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Everything posted by LucByard

  1. LucByard

    AG - Introduction and Discussion

    Thank you Kodan; kind words. I've been reading some of the early AG entries and even if Robuko is right, I don't think it's really relevant because so are Big Sal and Kodan: Pushing yourself to build bigger and better is not the point here; it's not why I play. Telling stories, freedom in my building, adapting to the dynamic map, making friends, collaborating and... What's that other thing?.. Oh, trying to take over the Galaxy... ... That's why I play.
  2. Originally designed for assault and infantry support, the M2-A Quarab is a maglev powered 2-wheel-drive cycle with optional weapon and supply mounts. Already built for a high power-to-weight ratio when unloaded, it was an obvious choice for conversion to a racing machine. Oh, the poster.... Couldn't resist, though it would have been better if I'd bothered to check the real one first. A Quarab is a breed of horse that is a cross breed of certain other types. With strong influences from Tron and Akira, this design is also a cross-breed of design ideas with my own personal touches mixed in. Handlebars and foot pedals. The front forks turn on an axle connected to the handlebars. Compliance photo: Thanks for looking. C&C welcome.
  3. LucByard

    [M-B06] Sky Sabre

    Nice angle work, great bow-brick sculpting to get the shape and I love the canopy combination. This is a great looking spacecraft.
  4. LucByard

    [M - E01] Charter Flight

    Location: E01 - Donwarr. Tags: Civil, Spaceship. Previous chapters can be read on my website here. Chapter 11: Charter Flight. The M.P.T. Vigo is a Linopeia class passenger transport… it is slow, sluggish and ugly. Yseult thought as she skimmed the specs. She was nearly offended when, following her first mission in which she crash-landed one of the most advanced espionage prototypes MANTIS had, they asked her to run a passenger flight from Freegate in a ferry for her second. In truth though, she was a civilian pilot, used to civilian flying and while the ship was cow, everything else was her domain… And they needed someone at short notice. The Vigo normally ran passenger services between Torresta and Jurin II, a routine short-haul service but Octancorp had recently taken control of Freegate and MANTIS had decided to withdraw a number of civilian personnel from operations that it was deemed were too sensitive to try and continue under the encroaching gaze of its rival. While Octan had taken control, this ‘fact’ was apparently just derived from some economic algorithm that measured corporate activity. Riddaeon had explained it to her in more detail one day while she was recovering but she lost interest incredibly quickly. In reality, Freegate was still a border territory and was still within the operational arm of both Corporations but MANTIS was going to have to decide whether to invest heavily in Freegate and take it back or hope that Octan didn’t use it to move on Lesser Drigo and try to cut MANTIS off from the precious mythril. Either way, it wouldn’t want valuable personnel hanging around on Freegate and someone, somewhere had decided to extract them. It should be a simple run. It had better be. She thought. With the MANTIS fleet there. The fleet had moved to Freegate as a reaction to the political shift; it all but guaranteed a boring trip. Maybe boring will be good. She pondered after considering her last mission. She shifted in the pilot’s chair and it gave out a disapproving creak. It was uncomfortable but more like her old chair than she’d sat in for a long time. The thought took her back to her ship, the tanned hide couchette that was her seat had moulded and settled itself sweetly against her form after thousands of hours of flying. Every control, every dial, every readout… she could see them in her head, the throttle quadrant on her right; her hand would glance over it to check the lever positions without her even needing to look. For all the bad memories, she could never forsake her girl. Where are you now? She wondered. It hurt to think she was out there, someone else in the pilot seat. It hurt even more at the though of who it might be. You don’t deserve her… After what you did to me… “Vigo, this is Ground team”. A voice crackling over the A-Com brought her back. “Loading is complete, we’re ready to disconnect”. The voice continued. Yseult sat up and began the pre-start sequence, taking that bit longer to find each switch and button. “Ground team, this is Vigo…” She replied. “We have internal power and fuel reading. You are clear for disconnect”. “Copy that Vigo”. The voice replied. A few minutes later, the fuel and power lines that kept the unsightly transport alive on the apron were clear and the ground crew had evacuated the immediate area. Yseult looked over the engine start checklist and got to work. When she was ready, she contacted the control tower and requested clearance for lift-off. Once granted, she notified the crew and gently eased the power forwards on the control for the antimatter lift engines. The ship began to rise. It would be a slow and dull ascent in an uncomfortable seat. I’ll find you. She promised herself… Somehow… I’ll find you.
  5. LucByard

    [M - E01] Rest.

