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Battle of the Abyss

Smoke whipped through the tunnel air all around as the sound of cannonade fire echoed from every direction in a maelstrom of chaos and fire that threatened to overwhelm the senses at every turn,  every inch of the vessel vibrated  with a base hum from the engines through to the capacitor cells of the drives, and on through the booming reports of the broadsides with hammer like blows.  To stand amidst this cacophony of motion, sound, sight and smell was to stand amongst the very bellows of war as they roared their voice hoarse through out every centimetre of a persons being as the world tore itself apart all around them. Grabbing hold of a deck railing and coughing his way through yet another bang of acrid burning smoke Cager gritted his teeth as all around him ships burned through the air, their deafening crashes ripping through the tunnel all around as gutted carcasses slammed into the floors; the screaming cries of burning crew trailing them, below to burn away until nothing but melted iron was left, steel cross beams raising through the ash and smell of burnt meat like the broken bones of a ribcage of some great dead beast after carrion has stripped it clean. Looking forward to the bow of his ship Cager could make out other members of the crew manning the deck guns whilst others took what shots they could with their own personnel weapons whenever another ship passed close enough, in other places damage teams of riggers tried to patch dangerous holes or in one case get a fire under control where a power junction has blown out. Here and there raiders  clustered together to take over manning weapon systems to allow another rigger to dive off to assist a damage team when the scream of one of their own was hit by a piece of debris or  small arms fire from another ship. Cursing he looked over his shoulder to see how the rest of their squadron was doing and bit his tongue when he saw that the five ships they had set out with was down to just their own and one other; the Amber Vial, were still in the fight. Two others were drifting on their drive plates  as they burned from bow to stern, their crews attempting to evacuate from their ships on small skiffs  as they began to inevitably lose altitude and head downs the grave side below, pin prick like beacons of mutant eyes greedily staring upwards at the potential next sack of meat to fall their way. “Bad way” Cager grunted to himself with disgust as he looked for the last ship of their squadron, he got an answer barely a moment later that the whole tunnel felt before the after flash burned itself into their eyes, the booming detonation of the ships ammunition locker going up ripping the ship to shreds in a matter of seconds, bits of bone shrapnel from what had been its crew coating the surrounding air space alongside pieces of more lethal shrapnel of hurled deck and hull plate. “Damn it” he screamed as he looked on as the burning remains dropped towards the tunnel floor, the bow crew had evidently seen what had happened as the fore mounts swivelled round to attempt some form of revenge against the enemy that had just killed their sister ship and all her crew. Balancing himself on the rocking deck plate and making his way forwards he bellowed through the rush of the wind to one of the main turrets sat squat and ugly in the midst of the ships mid-castle, pointing towards the same target as the bow gunners the turret’s gun crew looked on before the Gun seneschal stuck a dirty thumb up and roared at her crew, its twin mounts booming a steady report a few seconds later as the turret screamed its defiance for their lost brothers and sisters at the offending enemy. Cager let a primal grin split across his face as he could make out through the smoke and haze the glint of fires  spreading across the enemy ship’s side plating, a number of its port broadsides blowing out in spectacular fashion from the dedicate effort of the mid-castles gunner team who let out a war cry at the sight, the rest of the surrounding crew roaring their approval. The sound of a great machine like cry caught his attention as he whipped round to see the Amber Vial cruising up alongside his own, the ship winding up its old miners siren like a metallic war cry as the crew cheered, their intention clear to all who could see her. Drawing his own blade Cager let his own cry mix with that of his ship mates as the two ships drew parallel and ignited their primary drives, the wind beginning to pick up as the two ships mounted their defiant charge at the swarm of ships facing them. Being a hammerhead the Amber vial had more speed than Cager’s brute; the Last Song, but he didn’t care as the mental image of a old Rigger and a spritely Raider filled his minds eye and made him grin. They might be badly outnumbered and they might be hurting but damned if pushing a privateer into a corner was the worst mistake these bastards were going to make in their short lives he thought as the Last song’s turrets began to fire at everything that it could, deck guns blazing away whilst individual crew let loose with personnel weapons. The Amber vial began to surge ahead with its own weapons blazing as it danced through the slower fire of the enemy hulks, the impacts leaving dents and welts across the thicker armoured hulls whilst it raked the top decks as the Last Song’s heavier guns did its best to land what few damaging blows it could in the face of a storm of weapons fire in return.  Pushing himself to the bow and gripping hold of an overhead stanchion Cager could finally see the extent of what the two ships were facing and the old tales of the ’old days’ came time mind, a story her had heard as a child about some old warriors defending a pass against a tide of enemy, barely 300 hundred strong and led by their king those few had sold their lives dearly to make a stand that lasted through history.  “We are Privateers, we do not bend, we do not break, we are the last song on the lips of those that have yet to come” The cry bellowed up and down the ships deck as the Last song roared her lungs out into the darkness and towards the enemy fleet as its gunners tried to bring their own weapons to bear as the Amber Vial dived into the throng, its close range batteries finally able to lash out and score several direct hits that gutted a decrepit old hauler serving as a boarding hulk as it past by before being lost in a canoed of fire as the Last song began to vibrate with multiple impacts as it too closed to point blank range, its bow plating beginning to buckle and break as the Brute hauler slammed into the side of another Hulk, the shriek of tearing metal and the dying filling the immediate air as the Riggers and Raiders of the Last Song went over the side, battle cries ringing in their ears, blades drawn and dived into the maelstrom that awaited them...    

