Insert complaining-rant about something here. I don’t know; them kids and their video games.
Remulanus Domitius, Savior of Terra
Also known as, “that jerk that tried to burn the world to the ground.”
In 1839, the first “Alchemical World’s Fair” was held. This convening of the worlds foremost alchemists and experts on all-things azothite was to serve two purposes.
First: expanding the world’s general understanding of this new thing called ‘alchemy.’ Much like the World’s Fair held in St. Louis, MO in 1904 in our history, the Alchemical Fair was a place for discovery, learning, and wonder.
Second: to shove as many brilliant minds as could be fit under a single big top in order to discuss the increasing devastation of the semi-annual “Starfall” events. There had been three up to this point, each one increasing in ferocity and widespread mayhem. Sure, the showers of space rock and fire were providing the world with a supply of this new, amazing metal called ‘azothite,’ but, astronomers were predicting an increasing level of destruction with every pass. After the hell that was the last week of June this year, no one was sure the planet could survive that.
They were correct, of course. The next eight Starfall cycles would cause mass, untold damage to the planet, killing millions, irrevocably changing the surface of Terra. Thanks to the Father-Knight, however, there would only be eight more.
To say that the human alchemists were flabbergasted by the armored, 8ft tall, gargantuan alien striding into their tent, offering a way out of the coming fires would be the understatement of the century. Remulanus Domitius, former Lord Chancellor of the Aidlean Grand Fleets, and former Grand Admiral of the largest of said-Grand Fleets, spoke of the asteroid currently lurking far outside the Sol system, but coming quickly. He told the humans cowering before him that it would destroy their planet without his help. Asking for nothing, demanding nothing, Remulanus handed schematics for the Iron Wall over to one of the alchemists, seemingly at random.
And then, he left the tent never to be seen again.
He and that alchemist, Dieter Schneider, left together to return to Schneider’s workshop south of Freiburg. Schneider didn’t know it, and really, had no way of knowing it, but he had been the perfect choice to ignite the Father-Knight’s plan. In what seemed like boundless luck, Schneider’s students found a massive chunk of raw azothite–enough to build a few of the planetary cannons detailed in the Iron Wall. Of course, he never intended for them to be turned against his own kind, but, alas. Within a few months, they were building in secret–it was a weapon, after all.
By the next Starfall cycle, conveniently aimed at eastern Europe, a handful of the cannons had been built and strategically placed. As the sky began to burn with falling rock and metal, they opened fire, shattering anything that threatened to come too close to a populated area. Large chunks still made landfall, but the damage was significantly lighter than the previous cycle.
By the time the sky cleared, Remulanus and Schneider had been installed as the city of Freiburg’s chief alchemists and advisers in building the remaining emplacements that would make up the rest of the Iron Wall. By the next cycle, the pair frequently sat in conference with leaders of the Prussian Empire, the German Confederation, and the French government. Building the Wall across most of continental Europe was slow–azothite was, by comparison, a scarcity, and even after securing governmental control of its flow for the purposes of this project, they often had to halt work for weeks or months at a time, awaiting the next cycle to bring more raw materials.
The rest of the world watched in awe of the European strength, the raw power that slapped away the falling rocks in each cycle with a seemingly casual hand while the rest of them burned. As more cycles passed, Remulanus secured his place in the public eye as a hero and a savior.
His masterstroke was simple: artificially create a problem in the Iron Wall as the asteroid neared the planet. The combined might of the Wall was enough to deflect the asteroid, certainly, but that’s not what he wanted. At the height of panic, as the cannon fire dwindled, hardly able to keep up with the advanced debris, he made his move. Remulanus still had friends, you see. With some slight modifications to existing command consoles, he could get a message out. If they were near, perhaps they could lend a hand. The issue was, he couldn’t fix every cannon by himself quickly enough to matter. So, why not ask for additional hands? Human alchemy had advanced significantly in the last two decades, but they were still lifetimes away from understanding the aidlean designs without his oversight–a fact he had spent countless hours ensuring.
