ideal circumstances for me. With less time to game I will have to prioritize - some I will give up, and with others I will change my playing approach to be less dependent on those factors that did not work for me.
Next year will be mostly the same schedule, with some adaptations to ensure that Lies and I both have the chance to attend our favorite larps as the other spends the weekend with Rory. I am especially happy with already booking an edition of College of Wizardy.
Politically there were a lot of ups and downs. But people are seemingly catching on with a few tricks of the more toxic elements of our discourse, so here is to hoping that the dawn is indeed coming. We need some people to actually lead instead of scream, point at the other 'side' and posture. Reality will be there regardless of cable television and most of my friends and family live below sea level, thank you very much.
From a personal perspective there have been a lot of changes, but all of them for the positive. I've been to a lot of friends, Lies and I had a lot of friends over - especially as we became less mobile it was wonderful to still be able to chill, game, watch stuff and eat at our place. Thanks for taking the effort to visit us, and we hope to return the favor in the future. I got to know a few people a lot better over the year, and I am happy to know them. Thanks.
Lastly, I am proud of a few of my friends who struggled through recovery and personal development. It has not been easy for them, and finding help is always hard, but they persevered and got through. I am happy to have been able to help in my own small way as best I could.
So there is to 2018, in which I will find out more about this whole ‘dad’ thing, work on my own personal development within that new situation and go on a few more adventures, this time with my daughter in tow. My best wishes for 2018, especially those who of you that I know are embarking on a grand adventure of their own.
Catch you on the flipside.
Thu, Nov. 16th, 2017, 11:04 am
From the completely off-the-record and unofficial notes of Sergeant Arius Numitor
Bastion Eos, 15th of March 240
On days like this it feels like I am controlling myself from a third person view. So much happened, so much death, so many hurt. The professional in myself coldy regards the quivering bit of human in the corner of my mind. Stressed out of his brain, probably some PTSD too. But I don't have time for that. Normally I'd talk to Cass, but she has her own issues. So for what seems like the twentieth time today I try to focus and I recite the NCO oath in my mind. Gotta keep moving.
"I am a noncommissioned officer, a leader of Legionairs. As a noncommissioned officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps".
Get that shuttle repaired. Ask Juno and Gideon to help. Get it back into the fight. On day like this I miss my appartment on Merula. Tinkering in the garage on that old banged up Aurora LN. But this thing needs fixing, or people will keep dying. Briefly hope drains as I mentally run through the damage control list.
"I am proud of the Corps of noncommissioned officers and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service and The Republic regardless of the situation in which I find myself. I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety."
Work. Focus on the work. Don't focus on the mountain, focus on the hill. One step. Then another. Then another. Else nothing gets done.
"Competence is my watchword. My responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind — accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Legionairs. I will strive to remain technically and tactically proficient. I am aware of my role as a noncommissioned officer. I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role."
A tool slips my hand as Juno and I struggle to re-align the port engines, hitting the hangar floor with a clang. She asks if I am okay. I smile and I give her a "I'm fine". We both know that neither of us is. A mutual lie to get through the day.
"All Legionairs are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership. I know my Legionairs and I will always place their needs above my own. I will communicate consistently with my Legionairs and never leave them uninformed. I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment."
Gideon hrmps to himself sitting on the co-pilots seat running power diagnostics. Only a trickly of what the rear actuators need actually makes it to the stern. He's replaced over a dozen relays already, but still nothing. At least he is thorough, working the problem instead of bodging it up. I was glad to countersign his transfer orders to VAS CCCLI.
"Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties; they will not have to accomplish mine. I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my Legionairs. I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers, and subordinates alike."
Why do most people call him Numitor? Why only the last name? A few call him by his rank. Only a few call him Arius. Fewer still the other thing. He always tries to remember first names. Regard people with warmth. Sometimes he still needs to fake it, but he genuinly likes working with Kat, with Hryar, with Mano, with Mayumi, with Pandac... so why do they keep using his last name?
"I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals."
