DR2220+ Mission 8 Report: Paranoia strikes deep in the Heartland


Volphis Starfalcon, K’iorn Time Shredder sat across from Maverick Multimancer. Arrayed in front of them was a chess board. Volphis saw the sweat slide down the brow of the Multimancer as he moved a pawn.

“Oh Maverick, no wonder Warmonger, the Four Horsemen, and my adopted father have been able to play you like a fool,” he said as he slid his bishop into position, “Check my new friend, check.”

Maverick looked up with a steely gaze, “A bishop eh? Where did you get this board again?”

“I stole it from the Warmonger himself, long before his final death here on Refuge,” said Volphis with a smirk, “Stole that along with a bit of the uncorrupted essence of the Mar’un’ga, a map of the area, and a copy of the Daemonsbane sword fashioned from Warmonger’s own scales.”

“What did you do with the essence?” asked Maverick moving his knight into position.

“Father wanted to use it to free Mar’un’ga from Warmonger’s grasp. All it took was a new host willing to give his life, Morgoth Dannor’s son Marcus was the very willing sacrifice,” said Volphis.

“You and Tharr gave Warmonger the body that let him walk out of the Prison Dimension of Les’tas’tral. You set this whole thing in motion,” said Maverick.

Volphis looked at the board, and moved his bishop again, “Check.”

“And no we didn’t, anymore than you did when you stole the baby Armenius from my father before my father could teach him how to become the true master of time he was meant to be.
At least the K’ias Emperor sits once more among the Ascended Beings and is no longer trapped in the coils of the Warmonger.” sneered Voiphis though it was obvious the topic pained him.

Maverick moved another pawn and smiled, saying, “Which allowed the Ancient Evils to ensnare Ceroj the Red, and draw in the resurrected Lord Falos and force him to trade himself to become the host of Xephon. I know my Refugian history, even if I spend most of my time on Earth. Remember I’m friends with the Nngao, he told me all about it.”

“No you are friends with a robotic replica,” said Volphis, moving his Queen into position, “Check.”

Maverick looked cross as he moved his knight one more time and said, “If the heroes of Refuge hadn’t killed the host body…”

“What? Would Xephon who served the balance have the right amount of power to stop Warmonger and lock him back up? Maybe the balance would never have been disrupted so badly by the Death of Warmonger. Maybe the Da’uhnb Queen would still be around? Maybe we wouldn’t be dealing with a mad Chronomancer on our own?”

From the side of the room walked Hannibal the Phantom Automaton. Appearing as a normal earther as always, “Playing a game fellows? A wise idea to pass the time. No news yet, but it seems the Kasanthians are allowing the armies of Boriel I’tash to pass below them, using some tunnels that Wintermute had made. The Slavers will reach the domain of Wintermute or Korpu soon enough.”

“I’m surprised the Kasanthians allowed them free passage,” said Maverick.

“Grand Magi Orloc is involved in a Civil War with PeaceLord Lurlock. So he was happy for the offer of neutrality. Orloc declared Kasanth neutral in the coming War between the I’tashi Alliance and Boriel. He will offer medical aide to both sides but no weapons or forces.” said Hannibal, “It means the Slavers will be at full force when they reach the border of I’tash proper.”

“A new Border Wars?” asked Volphis with a raised eyebrow.

“No, there is no worth in such a thing,” said Hannibal, “During the last Border Wars our folks installed the new King of Borvis. We have their loyalty and therefore the Borvian Dragons will stand with Elijah Morte.”

“What if they don’t want to?” asked Maverick playing devils advocate.

Hannibal said, “Then situations will force them to do so anyway.”

Maverick replied, “You guys are pretty militant.”

“We are the guardians of the balance!” swore Hannibal.

Maverick finally stood up and flicked a pin into hannibal’s chest. The body fell limp on the ground.

“What was that?” asked Volphis.

“Zela pin, simple enough to tag someone with it if you don’t want them using the Leyas,” said Maverick.

Volphis smiled, “I didn’t expect that type of skill with a throwing weapon, old man. Nicely done. But why did you do it?”

“These Automatons serving Lord Roan, they time travel and declare themselves protectors of the balance right? But what if its just what they have been built to say, like parroting speech.”

Volphis revealed, “They were designed off one of my father’s designs. Tharr designed the automatons to be the perfect learning slave soldiers. No remorse, no thought of self preservation, no family to worry about. Lord Roan defeated one and brought it home and suddenly began mass producing them.

But Roan’s were different. They were emotional beings who looked at Lord Roan as their father.”

“Do you know why your father designed the Leyas Automatons the way he did?” Maverick asked.

Volphis said, “No but I’m sure you are going to tell me. Or that is the worst question ever.”

Maverick took a double take then said, “Touche, young man, touche. The Automatons have no spirits to be stolen by ancient evils right? But they are also immune to mind control. Which means they are one of the few groups that can hunt and track the Neliff.”

Volphis said, “That makes NO SENSE. I tracked back the Neliff outbreak on Refuge to a crashed ship in the Goblin Lands. Lord Roan and Windwraith were working alongside the EEF Special Forces and VLAD agents who found and tried to wipe out the Neliff nest.

It was Lord Roan who annihilated the site. At the time the EEF didn’t know Neliff fed off of annihilation and were therefore immune to it. But it prevented any scope, system or even the Leyas sight of the mancers on the team from seeing the Neliff. Which allowed them to erect illusions of their own demise and escape to conquer all of Refuge.”

“What do you mean conquer all of Refuge?” asked Maverick.

Volphis was still wearing his crown of the high king’s favor, so he could see the Neliff floating in the corner of the Tavern. He had seen them everywhere he went on Refuge. They didn’t seem to know their mind control didn’t work on him like it had worked on the rest.

