Stormshroud

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About Stormshroud

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  1. Thanks for your kind feedback. Thanks must go to Mrs Stormshroud for her help with proof reading all these and spotting my grammatical mistakes. Here is a third piece for folk to (hopefully) enjoy. This one has just crept over the word limit at 1021 words. But given that it was up over 1500 at one stage I'm pleased with how much it has tightened up. Comments and critique appreciated as always. Countered Tracer fire shredded the foliage as Pablo slid into cover behind a large boulder. Where the hell had they come from? All reports put the nearest alien forces at least a hundred kilometres away. Someone had made a huge mistake; the enemy was here and about to punch through. He opened up his hacking rig to see a live feed of the immediate area. Icons flared into life showing friendly forces as well as confirmed and likely enemy contacts. Something big was pouring fire in from his left. He cursed to himself as he waited for the system to identify it. After what seemed like an age, an enemy ident popped up. TAG-size construct - an Overdron - within range for him to hack. Pablo began his dive. The real world fell away, replaced by the virtual world of his rig. An alien barrier hovered before him, barring his path. A rippling swirl of metallic-tinged colour, not unlike oil on water, it was different from the ordered human defensive barriers. He had been baffled and a little scared when he had first seen one. Even now he felt like it was something not meant for him. At first he had tried to defeat them as he would a human built barrier, with logic. Crack the digital lock to open the next layer. Painful experience had taught him that wouldn’t work. This was simply an exercise in will. Like a balloon, this barrier would burst if enough pressure was applied to one point. The feedback would be intense, but the systems in his hacking rig should prevent any permanent damage. Mentally bracing himself, Pablo struck. The barrier bent inwards; the colours pooling and rushing to that spot as pain flashed back through the link. Pablo gritted his teeth. Suddenly the pain was gone as the barrier shattered like glass. The next barrier was a sphere of red dots; each dot itself a tiny sphere with a pulsing red glow. The pulsing intensified as he drew closer, easing as he stepped back. This was similar to human defensive barriers he had encountered. He had just the utility in his rig for this. As it loaded, a wraithlike shadow passed over him, sending a chill down his spine. He looked around for the shadow’s owner, but saw nothing. Work fast. Get in and get out. That was the key; that was always the key. The longer a dive took, the more chance there was of being discovered and counter hacked. Pablo activated the utility and advanced. As he approached, the spheres were repelled by some unseen force, dissipating as he passed. Before him was a thicket of metallic thorn bushes, so tightly interwoven as to be an almost solid wall. His rig scanned the virtual construct, identifying it as a crypto barrier with a cipher up in the multiple terabit range. Far more complex than any human barrier. Cracking this wasn't going to be quick or easy. "What are you doing?" The sibilant whisper in his ear came from nowhere. Pablo jerked and spun looking for the source. There was something at the corner of his vision. He tried to track it but it was too fast. "What are you doing?" The same voice, from the other side. His head snapped round. Nothing. "Why do you fight us?" Behind him now. "Why do you resist?" Off to his side again. He turned, his heart racing. "Why don't you answer?" Pablo spun on the spot. The voice always came from where he wasn't looking. Information from his rig was coming too slowly, etching in pixel by pixel. A counter hack! He had taken too long; an alien hacker had found him. But why play this game? Why not simply strike at him? "Because, Sergeant Pablo Costa, that is not our purpose." The voice - no, voices - answered a question he had never voiced. How? Then he felt it; the cold fingers in his brain, tendrils wrapping around his cube. He jerked in terror, trying to break the dive. Nothing happened. Every attempt was smothered by the alien consciousness that engulfed him. "We have no wish to harm you Sergeant. We want to help you." Pablo's mind flailed futilely against the alien presence. Fighting wasn't getting him anywhere, maybe guile would work better. He stopped struggling, hoping to give the impression that he had submitted. "Better. There is less pain if you don't resist." Pablo tried to breathe deeply, desperate to think clearly. "Why do you fight us?" The question came again. Pablo thought about it. He had enlisted to serve PanO. There hadn't been a war on, security had seemed like a relatively safe place to escape the corporate rat race he had seen his parents dragged through. Battling aliens and seeing friends die hadn't been part of the recruitment pitch. "What are you doing?" He didn’t know. Humanity had the Aleph constructs to defend them. It didn't need him. He shouldn't be here. "You should go home." He should go home; it had been too long since he last saw NeoTerra. "Tell people the truth." Another good point. He was sure the war on Paradiso wasn't being reported truthfully. The people wouldn't allow it if they knew the truth, there would be uproar. "We don't want war. We want humanity to join us. To take its place in this interstellar coalition of races. Does that sound so terrible?" It sounded no different than being a citizen of PanO, simply part of a larger whole. "Those with power seek to retain it, at the cost of your lives." That was certainly true, corporations and lobbies were concerned with power and profit above everything else. "What are you going to do?" Go home. He was going to go home and tell people the truth. He wasn't dying just to keep the rich in power. Suddenly Pablo was back in the real world, the aftermath of battle plainly evident. As he rose to his feet, a hand reached out to help. An alien hand encased in an armoured gauntlet. Pablo took it, smiling at the Umbra.