The remaining members of his exiled legions landed, quickly moving to take over operations of the cannons. With a show of sudden ingenuity, they re-oriented the guns along a fault in the asteroid, cracking it wider, deeper. When all hope seemed lost, Remulans commandeered the legions ship, ramming it into the fault and detonating the engines, splitting it in two, and effectively diverting the coming calamity.
Stories quickly circulated of the brave sacrifice their alien friend had made. His legions, now without a ship, offered to stay and assist with the clean-up in exchange for land they could call their own. The Confederation, and really, the world, mourned the passing of their savior.
When he landed a few days later, beaten and bloodied from damage done to his escape pod, they rejoiced. What happened next was practically inevitable.
But we’ll talk about that another time!
Today, we have something special for you: a brief excerpt from an upcoming novella set in the STARFALL universe. The story will follow an important character in the STARFALL: Age of Mercenaries™ early storyline events, as well as give a more in-depth look at the functional mechanics of modern alchemy and space travel.
As always, hit us up on Facebook with comments or questions. We’d love to hear from you all!
An excerpt written by: Eevi
The gravity fluctuated again, sending her floating gently away from the wall. From around the corner, muffled voices barked in annoyance—it sounded like annoyance anyway; she didn’t speak any Aidlean, and she certainly didn’t understand a butchered borderspace dialect.
As the seconds ticked by, Rebecca floated further and further from the wall, drifting lazily towards the center of the dark storage room. Beams of light from beyond a series of shelf racking that was bolted to the ceiling and floor narrowly missed her during an erratic scan of the space. Still, she held her breath, counting on the floating debris to obscure enough of her from so far away.
They were armed—she knew that with absolute certainty. Piotr had been exploring out and around in the direction from where they entered the room just after a muffled crunching sound and an echoing, telltale-schhhlink of a blade through the air raised all the hair on the back of her neck. He was dead—another easy assumption. The real question, the burning uncertainty that threatened her life was another matter: were they responsible for what had happened to the Sarge?
She could identify three individuals poking about the far side of the room, maneuvering with relative ease—magnetic boots, most likely. Oh, what wouldn’t she do to have her own right about now? A loose crate bounced lightly off of her thigh-plating, changing her momentum. She cursed her luck as she slowly spun, no longer able to track the threats in the room. Choking back a sigh, Rebecca accepted the loss of information and used this set-back as a chance to check her equipment. Alchemical technology glows rather obviously; at least now she could shield the light with her body.
Ammunition: most of a pack—5 shots. One additional pack. 12 shots in total. Practically nothing.
With thinly controlled derision, she noted the irony that her medic’s pack was fully intact—and unused. Fat lot of good it had done her up till now.
Sergeant Holland? Brutally crushed inside his own ACS while the rest of us made camp.
Lieutenant Malak and Mr. Cruise, the attaché? Missing, but I’m pretty sure we found the Lieutenant’s arm.
Small consolation, her ACS—if you could call the stripped-down models given to trainees “alchemical combat suits” while keeping a straight face—was, at least, fully charged. She wasn’t in danger of going cold—or worse, running out of oxygen if she had to go topside. That’s something.
She needed a plan. In a few more seconds, she’d be facing the far side once more—and the pirates. What could she do to get out of this room and warn her platoon?
While floating in empty space? That’s bloody well fucked, innit?
A crash from nearby told her that at least one of them had crossed the span of the room and was far too close for comfort. Deciding it was worth the risk, she gently craned her neck to look in the direction of the noise.
A Terran? What’s this bloke doing with a bunch’a—
Her mind blanked, eyes locked on the insignia painted across the man’s back.
The Black Talons. Fear washed out all rational thought. The plates of her ACS clinked lightly as she shivered in panic. Thudding footsteps signifying a gigantic form approached as she spun in the air, drifting slowly upwards. Her mind, entirely unaware of how long—or how high—she had drifted, stuck on a single thought.
We’re all dead.