“Er…ah…nothing, just a theory I’m working on,” said Volphis, “But specifically about the Automatons. Where were you going with that?”

“If you were to make illusions everywhere to control the lives of your citizens, you would need a police force that could see through the illusions,” said Maverick, “Look at the past few years since the Neliff arrived. Its as if a powerful presence has been guiding their rise right? And the rise of the Phantoms? What if all of that is the hand of Holys in the past. A Chronomancer simply fucking with time?”

“But even Hannibal here had free will right?” asked Volphis.

“So do many people who follow bad plans that cause harm to others,” said Maverick, “From the notes the four of us shared since the battle of Boriel’s Retreat, I suspect the Phantoms had McMurphy put in jail, and ruined the VLAD agency’s reputation to open the way for Colony General Malthus to be killed at the battle of Jemison Post. But Why?”

“A united colonies would have immediately taken the battle of Boriel’s Retreat as an opportunity to consolidate the Northern Kingdoms, end slavery once and for all, and force a lasting peace. And considering the state of that battle, the EEF could have used it to make a decisive blow and overthrown Boriel’s reign of terror once and for all,” said Volphis starting to see where Maverick was going.

“And the phantoms prevented an alliance with the Nightmare Lords of SteamGate who might have been able to bind Warmonger without so many costs…” said Maverick, “When I was a child I dreamed of slaying the Warmonger. I would have done anything to do it. But now I see how dangerous trying to eliminate a primal part of reality can be.

I fear the Phantoms are another servant of our enemy Holys, but with a kindly face. Have you ever met Lord Roan? Have you ever seen his true form? How do we know that Holys the Chronomancer and the enigmatic Lord Roan are not the same entity?”

“That is nuts and pretty paranoid,” said Volphis, “They are definitely seperate people.”


Death walked into the room saw Hannibal on the floor and wondered, “Is our truce over already?”

“No,” replied Maverick, “I just lost all trust in the phantoms. Death, you are the highest level of Iron Republic battle clone they engineer. You have more secret I.R. data flowing in your head than just about anywhere. What does the Iron Republic know about the phantoms?”

“Officially they are Leyas driven warframes developed by a half-K’ias scientist during the recent I.R. invasion of Refuge in 2218. They stole a Time Shredder and are considered high level temporal criminals. In one timeline they even swapped out the original host for the creeping darkness for another sentient being. They are responsible for the deaths of an undisclosed number of Quall and those bearing their larvae.

But the Temporal department is aware of things happening at the Keep of Lord Roan that could point to his replacement by Lord Holys or even his current imprisonment.

There was even a recent attack on Lord Roan’s keep by Ceroj the Red. Unlike every other time our satellite systems have tried to peer at Lord Roan’s keep, we could see it. It was not hidden and obscured. I suspect that is also how Ceroj the Red recovered the Armor of the High King Starfalcon from the keep.”

“The Armor of my grace, Lord Varandir?” asked Volphis, “But it and Lord Varandir were trapped looped through time.”

“Ceroj tried sneaking a ride on the armor, and succeeded. He has been back and forth through time, and it has warped the old Falsoini Soveriegn,” said Death, “But how does this connect to our currently disabled phantom here?”

“Holys is creating an experiment right? And Using a timeline to do it?” said Maverick, “So he needs internal controls. He needs things that prevent variables from spinning out of control. For the hard breaks he has the Neliff, but for subtle manipulation it might be easier for him to alert a Phantom to a “threat to the balance” they have to handle.”

Volphis gulped, “So they don’t even know they are destabilizing everything?”

Maverick said, “They have no idea.”

Maverick looked down at the chess board and said to Volphis, “It looks like you only had one move left.”

Volphis looked down at the chessboard, across at Maverick, up at the Neliff then down at the disabled body of Hannibal the automaton. He said, “Check mate.”


Part 2

On the Holovid Display at the bar, the candidates were giving some sort of speech. It was Yildor Roren and he seemed upset and concerned. The Irony of the timing was not lost on Volphis who knew the Neliff had been listening to their conversation the entire time.

“People of the Colonies we have been dupped by the EEF under Malthus and under Strykker. Did you know colonial citizen that every colony has invisible floating aliens called Neliff around it? I saw one today, luckily it saved my life from the other thing I discovered today. Did you peoiple know there might be Leyas powered robots hiding in human form?? Tonight my life was nearly taken from me by one of these machines, and here is the automaton’s body!”

Holding up for the Cameras, a body, Yildor looked pleased and proud.
Maverick felt his stomach drop as he saw Yildor showing off a Phantom.

Volphis dipped into a shadow and delivered a death blow to the Neliff hiding in the bar with them. Once it was gone, Maverick noticed how dirty his glass was for the first time. He also noticed no one had cleaned the bar in days.

Volphis said, “The Neliff are watching everyone for Holys. Now that you discovered Holys use of the Phantoms in the past, he is going to reveal that element of the experiment.”

“But why? Why tell everyone he has eyes and blades everywhere?” asked Maverick.

“Because the EEF will know they cannot stop him. And every colonial citizen will begin attacking each other in fear,” said Death, “And the Phantoms who think they are heroes will have to turn on the very people they think they are tasked to protect. And while they are under threat from the colonials, they will never know that Holys has their master in chains and they have been manipulated all along…”

“Can we warn them? Why not pull the pin out of Hannibal and send him back to warn Windwraith?”asked Volphis.

Death said, “You can, and he and all the phantoms will suicide themselves trying to save their master Lord Roan. Do you think the Chonomancer Holys hasn’t prepared for that?”

The holovid showed another candidate making a broadcast on the Neliff-Phantom debacle.

Lord Grimaldus steps to the podium, “Good day citizens of the Colonies, as many of you are aware candidate Yildor Roren made an announcement about being saved by an invisible floating alien called a Neliff from a leyas powered robot, which he shared the body of.