  2. So I finished another piece of flash fiction that I thought I would inflict upon you all... True Death The traffic buoy bounced gently as its anti-grav systems countered the wake of a passing freight drone. But that gentle movement was exaggerated through his scope and the target area disappeared from view as the buoy settled back into place. He took a deep breath and steadied himself, waiting for the movement to stop. * * * * * François was silently congratulating himself. The meeting had been a complete success and the proposals were going to go ahead without delay. The anticipated stock rise would be accredited to him and that should be enough to guarantee him the promotion. The real benefit would, of course, be the corporation’s rise in standing with the lobby, and the influence that would bring them. He nodded to his two close protection specialists as they fell in beside him in the building's foyer. Corporate policy was clear that they should no longer be referred to as bodyguards; their job was to protect the individual, not his body. Cube retrieval was more important than the protection of the replaceable shell that cube was loaded into. Cube technology offered practical immortality to those who were privileged enough. François was one of those who knew they could enjoy a lifespan far beyond what would be considered natural. Strictly speaking, the power of resurrections lay within the purview of the church, but in reality it was a perk that could be bought if one had enough power, money, or influence. François had worked hard to get to a position where he could expect to enjoy the thrill of being reborn into a new body with a full life ahead of him. He may have stepped on a few people on the way, and some of his decisions could be described as morally questionable, but that was corporate life in PanO. The strong survived and those without the strength or stomach fell by the wayside and tumbled into obscurity. * * * * * His target was crossing the plaza, two guards alongside. That was laughable protection, a salve to the corporate ego. It might stop a lunatic in a crowd but not a deliberate and targeted attack. The range was good; it was a long shot but well within his abilities. He took account of the breeze, toggling his scope to show the eddies in the air around the huge shining corporate towers. Not yet. Soon but not yet. * * * * * François enjoyed the plaza, especially on a nice day like today. It was why he never used the underground parking, preferring to walk in the shadows of the corporate towers for a little while. These mighty monoliths always struck him as almost religious demonstrations to capitalism. It was a fanciful notion, there was nothing faintly religious about them. They were posturing displays of power for sure, a physical representation of a corporation's power: sometimes a bluff, very occasionally understated, and always expensive, but they were far removed from anything holy or sanctified. Walking between them made François feel small, insignificant against the might of the corporate behemoth. It was a novel feeling to flirt with, like he had read sailors felt about the ocean. His gaze lingered on a female executive walking across the plaza towards the building he had just left. She looked young for a executive but her outward appearance probably bore little resemblance to her real age. Her suit was immaculate and cut to the latest style. It was chic, sheer, almost reflective, and accentuated her femininity in ways that could be distracting. This was a dangerous woman, a powerful player in the game and yet François didn't recognise her. That bothered him. The woman moved like a shark amongst fish in the plaza and people melted out of her path. François thought that was more because of the two guards that flanked her, both in powered armour, ORC design if François was right. They were a clear display of status, but to François the woman was clearly the most dangerous of the trio. * * * * * He exhaled slowly and paused his rhythmic breathing as he gently squeezed the trigger. The rifle kicked against his shoulder in that familiar way and his target fell. * * * * * François smiled at the woman as they got close. He didn't know why and it wasn't something he would normally do. She, in reply started to smile back at him, a little amused if he was any judge. There was distant pop that he heard over the sounds of the passing traffic. A little, almost insignificant noise, and then the woman’s head jerked sideways and she fell. François watched, not understanding at first, as a stain of something that was not quite blood