Military Campaign Progress Edit

Family, that one core tenant through a single individual’s life time that can be pointed too in so many ways in times of crisis and elation. For both it can be the sole origin of perceived greatest or of humble beginnings that would place their mark upon history as through out the varied and numerous cultures of humanity each has focussed on the family in term in one way or another as it ahs progressed, changed and evolved to match the needs of its parent culture, be that political, physical, psychological or everything beyond and in between. From the first days of a new life’s first steps family is ever present, acting as the guiding hand and the teacher coaching a new intellect forward as it begins to find its feet and search curiosity a new for opportunities to feed itself upon the knowledge it has found. Even then it knows that should it flounder or fall that the family will be there to support it and lend a hand as the parents raise it to its feet once more whilst the extended branches of the family circle to offer support. Here though also lies the origin of all troubles when one sibling is raised so far ahead of its other that the shadow begins to turn in on itself and see the family not as a shield ready to come to its defence but as the snide arrogant creature that spurned it and treated it so poorly in its own mind that it has become the enemy to be hated and fought against whenever it opens its mouth to breath words of reassurance or guidance. In this Siblings can be raised as one and the same only for one point of contention to grow and fester from a simple difference to a grudge held long and passed down the generations to where it would be called upon as the sole reason for the drawing of arms and the spilling of blood between kin. Throughout history this friction within families has brought kingdoms, dynasties and great blood lines to their very knees and even death as both sides turn a blind eye to reason or recourse and see only the enemy before them rather than their own brothers and sisters of a family once whole and united.  For the Raven privateers this sense of family with those that would stand by you, be they ship mates, friends, port fellows or the simple taverns song comrades  is what defines them as a culture, always ready to stand shoulder to shoulder as brothers and sisters of the tunnels under the Raven flag, one family united together, or at least that’s how their history would tell you with neither a wary eye to the old shadows that dance across their history.