I have said this before and I will say this again, can we really be surprised by anything anymore? With all of the weird wacked out things in the universe invisible floating aliens and leyas robots are simply two more challenges to face us. We have faced demons, fire minotaur’s, nightmares, the Unity, Kasanth, the Northern Kingdoms, and insurrections from within and yet we have stood strong throughout.
Our first order of business is to learn about these new groups, Candidate Roren says these Neliff saved him, well lets learn about them, what does the EEF and the Colinial government know about them? What about these Robots? Was their interactions with Candidate Roren a misunderstanding or something more malicious? We have many questions and precious few answers.

We aren’t going to lose our heads and go on some witch hunt here, we aren’t fools, we are the colonies of Refuge and we have faced challenge after challenge and have always come out on top. We will learn out these groups and take the appropriate actions to safeguard the populous as we have always done.
Personally I have given orders to my people in Absolam and Hebron to begin investigations into the Neliff and Leyas Robots that may be within the cities. We are cooperating with the local EEF personnel and hope to have more information soon. We will not perform any purges like paranoid fanatics. We will work with the EEF to preform sweeps to locate any infiltrators, alien or automaton. Any that are found will be properly isolated and quarantined to prevent any incidents. We don’t want to cause any unnecessary chaos or deaths.

Thank you all, and may our cooperation and level headedness keep us prospering for generations to come."

Volphis smirked, “Cooperation is what we need. If the Quall of the Cult of Ayx and the Falosini Sovereigns put aside their vendetta, they could take down the Neliff. My grandfather taught me stores about how the Neliff were wiped out the first time. Now I realize why he told me those stories. But how could we get them to cooperate?”

Death seemed to be listening to a communicator in his helmet and then said, “Actually a joint Quall-Falosini operation is already under way. But it is highly classified, so I cannot speak about it…to…”

Maverick smiled unkindly, and said, 'What to criminals? Or were you thinking the word terrorists?”

Death leaned back and made a gesture with his hands implying six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Maverick said, “This Grimaldus fellow seems like a good guy.”

“He nearly succeeded in having your beloved Armenius and his band of Time Shredders executed less than five years before today. Some crime of freeing olgog slaves or something. Seems Armenius was seeking an Olgog named Ur’sa’na,” said Volphis patting Maverick on the back.

“Ursana eh?” asked Maverick knowing exactly the Olgog that Armenius had risked his life to rescued and transport back to Earth.

Death stepped back and pointed at the holovid saying, “Looks like the old Field Marshall has something to say on the matter.”

Field Marshall Jeremiah Strykker stood at a podium looking tired, but strong. He looked like a man who had survived two days of meat grinder in the trenches, arrived to make this speech and would be returning to it.

“Candidate Roren has made some very serious claims during his last address to the Colonies. Though I think it perhaps unwise of him to engage in theatrical behavior regarding such important matters. Panic of the kind he showed and encouraged serves no one.

I can say that it is true that the EEF and all the Colonies have been aware of these so called phantoms for sometime. This information has not been kept secert or held by the EEF. Anyone who bothered to read accounts of the Boarder Wars would be aware of them.

They operated against the northern Kingdoms and have always said they are devoted to something they call “The Balance”. I would honestly say they have mostly been a force for good. However if they are now seeking to secert themselves amongst the Colonies it may be time to reevaluate that. We do know that they often employ light leyas to hide even in plain sight. That being the case erecting a light ward would expose them to full view. I recommend that each colony begin making sweeps of their streets at the shared expense with the EEF to find them and hopefully understand their goals more fully.
The Neliff are a different matter. We know little of them directly and only bits and pieces of their history. They were thought to have been extinct until recently reappearing. We have been aware of a group in the southern wastes. Them appearing this far north is concerning. However the best defense against them is vigilance and remaining calm. Panic can only endanger lives. Whatever else happens we must be careful to not fall prey to paranoia and panic. If you see suspect activity contact the authorities. Together we can deal with any problems the Neliff or phantoms can cause.“

Maverick said, “It is amazing to see this election play out against a backdrop of Mind control and infiltraiting aliens.”

Death said snidely, “That is why this planet is better as a penal colony.”

“My grandfather used to tell me that Strykker was a good man, a man who could be trusted despite being human,” said Volphis.

Death said, “You both are backing the wrong horses. The I.R. has only one interest. Restoring order to this planet. And if giving Olgogs rights as sentients and passports will bring order to this godforsaken planet, it will happen. This Olgog is the candidate to watch.”

As the three time shredders bickered about who was the best candidate, Maverick siding with Grimaldus, Volphis with Strykker, Death sided with the candidate who was stepping up next. The Olgog Candidate Daron.

In his speach Daron says “Colonials, I have seen in battle the problem of the Neliffs. Manipulating and infesting into hosts is a crime against us. It is simple, I call on the EEF to deal with the Neliffs as quickly as possible. Get the information about them and how to protect against them to the public.

Prior, I hope the EEF had planned to deal with the Neliffs without causing a panic. So they kept the information quiet. But now with their existance out in the open, we need information to the public.

To the public I say in these tough times I will ask a huge challenge of you. While we learn and adapt, we cannot turn against each other. No taking justice into your own hands if you think Neliffs are involved.

Report it, help the EEF do their job. Part of the problem battling Neliffs is their ability to hide. We need your help for information any sightings of them.

As for Phantoms, I know not of them. I am astounded, but not surprise there are assassins in the world. But anyone whether flesh or otherwise, should follow the rules. If they are killing people, they should be brought to justice. Killing is Killing. And if these Phantoms are just Robots under someones control, then that person should answer for the murders or attempted murders they commit. And the security forces should be out on the look for them.

TO the Colonies, Remember we are to to STAND together. And we need to STAND together during these tough times. And we will win this day because of that. Neliffs, Phantoms, or invaders will not defeat us as together we are stronger.