    Location: E01 - Donwarr. Tags: Civil, Building. Previous chapters can be read on my website here. Chapter 10: Rest. Sleep was unwelcome… It brought the dreams. A white space… full of nothing, except a desk… a very ordinary desk… and a man, sat in a chair behind it… Writing something on a piece of paper. That’s strange. She thought. Who uses paper anymore? The paper was covered in a thousand letters. It looked like the letter ‘Y’ over and over and over again. She notices that the man is no longer there, or the desk, or the paper. She is lying down… the air is cool. She hears a rustling sound, a pitter-patter. It’s raining. I’m getting wet. The smell of rain on stone, her breath short, she is tired. A creature kneels over her, tall, ethereal. It leans towards her. “You must find Upsilon” it whispers, its lips unmoving. “You must not lie down”. Why can I hear you. “You must find Upsilon” it repeated without using words. “You must not…” “Lie down”. The voice said as Yseult tried to sit up. She felt groggy, disoriented. It was too bright. "You need rest", the voice repeated. The ache in her arms was starting to agree. She laid back down in put a hand to her eyes to shield the light and give them time to adjust. She tried to look around, noticing the ornate black bed with clinical white sheets she was lying in. "Je suis où?" she murmured in a tired gravelly voice. She tried to look to where the other voice had come from. “You’re in a MANTIS recovery centre”. It said softly. “Do you remember us finding you?” Yseult tried to think back but slowly shook her head. Finally used to the brightness, she recognised Riddaeon sitting beside the bed. He wore a wry smile. “When you ask your suit for a morphine injection, you’re supposed to say a number… Not ‘all of it’… I’m surprised you were still conscious, let alone in the mood for an argument”. Yseult furrowed her brow; her head hurt. “Argument?” She replied. Riddaeon reclined in his seat. “You… insisted...” He answered. “... That we leave him there. And with his sword and rations too”. He let a silence hang to see if Yseult would volunteer an explanation. None came and Riddaeon’s wry smile had become frustrated frown. “You’re as stubborn as you are persuasive. I shouldn’t have sent a recovery team full of juniors to get you.” Riddaeon calmed himself. He wasn’t here to get angry with her. The mission had been a success after all. Yseult had followed her instincts rather than her orders and they had figured out how Octan was lifting the Mythril. It doesn't matter anyway; Octancorp had just taken Freegate and the larger Mythril operations will be their first target. MANTIS will sabotage the liquid Mythril labs before they leave and it will all have been for nothing… Welcome to Quarrel he thought to himself. He gestured to a cup and a small box on the bedside table. “I got you coffee”. He said. “They grow the real deal here. Not like that swamp liquor on Marphacia”. He thought back to their first meeting on the terrace in the morning mists. “And some bread and jam… They tell me you like to dip it in the coffee”. He couldn’t help making a face at the idea as he said it. Intentional or not, it conjured a small smile on Yseult’s otherwise tired face. “Merci”. She managed at just above a whisper. For the next half hour, Riddaeon talked to her about whatever he could think of; Ellie was fixing Darksight… She was glad that Yseult was okay. There was some big sports event going on… MANTIS’s strongest entry had finished last in some race and half of the corporation was crying foul and pointing fingers. Eventually, Yseult managed to raise herself up and sit cross-legged. She took the bread and coffee: it was good, not fresh but good all the same and the hot bitter drink softened the stale crust while the jam gently sweetened the coffee. It reminded her of home; Saturday mornings and finishing off the last of yesterday’s bread, topped with apricot jam. She was too young for coffee back then but her Dad would make her tea and they would sit on the terrace in the sun and he would tell her about what stunts he was going to perform in his next display and twist and flip his hands in the air as he explained it to her and she would stare, bemused at the display of skill and danger that he would describe and want, more than anything in the whole world… to become a pilot. When the visit was over, Riddaeon exited the room into an empty corridor. He activated the comm device on his temple and a fuzzy distorted holo-image emerged in front of him. It was small and difficult to discern details but the large beard and excessive hair made who it was unmistakable. “She is ready”. Riddaeon said. “Good…” The image responded. “…How did she perform?”. “Your calculations were correct...” Riddaeon replied. “…She did not perform as expected.” The hologram gave a fuzzy and heavily pixelated grin. “Good.” It said. “Shall I progress to the next phase?” Riddaeon asked. “Yes…” the reply came. “… But first, a matter has arisen. I understand you have acquired an Octancorp vessel?” “Yes…” said Riddaeon. “…A Quadstar.” The holo-image grinned a pixelated grin once more.
  6. LucByard

