The low thrum of the anti-grav dwindled and merged into the patter of rain. Shen struck another mark in the smear of mud caked across the floor, then stood back to survey his tally of the previous weeks. With brow furrowed, he began to pack the remaining supplies in preparation for the return.

“You ain’t the only one with thoughts.”

“It’s not just ‘thoughts’. You’ve seen the patrol counts, and we’ve all mapped out the dead contacts from the cells to the northeast.”

“Nah, nah, I’m not tryin’ to be dismissive, Shen. I’m thinkin’ of who else we can drum up to support the plan. You know what the more cautious of our folks are gonna say, we gotta present it well.”

“Has Preeda brought back parts? If we have those on hand it’ll make convincing the mechanics team much easier.”

“Yeah, all but the bulkiest stuff. Nothin’ unmanageable, we’ll just need to get a few teams to grab ‘em.”

“Well, get in touch with whoever it is you have in mind before the meeting tonight.”

The endless creaking of aged steel felt louder than usual in the quiet of the meeting room.

With a soft grunt, Milena stood and broke the silence.

“Just last year, we lost so much in the evacuation. All because we grew too bold and acted too openly. I’m not sure what justification you have to offer for requesting something of this scale, but you’re free to make your case.”

Shen walked to the center of the room and began to speak.

“Over the past few months, we’ve lost contact with numerous other cells. Previously, this was a constant but uncommon occurrence, and survivors would trickle into nearby outposts. Something has changed.”

He turned and motioned to Ju-won, who had already begun to walk towards the center table, awkwardly carrying a large sheet of canvas. Rolling it out on the table revealed a map, sporting a dense cluster of marks and notations.

“Look over the dates and event tracing. They’ve been spiraling out from a point near the northern forests. First, scouting and survey activities increase, then no enemy contacts for one to two weeks… from which point outpost and settlement signals go silent.”

Shen waited a moment as heads craned to get a view of the table.

“If the pattern holds, we have a month left. At best.”

Milena spoke. “So why not propose a relocation? That’s enough time for us to prepare and move.”

“Where will we run when they come again? This was already the only viable spot to safely settle in the region, and any further to the southwest is nothing but steppes, nowhere to hide. We have to be more than just reactive.”

A figure rose from one of the tarp-covered rubble piles that served as benches and spoke.

“The Scourge have always been happy to take the easy pickin’ they could get from us if we overextend. What makes you so sure they’d change their behavior like this?”

“Why they’ve shifted from tolerance of our presence to eradication… I don’t have much optimism for understanding them any more than we ever have. Our concern is what to do with the time we still have. We barely made it out of the previous assault, and we will not survive another attack on the scale they appear to be conducting.”

“Fine, we’ll assume we’re on the clock. What are you proposin’? A handful of vehicles and a few squads on foot are gonna drive them off the planet? I’m not sure goin’ out with a little bang is a reasonable solution.”

Shen paused, nervous to bring this up; it had been an increasingly contentious topic.

“The transmission signals of the past few months. Something else is out there, something that isn’t Scourge, something that doesn’t match anything we recognize from old Shaltari or EAA transmissions.”

A few murmurs and groans from the attendees as the man responded.

“We can’t be sure those aren’t Scourge! Who’s to say they don’t just have new equipment or protocols? I won’t begrudge anyone the wishful thinking to imagine there’s someone out there who could help us, but wishes are all they are.”

Ju-won spoke, pulling a device out of his pocket.

“The radio folks are sure they isolated somethin’ intelligible outta it, asked us to play it tonight. Listen.”

A buzz filled the room. A minute of static, and Milena began to speak, but was interrupted as several loud pops rang out from the recording. More noise for another moment, and then two clear words from the device.

“…fold… scan…”

Ju-won picked up the speaker, sitting back down before the stunned audience began to argue among themselves.

Shen waited for the room to quiet enough to be heard.

“There’s a human presence in the system. Someone with the resources to build and operate fold drives! If we don’t act now, not only will the Scourge come, but we may miss the only chance we’ve had to discover if someone made it through the invasion with enough strength to oppose them.”

He glanced at Preeda, who nodded back to him.

“We’ve located an underground hangar, and between it and the surrounding maintenance and engineering shops, there’s all the parts we need to get our Voidhawk working. With that, we’ll have something that can get sufficiently high and send out a clear signal, safely away from both atmospheric noise and our settlement.”

“Engine components, fuel blocks, and flight control consoles, all in acceptable condition,” Preeda said. “The mechanics agreed to sign off on mobilizing the necessary vehicles if we can get consensus here.”

Another man’s voice from the benches. “And where is the hangar?”

Shen pointed to a spot on the map.

“On the edge of dense Scourge territory. Preeda has already made multiple trips safely in and out, so a trip will be risky, but feasible. I won’t claim we’re certain not to lose anyone, but the alternative is surely worse for us all.”

“A small team compared to a fucking parade of-”

“I think we understand the situation as you describe it,” said Milena, cutting off the man. “Shen, you’ve had your time, and now I’m calling for a vote on the proposal.”

A counting of hands, then volunteers began coming forward as notice was sent to the equipment bays.

Game impact: 0 VP for Resistance, no signal sent. 1-3 VP means better result signalling.

>Observation event, threading weave.

>Identification of origin not feasible, non-broadcasted signal does not significantly exceed stratospheric baseline. High intensity multi-frequency broadcast characteristics indicative of EAA hardware. Signal cessation concurrent with appearance of three Corsair-class interceptors.

>Transcription of broadcast and raw signal included in thread.


Resistance, 770pts: 

HQ Battlegroup 1

1 X Alexander Heavy Tank + CV1 Commander 

1 X Lifthawk Dropship + AA Cannon

Frontline Battlegroup 1

2 X Resistance Fighters

2 X Resistance Fighters

2 X Resistance Fighters

1 X Jackson APC 

1 X Jackson APC

1 X Jackson APC

1 X Lifthawk Dropship + AA Cannon

Frontline Battlegroup 2

2 X Resistance Fighters

2 X Resistance Fighters

2 X Resistance Fighters

1 X Jackson APC 

1 X Jackson APC

1 X Jackson APC

1 X Lifthawk Dropship + AA Cannon

Armor Battlegroup 2

2 X Patton AFV

1 X Kraken Hovercraft

Scourge, 780 pts:

Frontline Battlegroup 1

4 X Prowler Spider Drone

1 X Intruder Light Dropship

Frontline Battlegroup 2

2 X Warriors

1 X Intruder Light Troopship 

Armor Battlegroup 1

3 X Stalker Beetle

Vanguard Battlegroup 1

4 X Minder AA Drone 

1 X Intruder Light Dropship

War Engine Battlegroup 1

1 X Dictator