Thank you, now its time to get back to work. Lets make tomorrow safer and a better day for our loved ones.”

Maverick snarled, “More like STAND with the Iron Republic.”


Part 3 The Wintermute Roundup

Vampires with Neliff Jammers were some of the best shocktroops to counter the Neliff and their mind control. The undead flesh was not a good home to the Neliff young, and the Jammers kept the undead protected from mind control.

Over the course of a week, every major and minor settlement in Wintermute was searched. Ten thousand Neliff were rounded up in the final estimation, and Lord Hassan was shocked so many could have been living in his lands without his knowledge.

Seven thousand professed to serve a being known as Neliff the Radical and swore they were in Wintermute to help keep the evil Neliff away.

Three thousand professed loyalty to Neliff the Orthodox. These three thousand declared there would be a nuclear missile inbound towards Wintermute if they were not immediately freed.

Sitting in his office, Lord Hassan met with the Herald who had facilitated the purchase of the Jammers. The Herald had served so well with the creation of the community at the Shadow Dome and the service against the Sea Kings. Lord Hassan declared him Grand Herald of Wintermute, the first to hold such an office. A being who could speak with Lord Hassan’s own authority in the coming battles against the Neliff.
It was a grand undertaking.
They both realized the threat faced by Refuge was far greater than any other realized. If ten thousand were in Wintermute alone, the larger metropolises of Refuge could hold millions…

If those millions chose violence in response to the attempted purges? That could be horrifying.


Part 4: Yildor Roren is not a fool

Yildor Roren sat down at the chair, the Neliff Jammer firmly in his ear. It had been a bad year for sit downs. Between the threats from Buffy Strykker and Ryuk, the knowledge that one of the other candidates W had literally lynched him two year prior, and now the Phantom sneaking around him campaign offices. He was tired, he was frustrated and he wanted to hurt someone who deserved it.

Across from him floated a Neliff. The creature undulated its tentacles looking unsure since it could not control the mind of this candidate.

Yildor said, “Neliff the Honest, I appreciate your visit, I do. And you can tell this Neliff the Radical that I will support his agenda of driving the forces of Neliff the Orthodox from Refuge. My speech proves it. Doesn’t it?”

Neliff the Honest buzzed back, “Your speech put Neliff who serve Neliff the Radical at risk as well. Since Neliff who serve the Radical are less likely to be violent, Neliff have been easier to capture in places like Wintermute.”

“Surely this Neliff the Radical understands radical measures might be necessary to eliminate his foe?” asked Yildor impatiently. There was something about the Neliff, even a good one, that viscerally grossed him out.

Neliff the Honest continued, “Neliff the Orthodox is in retreat yes. But that will push Neliff the Orthodox to try and take Neliff the Timeless from Holys. And in that moment the true weakness of Neliff the Orthodox will be revealed.”

“What is it you need of me?” asked Yildor.

“Neliff the Radical will time Neliff attacks with attacks by the Cult of Ayx and the Falosini upon the Tomb Factory of Holys. The Quall Keeper of the Records will be at the forefront of the battle. She will use forbidden powers to bind Holys and prevent him from escaping during the battle.

Neliff the Radical will claim Neliff the Timeless and birth a new age of peace.”

“I still don’t know what you need from me?” asked Yildor.

“Neliff the Radical needs you to advocate for granting final death to all Neliff who serve Neliff the Orthodox in Colony Lands and their allies lands,” said Neliff the Honest.

“So you want me to advocate for the wholesale slaughter of an entire subgroup of an alien species based on accusations of whom they follow?” Yildor smiled broadly, “You, Neliff have come to the right man.”


Part 5 Childeen Blackheart and the Neliff Railroad

Childeen Blackheart climbed up into the chair, the Neliff Jammer firmly in his ear. It had been a great year for sit downs. Between the huge sales of Jammers and Security Details, helping his friend General Vulfrym run for Field Marshall under Candidate W , and now getting an opportunity to avert a genocide, or so he hoped. He was energized, he was hopeful and he wanted to save those who deserved it.

Across from him floated a Neliff. The creature undulated its tentacles looking unsure since it could not control the mind of this corporate officer.

Childeen said, “Neliff the Nuanced, I appreciate you coming peacefully and meeting with me. And you can tell this Neliff the Radical that I will support his agenda of stopping the forces of Neliff the Orthodox from enslaving Refuge. What else can you tell me about this Neliff the Orthodox?”

“Neliff the Orthodox believes that the Death of Warmonger was just a test of the faith of the Warmonger Cult. Those who are weak will be culled to breed for the strong. Neliff the Orthodox thinks if he can gather enough of the Descended together Neliff can sacrifice them in a ritual act to restore the Warmonger.

Neliff the Radical knows this will never work. It will simply create a new and more evil entity that will threaten all realities.

This plot is why Neliff the Orthodox funded and supported the rise of the Descended of Pelos. What better way to convince non-hive connected to be part of a larger movement against their own self interest?”

Childeen nodded, happy his recording devices were catching every moment as the Neliff revealed what caused their schism.

“So If I am tracking, Neliff the Radical doesn’t support Warmonger anymore?” asked Childeen.

“Yes Neliff are wiser and learn from past errors. Warmonger provided power, but cost Neliff the existence. Neliff should not be so foolish this time, power without existence is illogical. Neliff the Radical says the way to not make the same mistake is to be protectors of the worlds Neliff inhabit, but leave all with free will.”

Childeen asked, “So…who has more followers, Neliff the Orthodox or Neliff the Radical?”