    [M - E01] Rest.

    Thank you. That's praise indeed. That would be nice but might be a stretch, though I did make my Donwarr background foresty mountains this time : ) Thanks. I was inspired to build it by yours from last week and I'm glad you like the story, there's plenty left to tell. I recommend always adding a clear photo of anything that can be judged that has interesting design or parts usage if it can't be seen in your story images, otherwise the judges can't judge it and you never know when it might make the difference between getting a 4 rather than a 3. Thanks. It's when those little things you just make up at the time and build quickly turn out well that you really get that creative satisfaction. I'm really happy that everyone's enjoying the story, Most of all, I'm trying to create engaging characters that the readers feel invested in and have some more waiting for their opportunity.
  7. LucByard

    [O - H06] Meeting

    It may be simple but the smooth tiled finish gives it a polished look and the stripes on the floor and cart design are nice aspects.
  8. LucByard

    [K - E11] A Man and His Dog

    That window design is simple but really effective and looks great. I like that you secured them together with a clear carpet runner to minimise the visual impact of the structural component.
  9. With three of the four significant asteroid fields in Andromeda all near each other around the Octan / Kawashita border, it is to be expected that when M.A.N.T.I.S. based itself on Torresta, it found itself in the part of the Galaxy furthest away from most of Galaxy's G.A.R.C. racing culture... The teams, the drivers, the fans; with the Hamilton Belt, Fascini Cluster and Sinden's Run all near each other, racing was rife and popular... it was just popular somewhere else for M.A.N.T.I.S. There had been G.A.R.C. races over on 'this side' of the Galaxy but the dense and unpredictable nature of Barker's Folly had defeated them... Too many lost machines... Too many lost pilots. But, of course... That didn't put everyone off and while the rest of the galaxy played it safe on what had become the 'regular circuit', spending half of their time dealing with the logistical difficulties of trying to practice and race in sectors that live constantly on the verge of changing corporate hands, deep within M.A.N.T.I.S territory in the heart of Barker's Folly, when the patrols are lightest... They gather. News of a G.A.R.C. event in the Olympics had spread quickly and suddenly, M.A.N.T.I.S. engineers found themselves trying to engineer racing machines instead of spy-ships... The racers of Barker's Folly were not going to miss this opportunity; no testing ground was more difficult to hone your skills in and prove your worth... Now was their chance to show the Galaxy. They arrived at Torresta en-mass; a show of force. M.A.N.T.I.S. would respect that. With the resources of M.A.N.T.I.S. combined with the skills and knowledge of the racers of Barker's Folly... We would be ready. Race number: 0 Machine: Zero Tolerance Team: M.A.N.T.I.S. Origin: Barker's Folly Pilots: Imogen Goodheart / Heidi Von Schnelle Additional images: Front quarter. Plan: Underside: Rear: Scrutineering: Vertical core: Horizontal core: Parts (ish) Note: Since taking this photo I've made the front grille all one section by using 1x1, 1x3, 1x1 black plate to back it. It has to be removed separately but is much stronger. Thanks.
  10. LucByard

    [M - C04] The Awakening

    In case anybody's wondering, MANTIS isn't having a 'build a hospital room with a bed, a chair, a plant in the corner, a micro logo on the wall and a background out of the window where your character wakes up from a dream' week... This is a genuine, yet somewhat astonishing coincidence. Great story and so many lovely details in the design, especially the Friends handlebars in the furniture.
  11. LucByard