The first few days of the new season pass by with the airs around the black coats camp filled with the small whimpers and moans of the wounded as those injured in the previous months actions through out the territory filter their way throughout the various tents of the squadrons of the armada. For some this is the first true respite they have had in six months of near continuous tense combat, a wicked game of cat and mouse for the army to be playing amongst the rusted ruins of the colony but one they seem to be holding their own at for the most part some decide as they talk the evenings away with their crew mates. Other crews take their time to run check, a large mob forming each morning to run out cutter patrols along the lines back to the other territories and home, as well as sweeping out through their hard won gains to search for signs of any remaining tribals hunting about the place. Most privateers in that army are still riding the tense adrenaline filled high of the past few days as they return from each sweep equals parts annoyed and relieved that beyond the odd band of scavengers sticking their noses in no sign of the tribals could be found. Come the end of the first week the various flotilla captains decide to stand down the majority of the black coats for a couple of days R&R as the situation with their rations becomes even more apparent to them. Despite the bonus to the territory’s security from the patrol sweeps by the various free ship crews and the like the additional food cost for 24 hour sweeps can’t be maintained at its current rate, and so by the middle of the second week the black coats find themselves still battered and bruised but like a rigger after winning an impromptu brawl for a free tavern tab the army settles itself down to take what breathers it can and recoup and reorganise in some fashion.  This mood is interrupted however a few days later by the arrival of a small convoy carrying with it large cart full’s of something covered from sight. Approaching the northern camp gate they are stopped by the crew on station only for them to be rapidly waved through when the new rear admiral makes himself know. The flotilla captains and flag staff are quickly assembled as the rear admiral leaves the convoy to be brought into the main assembly square as every ship crew is roused by their respective squadrons and brought to view the spectacle. Stand a top the great pile of carts the rear admiral waits until all the members of the Black coats are assembled before giving the ordered to remove the tarps, beneath lies piles of food clearly marked in plastic crates. Jumping down the rear admiral raises his voice to his fellow privateers and tales them a tale of the finds In the agri-dome and the newly won source of food now flowing into the home lands of the privateers. At this the entire armada erupts into a cheer as cries fill the air, the entirety of the black coats grabbing their fellows and bursting into song as the night mares of the past few months slip from their minds. Picking up a can and chucking it to the nearest crew the rear admiral tells the black coats to eat well tonight for come the morrow they will be on the move home. At this the privateers raise an eyebrow, expecting a joyous smirk from their leaders face but behind the food induced grin something doesn't seem right, as if some is yet to be told.  Crossing over to the Flag staff and Flotilla captains the rear admirals motions for them to follow as he withdraws to the captains meet, a pair of burly Riggers blocking the entrance way to anyone else as the assembled captains take their seats, each placing their hat or sword before them if they wish to speak whilst the rear admiral sits with his boots up as he losses his coat and lets it swing open at his sides, all trace of merriment gone from his face as a serious tone sets in. When he next opens his mouth the leaders of the Black coats fall silent with dumb struck disbelief at what their ears are hearing. Communication between the armada and home was sketchy sometimes but what had occurred in the last few weeks leaves them in out right anger, terror and rage all the same. Whilst they have been battling through the blood of the colonial ruins, back home a force of some unknown armada dwarfing the size of the black coats had smashed into Drogba’s House and had begun to run amuck killing and pillaging everything and anything, The Admiralty was calling them home to defend the very core of the Privateers.

Waking to the usual dawn chorus of gutter worship across the camp, alongside the groggy joking and micky taking between crew mates the black coats raise themselves to belly’s happily full on the first full meal in months. Each ship goes about pulling down their various tents and re packing and stowing their own gear as they expect that after the morning crew musters and captains meet the army will be on its leisurely way home most reckon.  This mind set is rudely broken when each squadron leader arrives, only to begin barking orders and harrying crews along for the get done quicker and be ready to go in 30 minutes. When questioned why by hung over crew members the response snaps them away to the stark reality, Home is under attack and they need to be back their yesterday. This news cuts deep to the crews based out of and the portsmen from Drogba’s House, they rapidly pull themselves together and are the first mustered to go, angrily snapping at other nearby crews to hurry the hell up and get moving. All can understand their want to get back to home port and the tunnels as quickly as possible as the tunnels winds call them home to help and fight to defend their families. Come the mid morn the armada is on a determined move, most double timing it back through the darkened tunnels and along silent roads past ancient buildings and under rusted bridges as they completely by pass the new port towns springing up as they attempt to navigate their way back by the quickest routes possible. Come the end of the First month they have the lights of the Home ports in their sights and the great elevator shaft stands before them, the gapping maw of the entrance way into the old mines standing before them as the small surface outpost personnel begin to marshal them into decent parties. Riggers and Raiders alike pester port-siders for news as they pass them along. What little news and information there is spreads like wild fire through the army, Drogba’s house is fully under siege but from what ships have managed to get near she’s still kicking and spewing lead from her two great redoubts though for how much longer they don’t know.