“Neliff the Orthodox has millions,” said Neliff the Nuanced, “Neliff the Radical has millions. Unless Neliff the Radical gains the right allies, logic tells us the losses will be too high. But Neliff the Orthodox is too individualistic for Neliff. If Neliff the Orthodox was to be contained, trapped or imprisoned on a place where Neliff Hivemind connection could not reach here…then Neliff could be convinced to give up the fight.”

Childeen said, “I do know of a Prison Dimension in the EEF records that was used to cut off a Quall Hivequeen from the other Hives and even her own children that were outside the dimension.”

Childeen had read the files on Major General Terror and his outing to the Prison Dimension of Les’tas’tral. It seemed the Prison dimenion might fit the bill.

Neliff the Nuanced said, “Such a place would be a perfect holding cell for Neliff the Orthodox. Neliff fear that killing the Orthodox would make the Orthodox a martyr like Neliff the Prophet and the First Great Neliff HiveKing. This would undermine the cause of Neliff the Radical. And in generations a martyrdom would lead Neliff and non-Neliff back to this point. But the knowledge that Neliff the Orthodox is imprisoned and alone. That will be terrifying enough to keep Neliff on the right path.”

“What about Pelos Hiveking?” asked Childeen, “He could try and make an end run around us.”

“Pelos Hiveking controls both Neliff and Quall and E-Strain and Unity. And Holys controls Pelos Hiveking,” said Neliff the Nuanced, “But the Dimension Walkers of the Cult of the Horned Dog has bred a new HiveQueen. A Quall known as the Keeper of the Records. A Quall that knows every forbidden technology and training every absorbed by the Quall Hivemind.

And this Keeper of the Records will be able to weaken Holys grip for just long enough for good allies to defeat and contain the threat of Pelos Hiveking. Neliff the Radical has good allies to take Holys, and to contain the Hiveking.

But Neliff the Radical does not have good allies who can capture and contain Neliff the Orthodox and bring him safely to a prison like the one you described.”

Childeen sat back, a tiny being with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was kind of happy not to have to take on Holys or the Hiveking, but gaining peace by apprehending a Neliff Warmonger Cultist Leader was not an easy task.

An operation like the one Neliff the Nuanced was describing would take all of his years of operational expertise… and the right crew…


Part 5: The Cosmic Horror in Fort Lendill

The Gun Monks of Fort Lendill were Ohmites and trained every day to make their minds strong against outside influences.

Gun Monk Taliem Orestes had served both on Refuge and on San Martin and had gained noteriety in his time. He had recently been made Lord Constable in charge of protecting the Capitol of Fort Lendill in the Northern Kingdoms.

Taliem Orestes was surprised that it was Prince Lief himself who led the meeting

“The Neliff were deeply concerning to the government of Fort Lendill. While the impenetrable mind of the supreme leader would never fall to the Neliff’s powers the rest of the government is vulnerable. The gun monks who’s minds had been honed to resist invasive thoughts would be deployed. They would use eye spies and the myriad of surveillance measures already in place that form the security blanket which lets every citizen know Cha’an and the government he formed actively care about them to find the Neliff.”

Taliem was surprised to be honest, but he called his own son up to take the message out to the Gun Monks. Alanze Orestes, son of Taliem made sure the Gun Monks knew their duty and they were deployed.

But there was a nagging suspicion in the young man’s mind. He had seen I.R. holonet adverts for the Blackheart Neliff Jammer, but Fort lendill wasn’t investing in them. And none of the Gun Monks had been deployed to the Dear Leaders laboratory.

Yet his father Taliem had commanded him on behalf of the Government of Fort Lendill.

He completed his mission in record time, thus buying him to time to divert to the Laboratory of the Dear Leader. Slipping in took all of his training, and he barely made it past the many guards traps and survelliance without being spotted.

But Alanze son of Taliem, Gun Monk of Fort Lendill, was concerned when he felt and knew changes were being made even here by the Neliff. He could not see them, but he could feel their illusions flowing around him. Whatever the Dear Leader had been holed way making here for the past year, it was under the control of the Neliff. And this brought great terror and fear into the heart of young Alanze.

Alanze snuck into a survelliance room, checked it for Neliff and was pleased to know he was alone. He sealed the doors, and began reviewing video. There was footage here from across the city. Neliff had infested Fort Lendill, and some were being pushed out by the Gun Monks but some had been working on something here. Something truly concerning as it had used pallets full of Fort Lendill Power Converters, and… then he saw it…

Alanze watched on the undoctored video as a creature left the laboratory surrounded by Neliff. They floated past Prince Lief and Dear Leader as if both were oblivious to them.

The creature was a Neliff S.U.A.R.M. A cybernetic entity, a fusion of S.U.A.R.M. technology, Neliff brain patterns and physical form, and bio organic transmitters.

Alanze wasn’t sure what the purpose of this Neliff S.U.A.R.M. was but…with scans of it he was ready to leave the infested Laboratory behind.

He returned that night to his father, concerned about what he had felt through the leyas and his oneness.
He overheard his father and mother fighting. It seemed that the Gun Monks would expel all Neliff from Fort Lendill’s borders. Fort Lendill would not notify its neighbors and allies of the Neliff expulsion.

After seeing what he had seen in the Laboratory, and how the Neliff had even clouded the minds of Prince Lief and Cha’ain, he realized the Neliff were using this moment to flee with their prize. And they would spread, spread into Korpu and into Kasanth and into the A’taru Asylum.

As Alanze sat looking again at the scans of the Neliff S.U.A.R.M, he wondered what he should do next?


Part 6: Neliff the Diseased

Head Hunter Tor’og frowned at news of Invisible egg laying monsters who control brain, not good for Tor’Lallur or Pits. Then again Tor’og apparently no see aliens as they invisible. Also leyas automa…atomato…atomatoa, Reshed-Lok (Metal-Flesh), no good.