    [M-G02] The Delivery

    I Like the backpack designs and the grim industrial sci-fi feel.
  12. LucByard

    [O - H04] - Field Work

    You can click on 'insert other media' at the bottom of the post entry field and paste the URL in there too.
  13. LucByard

    AG - Introduction and Discussion

    Your three main choices are the heavily regulated Octancorp where you can't wipe your bottom without submitting the paper for audit, loyalty-obsessed Kawashita group where a robot hunts you and kills you for minor indescretions and the paranoid MANTIS where everyone thinks everyone is spying on them while actually spying on everyone else... So it's win, win, win really : )
  14. LucByard

    [M - E01] Reflection

    Location: E01 - Donwarr.Tags: Civil, Building.Previously: The mark, Uplink, Pay dirt. Departure, The Gyrocube, Darksight, Jade Sun, Fighter Escort.Chapter 9: Reflection. Vyken Tyros stood in the squalid cell that was his room, searching for information with his digi-page… He’d been at it for hours and still not found what he was looking for. Who was she? One red-headed woman in a galaxy full… deep down, he knew he was unlikely to uncover anything but, staring briefly around his room at the grey walls, grey floor and grey ceiling… He had nothing better to do. He didn’t expect to be alive right now after all. The mission had all gone according to plan. Octan operatives aboard the Jade Sun had facilitated a ‘silent dock’ with the freighter while inside the gravitational anomaly transit from Lesser Drigo. It was an extremely dangerous manoeuvre but the risk was deemed acceptable. Vyken’s Quadstar, not having a GATE system of its own piggy-backed the freighter. His orders were simple… If the operation is discovered, detach, fall back and destroy the freighter… and with it, any evidence of Octancorp’s involvement. It would have left him trying to navigate the anomaly without a GATE… Who knows where he might end up… if at all. ‘For the corporation’ he had told himself. The transfer went without a hitch and with the cargo on-board, they dropped back from the Jade Sun. They exited the anomaly at Donwarr and proceeded, as usual to the rendezvous; Vyken detaching to become protector. They entered Donwarr’s atmoshphere without challenge… evading the eyes of MANTIS here had almost become routine… almost. As usual, shortly after entering atmo, he doubled back. He timed it so that anything that might have been following just out of sensor range would be passing through the ionosphere at that time and the interference would prevent them from seeing him approach. Usually, there was nothing there and he would swing back round and catch up with the freighter… Not this time. He’d never seen this kind of ship before but he recognised the black finish with green hints… MANTIS. The ship had made it through re-entry faster than he’d expected so when he saw it, he didn’t have time to lock onto it. His initial volley of plasma bolts had missed and the two banked to avoid each other. Vyken immediately rolled 180 degrees and began to bank back towards the black ship. When it came into view it was a long way off. It’s fast he thought. Faster than me. His second burst of shots was little more than hopeful but it would likely be his last chance. That one of them hit was nothing but sheer luck. He watched as black smoke poured from the right-hand engine and the ship started falling out of control. Vyken levelled off and turned back towards the black ship… Remarkably, the pilot had arrested the spin and appeared to be gliding it to the ground. It would take some pilot to pull that off. He thought and as he watched the ship hard-land without busting into flames. He found himself pondering who the pilot was. Foolish! Vyken snapped himself back to the present and shook his head in self disgust. His curiosity had got the better of him, he knew that. He wanted to know who had found them and who has steered the damaged ship to the ground when it should have crashed, all records of their discovery lost with the pilot in black smoke. Perhaps he was right to land nearby and find out though; after all, their survival would only compromise the mission. He found the pilot beside the downed ship, clearly shaken by the landing. I will not get a duel, he had thought, but at least I will ensure MANTIS is less one of its best… He remembered his reaction when he removed her helmet, the red hair and a stranger's face looking back at him. For a brief moment, he was bemused: Who was she? He didn’t let it last and had been about to end whatever short career she had enjoyed with MANTIS when he heard something… a sword. He looked up… This one he knew of, or had heard the stories at least. The red-haired woman was forgotten; he was going to get the duel he had hoped for after all. Vyken thought back to the fight… He had heard stories about Private Graves… Some were believable, others he treated with suspicion. As a swordsman himself, he had hoped to meet Graves in combat one day… Finally, he had got the chance. The duel had been evenly matched and Vyken had soon realised that Graves’ reputation was well deserved. Blow after blow, parry after parry they clashed. It soon became clear that skill alone would not settle this and the battle may ultimately be decided by who tires first. He would not be given the chance to find out. Despite his armour and large scimitar, Graves’s style was surprisingly deft and Vyken had wagered that whatever was behind that plain black visor was not entirely biological. He had settled into a defensive strategy: let Graves dance around and expel his energy attacking me. But in the heat of the fight, his efforts, his concentration focussed on one of the most formidable swordsmen in the Galaxy… He hadn’t noticed the red-haired woman… Why would he? She was an exhausted wreck in a heap on the ground. Why didn’t I see her get up? I was careless. He only knew she wasn’t still on the ground when something struck him from behind. Whether Graves knew she was there or not, he didn’t know. The black visage gave nothing away. The blow knocked Vyken sideways… He lost his footing and fell. She must have used something. He thought back, recalling the events. Large and solid… Not a rock, her helmet maybe. He remembered falling onto his back. He didn't see Graves after that, the woman was already kneeling over him, the bone of her knees digging into his upper arms. She was doing something to his suit. He remembered the alarm going off… The environmental alarm. He remembered a brief moment of drowsiness… CO2. She must have done something to the air mixture. He was scrabbling with his arms to get her off but she was too heavy, or was he getting more tired. He knew he would pass out if he did nothing… That was her plan, he realised. He bore the pain and reached for his helmet controls. Straining, he was able to knock the visor lock with one hand. With the other, he had managed to reach the tip of his visor, lifting it to let a rush of fresh air in… As it did, the woman raised up and with the full force of her shoulder, plunged a tight fist into his face. No, he realised in the moment before it made contact. That was her plan… He passed out. The cold air of the evening finally awoke him. He was alone. Graves and the woman were gone, as was the black ship… and his own. He had struggled to his feet and surveyed his surroundings… Nothing. Except... His sword, sticking up out of the ground where his Quadstar had been and beside it, an emergency survival pack… Food, water and medicine. She took everything and left me there, he thought, looking once more around his tiny room room, but gave me my sword and supplies… Why? He looked once more at the digi-pad and to his fruitless search for an answer. This time, his thoughts were words on his lips. “Who are you, red-haired woman?”
  15. LucByard