All bolts tightened on the engine cowling, looks good to go. There. Fixed. Another light switches from red to amber, and flickers to green. Only seventy-or-so to go. Mind keeps racing, flying, reviewing decisions and choices. But there is no time for that. Keep moving, don't stop to think.
Focus. Keep moving. Or nothing gets done.
Sun, Apr. 2nd, 2017, 12:56 am
From the completely off-the-record and unofficial notes of Sergeant Arius Numitor
Bastion Eos, 2nd of february 240
The mission 'Thunderstruck' was running into difficulties, chewing through successive waves of suicide bombers and psychic horrors - but the Legio Venatores CMXCI had strict orders: we were to hold in reserve. It made good strategic sense, and it is not that we're not useful at the Bastion - we are all cross-trained in casevac, medevac, recovery and triage procedures which proved quite handy as shuttle after shuttle started returning with injured combattants. But as the call for reinforcements came in from the notoriously unshakable Animar Subal of the 808th...
We all got the Look.
The Look that said 'Cut us loose. Let us go. This is what we do. Cut us loose'. The Lieutenant kept a tight rein on things, but she had seen it in all of us - she is good like that. The Look even got into Admiral Galerius' eyes - retired or not, a lifetime of service to the Republic is not so easily put aside. A nervous energy started building and it was the retiree that finally broke the tension as he turned to us. "Get Dressed!"
he barked, followed by a simple nod from Lt. Sevso. "Yes, Sir!"
we replied, as we ran to the barracks. We crammed five minutes worth of prep in two, got into our Venatores gasmask standby kits and crammed into the shuttle with whoever was ready.
SC-01 Louisa, our reliable little Vesta, was wheezing and tired after her twenty-second sortie that day - the interior smelled like cordite and blood which only heightened our sense of urgency. Lieutenant Sevso handed me my spare ammo drums that I did not even remember giving to her, and I saw the Look in her, too. If she could she’d grab one of the spare rifles now and join us on the field. But she had her own duties and slammed closed the hatch. A quick double knock indicated that she’d secured the hangar door and Louisa roared back into the night sky. Only at that point we noticed the pooling blood under the pilot seat - Specialist Juno Valeria had flown multiple sorties with just basic triage after what looked like a through-and-through gunshot to the leg. Nothing to be done about it now, tho. All our pilots were in the fight, on the board or in the medbay - and we'd have to make due.
We came down hard and disembarked in a rapid two-by-two line - as soon as we were out the hatch closed behind us. The landing field was eerily silent as the roar of the VTOL echoed away, but our feet were crunching through shell casings and spent clips - definitely the right place. We fell into our well-trained routine with Victus leading the strike - for all my own seniority it was in this kind of environment where my brother thrived, and we could not afford any fuckups. He ordered a wide advance and moved towards the target structure, where we saw what remained of one of the 808th: young Akizuki had regained his honor by falling in combat. There was little we could do for him, and we moved on as gunfire picked up on the other side of the structure - we had been spotted.
My own group held the corner while Victus and Cass swept around - a few of the Ecoform soldiers who were pre-occupied by us fell seconds later - they never saw the push from the other side. The last one realized his position and rushed Caelius. We poored fire into him and he detonated just short of Caelius' position, knocking him down. We secured the flank and I got my brother back on his feet. Then the door of the target compound burst open and the team we were here to rescue poured out, being pursued. We gunned the baddies down, and a moment's confusion came over them until Cass simply remarked "Don't worry, loves. Cavalry's here"
. The relief on some of the faces was telling, but the mission was not over yet - we still had to get back and there was no way we could squeeze all of us into fewer than three shuttle-rides.
We herded them back to the landing field - unsurprisingly they had a lot of wounded and were carrying a salvaged generator. Adrenaline was up, and it took some shouting by Victus and Cass to get them moving into the shuttle - the wounded were casevaced first. Minutes later Louisa returned and the generator plus the rest of the Thunderstruck team followed. And there it was just us, waiting for the last shuttle out. We quickly took stock of the situation. My own team had only expended a few rounds while making the push, and all reported ready to go, spreading in a reinforced half-square formation around the landing field. With us were Marcus, Armond, Maati and Lazar. I was pretty sure about Marcus Wakefield, Corporal Armond Vincere and Baguhan Maati Infor Dannam - the first was a Legion trauma-specialist who had survived in this warzone as long as any of us, the second a career soldier from the Sturnus anti-terrorism taskforce and the third an veteran of the Imperial 808th 'Gubat Bantay'. The unknown factor was Lazar Varnava, nominally a merc from the Pendzal DZ-3 - but his normal loudmouth swagger was absent. He was scanning the forest’s edge with a professional detachment and a loaded weapon. It would have to do.