Tor’og call upon great Shaman of Filth Tor’lur to begin ritual at primary Pit. Call upon Pit to reveal any hiding Gor among Tor’Lallur lands and lands of friend Gogs. Gather muck from Pit and smear upon selves while chant sacred words of Tor’lallur!

Dar’ab and Kor’ya lead ritual from secondary Pit as well, call upon sacred power of both Pits.

Energy flowed as Leyas was drawn to the two sites and the worship of the Tor’Lallur.

The Pits began to bubble and froth, soon the tiny pits at the Ambassadorial Halls of the Der’al Collective began to bubble and spew as well. A great miasma creeped from the many Pits and those nearby smelled a scent of life itself rotting.

The faith of the Tor’Lallur were powerful, and it struck nearby Neliff changing them fundamentally. Thousands of Neliff throughout Karov and south Der’al found themselves no longer alive. Instead they were a growing slimy mass of rotting undead.

To the glee of the Tor’Lallur one after another these Neliff the Diseased came to the pit and bathed in it. They neither spoke to or acknowledged the Tor’Lallur. Instead they kept their mission of flying out, killing Neliff and bringing them back to raise them as undead of the Pit.

From their faith Neliff the Diseased the born and it kept killing Neliff to add to its own bio-mass.

Part 7 The United Tribes of Refuge

Lurtor appears to Lalder. Lurtor bows and says “Greetings Auf and council Gog Lalder.”

Lalder was shocked to see his kin look so much like a creature. The Gorguldol had changed his beloved Lurtor so profoundly.

Lalder says “Greetings. I see you have changed much. We will have to talk on this soon, but events are moving.”

Lurtor nods and continues “I knew from my time defending the tribes that the Neliffs were manipulating much here, though I was never sure what the phantoms done. I have with me the information i have on them. Hopefully this will help. Troubadour is the weakness of the Neliff, and shooting them alot.”

Lalder says “You’ve heard about the ear buds? Picked up some for the elders. They block the Neliffs powers.

Lurtor replied, “Oh yes I am aware of them. I tried to reverse enginner the technology, which I know the Earthers who sold it said it was proprietary of something like that but I had to try for the good of Refuge.”

Lalder asked, “Was it successful?”

Lurtor got evasive for a moment, “If we can mass produce them, I can outfit everyone at Jemison Post and we can outfit the whole UtR.
But there was something that caused it to self destruct one every one I tried to work on. I wasted three before I realized it was a failsafe to prevent the Neliff from finding out how it works and creating a countermeasure.”

Lalder said, “I hope you did not put in jeopardy your contracts for them with the organization that sells them. I suppose I can find peace in knowing they cannot be replicated.”

Lurtor says “The redeemers are immune as well. Which makes any clones of me immune as well. If you wish, I’ll take a quick look if I notice any infested near by.”

Lalder says “You may, but only report to me. And only me. I will look at ways of detecting them too. Maybe artificing like the radar, I”ll let you know.

For the Phantoms, from what I say their illusion is leyas based. Maybe a light ward will at least warn you of them… unless they shapeshift.”

Lurtor did a quick once over and returned quickly sealing the door to Lalder’s chamber.

“Yes this place, this kingdom, all the UtR is infested. I saw some flying overhead, and more in the council chambers. There are Neliff everywhere. They must have spread here while I was out in Jemison Post. And my last real visit was before I knew what to look for…”

Lalder says “I’ll let you know if any of this works. Be safe.”

Lurtor was concerned to leave Lalder to deal with this, but he knew he had to handle the defense of Jemison Post.

As he approached an intersection Lurtor found a pair of UtR Olgogs waiting for him. Both were fellows he had known from his youth, yet as he sniffed them, something was off.

As he made small talk, the pair of gogs followed him through one of Lalder’s newly erected hidden light wards and their illusions dropped away. Lurtor quickly subdued both of the Phantoms and with Zela pins holding them he delivered them to Lalder.

But Lurtor heard them speak before he captured them, and they had been trying to alert him to an attack on the Brezan Mine where they brought up the rare Hobtor stone. It seemed the Mak Laltor gang had struck and was stealing Hobtor.

Leaving Lalder to handle the matter of the two Phantoms in custody, Lurtor teleported away to reach the Hobtor mine.

It was night at the Hobtor mine, and the only light came from twenty artificed crystals which illuminated the paths between the piles of stone. But shadows were a constant, and Lurtor was both happy to have them, and already aware of them in case an attack struck.

To his surprise the Uf Mag’og guards were all dead when he arrived. They had been hacked down by axes and were studded by poison darts and javelins. It had been an ambush, and it looked like the attack came from below.

Lurtor moved carefully, targeting the raiders that were loading the pallets of Hobtor stone onto the stolen UtR Air Skimmers. He fired quickly and efficiently and ten raiders were at his feet, unconscious and bound.

Then the first of the attacks came from below, and he was ready. It looked like the Mak Lal’tor had tried using Brezan Stalkers to ambush. But Lurtor was faster on the draw. He fired shot after shot, taking down an additional eight of the Mak’Laltor raiders serving King Blood’Og III.

Lurtor was surprised when with his last shot piercing a raider, King Blood’Og III rose up from the ground and delivered a swing of a Hobtor Axe right as his knees. Lurtor deftly dodged, trying to swing his magi cannons around to take out this Brezan Brusier. But first a clawed hand wicked out and severed Lurtor’s gun hand.

Lurtor looked over and saw standing over him was a figure of myth and legend, a Church of Oner so evil even the Church of One had kicked him out. It was the Devil Bishop Kasanth Dannor, just like in the portraits and Kasanthian Federation propoganda. But he looked young.

On one hand he wore an annihilator claw gauntlet. In the other he held a bastard sword. His head was bald, and his face had ritualistic tattooing of the Order of the Blood Cup.