    [K - E11] Asteroid Fighter

    Feels like a Starfox homage with that Arwing and asteroids vibe. Nice little design on the fighter, has a good feel to it. ... Do a barrel role!
  16. LucByard

    [MOC] Generic office chair.

    Health and Safety compliant. Alternative upholsteries available. Please contact our friendly sales team to discuss your office requirements. Disgruntled employee who would rather be somewhere else not included : )
  17. LucByard

    [MOC] Generic office chair.

    Desk, lamp and mean boss now included. I ended using a microphone for a pen; nothing else I have was more suitable.
  18. LucByard

    [O - G02] HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE!!!

    I've been trying to use one of those canopies in nearly everything I've build for the last year and I can just never get a fit that I'm happy with. Although I'm not a fan of cockpit designs where the minifigures are 'very reclined', I still tip my hat to the way you've handled the odd curvature this piece has.
  19. LucByard

    [M - F03] Breakout, Pt. II: Standoff and Hostages

    Impressive vignette. Love the MANTIS logo and the little red fire extinguisher on the corner. Floor grill pattern and greebles all work well too.
  20. LucByard

    [O-H06] Hollow People, Trouble Sleeping

    Like the railing piece as the bed-end too. Is the gold ornament just a random decoration or is it linked to a previous story?
  21. LucByard

    Andromeda's Gates Non-Lego Art Thread

    Happy to do that if you think it best. I will be continuing it in due course. When I do, I can just start a new thread and re-post May first if that's easiest.
  22. LucByard