It takes a further week to get the ships restocked and checked over before the Black coats can begin to make their way down through the cavernous tunnels and towards the barely audible whispers of battle raising from the abyssal depths, most pull triple shifts of their own volition to get the ships as ready as they can be, working themselves to an almost sleepless state to do so before being ordered to their hammocks by weary bosuns and crew chiefs. The first few squadrons begin to make their way down as the second week of the second month whirls past like so much tunnel waste as the bulk of the armada begin to flex and stretch their shipside muscles once more, the feel of fresh wind waking them all like a great beast raising from a dull slumber to roar awake as it speeds its way to the defence of its family brood. Passing Home-down the ships don’t even stop to take on extra crews as pairs of admiralty cutters run up flags to signal to head to the assembly point near to Tink’s town, the lead ships signal back their assent and with the roar of ancient mine sirens not wound into life in centuries the whole of Home-down signals its luck to the armada, the admiralty cutters waving them off from the bow wave of grav-plates as the fleet assumes battle stance and presses ever downward. Passing each great port of the Raven privateers in turn the black coats see the carnage already beginning to spread this far back already, burning ships limping into port, the great docking arms of Kilo and the wreck awash with ruined hulks of once proud ships, what few able ships circling around the limits of the ports like protective hounds around their mothers. As the black coats finally come into view of Tink’s town at the end of the second motnhs third week they can see the true extent of the destruction awaiting them, where once each of the ports cradling arms would have had at least 3 ships docked to it know only one arm bore any ships, the rest bereft of any vessels of the raven privateers as the ships docked at the station had thrown themselves into an impromptu defence fleet that had tried to punch through to Drogba’s house when it had been cut off. The results was the level of carnage the armada had seen on its way down past the various ports, carcasses of proud ships gutted, chip crews annihilated and families shattered beyond repair. Taking up station at high anchor points in a defensive spread the Black coats flag ships would dock at Tink’s town to learn what they could before heading out to do battle with these invaders.

Disembarking from their ships the rear admiral and accompanying flag staff would spend two days at the admiral of tink’s town quarters, going over old maps and older reports, pulling any and all scout information from the last 9 months together to find any trace of anything that might give them a clue of who or what they were dealing with. In a sense of irony the major files relating to anything from the depths had been sent to Drogba’s house shortly before the attack, cursing their luck the flotilla captains put their heads together to formulate a plan of action and come the dawn of the third day they collected their charts and headed for their ships. Running up signals from ship to ship the Black coats would form battle line and head for the narrowest point of the tunnels between here and Drogba’s house, hoping to deny the enemy their greater numbers whilst a series of scout squadrons would be dispatched in 4 waves to ascertain what information they could about the exact nature of the enemy fleet. Boarding their ships last the Flotilla captains and flag staff aboard the rear admirals ship would raise the black flag to all ships as they began their final descent towards the enemy, the very air itself seemingly becoming more and more still and the sounds of booming weapons fire drew ever closer, every ear on every ship straining for the tell tale hum of drive plates of the creak of Maw carapace that would signal they had found their enemy. The descent its self would take but a couple of days of silent drifting through the tunnel air towards an unknown fate and across many ships songs flit back and forth between crew mates as common tales of hard times carry through the air as each and every member feels in their core that this battle will be just the start of many more hard fights to come for the black coats. A few hours and a day short of their destination the various Scout squadrons break off into spate waves and head off in their various directions down side tunnels and into old caverns to find what they can, friends aboard other ships waving them off with signals of good luck and good hunting flitting across the neon comm-masts as some wonder if it will be the last they see of their fellows, whilst others yet wonder what these intrepid scouts will find as they stalk through the darkness.