Then the entire landing field fell quiet as if nature herself was holding her breath - the enemy was coming. Victus quickly instructed all to fall back to the shuttle upon the ‘rally’ command, and we prepared to defend ourselves. Twice they tried to attack and flank us. Twice they were repulsed. All were calm, collected and composed - holding their quarter and carefully screening those left and right of them from enemy attempts to break into the landing field. I saw some flickers of shield generators taking hits, but otherwise we simply stale-mated the enemy and bought the time we needed. I myself took a hit to my field with some sort of fragmentation round - it broke apart on impact and shrapnel clipped the side of my head - for a moment I was worried how pissed the medical staff would be that I had taken a second headwound today.“Rally, rally!”
The shuttle touched down almost gracefully, and we fell back in good order, laying down covering fire as we went. A quick headcount confirmed we’d all made it. Kat sat alone in the cockpit - apparently she had convinced Specialist Valeria to seek medical help at one point. But I was not worried - I was one of the few Aquila that knew of her part as one of the avenging angels of Nadz, flying bomber sorties against the enemy. Cass quickly took the co-pilot station and between the both of them had pretty much the most experienced shuttle crew we could ask for. SC-01 Louisa quickly gained altitude and got us to safety. “You okay back there...!?”
, came Kat’s voice, and we confirmed we were all good to go. “Great, I got some good music for this.”
As an old pre-war protest song
sounded throughout the shuttle we finally relaxed - Specialist Acilia quickly checked us on wounds but except for minor scrapes and my headwound we were all okay. Smiles were all around, including Maati and Lazar. And something one of our instructors had said during recovery training came to mind: “The Venatores do not make their hard decisions and necessary sacrifices with callous detachment, but neither do they let tears blind them to the greater purpose they pursue.”
This is what the ICC was all about. An Imperial officer had requested reinforcements, a Legion mission team had compacted with who-ever was available to exfiltrate them and they were flown being flow out by an Independant pilot. We had done the right thing, and we'd pulled it off. We all felt it, an honest pride-by-associaton. Finally the Look faded from our eyes.
This is our place. This is our mission. A mission that is shared among all factions - this proved that when push comes to shove Humanity stands together on Eos as one. I don't feel quite so lonely, anymore.
Sat, Feb. 18th, 2017, 05:50 pm
From the completely off-the-record and unofficial notes of Sergeant Arius Numitor
Bastion Eos, 25th of January, Year 240
It has been a rough day. Finally had some kind of talk with one of the shits that took our blood, and there is just no sense of responsibility there. I just hate that they can't police their own people, and I just know that if the Conclave needs to take action it is going to be all 'everybody is against us, boohoo' again. No sense of consequences, of loyalty, of dignity, of team spirit. Like we don't even live on the same planet. It bothers me beyond the facts of the matter, and I finally figured out why.
I am trained to think alike. Everything is so standardized amongst the Legiones Aquila that you can function without thinking. If I ever needed night vision goggles, somebody could throw me their bag, and I’d know exactly what pocket to find them in. We were like cogs in a wheel. And that may sound like a bad thing — but it’s not.
Nobody wants to think of themselves as cogs in a wheel, but it is human nature that we love structure. Our behavior is predictive. All of us tend to be in the same place, at the same time, every single day. This tendency is just accelerated in the Legion. And it feels good. It feels good to know your place. It feels good to wear the same uniform. It feels good to know exactly what you’re contributing to the mission, to the team, and to the Republic as a whole. Your value is so clear.