    Andromeda's Gates Non-Lego Art Thread

    Beginners and Historians, welcome to the unofficial corporate History of Andromeda. I love the AG dynamic map that lives in my book marks but it only shows the 'current state' and while the timeline shows every build, you can't picture it from a list so just for fun, I've compiled the builds for the first month of AG and represented (hopefully) the development to the end of Maian 3815. It was a short month so not too much. Dotted-line borders show 'built on but not controlled. Solid colour shows 'control and is only faction to have built there'. You can see from the data that Octancorp gets off to a strong start. June will be the first 'full month' of building. Please note that I'm not part of the official AG team, the logo and graphics here are my own designs just done for fun to assist this project, which I hope you will enjoy as new months are compiled and presented. Thank you.
  23. LucByard

    AG - Introduction and Discussion

    Yes, it's just that after the recent software upgrade, I think images stopped displaying on some posts but the mod team are working the bugs out so all will be as it should be in due course. Welcome to the Galaxy. While joining the faction with the fewest active members brings a certain balance to the game, we also encourage you to consider which one just looks the coolest... And as we all know, baddies always look the coolest.
  24. LucByard

    [M - E01] Fighter Escort

    Location: E01 - Donwarr. Tags: Military, Spaceship, Spying. Previously on Andromeda's Gates: The mark, Uplink, Pay dirt. Departure, The Gyrocube, Darksight, Jade Sun. Chapter 8: Fighter escort. Gently increasing power to the engines, Yseult manoeuvred Darksight into a high pursuit orbit from where she would be able to see anything that happened to the ore freighter during its orbit. Carefully, cautiously she thought to herself. I don’t even want MANTIS to know I’m here. She had not gotten far when another vessel emerged from the anomaly, it was a small, unassuming freighter of some kind. Yseult gave a suspicious from. The Jade Sun had emerged not two minutes previously. Unusual. She thought. For safety reasons, a ship’s GATE system would maintain a minimum distance between other ships, especially before special re-entry to prevent the risk of collisions once back in normal space. She diverted Darksight’s specialised scanners to the new ship. She’d been told to watch the Jade Sun but she knew to trust her knowledge, her instincts. The initial scan revealed no one ship, but two. The second was a small pod-like vessel. An escort? She thought. What is such a small freighter doing with an escort?. Most escorts kept their distance too, they want anyone nearby to know that this cargo is not for taking and not to be messed with, but this escort was flying so close to its mark, you wouldn’t know it was there… Yseult got the feeling something was up. She adjusted her course to follow the small freighter and set all scanners towards it. The ship and its small escort headed rapidly for the atmosphere, entering on an approach to the far Norh. Darksight had easily determined their com frequency so Yseult could hear all of their communications… which were none. The silence was damning. If it hadn’t contacted orbital control, and made a standard approach, something was wrong… something covert. The buffeting of the atmosphere bounced Yseult around as they descended into the thick air and sensors were temporarily disrupted in the heat. Once Yseult had slowed the Darksight sufficiently, she engaged the ramjets and increased the power to pursue her target. She glanced down as her scanners re-acquired the freighter… Was it the wrong one?, where was the escort? An alarm wailed, and Yseult looked up to see the pale speck of the escort flying straight towards her. Her instincts pulled on the controls rolling Darksight out of the way as the first few bolts of red plasma skimmed passed… A near miss. Yseult felt her heart beating… What do I do? She wasn't a fighter pilot and Darksight wasn't a fighter… Escape… Darksight was built to be fast. She applied full throttle to the engines, the ship immediately surging in acceleration. The force pushed Yseult back in her seat. Where are they?, Where are they?. She checked her sensors: only one marker disappearing rapidly behind her. Fighter or freighter? She wondered as Darksight was suddenly hit hard by something. The ship went into a fast right-hand banking roll, alarms blaring. Something above me hit my right wing… She tried to correct it but control was sluggish. Not just my wing, it caught my engine too. She was losing altitude but had slowly arrested the roll but the ship was trying to sink on the right side and turn sideways as it did. She countered the former by banking the ship to the left and the latter with rudder. She was now losing less altitude but was slowing down. Slow enough and she'd stall… One way or another, I'm going down. She immediately deployed the landing legs. The anti-gravity mechanism that gave Darksight its hover ability was