The dawn of the next day would put these thoughts to the back of every mind however as the fleet assembles into position as the narrow crag that signifies the final approach to Drogba’s house comes into view, the lead flotillas forming up to fill the gap only to find the gap ready and waiting filled with readier broadside breaches pointing directly at them. Rapid signals are sent back and forth as the whole armada slams to a halt on their grav plates, ships sliding to a halt as thrusters are flipped onto full reverse burn to avoid colliding with one another in the mid air as the sudden appearance of the enemy catches the black coats by surprise. Striking their colours the fleet redresses itself and quick brings its heavy line flotillas to bear in a thin line of heavily plated broadsides facing the narrow breach, scout squadrons and light flotillas hanging back to reinforce the line and carry out gun runs on attacking shoals of skiffs and hammerhead class cutter ships. Rapidly convening his flag staff the rear admiral knows the situation is bad, if they had made the gap first they could have plugged the gap like a tight cork in a bottle but with the enemy positioned at a moments notice to surge out they make a very thin line trying to contain a very large wave. The best they can do is buy time at this rate one flag officer remarks as a sudden boom blows the glass out of the port hole cover near by, the door to the rear admirals ready room crashes open as the deck bosun as the flag staff whip round. What ever time they had was up, before them entire flotillas of ships were burning hard from anchor and charging straight towards them in a wave of mismatched ships. Roaring combat orders the flagship of the black coats begins to fire as up and down the battle line broadside hatches are unlatched, weapon mounts present and fire in a continuous rippling boom of massed fire, the hiss whine of cutters making gun runs loosing rockets into the air towards the onrushing enemy and the rapid crack thud followed by the bow wave of pressure from deck turrets. To the onlooker the effect is spectacular as the massed heavy guns of the Black coats are fire in unison, repeated salvos of energy fire pouring down the tunnel towards the shoals of ships coming at them. The lighter craft amongst them burn in parodies of the rockets being thrown at them as the heavy fire lashes through them causing some to burn, others to explode as the ships crash into the tunnel floor. Hammer heads are flipped as turret rounds smash into their armoured bows blowing them out to leave strangely levitating burning wrecks whilst hauler craft take multiple concerted blows before cracking open and spewing fire and debris all around catching skiffs in the inferno of their demise. Cheers begin to rip up and down the line of ships as at first the remnants of one shoal and then another are turned back, turning into a true cry of elation when the first set of hulks and haulers turn tail to dash back to their own lines. Sweat covered gun crews punch the air as their gun seneschals pat them on the back and get them ready for the next round as the first enemy wave mills around their brethren as more ships power up and begin to edge forward in preparation for the next wave.

For the next day this seen repeats itself time and time again as the thin line of Black coat ships holds back the milling mass of enemy ships in a test of rate of fire versus weight of numbers, the tenacious black coats proving their reputation for adaptability as the shared experiences of experienced gun crews keep the ships firing at a mass rate, decimating each assault of massed rabble ships in turn. Come the dawn of the next day and the third month however the enemy changes tactics, withdrawing the massed ships in the night come morn a line of lines parodies the black coats own with heavily armoured prows forming into three columns of ships facing them. “They intend to cross the T” the signal goes around as lighter ship flotilla draw up to reinforce the line at higher anchor to maximise the armada’s counter fire to the impending attack, initially the counter goes well as the first column drawing close ahead of the two others is pounded into submission as it fractures and then breaks; burning blue flames, but as the weight of fire is focussed upon them the second column manages to smash into the mid point of the black coats line followed only a few minutes later by the third in great thunder claps of metal tearing into metal. The battle erupts at close quarters as ship after ship is forced from the line to clash hull to hull with the unknown enemy, boarding actions and counter boarding's happening ship to ship as any semblance of order is rapidly lost amongst the milling throng. For two hours this goes on as each ship becomes consumed with its own battle for survival, every crew fighting to defend themselves and their ship before they can be concerned with their embattle fellows. Here and there the odd ship manages to link up and in a mockery of the surface battle some months before fight back to back to try and punch out of what in evidently a rapidly deteriorating situation for the armada as a whole. The true final blow comes when a hulking mass of a ship, twice the size of anything in the black coats fleet; and flying a great white devil upon a black background, rams the flag ship of the heavy flotilla, splitting it upon its bow plate like some great beast would prey upon its horns. What ships are still able are signalled, fall back to tink’s town, fall back. It takes a further day for the black coats to disengage from the enemy, limping back to tink’s town in a massed shoal of ships rather than the proud battle line only a few days before. What they find there rips what little hope is left to hold the invaders here as the sight of the port comes into view, fires burn from every building as running street battles can be seen, two ships from the light flotilla attempt to approach to dock only to be fired upon by the ports light defences bringing one poor ship down as its leaking reactor is ignited by back blast, burning all hands aboard alive in a vast metal coffin. Seeing the danger the armada pulls back past the burning Tink’s town, the inverted flag of the ravens is hoisted, retreat, back to Kilo, back to the home ports.