spread across her chest and formed a growing pool around her. The woman’s face was still looking at him; data patterns rippled across her skin and her eyes span in their sockets. A cyborg lhost body, top of the line, expensive to replace but, François abstractly realised, completely replaceable. The woman wasn't really dead. His primal brain warred with his higher reasoning, as horror warred with pragmatism. His close protection team were still reacting to the shot, but for François everything was happening in slow motion. It was surreal. He should be shocked. He should be appalled. But he felt nothing, as if none of this was real. As he stood there, dumbfounded, he swore he could see the second bullet streaking toward the fallen woman. He watched as it struck home, smashed through her cranial shell, and shattered her cube in a shower of blue sparks. Then the horror hit. Then he screamed. Those arcing blue sparks would haunt him for years to come. * * * * * He lowered his rifle and dropped his head slightly as if praying. After a brief moment, Armand le Muet slipped into the saddle of his tethered hover bike. Another contract completed. As before any comments or critique appreciated.
  3. So I haven't had/made as much time to write as I used to but I have been tinkering with a few bits of Infinity set flash fiction, one of which I am happy enough to post. This one, and those that follow, are self contained stories limited to 1000 words and I appreciate any feedback and constructive criticism. And so I give you the first of (hopefully) many bits of Infinity flash fiction Delphi's Deal... The main promenade of the caravansary was a bustling hive of activity as always. Places like this never slept, never stopped; out here in space day night cycles didn't apply unless artificially enforced and for the traders who called this place home any down time was time they weren't making money and time they were behind their competitors. Their business world was more ruthless than any battle zone and they had less compassion for one another than soldiers on opposing sides. Leaning on the railing, Sandrine casually flicked the intrusive adverts from her display as one would shoo off an irritating fly. She had to let the odd one through her screening barrier or she would stand out as an inexplicable dead spot in the swirling mass of data. That would draw attention her way from people she was intending to avoid. She went back to scanning the promenade for her target. He should be coming through any time now her intel said his shuttle had docked minutes earlier. The promenade always astounded her with its wide range of occupants; it showed the full breadth of humanity’ multicultural tendencies in a way she had never seen anywhere else. She watched as a prominent Neoterran businessman negotiated something certainly more personal with a heavily altered Bakunin pleasure girl. It would make for good information to control or blackmail him later, but capturing the image would risk the wrath of the privacy screen software and, until the primary mission was complete, it wasn't worth risking the extra attention. Then she saw him, her target, moving quickly and confidently through the crowd. She noticed the pommel of a knife or sword protruding from the base of his coat and caught the tell-tale bulge of a hidden pistol under his arm. This could be fun. Her target moved with purpose and clearly knew where he was going; fortunately so did she. With what he was looking to sell there was only one buyer on this station, only one place he could be going, Delphi's Emporium in the even shadier lower levels of the caravansary known as the Underzaar. Sandrine stepped back from the railing and moved into a maintenance tunnel pulling her hood up and closing her visor. * * * * * Delphi lounged in her chair nibbling on some sugar coated Leilain root, each morsel sending sparks of delight through her body. Not a day went by when she regretted getting the taste bud sensitivity graft. It made every mouthful a sensory delight, every meal an explosion of flavour. Food had become her drug of choice and she was in a position to make sure she got to taste delicacies forbidden under Aleph law. A window flashed onto her display from her secretary in the outer room. "Madam Delphi the gentleman from Corregidor is here to see you." "Send him in, but deactivate his firearms as you scan him." This meeting wouldn't be nearly as pleasurable to the senses but should be incredibly lucrative. The door to her study opened with a bang as the man barged in. "Delphi I don't appreciate being molested by your