built into the skids. It was strong enough to create lift and used as the ship slowed on approach and landing. The indicators on Yseult's display turned green as the front landing gear locked into place, then the rear left… Yseult waited… the indicator for the rear right was still orange; it wasn't deploying. The indicator went red as Darksight's systems confirmed what Yseult already knew. The hit must have damaged the gear too. She was struggling to keep the ship steady and the asymmetrical lift from the skids would only make it harder… I need lift. Just enough to put it down without a crash. Banking heavily to the left to counteract the anticipated effect, she activated the repulsors and engaged manual control. There was some maneuverability in the pads and Darksight normally automatically made adjustments to keep the ship stable. Disengaging the safety limits, she directed the force of the repulsors as far right as they would go, beyond what would normally be considered safe for stable flight. Darksight shook as the forces took effect. Feeling the motion through her seat and her body, Yseult countered gently and soon the ship was steady again. She checked her displays; she was still falling but had reduced the rate… it was enough. The ground loomed, she was in a vast, relatively flat plateau of tundra north of the tip of a forest-covered mountain range that was typical of Donwarr’s topography. She slowed Darksight as much as she dared without reducing her glide to a fall and at the last moment, levelled the ship. The two deployed skids did exactly what they were supposed to do; absorb the impact and allow the ship to slide across the ground. Where the skid hadn’t deployed, there was nothing. The right engine slammed into the ground, bodywork coming loose like shrapnel. The impact felt like it almost shook Yseult’s spine to pieces, and all she could do and the vessel slowly bounced and shook to a grinding halt was grimace in excruciating pain. When Darksight was finally at rest, the canopy automatically opened and Yseult climbed out; every movement sending waves of seething pain through her whole body. She collapsed onto the ground. What am I supposed to do? Will they find me? The sound of an approaching engine made her force her head skyward and through the pain, she recognised a ship landing nearby… The escort fighter; a heavily modified Quadstar in Octan colours. Fear gripped her. She was in no condition to fight. She reached out and held as best she could to Darksight’s hull, pulling herself up to her feet. Standing again, she looked back to the Quadstar only to see a man strike her in the chest. She fell on to her back, her air-pack taking the brunt of the impact and rolling her onto her front again. She could sense the man pacing around her. He grabbed her suit at the shoulder and pulled her up to her knees, the air-pack falling away, damaged. She was in too much pain to fight back. She heard a clunk of releasing clasps and a hiss of air as he lifted her helmet off and looked her in the face… He paused… then released her, throwing the helmet to the floor in disappointment. “I don’t know you.” He said in a grizzled voice. “I had hoped it would take MANTIS’s finest to find me… Agent G, Lady K, maybe even Hawk”. He shook his head in self despair. “I don’t even know who you are.” He pondered for a moment and Yseult sank, exhausted to the floor. She felt dizzy, the world sank into a haze. She heard the sound of metal slide from a sheath… He’s drawn a blade. She forced herself to look up at the man, now holding a long thin bladed weapon. “It would have been nice to kill someone famous.” He announced. “’Just another pilot’ will have to do.” He readied his sword. Yseult tried to find the strength to do something… anything. The man backed away. Something had caught his attention. His cocky stance had become defensive. He pointed his sword somewhere behind Yseult. “I know you” he announced with an angry determination. Yseult turned her head to see a figure standing nearby. She didn’t recognise… ‘it’, clad in armour with only a black void where a face would be. Was it just a visor? She couldn’t tell. It held a sword, huge and jagged like an over-sized scimitar that’d seen too many battles. The figure was serene, neither fear nor courage showing. She heard the man behind her call a battle-cry, she saw him run towards the armour-clad figure and leap into the air, sword poised to strike. She struggled to keep her head clear and her nerves steady, and as she lay upon the cold ground of Donwarr’s northern tundra… she struggled to believe what was unfolding before her very eyes as the armoured figure met the attack, and an epic sword-fight ensued. ... This chapter is dedicated to Gnewal Gwevus. 'To build is to live; to share your build is to live forever'. (Sorry about the length but I had to get from orbit all the way to an epic sword-fight) Notes for judges: Do not judge Darksight or Yseult. I've tried to create an image that demonstrates that spying is happening but I'm okay with however you take it. Overview of scene used at end.