But on Eos the lines are blurred. It's hard to discover that value. You’re not sure where you fit. You’re not sure how you connect to other people. You’re not sure how to make a difference. It is hard to relate to other factions. It can be very isolating. And all you want to do is just to be back in the Legion, with my team, out on our own, being of value to the Republic.
Don't get me wrong, I believe in the mission. But some days are harder then others.
From the completely off-the-record and unofficial notes of Sergeant Arius Numitor
Bastion Eos, 12th of January, Year 240
Abominable. That is what he'd called it.
Captain Whats-His-Name may have been an rear-echelon twat, but he'd been right about this particular point. Weapon maintainance had suffered in a last few weeks, and their combat effectiveness had degraded accordingly. These were mostly second-tier weapons after all. Spares they'd saved or salvaged in the past week during the evacuation of Eos Castellum and the recovery of the Ecoform Alpha Base (now called Bastion Eos).
It wasn't that it was unexpected. The Governor has managed to wreck another bolt sled, Victus had his usual flora-related jams, the Lt. has a persistent discharge failure in one of her two Conatio's he had not been able to correct. Even his own Praecursator had failed - an internal ammo explosion had rendered the gun internals a tangled mess. Quintus and Cass' Primitus Combat Shotguns were still in the fight, tho - perhaps there was something to the commercials about its supposed indestructibility. All of their primary weapons were still in fighting condition, but if any of those broke it would mean an immediate reduction of firepower on the line.
Time was the issue. His promotion had come through, but that also meant that with Gnaeus still out on WMD-hunt he was now the Governor's Executive Officer. With this new swanky base to whip into shape that meant a lot of work, a lot of organizing and a lot of civilian management. He did not have to do it alone, mind you, but coordinating it all took a lot of time. His toolbox was still in the corner of the barracks he'd put it over a week ago. And the maintainance suffered.
The one evening of downtime had been good, tho. Time to relax a bit, kick back with his squaddies, his fellow legionairs and whatever other colonists felt like hanging with in their precious spare time. There were good talks, good laughs and some accidental weapon discharges. Nothing that could not be fixed with some plaster and a stern talk later. Nothing that could not be fixed now by the supply of alcohol that the Lt. had 'liberated' from Ecoforms personal stash. And nothing that could not be made better by requisitioning Colonel Cicero's personal Mochachino maker.
For much the same reason he liked the fact that he'd been able to fly the shuttle with Kat and Cass. It was a personal moment, something that was just Arius' time, and not part of the professional life of Sergeant Arius Numitor. Much like a talk in the barracks with his squad about a personal matter. He had faith in them all - griping aside, when push came to shove he had a good team. A trusted team. A team that could give the aliens a run for their money. And the way that it was all shaping up, they'd soon have ample opportunity to prove that for all the universe.
But first, weapon maintainance.
Thu, Sep. 18th, 2014, 02:55 pm
From the completely off-the-record and unofficial notes of Corporal Arius Numitor
Viridis low-orbit, 28th of November, Year 239 (New Count)
Large public parks, wide open-plan cities, deep blue inland seas and massive stretches of bright green nature preserves. That is how Viridis looked from above, belying the title "Fortress World" that made many foreigners think of a grey concrete box loaded to the brim with weapons and soldiers. Of course, looking like a pleasant and open planet was the plan all along. Arius Numitor had heard a slightly tipsy Captain from the Panopticon describe it as: "Surprise! That large, flat, poorly defended tundra conveniently located near a number of major metropolitan areas is actually the heart of a large, dense, and heavily armed bunker system!"
Of course, now that Lira was piloting the brand-new two-seater Origin Jumpworks M50 out of the atmosphere the massive orbital plates became visible, bristling with capital level weaponry. Legion clearance codes allowed them to fly this close to the military orbitals, and the rows upon rows of ships birthed on their protected underside were a beautiful sight. She gunned the engines and flew closer to the ship docks, drawing a series of disturbed hails from shuttle pilots and maintenance lighters, and navigated between the massive struts that held destroyers, frigates and cruisers in place as they were being loaded or repaired.