Kas Dannor grinned sinisterly and said, “The Bearer of the Gorguldol? I thought I’d have to kidnap you after I secured this Hobtor. But it looks like you came right to me. I guess today is my lucky day.”

Kasanth prepared to deliver a deathblow to Lurtor’s collar when the Olgog wished he had brought some sort of backup. He wished he had brought Remmie along, or Agent Kand, or even Grim’s Favorite Lady Sarphin. Taking on a Mak Laltor raiding party was well within Lurtors capbilities, but doing so and then taking on the Devil Bishop Kasanth…well that required allies.

And Lurtor hadn’t brought any.

Lurtor was defeated by the Devil Bishop, and handed over bodily to King Blood’og III to bring back to their Airship the Tooth of Tor. While loading the Hobtor onto the Airship, there was a sudden and stealthy attack.

Within minutes, the body of Lurtor and the other miners were gone. Considering himself lucky to escape with the Hobtor, the Devil Bishop left with his ill gotten gains.

Lurtor awoke in the care of Tor’ab his father’s faithful Tor’og. It had only been lucky timing and Tor’ab’'s personal skill that had saved Lurtor so he thanked him dearly.

Lurtor had stopped the Raiders from taking the supplies from the lower levels, but the Devil Bishop had escaped with at least enough Hobtor to outfit an elite military unit. Lurtor didn’t know why, and he needed to find out. But now he knew who was after the hobtor, and what they were traveling in. Tor’ab had seen the Tooth of Tor airship and described it in such detail, that Lalder was able to track it down using the Olgog Radar.

It seemed the Tooth of Tor had fled into the Cloud Slaver Mountains. Lalder and Lurtor knew that just a year ago these mountains had been the heart of the Neliff outbreak where the Neliff had used the remains of the Yyan Empire to nourish their young.

Lalder had not succeeded in finding the Neliff that infested the UtR, BUT he had gained great insight into why they had. It seemed the Neliff where trying to influence the UtR and Der’al Collective. They had tried to drive the two to war in the past, and it seemed now they were trying to rekindle violence to stop the UtR from uniting with the Redeemers.

The Redeemers seemed happy to let Holys do his experiments with the Neliff, but the Neliff feared the Redeemers.

This one kernal of truth, which Lalder filed away. He met with the Phantoms who were captured and told to follow the UtR Rules and be upfront when meeting with UtR leadership.


Part 8 Lurtors on the March

Captain Oliver was sitting in bed. He hadn’t bothered with his political campaign and as a result he hadn’t even been given space to speak with the other Candidates.

A commcrystal on his desk began to chirp. He picked it up and was surprised to hear Amber’s voice.

“Good news Sir,” she said, “Lurtor Operators have just been redeployed to the Goblin Lands. Apparently they are protected from Neliff or something like that.”

“Seems my dad was thinking ahead when he chose Lurtor as a clone template,” Captain Oliver replied, “Is the rest of the OVC ready to move?”

“Yes OtO units are stationed in the Colonies, Lurtor units in Fort Lendill and Tilde units in the other Northern Kingdoms,” said Amber, “If the Old Vlad was still around, all we would need is his command passcode to move ahead with the overthrow of the Colonial, Northen Kingdoms and Goblin Lands governments. And there it is. Perfect.”

Captain Oliver sat down on his bed with a thud, “But my father is imprisoned in the Goru,”

“Well somebody just transmitted it,” said Amber, “And if it wasn’t you and it wasn’t your dad. Then who was it?”

Captain Oliver looked around to make sure no one was listening. Then he said, “The only people who knew the command passcode was my father.”

“Or anyone your father trusted enough with it.” said Amber.

“Amber tell the OtOs and Lurtors to be careful it could be a trap. If someone in the VLAD agency discovered the passcode, they could have triggered it so we reveal ourselves.,” said Oliver feeling worry set in.

“The VLAD agency is currently purging its own members for Phantoms,” said Amber, “But I will tell the OVC operatives to be extra careful when they arrive on sight. Captain Oliver can I ask you something?”

“Yes?” he replied, “Anything?”

“When I signed up for this I was excited to overthrow the Colonial government and put your dad in power. Heck I’d even be happy to put you in power. But Yildor Roren? That old racist? Really?” asked Amber.

“My father picked Yildor to be the face a long time ago. Remember, if he causes the OVC any problems we can just impeach him later right?” Oliver joked as if he was not so sure anymore.

“What are we going to do about these Neliff?” asked Amber.

“Send in the Lurtors. Capture and contain the way that the UtR and Jemison Post expects,” said Captain Oliver.

The commcrystal hung up and Captain Oliver was left alone with his thoughts.



Agent Reilly P. McMurphy sat at his desk in the VLAD agency office. He was feeling good. A cigar in one hand, a jar of Shinefox’s Moonshine in the other. He drank deeply and enjoyed the flavor. A puff on the cigar, and Reilly put his feet up.

A nanite projector on the desk activated showing a handsome young woman in a smart EEF officer’s uniform.

Reilly put his feet down abruptly asking, “Hello Anise, I thought our shifts had ended an hour ago. Does acting Field Marshall Ma’pel need the assistance of the VLAD agency?”

“No sir, I found some concerning data in the data stream coming from our agency safehouses. All the VLAD agents known to be Phantoms were rounded up sir? Even Dalton and Rimmer?” Anise asked with concern, “The timing on that type of operation, and the fact that I was somehow not kept in the loop worries me greatly. It is as if the operation was timed to correspond to Yildor Roren’s announcement.”

As the artifical Intelligence got increasingly irate, Reilly smirked and said one simple phrase, “Project Sugarhill.”

The Anise A.I. shut off abruptly as she was forced into sleep mode and a different A.I. took over her network and controls. A facsimile of the deceased Commissar Von Glomhammer appeared in Anise’s place.

