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Well, the mission went off as planned, unfortunately. I hated to see megacredits worth of lab go up like that, but trust me on this – you didn’t want that lab in the hands of those AIs.

“DPDQ”, though… days after it happens, they pop on to send a message in hex (much less complicated than just sending a message in Standard – which they obviously know, since the hex corresponded to Standard on a letter-by-letter basis – huh?) saying “no more”. Uh, yeah, I won’t blow up any more one-of-a-kind computer labs at Amananth station, thanks for the reminder. Oh, and thanks for all the help fending off the AI hackers trying to take it over, by the way.

Could have used some help, but hey, make sure you scold me for blowing it up when both my cybernetically-enhanced connections, and the literal creator of the AIs in question can’t keep out that same group of AIs from a lab in *your* station, that *you* pledged to help safeguard – because we’re both flesh-and-blood pitted against AIs. Raw computing power trumps age and sagacity, I’m afraid.

Whatever “DPDQ” is, though, it’s a brain-damaged idiot. Oh well. So long, new Aman AI – and thanks for all the fish.

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BASIC’s brute force attempts on the CWCC’s security continue unabated, with only a minor downtick in severity during the Antiflux resupply project. (Probably due to Avicenna’s attention being split as he navigated). Aelagi continues to stem the tide, but even she can’t keep this up forever. I’m really hoping we won’t have to resort to the measures I’ve established as a fallback.

Time is slipping away from us – and I really don’t want to do what it seems I’m being forced to do. Our cooperation was very much situational, and didn’t stem from any renewed goodwill on their part.

I was monitoring the link back to the CWCC just now. I watched the traffic spike, yet again. Another brute force attempt from somewhere in Amananth space. Aelagi also reports multiple attempts on her secure mainframe – and I am fending off wide spectrum DDOS attacks on my own station’s connection, way over in Hyperial space.

Someone wants my data – or, at least, me kept occupied. I might have to arrange something a bit more… direct… in response. My contingency plan is nearly complete.

In other news, I flew escort for Nuncio out through unreg to set up his new station in, well, Last Parsec. That was pretty neat.

Also received a donation from a benefactor – to the tune of 100 million credits – to continue our work opposing the factional governments on their Conflux policies. It gets expensive thumbing your nose at inflationary profiteering – but we shall persevere. I don’t care how much like an AB4 they think Antiflux should be. They’re wrong.

Started the night with some diplomacy. I had a squad application pending from a Quantar pilot. Per Hyperial’s conditions, having a Quantar pilot negates their official recognition. So long, Hyperial.

Then, I proceeded to the next item of business: collecting a debt. Aristotle needed some new equipment he couldn’t afford, and told me Avicenna would make it up. Fair enough. Got him equipped, no big deal.

Headed to QD, at Avi’s request, to make the exchange. Uneventful trip down, really. Got my credits on arrival, docked to r/r/r.

When I launched, however, Mercator and Avicenna jumped me – presumably for my bounty, but they didn’t say. Mercator was quickly dispatched by a defense droid, but I finished Avicenna off myself. Didn’t show up as a kill – but I got the bounty for him, nonetheless. Ungrateful, kids these days. At least I got the money first.

Nimdas, in the meantime, was sitting on a swarm, and wanted help dispatching it. En route, BLACKDOGG went on duty. I informed him about the ultimatum I gave for BlackRebelsMC – contact from their squad leader, or they join their piratical allies on our WAR list. This was his reply:
rats_okay
I dunno where he lives in his head – but it’s not our galaxy. Pirates are never okay. Helping pirates is never okay. Same for flux – because they’re the same species.

So, apparently, they just don’t care. There ya go.

Oh, and then I caught up with Nimdas, and we destroyed that swarm in < 2 mins. So there's that.

So, I received some intelligence that the “random” attack on me in Far Point wasn’t random, after all.  It was a hit put out on me by Carlo Adiar.

Well, then.

That TRI transport that was missing? Well, I found it. Then I blew it up.

So, consider us even, for the nonce.

On the other hand, I did find the ship. You’re welcome.

No, it wasn’t Conflux. Although I did use one to help me find it – and then I killed the flux. Then I splashed the tow. It wasn’t a storm – storms can’t destroy ships, by the way, TRI. It was me. I actually wanted the Enforcer, but I will settle for what I got.

 

I’m going through the anomaly, friends. I found where Thrice Seven went, and where they were stopped in their tracks. But that’s all I know. I know also that every scout sent back there since has vanished – save one. I saw a bit of what he said. It was frightening. I’m going to verify it, and see if I can get any more data to help us. So, as you read this, I’m nowhere to be found – and nowhere you want to be.

The anomaly loomed, ever closer. The trepidation.. and the flash.

6, no, 9, no 12 hostiles inbound. UNKNOWN Conflux! Go, go, go… flashing red… armor damage…. flashfire! What’s that? Another anomaly? Go, go.. go.. gooooooo! Flash. A rending, crashing boom. All was darkness.

Razor woke up with a start, his brow beaded in a cold sweat. He hated that particular dream. Hated it with a not-entirely-sane vehemence. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and rolled off his spare pallet in the transient’s quarters at Hyperial. It came, every night. Again, and again, and again, and again. Some fluxhunter he was. Nightmares about flux. It didn’t help that he’d fought every class of them since – especially the ones that shot him up so badly on his expedition. It didn’t help that he’d killed thousands – tens of thousands – since then. They never stopped coming. Not in his dreams – and not in space, either.  He’d failed. Miserably. He’d failed New Dawn, he’d failed Amananth, he’d failed Holly, he’d failed… everyone.

I need answers.

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Here goes nothing… nothing ventured, nothing gained – right?

Legate,

Since becoming aware of the unfortunate passing of Dr. Calatorius, I looked for the current Conflux Expert for the Ministry of War, in order to verify certain findings of Conflux spawn ratings that I recorded throughout Octavian space. After some searching, I am forced to conclude that the Ministry has not named a successor for his position.  Does such a successor exist? If not, are you interested in the services of one?  Most fluxhunters specialize only in killing Conflux. While I am more than proficient at that task, I also worked extensively with TRI-R’s CSD, and specifically, with Dr. Q’son prior to the Catastrophe, as my decorations from that time can attest.

I’m no Dr. Calatorius, but I can’t help but believe that we need someone in that role, at least in the interim.  While I will never be the researcher that Dr. Calatorius was, I would venture the guess that there are few Octavians with my strategic or tactical experience in dealing with Conflux – drones or sentients. While I will readily admit that I am not a military factionalist, I would submit that as an expert on Conflux behavior, tactics and strategy, I have the qualifications for the position. That emphasis on tactical considerations – or the lack thereof from other quarters – was the initial reason that Octavius created it’s own division – as is proper.

Again, while I don’t propose that I can ever replace Dr. Calatorius, or ever fill his shoes – I feel that the recent decisions (and statements) of TRI-R’s CSD once again highlight the need for someone in this position, who understands the tactical problems the Conflux pose. If I can be of service to the Empire in this position, then I am willing to take this duty seriously and do so contentiously.

Contego Octavius!

Razorat “RazorsKiss” Kathonar, Optimus