The transponder kept beeping insistently. Probably the owner of the M50 trying to find out where his prize ship had gone. He should not have left it in a seemingly abandoned and dilapidated industrial hangar with the canopy open. Lira and Arius had only the one day of liberty on Viridis and decided to go urban exploring near one of the older spaceports when they had found it. And decided to take it for a spin.
Besides, there wasn't really an 'owner' to begin with. Arius recognized spoofed ID codes when he saw them. They should fly it back to the manufacturer, and perhaps cash themselves a nice little recovery fee. Also, CMXCI was officially not on Viridis, so Arius and Lira were not here and could not have possibly 'borrowed' a ship from 200 light years away. Plausible fracking deniability. Gotta love the military.
They would return to Eos tomorrow, but today they were free to enjoy all the perks a core world could offer while the Sergeant-Major was being debriefed at the Panopticon. Now, if he could just convince Lira to give him a spin at the controls. Or stop smirking quite so much at near misses as she jinked through onrushing orbital traffic...
It was good.
The group this year was leaner due to a staggering amount of real life (tho most of it of the good kind) but we managed a good camp. We all pitched in, did our thing, and had plenty space besides (tho the pool may have been too big ;-) ). And with a good logistical base, the fun can really start. Also, It is nice to simply be part of a group without being a core component of it.
As Yoshida Masuo, Hatamoto of our Daimyo I am mostly found at his side (bodyguard, basically), so I simply enjoyed the walking, diplomacy and sights of the Dragon World, with parties, training with the fighters guild and reconnecting with a lot of familiar faces. It were a few good days including a good night of diplomacy in the Silver Camp and a visit to the Green for a picknick, and the Red for a good fight. Learned Go. Picked up some Shogi. Read the Hagakure this year instead of The Art of War.
And again, on top of the mountain, I found the Void and embraced it. During the final battle on top of the mountain I entered my state of no-mind. It is a state where all that I am is folded into one moment: the present. With nothing to think about in the past or in the future. Every step I took clicked into place with every next step, every action a consequence of the previous one. Even though our army was outnumbered and would last no more then ten more minutes I tore my way through two weak spots before being cornered and then politely requested to withdraw by my opponents. I politely acquiesced. They even returned my hat, which I had lost. Somewhere. I can't recall. It is rather addictive. I reach it primitive and unpracticed, but I might consider trying to develop it better. Time will tell.
The end result is an afterlarp dip which is... fierce. It has been a while since something sucked me in so well. It has given me perspective. It was especially good to see Mike and Mark, who both in their own ways embraced the chance to do their thing so well - both for different reasons I think, but there was a beauty in the way they enjoyed themselves. And I think pretty much everyone went for that, tho I saw it most pronounced in those two.
It is good to have a week afterwards to chill with Lies, in which we have seen movies, been to themeparks and almost slew a Venom Cult (next time, snakes, next time!). I am descending slowly and expect to click back into my rhythm after the weekend.
And for some parting wisdom: "If you are caught unprepared by a sudden rainstorm, you should not run foolishly down the road or hide under the eves of houses. You are going to get soaked either way. Accept that from the beginning and go on your way. This way you will not be distressed by a little rain. Apply this lesson to everything."
Fri, May. 30th, 2014, 12:33 am
From the completely off-the-record and unofficial notes of Corporal Arius Numitor
Eos Castellum, 22nd of November, Year 239 (New Count)
Vague secret mission. Go 'there'. Pick up shuttle. Go to another 'there'. Civilian rendez-vous. Await further instructions. No support. Expect combat. In other words, dangle-your-ass-over-the-edge-and-see-what-takes-a-bite. Again. Fuck that.
But mission prep at least kept him busy. New ammunition, fresh clips, and new weapons. For Victus he had the new Velox-pattern assault rifle, just in time for some after-market modifications. For Castiel he had built a Primitus-pattern similar to the weapon with which Quintus had taken out a 'Stalker-class Living Tank' (blessed as it was by the Ekanesh Prisci). Castiel had also requested two side-arms, a standard Praecursor which he still had in storage, but also a new Spiculum-pattern hand cannon adapted for Frag-12 shells. In case she felt like some tank-hunting, he imagined. All of their weapons were modified for the conditions they'd come to expect on Eos, with a little more range and a whole lot more stopping power to put down the Kadu (suicidal maniacs hell-bent on close combat).