lackeys." "Calm down my dear Rodriguez they are only doing their job. Now, do you have the item you promised?" "Yes I have it. Flight codes and sentry patterns for Neoterran planetary space." "Shh" Delphi admonished "Even here we could be overheard despite all my precautions." "You useless fat sow, if you are that worried about security you should have come to Corregidor for this information." "Now that’s no way to talk to a lady," purred a female voice from above them Delphi's and Rodriguez's eyes swept up searching for the source of the voice, then Delphi glanced around wondering why her sentry guns weren't activating. "Oh I dealt with your toys," the light tinkling voice came again. "Their security subroutines are woefully out of date, almost a month old, shame on you." Rodriguez swept his pistol from its holster and made to fire into the shadows of the overhead space. He pulled the trigger futilely as he realised what Delphi had done. "Oh dear," the voice continued as a shape dropped down to the floor. It was hazy and indistinct, the air around it rippling in response to a high tech camouflage system. "That must be so inconvenient." But Rodriguez was fast of mind and body, and swept a jug of water, from the desk throwing its contents over the shimmering shape. The thermo-optic camouflage crackled and failed as Rodriguez drew his knife from its sheath at the base of his back. "Not so cocky now you Hexa bitch," he sneered, activating the weapon. The blade which had previously been short and squat flipped and unfolded to become a vicious angular hooked blade. "Neat toy, but you know what they say," the interloper said as she brought a snub nosed weapon to bear. Delphi watched as the two combatants engaged each other. Rodriguez was fast and his arms and shoulders spoke of an inherent strength. The woman was small, lithe and nimble. She dodged the sweeps and thrusts of Rodriguez's blade. The contest ended abruptly as the woman rolled around one of Rodriguez's attacks, coming to a stop behind him and firing a short burst into the back of his head. Blood, brain matter and bits of skull spattered off the wall leaving crazed patterns against the flickering images displayed there. Delphi gagged and her enhanced taste buds only made the bile in her mouth taste even fouler. "Now, Delphi we are going to have a little chat about why you are trying to acquire security information for Neoterran planetary space. I do hope you are not going to be too willing to co-operate," The Hexa said as she walked slowly and deliberately around to Delphi, trailing the barrel of her gun along the desk.
  4. I tend to run both a Naga Hacker and Minelayer in my ASA lists. This way I get to put 3 camo tokens down during deployment and (hopefully) keep my opponent guessing as to which is which. This works quite well for me anyway.
  5. I've made him aware it's happening and I'll try and persuade him when we play on Friday.
  6. Just finished going through the book and wow it looks great. Thanks CB for getting this out so fast. Really looking forward to getting some games under my belt, the new hacking rules look awesome and are my favourite takeaway from a first read through.
  7. Waiting a few extra weeks is nothing in the bigger picture and based on the info people have kindly posted so far the wait looks to have been worthwhile. My anticipation for my copy has only increased reading this post. Thanks all. Does anyone have an indication of when we'll start seeing them in the UK?
  8. Malarick there are a few Infinity players here in Chesterfield feel free to drop me a PM if you want to meet up for a game.
  9. Nice little event, thanks for posting up the pictures. For the next one think more scatter terrain will be in order.
  10. Hey if you are still looking for local Infinity players there of a handful of us just down the road in Chesterfield and the Leeds battle bunker is a great Infinity hub for our area.
  11. This is great news. Can I reserve 4 places for some players from Chesterfield? Actually that's our whole group so it's the closest thing we can do to a Chesterfield invasion.
  12. Another really unique and cool looking piece of terrain. All your stuff is really inspiring and I'd love to try and copy them but I'm not sure I have the same level of precision you do. Sorry to hear you didn't get many attendees for your event, personally I'd love a chance to play on your terrain sets.
  13. Hi. I'm interested in coming down to this if there is still space available?
  14. It was a great event, with great terrain and great opponents. I'll definitely be coming to the next one.