“Reilly P. McMurphy recognized. Project Sugarhill currently engaged.
What information may I provide?” asked the Glomhammer A.I.

“Has the Phantom operative known as Windwraith and his lieutenants been apprehended?” asked Reilly as he put his feet back up and returned to his relaxed state.

“No, Windwraith is still at large and believed to have fled out into space. VLAD Kill teams have returned with the broken bodies of many of the Phantoms in question,” answered the Glomhammer A.I.

“Has anyone discovered that I ordered VLAD agent Terrence McIntosh to Yildor Roren’s campaign office?” asked Reilly.

“No,” said the A.I., “And they have not discovered the Phantom was hiding as VLAD agent, Terrence McIntosh. Yildor’s campaign office believes the Phantom was an assassin.”

Reilly adjusted the Neliff Jammer he wore in his ear. Best money he had every paid Blackheart Security Solutions.

“And Yildor and all the EEF high command have the Neliff Jammers yet?” asked Reilly as he savored another sip.

“Yes the jammers were purchased through a front company, and Yildor’s campaign staff and all of the EEF high command and their staffers are protected. It was cost prohibitive to outfit every EEF soldier or VLAD agent.

“It is a good thing the new McMurphy funded the rise of Blackheart Security solutions. Despite being a goody-goody with no understanding of the bigger picture, the new McMurphy made this all so much easier. Speaking of him, What is the status of the McMurphy Clone that I was tasked to replace?” asked Reilly with an even broader grin.

The A.I. replied, “Still in stasis in the Goru Prison next to the Old Vlad. All phantoms at the Goru have been apprehended as well. The EEF’s Counter K’ias Infiltration Protocols worked efficiently and effectively and ending their free movement through the Goru.

The only note on the Agent McMurphy Imprisonment is that VLAD Agent Brooke, the one who works in the Colonial Diplomatic Corps has been petitioning the office of the Colony General for his release, or visitations at the very least.”

Reilly P. McMurphy almost considered sending the brave Hydraulic Knight on a mission she wouldn’t come back from. But he learned his lesson, those types of actions were the reason he had been deposed by the VLAD trinity the first time. Now that Reilly was back in charge, he wouldn’t let his fear drive him to error.

“As long as the Old Vlad and the new McMurphy are on ice, I can operate with impunity using both their spy networks,” said Reilly, “Did the medical tests come back yet?”

“Yes, the tests show no sign of the RINDs Disease that occurred despite your previous cloning attempts,” said the A.I., “You are cured.”

“Excellent, a perfect operation then. No loose ends,” said Reilly P. McMurphy.



Herald of Wintermute Becomes the 1st ever Grand Herald of Wintermute. With this promotion comes additional titles of Governor of the Shadow Dome of Korpu, Administrator of South Der’al Expansion Efforts, and a construction crew of 100 lvl 6 Earthmancers

Gov of Fort lendill has unlocked Alanze Orestes F.S.6 Gun Monk. He has proof that the Neliff have been gathering different parts from different cultures around Refuge. He also has proof that the Neliff mind controlled Fort Lendill’s own dear Leader into building them a S.U.A.R.M. version of the Neliff connected to their own Hivemind but able to use onboard Quall cell-based transmitters to hack nearby Hivemind enemies. The records seem to point to a quick deployable Hiveking alternative with a much shorter range, broadcasting on different frequencies.

Tor Lallur gain Neliff the Diseased. This ward covers all lands protected by a Tor’Lallur Pit. Any Neliff who enter the area will immediately be set upon by Undead Neliff who will kill them and add them to the bio-mass that is Neliff the Diseased. This is considered a passive protection and as a result all Tor’Lallur are now protected from Neliff control when within twenty miles of their Pit.

Lurtor gains Took down a Raider gang single handedly, Lurtor gains Shadow Lvl 6

Lalder gains The UtR Council Chambers have been secured. As a result of removing Phantom and Neliff influence from the UtR Council meetings it has been discovered that a very valuable Gold Mine has been discovered on the border between the UtR and Der’al collective. Lalder can use this to
A) Increase trade with the Lost Colonies
B) Add gold to the UtR economy, create a new UtR Coin
C) Place the Der’al collective in charge of it, and ask them to maintain roadways and diplomatic houses with the funds. Must choose one option A, B, or C

Mak Laltor gains Hobtor Armor. Can add L.R. to dmg of any Offensive Leyas abilities (does not add dmg to Magi Cannons or Technomantic attacks). Automatically takes Chill dmg as No A.R. Cannot benefit from Immunity to Chill.
Descended Characters and Characters with the Fiendish stat also regenerate LR as H.P. each combat round while wearing Hobtor armor.
10 Sets for King Blood’Og III and his nine bodyguards.

Blackheart gains Rolling in the Ghaz. Production of the Jammers have given Blackheart enough money to fund a Neliff safeworld. Everyone on this planet has jammers and the Neliff there are peaceful followers of Neliff the Radical. This planet allows Childeen to “Consult Neliff Advisors”. Childeen must name the world.

Field Marshall Strykker, Daron and Grimaldus gains Voice Against Genocide and Paranoia. Each may raise their emotional control by 1 point. Each also gains an unknown Phantom Security Detail. This Security detail will sacrifice themselves to save the life of the candidate if needed. All candidates may also choose a 5000 ghaz vehicle to be outfitted for promotional purposes with an Immutable driver.

In their respective success timelines, these speeches lead to a surge in the polls over Yildor Roren’s fear mongering.

In the timeline where Yildor achieves success, Lord Grimaldus received a message.
“Dear Lord Grimaldus, though this campaign got off to an unluckly start, I hope to hire you on as my Head Advisor and give you a seat on the EEF High Command. What do you say? Humans standing side by side for the good of the colonies?” This allows Lord Grimaldus to rise to EEF High command in DR2220Y timeline.