There were also the two new pistols. Pioneered by urban suppression squads they gave a shooter the firepower of a machinegun but small and stable enough to hold in one hand. It had a low clip size and was hard to reload in combat but could lay down a hail of fire you wouldn't believe, and that without any internal power source. And the other hand was left free for a shield or close combat weapon. They were still being field-tested, but Arius managed to get two assigned to Eos. Tiberius would test one, and the other would be rotated through-out the unit. Whatever survived Tiberius was good enough for him.
He'd als refurbished a few of their older weapons - weapons that were technically decommissioned but would only need a little care and attention to be battlefield-ready. Bringing plenty of spare weapons on any 'no support' mission was at least as important as bringing plenty of the right ammo. Now to improvise a quick-release so he could serve as "spare weapons cache" while maintaining suppressive fire, and perhaps add a carrying sling to the Arvus shuttle-door he was considering pressing into service as a combat shield.
And there was the tedious stuff. Check all the batteries. Recharge them. Check all the batteries again. Brass-check all the weapons. Spring-check all the clips. Run a full diagnostic on all the comm-systems. Run a full diagnostic on the suit shield systems and InterLink hookups, especially with Quintus' recent "new and interesting modifications" for the Asperi 3C Network.
The entire unit had already spent a day-and-a-half getting ready for this little excursion, which was probably longer then the actual mission was going to last. Such was the order of things. And at least he was glad to re-furbish the Sarge's old Gravus-pattern Light Machine Gun. He'd be leading them, and that cheered him up like no tomorrow. A mission with the team might be just what he'd need to cheer him up.
"Axios", he muttered, and got on with the prep.
After KP 2012 a few Dutch attendees came together and started a series of chill, informal meets between larp organizers under the banner of the Dutch Larp Platform. Held in the Dutch Game Garden in Utrecht, a gaming resource that has already been used often by local gaming outlets who are very supportive of any kind of gaming community, they have been - in my opinion - a success that is spectacular in its tiny scope.
Let me explain.
I have no idea of it is a unique or common situation, but we know of at least two previous attempts to do the same that have failed because of the intent or perception (as we only heard from it after the fact) to formalize a set of mandatory weapon safety and/or quality rules. Larper organizers being larpers, most of them said 'screw this' and the initiative bled to death. Whether or not that would have been a good thing I will just leave for a discussion between people that were actually there, but it did result in a lot of little 'larp islands' barely knowing of each other's existance.
What did not help is that there as some kind of fierce 'competition' boom around the launch of the Lord of the Rings movies between 7 to 10 years ago. I have no idea whether or not it had any merit (was still very much a junior back then) but it soured relations between clubs, groups and larpers. Going to multiple larps back then was sometimes an exercise in cautious
There are a still lot of differences in the Dutch larp world, but a lot of the organizers of today who came through that competition 'battle' have adopted a 'live and let live' attitude, which has now been leveraged into contacts between several larp groups that freely exchange information, manpower, (digital) props and resources. This is a wonderful thing, but as nothing is really written down in any kind of searchable format it stays local. You have to know the right people
So this time the meetings are being leveraged as a knowledge network, intent on providing a platform for sharing and discussion without 'needing' anything. There are many larpers and many larps, and we can learn from common differences. It is a wonderful start. If anything, it may actually be a little 'too soft' this time, as people are moving cautiously to make any statement or decision that might exclude others.
As we move from the starting-up phase to the building-phase I am quietly hopeful. For me, the ability to discuss cool ideas and exchange information with others is the core of what the out-character bit of the hobby is all about. Especially with an Edu-larp group in the same city that is making some very nice inroads with the Dutch Ministry of Education - Yes, members of Parlement have been spotted with foam swords.
If you are a larper in the Netherlands, and feel like hearing about larp-design, organizing and what your fellow larpers are up to? Sign up for the mailing list: http://dutchlarpplatform.us7.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=cfe99f4f6c661e8e6568dda6d&id=1f42dbf134