"We are tracking an extremely elevated level of "soft" surveillance and cordon screening amongst the inter-system traffic. All communication bands are experiencing increased traffic both on the surface and between various Imperial Naval assets and task forces. This activity has begun in the last rotaa."
Continuing, the Kor'la communications analyst stated, "For reasons we are unable to determine, some set of circumstances have driven the humans into a flurry of activity."
The Por'O queried, "Are you telling me that you are unable to decipher these communications?"
The Kor'la analyst stated, "No, I am not saying that. We are able to intercept, decrypt, and read all of their communications, except for one signal, as clearly as we as speaking now. That isn't the problem."
"Then what is the problem?"
"And all of their communication falls within this pattern?"
Again the Kor'la paused before stating, "No, only a small percentage of signal nodes are using this...language technique. In fact, it is less than 0.01 decs worth of the total in-system traffic. Accordingly, we are focusing a majority of our analytics resources to decrypting these signal bands as well as accelerating our infiltration efforts for those communication nodes. However, it appears that they are very discrete sources as tracking efforts have been unsuccessful to date."
"As for the rest, the standard Imperial communication protocols are fairly straightforward and relatively easy to decipher. The only item of note is repeated mention of an item or activity called Operation Velocity. The contextual analysis of this reference tag does not appear to be associated with any of our activities as far as we can tell. In fact there is a high degree of association with the Gue'la words, "Dragon", "Cult", and "Vermillion" which appears to be a high level of security clearance."
"Therefore, our conclusion is that we are not the reason for the increased activity."
Puzzled, the Por'O whispered, "I am very concerned by this undiagnosed communication. Do our Cause and Effect protocols indicate any observable patterns with these communications?"
"No, they do not. Now regarding-", started the Kor'la.
"Do not move on so quickly. This "signal" as you put it, the one you are unable to decipher, tell me more about this."
The hologram image looked down off screen as if reading, "We are...confused as to the nature of this signal. We came upon its presence, quite accidentally as it was buried inside the solar radiation pulse fluctuations generated as a byproduct of typical stellar combustion in a star of this class and size."
Now more curious, the Por'O said, "Are you saying that this signal originates from the local sun?"
A pause, "No, what I am saying is that inside the solar radiation waves generated by this sun, which is a natural phenomenon, is buried an artificial signal. It's as if someone has inserted a large frequency pattern alongside a natural effect in order to mask the existence of their signal."
"And you are sure that it isn't a random side effect of the combustion process?", queried the Por'O.
"No, we are quite certain. It is a deliberate form of communication, but one which someone is taking significant steps to keep secret."
With an unsatisfied tone, the Por'O responded, "This communication must be stopped. We must control the communication and command environment. How will you prevent this communication wave from taking place?
After a lengthy pause, the hologram looked up and stated, "We would have to shut down the sun."
The Kor'la continued, "I feel I should also mention that due to the extremely large area of space the signal is broadcast to, we are unable to determine who is supposed to be receiving the signal. However, the pattern analysis seems to indicate that responses are being received by means and parties still unknown."
Scenario 3: "A Card is Played"
Background: The Tau have decided to accelerate their efforts to acquire any "Dragon" artifacts that they can get their hands on. Recognizing the advanced technology that artifacts represent and what an influx of new technology could mean to the growing Tau Empire, no effort will be spared to acquire any items within their grasp.
Game 1: Tau victory, 3-1
Scenario 4 "An Enemy Revealed"
Background: Whilst on a routine patrol, Imperial Navy resources uncover a small Tau inter-system transport. The larger Imperial vehicle launches assault craft to board the Tau vehicle and take prisoners.
Lots of lessons learned, but at the same time, these two games were thought to at least get draws with the Tau and as a result put the Tau in a very strong position from a story perspective.
Game 2: Tau victory from objective 3-0
Game 3: Tau victory from objectives 2-1-1
Scenario 5 "Rumors and Whispers"
Background: An informant has discovered that someone circulating in the higher echelons of the Dragon hierarchy is being transported to the orbital colonies, presumably to recruit more members and establish another base of operations. Inquisition resources have intercepted a craft on a stealthy course to the colonies.
Grr...Tau, next time! <smiles>
In this scenario, there was a bit of a surprise for the attackers. The attackers have to force their way on board and then apprehend the "person of interest" by defeating them in hand to hand combat.
Then the Tau player (Gar) said, "You want us to do what?"
Ok, I thought, my bad, I'll just have to compensate, which for the most part I did. I even had the cultist platoon command line up for a juicy assault only to have Billy Idol get taken out in overwatch and I lose "my guy", the guy with a power sword and a 5+ Refractor field, the guy who could probably kill one Tau unit all by himself.
But things balance out. Instead, one cultist armed with sharp bones, makes it in combat, wins combat, breaks the Tau squad, but just misses catching them in the follow up. Grrr v.2...
Nevertheless, I have "him" in the Dragon Worship Center and I know that I'll be Ok.
Humility always comes when you least expect it.
The Tau shoot a bunch at the Wraith, but I think, "Hah, I've got a 3+ Invulnerable Save". Apparently this Wraith did not, so he's down to one wound.
The Tau assault the Wraith. "Double Hah Fishheads, I have the evil "Coils of Consternation!", The Wraith has Initiative 5, I strike first!"
The Tau strike back, slightly apprehensive because after all, a Wraith is a close combat monster. They manage to wound him twice and he fails both 3+ invulnerable saves, yeah, that's three plus with a "three".
All in all, we had a great time and we'll be scheduling Part II of "Space Battles in Space" for another weekend. As it turns out, April's schedule is a little funky so the current plan is to jump back down to the capital and fight some more ground battles at 750 pts.
"Is there something about my question that confuses you? Do I need to repeat my request?"
The Earth caste replied, "No, your eminence, it's just that the machine-animal is missing."
The Por'O stammered, "What do you mean it's missing? Where could it possibly go? Was it not secured in an observation facility onboard?"
Hesitating, the Earth caste replied, "Y-yes, it was secured as you described."
"Then tell me how could it be missing?"
Again the Earth caste hesitated before responding, "We are unable to discern how it escaped. It was restrained, Security sections were posted outside the facility, there are no space craft within several rotaa's journey of our location. Logically speaking, there was no way for it to have escaped and nowhere for it to go. Yet it is gone."
"THEN WHAT HAPPENED TO IT?" demanded the Por'O.
"Multiple recording devices show that it rotated what we believed to be the head or an optical scanning unit and somehow faced each vidcam lense simultaneously and...
"...and then it disappeared."