Sitting in the half ruined ready room of his ship the rear admiral addressed the fleet via the comms mast, the flag staff standing around them where their own wounds would allow. “Drogba’s shall have to hold on their own for longer, tink’s town is gone and we are bleeding badly, Signal all ships, general retreat to kilo, repeat, general retreat to port Kilo, and away from the Corsairs…”  

Summary:

The black coats have rapidly redeployed to the home ports to defend from the invader that has appeared in the past few weeks, sweeping up from the cavernous abyss of the depths below. The fleet has been engaged in heavy action and has been forced into a general retreat from the ensuing battle, some 250 privateers in all from across the armada have been lost with several ships badly damaged and a number lost completely from the heavy and light flotillas. Drogba’s House remains cut off and tink’s town is gone though by what means no one is currently sure. Casualties inflicted upon the invading fleet have been slightly higher at a little over 300 of their strength being killed (Please note this puts the standing strength of the Black coats at 2150 of 3000, enemy strength at 4200 at rough estimate of 4500). Any wishing to have partaken in this battle who DID NOT take the special scout downtime during last event please report to GOD prior to time in.

A dead wind blows Edit

With the ongoing invasion crisis some amongst the privateers would thing others quite mad if they hadn’t stopped complaining about the food situation as well during the still eves across the various ports. For some the ability to gripe and complain even whilst under tense situations could be called the quaint hall mark of the privateers as what would concern others is brushed off as something easily sortable compared to the poor quality of the normally decent grog in the local taverns. In this regards a small ray of sun shine breaks through the metaphysical clouds of war hanging over the privateers heads as the first major shipments of food arrive by ancient automated drone systems under the watch of silent Arbiters watching from gantry rails and from shadowed corners. Most of the more experience ravens leave them well be as they begin to distribute the food amongst the various port siders and get other crates loaded onto ships for sending to the other ports still standing amongst the home lands unmolested by invaders. In a reverse of the earlier brawls of the lack of food impromptu sword fights break out amongst ship captains over the choicest crates that soon turn the jostling crowds of riggers and raiders in to large connecting rings of betters and bet ring leaders as each fight flows into the next and the next. Never could the Privateers be looked down upon for their opportunistic streak as they take the chance to earn more credits to their name and some tales to tell whilst stuffing their faces on half inched crates of food whilst the true owners where busy clashing swords. As for the situation surrounding the invaders the remaining admirals come together to discuss the situation in a quiet meeting within the admiralties inner hall, the meeting lasts a few hours as each in turn puts their piece forward alongside the situation in their port or aboard the free ships, in the end with the black coats engaged and retreating from the mass enemy fleet after their abortive quarantine attempt the admiralty all come together in a rare sight with a single decision, each stepping up onto the table that serves as a stage and platform more often than not they each reach up and unclip the great old cloth flag above them and carefully bring it down to cover the space between them. The ’Old Adamant’ must be raised In whatever shape the portside army is in and be shipped into battle, come what the consequences may...

Summary

1) The out come of the Scout downtimes taken during last event shall be delivered by the Admiralty during the course of Friday shortly after time in, All Privateers are strongly encouraged to attend.

2) With the mass rapid raising of the Old adamant army a new rear admiral must be elected to oversee the mobilisation (NOTE: The raising of this army will cause the faction to slip back into a state of starvation even with an active node due to the logistical issues in such a mass rapid mobilisation, further information on this will be available through the faction DPC)

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